Saturday, July 27, 2013

My Daughter the Yekke

The Carnival at Gan on Friday featured a full small animals petting zoo, with an iguana, a turtle, a pheasant, a rabbit and a hamster.  The turtle, poor thing, received the brunt of the abuse from the smaller children, with them pulling the limbs, dropping him and spinning him around on the floor. I watched as one child got especially violent with this creature, and for five minutes the mother actually encouraged her son to continue in this vein of abusive curiosity.  Several parents including myself couldn't handle it anymore, and at one point I said, "OK, I think it is time to give another child a turn with the turtle."  Afterwards, this small group of horrified mothers agreed that "No" or "Kindness and Gentleness" would have been lovely words to hear, that it is never too early to start giving toddlers boundaries.

The rabbit and hamster didn't fare much better, but at least they could run away.  Raphaela took it upon herself to protect the hamster; she put him in an open box with some cucumbers for food and sat in the corner of the room, stroking him gently.  When other children approached, she mediated their interaction, and if they got too rough, she stopped them.


The Carnival also had a bouncy castle, and most of the children threw their shoes off and dove right inside. Raphaela, disturbed by the chaos of shoes and sandals scattered about, took it upon herself to match up all the pairs and line them up neatly at the side of the courtyard.  Only then could she continue her play, reflecting, of course, my preference for order and for putting things away so you can find it afterwards.


On Shabbat, bored and playing independently in the other room, Raphaela took apart a small bookcase, laying out each shelf and piece of the frame of the floor.  She had almost as much fun watching me put it back together (cursing under my breath) afterwards.

At least I know that she has the IKEA gene, which I am sadly lacking.

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