Swimming Upstream

Guatemalan worry dolls… been working them in over time

Hello, my friends. I have been quiet of late — very unlike me, I know. It has been a hell of a couple of years weeks. First, strep throat knocked us all to our knees. One by one, we fell. Despite hand washing, Lysol wipes and new toothbrushes, we were coated with cooties and all swilling shots of penicillin. Strep is literally, like swallowing a brick. Not fun times as an adult — I can only imagine the pain for my kinder (children). Gatsby was literally, the last man standing. Vey iz mir (OMG, but worse), it was bad. 

What followed in the aftermath was tougher to bear than the bacteria-baked bricks… Our, my journey of late has been tough. No harder than the next person mind you… of that I am well aware. Still difficult, nonetheless.

I have been living the plight of the salmon. (Not the delicious kind that ends up atop your shmear (cream cheese) on a toasted everything bagel…) I’m talking about the astounding event where the momma fish like any other but the mother would do this leaves years of comfort in ocean dwelling, genetically alters its very form to seek out and return, upstream, against the tides, waterfalls, bears, and all odds, to the roots of their birth. Without google maps, these salmon, they locate the exact freshwater stream of their birth, to lay the eggs of a new generation on the gravel river beds. And then they die, knowing the kinder are well-tended and will carry on.

These salmon, they are fighters. They are filled with courage and defiance to do what they must do — to follow their core. They are the definition of #rebelgirls and #strongwomen. They defy all limitations and persevere, despite obstacles, predators and sheer exhaustion. They do this because they have no other choice but to be true to themselves and those they love. 

This Yiddisheh momma has been #livingfearlesslyauthentic, much like the salmon. I swam hard and long. I reached my freshwater riverbed, and I spoke my truth. I did so for injustice and all that is unfair. I did so for my Mrs., my Big, and my Little. I did so for ME. And I truly believed that:

If you lie on the ground, you cannot fall. Az mi ligt oif der erd, ken men nit fallen.

What I learned, was that you can still fall. That the truth is not always enough. That there are so many who can easily look away from truths. That so many can label, misrepresent, smear (very different from a nice shmear), and lie. And that the latter group that can win. And that in itself can be mentally and physically crushing.

My silence is over. My quiet has passed. I still grieve the loss, nurture my courage. I will become whole again. After all, I have two shayneh maidelehs (sweet little girls)  that must know that despite everything, it is always an obligation, to tell the truth. That we must always stand tall and respectfully fight, not only the injustices that we face, but those of our fellow humans too. I have learned in no uncertain terms that the battles that surround us are much larger than we know. That the work ahead is complex.

And despite my loss, I would stand up again, and risk the same fall. My Mrs. and me, we will raise two mighty girls with voices to engage and take a stand for their sisters and brothers who need them.

Injustice won this time, a shonda (crying shame). But this particular salmon, I am not rolling over and playing dead.

A liar tells his story so often that he gets to believe it himself. A ligner hert zikh zeineh ligen azoi lang ein biz er glaibt zikh alain.

Plus, I know karma is a bitch for all nogudniks (someone on the wrong side of the law).

     

    

      

      

 

Turns out, I’m insanely jealous

This Yiddisheh mama has a major confession to make. I’ve been holding this one in, so bear with me. It comes from a lifetime ago. You SAHM’s, like my Mrs., oh how I want to be you. Let me schmear (spread) some broad, sweeping caveats, loudly and clearly, that you, by far, have the single hardest job on the planet. 

Dem, ikh visn. This, I know.

You may find me to be the schmegeggy (doofus, idiot). Hours suck. Pay worse. Days are ongoing and relentless. Sleep? Vos iz dos? (What is that?) Tantrums, bickering, and ‘hangry’ (tired and hungry) whining. The driving, the traffic, the geshrei-ing (yelling).  There are enough scattered organic food scraps strewn across the car to easily feed a small city to enrage me. I am aware of the mistreatment and abuse you encounter. Selective deafness. Your voice sounds like the adults on any episode of Charlie Brown — Whaa whaa whaaa whaaaa whaaa… And, like the air they breathe, they take you for granted daily, hurling sweaters, trash, already-chewed gum, back-packs, boogers from their noses that they don’t ever pick, and whatever that was, that was stuck on the bottom of their boots at you on their way to play. Ewww. Disgusterous. The spills, messes, laundry, groceries and constant wardrobe changes. The lack of privacy and ‘me time.’ The lack of adult conversation. I feel your pain when a craft, carefully chosen with thoughtfulness and love, causes utter unhappiness, and you experience the ‘epic mom fail.’ Oy vey iz mir (OMG).

It’s this momma’s mishegas (craziness) for which I yearn. Who’s meshuggah (nuts) here? I know it’s me. I’m in awe of you and your daily sacrifices. I value you in ways society always overlooks. You have the charge of building little human beings that are kind and empathic in a world that is not.

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Poems, home and perspectives

Big's Poem
Big’s Poem

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day. My shanah maidehlahs (little sweet girls) made Valentine’s for their classmates, their teachers and for me and my Mrs., and Gatsby too! When I came home from work, I was stunned by the artwork left for me to see, the prizes of love. Notes, cards, pictures, 2 boxes of Egyptian Licorice Tea (OMG!!!) and a bag of black licorice. They know me well.

I read Luka’s poem and I couldn’t help but tear up. I cried I bawled Her perspective is so different from my own growing up. My only wish is that Little and Big, my beautiful kinder (children), may we do our very best to do right by you, always and forever.

My poem at 8 years of tender age would be very different:

When I Think of Home

by Lisa

When I think of ‘home’ I think of cleanliness and order

When I think of ‘home’ I am not allowed on my bed until 8pm

When I think of ‘home’ my sister is wisely absent

When I think of ‘home’ I smell the stench of pine-sol

When I think of ‘home’ I think of disappearing

When I think of ‘home,’ I am unhappy

When I think of ‘home’ I think of entering through the garage

When I think of ‘home’ I hear the voices that tried to shatter me

When I think of ‘home’ I think of the dis-ease that was enabled

When I think of ‘home’ I see rooms not to be entered

When I think of ‘home’ I think antiseptic and sterile

When I think of ‘home’ of think no life lives here

When I think of ‘home’ I am dirty and wrong

When I think of ‘home’ I don’t matter as much

As the things we acquired or the rooms we can’t touch

To all the kinder (children) everywhere, live out loud, make a mess, make beautiful and loving memories. That little ones, you so deserve.

You know what? After a good cry, your heart is lighter. (Az mi veint rich ois, vert gringer afn hartz)

Thank you my friends, for letting me share. To dare to be open and vulnerable among you.

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UPDATE: The Rule of Kind

Silly shvesters
Silly shvesters

A Kinder Kinder 

I thought now a good time to provide you all with some good, hard data anecdotal evidence on how we are doing as a family, with our one, single, solitary family rule: BE KIND. Some of you may recall this inspired post meant to get our little mishpocheh (family) out from under the tiny terroristic grip of Big and Little’s mood swings, urges and tantrums and back to the matriarchal quasi-control of the mamelehs (me and the Mrs.).

It was mid-August. It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. We were feeling the worst of the heat, reeling from the weariness of endless pool days and we had hit the ceiling on late night movies. The kinderlech (kids) and the Mrs. had become nocturnal. By the time I joyfully strolled up the Manor steps after a hard days work, it was batshit crazy with a capital BAT all hell had broken loose. We had grown accustomed to our tsuris (troubles). It was pure mishegas (insanity and chaos).

Dos leben iz vi kinderhemdel—kurts un bash. Life is like a child’s undershirt—short and soiled.

Shvesters and goodies
Shvesters and sugar

Be Kind. How f@cking hard is that to do? I knew we could do it. I believed. The first coupla’ weeks were exhausting and awful filled with tears, apologies and repetition of our golden rule. Be Kind. Be Kind. Be Kind. Be Kind. Be Kind. Be Kind. Be Kind.

Siri, How long until something basic, simplistic, and all encompassing becomes a damned habit?

It’s a shondah (pity) how my Little and Big, such sweet little maidelahs (girls), put each other through fisticuffs, scuffles, scrapes and screeches. Glass shattering screams, pushes, slaps and hair pulling. (It’s almost as if they had watched old reruns of Dynasty from the ’80’s?) I cried me a river. So did the nextdoorikeh’s (neighbors).

Time went on, as it does. We stuck to our one rule. Be Kind. Be Kind. Be Kind. Be Kind. Be Kind. Be Kind. Be Kind. Patience. We had such effing patience! We were so very, very virtuous with all of our patience. And then, it started. 

  • Listening ears, they listened
  • We heard ‘Please’ and ‘Thank You’ fairly consistently
  • ‘I’m sorry’ flowed from their tiny little mouths appropriately and sincerely
  • Random acts of kindness happened without begging, yelling, nudging, cajoling any parental prodding
  • When Little ate all of her marshmallows before the hot chocolate was ready, Big happily handed her a handful of hers
  • When Big cried about not wanting to take a shower, Little volunteered to take one with her
  • They shared
  • If one was in need, the other helped
  • When one hurts, the other says, Vu tut dir vai (where does it hurt)?
  • If we said clean your room, they did it together

It was working. Be Kind. Be Kind. Be Kind. Slowly and steadily our kinder (children) began to treat each other as if we were not behind the walls of the Manor, but as if we were in public and on their best behavior! They began to give one another the benefit of the doubt. My little bubbelah’s (term of endearment) were becoming menches (good, respected people) to one another. Loving shvesters (sisters), friends.

Shvesters plotting
Shvesters plotting

Now, I do not for one minute want you to think that we are all hotsy-totsy and blissful over here. We still have plenty of our moments. We will always have work to do and we still can be kinder, gentler, nicer and more empathetic. But so far, dos gefelt mir (this pleases me) very much! I’m kvelling (oozing with pride)!

Be Kind. Zeit gezunt (Be healthy)!

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Wordless Wednesdays: Clever Children

Oy, A gezunt dir in kepele! Are you ever a clever child!

If we keep eating the jelly beans in the back, Mommy and Ema will never notice
If we keep eating the jelly beans in the back, Mommy and Ema will never notice
Learning some new dance moves from our new friends Fara and Mercedes
Learning some new dance moves from our new friends, Fara and Mercedes
So long, farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, goodnight...
So long, farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, goodnight… Thank You O’Malley’s! ❤
I don't want to smile. I want to be grumpy and I will be grumpy all day
I don’t want to smile. I want to be grumpy and I will be grumpy all day
Charlotte's house flooded...
Charlotte’s house must have flooded Mommy…
Processed with Snapseed.
Mommy, look at me…

L’Shona Tova! Happy New Year!

 

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Bedtime, in 4 hours or less

It somehow energizes them...
It somehow energizes them…

I know, you’ve been thinking, Lisala, it’s been so long since you shared your parenting perceptions and insights. Sure, a nice rant, a beautiful pic, sweet tender mishpocheh (family) moments. Today, we revisit bedtime. How on earth do you get the kinder to gai shluffin (the kids to go to sleep)? Well my readers, I offer you our thoughtful child rearing insights, in the form of a song. Hum along if you like, to the tune of Let It Be, you know, by the Beatles:

 

When I find myself in need of slumber

Trying to act sensibly

The whole world feels chaotic, fretfully

Retiring Big and Little takes too long

I doze off first expectantly

The kinder, they’re nocturnal, devilry

Empathy, empathy

Empathy, come and see

What, like our bed is the only bed on earth?

Their own room is so beautiful; come and see

 

I wake up to the sound of squealing,

Maidelahs have taken all control

The Mrs. voice is loudly fuming, testily

I muster up some words of wisdom

Pleading with veracity

Yet my babble is not in sentences, regrettably

Remedy, remedy

Remedy, eventually

We need a two bedroom like we need a luch in kop (hole in the head)?

They’ll sleep in their own bedroom, eventually

 

My Mrs., she chortles at my jabber

The kinder loudly laugh and giggle

Reveling in my senseless banter, splendidly

Minutes have slowly ticked to hours

Empty threats thrown about with leniency

We’re a helpless parent fail, professedly

Sleeplessly, sleeplessly

Sleeplessly, hopefully

Other kids go the fuck to sleep without such a gantseh megillah (long drawn out story)

Tomorrow night will be so much better, hopefully

 

Sleeplessly, sleeplessly

Sleeplessly, hopefully

Other kids go the fuck to sleep without such a gantseh megillah (long drawn out story)

Tomorrow night will be so much better, hopefully

 

Well, you know what they say:

Der shlof iz der bester dokter. Sleep is the best doctor.

Is there a doctor in the house? Oy vey iz mir.

 

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Auditions Today!

Nutcracker tryouts
Nutcracker try-outs

It’s September again; the stores, they started it first

Christmas, its here and now it’s time to rehearse

Find the nice tights, leotards; put buns in their hair

It’s Nutcracker tryouts — hurry, hurry, let’s prepare

 

Every Sunday from now, right up to those two special days

They’ll practice away in their sugarplum haze

We’ll leave other events early with a sigh or a pout

And arrive at the studio to grand jeté about

 

As the music is cranked our smiles quickly return

It’s Tchaikovsky we hear, so many new parts to be learned

The Littles and Bigs, they will dance with the Donetsk ballet

As they show the story of a girl, her gift and her dream in a magical way

 

My sweet little maidelahs making Yuletide traditions

Sharing steps with Ukrainian mavens, in Balanchine’s celebrated positions

A mouse and a cook for my Big this holiday season, My Little a polichinelle and a small doll

Two roles, two acts, and two costumes for each, making memories, having fun, above all

 

In theatre with stage sets that ‘wows’ every viewer, this Yiddisher momma, oy how I’ll kvell

Come one, come all, grab a seat and enjoy, such nachas can only make you feel well

The Holiday season is right smack dab on us; the emmes truth, we couldn’t be cheerier

Vas, like you have something better to do? Not when the Wissahicken Dance Academy is so superior!

 

A bei gezunt to all (You should all be healthy)!

 

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