the 90th minute

Until September 2007, when my oldest daughter was born, this blog covered daily life and politics in Israel, as well as Hebrew-English linguistic issues, from the perspective of an American-raised journalist and translator living in Israel. Now it mostly serves as the SmunchMonk&Bear news agency, a portal into the bizarre universe of the little people. Read more at:

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

She came, she saw...

Forget musical chairs - Rimonit has begun a game of tactical chair. She now realizes that her little orange chair is not only something to drag around, something to sit on and something to put her favorite toys and/or food on, but also something to give her some much-desired (on her part, at least) extra height.

We don't object when she drags her chair over to the old coffee table, which is just that little bit higher than she can comfortably scale on her own, to help her climb onto it. (This is okay with us partly because she's very good at getting down nicely on her own and partly because it's not very far off the ground in the first place.)

But it's a different story when she tries to conquer the dining table, that catchall of newspapers, books, earrings, dirty dishes and a random collection of other stuff that gets cleared off every Friday only to miraculously become just as jumbled a mess by Sunday (to W's dismay). While we have slowly (and, admittedly, not consistently) been getting used to moving things away from the dangerous border zone of the table's edges, the middle of the table has become one of the few sacred spaces left where we can put things without too much fear they will end up in the Smunch's wagon.

(One of W's colleagues learned this the hard way, when RP was making a run for the open door while clutching his wallet, which he had inadvisedly left on the coffee table.)

But now Rimonit very deliberately pulls her chair up to the dining table and stands up on it, wearing a look of thrilled wonder at this whole new world of previously hidden - and eminently desirable - objects. Sometimes she pulls up next to a wooden big-people chair and climbs onto it from her chair to give her even more height. This, of course, is bad news for us.

Yesterday, not wanting her to hang out there but also not wanting to spark a temper tantrum, I stood next to her for a bit to monitor which objects were in her reach, then nonchalantly started playing with some of her favorite toys, away from the table but well within her line of sight. By the time I had placed one of her toys on her wagon and pushed it up and down the living room a couple of times, she started getting interested in what was going on over there, climbed off her chair and grabbed my newfound toys away from me. Phew! Crisis averted, til next time...

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Squiggly pasta for a squiggly squirmer

Pasta (the squiggly kind) was on the menu yesterday and today. The most interesting places I have found it so far (aside from smushed into a gross, slippery paste under my foot) are:

The precisely squiggly-pasta-shaped space (who knew?) at the top of the broom handle (RP really enjoys what we may as well, for lack of a better word, call sweeping), and in the toe of her slipper (which was, in turn, safely stored - along with one sock - in a disposable plastic container that had been used for chocolate chip cookies, and which RP must have discovered while impersonating a raccoon in the kitchen garbage can).

In other news, Rimonit likes to say hello (well, actually, "Aya!") into her toy phone. She also sometimes holds her hand up to her ear and cheerfully shouts "Aya! Aya!" Of course, when she encounters an actual phone at her ear, she smiles toward the voice but is remarkably silent.

She has also found original ways of escaping from her stroller. Though we buckle her in when we're going outside, we didn't bother with the buckles when we tried to get her to fall asleep in her stroller while we were eating Friday night dinner at someone's apartment the other week. (She often falls asleep in her stroller, she was tired, and it was way past her bedtime.) Our stroller can lie flat, but when in this position, it leaves a gaping hole in the back, where the kid's head is (the gap is supposed to be covered with a plastic flap).

The first time we tried putting her down, she pushed aside the blanket we had put over the hole and stuck her head out of the stroller with a huge, mischievous grin that is still making me laugh two weeks later. The second time (also the last one until we left, at which point she fell asleep in about 30 seconds), she turned onto her stomach and slithered out from the front end of the stroller, using the same motion as when she clambers off, say, the coffee table, and stood up with a proud, "Look at me!" smile. Then she scampered off to wreak some more havoc.