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:

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Oy va voy!

Yup, "oy va voy" is one of Rimonit's newest phrases, replete with finger-wagging - but only when she hears the song "Yonatan Hakatan." They obviously do it at gan when they get to the "oy va voy lo lashovav" part. It's a very funny sight.

On the other end of the naughty-to-nice spectrum of stuff she clearly picked up at gan, she also says "Bravo!" while clapping like a seal.

Nothing like a good Israeli education.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Kookoo for short tyrants

Here are a couple of recent pics of Rimonit with a ponytail, or as it's known here, a kookoo, sprouting out of her head.

But just because Israelis use their own word for ponytail doesn't mean they make do without their little pony - it's just that an Israeli "pony" is what Americans call bangs (and the Brits know as fringe). "Kookoo" is also what Israelis say for "peekaboo," as well as having the distinction of being one of the words that Rimonit for some reason has decided to pronounce by stressing the second syllable - kooKOO! - which frankly, makes her sound a little cuckoo (though in a very cu-cute way, of course).

RP will often make her demand for a hair band just after she sees me put one in my hair. And she's also taken to other hair accessories of mine.

But it's not just the head that merits imitation, as you can see in this photo from the summer.

Not only does Rimonit have a head&foot fetish, she has also crowned herself Fashion Dictator of Givatayim. While I have no problem letting her pick her clothes (especially when she sticks to one of the options I offer her), I wouldn't mind getting the same consideration from her. Instead, on some days I have to face a tantrum if I don't wear the headscarf she picks out for me. She has also developed an objection to my wearing flip-flops and will regularly remove them from my feet; if my clogs are nearby, she'll insist that I put those on instead.

However, she's not above trying on my flip-flops herself (along with her dress-up shoes - silver slip-ons left here by W's mom).

Oh, and in case you're wondering how all that dictatorial talent plays out with a new little sister to boss around, let's just say that Rimonit has been very good about sharing her toys - and no, it's not okay if Kinneret isn't quite ready to get a grip on a Lego tower yet. (Rimonit has also been very good at, shall we say, sharing Kinneret's few toys with herself.)

Here's a peek at what KL looks like when big sis isn't trying to force her to accept her offerings or, as per today's venture, to clap her hands. (By the way, another second-syllable word of Rimonit's is baBY! - which she has recently started using for actual babies, Kinneret included, instead of her previous pick, "dolly.")

All in all, it's starting to seem like Napoleon wasn't such a misguided idea for a name after all...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

File under: Things I never expected to hear myself say

No, only Ima can put a basket on Kinneret's head.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

RP becomes a big sister

The time has finally come to introduce Kinneret Leora, who was born on July 16 and weighed in at 3.205 kilos.

Some FAQs:

So what do you actually call her?
Aside from Kinneret, the name Squirrel Monkey (including variations such as the Monk) has stuck pretty well so far. And if you don't get why, try putting her on your arm, and watch her cling to the branch like a... squirrel monkey, of course.

What color are her eyes?
Beats me. At first they were dark blue. Now they're just dark, kind of a greenishy brownish. (Just try putting that on your driver's license, though.)

Who does she look like?
Whence this obsession with carbon copitude? I don't see any resemblance to either of us or to RP, but in a generic way, she does look like she could theoretically be our kid, unlike her rather Aryan-looking older sister. (As one religious mother at RP's day care said, after being told that no, my husband is not blond: 'Maybe it's the mailman. God forbid!')

Does she do anything other than eat and sleep (and spit up and burp)?
Well, I'm glad you asked that, because I have to say Schwarzenegger's got nothing on this girl's muscles! Not only does she pick up her head and chest like a real pro, but at 2.5 months, she's already rolling over (from front to back and more recently, from back to side)! This seems like a continuation of the squirminess she exhibited in utero. Let me tell you, this girl can move!

You didn't give this one four names too, did you?
Yup. Kinneret Leora Kordova Wienburg, aka KLKW (or just KL for short). But this time we sent a letter to the Interior Ministry pointing out that (in the absence of middle names in this country) we do in fact mean it when we request that Kordova be listed as her third first name. Oddly enough, we only had to send in the request once and got just what we asked for! I didn't even get a phone call from a puzzled clerk! Maybe she was having her lobotomy that day.

Speaking of her names: Why?
Leora (note the "e") is after Warren's grandfather Leonard (get it, LEOnard, LEOra - pretty clever, hey?). And Kinneret - well, you know. It's a lake. We've already got a pomegranate, and everyone knows that once you have a fruit, the inevitable next step is a body of water.

So, does she get less attention, not being the only kid in the house?
Definitely. On the plus side for us, she seems more laid back about life than Rimonit - she doesn't demand to be fed the very second she wakes up, she actually lets us put her down every once in a while, she sleeps. And on the plus side for her, she gets the chance to develop an early resistance to unnamed parties trying to poke a pacifier in her eye. And what more could a body of water really ask for?