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, March 9, 2010

My tea-sipping Harley chick

Kinneret has been fully sitting for a while now and is already getting her fifth tooth! (Once she started, she just kept on going!) She is almost eight months old, and likes eating banana, avocado, sweet potato, applesauce and Abba's soup.

And speaking of eating, Rimonit has been letting us know that she is up for strong tastes. She begged for Warren's blue cheese and he was sure she would spit it back out, but she kept right on eating it and asked for more. And she loves crystallized ginger! Who could have guessed?

Rimonit also loves drinking "tea," and has graduated from pretending to drink from her red plastic tea cups to pouring some water into any handy receptacle (unfortunately including those that have holes in the bottom) and announcing that she is drinking tea. She has also taken to clinking cups and saying l'chaim (which comes out like the Hebrew pronunciation of Cain, 'kayin') - this morning she picked up Kinneret's bottle and bashed it against her cup, saying 'l'chaim!'

There was a Shabbat that we did introduce her to this (not on purpose - someone said l'chaim and she got all into it), but that was a while ago, so I'm not sure if that's why she started now. It might also be connected to gan, because their topic of the week last week was being happy and one of the art projects she came home with was a mazel tov sign, so l'chaim could conceivably have played a role in it (though it is also possible that she was storing her memory of doing it at home until she was ready to release it at the time she deemed appropriate).

But lest you think she's all about tea and joy, let me assure you she has become quite the Harley chick. Sort of. She gets very excited every time she sees a tus-tus, which is how Israelis refer to the ubiquitous motor scooter, and says 'voom voom!' The only thing is, I've been telling her they're motorcycles ('kull,' as in the last syllable of the word, in Rimonit-speak), even though I know they're not, because to me 'scooter' connotes those little scooters that were very trendy kids toys/vehicles a few years ago, and when I think of a motorized scooter I think of those same things with a motor attached, which I also see not infrequently on the streets and sidewalks of Givatayim. But since this word comes up so often now (about every five steps on our walk home from gan), I've been feeling guilty about giving her the wrong word. Do I switch midstream to motor scooter? I personally think of it as a tus-tus, but I don't want to cave in and give her the Hebrew word, which she'll learn soon enough anyway. I think I might have to make the switch.

She may have a few years to go before joining the Hells Angels, but in the meantime RP has become a certified member of the Snot Police, who swoop in, tissue at the ready, to wipe poor Kinneret's weary (and, need I say, snotty) nose. This morning she kept saying 'not, not, not,' and when I was too dense to notice, she found a tissue and made sure I took care of business. Later, she proudly announced, 'Ki not!' She is also getting better at saying longer phrases, like 'See you soon!'

RP, who is now 2 and a half years old, knows that she is an 'ahot gedola,' a big sister. I'm not 100 percent sure she knows what that means, but I saw the bulletin board in gan had family words on it this week, so when out of nowhere she said yesterday, quite clearly, 'Ani gedola' ('I'm big'), I said 'Ani ahot gedola' ('I'm a big sister'), and she gave me that certain smile of recognition that she reserves for when I correctly guess the word in Hebrew that she's trying to say. We said 'ahot gedola' a few times, and then we said 'big sister' (which she has heard me say before, but we never really dwelled on it). I told her she's Kinneret's big sister and that Kinneret is her little sister. Then she said 'Ima!' so I told her that Ima is Rimonit and Kinneret's Ima, because there's nothing like circular logic.

As for RP's new bed, the transition has actually gone much more smoothly than I had expected, at least at night. Naptime has been hard-hit, but it's hard to say whether the bed is entirely to blame.

Rimonit has also been getting very into examining the pictures in her books - well, 'book' would be more accurate at the moment; she's on a "Goodnight Moon" kick, especially any page that has the balloon ('aloon! aloon!') on it. She also likes the page with the bowl, and sometimes pretends to feed herself, and me, from it.

Sometimes she will bring me a magazine and insist that we look at it together. Images she's especially liked: a photo of an Olympic athlete with her child (she kept saying 'baby! baby!'), a photo of a room where assisted suicides take place (we pointed out the bed and the pillow and the blanket and the chairs and the window, and compared the picture on the wall in the photo to the picture on the wall in our living rooom), and a full-page illustrative photo of a snappily dressed guy wearing a briefcase and holding one of those sticks with a tablecloth-type thing wrapped up at the end of it, for a story about the recession (we identified each visible item of his clothing, and Rimonit especially liked pointing out his briefcase, which by the way, is yet another object she knows as 'ki'). Who would have thought I'd be combing through the New York Times Magazine or the Atlantic to look at the pictures?

Rimonit has also gotten much more into identifying herself by name, and has started to regularly point to herself and say 'Nit' (an upgrade from the previous 'Ni'). When I ask her in Hebrew what her name is, she now responds 'Nit' (when she feels like it, of course). This is the one thing I have initiated in Hebrew, because I think it's important that she is able to answer the question here. Oddly enough, when I ask her in English, she has been known to respond 'Abba.' I'll let wiser heads than me try to figure that one out...