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:

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Rimonit Peniniavelli

1. In addition to the whole Amelia Bedelia aspect of living with a 3-year-old (i.e. when the kid takes you overly literally or grasps an unintended meaning of the word), there's also those times when the kid just mis-hears or misunderstands an unfamiliar word.

I found out that Rimonit apparently thinks 'mailbox' is 'milkbox' because when we passed one she announced that it was 'for babies.'

And last week I distinctly hear her saying 'Eliyahu anavim [grapes]' instead of 'Eliyahu hanavi.'

2. On Sat. night RP decided she wanted to watch (again) the Angelina Ballerina DVD that my parents had brought over. I wasn't being so responsive to her request, though, so she decided to take matters into her own hands. First she plopped down on the kid couch, followed shortly thereafter by her little sister. Then she turned to Kinneret and asked, in a kindly, big sis voice:

Ki, you want to watch TV?
[no response]
Say yes!
[A few seconds later, to me:] Ki want to watch TV.

And thus do the manipulations begin...

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Good for you, mom!

While Kinneret's form of parent training is her enthusiastic 'yay's, Rimonit has recently picked a different route (one presumably gleaned from the way she herself gets encouraged).

The other day she asked me (pursuant to her fairly inexplicable burning ambition to ascertain the provenance of every object in the home) who had gotten some basic food item or other (bananas? milk? don't remember). As it happens, I had recently gone food shopping and did actually recall purchasing said item myself (though W is the more frequent food shopper in the household) and told her (probably after rolling my eyes, in my head if not in my actual eyeballs, at the question) that I had gotten it.

'You?' she asked me, wanting to be certain she was getting the story straight (another burning ambition of hers). 'Not Abba?'

I confirmed that this was indeed the case, to which she replied: 'Kol hakavod l'Ima!'

Sunday, January 16, 2011

You know you're raising your kids in Israel when...

... your 1.5 year old (as of today!) insists that cats say kkhhhh rather than meow (and you feel a bit silly correcting her, because she's being more accurate than you...)

Amelia Bedelia update

I forgot this one, in which Ima catches RP just in time, and learns a lesson:

Me: Rimonit, you're not allowed to go down the slide headfirst!
RP: My head's not first, my hands are first!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Thanks and no thanks

Kinneret is talking sooo much more than Rimonit did at this age - she says, or at least repeats, several new words a day (or so it seems); I can't even keep up.

She already says Grampa when she gets near the computer we use for Skyping, and yesterday I asked her if she wants to speak to Savta Lea and she said 'yaay!!' and kept repeating 'Lea' (pron. Ye-a).

'Yaay!!' has recently replaced 'yes!!' and the earlier clapping (see an enthusiasm theme here, anyone?) as K's positive reinforcement for when the grown-ups in her life understand what she wants (or offer her something she'd like).

Here's how it works: She hands me 'Brown Bear' and says something that resembles 'book.' I say 'Do you want me to read you the book?' She smiles and says 'yaay!!' - then tells me that bears say 'Fff fff' (that would be 'woof woof' for the uninitiated), closes the book, takes it away and brings me another one.

Her vocabulary extends to Hebrew too.

On the down side, she has recently started saying the rather unfortunate expression 'dai!' (as in 'enough'). Like when I've finally managed to capture the Runaway Bunny in what I know will be one of several attempts to get her dressed, but have only managed to get her shirt over her head, and already she's announcing that she has had quite enough and flees to the other side of the room.

On the up side, one of her new favorite words is 'toda' (a lot easier to pronounce than 'thank you'!). Her inflection is more like a high-pitched 'TOda!'

Typical exchange:
Do you want hummus on your sandwich?
Here you go.
[Drops sandwich on the floor and runs off to climb onto the bimba, only to be promptly deposed by the Dictator]

But the other day Rimonit took exception to Kinneret's use of 'toda' and, though she sometimes has entire monologues with K in Hebrew (at least once she actually translated my comments to her - I told K to sit down and R told her lashevet), at breakfast one day she started lecturing little sis on speaking in English (to my great surprise).

KL: TOda!
RP: Not toda! Say manku! (Toldja 'thank you' is hard to pronounce)

(No. 1 has actually gotten quite good at the whole 'please' and 'thank you' thing, even if that mostly means tacking on a 'peas' to the end of an 'I want.')

In an altogether different conversation I overheard the other day, Rimonit was apparently having difficulty getting her reflection to obey her command.
'Lo at!' (Not you!) I heard her tell the mirror.
'Ani!' (Me!)

Umm, good luck with that one, Smunchovitz...