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, July 31, 2012

Gender stereotypes

Rehashed Rimonit updates from FB:

* From today: For the first time, Rimonit announced that she was playing Soldiers, and proceeded to "shoot" her sister with an empty soda bottle. I might have been tempted to draw conclusions about how she seems to be reaching outside of gender stereotypes, except that a few days before, she used her water gun to paint her fingernails (for pretend). So I guess it's a draw...

* From June 19: Highly disturbed by the fact that Rimonit's mesibat siyum (end-of-year preschool party) included a routine just for the boys in which they were given barbell-shaped toys and told to show their muscles, while the girls continued to passively sit in their chairs. I felt simultaneously like walking out in protest and like dragging Rimonit into the middle of the circle with the 4yo musclemen, but settled for calling out 'What about the girls?' and telling her afterward that she's a strong girl and she has muscles too. Chomping at the bit for chat with the ganenet at pickup (after which she will no doubt promptly write me off as one of those crazy Americans.) Oofff!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Out of infancy

Moriya is walking!! (when she wants to)

About a week or two ago she took one step on her own (two separate times that I saw), then last week she took 2-3 steps, and on Shabbat she took a whopping 10 steps! Now that's proper walking! But most of the time (for now at least) she doesn't really feel like it. She turned 1 last week.

She is also saying actual words, like with her mouth and everything. Weird. She says "up" (and raises her hands), and she was saying "here" (when handing something over) and "all done," though I think she's storing those for future use now, since I haven't heard them in a while. I also think she was saying "a-boom!" (you know, that thing people say when kids fall down - not actually sure if that's more of an English thing or a Hebrew thing). She is also extremely expressive without using words - she shakes and nods her heads, does that thing of turning her head into her shoulder when she doesn't want something, purses her lips and waves things away if she's done eating, still sometimes claps her hands when you do something she wants, etc. She sometimes reaches out for my hand and very properly puts her bottle in it when she's done drinking. She also loves music and immediately starts dancing and clapping.

She is also extremely playful, especially with her sisters. She loves swooping down (like if I'm holding her) and stealing the hat off Rimonit's head, and enthusiastically squeals when Rimonit plays "I'm coming to get you" (is that an actual game? if not, it should be).

Moriya also continues to be really calm and easygoing as well as generally happy and fun to be with. She also usually entertains herself pretty well - especially if she has a bowl and spoon in hand.

It's interesting to see that Rimonit and Kinneret tend to play with Moriya in different ways. Rimonit tends to play with her almost the way an adult would - she loves playing with her and feeding her, and particularly revels in the way Moriya lights up when she sees her, and sometimes takes comfort in Moriya when she's upset almost like some people do with dogs or stuffed animals, but at the end of the day it's basically a hierarchical relationship. (In fact, that's true of her relationship with Kinneret most of the time too, which is only a (almost) 2-year difference - Rimonit likes to play ganenet and Kinneret's the kid. R very much inhabits the "big sister" role.)

But when Kinneret plays with Moriya, she kind of gets down on her level - she'll put her face up close to Moriya's and start talking in repeating syllables like Moriya does and do the kinds of things Moriya does - if M is, say, banging on something, K will reflect her actions, and if not then K will start banging on something and M will do the same.

Monday, July 2, 2012


I just heard Rimonit explaining Jewish lifecycle events to one of her dolls:

אם יש בת אז עושים שמחת בת. אם יש בן אז עושים... שמחת בן

Can you tell she only has sisters?