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, September 4, 2012

The tale behind the roar

I don't think I've made it clear enough here just how taken Kinneret is with the idea that she is a tiger.

Now this isn't the first alternate identity she's taken on. There were a good couple months or so in the spring when she would announce every day that she was Ima shel Shabbat. It started when she actually was Ima shel Shabbat and just kept going. At first I wondered what would happen when she went to gan the next Friday and someone else had stolen her job, but it didn't faze her in the least - making me realize that she apparently didn't see "Ima shel Shabbat" as a one-time task to carry out but as a title, like "lord" or "dame," that, once received, was hers for life.

This overlapped with her identity as a tiger, but while the Ima shel Shabbat thing eventually just went away, the tiger thing has been going strong for about six months. And when I say "going strong," I mean she is dead certain that her actual name is "Kinneret Leora Tiger" and vehemently refuses to entertain the notion that this might not be the case in, you know, real life.

Now when Rimonit wants to provoke Kinneret, she'll sometimes say to her: "You not a tiger!" Boy, does this push Kinneret's buttons! "Ima," Kinneret will wail, "Rimonit say I not a tiger!!" (At which point I have no choice but to assure her that she is, in fact, a tiger.)

The tiger thing started in gan, where they regularly acted like different animals - roaring like tigers, slithering like snakes, etc., and at first Kinneret was saying "I a tiger in gan." But the stripes soon took over her identity, though it was actually Rimonit who started the name thing. At one point when Kinneret was announcing her tiger status multiple times a day, Rimonit said jokingly that she was Kinneret Leora Tiger. Kinneret seems to have missed the humor element of it, and when I tell her every once in a while that she's actually Kinneret Leora Kordova Wienburg, she gets extremely upset: "No, Rimonit [is] 'Kordova Wienburg.' I Kinneret Leora Tiger!"

It does have a certain logic to it, since we never have reason to actually call her by her full name, whereas Rimonit is really into all her names and regularly refers to herself by all of them. That usually happens when someone dares call her something else, like "funny," or, well, just about anything. "No, I not Funny," she insists. "I Rimonit Penina Kordova Wienburg!" In fact, one Friday, after Rimonit had gone to shul with Warren, Kinneret was looking for her sister and nonchalantly asked, "Where Rimonit Penina Kordova Wienburg?"

I guess they both take their names (official and otherwise) pretty darn seriously.

Positive reinforcement

Just as I finished changing a stinky Moriya this morning, after pushing off her demands for attention while I finished my column (balloons were a good distraction, for about two minutes), she rewarded me by clapping her hands and saying "yay!" (!!) I felt like I had just landed a plane. Who says motherhood is unappreciated?