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, April 7, 2013

Going in for the kill

Warren got the girls new sandals over Pesach, and Rimonit is very proud that she has a buckle on hers and knows how to open and close it. Today she reported to me what seemed like every girl she had seen in the past week or so and whether or not they had buckles on their shoes. (Kinneret would interrupt here to say: "They're not shoes, they're sandals!")

In addition to quickly figuring out how to buckle her new pink sandals, Rimonit has also shown herself to be extremely good at reading between the lines and picking up exactly on the one detail that you didn't say (maybe because you thought you could leave out of the explanation, just forgot to mention it or didn't even realize it would be seen in a particular way).

The latter was the case right before she underwent an evaluation for placement for next year (going into first grade or doing a second year of kindergarten, which is not uncommon here and is viewed similarly to doing another year of preschool in the U.S. instead of heading straight into kindergarten), when she started asking me about whether or not she was going to go into first grade next year (I had prepped her for the possibility of staying a second year by telling her that some children go to first grade after kindergarten and some children go to kindergarten for two years).

I hadn't been sure what, if anything, I should tell her about the evaluation, but since she asked the question right then I tried to say as diplomatically as I could that the evaluator (who she knows from her current kindergarten) would play games with her and ask her questions and help us decide. I thought I was being vague enough but Rimonit immediately went in for the kill, asking: "So if I get the questions right I'll go to first grade and if I get them wrong I'll go to kindergarten again?"

I was totally floored and really didn't want her to think that. I ended up essentially telling her (and repeated it in various ways over the next few days, so I hope it sunk in) that there were no right and wrong answers because the whole point was to see what was best for Rimonit, so whatever she answered would be a good answer because it was her answer and would therefore help us do what was best for her.

I hope that was the "right answer" for me to give, and remain kind of horrified yet impressed that she came up with that question in the first place.


I have also noticed that very recently Kinneret has been asking some thinking questions that are more along the lines of the sort of thing Rimonit would pick up on, like on the first day of Pesach, it was Kinneret who asked why we said "hamotzi lechem min haaretz" even though the food we were saying a bracha on was matza, not lechem (bread). Must be the influence of Eliyahu Hanavi rubbing off on her. (And if you don't get that, see post above.)


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