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:

Monday, August 26, 2013

gimmel in a box

Monday, August 12, 2013

I scary!

Some recent Kinneretisms (KL recently turned 4):

* R&K were complaining about not being able to fall asleep (particularly grievous since they had been trying for a whole five seconds). It started with Rimonit saying that she was thinking (well, she used the word "dreaming" but I had to explain that if she were dreaming she would in fact have been asleep) about robbers and pirates and getting scared. I offered a bunch of going-to-sleep options: they could think about something fun or something that makes them happy, like their birthday parties; they could count (forwards or backwards, in English or Hebrew) or sing a song, like the Alef-Bet (their current fave). I made sure to clarify that if they counted or sang they would have to do it in their heads so as not to keep their sister from sleeping.

Only problem is, it appears that Kinneret hasn't quite figured out what it means to do something "in your head." I tried to explain that it means thinking the words of the song (etc.) without actually singing it out loud, but clearly she did not quite catch on, at least if I can judge by her repeated insistence that she couldn't do it and therefore I should sing in her head.

* Toward the end of the school year, the kids in Kinneret's class made a car-shaped Tefillat Haderekh thingamajig that apparently the ganenet said the parents are supposed to hang in their car. Kinneret took this quite seriously and was devastated to find out that the fact that we don't own a car served as a sufficient deterrent to our hanging it in said non-existent car.

* Someone who wants to eat is hungry, someone who wants to drink is thirsty, and someone who's scared is scary (especially when the dog comes too close). Right?

* For some reason, I thought that Kinneret's confusion between shalosh (3) and arba (4) would resolve itself once she actually turned arba. I guess I thought it was possible she was convinced she was already arba(before her birthday) because she's one of the youngest kids in her class, so most of the other kids were in fact either arba or hamesh (5). But no. No matter how many times I try to tell or show her (I've tried counting objects with her in English and in Hebrew), she insists that since her fourth birthday (in English only) she has finally found what Ponce de Leon was supposedly looking for, since she has gone from being arba to being shalosh.

Somewhat relatedly, Kinneret now insists I count to 4 whenever we do something where I count, regardless of whether this is beneficial to her or detrimental. I do the counting thing in part to help them take turns, and the first time she said it, I was willing to count to five for each of them during their turn on the ride thingy in the mall that I never, ever put money into because I would never hear the end of it - but she insisted I count to four. (I started counting in this way with Rimonit when she wanted to stop at every single blade of grass on the way home from gan - I would let her stop at certain places for three seconds each - and now find it really useful for all of them, individually and together. I guess Kinneret and Moriya were born into the system.)

* [Warning: Repost/elaboration of FB post] During bathtime (I usually put the Big Three into the tub together), Rimonit sometimes likes to spread out a washcloth on the side of the tub and announce that she's screening movies. During one such bath, she asked Kinneret in Hebrew which movie (seret) she wanted to watch, to which Kinneret responded matter-of-factly: 'seret hadibrot.

The explanation that ruins the joke: It's not really Seret Hadibrot, nor is it a seret; it's aseret hadibrot (spelled totally differently), which means the 10 commandments.

Charlton Heston, meet your youngest fan.

finally caught heruti smiling

who says purim only comes once a year?

there were plenty of empty swings but...

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Some stuff

Okay, so I find myself in the position of having little things I want to post here but not actually posting them because I feel like I'm not allowed to write anything until I blogoffically announce the birth of Girl #4, Herut Tifferet, who was born on Hey Iyar (Yom Ha'atzmaut). But then I never get around to giving her the blog post I feel she deserves, so I don't post anything else either. So maybe can we agree that I've just announced her birth and we can move on? I promise to write more about her!

Oof, now I don't know where to begin. How about by kid. Or by bullet point. Or by as it comes into my head. Or maybe we should just see how it goes...

* It's been funny hearing the progression of how Moriya (who turned 2 in July) pronounces her own name. Months ago it was Ya, then it gradually progressed to Iya, and now it's Oriya - just one letter away! She continues to (mostly) call Rimonit "Nit" (pron. Neet) and Kinneret "Nenet"; she sometimes expands on those nicknames (I think she's gotten as far as Imonit and Inneret, on occasion), but the truth is I quite like those nicknames and would be happy to have them stay, for a while at least. (Though I wouldn't recommend that anyone other than Oriya try to call No. 1 "Nit" if such a person should wish to be in her good graces.) Those nicknames seem so natural now that Warren had to ask me the other day to remind him what it was that Kinneret used to call Rimonit (answer: Diti). So we used to have a Diti and a Ki (as Rimonit used to call Kinneret) and now we have a Nit and a Nenet. And an Oriya. And, of course, an Uti (pron. Ooti). (Toldja I'd write about her eventually.)

* In addition to being the word for ponytail and the Hebrew equivalent of "peekaboo," "kookoo" in our house has also come to mean "Thank you." (Moriya's version of Rimonit's "manku.") She's quite good at thanking people, and it's particularly sweet when she adds the person's name to it, as in "kookoo, Nit." Or "kookoo, Ima" - because, yes, she finally stopped calling me Ama! (I just noticed it last week.)

So much more, but I need to eat dinner. Worse, I need to cook it first. So this will have to do for now....