This week we had some sad but not unexpected news: Michael's grandma died on Tuesday. The kids had a hard time with it, and they expressed pride in their Grandma Faye. Life is full of these simultaneous peaks and valleys. We have a loss like this intertwined with everything going on with our kids. I wrote the post below the other day, a reflection of our experience before we heard the news. I would like to dedicate it to Grandma Faye, a consummate lady.
This morning we were running a bit late for school (it's my blog so please grant me the indulgence of pretending that this is a rare occurrence). Anyway, in our tardiness L told me not to worry "we're not learning anything anyway--it's Purim." Just what every mother wants to hear about their kids and school. Actually it is somewhat heartening to know that L can now tell the difference between holiday fun and learning. Last week we met with her teacher who told us that L is like an Israeli who just finished 1st grade in terms of her reading comprehension, writing etc. Considering she just finished her first semester as a second grader here we thought that was great news. We had been told by others that in the first year it is mostly important that they stay up to date with math. Her teacher said she is with the class in math--more good news. It's a bit harder getting information from N's teacher. Unfortunately she has been working all year under the theory that you don't need to know Hebrew to follow along in a Hebrew only classroom. She feels this is especially true when it comes to math. I tried to explain that I didn't think the kids would understand the math lesson if she gave it say in Chinese but my point was not understood. I guess she feels that since the numbers look the same one should simply intuit the lesson from just looking at the numbers. Of course taken to it's logical extreme there would be no need for a teacher in the classroom but I didn't think pointing that out to her would do much good. Sigh.
So L might tell me they aren't learning anything but I can tell you the main thing they're learning right now is that Israel is a fabulous place to be in the weeks before Purim. The kids are having the best time. They actually look forward to school these days. A & L come home with faces painted or some type of costume every day. Between the 3 of them we have parties every night this week. I was at a paper goods store today and there were so many choices for Purim themed fun. Plus you can sing along to the overhead music and everyone else in the store is getting stuff for mishloach manot (Purim baskets given to friends) which is fun to watch and be part of. This year I am learning new songs that I had never heard before courtesy of Ariella. I think some of them might be her own creations but a few of them are clearly beyond her ability and thus I think the real deal. Another thing I learned. Israeli's don't call hamantschen (traditional Purim cookie) by that name--N had a friend over the other day and I offered him a homemade hamantschen and he just gave me a blank stare. Here they are called Oznei Haman (Haman's---bad guy in Purim story--ears).
Apparently N & L are in an English play at school. L of course has everyone's parts memorized but I don't think N who is supposed to be King Achashverosh has even looked at the script. It is super cute though to think of the handful of English speakers doing this project on their own. From what I understand it is not a school initiative but they are performing it for the school (might be interesting for those in attendance to see what it's like to not understand.)
It's also possible that a lot of the fun and happiness is prep for the news of what happens during Passover time. Kids are home for 2 weeks. Aaaack. I mean I am totally looking forward to the week of Passover and traveling around with the kids. But 2 weeks. Hello. Most of what makes being a "stay at home mom' right now so great is that the kids aren't home. OK. Deep breath.
Driver's license conversion update: Last week I took my form to the Ministry of Licensing in Rehovot. For those of you interested in Aliyah in the future just make a note that the Ministry of Licensing in Rehovot can not stamp your green form. They would if they could but they can't. That can only be done in Holon, and only on Mondays and Wednesdays from 8-12. The good news is, I don't mind heading to Holon now that I have Waze. I actually enjoy driving around Israel. The scenery is just so unbelievably gorgeous you can't help but feel inspired, as if anything is possible. I feel almost as if I will ultimately convert my current license to an Israeli one.