Wooooosh!

That’s the sound of another year flying past us.

On 1st September Aaron and Faith started their new school year.

Aaron is now in Grade 4 and Faith is in Grade 2.

For Faith this means she is now part of the main school, she gets to play where ever the rest of the school plays. The Grade 1’s were restricted to their own playground that they shared with the Grade 0’s, so this is a big step for her.

It also means there is no more sandpit for her to play in which means no more sandpit coming home in her shoes and pockets. Yay for me!

She is also going to aftercare every day, where they will hopefully help her with homework since I am useless with most of it.

So far she is loving being in ‘big’ school.

Aaron, on the other hand, no longer has aftercare. He is now in Grade 4 so both the school aftercare and the private aftercare say he is big enough to look after himself in the afternoons. 

::puts head between knees, takes deep breaths::

My baby is almost 10 and is now coming home from school all on his own. Making himself something to eat. All on his own. Doing his homework. All on his own. Looking after himself until one of us gets home. All. On. His. OWN!

But I think this child will be just fine. No, I know he will. He is a smart, independent, compassionate boy.

Here’s just one of the reasons I think this child is awesome!

Yesterday when he went home, the downstairs neighbours dog was outside. He called me to ask what he should do. I told him to knock on the door and if no one answered to try open their garden gate or try pick her up and put her over the fence.

They were not home, he couldn’t open the gate and she was too heavy (and growly) for him to lift, so I told him to leave her, I was sure her humans would be home soon and its not the first time she has been out, she never strays far and waits near the door for them anyway.

He wouldn’t hear of it. Told me it was too hot and she couldn’t stay by herself. So he coaxed her into our place, gave her a bowl of water and she then proceeded to climb on my couch and lick and bite herself for an hour, leaving a big wet slobber patch and half her hair all over my couch.

But my sweet, kind hearted boy refused to leave her vulnerable. He makes my mama heart so proud.

Here’s to a new school year. May it be as awesome as my children are!

Your Favourite Things – Aaron

TV programme:  We recently finished watching the White Rabbit Project and you keep asking when the new season will be starting.
iPhone App: Clash Royale
Meal:  Pizza. I don’t think this will ever change.
Fruit:  You don’t really like fruit. Apples at a push.
Vegetable:  Fresh carrots and cucumbers.
Breakfast:  Pretty much anything, oats, cereal, toast.
Drink:  Water. My healthy child.
Toy:  When Nana was here in December she brought you a VR headset, unfortunately its not compatible with your current phone, but we will work on that.
You love: Making YouTube videos about games you are playing.

Something that happened yesterday: We went on a tiyul in the Ben Shemen Forest and you picked pine cones for me to add the my pine cone vase, you made sure every one was perfect. 

Party!

Last week was Aaron’s birthday party at our house. It was hectic and loud and fun!

Here it is by the numbers:

  • 10 children
  • 7 packets of microwave popcorn
  • 6 (possibly more) litres of juice
  • 3 hours of party time
  • 3 bags of Bisli
  • 2 packets of marshmallows
  • 1 packet of suckers
  • 1 movie (Tintin)
  • 1 melktert
  • 1 very happy birthday boy

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I cannot get over that my first born is 9. He is almost as tall as I am, wears a size bigger shoe than me and we wear the same size jeans!

Where has the time gone?

Your Favourite Things – Aaron

TV programme:  Anything super hero. You love watching Avengers cartoons with Abba.
iPhone App: Minecraft!
Meal:  Pizza. Still. If the day ever comes that you dont like pizza I will know the world is ending.
Fruit:  Apples.
Vegetable:  As long as they are raw and not cooked you love carrots. You also eat red peppers and have decided you like shakshuka but still wont eat a regular tomato.
Breakfast:  Yogurt. With chocolate cereal balls mixed in.
Drink:  Juice mostly although you love weekends when we drink cold drinks too.
Toy:  Not so much a toy, you love riding your bike. Without training wheels!
You love: Minecraft. Reading. Super heroes. Harry Potter.

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Something that happened yesterday: You dropped your pillow off your bed last night, it knocked over your metal water bottle and you woke up with a huge fright. I sat with you for a few minutes and got the best middle of the night cuddles before you went back to sleep.

Neighbourly Neighbours

On Thursday afternoon, while on the way to a work fun evening, I received a message from our babysitter that she was ill and wouldn’t be able to fetch the kids. The problem was that, because it is Chanukah holidays, the kids finished their after school program earlier than usual and there was no way Paul or I could get to fetch them on time.

We panicked. Paul called a variety of our friends who have kids at school with ours but they were all unavailable. Aunty Roro (who has been my saving grace before in an emergency) was not at home either. In the mean time, I had hopped on a bus to get back to my office so I could catch my regular bus home and Paul was at the train station waiting for the next train.

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The after care teacher had called me to see where we were as she needed to leave and a mom who was at the school waiting for her kid to finish an extramural said she could wait another 15 minutes with my kids. At this point I was at least 1 hour and 15 minutes away and Paul was an hour away.

That’s when Paul had a genius idea. He contacted our neighbour who has 3 children, 2 older boys and a girl Faith’s age. As it turns out, the oldest boy was able to run up the road and pick up Aaron and Faith and take them to their apartment.

When Paul got there about 45 minutes later they were all happy and playing and pretty much unaware of the crisis.

I’m not sure what we would have done without our amazing neighbours. We took them some yummy donuts as a thank you and from now on, Aaron will have a key to our apartment just in case they need to walk home from school. I’ve said before how hard it is not having immediate family close by but I can say that our neighbours and friends are a huge part of a village that is raising our children.

School meet & greet

Two months of school vacation is almost over! At one point I really really didn’t think we would make it through in one piece.

But here we are, a day away from the new school year.

Last night we had the kids orientation meetings.

Faith has moved from her small kindergarten (Gan – גן) to the equivalent of Grade R or Grade 0. And she is now going to the same school as Aaron. Quite a few of the kids from her Gan have also moved to the new school and there are a few kids from other kindergartens that are joining them. There are about 25 children in her class. Her teacher seems really sweet and friendly. 

When we got there the children had to colour in an apple (or a pomegranate, I’m not sure, its the first project for Rosh Hashanah) with their name on it and the parents had to write a note for the kids on a little cut out of a dove that will be given to them when school starts. Then all the kids went into the main classroom with the teacher and she read them a story about starting school. When that was finished the children had to go and find their lockers and look inside. Inside each locker was a note from the teacher wishing them luck and a sucker. Really really sweet. By the time the 45 minutes were up, Faith was quite comfortable and had picked out the friends she knew from before and made a few new ones.

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A bit later we went to Aaron’s meeting in his new classroom. We were supposed to bring his stationery with but something got lost in translation. Oops. One of his friends shared his though so that was good. It seems that all the kids from his 1st Grade class move up to 2nd grade in the same class, which for our anxious boy is a good thing as he doesn’t have to make all new friends again. Speaking of anxious, he is already starting to worry about the new class and the new teacher (who is very sweet) and the work he will have to do. We have tried to explain that he will be fine, that he knows all the kids and that he knows the alphabet and the math that he needs to know. I’m sure he will settle quickly. The teacher was very sweet, when she had them all sitting she asked them who had a sore tummy (which is one of Aarons anxiety symptoms) and quite a few kids put their hands up. I think its a great way for the kids to see that they are not alone.

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He was quite excited when he got home. They both were. I think they like the idea that they are going to the same school too.

So school starts tomorrow. I’m not sure who is more excited/anxious/nervous/happy, me or the kids!

Grade 2 here we come!

Today marks the first day of the summer vacation in Israel. The school year is over and the grade 1 Whatsapp group has changed the group name to grade 2.

Aaron has officially graduated grade 1.

Wait what?

So many mixed emotions.

I feel excited and proud and a little bit cheated. But mostly proud of my boy.

Why do I feel cheated?

Well, Aaron finished grade R/ grade 0/ חובה (Chova) in November 2014. We arrived in Israel in December 2014 and the kids started attending school in January 2015. But… The school year in Israel runs from 1st September to 30 June. We also decided that Aaron was old enough to be in grade 1 and not repeat grade R. This meant he started grade 1 half way through the school year. So, yeah, I feel a little cheated that we only got half a year of my baby big boy in grade 1.

That being said, Aaron arrived, not only in a new school but in a new country, and had to make new friends and catch up the school work and learn a new language. And he passed and has been promoted to grade 2! And he has a whole bunch of friends. AND he speaks Hebrew!

How many adults do you know who could achieve this much and without complaining and moaning (too much) about it?

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How cool!? All the kids got a A3 size caricature as a year end gift 🙂

I am so extremely proud of this child!

Our First* Play Date

*First play date at our house. The kids have been to many play dates at their friends but we didn’t have any furniture or any of their toys so we put off play dates at us until now.

So the day before yesterday each of the kids invited a friend over.

Neither of the friends speak English. And I barely speak Hebrew. But that’s OK. My kids speak both English and Hebrew. Yes, you read that correctly. My kids are bilingual! I have never been more proud of them. They were thrown in the deep end and they have swum!

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Back to the play date. Aaron and his friend were fine. They played games, played hide and seek, ran around, ate ice lollies and generally looked after themselves. Faiths friend was also OK, they painted pictures and coloured in a Frozen colouring book and then they had a disagreement about playing something.Her friend started to cry and I could not console her. I just didn’t have the words in Hebrew and what words I did have went straight out my head. We landed up calling her mom to come fetch her and while we were waiting she cried herself to sleep on the couch.

My heart was breaking. I felt so helpless. Poor child was so upset and I could not comfort her.

This was a motivation for me to keep learning more Hebrew. Especially when it comes to kids. In fact I am more intimidated by the kids than the adults. At least with adults they understand that my Hebrew is minimal and they either speak English to me or help with the Hebrew I don’t know. Kids on the other hand cannot fathom that I don’t speak Hebrew and that I cannot understand them. They think its hysterical when I look at them blankly. My kids roll their eyes and translate for me. I am definitely learning on the fly with these kids.

Bottom line is that I need to learn more Hebrew and we will keep having play dates because that’s an awesome way for me to learn 🙂

Your favourite things – Aaron

TV programme:  You watch any videos on YouTube to do with Minecraft.
iPhone App: See above!
Meal:  Pizza. I think it will always be pizza.
Fruit:  You don’t really eat any particular fruit, more like whatever is available. You do have a fondness for grapes though.
Vegetable:  You eat cucumbers and carrots every night with dinner. You are also trying fresh red and yellow peppers, some days you like them, some days you don’t.
Breakfast:  Anything loaded with sugar.
Drink:  ‘Red’ juice. Its a diabetic friendly juice concentrate. We all love it.
Toy:  You have a nerf gun that you love, you make targets and practice shooting.
You love: Minecraft.

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Something that happened yesterday: You and your sister recently discovered that you can go across the hall to play with the neighbors kids. Yesterday you came back from the park and asked to play, you ran between their apartment and ours for hours, lots of screaming and laughing and fun.

About that time my kid performed in a concert. In Hebrew.

Aaron and Faith started school about 2 weeks after we arrived in Israel.

Neither spoke Hebrew, although Aaron had been learning the alphabet and some basic words when he was in Grade R.

Earlier this week Israel celebrated {Family Day} and Aaron’s class held a concert and dinner after school.

We each had to contribute a food or drink item (we got sliced veggies) which we sent to school in the morning.

The concert was held in the classroom and the teachers and children had transformed the room into a stage and dining area.  We were directed to our tables, with seating charts, and sat down to wait for the show to start.  The children all stood up in groups of 4 or 5 and each child recited lines they had been given.  In between the kids talking they sang songs and danced.

family day

Aaron was part of the last group to stand up and speak.  He was awesome. He spoke clearly and with confidence. In Hebrew.  My heart almost burst right out of my chest! I am so very very proud of how far this child has come in the last 6 weeks.  He is making friends, doing school work and standing up in front of a room full of people and speaking in Hebrew.

After the concert the children served us the food that we brought and then sat down to eat with us.  They also made cards and small gifts for us which they presented when it was time to go home.

I cannot express enough how amazed and proud of my kids I am!