We want to have fun during hanukkah - but also focus on the bigger meaning behind 'bringing light into the world.' We have decided to do one thing each of the eight nights to make the world a better place. Gabriel loved this idea and jumped right into writing a list for each of the 8 nights. Note on day 8 he wants to write a letter to the mayor askingher to help people find homes (with a 'no' sign over tents.) There is a SLEEPS protest here in town and we have been talking a lot about homelessness. Here is the whole list:
And here is the list on the other side of what *he* wants for hanukkah.
Top on the list are a wooden bat, star wars legos, a chess set and a "big" scratching post for his kitten.
In honor of "thanksgivakkah" we made a menorah out of small pumpkins.
And on the first night of hanukkah the wee boy *did* get his star wars lego set. (Baba already has the wooden bat for the last day.)
We had a gret time playing dreidal as well. This is the first year he can truly play - and he really got into it!
The next day we went over the nana's and made sugar cookies. We ate about half - and will take the rest as presents to neighbors and friends.
Goodness Hannukah comes early this year. At least having it start on thanksgiving lets us enjoy "Thanksgivingakah." I volunteered to organize the celebration at TBI. That was probably a bit of a mistake, consdiering all the other things I have on my place right now. But it was a success - and everyone had a great time (and Gabriel ate waaay to much sugar). :-) He loved the food booths - decorated sugar cookies, squeezed jelly into a sufganiyot, and made an edible hanukkiah. Then moved on to painting a dreidal. He skipped most of the other crafts and gravitated towards the music, dancing and the amazing balloon man! The bottom picture is a balloon ball run he made for Gabriel.
Since we put the chalkboard wall up Gabriel has been much more willing to draw. I wonder if the ability to easily erase has anything to do with it. Or that drawing on the wall is so much fun it gets rid of the 'pressure' he puts on himself when drawing. Pics of the wall...
First drawing was some type of robot. Here is some of the latest drawings...
Jewish boy with his jewish cat. :-)
Another Hobbit house - see the round doorknob in the middle?
So big Gabriel and I had to roll it half way across the field. We rolled it together for a while, then Gabriel decided it was a better strategy for me to roll it and him to run interferance...pushing over all the pumpkins in my path. Luckily Baba soon saved the day!
I think he liked giving out candy more than trick-or-treating.
although the boy didn't stay in his pj's all day this time as he was laughing too hard this morning and 'leaked.' :-) A good laugh to start a good day. Outside for most of it - one of those crisp fall days. Ty raked leaves, fixed Sammy's escape route from the backyard (he's getting desperate now and jumped from branch to branch to try to get out) and cleaned the shed. I trimmed the blackberries so that they wouldn't overtake the strawberries and blueberries. Gabriel did a fabulous job playing outside while we focused on all this yard work (with a stick, a big leaf and an old cob - he had a massive battle going on for at least an hour.) Then Gabriel and I got out the croquet set and set up two elaborate courses. I had fun! I love that I really enjoy playing with him now a days. I got out a large plastic pipe we weren't using for a great obstacle and he loved it. A walk to burrito boy for lunch and then a long walk by the river (first stopping by to get coffee and hot chocolate.) The river was crazy high! We took the path closest to the action and Gabriel loved it. Right before we turned around the head home Gabriel spotted a very long stick (more like a branch) that he wanted to take home. I didn't even know he had it until I looked around and saw him dragging it behind him. We were both very proud of him - he pulled it behind him the whole way home (about 40 minutes) - without even a glimpse of complaint or asking us to help him. Persistent and determind boy here! He even carried several smaller sticks in his other hand - stopping occasionally to switch hands as the one dragging the branch got tired quickly. Ty went to finish working on cleaning the shed and Gabriel drew me into an elaborate game where Ariel and Sebastion have to protect the house from Ursela (we saw the little mermaind play this week.) Of course - he is Ariel. He would occassionally step outside his Ariel character to be Ursula (and seems to really enjoy using that creepy voice - not sure what to think about that!). Then he helped me take all of the halloween stuff down (not quite a shabbot activity, I know.)
Speaking of "I know" - I hae been getting on his case for often responding to others with this comment. With the tone he uses it send a rude message. But today I have caught myself saying' I know" to him quite a lot. Ack! He is getting it from me. I actually use it at the beginning of a lot of responses to him (i.e. "mama, look at that leaf" "I know, its pretty, isn't it?") But he has just picked up the first part. Argh.
We ended the day with a game of cranium and a fabulous dinner of pasta with meat/kate/broccoli sauce. Ty used carrots and apple slices to make Gabriel's meal into a spider. He had no idea how lucky he is! (although he will probably be pleasantly surprised when he eats at a friends house and finds out not everyone puts kale and broccoli in their spagetti sauce.)
All day both my wee boy and my sweetie have been full of loves, hugs and kisses.
Havdalla. Then a quick room cleanings. Books and bed. Lately he's been wanting the Rabbi Yitz CD - and that is what is playing now. I am curled up by the fire about to get coffee and a cookie. Ty is watching football. I am feeling very blessed.
All the way home...
Oy. What a very long trip. Conference was great. But I didn't have time to really relax because I ended up in the ER for 3 hours with an infected hair follicle. I haven't needed medical care in YEARS - so of course the one time I am away from home in years is when I need it. I did get to spent a whole evening walking around the national aquarium. Favorite part was waiting patiently for the green sea turtle to come out of her hiding spot and make an appearance. She did. :-) and looked at me. I picked up a stuffed turtle for Gabriel.
SOOOO glad to see him at the airport - standing right outside the gate with Ty. I didn't think he was going to let me put him down he hung on so tight.
Spent all day today in pjs putting legos together by the fireplace. (with a little outside play when the rain broke - frissbee and then just a wee bit of 'swords' because mama was tired!)
Alas I was at a conference in Baltimore on my boys 6th birthday! He had a blast without me. Such a lucky boy. Sepnt several nights with nana - eating pizza, camping out on the floor and watching movies. Baba had a special surprise for him on his birthday - a duck football helmet (that she made herself) and STAR WARS. Gabriel has been begging to watch star wars for years now, but always said 'when you get older.' Older is six! The excitement in his voice when he told me about the movie was priceless. He watched most of the movie as well - Ty gave him a ehads up on all the possibly disturbing parts of the movie. He elected not to watch when ObiWan was killed (a little too close to home I think.) Ty said he felt better knowing Obi-Wan returns as a ghost in the next movie.
Other birthday stories. Before I left on tuesday we had a small party with just Gabriel, baba and I. I gave him a ballet book and then - told him his other present was hiding in the bathroom. (Side note - the week before he had seen a pair of pink fairy wings that he just gushed over and seemed so very disappointed when I told them we couldn't get them.) He ran into the bathroom. And all we heard was silence. Then he broek out in this half laugh half cry reaction I have never seen from him before - he was SO stunned and SO happy. "Mama, I wanted them so much and then you got them!!" To anan's credit - he then followed up with - "and nana knew I wanted the basketball and she got me that too!!" Such a loved boy you are, my Gabriel.
And - weekend party pics!
Gabriel is currently obsessed with pointe shoes. He is fascnated by these beautiful shoes that let yo stand on your toes. Although traditionally boys do not dance en pointe, his ballet teacher Angela has assured him that more and more boys are dancing in pointe in contemporary ballet - and that she will be happy to teach him when he is 12. "How many years until I'm 12, mama?" is a common question around here. The other day we were in front of the kitty nonprofits 'gently used' shop browsing through halloween costumes when we found them. - real pointe shoes! Baba bought them on the spot. HAPPY boy. Had to carry them around all day. Put them in his backpack to show his teacher. And then proceed to keep at least one with him whereever he went.
Starting with friday night. Went to tot shabbot and then stayed for the larger service. Started out a small crowd and then grew a bit - about 40 people? Sometimes there is an extra special energy in the air and friday night had it. Many people joining in the singing and clapping (Rabbi Boris even sang an extra round of dodi li just so he could hear all the kids clapping again), dancing (we had missed the main dancing song, but I notice Alice was dancing in her seat just like I was...a song or two later I went to give her a hug and tell her I was happy she was dancing with me - and she grabbed my hand along with a few others and off we went around the room.) Gabriel was delighted. Circle dancing the synagoue is his favorite part of services. Rabbi Boris kept the song going much longer saying 'I knew we were going to have dancing tonight!" Jojo and Justine came in about half-way through, again tickling Gabriel. He spent half the time sitting with me and half of it running over to sit with Jojo. I am so very happy he has such a strong community here - and that he feels so much joy and love in this space. It was also an interesting speaker tonight - one of our members is an Israeli born American and he talked about his experiences growing up in Israel until grade 5 and then moving to the USA. He spoke about the magic of Yom Kippur in Israel - how all the kids would take over the roads with their bikes and skateboards and travel from city to city all day long (while parents were at shul and no cars were allowed on the road.) He talked about the joy of Sukkot - everyone decorating sukkahs, a week off school, playing with friends - and the magic in the air when a whole city celebrates at the same time. And then he said something I didn't expect. That one of his favorite holidays in America is Christmas - because its the one time a year the 'whole city' celebrates together. And he encouraged everyone to not only enjoy our small jewish community together - but to also allow ourselves to be swept up in the joy of a city wide celebration, even if it was not our own. The joy is for all of us. :-)
I let gabriel have half of a iced brownie at oneg. We walked out the door two hours past bedtime and high on sugar. Wee boy was singing silly songs at the top of his lungs all the way into the car.
Painted the hallway with chalkboard paint - fun and organization!
First homework! Gabriel was tickled. There is no requirement in Kindergarden to actually complete it, but the teacher noted that some kids really want homework. Guess our kid is one of them. (I keep this quiet among friends - but here I can be honest. Gabriel is way beyond these papers. He is doing early 2nd grade math and reading. The school will differentiate reading soon, but not math. Not quite sure how I feel about that - but I do know we will continue to give him fun math challenges at home.)
And a sneaky shot my my two snuggle bugs in bed...
This evening after a fun bath (even pippin tried to join in by padding her paw in the water) - Gabriel didn't want to get out. I don't blame him. Cold wet day - ending up in a nice warm bath with tons of bubbles and toys. I let him know bathtime was over soon....and then told him it was time to get out. He asked "Can I do one more thing?" I said yes and he throw his ball against the wall and caught it. Then he asks "Can I do one more thing?" This time I said no. I could see his brain turning this over in his head. As he stood up he plunged his hands in the bath one more time, grabbed his washcloth and throw it against the wall (not in anger, but in...I have to do one more thing!) At first I said he was going to time-out for not following directions (we haven't done timeout in ages) but then I thought better of it and said instead he had just lost his bedtime reading. Silence. "Can I still have my poems on the stereo?" Yes, just not your books.
Then he asked - "Can I have a rewind? Occasionally I will give him a "rewind" for "mis" behaviors that are just that - missing the boat. Stuff he doesn't do on purpose as much, but just without thinking. Being spaced out and not hearing me (even though I called him 3 times.) Whining to get attention instead of simply telling me he wants me to talk to him. I explained that I wasn't going to rewind when he purposely didn't listen.
More thinking from the boy as he dried off and put on pjs. "Mama, can we pretend I lost my books for not following rules at dinner time?" (dinner rules are sit down for at least 10 minutes and try one bite of everything - but I don't think he's ever lost a book for not following those.) Puzzled, I asked him why. "Because I don't like to not listen. I don't like to make mistakes." At this point Ty must of been listening in because she piped in "I make mistakes all the time!"
I reminded him that he almost always listens to us right away and it sure must of hard to be a 5 year old and have people tell him what to do all the time. He gave me a very serious look and nodded. It seemed to help and he was able to hop into bed without getting stuck on it.
I'm still trying to figure out the difference he makes between "not listening = mistake" versus not following dinner rules.
Today was my first full day back at work after being off for two months - and it was a doozy. Didn't pick up Gabriel from nana's until 7:30 (where he was watching the Star Trek tribe episode - the only one he's allowed to watch. When I got there he and nana were acting out the bar fight scene (hmmm .. It sounds worse than it is).
Home. Pjs. Brush teeth and bed. Of course I climbed up into the top bunk with him. He turned and wrapped his arms around me in a big hug. Then put his head against mine and sang a song into my shoulder: "mama, mama, mama, mama... In different rhythms, ending in "i love you sooooo much". I then started my own song, mirroring his, using 'Gabriel'. He joined in again with "mama" repeats and then in duet we sang the same ending. I sure do love this kid.
Then I had to talk for the baby dinosaur puppet for a while (we taught him you should not eat people or friends. And definitely not Rutherford!). Before I left he told me to "write playing light sabers and playing dinosaurs down on a list." So we can remember to play those things tomorrow.
Abt a half hour later he called out for me to tuck him in again. I went in and out hugs all in his blanket (and kisses in his pillow as instructed). When I tossed his blanket on him he yelled out "I can feel all the hugs!!"
Sweet dreams, Gabriel.
On the back porch for coffee and treat time. As usual, Gabriel finishes his treat first. This time half of a cookie with me. Or half of a half. I did let him have the bigger one. :-) The boxes on the floor are a half made airplane. He spent a good hour painting the green for the wing (I helped for about half of it) but the project got away from him. A few days later we made it into a spaceship he could hide in. Right before this picture was taken he was examining the gears on the bike.
Breaking fast after Yom Kippur and hanging out with his godparents - "Jojo" and Justine.
Playing a made up game with Gabriel involving zipping the red/black disks across the floor, trying to hit each others black disk and trying to them 'full of energy' by tossing them in the cat hideout and popping them out the top. Much fun! We needed a good way to end the day as it was 'one of those afternoons.' I was not feeling well and Gabriel seemed to be doing everything he could to not help in anyway (putting his hands right on the walls I was painting, tossing around his clothes and hitting me in the face, wanting constant attention today) The wanting to be right next to me/always interacting with me thing has increased since kindergarten started. I'm trying to be very patient and also set some firm limits, but today was trying!