Wednesday, February 24, 2010

World's Worst Mother Lets Her Sons Pick Up Chicks In A Bar

Einstein and Pumpkin sat on stools at the corner of the bar at the Hard Times Cafe and Cue (Pumpkin needed a bit of assistance getting up there). They were looking around for one of the cute bartenders to serve them drinks. Just kidding! They were playing the video game they have there on the barcorner, one of those with a touchscreen, where you pick from a selection of games that cost different amounts and play until your credits run out.

I sat at a table just beyond, watching their faces, which glowed in the light of the game.

I looked away for a moment and as I looked back, a young lady was handing the boys something. I walked over to see what was going on. "I hope it's okay," she said. "We were watching them play and they were just so cute!" She had given them an extra dollar. I thanked her, and she and her friend walked off. I looked to see which of the many games the boys had been playing.

It was Beer Pong.

When it is time for my children to leave home, they will already know how to cook their own food, do their own laundry, and play their own drinking games. Ready for the world!


Two Friday nights ago was supposed to be Parents' Night Out at the kids' care center. PNO is the greatest invention ever. You bring the kids as you usually do, but then you just don't pick 'em up...until 9:30 p.m. Ten bucks per child, they feed 'em, they entertain 'em, the kids look forward to it, and it is the cheapest babysitting you are ever going to find.

But yes, I did say Friday night. Erev Shabbat. I admit that when there is an opportunity for a relatively inexpensive date with the hubs I say let's do it.

Last week, though, we were blessed with an insane amount of snow. There was some sledding, some sliding, some snowballs, some snow sculptures, even this impressive column of ice joining the roof edge to the deck rail (which further increased girthwise after this photo was taken), but that snow messed up pretty much everything, and it is still doing so. The roads are clear, but making turns when giant snow mounds obscure the oncoming traffic? Very dangerous. In any event, day care was closed for two days--I don't think they have closed once since we started taking the kids there five years ago--and Parents' Night Out was postponed.

Meanwhile, something neat happened. I have a siddur (prayer book) that was given to me as a bat mitzvah gift. It's one of those siddurs you may have seen, published in Israel, small and portable but with an ornate gilded metal cover. My son Einstein (now 7!) picked that book up that Friday and started asking me questions about it. He seemed fascinated and genuinely interested in the answers. He said, "maybe I can read from this tonight when we do the challah and candles and all that stuff."

Because of Parents' Night Out, I had not thought we would be doing "all that stuff," but after Einstein said what he said, I headed Trader Joe's.

I love Trader Joe's. The produce is beautiful, they sell all sorts of interesting stuff you really want to try, it's healthy, organic, colorful. But the thing I love most about Trader Joe's is they carry many kosher products, some of which are hard to find anywhere else. For example, you can buy grape juice boxes that are kosher. It is harder to make grape juice kosher than other kinds of juice, so there are brands of juice boxes that have a hekhsher (that's the symbol showing it to be kosher; includes the U in a circle, the K in a star, and a host of others) on all varieties except those containing grape juice. Trader Joe's has kosher grape.

Best of all, Trader Joe's actually carries varieties of kosher meat, for which I'd have to travel much farther. I should note here that there are those who would not consider meat Trader Joe's sells as kosher, even if it is packaged by a kosher manufacturer/distributor and clearly labeled. This is because Trader Joe's is open on the Sabbath, and so can't really be trusted (topic for another post? oh yes). I am willing to overlook this, given how much kosher stuff TJ's puts on their shelves, the balloons they give my kids, and ... their challah. Oh, the challah. It is SO GOOD. I bought a challah, and some kosher chicken, and that evening, while chanting the kiddush, my elder boy looked over my shoulder and sang with me.

No, he wasn't really reading the words. He couldn't read that tiny English print, let alone the Hebrew, which he's only barely started learning. But he sort of pretended. He wants to learn this, folks. It's clicking; we are starting to identify with the Jew-related things...this is important to Mommy, this is something special that sets me apart, I want to learn more about this, etc.

I know it's possible to teach kids about their faith and get them to want to participate, without having them tell their friends years later, "yeah, I'm Jewish, but my parents forced it down my throat!" I heard kids say these words about their upbringing (Jewish and not), so this worries me. I think everyone rebels; the key is to make sure the connection is there, somewhere, so that the rebellion ends up as nothing but a temporary exception, an experiment that ultimately fails, and then the child is finally sure where he belongs.


P.S. Here and there I'll be highlighting songs from Playlist 40. This is a song list I created for the occasion of my 40th birthday. Most of the songs have a connection to some event or period of time in my life. Many genres and eras are represented; something for everyone! I'm sure you'll find the stories are absolutely fascinating.

This is Tom Tom Club, founded by Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz of Talking Heads. This song brings back memories of riding the bus to school, since it crossed over into the scope of my bus driver's favorite station, which never would have played Talking Heads in a million years. It also reminds me of the time I went to see Tom Tom Club and Tina W. came out onto the balcony to watch the opener. I react like a starstruck groupie to famous people, especially musician-types, so it was with jelly knees that I approached her to get an autograph.

There's no real story behind this one, but I chose it because sometimes someone puts you in the mood to shout out lyrics like "your conversation never sticks/'cause no truth in you exists/yeah, you bite before you lick/I love ya 'cause you're such a ______" A few of the Playlist 40 songs are the type you sing emphatically at someone, even if the someone isn't there to hear it. "It's moments like these I revel in."

I love The Seekers, in part because that guy playing the double bass wore the exact same glasses as my father. I've never seen this video before today but I LOVE Judith's dress. Oh, and it's a great song.


beth said...

Beer Pong, huh? Glad a passer-by was able to help their addiction ;)

And yes, an extra $10 is the best babysitting fee ever!

Kim said...

I wasn't brought up with any kind of religious upbringing, so I can't personally relate, but I can say that I have many friends who strayed from their Catholicism in high school and college who for various reasons now, in their 30s, are coming back. People who never would have thought they would come back to their faith.

I was surprised when each of them started tentatively talking about going back, worried their hip atheist friends might not understand, but that did not last for long.

So I guess sometimes the straying and returning takes a really long time. Not really necessarily related but your post made me think of it.

12tequilas said...

No, Kim, it's totally related. A point I could have made, but didn't (perhaps because I'm hoping that any straying on the part of the kids is minor). It's possible that any of those folks who said religion was "forced" on them are back to it now. I have several friends who truly rebelled, and then returned and continued ascending over and above the level of observance they were brought up with, to their parents' great surprise (and delight, usually). Then there is someone closely related to me who switched to another religion and never came back, and (with apology) I've been trying to figure out for a long time why that happened so it doesn't happen to Einstein & Pumpkin.

Beth--I think we went to Tom Tom Club show together and you pushed me to get the autograph. Do you remember? You can vouch for the fact that I was totally professional in concert-programming settings. None of that giggling, blushing, or gaze-averting, no matter who it was! It's all about context.

Shtuey said...

Wow kid, that post is chocked full o' nuts. For now I will say that another reason Jews may not buy meat from TJ's is because of the Rabbi who gives the hechsher. He's the same dude who does Hebrew Nat'l, which may answer to a "higher authority," but is not glaat.

More importantly, I'm very proud of you for following the boy's lead and making Shabbat instead of date night. World's Worst Mom? Hardly.

12tequilas said...

I have the answer! Vegetarianism! (another entire blog? oh, yes.) Well, I only bought chicken and ground turkey, both of which are Empire Kosher and are glatt.

I just found out that Costco has kosher (glatt) deli meat. It's vacuum packed and I'm sure it's nothing like buying from a real kosher deli, but I got some so I'll review it later. (And by the way, Costco has matzah and big ol' bakery trays of macaroons, a full month ahead of Passover...but no challah.) Costco is open on Shabbat but (sorry rabbinic authority that might have an eye on this blog) I can't worry about it.

I haven't set out my specific goals here--I'm still working on those. I do know that they won't include following every rule and edict, particularly the ones I disagree with (topic for another post or twelve? oh yes).

I'll be back soon but keep the comments comin'. Shabbat shalom and happy Purim...I'll let you know if beer pong is one of the new Purim Carnival games they've promised....

MS said...

Trader Joe's is ok - you buy stuff from Giant don't you. It's pre-packaged. Can't write more now - it's Shabbat. But, you get your Jew on girl!

Shtuey said...

I've had that deli meat from Costco. It's pretty decent. It's the same deli they have in the kosher Kroger, only it comes in the big slabs. Very tasty.

Hope you had a chagger gragger Purim!

The Calico Cat said...

Trader Joes has a new brand of beef that has a better hecksher.