Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Swirling Thoughts #220 – The tip of the iceberg

I taught Becky the “30 Days Has September” song in response to this “math” question: “How many days are in the English months?”

For those of you who don’t still sing this song to determine whether the date is August 31 or September 1 (for the record, I totally do):

30 days has September, April, June, and November
All the rest have 31
Except for, quite contrary, February, which has 28…most of the time
But in LEAP YEAR, 29!

So far so good. Except for the dazed look on Becky’s face.

Me: You just need to know about the exceptions and all the rest are 31.
Becky: But what are the rest, Mommy?
Me: Um. Well. There’s October. December. January. Skip February, remember? March. May. July. August….Becky do you know the English months?
Becky: Um. Which month is Yanuar?
Me: Becky, tell me the months in order.
Becky: September. April. June. November. Adar.
Me: Ok. Stop.

Two days earlier…
Rosie, now in the first grade, excitedly showing me her “1st Grade Reader” (Mikrei Aleph): Mommy, we have to laktoff it.
Me: Laktoff?
Rosie: Yeah, you know with shekufit!
Me: Shekufit?
Rosie: Yes! You know – something shekuf!
Becky to the rescue: Mom, she needs you to cover her book with that clear stuff.
Me (clutching my head): She needs to learn English.

Not 24 hours later…
The sound of Asher strumming his electric guitar reminds me of Jimi Hendrix. And my Jimi Hendrix cassette tape. I run upstairs and pop it into the boom box (the boom box I cleverly bought so as to still enjoy those cassettes that made aliyah with me). Before I hit play I explain to a curious Asher, “This is Jimi Hendrix, electric guitar legend, playing The Star Spangled Banner.”

Blank stare.
Me: The national anthem of the United States of America?
Blank stare.
Me: Before every ball game?
And now…the awkward part where I sing (a cappella) the national anthem to my son, “and-the-rockets’-red-glare” high notes and all, so that he can fully appreciate the genius of the Jimi Hendrix version, although, at this point, it is clear I have ruined Jimi Hendrix for my son forever.

Jimi fades as my thoughts swirl at tornado speed. How will Becky write a check? Fill out a form with her birthday? Know when her credit card expires? Apply for a credit card? How will Rosie communicate with her cousins in America? Will Asher be the only one not singing along at the opening of a Yankee game? What are the other gaps in his cultural knowledge? Will I catch them in time? Where should I start? Calendar. Patriotic songs. Shakespeare. US capitals---

My swirling thoughts are interrupted by Rosie asking Barbara why she wore her grey shirt to school today.
Barbara: It wasn’t a shirt. It was a sweatshirt.
Rose: What’s a sweatshirt?
Barbara: Um. It’s a svetter.
Rose: Oh.

Me, laughing, to Barbara. Did that really just happen?
Barbara, cracking up: Yep. It really did.