Thursday, April 28, 2005

NJ scenes

NJ Highligts:

My father seems to be enjoying his role as patriarch. As my oldest nephew said, "Grandpa is the boss." Indeed.
Sitting at the ice skating rink in NJ, overhearing a group of women talking about my family, "They're all wearing skirts, see, because they're religious. But why is that one girl wearing pants?" I shared the story with SIL2 and my nieces. They got a kick out of it. I said, "I always wonder what other people make of our family. Now I know, they can't figure it out." Heh. We're a stumper.
When asked if she wants to go ice skating, younger NJ niece and I have the following conversation:

Niece: I think I will say no to ice skating. I like to fall and I like the cold.

Jamy: If you like to fall, and you like the cold, I think you will like ice skating. You should try it.

Niece: You wear high shoes with a knife on the bottom.

Jamy: Well, it's a blade, but yes, it's like a knife.

Niece: Maybe I will try it.

Did I mention that she is four?

Out on the ice, she clings to the wall for about half an hour, but doesn't want help and is not scared. Eventually, she gets off the wall and steps carefully across the ice. She watches a young woman execute a pretty spin and starts to turn herself around and around in a circle. I was so excited. I stood at the entry to the ice, screaming, "Very good! That's so good!" She was ready to go back the next day.
The top of the Empire State Building at night with the three oldest Israeli nieces. They loved it. It might be the best thing we've done on this trip. The youngest (Niece #3) climbed on the wall and leaned against the thin iron bars and said she felt like she was flying. (I'm not such a bad aunt--I was in the restroom when she did this.) We later joked with her that she was going to marry the fence since she loved it so much--it kept her safe, she was hugging it. I said her parents might not approve.
Passover was you might call interminable. It couldn't start until 9pm and it didn't start until 10. The scene: fourteen people squeeze around a table for 12. A surprisingly not uncomfortable fit. A lot of questions. Reading the Haggadah in English and then very quickly in Hebrew. Drinking wine. Too much, too sweet. Feeling very sleepy. Eating a relatively light meal at 12:30 am. Just chicken, I had a mouthful, sweet potatoes, lettuce and matzo. No sweets because we'd gotten them already. And because the Seder had to end by 1:05 and after you eat the afikomen you cannot eat anything else.
Nephew #1 has had two girlfriends! I'm not surprised--he is a cutie. I asked what it meant to have a gf, what do you do (if you are religious)? He was standing behind the sofa where I was sitting with his sisters and I said, do you hold hands? He made a face that meant "yes" and I laughed and he indicated not to tell the others, but they asked why I was laughing and I said no reason. He asked me if I saw the movie "Hitch" and he was very excited that I had. He told me his favorite part was the song at the end (did he just mean he liked the song?) where they all danced at the wedding. He got up and did the dance! He quoted a line from the movies--but the line he quoted was when Hitch declares his love for the girl. Funny. He's a romantic.
I taught my youngest Israeli niece that the response to "see you later alligator" is "in a while crocodile." We said it over and over, turning it into a song, which she made a round. If I prompt her with the first line at any time, she will give me the response.
On Wednesday, I'm tired and a little bit easily annoyed. Dad said to me, when I was sitting quietly on the couch, holding my baby nephew, "It seems that the family is starting to get to you." I wanted to scream at him. Instead I said, "That is not helpful at all."


"That is no way to start a conversation."

"Do you want to have a conversation with me?"

"Not really." God, I'm mean. Poor Dad. "You've opted out of half of this anyway, so maybe that's why they're not getting to you."

"I didn't hear you, I'm sorry." Convenient, no?

"It's just as well, you would have been offended." I hoisted that baby on my hip and took him in the kitchen to get some lunch.

I should really learn to control myself.

Grateful for: only snapping at Dad once or twice and getting along well with everyone else.

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