Wednesday, June 25 – From Dr. Doolittle to Zorro

I am officially, tired, really, really, tired. Not our best night.

Shayna and Nadiv fell asleep okay, but Maital didn’t fall asleep until quite late. Then at least, we thought we were done for the night. We were, unless you count the multiple times Maital woke up: “Mommy, come back. Come back Mommy!” Jen spent most of the night in Maital’s room.

So she was tired. Then, Shayna and Nadiv woke up at 1:30 AM and couldn’t fall back to sleep. I crawled into bed between them, plugged two headphones into the MP3 player and they listened to the first half of Doctor Doolittle. I turned it off at 3:00 AM and encouraged them to fall asleep.

They are amazing kids – they spent about an hour trying to lay still and fall asleep. They fidgeted, rolled over, fidgeted some more, went potty, fidgeted, and kept very quiet while trying to overcome 10,000 miles and 10 time zones of traveling! To no avail.

At 4:00 AM, I plugged them in to the second half of Doctor Doolittle.

When it finished about 5:00 AM, they got up and have some breakfast. Not a great way to start a day! Good thing these kids are tough.

We had a big full day (after a long, interminable night).

The goals for the day: to learn our walking routes, to enjoy downtown, to eat Burger King, and of course, to exhaust the kids completely so they will get a good night sleep!

First we headed south to Camp Ramah’s day camp, Shayna’s camp. It is about a 15 minute walk from our apartment – all downhill. It looked very nice. It will be even prettier filled with kids. There are a number of other rabbis in my program who also have children attending there, so it should be a fun family network.

THEN WE WALKED BACK UPHILL! Not as much fun. Three kids. Very hot.

To backtrack a minute. The thinking was that Jen would walk Shayna to camp in the morning and then walk herself to ulpan (Hebrew language instruction at the Center for Conservative Judaism). It is about a 45 minute walk. Then I would take Nadiv and Maital with me to the Hartman Institute where I will spend my day studying and they will have daycare/camp.

After Jen’s ulpan, she will walk to Hartman to get the two little ones, walk over to Ramah for Shayna, and then walk home. It is a lot of walking for Jennifer, which she is very excited about.

But then we walked back up the hill from Ramah, in the heat of the afternoon. This is not a walk for a pregnant woman with three kids who tend to be tired and less than perfectly cooperative by the end of the afternoon.

Today’s walk convinced us that we need to rethink this plan. This hill was a healthy (or unhealthy as the case may be) walk with two adults. Picture this: one on my shoulders, two in the stroller and all of us sweating! Like I said, we are rethinking the plan.

Anyway, we walked all the way uphill, passed our apartment, and walked into the center of town – about an hour, hot, hungry, tired . . . did I mention it was hot.

Of course once we were downtown, we sat in Burger King – whoppers, french fries, onion rings, even pareve sundaes for dessert! One of the side blessings to observing kashrut is that my children don’t eat a lot of fast food. Having said that, I get an odd thrill watching them enjoy whoppers and fries, and especially the toy that comes with the kid’s meal.

Yep, my nice Jewish kids need to come to Israel to enjoy some of the “normal” things that many of their friends enjoy at home. It warms my heart.

In fact, after my own whopper, fries and onion rings, we are no longer talking about heart warm, we went right to heartburn! I love Burger King while I am eating it and for hours after!

We thought about taking the kids to a movie – seemed like a good idea on a hot summer day. It was a little disappointing to find out that the theater I remember from 20 years ago is no longer there. We went to visit the “Kippah Man,”our favorite purveyor of kippot in the city, I guess our favorite in the world. Nadiv got two wonderful new ones. Maital picked out one she really liked. Later that night, cleaning out the stroller, we discovered that one of the kids apparently, accidently or intentionally, added a fourth kippah to the bottom of the stroller. So we will be returning to the Kippah Man to pay for the pilfered head covering.

Standing outside of the Kippah Man’s store, we bumped into old friends of ours from Los Angeles who we haven’t seen for years.

One, it was wonderful to see Larry and Andrea and their three kids (last we saw they had two!). Two, turns out they were on the same plane from LA with the eighth grade trip from the Hebrew Day School, which is being chaperoned by one of Shayna’s kindergarten teachers – an amazing lady. They actually met, the Gills and Alisa Siegel, on the plane and made the connection. In fact, when we spoke to Alisa that night, she was already at the airport on her way back, she informed us that she bumped into the Gills walked around where we had been about an hour later, and then tried to find us, but we were already gone.

We were already gone because we had already been walking for over three hours in the heat, and all of us were wiped out! So we headed for home.

By the time we got back to our apartment, Nadiv and Maital were sound asleep in the stroller, and we were all totally out of gas!

At the end of a long, full day, we carried in Chinese food for dinner (good, but not nearly as good as LA) and headed for bed, expecting everyone to sleep great. Well, that would be everyone except for me.

I had a hard time falling asleep. Nadiv woke me to say hi at 3:00 AM. He went right back to sleep but I didn’t. In fact, I didn’t fall asleep again for the rest of the night/morning.

My D’var article in July is all about communication, especially changes in the technology that facilitate the connection between the US and Israel. What I didn’t mention in the column is my kid’s favorite – the Sling Box. This little device allows us to receive television from our television cable box in San Diego on my laptop – a wonderful traveler’s utility for a diehard Padre fan. When you sit down to watch a home game at 7:00 PM, which is 5:00 AM here, there is a good chance I am watching the game here.

No Padre game on at 5:00 PM tonight. (Thursday morning for me, they were at home against the Twins. They lost.) Instead, The Mask of Zorro was on from 3:30 AM – 6:00 AM. If I may make a recommendation: it is a wonderful movie in the early hours of the morning, when you are on the opposite side of the globe from home, jetlagged and can’t sleep.

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