Thursday, January 13, 2005

Staying little....

In the buildup to his Upsherin*, we borrowed a book about the process called 'Ephraim's First Haircut'. He seemed to be okay while we were reading it, but then, as I was putting him to bed I noticed that he had his younger brother's pacifier in his hand, and was trying to put it into his mouth. I took it away from him and reminded him that he was a big boy now and didn't need a pacifier anymore. He then started to get frantic, and began to look under his bed, to see if he could find a missing pacifier he might have dropped long ago while he still used one. I asked him why he needed it, and he said 'I want to stay little Daddy, I don't want to be big'.

Lately we have been prepping him for the upsherin, as well as telling him about the new school that he will be attending next fall. I wondered how much sinks in. I guess more than I thought.

I too have my fears about his upsherin. I wonder how I will feel, how he will feel, and how he will look after all is said and done. Will he be freaked out? Will his friends go through the intial shock of trying to re-recognize him with short hair? Will some of his cuteness and charm be taken away from him Samson style?

I also wonder about his fears, and their roots - is this just another manifestation of regression when he thinks his little brother gets more attention? Or is it true fear of the new 'big boy' unknown. He wakes up in middle of the night, saying that he is afraid - of what exactly he won't say. (Of course, 24 hours earlier, as I wwas dressing him after his bath, he was quick to point out that he was getting hair on his legs - even though he really isn't).

In either case, it just shows a level of congnition that just wasn't present in him 6 months ago.

And as he sat there in my arms as I consoled him about his fear of becoming big, I told him flat out - one day he will be a big man like Daddy. But even then, he will always be my little boy.

I am going to miss his mane, and his little brothers hair won't start getting long for another year.

* Upsherin is a Yiddish word meaning to share off, and is the term used to describe the ceremony at which a little boy is given his first haircut at 3 years old. Customarily, Jews from Hasidic and/or Middle Eastern backgrounds grow out the hair of their little sons until the age of three - a custom which is rooted in Jewish Mysticism and Kabalah. Known neo-kabalists like Madonna have observed this custom with their children.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Genorosity II

My son's Upsherin is less than 2 weeks away (check out the countdown clock), and we are celebrating with a party that is definitely larger that what we would normally throw for one of our kids birthdays. However, we feel that it would be contrary to our beliefs as Jews if, we didn't also mark the ocassion by giving a contribution to charity.

In doing so, we are also setting the tone for our son in helping him learn the importance of this Mitzvah.

So far, we intend on making donations to two organizations:

- If his hair is long enough, we hope to donate it to Locks of Love which uses the hair to make wigs for kids who've lost their hair to various diseases.

- We also hope to make a donation to Beit Frankforter, through the Ziv Tzedakah Fund. Beit Frankforter, a day center for seniors, is a doubly good charity to donate to, as it provides activities for Jerusalem's Seniors, and one of those activities is making sandwiches for the hungry and underprivileged Children of Jerusalem.

Of course,I encourage you to investigate these charities a bit further and then make a determination to donate to them. I think that everyone should find ways to give of themselves in both wealth, spirit, and work to a cause that is near and dear to their heart.

Monday, January 03, 2005

My Child the Sponge

This Friday night, we had Shabbat dinner at a friend's house. Their 7-year-old was singing a pop-music song at the shabbat table, and his dad told him that it was inappropriate and asked which of his kids would like to sing a 'Shabbat' song. Out of the rear corner, a meek little voice started to sing. I turned around to see my Mitch singing the 'Good Shabbos' song that my dad taught him as a one-year old and always sings to him.

Good Shabbos
Good Shabbos
Heilige (Holy) Shabbos
Tie-Yeera (Precious/pure) Shabbos
Zugt Shoyn Yidelech Good Shabbos (all jews should say Good Shabbos).

The Mrs. and I were floored. Although my dad sings that song to him and his brother every so often, I can't remember the last time I sang it with him, yet alone on his own.

It seems that kids seem to observe everything and soak it up like sponges. Here's another example. I decided that raising my voice to my kids doesn't work as calmly trying to explain why they are not allowed to do something. When my son does something I disprove of, I pull him aside and calmly explain to him what he did wrong, and if necessary, why he is being punished, at what that punishement will be. A couple of weeks ago, he kept looking away as I did this to him. I tried to get him to look into my eyes with no avail, so I tried a different tack. I put my index finger on my nose, and asked him - 'What's this?' 'Your nose, daddy', he replied. I asked him to point to his own nose, and he put his index finger on it in a similar fashion. I then told him that he needs to look at my nose when I talk to im, and that it's not polite to do otherwise.

Since then, everytime I say look at my nose, he picks his head up, looks me in the eye and puts his finger on his nose. It's uncanny!

Now, if I can only use a similar mechanism to get him to go to the toilet :)