Jewish Gymboree

Last night, Walker, Larry and I attended Shabbat Family Services at Temple Emanu-El. It was absolutely fantastic. I didn’t really know what to expect but one of Walker’s friends at day care attends regularly and she and her mom thought it would be neat if Walker could go with her. Walker looked dapper in his corduroys, sweater vest and a little paper firefighter hat he had made four days prior (and has only removed it to sleep). I wasn’t sure if he’d be able to eat a snack but just in case, I brought his milk and a cereal bar. As we walked into the building we were greeted by scads of little kids running around and large bowls of snacks. OK, this was clearly not going to be like the other services I’ve attended.

We found seats at the front of the sanctuary and Walker sat quietly next to his friend while kids seemed to multiply as they ran around the stage, the floor and well, everywhere. All young ones had chosen some sort of instrument — bells, a triangle, castanets — so I grabbed a little something for Walker. The service started and the chaos didn’t subside, but it seemed to follow the flow Rabbi Mintz and the guitarist created as they led the congregation in a variety of Hebrew songs. At one point, a little boy behind us appeared on the floor between my legs as he crawled under the benches to retrieve a stray tambourine. Kids were dancing around the stage and one little boy seemed to be hiding behind the ark. Surprisingly, there was only one casualty. An adorable curly-headed girl about 2 years old and her 4 year old sister were playing by three little steps and one of them tripped causing them both to fall down the stairs. Some tears but nothing serious and frankly, I’m not sure I would have even noticed had it not happened right in front of me. Walker was a bit overwhelmed for the first half hour but did smile and clap and play his instrument. He really came out of his shell and joined the dancing kids on stage after singing the Shema complete with hand and dance moves. At the end of the service, kids were exhausted and famished (despite all the food they ate as evidenced by the many raisin boxes, cookie bags, and cheese stick wrappers). Walker seemed to love it and Larry and I both felt it was a special time linking him to a special community in San Francisco. So, I think we’ll regularly attend what I’ve coined “Jewish Gymboree.”

Today we had a bit of an adventure. Walker fell asleep in the car and he wouldn’t wake up even when we told him it was time to play at the beach. We decided to give him some nap time so we thought we’d try to find a new beach and traveled to Pacifica, a town we’ve only gone through on the way to other destinations. We found a little sunny cove and as we peered out past the waves we saw a small whale making his way South. He wasn’t far off shore and Larry and I tried to point out the spout and what little of the whale we could see to a drowsy Walker. We choose to believe Walker saw his first whale today.

I also thought it would be a good time to document a few things we’ve recently heard Walker say:

  • “I’m fo-wahr”: Walker’s response when asked, “How old are you?”
  • “Hello? Hi. I did it! Bye.”: The one way conversation he had in his toy Star Trek tricorder (and by his, I mean, the one that was Larry’s)
  • “I’m stuck.”: Pick one of any number of times when Walker finds himself unable to do something he wants to.
  • “Hide-oo”: The request to either join him sitting on the floor of Larry’s closet with the doors closed or create a fort in the living room to protect us when building houses with blocks.
  • “No-no-no”: Delivered in sing-song tone and complete with finger wagging. Used when Mommy or Daddy are doing something Walker finds distasteful.
  • “Mamma. Room. Now!”: A direct order to leave the room I’m in and go somewhere else.
  • “Beee-CH”: Used either matter of fact or in a pleading tone but always a request to go play in the sand at the beach. Often requested first thing in the morning, upon returning from day care and once, in the middle of the night while he was talking in his sleep.
  • “Wahdder”: Like many small boys, Walker is fascinated with water. He enjoys playing in puddles and will ask us to create some if they don’t exist naturally. He also sends one of us down to fill up his bucket at the beach which he immediately pours into the sand.

 

I must also take a moment to say that I had a fantastic birthday. I did nothing for my fortieth birthday which was just what I wanted. I took Walker to day care, went to the gym and then to the chiropractor. I returned home and Larry and I crawled in bed to watch a movie on OnDemand. I don’t even remember what it was. Then, I took a nap. And then it was time to get Walker. To top off a perfect day, my brother and his girlfriend made us dinner. And not just any dinner. Fresh caught Abalone that Thayer pried off the bottom of the ocean floor only hours earlier. They prepared everything (which is very involved and requires much pounding of small slices of meat with large mallets) while I drank too much wine.

It was a perfect birthday. Relaxing and filled with love

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