Contact Daniel

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Raising the Stakes

Lucas and I - jockeying for position

So, Lucas, you think you are cute because you can crawl? You think you simply have to learn to sit up and then get going on all fours to wrest some of the spotlight in your direction? A futile venture, young Jedi.

Because ...  I'll see your crawling, and raise you WALKING!!

I'm sorry to say there are no photos or videos of this because Babies' Law (akin to Murphy's Law) states that I will immediately stop, drop and flop once the camera is focused on said activity to be captured on film. So you are going to have to take my word for it. On Saturday I began taking independent steps - an action that I've noticed commandeers much applause and positive reinforcement, my favorites! I decided to also put on a little show at Shalva as well when we returned to school on Monday. What a way to liven up the last week of the school year!

Now, both at home and at school I can turn on the shower of attention by simply walking from Point A to Point B rather than crawling or scooting. I have taken note of this phenomenon. And, my BGF (best girlfriend) Hallel and I are on the same clock as she also started walking this weekend!

Who knows what secrets lurk in the
hearts and minds of babies?

Actually, these steps of mine, taken with such aplomb, were such a natural fluid movement that it looked like I've had this trick up my sleeve for quite some time. And maybe I have. Perhaps I have chosen to conceal this skill from the masses. After all, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that once I admit to walking that the days of being carted around like Royalty will come to a swift end.

However, Lucas forced my hand this time. He had to whip out some new skills and challenge my sphere of attention.

Okay then, let the games begin!

Hugs! (Or a battle for attention?)

Lucas, working on his innocent look

Come and get me Lucas!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Shabbat Shalom ... Again!

Today I did the blessing at school (kiddush). Amen!

This week's school activities also included a bouncy castle!

I enjoyed myself immensely

And I also met a quail
All in all, a most interesting week at Shalva! Have a good weekend everyone!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Lucas Masters the Trinity of Baby Moves

I teach Lucas the intricacies of the exersaucer

Because I am such a Drama Baby, Lucas has had to find his own way to curry attention. To wit, he has exploited rapid-fire development in his favor.

Accordingly, last week, he accomplished the Trifecta of Baby Development: sitting unsupported, getting into a sitting position and crawling - all in one day. 

Spurred on by my need for 110 percent parental attention from the time I arrive home from school until I am snug in bed, Lucas bullied himself into the circle to wrest a bit of his own attention. He was in intense negotiations with these moves for a few weeks before he perfected them. Actually he spent the weekend perfecting them throughout the night, sitting up in bed rather than sleeping. 

Now there is no rest for the weary (parents). Nary a moment passes where either one of us is not placing ourselves in grave physical danger. So we must be closely guarded as we mobilize in our swath of apartment. 

I savor my new skills, sometimes for months on end. Apparently, Lucas gets bored fast and needs a new skill in his arsenal oh say every week. And if that is how he will steer attention in his direction, that is fine. I understand. 

We do not yet know how Lucas' personality is going to unfold, whether he will be content with shining in the background or if he will voraciously compete with me for the spotlight. But for now he is holding his own.

While I love Lucas, as you will see in this video, I also must, as the elder brother, continually remind him who is the boss:

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Meet 'Daniel No'

I dare you to get angry at this face!

The main bit of evidence that signals my ongoing transition from baby to toddler is the addition of my new last name - No.

I'm not sure if it is a legal name change, but in all practicality it is what I've heard several times a day for a good few months now. And the more I learn to do in life, the more my new name is reinforced, for some reason.

"Daniel, no closing doors!"
"Daniel, no opening the drawers."
"Daniel, no throwing your bottle!"
"Daniel, no throwing your chuchung!"
"Daniel, no throwing!"
"Daniel, no strangling your brother!"
"Daniel, no disconnecting Shimi's oxygen machine from the electricity!"

Yes, whether at school or at home, I have become Daniel of No. Or Lo, which is no in Hebrew. Good thing they sound alike.

My parents had tried positive child rearing, which discourages use of the word 'no' for a positive spin on things. For example, "Daniel, do nice to Lucas" rather than "Daniel, no smacking your brother in the face!" But after trying that - to no avail - several times, the quicker and sharper 'no!' increasingly crept in there to replace the positive spin. And with good reason. A loud no can get my attention while a whole sentence can be lost in the background.

But it is that loud and personal no that has caught my attention for other reasons.

See, all of this is apparently some part of an elusive learning process where I am to gather that every cause has an effect. And despite my parents, grandparents and teachers all thinking that this lesson is lost on me, I argue the contrary. I have learned the effect of my cause: When they say 'no' I get more attention! Accordingly, I have learned which behaviors are worthy of my attention and continue to hone them to perfection.

Like at school, when Gavriella is busy writing in my spy book or doing anything else but paying attention to me, I scoot over to the corner in the classroom where Shimi is sleeping. I have one hand hovering near the oxygen tank plug and one eye focused laser-sharp on Gavriella. By now Gavi has also learned cause and effect too and she knows that "Daniel, lo!" will not be enough. She must dart across the room to whisk me up and ensure Shimi's continued breathing. Then I get to be her sole center of attention for awhile and she loses valuable time describing my days' activities at Shalva in the spy book. A win-win!

At home, we have another cause and effect in action. I know that excitedly showering little brother Lucas with all my love and affection, which usually involves grabbing his shirt by the collar and shaking him with joy while loudly shrieking with delight, is a sure-fire attention getter. "Daniel! No strangling your brother!" is usually accompanied by parental intervention. Each of us then gets swept up into somebody's arms. Lucas also appreciates this and plays his part of distress rather well.

As you can see, I have made such good use of this lesson that I now in fact am teaching it to others, babies and adults alike!

I'm merely experimenting with cause and effect.
What happens when I stick my finger in Lucas' mouth?

The birichino (rascal) look as coined
by my Italian great-grandmother!

Poised for launch - on cue with the word, No!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Shabbat Shalom!

That is not a cowboy hat on my head

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy." Exodus 20:8

As it is Saturday, may I wish a Shabbat shalom to all. In school, on Fridays, we learn all about Shabbat, the Sabbath. I am blessed that, despite being the sole Gentile in my class at Shalva, I have risen above "Shabbat goy" status (you know, the one asked by the observant Jews to turn on and off the lights and other things that would be, for them, a violation of the Sabbath). Yes, even I was elevated to Abba Shel Shabbat for a day. The literal translation of that is "Father of the Sabbath," but what that actually means, I'm not so sure.

However, I took this distinction very seriously and I blessed the Sabbath with a certain miracle of rest: I extended my late afternoon nap from 4:15 p.m. on Friday and I slept ... and slept ... and slept all the way to 6 the next morning - with nary a theatrical cry to pierce the night! It was a truly a wonder.

Mommy and abba told me that I won't have to wear this hat on Shabbat even if some of the other kids in my class do. We will keep the day holy in our own ways. And while some of those ways may be spiritual we may also take the occasional trip to Tel Aviv to enjoy other aspects of God's creation such as parks, beaches and delicious food at restaurants. You will see just how we did that in the following photos.

And I say a hearty Amen to that!

Lucas was trying to help Alisha eat.
She had to hold his hand.

Still holding hand

I liked this restaurant because there was a kid-friendly play area

And it attracted cute girls with whom I could play


My brother, Alisha's sister 

Erica and Lucas