Contact Daniel

Friday, August 31, 2012

Rubbing Elbows with U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet

U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) got to meet ME on his trip to Israel
This week was underscored by a very prestigious event in my schedule: Yours Truly hosted an American senator at my school, Shalva!

In my new role as tour guide and host to governmental officials, I met U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado on Sunday. Sen. Bennet and I exchanged pleasantries in the lobby before I gave him a tour of the facility. He graciously accepted the rose that I gave him. This tour was on the last day of Shalva's summer break.

The senator was joined by other influential Americans. Thanks for visiting!
My part of the tour was concentrated in the lobby area. Much to mommy's horror, I displayed a sudden surge of energy and rambunctiousness in addition to a newfound sound of mine - something akin to hissing. I thought I was being cute and coy with my guttural sound, while mommy was hoping for an apchee (achoo) or something more relevant to display my genius. The Law of Babies indicates that such expectations are in vain. We do not perform on cue. In fact, we anti-perform when called upon to behave or show off.

I did, however, manage to wordlessly point out to the senator and his entourage just how the staff at Shalva operates: With overflowing love for me and my classmates. In the short amount of time we spent in the lobby, nearly every therapist I have ever had in my two years of school passed by me and smothered me with kisses and hugs.

That wasn't even planned! But it went a long way to proving mommy's main point about Shalva: Professional therapy and care PLUS love are a winning combo. Without love you are nothing, according to God. So that means that at Shalva, my treatment is over the top!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

When D&G is NOT Dolce & Gabbana

Reunited! Daniel and Gavriella, the original D&G
Lessons no. 1 for parents and other adults: Don't doubt me.

My friends, I may be a baby, but babies have a sixth sense. Sometimes it manifests as the sense of irony that lets me know the moment you are about to fall asleep so that I cry for attention. At other times, it is also a precise sense of timing.

So it was that this sixth sense prompted me to take an oddly timed nap at around 5 to 7 p.m. Though this doesn't usually happen and though some feared I may be down for the night, I was just building up my energy for a visit I knew was on the horizon that evening: Gavriella!

A surprise visit during summer break

With this sixth sense, I knew she would be delayed in her arrival and sit in copious amounts of traffic to get here. I knew exactly what I was doing when I took that nap. So when she did arrive, we got to spend more meaningful hours together.

It had been two weeks since my summer break between Shalva school years and two weeks since I laid eyes on Gavi. So she was quite nervous that I would not remember her. Again, don't doubt me, oh ye of little faith. Of course I remembered Gavi! In fact, our reunion was wrought with much applause, cheering and yadaim al harosh (hands on my head) along with lots of apchees (ahchoos), my instinctual responses upon spotting Gavi. My reaction was a cross between the shocked hand to the head look and overwhelming joy.

Move over Dolce & Gabbana!
More shock ensued as I did all the hand motions for all the songs. Again, don't doubt me. Of course I remember all my songs.

Gavi, of course, treated this visit like she would any day at school and proceeded to lead me in song and dance. And I also treated it like any other day at school where I wow my audience with my uncanny ability to perform all the hand motions for the songs while sprinkling in a few apchees here and there.

Tomorrow, Gavi starts her new position for the year and on Monday I start my second year at Shalva. But I made Gavi promise to visit us frequently - lest I forget her and our songs. And that is a thinly veiled threat from a half-Italian baby. Got that, Gavi?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Some Shabbat Shalom Hallel (Praise) with Daniel

He has been dubbed "Luscious Lucas"

I threw in a few photos of Lucas since most of my blogs have been all about me lately. And sorry to say, this one is too. Sorry little bro!

Here is a video to help you ring in the Sabbath. I had my own moment of hallel (praise) in the apartment one evening. Meditate on this as you also head to your prayer meetings and such this weekend. And remember, I am available for worship leading around the globe (with my assistant, Zia Em, of course). Just let me know!

Lucas gets in on the action

He looks like a professional prayer here!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

(Boot) Camp Caroline

Me in my motorcade

When we first realized that Shalva had a three-week break during August, there was more than a small amount of panic in our household. Mommy and abba envisioned failing to get any work done while a roving toddler overturned everything in sight at home or disrupted the office and everyone in it. I envisioned boring days watching adults tick away on a computer while I waited for a fraction of the stimulation I would receive at Shalva on a daily basis. But I had nothing to fear as Grandma swooped in to the rescue and offered to take me and my rowdy self during the break.

And so it became known as Camp Caroline, named for Caroline Jansezian, my paternal grandmother. But that quickly got renamed to Boot Camp Caroline after Grandma repeatedly referred to "working on" my walking skills. The Boot Camp concept was further confirmed when mommy noticed the potty training pants that Grandma had bought for me barely hidden among the equipment that Grandma had amassed for the three weeks - purchased before I was even taking steps! From that moment, we all knew - I was in for it.

You see, Grandma is no slouch and neither will her grandchildren be. I was in for a disciplined three weeks that would probably result in me walking - nay - marching to the toilet; ceasing to throw objects;  reading and writing; eating whatever is placed before me; forsaking my tantrums and being whipped into adulthood in no time. Mommy and abba cheered on the concept while I shuddered.

But I knew deep down I had nothing to fear. Grandma is a grandma. And thus my first day at Camp Caroline resulted not in a potty training session or any sort of physical therapy, but rather in a new pair of shoes - blue Crocs, an accessory that accents my cuteness. And it only built from there. On the second day resulted in a "trike" - a tricycle/stroller!

Now this trike has become my motorcade. As we wheel around the Old City I wave to my constituents,  anyone and everyone walking by. I have perfected my "Queen of England" wave and receive accolades from all passersby, locals and tourists alike. Everyone will return home marveling over the wonders of the Old City including that boy with the swirl and the winning smile waving to us as he drove by in his motorcade.

Not only are the accoutrements splendid here at camp, but the meals are sumptuous as well. I have been exposed to petit buere cookies, apples, Old City hummus and, though I won't tell my parents, ice cream! And what's more, how many babies in the world get to spend their summer respite in the Old City of Jerusalem? Every morning as we drive up the hill toward Zion Gate just as the sun is cresting over the horizon while everyone heads to their respective landmark to pray, I realize how fortunate I am to be in such a unique corner of the world. How exhilarating.

Alas, there are but a few days left. And then I return to Shalva while the adults in my life all breathe a little easier. But I have enjoyed my summer camp and will miss my daily spoiling sessions courtesy of Grandma. I am already enrolled for next year!

Grandma waiting for me with my taxi

Look out Queen Elizabeth - the Royal Baby Motorcade is in town!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Turning Two

On Aug. 15, 2012, I awoke to a bed full of balloons and singing.

It rained balloons - in my crib!

It was two years ago today that my hair swirl entered the world, followed immediately by the rest of me. We have both survived in tact if not bigger and better for wear.

My birthday, unlike my personality, was low key. It was a quiet family affair but with the best present ever - the mascot of my favorite TV channel: Luli!

Good job abba! Best. Gift. Ever.

And as I enter my weekend, I leave you with the following birthday videos for you viewing pleasure. Note that in the second video, with Luli, I look toward the TV making the very uncanny connection between the doll and his television appearance:

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Jansezian Olympics

Training at the playground for my Olympics debut

For the last two weeks, the baby TV channel has been on hold as we were all obsessed with the Olympics instead. Lucas and I have taken notes and inspiration from these elite athletes as they accomplished such amazing feats. 

In fact, we established our own Olympic competitions in the past two weeks. I invented a new sport that will soon become an Olympic favorite: Bob Tipping. Remember how I called my brother Bob for awhile there? Well, Bob Tipping is my own special twist on the ancient sport of cow tipping played in the days of yore near farms and such. I am perfecting a version of that. Now that Lucas sits rather securely I test my strength - and his balance - by pushing him backwards. If I am successful we all hear a loud clunk on the tile floor. Gold for me! Another part of the strategy is doing this without being seen. When I get caught by my parents, this new skill gets me in trouble. I may be looking at early retirement.

Wrestling on the mat

Successful Bob Tipping

Another fun event is the one in which Lucas is going for a new WR: Size of Items that Can be Stuffed into a Baby's Mouth. Lucas is a natural at that. Like weightlifting, this sport is progressive. It starts with a biscuit, then a toy, then he moves up to a cell phone, and then Lucas went for gold - he shoved the iPad into his mouth! Almost in its entirety. Needless to say, he won the event. 

Lucas vs. The Machine. Lucas won!

Inspired by Usain Bolt, I decided to speed up my 100-inch dash across the living room. Each day I set a new personal record in walking. Lucas, being the brute that he is, has mastered the Pull Up. Any surface he finds himself at, Lucas hoists himself to standing. His personal best in standing was set when he stood up in the pack-and-play with nary a surface to pull himself up with. He managed to get up using just the netting. 

Bored then with merely standing, Lucas has thrown in a bit of cruising as well. He would have probably taken the gold, but he needs to work on his dismount. He is actually scared to fall backward as opposed to me - a veritable champ at butt dropping. Lucas instead cries because he is stuck in the standing position and needs help bending his perfectly flexed legs to complete the dismount.

Besides serving as referees and coaches for all of our sports, mommy and abba have had their own Olympic event: Picking up the Shattered Pieces of their Lives. That is a time sensitive sport that begins shortly after "bed time." Abba and mommy challenge themselves to new records each night as they put our toys away. It is a challenge to collect, sort, stack and stash using a bit of athleticism and much strategy. Memorizing he order of the colored ring stack (green, blue, orange, red, yellow, purple, pink); locating the landing spots of all the launched cheechongs (pacifiers); wiping drool and smeared peanut butter off the floor; etc.

Mommy and Abba's game... and sorting. Fun!

Though the 2012 Olympics is over in London the Jansezian Games in Jerusalem will continue for now in festive fashion. After all, I know abba and mommy want to set a new personal record for cleaning!

The only event in which I lost: Sleep

But believe me - losing to sleep is rare
and not oft repeated!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Weekend Video Montage

Did you miss us?

Here we are again!

We have been very busy the past two weeks conducting our very own version of the Olympics. As we prepare for the closing ceremonies of the Jansezian Olympics (blog post tomorrow or Monday), here are some videos to carry you through the weekend. 

In videos #1 and 2, you will see me coaching Lucas in the all important game of peek-a-boo (or "cuckoo," the Israeli and European version of the same game):

Lucas doesn't take "PinkPonk" very seriously despite his being a very serious character in the "The Night Garden" TV show:

Friday, August 3, 2012

Ode to Gavriella

Gone - flitted away,
Taken the stars from the night 
and the sun from the day!
Gone, and a cloud in my heart.
~Alfred Tennyson...
... and Daniel

Me gazing into Gavriella's eyes. Sigh.

Year 1 is in the can - today was our last day at Shalva as we enter our summer break. And what a year it was! I graduated with flying colors and I shall advance to my second year of school in just a few weeks.

While the year was wrought with all sorts of excitement from pudding and sneezing to smooching and walking, the end of the year also comes with a very sad Shalom.

Gavriella - the dynamic teacher's assistant, photographer, advocate, videographer, spy, diaper changer, cheerleader, medicine administrator, snot wiper, problem solver and so much more - has completed her year of National Service at Shalva and will be bringing her immense skill set to another volunteer position next year where she will no doubt make her mark and a difference in the lives of other children. While I will search the depths of my heart to find some forgiveness for this act of abandonment (Gavi, I know you're reading this!), I will also be forever grateful for Gavi's presence and influence in my most formative year so far.

"Of all the gin joints in all the towns in the world, she walks into mine."

Gavi happened upon Shalva for her national service and, in an even more amazing twist of fate, ended up in my class. It was destiny!

Gavi operated at 110 percent capacity all the time, bubbling over with vigor and love for all of us babies at all times. We all vied for her attention - and we all got it!

If there was anyone even more energetic than us resilient and tireless babies, it was Gavriella. Gavi's energy didn't subside for a moment. In fact, when we napped, she looked for even more things to do.
One of those things was to furtively write in the spy book that was passed between my teachers and my parents every day. In it, she divulged in great detail all of my day's activities, my moods, my sleeping patterns, everything I ate and all the acquired skills that I was futilely trying to conceal from mommy and abba - all in legibly written Hebrew which is a rare and valued commodity.

Even when she was off, Gavi didn't stop working.
Here she is visiting me at home but acting under a
moral obligation nonetheless to entertain me
during mealtime.
I called it BabyLeaks (similar to WikiLeaks, not diaper leaks!) and it was an ongoing scandal. For instance, she reported when I said "od" (more) audibly and with sign language - something I never did at home. She also told them how I started eating with my own hands, a proverbial card I continue to keep up my proverbial sleeve in public. And she informed them as well how I feed myself from a spoon without throwing it. My parents still don't believe her.

In addition to recording all these details, Gavi also passed along information electronically to mommy and abba. Thus you have much of the material for this blog in the form of photos and videos. And most importantly, she was on mommy's speed dial! Basically we were all spoiled this year on many levels by the relentless efforts of Gavi.

Sure, thanks to us little angels in the baby class, Gavi will probably have to incinerate her entire wardrobe from this year as we shared copious and diverse baby excretions with her. But I think she is going to miss us nevertheless.

Although I will at least see them around at Shalva next year, I will miss my teacher extraordinaire, Rivki, and assistants Hanna and Faigey who stood by my side the whole year. Actually I will miss everyone at Shalva - even the random teachers who snuck into my classroom simply to kiss me and then sneak out (Nechama).

But as for Gavriella, she owes me many visits during her free hours next semester so we can share some more apchee's (achoo's) and, of course, kisses!

Gavriella left me with a lasting memory of her - this shirt!
What you can't see since I'm leaning over is that she the-dyed
it as well.  Everyone in the class got one. And just like
everyone in the class, all the shirts came out a
little bit different. Unique.
Toda, Gavi!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

What Happens on the Way to the Shalva Daycare...

... stays in the Shalva daycare!

Unless, of course, it gets photographed, emailed, blogged and then goes viral.

And this little love fest occurs every morning after we alight from the school bus and are distributed into our awaiting coaches before being carried us to our respective classes. And this is where my friend and I have our little rendezvous on the aglul, which is Hebrew for "crib on wheels."

What can I say? I am a true lady's man. I have girlfriends in each context of my life. This one, Devori, is my "aglul"girlfriend and she is just as affectionate as I!