I just flew into Boston, and boy are my arms tired! Actually, my everything is tired. That's because Shira and I have just safely deposited our nephew and two nieces into their Mom's arms / mini-van. It's official, our adventure has been a success! And what an adventure it's been.
Since last Tuesday, when we picked up the kids, we've been raspberry and apple picking, to shul 3 times, watched kids do countless laps around our downstairs and even put on a puppet show. I went to bed every night exhausted, and luckily, so did the kids.
The children really were terrific. Generally, they ate, napped, behaved and slept better than I could have hoped.
Tzipora may only be 2.5 but she showed terrific analytical skills picking just the red raspberries and leaving the green ones alone to continue to grow. She did eat quite a few that didn't make it into her bucket. Dovid, 4.5, is train obsessed. After reading him my favorite kids book, "The Little Engine That Could," a few times, he was able to sit with it and go through it himself, pretty much accurately reciting the text from each page. Chana, also 4.5, demonstrated terrific dexterity helping Shira prepare challah by painting on the egg glaze and helping to set the table.
Over the week, the kids fell in love with Shel Silverstein's poetry, requesting their favorites at bedtime. Most of the poetry seems borderline inappropriate for kids, but that's probably what makes it so much fun. At this age, the kids are such sponges, so as you share a poem once, they want to hear it again and again (especially if it's one about a guy who forgets to put on his pants).
On the first evening, as a sort of experiment, I told the kids that if they finished everything on their plates and helped clean up, they could pick out a sticker. They could then apply the sticker to a hastily created chart I put together. Immediately, they wanted to know what happened once they filled up the chart. Not quite sure what to say, I announced that if they did manage to fill up the chart, they'd get a treasure. Chana's eyes lit up and jumped and down yelling, "TREASURE!" Shira turned to me, and nudged me, you better think of some treasure by Sunday.
By Friday night it was pretty clear that the kids were going to fill up all 10 bubbles I had drawn with crayon. We were going to need some treasure. I mentioned the quandary to my brother and sister-in-law who were over for dinner on Friday night, and without asking, they totally saved the day. Saturday afternoon they dropped off a bag little toys and games for the kids, it was the absolute perfect treasure.
Shira even played along, and on Saturday night, after the kids ate their whole dinner and cleaned up, and we applied the last sticker to the chart we went searching for treasure. And where did Shira hide it? In our treasure chest, of course. That is, she stashed the goodies in the chest we have in our front hall. The kids were overjoyed, and I could breathe a sigh of relief knowing that I hadn't gotten their hopes up only to dash them.
So now it's time to get our lives back together. I'll be getting up tomorrow when the alarm says so, not when I hear the pitter-patter of little feet. I already miss them, but like all good adventures, it had to come to an end. If you ask me, I say it's time to start planning our next one!