Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Team Leader Mom

There are certain things that people don’t tell you before you make Aliyah. Like that someday you are going to be tapped to be “team mom” and to entertain a house full of Hebrew speaking second graders for an afternoon.

Boy I would have enjoyed that warning before it occurred.

Last year, Eliav’s teacher sent home a note saying that she wanted the boys to break into teams and to work on a project at someone’s house. She wanted to do so because she saw the boys being partial to certain friends and she figured that it would be a good idea to force them to work with others. And I breathed a large sigh of relief when I saw that Eliav was going to some other mom’s house to do the project. 

Crisis averted.

But then, lo and behold, this week we received the same notice, and this year Eliav had was tapped as a team leader.

Which made me a team leader mom.

Oh dear…the idea is that Eliav will have three friends come to our house for the afternoon. And I’ll be in charge of talking to them about the Parsha (Torah portion they are working on) and then creating a project with them based on this Parsha.

Um...no problem. If it were in English!

So, I wrote back To Eliav's teacher in my best Hebrew that the idea was just lovely but that surely she knows that my Hebrew is awful and that I couldn’t possibly be put in charge of such a project.

The reply the next day? She and Eliav had a talk and they came up with some tools so that Eliav can get the work done at our house without my input. Translation – you’re stuck with it team mom. Deal with it.

Sigh.

So, yesterday was the big day and I geared up for an adventurous afternoon. I told Eliav that I wouldn’t be serving a full meat lunch like some of these boys might expect. Israeli families actually sit down to a meat meal when the kids get home from school. I haven’t yet figured out what that means for the evening. Anyone want to chime in on that one?

But in our house? 4:00 means pretzels and juice. Or something of this sort.

So, I agreed to go all out and make grilled cheese sandwiches. And then I told Eliav that they would be on their own with the project. It’s not that I can’t speak Hebrew, by the way. I pay the bills, talk to all repair people, buy my groceries and function in every adult venue as needed. I actually have no self- consciousness whatsoever about speaking and making mistakes with adults. WITH KIDS however…now that’s a different story.

I see Eliav roll his eyes when I conjugate my verbs incorrectly in front of his friends and I hear those little giggles when I just don’t get it right. I want to say “Hey! I have a Master’s Degree! I’m really very smart!” But when it comes to talking in front of little people – it’s just a nonstarter.

Yesterday, I got the sandwiches ready and was waiting at the door for the kids when they arrived.



And lo and behold, they were all English speakers! SCORE! Do you think that maybe Teacher Sarah took pity on me and put only English speakers in my group?

I was so giggly and relieved that the kids definitely wondered what was wrong with me. No matter. It was time to get to business..with Eliav AND team leader mom in charge.

And so the entire day was turned around. I fed the kids, talked to them about the Parsha and helped them figure out what they wanted to draw, guided them in making the drawing, sent them out to play basketball and then even got them to do all of their homework together.

And here was the final product:

It's a scene from the Torah when one person throws a rock at another, and then there is a discussion of the penalty.

(I wanted to take pictures of the kids in all their cuteness working so nicely together. But I know it's not my place to put other peoples' kids on the internet. So you'll just have to imagine how cute and cooperative they were.)

Whew! Immigrant crisis averted…this time!

Maybe I'll be more comfortable leading the way in Hebrew by the time Yakir brings home a group...or maybe I'll just hope that the teacher takes pity on me again.

1 comment:

  1. Very sweet story. You're such a good Mom. I remember when we were on Otzma in '93 as new college grads and being basically functionally illiterate in Hebrew. It gave me greater empathy for those who are really smart yet illiterate in English. I am sure your functional, day-to-day Hebrew is fantastic now. Keep on blogging!

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