Friday, April 17, 2009

Nobody in Israel thinks Ayelet is a grown-up

I have a cold, because over yomtov I babysat a baby with a cold. The baby belongs to Dov's sister Ayelet (no joke) and her husband Yisroel, who came to spend the last day of the holiday with Dov and Tovah. They have four other children, but only the baby and parents had the cold. In order to let the parents have an afternoon nap, I volunteered to babysit.

This wasn't easy because the baby is 11 months old and has severe stranger anxiety. So severe that if his mother hands him to one of his siblings, whom he presumably knows pretty well, he starts to scream. But we discovered that if he couldn't actually see his parents and I bounced and sang with him, he'd attach happily enough to me and only start screaming if someone else tried to take him from me. Which was flattering. As faithful readers know, I am very good with other people's children, especially babies. Or, as his nine-year-old sister said, "He likes you because you're also an Ayelet."

Dov's four-year-old, Yarden, wanted to hold the baby. I tried to hand him over, but he started screaming so I took him back. Yarden started wailing in frustrated Hebrew, and Tovah tried to soothe her. Yarden shook her head furiously, insisting something, and Tovah started laughing.

"What's so funny?" I asked.

"I told her that the baby doesn't like being held by kids, only by grown-ups. Yarden said, 'Ayelet's a kid, she's not a grown-up!' I said you were a grown-up, but she doesn't believe me."

Yisroel entered the room, and the baby immediately leaned toward him and started wailing. I handed the baby over and asked Yarden, "Why am I not a grown-up?"

Yarden smiled at me and buried her face in her mother's neck.

Later, Tovah told me that Yarden was distinguishing between me and her aunt as "Ayelet with kids" and "Ayelet without kids." My niece Shira decided I wasn't grown up because I wasn't married. I guess Israeli standards are a little stricter.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

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