Bubby and the Boys

Here’s a link to the article as it appeared in Hamodia, and the text of the article follows:

Bubby_and_the_Boys.pdf

A boy’s cheder ends late, and even when he gets out early on Sundays, it might be close to dark. And that’s without Masmidim or Friday and Motzoei Shabbos learning programs. If Mommy hardly gets a change to spend time with her boys, what can Bubby hope for? Despite all this, determined grandmothers have found ways to bond with their grandsons, from the very youngest, who admittedly are more available, all the way up to the yeshivah bachurim.

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Playing It Rough

Here’s a link to the article as it appeared in Hamodia, and the text of the article follows:

Playing_it_Rough.pdf

They called the game Lion. Or Tiger. Or Cheetah. The nuances between them were clear to the boys but lost on me. All I saw was an inordinate amount of pacing on couches and strategically placed chairs, periodically punctuated by charges, pounces and pummeling of rival cats or unsuspecting prey. They insisted that it was a game, that it was FUN, that everyone involved wanted to play, and that the victim would soon rise, of course, only to be attacked again. Not my idea of entertainment. Then my son went to play at a friend’s house. That night as I put him to bed we spoke about his day. “We played the best game at Mendy’s house!”* he said. “It’s called Moving Truck.’You open up the zipper on the blanket, and a few kids go inside. Then the other boy rolls everyone up inside the blanket, and he kicks you off the bed.” He laughed at the memory. “Wow! That was fun!”

“Oka-a-ay … And no one got hurt?”
“No, we were giggling the whole time.”

Well. At least the timing was right. With this article in the works, Mendy’s mother could expect my call.

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Follow that Siren

Here’s a link to the article as it appeared in Hamodia, and the text of the article follows:

Follow_that_Siren.pdf

This column needs a disclaimer. As I sent out an email to mothers of boys asking them to share their experiences with their boys and sirens, I wondered how it would be received. Sure enough, the responses were split 50-50. Half were enthusiastic, full of tales of boyish energy that ignites in response to a siren call. The other half reminded me of what we all know: In reality, sirens are serious business and really not anything to celebrate.I wavered a few moments, reconsidering, before I began to laugh.Who is responding to my query? Mothers!And that’s precisely why this is material that makes an article. Mothers know what sirens signify, and we take them seriously. Granted, toddlers imitating a siren are merely fascinated by that powerful sound, but surprisingly, older boys know what sirens signify, and yet they still find that sense of danger exhilarating. Es vet gornish helfen! They are boys, and this is how they are wired. A few years ago, our own home was consumed by a fire that the wind quickly blew over to the next two homes as well. Like a drawing in a picture book, the house was physically engulfed in flames that were shooting out of the windows and leaping over the rooftops. After taking refuge in our minivan from the chill, we soon transferred our family to a neighbor’s living room, partially to shield them from watching their house burn down.

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Up, Up and OUT

Here’s a link to the article as it appeared in Hamodia, and the text of the article follows:

UP_up_and_OUT.pdf

It all began with the guest who ran away. Our family was very excited when Uncle Mendy* came to visit. Two bachurim moved out of their room, happy to sleep on mattresses on the floor so Uncle Mendy would have the “guest room.” They kept the grumbling to a minimum when faced with the task of sorting their gazillion stacks of papers, each neatly folded in eight, so that Uncle Mendy would have a surface or two for his own stuff . They transferred their clothes to temporary quarters in other rooms, so as not to disturb Uncle Mendy in the mornings. They needn’t have bothered.
By morning, Uncle Mendy was gone.
We were close to calling 911 when he turned up, poking his head out of the neighbor’s basement, still somewhat bleary-eyed.

What happened?
Alarm clocks.

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When Morah is a Rebbi

Here’s a link to the article as it appeared in Hamodia, and the text of the article follows:

When_Morah_Is_A_Rebbi.pdf

When Morah is a Rebbi

In the K1 classroom on one side of the street, 4-year-old Zevy and his classmates stare wide-eyed at the real fish head while learning about the simanim of Rosh Hashanah. In the K2 classroom across the road, Shimmy and friends nudge closer to get a better look. They eagerly accept an invitation to feel the fish’s face, taking the opportunity to run adventurous fingers over its eyeball. No one takes up the offer to taste that jelly-like orb, but there is a horror in the very thought that thrills Shimmy deliciously.

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Boys Will Be Boys

Here’s a link to the article as it appeared in Hamodia, and the text of the article follows:

Boys-Will-Be-Boys.pdf

Boys Will Be Boys

By Beily Paluch

Mendy is just 11, but he draws great cartoons. With his parents’ encouragement, he now distributes an illustrated story to the boys in his class every Rosh Chodesh. Shimmy is fascinated by the camera he received for his birthday. His mother bought him a few props and lets him practice shooting his siblings as long as their patience allows. Sometimes she gives him permission to wake up early and capture a sunrise from the deck in their backyard.
These boys are having fun indulging in a hobby they enjoy. At the same time, whether they realize it or not, they are developing skills that can eventually help them earn a living.
As our society enables our sons to learn Torah for more years than ever before, these skills can prove invaluable when a yungerman finds himself ready to enter the workforce.

What would your son enjoy?

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Busy or Bust BACHURIM IN CAMP

Here’s a link to the article as it appeared in Hamodia, and the text of the article follows:

BachurimInCamp.pdf

Busy or Bust BACHURIM IN CAMP

By Beily Paluch

It was 2:00 a.m., deep into Friday night, and the singing in the kitchen was still going strong. Just about then, the men and boys exploded in a jubilant dance. Would the bungalow, precariously balanced on cinder blocks, withstand the exuberance?
It was hard to believe that the men and boys in the diverse crowd had never met before.
In fact, it all began with a camp game.
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Feed the Birds While They Fly

This post is so long overdue – I’ve been planning it since last Chol Hamoed!

If you haven’t been to the New York Aquarium recently, it’s worth a trip.  There was much damage from hurricane Sandy, so many exhibits are closed, but the sea lion show is so fantastic that it makes the trip worthwhile.  In fact, when we were there on Succos, we watched the show twice.

Of course, no trip to Coney Island is complete without a stroll along the boardwalk, and a detour to the beach.  One of the boys threw a crumb to a sea gull, and soon there were hordes of the white birds hovering around, clamoring for more.

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Diggerland USA

I had seen the ads for Diggerland several times.  The originality of the tractor theme appealed to me, but there were too many reasons not to go: I prefer to take my children to somewhere that is at least marginally educational, even if the extent of the education is to see a new corner of Hashem’s universe,  Diggerland is relatively expensive, and besides, it’s far.

So why did we finally go? Maybe it was the fact that our Pesach guests brought four more boys under age ten into the house – I knew we had to go somewhere that would be boy-heaven!  The fact that they had come from Israel also helped me look away from the high cost, as our guests wanted to experience America as fully as possible.

So, what’s the dig on Diggerland?  It was absolutely fantabulous!  Everyone had a grand time, from age 4 to 44!

What did we like?

1. You can see almost the whole place from just about anywhere.

During the first few minutes, I tried hard to keep everyone at my side, so I could keep track of where everyone was.  But after a while, I realized that due to brilliant planning, it really wasn’t necessary.  You can see almost the whole park from any spot, and it’s pretty easy to find your kids when you need them.  The rides in the center are adjacent to each other, take up less space and cutting down on the places where a person can get lost.  Also, all the rides in the middle are low to the ground, so nothing blocks your view.  The  taller rides are around the perimeter of the park.  There is just one ride that is entirely on the other side…not too bad for a theme park.

Of course, you can always ride the Sky Shuttle up into the sky for the best view!

2. There’s so much to do!  Tractors, tractors everywhere!

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