My friend Shana had a baby, one more in a long line of boys. What could I do to help? I’m usually game to send a supper, or just cake or kugel, but Shana is a WAY bigger balabuste than I am, and I knew her freezer was stacked with everything she needed for Yom Tov, prepared way in advance. My nearly-perfect-if-you-only-look-from-this-side bundt would just become a logistical problem for her as she would need to find a place to put it.
So instead, I called to offer to take some of her boys out a bit, as they’re the same ages as my own boys, and we’re the nutty family who goes on trips the day before Yom Tov. To my surprise, she didn’t jump at the offer.
“They’re way too busy. All my boys are busy helping. I promised them that whoever does their jobs will be allowed to wash the floor!”
Really now! You see what I mean…In a house where the kids do chores for the privilege of doing other chores, they don’t need my potato kugel.
So you can fool some of the boys some of the time.
Actually, I’ve been playing the same game in my sukkah for years. You know how it is in a sukkah, not enough chairs, fitting a crowd miraculously into a small space. Once, many years ago, to accommodate an overflow crowd, we brought in a small bar stool as an extra seat. Anticipating frowns from the kids, we ceremoniously plunked the stool near my husband and dubbed it The Ushpizen Chair, reserving it exclusively for the child whose Ushpizen falls on that day. (With a little creativity, every boy is assigned an Ushpizen…Yisroel works for Yaakov, Pinchas (the Kohein) gets Aharon’s Ushpizen, and Shlomo gets Shemini Atzeres). Even in our much larger sukkah, it remains the most coveted chair until this very day.
Believe it or not, another friend gets her kids to eat their vegetables by declaring them ‘Mommy’s special diet food’, and no one can have any until they’ve finished their own meal!
I’ve been wondering if I can apply the ‘Ushpizen Chair Effect’ anywhere else in my life…and of course, if you’ve been fooling some of the boys some of the time, I’d love to hear about it!