Tag Archive | Preschool

1000 Pieces

Last year, Shlomo’s ganenet expressed concern that he was not yet doing 24 piece puzzles independently.  I didn’t think it was a result of anything except a lack of interest (Why should I bother working hard?  It’s not that interesting . . .), but I agreed with her that it was probably worth checking out.

A few months after that, Shlomo, who up until then hadn’t been interested in puzzles for more than five minutes at a time, suddenly discovered a whole new challenge.  He took out the puzzles that we had, and started working on them, alone and with us.  I even tricked him into putting together 12 of the matching-set things, that are two pieces each.  I had to help him and encourage him a bit, but most of them he did on his own.

From there it continued, on and off, until at some point a few months ago, I realized we needed harder puzzles.  We had a 24 piece and a forty-eight piece.  I looked into getting a few 100-piece puzzles, and when Mom asked if there was anything I thought Shlomo would enjoy or want, I told her to get a couple 100-piece puzzles.  She was surprised, to say the least, and said that in her opinion, 100 pieces was too much, and we should stick with 48.  I said yes, 48 is a bit of a challenge, and 100 will definitely be tough at first, but in a couple of months 48 would be easy and the 100 would be doable, independently.  She shrugged, and bought 100 pieces.

And . . .  Shlomo does them, sometimes with help, and sometimes almost by himself.  They are a challenge, but they are a challenge on his level.  And Yitzchak and I rediscovered our own love for puzzles.  The first few nights, after Shlomo went to bed, we took out his puzzles and did them together, challenging ourselves and each other to go as fast as possible and to see who could do the most pieces.

Which is when we got the idea to buy ourselves a nice, grown-up puzzle of 1000 pieces.  I went online and found Puzzleland, and we went through the grueling process of deciding which puzzles we actually liked, and then each of us ranked them from 1 to 10, and Yitzchak assigned points to each number, which were then added up so that each puzzle had a number of points that reflected its standing on both of our lists.

We ended up with my number 1 being his number four, my number 2 being his number five, and vice versa, with our number threes the same (I think).  In the end, we decided on a ship at sea (his #1, my #4), but also decided to go to the store (despite the risk of it not being in stock), instead of ordering online.

Well, it turned out that the store near us didn’t have the ship puzzle in stock.  But, they did have the hot air balloons (my #1, his #4), and so we ended up getting that one instead.


And while I was checking out, they told me that they were having a sale, and I could get a second product at half price.  At first, I wasn’t going to go for it, because we hadn’t budgeted it in.  But when they suggested a roll-up puzzle mat, I decided to go for it.  Hey, it is an investment, right?


Actually, what really prompted this purchase, besides for our love of puzzles (which maybe would have been content to wait until we had a little more money) was the fact that we can never find a babysitter, and don’t live near family . . . which means we almost never get time just to ourselves, that isn’t dominated by household tasks.  And honestly, a cup of tea with a piecec of cake doesn’t give us a long enough distraction from chores, so that we can just sit and talk.

So the puzzle was a way to give us “date” time, and honestly, since it is reusable and doesn’t cost us the time and energy needed to find a babysitter; the stress of getting out at the end of the day, when everything is hectic and all we want to do is sit at home; and wondering how our kids are doing (and if the babysitter could actually get them to the bomb shelter within 90 seconds, if there were a rocket attack);  it’s a pretty good deal.

We did a lot on Thursday night (more than we had planned to do, and therefore went to bed later than we had planned to do), and then took it out for a few minutes on Friday afternoon.  That was a mistake, because Shlomo wanted to help, and got frustrated and slightly careless.  So the new rule is: We take out our puzzle only when Shlomo (and Tova) are sleeping.  Except that today, we broke the rule: We wanted Shlomo to nap, and Shlomo wanted to help with the puzzle.  So we made a deal; he helped with the puzzle (he chose to do some of the grass), and then he went to sleep . . . and we finished the puzzle.

Was it a waste of money?  We don’t think so, but only time will tell.  I do think that we made a mistake by allowing all the toys in this house to be Shlomo’s (or, children’s) until now.  Now Shlomo has to digest the idea of Ima and Abba having toys that aren’t for children.  We probably should’ve done this sooner, if only for the educational value.  But I guess we’ll see.

Now the question is, do we buy a second puzzle (and alternate), or do we just do this one over again?

Potty Training, Round 2: Failed

Remember when we tried the 3-day method?  Then, we gave up after two days, since it was obvious that Shlomo understood what he was supposed to do, but didn’t seem interested in doing it.  We gave up after a discussion with Yitzchak’s mother, who didn’t hold too much hope, since she’d trained two like this herself (one, of course, was Yitzchak).

no potty, potty training, refusal to potty train, potty, toilet, training, pee on the potty, poop on the pottyThe ganenet (preschool teacher) trains the kids in twos, the older ones and more ready ones first.  Shlomo is one of the oldest kids in the gan, and I knew that she was planning to start right after the holidays.  In other words, when she told us last Wednesday that we should bring Shlomo in underwear, I was already expecting it.  She told us to put him on the potty every ten minutes, and not to ask if he had to go, since he’ll just say no, just put him on the potty every ten minutes and make a big deal of it when he goes.  I saw no reason not to go with her method, since ours hadn’t worked, and figured that maybe this time, because it’s both at gan (which he loves, and has a potty-training partner) and at home, maybe it would work.

Thursday morning I brought him in a diaper and she changed him into underwear at the gan, in front of all the kids, while praising him.  He let her put underwear on him, but as I walked out I saw his face.  It said, “Uh-oh.  I don’t think I like this idea.”  Mind you, on Wednesday afternoon, when I came to pick Shlomo up and got the details of the plan from the ganenet, I had said, “You want to go on the potty like a big boy?  And wear underwear?  You’re going to be so big!”  And Shlomo said, “Uh (his version of uh-uh).”  I tried again, “Right there are other kids who also go on the potty?  And you’re going to make pee-pee in the toilet just like Abba?  What a big boy you’ll be!”  And he said, “Uh.”  The ganenet and I just looked at each other and she said, “He’s already big, just bring him in underwear and he’ll learn.”  I told her that he knew, but refused, and she just said we’ll train him and he’ll be fine.

Well, I’m not going to argue with an experienced ganenet who’s been doing this for thirty years, and has grandkids herself, right?  After all, even if I helped potty-train my siblings, I’m still a young parent who’s trying to train her first kid.  And hey, if this works it’ll be worth it, right?

Thursday: One in the potty and one in his pants.  He woke up from the afternoon nap dry, and the ganenet is in shock that he can hold his pee that long.  At home he went once in his pants and twice (big pees, too) in the potty.

Friday: In the morning before we left he made a big pee in the potty.  These big pee-pees give me hope, because last time we did this, we only got little drops.  Now, it actually looks like he peed everything into the potty; maybe he’s willing to work with us, after all.  At gan he doesn’t go at all – not in his pants and not in the potty.  I pick him up at 12:00, because it’s Friday.  The ganenet says, “He just holds it in, he doesn’t want to go.  He definitely has his own opinions.”  Yep, he does.  We sit him on the toilet, and he goes again.  He wakes up dry after his nap (which was pretty long).  Then three pee-pees in his pants, one of them with poop, too (obviously, right after Yitzchak left for shul (synagogue).

Shabbat: Twice he made teeny drops of pee in the potty, probably just to get us off his back.  Three poops and two pees in his underwear.

Sunday: Two pee-pees in his pants at gan.  At home, once a little pee in the potty that continued even after he got dressed again, and one pee-pee just in his pants.  He ran away from the door to gan in the morning and ran away from the door to the house in the afternoon.  Both, presumably, because he knew he’d be put on the potty when he came in.  Big temper tantrum when we tried to put him on the potty.  Eventually he calmed down when we gave him his awful butterfly.  When I drop Shlomo off in the morning I speak to the ganenet.  I tell her what happened on Friday and Shabbat, and she just says, “Oy yoy yoy,” and sighs.  Then she says it’s easier to train them at age two, and now it’s a little later so it’s harder.  I remind her that we’ve tried to train him already and tell her that we did that at two years and a month or so.  She asks if I want to give up.  I say no, he’s big enough, he needs to be trained.  On the way back from dropping Shlomo off at gan, I remember that my youngest brother also refused to train, until he was almost three and my mother forced him.  Great.  He gets it from both sides.  Is this like teething, where late gene + late gene = super-late gene?  I hope not.

Monday: One pee-pee on the floor when we were getting dressed, right after he insisted on getting off the potty.  To his credit, there is also some pee in the potty.  (I tell Yitzchak that we’re saving the pee till the afternoon because I forgot to make a fuss about it and let him flush the toilet.  Ew, but whatever.)  One more little drop while we were heading out the door (didn’t change him, though).  Three pee-pees in his pants at gan.  One pee-pee in his pants at home.  Again, temper tantrum when we tried to put him on the toilet.  This time, lasting longer and only stopping right before I got home.  Eventually he agreed to sit on the potty and play with his awful butterfly (which is his official potty-training toy).

Tuesday: No pee in the potty this morning,  but none on the floor, either.  The whole walk to gan I tell him, like I did on Sunday and less so yesterday, that he needs to go in the toilet for the ganenet and not in his pants.  That what the ganenet says, goes (just like you can’t ignore her and pretend you don’t know Hebrew).  Yitzchak picks Shlomo up at a quarter to four and calls me: The ganenet said to just give him back his diaper, he’s not interested.  I wonder what she thinks about all this . . .

Does He Know Hebrew?

hebrew, english, translator, hebrew letters, english letters, hebrew speaking kids, english speaking kdis, bilingual

This year, Shlomo is going to preschool.  Why?  Well, because towards the end of this past school year, I started seeing signs that he was ready.  I can’t exactly explain it, but the signs were there, and I knew that I had to find him something for next year.  The question was only what, and how many days/hours per week.  And obviously, if he needs to be in preschool, I’m not going to stay home by myself, right?

In the end, we found a great preschool (gan), except that it’s from 7:30 until 4:00 (except on Friday, when they end at 12:00).  Not my dream; I would have preferred shorter days.  On the other hand, until I had my schedule in hand, knowing where he’s be until 4 was a good thing.  (As it turns out, they take a nap from 1:15 until 3:00, then they wake up, have a snack, and it’s pick-up time.  So I guess there’s no real difference between a gan that ends at one and his gan.)

The gan is great.  The ganenet (preschool teacher) is wonderful.  He loves going, he loves to be there, and he’s not usually in a rush to come home – first he has to finish what he’s playing with.  The ganenet loves him.  He has a slight issue parting from us in the morning, but apparently, the minute we walk out the door, he’s happy again.  All is good, thank G-d.

Yesterday, the ganenet told Yitzchak that he doesn’t understand the word, “ba,” (came).  When Yitzchak told me this, I scoffed at him – Shlomo has told me a few times, “bo’oo,” (come, in plural) and patted the floor.  I wasn’t sure if Shlomo understood that “bo” and “come” were synonyms, but he definitely knew the word.  Of course, Yitzchak was surprised.

Also yesterday, Shlomo told me, “shan, shan.”  It took me a few minutes to figure out what he wanted, and then I understood.  “Lishon,” to sleep.  Or at least, I thought I understood.  I decided to find out if I was right.

“Atah rotzeh lishon (do you want to sleep)?” I asked.

“Yeah?” he answered.

“You want to go to sleep?”


“Az im atah rotzeh lishon telech l’mitah shelcha v’neileich lishon (so if you want to go to sleep, go to your bed and we’ll go to sleep),” I said.

He gets up and starts walking towards his bed; when he gets there, he points in – pick me up and put me in my bed.

Oops, Shlomo, you’re caught red-handed.  You don’t know Hebrew?  Umm, I think you were ignoring the ganenet, who is nice and wants to make sure that if you’re having a hard time, we get you some help right away.  I gave Shlomo a talk about listening to the ganenet.  Then Yitzchak called, I told him the story, and he told me to tell Shlomo that he’d be in trouble if that happened again.  I relayed the message and Shlomo’s face suddenly got really serious.

Today, Yitzchak took Shlomo to gan.  He told the ganenet that Shlomo was ignoring her, and gave Shlomo another speech.  When Yitzchak came to pick Shlomo up in the afternoon, the ganenet told him that she’d spoken to him in Hebrew, all day, with her hands behind her back (so she wouldn’t give him any clues), and that he did everything she told him.  She was pretty surprised that he knew Hebrew this well, and even more surprised to hear that Shlomo has been using the word, “bo,” at home.  Then Yitzchak told Shlomo in Hebrew to come to him, and then to bring his backpack.  Shlomo looked at him, thought for a second, and listened.

People used to tell us that Shlomo doesn’t know Hebrew (and won’t) because we speak English at home.  Honestly, I wonder which language Shlomo understands better – English or Hebrew (and I’ve wondered that for a while).