Monday, April 29, 2024

Random stories

Last night Phoebe came upstairs at bedtime and heard crickets singing through the open window. She was so excited she started screaming and running around. It took me several minutes to catch her and calm her down enough to discover what it was she was carrying on about. 

She wanted to (1) climb up to the window so she could listen to and look for the crickets, (2) to open all the windows, and (3) to go for a walk to see what's special at night. 

That last one I partly credit Daniel Tiger for, though we typically do a lot of nighttime walks once the fireflies come well as in the winter when it gets dark earlier.


I feel like singing time is going so much better. I've really only done it a handful of times because I got called in March and did two weeks of singing time...and then we had Easter and General Conference and Ward Conference right in a row...and then I've done two more weeks. And...things are going better. 

I've been making Google Slides presentations rather than little posters to hold up. Checking the television out of the library every week is a little annoying but, honestly, I'm such a disorganized person that it's far better for me to just have all my Google Slides in one location than it would be for me to make a bunch of papers for me to keep track of. 

Of course, this means I have to remember my computer and various cords to connect everything...and so I have to keep track of all of those things. So I guess the idea of it being a convenience is a toss up. 

And then today I forgot The Church Bag, which was certainly not convenient. 

The Church Bag is filled with all sorts of quiet, captivating activities for toddlers and beyond. We've got busy books! We've got felt boards! We've got doodle pads! We've got lacing toys! We've got little puzzles! We've got good ol' fashioned crayons and notebooks! 

And I forgot the whole darn thing!

So before we went into the chapel I let myself into the library to borrow a pack of crayons and a few pieces of paper. Phoebe and Alexander were content to colour through most of sacrament meeting (though Phoebe also went to sit on Daddy's lap for a few minutes to colour on some iPad app). 

I don't think I'll be forgetting that bag again in a hurry, though. 

After sacrament meeting, Phoebe and I went to the library to return the crayons and check out a television cart. We wheeled it into the primary room and then went out to the car to get some props.

Today we were singing/learning Have I Done Any Good and since we were also learning about King Benjamin (Mosiah 2), I'd brought along a little puppet to be King Benjamin, as well as a stack of boxes to build a tower for King Benjamin to preach from. Each box had one of the questions from Have I Done Any Good on it and the kids had to listen to the song and stack them up in the correct order. 

Zoë said I was an excellent puppeteer, so that was nice to hear!

(Zoë is full of compliments lately. The other day I was dancing samba with Phoebe in the living room, as one does, and Zoë noticed my superb hip action and said, "Mom! That's amazing! How do you do that?! Your top half is so still you could just be standing there reading a book, but your bottom half is really dancing!" Looks like we'll have to have some samba lessons in the future.)

I was less excellent at the technology part today. I even texted Andrew to say that I couldn't get the TV to work, but figured out the problem before he arrived to help (thank goodness, because he really would have laughed if he had gotten to the root of the problem himself).

The issue was that I just couldn't get the television to turn on! I tried the remote, but apparently it was out of batteries or something. And I couldn't find a power button on the actual television. 

The solution I came up with was simple: I wheeled that television back to the library and checked out a different one. 

It felt very similar to how I recently fixed Alexander's bike...

On my way back to the primary room I was thinking about all the steps to

I needed the HDMI cable to connect from the TV to my computer, but my computer also needed the HDMI adapter. I had all that set up and ready to go. And then I need to turn on the TV and—if needed—give permission for my screen to share. 

So simple! So easy! So routine!

What had I done wrong?

Then it dawned on me.


I had only forgotten to plug that first television in, that's all...

I was sure to plug to second television in and everything worked just fine after that.

Andrew arrived to help just as I plugged in my laptop and the television flickered to life, so I gave him a thumb's up (very grateful he didn't have to witness my egregious display of user error).


This evening Andrew and I sat down with Rachel and Miriam to watch an episode (or two) of Ghosts (the American version). We haven't watched any episodes for quite some time because, well, the girls were in Europe. But they're home now, and in an effort to get over their jet lag they wanted to stay up a little later than they did the night before so that they'd maybe sleep in a little longer in the morning.

We were caught a little off guard by some commercials sponsored by the State of Israel that kids this days might propaganda. 

Now, I am happy to say that I condemn the October 7th attack. That day was a dark and horrible day. And I don't think holding people hostage is right. And I want everyone in the world—Jewish or otherwise—to feel safe going about their day to day life. 

But that's just the thing: my everyone includes Palestinians.

I want Palestinians to feel safe going about their day to day life as well. 

And the way I see things (today, as well as 18 years ago when we moved to Jordan, as well as when I rifle through history books), one side is suffering a whole lot more than the other side. 

Deep down I don't want either side to suffer. 

But, like, the other day Alexander insisted on picking up Phoebe after she asked him not to pick her up and after I asked him not to pick her up and he ended up dropping her and she hit her head on the open dishwasher door. She got up and yelled, "Me so mad! Alexei! Me hit you!"

And she did hit him. 

And he screamed, "She hit me!"

And I was like, "My dude...I can't say that her hitting you was right...but I'm also not going to get her in trouble for that."

It's not like she can really hurt him. She's not a nuclear power with billions of dollars in foreign military aid. She's a toddler.

Hitting him was wrong, but...also...the person who was in trouble was him. He's the bigger power, and he clearly did her more harm (after being told multiple times to give her some personal space). So, yeah...

Anyway, we were watching this bit of propaganda absolutely slack-jawed, and the closing words popped onto the screen: Let our people go!*

"Are they seriously quoting from Prince of Egypt?" Rachel asked. 

"Or...the bible..." Andrew hinted. 

"Wait, what?" Rachel said. "That phrase isn't just from the movie?"

"It's absolutely from the bible," I said. 

"No!" Rachel gasped. "I thought it was a catchy line the movie writers came up with. Like, I know it's from the bible, but I thought perhaps they were paraphrasing something..."

We laughed so hard for so long. We laughed all through the next commercial (which was simply commercial propaganda and not, like, ideology propaganda) and then had to pause our show because we were still laughing.

Prince of Egypt has been one of Rachel's favourite movies for ages. She knows it forwards and backwards and I thought we did an adequate job of helping her connect the film to the actual account in the scriptures, but apparently our efforts were lacking. 

Rachel used jet lag as her excuse.

* For a more moderate plea, Rabbi Aviva Richman recently called on her fellow Jews to "insist on Purim as a sobering reckoning with both Jewish vulnerability to violence, and the full impact of Jewish use of force." She notes that "existential fear and distress about killing others need not cancel each other out. On the contrary, these fears together should strengthen us to act responsibly." 

The current actions of Israel are neither responsible nor honourable. The October 7th attacks were irresponsible and dishonourable. To borrow Richman's words, I believe "we can hold onto both of these truths at once."

When we look at which people truly need to be "let go" of today... When we try to see which group of people is in the grip of daily terror... When we ponder which group might be afraid to go to school and which group can't go to school because schools no longer exist... Well...I can only come to one conclusion. I've come to the same conclusion over and over and over...

It may just be time for Israel to listen. 

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