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Jan 10 2011

Two Sick Kids, Nine Guests…Dayenu!

By at 10:02 am

I know it’s a little early for Passover, but my 2.5 year old has been crooning that Passover fave, “Dayenu” (literally, “it would have been enough”) along with his CD every day on his way to nursery school.

While he really doesn’t understand the deeper meaning of the song (being grateful and satisfied for every stage of redemption “that God took us out of Egypt, Dayenu”, “that God gave us the Torah, Dayenu”) hearing it again and again made me think about another meaning of the word as a mother of two children under the age of 3.

And the scenario this past Friday night really brought it home.

My husband, a rabbi, went off to synagogue to lead Friday night services. I put Tamir down to sleep a little early so that I could prep the house (and the meal) for nine congregants coming over for Shabbat dinner. Yael, my 12-week-old was fast asleep in her chair (did I mention that she is recovering from pneumonia? a diagnosis we gleaned only after a week filled with doctors visits, blood tests, and a spinal tap) and the guests were expected at 8 pm.

I was at the 7:45pm mark, with 15 minutes left to do the quick sweep of the house to make sure that everything was in order, thereby giving the (false) impression of “I got it all together” when the following things conspired against me:

  1. Tamir started screaming, (he had a fever and an earache, and refused to take medicine)
  2. Yael woke up and started to howl her hoarse pneumonia induced cry (it was time for her to nurse)
  3. A migraine started to creep up on me (a hormonal “bonus” after my second delivery)
  4. My husband arrived home, covered in snow (he had walked home from synagogue.)

And only moments later… Nine guests walked through my front door.

Trying to maintain an air of ease and grace is not easy with little kids at home. When one of our guests said “why didn’t you just cancel?” I explained to her that I want to believe that I can still do all of the things that were easy for me to do without kids, or even with just one.

But having two children under 3, especially when both are sick, is a whole new calculus. And for now, I think I am going to need to sing my own version of “Dayenu” Sometimes, you have to pare down and anything else, is just too much.

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3 Responses to Two Sick Kids, Nine Guests…Dayenu!

  1. Morgan says:

    So glad to hear I am not the only one trying to keep it all together. I make a plan and when I think I may be in the clear…dinner almost finished, the table is set, kids dressed…four month old who was in the hospital the week before is crying non stop, my two year old decides that the house should look like it threw up on itself for our guests. Tornado, toys every where, two kids crying, have to sit down and nurse, no sleep the night before for mom and baby…resulting in mom crying, two kids crying and high cortisol levels. So close to the finish line and now I am forced to sit out and look around at the disaster my house has become. I desperately try to get dinner finished and end up throwing the rest of it together…mid meal I realize I forgot the garlic in the soup, I forgot to serve the salad and the rice was really over cooked. Oh well…maybe I can be the Jewish Martha Stewart when my kids are older. :)

  2. gaby says:

    go dasee!!!!!

    (& ill meet you on a cruise with our feet up & a cocktail when they have all gone to college)

    missing you! & mazal tov!

    Gaby (current mother of 4 under 7, 2 of whom were in the emergency room this week, including baby Hallel!!!! sooooo empathising!)

  3. Shaun says:

    Well stated. Having a young child in my house who has never consistently slept through the night, I couldn’t help but laugh at the image of everything going wrong all-at-once.


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