Thursday, December 15, 2005

Don't Step on That Nachas

(Thank You to SerandEz for putting together Haveil Havalim #49--the 1st Annivesary Edition)

From before the time my daughter was born, I decided that I was going to speak to my daughter in hebrew. I'm not completely sure why--it just seemed to make sense. I added it to the list of other (odd) strategies that I thought of.

For instance, we have friends who made Aliyah whose daughter--before she could walk--would get around the apartment without crawling. She would sit up and get around by pushing herself around while in a sitting position. I often wondered if there might be a way to utilize the energy created by the friction.

But there was another, more concrete benefit. My friend suggested that unlike children who crawl, his daughter had a different perspective of the world because she could really look around and see the world around her, instead of being forced to strain her neck to look up and around.

I thought there was something to that, so whenever I carried my daughter, instead of carrying her facing me, I carried her cradled in my arm in such a way that she would face in the direction we were walking--and I would talk to her (in hebrew) about everything and everyone we saw. At least that's my version of why I did that.

My wife doubts my motives, however, noting that I did not start doing this until after the first time my daughter spit up on me--she had projectile vomiting down to a science: for distance, accuracy...and volume. But that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Anyway, my daughter is now 6 years old, in first grade, and she has yet to ask me to stop speaking to her in hebrew. This is just as well, since it has led to some odd talks between us--3 of which I'd like to share with you.

The first one happened about 1 1/2 years ago in the car. My daughter was singing--we've never found out where the song is from--and came to the phrase "giving lots of nachas--Kibbud Av V'Aim". Out of curiousity, I asked her what "nachas" was. She replied that she didn't know. When I told her it meant 'pleasure', she replied, "No it doesn't--it means snake (nachash)."

This just goes to show how important it is to double check when you're talking to your daughter in hebrew. After all, the last thing I want is for her to think that there is some Mitzvah requiring her to bring snakes home; when I was a kid we had a cat that thought the same way about birds--a messy business.

A couple of months ago, I wanted to test my daughter on the Parsha. She did not know what the Parsha of the week was. It was Ki Tavo and I wanted to give her a hint, so I said "the Parsha is Ki Ta...." I expected her to say "Vo" Instead, she responded "Aleph", thinking I was trying to get her to say "kitah aleph'--'first grade' Maybe you just had to be there.

My daughter goes to a group that is having a recital. Apparently, as my daughter informed us, she is going to be a mime. Again, I was curious--and rarely learn from past experience--so I asked her what a 'mime' was. She replied 'water' (mayim). Which just goes to prove: don't drink the mime.

I just wanted to share this with you and hope you got a kick out of it.

May we all continue to shep nachas (and not nachash) from our children.

Good Shabbos

If you'd like to share in on some more Nachas, check out A Simple Jew, here and here.

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