Saturday, November 7, 2009

Cat's Cradle

Click to enlarge
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We took the kids to a local pub a few weeks ago for an afternoon of family-friendly live blues. When Itai got tired of listening to the music he pulled out his cat's cradle string and tried (with little success) to interest one of us in playing with him. The woman at the next table took one look and literally jumped out of her chair to teach Itai her party trick - she had a way to do cat's cradle solo, with no partner, using her two hands and her teeth! As someone who never got past the basic steps myself I have to admit it was pretty cool and I love the sense of high drama in this image, you'd never imagine that she was talking about something as ordinary as cat's cradle.
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You can see here too, for better or for worse, how Israelis don't hesitate to jump into a stranger's life when they feel they've got something to say. Happily that day was one of the "for better" ones, and over the years I've developed a thick enough skin that there aren't too many of the "for worse" ones. (That and the fact that my kids aren't babies anymore - mothers of babies attract criticism like flames attract moths ("Put on his jacket, he's too cold! No, he's too hot, take it off! No, dress him in stripes, or plaid, or..."). The worst was the time some supposedly well meaning woman took a look at my infant's bright red face and informed me that I had let him get terribly sunburned. "Umm, no. Actually lady, he's pooping right at this very moment. Happy? Would you by chance like to hold him now?" On the other hand, there are moments like this. It's worth a thousand negative comments to get one morning like that one, and it's the reason I have been able to live here for twenty years without going mad.)
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13 comments:

Dina said...

Loved your Gulf War story.

Mama Pajama said...

me too : )

Mojo said...

Hey, she can pull my string any time.

That was wrong wasn't it?

I'd pay folding money to see the look on the "sunburn lady's" face when you told her what was really going on. Nice going Itai!

Kate Coveny Hood said...

I think the intrusion of strangers - especially when it came to my children - would drive me a little crazy. But it does help diffuse the situation when you think of it as a cultural thing and nothing personal... I never made it very far with Cat's Cradle, so I'd love to see that party trick.

Calico Crazy said...

I used to love Cat's Cradle as a kid; but like your son had a hard time getting people to play along. It would have been cool to be able to play by myself. ~ Calico Contemplations

Jill said...

The unsolicited advice nearly strangled me ... thank goodness I had somewhat thick skin or I never would have survived.

Oh the pubs... how I miss family friendly outings.

Carletta said...

Oh gosh - Cat's Cradle - haven't done it in years and I used to know how with the teeth.
What a wonderful story of the Gulf War. Eloquently told.

Commenter Abbi said...

Great pic and sounds like such a nice afternoon.

And i'm impressed that your son pulled out cat's cradle and not a gameboy!

Robin said...

I'm sure he would have pulled out a gameboy if his mean and rotten parents would only buy one for him LOL.

Josie Ray said...

It is amusing to hear how strangers approach you there. Here we often feel like we're invisible. No one even looks at you in the grocery store, gas station, etc. When we visit other states, it's such a strange feeling to have people look at you and comment on what you're wearing, a weird feeling like becoming visible again: "Hey, people can see me! I must be showing up again!"

Commenter Abbi said...

I'm sure he feels you're mean and rotten now, but in the future, he'll reflect on how cool you were for showing him the true gameboy-free path! ;)

Phyllis Sommer said...

ah....israel. love it:-)

Daryl said...

I never considered what it would be like to live with a gazillion Jewish mothers!