It’s that time again, Israel’s children are on vacation for the next two months, and Israel’s parents have a double workload. Everywhere you see bored children hanging around in shops and offices who had to be taken to work by their parents, while other parents spend the last of their savings to put their little ones in summer camps.
My family belongs to the second group, except that we don’t have any savings because of the long summer vacation. So our summer camps are funded by our bank, and even if that isn’t exactly financially wise, it is necessary for our mental health.
This already heated situation is fueled by the fact that it is unbearably hot in summer. The sun does not set until after 7 pm and that’s when our little girls go to bed. But children of ‘real’ Israeli parents apparently don’t go to sleep until much later, because I can sometimes hear them yelling on the street until late at night. I don’t know how their parents can take it, my children get very cranky in the evenings, they argue, scream, cry and I can’t get them to bed fast enough.
Of course, you can also use this time to improve your relationship with the children. I have read that a father should do something with his daughters individually to show them his love and to increase their self-confidence. So I’ll go out to eat ice cream with Sarah, Racheli and Naomi and “connect” with them. This is also very nice for me, because one child alone is much easier to cope with than all three together. We sit in peace in the café, eat the ice cream and chat. Once I did this with all three of them and learned my lesson in a painful way. It went something like this:
“Sarah, which ice cream would you like?” I asked the largest of the three.
“Hm,” was her answer, while she looked intently at the selection of ice creams.
“I don’t know which one to choose!”
“Racheli, what ice cream do you want?”
“Which one does Sarah take?”
“I don’t know, which one do you want?!”
“Naomi, which one … where is Naomi??”
Sarah and Racheli didn’t respond to my question, they just stared spellbound at the many colors in front of them. I ran out of the café and called for Naomi, who was sitting on a unicorn and waving to me.
“Papa, I want this!” she called out to me.
Relieved, I threw five shekels into the slot and the metal unicorn began to rock.
“Come back inside when you’re done with the unicorn,” I said to Naomi, who seemed to be having a lot of fun.
Back at the café, Sarah and Racheli still hadn’t made up their minds.
“Ok, if you can’t decide, I’ll choose chocolate for you!”
“Dad, I want to do it again!” said Naomi, who suddenly appeared next to me.
“How, already done? It didn’t even last a full minute!”
“I want to go on the unicorn too!” Sarah yelled.
“Me too!” shouted Racheli.
“There is no longer a unicorn, the unicorn is a cheat!” I declared, annoyed. “Can you choose an ice cream now, or should we just go home?”
We had now spent almost half an hour in the café and achieved nothing, except to shorten my life by a few years.
“I want the pink ice cream!” shouted Sarah.
“Me too!” Racheli shouted
“Me too,” cried Naomi.
Relieved, I ordered three pink ice creams and forgot to order one for myself. That didn’t matter, however, because the girls didn’t like the pink ice cream and I had to eat all three servings myself.
As a consolation for the disappointing ice cream, I had to send the three of them to the unicorn, but this time I did not allow myself to be taken advantage of. I squeezed all three onto the poor animal’s back at the same time. I tossed five shekels into the slot, ate my three servings of pink ice cream, which had no recognizable flavor, and watched the unicorn puff under the weight of the three girls.