Hey, Look at This! by Chaya Houpt

Hey, Look at This! by Chaya Houpt

I love this post because it is so true, and also because it gives such an accurate, delicious taste of motherhood Nachlaot-style. Check out my neighbor Chaya’s amazing blog (my favorite Mommy blog) All Victories
The afternoon walk home from gan. How I loathe it. Shuffling two preschoolers and a toddler the few short blocks to our home under the unforgiving midday sun seems to take forever. It’s right at B.A.’s naptime, so he’s cranky. But at least he’s in a stroller. The girls dawdle, insist on stopping to climb everything. And the hour grows later and the day gets hotter.

Last week, Y.B. just stopped and refused to walk. She was tired. It was hot. This wasn’t the first time one of them tried this. On this particular afternoon, I dug in my heels and found myself engaged in a game of chicken with a four-year-old.

She stood with her arms folded and her chin out, staring slightly off to the side of my face. I waited in the shade with the other children, narrowing my eyes at her. Who would cave first? Would I walk back to her and march her home, howling? Or would she get tired and run back to me?

I gave in. I clamped my hand around her shoulder and started for home, pushing B.A.’s stroller with my other hand. At least A.N. was just regular-slow today, not defiant-slow.

I was desperate for something that would motivate them to walk.

“Hey, look at this!” I exclaimed with forced cheer, gesturing to a target several feet in front of us. “Grape vines growing on a chain-link fence! Let’s see if the grapes are ripe yet.”

They ran (ran!) to the fence to check out the grapes, and I had found my solution. The rest of the walk home, we took turns finding things to remark on and point out to each other.

“Hey, look at this!”

“What?”

A flag in a window. Cherry tomatoes spoiling on the bottom of a bicycle’s basket. A dog on a roof. A mural. Our neighborhood is a sleepy, patched-together stone village in the midst of the city center. We found a wealth of delights.

Painting by Chana Helen (www.chanahelen.com)


The next morning, we strolled along in the early-day cool that makes a Jerusalem summer bearable, even delicious. We played the game with newly-woken eyes.

Plastic forks planted in a window box. A tractor. Bright-pink bougainvillaea. A man greeting the streetcats by a water cisterns.

Everything seemed to be appearing before us in that moment, the world created anew with all its details. We raced along. I dropped B.A. off at the babysitter, then said goodbye to the girls at gan—“Another hug! A pick-up hug! When your back feels better, I want a pick-up hug.”

I continued back home alone.

The municipal gardener singing as he pruned the hedges. Death announcements and daycare advertisements pasted to a building’s side. Pinecones hanging from a balcony. Mothers and children pushing their way to school as the day heated up.

Hey, look at this. Look at this.

Photo courtesy of Flickr.com use Zeeweez

Visit artist Chana Helen’s facebook page

Related posts:

Dear Rebbetzin Heller: Am I Allowed to Be a Happy Older Single?
How 1 Mother Cared for 20 Children and Herself as Well as told to C. Saphir
My Big Head

2 comments

  1. B”H I love this article! It expresses in writing what I try to express through my art. I feel privileged for my art to be shown alongside the words. Thank you!

  2. love this watercolor…………….

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