And there was the dinosaur food. Have you ever wondered what dinosaurs eat? Don’t bother me with tall tales about tree leaves or smaller dinosaurs. At that first night’s dinner I asked E if she wanted the meat the rest of us were going to have for dinner, or if she wanted chicken. I had some schnitzel in the fridge for her if she wanted it. She and her friend decided they both wanted chicken. Then E added, I want chicken NUGGETS! I told her this was the chicken we had. Schnitzel is a cutlet pounded very thinly and breaded, sort of like scallopini but with different spices. The friend’s dad held up a piece of schnitzel to the two kids that was probably 10 or 12 inches long. He said, “look!! It’s dinosaur nuggets!” And then both kids ate. And now E asks to eat dinosaur nuggets about five meals a day.
For the first time, we took the girls to our synagogue’s tashlich service. Tashlich is this really fun but strange little ceremony where you throw bread into a body of moving water while saying a few prayers. It is supposed to remove your sins: basically a colonic for your soul (how’s that for whimsy?). By the time we arrived the footbridge over the water was already very crowded so M and L hung back with the stroller and E and I climbed down the muddy riverbank until we were right at the creek’s edge. Families around us were throwing in bits of whole wheat or pumpernickel or ripped up chunks of hamburger buns; we had leftover pitas and E didn’t want to rip them, but rather throw them intact, Frisbee style.
It was nearly dusk and we were gathered with maybe 60 or 75 people at a creek in the middle of a national park. The air was dark and humid and filled with the sounds of insects. We were crouching in mud, and 20 feet above our heads the prayers were being chanted from the footbridge; the ram’s horns were being blown into the dim, into the din. It’s a solemn but hopeful moment. Against the praying and the shofar-blowing and the bewildered bicyclists yelling “on your left!” and the crickets, E yelled suddenly, Mama!! I think the ducks are gonna EAT my PANCAKES!