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Archive for October, 2013

Call me the Hunter

posted by BatSheva Vaknin 9:15 AM
Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Call me the hunter. That’s my name. Pretty young thing like you is my only game…

Yes, innocent fly who swarmed with your friends into my house last week. I AM talking to you.

You too, gross little spider who is probably harmless but who nonetheless is a SPIDER and therefore posing a possible threat to my babies and therefore must be taken down.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Not you, reader! You don’t need scared!

Unless you are a spider. Or a fly.

My husband, a big, tough construction worker, will not hurt a fly.


I’m like, “Honey, there’s a really annoying fly buzzing around our food!” and he’ll be like, “—” which means he isn’t answering me because he’s trying not to engage, and then I’ll be like, “HONEY, THERE ARE TWO OF THEM, GET RID OF THEM!” and then he’ll be like – not walking over to take the fly swatter which is what – Hello!?! – I would obviously do! – but instead, he will finally get up if I don’t back down, and then he’ll wave his arms wildly and take like 10 minutes of his time to ‘air traffic control’ the fly out of the dining room, which means waving his arms at the fly so it will sort of realize it can no longer land peacefully onto our salad and ultimately it will figure it may as well fly away from the crazy man instead of towards him, flying into the kitchen, then into the laundry room where my husband has thoughtfully pre-shut the door to the bathroom, so the fly will have nowhere to run once it’s been cajoled into entering that area and then finally my husband will open the door to our back yard and USUALLY (but by no means always), by that point one or maybe even both of the pesky flies will fly out the door.

At which point, the flies will lurk outside until one of my kids forgets to close the door behind him/her (ie- every other time they run outside to play) and then the flies will swiftly re-enter, having no reason to fear the kind, funny man with the helicopter arms who lives inside.

I prefer a swift SLAP of the swatter.


Crushed fly – wings broken at 90 degree angles and creepy yellow eyeballs popping out and through the mesh of the swatter.

Spiders meet a similar fate (with my husband – scooped up live and wriggling into a cup and chucked outside; with me – crushed to an unrecognizable pulp and thrown into the trash). I don’t kill Daddy Longlegs (usually), but that’s about the only spider breed I know to be harmless, so I don’t take a chance on letting any of the others survive.

Once, a Black Widow climbed up the front of my daughter Esther’s dress. She screamed as we shook it out, and sure enough, it was shiny black and had the Window’s trademark red hourglass on its belly.

Horrifying, right??

Miraculously, the spider didn’t bite her – I guess she was just visiting, checking out the territory. But I think back to that day every time I see a spider in the house and I get a small spike of pleasure as, heart racing, I crush it to a pulp, envisioning the time in the future when this spider will NEVER be able to hurt one of my innocent unsuspecting children.

I know flies don’t bite, at least, I think they don’t. Do they? Regardless, I just think they are dirty and nasty and annoying. I enjoy walking around the house with the swatter, whistling the Dirty Harry tune as I stalk them. Though truth be told, my aim is crazy bad, and more often than not, I have to enlist my nanny Claudia to take them out because she is a crack fly killer of the first degree.

Whatever it takes…


Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

I found this actual, live (well, dead, but at one point he was alive) spider caught in my fake Halloween decoration web yesterday. MWAHH-HA-HA-HAAAAAAAA.....

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Flashback Friday! (Dear Body – An Apology)

posted by BatSheva Vaknin 9:05 AM
Friday, October 25, 2013

Most Fridays, I post an oldie but a goodie blog for your enjoyment. To those of you who just started reading The Grownup Girl recently, enjoy the “new” blog! To those of you who have been with me from the start, but have memories like mine, enjoy the “new” blog!

And to those who were with me from the start and who already read this blog and burned it into your memory, word for word, photogenically, I say:

What are you doing wasting your time dilly-dallying on my website? Get out there and find me a book deal!

Dear (my) Body,

How are you?

Listen, I’m going to cut to the chase. I’m sorry. I’m sorry I was so insensitive to you for all these years. Throwing junk food and sugar into you, diet sodas and pizza, cookies and cake. (Though, to be fair, you kind of tricked me into thinking that’s what you wanted.)

Worse than the food, though, I’m sorry I smoked pot – occasionally – for years.  Yeah, I know I haven’t done it for years, but still, I’m especially sorry since I’ve learned from my chiro-healer guy that pot is horrible for the body, that it targets each person’s weak points and makes them weaker, and that it even causes mold to grow on the brain – I mean, EW! MOLD???!!  That is SO GROSS!!! I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry! I didn’t know!

While I’m at it, I’m also sorry I put cocaine into you a few times, and ecstasy too.

So… now that we’ve got all that out of the way…

Can you do me a favor? I mean, you know, after you forgive me, and everything. Here goes: Can you please suck back in my stomach? I’m doing Pilates, I’m working out, I’m eating healthily… I KNOW I KNOW, I had some kids. So what!?




Thanks. Bye.


Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

That SO could be me, Body! Come on, hook a sister up!!

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Rock A Bye Baby

posted by BatSheva Vaknin 1:42 PM
Monday, October 21, 2013

Rock-a-bye colicky baby on the treetops

When the wind blows, you’ll spit up a lot

When the bow breaks, your cradle may fall

But you won’t stop crying, no not at all.


I’m exaggerating. He does stop crying! He often laughs and coos and plays. And then cries again. Especially if I try to get him to sleep before midnight. On average, by midnight, (more or less), he will finally fall into a deep sleep which may last 3 or so hours, at which point I’m usually able to take him into bed with me to nurse/sleep for the next 3 or so hours.


Some nights I have to get up and burp him and walk him around before he’ll fall back to sleep.

Some of his ‘late night partying’ is not just colic-induced – it’s also apparently just his regular “night owl” inner clock.  He kicked me awake every single night of my pregnancy with him, from around 8pm until 2am. When I asked the doctor if that meant the baby would be awake during those hours once he was out of the womb, he laughed and said he had never heard of any studies done on that subject.

Well, Doc? Here’s your 1st subject for this new groundbreaking study Sure enough, unlike my other 3 kids, David NEVER gets super sleepy in the evenings. This seems to be his party time.

And as always, how fun that party is much depends on the status of his little colicky stomach.

He’s 5 months now… And the colic is MUUUUCHHHHH better than it used to be. But it’s by no means gone.

We had a “pro” babysitter over the other night – I pumped for the first time since giving birth, preparing all week to be sure he liked the bottle (he did) and to be secure in the fact that the babysitter would be able to handle him while we went to the party.

She wasn’t.

She THOUGHT she was prepared! She reassured me, “Don’t worry! I know babies!” when I tried to show her how David likes to be swaddled and patted (very hard on the back) and comforted and put to sleep (stroller, not crib).

Barely two hours into the party, I received a frantic text.



On our way home, racing up the 405, we got pulled over for speeding and the officer made my husband take like 27 sobriety tests by the side of the road until finally he made him blow into a breathalyzer and – Ta-da! – not over the legal limit.

So why did they bother with the 27 sobriety tests and not just skip straight to the breathalyzer?

Maybe they had it in for our poor babysitter.

At least the cop felt badly enough that he didn’t even issue us the speeding ticket.

When we got home and I took David from the sitter, he immediately started smiling and flirting with her.

No one ever said he couldn’t turn on the charm.

Now, if we can all please just say a little prayer to the colic fairy and ask her to take away those nasty gas bubbles and let little David get super sleepy and off to bed, early in the evenings… for good?

I’d appreciate it.


Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)


"What? Would YOU waste time sleeping if you were as cute as I am?" - David V.

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Flashback Friday! (Pardon Me, Ma’am)

posted by BatSheva Vaknin 9:37 AM
Friday, October 18, 2013

Most Fridays, I post an oldie but a goodie blog for your enjoyment. To those of you who just started reading The Grownup Girl recently, enjoy the “new” blog! To those of you who have been with me from the start, but have memories like mine, enjoy the “new” blog!

And to those who were with me from the start and who already read this blog and burned it into your memory, word for word, photogenically, I say:

What are you doing wasting your time dilly-dallying on my website? Get out there and find me a book deal!

I called my doctor “Ed” yesterday. I had referred my friend to him for treatment, and when I arrived for my appointment, I saw her in the supplements/crystals/vitamins room with him (he’s a chiropractor-healer), so I walked in to say hello.

“Hi, honey!” I hugged my friend. And to my doctor: “Hi, Ed!”

Ed didn’t look at me.

“Uh –“ I corrected myself, “Hi, Dr. Wagner!”

He still didn’t answer – so probably, he just didn’t hear me. Versus what I was feeling, which was that he had ignored me because I was too familiar with him.

Still. It got me thinking…

I went to a grade school and high school, GDS, that – along with being one of the most exclusive private schools in Washington, DC – has the unique distinction of mandating – not just allowing, or tolerating – but MANDATING, that the kids call the teachers by their first names. Principal and staff too.

Like, the vice principal that all the girls had a crush on? Kevin. My favorite English teacher? John. My principal? I don’t actually remember his name, but, you know, it was probably Bob. Gladys was our founder.

So, maybe it’s GDS’s fault. You know, for my insubordination. For my lack of proper respect. For… “Ed.”

It’s not that I have a problem calling other adults “Mr.”, “Mrs.” or “Dr.” I just forget that I’m supposed to, and if I do, it feels weird on my tongue, like I’m playing at being respectful instead of actually being respectful.

I should add that I don’t expect, nor do I desire, for my kids’ friends to call me “Mrs. Vaknin.” Holy hell, I mean, I shudder to think. If I could learn to pronounce “BatSheva” then by golly, so can they!

Plus, I think the de-mystification of adults by kids is a good thing. Mrs. Robinson was a hot mama. Who could resist her? Now, if it had been “Gretchen” or “Alice” or “Ethel” Robinson, or whatever her first name was?

I’m thinking the sexual transgression would have been avoided.

You feel me, Ed?


Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

The real question is, if he had just called her "Ethel," would they be in this whole mess?

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posted by BatSheva Vaknin 12:27 PM
Monday, October 14, 2013

I haven’t written a blog for about a month, not even posted a Flashback Friday.

It’s easy to stop writing & posting. Obviously with 300 kids, 20 husbands and eighty-thousand errands, I’ve got other priorities.

In particular, when the kids are home from school, it becomes close to impossible for me to get quality quiet time for myself, which I need if I’m going to write even just a short and silly blog. And their school, being a Jewishy school, played a massive practical joke on all the parents by “starting school at the end of August” and meanwhile actually not really HAVING any school until October, due to Labor Day, Jewish holidays and who knows what other non-student-related school activities they needed to be busy with during that 1st month.

But the other reason I stopped writing and posting was because Rabbi Philip Berg, or to me, “HaRav,” (“the Rav” in Hebrew) passed away.

My husband flew to Israel for the funeral, as it happened, the exact same day that my husband’s parents crossed the oceans to visit us – from Israel – and then his parents stayed here for two weeks (another good excuse for having no time to write/post blogs)…

Anyway, when it happened…

I wanted to write about HaRav but I didn’t know what to say.

Do I talk about the fact that he was – and always will be – my spiritual father? And my children’s spiritual father? He held each of my children at his/her brits & namings, imbuing each one with his love and blessings. He was at the seed level of their lives, and also of my married life, as he was the one who married my husband and me.

I felt the heavens open up under the chuppah that night – I, who never feel things like that. The morning after, my father’s childhood best friend who had attending the wedding called my dad to tell him my father’s (deceased) mother had appeared in his dream that night to tell him she was at the wedding and it was beautiful.

I had felt her there with me, along with my other grandparents, under the chuppah.

HaRav was the man responsible for my husband finding and sticking to spirituality – which meant leaving behind a life of partying/womanizing/not caring about building a future for himself or anyone else, and embarking on a lifelong journey of caring for others and the world/sharing where it was most difficult/taking responsibility for himself and others/prayer and study.

With his wife Karen, HaRav brought Kabbalah to the people, the under-40, non-religious men people, the anyones & the everyones who had a desire to study and to change their lives using the principles of Kabbalah. My Catholic lesbian friend introduced me to Kabbalah – and for me, never one for religions that separated people by ‘types,’ this was its #1 selling point before I tried and made use of the knowledge and tools of Kabbalah myself.

Many times I dreamt of HaRav throughout the years – once, after I had a particularly vivid dream about HaRav, the next day my husband went on a walk with HaRav and he gave my husband a very specific answer to the question I had asked him in my dream the night before. Literally, HaRav said, “tell your wife,” such and such…

I hadn’t told anyone about the dream.

I experienced some sadness, shock and loss – but not entirely, because HaRav had already been sick for a while and it had already seemed very clear to me that whether or not HaRav’s physical body was present, his soul and spirit were (and still are) very much here – with me, and with everyone, everywhere.

My heart goes out to HaRav’s wife Karen, and to his children, and grandchildren, and his closest students, because I know they all feel the pain of his death the most.

HaRav, thank you for everything you have given me and my family. I do not know how or why I merited to receive so many blessings from you in this lifetime, but I thank you and I ask you for continued strength to commit stronger than ever to the teachings you shared with all of us, to help eradicate pain and darkness in this world for ever.

Amen v’Amen.



Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)



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