Parenting,  Relationships

Holy Shiksa! What Happened?!


Yesterday, E had a playdate with a friend from her swim team.  The friend’s mom said, “We are having friends over for Shabbat. Can she stay for dinner?”
“Sure, I said. But don’t be surprised if she only eats challah. She’s my picky eater.”

I dropped E off to their house after school and thought of what I could do with A.  We landed on The Lego Movie: 2.  When it came time to pick E up, the hostess graciously invited us in to eat since the adults were still seated. G was away so I had no plans. The kids there were all happily playing. It gave me a chance to chat with grown ups and A had already taken her boots and jacket off and had mixed herself in to the melee. “Sure,” I said. “I would love to join you. Thanks!”

I have just recently become acquainted with her friend’s parents from swimming but we are basically just getting to know each other. Cue the scene: We are not there five minutes before the friend’s dad says, “Um, Joe. Everything is ok but we need you in the kitchen now.”

I turn the corner, merely feet from where we were sitting in the dining room, to the smell of burning hair. A is dousing her head with water at the sink and simultaneously pulling out small clumps of hair with the other. Adjacent to her is the “perpetrator” – a cluster of taper candles. Thank goodness, she had not burned her scalp! She was fine, other than puzzled as why her hair was coming out.

“A, what happened?!” I asked.

“I wanted to blow out the candles,” she said with her sweetest face on.

“What have we said about blowing out candles?” I asked her, while also remembering this is a mere day after her birthday.

“You only do it with a grown up.”
“That’s right. This is why I say that. You could have gotten really hurt.”

As she’s pulling hair with little clumps of burnt bits sticking to her hand, she’s saying “Oh look! There’s a bug!” The hostess looked at me puzzlingly. I had to explain, in her kitchen smelling like a burn unit, that from the time A was little, when I would detangle her hair, I would say “Oh, look! It’s a bug! How cute!”  This would defuse the unpleasant hair detangling and made it more fun for her.  A has always loved all living creatures and would happily go into imaginary land pretending that this was a bug that she could save or let fly away. 

You gotta do what you gotta do. However, nothing in my life is often without some other side effect. In this case, it is when she repeats it elsewhere, people automatically associate it with lice.  The first time she said it in her classroom, her teachers jumped back. At pickup, they said, “A said she has bugs. We checked her for lice but didn’t see anything.” I had to explain, blushingly, my vernacular. Given that I have A LOT of these, it won’t be the last time.  

“I’m sorry your Shabbat now smells like the Yankee Candle scent that never made it – “Burnt Hair” I joked to the hostess as we groomed her in the bathroom. “Isn’t there a stylist who does cuts with fire?” I added, “Not that this is the time for me to introduce that idea to A.”

“I”m just glad she’s ok.  It’s amazing that you can’t even tell that she is missing any hair.”
“That’s the benefit of a mane like hers,” I said. “I’m surprised myself though. That seemed to be a LOT of hair.”

“We’ll have some chocolate babka in a bit.  That will take her mind off of it.”
“That sounds like a fabulous idea.”


A went back to play with the kids. We went back to the table.  I had some wine and immediately thought, “This is going to be a fun blog. But the gold is going to be in the title.”

Given that the best punchlines are in the title, I decided I had to list all of my possible choices:

  • Goodness, Gracious Great Goys on Fire!
  • That Shiksa’s on Fire (This one has to be sung in an Alicia Key’s way to “That Girl is On Fire” 
  • Shabbat Shalom – Holy Shiksa! She’s on Fire
  • What Happens When You Invite the Goys to Dinner
  • Goodness, Gracious Great Goys on Fire!

At-home dad, husband, gay man, marathon runner, sarcastic to the core, off-center

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