Lots of rambling thoughts tonight; I apologize in advance if this post goes all over the place.
The first two nights of Hanukkah have been quite successful. Check out the pictures below to see B's reaction to the homemade science kit we gave him tonight:
The boys have been listening to B101 (local radio station that plays only Christmas music this time of year) at night as they fall asleep, causing B to comment one morning, "It's a shame B101 has never heard of Hanukkah." The two of them decided to create their own Hanukkah song based on The Twelve Days of Christmas:
On the first night of Hanukkah my true love gave to me
One Lego Set. But of course!
On the second night of Hanukkah my true love gave to me
Two books a reading, and
One Lego set. I'm so impressed at how they managed to keep the rhythm of the original song in the new lyrics!
I'm sure you know how the song goes, so I'll just type what their "true love" gives them each night.
Three Wii games
Four Kitty Cats
Five Golden Latkes
Six dreidels spinning
Seven candles burning
Eight menorahs glowing
When they sing it to us, they take turns back and forth to name the presents. I love it!
As we drove to the mall the other night for our annual picture with Santa for my ILs to use with their Christmas card (you know, just like every other Jewish family) the kids began discussing what the purpose of Christmas actually is. It was one of the first times we ever really talked about the fact that we are Jewish and that other people are not, and I tried to listen carefully and simply answer the questions being asked.
A mentioned that the radio just had the "Ask the Experts" segment (the experts being the kids) about why people celebrate Christmas, and he announced that it was to celebrate the birth of "that baby" (his words).
B corrected him by saying that it was to be together with family.
J piped up to name "that baby" as Jesus.
I explained that we celebrate Christmas with DH's family, and the reason they celebrate it is to have a special time when the family gets all together. I then explained that many other people celebrate it as the day that Jesus was born.
J told us that Jesus was Christian and then asked why people celebrate the fact that he was born.
I was very careful going forward with this, very aware of the fact that we never really talked about differences in religion and the fact that a neighborhood boy had recently told her (my five-year-old baby) that if she did not have Jesus in her heart she would burn in Hell and be all alone forever (a post for another day). I said that Jesus was actually Jewish, just like us, and grew up to be an amazing teacher that many people followed, so amazing that many people now say he is the son of God and they pray to him as well as God. This was my simplified five and seven year-old version, please don't leave tons of comments trying to explain the life of Jesus and why I'm wrong to be Jewish or anything like that.
At this point, B announced, "But we only pray to God!"
I smiled and said, "Exactly. We know there is one God. Other people are different religions, and they believe different things. And that's okay."
A then began spouting off a commercial for a new game he hopes to get this month (he often will do this whether it is connected to what anyone else is saying or not) which prompted B to begin talking about a new game HE hopes to get this month.
Okay, guess the conversation is over. DH glanced over and mouthed, "Good job." I let out the breath I didn't realize I was holding, relieved that the conversation was over and that it seemed to go so well. I loved listening to their ideas and hearing their perspectives.
And then we went in the mall to talk to Santa.