Go Down Moses

I was trying to figure out why I have a headache today when I remembered the two glasses of red wine I inhaled (along with amazing matzoh ball soup and kugel and brisket) during the seder we attended last night.

I’m not usually one to drink two glasses of wine unless under duress. (Gin and tonics, yes. Beer, definitely. And, no, not every night.)

I usually avoid red wine because it often (sadly) gives me blinding headaches. But I do so love red wine oh so very much.

Let me preface the seder drinking by explaining that I am coming off of traveling across country with three kids, one of whom is two years old and a burgeoning megalomaniac. His sister has Asperger’s and forms intense attachments to places like The Hampton Inn (it was a very tearful parting). And his dear big brother is the embodiment of Eeyore.

The trip added up to 15 hours in airports/airplanes, 20 hours in a car, 10-15 hours with my in-laws (some of which shouldn’t be counted as actual time spent because I was either hiding in a restaurant bathroom or doing open-eye transcendental meditation techniques).

The kids did great, really. My nerves, not so great. (Kvetch.)

Thus, post-trip, my brain has been screaming, essentially, LET MY PEOPLE GO!

The thought of almost any social gathering on any occasion makes me cringe inside. (Tinkle.) What can I say? Social anxiety is a bitch. A social gathering after a long trip with the kids required a panty-liner.

However, spending time with the hosts of this seder is always a good time and I totally adore them, so kvetchiness aside, I was looking forward to Passovering it up.

On this particular day, however, the Napoleonic two-year old had opted out of the nap despite my very slow and repeated readings of Little Blue Truck. And the Fuzzy Duckling. And Go The Fuck To Sleep.

I was worried about how he might behave at the seder.

Turns out, the littlest guy was the least of my worries. Granted, he did spend about twenty minutes tearing circles around our friends’ house. And he said “Damn it!” under his breath every time he was unable catch a ball. However, given a bowl of pickles he was pretty darn good at the dinner table.

The real scene stealers at this seder were Ruby and her best friend Eliza. Ruby spends a lot of time at Eliza’s house, so she is perhaps a bit too comfortable there.

I believe my sweaty anxiety started during the group singing of “Go Down Moses” and most particularly at the point in which Ruby stood up on her chair and yell-screech-sang LET MY PEOPLE GO while making an ugly Pharaoh face.

Then during the reading of the (Humanist) Haggadah, Eliza struggled with the meaning of the word “perseverance,” and despite a thorough explanation by her parents decided that it was probably meant to be “prostitution.”

I think my second glass of wine was poured after Ruby, during The Four Questions, farted loudly at the table. (And if you know Ruby, you’d know that she clutches her crotch to make sure no pee comes out during a fart.) To her credit, she didn’t bat an eye or say a word about the toot.

However, to make sure her friend was not embarrassed, Eliza followed up Ruby’s gaseous emission with her own loud fart followed up by an equally loud, “I FARTED!”

There was also some arguing about the sanctity of chocolate-covered Matzoh that resulted in Eliza peeling said chocolate off of the matzoh.

I think by then I had mentally checked out into a haze of Jewish carb and wine coma.

It is during such holiday dinners that I am especially grateful to have friends who understand the challenges of raising children. Passover is about freedom, and if you can’t feel free to fart around friends you might as well be afflicted by a hoard of frogs. Or locusts.

43 thoughts on “Go Down Moses

  1. Well you deserve a medal not just a few glasses of wine. I am bowing down before you and declaring you queen just for the traveling with the kids! I love the depiction of your seder and it sounds so much like an event at our house! It’s so nice to know we are not alone! Thanks for a great post!

  2. I wish I could have been there; it sounded like lots of fun. Tomorrow is Easter lunch with my family. It will be good, food throwing and all. BTW it is 2 adults who do the food throwing, not the young kids. Oh well
    Happy Easter to all.

  3. Speaking of panty liners, I’m so glad I was wearing one when I read this because I
    Iterally peed from laughing so hard. I see so much of my life in yours. I never delay reading your posts when they magically arrive in my inbox because 1) I can always use the stress-relief of a few good laughs in my equally insane life and 2) I realize from the instant I start reading your words that I am absolutely not alone in this thing called motherhood.

    You are a gifted writer and storyteller who should shoot to the top of the ranks of bloggers. You can thank our mutual friend Shawna for turning me on to you. Actually I’m the one who should thank her. She has yet to have kids but when she does she will most certainly appreciate you even more than she already does. Your musings will take on new meaning to her when she realizes her kids aren’t the only ones who fart and grab their crotch at the table.

    • Amy, Isn’t Shawna the best?! Talk about a kick ass writer. I love that girl. I can’t wait ’til she has kids some day so we can giggle as she experiences the insanity. Thank you so much for reading my posts! It makes me so happy to give someone else a little stress relief :) You are definitely not alone. Not at all!

  4. Bwahahahaha!!! I sympathize: “I believe my sweaty anxiety started during the group singing of “Go Down Moses” and most particularly at the point in which Ruby stood up on her chair and yell-screech-sang LET MY PEOPLE GO while making an ugly Pharaoh face.” xo.

  5. Holy Moses…this makes me yearn for my former life as a nice Jewish girl (before I married a Catholic and switched teams). Do you have a set of the Ten Plagues Finger Puppets? They always bring my family such joy. Please tell Ruby that I am falling madly in love with her. Anyone who shamelessly employs the sealing-of-the-front-butt technique while they rip one is A-OK with me! Eliza sounds pretty awesome too!

    Your bloggy BFF in social anxiety related tinkling (and/or crying). XO and Happy Passover! -Iris

    • IRIS! Holy shit you are a Jew? Were a Jew? That explains so much. So very much. I need those finger puppets for next year, for sure! You would totally love the Ruby & Eliza show. It’s always smelly, entertaining and filled with humor you would absolutely adore. You’d love Eliza’s parents, too.

      Sending you Easter love! XOXO

  6. You deserved that wine. Red wine gives me horrid headaches, too. It’s the tannins. Or tanins. Whatever.

    You had farting during Haggadah reading? We had crying, persisted questions about afikomen & related prizes. We had complaints about having to taste gefilte fish. We had whining about slippery eggs in salt water.We got tired. There wasn’t enough wine to accompany the whine.

    LOVE THIS POST. IN fact? I’m headed over to BlogHer now to nominate you for a VOTY in the Humor category.

    • Erin, Thank you so much for the nomination, lady! That was so hamish of you. Your seder sounds like it was equally painful. Did they actually taste the gefilte fish? Oddly, and luckily, our kids forgot about the afikomen & prizes (which is lucky, because my Eeyore would’ve had a lot of whining to do in preparation). Next year, may there be more wine for the whine. Or more wine, less whine. XO

  7. I’m with Iris about the Ten Plagues finger puppets. I’m not Jewish, but seeing as we have that whole Old Testament thing in common, those finger puppets do make for some fun Bible lessons. Anything that makes a plague fun is a-ok with me.

    You are hilaaarious, as usual. WORD.

  8. This is deliciously hysterical. This seder? Sounds a lot like dinner at my house every night. I’m going to vote, since Erin has nominated you.

  9. We did the cross-country with our three. But with less successful results. My #asd son made it to the maggid (telling of the story) section before he and I, and the 4 yo, left for the hotel. Leaving disappointed relatives, and a disapproving bubbe, in our wake. Seder #2 was a smidge better. At least I got to eat before son had a huge meltdown and we all jumped up and left.

    All these years in the rabbinate and I cannot figure out how to make this a more meaningful, and less horrendous, experience. Trying to even keep a modicum of Passover rules creates such stress.

    Maybe I should try more wine…

    • Oh, Sarah, that sounds really rough. I can only hope that it’ll get easier as the kids get older. And hopefully the bubbe will come to understand how difficult it is to travel with a #asd kiddo (and make him sit at a table for a long time).

      The only thing I can think of that might help improve the Passover experience is to make it more hands-on for the kids. Especially for sensory seekers. It would mean a lot more work, but maybe would result in more engaged kids? The very smart Mama who hosted us had some tiny cars at the table for our little one to play with, and salty snacks for the #asd kids. We also let them come and go from the table as necessary.

      I think it might be worth hiring an aide who could lead the kid in quite Passover related craft activities during the maggid…

      But, yes, more wine is helpful!

      • When I get the seder, which by my accounts will be when I am closing in on sixty, I will surely incorporate these ideas. We actually fed the kids a full meal before even arriving for the annual photo — which is 20 minutes prior to the start of the seder. Helped…a little.

        We’d never even thought of an aide. That might work well.

        So might leaving him home. Travelling is just so hard for him and, as a result, for everyone else. Which breaks my heart.

  10. Ah…Passover….where we slave all day in the kitchen and Pass Over the adults so the kids can perform at the Seder, then stress will they remember the four questions, run out the door when they let Elijah in and how much complaining will they do about how long it is lasting. And, when will they realize that the fighting over who finds the Akimonen doesn’t matter because they ALL end up getting something for searching? But, as we say in the end…Next year in Jerusalem…or at least Next year NOT at my house :)

    PS Erin Sent me Over

    • Lee, Exactly this: “next year NOT at my house!” LOL. I’m lucky to have a wonderful friend who hosts. And is super patient about crazy children. I remember behaving really well at Passover or my mom would pinch me under the table. Oh, how times have changed! Thanks so much for visiting!

  11. I just saw this post on BlogHer voices of the year. Hil-ar-ious!!! I love this. I am too scared to travel for Passover or anything else and I have two kids. I also don’t drink, but maybe I should! very funny. I love me a funny mom!!!!


    • Christie, A spoonful of Manischewitz helps the Passover go down, the Passover go down…
      Thanks for coming over from BlogHer! Looking forward to reading your blog, too.

  12. Om my goodness I just loved this story – thanks to Kathy Radigan for posting it!!! I would love to have your family at my Passover seder, it would perhaps lighten up my 73 year old father who has conducted the seder for 73 years (He came out of his mother reading the Haggadah) and WHO DOES NOT DEVIATE from the book, and he glared at anyone who dares to talk while he is reading, and he threatens guests with the stares of death if they dare take a sip of wine before we (gasp) say the prayer. It’s too late to get him to lighten up…. but still, if you guys could come over next year and have your daughter fart, it would be wonderful!!!
    Lisa Weinstein

  13. “A social gathering after a long trip with the kids required a panty-liner.”

    Oh. My. Gosh! I actually laughed out loud there! ;-)

    We opted for Passover in a different locale this year as well: one where they speak three languages. We decided not to eat bread, and so we aren’t. Tech Suport has been studying for his bar mitzvah which is fast approaching (end of June), and we decided that it was time to truly escape. Didn’t notice that break interfered with Passover until about 2 weeks before. Ooops.

    Anyway, we told the story on day one (at the beach). We told the story again on day two ( at dinner) as we handed the bread back to our server. Today, we feel free.

    But I remember the days to which you were referring: when my wee Monkey was difficult and cried – a lot. And that is when I understood why The Lord commanded we drink four full glasses of wine. If you’re going to be around that much family, a girl needs more than matzah.

    • Renee, I like that you are still honoring the holiday while you take your break. That sounds like freedom to me. And isn’t that the best thing to teach your kiddo–that your belief system follows you wherever you go & can be celebrated in a myriad of ways? Well done, Mama!

    • Jim, That would be way cool! And creepy. I think those should be added to the list of plagues. I thought I smelled something funny….glad it was you this time. :-)

  14. bwahahahahahahahah – ah – ahhahahahahahahahahaha!

    I live in home that doesn’t hold any truck with pagan festivals but thankfully our town has what we call The Slow Festival over this 4 day weekend – it’s never boring! And this year I was in the Parade and made the evening news – my 15 seconds of fame – whoop whoop!

    Thanks again for having such an humorous take on your exciting life!

    • Melanie, Oh, to ditch all pagan festivals. My dream! Congratulations on your 15 seconds of snowy fame! I hope it was fun. Thank you for reading about my craziness. I love seeing your comments.

  15. The end of this post was exactly what I was thinking as I read the whole thing… I am so glad you have people to spend time with who truly understand. I was also thinking about the time I took my daughter (with autism) to a funeral home and she stood on a chair to sing Johnny Cash’s “Down, down, down, in a blazing ring of fire” after spotting a fireplace. Awkward.

    • Jessica, Awkward, (mortifying a bit??) but so funny to read about after the fact. Holy shit. What a memory, huh? I think our daughters would really, really get along well. Wish we lived closer so we could introduce them!

      • oh my goodness- laughing again. I can’t tell you how many times my son comes home, runs upstairs to change, and says, “I was running and tried to fart, but some came out.” Really?? Is it that hard to go to the bathroom??

  16. Oh my gosh!! I think you might be one of the funniest people I know!! Seriously.
    Red wine gives me headaches too, but I take some advil and keep drinking. Somehow that just seems stupid, but it doesn’t stop me.
    I need to say that I just enjoy you so much.

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