Post seder exhaustion syndrome
Conked out toddler (I could be him.)
Yep, that's what I have. I'm pooped. Totally wiped out. Zonked.
For those of you who are Jewish and have ever given a seder, you know what I'm talking about. That total "I can't move a muscle" feeling after the Big Event. It's a nice feeling, however.
If you are not Jewish, I'll explain in a few words: On Passover, we tell the story of how the Hebrews left Egypt and slavery so many millennia ago. "Seder" means "order", and we tell the story in a specific way. We read from a book called the Haggadah, and the Haggadah tells the story for all the children present. Orthodox Jews will use only Hebrew, but I'm Conservative and we do mostly English with enough Hebrew tossed in for us to feel comfortable. Half of our guests are not Jewish and don't read Hebrew. Plus we want the kids to understand the story. We do have one son-in-law who is Catholic and who taught himself Hebrew to get through the very long Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services. But that's it. So, we want everyone to know what's going on, and an English/Hebrew Haggadah works well. Our Haggadah also gives transliteration, and everyone can follow along.
You say lots of prayers over wine, matzo, bitter herbs, etc, etc. Lots of symbols. The highlight of the seder is when the youngest child (or the one who can read Hebrew) recites the Four Questions.
The Four Questions
What makes this night different from all other nights?
1. On all nights we need not dip even once, and on this night we dip twice!
2. On all nights we eat leavened bread or matzah, and on this night, only matzah!
3. On all nights we eat various vegetables, and on this night, bitter herbs!
4. On all nights we eat sitting upright or reclining, and on this night we all recline!
And then the rest of the seder is answering all these questions. That's it in a very small nutshell. Penelope, our almost-12-year old grand, gets to do the Hebrew. This year, we added in Ben, our 8 year old grand, who masterfully did the English. And Lili, his 5 year old sister, helped with setting the table and with the hand-washing. The trick is to get the kids involved, so I ask for their help as often as possible.
We do lots of singing, and I've mined the internet for goofy Passover songs. There's No Seder Like Our Seder, etc, etc.
It's a lot of fun.
It's a lot of work!!!!!!! The Hubz and I had to baby-proof as well as do the usual Passover cleaning. I made enough chicken soup to feed the entire state of New Jersey. Matzo balls, all the food symbols that explain what's going on, the meal. You get the picture. And now the baby, ahem, the Toddler, is toddling around and getting into lots of trouble. So I set up various exploration sites in the living room and kitchen for him to dump things in and out of.
The Minnesotans arrived Fri afternoon. 3 of them slept in a nearby hotel, while Miss P stayed with us. Benjamin the Toddler is not great with restaurants at this stage. He has this little motor inside that tummy that makes him want to move nonstop. So I did the breakfast/lunch/dinner thing. I'm not used to cooking for more than 2 people any more. But I fed them, and very well, too.
Elder DD came in Sunday night, her guy arrived Mon morning, and then all the rest of the gang came for our 5 PM seder. We held it very early this year so that the Toddler could be up. It actually worked out very well. We never did go back to the service after dinner, not with 3 little kids running around. The whole thing disintegrated by dessert, but we knew that would happen.
It was so much fun! I love it when everyone is together. And now everyone has gone home, and the house is so quiet, and I'm still pooped. But I feel a trace of energy coming back. Yay, energy. Now if I could just find all the stuff we removed to make the house toddler-safe.