I know I make a lot of fun of Passover for being the antithesis of a kid-friendly holiday (what with all the deadly plagues and the lack of dinner rolls), but last Friday’s Seder was my favorite ever. In previous years, it was always hard to keep all the kids engaged and happy at the table, so the adults worked overtime to keep them seated for the entirety of the meal. This usually fell apart pretty quickly, so the Seder was rushed to the actual eating part, only for the kids to discover that they didn’t like any of the food options. What? No plain pasta???
This year, not only did all the kids have some frame of reference for the Passover story (Neve and Jack included), Mazzy and Harlow were excited for certain dishes that Grammy serves at her holiday meals. The day before, Mazzy asked me if Grammy would be serving her brisket. I can’t quite explain how happy it made me that Mazzy now associated going to my mom’s with a favorite homemade dish. Harlow was excited for Matzah Ball soup; even though she likes to her soup without the matzah balls. So, basically, a bowl of chicken broth. But Harlow’s always been notoriously picky and broth is filling, so that’s a win in my book.
They were also really excited to drink multiple glasses of grape juice.
The role of the Seder leader is usually to answer and ask the kids questions, so the story is explained all together. My Uncle Scott has led our family Seder since I was kid and typically struggles to get even the grown-ups’ attention, so he was beyond thrilled to finally have a captivated audience of eager participants.
Harlow did the four questions (with my help) and Mazzy explained the Seder plate. Typically, at a Passover Seder, you go around the table, taking turns reading the story from the Haggadah. This was the first year Mazzy read passages just like the grown-ups. She also tried to sell Neve on trying parsley dipped in salt water (which represents the bitter hardship of leaving Egypt and Jewish tears), saying, “It’s delicious!”
Did I mention the Plague masks? There are ten of them to represent the different plagues that helped the Jews escape, such as lice, locusts, frogs, blood, darkness and cattle disease. They are always hit!
One highlight was Neve getting mad at everyone for singing a song about the Pharaoh wrong. Apparently, the song in our haggadah is a different song than the one she learned in preschool. She kept saying, “No! No! No! That’s not how it goes!!!” My sister asked her to sing her version. Neve could sing the first verse but wanted everyone else to pick up where she left off. That was hard to do, because none of us were familiar with her song. She did not want the seder to move on until we got it right, so she would sing the first verse over, hoping that would somehow prompt us to remember the song. By the end of her outburst (which involved her shouting Passover themed lyrics at us, as she became increasingly more frustrated with the adults at the table), we were all crying with laughter. Thankfully, she pulled it together before a major fallout!
Harlow wanted to sit next to Grammy at the table, but quickly realized that Grammy almost never sits down, because she is running in and out of the kitchen. So, Harlow decided that the best way to spend time with Grammy was to help her serve the meal. She was the most awesome helper. Getting soup orders, delivering sides and clearing plates.
Here’s a video of Harlow in peak Jewish Grandma mode, trying to sell everyone at the table on Kishka. She really was the best helper my mom has ever had at a holiday meal.
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Our Passover meal is always the most beautiful shade of beige. We do not eat light on Jewish holidays!
And lastly, after a very tough search, Jack found the afikomen, with absolutely no tears from anyone else. He scored $10 for it!
Oh wait! One more thing. I need to mention that before the meal, my mom conducted her annual stuffed animal hunt, which is not based on any Jewish ritual whatsoever. The hunt involves taking all of the stuffed animals from her basement (Grammy’s house has become the dumping ground for stuffed animals that our kids don’t need anymore, but aren’t ready to throw out) and hides them all around the house. The kids run around with huge shopping bags, seeing who can find the most. The best part is— they don’t keep any of them! Someone is just declared the winner and the animals go back in the basement.
Harlow won this year. She found twenty!
Easter might have bunnies and chocolate, but locusts, sick cows, and old stuffies provide endless entertainment. And you what? Since, everyone managed to stay seated and behave the entire meal, my sister and I finally got to do what you are supposed to do on Passover— recline, drink wine and enjoy your freedom!