Thursday, May 27, 2010

Crazy Busy

too long...
I must admit to failing to produce any creative thought in the past...hmmm I don't even care to remember.
Here I go again apologizing before I even start.
I've been busy, real busy - what I fondly refer to as - Crazy Busy.
Yes, I want it all.
The mum who is busy, volunteering, cooking, baking, entertaining, working, running , swimming - another ing there and I'll probably send you all to sleep. I guess if you get that same breathless feeling as I do, you are also a mum.
Two healthy sweet kids, lovely husband, and a slowly budding career - and yet it's still not enough. We all work too hard to try and maintain this balance and we all are completely wiped out by the time the clock strikes 8 - pm that is. And by all I normally refer to my ever lonely peers - the mummies...
So are we doomed to run around in an effort to find a glimpse of some me time?
Worst off I always feel absurdly guilty when I do manage to get both kids to bed in a timely manner, only to just sit down and relax for a minute... Just a minute before I nod off to sleep to gear myself up for the next day full of - you guessed it - ing.

Friday, August 7, 2009

my daughter's keeper

The other day Ron told me a story about Zoe's attempt to play with some older girls at the swimming pool. He described how Zoe tried to get the girls attention by saying:"want to see something I can do?" only to be ignored by the girls who continued playing without her.

Nothing unusual and I don't think Zoe was even hurt by it... But the moment Ron told me the story tears stung my eyes and my stomach cringed. I was hurt for her and felt completely overwhelmed. I wanted to be there and take the insult instead of her.
I asked Ron to never tell me these kind of stories again - a strong reaction to an anecdotal story of kids' play. Ron's response was that I was overreacting and that he does not plan to spare me of these stories in the future...

Ron and I come from two different schools of thought when it comes to our kids making friends. Ron has the more reactive approach of teaching Zoe how to reach out to other kids and introduce herself to them, where as I am more passive, waiting for the other kids to show interest and then join in.

Why is that?

It mainly has to do with the fact that Ron grew up as an only child, and I have a younger brother, and two older siblings from my dad's first marriage. I never played alone.
Not only that, being an older sister has made me the strong and resilient person I am today. Having had my second son born almost 9 weeks ago has made me reflect a lot about my very unique relationship with my younger brother. It is a relationship where trust is never broken, love is always unconditional, it is a bond. This relationship has shaped me to be who I am today.

Younger siblings in a way are defined by who their older sibling are. Usually even nicknamed after them. I'm guessing older siblings are equally affected.
I have always put myself in the position of being my brother's keeper. Probably in an unconscious attempt to control life around me. Through this role I have become fearless of living my life to the fullest, my brother has given my the power to be an able and accomplished individual. I don't think he is even aware of how much so.
"Having" to protect someone makes you have to overcome fears and save face. It also creates one heck of an overbearing parent (sister?).

It seems Zoe is following in my foot steps. One of the first days after we brought Uri back from the hospital Zoe was very worried about the fact we left him alone upstairs, she voiced her own fear by saying "but he'll be afraid being all alone there"...
If there is something younger siblings are really good at is creating space between parents and older siblings making them "have" to face the world with out the invisible "it's gonna be OK" protective shield, and allowing parents like me to step back a bit.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Summer funk

When my husband and I decided to get married a few years ago the first person we called with news was my British raised mum. We were in Thailand when we made these marriage announcement calls. My mum's first reaction was not "what wonderful news", but "how is the weather"... It has since become our family joke that when ever we call with important news we warn not be asked about the weather. I mean growing up in Israel the weather was never an issue and we could never relate to mum's sun frenzy. Now I can whole heartily understand my mum's weather reports addiction.
I never thought I would have to write about summer funk, or about weather for that matter. But the weather this summer has not been kind at all. Six weeks after giving birth to my second child (in June mind you), we had only a handful of hours (not even days) of sun rays...
So much rain has drenched us that my 3 year old daughter had yelled in extreme delight when she actually saw the sun hanging over the golf course we drive by on our way home from daycare.

My day dreams of walking to pick up Zoe from day care with her baby brother sleeping in the stroller have been shattered by severe thunder storm warnings... And it seems they always start at about 4pm. Pick up time.
It is hard for me to admit but it has been emotionally draining. I have become wary of pick up time in the torrential rain when my sweet girl looks up at me and asks "where are we going today" (meaning "anywhere but home please"...).
I think that what has also struck me is that though I live in an area where climate is an issue year round there is not much you can do with a child after 4pm. Museums are closing up as you leave to go there, shopping malls do have some sort of confined suffocating germ harboring play areas, playgrounds don't have any sort of cover over them (so even if the sun does come out for 30 minutes all the jungle gyms are soaking wet). Play dates with other kids are hard to come by when you are a foreigner (not really keyed into the rules of engagement of playdating). I mean healthy 3-4-5 year old children need to run, let off steam - not sit around all afternoon make art projects, watch TV, or wonder in shopping malls.
It has been challenging to say the least.
Though today I can't complain we had some sun and managed to splash in the pool for a couple of hours -Today was fun.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Society's crutch

Zoe had a day off daycare today, there is a lot to be said about daycare days off, usually when parents are meant to be somewhere else - mainly work. But it got me thinking about the bigger picture of parents staying home with children and their relationship to society.
I must disclose I'm one of the lucky ones (in my view) I work fromm home so these "off" days are cherished as spacial days to do something together.

What disturbs me is the fact that there so may parents who can't, they will have to stretch their leave/sick days in order to fit into the school/daycare schedule... Or they would have to cough up some more money to keep the kids with a sitter or an alternative program. Eventually forcing them to work overtime to earn the extra money. A sort of twisted method of actually paying in order to continue working - like I said twisted.

This issue has bothered me since I have learned that maternity leave in the USA is considered as a "DISABILITY" leave. I find this kind of terminology extremely disturbing and degrading, since when has having a baby, a new member of society become a disability??? Or as friend of mine described her feeling of how American society views child birth "Don't bother us because you have decided to have kids it's not our fault". When in fact I found there was nothing in the world that empowers or motivates me more in life than having a child.

Aren't we looking at this the wrong way? Isn't the crutch of society families who are run down by the rat race? The erosion of trust between people, because as infants they had never had the time to assimilate trust. Don't get me wrong I don't think people who have kids should not be part of the working force. On the contrary I believe it sets the best example for children to except responsibility in life. But it can't be black and white - work or stay at home.

There must be some thought put into this, a responsible society should have to make parents stay at home with their children (or at least make them come home in time for dinner), and assume the responsibility of bringing them to this world - could there be a more powerful lesson then that? Yes, I know there are people who choose not to have children who might object to this - but hey one day someone is going to have to help you when you are in a wheel chair unable to eat on your own, and it might be my daughter, so stop being so self centered and rude about this. One has to take a quick look at the amount of "Baby Boomers" that are around, and realize we have our work cut.

OK we can't make it a perfect world, but at least lets make an effort and start by finding the right kind of language to describe how maternity leave should be looked upon - raising a loved member of society who will later on become a more tolerant, and productive member of society? I'm still not sure how to name this leave but eliminating the word disability should be the first thing on our list.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Slowdown has hit us hard...
Beginning November 2008 I have been carefully monitoring the bright red and yellow "50%-75%-we'll pay you to take it" posters that have popped all around the block. Worried by the sight of empty retail spaces around... vacant lots with clearly marked parking spaces, I have made a choice to take a new optimistic view on this.
Since things have slowed down I have had more time to spend with my daughter - and I mean quality time.
Zoe and I have started cooking together, she can now cut some vegetables and make her salad "for when my daddy gets back from work"... In the morning we actually have time to chew our breakfast. We sit around the kitchen table and assemble puzzles (thanks to grandma). We read books, we go swimming - long story shot, slowdown has truly opened me up to the opportunity of spending time with Zoe.
I have had to tap into the best resource I had - my childhood memories, in sunny Jerusalem, and not my wallet to go out for yet another paid activity... As a parent raising a kid in the cold North East, I have had to adapt some of the activities to the cold climate, but all in all it seems to be working just fine.
I have time to think about how and why we raise our children the way we do. I mean is it right to have our children raised by other women (and I'm sorry though I do know one stay at home dad - most caregivers are still women), who leave their children to be raised by other women. I know it's some sort of cycle I can't even attempt to crack, but it just got me thinking are we going about this the right way?
Yes, I know so much has been written about this, I'm certainly not the first to have stumble upon the thought. But maybe this slowdown has humbled me and created true space to allow me to really absorb this unique period in my life? To have these moments of quite time - without the phone buzzing, the e-mail pop-ups, the very stressful working mother trap. Perhaps this slowdown is allowing me to catch up with myself, making room for Zoe to become a very real part of my life as much as I am hers, and maybe it's her turning 3 last week that has allowed me to reflect on my ever changing and spacial relationship I have with her?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Look at me! Look at me!

"Look at me!
Look at me!
Look at me now!...
...I can hold up the cup
And the milk and the cake!
I can hold up these books!
And the fish on a rake!
I can hold the toy ship
And a little toy man!
And look! With my tail
I can hold a red fan!
I can fan with the fan
As I hop on the ball!
But that is not all.
Oh, no.
That is not all..."

(The Cat in The Hat By Dr. Seuss)

I have no idea why it has taken me so long to post something new. I guess a long bout of insomnia along with everything else in life that needed to be balanced and checked have prevented me from doing something of my own.
Last night I made an early new year resolution - I have to start writing again. There was a reason I had to open a blog, there must be. Otherwise why bother.
So I'm giving this a real go for myself. I welcome you to join me reembark on this journey. Or it might be just one I'll be taking on my own, with the risk of other people reading along...
The past few weeks have been draining in many ways and I'm still sorting my way around. Feeling like the crazy Cat in the Hat - no words spoke more to me lately than these. The fundamentally wrong life race of running to stand still. I can't remember the last time I did - stand still that is... Even my sleeping patterns have been eradicated to a point I really can not remember a full nights' sleep...
In the late night frustration of the fleeting night sleep I looked into what I really wanted to add to my quality of life. My family and close friends far away a lonely path had emerged. The physical distance crystallizing the ultimate truth, we all walk lonely walks. We choose individual careers most of them involving long hours in front of computers, on the phone, reading information - basically alone.
I'm trying to establish a new kind of path for myself, one that I will enjoy the meaning of, one which can be shared.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


About 12 years ago I was at the Holocaust museum with my younger brother and mother. I was all of 18 and already a "veteran" Holocaust scholar.

I had spent the previous summer in Berlin, Poland and Czech Republic with a youth exchange group of Germans and Israelis - an intense summer of touring major Holocaust landmarks.

With us was a living witness who's story we had followed.

Coming into the museum I knew nothing would touch me - I was already immune to the horror. I could not have for seen my mum's reaction. If memory serves me she fainted and my brother and I had to carry her to one of the benches outside. That day she had a major migraine and my brother followed suite.I couldn't really get it. My youthful arrogance clouded me.

Today 12 years later I walk around this museum again. I never asked my mum what went through her mind today I think I know...

Probably the fear of it, the thought that she a born catholic might have doomed me and my brother to some calamity, by marrying a Jew and raising us in Israel - was too much for her to handle... maybe I'm reading too much in to it or maybe I should just ask her.