Good(?) News from Israel

We have a new Attorney General.

Instead of that awful Yehuda Weinstein, an unashamed Israel-hater who tries to defend terrorists – murderers – from paying the price of their actions, and who orders the Security Agency to torture minors who have not even been found guilty of anything except expressing an opinion –

we have Avichai Mandelbilt.

And Avichai Mandelbilt, whoever he may turn out to be, has just ordered an investigation into Zoabi-the-terrorist’s visit to “comfort” the families of the terrorists who were killed.

Like, seriously. Who goes to comfort the family of a terrorist?

Would any of you be interested in comforting Arafat or Bin Ladin’s families, after they died? No, of course not.

So for an MK (member of Knesset – Israeli parliament) to pay an official visit to the families of dead terrorists is simply insane.

Not just insane. Dangerously insane. It gives the absolute wrong message.

And Mandelbilt is investigating. What that means, I don’t know.

But I do know that Weinstein would never, ever, ever have ordered this investigation.

And I think that Mandelbilt has done a great thing.

If he keeps this up, Israel might actually become a safe, sane country.

Here’s a “Duh” Eyeopener

I know I haven’t posted in a looong time. I know.

I’ll explain why later. But of course, it won’t really be a good excuse, right?

At any rate, I just came across this video (thanks, Janglo!) and it is too good not to share. Corey put people on both sides of the Israeli-Muslim conflict on the spot. And while the Israelis aren’t amazing, what the “Palestinians” say should be an eyeopener for anyone who *doesn’t* believe that Israelis aren’t the responsible party.

Yes, I know that the claim is that we stole their land. But at the end of the day – the UN gave us the land. And 60+ years later, people who have never lived anywhere else, people who have good lives, objectively, here in Israel, say . . . oh, I’ll let you see for yourself.

Leave me a note in the comments and tell me what you think.

No, Shoshanim! And Other “Stories.”

I wrote this post on April 20, but never published it. I think I was waiting to write up a few more stories. But it’s better to brush off the dust and press “publish” than it is to let this post sit for another year or so.

One Shabbat, Shlomo was running back and forth from his room to the guest room (other end of the hall). Tova was with me, in our room (next to Shlomo’s), nursing.

Apparently, Shlomo wasn’t too happy with the shoshanim (lights in his room, remember?). He ran into his room, said, “Shoshanim, don’t hurt Tova! Behave!” shook his finger at them, and ran to the guest room. Then he turned around, ran back to his room, shook his finger at the lights, and said, “Shoshanim, don’t hurt Tova! Behave!” Over. And over. And over. And over again.

Hmmm . . .

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Ducky is more than a doll.  Ducky is a friend, companion, baby, snuggle buddy, and much more.  Sometimes, Ducky is afraid of the shoshanim.  Sometimes Ducky wants to drink Mama milk (this is allowed only when Tova is nursing – I don’t have patience to nurse one after the other).  Sometimes Ducky wants me to swaddle him and put him in his “bed” (the lid of the hamper).  There was a period of time when Ducky wanted a diaper and wore clothes.

Shlomo is not afraid of the shoshanim, by the way.  But Ducky is.  Ducky will need to go to the miklat (bomb shelter), and we need to be careful to take him down with us.

A few times when I was pregnant with Tova, Ducky threw up.

When Shlomo doesn’t want to talk, we can ask what Ducky is feeling. Sometimes Ducky feels sad, because he doesn’t want to make a poopy. Sometimes Ducky is tired and wants to sleep (but no, Shlomo doesn’t want to sleep).

Ducky never liked taking a bath in the washing machine. But now that he has Sheep (Tova’s snuggle buddy), he doesn’t mind so much. It’s much more fun to take a bath with a friend, and then dry on the laundry rack together.

Does Divorce Run in Families?

The short answer is no. Divorce is not hereditary, because it’s not about DNA. It’s about life choices and maturity.

The long answer is: Possibly. Meaning, not the divorce itself. But yes, marrying a child of divorced parents raises your risk of getting divorced. Your risk is even higher if both your parents and your spouse’s parents are divorced.

I know a family with 3 generations, possibly soon 4 generations, of divorced women.

The great-grandmother divorced, when her children were grown. They “just didn’t get along, and hadn’t for years,” but waited until their children were grown to actually separate.

The grandmother and her brother also divorced. Only her sister is still happily married.

The mother divorced, too. Her sister and brother, though, are thankfully still happily married.

And now the second daughter is on the verge of divorce. (The first daughter, thank G-d, is happily married; the rest of the siblings are not yet old enough to marry.)

Honestly, it was black-on-white even before they married. And it was even more obvious when they became pregnant so soon. Neither was ready to become a parent and their marriage was not yet strong enough to support pregnancy, birth, or parenting.

But they knew “better” and made their own decision, ignoring their rabbi’s, friends’ and family’s advice to wait. And still, with proper counseling and a lot of work on both sides, the marriage could have worked. (Note: I am not pro-birth control in any respect. However, having a solid relationship is a *must* before you add a kid into the equation.)

The problem is, many children of divorce don’t know what it means to work on a marriage. For that matter, they don’t really know what “marriage” is – unless they take the time to educate themselves. And many of these children believe themselves to already be educated.

I’ve recently realized that I owe a huge debt to my aunt and uncle, because, in many ways, it is they who taught me what a normal marriage, and a normal life, looked like. For about two years, I was with them for Shabbat; one of those years, I spent from Thursday night to Sunday morning with them . . .  almost every week. Then I met my best friend, had a dorm that was an apartment instead of a huge building, and started doing Shabbat just with her.

Around that time, I also met my “adoptive” parents, and they were the ones who walked us through the preparations for the wedding, held our hands through the family feuds, assured us that we really were right for each other . . . and to this day, “Mommy” still gives us both over the heads when we’re being stupid. She is the one whose advice both of us trust, almost with our eyes closed. They are the ones who keep us in perspective, and when we need help, they step in and help.

They’ve helped us smooth over arguments, they’ve watched Shlomo when I had a medical emergency and needed to go to the hospital; they took Shlomo and I to the doctor to get a referral to the ER when we thought Shlomo had swallowed Jack’s medication. “Mommy” went with me to mikva before the wedding, and she was there when Shlomo was born. She would’ve been watching Shlomo when Tova was born, except that they live in Jerusalem, and we don’t, anymore.

Having a set of happily married “parents” means that you have someone to turn to, someone who will give you sound advice because not only do they want the best for you, but they *know* how to make a marriage work.

That’s what people who “inherit” divorce *don’t* have: A set of parents (or “parents”) who they can turn to, who know how to make a marriage work.

The mother of a daughter who has just had a baby and is going through a really bumpy period with her husband, needs to help them smooth it over. But if the mother is divorced, she will subconsciously or consciously encourage the daughter to divorce.

Part of being happily married means letting molehills stay molehills, and not making mountains out of them.

A mother who made mountains out of molehills, and that is one of the factors in the divorce and what came after – will make mountains out of molehills for her daughter, too.

A daughter of a mother who made mountains out of molehills, will do the same in her own marriage. Because that is all she knows . . . to make mountains out of molehills, to scream, to blame.

For instance, my “adoptive” parents: He does not hold babies. At all. Why? Because he is scared. He did not hold Shlomo, and does not hold Tova, and does not hold his biological grandchildren, either . . . and he did not hold his children, either, when they were babies. From when they are about two years old, he is willing to play with them. The *one* time he picked up baby Shlomo was when he was afraid that Shlomo would crawl out of the house. He put Shlomo down as soon as he could, and called me over to pick Shlomo up.

He does not change diapers or do laundry, either. Sometimes, he clears the table. He *does* take out the garbage. So? I’ll tell you a secret: She doesn’t want him in the kitchen. And she doesn’t want him cleaning, either – because he won’t do it as perfectly as she does. They still have a happy marriage. And as much as she’ll complain that he doesn’t help, she also admits (only when I confront her about it) that deep down, she doesn’t want him to help.

I have a cousin whose husband is the same way: He is willing to take four bigger kids across the street, as long as he doesn’t have to hold the baby. He will do *anything* to avoid having to take care of a baby. When they get older, he holds them, plays with them, feeds them, showers them, and dresses them. A baby? Nope. So?

But if a daughter of divorced parents comes to her mother (whose husband *did* help with the babies) and says, “My husband won’t watch the baby and won’t help take care of him,” then the mother will say, “He must be a really neglectful person! Yes, you *should* divorce him! He doesn’t even care about his baby, much less about you!”

What she should say, instead, is something along the lines of, “Hmmm. That’s interesting. But do you remember that he wanted to take night duty? And that he does the heavy scrubbing, the shopping early in the week, and laundry two weeks out of every four? Maybe he’s nervous? Have you tried asking him why he won’t help with the baby? Not accusing him – asking him in a non-threatening fashion. Try saying something like this, ‘I noticed that you don’t seem to want to help with the baby. Do you want to tell me why? Is it because you’re nervous?'”

Or, let’s say the daughter comes to her mother and says, “Mom, he kicked me!” A divorced mom will say, “I can’t believe I gave my blessing to this match! How did I not see his abusive behaviors before the wedding? OMG OMG OMG.”

A sane mother will say the same as she did when her daughter was 4 years old: “Why do you think he did that? That doesn’t sound like what he normally does. What happened prior to the kick?”

Let’s get this straight: Kicking a spouse isn’t okay. But if a husband kicked his wife, after his wife hit him, then the issue is not necessarily one-sided abuse, but two-sided immaturity . . . and the solution will be different, too.

Did the wife scream, threaten, name-call, blame, and in general raise a big ruckus because the husband accidentally dropped the last egg on the floor, and all the stores are closed? Well, I gotta say: I can’t blame the frustrated, trapped husband for kicking.

No. It’s not okay. But it’s also not abuse. It’s simple, two-sided immaturity. Period.

[Oh, and about abuse? It’s not okay. And when there *truly* is abuse, the solution is out, immediately. Full support for the victim, no questions asked. But just like many girlfriends call rape, so too, many wives call abuse. That doesn’t mean that every wife who claims abuse is actually a victim. And sometimes, she may be the perp. So what I’m saying is this: Before believing anything 1000%, do your research and check the facts.]

But many divorced moms won’t see that and won’t say that. Instead, she’ll support her daughter’s angry feelings, justify them, and help her see that this husband really isn’t treating her properly . . . her daughter deserves better!

Except that it doesn’t work that way. There are no long lines of men waiting to marry divorcees, especially not if they have kids, especially not if they were only married a short time, and especially not if they are products of a broken home themselves.

And nobody in their right mind should be taking *marriage* advice from a divorcee.

So no, divorce doesn’t run in families.

But the personality traits that make marriage extremely difficult, the lack of understanding of what a normal marriage and healthy home are, and the lack of support to keep the marriage intact, *do* play a large part in ensuring that divorced parents mean divorced children.

If your parents are divorced, do yourself a favor, and board with a happily married couple. Even if you pay to board there, it’s worth the money. Because I can promise you that it costs less to board than it does to divorce.

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Note: I am aware that not all divorcees are the same; not all divorces are the same; not all children of divorce saw the same things. In this post I am referring to a *specific* case, and I believe that the general community of divorcees and their children have what to learn and ponder from the specifics of this case.

Yitzchak adds that,according to his developmental psych professor, children of divorce usually fall into one of two categories: 1. Those who are *more* likely than their peers to divorce. 2. Those who are *less* likely than their peers to divorce. The difference, according to his professor, is that the second group says, “Heck this sucks! I’m going to do everything possible to make sure I *don’t* divorce!” and then they go roll up their sleeves, put in a lot of elbow grease, and make their marriages work. The professor said that he’s pretty sure that the second group believes that nothing is worse than divorce, that divorce doesn’t solve anything, and that life was much better – and could have become *even better* – prior to their parents’ divorce. The first group, on the other hand, simply thinks, “I’m smart; I know what my parents did wrong, I’ve fixed myself, I’m great and totally mature, and *it won’t happen to me*.” Uh-huh.

I Think My Kid is “Color-Blind”

Today I took Shlomo to gan . . . late.

We waited a while for the bus, and while we were waiting, we spoke about:

  • the guy smoking at the bus stop (ewww);
  • calling the municipality to come give him a 1000 shekel fine;
  • the garbage on the sidewalk, near the trees, and by the bus stop; 80% was cigarette butts and we came to the conclusion that the entire area would be cleaner if people didn’t smoke;
  • the olive trees, the olives that fell on the floor, and the evergreen trees (and that they have different “leaves”);
  • the almost-empty intercity bus that we took to its last stop and had almost to ourselves;
  • the building that they’re painting grey-blue and red – we decided that it looked nice and fresh, but the colors weren’t nice and we would’ve rather them painted it yellow or peach;

and one more thing . . . the color of the people around us.

It started with Shlomo pointing out the the car was white with black wheels, and the lady passing us had “black legs”. Shlomo had “grey legs” and I had (still have, at the moment) “brown legs”. Then we passed someone with “blue legs”.

I asked Shlomo if these were the *real* colors of their (and our) skin, or just the colors of their clothes. Of course, Shlomo knew the right answer . . . it’s the color of their clothes.

He didn’t know what color our skin is, and honestly, I don’t know what to call our skin color, either. So when he gave me a silly grin (to show off his true skin color) instead of stating the “real” color, I simply said, “You’re right, your skin isn’t grey or brown or blue. It’s a different color, lighter, because that’s what your Abba (Dad) and I have.”

Then I asked him if there were people with brown skin. At first, Shlomo shook his head no. I reminded him of the little boy and girl that we’d met at the bus stop (all of them really hit it off).

I asked if the boy had brown skin. Shlomo said yes. I asked if his sister had brown skin; Shlomo said yes. I asked what color their Abba’s skin was; Shlomo said it was brown. Then I asked a thinking question: What color do you think their Ima’s (Mom’s) skin is? And he said . . . brown. I told him he’s a very smart boy.

And then I said, “Do you know why they have brown skin?”

“No . . .” [while he dance-walks].

“It’s because Hashem (G-d) made people look different from each other, so He made different people’s skin different colors. Their Abba and Ima have brown skin, so they do, too. Your Abba and Ima have lighter skin, so you do, too. What color hair do I have?”

He looked at me for a second. “Brown.”

“What color hair does Abba have?”

He thinks . . . “Brown.” (Wrong answer. But I get where he’s coming from.)

“Abba has yellowy hair, right?”

By this time we were at gan. He danced in, and happily waved me off.

I don’t know what the conversation actually gave him, or me. I don’t know why I brought it up, even. But at that moment, it felt like an important point to make . . . nobody’s legs are *really* the color of their clothes. And people have differently colored skin.

Yitzchak was surprised that I’d “taught” him about race.

Because, honestly, Shlomo doesn’t care about, or even notice, race (as I found out today). He just sees a kid his own age (and often his own gender), and thinks, “Yay! Playmate! Someone to run around with, chase, and make silly noises with! Someone to sit beside on the bus and share snacks with!”

He really doesn’t notice color. (Kristen Howerton, didn’t you say that *all* kids notice color, even preschoolers?)

But the thing is, he will. One day, the subject will come up. I don’t know how it will come up or with who, what the attitude will be, or what information he’ll receive.

So I figure, I may as well bring it up myself, and tell him what *I* think he needs to know.

And that way, when the subject *does* come up, it won’t be the first time he’s put thought into it and the first time he’s given it a name.

He’ll already *have* an opinion, and hopefully, that will protect him from the various stupid opinions (and information) that the world tends to give kids.

Yitzchak commented, “Wow, Chana, you’re so much less racist than you were when I married you.”

I said, “What’s there to be racist against black people? They’re nice. I’m only racist against Arab terrorists (which, for me, includes all Arabs until proven otherwise).”

He said, “I know, but you weren’t like that when we married.”

I said, “I guess it was the influence of living so many years in Toronto. All the blacks I’ve met here are nice.” [And in Toronto, they’re often painted as scary, uneducated, etc.]

So the bottom line is, I know kids are going to find (or figure) these things out. They’ll have questions, and if you don’t know something, you worry about it. And I want my kids, first of all, to already have an opinion on a given topic, and to know that it’s okay to talk with me, because I’ve brought that same topic up before.

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P.S. – One of these days, I’m going to sit down with one of these “brown” mommies and ask her to detail her “tough love” strategy to me. Because I see those kids, and they *listen* to their parents, respect their parents, and mostly turn out to be honest, hardworking, teens with a good work ethic. And hey, *I want that too.*

 

 

 

 

 

The Hunger-Striking Terrorist

Remember the hunger-striking terrorist from Islamic Jihad, who was released from jail?

Well, I don’t know what happened since then, but I do know that he was supposed to be re-jailed for some reason, and tried to escape into the tachana merkazit (central bus station) in Be’er Sheva. Suddenly, there was a security lockdown. Everyone was confused and worried. Huh? What happened?

Oh, nothing happened . . . it’s just that there’s a dangerous fugitive on the loose, and he’s run in here.

Luckily, they found the terrorist after only a few minutes, and all was well. Thank G-d, no harm was caused.

This story didn’t make the news; I’ve checked. You know how *I* know it happened?

Because this morning, when Yitzchak was on his way to work, he happened to pass through the tachana merkazit in Be’er Sheva at the time this incident happened. I assume he was scared for himself. But instead, he channeled it into being scared for me.

Lesson: Don’t free terrorists, of any sort, and for any reason, ever.

On a different note, I hope that Uri Ariel succeeds in convincing the government to implement his suggestion. If there are harsh enough consequences, terror will stop. You murdered Jews on this road? No more Arabs can travel it anymore. Your son murdered Jews? All of you, *out*!

Safety In Numbers?

As a kid in America, I grew up hearing about safety in numbers.

If you have to go out at night, my mother said, go with a friend or two. The bigger the group, the better off you are. There’s safety in numbers.

My father never dropped me off at a bus stop unless there was another woman waiting there. Sometimes, that meant taking me almost all the way (or all the way) to school. It’s not safe to wait alone (or with a man). There’s safety in [female] numbers.

If you’re walking in an unfamiliar place, it’s better to be with a group. There’s safety in numbers.

If you get separated from me in the subway station, my mother told me, don’t panic. Find a worker, or a cop, and just sit tight. As long as you’re not alone, you’ll get back to where you started from. There’s safety in numbers.

Beaches during the day are safe, because there are plenty of people there. At night, when there’s no one, it’s dangerous. There’s safety in numbers.

I guess that worked, at least to some degree. Until terror came to America, and any large group of Jews was considered to be a target.

Until there were terror attacks on full buses. In 2001, there were lots of terror attacks involving suicide belts. Who wants to waste a suicide belt on an empty bus? There’s safety in *less* numbers.

I remember seeing posters asking for donations, to buy schoolchildren bulletproof vests. I always wondered what happened to their legs and heads, and why there couldn’t be bulletproof suits. I was in grade 7-8, I think.

Sbarro, the bombing in a pizzeria. A busy pizzeria. Maybe there *isn’t* safety in numbers. The less people you are, the less worth the explosives you are.

A tower with thousands of offices.

A concert.

A jam-packed restaurant.

A parade.

A school in Boston.

The streets of Paris on a Friday night.

A college in California.

Busy places.

There’s safety in numbers?

Only if the threat is mugging, robbery, or perhaps rape.

But there’s gang rape, don’t you know? And crowds of observers watch and do nothing.

There’s safety in numbers?

Somehow, I think not.

The quieter the place, the less people are around – the better.

There’s safety in *less* numbers.

Unless you’re on a road in Samaria. Then, being the only car is dangerous.

But so is being on a busy road when there are terrorists throwing burning tires, or waiting in ambush with rocks or guns.

Or walking in a mall, when there is an “innocent” Arab who’s just bought a kitchen knife.

There’s safety in numbers?

Perhaps not. The more crowded the place, the better a target it becomes for Arab terror.

There are no “innocent” Arabs anymore. They are *all* potential terrorists.

To be watched from afar, avoided, and possibly reported to the police.

Even an Arab nurse, even an Arab telephone technician, even the Arab kitchen worker in your school, who everyone likes and trusts.

Give them enough money, and they will turn on you . . . with a knife, a gun, a suicide belt, a tractor, a truck, or a car.

No Arabs can be trusted. Ever.

Except for those who turn on their comrades, and fight alongside us for peace.

But those who are quiet? They are terrorists in the making. Terrorists in waiting.

Preschoolers are terrorists in training.

“How will you kill the Jews?”

“With a knife.”

“Why do you want to kill them?”

“Because they stole our land.”

As Drizzt so eloquently writes, “Conditioned hatred is rarely a rational emotion.” [Long live Drizzt. But unless he is killed, he will live almost forever.]

There is no safety in this world. We can only pray that G-d watch over us,

and save us from the hands of our enemies, “friends”, and the international community.

Until we take out all the terrorists and their entire families.

And then we will all be safe.

Golda Meir, where are you?

Wow!! What a Great Judge!!

In a stunning and unusual move, a judge strips the mother of custody and transfers the children to the father. The mother is not allowed to be there at the moment of transfer, and is ordered to send all her children’s clothes and belongings to the children’s father.

And why?

Because, “the woman spent more than a decade trying to alienate them from their father.”

The mother’s “consistent and overwhelming” campaign to brainwash the children into thinking their father was a bad person was nothing short of emotional abuse, Justice Faye McWatt of the Superior Court of Justice wrote in her decision.

. . . McWatt stipulated that K.D. is to have no access to the children except in conjunction with counseling, including a special intensive therapy program for children affected by “parental alienation syndrome.” The mother must bear the costs.

Way to go, Judge!! May there be many more like you, and may this start becoming reality: Parents who emotionally abuse their children and brainwash them into alienating the other parent – lose custody.

I. Am. Impressed.

Wow.

Wow.

WOW!!!!

WHAT A GREAT JUDGE!!!

Do you guys know how common it is for a divorced, custodial parent to badmouth the other parent and brainwash the children that the non-custodial parent is evil?

Do you know how often such custodial parents are also emotionally abusive to their children in other ways?

Do you know how often children of divorced parents are turned into prizes? The custodial parent is *obviously* the innocent party, and the non-custodial parent is *obviously* the guilty party – because otherwise, the court would have decided differently.

Do you know how often children of divorced parents are used as tools, as weapons, with which to hurt the other parent?

I am SO glad that a judge has finally put a stop to this. I am SO glad that there is now a precedent for parents who spew evil about their ex-spouse to be told, “Get a life and stop poisoning your kids.”

If the child did not perceive the alienated parent as a threat, they may decide that their perception is wrong. This can cause long term damage; in addition, “the child can even begin inventing his or her own reasons for hating the other parent.”

And even if the divorce happened years ago and the children are settled, there is still hope: In this case, the judge ruled to transfer custody to the father after the mother had spent *ten years* brainwashing her kids to hate him. Often, parents in this situation simply “move on with their lives.” Kudos to this dad for not giving in.

No Time For Phone Calls

It’s not new.

For the past year or so – maybe even two years, I’ve hardly called anyone on the phone. Those who want to talk to me – call me.

I have a friend who calls me when she’s on the bus home. We always get cut off twice, when she goes through the tunnels. Often, she calls at the darndest times. But she is just too hard to hang up on. We usually talk her entire bus ride, until she arrives home and has to get off the phone. (She doesn’t *have* to hang up. But she and her husband have this *thing*. They only talk on the phone when the other isn’t around. One day, when I grow up, I will adopt that policy. I kind of wish we’d done that immediately after our wedding. It’s tougher now.)

Yitzchak’s mother, my grandmother, and countless others – all of them call us. Because the day goes like this:

Get up.

Get ready to go.

Leave the house.

Walk to gan.

[Go to work and/or

go shopping. And/or

nurse.

Come home.]

Walk in the door.

Help baby take a nap.

Phew! Finally some time to myself, to get things done. Now I need to:

Clean up the house.

Do some laundry.

Maybe eat.

Maybe use the bathroom.

Relax.

Oops! Baby woke up.

Nurse.

Play with baby (because you can’t do anything *else* with a kvetchy baby hanging off you).

Go downstairs.

Put baby in stroller.

Go get big boy.

Come home with big boy.

De-sand big boy.

Feed big boy, and maybe baby, too.

Use the bathroom.

Try to relax.

Try to keep things under control while

preparing supper

and waiting for Yitzchak to come home.

Yitzchak gets home.

We eat.

We talk.

Then it’s bedtime. Ideally,

one of us gets big boy to bed,

and the other one gets baby to bed. Sometimes,

one of us holds baby,

while the other gets big boy to bed,

and then takes screaming baby,

who wanted the same parent as big boy,

and gets screaming baby to bed.

Finally! Kids are sleeping in bed, and we can calm down.

And *then* Yitzchak and I talk.

And then we work –

on the house

on the computer

on whatever else.

When will I talk on the phone?

During the morning, when I’m running around?

During the afternoon, when I have both kids?

During bedtime?

After bedtime, when I’m trying to get myself back together, get some work done, and talk to Yitzchak?

I just don’t have time, and more than that, I don’t have the emotional energy.

Texts, I can do. Emails, I can also do.

But a phone call requires commitment. To quiet; to not doing anything else; to ten or twenty minutes of quiet; to being available non-stop for the entire time; to being able to speak into a phone, preferably the house phone, for the entire time.

With texts, you can start typing, separate big kid from little kid, and go back to typing. You can press “send” while saying, “You need to *try* to poop, even if you don’t think you have to.” Emails are even easier. No one expects you to answer an email within twenty minutes. Instead, they expect their answer anywhere between within a few hours to within a few days.

But if I shout, “Excuse me! We don’t run while we’re eating, it’s dangerous!” too many times while I’m on the phone, chances are pretty good that the person I’m talking to will be annoyed. Unless, of course, it’s either Yitzchak’s mother, or the person I’m speaking to is also refereeing while on the phone.

I’ve tried to make phone calls. I’ve tried calling two people a week. I’ve tried calling during naptime. I actually used to make my phone calls during Tova’s naptime. But that was when she napped every three hours or so. Today, she has a morning nap, and an afternoon nap. And it’s a lucky day that they both fall out during times when she can actually sleep in her bed until she’s ready to wake up. So with two naps a day, I need to be pickier about what I use the time for.

This morning, I planned her nap around the two hours that I needed to teach. This afternoon, I’m using her nap to write a blog post.

The only person I *do* call on a regular basis is Yitzchak. Surprised? Don’t be. Here’s what our conversations often sound like:

Me: Hi Yitzchak.

Him: Hi, Chana.

Me: What’s up?

Him: I’m working.

Me: Where?

Him: In X.

Me: Ah. How’s it going?

Him: Okay.

Me: Okay I just wanted to check and make sure you were okay. By the way did you get my texts?

Him: Yes. And I have to go.

Me: Okay talk to you later.

Total time: 4 minutes.

.

Or how about this:

Yitzchak: Hi Chana.

Me: Do you know where the teething gel is?

Him: I think it’s on the bookshelf.

Me: If it was on the bookshelf, I wouldn’t be asking. [baby screaming in the background] Any other ideas?

Him: No. Did you check the dresser?

Me: Yes, but I’ll check again.

[more screaming]

Me: Okay, listen, she won’t let me put her down and I can’t search with one hand. I’ll talk to you later, k?

Him: Okay.

Total time: 4.5 minutes.

.

Sounds terrific, right? Here’s one last example.

Me: Where’s the peanut butter?

Him: On the counter. I just wanted to tell you I made the bus.

Me: I saw that, you texted it. I gotta run or else *we* won’t make the bus. Do we have bread?

Him: Yes, we do. I think it’s still in the bag, on the floor.

Me: It is, thanks.

Him: Is Shlomo behaving?

Me: I don’t know what you mean by behaving. . . he’s okay, I guess. Where are you?

Him: At the Central Bus Station. Okay, I have to get off. I love you, okay? I have to go.

Me: Okay. Stay safe.

Total time: 3 minutes.

.

Who else can I call, if I can only barely spare 4 minutes to talk? No one.

Sometimes I *make* Yitzchak get off the phone, because I need him to be alert. It’s just not safe to talk on a cell phone in the street. You need eyes, ears, and the eyes in the back of your head to be open, alert, and aware of your surroundings. I’m pretty sure Yitzchak thinks I’m being paranoid, or maybe even controlling. But he can’t argue with my logic . . . so he listens.

If you wanted to speak to me, call me up.

I will call you one day, too. When I have babies who take frequent naps, and big kids in school. Or maybe when I have big kids in school, and bigger kids at work or at home with their own kids. On the other hand, when I have grandkids, I’ll probably still be busy . . . or busy again, perhaps . . . helping my kids take care of them. Right?

So perhaps I should say, “I’ll call you when I’m too old to be running after kids?”

Somehow, that doesn’t sound like it’ll work. But it does have a nice ring to it.

There are many people I want to keep in touch with. If I’m not calling, take heart. It’s me – or rather, my kids. It’s not you.

And I wish Yitzchak and myself many more years of running after kids and trying to work while the baby naps.