Tag Archive | air raid sirens

Woo-woos: A Year Later

It has been a year since Tzuk Eitan (Operation Protective Edge).  In that year, since Tzuk Eitan, we have not had a single siren.  Not a single woo-woo.  We have not even told Shlomo that there have been sirens in other parts of the country.  Because in our book, when it comes, it comes.  We are going to take it day by day.

Shlomo was traumatized, as were thousands of other children living in the line of fire, and rightly so.  In the year that has passed since, we have had, off and on, obsessions with sirens.  It was more like, three months on, two months off, three months on, one month off, three months on.  We have a Childcraft set.  He continuously wants to read about the Battle of Britain, and the invention of rockets that could carry missiles.  This is his favorite topic.

Yesterday, he made a woo-woo plane out of kipodim [literally: porcupines; it is also the name of a type of building toy].  I’m not sure what the difference is between a woo-woo plane and any other plane with two engines, but it is his plane and he made it.  And he flies it while imitating the air raid siren.  Today, he “read” to me from the Childcraft about the woo-woos (Battle of Britain), and told about how the planes were fighting each other and how they have to stop making woo-woos.

woo-woo, plane, kipodim, air raid sirens, battle of britain, israel, israeli children, play therapy, gaza wars, hamas, rocket attacks, terror, terrorists, effects of terror on children, trauma building toys, air raid sirens, bomb shelters, hamas murderers, radical islam,

Shlomo’s woo-woo plane that he made from kipodim.

Yesterday, he told me to bring Tova to the bedroom, and “he would protect her from the shoshanim.”  When he plays, any ambulance or police or firetruck siren comes out as a woo-woo.  It may not start out that way, but that is what it becomes.

We thought that with time, the trauma would heal. We were wrong.  It has not healed for us, and it has not healed for him.  We are worse off than he is, because we read the news.  He is worse off than we are, because he senses that we are worried, but doesn’t know why.  We are always worried, though, so maybe he doesn’t think it out of the ordinary anymore.  Parents are always worried, I think.  Perhaps it is just par for the course.

Shlomo also went through two sirens during Amud Anan (Operation Pillar of Defense).  He didn’t forget those, either, and when we moved here, we realized that he had simply thought we were done with them.  I think he felt let down when he realized the sirens were back.  We have taught him to differentiate between practice drills or remembrance sirens, and real sirens.  Mostly, by warning him, and when applicable, telling him that it wouldn’t go up and down.  Then “he” made the siren and it wasn’t a real siren, nobody was trying to hurt us.

When Yitzchak and I read yesterday morning that the Iran deal signed by [Obama] Bin Laden and the rest of P5+1 included a clause in which the West would train Iran to block Israeli strikes, we were left reeling.  It’s not that we don’t think Israel can and will preempt Iran’s training.  It’s not that we don’t believe that Israel can deal with Iran’s having S-300.  It’s that, well, we were expecting Israel to strike soon, but not that soon.  We were debating if it would be smarter for Israel to strike now, or to wait to hear what Congress has to say about the deal.  But maybe now Israel doesn’t have a choice.  One thing is sure:

Someone is going to strike, with nuclear, biological, or conventional weapons, someone else, and very soon.  And the woo-woos will probably be back, hopefully, probably, only conventional woo-woos.

For the sake of the entire free world, we hope that Israel will wipe Iran off of the map, and not the other way around.

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And MORE Terrorism

Really, guys.  I’m kind of sick of it.

Not just sick of it, scared of it.  Like there would be any place to move to.  Europe is filled with rising anti-Semites, Canada has had over 1,600 anti-Semitic incidents last year alone, and in America – oh, America.  All you need to do is look in this past week’s news.  Wonderful, isn’t it?

And why is Boston allowed to execute a terrorist, but Israel isn’t?  I think the answer is this: Jewish blood is cheap.  Always has been.  And unfortunately, probably always will be.  I feel like we’re dealing with a repeat Holocaust, just slower; this is frustrating for two reasons: 1. The world claimed to have learned its lesson, and we claimed to have learned ours. 2. Hello, nutcases!  We have our own state, our own government, our own army.  Yet it is a little state, and little states need to keep big friends.  Those big fiends like to tie our hands.  Yes, sir.  Unless we stand up for ourselves soon, and do what needs to happen instead of playing along with what the world wants to have happen, we will all be in the sea in record time.  (Muslims aren’t smart enough to build gas chambers, but you have to ask what’s better – to die quickly and painlessly in a gas chamber, or to be shot or knifed the middle of the street, or to be drowned at sea.  Honestly, not sure.  I think I’d prefer the gas chambers.  And I kid you not.)

Rockets, yeah.  That’s the smaller of the problems.  Tunnels, that’s a much bigger problem.  People walking around with knives, Molotov cocktails, metal rods, rocks; terrorists driving cars, trucks, and sometimes buses – those are much bigger problems.  And the guns, too.  But luckily guns are more controlled; except that we have allowed the PA “government” to own guns and are now paying for it.  Oh, and Iran.  Yeah, Iran.  Big problem.  Not that big, if Israel is allowed to deal with it efficiently and the world either supports us or turns a blind eye.

Guys, this is scary.  I haven’t written too much this past week because I just don’t know what to say.  What am I supposed to say?  Let’s ship all the Muslims off the Iran, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia?  Well, I wish I could say that, but no one would listen, and I kind of feel like saying it is counterproductive.  Again, maybe if the attacks were criminal in nature, we could make the terrorists’ lives better and that would be the end of the story.  But when 43% of the Arab population wants to conquer all of Israel AND kill all the Jews, it’s not criminal, it’s nationalistic.  And there is no choice but to kill the terrorists and potential terrorists, and nothing that we can do to better their lives will help us save our skins.

The world’s Jewish population has just returned to pre-Holocaust levels, 60 years later.  I wonder what it’ll be in another sixty years.  I wonder if Israel will still exist then, or if the world will be partying because they managed to create a world without Jewish communities in other countries and without a Jewish state.

Here are some of the nationalistic terror incidents from [just] this past week:
A farmer was beaten to death in the field, by Arabs who came in illegally from the PA looking for “work”;

Arabs threw firebombs at a Jewish school, three times in a row, and the police did nothing;

an ambulance was attacked (lynched, more accurately) by a group of Druze (and I’m disappointed, I thought better of the Druze community);

obviously, the UN blames Israel for abusing Hamas; we Jews are the only ones blamed for the murder of our own people;

a border policeman was injured in an attack by an “innocent Arab youth”;

there was a rocket attack;

Hamas is proud of the fact that they steered a drone into Israeli airspace;

two youth who stopped to answer a question put to them by an Arab youth were shot by said Arab youth; one is seriously injured and one is dead;

the terrorist who attempted to murder two Jewish youths on Shavuot is not being charged with attempted murder, but with “aggravated assault.”

I could go on, but Tova is insisting on drinking ‘Mama milk,’ so I need to stop here.

Woo-woo

It’s the middle of the night.  Shlomo woke up, came to join us, and got back into bed.  I’m nearly asleep again.  Suddenly I hear a familiar, unmistakable sound – wooo-wooo, starting off low, getting higher, then dropping back to the low.  Oh, great.  In the middle of the night.  Do I have to get up?  What happens if I just ignore it?  And what do we do now?

No, the risks are too great.  Yes, I have to get up.  Yitzchak will get Shlomo, find his shoes, and head to the door.  I will find where my hat fell (to cover my hair), find my slippers, and go.  This whole conversation in my head lasts about five seconds.

I bolt upright, planning to find my slippers and hat.

“Chana, what happened?” Yitzchak turns over, startled.

And I realize –

there’s no siren.

It was just a dream.

I was half asleep.  Only half asleep.  And it sounded so clearly that I had no doubt that it was real.

“Nothing, I thought there was an azaka (air-raid siren).”  I lay back down; my heart is still beating fast.  In my stomach, I feel the effects of the adrenalin rush.  It’s a good thing.  I take a deep breath, remind myself that it was just a dream, and try to relax.

I guess this is how Shlomo feels when he dreams of woo-woos.

 Just so that you can hear what I heard (or what I thought I heard).  Ours are slightly louder – or maybe not, it could just be less traffic.  Notice that the cars are stopping.  When there is an azaka, people who are driving are instructed to stop their vehicles, get out, and lay prone on the ground, to minimize the chance of injury.  Because not everyone follows these instructions (and just in general), it is safer to go to the side of the road, which is why everyone is going over to the shoulder. 

Planning Around the Sirens

I wrote this post while sitting in the library on July 20.

Last Friday (July 12) Yitzchak went to the store.  We kept Shlomo home just in case there was a siren, because his gan doesn’t have a shelter.  But, what to do? As I said previously, I can’t carry him down.  So Shlomo and I played outside during the heatwave, for an hour and a half, so that we would be withing Shlomo’s running distance of the shelter.

*We canceled a meeting in a neighboring city on July 10, because of the possibility of a siren while on the road, and not wanting to leave Shlomo in gan while both of us went to the meeting.  It’s not that we never have this concern about both of us being out of the city while Shlomo is in gan, but this time was a tad different, if you get what I mean.  So we canceled.

*Before we leave the house, we go through the route in our heads, to make sure that there will always be a shelter within a few seconds from us, no matter where we are on the route.

*Before Yitzchak goes to the store in the evening, we think twice.  What if there’s a siren while he’s gone?

*Yitzchak measured the amount of time it takes him to bound up the stairs.  If he’s at the bottom and runs to the top to get Shlomo, will we still have time before our minute is up?

*Yesterday (Shabbat, July 19) after the siren, our neighbors wondered whether they should walk their dog or if there would be another siren.  I errantly said that we usually had a few hours in between sirens, so it should be fine.  They left, and about ten minutes later I felt stupid for giving them bad advice.

*I’m sitting in the library (July 20), waiting for a long time to receive my 2-step verification code from Gmail.  I have a project to finish.  Behind me, the librarians are setting up an area for some kind of slideshow or video.  They debate whether to move the tables in the back of the room to somewhere else, just in case everyone has to run out of the room.

The irony of planning life around whether or not there will be a siren.  We don’t change everything, because we can’t change everything, because you can’t just stop life in the middle.  But it’s the little changes in thinking, planning, and how we do things that are the most poignant examples of what it’s like to live under threat of rockets.

Anybody who would like to help families closer to Gaza – those who have between fifteen seconds and a minute, and suffer rocket attacks several times a day, can take a look at Janglo‘s list of things to do to help.  There are also options for helping soldiers and helping the families of the reservists who were called up.

 

Shlomo’s Reaction to the Sirens

Most of you remember me writing about how Shlomo dealt with Operation Defensive Shield.  Suffice it to say that now he is dealing with the situation much differently.  Probably because of a combination of his age and the number of sirens.  In Defensive Shield, he was younger and we only had two or three sirens.  And still, if we forgot to warn him before a drill, he would sometimes get scared.

This time is different.  Much different, much worse.  And I can’t say I blame him.

Shlomo has woken up from nightmares almost every night this past week.  He’s not sleeping well; he can’t sleep well.  A few nights ago he woke up crying that the “shoshanim” (the lights in his room) hurt him.  It’s a story for another post, but suffice it to say that I was extremely happy, because at least it was his normal three-year-old fear, and not another woo-woo (air-raid siren) dream.  Every other nightmare he’s had has been about woo-woos.  He wakes up crying, sleeptalking about woo-woos.

He sleeps with us.  Either he comes to us in the middle of the night, or he insists on going to sleep in our room, or he wakes up in the middle of the night and won’t go back to sleep unless he’s with us.  We let it be.  Yitzchak feels better having Shlomo beside him, even though if you count the seconds, it takes about the same amount of time to pull Shlomo out of his spot by the wall as it takes to pick him up out of his own bed.

During the day, Shlomo goes back and forth between asking for another woo-woo and saying that he doesn’t want one because he’s scared.  He tells me what he does when there is a woo-woo in gan and what we will do if there is a woo-woo at home.   He told me that Friday’s woo-woo didn’t have a boom (the ones in the Iron Dome videos that we show him when he asks for a woo-woo do have booms, obviously, but if you’re in a shelter you don’t usually hear a boom).

Shlomo was sick these past few days.  I think a big part of it – and why it wasn’t just a 24 hour bug – is because he’s not sleeping well.  Which, obviously, is because of the sirens.

He doesn’t want Yitzchak to leave the house without him.  We live on the fourth floor, and the shelter is all the way at the entrance level.  Shlomo could walk down, true, but it would take two minutes and we only have one.  Thank G-d he’s a pretty big kid (height and weight both) and I just can’t pick him up anymore.  When we had an earthquake a few months ago I did, but I regretted it for a few days afterwards and just can’t chance having to run the day after hurting my back.  Obviously, if I had to, I would pick Shlomo up and run, but we are doing everything possible to avoid me having to do that.  So, Yitzchak carries Shlomo down to the shelter.  And because of that, Shlomo is clinging to Yitzchak.  And when I say clinging, I mean clinging – like you’ve never seen a three-year-old do.

I miss the days of Shlomo refusing to go to sleep because he was scared that the “shoshanim” would hurt him.  Yes, it was annoying.  But at least it’s a normal three-year-old irrational fear.  When I go to the bathroom, Shlomo also points out that I don’t fall in the toilet, neither does Yitzchak, and neither does he.  He insists on falling asleep with light.  And it looks like the “shoshanim” fear is instead of the fear of the drain – probably because Shlomo likes to plunge the shower drain and therefore isn’t scared of it.  But all in all, annoying as the “shoshanim” fear is (and sometimes it’s just an excuse to stay up), it’s normal.

Nightmares are not.

And nightmares about woo-woos (AKA air raid sirens) are certainly not.

It makes me mad that my kid is waking up from nightmares every night because of a stupid, inhumane, terrorist group that kills its own children, tries to kill ours, and then blames us for everything.  It makes me mad that because of terrorists – who are murderers, by the way – my kid can’t sleep.

Hamas, and terrorists everywhere, I have a message for you:

אשרי שישלם לך את גמולך שגמלת לנו.  אשרי שיאחז וניפץ את עולליך על הסלע.

This post was written on July 20, while we were waiting for the daily siren, which had not yet come.  Thank G-d, it didn’t come, and hasn’t come – the two in a row on July 19 were the last two so far (watch me jinx myself by writing this . . .).  However, Shlomo is still getting over the trauma, little by little.  It’s going to be a long process, I think.  And Yitzchak and I still jump at unexpected loud noises, especially engines starting up and ambulance sirens.