Tag Archive | Health

Spanish Boy Suffers for Parents’ Stupid Decision

Or, perhaps, “The Obvious Has Happened: Unvaccinated Child Contracts Diphtheria.”

Or maybe, “Parents Who Don’t Vaccinate Are a Danger to Us All.”

Thirty years ago, Spain eradicated diphtheria.  Thirty.  Years.  Ago.  But of course, since then, parents have become smarter, braver, more educated, more independent, and in general, have a better understanding and grasp of the world, and think for themselves.  In other words, doctors are out to get us.  So are pharmacists, nurses, and anyone else who sells conventional medicine, with all those long leaflets covered in warnings.*  Obviously, a bunch of parents with a bone to pick, and a need to hang autism on something avoidable, are much smarter than everyone else.  And much safer, too.  After all, none of their kids are vaccinated, and none have contracted any of those diseases.  Until, of course, they do.

As I mentioned in my last post on the subject, pertussis is the most common problem, but measles and mumps sometimes pop up, as well.  This time, though, a kid is paying for his parents’ stupidity.  And if not for modern medical miracles, he’d have paid with his life, already.  A 6-year-old Spanish boy is being kept alive by 3 machines, after he contracted diphtheria.  No, he wasn’t vaccinated.

Worse yet, eight children – vaccinated children – who have been in contact with him, are being quarantined, because they tested positive for the disease.  They aren’t sick yet, and maybe they won’t get sick, but they are being quarantined as a preventive measure, to prevent an outbreak.  In other words, 8 children are suffering because of the stupid decision of this kid’s parents.  I don’t even want to think about any babies (too young to be vaccinated) who came in contact with him, or any pregnant women.  Let’s just not go there.

And we forgot the immunocompromised, didn’t we?

Parents, listen up, and listen good.

Choosing not to vaccinate your children means CHOOSING to endanger many, many other people.  CHOOSING to endanger other peoples’ children, sick people who have a compromised immune system, and tons of others.  It is not funny.  It is not nice.  It is not safe.  It is disgusting.  And anyone who dies or gets sick, is on your head.

We protect your kids, by being vaccinated and vaccinating our kids.  You endanger our kids’ lives, and our own lives, by not vaccinating, and not warning the rest of us that you are a potential disease carrier.

This kid’s parents feel, “terrible guilt,” as well they should.  They are guilty for their son’s condition.  And guilty for possibly spreading it to many other people, endangering them, as well.

They were not “hoodwinked,” or, “tricked,” by the anti-vaccination movement.  They chose to take a risk, a known risk, a deadly risk, without doing proper research and without thinking their decision through.

Because most parents who care will understand, that beside the risk of 0.0000000001% of the child reacting adversely to the vaccine, is a much higher risk of the child actually contracting the disease and being permanently disabled, if not killed, by it.  (Diphtheria has a mortality rate of 1 in 10.  Would these same anti-vaccine parents take an integrated NT scan with that number without doing amniocentesis?)  There is nothing in the vaccine, and no side effects in the vaccines, that are not found in, or caused by, the disease itself.  If the side effects of the vaccine scare you, think about how much worse it would be if your kid got the disease.  And then go beg for the vaccination, because it will maybe, maybe, maybe, give your kid a mild side effect, but it will very, very, very probably keep him from having to suffer from the actual disease.

And the parents whose kid “became” autistic right after the MMR vaccine?  Here I stand with MidlifeSingleMum; I believe that the kid showed signs of autism shortly afterwards.  But I have a few questions about whether the connection is causational, correlational, or nonexistent.  Possibly, the signs of autism were only noticed after the MMR vaccine, even though they were present long before; autism is tough to spot in tiny babies, unless you know what very specific signs to look for.  Possibly, the child would have become autistic anyways, and the vaccine sped the process up.  In any case, autism is not – or at least, has not been proven to be, after much research – a side effect of vaccines.  But it may be a side effect of untreated fevers during pregnancy.

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*(Note to self and readers: Alternative medicine is medicine without the lengthy research, without supervision, and without leaflets stating contraindications and warnings.  For some reason, I’d rather know what I’m getting into than take medication without knowing its possible side effects, especially concerning my kids.  I do use natural remedies, but only after researching them thoroughly.)

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When is Baby Ready for Solid Foods?

When Shlomo was a baby, we decided to give him solid food only at 6 months.  Not 5 months and 2 weeks, but six months, to the day, or perhaps plus a day or two.  After all, nursing babies don’t need solid food before then; the range of 4-6 months is because, until recently, formula-fed babies were thought to need solids from 4 months, regardless of whether their digestive system was completely ready for it.  (Recently, the guidelines have changed, and the new guidelines say to start solids only at six months, regardless of whether the baby is breastfed or formula fed.)  And so six months it would be.

Honestly, four to six months is an estimate.  Just like not every baby smiles at six weeks exactly, not every baby is born on their due date, and not every baby crawls at the same time – so, too, not every baby’s digestive system is ready for solids at exactly the same time, either.  The 4-6 months for starting solids is a general guideline; even though, as a general rule, you won’t hurt your baby by giving them solids at five months and one week, it doesn’t mean that that’s what’s absolutely best for your specific baby.

If so, how will you know when to give your baby solids?

When Shlomo was five months old, we went to visit my family, in Canada.  When he fussed after a feeding, my mother, always wanting to get to the fun stuff, give advice, and catch a “first” before we went back home, told us that he needed solids.  He was five months and a few days, and we said no.  He might want it – in fact, he definitely wanted it – but he didn’t need it.

When Shlomo was five months and one week, my family went to visit a lakeside cottage; we had been invited to go with, but the technical details did not work out, and so we stayed behind, with my grandmother, cousins, and Esther, who also couldn’t go for technical reasons.  During the week that followed, Shlomo suddenly stopped sleeping as well as usual, stopped pooping during the day, and when he woke up at night and pooped, it was this weird poop (Yitzchak says it was “foamy”) that leaked all over.  After a few days of this, Yitzchak picked up the phone and called his mother (ahem, ahem).  She listened to the description and said, “Sounds like he’s ready for solids.  Try giving him banana first and then oatmeal; those are two foods that practically nobody reacts to.”

I was peeved.  I had wanted to wait until six months.  Helloo, the baby’s gut takes about six months to fully close.  But I told myself that evidently Shlomo’s gut was showing signs of readiness two weeks early, and five months, two weeks, was still pretty good.  We went out, bought some bananas, opened one partially, took a spoon, scraped some banana onto the spoon, and fed it to Shlomo (how I miss the banana-scraping days; oh, wait, we’ll soon be back there).

Abracadabra – that night, he went back to sleeping normally, pooping normally, and all was well.  My mother had her wish (kind of; I don’t think she was wishing that this would happen while she was away vacationing), and my best-mother complex had taken a slight, but not too serious, hit.  We took bananas with us on the plane home, and fed them to our five-months-two-and-a-half-week-old.  Shlomo’s first solid foods had been eaten not at home, but at his great-grandmother’s house.  (And he loved it, by the way.)

This, then, is the answer: Your baby’s gut is ready for solid food when they don’t poop on their regular schedule, their poop is weird foam, and they’re not sleeping well.

Lately, Tova has been pooping later and later in the day, and making only one or two poops, as opposed to her usual three or four.  They are also very liquidy, instead of the regular seedy.  Is this her version of foam?  Or should we wait?  For the moment, we are waiting.  We have time; there’s no rush.

Plus, there are three very nice advantages to breastmilk-only poop: 1. You don’t have to take her out of a synagogue, or stop praying, just because she made a poop.  2. Most (95%) of the poop that gets on her clothes doesn’t leave any kind of mark, even without stain treatment.  Of the remaining 5%, if I put stain remover onto it once, it comes out 99% of the time.  Which means that between two breastfed kids, I have maybe two or three garments that were stained, truly stained, by breastmilk poop. 3. Ditto for breastmilk spit-up – I don’t think I’ve had to use stain remover at all.

In other words, I really like the convenience of my baby’s bodily fluids not staining anything.  And I will miss that when we add solids.  On the other hand, after they start solids, the poop becomes more solidified and they spit up less.  So it kind of (but not quite) evens out . . . right?

Disappointed by the Coalition

I knew that the coalition would probably look about the way it does (I was counting on Lieberman, though), but I didn’t think that the agreements would be this bad.

The ministry of religious affairs is in Shas’ hands.  They will not do anything good with it, and will probably do much harm.

Shas has Bibi’s consent to build cheap housing for the chareidim – which will mean that the housing crisis for everyone else will just get worse.

More money will be given to schools that do not teach the curriculum; I assume that this includes Arab schools, not just chareidi schools.  Bad, bad, bad.

They want to reinstate the draft exemption – bad.

The only maybe-good thing that Shas wants to do is get rid of the 18% tax on basic food items.  But why does pasta count as basic?

And we forgot that they want to raise the child stipends – something that costs the government blllions, takes responsibility off the parents, and worst of all, people use it to give themselves a salary for having kids.  Yes, that’s right.  With each cut to the child stipends, birth rates of groups that have children just to get money drop – and big time.  It’s not just a demographic war; it’s a war against people who try to live off the public pocket, with laziness as their only reason.

Shas got all of its demands, even at the expense of Bayit Yehudi.  And it makes me sick, especially since Shas is so corrupt.

I can’t blame Lieberman for not joining, but I am kind of peeved that he didn’t.

I don’t think that this coalition is going to last too long, though.  I think that Shas is going to get annoyed at something and bolt, giving us new elections.  Which wouldn’t be a bad thing, especially if it’s Shas’ fault.

Herzog is acting like Livni did a few years back – having a temper tantrum that Bibi managed to make a coalition.  Of course, Herzog himself probably wouldn’t have been able to do it, because there are not enough people willing to sit with him AND with each other.

But enough of this.  We have a right-wing coalition, shaky as it is.

Ayelet Shaked is justice minister, and this is good.  The left, of course, is calling her the injustice minister, as if Tzipi Livni had been better.  Yaakov Litzman is not the world’s best health minister, but neither was Yael German (I think she was awful).  We will finally have a sane education minister, instead of the crazy Shai Piron.  And hey, for all of Obama’s interference, we managed to outsmart him in the end.

I, along with the majority of Israelis, am not completely happy with the new coalition, but on the other hand, it’s quite obvious that this was our only choice.  I’m just sorry that there were so many unreasonable demands made, and given in to.  It reminds me of a three-year-old who screams for candy until his parents get sick of hearing the screaming and give in.  Short-term gain, but long-term loss, and big time.

Oh, well.  G-d will help.

Because if He doesn’t, we are in big trouble.

To Vaccinate, Or Not To Vaccinate?

When I was growing up, everyone in my family knew that I was the only one who had been properly vaccinated.  Esther had been mostly-properly-vaccinated, and the younger kids had never had the pertussis vaccination.  This didn’t mean much to me, until I was in high school.

I don’t remember which grade I was in, maybe tenth, but at some point a note was sent home (that I never got), that everyone needed to take antibiotics, because someone in school (or someone in school’s sibling) had had whooping cough.  Probably, they still had whooping cough at that moment – it isn’t a cough that goes away quickly.

As mentioned, I didn’t get the notice.  I don’t remember how we found out that I hadn’t gotten the notice, but I do remember that my mother blamed me for bringing pertussis into the house and not taking precautions to make sure no one would get sick.  As I write this, the anger at being blamed for the family’s illness comes back to me.  I didn’t get the notice, I didn’t do it on purpose, and I certainly didn’t deserve to have all of my siblings blaming me for something that could have been prevented, if my parents had vaccinated them.

Obviously, as it usually goes, those who are not vaccinated suffer the most – and the younger you are, the worse it is.  I don’t remember if my parents had pertussis; I do remember that of my siblings, Noach and I had the lightest cases.  Noach was about 7, Shira was 4, and Ari was two, I think.  Esther was 12, maybe 13, but she had the worst case, because it was complicated by a preexisting heath condition (which, for privacy reasons, I will not name now).  Esther, by the way, always a copy of my mother, blamed me for the fact that she was sick and lost her summer job, a few times a day, for about a year.

At any rate, this is getting off topic.

People who don’t vaccinate make me mad.  Herd immunity is one of the major reasons that vaccinations work, and without herd immunity, even vaccinated people can sometimes get very sick.  This is because the vaccination does not work 100% on everyone.  Some people get the vaccination and are only 80% immunized.  If everyone around them is also vaccinated, the herd immunity protects everyone, and no one gets sick.  If enough people in the community aren’t vaccinated, an epidemic will break out, putting even the responsible, vaccinated population at risk.

In addition to this, no one is immunized until they finish the vaccination schedule, at about a year and a half (or age 6 for measles, mumps, and rubella).  This means that, especially for babies who don’t breastfeed (and therefore have no immunity at all for the first three or four months, and do not receive any helpful antibodies to aid their immune systems afterwards), those who are not vaccinated are a huge threat, not just to their health, but to their lives.  Even those who do breastfeed are at risk, especially if they were born prematurely, and even if they are still in the relative sterility of the NICU.  Tara Hills, in her article on how she went from being against vaccines to being absolutely in favor of them, says it beautifully: “But in the four highly contagious days before any symptoms show we easily could have passed on our infection to my sister’s toddlers or her 34-week-old son in the NICU.”

In other words, to put it very bluntly, if you choose not to vaccinate, you are putting many innocent lives at risk, not just your own kids’.

That’s a lot of responsibility; unfortunately, many anti-vaccine parents don’t see it that way, and refuse to see it that way.  Probably because it would burst their “better-and-more-natural-than-you” bubble.

From what I’m writing, most of you probably assume that I unblinkingly, unthinkingly, give my kids any vaccine out there, without asking questions.  This, I must say, is not true.  I do not completely trust the varicella vaccine, nor am I convinced that it is necessary for everyone.  I do agree, however, that for certain populations it is probably recommended.  And about the HPV vaccine – new, barely-tested, and a good part of the risks avoidable by teaching teens responsibility – let’s just say that each person can make their own decision, and as long as this does not become a required vaccine, I will keep my peace.  But there is a huge difference between the routine vaccinations – for diseases that literally spread like plagues, often with disastrous results – and the HPV vaccine, for a disease that in most cases (admittedly, not all) can be avoided by proper monitoring and taking responsibility . . . and is not spread through coughs, air, or random handshakes.

About a year and a half ago, there was a polio outbreak here in Israel (brought here, of course, by some Arab who came from the grossly unsanitary conditions present when the Muslims gathered in Mecca).  At some point, the Ministry of Health told everyone to get OPV – the oral polio vaccine, consisting of a live, but weakened, virus.  Even those who received IPV (the dead, or inactivated, polio vaccine) were supposed to get OPV.

When I did some research, I found out that the push to get OPV was not so that the person vaccinated would not get polio, but in order to ensure it could not be passed on.  As it turns out, polio, like group B streptococcus, can live in a [vaccinated] person’s gut without harming them; however, if it passed to someone who was not immunized, that person would get infected, and probably sick, as well.  If we had had an young baby at that time, I probably would have gone out and gotten all of us immunized with OPV.  However, we did not have a baby at that point, and I saw no reason to give my kid a live virus so that people who chose not to immunize their kids would not have to suffer.  At the end of the day, I reasoned, those who are the biggest threat to society’s health are not about to run out and give their kid IPV, much less OPV.  True, there are those with compromised immune systems, there are the elderly, there are the babies.  But we don’t have contact with too many of those people, and if the virus was passed on, it would be by someone else, not by us directly.  So, Shlomo did not get OPV.  Was I irresponsible and thoughtless?  Probably.  But a live vaccine is a big thing, and if everyone had had IPV, the OPV wouldn’t be necessary.  Even a dead, inactivated, vaccine can cause side effects, and if I am taking that risk, I don’t think that I need to take the live virus risk – not the risk of the actual disease because of a lack of herd immunity, and not to try to compensate for that lack of herd immunity.

When I asked one of my cousins if she was going to give her kid OPV, she said, “No, he doesn’t go to gan [hint: unlike your kid], and I don’t live in the south [hint: unlike you].”  Which just proved to me that she hadn’t done her homework – polio had been discovered in the sewage in the center of the country by that point, as well; and just playing with one friend’s dirty toys, or touching his dirty hands if they hadn’t been thoroughly washed after he pooped, was enough to infect him.  If that wasn’t enough, she was seven months pregnant – her new baby wasn’t about to be vaccinated any time soon, either.

As it turns out, thank G-d, the polio scare passed without too many problems, on both a personal and national level, thank G-d.  The OPV was largely understood to be a highly protective, preventive measure, and there was a question if it was truly necessary.

herd immunity, spreading infections, outbreaks, immunity, immunizations, vaccination, vaccinations, health, diseases, babies, mutual responsibility, those who dont immunize put everyone else at risk, anti-vax, anti-vax stupidity, education, responsibilityA few months after Shlomo was born, Esther said, “Did you give him the pertussis vaccine?”  I told her yes – since we were kids, the vaccine has changed.  Plus, no matter what, it’s better to get the vaccine than the disease – and pertussis is one of those very nasty diseases that still pops up quite a few times a year.  True, Esther’s health was negatively influenced by the pertussis vaccine (and it’s not certain if the vaccine was the cause, the trigger, or completely unrelated); but it is also true that she was never fully immunized, and that she ended up getting the actual disease – and suffering the consequences – in the end, anyways.  Isn’t it better to just get the vaccine?

By the way, as it turns out, people need a DTaP booster as adults, too.  Once, when we were in a clinic because Shlomo was throwing up, there was a kid next to us with a distinctive whooping cough.  I asked the mother if he had had his immunizations, and she said he had had all but one.  When I asked which one – she didn’t know.  We moved away from them, and later that week, Yitzchak and I went to get DTaP shots (Shlomo was about a year old at the time, and his shots were recent enough that he was protected).  As it turns out, this was helpful in more ways that just the obvious one: When I was pregnant with Tova, the nurse told me to get a pertussis shot.  Always wary of vaccinations during pregnancy, I asked Mom, who, at first, told me that I should get the vaccine; when I told her I’d had one in January 2012, she told me that it was recent enough to give Tova my IgG without having to get a vaccination while pregnant – and she also told me that she tried to get her vaccinations while not pregnant, for this exact reason.

What I did just realize is that when Esther has a baby, she probably will not vaccinate the kid against pertussis – which means that I don’t want my kids coming in contact with hers until they have been fully immunized and have had recent enough booster shots that I won’t have to worry.  Luckily, because Esther doesn’t live too close to me, this won’t be too much of a problem to pull off.  Hmmm . . . does that mean I don’t want any of my siblings near my kids, until I know my kids are fully vaccinated?  But maybe not, because they all got pertussis – not the shot, but the disease.  I guess it doesn’t matter, because it all amounts to the same thing: not to travel unless we are all up-to-date and not in need of booster shots.  Maybe this is why the concept of vaccinations before traveling exists?

vaccinations, peanut butter allergies, irresponsibility, plauges, outbreaks, infections, immunity, school, healthPlease, everyone, vaccinate your kids.  The entire time I was pregnant with Shlomo, I was worried about getting rubella.  At the beginning of the pregnancy, the blood tests showed that I wasn’t immune, even though my mother insisted that I got both doses (and even if I don’t always believe my mother, you can’t get into the school system where I was in first grade without being up-to-date).  At some point, there was a notice in my college (again, while I was pregnant with Shlomo) that everyone should check their vaccination records, because there had been a case or two of measles.  As soon as I could after having Shlomo, I went with him to one of his well-baby appointments and got myself an MMR vaccination.   Thankfully, since then, I have tested my levels twice, and each time, the IgG value went up a bit, so that now I am fully immunized.

I think that everyone who didn’t receive the necessary vaccinations needs to make sure that those around them know to keep away – especially pregnant (or potentially pregnant) women, young children, babies, and anyone with any kind of medical issue – even just a flu.  Outbreaks of infectious diseases happen every few years; for some diseases, every year.  And they always start in communities that have high numbers of people who are too good for the vaccine – white, richer, more skeptical of the “outside world”,you name it.  Let’s stop trying to convince ourselves that vaccines are the cause of so many of today’s ails, and accept the fact that they have very effectively prevented thousands, if not millions, of hospitalizations per year.

Why Do Mothers Choose to Formula-Feed?

During my maternity leave, I went back to an old hobby of mine – reading about baby feeding, health, and development.  Probably, all of you know on which side of the breastfeeding – formula feeding divide I very firmly stand.  That said, it irks me a lot when people say, “The most important thing is a happy mother; if breastfeeding is too hard for you, it’s better to just give your baby formula and quit nursing, as long as you’re not stressed out.”  Which, by the way, is bunk.  Then there are those who say that mothers who choose, from the outset, to add formula, care just as much about their babies, and do not do it for convenience but for the baby’s sake.

I’ll let Alpha Parent say it; here’s a quote from her post comparing past and present in baby feeding:

Self-interest is still quoted as the prime reason for not breastfeeding. From the UK Department of Health Infant Feeding survey (which involves around 8000 mothers and is done every 5 years): “The most common reason for choosing to breastfeed was that breastfeeding was best for the baby’s health, followed by convenience. The most common reason for choosing to bottle-feed was that it allowed others to feed the baby, followed by a dislike of the “idea” of breastfeeding.”

And here’s some more, for those who claim that breastfeeding doesn’t allow you to sleep at night:

Breastfeeding mothers get more sleep and their sleep is of higher quality. A breastfed baby can eat as soon as he is hungry. If co sleeping, that means before the baby even starts to cry. A formula-fed baby has to wait for formula to be prepared and warmed, in the meantime getting more and more distressed and agitated as well as waking others in the household. When breastfeeding, even the mother does not need to wake up fully to nurse her baby. Furthermore, the hormones produced during nursing have a relaxing effect, and the mother is likely to sleep even better when she nurses her baby. Studies have shown that parents of infants who were breastfed in the evening and/or at night slept an average of 40-45 minutes more than parents of infants given formula (Doan et al). Parents of infants given formula at night had more sleep disturbance than parents of infants who were exclusively breast-fed at night.

And for those who think that Dad can feed the baby at night if you formula feed:

I’m sorry to burst SMA’s bubble but as Gabrielle Palmer (The Politics of Breastfeeding, 2009) has pointed out, “The reality is that few fathers actually do take the whole responsibility of infant care and most artificial feeding is still done by mothers”. Pauline Lim, author of the very useful book Teach Yourself Successful Breastfeeding, concurs that:

“In reality few partners actually share the night feeds, so don’t be tempted to stop breastfeeding for this reason. There might be an odd occasion when this happens but the novelty wears off very quickly, leaving you firmly back in charge of the night-feed. This is particularly true when your partner has to get up for work.”

Remember when we were dealing with tongue-tie?  I pumped and went to sleep, and Yitzchak fed her the pumped milk.  Or, sometimes, I just pumped while he fed Tova the previously pumped bottle.  However, this was for a very limited time, until Tova finally learned how to nurse while lying beside me in bed, and Yitzchak did it not because he ideologically believed it was better for him to share the nighttime burden (because there is no question that nursing is better than getting a bottle of pumped milk, no matter how fresh), but because I was so weak, out of it, and barely functioning that he basically had no choice.  It wasn’t easy for Yitzchak and I don’t think we would have been able to keep it up long-term.  Especially since I would wake up when Tova cried and then have to fall back asleep. During those early weeks, however, it was a lifesaver (and you know something is wrong when it’s easier to pump than it is to nurse).

Here’s a study that compares the health of formula fed, or mixed formula and breastmilk fed, babies with those exclusively breastfed for the first six months.  Obviously, any breastfeeding is better than none, but that does not mean that supplementing a breastfed baby with formula does not have any undesirable side effects.  Another thing that should be mentioned is that breastfed babies are not healthier than formula fed babies; rather, formula fed babies are sicker than breastfed babies.

Don’t worry, give me a few days and we will get back to the elections.  We are still waiting on the final 1% of votes to come in, and until they do, nothing is official and the only thing we can do is speculate.

 

My Glasses

glasses, eye exam, eyeglasses, toddlers, eye chart, broken glasses

I got my glasses a few weeks after Shlomo was born.  I don’t remember how my old ones broke.

Since I didn’t know what my prescription was, I had to do an eye exam.  A lot of stores will do the exam for free – as long as you buy glasses from them.  If you don’t end up buying glasses, you have to pay for the exam.

So I called a few places, found one that had reasonable prices, and went with little Shlomo to find glasses.  The problem, of course, was that I was not wearing glasses – which just made it more complicated.  We made it anyways.

I got my glasses and have been wearing them for over two years.

One day a few months ago, I took a shower.  No, really?  Yes, I got in the shower.  I locked the top lock on the front door so that Shlomo couldn’t get out and left him playing with his toys.

Shlomo came into the bathroom for a few minutes and then went back out.  About halfway through the shower it became kind of quiet – never a good sign.  I asked Shlomo to come to me, and he didn’t listen.  I asked again, and he didn’t listen.  Not a good sign at all.  I finished the shower and went out to see what was going on.

But when I stepped out of the tub, my glasses weren’t where I had put them.

“Shlomo, where are my glasses?”

Nope, he doesn’t come.

“Shloomo, Ima (Mommy) needs her glasses.  Did you take them?”  Then I saw something dark, two something darks , on the floor in the hall.  I heard Shlomo standing up and walking towards me.  I got there first.  As I had suspected, hose two something darks were my glasses.  The lenses with one earpiece attached, and the other earpiece separated from them.  And wouldn’t you know, he didn’t break it in a way that I could just put a twist-tie in and be done with it.

There is a little peg on the earpiece that goes into the part that holds the lenses.  This little piece is what you use those tiny screws to hold in.  Well, the screw and the peg that is close to it are in the part with the lenses.  The earpiece itself is whole, except for most of that little peg.  Which, of course, means that it’s very difficult, if not impossible, to fix (at least by myself).

And when I walked into the living room, I saw something else: He was playing with Jack’s medicines.

No wonder he had taken my glasses.  It was a pretty good distraction.

In the meantime, after I got over the frustration of being right after a shower (with little things like hanging the towel to dry still needing to be done), with no glasses, and the worry of whether he had eaten medicine, I taped my glasses back together.

They are still taped.  We (or rather, Yitzchak) redo the tape on them every week or two, because it keeps coming loose.

Then one morning, a few weeks ago, Yitzchak gave me my glasses, and I didn’t put them on right away, and fell back asleep.  So Shlomo climbed up and suddenly I felt something poking my face: Shlomo putting my glasses on my me.

Another time, I was in the shower and left my glasses on the toilet seat, one side folded, one side not (because it was taped and has to stay straight).  Shlomo took them, folded the second side, and put them on the back of the toilet.  Good intentions, bad results.  Yitzchak redid the tape.

But how can you get mad at a kid for trying to help?

Haircut Day

Today, as the title implies, was Haircut Day.  Not for Shlomo – we are waiting for his third birthday before we cut his hair.  For us.

We have been cutting each others’ hair since we got married.  The theory is this: Who wants to sit in a barbershop, wait their turn, pay money, go there, make an appointment, etc?  Why bother? haircutting machine, buzzers, buzz cuts, haircut machine, barber, home haircuts

So right after we got married, we bought a buzzer.  Money was tight, so we got a medium-rate one.  A shame, too, because my cousin’s husband offered us his right after we bought ours, since he had just bought a new one.  And I think his was better quality.  Our buzzer did a good job for the first two or three haircuts.  It did a less great job for the next one.  And it took over an hour (maybe even an hour and a half, with a less-than-happy newborn) for the one after that.  By that time (prior to the hour-and-half haircut), we had moved, so we started asking our new neighbor, M. (who was a friend beforehand), if we could borrow his.  So, that’s what we did.

Then M.’s buzzer broke.  So we splurged and bought an expensive one.  It cuts hair, including the being-careful-around-the-peyot (sidelocks) issue, in about ten minutes.  It works beautifully.  M. now borrows our buzzer every time he or his son need a haircut.  And I have learned how to cut around peyot properly, without touching them.  (More about peyot – and Yitzchak’s peyot – later.  Remind me.)

Today, as usual, Yitzchak’s haircut was first.  Then he reminded me that I also needed one.  So, to the bathroom we go.

haircutting scissors, barber scissors, haircuts, home haircuts, hair stylists, hairdosMy hair is thick and curly.  By ‘thick’ I mean that the strands themselves are thick, and that they grow densely.  The first time after we got married that I needed to cut my hair, I am pretty sure I did it myself.  I didn’t like the result, which was too short; it seems I had become too cocky from my pre-marriage self-haircut successes that I had stopped being careful.  The next time, I tied it into a ponytail and ordered Yitzchak to cut it.  He didn’t think I was doing it properly, but listened anyways.  Too bad for me, because I was wrong and he was right.  It was way too short, and uneven to boot.  I evened it out, but there was nothing to be done about the shortness.  It would just have to grow back.  Luckily for me during both of these mis-cuts, I was a) pregnant, which meant my hair grew super-fast, and b) it was summer, which meant that less hair means less heat and sweat, especially if you are wearing a head covering (as many religious married women do).

The next time I told Yitzchak to cut it, and to ignore my instructions if they seemed to be illogical.  He cut it too short again.  But, it was much better than the previous time.

The time after that, he cut it again too short, but not as short.  The lesson, in his words? “I need to leave your hair an inch and a half longer than I think I do.”

And now, even though Yitzchak dreads cutting my hair, lest he make a mistake, he cuts my hair perfectly: It can be gathered easily into a ponytail and does not bunch up under whatever head covering I happen to be wearing.  It does not require five pins to keep it from sticking out of my sheitel (wig).  And, it saves on my shampoo bill.

To the Bus Stop (Jerusalem, Part IV)

We’ve finally reached the corner.  Now, we turn right, onto Agrippas, and start walking down towards the bus stop, to go home.  These bus stops used to be on Yaffo, where the train now is.  When they built the train, they transferred all of them to Agrippas.  Now the “bus stop” is no longer a [useful, not pretty] old shelter, with a sign on top.  It is just a sign post on a small sidewalk, where people waiting for the bus push and are pushed by the people walking on the street, or going in and out of shops.  In other words a too-small sidewalk became even smaller – without actually changing the sidewalk itself.

The corner:

shuk, walking, yaffo, yafo, agrippas, people, machane yehuda, shuk, marketplace, open marketplace, jerusalem shuk, newspapers, stores, shopping, cheap stores, cheap

The store on the corner, selling newspapers (and beers, and cigarettes).

shuk, walking, yaffo, yafo, agrippas, people, machane yehuda, shuk, marketplace, open marketplace, jerusalem shuk, newspapers, stores, shopping, cheap stores, cheap, magazines, newspaper stands, newspapers, jewish magazines, secular magazines, drinks, beer, cigarettes, poison, cigars, smokers, smoking, harming people, health

And a restaurant with a tiny smokers’ area.  It keeps the restaurant smoke-free, but what about the rest of us?

shuk, walking, yaffo, yafo, agrippas, people, machane yehuda, shuk, marketplace, open marketplace, jerusalem shuk, newspapers, stores, shopping, cheap stores, cheap, restaurants, smoking, smokers corner, cigarettes, cigars, smokers, people who smoke, nicotine, addiction, smoking outdoors, harming other people

A store selling snacks . . .

shuk, walking, yaffo, yafo, agrippas, people, machane yehuda, shuk, marketplace, open marketplace, jerusalem shuk, newspapers, stores, shopping, cheap stores, cheap, snack shops, bamba, bissli, snacks, junk food, junk food stores, snack bags

shuk, walking, yaffo, yafo, agrippas, people, machane yehuda, shuk, marketplace, open marketplace, jerusalem shuk, newspapers, stores, shopping, cheap stores, cheap, snack shops, bamba, bissli, snacks, junk food, junk food stores, snack bags

. . . and a store selling all kinds of drinks: soft drinks, alcohol, water, juices – you name it, they have it.

shuk, walking, yaffo, yafo, agrippas, people, machane yehuda, shuk, marketplace, open marketplace, jerusalem shuk, newspapers, stores, shopping, cheap stores, cheap, soft drinks, juices, drink shops, alcohol, liquor, wine, grape juice, soda pop, soda, water, fruit juices, soda shops, juice stores, stores selling drinks

shuk, walking, yaffo, yafo, agrippas, people, machane yehuda, shuk, marketplace, open marketplace, jerusalem shuk, newspapers, stores, shopping, cheap stores, cheap, soft drinks, juices, drink shops, alcohol, liquor, wine, grape juice, soda pop, soda, water, fruit juices, soda shops, juice stores, stores selling drinks

shuk, walking, yaffo, yafo, agrippas, people, machane yehuda, shuk, marketplace, open marketplace, jerusalem shuk, newspapers, stores, shopping, cheap stores, cheap, soft drinks, juices, drink shops, alcohol, liquor, wine, grape juice, soda pop, soda, water, fruit juices, soda shops, juice stores, stores selling drinks

We finally reached the bus stop.

shuk, walking, yaffo, yafo, agrippas, people, machane yehuda, shuk, marketplace, open marketplace, jerusalem shuk, newspapers, stores, shopping, cheap stores, cheap, bus stops, egged stops, buses, sidewalk, bus stop poles, bus stop signs, jerusalem bus, jerusalem bus stop, shuk bus stop, shuk buses, sidewalk stops, bread

Next post: Waiting for the bus.  (Yes, I will eventually finish this series and get back to normal writing.  If you must know, I thought of this series for two reasons: 1) To help satisfy readers’ curiosity about life in Israel, 2) To help aid my writers’ block that will only allow me to write rants about how awful formula is.

Honestly, though, we all know that posting too many pictures in one post is never a good idea.  So, I’m trying to divide the pictures up in a sensible manner.)  But, if you are getting bored of this, let me know.