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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.

Flying Cake

On Shabbat morning, Shlomo gets cake for breakfast (long story).  Obviously, I don’t make the cake just for him.  But it’s usually the only cake we make each week.

This week Yitzchak bought me a present – ingredients for cheesecake.  I made a cheesecake Thursday night and a chocolate cake on Friday afternoon.  The cheesecake, obviously, was almost gone by the time Shabbat morning came along.  But we saved a bit for Shlomo.

Except . . .

When Yitzchak gave Shlomo a piece of chocolate cake and a piece of cheesecake last Shabbat morning, Shlomo picked up the cheesecake, said, “Cold,” and refused to touch it.  Yitzchak said that if he doesn’t eat it, Ima will be very happy to.  Well, Shlomo didn’t want it, and that was final.

So YItzchak cut the cheesecake into bite-size pieces, speared one with a fork and brought it to me, while I was still in bed.  Yummy.  Then he did the same with bite-size pieces 2 and 3.  And then . . .

Shlomo decided that flyiing cake into Ima’s mouth (he could see it from his seat at the table, because the bedroom door was open) sounded like a lot of fun.  So I got about five or six pieces of chocolate cake flown into my mouth, except that these weren’t cut into bite-size pieces and I more than once found my mouth overstuffed.  One of the times, Shlomo had to wait [im]patiently by the bed, because I just hadn’t finished chewing.

And then finally, after I asked for no more cake (please!) Yitzchak put the cake on top of the fridge, and the game of flying oversized pieces of cake into my mouth ended, much to Shlomo’s dismay.

It certainly was cute while it lasted, but my mouth was too tired and I had eaten more pieces of chocolate cake in one sitting (laying?) than I had wanted.

More Work-At-Home Ideas

I’m out of inspiration at the moment . . .

But here is a link that someone sent me, on a few more ideas of how to make money from home.  Some of them are traditional, others a little more creative.

Take a look, add your comments, and enjoy!

Just remember: Working from home isn’t for everybody.  It can be tough.  And as it says in the article, if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is.  There is no magic money-making formula.

Liebster Blog Award

liebster blog award, liebster award, liebster blog, blog awardsA few days ago, I got an email from Rivki of Life in the Married Lane, nominating me for the Liebster Blog Award.  The Liebster Blog Award is given to new bloggers with less than 200 followers.  The rules are:

1. Tell 11 things about yourself.

2. Answer 11 questions from the blogger who nominated you.

3. Nominate 11 bloggers, and post 11 questions for them to answer.

4. Contact those bloggers whom you nominated, to inform them of their nomination.

Here goes . . .

A. Answers to Rivki’s Questions:

1) Either poopy diapers (because they stink too much) or dishes /kitchen cleaning (because I used to have eczema, still have sensitive skin, and am a bit lazy about it).

2) Probably the mitzva (commandment) of living in, and protecting, the land of Israel.  Or, the mitzva to handle other peoples’ money the same way you handle your own; not stealing or cheating (including the government and other taxpayers).

3) I would pick my name, because I happen to love it!  As a matter of fact, I would love to give my name to a daughter – except that in Jewish tradition children are not usually named after their parents.

4) I’m not sure I have one.  If I had to choose, it would have to be either finishing my degree, nursing for 14 months (with no formula whatsoever; in Israel, this is extremely rare), or managing to keep my sanity (and a decent salary) while also keeping Shlomo out of daycare.

5) I think my favorite holiday is Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) because you get dressed, go to shul (synagogue), and spend the whole day praying.  No brushing teeth, no showering, no eating, nothing else you need to be doing.  After Yom Kippur, I’d have to say Chanuka, because it’s an 8-day holiday, with vacation, but with hardly any major obligations.  Then Pesach (Passover), because for some reason, I think of it as an absolutely beautiful holiday.

6) I think Israel is beautiful, especially the greener parts, rivers, mountains, and deserts.  (Um, doesn’t that include all of Israel?)  But, honestly, I don’t think that I can rate one area of Israel above any others; each is breathtakingly beautiful in its own way.

7) I don’t usually listen to music, and when someone puts music on to brighten the mood, I get annoyed.  I like quiet the best.

8) Either a specific types of chocolate, cookies, and cake, or almost any type of cheese.

9) Yes, I did have a list before marriage.  It was a five-and-five list: Five things that my future husband must have; five things that I would like, but are not necessary; and five things that I will not live with.  I have the list somewhere in my [and my husband’s] memory, but it is not for this post.  However, I did get pretty much everything on my list, excluding some of the “not-necessary wants”.  I do not think I would have married someone who did not fit my list – nor do I think he would have married me.

10) I think I would play the violin.  I have always had a fascination with it.

11) I would go to New York, visit some friends for a day or so, and visit the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s gravesite.  Then I would go to Toronto for two or three weeks, to visit family and friends that I haven’t seen in too long.  And then I would go to Kentucky, so that I could spend time with my in-laws, indefinitely.  And then back home.

B. 11 things about myself:

1) I moved to Israel when I was 19, without my family.

2) I regularly buy my clothes second-hand.  For a few years, I would buy clothes new, once or twice a year, when absolutely necessary.  Since my marriage, I have completely stopped that.  Why bother spending the time to buy expensive clothes when I’ll either gain or lose weight in the next few months?  Plus, older styles are much more to my taste than newer ones.  Yitzchak feels bad about this (all his clothes he buys new), but I don’t mind it.  I also hate clothes shopping, which is another reason why I prefer to buy second-hand instead of going from store to store trying to find something I will wear and is within my budget.

3) I can count the number of times I wore proper makeup on one hand.  Only one of those times (our wedding) was after I met my husband.  Usually, I just cover my pimples so that they’re not too awful, and forget the rest.  I also ran out of pimple cover-up three and a half weeks ago, and have yet to go out to buy more.

4) Since we got married, we have not had an oven (gasp).  This is because during our first year, we did not have space for an oven/stove unit (we have a three-burner stove on our counter, always have), and now it is because we are lazy and keep pushing it off.  Yes, we cook on the stove.  We have figured out how to cook chicken, pizza, lasagna, and lots of other things using a stove.  Amazing, right?

5) In three years, we have moved twice.  Our first and third (current) apartments had/has two rooms each; the second apartment had five rooms, was temporary, and was way too big.

6) Everything in our house has a place where it belongs.  If I’m not sure that it will have a definite place, then I don’t bring it in the house.  This also helps to cut unnecessary spending, since we have a small house that can only fit so much.  Exceptions are free books, which displace other books. However, the displaced books now have a home: a laundry basket under the table.  One of these days, we will get another bookshelf (or two, replacing one of the ones that we currently have).  It’s on the list, after the toaster oven.  Because, of course, if the bookshelf was before the toaster oven, I have a feeling that we would have the bookshelf next month and the toaster oven (to vary our menus a bit) in at least another year.

7) I don’t mind going against the crowd, even if it means I’m not popular.

8) Before we got married, somebody asked us how many kids we wanted.  We said 20.  (FTR, I don’t think that will happen, considering that nursing works as birth control.)

9) I never, ever, ever thought that I would be happy as a stay-at-home, or work-at-home, mother.  Now, I want Yitzchak to find a job that will allow us to lead simple lives on one salary, so that if I choose to work from home, whatever I earn will be extra.

10) I am the oldest of five children (three girls, two boys), and my husband is the second youngest of five boys.

11) A month before we got married, I cut my own hair during my lunch break (it took ten minutes), to make a beard for my Purim costume.

C. 11 Questions for My Nominees:

1) What do you consider to be the three most important things in your life?

2) What made you decide to start blogging?

3) Books or television?  Why?

4) If someone accused your child of bullying theirs, how would you react?  Why?

5) What subjects do you enjoy reading about?

6) What do you consider to be the most important factor in a marriage?

7) There are many, many older (30+) singles today, as well as a high rate of divorce.  What do you think is the cause?

8) Why did you choose your city of residence?

9) How do you and your spouse handle finances?

10) What is your favorite household chore?  Why?

11) The classic: If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money?

D. Nominees:

1) BeEnough

2) Balance and Grace

3) Rach

4) Sporadic Intelligence

5) Jessica

6) Sarale

7) Curiodyssey

8) Carrie

9) Memyselfandkids

Hm, I only have nine nominees who fit the bill.  Anyone have suggestions?

Is Quality Time Enough?

playtime, quality time, parents and children, parents play with their children, parents playing with their children, quality time, quantity time, quality vs quantity time, parenting, playing with your child, playing with your children, time with your child, play with your child, build a relationship with your child

from askamum

As most of you know, I work from home, on the computer.  To be specific, I make workbooks.  It is kind of boring, day in, day out, working with the same material.  And I am not the kind of person who easily makes their own schedule.  However, thank G-d, I manage (or try to).

Today Shlomo played very nicely all morning.  I was mostly just doing housework, because I expected him to want me to play with him.  Nope.  He was playing right up until I decided that it was getting late, and he needed his nap.  So, we cleaned up together.  He took a nap.  And then I started working.

After his nap, I gave Shlomo lunch, and he went back off to play.  Obviously, I went back to work.  And then he wanted my attention.  I tried working and playing with him, and it didn’t work.  He wanted my full attention, and nothing else.  Well, what could I do?  I certainly wasn’t working effectively.  And besides, isn’t this why I chose to work from home?  I saved my work and played with him.  We had great fun.  (Or rather, he had great fun, and I tried my best to do the same.)

He kept going off to play by himself, though I wasn’t allowed to go back to working; I had to watch, be available, and comment on what he was doing.  I started thinking:  This is quality time, right?  How much quality time do kids really need?  How many parents are able – or willing – to give it?

I remember reading in a college textbook (actually, maybe it was a research article) that children have given up on time with their parentsThe time is too short, too sparse, and only leaves them wanting more.  So they take what they can get, and try to find replacements for the rest.  In other words, they give up on having their parents available to them.  We’re not talking about service here.  We’re talking about being available to have a relationship with your child.

Many children have given up on this?  How sad.  Isn’t it?  Playing with your child when they are two turns into helping them sort out friendship problems when they are ten.  And that, in turn, becomes communication with teenagers, and helping them, both as teenagers and adults, to survive, emotionally whole, in this world: helping them with jobs, deal with rejections, find a spouse, and deal with everything else that life throws at people.

It’s true that some parents are more comfortable with certain ages.  My grandmother, for instance, has a hard time interacting with children from about age four until adulthood.  She tries, but it’s hard.  Yitzchak loves little kids, to the point where I am jealous of how much fun he has playing with Shlomo.  I, personally, like the independent-little-person stage best.  Helpful, communicative, opinionated, has mastered the basics of self-care, but still a child.  I also like teenagers, for some reason.  And I like babies, because they’re cute and cuddly. (At least, I like all babies whose parents I know, and some babies who are strangers.)

But pretend play, and pushing cars around?  Not my idea of fun.  I do it, and I try to enjoy it, but really?  Enough is enough.  How many times can I pretend to make this plane fly before I get annoyed?  Do I really have to look happy when I do it?  And the answer is yes, I do.  Because he wants needs me to play with him, and he wants needs attention.  He wants needs to feel that I do not begrudge him this attention.  And because I chose to have this child, he deserves to get the attention he needs.  I don’t spoil him, or at least, I don’t think I do.  But attention is not spoiling.  It’s saying that you care.  And at the same time, because you care, you can say “no” when it is necessary.

I think the key word here is: trying.  Trying, because it’s important to the other person – in this case, your child.  Trying, because putting in effort is part of every relationship, and every parent wants a good relationship with their child, for years to come.

Defiance: A Coping Mechanism?

no, defiant child, defiance, child defiance, odd, oppositional defiance disorders, child saying no, refusal, helpful children, divorce, counseling

Shlomo is [usually] what is called, “Yeled tov Yerushalayim,” or a “good Jerusalem boy”.  In other words, a goody-two-shoes.  He doesn’t always do as we ask, but he likes to make us happy, and he likes it when we praise him for doing something.  It’s probably a personality type, but still, it got me thinking.

So I started thinking:  He likes praise.  He likes to please.  But, isn’t every child naturally like that?  Or at least, every healthy child?  I know that part of the equation is personality, but is personality really responsible for all of the defiance that children have?

Now, before you jump on me for judging everyone else’s kids, I am what we call a “davkanik”, or “specifically-person”.  Meaning, I like[d] to do things, or say things, that go specifically against what everyone says, likes, or does.  It hasn’t gotten better with time, I’ve just learned to control it.  But, if you are arguing for something, I will probably argue against it, even if I agree with you.  Just for the sake of it.  And, what I believe in, I will argue for very strongly.  Even if it hurts someone’s feelings.  Because, if this is what is right, then the person opposite me can grow up and admit the truth.  And if they are no longer my friend?  Chances are, they weren’t my friend in the first place.  And besides, I don’t need friends who are so involved in going with the trends that they won’t admit the truth.

Back to the topic: I was classed as ODD.  Might that be because of how I was raised?  I mean, for sure, it’s a personality trait (at least by now) that I am (maybe) defiant.  It’s a good thing, it’s a bad thing, it’s a trait.  Traits are good and bad, depending on how they are used.  For sure, I can’t remember being as calm as Shlomo is now.  But maybe that’s because I spent a while in the hospital at age 2.5.  Apparently, I was a pretty happy kid before that.  And my parents’ marriage, for as long as I can remember, was rocky.  So, maybe I grew up defiant because of the atmosphere in which I was raised.

Yitzchak was always meek.  He did what people told him, even when he didn’t like it, and even when it was to his detriment (except for on one specific issue, but that’s off topic).  His parents are also divorced, but he never saw them fight, and to this day, they get along well.  He did go his own away, against the flow.  He did aggravate his parents.  But, not to the same degree as I did, and not in the same way.  Maybe that’s because of the way he was raised: he didn’t like to fight, and he didn’t see fighting as a way of surviving.  He saw getting along as a way, or the best way, of surviving.  (MIL/FIL: If you are reading this, and disagree, let me know.  I know I am generalizing, but that is because I am trying to make a point.)

Could it be that helpful children are raised, not born?  That the way we parent, at least in part, determines our childrens’ personality?  That personality is not just nature, but also nurture?  That helpful children are the result of [correctly given] praise, and defiant children the result of too much criticism?  After all, if you’re never happy with what I do, and it’s never good enough, I might as well not do what you ask.  It’s even better not to do what you ask: That way, when I get criticized, I know that it’s because I didn’t listen, and not a problem with me, myself.

So, I ask you: Is defiance a defense mechanism?

I am much less defiant than I used to be.  But again, I ask: Is defiance a survival/defense mechanism?

If we don’t put our children into “survival” mode 24/7, will they be more calm and helpful, and less defiant?  And if the answer is yes, then what are we doing wrong today?

I don’t know if Shlomo’s even temperament and helpfulness will stay.  I hope they will.  But maybe, just maybe, whether or not they stay, depends on the atmosphere at home, and later, at school.

If I can help make sure that my happy, helpful little boy stays happy and helpful, I will have done an enormous thing.
Can I?  Does it depend on us?  Or is it just “personality”, and what will be, will be?

What do you think?

Five Ways to Improve Your Marriage

marriage, relationships, dating, engagement, relationship advice, marriage advice, improving relationships, improving marriage, spouse, significant other

To be fair, I got the idea for this post here.  That said, I changed the title – and topic – slightly.  Here are my five tips on how to improve your marriage.

1) Look for the good, not the bad.  Yes, he does things differently than you.  He parents differently, he cleans differently, he thinks differently.  So does everyone else.  No two people are the same.  Forget gender differences.  Just respect the fact that even though you’re married, that doesn’t mean that you’re exactly the same.  You don’t like how he folded the laundry?  Thank him for trying to help and thinking of doing it, with or without being asked.  Sometimes, you can even show him how you usually do it.  That depends on him, you, and your relationship.  But first, thank him for helping you out.  You’re right, he should be helping you.  But you know what else?  It’s not clear-cut and obvious that he will.  Even if it were, we thank people for their efforts.  Do you say thank you to the waiter, when he brings you your food?  Isn’t that his job, that he’s being paid for?  So, thank your husband, too – even if you see it as his job to help you.

2) Admit your guilt.  Let’s face it: Nobody is perfect.  Arguments happen, mistakes happen, miscommunications happen.  Sometimes it’s your fault, sometimes it’s his fault, and sometimes it’s both.  Admit it when you are wrong, and apologize.  Tell him that you made a mistake, didn’t understand, or shouldn’t have jumped to conclusions.  Usually, if you do this a few times, he will start to do the same.  If he doesn’t, have a discussion about how you feel, without blaming him.

3) Communicate.  I know it sounds cliche, and I know that everyone is saying this.  There’s a reason for that: It’s important.  Really important.  He says, “Can you manage if I leave right now?”  You take offense: “What do you mean, can I manage?  You think I’m a two-year-old?”  What he meant was: “Will you be okay?  I know you have a headache and the flu, and I don’t want to leave you with a colicky baby if you’re not feeling well.”  Just.  Ask.  Ask what he means by “can you handle it”.  Ask what “handling it” means.  Ask why he is asking the question.  Many times, you do not hear what the other person was really saying.  Rather, what you hear is tainted by what you expect to hear.

4) Admit that sometimes mistakes happen, and it is nobody’s fault.  That’s right.  It’s nobody’s fault.  It happened because of a miscommunication.  Accept that.  Laugh at it.  Get over it.

5) Choose your battles.  If it doesn’t really matter, don’t fight over it.  And if it does matter, find a way to communicate (there’s that word again) your feelings without being hurtful.  One of the bonuses of doing this is that when you do argue for or against something, your spouse will take you more seriously (so will your kids, boss, and coworkers, if you apply this to other areas of life, as well).


6) Discuss important issues before they come up.  While you are pregnant with your first, discuss how you want to parent.  Finances and everything related should have been discussed while you were engaged.  Budgeting should have been discussed during your engagement, and it will need to be reassessed every once in a while.  Who cleans the house, does the dishes, earns the money, and changes the diapers needs to be discussed, preferably during dating.  If you didn’t do so, do it now.  It is always better to take care of things later, than to never take care of them, and let the bad feelings grow.  Likewise, breastfeeding versus formula, how many kids to have, and opinions on birth control should be discussed. They are important health decisions.  Your child is two years old?  Good, discuss where he should go to school.  What are you looking for?  You can agree to disagree, but at least be aware of each other’s opinions.

Goodnight, Mommy

sleeping baby, sleeping toddler, toddler sleeping, baby sleeping, peacefully sleeping

Previously, I posted that Shlomo had a hard time falling asleep, because he was nervous.  Here’s the continuation:  The next night (two nights ago), Shlomo didn’t want to sleep.  I told him it was bedtime, but he still wanted to be held.  And then I got a brilliant idea (I’m famous for brilliant ideas).  I put him back into bed, and told him that we were staying at home, and that everything was safe.  You know what he did?  He waved goodnight to me, as if to say, “Okay, Mommy, that’s what I needed to hear.  Now you can go.”

I gave him a kiss and a hug.  Oops.  He wanted to get out again, because I had accidentally told him that it wasn’t bedtime, but playtime.  So I held him, put him in bed, and told him that everything was safe, and we were both going to stay at home.  And he waved goodnight to me again.

This time, I left when he dismissed me. 😀