February 25, 2013

Half-term - on survival and improvements

Why is it, I wonder, that I can't seem to be able to get one of those weeks, you know the kind, the ones that when someone asks you - how was your week? You answer - great! It was just great! the kind of weeks that only other people have. Why is it my weeks are always mixed? I can't remember one honest "great" I gave. Yes, I lie.
The past ten days where half-term vacation for the kids, and last night Hidai and I looked at each other and just sighed with relief. We've made it through half-term.
Don't judge me, I have mitigating circumstances for setting my goal at survival:

  1. Kids were in a bit af a state before the half-term started. They were in one of those - fight about everything, cry because of anything, and basically behave like a little sh*&^t towards everyone - moods. It got to the point that on the last day of nursery Yon's teacher asked me what is going on... 
  2. Yon and I were half to full sick for the whole ten days (and still are).
  3. We had a dentist appointment for the kids, and especially Ron because we were worried about the tooth he has growing instead of the one they took out in his surgery and if the cyst has returned.
  4. We had Purim so I had Purim baking to do, which wasn't bad in itself (though I did say beforehand that I will not be baking this Purim...) but unfortunately included my mixer and my favourite rolling pin breaking down in the middle of the work.
  5. We spent the whole half-term inside the house because of the weather, the fact that Yon is not cold-tolerant, and the health issues.
  6. Hidai had a busy week at work and needed attention (did I mention already that he is high maintenance?) 
  7. It is almost the end of the month, so no more money to spend.
  8. We got some bureaucracies to handle with Yon's school registration, and in Israel.
  9. Arsenal lost twice. Ron took it hard. And Hidai & Ron went to watch the match on Saturday, so we were somewhat worried it won't go well.

Yes, as I saw it, survival was my only option here. The thing is, from this list here you can see all the bad or problematic things of the last ten days, but it's not really the case, since half-term went better than expected and we actually managed to handle all those negatives and to have a good time, because:
Ron made me this, and it wasn't even Mother's day yet!
I made the kids a time-table for the half-term, I worked it out together with Ron, and taped it to their bedroom door (and explained on what days we will be deviating from it in advance....), and what do you know? It worked. It was a HUGE surprise for us, because we didn't promise them anything for good behaviour or threatened any punishments, but they actually loved it and followed it to the letter. There were (almost) no fighting, no bitching and no crying. For ten days. There was reading, there was maths, there was playing together... It was like magic :). Last night we took it down and stored it until Easter (5 weeks people. 5 weeks till the next school holiday), and Ron even said he was a bit sad that the half-term is over. All around success.
Hidai was able to help me when I was in the really sick state so I did get one full day of being in bed and watching a ton of TV shows, and most of the times Yon and I were not so bad.
The dentist X-rayed Ron's mouth and there is no sign of the cyst! So so so relieved, and also the giant tooth he has growing now is just an adult tooth in a child's mouth, and the other ones are coming along, so everything seems to be in order, and we can come back in 6 months and not 3. Great great news (Yon's teeth, if you care are also good. His attitude sucks).
Dentist fun - trying to improve Yon's attitude
The kids actually asked to celebrate Purim. It was not my idea, I didn't have to push it on them, they even remembered most of the story and the songs from last year, and the message we assigned the holiday - One person can make a difference for the whole world (it is not the conventional message you get in Israel - someone tried to kill the Jews, didn't succeed, we rule. But it is still a true message you get from the story), and they wanted to do the whole thing - dress up (Ron is a given, but we gave Yon all the other options we have in the house - Ben 10, Peter Pan, Cowboy. Can you guess what he chose? Of course, and so I had 2 Arsenal players.), hear the songs, play the games, eat the food. It was a jewish mum's heaven.

And also, even with all the things that went wrong in the baking process, and despite my absolute conviction it will be terrible, and the fact that Hidai who is usually in charge of filling and closing the dough was too busy to do it this year, it was my best Purim food ever. The kids ate 3 pieces each. Hidai ate 6. After much deliberations and weighing of costs and use (baking versus dieting) and the fact that this one survived for 3 years, I have to have a mixer because I can't do it Paul Hollywood Style (using only hands), and I will have 2 of all the accessories (which is a big plus), we decided to stay with the same semi-professional Kenwood and not upgrade it to a real pro mixer that costs around 500 pounds, and so it will be replaced next week. The rolling pin however will not get replaced, first of all because I already have 2 others in the house, and second because it was just the handle that broke, and I can still use it. Somewhat, and I really doubt I can find the same one (it's about 9 years old...).
Purim food
Staying inside for the whole week and the kids being busy with their time-table activities meant that I could indulge in my documentation obsession. I think I mentioned it already, but let me show you the inside of an obsessive mind - we have 4 working cameras (from amateur to pro) and 2 phones that we use to take photos with. I take at least a photo a day, usually more (I know, you can't really see that I am a compulsive photographer). All the photos are stored on at least one computer, go through photoshop, saved according to date, and uploaded to an album that goes to print, Facebook, or my screensaver. After that they are backed up in the cloud. The thing is, because it takes a little time to do all that, I was somewhat behind, so I used most of last week to finish all the photos related work, and like with the laundry, the next day I already had more photos...
It is the last week of February, and we managed to reach all our budgetary goals. It was hard, it was annoying, but it was worth it, and we are saving the last of our very good wine to March first to drink for our budget success, and our road to financial recovery.
We took care of all those annoying bureaucracies with much more ease than we (okay I) would have even a month ago, so I guess that's progress, right? and also we took care of it (hopefully) and Yon will be enrolled to a school next year even though we don't have a child tax credit / benefit letter for him to prove his address, because he does have a NHS number certificate thing addressed to him, so they allowed us to use that as proof he actually lives with us. And the Israel bureaucracy is never ending it seems, even after more than 3 years... Every time we think we finished everything something pops up, but also with that I think we are making progress. Somewhat at least.
Arsenal won and Hidai & Ron had fun at the match. It was just slightly snowy, and very very cold, but a hot-chocolate and a 2:1 win helped :).
Ron at the match
We finished 4 weeks of exercise and eating better (okay not really better, but we did try to control the amount of chocolate and other sweets in the house), and even though I was totally sure that it did not help, surprisingly enough it did, and I am now once again comfortable in my tiniest pair of jeans.

That's it folks, we survived half-term, we survived February, and though I can't really say it was great, after writing this post, I can definitely say it was an improvement. And that in itself is an improvement :)

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February 18, 2013

So, What Do You Do All Day?

This week I got asked the one question I absolutely hate being asked - "so, what do you do all day?" I can't remember a time in the last 10 years, ever since I left the mainstream career advancement path, that I did not hate or dread this question.
I had many answers over the years - studying, self-employed, nothing, laundry and Hidai's favourite answer "whatever she wants". For some reason none of those answers ever inspired anyone to take me seriously.
When people hear "stay at home mum" (which is in fact the short answer I learned to give to the "what do you do in life" question, because it's the easiest and a tried and tested sure-fire way to make sure they won't ask anymore questions), they instinctively think less of you. You either couldn't make it in the real world, or you lack ambitions, or - let's face it - you are just plain boring. They don't care how many University degrees and professional courses you have under your belt, how many languages you know, or how many self-employed businesses you had to this day. They assume you will just want to talk about your kids all day.
Which is true, I do prefer to talk about my kids than tell people what it is I do all day.

The truth is, I did not leave a big, important job, or a carrer path, or sacrificed whatever it was I wanted to do at the time for my kids. No. I left the mainstream world of working life 2 years before I even had Ron, long before we started trying to have kids. Before we even got married. Because the truth is I just did not want to be part of that world and I was fortunate enough to find a life-partner who loves me for all my crazy.

It took me years to be able to stand tall and face all the criticism and judgment and belittling comments, and say yes, I hate working in conventional things and places so I have my own thing; or that yes, I love studying really practical things that I will never work in later and unpractical things that no-one can ever use later; or just that yes, I don't work. Not unemployed, not looking for a job, not a stay at home mum, not a homemaker, not self-employed. Just not working.
But that usually leads to the "so what do you do all day" question.
And most people find what I do all day silly, or a waste of time or money, or just unimportant. So I stopped giving a straight answer, and am usually stuck with the laundry answer. And then they turn to Hidai (probably feeling sorry for him for having such a boring wife who spends all his hard-earned money) and talk to him as if I am not in the room, about "grown-ups" things like work, and meetings, and computers and internet. You know, things I don't understand anything about. These people will usually get a very long and detailed lecture about my kids. Just because I can.

But this time I was asked by a stay-at-home mum who is on a relocation to a different country. I said, what is easiest to say in these situations - well, Yon only goes to nursery until 12, so you know... Ask me in a year when he goes to school until 3:30pm. It was my reflex answer, and one I kind of regretted after, because I know first hand how many women feel guilty about being at home, especially if you have kids at school / nursery age and strictly speaking you could work like a normal person. I saw so many women over the years that found it hard to cope with the guilt over it, which sometimes led them to do things like have another baby just so they have a legitimate reason to stay at home, or tell people for years that they are "in-between jobs at the moment", or talk for hours about their old jobs, or blame it on their husband and kids. I met very few who were happy. I guess I should have told her the truth, that I do whatever makes me happy at every given moment (okay, maybe except for cleaning day). I should have said it's an opportunity to find whatever it is you wanted to do and put off for "later" and do it. I should have said life is too short for guilt.

I bet I know what you are thinking, because you will not be the first to think it, or to say it - that I am irresponsible, that I am childish, that I am very lucky Hidai makes enough money I can afford to be irresponsible and childish, that if I held a proper job we would not be in a financial "situation", that if Hidai leaves me tomorrow I will not be able to get any job because I am unqualified for... Anything, and the killer - what kind of an example are you setting for your kids? and I guess it's all true, to a point. You know what, I spent years defending my decisions, years wasted in explaining and answering all those points above, years of hearing people criticise my life choices behind my back and to my face. And in the end I stopped. Stopped explaining, stopped defending, stopped telling people what it is I do all day.

But if you must know, I hope that this is exactly what I teach my boys - that the sky is the limit. That you should go for what you want and realise every last one of your dreams. That you can do whatever the hell makes your life happy at the moment. And that yes, you pay a price for your choices, but everybody pays a price. Just choose whichever price you can afford.

So what do I do all day these days? well, Yon goes to nursery till 12...

A big part of what I do all day...

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February 15, 2013

Valentines, Pancakes and Sunshine

This week was such a lovely week. We had Pancake Tuesday, we had Valentine's day, we had actual Sunshine.
I will not use this post as an excuse to tell you all how wonderful Hidai is and all about our unending and undying love for each other. First of all because if you know Hidai you know that it's true. And second because he chose the day (evening) before Valentine's to pick a fight with me. And so lost the lovely and touching post I was going to write about the greatest person, husband and father I know (it doesn't matter that we made up and had a lovely Valentine's. he is still not getting his post. because I am not as good a person).
And also I kinda feel like the Valentine people are telling me what to do.
Which always goes well with me.
Lastly, because I took my anger and annoyance at Hidai out on the house, otherwise known as I cleaned the house (maybe "cleaned" is not the right word. The house was sparkling when I finished), I hurt my very temperamental wrist, and my right hand now needs to be in a splint so that I could have almost no movement, which incidentally makes typing almost impossible.
All that leads us to.... Photo posts.
By the way, English speaking people, why oh why can't I use photo and picture correctly? Why?
So, this week began with snow.
Like every good week should. It was the nicest kind of light snow that melts without really making a mess, and you get to enjoy the snow and not fall down in the street. Win-win situation.
Isn't it nice to wake-up to that on monday?
After that we had Pancake Tuesday. Well, I do know that it has actual religious meaning and it's not just the pancakes thing. But do you really see me giving up something for 40 days? The only thing I should give up is chocolate, and I have never succeeded in more than a week without it. Beside, we are only celebrating the fun parts of our own holidays, so I don't really see us going all the way with other religion's holidays. Anyway, we absolutely love pancake day around here, I mean how can you not love pancake day? It's a day that "forces" you to eat pancake. For dinner. Doesn't get any better than that, and since I mastered the three pans technique it takes me very little time to make all the pancake. It takes my boys even less time to eat them...
Yes we ate it all. And by "we" I mean Hidai

On wednesday Ron handed-in his Israel presentation, on which he worked really hard and for long hours and got 15 out of 15 (5 for research, 5 for quality of work and 5 for delivery). He also had an assembly about France (very sad seeing all the Eiffel Tower photos without being able to go...) in which he had 2 sentences, one of them was the opening sentence and he was very excited about it, but actually he was less terrified than at his first assembly, so I figured it means he is feeling more "at home" in school.
I represented me, Hidai and Ron's best friend's mum (who couldn't make it because of work and our school's tendency to let you know about things a day before).
The Year 3 France Model

Which brings us to Thursday and Valentine's day. Of course we celebrate Valentine's day. First of all because we celebrate every stray holiday, second because we have boys that we need to educate, and teach how to treat women and you know what they say - the best way to teach is through demonstration. And third, it's pink and hearts and chocolates. How can we say no to that? what are we animals? (actually, the last time I asked Yon that, he answered with a resounding "yes" so you know...). We had all the things needed for a good Valentines - a card, a good bottle of wine (Israeli wine I bought last week in Golders Green and we saved), chocolate mousse (store bought one, because I don't bake or cook on "my" holidays), and pizza (that I was disappointed to see was not shaped as a heart). Oh, and kids that were in bed on time.

So this is Friday, Ron had an Ice-Cream Party at school because they had 100% attendance last week, we had lovely, warm, happy sunshine (okay so the warm part was an exaggeration), kids are off school for half-term, and we have Challa for Friday night dinner, Jaffa Cakes for the kids (it's the new hit) and my new favourite thing - Pita Chips.
A sunny Yon

Yes, this is me when my hand hurts and I am having difficulties writing.

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February 11, 2013

On Homes and Yons

Ten days into February. It has been a weird one.
I started writing this post in my head a couple of days ago, then yesterday I sat down to put my words on paper (so to speak), and here I am now, and I have 3 different posts. One was happy, one was reflective, one was just plain sad. Like I said, a weird one.

We have a Facebook friend, she isn't really a real-life friend, who's daughter was born with a genetic syndrom that required her to undergo 8 surgeries so far, and caused her some cognitive and developmental problems. We learned about that when she wrote all that on Facebook as a part of a "birthday card" for her daughter's third birthday. Today she commented on an article about another family with a child who suffers from the same thing, and posted it again on Facebook. It completely changed what I wanted to write about. I used to think about stories like that that they are sad, unfortunate, unlucky, terrible or whatever, and then move on with my life. I can't do that anymore. Now when I read a story like that it totally shutters my defences, my wall of repression and denial that I try so hard to build and cultivate. Yon's situation is very far from that, and by no mean is he considered a special needs child, but he will forever be "special" and not in the good way. We've been taking Yon to doctors, specialists and hospitals every 6-8 weeks since the day he turned six months old, but we've been watching him and worrying about him almost from the day he was born. We've been to doctors in Gib, Spain, Israel, London. We've had him struggle through painful tests, unfriendly doctors, hours in waiting rooms, and so many strangers that want answers he can't give. We went through the shock of discovering our six months old baby has a squint, will need glasses forever, might lose his eyesight in one eye, and might need an operation that nobody can guaranty will help. We've struggled with the guilt that it took until he was 10 months old to get him the glasses. On top of that we now have to deal with discovering that he also has a genetic condition that will leave him partially blind forever. How partially? Nobody knows. Right now he has 70% sight. There is nothing we can do to help. Nothing. Except continue to take him every 6-12 weeks to the doctors, for... Forever.
So we build a wall of denial and repression. Otherwise we keep watching him. Otherwise we keep feeling sorry for him. Otherwise we can't cope when well meaning people asks us how is he. Otherwise we keep blaming ourselves for our bad genes, for not discovering it sooner, for the 4 months it took the doctors to decide he needs the glasses, for everything. This wall is shaky at the best of times, and is very hard to build again after every visit to yet another doctor, or after yet another set of bad news, or after every time we discover how bad his eyesight really is. We have one month and four days before his next appointment, with yet another new specialists, who will probably want another set of tests... I should be in the middle of my denial period. This is usually the stage where my wall is the strongest. But I find that every doctor visit, every month that pass, every piece of bad news, they all chip away at my wall. My wall is cracking. Having a "special" child, and in this regard I don't think it matters why or how he is different, and I know we got off easy, but still, it weighs on you. It is not something you can be optimistic about. Positive about. To be able to deal with it all I need my wall.
My Yon
We've had a few things this week that raised the "home" issue. Not home as in the apartment we live in and being able to make rent. Home in the big sense, as in the feeling of.
Ron's class is learning about different countries in the world, and each child is preparing a presentation on the country he/ his parents/ grandparents came from. Ron is presenting Israel, and in it Haifa, the city we come from and that he was born in.
The kids were in a nostalgic mood and wanted to see baby pictures of themselves, and since we have about a million, it was a very long a trip down memory-lane.
My brother gave us an Israel as Home lecture on Saturday.
I went to Golders Green on Friday to buy some Israeli food and Purim things (Purim, for non-Jewish and a simple explanation, is our Halloween).
When all these things happen together I usually sit down, put on my "Orli When Needed" playlist on iTunes, look at the rain pouring down outside, dig into a big bag of Oreos (can't help it, I have a craving these days...), and think about homes.
The truth is, and sappy as it may sound, Hidai is my home. From the day Hidai and I met we've practically moved in together. Our family is our home. We are not nostalgic people, we don't miss the way things were, the way we were, the places we've been in. Live to the full, No regrets, and Always look ahead. What can I say, when we do look back it is always with a sense of "how the hell did we survive that?!" or "what were we thinking?!" I guess it has something to do with our tendency to do everything in the same time and early on in life. It had led to the fact that we have been through a lot. It had also probably led, at least partially, to us not missing any one point in life. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely loved looking at the baby pictures, Ron was so cute when he was a baby, especially in the pictures. But I didn't miss it, given the choice I wouldn't want to go back (probably part of the reason there will be no third child here). I wouldn't go back to anywhere and anyplace. There are three things I miss when we leave places: the food, the people and the feeling of belonging somewhere, of knowing. As to that feeling, going back to visits made it clear to us that we don't have that feeling in Israel anymore. We don't feel we belong there anymore, we don't remember how to live in Israel, we don't understand it. As time passes we move far away from the way we lived in Gib, and we don't belong there as well. As for the people, we try and take them with us wherever we go, keep the people we love as a part of our lives. Sometimes it does not survive the distance, the time difference and the gaps in the way we live. As for the food, that is probably where we feel "home" the strongest. Whenever my parents bring us our list of necessities :) or whenever I take a trip to Golders Green, and the house is filled with things we used to eat way back, or things that I can't get used to how they taste here, or things that flood us with memories, that is when we feel a little like we belong somewhere. Where? I don't have an answer for that. We probably don't really belong anywhere. We don't have too many or too strong roots anywhere. Is it sad? Is it hard living like that? I have no answer for that either. It is and it isn't, depends on the day you ask... One thing is for sure though, writing this made me understand why every time Yon wants me to pick an animal myself (instead of the Hippo he usually assigns me), I pick a turtle. My home is on my back, or maybe wherever I lay my hat (and also, as Hidai assured me more than once, I walk very slowly).

As it happen we are also starting now the second half of our first year in London (yes, that is the long way of saying we've been here for 6 months), and as this week reminded us - it's starting to feel a little different all of a sudden. It's starting to feel a bit... Easier. I can't believe it's been six months already, and at the same time I can't believe it's been just six months...
We had a chance to visit Ron's class this week to observe a math lesson, and frankly I was amazed. We've never been inside the classroom, let alone saw a lesson, and it really felt like such a privilege to be able to be part of it, see Ron in action, understand what he talks about when he explains about his day. The classroom was great, so full of light and happiness and love. And the lesson itself. I seriously have to say I worship Ron's teacher. He is beyond amazing, he does such good work with the kids. The lesson we saw could be labeled as math-under-pressure. They have to explain how they are going to answer a series of different questions, to the class, and then answer them in under 4 minutes (and they have a timer. In the class). And still, he kept all the kids interested, engaged, wanting to answer. he never loses his cool, his patience or his smile.
I don't think I can have Ron's class on the blog, so this is Ron working on his Israel presentation
We have 2 weeks of back to regular exercising, which means two things - no one is sick (now that I wrote that someone, probably me, will for sure get sick), and we can eat as much chocolate as we want without feeling guilty (the guilty part is the difference here really).
Hidai got an email from LinkedIn saying he has one of the top 1% most viewed profiles for 2012. Which was very cool :). 
I got my first real blog-related inquiry from someone I don't know, who had a real question, which led to the new Kids and Moving page in the blog. It was very exciting, and made me feel like my blog is growing up :).
This weekend we had visitors, we had my brother & his wife over for coffee and cookies, and Ron had his best friend from his class over after 4 weeks of trying to set up the visit. They were both so excited about it that they haven't stop fighting the whole time...
We had pizza (because Ron was star of the day. I know, we are such good parents. We'll do everything for those kids), and ice-cream , and so much Israeli goods from Golders Green...
My Golders Green bags. This is the photo I sent hidai so he would want to come home :)
Hidai has a hobby. I know it might seem strange, but the last time Hidai had a hobby was somewhere around 2002 I think. He has a Facebook group for football talking, betting, smirking and basically being an idiot with other men. He loves it because it's fun for him. I love it because I don't have to pretend to like football anymore.
Oh, and Arsenal won this week.
We taught Yon to play Uno (all Israeli readers - Taki is called Uno everywhere else). He really likes it, and actually almost doesn't cheat (which is what happens usually in other games...). The success led him to try and do more on the WII, and the computer (he does it all in nursery, but never before at home).
Playing Uno
I had a chance to restart some projects that were waiting patiently for me for the last year or two to have time, patience, and energy. I am very excited about it, and am hoping to still have all three after half-term break next week...
We found money. Doesn't that sound so nice? Yes, we were walking around and found some money. Oh, if only it was true. So no, that is not what happened but we were supposed to get some money in Israel, and not only did we get it on time and without the mandatory 15 phone calls, we actually got a bit more. Always fun :).

Like I said, a weird one.
I just can't seem to make up my mind if it was a good weird or a bad weird...
Being weird (Yon's idea obviously)

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February 4, 2013

The Thing About Kids...

My brother and sister in law were supposed to come over yesterday, but had to cancel on the last moment due to a food poisoning incident (not ours. You don't get food poisoning from eating too much Ben & Jerry's). My brother & sister in law are in this stage of definitely thinking about maybe they will for sure have kids sometimes in the future. It led me to try and remember this time in my life, and I couldn't really remember how it felt - the moment 9 years ago (wow!) before we decided (actually I think it was just a "let's have kids" "okay" thing, but I am not really sure), how it was while trying (it took a while and needed some medical assistance), how it was to be pregnant (that I do remember. it was hell) and how it was to have a baby. My first baby. If you know me by now you know what will follow - it made me sit down, look at all my pictures, and... make a list. Before I totally forget everything about these early years of motherhood.
So this post is for me and for my brother & sister in law - it's a post that gonna make them nod with pity at my direction and say "yes, sure, my kid will be TOTALLY different" now, and then "oops" later on. This post is about the 22 things I didn't know before I had Ron and I wouldn't believe anyway...

1. It's always Other People's Children. They are the ones that sleep through the night without a problem, the ones that gets the hang of breastfeeding without a hitch, the ones that you can take with you to restaurants because they loooove to sleep in their pushchairs. It's true. It sucks. But remember this - one day, in one thing, you will be the parent everyone will be jealous of. With Ron it happened when he started eating real food. That was the moment we could stop being afraid of the crying and start taking him to every restaurant, shopping mall, coffee shop we wanted. The child just loved sitting down and eating. He ate methodically and slowly, and we could have coffee together outside of the house for the first time in more than 6 months.
Ron waiting for food
2. You forget. This one I remember people telling me, and I also remember not believing them. they were all bad parents in my eyes, otherwise - how can you forget the moment your beloved child says his first word, or has his first tooth, or smile for the first time? Well, much in the same way that you forget the sleepless nights, the non-stop crying and the first time that same beloved child is sprawled in the middle of the street and starts screaming (and he will do that).
3. Your baby will pee on you. Well, at least if he is a boy he will. It doesn't matter how quick and diligent you are with whatever cloth you are using to cover him the moment you take off his diaper, there will come a day, sooner than you think, and usually when you are in a hurry to get somewhere, that he will pee on you. Embrace it.
4. Children's TV shows are very addictive, and you will find yourself transfixed to the screen, watching Bob and actually worrying - Can we fix it???
Ron watching TV
5. Small children have big things. Your lovely house which you spent hours and days and weeks on organizing and on choosing each piece of furniture to fit perfectly in a specific place, that house, will become a shrine to kids. It is amazing how such small beings take up so much space. And usually right in the middle of your living room. After we had Ron we moved to a bigger place (we ran out of space for his things obviously), and he wasn't even crawling yet, but we had this open space apartment so right in the middle of the room, where normal people would put a dining table and a big carpet, we put a 2X2 (meters) "island" with blankets, toys, playgym, etc. It stayed there for about 8 months. After that we were amazed how big our house really is. That was about the time he started walking, hence enlarging the destruction area.
Ron's island
6. Children don't really care how much money you spend on their pushchair. Wait, that one is wrong. They do care. Because there is nothing kids love more then eating messy things in expensive and/or clean places. So when going to buy your first pushchair, just ask yourself - how would I feel when my child throws up right in here. I know, if you have no kids you're now saying "mine will never do that. I will not let my child eat in the pushchair". But you will. Don't worry, this rule also applies to the house you just finished scrubbing, especially if you have windows you just finished cleaning. Somehow tiny tiny handprints will appear out of nowhere (with Yon it usually goes together with a yell "just lookin!")
7. It's all about the one hand capabilities. What can't be done with one hand, will not get done the first year or so. (in relation to 6 - if you can't fold / open the pushchair with one hand don't buy it.) Wait. Correction - you can also use one foot as an auxiliary device.
8. You will find yourself, at one point or another (usually multiple times along the years) staring sadly at your child and saying to your self / partner - I know exactly where he got it from. Or the other version - Is this how I look????
9. Your child will know exactly which buttons to push to get you to do everything he wants, or to annoy you to death. They will have you wrapped around their little finger. They will look at you with their big sad eyes and whisper "I love you mummy", or give you a hug or a kiss, and if all else fail - cry. In the middle of the street. Where there is a crowd looking at you. And 9 times out of 10, you will give them what they want. We are considered strict parents, so crying in the street (as my kids learned) will get you nowhere (it get me to chocolate though), but one of these days Ron will figure out that I can never say No to him when he asks for something...
10. Take an hour to prepare when you want / need to leave the house. It takes that long to change, feed, change, dress, change, and pack a baby and a bag to be able to go out. And no time is a good time to schedule  It's always feeding time or sleeping time or shower time.
11. It doesn't matter how many toys you buy your kids, or how expansive / educational / recommended they are. In the end they will play with the packaging. And with the labels. Kids just can't get enough of labels. In fact, for Ron we had a toy that was all labels :). Oh, and kids also love empty coke bottles, empty wipes packages, plastic bags, and Yon had a door stopper fetish. Basically, any thing that is not the very expensive toy you just spent a fortune on.

12. Ikea. Best place to buy furniture for children's rooms. No. Not because I'm cheap. Because you want to invest in modular furniture that a) you won't feel really bad about young people practicing their drawing, cutting, gluing and peeing on; and b) you will have to change the way the room is set up about every 6 months in the beginning, when you get fed up that all the toys are spilling into every corner of the house. No it doesn't really matter how big is your house.
13. Your children will be dressed better than you. First of all because shopping for kids is so much fun. Their clothes are so so so cute, you can't really not buy them. Second because they need a lot of clothes. They pee, they drool, they spit, they vomit. And all that before lunch, and after they learn to crawl they lave sand, and mud. Third, because, well, let's face it. You haven't showered in 5 days, and haven't combed your hair in three. What do you need new clothes for?
14. Sleep while the baby is sleeping is a myth. Invented by people who did not have to do laundry. Or clean. Or cook. Or shower. Because that is what you will be doing while the baby is sleeping. The real trick is to teach the baby to sleep at night. So another myth is that all babies under a year have to eat at night. Don't listen to myths. Or you will never again get a good night sleep. Or a shower.
15. Sometimes it is hell. So you need a game plan. You need to be strong. And take as many embarrassing photos of your child as possible. And know, just know, that in a few years time he will come home with his girlfriend and then... Then it's Revenge time baby! Oh, and a secret chocolate drawer will help in the meantime. I hear wine is also good, and it also comes without the hypocrisy of not letting your child eat all the chocolate they want and then eating it yourself.
16. Your things are never really baby-proofed. Because you would be surprised at the lengths babies and toddlers go to just so they can destroy your one special memento that you brought back from your honeymoon and guarded with your life (RIP my french blue elephant that sat on the top of the bookcase in the computer room. The highest point in the house. But not when you play football in the house). Also, as an added things - your things are much more interesting than their things. Phones, keys, food - if you touch it, they want it.
17. You will find yourself doing things that were unimaginable just a few short months before your kids. You will sing in the street, run like tigers, talk football, talk to people, dress up, volunteer in school and more.
18. You will find yourself saying things that when you were a child you swore you will never ever say and that only bad parents say, and are unfair, and totally screw your life, and if everyone will jump off the roof will you jump too?!
19. Parents Having Fun Without Me radar. Each baby comes equipped with it, and it's always on. And works perfectly especially in intimate moments. yes it does mean no sex. On the other hand, kids are the perfect excuse to get out of anything you don't really want to do.
20. It's a stage. It will pass. The problem is it will be replaced with something just as difficult to handle. And it is true what they say (at least in Hebrew they do) - small kids, small problems; Big kids...
21. Guilt and worries are born together with your child. Even if you managed to get through the whole pregnancy without being overly worried, you can kiss your worry-free life goodbye. You will worry every minute of every day for the rest of your life. And no matter what you do, how much time you spend with your child, how much you love him, you will always feel guilty. You could have done more. Look at Other People Kids, they are more....
22. There will come a moment you will want to give your baby back; there will come a moment when you will find yourself waiting for the real parents to arrive; there will be plenty of moments when you ask yourself "what the hell was I thinking????"; there will come a moment you will want to shake your baby, or throw him out or whatever. Just remember that the difference between sane people and crazy people is that sane people just think about it.

The thing with kids is, that while you can write all that, and while you can explain all the tangible things that you lose or that will change when you have kids, the most important thing is the one you can't explain. You can't explain the love. The utter perfection that is your child. Quite a few years ago there was a movie with Robin Williams as an older Peter Pan and in order to learn how to fly again he has to find the happiest moment in his life. The moment for him is the birth of his son.
Because children are magic. They are tiny miracles that you created, that you love more than life itself, that you will do everything for. They are, in the end, worth it.
Ron & Yon, a long long time ago

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February 1, 2013

A Thank You Moment

Wow. I am so so so happy right now. So many people read my last post, I got comments, likes, +1s, it looks like this positive thing really works! So I just wanted to say thank you to everyone.
This blog has changed quite a bit from July to now, and to tell you the truth I am still not sure what I want it to be when it grows up. Every post is like a mystery to me, I know where I start it but I am never sure where it will lead me. They don't always go the direction you had in mind...
One thing that haven't changed is how important this blog has become to me. I am searching for the right words, but my mind keeps coming up with creation, baby and safe place. So I guess that will have to do - It is a safe place for me to be me, to write what I want and think about everything, it is like a baby is so many ways (well, it doesn't pee on you but still), and it is my creation. It is my world, in my words.
It is mine. My little corner of the net. And you all came in and shared it with me. I guess until now I hadn't fully realized how much this blog has grown to mean to me. how much I needed a place of my own.

While I was writing this, and planning on a big dramatic post about parenthood, kids, joy and basically how they don't cancel each other out... Well... The universe had some different plans for me. In Hebrew we have a saying (so fitting for Jews) Man plans and God laughs. And so it was - God laughed.
Hidai had to go to work early in the morning, Ron came home in a bad mood, and things started unrevealing from there - the kids threw our world map into the toilet. The toilet someone didn't flush, after that there was a whole thing about apologies and crying I think we can live without, and after that some cheating and hitting which led to some more apologies and crying, and in the end it all culminated with kids in beds at 7:55pm. An hour and 5 minutes before official bed-time.
Maybe not the best day to write about the joys of motherhood.
Of course it didn't end there, it never does. Hidai arrived home late, Yon took ages to fall asleep, Arsenal had a draw, and the comic-relief bake-off I finally had a chance to watch wasn't as entertaining as I hoped.
And do you think it ended there? no it did not. We still have money issues, health issues, and chocolate addiction issues (I will just leave it at saying you will NOT believe the lows I sank to this week when even the emergency drawer was empty).
So today I cleaned. And talked on the phone with Hidai for about an hour when he was on the bus. And cleaned some more. Oh, and I did some laundry. And waited for the groceries to arrive, so I could finally eat some decent chocolate. And then I realized this is how I spent the whole week - just passing the week until it will be Friday, and February will kindly appear. I somehow missed an entire week. Thinking back now, I can vaguely piece together hours of TV, Candy Crush Saga (very addictive. Don't start) and reading stupid opinions on the internet about everything from the Israeli elections to Women's choices in life (I don't think I was really aware of it, but the internet is filled with crap and self-importance), between laundry, kids duties (I was on kids duties more than usual this week, which meant walking more. Good for the amounts of chocolate I consumed. Bad for everything else), and giving Hidai some attention.
And then, because of course even that wasn't enough, I got future worried. Yes, I know that is not how you say it. But I wasn't worried about NOW, no no, I was worried about 3 years from now, when we will want/need to move Ron to a private secondary school, and how the hell are we supposed to afford that? now, don't get me wrong, it's not really news, it's a known thing, and it's in 3 years. But I was Future worried. Why? Because I forgot the number 1 rule in life - Never (ever, ever) clean while having existential thoughts. Nothing looks better while scrubbing a toilet that is used by 2 unfocused young boys. Nothing.
Things do tend to look better after the house is clean and I've had a shower and half a jar of Nutella. That's the time for existential thoughts. Mine reminded me that life is a journey and blah, blah, blah. That led me, naturally, to sink even lower and eat the baking chocolate, so I could remind myself that, all kidding aside, life is all about moments, and a week like this one that I spent waiting for it to be over, cost me those moments. That, naturally, led me to make a list. These are this week's moments:

The moment Yon jumped into my arms and for the first time shouted "Mummy!" when I picked him up from nursery;
The moment there was sunshine and we didn't need scarfs or hats or gloves;
The moment Ron told me that he is learning Queen's "Don't Stop Me Now" for choir, and we sang it together on the street;
The moment Ron got "Lunchtime Legend";
The moment Yon did Monster (from the muppets) while watching (again) Bohemian Rhapsody on YouTube;
The moment Ron went bird watching in the park with his class;
The moment Ron had a movie & popcorn party in class;
The moment my groceries arrived and the fridge was full of all my favourite food;
The moment we had 50 pounds left from January to move over to February;
The moment Yon went back to playing with other toys except animals in nursery;
the moment we had to bring some baby pictures of Yon to nursery and we had to go over all (okay some. The kid has thousands) his photos to choose 4, and the moment he discovered them. He loved them and was so so proud of them;
The moment we bought our first UK lottery ticket;
The moment Yon just said the names of the letters on a sign outside (that one is here because Yon does not show any interest in learning, and when Ron was his age he read Hebrew perfectly and started English. Yon just likes to torment me);
The moment Hidai went for after-work beers and drank cider (a first for both);
The moment I threw caution to the wind and entered the scary grocery store next to us to buy milk (and then the moment Hidai budget the 1.5 pounds as Scary milk);
The moment Ron and I played Mario Kart WII and I won (does not happen often);
The moment I found a frog under my pillow (a rubber one don't worry);
The moment Hidai and I danced to our song in the living room;
The moment we decided to open our last bottle of good wine;
The moment Yon and I were walking home from nursery and he took my hand in his and said let's talk mummy...
The moment I opened my computer and saw how many people read and loved my last post.
Yon and I without a hat, or gloves or a scarf! 

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