Sunday, September 30, 2007

One of the most awful things I've ever heard

During Rosh Hashanah services, I couldn't help but think of dh's grandmother. With thoughts of the inscriptions in the Book of Life and images of G-d deciding who will thrive and who will pass on, she was often on my mind. Bubbe is now in a nursing home and is still deteriorating. She has some good days and some awful ones. There have been some frightening times, but she keeps pulling through.

She was recently moved to a new nursing home. My mother-in-law explained that there's an open shower there where the staff can just wheel the patients up which is far more convenient for wheel chair-bound bubbe.

Bubbe's short-term memory seems to be completely gone, but she clings to her past.

My MIL told me something that shook me unlike anything else I've heard in many moons.

For days, Bubbe fought the staff when they tried to give her a shower. She thought they were trying to gas her. She couldn't understand that she was NOT in the camps and that was NOT Nazi Germany.

The only thing worse than that is the fact that since she has no short-term memory, she must have had that same thought every day. She can't remember that she escaped Germany long ago. She can't remember that just the day before, someone had proven to her that she would not be killed like some of her family had been. She has no way to comfort herself. Her brain forced her to relive that each day.

From what I've heard, it doesn't seem as though she's still reacting in that way. But still, just the fact that she had to endure those fears over and over again even now in a time and place where she's safe just breaks my heart and tears at my soul.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Warning Signs

Today, The Boy signed, "Cat," and in the process, poked himself in the face.

Spinach is contaminated with e-coli. Toys are coated in lead paint. And now, even forms of communication aren't safe.

Why do I keep hearing the chant, "You'll poke your eye out," from that Christmas movie with the leg lamp and the bunny pjs?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

True Jew Confessions

Yom Kippur begins tomorrow evening. It's the Day of Atonement. In the days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, we are, among other things, expected to atone for our sins. While G-d can forgive the ways in which we have wronged Him, He cannot release us from the vows we have made (and broken) to other people (under typical circumstances). One of the reasons I do so love Judaism is because we have such a great responsibility to other people. We don't exist in a bubble of prayer and higher thoughts. We have a great responsibility to not only interact with others, but to do so in a just and fair manner.

I'm borrowing (because it sounds much better than "stealing") an idea from A Mother In Israel. I'll post my apologies to those who I have wronged online and/or through my blog.

I apologize for those times I have promised to tell you more later, but never did (why my sister was topless--She was very newly pregnant and a odd-timed bout with morning sickness had ruined her shirt or how I got a huge bottle of church wine from a former nun--The former nun is a very dear friend of mine who was given the wine by her priest and she in turn gave it to me).

I apologize for taking myself far too seriously.

I apologize for not leaving nearly enough comments on the fabulous blogs I read.

I'm sorry for posting rambling stories/pictures of children and animals. I realize I probably find them far cuter than anyone else.

I'm sorry that I can be so mean to my animals.

I apologize for threatening to sell my children on eBay (over and over and over again).

I'm sorry that really random things amuse me and I force you to read about them.

I ask you to do work for me and for that, I apologize.

I'm sorry my background is so boring.


I'm sorry I focus so much on the negative in my posts and ignore much of the positive.

I feel I have a duty and a privilege to show certain parenting practices that I follow in a good light. I realize I don't always do that here and I'm sorry.

I know my posts don't always come off in the spirit in which they were intended. I'm sorry about that. The zeal in which I believe in my causes is not meant to make anyone defensive or guilty. If that has been the end result of any of my posts or comments, I'm very sorry.

I follow a number of blogs written by wonderful people. The life situations you work through, the way you raise your children, the way you inspire other people; I find it all amazing. I'm sorry that I don't tell you that more often.

Gmar Chatimah Tova

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Wonderful website

If it is possible to be in love with a website, I am. This is fabulous. Free and easy paper toys for adults and kids. I LOVE it. I'm creating the Best Thoughts box now for a dear friend of mine who has a baby shower this evening. The colors, the art work, the ideas, it's all WONDERFUL.

I plan on cutting some of these babies out and taking them with us when we go on our next airplane trip. The bigger kids can put them together and keep the baby entertained with them. Woo hoo!

I LOVE that website.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The many adventures of The Boy and his kippah

We're fairly traditional Jews, but we don't follow the dress guidelines that O Jews typically do. The Boy has a kippah, but he only wears it at services. At the C shul where the girls' have Hebrew classes. they have them at the front door when you walk in. The Boy has come to know it as the hat place. Before we walk in, he signs and says, "Hat." Doesn't matter how many times I try telling him, "Kippah," it's still a "Hat." He puts one on and demands the same of his father (Good boy!). The Boy MUST have a kippah. It's very funny. As one who is far more traditional-leaning than her husband, I just love it.

Well, today, I happened to have his kippah in the back of the van (forgot to take it in after Rosh Hashanah). He saw it as I was getting him out of the van. He INSISTED on wearing it into the gym.

I need to buy him a new one. The one he has (yes, he only has one) is a baby one that still has straps to tie it on. He actually does much better with the adult ones. But, oh, the fun I will have in selecting a few new ones (because honestly, I won't be able to buy just one)!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

My kids are amazing.

First off, sorry I've been gone for so long. Rosh Hashanah started Wednesday night then we had Shabbat right after that. I've been thinking about blogging. I just haven't done it until now.

As for my offspring, some days, I want to drop kick them out the window. Some days are filled with whining and bickering and hair-pulling (that last part would be me in response to the first two). Other days, however, are like yesterday.

The Boy woke up from his nap while I was folding laundry. So Girl1 went in to him while Girl2 stayed out to help me. I heard Girl1 singing the ABC's. After a few rounds of that, she switched to "Twinkle Twinkle." Suddenly she stopped singing, the door opened and her head popped out. "He said 'ABC' when I started singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star." I encouraged her to try to teach him his ABC's. The interactions that followed cracked me up.

She proudly announced when she got him to sing, "ABC," "EF," then "G" (repeatedly) and "L."

I overheard her actually reviewing the letters and their sounds with him. That made me smile.

Then I heard her tell him, "Listen, you spell dog D-O-G. Will you spell dog? Come on, you can do it." That made me giggle.

I'm so glad that they get along so well. I've been so blessed by the fact that my girls are fabulous with their brother. Yes, my twins bicker amongst themselves, but overall, they get along well together. But they've never known life without the other. I wondered how they would act/react when a new one came along. I have been absolutely floored by how sweet and loving they are with him. And his tenderness towards them shocks me too. He can be all boy. He tends to be much more aggressive and even more sinister than his sisters were. Yet, today, at the mall playground, I watched as he spotted one of his sisters, climbed down off the slide, ran over to her and hugged her out of nowhere.

His first steps were to his sisters. And they were quite content to stand there cheering him on for as long as he needed.

I want to know what I can do to foster this. Please don't think I'm playing super mom. Much of their interaction seems to be quite by luck. I don't know that I had much if anything to do with it. But I do want to find a way to help them continue to be friends. The love and understanding I see between them is absolutely amazing.

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Big Little Book of Jewish Wit and Wisdom weighs in on education

“No one has yet realized the wealth of sympathy, the kindness, and generosity hidden in the soul of a child. The effort of every true education should be to unlock that treasure.” –Emma Goldman

Sunday, September 09, 2007

This will be my mascot.

i iz blogginz / leef IÂ alonze

To do: attempt suicice with cat claws


One day last week, I went out of my ever-loving mind.

I had a few things I wanted to do and low and behold, I got them all done. All those annoying little, "I really need to," or "I should," things were checked off the list. Dh wasn't home yet, so I decided, on a whim, to give the cats a bath.

If you have cats, you're probably laughing at me and shaking in your boots for me right about now.

I actually got two of them washed with very little bloodshed. There was lots and lots of those cat screams of death and huge puddles from when the fuzzy one jumped out and attempted a get away (in vain), but only trace amounts of blood.

They got washed. I got stuff done. Everyone survived. That's a miracle!


Friday, September 07, 2007

From the Big Little Book of Jewish Wit & Wisdom

I got that book years ago. I have lots of pages marked. On a whim, I grabbed it off the book shelf. There are lots of quotations that resonate with me, but this one needs to be shared:

"What used to be called liberal is now called radical, what used to be called radical is now called insane, what used to be called reactionary is now called moderate, and what used to be called insane is now called solid conservative thinking."--Tony Kushner

"A good name is better than riches." --Proverbs

I adore Matisyahu. He's a Jewish performer whose music I love. I read his entry on Wikipedia and was surprised by the note at the end.

His secular name is Matthew, but his parents couldn't remember his Hebrew name. The assumption was that his Hebrew name was Matisyahu (the Hebrew version). Years later, it was discovered that the actual name given to him at his bris was Feivish Hershel. Rabbis advised him to continue using Matisyahu.

This just astounds me. How do you forget your child's Hebrew name? In Judaism, names are hugely important. Depending on where your family is from, there are traditions regarding specific things that you either do or refuse to do. Traditional Jews do not share the child's name before the child is born. We took such care in naming our children--both their secular names and their Hebrew names. So the idea that someone can forget a child's Hebrew name astounds me.

My husband did not know his Hebrew name for years. I believe he was called to the bimah for his Bar Mitzvah using his secular name (which is NOT done in traditional synagogues, but he was raised the most reform of the Reform.). I don't believe he was ever called up to the bimah other than that day (until our children were born). He was in his late 20s when I found the certificate from his bris which listed his Hebrew name. When I asked his mother what the significance was, she explained, "I don't know. I didn't name him. The mohel picked his name." My mouth hit the floor. How the hell do you let someone else pick your child's name? This is what they will be known by in Israel. This is the name that is used for the marriage contract and being called to the bimah. This is hugely important.

The big kids go back to Sunday school this week. One thing the program requested is that the child be familiar with their Hebrew name. We're involved with both the Reform and Conservative synagogues in the area. The notice from the Reform shul included a note stating that if you can't remember your child's Hebrew name, contact the office. WHAT? How do your kids not know their names? How do the parents not know?

I don't think this is really about levels of observation. Granted, if you're more observant, you'll use the Hebrew name more often (those who don't consider themselves traditional might not be in many situations where they need to use their name--they might not be called to the bimah, they might not have a ketubah, etc), but still, it's your child's name. It seems to me it's something you would remember.

I'm just floored that it seems like such an epidemic.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Compliments will get you everywhere.

The other day, dh put the big kids to bed then came out and announced, "Since they're homeschooled, they know the most random things that you wouldn't expect kids their age to know." He then paused and added, "I like that."

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

That husband of mine is a good catch.

So, yeah, we have issues, but today, my husband scarfed down dinner quickly so that he could take the car--MY car to get the tire replaced. This is the same tire that I popped (don't ask because I'm not quite sure). This is AFTER he worked a full hectic day. This is AFTER I offered to go myself and he said, "No, you shouldn't have to sit there and wait with all the kids. I'll do it when I get home." This is AFTER he took the car somewhere else yesterday--a holiday, only to find they didn't have the tire we needed. This is AFTER he called around to find out who had it in stock.

When he came home, he came bearing alcohol for me. After the kids were in bed, out of nowhere, he came over and hugged me. He has not been the huggy type since before his last bout of PTSD.

He's trying. He's really trying.

Add that to the list of reasons I love my husband.

Prenatal care: Yeah, what she said.

Look, look to your left, passengers. Do you see my collection of links over there? Among them is

Midwife: Sage Femme, Hebamme, Comadrona, Partera

If you've never headed over there before, I highly suggest you do.

What's better, I'll direct you to a specific post. In a recent entry here, I failed to come anywhere near her level of insightful explanation in this post:

ah, the quality of prenatal care....

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Teach your children well.

Wow. Just wow! This really illustrates how we need to remember that we are all our children's teachers--whether we realize it or not.