Monthly Archives: February 2009

What to do, again?

We do not have cable TV. And the 2nd night of being TV free was not quite as easy as the 1st.

I suggested we play cards together after eating our meal around the table. DH didn’t like the card idea, unless the cards are the game Munchkin. So, we’ll get Munchkin.

But the possibilities are quite exciting. I do sometimes long for the remote to switch on the TV for me to watch something/anything. And after a couple a minutes the moment passes and I get busy with life.

I am imagining us playing card and board games, reading together…. creating a culture of family time together to fill up the void left by the TV. So far this seems possibe. (We are not that strict though. DH has downloaded Yes Primeminister and we have watched one episode each evening when DS is sleeping).

I look forward to keeping track of just how this change will impact our lives.It makes it all possible knowing that we *can* hook up again if we decide that is what we want.

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Aaaaah, breath out

I cannot believe my luck. I have possibly found a little community of like minded mums. Joy, joy joy. Sitting together drinking herbal teas and snacking on organic bread with pomegranate jam was just gorgeous. While the children went about being children. What luxery.

It even turns out that one of the women gave birth where I did, and they are into wooden, open ended toys and do not vaccinate and use ecological products and don’t have TV/hardly use TV. My gosh, this could be heaven….

Getting my head out of the clouds and trying to be more practical about it all –  we are going to try and set up a mother toddler group and one of the mums has a flourishing kindergarten in Tel Aviv and is thinking of opening another closer to where we live. It was such a liberating experience for me to sit with other mothers who are in tune with with me, or me with them…. phenomenal.

In our news, we have disconnected the cable TV. And it is quite nerve wracking. Although last night was fine. We sat at the table together for our meal, had a bath all of us together and went to bed all of us together. Basically, looking at the cost, it is just not worth it. I no longer can watch TV when DS is awake as he will just sit in front of it, something I am very sure I do not want him doing. So, that leaves evenings, but I would rather be spending the time with DH or doing something else. And, I never really had anything I liked watching (other than American Idol. Which is terribly embaressing, but there you go)

So, no more TV. DH is now downloading episodes of Yes Primeminister for us to watch together when we have the time and inclination. Totally hillarious show.

I hope this playgroup works out and that we get it all together. It will be in Hebrew, but I am sure DS will still learn English at home.

JOY

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Par par

Before

Before

It was an amazing and wonderful meal in the end. DH cooked a gorgeous stew for a very wintery day and we had 10 people around our table, enjoying scrumptious food and good South African wine.

During

During

DS was a bit under the weather and so was on a strict diet of mama milk, turning his nose up at goodies offered…. he did totally charm everyone and completely stole his great grandmothers heart when his face lit up at her gift of a xylephone (yes, wooden, non-toxic paint, replenihsbale forrest etc etc etc).

Smile for great grandmother

Smile for great grandmother

Today we had our well baby visit (WBV) and DS continues to grow in every direction. He is a big boy. As usual, the nurse had something to offer in the way of advice. She taught DS to say par-par (butterfly) in about one minute flat and recommended that I put more effort into teaching him more vocabulary. I was quite blown away at how quickly he learnt to say his version (pa, while pointing at the picture)…. and now I shall have to think again about how I want to structure his day and if I do see merit in teaching him words. My intuition tells me no, but it was so very cute seeing him learn so quickly, and I did have pride in his ability….. I’ll see. I certainly do not want my pride in his ability to be the determining factor in how I choose to interact with DS…. hmmmm…. decisions, decisions.

Vaccinations came up. This nurse really is quite special. She thought it strange that I would think of DT and not DTaP as surely South Africa has lots of whooping cough…. but I got the name of the company (she doesn’t have any product insert) and now will begin to look into this all a bit more carefully, in terms of the ingredients of this vaccine and any studies that I can find that have looked at the efficacy and safety. I think this is the only vaccine that DH and I are really questioning (and polio, but I am almost sure that I do not want DS having the polio vaccine, IPV or OPV and the SV40/many other monkey viruses).

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Happy birthday

Well, I am a bit late on my blog, but DS turned one 2 days ago. I found myself thinking thoughts like, 365 nights of not sleeping through the night… but I am just a bit moody right now. I also am completely blown away by what this last year has brought me in terms of becoming a mother. I always knew I had it in me, but it is just so so much more. The mystery and honour of becoming the guardian of this new life just inspires and terrifies me.

I never would have thought that myself and DH could touch such sensitive places in our souls. I never would have thought that I would be even mildly sane after a year of sleep deprivation ( I do *not* do well with less than 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep). I never would have thought I would want another child in the same way that I ached for this child. I also did not know if I would manage being at home with an infant…. and yet I feel I have taken this opportunity with both hands and an open heart and it has taken me places so beautiful, so hard and so real. I highly recommend it.

Right now I sit here typing as DS sleeps, my buns are rising before I put them in the oven and I have burnt the topping for the apple crumble. Tomorrow one half of my Israeli family are coming to celebrate DS’s birthday…. and I am n-e-r-v-o-u-s. I always get a bit jumpy when the family come to visit – food is a big big deal and that I don’t want to serve gourmet food always makes me feel a little inadequate. IL’s are always preparing highly succulent feasts, and I don’t have the time or money…. however, tomorrow is making me more nervous than usual. I kind of feel like I have to present a perfect house and show off all that I have achived in our home since I stay at home. I am a star at putting a ton of pressure on myself.

Bathroom sparkling? tick

Kitchen sparkling? tick

Dinner table decked to the nines? tick

Toys (wooden, open ended, natural – all the stuff MIL does not understand) attractively displayed? tick

Garden all neat with new veggies growing? tick

It is so so silly. Of course no one is judging me on how clean and sparkling my house is, and no one will take a second look as to how carefully I have planned this meal and the atmosphere around it. And if that is how they are judging me, well, I guess that would have to be their problem.

For me it does come down to a desire to be accepted and respected by my IL’s. That the 2nd set did not even pick up a phone, sms, email, NOTHING speaks volumes. But it is not news that we do not like each other – I just seem to be having a hard time accepting that they are just that horrible.

So, yummy organic buns are going into the oven…. DH is buying more butter for the apple crumble and I hope DS keeps sleeping so that I can get everything in order for tomorrow.

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Why bother?

I certainly do not have many answers and I am very much on a journey trying to find how best to grow my family. I have to wonder if it is at all important what happened to me as a child? Am I just making myself more miserable remembering the harder parts? My parents cetainly followed that route. If something difficult is happening emotionally, just pretend it isn’t and distract self with activity and positive thoughts. And this is many ways is how I expected myself to live as an adult. Until I became a mother. But why bother wading through all those hard memories?

I think it does have significance. When my child will not sleep and I am at my wits ends I long for that illusion of control that would come if only I could intimidate him into going to sleep. After all that is how I treat myself…. I intimidate myself to ‘not go there’. It is the way I know.

Does that mean that I am making a better parenting choice when I try to look at why it is so important for me not to intimidate, shame or manipulate my son to do what I need him to do in that moment in order to cope? I think so. If I had more tools at my disposal to deal with frustration, I think I would be a better mother/better me.

Today I did stamp my foot and raise my voice after the umpteenth time that DS giggled and slid down off the bed when moments before he had been definitly falling asleep.  And he got scared. And I knew that in no way would I achieve anything good with this approach. I do not want my child to be scared of me.

I am sure there are those who would argue that it is not that bad if they are a little scared, as at least he would do things when it suited me. I am not yet ready to instill fear in my child for lack of my own coping skills. I do not know if I ever will be ready, but it does not feel right.

I am his world, and together with his father, his everything. It seems too cruel to take that away. And yet it seems such a daunting task to find the tools to deal with those moments of frustration and surrender to them. I keep relearning this lesson of surrender.

I am so aware in the moment of my frustration that I need a ‘fix’ and need to bring the situation back under my control. I know it is an illusion that by stamping my foot and shouting it’s all better. I know that it is a quick fix and one that I cannot rely on.

DS, I am so sorry you saw your mummy shouting and stamping her foot. I was having a very rough morning and am stressing out about all the family coming for a birthday meal and I want it to be perfect. It is not your fault that I got angry.

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Dear adults

I want to understand. I want the pain to stop. I want to be the best mother I can be. I want to be the best me that I can be.

I am so sure that CIO is not a choice I would make. I am so sure that DS will be snuggled, hugged and loved unless he chooses not to be. I see such a different reality for my family – a reality that I never had and one that I crave with all of my being. I know it is not a new idea, but in many ways I do feel like through my mothering of DS, I am in a way mothering myself when I was his age and thus making things better for myself.

The two memories I have that just gut me are sucking on my dolls arms every night to sleep and ruining them, and my mother would fix on new arms, rather than comfort me. I do not understand this. And I was left to cry almost every day after school for 3 years from the day I started school. No one wondered why I was crying almost every day and no one thought to try and understand and help me. When I wrote a letter to my teacher in grade two telling her how sad I was and no doubt hoping someone would help me, she formally asked my classmates to include me in their games, which left me mortified. I hid under her desk during break time.

And that I was having a tough time being accepted in my class I guess should not be a surprise when I had a foreign American accent and could not speak Afrikaans, and I was no doubt working through the burden of child sexual abuse in my childish way. I was just expected to deal with life and get on with life. And I did.

At a price. Today I have a really hard time when I feel I am not accepted or heard. I struggle to find my place in a group. I am very defensive and careful about how I present myself so as not to inspire ridicule. I fiercely protect myself and feel that I can only rely on myself, even when my DH has shown himself again and again to be my life partner in every aspect of life. I never let go of the feeling that when it comes down to it, I have to rely on only myself to make life happen.

I also have learnt to achieve what would be thought almost impossible – only to be stumped when I find myself in a group and I just do not understand what is happening around me on an emotional level.

Motherhood is  opening wounds and I am  experiencing great anger and disapointment in my parents. However, I also am healing deep wounds that matter in my life.

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Stranger

I am starting to think more about our future as a family and the options we have for education. I would love for DS (and any siblings) to attend a Waldorf school, although I am not closed to other options – it is familiar and much more in line with how I see child development than anything I have seen in public schools here in Israel. And having come from an anthroposophical home with a father as a respected teacher and a mother as the respected burser for the school for over 25 years – I am used to be the respected daughter and being welcomed into the fold so to speak. So it came as a shock to me to be treated as a member of the public – with a hesitant, non-welcoming attitude. To be honest I really am not sure what to make of it. Perhaps I need to reasses what my expectations are, but I expected to be welcomed more warmly. It feels weird to be not embraced and accepted. I am certainly not a die hard anthroposophist and I do not plan to study anthroposophy, but I entertain fantasies of bringing my background in OT and Waldorf together…And I think I have a lot to offer in bridging these two worlds…. I just do not know where to start, beyond my fantasies

Anyway, I a still gardening up a storm and want to upload some more photos.

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