Monthly Archives: February 2010

Same or different

I have been embroiled in yet another family saga with my IL’s, the ones with whom I actually have a better relationship. It got quite ugly with my sending a reply email that got quite specific about what I like and dislike in our relationship and in their lives and how they impact our family life. It was written in response to a very mild email, but brought together years of feeling like I do not belong and like I am being undermined and bullied for my choices.

The day after I sent the email (with my husbands knowledge) I met a mum in the homeschooling group that I had not met before. The one with plans to leave Israel. In part of our discussion, she mentioned that she has been thinking of same and different and how there is no thing such as ‘same’ really. Even in the homeschooling group, there are dramatic differences in approach to lifestyle. The feeling of being with like minded people is partly an illusion. In that group, we share children not being formally schooled and maybe natural childbirth and breastfeeding and baby wearing (Most of the mums there have the Israeli soft carrier, Yamo). However, we will have different and passionate views on nutrition, religion, healthcare, discipline etc. And that is OK. It makes it hard for me as I don’t want DS eating too much white flour/sugar (as in none yet if possible) and he has twice had biscuits that he found/were given to him. That kind of food just will be there and I will have to find my way to be OK with that. I also doubt the mums will share my passion for information regarding vaccination, and I might feel like my son needs more adult direction when it comes to discipline…. the list is endless of things that I am not going to see eye to eye on with other mums’ in the group.

I guess I am thinking ‘out loud’ as I try to figure out why I find it so intolerable that my IL’s keep trying to offer solutions that they know I would prefer not to use.

I know we are vastly different in our life approach. And in practice with DS they have never given him food/drink that they know we don’t want him having and also make sure he is not left in front of the TV. It is very foreign to them to avoid TV/sugar/white flour/electronic baby entertainers/etc. It is very foreign to make a choice outside of the mainstream.

And yet we have my husband in common and DS. Who adores them just as much as they adore him. Our same-ness is our love of DS and DH. And our desire to live an autonomous life.

Where I feel our different-ness lies at the moment, is as follows.

They – live in their country, living the lives they have lived since, well, forever for them. Meaning they have well established family ties and support bases. Are Israeli and have an aggressive communication style. Are older and more sure of what they know and the choices they make. Do not think too much about choices, and do not have an ideology other than ‘no one really knows anything, so why bother trying to know anything’.

Me –   I live in a foreign country, far away from my close friends and family. I have more of an indirect communication style. I am younger and finding my way, with all it’s ups and downs. Think a lot about my choices and my life. I do have an ideology of doing the best I can to find what is right for my family and not what someone else tells me to do.

I think our clash comes down to generation, culture and communication. And I do not know how to fix that.

I am guessing it would be ‘easier’ to write them off and just get on with my own life. But I do not know if I can do that. I have already written off the other side of DH’s Israeli family. I do not know if I can write this side off without us having to move very far away. I feel like right now I am fighting for us to be a family that accepts differences and leaves each other be with those differences.

We’ll see.

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Toddler behavior

At our local organic cafe with his birthday truck

I have been wringing my hands over DS’s sudden fearful behaviour around other children. I have a friend who homeschools her two boys 5 years old (Y) and 2 years old (E) and I noticed that DS has become quite fearful when visiting their home which led me to soul search the wisdom in keeping bringing him into an environment where he is obviously unhappy. He is not used to shouting, loud children and pretty much ended up on my lap most of the time. I really need the time to be with a like minded mother to share thoughts and experiences, making it hard for me to decide where to draw the line.

He also has been shouted at and pulled in the homeschooling group by girls and boys. Again, this has resulted in him only wanting to be on my lap and breastfeeding frequently for comfort.

In both these instances I have deliberated what my role is. I know that I would not force DS to get off me and ‘go and play’ if that is not what he wants to do. If he wants to be with me that is absolutely fine. However, I do have a nagging doubt that he is not learning the skills he needs to handle himself in the world, where people just are nasty to each other, well some people anyway.

As I write that I know it is absurd. Why am I worrying about a 2 year old and his social skills???? He’s not supposed to have any to speak of. He’s just two! He will grab things, he will throw things, he will get angry if he doesn’t get his way. I cannot expect him not to. I guess my role is to guide him and make sure that he and other children in his environment are safe. It’s a matter of how to do that. And I am not sure what level of involvement is required from me. Do I physically restrain him with words, without words? Do I follow him around making sure that he is not hurting another child/being hurt by another child all the time? If so, are we better off not being around other kids and waiting until DS has more control over his impulses/knows how to stand up for himself?

Today DS had a blast with both boys and really enjoyed running up and down a hill of gravel, throwing stones into a pond, playing in the sand pit, making Y laugh with his tricks of throwing objects. It was pretty rough going for me to switch roles from comforter of a timid boy to having to make sure children and animals were not hurt by DS’s flying projectiles. Now DS and Y get on well and interact in a more postive way. It is pretty remarkable to see the difference. To Y’s credit, he handled himself very well when DS threw a stone at him that hit Y on the leg during a game of throwing stones into the pond. Y really wanted to throw the stone back at DS, but stopped, changed his mind and threw it into an open, empty area. He accepted my apology, his mothers explanation that DS does not yet understand that it is not fun to throw stones at people. I was really impressed with his ability to get over such a distressing event.

Sigh, we’ll see what DS’s immediate future holds with socialization. I do not want him to learn to be rough with other kids, but I do want him to learn to stand up for himself if he needs it. Too much presure for a two year old? I have no idea…. I’m making this up as I go.

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I need to whine

I have been missing from my own life and from this blog too.

I have too much going on in my head.

I am trying to sort out what I believe in light of my mothers passing. And I just do not know…. I  think about it a bit, and then get distracted by life and don’t ever really sort it out into something that leaves me with a sense of calm when I think of birth and death. I can fully understand the need to week long meditation getaways… not that I will be able to do something like that any time soon. I don’t even get it together to go and talk to my rabbi.

I also am trying to sort out what it means in my life that my father is marrying again. It leaves me uncertain of his role in my life, and how much I can rely on him to be there for my family as he becomes part of another family. Simultaneously, I am very happy and excited for him, and I eagerly anticipate being able to share this special day for him. I  need to find a way for the memory of my mother to be part of this.

I have also finally told my MIL to back off and we are now not even communicating. This has been very stressful for DH, as he feels his family falling apart, with no hope for me and his mother getting along. This has also raised issues for me about my communication style and how I probably would have been feeling better if I communicated directly with her on each issue as it arises, rather than bite my tongue over months/years and then explode. I have also stepped away from the pressure to be on good relations for the sake of family peace. I am not the only one with a communication problem. My MIL needs to learn to talk directly to me, and not through ‘interesting information’ she finds online and sends me via email. On topics she knows that I have no interest in reading, like the importance of vaccinating or a kindy in our neighbourhood.

I am also trying to get my head around our diet/food consumption and how best to protect myself through nutrition. High on my list of priorities is to protect myself from depression, something that has been part of my life on and off over the years. This has led me to fermented food, minimising oxalic acid and phytic acid as well as using fish oils, organic grassfed butter, organic grassfed meat and organic eggs (more about the eggs in another post). I have mastered making kimchi and sourdough bread and I am working on getting a good variety of fresh and fermented veggies into our lives.

And finally, the other pot on my stove, is my son himself. All of the above directly affects him of course. His environment is so crucial. I have joined a home-schooling group and been at the meet ups each week the last month. This has been fantastic for me, as I have found a group I feel very safe in. The women are fantastic and there are lots of kids. DS had a bit of a rough experience being dragged by a boy with special needs and is now reluctant to get off my lap. I am hoping that will change in time. I am also signed up to become part of a local organic gardening project. My hope is that we will find even more like minded families, and have the benefit of fresh produce that we grew ourselves.

On that note, there is always the option that we would leave Israel. One of the mums in the home-schooling group is moving to Canada. She has had enough of it being so damn hard here. She is Israeli, and she finds it hard. She is also a very feisty Israeli. I know that we do not have to stay here forever and ever. We do have options and possibly we will have to look into moving somewhere where I feel my son will be able to blossom and thrive, and where both me and my husband can be happy. Does such a place exist?

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I am becoming someone who believes :p

I found this on a discussion forum and while I still feel very uncomfortable believing something like this, emotionally it does make sense to me. I guess I worry that it becomes yet another ideal to inspire me, and thus frustrate me when I fall short.

Be Impeccable with Your Word
Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

Impeccable means “without sin” and a sin is something you do or believe that goes against yourself. It means not speaking against yourself, to yourself or to others. It means not rejecting yourself. To be impeccable means to take responsibility for yourself, to not participate in “the blame game.”

Regarding the word, the rules of “action-reaction” apply. What you put out energetically will return to you. Proper use of the word creates proper use of energy, putting out love and gratitude perpetuates the same in the universe. The converse is also true.

Impeccability starts at home. Be impeccable with yourself and that will reflect in your life and your relationships with others. This agreement can help change thousands of other agreements, especially ones that create fear instead of love.

Don’t Take Anything Personally
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

We take things personally when we agree with what others have said. If we didn’t agree, the things that others say would not affect us emotionally. If we did not care about what others think about us, their words or behavior could not affect us.

Even if someone yells at you, gossips about you, harms you or yours, it still is not about you! Their actions and words are based on what they believe in their personal dream.

Our personal “Book of Law” and belief system makes us feel safe. When people have beliefs that are different from our own, we get scared, defend ourselves, and impose our point of view on others. If someone gets angry with us it is because our belief system is challenging their belief system and they get scared. They need to defend their point of view. Why become angry, create conflict, and expend energy arguing when you are aware of this?

Don’t Make Assumptions
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

When we make assumptions it is because we believe we know what others are thinking and feeling. We believe we know their point of view, their dream. We forget that our beliefs are just our point of view based on our belief system and personal experiences and have nothing to do with what others think and feel.

We make the assumption that everybody judges us, abuses us, victimizes us, and blames us the way we do ourselves. As a result we reject ourselves before others have the chance to reject us. When we think this way, it becomes difficult to be ourselves in the world.

Take action and be clear to others about what you want or do not want; do not gossip and make assumptions about things others tell you. Respect other points of view and avoid arguing just to be right. Respect yourself and be honest with yourself. Stop expecting the people around you to know what is in your head.

Always Do Your Best
Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.

Doing your best means enjoying the action without expecting a reward. The pleasure comes from doing what you like in life and having fun, not from how much you get paid. Enjoy the path traveled and the destination will take care of itself.

Living in the moment and releasing the past helps us to do the best we can in the moment. It allows us to be fully alive right now, enjoying what is present, not worrying about the past or the future.

Have patience with yourself. Take action. Practice forgiveness. If you do your best always, transformation will happen as a matter of course.

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