Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Seder in the Desert

A Seder with my parents is not fun. Real not fun. There's always tension as everything has to be followed exactly (and having variations between the books does not add. A typical every-year argument we "grew up" on, was the question of the second cup. Every year - my book says drink here, but according to mine later own...... urg!). But when my parents are not around and it's just us sisters celebrating (I do also have a brother, but he doesn't live here), what a difference! So when we heard that my parents are planning a trip to New-Zealand around this time of the year, we were really happy.
This year we decided to do something different, kind of tired of the usual routine of one of us hosting and everyone helping in preparing the meal. So... we decided to have the Seder in the desert :-), and down south we went.

The desert..

What beauty!

And what could be a better place than the desert to tell the story of liberation from slavery to a nation that occurred mainly in the desert?
We slept, all of us together, in a tent in this "guest house" that hosted a Seder. Well I'm not sure if I can call this strange structure with 3 walls built from mud with the last being open (the side in which the sun rises. When I heard this, it was yeah, that's great! When sis #6 heard this, she was - crap. Me thinking of watching a beautiful sun rise. Sis thinking of waking up way too early. But actually at night the blankets were down and it was pitch dark. Don't think the sun by itself would have woken us up. Though #6's kid crying a l l night* might have [if we weren't already up trying to catch the sun rise between all those clouds. No not a good day for such..]) a tent, but close enough I suppose.














As you can see, we slept on mattresses on the floor. I had my mattress alongside the "windowsill", so that small wall protected me from the cold (and my sleeping bag and extra blanket I brought.. desert nights are cold, and boy was it cold!). But not the most comfortable. Funny though that on waking up I could walk straight away without any pain/discomfort (whereas at home it's a bit hard to start moving..). Maybe I should also sleep like this at home? lol.

Outside there was a sculpture garden, one of the sculptures being a set of swings. And not your ordinary only kids can sit on swings, but big enough for adults to sit and enjoy! And yes, it was fun :-) [if only the weather would have been warmer..].

The Seder itself was held in the central tent, with other people who, like us, were looking for a different kind of Seder. The atmosphere was really lovely, and we all had a really good time!

* Actually she did warn us ahead and was thinking of not coming because of this, and for her sake I'll say that each time it was quickly under control. But what really drove me crazy was her and husband's whispering every time (yes, most likely to do with the crying. It still was what drove me crazy, not the crying itself..).

P.S
I am beyond tired, so I'll probably catch up on reading your blogs tomorrow.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

acupuncture.... chiropractic...... acu..... chiro.....

aco.. chiro.. and the winner is.......................................... shiatsu!

So I had this consultation the other day, and was recommended to do shiatsu, so shiatsu it is :-). I'll be having a weekly treatment for 10 weeks, until about when I'm supposed to give birth (10 weeks.. yikes! girl if you need 12 weeks, your mother will have no objections. none at all..). I was kind of hoping for some kind of miracle treatment, but I understand there isn't such a thing. Oh, well.. though I do understand that shiatsu is good for preparing the body for birth, so that's good too :-).

Had my first treatment today (and shall I shamefully admit for this being my first ?), and well.. Some of those pressings were somewhat painful and I was thinking - what have I got myself into?? 9 more of these?? But I know it's "good pain", one that releases and helps cure, and I do think I felt good afterwards.

What scares me is the thought that this pain might cause me to be unable to give birth the way I'd like. It's not only the birth itself (actually it's less the birth), more-so the fact that I stopped going to yoga, stopped preparing my body. I don't know if I shouldn't or if on the contrary yoga will only do good. Hopefully I'll resume the yoga soon.


ETA (seven thirtyish..) - It took some hours for me to realise, but wow, yes, I do feel better, much better! Can't wait for my next session :-).

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Last week, coming to the bus stop and seeing it is full, I stood outside. While I was standing there, I was thinking about what I read about how back problems during pregnancy are due to incorrect posture (and my butt hurting is most likely a back thing) and not sure how I should stand and how I am actually standing, I tried playing around with my posture. Well a woman then came up to me and offered me a seat! Now I am not big or heavy and I can most certainly stand and I was quite embarrassed, but at the same time she also made my day :-).

Well, it took me about two weeks to decide that I can't take it any longer, that I have to do something about this pain in my butt. So today I went to the local GP. Now my doctor is a very sweet and helpful guy, but unfortunately he's on vacation this week so there was this other doctor filling in. And she was so so so unhelpful. First she says something about - oh if it's a minor pain..... Maybe I have taken my time dealing with it, and no doubt there are people out there with worse pains, much much worse, but please do not put words into my mouth. I have never said it was minor. It is there, it is bothering me to walk, to go to yoga, to do things, and last night for a first also to sleep.

Anyway, I tell her that I heard it might be due to expansion of the pelvis, and she goes - who told you so, a gynecologist? So I say no, I just heard there might be a connection to which she dismisses it as nonsense. I don't know if it could be or not and if yes if it's my case or not (though it does sound logical to me), it was more of as what I said came from a layman and not a doctor then it must be rubbish.

So I ask her what can be done. And she says............................nothing! Nothing?! She goes on telling me that since I'm in the last trimester I can't take Advil (a pain killer. I would actually have refused that because it most certainly won't answer the problem) or any other thing and suggested that I heat the place with a hot water bottle (which I do, but I don't think is very helpful). I half mentioned maybe a chiropractor which she "didn't hear" and then asked if maybe an orthopedist might help. No, nothing. I can understand trying this and that and not being successful (though probably highly frustrated), but not trying anything!? Just sit and wait??? Is this modern medicine!?!?

Well, I went today for a weight growth u/s (she's almost 1.5 kg :-)) ) and in the same building they have an alternative medicine centre. They have acupuncture and chiropractic (amongst other things), which are the two I was thinking about, not exactly sure which to prefer [as the site did mention chiropractic being good for pregnancy related back problems, I think I tend to that direction] since I have never done either before, but there's always a first time.. Scheduled a consultation meeting with their doctor tonight, and hopefully s/he'll be able to help me! [obviously it won't be treatment, but I hope s/he'll recommend such and such treatment and that I'll be able to schedule one in the next few days].

Monday, 15 March 2010

An Unperfect Moment

Thursday is the day I pick up my nephew from gan*. Now that my mum's away (went on a vacation to New-Zealand), I also pick him up on Mondays. At the beginning of the year I was always early enough to sit outside and enjoy watching the kids in the nearby playground. I now usually leave last minute, but I'm still always there amongst the first (i.e I just don't sit waiting outside). And I love being one of the first to pick up the child. I love that he doesn't have to sit waiting for those parents to come. More so I love the look on his face when he sees someone has come to pick him up [usually they call out his name when I'm still outside and I miss that little moment. Last Thursday she didn't notice me, so I got to see his happy face...].
And today... ooops I forgot! Forgot I now pick him up also on Mondays. Sister phoned to ask what is happening, so I quickly dashed to get him. Poor kid. All the other children were long gone **, him being the last. He was so sad with his head down and all. I even led the conversation to his Ben10 clothes and to Ben10 himself (which I am so completely sick of hearing about. It is Ben10 this and Ben10 that, almost non-stop. Oh, but while I'm at the subject, can I tell you what L [my nephew] told me the other day? That Ben10 never gets dressed [in fact he always wears the same clothes!], never washes or brushes his teeth, and never ever eats!).
And I know it happens, but it's still not a nice feeling to have forgotten a kid. Luckily it was the last Monday as next week they are on Pesach holiday.


* (=kindergarten) Sorry but I prefer the Hebrew word here, because: a. that is the word we use even when speaking English; b. I'm always confused what exactly the term kindergarten means. Gan is for all those years before school and first grade.

** O.K, in the name of correctness I have to say there were plenty of kids in the gan, but as the place now (i.e after hours) functions as an afternoon child care facility (and he obviously doesn't belong), it is really like he was alone there.

And can I rant some more.. For about a week now I have this pain in my hmmmm... butt. I thought it was unrelated to p. but when I told my sister (who unfortunately is quite an expert on back problems) about it, she said it's the end of the nerve and must be related. Anyway it mainly hurts when I walk (which makes me have this funny duck walk), getting worse as the day progresses. It is not such a terrible pain, but it is very much an inconvenience.


And some more.. It's kind of a mix of some of the things I've read lately on the net, and this thing with my sister (not L's mum and not the one with back problems..) which I know is small and insignificant, but I think I'm rather emotional and took it quite hard. Anyway it got me thinking how me and my girly are alone in the world. How other people, however much they may care for you and want what's good for you, they still have their own agenda and their lives [again, it's not so much what happened with this sister, more these thoughts that arose]. Because it's just me and her, no other person to share this parenthood with, so I have to always be strong and do what's best for the girl [not that a couple don't, but when you are two raising a kid, you can let go sometimes and let the other half cope or at least you have each other to deal with whatever needs dealing with together]. It was just this feeling of lonliness.


Oh, and can I add a rant about the weather??? Hot, sitcky, humid. Urgh!!

Saturday, 13 March 2010

English

Language, what language do I speak to Birdy in..
My parents came here from England, and raised us in English. Hebrew was only learnt once we went to kindergarten/school. I actually don't recall going to gan (that's how we call kindergarten) and being frustrated at not understanding the language and what the others are saying (not saying I wasn't, I just don't remember anything regarding language [though I do have a memory from gan from that time. So maybe it wasn't an issue..]). So, as I said, English was spoken at home, between us kids and our parents and between us kids ourselves, and Hebrew was the language of the outer world. But slowly slowly, with socialization, Hebrew became the main language. Today it's English with parents, Hebrew with siblings.
My mother tongue and my first language are indeed English, but I am much better in Hebrew, though I do think and operate in both (I am bilingual). And sometimes it's half Hebrew half English, adding Hebrew suffixes to English words and vice versa (something that I think was done much more as a child). There's this story of how me and my friend went around houses to get them to donate for some cause [for the blind or deaf or something] and we came across this house where the owner spoke only English, no Hebrew, so my friend pushed me to do the talking (being the shy one, she mostly did the talking and I just stood by her side, collecting the money and giving the receipts..). Anyway, I go up to the woman and say to her - We are le'hatriming, and I don't understand why both the woman and my friend burst into laughter.. Didn't even realize I was adding an English suffix (ing) to a Hebrew word and calling it English.
But beyond mixing the languages, beyond sometimes having a word in language B while needing the word in language A, beyond that, being brought up with this second language was a dear gift my parents gave us/me. It has always been my asset, for one it's how social they are, for another it's how very smart they are, a third is very good at sports. I spoke English. And today it is my livelihood, as I teach English for a living.

And I want to speak English to my daughter, I mean I am going to speak to her in English! I am going to give her the gift of a second language (more so it being English, an international language spoken by many many people around the world).

But there is a downside to it. Like the fact that Hebrew she'll have to pick up from the outside. I think I was luck that as a child I loved reading and so I picked up good language from books, but I still had many gaps. Yes, today my Hebrew is by far better than my English, but I think as a child I either had more holes in Hebrew or they were more noticeable, and I do think I was/am lacking in both languages, but then again I do have these two languages (so my English could have been much much better had I been raised in a complete English environment, so...). And as much as I pride myself of knowing English, it is still kind of basic. I really don't know (or hardly know) English slang and do not have too high a language. I mean, how much language can one learn from just speaking with parents... (and some TV, but have the very bad habit of also reading the subtitles, hard to resist..). So if I speak to my daughter in English as I intend, I might give her a second language, but I won't be giving her richness in either language, more importantly in Hebrew, in the language of the environment, the language in which one interacts here. And I thinking for example of numbers, something that took me a long time to master and that I still do mistakes in [hmmmm... in Hebrew you have masculine numbers and feminine and it is when to use which type of number that is the issue. Will add that the vast majority of Israelis are very bad with numbers, but just because they have bad Hebrew doesn't mean I should too..]. And if I don't speak to her in Hebrew, she will probably not master the numbers correctly (more so as like I said above, most Israelis are terrible on this subject).
And another downside is reading books. I so want to read to her books, books with high language (you won't catch me dead reading those Disney books, for example. I really don't know how they are elsewhere, so I'm only speaking of the ones in Hebrew, but they are so terrible. Not to talk about the way they tell the story, not very storylike in my opinion). And yes, I want to read to her in Hebrew. I want to give her a register in Hebrew through books. And there are songs too. Songs for kids in Hebrew (which while I don't mind if in English or Hebrew, I know much more in Hebrew..), and Israeli folk songs that I love.
And of course the big question of where and how she will acquire Hebrew if English is the language I speak to her in. As I said in the beginning, I don't remember any difficulties about learning Hebrew, but I'm sure it wasn't easy. Going into this space where all kids speak a different language than you and neither can understand each other... And I know it is common for bilinguals to be late speakers (and I was a very late speaker). When I mentioned to sis #3 how I plan on doing baby sign language (though not fully, and not intensely. just here and there a few signs, but to sister I just mentioned the thought of BSL), she said how that would be too many languages for my girl. And yes, too many languages might be confusing, but I thing that in the long run the more the better.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Siblings

I think I should preface this post by mentioning how all sperm donations here are anonymous (one can purchase from abroad open ID donations [and why is it called "donation" is beyond me..], but that will cost about ten times more). Whenever the subject of having non-anonymous donations rises, there is some kind of panic that donors will cease to donate (made worse by the fact that even now there is a big shortage).

A very hot discussion on my SMC board. Someone came and announced this new web site* for searching and finding our kid's siblings and/or donors. As usual, this person [there is a history of this person on this board] did it in a provocative way, saying how it's the child's right to know, how the international child right treaty talks about the right of a child to know their genetic making. Later on in the discussion, she practically accused those who don't wish to seek their child's donor and/or half siblings of bad parenting, saying how a teenage child (and will say that while the vast majority of surfers in this board have young kids/babies, she does have a 14 year old) who is in the age of psychologically processing his identity, needs and wants answers to who he is, carrying on to say how if we are not true and open with our kids, blah blah blah. Now that is the part that really annoyed me. I intend on being completely open and honest with my kid about her other half, and whether or not I search for her donor or half siblings, doesn't make us any less of a family unit (as she also suggested) or with a less openness in communication. She also gave an example of this person who found out as and adult that he was adopted and how that crashed him. That is so not the case here, as our children know of their making, they know from almost day one that they are from a sperm donor. It is not something that will become known to them like thunder on a clear day.
She talks about how her kid has this strong desire to know who his "father" is. I strongly believe that this is a desire that came from her, that she didn't feel whole with the way she became a mother, feeling something is missing from the boy's life, and that the kid absorbed it. If there is one thing I am sorry for in my journey to motherhood, is that I am somewhat egoistic in wanting to be a mother and denying my kid of information on her other half. As someone who asks her parents lots of questions, I do feel kind of unfair that my daughter lacks half of the knowledge. But I do know that this is my issue, and not necessarily hers, but that if I will always be worried about such, then it will definitely become her issue too. If I am open to her and true to her about what I do know and how she came to the world, and not make a big fuss about what I/we don't know, then she should have all the means to grow happy and satisfied with who she is, not feeling like she is half a person because of what she doesn't know.

And of course then there is the question if I want or don't want to search for the donor/half siblings. And I really don't know. I know that a while back I was sure that once I had a child I would try and search for them, but now I honestly don't know. I don't think I would want to find the donor himself. I would probably love to know any additional details about him, but would not want to know him. I am (will be) the sole parent of my daughter, he is the donor (and thank you very much for this wonderful gift you are giving me) and no more. But siblings.. The two reasons why maybe I would want to find my daughter's half siblings are kind of selfish - first is genetically. If she (God forbid!) should need a transplant or the likes and I can't help, maybe her half siblings will be able to; second, as we are a small country and while donors are supposed to be only allowed a maximum amount of donations which is questionable if and how is being enforced, there is a chance (probably very slim, but still) that she'll fall in love with her half brother. Knowing who he is in advance should prevent such scenario.
I don't wish to find these half siblings for social reasons. I don't think it will make her life more whole having these brothers and sisters (half!) who are growing up in different households with no connection whatsoever with us. I believe there is much more to blood, it is the growing up together that makes us family. I sometimes look at my sisters, at how different we are from each other. We like and care for each other not because we have the same genes, but because we grew up in the same household, grew up together. And while I don't know if I will ever be able to give my daughter a sibling, I do know that I intend to raise her here amongst her cousins, so that she does have this family, this close tie with people who love her and care about her.


* Quite a problematic site, regardless of if you are for or against searching for half siblings. As opposed to the American site that works with donor codes which were given by the banks (and are not confidential), we don't have codes here. So this site asks for details on the donors, details that are supposed to be confidential. More so, as someone pointed out, you have to pay the American site in order to register, something that should prevent kids from entering the site. Not only is this site (the new one..) open to all, but she actually says kids should and will come to the site. I think that is completely wrong. That should be a parent's decision and not the kid's. Same as I, as the parent, will decide on the type of education and many other things in the child's life, I really don't think that children should be able to access such a site without a parent's guide (to say the least) or permission.

Friday, 5 March 2010

Shopping

I've postponed buying maternity clothes because I was (am) still managing with what I have and more so because it's not one of my favourite activities (to say the least). But lately I am feeling less and less comfortable with my clothes.

So.... the time has come to buy me some clothes. The name of a certain market came up again and again as a great place to find nice and cheap maternity clothes, so I decided to go and see. Was supposed to go with a friend, but, oh this is going to be a rant and deserves a new paragraph..

This friend and I, we don't talk too often and really hardly ever meet up. Personally I don't so much enjoy talking to her on the phone, since a conversation with her lasts like almost for ever. I might be a Gemini (well I am..) which are known to like talking on the phone or wherever, but I don't. And she goes on and on and on. And I wouldn't mind that too much (it's not like we talk too often), except somehow it felt like she was calling me when she wanted my help or to vent, but then she forgot my birthday. And she is an old friend, and she should know when my birthday is! [wow, maybe it's a good thing I don't have a hubby.. I can imagine myself furious with him for forgetting our anniversary or the date of our first this or that.. lol] So I kind of lost contact with her. About the time when I got my positive (actually it was a day or two before, when I was so sure it was a negative..) she renewed the connection. Once I entered the second trimester, I told her about the pregnancy and happened to mention how I should buy maternity clothes. Turns out that she planned on going to the said market that Friday (it's a Fri morning market), so we planned on meeting then. Somehow it didn't work out, i.e she couldn't and I was in no rush. But as I said at the beginning, it has now become time to do so. So we spoke again and planned on going together today.
We set a meeting point at a nearby bigger and easier to get to town and a time [which sounded quite late as I heard that you really have to be there early to find good stuff, but she does live that much further so o.k]. Then last night she phones, asking to set the time even later (which I grind my teeth to, but so be it) and asked me to take her cell number with me, just in case..... I will just add that I do not own a cell phone and I manage perfectly well without one. If we set a time and place, then that should be o.k. Yes, I do take into account the unexpected and being somewhat late because this or that, but still within a reasonable time. I have never had problems with this. She said that I should have her number just in case something went wrong (with her!) and to phone and see why/what happened. I insisted that that wasn't necessary. She even at one time mentioned how she lives in the modern era. Yes, I do not have a cell phone, or a T.V or a credit card [say what?? she doesn't have a credit card?? how does she.....], oh, and I'm going to do cloth diapering (and hopefully EC), and some may look at me and think in what age am I living, but I am more than happy. And you know, I could have written her number just to please her, but then I know her. I know it would mean she would be late (or not come at all), I know that taking her number would mean to her that she can just cancel the next morning. So we canceled. ( I think I'd rather know in advance she won't be coming than going to this town and waiting and waiting and then hearing her excuse.
And I don't know if it is pregnancy related or not. Don't know if it was about seeing me with a belly or just the bother of going to this market. She is 39 and single and does want kids (one day..), but she is not really doing anything about it, not attempting to become a parent via sperm donation and not going the shared parenthood route. I understand giving up on the ideal man-woman-child is not easy, but time is not in her favour. I did try and urge her to at least register at one of the banks, as today the waiting time is about half a year (except in the private bank [yes, "the" as in one..] but where prices are also much higher), which gives her half a year to think and digest (and even then, she can decide not to. She can choose a donor and still not go ahead [if she doesn't pay the donor will not necessarily be reserved for her, but still]). I don't want to cause her pain, but in doing nothing it seems she is making her choice. But as I said, maybe it is not pregnancy related, I really don't know (she did seem really and genuinely happy when I told her, and I'm sure not the first pregnant woman in her life).

So.. I decided that as much as I hate shopping, and as much as I dislike the idea of going alone, it is something that I had to do. And you know what, if I'm not going with her, then I can go as early as I want! And so I did. And I actually think that going with someone, would have made me buy less because I would be less sure and all, so I am actually pleased I went alone, and pleased with what I bought!
First I bought these two pairs of trousers. Wasn't too pleased with how they sat on me (which was funny how I tried them on - he gave me a big skirt which I wore, then took off my trousers, then put on the new ones and took of the skirt to see.. Later on it would just be trying them on over my clothes..), but I couldn't see any other place with maternity clothes, so better than nothing.. I then (at another stand) tried on some T-shirts. I really need/want big shirts. One woman, as I took the shirt off asked me what size it was (lol she was buying for someone..) and then another mentioned these are men's wear. Hmmmm.... so what? Then I found some nice trousers, though not maternity, they have an elastic at the waist so seems o.k. And the best thing - as they are 7/8 they fit me fine!! Yes, I do not have to take them in to be shortened.. And only then did I find the stall with the maternity clothes. The one that everyone talks about. So of course I had to buy something there as well - a shirt and a pair of trousers. At home when I tried these clothes on (and not on top of my own clothes) it was - boy are these clothes comfortable! And how I look pregnant with the shirt! (unfortunately they only had long sleeves shirts, so I just bought one. I think I'll go back in a month or two just to get some shirts..).
So all in all, very pleased with myself today (and I even went to the seamstress to have them fixed and didn't put it of till later as is my habit..).

Monday, 1 March 2010

Baby Sign Language?

Heard before about teaching babies sign language, and up till now my thought was - very nice but I think I'll pass. Just seemed too much effort for me.

I very much want to do elimination communication with her, or nappy/diaper free or infant potty training as it is also called. Basically [very very basically that is..] it is about babies doing "their stuff" in a potty rather than in a nappy. There are many advantages to this method (like environment; cash; etc), but for me what's drawn me to it is the communication part. In order to succeed, you have to be in tuned with your child, to communicate with her. That's why I prefer calling it elimination communication and not infant potty training. Anyway I know this involves a lot of work (hopefully it gets easier with time), and being a single mother I'll probably have enough on my hands, so I am going to give it a go and try my best, but I won't feel too bad if I don't succeed.

So doing also baby sign language - that really seemed too much for me. I will (hopefully..) have some communication going on between us using EC. But then tonight I was reading in a blog post about using baby sign language while doing EC (she actually prefers the other term - IPT..) and how much more helpful it could be, if there were not only cues you are supposed to pick up (cues that tell you baby needs to pee/poo) but baby can also tell you herself when she needs to go (of course never counting just on baby's signs..). And suddenly I started thinking that it might not be a bad idea.

But then, I have completely no idea how (the above blogger linked to a book she recommended, but can you learn such a thing from a book, I wonder), and I'm feeling right now like there is so much stuff still to do, to learn, to read [things I'm more concentrating on now, like birth, and things I'm leaving for later, like vaccinations] and time is not standing still and while I wouldn't call myself stuck (because I am reading a lot), I'm still far from being ready, and can (should) I add more?

Again, the thought of using baby sign language is very raw and maybe tomorrow morning I'll wake up and think it's not for me, but right now I'm kind of loving it..