Wednesday, July 29, 2009

More Updates / Shipment Released!

Yoav was sick for the past few days with a low fever (well, actually it was up to 103.5 the first night - Sunday night) and I had a low fever yesterday. Most of the time he was fine during the day and just got the fever at night, so he'd sort of sleep it off. Yesterday he was sick all afternoon and said his tummy hurt :( We spent the afternoon sleeping and resting together while Elie played. I set up a slide with the blow-up mattress on the side of the bed, so Elie spent a long time sliding down the blow-up mattress and then climbing back to the bed to do it again - that activity lasted a LONG time!!! ;) He also spent a lot of time going through my backpack and throwing the clothes out of the drawers.... Of course, I turned it into a power game, which he thought was very funny :)

There's a great organic grocery store nearby in Moshav Adonim. I didn't get to go b/c the first time we went we couldn't find it. Then Jeremy looked at a map online and went himself, couldn't find it but called them and got directions - it's not labeled as a grocery store, since it's mostly for wholesalers to buy from - restaurants and such. He said there's lots of produce, eggs (for 14 shekels - about $3.5) for 12, which is about the same price as I go them at the coop. As a comparison, organic eggs at the local grocery store are $7!!! Anyway, they also have some grain products - cereal, pretzels and such, frozen meat and more - he didn't look in all the aisles so we'll wait until I go to get the full inventory ;) There's also a huge Whole Foods style organic grocery store in Netanya that we'll go to once our shipment arrives.

Speaking of which, we just got word this morning that our shipment was released and we're getting delivery on Tuesday! YEA!! So finally we won't have to eat off the floor anymore ;) It wasn't too bad - Jun 26 we moved out of our old apartment and we get delivery on Aug 4. It worked out well that we got a furnished sublet for a few weeks and it was fine here with limited furnishings since we got to get organized with the things we did bring and it gave us time to get other things set up (bank, insurance, etc) before we have to spend time arranging the house.

I forget if I wrote about Elie's jumping so I'll write again/more now about it. He's such a little jumper! It's so cute! His favorite move on the trampoline is to jump up and land on his tush. I know I wrote that he did that on the cement on the pool. He did it a few times yesterday in the house on the hard floor. But also every time he sees a little step, he goes onto it to jump down and he does little jumps when he's holding my hand down the stairs. And the other day Elie was between me and Yoav holding each of our hands as we walked to the playground. Elie did the move where he lifted his legs so we'd jump him a little. It was so funny b/c Yoav does that with me and Jeremy and it was so funny that Elie would do it with Yoav! Yoav thought it was really neat to be on the other end of the game. But then he tried doing it between me and Elie and of course he and Elie toppled over - but it wasn't much of a fall since he wasn't actually able to get his legs into the air or use Elie for much support at all.

We still have to get our heathcare set up. Maybe Jeremy can do that tomorrow. We have to go into Herzliyya for it, which is about 20 mins away I think. The great thing about healthcare here is that a lot is paid for that isn't paid for in the States. Like I think I can go to a homeopath for free! I want to try going for Yoav's allergies (and just for general care). It's so crazy expensive in NYC, I wanted to go, but never did...

Jeremy's parents are coming today to see the house. He and Yoav went to get them.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Garden Update

The gardener came today to mow and hedge. So I got an update on what we have. Trees are: fig (they're ripe and we ate a few today!), orange (I didn't know that one - it was one of the ones I thought was a lime tree LOL), pomegranate (I didn't know that one either - also thought it was a lime tree), lemon, kumquat, mango. I think there's two more, but maybe duplicates. Herbs are rosemary, thyme, mint, lemon verbena, basil, lemongrass and geranium.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Elie and Katie Byron

Elie has gotten so excited about jumping recently. He holds my hand going down stairs and takes a little jump down to the next step. The other day at the pool, he was standing on the cement and purposely jumped up in the air and landed on his tush, as if he was on the trampoline! It was so funny. And he didn't cry, he was happy with his little jump. He jumps into the pool too. We went to a great outdoor pool in Hod Hasharon that was completely covered by UV protective tarps. We went with a homeschooling friend I met online who lives in Hod Hasharon. She has three kids - 13yo boy, 10yo girl and 5yo boy. Yoav was a little sick so he didn't play with the 5yo, but the boy (Shalev) seemed really friendly and I'm sure they'll get along.

Also I got about 10 mosquito bites outside in our yard today while we were out and I was really bummed about it, since one of the things I didn't like about our apartment in Park Slope was all the mosquitoes out back and I assumed there wouldn't be mosquitoes here since it's dry. Anyway, it turns out they're magic mosquitoes - all the bites disappeared within about two hours! They completely disappear. Like my magic fabric marker that disappears within two days of use, but this is just faster :) YEA!! SO that's off my list of negatives. If the bites aren't too itchy and disappear quickly, they're really not much worse than flies...

This is a parenting-related post - it was a response to someone on my API group saying her husband thought her son should do more things - like putting on his socks or responding to a request. I wrote a long response and wanted to include it here:

I don't think Yoav (4 2/3) has ever put his own socks on. I'm not even sure he's ever attempted! The other day after Elie (1.5yo) wanted to buckle his seat belt himself (he is MUCH more independent that Yoav even is now), and got part of it buckled, Yoav said to me that *he* wanted to do his himself. But I was taken aback as it was one of the first ever times hearing him say he wanted to do anything himself. Today at the playground Yoav asked for help getting up a weird ladder. After I helped him, I noticed he had stepped in something yukky and said I wanted to pull him down for a second to clean his shoes. Meanwhile, Elie went all the way up the ladder himself while I wasn't even watching.

This is a great thread. I think each in his own time. Model as you want him to be. Model love and kindness and that's what you will (EVENTUALLY) get back. I like Aldort's quote or was it Alfie Kohn??? The one: "a child will act like an adult when he/she IS an adult!!!!".

We have trouble with a shift as Yoav gets older with DH as well. DH was totally on board with AP and UP and unschooling up until Yoav was 3ish. As he's gotten older, DH has pushed more in some directions that I'm not comfortable with. He'll sometimes say "Stop it" or even on occasion "Cut it out!" which makes me cringe and I'm really working on dealing with it on my end and not saying anything in the moment, which would just model disapproval and an attempt to change another person, which I know I have no power to do.

I read and am now spending time on The Work by Byron Katie now and it's been SO helpful. I knew the basic ideas from Aldort and knew how to go through the whole process, but there's really a lot more to it that's described in the book. For anyone who know about it, I've gotten so I can now go straight to the turnaround, even when we're out and about.

I'll attempt to do the process here about the socks (mostly for my own benefit and fun of doing The Work, so feel free to stop reading if you've gotten to here LOL!)

Statement: Child SHOULD put his own socks on. (I'm going to do this as if I have the thought rather than your DH to show how it's done)
Whenever you say or think the word should, you know you are wrong. If something is happening, it *should* be happening. Life is your teacher and if it's happening it IS and it's reality. Katie teaches not to argue with reality. She rightly says you can spend years arguing with reality and never make a dent. In fact, she mentions in her book that her kids always left their socks on the floor and she thought they should pick them up (which never happened). She says people ask her if she had a religion before she developed The Work in 1986. Re response is: "Yes--it was, 'My children should pick up their socks.' This was my religion, and I was totally devoted to it, even though it never worked. Then one day, after The Work was alive in me, I realied that it simply wasn't true. The reality was that day after day, they left their socks on the floor, after all my years of preaching and nagging and punishing them. I saw that *I* was the one who should pick up the socks if I wanted them picked up."
(sorry for the tangent - it's a good section - p. 35 for anyone who has the book)

Okay so then you ask the four questions:
1. Is it (the original statement) true? You might say, yes, child should put on his socks.
2. Can you absolutely know that it's true? You ask again, b/c reality is always the truth. He's not putting them on, so it's clearly you can't know that it's true that he should put them on (which is partly why you're posting - you're questioning the thought). It's clear that it's not true that he should since reality has proven that it's not the case. Since this might be new to you, that might not sound like a proof but when you read the book you see that it really is. You can also continue even if you say it really is true...
3. How do I react when I think that thought? I'd feel much more relaxed and calm and patient just putting his socks on for him if I didn't have the thought that he should be doing it.
4. Who would I be without the thought? I'd be free to simply love him while he's getting dressed and put on his socks and enjoy this time with him when he's so young and wanting my help.

Now the turnaround - you flip the sentence around:
*I* should always put on my socks. So obviously this doesn't make sense, so I think in this case, the turnaround would be: If I'm physically able to do something, I should always do it myself.
Now you see that it's not true. Sometimes I like DH to carry my backpack just so I can have the freedom of not wearing it for a change; Sometimes I barely make an attempt to open a can if it seems like it's going to be difficult; Sometimes I ask DH to put my shoes on if I'm carrying child or something else and don't want to lean over; And, most importantly for me in this case, sometimes I ask DH to put an article of clothing on for me (jacket, shoes, hat) just b/c I like the way it makes me feel when he helps me in this way.

So that's it. Case closed :)

The hard part is that I can't imagine my DH ever reading this book, so it doesn't necessarily help with interactions between child and DH immediately, but I'm finding that the more I use it, the more it's slowly affecting their interactions.

And I give reminders to DH about kids, like reminding him that kids will act like adults when they're adults occasionally or reminding him of things that Yoav learned naturally that DH thought we needed to teach him.

One more thought about the cleaning and then I'll stop :)

The other day at my FILs house, Yoav was playing with a deck of cards and basically his way of playing was to put all the cards on the floor face up so he could look at them all. FIL saw it and said in an exasperated voice, "Are you going to clean all this up?!?!?!" or maybe I hope you will or something to that effect. I jumped in and said, "I'll clean it up, don't worry! I'm happy to clean up toys (which I really and truly am, after all my reading and thinking about modeling)." Then I added, "Don't even look at it, then you won't feel stressed." To my surprise, he actually said turned around and said that was better for him! In the end, Yoav cleaned up most of the cards himself and I helped a little to get it back just the way it was. That, IMO, is how to foster a sense of responsibility while being kind. My kids see that I clean up, so they will eventually keep things clean themselves, which as another tangent isn't true either - there's no guarantees, even with modeling! BUT, ALSO, by me helping them to clean up and even me simply cleaning after they make a huge mess and have lots of fun and don't clean up, I'm modeling love and kindness in that I want them to be free and Joyful and to play without rules and restrictions and they see (I hope) my love for them in some of the things I do for them, like cleaning up after them or putting on their clothes... And already sometimes Yoav cleans up after *me* or brings me something UNASKED and those are some of the sweetest moments in my life, moments I would never exchange for anything, moments when I think of Alife Kohn and Naomi Aldort and thank G-d that I know of their teachings!!!

If anyone read all this, I hope it helped ;)


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Israel Update

We didn't bring the right cable so I can't upload photos :( Jeremy is going today to Jerusalem to get the document we need to release our shipment and then we can schedule a date for delivery. Yoav went with Jer (along with Saba), so I get the day just with Elie and he's still asleep :) The kids have been really jetlagged. Yesterday Yoav fell asleep at 8pm and we thought it was for the night but then he woke up again at 10pm and didn't fall asleep until sometime after 1am. Elie fell asleep a little earlier, but after 12. Then Yoav woke up at 9:45am and Elie's still sleeping at 10:15.

We went yesterday to visit Jeremy's cousin's family with her three kids. They live on Kibbutz Ma'agan Michael just west of Zichron Ya'akov. One of the boys has a Bar Mitzvah next week which is why all the grandparents are in Israel now. We went to their swimming pool for a few hours. It's completely covered with a UV protective tarp, so it's actually really enjoyable in the heat! And you don't even need sunscreen or hats! We're going to a similar pool in our neighborhood today with my homeschooler friend that I met online via the Israel Homeschool Yahoo group. She has three kids - a 13yo boy, a 10yo girl and a 5yo boy.

I did more inventory of the garden. The trees we have are: mango (we picked one and put in a brown bag to ripen, so maybe we'll get to eat it in a few days), lime, lemon, kumquat and one I don't recognize. Herbs we have almost anything you'd want: rosemary, thyme, lemon verbena (great for tea - I don't think it grows in most of the U.S., but is used a lot in Israel for tea), mint, sage, oregano... I'd love to have a garden like this one when we eventually buy a house. Plus veggies which can go in a square foot container. I don't think there's a good spot for a square foot container here, so I'll probably just tend the herbs and start with the veggies again in our next house next fall.

Yoav is starting to learn some hebrew. Most of the kids only speak Hebrew, so he's just figuring things out by expressions and hand motions but he's learning some words through it (obviously). Both kids seem happy so far with the move. Nothing they miss terribly so far - although Yoav asks about people coming to visit...

Some Elie/Yoav stuff - Elie seems to be much stronger and independent than Yoav. He wants to do everything himself and does things like hang onto the kitchen counter with his legs off the ground trying to pull up. He got a cup of water off the counter by standing on an upside down cup (his idea) and standing on his tip toe while holding on with one hand on the counter and getting the cup with the other hand. He climbs onto the trampoline by himself and pushes my hand away if I try to help. If I do ever help at all, he usually has to start over from before the help started. So, for example, if I'm tired of waiting for him to get himself dressed (which he never does perfectly but does like to do), and help get a leg into the pants, he'll take the whole pants off to start over again. So yesterday we were in the car and Elie wanted (and did) to buckle the top part where the two straps attach together over the chest. For the first time EVER, after seeing this Yoav said, "I want to do it myself". Sometimes Yoav does want to do things himself, but this is the first time I've ever heard him say it like that. Interesting that he noticed that Elie was doing it himself and thus wanted to himself.

Yesterday at Sharon's (Jer's cousin), Elie got hurt once and Yoav ran over to give him kisses. The other day, after kissing Elie after a hurt, Yoav said to me, "It's good I was born first." I was like, huh??!??!? He explained that it's good b/c this way he can help me take care of Elie. Hmm. Cute, but it certainly didn't feel that way for the first year of Elie's life!!!! I'm glad things are going so well now, though. I'm a little worried about the playroom here. Yoav seems to think it's just his. He *knows* it's not, but when Elie moves things around, Yoav gets upset. He has each toy in a specific spot and doesn't want them rearranged. We'll see. The plan is actually to have two playrooms. We have four bedrooms upstairs, so we'll have the sleeping room, a playroom which will have the futon couch so we can use it for guests as needed and the last bedroom has the kid's bed in it and I'll put my sewing table/machine/stuff. Then we have a room that was once a sunroom and has since been closed off with wall to ceiling windows and is really the most beautiful room in the house which will be a second playroom. It's just off the living room, so will be a good place for kids to play when we have guests for dinner or just when I'm home cooking and such. We'll put the least messy toys there - so kitchen and playstand, not blocks, so the living/dining rooms don't get filled with little toys... Anyway, that's the plan. We'll see how it all goes.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

New Home and Learning Primes

So the main update is that we made the move to Israel! We're living in Hod Hasharon in a beautiful area of the town!

The house itself is beautiful, too. I'll take more photos later - the pictures Jeremy took really don't do it justice. It was renovated three years ago, so everything is in good condition and the design is great. Most of it, I'd love for my own house if we buy eventually - only the kitchen isn't my style but I still like it and it will be great for cooking.

The backyard is lush with fruit trees and a lot of plants. There are a bunch of fruit trees (mango, two that I don't recognize, one of which could be kumquats, lime, lemon), lots of herbs including mint, lemon verbena, chives, and a few others that I need to inspect and smell more closely to figure out. The family we're renting from doesn't use any pesticides with the garden which I didn't even know until we got here! So it's not organic, but close enough I think - I'll try to find out how to get the soil tested - I wonder how much lead is in the soil here... Also in the backyard, is a full-sized trampoline(!) with netting all around, which the kids LOVE. It's so cute to see Elie jumping on it. There's also a slide, sandbox (not filled - I have to find sand for it) and a little picnic table. Plus a little patio that we'll put our grill and table on.

Then the living/dining room each have huge floor to ceiling windows, which obviously give the house a great feel since you can see all the greenery. The kitchen has a decent amount of cabinet space and a pretty granite (or similar) countertop with a Viking stove with space for 6 pots!!!! I know I'll love cooking here! The shower
has a good strong stream (which I was worried about b/c some of the showers in Israel are pretty poor!) and the toilets all work well ;) Oh, there's a laundry chute!!!!! An unexpected surprise that so much fun to use!

Our container has arrived into Haifa, but we have to wait for me to get one more document to get it released and then they said it'll take a week or so for us to get it delivered. So hopefully we'll be able to get our furniture in about two weeks. For now, there's one bed set up that the family we're renting from left out (it was a pain for him to take apart and he asked if he could just leave it and we agreed) so we're sleeping in that and it's fine for two weeks. We borrowed a fold-up table for the kitchen from Dave and Nahama and we have our computer all set up in the office room. The family has all their stuff stored in the basement in a room and it's closed up and out of the way.

We walked into town last night (about 15 mins) for dinner and had great falafel sandwiches - for 10 shekels (about $2.50) each! :) There are a bunch of kosher restaurants (including that one) plus there's another street with more restaurants that is about the same distance from our house, but that we haven't explored yet.

We're at the end of the street one house back from the street, so it's very quiet. And there's a park with a playground literally across the street from us!! The park is just a big grassy area with a few trees, a playground and then there's a big field next to the park.

There's a small grocery in walking distance (less than five min walk) and a bigger one (about 10 min walk) that we didn't go into. There's two relatively small organic groceries close by (10 min drive ish) and a huge one about 20 mins drive away. We went to the one small one today and got a bunch of things. It's somewhat expensive, but probably comparable to Whole Foods. I'm so used to Park Slope Coop prices that it was a bit of a shock! This one is on a moshav that grows a lot of produce that is mostly available in the Fall and Winter. All the produce is organic, but for now, most of it is from other farms. I'm sure it'll be cheaper when it comes direct. Most of the food seems to be kosher, so shopping is so much easier. They even have kosher organic chicken!

The only things I don't like so far are:
* There's a dresser the family left in one of the rooms that smells a little of plywood, but Jeremy says he can't smell it - I'm pretty plywood-averse, so I'm overly sensitive to the smell.
* It's really hot!
* There's not a good coffee shop in walking distance (that I know of yet - I'm still holding out hope) - there's one in walking distance, but it's attached to a book store, so I don't think it would be a pleasant experience with the kids.
* The kitchen floor is wood and has little gaps between the slabs of wood, so it seems like it will be hard to clean.

Now on to the Primes. Yoav understands what prime numbers are! Today he asked me what goes into five and I said, "Just one and five, so it's a prime number." He asked what it means to be prime and I just said it's any number that only one and that number goes into. He asked about a few until he understood. Actually first he said that five is two twos and a one, so I clarified. Then he said, "One is a prime number then?" And he thought for a moment and said, "And two is a prime number, but nine isn't because it's three threes." He seems so good at math. I think partly it's just that he's old enough to start understanding these sorts of things and it just shocks me. Especially when it comes from the same boy who just a few minutes ago described a cool spitting trick he figured out - that he can spit on his hands, rub his hands together and then it's all gone, like magic! :)

Oh and one more quick thing - today Elie fell and Yoav ran over to give him kisses. Yoav's instinct is more and more becoming to help Elie. When Elie was crying in the car yesterday, Yoav pulled out his animals one after another to offer to Elie. Makes life SO much easier. And earlier today, Elie was holding a bag of pretzels that Yoav wanted to hold and Yoav just talked to him about it, "Elie, can I hold them?" Elie shook his head no. Yoav said, "Maybe we can each hold them a little?" and on and on until something was worked out and they shared them. It was nice to see that Yoav felt like Elie is old enough now to talk to about problems without my help...

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Elie slept through the night!

Elie slept through the night last night for the first time! He slept from about 9PM to 7AM without waking to nurse OR pee (meaning that he was dry all night). What a great sleep I got! Hoping for many more sleepful nights ;)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Yoav and Math Problem

I have so much to write about - we visited Saba and Safta for two days over July 4th, then went to Aunt Cindy's house in Atlanta for a week and then went to Grandma and Grandpa's house for a week. I've added a few photos and will add more eventually ;)

Meanwhile, I don't want to forget a little math problem Yoav did yesterday on the plane. He asked if firemen help people and animals (he had a toy horse stuck in a treehouse he made out of an oatmeal container with Grandma). When he learned that they do, he said he wanted a fireman in a fire chief's truck to come help. I asked how many he thought he needed to help. He said five. Then he proceeded to say two could fit in each truck because "they don't have a back". Then he thought very briefly (no fingers used) and said he would need three trucks to bring the five firemen. Very basic, but same format of math problems I remember getting in elementary school. Yoav really seems to enjoy working with numbers. Things like this and the multiplication that I've written about. It's fun to see it slowly advance.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Elie and Yoav - Budding Friendship

I've been so busy lately packing and moving to our sublet and just being up late with the kids - I've had so very little time for posting. I really want to quickly write about a few moments between Elie and Yoav recently. In the past month, everything has changed for us. The house is so calm and happy. I finally really enjoy having two kids. I find myself watching them together and smiling, whereas a month or two months ago, I was always tense at home - for months Yoav would randomly hit Elie at home, then he started screaming at him. I stuck to Unconditional Parenting and mostly stuck to these words from Naomi Aldort. I've been more diligent about power games and was even marking on my calendar each time I played one to be sure I did at least one power game a day. I think that certainly helped and time. Now that Elie is old enough to watch Yoav play without knocking blocks down or messing up a game, Yoav is much more patient and open to forming a relationship.

A few precious moments of note:
* A friend of Yoav's said, "I hate your brother. Do you hate him too?" (this was said in a fun way - testing out the use of the word hate). Yoav said, "No, I love my brother."
* Yoav gave something to Elie (I forget what) and he told me he gave it to Elie because Elie is his "best friend." Could anything be sweeter than that?!?!?!?
* Today Elie had to have two cavities filled (another story that I'll probably never get to - short story is we used Dr. Lois Jackson and she was GREAT - I just held Elie as she chipped away the decay and then filled it with a non-mercury/non-BPA composite and set it with a laser - Elie cried the whole time, but it was only a few minutes and he was happy and cuddly afterwards and didn't seem miffed at all that I was involved in this). Anyway, so while Elie was getting the cavities filled and was crying, Yoav occasionally popped up from his chair to give Elie a zerbert to try to calm him down ;)
* Yoav picked out a toy for Elie at the dentist and one for Jeremy and none for himself.
* Walking home from the dentist, a few times Yoav got ahead of Elie and Elie put out his hand for Yoav to hold and wouldn't move forward until Yoav came back to hold his hand - my hand was NOT an acceptable substitute :) I love watching them hold hands and walk along the sidewalk together. I hope one day soon I have my camera readily available so I can get a photo of it.
* Yoav was playing Memory and had all the cards laid out on the floor about a foot from the couch. Elie was trying to get through and walked slowly sideways in the gap between the game and couch to get through without disturbing the game!