Archive for the ‘Parenting’ Category

waves of energy
I am tired, physically tired, and I don’t concentrate well when I am tired.

That’s not such a big deal when all I am talking about is blogging. When I am working in the ER it is a bit more of a problem. There have been days where I was surprised I managed not to kill anyone make any mistakes.

My poor baby waiting for doctor

My little 3 year old has been coughing for days and started running a high fever today. The last two nights have been spent listening to her cough all night and going to her countless times during the night to comfort her.

Last night my hubby even got kicked out of bed and slept in my daughter’s bed while she crawled in with me and slept coughed all over me all night. Hubby says he is too old to sleep in a bunk bed anymore, even if it is the bottom bunk.

So I have been sitting her for a long time staring at the computer screen and willing myself to write my blog for today. Not because I think the world is going to come to an end if I don’t write for one day. But rather because I have committed to myself that I want to write everyday.

I usually spend a long time writing my posts and when I don’t I am not as happy with my work. I have so many half written posts and so many ideas in my head. And like Paula who wrote today in her blog post Mojo? What Mojo?, my thoughts have all seem to have disappeared as well.

So as I was beating myself up and deciding what to write, I patted myself on the back and said: “Susie, it’s ok if every once in a while you do not have energy. Give yourself a break”. Not that that concept is something new to me. I have learned to do that really well in regards to housework, errands and all kinds of other stuff. (I am sure my husband is nodding his head passionately at that comment. I am thinking he is tired of washing dishes and living in a pigsty mess.)

But until today, I have not let myself do that with my blogging. Maybe I am worried that if I will let my blogging slide if I don’t continue to live up to the standards I have set for myself. I don’t know.

So I hope my giving myself a break and not writing something too deep today is okay with all of you who read my blog. But truly it really is okay every once in a while to admit you are out of energy or inspiration. I am sure that it is nothing sleep (or an extra few hours in a day) won’t remedy. Hopefully, I will get some soon. Heck, it’s only 1 am…….

Have any of you ever just run out of steam?

Airton Kieling | Flickr Creative Commons

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Yesterday I caught myself muttering to myself. Yes, the massive never-ending Passover cleaning I was in middle of was not helping my mood. For those who don’t know what Passover cleaning is, think spring cleaning and then multiply the amount of work and agitation.

Please Clean Up Your Mess
(Photo courtesy of Allen Goldblatt)

It did not help matters that as I was actually managing to make some progress cleaning out the pantry/mud room the CamelBak water pouch my kids had used a few weeks back on a field trip leaked water all over a bunch of knapsacks. Why they had never bothered to dry it out completely or put it where it belonged is beyond me and the wet mess I had on my hands was just extra frustrating because of that.

So like I said, I found myself muttering to myself and the next thing I knew I muttered to my husband: “Your kids should be shot.” Obviously they are his kids when they do something wrong, but right after that phrase came out of my mouth, something inside me stirred.

For the first time in all the years that I have used that phrase I actually heard what I said and the potential significance of it. I had just said that my kids should be shot. Something that in this country was not unheard of, especially seeing as my eldest son is in the army and carries a rifle.

I then thought about how lightly I use potentially loaded phrases. How often have I blurted out to someone, “I am going to kill you.”? I have no intention of ever killing someone, so why would I even use those words?

Sure there are some phrases that are just figures of speech that we don’t really mean. For instance telling someone before a show to “Go break a leg”. Or telling someone to “Go jump in a lake.” A few less polite phrases came to mind as well, but since I am obviously a lady, I won’t “repeat’ them.

I find it very interesting that a phrase I have used loads of times in the past, out of nowhere touched on a nerve yesterday and made me pause and think. How many times do we say stupid things that we don’t really mean or want to happen and we do it all without giving it a second thought.

I think that my thought process was kick started yesterday to remind me to look at the big picture and not to get so caught up in trivial things like cleaning and forget that what is really important is my kids and family and that I should watch the words coming out of my mouth.

Words have a lot of power. I don’t necessarily think that if I say someone should be shot that they are going to be. What I do think is that by getting upset at them for something not earth shattering I am sending negative energy out into the world. I am a believer that what you put out into the world is what gets returned to you, so why would I ever want to send out negativity instead of love and patience.

IBM Think D100 Test
(Photo courtesy of H. Michael Karshis)

The lesson is that next time an unbecoming phrase tries to cross your lips, think twice about whether or not you actually want to utter it.

So what phrases have you said that you really would never want to come true?

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Don't Panic Badge
(Photo courtesy of Jim Linwood )

We have all had those moments in life when we have been gripped by sheer panic. Something happens that is unexpected and we just lose it. Sometimes our panic is triggered by something very serious like a death or injury of a family member or friend. However there are times when even something relatively minor can just break you. It depends on the person and circumstances I guess.

In my 19 years of parenting I have had quite a few of these moments. Some warranted and some not. (Though who am I to say something is unwarranted if that’s what the moment did to me.)

I have had two children with episodes of convulsions. That has to be one of the scariest things a parent can go through. Even with my ER nursing experience, I still think that is one of the worst experiences I ever had. My first experience with any type of convulsion was with my 2nd child. He was a year and a half, running a fever and I sent him into the shower with my husband. The next thing I knew my husband was screaming and holding a stiff convulsing child. I lost it. I was sure he was a goner. And that was even though I knew that convulsions themselves are rarely fatal. Go tell that to anyone watching their kid convulse. Reason does not work at that moment.

My second convulsion experience was even worse. My little one was playing near the steps inside our house. The steps are part of our living room and she often sits on them to play. She had been running fever for a day, but was already feeling better.

All of a sudden we heard a big thunking sound and my eldest was the first to realize what had happened and that something was not right with her. She had fallen backwards on her head and had started convulsing. I was not sure whether the convulsions were what caused the fall, or if she fell and the head injury caused the convulsions. I thought I was going to have a heart attack on the spot.

Luckily I was home with all of the kids. I sent the oldest one running to the neighbor two houses down. (He is an anesthesiologist. I deal with his emergencies and he deals with mine because we both lose it when it comes to our own kids. Funny how that is.) I had the second oldest stay with the two younger ones, and I scooped up my daughter and with every last bit of energy in my body I ran out the door with her in the direction of my neighbor’s house. That should show you how panicked I was because if I was thinking about any kind of neck or head injury, as an ER nurse I should know better than to move her at all. That short walk to my neighbor was one of the longest I have ever had. It was winter, everyone’s windows were closed and no one heard my yelling pleas of help me, someone help me.

My neighbor met me halfway down his stairs and I passed my daughter over to him and almost collapsed myself. I thought she was either going to be dead or brain injured and never the same. Those next two minutes had to have been the longest in my life until they sent someone out to get me and tell me it was okay, she was okay.

I must be getting older and my memory must be fading, because I know all of my kids at one point or another induced panic in me. Maybe it is just the baby of the family thing, but it seems that my littlest daughter is the one who panics me the most these days. Kind of funny considering that my oldest is in the army.

Or maybe it is that my youngest is just the most confident and a bit too independent. Like the time she decided to go home on her own from synagogue on Shabbat when we turned our backs for a minute. We then spent 30 minutes in panic searching for her. Good thing we live in a community where the roads are closed off on the Sabbath, but that didn’t help our panic at the time. We found her safe and sound but with a few more grey hairs on our heads. (By the way, there is no need to call social services, honestly there isn’t.)

There are times when we are stressed about something and we work ourselves into a panic. There are other times when panic is visceral and takes over your body and there is not much to do except wait a few minutes and then consciously will yourself to calm down.

Either way, the only thing we can do when we panic is to remember we are human and not to be too hard on ourselves. Once the initial panic passes, we just need to collect ourselves and decide how we continue from there. Sometimes easier said than done, but we are only human after all.

This blog post was written for writing workshop #17 run by Josie at Sleep is for the Weak. I chose the second prompt: Has there ever been a time you felt panic start to take you over?

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Ignore the open closet and the mess. Her sweetness covers it all!

My little three year old is not only adorable but she is also a perceptive little character.

Little N goes to the same village sponsored nursery that her older siblings went to. Her teacher and teacher’s assistant are the same ones her older siblings had.

Over the years the nursery teacher has had some very harsh criticism from many parents because she yells a lot. My kids were never bothered by it. Hmm, hang on. Wait just a second. Does that mean my kids are just used to yelling? From home? Ouch. That’s something to ponder, because until now I had never really thought about it that way.

Anyways back to the point. Which is that my kids always managed to get along with the “yelling” nursery teacher just fine and they thrived as well. Same goes for little N. But it seems that although little N goes very happily to nursery and enjoys herself, she does have quite good insight. Here is the conversation my husband had with her a few weeks back.

Hubby: You like nursery!
Little N: Yes. I have a lot of fun.

Hubby: Who loves you in nursery?
Little N: B (nursery assistant) loves me a lot.

Hubby: And S (teacher) loves you too.
Little N: No silly. S doesn’t love anyone. She yells and is angry a lot.

I think my hubby was floored and his jaw almost hit the floor because she didn’t even miss a beat. Her comments were just a matter of fact and quite obvious to her. I have written before about kids and how they are sponges and absorb everything from our words to our feelings. I know that my kids know how much I love them even when I am upset with them. I also now know that they don’t miss a thing. I am just glad that N chose to share her observations at home and not in front of her nursery teacher.

Kids know when they are truly loved. They are not fooled. Just beware because you never know when and in what company their true opinions will surface and make you want to hide in shame.

Have your kids ever made really good observations about people? Observations that you didn’t think they perceived? Have their observations ever caused you shame? Please share their gems of wisdom, so we can all laugh together.

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As parents sometimes we just want to shield our kids from some painful truths that they don’t have to know. I am not saying to lie to them. I am just saying they don’t need to know the whole truth.

A case in point is little N and the goldfish that was hoisted unwittingly and unwanted upon us from her nursery.

To say that I am not a fan of pets is an understatement. Even so, I am not a completely evil mom so once many years ago, after my kids begged pitifully I broke down and we bought a bowl with goldfish. Let me just say that the poor fish did not survive too long.

Since then no pets have graced our household unless you count the occasional ants, spiders and the one huge scorpion. (The scorpion is a frightening early morning tale for another day.)

Honestly, why do my kids need a pet anyways? We only have a million neighbors with dogs. All of whom really like to bark and poo, mostly on my lawn it would seem.

So imagine my dismay when one morning my husband comes home from bringing little N to the nursery holding a plastic bag filled with water and in it a goldfish.

“What the heck is that?” I asked.
“It’s a goldfish, can’t you see?” He answered.

“Yeeeesss. I know it is a goldfish, but what exactly am I supposed to be doing with it?”
“You need to find a bowl for it.”

“Uh Uh! I don’t think so!”
“Well N’s nursery teacher wouldn’t let me refuse it. Seems they had given them out yesterday and N forgot hers.”

“Thank goodness she forgot yesterday but what am I supposed to do with it now?”
“I guess you are going to have to find a bowl.”

And with that Hubby hurried off to work with too much of a smirk on his face and left me to deal with the poor goldfish.

I was already breaking into a sweat worrying how disappointed N was going to be when the goldfish went missing if I got rid of it. And if I managed to keep it alive till she got home, where the heck was I going to get a bowl from?

Then suddenly I had a genius idea. I have friends who live a few blocks away and they have a goldfish pond in their backyard. Why not free the goldfish and let it live with others of its own kind. In nature!

I exchanged a few quick text messages with our friend who agreed to offer our fish a new home although he was not sure whether the fish would be an addition to their pond or dinner for the other bigger goldfish. That nagged at my conscience for about 2 seconds. It was short lived because I consoled myself saying better that the fish should serve some purpose rather than just get flushed down the toilet in a few days from now.

So I waited until little N got home from nursery. I got her all excited about going over to my friend’s house and bringing her fish to their pond. And we went with her clutching the little bag with the fish. She helped me put plop ease the fish into the pond. Thankfully at that point it was already getting dark so we never did learn the fate of Mr. Goldfish.

Just as well really, because sometimes kids just don’t need to know the whole truth. There is plenty of time in life for that. Better that when we are over at our friends’ house and N peers into the pond that she thinks her fish got so big. I like to think the same as well.

Have you ever kept the whole truth from your kids?

This post was my response to a meme tag by Vicki at Vegemitevix. Take the tenth photo in your pictures’ folder and write about the photo’s story. (The photo of N with the bag full of goldfish). So although the photo is grainy because it was a download from my cell, it still thankfully had a story to tell. Thanks Vicki for tagging me and inspiring this post.

Now I would like to tag:

*Lori at Lwayswright’s Weblog

*Nappy Valley Girl

*Rachel At Really Rachel

*Not Such A Yummy Mummy (BTW-I disagree with her on that title. She is Yummy!)

*Not Drowning, Mothering

*Naomi At Organic Motherhood With Cool Whip

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Disappointments will not ruin your child’s life. Though at that precise dismaying moment it definitely feels like you might be.

Yesterday was a particularly hard day for my husband and I, as was the day before it. All because we had to crush an 11-year-old’s hopes and dreams.

Okay, I am making it sound more serious than it was, but we did actually feel like that. We had to tell our 11-year-old that we did not want him trying out for the Israel National Juvenile Baseball Team. He was one of three kids chosen from his team to go to the try-outs. We were notified, actually our kid was notified, on Friday and the try-outs were Sunday afternoon.

We were in a dilemma, for a number of reasons. Firstly because Sunday afternoon was when he was scheduled to start a program for gifted students at a local University. It is an unbelievable program and he was signed up to learn amazing things. We were told by other parents whose kids had gone that it was a truly unique experience. It was not something we wanted him to miss.

That aside, we felt he was too young to be on the national team and travel to Europe. He is 11. He lives a relatively sheltered life (we are Jewish and observant) and the logistics for someone who eats kosher on a trip like this is not simple. We know because with our two older sons we had this experience three times. They were on Israel National Softball teams and flew to Europe to compete, but they were older. Neither of them were on the team before the age of 15. Even then it was hard for them and to put an 11-year-old in that delicate position is not an easy decision.

We also knew that next year our son would have a better chance of making the team and actually get playing time as a pitcher which is his preferred position. Next year he will be one of the older kids. He will be have more practice and experience under his belt and he will without a doubt be even better than he already is. He will be stronger. He will be older. Did I mention older already?

Then comes the cost of him being on the team. In total a whopping sum of $1600. That was also a factor, but if that had been the only one, we would have somehow come up with the money. It was all these factors together that made us decide that this was not the right decision for him right now.

So how do you tell an 11 year old, one that as it is, is prone to crying, that you are not letting him do something that he sees as exciting, prestigious and as very important to him? On top of all of this was the fact that one of his best friends was in the same predicament and they were spurring each other on. Lucky for us, we are good friends of this child’s parents and we made the decision together.

So we explained our reasons and tried to show him how tough the decision was for us as well. We used all our parenting skills to try to put it all in a positive light. We obviously have more to skills to learn because we were not able to prevent the puddles of tears, the locking himself in his room or the heartbreaking look of disappointment written across his face.

His sister did not help matters by telling him to stop being such a baby and to stop crying already. (She was trying to get my attention and my help with her homework.) That sisterly comment generated a flying leap by her brother at her head and an outburst of anger that I have not quite seen the likes of yet. I had to physically separate them. And then yet another slamming of doors and locking of himself in his room.

We have a water shortage here in Israel and all I kept thinking was at the rate he was going the Sea Of Galilee would soon be filled again. The poor child’s face was red and swollen as were his eyes. I finally managed to get him out of the house and over to his friend whose mother had the “envious” task of getting our two disappointed and crushed boys to the bus.

Needless to say my husband and I, like our friends had a really gut wrenching day dealing with our kids’ emotions. It was probably my husband who took this all the hardest since he is the sports fanatic that said son takes after. My husband had also once upon a time played for the Israel National Softball Team in the World Championships. He is an avid sports fan and sometimes he laments the fact that he is not a major league baseball player. Never mind that it is impossible to live a religious orthodox life playing ball, but some boys’ dreams never quite die. So in short (or not, as that was pretty long), my husband truly felt my son’s pain.

Yesterday was my husband’s birthday. Aside from our youngest child everyone else ending up being out of the house in the evening. We waited for our disappointed 11-year-old son to come home from his science program figuring that it would cheer him up to go out to a restaurant for dinner. We did take him out, but it turns out that it was probably unneccessary.

Kids it seems are more resilient than we think. He had a great time learning things he had never been exposed to before. He learned chemistry and nanotechnology and they did experiments. They wore lab coats and goggles and it was cool. Sure baseball would have been his first choice, but turns out his disappointment was pretty well compensated for. By the end of the night he was all smiles.

So have you ever “ruined” your kids lives by disappointing them?

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Note from Susie: Today is a special guest post day. The post on my blog for today is not written by me. It is a special post written by my friend Dara from Canada. She has a great blog called Readily A Parent. She also writes a weekly parenting column for The Western Star.
Of course I have written a special guest post on her blog as well, so don’t forget to check it out at Readily a Parent.

Hmmm…I wonder if we now know what it is like to walk in each others shoes.


When I was growing up, it was pretty rough and tumble times. We spent the majority of our time outdoors and I played predominantly with my two older brothers’ friends – there being a lack of both girls and younger children in our neighbourhood.

The kids I played with were pretty rough and pretty rude sometimes. I had been raised with the motto “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” So, when the insults starting flying during one of our interminable childhood fights, I was at a loss as to how what to say back and unable, really, to bring myself to say the things our friends/enemies were saying.

Beware _ Manure happens
(Photo courtesy of Kathleen Conklin )

I quickly learned my standard retort: it takes one to know one. “Dara eats cow manure!” one of the kids would scream. “It takes one to know one,” I’d scream back. Not the most witty of responses, but it served me well – I didn’t have to actually say anything nasty at all, just mirror back to the other children what they had said to me.

As I got older, the phrase left my standard lexicon. I was one of those teenagers that sympathised with everyone and everything. The childhood fights ended and our teenage cliques began, but I sailed between cliques, identifying with everyone. I guess you could say I was empathetic; I always found something nice to say about anyone.

But as I got still older, some of that young empathy faded. I began to look at the world and the people around me trying to identify the traits and behaviours I wanted for myself. Although I’ve always tried hard to be non-judgmental, I found myself often looking at the negatives in people and proclaiming I would never do that or be that way.

As a young adult I remember a friend of a friend having her young infant taken from her because she had shook him. “I would never shake a baby,” I declared. My friends and I laughed at a prominent hospital poster that informed new mothers they should “Never ever ever shake a baby!” We thought it so ridiculous that people needed to be told this.

(Photo courtesy of SBS Prevention Plus Inc.)

The next year, I sat in a mall food court and jumped to my feet to rescue a child whose mother had begun shaking him. I heard her scream before she even started “someone save him! Take him!” I could see that this mother was tired and suffering; she was young and had little help; she actually didn’t want to shake her baby but she couldn’t stop herself.

Still, though, I thought it would never happen to me. I wouldn’t let myself grow that upset. I would make sure I had support. I would walk away from my baby before I shook him.

Three children later, I sometimes wonder how I made it through their infancies WITHOUT shaking them. I have had my moments, trust me, when I’ve come as close as I am comfortable getting.

A couple of days ago, I said to a neighbour “I understand why some mothers hurt their children in the spur of the moment. I couldn’t do it myself, but I understand now.”

She looked somewhat aghast at this confession. But after a moment of silence she nodded her head. She too could understand.

It wasn’t until I became a mother myself that I learned that it really does take one to know one. Until we have walked in someone else’s shoes, or at least a close fit, we have no idea what they are feeling or experiencing.

I’ve learned that it is easy to scorn someone’s actions when their experiences are outside the realm of our knowledge. Empathy, sympathy, and kind-heartedness help us feel for others and maybe even avoid judging them harshly, but shared experience is the only way to know someone and feel what they have felt.

Do you agree that you can’t truly feel and therefore understand what you haven’t experienced, or is empathy enough?

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