Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Distracted Refocusing

" If she [the mother] is preoccupied by something else, when he [the baby] looks at her he will only see how she feels...He [the baby] can only discover what he feels by seeing it reflected back. If the infant is seen in a way that makes him feel that he exists, in a way that confirms him, he is free to go on looking."

Claudia M Gold, International Herald Tribune "Hang up and see your baby" (An opinion piece which maintains that a child's early development suffers if the mother has less positive eye contact with her baby, because she is too busy on the cellphone, drinking coffee and trying to push the stroller with half a hand.)

I have been preoccupied lately, that is certain. Since moving to Israel 13 years ago, I have always asserted that when the time was right, ie when I became a family, I would move out of Jerusalem and into Efrat; a place which reminded me of my early childhood in America, a city that is close enough to Jerusalem but has the feeling of suburbia.

Amazing how I held onto that ideal for so long, and only recently have I realized that I am a City girl at heart. Earlier this week I drove through the Zayit neighborhood of Efrat, and felt fear and uncertainty. I don't know if that fear derives from my previous near-death experience on the Tunnel Road, or if my true inner voice does not want to live in a place that is so quiet at night that you barely hear the birds singing. There is also the inconvenience factor, I will still have to commute to work in Jerusalem, and do my shopping and errands in the proper city of Jerusalem, while leaving Raphaela at a care taker for longer hours than I would prefer.

While I have not definitively decided that the move is not for me, I already feel some sense of relief, of knowing (to quote a rock icon) that don't always get what you want, but you get what you need. I still intend to spend a full weekend in the area with my friends, and see if the social gains and benefits outweigh my gut feeling that I may need to move from my current apartment, but that I want to stay in Jerusalem.

To think that I once lived in Manhattan, and mocked Jerusalem for being a hick town.

Once I let go of Efrat as a necessity, the opportunity of a Montessori nursery presented itself, right down the street from my apartment. I plan on visiting the nursery tomorrow, and speaking with the teachers, and then will decide if it is a better and viable option to the current care taker situation, which has unraveled lately.

Just knowing that I have choices, I am breathing easier.

Of course the breathing takes place in between my running after Raphaela, who has become a champion crawler, has started pulling herself up onto furniture, and is slowly taking apart the house. The pride comes along with the exhaustion.


toutou said...

Well, what you should consider when moving to Efrat is that the settlers are quite a special kind of group and whether you fit in or not.

As far as I understand, they give you tremendous warmth and sense of belonging if you share their ideas.

However, they do not suffer much "opposition", as far as I can tell.

What you should also consider, but this applies mainly in the case you buy a house, not so much if you rent: They can take away the soil under your feet at any moment.

I have a friend in Modiin and did quite like this town. However, it is quite far from Jerusalem and there are quite a few traffic jams in the rush hours.

So smaller cities like modiin could be nice, but only if you can transfer your professional activity to the place...

koshergourmetmart said...

you're back! good for you

Sarah said...

I *love* the Montessori approach. If I had kids I'd do whatever I could financially do to get my kids a Montessori education. (But it's often pricey, so you can only do your best!)

BTW, don't base your self-image as a mother on an op-ed piece in the newspaper. Women talk to friends and take care of stuff in the home and in the world. That's how it has always been, and no one goes to therapy because "my mom played with me and looked me deep in the eyes for only X amount of time per day instead of 24 hours per day."