Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Wednesday Encounters

This afternoon Raphaela had her semi-annual preventative dental check-up.  The dentist had nothing but praise for the condition and cleanliness of her teeth, and even showed me one milk tooth that had the slightest bit of wiggle.  Then the dentist looked at me grimly and said, "However...I would start saving up for braces now."

Once we returned home, we bumped into our downstairs neighbors, they have a girl the same age as Raphaela and a boy two years older.  We two moms lamented the fact that tomorrow is the last day of official camp.  When I asked the other mother about her plans for August, she answered, "We will all start to climb the walls, like everyone else in our position."

Monday, July 27, 2015

There.  I said it.  I am officially a Mom.
"Raphaela, money does not grow on trees!"

Sunday, July 26, 2015

This morning, as Raphaela watched me brush my teeth, she asked quietly, "Mommy, when will I know all the things that you know?"

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Flashback Wednesday

Last year at this time, we here in Israel were sorting out the sirens and the bomb shelters and the consequences of a war.  It was a hard place to live.

This morning a test siren went off, the population had been told in advance and yet...when it started I had a flashback to last summer, and I had instant nervous tension in my stomach and the beginnings of a terrible headache.

And when the siren ended, I started thinking about the deal the United States just made with Iran, how that puts me and my child and everyone in my country in harms way, not to mention any other Western infidel within reach of long-range ballistic missiles.  Then the headache flowered, full force.

I love Israel, I would not want to live or raise my daughter anywhere else,  but during that siren I was less than convinced.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

All in Due Time

Every so often, I fall prey to the pointless competitive thinking IE "All her friends are doing ______, she should be doing _______ as well."  So two years ago I bought her a top of the line bicycle and safety helmet, and over the past two years, except for brief visits, that bike has sat in our storage room, gathering dust and losing the air in its tires.

For this long Summer vacation, I had created a list of goals and day trips for the months of July and August, and at the top of that list is learning how to ride her bike, and learning how to swim.  Yesterday we took the bike out for the first time, filled the tires with air and tried riding, just enough to give her a taste but not enough to traumatize her.

Since before she was born, in the womb itself, Raphaela has consistently shown me that she does everything at her own pace and when she is absolutely ready;  there is no point in pushing her before she reaches that emotional place of readiness.

Today, Day Two of the great bicycle agenda, I witnessed an amazing substantial leap in her progress.  Not only did she pedal on her own, she mastered the art of breaking and even started making some complicated turns, all on her own.

For me the best part of this exercise was seeing that electricity in her eyes and her feeling of confidence grow right in front of me. At this pace, I will have to buy my own bicycle so we can ride together.  (I of course have not been on a bike in 20 years, and that frightens me, though they say it comes back to you almost immediately.)

As far as the swimming lessons, that will take place in August, when her current camp finishes.  I may even return to swimming myself, to that time before she was born when I was swimming laps/running/lifting weights four to five time per week.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

And the Winner is NOT

This morning I actually made Raphaela's lunch for camp, and she placed it inside her back pack.  In my rush to get her to camp on time, and to start my work day, we forgot the back pack in the car; I only realized it later, in the middle of my work day.

In a telepathic coincidence, at that same moment the camp called and said that Raphaela, - my girl who loves predictability and her food - was hysterical at the idea that I had broken protocol.

I immediately moved around some of my patients and rushed over to deliver her lunch and her back pack, in the 33 degree Celsius heat of Jerusalem.

I guess I am not getting the Mother of the Year award today.  When she is sitting on the shrink's couch 20 years from now, she will say, "There was that day that Mommy forgot my lunch..."

Friday, July 10, 2015

Jurassic Park, Jerusalem Style

Every once in a while, Raphaela goes into a panic about volcanoes.  Where are they located in the world, does anyone we know live near an active volcano, how could we stop lava flow, etc.

This morning she woke up quite concerned about volcanoes, and we had the following conversation:

RR:  Mommy, are there any volcanoes in Israel? I really don't like lava.
Mommy:  As far as I know, there are none, though the Fertile Crescent sits on a major fault-line.
RR:  What?!
Mommy:  Never mind.
RR:  Mommy, does anyone in our family live near an active volcano?
Mommy:  No, the active volcanoes are in South America, not North America.
RR:  But Mommy, what about my Bat Mitzvah trip?
[We have already decided that for her 12th birthday we will be going on a real safari in Africa. I have already started saving up for this trip. Any leftover money will go toward driving lessons.]
RR:  Don't they have active volcanoes in Africa?
Mommy:  Yes they do, but I promise you I will not take you to any place that is unsafe.  That being said, do not try to pet the lions when we are on safari.
RR:  Perhaps we should have my Bat Mitzvah somewhere safe, like in America.
Mommy:  [looking her straight in the eyes] I will always protect you, because I am your Mommy, wherever we are in the world.
RR:  Even when we go to visit Mars and Jupiter?
Mommy:  Yes, even in outer space, I will protect you and keep you safe.  That is my job.

Later today, we went to the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens, for the last day of the gallery showing of Raphaela's photograph, followed by the Dinosaur Tour. I must admit, these life-size moving and growling dinosaur robots felt so real that even I was a bit frightened.  When we got to the T-Rex, Raphaela hit behind me and said, "Mommy, I know these are just robots, but now is the time you need to protect me. It's your job!""

As a small present, I bought Raphaela a dinosaur egg that 'hatches' after you soak it in water.  She has now spent several hours sitting and watching this egg, waiting for it to crack and release the toy inside.  I didn't even bother explaining about watched pots never boiling.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Roll the Dice

When I was growing up, people quickly tired of playing board games with me that required dice, because I seemed to have magic hands.  Monopoly, backgammon etc, I was accused of fixing the dice with my super-powers, and haven't really played these games for years.

Today as a Chiropractor, my friends and many of my patients call me a "Good Witch," and I take it as a compliment.  Personally I believe that we are all capable of enhancing our intuition and our connection to the greater forces of nature, all it takes is practice, a serene mind-set and active listening.

I decided that Raphaela needed to learn strategy, as well as how to lose gracefully, because in life we do not win every single time.  In addition to her school supplies, I bought a Chess-Checkers-Backgammon set and we sat this afternoon and began to play.

While her sense of long-term strategy remains underdeveloped (perfectly normal for her age), Raphaela has apparently inherited my gift of the dice.  Perhaps there are other witchy powers that I have yet to reveal in my daughter; I will encourage her to tap into whatever natural gifts she has received.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Summer Time...

And the Living is Easy.

In a recent most unpleasant encounter with a particular someone, he accused me of being a "neurotic perfectionist," too rigid to accept others for their true selves.  Like when he meets me three hours after we had arranged and does not call to let me know he is running late, by three hours, and then wonders why I am "in a mood" and consider him less than totally reliable.

Theoretically speaking, of course.

But the discussion got me thinking about the wound-up New Yorker for so many years, planning so hard for the future that I was not enjoying the moment at all.  And I know that I have been judgmental in the past and not given people the benefit of the doubt, and have actively worked on changing for the better.

In the past few days, I have lost track of time and arrived late (I NEVER arrive late), I have shoved laundry to the side instead of folding it right away (the horrors), dishes are sitting in the sink and paperwork is piling up in the office.   Slowly the house is taking on the concept of ordered chaos, just call me Messy Mommy. I find this trend intriguing and disturbing at the same time.

I could attribute it to my upcoming birthday, perhaps the synapses in my mind are deteriorating. Or the vibe of Summer, where everything moves just a little slower and easier. Or the oppressive heat of Jerusalem and the exhaustion that comes with it.

I remain most curious to see where this will take me.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

This morning I went to Raphaela's school for next year, to pick up her school books for the Fall.  A seriously heavy pile of workbooks, I am feeling all sorts of emotions, all at the same time:  excited and terrified, worried and amazed, hoping that I don't fall short because this is the first time I am sending any child to First Grade.

I am thinking of one of the famous Game of Thrones lines, "You know nothing, Jon Snow." 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Happy July 4th!

This afternoon, Raphaela and I will be attending a Carnival sponsored by the AACI [The Association for Americans and Canadians in Israel], in honor of July 4th.

When I told Raphaela, she asked, "Is that a holiday where everyone speaks English for a whole day?"
"No," I said, "it's like Yom HaAtzmaut, but for Americans."
"Mangal!" exclaimed my daughter, with pure joy.

Because in Israel, almost every holiday somehow leads to a BBQ.

[Mangal = Hebrew for a BBQ, a cookout, a large gathering on a holiday]

Of the various families sitting on the grass and listening to the American concert at the event, I spotted a very elderly man wearing a veteran's cap, a walking cane casually tossed next to him.  He was sitting on the grass with his Israeli son and his grandchildren, and I thought to myself, "Someday that will be me, the American-born Bubby sitting with her Israeli-American daughter and possibly a whole slew of purely Israeli grandchildren."