Saturday, March 19, 2011

Keeping the ball rolling

Don't want you to give up on me again, after all!

A few people have asked about the origin of the kids' names. First off, you should know that they're all made up. I don't use any real names on this blog, except for when they're really common first names, and also except for the name of my erstwhile cat. My kids' actual names are a little odd in America but pretty normal here. If you want the full story on their blog names, you can go back to the blog entries around when they were born (May 2006, January 2008, and November 2009). But the short versions:

Barak: He was born before I started the blog. I started this blog in spring of 2005, when he had suddenly gotten very mobile very quickly. "Barak" means "lightning" in Hebrew, so it seemed appropriate.

Iyyar: He was born in the Hebrew month of Iyyar. I wasn't feeling very creative, I guess.

Avtalyon: My husband was bucking for this as his real name. I put my foot down. The compromise, which wasn't much of a compromise really, was that we used it as a blog name.

Marika: She is named after my Hungarian grandmother, whose nickname was actually Mariska, which she hated. She wanted to be called Marika instead. So that's what I use here.

What else is news around here? Well, it's Purim soon. No! Not on Sunday! On Monday, because in Jerusalem we celebrate Shushan Purim (it's a walled city!) What's actually been occupying most of my headspace this week, though, has been Iyyar, who's been really, really difficult lately, and has been seeming, well, just really stressed. I don't know if I can put my finger on when things started getting so hard with him, but I'm thinking it was around my trip to the US. But it seems like it's been getting worse, not better. He came home from school last week with his sleeves and kippa all chewed, and the next day I went to talk to his ganenet (teacher) to see what was going on. I didn't get much out of her, so I asked a Hebrew-speaking neighbor and fellow parent to try again. She didn't hear anything from the ganenet about what might be bothering Iyyar, but got an earful about how Iyyar was bothering her/the other kids. He doesn't sit still, he throws toys, he runs around, he doesn't listen, when you tell him he's done something wrong he grins at you.

I'm sure she's not making it up, but I'm also sure that she's not the kind of person who would never have said anything about it until directly asked in March if there were any problems. Also, I've asked regularly how it's coming, and the only answers I get are regarding his Hebrew progress--uniformly positive. This is all stuff he does at home at his worst, but it's not all the time. My theory? He's been causing a little trouble all year, this month has been bad, and now that she's fed up she's retroactively annoyed at him for all the annoyance he's caused since September. And also, unfortunately, since he's acting up the other kids don't want to play with him, which upsets him and so he acts up more and... yeah. Not a good cycle.

Iyyar is a little out of step with the other kids. This is not news. Yehudis noticed it when he was two, and although his last year's teacher did not, she was not particularly perceptive. Yesterday when my husband went to Iyyar's Purim party (I was at the doctor with Avtalyon, who came down with strep, again, on Thursday) he came back saying that Iyyar hadn't participated at all, hadn't done anything the other kids were doing. But in October, when I went to a similar mesiba, he did everything he was supposed to do. So I don't know. Do I think he has any massive developmental issues? No. He did talk late and he is a little spacey, but he manages OK at home, he plays with other kids, he's learning his letters, he can sit through stories, etc. My husband says he's like he used to be as a kid--just kinda out to lunch. And disorganized. And prone to fantasy. And not really all that attuned to what's going on around him

I took him out of school on Wednesday and we went out for falafel; the point was some Imma time but it really didn't go so well. He didn't listen to me, he did this incredibly annoying thing where you're trying to talk to him and he pointedly looks elsewhere, he deliberately wandered off when I asked him to stay close to me. He's also been really, um, sketchy in the matter of truth-telling lately. And bedtimes. And staying calm--he's been falling about screaming at the least little thing.

Yeah. Just generally difficult. Like I said it's hard to pinpoint when this all started, but I am sure he hasn't always been like this. Hopefully, it's related to my having been away, and it'll pass. Right? Right?

He's so cute and sweet when he's not driving me crazy. I wish I knew what to do. I think he needs more one-on-one time, more attention, more talking time. That's usually the answer. It's hard though--I make a point to walk him home, and he doesn't listen and runs off. Or argues, or kvetches for something. And then I end up yelling at him (not at volume, but sternly) and how did that help?

He did a great job cleaning up with me tonight though. We picked up all the toys in the living room together. I feel bad complaining about him--did I mention how cute and sweet he can be? It's just been a bit... difficult lately.


miriamp said...

I have a "space cadet" too. She's 11 now, and a little less spacey than when she was little but not yet 100% aware of the space she actually occupies at any given moment. And my 6 (girl) and 7 (boy) year olds both have trouble sitting still, paying attention, waiting their turns, etc.

Hope things get better with Iyyar soon.

Anonymous said...

Glad that ball is still rolling along! I was concerned it would stop again.

Poor Iyyar, poor Imma, how tough on you both. Especially when you try to make that connection with him but he doesn't respond and then all that other difficulty, although you know he can be so sweet and cute. I hope it gets better for you both soon now that you are back. Perhaps it's just taking a little bit to fall back into the routine again. He's been through so many changes the last few months: it can be mentally and emotionally exhausting, and he's so young. Hugs to you all.

~ Jasmin
(who is, mysteriously, not logged in again although she is in Gmail)

Anonymous said...

just wondering if you are okay. I saw in the local paper that there was a bomb at a Jerusalem bus stop.

Granted I suspect there are a lot of bus stops.

Anonymous said...

Echoing Anonymous's concerns. Anonymous#2

Anonymous said...

To the two Anonymous-es (Anonymi?) -- stepping in b/c Uberimma may not have time to and you are worried -- she and her family are fine. I will leave it to her to fill in more details as appropriate when she gets back to this blog.

~ Jasmin