Sunday, March 13, 2011

Part five in the increasingly inaccurately named...

Only the Hitchhikers among us will know what the title is about, but that's OK.

I thought of two more things on my aliya list. And since 18 is a good number, and 16 is meh, here are two more:

17. Sickies. How could I have forgotten this one? I admit I had heard about the "cholim chadashim" syndrome, and had definitely registered other people saying "you and your kids will be sick a lot the first year." So maybe it should not have come entirely as a surprise when we went nearly six months with at least someone, and often more than one someone, sick every. single. week. As in, home from school sick. Avtalyon has had four eardrum ruptures since we've been here. (Yes, he is now down for tubes, but the approval and scheduling take time.) There have been too many colds to count, along with stomach viruses, strep, an attack of mystery insects that Iyyar's ganenet was convinced was chicken pox, an infected hand, a MRSA-infected infected foot, more stomach viruses, pinworms, lice, boils, frogs, and... oh you get the picture. Lots of sick. LOTS. For some reason, this caught me off guard.

I think we may have gotten hit unusually hard because of having three boys in three different schools/ganim; lots of bugs to pick up and pass around. Also, the rain came late this year and I'm told that wreaked a lot of health havoc on its own. Still. You have been warned. It won't necessarily happen to you, and I hope it won't, but it might.

18. And last! (For now anyway.) There are many ways in which making aliya is like mothering a child. For example, you can't do it perfectly, you will lie awake nights worrying that you're doing it wrong, and somehow, everyone you meet knows how you're doing it wrong and will tell you so. For example, I have lost count of the people who have told me that I MUST DO ULPAN RIGHT NOW. Five hours a day, five days a week, for five months. Must! Or our klita is doomed! No time, you say? Well you must MAKE the time! (That is a direct quote. As if I have not been daydreaming for years about magically finding another seven hours in every day, the way people in Manhattan dream about finding whole extra rooms in their apartments.)

Barak's rebbe? He wants us to only speak Hebrew at home. (He is serious.) I've been told by other mothers that my insistence that my child ride in a booster seat is ridiculous, and I should let him take the bus to school by himself. Aged six. Crossing an intersection that is eight lanes of traffic crossing six lanes of traffic, with several islands and a light rail line in the middle. I've been told that we must buy a car, no matter what, and not to do so is an act of irresponsible parenting. I could go on and on and on. I won't.

What it boils down to is the same thing I tell myself as a mother. Nobody else knows my situation like I do. Nobody else knows my children like I do. I can and should listen politely to other people, because maybe they'll tell me something I don't know. Maybe it'll be useful. Maybe not. Ultimately, you take the advice that works for you and leave what doesn't. So I hope some of this whole long screed will come in handy for you, and if it doesn't--well, feel free to ignore. : )


Yasmin said...

Goodness! What a very ... helpful community. BTW, I tried to Google translate a couple of words there, and my best guess is ulpan = a method of learning Hebrew and klita = "absorption" into the culture; is that correct?

My kid is 13 and doesn't have nearly that kind of traffic to deal with and I would still not let him take the bus by himself in the morning. So there.

BTW, I was SO tempted to buy the beautifully-bound all-in-one Hitchhiker's Guide from Barnes & Noble the other day. Only $25! I may yet; my own earlier copies are, I believe, w/ the Boy at his dad's. It's got all the novels, plus a short about Zaphod.

Sorry to hear about the sickies. Blergh. As your first year winds down, I hope the illnesses do, too, as everyone's immune system adjusts. Hang in there!

shanna said...

Love the title. :) (And, Yasmin, a leather-bound single-volume Hitchhikers was my anniversary present from my husband two years ago.)

shanna said...
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shanna said...
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Alisha said...

Not to buy a car is an act of irresponsible parenting? Ooh, that's a real good one. We should ask all the parents whose kids (or who themselves) have been in car accidents, all the parents of kids who have asthma aggravated by air pollution, all the parents who spend hours each day sitting in traffic instead of with their kids, all the parents whose kids get carsick, if they agree. *rolls eyes*

miriamp said...

Ooh, now I want an all-in-one hitchhikers guide! I was referring to the "Dirk Gently method of navigation" the other day, and I had to stop and explain myself. Why doesn't everyone just automatically understand my obscure cultural references?

Anyway, these other mothers know about that street and still suggest he go by himself? Then they are crazy and not to be listened to, obviously! I wasn't allowed to cross small side streets with 4-way stop signs until I was 7! My current 6yr old doesn't always believe me that she shouldn't be crossing those little side streets by herself, but even she wouldn't attempt a huge street such as you described. My 10 yr old would even hesitate.

caroncm said...

As you said, no one knows your situation like you do. I doubt that those parents who are advocating for/insisting that Barak cross those sorts of streets are sending their children off to do it. As my husband would say it is, "the false bravado of the noncombatant."
P.S. Email me if I should keep my eyes peeled for certain Playmobil items.

OneTiredEma said...

The idea that you have to do ulpan right now is ridiculous. You're managing. I understand your impulse to want to improve the language, but FWIW putting yourself out there and SPEAKING will be the best practice you will ever have. All those verb conjugations I did? Really don't remember--and I was GOOD at them. Going to shul and forcing myself to feel like an idiot during conversations? Long term better, I think.

Also, you are giving your kids the gift of bilingualism. It is rough going now, but if you switch to Hebrew your daughter may understand, but will not speak, English. You may think I am exaggerating. I don't think I am. English. At home. All the time.

Israeli views on safety are total bullshit. Stick to your guns.