Friday, April 29, 2011

Birth News and Links

My friend and fellow doula Leda wrote a great piece on Pessach and midwives for her seder. She asked for my input and credits me but really she did most of her research on her own. You can see her article on her blog here.
A short NY Times article quotes a study that what we in the doula-community already all know. More intervention is not the study the outcomes of births were there were routine interventions were not any better than the births were there was none. No wonder the US is something like nr 48 in the world when it comes to Maternal mortality rates.
Lastly, I want to direct you to a great blogpost over at mamabirth called "We are all going to die." In it she addresses the fear and panic that often surrounds birth and how doctors will often play into that fear by saying- well if you want what's best for your baby, then you need to be induced/have pitocin/have your membranes ruptured prematurely/have a c-section. Don't we all just want a healthy baby? Here is the thing though: as evidenced by the Times article referenced above, all these interventions actually do not guarantee you a healthy birth. Moreover, they will often get in the way of it...Read the full post for all the reasons why.
And now I need to go rescue my shlissel-challah from the oven before it burns. And if you don't know what shlissel-challah is just click here.
Have a great shabbos!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Somehow it all gets done

Somehow, someway it all gets done. It is 45 minutes before candle lighting and everyone is showered, the food all been cooked and the apartment is about as clean as it is going to get.
I even managed to take the kids out to the park in the morning and afternoon on this warm sunny day and then I snuck out for some kosher lepessach gelato all by myself.
Hard to believe after all the work, that we are getting towards the end of Pessach. I am glad we all made it through and that we all had a nice time, even if things were a little loopy sometimes.
Wishing everyone Chag Sameach. Enjoy your last two days of Matzah :)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

What we have been up to

We are right in the midst of Passover craziness. So far the kids have been handling the change in diet and schedule as well as can be expected.
The sedarim were really nice. It was great not to have company and to really be able to focus on the children. It was mostly A's show, because M is too little and Y had not learned a lot about Pessach. Allthough he did sing the ma nishtana and dayenu with us.
Yomtov in general was a little stressful. It was two long days and the kids were tired, bored and cooped up in the apartment for most of it due to bad weather. Here are just some of the shenanigans they were up to:
- Y climbed on a chair to find the DVD player and managed to plug it in and play Uncle Moishy on it. I finally pleaded with them to unplug it and then hid it in a new spot.
-M poured about half of a bottle of ketchup onto a piece of Matzah, and also the surrounding area ie tablecloth, chair, floor
-Many many DVDs and CDs were flung from the high shelf were I try to keep them out of the reach of the kids...I might need to find a new safe spot.
- Y threw a whole collection of items out of our window, causing our neighbor to come up and complain. Our doorman was nice enough to bring the items up later: a kippa, a book, a frisbee, a jumprope and a box to a game. Needless to say I was embaressed and need to work on getting screens for the warm weather.
-When we finally did make it to the park, M managed to try and wedge himself through a tiny hole in a fence and got his head stuck there, causing him to shriek and the whole park to look on in horror as my husband and I, struggled to free him. Yes, we are always those parents.
There is never a dull moment in our home, I can definitely attest to that.
The kids saw an ad for an Unlce Moishy concert in Brooklyn and were lobbying hard for us to go there today. My husband and I quickly vetoed the idea and instead we decided to take them to the Intrepid Museum because they were supposed to have a special Chol Hamoed even there. We waited on line for 40 minutes only to discover that the Intrepid is not really a place for young children. There were no special activities except for a pretty pathetic concert on a very windy deck. Y kept on asking to go home, A. desperately wanted to stay for another performance that was not until an hour later. We did not bring a stroller for M who was tired and wanted to be carried everywhere and looked like he was about to fall asleep. When we finally left, it took us 20 minutes and 2 very long avenues to find a cab with very cranky children.
Let's just say that I am a little bit exhausted. Although the purpose of this post is not to complain (alright, maybe a little bit). It is just to marvel how busy and crazy life can get. I have really been neglecting things on the doula end of things. Sometimes it just feels like I cannot fit anything else into my life.
Although I know that I am usually happier and less stressed when I am pursuing something that is of interest to me, whether it is yoga, knitting or attending births.
While I have not had any doula clients since December, I have definitely been reading and keeping up with birth-related topics. I have been observing the launch of Brio Birth, an organization that describes itself as childbirth education for 21st century parents. I am thinking about studying for my Lamaze exam, although I am not particularly motivated right now. I was vicariously following along as Gina from The Feminist Breeder was preparing for a homebirth VBAC- her daughter was actually born this morning!
And I love to read lots of other blogs and articles about birth...because I am crazy like that. And maybe one of these days I will actually work on networking, getting hired and attending a birth. That might be nice. But first- the rest of Pessach!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Almost there

I've been really quiet because I have been breathing, thinking and working Pessach. The deadline is approaching and we are getting there.
B"H all the major stuff is done. I have a list of small things that needs to be done before 10 30 tomorrow (ie thrown out toothbrushes, garbage, close off cabinets), several loads of laundry before chatzos and some minor cooking in the afternoon...and before I know it, it will be seder night. Our kids are very excited and I am too. It feels like a culmination of a month's intense and hard work. I am getting a little paranoid now, thinking of what I could have forgotten or messed up or not cleaned well enough but I am trying to remind myself that I did the best I could and that is all that is expected of me.
Somehow, my kids don't seem to realize that Pessach is tomorrow so the regular schedule has been suspended. I spent way too much time in the park today. Tomorrow I hope they will play with each other and entertain themselves because park time is definitely not on my schedule!
Wishing everyone a kosher and freilichen Pessach!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Video-Friendship Circle

I am too tired from cooking to give you anything funny or insightful tonight but I will share this video produced by Friendship Circle. The song is called "Pure Soul" by  DeScribe (I dont know who he is either) featuring Matisyahu.
"Every single person in this world is a gem"- a lesson for all of us. Thanks to Ellen at Love the Max who always seems to find these goodies.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

It's 10 30- are you thinking about going to bed?

A friend and I often talk about how parenting can be difficult and in theory we should be providing ourselves with the best tools that will enable us to be the best mommys we can be. This includes foremost getting enough sleep and eating healthy. In practice that is not always the case and so in some way we are sabotaging ourselves.
Getting enough sleep is tricky. Even when our children are not waking us up in the middle of the night (to nurse, have water or just because) or waking up ridiculously early, we ourselves are guilty of not making sleep a priority. While going to bed early means different things to different people, for me 11 pm is really an ideal time.
Often what gets in the way is that at night it is finally quiet. And we can do all kinds of things in this quiet time- clean up, prepare for the coming day, make lists, spend time with our husbands, or even (gasp) take time for ourselves: to blog, read books, knit...the list goes on an on. It is so appealing to take that time for ourselves, but not as appealing when we have to get up the next morning .
Like I wrote, it is now 10 30 and I am thinking about all the things I need to still do before going to bed.
I am wondering if 11 pm is a realistic goal. But I am also thinking about my alarm that will be going off tomorrow morning and about Y's bus that will be showing up at 7 40, whether I am ready or not. And how annoying it is to have to take him to school if we miss the bus. And how cranky and impatient I get when I am tried.
So, I am going to take my own advice now and will get ready to go to I can be a better Mommy tomorrow. A Mom who is patient, present with her kids and has it together, mostly anyway.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Teaching kids to value things

Once again I am blogging an hour and a half before shabbos, but we are all showered and dressed so I snagged a few minutes.
Almost a year ago, I was standing at a busstop, when my phone beeped. Like a good pavlovian dog, I of course started rummaging through my bag to find it. While picking it up, it slipped out of my hand and fell to the ground. I picked it up and, thankfully, it was still working. There was an older man in dissheveled clothing at the busstop who had seen this all happen. He gave me a stern look and warned me to be careful with my phone. I said it was fine and that it was just an accident. He then said, "If you knew you could not replace it, you would be much more careful with it." Meaning if you really valued your phone and did not have the money to pay for a new one, you would not be so careless. This harmless incident has stuck with me for a long time. I mean, who takes advice from random, possibly crazy strangers standing at New York City busstops, but something about this resonated with me.
I find myself thinking about this idea a lot recently, when dealing with my kids. I am always toeing the line between letting them roam free because kids are kids and cannot walk on eggshells and the feeling that I need to teach them that some things are off limits.
While I do hope my children are not excessively wild, we do deal a lot with ripped books, colored on walls and sofas, scratched CDs and most of all, broken DVD-players.
We do not have a TV in our home but we do allow our children to watch videos on a portable DVD player (full disclosure- they are watching right now so I can type in peace).
Most of the time whent they are watching, I am nor supervising them so closely. I am usually making dinner, on the phone or doing something else. And often I return to find that some damage has been done to the player or the DVDs. They are rough with it and pull off the cover, they drop it, they touch the inner parts that are not meant to be touched...and so the players break. And I tell them I will not replace it because they broke it and need to learn consequences, but then I always do. By now, I have gotten smart and I buy a warantee with the players. When it inevitably breaks, I go back to the store and get a new one for free, paying 15 dollars for the new warantee.
But I worry that my children are not learning that things have value. That money doesn't grow on trees and that not everything is replaceable. I can tell them over and over not to rip a book because then it will be ruined but usually it does not stop them. My pleas to color only on paper are only sometimes successful. Y has a "mural" by his bed now that is his dedicated place for coloring..which has not stopped him from drawing on his legs with markers twice this week.
So I am torn between being an overly permissive mommy who lets her "kids be kids" and being a police woman, constantly saying "no" and confiscating all the markers and crayons in the house. As usual, the answer lies somewhere in the middle, in finding the magic balance. Until I do, I will continue to ponder how to teach my kids that things do not just magically replace themselves. Suggestions welcome.
Have a wonderful shabbos!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Greetings from the trenches

We are in full-on Pessach mode here. After finishing the bedrooms and bathrooms, last week, I have now moved on to the front of the apartment where the chametz REALLY is ie kitchen, dining room, the couch which my children eat on ALL THE TIME despite my repeated pleas for them not to.
My kids don't know this yet but I am letting them enjoy Pretzels and cheerios for a few more days before they get banished from the house (the food, not the kids obviously!) On Friday, my wonderful cleaning lady is bringing her vacuum so we can tackle the couch and chairs and after that, chametz will be kept to a minimum.
We joke around that Pessach is really two weeks, because I end up getting rid of all the cookies, etc so early and usually "turn over" my kitchen way before Erev Pessach. It's a lot of work but I am sticking with my schedule and hoping to thereby avoid any panicking or marathon cooking/cleaning at the end.

I was talking to some friends and family, many of whom are not going to be home for Pessach and are doing minimal prep. I told them that I am not really jealous/resentful of them going away or "having it easier." My husband grew up going away for Pessach.  While that is definitely one version of "freedom", he is not as familiar with the labor of love, the efforts but also the benefits that go along with being home. To me, making Pessach is part of running a Jewish home. I grew up with that and have very fond memories of Pessach in my parents' house (aka apartment).
There was the preparation before: washing dishes for hours on end in the bathtub comes to mind..although by the end of a long day we were usually soaked and having too much fun and wound up breaking things. The sedarim and meals- the food, the company, the singing. There was the annual trip to the zoo. Not really part of the laws of Pessach, but a strong family minhag nonetheless. And of course, the clean up after- wrapping everything in newspapers and putting it in boxes. I have a vivid memory of one of my sisters labeling the boxes very late at night and writing captions like: "Milchig dishes...and some pots. Who cares?"
While my kids can't really participate in Pessach prep like that, I look forward to sharing this process with them as they get older. Pessach is about family and I do feel a bit sad that our own little family cannot partake of the joy of being with extended family for the holidays. So while I soldier on, with my trusty Bount paper towels and lots of Mr. Clean and Clorox, I know that I am also setting the framework and creating memories of what Pessach means to our little household, hopefully for many years to come.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The links edition

I am a little distracted these days, so I figured, if I cannot offer you any words of wisdom, I can at least point you in the direction of some other blogs that may pique your interest.
So here I go:

Love that Max- a really great blog about children with special needs written by a mother of a boy with CP who is a wonderful writer and has a great sense of humor

Jewish Mom- Chana Jenny Weisberg puts together a wonderful mix of things on her blog- some of her own thoughts, links to articles related to motherhood, and other random things.  Her mommy pep-talk videos are sweet too.

My Shtub- I just discovered this blog last week (thanks to Chana Weisberg actually) but I love it- the author is a mom of three who just recently discovered that she is ill. Her youngest daughter has down syndrome and is the cutest little blond girl ever!! Alisheva, the writer of this blog, takes amazing pictures and it's worth checking out her blog just for that.

There are obviously also birth-related blogs that I like to read but I'll spare you those, because you probably don't love reading birth stories as much as I do...
That said, even if you go enjoy someone else's wit, come back and visit soon. I am already composing lots of hysterical and insightful blog posts in my head. I will keep working on them, while I am busy cleaning my kitchen cabinets tonight...