Sunday, June 21, 2009

New "Babysitter"

Big has always been obsessed with tv. Ever since he was really little, he could sit for a very long time watching more or less anything. Little, not so much. Maybe because when we first got to Israel when he was only 9 months old, we didn't have a tv so he just wasn't exposed to it during those important young months! I know many people would say that it's a good thing that he doesn't zone out in front of the tv, but I say it's a BAD thing that there isn't a way to get him to just sit still and out of trouble when I need him to. Like on a 16 hour plane trip for example. Or so I can go to the bathroom.
There is a VERY annoying Israeli kid show called "Yuval Ha-Mebulbal" which translates to Yuval (that's his name) the Confused. We have a couple of his DVDs and Big sometimes watches his show. Suddenly the other day Little was asking for it. I put it on for him and he was mesmerized. He watched it about 4 or 5 times and it kept him completely occupied and enthralled. I'm glad to know that there is finally something I can put on when I need him to be distracted, but I wish it wasn't something quite so annoying!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Two Years

I'm copying this from my Facebook status and adding a bit to it because I like it! 2 years ago today (well, yesterday really) we embarked on the greatest adventure of our lives...2 years ago today we showed up at our friends' house after 16 hours of traveling with NO luggage (and Krazy wore women's pajamas courtesy of ElAl Airlines)...2 years ago today neither of my kids could speak a word of Hebrew...2 years ago today we didn't even know many of the people who are now such close friends...2 years ago today I didn't realize how much it physically hurts to miss people who I love who are so far away (yeah, yeah, I don't want to hear how it was my choice to move far away)...2 years ago today I was so excited about eating real Israeli schnitzel and now if I never saw a schnitzel again I probably wouldn't care (that is a big lie because I really do love schnitzel always and forever)...2 years ago today I would never have dreamed of letting my kid pee outside in public...2 years ago today Little only had 4 teeth...2 years ago today Krazy's Hebrew was just as bad as it is now...2 years ago today I was terrified of having to spend entire afternoons alone with my kids...2 years ago today I didn't have an MBA...2 years ago today we ate Burgers' Bar for dinner...2 years ago today I had no idea what Ra'anana even looked like...I could probably go on forever but I'm getting bored of this game! In case you didn't get it, today is our 2nd anniversary of being in Israel for a year.
What better way to celebrate it than by going to the mall for dinner with friends who were celebrating their one-year anniversary of being here! As always, we stopped at the entrance to the garage for the guard to check the trunk of our car. As we were driving away to find parking, Big and I had this conversation:
Big: why do some people bring missiles into the mall?
Me: what?
Big: why do some people bring missiles into the mall?
Me: what are you talking about? no one brings missiles into the mall!
Big: yeah, some people do.
Me: who told you that?
Big: my dad. he said that's why they have to check our trunk. for missiles.
Me: (thinking, oh crap, what am I supposed to say now?) there are some bad people who might try to bring missiles into a mall, but that's why they check the trunks.
Big: did they think we might be bad people?
Me: no, there are no bad people at the mall in Ra'anana
Big: then why did they check our trunk?
Me: look over there, do you think we can fit into that small parking spot?
Way to change the subject! And, later Krazy denied that he ever said that to Simon. The joys of living in the Middle East! I wish my kids didn't have to live in a world where it's necessary to open our trunk every time we go into a parking garage and to walk through metal detectors and have our bags checked when we go to the supermarket. I wish Big didn't have to spend 10 minutes in his pre-school's bomb shelter as part of a nationwide drill a couple of weeks ago. But, sometimes I still feel safer here where we know who/what the threat is and we know that it is real and that the army/police/goverment is doing everything it can to keep us safe. And most of the time I don't think about it at all because daily life here is really no different from daily life in America.

Monday, June 15, 2009


By far the hardest part about living 6,000 miles away from the good old US of A is the fact that the large majority of our family is 6,000 miles away. Krazy has a whole bunch of first cousins with a whole mess of kids who all live here and it's been amazing getting to know them. And, of course, our friends have become family because we are all in the same situation living far away from the support network of parents and grandparents. Although our British friends definitely have an advantage being only a 4 hour flight away and so many of their parents seem to own apartments in Netanya (a city on the beach about 20 minutes from here).
Anyway, we went from living about a mile from my parents to much farther away. My kids went from seeing them at least once a week to hardly ever. Big had a very close relationship with my mom, D. And Little was too little to have really formed any significant relationships before we left. We've had some trials and tribulations in our relationships with family members since we've been here. We were originally supposed to be here just for one year but then we decided to stay longer. To make a long story short, that didn't go over well. My parents in particular now assume that we are never coming home and they are not happy about it. While we've managed to get past all of the mean things that were said when we first broke the news, I do think that our relationship is different and forever changed, especially the relationship between Krazy and my mom, who also used to be very close. Hopefully over time things will continue to get better.
This has all been a very long way of saying simply that distance sucks. I hate missing major milestones--all 3 of my sister-in-laws as well as my own sister have had babies since we've been away. By now we've met them all, but seeing them only once a year is really hard and sad. I had my own major milestone last week when I had my official graduation from the MBA program that I completed (it's a weird Israeli phenomenon that the graduation ceremony takes place a year after the program ends). I had asked my parents a while ago if they wanted to come and they said they did but they didn't think it would be possible, etc.
AND THEN THEY SURPRISED ME AND JUST SHOWED UP!!!! They literally just showed up at my apartment on Wednesday afternoon! We went to graduation Wednesday night and then we just hung out at their hotel and the beach and the pool for a couple of days. They left
Saturday night so it was a very short trip, but SO AMAZING!!!!!

This is me shocked to see them:

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Dare I Say It? Toilet Training Success!!

I think my dreams are coming true...I may have just recently purchased my last package of diapers...YAY!!!!!!! This will bring down monthly expenses by a lot since I insist on buying pampers and they cost a fortune in this country! I did try the no-name generic Israeli brand and they were crap (excuse the pun) so I stuck with what I knew. I also did a short stint with Huggies because Little was peeing through everything at night and I thought Huggies were a bit bigger, but that didn't help the leakage.
Anyway, last week Little announced one morning that he was going to wear underwear to school. He had been peeing in the toilet at home on and off and sometimes wearing underwear but with no regularity at all and he most certainly had not left the house in it. So I packed him up 2 extra pairs and some extra clothes and shipped him off to school. His teacher was surprised but was happy to go with it. He did great--a couple of accidents here and there, but for the most part it's been pretty painless. Tonight will be the real test. He's been sleeping in a diaper and waking up wet in the morning so I was hesitant to let him go with underwear at night. Last night, he wore a diaper but he woke up at 11pm to pee and then when he got up in the morning he was dry and went in the toilet. Tonight he absolutely refused to put on a diaper so we'll see what happens! I fully anticipate needing to change his sheets in the middle of the night but you never know. I'm so proud of him! 2 years and 10 months--beating Big in this milestone by a good 2 months, not that I'd ever compare my kids to each other:)
And there you have it. A whole post about pee. Fun.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Bilingual Boys

I am so fascinated by the way children's minds/brains work. For the past 2 years, I have watched my boys become suddenly immersed in learning a new language. Big was almost 3 1/2 when we got here, so he was clearly already well-versed in the English language. He knew a few words in Hebrew that he had learned from the JCC PreSchool or that we had taught him at home, but he was nowhere near fluent. Shortly after arriving, he started his new school, entirely in Hebrew. Progress was slow at first, but it's incredibly amazing to me that now he is more or less fluent. I hear him chattering away with his friends at school and he explains to me what is happening on the tv shows. And he now thinks it's normal for Dora to speak Hebrew and English instead of English and Spanish!
With Little, it's been a different experience. He was only 9 months old when we moved and didn't talk yet. He went to an English-speaking daycare for the first year that we were here because I wanted to be sure that he learned English properly before learning Hebrew. I was worried about his language development because he was still not speaking very much (in either language) by his 2nd birthday. I think he was just confused by hearing 2 languages all the time because we went to America for 6 weeks shortly after he turned 2 and his speech completely blossomed in that time. That was just in time for him to start preschool in a Hebrew-speaking school. His spoken Hebrew is nowhere near as good as his English, but his teacher says he understands everything. I'm not sure that he completely knows the difference between the 2 languages because he throws in random Hebrew words here and there mid-sentence.
It's just amazing what their little minds can absorb!!


I've been reading a number of so-called "Mommy blogs" for a while now and have been writing one of my own for almost 5 years. I started mine, as many people did, just to keep my family and friends updated on what was going on in our lives and also to keep a record of my kids' early years. I've decided to stop being a "lurker" on other blogs and start getting out there and being part of this amazing blogging community. Because I am super-paranoid about the crazies out there, I decided to start a new blog where my kids' identities can remain secret instead of sharing and publicizing my other blog. So, here, I will just call them Big and Little, which is often what my husband, who I will call Krazy (because that was his nickname in highschool and I like it), and I call them anyway.
I am so new to this and will probably end up breaking all kinds of blogging rules since I don't really know what they are so please forgive me in advance.
I guess this post should be an introduction to me and my life...just about 2 years ago, Krazy and I packed up Big and Little and our entire lives and moved 6,000 miles away to the other side of the world. It was meant to be a temporary move--just to spend one year in a country that we love--and I do believe it is still temporary, but for now we plan to be here for another year until the summer of 2010.
I work part-time from home for an internet start-up and the rest of the time I am a mom to Big, who is 5 and Little who is almost 3. They are my pride and joys and although they are often psycho, they are always entertaining!! I haven't decided yet how I feel about putting pictures of my kids on this blog. I've seen people do different things--blocking out faces or just putting pictures of kids from odd angles so you can't actually see their faces, etc. It's a sad statement about the state of the world that we have to be worried about things like this, but such is life.
I have no idea where this blog is going to go, but I'm excited to find out and I hope you will join me on the journey!