Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Food induced sleep

It was obviously a good meal. I took his clothes off as he was ready for a bath. I threw them downstairs and I returned to find my son asleep in his high chair.

Saving Money

About 3 months ago, we went to my family for the weekend. My kids spent most of the weekend with their cousins. A large part of the weekend was spent playing/fighting over the cousin's Gameboys. It was the first time my kids had been introduced to Gameboy and it was a big mistake.

My five year old decided that he needed a Gameboy. I'll tell you that when he decides something, there is no letting up. He's extremely persistent even borderline harassing and there is no ignoring him. I decided to use the opportunity to teach him a lesson in responsibility with money that I had been planning on for a while.

Until now my kids had been given ones, fives, and even ten dollars everytime they saw their grandparents. I've tried to protest that the grandparents should stop giving this as they are teaching them to devalue money and abuse it. Being that my kids are cuter than I, they prevailed and continued to collect money from them whenever they saw them. The problem is that they have no real concept of what money is and the money that they had been getting from their grandparents was treated in much the same way they had treated their toys which they had also received in abundance. In knowing that they would receive money just for showing up or asking nicely, there was really no reason to save it or treat it with any respect. I banned the toys from the house a while ago and started bringing in only toys that I thought they would love. Being that the kids received them much less frequently, they treated them a little better than they had. We've still got a long way to go with the toys. Now was the time to teach them how to handle money.

I told my son that if he wanted to get a Gameboy he had to save up for it. He asked me how much he needed to save up. I told him a Gameboy costs $80.00. "How will I ever save up $80.00?" "Each time you get money from your bubbys and zaidy, you need to put it away and save it." We bought him a wallet to hold his money and store it in. Every night he was busy counting his money, trading quarters for dollars, and fives for tens, and tens for twenties. He was very creative in his ways of acquiring money. My personal favorite was foot massages. Three dollars bought me fifteen minutes. It took him about 2 months to save up and last week I took his money and purchased him a Gameboy. We sprung for the first disk which costs about $30.00 (ridiculous amounts). I was not happy buying him a Gameboy as there is not even one disc which has any learning value to it. It's all just dumb amusement. We have a VTech game on the TV which is excellent. It taught him most of his letters and how to spell words. I wanted to buy him a handheld VTech game instead of the Gameboy. He told me that it was his money and he wanted a Gameboy. Who was I to argue?

He is now onto his next quest, this time some disks for the Gameboy. He certainly has a lot more understanding about money and how to spend it. The next lesson will probably be that it's not so easy to collect $80.00 in two months.

Monday, February 27, 2006

A First Meeting

When they met, it had been love at first sight. She talked about him for months and the buildup for her was almost too much to bear. She lay in a hospital bed for the better part of a month recovering from a stroke. She was weak and couldn't move but talks of him got her through the day. She lost over 50 pounds that month due to the fact that her mouth muscles were weak. Her recovery was very slow.

I would go there each day and we would talk about what he would look like and how he would be. The doctors didn't think that she was able to talk but I told them they were wrong. She talked to me, especially about him. We talked about the first time they would meet. She told me that she had to get better so she could hold him in her arms. She envisioned him looking like me. Brown hair and hazel eyes perhaps. She waited with baited breath for the day when they would meet.

It was his arrival time and I was nervous. Would he be what we envisioned? Would he be OK? My fears had gotten the best of me but when I saw him I realized how silly they were. He was the most beautiful person I had ever seen. Perfect eyes, blue not hazel. Blond hair but not much of it. His head was shaped a little oddly but nothing that a hat could not hide. I was sorry she couldn't be there to meet him at the same time as me but she was coming home tomorrow. He would be the perfect medicine.

She came home from the rehab center the day after he and I had met. She got ready and I brought him to meet her. Her eyes lit up and she mustered up all of her strength to hold him. I put him on her lap and the broadest smile came across her face. It was the first time my mother met my son, her first grandson/child. She was very much in love.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Pesach planning

We are looking for a hotel for Pesach. Can anyone recommend a nice hotel that won't break the bank (ha ha) and is driving distance from NY?

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

End Of Shloshim

I can't believe the shloshim has passed. After spending a week in the cocoon that we call shiva, I didn't know what to expect. It's been roller coaster of sorts. One minute I'm fine, and the next I can't even stand straight. To say that I miss him is an understatement. To say that something is now missing from me does not even scratch the surface. I guess words just can't. My real fear is that the further we move away from him the less I'm going to remember or carry on. Most of us that were in aveilus are done. Just me and my brother have to continue. There should no longer be a focus on him and the rest should try and go on with normal life. I am thankful I don't have to do this. I don't want to stop. I don't want to forget. I'm glad I have the rest of the year.

While reveling in my depressive state and allowing myself to mourn, I am intrigued at how people are trying to help. Some people are so uncomfortable with topics that have any real meaning that they should probably stay away from them and just offer random chitchat. They offer therapy as an answer and look to devices that they think can help me. I want to tell them that I don't want to be helped. I want to focus on my dad. I am blind sighted when I try and go about my normal day and someone comes along and asks how I am handling things. Everything seems to be a trigger for me to break down. I don't mind this and I suspect it's normal. People are horrified. They don't like to see true emotions. They expect generic answers. "We are doing fine." "It's hard but we'll be OK." "We have our moments but thank g-d we have a great support system." When I can put on a good game face, I offer these generics to most acquaintances. While they may be true, it's just my trained responses. The reality is that I am far from OK and I have select moments of reprieve. I am a good actress so while I offer generics, they are well received.

In my sadness, I have found a great empathizer. One which I never expected, and probably due to his innocence, seems to be great medicine for me. My 5 year old son truly seems to be feeling my pain. While I obviously do not want to burden him with my sadness, I can't hide my crying all the time. While we look at pictures, I break down. We've changed shema at night to include my dad in shamayim. I crack every night at this point. He knows it's coming now and looks at me each time. "Mommy, I'm sorry. I know you are still sad. I am too. Zaidy was so great. We love him so much." While I'm not sure anymore what he even really remembers of my father's real personality, he offers up things which he thinks can help me. When he sees that they are not working, he tells me, "I know it's OK to be sad." He allows for me to be sad. I am thankful for his help now.

I look to pictures as a reminder but I do not nearly have enough. Just select events. I wear his sweaters around the house. Slowly we are going through his personal belongings. I cling on and I hope to retain him. I know in some ways he will always be with me but I fear I will lose so much. I already have. When my dad lost his father, I remember how sad he was. I recall him thinking that he couldn't go on. He did go on and life got back to normal... The new normal without his dad. Looking back, it feels like just yesterday that his father passed away and now he is reunited with him so I suppose it won't be long for me and my dad either. I can wait but I just hope I continue to feel him this strongly until we are reunited.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


Can anyone justify how a preschool can cancel school for a day due to public transportation not being available when most preschoolers do not receive public transportation anyway?

Monday, February 13, 2006

Winter Wonderland

Yesterday when we woke up to the snow, we were thrilled. Brand new, fresh snow covering the ground. Still falling from the sky, my kids looked out the window and could barely contain themselves. With sledding, snowballs, and snowmen, the possibilities were endless. The kids started searching for their snowpants and boots immediately. The hub was busy looking for the shovel, salt, and sled. Hub trekked his way to shul while I gave the kids breakfast and started dressing them (a 45 minute excursion with all of their layers). It was going to be a good day.

The calls started coming in from friends.
"Should we take the kids to the park and sled down the hills?"
"We should shovel the snow off the slide and let them slide right into the snow."
"Maybe we could shovel all the snow to a high mountain in the backyard and let them break a tunnel through it."
Such lofty aspirations soon fell through to just playing and being shlepped around on the sled. What 4 or 5 year old really needs more than making their own fun in the snow?

Friends of the kids dropped by throughout the day to play. As each kid went out to play with mine, the parents came in for some hot chocolate.

After about 2 hours of playing outside, we decided to call the kids in. They cried that they weren't ready to come in but their blaring red cheeks told a different story. Leaving a trail of boots, gloves, hats, and snowpants at the door, they couldn't get to the kitchen soon enough. We warmed them up with some pizza and fries and popped in a toy story video for them to watch. This proved to be the best distraction for them to not go back out again so soon. They sat for 2 hours watching intently while the adults ate lunch in peace.

Soon it was time for round 2 with a new set of friends. They went out with all the enthusiasm as they had in the morning but after about a half hour the laughter soon turned into whining due to exhaustion. That was our cue. We called the kids in, gave them a quick supper and bath and they fell right out.

This left me and hub to a quiet supper and a video (Wedding Crashers). It was the perfect Sunday.