Saturday, February 7, 2009

Vigils and Visitors

There are two kinds of families when someone is in hospital: vigil families, and visitor families. Visitor families stop in during visitor hours. They stand at the end of the bed and ask you a series of ridiculous questions. They search awkwardly for conversation and excuse themselves early. They do not take off their coats. Vigil families drive you to the hospital with a packed overnight bag and their own pillow. They then set up by the side of your bed. If you fall asleep they wander the halls of the hospital, looking for spare or lonely people (of which there are many in hospitals) who could use a reprieve. It is a great mercy for vigil families that hospital stays are now so short.

Of course, each has a dark side. Visitor families are sometimes delinquent families, who inquire whether their wife isn't a little pale, only to be reminded that she was in for an appendectomy three weeks prior. Vigil families can become the type of open emotional display that requires a summons to hospital security.

My mother is a vigil person who married into a visitor family. This is stressful for everyone.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Why Mothers Never Get Anything Done

So I tried to work a bit on setting up The New Blog. And also do my List of Things to Do Each Day, which includes a chapter of Yiddish, a lesson of Hebrew, reviewing vocabulary, and some math.

Isn't this funny?

If you could have seen a time-motion study of my day today, that first paragraph would cause you to bust a gut laughing. I did the Yiddish. I did a little of the blog. Mostly I just succeeded in not killing my toddler, or allowing my baby to buy himself.

In other news . . . are gnomes known for bitting? Because Gnome does. Often. That's how he guards his spot on the bed. And now that he crawls . . . well, today I found him chewing on my toes. This seems abnormal, but I can't quite articulate why.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Changes in the works

Sorry for the lapse around here; I am moving towards taking this to my own domain.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


I am not that interested in breastfeeding.

Is that heresy? I am appallingly unable to wean and thus an extended breastf-eeder by default. As in many areas of my life, I live in a kind of fog of semi-denial. I envision myself as a no-nonsense type of woman who chooses whatever is, frankly, the easier way to feed the baby. In reality I am a terrible soft-touch who nurses through the night for far longer than advisable and, indeed, nurses in general for far longer than necessary.

But after nearly three years of non-stop nursing, while I am still happy to keep doing it, I am completely uinterested in talking about it. I have a breastfeeding group that I skim through regularly because I have been foolish enough to sign up for it. I do this with the imagined goal of reading a variety of interesting information. In reality I skim until I see something that annoys me. It takes me ages to get around to unsubscribing. Again, a symptom of my general disorganisation.

But may I humbly suggest that none of the following are achievements worthy of sharing with over a thousand people:
- You have been nursing your child for 6 weeks/3 months/6 months/1 year/whatever. Good for you. Who are you again?
- You are angry because you saw someone formula feeding/someone indicated they feed their child with formula. Get the hell over it. To channel my grandmother: there are children starving in Africa, and this is what you worry about?
- You are happy because you have successfully nursed in public. Good for you? Again, remind me who you are?

These little achievements of life are things you share with your friends and family. And if none of these people has friends nor family, then social disintegration in modern life is considerably worse than its advance press would indicate.

But that being said, suppose you do not have anyone who wants to hear the minute details of your childs food intake, feces, suckling and so forth. What shall we then do?

The answer is obvious. Do as I did: start a blog.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

One for sorrow

My children spend their time either adoring each other, or conspiring against me. Munchkin appears to have some natural affinity to bread. "Bake" is her favorite game.

The other day she made her own bread (Munchkin: FLOUR and WA-ER and GARRIK and RICE. Don't ask me how the garlic and rice got in there), kneaded it, baked it, and ate it. Which makes her arguably more adept in the kitchen than I was until college.

I put it in the oven and took it out, but the rest was her.

This is all my fault. It's hard to get kosher bread here, so I was baking it all when she was born. Now she intends to live on it -- as well as on any other food coloured white. My daughter: food racist?

I wonder if there are any legends of Munchkins eating bread.

The woodland creatures like nursery rhymes:

One for sorrow
Two for mirth
Three for a wedding
Four for a birth
Five for silver
Six for gold
Seven for a secret,
never to be told
Eight for heaven
Nine for hell
Ten for the Devil's
very on sel'

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Shira Moments

Shira is my sister-in-law. She's a lovely woman. She's a born-and-bred Flatbush (that's Brooklyn for you non-Jews, Stealth or otherwise) girl. She's frum, and also tidy and well put together. I have never seen a hair out of place. I have never seen her hem fall down. Even her children fall into line.

Once her older girl and Munchkin went on an outing together with my husband, after Gnome was born. Munchkin's cousin was wearing a navy blue dress with a red trim. And navy tights. And navy shoes. With a matching red trim.

There was more organisation in that child's outfit than exists in my entire body.

Munchkin, for the record, was wearing a bright pink jersey dress (ebayed), rainbow tights, pink off-brand crocs with lights in the heels, and a blue sweatshirt her Zayde brought her from Israel -- it said PRINCESS in sparkles across the front.

Anyway. Last night, at three in the morning, I got a not uncharacteristic powerful desire for chocolate. After rummaging around for at least twenty minutes, I found half a pack of candies I had hidden, heaven knows from whom, behind the yeast cultures in the kitchen.

And as I sat there in the dark, munching away, I had that thought again: This kind of escapade? I bet Shira never does this.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Meet the Indigo Children

Meet the Indigo Children. They're mine.

You know the ones. They're the ones the childfree are complaining about.

Is your child a super speshul indigo starseed child like Munchkin and Gnome are? Answer this simple quiz for him/her to find out!

1. Your baby brother has just fallen asleep after three hours of colic. How can you best aid the situation?
a. Be quiet
b. Go play with toys
c. Sing him a Lullaby to the Universe at top volume while leaning over his bassinet

2. You are a baby. Why do you have dirt under your nails?
a. Your mummy didn't cut them
b. Some mysterious, toddler-based explanation
c. You are just that in touch with the earth

3. You are a toddler and almost never talk. For what words do you make an exception?
a. Mama & Dada
b. Eat & Diaper
c. Whatever will get mummy expelled from synagogue play group

4. You are a toddler. Why did you turn your dinner onto the floor?
a. You wanted to make a mess and see mummy turn funny colours
b. You wanted a hot dog with sugar pops instead of whatever you were served
c. The food had a bad aura

5. You are a baby. Why did you poop on your new clean sleeper?
a. You wanted to make a mess and see mummy turn funny colours
b. You have relatively few ways to amuse yourself
c. You were making a statement about your preference for that which is organic and natural over the Wal-mart consumerist soul-sucking vapidity of your mass-produced, gender-limiting blue sleeper. In other words, pooping in your sleeper is how you rage against the machine.

Give yourself a point for each C.
0 Points: Your child is not speshul. Sorry.
1-5 Points: Your child is an Indigo Starseed! Drop him or her off at the door to the local naturopathic/new age store and then scurry purposefully away. The owners of the establishment will be thrilled with the opportunity to care for a member of the coming ruling class.

Seriously though, people believe this stuff. (I've always regretted not believing in New Age stuff, because it looks like a way to make money. Is that Jewish of me?) My personal favorite is The Indigo Files. Are you an adult Indigo? Well, no, it seems not. I don't like cats. But they certainly sound special, don't they?

Monday, January 19, 2009

A matter of timing

I've discovered where I went wrong with this entire parenting enterprise. It was, you see, a matter of bad timing.

I had my first at 22. This was too late to be a disgrace to the family, as my brother charmingly put it. It was too late for sympathetic social programs. It was too early for minivans and yoga pants. Three years later, I still don't own a minivan or yoga pants. And I am either ten years too old or ten years too young for the nearest suitable peer groups.

I thought it might all even out as I kept having children. But I've discovered that one's parenting peer group is really set with the oldest child. I think it's because having a first child together is a formative experience in a way that subsequent children are not. You can only get excited, really excited, about the colour of baby feces once in your life. When that window is closed, it's closed forever.

So here I am. And maybe in other parts of the country, women in their early twenties get married and have babies all the time. But where I live, child-bearing rarely comes before investment in the real estate market. And real estate is expensive.

I've always been a bit out of step, and now I've gone and had babies when I was supposed to be having lovers.

I must find a way to blame this on the housing bubble.
This blog is titled in honour ofthis amazing website. I love the term stealth Jewish.I intend to use it regularly in conversation.

Wearing a sheitel and not a tichel? Stealth Jewish.
Baseball cap over the yarmulke? Stealth Jewish.
Saying "happy holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas"? Stealth Jewish.

And you frum tourists who visit other cities in long denim skirts and sneakers (women) and sneakers and NY baseball caps (men)? You are not stealth Jews. You fool no one. No one wears black suit pants with sneakers!

Let's share one of our linked friend's images, shall we?

It's beautiful.