Many thoughts about the world, meditation, parenting, Judaism, pregnancy, teaching, cancer survivorship, moving from West Coast to East and more.

Saturday, March 31, 2007


A friend and I got a kick today out of briefly revelling in some self-righteousness by talking about obnoxious things other people do like idling a car for 20 minutes rather than risk the interior of the car getting a little chilly. Just thought I'd continue it here...

So I was at the bakery getting some Kosher for Passover cakes to bring to the community seder we'll be attending the second night. A very large man came in and asked if there were any challahs. The woman behind the counter said that everything was just Kosher for Passover (so, no). But in fact, there was a plastic tray filled with packaged challahs on the floor. I pointed it out to her and she said I should tell the man, which I did. He instantly began insulting her for making the mistake. "You speak Chinese or something?" I thought maybe he was joking with her, but she carefully ignored him. I had been about to actually hand him the challahs too. This would not have been easy as squatting down while holding a baby in a pouch is not so easy.

I wish I'd said, "What do you need those challahs for?"

When he responded that they were for Shabbat I could have then followed up with,

"Do you really think it's right to sanctify your Shabbat table with challahs obtained in such a rude way?"

I want to write more. Baby is crying...


Thursday, March 29, 2007

Hospital Field Trip

Yay! I'm on vacation!

Well, sort of. Pesach really requires a lot of STUFF to get done, doesn't it? After school today I really wanted to celebrate, but I really just had to go grocery shopping and clean chometz out of my office.

Truthfully, I should have just celebrated. I couldn't concentrate.

In any case, today my class and another class visited a hospital to deliver stuffed animals they'd collected through Operation Noah. It was a good experience for the kids. They were given a tour of the pediatric ward and got to see the nursery in the maternity section of the hospital.

I had a hard time though.

One of the first things that happened when we arrived was that we saw a video for kids that talks about what happens if you have to come in for an operation. I knew I might feel emotional during the trip, and this was when it happened. I felt very anxious and tense and had to hold back tears. Images from the video reminded me too much of some of my cancer experiences. I've said again and again... it's one thing for me to go through it. It's another to have to watch it happen to someone else when there's nothing I can do. All the more so if it's a child. And even more all the more so now that I have my own child.

I fnally decided I should leave the room for a few minutes and ducked into the bathroom to cry a little. The other teacher checked up on me when I came back. She said she'd seen me struggling during the film itself. She too had had difficulty because of some problems one of her children faced after birth.

In any case, I think I kept my feelings away from the kids successfully. I had one student who was very anxious about the idea of having blood drawn. But moments later he was almost as anxious at the fact that he couldn't have the animal cookies on the receptionist's desk.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

4 Months Old

She's four months old today! I count by weeks rathar than dates. So 16 Wednesdays ago I was in the hospital with her.

She now holds her bottle at daycare and can even move it as she turns her head. She did this today as the second teacher walked in.

She also smiles and smiles most of the day and chatters up a storm... all just noises of course, but LOTS of them.

On another note, I'm trying to figure out what to do during the summer. It may not be cost-effective to get an actual summer job (because of daycare) but I'm looking anyway. I'm actually hoping to get some writing done. Someone (I won't say who) was actually in touch with the editor of Aish. The guy apparently commented that he wishes I wrote more for them. What incentive!

Also, and this is the way cool thing, I think I might actually get to teach at least one kid some meditation this summer. Let me say no more on that for now, but I'm working on the concept with her mom. Everyone involved thus far is enthusiastic and willing.

(This picture actually comes from one of the three texts I'll use to plan.)

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

My Green And Chatty Baby

Two exciting developments in ND land today.

1. We tried out gDiapers today for the first time. We ordered a size medium and ND is not technically big enough for them yet, (by about 1.5 pounds) but she seemed fine. We also haven't had a "dirty" diaper yet (to use a metaphor) but I'm feeling pretty good about them. I don't think I can expect daycare to use them, but we can use them at home and on weekends. Regular disposable diapers generate SO much yucky waste that will be on the planet FOREVER. So I feel really good about these. Watch the videos on the site to understand more about the product.

2. On another note entirely... I've discovered that ND sometimes coughs when she's hungry as a kind of communication. The doctor confirmed that babies often use coughing as a form of speech. Well, tonight the three of us went out to dinner at a Kosher pizza joint. While standing in line I heard ND cough. I looked over and she instantly grinned like she had just told the funniest joke ever. I'm pretty sure she was actually trying to tease me by coughing to get my attention. So incredibly cute, this girl! Four months old on Wednesday.

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Friday, March 23, 2007


Forgive this entry after writing what I hope was a more meaningful one last night... and especially because I usually don't care much about this sort of thing, but...

Today we're going on a field trip to a matzvah factory, and I have a denim skirt with many pockets that I like wearing on field trips. Today I FIT INTO IT AGAIN for the first time since pregnancy.

And after eating so much Purim junk food!

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

No Impact Man

I heard No Impact Man on WNYC this morning. He's doing an experiment of living in Manhattan with no impact on the environment for one year. He explains the parameters on his blog.

The show got me thinking about two things:

1. Judgement -- bear with me for a moment.

The other day my assistant was looking at our weekly plans and said, "You didn't write anything for guided reading." I instantly assumed she was criticizing/judging me and went on the defensive. "Oh yeah," I said, "I was going to do that."

A moment later I realized she was actually asking me a question. "Oh!" I said, "You're asking if we're having it! Yes, I'd like to start the new groups on Wednesday and Thursday at the usual time."

I think there are a lot of circumstances under which people feel judged. And I think that they often react with criticism or defensiveness in return. For example, it's easier to criticize Al Gore for flying around the world a lot in a jet plane with carbon emissions than to look at oneself and find ways to make a difference. The No Impact guy said that if someone criticizes Gore and tells Gore to look at how his own actions affect the world, Gore should then turn around and ask the same thing. Thsi shouldn't just be banter, but a sincerely self-relection. The speaker today said again and again he's trying not to judge others and certainly isn't trying to get others to do replicate his pesronal experiment. Yet people want to say he's being unrealistic.

2. I decided that I would use the opportunity of hearing him to look at myself again, and I found that I still haven't done anything much about the fact that the school where I work doesn't recycle. It so happens that yesterday I had the courage to ask the relevant person about it, and he explained that there isn't enough room for containers etc. I don't quite buy it. If it was a priority, I suspect they'd find a way. He did say that next year, once further renovations are complete, he'd be more willing to tackle it. I volunteered my assistance to make it happen.

But as of today I'm thinking, why not try again to at least do it in my own classroom? All I need is a container and to find out where to take the stuff. (I'm talking about paper only here.) Unfortunately, that last part is quite difficult. I would take it home to my own recycling and pay whatever I had to get it schlepped away except that I'm in an apartment and the entire building just has one small container by the mailboxes downstairs. Maybe I should tackle THAT first. I think I need more information.

3. But I also thought of one more thing. I wish we did more science in our second grade team and I've been pushing for us to create a relevant and integrated science unit. So my goal is to push for creating a unit next year about conservation that will integrate all the subjects. I don't think it will be hard and I think it will pay off tremendously.

I hope I'm not just talking and forgetting to act. I do that a lot on here.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

First Day Of Spring...

...and with it better news.

As a result of my dad's plane being snowed in and everything, I decided it's time for ND and me to take our first plane trip together. I'll stay here with U. for the seders, and then am flying home to Portland for the rest of Pesach. Yay! Home!

By the way, for those of you who get my mailings with photos... I have LOTS more coming, but haven't had time to assemble them.

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Friday, March 16, 2007


Well, the good news is I won't be missing quite as much on Sunday when I'm at parent-teacher conferences.

The bad news is that my dad can't make it out because of a snow storm in my area.

We're all very disappointed.

Next time they are coming is Shavuot, end of May.

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Hard Continued

This is still really hard.

Keep in mind that Thursdays have always been my bad days.

And I also know that the first days back at work should be treated much like the first days after bringing home a newborn.

But I feel stressed, drained and very sad about it.

In the past I would have used active exercise to help me, but I currently have a hold on my Curves membership and will continue to until I can figure out how to work exercise back into my schedule.

And I don't like the idea of being away from ND anymore to get it.

But clearly, if I'm going to stay healthy and available to her, I need to find a way.

Right now I'm just so drained, emotionally and physically.

Today someone at work told me about when she returned to work after one of her children was born. Her baby was in a daycare on site and she could hear the baby screaming even as she tried to teach. She said it was awful, but that she had to do it because she was a working mom.

The story makes me want to cry.

And yes, Alissa, Pesach is coming.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Now It Gets Harder

There's been a lot going on and I have much I'd like to write.

But to sum...

My mom is visiting for this week and my dad comes in just for the weekend. But sadly, I have parent-teacher conferences on Sunday so I barely get to see my dad, and preparing for the conferences has made the week with my mom less relaxing then I would like.

On top of that, it seems my baby is an early teether. I've had two rough nights with her and she is in a lot of pain a lot of the time. Poor baby.

She's also doing amazing things like getting stronger legs and gripping toys for the first time.

I managed the first two weeks of school pretty well, but this third one has been tougher. Too much to do, quite exhausted, and I think I have some Spring hay fever allergies too.

Thunderstorm tonight.

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

Yay, Even Thursday Is Over

So in response to this mornings post I just want to say that my day got better and I'm not mad any more. Having things go well at school really helped, and the fact that tomorrow is Friday helps even better. Oh yeah, and tonight ND is sleeping so I have some time to either work or waste.

Before ND was born people talked so endlessly about how stressful kids were that I thought that stress would be 80-90% of the experience. I'm happy to say it's more like 10-20% of it. I'm impressed that it took 11 days of work before I had a morning as difficult as this one. Frankly, I've had days like that (usually Thursdays) for many years.

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I Want A Personal Day

During the last weeks of maternity leave I discovered that despite all progress in managing life as a mom, I needed about one day per "work week" to just throw in the towel and do nothing other than what was absolutely essential.

I wish today could be one of those days. Last night I was exhausted anyway and ND was not interested in going to bed alone. I simply gave up on doing workand went to bed early with her.

Today I'm looking around the apartment and am furious about the things that I just can't get done and the fact that no one has done it.

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Development at Daycare

When I used to work in daycare, we sometimes talked about what to do if a child did something new and amazing during the day. For sure it was important to communicate fully with parents. But we also knew the parents might feel bad to miss a "first."

Today ND apparently reached for a Winnie the Pooh doll. She's never really reached for a toy before. I think I'm only going to partially believe it until I see for myself.

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Sunday, March 04, 2007

Purim 2007/5767

At Purim last year I declined alcohol, and not just because I was driving. ND was a teeny tiny embryo that I had just discovered.

Pretty good Purim this year though everything's tricky with a baby. I missed several parts of the megillah reading both at night and in the morning because ND needed to be taken to another room . She didn't cry. But at night she was hungry and in the day she was exhausted. She was around a lot of people all weekend which really kept her wired. She didn't cry when Haman's name was read and everyone made noise, but she was distracted from eating or sleeping.

Next year we'll do shifts. Couldn't this year anyway because poor U. was sick and I didn't want to leave her with him like that. But we still had fun, all three of us, at the seudah.

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