Thursday, June 23, 2011

Midsummer's Day Motivation

Tonight is Midsummer's Night and tomorrow is Midsummer's Day. A day associated with Midsummer madness and A Midsummer Night's Dream.

One of my favourite memories of this night is from about 15 years ago when a friend used to commandeer her uncle's garden in Ein Karem, a rural and largely unspoiled area on the outskirts of Jerusalem. It probably looks much like Shakespeare would have imagined Italy in his time. A group of us would bring cheese, wine and grapes, and we acted out (reading from the text of course - we were only pseudo intellects, not the real macoy) the play amongst the vines and olive trees, and under the stars. It sounds terribly pretentious and it was. You should have seen how we sneered at the person who brought coke and crisps (didn't stop us eating them though!).

The big questions have always been why is this Midsummer's Day when the Summer Solstice is only three days earlier on June 21st? And why is the Summer Solstice considered to be the start of the summer when it is the longest day of the year? I went googling (Agoogling I did go, with a hey and a ho and a nonny nonny no....) and I found all the answers and more here (Midsummer's Day) and here (Summer Solstice).

Bottom line(s)? Midsummer's Day is a hand-me-down from the Roman calendar when the summer solstice did fall on 24th June and they celebrated the day the sun stopped and changed direction. The seasons starting on the solstice and equinox dates is merely a traditional concept. Many people believe that they should actually mark the middle of each season.

All lovely and informative, but what I really like about today is what Liska from New Mum Online pointed out in her post from the beginning of the week. It adds a touch of magic and totally fits in with my getting a grip activities this month. It is more powerful than January 1st (that other voodoo date for new starts) and more timely as the season of gay abandon is practically upon us.

So my Thank you Thursday this week is to Liska for giving us all another shot at improvement. And this one is surfused with the magic of the gods, the blessings of St. John the Baptist and the ease of eating healthily during the salad season. How much more help do you need to get motivated?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Starting The Daddy Conversations

Last night in bed we had the prologue to the daddy conversations. Actually it was more of a prelude to the prologue to the daddy conversations.

At 2 1/2, DD is obsessed with Beauty's father in Beauty and the Beast. She tells me when he appears in the DVD, she points him out to me on the box, and she even mentions him, sans prompt, at any odd time of the day. I have been waiting for the inevitable next step in her thought processes and trying to decide how I can best help her, whilst knowing I've had my prepared line to say to her ready since December.

A wise friend once wrote me an email saying: children will accept their identity, it's a matter of how you present it. (L - if you read this, it's you and I thank you for it). With this in mind I found myself directing the following conversation in the dark, after stories and before DD fell asleep.

"Beauty daddy," she said apropos nothing.
"Yes, Beauty's got a daddy," I confirmed.
"Yes, Beauty daddy," she repeated.
"But no mummy," I found myself saying.
"Beauty daddy."
"Yes, Beauty's got a daddy but noooo mummy."
"Yes. Noooo mummy. Beauty daddy."

We left it at that. It was enough for the first daddy conversation. I'm one step ahead and at some point we could refer to the fact that Bambi has a mummy but nooooo daddy. But not yet. It's just there for the right moment.

A few minutes later DD said, "DD push the buggy. No mummy push it,"
"Yes, DD can push the buggy tomorrow," I answered.
"Yes, and no mummy push it. DD push it." And then she fell asleep.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Hysterosalpingogram? I'll Pass.

It was time to up the ante to IUI with ovum stimulation. Time was passing and I wasn't getting any younger. It was May 2005 and I had another consultancy with a doctor. This time I saw Dr. M. She had an elegant European style about her, a wedding band on her finger, and she spoke fluent English as well as Hebrew. She probably had children at home and almost definitely had a another language. I immediately felt inferior. Then she smiled and she was nice. I wanted to be like Dr. M when I grew up. Except that she was probably about six years younger than me.

Like Dr. B, she was one step ahead of me on the treatment hierarchy. "There is very little chance that IUI will work even with ovum stimulation. With IVF the chances jump up to 25%." But I was still on the crusade of as little intervention as possible. I still couldn't believe that, with my strong maturnal instincts, my child-bearing hips, and my fantastic FSH scores, my body wouldn't be thirsty for pregnancy. And that it wouldn't quench that thirst at the earliest opportunity.

"I also want you to to do a hysterosalpingogram (HSG)," said Dr M.
"What's that?"
"They pass a tube into your uterus and inject a dye through to your fallopean tubes. This shows up on an x-ray and they can check for any blockages. Sometimes the precedure itself clears any blockages and there's more chance of pregnancy. Make an appointment with radiology. They will probably want to do it straight after your next period. Then come back here on day five of your cycle." Before I left she gave me prescriptions for Gonel F, Ovitrelle, and Cetrotide.

I made an appointment with radiology and a few days later I was talking to my friend Z, who has twins through IVF. "Oh my God, I had to have that. It killed! I stopped the procedure half way through and the doctor was really horrible about it. He told me to stop making such a fuss as it didn't hurt that much."
"Yeah right, when was the last time he had one?"

I called radiology and cancelled my hysterosalpingogram. Z didn't do it and she had twins, so that was all right then.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Tantrum Dichotomy

Last night I left DD with a babysitter, A, while I went to the Bat Mitzva party of my friend's daughter. I went out two weeks ago and we had the same babysitter (a 21 year old with many years of babysitting experience who is great with children). On that occasion she told me that DD cried for 40 minutes after I left but afterwards they had a nice time doing puzzles, playing, etc... I thought last night would be better as DD already knows A and remembers that she had a good time with her only two weeks ago.

I started preparing her when we came home from Nursery: "A is coming to play with DD later while Mummy goes out for a bit. OK?"
"OK," agreed DD brightly, and I was quietly confident. However, as the time drew near and she saw me getting dressed to go out, DD became more and more clingy. We discussed that A was going to give her some chocolate from the fridge, and how they could watch Bambi together (while eating their chocolate), etc... And at 7.45pm I left her screaming as I hurried down the stairs.

On my return A told me that after 45 minutes of hysterical screaming, she got nervous and called her mum to come and help her. "I've never had to do that before and I've been babysitting since I was 15." Reader, I gave her generous compensation.

This morning I called A's mother to thank her. She is a friend of mine, lives round the corner, and really didn't mind. Her opinion was that DD just needed someone to take charge, a 'way out' as it were. She picked her up,  held her close and DD, who was exhausted by that time, was probably relieved to calm down. A's mum also suggested that I go out more often so that DD is more used to being with a babysitter.

She has a point. Last year, before nursery, I had a few babysitters whom I used when I was teaching. DD could hardly wait for me to leave so that they could start playing. This year I teach during nursery time and I hardly ever go out in the evening. For one thing, the nursery costs a mint and there is no spare money either for the sitter or the outing. Also, I like being at home. I have plenty to do here and I actually need those evening hours after DD is asleep to do essential stuff.

All this is by way of a long introduction to how I got to thinking about why a 2yo has such tantrums. DD has a very strong-willed personality (even the nursery teacher told me so) and she is also going through a bit of a clingy phase when we arrive at the nursery in the morning (which is a new behaviour but not related to any goings on there). So her performances may be exceptionally long and loud, but not off the scale.

We all know that a 2yo is trying to exert some control over her life. There is so much she has no control over, that she makes up things to control. We have our own little ultra-orthodox religion going on here, with all manner of rituals that I must adhere to without explanation. For example, DD must have two sips from her sippy cup before I may put the lid on it. We have to walk along the newer asphalt path that runs some of the way to nursey and not stray onto the older bits of the path.

So I try to give her as much control as I can. I let her dictate any methods of operation that are safe and not too unhealthy. I give DD a choice wherever possible. But I am strict when I have to be - she knows that there is no discussion about either holding my hand or sitting in the buggy when we cross the road (even in this situation she makes the choice). In this way I eliminate many potential tantrum situations and give her a feeling of partial control. This has been my theory till now.

However, I cannot get away from the fact that we now never have a tantrum about the rules for crossing the road. DD knows that there is no option but to do what I say. She also knows that when I turn out the light after stories, I mean it and there is no point in crying about it (for more than a minute anyway). This dichotomy seems to support a much stricter approach with the rules set down in stone by me.

So which way is right?

Friday, June 10, 2011

My Karaoke Stand-by

This is a meme started by Liz at The Mum Blog and I was tagged by Jax at Mummy's Little Monkey. Basically it asks you to reveal your Karaoke stand-by. The corny song that you know backwards because you sing it in the shower, whilst driving alone down the motorway, or when you need something uplifting to get you through the hoovering.

This is mine. It's been recorded by many different singers and groups. The second verse seems to have been dropped somewhere along the way, which is a shame as I liked it. It has become somewhat of a hymn or anthem akin to Jerusalem (which I may have chosen except that it doesn't usually appear on karaoke lists. Ditto: I Vow To Thee My Country). I'm a bit of a hymn and ballad person.

I missed this one when Josh Groban first recorded it and sang his way through all the US chat shows. I missed it with West Life. I probably wouldn't know it at all except that my second nephew (the one with the voice) sang it in his primary school choir and brought it home to perform his very own in-the-bath concert.

Now when I hear it on the radio I have to jump around the room punching the air with fisted hands as I sing along with powerful lung and voice action. And then I'm in a great mood for at least the rest of the day.

No specific tags but I would love to hear your hoovering boogying preferences and bathtime ballads.