Hannukrap

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Since becoming a mother, I realized I’ve become quite ambivalent about holidays. On one hand, I like them because, well, they’re holidays. On the other, I really do not like them because they often involve spending a lot of time with family, which means having to travel to the south, which in turn means having a very upset baby for the next couple of days seeing as her sleeping and eating patterns become all screwy.

So Hannukah was no different. And just like on the September/October holidays, my poor baby got sick, although this was not as a result of traveling to the south but rather as a side effect of the shot she got the previous week.

So the first three days of Hannukah were spent lighting candles, eating doughnuts and shoving suppositories up my kid’s bum. The fever was finally defeated by Friday evening, and the next day, my husband and I had a very nice Shabbat. We took my baby and my dog out to the dog park as it was nice and sunny. On the way back home, my baby fell asleep. My husband chopped up some fresh veggies and we sat to watch TV. The rest of the day went by uneventfully, thank Goddess.

On Monday, my family planned a birthday party for my grandmother. It took place in a Karaoke place in Be’er Sheva. My husband and I absolutely DESPISE Karaoke. Seriously, Karaoke was the reason earplugs were invented. Karaoke killed the hippy with the unplugged acoustic guitar and his coombaya circle. Karaoke was created solely for people who can’t sing but who think they can.

But everybody was going to be there, including my cousin from Belgium. I spent most of that evening going back and forth between the room where my family was, with the awful sounds of Karaoke and the cigarette-smoke-saturated air, and the next room which had neither. My baby, being attacked by my family she doesn’t know and sounds she didn’t particularly care for, failed to fall asleep that night, as she is wont to do whenever she is anywhere that is not her bedroom.

A word about Karaoke:

Back in Montreal, I went to a drag queen club (Cabaret Mado) on an evening of Karaoke. The people who went up to sing were actually quite talented, so I wasn’t suffering much if at all. A couple of years ago, my friend from Sweden came to visit me in Israel and after she insisted endlessly, I joined her for another Karaoke night. She got up on stage and pretty much wiped the floor with any other wannabe singer who came up after her. So that was also ok.

But my family… no. Just no. I bring earplugs to most of my family’s dinner parties and holidays events because I know there is bound to be singing. And my family is made up of loud Moroccans who don’t need any electronic device to make them sound like they’re singing through a goddamn bullhorn. Earplugs have been my salvation in all my family events. But I forgot to bring them this time around.

Plus, the songs they choose in Karaoke are mostly Middle Eastern tunes. Anybody who knows me, even as a passing acquaintance, knows just how I feel about that music. Bleeding ears is not even the word.

So when my dad came to see me and my husband sitting in the other room, he said that he doesn’t understand why loud singing Moroccans torture us so much considering all the loud metal concerts we go to. The mere fact that he even compared the two was baffling to me. But I explained that the music we listen to involves extremely talented musicians playing their instruments like sheer gods, and talented vocalists tearing up their microphones, whereas the auditory abomination known as Karaoke coming from the next room has neither talented vocals nor talented musical instrumentation.

Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE my family. So it was still nice to see them and to show off my daughter. But I’m glad that going to the south is not something we do too often, and I’m glad that Karaoke is not something that my family does too much either. But sometimes I wish these machines had Rammstein songs included in their repertoire. Because if they do, the next time my family decides to torture me with a Karaoke night, I will see to it that I will torture them back with some badass industrial German tunes.

Peace, love and also, seriously you guys have to stop smoking already.

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My Tired Is Tired

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So I woke up on Wednesday morning when I heard my husband and my dog coming back from the morning walk. I figured that since I work the afternoon shift, I can afford to sleep a little longer, but I had to pee like a motherfucker. So I got up and went to the bathroom, where I looked at my watch without my reading glasses and deduced that it was 8:00 a.m. I wondered how it is that I didn’t wake up earlier when my daughter does. I came out of the bathroom and looked down the hall and saw that the door of my daughter’s room was closed, which meant she wasn’t in there anymore.

I turned to my husband and said “Did you already take her to daycare?”

“No,” he answered. “You picked her up today.”

“What?”

“You worked morning today. You picked her up, right?”

“No, I work the afternoon shift today…” I wasn’t really following the conversation. Something didn’t make sense, so I added. “Wait, what day are we?”

“It’s Tuesday,” he said.

“What are you talking about? What time is it?” I asked still completely out of it.

“It’s 6:00.”

“In the morning?”

“No, it’s evening!”

Usually when I work the morning shift, I finish early enough to have time to go home, sleep for an hour, then get up and go pick my daughter up from daycare. But what happened now was a classic case of George Carlin-ation. In his “Jammin in New York” stand-up show, he says: “Did you ever fall asleep in the late afternoon and woke up after dark and you don’t know what goddamn day it is?”

I was convinced it was Wednesday morning, when it was actually Tuesday evening. What I thought was my dog’s morning walk was actually her evening one. And what I saw as 8:00 was actually 18:00. And I had slept for a straight 4 fucking hours and my daughter was still in daycare. I slept through the 3 p.m. alarm that I had set. I slept through both phone calls from the lady who runs the daycare.

“Oh my God!” I gasped when it finally hit me. “Go get her NOW!” I told my husband who was already halfway out the door.

Lucky for me, my daughter was used to being at daycare until 18:00 on days when nobody can pick her up at 16:00. But it didn’t stop me from being so completely disappointed with myself.

“What in the fuck is wrong with me?” I asked after my husband came back with my daughter. It’s like the whole evening just disappeared.

I recall working the morning shift and trying to find a meme that adequately described just how fucking exhausted I was. There was nothing to do at work and I was trying to keep myself awake by shaking my hands and hitting my face. Anybody who would have seen me would have thought I was having some sort of seizure or was going crazy. I should have known that my one-hour nap would turn into a four-hour long absence of consciousness. I honestly think I quite literally passed out.

27-I-will-nap-here-cat-meme

Anyway, my daughter was completely oblivious to this lapse of judgment from her mother, who was still trying to make sense of what goddamn day it is. Seriously, even after I already knew it was evening, I caught myself getting dressed for work. My mind had checked out.

And this is my punishment for being stupid. I am never taking naps again.

Peace, love and sleep is for the weak

Motherzinester

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It wasn’t easy, but I did it!! After almost two years of having made no more than a single mini zine, I finally managed to produce a full-length one. This is not an issue of Purple Myrtle Squeegy, and I wonder if I’ll ever make another one from that series. This issue is called Ima Badass (a play on words to those of you who speak both English and Hebrew) and it focuses on my experience with pregnancy and the onset of motherhood. It might be a one-off, or the first of a few. I haven’t decided yet. All I know is that it needed to be done. You can’t be a zinester and a mother without writing at least a single zine about motherhood.

IB cover

The format of this zine is slightly different from the previous DIY issues of PMS perzine. Since I rarely had any time to work on it, I did most of the layout by computer. The cover is a photo I took while my month-old daughter was napping on my lap. Although it’s mostly cut-and-paste, the script is all computer typed. There are no backgrounds because that would have involved a hell of a lot more time and effort, which anyone with a baby would understand that I simply don’t have.

But still, I did it! And it’s as raw and intimate as any perzine should be.

A huge thank you to all my awesome zinester friends and artist friends for your constant inspiration. A special thanks goes out to my husband for finding the time in his crazy schedule for printing this issue. And another special thanks to Shoshana for contributing a beautiful drawing included in the zine!

Peace, love and babies

Room 101

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Hello EdenToday, I struggled to organize my daughter’s room but got frustrated because no matter how many things I put away, it always seems so cluttered.

So I sat on a chair looking around the room, pondering on the evolution of this room.

We moved to this apartment when I was two months pregnant. We haven’t even started considering a nursery, much less how to set one up. At the beginning, we used that room as a storage room until we found a place for all the stuff we had. Soon thereafter, it became my work room as well as a guest room.

We kept postponing setting up a nursery. My husband finally suggested we wait until two weeks before my due date. But then two weeks before my due date was when I finally gave birth. And so it was that we had a baby and nothing else – no diapers, no bottles, no clothes, no toys… we had a broken crib and a used car seat. Of course, even before we brought her home, we got a bunch of gifts and my husband went shopping with his sister for a whole stack of things we would need.

So as it stands, my daughter’s room is now a cross between a child’s room and a guest room, with a touch of a zinester’s work room and a goddamn storage space.

And we can’t unclutter it.

  1. We need the guest bed because my mom sleeps there when she comes to visit (plus there is a large compartment under the bed for storing more things).
  2. We can’t get rid of my work station because where else would I lament my lack of time to get any zinestering done? Plus it’s a kickass desk which my daughter could also use later on.
  3. We can’t get rid of any chest because my daughter has no closet and that’s the only place where we can keep her clothes and bedsheets.
  4. And as broken as the crib is, we still use it, even if my husband is so annoyed by it he said we should burn it once our kid graduates to an actual bed.

Above all that is a small bedside table under the desk, two guitars, three radiators and a laundry basket.

So feeling completely hopeless by this room being on the verge of explosion, I closed the door and am now planning a door sign with a nice frame.

Peace, love and only a metalhead would understand that title

What Vacation?

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This year’s holiday season has been the absolute worst one I’ve ever had.

It’s ironic that on one of my previous years’ holiday posts I said something along the lines of “I like holiday season because it’s my birthday and when the zodiac turns to Libra, the stars tend to align and all is right in the universe.”

Well this time, the zodiac and the full moon of Tishrei must have been in some kind of retrograde because goddamn! First my birthday and the fact that, first, my dog got sick, and then my daughter got sick. Then the back and forth rides from Jerusalem to Givolim, then Be’er Sheva, then back to Jerusalem and back to Be’er Sheva, then back to Jerusalem and all the way to Zichron and back to Jerusalem. My daughter constantly being confronted with people she doesn’t know, and being strapped to a car seat for endless rides, completely screwed up her routine and sleeping patterns and finally ended up being sick with a fever and eye infection for the entire fucking holiday.

My husband came back home from work yesterday and said that everyone kept asking him how was his vacation, and he’s like “What vacation?”

Seriously, vacation? What the fuck is that anyway? If holding your kid and feel her going up in flames is a vacation, then yes, we had a blast. If sticking a thermometer and a bunch of suppositories up your kid’s bum and rubbing antibiotic cream into your kid’s eyes and having her hate you as a result is a vacation, then oh boy, that was one hell of a vacation! If spending every waking hour at the doctor’s clinic turning your kid into a guinea pig being poked and prodded all over and having her hate you even more is a vacation, party on because my vacation kicked your vacation’s ass.

I don’t want any more vacations. I want my routine. I want my daughter to be healthy, have fun with her friends at daycare, and go to sleep at a normal hour and not wake up at 2:00 a.m. due to a body temperature of 40 fucking degrees.

This traumatizing holiday season is making me dread Passover and dread next year’s holidays even more.

On a brighter note, I got a new Stephen King book to keep me busy and hopefully make me forget about this steaming pile of horseshit known as a vacation.

Peace, love and here’s to a silent baby monitor

Holiday My Ass

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The Jewish Holidays.

Usually, they’re crazy. But this time, they were super crazy, with a twist of wild and the added element of insane. It was the first time I was to spend a holiday with my married family (my husband and my kid) and not my born one (my parents).

My parents decided to spend Rosh Hashana on the other end of the planet (Los Angeles). And since we were going to spend most of the holiday at my husband’s family’s house in the south of the country, my parents let us stay in their southern house while they were gone.

This however, didn’t prevent us from endless travels in the car, to and from different families’ houses. My 10-month-old, fearing anyone she doesn’t know, which is basically everybody, was attacked from all sides by people who were complete strangers to her.

“OH MY GOD SHE IS SO CUTE WHAT A BEAUTY LET ME HOLD HER JUST A LITTLE COOCHIE COOCHIE COO WHY IS SHE CRYING!!!”

She’s crying because you would too when complete strangers come at you from every side while screaming and making faces and trying to touch you. Put yourself in her tiny shoes for fuck’s sake!

She likes kids but they were all older than her and I kept having to shield her from the tempest of older kids who were running around like mad.

Being attacked by adult strangers and nearly being trampled by kids makes for a terrified and overstimulated baby and a worried mother who will know no sleep that night. My daughter didn’t fall asleep before 2:00 a.m. and I cried myself to sleep wishing I was back home in Jerusalem, where it’s quiet and comfy and where sleep is actually possible.

We spent the second day at my extended family’s place where there were still more strangers but also two other babies, so that was ok. We slept rather well that night.

On Friday we had lunch and headed home.

I can’t even begin to describe the amazing and relieving feeling of being back home. I felt like I do after I come back from a longass overseas trip.

“Thank. God!”

I think we were all relieved, including my daughter. In fact, she was so relieved she slept from 10:00 p.m. until 8:45 a.m. which is far longer than she normally does.

This upcoming weekend is the first time I will fast while taking care of a little baby. I can only imagine how BORED OUT OF HER MIND she will be since I won’t be able to do much. I don’t think anybody can do much when running low on fluids and nutrients.

My coworker suggested taking her to the park which sounded like a good idea at first until I thought about what that would involve, i.e. pulling a heavy ass stroller with an even heavier child up a flight of steps, walking to the park in the scorching sun, struggling to keep child away from yet another tempest of children riding bicycles, walking back home and dragging heavy stroller and child back down the flight of steps, and pass out.

I love the holidays. Really I do. But then again, not so much.

Goddamit

Peace, love and impending winter sucks too

 

Babysitting 101

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I’m 29 years old, and I deserve a “mazal tov” because today, I popped my babysitting cherry.

I never did any babysitting when I was a teenager. While some of my close friends and acquaintances made modest change, entertaining their neighbor’s kid, I stayed at home, watched TV, did my homework or the dishes. I never had to get wrist-deep in baby droppings to make my pockets jingle. Being an only child, I’d have things my way, so if I was ever short of cash, a peep was all it took for my parents to pull out their wallets. If my mom had a “good day” at work, I would surely find myself with a set of 20’s in my hand or a nice big 100.

So yeah – no hard laboring and toiling for petty cash for me. And that was not only because I was spoiled, but also because I never had any younger siblings to take care of, and often believed that kids didn’t like me anyway. I tried to imagine myself in a situation where I had to get a baby to stop crying, or wiping his bottom. I couldn’t do it. As an aside, I never had any problem getting my dog to stop barking or picking up his business from the neighbor’s front lawn.

But today, as I am 29 and am trying to make some semblance of a living, being a feminist and cursing the capitalist system sadly doesn’t pay the bills… yet another product of the cursed system. My day job is more of an afternoon pastime. Three and a half hours worth of emails and phone calls, and off I go.

However, since I have my doubts that my current salary could get me through the month, I make a bit of money on the side as a dog walker. The lady who owns the dog also has a 1.5-year-old baby and she asked me if I’d be interested in babysitting him.

“Take him out, let him run around, chase after him, watch that he doesn’t put things in his mouth…” was roughly her job description.

As long as it doesn’t involve stools, I should be fine, I thought. And extra cash never hurt anyone.

I took out the blond-hair, blue-eyed bag of potatoes to the park close to his house, and took him out of his stroller (more like struggling to lift him with a loud grunt). I let him run around a bit, chasing him, trying to keep him from picking up cigarette butts, pieces of carob, dead leaves, coke cans, discarded snack bags…

It was all nice and fun, but after 15 minutes I was winded.

I’m either getting old, or this kid is on speed, I thought. And that’s when disaster struck.

Somehow, the kid found melted chocolate to be fascinating, and before I noticed it was actually dog feces, he had his hand in it. I shrieked and quickly pulled him away from it. His stroller was far off so I picked him up (yet another struggle) and ran to it. I washed his hands with the bottled water his mother packed for us and wiped him down with tissues. The fecal matter was transferred to my hands and I barely had enough time to wash before the rain came.

“Alright, we’re going home, little dude,” I said. “Pouring rain is where I draw the line.”

The baby put up a little fight when I attempted to tie him up in his stroller, but eventually calmed down. I took him home and his mom was happy I did because she was also not apt to have her baby out in the rain.

To fill the time that was cut short, she let me take out her dog. Again, I had to pick up after him, but carrying a doggy-bag is a piece of cake to me.

Lesson 1: I can’t handle baby crap, but can stand dog crap, unless it’s on a baby’s hands.

Lesson 2: When people say that having a dog is like having a baby, they’ve clearly never had a baby.

Lesson 3: I cannot blow balloons. Next time I take the kid out, we bring a pre-blown ball. I can certainly handle a game of fetch.

Peace, love and sometimes, to make money, you have to take a lot of shit.