In three years.

In the last three years, give or take, I’ve gotten married, visited my husband’s home country located across the world, moved to the suburbs, got pregnant, completed the coursework for my Masters degree, gave birth to a son, grown three years older, three years wiser and three years happier.

What have you done in the last three years?

What has Gilad Shalit done?

Bar Ilan update.

Haven’t heard from the Bar Ilan front in a while, have you? Were you starting to lose hope? Did you think I gave up?

Well, honestly, there’s been nothing to update. I finished taking courses a year ago. I finished my last paper months ago.

Then why is there no degree hanging proudly on my bathroom wall?

I wondered the same thing a month ago. I started calling administrative offices to find out. What did I find out? What was the missing piece?

A ptur in English.

That’s an exemption for needing to take an advanced English course, folks. Required because, granted, most university students here are not native English speakers. And all you need, at the most basic level, as an immigrant native English speaker, is to have studied your first degree at an Anglo university. You just submit a photocopy of your university diploma, and boom, you’re done with that.

Yes, I did do this five years ago when I applied. Somebody out there must have made an ‘oops’ at some point in the 34856203864 years it’s taken to finish the degree.

So, that’s what I’m working on. Not an overdue paper. Not a thesis.

An exemption in English.

Cookie Monster was right.

I’m so hungry I could eat a giraffe… and I will! As soon as my safari animal-shaped shnitzels are done burning.

Sure, my kid is only 2 months old, but I can already partake in the kid friendly-shaped foods, can’t I?

Oddly enough, someone at Shufersal did not get that message about what goes into a package of animal shnitzels. I don’t mean to be discrimanatory, but one of these things is not like the other… one of these things just doesn’t belong…

Just want to shout it from the rooftops…

I JUST GOT SIX CONSECUTIVE HOURS OF SLEEP!!!

Why, I could… I could run a marathon! Cook a Thanksgiving meal! Do a Phd!

There is nothing in this world – at least in the newborn world – like going to sleep when it’s dark and waking up when it’s light. Nothing.

(And this kid’s started smiling.)


(Ok, fine, the smiling is waaay better.)

Dream come true.

As many Jerusalem-based olim probably have figured out, the Jerusalem Post is the most persistent paper as far as telemarketing for business goes. The English-language papers vie for the olim off the plane, and strike deals with Nefesh b’Nefesh to offer free subscriptions with follow-up deals. I’ve been called 493676745 times since I made aliyah about buying a subscription with the latest deal. And quite a few times I’ve taken the deal (they are sometimes pretty good deals) so it’s my own fault I’m on their list. But I haven’t been subscribed to a paper in about two years.

Anyway. That bit mixed with this bit: the fact that they have native Israelis doing the telemarketing (in Hebrew, for an English-language paper? huh?) so they can be pretty aggressive with the sales pitch.

Today one rep calls me about a deal. Finally, after all these years, I got to give her the answer I’ve always wanted to give a newspaper sales(wo)man:

Rep: So you can get three months of just paying for the weekend paper,  but get the paper all week.

Me: Uh huh. No thanks.

Rep: But if you buy the weekend paper, you’re getting the whole week free. Do you buy the weekend paper?

Me: Nope.

Rep: Really? How about sometimes? Do you buy it sometimes?

Me: Nope. Never.

Rep: Really? Why not?

Me: I stopped reading the news altogether.

Rep: Why???

Me: It’s too sad. It makes me too sad.

Rep: Um… But the weekend paper has all kinds of other stuff, like Design, Fashion, Art…

Me: It’s ok, thanks.

Rep: But… You don’t have to read the rest of the paper.

Me: It will make me too sad to get it. It’s just too sad. No thanks.

Reminds me a little of when I called to cancel our Hot cable and the woman on the other end, offering even more deals, asked why we were canceling.

Me: We’re selling our TV.

Rep: Why?

Me: We became charedi.

Rep: silence…

I guess weird excuses work. But the first story here was the honest one…

Koala update: six weeks.

Imagine that six weeks ago yesterday my entire life was altered in a way I slowly come to fathom every day. Piece by piece. On so many levels I am amazed: at myself, for making it happen through a kind of energy and inner strength I wasn’t sure I had… At my husband, who was the ultimate partner throughout the experience… And at this creature which we not only created, but are forever charged with ensuring he survives and thrives…

And that, this little creature does. The days after he was born, I couldn’t believe what a little koala he was. Tiny! He’d curl up on my belly as if he was still on the other side. It was pretty fetal of him and I couldn’t imagine it ever ending.

But in the past couple weeks, I’ve had to come to the realization that he is not the tiny koala he was for the first month. Now when he curls up on my belly, it’s not fetal and it’s not as much curling, either. He’s… tall. His arms and legs are growing out of his preemie-sized outfits and into newborn outfits… and quickly leaving those behind, as well.

I know that’s a good thing and exactly what should be happening. But a part of me – in the same way when I was pregnant – can’t help but feel everything is just… safer when they are inside you, or so small they need you for everything. Need you to hold their heads up. Need you to rock them to sleep. Need you to explain life to them.

Is it too early for this? The pregnancy is slow and calm, and then – like that… It just happens so fast. You give birth and suddenly these little feet and miniature fingers and soft eyes… This baby koala is all yours. And just when you realize you’re going to be a great mom and it’s all doable… he grows. And grows. And you can’t stop it. Suddenly, taking life day by day won’t cut it… It’s gotta be minute by minute… Piece by piece. You might miss the little toes; soon they’ll be gone.

So this past Sunday – and every other since he was born – I’ve taken a look at his head, how much it’s grown, and think… Holy crap, thank god you weren’t six weeks late.

Normal.

People have been poo-pooing the national security drills taking place across Israel today. I understand why; often the bomb shelters are locked up, uninhabitable, or don’t exist at all in places where they should. However, it’s a government responsibility, should happen at least once a year, and as dysfunctional as miklatim may be now, it’s a start. 

At 11am I heard the radio go dead and then the siren start up. I picked up my sleeping baby and started heading upstairs to our mamad. It’s a cozy place, our mamad; it also happens to function as our bedroom. After putting the baby in his crib, I shut the heavy door and pulled the heavy window closed. I stood in the pitch blackness and thought, shit.

Then I flicked on the light and picked up my (magically!) still-sleeping kid, sat on the bed and pretty much just held him close, staring into space. People live like this, I thought. In probably a decent portion of the world, throughout a decent portion of history, this is normal. 

I couldn’t hear the siren anymore and realized five minutes had gone by. After I converted the shelter back to bedroom, I checked the contents of a box we keep in a closet for emergencies. Batteries, tissues, flashlight, bottled water. It now contains diapers. 

As I picked up my son, peacefully dozing in a tiny ball that is his five-week-old body, I offered him a silent apology for the crazy world we brought him into. 

 

Note: And then he woke up from that perfect sleep I had him in. Thanks a lot, Israeli government.