I did not publish the last blog post I wrote. I couldn’t bring myself to finish it, having written it through tears on Saturday night, as news of the brutal slaying of the Fogel family filtered through the media. I didn’t sleep on Saturday night, heartbroken and devastated by the news, and also absolutely petrified to close my eyes. I had to stay awake to protect my family, and even though a couple of days have gone by, the same feelings are still with me. Once again, I cannot sleep tonight, as I just watched video footage of the Fogel family in happier times. I read every article I can find and have, unfortunately, viewed the photos of the murder scene. It is horrific and my words cannot bring justice to how I feel.
In order to function, to get out of bed in the morning, to pull the covers off of my face, make DD her shoko, make DH his breakfast and lunch, attend to my clients, do the laundry, prepare P”G for this baby, I turn off my thoughts. I learned a long time ago to disengage from the hurt, for reasons that I will not go into in this blog, but it is a survival tactic that I have managed for years. So, I go into survival mode, and I function even with such trying moments.
I am also ever so thankful for my little family. My amazing husband, my incredible daughter, and how much I appreciate every moment we have together. And so, with that, I want to write about the most amazing experience I’ve had as a parent.
This week, DH and I had a parent-teacher conference at DD’s gan. I honestly didn’t know what to expect, since my own experience with parent-teacher conferences always ended badly. I don’t think my parents ever came home from a meeting with good news, and I have memories of being woken up and lectured by my parents for hours about the bad reports from my teachers.
Fortunately, DD is only 2 years old, so there were no reports of unfinished homework, failed exams or social problems. Rather, we got to DD’s classroom and I was engulfed by the warmth. There was music playing in the background, the air smelled of ammonia from a thorough cleaning, and the room was decorated with festive Purim drawings and scenes. We noticed a picture frame with DD, dressed up as an orange, lined up with other children’s pictures. But, being the polite American that I am, I didn’t touch it for fear that I was not supposed to take it. We sad down in the chairs and waited for our turn to come.
When DD’s gannenet emerged with another Mommy, she scolded us for not helping ourselves to tea or coffee, or cake, and for not taking the photo or seeing the plate DD decorated along with a note welcoming us to parent-teacher conferences. Again, I am a polite America that waits for instructions, and so we missed out apparently on an opportunity to read a poem, fill our bellies with cake and warm drinks, and coo over DD’s picture.
We entered the second room and I marveled at how much work they put into decorating DD’s gan! They turned a corner of the room into a Palace so they could recreate the story of the Book of Esther, and the gannenet handed us a CD of songs that they sing every morning. We were so appreciative since DD loves music and we are getting very sick of listening to the same couple of CD’s over and over again.
And then, it was time for the report. Before she went through her paper, we asked her how DD was doing since we’ve experienced a significant change in her personality. The gannenet reassured us that it has to do with the baby and that, a couple of week P”G after the birth and once DD gets used to the baby, she should go back to her happy go-lucky self. In the meantime, she’s also noticed that DD is now prone to crying (she is not a crier), needs her pacifier almost all day, requires a lot more love and affection, has suddenly developed a fear of strangers (I’m not too unhappy about that), and requires a lot more attention. It’s upsetting to hear just how hard this is on her, but I am so appreciative that they are working with her and helping us help her get through things.
And then, we learned so much about our daughter, that we actually asked a couple of times if she was really talking about our child! She loves to sing and dance, which we knew, but we had no idea that she was the first child to sit down at the table for arts & crafts. We also didn’t know that she has about a 20 minute attention span, which is a lot for a 2 year old, and that she is truly paying attention when they are doing circle time. When they ask her questions, she answers correctly. She loves puzzles and has tremendous patience, yet when she is at home she has no patience for puzzles and often gets overwhelmed with frustration. Apparently, she is never frustrated at gan.
So, I don’t really understand it. Why does she act one way at gan and another way at home? I can barely get her to play with her toys by herself for 5 minutes, let alone for 20. And, I hide her puzzles because they frustrate her tremendously and I hate seeing her get upset.
Are we doing something wrong at home? Is it normal for a child to have almost like a Dr. Jekyl/Mr. Hyde personality?
At the end of the day, I’m thrilled that she is behaving and happy at gan and I am much happier that she misbehave at home. We’ll just have to figure out ways in which to help her cope better when she is at home.
DH and I were thrilled with the report and we walked out of our meeting on Cloud 9, with a joint prayer that all of DD’s parent-teacher conferences should be as positive and uplifting as her first.