Monday, September 15, 2008

New Fall Routines

This is the broken leg Teddy Bear from Gund, a fantastic stuffed animal toy company in the States. I absolutely love their bears, they are made from the absolute yummiest fabric that makes you want to snuggle up. Well, unfortunately, Gund doesn't make a broken arm Teddy Bear and that's what my 3 1/2 year old niece did yesterday. Imagine our surprise when my sister called at 10:00 p.m. and asked us to switch on our Skype because my niece wanted to talk to us. Well, we were both thrilled since any opportunity to talk to our nieces and nephews in the States is a fun treat. We were already in PJ's so we spent a minute getting "camera ready" (which professionally for me usually means hair and make up but personally means Tzniut clothing) and when the camera loaded there she was! In a cast, in a sling, completely zoned out on drugs.

She didn't really look at us during the entire time we were on the screen because she was busy trying to open up her popsicle with one hand. And, since she's a lefty and it was her left wrist that broke, she was having an even harder time.

So, my sister told me to tell her the story of how I broke my wrist when I was little, and I launched into my rendition. It was summer, and camp had only been in session a couple of weeks. They took us to a roller skating rink for a few hours and my friend and I decided to hold hands while skating around the rink. We were hit by this inspiration to skate into the center of the rink cause that's where all the cool kids were doing stunts and stuff. While we were crossing the rink, one of the instructors was showing off for one of our camp counselors and he was skating backwards but not looking. He literally skated right into our linked hands and down we both went. And that's when this very large woman skated right over my wrist, shattering it instantly.

Well, there was no question that this wrist was broken, it blew up like a balloon. So, they "packed" it using a faux cardboard sling (this was the early 80's people, I guess having a first aid kit would have been too much to ask!), a huge bag of ice and then this nice man in a van with a TV drove me all the way home to Queens. When we pulled up in front of the house, there was Daneel and my Dad, waiting for me. They quickly put me into the old red Oldsmobile (the boat/vehicle that I would later learn to drive) and Daneel drove us to the Orthopedic surgeon in Forest Hills while my Dad tried to stabilize my arm in the backseat.

What I remember, clearly, was the fact that they hadn't paved 147th Street yet. It was a mess of bumps and potholes and it was TORTURE driving up the block. I guess it was really just a preview of what was to come. I don't remember waiting long in the waiting room, but I do remember sitting there through X-rays with the heavy vest protecting my internal organs. And then, the Dr. said it was broken and he needed to set it and cast it.

Here's what they don't tell 7 year olds. That setting a broken bone is used an a terrorist interrogation tactic. They were smart enough to warn my Dad that it would really hurt and then, he twisted my wrist so hard and "fused" the bones back together. I screamed bloody freaking murder, it was that painful. I was shaking for hours afterwards because it hurt so much. The casting part was kinda fun though, all nice and cold and slimey.

As always after a big, medical affair, Dad took us out for Baskin and Robbins on Main Street and then Daneel dropped us off and I spent the rest of the afternoon watching TV in my parents bedroom.

My niece was pretty fascinated with this story, and then I told her about all the great presents I got from my family and friends. Mom was working in the City and she came home with this white, stuffed rabbit that had satin rainbow striped ears and played Somewhere Over the Rainbow. I LOVED this stuffed animal and I think I slept with it for a long, long time. Of course, once the excitement ended, the pain began and I needed the music to try to make me feel better. I told my niece to make sure Savta sent her a good gift, but I wasn't too concerned, my Mom's pretty good that way.

Well, I could tell by her glazed expression that she was pretty doped up on whatever they gave her at the hospital (how come I didn't get anything when I broke my wrist??) so, after we hung up, I went looking for a stuffed animal to send her. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any broken arm bears. There were tons of broken leg bears though, which made no sense to me because most kids fall and use their arms to brace themselves (as my niece did when she slipped off the monkey bars at the park). So Gund, if you're reading this, please make a broken wrist/arm teddy bear for all the millions of kids out there who break their arms every, single day.

I settled for the Boo Boo Book and shipped it, gift wrapped from Barnes and Noble. There's a picture on the cover of a kid with a cast on its arm, and the book has a section about broken bones. I'm going to leave the stuffed animal purchase to my Mom, it's much more meaningful that way.

Well, Pidgeon and I are in a new routine, and I have to say that the 6:45 a.m. wake up call is really rough. Especially since I work in the States, and so my hours are US hours, which means I don't log off my computer before Midnight. The good thing is that, at this point, I can still take a cat nap at 2:00 p.m. and be up before it's 9:00 a.m. in the States. Yesterday was the first day of this new routine, and I thought I would take advantage of the crisp, morning air and go for a walk to the supermarket. We were out of milk and I wanted cereal for breakfast, so I waited until it was 8:00 a.m. and I knew the supermarket was open, and I hiked my way to Falcon on Derech Beit Lechem. It was not an easy walk, as I'm carrying all my baby weight in my belly and butt. It was hard getting my legs moving, but I did manage (although huffing and puffing). I spent some time at the supermarket, just walking up and down the aisles as I'm wont to do when I'm food shopping, and I indulged myself in a couple of things.

I paid, packed a few bags so the weight was evenly distributed, and then headed home. I was surprised to see that there was relatively few people out. The bus stops were crowded, but that was pretty much it. I thought, since there are schools in this neighborhood and lots of kids, that Baka would be buzzing. I guess I got the wrong memo, cause the streets were pretty deserted. As I was walking down the block towards our apartment, I heard someone calling from behind. I turned around, and there was this 16 year old kid carrying a gardening tool. It was a pretty grungy tool too. He asked me in Hebrew if I could please let him tend my garden. I told him that I didn't have a garden. He begged me to let him tend the garden and again, I explained that I didn't have a garden.

And then he started to beg me for money. And he started following me. I told him I'm sorry but I didn't have anything to give him. Well, blame it on my New York City insticts coupled with being pregnant, because I just kept eyeing that gardening tool in fear. Finally, I stopped in my tracks, told him no and Lech (walk away). I made it very clear that I was not continuing down the block until he walked far, far away from me. He crossed the street, walked through the alley and then disappeared. I was pretty shaken up though. I walked home as fast as my pregnant and swollen legs could carry me, and then made sure he hadn't followed me once I got to the building.

I thought I was being paranoid. Maybe I was. Had I not been pregnant, I probably would have been less frightened and more stern. But, all I could think about was this kid being refused money and just taking a whack at me with that gardening tool. When I later told my Mom the story, I mentioned that I would have had the same reaction had I been living in my old neighborhood on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, walking down Main Street in her neighborhood of Queens, or even shopping at a strip mall in South Florida. The fact that I was in Baka, Jerusalem, Israel didn't factor really into my feelings of fear.

Well, I've made the decision that maybe early morning jaunts aren't such a good thing for me. I think 5:00 p.m. would be better, as that's when loads of people are still walking around and the neighborhood really is buzzing. Lord, but sometimes I really do miss Manhattan. I used to walk to my office in Rockefeller Center from my apartment on 74th and Columbus. It was a fantastic walk in September, when the weather in the morning was nice and cool, and I would plug into my iPod and just go. I loved how I felt getting to work, the walk invigorating and waking me up, and preparing me with the enegy to meet my day.

Without my walk this morning, I'm relying on the two slices of mango and two slices of pineapple I just downed to give me a sugar boost to get to work. Today, I have to finish my paper for my final class at Bar Ilan. I need to have it mailed by Thursday in order to meet the deadline. Plus, I have work work for a client that I must get done before we have out childbirth education class tonight.

I think we're learning about different birthing positions and breathing today.

Pidgeon, I know, is definitely looking forward to learning how to breathe!

Yom Tov from Baka!

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