Saturday, February 26, 2005

Gaza, we have lift-off

That's right, its finally happened, Yousuf is moving up in the word. After over six months of crawling, he has taken his first (shaky...but nevertheless) steps and, with them, discovered a far more energy efficent means of mass destruction-why crawl my way to the spice cabinet when I can walk? He has a ways to go before he completely masters his new found skill and evolves beyond his penguin-like waddles. Until then, my mother and I are savoring our final days of relative grace and preparing for the coming battle by increasing our fortifications against baby incredible. God be with us.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Power struggle

Yes, its true. Palestinian politics have slowly slithered their way into our household, even at Yousuf's tender age. Its a battle of the minds between baby and grandparents. You see, I left Yousuf alone for no more than 30 seconds today on the bathroom floor after changing him, and I came back only to find him elbow deep in green floor-cleaning gunk (only found in Gaza, by the way, and whose contents are a mystery to everyone. My hunch is its radioactive. As an aside-I'm convinced Yousuf has a gift- he can find highly toxic substances wherever they may lurk. Now I can gloat to all the other moms and drive them mad with jealousy!! My baby had a built-in radar for radioactive cleaning gunk and yours doesn't, nanny nanny nanny!!). Now, being the mother of a stir-crazy overly gregarious 11-month old, I naturally hide these substances far far away from his reach. But tete and sido, who refuse to live by Yousuf's rules ("he's not in charge around here, we are! Why should we change our lifestyle to accomodate HIS needs? what about our needs??"), insist on keeping all cupboards unlocked and all chemicals exposed. And this from a peadiatrician and an OBGYN. Now I'm having a hard time figuring out whose the baby and whose the adult. I'm thinking about building a Separation Wall between the two, or calling in international monitors, but one side refuses to give its consent.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Yousuf...terrified of the killer vaccum Posted by Hello

Monday, February 14, 2005

Help! A vaccum cleaner!

Most children living in a strip of land overrun by trigger happy soldiers, Merkava tanks, and sewage might be afraid of loud noises and machine gun ricochets (that and putrid smelling water). Not Yousuf. Those he tackles fearlessly, having become accustomed to F-16s swooping overhead and the pounding of shells (even while in the womb)

His latest phobia: vaccum cleaners. My father was cleaning the carpets today, and the boy crawled to save his life, wailing in horror, fingernails clenched deep within mother's back. Tanks, bad...vacuum cleaner, good, I tried to explain. Perhaps it was an incident of friendly fire. But how will I explain this to his therapist years from now?

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Wild thing... Posted by Hello

Yousuf tearing apart a tangerine, Gaza style Posted by Hello

A truely Gazan palette

Yet further proof that Yousuf has picked up more of my Gazan roots than his father's Haifa-wy ones : He wolfed down a plate of chicken liver, Gaza style, today. That means LOTS of chilis (those who have been a foot away from a Gaza chili can relate). And he didn't seem to mind them one bit. His father, bear in mind, can barely stomach black pepper, haha. On the other hand, when I attempt to feed him any dairy product (the staple of the North), even if disguised in other foods, he will spit it out in disgust whilst dramatizing his distaste. Another thing I think he picked up from Gaza (besides his voracious appetite) are his manners! He found a tangerine on the floor and ripped it apart-quite literally, before stuffing it in his mouth. *Sigh* I think we're going to have to work on table manners.On another note, his hair is getting of control. and I mean it. Yassine is insisting I let it grow until he seems him again, hopefully next month.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Yousuf (left) in his playpen with cousin Qasem. Posted by Hello

I sit, I play, I 50 cent?

Yesterday, my father placed Yousuf in his playpen while we were having lunch-much to my protest. After I noticed an unsettling quiet, I walked in and found him...*GASP*...playing with his toys!!!! An aside: in the background, a music video of 50 cent's was blaring on the TV (my father seemed to think it was a good idea to have music playing for Yousuf as he sat in the playpen. Most parents opt for baby Mozart, I tried to explain...).

Monday, February 07, 2005

On breastfeeding culture

Interesting article on the American Academy of Pediatrics' new policy towards breastfeeding moms: they should keep their babies close by when nursing them at a young age. Does this sound blatantly obvious or is it just me? How can you NOT have you baby near by when nursing?? I guess its because Americans encourage independence at a very young age (like 1 day old...:) ) whereas in the Middle East, parents are accustomed to sleeping by their baby's side.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

The tribulations of occupation

Well, as per my last post, we are back in Gaza, safe and (arguably) sound. Yousuf's adjusted well, and has taken to his crib, and to his new environs, like an Israeli soldier to his Oakleys. He's also developed an unsettling affinity for strawberries and cucumbers. He'll down a plate of those suckers even if he's had a full meal...I suppose its better than chocolate (given his genetic diposition to the cacoa bean, God be with us when that happens).

An aside on one of the many consequences of occupation here: due to the Israeli closure of the Muntar commerical crossing, though which all goods, guilty pleasures and daily necessities (I concede the line is often blurred), pass, there are no more pampers brand diapers in the supermarkets here! aah!! I've had to go with a cheap local brand in the meantime. *Sigh* these are tough times. (fyi: I do not advocate purchasing Israel products while under their occupation. These pampers are manufactured in Poland).

Eat a strawberry Posted by Hello

Thursday, February 03, 2005

A mother's tear

I have so much to say about the situation in Gaza since I've returned. About the checkpoints that continue to tear the strip apart. About the brutality of occupation manifested in all its forms. But yesterday was different. Yesterday, I visited the family of 11-year-old Noran Iyad Deeb, who was brutally murdered by Israeli snipers in Rafah as she was lining up in her school courtyard. And I cried with her mother. I cried for all of Palestine's children. And for all the mother's who have lost theirs. And I thought of my own baby Yousuf. And I wept even more.