Saturday, November 27, 2010

Waking up to a croupy child

After a very normal day I put Ela to bed last night and was suddenly woken up at 5am in the morning by a very loud barking cough and a crying Ela. She could hardly breathe and found it impossibe to go back to sleep. Opening the window and letting her inhale some cool, fresh air seemed to help a bit but the whole situation was too stressful and we definitely had no control over it. Although I don't like to run to the doc as soon as Ela doesn't feel or look well (Alper usually wants to go immediately), this time I was the one who decided to visit the ER of a nearby children's hospital.
Diagnosis: Croup
The young female doc at the hospital told us to use the humidifier in the other room twice with a half-hour break in between and then she had a last look and sent us home with a prescription for an antibiotic called Macrol...which I didn't give straight away, of course.
A few hours passed and I called Ela's pediatrician who asked for a throat culture the result of which we will get on Monday and if there should really be anything bacterial we will start to use antibiotics then. Croup is caused by a viral infection most of the time. Or it can be caused by an allergy.
Right now, Ela's napping, I opened all the windows at home and lifted up the head of her cot. We will also use a humidifier three times a day.
They say the first croup attack is always the worst (esp. because you're not prepared at all and think your baby is suffocating).
I hope this was also our last attack.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Another 'Mim', that is 'Sobe'...

Here's another 'mim'sobe' sent to me by Asli, the Blogger.
(I wrote about "mims" here)

It's a questionnaire about nurseries...

At what age did you or are you planning to send your child to nursery? Is there any other factor apart from age you're waiting for to send him/her to nursery?
In fact, I'd be fine with her going to nursery tomorrow but that would obviously be a very selfish decision :p
I don't know to be honest...I started kindergarten when I was three. That's how it used to work in Germany. But if Ela seems ready I'd like to start our nursery adventure next year in Sept. when she's 27 months old, half-days, 2-3 times a week. Till then the playgroups we're attending (and maybe some new ones according to what I heard from Isla) will probably suffice.
What's your most important criteria when choosing a nursery for your child? Something that's crucial and if not provided would cause you to prefer in-home care.
I touched this topic before (again in my first 'mim' post here) but very briefly I want to express my dislike for private schools. So many reasons for that like price, students' that is parents' profiles, academic objectives even at very young age, etc.
I want a place that won't be a burden to me, where Ela has fun and enjoys herself & makes some nice friends, teachers are warm & friendly, children are not pushed to 'learn' and their creativity is not going to be killed.
I just found out that vocational schools for girls usually also have a nursery/kindergarten where students who want to become pre-school teachers do their internships and their teachers also work there. I liked this idea and checked out  if there's one where I live. Luckily, there's one with quite a good reputation but where you might need to find a contact to get your child in but that shouldn't be a problem since in small places there's always somebody around who knows the right people ;)
The price for half-day is 265 TL and for full-day 350 TL. Perfect.
Is there any kind of application you haven't seen in Turkish nurseries but would like to see?
I can't really comment on that since the only experience I have is my own time at the kindergarten which was just an ordinary place. I mean, we played games, sang songs, had a huge playground (hmm, maybe this is lacking in many nurseries here, our playground was really big) but nothing extra-ordinary.

Any applications you've frequently come across in Turkish nurseries and find ridiculous?
Too much focus on language teaching. I went to some kindergartens in Istanbul where they even offered two(!) foreign languages. Of course, they're not really teaching anything. Just simple games, songs, role plays and stuff. But I'm still disturbed by the way they promote their institutions; as if before entering primary school the kids would be able to write an academic essay.

If your child goes to nursery, what was the most challenging aspect? If not, what do you think will challenge you most?
I don't like to think about challenges before actually facing them :p

If your child goes to nursery, what's the most positive development you observed in your child? If not, what do you think will nurture his/her development most?
We're spending the biggest amount of our time together with Ela so she will probably become more independent then. Spending time with other kids in a more structured environment will make her become better in sharing, showing respect for others, finding her way, etc. I guess (playgroups already nurture this but nursery will be more effective I suppose).

Today at Saysen...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

German Christmas Bazaar in Izmir

The traditional German Christmas Bazaar takes place on 27th  November from 12.00 onwards at the Guzelbahce Theater in aid of IZMIR SOKAK COCUKLARI (street children in Izmir).

Der traditionelle deutsche Weihnachtsmarkt findet statt am 27. November ab 12.00 Uhr im Theater von Güzelbahçe zugunsten IZMIR SOKAK COCUKLARI (Strassenkinder in Izmir).

Geleneksel Alman Noel Bayramı Kermesi 27 Kasım saat 12.00'dan itibaren İZMİR SOKAK ÇOCUKLARI yararına Güzelbahçe Tiyatrosu'nda yapılacaktır.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Jewel Of Awakening

Teachings and Meditations on Natural Freedom

Click on the image below or go to this link for free download of The Jewel of Awakening

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Awesome Books to read online!

Check out the following two online books:

An Awesome Book!
An Awesome Book of Thanks!

Both were designed for ipad but you can still read them on any screen. Here's more info on The Awesome World Foundation.
Books like this make me want to introduce English to Ela right now although I decided to wait till she's at least 2.5-3 and focus on German till then.
Thanks to Gokhan btw who wrote about them on Nurturia. 

PS: Adults should read these books, too!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What was happening in your life in 2002? (Jennifer Hoffman asking)

The Cycle of Worth and Value

Earlier this month I wrote about the current Venus retrograde cycle, which ends this week. This cycle is important because it is recycling energies and lessons of 2002, as the retrograde sign and degrees are very similar to those that occurred then. What were you doing then, what was happening in your life, what were some of the challenges you were facing and are they repeating themselves at this time? Chances are that you can find similarities in what you are experiencing now and what was happening then and make some profound changes with that information.

We are generous with ourselves when it comes to our life lessons and have many opportunities to experience them, sometimes from multiple angles. Our choice of people and situations is never random and always reflects the lessons that are part of our life path. Although they can be a surprise when they come up, they are simply lessons that we are recycling so we can arrive at another level of understanding. These are the cycles of our lessons and they never vary, even though it is often hard for us to identify them when we are in the cycles.
All of our lessons arise from the core healing that is our life purpose. Whether it's betrayal, abandonment, power, self love, acceptance, or forgiveness (and there are many others), everything in our life is designed to introduce us to some aspect of this lesson. And now that we are at the forefront of energies whose purpose is global transformation on a scale we have never before realized, we have cycles that support our healing and growth (isn't the Universe nice).
What was happening in your life in 2002? What issues were you working on and who was part of them? This Venus retrograde period has been difficult for those who are not aware that a cycle is repeating, less so for those who have noticed the similarities and are using them to complete this cycle. What is different about 2010 versus 2002 is that we can complete these cycles now because the energies support that. So what do you have to do to complete your cycle? How can you release everything that does not support your belief in your power, that you deserve to have everything you wish for and are worthy of joy? This is the time to resolve and let them go. And you can complete a cycle to step into a new and different life path.

Jennifer Hoffman


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Ela's First Zoo Trip

Today was the first day of Eid al-Adha, a four-day religious holiday...and since everybody usually spends the first day visiting relatives and older family members, I saw this as a great opportunity to introduce Ela to the animals at Izmir Dogal Yasam Parki , the relatively new big zoo in Sasali and celebrate our Bayram there . (Alper's parents will have to wait till tomorrow I'm afraid)
We were lucky with the weather, perfectly mild and dry, 21 degrees and partly cloudy. The park is located on a huge area outside of the city.
Some facts:
- there's a lot of space for the animals which is nice for them but not so nice for the visitors since it's hard to spot them.
- there're not too many animals, usually just two of each species...(compared to other zoos I've been before, eg. Frankfurt Zoo)
- the gardens in the zoo are beautiful
- Ela will like it more when she's a bit older, she's not a big fan of park walks (city girl!) plus the distance between animals and the fact that some of them were too far for her to see slightly bored her.
- the entrance fee is so low! Just 2 can't help but think how they manage to survive. The costs of feeding and caring for the animals must be enormous, they probably have very big sponsors.
- cafes could be better
- there're too many playgrounds, which, of course, attract the kids but kind of ruin the zoo trip since kids find it more interesting to swing or slide rather than seeing the animals.

It was a nice day...
beauty queen...

leave me alone!

other beauties...

this one wants to play...

and here's the king...

children's area...


let's go...

this is fun!

brown bear, brown bear, what do you see?

Monday, November 15, 2010

About Ela

I think it's time for an Ela-Update :))
Ela is an almost 17-month-old toddler now and although everything's still pretty much about sleeping-eating-playing habits I can see that my little angel is growing and slowly turning into a  little person.
Sleep patterns are still not ideal but she's usually sleeping from 19:45 till 06:30 with one wake-up sometimes (just to make sure I'm there).  Eating is ok, she likes simple things; oatmeal, cereals, all kinds of cheese, toast, pasta, chicken (esp. boiled), meatballs, french fries (oven-baked), grapes, plums, bananas, sultanas and sundae ice-cream...but no veggies :(
She's able to play more independently now and is also learning to play nicely with other kids thanks to our Iwai playgroup and the new Saysen playgroup.

About Alper & Jan:
I asked Alper for more support since I'm a bit overwhelmed with having Ela all the time and also dealing with all the housework, shopping and cooking stuff. He's ready to do this and just wants me to be specific with the things I want or need.  We also decided to spend every Friday evening really together which means no Internet, no dozing off on the couch, no watching silly stuff on TV but having proper conversations, watching nice (new) movies, enjoying ourselves, basically having fun together again. (I'm especially disturbed by the amount of time I'm spending in front of the computer. And that's why I'm ending this post now :p)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

In the mood for love...

No, I'm not looking for a new man.

I just fell in love with a fragrance I discovered a few days ago...
In the mood for Ferre.
Smells are important to me. Always have been. My favorite aunt in Germany bought me my first perfume when I was around 12 I guess; White Linen by Estee Lauder.
This interest for nice smells probably relies on the fact that my olfactory senses (just like my visual ones) are more dominant.
I very much dislike the smell of air fresheners, eau de cologne, room perfumes and alike.
But I love my perfumes...and interestingly, I can't use the same fragrance twice. When I finish a bottle, I have enough and look for a new love. And I don't just use them before going out, but also before going to bed (which Alper finds quite wasteful btw).
I also love the smell of coffee, freshly mown grass, rain, mandarin oranges, fresh flowers and Ela :)
Here are my most favorite fragrances;
Cerruti 1881
Idole d'Armani
Pleasures by Estee Lauder
Flowers by Kenzo
Mademoiselle by Chanel
Addict by Dior

Monday, November 8, 2010

We like playgroups!

I know that there are different views about playgroups for babies and toddlers. Some say it's vital to teach them how to socialize from the very beginning, others claim it's just a trend and not that much beneficial. I'm actually quite positive and started to take Ela to our IWAI playgroup on a frequent basis when she was 7-8 months old. Last month we also joined a more professional place called Saysen&Partyhouse once a week and Ela really enjoys herself more and more every week and I can also see that this experience is gradually making her more independent (finally!). When I say professional btw I don't mean it's a highly educational care center with top quality teachers who're doing sophisticated activities with the kids. There're many many things that could be better; like being more attentive to how kids react to activities, whether they're bored or show interest and act accordingly rather than changing them every 5 min. even if the kids are having fun. But what's important to me is that Ela is enjoying herself and playing nicely for the whole 90 min. and then showing me the leaflet the whole week to tell me she wants to go back :))
I like our playgroups and I'm grateful that we have them. Both for Ela and myself!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Beautiful pictures for your kids' bedroom walls

A very talented Turkish mom and artist has just opened a space where she's going to sell her lovely pictures for children's bedrooms (or anywhere you want!)  For now it's just within Turkey...but who knows what happens ;))
All pictures are beautiful but my favorite is actually her blog header (weren't able to copy it here).
You can ask for all kinds of animals, characters, colors, favorite toys, etc....
You will also be sent a preview for approval.
Orders to be sent to:
Prices vary between 20 TL - 40 TL for pictures on sale  now, but it really depends on the size and how much time and effort is spent.
Frames are not included since she's currently living in a city where this is unfortunately not available :)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Do spiritual teachers really practice what they preach?

During the last ten years I've met many so-called spiritual teachers and/or gurus and a few of them were really wise, knowledgable, enlightening and purifying. But even those "real" gurus, or maybe especially the real ones still tend to keep or even develop a very high ego and start to do or say things that are so out of line.
When you are such a guru and decide to share your wisdom and knowledege with others and start offering courses and classes (at very expensive prices) and call these courses "Blablabla-Practitioner" courses you should be prepared that some of your students decide to follow your path and become a "guru", too.
A real teacher, in my opinion, should be happy to see such a development and encourage it rather than trying to prevent any attempts of this kind.
I'm not talking about myself (yet), since I've just started to work on what exactly I want to do in the future (spiritual guidance), but I'm hearing many things about my quantum thinking technique teacher, for instance...about how he treats people who attend his certified courses and then decide to make use of the given information and he goes to them and says "You can't use this, you don't have the right.." Why is he so afraid? What causes the big fear that others might become as 'big' as him?
I guess, the answer to that is not that difficult. It's the vicious cycle of earning more and more money the 'bigger' you become. In the course of time, money becomes the main goal and the fear of losing even one customer(!) is enough to become an ego-driven person.
I'm still very thankful. I believe he's a special man and can't be grateful enough for the things I learned. I wish he had stayed the same person though but this is his path I suppose and he probably should have a closer look at the people he's surrounded with and their effects on him.
Here's another article on this subject.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My first "Mim"

There's this nice tradition among Turkish mommy bloggers to "mim" each other (mim literally means putting the finger on sb but here it's about getting to know other bloggers more and it actually stands for asking a question or opening a topic and then choosing other bloggers to answer the question or write about the same topic. It's like chatting among blogs :p)
My first mim's question is "If you had an extra 10.000 TL , how would you spend it for your little one?"
(10.000 TL roughly makes $ 7000)
First of all I'd keep the money for another few months, maybe years, since currently there's no need to spend any money for Ela. I'm not planning to travel anytime soon nor can I send her to any class or course since she's too little. BUT when she's 2.5-3 years old, I would spend the first few hundred Liras for our first trip to Germany and buy her the fanciest and newest things for kids that I wouldn't be able to get in Izmir. And then I would plan for another trip...and another...and another...
Traveling is one thing I really want to do a lot with Ela when she's a bit older since I believe that it teaches and develops children (just like adults) in so many ways and gives them the sense of being global, seeing and learning about new cultures and simply different places and people (and languages).
Secondly, if any money is still left (which I doubt) I would spend it for sports and art classes/courses since I decided a long time ago that I would like to send my child to a state school at primary level. And state schools here, more or less like everywhere actually, unfortunately, don't offer too many of these. So I'd start with a gymnastics course when she's three, then maybe ballet, an instrument she likes, horse-riding, etc. etc....anything she shows interest in and is also talented in, of course.
The decision not to send her to a private school might change, of course. But when I was working for Pearson Longman, I had the chance to visit almost every single private school in Turkey and also all state schools teaching English and/or German and according to this experience private schools focus so much on language teaching (but unfortunately mainly on grammar rather than speaking and writing) that in the end, most of the students, even after several years, can't speak or write  it properly. They also tend to neglect the other subjects and there's also the fact that private school teachers have one-year-contracts which means they change very quickly which is not very good esp. for younger students. In fact, in one school which is supposed to be one of the elite schools in Turkey I had to translate for a teacher when we visited them with a book author(!) Interestingly, this doesn't apply to German or French schools but the ones in Izmir are either too far or too expensive.
State schools, on the other hand, lack all the rich activities, of course...and can also be very crowded. That's why I will look for "Pilot  Schools" where there's a maximum number of 24 per classroom, better facilities, better teachers and education, in general.

The last few sentences have been totally irrelevant to the subject of this post, I know ;)) But I guess I had the urge to write about it right now!

Here are a few shots from today's Saysen Playgroup...

Never give up, it's such a wonderful life

Monday, November 1, 2010

What's going on?

For the last two weeks I have heard about so many accidents (traffic accidents, bike accidents, father-in-law falling and breaking his hip)and illnesses (esp. diarrhea and stomach problems) that I'm pretty sure there's a certain reason for all this.
The last news was from my dad in Istanbul. He also had a stomach problem yesterday and couldn't/didn't eat much the whole day. Then, when he woke up to pee at night he passed out on the corridor and fell hard on the floor (interestingly, my mom had removed the carpets yesterday). My mom was shocked to see some blood on his head and more importantly he wasn't conscious. She called a neighbor and luckily he woke up soon. He refused to go to the ER and, strangely enough, he woke up this morning feeling better than he did in a long time. As if he needed to pass out.
That's how I felt when I fell a few weeks ago, too. As if I needed a shake.
Is that what it's all about?
Being shook, being gone & coming back, being re-born???
There are several astrological/spiritual/metaphysical ideas/claims/reports/stories.
I also have the feeling that this is about balancing male & female energies.
November will obviously be an interesting month!
PS: According to Quantum Thinking stomach problems are caused by fears.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?

On one of the blogs I follow (click) I just saw a link to the story behind the famous children's book "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?" Ela is still just looking at the photos and likes it when I sing the song but I'm looking foward to when she can actually sing and read it herself. I liked to hear this story, esp. because one could easily think it's just a simple book.