Sunday, April 30, 2006

The only one getting any sleep around here

No baby yet, but I still somehow got woken up every 90 minutes all night last night. MHH and I got to bed at around midnight, both of us really ready to sleep after kind of a long day. At 1:15 or so the cat threw up (she's a longhair, it's spring, if you have a cat you know that drill) with a fearsome ack! ack! ack! right in our bedroom. Of course, after you hear that you have to get up and find the cat vomit with paper towels in hand before you find it in the dark with bare feet. Then we went to sleep. An hour and a half later, Barak woke up screaming. And then again. And again. And then the cat again. And then Barak again. And every time I got woken up, I'd start timing contractions, and between Wednesday and today they still haven't gotten any closer together or any stronger, despite the numbers the midwife gave me on Friday being somewhere that the pregnancy books say mean I should be having the baby basically any second now.

This morning, we were all tired and cranky, and decided, despite the rain, to go to the bagel store for breakfast. Which we did, stopping at the seforim store on the way back for a new havdalah candle and a new Uncle Moishy CD before I completely lose my mind listening to the one that Barak wants me to play 24/6. And of course, ten minutes before we got home, it got very quiet in the stroller--Barak had totally passed out, his hat down over his eyes and a chunk of bagel in each hand. Quick diaper change, into the crib, and that was, umm, three hours ago, and he's still in his crib and STILL not napping, even though he is totally exhausted. But he's just going back and forth between crying/whining and sitting there chatting with his monkey brigade.


And did I mention it's pouring rain? I guess I could give up and go take him out of his crib, but he's not going to suddenly get un-tired, and he's not going to be a whole lot of fun this afternoon. So much for getting lots of sleep before the baby comes. Of course, at this rate, the baby won't get here until Shavuos...

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The newest member of the family

No baby yet, but in the meantime, here's who's keeping the crib warm...

Sunday, April 23, 2006


Barak turned two today, according to the English calendar. Ordinarily we would celebrate his birthday next Sunday, when he turns two according to the Hebrew calendar, but given the timing, well, it didn't seem like the best idea to wait another week.

So we had an ice cream cake, with his name on it, and some friends came over to sing happy birthday and share the goodies. Barak got an Elmo balloon, three board books, and a friend for Monkey from Abba and Imma; his friends brought him a Mr. Potato Head, which was received with great excitement and even trumped the offer of a trip to the park. A good time, as they say, was had by all.

I've been cleaning and organizing all day. The only room left is the guest/loom room, which is actually the most important since it is the room Barak's honorary grandma will stay in when she comes after IY"H the baby arrives. Of course, I left it for last, and now I've totally run out of steam. Well, the baby will just have to wait till I've gotten to it, then. I'm sure s/he understands.

I feel much less silly now, thanks.

So, yom tov.

Yom tov was nice. I'm glad it's over, but it was nice. Except, you know, for the throwing up part.

(You could stop reading now, or just skip a few paragraphs.)

Tuesday night, after licht, both MHH and I started feeling a little sick. After midnight sometime, he said, "I think I'm going to throw up." I beat him to it, and we took turns being really really sick most of the night. Stomach virus, something we ate, who knows. I can't complain too much--this is, bli ayin hara, the first time I've thrown up this entire pregnancy. So what if it's in my ninth month?

Wednesday morning, MHH is feeling better. I'm not. My stomach really really hurts, and the cramps just won't go away. And of course I start thinking, hmm, that fetal fibronectin test that says I won't deliver in two weeks expires at, uh, noon, wasn't it? Could I be in labor? No, I don't think I'm in labor. What if I'm in labor? No, I really don't feel like I'm in labor. It's just stomach cramps. Yeah, but what if...?

By dinnertime, the thought occurred to me that if it hadn't been yom tov, I would have called the midwife at, oh, I don't know, 8 am. So I picked up the phone (with a shinui) and had the answering service page a midwife. She called, I picked up the phone and told her what was going on. "Go to the hospital and get them to put you on a monitor. I'll call and let them know you're coming." "Well, I can't leave right now, my husband's out and my son is asleep. And I really don't think I'm in labor." "I really don't think you should wait." Um. Okay.

I did wait till MHH got home, and then I called a cab (remember, this is yom tov, when you only do things like this in life-or-death situations, so I'm feeling pretty weird about this--I mean, it probably is just a bug, because my husband had it too, but my midwife told me to go the hospital without delay, and you're not supposed to mess around with asking shailas when you're pregnant, so I know I'm doing the right thing, but still, it's so WEIRD to be riding down the street in a cab on yom tov, and okay, this is a pretty long parenthetical musing so I'll stop now.)

I got to the hospital, and amused myself at the information desk by saying to the lady, "One guess what I'm looking for." She directed me to labor and delivery and off I went. (I left MHH at home with Barak--I told him that if they were going to keep me, I'd have them call the babysitter, and if she showed up, he'd know I was having a baby and could take it from there.)

They were very nice, and put me on the monitor, and sure enough, I was having contractions, but as I told them the minute I walked in, I wasn't in labor. Contractions probably from dehydration, the doctor told me. Lots of fluids, try to rest, come back when they're five minutes apart. By the next morning, they'd stopped completely, so there you go.

Okay. That's the background to the really good story here.

On Friday, I went to see my midwife. Let's call her, I don't know, Fran. I really like Fran. She is nice. She knows I've been to the hospital, although she wasn't the one I talked to when I called. So she takes a look, and says, ooh, you're dilated, and tells me how much. (At 36.5 weeks, this is okay.) I told her I had felt a little silly going to the hospital. She said no, it was very sensible. Want to hear how I had my first?

Age 20, she was living in Italy with her husband, a grad student. They were there for a year, and didn't have a phone in their apartment. She was pregnant and close to her due date when she picked up some kind of a stomach bug. Throwing up, diarrhea, the works. She had some really bad stomach cramps and got worried. Maybe I'm in labor? I don't think I'm in labor. But these really hurt. (Sound familiar?) So she sent her husband upstairs to the neighbors' to call the midwife. The midwife, as midwives are wont to do, told her husband to time the contractions for fifteen minutes and call back. Her husband came downstairs and told her this, and tossed the keys on the bed. (You know where this is heading, don't you.) She really felt like something was happening and sent him back up to call the midwife. And you guessed it, as soon as he was out of the apartment, she realized she needed to push. Out came the baby. So there she is, lying on the floor in all the blood, tipping the baby upside down to clear his mouth, when her husband comes back downstairs. He is, of course, locked out of the apartment. What does he hear? He hears a baby inside, crying. So of course, he pounds on the door for Fran to let him in, bringing the entire population of the apartment building running to their apartment, and Fran, dripping blood and holding the baby with the umbilical cord still hanging out of her, had to get up and open the door.

So, you know, I feel a lot better about going to the hospital on yom tov now.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

You know you are a mother when

you spend the last thirty minutes before licht on a two-day Yom Tov in the basement, next to the dryer, checking every two minutes to make sure that the monkey from which your son has become inseparable and which he just dropped into the bathtub is surviving its time on Delicate/Air Fluff without too much trauma, and will be dry at least to the point of snugglability by bedtime.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Shul etiquette

A little more commentary on the previous post, for anyone who has never been to services at an Orthodox shul...

Orthodox services are very different from services at a church or even a Reform synagogue. For one thing, they are much longer. On an ordinary Shabbos morning at an ordinary shul, services are around two and a half hours long, and then there's afternoon and evening services on top of that--another hour and something. On holidays, morning services can go three or even four or five hours, and on Yom Kippur they can go all day--one year I was in shul from 9 am till 8:15 pm, with only a 45-minute break in the middle (and it was too far to walk home). And unlike in churches, the emphasis is not on attending the service, but on praying the service--you are not fulfilling your obligation by just sitting there. So if you are a little slower or a little faster than whoever's leading, you might find yourself catching up or waiting when you get to the parts that should be prayed with a minyan (quorum). Being late is not a good idea, but it's very common, and women especially tend to turn up quite late--no one will look at you funny if you come even ten minutes before the end of services, if you've got children in tow.

If you're not used to it, an orthodox service can, at times, look like a free-for-all. People are walking in and walking out, forty people are sitting while six are standing, everybody's doing their own mumbling, and some of them are off in the back pacing back and forth and, apparently, not paying attention to anybody. Every so often, everybody goes totally silent, then responds to whoever's leading for a while, and then it goes back to every man for himself. And of course, it's all in Hebrew. (Except for the prayer for the government, sometimes. An aside: when I went to shul for the first time in England I almost fell out of my seat when I heard the cantor suddenly intone, in the midst of all that was familiar, "May the Lord bless our sovereign lady, Queen Elizabeth; Philip, Duke of Edinburgh; Charles, Prince of Wales; and all the royal family...")

It might seem chaotic. But there are still some very definite rules of decorum. You're not supposed to talk (not that nobody does, obviously, but it's frowned on--just how much varies by shul). Children can get up out of their seats within reasonable limits--those limits being, you don't disturb anybody else. Obviously, you don't break Shabbos--no pagers unless you're a medical professional on call, and even then you'd better have yours set to vibrate. You can come and go, at most points of the service, if you do it quietly, but don't do it during the rabbi's talk or Torah reading. And if your small child starts making noise, you remove him or her. Immediately. Ditto if your small child or baby needs a clean diaper. And keeping kids quiet with lollipops etc. is fine, but feeding them lunch in the sanctuary is not. Obviously, again, all of this varies with what shul you go to, but I think those rules hold most places, most of the time.

Generally, the way people get their kids to learn to sit in shul is not by bringing toys or distractions, but by starting to bring them for just a few minutes at the end, and then bringing them for longer and longer periods of time as they can handle it. (It helps that shul is generally followed by kiddush, which involves grape juice and cookies.) When they're big enough, they get their own baby versions of a prayerbook, and then the emphasis is on their own obligation to pray, not their obligation to sit quietly. The job of a child in shul is never "sit quietly through the whole service." So for Barak to sit (mostly) and be quiet for a good half hour, when I was perfectly happy to take him to the playroom instead at an time--and he knew it--was what was really surprising. He just liked hanging out in shul, and listening to the cantor, and watching the people.

And he likes whispering, too. When he bonked his head on the back of one of the seats, you could see him catching himself and remembering not to cry--instead, he looked at me, pointed at his head, and very theatrically whispered, "Ouch!"

Was there a point to this post? Probably, but I can't remember what it was. Oh well. Moadim l'simcha, everyone.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Oo oo oo!

This post is going to be about monkeys.

I know, I was going to blog about taking Barak to shul. But I don't really feel like devoting a whole post to it. (Hey, it's my blog.)

Short version: I took him to shul on the second day of yom tov and he was incredibly well behaved. He sat nicely and/or played quietly right near me for a good half hour. It was early, and the women's section was pretty empty, so we had a whole row of theater seats to ourselves, and when he was done sitting, he quietly and industriously raised and lowered the seats one at a time, not straying from our row. When he heard the cantor start, he looked up with interest, and got into my lap for a better view (not that he could actually see over the mechitza, but I guess he was hoping). And then he sat there through the whole silent amida. No noise, no distracting anybody who was praying. If he wanted to tell me something, he whispered, and when he was ready to go, he put his mouth to my ear and told me. And then he held my hand nicely on the way out, and waved bye-bye at the invisible cantor as we left. Lots of little old ladies saw him. They all kvelled. I tried not to grin like a silly idiot. End of story. (Oh, okay, and the rabbi of that shul is my husband's boss, and he was on the bimah watching my son being incredibly well behaved. Could it have been better? Methinks not.)

In fairness, I will confess that there was much screaming and even some banana-flinging that afternoon. But he was really good at shul, and it made me very very happy. Kein ayin hara, etc. etc.)

There you go--that's the kitzer version of Barak Goes to Shul.

On to the subject of the day.

Barak is very into monkeys. Not sure why. But he definitely loves monkeys. He has a tiny little toy monkey that he likes, and whenever he sees a picture of a monkey he perks up and says, "Monkey! Oo oo oo!" Today, his babysitter took him to the little zoo in the park near us (they've got a couple of sheep, a cow or two, llamas, a swan and a duckpond). When he came back, I asked him what he saw. "Animals!" I asked him which animals. "Did you see a cow!" No, apparently not. "Monkey! Oo oo oo!" Wishful thinking...

Later this afternoon, when I was done working for the day, all three of us went for a walk and a little minor shopping. We stopped in at the drugstore to print out some pictures from the camera, whick Barak and I did while MHH was off looking at something else. On the way through the store to find him so we could go pay, we passed the big clearance box, and what did I see but one of those big Beanie Baby stuffed animals. On clearance for five dollars. And it was a monkey. I don't do a lot of impulse toy buying--our apartment is too small--but I couldn't resist. I handed the monkey to Barak. His mouth dropped open. "Monkey! MONKEY! Oo oo oo!" Oh, he was so happy. He showed me the monkey. He showed me that the monkey had hands, and feet, and a tummy. He said thank you without prompting. And he clutched the monkey all the way home. When he got to his room, monkey still in tow, he put the monkey in the stroller and pushed him around the house, and when it was time to go to bed, he took the monkey in his crib with him.

I mentioned in my last post, I think, that it usually takes Barak at least an hour to go to sleep; it also usually takes many rounds of "book!" and "water!" and "kiss!" and "Imma!" Getting Barak to sleep, with or without screaming, is a major undertaking. But not tonight. Tonight, a mere ten minutes into my book, I heard the unmistakable sounds of Barak snoring. No way, I thought, and gingerly got up to have a look. Sure enough, Barak and his new friend were snuggled together under the blanket, completely out. And no, he wasn't especially tired, or anything like that. He had just... gone right to sleep.

Okay, I won't assume that the bedtime drama is now a thing of the past, or even that this is ever going to happen again. But it would be nice, wouldn't it?

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Al ha'nissim

Okay, that's usually associated with Chanuka, not Pesach, but for this year, it fits. We are very very grateful for the miracle that has been this Pesach.

The Thursday night before last, as I've mentioned, a midwife who wasn't mine sprung me from bedrest--after I'd had a night of contractions (which, obviously, stopped short of real labor). On Tuesday I went in for an appointment, and (my own) midwife had a look and said, "Well, those contractions did something." She advised me to put Pesach food in my hospital bag. She advised me of this fairly strongly. And she also suggested that whatever I'd been doing that weekend, I desist, unless I really wanted a baby to show up in the next few days.

What I'd been doing, naturally, was climbing around on my kitchen counters with shelf paper, clearing out chametz, relocating kitniyos and dishes, and spiriting the (chametzdik) Play-Doh out of the kitchen without Barak noticing. (He did not notice the process of disappearance, but did notice the absence, moping around the kitchen asking hopefully, "Doh-doh? Doh-doh? Doh-doh yeah?")

The sudden re-curtailment of activity meant that my devious plan of having everything completely done by Wednesday night and not eating matza and cheese for seders was rudely derailed. I had a kosher l'Pesach kitchen--with absolutely no cooked food. At least the kitchen was clean, though--the whole house had been cleaned, the kitchen had been "turned over" with the help of Marika neni and a friend's teenage daughter, and everything was sparkly. Wonderful in and of itself, yes, but not fully adequate to three days of yom tov.

Enter two of my husband's fellow teachers, who came to the rescue by turning up at our house a few hours before licht with what they said was a meal each, but was actually enough to keep us well and happily fed for all three days of yom tov. Oh, and there are still three unopened foil pans of food in the freezer. The largesse even included everything we needed for the seder plate, and another teacher brought by four pounds of shmura matza (which, added to the four pounds we already had, produced quite the matza glut. Anyone short a few pounds of hand shmura? Let us know.) It was amazing. I just didn't know what to say, beyond "thank you," over and over again.

On Wednesday, I found myself in the joyous position of lighting candles in a shiny clean house, with delicious food that I had not cooked in the oven AND the fridge AND the freezer, everybody bathed and dressed, all the laundry done, the matzo and grape juice and charoses and maror and haggadahs and everything else just where they were supposed to be. Oh, and I wasn't in labor. It was good. It was beyond good.

And so we all had a good chag, and I think Barak had fun. One of the challenges of observant Jewish parenting is raising children who not only put up with, but enjoy and look forward to, Shabbos and yom tov (holidays). A two-day yom tov in conjunction with Shabbos can mean three days of no cars, no lights, no shopping, no TV, no drawing or painting, no electronic toys, no a lot of things. You don't want your kids to focus on the "no" part--you want them to focus on the liberating aspect of those nos. So you make sure that Shabbos involves lots of the things that make kids happy--parental attention, a little extra leniency in what's permitted and not permitted, and the ever-necessary Shabbos treats, consisting of whatever the kid in question likes best. For a not-quite-two-year-old like Barak, Shabbos means lots of one-on-one time with a (relatively) undistracted Imma, visits to the shul playroom, and, of course, the all-time favorites--ice cream at dinner and, during the day, a cookie or two.

Since daylight savings time kicked in and Shabbos dinner became too late for Barak to sit through, we've adjusted our schedule somewhat. Friday night for Barak now goes dinner, bath, pajamas, return to high chair in kitchen; Imma lights candles, and Barak gets a bowl of ice cream before he goes to bed. And not a parsimonious bowl, either--we're talking a good half-cup-size serving, as much as I would have myself. It only comes once a week, and it is probably the highlight of his toddler existence.

So, this past Friday night, he got his kosher l'Pesach ice cream. Shabbos morning, lots of books and attention, then lunch, then nap, then a trip to the park with Abba and Imma. We all walked the four blocks there and back, and Barak went down the spiral slide by himself for the first time (and the second, and the third, and the fourth...) After an hour or so (I sat, Barak played, Abba chased), half a brownie was produced, effectively luring Barak from playground without protest. He asked for more, I told him he could have more at home, and he happily and cooperatively walked the four blocks back, holding both our hands the whole way and waiting patiently while we talked whenever we ran into people we knew. We got home, and all sat in his room playing and reading books until dinnertime; dinner for Barak consisted of matzo with cashew butter, sliced cucumbers and peppers, and a cup of milk. And then I did Barak's favorite bedtime routine, which involves my sitting in his room with my book while he falls asleep with his book--a process that can (and, tonight, did) take up to an hour and a half.

Oh, but it was worth it. Because lying in his crib with his copy of "Is Your Mama A Llama," Barak decided to review the events of the day. Quietly, and thoughtfully, addressing himself mostly to his blanket and the side of his crib. Substantially condensed, it went sort of like this:

"Shabbos. Shabbos. Yeah? Yeah? Shabbos. Yeah. [Pause.] Shabbos. Park. Park. Yeah? Park. Yeah? Park. Walk. Park. Yeah. Yeah. Shabbos. Cookie! Yummy. Cookie yummy cookie yummy. Yeah. Yeah. Park. Shabbos. [Pause.] Shabbos. Shabbos. [Dreamily.] Ikeem!"

I think he's got the association down pretty well. Next post: Barak goes to shul.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

The haul

So, what did you find while cleaning for Pesach?

Just in the kitchen, I turned up a long-missing pair of baby nail clippers, two double-pointed tens and a seven (knitting needles, for those scratching their heads), countless pens and unidentified keys, my pocketknife, six euros, forty forint, three shekel, and a lot of dead batteries.

Oh, and one large chunk of honest-to-goodness bread, hiding under the booster seat. Ka-ching.

And you?

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Reality sinks in

I have four days until Pesach. But not really.

According to the calendar, I have four, but I don't. In reality, I have one day and three evenings, counting tonight. In order to take Thursday and Friday off, I have to work full days on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. The no-chametz status crashes into effect midmorning Wednesday, which means that essentially everything has to be done by then. I'll be home, but I'll be working. True, I won't have the commute time and I can rush around doing things a little during the day, but there will be no major productivity. So the kitchen needs to get turned over--meaning, transformed from chametz to Pesach status--tomorrow. Any cooking that will be done has to happen on Monday and Tuesday nights. And Pesach, ready or not, will be here Wednesday night.

I'm glad I'm not still on bedrest, obviously. But now I have a day and three evenings to do what, ordinarily, I would have been working on for weeks. It's not that I'm starting from scratch (chas v'shalom); thanks to Marika neni, the living room, hall, and all three bedrooms are now chametz-free. In accordance with our LOR (not Lord of the Rings--Local Orthodox Rabbi), we don't worry about the bathrooms. The closets are done. It's just the kitchen that's left.

"Just" the kitchen. Riiiight.

Friday, April 07, 2006


A bissel pre-Pesach humor here.


So, the midwife who got paged when I called in the middle of the night called me back at 7 pm last night, just to check up on me. How nice is that? Something else that never ever happened when I was pregnant with Barak and using a big university-hospital OB practice. She told me, in short, that they were no longer concerned that I'd deliver any time soon, and I could do whatever I wanted.

"Really, whatever I want?" I asked, somewhat incredulously. You mean, I've gone from "don't you dare move a muscle" to "sure, take your kid to the park"? Apparently so. The interesting (or annoying, or frustrating, or whatever, however you look at it) thing about all of this is that one of the other midwives told me that she probably would never have put me on bedrest in the first place. The whole thing is so controversial, whether it even works at all. It's sure not restful--I feel a lot better now than I did when I was lying down all day and every muscle ached. And Barak is a much happier little boy than he was two days ago, now that Imma is back in commission.

Oh, gee, and speaking of Barak--it's been a while since we've had an update. In brief: he can now count to 5, with occasional bursts of accuracy, and help me sing the ABC song (he even knows W! why does that impress me so much?) He has several real sentences, including, predictably, "I don't want it!" and "I do it!" Ring a bell with anyone who's ever had a toddler?

Current goal in life is avoiding ever getting dressed. Favorite foods have not changed much, though he's gotten more open-minded about what cereal he gets for breakfast (good thing too, since he's about to get Pesach-Os.) He now calls me "Imma" instead of "Amma," and the cat is now "Emese" instead if "Amama." (Yes, the cat and I used to be one syllable apart. And she got the extra syllable, too.) He can make his own lego towers, loves Play-Doh, and has started giving me hugs with a running start. Mmm. My favorite.

The one nice thing about the whole bedrest episode is that I'm now cleared to work at home until the baby comes. I mentioned to my boss earlier that I might get off bedrest weeks before the baby came, and she said, "Well, do you want to be commuting in your ninth month?" Er, no, I don't, now that you mention it. So now I'm working at home for the duration, going in just for meetings if necessary. Not sure it was worth it just for that, but I'll take the perk.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

How to get your tests results back in the middle of the night

An hour or so of contractions strong enough to double you over, that's how.

I tried the usual advice--drank water, lay down on my side, took a warm bath. Nothing helped. So I called the OB office and had them page my midwife at around midnight. "How many an hour?" "Three or four, but they're strong." "Well, your fetal fibronectin is negative, so don't worry about it. If your water breaks or you see blood, that's different, but you're not in labor."

Well, that's good, I thought. And then we talked a little bit about my history and why she wasn't worried, and she mentioned offhandedly,

"You can have contractions like that for weeks."

Excuse me???

"Yeah, it's miserable when it happens. If it gets unbearable try a little Tylenol."

Tylenol. Right...

Well, anyway, the good news is that I'm unlikely to have a baby before 36 weeks, so I'm basically in the clear--36 weeks is still early, but nobody is going to tell me to stay on bedrest to try to put the baby off past that. (Watch, I'll go to 42 weeks and they'll have to induce me...) And I felt much better this morning, too.

I couldn't nail her down on exactly what I can and can't do right now, but I definitely don't have to be in bed all the time, and I can pick up Barak, and I can go to the grocery store and cook dinner, although not, it has been suggested, on the same day. I'm not supposed to go back to work, though, and was warned against getting bright ideas about making Pesach by myself in a week. Of course, Pesach is coming whether I'm ready or not, but there is a middle ground between "eating matzo and cheese on seder nights and doing a mechira on half the house" and "making Pesach just the way bubbe does." I think the middle ground will at least involve chicken soup and matzo balls.

Which I will not have to eat reclining, unless I want to.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

howls of frustration

So, last Friday I went to the midwife and based on how things looked, she cleared me to be vertical a lot more--still resting, but sitting more than lying down. (Ergo the last two lengthy blog posts--I can type!! woohoo!) A big improvement, but still a major crimp in the pre-Pesach employed-outside-the-home mother-of-toddler lifestyle.

Today I went back. I'm 34 weeks, which is a much more comfortable place to be if I were to deliver now, but it still would be very far from ideal. The midwife (not my usual one--she's on vacation this week) did a fetal fibronectin test, which, if negative, would indicate that I'd have less than a 1% chance of delivering in the next two weeks. A negative would therefore mean, as she put it, that I could move from "bedrest to taking-it-easy rest." Sounds much better to me! I asked when the results would be in (it's always been a couple of hours in the past) and she said she was going home so wouldn't be able to call me. I asked if I could just call the office before five to find out, and she said fine.

So at 4:45 I called. And I got the machine, saying, "Thank you for calling [our wonderful] obstetric practice. Our hours are Monday through Friday, 8 am through 4:30 pm."

ARGH!!!!! I need to wait fifteen hours to find out if I can cook for Pesach, or if it's going to be a week of matza and cheese?!?! noooooo...

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Every. Single. Year.

I am unlike most Orthodox women in a number of ways. Most don't own spinning wheels or looms, for one. Most don't have purple living room walls. And hardly any have cats.

I have a cat--adopted from the animal shelter nine years ago, early in grad school. I'd wanted a cat more or less my whole life. My mother, when I campaigned relentlessly for a cat, always said the same thing: "When you grow up and you have your own apartment, and your own furniture, you can have as many cats as you want." So the week after I moved from a co-op into an apartment, I made a beeline for the SPCA, and took home a small furry bundle of neuroses that I named Emese. (Oh, and I called my mother and said, "Hey Mom, remember what you told me I could do as soon as I was a grownup with my own apartment? Well, I did it." She didn't remember, and was very relieved to find out it was only "get a cat.")

Anyway, I like Emese a lot. She is more neurotic than I am, which is saying something. She's very soft and cuddly, likes to sleep on my bed, and is quite well behaved--no jumping up on tables or anything like that. She tolerates Barak and occasionally even allows him to pet her. She is, in short, a good cat.

But even the best cat has to eat. And almost all cat foods contain chometz (leaven). And it's going to be Pesach next week. And we don't have any kosher l'pesach cat food.

Bedrest doesn't enter into it. We do this EVERY YEAR. Every year, we remember about a week before Pesach that she needs kosher l'pesach cat food. Every year, we discover, as if for the first time, that the only kosher l'pesach dry cat food is Science Diet. And every year, we discover, as if for the first time, that Science Diet is really hard to find and is NEVER available in walking distance. I've been known to spend six hours on the subway to get it. That was when we lived in New York and had trekking to Brooklyn available as an option. Right now, well, it's not happening.

So what did I just do? I just went online and found a kosher l'pesach dry food, found a place that delivered it, and spent more money than I am willing to admit to get it delivered here by (I hope) next week. Yes, I know that Friskies wet food is okay for Pesach, but after a few days of eating just that she starts to throw up. Dry food is necessary.

And if you're reading this and are a certain honorary grandmother of Barak who isn't too fond of cats, and are thinking that they really aren't worth all this trouble, well... you may be right. But she's sitting on the bed next to me looking cute, so I won't tell her I said so.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Why We Do Not Have a TV

I have never owned a television. I've lived with the televisions of housemates, but never my own. When we got married, it took MHH and me about half a minute to agree that we weren't going to have a television. The reasons against were too many to count.

I now have one more. Since this bedrest thing, since I haven't been able to sit up enough to do much knitting/blogging/anything, I decided to subscribe to Netflix to keep myself from going stark raving mad. I put the DVDs in my laptop and I can watch them in bed.

On Friday, I went to the midwife and came back feeling like I really, really needed to be lying down. MHH took Barak out for a walk before Shabbos, so that I wouldn't have a small person climbing on me while I tried to be good. When they got back, Barak came running into my room and found--Imma in bed, watching a movie on the computer.

Now, before I continue, I need to point something out here. Barak LOVES books. We have books all over the house and he has a good collection of board books in addition to whatever we have out from the library. He goes to bed with a book and naps with a book. You can nearly always talk him out of doing things you don't want him to do by offering to read books. Books, for Barak, are very, very big.

Okay, so, back to Friday. Barak climbed up in bed with me and my computer. It was half an hour till Shabbos, and MHH had a lot to do, so he asked if it was okay to leave Barak with me. Fine, I said. Barak snuggled up against me, and after a quick check behind the laptop screen to see if the little people on the computer were visible back there, he settled in to watch the last 20 minutes of what I was watching. If he saw an animal, he told me; if he saw a baby, he let me know that too. He was totally fascinated. And then it ended.

"More!" he pleaded. "No, Barak, it's all done," I told him. "No more."

"Watch! More watch!"

"No, it's all done. Do you want to read a book? Go get me a book, and I'll read you a book."

And here, in three words, is why we will never, bli neder, have a TV. Barak's response:

"No read! Watch!"