Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Purchase decisions

I think I can fairly say that I am pretty careful about money. I'm not as thrifty as I might be, not by a long shot, but I think I'm pretty good. I have never carried a credit card balance. We pay cash for almost everything and had no debt when we bought our home. B"H, we put extra money toward mortgage principal every month. We put significant chunks of our paychecks into retirement accounts. We don't have cable TV or go to movies or restaurants other than the pizza and bagel shops. Almost all our furniture is inherited or bought used, almost everything we wear is bought in the twice-yearly LL Bean clearance (if it was never in style, it can't go out of style, and it wears forever), and I will happily make multiple trips on foot to the drugstore to buy dozens of packages of diapers if I can save a few bucks on each. And almost all of Barak's books and toys are either gifts or from yard sales; most of his clothes are either from Target or Value City (with the exception of the things I made or got at the LL Bean clearance).

We both have our fiscal weaknesses. MHH likes to buy seforim, and since I know they make him happy I rarely say no. I even bought him a whole Chumash Malbim for his birthday. I like to knit, and I still buy yarn even though it would take me a decade to knit everything I already have. And I buy diet coke by the single can, only one can at a time, which is phenomenally stupid given that I drink a can every day, but when I keep it in the house I go through it like water so I figure that the extra fifty cents is a reasonable investment in my health.

Anyway, the point being that the unjustifiable purchase of kitchen toys is an extremely rare event around here.

But I'm about to buy a stand mixer.

I've wanted a stand mixer for over half my life--since I started baking bread in a serious way in junior high school. (Oy. Closer to two-thirds of my life.) Never could afford one. I never felt that I could justify the expense, since there have always been (and will always be) more pressing expenses.

Right now, my bread machine is out of commission, and since it is flaking Teflon out of the bread pan I don't want to use it anyway. The bakery is good, but does not sell whole wheat challah, which is what MHH likes. I simply do not have the time to knead all our bread by hand. And right now, Mr. Gassy Boy is sleeping happily, because all I ate all day was, well, bread and half a hot dog and some cheese (not all at the same time.) I think I'm going to be eating a lot of bread in the weeks ahead. And I'd prefer it had at least some nutritional content.

So, you foodies or at least bakers out there--what do you recommend? There's that killer Viking mixer, which mixes a whole five-pound bag of whole wheat flour at a shot. There's the Bosch, but that plastic bowl--urgh. And of course there's the rainbow of KitchenAids, but I hear that the motor doesn't stand up to major challah-baking.

If I can buy it somewhere I don't have to pay tax, all the better; I'll definitely have to pay shipping, since a stand mixer is not exactly a stroller-basket item.


First day of camp

I really shouldn't be wasting precious naptime this way, but...

Barak started camp today. By "camp," we mean camp in the frum sense of a bunch of two-year-olds in someone's basement and backyard. It's four hours a day for six weeks, and unbelievably cheap, and run by the same person who will be doing his in-home preschool in the fall. I don't need care for Barak for the next six weeks--I'm home for the next four and MHH is here for the two after that--but I thought he'd enjoy it, and frankly I need more sleep than I'm getting, so I enrolled him.

When we went out this morning, he knew something was up, and didn't seem at all worried--just excited. I told him we were going to Morah Esther's, and there were going to be kinderlach and toys, and this sounded good to him. He actually ran ahead of me down the path to the house where he'd never been before, and as we walked in he stopped in awe at the wonders laid out before him--toys and ooh, trucks! He clung to my leg at the door for all of nine seconds before pointing at the Little Tikes firetruck and asking me, "Imma? Firetruck fast?" and plunging forth. He didn't even blink when I left, impelled by the earsplitting screams of starvation from his baby brother who hadn't eaten in THIRTY-NINE MINUTES!

(Ways in which my kids are unlike anyone else's kids: Barak is unbothered by bodily injury and Iyyar is the loudest baby ever. In a room of twelve Orthodox mothers, who as you may imagine are not easily perturbed by children's spills or babies' cries, my kids had them all gasping. Barak plunged off of something--I didn't see it--and returned instantly to playing, ignoring the three nearby mothers with their hands out to deliver him to me; Iyyar's wails of misery drew looks of sympathy and consternation from mothers and children, when all I heard was his normal-volume kvetching. It's just that for him, normal volume is about 200 decibels.)

So, we came home, and I took care of Iyyar and cleaned up the house a little and still managed not to get a nap, and then we went back to get him at one. When I got there, he was still in the firetruck, though I was assured that he had gotten out in the meantime. Morah Esther said, "He cried for you a little here and there, but then he was on to the next thing." I have to admit that I was secretly pleased, just a little--it's good to have an independent kid but Barak is so independent and so fearless that it's nice to know that he missed me.

I went over and said "Hi, Barak! Did you have fun?" and he stopped and this look of delight and relief went over his face, and he breathed, "Imma!" And then ran over to Morah Esther, and pointed at me, and said, "Imma!" As if to say, that's who I've been asking for all morning! Next time, you'll know who I'm talking about and go get her, right?

I asked him if he wanted to go home, and he said no. I told him we'd be back tomorrow, and then he said, "Home?" And home we went.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

They weren't kidding.

Our upstairs neighbors moved out a couple of months ago and sold their apartment to a family that they said were Nigerian. When the new family moved in, I got the impression that they were Nigerian the way MHH is Polish, Barak and Iyyar are Hungarian, and much of New York is Irish. The kids looked and sounded generically African-American to me. I admit it--I didn't think any of them were actually from Africa.

Until I saw their teenage son carry a refrigerator up our outside back steps.

On his head.

Hinei ma tov...

... to have both your kids nap for two hours. The same two hours.

I cleaned the kitchen, picked up our bedroom, and folded mountains of laundry, including piles and piles of MHH's undershirts. When I'm nursing I have a tendency to mooch off his supply--there is nothing softer in the early days of pain and soreness than ancient men's undershirts. Next to lanolin, it's the most helpful thing. While folding shirts this afternoon, I had abundant evidence of my fondness for both lanolin and MHH's shirts.

I wonder how many other men are out there wearing undershirts with twin lanolin stains suspiciously located in front?

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Put your ballots here

MHH is one of the more chronically late people you will ever encounter. I, on the other hand, am one of the more chronically punctual. (The irony here is that he's yekkish and I'm Hungarian, but we'll leave that alone.) It drives me nuts that he's late all the time. And I admit it. I nudge.

Today, for example, Barak, Iyyar and I were headed out for a little erranding at 5:30. MHH announced his intention to accomplish several tasks and then make the 6:05 minyan. I privately thought this highly unlikely.

"I'll make a deal with you," I said. "If you are on time for the 6:05 minyan, I'll wash the fleishig dishes that are still sitting in the kitchen from shabbos. Including the cholent pot."

MHH quite clearly thought this a stroke of most excellent good fortune. "Seriously?"

"Yup," I said. "But you have to be there on time. Like for when they klop. You have to say ashrei when everybody else says ashrei."

MHH agreed to this and we went out separate ways. At 6:02 my phone rang.

"I was six minutes early!" he said.

"But?" I said.

"It's Yom Kippur Katan. Mincha started twenty minutes ago. And they're not done yet."

So, we leave this to you. I hold that the deal was he had to be there for ashrei. He holds that he just had to be on time for the 6:05, and cannot be held accountable for the fact that the 6:05 was twenty-five minutes early.

The cholent pot is pretty crusty and gross. Who washes it, me or MHH?

Votes to be tallied at 11 pm tonight. I don't really want to leave it on the counter till tomorrow.

We thank you in advance for your sense of civic responsibility in this matter.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

The potty chronicles, and everything else

I should probably do this post as a list, but I think I'm too tired to count, which is probably why I'm blogging instead of knitting, so I'll just do it as a sort of stream-of-consciousness post instead. You all with me on this one? Good good.

So, day what is it? Fourteen? of Diaper-Free Barak went pretty well. Two misses of the not-as-serious variety, both in his crib. Nothing on the floor. Friday was also great. Shabbos we're not even going to talk about. Barak is very clear on all the concepts and is gradually getting the idea that pooping is a pretty easy way to get ice cream. He has also, unfortunately, fully grasped the idea that if he wants to get out of his crib, calling "Abba! Potty!" is a spectacularly effective method. Might I add that to date, NONE of these late-night potty excursions has resulted in anything but parental sleep deprivation? No, that's probably not necessary.

Shabbos evening was a little bit stressful, in the way that doughnuts are a little bit fattening and Big Macs are a little bit treif. I won't get into details, except to present to you the observation that arguing with mikva ladies is like unto arguing with airline security. I will leave that one right there, thank you.

Iyyar is nursing apace. Unlike Barak at this age, he is very happy in the sling and will cheerily watch the world from his perch. However, the good sleep is but a memory, because he's currently one of the gassiest babies on earth. It's so sad--he'll be happily looking around and then all of a sudden his face will crumple, his mouth will open wide and he will start to shriek at an phenomenal volume that seems literally to split the eardrums and instantly renders any conversation completely out of the question. Despite the magical elixir, which usually solves these problems with impressive speed, tonight he just screamed and screamed, while Barak took two hours to go to sleep and... yeah, well. B"H we have two kids with good lungs.

This week MHH is doing a full-day, all-week teacher training program that will have me home with a gassy 7-week-old and a toilet-training 2-year-old all on my own from 6 am (it's that minyan thing) till 6 pm. Oof. If it weren't for the toilet training (what was I thinking? what what what? oh, I know what I was thinking, but why was I thinking it?) it would be a lot easier. But as it is... umm. What I want to know is how women with many more kids than I have keep tidy houses, cook three meals a day, and have everyone clean and fed more or less all the time. Last night as we were going to bed I asked MHH what he'd given Barak for dinner (I'd been busy with the baby). He said, I thought you gave him dinner. I hadn't. We reviewed the evening and realized that the last thing he'd had to eat before bedtime was--you guessed it--ice cream, reward for pooping in the potty.


And I just heard a little voice calling, "Imma... Imma... potty..."

It's 9:32.

Where were we?

Oh yes. He's still in there listening to volume II of Torah Island. Has anyone else noticed the completely circular logic of the Happiness Song, or the fact that Uncle Moishy NEVER EXPLAINS the meaning of his dream, or the complete randomness of most of the songs? I mean, what does Succos have to do with how great it is to keep kosher? I ask you.

Well, at least I did cook dinner tonight, and was domestically admirable in that between me and MHH, we took three trips to the recently-bought-out drugstore that sells the store brand of diapers I like, since they are now labeled with the defunct store name and therefore half price. We now have about 500 diapers in sizes 2 and 3 stocked up for Iyyar's future diaper needs, heading to the storage space in the basement, which I am absolutely itching to organize but who am I kidding, when am I going to have the time? I haven't even written my thank-you notes yet. Oh, and we also got another industrial-sized vat of laundry detergent, because, well, we go through a lot of that these days.

[stares blearily at wall behind computer screen]

So, what do I do now? Do I wash the dishes from dinner, take a shower, or knit a little on my sock? Fold another load of laundry? I can't go to bed, because MHH is at minyan and I can never fall asleep till he gets home so that's pointless.

Barak is in his crib singing The Wheels on the Bus. Apparently he's up to "the people on the bus go up and down," because I just heard, "Up ee down? 'kay? kay."

Oh, and I didn't mention the garbage truck. On Friday while he was having breakfast I heard the garbage truck, so I grabbed him and we sat on the back steps watching it. The driver saw us and waved and beeped his horn, and Barak just stared at him gaping. When the truck drove on, he waved bye-bye with me. Then he turned to me and, struggling with his shock and awe, said, "Garbage. Garbage truck. Garbage innair [in there.]"


"They put garbage innair!"

Indeed they do.

Friday, June 16, 2006

The boundless bounty of my sister-in-law

Two weeks after Iyyar was born, my domestic (as opposed to Israeli) SIL (hereinafter referred to as DSIL) came for Iyyar's bris with her husband, brood, and a freezer chest. I was so tired, emotional, and generally out of it that I didn't really notice the last item. I saw it go into the basement, where our freezer is, and didn't think much more about it other than to think, "wow, that's so nice, and how DID she do that with X kids of whom the youngest is four months old?" The next Shabbos someone brought us a meal, and the one after that I made pulled something out of the upstairs freezer for dinner and we were asked out for lunch. The Shabbos after that I looked in the downstairs freezer.


The freezer was FULL. Of chicken, kugel, more kugel, all Barak's favorite kugels. I have not cooked for a single Shabbos meal since Iyyar was born. I know that some of that was food people brought us for Pesach while I was on bedrest, but I think most of it is from DSIL. I took the last pan of chicken today, but there's still a broccoli kugel and a pumpkin kugel in there.

It's going to be like this when Moshiach comes, right? The bottomless Shabbos freezer?

Thursday, June 15, 2006


Okay, I knew this would be frustrating. I knew this wouldn't be easy. I knew I was asking for it trying to toilet-train an opinionated two-year-old with a new baby in the house. But I also knew that there wouldn't be a better time anytime soon. He's starting playgroup, and playgroup requires that they wear a diaper or a pull-up until they're totally reliable; in my mind, starting to toilet train him and then putting a diaper back on him is just telling him it's okay to pee where he's standing. Mixed messages that we don't want.

So. This is where we are. We know that Barak has bowel control par excellence. He can go to bed with a full bladder and wake up dry. But he'll pee on the floor before he gets to the toilet. He'll hold it for hours, or all day; and then ask for multiple potty trips after going to bed, only to say "no potty! down!" and go right back to bed--and poop in his underwear and pee on the floor.

Anyone else think this is a control thing? Yeah, me too.

Rewards work, somewhat. But not enough. I'm not going to punish him for peeing on the floor--he's too young and I don't think it's appropriate. I do tell him, seriously, multiple times a day, that we do not pish on the floor or in our beds or in our underwear, and that the only place we do this is where? yes, Barak, on the potty. He knows. He knows full well. But he also has a mind of his own.

He has to want to do it. He doesn't. How do I make it attractive? I happen to have a tricycle in a box, purchased for $20 on sale, that I am fully prepared to use as bribery, but I don't think there is a good way to do that. He gets chocolate chips for successful trips, and he likes those, and I don't think upping the ante is a smart move. He gets tons of praise too.

I'm thinking I might get a potty seat instead of a small seat that goes on top of the toilet, so he can do it all himself without help. He'd probably go for that. Ada thinks I should put clothes back on him so that going in his underwear makes him uncomfortable--when he's naked, she says, there are no consequences. True enough.

It's 8:45 and he just fell asleep after two and a half hours.

I think I should go to bed.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


This post is mostly for people who know us. If you've called us in the last year, you'll know that our phone message says, "Hello, you've reached the Uberimma family. If you're calling for Rosemary Johnson or Robert Stamps, THIS IS NOT THEIR NUMBER ANYMORE. If you're calling for the Uberimma family, please leave a message after the beep. Thank you."

Rosemary and Robert, apparently, owed a lot of people a lot of money, and the phone has not stopped ringing for them even though we've had this number since August. I've finally had it, and I had the number changed yesterday. The new number is unlisted, and you won't get a recording with the new number if you call the old one, so if you want it, please email me. Or call our cell phones--those numbers are the same as they've been since we changed those last November.

Full disclosure

So, I have been asked if Barak really is permanently cute and wonderful, or if I only blog the good parts. He is, of course, permanently cute and wonderful, and yes, generally I only blog the good parts. I tend to leave out things like last Friday night, when he sat on the potty for hours and hours and HOURS, holding it in DELIBERATELY, and then pishing all over the floor moments later. I also tend to leave out things like the following Shabbos afternoon, which doesn't even bear blogging about. Instead, I blog about things like this afternoon, when I finally got him three more packages of underwear, and delighted his little toddler heart with underpants that have Elmo on them. How does he know from Elmo? We don't have a TV. He's never seen Sesame Street. I asked Ada about this. "They all know Elmo," she said darkly. "They know through baby osmosis."

Today was better. I was confident enough of his empty bladder to take him out in the stroller this afternoon, with Iyyar in the Snugli. And he did fine, until we stopped by MHH's school and visited Barak's favorite secretary in the school office. She let him climb up into her swivel chair and type, and then we had to leave, and this development displeased Barak most greatly. He had something of a fit, and, well, so much for the dry underwear. Oh well. It's only what, Day Nine?

Happily, the bathroom entertainment has just been greatly improved by a Most Marvelous Box from Grandma E. Said Box arrived yesterday afternoon. I should have known based on experience that this would not be just a small box with a couple of books and some leftover sock yarn, which she had led me to expect; last year she said she'd send me some leftover wool to spin and I got, not the mailing envelope I was looking for, but a tremendous box full of all kinds of woolly marvels. Yesterday, we opened the Box of Wonders, which contained not only a treasure trove of books for Barak's potty reading pleasure, including a copy of Richard Scarry's Counting Book (which Barak sat and read all by himself for a good half hour this afternoon while I took care of the baby--verily a book worth its weight in gold), but enough yarn for four pairs of socks, light-up keychains for Barak and his buddy, muffin tins and papers for Barak the Muffin Man, a potholder for the dairy side of the kitchen (sorely lacking to date), and other delights too numerous to mention.

One of the books was Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins, which involves some very scary, er, goblins. MHH read it to Barak tonight, complete with theatrical gasps of fear and horror and very dramatic voices. Barak was totally in love. "Barak, is it scary?" "'Cary! More 'cary! Gobbin 'cary!" And he gasped theatrically and covered his eyes in mock terror. "Did Grandma give you that book?" "Gimma!" Gimma is very good to us...

They're both asleep now (Barak and Iyyar--MHH is at shul), Barak, unfortunately, with wet underwear which he did not allow me to change. (He's not giving up Elmo so fast.) Iyyar is still turbo-nursing, and as many times as I tell him that the heft of his diapers and the emergence of a fourth chin belie his many fervent claims of malnutrition, he still feels the need to nurse hourly during the day. But at night he nurses with efficiency, determination, and three-hour chunks of sleep in between, so I'm not complaining too much. I have a toilet-training two-year-old and a six-week-old baby, and I still have time to blog, so I can't ask for much more than that.

Monday, June 12, 2006

The Potty Diaries

Day Eight of Diaper-Free Barak went pretty well. He woke up totally soaked, alas, but things got better from there. Only one mishap on the floor (during a post-nap I'm-not-really-awake-and-I-haven't-eaten-yet tantrum) and everything else went where it was supposed to go. And he earned his ice cream, too.

Now I have to go to the drugstore to buy more. Hope Breyer's is still on sale...

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Talking more

When we went to the pediatrician's, before the doctor came in the nurse sat down with us and ran through her developmental checklist. Is he running? Dressing himself? How much is he talking--two-word sentences, three-word sentences, or can he use full sentences to tell a story?

I said three-word sentences, and immediatly felt a twinge of guilt. Do the three-word sentences count if they all involve "I don't want it!" or the word "no!" twice? Probably not.

Barak, apparently, picked up on my uneasy conscience and attempted to assuage it by promptly coming up with three-word sentences. This morning, we all went for bagels, and I made the mistake of handing Barak part of a hot bagel before the eggs were ready. He had lots of fun with the bagel ("Hot! Bagel hot!") and had no interest in the eggs once they showed up. He looked at them with a wrinkled nose. "I don't want it," he said. "Okay, if you don't want it, say, 'No thank you.'" "No thank you." "Okay," I said, and left it at that. But Barak wanted to be even more clear. He pushed his plate over to MHH, and said, very clearly, "Abba eat it." Wow.

And this afternoon, he woke up cranky from his nap, and didn't want to use the potty--since his crib was wet, and I didn't think it was so pressing, I let it go and put him in his high chair for snack. He was grumpy, and trying to tell me something I didn't understand. "Cold!" he seemed to be saying, holding his juice. "Is your juice cold from the fridge?" I asked. "NO!" he said, irritated. "I said COAT!"

Past tense! He's never done that before.

NEWS FLASH: Halfway though composing this post, I heard shouts of congratulation issuing from the bathroom, where MHH was entertaining Barak on his throne (a four-ounce juice box and six-ounce cup of water/OJ down...). We have poop!

They're in the kitchen eating their ice cream now. As of day 7, we've got 5 successes and 2 misses on this front. Not too bad.

Thought for the day

So, for those of you who have nursed a baby, or even just changed the diapers of a breastfed baby--

Have you ever been able to look at French's mustard quite the same way since?

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Not the way I'd choose my dentist

Sign seen in a dentist's storefront this afternoon:


Cold turkey

Barak lost the diapers yesterday. I took off his diaper in the morning and said, "Bye bye diapers! All gone diapers!" He cheerfully waved bye-bye to the diapers with me, but didn't really have any idea of what was actually about to happen.

What happened was that I rolled up the rugs, put plastic sheets on the mattresses, made our bedroom off limits and started following him around the house all day plunking him on the toilet every time he seemed to get a faraway expression on his face. And keeping him there, as long as possible, with endless rounds of The Wheels on the Bus, endless readings of My Big Brother and Serious Trouble, and endless repetitions of both the ABC and aleph-beis songs. He now has special potty toys--two trains and a bulldozer, all Matchbox-car-sized--that he is only allowed to play with while actually sitting on the potty. Oh, and there is a case of paper towels at the ready in the back bedroom. Well, there was yesterday. We've gone through three rolls already.

So far we are batting about .500 on the pishing front. The problem seems to be that he goes just a little about every fifteen minutes. (I know, you wanted to know ALL about this, didn't you?) So there have been a number of accidents, which Barak now points out to me. I then transport him swiftly to the bathroom, even though it's too late, to make the point that THIS IS WHERE WE DO THAT, NOT THE LIVING ROOM FLOOR. And then I hand him a roll of paper towels, and he cheerfully tears off a few (he doesn't usually get to do that), wipes it up, and throws the paper towels in the garbage. But he's also earned a fair number of chocolate chips, yesterday and today.

As of this morning, however, it had become pretty clear that nothing more, er, substantial had made its way into the toilet (or, fortunately, onto the floor). Barak had, it seemed, decided that if he couldn't poop the way he wanted (e.g., into a diaper) he wasn't going to do it at all. Yesterday we promised ice cream. Today we upped the ante, and promised ice cream and a Muppets episode. I don't know if that's what did the trick, or if he forgot what he didn't want to do while sitting on the toilet. One way or another, he earned himself the mitva song AND the mazal tov song (yep, the one you sing in shul when there's a bar mitzva or an aufruf or a new baby), AND ice cream AND the Muppets. A red-letter day indeed. Thank Gd Ada is still here until next week--it is not easy to take care of a five-week-old baby and a toilet-training two-year-old at the same time. Yesterday I spent two hours straight sitting on the bathroom floor nursing Iyyar and entertaining Barak on his throne.

And no, I'm not putting him to bed in diapers either. It's warm, and he's got an undershirt and underpants, and even if they all get wet the worst thing that he'll be will be wet and uncomfortable--which is good. No, I'm not totally sure this will work, but I do know that all over Europe toddlers are toilet trained well before they're two, and diapers are long history by now. If they can do it, so can he. Of course, in Hungary the usual way to toilet train a toddler is to have grandma or a big sister take the job on full-time, and do nothing else but treat the baby like a puppy all day long. Which isn't really an option for us. B"H we have wood floors...

Is it a little crazy to be doing this now? Yes, in a way. But it's also the best time. I've got seven more weeks at home. In three weeks, Barak starts playgroup, and is not going to be in my clutches full-time. I've got two more weeks of Ada here in the morning, so I'm not the only potty policewoman.

Well, further bulletins as events warrant. One more thing that was funny, though. Yesterday, I went to Target and bought two packages of underwear--the only two they had. One was a three-pack of Batman underwear (MHH is SO jealous). We have, as I may have mentioned, a bust of Batman in our house that is actually a bank, which functions as a tzedaka box--I bought it for MHH when Barak was at the age of putting everything in his mouth, in an attempt to break MHH of the habit of dropping change everywhere. Barak likes to give tzedaka--it's fun to drop the coins in the little slot. If he sees a coin on the floor, he picks it up and says, "Daka! Daka!" and wants to put it in our Batman pushka.

So, anyway. Yesterday, I gave Barak his new underwear, with much fanfare. He looked at it, not terribly impressed. "Look, Barak! New underwear! Are you such a big boy now? Who's that on your underwear?" "Daka!"

Well, we all knew that Batman was a mitzva boy too.


Sunday, June 04, 2006

Eleven through thirteen

11. This morning Barak and Iyyar and a friend of ours (and I, obviously) all went for a walk. We went to the bagel store, ate bagels, and came home. I had Iyyar in the sling, in which he slept beatifically, and my friend pushed the stroller. Barak distinguished himself during this expedition with incredibly menschlich behavior. He did not scream. He did not campaign for cookies, even though they were clearly on display. He waited nicely for his bagel ("Wait nicely! Yeah!") and ate it nicely. He sat patiently in his stroller while we stopped in the bookstore. And when we got home--no, really, this is my kid I'm talking about here--he went into his crib and took a nice long nap without a peep. Yeah, I know. My kid. The one who thinks naps are for babies and the weak. He went to sleep without screaming tonight, too. If he hadn't been happy and playing all day I'd think he was sick or something.

12. Grandma E, when she visited last year, brought Barak a Richard Scarry book called Cars and Trucks and Things That Go. Hidden on most of the pages is a miniscule creature called a Goldbug. This is sort of a precursor to Where's Waldo--Goldbug is very small and very hard to find. This afternoon, while I was busy with Iyyar, MHH and Barak sat down with the book and looked for Goldbug. And twice Barak found it all by himself.

I can't even do that. We were, shall we say, impressed. And every time Barak found Goldbug, with or without help, MHH congratulated him, shook his hand, and commended him with a hearty yasher koach (or, as we Ashkenazim pronounce it, "shkoyach!"--remember, it's one word.) So when I came in to see what was going on, and found myself a Goldbug, Barak very seriously offered me his hand. "Shkoch!" Oh yeah.

13. Barak pished on the potty again today. But today was a milestone because, while in the bathtub, he announced, "Potty!" And Abba promptly removed him from the tub and sat him on the toilet, where he did indeed proceed to pish--earning himself a rousing rendition of the mitzvah song and a bowl of ice cream after his bath. If he manages to poop in the potty tomorrow, he has been informed, he will get ice cream and a cookie. And it will then be time for the diaper-free toddler. And time for me to roll up and put away the rugs.

A little post-sefira entertainment

Here, brought to you by MO Chassid.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

The kinderlach files

Barak is at the zoo with Ada, Iyyar is hanging out on a blanket on the floor, I don't have the koach to start cooking for Shavuos yet, and it's been too long since I've done one of these, so:

1. We went to the pediatrician on Wednesday for Barak's 2-year and Iyyar's 4-week checkup. I walked, with Barak in the stroller and Iyyar in the Snugli. It was something of a workout, but we got there okay. I do have a double stroller, but it is only for three months and up, so this is the intermediate solution. I think we'll be fine till August like this--I'm glad it's summer.

The visit went fine. Barak behaved himself very nicely, doing what I asked and keeping himself busy eating crackers while the doctor was looking at Iyyar. Both boys are around the 75th percentile for height and Barak is at the 27th for weight--much better than the 6th percentile he hovered at for a while. Iyyar, on the other hand, has shot from the 7 lb 2 oz he was when discharged from the hospital three weeks ago to 9 lb 6 oz. The pediatrician kept saying, "Wow, he gained a lot of weight. Wow, that's more than two ounces a day!" I guess all that nursing is doing something.

2. They are already so different in so many ways, besides the obvious one of Iyyar sleeping while Barak never did. Iyyar hates dirty or wet diapers and will wake up crying if he has one; Barak still couldn't care less if his pajamas are full of poop. If you heard a peep from a sleeping Barak at this age, that was it, he was waking up (and it was usually four minutes since you'd put him down); Iyyar will not only put himself back to sleep, but will put himself to sleep if you put him in his crib still mostly awake (assuming he's got a full tummy, a dry diaper, and is tired). But they look identical--pictures of Barak at this age could be pictures of Iyyar.

3. A few weeks ago, I showed Barak a short video clip from the Oregon Zoo site, titled "Recycling at the Oregon Zoo." It shows how the elephants are fed branches from the zoo's garden, which they then eat, and how the manure is then shoveled up, turned into compost and returned to the garden. I thought he'd like it because of the elephants; I didn't realize that it also involved a truck, a shovel, a wheelbarrow, and a small bulldozer. For Barak, all trucks are garbage trucks, and have been for a while, so it's understandable that when he sees a truck he says, "Garbage!" But people have found it surprising that when he sees a truck, he now also says, "Garbage! Elephant! Nanure!"

4. Toilet training is proceeding apace. Barak is very into the chocolate chip part of this process, and doesn't mind the sitting on the potty part either, especially if I let him take some toilet paper and flush it. However, actually producing has not really gone very far. Yesterday, however, he did in fact pish, which I told the pediatrician when he asked. The doctor said to Barak, sounding very impressed, "Did you pish in the potty? Wow!" Barak modestly concurred. "Choc chip."

5. Right after Barak was born, someone in the grocery store handed me a coupon for a free box of Breyer's fruit pops. I haven't really had them since, but in the grocery store on Wednesday they were buy one get one free, and I remembered how good they were, and it was really really hot, so I got four boxes. I've been letting Barak have one a day in the afternoon, after he's been playing outside. The other day, he started asking for something. "Muktza! Mo muktza!" He wants muktza? Huh? It's not even Shabbos. I couldn't figure it out, so I picked him up and asked him to show me. He directed me to the freezer and to the "momuktza!" Ah-ha. That would be popsicle. Gotcha.

6. Also after Barak was born, when he was about three weeks old--possibly on the same grocery store trip--I ran into someone I knew slightly. "Is he a good baby?" she asked. I didn't say anything, but found this fairly outrageous. He's three weeks old. Tell me, please, how a three-week-old baby could be bad. I always regretted not pointing this out. Last week, someone asked me the same question about Iyyar. I told her that all babies are wonderful, but if she was asking me if he cried a lot, the answer was no. Which is, B"H, true.

7. Does anybody out there who knows me want to come visit the third week in July, from the 9th till the 14th? MHH will be out of town for work and I'll be home by myself. If I don't get a visitor, I'll probably go somewhere, but I'm hoping to talk someone into coming here. We have central AC and a guest room...

8. If I ever mention anything on this blog about baking chocolate chip cookies, tell me not to. I have a reasonable amount of self-control when it comes to food. I can leave ice cream in the freezer and I can even keep diet coke in the house if it's not cold. But chocolate chip cookies that I made, forget about it, once they're made they're as good as eaten. This is salient particularly because I weighed myself while at the pediatrician's. I've lost twenty pounds since Iyyar was born, which means I have thirteen to go to get to where I was before I got pregnant with him and, er, twenty-three to get to where I was before I was pregnant with Barak, which is the goal here. If I can take lots of walks (meaning, if it doesn't get too hot too soon) and I can stay away from the cookies, I think I can get most of the way there by the end of the summer. But NO COOKIES. Hold me to that, please. (The ones already in the house for Shavuos are exempt from this. I'm not throwing them out, although I might give most of them away to my pregnant neighbor, if she comes to get them.)

9. Marika neni has left us for a better job with more hours and better pay. She's going back to Romania in the fall, which we knew, so it had to happen. I'm sorry to see her go, but it's definitely better for her. I'll miss the Hungarian practice though (not to mention the shiny floors--I've never waxed a floor in my life and I doubt I'm about to start now.)

10. Hmm, there has to be a number ten. Oh, right. The stove. I'm liking the stove. The Shabbos mode is very handy, although a little nerve-racking--nothing comes up on the display as you're setting it, obviously, so you just have to go on faith and hope you've done it right. Last week, I didn't--I set it too high, and then when MHH came home from shul Friday night and saw that I'd fallen asleep, he decided to be nice and let me have an hour before waking me up for dinner. So everything was in the oven on about 450 for about 3 hours. And dinner was reduced to speed cholent.

Huh, I seem to have veered off the subject of kinderlach. Well, what can I say, I'm tired. And our bedroom is a disaster, and I don't think Iyyar has a single clean and dry outfit. Why is it that no matter how you put a diaper on a newborn, they will pee right through or over or around them? Why why why? And why is it that one room in the house must always be a complete catastrophe, no matter how much time I spend tidying?

Well, anyway. Kitchen first, then laundry. Then bed. Or maybe I'll knit a little. Or something.