Thursday, August 31, 2006

In which Imma sneakily gets what she wants

Barak is not a very cuddly toddler. I don't mean that in the sense that he isn't fun to cuddle. He is, oh, he is. It's just that he's usually too busy and has scheduled his time too fully with other things to have the leisure to just sit in Imma's lap while she inhales his scent and plays with his hair. And he's not so into the giving of kisses either. If I ask him for a kiss, he will, without quite rolling his eyes, usually offer me a cheek so I can kiss him. And then he runs. That's it. I never get kisses.

That doesn't mean he never asks me for kisses though. He does, usually when he's bumped himself doing something he probably shouldn't have been doing. He'll come up to me, eyes big, or sometimes crying (usually not though) and say, "Imma hurt. Imma kiss it!" and show me where it hurts. I'll kiss it, a few times if it looks like it needs extra therapy, and that will be that.

This afternoon, in the category of things Barak probably shouldn't have been doing, he started redecorating his room by pushing furniture around. Specifically, the toddler bed that has been there since his cousins visited last Succos. He doesn't sleep in it, but the occasional visitor does, and he'll climb up on it to read sometimes. Between the bed and the wall is the mattress that's been in there since bedrest; it's propped up vertically, held in place by the frame of the toddler bed. Got that? Good.

So, when Barak started pushing the bed away from the wall, the mattress started to tip over, gradually, since it was moving away from the wall at the same time the bed was being laboriously relocated. After a while the bed stopped, because it hit the rocking chair. At this point the mattress was at about a 30 degree angle with the floor, parallel to the bed the long way, if that makes any sense.

What does Barak have now? He has a slide. Woohoo! So he started climbing up it, climbing down it, climbing under it. I thought about this activity and decided that although he was inevitably going to hurt himself somehow, he was unlikely to hurt himself badly, so I didn't stop him. I did, however, draw the line at going down the slide headfirst.

After a few initial protests, Barak decided that if he couldn't go down headfirst (mean old Imma), he'd send a proxy. So he pushed the monkey down headfirst. And, as Imma had predicted, the monkey bumped his head on the wall.

"Imma, monkey hurt! Imma kiss it monkey!" Okay, fine. "Where should I kiss it?" "Imma kiss it head!"

I kissed its head. "Imma kiss it foot!" I kissed its foot. "Imma kiss it this!" "His tail?" "Imma kiss it tail!" I kissed its tail. This went on for a while.

Then inspiration struck. How I could get kisses out of this. I went to kiss the monkey one more time, and theatrically bumped my face on the monkey. "Ow! Barak, my face hurts! Can you kiss it please?"

"Barak kiss it Imma?" "Yeah, I need you to kiss me right here." I got a kiss on my cheek. "And here, I think my chin hurts." I got a kiss on the chin. "It hurts a lot, I need another one. " "Nother one?" "Yeah, I need another one." I got another kiss on the chin.

I didn't want to push my luck, so I stopped after half a dozen kisses. But now I know where I can get more.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

It's not just for Shabbos anymore

As I type (and pump, of course) I am inhaling the delicate fragrance of chicken soup, wafting in from the kitchen. Yeah, it's Wednesday night. So what? We can add a little kedusha to our Wednesdays too.

I didn't have any celery in the fridge and was not about to go buy any tonight. So it's onions, zucchini, yellow squash, carrots, parshnips, and a few mushrooms I found hiding in there somewhere. Salt and pepper. A ton of fresh dill. And chicken, of course. We also have a box of organic whole-spelt matzo meal in the cupboard, waiting to be made into matzo balls. Do not even ask if I make sinkers or floaters. I use seltzer to lighten them up a little, but there's only so much that can be done with whole spelt.

Forty-five minutes till I can eat it. Chicken soup. Mmm. Or as Barak calls it, kitchen soup...

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

not what I promised

No pictures yet--sorry.

Today was a work-at-home day, but since I had no babysitter, Barak had no playgroup, and MHH had work, it is going to be a work-at-home evening instead. During the day, we all went to the science museum and then Trader Joe's. And guess what? Iyyar didn't scream! At all! This is amazing--usually the second you start buckling car seat straps he screws up his face and starts to wail. "You're tying me down! You're going to torture me! AAAAGHH!!!" He sat contentedly all the way there, falling asleep toward the end of the trip. I thought he would wake up screaming when we got there and I moved him to the sling, but he didn't--just woke up for a bit, looked around, and went back to sleep. After a couple of hours I took Barak out to play in the enclosed yard while I nursed Iyyar, who was very cooperative about the whole thing. And then back in the carseat, still with minimal protest. How 'bout that?

The presence of three entertainingly active children in the back row of the minivan, right where Iyyar in his rear-facing seat could watch them, probably helped. Anyway, a good time was had by all, and stopping at TJ's (I was with a friend who decided on a little last-minute grocery shopping) was a bonus. Of course, I did come home with some unsanctioned treats (chocolate-covered pretzels for me, and peanut butter granola bars for MHH) but also lots of good healthy stuff for dinners and lunches. Mmm.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

More kinderlach chronicles

1. Barak and his abba have just left for the park, Barak wearing his recently purchased (by me) raincoat, which is about the cutest article of clothing imaginable on a two-year-old. It's a blue slicker with a pattern of raining frogs. Why don't they make things like that in adult sizes? I'd buy them.

2. Iyyar is asleep (plus see above--ergo I blog). He is so turning into his brother--he already looks just like him, and now he appears to be developing a similar sleep-resistant streak. As in, will not fall asleep without hysterical screaming, has ten-minute power naps, etc. Sigh. He is also far less portable than his big brother, who B"H was an excellent traveler from birth. He absolutely refuses to go in the stroller or carseat--he'll sit in the carseat at home, but once you start buckling him in he gets very very ticked off and starts to scream. The Snugli is fine, of course--until he gets hungry. And even in the Snugli he doesn't fall asleep without a fight. What is it with the hating to sleep business?! It has to be genetic, because all three males in the house are like that. Me, I love sleeping. Not that I get to do it or anything, but on principle I like it.

3. Yesterday Iyyar started giggling. Not just a little half-laugh with smile, but real, sociable giggling at Imma doing silly things. This is the point where, MHH says, babies start seeming "human" to him--I wouldn't go quite that far, but I see what he means. The level of interaction just ratchets way up.

4. Barak has dropped his "ees." He used to precede almost all of his sentences with "ee." As in, "Ee, yeah." or "Ee, granola please." I have no idea why--it was just how he talked. No more.

5. Barak's speech is starting to get a lot more comprehensible to strangers. Certain words are just beginning to be pronounced in a much more, shall we say, normative fashion. It's now more likely to be "thank you" than "ta dum," and "gadawa" is slowly becoming "granola." "Yogurt" and "kugel" no longer sound like the same word-- it's "yeegert" and "kugel," not "gagar" for both. "Challah" is no longer "acha," "truck" is no longer "chuck." Some signature Barakisms remain: "innair" for "in there"; "hepoo" for "help you," generically used for requests for help of any ilk; and his habit of using "it" for every possible pronoun, as in "No Imma nurse it baby!", "Barak hold it!" and "Barak break it!"

6. As I've mentioned, I've been doing a lot of pumping lately. On Shabbos, this habit presents a problem; you can pump on Shabbos, but only for the immediate consumption of a baby who can't take milk any other way. If you want to express milk because you're uncomfortable, you have to dump it, which kills me. So on Shabbos, I tend to nurse Iyyar as much as I possibly can, and obviously he gets just floods of milk all day because he is not in competition with the phantom orca in the freezer. Shabbos morning, we both woke up soaked, his diaper looked like it had been dipped in the bathtub, and I have never seen such a happy baby. (Note to those who don't understand how these things work: when you are nursing, your supply adjusts to demand. If I stopped pumping, I would lose all the "extra" milk in a few days. There is plenty of milk for Iyyar on weekdays too--I'm not depriving him by the amount I'm putting in the freezer, in fact it's the opposite.) Of course, when he realized I was getting out of bed he immediately protested that he was still hungry--this was patently absurd, but since I was still kind of full I picked him up and sat down to nurse him again anyway. And he looked right at me and not only giggled, but started smacking his lips. I have never felt so much like an all-night diner in my life.

7. The work-at-home thing is up for consideration again, this time as a "pilot project" involving me and some number of other employees whose work is totally measurable. I'm not sure how long it would be for, but my boss thinks at least six months to a year. I'm trying not to get my hopes up too much. But it would really really be nice to be able to take Barak to playgroup and pick him up myself... and give the pump a little bit of a rest.

8. The perk of working in the office(this is not really a kinderlach chronicles item, but whatever) is that I now have knitting time again. I knit while on the bus and while pumping. As a result, I just knit a sock in four days flat--the first top-down (as opposed to toe-up) sock I have knit in years. I was trying to knit it for Savta, but it's too small. Next one, I guess.

Coming next: more pictures.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

pump YOU up

Gratuitous SNL reference there. Sorry, couldn't resist.

So, we're beginning my fifth week back at work, which means that Iyyar is seventeen weeks old-- although I had to think about that, since I stopped counting weeks a while ago. He's three and a half months old, nearly four.

I didn't go back to work until Barak was seven months old; when I did, since he was still nursing, I started to pump. The concept of pumping wasn't new to me--I'd had to do it for a while when he was born, while he got the hang of nursing the old-fashioned way. But when you start pumping when your baby is seven months, your body is a little bit less receptive to the idea. I never, B"H, had to give him any formula (well, except for the first week of his life and two tablespoons once in some rice cereal I was pretty sure he was going to reject and didn't want to waste breastmilk on), but it was not easy to get enough milk for his bottle every day. He only needed one bottle, but by the time he turned one he wanted it to be a good nine ounces. I never got more than three ounces at a time and usually much less; I pumped in the morning, at work, at night, and sometimes at 2 am after being roused to do so by alarm clock. In retrospect I might have done better with more rest and less pumping--who knows.

Anyway, the idea of nine months of pumping was sort of intimidating, especially since, until a week before the end of my leave, I had had hopes of hardly having to pump at all. I didn't start pumping until I got the bad news about working from home, which left me with three weeks till I went back to working in the office. That was a little over seven weeks ago.

I now have something like 70 3-ounce bags of milk in the freezer. I've taken to pumping first thing in the morning, right after Iyyar nurses; twice at work; and once at night after Iyyar goes to sleep. On a day that I don't go into the office I sometimes put nine ounces in the freezer. Today I think it might be as much as twelve. I have totally faked out my breasts; they are convinced that I have either twins or a baby whale.

Um, and I don't need you to tell me I'm going overboard. I know I am. But I'm not quite ready to cut down. Even if I never use all that milk, someone will (I gave away what I pumped for Barak in the early months, to someone who had, unknown to her, had her milk ducts cut during a breast reduction surgery as a teenager). And it is a much better feeling to know that even if I do run into supply problems again, with a freezer full of Lansinoh bags I am very unlikely to need to resort to formula--which is not, I know, the end of the world, but would personally make me very sad.

In the meantime, of course, I am faced with one problem.

Where on earth am I going to put all the food for yom tov?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The kinderlach chronicles

1. Somewhat rashly, I decided to thumb my nose at the Stroller Curse. I bought a snap 'n' go, which, for the uninitiated, is a stroller frame meant to transport an infant car seat. I should have bought it a while ago--it makes it much easier to go somewhere when the baby's asleep without waking up the baby. I put it together yesterday and we all took a walk--Iyyar in the carseat, Barak holding the side, me pushing, MHH following along. With this arrangement, once we got to the grocery store, Barak found himself at unprecedented liberty--not in stroller OR top of shopping cart. Not surprisingly, he immediately scoped out the ice cream freezer, and with his sweetest, winningest smile, said, "Imma, Barak hold it ikeem, 'kay?" I don't want to eat the ice cream, no no, chas v'shalom. I just want to hold it. Really!

2. Saba and Savta left yesterday. My children are blessed and fortunate to have not one, but two sets of honorary grandparents; Saba and Savta means Grandpa and Grandma in Hebrew. When asked how many grandchildren they have, they count mine; pictures of my kids are on their fridge; when Barak was born, Savta was the one who sent me a whole baby layette priority mail. They rock. She and Saba drove 12 hours each way to visit us for Shabbos, and gave Barak and Iyyar the full grandparent treatment, including the aforementioned John Deere trucks, lots of attention, and lots of cuddles. After they left, Barak was, well, bereft. He kept peeking into their room, looking perturbed. He kept saying to himself, "Where Savta go? Find out?" and looking in the places where he himself had been hiding in recent games of "Where'd Barak go?" Finally he came up to me and said, "Where Saba Savta go?" I said, "They went home, sweetie." He looked sad. "Saba Savta home? Grandma home?" I know he doesn't really know that Saba Savta and Grandma actually live within walking distance of each other, but still...

3. Iyyar is starting to really really smile. He looks like a cross between a chubby toothless old man and a very happy garden gnome. Today, for the first time, he sat up just holding my fingers--he has the back strength and the balance now.

4. He still sleeps with me and nurses much of the night, but sleeps longer stretches, I think. Every so often, he will wake up, realize he's teetering on the brink of malnutrition, and wake me up by sort of scrabbling at me; if I don't wake up right away, he gets annoyed, starts to kick, and ends up pushing down on my stomach with his feet and rappelling up me until I get woken up by being nose-to-nose with a starving, enraged elf. This happens multiple times a night. It was a little unnerving until I got used to it.

5. B"H Barak has not been really jealous of Iyyar. He would like to get more attention than he gets, but he hasn't really been taking it out on the baby. The one thing he does do is get very angry if I sit down with the baby--because then I'm about to focus my attention on someone else. His usual response is, "No Imma sit! No Imma nursing baby!" Sometimes, in an effort to be polite, he will come up to me, attempt to haul me bodily out of the chair (fat chance--I have twenty pounds to go) and say, "Imma up! Imma 'cuse me PEESS!" I've been trying to explain to him that you don't go around telling other people to get up out of their chairs because you don't want them to sit, and even saying please does not make this behavior polite.

6. A few weeks ago, for the first time, Barak started with some really calculated misbehavior. It was just at a different level from previous experimentation--it was, hmm, what will Imma do if I totally defy her? So we started with timeouts. A typical exchange will go like this:

Me: Barak, come here please.

(No response)

Me: Barak, come here please. I said come here.

(No response)

Me: Barak, I said come here. Do you want me to count?

Barak: No Imma count!

Me: So come here, please.

(No response.)

Me. One. (Pause.) Come here, please. Two. (Pause). Barak, I said come here. Do you want to go into your crib? (Pause. Sigh.) Three. Okay, in your crib, two minutes.

Barak: NOOOOOOOOOOO! No night-night! NOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I deposit a howling Barak into his crib and close the door. Wails of misery issue forth. Two minutes later, I go get him, give him a kiss, explain to him that when Imma says come, he does what? Barak says, "Please!" and comes out. The next few times I ask him to come, he comes. Or not. And then we do it all again.

7. There isn't any number 7. But I'm done pumping for the evening, and I can only justify blogging while attached to my Medela, so I'm putting the milk in the fridge, cleaning up the kitchen, and going to bed.

Bibi at his best

Translated from Netanyahu's Hebrew, not by me.

BBC interviewer: "How come so many more Lebanese have been killed in this conflict than Israelis?"

Netanyahu: "Are you sure that you want to start asking in that direction?"

BBC interviewer: "Why not?"

Netanyahu: "Because in World War II more Germans were killed than British and Americans combined, but there is no doubt in anyone's mind that the war was caused by Germany's aggression. And in response to the German blitz on London, the British wiped out the entire city of Dresden, burning to death more German civilians than the number of people killed in Hiroshima. I also want to remind you that in 1944 when the British wanted to bomb the Gestapo headquarters in Copenhagen, your pilots missed the target and burned down a children’s hospital with 83 Danish kids in it. Perhaps you have another question?"

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Sunday afternoon chez Uberimma

I am in a much better mood today than I have been in in recent weeks. The Conversation has been had with my boss, and two of the worst speeches (in terms of how long it would have taken me to write them) have been offloaded to a freelancer, and an intern has been put on notice that she's going to be doing some of my research. Gyongyi came and cleaned, and the bathtub is no longer grimy. The heat broke, and the windows are now open. Both Barak and Iyyar are napping, and have been for an hour, during which I raced frantically around the house picking up.

But best of all, Barak and Iyyar's Saba and Savta are here, after a 13-hour drive on Thursday (good thing they decided not to fly, huh?) I talked to Ada the babysitter from work on Friday. "Barak is in love," she told me. And the living room is a parking garage of toy John Deere trucks and tractors--they brought a whole set, instantly blowing every single one of Barak's little-boy-truck-adoration fuses.

Details to follow, but I'm not wasting any more of my visit time blogging.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

A poll

I really really really don't have time for a post, but it's been a while, and besides, I am sort of getting sick of looking at the picture that makes my stunning stunning curtains look like something that might hang in the windows of a Florida motel.

So, time for a question for all my fearless readers.

What reading material is in your bathroom, right now? Now, be honest. I don't read in the bathroom myself, but you can tell a lot about our household by what's on the floor of the bathroom. Especially Orthodox Jews, who read things in the bathroom they might not read elsewhere. Until I picked up the pile to bring it to the computer, we had:

The Prose Edda of Snorri Sturlusson, translated from the Icelandic by Jean I. Young (guess who this belongs to? Not me)
The Making of the Middle Ages, by WR Southern (see previous parenthetical comment)
an Astro City comic (see above, again)
Richard Scarry's Counting Book (a fine piece of literature)
and Cars and Trucks and Things that Go (another fine piece of literature, with Goldbug!)

Goldbug, by the way, is a little, um, gold bug, who appears here and there Where's Waldo-style throughout the book. Barak loves it. "Where Goldbug go?" "I don't know, Barak. Let's find out!" "Find out?"

Oh, and as a postscript to "night-night tomorrow," apparently I have a hierarchy of near-antonyms for "later." Depending on when I think I might do what Barak wants me to do, I might say "just a minute," "soon," "in a little while," "later," or "tomorrow." If Barak is campaigning for something I'm not planning on doing it in the foreseeable future--for example, taking the bus or going to Baskin-Robbins--I'll say, "Maybe another time."

Why do I now know this? Because lately, Barak has been trying them all. Last week, on the way home from a walk, he wanted to check that night-night wasn't next on the agenda. (It wasn't.)

"No night-night."

"No, no night-night now."

"No night-night soon?"

"No, not for a while."

"Night-night maybe another time."

Thursday, August 03, 2006

In which I continue to not blog about the war

Hey, look! Pictures!

What's this? Well, this is the computer from which I am writing this blog. It's new. It came last week, because I finally had to give back the laptop I borrowed from work about a year ago.

But that's not what's exciting. What's exciting is what's behind it:

the beautifullest curtains ever, which look sort of, well, schvach in this picture. Here's a closeup:

Better, huh? Imagine totally saturated pinks and purples and turquoises, cut through with lime green and yellow vines. Now imagine that you have them in a west-facing window. Now imagine the afternoon sun lighting up the vines... mmm.

And did I mention the sequins?


These are the curtains Deb made for me from fabric she got at a sari shop while she was here. I had to clean up the entire guest room to do them justice.

More pictures:

Our cat, standing on the guest-room bed. You can sort of see in the picture that it has lime green walls.

And yes, she really can shoot laser beams from her eyes. She's talented that way.

And what's this stunning cable pattern? It's the sweater that is stuffed in a plastic bag in an apartment somewhere in Sydney, waiting for its turn. When it's done, it's going to be mine!!

Some of my knitting, pre-bedrest (no, those are not my feet):

And the reason why I'm probably going to wait a long time for my Aran sweater (none of those are my feet either):

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

More reasons not to blog about the war

Because Sarah does it so much better.

If you're not quite sure what's going on in Israel, and have a tiny little suspicion that you're not getting the whole story from CNN, maybe you should bookmark her blog.