Thursday, January 31, 2008

Deja vu...

Back in the hospital, on pediatrics, with the baby under bililights. Hoping to be home in time for Shabbos. Things are moving along, just slowly.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Did I say tired?

Barak and Iyyar's baby brother arrived on Friday morning. We just got home from the hospital this afternoon. The baby in brief: 7 lb 1 ounce, sweet-smelling and cuddly, long and skinny, bilirubin too high for comfort and rising so we are back to the hospital for more blood draws tomorrow. The labor in brief: I am never doing this without drugs ever ever again.

More when I have time. Shall we say, October?

Thursday, January 24, 2008


Yesterday, I was very, very tired. I had not had a babysitter that morning, which meant no quiet sitting at the computer working time--just a whole day of mostly being on my feet, chasing small children. The kids had not been misbehaving, exactly, but they'd been very high-energy and very high-need (as in, I will implode RIGHT NOW if I do not get ALL YOUR ATTENTION RIGHT THIS SECOND!) I was having contractions, I didn't feel good, and the last thing I wanted to do was move one muscle more than necessary. By around four PM, I'd really really had it. I was sitting on the couch in the living room, and the kids were playing on the floor--and then both of them bolted down the hall.

Ordinarily, when they are in the kind of mischief-making mood they'd been in for most of the day, I don't let them stay out of my sight for very long, because oh BOY can they get in trouble fast. But yesterday, I just couldn't deal. I knew I should get up, but... I heard a door open and close, and heard the sounds of toys and playing. It's not that there aren't things to get into in their room, but there aren't so many, so I just sat and listened. It sounded pretty harmless. A little banging, some giggling, some more toy sounds, some conversation I couldn't catch, some more giggling.

This is fine, I told myself. I need to relax. I have to get used to not watching them every second. IY"H there will be a baby soon and I won't be able to follow them all over the house. They're fine.

Giggle. Giggle. Talk talk. Giggle. Splash.


I heaved myself off the couch, ran/waddled down the hall, and opened the bathroom door. Sure enough--both of them were in there. The floor was covered with water, which was running out of the sink. And Iyyar had one toothbrush in each hand, and was dipping them into the toilet and brushing his teeth with each one in turn, as Barak giggled madly.

I don't how how much e. coli they both consumed, but they seem okay today. The toothbrushes, however, have met their end.

Crime and punishment

Right after Iyyar was born, Grandma E sent us a Fabulous Box containing, among many other things, the book that became Barak's favorite for at least a year: Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins. He'd ask me to read it at least five times a day, complete with voices. (I always had the goblins speaking Hungarian.) After every reading, he'd sigh with contentment. "Globlins," he'd inform me. "Very scary."

Lately, he's been asking to sleep with the door to the bedroom closed, and if I open it during the night, at some point when he next wakes up (Barak still wakes up numerous times a night--I think it's just the way his brain is wired--but B"H he usually doesn't wake up anyone else) I'll hear the door being closed from the inside. A few weeks ago I asked him why he does this. "I don't want the goblins to come in." Oh. I explained to him that there were no goblins in the house, because goblins are just pretend. The only place there are goblins, I said, were inside books. Barak did not seem convinced. "Even if there were goblins, I wouldn't let them in the house," I assured him. "They make big messes, right? I like the house to be nice and clean. Do you think I'd let in a goblin to make a big mess?" This seemed a little more satisfying to him, but he still wanted the door closed.

Today, while Iyyar was napping (Barak doesn't have school this week) I let Barak come into my office and watch zoo elephant videos on the computer (YouTube is good for some things). He wanted me to close the door. I said no, I don't want to close the door, because if we close the door I won't be able to hear Iyyar if he wakes up. Barak looked... distressed. "I don't want da goblins to come in." Hmm.

"Barak, goblins aren't real. They're just pretend. There are no goblins in the house, and we need to leave the door open." He was, clearly, not pleased, but came over and sat on the bed anyway and we watched elephants for a little while. Then Iyyar woke up, and I decided it was time to discuss this goblin thing a little more. I found the Hershel book, and we read it. Then we discussed.

"Barak, are goblins real or just pretend?"
"Just pretend."
"Can you see a real goblin anywhere? Can you see one in the zoo?"
"You can only see real things in the zoo, right? Like, can you see a lion at the zoo?"
"Yeah, 'cause lions are real."
"Right. Can you see a tiger in the zoo?"
"Yeah, 'cause dey're real."
"Can you see a... polar bear?"
"Yeah, 'cause dey're real. Dey're also white."
"Right. Can you see a dragon in the zoo?"
"Nooooo. 'Cause dey're just pretend."
"Right. Can you see a dinosaur?"
"No. 'Cause Hashem took dem away."

I'm not quite sure where he got that from--probably from me, honestly. But it was the way he said it that got me. In our house, things get taken away when they are mistreated or misused. Fight over a toy, and it will get taken away. Whack your brother with a toy, or bang it excessively against the wall, or swing it dangerously over your head, ditto.

I wonder what he thought people had been doing with the dinosaurs.

It worked

Still pregnant. And if I'd ordered the camera from Amazon with super saver shipping, it would have been here by now.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


No baby yet. Sometimes I feel like it's going to be a matter of hours before things get moving, and then... everything stops. So, we'll see.

Sorry I haven't been posting much. I should be, if for no other reason than that I'll want to read the posts myself later. I've just been so wildly busy lately. I have SO MUCH to do at work, and even though I know that whenever I have the baby, it will no longer be my problem, I really don't want to leave my boss--whom I like very much--with more than I have to. She's been dealing with a lot of her own stresses, I think, and the last thing I want to do is slam her with a huge pile of ugly speeches to write. So I've been trying to do as much as I can, without actually sacrificing too much of my own sleep. I'm also trying to keep the house clean, the laundry under control, and the refrigerator and freezer in a reasonably stocked state, just in case.

And in the middle of this, my husband is in the middle of writing, giving, and grading exams--and since he's up for tenure this year I am very loathe to ask him to do anything that isn't work-related. Oh, and Iyyar seems to be having some kind of weird sleep regression. For the last year or so he's been a really good sleeper--I could just put him in his crib and he'd suck on his blanket till he was ready to sleep. For the last couple of weeks, off and on, he's been refusing to nap, and waking up at night wanting to be cuddled and held--very unusual for a baby who is usually far too busy for such things. Mostly I only get cuddles from him either at random times during the day for thirty seconds when he's in the mood, or when I'm done with work, or briefly at bedtime (before he wiggles out of my lap in search of something more fun). Right now, though, if I go in to him when he cries I find him standing up in his crib, arms up, pleading to be held. It's sweet, and if all he wanted were a nice cuddle to get to sleep, I'd have no problems with it. But what he wants is to just sleep in my lap--if I try to put him down, he wakes up and howls and howls and howls, totally a la Barak at this age. I just can't go down that road, especially not now. So I give him one good long cuddle, put him in his crib, and that's it. Tonight he cried hard for about half an hour, but I think he's asleep now.

I keep thinking of things to add to the Iyyar post. Like "thank you." Iyyar, like Barak, enjoys saying "thank you," and fully expects a "you're welcome" to follow every one. If you don't immediately say "you're welcome," he'll keep thanking you, pointedly, until you do. And then you get a look that distinctly says, "and what were you, raised in a barn?"

Last night--this is another thing I should add to the Iyyar list--MHH was giving both boys a bath as I sat on the floor of their room, feeling too huge and slothlike to move. I was getting Iyyar undressed as Abba got Barak into the tub. Once he was totally naked, Iyyar spied the orange plastic sunglasses I got at Target last summer, and put them on. Okay, naked baby with sunglasses--cute enough. Then he ran down the hall in them, and ran back--appearing in doorway, still naked, still in sunglasses, now grinning hugely and waving at me. "Bye! Bye!" And off to the bathtub. Oh, I wish I had a picture of that one.

Iyyar's hair is getting long enough that I probably should cut it, but I just don't want to, because once you cut their hair they're not quite babies anymore. And Iyyar really is still a baby. I checked on him tonight, after he finally fell asleep, and there he was in his crib with his knees tucked under his tummy, tush in the air, blankie tag in mouth. Definitely baby. I'm holding on to it as long as I can.

Okay, time to go back to speeches, and send off that one I've been working on tonight.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

32 Things about Iyyar (more when I think of them--stay tuned)

1. Iyyar insists that he does not comprehend the word "no." If you say it to him, even very firmly and even at volume, he looks at you with complete blank innocence and keeps doing whatever it is he's doing. So, for example, when he's banging a toy against the wall (which he knows full well he is not allowed to do), and hears "no," he'll look at you with those big eyes and just keep banging, because, you know, he just doesn't understand that word. But he loses a lot of credibility when you take the toy away and he starts howling, "NOOOOOO!!!!"
2. It is very obvious that Iyyar has a big brother. Yesterday, I was in my room folding laundry, and Iyyar was playing with a plastic toy dinosaur in one hand and a plastic toy dog in the other. He was standing next to the bed with them, and then I realized that he was making growling noises and pretending that the dog and the dinosaur were fighting each other. There is just nothing to be done about testosterone, is there.
3. Iyyar will still eat most things, with the exception of raw fruits and vegetables (he will eat bananas and cherries, but I think those are the only ones). He's not quite as indiscriminate as he once was, though.
4. He screams for anything I am eating or anything he sees me preparing, even if he has, at that very moment, the exact same thing on his high chair in front of him. Because, clearly, whatever I have must be better.
5. This is why he eats peanut butter on a slice of whole wheat bread for breakfast most mornings. He sees me making Barak's sandwich and NEEDS ONE NOW.
6. He needs to suck the tag of a blanket to go to sleep.
7. He loves putting on shoes and socks. He won't usually come when I ask him to, but if I tell him it's time to put on shoes and socks, he's there. Yesterday, I had him mostly dressed but hadn't gotten his socks on yet; he went over to his drawer, found a pair of socks, and brought them to me.
8. He loves challah and will always ask for it if he sees it. "Alla! Alla!"
9. Bamba is probably his favorite thing to eat. Sometimes Barak tortures him by saying, "Iyyar, Bamba! Bamba!" just to get him all excited, when in fact there is no Bamba to be had anywhere.
10. He gets along very well with Binyomin, who is here sharing our babysitter in the morning. He calls him Naya. When Binyomin is not here, sometimes Iyyar points at his booster seat and tells me, encouragingly, "Naya! Naya!" I wonder if he thinks I can somehow produce Binyomin for him, when he does that.
11. He is still very very into the cat. Whenever he sees Emese, he points her out to me with great delight. "Cah! Cah!"
12. He's starting to really enjoy looking out the window. He shows me the cars and trucks. He also asks for trucks sometimes. "Chuh! Chuh!"
13. He knows that all the good toys are in the armoire, and frequently campaigns for me to open it up. "Openih! Openih!"
14. He's realized the utility of "please" and "thank you." Like Barak before him, he's gotten to where it's pretty automatic. He'll hold out an empty cereal bowl imploringly: "Bee! Bee!" and then accept a full bowl back with a polite, "gay goo." Sometimes he'll wake up in the middle of the night thirsty and I'll go in there to hear a plea for water. When I give it to him, he'll collapse back into bed with his prize, but there's usually a "gay goo" before he falls.
15. If you walk past a light switch holding him, he will try to turn it on or off. If you walk past a mezuza with him, he will try to wrench it off the wall.
16. Iyyar LOVES the phone. If you let him, he'll walk around the house talking on it, having quite a plausible-sounding conversation that is mostly gibberish with the occasional, "Hewwow?" and "yeah!"
17. When Iyyar gets annoyed, he tosses things off the side of his high chair. He is beginning to get the threat of "Iyyar, if you drop it, it's all done," because when he hears it, he starts just banging things around his tray instead of actually tossing them. Unfortunately, because he now understands that dropping things on the floor is a surefire way to lose his tray and everything on it, he sometimes starts heaving things overboard when he wants to get out.
18. He's also started hitting, and, as a logical consequence, getting (very short) time-outs in his crib. He thinks this is the cruellest and most outrageous thing every. He's been hitting a lot less.
19. When Barak won't share his toys, Iyyar will sneak up behind him, grab his kippa and run away with it giggling. He knows he'll get a rise out of Barak that way, every single time. Sometimes he'll go into Barak's drawer, find a kippah, put it on and wear it around.
20. He loves being tickled. If you tickle his tummy and stop before he's ready, he'll pat his tummy with his hands to tell you to keep doing it.
21. He's really into Lego lately. He's gotten pretty good at putting it together and taking it apart, and sits there doing so while caroling, "geh go! geh go!"
22. He likes sitting on the couch, but can't climb up there by himself, so he'll come up to me and pat the couch cushions while saying, "up! up!" until I lift him up.
23. He's just started asking me to read him books. Yesterday he brought me "Brown Bear, Brown Bear," handed it to me (I was sitting in the rocking chair in their room) and turned around so that I could pick him up facing the right direction to sit in my lap and be read to.
24. He seems to be past the phase of shoving way too much food into his mouth and resorting to sucking on it because his mouth is too full for him to be able to chew. It's been a while since I've seen him sucking on a mouthful of bread.
25. He did, however, choke on too much ravioli this week, and threw up what seemed like a whole day's worth of food all over the floor, his clothes and shoes, and his high chair. I bleached everything and disassembled the high chair to clean it, but I feel like the kitchen still smells like vomit.
26. He seemed totally unperturbed by all of this and wanted more ravioli about thirty seconds later.
27. He still fits into his little blue baby shoes. The soft leather baby shoes/slippers from Target, though, are really on their way out.
28. He's really, really cute when he's sleeping. And most of the rest of the time.
29. His hair is getting to the point where it really needs to be cut, but I'm putting it off.
30. His favorite trick these days is closing the door. If I'm in the bedroom, he'll go out into the hall, closing the door behind him. He pulls it shut with one hand until the door is almost shut, then stands on his toes to reach the knob so he can pull it the rest of the way. All the time, he's saying "Bye!" and, sometimes, waving.
31. He also likes to shut the gate to the kitchen. I don't think he's yet realized that the only thing he accomplishes by doing this is limiting his own opportunities for unfettered motion.
32. He likes eating cereal and milk with a spoon. If I just put dry cereal on his high chair tray, unless it's a really high-value cereal like Puffins he'll express very great disgust.

Motzai shabbos again

As of Friday morning, two centimeters and a bit, but no contractions to speak of. Dum dee dum. I have been instructed at work to remain pregnant until I finish a few more particularly icky speeches, then I am free to go ahead and have my baby, if I must. Thirty-six weeks and three days. I know that most women with more than one kid say "Oh, with my first I always knew how many weeks I was, but now I just can't keep track." Me, I always know to the day.

All I want to do, personally, is knit like a fiend. I have so much I want to knit, and I remember very well exactly how much knitting time I had after Iyyar was born (a sock and a half over my twelve-week maternity leave). Current goal is at least finishing the socks I'm making for my midwife, and ideally also the purple Shetland spiral-yoke sweater I'm making to replace the orange Shetland spiral-yoke sweater that is not really publicly presentable anymore. I'm trying not to have any ambitions beyond that.

Right now, though, it's late and if I'm not going to write any speeches (which, at this point, I'm obviously not) I'd better go to bed. Shavua tov.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Wednesday night

No contractions since last Thursday. Besides the usual ninth-month aches and annoyances, I feel fine.

Today was a little nutty. I had Ada here all day, because she had the time to come and I don't have anyone Mondays or Thursdays--and really have a ton of work to catch up on. I got a lot accomplished this morning--right up until about 1, when I got myself a nice big glass of water from the kitchen and promptly knocked the whole thing over onto the keyboard of my laptop. Uh-oh.

The nice thing about having a laptop that belongs to your company is that if you mess it up, someone else will fix it and you don't have to pay for it. The less nice thing, of course, is that nobody is very happy with you. I called the computer people and they told me to bring the laptop right in so that they could disassemble and dry it. I thought about this for a minute and decided, well, why not bring Barak along--if all I'm doing is taking the bus in to work so that I can drop off a drenched laptop, he might as well get a fun bus trip out of it.

So I took him along with me, which was very nice because a) he and Iyyar have been getting into SO much mischief together lately that it was a good break for me to have him happy and on his best behavior, and b) I think he really needed some one-on-one Imma time. He was pleasantly surprised by the suggestion of going to Imma's office and enjoyed the bus trip, as well as getting to go in the elevator (where he was happy to push the buttons for everyone); the final transportation excitement was at the bookstore next to my office, where we stopped to pick something up for Abba (unsuccessfully, but we tried) and we took a few gratuitous trips up and down the escalators.

So I didn't get as much speechwriting done as I would have liked, but the day was productive in other, probably more important, ways. Iyyar seemed not terribly resentful at having been left with Ada and his buddy all day, and anyway I made it up to him by being home all morning today (cf. "no babysitter on Thursdays," above). The lowlight of the day, unfortunately, was that I seem to have lost my gloves--which I made with a particular favorite skein of Bearfoot yarn on size O needles. I really really like those gloves and I'm pretty sure I dropped them somehow when I was out yesterday. Sigh. Not much knitting time left, either...

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Motzai Shabbos

I'll do an Iyyar post soon, don't worry. I just need to think about it a little bit first. In the meantime, I'll give you this: today we went over to friends to play in the afternoon. Iyyar, as is his habit, found an open door (bathroom, of course) and closed himself in. I followed him, and closed the door behind both of us (ninth month and all). Then he walked over to the toilet, lifted up his shirt, patted his undershirted tummy, and told me meaningfully, "Potty. Potty." Um, no. Sorry. Not starting with that right now. Get back to me in about... um... well, get back to me later. Much later.

In the meantime, after a Thursday of contractions so bad I called my husband to come home from work (not because I thought I was about to need to go to the hospital, but because I couldn't get around enough to watch both kids), I had a friend over and we spent the evening drinking water, sitting still, and knitting. She made quite an impressive hat, which I wanted to photograph. I discovered, after three tries at new batteries, that my Radio Shack digital camera, purchased when Barak was born, has finally given up the ghost. My cheapskate instincts wrestled with my sane mother instincts for an hour or so (new baby on the way and no camera!), and then I just sat down at the computer and ordered a reasonably inexpensive new camera on Amazon. Then I got to the checkout, and the shipping options.

What to do? Do I go with the free super saver shipping, which might not get the camera here for two weeks or more? Or do I spring for the overnight delivery? Surely that's not necessary. I thought about it for a while, and finally settled on the two-day option.

And have not had a contraction since. Hmm. Think I just bought myself another month of being pregnant?

Friday, January 11, 2008

40 things about Barak

1. Instead of "won't," Barak says "willn't."
2. He likes to stash sippy cups of water on the top of the window, where he can reach them but Iyyar can't. Sometimes he's got two or three of them up there at once.
3. Before he goes to bed, he piles all his toys and blankets, except for the purple comforter he sleeps under, on the top of his train bed. He doesn't want me to put them away in drawers--they need to be on top of the train bed.
4. If he is saying that someone forgot something, he says "he got forgot."
5. He takes a very, very long time in the morning to make a bathroom trip and put on underwear.
6. He usually forgets to put his mitzva notes in the yellow pushka at school, and ends up with a stash of them in his backpack.
7. He can get himself completely dressed, with the exception of shoes and socks. He can get the socks on, but they're usually upside down.
8. If he's wearing pajamas with a snap tab on top of the zipper, he comes and asks me to button his snap for him.
9. He likes to come downstairs to check the mail with me.
10. He hasn't had wet underwear since September--K"AH. But he still sleeps in a pullup, and they're usually soaked in the morning.
11. He can brush his own teeth.
12. He can recognize about half of the aleph-beis, even though I really haven't been working on him with it at all lately. I don't think he knows any English letters.
13. If you tell him a number, he will try to show you the correct number of fingers and ask, "This many?" Any number larger than ten usually becomes "a hundred."
14. The past, for Barak, is divided into "esterday" and "esterday, a long time ago." Sometimes things that actually did happen yesterday are categorized as happening "esterday, a long time ago." I'm not quite sure why.
15. Whenever Barak is going somewhere in his car, or is flying a plane somewhere, or driving a train somewhere, it is almost invariably going to California.
16. He still, every so often, tells me that he wants to go to Morah Chana's school (where he went last year.)
17. He still drinks out of sippy cups or covered cups with straws. Sometimes I give him cups without tops, and they almost invariably spill.
18. He likes to sweep. If he sees me sweeping, he wants to help, and sometimes actually does. But I can no longer get away with sweeping myself and then handing me the broom, because he will complain that there is "no more schmutz" on the floor.
19. The only kind of meat Barak will eat is bologna and salami. Most kinds of fake soy meat are fine too.
20. Barak no longer insists on only wearing shirts with trucks or scary animals on them. The one he picks most often is a striped long-sleeved t-shirt from LL Bean.
21. He can make a bracha on his tzitzis by himself, and on most foods. Anything yummy, however, defaults to being a mezonos, even if it's not--I guess he has that established in his mind as the treat bracha.
22. He is convinced that the baby is a girl baby.
23. He likes wearing a tie on Shabbos.
24. His favorite cereal is Puffins either cinnamon or peanut butter. He gets a few in the morning if he gets himself dressed with reasonable speed.
25. Whenever I make him a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (which is every morning he has school) he asks me to remove the peel (crust). If I just take a knife and remove the outer 1/16 of an inch, he is satisfied with this.
26. Barak doesn't sleep with his special monkey in his bed anymore, but likes to know where he is at night.
27. He also often spirits Iyyar's special puppydog (which Iyyar couldn't care less about these days) on top of his train bed at night. I think he's much more attached to it than Iyyar is.
28. I've noticed him diapering the Cabbage Patch Kid we inherited from a friend quite a lot lately.
29. He is convinced that when I go to the hospital to have a new baby, there will be trains for him to play with.
30. He is starting to get the concept of taking turns and considers this a fair way to resolve some toy conflicts. Unfortunately, Iyyar doesn't, so it doesn't help a whole lot most of the time.
31. He remembers every home we've ever been a guest in by which toys they had for him to play with. "They had dinosaurs for me to play with."
32. He loves being allowed to open and close the refrigerator by himself. He usually remembers to ask first.
33. He's better than he has been about tantrums, but still sometimes explodes for no obvious reason.
34. Logic is sometimes a little shaky too. If I tell him that I can't do something, his response is often "but I want!" or "but I need!"
35. He's been spending a lot of time singing about makkos lately (last week's parsha and all). We've been hearing snatches of "avadim hayyinu" and "no no no, I will not let you go!" Of course, I hear "I will not let you go!" and my 80s upbringing wants to sing back a la Queen, "Let me go!"
36. If you ask him about the makkos that Hashem sent the mitzrim, he tells you about the frogs first. "Where were the frogs, Barak?" "Jumping on Paroh's bed and on his head!" "Did he like that?" "No!" Pause. "But I like it." He probably would--briefly anyway. He also likes the wild beasts one, and the idea that the beasts were coming in the windows. Very scary, etc.
37. He actually has some idea of where matzo comes from, because he knows that when I make pizza dough or challah dough we have to let it rise. If it doesn't rise, it doesn't get nice and fluffy, and instead it's all flat. I'm thinking we might do a rise-no rise comparison on Sunday.
38. When he comes home from school with pekelach from birthday parties (FULL of candy, you would not believe what people send home with three-year-olds!) he will cooperatively, if not enthusiastically, hand them over unopened to be returned on Shabbos. If I'm lucky, he forgets about them and has Bamba or strawberry yogurt for a Shabbos treat. Even when he remembers, he has not yet registered that there is never as much candy in the bag as there once was, and some raisins and whole-wheat pretzels are there that weren't before.
39. When Barak was a baby, and when Iyyar was smaller, I used to sing them mizmor l'David (also known as the 23rd psalm) at bedtime. Lately, Barak has taken to asking me to sing it to him again, with him in the rocking chair, the way I did two years ago. He says, "Imma, I want you to rock me and sing me the baby song." Who could say no?
40. Lately, Barak has been all-Imma, all the time. If Abba goes to him in the night, and I stay in bed, I hear a sad wail, "I need IIIIMMMMMAAAAA!" In ten years, he probably won't, so I'll just enjoy it now.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Big boy

Barak loves Clementines. Every couple of weeks, I buy a big box of them at Trader Joe's or the supermarket, and he can easily eat four or five of them a day if I let him. He can peel them himself if I peel off the very top for him, and knows to put the peel in the trash.

There is one small problem with his Clementine consumption, however. Barak is very particular about how he eats them: he likes to take one section at a time, and have the rest of the orange (okay, tangerine, but he calls them oranges) stay intact. It has happened on more than one occasion that a split-in-two orange has had him in tears. "I want it to be stuck! Can you make it stuck, Imma? I need it to be stuck!"

Barak did a good job on a lot of things today. He went to mincha with Abba, and by all accounts behaved very nicely. He hung up his own coat, without asking, when he got back, and ate a dinner full of "green" without protest (okay, he didn't eat much, but he didn't protest). At bedtime, he was quite pleased with himself. "I'm a big boy," he informed me. "I did lots of mitzvos today!" And then he told me, apropos of nothing,

"At school today my orange broke. I was peeling my orange by myself and it broke. I wanted it to be stuck, but I din't cry, 'cause I'm a big boy. I just ate it."

Now that's a big boy.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Hmm. Yes. Well.

1-2 cm dilated, mostly effaced, baby -1 station. I'd rather have that all be two weeks from now, but I'm not particularly worried; with Iyyar I walked around 3 cm dilated for what, three weeks? And I was this dilated at around 33 weeks, and didn't have him until 37.5. So. The midwife said "try not to have the baby in the next two weeks, okay?" and I agreed to do my best. There was a suggestion of keeping my feet up for a few hours a day, which I can actually do--that telecommuting thing, you know.

Further bulletins, as always, as events warrant.


No baby, and I still don't think I'm really in labor. Going to the midwife tomorrow just to get checked. Stay tuned, as always, to this exciting channel.

Monday, January 07, 2008


Today could have easily been a lot worse. Nobody is injured or seriously ill, nobody lost a job today, and... yeah.

It could have been worse.

That was that I started telling myself when I woke up this morning with such intense abdominal cramps I couldn't stand up straight. It was what I told myself while checking Iyyar's temperature and finding that he had a fever for the third straight day, meaning I really needed to take him to the pediatrician--a mile away by foot. When Barak got out the door with only minimal protest, I told myself reassuringly, see? It really could have been worse.

The baby who normally shares our babysitter with us was here today, even though there was no babysitter and I was, theoretically at least, working. But, fortunately, baby #2 had just gotten back from a different time zone with his family, and slept most of the morning. So while I was waiting for both the midwife and the pediatric nurse to call me back, I put both of them in their respective cribs with some toys (Iyyar complained, the other baby passed out instantly) and went to take a long hot shower, which made me feel no longer completely convinced that I was in labor. Picking up the phone when the midwife called back and describing what I felt like, though, it was a little harder to convince her. She thought I should come in. To the office that's a 30-minute drive away, because there was no one to see me in the local office today. The two 20-month-olds, one of whom is feverish and the other one of whom is asleep? Well, isn't there someone you could leave them with? Um, no. No, there isn't, and even if there were, two 30-minute cab rides are not on my itinerary for today.

So now I have an appointment for tomorrow, for the local office, but in the middle of the afternoon, when I will... do what exactly with my already-born kids, I'm not sure. The pediatrician's office called back, and said to bring Iyyar in to walk-in tomorrow morning at 8 am at the latest. That would have been flat-out impossible, logistically, without having MHH take a personal day, and since he's only got three of those we aren't about to use any of them now. So I made an appointment for 4:40 PM, called MHH and asked him to come home early. Which he did. And then Barak decided to go along too, so all three of them went.

Now we are having thunderstorms.

I didn't mention a few other things, like the lady from the Consumer Products Safety Commission who showed up to photograph Barak's broken and highly dangerous front-end loader, which has been hiding in the basement since small choking-hazard-sized pieces starting coming off it in August. "Iss my front end loader! Imma found it! Yay!" I had emailed her this morning to say that we needed to reschedule, but she was already out on her dangerous toy documentation rounds and didn't get it. (But how impressive is it that we have a government agency that does these things?! I mean, really!)

The doctor thinks that what Iyyar has is viral, did not see any signs of an ear infection and says to bring him back if he is still feverish on Wednesday. So that's good. I'm glad we don't need to give him antibiotics, especially since on Friday I filled two prescriptions for the first time in (B"H ) a long time and discovered that the two totally ordinary drugs that MHH and Iyyar had been prescribed each had a $50 copay PER MONTHLY SUPPLY. We are not talking expensive drugs for which generics are available, or fancy new recently-developed drugs. No. We are talking allergy and reflux medicine here.

Anyway. MHH and the boys stopped to get French fries on the way home, mostly to get out of the incredible downpour. They made it, B"H, in the dark and the rain across two very scary intersections, which is the main thing--MHH had the covered-in-reflective-tape jogging stroller and the geeky-in-a-cool-way flashing-lights high-visibility backpack. Like I said... nobody is really sick, nobody is hurt, nobody lost a job today, and even if I am going into labor, that could be worse too--I'll be 35 weeks on Thursday, so we're not talking major terrifying prematurity or even the potential for weeks and weeks of bedrest. And it's MHH walking the kids home in the pouring rain without a raincoat, not pregnant and possibly contracting me.

Perspective, right? Perspective.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

What color are their hands now?

Two points to anyone who gets the Muppets reference.

I think I might have mentioned that my husband's parents visited last week. This was a fairly momentous occasion, since my mother-in-law, generally speaking, does not travel, and had not flown in something like 15 years. The visit was very nice and I think they enjoyed themselves. It is worth mentioning, however, that there is nothing like a weeklong visit from macrobiotic in-laws to make you want to eat an entire bag of Pepperidge Farm cookies and wash the whole thing down with Diet Coke.

They got here on Wednesday and by Thursday night I was already plotting my sugar orgy. I bought the cookies and a 20-oz bottle of caramel-colored phosphoric acid and aspartame, and hid them in the back of the cupboard and the back of the fridge, respectively. Friday morning I had a midwife appointment, so the babysitter was going to be here and I was going to have couple of hours out of the house. Mwa ha ha ha.

I woke up on Friday at some ridiculously early hour, for the fifteenth or so bathroom trip of the nightg. I was too achey to go back to bed (the hallmark of the tail end of this pregnancy) so went into the dark kitchen--it was just barely dawn--for a drink of water. Then I remembered. Ooh. Cookies. I could have a couple cookies right here in my own kitchen. Everyone's asleep. I got a couple of cookies and took out the Diet Coke, intending to indulge in a swig. The first cookie was halfway to my mouth when, as if he'd popped up through the floorboards, my FIL materialized at my elbow.

He was too polite to say anything, but looked reproachful. Cookies! For breakfast! While pregnant! The horrors! I decided to just pretend I was holding a handful of celery sticks. We chatted innocently about the plans for the day, quite as though I were not clutching a fistful of refined poison, and he continued on his laps of the apartment (morning walk and all). I put the cookies back in the bag. I slid the Diet Coke into my backpack. Then I reached over to put the cookies into the bag. I literally had them on the counter and one hand on the zipper when I heard,

"Imma, what are dose?"

What are YOU doing up?!

"Dose are cookies, Imma!"


"Yes, Barak."

"What are they for?"

"They're for later." True enough. They're for later for ME.

Barak looks at me, not quite accusingly, but... hurt. Surely you're not going to eat cookies without me, Imma... are you?

"You put dem in your bag."

What could I do? I took his lunchbag out of the fridge. I put in a cookie. Barak decided to push his luck.

"Can I have one to eat right now?"

"Barak, do I usually put cookies in your lunch for school?"


"So, what do you think... do you think you should ask a lot of questions, or do you think you should just enjoy your cookie when it's time for your snack?"

"I sink I should just enjoy my cookie when it's time for my snack."

"I think you're very smart."

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

From the mouths of, etc.

Iyyar has realized the utility of words. I think up until now he regarded them as something of a party trick, with which to occasionally delight a particularly fortunate parent. He's been saying a little bit more here and there: "doh pih" for "drop it," "ball," "cat," "car," "cheese," etc. This past week, he said "blankie" ("gahgee!") for the first time. And then a couple days ago, he was sitting morosely on the bedroom floor, looking sadly at the blankies that I'd folded in his crib too far from the accessible edge for him to pull through the bars. "Gahgee," he mourned. "Gahgee."

"Do you want a blankie?" I asked him. He looked startled. I was sitting on the floor and didn't want to get up, so I reached behind me and pulled a clean blankie--with a nice clean tasty tag on which to suck--out of the drawer, and handed it to him.

You could practically see the light bulb switch on. Heeeeyyyy. That was a neat trick. I said I wanted a blankie and like magic she gave me one. Why didn't anyone tell me I could do that?

* * *

"Thank you" was one of Barak's first words. He said "ta tam," which Israelis heard, naturally, as "toda" and Hungarians heard as "koszonom." Iyyar says "gay goo," which is, if reports are accurate, apparently what I myself said as a baby. It was, not surprisingly, my first word. Now that Iyyar has worked out that he is more likely to get things by saying "please," snack time is replete with "peess!" and "gay goo!" and "shee! shee!" ("cheese!") Yesterday (did I blog this already?) he was sitting in his high chair, nobody was really paying attention to him, and suddenly MHH and I heard, clear as a bell, "All done now." We both gaped. Then we stared at each other. "Did he really say that?" Judging by the look on his face, yes, he did.

And now that he's figured out that words let him communicate what he wants, he's started using them a whole lot more. Instead of shaking the gate to the kitchen to communicate the desire for a snack, he stands there shaking the gate caroling, "ungee! ungee! openih!" I'm HUNGRY, Imma, that's why I need you to OPEN THE GATE!"

* * *

Barak, of course, has lots and lots of words, and I try very hard to encourage him to use words and not behavior to express what he's feeling. "Barak, if you need attention, come tell me you need attention. Throwing toys and doing things you're not supposed to do isn't a good way to get attention. Tell me you need attention and I'll try to pay attention to you, okay?"

Tonight, I got home late with Iyyar from the allergist (more on this later) and MHH was home with Barak. I gave Iyyar dinner, busted out the new pajamas I got them from the LL Bean sale (blue with white polar bears, very cute) and Barak was totally delighted to match Iyyar. He danced around for a while, spinning on one foot. "Look, Imma! I can do a trick! I can do dis!" [Demonstrates one-footed spinning.] "Look!" Eventually we got both of them into bed--they've B"H been doing really well with that lately--and Abba and I repaired to the kitchen, for me to recover from the miles-long arctic trek with jogging stroller. Fifteen minutes later, we heard a familiar wail.


"Barak, if you need me, you don't need to yell. Come tell me what you need." The door opened and a squinting little boy in polar bear pajamas peeked his nose out. "Imma, I need you to pay attention to me."

What could I say? "Okay, come over here and sit in my lap and I'll cuddle you a little bit." Really I should have gone into his room, but I was too tired to get up. He came out into the kitchen and climbed into my lap, head snuggled into my shoulder. "I needed some attention, Imma. I didn't have enough attention today." Pause. Sigh. "I had a long and crazy day today. That's why I need some attention now." Sounds like a good enough reason to me.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Things Iyyar Has Done This Week

1. Put both hands on his diaper, looked up at me sorrowfully, and intoned, "Boopy. Boopy." And he was right.

2. Learned to say please. Pizza is a powerful motivator.

3. Found the little pink plastic chair, dragged it over to my bed, and used it as a stepladder to get up there and attempt to pet the cat. That last part was not successful. She'll be faster than him for a long time yet.

4. Started to say "blankie" ("gangee!")

5. Realized that it feels good when I put vaseline on his chapped cheeks, and come up to me with face up requesting to be shmeared.