Saturday, February 23, 2008

Ten things

1. Well, it had to happen sooner or later. Baby Avtalyon appears to have found the Household Book of Newborn Sleep (I thought I'd shredded all the copies, but someone appears to have hoarded one away---@*&%$*! packrats!) , and realized, "Hey! All I have to do is scream nonstop, and they'll hold me all the time! Gevalt!" And so those nice chunks of sleep, for him and for me, are now but a vanishing memory.

To be fair, what really seems to have happened is that he's gotten some pretty unpleasant gas--when he's held over my shoulder (nice warm pressure on the tummy) he calms down and goes to sleep; if I put him down, a few minutes later he wakes up howling. This went on, well, all night last night--it was a page right out of Barak's baby book (which he doesn't have, since I was too sleep-deprived to even think of starting one). A few horrible explosions this afternoon and he was much happier--he's napping in his carseat now. But I'm going to have to go wake him up fairly shortly--if I let him go longer than three hours between feeds that'll diminish any chances of nice nighttime sleep any further.

To be honest this is still a vast, vast improvement over Barak, who never slept while not being held, ever, at all. But the last few weeks have spoiled me. I keep trying to maintain an attitude of "let's just enjoy this temporary phase while it lasts," but...

2. The second nicest thing about having a new baby (after the baby, obviously) is that, at least if you're Jewish and live in a strong community, people bring you food. They bring you lots of food. The baby is now four weeks and a day old and I have cooked one--that's ONE--meal since he was born. Yesterday, signals got crossed and we were brought Shabbos dinner twice. And people always bring much more than you are really going to eat in one meal (lunch the next day, obviously). That meant that when I lit candles yesterday, I had three chickens, two big kugels, a pan of green beans, gefilte fish, chicken soup, a pan of warm chocolate chip cookies, and no fewer than six challot piled in my kitchen. It's been a pretty tasty Shabbos. (What did Barak eat? Barak ate yogurt, cereal, bananas and cucumbers. Of course.)

Now I just have to start returning all those containers, not all of which I labeled...

3. I completely forgot that when I had Iyyar, I was kicking myself for not using all my sick time before I went out on leave. Where I work, we get 6 weeks of short-term disability, offset by however many days of sick time you have stored up, for maternity leave. STD is 60% pay, but no deductions; since I am part-time, it is pretty close to my actual pay. And if I have a pay period with anything less than a full two weeks' of hours, but the usual deductions for insurance etc, STD is significantly more. But since I had so much to do before going out on leave, as much as I would have liked a couple of days off I did not take them; the result was that I still lost the days to my FMLA leave, and was paid less than I would have been if I hadn't had them saved. Grr.

4. Speaking of sleep issues (when am I not?) Iyyar is now in a nap-resistant, sleep-defiant phase. He howls for a long, long time at bedtime. In fact he is at it now. I'm ignoring it. And bizarrely, I think Barak is already asleep.

5. I'm feeling that Iyyar is really getting the short end of things with my time these days. Avtalyon, of course, is taking up a lot of attention, much more these last few days that he's started crying a lot; Barak is perpetually so high-maintenance that Iyyar already didn't get his fair share of Imma, even before the baby was born. And now he's getting even less, and it's starting to show in his behavior.

Tomorrow Abba is planning to take Barak out for some fun activities in the afternoon, and I am hoping to give Iyyar some quality time--of course, if Avtalyon permits it. It occurred to me to wonder how mothers of higher orders of kids manage the one-on-one time, and thinking about the families I know I just don't think most of them have the equivalent of a Barak, who is not only totally Imma-centric but incredibly sensitive to, well, everything. If Iyyar doesn't get all the attention I think he really should, not that much happens--I feel guilty, he acts up, and that's it. If Barak doesn't get all the attention he thinks he really should, the universe implodes. And having vivid memories of attention deprivation myself, I hate that as much as he does. Yes, he's incredibly high-maintenance, but guess what? He gets it from me.

6. I am extremely fortunate to be, B"H, pretty healthy in both the major and the minor regards. I hardly ever get upset stomachs, have not broken a bone in about 25 years, and almost never get headaches. However, the one I have now is now entering its third week. I think I've taken more Tylenol in the last couple of weeks than I did in the previous ten years combined (that's assuming I ever took Tylenol in the last decade, which I'm honestly not sure I did). I've been drinking water by the liter, it's not like I suddenly went off coffee (ha!) and the sleep deprivation didn't really kick in until a couple days ago. What's up with that? I had a cold, but that seems to have gone away while the headache has lingered, and lingered.

7. It's a good thing tiny babies have tiny clothes. They produce incredible amounts of laundry by item count, but each individual thing is so small it doesn't register much in the daily laundry volume. So it's not as much of a shock to the system, although it has derailed my usual laundry-sorting method. As the clothes get bigger, the laundry volume increases gradually, and you notice it less. At least that's my theory. I'll have to ask my husband, the one who actually does the laundry (usually at 5 am) if he agrees.

8. Does anyone out there have six skeins of Classic Elite London Tweed yarn to sell or swap? It was discontinued in 2001 and I bought some on elann. com to make a sweater that promptly became my all-time favorite. Said sweater is now seriously disintegrating, the yarn is no longer available anywhere, and the only person on Ravelry who has any stashed has not gotten back to me after an initial message exchange on the topic.

9. Hey, how about that?! Everybody's quiet! (Or maybe it's just that the heat is coming up now, and it's noisy enough to block everyone out. Which is also possible.)

10. When's the last time YOU tested your smoke detectors? We test ours pretty regularly but apparently I missed one. Earlier this week I had a pan of leftover meatballs from Shabbos warming in the oven and as I took it out it spilled meatballs and sauce all over the bottom of the extremely hot oven. Annoying enough, but I completely did not have the time to clean it then and there so by the time I did get to it it was a huge burned-on mess. Which, apparently, I did not deal with adequately--when I turned on the oven erev Shabbos to warm up the Shabbos food, huge plumes of smoke came billowing out of the vent--but didn't set of the smoke detectors. I got up on a chair and checked, and it turned out that the battery had somehow come loose from its connectors.

Being intensely neurotic about smoke detectors, I [idiotically] connected the battery, with the obvious result of high-pitched beeping right in my ear, etc. I got something to wave away the smoke with, and Barak found a shmatta to come help; then Iyyar, sitting in his high chair ten feet away, wanted to get in on the act, so I gave him one too.

Picture it, if you will: me, postpartum, getting more disheveled by the second standing on chair waving Lands' End catalogue; Barak in car pajamas, peanut butter on face, waving dishtowel enthusiastically around my knees, Iyyar, in hand-me-down green pajamas and covered in chicken soup, also waving dishtowel, making thwacking sounds as he occasionally inadvertently smacks himself in the face. Smoke detector screeching, kitchen full of smoke, baby begins to cry; doorbell rings, and behold! it is the extremely wonderful and amazing family who is bringing us dinner. But not just any wonderful and amazing family. They are possibly the frummest and most chassidish family I know; the father, who is a very respected rabbi with a shul around here, is the only person I know in town who not only wears a shtreiml but has his payes long and curled. I was expecting the mother (whom I know fairly well, since she sends her kids to the same playgroup where Barak goes), not the father, so was a bit taken aback. Being that he is, as I say, extremely nice, he gave no indication at all of having noticed that half my ponytail was, presumably as a result of my catalogue-waving vigor, sticking straight out of my tichel.

I did not remember until after I got over the initial shock (looking in the bathroom mirror later and realizing what had happened) that his was the shul in which Iyyar pulled off my tichel last year. Ah well. Another good reason to have a shtark mechitza.


shanna said...

For gassy Baby Avtalyon: gripe water. There are different formulations; I will try to look up which one we used, but I remember specifically trying to avoid one ingredient. Activated charcoal, maybe? But you definitely want one that has some ginger in it. It didn't coompletely fix Devora's gassiness and puking problems (she was also a shoulder sleeper...I got very good at web-surfing on a laptop while standing at the changing table at 2 AM), but it helped a lot.

uberimma said...

Oh, gripe water is the bomb. It saved us from utter insanity with Barak, and was also pretty helpful with Iyyar. I used the Baby's Bliss kind (fennel and ginger), which you can get on Amazon and occasionally at health food stores (I've never seen it at Whole Foods, though). Expensive, but oh so worth it.

Yasmin said...

I was just going to write and recommend gripe water!!!

So much for my secret solution.

I forget the brand we used to buy at the local market here: white label w/ blue printing? They still have it. If you need some, let me know.