Sunday, April 27, 2008

Motzai yom tov

We had, B"H, a lovely lovely Pesach--possibly our nicest ever, but I think I've been saying that every year for the last five.

More bulletins soon, but right now, it is time to bring out the boxes and put away the Pesach--a little sadly. But there is the knowledge of Cheerios tomorrow morning to console me. And I can also look forward to taking the boys on a surprise doughnut run tomorrow afternoon. Just one of the many reasons I love being a mother--the power to occasionally shock little boys' lights out by buying them doughnuts for no obvious reason other than that I can.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Who knows ten?

Every day I think of some little thing or another that I want to blog. But I've just been too busy to sit down. So, here are a few scattered things for your time-wasting pleasure:

1. Today was my first day back at work. The amount of stuff I have to do is unreal.

2. Avtalyon is smiling now, big lopsided grins that melt the heart into puddles of motherly goo. I'm not sure how much he weighs exactly, but he has doubled his weight from a couple of months ago. An impressive achievement, although not one I'm aspiring to personally.

3. Barak, even before he could talk, monologued--in his high chair, in bed, to his trucks, wherever. He still does it, talking to himself in this conversational tone, sometimes to our intense amusement. Tonight, I ran out to run and errand with Avtalyon, and MHH fielded bedtime. When I got home, he reported this monologue of Barak's, overheard post-bedtime.

"Superman... Superman's a billion cool. Spiderman is ten cool. Batman's five cool." MHH is not sure why Batman is so much less cool than Superman, but says he got the impression that even being five cool was something. Of course, Barak also thinks Superman has horns, so he might have him mixed up with Batman, of the pointy bat ears. But Superman, as we all know, helps people. That might be it.

4. Yesterday we went on a chol ha'moed outing--to take the bus, which is the fun part for Barak and Iyyar, to go to the picture place and outdoor play area at the mall. We never go to the mall. Ever. Malls make me itch. I hate shopping, hate the music, hate the acquisitiveness and consumerism and gashmius, and MHH hates them even more, especially in summer when not everyone is dressed. But we haven't had a family picture since Barak was ten weeks old, and I really wanted one, so we went. I'm so glad we did. I love the picture we got with all of us. It makes me happy every time I glance in its direction. Okay, so I look fat, MHH looks grumpy, the kids are clearly bouncing off the wall--but we look like a family.

5. I haven't knitted a thing in ages. I haven't had much in the way of time, obviously, what with the new baby and Pesach and the rest of our usual routine, but I haven't had much of a taiva to do it either, which is unusual for me. But probably just as well.

6. Avtalyon is three months tomorrow. Barak's fourth English birthday was yesterday. And the potty regression continues. Nuff said.

7. Barak got a Pesach tape at school. In this tape, his morah sang all the songs of the seder, with admonitions not to "play this tape where there are big men or boys over thirteen." The point is to play it over and over, so that by seder time the kids know the songs.

Now I know that I send my kid to a chareidi playgroup. Why? She did ma nishtana in Hebrew, English and Yiddish. Seriously. Now I can say "all kinds of vegetables" in Yiddish, and I'm sure that will come in handy someday.

8. There were two makkos songs on the tape. Barak, like all little boys, LOVES the makkos, and the whole idea of it. He sings one of the makkos songs, gleefully, often, sometimes on the toilet, in a fierce and ruthless growl. "The mitzrim were PUNISHED, again and again!" The other makkos song, of course, teaches what the ten makkos were, and if you're Jewish you probably know it. It is a rollicking tune that helps you remember that they were "Dam, tzvardaya, kinim, arov, dever..." etc.

Got all that? Good. So, last week our non-Jewish babysitter was here while the tape was playing. We love our babysitter, and I thinks she likes us, even though she probably occasionally thinks we're deranged (and may be right.) Then we got to the makkos song. She couldn't help but notice that Barak was singing this one particularly... lustily. "What's that song?"

Without even thinking, I started to sing it, to that cheery bouncy tune, translating it into English as I went. "Blood and frogs and lice, wild beasts and pestilence, boils hail locusts darkness, the slaying of the firstborn!" I think she was mildly horrified.

9. It looks as though, B"H, MHH has a job for next year. This has been in doubt for about the last year and a half and has been weighing on us fairly heavily. His school had to inform him in writing by April 15 if he was being cut; they did not, although they also did not inform him that they were keeping him. So we had this weird day in which we were constantly calling each other. "Did anyone call? No. Did anyone call you? No. Is your cell phone on? Yeah. Nobody called. Was there anything in your mailbox? No. Did you check my email? Yep, nothing there. Okay, it's 11:30, and nothing yet..." This went on until about 11 PM, when we looked at each other and finally exhaled. Sort of, because, you know, nothing had really been confirmed in either direction. That was Tuesday. He had also applied to another job, in a local kollel, that he really wanted more but didn't think he would get. Less than an hour and a half before licht, his phone beeped, and there was a message on it saying "we're looking forward to welcoming you to the kollel..." They have not yet talked tachlis, so there is no actual job offer on paper, but so far appears that he even has options.

And it also appears that I might shortly become a kollel wife. The mind reels.

10. Grandma E and Grandpa M were here last week, in Grandpa M's great big truck. We went on sort of a pre-Pesach chol ha'moed outing on the Thursday before Pesach. I thought I would pack us a lovely picnic lunch for a last chance at some chometz. I had paper plates, knives, forks, napkins etc. in the bag I'd packed for the day, and had deli, mustard, mayonnaise, cucumbers, and juice boxes in a tied-up bag in the fridge. The ruggelach and rolls for sandwiches were in separate bags in the freezer. When it was time to go, I grabbed two of the three bags, leaving the rolls for the sandwiches behind. So we ended up eating meat with our fingers for lunch. Sigh.

The boys didn't seem to mind eating straight bologna for lunch, though, and had a fine time riding in the truck, climbing on farm equipment, etc. Inexplicably, we were the only Jewish family in the children's museum the day before the three-day yom tov that Pesach came in on. Weird, huh? I wonder where everyone else was.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

T minus one week

One week till Pesach and the house is not much farther along than it was a week ago. I did our room, my closet, my husband's closet, the back bedroom and its closet, and the front hall closet. Left to do: the living room, the kids' room, and oh yes, the kitchen.

I made meatballs for tonight and tomorrow night's dinners; I'm also planning a giant stir-fry for Shabbos with all the half-used bags of vegetables in the freezer. We got our dairy order today and now have 84 little Mehadrin yogurts in the fridge. This may sound like overkill until you realize that a) I am turning my kitchen over Sunday night and b) Barak basically lives on yogurt, bananas, and cheese on Pesach. Last year he also ate a lot of Pesach brownies but I don't do Pesach baking personally. I'd rather just eat chocolate and strawberries. We also have 5 lb of cheese, three containers of cottage cheese and two of sour cream--I like latkes on chol ha'moed Pesach. Why not?

Today I shopped for nonperishables at the kosher grocery near us and I'm glad I did, because I got the very last of the whole wheat matzo meal. Which was, I should mention, the only matzo meal left. Yep--they'd sold out of matzo meal and were not getting any more in. I did not get any shmura--that's next on the list.

Goal for tomorrow: clean kids' room for Pesach and go into Shabbos with some semblance of order. On Sunday, Vicky (whom I still cannot bring myself to call my cleaning lady because I can't handle sounding that... bourgeois) will be here for six hours while MHH takes Barak and Iyyar anywhere that isn't here. If Avtalyon lets me, we're going to do the living room and as much of the kitchen as we can.

In the meantime, we may or may not be getting an answer on one of MHH's job prospects for next year by tomorrow. He had an interview yesterday, and we are hopeful.

Oh, and I just ordered the cat food. It's a record, I think--more than a week in advance!

Stay tuned, as always, to this exciting channel.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


I haven't been updating much. Things around here have been on the overwhelming side. A short recap:

1. Pesach is coming. I have still not ordered cat food. The back bedroom is clean and our bedroom is mostly done. Someone is coming to help me clean for a few hours on Sunday and Tuesday; I hope to get the kitchen turned over Tuesday night. Wednesday we are getting a visit from Grandma E and Grandpa M, so that will be a nice recovery time. And we'll have two good reasons to eat out.

2. I had a root canal on Wednesday. It was, of course, horrible, but it could have been a lot worse, and most important, my face feels better. No trigeminal neuralgia for me, thanks. It looks as though the insurance will end up covering about 75% of it, so it should be more like $500 than $2,000. Much better. In the next month: root canal follow-up visits #2 and 3.

3. My first day back at work is two weeks from today. I am okay about this--the telecommuting takes away about 80% of the stress.

4. And the 800-lb gorilla in the room is the fact that my husband's contract has not yet been renewed for next year, and may not be renewed at all. He's also applied for two other positions. We should hear about all three by erev Pesach. Some days I am calm about this. Some days I am not.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

More perspective

If you had told me two weeks ago that I would require a root canal, costing around $2,000, under a crown that's less than four years old and itself cost $1,400, I would have been rather upset. Rather extremely upset. However, after googling the extremely unpleasant diagnosis the neurologist handed me last week (along with his home phone number of all things--nice, but under the circumstances not reassuring), and in consideration of just exactly how much whatever it is hurt last week (but not since, B"H), the prospect of all of this potentially being resolved with a mere $2,00o root canal seems pretty good. For the record: facial nerve pain hurts. A lot. Still not as bad as labor, but I'll pass if I can.

Nobody got any sleep here last night, with one thing and another. Yesterday, Avtalyon spent the day waking up to nurse every 20 minute or so, falling asleep nursing only to wake up again STARVING. He didn't want to be awake, couldn't stay asleep, all day and until about 12:30 am, when he finally settled down.

Which was why I was less than pleased to be awoken at 2:30 by a full-bore screaming fit from Barak, right next to my bed and Avtalyon's bassinet, along the lines of "I NEED SOME ATTENTION" and then "I DON'T FEEL GOOD." Of course you don't feel good, because you refused to go to the bathroom all day and now you're constipated. I was not prepared to deal with forcing a potty trip at that hour and brought him back to bed, where he continued to scream. MHH went in there, told him to go to the bathroom and he screamed (full volume again) that he couldn't because he didn't feel good, etc. Fast forward however long, failed potty trip over, Barak back in bed, now 3:30 am--when Avtalyon starts to shuffle, cough, snuffle, and finally cry.

All of which explains why I am sitting here at 4:02 am on two hours' sleep pumping, so Avtalyon has something to eat tomorrow if I need to take some of those "incompatible with nursing" drugs that have been mentioned to me.

Here's hoping he'll take a bottle, which he never has before.

Perspective, right? Perspective.