A long-overdue roundup:
1. Avtalyon is almost eight months old. He's been seriously crawling for the last couple of weeks, up on all fours with his tummy off the ground and moving at a pretty impressive speed. He's also started pulling up to stand (last week sometime) and now when I come get him in his crib he's usually standing up, which adds a certain pitifulness to the wails. This ability also brings us into the land of Baby Menace. Ooh, the plastic bag in the garbage can looks tasty! Hey, I bet I can pull myself up on that rocker footstool! Think I can haul this 50-lb Gemara off the shelf?
He loves loves loves the baby swings at the park. Barak hated them, Iyyar thought they were okay, but Avtalyon adores them; he'll dangle there happily, enjoying the view, or, if you swing him and stand in front of him pretending he's about to knock you over, screech with laughter. It's awesome. There's nothing better than a baby in a swing laughing with his whole body.
He's babbling, but mostly only when annoyed. He's eating bananas, rice cereal (which he LIKES--huwhat?), oatmeal, and of course Cheerios. Standard routine in the morning is plunking him in his booster with a few handfuls while I get the older kids breakfast; I'm sure some of them must get into his mouth but I find the rest in all kinds of places. So far as sleep, it's B"H been better the last couple of nights; he screamed a lot last week but since then has been going to sleep reasonably nicely at around 7, waking up twice, and waking up for the day in the vicinity of 6:15. I'll take it.
2. Iyyar is talking more and more. It's hilarious to listen to. You can sort of have conversations with him now, and sometimes they even make sense. My favorites happen after we drop Barak off with carpool at 8:10 and are on our way to his playgroup, which starts at 9; the intervening 50 minutes are my time for some exercise, errand-running, and quality time with Iyyar.
This morning we saw a garbage truck. "Hey, Iyyar, is that a garbage truck?"
"Yeah, it's a garbage truck! Look, it's a blue one."
"Jarba! Put in!"
Or last week, when we passed a van with a somewhat smashed-in side (still driveable, apparently, because we see it daily in different parking spots):
In a bereft tone: "Truck! Broken!"
"Yeah, the truck's broken."
Inquisitively: "Break it?"
"I guess someone did break it, yeah."
With relish: "Rip it!"
Since Jenny let him "drive" her car (read "climb around front seat while Jenny holds keys firmly in her hand and watches to be sure they don't put the car in neutral) his ambitions have been growing. He now points out vehicles he'd like to try out. Like, you know, pieces of heavy earthmoving equipment. "Backhoe! Drive it!" Then, "Jenjy?"
3. Barak LOVES school. He leaps out of bed in the morning and gets himself dressed with lightning speed; if he's not moving fast enough, a mere "Barak, do you want to go to school?" suffices to get him going. I don't hear much about what goes on there, other than the occasional "It was Fraidy's birthday" to explain the pekele, or, "We had an aleph-bais party" when he comes home with an aleph crown and unmistakable signs of lollipop consumption. They don't start doing the parsha until after yom tov, but someone is coming in to blow shofar for them every morning and he was definitely into that. He gets a newsletter home every week, so I know what they're learning, and occasionally I surprise him by singing the songs I know he's learning in school. He clearly wonders how I know them, since I'm not anywhere to be seen in his class.
Dovie, fortunately, is not in his class this year; a few other boys from last year are, though, which is nice. Barak's been playing more with Iyyar, and even with Avtalyon sometimes; he likes to hold Avtalyon but needs supervision. His favorite thing lately has been building houses with the cushions of our blue couch (this is why $65 yard-sale couches are the bomb--who cares if they get messed up?) The other day in a flash of inspiration I brought out a blue sheet. "Here, put this on the roof," I told him. "It's tar paper." Barak's eyes simultaneously lit up and got that serious worker-man look. I grabbed two corners, he grabbed the other two, and I lifted it up and over the couch construction site. Last I looked in there, he'd actually furnished his house: there are books, some things made out of Clicks, and several beanie babies in residence. They look comfy, too.