Saturday, November 22, 2008


It's been a while, and there's been a lot to post about--nothing big, just a lot of little stuff. Sorry it's not fabulously written, but it's motzai Shabbos and I got me some spinning to do.

1. The pirates obsession continues. A few weeks ago--I didn't blog about this but should have--I took Barak to see a local production of Pirates of Penzance. It was fabulous. The production itself, considering the unpromising venue (local middle school!) was surprisingly good; the cast were better singers than actors, but much better that than the other way around. The orchestra, with the exception of the guy on drums during the first act (who got replaced somewhere around the time Frederick meets Mabel--wonder what the story was there), was really good too.

Barak really had no idea what to expect, having, obviously, never been to the theater before. When we got there, a few minutes early, and settled in our seats, the orchestra was busy tuning up, and Barak noticed snatches of a few of his pirate songs. We talked about how the orchestra was going to play more pirate songs, and I pointed out some of the instruments, and Barak and I confirmed that yes, we were here to see pirates and also to hear the pirate songs. The lights went down, the overture started, and Barak was totally rapt watching the orchestra--and oblivious to the closed curtain behind it, which meant nothing to him.

The overture over, the orchestra stopped playing for a moment, and Barak looked back at me, clearly wondering if we were leaving--and then the curtain rose, the pirates leapt onto the stage, and he just about jumped out of his skin. It was fabulous. We were in the front row of the balcony, and he could stand up if he wanted to without bothering anyone, so he did, some of the time; he was rapt for the entire first act, and when intermission came around he was unwilling to leave, because what if he missed the rest of it? (We didn't.) He was so wrapped up in the show that he did not even comment on the concession stand, which, for my sugar-obsessed son, is saying something. In short, he behaved beautifully, and the row of retired ladies behind us said so. "I've never seen any child behave as well as your son did! Not even much bigger children." And then he got his own round of applause of behaving so nicely. :)

Further to the pirates: he and Iyyar have lately been going to bed every night listening to the Pirates CD, which means, naturally, that Barak now knows a lot of the words, or at least thinks he does. ("And pay a manky monious part, with a pirated and a pirate heart!") Naturally, he asks me what they mean. Have you ever tried to explain something like, "When I can write a washing-list in Babylonic cuneiform" to a four-year-old? Or even, "We observe too great a stress/on the risks that on us press/and of reference a lack/to our chance of coming back"? Or how about, "For when threatened with emeutes/and your heart is in your boots/there is nothing brings it round/like the trumpet's martial sound"? We tried that one this week.

"What does it mean, Imma?"

"Well, are the policemen really brave, or are they really scared?"

"They're really scared."

"Do they want to fight the pirates, or do they want to go home and take a nap and eat some cookies?"

"Probably go home and eat some cookies." [He omitted the reference to the nap, funnily enough.]

"They're singing about how they don't really want to fight the pirates, but how singing about it makes them feel not so scared."


2. Avtalyon had his first non-Cheerio cereal today: Rice Chex. He approved.

3. He also cut tooth #2. Ouch, for both of us--he keeps wanting to chew my finger. He's been standing unassisted for longer and longer stretches, and cruising around expertly on the furniture--he's also coopted the garbage can into service as a walker, and uses it to hobble along up and down the hall. He looks like a tiny old man, only much cuter.

4. Avtalyon and I had a little adventure last week; we, just the two of us, flew to Newark on Thursday morning for a chasuna in Spring Valley on Thursday night. By happy coincidence, my good friend Harmless had the afternoon off and came to pick us up at the airport, accompany us on a Century 21 run for a tights-drawer resupply (DKNY opaque black, all the way), and drive with us all the way to Paterson because it did not occur to me to find out what number on Main Avenue in Passaic we were going to, and so we drove all the way the wrong way down it, as in, all the way to Paterson. Oh dear.

Fortunately, Harmless is also Patient, and also fortunately, the price of gas has gone down considerably in recent weeks. One google maps text message and one quick meal of kosher Chinese takeout later, and Avtalyon was released from the cruel baby jail (carseat! wicked, evil carseat!) to which he had been confined for much of the day; I stayed with a friend whose many kids kept Avtalyon entertained while I got dressed in my de rigeur New York wedding black suit, and then abandoned Avtalyon to the care of said kids as we (friend and I) went off to the wedding. I will admit to second (and even thirty-seventh) thoughts as I walked out of a house containing my precious baby, a bunch of little kids without medical degrees, and a responsible party aged 14, but I came home to a happy, sleeping baby in clean pajamas, so it was all good. The wedding was lovely. We made it back in time for Shabbos. And now I have new wool to spin, courtesy of Harmless. :) Because, you know, I totally don't have enough wool.

5. Iyyar has, inexplicably, been having a really rough time sleeping for the last few weeks. He's been waking up screaming and inconsolable multiple times in the night, either wanting to be held or not wanting anything identifiable but rolling around on the floor hysterical and writhing. Every night, I'd think, "he's sick, I'll need to take him to the doctor" and then the next morning he would be totally fine, except for being so tired that by early afternoon he turned into a miserable wreck. I thought it was nightmares, but couldn't think of what could have set them off; I called his morah (my friend Yehudis) to ask if there was anything going on at school that I didn't know about, but no.

"Maybe he has pinworms?"

Pinworms? WHAT?! I haven't seen any pinworms.

"They come out at night. Take off his diaper and shine a flashlight on his bottom. They look like little white hairs." This was last Wednesday night. Considerately, Iyyar started wailing just a few minutes after that conversation, so I went in there with a mag-lite to change his diaper. I took off the diaper, shined the light on his tush and OH MY G_D ARE THOSE LITTLE WHITE HAIRS ACTUALLY WORMS?! I wiped at them with a wipe--and the hairs were gone. It was all I could do to not start jumping around and screaming then and there because it was SO GROSS. If you don't know about pinworms, count yourself lucky. Or click here. Go on. I dare you.

I was leaving for New Jersey the next morning and couldn't take him to the doctor, so I asked Yehudis what she'd done when her son had had pinworms. And she'd covered a clove of garlic with vaseline and stuck it up his rectum to kill them. "It works!" she told me, as I tried not to gag. After some consultation with Dr. Google, I decided for the middle ground of a) feeding child lots of garlic, b) smearing tush with vaseline and c) putting a couple of crushed garlic cloves in his diaper. The next day, we had a few huge and disgusting diapers; last night, Iyyar slept through the night for the first time in weeks. It seems to have worked.

But boy, does the house reek.

6. I went to the dentist on Tuesday. All hail fluoride rinse; no cavities, no bleeding, and the whole thing was practically painless. Seriously. Brush and floss, people, and get yourselves a bottle of ACT if you don't have one already. It's disgusting, but you get used to it.

7. This post is now long enough, but I will leave you with this:

Avtalyon in his elf suit, courtesy of Tanta Cecilia. If elves hung out in baby swings, that's totally what they'd wear to do it in.


Deborah said...

Ah yes, pinworms. I grew up on a farm. I know all about them, unfortunately, from first-hand experience. Back then we had to take a dose of a medicine that turned our BM's bright red so Mom would know it had worked its way through our system.
I remember bending over (during the day) so she could use a piece of sticky tape to take to the Dr. He put it under a microscope looking for eggs.
Did I mention I was a thumb sucker?
It puts one at higher risk of such things.

Deborah said...

Oh, I can just picture number one son at that theatre with the pirates singing. How fun!
Yes, please explain when I can write a washing-list in Babylonic cuneiform?

LC said...

I will *not* take you up on that dare, I am now extra glad that we have no thumb suckers (anymore), and the elf suit is TOO cute.

Yasmin said...

1. Pirates! yes. The movie version, with Kevin Kline and Linda Ronstadt, is pretty good, if you ever go to somebody's house with a TV. Or buy a little DVD player. It's one of Robbie's favorite movies, since he was a little younger than Barak. Einar also loves to sing the Pirate King song, at random moments, and it was hysterical when he did so the other day and Robbie joined in.

He's a big fan of musical theater. "Joseph" was the first non-Little Mermaid play we went to, in a small but pretentious and baroque community theater, and the most recent was "My Fair Lady" up at the Ahmanson, which is a major venue here in LA but was a lot more relaxed.

2. Adventures: how exciting! Just a little flight to Neward, eh. And new wool and new tights and a wedding. Super cool.

3. Pinworms: uck! Lucky to have avoided that, I guess. Makes me think of when I had cats. Mmmmm. Garlic, eh.

4. Dentist: congrats. I myself was just there on Friday, getting a beaten-up crown replaced at last. Due to insurance co stupid rules (6 month waiting period? why would I get dental insurance if I didn't need dental work?!) they will bill in January, but that crown badly needed replacing and it was starting to hurt underneath. I love my dentist. Also she has put me on high-fluoride toothpaste to try to ameliorate the effects of growing up in a non-fluoridated country. Also an electric toothbrush. Maybe I'll get the rinse, too.

Ellen said...

So glad garlic seems to have done the trick, and that your trip went well :)

malkanonymous said...

My son wore a firehat everywhere, every day, for more than an entire year. And I let him. Strangers thought it was cute. I could always find him, even on a crowded sidewalk, by following the double-takes from adults as her ran past. Real firefighters parked around the city would give him special treatment--from blowing the siren for him, to letting him on the firetruck to look around. Other frum people thought I was completely crazy. I got lots of judgmental comments. "It's so cute that you will ruin any chance that any of your children will ever get a shidduch." Whatever.