Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Iyyar is constipated.

Let's just get that part right out in the open to begin with. This has been going on for a while now, since before Thanksgiving at least, since the weekend after Thanksgiving is when Sarah came to visit and accompanied us to a memorable family photography session at which Iyyar alternately smiled cheesily for the camera and bent over double howling, "Poooooopyyyyyyyy! Imma, I need poop potty! Hurt me! Tushy hurt me! Imma, tushy hurt me!" A few minutes after the end of the session, he pooped--cataclysmically--and felt better.

Since then, it's been sort of off and on. He's had a really bad cold, and some kind of a bug, and he's thrown up a few times (once rather memorably when Sarah was here). Now the cold is gone, the bug seems to be gone (although he did throw up a little last Friday night) and he is really, really, really constipated--as in, last Thursday he woke up from his nap crying and screaming and writhing so much that, in the absence of an open pediatrician's office to take him to, I brought him to the ER.

Without going into too many details, let me just say that none of my several visits to our local ER has greatly inspired my confidence. This one was no exception. They did give Iyyar an x-ray and pronounced him impacted; they gave him a suppository, which, much screaming and wailing later, produced four very full and very foul diapers and a much happier Iyyar. They told me to follow up with an appointment with my regular pediatrician, and sent me home with an extra suppository just in case. They seemed to think the matter resolved and so did I; but less than a day later, we were right back where we'd been with the pain and the wailing. I gave him suppository #2, which worked somewhat. Sunday night, it all started up again, and I wasn't happy about waiting for my Wednesday appointment but circumstances around here (an unexpected trip out of town for my husband) weren't really conducive to my trying to go elsewhere.

Last night at around 9, he started crying, and then the crying escalated to wailing and writhing and howling and the whole nine yards. I called a neighbor who had mentioned sometimes using suppositories on her own kids and asked if I could have one; I used it on Iyyar with no results whatsoever. I tried all my tricks (this is, obviously, after a couple of weeks of the full-on anti-constipation diet, which Barak has been loving--hey, juice! Imma never lets us have apple juice and now we get apple juice and applesauce and raisins and dried apricots ALL THE TIME!), to no avail; the only thing that calmed him down at all was, between around 1 and 2 am, some time on my lap in my office watching Grover clips on YouTube with occasional pauses to cry and strain and try to poop. "I can't! Poop! Hurt me! Hurt me Imma!" It was awful. At around 2 we called the doctor's office for any ideas; she asked why he hadn't been prescribed a laxative or given an enema and I gave the bitter rundown of the ER visit. Sigh.

Fast forward to this morning, far too few hours of sleep later. Barak went to school and I took Iyyar, still unhappy but no longer crying, to the pediatrician. The pediatrician checked him out, prescribed Miralax, and said he wasn't that concerned. "He's not really that impacted. I don't feel anything up there, so let's see what the Miralax does. It's not as though he's been throwing up and..."

"He has been throwing up, actually." Hmm. I'd forgotten to mention that.

"What?" This, apparently, makes a big difference. Now we are scheduled for an upper GI series for Iyyar on Friday morning, with the barium and the rest of it. I'm still not sure exactly what they are looking for--I have been told not to worry yet but this is just about the worst thing to say to me if you really think I shouldn't worry. I told the doctor as much. "If you tell me what you're looking for, I'll know. If you don't, I'll imagine all kinds of catastrophic things, so you might as well just tell me." Congenital anomalies, I have been told, or any kind of a blockage.

In the meantime, I gave him the Miralax and he's had three dirty diapers since. He does seem to feel much better. Here's hoping that this will all turn out to be nothing much and will resolve itself speedily, with no more lasting adverse effects than Avtalyon having figured out that stray sippy cups found on the floor might contain something he now knows he likes very, very, very much.


Chanuka just ended yesterday and we finished it off in the traditional jelly-filled sugar-topped way, with sufganiot. And it reminded me of a granny story, possibly one of my favorites.

I was sitting in my granny's kitchen watching her fry doughnuts (fank) which were to be filled with homemade apricot jam and eaten warm. If you've never tried this, well... what can I say, you haven't lived. Anyway, there I was in the kitchen, watching this very normal thing (granny frying doughnuts) when suddenly it hit me what I was seeing.

She was turning the doughnuts. In the boiling oil.

With her fingers.


It's better in Hungarian, but this is the exchange that followed:

Nagymama, az Neked nem faj? Grandma, doesn't that hurt?

Granny smiles without looking up. Most mar nem. Not anymore.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Why I don't blog about Israel

Because you can all just read David instead.

He pretty much says what I would say if I knew as much as he does and could put it as clearly.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Anybody there?

Hello? Hello?

I'm still here, just otherwise engaged. The kids go to bed, whatever needs to get done around the house gets done (or not) and then when it is a choice between spinning and blogging... well...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Sorry for the infrequent and badly written posts. It's been busy around here.

Avtalyon is walking more and more; he can now lurch from couch #1 to couch #2 without face-planting. He likes playing peek-a-boo and Barak has fun playing it with him and making him laugh. Personally, I totally don't get why it's so funny, but it's cute, so who cares?

Iyyar still talks like Yoda, but surprises me more and more often with a fully formed offering like, "Imma, put that down!" when I've tipped the jogging stroller up to turn it. He also does an entertaining Hebrew-English patois, in which he demands "doobie one blankie" or "od doggie!"The constipation continues off and on; yesterday I broke out an intended Chanuka present (a Sesame Street sticker book with pictures of Grover) to distract him from his misery before he (finally) pooped. Good thing he likes prunes ("big raisins") or we'd really be in trouble. He no longer eats everything indiscriminately as he once did; he eats the knaidlach out of his chicken soup, leaves the rest untouched, and holds out the bowl demanding "More chichen soup!" That stuff in there? That's not soup. That's just, you know, soup waste. Carrots and whatever.

Barak is getting taller, and will loudly proclaim to everyone that this is because he is EATING HIS VEGETABLES. After said proclamation, he will consume one (1) noodle with one (1) shred of spinach attached. He still seems happy at school, though I have heard other rumblings that all might not be well. My friend up the street told me that her daughter told her that she'd been told by another child "Don't like Barak!" And today he was upset because another child tried to take his cookies and his morah had to intervene. Sigh. It's so hard to know what's normal and what's not, because my own experience was anything but. When is it really appropriate to step in? I keep telling myself that as long as he's happy and loves school I am not going to worry about third party commentary, and will just check in with his morohs monthly or so. Not sure if this is the right thing to do.

For myself, I am very happy with the new wall unit thingie I have back here, bought off of craigslist from someone who had a Curves that went out of business. It's 5' high and 5' across, with 16 cubbies that are 15" deep. Lots of stash fits in there and it now looks like a yarn shop back here. In a good way, of course. I am finally knitting a second sweater for Abba, out of some White Buffalo Unspun I bought from elann some years ago. It's three strands of very fine roving, held together, and I am knitting it on 10s so it's going quite quickly. Of course, very fine totally unspun roving is also incredibly fragile to knit, and I am doing a lot of knitting in the eye of the storm that is three boys aged 4 and under. Oh well. It spit-splices very nicely, and it'll still be warm.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Baby steps

1. Avtalyon is walking. Seriously. He hit ten months last week and he is now launching himself fearlessly from pieces of furniture, sometimes even making it to the next piece of furniture before crashing to the floor. I've seen him do three steps at a time. He also stands and sits easily in the middle of the room, without anything to grab onto, and can stand unassisted for as long as he wants. Incredible, especially around here. Other milestones: first pizza (this morning), first cookie (yesterday--I was doing some creative homeschooling with aleph-beis cookies and he got in on the action) and 1000th bowl of chicken soup. I know that technically there is probably very little wrong with a baby living off breastmilk, Cheerios and chicken soup vegetables but it's probably unusual.

2. Iyyar thinks that he can fit into a size 3 diaper. He is mistaken.

I don't think that I have mentioned here that Iyyar is very, very fond of Grover. He knows about Grover because the Pampers I buy for nighttime have Sesame Street characters on them, and he always digs through the drawer to get those out first. The predictable result of this, of course, is that he runs out of Grover diapers--while Avtalyon still has plenty of Grovers. In size 3.

Iyyar is still in love with the Grover doll I succumbed to in the Newark airport a couple of weeks ago. He carries it around the house with him and takes it to bed every night. And whenever you find Grover for him, he gives you a big smile. It's sweet.

3. The huge box is still in our living room. I saw it while walking through our back alley with Sarah last week: a great big dryer box being unloaded from a truck behind the building next door. I asked the man doing the unloading if it had staples and he said no, it was glued; I asked if we could have it and he said sure. It spent a few days as a dragon cave and is now a pirate ship. I told the kids they could have it till Chanuka--not sure what, if anything, will be left of it by then.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

More updates

Sarah was here! She came, she brought much gorgeousness (including, among other things, a quilt for Avtalyon, which I will photograph when I have some light), and she even stayed an extra day because she just couldn't bear to leave us. Many latkes were eaten and much knitting was accomplished. It was my designated weekend to finish Things in Bags, and so I did:

Celtic Dreams, which I started more than ten years ago now and stuffed in a bag minus a sleeve and 3/4 in December of 1998. I sent it to Sarah sometime last year, and she arrived with it complete but for the cuffs, which I did before she left. The whole thing, blocked and fitting perfectly, despite the intervening 10 years and (mumble mumble) pounds:I also finished these, which have been minus the top two inches of one mitten since the week before Barak was born, when my hands swelled so much I couldn't hold size 1 needles:
They're made of Dale of Norway Tiur, now sadly discontinued, and Koigu.

And I finished a pair of pink and white mittens, which I didn't photograph before I gave them to Sarah.

The visit was great--just what I needed. We sneaked out to knit at Borders, stayed up way too late, ate cookies and takeout, hung out with the kids and just generally did knitterly things. You know you have a good houseguest when she not only is unfazed by a geyser of toddler vomit, she even cleans it off the rug for you while you're busy de-vomiting the toddler. She was quite tolerant of all the discussion of poop, too. And all this with a bathroom that lacked towels and soap until about twelve hours before she left.

There is much that I could blog about the visit, but you'll have to excuse me if I don't. I have some knitting to do.

What I've been up to

Spinning and more spinning. The skeins on the far left and far right are spun from fiber contributions from Grandma E; the orange, yellow, pink, and purple skein second to right is from the roving Harmless gave me when I saw her in Newark two weeks ago now.