Tuesday, July 28, 2009


I didn't get much actual writing today, but I did get a lot of other stuff done.

1. Had meeting with HR regarding planned maternity leave.

2. Had meeting with main client regarding same. He was, surprisingly, unperturbed.

3. Finalized arrangements to have friend cover leave for me, for which she will get paid 2.5 times what I do. I don't think I'm getting any kickbacks, though. Ahem.

4. Called heating/cooling company to schedule clean and check of furnace/AC, which we haven't done for almost two years. It's all working fine, and the system is less than five years old, but it's a good idea, etc. They'll be here Thursday.

5. This isn't exactly productivity, but spent fifteen minutes happily scoping out the yarn store near work. I don't go there often, just because I don't have the time, but sometimes I get to indulge. Didn't buy anything.

6. This is not my productivity, but yesterday and today MHH made some phone calls regarding our hoped-for move to Israel next year. All were positive, and he'll be going to NY to discuss some aspects of this further. I'll know in a few weeks if there's what to talk about there, but so far, so good.

7. Cleaned kids' room and put away laundry. Yes, I still had un-put-away laundry from before the Nine Days.

8. Paid a bunch of bills. Where does the money go? I know where it goes. Food. It all goes on food. And none of it is eating out. It goes on milk, cheese, vegetables, grape juice, nondairy substitutes for milk, and rice. Many hundreds of dollars a month. Every month. And nobody is even a teenager! How is this possible? We are so not extravagant in our food purchases. I even make my own hummus, because it's so much cheaper (and, okay, tastes better). But still. We spend SO MUCH MONEY on food! And diapers, although right now Iyyar isn't going through nearly as many of those...

In other news, Iyyar threw up this afternoon, massively. I'm hoping it's because he drank too much prune juice this morning. That could do it, right? Right? He hasn't thrown up in months, so I'm hoping it's not part of whatever is going on with him GI-wise.

Monday, July 27, 2009


Last night Iyyar decided he wanted to sleep in underwear. I wasn't worried about any impending poop and he'd been keeping his pullups dry, so I said sure. And what do you know--he woke up in dry underwear! On backward, but he didn't seem to care. Then I took out his clothes, and after the mandatory 15-20 minutes of running around naked giggling, he got out a pullup (?!), put that on, and then put on his own clothes! Shirt backwards, pants on straight--easier to see which is the back when you're not pulling it over your head.

Wow! Red-letter day. Two firsts!

Oh, and yesterday Avtalyon said "thank you" for the first time. Barak and Iyyar always said some variant of "ta tum" so I was expecting that, but no. It came out, "keeyoo!" Reminded me of my grandfather's one English phrase. "Tank ee-yoo!"

Monday, July 20, 2009

A Very Short List

1. I got Iyyar's celiac results last night. His IGA quant was 80, which is well within the normal range. This test is by no means infallibly accurate, but it would indicate that no, he doesn't have celiac disease. This is great in that a) he won't have to live a gluten-free life and b) I won't have to start cooking for three different diets at every meal, but it does mean that there is no quick fix in sight.

Iyyar has also, almost overnight, started staying dry. He wears underwear, he goes to the bathroom unprompted, and, unbelievably, keeps his pullup dry overnight. Even Barak doesn't do that. I took him to the ENT (more on this in a minute) in underwear on Thursday and he did have a rather dramatic accident in that big fancy ENT chair, but really, it was my own fault--if I'd taken him to the bathroom on the way in he'd have been fine. At home he now wears underwear all the time, and even gets up at night to go pee on his own. Totally amazing. However, also really problematic, in that he now can and does control where he pees--and does it in the right place--but can't do it for pooping. And he's decided that he wears underwear now. And he is still cycling between miserable constipation and diarrhea on a weekly basis. So... yeah. Problematic. We have a followup visit to the GI on Tuesday.

2. Iyyar had his ENT followup on Thursday. It took all of about five minutes. The doctor looked in his ears, in his nose, in his throat, and pronounced all great. This was after an audiologist visit where his hearing was also pronounced great--he was obviously hearing things that I was not hearing at all, which I found a little freaky, but if I only notice a hearing problem in the audiologist's booth it's not much of a problem, right? (I do have a mild hearing loss in both ears, which was irritating in high school and large lecture classes in college, but frankly I'd almost forgotten about it--unless I'm on a bad phone connection I never notice it anymore.) Anyway, the ENT said, cheerfully, "That was a much better resolution than I expected!" I chose not to ask what he'd been expecting.

So far as the not-quite-normalness of his sleep study, I was advised to continue following up on the GI problems (which obviously we're doing--and it was the GI problems that brought us to the ENT to begin with), because perhaps the GI troubles are causing the breathing disturbances. But otherwise, nothing need be done. Great.

3. We went to the zoo today--"we" being me, Barak, and Iyyar, without Abba, who was home with Avtalyon, who slept for FOUR HOURS while we were out. I think he must have been just hanging in his crib with the pacifier for at least some of that time, but whatever the case, Abba got an awful lot of peace and quiet with his sefarim in the kitchen. Meanwhile, the three of us were taking a bunch of buses, eating graham crackers, and watching gorillas, penguins, and gibbons do their thing. Iyyar was totally into the primates, Barak mostly wanting to climb on things. We had fun, although Iyyar starting melting down halfway through the first bus trip. It's two buses and close to an hour each way--a long time to sit when you're three.

Monday, July 13, 2009


Abba is off now, for the next five weeks, and I have every intention of taking advantage of his presence to do lots and lots of things--more excursions with the kids en famille, and also more 1:1 parent-child time. Today Abba took Iyyar to the pediatrician for a blood draw (the celiac test) and I went with Barak and Avtalyon on the bus to go to Trader Joe's. By all reports the blood draw went amazingly well; I called ahead to find out when Marlene, the Good Phlebotomist, would be around, and Abba says the whole thing took under a minute: she hit the vein on the first try and that was that. Barak and Avtalyon and I, meanwhile, went to TJ's to pick up tons and tons of oatmeal and high-soluble-fiber food (as we take a stab at the IBS diet--can't hurt, anyway, while we're waiting to see what the celiac results are).

Going to TJ's with Barak qualifies as a full-on Trip, partly because of the joys of bus-riding, partly because of those fun little shopping carts and the promise of a helium balloon and granola bar, and partly because of the close proximity of a most excellent thrift shop with bins of toys marked 25 cents, 50 cents, and $1. Our haul for today: one Little People train engine that plays a tune when you press the smokestack; one Evil Robot; three miniature Beanie Babies, specifically koala, cat, and leopard; one worker man helmet, and one blue plastic hammer. Total cost: $3.25, plus tax. Barak was in transports of ecstasy the whole way home with said Evil Robot ("Imma! Look Imma! He has a claw hand that opens and closes like this! He has an engine on his back! He's gonna fight the Hulk, Imma. I think he's gonna beat the Hulk.") When we got off the bus, I spotted Abba and Iyyar on their way home from the pediatrician's, and Barak got to present Iyyar with his worker man ensemble. He was, needless to say, delighted, and much high-volume banging (nothing to bang on? No problem! just bang into the air and yell "bang! bang!" really really loudly) ensued.

Speaking of high volume, have I mentioned--I'm sure I have--Iyyar's earsplitting firetruck impersonation (intruckation?) Lately I've heard another version of it--from Avtalyon, while driving his own little cars around the floor. It's pretty amusing, watching this potbellied little person squatting on the floor, engrossed in his plastic concrete mixer, sounding its siren.

One other thing about the trip--the "promise of granola bar" part. I let Barak put a box of peanut butter chocolate chip granola bars in his little cart, as I always do, and then put them in his own backpack for transport. Once we got outside, he started asking me, "When are we going to have our snack?" and pointing out convenient locations. "There's a bench right there, Imma. There's a park. Can we go play in the park? We could have our snack in the park." I said I thought we should save our snack for when we were waiting for the bus, a time of enforced and otherwise boring bench-sitting. He didn't really want to wait that long, but just as the preoccupation with the granola bar got really overwhelming, we were at the thrift shop and the Evil Robot discovery distracted him. Anyway, once out of the store we did sit down on the bus stop bench, and Barak requested his granola bar. "It's in your bag," I told him. "You're in charge of snack." "Oh!" he said, a little surprised. "I forgot." He opened his bag, pulled out the box, opened it, and took out a granola bar--and handed the first one to me.

Am I allowed to say it? So sweet. And on the way home, as Avtalyon got more and more irritated with his prolonged confinement in the stroller, Barak played with him so nicely. I had Avtalyon's stroller facing sideways, so that he was right next to a seat, and he had his little train in his hands. All he did, for at least half the trip, was put the train on the edge of the seat, let go, and let the slope of the seat bottom take the train to the other edge of the seat--out of reach. Then he'd look beseechingly at Barak, who would hand it back to him. Again. And again. And again. A few times he'd say, "This is the last time. If you drop it again I'm not giving it back to you any more." But then, you know, Avtalyon would look very sad, and give him this very winning look, and he'd relent, and give him the train again, and Avtalyon would giggle, and Barak would giggle, and the next thing you know, well... Barak was playing another round of Drop the Train and Get It Back.

I think Avtalyon is training him well for future Abba-hood. Don't you?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

With a feather

My phone just rang, at 9:24 on a Sunday night. I picked it up, and it was Iyyar's ENT.

"Hi, this is Dr. ENT!"

"Hi. Uh-oh. You're calling me on a Sunday night. This can't be good."

(I know, friendly, aren't I?)

"Actually, no, it is good. I'm calling because I just read the sleep study and it's good news."


"Really. I have the report right here and I can read it to you."

"Um... but why are you calling me at 9:24 [I was in the kitchen looking at the clock on the stove] on a Sunday night?"

"Because I knew you were worried."


How's that for nice?!

Remember how annoyed I was at this doctor the first time I met him? We still have pretty incompatible personalities--I don't deal well with any kind of jokeyness where my kids are involved--but I hereby fully and finally retract anything negative I might ever have said about him.

Wow. So so nice!!!

Results, he said, showed "resolution of severe obstructive sleep apnea." AHI (obstructive episodes per hour, overall) was 4, down from 24 before. (Anything over 5 is a problem.) He spent all but one minute of his study with oxygen saturation over 90, and one minute below. He said, "This is what I would call borderline normal. It's not perfect, but as long as he feels okay, is waking up well rested, and seems okay to you, it's good enough." We talked a little bit more about his GI issues, and he mentioned that the GI tract and the airway are related, so if his GI tract is inflamed that can cause airway tract inflammation as well. But if anything, he thinks it's the GI causing the airway inflammation, not the other way around.

Bringing him back in on Thursday for a followup checkup (as already scheduled), and a hearing exam (ditto). And tomorrow, Abba's going to take him to get his blood drawn for the celiac disease test.

In other exciting news, when Iyyar woke up this morning, I asked him, very casually, if he wanted underwear or a diaper. He wanted underwear. Fine. Breakfast came with juice, and after breakfast I asked him to go sit on the potty. He didn't want to, but a dramatic reading of Commander Toad and the Space Pirates (formerly Barak's favorite book, now Iyyar's, and I could probably read it in my sleep) convinced him. Just as the door of the Star Warts whooshed open for the pirates to come whooping hopping slithering sliding in, he looked up, startled. "I pishing!" And indeed he was. Chocolate chips all around. And another round of juice, too, to keep things, ah, moving along.

Forty minutes later or so, I suggested another potty trip. He said no, but then I found him in the bathroom, tugging at his pants while peeing on the floor. A step in the right direction, surely. I went to get clean underwear and pants and in the meantime stood him on the stool and asked if he wanted to try pishing standing up (which he's never managed before, despite multiple attempts under Barak's enthusiastic tutelage.) And then--eureka!--"Imma! I pishing!" I'm sorry if this is a little too graphic, but the look of total delight on his face as he watched the pee arcing into the toilet bowl was something to be seen. It was absolutely, hey! Look what I can do!

He went three more times today, twice actually getting his clothes out of the way first, and then once more at bedtime--earning himself a pullup to sleep in, for the first time ever. You cannot imagine--or maybe you can--just how exciting this was. Of course, he then promptly pooped in it, and then when I changed him pooped in the next one. But I am not worrying about that. One thing at a time.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009


I have a few minutes of work time yet--not enough to really get going on something new. I'm waiting for someone to return a phone call, anyway, and don't know what to do next until he does. So... a few updates.

1. When Barak was three and a half and Iyyar one and a half, Grandma E came to visit. During the course of her visit, Barak devolved from a reasonably pleasant and civilized small child to a three-foot-tall monster toddler. He threw a tantrum in Target, spent more time out than in, whined, nagged, ignored me and... yeah. It was lovely. I thought, okay, he's trying to get attention--he'll get back to normal after the visit. Nope. He didn't really get back to normal until, oh, a few months after Avtalyon was born. When he turned four.

Iyyar is not yet three and a half. He's not even quite three and a quarter. But he seems to be entering That Stage. The I Don't Want To Do Anything You Tell Me stage. The I Don't Have To Listen To You Stage. The Let's See What Imma Does If I... stage.

Did I mention we're going to visit Grandma E in about three weeks?

It's really good that I have the blog, because when I look at how Iyyar is behaving (and let loose a primal scream that makes the neighbors wonder if they should call 911) and how Barak is behaving (generally speaking, nicely) I wonder what I am in for. Then I look back at the blog two years ago and remember how difficult (read: awful) Barak was at more or less the same age.

It's not him. It's the stage. I just need to keep telling myself that for the next six months...

2. Speaking of Iyyar, I truly do not see how I am going to toilet train him. He has the general idea. He often tells me he needs to poop on the potty and even runs to the bathroom. But pooping hurts him. A lot. And so he cries and wiggles off and, an hour or more later, poops in his diaper. What to do? Once I tried, physically, to get him to stay on when it was so obvious he was going to go any second. But he held it in, and that set off a few days of constipation that ended in a suppository and a lot of screaming. Lesson learned--I won't do that again. But if he's not in underwear in SEVEN WEEKS, he's not going to school next year. His slot will go to someone on the waiting list. I can't have two kids at home all day, every day, all winter, especially not when I am due in November. I don't know what to do--I don't really have a Plan B here.

3. Avtalyon, for all his snuggliness, is not, at the moment, a super-snuggly baby. If I want snuggles, I have to carry him around; if I try to sit down and get some quality cuddle time, he'll usually slide off and go play. Last night, for the first time in months, he wouldn't settle down. He'd been constipated for days (can I write about ANYTHING but poop?!) and then had a day of raging diarrhea caused by the blueberries and cherries I'd given him to help move things along. He was crying in his crib with yet another dirty diaper, which I changed; he was happy to go back into his crib, but cried and cried as soon as I left. So I came back in, picked him up, and sat down in the rocking chair, fully expecting him to take this as an opportunity for further playtime. Nope. He actually flung his arms around me, gave a happy sigh, burrowed into my armpit, and fell asleep. Bliss.

4. Four has to not be about poop! That means... um... well, work is safe! Four can be about work!

Work is crazy. Work is super crazy. People at work are crazy. People outside work are crazy. It's all just... all kinds of crazy. I'm trying to think of something else I can say that isn't identifying but I can't, so let's just leave it there. With CRAZY.

5. I am so into knitting right now it is hard to describe--probably because I have so little knitting time. My ravelry queue is stretched out to THERE and unless I quit my job and hire a full-time babysitter, there is no way on earth I'll finish it before I'm due, or even in this lifetime. And, predictably, what does uberimma do when she has no time to knit? She scratches the knitting itch by buying knitting things, of course. I just got two new knitting books AND put in a small Schoolhouse Press order (a little bit of Plotulopi/Icelandic Unspun to round out what Jasmin brought, so I can make a sweater with it). Pattern for said sweater is in one of the new books. In the meantime, I have on the needles:

-an Eris for me, out of green Ultra Alpaca
-a newborn baby sweater, in green and yellow sock yarn
-a pink hat for Shanna's daughter
-a green hat for Shanna's son
-mittens for Barak (mittens themselves are done, just need the second liner)

I also have, in the Want To Knit Right Now category, yarn and pattern for a Lett-Lopi vest, which I plan on making A-line for a postpartum belly-camouflaging fall garment. With all three of my kids, I woke up the morning of the bris realizing I had absolutely nothing I could possibly wear and look civilized in. This is an attempt to avert that crisis situation. Think I'll get a girl this time?

6. MHH finishes work this Friday and is up for a five-week break. One of those weeks will be spent visiting Grandma E and Deb, and there are many local daytrips planned (there is so much to do locally that we never do, simply because I can't wrangle everyone on multiple buses alone).
One of the planned highlights, however, is a trip to a fiber festival with my friend Sarah. Yes! With Sarah! Without children! I will pack my bags, get on a train, go several states away, and knit and knit and knit.

If I remember to pack my passport, that is.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Quality control

I just spent some time looking through posts from last year. And was... a little embarrassed. Not by how bad they were, but by how much less bad they were then than they are now. There were more of them. They were better written.

I do keep this blog for myself. I keep it as a record of my life, of my kids' growing up, of the little things that I know I would otherwise forget. I also keep it as a way of staying in touch with friends, because I am, with very few exceptions, lousy at staying in touch. This way, Grandma E and my sisters-in-law and the friends who are interested can all know the cute things the kids are doing, without my having to email them each individually--which I would never manage to do.

But I also keep it because, as a professional writer who writes almost exclusively as someone else, I want to have a way to write in my own voice. I want to be able to remember what my writing, my own writing, my own voice, sounds like. Lately, my own writing hasn't sounded that great. And it isn't surprising that I'm down to fewer than twenty regular readers. And I can't help but think, is this my writing now? Is this my voice? Do I even have my own voice anymore, or has it morphed into the voices of various men old enough to be my father?

I know that most of it is that I don't have a lot of time. Any time I spend blogging is time stolen from speeches, from housework, from the kids, or, most likely, from sleep. But, to use a quote one of my clients likes, anything worth doing is worth doing well.

I'll try to do better.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Um... what?!

I took Iyyar for his followup sleep study last night. Sleep study #1, as you may recall, was something of a horror show, with upwards of 80 episodes of apnea per night, in addition to his refusal to go to sleep, keep the wires on, etc. I wasn't there for that one--Abba took him, since Avtalyon was still nursing too much for me to leave him overnight.

We fully expected study #2 to be a formality. I took him, and he was out like a light in less than fifteen minutes. The tech put almost all the leads on him without waking him up, but the nasal cannula did him in, and once he was woken he was restless from that. I'm not sure how much of an impact the wires etc. had on the results, but when I asked the tech how things looked as we were about to leave, he said, "Oh, he still has it." Still has what? "He still has obstructive sleep apnea." His O2 desaturated down to 88, which is better than 72 but still not what you want to see. And while the tech was sure he wasn't rousing 80 times an hour, he also was sure it was "a lot more than 5" which is the cutoff. I asked for a ballpark and he said he hadn't counted yet.

I'm not sure what is next. Iyyar has an appointment with the ENT in a couple of weeks, for both a checkup and a hearing test. I know his hearing isn't quite normal--he does fine mostly but I've noticed him not hearing things and other people have mentioned it to me too. And we also have a followup with the GI doctor the week after that.

I know he's better and doing the T & A was worth it. He visibly sleeps better, doesn't snore anymore, and did have that huge growth spurt right after surgery. But he's still tired, still cranky, still climbing into bed in the afternoon and falling asleep during time-outs. And he's still flying off the walls the rest of the time. But he's a three-year-old boy! Surely they all bounce around sometimes, and get tired sometimes, and nap sometimes. It's so hard to know what's normal and what's not. What I know is not normal is the digestive stuff. It's not normal that he only poops when on Miralax. Which is, so far as I'm concerned, like Tylenol--it makes him feel better but isn't actually addressing the underlying issue.

Anyway. Time for me to leave my lair. Anybody know of any connections between OSA and, um, IBS?

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

All clear

I took Avtalyon to the doctor this morning to get his ears rechecked and they were pronounced just fine. Yay!

I wanted to take Iyyar in to get his bloodwork done, too, but a) it's raining and b) I had an appointment for myself, too, and it seemed a little more than I could reasonably handle. So we need to go back this week sometime, when the Good Phlebotomist is there.