Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Barak and Abba were drawing pictures at the kitchen table while I was dishing out supper. Barak got a big piece of Abba's bristol board and drew a big bus for the Torah Team. Then I saw him frowning and scowling a lot.

"I'm trying to write 'stop' but I don't know how."

"I can tell you the letters, OK? First write an S."

[frowning and scowling]

"Then a T, like tree. Then an O. Then a P."

A minute later, he held it up. "Is that stop?"

And it was! The S was backward, but otherwise, he'd written STOP.

First written word!


Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Thirty-five weeks today. After a few weeks of quiet gloating that I hadn't even had the first whisper of a contraction, I got walloped with a huge one on Sunday; they've been sort of on and off ever since. Not strong, but definitely noticeable, and they were quite clear on the fetal monitoring tape on Sunday night.

Hang on, you say. Why were you on a fetal monitor on Sunday?

Oh yes. Well. That. Very compressed version of events: a week of mild flu symptoms with no fever, followed by a freaky-looking rash that appeared on Friday morning and by Sunday was so itchy, painful, and generally distressing that I called my midwife. Who told me to come in to the ER. Which I didn't want to do, because our local ER is awful. But she was in L& D delivering a baby, so she said, come in here and I'll look at you. Which she did. As did the on-call OB. Who both said that the baby looked fine, but that I had, um, shingles.




So, now I am on antivirals, the kids had to get varicella shots because even though they're going to get chickenpox or not no matter what at this point, the shots should make it milder and make it less likely that I will come home with a newborn baby to a houseful of poxy children.

To say that I am wildly uncomfortable at this point would be an understatement. The shingles rash doesn't just hurt, it itches; the rash on my legs itches; I'm still, after seven months, congested and coughing at night; I'm having contractions, and, you know, I'm eight months pregnant, so I'm huge, slow, and I have to go to the bathroom every thirty seconds. But as much as I'd like this part to be over, I don't want it to be over for at least another two weeks and much preferably another three, so that nobody will be contagious anymore by the time IY"H the baby comes. We'll see how that one works out.

Kid updates:

Avtalyon's new thing is putting on his big brothers' underwear--one pair per leg, usually. He pulls them on, stands up, and they fall off. Then he tries again. Sometimes he takes underwear out of their drawer and brings it to me to put on over his clothes. Which, obligingly, I do. I'm happy to report that neither of his brothers really seem to mind this much, as long as he doesn't do anything like nab Iyyar's most bestest Super Grover underwear. He's very into fire trucks, especially the fire truck pages of one particular truck board book; he imitates Iyyar imitating firetrucks, and it can all get very loud. Phrase of the week: "Oh no!", accompanied by theatrical pressing of palm to cheek and, occasionally, dramatic intake of breath.

Iyyar is getting really good at the alphabet. He can identify most of the letters and today, out of nowhere, drew the letter R. Then he showed it to me. "Look! It's a R!" And it was. He is having a really hard time sitting still--I remember this from when Barak was in the same playgroup, that he'd come home and just want to wander/run around the house all afternoon. I don't mind this at all in principle but it's hard when I'm trying to feed him dinner or something like that. He still wants me to tuck him in at night and occasionally wakes up at night crying that he's not tucked in. Absolutely nary a whisper of any kind of tummy issues, which is still just so amazing to me. He goes to the bathroom on his own and doesn't even need reminding; no constipation, no diarrhea, just normal, quick, bathroom trips without commentary. He had his first hamburger tonight; after the shots, we all went to the "hot dog store" for a post-trauma treat, and he asked for a hamburger instead of a hot dog. Fine with me. But when he saw it, he started to cry: I want a hot dog! Then he took the top off the roll the better to explain his dissatisfaction and his expression changed. "Oh! It's churkey!" No, it's not actually turkey, but if it makes you happy to think it is, great. Half a gallon of ketchup and many bars of the Happy Food Song later, it was almost gone. He had French fries, too.

Barak is all about the Lego these days. I think I mentioned that we recently acquired a huge Rubbermaid bin of little Lego from a work friend's garage sale; it is the lifetime Lego collection of her two adult sons and I have no plans to ever purchase Lego in a store again. Barak had not been showing much interest in, or inclination to learn, aleph-bais; so I made him a chart, some flash cards, and told him that if he could fill in half the chart--meaning, he knew the letters cold on sight every time, and also the sounds they made--he could fill a plastic cup with Lego from the box. This was quite a powerful motivator and on Sunday he got all the way up to nun sofis. Reward: a dragon, a cannon, a bunch of storm troopers, and whatever else he could fit in there. He loves school and especially his rebbe, who I think is amazing. He currently prefers red grapes to green, and likes cutting his grapes in half with a plastic knife. He's started eating red peppers occasionally, but cucumbers are still the vegetable of choice; he loves grating cheese, so I buy it in blocks now whenever I can.

I think that's it. Knitting isn't happening nearly as much as I wish it could, but that's life. I have a lot of speeches to write and a lot of stuff to get done in the next few weeks (I hope it's that many...) It still hasn't really sunk in that there may soon be a new child around here. I'm kind of at that point of pregnancy where you feel like you've been pregnant forever and you always will be, and the baby idea seems just very very remote. Even though said baby idea is kicking me in the bladder right now. And on that note...

Sunday, October 25, 2009


The scene: Barak and friend are in the kitchen on Shabbos afternoon, playing little Lego and talking. I am in the living room with Avtalyon, listening in. I realize that the topic of conversation is how sneaky they are and how they can trick their imma/mommy. I am not sure I like this and pay closer attention. Then I hear, from Barak's friend, who is the son of a friend of mine from grad school:

"I'm so sneaky. I can trick my mommy. Sometimes she asks me if I brushed my teeth and I say I don't know. Even though I do know, I trick her and I say I don't know. Really I know that I didn't brush my teeth." Pause. "But then I tell her. Because I also don't like cavities."

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


1. I should be posting more. I say this not out of any sense of bloggerly guilt but because I know I will want the reminders later--having recently spent time reading through all my old posts from before Iyyar and Avtalyon were born. For the record, I am 34 weeks today, and nary a contraction yet, except for the completely odd one here and there and an occasional Braxton-Hicks. Nothing that makes me think that things are even thinking about moving. Baby is kicking away; I am huge; Iyyar is asking me every few days how, exactly, the baby is going to come out. I tell him Hashem will take care of that and that seems to satisfy him. I suppose it should satisfy me as well, but it's hard not to worry about it. I had Avtalyon at 37 weeks, so I should probably be prepared for the possibility that there could be a baby in as few as three weeks. It doesn't really seem real yet, though.

2. I've been on a huge cleaning kick lately. A few weeks ago I seriously cleaned out my office, dealing with ALL the piles, and it still looks pretty good now (every time my husband dumps something back here, I turn right around and dump it in his closet. It's getting kind of hard to close his closet, but the office still looks snazzy.) I've washed a ton of sweaters, defrosted the basement freezer, cleaned and organized the kitchen shelves, cleaned the fridge/freezer in the kitchen to Pesach levels, gone through the toys, and cleaned and organized the armoire in my room, including the huge teetering pile of stuff on top. I still need to do my own closet but that's not such a big deal; I tried to do the storage closet in the basement but just couldn't. Too much heavy lifting. Another time.

3. Knitting! I am not knitting enough. I want to be knitting more or less all the time, but, well, there are speeches to be written and children to be looked after and laundry to be folded and so on. I have been doing some baby sweaters out of sock yarn--pretty much exclusively that lately. I've done three boy sweaters and three girl sweaters, and three of my friends have had boys in the last few months (actually, a fourth yesterday) so all I have left is baby girl sweaters. I guess I'll just have to have a girl.

4. Food. Guess what both Iyyar and Avtalyon have decided they love? Rice and beans. Seriously. As in, brown rice cooked in the rice cooker, a can of drained black beans, and some salsa, all mixed together. With some cheese for Avtalyon. They LOVE this and will empty bowlsful of it. And it takes almost no time. Barak will not touch it (salsa contamination, of course) but will eat rice and cheese and some cut-up red peppers (oh, that's a new one--have I mentioned that? That he eats peppers now?), which is not that far off nutritionally. I tried making everyone burritos one night a couple of weeks ago and while nobody wanted the wraps (nutritionally destitute anyway) everyone liked some combination of the fillings. So, there's one more meal they'll all eat in some form. We're up to two now.

5. I found out at my last midwife appointment that I am antigen E positive. I wasn't before, so this is new since Avtalyon. My midwife said that this is so unusual she's never seen it before, even though she's been delivering babies for something like 30 years. Apparently it means closer monitoring and if the baby seems to be having trouble they might need to deliver me early, but she said she really didn't know and was going to have to talk to the blood guy and get back to me.
I looked online and saw a few medical articles, which aren't very informative, and a few Q & As, which don't seem to match what she told me. Anybody know anything more about this?

6. The sink sprayer in the kitchen is broken. This makes cleaning high chair trays a pain. Someone's supposed to be coming to fix it any... minute... now...

7. Avtalyon is doing the bottomless baby thing that Iyyar did at this age. He eats and eats and EATS. Last week I went to Trader Joe's and did a massive stockup of everything that could be stored in a pantry or frozen. As in, about 20 boxes of cereal, as many boxes of Iyyar-friendly rice milk as they had, tons of peanut butter and jelly and oatmeal and crackers and raisins and granola bars and just about everything else. (Think I'm nesting? Yeah, me too.) We hadn't had granola in the house in ages and suddenly we had granola AND yogurt all at the same time. I gave some to Avtalyon and he ate a whole big bowl of it. Then he asked for more, and I gave him half a bowl, and he kept asking for more until I finally drew the line at the equivalent of THREE bowls. It was full-fat yogurt, too.

8. Did I mention I'd really rather be knitting right now?

9. One of the other apartments in our building (there are four) is being foreclosed on. At least, the condo association got notice of this last week--apparently they have not paid their mortgage in six months. This is the family that had a second family move in with them in the spring, and has not been paying their assessments either, even though the water bills have suddenly gone through the roof because a) they have 10 people in there at least and b) apparently they have some leaking plumbing that they are not dealing with because, well, they're not paying the water bill, so why should they care about the leak?

This will, of, course, mean that we will have a foreclosure/for sale sign in front of our building at some point, which will make it a lot harder for us to sell this place if we decide to. I'm trying to just accept that if and when we sell we will simply not see any money from the sale. And reminding myself that there are worse ways to lose, oh, $70k or so. Medical bills, for example, would be worse. Years of unsuccessful fertility treatments? Fleeing the country from religious persecution and having one's assets nationalized by Nazis? Running through all our savings because of unemployment? That'd be worse too--at least we both have good resumes to show for our hard work, if not a lot of money. And we've been living in an apartment that we like, with extra-large-capacity washing machines AND a dishwasher. Worth thirty or forty thousand right there, surely.

Oh well. It's only money, right? And we have enough of it every month to live and be well on. Gam tzu l'tova.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Negotiation: A Play in One Act

SCENE: the kids' room.
TIME: bedtime.

BARAK and ABBA are on their way to a simchas bais ha'shoeva. AVTALYON is in his crib, basking in pluggies and blankies, and IYYAR, in train pajamas, is sitting on his train bed, banging AVTALYON's light-up Spiderman shoes on the side of same. IMMA is sitting in glider rocker, attempting a normal bedtime with only 2/3 the usual contingent of children.

IMMA: Iyyar, should we say shma now?

AVTALYON: Maaaaa! Yellll!

IYYAR: Not yet.

IMMA: Let's say sh'ma and then you can listen to a CD. Which CD do you want to listen to?

IYYAR: Let's listen to the CD first.

IMMA: We can't listen to the CD first. If we put on a CD we can't say sh'ma. Which CD do you want to listen to after we say sh'ma? Do you want the pirate one?


IMMA: Okay, so which one do you want?

IYYAR: I want a shark one.

IMMA [flummoxed]: We don't have a shark one.

IYYAR: C'I have a shark one anyway?

IMMA: Well, no, because we don't have a shark CD.

IYYAR: C'we buy it? C'we buy a shark CD in the store?

IMMA: I don't think so, sweetie.

IYYAR: Why not?

IMMA: I don't think there are any shark CDs in the store.

IYYAR [with conviction]: Ackshully there is. There is a shark CD.

IMMA: I don't think so. I'm pretty sure there isn't.

IYYAR: Why not?

IMMA: Sharks can't really sing.

IYYAR: Oh. Then I want a Dr. Doomshtein one.

IMMA: Okay.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

I guess someone likes school

"Imma! Imma, can I run! Can I run, Imma?!"

I love watching three-year-olds run--they do it with all of their limbs at once.