Sunday, November 29, 2009

What I did today

Besides the usual child-wrangling, that is: did mammoth stock-up shops at Trader Joe's and Target (with Iyyar in tow), put away mammoth stock-up shops, folded and put away huge pile of laundry, cleaned out office for umpteenth time, read The Fire Engine Book to Avtalyon another couple dozen times, made a double batch of bagels, sorted and put away a bunch of toys in the appropriate boxes, and spent an hour or so hunting down MHH's keys (he found them himself in the end). Last night, I took it into my head to scrub down the walls, doorframes, and floor molding in the kitchen, and scrape the grime out from between the squares of adhesive vinyl flooring with a sharp-cornered piece of Lego and a lot of bleach.

I'd say this was nesting, and a sure sign of impending-ness, except that I could have written almost the same post a month ago--only then I decided to scrub all the electric switchplates in the house and reorganize all the shelves in my kitchen.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Questionable mothering

Barak just went to bed. At 10:49 PM. I told him he could come out of bed to play little Lego in my office but had to be in bed by 9. That was the initial plan. But, well, he started feeding the Lego horse some Lego fish and I told him horses didn't eat fish so he started feeding the horse apples, and then he decided that the horse needed an apple tree so he built the horse an apple tree, and then he thought the pirates were probably hungry so he built them a gefilte fish tree and then he made a chrain bush and... well, he was being so cute and so happy I just couldn't make him go to bed.

At around 10:30 he got hungry himself and asked for some Chex and milk. And then he said,

"Imma, know what Imma?"


"I want to go to bed now."

"Okay. Good night."

"Good night. I love you Imma."

"I love you too."

I hope I don't regret it in the morning, but right now I don't regret it at all.

(Oh, and in case you didn't notice... yes, I'm still here. Last weekend sometime I complained to one of my, ahem, less sympathetic friends about how walking around at 5 cm is not the most fun ever. She cheerfully regaled me with tales about a mutual friend who walked around at 5 cm for 10 days. Which point I will pass, um, tomorrow. Assuming I am still pregnant. Which, let's face it, I probably will be.)

Friday, November 27, 2009

We interrupt this blog to bring you


Still here.

So is Barak. The memo about busing that came home on Wednesday was, it transpires, wrong; we were out there at the time it said but no bus. After around ten minutes of increasingly suspicious shivering I saw one of the other mothers run out of her house to tell us that another note had been sent home on Thursday changing the times. Bus had come at 8:15, not 8:45 as expected, and my choices were a) walk Barak a mile to school each way or b) keep him home again. He's sitting on the floor of my office playing little Lego right now. So much for that nap I had in mind.

Due date is Monday. I can't believe I might actually have to work on Monday. We usually have brisn before my due date! And that's with jaundice!

This is so weird.

OK. Off to figure out Shabbos. Again. Because, you know, I'm still here and all.

Shabbat shalom everyone. Further bulletins, as always, as events warrant. Or as they don't.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

It's been twenty years and I am starting to lose confidence.

Anyone else think this is starting to be a bit much?

A few weeks (years?) ago, when I passed the 37 week mark, my midwife and I joked about how I'd go to 41 weeks and she'd have to induce me. We both laughed. It is beginning to seem distinctly less funny now.

Monday night I felt so awful I called my midwife literally in tears. She sympathized and we agreed that yes this was miserable but no I was not in labor. Yesterday, she told me that since I was still pregnant I should come in--holiday weekend and I shouldn't go over a week without being seen, plus "If you're walking around at seven centimeters, that's dangerous, because you might not make it to the hospital in time." Fair enough, since best case it would take me 40 minutes to get there and that's if I'm not home alone with the kids, which I am most of the time. So I called MHH to come home and I took a cab there last night to find out that I have dilated NOT AT ALL since Friday. All these contractions? Doing NOTHING. I took the train and the bus home. In the dark. And the rain. (While texting Cecilia in Australia. Have I mentioned lately that I am beginning to see the appeal of text messaging? Definitely makes the commute more fun.)

She (midwife, not Cecilia) asked me if I wanted to move things along and reluctantly I said no--because really, there's no good reason to do it. The baby B"H seems fine and I am not even at my due date yet. Just because I feel two weeks late is not a reason. Tomorrow and Friday are holidays so I don't have to work and my husband will be home in the afternoons, so very easy days for me; then it's the weekend; then Monday is my due date so if I want to go off work then I can, even if I haven't had the baby yet. Which, at this point... it's getting hard for me to even imagine going into labor at all. I've been feeling exactly the same since the end of October. I'm having what feels for all the world like a real honest-to-goodness early labor contraction--starts in the back, moves forward, lasts half a minute or so--right now.

And yet, we are STILL HERE.

Stay tuned. By Chanuka, right? Pesach for sure.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Lest you think there is news

There isn't. Still here. Getting increasingly cranky. My mood was not helped this afternoon by what I at first thought was the accidental disembarkation of one of Barak's classmates at his bus stop this afternoon. I didn't recognize him and thought he was friends with one of the other kids. Then I thought he'd gotten off at the wrong stop by mistake. But he didn't seem at all upset. One of the other mothers and I looked at him, then at each other. "They look pretty happy," she commented.

Then I realized that he was clearly friends with my kid and thought he was coming home with us. Um. What? I found out his name, borrowed a school directory from other mother, and called his house, thinking, well, I'll have to leave a message because of course his mother will be at the bus stop waiting for him. Nope--she was there, which struck me as a little strange, but maybe she's got an older sibling waiting for him at the stop.

I told her that her son had gotten off at the wrong stop and that I was going to bring him to our house, because they lived four blocks away and I was not going to stand there for as long as it would take her to walk/drive four blocks. I sort of had in mind that she'd arrive to get him at about the time it would take us to get inside. I know that if Barak had missed his stop and a mother had called me from the next stop down the line to say she had my kid, I would have been there as fast as I could get there. Normal response. Right?


She said, "My husband will come get him but it'll be a few minutes." Okay. A few minutes. His father arrived FORTY MINUTES later, during which period of time I had decided that this kid is NEVER EVER EVER coming over to play. It wasn't that he specifically was doing so much wrong, although he was; it was more that he and Barak together were the worst combination imaginable. Barak was doing stuff that he simply would never think to do on his own, and the other kid was just ignoring me completely and wandering around the house looking for things that interested him. All I wanted to do was what I've wanted to do all day, which was not move a muscle; this was totally impossible when, for example, the two of them were attacking Iyyar with the top of a very large Rubbermaid bin such that Iyyar was literally screaming in fear. At that point I exiled other child to living room, told Barak to stay in his room, and brought Iyyar into the kitchen; not a minute later said child merrily returned to Barak's room for the making of further terror. It had at this point been half an hour and I called his house again. "I was just wondering if you're having trouble finding the house..." "Oh, my husband just left. He should be there in a few minutes." Um, okay. I'll just leave them alone while they throw toys and scream about poop. Until you get here. Gotcha.

I mean, I could have just left him at the bus stop and not taken responsibility. But that would've been, you know, irresponsible.

His father did turn up about ten minutes later and I said, in what I hope was not too tight-lipped a manner, that I didn't think he had gotten off by accident and that I had spoken to Barak about it and perhaps he should discuss with his son the importance of only getting off where he was supposed to. He said OK. Not sure what happened there, if anything. He did not give his son any indication, at least that I perceived, that he had done anything that was in any way problematic. "Come on tzadikl, let's go. It's time to leave."


To totally give benefit of the doubt: maybe the mother could not leave the house for whatever reason. Maybe she had to call husband, who had the only car, home from work to come get him. Or something along those lines. Still--they only live four blocks away. Okay, technically six, because they're two short blocks over, but the short blocks around here are very very short. We're talking a 10-minute walk at the outside. And even if she could not possible have managed to leave the house for whatever reason--oh, maybe she's nine months pregnant and having really strong contractions and can't walk without leaning on a stroller and has two younger kids she'd have to shlep along and... oh wait. Hold on. That's me.

Oh, never mind. Barak was clearly not blameless here either.

I think I'll go have some ice cream.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Friday, November 20, 2009


I've been walking around at five centimeters?

Um. Okay.

Stay tuned, I guess.

Shabbat shalom.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Speaking of irrational

So, let us remind ourselves here that I am not even due yet. Okay, yes, I thought I'd have the baby a couple of weeks ago, but my actual due date isn't for another week and a half.


I've kind of gotten into this weird mindset of "Oh, so I'm just going to be pregnant forever. Okay. Got it." So now, even though I'm hobbling around because my legs are no longer attached to my hip sockets, and I can barely get up off the floor, and I can't stay out of the bathroom for more than fifteen minutes at a time, I've somehow convinced myself that this is just, you know, normal.

Probably because few things are more crazy-making than going to bed every night timing contractions and expecting your water to break and waking up in the morning to find that you are not only still pregnant, you don't even appear to be in active labor yet.

Anyway. 38 weeks and three days. I can't believe it, but I actually went shopping for Shabbos this morning and it does appear that I will spend the evening cooking. I've been going about my normal routine, albeit at half speed; yesterday, in the pouring rain, I took Barak to the bus, went to the bakery and the produce store with Iyyar and Avtalyon, worked all morning, did the pickup rounds in the afternoon, took Iyyar and Avtalyon over to Yehudis's to play, came back to get Barak, made pizza for dinner, cleaned up, put kids to bed, dealt with some insurance stuff and then fielded a screaming Avtalyon for two hours. I have no idea what was up with him but it started out with having ENTIRELY THE WRONG PLUGGIE and then he just got so worked up he couldn't calm down, and then he woke up Iyyar who screamed for a while. The incredible thing is that through all of this Barak never even stirred. He stayed completely asleep through stereo screaming that went on for a really, really long time. I guess it's a survival skill when you share your room with two little brothers. As for me, I resettled Iyyar in my bed (turned out he was screaming because he'd banged his foot and gotten worked up about that--three band-aids later, he was calm) and finally calmed down Avtalyon I'm not sure how.

Back to work. Completely ignoring contractions now, because I'm tired of timing them and I don't believe in them anymore anyway. Anyone else think I'm bucking to have this baby on the bathroom floor?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

In which I am still here

38 weeks and two days.

La la la.

We're in a pattern now where I have contractions, they step up, I start getting that feeling of impending-ness, I get my childcare arrangements settled, and then everything stops. This has now happened three times. It's nice to be predictable, don't you think?

Monday, November 16, 2009

In which I continue to twiddle my thumbs

38 weeks tomorrow. If I'm still not in labor it'll be the latest I've ever gone. Not that I'm complaining. Full term is great. I'm enjoying the extra sleep. It's just... different.

One of the kids said something cute yesterday that I wanted to blog about and now I can't remember what it was. Hmm.

Avtalyon is really into firetrucks right now ("Gie guck! Whoo!") but that wasn't it. Iyyar found a picture of Darth Vader on a 7-11 cup and told me he was a bad guy "but then he did tshuva." Also cute, but that wasn't it either. Umm. (Think think think.)

Oh, I don't remember. But motzai Shabbos I let Barak come out of bed and play little Lego in my office while I worked and while he was playing I heard him singsonging, "kapusta! kapusta!" Which, as you may know, is the Yiddish word for "cabbage." No idea where that one came from, although I agree that it is a really fun word to say.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I don't think that one is in the parsha song

I think it is an attribute common to 3yos that they are focused on a very black-and-white concept of right/wrong, wrongdoing/consequence. Din is big at that age. Lately, Iyyar has been talking a lot about how "Hashem gonna punish you!" Not me, per se, but whoever does something wrong.

Friday night, when Abba was at shul, I had the bigger two set up at the kitchen table with little Lego and Avtalyon in his high chair with a box of little animals. They were playing and I was reading their parsha sheets--Barak does noticeably better on the questions when he is happily playing and relaxed. I did his first (he got all of them right but one). Then I did Iyyar's. Iyyar goes to the same chareidi playgroup that Barak went to, where they do a lot of Yiddish. So the first question, naturally, is "Voss iz die nehmen fun die parsha?" What's the name of the parsha? Correct answer, as he knows from the song, being Chayyei Sarah ("Sarah lived for one hundred twenty-seven years...")

"Iyyar, voss iz die nehmen fun die parsha?"

"Bereishis Noach Lech l'cha!"

"No, we did those already. What's next?" [Singing] "Bereishis, Noach, Lech L'cha, Vayeira...?"

"Hashem gonna punish you!"

"I don't think that's actually the parsha this week, sweetie." [Thinking: although that's applicable to what, a quarter of them at least?]

Barak's latest thing with the little Lego is hands. One of the items in the Glorious Bin of Lego I bought from a friend at work's garage sale was a dragon--it was missing its tail initially but Barak solved this problem most resourcefully with the addition of a tail plundered from an unsuspecting crocodile. What does this dragon eat? Why, it eats hands. Naturally. Right now, none of the Lego menschies have hands. All the hands are in a clear plastic box on the back of a sort of cart that Barak has rigged up, together with a chain that attaches it to the dragon so he can drag his supply of hands, treasure, and weaponry anywhere he goes. Barak was explaining this to me the other day and I will confess to having expressed some degree of, well, disgust.

"Barak, that's gross. A boxful of hands is just gross."

Barak gave me a look that was half amused, half sympathetic. "Imma! It's okay!" Eye roll. "It's just little Lego, Imma."

Saturday, November 14, 2009


No baby yet. Went to midwife yesterday and she said between 2 and 3 cm, 90% effaced. Baby is low ("Well, there's his head,") but I wasn't in early labor or anything like that. Having contractions but nothing that really appears to be heading anywhere. Of course, as she said, "Just remember that it's not that bad until it is." Um. Right. I'll bear that in mind.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Bad day

"Imma, I had a bad day today."

"Why did you have a bad day?"

"I don't know."

"Did it start out as a bad day or did it get bad later?"

"It got bad later."

"When did it get bad?"

"When I got in trouble."

Yeah, when you got in trouble for pitching a full-on tantrum on the floor.

I am so. Tired.

I chaperoned a class trip today for Barak's kindergarten, which was fun, even though it involved a couple of miles of walking and of course I had Iyyar and Avtalyon with me in the double stroller. That part was fun; Avtalyon slept through the whole thing and Iyyar had a blast. It was the rest of the afternoon that was... challenging. Without getting into all the details, by 6 pm I looked Barak in the eye and told him I was so angry at him that he was going to have to go into a different room, right now, and stay there for a while. I know. Mother of the Year, right here.

It was all okay in the end; Abba finally came home and wrangled them for a while, and then after he left I went in to the kids' room to find Barak still awake. I let him come into Abba's bed and we talked in the dark for a while and sort of talked things through; he was feeling better by the time I left and so was I.

But, yeah. Tired. Not the best day. Tomorrow should be better. As I said to Barak, "You know the best thing about bad days? When you go to bed, they're over! They're just over, and you can make tomorrow be a good day. Right?"


Over on my hundred-things sidebar there, it says something like (I can't see it right now) "I buy yarn in inverse proportion to the time I have available to knit."

This is especially true at the very tail end of pregnancy.

I SO want to buy yarn right now. Specifically, I want to buy gorgeous hand-dyed sock yarn, with which to knit lacey shawls. Do I already have such yarn? Yes. Do I have other yarn? Yes. Do I have time to knit it? Not much, and IY"H I'm about to have a lot less.

Doesn't matter. I still have this terrible urge to buy yarn. Which I simply absolutely cannot do, because not only do I a) have yarn already but b) I can't spend any money right now. I'm about to take 12 weeks off and most of it will be unpaid; there is no way we will get through this without digging into our savings; ergo, I would be taking money out of savings to buy yarn I really don't need and there is no fathomable excuse for such behavior.

Doesn't mean I'm not spending time trawling etsy and ravelry, though. And today I stopped in to the yarn store by work and almost bought a Zauberball. I didn't. But it was close.

Seriously, what is wrong with me? Do you know how much yarn I have? And how little time I have? Why do I feel like I need more yarn?

DSM-V, anyone?


Barak's conferences were... okay. Nothing terribly negative, although both his moros and his rebbe commented that he seemed anxious and stressed. No kidding. He's five years old and has a school day longer than what I had as a senior in high school. Of course, if they're commenting that he's stressed he's obviously more stressed than the other kids. Which I can believe, because Barak, as I have mentioned here before, really, really needs his processing time. He needs time by himself, playing on the floor with his Lego or his trucks or what have you. If he doesn't get it, he can't deal, and what's his average school day like? He gets up at 7, eats breakfast, is out the door at 8, on the bus by 8:10, off the bus at 4, in the door at 4:10, is assailed by little brothers, has dinner half an hour later, and is hustled along through dinner/bathroom/bath/teeth/bed by 6:30 or 7. If he's not in bed by then, he doesn't wake up in time in the morning and ends up with a bag of Rice Chex for breakfast. Which is not a good start to the day.

This morning he woke up saying he didn't want to go to school. And I said fine. He stayed home and played little Lego and hung out with Asnat, and came with me to drop off and pick up Iyyar, and had a nice day generally. And still was in meltdown by the end of the day, although part of that I think was that Iyyar took an afternoon nap and wasn't ready to go to bed at the usual time, so they both went to bed later than they should have (around 7:45--yeah, tomorrow's going to be fantastic.)

His moros commented that he plays by himself a lot, not because he doesn't get along with the other boys but because he prefers to. Yeah, I know. He mentioned it to me. "I just want to play by myself but my morah won't let me. She says I should play with the other boys." His rebbe mentioned that he was socially immature because he did not a) play ball, preferring to dig in the dirt instead and b) engaged in parallel rather than interactive play with his best friend. I don't know. I mean, if he sees a problem I feel that I should take it seriously, but truly I think that this is more his personality--he needs space--than a maturity issue per se. And MHH is 37 and is still not mature enough to prefer ball play to... anything, actually, that I can think of. Maybe root canal. No, probably not.

Anyway. It's hard to know how concerned to be. Neither the moros nor the rebbe seemed hugely concerned and I've talked to both of them before without their mentioning issues. His rebbe said he would have called a couple of weeks ago instead of bringing it up during the hugely inadequate five minutes (!!!) allotted per child for conferences, but his wife just had a baby so clearly time has been tight in the evenings (not complaining, I understand this completely). Mostly it was said in the context of "things to be aware of and keep an eye on." Yeah, I am aware that Barak is intense, I'm aware that he gets overstimulated and overwhelmed, and I'm really very aware that he needs more down time than he's getting. I'm not sure what exactly I can do about any of it though, other than offer him the option of a day off when I feel he needs it. I talked to him today about the concept of a personal day, and how I thought everyone needed that option. I guess it's just a question of how often he chooses to avail himself of it, and whether I'm going to find myself in the position of drawing a line.

37 weeks and a day. Absolutely nothing is happening. Not a single contraction all day. Further bulletins, &c.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

37 weeks, 37 minutes

37 weeks in another 29 minutes. Yay! Officially not having a premature baby!

So, remember how when Avtalyon was born, I posted something like, "The labor in brief: I am never doing this without drugs ever again"? I meant it, too. I did it without drugs twice. I am officially woman, hear me roar, yes, very nice, NOW GIVE ME THE GOOD DRUGS.

Unfortunately, it's not that easy.

Some of you know I had an incredibly awful experience with Barak. Part of the awfulness was five--count 'em, FIVE--failed epidurals. They slipped, they fell out, they never worked, and one time the lidocaine ran out but the alarm didn't go off and... yeah. Anyway. Epidurals and I do not have a good track record together. Part of the the problem appeared to be that I have scoliosis. I had a back brace for several years and while the curvature has mostly been corrected, some amount of spinal rotation is still there, and this of course presents a problem when someone is trying to, say, insert a needle into your spine in just exactly the right spot.

When I was in L & D a couple of weeks ago with the shingles, I started having a little bit of, ah, post-traumatic stress. As in, I said "I'm getting tense just being here" and, er, started to cry. My midwife, the next time I saw her, suggested I call the anesthesia department and get a consult. I did talk to someone, and it was a good, informative, open talk from a very nice anesthesiologist who told me openly that he couldn't give me an answer on whether an epidural would work for me until he tried. I tried to give him only the bare bones of what had happened and it made me feel better that he sounded completely horrified. He promised me that I would not get a resident (part of the problem last time) and also said he would only try once. "I would say that it should work but I can't make any promises, especially given what happened last time. I think you should talk about other options for pain control." So I did, on Friday, and you know... there aren't many and they aren't that great. Demerol, yeah, but it doesn't work that well and like any other drug the baby gets some of it if you have it in you for long enough. And hello, it's labor--things happen unexpectedly. My labor with Avtalyon really was ok until the last 37 minutes. I remember this, because I looked at the clock when I said I needed to push and he was born 37 minutes later and it was the intervening period of time that even I can't quite summon up the words to describe.

My midwife, when I said this to her, tried to make it positive. "I know it's awful, but even with Avtalyon it was only 37 minutes. You can get through it." Which... well, it sounded good at the time, but, sorry, no. As I said to my husband that evening while relaying the conversation, "It's like someone saying to you, I'm going to start hacking you apart with an ice pick now. But don't worry! I'll only do it for 37 minutes, and then I'll stop and it'll be all over!" Not so reassuring really.

There's nothing I can do really but just see how it goes. I'd like to try to get through it without attempting an epidural. Part of what was so hard about having Barak was that I had tried so hard not to have an epidural and when I finally agreed to one I already felt like I couldn't take it anymore, I was throwing in the towel and I needed it to just. stop. hurting. And then having it not work, multiple times, was more than I could stand--harder almost than not even trying. IV drugs, well... yeah. Also not an ideal option. But getting hacked apart with an ice pick isn't so awesome either. Even if it's only for 37 minutes.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Counting down

37 weeks tomorrow. For the record, I had Avtalyon at 37 weeks 1 day--he was born early in the morning, too.

I started having contractions on Shabbos that, by motzai Shabbos, were an ominous 6 minutes apart. Even though I was, as I insisted, NOT HAVING THE BABY. I drank a lot of water, took a hot shower, went determinedly to bed, and woke up the next morning to nothing. They've been starting and stopping ever since, sometimes getting stronger and, so far, always petering out. They are petering out because, as I think I just mentioned, I am NOT HAVING A BABY yet. Because I can't until tomorrow at the earliest, because that is when the pediatrician who has promised not to discharge a jaundiced baby comes back from vacation.

Got that, baby? Yes? Good. Glad you can read Blogger from in there.

Oh, and a poll--what are your favorite (Jewish) girl names? We have boy names settled (I think) but girl names are eluding us. You'd think by now we'd have a backlog stashed but no. With Iyyar I knew I was having a boy so never picked a girl's name; the name I had in mind when Barak was born I don't really like anymore. So... yeah. Open to suggestions here. MHH doesn't like feminizations of male names and I don't like the standard Bais Yaakov ChanaChayaBrachaRinaMiriamChavaSoraRivkaTovaShifraEstherMalka. And I'm hoping to figure out a name that won't instantly peg the bearer's position religiously in Israel. This is turning out to be a taller order than anticipated. Name your kid Yocheved? She can never leave Bnai Brak. Modern Israeli name? Ah, chiloni. There aren't a lot of names in between that aren't, well, ChanaChaya &c., and many of them we had to ding for other reasons (already got one, too similar to a sibling's name, etc.)

Now that's out of the way...

What else is new?

Avtalyon has a funny bump on his heel--it looks like a big callous, it's peeling very slightly, and I think it hurts a bit but not enough to cause major problems. I can't imagine what it could be--how does a baby get a callous an inch in diameter? Could it be a plantar wart? He told me about it yesterday by coming up to me and informing me, "Gock. Ow." What? Sock ow? Your sock... oh... oh your foot hurts!

Clever, isn't he? Saying "my foot hurts" without knowing any of the necessary words? He'll do well with foreign languages. His favorite thing lately is calling family roll from his high chair. "Imma! Abba? Abba? Aya? Eddie? Aya Eddie Imma Abba? Meow!" Then you try to get him to say his name. "Baby! Imma Abba Aya Eddie baby!" When you try really hard to get him to say his own name, he just giggles. Other cute Avtalyonisms include the comical look of shock (mouth open in a round O of surprise, hand pressed to check, then to top of head for variety) and telling you what sound an aleph makes (wide open mouth, nothing coming out--he got that one from Barak).

Barak is doing better with aleph-beis and his morah mentioned to me that he really knows his English letters well, which is great, although truth be told Iyyar knows them better at this point. Grandma E sent us a couple of fabulous board books--Mig the Pig and Pug the Bug--in which you turn each page and combine a different first letter with the same second and third letter to make new words (P-IG, D-IG, F-IG, J-IG etc.) It was great--I saw some light bulbs going on. There's no question that Barak is more motivated to learn to read English than Hebrew right now, which isn't surprising. I'm steeling myself for the parent conferences tonight. Remember last year's? These shouldn't be so much of a surprise, since I've talked to his morah and his rebbe a couple of times already, but I'm still expecting... something unexpected.

I let Barak stay up insanely late playing little Lego on Shabbos, this week and last week. I feel a little guilty letting my 5 yo stay up until the last adult falls, but he needs the processing/play time more than he needs the sleep. So I left the light on in my office over Shabbos and let him just play in there for hours--from when Iyyar went to bed at around 6:30 until... well. At 10 I was on my way to bed, and I told him he could play Lego until Abba started falling asleep and then he had to go to bed; half an hour later I came back there and saw Abba completely passed out with a sefer and Barak trying to make himself as small and quiet as possible. So I waited up a little more. What can I say? He gets home at 4. It's already almost dark. He walks in the door and is accosted by little brothers, then it's dinnertime, then bath and bed and he doesn't ever get any time to play by himself. He needs that, so we have to find the time somewhere.

Iyyar is still fine on the tummy front (tfu tfu), and although he is definitely three and a half I don't find him as challenging behavior-wise as I remember Barak being at this point. Maybe I've mellowed, maybe he's easier, most likely it's a combination. Wonder how he'll react when the baby comes. Even though school is only till 1 for him it's still a lot at his age and by the end of the week he's had it. This past weekend we never even left the house, despite the gorgeous weather. Nobody wanted to. They just wanted to hunker down and play, which was OK with me.

Oh, and I finished the shawl I made my midwife. Picture is rotten, shawl is lovely. Trust me on this one. Note attached i-cord, please.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

PoxWatch 2009

Avtalyon's got a fever--haven't checked his temp but he's good and hot--and is miserable.

Stay tuned, as always, to this exciting channel.


I was reading someone's blog on Sunday and thought, hey, November! Isn't that the "blog every day" month I never bothered with? I should try that.

Well, here it is the fourth already and... I... yeah. Oh well. So much for that. I can still try, though, right?

It's been a good week so far. Barak had a rough Monday--he got pushed on the playground and came home devastated by the discovery that there are people in the world who think it is fun to hurt other people. We spent a lot of time talking on Monday night and into Tuesday and then I talked to his morah. Things seem better now--she assured me that it did not seem part of a pattern and that Barak was not being bullied, and that from her perception (although definitely not from Barak's) it had been an accident. I'm not convinced she's right on that one, but she said he was fitting in well, making friends, playing with the other boys, etc., which is the important thing. However, from Barak's point of view, he could not possibly go back to school where there were mean people who thought it was fun to hurt other people. Which was the first thing to deal with, whether it had been an accident or no.

So Barak and I talked on Monday night (with lots of cuddles) about how everyone has a bad day sometimes, every bad day is over when you go to bed, and let's figure out how to make tomorrow into a good day. Barak thought this over and decided that a treat in his lunchbox would definitely help. I said OK. Then we thought that getting up a little earlier to sit and all have breakfast together would help, and even more if breakfast were, say, oatmeal, with maple syrup. I agreed to that one too. But really, he said (with a sad sigh) school was too much for him and he shouldn't go. Which I agree with the first part of--a day that starts with an 8:00 bus stop time and ends with getting home at 4 pm just as it's about to get dark is CRAZY for a 5yo. It IS too much. He needs more time to play.

"Well, if you want, I can come get you at lunchtime and you can come home. Should I do that?"

"No you can't!" he said, with conviction. "The kids aren't allowed to. You aren't allowed to go ANYWHERE when you're at school. You just have to stay until the bus comes."

"Barak, if your Imma comes to get you, and says, Barak is coming home with me now, they have to let you go."

His eyes got wide. "Really?"

"Absolutely. I can come get you anytime you want. And if you don't want to stay in the afternoon, you don't have to. You can tell me in the morning and I can come get you after lunch."

Now, I will point out here that I am pretty convinced that generally speaking, Barak loves school, and I think if I were to show up at lunchtime to take him home, he wouldn't want to go. Otherwise I wouldn't have made the offer, frankly. But the look on his face was something else. I think just knowing that he COULD go home if he wanted to was a pretty big deal for him. Hey, no, I'm NOT being held hostage! Neat!

I found out later, when talking to the school secretary--more on this tomorrow maybe--that there are parents who come sometimes to take their younger children to lunch. This would NEVER have gone over in my public school and frankly simply never occurred to me to do, but it seems that given the crazy long school day and families with many children, sometimes parents who feel that their kids need some 1:1 parent time will come during the day and take said kid out to lunch at the pizza place down the block. It gets harder when the kids are older, of course, but this seems to be an accepted, and acceptable, thing to do; just call me in the morning, she said, if you're going to come and get him, and she told me exactly what time lunch starts.

Now that's a good thing to know I can do. Even if I don't know if he'd actually want to do it, I think just the idea that we could do such a thing would really make him happy. Anyway--things to think about.

OK. Back to work. More tomorrow, maybe.

Monday, November 02, 2009


36 weeks tomorrow. Nothing seems to be moving at all--which is just how I want it right now, of course.

With daylight savings time over, the kids conked out earlier last night but then of course woke up earlier this morning. At around 6:30, I heard suspicious sounds of garbage-can-dragging in the hall. "Iyyar, what are you doing?" "I can't turn onna light inna hall! I can't reach it!" Oh dear. "Iyyar, do you want to come cuddle with Abba and Imma? Go get your blankie and you can come in bed with us. " This suggestion was from Abba, not Imma--I would have just gotten up, but fine.

Iyyar was quite delighted with this suggestion ("Yeah!"), ran to get his blankie and climbed, naturally, into my side of the bed, arranging himself cozily with his knee perilously close to my stomach. He did not, of course, have any interest in sleeping. "Where Abba go?" he asked me. (Abba has this totally inexplicable habit of sleeping completely under the blanket, head and all. How he breathes is beyond me.) "Abba's under the blanket. He's in there." "Dass his house?" "I guess--is he in there like a turtle? Is he hiding?" Iyyar liked this idea and we talked for a while about turtles and their houses, whether they had furniture and toys and yarn in there (probably not, no room), whether they could make bagels (no, they don't have hands, just four feet) and whether it was cozy in there (yes, probably). Abba had gone right back to sleep and for a while Iyyar and I just hung out under the blankets and schmoozed. We talked about turning lights on and off, who can do this, who can't (Avtalyon can't reach but he can do it if I hold him), various things he'd be able to do when he was bigger, especially if he ate lots of vegetables and got VERY big, etc. When Abba's alarm went off, and Abba's head emerged, Iyyar thought this was the funniest. thing. ever. "Dere's Abba! He came out! Like a turtle!"

Shabbos was nice--I never actually got dressed and nobody but Abba left the house, but sometimes that's kind of a good thing. For a few days last week I was having what felt like really terrible contractions that started every time I moved, but that's all completely stopped now--we're back to the occasional Braxton-Hicks and the occasional real one but nothing that gives any indication of imminency. Good in itself, plus I'm feeling much better now. It makes such a huge difference not only in my mood but in my mothering--if I can get up easily, I don't resent the five thousand times a day someone needs something RIGHT THIS SECOND.

Getting up is one thing; clambering under furniture, however, is another. So when, on Shabbos, Avtalyon dropped his very last pacifier behind his crib at the beginning of naptime, I was not entirely thrilled. No way could I go down on my stomach and crawl underneath the crib, of course, so I started trying to push it away from the wall, which was complicated by the presence of diaper-filled Rubbermaid drawers under the crib and two more drawers (one for blankies and spare wipes, the other one a holding tank for ironing) right next to it. It really wasn't working. And then inspiration hit. "Barak? Barak, can you come here and help me?" Barak, to his immense credit, dropped whatever he was doing and came running. "Barak, can you go under Avtalyon's crib and find his pluggies? They all fell down there." And he did, cheerfully scooting under the crib and retrieving not one, not two, but THREE pluggies for Avtalyon. Avtalyon grinned, I cheered, and I gave Barak a big kiss. "Barak, I wish you still had mitzvah notes in school! I'd write you such a mitzvah note."



Between the tears I heard something about rebbe and stickers and his name and mitzvah notes and the end of the year and a prize and OH NO I suddenly realized that even though I had never heard a word to this effect, clearly I was still supposed to be writing him mitzvah notes every day. And it sounded like there was an actual MITZVAH NOTE CHART at school. And that he, Barak, had not a single sticker on his chart and would get no prize because he had NEVER had a single mitzvah note.

Worst. Mother. Ever.

I felt awful, apologized profusely, and last night wrote Barak a veritable mitzva letter--one entire side of a sheet of printer paper, written on fairly small--wherein I fulsomely described the many mitzvos of the weekend, beginning with the pacifier episode and finishing up with his lovely sh'ma Sunday night. Underneath, I wrote a note to his rebbe explaining that I hadn't realized that Barak was supposed to have mitzva notes and please could he draw any other acts of maternal negligence to my attention. Thank you. Barak seemed quite happy about this this morning--we'll see what he says after school. I'm not sure where it's coming from but Barak has developed a couple of facial tics lately--eyebrow-wiggling mostly but also some funny throat noises. Google reassures me that this is nothing but I'm wondering if he's stressed about something. My feeling is that he's tired--the school day is long and he doesn't get enough time to play by himself. I could be wrong, though, and it's hard to extract that kind of information from him directly.

Oh, and funny Avtalyon story of the week: in our front hall we have doorbell chimes which the kids are not supposed to touch (they're only attached by a hook and can come off). Yesterday, Avtalyon realized he was tall enough to just tap them, just enough to make them chime. He was delighted by this, and immediately realized that he was, in fact, ringing the doorbell! After a few rings, some pieces clicked together in his head. Doorbell! Ringing! Means Asnat is here! So he rang the doorbell, gasped in mock surprise and opened his mouth into a round theatrical O, ran to the front door, and crowed, "Anee!" I honestly don't think he could make her appear by the magic trick of ringing the doorbell--I think he was being deliberately funny. And succeeding.