Wednesday, February 24, 2010


My first name, when I was growing up, was pretty unusual. I was the only one in my class, and I'm pretty sure the only one in my school, with my name. Fast-forward thirty years and my name is really, really common. It's... well, let's just pretend it's Emily. Okay?

So last week I was in Target, and because the management there is clearly out to get me they reorganized the entire store, deliberately hiding only the things I needed to buy. I trawled the entire toy section in hunt of Play-Doh and a puzzle. They were not. After twenty minutes, I gave up, rounded a corner and lo! where the shoes used to be, was a display of nothing but puzzles and Play-Doh! You think I'm joking, don't you. I'm not.

Anyway, it was a very disorienting experience, added to which that I had left a full, sleeping baby with MHH and ten minutes after driving off with Yehudis my cell phone rang and yup, she was awake. So I was distracted by that and looking for all kinds of things that I couldn't find in that ginormous store, and at one point I was turning circles around the household cleaners section in search of the red-and-blue Dobie pads that were always there before when out of nowhere someone I'd never seen before was looking right at me and saying my name over and over

"Emily! Emily! Emily!"

in a tone of... not annoyance quite but of heLLO, are you there?

I had no idea who she was. None. Didn't look Jewish. Clearly not frum if she was. Someone from work? Someone I talk to and email but never see? Friend of friend? Someone from college? From grad school? Uh...

I stared. No clue.

Then I realized that standing right in front of me was a little girl, somewhere between Barak and Iyyar in age. Emily. I burst out laughing and it was her mother's turn to stare at me.

"I'm also Emily. I thought you were talking to me and I could not figure out if I knew you!" I looked down at Emily #2 and said, "Did you know that your mommy picked the nicest, prettiest, most beautiful name in the whole wide world for you?" Emily #2 flushed and grinned and sidled up shyly to her mother.

It was cute. And it is a nice name. There are just an awful lot of us around right now. Mostly under aged ten!

Monday, February 22, 2010

If you will permit me a little nachas

Last week was rough. Sunday night I came down with a wicked sore throat and then fever which it took me until Wednesday morning to realize was strep. Once I went to the doctor and got penicillin it got better pretty quickly, but that was after more than three straight days of being good for very little. Barak does not react well to an out-of-commission mother and there have been tantrums, usually in the plural, every day; Iyyar is three and a half and has been, ah, trying, and of course Marika and Avtalyon need a lot of attention too. Thursday night I literally got two hours of sleep--Marika simply would not go to sleep, even snuggled in bed with me, and then Friday I had to make Shabbos since I'd been so out of it all week I'd done nothing. And the boys were all completely off the wall the whole afternoon and most of Shabbos too.

Sunday morning, with a lot of snow predicted, I had a coat I'd bought Abba in the wrong size that I needed to return to the mall--a mile away on foot. I thought Barak needed some Imma time so I told him that we were going to go together; I need to return this coat and buy Marika some socks and then, I told him, we can get some ice cream (there is a Ben and Jerry's in the mall). He was happy with this, so when Abba got home off we went.

Marika slept in the snugli the whole way there and the sidewalks were fairly clear, so we walked along, me on the sidewalks and Barak clambering over all available snowbanks, chattering along about pirates, snow, treasure, Lego, Purim and everything else. We got to the mall and--have I mentioned I hate malls? Well I do. I hate them, as in, they make my skin crawl and I break out in a sweat. Literally. I think the last time I took Barak to a mall was... actually I'm not sure he's ever been to a mall, except for the chareidi mall in Jerusalem.

We walked in and the first thing he said was, "Imma, this feels like an airport." I looked around at the vendors set up selling cell phones and earrings and... huh. He was right. But what does it say about us that my kid recognized "airport," but not "mall"?!

Anyway... we returned the coat, which itself took forever, after first standing in the wrong line for way too long. Then I saw they had baby clothes on clearance and stood there picking through 75%-off racks finding pants for Marika. Then I looked at onesies and got some of those, since I had the credit from the coat. Then we paid, which was a project because I didn't have ID (since when do you need ID to buy baby clothes?) and the manager had to be called, etc., and it was another ten minutes. Then we went down the escalators to Old Navy and I started picking out 6-12 month socks (she has big feet). All this time, Barak was the picture of the bored husband--staring off into the middle distance, or politely feigning interest in whatever I showed him. He didn't say much, even though this was taking way longer than anticipated and I was doing a lot of stuff that hadn't been on the original itinerary.

At this point I was really ready to get out of there--I was hot in my coat, the baby was starting to shift, and I wanted to get home. Meanwhile, shoppers were hustling around, kids were screaming, etc., and right next to us there was a child on the floor having a fit and demanding ice cream. Barak and I got on line to pay for the socks. "Barak," I whispered, "you are being a tzadik. You are being so patient. I don't like shopping either but you are being so cooperative with this." We paid, we went out into the main part of the mall and I got him his ice cream. I praised him again for not asking through all of our forays, even once, when he was going to get ice cream. He looked at me in surprise. "You said we were going to get ice cream at the end," he said. "I already knew when we were going to get ice cream so I didn't need to ask."

: )

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


For some reason the word "garbage" has figured amusingly in the linguistic development of all three boys. With Barak, it was the laborious assembly of a very impressive sentence on sight of a gabage truck: "Garbidge. Chuck. Put garbidge innair!" Iyyar called garbage "jarba." And Avtalyon? He calls it "barkip." No idea why. He's also calling the baby Tayi. Oranges and grapes are "Pooz!" and "Navim!" courtesy of Asnat.

Anybody hear laughing?

I had a whole list of things I was going to do on this, my last week of maternity leave. I was going to catch up on laundry. I was going to get passport pictures for Barak and Marika, and file their passport applications. I was going to return the too-small Shabbos coat I bought Abba last week, and finish cleaning out the storage space in the basement.

Instead, I've had strep since Sunday, complete with raging fever and, you know, the attendant full-body misery. Which also has meant that I've been reluctant to have Marika in bed with me--I'm too out of it, and I'm so cold I want a big pile of blankets. She is not sympathetic to this, and has been waking up every 20 minutes or so all. night. long.

So I've done nothing. Except go to the doctor today, finally, to get antibiotics.


Sunday, February 14, 2010


Even though a) my husband hasn't actually been accepted to the program he's hoping to attend next year, b) my Extreme Telecommuting request hasn't been approved, and c) we haven't figured out what we're doing with this apartment, we're still all proceeding as if this is all going to work out. I am cleaning, clearing out, downsizing and organizing; a huge bin of baby/kid clothes to be donated is sitting in the basement, and I have spent much of the last couple of weeks sorting through my stash deciding what to keep, what to toss, and what to give away. (Some of it is posted for sale on ravelry, and any of it that doesn't get sold is going to Cecilia and/or Sarah's knitting guild for Afghans for Afghans.)

I've also been going through the boxes and boxes and BOXES of papers that my heilige husband has been stashing away in the basement, and finding, ooh, all KINDS of things. Like the bus ticket for the bus ride from Baltimore to New York during which we got engaged. (Why yes, we DID get engaged on a Greyhound. Didn't you?) A few uncashed checks (Grandma E, it wasn't nearly as bad, I promise.) Random change, unreturned quizzes and homeworks from his high school teaching days, piles of notes, photocopied pages of gemara, articles, you name it. We have a milk crate full of empty binders now, and two large boxes full of shaimos, waiting for the pre-Pesach shaimos dropoff.

Right now I am in the stage of cleaning where everything looks much worse than it did when you started--piles of stuff everywhere, garbage being taken out multiple times a day. And, of course, I have several vultures circling the garbage constantly--my husband tries his best not to look, but the little boys are very prone to the "Imma! Look what I found! Look what I found in the garbage!" Oh look, it's the sharp stick-with-hook from a broken drop spindle! Back in the garbage, please, just because I am mean.

So far the only part of the Grand Plan that has actually been confirmed is that the holy Sarah Peasley has offered to adopt the lovely but aged Emese Cat, who I seriously don't think would survive the flight, much less the transition. She's going to be fourteen this summer and her nerves are, um, exactly what they've always been. Shot.

To accomplish this week: get passport pictures and passport applications for Marika and Barak (his passport expired in July), finish cleaning out office, and finish dealing with storage space. It needs to be empty before I can start filling it up again. I'm not actually packing anything until we have an answer at least on the telecommuting or on the program, and we might not have either until Pesach. I wish I could, because it'll be a lot harder to do this before my maternity leave ends--a week from Monday. It always goes so much faster than you think it will. This time next week will be my last day of leave. B"H for telecommuting--otherwise I'd be a wreck right now. As it is, I'm wondering how I will manage it, but I know I will manage somehow.

In the meantime, I am squandering precious naptime. Back to sorting through stash.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Pinch me

Tonight I was sitting in the kitchen nursing the baby as my husband and the kids finished up dinner. Barak saw my water bottle empty on the kitchen table and offered to fill it up for me; I said yes please, and he dragged a chair over to the sink and started filling the bottle up, which is something he likes doing. So there I was, baby nursing away, husband and Iyyar at the table polishing off green beans and fish sticks, Avtalyon in his high chair enjoying his spinach noodles, and me watching Barak, perched on a kitchen chair with his red stripey shirt, airplane kippa, and payes sticking out.

It doesn't seem real sometimes. It seems too good to be true, too good to be happening to me, and sometimes, I half expect to wake up back in high school or back at my old apartment, alone, to find it was all a dream.

No other place, no other time, is as good as this place, this time, right now. It's hard to think of asking for anything else, asking for anything more. Every time I start to say "please," all I can think is, "thank you."