Pesach was B"H lovely; the trips in both direction were basically fine, more or less as good as you can realistically hope for with four five-and-under children. A word of warning to those flying with families: United no longer preboards families with small kids. Seriously. They board you AFTER everyone who has lots of points or is paying extra or whatever, so that when we were getting on the plane with four kids and three carseats we were doing so onto a half-full plane, and attempting to install carseats with a steady flow of people attempting to get past us. We nearly delayed the plane because no matter what you do, there is no getting past the fact that you cannot install a carseat while holding a baby and everyone else has to be standing or sitting somewhere while you do it. We only took two carseats on the way back, which made it easier, but still. I don't think this policy is to anyone's benefit.
We went to the city where we lived before we lived here, which was kind of a time warp; it all looked the same and even some of the people hadn't changed at all, but the kids were all, of course, six years older. It's a little bit of a shock to see a kid who you last saw at his bar mitzvah, now six feet tall and definitely an adult. They, of course, had the same thing; Barak is now in kindergarten and we have three other kids besides, and they knew us as a shana rishona couple with a newborn. Time flies, &c.
We stayed with one family, ate lunches by a second, and got to spend time with a few more--almost every day we saw someone we hadn't seen in years. It was also an awesome way to be hosted in that every day we were at a different house with new kids and toys and our kids all played really nicely together. Barak and Iyyar are now Playmobil addicts; they got their first piece courtesy of Jasmin when Marika was born and it is now the ne plus ultra of toys. Playmobil was requested for both afikoman presents and birthdays, upcoming next week; on chol hamoed we went to a fancy/educational/healthy toy store and let them pick out their own. They picked a bunch of Roman soldiers to go with the Roman fort an incredibly generous friend of mine sent them, also as a new-baby gift; I secretly went back and bought Pharaoh and his chariot and a bunch of extra people with which to reenact yetzias mitzrayim. I'm saving that for Israel though. I also, on the same secret trip, bought a bunch of little toys for the long long flight. It was a really really nice store and a good thing we don't have one here, because so much of what they had were things that not only my kids would love, but I would like them to play with--lots of building toys and really creative, interesting, fun things. I spent more than I should have but will probably be glad I did along about Hour 8 of the flight.
The sedarim were great (well, there was the Total Sleep Meltdown of the second night, but we won't mention that in too much detail) and our kids had a blast playing with all my friends' kids. I met 10 kids of really good friends who I hadn't seen in far too long--the last time I saw them all they were either not yet pregnant, pregnant, or with a baby less than a week old. And they all have at least 2 kids now. It's kind of a shock, seeing someone with a bunch of little kids who I've never really known as a mother. Last time I saw any of them it was all about pregnancy or getting pregnant; now, it's "Don't hit your sister." A new life stage to be sure.
They, of course, only knew my kids through emails and my blog; no clear consensus on whether the kids are recognizable as their blogged selves, although one friend called Barak, Barak (that is not really his name, if you didn't know that) and got a funny look.
Iyyar is not breathing well. He sounds all congested again and is even a little bit drooly, which he hasn't been since his got his tonsils out. I was warned that they could grow back with an intracapsular tonsillectomy but the risk was low and the recovery was easier--it seemed a good idea at the time. ENT appointment in two weeks. His behavior has also been, um, pretty atrocious on and off. Mostly when he is tired, and he's not sleeping well. A lot of the misbehavior has seemed to be coming from a place of insecurity/embarrassment/needing reassurance; rather than react to that, I've been trying really, really hard to pour on the positive reinforcement for the good behavior. Trying.
On Sunday (can't forget this one) Marika waved for the first time. I waved at her and she flapped her arms back. Then I waved again and she only flapped one arm. And grinned. And I grinned. Four months, and a wonderful huge toothless smile that just makes my heart explode with love. And that soft warm snuggly feeling of holding her. She's twelve and a half pounds and pretty much all cuddle right now. She's just beginning to grab things and put them in her mouth, and on the flight back she was interested in toys, which she wasn't on the way there. It's wild how fast they grow--Asnat really noticed the difference in just a week and a half. Must... take... more... pictures...
Isn't is weird how fast Pesach goes by? The first night it seems to stretch out forever and then next thing you know you are packing it all up and going out for ice cream. Every year. So strange.
Isn't it weird how fast they grow? The first night you think you'll never sleep again (well, that part is true) and then the next thing you know you're putting them on a schoolbus. And they are their own little people.
Barak's quote of the week: "Imma, right Imma, the world is so interesting?" Yes. Yes it is.