Things are good. I took a week of vacation and then had a slow week that let me recover from the convention; work now is busy but not unmanageable. The kids are mostly doing well; I feel good and go to bed at night happy about what I'm going to do the next day. I'm not overwhelmed, I feel energetic, things are good.
Just, you know, busy.
Updates in a nutshell:
1. I started ulpan. I know, I know. I have no time for ulpan. But it has to happen sometime and my rights expire in January; Mr. Bigfoot is off as of last Wednesday and he can be home with Marika in the morning (he'll be starting his own ulpan in the afternoon, so we can trade off.) It's 8:30-12:30, three days a week, so not as huge a time commitment as a regular ulpan; also, it's up the street from Barak's school, so very convenient. They put me in kita beit, which is appropriate; my spoken Hebrew is, I think, better than that of most of the other people in my class, but my grammar is atrocious so it's the right thing for me. And I'm learning a lot--I can see a difference in my Hebrew already. Current plan is to keep going until the session ends, erev Tisha b'Av, and reevaluate from there whether to continue into the year, which would require finding childcare for Marika.
2. I moved Iyyar and Avtalyon's gan for next year to a closer gan. I don't know what it is, but Iyyar's gan is not a good fit for him. I hope it's that, anyway, and not that gan in general is hard for him. His behavior over the year had gradually gotten more and more difficult; I was getting complaints from his ganenet that he wasn't paying attention, bothering the other kids, throwing things, running around when he was supposed to be sitting still, etc. Pesach, he had three weeks off, and by the end he was really doing great. I asked his ganenet, and she told me his behavior in school had also improved. However, by last week, it had gone back to horrible. If I didn't know that he was not always like that, I would have thought he should be evaluated for... I don't know what, but something major.
Last week I took him with me to check out a different gan. I got him early at school and we walked there together. At least, I walked--he mostly got dragged, because he was yelling and screaming and pitching fits the whole way. His arm was rigid with tension, he wouldn't look at me, wouldn't talk to me, wouldn't respond to anything I said, wouldn't make eye contact at all, just screamed lots of things--some of which made sense "I don't want to go to a different gan!" and some of which didn't "They won't let me go out of there!" But he wouldn't explain or let me ask questions or figure out what the problem was. Anyway, we got there, we looked around, and I met Avtalyon's future gananet (who seems OK, not fabulous but OK) and Iyyar's (who seems great.) On the way home, his arm felt like an arm, not like an iron rod. What was he so afraid of that he didn't see? I don't know.
I think the problem in a nutshell is this: Iyyar is, for some unknown reason, unhappy and stressed at gan. This is resulting in difficult behavior. I want to find out what the problem is and deal with it. His ganenet wants to find out how to make the behavior problems stop. We are not getting anywhere with this. The new ganenet saw him at close to his worst and did not try to shove us out the door; instead, she said, "let's try him here and if it turns out he needs help, we'll get him some." That sounds better to me.
In the meantime, I have decided, with two weeks left to go, to make gan optional. He hasn't gone. Three days later, he's like a different kid.
3. Marika is great and hilarious and constantly on the go. I've noticed lately that she's a little bowlegged; her legs curve inward a bit from knees to ankles. Shouldn't she have outgrown that by now? I need to make her overdue 18-mo Tipat Chalav appointment so they can yell at me for how skinny she is (I'm guessing 22 lb or so) but they can't yell at me for any developmental milestones, at least.
4. Avtalyon is also hilarious and is eating like a horse. He never seems to stop--he's ALWAYS hungry. Except at school, where, apparently, he doesn't eat. What's up with that? I feel like I should have more to say about the child who currently has the greatest comedic value of anyone in our household, but I can't think of anything off the top of my head.
5. Mr. Bigfoot is now suddenly in a much better mood, having passed (woohoo!) his last bechina of the year. He's still looking for work and trying to figure things out for the fall, but the basic plan is there; learning two sedarim and day and something else (whatever comes up teaching-wise, and/or English teacher training) during the third seder. I think it will work out well, logistically, and having both Iyyar and Avtalyon in the same (closer) gan will help the daily schedule a lot. Barak is supposed to have a hasaa, too, and if that happens it'll be a whole new life in a lot of ways.
Anyway, that's it in a nutshell.