Saturday, July 02, 2011

In which I reassure you that I really am OK

I talked to Alisha erev Shabbos and mentioned that I'd just talked to Grandpa M on the phone. "He kept saying how good I sounded. And sounding really surprised."

"Does he read your blog?"

"Sometimes Grandma E reads it to him."


I think she was implying that perhaps my blog has been a bit of a downer of late, and that Grandpa M might possibly have had some reasonable basis for concern based on the most recent few posts. I conceded that there was some possibility that she was right.

I should probably remind my faithful readers (all 17 of them) that I tend to blog late at night when Perspective may not be at its strongest. Also, when I start feeling sorry for myself I don't exactly focus on the positives.

Anyway: I am OK. Really. I am OK, Mr. Bigfoot is OK, the kids are, B"H, basically OK.

Rundown by family member, youngest first:

1. Marika now has enough hair for two actual pigtails. I am unspeakably besotted. She is in constant motion, climbs on and off the couch and the beds and can now do stairs standing up if she's holding my hand (up and down). Favorite foods: full-fat yogurt, nectarines, cherries, peanut butter licked off her sandwich. She is always demanding "wawa!" but after taking one dainty sip, dumps the entire contents of her cup on her high chair tray.

She's a little bowlegged still and I'm wondering if I should look into it. She's been walking for about 4 months, which seems like enough time for that to have sorted itself out if it's going to. I need to make an appointment for Tipat Chalav anyway, since I didn't quite manage her 18 month checkup. I know they're going to yell at me; she's not quite 10 kg at 19 months. At 12 months she was 7.8 kg, so she's gained around 4 or 5 lb, but she's still teeny tiny. And still nursing, every morning, before and sometimes after naptime, and at bedtime. And whenever she climbs into my lap and starts thumping my chest meaningfully with her palms.

2. Avtalyon is great. I went to his gan mesiba on Wednesday and he actually participated, as opposed to the Chanuka mesiba when he mostly just sat in his chair very close to me and watched. Phrase of the developmental stage: "I hate that!" and also, "That's stupidhead!" But the other day, he was sitting at the table eating a nectarine, and I told him he was cute and I liked him so much. He said, "I like you too." Pause. "We like each odder."

Just in the last week or so he's started playing much more with Marika. Instead of viewing her solely as an annoying obstacle in his path to wherever he's going at best, and a competitor for and messer-up of toys at worst, he's starting to view her as mildly interesting. I'm trying to think of specific things they've done together but can't really--it's just general, like if he's playing on the floor with Lego and she comes and starts playing with Lego too, they'll sit there companionably together instead of him chasing her off. It's an improvement, believe me.

Even bigger improvement: Avtalyon has B"H not been sick since THE WEEK AFTER PESACH. So, more than two months without one single ear infection, fever, or episode of vomiting. This is unbelievable and amazing and... fantastic. He no longer conks out at 4 PM when I put him in a time out. He no longer wakes up at night crying that his neck hurts. Even without the tubes. He's just, B"H about a billion times, doing much better. Finally.

3. Iyyar... well. Iyyar is more than a couple of paragraphs. He hasn't gone to gan for a few weeks, which I mentioned last time. We've had some good days and some less than good days. In the meantime, I started the ball rolling to get a developmental evaluation done. He's switching gan starting tomorrow and we'll see how that goes. Hopefully things will improve once he's in a different setting and back with a routine; if not, I've got some names of OTs to see privately, to see if we can't figure our what's going on with him a little. And since I've had more time with him over the last week, I've been able to figure out better ways of dealing with the freakouts/tantrums/behavioral stuff. Like, you can often talk him down, but you have to change his environment first. I don't know why, but this is true most of the time. And you can explain to him why what he's doing is OK, but he'll only listen if you give the example of Avtalyon. To wit, "If Avtalyon wanted a tomato and screamed I WANT A TOMATO, and I said no, and then he screamed I! WANT! A! TOMATO! and I still said no, and then he screamed GIVE ME A TOMATO RIGHT NOOOOOWWWWWW while throwing a chair across the room, and THEN I gave him a tomato, then what would he do the next time he asked me for a tomato and I said no?" Iyyar, giggling, "Throw a chair." "So should I give him a tomato when he yells and screams?" "No." "That's why any time you start yelling and screaming about anything, even if it was something that at first I was going to give you, then the answer is no. Because otherwise I'm teaching you to tell and scream." He gets it, it's just getting him to the point where he's able to listen that's... hard.

4. Barak is, B"H, really doing great. Thursday was the last day of kita aleph. He got a really nice report card that said he davened beautifully, had derech eretz, played nicely with his friends, and was good at math. There was also a sentence that I'm pretty sure was saying that his rebbe admired his ability to sit quietly for hours when he understood nothing. Erm. Anyway, his morah suggested that he should be working on reading comprehension over the summer, and that's what we're doing.

Enter Eitan (yes his real name), the 16-yo Israeli kid a friend of mine found. He rocks and Barak loves him. He's been coming over and sitting with Barakh and reading with him, and talking to him about it to make sure he understands. He came twice so far and has really been fantastic--they're reading Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea together, in a lavishly illustrated kids' version. I'm pretty sure Eitan knows at least some English, but I asked him to make sure Barak thinks he doesn't know a word. Last time they sat there reading together for an hour, and when they were done Barak told me all about Captain Nemo. "I think he's kind of weird and maybe not so nice." Indeed.

5. Mr Bigfoot is done with school for the year and like me has started ulpan. He's really enjoying it; it's three hours a day, four days a week, and the timing works out well since his is in the afternoon and mine is in the morning. Both of our sessions run until Erev Tisha b'Av, at which point I will reassess how well I can manage this long-term. In the meantime, we're both learning a lot. Plan for him for next year: do the program for getting an English teacher's license here, teach two mornings a week at an English-language high school near here, and do a couple of other (paid!!!) projects I am not at liberty to mention. He's only got two bechinas left for next year, and while he might not be working in the rabbinate at all, a recognized smicha bumps you up the teacher's pay scale, so that's good.

6. Oh, and me. I am fine, previous posts notwithstanding. A friend of ours is going to the US next month and has offered to bring an empty bag over just for me, so that I can do some online shopping and have stuff sent to his parents' house in NJ. This is a HUGE big deal, because Grandma E has books for us, and I want to buy the kids clothes and shoes that won't fall apart and that I can pay for in dollars. Everyone is at the end of the clothes sizes I brought with us, and especially Barak and Marika really need new stuff--Iyyar and Avtalyon have hand-me-downs, but they don't, at least not enough to get by with. Barak, incredibly, has grown through two full sizes this year and is now wearing size 7/8 almost everything--and it isn't too big at all. Marika is tall, so she's in 18-24 month clothes, even though some of them look like circus tents on her because she's so, well, skinny.

Anyway. Work is good; I just got a really good performance appraisal, and a raise, and my boss thinks staying here another year will not be a problem. My clients are happy with me. A few of the hardest things have turned around or are showing signs of turning around: Avtalyon's feeling better, Barak's picking up Hebrew, Mr. Bigfoot has some better job prospects. I have some contacts for the Orange debacle. The weather hasn't gotten horrible (yet).

It's all basically OK. Just, you know, exhausting. And a little overwhelming sometimes.


Anonymous said...

Just letting you know, you accidentally used Barak's real name in the paragraph about his new tutor.

Nancy said...

Excellent progress! Yes, I read...just do not comment often.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I am very reassured by this post. I was very worried after The Bad Post. Especially since I can't do anything about it. But perhaps things really are turning around and the worst is behind you now and gradually receding even further into the distance.

Thanks for setting our minds a little more at ease. ::hug::

~ Jasmin

AidelMaidel said...

I am demanding pics of the pigtails. DEMANDING to see the cuteness.

LC said...

And I'm sure that the "work is good" bit has reduced your stress level immensely.


Deborah said...

This post reassures me also that all is better than I had imagined. Or rather better than I had read somewhere.

Love the kid updates.
Hugs from here for them all.