A few things that I really need to mention:
1. The other day I was slicing strawberries into bowls for the kids. I was doing this assembly-line style, with four bowls in front of me, the container of washed straberries behind them, and a knife in my hand with which I was topping and halving the strawberries as children circled me (well, half-circled me, since I was in the "kitchen" and they're not allowed to cross the line of red tape that delineates the kitchen space). Avtalyon was particularly eager for strawberries and kept asking for tastes, which I denied on the grounds that he would then get more strawberries and it wouldn't be fair.
"Imma, I want the tooth bowl."
"The tooth bowl?"
"The tooth bowl?" Puzzled, looking at bowls. "They're all the same size."
Avtalyon pointed at the blue bowl. "That one. The TOOTH one."
"How is that a tooth bowl? It's blue plastic."
Avtalyon, exasperated: "Noooooo! Not the tooth that's attached to my mouf! The TWOTH bowl. The number twoth one, right there!"
2. Marika has started using the toilet, with incredible enthusiasm and frequency. She appears to have the smallest bladder ever, because as soon as she got the idea (feeling of full bladder --> pee in the toilet--> get chocolate chip) she started leaping up and crying potty every 20 minutes or so, all day long. A couple of times I got suspicious that she was just after the chocolate and told her she couldn't possibly need to go again so soon: both times she got frantic, ran to the toilet, peed on the floor and cried. I'm obviously thrilled at how well this is going (we only started with this a few days ago and she's barely even having accidents) but really hoping that she gets more, uh, stamina soon.
3. Barak's two top teeth are coming in. Iyyar's top teeth are just getting loose. Barak had no cavities at his last checkup--hooray! Much better than the five he had last time.
4. Did I mention that Barak got glasses? A few weeks ago I noticed that he didn't seem to be looking quite at me when he was looking at me. Then I noticed his right eye wandering outward. A quick google made me instantly panic and get an eye doctor appointment for the same day; by the end of the week, I had calmed down and we had realized that he had become really nearsighted. Which explains the plunge in his math mark and his spaciness in class for the last few months--he couldn't see the board. I asked him why he'd never mentioned it and he shrugged. "I thought it was normal." Which I understand, really. Anyway, he's got glasses and now looks more like Mr. Bigfoot than ever; all he needs is the receding hairline and the beard.
4. Barak has been really cranky lately and on more of a hairtrigger than ever. He blows up about being out of milk, about his brother going into his room, anything. I think it's anxiety about the move. He likes the idea of moving to a house, he likes the idea of not living in a dorm, he likes the house we're moving to. He doesn't like the idea of leaving his school or his friends, and he doesn't like transition in general. I remember him being like this before we moved here, two years ago; his teacher told us he seemed really sad and anxious at school, and I saw it too, and it really disappeared a few weeks after we'd arrived--it was the idea of the unknown that really threw him. Once we were here, he liked it. Hoping hard that all will be the same after we move.
5. Huh. Move. I don't think I've said much about that here. Facebook, see; I post things there and forget that I haven't mentioned them here. So, uh, we're moving! We signed a lease on a house on a yishuv (settlement) about an hour outside of Jerusalem. The house is fine, not perfect but really OK, and we're lucky to have found anything because there's been a housing crunch there recently. I didn't blog much about this really stressful turn of events, but we discovered after we had made plans in a lot of ways (like registering two of the boys in gan safa) to live in this yishuv that there was very little housing available. We were getting really nervous and having a house this nice is a huge relief.
It's got three small bedrooms and a full bath (with bathtub!) upstairs, plus a laundry area; a fourth, larger bedroom and another full bath (two! bathtubs!) downstairs, plus a big L-shaped living/dining area and a kitchen that is, in a word, amazing. Tons of cabinets, tons of counter space, built-in range, two ovens, two sinks, and just lots and lots of space. Gorgeous. I can't wait to cook there. It was really the kitchen that sold me on the house; the rest of it is a little run down and not the best maintained, the upstairs bedrooms are under the roof and all have sloping walls and skylights instead of windows, and there are some other things I don't love, but the kitchen? Bliss. Also, it has bars on all the first-floor windows and a good solid door, which is important to me safety-wise, especially since we're really right near the perimeter fence. And A/C, which is too expensive to run much but still really really nice to have.
6. Iyyar has been doing amazingly well. The difference is really noticeable; he doesn't stim nearly as much and seems more relaxed. He still is kind of challenging and still takes more time than any of my other kids (sometimes more than all the rest of them combined) but it's getting us somewhere. We do "homeworks" (=OT activities) all day long, about every two hours; five minutes on the swing, Obese Iguana (I'll explain that if anyone asks me to), hiking up stairs with a water bottle in his backpack, dragging mattresses around the house. It's not something I understand but I now trust his OT with all my heart and soul, because she is so right. We do this stuff, he calms down instantly. Why five minutes on the swing makes such a difference I really don't get, but I see that it does, so I do it. And the other day when I was still jetlagged and wide awake at 6 am and the sprinklers came on outside, I went and woke him up and said, "Let's go outside and play in the sprinkers!" Just him. And we did, and it was magic.