Sunday, May 24, 2009

Don't tell me these children aren't related...

At the EXACT same age (within a day or two of 7 months old).

Camp & fire girls

On Lag Baomer (last week? Week before that? I don't even know what day it is...), Sarah Rochel didn't have gan, Yoav didn't have work - and Llama could have gone to the metapelet, but she was running a bit of fever so I kept her home. It was hardly a fever, just her body felt too warm to me. I took her to the doctor anyway (gotta love socialized medicine!) and while the doctor only slightly thinks I'm paranoid, he said she seems fine and it's just a bug.

Indeed, fever totally gone by the next day. But was there any reason NOT to take her to the doctor? 'Course not.

Anyway, the night of Lag Baomer Yoav had taken Srochel out to see the fires. Our shul had a 'clowny' (Sroch is very into everything being -y lately, as in this quote: "I love Hashem-y. He's cutie and smiley."), and of course there were many fires and much music and merriment. The shul didn't have snacks like last year, I think because last year Sarah Rochel hogged all the Bisli.

The next morning, after I took the baby to the doctor, we packed up a picnic and went out. First stop was Ramat Beit Shemesh Gimmel - well, the roads where it will be anyway. Gorgeous views and great kite breezes. The kite I flew got high-high-high, delighting me and Yoav no end, although being something of a non-starter for Sroch. (Llama was thoughtfully sleeping in the car - we left the windows down and it wasn't too sunny, and we were of course right there alone on the mountaintop). Sarah Rochel got her kite about six feet high - which was perfect for her. And neither parent could do any better with that one anyway.

Sroch was drooping, so we left the mountaintop and made Camp Druyan in a lovely grove, a.k.a. the median of the approach road into the neighborhood. Well, it was convenient! And it was truly lovely, all shady and full of convenient rocks and trees to hold a 3 year old up against when she needed to pee. There was a stream deep enough to drown, oh, a hamster maybe. A baby hamster. But we set up a Real Tent as the 'house' and a sleeping bag as the 'couch' and a blanket on the ground as the 'mirpeset' - and of course, the aforementioned rocks and bushes as the bathroom. So we had a very nice time there, and Yoav even got a nap in the tent.

Note to self - nursing in public is MUCH easier when you have a tent.

Speaking of toileting, BARUCH HASHEM Sarah Rochel is doing wonderfully! She is often dry in the mornings (she sleeps in a PullUp), and she is having accidents very rarely now. We are so, SO proud of her. Bli ayin hara!

One of the assistant ganenets asked me how we trained her so fast. I laughed and laughed. Wait, lemme check the archives - yes, the first serious step of potty training seems to have been almost exactly one year ago. Behold here.

And now, pictures, and have a lovely week everyone!

Here she is at the fire - note the red reflection on her face, and of course, her hiding from the camera.

Kite flying and ensuing Camp Druyan

And just more cuteness:


Monday, May 18, 2009

Videos, take II

Hmm. You gotta click on them, then you can watch them. This because they took down the old Google Video hosting stuff. So now I can try Blogger's own, or go back to YouTube. Hmm. Next time.

In the meantime, enjoy.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Videopalooza - if it works

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More random tidbits of juciy yumminess coming your way, la la la

Llama does stuff. Shulamis's's's current tricks now include rolling in both directions, although she does reserve the right to get on her tummy and forget she knows how to get back. She also pivots around, turns on back or stomach - she gets around a bit. She has also started to complain when you take a toy away, which is a big developmental step. And on her stomach, she lifts her shoulders way, way up - crawling can't be far! When I put her to sleep on her tummy, I know she's about to fall asleep when she starts scratching the sheet with her fingernails. An interesting self-soothing thing, no? Which brings to mind...

Llama & sleep. It's going a little better, she doesn't need to nurse every time she wakes up - but lately between about 1 and 2 AM she's wide awake. Oh, she's not crying - she lays in her crib banging the pacifier in her hand against the bars. Ratatatatat. Because God is incredibly generous, this does NOT wake Sarah Rochel.

Llama's got a lumpy head. I had noticed this months ago, but her head really is asymmetrical - the back of her head is curved to the right. Our friend the chiropractor says this isn't a big deal at all - unless you're a cranial sacral therapist. Hmm. Haven't taken any action on this yet - the boring conventional medicine folk don't have a problem with it. This reminds me that...

Sarah Rochel's two front teeth are crooked! Please start saving now for braces. Gulp.

This is while we were still jet lagged, and were NOT amused by needing to sleep - or was it needing to wake up?

In our borrowed Exersaucer. We are SO cute:

My little artist. Aren't those smiley faces really, REALLY good? She did them totally by herself, and they're like recognizeable and EVERYTHING! She's growing up!! Well, mostly. I shan't blog about the dirty underwear incident (note, I did not use the term 'wet' deliberately, sigh...).

I was trying to get a picture that showed Llama's highlights - her hair really may blonde-out one of these days. And if it doesn't - she's still gorgeous.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The bathroom floor

Shulamis's's night wakenings have suddenly gotten much, much worse. I mean, since we were in America they're much worse than they were before the trip, when she was giving me the occasional 8 hour stretch and almost always giving me 5, 6, 7 hour stretches (before waking to eat and immediately going back to bed).

Okay, jet lag. Okay, new babysitter. Okay, starting solids. Um - running out of excuses.

So Sunday I started logging her wakenings, and in honor of my lovely new spreadsheet she has been doing LOUSY. Like Sarah Rochel circa 3 months old, like night before last she woke up 4 times (!) between 9 PM (when she fell asleep an hour after getting in her crib) and 8 AM. Not cool. And now it's 12:51 AM, and she I think just fell asleep after waking up at 11:15 PM, when I did NOT nurse her because she had been awake and nursed at 10 PM (!) after going to sleep at 8 PM!! (No, she has not been crying this whole time, just awake in her crib.)

So - we begin the Sleep Lady Shuffle, and I stand next to the bed and shush and shush and shush so much that my mouth is dry. It actually does work - she isn't crying like she's hysterical, she's crying calmly (if there's such a thing) that frankly, she's not getting picked up and she is not impressed. And eventually (within 10 minutes) she IS quiet, if not actually asleep.

And, um, honestly - it's a little boring. I mean, it's dark, if I pat her or sing it's more disruptive so I'm just shushing, I'm avoiding too much eye-contact, I'm not even rocking from side to side or nothing. And it's not exactly exciting, you know?

But the mental image I have is this: You know when you're nauseous, and you're a kid and you need your mommy, and you go and sit on the bathroom floor in front of the toilet waiting to see if your yukky feeling is actually going to manifest itself into a special effect, and your mother just sits there next to you? The cadence of the way your mother rubs your back while you're just waiting, waiting, that's the cadence that is propelling my shush-shush-shush.

At that moment (or for that hour), the thing my child needs from me the most is a presence.

It's the same bathroom floor I've spent a lot of time on literally lately as I wait for Sarah Rochel's "pee to come out" ("My tushy's not open, Mommy!"), except of course when she barks, "Go out!" when she wants some privacy.

A hearty salute to we, the mothers of the bathroom floor. And now it's 1 AM, and I'm going to sleep.


Thursday, May 14, 2009


(Sometimes this blog is so not about my kids but just about me. This
would be one of those times.)

I am amazed that I get anything done, ever.

I have so many projects bouncing around in my head. I will now
enumerate them, because I know you want to know:

1. House projects: move a piece of furniture, keep the bathrooms
cleaner now that they are more exposed to splashing, um, stuff,
general housework and unending dishes and laundry and I really have to
clean my carpet, and don't get me started on the weedy backyard
2. Kid stuff projects: cycling outgrown clothes out of drawers and
closets, keeping on top of the toys and books
3. Kid selves projects: encouraging Llama to sleep better at night,
encouraging Srochel to actually listen when we talk, oh and use
utensils when she eats, keeping track of what foods Llama's been
exposed to and which she should get next, remembering to change her
diaper more than once a day (thank goodness for the babysitter, eh?)
4. Yoav's projects: a small bit of mental space for the stuff going on
with him and his work and students and such
5. Yoav projects: all the stuff I want him to do for me around the
house :), oh, and maybe actually having a conversation with him from
time to time
6. My self projects: working on the play for next year, selling
nursing ponchos out of the house, occasionally reading a - gasp! -
book, keeping up with my correspondence (hey you! I'm talking to you!
The one with the unanswered email in my inbox! Hi! I didn't forget
about you! Really!), working on this brilliant money-making idea I
want to flesh out, writing a book or two or three (collaboration with
Yoav - right, in BOTH of our free times! Hah!), exercising, blogging,
picture albums, shopping for jewelry that my husband wants to buy me
for having a baby...
7. Community projects: making meals for people and similar things
8. Work projects: redoing whole websites, new ad campaigns, new
promotions, keeping up with everything, not getting fired, etc.

Is it any wonder, with all of that, that now when the baby is napping
and Srochel is still in tzaharon, that all I want to do is read comics

The baby just woke up. Gotta go!

Llama woes

She has a tiny bit of a sniffle, but only at night - more like a moist cough (blech) really. It wakes her up. She wakes up, she nurses, she sleeps - or not. A lot of 'or not' last night, actually. Combine that with Sarah Rochel popping out of bed and coming into our room no fewer than 6 (!) times last night, and Yoav and I are staggeringly exhaustapated today.

And Llama... is getting a bottle of formula at the metapelet today. Sigh.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

If I had Twitter, I would write....

I'm so proud of myself. I have the baby napping, I have Sarah Rochel
playing with two friends in the living room, and I am so amazingly put
together that I just cleaned my stovetop.

I just cleaned it with fabric cleaner. Oops.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Llama and food

Trying to think of what song should be playing in my head as I write this post. Hmm - there are so many to choose from. There's the classic "Oh Llama, you're so fine, you're so fine you blow my mind, hey Llama!", the always-popular "Love my Llama, love love my Llama" (that's to 'Help Me Rhonda'), the eternal message of the insidious Llama Song, and my personal favorite from my childhood, "Me and My Llama"

The body of llama-oriented artistry out there is truly striking. But I digress.

As my devoted readers may recall, feeding Sarah Rochel was always an Issue, whether it was all the lactation consultants and therapists and such we saw when she was a baby (or the doctors because what she ate wasn't, ahem, coming out the other side), or pumping and attendant FormulaGuilt, or getting her to consume actual nutritious baby food or indeed, anything at all. It's still occasionally an Issue, but with her, on the whole, we're over it.

Shulamis has seen fewer lactation consultants, fewer therapists (although she did go to the chiropractor last week because I thought her back was hurting her - more on that another time), and bli ayin hara is now 6 1/2 months old and has never had EvilDemonFormula (I know, I know, I'm just being silly, calm down!). But now for some reason pumping for her isn't going as well as I'd like, and so that combined with her being old enough led us to start her on solids already!

So far, she's had rice/quinoa cereal, applesauce, carrots, broccoli, peas and chicken with grape juice (it was interesting, but it worked!) (if you think of it as underage Coq au Vin, it's a little more appetizing). She's really doing pretty well with it, which is good, because she gets hungry at the metapelet's, and I just ain't getting the milk. Sigh.

I am trying to hold off on giving her formula for reasons that were clear to me before but I tend to forget as I pump and pump and pump. So she may get formula soon. And I've told Yoav that next shabbos he can give her chulent, so HE'S all excited.

Anyway, yummy (har har) food pictures right here! Enjoy!

Her very first bite!
Naturally Sroch wanted to feed her too.
Even foods we liked got a bit of a face.
Like, WHY are you putting this slimy stuff in my mouth and WHAT do you expect me to do with it!?
But in the end, she was all smiles.

Not surprisingly, Sarah Rochel wanted her own bowl of rice cereal. She got way more sugar, especially since Llama got none.
Family dinner at the Druyans. Sarah Rochel actually ate all that fish, yay! Albeit, with her fingers. Note our technique of giving Llama one spoon to hold, and using one spoon to, er, spoon. So much fun!

So who knows how to get baby food carrots out of pink clothes? ;)


Thursday, May 07, 2009

Paschal part three and last because, come on, it's like Chanuka already, well, sorta

9. After dragging Shulamis to way too many grocery stores (Sarah Rochel got to go to a few fewer, especially after one trip to Target where my mother used The Voice. SURELY you all had a parent with The Voice, the one you KNOW not to go anywhere near, the one that means you Do, and you Do It Now, because otherwise lightning will strike you down, even in the aisles of Target. Well, now Sarah Rochel knows The Voice of Bubbie. When she hears my Voice she laughs. This is a work in progress, but I digress...), it was time for my mother and I to start cooking (not too much, B"H, because my mother had made so much in advance, many blessings on her head) and time for the guys to do, da da da, bedikas chametz!

10. That was a really long sentence.

11. Oh, right, bedikas chametz. As you all saw on the slideshow (cause like duh, you peeked!), the three men donned their various headlamp LED devices and went through the house. We stashed a bag of Cheerios for Srochel to 'find', which she did, and all was completed in due time.

And I just modified that Wiki article on bedikas chametz. How cool is THAT? I should really upload the picture of the guys too.

12. The next day was Birkas Hachama! Way cool! I do wish we had been in Israel, though, to have made the blessing with throngs upon throngs of other Jews. But instead, Yoav (who made the bracha at shul) took me out to my parents' front yard and said amen to my bracha. And we got pictures, as you all know.

13. PESACH! The first seder was a wild crazy fun time with blue shower curtains and plastic fish draped (so we could walk through the Yam Suf), palm trees on the walls (the desert), flying ping-pong balls (the plague of hail), toy frogs and bugs and wild animals being tossed about (more plagues), mirrors on the ceiling, pink champagne on ice... oh, wait, sorry. But it WAS a total party. My only regret is that I didn't pelt my brother harder when I threw the hail from the balcony (no, in some ways you never do grow up) and that I didn't use strawberry jello to do something with the blood plague. Hmm, maybe next year.

Sarah Rochel was way too wired to say her Mah Nishtana nicely, but she did know it and she mumbled it sufficiently to get candy. That was actually the theme of our seder: candy. Candy and bugs. Candy and bugs and frogs and a fanatical devotion to Hashem. I come in again.

(Sorry, the blogger will try to compose herself.)

Anyway, candy. ESPECIALLY whenever any child asked "why you do that?", BOOM, instant candy! Because as we all know, the whole point of the entire Pesach seder is so the children will ask. Even if what they're asking is, "when do we eat?"

Sarah Rochel made it through the whole thing beautifully, and didn't even have a breakdown at the end, yay!

And Shulamis was at about 10 minutes of the seder, yet made me miss a lot more of it. Hmmm... She was good, just hungry. :)

14. The rest of the yuntiv / shabbos days of Pesach kinda all blend together, filled with lots of food and play dates and kugel and naps and more naps and not enough naps and so on. It was all really, really nice.

15. Chol hamoed trips: Yoav and my dad went flying, and the rest of us went to a small private airport to watch them land and have a picnic featuring, you guessed it, matza! It was a lot of fun, and we all got to see the tin can, I mean, airplane my dad borrows to go flying in. Retro interior notwithstanding, it was really cool. I also never woulda believed that thing could fly if I didn't see it myself!

Saba and Savta had pictures made with the girls, and we also got more of the two of them alone done too - those are the ones I posted before. That was Easter Sunday, where not much is open besides Wal-Mart, where we did them. Wal-Mart is a fascinating place to people-watch, by the way, especially when you live in a very different culture, especially when it comes to child discipline. Very, very interesting stuff.

We went to Washington-on-the-Brazos one day, which was really gorgeous especially as it was still bluebonnet season. I totally adore bluebonnets, and the fact that Sarah Rochel's eyes are the exact color of them... well, it's special to me, you know? (And yes, Llama's eyes are blue too, not the same as Sroch's - but then, there are many colors of blue in bluebonnets too). I also was addicted to the book "The Legend of the Bluebonnet" as a child, so is it any wonder?

(aside - I am now traumatized that my entire life I was wrong, and it's not actually illegal to pick bluebonnets after all. I may have to fly back right now and get an armful, except they're out of season now.)

Enough about weeds. Moving on.

Oh, we also hit a big old outlet mall that day. We actually flew to America to help the economy there. The government shoulda sponsored our tickets, darn it.

Gosh, what else did we do? Wal-Mart, Target, Dress Barn (aside: 'Dress Barn' always makes me think women who shop there feel like cows. Moo, right?), Marshall's.. and inevitably, I just wanted to buy stuff for my kids. I didn't buy a single book for myself in America - crazy, right? I did of course read the free copy I got of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and it was most, most splendid. But this tendency to buy stuff for my kids and not me really took me aback, as it were. I'll be a real mommy any day now!

15. We got to hang out with my grandparents (the girls' greatgrands) both before and after Pesach, which was really nice. We saw their cute new little independent seniors development house thing, which makes me quite ready to be over 55, thank you.

16. The flights home.... oh, how I hesitate to mention them. I will be brief - here's the procedure:
a) load borrowed minivan with incredible amounts of luggage later than you wanted to leave
b) encounter traffic. Houston traffic. Bad.
c) commence partial panic-attack that you're going to miss your flight
d) listen to father calling associates trying to make alternate flight arrangements because it's a sure thing you're going to miss your flight
e) continue breathing and murmuring to self that God is taking care of you
f) arrive at airport, offload luggage and, fortunately, children, tip Magic Curbside Man who says you will make your flight (phew)
g) run to gate, despite spending 20 minutes going through security (we have to take Sarah Rochel's shoes off too! And disassemble the stroller and put it on the belt! Come ON!)
h) be the last to board the plane
i) argue (politely) with flight attendants that you KNOW they want to check all of our carry-on luggage, but we NEED it and it WILL fit, you'll see
j) flight attendants say give us the Pullman or get off the plane. Ouch. Yoav grabs his tfillin out, gives it to them.
k) take off, all squished in together, which was late due to weather in NY leading to us taxiing in Houston for an hour before takeoff. Feed Sarah Rochel junk food. Repeat.
l) Yoav keeps saying he's so sure they're going to lose the Pullman bag, which oh by the way has his computer, our Israeli passports, all our flight information, etc. Wife reassures, for sure not, who ever heard of a gate checked bag getting lost?
m) arrive NY LGA.
n) they lost the Pullman. Commence (internal) screaming.
o) Saba and Uncle Boaz greet us (thank you God for settling my inlaws in the greater NY area, amen). After much discussion with airline (who don't even see the bag in their computer), Yoav opts to wait for the next flight coming in from Houston hoping it will be there, while Saba drives me and the girls to Queens to buy lunch and then to JFK airport.
p) Blueberry cheese knish. Mmmmmm.
q) Shulamis has had QUITE enough of sitting in her car seat, thank you. Sigh.
r) (shoot, I'm going to run out of letters!) arrive NY JFK. Wait in car while Yoav waits for the next next next flight from Houston to come in, cause it hasn't shown up yet.
s) go into airport, ask El Al how much time we have for Yoav to get here, and can I start checking in without him? Not a lot of time, and nope. Sigh.
t) Savta shows up, takes Sarah Rochel for a walk. Llama is chilling. Mommy is not.
u) Yoav calls. The bag showed up. (So did a piece of regular luggage that also took that long, but it was the carry-on we were nuts about.)
v) Yoav and Uncle Boaz make mad dash to JFK.
w) listen to El Al agent who is neither American nor Israel tell me "I don't think you gonna make this flight!"
x) Yoav arrives, and El Al security allows us to check in, the last ones for the flight. Huff, huff, huff.
y) mad dash through security, takes 20 minutes here just like in Houston, except it's NY, so the germs from people's socks are meaner.
z) be the first to board the plane.

Gosh, I'm stressed out just WRITING all that. And I didn't even mention the flight itself, Sarah Rochel tossing in her sleep in her car seat that she was "not comfy!" and eventually sleeping for like an hour standing up with her head on Abba's seat. And so on. Don't get me started on mealtime neither.

And then there was jet lag. But THAT is for another post.