Tuesday, September 29, 2009



Don't make me go on strike again.

You can't possibly ALL be on Facebook!!

Can you?


Motzei Yom Kippur. They had been playing nicely for several minutes before it occurred to me to grab the camera, so I got to witness the end of the happy play time. And now you can too.

BLI AYIN HARA the unconditional sisterly love and enthusiasm continues unabated.

Fun with the time-lapse setting

Gotta work on this...

First is Llama solo, second is Sroch with two friends over, as they debated what to play (I think).

Sleepy and wakey Llama

Shulamis's's's nap schedule on a home day (like a Friday or shabbos or one of these holidays we've been having lately) is very different than on a school day. She pulls these great 2-3 hour naps in the morning, and then another 2 hours in the afternoon (sometimes).*

I don't remember why I had to wake her in this example, if it was a non-school day and she was coming up on 4 hours, or if it was (more likely) about to be 4 PM when I had to leave to pick up Sroch. Anyway...

Poor thing was VERY disoriented. She almost never wakes up crying like that, poor bunny. I hated doing it, but, alas, sometimes you have to.

And then a couple minutes later... much happier, albeit not willing to do any tricks. Nu nu, I tried!

*Our Yom Kippur day schedule:

6:30 AM - Llama wakes up.
9:00 AM - Llama goes down for a nap.
9:10 AM - Sroch wakes up (!!!).
12:00 PM - Llama wakes up.
3:30 PM - Llama goes down for a nap.
5:00 PM - Llama wakes up.

Bedtime was then around 8 for Llama, 9 for Sroch (who was too excited over Abba coming home from Mevaseret, where he spent Yom Kippur).

B"H Yom Kippur was really easy, in terms of my energy level and comfort, Baruch Hashem! And I got to daven five tfilos, thank God, several without any small people around me. All in all very satisfactory.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Further advertures in the land of Druyanity

Sarah Rochel is so bright (bli ayin hara) and so gregarious and generally happy that it's very hard to assess just how good her Hebrew comprehension is. She's happy in gan and participates and seems to be doing fine - but she may be missing some salient details.

For example, she brings home a stick with a space for inserting either a cut out chicken, fish or paper coins. It's a kapparos toy, very cute (note - not such a great wiki article there). So I ask Sarah Rochel what it is. "A lollypop," she says. Hmmm...

She walks around singing songs from gan, but the words aren't clearly enunciated (and then of course, I don't know the songs either so I can't correct them). Still, the important part is she is happy and not stressed out about not understanding every little thing in gan. Baruch Hashem!

The gan just sent home today (several weeks into school already) a calendar (FINALLY, after I almost sent her to school last Friday when EVERYONE knows there's no school on erev Rosh Hashana - but I haven't downloaded the 'Everyone Knows This Stuff' file from their non-existent website yet) and a little booklet (produced not just for her gan but the entire network of ganim) with a summary of what they do all day, the language acquisition and concepts they're going to cover the whole year, etc, etc. It's wonderful - and it's rather educational for me to, as I never went to nursery school in Hebrew either. Yay!

Shulamis and I are working on 'hot' now (she really enjoys having her hand pulled away quickly - hard to know how much educational impact we're making here) and putting things into something and taking them out.

Bli ayin hara, her schedule is really great right now. She comes home at 1:30 every day but Sundays, and she LUNGES to nurse and nap, like "I'm happy Mom, but I need a nurturing snack and my own cribby in that order, and I want 'em now." So she's been napping from then to 3:30 or 4, which is great - on the days Sroch is out till 4 (three days a week) I get actual work done. And on the days Sroch comes home at 1:30, then we have Big Girl Private Time, unless of course Sroch goes to a friend's house - her social life now at 3 far exceeds mine at, say, 16.

Have a wonderful shabbos, ya'll, and if I don't get around to blogging before Yom Kippur (likely) then have a meaningful one. We'll be here in the living room all day - come on over!

Finally, you can see... THE TOOTH! Cute, huh?

This is Sroch and her friend Adina, who she has been spending A LOT of time with. She's fully bilingual, which is great. Erev Rosh Hashana first Adina came here for about 45 minutes... then they went back to Adina's house for 5 hours. I may have to have Sroch's last name changed (but "Ah, the Lichtensteinanity" is too long for a blog name).

All ready for bed! Lately I bathe them together, get them in pajamas, then send Sroch off to wait in the living room while I put Llama to bed. Then we have a book and tooth brushing outside, then in the room to bed. It works - much of the time.

Fresh Llama tracks. See, isn't this blog educational?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Erev Rosh Hashana

I’m writing this on a bus coming home from a meeting in Yerushalaim. Because God runs the world, I was inspired to take a cab to the bus stop and therefore just just just caught the bus home so I’d be on time to pick up Llama. God rocks.

Sarah Rochel is doing very well in gan, bli ayin hara. Her ganenets all tell me how sweet and delightful she is, tell me she’s doing well learning Hebrew – and tell me on the two days a week she doesn’t go to afternoon tzaharon, she walks around the whole day talking about how happy she is that she isn’t going! That said, she seems to be totally okay with going too, but she definitely doesn’t mind coming home with the rest of her friends.

All in all, she’s just great. The only snafu lately has been her occasional night-wakenings when she asks to sleep in my bed, Yoav’s bed, on the couch, etc. Last night around 3:20 (item: I had gone to bed at 3) she came in, and Yoav returned her to her bed. And again at 3:40. He then woke up at 4:30 to go to slichos, give a shiur, etc, and when he came home at 7 Sroch was curled up on my pillow, and I had slid down the bed to give her room.

B”H bli ayin hara Llama is sleeping beautifully these days. Total, utter chessed from Hashem – thank you, thank you! Pretty much the only time she wakes up in the middle of the night is when Yoav is not there. It’s a Llama’s Law kind of thing.

The chassidishe lady sitting next to me just interrupted to ask how it is that I type so fast. I explained I’m on the computer all day, have had a computer since second grade (or thereabouts) and she’s like – wow, you must have been one of the firsts! Hmm, not exactly. I told her by now it’s painful to write by hand for any long length of time (true) and she was just amazed. Nice lady. Anyway…

Shualmis is BIG. Tomorrow night on Rosh Hashana she’ll be 11 months old – wow! She is standing holding on, cruising a bit too. She eats just about everything, and only my refusal to give her certain things that need more than 4/5ths of a tooth hold her back. She claps. She will come when you call, she is learning not to stand in the bathtub (still working on not eating the bubbles, and don’t get me started on pooping in the tub – okay, actually, yeah, tell me – when you have two kids in the tub and one poops and you’re the only adult around, what on EARTH is the protocol? Take two slippery kids out and put them on the floor while you clean the tub, then rebathe? Take two slippery kids out and put them in YOUR tub and leave the filthy one for Yoav to clean when he gets home? (Thanks Yoav!) It’s not simple!). She will do the official Infant Bye-Bye, which is saying ‘ba’ while curling her fingers towards her own body. She’s like lightning on one knee – I actually ‘lost’ her the other day. I set her down in the hallway, went to take care of something for Srochel, and could NOT find her in any of the bedrooms. She had darted into the living room and was up against the sliding glass door, waiting for someone to set her free!! If just the screen is closed, by the way, she opens it herself and goes out. (She doesn’t yet know to close it again behind her. I think that happens at like 14 months.)

She still has a few adorable mannerisms that I’m afraid she’ll outgrow soon. She still often does the little cough-giggle when she realizes she’s about to nurse. Putting her to bed for the night or a nap is like clockwork – nurse her for a few minutes, then she stops and waggles arms and legs like she’s dancing, nurse her more for a long while until she’s almost asleep. Detach – she rubs her left eye with her little fist. Put her down in her crib on her left side – she reaches for the pacifier, inserts it, lays still. That’s the drill. Works just like that 90% of the time, even though about half the time, after I leave the room she works herself into a position about 180 degrees from where she started. She still smacks her lips in anticipation of getting some of whatever food you’re eating. She has started cuddling, like a pre-hug, when she just wants a little bit of love. Most adorable. She’s so edible! I really need to get out boxes of clothes I put away from Sroch for her, since at this age Sroch was still wearing 9 month sizes, and this baby could be doing fine in some 12-18 months.

Bli ayin hara, even with the occasional “Mommy, Shulamis is BOTHERing me!” they still get along great. Poo poo poo.

Sarah Rochel has some specific mannerisms too, like insisting on a ‘treat’ to do something or stop doing something or to do something nicely. When I pick her up from gan and don’t have a treat made of at least 75% sugar, she is NOT amused. I am trying to inculcate the concept that she shouldn’t take it for granted, but it might be easier to teach other things to a three-and-a-half year old… like quantum physics.

While Llama is big, Sarah Rochel is such a PERSON. I look at her baby pictures and marvel, because I can hardly imagine a time when the elder Highness didn’t have as much of a gobsmackingly huge personality. What, she used to be non-verbal? Inconceivable!

Good thing I have a blog.

Anyway, a warm and wonderful (well, cool and rainy, please) new year to you all!

And so maybe I'm really proud of my corn beef carving:

Goot yuntiv!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Big old summer slideshow

And I'm sorry this is a slideshow, since frankly I enjoy pictures embedded in the blog more. But there were just too many!! Click and open them to see in full size glory - easier to read the captions too.

Queen of all she surveys

(note baby in waiting as well)


This picture was so gorgeous I couldn't just leave it in the slideshow.

Llama's turn for the washing machine shot

(for easy reference click here)

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Other firsts of note, and videos

First: I just took up my needle to take in the neckline of one of Sarah Rochel's shirts, because it's just too open. I feel very Anne of Ingleside, although Anne never would have thought of me writing #AnneShirley, which is what I'd do if this was Twitter, but I digress...). So yes, I am staying up late at night to make my daughter's clothing more tzanua. A first, but I think not the last, not by a long shot. Have I mentioned she's only three?

First: Shulamis taught herself to clap! I can't even say she got it from me trying to teach her, not really. She just kinda figured it out! See triumphant picture below.

First: Shulamis got sick. Poor baby. BLI AYIN HARA, up to now she's really never been sick. Oh, she's had sniffles, and once or twice a fever, but she never acted really ill. Well, Sunday morning, I'm getting her ready to go, I have to boogie to auditions (more on that below) and take off her pajamas and... her stomach is covered in red spots! Alrighty then! But she's happy and fine, which does not suggest chicken pox, and she didn't recently have a crazy high fever, which rules out roseola. So off to the doc (so much for the first bit of auditions). It's a - brace yourself - virus! Expect her to get a fever, expect it to get worse before it gets better, etc.

And so, bring home our specimen of that new breed, the Spotted Llama. She did develop a fever eventually, poor thing, although not too high thank God. By hook and crook and babysitter (and husband who's amazing and fortunately isn't back to work full time yet) I managed to get to auditions that day and the next, and she didn't have fever much more than 24 hours. The spots spread. Oh, they spread. And after they faded, we went out in the sunshine for a couple hours, and they were like back and like whoa. But the next morning they were mostly gone, B"H. She's back at the metapelet, back sleeping better (the nights she was sick she was nursing every couple hours - you know, I hadn't missed that so much...), and is almost back to herself.

No more spotty Shlama. B"H!

First: I changed my name to Mildred! Well, I will. After not getting one of the grownup roles in our upcoming play (boo hoo!), I landed a part as a 12 year old girl named Mildred. And yes, we're doing a comedy. So exciting!

First: Shulamis's's' tooth is still only about 1/8th out. Sharp little thing. Fortunately, after enough spontaneous OUCHes from me, she seems to have stopped biting while nursing. Bli ayin hara. Ow....

First: We tested the integrity of our Joovy Caboose when pushed down the stairs! Happy to report - the straps are well designed and the snack tray acts as a roll bar of sorts, so B"H, Llama was only slightly scraped at her forehead, just above her eye.

Fortunately, Sarah Rochel had only just decided to 'help' and so while my back was turned for a moment, she pushed the stroller not realizing there were two steps from the building entrance to the street. I hear Sroch scream, a boy tells me she pushed the stroller, turn around... and quickly upright the stroller fully on top of my infant, quickly unbuckle baby and hold her with one arm supertight, while using the other arm to hold Srochel's head to me supertight, since she is screaming like a banshee way, way more than Llama.

Methinks she learned her lesson. Hope so, anyway! But that's how Llama got her shiner. Healed very quickly, thank God.

First: Cousins! First cousins, get it? Yoav's cousin Ezra and his wife Ilana came to Israel, so we had a bunch of fun hanging out at Gan Hapaamon in Yerushalaim. See next post for pictures.

And now.. videos. I am so behind. Forgive!

This was on the screen with Savta telling her about her new gan and the new tzaharon (afternoon program) which began today, which is multiple ages all mixed. She's very cute on the phone, especially when she decides she's done talking. There was more cute stuff before I turned the camera on, but isn't that always the way?

Note Sroch's way cool new socks.

September First

For some reason, a secular date is the official First Day of School in Israel (for everything but the boys cheders and yeshivas), so all the gans, all the girls schools, all the public schools, everything starts on September first.

All through camp, all through the summer and the last week when Sroch was down the block being babysat by a friend until school started - we were focusing on Gan Shalosh (3). Every time we would mention it, a squeal of delight would be emitted. New tik (with embroidered initials - thank you Lands End!). New school shoes. New big girl knee socks.

The night before, I reread Sarah Rochel the classic book from my childhood, Grover Goes to School. Look, I can start crying just THINKING about this book, so reading it to Sarah Rochel (for the nth time) just before she goes off to make new friends in a new school, oh boo hoo hoo. Poor Sroch. She just waits patiently for me to pull myself together. "Right Mommy sometimes cries a lot?" "Right. That's so silly, Mommy!"

Sometime during the night she crawls into bed in our room. I dimly may recall it happening, dunno. But I let her stay, because hey, she needs her rest. Finally at 7:15 I wake her up. We rush into the new clothes we set out the night before, I give her a continental breakfast (four grapes, 1 triangle cheese and 1 slice of bread - oh, and milk with a straw). I make Yoav give her a bracha before we leave the house, because you know, this is a big deal... and off we go to Beis Yaakov Gan Shalosh!

On the way there, clutching her hand. Try not to cry, try not to cry. Not crying. Phew.

Go in the gate (we checked it out last week, but it wasn't open. Now it is!). No sign on the door. Stick our head in one of the prefab buildings that each classroom is - they direct us to the first building. It has little candies painted on the stucco outside.

Walk in, greeted immediately by our two gannenets, Morah Shevi and Morah Pessie. Morah Pessie is... ta ra, ta ra!... English speaking! How useful! Boom, instant banishment of fear that Sarah Rochel (despite her Hebrew competency) will need to say something like "I feel great frustration and disappointment and have a boo boo on my tushy," and no one will understand her. Baruch Hashem!

Classroom is large, with several areas, including a big toy kitchen area and many doll carriages and such. Bright, airy (air conditioned!). Smiling, friendly teachers, who exude competence. (Later, they both tell me they like my child. And so I worship them.)

Sarah Rochel is shy for about, say, 360 seconds. Then, she's got her nametag with a lollypop attached (which quickly becomes detached and inserted into her mouth) and she don't need me no more! So I go with her to hang up her tik, and I go home.

Don't cry, don't cry, don't cry.

Get home. Yoav has taken Llama to her metapelet.

I start davening shachris. Praying, praying. Start shemone esrei. First paragraph.

Dissolve in tears.

There is something about sending your child, and especially your long awaited, long prayed for first child, off to Real School that is very connecting with the avos and imahos and every generation of Jews thereafter. My baby's Torah education began before she was born, I know - but the formal aspect of it began yesterday.

Elokei Avraham, Elokei Yitzhak vElokei Yaakov - is also Elokei Sarah Rochel. Of course. But because she's Sarah Rochel, our child named for two women who also had to wait a long time to have a child to send off to learn Torah, because Hashem granted us the gift of her (gomel chasadim tovim) just like he gave it to them vzocher chasdei avos, umeivi goel livnei beneihem because indeed her birth was a redemption, was a mechayei meisim since one who is childless is one who is considered not alive...

Basically, it comes back to the real point of this blog. This blog is to share the joys of my children with the world, but really to proclaim to the entire world that God is endlessly generous and good and has given us the greatest blessing in the world and we pledge to never take those blessings for granted!.

Lemaan shemo, beahava.

And so I sent my firstborn off to school.

And so I say, thank you, thank you Hashem.