Friday, December 26, 2008

I guess at this point it doesn't really make sense to write down so much of what Ezra says. It's amazing to me, but really objectively pretty boring. His language has just exploded, though. He is talking in incredibly complex sentences, paragraphs really. He has really focused on grammar, and it's just been remarkable listening to his brain develop. He likes to use the word "because", and he draws it out, like: "I not happy..becaaauuuse...I need dump truck." (The reason he doesn't have his dump truck is, invariably, because he's been chasing the dog with it.) He's also very particular about saying, "it's" when appropriate, and really emphasizes that s. Tonight for Chanukah he got a wooden snake, and when my father walked in Ezra said, "Look, Mama buy a nake fo Ezza. It's a pesent fo Chanka." Yeah, nake=snake, fo=for, pesent=present...really it's not hard for most people to understand most of what he says, which is a big difference from just a month ago. His articulation has improved a lot, and he doesn't say many words wrong anymore. With some absolutely adorable exceptions: helicopter is "helitractor", refrigerator is "refrigadozer", and octopus is still "ah-pus-pus" (tonight he told me, "Mama, E-Z-P-R-O spell ah-pus-pus! I be a ah-pus-pus, a dancing ah-pus-pus!" and then danced around his bed. I think he started to spell Ezra, which he had been doing, and changed his mind lol).

He's also amazingly good at understanding his own feelings. He will tell us that he is hitting the dog because he's upset, for example. Today I took him to bed for a nap and he really didn't want to be there, and he said, "I no sleep! I be very upset! I hit train track, that feel good." It was like he understood that the reason he wanted to hit the train was because he was upset about the nap...which I love because it tells me that he's understanding some of his own feelings and learning to handle them. Instead of tantrums, usually these days if he gets mad because we tell him he can't have something or take something away, he pretends to be sleeping (he even pretend snores lol) and says he's tired. Or he'll cover his ears and say "I close my ears!" like he can't hear us.

Anyway...I'm just really enjoying observing him grow and mature and get smarter by the minute. It's so darn cool. Of course he's also been incredibly difficult lately, especially when it comes to the dog (he's so cruel to her sometimes), but mostly he's just my adorable little boy and I can't even begin to describe how much I adore the child.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Oh, Ezra

He's been impossible lately, but he's also adorable. Some things he has said just today:

I asked him if he'd seen the other binky [pacifier] that was in the room. He said, "Might be...misappeared!" Then my mother was leaving and he said, "Don't go, Grandma! Don't go! Ezza crying, that mean I upset!" She left, and he stood on the coffee table and yelled "GRANDMA!!!" at the top of his voice, like she might still be able to hear him somewhere. Then he yelled to me, "Look at me! Look at me!" to get my attention that he was doing something he's not supposed to (standing on the glass coffee table).

Then later I was feeding him lunch and he said, "I love Babba more than cheese."

He adores the train set he got for Chanukah. I should try to get some pictures of him playing with it. I like it a lot, too. I really had a lot of fun building tracks with him and pushing all the trains around.

He's been trying to figure out how to use the word "my". He'll say something like, "Look at shoes." He's trying to decide which word to use, when it should be my. Once in a while he gets it right. It's really cute. (Just after I wrote this he came to me and said, "Look, my toe hurts." So maybe he gets it now.)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

photos from today

I took a whole bunch and I don't really have time to go through them all, but here are a few. The lighting wasn't great, but I couldn't pass up the moment. Talk about perfect December weather! According to my mother's car it was 84 degrees.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

This and That

While I'm on a roll with posting, I may as well mention that we had a pediatrician's appointment this morning for the babies. They had venous blood draws for hemoglobin levels, which I should find out in the morning. I won't be surprised if they are still very low. It was not so much fun having to sit there while the doctor drew blood from their little arms, but she is so good at it that it didn't take long at all (even on Ari, who is so chubby she thought she might have a hard time with finding a vein). They also got their second dose of the HiB vaccine.

I decided to go ahead and have them get Synagis shots for the rest of the winter. I went back and forth with it, but after talking to the pediatrician about it, and hearing about her conversation with a pediatric infectious disease specialist, and finding out that the copays aren't too steep, I decided to go ahead with it. The risks are minimal, and it could potentially help us avoid another hospitalization. The babies could still catch RSV, but it should be a much milder case.

Tonight Ezra bit his hand really hard and then told me I needed to get a paper towel to fix it. I totally didn't get it until I got the paper towel and put it on his hand and then he saw it and said, "where Ezza blood?" Apparently he wanted to see his blood. I guess because the babies had their blood drawn today, and I had told him about needing to check their iron levels because people need iron in their blood to have energy (at which point he insisted that he did not want to eat iron :p). So I tried to explain a little bit about blood on a level he would understand. He was really interested. So cute.


By the end of the day I'm usually low on patience and feeling very over-touched (of course I still have a night full of touching with the babies). I was having to lay down with Ezra every night to get him to sleep, and it was driving me bonkers. I adore the child, but it was just making me grit my teeth and hold back bad thoughts. So we (my parents helped) basically taught him to go to sleep on his own. It took one night of him crying and upset that we kept taking him back to his bed, and then he got the picture. I felt bad doing it, but he didn't seem traumatized after the fact, and I absolutely had to for my sanity. So now the routine is I read to him for a bit, let him read to himself for a while if he wants and it's early enough, and then tuck him in with his "race car cup", which is his "lovey" that he sleeps hugging (lol), kiss him, and tell him I'll come back to check on him in a bit. Usually he goes right to sleep, or I check on him a few times and then he goes to sleep. It's a huge improvement.

Tonight it was late and he just wasn't going to sleep. I was about to leave the room and he said to me in this sad, sad voice (again verbatim): "Mama, don't leave! Mama, come back Ezza bed. Ezza miss Mama. Ezza miss Mama long, long time."

So of course I laid down with him. (It would be a cuter story if he then went to sleep and we all lived happily ever after. Instead he kept fighting sleep desperately, and finally I just couldn't lay there anymore so I went downstairs and Ezra called out "Mama, Mama" for less than a minute before going to sleep. Really I think at this point he just wants me there, he doesn't need me, and when I am there it takes him a lot longer to fall asleep than when I'm not. I have to respect my own needs as well as his, and I just have to keep reminding myself of that.)

Overheard from Ezra

These are verbatim. I'm trying to write some of what he says down because I just love hearing his speech progress!

in his car seat, passing a car dealership: "Mama, look! Lots of balloons on cars!"

Having a tantrum over food :p: "I throw this clementime on the floor!" (he calls them clementiMes)

singing: "Twinkle twinkle little starses, how I wonder what you areses"
that cracked me up
He's been practicing his plurals a lot lately lol

If he thinks I seem upset, he pats me and says, "I know, Mama, I know," in a really soothing voice.

I wish I had recorded more things recently. I don't even remember what it was, but he responded, "ohhh, that awesome!"

And the cutest thing from yesterday: My parents got Ezra a wooden train set for Chanukah. It came in the mail, a big box, yesterday. My father and I were here, and we were standing near the front door as I opened the outer box, and I said, "I want to get this in a closet or something before Ezra sees it." And right on cue, Ezra says from the balcony overhead, "Oh trains! I love trains!" It was hysterical. I just said, "Okay but this has to go away until Chanukah," and he was fine with that. Then yesterday evening my mother was cutting Ezra's hair and he went into their closet and saw the box again and covered his eyes! Somehow he gets that it's supposed to be a secret and he should pretend it is.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Chaos and Insanity

My life is generally low-grade chaos spiced with short periods of acute insanity. That's about right.

There's often at least one person crying or screaming. Somebody generally has a poopy diaper. Somebody is usually hungry. But it's background noise. It's chaos, but manageable chaos.

Then things just fall apart for a while. And the pieces always come back together in the end, so at this point I'm pretty good at staying fairly calm. But I can't say it's not stressful.

Some examples: two days ago in the late afternoon, the babies were fussy and Ezra was hungry. I got Ezra a snack and was changing the babies' diapers when Ezra dropped his glass on the floor and it shattered. So I cleaned up the broken glass while the babies *screamed*. Then I nursed Ari while entertaining Toby to keep him quiet*, and Ari fell asleep. I went to put Ari down but he woke up as soon as I tried, so I left him there screaming and went back to screaming Toby and picked him up to nurse him. At which point I found out that Ezra had just pooped in his diaper. So I nursed Toby, and he fell asleep. I went to put Toby down (Ari was still screaming), and he woke up as soon as I tried. So I left both Ari and Toby screaming and went and changed Ezra's diaper. Then I picked up both babies and calmed them down and everything was fine. I played with them for a while and put them to bed early because they hadn't napped. The insanity probably lasted 30 minutes.

And then yesterday: we have an odd stomach virus going around here. The kids haven't gotten sick, but my mother was up one night throwing up and then was in bed all day sleeping. Yesterday morning as I was getting everybody ready to go to Target (my mother wanted blue "Chanukah" lights to decorate the tree outside!) I started to feel queasy. Great. I got everybody in the car and we went to Target. When I got there, one of the van doors wouldn't open. It took a while of trying random things to get it open before it finally worked. Ezra was not too happy about having to sit in the car and wait. I got it open and got Ari in his carseat into the cart, then put Ezra in the cart seat, and then put Toby on my back (I usually put the baby on my front but I felt too sick). I started to walk towards Target, but I was on the periphery of their parking lot space in the mall parking lot, and when I got to a certain point near the sidewalk the wheels on the cart locked. You know how they do that automatic locking so you can't steal the cart? Yeah. So I was stuck. I waited around until a woman carrying some toys came by and asked for her help, and she helped me get the kids to a new cart. And then things were fine. But during that hour or so it seemed like one thing after another was going wrong. It was ridiculous.

So that's how things go around here. Today we have gym class and I'm still sick. My father also got sick. Nobody has been really sick, just nauseated, maybe throwing up once or twice, and really tired. Things might go smoothly with gym class, or they might become insane. I'm prepared for either. I figure if I expect insanity I'll just be pleasantly surprised when things go well.

*I can nurse them together, but not if I expect them to fall asleep, unless we're in bed already. It gets complicated lol

Friday, December 12, 2008

Op-Ed Columnist
Obama’s ‘Secretary of Food’?
Published: December 11, 2008
When Barack Obama chooses his agriculture secretary, we need a bold reformer in a position renamed “secretary of food.”

Thursday, December 11, 2008

My Letter to NPR

I'm deleting this because I don't want to offend anybody. Suffice it to say that it was about vaccines. If you're really interested (and unlikely to be offended :p), email me.

Tofurky Sausage

For some reason since I stopped eating dairy I've been craving meat-like things, which I hadn't in a while. So I got some Tofurky sausage. I offered Ezra a bite, and he looked at it, took a bite, and then threw it on the floor and immediately started weeping. "That VERY ucky!!!"

Monday, December 8, 2008

I Don't Like Winter

First off, winter is cold. I don't like cold. And cold to me is anything less than 70 degrees (laugh all you want, I stand firm in that conviction). It's been in the 50s here, and I don't like it. Oddly, it's supposed to be in the 70s for the next two days before dropping back down to the 50s again.

But the bigger reason I don't like winter is because it gets dark early. And it's stupid and ridiculous. We basically invented our time system (yeah sure, circadian rhythm and all that, but we put the numbers on it), so in my (so humble) opinion we ought to have it stay light later in the day all year round.

As it is, in the morning we hang out and do breakfast and morning baby naps and such, and then if we have to go out, like we went to the grocery store today, we do that, and then we eat lunch, and then it's time for Ezra's nap, and then by the time he's awake and had a snack it's already getting colder outside because the freaking SUN is GOING DOWN before 4 PM and it's just ridicuous and we should change it.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Look Out Song

Ezra loves music in the car. He always asks for it, and always says, "Louder, Mama! Louder!"

It took a few days of Ezra requesting "look out song" every time we got in the car to figure out he meant Box of Rain.

Look out of any window
any morning, any evening, any day
Maybe the sun is shining,
birds are winging or
rain is falling from a heavy sky -
What do you want me to do,
to do for you to see you through?
This is all a dream we dreamed
one afternoon long ago

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

One More Thing

that I know as of this afternoon (yes, another visit to the pediatrician):

Out of my 3 kids, Ezra and Toby screamed the second the nebulizer mask got close to their faces. Ari smiled and tried to lick it. After a minute or two he started screaming, too.

That's Ari's general approach to the world: eat first, look later.

Things I Now Know

Things I now know:

- A baby in respiratory distress is not a happy creature.

- It is not too difficult to nurse with an oxygen cannula in ones' nose, once you get the hang of it. But it will result in a wonky latch.

- Ari will suck down formula from a bottle and never notice the difference.

- Ari will not spit up when drinking soy formula, but will spit up quite a bit after nursing. (I just stopped eating all dairy.)

- My parents are amazing and I am incredibly indebted to them for their help.

- I can get a lot more sleep with a baby in the hospital than I could ever get with three kids at home. A lot more.

- Azithromycin will, in fact, give Toby diarrhea. And a stomach ache.

- Toby does not like albuterol, saline via nebulizer, or suctioning. I don't blame him.

- The worst part about having a kid in the hospital is having to just stand there while people do things that make him scream.

- I didn't really comprehend how sick my kid was until he started smiling and playing and I thought, "Oh, he hasn't done this in days!"

- After taking care of one baby in the hospital, coming home to 3 kids at once is overwhelming.

- Iam incredibly lucky that my kids are all, on the whole, very healthy.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


We all have it (yes, even least I assume that's what I have since I'm sick and the kids all have RSV).

Last Sunday Ezra started to get sick. By Tuesday night he was completely unable to sleep, had an awful wet cough, and was pretty miserable. I took him to the pediatrician on Wednesday, and he had a breathing treatment for his wheezing and got a prescription for an inhaler and drops to help his fluid-filled ears feel better, as well as an antibiotic in case he spiked a fever or his ears started to hurt more over the long weekend. A 10-minute-long breathing treatment on a sick and stubborn 2-year-old is not exactly an easy thing to accomplish. They left me in the room by myself with the kids and the machine, and after making up games that worked for about 15 seconds each (you're an elephant! you're an anteater!--he had the long tube coming off of the mask on his face) I finally bribed him with chocolate ice cream (which backfired because now he wants chocolate ice cream every time he's "a good boy"--his words, not mine). Of course we have to hold him down for the inhaler, too.

Wednesday night the babies didn't sleep, and by Thursday they were both feeling pretty sick. As usual, Toby is so much sicker than Ari. None of the kids went to the family Thanksgiving party. My mother and Baruch stayed with them at first while I went, and then I came back and my mother went. But yesterday, Friday, the babies were feeling so sick. Toby was just miserable. By yesterday evening Toby was breathing pretty rapidly, and not only was he wheezing quite a lot, I could feel his chest rattling just holding him. Of course yesterday was a holiday, but thankfully there is a pediatric urgent care clinic at a local hospital, and I got there just before they closed. And oh what a traumatic evening (for Toby and for me).

I left the room when the doctor did the RSV swab down Toby's nose. He screamed. When I came in his nose was very slightly bloody. God that had to have been uncomfortable. Then I had to hold Toby during the breathing treatment, with a mask over his face, while he screamed. And then the weirdest of all, we tried to calm him by singing Baby Beluga while they strapped him, naked except for a diaper, into a strange contraption with a tiny bicycle seat he straddled and a plastic tube that went around his body with his arms sticking straight up. This was for the chest x-ray. It looked uncomfortable and it was certainly freaking him out. He cried so hard he vomited. Not spit up, vomited. My poor baby.

Of course the RSV swab came back positive and we knew what we are dealing with. Ezra still isn't better (it's been almost a week! this is a kid who rarely gets sick at all). Ari is still not as sick, but I'm keeping an eye on him. And poor Toby. He absolutely hates the taste of the prednisone liquid he has to take. He just fell fast asleep while sitting on my lap facing forwards towards the computer...if you know my kids, you know how sick that is. Thankfully he is still nursing, although not as much (neither is Ari, for that matter).

And, as I said, I'm sick. Was just getting sick last night, and today here I am. Obviously we're not going anywhere today. No synagogue or really much of anything. Ezra is so bored from being house-bound (although--oops--I did take him to gym class Tuesday because he seemed to be feeling okay, and he had a great time...hope all those kids don't get RSV now).

Oh yeah and I haven't slept in a week.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

How I Nursed My Preemies

I wrote this in response to a thread over at the multiples forum at MDC, but it's very long so I thought I'd go ahead and post it here.

I should have kept more notes while I was going through the process. I didn't, and I'll have to try to remember everything. Fortunately for me, but unfortunately as far as my ability to give advice is concerned, it was all really smooth going and not a struggle really at all.

My boys were born at 30 weeks 6 days (due to placental abruption). They were fairly big for gestational age: Toby was born first at 3 lbs. 12 ounces, and Ari was born second at 4 lbs. 4 oz. Toby was breathing without any assistance from birth, and Ari had pressure-only CPAP for about 24 hours. They initially had only IV nutrition via umbilical lines, but progressed very quickly to NG feedings.

I had a c/s under general anesthesia. When I woke up, the first thing I asked was if the babies were ok. The second thing I asked was if I could have a breast pump! I got one as soon as I was moved into a room, so within hours of the surgery, and started using it immediately. Here is where I do think I can give good advice for mothers who haven't had their babies yet: I figured out pretty quickly that I wasn't getting much colostrum from the pump, but I was able to hand-express large amounts. The NICU people were apparently amazed when within hours of birth I sent up about 14 mLs of colostrum! Apparently it is easier to hand express at the colostrum stage than it is to use a pump. I would recommend hand expressing first and then using the pump for a bit to stimulate milk production.

I was lucky because the babies were born on a Saturday morning and my milk was in by Monday. Started coming in Sunday night I think. I was a slave to the pump. At first I pumped every 2 hours, and every 3 at night. Then after a few days I started sleeping 4 hours at night and pumping every 2-3 during the day. After a week or so I was going 5 hours at night and 2-3, once in a while 4 (if I was in the NICU with the babies), during the day, only because I was pumping so much milk. I have small breasts, but apparently I can store large amounts of milk, because after a long stretch of sleeping at night I could easily pump 10 or 11 or more ounces at once. I just looked at my pumping record and I once pumped 14 ounces in one sitting. I never pumped for more than 10, maybe 15 minutes. I pumped 60+ ounces a day (my record was 68). My babies never had anything other than my colostrum and milk, except for the short period of time when the NICU was adding human milk fortifier (basically formula) to the milk they gave them.

Well so basically what I'm saying is that I'm blessed, and although part of my success was definitely my perseverance, I also just have super-boobs. That much is just not something that I have control over, I'm just really lucky. My advice with regard to establishing a supply is just to pump very often, starting as soon after birth as possible. Which is the same advice you'll get anywhere. I used the hospital pumps and also a rented Medela Symphony. And I admit I did not sterilize the pump parts very often; I washed them in super hot water and air dried them, mainly. If I'd had much smaller preemies with any medical problems I probably would have been more careful, but I really didn't have much energy for stuff like that.

I thought I couldn't remember timing on when they started nursing, but I realized just now that I have the daily emails from the NICU, so I can use those for reference. It looks like the first day I nursed them was April 30th, so when they were 11 days old. At that point they were still getting everything via NG tube. The first few days it was sort of "practice" BFing. On May 3rd, so when they were exactly 2 weeks old, I convinced the nurse to bring out the baby weigh scale to record our BFing. She humored me, thinking the babies still weren't getting much nutrition at the breast (they would have been 32 weeks 6 days gestation). She was pretty surprised when Toby took his entire feeding at the breast, and Ari took a large chunk of his (the rest was supplemented via NG tube). I think it was at that point that I told them to go ahead and do bottles whenever they wanted. The nurses were awesome. They started giving the babies bottles whenever they seemed up to it. I nursed them at least once and sometimes twice a day, mid-day when I was visiting the NICU (I also had my not-quite-2-year-old at home). It really wasn't long before the babies were taking all their nutrition via breast or bottle, and then they just had to wait a few more days until they could regulate their temperature well. They came home after 3.5 weeks, 25 days, in the NICU. They would have been, I think, 34 weeks 3 days gestation. We were lucky.

All of this nursing was using a small nipple shield. When they came home I rented a baby weigh scale. The first few days I nursed them maybe 3 times a day? Then I was nursing them every other feeding, or even more, except at night. I was pumping whenever I had a chance. Pretty quickly I got fed up with pumping and bottles and went to nursing them all the time. I used the scale a lot at first, for reassurance. Sometimes they would need a little extra in a bottle, but not for long. Ari has always taken more at a feeding than Toby. That's just the way they are. Toby has worse reflux, and I think eating more hurts him. So yeah, I got fed up with bottles and just stopped using them one day. I was trying to latch them without the nipple shield to start most feedings, but got a bit frustrated. When I took them to get weighed at our marvelous pediatrician's office, she said that she really didn't think they needed the shield (she is also an LC and knows what she's talking about!). So I went cold turkey. I just got rid of the shield. And it was pretty much smooth sailing from then on, although I sometimes had a little bit of a struggle with getting Toby to nurse enough. I started only doing pre- and post-feeding weights about once a day, and then stopped altogether when it was obvious they were doing fine.

That's it. I had a little breast trouble when they were in the NICU, maybe mild (VERY mild) mastitis? LC couldn't really figure it out, but it went away quickly. I had some irritation and pain with the pump on my right breast, but that didn't last too long either (and the LC helped me get the right size falanges or whatever they're called.) The hospital I was in was very supportive of breastfeeding. The NICU nurses were wonderful. The LCs were available whenever I needed them. And I never considered not nursing them, so I just did what I did, and thankfully it all worked out.

Ari is still my little piggy (see last post for sizes and weights). Toby is a thin little guy, but eats plenty and grows at the same rate as his brother. They both have reflux, but Toby's is much worse. They were both on meds for a little while, but it didn't help too much. I've recently considered getting them again for Toby. But they both just nurse really easily and well, and have since they started.

The amazing thing about my babies is that I just don't think of them as preemies most of the time. Developmentally they are just themselves, everything in the range of 5-7+ months. We haven't faced any of the problems many preemies face. They've been incredibly healthy. Every single day I am aware of how blessed I am.

I thought to add a bit more: Although I can nurse them together, I very rarely do. I prefer not to, especially now when they are very into pulling each other's ears and poking each other's eyes. And it's really just more trouble than it's worth. Thankfully they take pacifiers, something Ezra never did. They still use the newborn Soothies like they did in the NICU, although I'm thinking of trying some NUKs on them to see if they prefer them. They mostly take their pacifiers (we call them binkies, and it is also used as a verb, as in "please bink the baby") for sleeping and in the car or stroller, although now that they can pick them up and put them in their own mouths, they sometimes randomly suck on them at other times too.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Big Babies

The babies went to the pediatrician today. They will be 7 months old tomorrow. Ari weighs 18 lbs 5 ounces, and Toby weighs 16 lbs 13 ounces. They are both 26 inches long, and both have a head circumference of 43 cm. Their length puts them in the 8th percentile for their chronological age, and around the 50th percentile for corrected age. (At Ezra's last visit he was in the 5th percentile for height, and he went steadily down in percentile from birth until he hit the 5th-8th percentile where he's stayed steady. So apparently the babies are going to be quite a bit bigger than Ezra at equivalent ages. Funny that my preemies are my big ones.)

Monday, November 3, 2008


I started getting a cold last night and it's gotten progressively worse. This afternoon Ezra started whining and acting a bit odd, saying, "I NEED Babba. I NEED hug. I NEEEEEED Babba." I was getting packed up go to go my parents' house so my mommy could take care of me a bit (feed me soup and give me a hug, basically). Well, when we got there Ezra was being whiny still so I picked him up and was cradling him and realized he felt really warm. So I took him temperature. 104. Um, yeah. I gave him Tylenol and a sippy cup of ice water and sat him in front of his movie (Cars). He was sort of out of it, but when I asked him how he felt he said, "good." Maybe because he basically watched TV all day LOL My temperature was up to 101. Ezra's did eventually break and he seems pretty fine except for a bit of a runny nose. I'll probably give him another dose of Tylenol at around midnight. I don't usually rush to treat illnesses, but 104 is HIGH. The kid was burning up.

I feel pretty crappy. Super congested, drippy nose, sore throat, headache, all that good stuff. Plus the fever that comes and goes. The babies seem fine today, but over the past week they've been really not fine. I kept trying to figure out what was wrong with them. They were super fussy or crying a lot of the time; in fact for a few hours Saturday morning, Ari was screaming inconsolably, poor guy. Their cheeks were red off and on, and hot to the touch, but their bodies didn't seem hot so I never took temperatures. Ari has a touch of a cough, too, but I thought at first it was just irritation from his daring attempt to take a bite out of Ezra's banana (he gagged and spit it out lol). So hopefully they've been sick too and are now better, and that explains the past week plus means they're already through with it.

Tomorrow is the BIG DAY. I'm nervous and excited. I was hoping to hand out water and snacks to people waiting in polling lines, but I'm too sick, unfortunately. My parents bought an expensive bottle of champagne. We're going over there in the evening. I hope, and suspect, we will be able to celebrate before midnight!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Habits and Changes

Toby likes to suck his thumb, but only through fabric--a blanket or his sleeve. You'd think you were doing him a favor by taking his thumb out of that pesky fabric, but no, then he just stops sucking. It makes a funny noise and gets his sleeves all wet.

Toby sleeps with his mouth open and his eyes half open. Baruch saw it for the first time the other day and said he looked like a doll. Which is to say...NOT ALIVE. I can't tell you how many times he's freaked me out, thinking he's dead. Even though I know that's just the way he sleeps. It really is creepy. I ought to try to get a picture. Ari does not sleep like that, although once in a while he sleeps with his eyes slightly open. Ezra has always slept with his eyes slightly open, too, but not the whole mouth-and-eyes dead baby doll look that Toby does.

Hmm, I can't think of any peculiar habits of Ari's. He laughs when I jiggle his chest and when I take off his clothes. It's like a tickle but happier.

They've established a pooping pattern: one day without pooping followed by a day with pooping oh, every 5 minutes or so. Repeat. Fun times. (And now it's time for them to develop a NAP schedule, don't you think?)

I just got them their booster seats today, so now they can sit at the table with us (and not on our laps, where they've taken to pulling everything within reach onto the floor...especially if it's a plate with, say, tomato sauce on it). We also got a second crib, so now they each have their own sleeping quarters. I rearranged the kids' room yesterday and it looks nice. I want to decorate a bit and then I'll take photos.

At Target this morning I saw a woman with a triple stroller dragging a cart behind her, and of COURSE we started chatting. It's nice to meet somebody who actually understands! She had 20-month-old twin girls and a 7-month-old girl as well. Phew! That house is going to be even more fun when those twins hit 2. Oh, but I've been assured that 3 is even tougher than 2. I can't wait.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

New Tricycle

This was earlier this morning, when it was just above 60 degrees. Right now it is in the mid-70s and absolutely stunningly gorgeous outside. We're definitely going for a long walk this afternoon!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Happy Half Birthday To Y'all

Okay, Blogger was having photo-uploading issues yesterday (and still is, but it's working a bit), so I'll try this again:

First an update and then a picture post.

Things have been busy here. Holidays (finally over) and just general busy stuff. I get approximately zero minutes to myself on a regular day. I usually end up going to bed with Ezra. And it's usually at MY bedtime, not his, lately.

On Sunday we celebrated Toby and Ari's half birthday. And we really did celebrate. I baked a cake (coconut-macadamia-ginger carrot cake with coconut icing, from Vegan With A Vengeance) and made crowns and everything. Six months seems pretty substantial. I think because the pregnancy was so difficult, and because there are two of them and so it's been such a challenge just figuring out how to manage every day.

The babies have started to really interact with each other a lot, which is adorable. They are blowing raspberries at each other, and cooing and saying “ghee” and laughing. They also pull on each other and scratch each other if I don’t keep their nails short enough. They are still really social with everybody, although they definitely have an awareness of strangers vs. people they know. It’s just a lot of fun to watch them develop. Both are sitting up pretty well now, which is nice for them. And Ari rolls front to back now as well, although not as adeptly as Toby. I’ve started seriously thinking about twin-proofing (child-proofing on steroids) and about buying some sort of gated area that I can put in the living room with our foam mats to give them a totally safe play area. Safe from hazards and also from Ezra, who loves them but can be a bit too exuberant in his attention. [As I write this Toby is making the cutest noises at me. And then every once in a while he’s farting really really loudly.]

I was just thinking that Toby's sleeper seems small and I ought to move them to 6-9 month clothes. Then I realized that it IS 6-9 month size. . . .

Ezra loved going to shul for Simchas Torah. At night he went with Baruch and came home so excited about singing and dancing with the sefer Torah. Yesterday I took all the kids (Baruch was working) and Ezra was exhausted, having gone to bed at 10:30 the night before, but had such a good time and was totally wild by 1:30 when we left. He was just dancing and running around in circles with the other kids and enjoying snacks and having a grand time.

Ezra's new obsession is puzzles. Constantly puzzles. He's pretty good at them, and he can do them for hours. His new thing is to mix all the puzzle pieces together and do all the puzzles at the same time, picking out a piece and fitting it where it belongs and going on to the next piece. And he never wants to stop. Last night he was up past midnight. I don't know exactly how late. I took the kids to my parents' house for dinner, and usually he falls asleep on the way home. He didn't, even though I drove a bit extra. Then at home he wouldn't stop playing with his puzzles, so we finally got his diaper changed and got him upstairs, but he still wouldn't go to sleep. Then he spent about 45 minutes screaming in our bed while Baruch slept next to him and I kept pulling him back into bed because he kept trying to climb out. He insisted he needed to go play more. At about midnight he stood up in bed and said he needed water. So I woke up Baruch to go get him some water, and Ezra just stood there quietly waiting. I fell
asleep before Baruch got back with the water. Baruch says that Ezra drank some water and he expected him to hand the cup back but he didn't, he just sat there holding it. So Baruch went to sleep. I don't know, Ezra must have fallen asleep not long after that. I woke up at some point to get a baby and moved the sippy cup to the bedside table. I really sometimes don't know what to do with this child! He's so tired today.

Some collected sayings of Ezra:

I handed Ezra a piece of junk mail and he said, "Oh Mama, mailman got Ezza a present!"

When asked what he wants to be for Halloween, he replied "crackers".

Ezra takes a bite of something and says, "mmm, I eat it. In tummy...." Then he gets a big grin and says, "POOPOO!" Yes, Baruch taught him about digestion. This is repeated many times a day. He knows about intestines but prefers to skip right to the good part.

He's also started talking about the past, which is always "yesterday." He also talks about his feelings a lot. If he is frustrated with a puzzle piece sometimes he says, "Mama, I VERY UPSET." He talks about times in the past when he was scared or upset and says that he cried and does a little fake cry to further illustrate his story.

I'm sure I have more I could write but that's it for now. Going to post photos.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Desperately Seeking Sleep

First, my heart is breaking for the family of Colleen. She will be missed. I can't really think about it, it's just too upsetting.

Anyway, on to my boring life, which I know is incredibly blessed. Of course I'm going to start complaining about it anyway.

I didn't have any caffeine for 4 days. I thought maybe the babies would start to sleep better. Well after last night I went ahead and had a cup of tea this morning, because the babies aren't sleeping at all. I mean I can hardly exaggerate how little sleep I am getting. And all day they took 20 minute naps and then were cranky and tired after being awake for about 45 minutes to an hour. I'm exhausted and I feel very close to losing my sanity.

Last night at 1:30 AM I dragged myself out of bed and to the babies yet again, and this is what I found: Ari mostly asleep but hollering his head off, and Toby wide awake and out of his swaddle, grinning and with a death grip on Ari's ear. I rescued Ari and nursed him back to sleep, but when I went to put him back down, I found Toby eating Ari's swaddling blanket. I managed to take it from him, and he laughed at me. At 1:30 AM. Thankfully he also went back to sleep after I re-swaddled him and gave him his pacifier (it had probably been about 30 minutes from the last time he nursed).

I think it might be time to buy a second crib.

I have some photos I want to post but I don't have the energy right now. Tomorrow the babies will be 6 months old. Their cake is in the oven (the reason I'm still awake when I should be sleeping since I just nursed both babies back to sleep). I still need to make their crowns. Baruch specifically requested half birthday crowns like I made for Ezra. For the little guys I feel a particular urge to celebrate. There were so many times during my pregnancy when we weren't even sure they'd be here with us today. Okay, so maybe they don't sleep, but they sure are adorable.

Friday, October 17, 2008


I was reading Ezra a book called The Boy Who Wouldn't Go To Sleep and I finally found where he got the "party and dance all night" line from! It's funny, because we hadn't read the book in a while, but he obviously still remembered the whole thing. This was actually the first book I realized he had memorized, months ago. It's amazing what sponges their minds are at this age!

I was thinking again about the playground yesterday, and I realized that Ezra was acting a bit out of character. He was acting more fearless. He went down the big slide by himself when I wasn't even nearby, for the first time ever. He climbed down the ladders, which I didn't even know he could do. And he was running far from me. These things wouldn't be at all unusual for a kid his age, but they are atypical for him. Ezra has a very strong sense of self-preservation. I don't know if gym class is helping him get over it, or what. Today when we came into the playroom after breakfast he started doing the same wild stuff as yesterday. Oh yeah, he also slid down off our bed facing forwards; this is a kid who needs help to get down backwards because he once, a looong time ago, landed on something and it hurt his foot (very slightly). So all a bit unusual. It could just be that he's growing up, or...I don't know. I wonder if it's something he's eating. The only really new thing is a new kind of cracker and there's nothing unusual in the ingredients. So I don't know.

The babies are so funny. Ari just keeps getting fatter, and if anything Toby is getting thinner. Toby nurses until he's done and then just stops. Ari nurses and nurses and nurses. They are so different. When Ezra is watching Super Why in the mornings, if Toby is in the room he will contort himself into all sorts of strange positions to see the TV. I have to keep him out of the room. Ari will look, but if I turn him away he's fine with that, too. Toby has started laughing a bit, but Ari is still the king of laughter. Now if only they would sleep. I stopped drinking any caffeine at all, and it seems to have helped the problem of them waking up at night wanting to play, but they're still up just as often wanting to nurse.

A few more Ezra-isms I remembered (like I've said before, I'll be glad I've recorded this someday, even if now it seems like overkill):

The other night we were out walking and Ezra saw the full moon. He pointed up and said, "Oh woooow. Look Mama, circle moon!" He also recently pointed to a puddle with raindrops falling in it and said "oh circles!" How amazing to see the world through the eyes of a 2-year-old. Certainly I don't look at raindrops and think circles, but there they are, plain as can be.

He calls peanut butter "pea-bo". That one is beginning to fade as his speech gets clearer.

And he always sniffs things and says, "smellls good." Random things. He just sniffed a picture of a lobster in an atlas and said that. Then I showed him where we live in South Carolina and he said, "Ohhh yes, I love that."

Thursday, October 16, 2008

In Which Ezra Goes Batty

Well, after I wrote my last post I played with Ezra: did some puzzles, read some books, and then together we cleaned up almost the entire playroom. Of course I also nursed and played with and took care of the babies. And then the strangest thing happened: Ezra just went bonkers. It was like he was manic. Out of the blue he started dumping all of his toys out again, and then digging through them like a dog sort of, and pushing them all over the floor, and then he found a toy car and started driving it around the floor while pushing blocks and books, at a ridiculously fast pace, all the while making insane noises. Honestly it started freaking me out after a bit. He threw his car so I took it away from him, and rather than get upset he just picked up a big block and started doing the exact same thing with it. He was just acting so unlike himself. Wild. I asked how he was feeling and he said, "Good. Happy good." Then I asked if he wanted to go play outside so he could run around, and he looked out the window and said, "No, no go play out there. Play outside, cars jump on me." Uh huh. I even videoed about 5 minutes just because it was so crazy. Finally I got everybody out and we went to the playground, where Ezra proceeded to run back and forth across a very large field for a loooong time. The child loves to run and has for a long time, but I've never seen him run quite that much. But other than that, once we were at the playground he was acting totally normal. He hadn't napped, and almost fell asleep on the way there, but had plenty of energy to play while there. Thankfully he did fall asleep on the way home, although it took a little extra driving.

Of course when I got home Ezra was asleep but both babies were awake. So I played with them for a while, and then put them down to go to sleep. Ari went to sleep fine but Toby, on top of his pacifier-pulling problem from last night, has become Houdini, and kept getting out of his swaddle and pulling out his pacifier. Baruch came home and was dealing with him, but I didn't realize that Baruch hadn't re-swaddled him, so by the time I realized he wasn't going back to sleep it was too late and even though I nursed him again he is now awake. So, 9:15 PM and at least Ezra and Ari are sleeping. I'm going to go to bed and leave Toby for Baruch. It's been a very long day. Tomorrow morning I have to get up and bathe both babies, take a shower myself, and then at some point tomorrow I need to bathe Ezra (who is actually completely sand-encrusted from the playground...going to have to change all the sheets tomorrow too I think). In the morning we plan to go to my grandparents' house to play, and then in the afternoon I will hopefully cook and clean a bit. Baruch won't be home at all this weekend, but he will be home next Tuesday for Shemini Atzeres, yet another holiday (we have quite a lot this year, huh? lol). It's actually just the first of the last two days of Sukkos, and also a holiday in its own right. (After Sukkos nothing until Chanukah, which is a minor holiday anyway.)

Sigh. Tomorrow will be calmer. Just think pretty thoughts.
Two screaming, exhausted babies who won't nap. One 2-year-old who won't nap who decides it's a perfect time to poop in his diaper. Causing the entire living room to smell like a sewer. Oh yeah, and the bath tub where I was planning on giving Ezra a bath this afternoon has a COCKROACH crawling in it. (Time to call for my quarterly exterminator visit, obviously.)

This is when I feel like giving up.

Of course now Ari is napping, Toby is happily playing in the exersaucer (I seriously needed some space and a few minutes to myself), and Ezra, with a clean diaper, is enjoying some imposed quiet time. He doesn't really buy my insistence that if he doesn't nap he has to have quiet time, but I think he could tell I was serious today.

This morning we rushed out to get to the early gym class. I prefer the Tuesday class because it's a nice mix of people and at a much better time, later in the morning. But Tuesday was the first day of Sukkos so we went today. And the babies basically cried the whole time. Ezra was clingy, there were only 4 kids there including Ezra, and the babies cried. Tons of fun. In the end Ezra did enjoy himself, thankfully. Then I thought things were going well after we had a successful trip to the grocery store. We got out and I sat Ezra in the car eating a muffin, nursed both babies and put them back in their seats, and started to get ready to go. At which point all hell broke loose: the babies started screaming (they had barely napped since early morning), Ezra starts crying that he absolutely needs water, or better yet "special treat" (chocolate soy milk), and I suddenly have to pee really badly. I gave Ezra some chocolate soy milk in his cup and managed to get in the driver's seat without wetting myself. Hoping beyond hope that Ezra would fall asleep on the way home, and the babies would too, and I'd get a little bit of a break. No dice.

Now I'm holding Toby, as he got sick of the exersaucer. Ezra is really being quite good about his quiet time, although he keeps asking me to read things to him. I remind him that there are 10 minutes of quiet time left. But it's nearing an end. Toby is now fussing. It's time to change his diaper and figure out if I can get him to nap too. At which point I assume Ari will be up. And in a bit I'll start to read to Ezra, probably the same book over and over until my brain goes numb. What's left of my brain, that is.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Toby is in one of the most EXASPERATING phases ever. It's just ridiculous. It used to be when the babies got tired, I would either lay them down or put them in their car seats or the stroller (depending on where we were and what our plans were), give them a pacifier, and they'd go to sleep. With the car seats and stroller I usually rock them a bit, and when I lay them down I swaddle them and that's their sign that they should sleep. Well, Ari is still fairly good about this, although he's always had a bit more trouble falling asleep. Toby is still fine when I lay him down swaddled, but the problem is when he's not swaddled, like in the car or stroller. It seems like he's not sure whether he wants the pacifier or his fingers, so he pulls out the pacifier. And then he screams bloody murder because he doesn't have his pacifier. In the car if I can't get to him he'll start to suck his fingers and be fine for a bit, but then he'll go back to screaming. He also rubs his face when he's tired and knocks out the pacifier. He tries desperately to put it back but doesn't quite have the fine motor control yet. In fact yesterday I saw him holding the pacifier up to his mouth trying desperately to suck on it...but it was backwards, pointing away from his mouth.

So. I have to tuck a blanket around him and pin his arms down so he'll keep the pacifier in and stop freaking out and sleep. It seems a bit mean, but otherwise he just gets incredibly agitated and won't sleep. I think if these guys didn't have pacifiers they would be finger (Toby) and thumb (Ari) suckers, but since they do have the pacifiers they prefer those.

So that's just my frustration of the evening. I was driving home just now and I had to stop the car to tuck a blanket around Toby's arms because otherwise he just screamed.

We've had a nice few days of Sukkos. The weather has been really warm. Ezra didn't get to sleep until 11:30 Monday night because we were eating dinner with friends, and the babies were up late as well. Then yesterday we had lunch with friends and on the walk home at around 3:45 all three kids fell asleep and proceeded to sleep and sleep and sleep. It was strangely quiet here for a number of hours! Ezra slept until 7:45 PM and then woke up, ate some, was up until 10:30, and then went back to sleep (with me in bed) until 7:30 this morning. Toby slept until about 8 (well he woke up and nursed once but went right back to sleep) and then was up for about an hour and then down again for the night (which means nursing a ton but just sleeping, not awake playing). Ari apparently thought 3:45 was a good bedtime and was asleep (with plenty of nursing) until 6 this morning. Strange.

Some records of Ezra's language to add (I've decided to just write about it as often as possible; I know someday I'll be glad to have written down all of these things he says when he's 2):

"Wait a dunkent" is what it sounds like when he says "wait a second." Second always sounds like "dunkent", whatever the context.

This afternoon at my parents' house I asked if he wanted some water and he said, "No, I need wine!" and pointed at the wine bottle on the counter.

Now these are...disconcerting. Somewhat disturbing, really. I don't know, I mean he doesn't really understand what he's saying, but it bothers me. I already mentioned that he knows the words to Old Man River, including "tired of living and scared of dying." The other day one of his balls went flat and he said "the ball died." I guess he gets that from when I say my phone died or similar. But here is the incredibly disturbing example that I simply can't explain: when he gets frustrated, once in a while he'll say "not good my life." It totally freaks me out to hear him say that. I have never spoken like that in front of him, so I just don't get where he's getting this from. I'm pretty sure that's what he's saying, too. I don't know if anybody is even reading this blog, but if you are and you have any idea where this might come from, please do tell.

Hmmm, have I mentioned "rounding and rounding"? He's been saying that for ages, and still does. Today he was running around the tree in my parents' back yard and yelling "rounding and rounding!" Although it really sounds more like "bounding and bounding." That's the thing, *I* understand just about everything Ezra says, but most other people don't understand a lot of it.

One last thing: today he was bringing me things out of a box and I had a vivid memory of a time early in my pregnancy with the twins when I was so exhausted and sick that I was laying on the sofa trying to take a bit of a nap while Ezra played. Ezra would have been 15 or maybe 16 months old. He kept going over to the kitchen and taking potatoes out of a bin and then bringing them over and very carefully piling them on top of me, until all of the potatoes were balanced all over me while I half-slept. Then when I suggested he take them back, he did, one by one. So cute. Another time I was half sleeping on the sofa and he pulled a full box of Cheerios off of the table and brought it over to me and dumped it on the floor and started playing with them. And I definitely knew he was doing it but I figured I'd rather rest then and clean up later, because it was keeping him busy! I'd forgotten how tired I was my first trimester.

That's enough blabbing. I ought to sleep while I can (Ari is the only kid up, but Baruch has him at the moment and he just nursed). I was listening to the debate on the radio but I didn't turn on the TV when I came in from the car because it just wasn't worth it. The last I heard was McCain's absolutely incomprehensible response about the honorable people at his rallies. I really don't understand what the heck he was saying. Maybe if I were a Republican I would have understood.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

What We're Up To

Yesterday (Friday) morning we went to the local library's huge book sale, which was fun. I got a bunch of great books for Ezra: classics like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Robin Hood, Treasure Island, Paul Bunyan, and The Little Prince, as well as a few random other books. I got some fiction books for me (frivolous things, e.g. The Hot Zone by Richard Preston, which is a fun book) as well as How to Talk So Your Kids Will Listen and Listen So Your Kids Will Talk. I would have loved to stay longer, but Ezra needed a snack (I gave him an apple while he hung out on my back in the Ergo as I checked out, and he proceeded to eat the entire thing...including the core) and a nap, and it was difficult to really browse through the books while keeping track of Ezra playing with cars on the floor and trying to maneuver the double stroller around the tables. I was very pleasantly surprised, though, when after I finished nursing both babies in the lobby, a woman from the business office at the auditorium came out and made sure that nobody had said anything negative to me about nursing them in public. Apparently somebody in the office thought perhaps a passerby had made a comment, which had not happened. But I thought it was great that they were being proactive about protecting my rights! Very cool.

Anyway. Tonight Baruch is on call, so I'm home alone with the kids. It's raining quite a lot. It was raining all day, in fact, and we got stuck in shul because it was pouring. A nice family invited us for lunch, as they live closer to shul than we do. So that was nice. As is typical on Saturdays, Ezra did not nap. So I drove over to my parents' house to return a bunch of my mother's tupperware that I had, and Ezra fell asleep in the car at 6:40; getting him to sleep was, of course, my intention. When we got home I played with the babies for a while and then put them to bed and and them asleep by 7:45, and I thought I was home free for a few hours! I went to get started on straightening the playroom, which is more like a huge pile of jumbled toys than an actual room at the moment, and about 3 minutes later I heard Ezra on the monitor having a nightmare. It took forever and a glass of water to calm him down and get him back to sleep. All of this woke up Ari. So then Ari was up until almost 10. Of course I just got Ari to sleep and now I'm going to write this up and go to bed myself. So much for housekeeping. It would be nice to actually be able to walk in the playroom, and the dishes need doing, but whatever.

Here is a photo of my stitches without the covering bandage, but with a steri-strip over them (WARNING: this is not pretty, and also my skin and hair are gross so just ignore that):

Also, this is a very interesting article in this weekend's Sunday Magazine from The New York Times:
Kosher Wars

I find it particularly interesting because I didn't realize there was a whole movement of people who felt the same way I do about factory-farmed meat not being kosher due to the mistreatment of animals. I've been saying that for years. I know it's not technically true, but I feel like it ought to be. In any case we are vegetarians (leaning towards veganism, especially in what we buy for our home; I was a vegan for a while until I found out I was pregnant with twins, at which point I started eating eggs and dairy for extra fat and protein). But I would definitely consider eating humanely raised grass-fed beef and poultry. I would consider it, but I'm not sure. It's been a long time since I ate meat. Certainly I would prefer to eat eggs and dairy from sustainable, humane farms, if it were available. Not that we could afford to. Which is why we are ideally vegans. It takes more work to healthily feed a family as a vegan, and at the moment I often only have the energy to stick a piece of cheese on bread and toast it for Ezra.

With the financial crisis right now, I keep thinking about how money is really imaginary. It's a social construct. When Baruch hears that people are losing money with the stock market, he wonders where the money is going. I say nowhere, it's all make believe. What I really want is to own land. A nice chunk of land, with a house and enough area to plant a large garden with produce to feed our family. Land isn't imaginary. If you own it fair and square, it can't just disappear one day (barring catastrophes like war or natural disaster). That's me. I'm not one to invest in the stock market. I'm more likely to buy gold and hide it under my mattress. I just am very risk-averse. I want something tangible. I want stability.

Speaking of feeding our family, in another 6 months or so it's going to be a heck of a lot harder to do so. I so hope the babies are sleeping well by then so I will have the energy to actually cook for a family of 5.

In closing, a few random things Ezra has said lately:

-Pointing to a picture of a tractor in a book: "I ride that yesterday." Huh? News to me! He can spend a surprisingly long time pointing to vehicle after vehicle in a book repeating with each one, "Ezza drive that. Ezza drive that. Ezza drive that...."

-Ari started crying while I was nursing Toby. Ezra called out, "I coming Toby!" and goes over and smiles at him, and then turns to me and commands, "Nurse a him!"

-I was cutting grapes, and Ezra pointed to them one by one and said, "Cut him. Cut him." I asked, "Cut who?" just to see what he'd say. He thought for a second, and tried again: "Cut her. Cut her." I chuckled and explained that a grape is an it, and I said I would cut it, and cut it, and cut it.

Adding this later (after Ezra fell out of bed and woke up, and then right after he went to sleep Toby woke up...):

I forgot to write about a big thing! Today every time I put Toby down on his belly, he would hang out for a while looking around, and then very deliberately roll over to his back and give me a huge grin. I had seen both babies roll front to back at least once, but this was deliberate and he did it many, many times. Both guys are also now regularly going from their backs to their sides, although I've only seen Ari roll back to front, and that was only once. It won't be long for sure! Ari sat for about 5 minutes with the Boppy helping him balance, and Toby is starting to sit a bit as well. Go babies!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Our Exciting Yom Kippur

Baruch took Ezra to shul in the morning, and just as I was getting the babies ready to join them, they came back because Ezra was crying for me. So then he wanted lunch, and by the time he finished eating the babies were napping again, so we were playing in the playroom. Ezra kept laying on the floor and once on the sofa, and was obviously tired, so I figured I'd try to take him upstairs for a nap. Now, this is a child who won't nap anymore unless he falls asleep in the car or on a walk. So I read him a book a few times and then I closed my eyes and said I was going to sleep, and he could lay down next to me and sleep. And he threw the book at me.

This book is a board book, one of those hard cardboard ones, about airplanes. He threw it at close range, and this boy has quite an arm (really, he can throw very well, and he's strong). It hit me on the forehead right above my right eye.

I grabbed my head and started saying "OW! OW!". I thought I was exaggerating for Ezra's sake, to show him how bad it is to throw things, but it kept hurting. A lot. Baruch was downstairs with the babies, but he came running up. When I took my hand away from my head there was blood everywhere! What a surprise. I looked in the mirror and washed it off and it was immediately obvious that I needed stitches. So I called my mother, who called her plastic surgeon, and she picked me up and took me to the plastic surgeon. It is about an inch-long laceration running vertically on the inside edge of my right eyebrow. Tomorrow when I take the bandage (the outer bandage over the steri-strips and stitches) off I will take a photo, and if it's not too gross I might post it. I don't know how many stitches I got, but it was quite a few. The surgeon said that Ezra might make a great pitcher for the Yankees someday. She said, "this is really quite a bit deeper than I'd expected from the mechanism..." That's my boy! lol

Baruch says Ezra cried when I left (he was upset by the blood, and has been very clingy lately anyway), and then laid down on the kitchen floor, crying, and went to sleep. So Baruch put him to bed. Ari slept the whole time I was gone, too. So thankfully it was not difficult for Baruch with all 3 to himself.

Interestingly, I wasn't very mad at Ezra. He was obviously upset by what happened, and I told him that I know he didn't mean to hurt me, but that this is why he can NOT throw things. Unfortunately I don't think he got the message, as he continued to throw things later in the day, but at least he threw them at the floor and not at anybody. I'm going to have to get stricter about his tendency to be physically violent when frustrated or upset. I feel bad for him because he just gets so upset and doesn't know how to handle it, but he needs to know that he is capable of hurting people.

And now I am finally going to go to sleep. I'm exhausted and I have a headache. I was so shaky after the stitches, since I was fasting. The surgeon said I ought to have something so I drank a little water and ate an apple. But even so, that is not much to last an entire day, especially while nursing 2 hungry babies. We had fun at our family's break fast tonight, though. Cheese grits and cake were my favorites!

Ezra's Big Day, Photo Heavy

I didn't get a chance to post this yesterday.

Before, in the stroller with Baruch pushing:


I didn't get great photos afterwards. The first is before it was washed. The good ones from after his bath are all naked, so I just put in a cropped one of those.

It's still pretty rough. He stood still in the beginning, but then it was mostly my mother and me chasing him around the room with scissors. It looks awesome, though. He looks so grown up! I'm still getting used to how adorable he looks.

One final photo (as if there aren't enough already!) of Ezra being very sweet to Toby:

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Ezra-isms and a Distracted Nurser

First of all, I feel a little guilty about the last post. Ezra is wonderful, he truly is. And sometimes he is an angel. Like yesterday at the gym class, and this morning at the children's museum. He's often wonderful in public, actually. He's really a truly sweet and fun little boy. He's sort of like that rhyme: when he was good he was very very good, but when he was bad he was horrid. That about sums it up.

Anyway, I love recording all the things Ezra says. He is in such a great verbal stage. I don't ever want to forget all of this. He's already grown out of a lot of saying a lot of things. He used to call a school bus a "boo-bus" and a fire engine was a "car-gong." He pretty much calls everything what it really is now. Although today after we went to the museum we sat and ate lunch by an outdoor fountain (the kind they have in parks), and to him that is called a "water mountain." Which is actually fairly descriptive. For the past few days if he's upset about something and I ask what's wrong, he often answers, "I crying." It's hard to get much more info than that lol And something that just makes my heart swell is that he's started saying "I like..." and "I luff..." Today he saw a back-hoe on the street and he said, "Oh, a back-hoe! I luff diggers. I luff cars and diggers." Often if he's eating something or playing with something he'll say "I like dat!" (When he says "love" it sounds more like "luff", but it's hard to replicate what his "like" sounds like. Maybe "ike"? More like "yike")

In other news, Toby has become my first distracted nurser. When Ezra was a baby I read about the stage when babies get easily distracted from nursing and pop on and off to look around and won't really nurse well. But Ezra never behaved like that, never. And Ari really doesn't either, although a bit more than Ezra. Toby, now...well I had a hard time nursing him at all while we were out this morning! In the museum he kept trying to look around to where Ezra was playing, and outside he kept trying to look over to the street and also at Ezra. He pops off and looks around and then goes back on. In the museum it actually looked like he was a swimmer coming up for air, the way he was coming off sideways and up and then going right back (does that description make sense?). So far I don't think it's going to be a problem. I hope not at least. My milk lets down so readily (for the babies; somehow I let down almost immediately when they are nursing, and even pretty readily if I try to pump, but I never ever leak past the first few weeks...lucky me!) that I think he'll still get plenty even while acting like a monkey.

Ezra is napping now and when he wakes up it is going to be a very big afternoon in his life! I hope to post pictures later. And of course tonight and tomorrow are Yom Kippur. Followed shortly by Sukkos. Busy times around here!

It's Only Getting Harder

The babies are in an in between stage. They are very alert and aware and want to play and do things, but they are physically not capable of much. They can crudely manipulate toys with their hands, but they can't sit well yet and they certainly can't crawl or anything. So they just want me to hold them most of the time. And I can't hold both of them all the time. So we have a lot more fussing and crying here than we used to.

And Ezra...oh, Ezra. The child seems to have a special sense for what would annoy me or make me maddest, and he goes for the jugular. I adore this child, he is fabulous, but he is also incredibly...awful. Before 9 this morning he'd already had a number of tantrums. He wants to be in control of everything, which I know is typical for his age. But he doesn't just test limits, he pushes against them with the strength of an ox.

Now that I've gotten that out of the way, I can go on to my usual praise and bragging.

Yesterday we went to our second class at The Little Gym. The first time we went, Ezra would barely even look at anybody else and he clung to me the whole time. This time, in spite of being beyond exhausted (I had to actively keep him awake on the way there), he had such a great time! He was all over the room playing on everything. He let the instructor pick him up and help him do something on the bars. Even though I had to spend some time sitting with the babies, he participated and had a great time. He's so sweet, too. When it was time to put the balls away, he was the last one with a ball, and he kept shaking his head no, he wouldn't put it away. So I went over and he indicated to me that he wanted to throw the ball in the basketball hoop over on the side. So I helped him do that, and then he happily put the ball away. That's all he wanted. At the end he didn't get bells to sing with, because there weren't enough to go around, and when it was time to put them away he was almost crying and said he wanted a turn. So I asked the instructor if he could hold a bell for a bit, and he took one and jingled it a few times and then put it back and was fine. I was impressed.

Also yesterday while I was changing Ari's diaper Ezra started singing Old Man River to Ari. Baruch has sung Old Man River to Ezra during diaper changes for a while now. Ezra actually knows most of the words. It's a bit disconcerting to hear your 2-year-old say, "Tired of living, and scared of dying."

And when we were in my parents' back yard, Ezra walked over to the place I had been talking about with my parents a few days ago and said, "I need a swing set here." It amused me.

Oh, I forgot to mention another amusing thing: a few days ago on a walk we saw people putting up white tents. I said to Ezra, "Oh look, they're going to have a party." Ezra said, "Yes, a party, and dance all night." Whaaaa? Where did he get that? LOL

Okay Super Why is over (hehe) and the babies are starting to fuss, so it's time to start our day for real. I'm so tired, I'm not sure what we'll do. I suppose go to the children's museum. Stay posted for a very huge update this afternoon...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Random Debate Thought

I might have more to post tomorrow. But for now:

Seeing McCain and Obama stand and basically lecture a room full of "ordinary people" had an impression on me. This was a room full of humans, just people. And the McCains of the world (and Obamas too, but it struck me when McCain was talking) are so privileged and have so much power. But they're just human like all the other people there. They're just people. They eat and sleep and use the bathroom just the same as everybody else. But they're special because they're powerful. So they have everybody sitting in rapt attention to what they are saying. And what they are saying actually has the potential to change the world. (Well maybe not what they're saying, but what they actually do.)

This is a stupid thought. I mean it's one of those things I would have obsessed about when I was about 11 years old. But it struck me for some reason. I suppose it always has been and always will be this way. It's probably even older than society itself. All advanced animals have social hierarchies. That's basically what we're doing, right? Deciding on pack leaders via bloody fights to the death...or something like that.

(I think maybe I need more sleep.)

Monday, October 6, 2008


Tonight has been ridiculous already, and it's only 11:30 PM. This is becoming typical. Except that tonight, Baruch was home, which is not the norm. Generally I'm attempting to do this all by myself.

Background info: We live in a 3-bedroom townhouse, but one bedroom (a very small one) is on the first floor, and the other 2 (huge master and good-sized second) are on the second floor. So we made the one on the first floor into a playroom. This means that all 3 boys share a room. Which I do think will eventually work. Eventually.

Also, Ezra is starting to be in a transitional period nap-wise. On days he takes a nap, he is in bed late. If he doesn't nap, he goes to bed earlier and sleeps well. But if he has too many non-napping days close together, his sleep deprivation becomes obvious.

Today Ezra took a nap, so I figured he ought to go to bed at around 9. At about 8:45 the babies were ready for bed, so I put them down. Miraculously they both went to sleep peacefully within minutes. Usually Ari protests for a bit (meaning I replace his pacifier a bunch of times, or something of that nature; we don't let our kids cry in bed). I was really relieved, and figured Baruch could take Ezra upstares for bed soon. Of course, Baruch being Baruch, it was soon 9:15 and they were still downstairs, so I suggested they go up to bed. At this point Ezra starts freaking out because he doesn't want to go to bed, he wants me to go with him, etc. He insists he needs to go to HIS bed. (He'll end up sleeping in our bed regardless, so lately we've just been putting him in our bed to begin with.) The babies are sleeping in their room, but finally I say fine, can you be quiet? Ezra assures me that yes, he will be quiet while Babba (our version of Daddy) reads to him. I say I'll come up and lay with him when they're done brushing teeth and reading.

Bad move on my part. I heard them reading (quietly) on the monitor, but of course Ezra kept making comments in his typical loud voice. And of course Ari woke up. So I went upstairs and got Ari and sat on my bed to nurse him. Ezra was sitting next to me on the bed. At this point he could basically insist on what he wanted, because loud crying or screaming would wake up Toby. Ezra kept talking and touching Ari and of course then Ari will not go back to sleep. So I gave Ari to Baruch, who took him downstairs, and I tried to get Ezra to sleep.

Ezra wants to read the book again. He wants to read this specific page 5 times. He wants to...I have no clue what he's saying, he's crying and carrying on because he wants something about the book that I simply can't figure out. He's tired. I put down the book for the umpteenth time and say now it really is bedtime. Which prompts more crying and thrashing about. I turn out the light. I start to sing his songs, but he screams that no, he doesn't want singing. So I try just laying with him. At this point he starts hitting me. Hard.

So I gave up. I told him I was upset that he was hitting me, and I came downstairs. I brought him, of course, because he would have freaked out even more otherwise. But I was basically ignoring him because he was pissing me off so much. It's hard to really capture in writing what was going on here. This child is stubborn and difficult and just plain exasperating. Oh and yes, Ari was still awake at that point.

Eventually it seemed like Ari would go back to sleep, so Baruch took him up. He wouldn't go to sleep, so finally Baruch stuck him in the swing. During that time Ezra finally laid down on the sofa and went to sleep (at about 11 PM). Then I was waiting for Ari to sleep so I could take Ezra up to bed. But, of soon as Ari fell asleep (in the swing), Toby woke up. So I went and nursed Toby back to sleep, then came down and got Ezra and put him in bed. And finally, at 11:30 PM, all 3 kids are sleeping and I can go to bed myself.

For 5 minutes, until Ari wakes back up.

Apparently he's getting the message

I sometimes have a hard time finding a balance between teaching what I think is right and trying not to be judgmental. There are some things I'm just judgmental about, and I'm actually not sorry about that, but I definitely don't want to teach Ezra to be judgmental.

Today we were out for a walk and he saw a man on a motorcycle. This child loves motorcycles. So of course he pointed out the motorcycle and watched it, and when it was out of sight he said, "man no wearing helmet."

Funny thing? For once I actually hadn't noticed.


Anne tells me that what I posted earlier is, if not impossible, at least highly improbable. Anne is my guru, so just forget I wrote any of that signing stuff. The Ezra stuff is for real.

Call Me Crazy . . .

but then you'd have to call my mother crazy, too.

Over the past few weeks, I've been doing more signing with the babies. They're young, but very alert. Ezra also likes to teach them signs (in fact he will even wake them up from naps to teach them a sign...). Mostly I show them the sign for milk, but we really do anything that occurs to us.

Yesterday afternoon I was sitting on my parents' back deck with my mother and Ari. It was a gorgeous day! I asked Ari if he heard the birds singing, and showed him the sign for bird. And I am NOT INSANE when I say that Ari tried to do the sign himself. He certainly did. Really. My mother saw it, too.

My mother then said that a bit earlier she had been playing Ladies Ride ("This is the way the ladies ride, bum-de-bum, bum-de-bum...") with Toby and she stopped and he signed more. I would not have believed her at all if I hadn't seen Ari with my own eyes. I'm still skeptical anyway; Toby likes to chew on both hands at once and often brings them together in front of himself. But I won't completely dismiss the possibility, either. He's certainly seen the "more" sign used (Ezra often uses it still, either while saying more or to ask for more while his mouth is still stuffed! lol)

Okay, so it's unlikely. But is it impossible? (Anne, what's your input?) I really don't think I was imagining things. My mother saw it at the same time I did. Sure, Ari was just trying to imitate me. But he was looking up at the tree as he did so.

(Now, I would actually prefer *not* to have super geniuses for kids. Smart is good, but too smart is difficult. I can't imagine life with one of those kids who beats people in chess at 11 months. My kids aren't like that at all, and it's a relief. What do you do with that child? How do you help him have a happy and fulfilling life?)

As long as I'm wondering in awe at the abilities of my children, I should write about Ezra. The other night we were sitting at my parents' table and he had brought a little backpack full of magnetic letters with him. He took them out one by one and named every single one of them. Correctly. So yes, he knows all his letters by site. All the capital letters, and I found out the next day that he knows many of them in lower case, too. And yesterday morning he was working on reading the word "bat"!

Of course I take no credit for this. Okay, only a very little (since we do read books all the time). You know how he knows all of his letters and is starting the beginning steps of reading? He watches Super Why every morning. How's that for good parenting?

Yes, Ari is learning to sit up! In another month they'll both be pros :)