Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Nursing experiences

Mother in Israel posted about nursing and formula and I just couldn't keep my mouth shut about the topic. Here is my wonderful experience:

I gave birth to my son in N.Y. I was a new mother and didn't really have any friends who had just had kids. I got married young and way before all of my friends. I come from a family of two kids as does my hubby so our mothers didn't really have any practical and up to date advice to give. I knew that I wanted to nurse but although I read lots of stuff about it, I didn't really know what it entailed. I had a tremendously traumatic birth and recovery. Let's not get into that. My son wasn't even in my room with me. He was in the N.I.C.U. because he was breathing too quickly. I never got to hold him in the delivery room. I had to go to the N.I.C.U. every time I wanted to nurse. Never mind that I couldn't walk, it was far. I had to have someone wheel me in a wheelchair in order to nurse. In the hospital the lactation consultant came and gave me some good advice. She was very experienced and to this day I remember some of the things she told me. After I left the hospital my son stayed in the N.I.C.U. until he was 10 days old. I was pumping at home and every day we'd go to the hospital and place the milk in the fridge. I noticed that many times they weren't even looking for my milk because it was clearly labelled and nobody touched it. They automatically gave him the formula. I got really upset at the nurses every time it happened. I had a really hard time trying to get my son to latch on. I tried very hard but in the end, the only thing that worked was to put a bottle nipple over my own nipple and to nurse that way. He had gotten so used to the bottles in the hospital that he didn't want to nurse from me. I was very upset about this.

When we went home I decided that I couldn't continue like that. It was just too painful. I tried without the bottle nipple. We were really stubborn and both my mother and mother in law helped me and gave me the moral support that I needed. It took two months for us to get a good breastfeeding relationship down. In the end he nursed normally (without the bottle nipple). He loved nursing so much that when I went back to school, he didn't want to take a bottle. He was just 2.5 months at that point. It was funny how he changed so much-from the baby who didn't want anything other than a bottle to the nursing only from my mommy baby. I refused to give him formula. I refused to give him bottles when I didn't need to. That rocky start stayed etched in my mind. I pumped every day so he would have what to drink at the babysitter. We tried bottles and then sippy cups. Eventually he graduated to solids.

The funny thing is that he didn't have a high enough level of iron so we ended up having to give him formula so we could boost his iron. Cow's milk was causing the iron level to be low. I was still nursing but it wasn't doing enough for his iron. We would mix the formula for him in his cereal bowl and he'd have cornflakes with "milk".

With my daughter I set out from the beginning knowing I wouldn't make the same mistakes. I nursed her in the delivery room. I did rooming in -this birth was in Israel. She was with me all the time and there was nobody in the world who would give her a bottle. The lactation consultant at that hospital was even better. She enlightened me about so many things I didn't know before. She gave me the support and knowledge that I needed to nurse my daughter until age two. She never took a bottle. At 5 months I went back to work. She was already eating solids. She also learned how to drink from a cup with a straw. We had a spillproof cup and the babysitter loved that. She would drink the milk I pumped with the straw cup.

My newborn now also was nursed in the delivery room. Here I had a totally different experience. I gave birth erev Yom Kippur and the staff wasn't too lovely at the hospital. The babies were with us from 5 AM to 10 PM. Too bad if we wanted to rest. At night, when I'd go to feed my baby, I would hear tons of crying. It was terrible. Many of us didn't sleep because we refused to leave the babies with the nurses. I wrote that I didn't want any bottles and that I wanted to be woken up. Every time I tried to leave him at the nursery sleeping they'd refuse. They told me he cried too much and I should give him a bottle of formula. They told me he'd sleep longer and be happier and that I didn't have enough milk to give him since he was and is a very big boy. Well I remembered what lactation consultant number 2 told me. She told me that the first two or three days, until the milk comes in, you have culostrum (sp?) and that that's all the baby needs. Hashem provides the baby with exactly what he needs. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. This gave me such strength. I remembered what she had said and instead of arguing, I took my baby away from the nursery and stayed away from those nurses. All they wanted to do was feed everyone with formula and shut them up. It was horrible. I couldn't believe how many mothers were giving formula to their babies (as well as trying to nurse). There was one new mother there and she had no lactation consultant because it was YK. I tried to help her by my goodness. It's not my job. Why did the nurses keep ignoring her when she would ask for help?

I was very unimpressed with my past hospital stay. Thank goodness I know enough to not listen to those evil nurses. I feel very bad for all the new mothers who experienced that YK along with me.

My husband always says that all of the reasons for nursing are selfless (good for the baby) while all the reasons for formula are selfish (so you can go out, etc.) . I think people see how easy it is to shove a bottle in a baby's mouth so why do it the hard way. Why experience the pain of the first week of sore nipples? After doing so much nursing I can't imagine it any other way. I love nursing and wouldn't give it up for the world. That being said, I have a friend whose son wouldn't nurse-I don't know details. It's her sixth kid. He is 6 months old. She still pumps all day, although she also has to supplement. The kid refuses to nurse from her but will take her milk in a bottle. I think it's incredible that she does that. I have a very hard time relating to people who don't nurse or don't nurse for long periods of time. I just don't understand them or their point of view. Maybe one day their eyes will be open and they will see the beauty of nursing.

Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus

I couldn't think the title of the post is more true. Today, after reading a bunch of blogs, I've come to a conclusion. The nature of posts and comments by males are completely different than those of women. Women want to share things that have happened. They sometimes post thought-provoking information that causes a discussion. They sometimes want empathy for something that happened. They seek support and want to be validated. Men on the other hand have a different nature. They post about more political topics. They are more into competition and being better than the other. Many times men will make sexual references. They many times include either halacha or parsha/Torah thoughts. I find that women discuss ideas while men are more practical. Sometimes men will report stories in the news that they want to comment on. They give their take on the world around them. Women discuss ideas, problems in society, ways to make the world better etc.

This is my way of venting about a comment that a male made on something I wrote. I found the comment to be completely insensitive. Then I took a step back and said, "Wait, he's a man and I'm a woman." Here lies the reason that he wouldn't think twice before saying what he said, while I saw nothing wrong with what I said. I was just giving my take on things. He totally rejected my take. I was seeking to be validated and he just wanted to say that I'm wrong. Well Mr. Man, maybe you shouldn't be reading women's blogs if you can't handle the right way to comment. Next time be more sensitive! (Sorry, I'm not in a thick-skinned mood today).

Monday, December 22, 2008

Updated Pics







And now, on a cheery note, here are some recent pics of the kiddies.






Pics of WTC





























memories

Rafi at Life in Israel posted a nice video. I suggest you watch it before you read this.

I was in Israel studying during those two terrorist attacks. I had been at Sbarros two weeks to the day before the terrorist attack. I tried not to frequent there but it just happened to be that I was there. I had seen my father's good friend and we stopped to talk. A week later I went back to NY. One week later, when I found out about the attack I was shocked. I was so thankful to have not been there just at that time. While I was in NY I started dating. At the end of the summer, my now husband had decided to take me to the World Trade Center. We didn't go up to the top. We stayed downstairs and sat at some nice tables that overlooked the water. At the end of that week I had gone back to Israel. I was in my room in the afternoon when I found out about the WTC. I couldn't believe it. I was in shock. We didn't have TVs but I listened to eveyrthing on the radio. I called my father to make sure he was okay (that was before the phones went dead). As far as I knew everyon was okay from my family and friends. We listened to the radio all afternoon and evening. We couldn't believe what had happened. Luckily I reached my now husband late that night. He had been on a train on his way to work. From the bridge the conductor saw the towers on fire. He pointed it out over the loudspeaker and everyone turned to look. My husband still remembers the scene. At that time he was traumatized from it. He used to be a social worker so his way of dealing with the trauma was to go to the site afterword and face the tragedy that happened there. Anyway, so our first thought was thank goodness that it didn't happen when we were there. His second thought was, "Too bad we didn't go up to the top. If I would have known that was going to happen I would have gone to the top of the towers one last time." I was just happy to be alive.

I didn't escape the terrorist attacks as narrowly as the man in the video but I still feel Yad Hashem. I definately was more thankful for what I had after that. I felt like I had a new appreciation for life. Hashem had ensured that I wasn't there at that time. What more could I say other than thank you to the One who runs the world.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Cultural Differences

Mother in Israel once posted about cultural differences between Israelis and Americans. You can read the original post here which is about an Israeli women who seems snobbish but it's basically because of a difference in culture. It's worth it to read the comments. I've experienced this on more than one occassion. The Americans sit together in the park while the Israelis sit together on another bench. Why? Well the Israelis wouldn't know the first thing to say to the Americans. Like MiI said, we're not on their radar screen. Well I was hoping that I was different. Being an Israeli-born American I felt that I could easily be in both circles. I will admit that sometimes I'm the American in the Israeli circle and sometimes I'm the Israeli in the American circle.

This past Shabbat we invited the H. family to our house. L, the mother, babysat my kids last year on the days I worked late. We got very close with them since their kids were around our kids ages. Her husband is a soldier so he only comes home once a week. My husband always comes home after the kids are asleep. We had time to chat when I'd come pick the kids up. We were pregnant at the same time (although she hasn't given birth yet). She's in her ninth month and we thought it would be nice to have them over. We invited them over for Shabbos lunch. Now some background info on us and on their family. We are Ashkenazi Litvish American-quasi-charedi. They are Moroccan. What I know about Moroccans is that they like spicey food. I don't cook anything like her and probably never will. Her mother also came since she was at their house for Shabbos.

So here goes the experience. First, my hubby makes kiddush in his American Litvish accent. They really didn't go for the grape juice. Then we make hamotzei. I totally forgot that sfaradim don't say hamotzei on sweet challah. I should have been more sensitive and gotten water challah but I wasn't thinking (partially because I'd been sick with a cold all week but that's no excuse). So we were machshil them. Then we served the food. I didn't make gefilte fish because I didn't think they'd like it. We had salad as an appetizer. They loved the salad tongs. They also loved the craisins. Then we had chullent, potato kugel, yerushalmi kugel, rice with mushrooms, deli roll (which they requested), and fried shnitzel. They ate so little. I didn't really have time to be insulted because I wasn't really at the table much. They didn't like the yerushalmi kugel. The potato kugel somewhat went. Shnitzel went but we had a few leftover pieces (tonights dinner). Chullent was totally left over. Deli roll mostly went. We have so much left over. I froze the chullent and leftover potato kugel. I'll be throwing away the yerushalmi kugel I think-nobody is really gonna eat it. My son finished off the deli roll-his favorite. We ate the leftover shnitzel tonight. The rice was gone by shalosh sheudos. For dessert I made jumbo chocolate chip and oatmeal cookies and banana bread. They brought a cake and a pomella (sp?). The cookies were tasted but didn't go over well at all. I had forgotten that they don't like sweet things (the opposite of our family). The banana bread was well liked by all. Her cake was tasted. The pomella. Ah the pomella. So I asked if it was kedushat shviit and it wasn't. But I didn't ask if it was heter mechira. Ooops. I saw today in the makolet that the pomellas are heter mechira and we don't eat that. Well too late. We all ate the pomella on Shabbos but we have a whole one left over. Oh well. Too bad. We'll have to ask the hubs what to do about that one.

So overall I guess it was okay but it was definately an experience for them. I'm sure that it gave them a glimpse of how the other half lives. It was probably a real eye openner for them. Who knows if we'll ever do this again or if they're too scared of me and my cooking to come back. Now I understand all those comments about culture. Certain things are just a part of a person. Which American would think twice about salad tongs. Are they really so unusual to us? No. To the H family it was the coolest gadget ever. We're just so used to our ways and they're so used to their ways. It's hard when we venture into new territory.

I remember when I went to my dad's yeminite friend for Shabbos during my year in seminary. Here I was a white Ashkenazi American girl visiting a yeminite moshav. Everyone there was twenty shades of brown darker than I was. They made the most authentically Yeminite food but it was just too foreign for my taste buds. I didn't enjoy it. Truth is, I really do like all the dough items they make. The soup wasn't appealing. It was hard for me to enjoy the Shabbat. I know exactly how the H family felt. Now I think that maybe it's better to stick to what you know. We can have lots of American friends over and they will all enjoy that same old American Ashkenazi cooking that we're all used to. So the next time you want to invite a family over for Shabbos, think about the cultural differences long and hard before picking up the phone.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Rain

Baruch Hashem it rained yesterday. When I walked out of the house yesterday morning to take my kids to gan, the sky was blue and the birds were chirping. Slowly but surely the clouds started moving in. By the early afternoon the sky was partly cloudy. By 4 PM there were dark rain clouds. Just after 4 it started to rain, B"H. We need the rain so badly. I don't think that it was significant enough though. Last week my son came home with a note saying that we should say barchi nafshi up to the 11th pasuk which talks about the rain. He also told me that the rebbe said that if it doesn't rain we may have to fast. B"H it did rain and I hope it continues to do so.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Trying out a New Trick

Thanks to Mother in Israel I am going to now try to link something. Let's see if it works.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Parent-Teacher Conferences

This was inspired by Rafi at Life in Israel who was talking about his recent experience with Parent-Teacher conferences.

As bad as everyone over there comments that their conferences were I still think mine was the worst. Why? Well because of one word: disorganization.

A little background info first. My son is 5.5 and goes to a cheider where they have two years of gan (ages 3 and 4) and then start first grade. So my son started first grade this year and now knows how to read and is learning to write in script letters. I'm not going into my feelings about this right now and I won't be discussing the fact that we didn't know what we were getting ourselves into. This year they moved the gan and first and second grades to a fenced in area where the Beis Yaacov school used to be before they built a building. The area is made of 4 caravans and an area for bathrooms as well as an open area in the middle for playing. There is no playground because they haven't put it up yet. Don't ask me why.

For the past two years they have had ganenot teaching them, with a rebbi coming in to teach alef bet. This year they have a rebbi. Luckily the Rebbi that my son has happens to be an English speaker who made aliya at age 4 with his family. We were so happy when we heard this and it's definately help with the transition to first grade. Unfortunately, this Rebbi has only one year of subbing experience behind him. That means he's a new teacher. That was me about two years ago. Boy do I remember how hard that was.

Because he's an English speaker and because I know what he's been though I am trying very hard to bite my tongue and not criticize every little thing. I must say that he is trying really really hard to make it work. It seems like the administration is really behind him also. Despite that there are a number of things that aren't going so well. This Rebbi is the nicest man. He's just nice. The boys in my sons class however aren't. They eat him alive. They are the nastiest little rugrats you've ever seen. There are some I'd even call delinquiints. Why? Well there are the boys who took apart a wooden bench one time. There's the boy who opened the soragim on the window, climbed out, went behind the caravan, under a fence that connects the girls can to the boys gan, and walked out the girls gan door in order to escape. They are a tough group. My son is not like this. He's more like the Rebbi-nice. Luckily, the biggest trouble maker has already left the class. Another not so calm boy went back to gan. There are still two big trouble makers there. They have the most involved parents. Those mothers are the ones to bake cakes for the parties and to organize things. I guess they're like the PTA of his class.

So, last week my son came home from cheider on Friday as usual. No note or anything. As I'm reading his daf kesher on Shabbos morning, I see that at the end there is a line about how parent teacher conferences will be motzei Shabbos at 8. That's right, I found out the day of. How bout that? I have no idea why we didn't get something earlier but again I'm sure the Rebbi got that complaint from many many other parents and I'd like him to think of us as the parents who are giving him a chance. Luckily my in-laws were at our house and babysat.

My hubby and I went to the conference. My sons gan is located in a very windy part of the yishuv. We got there after 8:15 and the Rebbi still hadn't gotten there. We thought it was going to be a general meeting but we were wrong. We wrote our name on the list but there were like 7 people ahead of us. Luckily my hubby brought his gemara-smart thinking. So we stood outside in the dark cold area between the caravans. There was no hot tea, no heat on, no chairs to sit on while we wait. It was wonderful. Oh wait, and I brought the baby because he might want to nurse right? So I decided I'd place him in the caravans for the gan. There they had a nice table set with pretty plates and napkins. The mothers get a nice small meal and heat and tea and coffee. How nice? Yea, I was jealous. They were nice and warm and we were freezing our tootsies off outside.

There were no appointments nor did anyone say how long everyone should take. Like I said: disorganized! Everyone took as long as they needed to. The poor Rebbi ended up leaving after 11. I think he should have just slept there rather than going back to Yerushalayim at night. I felt so bad for him. I'm sure he heard sooooooo many complaints. What's for sure is that those complaining have never been in his place and probably don't know what it's like to manage a class with 20+ wild boys. Well we survived the conference and I hope that this Rebbi survives this year.

May Hashem give him the right words to say to each boy in order to instruct them in the way that's best for them. May he help us raise them to merit learning Torah with a love and passion. May he succeed in modeling how one acts bein adam l'chaveiro so that they grow up with wonderful middos.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Venting Session about Hubby

I know that I really shouldn't do this but....I NEED to vent and let off some steam. I'm really really really annoyed at my husband. Is it because I asked him to take out the garbage on his way to work and he didn't? Is it because this is the millionth time this happened? No. Is it because I asked him to get change so I could pay the babysitter today? No. Is it becaused I caused him to be in a crabby mood today? Perhaps. Is it because every time I call him he tries to end the class as soon as possible? Could be. Is it because he uses different standards of what's okay for him and for me? Yup.

When my in-laws were here they brought feet pjs for my older son. I waited until last night to give them to him. It was too hot when they were here. I asked my hubby if it's okay that I wait to give them to him. He said yes. Last night after the bath I felt that the kids might be cold so I let them wear feet pjs. I took out the new ones for my son. He was excited to see them. He insisted that they fit even though they were a little big. He liked the space shuttles on them.

This morning when my hubby got home from shul and saw him wearing them he was upset that I had let our son wear them when he wasn't there to see it. I guess it was insensitive of me. He was really really annoyed at me. He kept saying that he couldn't believe that I didn't wait for a night when he was home early to do this. Mind you that there is no night when he's home early -except Friday night and Saturday night. So then he asked what my sons reaction was when he saw the pjs. He expressed how annoyed he was again since he was the one who asked his parents to bring the pjs. How could I not wait for him? Well gee. He did say that I could wait to put them on him for another night. He never said that he wanted to be there when he puts them on. He never told me that he wanted to be the one to put the pjs on him. I guess I should have known. This isn't the first time this happened. Yup, I should have known. No excuses.

So I'm annoyed-at him and at me. So hubby goes to work all annoyed. Then I call him to tell him I made a dentist appointment and I can tell in his voice he's still annoyed and wants to get off soon. We hang up. Then later I get another important phone call so I call him to let him know what the lady said. Again he is eager to hang up. Fine. Maybe he has lots of work to do. Okay. Then, he asks me what's for dinner. The dreaded subject. I say, you're having hot dogs and I'm having wedding food. This was my way of hinting to him that I need him home early so I can get to my secretary from school's wedding. So he says: At 8:30 right? I say: very funny. He knows it starts at 7:30 and I need him home at 7. Then I say how I'm so happy to have married someone with such a sense of humor. He apparently got offended. Maybe he's still upset about what happened in the morning. When I tried to get him to talk to me he said he wanted to hang up. When I tried to pry out of him what was wrong he hung up on me. When I called back and told him that I didn't like the way the conversation ended and I really wanted closure for the subject he refused to talk to me about anything. He said that I wasn't his therapist. I told him that I wasn't but I was his wife and therefore I wanted to know what was going on and why he wasn't talking to me. Finally after not getting anywhere with him I got so upset that I hung up. I was almost in tears.

Why can't he just talk to me and tell me what's wrong? Doesn't he want to work things out? Maybe he's just given up. He always says things like that. He doesn't see any point in telling me because I won't have the right reaction. He feels the need to hide things from me because I'll react in the wrong way and I'll say things that will hurt him. Maybe it's just because I'm a woman but I feel the need to talk things out. Even if the talking leads to unpleasant things being said but when two people share their feelings I feel that progress has been made. I'd rather he tell me he's upset and why than that he not tell me but I know that he's upset but I have no idea why. He feels that if he would tell me I wouldn't understand why he's upset and therefore he shouldn't bother telling me. I feel that if he'd tell me maybe I could do something about it.

Basically, shalom bayis issues. Yea, I know that this isn't the type of stuff that people normally share on their blogs but I NEEDED to vent. The whole reason I started this blog was to be able to vent at someone other than my hubby. He didn't want to hear it any more.

So, I'm really unhappy right now. He won't apologize because he just doesn't do that. I can't because I have no clue what I did wrong and even if I did he wouldn't accept my apology. He'd say it's fake and I don't mean it. If I meant it I wouldn't do this again and again and again. So, I'll just be walking around with a sad look on my face for the rest of the day. Man I hate this stuff. It's much easier to never see him and to go to sleep before he comes home and to not have to talk in the morning. Unfortunately that isn't the way things are so we'll have to see what happens. It's probably going to be a stalemate for a while. I'd call but I think it won't do any good. I'll probably have to wait until he calls to tell me he's leaving work or until he actually comes home (at which point I'll be exiting to get to the wedding). Sigh!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Shabbos preparations

Mother in Israel posted about Shabbos preparations and wanted to know how others manage to pull it all together on these early shabbosim. Although MiI likes to prepare everything on Friday so that it'll be fresh as possible, I don't. I need to plan in advance and I often start cooking early. When I'm disorganized we have a really quick and easy Shabbos consisting of one or two dishes. I only have three kids one of which only nurses. So when I don't plan we end up eating a rice and chicken type dish. I have two recipes. The one we like more is to put rice in an aluminum pan. Then you put the chicken on top. You sprinkle on paprika, pepper, garlic powder. Mix less than one Tbsp. of ketchup per piece of chicken, 1 Tbsp. of brown sugar per piece of chicken, and soy sauce. Pour over chicken. Add water (2 cups water per 1 cup rice). Cover and bake until water is absorbed and rice looks ready. You can always add soy sauce and more brown sugar along with water to cook it longer if it isn't ready. The other variation is to place the sauce in the aluminum pan. Place the chicken on top. Sprinkle with spices (salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika). Add a small can of mushrooms and some onion soup mix. Add water. Bake covered. Both of these are easy and quick ways to make a meal. We also buy jarred gefilte fish and make a veggie salad. We try to skip dessert in order to cut back on calories. This is all when it's just us.

When I'm in the mood for something fancier and more thought out I make any of the following side dishes: carrot kugel, potato kugel, cranberry crisp, sweet potato pie. The main dish is usually some form of chicken-breaded baked chicken (1/2 cup mayo, paprika, garlic powder, salt, pepper. mix and dip in bread crumbs), chicken with bar-b-que sauce, chicken with honey mustard sauce, chicken with apricot sauce-hubby doesn't like this so much so we haven't had it in a while, chicken with potatoes, fried shnitzel. Then occassionally I make deli roll-take filo dough, roll it out and cut in half so you have two rectangular pieces, smear with ketchup and mustard, place two types of deli on top, roll it, bake. And of course, what Shabbos meal would be incomplete without chullent. So basically when we feel like putting more time and effort into shabbos, we make two of the above side dishes, one form of chicken and if we're having guests we make deli roll and/or chullent. If we have guests I usually make a chocolate cake from a mix to save time and because it comes out so good. To enhance the taste I add chocolate chips to the chocolate cake mix. It comes out really yummy. Oh and I forgot so say that when we have guests I make gefilte fish from a loaf and maybe also soup.

So I start off making my list of what we will want to eat for Shabbos. Then I make a shopping list. I make sure that I have everything on Tuesday night or Wednesday morning. I start with the kugels on Wed. If I'm really good I get two done and maybe also the cake. On Thursday I coook the fish and soup. If I'm really good I also get the chicken dish done. On Friday hopefully all I have left is the chullent. That leaves me with the cleaning to do and at that point my hubby is home to help so we get it done on time.

Also, I've devised a rotation of what cleaning will be done on what day to make my life easier. I don't always stick to it and don't always get it done but here goes. On Sunday I clean the master bedroom and bathroom. On Monday, I should clean the kids room. Tuesday I clean the kids bathroom and storage room. Wednesday I clean the toy room -I've been avoiding that one for a while (yup, it looks like a tornado hit it). On Thursday I clean the office and study which are downstairs. On Friday I clean the kitchen and living room and the bathroom downstairs. Sounds great doesn't it. Now if only I'd stick to it maybe my house would look more decent. If I don't do all that, we at least try to clean the kitchen and living room for Shabbos. This allows us to feel ready to greet the Shabbos queen.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

In-laws

My in-laws arrived this past Sunday. I've been looking foward to their visit with slight ambivalence (sp?). On the one hand, my mother-in-law could be really helpful with the cooking, cleaning and taking care of the kids. On the other hand, she can talk too much and is very different in personality from my husband and myself. My father-in-law is the parent who my husband and I can least relate to. He also is a very different personality. He's always on the go and can't sit still. He's very quiet. When he's not quiet he's riling up the kids. How much help could he possibly be? Well he can take the kids to the park and do dishes.

I was hoping that they would come and take care of the house and the two big ones so I can rest with the baby. So they came on Sunday night. On Monday, my father-in-law cleaned up the yard all day. He's been taking out the thorns and cleaing up the weeds. He literally did that all day with just some small breaks in between (although he didn't finish). My MIL sat and talked. About what? Everything. She's good at that. We made a menu for the week and a shopping list. We discussed the schedule for the week also. Sunday night I went to bed late because that was the day they arrived. My hubby went to bed even later. My MIL kept him up talking and then he had to learn some. Yesterday I barely got to rest. This is because they don't like to rest and don't really anticipate all of my needs as a mother who has just given birth. When Uri went to sleep at 12 PM I asked if I could go rest. Then Uri woke up at 12:15 to eat. Oh well. At least I got to eat lunch before picking the kiddies up. I can't deal well with their on the go style. They always need to be doing something. I on the other hand am content to just rest. After all, I don't sleep very well at night.

Now I'm exhausted and wondering if I would be less tired if they weren't here. One thing that really really gets to me is the fact that when they come, they make themselves feel at home. Now I know that most normal people would love for their guests to feel at home but I am not normal I guess. I like to be in control. I like my own space (their sleeping in my office). I don't like when others intrude. They came to our house. Within minutes they started openning up their suitcases and taking things out. Some were presents for the kids. Some were for other people. Then they unpacked, on our dining room table. Then my FIL started going through our cabinets for snacks. Luckily we still had some pretzels left and we had bought cinnamon grahm crackers. He really likes those. After that he just had to make coffee. Can't live without it. So he started to look for the milchigs dishes. Not once did he ask for help finding anything. He was perfectly happy being on his own. I meanwhile was watching from the sidelines and was going nuts inside.

After all, this isn't his house. He's never been here since we just moved a few months ago. Why does he think it's okay to go looking through someone's cabinets? Would it be better to ask where something is? Maybe he's not used to being dependent on someone else. Maybe he just doesn't want to bother us. Maybe AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Maybe I need to calm down and work on my middos and this is what Hashem has thrown my way. After this week I should have most excellent middos. Hooray!

So they unpacked. Now the room they are in can fit two beds and has some hanging space. Well they have a need to unpack and place their clothes anywhere but their suitcase. So they reorganized the room. Everything that was on top of the closet was neatly moved aside so that they could have room for their clothes. Where there was space on the bookshelves they also placed their stuff. Why does this bother me? I don't know. I'm very territorial. I like my space like I said and I don't like when others come to my space and do something else with it.

It's very hard for me to sit back and let someone else take charge. I like things done my way. That's probably why I don't have cleaning help. Onto another related subject, what do you call your in-laws. When we got married my husband and I both agreed that it was weird to call them mom and dad. Neither of us felt comfy calling the other one's parents by that. We wouldn't dare call them by their first name. So, we didn't call them anything. Then one year later our son was born and we could call them Sabba, Savta, Grandma, Grandpa. That was a relief. But I still feel that it's weird. It's also weird not to call them anything. What I have learned from this is that the best things for a mother-in-law to do is to say, you can call me ____(mom, ima etc.) if you'd like.

I've spoken to friends about what they do. One friend calls her MIL mom and her mother Ima. One friend has a sister-in-law who calls her MIL by her first name. Some people just don't have this problem. I can't see calling someone other than the parents who raised me mom and dad. Why should they deserve that title if they didn't earn it?

So I guess the bottom line is that I'm a chutzpadik, irrespectful little immature person who can't get over her pet peeves. Wow, that felt a lot better. Sorry for the vent-a-thon. Have a nice day!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Disadvantage of Renting

We are currently renting a two floor house on our yishuv. For the past three years we had been renting a three bedroom on the second floor of a house. We have tons of stuff since I have not been able to part with many of my things. We had a shed outside and a whole bedroom inside used for storage. We felt the apartment was small once we had our second. When we found out that our good friend who were renting bought a house across the street from their rental we were thrilled. They needed someone to take over their lease and we wanted a house. They didn't even have to advertise. They also wanted to hand pick their neighbors so they didn't want to advertise to the whole yishuv that the house was up for rent.

Now I know this is selfish and not nice but we rented the house even though we knew that there were families with many more kids who were more desperate to move. I'm sure a lot of people were jealous and resentful and it made me uncomfortable.

So now that we've been living here for about 6 months and we're b"H very happy, let me tell you what happened today. My daughter was sick with a virus so she stayed home with me. She was really sick yesterday and today was just to make sure that she was over the virus. So basically she had regained all her strength by this morning. I had spent all morning with her until 12. I couldn't take it anymore and decided to go for a walk to the park down the street until I had to pick up my son.

As we are walking to the park, we see a neighbor. This is someone Israeli who usually barely says hello. Here she not only said hi but also waited for me and my daughter to catch up to her. Then she asked us if the owner of our house would be interested in selling. Boy did that blow me away. I wonder if my shock was aparent on my face. It probably was. I told her what I knew. The last tenants had asked him this question and he wasn't really interested and only for a price that was about $70,000 more than the value of the house. He lives in Jlm and needs it to cover his rent. Also, he got grants from the gov't. and would have to pay them back if he sold before a certain amount of years. I didn't tell her that last part though. She said to me that she had some friends who live on the yishuv and recently had to relocate within the yishuv. They are sick of moving and want to buy. Because there isn't much choice (since there's no building going on), they are willing to pay (I guess any price).

This knowledge made me very unhappy to say the least. Here we are, in our new house, which we like so much. Along comes a neighbor and tries to oust us out of our home so her friend can live nearby. Now she apologized for being the intermediary and knew that it would mean that we'd have to relocate. The thought of moving to another probably smaller rental was so overwhelming to me that I'm glad I didn't fall down right then and there. I told her that I didn't have the owners number on my but that she could call me for it. She said that it wouldn't be for a while that her friends would move, like the end of the year.

So we said our goodbyes and I turned around, headed home and called my hubby. He tried to reassure me that the owner wouldn't sell, even for a high price. I'm not 100% reassured though and the thought of moving is not pleasant. Let's hope that it doesn't happen until we've bought a house to move into.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Shabbos guests

This week I decided to try to be extra good about keeping the house clean. I tried to tidy up every night after everyone went to sleep. That meant I got less sleep this week. We've had these icky small fly things in our house and they're always flying in the kitchen. That was part of the reason I was trying to be so clean this week. I didn't want their number to increase. They multipy like rabbits.

Anyway, so I was keeping the house so nice and clean. Then a friend asked us if we could host a couple for sleeping and a meal on Shabbos. I thought about it. First I responded that having them sleep here shouldn't be such a big deal. We would just have to clean up the office/guest room a bit. I told my friend to try to find them meals elsewhere but when she was unsuccessful, we decided to have them here for lunch.

So on Wednesday I started cooking for Shabbos. I made cranberry crisp which I had been craving ever since I gave birth and the neighbor made us a very yummy one. On Thursday I got a recipe from a different neighbor for her potato kugel which we got to taste after I gave birth as well. My husband really liked the consistancy of this kugel. I made potato kugel and sweet potato pie as well as chocholate cake and shnitzel on Thursday. That was definately a record for amount of food cooked in one day since I gave birth (and probably even before-like since I was in my 8th month or so). On Friday I made chullent.

The cute young couple arrived Friday afternoon. The wife had a bad cold and slept a lot. The husband it turns out is the brother in law of a girl I know from seminary. They were very nice. They ate out Friday night at a different family. Shabbos day they ate here. My son kept asking me why the wife was always sleeping. We played some Jewish geography, which is always lots of fun. For shalosh seudos they ate at our neighbors next door. I think they had a nice time and got to see the yishuv. Since they have no kids I don't understand why they would move out of Jlm but they are from Chicago and don't like the city so much. Although they said that they think they'll be seeing us around the yishuv again I wouldn't be surprised if they wouldn't. Usually young couples prefer to live in the city where there are many more conveniences. You don't move to a yishuv only for the grass and the wide open spaces.

So I was impressed with my ability to pull that off. I remember after my first son was born. I stayed with my mom for the first month. I didn't feel like I had recuperated from the birth until 6 weeks afterwards. I didn't get the nursing going well until 2 months. This time, I didn't tear which meant no stiches and less pain and being able to sit. I already had tons of practice nursing. I already mastered nursing while being covered up. I was worried about the baby wanting to nurse during the meal but that wasn't a problem because he ate right before and slept the whole time. When my son was an infant I used to go into the bedroom and close the door while I nursed and my hubby entertained the guests. I guess things have gotten a lot easier. So, all in all, having guests wasn't so bad after all.

Dieting

First of all I hate that word. So I'll just call it trying to eat healthier. Last Shabbos I decided to start to try to eat healthier. This is very hard for me because I am a chocoholic. I LOVE chocolate. I could eat tons of it every day. But I decided that this isn't healthy and I'll like to lose some of that excess weight. So, I decided that if I would not eat any chocolate all week, I would reward my self on Shabbat by making or buying a cake. This is my first week on this trial run and I was successful. At one point I found some chocolate bear cookies in the cabinet. I put two in my mouth and then almost immediately spit them out. I couldn't believe how successful I was in staying away from my yummy delicious chocolate.

Of course eating better is hard for me because I'm nursing. When I nurse I gain tons of weight because I'm always hungry. This is as opposed to when I'm pregnant and lose between 10 and 20 pounds becaue I can't stand the sight, smell, or taste of many foods-including sometimes chocholate (gasp!). So I've been limiting my breakfast portions, limiting my number of meals, limiting number and types of snacks. I've also been eating a lot more salad. We shall see if I can keep this up and for how long. I really hope it works.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Progress Report

Although I had been doing really well, yesterday I slipped up again. I started being really stressed out and took out all the negative energy on my poor kids. Being home all day is not easy. Talmud Torah didn't split the afternoon up enough. Today I was better but still not great.

My daughter has had diarhea for a few days now. She also caught a cough from the girls in her playgroup. At 4:30 she said her stomach hurt and curled up in her stroller for a nap. When she woke up I saw she had a fever and after seeing it was 100.9 under the arm, I gave her akamoli. It took a while for it to work and she was in a lot of pain. Once it kicked in she was back to her energetic self although a bit tamer. Luckily she went to sleep and in fact all the kids are asleep. My husband is urging me to go to sleep as well.

He wa so helpful tonight. He stopped off on the way home to buy a new Imim L'binah calendar and also bought some kugels for shabbos. I told him how much I appreciated that and how it lifted off the burden of having to make side dishes. I feel like all the pressure of preparing for shabbos is gone. Tomorrow, we'll have to take my daughter to the doc, cook the chicken, and clean. It should be interesting. We'll see how much I get done with baby in one hand and sick toddler kvetching all day.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Shidduchim

Little Frumhouse on the Prarie has a sad post about a woman talking on her cell phone to a shadchan. She lies about her daughters dress size so that she'll have more of a chance to succeed in shidduchim. I think it's so sad.

B"H I didn't have to withstand this test. I am overweight and don't know what I would have done in the world of shidduchim. The whole shidduch world has gotten very ugly. Why do they need to know a girls dress size at all much less as the first thing you ask? What happened to middos, hashkafa, where she wants to live (E"Y or America), etc.? Aren't there so many things that are much more important? What if she's a size 2 but she's annorexic? Isn't it better to marry someone who is sane and is a much larger size. Isn't shalom bayis more important than a trophy wife?

This whole topic is very disturbing to me. There is so much wrong here. Why is it that today people feel that they need to lie in order to be successful in shidduchim? 1-the shadchan shouldn't be asking dress size 2-the mother shouldn't be revealing that 3-it shouldn't be important to the bachur. The fact that it's important to him shows that he's lacking something. Where are his values? She can be the greatest baalas middos but she doesn't have the right dress size so the shidduch will be dropped. That's nuts.

My friend one time went out with a guy who had seemed very excited when she spoke to him on the phone. At the date she sensed that something was wrong. When he broke the shidduch off she wanted to know why and he said that it was because he had thought that she was much skinnier and couldn't face the fact that she was overweight. He couldn't see past the pudge to the person. It was as if her fat blocked him from seeing who she really was. He didn't see her wonderful middos and her love of chessed and people. I couldn't believe this when I heard this story. All of my friends dieted when they were in the shidduch parsha (and unfortunately some still are). This friend was shocked as well when she heard his reason for dropping the shidduch. Clearly we both understood that it wasn't meant to be and that he was a very shallow person.

B"H both my friend and I married guys who we knew before we started shidduchim. She and I both met our husbands in NCSY. My hubby was my advisor and hers was a guy two years older than her. My hubby didn't make a move until I came back from seminary. He knew that it was meant to be (as did I) and so he asked me out. The rest is history. With my friend it was different. She went out for a while with other guys. She even inquired about this guy to see if he was dating and available. He kept saying no until one day he contacted her. They knew as well that it was meant to be. When you kind of know the person before from a more relaxed setting you don't have all of the pressure from shidduchim. We didn't have to get engaged by the third date or any other crazy things. B"H we are both happily married. I just had my third kid and she is expecting her second.

When I hear shidduch stories I can't help but offer a prayer of thanks to Hashem for allowing me to find my bashert quickly and easily. I also feel very pity towards my friends who have had it much harder. I wish that I could help them but since I didn't go out with tons of guys I can't really set them up. I do daven for them all the time. May Hashem listen to our tfilos and help them all find their bashert with ease.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Follow up Post

I'm doing much much better thank goodness. My kids are all sleeping and it's pretty early so I'm taking out some time for myself to blog a little. Yesterday I did much better. I tried very hard not to constantly call my husband at work and not to be overly negative. It's very hard for me because I really do complain a lot. I also tried to be calmer at home. I've pretty much given up on doing any housework and I've focussed on sleeping whenever possible. Unfortunately, this didn't work. The baby didn't sleep all morning until 12. After grabbing a bite I layed down for a short nap and then picked up my son.

He recevied a note from the Rebbe that his reading was on a very low level. Of course I don't think he realized that the note said that. I know that he's behind the other boys. Part of this is because he's an English speaker who was in an all English environment until he was 3. Part of it is because he's younger than the other boys and they push them to know how to read at a very young age. Part of it is also because he isn't surrounded by Hebrew all the time like the other boys. We also don't practice as much as we should just because there isn't time and he ususally doesn't have the strength. His history of acheiving reading can be another post.

So, I called my husband about that and hopefully we'll talk to the Rebbe tonight and see what's going on. I devoted time to my son when he was home because the baby was sleeping so I could give him undivided attn. Then it was time to pick up my daughter, the real challenge. We went to the makolet where she grabbed some chocolate and wouldn't put it back until she ripped it open. I wasn't so happy but I think I handled the situation well.

What really broke up the day nicely was taking my son to Talmud Torah in the afternoon. This is a program that we have to pay for on a monthly basis where a rav from the yishuv teaches them about the parsha. They get a treat at the end. It's organized by age. After picking up the kids from gan we rest a little and then head out to the shul where the TT takes place. There is a playground outside where my daughter can run around and get out all of her energy. It was nice to be outside and not cooped up in the house all day. This made a big difference.

The hardest part of the day is dinner and bedtime. She gets overtired and hyper. She pulls my son into her games and he also starts acting wild. They get into mischief together. Like I said, I was able to pretty much keep my cool and control my reactions. I was too tired from kvetchy baby to be able to blog last night.

Today, baby again didn't want to sleep in the morning. Luckily for me, he took a nap around 12:30 and slept until 2:45. This gave me a chance to rest as well. I left my kids at a babysitter until 3:30. Again, taking the kids to the TT really breaks up the day and is helpful in keeping me sane.

What I really need in an ideal world is someone to take my kids out and someone to clean up (do dishes, put away toys and other things my kids place on the floor, sweep up etc.) I am not getting to the housework and it's starting to pile up. My husband doesn't get home until after 8. Then he learns until he goes to sleep. He helps a lot with the morning routine but basically I'm on my own.

I guess I forgot how hard it is to have a newborn. My nutty daughter was the best newborn ever. She didn't cry until she was 6 months. She slept through the night at a very early age and in general did everything early. I always said to my hubby that I feel that she was never a newborn. That is part of the reason that it's harder this time. They are 2 3/4 of a year apart and my daughter is toddler. She is very active and demands a lot of attention. She was not like that as a baby and so I probably thought that having another one would not be too difficult. Boy was I wrong. I find myself nursing all the time and barely resting or getting anything done around the house. My son also nursed lots and very frequently so I remember what that's like.

Right now I'm just trying to stay positive and to realize that all of this is normal. This isn't easy but that's okay. Life isn't easy and G-d doesn't give you a test you can't pass. Hopefully I'll be able to prove to Him that I can pass this one.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Depression

Don't worry. I don't think I'm clinically depressed although I've been in a very meloncholy mood lately. It's strange b/c I was on such a high after giving birth but I guess I had to come crashing down at some point. That point has come. I've been having a very hard time managing with my three kids. I can deal with one of them at a time or even with two at a time but the middle one is quite a challenge and it's one that I'm not meeting.

I've been going to Miriam Adahan classes about parenting. I have been reluctant to implement her system in the house because of my husband who doesn't like shtick. He just wants me to improve myself without his input and help. Unfortunately I need a lot of help. He just fails to see this. He sees that I'm really really messed up. He's sees how negative I am and that I'm never happy. He doesn't see why he needs to help me be happy. He doesn't see what a huge role he can play. He refuses to play any role.

I have come to the realization that I must change something and I need that change to come quickly. I need to change the way I relate to my kids. I need to change my outlook on life. I need to become happier and to value all of the good that is given to me. This is very much against my nature. This is my avodas hachayim, the work that I'll need to complete over the course of my life. I need to figure out how to take the lemons that life hands me and to make lemonade. I need to find a way to keep smiling throughout the day. This is just so hard for me. It's especially hard since I just had a baby and am not getting so much sleep.

Normally, I'd say that as long as I'm sleeping well and eating at least three meals a day I should be pretty okay. Under those circumstances I really wouldn't have a good excuse for not being thankful and happy. My husband says that I call him too much at work and that every phone call is a complaint about something else. I'll admit that I knew this. It's not news to me. I like to involve him in my daily life. He doesn't want to be involved. He just wants to come home to a house that's filled with sleeping kids, a happy wife and a ready made meal. (wouldn't I like the same)? All of my interactions with my hubby are negative. I can't stop the stream of negativity.

I'd say that the same is true with my kids. I can't withhold my criticism from them. Even if it's something so minor. I always need to tell them that they shouldn't do this, that or the other thing. I always need to show them how something could be done differently. I always need to attack them verbally. I wish it could stop. I feel so out of control.

I guess I really wanted to tell my hubby abt this so he could help me but instead he seems to be saying find your own way to get through this. He perfected himself already prior to getting married since he's older than I but I got married young. I still have a lot to work on. I have a whole huge amount of Jewish guilt resting upon my shoulders. I wish I could be a better mother and wife but I am doing the best I can. I feel so unappreciated and unloved. It could be that if I were in constant contact with a super optimist I would be able to work on myself more easily. Doing this alone is so hard. I feel so helpless and hopeless. I feel like I have a huge mountain to climb with nobody to help me. It's all up to me. And if I am able to do this, in the end I will get sooooo much reward for the hardships involved.

The problem is that I don't know where to start. Every day I think about how horrible I acted and what I can change but the next day I fall into the same exact trap. I speak the same way and act the same way. I can't seem to do anything to change. Sometimes I just feel like yelling, "What's wrong with me?" But I'm affraid to hear the answer which may be very long. Sometimes I just feel like I need a hug or a good girlfriend who I can talk things over with. Being away from my best friends and family makes that hard.

For tomorrow I will try to limit the number of phone calls I make to my husband. I will also try to limit their content to neutral or positive things and to things that are not trivial. I'm sure there will be lots more updates following this post.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Response to Mother in Israel's post about culture

My father made aliya after college. Then he moved back to NY after 10 years of living here in Israel. When we made aliya he told us that he always felt this way: When he was with Israelis he felt like he was "The American" and when he was with Americans he felt like he was "Israeli." When we lived in Jlm I saw what he meant. In the neighborhood we lived in you could get along without speaking a word of Hebrew. It was amazing to me to see this. We chose to move to a yishuv where there is a significant population of Anglos but still that number isn't too large. We are forced to speak Hebrew and to interact with Israelis. Our Hebrew has improved greatly.

Being that I was born here and had a solid basis for the language I feel more comfortable communicating with Israelis. It's easier for me than for my hubby. I also understand the culture more. Most of my good friends are Americans but I've managed to make friends with Isaeli women as well. We live in a very diverse and accepting community so in addition to Americans and Israelis, there are a lot of Spanish and French speakers. Everyone tries to be very welcoming. My kids babysitters have all become my good friends.
I do however agree with Abbi's idea of the wall. Sometimes that language and cultural barrier is there and you feel that you can't break it. I live on a street where there are six Anglos out of 14. I have almost nothing to do with my Isaeli neighbors. Usually they say hello when they walk past us. I think they are intimidated by us. I'm not sure why. If they'd try to speak to me they'd see they can communicate just fine. I'll understand them and they will understand me. I do however see that my American neighbor who has been living on this street longer than us and who has kids who are slightly older than ours has more to do with the Israelis. She has kids in their kids classes so she has more to say to them. I have nothing to talk to them about and really have nothing to do with them. It is kind of sad I guess.

Part of the reason for the instant Anglo connection is that we all know that most of us don't have close family here. Because of that, we feel we have an obligation to be there for one another. When I gave birth two weeks ago the Americans organized meals right away. They didn't let me have a moment where I'd have to cook for the chagim. The Israelis however took time to get organized. We have a vaadat chessed that is supposed to organize meals. They didn't call until a week and a half after I gave birth. When they called they didn't call me. They called an Anglo neighbor who had been living here for a while and asked her to call me. Once again I'd say they are intimidated. I don't know why. The other Americans act like my mother, sister, aunt, grandmother all in one. They adopt the neighborhood kids and take care of them. For someone whose parents are far away, you need that extra mommy care sometimes. You know you can count on your Anglo friends for that.

Israelis don't understand our need to play the role of lost family members. They have their parents nearby. They can always go to them for shabbat or chag. They can go to their siblings. We can't. That's when having Anglo friends comes in. Friends in different cities will invite each other over. This is important and gives us a family feel.

Although it may be hard to become Israeli, I think that it's worth it at least for the sake of our kids. We may not ever feel like we'r 100% Israeli in terms of culture but we sure do want our kids to be Israeli. We don't want them to view themselves as Americans. We don't want them to go to college in America or to ask people to bring them American products every time they visit from the states (the way we do). We want our kids to be productive parts of Israeli society and therefore they need to integrate well. If they feel they don't fit in they may be more likely to go back to the old country. They may have a hard time finding a job if they can't integrate properly into Israeli society.

Bottom line, it's best to take the best of both worlds. Learn manners from the Anglos and cleaning tips from Israelis and everything will turn out fine.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

My First Day Back


Today was my first day back to regular mothering (plus a new baby). My father took the kids to gan with me and then left for Jlm. That left me and Uri home together, alone. We took a nice nap together. Then I woke up and did some laundry. I picked up my son from gan and when we got home he did his homework-he's really in gan chova but they call it kita alef. Anyway, then we walked to pick up my daughter because having to handle buckling in three carseats in the back seat of our car was too much for me. In the morning it took us a while to do it. I may have to switch the placement of the carseats or something.

So we picked up my daughter and boy was she happy to see us. The ganenet did say that she had a pretty good day for her. We took a walk to the makolet to pick up some conditioner b/c my daughter has lice and we're trying awefully hard to get rid of it. Then we picked up my hubby's suit which got stained with mud last time it rained. We walked back home and everyone had lunch. This was around 2:30. After lunch we folded laundry, cleaned up a bit, read some books.

Then it started to rain. Of course I knew that it would rain but I'm in no shape to take down a sukkah or schach. What can I say? I can't move my hubby to do something if he doesn't want to do it. The same thing happened with putting the sukkah up. I told him we should do it early b/c I know how to do it and I can guide him but he stubbornly refused. There was an excuse every Friday until after I gave birth. The day I came home, the last Friday before sukkot, he asked the neighbor for help. Unfortunately, because we moved an had to reconfigure our sukkah we didn't have enough of the right size boards. So we really couldn't put it up before shabbos. On motzei shabbos hubby got more boards from the hardware store and the neighbors put up the sukkah on Sunday. On Monday my dad and uncles put up the schach. Now if that's not last minute I don't know what is. Now hubby is in no rush to take down the sukkah. So what if it rains. We'll wait til the sukkah dries up and then ask the neighbor for help taking it down. I'm not as laid back as hubby. He can only do stuff on Fridays b/c that's the only day he's off. He gets home too late to do anything after work. So I'm leaving this to him and I'll try to watch calmly from the sidelines as we wait for our sukkah and schach to dry. Boy do I hope that those beams hold our schach up b/c if it lands in the mud nobody will be happy.

Hubby is going to a wedding tonight. I told him to go by himself. I didn't want to take baby and thought that it would be better if I rest rather than going. I can't really dance anyway so I would just go to socialize. I don't need to spend money on a babysitter for that. I would probably have a better time than he but because I just had a baby I was the natural candidate for babysitting.

Somehow I managed to deal with kvetchy baby and hyper kids. Baby fell asleep in time for me to make dinner and check my daughter's hair for lice. Fun fun. We ate and then I decided to read a new book to the kids. After that I changed them. All this was able to run smoothly b/c baby was asleep. Thanks babe. I put the kids to sleep while nursing. It went pretty smoothly. Now the house is quite. Kind of strange although I don't miss the noise one bit. I guess I'll have to go to sleep early or something. Wow, imagine that.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Playing Catch Up

So a lot of time has passed since I last wrote. I appologize. There really is a good reason. Where did I leave off. I had an ultrasound on Sunday. On Monday I posted the whole story. On Monday I tried to call someone to induce me by natural means. She wasn't home. After a whole long day, I decided to take a long walk around the yishuv. Our yishuv is very hilly. I left the house around 9 PM and the weather was beautiful. Walking downhill from our house I felt like I had so much energy. It was amazing. I walked two blocks lower than what I planned. Then I decided not to bite off more than I can chew and I started heading back uphill. That's when I really felt how preggy I was. I went very very slowly. I got home and felt great. I took a shower and went to sleep.

At 1 AM my wonderful 2.5 year old daughter woke up screaming. She wanted Ima. My hubby urged me to go into her room so that she wouldn't wake up her brother screaming. So I went sleepily into her room and sat my very pregnant self down on her rocker. That's when I felt it. All of a sudden I felt like I was having a contraction. The only thing was, it was in the abdomen and not at all in the back. This made me unsure if it was really a contraction. Then I felt another one. Still I wasn't sure and wasn't worried. After she fell asleep so did I. Then when I woke up I saw that I was still feeling these quasi contractions. I thought maybe it's painful Braxton Hicks. It wasn't so painful though. I realized that it got worse when I stood up. It was hard to eat breakfast because I felt like I had a head up my tush. My baby had been head down for two weeks.

When my hubby got home I told him that I thought I'd be giving birth that day, Tuesday. We got the kids mentally ready and sent them off to gan. We made arrangements for them to go to our neighbor again. We got their bags ready. Meanwhile I was still having more "pains." I decided to try to drinking white wine test. I love white wine (sweet that is). I drank a cup and tried to rest. It didn't work. I told my hubby he should stay home with me. He gets a day off for the birth. We cleaned up the mess in the house together. We did laundry, dishes, swept the floor. It was like last minute nesting. My hubby slept for an hour and a half while I continued to clean. Then about an hour before my kids were supposed to come home I woke him up. We decided to go to the hospital. We double checked that we had everything, including provisions for Yom Kippur in case the labor was extra specially long.

We drove to Haddasah Ein Kerem since I was hoping the labor would be over by Yom Kippur. We got there around 2 PM. My hubby dropped me off as I was constantly having contractions. I assumed that they were contractions b/c they were pretty regular although there was no pain in the back. I was walking and then would stop every time a contraction came. I went down to the cheder kabala where I had to wait for a while. They practically ignored me b/c they were swamped. I kept pacing back and forth. I even saw a friend of mine (an NCSY advisor). I was glad that my labors took time b/c otherwise I would have had the baby on the floor of the cheder kabala. Finally they sent me to do an ultrasound and then a monitor. The ultrasound showed that I had more water than the other estimates. The monitor was fine. Finally at around 4 PM a doctor came and checked me internally. At that point he told me that I was 3 cm dilated. Boy was I relieved. Now I knew that those pains were contractions. I also knew that I had progressed nicely by laboring at home.

At 4:30 the doc told us to go daven mincha and come back at 6 PM for another check. We davened and then walked to the nice mall they built there. We bought food in the only mehadrin food place, Neeman. I had a salad and then my hubs went to daven maariv. When I went back to be checked I was still at 3 cm. I couldn't believe it. I decided to pace back and forth in the hallway so that gravity would help me open up more. I also did squats. At 7 PM I was checked again and was almost 4 cm dilated. My midwife, Avital was very nice but I knew that I wouldn't be having the baby before her shift was over at 11 PM. I wasn't advancing so fast. My doula in training arrived around 9:45. She was very helpful. She went in the shower with me and helped spray my belly while I sat on the ball. I was in so much pain when I stood that I preferred to stay in the bed. Every time a contraction came I held onto the doula and the bed and tried so hard to relax. It wasn't really happening.

At 11, Gila came in. She was great. She basically stayed with me until 1 AM when I gave birth. The contractions were coming fast and hard b/c the babies head was so low. They were coming every two to three minutes and lasting three quarters of a minute. I wasn't doing well. Gila convinced me to break my waters. She told me that the contractions couldn't come any faster or harder than the pain I was in. I broke down and finally allowed her to do it. She broke my waters and within a minute I went from 6 cm to 9 cm. I felt the urge to push. The baby's head was so low down. I pushed for 25 minutes. As soon as my waters broke I wanted to push him out and another midwife came in. Each midwife had one leg up on her and the doula had one of my hands. With the other hand I held my leg. I kept pushing with all my might. I was expecting to push once and be done with it. I was so frustrated that the babe wasn't coming out. They said to me the baby is coming, do you want to feel it. I said, "No thanks." So I kept pushing and they were rubbing with almond oil. The head was inching out and finally I gave a few long pushes and the head was out. The body was pulled out after. They placed the baby between my legs while I birthed the placenta.

They announced happily, it's a boy! I couldn't believe it. I was sure it would be a girl. My hubs didn't even hear when they said it was a boy. I said to him, "Did you hear that? It's a boy!" The baby was born at 1 AM on Wednesday morning. Wed. night was Yom Kippur. That meant we were going to have a chol hamoed bris. As soon as I thought about all of this I told my hubby to call my parents and invite them to the bris. My dad immediately got working, trying to find a flight. They were thrilled to say the least. Meanwhile, baby looked very healthy. He was 3.6 kilos. That was more than all the estimates. I tried to nurse for a while but he was really really hungry.

After the birth I felt the greatest high. I had given birth naturally. I didn't use any pain relief. I had developed self-confidence. I have Esther to thank. She was telling me that after they break her waters she gives birth quickly and easily. Once I took that leap, Hashem took care of me. It was the easiest labor I've had so far. It was the shortest. I also didn't tear b"H. This meant that recuperating would be much easier and faster. It makes such a difference. Unfortunately, because it was the middle of the night and there had been a lot of birth and a lot of c-sections that week, I was placed in the hallway that "night." I didn't get much sleep. Imagine having just given birth and wanting to go to the bathroom. You wouldn't feel so comfy going into any room to use their bathroom. So around breakfast time I asked someone to use their bathroom. That was a relief. Hubby and kids came to visit me. They were so excited to see baby. After 12 I got a room with a paranoid lady. She convinced me to place my stuff in the safe. I played with it until I got the hang of how it works. I put my stuff in and it got locked in. They called security but they didn't come before Yom Kippur. The nurses were so kvetchy. The Russian ones were particularly moody. Nobody wanted to be working there on that day.

The nurses made it very clear to us that they weren't there to serve or help us. It was our job not theirs to take care of the babies. Tough if we wanted to rest. We were all very shocked at this attitude from them. It was very sad b/c we wanted to rest. Oh well. Next time I'll have to try out a different hospital. The food on Yom Kippur was terrible leftovers from the day before. I ate b/c I was so hungry and b/c I had given birth just one day before. There was a group of frum women and about 4 English speakers. It was a nice crowd. After Yom Kippur I nudged the nurses to call the guards to open the safe. It took them a few hours to come but once they came it took 2 seconds to open it. I stopped locking my stuff in the safe and ignored the paranoid lady.

On Friday morning paranoid lady was very happy to be leaving. I was also after the nasty nurses kept hocking me. Around 11 I was released. Alll was well with baby. On motzei Yom Kippur the nurses said baby was yellow but in the end all was okay. We had to arrange for the shalom zachor. Life was crazy but I tried to stay calm. Thank goodness the nice anglos arranged all the food. Everyone brought tons of stuff for the shalom zachor and for shabbos. We had plenty of food. The neighbors helped us get everything set up. Baby behaved very well as did the guests (with the exception of the man who ate all the popcorn and then asked if we had even more). I was exhausted by the time it was over.

My dad arrived from NY on erev chag, Monday morning. He spent sukkot with us. When it was second day for him, we had the bris. The night before we had decided on a choice of two names. Only the morning of the bris did we decide the second name. My dad was the sandek. Nobody from my israeli fam showed up. My dad's two friends showed up. A few of my friends showed up. It was nice but of course stressful for the mother.

And now, for the moment you've been waiting for............and the babies name is



Uriel Yona


May he grow to merit Torah, chuppah and maasim tovim!
He is a big cutie with yummy cheeks. Holy Bagel did the bris and we had lots of food left over. No dessert however. When we got home we had to put it all away. Luckily my neighbor helped with all of that.

My dad has been here trying to help out with the kids. On Wed. hubby stayed home. On Th. hubby worked and dad hung out here. On Fri. everyone except for me and Uriel went to Jlm. Shabbos we had leftovers. Sunday hubby worked half a day and then dad went to friends. Monday, dad came back and people delivered food for us. Tuesday was Simchat Torah. Mom and baby stayed home while everyone else went to hakafot. On Wed. mom and 3 kids walked across the yishuv to hubby's shul. Hakafos were nice. Then we exhaustedly walked home. We ate lunch so late. Today dad is keeping second day and hubby went to work. Tomorrow, b"H kids will be back at gan. Hopefully then I'll get to rest. I can't wait for the quiet and the chance to be alone.

Monday, October 6, 2008

More Updates

I should start of by saying thank you to Doron the fix it man who came by last night while I was at another Miriam Adahan shiur. On Thursday he tried to fix the leak and said the faucet had to be replaced. On Friday we drove to Jlm to give the broken faucet to the owner to get it replaced b/c it had a warantee. He got it replaced (or so we thought). Then it was too close to shabbos for Doron to fix it. Motzei shabbos he was busy. So on Sunday night he came by to fix it. After trying to install it he said that it was the same leaky faucet that we had given them to replace. My hubby called the owner. They decided to get a brand new faucet from the Kol Bo. They split the pay. It's a really nice one. Yay. Anyway, so thank you Doron for allowing us the luxury of running water in our kitchen. I was too tired to wash dishes when I got back from the shiur.

On Sunday I tried to get an appt for an ultrasound. So after trying to book an appointment for Tuesday for an ultrasound I gave up and decided to go local on Sunday. It was way more convenient. Unfortunately, the technition told me that my water was kind of low. She did me a favor and said that I shouldn't go to the hospital right away. She made me an appointment at a place in Jlm to get an ultrasound for Monday at 11. Unfortunately I had to teach a class this morning. I got there ten minutes late and they all decided that they had finished davening already. After trying to argue with them I gave up and told them that it's between them and G-d and after all it's aseret yimai teshuva and this was their choice. I gave them a lesson on sukkot words in English. After the lesson I went home to get ready. I gave my neighbor the clothes for the kiddies and packed and left. I left late, picked up the hubs and went to the ultrasound place. We got there and had to wait. The water level was considered low but not low enough to induce me. Then I was sent to get a monitor reading. We had to wait a while. Monitor was okay. Dr. said that since baby is a good size and I feel movements I don't need to return until Sunday. Of course I think I'll give birth after Yom Kippur if I fast. I was kind of hoping to give birth before YK. Well this dr. kindly offered to do stripping for me which I kindly declined. No thank you. I don't like to inflict pain on myself. She wasn't too happy that I declined and told me that if I change my mind I could come back. No thanks. So then we went to the mall and ate lunch. I bought a hat for baby and then went home to the kiddies. They were happy to see me.

When I got home I couldn't stand the mess I saw so despite being on my legs for a large part of the day I began to clean. I couldn't stand the way the kitchen looked after a week of no dish doing. I did some dishes and actually cooked dinner for a change and then we ate. Meanwhile lots of family members called to see how I was doing. They all wanted to know if I'd given birth yet. The answer of course was NO! So that's where we're holding.

I called someone to ask about natural induction methods. I was told that it only helps if you are dilated a little. I have no clue if I'm dilated b/c my doc won't touch me other than to do an ultrasound. So for now I'll try some methods and we'll see what will happen. I so don't want to give birth on YK. I really wanted to give birth on Tuesday but that will also mean having a Yom Tov bris. Oh goodness, please let everything work out for the best. This is not an easy time to be preggy. Maybe next time I'll try to have a little more foresight.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Emotional Preggy Lady

Yup. That's me. Maybe this post should be entitled over-emotional pregnant lady. My poor husband has to deal with his worst nightmare-an overly sensitive female who cries for seemingly no reason. This month has been quite a ride. I've found about a thousand reasons to cry. Anything anyone says to me makes me cry. I cry after every doctors visit. I had such a bad day. Of course speaking to my hubby about this wouldn't yield any results because I really need a female to listen. He just isn't playing the part. My day started off with me getting my kids out of the house late. Then I didn't get enough done during the day. I layed down to rest and only after I woke up realized that I was supposed to pick my son up early because today is a fast day. I drove like a maniac to pick him up and like the good boy that he is, he was waiting for me patiently near his gan. He had been crying but wasn't crying when I picked him up. I apologized profusely and asked him if anyone saw that he was waiting there. One girl asked him where he lived and what his name is and said she would call me. I never received any calls. I don't understand how only one girl could see my son crying. Aren't any mothers walking their kids to and from gan? Aren't there any adults around? Apparently not. So my hubby suggested that I go and buy him a treat to make it up to him. I bought him one and me one. Only after getting home did I realize that mine wasn't mehadrin. So I didn't get to eat anything.

When I picked up my daughter her ganenet told me how she started off the day so nicely until it was time to try to make on the toilet. From that point on she was the enemy of the ganenet. So we got home and my son asked if he could clip thorns in the yard. He's been patiently waiting til after shmita to do that. I gave him the clippers. This meant though that neither he nor his sister ate a normal lunch. Then the repairman came over to repair our leaky sink.

I had noticed before Rosh Hashana that there was a lot of water on the floor near the sink but I figured that it was b/c my hubby was washing dishes. On Rosh Hashana I had the brains to open up the closet under the sink and there I found a wonderful flood. I removed all of the plastic bags and spilled out the water in the ones that were full. Fun Fun! After the chag we called our owner and the repair man. The repair man came over and said that he thinks he needs to replace a thin pipe. Today he came over in the early afternoon to replace it only to find out that no, it's not the pipe. It's the faucet. So he spoke to the owner who said that the faucet is still under warantee. The owner wanted us to drive to Jlm to give them the faucet so that they can utilize the warantee. Never mind that we don't have a faucet in our kitchen. Never mind that we never did the dishes from Rosh Hashana. So now we made up that tomorrow, Friday, my hubby will go in Jlm at 11:45 or so and will give the faucet to the owner. The owner will get it replaced and then the repair man will magically replace it all before Shabbat. All this of course means that we will have a very hard time cooking. I told my hubby that I'm sure I'm having the baby because of all of this. I tried not to get stressed out but let's face it, I'm stressed.

So my hubby has to go to Jlm tomorrow. My house is a mess and my hubby resents me saying so. I'm not sure why though because it's not like he's tried to clean it. If you ask me, he's still not recovered fromt he fast. Anyway, after the whole thing with the repair man, I had to go to the OB/GYN. I got there early because I know that in the past when I don't there is a huge line and everyone and their five or ten kids is there. I did the blood pressure, weighing, pish in a cup thing and then waited for the doc. My kids however didn't wait so patiently. Well my daughter woke up suddenly and realized that she hadn't eaten lunch, not at the babysitter and not at home. She was starving and cranky. This allowed for some nice temper tantrums and screaming. All in public of course. My son was actually much better behaved. He took a sefer tehillim to read and I showed him some perakim that were good to read. The doc came about 45 minutes late. Some lady asked to go in front of me and stupidly I let her. She had no kids with her. I had two cranky hungry ones. Luckily b/4 I went in my hubby called to say that he would be there in a few minutes. While I was inside with the doc my hubby came and took care of the kiddies. yay!

So how did the dr. visit go? Well I gained weight and so did the babe. It's now 3.3 kilos. The doc checked it's size and said it was a good size-belly, head, leg. Then he checked the liquid and said it wasn't so much. He told me that I should go to Jlm next Tuesday to have an ultrasound in case I'm losing fluid. He also told me to be careful to count the fetal movements. I need to feel 3 a day. That shouldn't be a problem. I'm feeling way more than that. I asked if there's anything I can do to speed up the due date. He told me to drink caster oil and O.J. We'll see what happens but boy do I want to give birth within 72 hours of Yom Kippur. I was reading in a book about the halachos and basically within 72 hours she can eat on Y.K. but if the baby is born before the 72 hour mark she can only eat in shiurim. That's not fun! That's why I'm hoping to hold out until early next week and then to go into labor naturally. I hope the One Above is listening to my requests and answering in the affirmative. Anyway, so that's why I keep saying to my hubby that I think I'll be giving birth really really soon.

As I see it, it's the perfect time for me to give birth. My house is a mess. I have no faucet in the kitchen. I haven't cooked for Shabbos. It would so be the ideal time in terms of stress to give birth. If I survive this Shabbos then I guess I can survive anything. I'm supermom! Ok, so now I'm going to talk to my hubby only to have him say something that I will perceive as insensitive and cry. Yay! So fun having an overabundance of hormones.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Rosh Hashana Menu

Since I am nine months pregnant I feel entitled to post this after Rosh Hashana. Hope everyone had a good holiday. I for one spent a lot of time preparing with the "help" of my kiddies. Then once the chag came I didn't have a very restful time. I put my daughter to sleep before my hubby got home from shul and then let my son stay up with us. This proved to be a challenge since he was overtired. He did enjoy the simanim but refused to sleep before the meal was over. The next day we all woke up late and had to eat and get to shul to hear shofar. We just made it b"H. In the afternoon I didn't get to rest due to an overabundance of youngins inspiring to be baalei tekiya. I wasn't too happy about the lack of sleep. The second night, I decided to try to keep both kids up. We put them to bed right after the simanim. Then we ate the rest of the meal alone. That was particularly nice. It's probably one of the last times we'll be able to do that. Soon we'll be changing the clocks and then the kids will be up for the meal with us. Fun fun. So I went to sleep as soon as I could after the meal. Then I forced myself to get out of bed at 7 knowing that the kids would sleep late and that it would give me enough time to get everything together so that we could get to shul on time to hear the shofar again. I ate breakfast by myself and got the snacks ready. Then the kids woke up and I dressed them. We walked to shul and they were actually running late. The kids ate their breakfast bags nicely while I listened to Torah reading and the haftorah. Then we heard the shofar and were free to go play. We had a little preggy pow wow on one of the benches outside the shul. There are a lot of us due around the same time, b"H.

And now, for the main reason of this post.............. our Rosh Hashana Menu:
We made brisket in a tomato and cranberry sauce, baked breaded shnitzel, carrot kugel, cranberry crisp, veggie soup with matzah balls, gefilte fish, chocolate chip cookies and peanut butter squares. Out of all of that food we have a tiny bit of soup left. We have some fish left for Shabbos, no brisket, a few pieces of shnitzel, 3 pieces of carrot kugel, a few cookies and three p.b. squares. I'm so not looking foward to cooking for shabbos. My hubby ususally does the chicken b/c I can't stand the look and smell of it when I'm preggy. I'll probably make some sort of rice and be done with it.

Music

For our anniversary my husband and I went out to a great steakhouse in Yerushalayim. We had been there once before and one thing I loved (besides the yummy food) was the wonderful music they played. I never asked them what it was but today when I dropped my daughter at her babysitter, she had the same music playing and I immediately got the name of the musician. His name is Eliezer Rosenfeld and he plays popular Jewish music songs mostly on the flute. His music is beautiful. Being someone who played the flute for many years his music speaks to me. The greatest part is that he's playing songs that I know. Some are upbeat and some are slow. So this is going to be my new obsession. I must get my hands on some of his CDs.

Since we moved into our house about half a year ago, we haven't hooked up our stereo. This is because the place we'd like to put it has no outlet. The only other piece of furniture where we could put it is right opposite the door and I felt that it wouldn't be nice to see that right when you walk in. So, our stereo is sitting in the box in our living room. Hopefully we'll find a satisfactory solution. For the time being, I've been listening to Radio Kol Chai like all day every day. I love their shows and their taste in music (mostly). Now that we have our new computer maybe I could buy E.R.'s CDs and play them on the computer. Woo Hoo! I'm so excited.

Shana Tova to all!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Toilet Learning

I'm so sick of this! My 2.5 year old daughter is in the middle of being trained. She's totally ready but because of psychological issues it's just not working. The psychological issues that I'm talking about are the fact that I'm going to give birth soon, she just started going to a new gan about two and a half weeks ago, and typical toddler toilet training issues. I'm trying to get her trained before I give birth. This is one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. She's gone through a lot of ups and downs. She can totally do it but is now playing games with it. Last week she decided to hold it in at her gan. Every day I would take her to the toilet before leaving for work and then when I would pick her up the ganenet would tell me that she hadn't made all day. This week she's started to make at gan but yesterday she literally gave the ganenet hell. She did the exact opposite of whatever she was told. If the ganenet told everyone to clean up, she spread all the toys out. If she told everyone to stay inside, she openned the door for them. Now she's enjoying being in control. She wants to make when she feels like it. What this can mean is that she'll hold it in way too long and then make anywhere but the toilet. I have to count my blessings because so far we've avoided accidents on the couch B"H but that doesn't mean it won't happen sooner or later. NOT FUN! She also refuses to go when I ask her to. If I say to her: "Let's try to see if anything comes out." She throws a tantrum. She literally kicks and screams at the top of her lungs. She grabs her blanket and then puts it in her mouth, biting it like there's no tomorrow. Then she just continues to cry. If I try to get her to talk she just screams louder and regresses to babydom. She's talking less and less and throwing more and more tantrums. Really fun for me because I'm the one she spends the most time with. It's gotten to the point where I literally cry almost every day. I feel so helpless and I can't stand it. I wish she'd just do it on her own like I know she can. This is not happening however, and I'm worried what will be in a few weeks when the baby does come. How much more can we regress? Let's not answer that. So for now, I remain an extremely frustrated and depressed parent who is extremely thankful when 8 PM comes because then........the house is quiet. Only 3.5 hours to go! Yay.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Miriam Adahan

Miriam Adahan has been giving shiurim on our yishuv for the past two weeks. I love her stuff and have heard her speak before. She's just great. The only way I'd miss a class is if I either give birth on the day of a class or am too tired to attend with a two day old. She always says such great things in a new way. She breaks things down so that her methods are doable and she is very into encouragement. I hope that these shiurim will allow me to work on my middot.

Right now I'm going through a real slump. I'm in my ninth month and am exhausted all the time. My daughter is being potty trained and is having accidents about once a day. She is also regressing and decided to stop talking and start grunting and crying. I don't know if this has to do with the toilet learning or the new baby who will arrive soon enough. All I know is that it's too hard for me to deal with this in my ninth month.

So Miriam Adahan was talking about overcoming little obstacles in our daily lives. She gave tons of examples and it sounds so good. But then I get home and get lazy and although I really try to follow her guidlines I'm just too tired to do so. If this were at any other point in my life I'd probably take to it much better. I really have to force myself to get more into this avodat hamidot. It's something that I've been meaning to do for a while and that I really would like to do not just for me, but for my husband and kids.

Last year I learned Tanach in memory of my grandmother. I tried to learn one chapter every day but it didn't always work. This year maybe my focus will be more mussar and midot. I don't feel that I'm in a position to commit to anything though. I don't know what will be after I give birth. If my kiddies are acting up now, before the baby is out of my belly then what will be later. Because I am a realist let's assume that the situation will not be getting much better later on. Later I'll have to divide my attention in three. As it is I have a hard time sitting and doing homework with my oldest. My daughter needs tons of attention and she's an off the wall toddler so she really needs to be watched 100% of the time. Maybe a different time I'll detail some of the wild and crazy things she's done in her short lifetime so far. How on earth am I going to nurse a baby, do homework, and give attention to a bouncy toddler? Help! I feel like I'm already drowing and I haven't even tried to swim yet. That's basically why I feel like I can't commit to a nightly learning plan. We'll see what happens in the end.