Tuesday, April 27, 2010

M is a walker

The big news in our family this week is that Baby M is walking! He is 15 months old and has been a bit slow on the whole walking front. That is, until now. In the past few days he has really taken off and walks, or should I say toddles, about 80 percent of the time.

We went to buy him these cute little shoes on tuesday:

It's funny but somehow babies just seem more grown up and like a real person when they are upright. Hooray for M!
We also went to buy sandals for A when we got M his shoes which was just exhausting. The princess insisted on pink, but unfortunately the pink shoes did not fit well and so we compromised on purple. The negotiation took about 20 minutes though. Even though her insistence on style can be a bit annoying at times, I have to say I love having a girly girl!
Just for fun, a cute pic of M taken in Florida where the weather was much nicer than the 40 degrees it is today in NYC

The 3 for 1 special

Y and I headed off to the doctor again yesterday. Getting there involved one of his favorite activites- riding the NYC subway. Y entertains the whole car with a running commentary of the subway doors opening and closing.
After being told to expect the worst, we were actually done in an hour, which is record time for this doctor. Anyway, the conclusion of our little visit is that we will be adding yet another procedure to the surgery we had already scheduled for May 6.
So next Thursday, around 7 am my little boy will be put under general anesthesia, to have not one, not two, but three different procedures done. Can you tell how thrilled I am?
Two of the procedures are very quick and have basically no recovery. The ENT will remove the tubes from his ears and the ophtamologist will drain his tearducts and put in stents (which are not visible) to widen them. But then the ENT will also perform a subtotal tonsillectomy, which means he will be removing most of Y's tonsils. It is a relatively new procedure which has a shorter recovery time than a typical tonsillectomy. He will have a sore throat for 3 days and will be restricted to soft foods, and is supposed to feel back to normal within 10 days or so.
I know that these procedures are necessary and will hopefully help Y breathe easier and sleep better at night, but it is still scary. And because I go to most doctor's appointments with Y, I always am the bad guy (gal?) holding him down while the doctor does whatever he needs to do- check his ears, take blood, etc. Y isn't that verbal but if he could, I am sure he would say, "Why are you letting them do this to me??" Yesterday, when the doctor was trying to remove wax from Y's tiny ear canals so he could actually see something, Y jumped off my lap and pointed to me saying "Mommy's turn." I was thinking that if I COULD somehow have the surgery instead of him, I would. Alas I can't which leads us back to May 6. Say a little prayer for us- now and/or next Thursday.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Pregnancy and giving

'Biggest Loser' trainer Jillian Michaels has worked hard for her fit figure and she won't ruin her body for anything -- not even a baby. Michaels tells Women's Health (via Huffington Post) in a new interview: "I'm going to adopt. I can't handle doing that to my body. Also, when you rescue something, it's like rescuing a part of yourself."
The previous paragraph is from a gossip website called popeater. This statement was made a few days ago and has been circulating the web, making people think, including me.
I have been thinking that having children is all about self-less giving, and that giving starts before a child is even born, during a woman's pregnancy.
Being pregnant is really the ultimate preparation for a lifetime of giving that parenting involves. A woman has to physically share her body with her unborn child- sharing oxygen, nutrition and letting the baby take up precious space. She will have aches and pains connected to her weight gain, possible nauseau and fatigue, and many other accompanying effects.
Once the child is born the giving really begins- feeding, diapering, bathing, being up at night. A lot of the giving is physical at first but there is also the emotional- giving love, attention and time. As the children grow, the emotional needs become stronger. The need for affirmation, affection, respect, etc.
We give of ourselves more than we can ever imagine and then we give more. And even though we do get exhausted and burned out at times, we have no regrets and would do it all over again if we could. We feel that it is worth it. We want to give. And as a result of all that giving we become better people, because we are less self-absorbed and learn to take the needs of others into consideration.
Which is why I think that Michaels' statement is a sad testament to the increasing self-involvement of people. If she is not willing to give up her figure and fitness regimen for nine months, is she ready to have a child and truly give on so many different levels.
Obviously, that is not for me to judge. But it is a good question for pregnant woman and women with children to ponder: Do we know what is required of us as parents and are we willing to look beyond ourselves to do it? Comments, please!!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The world's best mom

I'm not sure why I think this is really funny, but it just is. A friend shared it with me, so I thought I would pass it on.
PS: the reason this looks a little funky is because it was an impromptu picture taken with my friend's iphone. Gotta love technology

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Lamaze, here I come

I officially registered for the Lamaze childbirth educator course I will be taking in May. It's three full days from 8 to 5. My older two will be in school most of the time, but I have yet to figure out what to do with Baby M. I also cannot imagine sitting for so long. It's been a while since I have been in school. The truth is, this will be a very interactive and it is unlikely that I will be just sitting and listening most of the time. There will be peer teaching and other group activities.
I am very excited for this opportunity. I think it will add another layer of experise to working with my doula clients, as well as a new service I can offer potential clients. It is also an opportunity to edcuate pregnant women and their partners, to help give them the information they need to make the choices that are right for them.
The amount of material is a bit overwhelming. The Official Lamaze Study Guide is about 700 pages or something crazy like that. I have a lot to learn. That's a good thing though. Make sure my brain gets used every once in a while.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Marriage is good for your health

That's what the NY Times claims anyway. The article quotes several studies that show that people in happy marriages have lower rates of heart disease, heal faster and are generally healthier. They compared married people to people who were single and divorced in their studies. The key is obviously not just to be married but to be happily married.
I find this fascinating because it reinforces yet again what we intuitively know and is now slowly being proven- how strong the mind-body connection is and its effects in many realms, particularly relationships. Being in a healthy relationship will affect your physical well being. So will your level of contentment at work and many other aspects of your life.
Similarly, in childbirth (admit it- you knew I was going to go there..) our state of mind is very important. If a woman feel confident in her ability to birth, supported by her partner and doula and generally calm, it will affect the physical aspect of her labor. Her body will respond positively to the positive messages her brain is sending. Makes sense, no? That's my brilliant thought for the day. Check out the article- it's interesting and worth a read.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

More on Birth

One of my favorite Jewish blogs- Jewish Mom had a post about birth a few days ago. In it, the author, Chana Weisberg, discusses her previous attitude towards birth, which is one of fear and pain. She knows from experience, having had 5 children herself. She describes reading Ina May Gaskin's book Spiritual Midwifery and how it changed her perspective, and allowed her to think about birth as positive and empowering. She says:
"In Ina May’s eyes, birth can be glorious. Birth can be as natural as walking down the street or singing a song. Birth can take a regular woman and make her into a hero. Birth isn’t even so painful, Ina May explains, if experienced with supportive midwives in a loving and positive environment. In fact, under the right conditions and if approached with a positive, fear-free mindset, birth can be a joyful, playful, and even ecstatic experience."
The message in Ina May's book spoke to Chana and she invited others to share their thoughts.
There were many interesting comments, but since this is my blog, I'll just share mine :)
As a doula I'd like to comment. I agree with all the other posters that birth is a very individual experience and that everyone needs to make their own choices. There is no one way that is right for everybody. However, what is universal is the need for a woman to let go of all her fears of pregnancy and childbirth etc. The message we get that birth is painful, something we need to “endure”, etc. is very deeply rooted in most of us. When we are tense, we stop breathing and clench all our muscles. We are essentially fighting the natural process of labor of opening up.If we could find a way to be calmer- with the help of a doula or other support person, breathing, relaxation CDs or whatever works for you- it would allow our bodies to relax and allow the process of childbirth to unfold. Things would go much smoother and we could finally see that our bodies were indeed created for this. Chodesh tov to everyone!
What are your thoughts on birth? Feel free to share here or check the original posting at http://www.jewishmoms.wordpress.com/

Monday, April 12, 2010

Happy Ending

Today, around 7 pm, my former neighbor called to say that someone had found my purse behind a trashcan near the park where it was stolen. She had returned it to the building I used to live in, because that was the address listed on my license. I sent my husband to pick it up on his way home from work and sure enough it was all still there- wallet, ID, phone, keys, etc. The one thing that was obviously missing was the cash.
I am thrilled beyond words. I was hoping this would happen but thought it was pretty unrealistic. I am so glad there are still some good people out there. I need to call the person who found it to personally thank her.
This is what we call "hashgacha pratit." Orthodox Jews believe that G'd watches over us and every little thing that happens, whether positive or negative is pre-ordained and meant to happen specifically to us. Sometimes when life is stressful it is harder to feel that G'd is watching out for me and it often feels more like random chaos. But at times like this, when something so unexpected and so wonderful happens, I really do feel this "hashgacha", which can be translated literally as "supervision." So thanks G'd and thanks to the good Samaritan who took the time to help someone else.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

I am irresponsible

There, I said it. My whole life (aka wallet, cell phone, keys, notebook with important phone numbers) was stolen this afternoon when I was in Riverside Park with my husband and kids. I made the mistake of leaving my little purse inside my larger diaper bag that was attached to my stroller (got that?). I have to admit that I will occasionally do this. I have seen many other moms do the same. It's not so convenient to follow your kids around and climb the structures with them, while you are holding your wallet. I always assumed there was some sort of social contract going on in NYC playgrounds. We are all here to play with our children and so you don't mess with my stuff, and I won't mess with yours. I guess I was wrong. This is NYC after all.
I started the fun process of canceling credit cards and suspending service on my cell phone. I still have this unrealistic hope that whoever took it will just take my cash and return the rest of the wallet. I guess we'll see what happens over the next week. In the meantime I am just frustrated with myself. And realizing how dependent I am on my cell phone and how cut off I feel without it. Sigh. Will update if there is any news.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Living in a child-centric world

Going to Florida on vacation necessitated getting on an airplane with three children. Over the years we have traveled quite a lot and have developed some sort of travel routine with our kids. Most of the time they behave quite well, assuming we pack enough toys, snacks and a portable dvd player.
On the flight home, Y and I were sitting in the front while A and my husband sat behind us. Baby M didn't have a seat and got passed back and forth. Then Y and I met our seatmate. It was a middle aged woman who did not seem too excited to be sitting next to Y. She moved her Louis Vuitton bag out of the way and asked me if I could move Y's foot because it was too close to her. When that did not work, she asked if I could take off his shoes. I obliged with a smile and did my best to keep Y busy without bothering her too much.
There was a couple with two children sitting in front of us, and it seems their bags in the overhead compartment had some drinks in them, which leaked onto this woman's bag. She was besides herself. To top it off, when I was passing a drink to the back, a few drops of water spilled onto her sweater. She jumped out of her seat and kept yelling "I'm wet, I am totally wet'" while her husband sitting across from her checked her sweater and told her there was nothing there and she was overreacting.
Finally she switched seats with her husband. I apologized to her husband and he just shrugged and said- "It's just kids." Then he confirmed that she never had any children, which didn't come as a surprise to me. He sat down next to me, plugged in his ipod and spent the rest of the flight on his laptop completely unfazed by my kids' presence.
Part of me was annoyed that this woman could not handle sitting next to us. After all, they are just kids and were not even acting too crazy. Then I wondered if I live in a world that is so focused on children, that I don't realize not everyone finds kids so endearing. I am so used to noise, spills, etc that it doesn't faze me but I do understand that it can be annoying for someone else to endure. Then I thought how getting on a plane is always a gamble. You can be stuck next to a screaming baby, an overweight person who monopolizes the armrests, an annoying woman who won't stop yammering or someone clumsy who spills their drink on you. That is the gamble and joy of airline travel.
I am still unsure what to make of the woman next to us. She obviously had some issues of her own. But it did sensitize me a bit to think of others and their needs. Kids will be kids and cannot be expected to sit still like little angels, but I can still do my best to make the travel environment as pleasant as possible. After all, not everyone sees drool and cookie crumbs on their shirt as a badge of honor :)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Catching up

I think this is the longest time I have ever disappeared from the blog. Passover and/or trips to Florida will do that to you.
It's been a fun few weeks here. I'll just give you the highlights. We spent the first days of Passover with my inlaws in Florida. The hotel was beautiful and the best part was that they had a day camp set up for the kids. The counselors were amazing and my kids loved it. I savored the quiet, sitting at the pool in the sun, reading. Life is tough, I know :)
Then we flew back to NY to be with our congregation for the last days of Passover (for those who are not familiar with the holiday- I would try to explain it but I think it might be too complicated for a short blog post. If you google passover, I am sure you'll find some great explanations). On the last day of Passover, part of the ceiling in the main sanctuary caved in. Thankfully it happened at night when noone was there. Never a dull moment here.
In addition, and much less dramatically, the wheel popped off my stroller for the third time, which means it is time to get replacement wheels. The stroller company was actually extremely nice and is sending them to me for free!
In the last two days I have done about 8 loads of laundry and I think I am finally finishing up. The kids are going back to school tomorrow. We are finally getting back to normal.
More importantly, I am ready to get back to some doula work. I am taking a childbirth educator course in May and am actively looking for clients. If you know anyone, send them my way :)