Saturday, January 29, 2011


The one good thing about my husband being stuck in Los Angeles, was that I started doing yoga again. When I heard that his flight had been canceled yet again, I felt like I needed to get out of the house and needed to DO something. On a whim, I googled yoga studios near our apartment and found one a few blocks away. I found a sitter, went that very afternoon amidst the mayhem of the blizzard, and came home feeling calm and reenergized. And realizing how much I missed practicing yoga. The last time I attended yoga regularly was when I was pregnant with M, which was over 2 years ago!
In general, I feel that I should probably excercize more. Although I do a lot of walking living in Manhattan and also spend a lot of time running after or picking up after the kids, it's not a formal thing.  Devoting an hour and a half a week to my health, both physical and emotional/spiritual seems to be a good idea. I love that the studio offers many classes a day and I have been attending a few different ones to get to know different instructors. Every teacher has their own style and while I have enjoyed all the classes, I still haven't found that one person that I click with. I am also trying to find a consistent time slot that I could realistically attend every week. My weekly schedule is pretty erratic and what works one week doesn't necessarily work the next. But all you can do is try.
What I really like about yoga is that you get a good work-out stretching and strengthening different parts of your body but you also have a chance to focus inwardly, to become aware of your breathing and to practice deep relaxation. I am hoping to even incorporate some of these calming techniques into my life. They may come in handy for scenrios like the one I am about to share.
Just a quick funny story, typical of our chaotic household, where there never is a dull moment: This morning, while I was in the bathroom, the boys went into the showerstall of the other bathroom and turned on the water. As soon as the water started spraying, they ran out, but their shirts still got soaked. I quickly turned off the water, so the damage was minimal but they had to get changed again in order to go to shul. When I told a friend this story, she asked me how I reacted. That is when i realized that I had not even gotten angry. I just laughed about it. I mean, how else can you react when you see two boys in fancy dress pants and dress shirts that are so wet they are see through, looking up at you innocently.
Let's just hope I can keep my sense of humor and tolerance level intact amidst all the craziness. What do you have going on this week? Any yoga on your schedule?

Friday, January 28, 2011

Dads and Doulas

Here is link to a cute article about how dads and doulas mix. In a nutshell, even the most well-meaning and devoted partners need help supporting their wives in labor. Read the article to find out why!
For Orthodox women, the need for a doula is even more pronounced because there are limitations to the physical support their husbands can give based on the laws of modesty and family purity.
Have a wonderful and hopefully not too snowy shabbos!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Parenting- a full time job

Since I have been home from vacation, I have been busy meeting with the kids teachers. We are discussing  tweaking their schedules, good techniques for disciplining, effective and appropriate consequences, playdates, validating feelings, etc. It seems the list of things to work on with kids is never-ending.
My husband and I were discussing the other day how much time and effort it takes to be a good parent. Aside from the physical needs of running a household: meals, laundry, clean-up, errands, etc there is another whole dimension we don't always talk about. The fact that we are rasing little people who are slowly but surely turning into big people! And along the way we need to ensure that they feel loved, respected and self-confident. We need to teach them appropriate ways to interact with others, boundaries, safety, a love of religion and life- the list goes on and on.  These lessons don't happen in long lectures or heart-to-heart talks, although that may be part of it as the kids get a bit older.
These values are imparted slowly and daily through our interactions and choices. Do we react to misbehavior with off-the-cuff anger or do we think about the best way to communicate our disappointment.
You can be home with your children, but are you really there, are you present emotionally? What I find so difficult is that you are always "on" and it is so so hard to be constantly mindful and present. In the moment, it seems impossible  to think beyond the fact of "This child is annoying me and if they don't stop this second I will scream!" to a more measured and appropriate response.
And of course, like in everything in life, balance is important. We can't be the perfect parents all the time and we cannot expect that of ourselves. But it is a goal we should be working toward. We should be reading books, taking classes, discussing with their teachers, thinking about it and formulating plans. Because it's not just about the apple juice on the floor for the fourth time that's about your child's sense of self as well.
And now I am going to take my own advice and be with my children who are clamoring for attention!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Vogue Knitting

Although I have been home for several hours, I am still psyched from my afternoon at the Vogue Knitting Live conference. I know most of you are thinking- knitting conference, what's that? But trust me when I say it was fabulous!
There were sessions on topics like cabling, finishing techniques and lots of other knitting terminology you probably don't want to hear about. My friend and went to a session focused on knitting a beaded handbag. And while we are never going to knit a beaded handbag because the process is amazingly tedious, we did learn some great new techniques like provisionary cast-ons, adding beading to knitted projects and the three-needle bind-off.  Me being a nerd, I had read about all these techniques before but after seeing them demonstrated, all of  a sudden they made sense!
They also had a huge marketplace of yarnstores selling any kind of yarn you can imagine, as well as knitting needles, books and anything else a knitter could want. Walking through there, my friend and I were like kids in a candy store, fingering and feeling different skeins of yarn and thinking what we could make with them. My favorite items were the knitting kits different stores were selling. These are pre-assembled bags, which contain all the yarn and instructions necessary to make a specific project. The kits range in price from 30 dollars for a scarf or a simple child's sweater to $250 and up for high quality sweaters and blankets. Needless to say, I did not buy any of those high-end kits, though I did get some great superwash merino wool that is amazingly soft.
My friend and I were definitely amongst the younger people there. While everyone claims that knitting has become chic and trendy, it still does seem to be a field populated mostly by older people.
My husband often jokes around that when we got married, he would have never guessed that I would turn into a birth-obsessed knitter/ a knitting doula. Either way, neither of those things were on my radar screen almost seven years ago when I got married.
To be fair, though, I am only 27 now so it's not like I discovered these interests so late in life. And I hope to add lots of new interests and experiences to my repertoire over the next few years. After all, isn't life all about growing and changing in unexpected ways?
Do you knit or have any other crafty hobbies? Please share!

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Early Bird Catches the Worm

Due to jet-lag and other reasons (A and Y dont have the jet lag excuse!), my kids have been waking up at 6 am every morning. I hear them and try to ignore them for a bit until I hear A say "Mommy, we neeeeed you" at which point I get up and survey the damage done. This morning, for example, there was yogurt all over the couch, floor and in M's hair.
That is not my point though. What I am realizing is how much you can get done when you get up a bit earlier.
This morning, I got everyone dressed and fed, put Y on the bus, baked my challah, prepared ingredients for salad, washed dishes, did 3 loads of laundry and cut my meat for shabbos. All before 9 am.
This is very different from our usual schedule, when I stumble out of bed after 7, put on a skirt and a scarf, dress Y and drag him and his half-asleep and pyjama-clad siblings downstairs to get there just in time for the bus (the bus that is actually coming at 7 40 instead of 7 30 starting on Monday- I am so excited!).
I have never really been a morning person, and I don't see that changing dramatically in the future. I am also hoping the 6 am wake-up is a phase that will pass (very very) soon. But for now, I am enjoying my early morning productivity. Although, to be honest, I don't like the feeling of exhaustion that usually kicks in mid-day when I already feel like I have been up forever!
When do you/your kids wake up? What's your morning routine like?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Back in Town

M and I arrived back in NY at 2 pm on Sunday. I can't say much about the flight except that it was long, long, long. 9 hours during the day with a toddler and non working videoscreenis a bit tortuous. To his credit, M was pretty good. The car-seat (big plug for shlepping along a car seat again- totally worth it!) was a huge help in getting him to nap for a bit and to sit still rather than jumping on the head of the person sitting in front of us. I had bought a new Elmo book for the trip and I must have read it about 15 to 20 times. I am not kidding. I am ready to throw it out. By the end, M knew huge chunks of it by heart. It's kind of cute hearing a little kid say in his squeaky voice: "Elmo happy to see you." Well, the first time anyway.
The past few days have been spent doing laundry, cleaning up and getting back to normal life. And also trying to get back to NY time, which has been surprisingly smooth. Thank goodness we have had no 3 am wake-ups.
 I have a huge to-do list for the next few weeks, some of which includes:
-sitting in on Y's therapy at school to see the progress he is making
-toilet training Y (something I have been putting off for a long time, but I think he is ready and I need to get cracking)
-deciding if we want to keep Y at his current school or look for other options
-finishing to write recommendations for my babysitter, so she can leave us and go to social work school
-weaning M off his pacifier- he just turned 2 and as much as I rely on it, I know the time has come. (Kind of like the toilet-training. Bite the bullet and just do it)
-scheduling playdates for A for her upcoming intersession
-finishing a charity blanket I have kind of abandoned mid-way
-going through the kid's toys and deciding what to discard/give away....that one is probably a long-term project
-finding some doula clients for the upcoming months

I am sure I have left some things out but I am feeling overwhelmed already just rereading all my tasks. I guess I will just tackle them one at a time. What's on your to-do list at the moment? How do you motivate yourself to start working on it?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Defensive Medicine

I am back in New York and I have a lot of posting to catch up on but wanted to let you all know that while I was relaxing and shopping in Vienna, Jill at Unnecesarean has been busy putting up a series of excellent posts about Defensive Medicine. For thosed who do not know the term, a quick definition: "Defensive medicine occurs when doctors order tests, procedures, or visits, or avoid high-risk patients or procedures, primarily (but not necessarily or solely) to reduce their exposure to malpractice liability. When physicians do extra tests or procedures primarily to reduce malpractice liability, they are practicing positive defensive medicine. When they avoid certain patients or procedures, they are practicing negative defensive medicine.”

There are a lot of posts and it can be a bit overwhelming at first. I am still working my way through it but if you are interested in intervention-free (or even just vaginal!) childbirth, it is definitely worth a look. More later.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Happy Birthday Baby M

Today is my little baby's second birthday. Although he is not so little anymore. He is turning into a big boy- one who loves Elmo, Ernie and Uncle Moishy and who says the funniest things in his little squeaky voice. He is mischievous and a troublemaker and has the greatest smile. The kids adore him and he loves them too, especially his big brother Y. I love the way they hug and greet each other each day when Y comes home from school. I cannot imagine our family without him.
For those of you who like to read birth stories, you can find it here.
In other news, it was raining and too warm today for skiing because everything was wet so we were not able to go skiing. So I spent some more time walking around the center of town which I love and, of course, shopping. The truth is, I haven't even bought that much, I just like to look.
Can't believe tomorrow is Friday already. Am definitely enjoying myself but am also looking forward to going home to New York on Sunday....ready or not, here I come.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Vienna Update

I have been remiss about blogging since I got here, partially because I am jet lagged and also because we have been busy relaxing here :)
First of all, the flight was really smooth. Flying with one child, especially a cooperative one, is definitely easier than flying with three. I also took a carseat along for the plane which I HIGHLY recommend doing. M is at that age when he has a hard time sitting still. The seat ensured that he was sitting safely for take off and landing and also made it more comfortable for him to sleep.
I have spent most of the time here going for walks (have I mentioned how much I love just walking around the city?), shopping (great sales!) and chatting with family and friends. I also visited my Oma twice and stayed for an hour so her caretaker could go out for a bit. Unfortunately, she is not aware that I am there, as she sleeps most of the time and doesn't really open her eyes. My husband says I should take a picture of her with M but I don't know if I want to remember her looking like this.
Today I was pampered a bit when I went for a facial and shoulder massage. Then we celebrated M's second birthday (which is actually tomorrow-wow!) with a little party. My aunts and cousins came over for home-made pizza, fries and cake. Kudos for my mom for putting it all together and making all the yummy food.
Tomorrow I am planning to go skiing with my Dad. I have not skied since I have been married or possibly even longer which means maybe 7 years or more. But there is a place an hour away and I figured- why not? Who knows when the next opportunity will present itself to ski. Probably never. I hope it's like riding a bike, something you don't forget.
On the NY front, the kids and hubby are doing well. Everyone is dressed and fed, goes to school and goes to bed on time. My husband has told me has been getting lots of accolades from the other moms in A's class for being such a great Dad. And he definitely deserves them. We have been skyping every day which has been really great because we get to see each other and not just talk on the phone.
Soon enough I will be back to reality but for now I am enjoying my little break from regular life. Anyone else planning any vacations or escapades anytime soon?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Travel day

Today is the beginning of my long-awaited vacation. In a few hours, M and I will get on a plane to Vienna to see my parents and my Grandmother, who has not been well for a while. I am leaving the older two with my husband, who has graciously volunteered to play Mommy for the week. I am leaving with a lot of instructions and much confidence in his abilities to rough it on his own with two kids for a week. My bags are packed and now I am going to try and spend some quality time with the older two. A has informed me that she will be "having a party" with Abba while I am gone and seems anxious for me to leave so they can start having fun.
This is the longest time I have every left my kids and I always feel guilty doing so, even if they will be with my husband. But I do feel like I have earned myself some time off, especially after being snowed in with them for a few days. Flying with one kid should be a breeze after flying with three this past summer..or not. Flying with kids is always an adventure. Will report from the other side!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Date Night

Tonight, my husband and I went out on a date. Sometimes, when we are really ambitious and motivated to invest in our relationship, we resolve to try and go out once a week. Usually this resolution does not last for very long because life interferes. More typically, it ends up being closer to once a month.
Still, it is important to invest the time, even when we can think of ten other things we could or should be doing.  Tonight was fun. I got to pick the restaurant (dairy, of course) so we checked out a cute cafe on the Upper East Side. The food was good but the company was better...
With my husband traveling, my attending births and some other work obligations, it had felt like a really long time since my husband and I had taken a chunk of time to just to talk and relax. We chatted, caught up on various bits and pieces of information we wanted to share with each other and laughed a lot.
I am obviously not introducing some new revolutionary concept by suggesting that every couple should take a time out from busy life every once in a while, but it is important so it could stand to be repeated. The more you invest in your relationship, the more you will get out of it. Simple as that. And, if you play your cards right, you may even get a really yummy piece of cheese cake too!

Monday, January 3, 2011


It's that time of year again and everyone in this apartment seems to be sick again. All three kiddos have been coughing and have had runny noses for over a week now. M was really cranky all week so Thursday we finally went to the doctor who thought it was viral. Turns out he has an ear infection, because Friday morning, there was lots of nasty junk leaking out of his left ear. Can you say punctued ear drum? Since he has been on antibiotics (administering said anti biotics is a real struggle that ideally involves two people, one person to hold him down, one to pour the stuff down his throat) he has been feeling much better and best of all, no more leaking.
Then as soon as M felt better, A started up. She woke up in the middle of the night Saturday night complaining that her ear hurts. I am usually a pretty compassionate person but 4 am is not my best time, especially when a child is screaming in my ear and won't listen to any reasonable requests, among them a plea not to wake her other siblings. On Sunday she seemed to be feeling better but Sunday night featured lots of crying and not enough sleep for us again. I took another trip to the doctor today who said everything looks clear.  I am hoping there will be no middle of the night wake-ups for me tonight.
It's funny because I have been trying to set up a play-date for A with a specific girl in her class that she likes. The mom, who is pregnant, is very concerned about germs and doesn't want her daughter coming to our house because my kids might get her daughter sick. She would prefer A comes to play by them, where there are less germs (I am still unsure why she thinks her apartment is less germy than mine, but have decided not to argue about it)
 While I do understand her concern, I also understand that winter is sick-season and children tend to pass things on to each other. If there are 20 children in her class, someone is bound to be sick and possibly even to pass that on to another child or two. Unfortunately this is how it works, unless you are planning to keep your child in a bubble.
The truth is that now that we have seemed to weathered the latest round of stuffy noses and coughs, I am hoping  that we will get a small reprieve for a little while. Maybe that bubble is not such a bad idea after all.
How do you keep yourself and your kids healthy during the winter season?