Sunday, February 27, 2011


My finger seems to be healing nicely. I barely feel any pain, as long as my kids don't decide to grab the band-aid and squeeze really hard.
 Today was a beautiful, mild day so we actually took the kids down to Hippo Park, our favorite playground. In the summertime, we kind of move in to the park, but we had not spent a lot of time there over the last few cold months. But the sun was shining, the snow had melted and the kids had a lot of fun. Then we went to get ice-cream, so I am assuming a child's afternoon cannot get much better than that.
Y really wants to go back to school. I think he is kind of done/bored with staying home, relaxing and Uncle Moishy. I take it as a good sign that he is excited to see his teachers and friends again. Unfortunately, we had a really hard time getting him to go to bed tonight and I hope he will not be too tired tomorrow morning.
I am not sure if it is because she is a girl or because our personalities are so similar but A has a way of pushing my buttons, in a way the boys don't. She is extremetly stubborn and is having a hard time with the reality that as parents we make rules and choices for her that are for her benefit, even if she does not see it that way. And if she cannot follow those rules there are consequences she may not like. For example- walking along the rim of the bathtub naked is probably not a good idea if you do not want to break your neck. Multiple tears, "I hate you's" and screams later, she did manage to calm herself down, get into pjs and we were able to reconcile and say good night on good terms. The whole thing is just so draining...and mommy-guilt inducing. Ultimately though, I do believe, my kids will be better off because we set limits for them and taught them that there are consequences to their actions and choices.
What is your take on limit setting?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Never a dull moment

Y was off from school this whole week and I felt a bit guilty for not doing anything fun with him. So this past Wednesday, I had a plan. We would take the train downtown to a new play space and hang out there all morning. I would bring snacks and lunch so we could stay for a while.
I got off to an early start and at 9 30 am I was cutting bagels to take along on our adventure, when the knife slipped in my hands and I cut into my left thumb. My husband was home and he says that I screamed and then muttered, "I cannot believe I just did this!" I could tell right away that it was a pretty deep cut, but I wasn't sure if it needed medical attention. After trying to reach our EMT neighbor, we ended up calling Hatzalah just to be safe. In the meantime, I also called a plastic surgeon we knew whose secretary told me to come right over. The EMT took one look at my finger and said- "yes, you need stitches." As I said, thankfully my husband was still home so off I went to the Upper East Side while arranging for a babysitter to come and relieve my husband who had to go to a meeting.
Four stitches and a tetanus shotl ater, at 11 30, I was back in a cab on the way home. Technically I could have still taken the boys out but this whole experience had kind of wiped me out. I spent the rest of the afternoon exhausted, letting them watch too many hours of video.
Thankfully, my cut seems to be healing nicely. It has been a bit of a challenge to keep the area dry and clean while cooking for shabbos, doing dishes and taking care of the kids but I am managing okay and am happy the injury was on my left hand.
Just another little reminder that we are not in control and we may think we are doing one thing but G'd clearly had another plan.
Have a wonderful shabbos!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Kosher Food and Wine Experience 2011

My husband and I just came home from a fun date night- Royal Wine Corporations hosted the 5th Annual Kosher Food and Wine Experience at Chelsea Piers. It was a sold out event and featured many, many food and wine vendors. Plus we met so many people we knew, both from our neighborhood and also random people we had not seen in years. Jewish geography as we like to call it.
I have to admit that I am not a wine connoisseur and many of these wines were totally wasted on me, but I tried some of them nonetheless. I wanted to be able to say that I had tasted the $200 bottle....luckily for me Bartenura had a table as well and so I enjoyed my $8 Moscato D'Asti and some yummy Asti Champagne as well.
It's the kind of event when you go in hoping to have self control and you leave overly full. The ultimate smorgasbord. Pomegranate had a stand, as did Le Marais, Prime Grill/KO, Noidue and many others. For a full list of vendors and wineries click here. We tried to eat strategically and not overdo it but mostly we just ate :) They had some good desserts, although they were pareve and everyone knows the best desserts are dairy. Still, Basil (from Crown Heights) had great Chocolate Mousse and a place called Pardes, which I had not heard of previously, had amazing Mini-Lemon Meringue Pies.
I have been trying to watch my weight recently but probably gained back everything I lost over the past 10 days. All in all it was a fun evening although it definitely falls into the category of excess gashmius...

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Doulas make a difference

A new review by the highly regarded Cochrane Collaboration has scientifically proven what doulas have intrinsically known for a while- continuous labor support by a doula actually can help women have better outcomes at their births. The journal reviewed 21 studies that included over 15 000 women and concluded that overall, women who received continuous support were less likely than women who did not to:

•have regional analgesia
•have any analgesia/anesthesia
•give birth with vacuum extraction or forceps
•give birth by cesarean
•have a baby with a low 5-minute Apgar score
•report dissatisfaction or a negative rating of their experience.

Women receiving continuous support were more likely than those who did not to:
•give birth spontaneously (that is, with neither cesarean nor vacuum extraction nor forceps)
•have a shorter labor.

This is obviously just a quick synopsis of the most important aspects. For mote information on how the study was conducted or more details on the results you can check it out here or here.
Shavua Tov!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Funny things my kids do

Before the weekend, I wanted to share some of my kids' newest and cutest shenanigans and activities:
Y continues to amaze us with his speech development daily. On Monday, he told us that he went bowling with school and demonstrated how he did it. Last night, when he was supposed to be sleeping, he put on an impromptu show for my husband and me, showing us his morning routine at school- this includes the abc's, counting and, more impressively, the days of the week and the months of the year. We were both literally  speechless when he rattled off all 12 months along with handmotions and some tune they sing it to.
Then he pretended to be his music teacher Ms. Camilo and pretended the couch cushion is a piano and sang us their introductory song.
We are so grateful that he is doing so well and really learning at school. Now if we could just toilet train him...still working on it. Some days are better, some are worse.
A was home sick from school for a day and a half this week. When I asked her how she was feeling, she told me fine and then asked how I was feeling and my husband too. When I said that he was fine, she said, "No, he sneezes a lot."
Yesterday I took her on a "date" just her and me to Barnes and Noble. We picked out some new books and enjoyed the time alone. Typical of a child, her favorite part of her whole excursion was riding the escalator- twice. Go figure.
M is his usual cute self- albeit with no impulse control and no safety awareness, which can lead to some "fun"/scary moments. Recently he has showed an affinity for knives and scissors, so we are hard at work making sure they are all locked away and out of reach. His newest motto is "I do it"- which means he wants to do everything himself- pour juice, get dressed, etc. Endearing but frustrating too.
His hair is getting longer all the time. I can't believe we have almost a year until we cut it. I had a few more moments with him this week, but unfortunately I am blanking on them all right now. Oh well. I'll just have to save them for another post next week.
Wishing everyone a good shabbos!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Knitting Projects

I figured it's time to show off some recent projects.
 Here is a sweater for another new niece that I knit while my husband was stuck in Los Angeles
I love the raglan sleeves. Gender neutral colors bec we didnt know what she was having

Here is a sweater I started while he was stuck but thank G'd by the time it was finished a few weeks later, he was home. and there had been plenty more snow.

I'm not sure who I am giving this too yet, but I'm thinking gold is girly

Next up some new hats for the boys because they both decided to lose and or/ throw their hand-knit creations. I have to admit I did not invest much time in these because I know the likelihood is great that they will end up thrown out of a bus window again..yes, Y actually threw his hat out the window while riding an MTA bus. These kids never cease to amaze me.  

M's hat- blue to match his coat
Y's hat- whose coat is brown with a grey lining

Last but not least is this cute purple sweater I made...not sure for who and why I have been making so many girl's sweaters. In part it was just because I wanted to try out some patterns and these were the colors I had in my stash. So voila- a purple wrap cardigan.

As usual, I have some other projects I am planning but that is all for now. So- what do you all think?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Speed Dating

This morning, as I checked out the headline of the New York Times' Metropolitan Section, I had to laugh. It said: Speed- Dating, Muslim Style.
The article spoke of the many American Muslim singles who are involved in the secular professional world but still want to date people within their religion and culture. Instead of relying on matchmakers and families, these young people are taking things into their own hands by attending speed dating events that cater to the Muslim community.
Interestingly enough, the founder of these events got his idea from, of all places, jdate. He took their model and applied it to his culture. What I found fascinating is that while these 5-minute encounters were taking place, there were many parents sitting on the side-lines, evaluating if anyone is worthy of being their child's mate.
The article made me think about dating in the Jewish community as well. There are similarities in that dating someone within one's religion and even of a specific religious observance is very important to young Orthodox Jewish singles. They often rely on friends, families and professional match- makers to set them up with suitable men or women. In most cases, these young people are dating for the pourpose of getting married and not just for fun. In recent years, though, things have gone awry. People speak of a "singles-crisis" as more and more women and men seem to be having a harder time finding their mate.
I am loathe to pin these difficulties on any one issue but it is clear that the world is changing and along with it maybe our expectations of our spouses. What strikes me as so sad is that dating is really meant to be a means to an end- which is marriage and a family. It seems kind of backwards that someone would get caught up in the process of dating. Dating becomes a life-style in and of itself and people get stuck there rather than moving on to marriage, which is not really the end-goal, rather only the beginning of the creation of a relationship and a life together.
I try not to judge other people, especially when I have not been in their shoes. Everyone's path in life is different and maybe these women and men just need to go through these experiences in order to finally find the mate and happiness meant for them. We are definitely seeing an increase in the use of new technologies and ideas in the world of Jewish dating, whether it is jdate or more religiously observant sites like Frumster or Saw You at Sinai. And of course there are the Speed-dating events, although I can assure you that there are no parents standing by at the Jewish ones.
Aside from all these new useful ways to meet, I also think that we as individuals need to take responsiblity and try to set up our friends and acquaintances. It is a small Jewish world and if we put some thought into it, I am sure we can help out and make a difference. My husband and I often try but have not been successful yet. We know it is complex and goes beyond- youre male, shes female- or  youre both tall and lawyers. By both embracing new ways of meeting and relying on good old word of mouth and networking, we can hopefully help people come together.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Doula Relationships

This past week, I received a payment check from a former client, along with a really sweet picture of her baby, who is almost 6 weeks at this point. I was really touched and thought it was so sweet of her to send me a photo.
As a doula, I am involved with couples at a very important time in their lives, when they welcome a new member into their family. It is, essentially, a business realtionship but because of the nature of the work I do,
it feels like more than that. You really get to know women and their partners and establish a connection.
So you do pre-natal work, attend the labor and birth and even do some post partum follow-up, but eventually it ends. And I find myself wondering, sometimes, how they are doing, how the breastfeeding is going, and lots of other things. I always tell my clients they can feel free to call me with questions and they do, sometimes but usually not more than once or twice. Then they go on with their lives and I form new relationships with new clients.
I have started a habit of trying to check in with former clients around the 1-year mark, to say hello and see how their life has been this past year. At the end of the day, though, I probably will not maintain strong friendships with these women and that is okay. They needed me at a specific time in their lives and now they have moved on. But it is still nice to consider that I will always be connected to a significant event in their lives. That, years later, when they reflect on the birth of their child, I will be part of that memory in some way.
Have a wonderful shabbos

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

On the Potty Front

It's funny that Ellen at Love That Max has just posted about toilet training because that is a hot topic in our home these days. After many false starts and failed attempts, we (meaning me) are finally getting serious about getting Y out of pull-ups. They have been taking him to the bathroom consistently at school for the past few months and he seems to be catching on. I was kind of procrastinating because a) the thought of having to take him to the bathroom every 30 min was just too overwhelming b) I didnt think he could do it c) I didnt think I could do it! And the thought that even if we succeed there will probably be many accidents along the way and all those times we are out and he will have to go, and what if he is on the bus, or in shul, or....
But I realized that I need to get my act together. While in some weird way it is almost easier for me to keep him in diapers, it is obviously not what is best for him.
So Project Potty it is for the past 2 days. We have been pretty successful. Most times he will agree to go, others we have to convince/cajole/bribe him with stickers/videos/choclate chips. But we are getting there. If he continues to do well, I may even consider ramping it up and putting him in underwear for a trial run.
Baby M has also decided that he is ready to go to the toilet...except not really. He just sits there and doesn't make...but then he demans a sticker just like his brother. He also wants to wear pull-ups, a request I am denying simply because pull-ups are more expensive and there is no reason for him to be wearing them at this point. But I am indulging him by letting him sit on the potty as much as he wants even if it drives me crazy.
He just turned two and I dont really think he could be trained at this point but I am happy that he has awareness and knows about the potty. Another advantage to being a younger child.
This is definitely a post for mommies only...not sure who else would want to read all about toilet troubles. So I apologize if this all seems like oversharing.
Any toilet training going on in your house? Any horror stories you would like to share? Feel free to comment!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Life goes on

It is oddly comforting and at the same time disconcerting that life goes on, no matter what happens. Even when you suffer a loss, there is still laundry, meal time and care-giving to be done. People go about their regular business as they should, and so I am also busy keeping up with life, while my father and aunt sit shiva in Vienna.
I think that exact point is really what is so beautiful about shiva. It gives the close family a chance to stop and reflect. Even though there are a million things to do, you have to take a time-out and just be. Think about the person you just lost, speak about her, share stories and memories. It doesn't make any sense for me to travel back to Vienna for the shiva, as much as I would like to be there. And it is kind of amazing that I was just there a few weeks ago and got to see my Oma one last time.
 But I would love to be a fly on the wall, to hear some of the stories people are telling about my Oma. I asked my father to maybe have someone write them down. I will ask my siblings to do the same while they are there. There are so many things I do not know about my grandmother and am curious about- what was her childhood like growing up in Budapest, what happened to her brothers, did she like being a Rebbetzen and so much more.
Will have to make a list and see if I can get some answers in the next few weeks. Until then, I will be telling the stories I already know.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Memories of Oma

My wonderful Oma passed early this morning in Vienna. She was 90 years old and around 9 am she stopped breathing. The funeral was done soon after in order to have it done before shabbos, so many family members were not able to make it.
I have posted about her a few months ago. And just a few weeks ago, on my visit to Vienna I got to see her for the last time. I don't know if she knew I was there but I spend some time just sitting with her on a few different occasions so that her care taker could have a break. The last time I went, when I said good-bye, she opened her eyes for the first time. She looked at me although I do not know if she really saw me.
I have been thinking a lot about mourning not the grandmother of the past few years who was merely a shell of the vibrant, loving person I knew. Rather I am mourning the Oma of my childhood, the Oma who was a constant presence when I was growing up.
So, this weekend, I am planning on sharing lots of memories with my husband and children. I want them to get to know her and I want to remind myself of all the wonderful times we shared. I hope it will bring me comfort and meaning. Yehi zichra baruch.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The post in which I don't discuss the weather ;)

I know I haven't posted anything all week. Between the snow, ice and sleet, I have not really been going out very much so I have little to report. The exciting news of today was that I finally gave in and bought a pair of rain boots to save my poor feet from constantly being wet. I kept saying I was going to get water-proof boots and then changing my mind because I thought I did not need them. The problem was that my fashionable boots were indeed very trendy, but they were not doing their job, which is to keepi me dry. So my black rubber boots are my newest favorite item.
It is getting kind of old to complain about the weather and talk about the crazy winter we have had, so I will spare you that speech.
Some other random updates:
-Y got a cute haircut although it is very short and he looks a tad chassidic
- A is very excited to sing her pre-school song tomorrow in front of the whole school. I am not clear how this works exactly but every week some children are chosen to sing with the pre-school director. The song goes something like this: "We are the stars of Yeshiva..." I hope it goes well and she does not get all shy up there.
- M continues to say the funniest and cutest things. Among them "Mommy, come show you" when he wants me to come see something and "Mommy, put down phone" when he wants me to pay attention.
He also loves to sing and it's very funny to hear him sing his version of Uncle Moishy songs or the songs they sing at the Shabbos groups in our shul.
Everyone still/again has runny noses and I seem to have lost my voice. But that is related to the weather, which I promised I would not discuss...
What have you been up to this week?