Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bonding with Baby

I took my own advice and got into bed around 8 45 last night and stayed there till 7 30 the next morning. Obviously I was up quite a bit with feedings but the baby also slept some longer stretches so I woke up feeling much better. I also spent most of the morning in bed, partially napping and partially reading. It was just what I needed and I was able to enjoy it, feeling I was doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing...resting and bonding with my baby.
I realized that after birth, you need to slow down to recover. But this act of slowing down and resting also sets the perfect stage for you to spend a lot of time with your baby- nursing, holding, sleeping together. All this is really what facilitates optimal bonding with your baby. There is the natural motherly bond/love that kicks in right away but it's the act of nurturing and giving that really deepens that connection.  My midwife calls it a period of "falling in love" and after 4 days of cuddling and feeding this yummy boy, I am definitely feeling it.
PS: Today marks the end of NaBloPoMo! I made it through, although I did miss one day towards the beginning.  I am definitely taking the day off tomorrow, possibly through the weekend. While it was a nice challenge to post every day, I need a break. But I will be back soon...stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Day 3- I am not Superwoman

I think I might be overdoing it. In fact, I know I am. I got a decent night's sleep last night with the baby had good intentions to rest in the afternoon but somehow it just never happened.
We went on our first outing to the pediatrician, which was tiring. Then the mohel came over to check the baby just as I was planning to take a nap. Then the baby woke up. Then M came home from school. Then my midwife came to do a post-partum check. Then a grocery delivery came. Then Y came home from school...and so it went.
Couple that with the typical Day 3 issues of hormones crashing and milk coming in and you have one cranky Mama. A cranky mommy who is shutting down at 8 30 pm and dealing with everything else tomorrow. Let's just hope the baby cooperates with this plan.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Our family

I am determined to post daily through the end of November. I don't know if anyone aside from my family reads this, but just to prove to myself that I can. And since I am currently holding a cute little bundle in my hands, I have all the time in the world :)
I have to link to this cute list- 18 phrases this mom uses every day. It really made me laugh and I probably use most of them too, as I am assuming do most moms of young children. It is also apropos because it kind of just dawned on me, that I am now the proud mother of four (!!) amazing children. I know this should be fairly obvious to me, just doing basic math, but how crazy is that?
Not quite sure where the time went. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed and awed by the responsibility of being in charge of all these little people. But tonight, as we read bedtime books with the baby in my arms and the kids sitting around me (well, almost all of them, Y was off in the corner, pretending to play football and tackle someone), it just felt right and doable. This is my little posse. I just pray that G'd give me the strength and wisdom to give my children all the love, care and education that they need.
And that I don't forget to say Nr. 18 on the list multiple times a day: "I love you!"

Brotherly love

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Day 1

I cannot believe our little addition has been with us for over 24 hours! So far we have had a smooth transition. He slept a decent amount between feedings both last night and today, although a lot of it was in my arms. Am going to have to get used to sharing my bed with a baby again.
To those who noticed- yes, that is not a hospital bed in the picture. Our little man was born at home with a midwife. I am hoping to post my birth story at some point, but for now I will just say that it was the right decision for us and that it just felt so normal. And it's nice to be home in my own bed
We had family friends come over in the morning to help out and then my in-laws in the afternoon, so I have really been able to rest. My friend came by with a supply of cookies, always a necessity to have around. I am so grateful for all the support and offers of help. I am sure I will need it. I have learned the hard way that if you overdo it in the beginning, it will only come back to bite you later. Resting now will hold me in good stead later on.
Speaking of rest, the baby is sleeping so I will try to get some sleep too!
I'll just leave you with another picture of our cutie

Saturday, November 26, 2011

It's a Boy!

Probably my best blog post ever ;)
Baby  Boy- born 5: 05 pm, 21 inches, 8 lbs 6 oz
Mom and Baby are doing great and going to sleep now!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Good shabbos

Running super late...I love living in the city because when you realize you are out of tissues 20 minutes before shabbos, you can just run out to CVS at the corner!
Wishing everyone a restful and relaxing shabbos- I could use it!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Toilet-Saga

I don't know if anyone wants to hear about our toilet trouble but I will tell you anyway.
For almost a month now, our toilet in our main bathroom has been out of commission on and off.This toilet has always been a bit temperamental but at least it worked. Now, nada!
 It started on a shabbos about a month ago when one of our shabbos guests put baby wipes in the toilet and caused it to back up. Because it was the weekend, we had to wait till Monday to have it fixed...only to have it break again the following shabbos. The super came up again on Monday and fixed it. He also said it was the kid's fault and that if it happens again, he would not come back to fix it. And that we should not put any toilet paper in the toilet. Excuse me?
I should mention that because we live in New York City we pay an arm and a leg for this apartment. I am  embarrassed to say how much. And they just raised our rent. So you would think that for all that money we would be entitled to a working toilet that actually flushes toilet paper.
We do have two other bathrooms, but one is in our bedroom, the other in my husband's office. These are rooms we usually try to keep the kids out of. So now every time someone needs to use the bathroom they need to come get me so I can unlock the door. As for trying to toilet train Y- guess who is not going to the bathroom every half hour because it is just too complicated.
Here is where it gets tricky. The toilet worked for about five days until the following Shabbos when the boys in a moment of mischief thought it was hilarious to flush plastic spoons down the toilet while I was not paying attention. Surprisingly, they went down without a problem. The problem is, after the spoons, nothing else did anymore. So we had a broken toilet all weekend once again. And this time it was our fault. But still...
Despite his threats, the super did come up again. He was able to fix it temporarily but three days later it stopped working again...thankfully not on a Shabbos! It still took till Friday to get someone to come take a look at it. The super came up last Friday and declared it fixed.  He also told me if it happens again, he would have to replace the toilet. I said "please do!!" About half hour after he left, the water was backing up again.
Which brings me to today. We had spent almost the whole week trying to get him to come upstairs and finally today, on Thanksgiving, the super came back, toting some big machine. He found one more plastic spoon backed up in the toilet and gave me another lecture about keeping the kids away from the toilet.
Can you guess what happened about an hour after he left? Exactly!
The whole thing is so absurd, I am not exactly sure if I should cry or laugh. I am dreading calling him back tomorrow. He will be really annoyed even though we have not doing anything wrong. At this point, I want a new toilet. Whatever the issue is, it is obviously not being resolved with a plunger or even some newfangled machine.
I do not know a lot about the cost or labor involved in replacing a toilet but what I do know is that I am about to have a baby in the next week or so and will have a lot of people in my home- babysitters, parents, etc. So a functioning toilet that is easily accessible and not behind locked doors would be very helpful. And again, given the rent we pay, not such an unreasonable request, don't you think?
Any tips on dealing with the super/management company are highly welcome...oh and Happy Thanksgiving too!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Parade

I have to admit the mini-parade at A's school was actually very cute. A bit chaotic and noisy, but definitely sweet.
Here are some pics of our little pilgrim girl

Here is also a little video clip about the parade. If you look closely, you can see A. at the beginning of the video. 

Someone said they saw my husband in a CBS news segment about the parade as well. I spent a while trying  to find it online but was not successful. If anyone does find it and wants to forward it to me, go right ahead.
I am still not convinced there is a need to make such a big deal out of an American secular holiday in a Jewish school, but maybe that is just the European in me. A good time was had by all and it was definitely sweet to see A's enthusiasm. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Knitting Pics/ Kids Update

My self-imposed resting at night has left me with a lot of time to knit and so I are my latest projects, all obviously baby-related. The booties are supposed to look like mini-uggs and I still have to add some trim to the sides and front to make it look like the seam on Ugg boots.
Here is the link to the pattern if anyone is interested, as well as some pictures of how the booty would look with the finished trim.

On the kids front:
-We went back to the doctor to check on Y's finger today. He did much better this time with the change of bandage. There was much less crying and struggling. It seems he may have a localized infection, so the doctor put him on antibiotics. He did not seem overly concerned about it though, just told us to keep an eye out if we notice any redness or fever.
-A. has a Thanksgiving parade at school tomorrow. They will march around the block. Because of the forecasted rain they may actually just march around their gym, but she is super enthusiastic about it. Growing up in Europe, my family never really celebrated Thanksgiving but it is cute to watch her get excited about it and to listen to her tell the story of the Mayflower and the pilgrims. I should pay attention because I am a bit fuzzy on the historical details myself.
-M. is in the cute phase of trying to figure out who everyone is and if he knows them. He likes to point out his friends at school and will often ask me who people on the street are. It is part of the process of making sense of the world and you can almost see his brain working, trying to process where every person fits in, whether it is a neighbor, a child playing next to him at the park or a substitute doorman he does not know.
It's a good reminder to stop and try to see the world through kid's everything is exciting and new.  Especially on dreary rainy days like today.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Other people's Blogs

I know I am constantly linking to articles and other blogs but this one is a must-read. Ellen at Love That Max has a guest post by Jane Schulz, a pioneer in inclusion and an advocate for children with special needs. Her son Billy, who has Down Syndrome, was born in 1956. They brought him home and because there were no services available, became his early intervention team, teachers, etc. Eventually she went back to school for a doctorate in education. She chronicles her experiences in a book called Grown Man Now (which I now want to buy!) and describes just a little bit in this post. Fascinating to see what she achieved and how far special education has come. Go read it and then check out her blog, titled Grown Man Now like her book. Just the fact that this woman is in her 70s (if not 80s) and she has a blog makes her cool in my eyes.
I admit that I spend way too much time reading other people's blogs but I do think some of it is worthwhile. I get lots of useful information that way about special needs, parenting and birth. I get to read perspectives and ideas I may not have been exposed to otherwise. Most importantly, I get to read about others going through similar things as I am. A few people commented to me how they loved the post I linked to about taking your kids to the park. They said they had not laughed so hard in a while and also "those are your kids!" I said: "I know!" That is exactly the point, to feel that you are not alone, that everyone's kids are a little nutty sometimes, everyone has good days and bad days and that it's good to laugh and not take ourselves too seriously.
In that vein, I'll share with you a funny quote from little M. that proves that I probably do spend too much time on the computer. We were at the library today and M sat himself down at a computer terminal and proceeded to bang around on the keys. I told him it was time to go and he said, "Wait, I'm checking my email. Just two more minutes!"

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Parent-Teacher Conferences times three

Part of the fun of having three kids in three schools is that they all have different vacation schedules and you often have three times the events to attend. Today was the last of three parent-teacher conferences my husband and I attended in the past two weeks.
It was nice to hear all the positive feedback and wonderful things the their teachers had to say about them. Obviously, there are always challenges and weaknesses and that is part of the process too, hearing where there can be improvement, what can be done at home and ensuring that there is consistency between expectations at home and at school.
What is apparent is that all the teachers truly like (if not love) our children, care for them and want them to succeed. What more can you ask for?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Baby Blanket

Tonight, after a fairly quiet and restful Shabbos I finally had a chance to weave in some loose ends and finish up the baby blanket I had posted about a few weeks ago.
Now it is bigger, but I am not sure I like it better this way

As you can see, I added four panels but I am wondering if it is just too many colors. Plus I was lazy and used stockinette stitch and now the sides are curling under. I can try steaming or ironing it to even it out but that might be too much of a hassle already. Am seriously considering removing the extra panels.
Would love some feedback/comments on this one.

In other news, there has been a lot of blogging and news online this past week about an ad campaign in Milwaukee that compares co-sleeping with your baby to allowing your baby to sleep next to a knife.
A bit much, no?

For some factual information about safe co-sleeping or bed sharing as well as safe and unsafe practices, here are two good articles. The first is from the Birth without Fear Blog, the second one from the website of Dr. Sears, a trusted pediatrician for over 40 years.
I like to have my babies close by, it facilitates breastfeeding at night. That doesn't necessarily mean in my bed but it does happen on occasion. I think everyone needs to make the decision of what works for them without being unnecessarily influenced by misleading scare tactics such as these ad campaigns

Friday, November 18, 2011

38 weeks and counting...

I started my 38th week of pregnancy this week, either on Tuesday or Thursday, depending on who you ask...Last week was a rough week when I was having a lot of painful contractions, other weird symptoms and fatigue. I thought this baby might be joining us sooner than expected. This past week things have calmed down significantly and I have been able to go about most of my regular activities. I did finally give up my vinyasa yoga class and have started attending the slower and less intensive pre-natal session.
I am trying to give myself more breaks. I am still having contractions regularly but that is normal for this stage. I know they are not "the real thing" because they stop when I rest. I can usually sense when I am overdoing it and need to take a time-out of a half hour or more on the couch. I also try to rest in the evenings and not do any intensive housework after eight.
Which is why, with less than two hours to shabbos, I am finding myself sitting on my bed blogging because I needed a little break. This morning I finished my shabbos cooking, did some laundry, took Y to the doctor to have his bandage changed (it's healing well but will need to stay covered for at least two weeks) , took Y to school, came home to put up the cholent, picked M up from school and brought him home, ran to pick A up from school to take her to a class and then finally came home feeling that I must sit down! I am taking a breather now so that I can start the bathing the kids/last minute prep/heat up the food routine in a little while. I am sure it will all get done.
Wishing everyone a peaceful and restful shabbos!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Links edition

 Not sure if this is cheating, but instead of sharing my own words of wisdom, I thought I would link to some interesting blog posts I have come across in the past week or two that made me think:

Jerusalem Stoned had a great post last week about the difference between guilt and change when it comes to parenting. Today she also has a really funny post about the crazy little people we call children.

Chana at Jewish Mom posted excerpts of an interview with Ayala Nivin that appears in Mishpacha magazine this week. Ayala is a mother of fourteen children and she describes how she learned to take care of herself, in order to be a better mother to her children.

On Aish, Emunah Braverman offers six simple but effective tips for a good marriage.

At the Rebbetzen's Conference, they had a session about postpartum depression. The woman presenting told us about a Jewish organization called SPARKS that works with women working through postpartum depression.  They have information, support groups and a hotline. They also mentioned a great site called Postpartum Progress. I checked it out and was impressed. They have a lot of resources like, checklist of symptoms of Post Partum Depression or Anxiety, as well as many personal accounts and stories of women who have struggled with but overcome PPD. As a doula, I have found that not enough people have awareness about the prevalence of perinatal or postpartum mood disorders. It is important to be educated so that you can identify issues early and treat them as soon as possible.

On a more lighthearted note, check out crappy pictures, an original mommy blog that documents a mother's adventures with her kids in cute pictures/illustrations. I could totally relate to this post about taking kids to the park and having them all take off in opposite directions.

Have you read anything interesting this week that you care to share?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Medical Update

Apparently we were wrong about Y's finger. His cut was pretty bad, according to the surgeon. He had to put in several stitches on the finger, as well as having to remove the finger nail and stitch up a laceration there as well. He wrapped a big bandage around Y's wrist and finger so that he can't bend it. We need to keep it clean and dry and come back on Friday to change the bandage.
It took quite a while and for about 40 minutes an office assistant, my husband, and I had to hold poor Y down so the doctor could properly suture him. We tried to get him to cooperate with the help of an iPad and promises of ice-cream but most of the time he was crying "don't hurt me" and that he wanted to "go home". To say that it was not pleasant is an understatement. Thank goodness for this amazingly talented and patient plastic surgeon. And a shout-out to my supportive husband who took the morning off to help out at the doctor's office. I am not sure how we would have done it without you!
When we  finally finished, we decided to skip school and give Y the rest of the day off, so we came home where he had his promised ice-cream and spent the rest of the day hanging out on the couch, watching too many videos. I felt like I deserved a reward too, or maybe an alcoholic drink. I made do with lunch and some ice-cream later on in the afternoon.
Kids are pretty resilient and Y seems to be doing alright, although he does not want anyone going near his hand. We did have some drama at bedtime though. He did not want to take his shirt off or put on his pajama-top, because it involved pulling the hand in and out of a sleeve. Eventually it got done.
He will also be going back to school tomorrow. He uses his right hand for coloring/writing so I am hoping the bandage won't be too limiting. And that, my friends, was my exciting's hoping tomorrow is calmer.
On a more somber note: Yesterday, the 18th of Cheshvan was also the first Yahrzeit of Jenny Morhaim, Ruchama Shaindel bat Henya Gittel Miriama former roommate and friend who died tragically and suddenly last year at the age of 27, leaving a husband and three children behind. Here are some thoughts I posted about her last year. May her neshama have an aliya and her memory be for a blessing.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Conference Day 2

I am too tired to give a really good summary of the sessions I attended today. Most of them were really excellent. Highlights include: planning your next 5 years, children with special needs (I could have given that session!), dealing with divorce in the Jewish community, and how to keep the Rabbinic family thriving and healthy.
My enjoyment was tempered a bit by the news that Y's finger got stuck in a door and was bleeding. The babysitter was able to stop the bleeding and calm him down, so I did not come home early, even though I really wanted to. Part of the reason was that I was depending on someone else for a ride back.
After several attempts to clean and get a better look at the cut, my husband and I determined that it does need to be seen by a doctor. We called the plastic surgeon we know and he told us that it can wait till the morning, assuming the bleeding stops and Y is not in too much pain. He fell asleep pretty quickly, so we will go see him at his office in the morning. Which is a good thing because I don't think I could get off the couch and out the door at this point anyway.
Walking in the door at 6 pm and then having to do books, bath and bedtime, not to mention dinner for the adults in the house is a real challenge for me. I guess if that is your daily routine, you get used to it and figure out ways to make it run more efficiently. It is probably also easier when you don't have a mini medical drama going on at the same time. The babysitter felt terrible and kept apologizing to me. I am not upset, because it was one of those scenarios where M was running in one direction and Y in the other. You cannot be in two places at one time and these things can happen so fast- it just takes a second. It could have happened to me.
I am off to do some dishes and unpack four boxes of my grocery delivery. Hoping to get to sleep at a decent hour so I can regroup for the doctor's appointment in the morning. Never a dull moment here.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Conference Day 1

I had a great but tiring day at the Rebbetzen's conference. This is my fourth year attending so I already know many of the women. It's kind of nice to catch up with them and see how their year has been, what big or small changes have occurred. Sometimes they have had a baby, sometimes  they have moved on to another community, but often things kind of stay the same.
As usual, some sessions were informative and interesting, others were less so. I have found that the panel presentations of older Rebbetzens and sessions where women have the opportunity to share and ask questions are the most helpful.You hear others describing their challenges and successes and can relate it to your own issues.
What is annoying is that sometimes there are two or three sessions going on concurrently, that I want to participate in. Alas, I can only be in one place at one time, so I try to gain what I can. Tomorrow there are definitely a few different topics I am interested in.
I do find it draining to spend all day sitting, listening to others talk. It is definitely enjoyable but tiring. Then I come home and have not seen my kids all day and I feel badly that we only have a half hour until they have to go to bed to catch up on the events of their schoolday.  I feel sad that I was not the one to pick them up from school or hear about their day as they have their snack, even if it is only for a day or two. The flipside of that is that I am very fortunate to be able to stay home with them usually and be the one they come to with their boo-boos, stories from school and even their potty language which seems to be a big source of entertainment these days.
Childcare, always a source of anxiety when being out of the house for a significant amount of time, worked out great today. I am a little nervous about tomorrow's arrangement but am hoping everything will go smoothly and everyone's needs will be met! I guess we will see...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

My lovely active children

This morning, we took advantage of the beautiful November weather and I took Y to soccer league, while a babysitter took the other two to a nearby playground. Central Park in the fall is so beautiful! When we met up with them an hour and a half later, A and M were still having a blast and Y wanted to play too, so we decided to stay for another 20-30 minutes.
As I was watching them run and jump and laugh, I marveled at their unending energy and enthusiasm and reminded myself that my kids are, thank G'd healthy active children and they need to get out and MOVE.
After lunch, we decided to head out to the park again, because the weather was still gorgeous and hey, why not. And as I watched them run around and kick the ball and swing and do all the crazy things they love to do, I thought again of how happy they are outdoors and how hard it is for them to be confined indoors sometimes. This explains why they sometimes trash their rooms and fight with each other and make me crazy- because they have all this energy and do not know where to put it.
I am not sure how to continue giving them that outlet, now that the cold weather is coming. Most days they come home from school too late to really head out again. But it is something to keep in mind on those days when their restlessness turns to mischief and trouble. Thank G'd they are healthy kids with a lot of energy who need activity in some form. And when they do not get it, they need lots of love and patience from their Mommy instead!
In other news, I had a lovely date night with my husband tonight. We figured it was our last "hurrah" before the baby makes its appearance in the next 2-3 weeks. Good food, good company, and good conversation- a winning combination.
And I am excited for my Rebbetzen's conference that I will be attending over the next two days. It is always nice to connect with other Rabbi's wives and I usually come home having learned some fascinating things. I will report more tomorrow.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

(No) Rest for the Weary

Shavua tov! We are having some serious sleep issues in our home. Which start with Y waking up around 5 am every morning since we changed the clock. I can usually convince him to go back to bed for about half an hour before he is up again and waking his buddy M so they can play- argh. This then results in my husband and I trying to ignore them and continue sleeping while taking turns to go check on them whenever there is a loud crash or other disconcerting noise.
What also happens is that I have a very, very cranky M on hand most days because he is not really supposed to be woken up at 5 30 (!) am. Some days I put him down for a nap, but then he won't go to sleep at night and we have another bad sleep cycle. Today, I decided not to have him nap, especially because he was not interested in napping at all. We had a busy but cranky day and even went to the park. Then around 5 15, while eating dinner, I noticed that he was awfully quiet..he had fallen asleep in the chair!
After shabbos, I could not resist snapping a picture of him before putting him into his bed.
I am a little bit concerned what time he will wake up in the morning, but I am thinking that it cannot really be much earlier than 5 30 anyway. Plus, the poor child obviously needs some rest! His mom could use some sleep too, as well as some advice to how to get Y to wake up later!

Friday, November 11, 2011

One-on-One Time with my Oldest

Today is apparently Veteran's Day which means yet another day off for Y. When I told him he was not going to school today, he looked at me with his cute face and in a hopeful way said "Park?" Like any boy, Y loves running around and misses not being able to go out to play after school, now that he gets home so late and the weather is turning cold.
The playground had not really been on my agenda for this morning but then I realized, that I have a pretty light schedule. We decided not to have company this week and my food was all cooked except for the cholent.
So after folding one load of laundry and washing two more, we headed out to take M to school. Y was excited to see his old preschool and we went to visit his Morah. They actually offered to have him come back for shabbos party and pizza lunch, but I decided the logistics of it would be too complicated.
Then we went to a playground near school that Y likes. It has a basketball court and we spent some time trying to shoot some hoops. Y was insisting that I shoot the ball, because he could not reach. What he did not realize is that he picked the wrong person for basketball :) His Abba or his aunt in Israel are much more likely to score than me.
Then he ran around the playground for a bit more while I watched and cheered him on. Soon enough we were both too cold to stay. We went to the supermarket nearby to pick up some things for shabbos. Y was excited because he got to ride the escalator, plus he wheeled the basket and helped me put the food on the conveyor belt when we were paying.
Our whole outing was only about an hour but it was nice to spend some time alone with Y, something I realize I do not get to do very often. Now we are home and back to our own schedules, but I am glad I was able to fit this in.
Have a wonderful shabbos!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Baby Wearing

After yesterday's heavy post, I figured I would give you something more light-hearted today.
Today, I saw one of my neighbors with her newborn baby, incidentally also her fourth child. She was carrying her 3-week old girl in a wrap and it got me all enthusiastic and excited about babywearing again.
For the uninitiated, babywearing refers to carrying your infant/child in a baby carrier.
The truth is I have been thinking about babywearing for a while already, and every time I see a Mom (or Dad- have to say I think men who are confident enough to use baby-carriers are amazing!) with a baby carrier,  I check to see which brand/type she is using.
We have come a long, long way from the days of Baby Bjorns. I had one of those for Y and A and the truth is, I did not really use it that much because it was not comfortable. I have since learned, that the position of the baby in a Bjorn is considered far from optimal and not recommended.
When I was pregnant with M, I started looking into more options. And there are plenty. If you really want your head to spin, check out a store like Metro Minis or a site like The Babywearer, that has every wrap, sling and carrier under the planet.
The two types that I own, have used a lot and plan to use again this time are:
1) The Ergo Baby- it is a structured carrier with straps that is easy to put on and incredibly comfortable to use. M used to hang out in there for hours, especially when he was a newborn and the other two were both still sitting in the stroller. The baby can be worn in front, back or on the side.

 Similar options would be the Beco Carrier or a Mei Tai.

2) The Moby Wrap- There is a learning curve in figuring out how to wrap all this material snugly and safely, but once you have figured it out, it is another versatile and comfortable option. It is not as quick as snapping on a structured carrier, but it is softer and is great for snuggling the baby in a crade-like hold. There are multiple options for the wrap as well in terms of front, side or back-carrying. There are also many other brands of wraps, but I happen to like the fabric of the Moby. It is stretchy but still supportive.

Couldn't resist posting this- how cute is that?

New addition: Slings- I don't have any real experience using slings yet, but I took advantage of a promotion recenty and received a brand new Sevenslings in the mail for the price of shipping (about 10 dollars, retails at 38). I am excited to try it out.

I think babywearing is great for bonding with your child. Additionally, if you have other chidren to take care of, it is a great way to be able to hold the baby while still having your hands free to help your other kids. I joke around with a friend, that I am planning on sticking the new baby in a wrap and just continuing my schedule the way it is toting him or her around wherever I go...probably wishful thinking.
As always, make sure the baby is secure in the carrier and read up on safe baby-wearing. You can also read about the beefits of babywearing here and here. Happy Babywearing!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Loss of a Gadol

Yesterday, the Jewish world sustained another big loss with the sudden death of Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel, Rosh Yeshiva of the Mir Yeshiva in Jerusalem. Having had no personal connection to him, I cannot possibly do justice to speaking about such a great individual, so please take my words with a grain of salt.
Vos iz neias has a good synopsis of his life and the impact he had on the world of Jewish learning. The Yeshiva World has some amazing pictures and coverage from the funeral that was attended by an estimated 100, 000 people. Someone even created an entry for him on Wikipedia....I wonder if that is the true measure of someone being important- kidding!
When trying to think of any way to make this loss more personal, I realized that my brother and brothers in law learned in the Mir Yeshiva. My husband spent time learning in a kollel that was an off-shoot of the Mir, so we have all been affected by his vision. I also remembered that Rav Finkel had actually officiated at my sister's wedding a few years ago. It was Lag Ba'Omer, a busy day for weddings on the Jewish calendar and we were told that the wedding ceremony had to start on time because Rav Finkel had four other weddings to attend that evening.
When it was time for the chuppah to begin, I have to say I was a bit taken aback. It was my first time seeing someone with severe Parkinson's perform a wedding and it was not an easy thing to watch. His body was shaking uncontrollably and he struggled to say the words. At the time, I felt badly for him. I wondered how someone could ask somebody so obviously ill to inconvenience himself and officiate at a wedding when he was struggling so much. I could not believe that this man was planning to perform this feat four more times that same evening. It seemed like an unfair imposition and request on behalf of the wedding couples.
But the more I read about Rav Finkel over the last day and a half, the more I started to understand. Even though Rabbi Finkel was a sick man, he did not let this define him.  He refused to take pain medication so that his mind would be lucid and he could learn. His door was always open to students of the yeshiva and he made it his business to know as many of them personally as he could. Unbelievably, he traveled all over the world to raise funds for the Yeshiva. And he did all this with a smile on his face, always looking for ways to give to others.
I realize now (two years too late but better late than never) that the discomfort was all mine, that I was projecting my feelings onto him. Though it may be hard for me to comprehend this level of selflessness, there was nothing the Rosh Yeshiva wanted more on that day than to bring joy to all these brides and grooms by giving them the honor of officiating at their weddings (well maybe to learn Torah, but that is a different discussion). He was willing to travel all around Jerusalem and go through this process several times, all for the benefit of others. It is a humbling thought.
In our "Me"-generation we cannot even fathom that someone could be so focused on others. With the loss of so many of our great leaders over the past few months, one cannot help but wonder if this generation is even capable of producing amazing leaders of that same caliber.
If the answer is no, the loss is truly staggering. Yehi Zichro Baruch.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


So I kind of fell off the bandwagon with NaBloPoMo yesterday. I was planning on blogging at night but then was just too tired...I am not exactly sure how this works anyway, is anyone actually checking if you blog, or is it more a challenge for yourself?
I figured I would get an early start, rather than leave it till the evening. The kids are all off from school today because it's Election Day. Is it terrible if I admit that I don't even know what/who they are voting for? Shows you how patriotic I am. Keeping everyone entertained is a bit of a challenge because there were differences of opinion on how to spend our morning. It took forever to get anywhere because A was complaining she was bored and wanted to leave NOW while M refused to even get out of his pajamas.After a half hour of frustrating cajoling and threatening everyone to get their shoes on, I had enough and just opened the door and headed to the elevator. That got their attention pretty fast and soon I had three kids wearing shoes and sweatshirts and ready to go!
We headed to the park where they could run around and I could sit on a bench and watch. For about an hour everything was under control till M discovered a hole in the fence and went charging up a hill. Did I mention that I am 37 weeks pregnant and cannot chase a 3 year old up a grassy hill full of branches....okay. With A's help, I was able to get M back inside. 15 minutes later, Y discovered the same trick. At this point I decided it was time to go home.
Now it is actually fairly calm here. M is taking a nap, A is on a playdate and Y is keeping himself entertained on the iPad. I am trying to decide if I should just take it easy on the couch while I can or get started on dinner and fold some laundry. Will probably try to enjoy the quiet while it lasts. Were your kids off from school today? What did you do?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Does a doula need a doula?

In case you didn't know, the answer to the above question is a resounding "yes". As much as you may know about childbirth, when you are in labor, you need someone to help you focus and apply those tools. Plus, you can't really massage your own back :)
Tonight, I met with my doula Leda for our pre-natal meeting. We spoke about my preferences, comfort measures that have worked for me in the past and just chatted about life, birth and other stuff- like what we will do if I go into labor on shabbos.
I originally met Leda through Birth Focus, when we attended open houses together as doulas. It was funny to now be speaking to her as a "client" but so nice that we already have a rapport and are friends too.
The meeting was productive and yet another step towards getting into the mind frame of- this baby is coming soon, so I better start preparing, both emotionally and physically. The next step is to wash and set aside some of the baby clothing and blankets that I have located in boxes at the top of my closets.
Can't believe we're really getting there....stay tuned.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Shifting Perspectives

I have to admit I was not quite sure what I wanted to blog about tonight- our nice but exhausting shabbos, my dilemma as to whether I am still up to hosting guests next week, the kids seeming inability to sleep past 6am these days...but then I checked out some other blogs I follow and found this wonderful video, thanks to rickismom at Beneath the Wings
It is about a photographer who dedicated a whole photographic exhibition to images of individuals with Down Syndrome. The images are amazing and it is a wonderful concept as well, to present people with special needs as individuals with their own interests and character.
I highly recommend watching this, would love to hear your thoughts!

Friday, November 4, 2011

It's Shabbos Now

Posting on short Fridays is going to be a challenge, especially once we turn our clocks back this coming Saturday night. Although today was not such a hectic day. I decided not to make Challah today, which freed up some time in the morning. I spent some time shopping- buying a dress for one niece and the cutest little fake Uggs for another one.

Then I also picked up some yarn to finally finish the baby blanket I have been working on for a while. I thought I was done but then I decided it's too small so I want to add some panels.
This is what it looks like now. I'll post another picture once I have finished the panels. Hopefully I'll finish before the baby comes!

Speaking of, I have now officially entered my 9th month and am feeling it in the form of lots of Braxton Hicks contractions, especially when I do a lot of walking. Yet another reason to take it easy and slow down.
As it says "Ba Shabbos, Ba Menucha"- when shabbos arrives, rest comes with it. Although for Rabbis and Rabbi's wives, that may not be as true. Shabbos may just be the day my husband and I work the hardest.
Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend and hoping the weather has no nasty surprises in store for us!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

On Parenting and Self-Esteem

On Wednesday morning, I had the opportunity to attend a parenting class by Slovie Jungreis-Wolff, daughter of Esther Jungreis and author of Raising a Child with Soul. I bought the book a while ago, but never really had a chance to read it.
This is the first time I heard her speak and I enjoyed it very much. She is an engaging speaker and she had some interesting things to say. I find that with parenting, much of the advice is intuitive. We kind of know what we should be doing, although we do not always act on it. So, while nothing Slovie said was particularly new to me, it is still good to hear these ideas over and over again.
Her focus was on self-esteem. She said we should praise our children for doing rather than being. Praise and encourage them for specific things rather than just tell them that they are amazing,beautiful, etc.  From a young age give them little jobs and make them feel like they can contribute and be successful.
Slovie also spoke about the disservice we do to our children by being "Helicopter Parents" who solve every challenge and problem that comes our child's way. No parent wants to see their child suffer or struggle, but in truth, that is the only way they will acquire skills for life. You are still there for them, listening to their frustrations and available to help if they really cannot manage on their own. But first let them have a chance to work on it, that is truly the best way to learn. This applies across the board- to toddlers learning how to dress or feed themselves, school age children doing home-work and teenagers with their myriad of challenges.
All of this rang very true to me. This second point also reminded me of an article I had read in The Atlantic this past summer entitled How to Land your Kid in Therapy. Lori Gottlieb, the author, argues that modern parents' attempts at fixing the previous generation's parenting mistakes by overcompensating and always giving our children yet more and more has backfired. It has not led to happier children. Because kids who never learn about disappointment, kids who get a trophy for just showing up to a sports competition because "everyone is a winner" are in for a shock when they enter the real world, when Mommy and Daddy cannot protect them anymore.
As she says: " We can try to protect them from nasty classmates and bad grades and all kinds of rejection and their own limitations, but eventually they will bump up against these things anyway. In fact, by trying so hard to provide the perfectly happy childhood, we’re just making it harder for our kids to actually grow up. Maybe we parents are the ones who have some growing up to do—and some letting go."
So basically, parenting and finding the right balance is hard work. Which I am guessing you already knew. But really, by working on ourselves and trying to continually improve in our parenting, we are also teaching our children important lessons. That everyone makes mistakes, that it is okay to fail and try again and that a little bit of struggle is good for everyone and will ultimately make you happier than the "perfect" life.

Food for thought- do you agree?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Welcome to NaBloPoMo!

I am sure you are all thinking "huh"? I thought the same thing when I first read the phrase on a different blog. It stands for National Blog Posting Month. In November, thousands of bloggers are signing up on the official site to commit themselves to blog once a day for the whole month and yours truly is attempting to be part of it.
The point of this little exercise is to "Improve your writing and grow your blog" And obviously just to have fun. When I first read about it, I thought- no way, I have too much going on. But then I reconsidered. I thought it might be fun to document the last month of my pregnancy. And all the other random and funny things that happen to our family. And my thoughts about other blogs, articles and interesting things I have come across. I do not know if anyone is actually interested in reading my thoughts every day, but even if not, it is a good writing exercise for me. And it does not require any major commitment. If I can't do it, nothing happens. If I do, I may actually enjoy and learn something new.
I did not even know about this yesterday, but I did publish a post, so so far I am doing great :)

NaBloPoMo 2011

In other news- interesting link alert- Ellen at Love that Max wrote about an encounter with a man who has special needs in a restaurant. Her husband and her had a lovely conversation with him and felt very comfortable interacting with him. Afterwards, they reflected on, how, before their son was born, they may have felt differently about this whole episode. The awareness that having a child with special needs changes your perspective and understanding that not everyone has the same sensitivity you do. In fact, you did not always have it yourself.
I actually had a similar encounter myself this week. I was heading to a parenting class today (topic for another post this month- I can't use all my material up!) and had some extra time before it started, so I stopped off in Gap for a minute. I did not buy anything but I did meet a nice woman who worked in the store. She asked me what month I was in and told me I look great, which I always like to hear. This woman definitely had some sort of mild disability but she was really sweet. She also told me that she had just given me a compliment, so I thanked her for it again. When I left the store, I wished her a good day and she told me to enjoy my last month of my pregnancy. It was a very short and inconsequential thing, but I hope she felt good that I had engaged with her and I was happy to see that Gap hiring adults with special needs,
It is a good question to ask yourself- how would you react if someone approached you, and why? And what can we do to work on our sensitivity as well as educate others.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A little bit of knowledge

An exciting development in recent weeks is that Y has really been able to tell us more about his day at school and activities he was involved in. It still requires a little bit of guesswork and interpretation, but it is nice to see his speech developing and that he can share his day with us on some level.
This past Friday, he came home from school and proudly told me that he ate pizza with his reading buddies. This was puzzling to me on a few fronts. As far as I knew, his reading buddies (5th grade mentors who read with his class) only come on Tuesday and Wednesday, and the school was under strict instructions not to give Y any food that we had not sent in. I wasn't sure what to make of his claims, but thought I saw some tomato sauce left on his face.
I decided to call his teacher and clarify. She told me that, yes they had made pizza in class that day with friends from a different grade. Although not the reading buddies, these were other buddies :). She said not to worry because she had bought all the ingredient herself and they were all OU-D. I asked where the pizza was made and she told me in the classroom toaster oven, which is what I had suspected.
I gently told her, that while I appreciated her efforts to provide Y with kosher food and to include him in all activities, the oven itself is not kosher, which therefore makes the pizza (in this case english muffins, marinara sauce and cheese) problematic. She felt very badly and apologized. I told her that I will gladly send in substitutes if she gives me enough advance warning.
It  made me realize the truth of the saying, "a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing." Y's teacher last year knew literally NOTHING about kosher. So she asked me about every little thing and was very careful. This year, when I initially discussed kosher with the new teacher, she assured me that she knew all about kosher and  how to check for the kosher symbols. It is not her fault, it just shows me I have to be more vigilant.
We had a helpful conversation and I reiterated my request that even if she thinks she knows what is kosher and what is not, Y only be given the food we send from home. She agreed  and said she will try to give my advance warning so I can send in substitute foods for their cooking activities. It is not as exciting for Y that he will not be able to taste the food that they make, but you have to work with what you have.
And the upside is, we are shepping nachas from our big boy who can share a bit more of his world with us day by day.