Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Pessach is taking up almost every free minute of my day. I am trying hard to just clean for chametz and not do spring cleaning. Here is the problem though. If I am taking everything out of a shelf or drawer in order to check for crumbs and wipe it down, it just seems silly to just throw it all back in the messy way it was. If I went through the effort, I might as well throw out or give away stuff that does not belong and neatly put the rest away.
And if I am cleaning my fridge, it is almost impossible to just get rid of the crumbs. If I am already knee deep in the fridge with clorox and paper towels, I am going to clean up the random spills, the gunk and whatever else is there. After about four hours of work spread out over the last two days, I can honestly say that my fridge and freezer are super clean. I am so proud I even considered taking a picture and posting it. But there is a limit to my insanity.
There is something so nice about all this cleanliness. It feels like a fresh start, a new beginning of keeping things in order and wiping up the spills right away. There is a sense of potential, the sky is the limit. The cynic in me is saying that it is merely a mirage or temporary. That in a half hour there will be legos or pretzels or popcorn on the floor, inside the couch, in the fridge or wherever else I just cleaned. That things always stay the same.
But there is still part of me that is hopeful and holding on to this sense of renewal, not just in the physical realm, but in life as well.
While scrubbing my apartment, I may also be spring cleaning all my faults and inconsistencies away. The result? A new me- a more patient, loving, spiritual version...Who knows? Stranger things have happened.

Monday, March 26, 2012

What I have been doing instead of blogging

-Redeeming my massage for toilet training the boys. If theyre both about 75% there, thats 150% toileting success :)
 -Going out to dinner for our anniversary
-Attending a family bar mitzva in Westchester
-Checking out the new 16 handles in.our neighborhood. The kids loved it. Thanks jdeal
-Washing countless loads of wet pants and underwear daily (like I said, 75 percent of the way there)
-Cleaning the kitchen cabinets
- Nursing my yummy baby who is 4 months old today!
- Hanging out with my sister, her husband and their cute kiddos who are visiting from Israel
-Cleaning more kitchen cabinets. The fridge is next....
-Planning Passover menus and shopping lists

Basically, life is hectic, busy and good.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

World Down Syndrome Day

I have spent most of this week submerged in toys and cleaning supplies as I tackled the kid's bedroom and toys for Pessach. I am happy to announce that I finished the room and am taking the rest of the week off from cleaning.
I emerged long enough to visit Gigi's Playhouse on Sunday, the new Down Syndrome Awareness Center that recently opened in New York City. The Center is not in our neighborhood but easily reachable by subway. We went to an Open House to meet other children with Down Syndrome and their families.A good time was had by all except for A, who kept insisting that everything was "boring."
It was an apropos week to visit the Playhouse because today is World Down Syndrome Day. In honor of the day, the UN hosted a conference all about Down Syndrome with the title "Building Our Future". There was a live webcast and I was able to watch some of it this morning while cleaning and holding Baby AY who has been cranky all day. My husband said we should have gone to see it live but life is busy..I also missed out on hearing Ina May Gaskin, often called the mother of modern midwifery, speak this week. She was in NY on Monday and gave a lecture at the Museum of Motherhood. You can only be in so many places at once.
Anyway, I was only able to see part of the program, but I was able to see a few incredible articulate young men and women with Down Syndrome speak about their accomplishment, their goals and their dreams. It was very inspiring but also daunting because I know these children did not achieve all they did without tremendous input and work on their parent's part. This is where the Mommy-guilt of "Am I doing enough?" comes in.
You can still see the program on the UN's webcast site. It is pretty long, but I encourage you to take some time  to hear some of the men and women speak. You can skip around for the relevant parts.
Up next this week- our wedding anniversary tomorrow to be celebrated by going out to dinner as well as another family simcha on the weekend. Never a dull moment around here.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Links Edition

Some interesting reads and food for thought

Parents sue for wrongful birth of child with Down Syndrome- this is a pretty disturbing article about the ethical implications of suing for wrongful birth. Basically, it's saying that you wish your child was never born. One family apparently did this recently and were awarded 3 million dollars. To which my not very eloquent comment is "Ugh!!:
By the way, World Down Syndrome Day is on March 21 (get it- 3 copies of the 21st chromosomes), and they are having a conference at the UN on issues pertaining to DS. You can find out more info here.

The Housewife- Mama Birth grapples with what it means to be a housewife and "only" a mom and the love- hate relationship she has with this occupation.

Lastly, just because, a picture of AY trying to stuff a toy into his mouth

Friday, March 16, 2012

Progress Not Perfection

It has been over a month and we are not quite there yet on the toilet training front. We have definitely made progress though so I am trying to focus on that.
Other parents of children with Down Syndrome have shared with me that their children are time trained, meaning they dont request to go to the bathroom, rather are taken at fixed intervals.  That would be fine with me, we are just trying to lenghten the time between trips to the bathroom. Right now we are at every 30 minutes which is frankly annoying and not sustainable.
But we are slowly working on it. I am realizing there is no quick fix rather this is a long process.
I am also trying to remind myself of all the things my husband said last week when speaking about inclusion. Our children are gifts rather than burdens who have a lot to teach and give to us. It may not always feel that way when we are the ones doing all the giving: the trips to the bathroom,cleaning up the accidents and the laundry (oh, the laundry!!) But its true. They teach us more than we give them.
And when we finally get there (may it be speedily, in our days), that amazing feeling of accomplishment will be worth it all. Until then, we will be focusing on all progress rather than trying to attain perfection.
Have a wonderful shabbos!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Whirlwind week

Sorry for falling off the face of the planet. After our successful but chaotic purim meal (final count 34 adults, 23 kids) we headed out to miami beach for a little weekend getaway.
My inlaws watched the big kids (thanks!!) and we left early friday morning. This was partially a working trip as my husband was  speaking about inclusion for yachad but we still had a great time. We got to sleep late and sunday was spent hanging out on the boardwalk and by a pool. Check out AY relaxing on a lounge chair.
We came home late sunday night and went right into a crazy week of school, parent teacher confeences, knitting club, early dismissal (Y) and days off (M) and of course starting to clean for pessach.
So I am just catching my breath a bit today...will have more to report soon. Stay tuned

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Calm before the storm

Well, i have about an hour before the crowds descend upon our apartment. We are set up and im going to start prepping the food soon. Some before pics. And a cool pic of mordechai on his horse today at chabad. Happy purim!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Ready or not

This is shaping up to be a busy week- my midterm is about 12 hours from now. I feel pretty prepared. Purim is 48 hours from now. Not quite as prepared for that.
Tonight I studied and made challah dough to refrigerate over night. I also just placed a huge order of all the things I need for our gigantic seuda, that will hopefully come tomorrow afternoon.
I am trying to to feel overwhelmed and anxious about all the things that need to happen between tonight and Thursday afternoon. I am giving myself peptalks instead about how capable I am :)
On a side note- I went to Starbucks to study on Sunday, while my in-laws held down the fort with the crew (thanks!) and the whole place was full of people studying like me or doing work on their laptops. It was a funny sight to behold. Personally, I would rather study at home in my PJs as long as all the little people are sleeping or out of the house, but I guess that is a personal preference.
Also, read this article about the American Academy of pediatrics on Breastfeeding- they say breastfeeding is a public health issue, not a lifestyle choice. Yes, yes and yes. Finally a voice of reason in all this insane media coverage about nursing in public or pumping at work. Speaking of nursing, these last few days, AY has decided he only likes nursing with me lying down, which is becoming quite inconvenient. Suggestions to getting him to feed in more upright positions are very welcome.
A reading to AY- how delicious is that?

Saturday, March 3, 2012


You know your studying is different than your classmates, when you try to read your notes while bouncing/nursing/rocking your baby and also running a post-shabbos load in the dishwasher...and the washing machine. 3 more days till my midterm. Time to get serious about studying. Wish me luck- and some quiet time so I can focus!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Week in Review

I feel like an old lady saying this, but the weeks seem to fly by and all of a sudden it is Thursday night again.
I have had a busy week on the cooking front-I spent pretty much every morning the kids were in school in the kitchen preparing. I made 100 Hamentaschen, 48 muffins, 48 appetizers and 10 lbs of turkey for our Purim meal. Then I cooked for shabbos today. Let's just say I could use a break from the stove for a while. Unfortunately, that does not seem very likely.

I will spare you any gory details on the toilet-training front but I would say we are definitely making progress. M is about 90 percent trained and Y had his first full day at school without any accidents.
Some snapshots from the past week
Y snuck into M's bed one evening while we were having dinner

M listening to music at the YU seforim sale. Notice how much better his eye looks

AY looking cute as always
Other noteworthy updates:
-AY rolled over for the first time this week, right on schedule for his 3 month birthday
- I went to Y's school to speak the kids about Purim. Some of his classmates call me "Ima" :)
-I love the way M tells me the Purim story he is learning at school in little sound bites: Achashverosh was very angry...The soldiers wanted to hurt King Achashverosh...Haman was not very nice...Achashverosh lived in a palace...Queen Esther lit Shabbos candles- we don't touch matches (that is not actually part of the story, he was just sharing safety rules he learned)
M's costume arrived in the mail today. Took a lot of convincing to leave it in the package so it will be in one piece for Purim. Y's should arrive any day. Looking forward to a fun and chaotic week!