Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Closed for Studying

I am busy memorizing muscles for Wednesday and then have a final on Thursday, so I will not be updating.
Here are some links about feminism/ women working/opting out to keep you busy.

1% wives are helping kill feminism

Why women can't have it all

Are Stay at Home Moms Really Killing Feminism

The Case against Opting Out

As you can see  this topic is of interest to me. So many thoughts, so little time...maybe on Thursday when I am (finally) done!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Special Needs Links Edition

A few interesting things I came across this week on the special needs front:

A beauty pageant for individuals with special needs, where everyone gets an award, as reported by Ellen at Love that Max. Check it out, the pictures are really amazing.

A young man with Down Syndrome who owns his own restaurant.Tim Harris is 26, and is the owner of Tim's Place where they serve great food and hugs. None other than People Magazine reported on this very unique young man. Read the article here.

Lastly, my husband wrote an article about the comraderie of parents of children with special needs and the crazy stuff Y has done over the years. Safety awareness is a work in progress. I can't post a link but you can find it in this week's Mishpacha magazine.

Have a wonderful shabbos and stay cool.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Confessions of a Lactivist

I am a huge proponent of breastfeeding. I truly believe that breast is best, that the nutrients are superior to any formula man can make. There are so many things I love about it- the closeness with my babies, the ease and convenience, being able to just roll over, nurse and go back to sleep in the middle of the night, never having to drag along bottles and formula when going out, etc, etc.
This is the point where I insert a big "but". I love breastfeeding but there are obviously also things I do not like as much
- the fact that breastfed babies usually sleep through the night later
- when babies are fussy and refuse to nurse in certain positions which makes nursing in public very challenging (thankfully AY seems to finally have outgrown this annoying habit
-having to be careful about eating or drinking certain foods which may not be great for baby .ie caffeine, cabbage, broccoli,  alcohol, etc.
- the fact that breastfeeding is all me all the time. On the one hand it is nice to be so "needed", on the other hand it is also very draining and sometimes I just want a break.
-Pumping- This has become more of an issue, now that I am out of the house about four hours a day four times a week. During the spring semester, I was only out of the house two hours twice a week. I had to pump milk but not that much and not so often. 
Now I am pumping about twice a day and am really not enjoying it. I only have a hand pump which is a lot more labor intensive. I also have a hard time getting a let-down on a pump so I am always nervous that I do not have enough milk. 
 AY has recently started solids, so the pressure is a bit less, because he usually eats a yogurt while I am out but I still need to pump and do not look forward to my pumping sessions. I am happy that I only have a bit over a week left to this course, but I really do have new found respect for full-time working moms who make the commitment to pump for their babies. 
What I have decided though, and it took me to till the fourth child to realize this, is that while breastfeeding is certainly the ideal, if I had to supplement with formula, it would not be the end of the world. Case in point- three months ago I attended a good friends wedding. I knew I would be away for a large part of the day and really tried to build up a milk stash, but was going through a low supply phase and knew I did not have enough. Rather than spend hours worrying about my hungry and crying baby, I bought some formula so the sitter would have a back-up. He ended having about 6 oz. of formula and nothing happened :)
I have spoken to two other mothers recently who echoed the same sentiment. They are committed to breastfeeding but if for some reason, they cannot pump or are worried about amounts, they will happily supplement with formula. This may sound like common sense, but many breastfeeding "purists" would look down on such scenarios and say I was not "committed" enough.
I want to clarify that I think that breastfeeding is not encouraged enough in the United States. There are many women who are under-informed and I would love to help advocate and educate for breastfeeding, either as a L&D or post partum nurse.  I also think that just because something is hard sometimes, does not mean we should throw in the towel right away. Yes, breastfeeding can be challenging in the beginning and sometimes even months in. But it is a worthwhile investment in your child.
And yet...life is not perfect. In a perfect world, your child would never have a drop of formula, never be left to cry and always have all their needs met immediately. But life is not perfect and we do the best we can and if that means a bottle of formula now and then that is okay.
What are your thoughts on this issue?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Attempted Pictures

Today is Father's Day. I thought it would be nice to frame a picture of all the kids for my father in law and husband. Turns out we do not have one. So I set about trying to take one on my phone. I ran into two problems. One, my phone was acting funny and the pictures came out looking blurry. Two, it is almost impossible to get four children to look and smile at the same time. 
Here are some of my attempts:

We also went to the park in the afternoon, where I attempted to catch Baby AY laughing on the swing. Again, I was unsuccessful, although he is still very cute!

I am guessing  professional photography is not in my immediate future. Good thing I am busy memorizing the 206 bones of the human body for my nursing career.

In unrelated news, there was an interesting article in the NY Times, reporting on the growing popularity on the use of midwives, both in hospitals and at home. While the article made it seem like using midwives is a new trend for the "hip", it also discussed the advantages of the midwifery model of care. The article also quotes my OB, Jacques Moritz (who was very supportive of my homebirth), saying that we need fewer doctors and more midwives! You can read it here

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Come and Gone

At the risk of sounding like an old lady, time just passes by too fast.
It seems like we were just in the depths of winter and all of a sudden it is almost summer (although you would not know it from the weather) and the year is over.
Tuesday was M's last day of preschool. I knew it was coming but it still kind of took me by surprise. We had a nice little good-bye party where the kids sang songs and M. got a memory book of pictures. He is home now for the rest of the summer and we will need to find some entertainment for him. I am hoping to spend lots of time in the park as well as schedule playdates.

M checking out his photobook
In the same way, I was looking forward to my Mom's visit for a long time. She had not seen Baby AY since he was a little newborn and we were looking forward to spending time together. She arrived last Tuesday, but before we knew it, she was on the plane home again yesterday.  The kids had lots of fun with her. She arrived early every morning bearing gifts of bagels and muffins. M's priceless comment this morning when he found out that Grandma had gone home and there were no more bagels: "We will miss the food."
She took A. for some special girl time for a manicure and frozen yogurt. She was also there for her graduation. She took M. to school some days and came to his good-bye party too.
She spent lots of time holding and rocking Baby AY so I could have a break. She also bought the kids and me lots of gifts (plus a snazzy purple tie for my husband). All in all, the trip was a big success.  I just cannot believe it is over already. Thankfully, we will be seeing her again in August, so we do not have to say good-bye for too long. We will miss you though!

For those wondering about the pictures in my previous post, the correct order is M, A and then AY. Congrats to those who got it right!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Name that baby

Just for fun, I went back into my old photo albums to see what the other kids looked like as babies. Turns out they are all clones. See if you can figure it out- find A., M. and AY!!

Friday, June 8, 2012


A. had her Kindergarten graduation today. I think that it's a bit dramatic that nowadays children "graduate" from nursery and kindergarten, but it is a great opportunity for the kids to show off their skills and be celebrated for their accomplishments. And of course for the parents to snap pictures and cry a tear or two about their baby who has grown up.
A. has had a fabulous year. She transitioned from a different school in September and although there were some bumps in the road, she has grown so much, physically and emotionally. She is much more confident and happy. She has made great friends and she and her posse are forever giggling and whispering secrets. Sometimes when she has playdates at our apartment, the girls are not so nice to A's brothers, but I guess it is hard for A. to be the only girl in this boy's house and she has to assert herself somehow. Work in progress
Check her out, standing all the way in the front, confidently singing her heart out

 A. is in the first row, second from the left, sort of looking at the camera

Proud parents of an almost first grader!!
We are so proud of our little girl. Although she can be a drama queen at times, her spunk and sensitivity add so much to our home.
Have a great shabbos

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Update on Summer School

I am now heading towards the end of the second week of my summer semester (6 days down, 13 to go but who is counting?) It has been both better and harder than I expected.
Better because my professor usually does not make us stay till 6 10. we usually leave between 5 30 and 5 45. She is nice and is very clear about her expectations for the class and it is not too difficult.
Harder because, although it is not terribly complicated or hard, there is A LOT of material to be covered. A big part of it is memorization, which requires a lot of time. I spent the last week memorizing slides of different tissues and the different parts of the epidermis and dermis (for all the uninitiated, that means skin). Our first lab exam was today and I think I nailed it..yay!
I am also relieved that my babysitter is working out very well. She is amazing and does not seem to get frazzled by the many demands of the kids. It is a team effort. My husband has been helpful with getting children to their special activities, so the sitter does not have to take everyone along. My mom is visiting now too and pitches in as well.  By the time I get home the kids are all fed and in PJs and my babysitter is usually semi-successfully prodding them to clean up their toys a bit.
It also helps that I have been pretty organized. I use the mornings to clean up, do laundry, buy groceries and make dinner, so that things run smoothly when I am away. It is very comforting to know that my kids are in good hands.  That way I can focus on starting to memorize the 80 bones of the axial skeleton. Fun times.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Six Months

I feel like I just wrote AY's five month post. I was not even sure I was going to write one for this month because not much had changed. But then seemingly over night, two things happened:

1)  He started crawling! AY has been pivoting and rolling over for a while already but then over Shabbos, he actually managed to propel himself forward a bit, using a combination of shimmying his legs and pulling his arms. Over the past three days he has been practicing this skill and it is really amazing to see how fast and far he can get. This of course means he will soon be getting into trouble like his older siblings. And that I have to be more careful with whatever is on the floor, as he is likely to stuff it into his mouth.
Speaking of mouth, we also started him on solids. He has been very interested in food for the past few weeks, and while I was planning on exclusively breastfeeding till six months, I decided to start him a bit earlier. He has been eating a few bites of pureed fruits and vegetables but nothing major. The problem is that he wants to eat everything we are eating, which he is not quite ready for. I have been letting him suck on some bagels and animal crackers but need to be careful not to let him bite off a piece, as he tends to gag on anything that is not smooth. I will also try a mesh feeder so he can feed himself and try out other food items.

2) AY also started having seperation/stranger anxiety. Until now, he has been content to be held by anyone and he used to give my babysitter the biggest smile when she walked in the door. Then on Sunday, when my in-laws came to visit, he did smile at them but did not really want them to hold him. And today, he started crying when the babysitter took him from me. She said he was sad most of the afternoon and was refusing to eat much.
I know this is a normal developmental stage but it definitely increases the mommy guilt to leave the house when your baby is crying and knowing that they actually can miss you now. We do get to spend a lot of time together, though, and I also spent most of the morning wearing him, so we definitely had lots of snuggle timing.

 AY loves kisses. His favorite spot is his neck. When he is in the Ergo, he will sometimes throw back his head so I can kiss his neck. He closes his eyes and has the biggest smile on his face while I "eat" his neck. It is really the cutest thing.
He is also babbling and cooing a lot. No teeth yet although lots of sucking and biting down on things. Any toy automatically goes into his mouth. That is how he explores at this age.
He is rolly-polly and  mostly pleasure to hang out with. We are still working on sleeping better. He seems to really fight sleep sometimes. He also wants to sleep next to me, which is fine some of the time but I would like him to be able to sleep in his crib independently as well. I do not want him to be too dependent on me for falling asleep, if I am ever not home.
Check him out- this is us as the Celebrate Israel Parade on Sunday

Sunday, June 3, 2012


I am sitting at the computer, trying to memorize the different types of tissues in the human body with wonderful names such as pseudostratified ciliated columnar ephithelium. I am also realizing that I will be doing a lot of memorizing and science in the upcoming months and years.
This makes sense because Nursing is a Bachelors in Science. But I can't help but feel that I just want to be done already. Instead of slogging through day by day and studying for Lab exams, I want to already be the finished product, doing the clinical work.
I am sure I will not need to identify stratified squamous tissue in the L&D ward...but the catch is that there are no shortcuts. I have to get through this course one day at a time and then the next and the next...I need to submit my applications to nursing programs and then study, study, study all while caring for our family.
It is not so much that I do not believe I can do it, because I do have confidence in myself. It is more the fact that I wish it was all over already.
There are many things like that- I want my kids to be toilet trained, sleeping through the night, reading, you name it. But unless I invest in the process it is not going to happen on its own. So I am back to studying my connective tissues. I am so grateful to my classmates who took pictures of all the slides and sent them out to everyone, so we can study from the comfort of our home. College has definitely evolved since my first go-around ten years ago.
Just for fun and because I know you are all dying to know what stratified squamous ephithelia is- here is the pic. It is actually your epidermis, meaning your skin. Check it out.