Friday, July 27, 2012

Good Shabbos from the Holy Land

Somehow it is Friday already. Not quite sure how that happened. It's been a week of wacky sleep- lots of middle of the night wake-ups, midday naps and sleeping late. We had four children on different schedules which sometimes meant one kid was waking up as another was going to sleep.
In terms of activities: we visited with family, checked out some parks and even made it to the Kotel. As we transition into shabbos and then tisha beav, I hope we become more acclimated to the Israel schedule and routine.
Wishing everyone a wonderful shabbos

Monday, July 23, 2012

We have arrived

Because we are crazy like that, we have had a busy week. First, we were severely delayed on the way home from Florida... due to rainstorms in NYC we got home with 4 cranky and exhausted kids after midnight. After very little sleep, Thursday and Friday had me disassembling and then reassembling the contents of all my kitchen cabinets so an exterminator could aggressively treat out kitchen (and the rest of the apartment). Due to construction in the building, we had been dealing with some unwelcome visitors and the situation was getting out of hand. I am hoping this finally took care of the issue.
Friday was also spent packing, running last minute errands and trying to get the apartment cleaned up before our Sunday flight (more on that later).
Shabbos was my birthday- ta da. I was a bit too tired to get really excited for it, but it ended up being a nice day. My kind husband gave me the gift of sleep and did some extra diaper duty and the kids had made me nice cards. Still on my wishlist for my birthday:
-sleep (will probably not be getting much of that
- massage- will definitely be doing that. My back is still giving me problems.
- some more alone/quiet/mommy time, whatever you like to call it ;)
Notice how all these gifts involve some sort of self-care/indulgence. Every once in a while a care-taker has to take care of herself/

Sunday was the big day- our long awaited flight to Israel for our yearly trip. Honestly, I was a bit too stressed/anxious about getting ready to be really excited for this trip. But now that we are's so nice.
The flight was about as good as you can expect when traveling with 4 little kids. No delays or waits, a bassinette and an extra seat and mostly cooperative kids with no major tantrums/meltdowns. The stewardesses and passengers around us all fell in love with Baby AY and commented on how cute and smiley he is. He is all of those things but after 6 plys hours of holding him almost non stop, I was quite ready for his royal cuteness to sleep a bit!!
We are all kind of exhausted and jet lagged but psyched to be here to see family and friends...after we get some more sleep!!

Monday, July 16, 2012


I have to confess, that I am very attached to my android smartphone and laptop. In fact, I started this blog post on my trusty phone. I use my phone to communicate with teachers, therapists, and other work I need to take care of for the kids or myself. I shop for diapers, clothing and food on my laptop. I keep my to-do lists on it and keep track of  meetings with apps. But I would be lying if I said I only use my phone to help me be more efficient.
I also text my friends to check in on them and share my day and sometimes waste time on facebook and reading blogs I like. And some days I could do a better job of leaving the phone in my purse and being more present with my kids. Which is why vacation is always nice. 
I have my phone with me, but the service is not great. I also do not take it along most of the time when we go out to the pool or to other activities. At night I do not spend as much time on the computer as I do at home, although I do try to keep up with emails...because somehow the work never stops fully.
Still, it is nice to take a little "communication break" while we are here. The truth is, though, that I would not want it to be this way all the time.
A friend of mine is away for the summer in a place where she has very limited phone and internet access. She feels cut off from the world but not in a good way. She feels lonely and abandoned. Because, for many, mothers of young children, our days often seem long and isolated. We are home or at the park with our kids. Nobody know that we have just changed the 10th diaper of the day or cleaned yet another apple juice spill. And while, it is not earth shattering, it is nice to sometimes be able to share the little things with someone to feel less like it is us alone in the big bad world. As pathetic as it may sound, it is so validating to have someone else empathize and even just say "poor you, I hope your day gets better/ he starts sleeping/ he stops having accidents every 20 minutes."
That, I think, is often the appeal of mom-blogs and list-serves/websites for mothers. We want to share. Even if we cannot always physically get together with our friends for coffee, we connect over the internet or through texting and sharing random pictures of our hilarious children. To know there are others like us, doing the same work, which is sometimes amazing and sometimes amazingly frustrating.
So while I am enjoying this little break from reality, once we get back from summer and head back into a more scheduled/routine life, I will definitely be using my phone again. I will try to be mindful not to obsess and to be in the moment as well, but I will be texting and blogging and sharing on facebook to make me feel a little more connected to others like me.
Plus, then I would not be able to share cute pictures like this...AY eating his first ice cream that Y so graciously shared with him :)

What are your thoughts on social media?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Welcome to Camp Mama

Summer vacation is 3 months long here in nyc. That is a lot of time to entertain the kiddos.
For the past month, we have been keeping busy with camp mom. It basically consisted of outings to local parks, children's museums and the like. It was working pretty well except for complaints from my 5 year old teenage daughter that everything is "boring".
This week we have moved to phase 2 of our vacation. We flew down to Florida on Wednesday to spend a week with my in-laws. The kids are veteran travelers and were pretty well behaved. The whole thing went smoothly. We left home at 7 45 and arrived at their house by 1 30. Good practice for,our upcoming trip to Israel.
Life is much more slow paced down here. It's nice to just hang out with nowhere to go and nothing pressing to do.
The plan for the week is to spend lots of time in the water and relaxing. We do an activity with the kids in the morning (zoo, park, etc) and in the late afternoon, when most people have left, we go to the pool. I bought them bathing suits with floaties inside. They look a bit silly but they work
My mother in law did a great job researching all the kid friendly activities in the vicinity. We joke  around that this week the kids are in Camp Mama (what my kids call my mother in law).

Here are some pictures from camp mama. Good shabbos to all!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Hungry Boy

Little AY is not so little anymore. He is growing every day and a hungry boy.
I started him on solids a bit before his six month birthday because he was very interested in the food we were eating. I usually skip the rice cereal stage because it has very little nutritional value.
We started with some fruits and vegetables. It took some time for him to get used to a spoon and swallowing. He liked sweet potato and squash but was not really so into the carrots and peas.
Then we tried yogurt and he was super excited. Not surprising, considering how my other kids love yogurt and dairy products.
The problem is that he wants to eat everything. Whenever he sees one of us eating, he wants in on the action. But he is not quite ready for all the different types of food. Right now we are still doing mostly smooth foods, but he is also becoming better at slightly lumpy foods such as mashed banana.
Because he is my fourth and I am more relaxed about things, and I don't like to see him cry, here are some of the things he has sampled in the last few days: chocolate chip muffins, challah, french fries, melon, pizza crust, mango froz fruit. He cannot really eat most of this stuff so he usually he just sucks on it a bit.
But today, in addition to nursing, he actually ate 2 yogurts and an entire banana. Did I mention that he is getting a bit heavy for babywearing :)
I am glad that he is interested in food though. Y is such a picky eater that I am grateful for kids who like to eat. He is also so cute when he eats, making little happy"um, um" sounds. I wanted to snap a picture of him devouring his banana today but I could not because he gets upset when I put the spoon down because I am not feeding him fast enough put the spoon down. So you'll just have to take my word for it.

On the special needs front, check out this blog post from Glennon at Momastery.  She writes that she has always loved children with Down Syndrome, so when she was pregnant with her first child and the doctors  suspected that he had Down Syndrome, she was not put off by it. When her son Chase was born and the doctors determined that he was perfectly typical, she was almost disappointed. It's an interesting read.
Feel free to post links to any interesting articles you have seen around this week.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

My baby is finally sleeping- but I am not

Baby AY was a decent sleeper for the first 3 months or so. He took a few naps a day (although never scheduled) and slept a five hour stretch at night. Then at three-four months, something went haywire. He started waking up every 2-3 hours at night and usually cat napped in the stroller but did not take longer naps anymore.
It was very frustrating not to be able to have a chunk of time to get things done during the day, because I never knew when he would be waking up. Usually it was at the most inopportune times, like when my hands were sticky with challah dough that I was kneading. For a while I chalked it up to teething, but there were no teeth to be found.
He was also extremely sensitive to noise. Not a good thing for a fourth child in a loud family. A door opening, the door bell, the phone...anything would wake him up. It was not a great situation. I kept trying to put him on a schedule but he was totally erratic, waking and going to sleep at totally different times. He also started to fight going to sleep. If I tried to put him down to nap when he was so tired that he was rubbing both his eyes, he would just howl. I was a cranky and tired mommy.
My friend kept telling me it was time to move him out of my bedroom. I agreed but was worried about having to actually get up and go into the next room in the middle of the night. I was not sure how M would take to sharing his room. And I was very nervous what the kids would do to him in the morning when they woke up before me. All out of love...but still.
Last week I put him in the crib in M's room a few nights in the middle of the night. I would nurse him at 11, put him in the room, then wake up at 3 to his crying, and stumble back to my bedroom with him, where he spent the rest of the night. It was not working well.
This week, though, the kids decided they wanted M to "sleep over" in their room. We dragged a mattress into their room and since Saturday night, M has been sleeping with them, leaving the other bedroom open for AY.
And amazingly, he is actually sleeping. This week he has slept an about 6-9 hours straight. 11-5, 9-5, ...whatever it is, I will take it.  When he wakes up around 5 or 6, I will usually bring him into our bedroom to nurse and sleep a few more hours, thereby ensuring that no one wakes him up and/or jumps into his crib.He seems to need a quiet environment for sleep and that is fine with me. The only problem is, I am still not sleeping well. Most nights I have woken up several times to make sure he is not crying. With our air conditioning blasting, I am nervous that I will not hear him. So far that has not been the case, and I know I can get a baby monitor if I am really worried, but my body is so used to sleeping lightly, that I find myself waking up at 3 or 4 or 5  for no reason. Add to that that most nights some other child is waking us up and I am still one tired mommy.
But there is light at the end of the tunnel. I am hoping in the next few days my sleep rhythm will re-regulate itself and I will actually sleep a 6-8 hour stretch. If you could bottle uninterrupted sleep and sell it, that is what I would want for my upcoming birthday.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Week in Review

It has been a busy week in our household. Some highlights:
- I took 2 exams and a final and am now officially DONE until September. Yay. I actually really liked the class- Anatomy and Physiology. It is really cool to learn how the body works. Some of it connected to my work as a doula (i.e bones of the pelvis) and some if it to my yoga practice. My teacher always talks about the different muscles we are strengthening and now I actually know what she is talking about. And it was also good to see that my kids managed without me with a competent babysitter.

- Y's birthday- 7 years old. Crazy, crazy that he is so big. We had a party at school for him on Tuesday and another small celebration at home on Thursday. He was very excited. When asked what he wants for his birthday, he said "cars" even though we have a ton of matchbox cars already. If that is what makes him happy though, we will get a few more. In some ways he has grown so much this year, in other areas we are still struggling. But that is not necessarily unique to special needs. Every child has their own strengths and weaknesses.

Y at his party, looking a bit overwhelmed...

-Speaking of seven, Baby AY turned 7 months this week. Not quite as momentous an occasion as 7 years old yet still exciting. He is sitting very well, although still cannot get into sitting position by himself. He crawls around the apartment looking for me and saying 'mamamama". Not sure if he means me, but it's cute nonetheless.

sitting up nicely
enjoying the swings with Papa

- Camp Mom is in full swing as everyone is now officially done with school. Y's last day was Wednesday. We have been exploring different playgrounds but have been a bit limited by the fact that I had to leave to school by 2. This week we will have more time and perhaps attempt a more extensive adventure. When we are home, the kids have surprised me by playing together really nicely and imaginatively. Of course that involves taking out every toy we own, but it is still nice to see that they can play by themselves.

kids doing crazy gymnastics at home
A. and I had a little date at the Museum of Natural History. Check out those elephants
EDITED- added  pictures so you can see the kids' antics.

What summer adventures have you been up to?