Monday, August 15, 2011

Just the girls

Jason and Zev are in CA.  His aunt and uncle are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary, and while we were all invited to the party, I just wasn't stupid brave enough to want to take the girls.  So Jason and Zev were our representatives and off they went. 

And it was just me and the girls.  I was looking forward to it, actually.  They can be rather fun.  And I tried to make some play-dates with friends I haven't seen in a long time who also happen to have children.  My old boyfriend from college is now married and has a one year old daughter and I thought it would be fun to do something with them.  Likewise, my neighbor is still home on maternity leave with her three year old twin boys (who are friends with Zev) and three month old son.  But in both cases, the nap schedules just didn't mesh up...while my girls are on one long nap/day, each of my friends still have their children on 2 naps/day, directly opposite from my girls.  Oh well.  I did still manage to catch up with my neighbor who walked by while my girls were napping, and I also saw my mother and sister one morning.  Other than that, we spent a lot of time at an inside playground since the weather was so nasty. 

The most difficult part of the day, honestly, was after 7pm and the girls were in bed.  Its a weekend, and its 7pm.  And I'm stuck at home with nothing to do.  Which, if you know me personally, is utter torture.  I don't like watching TV.  I do like to read, but can only do it in short amounts, and I didn't have anything new I wanted to read.  So I browsed Netflix and did a little crosswords.  Yay, the happy life of a parent.  And I was somewhat productive during naps: cleaned the fridge, mopped the floor, cleaned out our toy bins and tossed old toys that we weren't using anymore.  So I feel a little more organized.  It won't last, but at least for two hours, the house was relatively clean.

We did miss Jason and Zev.  Tzelia was specifically pretty clutchy all weekend, but she also had the wonderful timing of coming down with a cold.  Meorah was congested the first night, and had a hard time falling asleep...its like she KNEW it was only me.  Sigh.  Meorah loved seeing Jason on Facetime and kept reaching for the phone when she saw his face.  We'll see how they react when they see him (and Zev) tomorrow night.

It sounds like Zev had a good time, and I can't wait to hear it from him.  And see more pictures.  I know they checked out Disney Land and Lego Land and the beach.  Jason wants to try for all of us to take a vacation together next summer.  That may work.  We'll see.

Meorah is walking much better.  She still knee-walks, but that has gone down dramatically.  I am concerned about Tzelia's weight and we are continuing to add cream to her milk.  No complaints from Zev about the leg braces, but I should make an appointment for him in a few weeks to get him looked at again.

Its always something, isn't it?  But lots of good things as well.  Can't complain too much.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


I realized the other day that I haven't updated in awhile.  I guess life got away from me.

We're into July and it was a beautiful (not) 90+ degrees today.  Ugh.  We live in a house with no central air, so the evenings are pretty killer.  We do have air conditioners, so there is some relief.  But since it is finally summer, we have been trying to spend a lot of time outside.  A few pictures from the last few weeks:

And from the fourth of July at my parents' house:

To quote my husband:  my kids are more patriotic than your kids.

Some news as well:  orthodic shoes for Zev.  But I'll try to get to that in another post.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Fear continues

Its still going on.

The 'shadow' has turned into the 'shadow monster'.  It seems our curious 3 year old picked up a slightly more advanced picture book at daycare a few days ago, and it had a rather frightening picture of a shadow with evil yellow eyes in it.


Now the shadow monster has come into being.  He talks a lot about shadows and the shadow monster.  Our approach has been to dissuade him that there is such a thing as a shadow monster (rather than the opposite approach of playing into the fantasy).  We've been telling him to talk back to the shadows if they bother him ("You can't hurt me, you're just a shadow), that he isn't alone in the house at night, that his room is safe and nothing can hurt him, and that if he needs mommy and daddy we are right here.  He will eventually fall asleep, but still wake up 2-3 times at night crying and running into our room.

At this point it is also manipulation:  he wants to come sleep in our room.  But we definitely do NOT want to encourage that.  So he ends up being brought back into his room, quite unhappy.  This goes on a few times until he finally gives in and stays in his room, after much crying and yelling from everyone.

A nightly occurance.  Luckily for me, I am used to multiple wakings and little sleep.  I lived that life for over a year when I was pumping and pregnant.

Hopefully this is just a phase.  But its getting tiring.

Jason took up boxing.  There was a Groupon for a discounted month membership at a local boxing gym.  Boxing is something I have wanted to do for YEARS.  But I was always pregnant/breastfeeding/pregnant/etc.  So when I saw this Groupon, I jumped at it.  Jason decided he wanted to try it to, so he is going first.  Two classes so far, and he really likes it.  Its both a stress reduction and a way to get in better physical shape.  It leaves me alone with the kids two evenings a week, but that's ok:  I'd rather he get the stress relief. 

Because, as always, we have stressors.  I think we are going to put the girls back in Early Intervention.  The initial interview is next week, and then we will schedule an assessment for them.  Our pediatrician agreed that it would be ideal to have someone work with them one-on-one since they refuse to walk independently and have only a few words each.  They may need someone to force the issue.

I'm not too worried about it.  But I do agree that early intervention is a good idea.

Fathers Day is this weekend.  I already have my gift for my husband, but I'll have to wait to share it in case he decides to read this between now and then....

Friday, June 10, 2011

Afraid of the dark

What do you do with a toddler who is afraid of the dark?

I've mentioned before Zev's refusal to go to bed at a 'decent' time.  At first, I believe it was because he had been getting very little parent-child time and didn't want to miss out on the 'fun' mommy and daddy were having downstairs after he went to bed.

(yeah, fun.  Both of us exhausted, and trust me, there was no 'fun' being had if he was refusing to go to bed...)

Our 'solution' until a few weeks ago had been to turn off all the lights downstairs and watch some television while he laid down on Jason.  Eventually he would be too tired to refuse, and he would be brought upstairs.  But Iif he was brought up too early, even if he said he wanted to go, he would just come right back downstairs: "Don't want to go to bed".  My fear in arguing has always been waking up his sisters, so I generally wimp out and let him stay up pretty late.

But that isn't working anymore.  And now it has become something else.  He has mentioned 'the shadow' for about a year.  Being far more verbal now that he's older, he has been able to say that he doesn't like the shadows in his room.  He will point them out and be obviously very afraid.  We've tried blocking the shadows with various objects, using different lights, distracting him with his new overhead fan or books, telling him that his 'bear' and 'tiger' will keep him safe...  but every night its a battle.  Jason talked to his teachers at daycare, and they said they were pretty surprised that someone his age (so young) would have enough imagination to be afraid of the usually doesn't happen until children are a bit older.

Great.  My son has to be 'advanced' in such a way that screws us over.

I do have to add that I feel horrible for him.  He's obviously frightened, although I'm sure part of it is a manipulation to stay downstairs as long as possible.  But at 3am when he wakes up and comes into our room wimpering because he doesn't want to be in bed, its hard to be sympathetic given that I'm up before 5am.  Which of course just makes me feel like a horrible person.

Anyway, the teacher suggested we introduce flashlights to him and let him 'play' with shadows so he understands what they are and that they cannot hurt him.  We bought one for him to use at daycare and they are going to work on it with him.  He loves it of course; he's seen flashlights before and loves the big utility flashlight Jason has.

Hopefully this will make things easier.  Because as I said, we aren't having 'fun' in the evenings if he is refusing to go to bed until we do.  Hell, I'd like to just have some nice time with my husband watching some stupid movie on the couch.  Or having an adult conversation without hearing "Mommy, watch me!!" as he does something utterly random, the purpose of which is just to make sure he stays in the center of my attention.

"Trust me, Zev.  I'm always watching you"

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Summer is coming

Memorial Day weekend was BRUTAL!  90 degrees and very humid.  We're still working out our tree issues from last summer, and a fair amount of time was spent shoveling mulch into refuge bags.  So far we've bagged 34 bags of mulch.  And we haven't even touched the dirt.  We have to remove all of the mulch and dirt around the stump before we can get it ground up and removed.  It took a weekend to build the wall and lay the dirt and mulch, and its taking much longer to take it all down.

In addition, I do have to say building that retaining wall and garden bed was a heck of a lot more fun than tearing it down.  I do enjoy the work, though.  I like the physical labor; in another life maybe I would do some kind of landscaping for a career.

Sat, Sun, and Monday mornings were spent sweating over a shovel and mulch.  The kids were pretty good at playing in the backyard while we worked.  Sunday afternoon we went to a picnic at a friends house in a local suburb.  Every time we drive down there we have the 'should we move out here' discussion (cheaper houses, good jewish community).  And every time we come to the conclusion that the commute would be too awful to live with.

Lovely time.  And thanks to SF for the pictures.

And now its June.  Some good news for me:  we may have a new diagnosis on what has been bothering my GI system for the last year and a half.  A week ago I was woken up with intense, excrutiating chest pain at 1am.  I was lucky to be chosen to fulfill my civic duty of jury duty had to go to jury duty the next day and suffered through it.  The next few days were episodes of horrific chest and abdominal pain which OTC antacids were not helping.  A long visit to the doc concluded in a possible new diagnosis:  esophogeal spasms.  Everytime I would eat, I would get sharp chest pains similar to a heart attack.  Basically, my esophogeal muscles would spasm every time I would swallow anything, including water.

Not a good situation to be in.  It made me nauseous, cranky, and very frightened.  I'm trying a new medicine which is an antispasmotic, and it is (gasp!) working!  No chest or abdominal pain since I started.  Unfortunately I am only going to take them for a week, so it remains to be seen if it comes back once I'm off of them.  We'll see.  I haven't been that good at taking it (it is supposed to be 4x/day, and I don't always forget to take them to work) so I'm going to hope that I won't need them long-term. 

Kids are doing great.  We've been going on nightly walks with the kids now that the weather is nicer.  I have a two child wagon that we cram all three kids in, and we walk around the neighborhood.  Daycare is going smoothly, although the girls had a slight 'altercation' there the other day:  Tzelia bit Meorah hard enough to leave bite-marks.  But I suppose if she's going to bite someone, its better that she bit her sister so I don't have to deal with some other kid's parents.  So now two of my three kids are biters (see previous post on Zev's biting habits).  At least its confined to family members and inanimate objects....

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

At least he isn't biting...

We've been in daycare for about two months now.  And Jason just had his second parent-child conference with Zev's teachers.

The first one came after a particularly unusual day:  Zev had shown some unusual aggressive behaviors that day and the teachers were concerned.  Looking back, we believe it was the Claritin we had given him that morning, and we decided to give it only at night if he seemed to need it.  Sure enough, he didn't have any other aggressive behaviors (anti-histamines can have that affect on some people, a warning to all those parents who want to drug out their kids with Benadryl....)

Now it seems that Zev is having a problem 'using his words'.  When he wants something, rather than ask for it, he will grab it.  And if someone else happens to be holding it, well, sucks to be them...don't they know its ZEV'S TOY?  If he does ask for something he says he 'wants that'
"That" (maybe there will be some vague point or wave of a hand). 
"Tell me what you want". 
"I want THAT". 
"What's that?" 
"I don't know".

Obviously descriptive words are not part of his vocabulary right now.  "I don't know" is the answer to everything:

"What's on the page"
"What did you have for lunch"
"What did you do today"

I believe its just cognitive laziness, as he can be quite insightful when he wants to be or if you ask him the right way.   Jason feels perhaps we haven't been stretching him as much as we should be....and perhaps he's right.  I admit to being a little too dependent on the daycare situation now:  I know they teach him things there and he does a lot of activities, so I've been rather slacking in the home activities.  We haven't been as good at reading together or doing crafts or games together.  Yes, I have the 'but I have TWINS' excuse...but at the same time I don't want Zev to suffer because I have two 1.5 year olds tugging on my pants 24/7.

So enough venting and time for some problem solving...

There is some time after dinner and before Zev's bedtime we could do some good story time.  The girls are already in bed at this point, and it is just Jason, Zev, and me.  Perfect time for some individual attention.  The limitation is that we are all rather sleepy, but it doesn't take long to read a few books (provided we choose the right books...what was I thinking when I got those Horton books???).  I also had bought some workbook activities we could try.

At school they are going to institute a sticker chart:  every time Zev uses his words to ask for something he gets a sticker.  His perception of reward isn't quite 100%, so I'm not entirely confident that he'll get the concept, but we'll see.

Meanwhile the girls are doing well.  Fighting playing together quite nicely.  As soon as I pick them up at daycare they come over to me (no, they are not walking!!!  They walk on their knees, which is cute but come on...stop being so lazy!!!) and cry and push each other out of the way so each can have sole access to mommy.  They fight over who gets to sit in my lap, fight over food if they both have access at the same time (Meorah actually grabbed the whole handful of Goldfish from my hand yesterday and pushed Tzelia away from her while walking (knee-ing?) away triumphantly), fight over toys they both want, etc.  But they also play together quite well, trying to feed each other, kiss each other, play peek-a-boo together.  Neither will sleep if the other isn't also in the room with her, which makes nap time a little tricky if one isn't sleepy.  But we manage.

Still little 'real' words, although their receptive language is fantastic.  Whether or not they listen is another story...

"Stop ignoring me, I know you know what I'm saying!  Come here!"

So far, words I know they understand

Vacuum (Our DustBuster is Tzelia's obsession)
Banana (what is it with kids and bananas?  It was Zev's first word)
Come here
"Who's here"? (which is what I say when I hear Jason coming up the steps outside)
"Diaper change!"

Tzelia 'speaks' more than Meorah.  I thought Jason was going to melt when she said "DA-DEE" after I handed her to him the other day.  Most of the time she just squawks loudly like a bird, and a really ugly one at that.  Meorah has a softer voice and often just repeats "AH BA BA BA BA BA BA" and then will make raspberry noises while pointing at things randomly...maybe this is where Zev learned it from...

A much longer update, but my opportunies to write seem to be few and far between these days....

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

happy mother's day

And a happy one it was.

We have the tradition of doing Mothers Day Brunch at the Westford Regency, which is also where I had my Bat Mitzvah (gasp!) 20 years ago.  Its a very nice brunch:  buffet style, with an omelette, waffle, and carving stations.  Not too much kosher-friendly fare, but good nonetheless.

Me and my cherubs:

Grammie and the Girls

Zev and Grammie (he looks just like his daddy)

Aunt Julia and Tzelia (check out the eyelashes on her!)

I haven't been able to post too many pictures recently because we've been slacking on getting them off the camera and phones.  So I'll make a big picture post soon.

Update-wise, things are going well.  We think Zev has allergies and have resorted to giving him Claritin occasionally.  When we gave it to him in the morning, Jason ended up in his first 'parent/child' conference:  seems Zev was pushing and hitting others.  Since aggression can be a side-effect, we decided that when we do give it to him, to limit it to the night-time, so the effect is on the downside of the pK curve (can ya tell I work at a pharma company?).  He is thriving in daycare and I find it hilarious that he has all these new phrases he didn't have before.  The girls are doing equally well, although not walking yet (!!!!).  Just a matter of time.  We're back in our routine.

On my side, I seem to have bronchitis.  I've been coughing non-stop for the last few weeks.  And now I find that my abdomen is particularly sore, which I am attributing to all the coughing.  I'm debating calling my surgeon to go visit him; recovery from an abdominoplasty can take a year, so I am still under his care.  I know someone who broke a rib from coughing too much when she had pneumonia, and while the coughing hasn't been that severe, it has been daily all day, and that's a lot of 'use'.  I just don't have a lot of time as it is and don't want to make an appointment...

But I'll probably bite the bullet if the pain doesn't go away in a day or so.  I can't make an appointment for this week anyway:  too busy at work.  And then too busy at usual.