Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A little tongue stretching

Usually when my kids say cute, funny, or silly things I have a habit of forgetting them if I don't repeat them to another person right away. I have forgotten many cute expressions because of my faulty memory. But I did have 2 conversations with Big T that I do remember and I thought they were pretty hilarious.

Both these conversations took place during carpool in the morning on the way to school. I had just finished taking the baby inside the babysitter's house. When I got back into the car our conversation went a little something like this:

Big T: Mommy, I am sorry.

Me: Sorry for what?

Big T: Sorry for sticking my tongue out at you.

Me: When did you do this?

Big T: Just now when you were getting back in the car. You didn't see me?

Me: No, I didn't see you. Why did you stick your tongue out at me?

Big T: (after a moment's hesitation) Weeeeell, I was just stretching it.

It took all I had in me not to laugh out loud at this excuse. I guess I need to give her points for creativity!

The second conversation happened immediately after.

Big T: Mommy, can I run for President?

Me: President of what?

Big T: Of the country, of course.

Me: Of course you can but you have to be much older to be President.

(Then we proceeded to do the math to figure out how many years it would take until she was 35).

Me: Why do you want to be President?

Big T: Because then I can BOSS people around!

Well, there's her personality in a nutshell!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I need some encouragement


First, thanks for all the great advice and support. Being a mom is all about knowing you have support and getting advice and I feel really blessed to know you guys are out there. Sometimes it just feels better to know you are not alone!

I use a medela pump in style from when my oldest was born, it could be that it is not working as well but I really don't think so.

Shira-don't feel bad pumping when he is this small is the smart thing to do! I should have done that when I was engorged but I couldn't get my act together.

Anita-it is great to have your perspective since you are the one feeding her the bottles. Thanks for the encouragement and you know I am all about making your life easier when you are taking care of my rambunctious children.

I do try to read and relax when I pump and that does help, I think this week I have been feeling more stress and anxiety and I am sure that is affecting my milk supply. Thanks for reminding me about food, she just had her 4 month check-up so we will be starting that relatively soon.

And that brings me to the update portion: M is 12lbs and in the 25th percentile for weight and the 75th percentile for height (could I have possibly made a tall child?). She is meeting all developmental milestones and ithe doctor says she is doing great. So really I am thankful to Hashem that everything is going well and that she is growing. And that is the MOST important thing!


Disclaimer: If you are a man (and you know who you are) please stop reading. This is a topic that pertains to women and if you keep reading don't say you weren't warned. In fact, if you are a woman who has not had children you might want to stop now too.

Ok, here goes: I need help with breastfeeding and pumping. It is so hard!

I am committed to nursing my baby for as long as I can (or at least until teeth, whichever comes first) but I am having a hard time with the pumping. I knew there would come a point where I wouldn't be able to keep up with her but I didn't think it would come so soon. She is 4 months old this week and she is already needing an extra bottle of formula throughout the day.

Let me give some background: I pump 2x a day and usually get 6- 8 oz. My body just has a hard time keeping up with the demand just by pumping. I pump in my locked classroom, once in the morning and once at lunchtime. I am always rushing and usually have a very limited amount of time to pump.
In the past I alway had to give up pumping from around 9 months to 5 months (depending on the child). But that has always meant giving up breastfeeding for good-the other girls were all or nothing. It was all formula or all nursing, but not some of each. I am not ready for that to happen yet. I enjoy feeding the baby (most of the time). I am not ready to give up the time we spend together.

So here are some of the tricks I have heard for keeping your milk supply up:

1. drink mother's milk tea

2. take fenugreek-until you smell like maple syrup and should probably go move to Vermont

3. eat oatmeal

4. brewer's yeast-either in beer or as a supplement

5. drink enough water

6. feed the baby frequently as supply correlates to demand

I know all of this in my head (and I have been following all this advice) but I am having a difficult time staying motivated to continue. My supply doesn't seem to increase as a result of all these "interventions."I certainly want M to get all the benefits of breastmilk and I would like to have the benefits of not having to pay for formula and not getting my "friend." But I would like my body (and brain back). Especially if I feel like I am going through all this effort for what feels like a minimal amount of "liquid gold."

So it's a balance but I find it impossible to find the right balance. If I stop pumping I know I will feel guilty for not giving M the best of what she needs. But if I keep going I struggle with the resentment of having to do it at all.

So I am asking for help. Anything you feel might help would be welcome. Anything you might have learned along the way and think is worth sharing I would looooove to hear.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

When your parents are old enough to be your grandparents. . .

My mom and dad are 15 years apart and my dad was born in 1926-you do the math. So, when your parents are old enough to be your grandparents. . .

You have to talk REALLY, REALLY loud. Loud because they (really just my dad) wears hearing aids. Loud because you have to talk over the tv that you could hear from 3 houses away. It makes for some pretty interesting conversations that seem to get repeated over and over again.

You are absolutely not allowed to drive at night. Or when it gets dark outside-whichever comes first. Other drivers who could drive perfectly well in the daylight somehow forget how to drive when night falls. It's really just better to wait and do everything during the day. Just to be safe.

You are also not allowed to go outside when the weather is bad. That includes rain and sometimes even wind. Certainly snow, ice, sleet, and any other weather you can think of that is cold or wet. You might get sick, or slip and fall. You can NEVER be too careful!

You get lots of old crap, whoops, I mean antiques that they don't want anymore. Things that have been around say since 1926. Maybe it will one day be useful again. Maybe it won't.

You get lots of important advice on how to live your life. Advice about every little thing. From what kind of car to drive to when to write thank-you notes.

All kidding aside, I really have wonderful, kind, loving, parents who support me and everything I do 150%. In fact, all they have only ever wanted for me was to be happy. Even if my idea of happiness was not their idea of happiness. Nothing shows that more than my choice to become frum (for anyone who doesn't know-orthodox Jewish). I have heard so many horror stories from others who have chosen this path; some people stop talking to their family, some people have to deal with constant criticism. My family is not at all like that.

When I married my husband after only dating him for only 6 weeks they accepted him with open arms and invited him into the family wholeheartedly (sometimes I think they like him more than me :)). When we visit them at their house they participate and keep Shabbos (the Sabbath) to the best of their ability (they even use torn toilet paper). They respect my needs regarding kosher food and go out of their way to make sure I have enough food to eat.

This weekend was a special opportunity for me to spend time with my family without any distractions. Over the past 10 years or so, the relationship with my parents has been slowly changing. I am relating to them as an adult instead of as a child. I can appreciate the sacrifices they make and the unconditional love they give me, because I am learning to give to do the same for my children. It is difficult to put aside your wants, your likes and desires, and your goals for another person and allow that person to be free to experience life in the way that they want. My parents have done that. I feel so blessed to have experienced my parents as role models, caregivers, and friends.

I would love to visit them more but I'd have to drive through the night to get there and maybe encounter some unfortunate weather. Guess I'll have to wait til summer!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Trying out new things

So, I survived the flight home with the help of some homeopathic medicine that really worked! The baby slept the whole time (she is an angel baby) and I got an entire row, actually the whole back of the plane to myself. So, no complaining here.

I have about 12 blog posts in my head right now but none are fully developed so I thought I would try to show off what I learned about blogging from my sister during this trip. For all you super bloggers this might be boring but I feel like a rock star!

As shown in the paragraph above, I learned how to put a link in my post. So here's a shout out to my sis who has a great blog and is much craftier than me. She's also an amazing yoga teacher so if you're ever in the DC area check her out!

I also learned how to put pics in my post like this (of course this took forever because it ended up in the wrong spot a few times-why does it keep putting the pic at the top?):

There is probably an easier way to do this but I just cut and pasted the html code from one spot to another. Obviously, I need lots more practice. Anyway, this is the angel baby taken about a month ago. Such a serious face!

And even though they will kill me here's a pic of my mom and dad who I went to visit along with my sis and her family this weekend: The greatest parents a girl could ask for! More on them at a later date. I also learned how to make my words different colors. I really could have fun with that!

She also showed me how to add video but lucky for you guys I don't have any on the computer to add.

I'm pretty proud of myself even though the entire world probably already knows how to do all these things. Oh well, everyone at their own pace I always say.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Another side effect of pregnancy

I used to love roller coasters.

I used to love the teacup ride at amusement parks.

I used to love to swing on the swings at parks.

Well, my friends times have changed. Now, I cannot even fly on an airplane without retching into the barf bag! Flying into DC was one of the worst flights I have ever had-and it was not because I was flying alone with an infant. No, she was an angel. It was an hour and twenty minutes of sheer nauseating torture. It was so bad I thought of renting a car and driving 12 hours back to Chicago with a baby by myself.

Yes, the flight was turbulent at the end. But I got nauseous the minute the plane went into the air. I guess it is a holdover from being pregnant-everytime I fly when I am pregnant I throw up. But I am NOT PREGNANT and yet still have motion sickness. It just doesn't seem fair.

At the end of the flight I was actually telling myself things like:

"I had a baby with no drugs, I can do this."

"I had 2 cavities filled with no novicane, I can handle a little nausea."

"If I throw up it's not the end of the world, at least it''s a good story for the blog."


I refuse to get back on the plane without drugs. I have some homeopathic motion sickness pills but if that doesn't work, bring on the dramamine. I don't care if I have to give the baby formula. Ok, that's not completely true but I can't feel that sick again. I just can't.

Anyone have the number for Hertz?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Funny story

Something hilarious that happened lately:

My husband's birthday was Feb. 4. Wonderful day to be born. I made a point of writing on my shopping list-buy birthday card for Yitzy.

Because I made such a big deal about my birthday and wanting it recognized I had to do the same for him.

Because I never ever make him do things for me that I don't do for him! What kind of wife would I be?

Anyway, I made sure to buy the card and put it in place where I wouldn't forget about it.

Guess what-after remembering to actually buy the card, I forgot to give it to him.

So, I told myself it won't be a waste-I'll give him the card on his Hebrew birthday.

Guess what-today is his Hebrew birthday and the card is still in the exact same place it was when I bought it.

It's a good thing I actually said "Happy Birthday" cause I have a feeling he won't be seeing a card this year!

I'm going on a trip! And other reflections

Tomorrow morning (or really the middle of the night) I am going on a plane with just the baby! I am going to visit my sister and and parents on the East Coast. And even though it's not exotic or especially warm there I am excited! I never get to go anywhere without kids tagging along so this is truly a treat. Yitzy is watching the other 3 for the whole time!

Ok, because I can make this blog any way I want I am going to switch the topic now. I have recently done some personal introspection which led me to a realization about myself. I have a hard time ending things, especially conversations. This means I usually keep talking until I find some roundabout way to extricate myself from excruciating small talk that means nothing.

Does this happen to other people or am I the only one with this weird problem?

I usually feel embarrassed after the fact, after I have run through the conversation in my head a few thousand times. And of course I always seem to have this problem of talking too much when I am trying to impress someone, like my boss. Why do I do this? I don't know. I would guess it is because of nervousness-when I am nervous I always talk a lot. Some people would even say too much. But I just can't seem to help it.

And then I feel really self-conscious, which makes me nervous, then I talk a lot and there goes the vicious cycle all over again! I hope when people get to know me they just think it's cute. Because I certainly don't want to be THAT person that no one wants to talk to.

Oh well. I guess I'm just one of those people who has a lot to say.

Monday, February 9, 2009

I feel blah

Not much has gone in the past few days to write about. The kids are being themselves-one minute they love each other and the next they can't stand to be in the same room. That means I need to pay constant attention to them. Which also means I can't seem to muster up any energy to get anything done when I know I am going to be interrupted every 2 minutes anyway.

So that's right, I feel blah.

I should be excited about this warmer weather we are having but I just keep thinking that the cold is going to come back anyway.

I should be excited that I am going to visit my family with just the baby but all I think about is packing- UGH.

I should be excited that I only have 3 days to work this week but all I can think about is all the work that I need to finish before the week is over.

I hate it when I feel this way because when I don't stay on top of things then they pile up and pile up until there are mountains of things to do (laundry, errands, etc). Hopefully, I can get out of this funk!!

Friday, February 6, 2009


Things I don't understand:

1. Why my adolescent students (boys) wear their pants around their knees. When did it become cool to show your underwear?

2. How my children are braver than I am. When Yitzy caught a mouse they wanted to see it and they talked about how cute it was and how mice are ok, just not in our house. I am scared to go near it, look at it, and if you even mention the word mouse I cringe. I would really prefer to go get a room in a hotel if there is even the thought of a mouse in my house.

3. Why my children will eat all sorts of raw vegetables (mushrooms even) but as soon as they are cooked or put with something else they absolutely refuse to touch it.

4. How I can tell my students twelve thousand times that I am Jewish and they still ask if I celebrate X-mas when I have answered it the same way every single time (these kids are 8th graders). Then they ask me if I celebrate birthdays. Don't even get me started on the conversation we had about keeping kosher!

5. How my printer at work was working great until the computer teacher asked me how it was working, I said wonderful and now it is acting up. Why?

6. How I have a sweater obsession and I hate cold weather. Maybe I just hate months and months of constant cold weather. Oh well, still have the obsession-I love sweaters!

7. Why I have students that don't know their multiplication facts. How can they know how to do algebraic equations and not know what 8x7 is? Calculators can be a curse!

8. How it is 20 degrees outside and my classroom feels like it is 85 degrees even with the windows open. I can only wear so many layers!

9. And speaking of temperature-how can my children walk around the house with barely no clothes and certainly nothing on their feet? I could use their feet as ice cubes in my drinks they are so cold. They are not bothered at all, I have never once heard them complain that their feet are cold.

10. How I love coffee so much even though the caffeine does absolutely nothing to keep me awake. I wish it would!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I guess I'm an idealist

Firstly, I would like to say Happy Birthday to my wonderful husband. I won't get all sappy or anything because I hate when people do that kind of stuff in public but I will say that I can't believe we have shared 10 years together. In a way, we have really grown up together( we got married when we were 20 and 21) and I feel so lucky and blessed to have you by my side. Happy Happy Birthday and Many, Many More!!

Okay, now for the real topic of this post. Yesterday, we had a meeting with L's school about her behavior in the classroom. Just to give a little background, she has been having difficulty following directions, she has been having tantrums, she has been leaving the classroom, I could go on but you get the idea. She is 6 years old and in 1st grade.

We have done numerous interventions outside of school to help her. She sees an OT, we have put tube in her ears 3x (she is prone to ear infections), taken her to a chiropractor (because of ear infections), started her with a social worker, gotten her a full psych/academic eval, are taking her to a neurologist because she has sleep issues (we think). I think that might be it, but I could be forgetting something. Anyway, the point is we are NOT in denial.

The meeting actually went fine and I think the school is impressed with all the steps we have taken. The point of this post is not talk about the meeting but rather my some feelings I was left with after it was over.

We spent a whole chunk of time talking about how L doesn't like to join the group on the floor when they sit on the floor to listen to a story. We discussed why that might be, how the school/teacher could address it, etc. But I was left feeling-why the heck is this important? Don't get me wrong, I am a teacher and understand full well how classrooms work. I know that I want my child to be taught how to behave appropriately and to learn how to be safe and take responsibility for herself. Where does something like sitting on the floor fall into that? Why does every child have to do the same thing at the same time all the time?

It seems to me that in the educational world of today, we stifle all aspects of a child's individuality. I don't know why, I do know it is easier to teach that way. But it make me sad. I have children that don't fit the mold. They stand out. A lot of the reasons they stand out make them difficult to manage. But I have this feeling that all of these "difficulties" will help them be successful adults when they grow up. They speak their minds. They think for themselves and have opinions. They have lots of energy. Why would I want to squash these parts of their personalities just to have them be like everyone else?

Yesterday's meeting helped me realize that even though my child has "issues" I am proud of her! I am learning to appreciate all aspects of my children even if the rest of the world doesn't.

Monday, February 2, 2009


I'm incredibly busy today at work but I just needed to share this for the theraputic aspect (and that's a reason I started this blog).

Today when I was getting my kids in the car to take them to school a neighbor was walking her kids to their carpool in front of my house. So she stops me and says "Maybe you don't know this but Sam's Club sells large things of salt. You know because everyday I walk my kids by your house and they slip and slide and I can't let them walk in the street."

How do you respond to that? I was sooo annoyed-I was already having a difficult morning and then she has to be all passive-aggressive and make me feel bad. I know my sidewalk isn't cleared off (all the way) but we have tons of sidewalk (we live on a corner). I walk on it too. My kids haven't fallen or hurt themselves.

Why do we have to be so judgemental of everyone? Because that's how I felt! I fell like she is judging me because my sidewalk isn't as clear as hers. Sometimes you have to prioritize and my priorities might not be the same as someone else's. I understand that she thinks it is a safety issue but if she really thought it was dangerous she would put down her own salt or go a different way. I think when things are a nuisance we get annoyed and try to control them even when it's not our place. Maybe that's what she was trying to do.

But I felt she was offensive, plain and simple. And of course, I can't get it out of my mind.

I answered her "we've already gone through 2 bags of salt and I'll let my husband know." I don't know if that was the right way to handle it. I should have played dumb and asked her if she was offering to put down salt. Now I don't even want to.

Maybe the ice and snow could melt and I wouldn't have these problems!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The most stubborn child I have ever met

Those of you who know me and my family immediately know who I am talking about. However, if you have not had the pleasure of meeting us in person and you read this blog (not sure if there are any of you out there, but just in case) I will give you a little background info.

I have 4 daughters. The oldest, big T just turned 8 years old and is in second grade. She is full of energy all the time and has ears in the back of her head (she hears everything especially what you don't want her to hear). L, the second daughter is 6 and a half. She is the nurturer, she loves to help, but has some sensory issues and difficulty in school. She is all about fairness and fixing wrongs into rights. She is in first grade. The baby, M, is 3 months old and the calmest, most laid back baby ever. I hope she continues with this personality until well, ever.

Little T is 5. She is in nursery school, she is adorably cute but she is the most stubborn child I have ever met. That is saying a lot. I don't know if you remember but I have only had jobs working with children. Not just any children-most of them special needs children. And I have never met another child as stubborn and stuck in her ways as my 5 year old daughter. This character trait comes out in all sorts of ways but the hardest for me is getting her dressed. She only likes to wear certain clothes (over and over, which I could live with) but she can't wear summer clothes when it is -5 degrees outside. And we have had days like that this winter. I know these days parenting advice is all for talking to your children. Process it with them, explain it to them, blah, blah, blah. Then if things really don't work send them to time out. For most kids I think this could be the best strategy. However, I don't have those kids, I have kids that need to experience to understand.

Let me give you an example. Last week, little T would not get dressed in the morning. After she finally put her dress on she refused to put on tights. (This goes back long way-she has never liked things on her legs but we haven't argued about it lately). I kept trying to tell her why she needs to wear them, it's cold outside, your feet/legs will be cold, and on and on. It didn't matter, she was not putting on tights. After going around and around with her during the most stressful part of the day-before carpool, getting to work, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I opened the front door, took her arm and made her stand on the front step with nothing on her legs and feet. I kept her there for 2 minutes (it felt like forever) while I did something in the kitchen - she was in my line of sight the whole time of course. She was crying and crying but I didn't break. When I brought her back inside I asked her if she understood why Mommy wants her to wear tights. She said yes and went to get her tights. No more arguments about tights (yet)!

This situation just made me think that there isn't one size fits all parenting. Am I a bad mom for trying to teach my children even if they need a different way to learn it? Instead of worrying why my kids need that different way, isn't my job to ensure that they are safe and learn to take care of themselves and the world around them?