Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The month of December, recovering from her surgery...

....has been a whirlwind.  So much to write.  So much to remember.

Since the last post was about the anxiety I was feeling before Avery's surgery, I wanted to write that she is fine.  My memories of that day include Avery's anxiety manifesting itself as anger - angry that she had to wear the hospital pajamas and a hospital bracelet and that she had to go into an operating room and breathe into a mask.  Her tiny fingers clutched onto me for dear life as the anesthesiologist had her breathe into a mask.

The surgery was successful.  And then the anger returned in post-op.  Amongst the meek other children in recovery, Avery was a banshee "GET ME OUT OF HERE!" she screamed repeatedly. "I WANT MY OWN PAJAMAS!"  "GET THIS IV OUT OF ME" (and then) "GET THIS BAND-AID OFF WHERE THE IV USED TO BE".  The nurses actually let us leave a half hour earlier than they were supposed to because she was inconsolable.  And as soon as she got back into the car she seemed completely fine.

And then we got home and she seemed completely fine.  It was difficult to keep her from jumping around.  She was eating everything, including all of those 'no-no' foods that we had promised her because we thought that she would not be able to eat at all.  We were in the clear - she was the strongest little girl ever, impervious to pain!

And then...

A few days later, the low grade fever and throat pain and malaise set it.  Oh, so this was when the worst would be.  And at night, the anesthesia seemed to be causing strange dreams and night terrors so none of us were sleeping well. (A sleeping chart was created to try and coax and bribe her into better habits).

But we are past it now.  Her congestion is less and her nose does not run nearly as much.  Hooray! (Although she does have pink-eye right now - Pinkalicious!)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Parental Anxiety - the "before" emotions

Dear Avery,

Tomorrow you are having your adenoids removed.  We have spent the entire three-and-a-half years that is your life constantly wiping your nose and listening to you snore and the past six or so weeks squirting Nasonex and saline up your nose every evening to shrink your adenoids (it didn't work, which is why we are on the eve of your surgery).  You loved and seem to sincerely miss the Nasonex/saline combination because it meant getting to eat two jellybeans everyday.

And you seem to be responding to the idea of this surgery in the same way you did the nasal sprays - "You mean I can eat ANYTHING I want!?!!?  Juice? Candy? Ice-pops and ice-cream?  So when is this thing happening when I can eat anything I want?"

Your dad and I have had a bit of a different reaction both because we are older and understand more what is about to happen and because you are our child and we love you more than you may think is even humanly possible.  I worry most about the anesthesia.  It is never good.  Weird things can happen.  It makes me nervous.  Daddy is worried about the pain you will feel after you wake up.  We are both worried about the unknown.  We both wish we could fast forward a few weeks from now, but we cannot.  So in the meantime, we are not sleeping particularly well, we are being a bit over-indulgent with you and we are taking lots of deep breaths and trying not to make too big of a deal about this.

When you read this when you are older, I do hope that you will be able to share your more adult perspective remembering back of what it was like to be a child in this situation.

I love you very much,

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

2011 The Halloween That Wasn't

Dear Kids,

I want you to remember the year that you were seven and three (or almost eight and almost four, as you both like to remind me) and the storm that we have just experienced.  For the very first time in your lives, our house was without power for three days.  We stayed with family and friends because it was too cold and dark to stay in our own home and I want you to always remember how kind people are.

Sadly, this is the Halloween that wasn't.  There were too many tree and power wires in the road so it was not safe to trick-or-treat.  You have not yet worn your costumes or gotten any candy, but you have been such good kids an have not complained even one bit.

You will have many Halloweens in the years to come, but I think that this will be the one that you remember most - the Halloween that wasn't.

Thank you for being such good kids.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Dor v'dor

Hi kids,

"Dor v'dor" means from generation to generation in Hebrew.  That's the title of this post because I had a wonderful experience with you two last night celebrating Simchat Torah at the Glen Rock Jewish Center.  And I remember when Grandma used to take me when I was a kid.  I don't know, honestly, which is more fun, being a kid and going or watching your kids when you are older.

In any case, I want to let you know that this year, I wore a tallit and danced with a torah.  Alex, you held a real torah for the first time and that is really amazing and special for a seven year old.

We also all stood under a chuppah as a family during the reading of the torah and sang the blessings before the torah reading together.  What an incredible honor for all of us.

Chag sameach!


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Proud mama

Dear Alex, 

I want to make sure I document the good along with the bad. This post definitely falls into the "good" camp.  

Last week, you were playing in the backyard with Josh and David and you lost one of your big front teeth. Like every other kid that this happens to, you now have a goofy smile (and the other big front tooth is hanging on by a thread!). What the loss of this tooth really signals for me in some odd kind of way is a sign that you are really growing up. Whether it is coincidence or not, many other amazing achievements have also occurred over the past few weeks. 

1. At Rosh Hashanah dinner, you were humming a song and then questioned who sang it. You answered yourself (black eyed peas), but your dad countered that it was someone else (he believed it to be Rihanna and Nikki Minaj). Your dad challenged you to NEVER question him when it comes to pop culture, that he would even bet you an itouch if you were right. You could have backed down, but you held your ground against your dad in a battle of pop culture and won (an ipod touch, no less!). 

2. You are playing and loving playing flag football. In two leagues! You like playing defense. You are discovering your inner athlete. You enjoy tossing a football around with your dad on the front lawn. 

3. You are not loving playing basketball, but are sticking with it. I think I am more proud of your stamina and dedication to something that is not as easy or fun for you. 

4. You ran a junior mile in under 10 minutes, being one of the top 10 kids to finish. And this after giving up on a junior mile halfway through just a month before. Way to prove to yourself that you can do anything that you set your mind to! 

5. Most importantly, after about only a month of second grade, you were retested and have moved up to the top spelling group in your class. While we have never questioned your intelligence or ability, you have needed to develop listening and focus skills. You have worked hard and the results have paid off. 

Alex, I am so proud of you and hope that you are super proud of yourself. You are a great kid!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Happy Birthday!

I just wanted to wish my favorite Kiwi Strawberry (blonde) - the remarkable Naomi Harris-Narev - a very happy birthday. I think about you a lot and miss you. xo

Monday, September 19, 2011

No more tiny toes

Avery has cute little toes and one of my nicknames for her is 'tiny toes'. In the past couple of days she has insisted that I drop the nickname. In her mind, since she is no longer tiny, she can no longer have tiny toes. Much of this stems from her incredible strength and fearlessness for giving up her pacifier. As of Friday September 16, 2011 Avery has no more paci and she sleeps in a big girl bed instead of a toddler bed and she goes to sleep all on her own. I could not be more proud and hope that she is proud of herself too. 

Saturday morning to celebrate, I took her to the toy store and let her choose ANYTHING she wanted. She chose triplet baby dolls that say 'mama' and make other noises. She hasn't stopped playing with them.

After the toy store, we went to Alex's flag football game (he is a great defensive player, btw - but when did I become such an over-complimentary Jewish mother!) and Avery put all her pacifiers in a plastic bag to give to baby Eva Pittman. Pride, proud, happy mother, happy father, happy children! I love autumn and the start of new things, it really does make sense to have the New Year start now.

And today, Monday, is also the start of new things. Avery had her first ballet class. Rather than pride, I would say the emotion I feel on hearing her reaction is explosive joy. Her exact quote "I have never been so happy in my entire life" was said both at the start and end of class and she paid rapt attention to her teacher and followed everything that the teacher did.

Let's hope that I can continue to appreciate them and their happiness even longer than these sunny crisp fall days last.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

First day of second grade

Honestly, I was having an anxiety attack this morning as I dropped Alex off for his first day of second grade and stayed after a bit to socialize with other parents. I was thinking "Is balance really possible or does it just mean that I'm doing too many things, all of them imperfectly."

I know that the rule not to compare oneself is both important and impossible. Luckily, I have a network of working mommy friends who can talk me off the ledge when I cannot help but compare and these same fantastic women can make me laugh. 

You see Alex (and Avery), I am learning and growing with you.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Imitation as the sincerest form of flattery

Avery likes to copy Alex. As I imagine all younger siblings throughout time have always liked to imitate their older brethren. Alex finds this habit annoying, for the most part (as all older siblings do), but he is kind and sometimes just finds it plain funny.

Over the past year or so, Alex has taken to sleeping in boxers. His bedroom is the hottest in the house during the winter and he just got used to sleeping that way once spring and summer arrived.

Last night, Avery asked if she could sleep just like Alex does - in her underwear only. After her bath, she put on a pair of underwear and started saying in a deep voice "I'm Alex", which made Alex laughed.

Funnier still, after getting into bed, being read stories and sung songs and having once last trip to the bathroom we hear a tiny voice from a floor away calling "Daddy, I need you". Eric races upstairs and returns a few minutes later with a grin on his face. Apparently, Avery's new nighttime apparel had gone awry when a little bear blankie that she sleeps with got stuck in her underwear.

Avery, you are one in a million and no, Alex never encountered this mishap from his sleeping attire!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Amazing, yet untraditional

After camp today, Alex was feeling a bit down on himself because every single boy in hisvgroup is a better athlete than him - better at soccer and basketball and faster runners and kickball and, and and....

Then he started to talk about the kids who get the harder, longer spelling lists, who are way better at math, and are just nice helpful kids.

"Everyone is just better than me at everything, mommy"

He was just feeling so sad. And frankly, he was making me feel sad too, as well as question whether we had passed on the worst of ourselves rather than the best.

(Here is my love letter to my wonderful son)

So I started to think about what was amazing about my Alex. He can spell just fine, but oh how he can speak and how he can spin a tale! He can engage you in a world of wonder. And that kid gets content and context from movies and books in a way that kids twice his age can't.

And while at seven years of age these qualities that are uniquely Alex are perhaps not the traditional successes that he desires, I do know that one day he will be better than the soccer playing kids who peaked in elementary school.

Alex, you are indeed amazing. Yes, really.


Monday, July 11, 2011

Mommy and Daughter morning

Yesterday morning, Avery and I did the following:

1. Dropped off homemade cookies and chicken noodle soup at her friend Tali's house since the Pittmans have a new baby! Baby Eva! Stayed for about a 20 minute impromptu playdate.

2. Ambled around the Ridgewood Farmer's market. Avery sampled her way through and thoroughly enjoyed tastes of tomatoes (yellow and red), broccoli, chard, spinach, green beans, pickles (full sour, half sour, new) and crackers with homemade blueberry peach jam.

3. Had an impromptu playdate with Avery's friend Abby and Abby's cousins Molly and Lily when we were driving by and saw them outside. Ice pops, pushing pretend babies in little strollers, riding bikes, trying to be good about taking turns, but never feeling like your own turn was long enough.

4. Watched Eric play some softball (and ate other people's snacks and played on the adjacent field as if it were a beach)

The rest of the day we mostly did things as a family and fell into our regular familial roles. However, that morning I was honored to experience the best of my daughter, the one who is not the baby of the family always running to try and catch up, the one who never got to be an only child and can easily feel frustrated. Instead, I spent time with Avery, the delightful little girl who loves intensely.

Definitely more mommy-daughter moments to follow!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Why does Avery like to say "smell my finger"?

This girl needs some girly friends, for sure, and not to ALWAYS be surrounded by 7 and 8 year old boys.

Way more Imitrex and swollen joints than I would like

Hey migraines and lyme's fingers - go away! You're not welcome here. How long do you think I can avoid dealing with this?

Because I have to make sure that this is recorded...

....for posterity. Because it is beautiful. And it makes me cry. And it makes me think of how much we all love each other.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Avery is three years and one month old

Hi Avery,

Just about a month ago you turned three. I think I have stayed away from blogging about this past year of your life because I love you intensely my dear, but you are in fact a terrible two turned terrible three! I know that this behavior will pass and I should write about it right now so that I can tease you years from now when we read this together.

I will start with your birthday party. 16 children and an assortment of 16 mommies, daddies, grandmas and babysitters. I was nervous that it would rain, but the rain held off so we were able to have your abrakadoodle art party all outside in our yard, and eat pink and purple cupcakes and play on the swing set. It was everything a third birthday should be.

You are still great friends with your buddy Abby. You guys don't always like to share, but I do still think you love each other nonetheless.

You no longer wear diapers, not even at night! (But you still love your paci)

You are opinionated. You insist on being a leader. Being given a choice is not enough freedom for you, you must invent the choices on your own.

You scream loudly when you do not get your way.

You hug and kiss your family members with passion and wild abandon (I like to believe that you hug me the tightest).

You are learning how to write letters. You know how to read letters and numbers.

You are one of a kind and I wouldn't have you any other way.

I love you,

Monday, March 28, 2011

(365 x 7) + 12 = Alex

Dear Alex,

Today is 12 days past your seventh birthday. This year you had three parties: a friend party, a school party and a family party.

For your friend party, we kept it small this year and took a handful of boys (and Avery) out for pizza and to the movies (Rango) then back to our house for ice cream cake and playing. This felt like a very adult party and I think that your favorite part was back at our house when you all ran around outside with fluorescent yellow dollar store dart guns from you goodie bags and played war.

I think this will be the theme of your seventh year, that you have become a complete and utter boy. There is no trace of cuddly baby left in you. You like to do the things that boys do - play war, get dirty, ride your scooter and bike, play video games.

And in the past few months some of the most amazing changes have occurred in you. You have become basketball player, reader extraordinare (chapter books all on your own!), and mathematician.

You have a few really good friends and have had your first "friends" sleepover.

You are no longer as tolerant of your baby sister. You used to be kind to her and accepting no matter what. We couldn't believe how patient and tolerant you were. But that hasn't lasted and now you fight back, for the most part, as you should.

You are growing your hair a little bit longer and I think that you look really cool.

You only take showers now and have given up on baths.

You are alternately lazy and energetic, depending on your mood.

You still love a good movie and still watch movies that are perhaps a bit too mature for you. You recently watched the movie Meatballs with your dad and have been going around quoting it and laughing uproariously. Your dad loves that you share a similar sense of humor.

You are still stubborn about learning the correct way to do things from us. This extends from the proper way to complete your homework to the proper way to swing a baseball bat. I totally get that - it is hard to learn from the ones you love most. I think I was born perfect and knowing everything too.

In this next year of your life, I hope that you remain happy, get to play and learn without stress and feel loved everyday.

Happy (belated - that means late) birthday, Alex!

I love you,

The Pacifier Monster

Oh help! What have I gotten myself into with circle paci? I have managed to get Avery off a bottle, out of a crib and out of diapers, but the paci monster continues to linger.

And of late she has been losing her paci in the middle of the night and wailing. It is just like having a newborn baby to have to visit that room in the wee hours to comfort her (and to search under her bed and beneath the covers in the dark for said lost paci).

Will she have to pop that paci out of her mouth when she gives the valedictory speech for Glen Rock High School in 2026?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Why have I been so quiet?

Hey kids,

So I really haven't written much lately and it's not because life is boring; on the contrary, it is busy and filled with winter sickness and work indecision and planning vacations and school for the both of you and alternating days of sunshine and snow, amongst other things.

But I haven't wanted to commit to anything in writing. Life feels a bit at a tipping point at the moment and I like to be definitive when I write (and speak and act) rather than dripping in uncertainty.

Anyway, I'll say to you Alex what an amazing report card you just received before mid-winter break. Growth in all areas both academic and social.

And Avery, is that you trying to go on the potty? You are such a big girl!

Love you both so much,
Your mommy

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Alex's first Hebrew School report card

Let's just say, I am NOT proud. I know that 'boys will be boys' and all that, but his complete and utter disrespect for his teacher is abominable. I know that she is not one to control the classroom and that there are children who egg Alex on, however, I expect him to be a leader not a follower.

I starting writing this post when I was beyond irate and have waited about a week to finish it. I am certainly calmer. I am hoping he outgrows this behavior. Then again, when I observe the millenials with whom I work, I am also shocked by their sense of entitlement and sometimes even outright rudeness. So perhaps it is a generation thing that I will have to get used to.

Friday, January 14, 2011

A real reason to move back to the city

Avery just ran up to an Asian boy and hugged him because she thought he was one of Alex's friends.

"Hi Bernie," she joyfully said as she hugged a boy who was not Bernie.

Methinks there are too many white people in this town.

AND it was way less embarrassing (and seemingly less racist) when Alex was her age and couldn't tell Wendy and Jane or their sons Joseph and Cooper apart because of their blond hair.

Monday, January 10, 2011

And what will I be when THEY grow up?

On Monday, I dropped Alex at his school, Avery at her school then took my mom to the airport. I had been home for a couple of hours and beyond a conference call and a couple of loads of laundry, it had been remarkably quiet.

It had me thinking back to a time when Alex turned two. I made the horrific jump from 2 days a week working mom to full-time working mom. At the time, I was pit-in-the-bottom-of-my-stomach unsure about this decision. Would my baby love his nanny more than me? Would he resent me for not being around more?

Fast forward almost five years and I think I made the right decision. I go into work at a reasonable hour and can take Alex to school nearly every day. (There are, of course, the occasional days when I am travelling or have a very early meeting, but I can count the number of those on my hands in the five years I have worked for Unilever). I work from home a couple of days a week which means I can take Avery to school some days. These work from home days also mean that I can be a computer lab volunteer, a learning center volunteer, a Shabbat mom and pretty much anything else the schools need me to do.

This job is the epitome of work-life balance.


It has been five years. And I am queen of the five year work itch. You have heard of the 'biological clock', well I think I have an 'intellectual clock'. And I am bored. Beyond bored.


How could I give up what I have with these (mostly delicious and adorable) kids?

So I have been thinking about what type of changes I could make and from the very least to most risky they are:

1. Stay with Unilever. Stay as a senior manager. Stay on the innovations side of the business. Just find another brand to work on. While this is the most ideal, it's also the most elusive. Unilever has strategically (and smartly) decided to invest in developing nations which means opportunities in the good ol' USofA are less than if I were willing to go to say, Singapore. So this will work only if I can find someone who wants to do tradesies with me.

2. Stay with Unilever. Stay a senior manager. Move to the implementation side of the business. This has potential, but nothing is available right now and I am SOOOOO ready to move right now.

3. Stay with Unilever. Stay on the innovations side of the business. Stretch myself into a director role. This would mean more face time, more travel, but this is one where there is actually an opening/real opportunity right now. It's scary, but feels like the kind of stretch that might be good for me.

4. Leave Unilever. In most cases this will mean commuting back to the city which I have nightmarish thoughts as the worst possible thing in the universe.

5. Leave Unilever and go to a specific place where I know the work will be hard, but exciting and rewarding - and by rewarding I also mean that the potential payout will be large. I would also get to work with people that I know, trust and respect. BUT...I will be in the city five days a week. On the days that I am not in the city, it will be because I am travelling around the country and around the world. I will need to change the paradigm with Jenny so that she comes much earlier each day (no more taking Alex or Avery to school) and stay later in the evening. This possible opportunity is the one that is playing major tug-of-war between my intelligence ego and my stay at home mommy ego. I should just let this go and politely decline, but I am stringing it along for some reason.

So I ask you kids, did I/will I make the right decision? What should I be when you grow up?