Posted by: mommytoo | April 29, 2011

parenting my three year old

having two kids is way more than twice as much work.  did anyone tell me that before levi was born?  was i just not listening?  nate is a funny, inquisitive, loquacious, moody, snuggly, cautious, loving three year old, and we have had some rough patches.  d says it’s like he has pms all the time, and i’d say that’s quite accurate.  you never know what mood you’ll get on a given day, in a given hour.  for a few weeks there, i was not sure what was going on — right before his birthday at the end of march, i felt like we were losing it. 

after nate’s birthday, which was of course filled with parties, presents, and sugar, d and i had a really good conversation about what changes we wanted to make, and it’s made a huge difference.  what’s interesting is that the changes are relatively minor, mostly about food.  that continues to be our biggest struggle, i’d say.  we’re reading about how to increase what he’ll eat, but mostly we’re just changing how we feed him.  all pressure is off, but mealtimes are structured, and sugar is more limited.  we are taking what we know about him, and what we know about toddlers, and it’s getting a little easier (for now).  he is constantly changing, and responding more to stricter limits than he used to.  i employ threats warnings of consequences more readily than i used to, and at this stage, it really seems to help.  he is not a particularly rebellious kid, but he is of course not capable of real logic yet.  mostly i just explain that if he does X again, Y will happen.  if he isn’t gentle with that toy, i will take away the toy.  i really try not to make it a threat, and i try to make consequences that make sense (i really dislike the “if you are rough with your brother, you can’t have dessert” types of consequences).  i know i lose my patience sometimes, more than i used to.

we have never used “time outs,” nor have we felt the need.  i still don’t call it that, but there are days when he is hyped up and more than once, i sit down with nate and explain that he needs to sit there until he is ready to calm down.  it usually takes a few seconds at most, and sometimes as soon as i sit down with him, he says “i’m ready to calm down.”  i’m learning that like many things, there are few hard and fast rules about what i think is “right” for parenting.  what works for one kid doesn’t work for the next… what works one week might not work the following week, even for the same child!

Posted by: mommytoo | April 22, 2011

in which i turn over a new leaf

i think maybe i’m ready to return to blogging, now that my semester is almost over.  i have one more week of my clinical rotation, and a final exam, then a couple of weeks off… then my last clinical rotation!  i finish in august, at which point i will start my next round of anxiety, about passing my boards, getting my license, and finding a new job as a nurse practitioner.

my boys are both doing well.  updates on levi: he is 3.5 months old, and has red hair!  we brought him to get his little hand (otherwise known as his lucky fin) checked out at what is apparently the best hospital in the world for pediatric orthopedics.  it’s local!  they see tons of limb differences, and the doctor was fantastic.  he told us what d had already figured out, which is that levi has symbrachydactyly (too many Ys for one word).  it’s hard to explain what his hand looks like, the best i can say is that it looks like he is always giving a little “hang ten” gesture, with a long thumb, a long pinky, and three teeny fingers in between.  his thumb is opposable, and that is what makes a huge difference.  the doctor and occupational therapist recommended basically nothing.  he doesn’t need surgery or even occupational therapy, both agreed that he would most likely figure it all out on his own, because it has a lot of function.  they said probably the most we’ll need them for is an adaptive device for a baseball mitt or a violin bow some day, and they want to see us in a year because we are “part of the family” now.  all in all, a great visit.  i was a wreck, i was dreading the x rays especially.  when the time came, levi smiled through the whole thing, with a lead blanket over him.

we’ve had lots of ups and downs since the little guy got here, but we are adjusting, i’ll say that for us.  nate turned three a few weeks ago, and he is showing it!  which probably deserves a whole separate post… right now our biggest challenge is that levi’s nanny, who is also a friend, had unexpected surgery this past monday.  and just because timing always seems to work this way, nate is off school this week, as well as monday and tuesday next week (because you know, everyone celebrates all eight days of passover).  it’s been an adventure, having at least one of us home all week, and managing them both when i’m home alone.  we went to the aquarium, the mall with a merry go round, got summer shoes for nate, went to the playground, a couple of trips to the coffee shop… lots of trains, lots of fire trucks, lots of playdoh.  not too much tv, i’m happy to report.  the days aren’t bad, it’s really the evenings that make me lose my mind.  levi has his “witching hour” around 6 or 7pm, and that’s when nate starts to get cranky, and i’m trying to make sure he’s eaten, and frankly i’m just not great at juggling the two of them, especially with levi nursing frequently.

here’s a shot of my sweet boys…

Posted by: mommytoo | February 4, 2011

belated announcement

our little levi was born january 9, at 2:45 in the morning.  he weighed 6lbs14oz, and was born without any complications to either of us.

labor was long and difficult – is any labor not difficult?  i’d like to meet that person – and it was not what i imagined and planned.  again, it seems like it rarely is!  but in uncharacteristic fashion, as soon as it was over, i felt satisfied and even proud.  i am usually pretty hard on myself, but i think we made the best decisions for me and our boy.  at some point i will probably write through the whole thing, but for now, i just wanted to get back to the blog!

the four of us are doing pretty well, under the crazy circumstances.  turns out, it’s a lot of f*cking work having two kids!  nate is excited and sweet, and sometimes a little manic, wanting to play with levi while he’s nursing or sleeping or just needs a little space.  i think he’s disappointed that babies aren’t that much fun in the beginning!  we’re gradually getting used to being a family of four, but it’s challenging for sure.

i have a million thoughts about all of this, of course.  but for now, a picture of our new little guy.

Posted by: mommytoo | January 7, 2011


our house has three bedrooms, and the nursery has been the office/guestroom for the 5 years we’ve lived here (actually before nate was born, we had the luxury of one guestroom, one office!).  we still need a place for guests to stay, so they will bunk with the little guy, once he’s actually in his own room.  it may not be ideal, but it’s what we have, and our guests won’t be complaining, i’m sure.  we’re attempting a kind of daybed situation with the guest bed, so that it will be fun for the boys to play and be cozy.

we weren’t sure whether to do another mural.  nate has a wonderful, special one in his room, and we were frankly concerned about whether the murals would make it harder to sell the house, when it’s time.  still, we couldn’t resist.  this one is a different artist, a bit more subtle, and equally special.

Posted by: mommytoo | January 6, 2011

who’s counting?

d and i had our last of three hypnobirthing classes today.  the instructor was kind enough to give us private lessons, at no additional charge.  it was a lifesaver, because our schedules were so crazy the last few months.

we are not model students, in that we don’t do the “homework” much, including practice as much as we should/could.  one thing i’ve learned, though, is that i’m not exactly the hypnosis type.  instead, i’m working on relaxation and meditation, or the closest my busy brain can get.  which the teacher said sounds like the right direction for me, that it isn’t important to get hung up on whether i’m doing it right, etc.  i will report on how it actually goes, during labor.

today is 38 weeks, 5 days.  i’m getting more uncomfortable, and more obsessed with what every discomfort means.  it’s really hard not to do obsess, and i’m making every effort to enjoy my time off, and be patient (i am not a very patient person).  i was scheduled to start maternity leave after this week, but 12 hour shifts are feeling pretty impossible, so that’s that — i worked through 38 weeks instead of 39, and then swallowed my pride and threw in the towel.  my last shift was 6 days ago, and the last week has been lovely, spending time with nate and even getting some one on one time with d, when nate is at school.  so, another week like this could be fantastic.

the nursery is finished, except the closet of death, as i call it.  we always have one closet in the house that is unbelievably, completely, disgustingly overrun with junk, and right now it’s the one in the nursery, and i’ve been talking about cleaning it for MONTHS.  from experience, we know that we prefer to keep baby clothes in the dresser, so it will not be the end of the world if i go into labor before i get to it.  but i will feel better when it’s done.  other than that, my to-do list is pretty sedentary… phone calls, faxes, emails, lists… loose ends from a semester of letting things go.  and puttering, lots of puttering.  my favorite.

Posted by: mommytoo | January 5, 2011


so, i guess i’m trying to decide whether to jump start this blog again.  i always thought blogging during my own pregnancy would be really interesting and important, after blogging throughout d’s pregnancy and my experience as nate’s mama.  and even though i was “slacking” a little bit, i had been trying to keep up somewhat.  then i stopped kind of suddenly, but not without reason.

about 2 months ago, one of our dearest friends, 37 weeks pregnant, lost her baby.  i was about 30 weeks pregnant at the time.  this friend and her husband have a daughter who is a few months older than nate, they live around the corner and we spend a lot of time together.  we didn’t exactly plan to get pregnant at the same time, but were really excited about spending our maternity leave together, and teaching our toddlers about being big siblings, etc.  she and her husband are in very similar professions to me and d, which is one reason we love hanging out.  after we found out about the baby’s hand anomaly, she used her connections to get us an appointment with a fancy-pants geneticist, never imagining that a few months later, she would need her connections to get one herself, to review an autopsy for her full-term baby.

this has affected me and d in a million ways, and i’m not sure what this blog has to do with it.  it has just cast a shadow over this pregnancy.  which doesn’t feel fair, but mostly we’re just so sad for our friends.  as is often the case, i find it hard to write about anything else when something so major is going on — and it hasn’t felt right to blog about this loss.  gradually, the “acute-ness” has passed, for us at least.  and there has been a lot i’ve wanted to write about, and share.

as i write, i am 38 weeks and 4 days pregnant, with no indication that this little guy is coming any time soon.  i am well aware that it could start any time, and i am open to that, and also trying not to rush!  i’ve been asking d for lots of pep talks about how we’re ready, but not in a rush.  if he comes tomorrow, great.  if i have some time to rest and nest, even better, after the semester i’ve had.

so, i guess i’m going to try to get back into this blogging thing.  happy new year, all!

here is the song we sang at the memorial for the baby.


Listen more often to things than to beings
Listen more often to things than to beings
‘Tis the ancestor’s breath when the fire’s voice is heard
‘Tis the ancestor’s breath in the voice of the waters.

Those who have died have never, never left
The dead are not under the earth
They are in the rustling trees
They are in the groaning woods
They are in the crying grass,
they are in the moaning rocks
The dead are not under the earth. 

Listen more often to things than to beings
Listen more often to things than to beings
‘Tis the ancestor’s breath when the fire’s voice is heard
‘Tis the ancestor’s breath in the voice of the waters. 

Those who have died have never never left.
The dead have a pact with the living.
They are in the woman’s breast,
they are in the wailing child
They are with us in our homes.
They are with us in the crowd
The dead have a pact with the living. 

Listen more often to things than to beings
Listen more often to things than to beings
‘Tis the ancestor’s breath when the fire’s voice is heard
‘Tis the ancestor’s breath in the voice of the waters.

Posted by: mommytoo | October 11, 2010

tick tock

i think it was around this time in d’s pregnancy that i started getting the nesting bug.  i was kind of crazy, even without the hormones that are apparently responsible for the homemaking frenzy new almost-parents get.  so far, this time around, that bug has for sure not kicked in.  the list-making has started happening, but… well, i’m not really doing anything about it.  there may be a disconnect between desire and energy level.

granted, i have 14 or so weeks until this baby arrives.  but in some ways it feels like there is more to do this time, because we need to sort through what we have, clean it (or trash it, if it is damp and disgusting from the basement), figure out what else we need, make space for what we need (3 bedrooms is not that much room for 4 people and 4 animals).  all while i’m in school, both of us are working and when not working, spending time with a toddler.  on the bright side, this time i have the preparation stuff in perspective.

looking on the bright side of the last few months, i probably have a lot of things in perspective, which is not something i’ve always been able to say.  this pregnancy has not been what i always dreamed, but the big stuff – healthy pregnancy, apaprently healthy baby – has remained.  with every wrench in our plans, there is still a sense of we are lucky.  and therefore a dose of i am grateful.  we have always talked about how lucky we are, even before we had a healthy kid.  but the last few months, i have learned a lot about allowing myself grief, while working not to get so lost in it that i forget what a person can live without. 

i am still so sad and scared about what difficulties this child will come across, and what challenges we’ll face, as parents of a child who is different.  i am resisting the urge to apologize for that, because it is a normal thing to feel, even as i add, in the same breath, how incredibly fortunate i am to have everything i have, including two sons.  it’s amazing, how many true things you can hold in your heart, when you let yourself.

Posted by: mommytoo | September 23, 2010

no one ever said this would be easy…

ever feel like there simply aren’t enough days in the week?  i’m having one of those months.  i started my clinical placement last week, and it’s challenging to get all my hours in.  i work 2 12-hour shifts a week (part time), and i need to complete what comes to about 16 hours a week in clinicals.  but the way my instructor’s schedule works, i will be doing half days instead of full days, and therefore being there more days (obviously).  so here i am, trying to squeeze these hours in, shifting my work schedule around, and sadly accepting that i am not going to see d much this fall.  it’s temporary, but we are about to become one of those couples who doesn’t see each other much — for the most part, the only weekend days i’m not working are the ones she is working (or out of town).

in the summer, i spent a lot of time worrying about how busy the fall was going to be.  since may, we’ve known it would be on top of the fact that i’d be pregnant, so it might be more physically difficult for me to spend so many hours on my feet, on the go, with extra stress.  but now, as i put my head down and walk straight into it, i find a little bit of panic in my heart.  and maybe with that, some relief that every day, i am getting through, and i am one day closer to the new year, when i will be done with this semester and getting ready for a new son to cover with kisses.  maternity leave will not be the time off that i’m sure i’ll long for, but maybe it will be a bit easier to get a few months of clinical placement done without my usual long days of work.

i actually do better – emotionally – when i am busy.  i was sad to come home from vacation at the end of the summer, but if i’m honest with myself, i have to say that it is not good for me to have too much free time.  people have been telling me to take care of myself, but sometimes for me, that means getting things done and feeling productive.  i do love napping and lounging and prenatal yoga, and i hope to find time for some of that, too.  but the only thing i’m really going to miss is family time.

i did have a wonderful day with nate today.  his new school is jewish, and he has days off for even the little holidays.  today and tomorrow they are closed for sukkot, and next week there is a holiday i have literally never heard of (not that i’m such an expert), for which he has another 2 days off.  today we went to the gym – i took a yoga class, he played at the child care, which he loves – and then to the library with friends.  after lunch, we took a nap, he went to sleep in 7 minutes and i’ve never been so grateful.  then we went to visit d at work, she teaches two classes on thursdays and we hung out for a little while in between.  even grocery shopping was kind of fun and not stressful, he was a dreamboat.

i really needed a day like this with him, and am so grateful to have had it.

Posted by: mommytoo | September 7, 2010

fantastic article

this is a really thorough examination (and condemnation) of circumcision.  it’s a controversial topic, but it’s one i feel really strongly about, and i’m grateful for people who are better writers than me, to say all of this!

To Not Circumcise or to Not Circumcise; There is No Question..

Posted by: mommytoo | September 5, 2010

officially back home!

yesterday was my first day back at work, and it’s a good way to go, because i’m off today and then back again tomorrow.  going back was okay, weekends are calmer and tomorrow is a holiday so hopefully nothing too crazy will be going on.  the strangest part of going back to work is that i clearly “popped” in the last two weeks (which i knew).  my scrub shirts are getting uncomfortable, so i was wearing a tee-shirt that is kind of fitted.  people who knew i was pregnant kept commenting on how i looked, and people who didn’t know, sort of gestured and congratulated me.  for the most part everyone was very nice and polite, i am dreading getting to the point that strangers come up to me and say “oh my god are you going to give birth right here?”

this morning nate slept late, and now he and d are at the gym — they have a great little playroom and babysitter, with a table of trains, so he’s happy there while d goes running.  they were so cute packing up — nate had his own juice and “mommy’s juice,” her sports drink, he packed them into her gym bag.  what are the chances that i can clean the kitchen, run laundry, eat breakfast, and finish this blog post in the next hour or so?  but i really wanted to post some vacation photos.  for some reason, i can’t get the captions to line up with the photos.  it’s really annoying but i have run out of patience to fix!

at the beach in provincetown — nate has just recently started smiling for pictures, but they are these weird, fake smiles.  at least they’re funny!

on a walk in wellfleet

watching j skateboard…

trying it himself…

pushing j is a little more his speed right now!

he could not get enough of baby e.  and our friends had a tent on the beach, was he decided was a tunnel.  so after playing in the water, sand and mud for a while, he wanted to get undressed (except his shoes) and show the baby how to play with a dinosaur.

goofing around with his friend “téa”

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