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Jul 11 2014

The Amazing Things You Can Learn From a Toddler

By at 10:12 am

ice-tea

This post is part of our Torah commentary series. This Shabbat we read Parashat Pinhas. To read a summary of the portion and learn more, click here.

This week, a dear old friend came to visit. We haven’t seen each other for a long time, but we seem to be on the same mama schedule–we both have 2-year-olds and are pregnant again.

We sat outside drinking iced tea, talking about birth and motherhood and the 15 years since we met. We talked about how confident, driven, and maybe a little entitled we both were in our early 20s. How much has changed since then. And how much of what we’ve learned, we’ve learned from our kids.

Both committed to a natural birth, we ended up with C-sections. Both committed to exclusively breastfeeding our babies, we ended up with serious nursing problems that made that goal physically impossible. And we’d both carved out wonderful and unusual careers that grew out of our passion for our work, involving tons of travel, and have turned out to require some major re-adjustment–especially as we head into two-young-kids territory. Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 27 2014

What If Moses Just Needed an Afternoon Off?

By at 11:34 am

HOMEBIRTH

This post is part of our Torah commentary series. This week we read Parashat Hukkat. To read a summary of the portion and learn more, click here.

Like many of us modern, educated ladies, I was spectacularly ignorant about babies until I had one a couple years ago. So the learning curve, similar to my pregnancy weight gain, was pretty damn steep.

Now, with baby #2 due in a month, I’ve been noticing how different it feels this time around, and taking stock of what I’ve learned…(Though yes, I know every baby’s different and I’ve been told a million times how much harder it is with two kids!) Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 24 2014

My Daughter Wants to Go to School…Yesterday

By at 4:15 pm

Ready-for-school

My 3-year-old daughter has been bursting out of her skin to get to school. This past September, when we were getting ready for the son’s upcoming school year, my son got a new backpack. So she wanted a new backpack. She watched him scooting the 20 minutes to and from school while she rode in the stroller behind and started talking about getting a scooter, too. Over the winter, she found one on the playground and practiced scooting on it, even taking her backpack with her to the playground so she could pretend going to school. She would even stop somewhere to “cross the street” while holding my hand. She started wearing her backpack everywhere she could.

We hadn’t put her in the 2’s program in the fall mostly due to logistics; it was half a day and we lived just far away enough that we would have spent our entire days running back and forth from the school. Instead, I had her most mornings. I felt awful when I watched her longingly staring into her brother’s classroom, trying to procrastinate leaving. Over the course of the year, she inched up her presence into his classroom more and more. She endeared herself to his teachers so they were giving her snacks at pick-up regularly. In the morning, she was occasionally asked if she wanted to help put the schedule up. When the family came into school for birthday parties and holidays, she sang and danced with the kids, even though she didn’t know the word or the movements and she sat right at the table with the rest of the kids. For the class’ final puppet performance, she went to sit with them rather than sit in the audience. She even talked about making goodbye cards for the teachers.

Her social life didn’t help. All the kids her age were either in programs or so filled up on classes that playdates were a nearly impossible exercise in Tetris. She had been in a music class for almost a year which she loved. She was bursting with confidence and joy to see friends and sing. However, after the summer, the average age in the class dropped significantly. She had few peers available on a regular basis and she wasn’t being challenged. My guilt increased significantly every time she asked for a playdate with a friend who was busy at school or another class.  Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 10 2014

10 Ways the Second Pregnancy is Different Than the First

By at 12:10 pm

second-pregnancy

Pregnancy is a great divide. My mothering life bears little resemblance to my pre-pregnancy life. But my second go-round is reshaping my thoughts about pregnancy. Being pregnant while parenting a toddler is so much harder. Now wiser, I offer 10 of my own second pregnancy lessons:

1. Hello, Exhaustion. When I was pregnant with Lila three years ago, I slept nine hours nightly. For the first time since kindergarten, I was also eager to nap. And nap I did. If I was tired and didn’t have anywhere to be, I indulged. No such luck now. I’m learning what tired really means. Even though this has been an easier pregnancy, I’m still tired and all-over achy. Handling that while chasing an über-energetic preschooler is tough, especially since she’s often awake before I am and is outgrowing her nap. If it weren’t for decaf, I’d be a complete zombie.

2. Less Anxiety. I generally know what to expect where pregnancy is concerned. Sure, I still have periodic questions for my OBGYN, but I don’t need to call all the time like I initially did with Lila. So, whereas an unexpected pain might have scared me last time, now I typically just shrug. Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 23 2014

Why I Changed My Mind About the Tdap Vaccine Booster

By at 11:22 am

tdap-ryan-gossling-meme

I’m entering into my ninth month of pregnancy; I’ve lost all verbal filters that I normally employ and for the most part I either explode or cry. I wasn’t this bad when I was pregnant with the boys (although I was still, admittedly, super crazy) and perhaps it is a combination of managing my 4-year-old’s emotions and chasing after my toddler with fierce hip pain and heartburn, but I want to verbally assault anyone who even looks at me wrong. I’m cranky. So that’s where I’m at.

Around my 27 week prenatal visit my midwives gave me a generic CDC handout offering me a Tdap (Tetanus/Diphtheria/Pertussis) booster. The standard guidelines are for the vaccine to be boostered every 10 years and the sheet also said “or with each pregnancy.” Since I was boostered 18 months ago when my second son was born I felt like it was overkill to do it again. I asked both the midwives and my children’s pediatrician what the rationale behind the “with each pregnancy” was and neither had any convincing talking points. The midwife said, “there may be waning immunity during pregnancy.”

I am not one to decline vaccines. My husband is a doctor and we both have Master of Public Health degrees. But I like to educate myself about the options and make a decision based on current evidence-based research coupled with our personal family circumstances (or, like, just go with the opposite of anything Jenny McCarthy says). The information provided wasn’t compelling enough for me to vaccinate myself again. I had just finished up 20 weeks of painful progesterone injections and have bruised hips to show for it. More needles? No, thanks. Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 14 2014

My Second Time Pregnant & I’m Even More in Awe

By at 9:47 am

ultrasound

This post is part of our Torah commentary series. This Shabbat we read Parashat Tzav. To read a summary of the portion and learn more, click here.

Well, it’s official–baby #2 is on the way! (And in case you were wondering, yes, I am going to tie this into the Torah portion somehow).

I thought I might be less excited the second time around, but I’ve found the opposite, at least once I got past the exhausting combination of toddler-chasing and morning sickness. For the past couple months, I’ve been feeling even more awe and mystery about what’s happening inside me this time.

Why would this be? Isn’t the second time we do anything usually less dramatic, rather than more? Well, two things are different this time. First of all, I have at least some vague idea of what might be in store. I’m less anxious. And there’s nothing like anxiety to prevent a person from feeling awe. Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 27 2013

Dealing With My Firstborn at My Daughter’s Naming Ceremony

By at 3:19 pm

baby naming ceremony howard wolkeSo last weekend was my daughter’s simchat bat, or baby naming ceremony…

First of all, I’ve got to say that the baby naming was SO much easier to deal with than the brit (circumcision) was for my son J. Of course for starters, you don’t have to worry about any snipping. My wife was thankful for that if nothing else.

Also, it was really nice to be able to decide for ourselves when the ceremony would take place. The eight day requirement is kind of restricting. For E, we were able to look at a calendar and say, “Hmm, when would be the best time for us to do this? When will family be able to come for sure?” Plus the fact that you can basically create your own ceremony that fits your style is really nice, too. So, for all those reasons, there was a lot less stress with the baby naming than the circumcision.

However, the second child’s ceremony does introduce a different type of stress–how to take care of the elder child. J is at that unique age where he isn’t young enough to totally ignore everything that is going on, while still not being old enough to fully understand why people would all be gathered for his baby sister who doesn’t really do much and certainly can’t play with trucks or trains like he can. Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 26 2013

Happy Birthday! (And Sorry About That Whole Second Child Thing)

By at 3:52 pm

carla naumburg and rosie third birthday Dear Rosie,

You are 3 years old today. You should know this because we’ve been talking about it for weeks and your older sister threw an unbelievable tantrum yesterday morning that was allegedly about socks, but we both know it’s about you getting birthday attention when she’s not. Also, your Bubbe and Zayde bought you a fancy cupcake with sprinkles for your birthday dinner last night.

Now, I know that when your sister turned 3, she got a big birthday party at the park with all of her friends and a lot of fancy cupcakes, and all you got was dinner with your parents and grandparents. Don’t worry. We’ll get to the party just as soon as I can find the save the date email that I cleverly sent out to our friends and then promptly lost. (Let’s be honest, you’re a second child. You don’t really have your own friends. Fortunately, you seem to like most of the younger siblings of your sister’s friends.)  Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 26 2013

When Being with Your Baby is Like Being Alone

By at 11:50 am

mom and baby in strollerYesterday afternoon I ran some errands with my baby. Being as I live in a neighborhood where it sometimes feels like I know everyone, I bumped into a friend. She asked where I was headed. I explained that I was out doing errands alone since my almost-4-year-old daughter was at dance class.

My friend looked at me, looked down at the baby cooing up at her from his stroller, and looked back at me again. “You know you’ve got the baby, right?” she asked. Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 10 2013

How I Prepared My Son for his Little Sister

By at 9:52 am

baby nursery crib pinkThe conversation was simple and direct: Mommy had a baby in her belly and in the spring, when the flowers came out, so would the baby. Our nearly 2-year-old son took it in stride, though my heart ached for his pending journey into big brotherhood. Our goal was to involve him as much as possible so he could feel like he was part of the process and not a victim of the change. Read the rest of this entry →

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