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Oct 3 2012

That Baby is Totally and Completely Screwed

By at 4:45 pm
Jordana Horn's fourth child

Jordana and Baby G.

I’m sitting in the kids’ service for Sukkot, my 38-week-pregnant body uncomfortably positioned on a folding chair. In front of me is my 14-month-old daughter, Baby G. She is sitting for the first time in a plastic toddler school chair, in a circle with other kids.

It’s clear that she is profoundly mesmerized by the proceedings. It is blowing her mind how the service leader knows her name, and how she is asked to clap at regular intervals. She keeps turning around to look at me with her huge, gap-toothed grin on her face, as though she’s saying, “Can you BELIEVE this?”

She is sweet, and innocent, and beautiful. I stare at the little Florence Henderson-esque blond curls on the back of her neck. In an act of tremendous restraint, I somehow refrain from leaning over, grabbing her and covering her with kisses. I love her. And I pity her.

This gorgeous baby, light of my life, is totally and completely screwed. Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 27 2012

Getting Our Toddler Ready For Baby #2

By at 12:24 pm

Little boy on stepsWe’re about to welcome a new little addition to our family. I’m pretty sure my 2-year-old thinks I’m birthing a playmate for him who will bound out of my womb ready to pass a ball. And I’m afraid the screaming infant we bring home won’t be the only thing my son finds disappointing.

My husband and I have done all we can to prepare his little mind for the changes ahead. We took a sibling class at the hospital geared towards toddlers and they read books about a new baby, toured the hospital rooms where he will meet his little brother, and even learned to diaper his beloved Curious George doll.  He left mostly talking about the apple juice he spilled down his shirt during snack.

We have lots of books about becoming a big brother, our favorite being What Baby Needs by Dr. Sears mostly because it shows babywearing, breastfeeding and cosleeping. All things we do in our house, and did with my son, but none of which he actually remembers.  He loves to read the books but until he actually sees us doing these things he doesn’t really understand.

What he does understand is that I am physically limited.  My son wants to be carried, snuggled and rocked. He wants me to rough-house with him and play trains on the floor. Thankfully my husband is being extra hands-on when he’s home and in the meanwhile we’ve taken to lots of couch snuggles while reading library books, which appears to be a suitable substitute.  At bedtime, my son and I would gently dance around his room together before bed time, me swaying with him in my arms and singing a song I made up called “dancin’ with your Mama” — I still sing the song, but can no longer dance while holding my lanky boy. I’m by no means wishing this baby out, but I cannot wait to dance with my son again. We both miss it terribly.

There have been lots of tears and tantrums from both of us as this pregnancy comes to close. He knows that if he runs, I cannot chase him (cue frantic Jewish mother waddling after he toddler screaming “GET BACK HERE!”) and he has figured out that if he flattens himself completely on the ground, I have no way of getting him up. I find myself snapping at him more than usual and the patience I once had left around the time my belly button popped and I lost track of my feet.

Last week after a car nap which lasted over an hour thanks to me driving around, my son woke up and was ready to come inside. But once we walked in the door, he melted into hysterics and refused to climb the stairs up to the apartment. I’m not physically capable of picking a limp screaming toddler off the ground and carrying him up sixteen stairs, so I told him I would let him collect himself and I’d be back to check on him in a minute.

I waited upstairs for five minutes and then peaked down to find him asleep on the step.

I know he has big huge feelings right now and he’s sensing that I’m tired and can’t physically do what he needs me to do for him right now. My heart aches for him on these days. But when I looked down those steps at my sleeping boy, I remembered

He will always be my first baby,

He still needs so much of me,

and there will always be enough love to go around.

Sometimes it’s just hard to be two.

Jul 17 2012

Is My Middle Child Doomed?

By at 1:37 pm

three kidsReading Jeffrey Kluger’s fascinating book, The Sibling Effect: What the Bonds Among Brothers and Sisters Reveal About Us, I learned that “Schoolhouse Rock” may have lied to me.

Three may well not be a magic number.

In fact, when it comes to the ideal number of children per family, three might possibly be the very worst one. (Fun fact: I have three kids! I would go for four, but my husband has informed me that while I may have as many children as I see fit, he’s never changing another diaper again. I am to do with that information what I will.) Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 26 2012

My Daughter Turns 2 Today

By at 1:44 pm

big sister with new babyMy baby is 2 years old today.

Yet I have been a parent of two for almost three years. From the moment we transferred that second embryo into my artificially-enhanced womb, I become a mother of two, constantly concerned with the health and safety of both of my daughters. My experience of parenting went from the relatively simple (but rarely easy) focus on one tiny little being to an unpredictable reality of constantly shifting attention, competing demands, difficult choices, and unmet needs (often my own). It went from mostly manageable to complete mayhem. Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 25 2012

Do All Our Kids Really Need to Feel Like Winners?

By at 2:54 pm

trophyOn the last day of his after-school tennis program, my 6-year-old came home with a trophy.

“Wow Zack, I’m so proud of you!” I said.

“Why? Everyone got one.” His blasé tone shifted immediately and somewhat manically to intense excitement.

“Oh yeah! Oh yeah!” Zack chanted as he pumped the trophy overhead, just like he’d seen a classmate do at his recent reading awards ceremony. Read the rest of this entry →

May 22 2012

We Don’t Love Our Firstborn More, We Swear

By at 4:07 pm

little boy eating yogurtOne day my daughter will ask me, “Daddy, why was my naming ceremony a small gathering in the synagogue while Asher’s bris was a large bash at our house?”

Yes, my princess, you might be thinking it’s because your religion is sexist and your parents already like their firstborn son better. And perhaps this writing is nothing more than me trying to convince myself it’s not the case. But here’s why I don’t think so: first, right now, your brother is covered in yogurt. A few minutes ago, he screamed and fell on the floor when I took my car keys back from him. So, I don’t like him better. And is your religion sexist? Maybe you should read about exactly what goes down at a bris. Read the rest of this entry →

May 10 2012

Top Things People Say When Told I’m Having My Fourth (!) Kid

By at 9:38 am

Ain't. Gonna. Happen.

Yes, that’s right, boys and girls! I am thrilled to report that I’m pregnant and we will be having a new Kveller blog subject little girl, all going well (pu pu pu) in October, who will with great fanfare join her older two brothers and sister. I feel unbelievably grateful–having met and married each other late in life, my husband Jon and I are making up for lost time as quickly as we can.

When I told my two boys that we were going to have another baby, they were incredibly excited: “Now we EACH get to have our own baby!” Yes, boys, that’s why we did it, so that now, you will each get to have your own baby. Just think–in some families, kids get hamsters. Read the rest of this entry →

May 8 2012

Mo’ Babies, Mo’ Problems

By at 4:39 pm

double strollerTamara Reese wrote a piece recently about being pregnant with her second child, and thinking about how she could possibly make room in her life and heart for baby #2. Like Tamara, I’m also pregnant, and constantly thinking about these questions. But my main question is a little bit different: how could I possibly not have baby #2?

Maybe it’s because I’m at 36 weeks now, and have spent so much of that time really thinking about what a second baby means. I’ve been lucky to watch many of my mommy friends go through the process of adding a second baby to the family, and though I’ve seen first-hand how hard it is, I’ve also seen that it’s possible. Or maybe it’s the advanced nesting–we’re ready with our co-sleeper, six bags of hand-me-down clothing from friends, and even a massive amount of newborn diapers from a neighbor. Read the rest of this entry →

May 7 2012

Our Family Nudity Policy, or Lack Thereof

By at 11:47 am

gypsy stripperMy middle son is 8 years old. My daughter is 5. They’ve been taking baths together since she was old enough to sit up in the big tub without drowning. And they still do. (My 12-year-old son now prefers manly showers but, every once in a while, all three of them still jump in.)

They also, up until a year ago, shared a single bedroom, which meant plenty of running around in various states of undress and, periodically, re-enactments of the stripping scene from the musical “Gypsy,” while singing “You’ve Got to Have a Gimmick.”

They’re not the only ones. In a household with five people and one and a half bathrooms, sharing is a must. Which means if either my husband or I are in the shower and a kid’s got to go–the kid’s got to go, everyone’s modesty be damned. And this doesn’t even include all the times I’m in the shower and my children suddenly discover they need me to negotiate a critical cease-fire or solve a burning dilemma like whether or not lizards have eyelids immediately. Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 26 2012

Week 21: Making Room for a Family of Four

By at 11:35 am

pregnant belly with young sonOur first pregnancy was fueled by the tick of my boisterous and unrelenting biological clock. I was ready for a baby, I NEEDED a baby. I remember the faint, inaudible chime of my husband’s internal clock sounded something like this, “Well if we wait for me to be ready, we’ll never have a baby,” and I took that as a ringing endorsement for fatherhood and ran with it.

When a few months of “practicing” didn’t result in two pink lines, I was on a lunar mission for two weeks of nonstop sexy time followed by two weeks of waiting (wondering, crying) until one day it finally happened. And while I spent most of my pregnancy being terrified of motherhood, the moment my son was born my heart overflowed with love for this tiny person, and it hasn’t stopped. I actually think the love I feel for my son, and my husband, has grown exponentially over the past two years. Each night I go to bed beamingly grateful and content. Read the rest of this entry →


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