Thursday, February 19, 2015

A Simple Guide to Getting Out the Door in the Morning

Wakeupwakeupwakeupwakeupwakeup. Eventually give up on the sleeping beauty; she’s on her own. (Where “on her own” = “gets to school late”)

(Thought: If we could combine the tween’s sleep with the twins’ sleep, we would have kids that slept all night and woke up on time. A person can dream.)

Eat breakfast. Pick out the pecans from your cereal. Request bowl wash in between cereals #1 and #2.
Stand on the kitchen chairs to measure your height against your brother's.

Ask what’s for dinner. Wrinkle your nose at the answer.

Tantrum about something (Mommy said no TV in the morning, which you totally didn’t expect because she always lets you watch TV. Or is it never? Either way, an outrage. Or, you cut your shirt in gan (on purpose, with scissors) and you are angry that Mommy won’t buy you a new one. Or, you wanted to sit in the middle seat for breakfast. Or, you wanted the glass bowl. Or, you wanted to be first and your brother had the absolute chutzpah to wake up before you. Or, you want to wear your costume to gan in January. Or we don’t have the cereal you wanted and Mommy can’t make it appear out of sheer force of will the lazy bum.)

Leave the breakfast table to search for the eensy weensy little bead you stuck way inside your drawer of crap. Cry when you can’t find it. Upon return, complain that cereal is mushy and demand bowl wash.

Get dressed. Find only one shoe. Argue with Mommy about the necessity of changing your underwear. Complain about the lack of requisite tightness in shoes, the offensiveness of sock seam, the scrunchiness of underwear. Search frantically for watch. (It was in your bag the whole time).

Continue your Lego project/art project from the night before.

Find your brother’s leftover Tropit on the dining room table (a disgusting Capri-Sun like drink, only with less good taste and more grossness) and take a sip.

Need reminders to put on your shoes, brush your teeth and put your food in your tik. Every single day. Because maybe today’s the day that the food is going to learn to jump in itself and surely you wouldn’t want to stand in the way of such progress.

Ask who invented electricity, what does Mars look like, how does an eruv work, were the ancient Romans were around when the state of Israel was born, why don’t eggs turn into chickens, have you seen my watch.

Finally, after one more bathroom trip, drink of water, last minute panic of "Where's my sweatshirt????" (on the floor, probs) and "Whoops forgot my water!" (I guess, today is NOT the day, then), we are OUT THE DOOR!

See? It’s that easy. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The S Word

One of the most popular words to use in regards to babies is "schedule." What is my baby's schedule, what is your baby's schedule, what should my baby's schedule be, how do our schedules compare, etc etc etc. Getting a baby on a schedule is super easy, since anyone who has had a baby can attest to how eagerly they adapt to doing the same thing at the same time every single day. This makes it a breeze to plan time for outings, making dinner and peeing.

The "s" word is even doubly (haha) popular when it comes to twins. "Keep them on the same schedule!" "When one eats, the other eats. When one sleeps, put the other one down! Same schedules is the only way to survive!" Obviously you can do this no problem. Because when one baby gets up to eat, it is a cinch to wake up the other one and convince her that she also wants to eat. You won't be pulling out your hair in frustration while making annoyed grunting noises as you spend half an hour patting and ticking and undressing her so that she's alert enough to eat well. It also won't make you drip tears at all to wake up this baby, this very baby that took hours to put down.

And if that doesn't work, you can always try the opposite approach. Babies love to hear "You can't eat now; your sister is still sleeping. Just go back to sleep and we'll eat soon." Probably the first twin will just smile adoringly at you and snuggle back in her crib for some good, solid shut-eye. Babies are super easygoing like that. (Actually, I - I mean, a friend of mine, total scheduling loser - has given up and just lets the babies eat and sleep when they want, because schedules are just too much work, and she figures by the time they're 7 they will eat at the same time, because the bell will ring at 9:40 for aruchat eser and they won't have a choice.)

So you will all be relieved to hear that not only do our babies have a schedule, they have the same one! That's right! Here's what a day looks like for us:

5:00 am - 9:00 am: At some point during this time, the babies will wake up and eat

9:00 am - 4:30 pm, Part I: Eating, and its related activities of peeing/pooping/spitting up. I never always make sure to look at the clock and see what time they ate so I can be sure to schedule the next feeding appropriately.

9:00 am - 4:30 pm, Part II: Napping, preceded by the fun activity of Putting Babies Down for Nap. The babies always take two naps, a short morning one and a longer afternoon one. They never have days where they take three short naps, or days where they don't nap at all, or days when the time spent rocking exceeds the time spent sleeping, or days when they only catnap, or only nap on me, or take one superlong nap. Never.

4:30 pm - 6:00 pm: Being ignored or held, depending on level of fussiness

6:00 pm: Time for 6:00 bottles!

8:30-9:30 pm: Bedtime!

Then, between 9:30 pm until sometime the next morning, the babies will get up to eat. They get up exactly the same time as it says on the clock.

And that, folks, is how you ROCK the schedule thing! Feel free to print out this schedule and hang it on your fridge to use for your own little angels or when you simply need a good laugh.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Park Ranger Comes to Live with the Ants; PLUS Free Parenting Advice!

Readers, I apologize. It's been too long. Really, with twins being so easy (not to mention tweens, they are also so so easy), there is no excuse for the dearth of blog posts. Trust me, there has not been a lack of trying on my part. But many a time did I find myself sitting down at the computer to write something, only to look down and realize it was time to change my shirt again because someone (not gonna mention names) had spit up on me again. And then by the time I got back to the computer, two or three days later, I had forgotten what I was going to say. In fact, I'm not even sure sentences sense that make can write I. And: am I still funny? I'm not sure. I tried telling myself a few knock knock jokes and I did not laugh, just kind of looked at myself oddly, so it could be that my sense of humor, like a good night's sleep, is just a wispy memory.

To make it up to you, I am going to give you, right now, without even any ado, a tried and tested ABA parenting tip. This is something we discovered, of course, by accident, while we were busy trying hard not to parent. (You think laziness is easy???)

"If you wait to teach your kids certain tasks until they are way past the age where they should have learned it already, when people start to look at you askance because your kid doesn't know how to X [= ride a bike, use the toilet, tie shoes], that's a good sign that it will actually take a very short time to teach child how to do that task. In other words: laziness pays off!"

In other news, we are rapidly approaching the end of Donny's paternity leave. This has been a very nice interlude in our lives in which there were two parents at home with two babies + three kids. Soon Donny returns to work and there will be one parent at home with two babies + three kids, which if you do the math - let's see, divide that, carry the one, parenthesis first - equals total madness until I grow those extra arms and head. (Look how we are doing math AND science today!)

In the meantime, it's been interesting having the park ranger come to live with the ants. The park ranger, of course, is the parent knows what's going on with the park and is in charge of its general upkeep, but could not, if his fourth cup of coffee depended on it, tell you what exactly was going on with the family of ants under that log over there. Homework? Dentist appointments? New shoes? Playdates? The park ranger is blissfully unaware. However, our park ranger got a glimpse of frantic ant life over these past few months. And he's gotten really proficient at being an ant, shouting "Homework!" "Teeth!" and "No!" at random intervals in the evenings. We are very proud.

That's all we have time for now. Cuz someone is hungry again. (Me.)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

This is Where the Title Goes

I want to blog. I really do. But every time I get a few free minutes and sit down at the computer, my head feels fuzzy and foggy and I only have brain capacity to read recaps of Scandal. (The babies watch SUCH inappropriate television.) Scandal, by the way, takes a lot more concentration than you might think. I would make a terrible Gladiator because even after It All Becomes Clear, I'm still going, "Huh?"

In baby news, the babies have found new and interesting ways to keep us worried. You'd think after 3 kids we would have seen Most of the Things, but there is seemingly no end to the weird baby problems that crop up and make you go "Hmmm" or "Really?" or "Ewwww!" Nothing serious, but every time we're at the doctor, the answer is, "Well, it's probably fine, but..." So we're taking one baby for an ultrasound of her kidneys and bladder (after having done a spinal ultrasound, which was probably fine, but....) and the other baby has an ulcerated hemangioma (it's about as gross as it sounds), which at current count has involved 4 doctor appointments (a 5th is tomorrow) and 3 different creams (one that has to be specially ordered).

Otherwise, they are busy doing all the baby things, like eating and smelling bad and sleeping and crying and pooping and spitting up and doing that cute scrunchy move when they stretch and even smiling (!) and looking around and watching Grey's, Scandal, Parenthood, New Girl and the Lego movie and being alternatively picked up then set down in the baby-friendly venue of our choice (changing table, crib, bouncy seat, sibling's arms, playmat! The possibilities are endless! "Oh! Here we go agaaaaaaain!" you can just hear them saying as they're being swooped up for the thousandth time that day). But don't try kissing them when they are hungry because they feel skin and whip their heads around and open their mouths, looking for the food source. "Oooh is that it? Is it here? I could have sworn I left it here before. Wait where'd it go???"

So even though they do a lot of the aforementioned activities on their own, dealing with the consequences of all of them takes up most of our day. See, Twins Are So Easy!

Anyway this is usually where I would place the clever last line, but not today because foggy. Back to reading recaps.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Twins Are So Easy

This is the title of my latest book on parenting. However, taking care of the twins is really getting in the way of being able to write it. Since at this moment they are currently napping, I will take this opportunity to check in with my Loyal Readers. Because you know what they say, "Blog when the baby sleeps!"

So here I am. See me? No, over here on the couch, under the pile of freshly washed onesies that are patiently waiting to receive their next installment of spit up. (Because you know what they say, "Do laundry when the baby sleeps!") I'm in between the lone baby sock (get used to the single life, kiddo) and the pacifier wedged into the cushions. Oh and also, a pencil. And a random flip-flop.

Since we don't have much time (I can sense babies beginning to move from Not Sad to Sad), I will answer a few FAQs for you.

Q. How are you doing?
A. Tired. Veryveryvery tired. To paraphrase Princess Buttercup, "I shall never sleep again." However, everyone is healthy and happy, or, if you're one of the twins, healthy and occasionally, Not Sad. So we are thankful for that.

Q. Are they identical?
A. Unequivocally not.

Q. Do you have time to shower, even?
A. Putting on deoderant and brushing one's hair IS considered a shower in many cultures. Or it should be. I'm working on that. "Brushing is washing!" is a thing they will say in this culture.

Q. Can I bring you some-?
A. Yes. Whatever it is you want to bring, I'll eat it. Because you know what they say, "Eat when the baby sleeps!"

Q. Were you shocked when you found out it was twins?
A. I'm confused. Why the past tense? "Omigod there are two of them" is something heard frequently around the house, especially in the evening, as we are playing another round of Baby Whack-a-Mole. (Note: No actual whacking involved.)

Q. How are the other kids doing?
A. In short, the big ones are mostly helpful. The 4-year-old, well, let's just say his attachment to Mommy hasn't improved since the arrival of the twins. But really, who can blame him? Does anyone pour cereal, turn on the TV or brush his teeth with quite the panache of Mommy? It's an acquired skill, honed after years of (forced) practice. Also, rest assured that no one has felt any need to put their various issues or angst on hold until Mommy gets more sleep.

Q. Are you nursing?
A. This is possibly the most popular question, after the identical question. To answer, I give you a quote from one of the children: "Mommy, ever since you had the twins, you've been walking around half-dressed." So yes. And yes, I have nursed both at once, but not, ahem, discreetly. So avert your eyes. Currently we're at about 85% nursing and 15% bottles. Of formula. Because "Pump when the baby sleeps!" is NOT a thing they say. Bottles meant I had to hand back my Crunchy Granola Mom Trophy, plus they took away their offer to honor me at the Annual Crunchy Granola Mom Grass-Fed Organic BPA-Free Dinner & Co-Sleeping But that's okay. Because the bottles help me keep my last remaining nerve, which I need in order to deal with aforementioned spit-up and angst.

Q. "Is there another baby in there?"
A. Luckily, this is not an FAQ. This question was posed by Nadav, when they came to visit me in the hospital. First, as he walked in and saw the baby nursing, he exclaimed "EWWWW! What is the baby doing to you?" Then he examined my stomach and decided there must be a third baby Mommy is hiding in here. Now, he has declared that the tummy is no longer so big, but it IS "mushy v'gam floppy."

So you see, Twins: They're So Easy.

Okay, Sadness has been reached. See you all later.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Introducing, For the Very First Time (on this blog)...

Shoham Chen (שוהם חן) and Sivan Vered (סיון ורד). Shoham is in green and Sivan is in stripes.

Born Sunday, September 28 in Tel Aviv, at 12:55 and 1:05 PM. Shoham was some amount of kilo (2.7?) and Sivan was a little more than that (3.1?)

You may find it ironic, after my previous post, that they allowed us to take even more children home from the hospital. However, we have learned from our mistakes, When the tipat chalav nurse was going on about vitamin D drops and not giving too much because it causes kidney problems, etc., we told her cheerfully, "Of course! Drop not dropper, that is our motto! Ha! Haha!" And in this neighborhood, before an English magazine has a chance to even drop to the floor in prime leg-breaking position, it will be scooped up by a celebrity-gossip-deprived neighbor. And really, what are the chances of us replicating the booster seat debacle a third (and fourth) time? (Don't answer that.)

So no worries, these children are in very good hands. (Ariella's and Yaakov's).

Anyway, we are looking forward to sharing with you in the Continuing Adventures of Raising Our Children and Trying Not to Screw It Up Too Badly. (The alternative, though admittedly less catchy, title of "Leave Me Alone So I Can Read the Paper.")

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Sorry, Kids! I Promise We Didn't Mean To!

I am not a dog person, in case you were wondering. This does not mean that I AM a cat person, or other such nonsense. I am also not a gerbil, hamster, guinea pig or goldfish person. I am not even a plant or flower person. The only living things I can reliably keep alive are my children.

And even then, it's touch and go sometimes. For example, Nadav has reminded me on an embarrassing number of occasions, as I'm getting him ready for bed: "Ima? Lo achalti dinner." Whoops! Forgot to feed him dinner. Again. (Note: There usually was dinner on the nights in question. The problem is that Nadav isn't ready to eat when it's ready, and then I forget that he never ate. Or it's a Friday night and I am hellbent on "Get-him-in-bed-before-candlelighting-so-we-can-eat-like-mensches" and I consequently forget to, you know, feed him.)

However, starvation is an easily rectifiable solution. Especially when children are old enough to announce they are hungry. But we have a long and rich history of accidentally harming our children in other, more creative ways. Today, I lay out my sins before you.

Let's begin around 11 years ago.

Formula? Who Needs It?
Ariella is 8 months old and eating a lot of solids. 3 meals a day, in fact. She had been getting bottles, but now, I figured, it was time to stop, right? She's eating like an adult, so why does she need stinky baby formula?

Over the course of the next month, her babysitter mentions how constipated and uncomfortable she is. Momz notes that Ariella seems thinner than usual. We are already firm believers in Parenting Through Winging It, so no alarm bells go off. But: It comes time for her checkup. And: She has gained no weight since the last month! How can this be????? The doctor starts asking me about her eating habits. When I tell her, she stares at me. "She needs to be taking three 8-oz bottles a day. Until she's a year old." Whoops! We start up the formula again. She gains weight, she poops better and is an altogether happier child. (Luckily this was before memory kicked in, so she can't add it to the list of reasons to be angry with us now.)

Slip & Slide
Yaakov almost got away unscathed. Except for the time we left a magazine on the floor and he slipped on it, breaking his leg. Whoops! At least it was a manly magazine ("Adventure") and not something wimpy like "Family Circle."

Nadav, it should come as no surprise, has born the brunt of our carelessness. You'd think by our third time around the block, we'd be better at this. Well, let me reassure you that we found all sorts of new and wonky screwups. Skipping formula and leaving magazines on the floor are soooo 2003-2007.

Vitamin D: Mmm, Mmm Good
For some reason, I had never had to give vitamin D drops to our other kids (or maybe I was supposed to and never did? Would that surprise you? Didn't think so.). So I'm giving him the drops, tra-la-la. Also, I notice that he's peeing. A LOT. "Haha, our little pisher, isn't that cute?" I say to Donny.

I mention to a friend that I need to get to a pharmacy to get more drops. "More drops?" she's astonished. "How are you finished your first bottle already?"
"Well, a dropper-full every day, you go through it."
Turns out I was giving him like 10x the amount of vitamin D. Hence all the pishing; his kidneys were working overtime to get rid of it. Luckily the doctor said just to stop for about a month and then pick up again. But this time, with a twist: Try not overdosing him.

Buckle Up!
When Nadav was about 2, he would occasionally need the booster seat (the kind that attaches to a chair) for height, in order to reach the table, but he didn't really need to be strapped in. Except, of course, that he's Nadav and insists on weird things, like making a color chart so he can decide which shirt to wear today. One Saturday night, during havdalah, he was sitting in his booster. Which I had plopped on a chair, not bothering to attach it. But he was going to do havdalah properly, dammitHe demanded to be buckled in AND have his tray attached. So, if you are picturing this, we have essentially incarcerated him in his booster. Which, careful readers will remember, is NOT strapped to the chair. The next step, of course, is he reaches forward to get some grape juice. He then topples over from the chair, but can't land on his feet or right himself due to all of the restraints. So, strapped into his booster, he lands on his face, gets a bloody mouth, cut lip and tongue, a trip to Terem and a visit to the dentist the next morning.


The best part of this story? The exact same thing happened a year later! Did we learn our lesson? It seems not! Luckily the fall wasn't as bad so we avoided the Terem/dentist trips.

Good for What Ails You
Nadav finds some children's chewable Tylenol. Gets through about a pill and a half before we realize and yank the remaining crumbly, slobbery, pink  mixture out of his mouth. We call both our local friendly pediatrician (who was vacationing in Eilat then, natch) and Poison Control. No lasting repurcussions. Although he does have an extreme fondness for pink medicines. Hmmmm.

Curious Minds
This one is all on him. Nadav finds a little spray bottle of some perfume lying around in our car. He puts it up to his face, asking, "Eich zeh oved, Mommy?" And then attempts to find out the answer by spraying himself in the eyes. WAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!! "It works like that, Nadav." Many unpleasant, screeching eye washes later, he was fine.

Till the next time, of course.

Now one lesson we can takeaway from this, besides boring ones like "Don't leave magazines on the floor," "Read dosing instructions carefully," "Always strap the booster onto the chair" is that at the end of all of these stories? The kids are just fine! Take heart, parents! Like us, you too can screw up abysmally without causing (too much) lasting damage for the little ones! Like the popular saying goes, "Parenting. It's sooooo easy!"

Now it's your turn. Feel free to share the times you accidentally caused harm to your children. (Or is this just us?)