Friday, August 21, 2009

Happy Birthday, Abba.

Today is David's Birthday.
I bought him one of my famous gifts
(that is, a gift that's really for myself -
it's a little flat-screen TV for our room, if you must know.)

The boys didn't get him much -
after all, they're pretty short on cash.

But they did sneak a DVD in the player when Abba wasn't looking.
Here's what was on it.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Big Boy Room

Prepare yourselves for an admission of a serious parenting folly:
Rami slept in our bedroom for 8 (eight) months and some days.

It was out of desperation, really-
in a single room, we thought,
one crying boy would lead to a second crying boy.
If one cried out in the night,
but he was the only crying boy in the room,
only one parent would have to tend to him.

Relegated to a Pack N'Play in Abba and Ima's room,
Rami woke nearly every night
between the hours of midnight and two.
Meaning one parent lost significant sleep each night,
cuddling a restless baby by the bathroom light through the crack under the door.
But, we reasoned, one sleep-deprived parent is better than two.

So, we danced this sleep-trading dance,
(David losing more sleep than I)
night after night
for more than eight months.

On Thursday last,
I finally reached the breaking point.

I was fantasizing about sleep.
Solid, unbroken sleep.
Surrounded by blissful pitch-darkness.
When I looked at pictures of myself,
The dark circles under my eyes made me look OLD (old!)
(My vanity rivals Rami's so, as you can imagine, that was the last straw.)

We hunkered down for a lo-o-o-o-ong weekend of sleep training.
Both boys in one room or bust!
After we lit Shabbat candles all together,
we marched the boys upstairs,
dressed them in jammies,
read stories,
sang bedtime prayers,
put them in their respective cribs,
and waited for the screaming to begin.

We heard a small boy bouncing on mattress springs (a quick peek confirmed it was Rami.)
Some settling of little bodies.
A passing chatty word here or there.
And then didn't hear a peep from either until six (6:00!) the next morning.

We couldn't figure it out!
Why, after all these nights of waking,
did Rami sleep through the night
only when put in the same room as his brother?
Well, we'll never know for sure.
But when we put them in the same crib to play today
I think we found the answer -
he missed his big brother.

Sweet dreams, boys.
This is the beginning of so many adventures together.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Why I love Ashi

Last month, Asher turned two years old.
A celebratory gift was in order.

Like most little children, Asher is obsessed with farm animals.
(He has cow shoes.
A cow backpack.
A cow shirt.
A cow movie.
And a gajillion cow figurines.)

I was so excited for Asher to see the birthday gift I had picked for him -
a deluxe wooden barn (painted bright red)
to properly house all his animals he loves so dearly.
I had a plan.
On the eve of his birthday,
I would set the barn up in the living room.
I would put the pigs in the pen,
the horses out to pasture,
and arrange his beloved cows
so that they would be winking and smiling in greeting
first thing
the morning of his big day.

I imagined that he would squeal with joy,
run towards the barn,
throw his arms around my neck,
perhaps exclaim, "Thank you, Ima!" (which, in fairness, he has been known to do.)
I imagined wrong.

Instead, Asher assessed the situation.
A brand new barn.
Animals that needed to make themselves at home.
Imaginary troughs that needed to be filled
(these particular animals dine on star-shaped sprinkles).
Sleeping arrangements that needed to be made.
And, of course, a lineup and accounting of All Animals Present that had to be done.
He got right to work.

He never smiled
never laughed
never gleefully threw his arms around my neck in thanks.

But I'll be darned if he didn't spend the entire day
(I mean the entire day)
Completing those tasks that clearly needed to be done.

I thought it was strange,
if endearingly so.
I lovingly shared the story
with acquaintances -
evidence of my boy's unique character.

Then I remembered a gift given to me just a year ago.
My husband,
proud that I had landed my dream job,
bought me a shiny red laptop
with which to embark on my new career.
It was (is) awesome.
So much memory to hold every geek-tastic program a rabbi could want.
Great for photos and watching DVDs
Fast for downloading too many podcasts (as I am wont to do.)
I spent all day setting it up
installing programs
transferring files
customizing the desktop
while David semi-anxiously hovered.

A handful of times throughout the day,
he would quietly ask,
"So, do you like it?"

"I just need to get this program installed," I would reply.
"Ugh, why is it doubling every song in my library!?!?"
"Wow, transferring files takes longer than I thought."

As I mused over the story of my shiny red laptop,
remembered myself bent over the keyboard,
trying to get it set up just-so,
I saw in my mind's eye
my Asher,
bent over his shiny red barn,
trying to get it set up just so.

So, there you have it -
why I love Asher...

He's just like me.
(G-d help him.)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

One Rash, Two Rash....

Red Rash
Blue Rash

Rami has Roseola.
Ashi? Who knows?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Why I Love Rami

I've said it a hundred different ways, so very many times:


And I've told you why:
His good cheer
His belly laugh
His determination

And, it's true
These are all reasons that I love my darling smaller boy.
But the other day,
talking with David,
I realized that all these reasons that constitute my love for Rami boil down to a very distinct essence.
(Which I'll share with you now.)

First of all, Rami looks like my beshert.*
No, no, not just a slight resemblance -
he looks exactly like David.

A Favorite

But wait!
There's more:

I love Rami because, about a year and a half ago,
our family was going through a bit of a rough time,
a time of loss,
a time in which I was, it seemed, profoundly, irreparably sad.
And, just as it seemed that the despair of that loss would never stop hounding me,
I found out that Rami was on his way.

And, in those very early days,
his days of steady cell-dividing miraculousness,
as I sang him the angel song in the womb,
the hope that his existence brought me
sang me back to myself.

Every mother shares a bond with her child
and the bond between Rami and me has a very distinct tenor.
You see, it is not only that I gave him life,
it is that he also gave life back to me.


Stay tuned for the second installment in this series: "Why I love Asher."
* Meaning "destiny," "fate," or "meant to be," this word is commonly used in reference to one's soul mate.

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