Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Let's Talk About Yaniv

A few tidbits about our little boy:

  • Personality
Yaniv is our easiest baby by like a million. He's very low maintenance, very happy, eats well, sleeps well (sort of). He is calm and quiet. He is interested in everything and likes to explore. Like the others, he sat and crawled and stood very early -- it's like we always say, if you're lazy and refuse to do things for your kids, they'll have no choice but do it themselves. Oh, you want that squeaky toy across the room? Figure out a way to get there. You're only 5 months? You'll think of something.

My babies each got progressively easier and happier as they came. This is a good order for things to happen in.
  • Food
With the other two, I didn't know that "baby led weaning" was a thing, but that's what we did because neither liked to be fed mush with a spoon. Now, I know BLW is the trendy thing to do, but when I moved that first spoon of mango towards Yaniv's mouth, and then he actually opened his mouth and let the spoon in, and then REPEATED the process -- I was hooked. He loves being fed and love feeding a baby who is open to being fed. And I have become quite the gourmet baby food chef. Yaniv will eat anything I make. And there are loads of fresh herbs and spices in every meal. Our freezer is loaded with combos like pea/zucchini/sage/thyme/brown rice; red pepper/potato; pumpkin/butternut squash/onion/lentil/coconut cream/curry; banana/kobo/kiwi; turkey/kohlrabi/zucchini/carrot; beet/apple/carrot; and others that involve kale, obviously.
  • Breastfeeding
It just didn't happen. I think breastfeeding is important, and if I was a person overflowing with milk, I would probably nurse for years. But I promised myself that I wouldn't go crazy this time, and I feel very proud that I accepted the situation and didn't stress too much. I did nurse once or twice a day for about 3.5 months. I wish it could've continued, but -- it is what it is. Our marriage and parenting style is very egalitarian, and we both appreciate that feeding the baby from very early on is a joint effort.
  • Size
Yaniv is big! In the 80 percentile range for height and in the 90 percentile range for weight. He is also very handsome. (Like, not adorable, chubby baby-cute, but handsome and distinguished.)
  • Sleep
Could be better, could be worse. Yaniv takes great naps (if he's home and in his crib). Like 2-3 hours in the morning and another 1-2 hours in the afternoon (though he does sometimes skip the second nap). He goes to sleep for the night early (like 5:30 if he skipped nap #2 or 6:30 if he napped well), and then wakes up in the morning between 6:30-7:30. But he doesn't sleep through the night. Probably because of all the hours of sleep he's getting, he usually wakes up once or twice or thrice in the night to drink, talk, cry, get a clean diaper. Sometimes I think he's up for a good hour or two (during which I'll go in 1-2 times). It's definitely not fun waking up and tending to him, BUT a) it's not too bad -- I do middle of the night wakings and Menachem wakes up with the kids in the morning and lets me sleep an extra 1/2 hour or hour, and b) it's sort of worth it because of all the amazing sleep he gets otherwise, which leads to....
  • Work
Yaniv is still home with me during the day, so I rely on these long naps during which I can get work done. I have a babysitter come for a full day twice a week so I can really knock things off my list, but otherwise, it's just me and the kid. We hang out with friends and go to cafes a lot too. For now, it's working.

  • Life
Life with three kids is definitely harder than life with two. At home, things are not too difficult, but going out with three isn't easy. Getting in and out of the car is the worst, going to the mall is a nightmare, eating out is less fun. But the girls are great with Yaniv (for the most part...) and (I assume) things will only get easier as everyone gets older (right? tell me I'm right?).

Why am I writing all this? I have the worst memory ever. One day I'll wonder what Yaniv was like at 9 months old. And now I'll know. :)

NOTE: It is impossible for me to write about what is going on in our lives without mentioning this: we are under attack and while everything is peachy keen in this post, we are living with the constant threat of random acts of terrorism. Every day there are new reports of car rammings and stabbings of Israelis -- not just in the settlements or near Gaza, but in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and other major cities in the country. I personally try not to think about this, as then I would never leave my house. But this is the reality.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Worst Months of the Year

If you are a person who hates heat and unrelenting sun, then you'd probably think that the worst months of the year over here in the Middle East are the summer months of June, July, and August.

But you'd be wrong. 

The worst months of the year are really September and October. 

Here's why: 

June, July, and August are brutally hot in most places in the Northern Hemisphere, or at least in those places of the world where I've lived -- Richmond, Boston, New York City, and Miami (and in a host of other cities around the world where I've visited -- I'd make a list but I don't want to show off). 

It's summer, and you expect it to be hot and sunny. It is hotter here than say, where you live, but whatever -- it's summer. That's the way it's supposed to be.

In the Middle East, and in Modiin (where I live) in particular, September and October are the worst because they're boiling hot, and you know in your heart and in your bones and in your soul, that really they're supposed to be the most gorgeous months of the year. 

After a hot summer in New York, for example, September rolls around and people take out their fall jackets. They start bundling up. They get to enjoy those beautiful changing leaves. And then it's October and they get a bit of a nip in the air. It gets chilly and delicious out. You all post your stunning fall pictures, and over here in the Middle East, I cry because it's still 90+ degrees out. And it's just not supposed to be that way.

Should We All Move to Jerusalem? 

But what about Jerusalem, you ask? Well, Jerusalem is a little oasis of wonderful weather. Somehow Jerusalem has pulled off the impossible -- yes, it's in the Middle East and a mere half hour drive from Modiin, but yet, their September and October feel a whole lot more like fall. Maybe not the crunchy leaves under your feet type of fall, but there is a distinct coolness that hits the holy air of Jerusalem in these still-way-too-hot months.

Or Maybe Tel Aviv?

At least they get the ocean breeze. The problem with Modiin, is that it's neither by the beach, nor in the hills. And it's so young, that the trees aren't tall enough to provide much shade. 

So Why Live in Modiin? 

I'm going to have to blame Ben and Bethami Gold on that one. They moved here first. My parents followed them. It was peer pressure. What can I say? Okay, okay, I love living near my family -- so much so that (maybe) it's worth the weather. We also have lots of friends here. It would be pretty hard to leave at this point.

Time to Cheer Up

It's like I always say, Modiin is one of the worst places to live for about 6 months of the year, but then it becomes the best place on earth for the remainder of the year. As a person who suffers from bipolar weather disorder (self diagnosed), I do not like extreme heat, not do I live extreme cold. Come visit us November through April -- it's absolutely stunning out! 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Introducing Yaniv Shmuel Pritzker

If you spoke to me at all during this pregnancy, you know that we had a very hard time coming up with boy's names. We knew we wanted to name our little boy after Menachem's grandfather, Samuel, but had trouble coming up with a first name that would fit the following criteria:

  • No "resh" or "het" or "chaf" -- hard to say for us Anglos in Israel.
  • Not too popular. If you grew up as one of 3 Sarah's in a class of 12, you'd understand.
  • It can't sound like an English word that's unpleasant. Like, "Alon" is a very nice Israeli name, but "alone" isn't what you'd want to name your kid. Same goes for Shai/Shy.
  • Must pass the Native Israeli check. I really liked the name Golan, but my Israeli friends told me that it's a sleazy name. 
What I really wanted, was to name my kid Geshem, which means rain. I love the rain, and in Israel, rain is a big blessing. Plus, I really liked the ring to it. But, alas, Geshem is just not a name. Apparently, neither is Anan (cloud) or Arafel (fog). And one of us just wasn't interested in naming our son after dark and stormy weather (not saying which one of us).

Yaniv wasn't on our list at all, until the shabbat before he was born when my niece Eden suggested it. I had heard the name before, but it wasn't until she said it in her perfect Hebrew that it really clicked. I loved playing the "What's wrong with this name?" game, but when she said Yaniv, I was stumped! Not only was there simply nothing wrong with it, but I actually liked it. Loved it, even. And so did Menachem. 

Here are some reasons why:
  • Yaniv rhymes with magniv, which means cool or awesome in Hebrew. 
  • Yaniv rhymes with Aviv (which happens to be Meira's middle name) which means Spring. Yaniv was born in the Spring, on Pesach, which is known as Hag Ha'aviv, the Spring Holiday. 
  • Yaniv doesn't have a resh, het, or chaf in it, is easy to pronounce as an American living in Israel, isn't too popular, and is an actual name.
But the main reason was this:

Yaniv means "he shall produce" or "he shall be productive," referring not to ticking things off your to-do list, but more in an agricultural sense. If you wanted to say "the tree produces fruit," you'd use the word "yaniv" there. And what do trees need in order to produce fruit? They need rain.

We also wanted a name that related to the land of Israel. When I did the Israeli check part of our name search, my friend first explained what the name meant literally, and then added that Yaniv is a true Zionist name -- that it doesn't just relate to trees bearing fruit, but that it relates specifically to the productivity, growth, and success of the Land of Israel. I was sold.

A few words about Shmuel...

Sam, Menachem's maternal grandfather, died many many years before Menachem was born. He never knew him in person, but grew up surrounded by the legend of his grandfather, a generous, gentle, intelligent man. He also, I'm told, had absolutely gigantic feet. We named our son after Zaide Sam with hopes that he fill those shoes and walk in the righteous path of his grandfather. 

Sam was also the name of one of my mother's uncles, a "beloved uncle," as she refers to him, and another ancestor that I never had the privilege of meeting. 

It's our wish that our son embody the characters of these special people, and that he becomes productive and successful here in the Land of Israel. 

Thursday, November 08, 2012

From Joy to Cockroaches

I woke up in such a good mood today for the following reasons:

  1. My first thought of the morning was, "Menachem gets home today!" This is after 2 solid weeks of miluim.
  2. The kids, who now share a room, both slept through the night. This has only happened one other time in the last few months. 
  3. There was the nicest, coolest breeze coming in through my windows. The weather forecast called for 79F degree weather -- the lowest it's been in about 7 months.
  4. Related to #2, the kids wore light sweaters and I wore jeans -- also the first time in about 7 months.
I took the kids to gan and then headed to the post office, lugging my backpack/computer so I could then do work at the mall. 

Things turned very sour when at the post office, a GIGANTIC cockroach climbed up my pants leg unnoticed. Bystanders said that they saw a cockroach by my feet, but that it was gone now. I said just thinking about that makes me feel like I've got cockroaches climbing on me. Then, I get my package and think, "It REALLY does feel like there's a cockroach climbing on me."

So I put the package down and put my hand up my pants leg and pull out that GIGANTIC DISGUSTING cockroach!

I screams so loud, as did other people. Everyone was very nice and helped me calm down as I said over and over that I'm going to have a heart attack. In moments of distress I cannot even try to speak in Hebrew, and everyone was very nice speaking back in English, telling me to breathe. 

I suppose looking back it was sort of funny -- a room full of adults screaming about a cockroach. But it was very traumatic at the time.

I went to the mall as planned, but as I walked around the pharmacy looking for antibacterial wipes to clean my leg, I decided that what I really needed was a shower.

So I went home. 

So much for a focused, efficient work day at the mall.

I think I'll watch TV now.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Chicken, Mangold, and Mushroom Stir Fry

Chicken, Mangold, and Mushroom Stir Fry

I just whipped this up quickly and it was delicious, so I thought I'd share.

2 portions

olive oil
1 onion, sliced
1 basket of baby bella mushrooms, chopped
4-5 large mangold leaves, including stalks, chopped
boneless, skinless chicken breast, grilled and sliced
red wine

Note: My amounts listed above are estimates. I'm not a measurer. Nor do I look at the clock ever, so my timing here is also approximate.

1. In a large skillet, heat up some olive oil (like 2 teaspoons?)

2. Add soliced onions and saute about 8-10 minutes, until soft and lightly browned.

3. Add sliced mushrooms. Cook for 3 more minutes.

4. Add mangold and saute for another 3-5 minutes.

5. Add chicken slices and mix until thoroughly heated. I happened to have pre-cooked chicken. But if your chicken is raw, you can add it and just stir fry until cooked all the way through.

6. Add a few splashes of dry red wine. (I'm guessing it was 1/8 of a cup.)

7. Add salt to taste. I guess you could add pepper. I didn't.

8. Turn off burner and enjoy straight out of the pan. (You could transfer to a bowl or plate, but I'm just giving it over as I prepared/ate it.)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

My Love/Hate Relationship with Cereal Sales

Some background information that you probably already know:

1. I love cereal more than most people.
2. Cereal in Israel is expensive, especially good cereals.

Here is the problem: When my favorite cereals go on sale (like Honey Bunches of Oats or CiniMinis -- that's Cinnamon Toast Crunch to you Americans), I have no choice but to buy them -- how could I possibly pass up an opportunity to spend 15 shekels on a box of cereal rather than 27 (you Americans can do the math here to dollars, but basically our sale prices are you non-sale prices).

Once purchased, I then have to deal with the fact that I have amazing cereal sitting on top of my fridge staring me down. I spend the 1-2 days that the cereal lasts either a) thinking about eating it, b) eating it, or c) wishing that I hadn't eaten so much of it.

When good cereal is around, I neglect all other food groups and end up eating cereal for every meal of the day. This is probably not healthy.

So what do I do?

I made sure to HURRY UP and get that cereal OUT OF THE HOUSE as quickly as possible.

But then -- we're out of cereal! So I need to go buy more. Oh no -- it's still on sale! And it begins all over again.

This is what they mean when they say love hurts.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Elimination Communication

A few weeks ago Meira (14 months) had a horrible diaper rash. It was her first serious diaper rash. (And also the first time that I was truly convinced that breast is really best -- I don't think it's a coincidence that she got her first diaper rash only after I weaned her. And Hila, who was formula fed pretty much from day 1, had chronic diaper rash.)

Anyways, it was really bad and I wanted to give her tush as much air as possible. So I took off her diaper and pulled out our little potty...just in case. At one point, I saw her squat and start to grimace, so I quickly picked her up and stuck her on the potty. She peed and pooped.

Later that day, while diapered, she made those same gestures, so I quickly took off her diaper and put her on the potty...and she pooped again!

Two weeks later and Meira probably pees and poops in the potty and/or toilet (with kid seat) 2-4 times a day. She still poops in her diaper sometimes (this is a kid who poops many, many times a day) and often pees on the floor, but we're having some fun with this pottying. Meira will sometimes run to the potty herself and indicate that she wants her diaper off (and always goes after that), or I'll pick up on her cues and initiate the pottying. Either way, Meira gets very, very excited and is clearly very proud of herself.

Now we just need to get daddy on board...

Review of Tea Garden Spa

The Tea Garden Spa is located about 15 minutes from Kiryat Gat. It is a Japanese-style tzimmer with small wooden, beautiful huts, landscaped gardens, en-suite Jacuzzis and sauna, A/C, and cable TV. Each room also has a little fridge, a kettle, coffee, and tea. When we entered the room there was a pot of green jasmine tea (according to my super taster tastebuds) heating over a candle with two adorable Japanese teacups nearby. In the fridge was a pitcher of water and two ice cold glasses of lemonade.

Sounds idyllic, right?

Well it was certainly...um...quaint, but it was far -- very far -- from idyllic. 

Let me count the ways:

1. Our bathroom -- Our room bathroom did not have a door. Yeah, you read that right. It had a wall separating it from the rest of the room, but only on three sides, the fourth side was open, so if you were sitting on the toilet, you'd see right into the shower, which was located in the corner of the room (also not in its own room). And the interior wall that separated the toilet from the rest of the room didn't even go all the way up to the ceiling -- it stopped a few feet before getting all the way up there. Plus, I had to ask for toilet paper.

2. The shower -- The shower had a curtain, but no liner. Water got everywhere. They supplied dinky little packets of shampoo+conditioner. After extended Jacuzzi use, I needed moisturizer!

3. The bed -- It was a double. That's small for one and a half large people (is that a good way to describe us?).

4. The lamps -- First off, there were no night tables, so the lamps (large, Japanese lantern-style lights) were on the floor (that's fine). Now, if you're not going to have a normal light on a night table, you should at least make sure that the lamp is turn-off-able by hand from your bed. These had foot peddles as switches. So you had to get out of bed and step on the switch to turn it off or on.

5. The coffee -- But where's the milk? Or at least the powdered creamer?

6. The sauna -- The switch to the sauna was outside, around the back of the cabin. And who wants to sit in a boiling hot cubicle in the dead of summer??

7. The massage -- Because Menachem declined his 1/2 hour massage (part of our package deal), I got a four-handed massage. Parts were good, parts not so good. It's hard to focus on the intense pleasure of a shoulder massage when someone else is digging her pointy fingers deep into my thigh fat. I have bruises to prove it.

8. The cheese platter -- This consisted of a portion of goat's milk cream cheese, a portion of olive cream cheese, and a portion of sun-dried tomato cream cheese. There were also olives and crackers. It was tasty, but come on -- that's not a cheese platter. The wine was Young Selected. We love that sparkly soda-like wine, but I imagine that more sophisticated people may scoff at that wine choice.

9. The TV -- It was too small. And Israeli cable is stupid.


That being said, we had a wonderful, relaxing time. Complaining about this odd place was good fun and we had excellent, excellent meals at nearby restaurants (review of one to come). 


Related Posts with Thumbnails