Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Kisses, kisses, everywhere! and The Zoo

Hila likes to kiss. If you say the word "kiss" she'll pucker up. She kisses her stuffed animals and dolls, her books, the floor...everything!

In other news, Hila started mishpachton this week. As of now it's 3 babies, a babysitter, and a mom who's in and out (it's at her house and one of the babies is hers). The situation is not ideal. It's a rather small play space--but how much room does a 10.5 month old need? The babystitter is only 18--but she's haredi (so lots of siblings) and the mom is there a lot of the time, maybe even most of the time. There's construction going on right outside the window--but the noise doesn't seem to bother Hila.

A pro: Efrat (the mom in charge) is extremely flexible. Most gans here make you pay for full time, even if you won't be coming in all the time. And I have a feeling that few would let you sign up for just two months. We've signed up for 4 afternoons a week and only this month and next (because then we go to America). She's also very nice and speaks English (though the babysitter herself does not.)

Another pro: The house is very close to the park and Mazi (the babysitter) takes Hila to the park every day. (I think one of the babies leaves earlier in the day, so it's just Hila and Efrat's 1.5 year old son.)

Another pro: It's really close to Present Tense where Menachem and I take turns doing our working. It's also close to Emek. So while it's not super close to our house, it's a nice walk and is close to everything else.

So why do I use the word "zoo" above? I'll tell you.

This week is Chanukah (Happy Chanukah!) and Efrat's other six children were home. The oldest of these seven (total) children looks like she's about 8. And it's not a large apartment.

Hila seems less overwhelmed than I was. Even Menachem seemed a little nervous about the situation.

But Hila seems happy. The kids all love her. When I drop her off the older girls come running to her with open arms, eager to play.

Efrat says that Hila just crawls around laughing and smiling and playing all day. And I believe her.

Hila does now have terrible diaper rash (probably our fault) and she isn't eating lunch there. But you know what? Hila eats a good breakfast and a good dinner. She was home today and I couldn't get her to eat lunch today either.

Meanwhile, if it doesn't rain tomorrow, my mom, Eden, Hila, and I will be going to the real zoo (the one with the animals).

I pray for rain in Israel, but only at night and in the early morning.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

A mother's unoriginal perspective: My child is a genius.

Today Hila and I went to the doctor for a 10-month old checkup. To sum up, the doctor says Hila is tall, weird, and delicious.

Tall and delicious are obvious observations.

About "weird", which may sound like an odd thing for a doctor to say about a 10-month old: I told him that when I say, "It's time to eat an eggy," Hila goes to her highchair. And when I say, "Go read a book," Hila goes and reads her books. He said to this, "That is weird. That is just a little too advanced." And then he seemed really skeptical about everything I had said when I told him that she says the words "up" and "book." But she does! I promise! (Good thing I didn't also tell him that she has said carrot, eggy, what's this, thank you, and bottle--am I delusional?)

But then he said "weird" again! Is it so weird that Hila likes to get her ears checked?

So as you can see, Hila is doing great, which means we're all doing great. She's a fantastic night sleeper and takes a 1.5-3 hour morning nap. An afternoon nap doesn't always happen.

This morning's nap, for example, was insane. Three hours passed and we didn't hear a peep from her room. Usually when she wakes up she plays some music and sings. This morning, nothing. We crept in there, expecting to find her still sleeping, but she was sitting up, reading a book, quiet as a silent mouse!

Hila's newest adorable act: Yelling at strangers out the window. Really loudly. And continuously.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

This Morning

Hila usually wakes up between 6:00-7:00am. I generally hear her playing or singing at the early end of that and we don't go in there until she sounds like she needs us -- sometimes 30 minutes later.

Since we both work from home, we don't get up until Hila wakes us (and then Menachem usually lets me sleep a little later...).

This morning we woke up at 8:15, on our own. Hmmmm. 8:25 comes and goes. Strange. And then 8:35.

I don't generally worry, but Hila's not one to sleep for 13 hours straight, so maybe we should just go check on her....

We quietly turn the knob of her door and we hear her sucking an empty bottle--we leave a bottle of water in her crib for her.

Who knows how long she's been up, but there's my little angel sitting up quietly, finishing her water bottle, not making a peep, letting her mommy and daddy sleep late.

She was very excited to see us. :)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Oh, but of course...

I don't believe in jinxes, per say, yet it does always seem to work out this way. Hila has not slept through the night since that last post I wrote. She wakes up at least once, but usually twice, and sometimes three or even four times in the night. She's not hungry (which is good, at least), and it usually just takes a few minutes of rocking and a few sips of water to get her to go back into her crib and fall asleep. But sometimes it takes longer.

She is in the middle of growing her first tooth--we actually see it and feel it this time--so that could be related. And she's a little sniffly and snotty, so that could be it too. Or maybe she just got bored of sleeping through the night.

In other big news, Hila, today, at nine months and one day old, finally ate from a spoon eagerly and excitedly. It was apple yogurt that did the trick. Later I pressed my luck and tried giving her cottage cheese, but she was no longer interested. We'll try again tomorrow. Otherwise, she's been eating finger foods beautifully.

And now, off to my screaming baby I go...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Hila Update

Hila is getting cuter and cuter everyday. She spits, pulls hair, knocks over garbage cans, throws food--wait, those are going to stop getting cute, aren't they?

Lately we've overcome some challenges, and we're so proud of our big girl! First, while Hila still prefers to feed herself and doesn't allow us near her with a spoon (unless it's for her to play with), she's starting to feed herself more efficiently, getting more food, and more varieties of food, into her mouth and then down into her belly. She also sometimes lets us feed her little bits of food off a fork. I think she just doesn't like mushed up food.

Some of Hila's favorite foods: chicken, tofu, peas, avocado, cheerios, bread, eggs, humus, tzfatit cheese, peanut butter, and crackers. Yes, as you can see, fruits and veggies are few...we're working on that.

The second challenge we've overcome is...SLEEP!! Yay Hila! Hila has been sleepipng through the night (7pm-7am) for at least a week. And if she does wake up, all she needs is a cuddle and maybe a bottle of water. No more night time feeds! (Though sometimes I miss her nighttime cuddles so much that Menachem has to pull me away from her door so I don't go wake her up for a hug.)

Naps are a bit more challenging because she has a more energy and likes to stand up in her crib, which is just way too exciting to pass up. A blanket sleeping bag sort of helps, but I'm convinced that she'd stand up even if we tied her lets together and glued her to the mattress.

I think it was my father who once said that everything is a phase. Bad things come to an end and good things come to an end too. And we've seen that with Hila, because she used to sleep through the night fine when she was about 5 or 6 months old.

So, we appreciate what we have, for as long as we're lucky to have it.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Foods I Like Better American

Granola bars
Ice cream
Cheap orange juice

(This is a work in progress. Next up: Foods I Like Better Israeli.)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Drinking Water with the Cap Off

(This post is dedicated to my loving husband, Menachem -- my first blog dedicee ever.)

I am always hot and dehydrated, especially since I got pregnant and gave birth. I wake up with extreme thirst (I've gotten tested for diabetes and don't have it, thank God) and spend most of the day thirsty, though often I am too thirsty to drink--no one understands that--so I get more thirsty. People think of me as a "water-drinker", probably because you will rarely see me without a water bottle by my side...but do you ever see me actually drinking from that water bottle?

Anyways, Menachem is a very good water-drinking-encourager and has been telling me for about a year now that I would drink more if I took the stupid sport's cap off my water bottle and just drank straight from the bottle. But I LOVE drinking from a sport's cap, but it's true, whenever I finally give in to my thirst and take a drink, it usually ends up being a tiny sip, which is not enough.

Recently we bought some Supersal (really Shufersal) sport's cap water bottles--I had forgotten how annoying their sport's caps are, even more annoying than Mei Eden bottles, and not nearly as wonderful as Neviot.

I can't be bothered breaking my teeth trying to get that sport's cap up--I'm a very lazy water drinker--and so now, finally, after all these months and years, I am taking off the cap and drinking straight from the bottle.

And now, I think, I'm less dehydrated.

Next step: Learn how to drink from a cup.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

This is not a recipe blog...

But I'd like to share a recipe.

As you know, I do not know how to follow a recipe. Sometimes, before I start cooking or baking, I'll say, "Okay, THIS time, I'm going to follow the recipe exactly, just to see if I can." But no way am I putting in as much oil as the recipe calls for! And maybe I'll use whole wheat flour instead of white. Preheat the oven? Pish!

I started out making zucchini carrot bread for shabbat lunch, using this recipe. But my carrots were bad, so it became zucchini bread. And I used less oil, of course. And my bran cereal was dairy (WHY?!), so I put some multi grain cheerios in the blender and used those instead. Then I decided that I really didn't need another side dish, so I added some cocoa powder and chunks of bittersweet chocolate. And I baked it in a bundt pan and sprinkled powder sugar on it.

Anyways, it was okay. Sort of dry and a little bland. But that's not the recipe I wanted to share.

It's this one, that I made up and that was a success:

Roasted Rosemary Garlic Chicken
1 whole chicken
2 heads of garlic
some dried rosemary
some course sea salt

1. Clean chicken and place in your stoneware chicken cooker (WHAT?? You don't have one of these?)
2. No wait, before you do that, put some salt and the 2 garlic heads in the chicken cavity. Then put it in the cooker.
3. Rub dried rosemary all over the chicken.
4. Sprinkle with sea salt on and around the chicken.
5. Bake at 375 degrees (Fahrenheit) uncovered for 45 minutes and then for another 30 minutes covered.

(I didn't actually look at the clock, so those times are approximate. Just cut into the chicken to make sure it's really done.)

Cut up the chicken and serve with the garlic.


Tuesday, September 01, 2009

It's nice when someone thinks you're lucky!

I'm at Cafe Cafe (worst food ever) with Hila who is sitting and playing so nicely in her stroller next to me and a pregnant woman at the table next to me just told me how lucky I am and how she hopes her baby will let her work the way Hila lets me.

Yes, it's true. I'm lucky.

Whereas in last post I expressed my frustration about Hila's moodiness/screami-ness/unwillingness to cooperate in the fields of eating and sleeping, in this post I'd like to highlight Hila's spectacularness.

Some things about Hila:
  • Her favorite toys are my wallet and my cell phone. I even tried giving her her own cell phone (my old one) and she'd have none of it. She wants my phone and no broken substitute.
  • Hila says dada constantly. And now she says di-da, which may be her version of daddy. We're not sure.
  • Hila can pull herself to standing if she's sitting in her crib facing the railing. It's so cute and she gets so excited.
  • Which brings me to the next thing--it's very easy to get Hila excited. She puts her hands together and bumps her torso up and down and squeals with delight.
  • Hila gags when we give her food. She's not actually choking on it. I think she's just being dramatic and proving a point: STOP JAMMING FOOD DOWN MY THROAT!
  • Hila makes friends wherever she goes. She's very popular.
  • Hila is well-mannered, patient, funny, sweet, and smart!The other day I read her two long Dr. Suess books and she sat so patiently listening.
  • According to The Baby Whisperer, Hila is a Spirited/Textbook baby, which to us, is the best type of baby there is. That means she's generally very easy to read and does what she's supposed to do, when she's supposed to do (Textbook), but she's got spunk and spirit along the way and likes to vocalize what she likes and dislikes what's expected of her (Spirited). And even though it means some stubbornness and sometimes lots of tears, it also means a lot of fun and excitement.
(And now I must get back to work since the pregnant woman next to me just came to my table and we just talked for like 1/2 hour

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Happy Baby Hila: An Update

Lots has happened in the last two months. Hila is growing so fast and is quickly developing a very strong and opinionated (and yet still very happy) personality. She smiles at people, music, her toys, and mostly, her beautiful reflection in the mirror. She laughs when things are funny--she seems to have a good sense of humor! And she stares at you blankly when she is tired or bored, until you stare at her back and then a huge smile erupts onto her face. Man, she's cute.

Here's another recent tidbit about Hila. Despite her extreme happiness, she has turned into quite the little screamer. You see, two weeks ago Hila decided that she is a big girl and does not need a pacifier anymore. Despite my constant begging for her to reconsider, she has firmly made up her mind on the issue and now lives a pacifier-free lifestyle.

I didn't realize how much the pacifier pacified her until now. When it's time to sleep, nothing calms her (except lots of screaming), especially if she's teething. Sometimes we're truly at a loss for what to do.

I have two theories about why she started rejecting the pacifier:
1. She had a bad teething week (still no teeth) just when she quit the pacifier, so maybe the pacifier was hurting her gums--though that doesn't really explain why she puts basically everything but the kitchen sink/pacifier into her mouth...

2. I've been pushing Hila to eat solids with a spoon since she was 4.5 months old. I tried almost daily shoveling food into a closed mouth until I decided we all needed a break around 5.5 months. We then started up again around the time that she started rejecting her pacifier. And now, whenever I offer her a spoonful of food, a pacifier, or a bottle when she's not hungry, she purses her lips in a very firm and defininitive manner, making her point very clear that she does not want me jamming anything into her mouth. I think because her food rejection was so strong, she began to distrust the fact that I was putting other things in her mouth without her asking for it. And so now she does not let me put a pacifier into her mouth--what if it's (*GASP*) food???

Hila's got strong likes and dislikes and is extremely vocal about them. She talks and sings all day long (unless she's screaming). And even when she is screaming, if you go into her room and pick her up, she gets a gigantic smile and starts bouncing up and down...sometimes I think she's just too excited and happy about life that she doesn't want to waste it sleeping.

Once she does scream herself to sleep, however, she's a good sleeper.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Hila Loves her Mommy (and vice versa)

Sometimes I put Hila in her beloved exersaucer, sit down at my computer, and let us each play in our own worlds for a little while. She plays, sings, bangs around with the toys, and every so often, gets very, very quiet.

I look up to find her staring straight at her mama (me) with a huge grin on her face. I smile back and then get back to writing or reading or whatever it is I do to pass the time. But she's still quiet a few minutes later. I glance up, and she's still staring at me and grinning non-stop. How does that make me feel? So good.

You know what else makes me feel good? The fact that Hila now goes from 8pm-8am (and sometimes later) without being fed. She's still waking up every so often for a pacifier, but we're still so proud of her!

Now the only thing we need to work on is going to sleep before 3am.... Sounds easier than it is.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sleeping in....

Hila has made a mistake that I'll bet she's regretting...

She slept until 8:45-9:00am for a few days in a row.

If she thinks she can get away with waking up at 6:00 or 7:00 or even 8:00, she better think again.

Like this morning she woke up around 7:00 and made it pretty clear that she didn't want to go back to bed. But I wrapped her up tightly, gave her the pacifier, and stuck her in bed with us, and didn't hear back from her til almost 9:15! (Some of these mornings she's made it til 9:00 in her own bed, but sometimes I just don't have the energy to fight the whose-bed fight.)

Menachem and I usually go to bed around 1:30 or 2:00am, so while 7:00 or 8:00 may seem like normal wakeup times for you, they're still a bit early for us night owls.

P.S. We have successfully gotten rid of the 4:00am feed, but Hila still struggles to stay asleep in those early morning hours and calls out for her pacifier at least 2-3 times (down from 4-5 times). Things are looking up. Good job, Hila!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Hila went 8.5 hours between feeds!!

(That is, at night. We wouldn't encourage that otherwise.)

I woke up this morning so proud of Hila that I forgot that I wasn't feeling well. (I'm actually not feeling great, now that I've remembered, but I do feel a lot better than the last few days.) Anyways, Hila.

We decided that the pacifier was our problem. She didn't need food anymore at 4am, but she needed her pacifier. And not just at 4am, but many, many times between 3am and 7am when she finally "woke up" from a not very deep sleep of the last four hours.

Last night I gave her paci as usual. 8pm and she was asleep. 9:30 she cried (sort or as usual) and I didn't go in. She cried for 10 minutes and fell back asleep. At 12:30am I gave her a dreamfeed (she was still asleep). We went to bed at 1:30. At 4:45 (so late!!) she cried. I let her cry for 15 minutes before giving in and giving her the pacifier. I think maybe I heard her once for a second at around 6, but I ignored it.

Now here's the amazing part. I woke up to hear her playing in her crib, not at 7. Not at 7:30. Not even at 8. BUT AT 8:45!! Of course now her 8-12-4-8-12 feeding schedule is off. BUT WHO CARES?!

I also cheated and put rice cereal in her midnight bottle. I know it's not recommended to do that. But guess who will keep doing that until we get rid of that feed? This (somewhat) well-rested mama!

Hooray for Hila!

Monday, June 08, 2009

Sick Mom / Healthy Baby

I don't usually believe in jinxes, but this is just too big of a coincidence. I wrote that post about looking up cold symptoms TOTALLY HYPOTHETICALLY. I did not, at the time, exhibit any of those symptoms.

Then, a few days ago, I felt like someone punched me in the nose. I'm assuming that it was my squirmy, jolty, four month old (a.k.a Hila Z.) who punches me and kicks me all the time all over. I don't remember it happening, but whatever. My nose kills.

Then this morning my achy, swollen nose started running a bit. Okay, fine. It hurts to blow a nose that feels broken.

And now, I feel like I have the flu. I'm all achy and stuffy. My gums itch like mad (do you get that too?) and I have a slight fever.

And the ironic thing, is that I had a doctor's appointment this morning, and I was whining to him about so many other things that I decided not to mention my broken runny nose.

On a happier note, Hila had an appointment today too (we see the doc together) and she is doing great! She weighs 6.73 kg (that's almost 15 lbs!) and does all the tricks she's supposed to do. He was very impressed with her cheerfulness and her ability to stand up (with a little help). He said she may start to crawl soon!

We're still working on getting her to sleep through the night. She's back in her crib for the whole night (!!!) and sleeps usually from 8pm to 7am. In that time, however, she cries for her pacifier about five times and wakes up to eat around midnight and around 4am. Sometimes it's hard to put her back to bed at 4am.

Sorry I didn't warn you, Hila Bila, but tonight we're getting rid of the 4am feed. We got it down from 120ml to 90ml to 60ml and then to 30ml. And tonight is the big night when we give her 0ml.

You'll do fine, Hila -- you're such a big girl! And mommy needs her sleep!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Google Diagnosis

I'm surprised that Google doesn't have a feature where you plug in your symptoms and it gives you a diagnosis.

(type) Symptoms runny nose, chills, achiness

"You have a cold."

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Still Waiting for the Big Sleep

I made a mistake. It's not irreversible, but it's going to take work to undo it and I'm not looking forward to it.

When Menachem was in miluim, Hila slept in my bed with me every night. It was at the height of my breastfeeding (which has now come to an abrupt end -- another story for another time), I missed Menachem, we were at my parents' and their porta-crib is annoying, and it just made sense to cuddle up with my baby.

Now, a week has passed since we've been back home and Hila refuses to sleep in her crib. Sometimes (if we're lucky) she'll fall asleep in it, but only for a few hours. And then she'll wake up crying and will not let me leave her alone.

When we do try and leave her room she reaches out for us and looks at us pleadingly not to leave her in her crib. And then she cries. So...I take her out and plop her back into bed with us. And Menachem and I don't sleep so well when she's in bed with us.

Maybe there was a night or two where we convinced her to stay in her room, but it wasn't with her -- then regular, now not -- long stretches of sleep, easy feeds, and easy drifting right back to sleep.

And that's another thing. Hila has been so easy overall, that I thought that by now we'd be sleeping through the night. But she still wakes up every 3,4, or 5 hours to eat. (About a month ago she was sleeping 6,7, or 8 hours at a time and then plus more after a feed -- but not anymore.)

And while Meanchem or my mom (when she's around) both have offered to take night feeds, I end up waking up anyways (Menachem never hears her) and stay awake until I know that she's back asleep. So what's the point of having a third person wake up? I may as well just feed her myself. (And as of last week I was nursing her for every feed anyways, so I wouldn't let anyone else feed her.)

We're not in favor of co-sleeping, but what do you do if your baby insists on it? We need to toughen up, right?

(P.S. While I was nursing I never felt like Hila was getting enough food during the day alone and now that I'm not nursing, Hila is all of a sudden rejecting bottles after only half a feed (and not making up for it later). So only when I know that she's eating enough during the day, will I then be ready to push her to sleep through the night. But for now, I think she still needs those night time calories.)

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Hila is cute

I'm holding a mirror in front oh Hila and she is smiling and laughing at the new friend she's just made! This may possibly be the cutest she's ever been. Maybe she's so happy because she finally sees how adorable and perfect she is. She finally gets why we're crazy about her.

Do you think she really thinks that its another person?

NOTE: She is going crazy! She is laughing and talking and sqealing and kicking. For a long time! I'd get the camera but I need to keep holding the mirror (I'm typing with one hand...a skill I've gotten to be extremely good at!). And the camera needs to be charged. But I do wish I could capture this....

Get ready for a really boring post...

Last night as I was trying to fall asleep I was thinking about very important things. Like if I could think of a fruit or vegetable for every letter of the alphabet. In some ways I did extremely well (like Duriun for D) and in some ways I was just stumped (like N???).

So here is my list. This is without the help of anyone or Google or anything. There are a few gaps in there.

A - apple
B - bananas
C - carrots
D - durian
E - eggplant
F - figs
G - grapes
H - horseradish
I - iceberg lettuce
J - jackfruit
K - kale
L - lemons
M - mango
N - I keep thinking noodles. But that doesn't count. Neither do nuts.
O - onions
P - pears
Q - quince
R - radish
S - strawberries
T - tomatoes (that took me a long time!)
U -
V -
W - watermelon
X -
Y - yucca (I think people eat that)
Z - zucchini

P has a lot: peppers, pineapple, passion fruit, papaya

Told you this would be boring.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Having a good day

That subject is not meant to imply that there's anything strange about me having a good day. I generally have good days, but today has been exceptionally good.

Hila woke up in her regular sunshiney mood. She is a morning person, but not too early a morning person, generally waking up around 9 or 10, which is nice for her mommy and daddy. We had a fun morning, watched 24, ate a healthy breakfast, played a little, Hila napped -- the usual.

Then Menachem went to work and Hila and I hung out some more. When I saw she was ready for her next nap, I wrapped her up in my cozywrap and walked up to Palmach. I did some grocery shopping at Mr. Z and then went to get a cafe kar dal shuman im ktzat sucar loh katush (but then I said "not blended" in English because I wasn't sure of that last part) at Duvshanit. I sat outside and read an article about press releases while Hila slept like a little angel wrapped up close to me.

Then Tiff called and we'd been playing phone tag for a while so that was nice. Then I went home in time to feed a waking Hila. And then I convinced Menachem that we desperately need this Sit'n'Stroll 5-n-1 Combination Carseat/Stroller that I saw on Janglo. And it looks like Hila is taking another nap in her swing.

Life's good here in the 'lem.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

To nurse or not to nurse...that is the question.

Welcome to the latest edition of adventures in breastfeeding staring me and Hila! Yes, there are still adventures to be told. After a one month and then six weeks and then two months and then Pesach deadlines, I am still breastfeeding. Every day feels like it may be my last and then I wake up the next day (or in the middle of the night) feeling full of milk (relatively speaking), reenergized, and I can't imagine quitting.

We are still supplementing with formula, but with a lot less than the last time I wrote. Back then I was mainly giving her formula and supplementing with little sips of breastmilk here and there; now, while it's still mostly formula, it is much closer to 50/50. Before every bottle Hila nurses from both sides for about 10-30 minutes, depending on my milk supply and depending on Hila's mood. I make her, as Leah once suggested, "sing for her supper." After she nurses, she gets a bottle -- sometimes she takes a full bottle and sometimes she takes 1/2 or a 1/4 or even less. Now, in general I do not support the parenting tactic of rewarding food with more food (or rewarding anything with food), but I'll let that slide for now. I like to consider my breastfeeding as a hearty appetizer to her main course.

The good news? I did finally stop pumping (I just couldn't take it anymore) and I have not seen a drop in my milk supply. I used to dread the pump and sometimes it would truly ruin my day. I am much happier now. I also weened myself from the silicone nipple!

Sometimes it gets really frustrating. Hila is not the most patient of eaters. When she realizes she is hungry, I better be there for her, breast in mouth waiting. If I miss that small window of opportunity, then she will scream and scream, refuse to nurse, and not stop crying til she gets the bottle. I try and try and get really frustrated until I accept that it is just not meant to be during this feed.

I am trying to look at breastfeeding as something fun and enjoyable and extra. I am trying to chill out and not get upset when we have a bad session. Things have really turned around for the better and I am trying to focus on that. I have worked hard and am ready to sit back, relax, and enjoy feeding my baby -- whether by bottle or breast.

And who knows...maybe tomorrow will be my last day. I have a feeling it won't, but if it is, then I'll be okay with that too.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Words that Rhyme with Hila

(off rhymes allowed)

Mamila (mall in J'lem)
Mama Mia!

Tequila is the best. (Not the best drink, but the best rhyme). Oh man, I see her high school / college years already...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Getting fat

Isn't it ironic that I'm working so hard to fatten up this little person who (if she has my genes anyways) will spend her entire life trying to slim down? Seems unfair doesn't it?

But since gaining weight is a good thing for babies, I am proud to say that Hila has gained a total of 1.6kg (or 3.5lbs) during her two months of life outside the womb. And the good news's not all formula fat! Breastfeeding, still being the biggest challenge I've ever faced, is becoming easier and easier every day.

That's not to say that Hila is now formula-free. Far from it. (That's not even my goal.) But after taking motilium, pumping like mad, and losing the silicone nipple, I now have enough milk (usually) to give Hila a nice breastmilk breakfast and a few little snacks through the afternoon!

One month has turned into six weeks which turned into two months. Now I'll try and make it til Pesach.

Monday, March 16, 2009

My little girl is growing up!

Here are some milestones that Hila has reached by today, the beginning of her 8th week of life:
1. She rolled over from her stomach to her back three times.
2. Last night we put her in her crib, patted her to sleep, and when she woke up ten minutes later, put herself back to sleep in 6 minutes.
3. She re-learned how to latch on sans silicone (still not entirely correct and pain-free, but a latch nonetheless) and is started to breastfeed more and more every day.
4. She can sit and entertain herself in her swing, bouncer, or play mat for a good 1/2 hour, looking around, smiling, and being fully engaged by what she sees.

She'll probably start walking and talking any day now at the rate she's going.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Hila's Arms

I've been doing a lot of staring and studying of my baby's both awake and asleep behavior and actions. Here are some things that I've noticed about Hila's arms:

- When she's eating she makes little fists with her hands, sticks out her pointer fingers and brings her arms over her head, as if to say, "You are number one, mom!"

- Sometimes she does this with two fingers out, as if to say, "Just the two of us, you and me, mom."

- Sometimes she puts out three finger, "And daddy, too."

- When Hila is napping, her hands go angelically under her chin or one arm goes over her head and one arm stays under her chin or to her side. There is always a lot of flailing in the naptime phase.

- When she is sleeping a deep sleep in her crib, both of her arms rest over her head on the mattress surface -- "I surrender to sleep!"

- Sometimes she jolts awake for a moment (or longer) and her arms shoot up into the air. "AH! Why am I sleeping?? I should be conducting an orchestra!"

The best part of Hila's arms, though, are her hands, which are perfection. She has long, graceful fingers, that are not at all like my short, stubby digits. My mother says that they remind her of her mother's hands -- Hila's namesake -- how appropriate!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Advice for New Mothers

I was recently having a gchat conversation with Talia, a fellow new mother who has about four months more experience than I do. While venting about how much more difficult infant-raising was than I had expected, Talia gave the following advice:

1. You are allowed to want to throw the baby out the window.
2. Do NOT throw the baby out the window.
3. Your husband, in-laws, and parents all want to hold her too. Let them.
4. It's tough but try to get alone time once a day.
5. Don't worry about fitting into your clothes.
6. Talk to your friends for tips and advice; then you won't feel like you are the only one dealing with baby issues.

So there are six tips...feel free to add your more!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Nursing Saga Continues

Things are getting better, but are still not perfect.

Breastfeeding is becoming an expensive ordeal. I've become a regular at my lactation consultant (100 shekels a pop), the tongue snipping wasn't cheap, nursing bras are expensive (I went up another cup size!), and we still need to buy formula which we're still having to give Hila at every feed.

Nipples are still a bit sore, but thanks to silicone nipples, they feel a MILLION times (at least) better.

I'm pumping about four or five times a day to help increase my milk supply. And I'm taking fenugreek supplements which are supposed to also help. And I'm really starting to see an increase!

I nurse Hila maybe three times a day, but sometimes she just sits there to humor me, waiting for me to finish so she can get her bottle. She spends half the time sitting quietly and half the time thrashing around -- again, thank goodness for silicone. My goal is to partially reverse wean her from the bottles, to breastfeed her (with no supplement) a few times a day and to rely on bottles for middle of the night feeds and outings.

The tongue snipping was a partial success. It hurts a lot less when she latches on, though I also switched to the silicone nipples, so who knows if the snipping would've made a difference with those. My lactation consultant says her tongue is still a little tight and she could use another snip, but I say enough is enough. There's only so much mutilation I can allow.

I'm feeling less discouraged, maybe even hopeful. More than that though, I've come to terms with the fact that breastfeeding just may not work out this time around. I'm going to try for a few more weeks and I'm going to try and stay positive.

Thank you all for your suggestions, support, and encouragement. I'll keep you posted!

P.S. The good news is that Hila is definitely gaining weight. She's really filling out and is looking a lot less scrawny. We'll do an officially weigh-in on Tuesday.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Tongue Tied

If you've spoken to me or written to me or heard anything about me in the last few days, you're likely to know about my sore nipples. People have been saying that all you need is a good latch, but what do you do when it is physically impossible for your baby to "get a good latch"? Since day one I've been struggling to get Hila to latch on properly, but even when it looks like she's got it good, it still kills. My nipples have gotten no chance to heal and just keep getting more and more and more irritated.

A few visits to the lactation consultant later, we learn that Hila is tongue tied. This is a real thing! It means that her frenulum is tight so she is unable to fully raise her tongue to the roof of her mouth, making it difficult, if not impossible, to get an effective suck. (The frenulum is that string-like tissue that connects the tongue to the bottom of the mouth.) Don't get me wrong -- this girl can suck strong...just not effectively and not widely, which means that all of the action is on my nipple and not enough on the area around it.

Another result of this, other than severe pain, is that my milk supply is suffering. Milk supply is stimulated through the areola, not the nipple, and since Hila is barely getting to that, my milk ducts are barely being stimulated. Thus I have been relying heavily on pumping (which also kills) to help stimulate my areolas and increase my milk supply.

Another result of Hila's tight frenulum and my sore nipples is that Hila is not gaining enough weight. This is the most upsetting part of the story. We have been advised by both our doctor and lactation consultant to supplement her diet with formula, which was actually a huge relief becuase it gives me a little nipple break and coming from them (and not me) makes me feel less guilty.

The good news: Tomorrow we are going to get Hila's frenulum snipped. A quick cut under her tongue will loosen her frenulum and help release her tongue, making it easier for her to eat and less painful for me. She will also be getting that string like thing that connects the top lip to the gum line snipped (don't know what it's called) so that her top lip has more room to more as well. (Coincidentally (or maybe I should say genetically, I had this procedure done many years ago to help tighten the gap between my two front teeth.) I've got all my eggs in this basket -- if the situation does not drastically improve, then it could be that breastfeeding is just not for us, which is upsetting, but at least now I know that it's not my fault and it may not even be what's best.

Wish us luck for tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Welcome to the World, Hila Zehava!

After much planning and anticipation of a masculine addition to our family, little Hila Zehava made her very feminine appearance one week ago on our (now shared) birthday of January 26. Here is our birth story...

I started a few days earlier with some period-like cramps. Wow, I thought, if these are contractions, than I can totally handle these -- they barely even hurt! At 6:30am, though, on Monday, January 26, those cramps got a little stronger. And then a little stronger. And then a little stronger. And before I knew it, I was in the hospital, screaming my brains out, beggin for an epidural. I felt like I was in a movie.

About eight hours later, I got that blessed epidural and the painful and traumatic labor experience went from unbearable to absolutely blissful. I took a little nap, chatted with Joanie, our amazing doula, ate a bit, and just chilled, with a warm flush of numbness flowing through my body.

A few hours later, after they had broken my water with a wooden stick (seriously) and given me a bit of pitocin to speed things up, a midwife came in, looked at the monitor, ran out, and quickly reentered with a staff of 5 or 6 doctors, nurses, and midwives. What I heard was "blah blah hebrew hebrew". What I saw was a look of panic on their faces as they pulled my legs up and apart, told me to hold my knees, and told me to push. I got the translated update -- our baby's heart rate was quickly dropping and if I didn't push her out in five minutes, they'd have to cut me open and take her out themselves.

They sent Menachem out of the room because of the emergency nature of the situation and told me to push again, harder this time. But...I still had the epidural and couldn't feel a thing. How can I push if I couldn't feel any of my pushing muscles? Apparently I didn't have a choice. And then, soley through the power of the mind, I visualized what I thought pushing would look like and feel like, and I pushed and pushed and pushed that baby out like there was no tomorrow.

My panicked cries of "Is my baby ok? Is my baby ok?" immediately switched to a relieved and overjoyed "My baby is ok! My baby is ok!" Menachem was back in the room by the time they threw that little girl on top of me and assured me that she was perfect.

It's a girl! "What?" we said. And my first thought, I kid you not, after of course the flood of relief and love that I felt, was "oh man, Menachem is going to have to exchange all that blue stuff for pink." (And he did.)

I delivered the placenta with no problems (it looks like a lung on a string) and then they sewed me up where they had cut me and where I'd torn -- and I didn't feel a thing.

And now one week later we're all adjusting to life with a newborn. It's tiring, at times frustrating, at times extremely painful (recovering from the stitches and dealing with sore nipples -- see my other blog about that), but always filled with wonder and amazement about the presence of this miraculous, beautiful, little baby girl.

Hila Zehava is named after my mother's mother, Gloria Goldie. Hila is Hebrew from praise/glory, and Zehava means gold.

And we love her. And you'll love her too when you get to meet her!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Happy belated Bowelversary to me!

I don't believe yesterday came and went and I didn't think about my bowels once. (Clearly I have other things on my mind.)

Here is to me -- for survival, acceptance, and digestive health!

And here is to you -- for friendship, love, and caring that you've all provided for me over the years, bowel and non-bowel related!

It's been seven years, do you believe it?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I made the psychological mistake of assuming that this baby would be early. (After all, I was three weeks early myself...doesn't that count for anything??) So now, with still one and a half weeks to go before even hitting the due date, I feel like I'm late.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

38 weeks tomorrow!

Focusing on work is even harder than usual (if you can imagine that). Sometimes I just stare into space and think, "I wonder if it'll be now. Or now. Or now." I waste so much time just sitting around and waiting. And yet I haven't shown any signs of labor and still suspect that I'll probably be late. I'm just bored.

The baby should come at the right time. Hopefully that right time is today. Maybe now. Or now. Or now. Nope. Nothing.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Pregnant dish washing is hard!

Tonight I decided to give Menachem a break and do some dishes. He just started a very demanding job and gets home very late (and I love him and wanted to surprise him), I just kicked out Rachel (my other dish washer) since I plan on laboring in private and that could be any day, and I just spent the whole day reading in bed, only doing a bit of work here and there. It only seemed fair that I chip in and do some dish washing myself.

I did about six dishes before I quit. Here's why it's hard to do dishes while you're pregnant:

First of all standing in one place for an extended period of time without moving is tiring.

Second, and more crucial, is the fact that I don't fit properly in front of the sink. See, you probably don't realize how close you stand to the sink while you're doing dishes, but when you've got a foot long belly, you can no longer stand in that optimal location. Instead, you have to stand a foot back and reach further into the sink. And I have short arms, so the reach ends up forcing me to hunch my shoulders and curve my spine and it's THAT that makes me stop before finishing the batch.

And no, I can't just stand closer and squish my stomach into the counter because a) that hurts a lot and b) I end up getting soaked.

So, sorry Menachem, the sink is still filled with dishes.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Forced Nesting

I've heard about this "nesting" phenomenon--Pregnant women nearing their due dates feel the need to do intense cleaning and organizing, to get their lives and their homes in order before the baby comes.--and I'm afraid I'm going about it all wrong.

Oh, the instinct to clean and organize I've got, but the surge of energy that supposedly goes along with it...well that I've yet to see.

The result? I'm taking my nesting instinct out on Menachem. I'm seeing things that NEED to get done RIGHT NOW, but...I don't want to do them...but they NEED to get done... Menachem?
From cleaning out the little room (ok that really does need to get done) to cleaning the ceiling fans in every room, to hanging our curtain rod, to filing, putting away clutter, organizing all our books, going through clothing...the list is endless.

And I feel bad because I'M the one who wants all these things done...I just don't want to be the one to do them. I'm as fat as a house and barely have energy to lift myself off the couch to go pee--how am I expected to clean our ceiling fans?

In other news, I just ate almost a whole pint of B&J and am feeling (emotionally) pretty bad. (Physically I feel fine.)

Sometimes I eat too much and then my stomach hurts and I think I must be going into labor. But really it's just because I've jam packed food into a space that looks like it holds a lot more than it actually does.

Wow, I'm starting to feel that ice cream settle into my stomach. I feel really sick. I should not be left alone with a pint of ice cream.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Getting Huge

It's like it just happened over night. I notice that there are very clear growth spurts, but this one is by far the biggest. All of a sudden I'm gigantic. I feel like a beached whale (maybe an overused analogy, but now I understand why). Just moving takes effort. Sleeping is getting difficult. Turning over raises my heart rate and leaves me breathless. Stairs? Like running a marathon (which I've never done, but I can imagine). Next pregnancy, I'm putting in an elevator and getting a car. And moving to a place where there are fewer hills. Maybe for my future ninth months of pregnancy (poo poo poo) I'll relocate to Kansas.

So not only do I feel like I'm about to pop, I look like it too, apparently. Last night we were getting into a cab. I was getting in the front seat (it's easier), with a moan and groan (all exertion demands a grunt), and the cab driver took one look at me and said "Shaarei Tzedek?" (our local hospital).

Man I got so excited! I almost said yes! I don't know why, but I felt like he had just given me the biggest compliment EVER. We told him we still had three more weeks, and I walked around with a huge smile all night (until we got home and I had to walk up all those stairs).

All that being said, the truth is, is that I don't really feel like I'm about to pop. I actually feel like this baby is going to come a little late. Yes, I'm getting uncomfortable. Yes, I'm excited and ready to have this baby. Yes, I'm getting a little tired of being pregnant. But it seems to me that when women do finally give birth, it's because their bodies really are done and just can't carry the baby anymore. And I don't feel that way. Moaning and groaning aside, I haven't had any contractions; I don't feel like I'm going to tip over; for the most part, during most of the day, I feel fine.

My due date is January 30. I'm predicting a February 1st arrival. Menachem predicts January 26 (my birthday).

I'll keep you posted...

Friday, January 02, 2009

36 weeks and a Cake Guard

I was just looking at engagement pictures of Tiff and Mordy (mazel tov!!!!) and there's a picture of them blowing out candles on their Happy Engagement cake. And a thought occurred to me: What if one of them has a cold? (I had a horrible cold/cough all week so it's on my mind.) Would I want to eat a cake after someone with yucky germs sprayed their breath all over it? How come I've never heard any concern about this? It's sad to think that probably in the next few years (if not sooner), as the hygiene/germ craze gets stronger, the tradition of blowing out candles on a cake will probably disappear. I mean, if I'VE thought of it, then I'm sure hyperly sensitive moms of allergy-ridden three-year olds have thought of it too.

Fortunately, Cake Guard Industries to the rescue and make a ridiculous product to protect cakes from germs. Cake Guard Industries assures its customers that "saliva and germs no longer need to be a part of the celebration by using CakeGuard at your next celebration." Hurrah!

Meanwhile, in unrelated pregnancy news, I've hit the 36 week mark and I've hit my due date month -- our baby could be born any day now! (though preferably in a week or two or three--when s/he's good and ready.) I've taken out the hospital bag and plan on packing it up today and I'm starting to drink nettle and raspberry leaf tea which are supposed to stimulate blood flow to the uterus which will help during labor.

Moving around is getting harder. It takes me about double the time to walk to places which used to be easy walks and I've definitely been taking more cabs. I avoid going certain places (down) because it means a dreaded walk home (up).

Otherwise, things are great! Tiff's engagement made my day -- a trip to America is finally in sight (sometime this summer)! (And we love Tiff and are so happy for her!)

Shabbat Shalom!


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