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Month: November 2009

It was delicious.

It was delicious.

Once again we went all out for Thanksgiving. A fifteen pound turkey. Four homemade pies. Stuffing, potatoes, carrots. Vanilla bean, chocolate froyo, lemon buttermilk ice cream. The works. Eight adults. Four children. One round of the loser game. (I lost.)
And one 12-layer cherry chocolate birthday cake for me after everyone left. My husband is the best.

Passing it on

Passing it on

This is the chair I sit in when I wake up to nurse Oliver. We’ll often sit in it and rock him to sleep before we go to bed ourselves. Micah was likely rocked in this chair as well. And Micah’s mom. And even Micah’s grandma, from whom we inherited it from when she died last year.
I’m claiming it as the symbol for my thanks this year. I am thankful for it as a place to rock my children, but I am more thankful for it for all that it represents. It represents the gift of family and heritage in all its many forms. It represents the connection I have with friends who are also young mothers of young children. It represents places of calm and comfort in otherwise chaotic times. It represents strength to withstand difficult times. It represents peace and love that is passed down from generation to generation, which I have freely received and which I hope to generously pass on.

On not taking it personally.

On not taking it personally.

Several people have asked me about the comments on my Babble.com piece. When I first realized they had finally published my piece, I wouldn’t read the comments. I had Micah screen them for me. I was sure people were going to be just brutal in the comments, and given the circumstances (new baby, not a lot of sleep, hormones in flux) I thought it was probably best not to give myself a reason to have an emotional breakdown. At first Micah just gave me the nice ones — the people who were understanding, or at least seemed to get what I was saying (hint: it wasn’t that I truly think I’m a bad parent). But after a while I was feeling a little tougher and he started sharing some of the not so nice ones with me.

And that is when I really realized that the comments have nothing to do with me. The people who comment clearly do not know me or the situation and their comments are generally more about themselves than they are about me and Simon. The way I think about it now is that my job was to stand in front of the class, give them a scenario, and walk out of the room, leaving them to discuss it for themselves. Some people only picked up on part of the scenario. Some people latched on to the part that reminded them of something they heard about once and tuned out the rest. Some people twisted what I was saying to fit what they wanted to say anyway.

I talked to several of the other writers at a mix-n-mingle Babble.com had last Tuesday (they just released a book of essays from the magazine — neither of mine were included — and some fancy Facebook application), and many of them mentioned how cruel and vitriolic people were in the comments on their stories. It just reaffirmed to me that I just can’t take things personally, no matter how personal the story was to me. So that is that. I’m sure it will still be difficult for me to read negative commentary on my writing in such a public place, but I’ll just have to try to maintain that perspective.

Side story: At the mix-n-mingle Micah claimed to be the bag holder, since I was the writer and the reason we were there. He was walking around and one guy told called him over specifically to tell him he had a nice bag. Micah laughed, “This old thing?” (Hahaha.) But it turns out the guy was the founder of SkipHop, and we happen to have a SkipHop bag. You never know who you are going to meet at these things.

The benefits of being a Gentile

The benefits of being a Gentile

The sun sets much earlier these days and on Friday that means that the Jewish Sabbath starts earlier as well. Tonight I was walking toward some friends’ house to pick up Simon from a playdate and was approached by a middle aged Hasidic Jewish man and his son. He was obviously Hasidic because he was wearing a long black robe, a large furry hat, and long ringlets framed his face.

“Excuse me. Can you help us?” he asked. It was evident that despite the fact that he was probably born and raised here in Brooklyn, he did not speak English very often.

“Are you Jewish?” No I’m not.

“Good. You see, our stove has gone out and we can not turn it back on because it is the Sabbath. So, we need to move our food from our stove to a different stove, but because it is the Sabbath we can not.” I wanted to ask why, but then thought again. It was getting late and I had to pick up Simon.

My first thought was that this was a hoax of some sort. I know that the Jewish law has all sorts of specific laws that they must follow, but this seemed a bit extreme. But, my desire to help was stronger than my fear of being jumped by a group of Jewish men in furry hats, so I agreed to do what I could. The man led me into their apartment building, up a flight of stairs, past a large group of young girls clad in black dresses, into their apartment and showed me the stove.

“See? It is not hot at all. Can you pick up the pot and follow him?”

I followed the son out the door, down the hall past the staring girls again, and into another apartment. They had a hot plate plugged into the wall, sitting in a closet on top of the washer and dryer. I was instructed to move a towel that was covering a large pot filled with tin foil wrapped somethings, put another tin foil wrapped something on top to make room for my pot, and put the towel back on.

Another Jewish man, who I later found out to be the rabbi, and who lived in the second apartment, spent the next 5 minutes instructing me in broken English on how to remove a small, red pin from the electrical timer that the hot plate was plugged into. It was scheduled to turn off at some point during the Sabbath, but with the addition of their neighbor’s pot it now had to stay on. Unfortunately, taking the pin out also constituted a breach of protocol so that job also fell onto the shoulders of the gentile. The closet was dark, and not wanting to cause them to break the Sabbath by flipping the light switch, I used the light of my cell phone to find the pin and fix their problem.

After moving one more container of food to a different neighbor’s stove the job was done and I was thanked.

“Can we give you anything?” No, that’s fine.

“Do you want a drink? A glass of water? Some seltzer?” No, thank you. I’m alright.

“Can we get you a cup of hot coffee?” I smiled. No, no coffee thank you. I wanted to explain why, but then thought again. It was getting late and I had to pick up Simon.

Photoshoot #2

Photoshoot #2

Here are some photos from the shoot my sister-in-law did. I’m so glad she was able to squeeze us into her busy schedule. I loved seeing Simon respond to her posing suggestions. He also did a great job following directions — at least when we asked him to hug and kiss Oliver. And Oliver. Ah, Oliver. The photoshoot was the only time the whole day that he was both awake and happy. What luck. The only thing wrong with the photos? Me. Why on earth did I not think to change out of the shirt I wore to bed? Or even look in the mirror to see if maybe my hairdo (which I’d been styling all night long) might need a little bit of help? Good thing I’m not in many of the pictures. Another bonus: Summer found some great places to take pictures right by where we live. I’m looking forward to taking advantage of those spots again.

Photoshoot #1

Photoshoot #1

I’ve been trying to teach myself to use my camera more and more lately and since we’ve had some lovely weather this week, I took the boys to the playground yesterday for some photo action. It was fun. And when I say “fun,” I mean, I laughed at myself. Some shots turned out really well, some were really washed out, and some where just hilarious. But I’m learning and becoming more confident with the Nikon. Here are a few of the results.

Not really sure why I like this one, but I do.


Stiff as a board. (But I love that I got Simon in the background.)

Too lazy to rotate . . . but look at the faces. Ha.
So peaceful and . . . skeptical.
Look at my cute little newborn in his fuzzy blue bear suit lying on the fallen leaves. Screaming his head off. So precious.

And the close-up of the screaming. Makes your heart melt, doesn’t it?
One that I actually think turned out really well.

And I need to work on my aim, apparently.

I’ll try to post some tomorrow from the photoshoot my sister-in-law did, just so we can compare and contrast. Or maybe not. She’s much better than me with a camera.
Yes, he did this himself.

Yes, he did this himself.

Last picture of blocks on the floor, I promise. And I reserve the right to break that promise if he spells anything else that makes me laugh out loud. Maybe some time I’ll get a video of him singing the “K-I-S-S-I-N-G” song that taught him how to spell this. You know the one. “Mom and Dad, sitting in a tree . . . .”

Getting to know him

Getting to know him

Tell me if this is just a 2nd child thing: I feel like I don’t really know anything about Oliver. Perhaps this is because with Simon I had so much time to sit around and stare at him and talk to him and decide what kind of baby he was and I just don’t have the time to do such things with Oliver. Or maybe it is because I have learned my lesson that even if I decide what kind of a baby Oliver is, next week or next month he is going to prove me wrong and I’ll have to start all over again. But possibly he is just a pretty chill baby whose personality hasn’t come out really strongly yet. He cries when he’s hungry. He sleeps a lot — even at night (5 hours between feedings two nights in a row!). He likes to be held and rocked and fed and bounced. He likes sucking on his parents’ pinkies. He enjoys bathing. He has this high-pitched cry that comes out when he is desperate and thinks he is wasting away (at least that is what it sounds like to me). It is both cute and pathetic and I almost feel bad for loving the desperation cry so much.

Overall, I think he is a good baby, but I think that maybe I think that because I have heard from so many sources that second children are easier than first. And maybe I think that because I have a larger little person driving me crazy and the Sweet Pea seems so tame in comparison.
I like him and I think we’ll keep him and I think he is super cute and probably going to break a lot of hearts some day. But more than anything I am excited to spend some more time with him, to see him grow and learn and become who he is going to be. I want to know if he’s going to be as bossy as his brother at age 2 1/2, if he’s going to draw all over the walls and scale bookshelves or if he’ll be tightly tied to the proverbial apron strings and hesitate to come out from my shadow even in the most comfortable of circumstances. Can’t wait to see what he is going to be.

Security

Security

We’ve gotten several spam comments on a post written more than a year ago — our first since we started blogging way back when. So we’ve enabled the word verification for comments. I feel like we’re the last people I know to do such a thing and it makes me a little sad for some reason.