31 July 2007

I Dream of Rafi With the Toothless Grin...

...because that Rafi is disappearing before my very eyes! His two lower front teeth are on the attack! The left one has already cut through his gum and is ever so slowly working its way out; the one on the right hasn't cut yet, but is causing the little guy plenty of pain. On Sunday we tried an ice cube in the mesh feeder, thinking the cold would help, but he wasn't interested. So far he's needed two doses of Tylenol (one Sunday afternoon, one a few hours ago) and a little extra cuddling and nursing, but otherwise he seems to be taking it in stride.

And while ice in the mesh feeder may not have been his thing, peas definitely are! Today I boiled (eight minutes) some frozen organic peas, let them cool a bit, stuffed a bunch into the mesh feeder, and handed Rafi his new "toy." It took him a few minutes worth of random bites all over the thing, but eventually he figured out that yummy stuff would ooze out of one side if he chewed on it. By the time he was done (i.e., asking for a nap), there was neon green pea juice all over his mouth and neck and the collar of his shirt (it snuck in behind the bib), and most of the peas inside the feeder had been demolished with only skins left behind.

30 July 2007

gold star

Hey, statia - have a star:


I am making baklava tonight, in preparation for a sheva brachot we are co-hosting later this week. I have not made baklava in a long time, possibly not since we moved into this apartment two years ago. (That can't be right. I must have made it since then. but definitely not in the past year.) This is not the time to tweak with my recipe (a variation on this one involving only pistachios and lots more cardamom), but as I was assembling it tonight I thought of a few changes I would like to make in the future. (Basically, I'm thinking of doing a pistachio-almond mix for the filling - and making more of it; using more phyllo dough and thereby making more total layers; and streamlining my syrup, which is now packed with cinnamon, cardamom, orange zest, cloves, and rose water.) Now to figure out when I'll have another opportunity to make it. In some ways, life was easier before we had kids; back then we'd host large dinners or lunches at least twice a month and have a Really Big Party at least three times a year. Alas.

Well...we are hosting another sheva brachot about two weeks later. I'm sure those friends don't mind being experimented on at all...

...or Pizza will send out for YOU

Gold star to the first commenter to place that quote.

Anyway, obviously this will have no bearing on our pizza order for tonight, but I'm curious: what topping(s) would you put on your ideal pizza? What topping(s) make you run screaming? (Kashrut aside.)

Also: to fold or not to fold?

food update

Yes, I know, enough with the babies and food posts. This blog is also where I keep records of what foods we've introduced, though, so you'll just have to live with it and pretend to be interested.

Introduced zucchini (cut into "french fry" strips with peel on and steamed until soft, about seven minutes) on Sunday. Both kids seemed to have a better time holding onto these pieces and biting off small chunks (usually spit out afterwards). Rafi definitely sucked significant bits of the flesh off of the skin and wanted more than one piece at both Sunday sit-downs. We paired it with more steamed carrot strips (first introduced Friday) at the second meal on Sunday; they seem to like that as well.

Rita has developed some sort of rash on either side of her mouth which may or may not be food-related...or just a heat rash that coincidentally started right after we introduced solids. Our pediatrician isn't in today, but the senior doctor in the practice returned my call, heard my description, and recommended taking her off of solids completely for a few days to see if that clears up the rash. Oh well - at least I've found a silver lining to the kids' naps not overlapping, as I can now offer Rafi solids while Rita is asleep and therefore unlikely to complain about what she's missing.

29 July 2007

mazal tov

Happy wedding day to Josh and Alexis!

28 July 2007

About the Weather

We had a spectacular thunderstorm this afternoon, the kind that comes in surges with occasional snippets of sunlight or quiet (but oddly enough, not both at once). One clap of thunder was so loud (and so close) that it startled Rita's eyes wide open and she almost - almost - started to cry. And at one point a little later, I could actually see another wall of rain moving in toward us, just by the dumb luck of happening to look out the window at that moment. The only thing missing was the sight of actual lightning...I didn't see a single bolt through any windows, and caught only one reflected flash when my back was turned.

I hope this storm means the weather for the next few days will be more pleasant than it has been this past week. Don't ruin it by pointing me to the forecast; I think I want to be surprised.

Solid foods introduction update: offered steamed (until quite soft) sliced carrot yesterday, and both avocado and steamed carrot today. So far the sweet potato wedges seem to have been the most manageable, though Rafi is certainly adept at mushing the avocado into his eyebrows.

25 July 2007


Yes, I know, I said I would try to blog about something other than my kids. Sorry. Just want to log that this morning at breakfast we offered Rafi and Rita each a wedge of avocado (1/8 of the fruit, sliced lengthwise). Rafi made an attempt at getting it toward his mouth, smushed a little on his face, and then decided he'd rather nap instead. Rita employed the same technique she's been using for sweet potato: squish trough fingers and lick or suck off what sticks. She seemed to really like the avocado bits she managed to eat (and even sucked a few tiny bits off of my fingers - bad BLW mommy I am). She had her first gagging incident, got through it just fine, and resumed the squish-and-suck process almost immediately. After a few more minutes, though, she started fussing and whining. I'm not sure whether she was annoyed by the bib, frustrated that she couldn't get more avocado into her mouth, or just bored with the whole thing.

23 July 2007

Sweet Potato Poo

The sweet potato experiment was a success, if you define "success" as "a mess was made and some small portion of sweet potato made its way into each child's mouth." Which is, of course, how I define "success."

I peeled one large-ish, organically farmed, garnet yam and cut it into wedges that were about an inch at their widest, a quarter-inch to a half-inch thick, and four to six inches long. Said wedges were boiled in plain water for about seven and a half minutes (until soft) and then removed with a slotted spoon and placed on a plate to cool to room temperature. A little while later, Julian and his parents and I sat down to our bagels and cream cheese (and stuff, always stuff), and Rafi and Rita joined us at the table in their high chairs, with a couple of sweet potato wedges on each tray. There was a bit of assistance involved to get the sweet potato into their hands (the trays are a wee bit high for my short children to reach up and over them), but we didn't place any into their mouths. (At least...I didn't. Julian may have snuck something in.)

Rafi's method: Hold wedge gently at one end. Bring hand near mouth. If opposite end of wedge does not flop over and fall into lap, place it into mouth and bite off a chuck with gums. Mush it just the barest amount, and attempt to swallow. Gag, cough, scare Grandma, and spit out chunk. Repeat until this whole high chair thing gets boring, and then insist on being transfered to Mommy's lap, where one may rub the sweet potato chunks into a placemat.

Rita's method: Grab wedge, mush through fingers. Suck thumb. Discover that thumb tastes interesting. Suck other fingers. Discover that they also taste interesting. Mush more sweet potato through fingers and suck thumb again. Alternately, grab wedge with two hands, bring wedge to mouth, and lick it. Experiment once with biting off a good-sized chunk. Puree said chunk with gums and spit it out slowly, but not quite slowly enough for Mommy to get a good picture.

And did they swallow anything? The proof is in the poo, and the answer is yes! A mere six hours after our adventure, I found some bright orange bits of undigested sweet potato in Rafi's dirty diaper. I excitedly called Julian over to investigate, and he acted appropriately pleased. Rita did not grace us with a dirty diaper at all Sunday afternoon, but this morning there was some sweet potato in her diaper as well. They swallowed! They swallowed!

This morning, after their first nap, the experiment was repeated, but with only one wedge of sweet potato each. Nothing was dropped onto the floor (maybe they just haven't figured out that game yet), and while I doubt much was actually eaten, they seemed to have figured out that they should at least be attempting that. Nifty.

Next on the list is parsnip, I think, mainly because I have some in my fridge.

Oh dear, I just wrote an entire post about boiled potatoes and poo. I promise, I'll get back to political rants one day.

22 July 2007

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants be breastfed exclusively for the first six months of life, and that they continue to receive breastmilk through the end of the first year and thereafter "as long as mutually desired by mother and child." The World Health Organization encourages breastfeeding to continue (in conjunction with complementary foods after six months) until the child is two years old.

Rafi and Rita* are six months old today.

As I nursed each of them earlier this morning, I noted with bittersweet amazement that our period of exclusive breastfeeding is ending. We've long made it past the initial hurdles, and now we've reached that first golden goal: half a year of successful nursing with no supplemental nutrition. Aside from a three doses (each) of oral rotavirus vaccine, a few weeks of messy (and probably unnecessary) vitamin supplementation, some (probably necessary) gripe water for Rita, one (very necessary) helping of prune juice for Rafi, and a few experimental sips of plain water over the past week, these kids have had nothing but The Best Stuff On Earth. By the end of the day, we will have to amend that to "nothing but The Best Stuff On Earth and some boiled sweet potato."

(Let me just state, for the record, that infants can and do thrive on formula. I'm not knocking parents who choose to give their babies formula, exclusively or as a complement to breastmilk. I'm certainly not knocking women who want to nurse their babies and, for one reason or another, cannot. Exclusive breastfeeding for six months, followed - we hope - by extended nursing and child-directed weaning, is the path that we have chosen for our family, because it is right for us. End disclaimer.)

We are planning to start down the path of baby-led weaning, skipping purees and "baby foods" altogether and starting directly with simple table foods. Spoons are out; bibs are in. I'd love to elaborate on this, and I will in the future I'm sure. But right now the children are up from their first nap...Julian is changing and dressing them, there are boiled wedges of sweet potato waiting on the table alongside the grown-ups' bagels and cream cheese, and I'm off to nurse my children for one last time before they find something else they can swallow.

* Names changed to protect the young from Google Monsters.

20 July 2007

Eleh haDevarim...

I was born in New York.

I ate, slept, pooped, moved from New Jersey to Michigan, and toilet trained somewhere along the way. We were the only Jews in our town. I was checked for horns. I taught people about Chanukah. I grew up some. We got a dog.

We moved to Long Island. My sister was born. My mother got cancer. My paternal grandfather died. My mother died. I flew to Israel for the funeral, even though my father told me not to. We sat shiva at my maternal grandparents' home. I finished high school and went to the prom without a date (but did not lack for dance partners).

I went to college. I joined a sorority and started dating this very nice guy in early February, but I had already committed to being some other guy's date for a fraternity dance on Valentine's Day. I dumped the very nice guy on our one-month anniversary. He ended up marrying my roommate from the sorority. I was a bridesmaid in their wedding. In the meantime, I met another very nice guy. I married that one. My maternal grandmother got cancer, and no family from Israel came to the wedding. Before that, though, the dog ran away and I started law school.

I covered my hair when we got married, but only sometimes. The (second) very nice guy and I lived in different states for a while after we were married. Then we decided that this was very silly, and I moved. My maternal grandparents died within four months of each other. I tried to fly to Israel to see my grandmother before she died; instead I was there for the funeral. I didn't fly to Israel for my grandfather's funeral; instead I finished writing a final exam. I attended another law school, started a blog, took the Massachusetts bar exam, and got a job. I started covering my hair all the time - almost.

We bought a new, bigger, apartment. My paternal grandmother died the next day. Fresh out of grandparents, I took a day off work to sleep in the middle of my new living room floor and field international phone calls. My sister got another dog. My father got cancer.

I bought some fake hair to cover my real hair, but never really wore it (except for that wedding where I was a bridesmaid). My father got a little better, then he got a lot sicker. I got a new car. I got pregnant. With twins. I stopped looking for a new job. My father died. I didn't fly to Israel for the funeral. I sat shiva in four places, including an airport.

I grew a little older and a lot wiser in areas where I would have preferred to stay young and naive. I had carrot cake on my twenty-seventh birthday, blew out candles lit in binary, watched an aging Dick Clark fumble his way through midnight, and said goodbye to my last year of non-motherhood. I pushed out a couple of kids.

We made a brit milah and a zeved habat on the same day. We named our daughter for my mother and my mother's mother. We named our son for my grandfathers. We made a pidyon haben about three weeks later. I've made gallons of milk. They've made plenty of dirty diapers.

The (second) very nice guy's paternal grandmother died. He went to New York for the funeral. The (second) very nice guy and I, for the first time, hosted Pesach seders in our own home. Our daughter, not wanting to sleep, joined us for the second seder. Our son slept through both. From this we learn that it was because of the righteous women that Israel was brought out of Egypt.

I wandered in the wilderness, reading blogs and wikis and message boards in the early morning hours, a child draped over my shoulder or held to my breast. Our children grew, a little. Nearly half a year passed in the space of about five minutes, which may explain how the world was (or was not) created in six days. I found my way, lost it, found another. There is no certain way, just faith. I lost my faith, found it, lost it, looked again. It's out there somewhere, or in here somewhere.

Let's go looking together.