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Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Lament over What May or May not be Teething

Hand to mouth -

- An important move for a baby to learn

I've got it down rather well these days
If this isn't teething, I wonder what the real entry of teeth into this world will be like. I've endured several seasons of symptoms that all the baby websites say point to teething. Excessive drooling. Fussiness. Obsession with finger in mouth. Sometimes the whole hand when a finger is not enough. But all of these seasons have ended the same: with no teeth.

Right now, all of these symptoms are intensified. But what if I travail through all of this agony yet again and still to no avail? If this isn't teething, but just a mere baby season, then what will it take to cut some teeth?

According to mommy's dentist, I have nothing to worry about. A couple months ago, while about to undergo some of her own oral torture, mommy lightheartedly told the dentist of our little pact: that I would cut my teeth while under anesthesia for my upcoming operation so as to avoid what we thought was the inevitable pain of enamel breaking through tender skin. She thought that was amusing. What ensued, however, was an uncomfortable conversation.

Dr. Weiss: Yea 'they' say it hurts when babies get teeth.
Mommy: But doesn't it? I mean that is what conventional wisdom says.
Dr. Weiss: Well, we have no way of knowing. Babies can't tell us. They also say fevers and sleeplessness are associated with teething. But there isn't a conclusive connection and doctors don't support that.
Mommy: So you don't think teething hurts the babies?
Dr. Weiss: There is no evidence that it does. 
That left mommy a little stunned. Here was a dentist blatantly defending his profession against what he perceives are false accusations of mouth pain rather than taking the babies' side. It was almost like he was defending an entire career and profession of false accusations. Poor dentist, I almost pity him!

So I didn't cut any teeth while under anesthesia. Nevertheless, I continue to drool buckets worth of saliva. And I have taken to banging my chin hard against adult shoulders, and even the tile floor today. That was new and slightly frightening. Was this an attempt to ease my pain, whether phantom or real? Or was this just another inexplicable baby oddity that comes and, hopefully, goes?

I won't say. But certainly abba and mommy are left hoping this new behavior is connected to cutting teeth rather than having to get me checked out for head banging.










Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Hallel is Home!

I have good news!

My cute friend Hallel has been home since Sunday evening and I have been remiss in reporting the good news. (I blame the weather - the heat has gone to my head.)

Hallel definitely set a new world record - and of course this is unconfirmed so don't quote me. But after having surgery that began Tuesday afternoon, she was already released from hospital on Sunday. Amazing! AND she is also sleeping well, or at least had been back at the hospital. A to Z on the answers to prayer!

I'll drink to that! Can someone put
champagne in this cup?
I, on the other hand, have spent these last few days seeking refuge in air conditioned spaces. We have experienced some furnace-like days here and I'm dreaming of those moments in the Shalva swimming pool or even my little wading pool.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


I'm very happy right now - "Hallel-ujah" for a speedy recovery for my friend!

I forgot to mention in my previous post that Hallel means praise in Hebrew. Well folks, it is time to praise the Lord! Hallel is virtually racing toward recovery - less than 48 hours after surgery she was released from the ICU! I think Hallel is intent on setting world records here.

I actually spent four whole nights in the ICU before I moved to the regular ward. Of course, if mommy and abba knew that those nights would be the last ones that they would sleep through the night for at least a month, then they would've suggested I just stay there until I was released from the hospital. 

I am going to have to speak with the surgeon and ask him what the difference was here. If we had the same problem, I want to know what took so long in pulling out all my tubes. I also want to commend all of you for your prayers - they worked 100 percent in my case (thanks again!!) and now have worked 100 percent plus faster than lightning in Hallel's situation! We are getting better at it, I suppose.

And on the bright side, if there can be one when it comes to open heart surgery and hospitalization, Hallel is spending the (thus far) hottest week of the summer in an air conditioned building. Surely that is a relief. As you can see from the pictures, I have only one cool-down option on these broiling days:

SOS: 90 degrees outside, 90 degrees inside the apartment

I tried swimming but I didn't get very far

It is just nice to cool off a bit. I am a happy baby. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

UPDATE - Praying for Hallel

Meet my friend Hallel
UPDATE 3, July 19, 9:15 p.m. Israel time: Hallel is out of surgery and in the ICU! The surgery went well and she did great. But don't let up on the prayers - ICU is called Intensive Care Unit for a reason. 

UPDATE 2, July 19, 4:30 p.m. Israel time: Hallel is undergoing surgery right now. It began at around 3 p.m. our time. Her mommy and abba are in the waiting room sending updates as we all sit on the edge of our cribs awaiting good news, which we are quite positive that we will receive. You are a trooper, Hallel, and so are your parents!

Hallel and her abba on their way
to the operating room. 

UPDATE, July 18, 10 p.m. Israel time: Hallel's surgery has been postponed from 7:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. making her fasting a lot harder during day time and the waiting time a lot harder on her parents plus making it the second operation of the day for the surgeon. Please pray for all of these above situations! Very difficult. Plus pray for the emergency surgery that is preempting Hallel's.

Tomorrow, July 19, my friend Hallel will be going to the same hospital, to see the same surgeon, to fix the same heart problem in the same operation that I had on May 1. Lots of "sames." Mommy said that also means the same stress for Hallel's parents and the same excruciating time in the waiting room.

So that brings up some more sames: The same requests for prayers! Please, everyone, pray for my friend Hallel tomorrow and during the recovery time afterwards. She is about 13 months old and she wears cute pink glasses. We met at Shalva. And we celebrated her first birthday together. Her mommy, Gaby, is the friendliest person in all of Jerusalem! Hallel has three older siblings. So Gaby and her husband will have to split time between the hospital and home and juggle lots of responsibilities and lack of sleep for the next several days. 

Here are some specific requests:
1. Pray that Hallel is at peace during this time even though she is a smart baby and knows something big is happening.
2. Pray that the hands of the esteemed surgeon, Erez Eldad, are led by God and that he does a great job. 
3. Pray for Hallel's parents and family for them also to be at peace knowing Hallel is in good hands.
4. Pray that all the logistics of pick-ups and food drop-offs and babysitters works out the way it is supposed to for the family.
5. Pray for a speedy recovery for Hallel immediately following the surgery.

Also pray that Hallel doesn't follow in my footsteps the month following the surgery when I took my new pumping heart to all new levels and NEVER NEEDED TO SLEEP (emphasis mommy's).

We know Hallel is going to be fine, but we also know it is going to be a rough few days for Gaby and co. Hallel will be snoozing, so she'll be okay for awhile. I will definitely keep you posted on her progress as the week unfolds. Thank you, friends!

Here Hallel and I are having a face off.

A trio of fun (me, Hallel and Ephraim)

I will be holding her hands (in the spirit)
while she goes through the operation.

God bless and Godspeed Hallel! You will do great!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Like Father, Like Son

This blog doesn't require many words:

His and his sized Versace cologne - in adult AND baby size!
Like father, like son. I'm already being trained up in the way I should go. Thanks, Abba.  

Versace definitely should be paying me for this blog and these photos.
Any agents reading this?

Cheers to us! We both smell great!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Graduation Day

From left to right, Miri, Liat, Michal, Avital, Yochevet and Moi.
We were missing just Esty, who just had a baby, a new friend for me. Mazal tov!  
Who knew that before I even turned one I would be earning my first diploma already! I didn't even have to go to kindergarten to receive this.

Sunday was my last day of the Me and My Mommy Program at Shalva, an auspicious occasion with a parting meeting with all of my instructors and therapists. Since October, every Sunday, we went to Shalva for "spa day" as mommy called it, unless we were in the US, or there was a Jewish holiday, or I was having heart surgery. We spent many weeks and we made many friends, both among the staff and the other families there.

My first diploma!

According to the certificate, I finished my year with distinction, at the top of my class. Sure, I was the only one in my class, but I was the top, not the bottom, which is commendable to be sure. When I started in October I was just a tiny baby, 2 months old and still in that newborn coma in which we all begin. But I soon began to recognize that spa day wasn't all fun and games. There was actual work couched in between massages and bubbles. Even in the pool some workouts were involved.

But despite the work I made some good friends, both adults and babies, and it was a nice way to mark the first year of my life. Admittedly, I had many meltdowns due to over exertion, infringement upon nap time, sudden hunger pains and bad sleeps at night that left me a tad grumpy during the day. 

And then there were my inadvertent dives into the pool - oops! Yes, twice I lost my balance while on the mat in the pool and went head first into the water. I wasn't happy about either of those times, although one of them was a dive that could probably have rated a 10 in the Olympics. It was a beautiful, one-and-a-half-rotation forward flip. The crying that ensued also rated a 10 - on the Richter Scale!

Those were rare moments and because of the gravity of the situation were not captured on video. These, however, were. On my very last day, Grandma came to see me in the pool. I had saved all of my hidden talents just for this very moment. No one had seen me do this before, but I paddled on all fours in the water and even alone! THIS was captured on video. And then for the first time, I was dunked under water, this time in a controlled manner, not an accidental dive off of the mat.  And here I am in both of these instances:

Bye bye for now Shalva, see you in the fall! Shalom!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

My Big Announcement

Perplexed? Perhaps a tad.

I've been required to keep a big secret for a few weeks as the censors would not allow this to appear in print on my blog for an unspecified amount of time. But after much cajoling from me and further proof (in the form of blood tests, pictures and well, weight gain) that the story was indeed true, I was given the parental go ahead to make the big announcement. And so now I will share with you something that still baffles my new and developing brain in a world that has, until now, centered all around me.

As little as I am, and as much of a baby as I still am, I am soon to become "big." A big brother.
Knowing my feet are there is quite reassuring in the
midst of life's uncertainties.

Now before you bestow upon me copious amounts of congratulations, I have a few questions that need to be answered:

  1. Does this new role in life come with responsibility? I'm used to being the one carried to and fro, changed and catered to, and I am utterly enjoying this phase of "no responsibility."
  2.  WIll I be required to grow up faster and stop acting and writing like a baby? Or have I found a partner in baby crime who will help to enhance my babyness? 
  3. Will my role as big brother, in taking care of a little person, a BABY in fact, be similar to my role in caring for Lucie the cat - mainly reaching out and grabbing her tail as she passes by?
  4. Will I be required to share the spotlight during Skype time? Or will two of us make a better team in front of the camera?
  5. Should I be upset that this new baby has already ruined my second Christmas in New York? Yes, this one is due to arrive on Christmas Eve, meaning we will be in close proximity to acting out the Christmas story - mainly a delivery near Christmas time just miles from Bethlehem. I guess paybacks will be having a birthday that coincides with a holiday, thus getting shortchanged on gifts. Whew, glad it wasn't me! I actually pity the poor baby!
  6. Will this baby dare try to copy me and blog as well??

I'm eyeing Lucie as she looks to mommy for help.

I had a few other concerns, some regarding sibling rivalry. When I was a mere couple of days into my existence, mommy ran a half marathon not knowing yet of my presence. I was a little bit jealous when we learned that with this new one, she again unknowingly ran, but this time a full marathon. I feared that this might make this baby cooler than me, having run a full 26.2 miles (42.2 km). Mommy reassured me, however, that she ran her first marathon for me and because of me. And I also did cross the finish line - and we have photos to prove it. I guess that makes me cool too.

Then most of my concerns were laid to rest when, yesterday, for the first time, I was a spectator in an ultrasound. It was mommy's, not mine for once, and I got to communicate with my new sib! I wasn't necessarily looking at the TV screen (it wasn't nearly as exciting as the baby channel at home), but I was already speaking with Baby 2 (B2). And boy (not a hint) did we ever connect! The baby didn't speak, not that I could hear, but B2 did respond to my conversation by rolling around in the very womb that I inaugurated not too long ago. B2 is quite a mover and a shaker! Probably still reeling from the marathon, this baby didn't sit still during our ultrasound show. I'm sure though this was all in response to the messages that I was passing along to B2 in squeals and giggles that the adults just didn't understand, as usual. And I won't reveal it here either. It is our secret. Our first secret!

I'm excited that soon I will be able to communicate with someone using baby language and not having to learn adult speech. You know, I think we are going to make a good team. As long as he/she lets me lead!

My hand on the trigger, ready to grab the tail!

"Here kitty kitty."

I suppose playing by myself will get boring.
I guess I'll learn to share.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Regime Changes and the Debt Ceiling

Hanging out with my toys

When I was a mere 5 months old and was still a docile baby, my parents watched as their friend Ralph attempted to change his 9-month-old boy's diaper. They took note: 9 months equals trouble. Jonathan squirmed and kicked, made several attempts to flip and easily tripled the time of this process while Ralph struggled to secure both tabs before an accident, or bodily harm, resulted. 

Little did they know, I was also taking notes. Sure enough, for the last two months I have also used diaper changing time as a time to test my agility and work toward a career in gymnastics. I have found that my time on the changing pad is the best opportunity to practice my dance moves and test my leg strength by heaving my little tree trunks up into the air and then slamming them down - sometimes smack dab into the diaper itself.

That sets off a flurry of activity and chain reactions involving horrified adults and a bewildered child. 

I don't think my parents appreciate my gymnastics. It usually sends them into a frenzy of activity as they work against me, trying to pin my legs together by the ankles and keep me on the changing pad, not rolling over the edge, and then four feet to floor. My grandma also isn't so enamored of my gym routine. After she tried to change me in my stroller, I overheard her complaining to my parents about what a challenging event this was using one hand to keep me in the stroller and the other to somehow do all the other work.

Mommy calls the whole process a "regime change" especially since we are in the part of the world where regime changes are en vogue at the moment. I guess it also symbolizes the weightiness and significance of my latest diapers - the ones that bear the true mark of a baby who has progressed to mainly solids. Mommy tries to control her grimace for the sake of my impressionable self. But abba conceals no modicum of disgust as he dramatically reacts to my offerings. I always wait with rapt attention to see the reactions. Then I begin my dance.

But everything has its limits. And mommy has decided that the debt ceiling in our household is four messy diapers a day. That feat = immediate bath, something that is not normally on the daily agenda since I "don't sweat," according to mommy's book of lazy parenting. But no amount of wipes can overcome four messes. A real dousing is necessary. Three of those sort of diapers is certainly pushing it. But it still is debatable. Four, however, and the water is running and I'm being stripped down and ready to be restored to a sweet-smelling baby. And then I can take my gymnastics show to the water. Even more fun!

The portrayal of innocence