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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Dr. Pepper

I'm not just any pepper...

I'm a HOT pepper!
The occasion was the beginning of the Hebrew month (Rosh Hodesh). The connection? I'm still not sure. But we were dressed up in school last week for the occasion and sent home in our new cute-ness outfits. Thanks to my Shalva teachers for a fitting costume. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

My Hectic Training Schedule

Hey, look at me!
With all my physical therapy you would think I am training for a marathon or something. But no. That is allegedly mommy who runs once a week in an effort to not die when she does the Jerusalem 10K on behalf of Shalva.

I, however, have made peace with physical therapy. Once upon a time I considered it work. Unnecessary, uncomfortable, demanding work that usually unravelled into a resplendent finale of dramatic resistance and frantic tears.

But now it is all fun and games. Literally. I get to expend all of my toddler energy in a 45-minute burst centered around toys, colorful objects and, most importantly, mirrors! And that is encouraged by my personal trainer and head cheerleader, Elysa.

Elysa encourages my frolicking and frivolity during my physio sessions at Shalva. And with the requisite positive reinforcement that she provides, I am nearly climbing the walls with glee. But for now, I am climbing stairs. Walls will come, later, I assure you.

Elysa and I play exciting games in PT

These are the fake stairs with the toy bait at the top
but Elysa coached me on some real ones too

For awhile I was showing off to Elysa all my moves, which she faithfully reported to my parents since I refused to perform at home. But lately, since I feel we know each other well enough now, I have decided to pull the age-old baby trick on her by refusing to show Elysa some of the moves that I have already mastered and of which she has only heard. I only play this coy game with those I love.

For example, I am now famous for appearing on all two's at various sites in school and at home. But not during PT, naturally. The one time I did stand up for her, Elysa excitedly went to write in the spy book to alert my parents about that. However, she saw that I had already done that at home as my parents had written to her. Now, I tease her with tales of cruising and standing at home while patently "forgetting" those moves during physio. But that is mostly because I am having too much fun with all the other action.

In other PT sessions at Shalva, I work with Alan, my coach, who once referred to me as his wingman. Although now that I've conquered the hearts of every female at Shalva, Alan is my wingman. He just doesn't necessarily see it that way yet.

I had to block Alan's face so that his agent
 wouldn't charge us for using his photo

He's trying to peek

I got distracted by Talia calling to me
as I walked the plank

Ultimately my cuteness prevails.
As always.

There is still time to donate to Shalva in honor of our big race! Of course, now Elysa and Alan have to work extra hard to make sure that I actually WALK through the finish line. If you like what you read here, you should consider supporting Shalva, which in turn supports Elysa and Alan, who in turn support me in my endeavors! Click here to go to the Team Shalva page. For more information on what crazy things we are doing, see this post: One Year.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Coming in Handy

Look what Lucas found!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The King's Speech

Learning code words during speech class at school

I liken my speech therapy sessions to the movie "The King's Speech." I think Talia and I have a Colin Firth-Geoffrey Rush thing going on where she is coaching me, as King of my domain, to dazzle audiences with memorable and meaningful orations (video at the end of this post). I hope that when I do someday become famous for my speeches that someone remembers Talia and how she started me on the path to the great oratory heights to which I intend to rise. And then that they make a movie out of it!

Of course, if my first full sentence is "I'm going to suck these cheeks off!" - that also should be credited to Talia because each class usually erodes into a series of squealing expressions such as that, followed by an abundance of kisses, another word I've mastered if simply by the fact that "kiss" is the most frequent verb or noun I hear in relation to my cheeks.

Thus my speech therapy sessions transpire during my school days at Shalva.

First, positive reinforcement
regarding my cheeks
Second, the requisite squeeze 
Third, I shower Talia with kisses while
staring at myself in the mirror
Speech therapy somehow also involves games like basketball.
Isn't that just Linsane? We don't discuss the NBA, me being
a NYer by default and her being a dedicated Lakers fan. 

One of my most recently acquired words is "Lucas." No, I don't say it, but I know who he is. Thankfully, Lucas is Lucas in any language. Other words are a bit more confusing. For example, I have no idea what you mean when you say to put my "hands" on my "head." But if you start to say "yadayim" my hands immediately rise to my "rosh." I can say "more" (od) in Hebrew, but "up" in English. My language is a bit of a potpourri right now.

This, however, is an asset for a double agent - mommy and abba don't know just how many words I really do know. I've compartmentalized my languages so that I operate under different covers in different settings. Very tricky and a fantastic baby ploy for duplicitous bilingual babies such as myself!

Despite being in a room full of toys, I managed to find Lucas
when asked, "Where's Lucas?"
And then I nearly jumped into the car seat with him!
Why not? We're brothers after all. We share.

With just three donations, we exceeded our fund raising goal! That is just A-mazing! If you like what you read here, consider supporting Shalva and enabling people like Talia to enable people like me to succeed in giving great speeches and, subsequently, Oscar-winning movies about us. Click here to go to the Team Shalva page. For more information on what crazy things we are doing, see this post: One Year.

And here is me practicing my speech at a time when I should've been sleeping:

Monday, February 20, 2012

Don't Forget the Children!

Home (almost) sick, with Lucie
And at least they didn't forget the children.

Today was a challenging day for mommy and abba. Mommy schlepped to Shalva, with me, to participate in the Mommy and Me program. Lucas tagged along too making it Mommy and Little Brother and Me. But juggling two non-walking babies in the winter is a trial by fire of parenting. At least for novices.

All day long while mommy tried to pay attention to the therapists' great advice for how to play with me, she was also constantly doing her own mental review of our belongings that seemingly spread from one end of the city to the other.

Hats. Check.
Blanket. Check.
Two Uggs. Check. (You cannot lose the Uggs!)
Two pacifiers. Check.
Cell phone. Check. 
Keys. Check.
Jackets. Check.
Babies. Check. 
Camera (for blog). Check.

Lucas: Carted around all day,
but not forgotten.

And there was more, but that gives you an idea of the mental gymnastics mommy was experiencing. This continued after Shalva when we took a walk to the place where we get vaccinated (we both handled the shots like the little men that we are). Mommy asked abba to bring her sneakers from the apartment so that she could walk in comfort. Nevertheless, we were halfway there already before she realized she wasn't wearing her sneakers. Where were they? Not on her feet. Not in the stroller. Not in her bag.

Hours later, when we arrived back at the parking lot, there were her sneakers, sitting outside the car exactly where she intended to don them. But she hadn't. And we left, her sneakers randomly abandoned in the parking lot.

Personally, with all they had going on, I am grateful that they remembered Lucas and I instead of the sneakers. I mean, if they were going to forget anything, it certainly shouldn't be us.

This comes a day after I was home, on the verge of being ill. I say on the verge, because mommy and abba have explicitly forbidden me to be sick, still scarred from too many hospital visits. So with a runny nose and gunky eyes I am on the verge, but not quite going there.

My day home

Bored and cranky at home

All the toys in the world failed to entertain me

I resorted to eating puzzle pieces

I know triangles don't fit in the circle,
but at this point I only work with the circle

Nothing like a visit from Grandma and
grandparents on Skype to cheer me up!

Stay tuned: Tomorrow I will go back to school full time, defying illness and all. And that will give me ample opportunity to blog about my Mommy and Little Brother and Me day as well as post copious amounts of photos. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

One Year

Remember this?? Mar. 25, 2011 when I
"won" the Jerusalem Marathon
It's time to celebrate! My blog has turned ONE! From our small beginnings on Feb. 17, 2011, we have grown up and matured into a blogging machine! Well, not quite. But still, we have traversed many, many milestones together, some good, some scary. But we have had so much fun.

My blogging days began with an announcement that mommy was going to run in the Jerusalem Marathon! She did so because a. she is a little nutty, b. to raise support for Shalva, where I go to school, and c. to inspire me that I too can do difficult things if I work hard. And if there is a lot of prayer involved especially when embarking on something as harebrained as running 26.2 miles!

Here I am surrounded by older kids!
It was Elan's 6th birthday on Thursday

So on this auspicious occasion of my first full year of blogging, mommy decided to sign up to run again! Only this time, (just three months post-Lucas' birth on race day, March 16) no records will be set as she is only in for the 10k. Not that any records were set last time. However, this year perhaps I will best my own record. Last year, at 7 months old, I was probably the youngest human ever to cross the marathon finish line.

This year mommy has bigger plans: She is not going to carry me through - she is going to hold my hand as I walk through! That's the hope anyway. 

Pasta night! I'm already carbing up for my big 10-k finish!
If you are interested in supporting our goals and Shalva, where I go to school everyday, you can sponsor mommy in this run. Last year, everyone was so generous. And that benefitted me directly, which really paid off since I have made so much progress. The proof is in the pudding, pun intended! Here is the link to mommy's information if you want to contribute. If you want to learn more about Shalva, besides what you see on my blog, you can click here and read about all the wonderful things that the organization provides.

At Shalva I learned to eat with a spoon
without throwing it. Sometimes. 
And I learned to eat with my hands. Some (mommy)
might not be as thrilled with this particular skill.
In the last year I have stoically maintained the Baby Code, keeping all baby secrets from adults. I stealthily kept from you, my dear readers, all sorts of mysteries and insights into the minds of babies. But I have invited you to take a peek into my life with all my antics, progress, messes, fun and shenanigans.

And now, in honor of our one-year anniversary, let's take a stroll down memory lane, shall we? Click on the headlines to go to the link (Aunt Beanie!):

In the Beginning

The Jerusalem Marathon!

More on the Marathon including Video of my Famous Finish

Getting Ready for my Big Day

Thursday, February 16, 2012

I've Come a long way (as a) Baby!

That really is me behind all that chocolate

Remember this? Yes, it was the infamous pudding incident at Shalva, or non incident since I patently refused to touch the pudding placed before me. Actually, I was disgusted by the very thought. The videos don't lie.

As you can see, I have learned a lot at school in just a short few months. One of the most exciting lessons has been: How to become a big mess and enjoy it!

I am no longer averse to touching food. Or even swimming in it.

It started innocently enough

Note the progression

And joy!

In case you couldn't tell who that was behind a veneer of cocoa,
 my name in brown and white

Being coy and messy simultaneously

A mother's worst nightmare
 Thanks, Shalva! Sorry, mommy!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Lucas: Assistant to the Regional Manager

I am mentoring my little brother Lucas
in the ways of being a good and,
of course, challenging baby
As assistant to the regional manager, Lucas is doing a good job keeping "parenting" a challenge. If he keeps up this way, he will probably pass his three-month trial period, which comes to a close on March 23, with flying colors. He is a quick learner Allow me to explain.

Did you see the movie Elf? At some point Buddy the Elf proudly answers the question of whether he got any sleep the previous night with this brilliant response: "Yes! I got a full 45 minutes!" Apparently that was all he needed and he spent the rest of his hours whittling a rocking horse out of the wooden furniture in the house. Well, that my friends, is Lucas. That is about all he needs to survive. In fact, sometimes he needs just 10 minutes!

I'm beginning to think maybe Lucas is an elf. After all, he was born two days before Christmas.

I share with Lucas all of the ancient
baby mysteries 
I believe I can trust him with a little bit
more responsibility. In fact, maybe now
I can sleep through the night as he
pulls his own stunts.
This, naturally, renders my parents a tad beleaguered, which works in my favor. When I get home from school, after a full day of drawing and playing basketball, I arrive to two adults who are willing to keep at least one of us happy. Since I am more advanced in demanding my way and understanding their language even while they still do not speak mine, I usually win.

Art class rounds out my destructive tendencies

What an astute and alert student I am

Jeremy Lin - eat your heart out!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Salon Week

My wild tresses waiting to be tamed
This was a momentous week. From nails to hair to actual baths, we are becoming a spiffy little family.

It took all week, but mommy managed finally to clip my nails, Lucas' and Lucie's over the course of the last seven days with no bloodshed or limb removal - ours or hers. Since mommy was in cosmetician mode this week, everyone got clipped. And the easiest one in her opinion was Lucie. Yes, the cat put up less resistance than both the toddler and baby. Lucie's nails have been responsible for shredding the carpet upon which I play and several blankets so her sharp claws needed some dulling. Coincidentally, Lucie's manicure was the quickest and happened in one setting. She is a good cat and was happy just to have some of attention, which is rare these days for her.

Lucas is a challenge as his hands are clenched in tight fists, still in rigor from the womb. He also frequently displays those uncontrolled baby jerking motions that tend to make sharp objects very dangerous weapons when placed near him. Nevertheless, over the course of a few days mommy persisted and mowed down many of his nails to a point at which the dirt under them, at least, was less obvious.

My own manicure took several days and could only occur at rare moments of compliance, near-sleep or bottle manipulation. Finger by finger, sometimes just one finger a day, mommy trimmed my talons before I could scratch a new scar across my face. When I see the nail clippers, I don't scream in fear, but I do discover new sorts of motions and contortions into which I can throw my body. It isn't that I want long nails, I just feel it is my mission in life to challenge mommy in ways that she would experience if she took part in extreme sports.

Feeling brave and adventurous after succeeding with harmless nail clippers, mommy graduated herself to scissors to tackle the issue of the flyaway hair that was hanging over my ears and making me look perpetually messy. She spent all week plotting as to how to cut my hair. She reviewed a few videos on Youtube and even consulted friends with babies and her Aunt Beanie, who is a hair dresser. All of the research was essentially futile since she knew I would not stand for sitting still while someone wielded scissors near my head. Finally she decided, since it was a hopeless situation, she might as well just try.

Me, obliviously gearing up for my first "hair cut,"
if you can call it that
So today, as I obliviously sat in my high chair eating (with my very own hands, mind you), she snuck up behind me and snipped a few wisps off one side. I quickly caught on. And of course, I had to look to see what she was doing. But naturally my eye followed the scissors and my head turned constantly rendering any more snips impossible.

The lesson? A moving target is best left to sports, not events involving shears.

And my head was certainly a moving target. Mommy had to take the same approach as with my nails: one snip at a time. It took her all morning, following me around the apartment on her knees, until she got both sides. A couple snips while I watched TV. A few more while a certain toy held my fascination. Mommy had to stop caring where the hair fell, assuring herself she'd clean it up later (she hasn't yet). As long as she had some opportunity, she reached in and took it. Snip! And when the sides were mostly evened out, she decided she could be satisfied for now.

And the back of my hair? Perhaps in a couple of months she'll get to that. My hair will have to remain in an almost-mullet style for now.

Have no fear - my swirl is still intact. In fact, it might be more accentuated now since the sides are trimmed.

And then today, in another act of miraculousness, Lucas was bathed! After ten days of epic failure in parenthood, mommy and abba decided to give Lucas a bath. Yes, finally the stars, a warmish apartment and the availability of hot water aligned so that baby brother got more than just a few cursory wipes with a warm cloth. And I must say, baby brother cleans up well!

Lucas' first bath at home six weeks ago.
There have been very few since.

Note all the hair he had back then.
FYI, he's balding now. No need
for hair cuts here!

The panic in his eyes when I told him baths were rare in this home 

Mommy and GongGong in attendance at the first bath
Thankfully, I get baths almost every night. Of course this could be due to the fact that I wear my food on my face, my hands and neck, not to mention the general messiness that comes with toddlerhood.

Ironically, the only one who didn't get a manicure this week (besides abba who would never ever agree to one) was mommy herself. Oh well, I bet she wouldn't want one anyway. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Fare Thee Well, Oxygen

Peek-a-boo - no more O2!
On this auspicious occasion, I've composed a haiku, or rather, a bye-ku:

By my crib you stood
Alas, now I need you not
Happily we part

The O2 machine that kept me company
right next to my crib. Bye bye!
Thanks be to the Lord, I have been in super duper health since the days of yore in 2011 when I was at the hospital (6 weeks ago). For about three weeks after the hospital debacle I was the proud attachee to an oxygen machine when I slept at night. If my blood saturation levels went down below a certain number the monitor beeped insistently sending all sorts of parents - or at least the two dwelling in our apartment - running into my room to check on my wellbeing. I always slept through the noise only to wake up at other intervals, just to spice things up.

I have learned enough to be a doctor from this whole experience, including the fact that our oxygen blood saturation goes down when we are in a deep sleep. As the RSV worked its way out of my lungs, ever to be welcomed back I might add, I still needed a little extra O2 to pass the nights. Finally, after three beepless nights, my parents decided enough was enough. And that they could save electricity by turning off the monstrous oxygen-generating machine.

The intimidating back-up oxygen tank
that we never had to use, thank God
But due to the usual red tape and bureaucracy that you find here in Israel, we couldn't simply return the machine - we needed a doctor's note. Eventually the stars aligned and all the paperwork was written and picked up. Last was to schedule the retrieval of the machine and the tank and that blissful event happened yesterday.

Bye bye, (extra) Oxygen. Although I like the typically allotted kind, you, machine, served me well, but I hope not to need you any time soon! As in forever!