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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Prayer for Ephraim for Thursday's Surgery

Ephraim and I hanging out at school

I am calling on all the troops with a special request: Please keep my friend Ephraim in your prayers! Tomorrow, Thursday, is a big day for Ephraim - he has his open heart surgery.

As you know, we are buddies, but I daresay that after tomorrow you could call us bosom buddies. Same surgery (almost), same hospital, same surgeon, same success (so we pray). Our friend Hallel also had the same operation, same hospital, same surgeon - same successful results as mine. And that is what we expect for Ephraim too!

Mommy insists that the parents have it just as rough, if not rougher, and need as much prayer as the child undergoing the operation. As the child, I'm not so sure about that, however, I occasionally allow mommy to sneak her opinions into my blog posts. That being said, mommy would like to add a request to pray for Dassie and David Corman as they wait the six hours or so for the operation and then deal with the ICU afterwards.

Thank you in advance for standing with them and my friend as they go through this difficult time. I will keep you posted.

Dressed for Purim, two peas in a pod

Monday, March 26, 2012

Ode to Shalva

At the Shalva dinner
As I previously explained, without my cadre of entertainers at Shalva, where I attend day care, I am not as entertained as a baby needs to be. Nevertheless, I must give them credit, mommy and family try to bring newness into my life as they cart Lucas and I out and about. I do enjoy seeing new things such as highways, big shiny stores, maple trees, grass and real stairs in the house, not just three padded steps designed to lure me into physical therapy.

But since I am on the topic of Shalva, I will deign to share the spotlight with mommy for a brief blog post and link to her speech at the Shalva dinner at Pier 60 in Manhattan on March 11. It was a long time ago, and I was in the hospital being entertained by familial babysitters. But here goes mommy in her speaking debut:

Not that she comes close to comparing to my own speeches:

The view was much better than the one
from the hospital

And the food was better too!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Spoon Fed

Lucas being entertained by Cugina Cristine
Now that I've accomplished the hospital mission of my visit bringing joy and cheer to the medical community of Long Island and am now operating in full health, I have taken on new challenges in New York. And that mainly involves challenging others.

For example, every day Lucas and I present a challenge to mommy and Mimi in how to keep us entertained. I am accustomed to spending full days with trained child entertainers such as teachers and therapists, not to mention many of my peers. Two adults to two babies is not a satisfactory entertainment ratio. So to make it fun, I have thrown a few wrenches into the mix. Since they are outnumbered (2 on 2 is not equal in baby speak), I have embarked upon a new eating routine which involves massive tantrums, a newfound distaste for anything but pasta and egg salad, and now, only ever being spoon fed. I know I am surrounded by those who love yet fear me. This makes it fun!

I have a larger extended family, therefore I have extended my challenges to them as well. One evening I offered to challenge Aunt Beanie and Uncle Richie to a babysitting expedition. What an adventure that was. In the one and a half hours it took mommy, Zia Em and Cristine to get their nails done, Lucas and I managed to bring stress and bewilderment into the lives of not just two but several adults. AB and UR called in the troops from across the street, Megan plus her parents Mary Pat and Richard.

Lucas drove Uncle Richie to the bottle after
 just one perplexing hour

Or was it vice versa? Whatever works!
As the car was packed to go that evening Uncle Richie looked at his watch. "Two and a half hours?!" he said with the look of one who spent a week in boot camp. "God bless you."And he slammed the door as if to say good riddance, and go crawl into his bed for some recovery. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Since we are Reminiscing - Remember Purim?

Bite me. I dare you.

Purim is the Israeli Halloween. Well, not quite. It is a biblical holiday remembering how the Jews were saved from annihilation back in the days of Queen Esther during the exile in Persia.

Really, the only similarity is that everyone dresses up in costumes. And that we did - wowing the masses. Hearkening to my second home of New York, I was a slice of bonafide Brooklyn, non-kosher, pizza. The real deal.

And Ephraim donned a vicious dragon outfit. Luckily for me, dragons are carnivores so I wasn't worried he'd eat me, just perhaps the pepperoni on my slice.

Hopefully no one managed to bite me as I was most likely incubating my pneumonia virus at the time of these photos!

Missing the 10k and Reminiscing about my Hospital Days

Tough Guy puts on his Cute, Innocent Baby Face
Mommy woke up thanking me. No, not for sleeping through the night (as if), but for extending our visit to NY thereby causing her to miss the Jerusalem 10k. A one-line message from Alisha McIntyre, superstar who did run the race, read thus: "At the starting line. It just hailed."

Mommy shivered from beneath the warm covers as she read that. Then she thanked me for sparing her. It's not like I would've been there - there is no way abba would have taken Lucas and I to the run in such weather. But mommy would have had to go. We all thought often of Tania, who organized Shalva's participation in the run, and had to be on hand with her little baby all day. I bet Annaelle could write a blog on that!

Well, thanks a million to Alisha and all the others who ran for Shalva, and Tania who did lots of work for the occasion. We were warm, happy and healthy as we cheered you on from bed in another time zone!

As today marks a week since I was admitted to the hospital in New York for viral pneumonia, and since I just got my digital act together, I thought I would dazzle you with photos and video of days past. I was fortunate enough to grace the ER on Thursday of last week as well (just hours upon alighting in New York), but they sent me home since I was doing fine. I persisted, however, until I was given access to the full scope of the hospital, which happened on Friday.

Since I was in the ER for hours, my parents
took to entertaining me with all sorts of song and dance as Aunt Beanie took pictures 

I simply was not content with the ER
I wanted the full effect... gown

...caged crib audience

...and nurses with whom to flirt.

I felt better in no time
Really, my hospital stay was a boon to babysitters around NY, also known as "my family," because they got to visit me there and catch up with all my latest moves from picky eating to walking around a crib. Not to mention "desatting" on my oxygen levels and setting off bells and whistles that they haven't yet learned to ignore.

And I had my own TV to boot
Lucas made guest appearances at my bedside as the entire family and many friends orbited around me as needed. Poor little brother had a rough entry into this world, trying to garner a little spotlight for himself, while I worked my own hospital angle at the time. Lucas will have to also become a "tough guy" in order to muscle some of the sunshine from myself. I am sure he is up to the task.

At least I know he isn't mad at me. We have colluded on a baby conspiracy to keep mommy up all night by crying, in the same room, at varying intervals, thereby ensuring she actually never sleeps. So far our plan is working!

Little Lucas was stuck in a stroller for a week!
Now that I have successfully secured an extended vacation in New York, I suppose I can be healthy again. I have a final follow-up visit to the clinic where the pretty, curly-haired doctor will give me another once over to make sure I have eradicated pneumonia from my lungs.

Here is a video so you can share in my hospital joy:

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Eagle Has Landed

After a week of reaching new heights in drama, and effectively stealing the thunder from Lucas upon his first visit to the United States, my hospital stay has come to an end. I was determined to be healthy enough to be discharged on Tuesday night at the same exact time I should have been on a plane taking off for home. When you can generate an excuse like this to miss a flight, you know you are the King of Drama.

I apologize for leaving everyone high and dry on the blog and not posting sooner, but it was hard to write amidst all the commotion upon my arrival. I had so many visitors streaming in and out at my bedside at North Shore University Hospital as my New York family came flocking in for my arrival. Plus I had a whole new hospital staff with which to flirt and entertain. I believe they were duly impressed with my cuteness.

Oh and then there was Lucas. Here he was making his first appearance in the United States to meet Nanni and others but then, well, I happened. I successfully comandeered all possible attention from mere hours after we landed and for the next six days. Lucas was carted around in my quake as I remained tethered yet again to an oxygen saturation machine.

I used my time in the hospital wisely by kicking jet lag and running a comparison of hospitals and departments I have frequented in my 19 months of life. I had many more nurses in my Israeli hospital since they changed shifts three times a day - the more the merrier! But with just two nurses a day in Israel, the nursing care was a tad more fastidious. So much so that I wasn't even allowed off my bed except for a short trip to the play room. The food at NSUH was more like being in a New York diner. I had a three page menu from which to choose my daily meals. I will not even mention the food in the Israeli hospital.

The medical synopsis is thus: I had pneumonia in my lungs and other sundry upper respiratory viruses, which in turn caused a decrease in the oxygen saturation in my blood and difficulty breathing. I am happy to report I finally scored 100 on my "sats" and my breathing evened out very nicely. Mommy was panicking that this was going to take as long as my last lung bout - with RSV in Jerusalem. But perhaps I've learned my lesson on how to speed up the process (or drag it out, or even time it very dramatically).

Alas, my health arrived just a little bit too late. As I was being released from the hospital, abba was on a plane taking off for Israel. He will rejoin us soon to "pick us up" and have a decent, hopefully hospital-free, vacation. I will be convalescing in New York for the next couple of weeks.

I am sorry as well for the lack of photos, but my photographer has only just unpacked her suitcase today - six days after touching down. It took her quite some time to get her act together on this side of the Atlantic!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Making my Mark in New York

Question: What would be the most appropriate thing for me to do upon my arrival in New York? So many options. but how about a trip to the ER? In my apparent quest to rate different emergency rooms around the world, I thought I'd try out North Shore Medical Center in Manhasset, NY just less than four hours after touching down in my second home town. It is a lovely facility with nice nurses and interesting doctors. They have the same oxygen monitor as one of my many departments at Hadassah Ein Karem Hospital in Jerusalem. Well I always have been known to have a flair for the dramatic and I suppose being within a close radius to Broadway really caused it to flare up. It all began on the plane when I had trouble breathing and seemingly was heaving with my whole body, reminiscent of my rendezvous with RSV. My parents held out hope that this was simply jet lag or something minor. But that was not to be. Oh no, nothing simple for my parents. Long story short (longer story tomorrow with videos) it turns out I have viral pneumonia. I have such uncanny timing, do I not? Full blown pneumonia on a 12-hour flight thus diverting anyone's plans for their first few days in NYC. Of course I also had to make sure that with this being Lucas' first visit to New York that I got my requisite amount of attention.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Growing Up

We are all growing up. As you may have noticed, we at The Baby Blogs also matured and procured our very own domain name for this website so that we have room to expand and develop our very own unique identity. Just like babies do.

Lucas is also forging an identity and growing up. So fast in fact that he is virtually cruising through milestones and motoring through his clothes as if it were an Olympic sport! He has changed so much already, including losing all that black swarthy hair and replacing it with some mild brown locks.

For his first several weeks of his life he was known as Mr. Sensitivity around our house. He was so sensitive, in fact, that I didn't blog about all of his quirks for fear that he would sense the post, interpret it as criticism and get all touchy about it thereby exacerbating his erratic behavior.

For example: He could hear a pin drop from a mile away and thus not sleep for hours. He would take 10 minute naps. After his power naps, his eyes would ping wide open and he'd be awake for hours. He didn't know how to put himself to sleep, or actually, he simply refused to sleep, stacking up on some days a mere 50 minutes of day-time naps - perhaps a baby record! He found his fist, but didn't know what to do with it. Object permanence was a concept lost on him - once you moved out of site, you were gone forever in Lucas' world!

Lucas is trying to catch up to me in the "cute" department

But suddenly, at 10 weeks old, he morphed into a mature baby. Suddenly he slept more than 10 minutes during naps. Suddenly, a pin dropping to the floor in the next room no longer woke him. He smiled more. He interacted with his world. Lucas began to visually follow objects and people and even spotted some of us by their voices from far across a room. Perhaps they weren't permanent yet, but he found them! He also found his fist and then isolated his thumb, which I assured him would come if he just persisted. He rolled over!

And finally, he developed a baby language so that he and I could communicate in code while our parents looked on helplessly, their understanding futile.

Lucas at a cafe with friend Galya. She and
mommy were training him up in the way
he should go. That is: drink coffee!

What a poser!

He is a quick learner

He has learned from the best. I am my brother's keeper.
We make quite a pair these days!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A New York State of Mind

Uncontained excitement!

There is no more dramatic a way to say this than to just spill it in plain English: I AM GOING TO NEW YORK!

Or maybe the real drama here is that I'm leaving on a jet plane tomorrow!

Nay, perhaps the most dramatic part of it all is that mommy and abba are going to be guests at the Shalva dinner! And they are going to talk about me, Shalva and the wondrous experiences we have had there.

I am not so confident as to whether they will be able to do so as eloquently as I have on the pages of this blog. They will lack the advantage of the photos that speak 1,000 words since they display my utter adorableness. Nor will they have captivating videos of either myself or Lucas and all of our shenanigans. So, please pray for them. They are going to need my gift for words, my wit and brevity (which is the soul of wit) to boot!

And if you want to attend: "Live from New York, its Sunday night!" The Shalva dinner is March 11 and requires a small(ish) price to pay to see mommy and abba, who would be thrilled to see you, plus to support my "school" where I am loved to bits and where I learn so much! It will be a gala dinner at Chelsea Piers in Manhattan. Almost as yummy as my cheeks to be sure.

Or you can support Shalva here as we run/walk and attempt to survive the 10 kilometers through Jerusalem's death-defying hills. That is on March 16, and yes we will be back in Jerusalem in time for my 10K finish line debut (my full marathon debut was last year and my half marathon debut was in utero way back in December 2009).

Before I jetset to NY for the fourth time in my short life, allow me to post some photos of moi at school.

Feeding the dolly

I'm an expert at feeding others, however still refusing to feed myself at
home. Its not a motor skill, its a choice!

We play fun games like putting the blocks in the
correctly shaped slot

I share coffee with my friends

I enjoy the spa services (I'm not in this photo)

And sometimes, I simply hang out with my buddies, like Ephraim

Here are a few links that show some more specifics of my very full days at school:

Watch out New York City, here I come!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Lockdown: Day 3

Lucas and I have been stuck indoors for days now
Since Thursday, when my parents decided not to send me to school in that tumultuous weather, I've been homebound. Locked in. A prisoner in my own domain.

Basically, bored. One day, fine. Two days, okay. But three? With only my parents for entertainment? It is getting old and the weather remains dreary, laden with thick fog, continuous rain and colder temps than New York!

I've exhausted all my toys, books and Veggie Tales videos. I was so bored, in fact, that I found a new way to watch TV - at eye level!

Mommy was so bored that she cleaned the floors as a form of cross-training for the 10k. Abba was so bored he became a chef, making pancakes and home fries - twice. Lucas was so bored he found a new appendage.

We are all plagued with a fever - cabin fever. And to top it all off, I am probably cutting a molar, but aside from displaying symptoms that I cannot hide, I won't confirm that for my parents with any certainty. Naturally.

Nevertheless we persevere. We are on the cusp of a new week and we can't wait to see what it will bring - besides the rain!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Hunkered Down for the Snow-pocalypse

(Warning: Illegally cute video at end of this post)

Shock and awe!

Though this is not - by far - my first snowfall, it is certainly the first one for which I was cognizant. And as you can see from the photos, I was quite surprised by this powdery, cold substance that was falling from the sky, furiously at times.

But more than a year before this rare snow "storm" in Jerusalem (zero accumulation, mind you), I lived through the real Snow-pocalypse in New York City - the blizzardS of 2010 and 2011. I was only a few months old so my memory of that is as hazy as the fog is over Jerusalem today. However, my parents have not stopped talking about the various ways in which it ruined our vacation in New York at the time.

At times the snow looked threatening

But Lucas threatened back with
his fierce smile

A view of the "storm" from our balcony

I never saw this in Jerusalem before!

Full disclosure: It was a lot of bark with little bite.
Nothing stuck. Poor snow was vanquished as it hit the ground.

But it was awe-inspiring while it lasted

In just two days of March, the weather has proven to be even worse than all of rainy, windy February. How is this even possible?

Today's challenge, thanks to said weather, was a bit different from when we were in New York: How to keep warm at home with no central heating as Jerusalem temperatures plummeted to 30s (Fahrenheit) outside and 50s in the apartment! My parents concocted all sorts of ways to stay warm including saving up laundry for today so they could use the dryer and channel the damp steam into the house; baking fattening foods thereby keeping the oven on; and pulling all the space heaters out of storage and running up the electric bill.

They also futilely cordoned off yours truly in the carpeted area so that I would stay warmer by not crawling on tile. That didn't last long as I found ways around the barricade into glorious freedom. Finally, the barricade was disassembled and the farce ended as I resumed my rule in the apartment, conquering room by room.

But we were all homebound for a predicted 48 hours since the interminable downpours, crazy winds, sprinkles of hail and yes, the snow, kept us seeking refuge in the semi-warmer apartment where at least we weren't getting wet. Yet.

I did use the time in lockdown wisely to get to know my baby brother Lucas a little better.

Getting to know Lucas. I am also pleased to meet you!
Here is a video of us getting to know each other and officially meeting at last, since I shake his hands (about 2 minutes into the video), which makes it official. As you can see in the video, we are communicating in baby code - and my parents don't understand a word of what we are saying! I do find these sessions rather frustrating though as my parents hold me back from fully expressing myself with my baby brother. I wonder why.