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Monday, December 23, 2013

Twas the Night Before the Night Before

Today Lucas heralds Christmas Eve with his own celebration - his second birthday! And boy did he milk it. Absent from the spotlight of me or Raia, Lucas was treated to a party at his school where he was King for a day.

First his teachers lavished upon him kisses
Before he could even take off his jacket
He tried on his throne for size
And then tried on his crown for size
Everything fit to a T
Then the king's subjects, er - classmates, paid him homage
(And I thought I was the only one who scored at school!)
They lined up to kiss him
And he was so shy Lucas had to be
restrained in his throne, at times!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Knocked Out!

Guess what I'm about to do!
You wouldn't be able to tell from the photos since I appear so chipper and nonchalant, but I was about to go under the knife. Well, perhaps that was a bit too dramatic. Truthfully there were no incisions or knives. But there was a hospital and general anesthesia involved.

Fun and games at the hospital
And now I am supposed to hear better. Thanks to the esteemed ENT Dr. Nazarian, I now have microscopic tubes in my ears and a lot less gunk. And a lot fewer adenoids (or one less adenoid as supposedly we only have one). What that means though is that I can no longer fake my talent of selective listening. Next to open heart surgery (click for link), this was a breeze.

So improved is my hearing already (the surgery was Wednesday) that mommy and abba are treating me as their new toy. They enjoy saying my name from different distances and varying decibels to see if I respond. Then they get all excited and ask each other, "Did you see that?!"

But unfortunately that also means they know I heard them say "no" or "don't touch," etc.

As you can see I was happy going into the ordeal. But coming out was another story. I've been called a "bad drunk" based on my drop from sugar highs (click here to see the ice cream debacle). Coming out of anesthesia was no different. When I awoke from the fog I moaned and thrashed for awhile. But a subsequent nap, this one not induced by anesthesia, brought me back to my old self quite instantly.

Like nothing happened. Here's me just
four hours after the surgery.
Raia joined our little outing, the first time she left the apartment since coming home from the hospital. And lucky for her, her first trip out was to another hospital. The only problem with her coming along was that her unique (tiny) size and cuteness garners her as much as if not more attention than me. I'm not sure I appreciate the competition.

Monday, December 16, 2013

La Principessa has Arrived!

She is mostly quiet, peaceful and, thus far, not very opinionated.
That makes her a favored one among us three.

On the day it deluged for the first time in Jerusalem this season and the weather took a decided and definite turn toward winter, Raia was escorted home in her princess chariot and her princess outfit.

She came into this world like the tempest. She came home with one.

And one thing has become instantly clear: My and Lucas' status as cute and cuddly babies is at risk!

But at least we finally had proof of the existence of our sister, which was merely an allegation up until then since child discrimination banned us from the NICU. I was safely at school that morning, so I sent Lucas, who had the day off, on a reconnaissance mission to the hospital. We found it does very much exist and even has a NICU replete with all sorts of electronic and necessary life-saving equipment we would love to play with one day. And it is stocked with nurses, doctors and even babies.

Forget the baby and the mission - Lucas, my little spy, was
shy in front of the pretty nurse
But when he regained his composure he finally met Raia
He was a little excited, wouldn't you say?

And at home:

Raia was just "34 weeks" when she was released to go home, meaning she was still supposed to be tucked away in mommy's tummy for six more weeks. Technically though she was just over two weeks and 2 kilos when she was allowed to go home. She had removed the feeding tube from her mouth a week before then and never looked back, accomplishing the amazing milestones of bottle feeding and even nursing before she came home. Next up: the Jerusalem Marathon on March 21, 2014!

Due to the novelty of mommy and abba of having three actual children and then that followed by five consecutive snow days - in the Middle East of all places - meaning all three children were home at the same time (panic!!), blogging has been a scarce and rare commodity.

La Principessa arrived 10 days ago. And then just a few days later, storms such as the Middle East has never known before plagued us and we were - and remain - somewhat under siege for several days now. We haven't left the increasingly tiny apartment in six full days and we are beginning to crack under the pressure.

But it has been a good time to get to know our baby sister and for mommy to practice being a mother to three babies who all have distinct, separate and immediate needs. Mommy believes that is a feat which is technically impossible or at least very much above her pay grade.

 In light of the holidays, we term this moment "Peace on Earth:"
a rare moment when all 3 of us babies were behaved and
controlled allowing mommy to feel momentarily successful
- and to even snap a photo 
Raia has made herself at home
This is after four days at home, diagnosed with "Cabin Fever:"

Please, God, melt the snow and ice so we can all be free once again!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

High on Ice Cream

Can you read the excitement on his face?
Because it was nearing GongGong's last day with us for a couple of weeks, and because we had been such angels, mommy allowed GongGong a dream come true: to feed us ice cream!

In between spoonfuls of ice cream, Lucas allowed the sugar
to bolt into his bloodstream

I don't always open this wide. But for ice cream...

This happy dance followed each bite

While the beginning of the expedition was adorable and cute, it soon unravelled into a sugar rush that manifested into a literal rush and then ultimately further unravelled into kicking and screaming all the way home.

But it was so worth it!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Different Strokes for Different Babies

Innocent faces, especially after sugared jelly donuts! 
Raia is looking forward to her first taste of jelly donuts.
Or chocolate. Notice: no more feeding tube!

All babies are not created equal. Meaning, we are all different and accomplish all of our milestones in our own timing.

That is not to say that one is more advanced than the other, just vastly different. Case in point: Lucas and I happened upon the preparations for a Hanukkah celebration and brought an equal amount of disruption and potential disaster into the situation. Yet we both were drawn in different directions - I joined the dance troupe and Lucas joined the stage crew.

Surprisingly, Lucas actually resisted the spotlight of being on a "stage" of sorts and preferred to help the men who were breaking down dangerous equipment and packing it away. Needless to say, there are no videos of that since it is 1. boring and 2. dangerous enough to require a parent's two hands, neither of which should be holding a camera during such a moment.

I, on the other hand, was drawn to the spotlight and attempted to steal the show from a teenage girls' dance group that was practicing for a performance later that night. They actually welcomed me into their circle and treated me as one of their own. I believe I have a future in show biz.

While Lucas shunned the spotlight at this public place, he confidently took part in his school play. Well, "took part" may be a stretch, but he did stand in the center. Confidently.

Lucas with abba

Lucas with mommy

Abba and mommy rightfully left me at home with Grandma knowing that I would've probably stolen the show from these poor kids

So Lucas got to be king for a day, or at least for an evening

And he got to eat even more donuts! Gotta love the holidays.

All of this has taken place with Raia still in the safe refuge of the NICU. It seems incongruous to be out and about, carrying on as normal and even having fun while the new member of our family remains incognito, still unknown to most of the world. We still have had little evidence of Raia's existence except for these photos and mommy's dwindling stomach. But the word is we may meet her soon!

Despite missing out on donuts and baby fun with Lucas
and I, Raia seems to be happy here in the NICU

Monday, November 25, 2013

Of Babies and Men

It took a few minutes but Lucas finally forgave mommy for
being an absentee mother in the recent weeks
Cheers mommy! Now everyone has their proper sippy cup :)

When mommy left for the hospital the first time she was gone for two weeks and only saw us one time. Then three days after she came home, she returned to the hospital only to be AWOL for yet another six days. She was shocked by what she saw back at home.

When she left we were yet babies, but when she returned we had become little men.

Mommy was speechless when she saw us with our elongated feet and chunky hands. Even Lucas' disastrous haircut has made a comeback! Mommy still can't ascertain whether our sudden morphing into little men is because we are monstrous compared to little 4-pound Raia or whether we really grew that much in the last four sketchy weeks that she was gone more than she was present.

Mommy was welcomed home in high style this weekend (previous video). And she was impressed with our new skill set of self feeding ... or not (following video).

It has been exactly a week since Raia apparently entered the world. I have yet to see conclusive proof of her existence, but that is the storyline nonetheless. As for Lucas and I, our lives have returned to normal with mommy actually making frequent appearances at home, including in the morning when we wake up. Mimi and GongGong are still here and they have been our substitute parents in the last month. They have established a new routine of letting us play outside after school and feeding us treats that had been banned in our home up until now. It is a very dangerous proposition to allow grandparents to parent.

We have bonded a lot with abba in mommy's absence. He treats us as his dessert. Ooga means cake in Hebrew. 

But apparently no one else's life has returned to normal. "Normal" has been redefined now for an estimated month or so while Raia continues her development ex-utero. She needed about 9 more weeks in the womb, so she'll be taking those in an incubator now in the NICU at the hospital downtown.

I always thought "kangaroo" was a marsupial from Australia.
But apparently it is also a method of holding babies!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Outdone by a Little - and I mean little - Baby!

Touche, baby sister! Nice touch on the whole premature birth thing!
I heard through the grapevine that my track record for drama has been shattered. Mommy is AWOL again and this time it has a lot to do with the perhaps not-so-shocking news of the century: our little sister, Raia Jansezian, was born on Monday, Nov. 18 at 5 p.m.

Eight weeks early.  

Plus she caused mommy to spend an inordinate amount of time beforehand (and now afterwards) in a hospital.

She will steal the spotlight for at least the next few weeks, making mommy and abba traipse back and forth between Lucas and I at home and Raia at the hospital. Raia may actually beat my own hospital-stay record in just the first month of her life! Although she is not allowed to count the time (about 20 days) from before she was born. That wouldn't be fair.

Lucas and I have yet to see evidence of her arrival, which occurred less than 24 hours ago. Apparently she is a top-secret baby. If she does exist, we other babies will not be able to lay an eye or a hand on her until she is discharged from the hospital. And after 7 months of manhandling mommy's belly, this is going to be a rough time for us to have to abstain.

Raia's first few portraits will be just like mine - replete with wires and tubes, under a heating lamp and in a preemie ward.

She was on track to be the biggest of all the Jansezian babies, threatening to pass the 8 or 9 lb mark if she waited till week 40. That was good though since she clocked in at 1.970 kilos at week 31, well surpassing 4 pounds.

All in all, Raia (pronounced rye-uh) is off to a good start physically and dramatically. She is going to fit in great with Lucas - Italian soccer player drama queen - and myself - the ultimate king and diva of all sorts of theatrics.

Monday, November 11, 2013

A Force to be Reckoned With on the Broadway Stage of our Lives

Lucas practices this look...
...and I perfect mine!

I believe our sister is already angling for the spotlight and how she may steal it from me. I am constantly in a tug of war with Lucas for this spotlight and, as you may recall, I managed to wrest the attention away from Lucas' birth (see link for more info) with a dramatic ride to the hospital in an ambulance while connected to an oxygen machine. You really can't beat tactics like that. I made sure to remain in the hospital up until and then even after Lucas' birth and send off so that my homecoming was after his.

But since his birth, Lucas has proven to be a formidable opponent. When he started out, his cry was an Academy-Award-winning-wake-up call that was akin to the Nazgul from Lord of the Rings. It caused even the bravest adults to react with sheer terror, and mommy was even too traumatized to close her eyes lest she be awoken in such a manner from a much-needed deep sleep. Now in his older days, Lucas channels Italian soccer player diva mannerisms by collapsing into dramatic cries. On the ground. Replete with fake tears and the trademark flip of the hair from his forehead. His Italian side really shines through when it comes to drama.

Lucas is already a force to be reckoned with
on the attention-getting front

But then again, I am constantly working
on a new look to sport as well

But this new baby - even before birth - is proving a force that could outdo the both of us. First of all she has the advantage of being of the princess gender. Second, she is the youngest child. And third, she has already caused some major upheaval in our lives by placing mommy in the hospital for nearly two weeks.

If you can judge a personality by one's pre-birth behavior, this one will also try to out-dance me on the dance floor - which is MY territory. She is practicing her moves as she swings violently around the womb at all times. And she is supremely impatient having already threatened to invade our space with an early birth.

I can already sense the competition beginning to heat up!

The following videos are from the hospital when Lucas and I invaded mommy and princess' space for a few hours the other day. As you can see, there is no dearth of entertainment options at a hospital!

The following two photos: One is breakfast, one is dinner
- every single day at the hospital. 
Can you guess which is which?

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Who Says Hospitals are Boring?

Look who we found!
 Mommy has been awol for almost two weeks now, hiding away from Lucas and I. We have spotted her during that time on FaceTime or Skype, but before today, we haven't had any confirmation of her exact whereabouts.

However now we know where she is - and that she has been misleading us all along!

Mommy is vacationing in a toddlers' paradise - without us! She has a bed that reclines and rises with the touch of some alluring buttons. She is surrounded by all sorts of advanced technological equipment that would be ever so much fun to play with. The elevators are glass and you could spend all day watching the fun compartments go up and down. She gets served three meals a day - to her bedside! And, someone comes to clean her room - every single day. Who could ask for anything more? Well, a bucket of champagne would be nice too, according to mommy.


Personally I think she is trying to get in some vacation before there are three of us to outnumber our parents and the amount of hands needed to juggle our needs. And yet she says she misses us and that she is bored out of her mind.

But after today I realized it is a ruse - hospitals are anything but boring. When we finally came to visit, we couldn't contain ourselves!

More buttons!

A bed with buttons!


A remote control!


Lights! Buttons! Equipment! Beeps! Nurses! Hallways! Wheelchairs instead of strollers!

Lucas and I were ecstatic and spent the first several minutes inspecting every crevice of mommy's room. We tried to unplug life support machines. We adjusted the bed - sometimes while either one of us were under it! The IV bag would make a great bath toy we noticed. The doctors' computers are on rolling desks - a double whammy of disaster waiting to happen. The  windowsills make perfect benches for sitting. The closets and drawers are perfect for our height. And the curtains make a great place to play peekaboo, or cuckoo as it is called in other parts of the world.

Free rides!

Lots of free rides!

We took rides in the glass elevators waving to anyone in the lobby who cared to watch. We used a wheelchair as a roller coaster up and down ramps. And we rearranged the furniture in the family room. Lucas and I also learned how to squeeze the alcohol from the bottles that are conveniently placed at the door of every room so that every part of us and the surrounding floors were well disinfected, perhaps better than ever!

It was a new adventure, a day of pioneering for both myself and Lucas. A span of two hours that left us spent of almost every ounce of toddler energy we have (our reserves are endless though). So we weren't too upset when we left, without mommy. I smacked her face and Lucas whimpered a little. But otherwise we were too tired to be upset for long. During the car ride home I napped and then when we got home we both continued in that vein, replenishing our reserves for the afternoon's activities.

And then we saw mommy again later ominously appearing on the iPad from her "spa." Hmph!