Friday, December 20, 2013

Some Photos from Margaret River and Fremantle/Perth Area

me, Sam and mom on the beach where Margaret River meets the sea

Hiking on the Cape to Cape trail

Cape to Cape - me in the water with Elie. Sam nervous that a wave will get us

Hello Mr. Lizard

Samara had a little lamb


Grapes! at Cullen Wines

Savta and Elie at Cullen Wines

Guess it was a good day for, Sam and Elie at Cullen Wines

Happy Hanukkah!

Mr Kangaroo and both of my children. 

Karri Forest

Augusta area

Papa, Sam and Elie at Leeuwin Estate Winery (best lunch)

Me tasting at Cowamarup Brewery. Elie passed out.

Coolest playground ever in Yallingup

Prettiest flower

Matt and Elie at Vasse Felix Winery


Cottesloe beach, building sand castles with Papa

Friday, December 13, 2013

Margaret River and Perth area - with Six (not three)

In December, 2010, Matt, Sam and I went to Margaret River and Perth area in Western Australia, for ten days. It was Samara's first trip, and obviously our first trip as a family. I definitely enjoyed it, but the whole time we both thought that my parents would LOVE it, we wanted to come back, and I wanted to be a little less stressed on holiday next time (first trip with a baby IS scary!). So, we have spent the last two weeks back where we were, but as a family of four and with my two parents.

We arrived in Perth (wow, Singapore airlines was SO MUCH more enjoyable than our Delta flight home in October) and my parents were waving at us from the exit to customs, as if they live in Perth and were welcoming us as visitors. We were pointed to our car, a Toyota Kluger, which Thrifty said could carry seven people, two large suitcases and two small suitcases. We had one large one, three small ones plus a few more bags, but luckily only six people. I laughed when I saw the car and was trying to sort out what we would do when our stuff didn't fit in the car. Not one bag even fit in the back when the back row of seats was open. Matt and my dad got to work, I fed Elie, and an hour later, they were still stuffing bags into places no one had even noticed before. We were moving slowly, had a four hour drive ahead of us, and it was frustrating. I said, "well, at least it's not raining..." Then it started to pour. It all fit. We hit up a grocery store before we got on the highway and we set off to drive to Margaret River. Elie only cried for 50% of the drive, and though I had planned to only drive in an emergency, I drove about half of the way. Scary, but we made it.

We stayed for the first four nights at Margaret's Hideaway, a farmstay. We had a little cabin, with three bedrooms, right in the paddock with the sheep. Other than the 40 dead ants per day that fell on one spot of my pillow (only there - I'm not sure why...), it was lovely. We heard crazy bird parties in the morning, and the peacock's calls and tail kept us entertained. The first morning, when Sam woke up at 6:30, Papa entertained her, and when I came out and said, "good morning. What are you guys doing?" Papa said, "we're watching live TV." They were sitting backwards on the couch looking out the huge window at all of the sheep, goats, alpaca and peacocks. Pretty cool. If you're three especially. Sam got to feed the animals, including those above, the emus, cows and hens. She even got warm eggs from the hens for us to cook.

We spent the first day getting settled, getting food we needed (amazing farmers' market...), and we went in the afternoon to the ocean and to see where Margaret's River meets the ocean. It was lovely. We saw kangaroos on the way home - my parents' first real kangaroos.

The next day we took a hike on part of the cape to cape trail, just near Margaret River. It was a lovely combination of beach walk, trails in woods, trails on cliffs and trails on sand-ish stuff (my favorite hike we did). Elie got to ride with me in the ergo (he slept nearly the whole time) and Sam rode in her framed carrier and also did a fair amount of hiking.

The following day we drove up to the top of the cape to cape walk, to the Cape Naturaliste lighthouse. We did a few hikes there which Matt and I hadn't done previously, and they were GORGEOUS, with red sand, amazingly blue water and cool birds and lizards. Sam learned to pee in the woods - she was a natural.

We went for lunch at the Bushshack Brewery, one of our favorite places from 2010. The food is pretty eh but the beer is great, and we super enjoyed the nachos (hard to find nachos in Singapore, which is probably good for us anyways...). They had so much stuff for Sam to do there - a huge sandy playground with a few structures built in, plus a bunch of toy kitchen stuff and other things she found. She and papa had a blast.

We headed over to an apartment in Margaret River (in the town itself) for the next week, after an AMAZING brekky in the bakery. Yum. We got out to explore some inland hikes, near some of the caves in the area, but we were a bit late and were closing them all down. 

We explored Ellensbrook, a beautiful little old house on a brook, right on the ocean, though Sam was in a bad mood, and somehow I agreed to carry her in the carrier - wow - she is much heavier this year, and I can no longer hike with her.

Matt and I remembered a spectacular, fresh lunch at Cullen Wines, so we visited our first winery, where Matt tasted and I breastfed (why do I keep going to these places while breastfeeding or pregnant??). Lunch was good,  but we were way too hungry afterward, and it wasn't AS good as we remembered. But the setting was gorgeous.

The next day we drove for hours to arrive at this random mill town that we went to in 2010 - Donnelly River. The drive was gorgeous, and it wasn't quite as isolated as I had remembered. This is a place where the kangaroos are tamed and come right up to you - same with the emus. Sam was not afraid. It's SUPER bizarre and pretty cool. We did a few hikes in the woods as well, but this day started getting hot, and the flies were pretty brutal. Sam had been reading Not a Nibble, which is a British book about a girl named Susie who goes fishing a few days in a row and doesn't catch anything (but don't worry - she sees a whale as a consolation prize). Sam kept picking up long skinny sticks and telling us they're fishing poles, and then she would stab fish-shaped leaves, and say that we were Susie if we couldn't get one to stick. Pretty cute. We stopped at little town called Nannup on the way back for cake and coffee. Yum.

We drove the next day, all the way down to Augusta, the southern cape on the cape to cape trail. It was BEAUTIFUL but the flies were awful. We walked around on the rocks, right on the water, but the sun was strong and we each had at least 50 flies following us at all times, and I decided I didn't want to hike that day. We drove back up and went to Leeuwin Estate winery for a special lunch. We didn't know just how special it would be. As we pulled up, we heard a loud noise like a helicopter was right near us, or something. And sure enough, it was a helicopter right near us. It landed so close that we could feel the wind. Sam and Papa watched the whole thing. Lunch was AMAZING, the wine was also fantastic (I did have a little) and Sam even had fun with the helicopter (another landed too, while we were eating!) and enjoyed the french fries. It was our best meal of the trip.

We went to a few more breweries and back to Yallingup to hike (a beautiful hike) and watch surfers (they're amazing!). Yallingup also had the coolest playground I have ever seen. We also did a bunch of hikes/walks on the trails just outside of Margaret River - and they were so much fun and so beautiful. Sam loved finding sticks, flowers, leaves or anything else and pretending they're her microphone, baby, rake, pole, etc. Matt and I went out a few afternoons to catch a few more wineries and breweries while Sam slept.

While we were down there, with no internet, Matt got an email on his blackberry asking "Hey - are you ok? And what do you think? I would love to hear from a local." We had no idea what happened, but went to find internet and read that there had been riots in our neighborhood in Singapore. Not at ALL what we expect (or even would EVER EVER EVER happen in Singapore). This is the craziest thing to happen in 6.5 years of living there, and we're not there...Super interesting.

After ten days in Margaret River area (!!! a wee bit much for me, but they were all full), we headed up to Fremantle. Somehow I drove the whole way, and we ended up taking a short detour through a beautiful park with gorgeous trees and a huge dam. In this area we have really enjoyed the super cute shops, and amazing food and beer, but it has been brutally hot and sunny (35 C / 95 F - that's a lot). My mom was sick, so she missed a day when we went with Papa to Penguin Island, just south of here. We got to see penguins in a little exhibit there (the wild ones were all out fishing) and we saw sea lions up close. It was beautiful and so cool (but SO sunny and hot - I felt like a super irresponsible mom). We have also enjoyed the beach - we went to Cottesloe beach between here and Perth.

All in all, it's been a fantastic holiday - though a bit long for my taste. We have eaten some of the tastiest, freshest food I have had in a long while, and the natural beauty has been amazing (though not as amazing as Tasmania and the south island of New Zealand...). The coffee has also been a highlight. It is my first trip with my parents in a really long time, and it's their first trip with the kids (would they do it again? Ask them...). It's a perfect place to come with little kids and grandparents. Everything closes around late afternoon, so we did many/most dinners at home, self-catering, and we took our time doing everything.

It is funny how a three year old can determine the whole trip - in terms of where we go, timing for everything, what we eat...We found every playground in sight, we went home for a nap nearly every day, we ate in restaurants with grilled cheese and pizza...As it turns out, a child CAN survive for two weeks eating grilled cheese, pizza, yogurt, french fries, cereal, raisins and cookies (ONLY, and I'm serious)! Amazing! Let's see how she withers away (or develops diabetes) in the next few months.

Elie was awesome. His sleep got a LITTLE easier on the trip, and he was super portable and flexible. He's a happy baby. He just doesn't really like the car. I am REALLY hoping those articles about drinking while breastfeeding are accurate. Or perhaps he will have lost a few brain cells - I did taste here and there during the day and had full beers and a bit of wine in the evenings. I also had one to two flat whites each day. I tried to drown my unhealthy drinking with as much water as I could find.

Sam LOVED her time with her Papa and Savta. LOVED. She can't get enough. That's why she woke up progressively earlier the whole trip (4:47am today) to spend time with her Papa who has gotten up with her nearly every day. Oy.

Matt and I also had a good time with their Papa and Savta - playing euchre nearly every night. As of today we are tied at 16 games apiece. (they're going down...)

Pictures to come, when we're back and I can put them on my computer.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Visit with Dena

This past week I had one of my best friends, one of the most important people in my life, come to visit. For the SECOND time! Dena came from Israel for a fantastic six days.

Dena and I met in 1990 at camp, and we have been friends since, though we became close when she moved to Israel in 1993 and I started spending a lot of time there shortly after. Her home was my home in Israel and our relationship grew. I visited her in Israel and in Chicago, where she was in grad school, and I believe she may have visited nearly all of my homes in the last 20 years or so! The last time we saw each other was 2009, before (immediately before...) both of us became pregnant, two kids each and other major changes in our lives. We have spoken (not regularly) and chatted on facebook (regularly) and a bit of skyping...but there is just nothing like sitting on the couch for hours sharing parenting strategies, telling stories of what it's really like for us right now and just brain dumping.

While I have made great friends here in Singapore, being with someone whom I have known for so many years, knows my goods, bads, and all of what makes me ME is such a powerful thing for me. I explained that a bit when Shana, Daniel, Seth, Emily, Mike, Jo and all of the kids came to Michigan last month - it is powerful for me to be around these people who mean so much to me and with whom I share an important history, when it so rarely happens in my life right now.

We had a LOT of adventures given my current state of total chaos. We went to Tekka Market, the Botanic Gardens, Marina Bay Sands (including the top), my neighborhood temple tour, Chinatown, Orchard Rd, Little she ventured out to Arab Street and the National Museum. For Kabbalat Shabbat and dinner we went to Chesed El and walked we spent plenty of time just sitting on the couch and hanging out with Samara and Elie.

Yes - we are not in a routine right now. Elie doesn't seem to like to sleep (in a bed at least) during the day. We had only been back for a week when Dena arrived and had only a few days before gotten over jetlag. We are leaving in less than two weeks for holiday. Yes - we definitely have no schedule right now, and I'm very all over the place, so I was a bit stressed trying to get it all together - Oh and Matt was in London all week - but we had a fantastic time, and I am so so thankful that she came to visit. What a serious treat.

Next time in Jerusalem!!
Idli, uttapam, dosa and Dena

Dena and my kids (sort of)

top of Marina Bay Sands

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Michigan Trip ++

It has been more than a month since my last post, and a LOT has happened.

Sam turned THREE!
I resigned from my job. I won't be going back after my mat leave ends next week.
We flew around the world!

Sam's birthday was the day before we left for our trip to Michigan. The weekend before we had a few of her friends over for a small party. She first wanted a Spiderman cake (you know, that's what Amalia had...), but then she changed it to Batman. Much easier for me. So I had my first birthday cake baking and decorating experience. I thought I did a pretty good job for a first one with no trial run, but she won't be so impressed when she's more than three. Her party was short, small and sweet.

Happy birthday Samara!

Just a few days later we left for four weeks in Michigan (well, Matt was in DC and NY for work for one of those weeks, but the kids and I are in Michigan for four full weeks).

It turns out that riding on a plane with a three year old and a seven week old is pretty easy! I mean, it's not easy compared to riding on a plane WITHOUT a three year old and a seven week old, but compared to having a one year old or a two year old, it was a piece of (batman) cake! Plus it was only 20 hours on the way here and 24 on the way back. We have had 33 hour journeys so this was short! Sam watched her screen or my iphone the whole time, and she slept for a few hours. Matt graciously gave up his seat so she could lie across two seats, which worked for like six hours (though it hurt his back because he was all scrunched into half a seat...SUPER DAD!). Elie just ate and went back to sleep, repeat. No probs at all. His only freak out was when he was hungry about 30 minutes before take off in Tokyo. I wouldn't feed him on the ground in Tokyo because I wanted to feed him on the way up and on the way down on each flight (helps with the ears). I think people around us were freaked that he would cry the whole 14 hour flight...but he didn't even one more time.

We had a full Knuffle Bunny experience in Tokyo, which was the scariest part of our journey. I just searched my blog to find that I hadn't properly written about the importance of Froggy. He was given to Samara by Mrs and Mr Dixon and Jenny, my good friend Jill's parents and sister. He became Samara's most important friend sometime around 8 months or so, if I remember correctly. She ONLY sleeps if she has Froggy. On the ride to Tokyo Elie and I got bassinet seats and sat separately from Sam and Matt. We got off the plane in Tokyo, and when we were going through security to go to the gate to get on the next flight, I was looking for Froggy, since we always put him separately through the x-ray machines at airports (mostly to keep Samara occupied when we're going through security lines...). Matt had no idea where Froggy was and he didn't remember putting him back into the bag. Shit. I started panicking. I had a kee kee until...well, until it was WAAAAAY too long to have a blankie, and I really relate to her love for Froggy. Matt said that maybe they left him on the plane. We searched through EVERYTHING, but no Froggy. We found a man with a walkie-talkie and we tried to explain Froggy. Stuffed animal (he didn't seem to know what that meant), "like a towel?" Sort of...Like a blanket, but smaller...we showed them another stuffed animal and said, "like this buy flat. Row 53." He said, "Stay here." We waited about 20 minutes, and finally a flight attendant came running with Froggy. Samara ran towards her and was SO thankful (though I don't think she had any clue that we nearly really lost him).

We spent the first two weeks of our trip staying at my parents' place. I realized later that I was completely delirious for the first three days, and the rest of that time was super relaxing. I had no agenda and mostly sat on the couch, nursing and relaxing. Sam had four nights of jet lag and then was fine, and Elie had about the same. My parents took care of Sam when Matt went on a business trip to NY and DC, and all of my food was prepared for me and even my laundry was done. Spectacular. We went to the playground nearly every day, had weather in the 60s and 70s and sunny, and we had a great time. The second two weeks we're at Matt's parents' house, and the schedule was much more full but also super fun. Sam has gone to petting farms, orchards, pumpkin patches, play places, playgrounds...lots of stuff...and we have run loads of errands. I was trying to figure out why running around has been so exhausting for me, or why I have very little interest to leave the house, and I realized that I'm still probably not completely recovered from being on bed rest. I think my world slowed down...and then I was super pregnant...and then I had a newborn and was recovering from surgery, so I haven't been very active in nearly a year. I guess that's probably why.

It has been so wonderful seeing so many friends and relatives. Luckily my aunt's 60th birthday is today so my cousin and her husband were in town, and my grandparents came in from Florida to see us and also to celebrate my aunt. Three other cousins came in from Boston and Chicago to see us (and each other!) as well, and it's been so fun. My brother was able to come for a few days as was Matt's brother Dan who just recently moved to San Francisco.

Enjoying Sylvan lake. With angel wings.

Matt was away but it was so nice to be with my family!

Loving it.

Cider mill time with Uncle Dan and Aunt Phyllis and Jackson


Visiting with Uncle Mike and Aunt Jess

Future U of M student for sure

Aunt Phyllis and Cousin Jackson!

Sam's first teeth cleaning. She passed!

Looking at pumpkins

Uncle Dan gets broken in by Elie

Savta loves these moments

Another Savta moment

The Arb on a cold fall day. Loved it

Grandma and Grandpa too!

Also, my three best friends from college, plus partners, who are also super close friends and each couple's two kids came in. When one mentioned the idea of pitching a tent in my parents' yard, my parents SO GRACIOUSLY (I mean, above and beyond - seriously) vacated their house, leaving exactly enough space for all seven adults (Matt was still away) and EIGHT children (five and under). It was crazy, hectic and SO MUCH FUN! We had all kids in bed by 8 and definitely all sleeping by 8:30, so we could watch the endless end to the Penn State game (four overtimes...) and the Tigers and just hang out. It was like a dream to have so many people I love and feel so comfortable with in one room. I am so thankful they all came in and I can't wait till we all gather again at Michigania! (that's my next dream).

The BEST! Can you find all eight kids?

The first super ambitious thing I did was to take Elie to the Michigan/Indiana game. In Singapore we watch every Michigan game on Sunday morning (for the last few years with our friend, Eric), and they make me more homesick than anything else. I CRAVE a Michigan game. I was sooooooo excited to go. Apparently, according to Big Ten rules, even "infants in carriers" require tickets. So after I had already committed to buying tickets for me and my mom (Matt didn't want to go!), I realized we needed a third. I have not yet left Elie with bottles and wasn't ready yet, since he has not done so well with bottles...It was pouring when we woke up that day. Forecast was that it was supposed to pour until sometime in the afternoon. Game started at 3:30. My mom and I decided to just go to Ann Arbor and see what happened. We had nothing to lose. We drove there, it rained 90% of the way. I got to see Marla who was having a reunion with Law School friends - so that was extra incentive and a great bonus. The rain did start to lighten up and we finally made it to the game around halfway through the first quarter. When we arrived, Michigan got the ball, had a huge run down the field and then it started pouring. I literally sat down for a minute and then ran back out of the stadium and waited for it to let up. After ten minutes, the rest of the game was dry, and the sun even emerged in the fourth quarter. It was a really exciting, high scoring game, with a complete lack of defense, and it was so fun my cheeks hurt from smiling so much (honest!!). I was so happy to be there. Elie's most expensive meal ever ($75 to be exact) was had on the ground, against a pillar of the stadium, outside of an unused door, near a concession stand, just at the end of halftime and into the third quarter. Other than that, he was warmly in his Ergo (it was in the 40s!) and slept for all of the game other than his meal and about 15 minutes after that.

Go Blue!! That's Elie's head in the black thing.

While mostly we have had fun and games, I did have a bit of health drama. Given the healthcare system in the US, we mostly live in fear of something happening to us while we are in the US. We do have insurance that we bought to cover this, but still, everything is just more complicated in the US. About a week after we got home, my left breast started to hurt a lot and it turned red and hot. I thought it was mastitis, which I had had a few weeks before in Singapore. I tried to massage it out, pump, cold between feedings, etc., but it didn't move, and it hurt SO much I could barely touch it. When I tried to massage it out I literally sat there crying and trying to just think of something else. I went to a lactation consultant who said I needed to get myself to a doctor immediately. Shit. This is what we DON'T want! I had awful expectations. Thousands of dollars. No one would fit me in. ER in the middle of the night. Shit. I called my mom's OB and begged them to fit me in. They said they could in a day or so. I said that I had a red infection that was spreading and I was literally driving to their office. Could a doctor PLEASE just squeeze me in. They finally agreed (what!?) and warned me that it would be $200. The OB said that she thought it was mastitis and gave me antibiotics and told me to massage it out. It was $90 (I couldn't believe it was not $1000). This was Tuesday. By Thursday morning it was AWFUL and hurt sooooooo much, and the infection was getting bigger. I messaged the nurse of my doctor in Singapore and sent a photo. She said go to a breast surgeon. I called the OB I had gone to get the names of surgeons they recommend. I called the first and again, begged them to get  me in ASAP. Same strong wording about the infection spreading and immense pain. No strings being pulled. No names being dropped...they fit me in that afternoon! Again, they warned that it would be at least $200 for just the consult. Whatever - just get this thing off of me or help me! I couldn't believe they could fit me in. My mom urged Matt to go with me and Elie, though I was pretty stubborn and wasn't sure why he needed to be there. The surgeon listened to my story and said it sounded like a cyst that had become infected and he could take the whole thing out right then and there. We agreed, and he dug in and created a crater in my breast - but he got the whole cyst and infection. It hurt like a MOFO but I couldn't believe how nice he was, how nice his office was to help me so quickly, and in the end he charged me $95 for the WHOLE thing including the follow up appointment I had today! What?! I couldn't believe it, and I am so so so thankful for him and his amazing care. I was also thankful Matt came because I could not have driven myself home safely. What a pleasant experience all around! The infection is totally gone, and it's much much less painful, and I hope to be able to pump again soon to get this bottle thing moving to be able to leave Elie.

We have really been enjoying the crisp weather, amazingly beautiful leaves - the Arb in Ann Arbor was BREATHTAKING, meals being cooked for us, people who love us hanging out with our children. It's honestly just been really wonderful to be here, and I'm so sad it's ending so soon.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

System Failure

I can do it. I swear, I can. I just can't yet...

I was moving along at a super fast pace, in general, since about 6 weeks post-pardum with Samara until the end of January this year. Since January, I was on bed rest for months, then took it easy for the rest of the pregnancy. I had a full time helper. I had my mom or in-laws in town for much of the time. I didn't do any of the cleaning, little shopping, only the cooking that I wanted. I had a lot of time with Samara, but most of it was when it was convenient for me, and not during difficult times like meal times and sleep time. I had it easier than I have ever had it and will ever have my whole life (and I recognized it at the time). Yes, I was scared for most of the time that I was going to lose the pregnancy so I wasn't super stress-free, but I did not DO much of anything at all. For a really really long time.

Then the helper quit (remember - don't forget - she quit when I was 39 weeks pregnant, and she flew out the night I gave birth - no I'm not bitter). Then my parents left. Then the in-laws left. Then it was me. And I was committed to doing it ALL. And I CAN! I promise!! But not yet.

I made it a week. Eight days in, last Thursday, my throat started to get scratchy. That night it REALLY hurt, and I woke up the next day with super dark snot but nothing major. Friday I was ok. Saturday I was ok. But each of those nights I felt SUPER exhausted. In bed by 7:30 and nearly asleep by 8. EXHAUSTED. The system was shutting down. I said I didn't think I could handle when Matt went away next week. I didn't think I could do it in general, because my body was EXHAUSTED. But then Sunday I woke up with a fever, and I realized that I had felt so bad the last few nights because I really was getting sick.

Sunday night my fever was super high and I was a disaster. I didn't think I could handle Sam on Monday. Hell, I didn't think I could open my eyes and get out of bed. I was SUPER sick. Monday I woke up with 102.5 fever, but I pushed through. I showered and got myself moving. I was delirious, but I got Sam fed, dressed and walked her to school, immediately came back and did nothing. I didn't do any dishes. Didn't sweep from breakfast. Didn't pick up. Just rested until I had to get her again. And I realized that I had a super sore spot on my breast, and when I looked in the mirror it was maroon in color. A little bit of googling told me that it was either a plugged milk duct or mastitis. Shit. Called the doctor at 10am. All day I iced the spot, and I fed mostly from that side and massaged it when Elie ate. I got Sam, somehow got lunch into her and got her to sleep, and when she woke up we watched TV...basically the whole afternoon, from four until her dinner at six. She loved me being sick. "Mommy, you're sick? You want to watch the Wiggles? I watch the Wiggles when I sick." Matt came home early to give her dinner and get her bathed and in bed (the second two he does every night anyway). I followed up with the doctor's office three times but I never quite got an answer if I should come in or not. I finally spoke to the doctor at 7pm and he said I needed to see a lactation consultant asap. Awesome, every place I knew of was closed, and there was small chance they would be able to see me before 11 the next morning, if I could only call them when they open at 9. After that I would have to bring two kids, which I'm not ready to do yet (two carseats? I still can't lift from the c-section). So I activated my breastfeeding mommies network and got the mobile numbers of two lactation consultants. One was a woman I had gone to on Saturday for another breastfeeding issue, so I asked her to PLEASE squeeze me in (so to speak!) the next morning. She said she could at 9:30. BOY was I grateful. So I pumped as much as I could and Matt strongly massaged the spot to get the duct free. Asleep by 9 with a lower fever...perhaps improving? Though Elie had decided to change his sleeping pattern to waking up every two hours (after having slept 4-6 hours a few times each night until then), he last night slept 5 hours and then 5 hours, so we both slept a lot.

When I woke up I was still sore, but less sore and the maroon had turned to red. I also had a much lower fever. I got Sam to school and got a taxi to see the lactation consultant who said that the plug had been pulled out already and it was getting better. She said I needed to boost my immune system and rest. Guess I need to take it a wee bit slower. So, now I have no fever. No voice. But I feel WAAAAAAY better and I think my boob is on the mend.

I CAN do this, I just need to build my strength. I think the rest took a lot out of my body - like a lot of energy and strength - that I have to get back. Hopefully in our month in the US I can fully heal from the c-section, rest a lot, but also get myself moving and build my strength so that by the time we're back here I will be able to do it. I'm counting on it.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Real Life

We had visitors...I mean helpers for six weeks straight. My mom came when I was 39 weeks pregnant and stayed until Elie was a week old. (Remember our helper's last day was the day I gave birth!) My in-laws came when Elie was a week old and stayed until this past Wednesday, early morning, when Elie was nearly four weeks old. This means that Wednesday was my first day of "real life" with no helper and no helping in-laws. I had one month between helpers when Samara was three months old, but otherwise, I have had a helper since I had a child. And boy did they help.

Real life includes things like laundry, dishes, cooking, shopping, packing school bag, cleaning the house and other duties that I have not done (or not done very much - I have continued to shop and cook since I like those tasks) in THREE YEARS. Yeah, I was super spoiled for those three years, I fully admit it. And a lot of why we're not getting a new helper is because I recognize that this wasn't how I expected life to be with kids, and I wanted...needed to know that I can do it. I can be a mom and take care of our home without someone doing all of the dirty work. Mind you, I'm not one of those housewives who does it all - Matt is a super cleaning machine. He does MANY dishes, sweeps, mops, cleans bathrooms, launders, etc. much more than I do. But still - I wanted to know that WE could do it.

So Wednesday was busy - getting Sam to school was the hardest part for me, because she takes an hour of hands-on care to be fed, dressed, teeth brushed, cleaned, hair-done and taken to school. During this time I cannot feed the baby. And this baby does not like to be put down. Like ever. Once she went to school I had 3.5 hours of baby-only bliss, which included as many household duties as I could do with the baby in the ergo. Her afternoon routine usually takes about a half hour - home from school, wash hands, eat, go for a nap. This day it took an hour and five minutes, but we did it. And she has to sleep on her mattress on the floor since I can't lift (c-section...) her into her crib yet. (By the way, I know she's nearly three, but I have no intention of taking her out of a crib until she makes me. Having a kid in a cage at night and in the early morning makes my life so much easier - why mess with that?). The first day on her mattress on the floor I had to lead her back into her room probably about 20 times. I followed Weisbluth's advice of leading her back without engaging her - i.e. not giving her attention, and just closing the door. After being led back 20 times she danced and sang around her room for about an hour and finally went to sleep. All of the days since then she went straight to bed with no issue. In the afternoon on Wednesday we made it to a playground and had a little walk around the neighborhood. I would say it was a full success.

Thursday Samara woke up with a fever, so I had 11 hours of both kids at home without leaving the house. Sam watched a lot of TV, we played a little bit, we baked, she slept for about four hours and the day passed. Friday Matt took the day off (he had thought it was Yom Kippur so had taken it off earlier - good for me!), so we had a great day and two extra hands.

So far I have learned a few things:

  • Household stuff can wait - like the laundry can sit for a few hours in the washing machine, and it won't explode. Dishes can sit in the sink. Kids come first.
  • When the baby needs to eat, he really needs to eat - he has NO patience. 
  • The ergo is a god send (which I already knew from Samara, but I never used it at home before). You can do almost anything with a baby in the ergo.
  • Samara is a champ. She's just a super sweet, good kid, and she's so fun to hang out with. It's such a privilege to have this time with her. And so far she seems to be adjusting REALLY well - other than the Cheerios episode in my last post (she is also on her third day of potty training, which she's also doing like a champ).
As long as we have no commitments out of the house and no extra obligations...ever...I think we can do this!

In other news, Elie is overall doing great. He is pretty kvetchy during the day, but he can be soothed so I know it's not that serious. He just likes to be carried. In the last few days, after he falls asleep I can swaddle him and get him into his bed for a little while, but mostly he wakes up pretty quickly, so ergo works best. He sleeps at night from about 8:30 until 7, waking up once to eat for about five minutes (he must be really efficient - it used to take Samara 20 minutes), sometimes taking a loud poo, and that's about it. Since he's sleeping (and therefore I'm sleeping) so well at night, I feel like we can handle whatever the day brings, so I can't complain too much. He's growing a LOT, out of newborn clothes and diapers already. We will weigh him on Friday, but I'm guessing he's near 5 kgs. He lost all of the hair on the top of his head and the rest is pretty wispy. He looks a little like a creepy old man with a comb-over on the top of his head. I have decided to try two weeks dairy-free to see if that helps make him less kvetchy. I am on my fifth day, so we'll see how it goes.

As mentioned above, Samara is now wearing underpants (Dora and Hello Kitty of course - she chose them). I woke up in a fit of anxiety three nights ago and realized that there will never be a convenient time - I was on bed rest, then I was SUPER pregnant, then the baby was born...but then we will be going to the US and I thought it might not be fair to potty train while on my parents' wood floor and Matt's parents' carpeted house. Then we're back for only a month, and then we're traveling again. So, yes, it will NEVER be convenient - so we needed to just do it. I told Matt that morning that Sam was just gonna wear underpants and figure it out. So far so good! She had one meltdown today when she had to poo and wanted a diaper, but we talked about it, read potty books, and I sat with her (and Matt sat with her other times...) and she went! I said, "Sam, I'm so proud of you." She said, "Mommy, I'm proud of myself!" I'm still not sure what we will do for the plane ride home, but hopefully we will be ok and not cause permanent damage.

We got tickets to come to Michigan for the month of October, basically. We can't wait. I haven't left Singapore since JANUARY. This is not my usual travel behavior, though the thought of travel exhausts me already...luckily we have our helpers back when we get to the US!!
Until I can lift and move properly, Matt gets to sit between two carseats in the back of taxis! Lucky guy! (note his Hello Kitty hat)

I had to cut the head and hands off of my chickens for Rosh Hashana dinner. My helper has always done this so well...such that I didn't even know that they came with them!!

Elie's creepy hair

Beautiful baby at about 3+ weeks

Samara stylin' it up and bouncing her baby

Sam, Matt and Piggy on the bus to pizza pre-fast YK dinner

Matt and Elie on Sunday afternoon (Elie doesn't care what position the ergo is in, as long as he's in it)

Elie, meet Froggy!

Not relevant to blog post, but this is Samara last night at our friends' house. It's just too cute to not share.