Wednesday, March 28, 2007

What Really Matters

It appears that once again I am going against convention in not discovering the gender of our baby prior to birth. I get asked daily -- usually by strangers -- if I know what I am having. When I respond that we are waiting to find out, the shock clearly registers on the face of the individual. As though I've said something so completely shocking and out-of-the norm. The follow-up question is usually "this is your first?" as though that might explain our odd decision. When it comes to light that this is my third and that we have both a son and daughter, the response is always the same.

"So it doesn't really matter, then, does is."

I find this extremely strange -- and a little insulting. First of all, it never really mattered. Not the first time. Nor the second time. And not this time. Though I certainly desired the experience of mothering a son and a daughter, I always figured that any mothering experience would be wonderful regardless of the gender of the child. The fact that I happen to already have one of each in no way impacts what I hope with this one.

For all I really want is a healthy child.

Would I love for Poppyseed to have a sister? Of course! I can't imagine making my way through life without my sister. Or sisters -- now that I've acquired two more through marriage.

Do I think that life would be even better for Beernut if he had a brother to share in life's adventures? Absolutely! And Poppyseed would certainly hold an important position as Daddy's only girl :)

But I can't have it both ways. And to be quite honest, either scenario will be a blessing to our family. It just irks me that people make assumptions about gender desirability.

Furthermore, since I ascribe to our tradition of preparing for the impending birth by not preparing (!), there is no logistical reason of discovering the gender prior to the blessed event. As a hard-core devotee of supersition, I certainly would not want to attach too much personality (or God-forbid the actual name) to this potential life. Even with modern medicine, I won't breathe easy until the little one is safely delivered.

So no -- it doesn't matter. It never did.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


According to the baby books, it is common for soon-to-be moms to experience an uncontrollable urge to prepare for the arrival of baby. This urge is known as nesting. This apparently is a natural instinct seen throughout the animal kingdom and in humans is thought to give the monther a sense of control and accomplishment as the birth nears.

Nesting can come in a variety of forms. Some women find themselves unable to pass by a bathroom without scrubbing it with a toothbrush. Others have been known to iron anything in the house that couldn't out run them. And yet others have cleaned the kitchen cupboards and organized everything by size to the point that you make sure the silverware patterns match when it's stacked in the cutlery drawer.

Sadly, my nesting urges have shown my true colours -- to read everything in sight! I've read a couple THOUSAND pages in the past two weeks and there is no sign of stopping. A lot of chick lit (Wife in the Fast Lane, The Reading Group, Friendship Test, Alphabet Weekends), some classics (Marjorie Morningstar, Rebecca), contemporary fiction (The Namesake, Intepreter of Maladies), and some mystery (all of Elizabeth George's books except for her most recent).

"Where does she find the time?" you ask yourself.

Well, I spend a lot of time at the hospital being monitored each week. So that gives me some built-in reading time. Plus, I always seem to find the time somewhere. It's like breathing. I find the time to do that too.

I'm betting that PC would probably prefer that I iron or sort or clean.

Sunday, March 18, 2007


It truly is amazing that I manage to make my way through this world being as clueless as I am.

We had a lovely Bar Mitzvah service at shul yesterday. Noticing that the hue of the yarmulkes was a kelly green, I asked the young man if green was his favourite colour. He laughed, "No, it's for St. Patrick's Day."

"Really?" I replied, "when is that?"

"Rabbi, it's today."

I mean, I did know that it was in March...sometime...

And I also knew that yesterday was the 27th of Adar.

That's got to count for something, right??

Monday, March 12, 2007

Ah...Modern Conveniences!

There is no way that I would have survived as a housewife in any prior generation. I just don't have it in me. I'm not that great of a cook. Can't really bake. And my housekeeping skills are just OK. I have never mastered a hospital corner and it would take personal coaching from a Gap employee before my folding skills were up to snuff.

My kids, who haven't been bothered by the absence of a balabuste in their lives, recently rejected the Kraft Parmasean cheese that they has previously enjoyed in favour of "the good cheese that Bubbe makes for us." Unable to compete with Bubbe's culinary prowess, I figured that they'd just need to make do with what we've got.

Lucky kids! It turns out that Kraft debuted a new product called "Grate-It-Fresh."

That's right -- cheese that has its own grater attached.

It just doesn't get any easier than this ;)

Don't Count Your Chickens...

So Beernut has been on a certain medication for several months and it has been mostly effective. However, we'd noticed that his afternoon dosage wasn't working and he was experiencing some side effects. No prob. The pediatrician added another afternoon med to the mix with hopes that all would be well. One caveat: Beernut would need to swallow this pill. Unlike his other meds, which we are able to pour the contents onto his tongue, this med loses its effectiveness if taken in this fashion. Dr. P sent us home to practice. "How does one practice swallowing medication?" you might ask. Applesauce and M & M's. Beernut loved practicing. And it worked much of the time. So we moved on to the medication. And at first, it worked fabulously. In fact, Beernut exclaimed that he'd like to take all of his medication this way. "Great!" I thought. "I've actually managed to teach my kid how to swallow pills"

Well, it was short-lived. More often than not, the pill got stuck on the way down...and then came back up. I figured that chocolate pudding would do the trick. And it did -- once!

Needless-to-say, Dr. P came up with Plan B -- a totally different approach that does not involve pills, applesauce, or pudding.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

A Pointless Consequence

Beernut often seems to suffer from what I like to thing of as the "droppsies." No matter what is in his will end up on the floor. Like the remote. The remote must end up on the floor a minimum of a dozen times a day (I am not exaggerating!). Of course, this might explain why the remote hasn't been operating at its usual level of efficiency of late.

This morning, after the remote had landed on our nicked-up hardwood floors for the 9th or 10th time today, I took away Beernut's remote privilege. Not five minutes later, I heard the channel being changed and could actually feel the steam streaming out of my ears.

However, when I reached the family room, the remote was exactly where I had left it. "Look Mom! I figured out how to change the channels just by pressing the buttons on the TiVo."

Heck, I don't even know how to do that. So while it was a wasted punishment, at least I will still be able to watch TV when (and it is when, not if) the remote ceases to work.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Baby Talk

So out-of-the-blue Beernut asks about the party we are going to have when Baby (aka "Peach") is on its 8th day.

We should have a cake that says "Welcome to our family."

That's a great idea, I respond.

I know...we should have peaches because that's our special name for the baby while it's in your tummy. And Jordan Almonds too, of course.

Of course.

You know, we should also get the leaf for the tree at the party too.

We have a recent tradition at our shul that at each Family Service, we honour anyone who has put a new leaf up on our Simcha Tree during the past month. For some reason, Beernut has really taken to this new tradition and has been anticipating the right moment to honour the birth of our latest addition.

It's nice to know that he's been paying attention ;)

Monday, March 05, 2007

Post-Purim Blues

I always feel a let-down after this holiday. Maybe because the run-up to it is so intense. At least it is in our house. We LOVE this holiday. I mean in a major way. For weeks in advance, we plan our costumes and wait daily for Ebay packages to bring the bits and pieces that make the outfits just right. No baking this year, sadly, due to my ever-creasing girth and inability to fit comfortably in our galley kitchen. The many hours spent preparing the Purim Shpiel and the Megillah reading -- and then poof...over in just the flash of an eye. This year, thanks to timing, it was a weekend full of festivities. Services on Saturday night, carnival on Sunday morning, and an adult-only costume party on Sunday night. It was a fantastic weekend. One celebrating our ongoing survival against enemies who would rather do away with us.

And so it was particularly upsetting for me to discover that for many of the non-Jews in our area, their awareness of Purim was informed by an article which ran in the LA Times this past weekend. An article entitled "A More Sober Marking of Purim?" While it is true that drinking to excess present real problems and underage drinking is both illegal and dangerous, this is not a story that should have landed in the secular press. This is an internal issue that we must deal with -- within our community and not before the eyes of the secular public. Furthermore, there is so much more to Purim than drinking. And how very sad that the real message of this holiday had to be obscured behind what some editor felt was newsworthy.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Water, water everywhere

So it's been an interesting week!

My first appointment was on Monday and they delivered the alarming news that my amniotic fluid was on the low side. The parametres are between 5 and 25 cm -- and I was at around 8.4. Nisht gut! But looking on the bright side, not as bad as it could have been ;)

I was sent home with the strict orders to build serious rest time into my schedule and drink water.

Working at my computer, as it turns out, does not qualify as rest time. They mean horizontal time. So I have made it a point to leave work for a few hours each day to really lie down and rest. It turns out that this allows for all blood flow to go directly to the placenta, which in turn will get to the baby, whose kidneys will then output the amniotic fluid.

As for water, it's not like I wasn't drinking before. However, I am now to be drinking 3 litres a day. 3 LITRES A DAY!!! That is a heck-of-a-lot of water. Just over 100 ounces, if you really want to know. Juice is off-limits, of course, as it interferes with my blood sugar numbers. Tea is a diuretic so that won't help. Apparently the more liquid I drink, the denser my blood pressure is and that increased flow is good for the baby.

So now -- I am totally obsessed about water. I play little games with myself. 40 ounces before noon and I know I'm doing well. Another 40 by 4:00pm. Then it's just over 20 to go. Silly, I know. But it seems to be working because....

When I returned to the hospital on Thursday, good news!! Baby's reactivity was good and the fluid numbers had risen to 15.24. They are happy with anything about 12 cm so this is good.

Of course, I am not to return to my evil ways of working 13 hours straight and being lax about the water. But I remain hopeful that with a continued aggressive approach to the water and rest, things will stay in the safe zone.

Chag Purim Sameach...