Koala update: Five years

Koala,

We’ve been alluding to and celebrating your turning five for so long that, today, you were kinda over it. So we had a chill family day and I had a few minutes alone with you to really… see you.

Hilarious, hilarious you.

As much as the year before four was rough, something clicked soon after your last birthday. Within a few months I was pregnant, and even before we told you, you were suddenly beaming with a new-found affection. Hugs, kisses, caresses, soft secrets whispered in our ears. Even your questions, your curiosity, came from a rich source of love.

If that’s all I had gotten with a four-year-old boy, I’d have happily gobbled it up. But there was so much more this year.

You’ve gone from being an awesome older brother to continuing to be an awesome older brother, only you and your sister are kind of actually… also really good friends.

We’ve worked on you listening to her, and it’s a work in progress, but when you do I think you know you really benefit. She might have had a small role in nudging you into the world of pretend play. You’ve taken it on naturally, whether your the abba to her ima, the Moses to her Pharoah, or the dog to her… well… not so much loving you as a dog.

Here’s something I’ve confided in you this year; that I always wanted an older brother. I wonder what would have been different if my brother and I switched places. Would it be like you, where even though you’re older, you’re happy to try new things with your sister? Enjoy the things she likes just for the sake of feeling connected? Being inspired by her?

You are taking on responsibility yourself – priding yourself on your ability to help out. I think a lot of that was the evolution you underwent during this pregnancy; you really took in my subtle and not-so-subtle pep talks about life after baby and your new role.

A fun highlight this year: I’ll never forget that breathless moment when you showed me a drawing and I saw your freakin’ name scrawled across the top. Four big, block Hebrew letters that made my heart skip a beat and text your dad right away.

And, moving on, moving up and away… Then there’s my eternal personal conflict, which, I guess is not so personal anymore. You have become undoubtedly aware of our delicate, er, international situation. Family across one ocean, family across a hemisphere, and you have become painfully aware of it. How many times in the last few months have you asked me if we can go to America soon?

We’re lucky that we’ve had all your grandparents and uncles here at some point or another in the last year or so, and you absolutely adore each of them. And we so appreciate how quickly you fall in love… and likewise, that you feel the pain when it’s time for them to go. I wish it didn’t have to be that way. I haven’t figured that one out yet. I’m pretty sure, unfortunately, we just never will.

You are really really thinking things through. You’re definitely an analyzer; that’s been apparent for years. But now it’s that we know you’ll figure out a few steps ahead. And ask deeper questions, more at a time. And call us out on what doesn’t make sense…

About god, for example.

And it’s forcing me to come to terms with the disparity between what I believe or don’t believe, and how I live my life.

And how I choose to explain that to you.

Koala, you are someone I genuinely love to talk to. When we’re together, there are times and subjects I get to explore which I never did when I was a kid, whether because I was uninterested back then or not given the chance.

Thanks for that.

 

Five years in, my most terrifying parenting moment.

The most terrifying moment in parenting is not having the kids. It’s not birth. It’s not the first time they fall. It’s not knowing they’ll be in the army in 18 years.

The most terrifying moment I ever experienced in my (exactly) five years of parenting was today, during the moment after which I opened the car door, leaned across the backseat, put my hand forward to pull back the baby’s car seat cover, and looked inside. That moment, in which, I was not aware my daughter had put her dolly in the car seat, pretended to buckle it in. That moment in which I forgot my newborn was actually sleeping peacefully, resting on my shoulder, even as my head held her soft back. That moment during which, on a 30+  degree day, all I saw, for a split second, was the hot, rubbery, plastic, dead face of a baby.

22 true things about you, at one month

Hey there tiny one. Yes, I’m talking to you, in fact, I’m looking directly at you. No one else is around. I know that’s quite an accomplishment. You were born into a preexisting zoo. It’ll be ok. It’s going to give you a lot of super powers, you wait and see.

Not only am I solely thinking about you right now, but I have a list of true things I can already say.

22 true things about you, one month in:

  1. You haven’t been given your blog name yet. It’ll come.
  2. You have been alarmingly alert since you were born. Are you here on a mission? Or just trying to survive like the rest of us?
  3. You look a little bit like a Pokemon character when you get really really mad.
  4. We had your name picked out long before we knew you. And it still fit after we met.
  5. You’re eyes are still blue.
  6. You’ve taken a lot of crap so far. You’re taking it well.
  7. You’ve also given a lot of crap so far. Damn, girl.
  8. You’ve proven that just because two previous babies took a pacifier with ease, doesn’t mean the next one will. Ok, we get it. Can you just take it now?
  9. You might be the least sweaty person that’s ever slept on me.
  10. You’re so… portable.
  11. You know what you want.
  12. You survived matza season without too much drama.
  13. You hiccup A LOT. Don’t try and tell me newborns aren’t bothered by it.
  14. You freaked me the hell out; I really wasn’t expecting a girl. I may have had a mini panic attack at some point in the last month.
  15. You’ve had more stickers stuck on you than my fifth grade sticker album.
  16. It seems you’re growing out of all these tiny preemie/newborn clothes faster than your older siblings.
  17. You have a delicious nose for Eskimo kisses.
  18. We can see the smiles behind your eyes. For a while now.
  19. I think you might be the first newborn one of your uncles ever held.
  20. You are loved.
  21. You have a lot to say.
  22. You’ll have our attention when you’re ready to say it.

Bebe update: Three years

Bebe, I present to you, on this your third birthday, as you leave ‘toddler’ life behind and stand in the doorway of girldom, a contract I will sign, in the hopes I can help you continue growing without… totally screwing it up.

Article 1: On being ‘a girl’ 

Dolls. Nail polish. Dresses. Giggling. Princesses. Beauty. Poise. Complexes.

What an awfully powerful mix of associations to face right out the gate, amiright? It seemed when my generation was little we got to play with pretend makeup and dress our Barbies and no one bothered us much. Were our mothers, fresh off the 70s, overthinking it too?

I think we can do this, Bebe. You’re welcome to request some experimental nailpolish. I cordially invite you to play dress up in my closet. Explore what makes you giddy. What makes you giggle. And take it further, laugh deeply. Laugh hard. Enjoy it. I’m going to try very hard to remember that when I was a little girl, I did the same. And I came out ok.

Made a tutu for my daughter cuz I wanted to.

Made a tutu for my daughter cuz I wanted to.

Article 2: On ‘girl power’

Here’s another thing I will have to not get caught up in: girl power. Is girl power the amazing super strength nature gave us to make, grow, and give life to babies? That’s an awesome super power your brother is surely secretly jealous of (he’s told me so).

Is it the power of empathy? Of affection? Of proving yourself? Of overcoming self-doubt? Of becoming something awesome?

I’m thinking all of that deep down is plain old power… And you have it already. Let’s work on not letting either of us get boxed in by a notion of and the pressure for ‘girl power.’

Whatever's comfortable for you, really.

Whatever’s comfortable for you, really.

Article 3: On the fact that you are a girl

You’re a girl. You have a vagina. You’ve said so. You’re also waiting to grow your penis so you can become a big boy like your brother. I hate to break it to you. But we’ll get it through to you soon. I think watching me grow your little sister and now feed her has maybe tipped the scales on that a little.

Maybe I should have waited a lil longer to teach my kids about c-section birth.

Maybe I should have waited a lil longer to teach my kids about c-section birth.

Article 4: On the fact that you are, actually, above all else, Bebe

You’re Bebe. And here’s the part I gotta initial and stamp and sign every day. You are your own glorious person. I’ve been learning from you, and I hope you’re – for better or worse – learning from me. It’s going to stay that way forever. So as much as I have to hold down contempt for the way the world around us treats girls, women, people who are different, I’m going to keep my own crap at a minimum as now you explore it all.

We’re here and we’re going to face it together. And you’re going to do that as you, and I’m going to do it as me. And sometimes we’ll be wearing nailpolish. Or dresses. Or jeans with holes in the knees. Or mud under our fingernails.

Sometimes between heroics SuperGirl checks her email.

Sometimes between heroics SuperGirl checks her email.

Signed with a decent amount of time behind me, admittedly a little self-doubt, plenty of curiosity, a sense of adventure and a whole lotta love,

Your mama.