Bebe update: five years

For the sweetest person I know,

I want for you strength. For you to recognize the right time and place.

To continue loving the little things, for not even knowing what is ‘little’.

I want for you to recognize your power.

I want for your love to never be bound.

For your creativity to go appreciated.

For you to never be afraid to experiment.

For you to always feel comfortable and light and invincible,

but when you don’t, for you at least to know that you will soon again.

Nettles update: two years

Nettles,

It feels like there has never been any life without you in it. You are a puzzle piece that simply fit right in.

But there is nothing simple or obvious about you. “Third child” is a phrase I’ve tried to stop saying in the last few months – it doesn’t do you justice to label you, and I’m consciously aware of it even when I say very labeling things.

You’ve proven how different every child is, truly. In the last few months, abba and ima moved to the bedroom downstairs, making the upstairs a mainly child bedroom-zone. Every night, you go to bed as a bundle next to your brother and sister, and just about every night, you make your way out of the bed, through the heavy bomb shelter door, out into the pitch black hall, down the stairs, and into our room like it ain’t no thang. The first few times I was shocked. No peep on your part. You just did it. And it was just another lesson in how different every child is.

You have a goal and nothing stops you. Height doesn’t stop you. Kitchen tables are your ladder. Chairs can be dragged just about any distance in order to unlock the front door.

The earth is your free-range carpet.

Nettles, it’s coming. The inevitable. And I won’t say ‘you have no idea’ – you have some idea – but… yeah, you have no idea.

I don’t think you’re ready to be a big sister, but we never are the first time, are we? You’ve got great examples and I think you know that… you adore your brother and sister, even as you’re annoying the hell out of them. I can only hope they will give you guidance or inspire you or you’ve learned something from the last two years of being cared for so well.

 

Nettles update: twenty three months

If I had to sum up 23-month Nettles in one picture…

Here’s the story: One night last week, we hear a loud thump and screaming. We dash upstairs and Nettles had climbed out of the crib and fallen, presumably on her head.

The next day, it happens she’s home from gan and I put her down for a nap in the crib and go back to working in the kitchen. A few minutes later, I hear the pitter patter on the stairs… the little socked feet. I look up, and like a freaky child ghost, she’s standing there, staring at me, smiling.

She knows what she did.

So we move her to a bed. And the predictable happens: Put her down, she gets up. Put her down, she gets up. Leave her down, come downstairs, five minutes later… pitter patter.

Take her hand and bring her back up.

And then, last night, we come down. Sit at the kitchen table, chat over dinner.

And then.

We hear a shuffling sound.

“She’s coming down.”

I turn my head to peek around the corner of the kitchen. The stairs are right around a corner.

And there is Nettles. She’s crawling military style, backwards.  Her bum is up, her legs kicking her forward, her head facing away from us, nonchalantly sucking away at her pacifier.

She is acting like we can’t see her if she just comes down backwards.

We burst out laughing. Tears start rolling from my eyes.

Slowly, deliberately, Nettles turns her head.

She looks at me, she looks at her father.

And there it is, that shit-eating grin.

I actually laughed until I cried, and then cried some more, and crawled into bed to keep laughing, and then I hear, between gasps, the pitter patter, and Nettles is facing me, head cocked, smiling, knowing she won the day.

Again.

So Nettles, yes, you finally fall asleep. Yes, you will get used to your bed. Yes, this happens with most kids I’m sure.

But no one takes us for a ride quite like you.

No shoes are too big to fill.

And no one is going to mess with your style.

 

Nettles update: twenty two months

Nettles,

One of my favorite things, on the days I pick you up from maon (daycare), I love walking up the stairs to the second floor and before there’s any way you know it’s me you come running. Or do I have distinctive footsteps? Or do you do that to everyone until you finally get it right?

And then there are the days you play it cool, too cool, and put on a show of whining and crying that I’m there and you’re torn about leaving all the kids you’ve been pushing around the gymboree.

Either way.

Pushing yourself around is something you’ve been doing more. No one is going to put baby in a corner of calling baby ‘baby’. So yes, I need to stop.

You’ll get dressed in your brother’s pants if you damn well please.

You’ll help do the dishes no matter how much more of a mess that makes.

You will sort the silverware while my back is to you as I’m trying to finish work, and by sort the silverware I mean take everything out, lick some of it, and put it back.

You also will take care of all the baby dolls in the house. With blanket wraps, stroller pushes, the occasional toss.

But you will.

 

Nettles update: twenty one months

Nettles –

This is a crazy time. Last month, this month, the next month – all are and will be intense work months for me. So I haven’t been able to give you as much as I’d want. Write the chapter on being the third child of a full-time working mother someday. It will make people laugh for sure. Because this seems to make you laugh.

But you find ways to keep yourself busy.

And you find ways to help out around the house.

And I just want to add that you are one of my favorite ages.

Nettles update: twenty months

We’re welcoming winter, Nettles, and because it involves warm frothed milk, it’s officially your favorite season.

It’s also your first conscious dinovember. While your brother ponders the universe and your sister cheers them on, you have one reaction, every day, finger pointing:

“Whoa. Whoooa. Whoa! Whoa.”

You’re growing closer to your brother and sister, and they’re becoming more attached to you. Ok, I’ll admit, we’ve been asked “why did you guys make her?!” but all in all, they really do love and adore you. And they’ll drop what they’re doing to help you out. Most of the time.

One thing that hasn’t changed – you’re a messy, if very good, eater.

On rocks, Arabs, talking it out, conflict, and more rocks.

This, an hour after listening to the recent This American Life podcast on the way home from work; the one titled, #570: The Night in Question, the one about the Rabin assassination and associated conspiracy theories.

“Listen, I want to talk to you about some stuff. Do your friends talk about Arabs in school?”

“[My teacher] does.”

“Really? When?”

“When we do [prayers] for the soldiers or people that are sick.”

“What does she say?”

“They throw rocks on us.”

“Do your friends ever call each other Arabs when playing, or say anything?”

“No, but today [friend] asked his ima if he is Arab.”

“He is not Arab… do you know that where I work sometimes Arabs come in to help fix things? And Abba used to work with an Arab guy. And lots of Arabs work around us. And they don’t throw rocks. Most Arabs don’t throw rocks.”

“More throw rocks or less throw rocks?”

“Way less throw rocks.”

“But why do some throw rocks?”

“Because they are angry.”

“But why are they angry?”

“Because sometimes Israelis or Jews make mistakes and do not-nice things to them, and sometimes they do mistakes or not-nice things to Israelis. But you know how we always say that when someone hits you, you should first try talking to them and not hit back? So here people aren’t talking, they are just hitting back.”

“Why aren’t they talking?”

“Sometimes it’s hard to know who to talk to.”

“How do they throw it? The rocks?”

“I guess regular…”

“Like this?” (pitches)

“Sure. I guess.”

“…what kind of rocks?”

“Uh, regular rocks I guess.”

“From the ground?”

“Sure.”

“Where does it happen?”

“Where Arabs and Jews live close to each other.”

“Are the rocks big or small?”

“I dunno. Honestly, I’ve never seen it happen. I haven’t ever been there when it happens… yet…”

He looked at me, kind of surprised. It was too late to take it back but it registered I could have been anywhere near involved with an Arab throwing a rock.

“…but that’s a good thing.”

He turned six and a half today.

So I knew it was time for bed when he next asked,

“…but so Ima, why is your shirt inside-out?”

 

 

Nettles update: nineteen months

A couple months in maon daycare, and you’re becoming a tiny version of a kid.

Making ‘friends’ (well, maybe ‘petting’ potential friends/younger babies in your vicinity? Whether they like it or not?).

Adding new words to your vocabulary (as well as using a million words for the same thing, like tzetzi and geegee for pacifier? Or the same words for everything else – eemee is Ima? Me? Give me? Give me Ima?! Or what about mai, which is both water and milk, which is very inconvenient?).

Being Shabbat Ima, after plenty of practice swaying to shalom aleichem at home on Friday nights.