Dear unborn baby.

Dear unborn baby,

I wanted to give you some reasons why I haven’t yet acknowledged you out loud or here or written you an encouraging letter about life on the outside or my hopes and dreams for you.

Haven’t been reflecting, haven’t been meditating, haven’t been exploring.

I wanted to do it elegantly, passionately, beautifully… but that’s not going to happen. Here are four reasons why:

1. Work life balance is more work than balance these days. I will regret this. I already do. This could be the last time for me, and it’s gone by in a blink. I wish I was stopping to smell roses. Excuses, excuses. We’ll bond more on maternity leave.

2. I’m not ready to admit it’s almost over. I usually end up opening up about it all towards the end. This time that’s been harder. For a few reasons. The one I listed above. The fact that it may be the last time I do this. If there’s something 90% mental about giving birth to a baby, then this is the thing that will probably shape it the most.

3. Hate to break it to you… but this ain’t my first rodeo. You’re being born to a world where you already have three overlords. You must have heard it by now, in stereo. One will steal the spotlight, one will smoosh you to pieces, and one will mess with you constantly. The reason I’m saying this is because that’s what it’s like for me, and I’m their mom. What will your super power be?

4. Maybe there’s been plenty of bonding after all. I’m not much of a complainer. And the past year has been up and down and inside out. Priorities busted, losing myself. But you’ve been in there the whole time. You know everything. You’ve felt it with me, for better or worse. Way too much caffeine. Then no caffeine. Panic. Anger. Stress. Laughter. Success. Joy. More laughter, so hard, I may have peed a little. That’s on you, baby.

By the way, I took you all the way to Australia. Before you had eyeballs. Ok?

It would seem this letter was more for me than you. To convince myself that for a fourth time, I won’t really be screwing it up.

Right, baby?

See you on the fun side.

Bebe update: Eight months.

I consider this your ‘coming out’ month. Your debutante ball.

In the last few weeks, you have sprouted your first two teeth (the bases of them anyway). Just as we were starting to wonder if you’d be a gummy girl forever.

You started standing up, holding onto the table, couch, walker, your brother for support. You’re not interested in laying down at all, and even crawling is getting boring…

…or so I’m assuming since you freakin’ took steps while holding onto your walker last week. Seriously? That’s how you’re gonna play it? Apparently your mama walked at 10  months, so I guess this is like 1% of the ‘I hope you have a daughter just like you’ blessing/curse I was given… shudder.

And you found your voice, little Ariel. It happened after watching a Cookie Monster special. Are you hinting you’re ready for new snacks? Why have you been keeping it to yourself this whole time? Now you’ve got lots to say, like ‘yayayaya’ and ‘mamama’ and a ton of grunting, for some reason.

You came quietly, and you, for the most part, behave calmly. It’s been a quiet and calm sort of love, sneaking up on us, and now Bebe, I’m madly in love with you.

Time flies when you’re pulling yourself across tiles.

One day, you’re nursing your brand-newborn in your bed at home.

The next, (or 5.5 months later) you turn around for under a minute only to turn back and realize your baby is not where you left her, but rather pulling herself at a steady pace across the floor, reaching into the bottom shelf, pulling out a basket of toy cars, and sucking on one.

In the blink of a childhood.

Bebe update: Five months.

My favorite thing of all time right now:

No one makes Bebe laugh like Koala does. He doesn’t even have to do anything major. Maybe he’s wiggling his bum. Maybe he’s opening and closing his mouth while staring into space. But if Bebe is there and watching, all of a sudden she’s cracking up in her goofy snorty laugh.

Oh, how every little girl wants a big brother!

Aside from laughter, we started with her new daycare situation, which, much like everything else Bebe does, has not been dramatic or stressful. She is and she lets things be.

Her appetite has intensified as aside from nursing, sucking my shoulder, and eating my hair, she is devouring fruits, now up to three kinds a day.

Yet she’s still pretty small. Little Bebe, looks just like her daddy. Blue eyes turned hazel. Grabbing, cooing, floor-swimming.

And the occasional plant-watching.

Dedicated to Hadas.

When I was 8-9 months pregnant with Bebe, cold-blooded murderers swept into a sleeping family’s Itamar home on Shabbat and slaughtered defenseless parents and harmless children.

One of the victims was Hadas Fogel, a baby just a few months old.

I haven’t stopped thinking of Hadas since then. Once in a while, I’ll look at my own girl and the pain of learning about that horror will creep back. When she reaches another month old, I think of the little infant whose newness, purity, innocence was somehow not enough to stop someone from slaughter.

What a world to bring a baby into.

By the way, I don’t buy the story they’ve fed us on who committed the murders. Far be it from me to pretend to be an expert, but something in my gut tells me there’s something wrong with the way the story has just faded from national memory…

Koala update: Big brother edition.

One the of most common things I was told before ‘the bebe’ was born was: Brace for impact from your two-year-old.

With that, we prepped him as best we could, giving him a bebe of his own to ‘practice’ with and reciting daily the list of family members’ names over and over, with a fourth addition. Also, believe it or not, teaching him the number ‘four’ helped, using the classic family scenario on the backs of most cereal boxes.

And, my dear squishable Koala, you have rocked it. You are, for the last ten weeks, the ideal big brother for a baby girl: loving her when convenient, ignoring her when boring, and trying to help when dressing, changing and crying.

Things I love:

  • The ‘tova’ you so generously dole out.
  • The questions you ask about her. Mostly ‘bebe?’, but, I know what you mean.
  • The 2-year-old softly shhhing the newborn.
  • Your insistence, at bedtime, to kiss the bebe on the cheek when saying goodnight.

And, luckily, we’re able to use this older sibling status to delineate between babies and big boys; one of those groups uses a motzetz, and the other doesn’t. Someone is getting a big boy bed next week, and someone else will stay in a crib. And one of you is too small to help mama around the house, but one of you is totally awesome at it.

I know that when Bebe starts drooling on your shoes, grabbing for your toys, ripping up your drawings, you will get upset. The hitting will start. The tattle-taling. Part of life, Koala. But just remember that you’re an older brother and that’s an awesome responsibility, one that I hope you will always cherish.

And it hasn’t ceased to make me smile that when you see a cereal box with four family members on it, you still recite our family members’ names just like I showed you all those months.