New baby: One month.

There is nothing like those first few days with your newly born baby. It’s a gray zone; they were just inside you, an extension of your body, but not yet uncurled, open, an entity apart from you.

One of my favorite parts is the smell. Before they’ve been cleaned, had a bath, smell like laundry detergent. That’s a baby smell. It’s not the swooning… it’s just… the smell of fresh, pure chance at life. Life itself. Before it gets interfered with.

It’s been a month, and for the first few weeks there, I have to admit – it was tough to bond with my new girl. I think that’s partly due to all the distractions I had: Pesach, family visiting, unfinished business at work and, well, my other kid. It’s also partly due to the fact that I didn’t experience the first-time overwhelmingly powerful sensation of becoming a mother; of pushing a baby into the world for the first time; the adrenaline rush that comes with it all. I kinda… did what I had to do to meet my baby. And then get back to life. And that life is having two kids, a husband, long distance relationship with extended family, a job in transition, a newly-bought apartment, etc.

Secretly, maybe it runs deeper than that. Maybe it’s that I’ve always been a bit uncomfortable around other girls. Maybe because I never had a sister. Maybe I feel awkward about how much love I already have for one kid, and where to start with a second.

But now that she’s a month old, me and baby girl are down to business, getting to know each other. There is a lot of eye-catching, eye contact. Mothering smiles, babylicious nearly-smiles. The mother-baby dance. Nose-to-nose, fingers wrapped around fingers, lips brush forehead.

We’re going to figure this out together.

*Something* was due today…

According to one of three calculations (?!), today was a due date for Bebe. We’ve been betting on whether the final closing of the apartment would come through before the baby. Initially, it seemed like apartment was a no-brainer; we already live there and have a solid relationship with our landlady for three years.

But, foiled by the bank, it was not to be – baby came last Friday, and lo and behold! – we are, today, homeowners.

I’m putting together a ‘buying property/getting a mortgage in Israel’ guide with our own little lessons from the process. God help anyone who cares to venture into this murky business.

But now I get to paint a mural on our mirpeset!

On the sixth day…

And on the sixth day, man… And on the seventh, they rested (sort of).

Our baby girl was born in our home this past Friday, just in time for Shabbat.

The labor took less than a third the time it took with Koala, and she beats her brother by 150 grams at 2.85 kilos – and way more hair (if that was possible). And baby girl shares her Jewish birthday with Zayde and cousin.

And so far, her utter chillness is making it really easy to write all this down…

 

We’ve come a long way, baby.

Hey, littler one.

My midwife says you’re ready to roll. Or squeeze yourself out of my body, whatever. She also says I’m ready. So I guess that means this is it, huh?

Needless to say, I’m really looking forward to meeting you. So is your big brother, though I apologize in advance if things are a little bumpy at first on that front. It’s only natural, as I suppose we all find out having siblings.

Last time, after giving birth to Koala, the thing I missed the most about pregnancy was being so close to him all the time. Feeling him moving, doing his thing. I think I will miss that most about pregnancy with you, too.

This time has been so much easier in so many ways – and gone by faster. I actually feel a bit guilty about already not having the same kind of time and attention I had the first time around. But that’s the way it goes, right? One day I hope you’ll understand it. Better my kids should have siblings, I think.

So… thanks for being so calm and easy so far. I appreciate the support. And let’s make the exit strategy a simple one: get out in one piece, and leave me in one piece. Then we’ll really let the fun begin…

Can’t wait.

 

 

Koala update: Twenty three months.

Well, this is it, Koala. The last update before you become a big brother, assuming all goes as planned.

I can’t believe it’s been two years. I can’t believe it’s only been two years. And now your whole life is going to be turned upside-down.

And you’ll be even more awesome for it, I promise.

I know you’re as ready as you can be. We’ve been prepping you, and I’m pretty sure gan has been too; I sure didn’t teach you to crumple up your bib, gently take it in your arms, rock it, and say over and over again, “boobah… boobah…”

But we’ve been doing other things. Like introducing you to the ‘bebe’ in mama’s belly. Or encouraging you to feed, share, and care for your own bebe doll.  And you really do.

I love the mornings when, even before you request your ‘bilk’ you point to your water bottle and direct it towards bebe. Or insist on giving her some of your chocolate, your blankie, or even your motzetz.

It’ll be challenging, sweets. For both of us. But we’ll be fine. And I know that you’ll be there for me when I’m having new mother moments of doubt and fear.

Or maybe I won’t have them this time, since it seems in two years I’ve managed to do a pretty o.k. job.

Koala update: Twenty one months.

I’m having a hard time believing we’re three months to two-years-old. I’m having a harder time believing we’re three months to two children.

It’s a really great time for Koala lately. The teeth are in, the whining has been at a minimum, we’ve learned more about identifying his moods, words, wants and needs to avoid meltdowns.

Well, at least for now. A lot of my time with Koala lately (aside from enjoying every second of this age) has been wondering how the Ultimate Meltdown post-NewBaby will play out. Well, it’ll be what it’ll be.

For now…

Social life and public speaking.

The visit to Australia did wonders for Koala’s social life and public speaking. Hanging with eight cousins for four weeks (and all the squealing and hugging and emoting that comes with it) opened Koala up even more than he already was. And between Huz and I, we know it’s clearly not genetic, so go figure.

The word count soars every day (the latest: ‘cheese and vegemite!’). We even have a couple of phrases – ‘don’t want,’ and one of my favorites – ‘aww, man!’ Obviously I taught him ‘dude’ and obviously he says it in a way that sounds like an Israeli arse trying to look cool in New York. The most fun word to hear him say is ‘juice.’ It comes out like ‘jooshz.’

And better yet, combining both achievements, Koala can now say both his girlfriends’ names (Shira and Talia).

Introducing’pee!’ and ‘poo!’

Hello there, have you met our new friends, Pee and Poo? Koala has, and I’m finding that:

  1. He likes to make their presence known.
  2. He likes to accompany Mama when she, well, you know.
  3. He insists on trying the toilet out for himself when nature’s call rings.

So, armed with a Sesame Street mini toilet seat (Elmo! Ernie!), we give it a shot every once in a while. Mainly going through the motions (and diapers). I think we’re going to take it one day at a time; the Big Shakeup in April is enough for one tiny toddler to handle (see above, Ultimate Meltdown).

Bathing Beebee

But it’s not all Meltdowns and Shakeups around here. For a little while now we have been getting Koala acquainted with ‘Beebee’ (it’s how he pronounces baby). ‘Mama’s beebee’ refers to my bulging belly. ‘Bath with Beebee’ is nightly quality time for Koala and his little baby doll. And any photo of Koala before six months ago is quickly labeled ‘beebee’ (how they forget so fast…).

Happy Australia Day, by the way.

Guess he drinks more at gan.

My baby woke up last night in pain from teething. We gave him his motzetz, his blankie, Acamol, but what he finally ended up calling out for, through his sad, sad baby tears, was…

“!מים! מים”

Huz and I looked at each other as he mouthed to me in surprise, ‘mayim?!’

It’s not Koala’s first Hebrew word, or his second or third. But it was just so… natural.

I have a bilingual baby.

How how it all begins.

It’s hard to believe. I’m a little choked up. I didn’t think it would come out this way.

Koala started recognizing dogs a while ago. He points to them and calls, “Da!” He calls the plush wolf my brother got him “Da.” He was even getting to the point of recognizing them in photos – “Da.” It furthers the habit that next door to his summer metapelet lives a giant, friendly German Shepherd, who I’ve been coaxing him to say hi to every day.

So, I started with animal noises. First up, of course: woof woof. Or ruff ruff.

You know, typical dog sounds.

Today, Koala came home from the metapelet and started jumping around the apartment. “Oh! Oh!” “Oh! Oh!” We thought it was hilarious, because it was this deep, lips-in-an-O-shape, hearty “Oh!”

I followed Koala up to his room, him “Oh!”ing all the way. He went straight for the wolf.

“Oh! Oh!”

And then it hit me – I’m not the only one encouraging conversations with the German Shepherd.

He wasn’t saying “Oh!” And he wasn’t trying to say “Ruff!” or “Woof!”

My boy is Israeli. He was saying “How! How!”

So wrong. So unnatural. So sabra.