Koala update: five and a half years

It would be an understatement to say it’s been a hectic half a year. But it hasn’t been too busy not to notice what a big kid you’ve become.

You’ve taken to Nettles as a big brother does; you’ve bonded even more with Bebe even if you do bicker a bit more (a testament to her communication skills, to your opening even more space to let her have valid feelings and actions).

The week you learned checkers, you taught your sister checkers. That might have been the best part of your enthusiasm.

You get down on the ground to see the world the way the baby does.

You can’t stop writing and drawing. Copying any words you see, in English or Hebrew. Drawing the characters in your mind, whether pirates or rocket ships.

You learn from everyone around you. The yoga thing definitely stuck.

You are fascinated by how things work, by making things work. Including your uncle’s PhD robotics work.

You’re – well, we’ll call it resourceful. I can’t throw anything away without you inspecting it first. Maybe there’s something you can do with it. Maybe you’ll save it for a rainy day. Or a paper pool.

You know who is dear to you. There are friends, and then there are friends. You treat them well. After initial caution, you’re sensitive. You share a little better. You laugh a lot. You love them close.

Koala update: Ten months.

Koala is ten months old and both his life and mine are starting to fall into place.

While Koala does not sleep through the night at this point, he does have a bedtime and he does collapse into it every night, for which I’m grateful. Having a routine is not one of my fortes, but it does mean knowing at a certain time of night we can commence the next part of the day (working from home, eating dinner, cleaning up) while Koala soundly sleeps in another room.

And, yes, I do a lot of nursing overnight. I’ve pretty much always nursed on demand and being away from each other for 8 hours of the day might mean more frequent night feedings, and I’m ok with it… to a point.

On the flip side, Koala has managed to find himself in a situation where his four upper front teeth are coming in at the same time. Is that like having triplets, where it’s really painful but you get ’em all out of the way at once? It’s actual torture to watch (though it’s worse to go through, surely). Two of the teeth are in and two have just cracked.

But it’s not all teeth and sleep over here…

This month, Koala decided to buck up and walk some. A few Thursdays ago I was working from home and Koala was kvetching for attention. He’s at the point where I can’t work on my laptop sitting on the couch because he stands up, leans over and presses the keys (and closes programs!). So I looked around to find something new to distract him with and voila! In the corner was the lawn mower-esque walker we got when he was born, then dismissed as a present useful only in The Future.

The Future was this past month, because for fun I stood Koala up and put his hands on the handle and guided him while holding him steady. We took a few steps together, which was nice and patronizing (apparently). I let him sit back down and went off to get the camera because I thought a photo of him leaning on it could be nice for the grannies, but when I got back he was walking with the walker. By himself. Like a drunk person. But still.

Within a few days he was going from couch to coffee table to potted plant to couch. Anything that can be pushed (and makes a scrape noise against the tiles) is fair game as mode of transport. Koala is on the go.

So, yes, now there are plenty of photos and videos portraying thanks mama but I can do it myself.

In other news, Koala fell in love with a blue balloon that still limply floats through my salon, covered in drool, dust and some kind of white balloon decay.

Also, I’m pretty sure he’s learning to pose for pictures.

This is how we do it.

The following are a few excerpts from an email I wrote to my birthing class instructor explaining how the birth went in my view.  By the way, I highly recommend the class I took (or taking a class at all – it’s not all superficial breathing, but more about awareness). I also recommend having a doula there. It’s not just for you, but also your partner, who is generally not an experienced labor coach. If you’re interested in who I used for either of those, just be in touch.

I just wanted to be able to tell you that the birth was really a positive, wonderful experience for us… Everyone’s first questions – whether they have had kids or not – are “Was it painful? How long was your labor? Did you take the epidural?” and I am starting to realize they may not be comfortable with the answers I give…

Was it painful? I guess, but not nearly as bad as I would have thought… Aside from the fact that I barely remember the pain by now… And the midwives couldn’t believe I was in labor. They kept going back and forth about how relaxed we were. And we really did feel relaxed and organized. We had a system down and it just worked.

How long was the labor? Well, it was about 36 hours from start to finish, but the time flew, I barely realized… I really did take one contraction at a time, like you said. That break – the fact that there is always a break – really did keep me going.

Did I take an epidural? I didn’t even consider it… I didn’t even remember it was an option… My main methods of pain relief were: hot showers – amazing! Remembering to take one contraction at a time… Trying new things when one position wasn’t working… The education we got from your class was a huge help in understanding what was going on and what should be going on. My husband was an amazing source of support and ‘pain relief’…  I have no idea how we could have done it without having a doula there. Sure, we would have done it, but it would not have been as smooth and relaxed.

So if anyone asks what made the birth successful (as opposed to, ‘was it painful,’ etc?) I would say:

  • Taking a course!
  • An amazing, supportive, informed partner.
  • An experienced doula.
  • Not expecting any one way going into it, but being prepared mentally for the general experience.
  • Going to the hospital as late as possible!
  • Hot showers. Water crisis be damned (though I did shut it off between contractions… we’re in Israel after all).