Koala update: Three years.

Koala, if you’ll wait patiently over there a minute (ha) while I tell the future parents/new parents a little secret:

One thing I’ve learned this past year is that the ‘terrible twos’ is a misnomer. The alleged phase starts way earlier than two, and by the time that two is turning into a three, it’s long over and out.

The fun’s begun way before they’re blowing out three candles.

Back to you, love.

Yes, it was tough in the beginning of the year. Let’s put side the new baby sister just three weeks shy of your second birthday. And the moving on to a big boy bunk bed with its share of scary aspects.

We weren’t communicating very well. You were sorting out language – two languages – and we were trying to figure out how best to make you understand while learning, most of the time, we were the ones who needed to understand…

That our kid was actually trilingual – Hebrew, English and… crying.

But time’s gone on and you’ve dropped that last one; we know it’s a ruse and you know we know. That’s allowed for more attention spent on the fun stuff.

Like when you started playing ‘same as’ with language… ‘cat’ ‘חתול’ – same as! ‘Umbrella’ ‘מטריה’ – same as! And the game has evolved in the last month… paging Princess Bride, we are full on rhyming and laughing while doing it. ‘Hand ‘sand’ – same as!

But man oh man. The first few times I heard you break out your resh… I could stand up and say HaTikvah with my hand over my heart. Now there’s an oleh milestone. You’ve come a long way from when the kids at gan laughed because you pronounced your girlfriend’s name Shee-ra… like an אמרקאי.

No one’s laughing now that you’ve got two languages to show off at gan (and your ganenets are always kinda curious slash showing off anything they know in English).

But what’s still cute is that your L’s in English are actually, oddly, NG’s. So it’s good your favorite color isn’t yengo. (But it is orange. What is up with that? And the fact that you LOVE olives?)

We’ve also gotten a kick out of your navigating language concepts… life concepts… mainly the concept of ‘something’ which is everything and nothing, all at once, but to you, it’s just one thing, one specific thing you know you want but can’t name, can only describe, and that something – that sumping – well, it’s everything until you can get your hands on it.

Moving on… lower down in your universe. You were toilet trained this year, a while ago. The undies were an adventure, still are on a day-to-day as you carefully select the pair you’ll wear backwards today (as you so rationally explain, you want to see the picture on the front).

But you’ve also set out on the long and windy road to knowing the differences between girls and boys, Imas and Abbas. Ima and Bebe vs Abba and Koala.

Though, for the good portion of the year, as you grew more and more excited for your big, first time haircut, you did believe that the key difference in the world of people was long hair and short, or as you call it – not having a haircut – like Koala and Ima – and those who do have a haircut – like Abba – and Bebe.

As you talk more, play more, sit on the floor and imagine more… as you take lines from gan stories sugar coating יציאת מצרים and repeatedly cast the characters of your imagination ‘בתוך הבור’ – you become sweeter, you become happier and you become more and more fun. More of the little partner in play I always hoped for, ever since I was a camp counselor for three-year-olds way back when. Ever since it became my favorite age.

The secret spice is innocence… driving through the checkpoint the other day, you spotted the soldiers, and told me they’re carrying drills. Like Abba. Like Grandpa.

I hope so, Koala. I hope that’s all you ever know.

And I have a confession to make, Koala. Please don’t report us.

You didn’t really get to go on a beach until you were three. Exactly. As in today. Literally.

Yes, your native-islander mother and Australian father denied you that pleasure until you were three.

But we had a blast today, didn’t we? Before you go back to therapy and work it out, I’ll say this: I don’t think as a smaller child you would have enjoyed it as much as today, as I swooshed you up for the waves, as you basked in a salty face full of a rite of passage childhood pleasure.

It’s all a lot to squeeze into one big happy birthday post, Koala. There’s so much about you I love, I become inspired by… and that I feel challenged by. You’re constantly teaching me about patience, even if it seems like it’s the other way around. You’re inspiring me to keep going forward because there’s a million worlds to discover in a single soul. You’re putting the fear of god, man, evil, loss in me.

You’re keeping me on my toes. You’re guiding me through life. You made me a mother three years ago today.

And with every day born, you make me a mother all over again.

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.

Koala update: Nine months.

At this point, the growing happens behind my back or out of the corner of my eye… I have to catch it when I can. Kind of like I’ve had to do since Koala discovered the stairs two weeks ago.

From the kitchen, I can suddenly turn around and see that Koala is reaching under the couch to get a ball. He looks like a kid.

Or I catch him peripherally, grabbing at the photo albums and I’ll turn and say, “no,” in my fancy stern mom voice. He’ll turn and look at me curiously. A few seconds later a cheeky grin spreads across his cheek-y face.

That cheeky grin. My favorite new thing? Koala knows how to make me laugh. And he uses it. Chances are, he grew to know my laugh while in the womb and is getting me back for all the bouncing up and down I caused him those 39 weeks.

My second favorite new thing? His relationship with Cheerios. The fact he always smells like crackers now. Baby soap and crackers.

Another favorite new thing? The sounds he makes. Especially when he yells at a wall from an inch away.

Or make that the internal rhythm he discovered a couple weeks ago, expressed in the form of a baby booty shake.

Expressive, he is. Koala arguably said his first word this month. During bath time, which is by far his favorite part of the day. He tried so hard, anyway. Da. Duh. Dththth. Duh. Dth. Duch. Duck! The mini rubber duckies he plays with in the bath were so appreciative, too.

My boy is nine months old, and so is my state of motherhood. And as such, I think this week I have truly begun to lose it. Not my mind, but my energy. Any adrenaline or freshly baked maternal excitement that’s been keeping me going the past months has drained, cooled, conked out.

How do all you working moms out there do it? How do I work two full time jobs, one that entails a nine-hour day and the other which requires 24?

I feel spent, and I join my parental peers in the perpetual search for the holy grail of parenthood – an endless, renewable energy source.

In the meantime, I look forward to Koala pitching in on the “Bring your baby to work” days.