Thankfulness.

It was technically Koala’s second Thanksgiving, but it was the first he could actually eat at. And eat he did. The toddler with three nationalities has plenty of room in his little belly for turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, potatoes and pie. But then, who doesn’t?

And who doesn’t love drumming the 8-kilo turkey before mama starts the marinating?

Excuse the moment, but I also wanted to list a few things I’m thankful for this year. I’ll try not to lay on too much cheese, since we all just had a healthy helping of poultry. But…

It’s been on my mind a lot lately – how much I have. Hopefully I’ll never fully know or understand how much I should be grateful; all I can do is hope the good in my life is as plentiful as I feel it is now.

I’m in love with my son. It’s just such a complete, wholesome, out of bounds kind of love that I can’t fully express it. All I know is that I can never hold him enough, see him enough, feel him around me enough. He’s perfect for me, and I imagine that my husband and I are perfect for him. Like we are puzzle pieces jigsawed from the same board, and now we’ve all found each other.

And then there are the pieces still missing; the little one, the koala-to-be. I feel so lucky to be doing this all over again. Though there are times when I really wonder if I can love two kids like this. Is it possible? Do I have enough space? I honestly don’t know, but somehow humanity has birthed multiple children per family, so I’m about to find out how far the reaches of motherhood truly go.

In general, life is good. I try to appreciate as much as I can, and I know that being human, I’ll never truly get to point B in that respect. But I think about it often – what I have, and what I think I don’t have. And what I have is more than I ever could have wished for to keep me going in my life.

Koala update: Nineteen months.

Cars. Cleaning. Cartoons of Latin descent.

It’s been a busy month 19 for Koala. He’s managed a girlfriend – one who gives him a kiss on the cheek every morning and kisses up to me when I come in at the end of the day; quite assertive if you ask me (true Israeli woman). He’s fallen in love with another woman, Dora. Grandma is visiting this week. And he was Abba shel Shabbat in gan today.

New words this month: Bear, pear, o-pah!, and beep beep. And for some reason, na’alayim is easier to say than shoes.

Brooms are not safe. The sponja is not spared. Koala likes to clean, or rather twirl, ride, and wave cleaning supplies in the form of sticks. Toddlers will be boys.

In light of the fact that I have Thanksgiving dinner to finish up and Shabbat to make happen, the rest of 19 can be expressed in photos…

Signs of second life.

Differences between first and second pregnancy:

  • You’re fatter, earlier.
  • You know too much.
  • There’s already a kid in the picture, sucking up your time and energy (and probably your vitamin-intake, too).
  • A lot of second-time jokes (Double the fun! Back for more? Double trouble!)
  • For some reason I can’t pinpoint, it’s harder announcing it this time.

Ta da!

Before we go any further, I need to get this out so I can move on:

I don’t love the physical attention. I’m a private person and I don’t like my business growing on the outside where everyone can see. I like having secrets. I hate being observed belly-first when I walk in a room. I object to awkwardness of all types, and I must decline the requests to pat anything on my body.

There. Some reasons I can pinpoint why it’s harder this time.

Tonight I felt bebe #2 kick for the first time, so I thought it was high time to come on out about it. Little bebe #2, making yourself known. I’ve been waiting for you. I think you’ll make a good roommate these next months.

My unsuspecting Koala is going to be a big brother to this unsuspecting new-child.

Actually, Koala is definitely suspecting. Suspecting, and hitting my belly as often as he can.

Round 2 – ding ding ding!

Koala update: Eighteen months.

“The fundamental job of a toddler is to rule the universe.” (Lawrence Kutner)

I think something clicked when I left town for a workweek and Koala realized I didn’t 110% revolve around his teeny-tiny universe. Well, aside from the fact that a year-and-a-half is a fine age to turn up the heat on acting out… But the hitting seems to have started while I was away (see more below).

“It helps if the hitter thinks you’re a little crazy.” (Nolan Ryan)

The hitting. It’s a bit unpredictable. I’m not too sure Koala is thinking this one through – why hit the hand that feeds you? (Then again, why bite the boob that feeds you?)

Also, it’s dredging up memories (and defense mechanisms) from growing up with brothers. But I’m not taking it personally. Or at least, trying not to.

“Jealousy is nothing more than a fear of abandonment.” (Unknown)

Ok, let’s go with that way to describe it. Koala has whined or flat-out bawled in the past when either of us picks up another baby, but lately it is definitely heightened. Perhaps he senses something?

Even months ago he got upset when I picked up a crying baby at his original daycare. With all the other kids and babies toddling around our lives lately, it’s definitely time to work on it.

“Pawwidge.” (Koala)

One helluva word for a beginner, no?

Koala update: Seventeen months.

Koala,

For a while now, I feel like I can talk to you. Mainly because, not only do you understand, you talk back.

Two things I can’t help noticing this month: you’re awfully clever and you’re very social. I’m thinking the first one must be some influence from your recently oleh-d uncle, though your shenanigans have been making us laugh for months.

The second – I don’t know, I’m guessing that skips a generation. Since you started your gan a month ago, you have been all over other kids, your own age group or not. Erev Yom Kippur, at shul, it was insanely fun to watch you walk up to groups of kids and just sit with them. Or clap when seeing an ‘old’ friend from your last metapelet. Or just babble to whoever would listen. Part of it is probably toddler-brand bravery, but part of it is your personality – which works for me, as you’re destined to grow up with immigrant parents.

You’re intense though. For all your highs, you can sure make us crazy with your passionate anger and your easy frustration. Friday night we tried going out for dinner for the first time since you were an infant, and relearned very quickly why we stopped doing that a long time ago. It was a display of your need for sleep routine, your easy distraction and your overtired acting out; a cruel reminder of what it’s like to fly with you.

But you also managed to entertain your hosts, carry on with charisma and make everyone laugh as you randomly, for the first time, pointed to a doll and started saying ‘bay-beh’ like an Elvis impersonator. Then you wouldn’t stop. Somehow, you always take care to redeem yourself.

We’re loving the personality, Koala. Keep it up.

Koala update: Sixteen months.

Let’s talk about… monsters.

As we have surely learned in the past sixteen months, monsters come in all shapes and sizes, colors and lengths of fur. Some are red and high pitched; others are blue and love to eat cookies.

Monsters have a grizzly, mean side. They roar when they’re angry, turn red with frustration, throw blocks at their mamas, and point at you accusingly. Their tempers run out in a snap, and from 0 to 60 they manage to squeeze out little monster tears to get their points across.

But monsters also have a yummy, happy, ticklish side. They hug their mama’s legs after she comes home from a day at work. They learn how to give kisses properly, so they can cover their parents’s faces with delicious monster kisses. They laugh for no reason and smile at anyone. They poke their belly buttons and point to their noses.

Unsurprisingly, little monsters know how to relish a cookie.

And they love, love, love to help put on their brand new shoes.

Ponder that, my little monster.

Koala update: Twelve months.

The year is here. Some kind of ultimate milestone. Profundity escapes me. I’m just impressed I’m still around, sane enough to tell the tale…

Starting with today – the first birthday. Since the birth-day. Vaccines aside, I’m fairly certain by the evidence that Koala enjoyed what I call a ‘naked cake grab’ at dinner time.

There’s nothing like an uninhibited naked cake grab. Gotta remember that when my next birthday rolls around.

As far as everything ‘meta’… I can’t cough up cliches. I’ll start with the last month.

Third time’s a charm… or it’s at least an impressive number: This past month made the third time Koala has traveled with me outside Israel in his little life. A well-traveled one-year-old – but one who does not travel well. We’re going to lay off the air travel for a little while.

But the trip was heart-warming and fun and adventurous. Nothing like the curiosity of a near-toddler in a big airport…

…or the satisfaction of a sleeping baby on a long flight.

In other news, the boy knows what he wants. He knows what he doesn’t want. And he knows how to get those points across. Since the day he was born, on this date last year.

Let’s hope he is not a world leader someday. My little kingpin is… well… spoiled. An only child. An indulged child. And trust me, I’m not a spoiler. But there’s nothing else that can hold my attention quite like Koala can.

There’s work to do before he gets the shock of his life when he has a sibling one day.

On the non-skills front, the first faux art project happened this month, with his American-Israeli metapelet while I worked at a company offsite.

That’s actually a very exciting prospect for me: The fridge covered in art projects. It’ll be even more exciting when I can tell he truly did it himself (when there’s a single, honest Crayola marking across a broad, white sheet).

Otherwise, between the standing on his own, the new scrunched up faces of disgust, the new words he’s picked up… It’s been a fun month watching Koala top off the past year.

And it’s been a wonderful, short, long, educational, hilarious, sleepless, mystical, challenging year, Koala. More and more and more to come.

Flying solo.

I’m scheduled to take a quickie business trip to New York this week – sans bebe and not pregnant, which makes it the first time that’s happened in two years. Fun fact: I’ve taken 5 of those kinds of trips to the States since summer of 2008.

Here is a list I compiled of all the things you can hope to do when you travel alone:

  • You can use the hand scanner at passport control in Ben Gurion.
  • You can at least hope for a quiet flight.
  • You can have a window seat.
  • You can take drugs to sleep on the plane.
  • You can pack light.
  • You don’t have to consider car seats when thinking about how you’re getting to your destination from the airport.
  • You can stay by BFFs in the city.
  • You can drink at conference parties.
  • You can manage your jet lag on your own terms.

Now all I have to hope is that this fever and stomach bug I somehow managed to contract disappears before my flight.