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.

That mother.

And, poof! Just like that, Koala and I are in the States.

The only thing accurate in that statement is that Koala and I are in the States. Koala and I, minus husband, minus mother’s helper, minus sanity. I took my 7-month old on a business trip to New York. Namely – I managed a trans-Atlantic flight with a baby, minus a parent.

It was a challenge. I’ve seen other ‘single’ moms do it and they just seem so cool and casual about it. Maybe I’m forgetting all the not cool and casual moms I’ve seen do it. I was not cool or casual. Or maybe I was, but Koala wasn’t. Nope – tooth  #2 decided to make its debut over the 12 hours it takes to fly from Tel Aviv to New York.

So there I am, sitting in the front of the middle section on the plane. My baby is coughing, sneezing, at one point possibly running a temperature. There’s Acimoli everywhere, snot everywhere and a lot of whining and groaning.

And so it was: I was that mother with the annoying baby.

Even stiff old charedi men were reaching out by the end to try and shut the baby up. So that’s what my conflict resolution degree was for…

Koala update: Seven months.

They grow up so fast. They grow up so fast. They grow up so fast.

Dammit, I’m surrounded by cliches. It’s getting kinda repetitive.

But I’ll take a cribful of cliches for all the milestones Koala has experienced in the last month.

He worked really hard to sit – every day, one leg under the tush, push ups… And then after a while, sit he did… Man, when he finally got it – what a look of satisfaction. I don’t think I’ve ever worked so hard to accomplish anything in my life (except maybe sitting). And all the while he worked on sitting, he worked on moving, too. And then a couple days ago, wah! He was one hand in front of the other, moving towards Papa. These last few days have held many surprises for newly-crawling Koala, as well as many surprises for various home furnishings. God help you, potted plants.

And all the while he’s been crawling, he’s been picking up a leg as if to stand. That’s the point where I’m like, whoa, cowboy. Not so fast. Mama hasn’t childproofed the kitchen yet.

But crawling has opened all new doors for Koala. Or should I say floors? Speaking of the kitchen, he has begun his licking the floor-under-the-fridge immunization program. We’re all very proud. All wonderful things, yes. But what about the teething front? Notes from the teething front:

It’s rough out here on the front lines… of the bottom gum. The parentals are hallucinating as they wake up every 2 hours to rub bottom gum with Orajel and then fall back asleep.

Just in from the teething front – Right bottom tooth has cracked through! Repeat, right bottom tooth has sprung!

Report: Right bottom tooth has sprung after an excruciating and sleepless and excruciatingly sleepless week.

That was the beginning of the month. On the eve of the seventh month, left bottom tooth has begun its trouble. Always on a weekend, folks. This kid cracks teeth on weekends. But the very best development this month: The first major syllable milestone. Out of nowhere, laying on his back, staring up at the ceiling, Koala burst out into a chorus of da da da da.

They were soft sounds, angelic, cherubic syllables I wanted to hug for a long time. Da da da. It just rolled off his tongue. It was probably as good as the first smile and the first laughter. Of course, he communicates in all sorts of ways, but this just feels like the beginning of a higher communication, a human communication.

Hebrew vocabulary for new parents (הורים).

I’ll soon be coming on five years of Israelihood, and of course every day I’ve added new academic and obscure Hebrew to my arsenal. But expanding vocabulary is more than just learning new words; it’s about knowing what even the most familiar words mean in new contexts.

For instance: being a mom.

Here is part of a growing list:

לידה – birth: a new life is born, an older life is freakin exhausted.

טיטול – disposable diaper: the only carbon footprint you don’t give a crap about.

מטפלת – nanny: the ‘other’ woman.

פרות – fruits: what your nanny loves to feed your kid by the bucketful.

עצירות – constipation: what happens to your kid after a bucketful of fruit.

שלשול – diarrhea: what happens to your kid after a bucketful of fruit.

רוק – drool: nature’s toy disinfectant.

שיניים – teeth: cute little pearls of evil.

אמא – momma: a name by which I am automatically able to make tears dry, monsters disappear, and someday buy Rated R movie tickets for my 15-year-old.

Welcome to parenthood.

So this is it, huh?

You get through a really hard week. You get invited out for both meals for Shabbat. You  breath and say, hey, we can go out the whole day Friday! You make plans together. You prepare everything the night before.

You get woken up too early on Friday. Your kid is sneezing and coughing and snotting and miserable.

You go the doctor at 8:00 am. He smirks and welcomes you to parenthood.

You take home your child and do your best.

You grab an hour out in Jerusalem, just as the sun begins its descent.

Your kid is feeling much better just as Shabbat comes in.

You hope it lasts the weekend.