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: Lil Mr. Independent.

I love how, when we try to do something for you, you say - declare – your name in protest, and then do it yourself.

I love how when we’re trying to rush you, and scoop you up to carry you upstairs, and you just aren’t having it, you turn around, go back down, and come back up.

I love how you pick up your lil pink camera and call us together for a ‘pho-to,’ and if one of us isn’t smiling or our arms aren’t wrapped around each other, you sharply correct us.

Koala update: Two years.

Happy birthday, Koala! I appreciate that you woke up today at the same hour you were born two years ago – 6:10 am. Could be worse; we’ve been there together, haven’t we?

And here I thought the first year saw the most change from start to finish… But the second year definitely held its own; there’s been a whole lot of moving, talking, and personality-developing. And of course, tantruming.

And here we are, Koala.

You are, in short, a love. Incredibly sweet. Curious. Sensitive. Funny. Careful.  And when you’re not those things, you’re loud, expressive, intense, demanding, dramatic. Essentially, you’re two. And you’re buckets of fun.

There’s nothing like laughing at your antics, but I notice that lately you’re becoming self conscious about being seemingly laughed at. It’s with, Koala. Don’t shy from your inner funny – keep us cracking up. It’ll get you far as a child of immigrants.

It’s been a helluva month, too – you became a big brother, and you’re adjusting in stride. We’re riding out the initial wave together, and then soon we’ll be focusing on some lesser – but still toddler life-altering – changes. You’ll be getting a bed soon. You’ll be toilet-training very soon. And you’ll be in the older group at gan next year.

What I’m looking forward to as we toddle ahead to three: Watching, listening, and learning from you as you develop your bilingual language skills. Being an audience to your growing imagination. Witnessing you grow from little baby to big brother.

The ‘Ima’ mystery, solved.

Recently I noted that Koala picked up on the fact that Ima = mama. And when I go and get him at the gan, he runs up to me with his big hug and says, Ima! like all the other kids.

But since the week started, it became apparent that Ima has another expressive use for him. And for the life of us, we couldn’t figure out what it meant. Koala has been yelling Ima! Ima! Ima! as loud as he can, while appearing to be looking for something – when I’m standing right there.

So it became clear to me that it must have another meaning for him, but what?

Then yesterday I got it: He hears the other kids in gan call out Ima when they are angry or sad or upset or impatient… So I think he thinks you just yell it when your angry or sad or upset or impatient…

And, let’s face it, he’s not too far off.

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 two months.

I can’t believe my newborn/almost one-year-old/one-year-old/one-and-a-half-year-old/nearly two-year-old is nearly two years old.

I can’t believe we can have conversations that rate somewhere between caveman grunts and sentences.

And it’s been fun to hear him react to others, whether it’s a toy he converses with or one random day a couple weeks ago, on the way out of the car to go to gan, he turns to Abba and says, ‘See you soon!’

This month we also get a response after telling him we love him – ‘I you.’

Maybe the chattiness has to do with the reading he enjoys; I assume the language of his gibberish goes both ways, since he is an avid reader both at gan and at home.

The tantrums have taken a turn for the hectic lately, but I’m ok with attributing that to… ‘personality.’ People don’t become great without a little defiance, right?

And maybe in some alternative universe, it’s perfectly appropriate to throw a fit if your sleeves aren’t rolled up.

How can I not eat this?

I love coming home from work and unwinding with Koala for a few minutes. Or half an hour. Or hour. However it ends up any particular day.

Today we played with trains. Unfortunately, Koala has a parent with a short attention span, which I suppose might be a genetic misfortune.

So after the train was wound up to make another round, I got up and wandered over to see what work emails I had to respond to.

Next thing I know I look down and Koala is holding my leg, looking up at me, and saying:

“Mama! Bo! More.”

Sorry work, but the trains win.

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.