Zooey update: six months

Even after three other kids…

Even after seven years of parenting…

Even after hundreds, if not thousands, of sleepless nights…

It just goes to show you can still be taught.

Zooey, every day that you move, grab, scoot, reach, crawl as quickly as you can,

clinging to the idea that you can keep up with everyone here,

grabbing the bra by the horns…

…is another day you’ve taught me something new.

Zooey update: five months

It doesn’t matter how many babies you’ve had before. Or that they all looked like they came from the same mold. You’ll find yourself to sound repetitive, but also very very sincere, every few childbearing years.

So… hi Zooey. You are the cutest, smooshiest chubba chub I’ve ever bitten into.

To be fair – you are the first true chubba baby we’ve had.

I attribute this to the fact that you have held out – longer than your quite headstrong sister – on not accepting a pacifier or bottle anywhere near your face. We tried all the types and nothing. I’m actually impressed with you. You’re not aggressive about it – you give it a shot, look us in the eyes, and reject. Every time. Quite patiently, actually.

That’s not to say you won’t put everything else in your mouth.

Plastic grapes, rubber strawberry, your fingers, my fingers, a blanket, anything we leave on the floor, oh and also real food – you’ll have it at all.

We finally sat down and had you try some solid food, which I have to admit you have been pretty clear with me about your willingness to try. We finally got the point when you every so assertively pushed your face in your father’s bowl of dinner last week.

Interesting that it took that, but we didn’t quite pin it down when you assertively stuck your face in the pint of Ben & Jerry’s for the last licks the day before…

(Congrats, you win the family’s award for baby to get the earliest taste of ice cream).

So you’re really digging ingestion, just not a bottle of actual nutritious mother’s milk. Which is starting to get in the way of life, don’t you think Zoobs?

I’m starting to bring back the working mom lifestyle next week – your first foray into not having me around ever single second – and whereas I know you’ll be fine because I’ve been around this block a few times – this is a really really sad one for me.

There’s something final about this one. This is the longest maternity leave I ever took. It’s also the most intense – a lot of very real stay at home mom childcare moments. I’ve enjoyed every single second – I mean that very truly. I have not regretted anything or felt a need to rush back to the rat race. I haven’t worried about missing out elsewhere. This has been a deep exercise in living in the moment – and aside from anxiety related to going back to the rat race, I think I was able to achieve living in the moment with you a lot more easily than I have in the past.

We ran around Israel together. We flew to the States alone together. You’ve watched me keep my cool and lose my shit.

I’m really going to miss this time with you, Zoobs.

Let’s take a moment to cry it out. I know we’re gonna get through it. But there’s no shame in a therapeutic cry, Zooey.

 

Zooey update: four months

We’re in the States on a family visit and Zooey turns four months.

The themes of the last month include:

  • Very social smiles turn into very surprised sadness quickly… a rainbow of emotions.
  • Sisters in your face… Cosby show style…

  • Coos and coos and coos – there’s a lot to say, apparently.
  • Also bubbles and drool. A lot of bubbles and drool.
  • Wearing baby scrubs and otherwise modelling outfits your siblings never got through

  • Chub thighs. So proud of those.
  • Your second trip abroad in your lifetime. Ten-hour flights? No problem.
  • Desperately trying to figure out what will make you ok with sitting in the car… new car seats… mirrors… siblings’ singing… a creepy doll staring at you? Nope nope nope.

Zooey update: three months

Zoooooooey!

Biggest mind blown moment of this month: when we weighed you and you were 5 kilo just after turning two months. So that means we have more to mush, kiss, bite, pinch and tickle than I ever had with your siblings at this point.

Obviously your smiling, silent laughing, coo laughing, and laughing in mini fits when warranted. Which is often because everyone here is all over you, making faces, touching, tickling. Is that why you’ve proven to be so sociable?

Sociable, and intense – that’s what a lot of people you’ve met have said about you. Your sister Nettles was intense too. What was going on in there all those months? Or maybe it’s because, like everyone else in the family, I make you nuts till you push back?

You’ve learned to fit right in. It’s not so much ‘fit’ as it is ‘just is’ When everyone’s playing in front of you, you’re content. And sometimes we’ve had to force it out of necessity, because, well, you know. Four.

And you’re slowly bonding with each of your siblings… but no one more than Nettles, who I’m pretty sure thinks you’re a new toy I brought home for her pleasure. She’ll talk to you, ask you questions, introduce you to her dolls, steal your diapers to dress her dolls, essentially she has spent your college tuition in stolen diapers.

And, when everyone else has gone to bed, she’ll come down, climb up next to you, and, well…

Zooey, you’re still new here, but at least once or twice a day I look at you and consider how I can’t wait to know you in another six months, year, two years, four, six, beyond…

What will you care about? How will you make us laugh? What will you teach us?

 

 

Zooey update: two months

Eight weeks, eight questions for you, Zooey.

  1. How did you manage to form a perfect side-eye in just a  few weeks? 
  2. How do you feel about the fact that I keep dressing you in blue because Koala’s leftovers are the best kept clothes so far, and everyone tells me my son is adorable and I’m too lazy to correct them? 
  3. How do you manage to throw up exactly five minutes after I’ve bathed you, oiled you, dressed you, kissed you, and said to myself, ‘wow, at least she hasn’t thrown up!’? 
  4. What’s it like having three older siblings to help you, cuddle you, and annoy you? 
  5. What are you thinking about? 
  6. What’s it like to have already traveled across the world, at only six weeks? 
  7. What’s it like being on the outside? Is this what you expected? Hoped? 
  8. What exactly is so funny?! 

Oh, just another childbirth.

Here’s what I felt more than anything after the birth of my fourth nearly two months ago: so, so grateful.

I’ve felt very lucky to have had mostly positive experiences in pregnancy and childbirth, even if at times there has also been frustration, stress, and fear. My heart goes out to women and their partners who have experienced true trauma, pain, fear and loss – I don’t take for granted that the road for me has been smooth.

That said, here’s a little word on my most recent childbirth.

After Nettles was born, I realized something. All three of my previous births had turned out to be a good indicator of the child’s personality, which we only came to know deeply later on. I don’t know if that is some kind of hindsight bias, but reading the old birth stories and knowing my kids now makes it clear there is some kind of correlation.

If that proves true for number 4, then perhaps we can say that she is a ‘tachlis’, no-bullshit, in control and chill kind of person. That’s how it was.

We learned from Nettles that chances are it would be pretty quick this time too. So we went in prepared. Once again, I could not have a home birth unfortunately. This birth was like Nettles’ but with much less intensity.

I woke up at 3:30 am with a contraction and a cool head and, waited for two more – about twenty minutes later. Then I woke up huz. Next, called our midwife/doula, who promptly came over. She checked me out – 8.5 already.

“You must have been walking around in labor the last few days!”, which, if you know my work life, is probably just generally true for the last two years.

We had to make a call. Last time, I was 9.5 when I got to the hospital. Would I make it that far this time?

So the options were – drive and make it, drive and birth in the car, or stay home to birth and go by ambulance after. We chose the first.

We made it… calmly out of the car, calmly to the ward, calmly responded to 35734896 interview questions. I will point out, once again, the antibiotics situation was bullshit and I would have been better off at home with the proper antibiotics through an IV as needed, but I’m at peace with it.

Within three hours, in time for sunrise, my biggest by by a pound – 3.5 kilo – baby girl was out and into my arms (one after the other – first time I grabbed the newborn myself!). I had an absolutely lovely and encouraging midwife at Hadassah Ein Kerem. Don’t underestimate the value of excellent bedside manner.

One thing is for sure: when it’s the fourth, a major thought going on during pushing is ‘shit, I am TIRED.’ Like, existentially tired.

Like – I had to buy a seven-seater car tired.

Like – I have so many children now I have to keep track, tired.

Like – yeah I’m so tired but I’m actually also in control and calm and can think this through clearly, tired.

But it ends.

And when it was over, I looked at her and thought, so – is our experience symbolic of your personality?

We’ll find out.

Welcome to the weird, Zooey.

Hi Zooey.

Just taking this quick opportunity to explain to you why Zooey?

Nothing significant,  nothing overwhelmingly meaningful (or underwhelmingly meaningful).

When your mama comes up with a blog nickname, it’s not going to necessary mean anything at all.

In your case, it was as simple as this: I was watching this old SNL skit while waiting to get out of the hospital.

quirky with zooey

And it reminded me of when I first saw her name, I thought it was pronounced Zoo-ee. Like, if ‘zoo’ had to have a use as an adjective.

And I was a native English-speaking adult with a degree in English at the time.

And the video reminded me of this and I giggled. And looked at you and said, Zooey!

The lesson here, Zooey?

Welcome… this family don’t take itself too seriously.