Wednesday, May 23, 2018

So I Had a Baby

I haven't blogged since before Pesach, and the truth is that I'm in the longest blogging drought of my life. The funny thing is, back in February I started a new job as a copywriter and editor for a most amazing, completely remote inbound marketing company, and I had thought this would inspire/prompt me to get back to writing regularly. Guess what? I was wrong.

I don't think it's the work that's prevented me from writing more regularly. Instead, it's probably the fact that I was pregnant and tired trying to raise a 4 year old and almost 2 year old. And then, on April 9th, I gave birth to my third at 12:18 am after roughly 17 hours of labor and about 11 minutes of pushing. Eight days and many lost hours of sleep and anxiety about feeding decisions later, we named the addition to Team GB. The name? Zusha Tzvi.

Hey. I'm six weeks old!
I spent the next few weeks sitting around the house going bananas out of boredom during my four weeks of unpaid leave. Then, I got started back up with work earlier this month.

Mr. T, an epic Tatty, was downsized from his electrical gig the night before I went into labor (nothing like coming out of Pesach to a voicemail that you no longer have a job right before your wife prepares to take four weeks of unpaid leave), which means he gets to stay home with Zush until childcare kicks in on June 4th. Then he'll be taking his master's exam, please Gd landing a job worthy of his 10+ years of experience, and all of the stress and anxiety about affording life with three kids will wash away and be a thing of the past.

Hopefully.

Mr. T is also with Zusha all night because I have to attempt sleep and have the headspace to work eight hours every day. Epic Tatty. Epic. But I hear everything at this insane volume in my house. I hear Zush when he cries and Asher when he sneaks out of bed and the TV and sneezing and fans and toilets flushing and cars outside and the neighbors. Oh, and all of the thoughts in my head about being inadequate because I'm not home with my baby and not up with him and night and that I decided for my own mental health to put him on formula. I'm given the space to sleep, but I can't.

The thing about Zush is that he's my oopsie baby. I didn't intend on having three kids. I didn't want three kids. And not wanting three kids and now having three kids gives me immense guilt because I have so many friends who struggled/are struggling to have any children at all. I'm a jerk because even today, in my postpartum haze of regret and exhaustion, I keep thinking "Why me? Why did I have a third kid?" And someday, he'll grow up and if the internet still exists he'll read this and probably hate me for it and end up in therapy. Mission complete!

I'm also guilty because I keep counting down the days. The days until childcare kicks in, the days until I can sleep train him, the days until he's eating solids, the days until he's sitting up on his own, the days until he's walking, the days until ...

Everyone says "Oh cherish these days! They go too fast!" and it's true. I look at Asher, and he's suddenly so grown up. Tirzah, too. I can barely understand her half the time. Last night, after school, the two of them played "family" in Tirzah's room for a full hour. Uninterrupted, without arguing, while I fed and attempted to calm down the bipolar new baby.

I sat on the couch in the living room watching them, far away, lamenting that I was outside their world. That I couldn't really be a part of it because bringing the screaming baby into that universe would mean I couldn't really focus on them. It made me sad. They're at an age that I want to be in their world all the time and hearing the stories and wild fantasies and really experience their imagination with them.

But I can't. I have a newborn. And they'll remember the rejection. They're old enough that they'll remember the prioritization. And that kills me.

I love my kids. All of my kids. Zusha is the spitting image of Asher as a baby. It makes me miss Asher as a baby (but not really because he had terrible colic). But Asher's a big kid now and he's so good with Zusha. He can calm him down when he's screaming in a way I can't.

I also seem to be attracting spiders at every turn. I'm trying not to buy into the idea that something appearing constantly in one's life is a sign of something, but seriously with the spiders.

Guilt. Inadequacy. Spiders. These are the hallmarks of motherhood for me right now. It gets better. I know that. I'm just wondering who I'll be when I feel normal again.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Delicious, Quick, and Easy Coconut Cookies - Gluten Free

I'm so pregnant I'm ready to pop, so Passover this year was pretty low-key. But my one crowning achievement was this recipe, which was based on another recipe, but honestly I didn't have enough coconut and I thought it had way too much sugar and I was missing one of the ingredients. So I took a swing and it was a huge home run with the family. Ready?



Ingredients

  • 1 bag Trader Joe's Unsweetened Flake Coconut (8 oz)
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla (or almond extract)
  • 1/4 tsp salt (not the table variety)
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prep two cookie sheets with parchment.
  2. Mix the first five ingredients in a bowl. Let it sit for 5 minutes.
  3. Give it a good mix and add in the chocolate chips. 
  4. Pop on some gloves and start gathering roughly 1/4 cup of "cookie dough" in your hands. Squish the mixture together in your hands to create a mound and pop it on the cookie tray.
  5. Push it down just a bit. 
  6. Continue with the rest of the dough. 
  7. Bake for about 12 minutes, then switch the sheets and bake another 6 minutes until the edges and tops are browning. 
  8. Take out of the oven and let cool completely. They'll harden and be crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. 
Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Five Years Later ...

Tatty said, "Roar like a lion!" Mommy, of course, is a party pooper. 

Today, on the Gregorian calendar anyway, marks five years that Mr. T and I have been married. Last night, we were assessing the reality of our five years, and, let me just say ... a lot has happened.

  • Five years
  • Five addresses
  • Two countries
  • One broken foot (me) and one broken arm (T)
  • Six cars
  • Four pregnancies (Did you know Tirzah is a rainbow baby?)
  • Nearly three children born (I'm due with No. 3 in two months)
  • More than a dozen full- and part-time jobs among the two of us
We managed all of that even with Mr. T being stuck outside the country from October 1, 2014 through July 4, 2015

How? How is it possible to have been in so many places and created so many lives in so little time? I honestly don't know. It feels like it's been much, much longer. I feel like I've known Mr. T my whole life. It's only moments where he and his friends start talking about things that happened back in 1999 in yeshiva at Aish in Jerusalem that I remember I was in high school at that time. I remember that Mr. T had a whole life before me, another marriage, a beautiful son (who is now an intelligent, Minecraft-obsessed teenager figuring out who he is), a career in the circus, and so much more. 

We've come so far. He still juggles. I'm still tired. 
And yet, here we are. Mostly in sync most of the time. I joke with Mr. T that after this baby is born and it stops breast feeding, and as our kids continue to grow, he won't know who I am. I've been pregnant or breastfeeding pretty much the entire time he's known me. Those two things mean hormones, hormones, and more hormones. It makes me wonder if he'll be able to handle whoever I am after having gone through all these pregnancies and births and child rearing and job changes and anxiety and depression and everything else. He's resilient and positive, a smile and laugh to balance wherever I am and however I'm feeling. And for that, I believe he'll always be here, and for that I love him. Who else would put up with me? 

---

For five years, the oft-lived gift involves wood. If you know us, or you've been to our house, you know that wooden things are our jam. We love natural frames and art, so this anniversary was right up our alley. Mr. T also celebrated his 40th last month, so my birthday gift to him was a nod to our anniversary as well, in the form of a rocking chair a la his beloved papa. I've also ordered something else, but it hasn't shown up yet, so no spoilers there. He got me a beautiful engraved wooden recipe box because I'm at a point where there are a handful of recipes I make on a weekly rotation that I haven't committed to memory just yet. We also just redid our floors (wood laminate) and bought a new hutch that is, well, wood. 

Anyhow, wood is a beautiful metaphor for many things, and I think it sings to who we are as a couple and family and where we are together. 
“Wood, if you stop to think of it, has been man’s best friend in the world. It held him in his cradle, went to war as the gunstock in his hand, was the frame of the bed he came to rejoicing, the log upon his hearth when he was cold, and will make him his last long home. It was the murmuring bough above his childhood play, and the roof over the first house he called his own. It is the page he is reading at this moment; it is the forest where he seeks sanctuary from a stony world.” ― Donald Culross Peattie, American Heartwood
Happy five years together, my beloved Mr. T. Here's to so very many more together in happiness, growth, and acceptance in all things.