Merry Merry, Happy Happy

the best present under the tree

the sisters and their cousin

the feast

the fan and her loot

the next morning

the boxing day constitutional with grandpa

hope your holidays were as merry as ours.



one-handed blogging...

...means it's a good time for a pictures-only post.
sorry 'bout the focus - even with two hands, i'm pretty useless.



The Name Game, Part II

My goodness, if you think that coming up with a real-life moniker for your soon-to-bee or newborn is tough, try coming up with a fitting blog pseudonym for that very same child.

With Bee, it was easy (Note to expectant second time parents – from here on out everything that happens with your second will be benchmarked against your first. Notice that I did not say compared. Benchmarked is more non-partisan, non?) – she looked like a bumblebee in utero, and that’s how we referred to her. Bee is not her real-life nickname, but it’s still a good fit here.

This one? Once I accepted that she was real and was staying put inside me for the duration (and then some), we referred to her as Baby Sister. (Note to expectant second time parents – from here on out, everything you do with or about the second will be with the ease, comfort, security and enjoyment of the first in mind. Transitions can be tough. So can toddlers.) But I’m not going to call her Baby Sister here, because I can blog without worrying about how very sensitive Big Sister will react (at least until she can read), and Baby Sister deserves her own identity, one that does not have to do with her relationship to sensitive Big Sister.

So, phew. Ok. Who is she? I’m tempted to call her Grunty McSnortSnort, because her sounds are freakin’ too too much (especially benchmarked against Bee’s strong, silent infanthood), but readers may not interpret that in the same lovable, adorable, melt-my-heart-while-laughing kind of way. Plus, she’s not a character in a Dr. Seuss picture book.

I could call her Princess Fartsalot, but again, it may not seem very dignified down the line.

Peanut? No. The Baby? No. By her initial, C? No? Cupcake? Shayna Maidela? Sky, because her eyes are crazy blue and I’m kind of a hippie? No. No. No.

And then it came to me.

As I wrote in an earlier post, we didn’t name this baby after my dad - but that’s not entirely true. We didn’t name her after him in English. But Jewish children get Hebrew names, and she is named after my dad in Hebrew. In Hebrew, my dad’s name is Dov, which actually means bear.

This baby’s Hebrew name is a feminized version of that, but I think I like just calling her Dov. Dove. And it fits. She is very bird-like – she coos, and cranes her neck and flaps her little arms. And as evidenced by the tattoo on my ankle, symbolically, doves mean a lot to me. But this Dove will be part bear as well, and that right there – that is what I want to teach my children, and I will swell with pride if that’s who they are – peaceful and hopeful in spirit and heart and strong and resilient and fierce as hell when they need to be.

So, welcome to the blogospere, Dove.



'Tis the Season. Oy Gevalt.

One of the nice things about being the matriarch (ha!) of a blended family is that I get to pick and choose the holidays that I want our family to celebrate, and I get to pick and choose how we celebrate them.

Passover? Sure, why not. I like the food and the opportunity to bring out my bag o' plagues, but I’m not staying Kosher for the duration.

Lent? Uh, no. I’m not so good at the fasting, repentance or sacrifice, which is why I pretty much also skip Yom Kippur until we get together at the end to break the fast and eat.

Rosh Hashana? Yes! I like the New Year, and apples and honey, too.

Epiphany? Oh yeah, baby. I celebrate this every year. January 6 is my birthday. You’re supposed to get drunk and sing karaoke on Epiphany, right?

And of course, we celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas, because they are fun and I get presents.


Hanukkah is actually a non-religious Jewish festival, and there is nothing about the story of Hanukkah that indicates that presents should be given. It is the proximity to Christmas that sparked the gift-giving tradition, although my parents, being freakin’ conservative when it suited them, decided that they were not going to believe the hype.

So, for Hanukkah we got latkes and chocolate money. Maybe a pair of slippers or a hat that my mom knit if we were lucky.

That’s totally fine with me, and I have always felt a little self-righteous in my being denied the commercialization of yet another holiday.

So, on Hanukkah, we eat latkes, light our menorah, and sing ‘Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah’ because I can’t remember the proper prayers. I have never bought Bee a Hanukkah present, though in a demented turnaround of heart, my mom goes all out on Hanukkah presents for her grandchildren.


As I DID marry a righteous gentile (albeit one in denial of his gentile-ness), I reserve the right to poach as much of the Christmas spirit from his heritage as I please.

That means that, while we happily go to Chris’ parents over Christmas and let them go whole-hog apeshit on the holidays and spoil us with copious amounts of food, drink, gift and merriment, I like to inject a bit of the season into our lives too.

Like Christmas music. As a copywriter for a record company that does a huge seasonal business, I am saturated in Christmas music by July, and totally sick of it by August, but come December, when it’s been a few months and I don’t have to worry about cleverly and sentimentally describing it in print, I love listening to Christmas music. Love it. Love singing it too.

Here are my top 5 Christmas Music picks:

Christmas Canon in D – Trans Siberian Orchestra
Good King Wenceslas – The Skydiggers
Song For a Winter’s Night – Sarah McLachlan
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen – Barenaked Ladies
Mary Had a Baby – Bruce Cockburn

I realize this is almost a completely Canadian list, with one Russian artist thrown in as a shout-out to my Gypsy heritage.

I also try to bake a lot at Christmastime. Two days ago I made Rice Krispie squares (They’re gone now. Yum.), and yesterday Bee and I spent the afternoon decorating and baking gingerbread and sugar cookies. That was fun, but don’t think I made the dough. No way. I bought the dough and we did the decorating. I am only 2-weeks post-partum, dudes. Speaking of which, I was nursing the little one when the timer went off on the cookies, so they are kind of burnt. Bee doesn’t seem to care, go figure.

yes, it is the middle of the afternoon and Bee is still in her pajamas. We love that kind of day.

I also like to decorate and wrap presents in fancy and creative ways, though I don’t know how much decorating I’ll be doing this year. And btw, I don’t mean putting some god-awful fake greenery on my door or a string of blinking multi-coloured lights in my window. I like a nice vase full of pretty ornaments, or perhaps a festive table runner and a bowl of pinecones. If you like the blinky-blink, blow-up kind of decorations, good on ya, and I like looking at houses that do that kind of thing. But I am just kind of pretending here, so I can’t rock it myself.

Although if Bee or the baby ever asks for one of these, I may have to acquiesce.

Merry Christmukkah!



Everybody Should Have Two Kids!

Ohmygod, I’m so good at this!

Everybody said that being a mother of two would be vastly different than being a mother of one, and boy, are they right!

The biggest difference? I’m so good at it! I know! I was kind of surprised too!

But seriously folks, I’m such a superstar. So far, we have made it through the following week-one milestones with absolutely no freaking out:

The projectile super-pooper

When Bee punk’d me at about 4 days old by squirting chocolate-pudding poo all over my hand, I reacted by withdrawing my hand in a flash of movement, sending the aforementioned pudding poo all over Chris, who was unwisely sitting next to me.

This time around, a) it only takes one of us to change a diaper and b) when the 8-day old mustard squirt came at me, I reacted by putting a diaper there as quickly as possible. Yes, I still got it all over my shirt, pants and bed, but not all over my husband. Superstar!

The holycrap-call 911-my-baby-is-possessed-and-choking-and-coughing-up-a-hairball day 1-3 hacking

We never actually called 911 when Bee did this, but do you parents remember the gagging, retching sound that a newborn makes while extracting the last of the pre-natal mucus from her lungs? Scared the shit out of us the first time and left me shaking for a day thinking that something very horrible had nearly happened to my child.

This time? I simply put her over my shoulder for a better throat-clearing position, and let my little kitten cough that hairball up but good. No shrieking, shaking or shock at all.

The nurse your baby laying down sleep deprivation saviour

It took me a good few weeks to figure this one out with Bee, and I was a much happier camper once I finally did.

Now? Dude, I just started nursing this one sitting up. Horizontal parenting is the shiznit.

The what-is-she-doing-what-does-that-mean-what-should-I-be-doing? newborn weirdness

No learning curve this time - I’m bilingual. I speak baby.

That tiny ‘o’ she makes with her mouth? She’s about to poop.

Eyes open, brow-scrunch when she was asleep a minute ago? She has to poop.

Just put a clean diaper on her? She’s gonna poop.

Neck-craning, mouth shut? She needs to burp.

Scrunchy face, hands waving when I thought she was asleep? Needs to burp.

Neck-craning, mouth open? Hungry.

Wildly stuffing both hands in her mouth, grunting and squealing? Hungry.

Really, it’s an easy language to learn – she either needs to poop, burp or eat. I was just a lot dumber the first time around.

The what-should-she-be-wearing-is-she-too-hot-too-cold-I’d-better-disturb-her-8000-times-to-be-sure-she’s-not-too-hot-or-too-cold ridiculousness

Bee was born May 2005, a very warm May. The first time I dared go outside with her when she was a few days old (we got as far as the back deck, how adventurous), I put her in a onesie, a sleeper and a light fleece bunting bag. Then I placed her in the bassinette in the shade and proceeded to poke her and prod her over and over again trying to gauge her temperature. I was so stressed out after 10 minutes that we went back inside and Chris called me a lunatic.

This time? Ok, well, she’s 9 days old and thanks to the c-section we haven’t gone outside yet, but I live in an old, drafty cold house and it’s December. And I’ve barely touched the back of my baby’s neck, trusting that in a sleeper, wrapped in a blanket and next to me, she’s good. We’re good. And I can’t wait to go outside, because I’m going a little batshit stir-crazy in the house, and when we do, by golly, I’m gonna bundle both my kiddies up, and we’re gonna have a crazy good time walking around the block or maybe to Starbucks. Nothing insane about that.

So to sum up:

Baby #1 – scary, confusing and hard.
Baby #2 – piece of cake, and I rock.

It’ll always be like this, right? Even when the painkillers wear off? Maybe I'd better save a few for when they're teenagers.