YM started off by running off at the first opportunity to play cards with his buddies, but after I went all 'acsertive on him', he was a star davener at shul for the really long services. J mentioned my previous theory that YM is extremely docile when not eating (wheat or especially dairy). ECH also davened well, though I swear I saw her for one and a half minutes this whole weekend! Naomi was a darling, acting all independant by sending me off after I visited her in her kindergarten shul program. But later she admitted that she needed help wiping after Alison brought her to the bathroom. GZ was charming, burbling his simple words like "open" or "empty" during the super serious Birchat Kohanim davening.
My resolution for Rosh Hashanah self-improvement is to start out small and work up to bigger things. My first task is to stop biting my fingernails, followed by a better sleeping schedule, followed by better eating, etc. So far, my nails are growing in again and now I can scratch things again!!! One nail, the pinkie of my left hand almost got bent and torn off, so I really have to ignore that one, until I can trim it into something more reasonable. This is me starting off small. Man.
GZ has learned how to 'jump' this week and will do so on the slightest provocation. Naomi is getting much better at dressing herself in the morning, even to the point of picking out co-ordinated and creative outfits. Elisheva is making less of a mess when she has breakfast in the morning. Even though her dishes still don't make it to the sink, she now leaves a neat pile on the table that can easily be brought there. Yerachmiel is now regularly leaving the house at quarter after seven in the morning to get to school for 7:30. I think it is a 20 minute bike ride at least, but he says he gets there on time every morning.
Today GZ has been doing great with the potty thing. Naomi has taught him a few phrases this week, like she will say "Doctor Israel" (the name of our new neighbour lady) and Gavriel Zev will shout as loud as he can "DOOCC-TOORR EE-UU-AAAL"
YM now has two alarm clocks beside his bed to wake him in the morning. One regular digital clock and one battery powered clock that has two clanging bells on top. Just ten minutes ago, I snuck into YM's room and moved the clocks just out of reach on to his desk, so that he'll have to get out of bed to turn them off. I hope that is enough to wake him up!
Gavriel Zev has a word that sort of sounds like "Ghakkie" that started out as being his word for 'kakkie' (poop) but also applies to a variety of other similarly sounding words. Sometimes he says 'ghakkie' if he wants a cookie, or if he sees a doggie. This morning he said 'ghakkie' because he wanted some of Jennifer's coffee. He also tries to say Ghakkie Mouse when he says the Disney cartoon. So, you've really got to make sure what he is talking about otherwise you might find a smelly surprise on the floor. (I forgot to mention that we've been toilet training him by letting him walk around without a diaper or underpants)
Naomi dressed herself today. She is wearing her yellow flower dress and blue socks on the bottom and purple hairband on the top. Gavriel Zev is wearing a navy shirt only. No bottoms. YM is wearing his white shirt and black suit for school. ECH is sleeping still.
I am so happy Jennifer bought that door alarm that is set up in YM's room. Now, instead of shlepping all the way downstairs to wake him, I can just tap out the Beatles song "Good Morning, Good Morning" ever so tunelessly on the buzzer. Nice.
Oh yeah, I told YM I thought he was lying about davening at shul Friday night and he got sooooo offended that I called him a "LIAR!" What would you think if someone disappeared right at the beginning of L'Chah Dodi and didn't return until Adon Olam? I even looked through the whole building for him and could not find him. Did he really daven at the other end of the shul while my back was turned towards the east? I did look around the room and did not see him, so I say, no fricken way! With Mr. Revisionist History, he could have already by now convinced himself that he did indeed daven and I was wrong and therefore way out of line for even questioning him about it.
At shul Saturday, he made every effort to prove how devoted to davening he really is by staying well into Mussaf before leaving. Usually he takes off at 10:00 something o'clock. (He actually did take off before 10:00, but I went upstairs to the Grade 4 to 6 room and found him in his typical shul pose. Standing there with a ball. I walked him easilyback downstairs by mollifying him saying I wouldn't call him a liar anymore. I never got into the issue as to whether I thought he was lying or not, just that I wouldn't say so to his face, which satisfied him. So he came back down and stayed for quite a while. I have shortened his leash a bit more at shul. What a drag.
That afternoon he had no qualms about calling his mother a LIAR for not playing the card game he thought she promised to play with him. (J said she would 'look' at the game). The thing that kills me is that he has no problem with it. In his mind, he is in the right for calling other people a liar, but horribly offended if anyone calls him that same label.
So self-righteous. It's more of a mockery of self-righteousness. It's hyper-self-righteousness, much like his hyper-machoism.
I like how Gavriel Zev nods his head to say yes, or shakes it to say no. So cute. Or how when I ask, "who likes bananas?", he'll shout out "MEEEE!!!" Or how he'll sign and try to say "book!" because he wants to read while I change his diaper. Lately, he's been saying more two syllable words like "squirrel" or "airplane". His speech is accelerating so much.
Getting YM out of bed these days is impossible. On Sunday, he slept in until 10:00
The night before he assured me that he had set his alarm clock, so I said "fine" and purposefully slept in late to test the theory. HONK, didn't work did it.
In good news, GZ has been walking much more. Although neighbours and sisters-in-law think he is favoring one foot over the other. I think he is just sometimes walking sideways, like he used to when he shuffled from place to place holding on to sofas and chairs etc. Its a holdover from that and will go away when his walking becomes more confident.
GZ was walking back and forth from the sofa to me (aabout five steps away) at Bubbi's house today. And talking! "ABBA, ABBA" he screamed. He was also good at telling me he wanted water, or more pasta, or whatever, at the dinner table today. What to go, Gavriel Zev!
GZ's big trick today was to walk at few steps toward his mother and me at Bubbi's diningroom table. After he did his two or three or four steps, he'd sort of collapse on you and then clap at his success in not falling down. Speaking of 'down', his big talking trick this week is to say "UP, down, UP, down", usually pointing in the appropriate direction each time. Also, this morning I walked down the hallway, past GZ sitting on the floor in front of his bookshelf reading his kiddie books, singing "EE-II-EE-II-OO"!!! Guess he was reading a book about farm animals.
As I was bringing up the bagels from the freezer, ECH icely commented, "great, now they will take hours to defrost!" Wow, I thought, she sounded just like her mother.
Naomi now cannot wait to get her candy in shul once we get there and complains a little about waiting until it is time to go get it.
YM yanks ECH's hair and chases after her when she runs off to her room. Then he gets all indignant because he thought I was unfairly accusing him of harrassing ECH when he claims he "ran after her to apologize".
GZ did not like being picked up and carried to the diaper changing area today.
I said to J that "there was so much complaining here today" and she said "yeah, and it's all coming from you!" which confused me because I thought I was not at all complaining that much lately. Then later, I just figured she was just replying with the same kind of weak replies YM gives me after I quietly tell him to stop yelling. "NO, YOU STOP YELLING!!!"
But was I also complaining a lot lately?? I thought I was not, but J did notice how short tempered I was with the kids today, so maybe yeah, I too am one of those annoying complainers!
From an excerpt from "eternity" by Michael Hanlon: The Cambridge neuroscientist Simon Baron-Cohen (Sasha's father?) has described a new form of what biologists call assortive mating taking place in humans, namely that bright, successful men are choosing bright, successful women to be their partners. The alpha male no longer wants a dumb blonde; he wants an alpha female on his arm, someone attractive, certainly, but also educated at least to his level... ... this may be leading to problems. One such could be the rise in autism seen in so many countries in the last 30 years. This condition can be characterised by a sense of 'extreme male-brain-ness'. He believes that people characterised as 'autistic spectrum' are, in effect, hypermales, extreme systemisers, who in milder variants are good at lists, fact-checking, seeing linear relationships and putting the Universe into boxes.
So much has happened in the past few weeks. Unfortunately, i am too lazy to write about it all. Instead, I'll just point form the highlights:
ECH is always complaining about about how messy things are in this house, yet whenever she takes a shower, she leaves the bathroom looking like it was hit by Hurricane Katrina
YM literally left NR sitting in a carriage, unattended in the Hershey store in Niagara Falls, then got all mad because... (I don't even know the because, but I do know that it is somehow our fault)
NR tries to be bossy and won't budge from her demands.
GZ is cute. I like how he says "Abba" and "Amma!" He will occasionally repeat a word like "UP" or "CAT" if you get him in the right mood.
Jennifer survived Pesach and I think she is a very nice person lately.
Ted (me) am mellower than I thought I would be. I made more of an effort to enjoy this holiday despite having to clean the fricken house for three and a half weeks straight. I think the kids went hairy this year, while Jennifer and I learned to not get worked up too much.
And here I am, complaining about the kids yelling and crying all the time, when it was crying that saved Naomi from being abducted on Shabbos. I named this blog YELLING AND CRYING TIME as a bit of sarcasm, but now I wonder if I should rethink my attitude towards it.
Talking to Naomi today in the privacy of Bubbis’ bathroom, these are more details about the man who carried her at shul yesterday:(She seemed so sincere, saying that she was telling the truth) · Wears glasses · Has a beard · Has grey hair · Long hair · Wrinkles in his forehead · Was the nice man who handed out lollipops to all the kids during Simchahs Torah · Wears blue pants and shirt
Just as the Kiddush was ending and before the Sheva Brachahs were to begin, Jennifer and I rounded up Naomi (age 4) and Gavriel Zev (age 1 and a half) and were getting ready to head downstairs to leave. As I picked up our coats, I returned to the north third floor foyer to see David trying to lodge a chair to the outside door to keep it open.“Where is Naomi?” I asked Jennifer, looking around.“I thought she was with you?” she said seeing me carrying Gavriel Zev and thinking I was in charge of both kids. I popped my head into the upstairs room where the shul workers were setting up the tables for the Sheva Brachahs and called out “Naomi, where are you?”Jennifer popped outside to the terrace to look for her. Not seeing her, she returned to the foyer. Thinking Naomi took off down the stairs on her own, I told Jennifer to head down the North stairwell while I took to the South stairwell. Arriving on the main floor, I looked to see if Naomi was around the front door, cloakroom or in front of the Sanctuary. I saw Jennifer down the hall near the Menora heading my way, then turn around and pick up a crying Naomi behind her.Jennifer questioned her as to why she went down the stairs herself and Naomi claimed that someone picked her up and brought her down against her will. Jennifer questioned her about who it was and leading on to nearby Dan Z., Naomi said it was him. Jennifer asked Danny about it and he said that it was not him. Later at home alone with Naomi, I asked her what happened at shul today, trying to not lead her on with probing questions. Basically this is what she said, in her own words.A man, possibly wearing a blue suit or blue clothing, called her over to him in the North stairway by saying “Come over here.” She went to him and he picked her up and started walking down the stairs. On the way down, Naomi asked if he was bringing her to her parents. He said no.At this point, Naomi may have started to cry. The man brought her into the Ladies section of the Sanctuary, then came back out to the area around the carriages and Menora. Someone nearby, possibly seeing Naomi cry harder, told the man to “Put her down” which he did. He then proceeded to go into the single washroom, and I guess this is when Jennifer and I showed up and saw Naomi crying. Later at Shalosh Seudah, I talked to David, remembering he was around earlier. He said he knew nothing of what happened to Naomi and was genuinely concerned about her. I am sure it wasn’t him. Naomi said that the man was a shul person, meaning she recognized this person being around the shul.Who is it? Was this a benign, innocent event? Or was someone after my 4 year old, and was taking advantage of the commotion between a busy shul schedule that morning? I was thinking of bringing Naomi to shul next Shabbos and seeing if she could point out said person. On Richard B.'s advice he recommend I asked the person what he was doing with Naomi, hoping that there would be a simple explaination. If the person is identified, Richard wanted me to let him know who it was.
You know, I have some many hopes for YM as his is growing up. Right now he is going through that irritating early teen year thing (I was going to say awkward teenage years, but YM somehow does not apply to that category) and so at times I see some nice maturity every now and again. Sitting at shul, I sometimes imagine the worst thing I could see him doing there, which would be running around with a ball with a passel of ten year old boys. I then imagine he knocks out a window somewhere and then I have Richard Bassett talking to me about not letting YM in the shul anymore unescorted. Anyway, that worst nightmare didn't really come completely true, as I suggest in the title of this blog, but I was downstairs this morning daveningMussav when I saw YM run down the hallway, followed by literally a gang of nine and ten year old boys. "WHAT???" I sputtered, "Yerachmiel!" I called after him. I could not believe it. A minute later, when Mussav was done, I ran after him, into the Social Hall, to see him looking around for a ball to play with. "What?" again. Then the group leader came in and told all the kids to head back up to the play room. As it turned out, YM was supposedly helping the leader organize a game upstairs for the nine and ten year olds. But I am sure that he was in his glory, playing at the maturity level he really was at, that being analogous to this group of boys playing ball. Anyway, he ran off upstairs with the others and I crossed my fingers that I wouldn't have to talk with Richard about a broken window later.
This morning Naomi crept into bed at five AM because she had a bad dream and wanted some comfort. I let her rest for a few minutes before I summoned up the strength to pick her up and bring her back to bed. I tucked her in and she went back to sleep. Then Gavriel started crying at 5:30, so I figured that my night of sleeping was cut short again. Tonight I must get to bed earlier to get some rest. (Yeah, right)
This morning I asked Gavriel Zev if he wanted a banana for breakfast. He bounced up and down in his highchair and then said, "Nana, nana!" I wasn't expecting that! It's just been so long since he has said anything other than "Abba" or "Amma!" (His version of Momma)
Last week, J and I noticed a perfume smell coming off of YM, so J asked him if he was wearing a deoderant. He said no, which was true, because he technically was not wearing any deoderant, so therefore I'm sure he thought he was telling the truth. I smelled him a little closer and asked him if he put anything on, like a new soap. (This was my mistake, giving him something he could deny and still think he was being honest). Then he clammed up and we knew he would never volunteer the information, so we dropped the subject. Yesterday on my way to pick up his thrown jacket on the darken stairway, I went through his pockets to check on how many chocolate bar wrappers I could find. (Two) Inside one outer pocket was a small, travel sized can of body spray called Xon or Zon. (Something like that) I took a whiff and realized what we were smelling last week. So my question is why couldn't he just admit he was wearing that spray. Why so evasive? Embarrassment?
Last night ECH was having a crying fit with her mother and as she was racing to her room, she dropped this 13 year old girls' melodramatic bomb on her way past; " Don't get up Abba, just sit there and be useless like you always are!"
That's what YM said this morning to J. He says that a lot when he wants to put someone down but justifies his saying it under the guise that he has some sort of immunity when it comes to giving his honest opinion. So socially clueless. He reminds me of a character in the movie Watchmen, I went to last night. A godlike superhero named Dr. Manhattan that could no longer relate to mere mortals and would often not realize how inappropriate his actions were becoming as he became less and less human. For his birthday I am definitely going to get him a shirt that reads: "It's not an insult, it's the truth!" I will, I really will!
YM refused to eat tonight and was also acting a bit crazy; though to be fair, I took away his computer time after I caught him drawing molecules for Grandpa without setting the timer. We have a rule that even when he's allowed to use the computer (for personal or school use), he's not to touch it without a timer going. I also discovered that he'd been doing his math homework in Word instead of writing down the problems and solving them on paper (takes a billion times longer and the problems all look weird).
I thought I was very nice and sympathetic, just listening and giving him a hug... but then he got all screwy at the library again and yelled and went off after I told him he couldn't use the computers there either.
Anyway, snit at the library, snit in the car on the way home... I swear, I started the evening with hugs and sympathy, but it's hard to stay sympathetic with this kid for long without strangling him...
Meanwhile, we're still wondering: why wasn't he hungry? What did he eat today? Earlier in the year, his rosh yeshiva was paying him for helping around the shul... maybe he has money from there? But he swore he didn't eat any lunch. I suspect it's a technicality: he probably means he didn't literally consume (choose one or more of the following) a) several food groups at one sitting b) between the hours of 12-1, ie lunch hour c) sitting down at a table d) from a restaurant e) lunch-type food.
If he had scrambled eggs (ie breakfast food), standing up (ie not really eating a meal in the normal way), by themselves (they're usually accompanied by toast during a meal), at 4:00 p.m. (not the usual lunch hour) in the back-alley of the shul (not a usual lunch place), he would definitely, in good conscience, and without a clue that he was lying - be able to honestly swear on his parents' grave (the early one he's driving us to) that he didn't eat lunch today.
He could be stuffed full of chocolate bars, pasta, sushi, whatever... and still swear he didn't eat lunch.Sheesh.
When I got home today at about 8:15, I saw GZ sitting on the floor with his eyes lighting up with so much excitement when I walked in the door. He started his little tushy crawl towards me and then stood up, grinning a mile wide eager little smile. As I was bent down, Naomi climbed on my back and wanted to "ride the horsey". Anything to get close.
In non-YM related news. GavrielZev'spronunciation of my name, "Abba" has gotten so clear lately that now when Naomi and GZ both call me, they sound sort of the same, I have trouble telling who is talking. Abba, Abba, Abba...
As usual, during the half-awake first hour of the morning, YM put on the tantrum pressure of wanting to take his bike to school today. My rule is that the temperature has to be above zero to ride his bike. So when YM said the temp was 3 above, I said "sure, take your bike" without checking weather.com first, because I wanted him out the door. (He was again late for school and I didn't want to make him later). Five minutes after he left, it started snowing like a madman and now I feel guilty for letting him go with checking first. Jennifer thinks this was all a passive response on my part, just another sign that I am weak-willed, which she is thrilled about. So fine, from now on I won't let him bike unless I am absolutely sure the weather is good, and I will be making sure he gets out of bed every morning at 6:30 sharp. (I was so tired this morning...) I was just so peeved this morning about everything. That is because everything I tried to do seemed to backfire on me. Argh. I am calmer now that I've had lunch (and a Starbucks Mocha drink. This is the second time I have bought it, from a convenience store, and now I feel so buzzed. My arms tingle.) Anyways, I've been thinking about ways to get YM out of bed, seeing as his alarm clock is completely useless. I've sat and watched him snore away as I placed his buzzing alarm clock, not beside his ear, but literally 'on top of his ear', to absolutely no effect. I wonder if there are special alarm clocks for people like YM? I've thought about blow horns and electric cattle prods.
Naomi climbed into bed again. Before I could find the energy to bring her back to bed, the baby cried and my alarm clock went off at 6:30 AM. I changed the baby and gave him to J, who asked "why is Naomi in bed over here?" Good question. I seem to remember putting a gate on the door last night, argh.
Naomi has been climbing out of bed at night and crawling into my bed to cuddle. Last night she cosies up at around 2 AM. I sat there for a minute thinking about how Jennifer said that kids who crawl into their parents beds can be a very dangerous thing, it's such a bad habit. My choices at that moment were to lie there, letting Naomi fall asleep and snore away enough that J would hear it and be pissed that I let a child sleep in our room, or bring her back to her own bed. (I don't really like sleeping beside Naomi mainly because she fidgets like a madman.) So I picked her up and tucked her into her own beddie, saying "night, night" and all that. Naomi said that she was scared and I told her not to worry because I was right next door. Then I put the child safety gate on her door frame and made a dash for it back to bed, with J none the wiser. Tonight after putting her to bed, I automatically put the safety gate on when I left.
Jennifer noticed a horrible smell coming from YM this evening and it took several rallys from both us us to finally get him into the shower to wash off. I never got too close to smell him, but sheesh, I know it is embarrassing YM, but denial isn't going to get you anywhere. I thought he was made at me for interrupting his hours long run of playing on the computer in his room, but maybe he was embarrassed about being told that he smells. Anyway, fun fun!
This morning I got mad a Yerachmiel for breaking the upstairs sliding door. (I was also even madder for his breaking his bedroom door the night before). Anyway, I said "retarded children" and YM responded with a quiet "shut-up". Before anything could escalate, I went downstairs to get my coat on. When I came back, I heard Jennifer say "owww!". What happened? "You are not going to Elijahs now" she said. "He threw a book at me!" Mind you it was a little light weight children's board book (an excuse YM would use to justify his behaviour. 'It was just a little book. It didn't hurt you.') So I was definitely pissed at YM. Later in the afternoon, wanting to diffuse any animosity I felt toward YM, I tried to indulge him and let him push Gavriel Zev to shul in the carriage. It drove me CRAZY because for the entire 15 minute trip, YM was mooning and making endless comic faces at GZ, trying to capture literally 100% of GZ's attention. The baby would laugh one or two times, but I could see him staring off in the distance, ignoring YM most of the time. But that didn't matter. When the funny faces and broad smiles weren't working, YM would then do stop and start games with the carriage and even little tipping the carriage danger jokes with the baby, that I am positive went right of the baby's head. I did have to tell YM to please walk the carriage beside me at my even pace to the shul. And just as I was about to yank the carriage away from YM, I'd tell myself, 'be patient, let YM have his moment with the baby'. And then YM would start again with the same superficial, meaningless mugging faces again. And the baby was totally ignoring him. I was just shaking my head. YM just does not know how to relate to the baby.
Anyway, on the walk home with Bubby and hour and some later, YM was again starting up with mugging and silly twists and turns with the carriage. As he was talking to Bubby, he didn't notice that he was steering the carriage towards some bumpy snow-ice. When he did notice, it looked like he was going to ram on over the ice in a little game of bumpy ride with the carriage, but then I just couldn't take it anymore (and the thought of walking all the way home with this exhauting game of watching YM to make sure he doesn't do anything stupid with the baby). So I said "Stop Yerachmiel, I don't want you to play any more games with the carriage!", and took the carriage away from him. Of course he had a retort. He has a retort for every single thing. Annoying. ("Bubby was in the way and I couldn't go around the ice!" is pretty much was he said. His retorts also put the blame on someone else, without fail)