Thursday, September 24, 2015

Keeping it Real: Sharing a Bed.

In my last post, I hinted at hating sharing a bed with my husband. I was sort of kidding - but not really. And he would agree. We both relish nights spent apart, regaling each other with stories of sleeping diagonally, not being jarred awake and blissfully dozing through the night in full. We are not one of those couples who wake up intertwined, eyes slowly fluttering open as they cutely yawn and stretch their arms overhead together.
During the day, Evan and I are a pretty cute, occasionally romantic couple. We eat dinner together every night it is possible, kiss whenever we're leaving in the morning or first get home in the evening, frequently text, chat online or Facetime when we're apart, and get in bed around the same time most nights.Initially we lay an arm or throw a leg over the other as we read, crush candy or watch television for a little while, until one rolls over and signals that they are falling asleep. The other follows suit and stops whatever evening activity they have undertaken to spoon or snuggle in for a little while, until - usually simultaneously - we roll away from each other for the night. <Cue record scratch.>
I just can't sleep if part of my body is touching someone else for multiple reasons. It's too hot. It's too much pressure - if he falls asleep and I want to change positions, I'll wake him, which I don't want to do! It's too much literal pressure - whatever body part is draped over me, be it a leg, arm or his head, steadily feels heavier and heavier until I swear it's going to crush me. And... well... Evan's chest hair is tickly, and I'm sure my head of curls is no picnic for him to deal with at night.
Bed linens are another reason we hate sleeping in the same bed. When we first moved in together, I noted that come morning, the fitted sheet on his side of the bed was frequently pulled off the corner of the mattress and his pillowcase off his pillow. I have no idea when or how this happens, as I seem to sleep through it, but there were multiple mornings where I stood flabbergasted at what had occurred in our full-sized bed overnight. I bought fitted sheet clips and essentially trained Evan to keep it on, and have learned to just shake my head and sigh at whatever it is he does with the pillows. (This doesn't even account for the fact that he mushes the nice, fluffy pillows into dense, round, crumpled balls that he either sleeps on or just hugs...)
But his new habit is one that is causing friction between us these days. I think he is too warm when he gets into bed (we will get into temperature in a minute), and throws off the sheet and blanket, pushing them into a huge pile in between us. I then snuggle into them and roll over multiple times throughout the night, which in the morning gives the illusion that I have stolen all the blankets, the narrative that he chooses to believe. I maintain that it wouldn't happen if he didn't shirk the covers in the first place. We seem to have disagreed to agree on this one and it gets brought up frequently with varying levels of annoyance and sarcasm on both of our parts. Definitely a sticking point.
Of course, there is the topic of changing positions throughout the night, or even getting comfortable in the first place. I nicely roll over or adjust my position carefully, trying to contort my body without affecting him or interrupting his rest. But my husband - well, we have dubbed what he does "flopping like a flounder." He literally flips himself over like a fish who has been caught and is trying to free himself, shaking the entire bed, headboard and lifting all of the covers in the meantime. It is jarring and annoying and just the worst - but since we gave it a funny name I can just laugh it off. Usually.
Last but not least, there is temperature. I like to be warm, but not too warm when sleeping. My husband likes to be cold. On this topic, we have learned to compromise. Thus, while he turns the AC on or the heat off, I sleep in hooded sweatshirts. It works - I stay cozy while he is cold, and we both sleep as much like rocks as is possible when you hate sharing your bed. 
I didn't even need to consult him to write this. Sure, if he were writing this, he would harp on and on about the fact that I snore, which I don't think is true. I have asked him to record me, but he has yet to do so, because every time he tries he is laughing too hard. Which I guess is how we get through our nights together - laughing at each other's ridiculous habits, me on one side of the bed all layered up for another cold night and him blissfully hugging a pillow and flopping like a flounder. Like I said - we are so romantic...

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Plague of September '15

In the past two weeks, Lila has had:
- coxsackie (aka hand foot and mouth, which is a better name but not by much and is also not the same as hoof and mouth)
- four new teeth break through
- pinkeye
- an ear infection
- a cold / cough

This girl has been put through the ringer. And I'm not going to lie, so have we as parents! It is so difficult to see your little ones in pain or discomfort of any kind, and to deal with their clinginess/ fussiness / unhappiness / lack of appetite. I know now that is all compounded when it also affects what you can / can't do with an older child, and you risk them getting sick too. We did our best to keep the girls apart as much as possible throughout this time, and Rebecca has been a rockstar about it, but you can't tell a one-year-old not to go near her sister with whom she is obsessed, and - oh right - they share a room.

Here is how we have survived this time of plague in our 2-bedroom apartment:

- As always, my husband and I have become expert divide and conquerors. We have switched off bedtime duties, medicine-giving duties, tackling the social agenda of our older daughter while ensuring Lila stayed appropriately quarantined, middle-of-the-night wake-ups, and then some. I couldn't do it without him.

- Go to the doctor! With Rebecca, I never wanted to bother our pediatrician. I know some people go in the opposite direction and are there for every bump, bruise or sniffle, but I always felt like my reasons to go weren't worthy of a  visit, until it was too late and we had That Awful Night where she was up screaming at 4 AM and we didn't know what was wrong or what to do. This time I was able to tell quite quickly that Lila was suffering. She was at the doctor early with her pinkeye, which made us aware that she was on the verge of an ear infection too and let us be ahead of it for the first time ever! We avoided That Awful Night and just had a few pretty bad ones instead, which I will call a win (albeit only by a small margin). You know your kid - if something feels wrong, there is no harm in having it checked out. Yes, it took me 4 1/2 years to figure that out for myself.

- Whatever it Takes - At night when the girls are sick, all rules go out the window. We take them out of the crib. We cuddle more. We spend nights on the couch together or even in our bed (we are def not a cosleeping family - I can barely handle sharing a bed with my husband!). We do whatever is necessary to get through the night as comfortably for everyone as possible. For Rebecca in the passt, this has included middle of the night popsicles to soothe an angry throat, The Goodnight Show special on Sprout On Demand to lull her to sleep, and even the iPad in bed. Whatever. It. Takes.

- Use the space you have - The shared room has not been a problem at all yet. Rebecca has been a pretty great sleeper and, like everyone says, slept through Lila's various nighttime antics. Lila, though, has only gotten bigger, smarter and more aware since moving into the bedroom from her - ahem - palatial surroundings of the living room. The glider stayed in the living room for the past year, and has been where she got all her bottles, and where we would bring her if for any reason she woke up before an appropriate time (as deemed by us, not her). As luck would have it, we got rid of our glider three weeks ago, just days before the plague began. This has left us without a comfortable command center from which to navigate this time (but with a TON MORE ROOM - damn those gliders are big!!). As such, we've learned the optimal way to lay on the couch so that our feet are supported, chest is elevated leaving Lila at a bit of an angle. and she isn't staring out the window at the lights that keep her awake. We make our space work - and the next day I search real estate listing for hours. Just kidding. Kind of.

- Wine.

- Ice has been a lifesaver for us. Lila thinks it's fun to play with and suck on, and it clearly has made her more comfortable throughout the coxsackie and teething portions of this time. It also helped hydrate her, however little, which brought me some comfort. Ditto to Pedialyte freezer pops - Rebecca begs to eat those, and we have to literally tell her to be happy she's not sick and doesn't need them. Other lifesavers include: Tylenol. Motrin. NoseFrida. Boogie Wipes. Bulb syringe. Bathtime (always a winner, even when sick). Pacifiers. Lovies.

I know, none of this seems like rocket science - but it has been our reality recently, so I'm sharing here. The good, the bad and the ugly, right? And I promise, it has been pretty ugly. Here's hoping the worst is behind us - though I bet a pretty long Winter is ahead. Sigh.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Lila's birthday... and birth

Lila turned one on Saturday.

 It was the perfect birthday, other than her still being a bit out of sorts from having been sick all week. But she looked adorable, had a blast and we got to see just about our entire family. And she got to try cake. 

We had everyone for lunch at an awesome local pizza place, and then the local synagogue where we had her baby naming. This was made extra special by the fact that my father-in-law's grandfather (so... Lila's great-great-grandfather) was a founding member of said synagogue, and we recently found his name on pews and a plaque there.

All together, it was a fabulous day. She barely got any new toys (HOORAY! A) We have no room for them and B) She won't play with them because they're not something of mine or Rebecca's), but got some incredibly special gifts to treasure when she is older.

So I got around to thinking about the night she was born. Errr, rather the nightS over which she was born. We got to the hospital for a planned, but still done on a somewhat emergency basis thanks to my cholestasis suddenly getting worse, induction on Wednesday night, September 10. Our nanny Dina and my in-laws were set to stay with Rebecca. We arrived at 8, per instructions, and waited three and a half hours for a room to open up. Our doctor was a spitfire and promised that we'd get a bed, but couldn't promise where in the hospital it would be. Yikes! But okay I guess?! We ended up getting a great room right in Labor and Delivery, thank goodness.

We settled in, I got Cervidil put in and made peace with having a September 11 baby. At that point I was just ready for her to be born - I was uncomfortable, exhausted, and honestly? Delivering Rebecca was the easiest part of last time! I wasn't at all nervous for the birth.

It was three weeks prior to my due date, so we were really kickstarting things from scratch. They gave me an epidural insanely early, as I was really nervous about that part of the birth, given my spinal headache with Rebecca. All went smoothly after I talked to the anesthesiologist for a long time about my prior experience. And then, I just laid there. All through September 11, cranking up the Pitocin, re-upping my epidural, watching 9/11 ceremonies and crying, a Kardashians marathon and laughing, letting the doctor break my water, talking to my family, Evan watching The West Wing on Netflix - it was like a party in that room as I waited to feel ready to push.

At 11:30 PM things started to change. Suddenly I didn't want to talk anymore. The contractions were more intense, and the pressure I could feel was mounting. At 11:45 I asked for the doctor to come in. At midnight she did, and said I was fully dilated. Go time! It was at that instant that I realized I hadn't re-upped my epidural in the past whirlwind half hour. I could... ummm... feel things. NOOOOOO NO NO NO NO, this was not how it was supposed to go! Everyone told me how easy second deliveries are, and how it'd be no big deal. I told me that!  This was not that.

I begged for another epidural, for someone to come and give me more medicine - everyone was telling me it'd just be easier and quicker for me to push, and I steadfastly refused (and I wonder where Rebecca gets that stubborn side...). I actually told them to put water in there and tell me it was medicine. They injected something into the line, and said, "Okay, now push." Point proven. I did. It hurt. I felt it all. I was screaming things that are not able to be written here. I kept apologizing too for my vulgarity. It was quite a scene. 

I had pushed a few times and knew we were almost there, at which point the doctor on call says, "Oh! I forgot my booties." And LEAVES THE ROOM. I was dumbfounded, screaming and cursing in pain. My husband - who watched Rebecca be born and still says it was the coolest thing he's ever seen - was turned away from the... situation. The nurse who was filling in for the doctor who was GETTING HER BOOTIES kept telling him to look, and he later told me that he couldn't, because he was laughing too hard at the things coming out of my mouth, and he knew if I saw I'd rip him apart. He was 100% right.

At this point, it was time for me to push again, after which the nurse digs her feet into the ground and proceeds to put her hands up in front of her and hold them there, and push with all of her strength. She is HOLDING MY BABY IN ME. I swear. I'm sorry that is graphic - but so is having a baby. And it hurts. And I can feel it. And I yell, "Where the $&@% is she?! SHE DOESN'T NEED HER $%&#ING BOOTIES!" at which point my doctor comes back in, THANK GOODNESS WITH HER BOOTIES. I push another time and little Lila Jane was born, at 12:35 AM on September 12.

My mother maintains that I didn't really want a September 11th baby, and my mother-in-law says that Lila didn't want a September 11th birthday. Either way, we had an amazing September 12, 2014, and a fabulous time celebrating that on the 12th in 2015.

And I hate the word booties.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Celebrating our first date and our wedding - ten and seven years ago today!

So as we now know, I met Evan at the end of August, right before leaving for my annual family trip to Georgia. Once I got back he called, and we set up a date for the following Tuesday evening - September 13, 2005.

I was SO excited and a little bit nervous as I walked over to Rare View where we had planned to meet. A friend had recommended it to him, and it was one of my favorite spots. I arrived late (of course) and rushed around the corner to see him on his phone - I talked smack right from the beginning, joking about how he had lost points by being on his phone when I arrived, and he gave it right back to me, saying how if I hadn't been late he wouldn't have been. We were playful, smiling and giving each other shit right from the very beginning. I liked him instantly.

We went up to the roof, in the shadow of the Empire State and Chrysler buildings, and talked. for. hours. At least three or four, while I drank blood orange cosmos and he had gin and tonics - again, at least three or four. We laughed and the conversation flowed easily, and while I don't remember a single thing we talked about, I know that it was hands down the best date I'd ever had.

Apparently it was Evan's too  - he called his friend Steve - who would eventually be the best man at our wedding - from the bathroom to tell him A) how drunk he was and B) how well it was going. Steve told him not to mess it up.

We shut down the bar - they eventually kicked us out, at which point we had to stand up. Oooooh boy. We were both pretty tipsy, and walked to the elevator singing "Closing Time" together on the way down from the rooftop venue. We held hands and walked back towards my apartment, realizing that we never ate dinner, hence the drinks hitting us so hard. We wandered past my local watering hole, The Overlook, but their kitchen had closed. And we definitely didn't need more to drink.

We got to my apartment and I invited Evan up to get something to eat - we were starving!! We got into my kitchen, I opened the fridge and said, "Ummm, we have apples..." and looked at him, and he said, "I don't care about the apples" and kissed me. Our first kiss, on our first date, ten years ago today.

We never looked back. The best part of how this all happened was that we never played any games. It was obvious that we liked each other immediately so that was that.We were both on Instant Messenger constantly, him in his third year at law school and me while at work, and we started IMing later that day. That afternoon I told him about a Katrina relief concert at MSGthe following week that I had tickets for and invited him to be my date. He said yes, and shortly thereafter  I told him that I didn't want to wait until Tuesday to see him - see, no games! - so we went out that Friday, to the San Gennaro festival in Little Italy, where we drank two bottles of white wine, again got completely drunk together, and I fell 100%, head over heels in love with him.

We moved in together in Hoboken in August '07, got engaged in December of that year, and married on September 13, 2008 - three years to the day from our first date. 

The day was incredible, of course, but our anniversaries celebrating it have always been - well - not the most romantic. This time of year is difficult with the Jewish holidays, and we've had Kol Nidre anniversaries, Rosh Hashana ones like this year, botched dinner plans, gifts that bombed and everything else. But nothing can top our sixth anniversary. Last year found us celebrating at Weill Cornell Medical Center with our newest baby girl, Lila Jane.

What a whirlwind ten - and seven - years - I love you so much, Evan, and am thankful that no matter what has been thrown at us in the past decade, we have approached it with our trademark sarcasm, wit, laughter and love. You are the best best friend a girl could ask for, the most incredibly devoted husband and the sweetest father to our girls. Lerve you...

Saturday, September 12, 2015

One Year Ago...

A year ago right now, I had been in the hospital for about 28 hours, being induced with Lila. I had spent the day in a bed, watching a Kardashian marathon and 9/11 ceremonies, as my family surrounded me and we awaited the newest family member's arrival. At this exact moment, after a full 24 hours of medication to kickstart my body into labor three weeks early, I finally began to feel like I was getting somewhere. Just more than half an hour later, Lila was in our arms.

What a fast, amazing, exhausting, hilarious, emotional, heartwrenching, heartwarming - and did I mention fast? - year it has been!!

Lila Jane - AKA Lila Tov, Boo Boo, Lover, Lilali, Lilaboops, Meepers, Beepers and Boops (guess who gave you the last few nicknames there) - you spent your first few months in this world mostly silent. You observed. You slept. You ate. But man, you GRUNTED. It was horrifying. I thought something was seriously wrong with you, and thanks to my anxiety spent many sleepless moments trying to figure out what exactly it was. (Spoiler alert: it was nothing.) But yes, other than the grunting, you were a dream baby. "Rent-a-baby" was the nickname my friends gave you, as you were the epitome of what someone would special order if they could - adorable, quiet and a perfect angel! You slipped into our lives seamlessly, into your sister's world like you had always been there and instantly into our hearts.

Once you were a few months old, you began to make your presence known. You found your voice, and used it any chance you could, squawking to let us know where you were at any given moment. And - to this day, and since day one - you hate being alone. You have always sensed when people leave the room and whine and cry until they are back. You are a snugglebunny, and love resting your head on our shoulder when we carry you, or resting on our chests as we lay on the couch or in bed, and often crawl over to put your head in my lap. This - among many, if not every, other thing - is one of the big differences between you and your older sister.

You are the antithesis of Rebecca in just about every way. She was a loud baby who became totally relaxed - you're the opposite. She was a great sleeper - you haven't quite figured out the magic of soothing yourself yet (although since you share a room with her, this could be because we haven't sleep trained you as steadfastly as we did her). She never wanted to sleep anywhere except her crib - you'd gladly never go in there, it seems. She never cared about getting into cabinets, or climbing things, and you, my dear, are everywhere, We joking call you our puppy because you are just as precocious. We have found you:

  • eating shoes (and just about anything else you see or find)
  • with your hand in the toilet
  • in the dishwasher
  • in the cabinet under the sink in our hotel room
  • standing atop the ottoman
  • hanging onto the front of our TV stand while perched on the shelf of it
  • licking floors, furniture, windows, doors, knobs, my pocketbook and countless other items
The most common phrase in our house is, "Where are you Lila?" because we can hear you squawking but have no idea where you have gone - you are fast, sneaky and fearless. We better watch out.

You love Elmo, cheese, Cheerios, your pacifier, and lovies. You love music, especially the ABCs, dancing, making towers and knocking them down, and pushing buttons.You imitate us more and more each day, and my favorite is when you make smooshyface, where you pucker up your lips really big and breathe in and out of your little tiny nose loudly a few times, and it's the cutest thing I've ever seen. 

You have taken a step here or there, but aren't walking on your own yet - but man are you fast with your plastic walker. And when you crawl. You crawled all over Sea Island last month - the beach, by the pool, in the pool, in our hotel room, in restaurants, on the airplane, at Newark Airport... you have no qualms about your poor little knees getting roughed up and always get wherever you need to go. Which is usually wherever Rebecca is.

You love your sister more than anything. You can be completely engrossed in an activity, but if you hear her voice your head immediately swings to find her and you're off. You try to do everything she does, laugh at everything she does and take every opportunity to play with her. And she is INCREDIBLE with you. Better than I could have imagined, she loves being my "helper buddy" and taking care of you, playing with you, giving me updates on what you're doing when you're together, feeding you and taking baths together. 

Watching you two together gives me more peace, satisfaction and happiness than anything else in the world. I love my girls, and am so thankful that you have given me that by being you. By being part of us. Happy happy happy first birthday, Lila - and here's to many, MANY more fast, amazing, exhausting, hilarious, emotional, heartwrenching, heartwarming years to come...

(And, in the time that it took me to write this, you were born a year ago!!)