Saturday, December 4, 2010

Light Returning

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Four Questions:
Who is this young man that asks for food all day throughout the day?
Who is this little boy that hasn't barfed in days?
Who is this little mensch that learns to say Happy Hanukkah and eat gelt?
Who is this boychik of mine that says "I'm hungry" and "yum" and actually means it?

It's Simon Lev, surprising us all again. He's on his own timeline and progression for sure but holy heck is he walking on down the road, steps sure and steady.

I don't know what happened but after these last few weeks of having a cold and then a wicked stomach bug, he's 'eating' in ways I've yet to see.

Bringing spoonfulls of miso soup to his mouth (I stopped counting after 10). Licking baba ganoush off a spoon and veggie stick. Letting me put crumbs of ritz crackers on his tongue. Chewing rice size bits of scone, cheese, apple.....and then swallowing them!!!
Asking asking asking, always asking for something.

It's awesome in the true sense of the compound word.
I am certainly experiencing some awe.

I learned my lesson though a while ago though and don't freak out anymore while we're eating. Once was enough to scare the bejeezzus out of him and almost make him cry I was so excited about some lick or taste.
No, now I just have the joyful freak out inside my head and work hard to control the hyperventilation while saying a very calm and subdued "nice job Simon."

This is so amazing too as we're celebrating Hanukkah, getting ready for the Solstice, and Christmas (aaah the wonders of the mixed family and the month of December!).

Talk about feeling the return of the Light!


Preparing for his solo aria

Get your motors running...

Riding the range (solo!)

On the first night of Hanukkah my two moms gave to me.... (don't worry, the next night he got a robot- we like to mix up over here)

Look how much scone I can fit in my mouth!

I do love me some paprika

A boy, his diaper, a g-tube button and a french fry.
What more does one need?

The video is precious not just for it's silent action but for the exclamation at the end. How many of us haven't said the same thing at one time or another?

It's from a book.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Trigger (and I don't mean the horse)

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We were in L.A. this past weekend, visiting Laura's sister Jen who just had a new baby, Charlie, about a month ago.

Charlie was pretty cranky. And a little snuffly. And having a little trouble eating. He's a newborn. This is pretty normal.

And we were completely freaked out.  Jen, her husband Frank, Laura, me, Laura's father, Laura's mother. All of us were completely freaked out thinking that something was wrong with Charlie.

Then we had a collective realization that we are all walking around with the fear that this little boy is going to get sick.

Just like Simon.

There's this principle in medicine called Occam's Razor, which in a nutshell is, "when you hear hoofbeats, think horse, not zebra". Basically means when you're trying to figure out what's going on, the most common, probable answer is likely the right one.

In this case, the pediatrician and Jen's midwife are pretty darn sure he just has a little reflux and maybe a slight case of the sniffles. Which, is of course way more likely than him having Cardiomyopathy. And still, we're desperate for Charlie to get an echocardiogram just so we can know that we don't have to worry.
I think we collectively have a touch of PTSD. I know, that's sort of like being a little bit pregnant, but...

On the bright side, it was nice to see family, Charlie was cute as a button, Maya, his big sister was adjusting quite nicely and Simon got to go on his first solo pony ride!  He was a rock star.  After his first lap around the ring on Casper, I shouted, "Simon, are you having fun?" and he said, with a big smile, "Having fun!".  It was the highlight of the trip for me.  We recently saw Secretariat and I though to myself, "If he stays this little, maybe he has a future as a jockey...".


I also had a few reflections about this holiday season.  Simon is starting to get old enough to pick up messages about lots of stuff in our culture.  Including Christmas.

I have VERY mixed feelings about this. 

Over the years, Laura and I have had some knock-down-drag-out fights about Christmas (okay, not really violent but definitely heated).  They usually went something like this:

Laura: "Jaime, you grew up celebrating Christmas. Christmas is a Christian holiday.  Ergo, I think of you as Christian because you celebrate a Christian holiday."

Me: "I AM NOT A CHRISTIAN.  Christmas was a family thing.  We put out cookies and milk for Santa and carrots for the Reindeer and cheese for Santa Mouse.  Santa wrote me letters every year in crazy curly writing. I got lots of presents.  It was not about the little baby Jesus.  I believe Jesus was a righteous dude who did a lot of good stuff when he was alive, but it pretty much ends there for me.  Ergo, I am not Christian."

Laura: " celebrate Christmas.  I'm Jewish.  Growing up, Christians celebrated Christmas and Jews didn't."

Me: See above.

Laura:  "Jaime.  It's Christ-mass.   It's a Christian holiday.  It's about Jesus being born.  I don't understand how you can separate that out.  I'm not saying we aren't going to celebrate it-it's your family tradition.  I totally get that.  I have no problem with it.  But admit it's a Christian holiday."

Me: "Laura Fitch.  You. Are. Not. Hearing. Me.  It was not a Christian holiday for me. It's about a big fat man in a big red suit and lots and lots of presents.  It's about magic and twinkly lights and cozy, sweet, Norman Rockwell time. Frankly, it's about Capitalism, not Christ in my family".

We'd call a truce and then have the same fight again the next year.

Then, a few Decembers into our relationship, I had an epiphany. I don't know exactly when it happened, but it slowly dawned on me that I was partnered with a Jew and her experience in the world during that time of the year was really different from mine. It was like someone lifted a veil and I suddenly saw red. And green. And white. And Santa hats. And reindeer. And Christmas trees. Everywhere I looked it was Christmas. And I was pissed about it.

Really pissed.

I suddenly had this visceral understanding of what it might be like for non-Christians during December.  Actually, any time after Halloween. I realized that most people assume everyone celebrates Christmas. Last week, some random guy wished me a Merry Christmas walking down the street.  In the middle of November. And it annoyed the hell out of me, because he assumed that I celebrate Christmas.  Which I happen to do,  but he didn't know that.

Now I hear some of you..."What's the big deal, he's just being friendly, why can't I wish someone Merry Christmas even if they don't celebrate it?".  The big deal is that people assume that everyone celebrates Christmas and is excited about it.  The assumed norm is that everyone is Christian and/or celebrates Christmas.

A lot like the way people assume that I'm straight if they just look at me.

I don't necessarily get offended, but I then have to decide if I want to correct their assumption and face an uncomfortable situation and just feel sort of invisible. This happens with Christmas too. If you make it known that you don't celebrate Christmas, people often get very uncomfortable.  I had an experience with our goddaughters around the time that I had the epiphany that illustrated this so clearly.

A stranger asked Talia, about 6 at the time, what she was going to ask Santa for, for Christmas.  Talia  replied, "Oh, we don't celebrate Christmas".  The woman looked slightly horrified and said, "Why not!?" Talia's sister, Sophie, about 9 at the time, said very matter of factly, "We're Jewish".  The woman replied with a sad face, "That's too bad".  The she brightly said, "You can still celebrate Christmas, though!"

I almost socked her right there.  Laura and the girls were totally not phased by this exchange.  They were used to it.  I was furious.

"How can this woman basically tell these two little girls that they are less than or to be felt sorry for, for their cultural and/ or religious identity, and that they should and could adopt this Christian holiday!" I ranted.  Laura just looked at me and smiled.

While we're raising Simon with Jewish traditions, we will still celebrate Christmas. I'll teach Simon about the Christmas traditions we do in my family and what it means to us.  He'll get presents, I want to do "Santa", and I'll explain what it means to me and why we do it. When we mark Easter with my Christian family members, we'll explain what Easter means to Christians and tell him about the other kinds of celebrations that mark changes of seasons like May poles and solstices.

I'm slowly letting go of my December anger and starting to appreciate the twinkly lights and holiday cheer. However, be warned that I still might bitch about Christmas throwing up all over the place now and then...

Enough pontification.
Here are a few pics from our trip:
Simon, about to embark on his solo horse journey

There is goes, the little peanut

And, he's back

PopPop, Maya and Laura on the little Steam Train

 Simon, Maya and Laura on the Steam Train

Simon and Micah (my friend Assaf's son)

Assaf, (my best friend from 5th and 6th grade that I hadn't seen in 20 years), his wife Shuli, and us