Zev Newsletter

October 1997 - December 1997


October was a busy month with Jewish holidays every week. The holidays meant that Jonathan 's school schedule was a little crazy, and Jackie was once again having trouble putting in her time for Perceptronics. On the other hand, holidays are always a blast, with lots of opportunities to see family and friends. This year, we even built a succah, using Jonathan 's tree house as the frame to start us off. We're pretty sure it wasn't "legal," but that didn't stop us from enjoying it.

Marc started off the month with Jury duty. He was impaneled half a dozen times, but all of the trials settled. Even the judge commented that it was unusual for so many cases to settle. Jackie wants Marc to be on Jury duty all the time, because he frequently didn't have to go in until 10, and always got off by 4.

Marc also got to do some more traveling, this time to D.C. Being gone isn't fun, but those frequent flyer miles are stacking up! We plan to take a trip to New York in July and use some of them up.

Jonathan started two after-school classes. One is a cooking class and the other is a gymnastics class. He adores them both. We also take him to the library on Wednesday afternoons, where a grandma comes and reads to whomever shows up for two hours.

Jackie put in some time for XonTech this month. There was a review of her area of the program, so she came in beforehand to help get the material in shape, and also for the review itself. It was a lot of fun.

Benjamin was diagnosed as having a solitary mastocytoma. Sounds horrible, doesn't it? Well don't rush out and buy a get well card, because he isn't sick. He'd had something on his tummy for months, which resembled a blister. Our pediatrician had first said to put neosporin on it, and when that didn't work, hydrocortisone, and when that didn't work, nothing, and when that didn't work, we took him to a dermatologist. The dermatologist examined it and said she wanted to "try something." She scraped it with a tongue depressor, and then we waited (for it to do something, I assumed.) After a couple of minutes, Benjamin seemed flushed. After a little longer, he was beet red - his face, his belly, all over, with a few patches of white skin where he hadn't flushed. It was very striking. The doctor said that Benjamin has a solitary mastocytoma. This is a group of cells ("Mast" cells, to be precise) where each cell contains large amounts of histamine. When the doctor scraped the cells, it pushed the histamine into his body. This is what caused him to flush. The doctor said to rub it every day so that the histamine can't build up, but other than that, there's no need to treat it at all. It may go away on its own, or maybe not. Quite a parlor trick, eh? I can see him the first time he's unprepared for a test. A little tummy rub, and "Oooh, teacher, I don't feel so good!"

Jonathan 's medical event was a cavity. Since Novocain was required to fill it, and since 4 year olds will frequently chew up their cheeks and lips before the Novocain wears off, the doctor recommended knocking Jonathan out. We had heard about how our nephew had chewed up his mouth after having a cavity filled when he was 5 1/2, so we decided to follow the doctor's recommendation. Jonathan seemed happier when we told him that the cavity would be filled "while he was taking a nap," and this increased our confidence that we were making the right decision. However, things never go quite as you expect them too, do they?

The appointment was set for 8:30 a.m. Halloween morning. Jonathan woke up, went to the bathroom, and then needed to take the medicine to make him go to sleep. Getting him to take the medicine took some effort, as it is apparently not so pleasant tasting as children's Tylenol, but in the end he drank it all. We went upstairs and he cuddled in Daddy's lap as Daddy read him a story. We could see him fighting falling asleep, but the medicine was clearly taking effect. We loaded him into the car still slightly awake, and Marc took him to the dentist's office. The dentist put restraints on Jonathan to make sure he held still. At that point the assistant told Marc that he could not be present when the cavity was filled. Marc was not very happy about that and decided to discuss it with the dentist. Then Marc had to take a phone call from Jackie telling him about car troubles she was having. When he got back to Jonathan the assistant was having some difficulty with him. Well, Jonathan might have been asleep, but he was aware that he was being restrained, and was not happy about it at all! He fought those restraints mightily. Marc attended Jonathan to help keep him calm. Having Marc there calmed him but he was still very uncomfortable and would occasionally struggle against the restraints. Jonathan had been laid on a board with is wrists secured with Velcro straps to the board at his sides and then wrapped like a cocoon secured by more Velcro. You could see why he might be uncomfortable. Jonathan was so unhappy that he was able to completely remove himself from the restraints. It took Marc the assistant and the Dentist to get him back in the restraints. Marc not very pleased with the whole thing and is considering only intravenous meals to avoid more cavities. In the end, they gave Jonathan more medicine. This had little effect and Marc's presence was now necessary to make sure that Jonathan did not slip the restraints again while the doctor worked. The tooth was in bad enough shape that Jonathan was given a crown instead of just a filling.

Marc brought Jonathan home to sleep it off, and we expected that due to the extra medicine, he would sleep well past the normal waking time of noon. Well he did sleep past noon, but only until a little after 1. When he woke up, he came to us and said, "Did I go to the dentist?" He had no memory of the dentist's office at all, and no memory of being restrained. Boy, were we happy! He was unsteady on his feet for a while, but by the time dinner rolled around, he seem completely normal and went trick-or-treating like nothing unusual had happened that day.

Jackie had a *fun* time that day too. She had planned on going to her regular Friday 8:30 meeting. Usually the person with the baby takes the van, but on this day Marc took the van because the carseat in the van provides more support for a sleeping Jonathan . Jackie had pulled the Honda into the driveway to give her better access for loading the car up with the things she needed to take. She loaded everything into the car, and went to drive to her meeting, and the car wouldn't start. What could be wrong? It had started 10 minutes earlier! Of course, Marc was already gone at this point, so she called AAA, who came out, jumped the car, and said, "buy a new battery." Jackie had pushed her meeting back an hour, so she went to the meeting, and then got a jump for the car, and then drove straight to Sears, and bought a new battery. The whole thing was annoying, but not as annoying as it would have been if Marc had taken the Honda, and gotten stuck in the parking lot at the dentist's with a dead battery and a sleeping child!


On November 3, Benjamin cut his first tooth (the lower right incisor). Fun stuff. We were hoping he'd hold off, because he likes to chew on us. Oh well! On November 23, he cut his second tooth. Feeding him bread and bananas got dangerous! Jackie hoped that he would develop that pincer grip and be able to feed himself finger food soon. It this point, if you gave him finger food, he would just shred it. Benjamin also had his 8 month check up this month and weighed in at 21 lb., 4 oz (a mere 80th percentile - he's dropping) and 29 3/4 inches (90th percentile). A major milestone -- Benjamin started crawling this month. He started with an inchworm type creep, but by the end of the month he had a real hands and knees crawl down. When he wants to go fast, he still inchworms, though. He also discovered clapping, but he won't perform on command.

Jackie , who is not known for her wild, impulsive, acts, went a little crazy, and brought home two bunnies. This was a particularly bonehead move because one is male and one is female. Of course we then had to build a hutch, which Jackie designed, and half a dozen people had a hand in building. They are mega-cute, though, and Benjamin is bananas over them. We can't let him see the bunnies unless we are prepared to deal with a crying child when we finally take him away from them. He loves to hold them too, and is surprisingly gentle. They were named Thunder and Lightning, but which one is Thunder and which one is Lightning is still under debate.

Jackie had a nice dinner out with the moms from Jonathan 's play group - without kids. However when she returned home she found the plumber's truck in her driveway. "Uh oh," she thought, "this can't be good news!" She was right. Marc had stepped into the downstairs bathroom to find the floor covered in water. Turned out the water had come from the shower pan which was leaking because the sewer pipe was completely stopped. The sewer pipe was stopped because tree roots had grown into the pipe some 80 feet away from the shower. The plumber was able to carve out enough of a hole to get the water to drain, but could not carve out the pipe entirely. Faced with the choice between "roto-rootering" the pipe every 3 months for the rest of our time in this house, or replacing a section of the pipe, we decided to replace the section.

We found a new babysitter. She's 16, she knows how to change a diaper, and, best of all, she lives 3 houses away from us! Unfortunately, Benjamin is majorly into separation anxiety, and screams at the top of his lungs whenever she is here and Jackie or Marc is out of sight.

Thankgiving was very nice. We had dinner with Marc's mom at his sister's in-law's house. Benjamin ate everything. Jonathan didn't eat anything. The next day we had brunch with cousins visiting from out of town, and dinner with friends. Benjamin ate everything. Jonathan didn't eat anything. Saturday we had lunch with another set of out of town cousins (the ones we would have had Thanksgiving dinner with if we had eaten with Jackie 's family), and on Sunday we had dinner with Jackie 's parents. Benjamin ate everything. Jonathan didn't eat anything. Now we all need to go on a diet - well, all except for Jonathan .


Lots of Benjamin changes this month. On the 7th, Jackie 's wish came true. Benjamin figured out how to pick up food and transfer it into his month! Yea! Now Jackie can eat breakfast while Benjamin is downing his morning waffle. He also started pulling himself up, and we had to lower his crib. On the 8th, he pulled himself up on a low table, picked something off the table, held it with both hands, and balanced himself, standing, without holding on to anything, for about 30 seconds. Jackie about had a heart attack watching this! This month he also cut his third tooth. Benjamin gave up inchworming in favor of a real crawl, and also stopped chewing on us (whew!) We discovered that Benjamin's separation anxiety is not lessened when the babysitter is his grandmother. Marc's mom watched the boys so that we could go to Marc's company's holiday party (a luncheon). About 3 p.m., Benjamin decided that he had enough of being with someone other than mom and dad and cried until we (finally!) arrived at 5:15. Ah well, like all the rest, this stage will pass.

Marc added a bunch of miles to his frequent flyer stash, with trips to Monterey, Denver, and Palo Alto. More significantly, he got a promotion, a good raise, and a great bonus. It's nice to be appreciated!

The plumber came out and could not locate the problem with our plumbing. He told us that we needed to install a "clean out." This would not even solve the problem. As the cost continued to mount, and when we found out that our insurance would cover none of it, we decided to wait. So far the plumbing has held, but we know that it's just a matter of time.

Both boys got sick twice this month, but aside from a tendency towards stuffed heads and runny noses, we're past that now. The second round almost made us cancel our planned vacation at the end of the month, but at the last possible minute, we decided to go, and we got lucky and neither boy suffered a relapse. We went to San Diego -- our first vacation in almost a year and a half. We did the amusement park in Mission Bay, Sea World and the San Diego Zoo, and had a really good time. However, if you ask Jonathan what he liked best, you'd be surprised at the answer. He liked the swimming best. The motel had a heated pool, so one afternoon we went swimming. Just like a kid. You buy them expensive presents, and what do they play with? The box! We also discovered that Benjamin does not sleep well with other people in the room, and we had to come home to get a good night's rest!

We hope that 1997 was a good year for you and that 1998 only gets better!
Best Wishes,
Jackie , Marc, Jonathan , and Benjamin

P.S. If you receive this via US mail, and have an e-mail address, drop us a line at jzev@xti.com You can check out our websites at http://www.xti.com/~jzev and http://isx.com/~mzev/personal. The former has past newsletters (if you want to catch up on our lives) and a complete genealogy. The latter has pictures of the boys.

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Created 1/4/98. Send corrections, criticisms and comments to: jzev@isx.com