Jackie's boss from XonTech asked her to come back to work for as many hours as she could to help them reach a deadline in March. For a variety of reasons, Jackie agreed to do this. The biggest difficulty was in how to deal with Benjamin's stranger anxiety. Jackie decided to work four days a week, from 7 to 12 (20 hours a week). Marc would stay home until 7:30, and the sitter would be here from 7:30 to 12:30. We found a sitter we liked, and everything was in place.
We only had one small problem. We may have liked the sitter, but Benjamin didn't. Jackie specifically chose to work mornings because in the past when we had left Benjamin, he had been OK for several hours. This was not true with the sitter. From the very beginning he cried as soon as he was handed over, and continued to cry and cry and cry. He would take his morning nap, wake up and cry some more. He would finally calm down about a half hour to an hour before Jackie came home. You can imagine how unpleasant this was for the sitter! We assumed that he would get used to her, and his crying would reduce to the typical "cry until mommy walks out the door," but we never found out. After the first week, our sitter quit on us.
We scrambled to find a new sitter. Jackie was prepared to tell her boss that she would not be able to continue working if we couldn't find someone. With the first sitter, we wanted someone whose native language was English. Now that we were under more time constraints, we relaxed this. We found a very nice Persian woman. From the very start, she was able to calm Benjamin down while we were still home (as long as we were out of sight!)
We were surprised that there was so much difference in how Benjamin reacted to the two sitters. While having the first sitter quit on us was distressing, in the long run we were grateful, because Benjamin was much happier with the new sitter!
Jonathan started a special program called "Intergenerational Art" at his school. One day a week, each kid has a grandparent (in this case, Marc's father) come to the school and they do a special art project together. The art projects are all based on famous Jewish artists, and so are educational as well as fun. It's a very well done program, and Jonathan has brought home some very interesting artwork.
Jonathan is also taking a gymnastics class at a local gym that specializes in younger kids. He's pretty uncoordinated (although not all that much worse than average), but adores the class. He's also taking a class called "Storybook cooking" at his preschool. They read a story, and then cook something related to the story.
Jackie has continued to take Jonathan and Benjamin to the local library once a week for the Grandparents and Books (GAB) program. A grandparent comes for 2 hours to read to any child who cares to listen. Jonathan will sit and listen for the entire two hours. Benjamin will crawl around the room, pulling books off the shelves and generally driving Jackie crazy.
Jackie's boyfriend from her Berkeley days came into town to visit and go to the Cal-UCLA game with her. It's a good thing that she has the best husband in the world, because the game was on Valentine's day, and most husbands would not be to happy if their wives had a date with an old boyfriend on Valentine's day! Marc had a good time taking Benjamin and Jonathan to the new science museum in town. They had a great time and can't wait to go back with mom - if she doesn't have another date!
The next week, Marc had a business trip to DC again. We're trying to decide where to go with all hose frequent flyer miles, and whether or not to take the kids!
The North Valley Jewish Community Center scheduled a "snow day" when they were going to bring in a snow machine and make snow. But then it rained so much that it was postponed until the next Sunday. So of course it was gorgeous on the originally scheduled day. Then it rained all the next week. So the snow day was cancelled again, this time postponed indefinitely. And, of course, it was gorgeous on Sunday. C'est la vie!
Benjamin mastered standing without holding on to anything this month. He got up to 6 teeth (4 on the top, 2 on the bottom) and kept threatening to cut another one, but never did.
Near the end of the month, Jackie called Marc and said, "How much money are you willing to spend on the hamster?" This is a minor dilemma. Should one spend $50 in vet bills for a hamster that a) you can replace for $5, and b) is nearing the end of an average hamster's 2 year life span anyway? But we couldn't let an animal suffer knowing that we could do something about it, so we bit the bullet, spent the money on the vet visit and the antibiotics and now she's doing much better.
Hard to believe that Benjamin is a year old already. Where has all the time gone? Jackie is already mourning his lost babyhood. At the beginning of March, Benjamin started taking steps. The week before his birthday he would walk a few steps if we stood him up and let go. On his birthday, he started standing himself up and walking (and falling!), but crawling was still his preferred mode of locomotion until a week later, when he decided that walking was better. Walking seems to be a sort of game with him. Sometimes he will just walk around in circles, seemingly for the fun of it. He's a really happy kid and a lot of fun to be around.
We had a birthday party for Benjamin (just immediate family) and he was really excited about all the boxes he received as gifts. He was less interested in the contents. He's also really into balls, of all shapes and sizes. At his one-year-old checkup, he weighed in at 24 lbs 5 oz and 30.5 inches tall (about 75th percentile in both cases) He's tracking Jonathan's height and weight at the same age very closely.
We had the flat roof over the garage fixed this month. We've known that it leaked and needed to be fixed, for a long time. This has been a very wet winter, and it finally motivated us to do something about it. We had someone come and coat the roof with this polyurethane foam which hardens into a seamless, continuous coat. Seems like the perfect solution for flat roofs and it wasn't any more expensive than the other quotes we received. Hopefully, our roof problems are over.
We haven't had any more plumbing problems. I hope I haven't jinxed us by saying that.
Marc took another trip to DC to present a paper at a conference. He came home with lots of goodies from the booths at the conference. Jackie is becoming an old hand at managing the kids without him. The hard part is reading Jonathan his bedtime story while Benjamin tries to sit on your lap and bang on your head. Marc felt guilty about not being home on Benjamin's birthday, but Benjamin didn't care.
Marc and Jackie celebrated their 8-year anniversary by going out to dinner without the kids. Marc thought he was going to have to travel on their anniversary, too, but he ended up not having to. He traveled the next week instead.
Jackie's work reviews all of their employees in March. Even though she had only worked for two and a half months out of the previous 12, Jackie was reviewed too. The review was glowing, and it came with a pay raise. It's nice to be appreciated. The deadline over, Jackie then stopped working for XonTech. Ironically, the last week that Jackie worked, Benjamin started going to the sitter without crying. As much as she enjoyed the work that she did, she is glad to be with Benjamin full time again.
We tried to take family pictures but the photographer could not get both Jonathan and Benjamin to smile at the same time. We plan to try again soon. Those of you with web access can check out previous photos at http://isx.com/~mzev/personal/kidpics.html
Hope you all are healthy, happy and enjoying all the good things life
has to offer.
Love from all of us,
Jackie, Marc, Jonathan and Benjamin
Thunder and Lightning (the bunnies) and Little Jackie (the hampster)
P.S. 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.
You can also read our