Zev Family Newsletter: March 1999

March started with Purim, which meant the Temple Purim carnival! Being in Houston (see the February newsletter), Jackie missed it, but Marc took the boys, and a good time was had by all. Jackie did get back in time to go to Purim services the next day, which was also a lot of fun, although slightly deafening.

Once the infection on Jonathan's leg cleared up, it was obvious that the "pimple" that seemed to have started it was still there. We suspected that it was actually a mollescum, and not a pimple. We took Jonathan to a dermatologist, who confirmed our diagnosis. In general, this doctor does not recommend removal, but since this one had caused us trouble, she agreed that removing it would be a good idea. Removing a mollescum is painless and involves applying a blistering agent. As long as she was taking one off, she removed all of them.

In March we took Jonathan to his first play - "The Prince Who Wouldn't Grow." A theater only 2 miles from the house has a kid's series, and we bought season tickets. Jackie remembers going to kid plays when she was a kid, and this brought back memories.

Jackie's Dad had been having back troubles for about 6 months now, and after a long stretch of gradual improvement, he took a sudden turn for the worse. So he decided to have surgery. The surgery was uneventful, and produced dramatic improvement. He can now stand up straight and walk without a cane. Although he is not completely pain free, he is back to his normal level of grumpiness. Speaking of parents and medical issues, we forgot to mention last month that Marc's Mom needed another angioplasty. She came through with flying colors, and is now doing fine.

Marc went to DC for a conference sponsored by General Barry McCaffrey (the drug Czar). He was looking forward to hear Janet Reno and Al Gore speak, but both were removed from the agenda before it started. It did give Marc a free chance to see his cousin in Virginia. He was in DC for a major snowstorm. They expected one inch of snow and got eight. This would not have fazed New York, but it shut down DC. Marc had to stay over an extra day because a 2-star general specifically asked to see his demo.

Not having attended a Bar or Bat Mitzvah in about 3 years, it should come as no surprise that we were invited to 2 inside of a month and have 2 more in June. The second was closer than Houston, and Marc was able to attend also. This Bar Mitzvah was also very nice. We hope our boys do as well when it's their turn.

Benjamin's birthday fell midweek this year. Both of Jackie's Aunts (and Uncles) on her mom's side were in town the weekend before his birthday (for a Bar Mitzvah), so we decided to hold his birthday party that same weekend. As the date approached, it just happened that none of the kids Benjamin's age was able to attend. Undaunted, we proceeded with plans. Then, Friday evening, Benjamin had a fever of 101. By Sunday, it had not abated, and although Benjamin was acting normal, we reluctantly called his cousins, and told them (well, their parents) that they probably didn't want to come. We decided to go ahead with a grownup dinner, and then to have a kid party the following weekend. Marc had already made Benjamin's cake, but since it was an ice cream cake, we just left it in the freezer for the following weekend.

The next day we had planned to pull Jonathan out of school and go to Disneyland with friends that were visiting from out of town, but between Benjamin’s still-present fever and the rain, we aborted those plans and sent Jonathan to school. We had told Jonathan that we were going somewhere on Monday instead of school, but we didn’t tell him where, so when we were rained out he was not overly disappointed. Oh well, we had been feeling guilty about breaking Jonathan's perfect attendance record anyway!

At Benjamin's 2 year checkup, he weighed in at 27 lbs. 10 oz (50th percentile) and 35 inches (60th percentile). At the same age, Jonathan was only half an inch shorter and 10 oz lighter, so they are pretty similar. Both he and Jonathan got chicken pox vaccinations, so hopefully we don't have to deal with that childhood illness.

Jonathan won another award at Beckford. This one was for sportsmanship. We have framed them both and have them on a wall reserved for Jonathan's achievements. We're hoping to run out of space!

Now that Benjamin was two, we thought that maybe he should have a haircut. Jonathan and Marc needed one too. The hairdresser that gave Jonathan his first haircut was on maternity leave, but she's also a personal friend, so we arranged for haircuts at her house. But on haircut day, she called us because she was sick. I don't know why we make ANY plans these days.

Well we weren't going to cancel the party (the second party) for lack of a haircut. With 4 kids Benjamin's age, and 5 kids Jonathan's age, it was a little, um, noisy, but it was fun. The highlights were the cookie decorating (what, eat this? I just wanted to decorate it!) and the cake. The cake was an innovation. Marc cut out shapes out of different colored ice cream and made a picture of a duck on a pond with a tree and a butterfly out of the ice cream. The cake's appearance was very interesting, and the differently flavored ice cream was also a big hit.

On our 9th anniversary, Marc took the day off of work, and we went to the movies (Life is Beautiful). Afterwards we got the haircuts that had been aborted the week before -- even Jackie joined the haircutfest. Now Benjamin really looks like a little boy instead of baby.

Well, Jonathan is not the only award winner in the family. Jackie's mom was given the Pioneer Women Award by the Los Angeles Committee on the Status of Women in conjunction with the LA City Council. This award honors women who have made outstanding contributions to the strength and vitality of the Los Angeles community. Not only did she get an award, but she will also be featured in an upcoming documentary. Jackie and her Dad went down to City Council to see the formal presentation of the award during a City Council Meeting. Jackie was surprised when she and her Dad were called up to stand with her mom while she received the award. This was particularly fun because the Council Meeting are televised, so they were all on TV!

Jackie started back at XonTech. She wasn’t able to finish the project she was working on for her brother (it was bigger than she thought) so she is working on it nights now. Her project at XonTech involves upgrading the software for the US’s Early Warning Radar. She hasn’t gotten used to being able to talk about what she does.

Since the month began with Purim, it seemed fitting that it would end with Passover. We were very proud of Jonathan, who sat attentively and quietly through the entire Seder. Benjamin was very excellent through the first half of the Seder, and after he woke up, he wasn’t too bad either!

Jonathan's reading is really improving. He can read pretty much anything with short vowels now. It’s fun to watch him improve week by week. He’s still bowling in the bumper league once a week. His average is 72, and although he hasn't bowled triple digits yet, he has bowled some strikes. Spring soccer started, and Jonathan can’t wait until practice is over and the real games start.

Benjamin's language explosion continues. He’s using three word sentences, repeating far more than he used to, and clearly trying to figure out words. For example, after hearing the word “Hebrew,” Benjamin said, “Hebrew Mommy? Eat Hebrew? Hebrew Daddy” It seemed like he was trying to understand what the word meant. His desire to figure out words hasn’t stopped him from making up some of his own. For example, Jonathan is “Weh-weh.” He knows all his letters except for G, R, and W. He can count to 10 and can identify numbers 1-9 (most of the time.) He knows all of his colors too. We’re not bragging, just using these newsletters to document his development. Jackie wishes she had been doing monthly letters the first year of his life too. Ah well, if wishes were horses, then beggers would ride!

Til next month!

Jackie, Marc, Jonathan and Benjamin

Last updated 4/12/99.