Toddler Work

See this right here? This is a pile of towels folded by my 3 year old girl, Ziva. Let me tell you a bit about how we got here.

2 days ago it was a pile of towels I had folded but left out, which became a heap of messy, unfolded towels used as a bed for a doll. I was annoyed and felt overwhelmed by little bits of work in our long list of to-do’s being undone by my unaware toddler…

In the last week I realized that in the chaos of our house hunting and move I had failed to pay enough attention to Ziva’s changing needs. She’s no longer just our little girl, she’s a big girl who wants to be helpful and contribute to our family and home. She has been for a while, but recently we haven’t been keeping up with her ever growing and changing needs. She has been restless and destructive recently, which FINALLY woke us up.

Brian and I both started to request her “help” with tasks here and there. Carrying things to the car, packing things, and putting things away. Each task (when posed as needing her help) led to a happier, more relaxed, and proud toddler. On Tuesday she beamed as she announced all she had done all on her own because she’s “a really big girl, but still a little girl” as she put it.

Cut to this morning, after Brian had refolded the pile of towels, Ziva got busy unfolding and playing pretend with the whole stack all over again. I sighed, accepting defeat and turned back to my work. But a few minutes later Ziva called for my attention and I was gleefully surprised to see that she had refolded THE WHOLE PILE.

Really, I shouldn’t be surprised. She is learning so many wonderful practical world skills and self-care skills at school. It just took remembering to give her a little space and encouragement at home to open up this whole set of skills and possibilities.

So, this might just be a small pile of haphazardly folded towels, but to me it’s a sign that my big girl is growing up, and I couldn’t be more proud.

Mommy-ing Up for the 2 month Check-Up


Yesterday started with a muggy thunderstorm and ended with my little one pouting in my arms. We agreed before Ziva was born that we would be vaccinating her, even though all of the hullabaloo about vaccines had me a little nervous about how she would react. Even if her reaction was purely emotional distress (and nothing physical), I wasn’t looking forward to it.

Maybe it was my subconscious attempting to avoid the whole thing that led me to completely missing her original appointment on Friday, maybe it was just general new-mommy over tired forgetfulness, either way the mishap led to my having to take little Z to the doctor today without the emotional support of her daddy’s presence. I wanted us both there so that Ziva wouldn’t associate just me with a negative experience, or to somehow stop trusting me. In the end, I had to just mommy-up and take our little girl on my own.

We love our pediatrician and the first half of the appointment went smoothly as usual. Ziva was snoozing in my arms when the nurse came back in to give her 1 oral vaccine and 2 shots. She suckled on the oral vaccine dropper and seemed to take it down okay, even offering the nurse a few faint smiles as she started to stir awake. I even held on to a moment of hope that she might sleep right through the whole ordeal and we’d all walk away unscathed. Unfortunately, that hope was dashed as her whole body curled to the left as the shot entered her little chunky left thigh. I could see the look, a mixture of fear, surprise and betrayal, wash over her little face. She let out all of her breath and then paused, mouth agape and brows scrunched together as she gradually turned tomato red. Kissing and shushing and repeating (to us both, I think) “You’re okay, you’re okay, you’re okay,” I tried to calm her and get her to take a breath in.

The second shot in her right thigh only made it worse. She took a short little hiccup of a breath in before pausing again in a dramatic pre-wailing expression. When she finally sucked in her breath she began to wail and shudder with big alligator tears. It was completely heart breaking. All I wanted to do was cry along with her… but I didn’t want to upset her any further by making her feel insecure so I managed to keep it together. I wrapped her up in my arms and bounced, shushed and kissed her. Aaaaaannd, she threw up all down my shirt launching herself into an even more dramatic fit of tears and sorrow.

Once we were both cleaned up she nestled into my bust taking shuddering little breaths as she nursed away. Occasionally she would look up at me with her intense dark blue gaze. With all the drama and concern of a first time mommy, I couldn’t help but read betrayal in her gaze. As she nursed I reassured us both that this was necessary and done with only the best of intentions. Eventually she seemed to come around and we packed ourselves up and headed home.

Despite tears and a little spit-up (which is part of our daily norm), Ziva handled the whole appointment and the shots very well. Actually, I think we both made it out the other side intact and I feel just a little more confident that I can handle the appointment on my own again next time. I guess it was worth mommy-ing up and doing this one on our own.

Now, the time after is another story. After waking up from her nap Ziva went back and forth between sleeping and wailing. As hard as this is to deal with (my heart is breaking for her little body going through whatever discomfort she’s going through), but I have to believe this is a temporary discomfort for a long term gain. Hopefully we truly are protecting her and doing what is right. I don’t believe in the vaccines=Autism allegations at all, but I am very careful about what I put into her and my body and this is a calculated decision we made to protect her and others in the herd from sickness. Thankfully, with just one dose of infant Tylenol she seemed to feel better and woke up this morning completely herself.

Please refrain from judging comments or attacks. Every family makes the decision for what they believe is best for their children and we have decided that vaccinating our child is necessary and for the greater good.



Story Behind the Name


I’ve always had a love for names. Since I was eight years old I kept a running list of names that I liked. I wanted to be prepared for the day when I would need to choose. Over the years the list was shaped by the different influences in my life. By the time we were expecting Ziva I had a robust list of boys names that I loved and only a few girls names that I liked. Here is the story of how we chose our little one’s name:


Pottery Barn pillow sham.
Pottery Barn pillow sham.

Ziva (Pronounced Zee-vah): I was set on a couple of names since the beginning of my pregnancy and assumed we would choose one of them once our little one arrived. My husband, on the other hand, was not  quite sold on the ones I had chosen. We discovered a Jewish baby naming app from and went through each name, from A-to-Z, reading them out loud to each other. When we got to the last name, Ziva, it just spoke to us. We experienced a loss with her first pregnancy about a month before we became pregnant with our Ziva. In Hebrew, Ziva means glow, brilliance, or light, and she is the ray of light and hope that came into our lives so soon after the loss. We waited until she arrived to be sure that she look like a Ziva. It fits her perfectly. She’s a calm, alert, and happy baby. So far we love calling her “Z” or “ZiZi” for short.

Pearl: Named for my paternal grandmother, Grandma Pearl was a character and a force of nature. She and I were very close and I always knew I wanted to name a daughter for her. Our little Ziva Pearl was born with strawberry blonde, reddish hair just like my grandma used to dye hers. It was meant to be! Ziva’s Hebrew name is Ziva Margalit (Margalit is Hebrew for Pearl), which I absolutely love.

On March 21st, Ziva’s 1 month birthday and Rosh Chodesh (the beginning of the month in the Hebrew calendar), we had a naming ceremony for her at the synagogue Brian grew up going to. During the Shabbat services, Brian and I were called to the bima for an aliyah and then the Rabbi blessed Ziva and we shared with the congregation the meaning behind the names we chose for her. Afterwards, Brian’s mother hosted a luncheon in the social hall for our guests. Though we were exhausted and happily delirious from our first month of parenting, it was a meaningful and love-filled day surrounded by friends and family as we welcomed Ziva into the covenant of our faith.


A Prayer for Mother’s Day

Happy Mother's Day, Love ReadySetSarah
Happy Mother’s Day, Love ReadySetSarah

A Prayer for Mother’s Day,
Author Unknown

To those who gave birth this year to their first child—we celebrate with you

To those who lost a child this year – we mourn with you

To those who are in the trenches with little ones every day and wear the badge of food stains – we appreciate you

To those who experienced loss through miscarriage, failed adoptions, or running away—we mourn with you

To those who walk the hard path of infertility, fraught with pokes, prods, tears, and disappointment – we walk with you

Forgive us when we say foolish things. We don’t mean to make this harder than it is

To those who are foster moms, mentor moms, and spiritual moms – we need you

To those who have warm and close relationships with your children – we celebrate with you

To those who have disappointment, heart ache, and distance with your children – we sit with you

To those who lost their mothers this year – we grieve with you

To those who experienced abuse at the hands of your own mother – we acknowledge your experience

To those who lived through driving tests, medical tests, and the overall testing of motherhood – we are better for having you in our midst

To those who have aborted children – we remember them and you on this day

To those who are single and long to be married and mothering your own children – we mourn that life has not turned out the way you longed for it to be

To those who step-parent – we walk with you on these complex paths

To those who envisioned lavishing love on grandchildren -yet that dream is not to be, we grieve with you

To those who will have emptier nests in the upcoming year – we grieve and rejoice with you

To those who placed children up for adoption — we commend you for your selflessness and remember how you hold that child in your heart

And to those who are pregnant with new life, both expected and surprising –we anticipate with you

This Mother’s Day, we walk with you. Mothering is not for the faint of heart and we have real warriors in our midst.

We remember you.

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