Posted by: ppernick | March 21, 2013

Not as bad as I feared…

Below is a post that I wrote back in March that I apparently never published…I figure I wrote it, may as well post it.


I will admit I was quite nervous about child number 3.  Many days I felt I could barely control two kids…and now I was adding another?  And then I would remember how it was when Sister was born, with Big Brother climbing all over me.  “Really?  You want to do that all over again?!” I would ask myself.

Then, I babysat my niece for a weekend before Little Brother was born, and saw how Ari and I could divide and conqour.  One would take two kids and the other would take one…and it wasn’t as impossible as my mind was making it.  I was still quite nervous, though.  One weekend with a one-year old is very different than daily.

But as we settle into life with three kids, I find it is not nearly as bad as my imagination was leading me to believe.

Part of it is Little Brother’s personality.  Just as with the others, he’s pretty mellow and happy – only crying when he needs to inform us of a specific problem.  We are also pretty lucky that he very quickly settled into a nightly bedtime and final morning wakeup time, which coincidentally is the same time as the older kids (woot!!).  And infancy is, in my opinion, easier than toddlerdom – they can’t move, they don’t have much in the way of opinions and they aren’t testing your breaking point.

Part of it also is the age of the older kids.  When Sister was born, Big Brother was just over 2.  He was in pullups, or maybe even diapers still.  He still needed help getting dressed.  In general he was not very independent.  But now, Big Brother is 7 and Sister is 5…it may take a few dozen times of telling them to go do something, but they will eventually do it and they can do it without hand holding.  They also love having a little brother and want to help.  I can’t tell you how helpful it is to be able to ask them to entertain Little Brother so he will stop crying and I can I get something done.  As soon as Big Brother or Sister show up and start playing with him, he gets a big smile on his face — even if sometimes it doesn’t last very long.  And Big Brother is still interested in helping with diaper changes, so eventually I may even be able to hand that job to him sometimes.

Am I getting a lot of sleep?  No. [1]

Are there days where Little Brother can’t be satisfied? Sure.

But this time around it’s just easier…so far.  With older kids, it’s like having a first born again but knowing what to do.  It’s not as scary to take all the kids out by myself as it was with one and two.  And when Little Brother cries, I’m pretty good and figuring out which problem from the checklist to try solving first.

There won’t be a fourth (much to the dismay of my daughter who would love a little sister), but I am definitely comfortable with three.  Though ask me again a year from now…

[1] Often I fall asleep waiting for Caitlyn to run out of excuses for leaving her bed or wanting us in her room. But when I wake in the middle of the night, I have lunches to prep, a baby boy to feed, and a snoring husband to tune out[2], sometimes even some work to get done.  I am still getting more sleep than the last two months of my pregnancy though…

[2] After talking with other moms at birthday parties, I’m finding the snoring husband is quite a common problem.

Posted by: ppernick | January 18, 2013

And now we’re five…

I suck. Not one post about my pregnancy, the birth or his first four weeks. No post about Caitlyn suddenly expecting a girl when we told her she would be a big sister or Simeon wanting to name him Simeon when he found out. No post about year two at Montessori or our summer vacation involving a cruise and then a trip to New York for my cousin’s bar mitzvah.

One of my resolutions this year is to get better about posting. Even if it’s in the middle of the night. It isn’t that I don’t think about it, but that I think too much and my drafts remain incomplete. So…starting simple….

This past December, on 12/20/2012 Rhen Bradley Pernick became the newest addition to our family. He was 7 lbs 4 Oz and 17.75″ long.

Because I had C-sections before, I opted for another one. With Caitlyn, even though we had the date planned, she didn’t want to wait and came 3 days earlier than we expected. While Rhen waited for his planned date, he definitely knew that this was his birthday. Not long after arriving at the hospital I was feeling some contractions and wound up on oxygen because his heart rate kept decelerating.

I did learn this time that I get panic attacks when getting an IV. Though I don’t remember having an issue with Caitlyn, I had a hard time with Simeon and Rhen to the point that I went white and had trouble breathing. No matter that I told myself it was easy and not a problem, my body just reacted horribly. Once I got past that part of it though, everything else went just fine…including the anesthesia.

Eventually I was wheeled into the OR where my doctor, an assisting doctor and the anesthesiologist were all in the room – as well as a nurse for each of them. Although I couldn’t feel a thing and the curtain was up, I could see a bit of what was going on reflected in the lamps above me. I didn’t look too long at any one time but there was definitely a bit of a train wreck sort of feel to peeking…can’t be me since I don’t feel anything and as disgusting as it looked my curiosity got the better of me.

At 9:34am Rhen was lifted up and let out a beautiful wail. Then, as all three nurses took to cleaning him off, he promptly peed on all of them 😊.

As I somewhat expected based on my recovery with Caitlyn, I spent the day feeling sick to my stomach as the anesthetic wore off. With Caitlyn I remember getting sick multiple times over the course of the night. This time, while I was queasy all day, I only got physically ill once…of course it was as my nurse was coming to say her shift was over…what a nice going away gift I gave her.

I was feeling a little better by the time my dad showed up with Simeon and Caitlyn. Caitlyn was quite shy and while she was curious about Rhen, I think seeing me in a hospital bed looking sick and tired was a bit much and she was afraid to get too close in case I broke. Simeon handled it much better and they were both happy to get snacks and watch some tv.

After a couple nights in the hospital it was time to go home. With winter break underway and a ton of family in town, I was able to spend two full weeks planting myself in a chair and feeding Rhen. No feeling the need to be anywhere. No need to drive a car. Plenty of people willing to entertain the older kids. Just sit and recover. By the time everybody was gone, I felt myself again. And I’m already back to my normal clothes!

And now it is four weeks later. Kids are back to school. Rhen was 8 pounds and over 20″ at his last weighing. And we are getting back to normalcy…just with an extra Pernick around the house.

Posted by: ppernick | August 17, 2012

Acknowledging Our Strengths

A couple weeks ago, I happened to turn on an episode of Wipeout and Simeon fell in love with it.  Ever since, he talks of bulding a kids’ wipeout course and asks Ari and I to plan out obstacle courses for him.  So we’ve done this with different objects in the backyard and different playgrounds around the neighborhood.

The other day after dinner, I took the kids on what I called “Tour de Parks”.  We went to three different neighborhood playground sets and I came up with a different obstacle course at each one using the equipment available.  Simeon was super excited about this and ran from one playground to the next.  Caitlyn, while also excited, couldn’t keep up with her brother.  She would run a few feet before stopping with a pout.  Then as I caught up to her, she would take my hand and we’d walk together as she complained about not being as fast as Simeon.

I agreed, acknowledging that Simeon is better than her at running.  He’s bigger and he practices it a lot because it’s important to be fast in sports — one of his favorite activities.  But I also pointed out she is better than Simeon at other things like swimming.

I will admit that I compare my children to each other silently.  I look at where Simeon was at Caitlyn’s age when it comes to math and reading and see just how much further along he was.  I look at where Caitlyn is with fine motor skills and emotional maturity and how much longer it took for Simeon to reach those same levels.

Note I did say silently.

I do not say this to them.  I don’t tell my daughter “Your brother was doing this by the time he was your age…” and I don’t tell my son “Your sister can do this already and you’re older than her…[1]”  I want them to know and be proud of their strengths and feel as smart and talented as I view them.

At the same time, I don’t want my kids to grow up thinking that they are entitled to win at everything and are just as good or better than everybody else at everything they do.  They can be just as good as others, but it takes hard work to get there. I want my kids to understand it takes work to win and that winning is an accomplishment.  It means something more than a piece of paper, a medal, or a trophy.  I want them to know that even trying what you think is your best does not guarantee you will be as good as the person next to you in everything.  It’s OK for somebody to be better than you at something and you should be proud of the hard work others put in to get there.  If it’s that important, keep practicing and push harder.  Otherwise, find and focus on your own strengths.

So I pointed out to Caitlyn just how good she is at swimming and watched as Simeon waited for us to cross the street.  When we got home later, I found opportunities to help Caitlyn count objects and sound out letters.  And the next night, I let Simeon stay up a few extra minutes when he wanted to finish writing out answers to math problems from a workbook.

[1] Ok, well, maybe for things like getting dressed in the morning.  Once Caitlyn starts getting changed, she will be done in 5 minutes.  Checking on Simeon 15-20 minutes after he starts, I’ll find him a step or two further along but distracted by something in his room – usually a book or magazine.  I once returned to find the boy reading the informational tag of the rug in his room!  *sigh*

Posted by: ppernick | August 15, 2012

Swimming and Motiviation

My daughter is a fish.  No, I take that back, she’s a mermaid.  The girl loves the water.  With her love for playing in sand, swimming, her father’s darker skin complexion and her seeming ability to stay out in the sun and not bake (another gift from her father’s side of the family), I would not be surprised to find this girl living on or near a beach somewhere when she’s older.  And while she wears goggles, they are not a prerequisite for jumping into the water and diving under the surface.

Then there’s my son.  He enjoys the water, but without goggles there’s no chance he will put his head underwater.  Even with goggles he’s afraid to just put his face down.  I’ve always felt that if he could be convinced to put his face in the water, the rest would come pretty quick; but, I have a hard time figuring out how to get past the fear.  In general, my son has a tendency to be extremely nervous and reluctant to try new things.  Once convinced however – no matter how long it took to convince him – he won’t stop.

Now we’re at this week’s swim class.  After almost a full year of swim lessons, while my son will at least go under water sometimes, he’s not yet advanced to the next class level because he still refuses to put his face in the water.  I’ve tried stressing to the boy, who loves to race and win, that he will go faster if he puts his head down.  I’ve tried talking to him and understanding what scares him.  And whenever he’s managed to go under, I reiterate how proud I am.  Nothing has worked.

I won’t punish him.  It’s a legitimate fear and I don’t want him to be afraid, angry or resentful of water.  But I do want him to feel comfortable in the water – without a swimming aid.  So, this week I tried the one last thing I could think of.  Bribery.

I thought back to potty training.  We didn’t have to really bribe our son much, but we did with our daughter.  Stickers, however, are not exactly motivating to a 6.5 year-old boy – at least not ours.  So I leaned over to him during class and told him I’d give him a nickel every time he put his eyes in the water.  His eyes lit up, a smile broke out and lo-and-behold, he was ready to swim.  As I watched him, we did restructure the deal a bit – I didn’t want him purposely coming up just to get an extra nickel – but he actually swam face down for the remainder of class.  I did emphasize that this isn’t forever; that if I saw him taking advantage of this deal it would stop immediately.   And I continued to praise him for going under – trying to deemphasize the money side of it.

Hopefully, within the next couple months he’ll feel as comfortable in the water as his sister.  I can’t say I’m proud of using a bribe to get there, but 40 – 50 cents a class is a small price to pay for a few months of motivation and another fish.

Posted by: ppernick | June 8, 2012

Sometimes you just have to brag about your kids

Yesterday, my son’s class held a breakfast for parents and family (so Caitlyn happily joined us) and the students were the servers.  Simeon mentioned he needed to wear a button-down shirt, a tie and nice pants, so I helped him find everything and we set out his clothes the night before.  Thursday morning, he showed up in my room half dressed and asking for help with his shirt and tie.  I have to say, the boy looked good in those nice clothes.

Upon arrival at school, Simeon directed us to a table and brought over plates and napkins.  Then, one-by-one, he took our orders and got us our food and juice.

At some point, the Headmaster, Dr. F, arrived.  Before I could suggest to Simeon he help her, he came over saying he was looking for Dr. F.  We pointed him in the right direction and watched as he showed her to a chair that was pulled aside just for her.  Before long, Ari had taken Caitlyn to her class and it was time for us to get to work.  We said our goodbyes and I watched as Simeon, who had already made sure everybody else had food but hadn’t eaten anything himself, grabbed the last donut for himself and take an open seat next to Dr. F.

I was extremely proud of how Simeon looked and behaved at the breakfast while we were there, but when I received the following email from his teacher last night, I immediately knew I couldn’t keep it to myself:

Dear Ari and Pamela,

Just want to let you know that Dr.F.  and I were so impressed with how Simeon tried everything in the book when it came to being a good server! And the way he dressed up, thank you for having him do that, it was so sweet that he actually took my suggestion and dressed to impressed! He was so amazing, he kept his eyes on the clock, and said “Ms.W., its almost ten, so I am going to start cleaning up,” as he gathered dirty paper plates on the tables to carry to the trash. I was watching in awe, and he walked to Dr.F. and said “Dr.F., it is time to go!, and she said “Can I finish my coffee first?”, and Simeon responded “well, you can finish it on your way out!” At that point Dr. F. who was already in love with him for taking care of her, couldn’t help but shared a big laugh with all of us! way too funny…I love him! Can I keep him in Mezzo another year?

Posted by: ppernick | November 8, 2011

Could always be worse…

Up until the moment I turned off my light to go to sleep last night, I thought the day went pretty well – well, other than forgetting my laptop power supply.

Picked up the kids from school at 3pm and took them swimming.  After last week, I made sure to repeatedly talk to the kids about listening to the teacher and the consequence if they didn’t.  They did great.  We then went back to Eton school where the kids went to clubhouse while I sat in on a Q&A with a candidate for the headmaster position.  Everything was still going well on the way out, and I picked up Wendy’s for dinner — chicken nugget and french fry happy meal to go.

Unsurprisingly, Caitlyn fell asleep on the way home, so I took her right to bed – around 7:15pm.  Simeon, not only got some play time, but he chose to watch Monday Night Football as his bedtime show[1].  5 minutes after the game was over, he was asleep on the couch.  Having taken show time as an opportunity to prepare the next day’s lunch, I decided to go to bed early myself.  9:30ish and my light was off.  About 10pm, I hear Caitlyn.  Get her tucked into bed again and try to do the same myself.

By 10:30 I hear a strange sound and crying.  I run over to her room and she tells me she’s sick.  Sure enough, she’s thrown up all over her blanket and shirt.  The next hour and a half is spent changing her sheets, washing her hair, being there and doing what I can as she leans over the porcelain throne a couple more times, starting laundry[2], changing her clothes (twice) and just staying with her as she gets back to sleep.  I kept myself awake for a bit and sure enough around midnight or 1:00am she woke again and asked to sleep in my bed.  I don’t usually allow this, but she needed sleep and comforting, so I helped her into Ari’s spot of the bed.

As I laid back down, I thought about the night’s events and was amazed that it all took place in such a short amount of time.

I realize I have been quite lucky where illness is concerned.  The kids have been sick (and of course generally get physically ill when Ari is not able to help) but it’s not a regular occurrence.  The fact that everybody was again asleep by 1:30am and everybody was just fine this morning…could definitely have been a whole lot worse.

[1] He rooted for the Bears because “Daddy’s in Chicago”.
[2] Managed to get the first set of stuff washed and in the dryer and then start the sheets before going back to bed…not bad, if I do say so myself.

Posted by: ppernick | November 8, 2011

Test post to facebook

Want to get better about writing in my blog.  Been absolutely horrible about it for the last year or so.  While I’m trying to get back into the swing of things, figured I’d try posting to my Facebook account as well…

Let’s see how it looks…

Posted by: ppernick | July 11, 2011

Lesson #1 – every little bit helps

I have wanted my blog to have some sort of theme for a long time.  I just never quite figured out what it should be.  I never quite felt I had the expertise in any field to share and impart my “wisdom” onto others.  Although those feelings have not changed all that much, I do find my kids are a tremendous source of knowledge.  The other day it dawned on me that maybe others would enjoy these lessons as well.  Whether the lesson is actually useful or just plain cute and amusing….

This past weekend, while at a picnic, my back decided to rebel.  A muscle spasm had me hurting for the rest of the evening and all next day.  I’m still hurting, but not nearly to the point of wondering if I need to see the doctor.

One of my biggest concerns was Saturday night / Sunday morning.  Generally, I’m the one that deals with kids who wake up at night and I’m the one they wake up first in the morning.  Thankfully, lack of naps and being out in the sun all afternoon was enough to knock them out on the drive home and not wake up until morning.  Come morning, when told my back still hurt and they needed to be gentle, they listened.  Caitlyn even offered me a paper bandaid she cut out for me.  Well, offered doesn’t seem to be quite the right word since she refused to take anything but acceptance and ‘thank you’ for an answer.

Later in the afternoon, I was feeling better and felt well enough to walk across the street and get our mail.  Caitlyn really wanted to come too and quickly grabbed a pair of shoes.  Still finding it difficult to bend over, I asked her to get my shoes then went and sat on the couch.  She not only brought them over, but sat down started to put them on my feet. 

Even Simeon is quite the helper.  I generally enlist his help when I’m busy and Caitlyn needs something – be it closing the screen door to the backyard or reaching a book for her in the backseat of the car.  More often than not, he replies to my request with “sure, sure” and off he goes. 

While it’s ‘easy'[1] to set a list of chores for the kids to do and consider it helping around the house, it’s another to see just how much they help with the little things that are so easy to be taken for granted.

[1] Easy to make the list…following through on that list is another matter.

Posted by: ppernick | June 28, 2011


Simeon getting his haircut
The preschool that the kids currently attend bring somebody in every 6-8 weeks to do haircuts.  Yesterday was haircut day.  When I got there, Simeon was upset because he realized that meant he wouldn’t get to play outside – as you can see.  I really wanted to see it spiked up a bit, but he was a bit too angry with me so this was the best picture I could get. When we got outside to get Caitlyn, I asked if she got a haircut.


Me: Did you get a haircut today?
Caitlyn: yes.  Simi too.
Me: Yes, Simeon got a haircut too.  Do you like it?
Caitlyn: yes.  It’s pretty.

Posted by: ppernick | June 27, 2011

Trying again

WoRoar!w, almost a year since I posted.  Let’s try again with short and sweet clips of life with my kids and the cuteness they can display.

Yesterday morning, Simeon came in to my bedroom holding his pirate ship and said he was going to put on a play.  He then asked for $6 and explained the show would be in his room.  Quite amused, I told him he should go talk to Daddy.  As he left our room, he asked me to bring Maggie (our cat) to the show as well, but she didn’t have to pay.  Upon arrival to his room, I was told “bum on the bed, feet on the floor and head up.”  Seems daddy had tried to watch the show laying on Simeon’s bed.

Then there’s Caitlyn.  Last week, I accompanied Caitlyn on a school field trip.  Since her favorite animal is the lion, I thought I should get a picture of her on one of the lion statues.  With the camera up, I asked her, “what do you say?”  Instead of the expected “cheese”,  I got “Roar!”  Definitely turned out to be better picture that way.

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