About Dear Bex

This is my place to speak to my daughter. She won't remember these early days in her life, and I want to make sure that I do! Plus, there's just so much I want to say to her and be sure she knows.

December 17, 2011

Reflections on the Past Year

Dear Bex,

As the year winds to a close, everywhere you turn there is reflection on the past year.  Best of lists, worst of lists, highlights and lowlights, compilations of movies, songs and TV shows.  For me, reflecting back twelve months is an entire slideshow of you and all that you have brought to my life.

It is you being born, growing, thriving and learning.  It is you sticking your tongue out at me when I would stick mine out at you, and then you smiling, giggling and babbling.

It is us cheering for you to roll over for the first time, you figuring out how to crawl, you standing and cruising.

It is you in your going home outfit, your tiny one-piece snap-up outfits that you wore for the first three months that were the bain of The Daddy's existence, your long-sleeved R E B E C C A onesie that I loved so much, and now the cutest damn outfits they make!

It is calling you Shorts, then Rebecca, then Bex, then Stinker, then any name under the sun that strikes my fancy at any given moment.

It is all the different formulas we tried, the trials and tribulations of our feeble attempt at breastfeeding, the first time we gave you cereal, and then our adventures into solid foods.

And it's a ton of drool, and spit-up, and pee, and poop, and snot, and vomit.

And so much love, and laughter, and hugging, and cuddling, and holding and staring in awe.

And I can't help but reflect on me.  I have changed so much in the past year.  The Dark Days - which I have been thinking about so much recently - are still so unbelievably fresh in my mind.  The way I felt, acted and thought make me so upset, and as I watch so many of our friends make their way happily through those first amazing few months as a new family with their tiny newborns, I get extremely sad that I don't really remember having that or feeling that way.  I so wish I remembered more of how you were then, but simply don't have those mental pictures. I remember feeling distant, anxious, sad and exhausted.  I remember not eating, not showering, not wanting to get out of bed.  I remember crying and I remember you crying too, and being paralyzed by that sound, wondering if it would ever end and if I'd ever be able to leave the house again.  I remember wanting to want to take care of you, but feeling like I was going through the motions of how to do so.  And I remember thinking that those feelings would never end.

And I remember the day that they did - when I suddenly found myself happy to come to you when you needed me, and singing little songs and rhymes to you.  I remember accomplishing things with my days, and meeting new moms out and about in Hoboken.  And I remember the day that I was first alone with you all day - the night before, I made the Daddy go out so that I could have a trial run at being your mommy - and it worked.  For a few hours, I took care of you by myself.  The fact that you were over two months old and I had barely done that makes me shake my head in awe, but at the end of the day, I am proud of myself for getting through what I did.  Plus, because of having gone through that, I am also hyper-sensitive to the needs of other new mommies, and would do anything to help them avoid feeling like I did.  And I plan to do something about it.

I used to be quite selfish, baby girl.  Maybe not obviously so, but I always thought of myself first (well, until I met The Daddy and then usually put him first) and was lazy as can be.  But you were born and now I really don't think that what I want matters much!  I want to make you the happiest girl in the world, and The Daddy the happiest man there ever was. I want to help other people, other new mommies and other babies.  I mean, sure, I still want to let myself have naps when I want, get manicures, and have a few fun nights out every now and then, but hey - that's not asking too much.

So this year, just as I was last year at this time, I am filled with wonder and excitement at what 2012 will bring.  2011 brought you - how could anything top that?

I love you, baby girl.

Love,
Mommy

December 15, 2011

Surprises

Dear Bex,

For the past month or two, you have continually surprised me by how much you've grown, how much you know and how much you absorb.  Here are the few things that pleasantly surprised me the most...

  • Out of nowhere, you began to respond to what we were saying.  We started this with "How Big is Rebecca," but it has grown to, "Where's the Crinkly Doggy?" and you can turn to a big pile of toys and pick him out instantly.  Where's the penguin, where's your tummy, where's Dina, where's The Daddy - you're really getting good at answering our relentless (and probably unbelievably annoying!) questions.
  • You remember your books!  Mostly How Big is Baby Elmo, but other ones too.  It started with you just getting excited about a book based on its cover or first page, so we knew you remembered it, but the other day, as we read "Elmo reaches way up high," you reached up to the sky with both hands!  Then we continued with, "Elmo reaches way down low, to touch his tickly toes," and there you went, bending down and touching your toes.  The Daddy and I were floored by your obvious brilliance, and I don't think we stopped cheering for a long time!
  • You chatter ALL THE TIME.  Like, nonstop babbling.  It's an ongoing conversation with us, or with Dina, or with yourself, but it is intense!  Mostly in the morning when we wake you up and bring you into our room to play and watch Sesame Street for a little you just talk nonstop to The Daddy and me. I absolutely love it, and wonder what the hell it all means... and think we've got a heck of a talker coming our way one day...
  • You are a tough girl!  I am not - hence my surprise!  But from the beginning, The Daddy and I have worked hard to not get worked up if you fall or bang yourself on something, and to distract you quite quickly if you do get upset - and it has worked! Now, as you crawl over things with more confidence and pull yourself up, there are more bangs, thuds and crashes around the house- with surprisingly few tears!  The Daddy very much believes in teaching you that some things hurt you, in hopes that you learn not to do that again.  True Story: I was packing us up to go somewhere for the day, and The Daddy was playing with you.  I heard, "If you keep doing that you're going to get hurt..." BOOOM. "Told ya."  But again, no tears!! Like I said - i'm the polar opposite, so this is one of my favorite surprises yet.
These are just a few that are top of mind - but I'm gonna start putting in little funny stories as they happen - like the night that The Daddy and I came to wave at you while you were sleeping and we htought you woke up, so we both hit the deck in your room, you rolled over and tooted so loudly! We were dying laughing when we crawled out of your room... it was amazing.

More stories to come...

Love,
Mommy

December 7, 2011

The past month...

Dear Bex,

I cannot believe it’s been over a month since I last posted – but it makes total sense. We have literally been going non-stop for the past few weeks! Work has been so busy for Mommy, and our weekends have been packed too, with barely any downtime at all. The minimal time I do have to veg out, I want to do exactly that!

Another thing that has kept me so busy in the past month is that you have been one sick little girl!

First you got your first cold, which was so runny and messy and snotty and I called you boogie face! The Daddy and I had many conversations about the boogies we got out of your nose with our fingers, tissues, the bulb… you were fairly unphased by having a cold and dealt with our constant wiping of your face with saline Boogie Wipes pretty well – just one loud scream or whine of protest each time. (Which, when you add up all the times we had to wipe your face, meant a ton of screaming and whining, but it wasn’t so bad….). I don’t know where you picked up the cold, but it came out right after we had a weekend packed full of visiting with tons of other babies. First that Friday we had a playdate with Rylan Filiberti, Neve Aviv and Sabrina Bard at Aunt Nay Nay’s apartment. It was lots of fun, everyone loves seeing your latest antics so that they know where they are heading with their kids in just a short while! You still love to bully Neve, and all she wants to do is be besties with you - hopefully in the future you guys can work that battle out ;).



Then on Saturday we drove to Pennsylvania to visit the Towns and meet baby Fiona! She is gorgeous and adorable and such a little peanut still! Most of the time Daddy and I think of you still as a baby baby, even though you are almost a year old, but once you get around a real newborn like that it is apparent just how much you have grown! You were crawling all around their house (we joke that we should collect baby proofing consulting fees when we visit the houses of friends with younger kids!) and loved being attacked by Dale and Lola, their dogs. You got your first Hanukkah presents from Steve and Stef and Cathy and Ed, which was so sweet of them! You also booted all over their place – which should have been sign number one that you weren’t well, but hey – you boot all the time, so who could have known what it meant. Then, you were sneezing, but we thought it was from the dogs maybe – happily for The Daddy’s sake, it wasn’t allergies!

From there that evening we drove to visit Josie Pontelandolfo! Told you it was a packed weekend! She was so happy to see you and you guys played really nicely together. She had great fun toys for you to play with, and we absolutely dressed you in your PJs early to take pics of your first slumber party together!




That night the parents stayed up late (AKA past 9:30) drinking wine in the kitchen and eating pizza and cookies... it was so much fun! The next morning we went out to breakfast and then hit the road. By that point you were a full sniffly, sneezy, snarfy mess!

That cold lasted about a week – you were just about over it by November 18th, in time for Ryan’s second birthday! We hemmed and hawed over whether you could be around him or not, because we were scared he’d get your cold before his party that Sunday – but decided to visit anyway. We went to the Greenburgh Nature Center which was closed!! Luckily they had some animals outside that we could see – sheep and lambs and they even let you pet a turkey and a chinchilla! You had fun looking at the animals, and Mimi and PopPop came too.

Then Ryan’s party was Sunday – you had such a great time, it was at an indoor kids’ gym, and you loved the ball pit, and this mini roller coaster they had, and a little slide and tunnel to crawl in. I love that you’re just a year younger than him, and hope that you guys are good friends because of that! Anyway, at his party Ryan had this redness around his mouth that later turned into a horrible rash, that he ended up giving to you!! (But don’t worry, he never got that cold!) It was called the coxsackie virus, and let me tell you - it made you MISERABLE. One of the symptoms is extreme fussiness and they are not kidding. You didn’t want to be on the floor, but didn’t want to be held, but didn’t want to nap, but didn’t want to go in your high chair. You were upset everywhere, whining and making my heart absolutely break. It was enough for me to know that I have no idea how I am going to handle anything more serious ever happening to you!

The virus also gives you spots on your hands, feet, mouth and tush - and you had the tush the worst. A few showed up on your extremities, and around your mouth, and on your legs, but your poor tush was covered in them. It was really no fun for anyone. Plus then I got sick, with an awful sore throat. I could tell something was brewing around Thanksgiving – ah yes, you spent your first Thanksgiving at home all day. The Daddy stayed with you so that I could see my family that day, despite me not feeling 100% - and by the time I got home that night I had a fever too. Neither you nor I was too pleased then! But I got better, and so did you, and Ryan, and Amanda (yep, she had it too!) and Jason – our whole family was infected!

On the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend we were all well enough to go to Amanda’s sixth birthday party. It was fun, but not a very good place for a ten month old baby. You couldn’t really crawl around there, but you got to sit in the cool car-shaped hair cutting chair which was fun for about a minute!
In those few weeks, and over the past month, you have opened up so much as a real little person. We can ask you things and you really understand, like, “How big is Rebecca?” “Can I have a high five?” and “Where’s your tummy?” which is my favorite. You respond to us – if we ask where a certain toy or person is, you can find it or them, and you get so proud of yourself when you do (probably because we cheer like you just won a gold medal in the Olympics). You also give the best huggies. Dina got the first one, of course, but you have since become fairly generous with them. You put your tiny head to the side on our shoulder and really do hold on to us – it’s the most precious thing, and I rub your back while you hug me, hoping that it lasts just a little bit longer.

It is just so much FUN to be around you now! Except when we need to change your diaper. I don’t know when it changed, but MAN that is your least favorite thing! You wrestle against us, squirm and wiggle, and try your hardest to get on all fours. I have changed you while you’re on all fours. It’s difficult (and something The Daddy won’t even attempt). I hope this phase ends soon, because it’s a long time till you’re potty trained…

This past weekend we went to our first birthday party, for Lilly Katz in the building next door. It was fun, and so strange to think that all of the little tiny blobs that these women I met on maternity leave and I used to drag to Music Together and Itsy Bitsy Yoga and the hospital mom’s group are so grown up – and every time I see you all together I am blown away by it!

We also had Mimi’s 60th birthday party which was great – you were the hit of the first 20 minutes or so, and every one of Mimi’s friends was so happy to meet you and couldn’t get over how beautiful you are!



And I think that all the time. I find myself often just staring at you, kissing your little neck and forehead as I watch you drink your bottle before bed, and marveling at what an awesome little girl you’re turning into. You go with the flow. You talk all the time. You are constantly taking in everything around you, and marveling at it all. You love to touch anything you can – the elevator walls every time we ride up or down, the leaves of a tree or bush we walk past, drawings or patterns on a wall – all of it. You say “mmmm!” to me now when I feed you things, and make the cutest little fishy face that makes me crack up (though it does distract you from eating).

Speaking of eating you are having a bit of a rough time with the solid food thing – you won’t chew, my lazy little one!! Or you’ll chew but hate the feeling of swallowing anything that isn’t completely free of bumps or lumps. At Ryan’s birthday party I thought you were doing such a good job with a piece of cantaloupe that I was letting you bite off of. Then you sneezed and out came four pieces of cantaloupe onto the floor! Oops. You just store it all in your cheeks and then gag on it! Operation Chew Chew Chew Swallow is going to be in full effect soon. You are good with bananas though – you like to take bites off of the real thing, and it is adorable – my own little monkey :)

You are so happy when you wake up, and The Daddy or I come into your room to get you – like you know you’re in for another adventure-filled day with us or Dina – and I love being the one to come into your room in the morning. I always do the same thing. I say, “Where’s my little girl?” and it takes you a second to register that I’m there, and then you scramble to get up and smile at me over the crib rail. I love lifting you out of there (even when you and the whole room stinks from an oopsie poopsie) and we open the blinds together and say hello world – hello to the trees, and the cars, and the buildings – and then we pick a couple of your stuffed animals to say hello to and that give you kisses. You are always so smiley and chatty, like you’re telling me all of your dreams, which I ask you about while I change your diaper. And I really do wonder – what goes on in that tiny, perfect, gorgeous head of yours? What do you dream about? What do you think when we make fools of ourselves to make you giggle? What do you see when you look out the window of the car? What do you think of the classes we drag you to that I swear you couldn’t care less about? I cannot wait until the day you can tell me.

I love you baby girl!

Love,
Mommy

November 5, 2011

The List (Part 1)

Dear Bex,

This is a list of things that we never could have made it this far without. All were invaluable in the first nine months of your life at some point, and I plan to add to the list in subsequent blog posts as you grow.

• The Sleep Sheep – well really, just the insert. Yep, we gutted it, on the advice of others. It plays the sound of rain that we play every night at bedtime. Not only is it awesome white noise to help you sleep, but it’s loud enough that with it on, and your door closed, we can make noise around you even if you’re sleeping!

• The Swing – once we started to turn that puppy up high, it guaranteed a solid 2 hours nap or so when you were just a couple of months old. I’m not quite certain what I would have done on maternity leave without it!

• Dr. Brown’s Bottles – these were the third bottles we tried, after Playtex drop-ins (SO ANNOYING!) and Avent bottles (that you choked in every time!). Despite having a ton of parts to clean that have probably been the bane of my existence for the past nine months, they definitely cut down on your gassiness.

• Gripe Water and Mylicon – for the first few months, we gave you this constantly. You were in pain a lot after eating, as your digestive system worked to develop itself, and these two miracles helped you feel better, even if it was just for a little while.

• Lovies – when people first gave us these as gifts when you were born, I didn’t see the point in them. Were they toys? Stuffed animals?? Blankets?!? I hung them on and around your crib almost like decorations. Then, one day when you wouldn’t nap in your swing, I put a fleece blanket over you to warm you up, thinking that’s why you weren’t sleeping. Your fingers immediately grabbed on to the soft fleece and you hugged it to you and you were OUT. That day, I started putting a pink hippo lovey in your stroller with you when you napped, and it was an instant snuggler for you and guaranteed a nap. So we let you sleep in your crib with it too, as we were just beginning to sleep train you and they said you should have an object with you – I would put the hippo in my shirt to make it smell like me, another suggestion from the books I read. Nowadays you have six lovies. The pink hippo is still around, but we also have three pink giraffe’s, a pink lamb-type animal that Amanda gave you, and a few others. You love them all and snuggle with each, but your favorite is hands down still that pink hippo. I can’t even think of the day that we have to take them away from you – thankfully it won’t be any time soon!

• Your thumb. I spoke of sleep training you in the last paragraph… well, the night that we did that (yes, the night. I swear, it only took you 90-minutes to learn how to soothe yourself back to sleep, and you’ve been great at it ever since) , the key was that you learned how to suck your thumb! You would do it when you were tired, or hungry, and it was an easy signal for us to each of those things. Then, you started doing it more… and more…… and more! Nowadays, your thumb is fairly constantly in your mouth. You do It when we read books, when you’re in your stroller, and it is a pain in the ass that you do it all the time when we feed you!

• Zipper onesie pajamas – The Daddy has trouble with snaps. Nights when he would put you to bed would take a loooong time with the long line of snaps down the front. Luckily, Lulu told us about the zipper ones at Children’s Place, and lo and behold, he can change you again! They’re a lot harder to change your diaper in, which sucked when I was the one feeding you in the middle of the night, but I love them nonetheless. And you look stinkin’ adorable in them.

• The Internet – I look up everything. What to feed you when, why are your hands and feet so cold, what are signs of a fever, teething symptoms, theories on shots and anything else you can think of! Granted it has for sure made me more worked up about certain things – but it’s been more helpful than hurtful, so I’ll cut the web some slack. Also, do you know what the internet can do? It can bring me ANYTHING I NEED in a day or two. Seriously. Diapers, formula, wipes, diaper genie bags, bottles, nipples, medicine, food, plates, spoons, cups, toys (which The Daddy would argue you don’t “NEED” but what does he know) clothes, etc. I order it all.

• How Big Is Baby Elmo – this is hands down your favorite book, and you lit up in the store when we first saw it, and you still do to this day every time we read it! You love all the pages, but mostly the ones that say Mamama and Dadada, and of course, the pop up Baby Elmo at the end. You’ve ripped him, eaten him, and tried to completely tear him out of the book, but all out of a pure, deep seeded love.

• Sesame Street – you don’t watch too much television at all, but in the mornings we watch 10-15 minutes of Sesame Street in The Daddy and my bed. It is such a great few minutes of family time, as I’m still waking up. The Daddy loves watching your face light up as you watch, and hates the days when you sleep through it! Your favorite is the introduction that Murray gives when he announces the Word on the Street of the day – you giggle at him and love Murray So. Much. Those few minutes of every morning, and the few minutes of finishing giving you your bottle at night, are my favorite parts of every day.

This is just the list of things I could think of off the top of my head – you loved many more things over the past nine months, and every day something new comes out as an integral part of your routine, so like I said, I’ll keep this going.

Oh, and yes, I’m on a plane again, this time coming home from my quick trip to Denver. I land at 7:30, annoyingly close to your bedtime, and I hate that I won’t see you before you go to sleep today – but I’ll be there when you wake up, and guarantee that if you feel something tonight while you’re sleeping, it’s me just staring at you again as I get home. And maybe patting your butt, because it’s just too tempting not to.

I love you, baby girl!

Love,
Mommy

The First Halloween

Dear Bex,

I’m writing again from a plane… sigh… I swear, in nine years of working the travel has been minimal, but somehow this month has two west coast trips back to back. But, this one at least is just for one night – and sshhhhh, I took a few minutes extra to snuggle and play with you this morning, so my Bex-ometer is nice and full, love!

This was such a fun week with you – you are growing and maturing so much that what you do on a daily basis continually blows my mind. You have gotten good – and are almost over – high fiving and “SO BIG!” Your favorite activity is emptying all of your toys and books from the bins that hold them in the living room, and examining each item before you put it down. (Or the opposite – emptying it just for the fun at rapid speed!) If you take out a book, you often want to read it from cover to cover. You put it in front of you, and if we say, “Should we read this?” you understand and settle in, thumb in mouth for the story to begin. You are the one who turns the pages (sometimes before we’re even at the end of the page, which has one word on it, but I digress) and when we’re done, you decide if we move on to another riveting board book with pictures of baby animals, or choose to read that one again. And again. But your books are familiar to you, and you love them. You laugh at the pictures of baby animals, and when we make the sounds that correspond to them. You touch the parts that are raised, furry or sparkly, and absorb everything about the process of reading them – you are like a sponge.

On Monday was Halloween – we did so much that day, and you were such a trooper, despite being zipped up into a fleece ladybug outfit! First we went to a party at Mason’s house in our building. Mason’s mommy, Cori, is so sweet and had a whole lunch spread out – and you ate tiny pieces of real turkey! You loved it! I was so happy, and realized that I think you are over the baby food thing somewhat and ready to move into real food. Terrifying but exciting nonetheless! We left the party so you could nap and be 100% for the Hoboken Rag-A-Muffin parade, and boy was it a sight to see! There were children, babies, dogs and adults dressed up EVERYWHERE, marching down Washington Street and gathered watching on the sidewalks. You seemed happy, it probably just was a crazy, funny walk outside to you! We met up with your friends Julia, Brooks, Lil (who slept the whole time!) and Chloe, and had a good time people watching.

Then we went back to the party room at our building where the children’s Halloween shindig was well underway. It was packed, hot and the floor was littered with streamers and candy wrappers and tiny toys, so not the optimal place for a baby zipped in fleece who just finally wants to crawl around! Not to mention that we didn’t know too many people… so we left after about half an hour of me telling you no, don’t eat that… no Bex, don’t grab the stringy, cottony spider web off of the window… no, don’t crawl behind that person who is swinging a stick at a little piñata.

We went outside for some fresh air and to take pictures in the adorable haystacks and pumpkins that our building had set up. We got some great shots! We ran into your friend Ava and her family, and got some cute pics of the two of you dressed up. Finally we went upstairs, the Daddy got home in time to see you in your costume, and Matt and Erica came by to catch a glimpse of you too. Altogether, a great first Halloween, I’d say!




Monday also began the “Hold Your Own Bottle Bootcamp.” I was talking with Dina that day, and we realized that you’re a little bit like the Daddy and I – lazy!! Not physically – you crawl and climb all over, but if it comes to something that you know we’ll take care of for you, there’s zero shot of you attempting it on your own. And frankly, we’ve been pretty lax about correcting that as it’s easier to just do it for you – i.e. tip your sippy cup and bottle to your mouth, place food in your mouth, etc.

But NO MORE! On Monday Dina started teaching you how to hold the bottle, forcing you to use your own hands with her guidance. That night, I put you to bed and you fed yourself half of your bottle. We continued the next day – that night you pretty much fed yourself the entire bottle. And on Wednesday, I put you to bed, and you not only grabbed the bottle out of my hands and popped it into your mouth, but you then proceeded to take your left hand and play with your hair, smack the bottle, smack your leg, play with my fingers – holding the whole bottle just with your other hand! “Look ma, one hand!” This morning I actually gave you your bottle for breakfast, and you just sat in your highchair, reclined a bit to help you out, as I walked around and did things.

It’s bittersweet to see you do this. While it’s frankly pretty awesome to not have to feed you, it is a sign of just how big you’re getting. I very quickly grew to love giving you a bottle (other than those times when you must not be too hungry, or are too wound up to eat and you whip your head from side to side in the midst of taking huge gulps of formula) as it was amazing quiet time for us together, especially when putting you to sleep. You used to hum while you ate, the most glorious little noise I’ve ever heard. You don’t do that anymore, but I still hum and sing to you sometimes, and you always play with my hand while you’re eating, or pat my arm or leg, and you most certainly stare up at me with your amazing blue eyes at some point and I melt with pure love.
I used to say a poem to you at night before you went to bed while I was feeding you, and then sometimes follow that up with the You’re the Love of My Life song that I still song. I haven’t recited the poem to you in a while, but will always remember it, and just may bring it to say while you feed yourself – so that you know that as I fed you, I used to stare at you nonstop, and love every little detail of you. It went like this:
I love your eyes, I love your nosey
I love your feet, and all ten toesies!
I love your hair, and your smile so yummy,
I love your hands, I love your tummy!
I love your laugh, I love your sneeze,
I love the dimples in your knees!
I love your cheeks, and your tushy too…
Every single day I love all of you!
I love you today, I love you tomorrow…
I love you in happiness, I love you in sorrow.
I love you clean, I love you smelly,
I love you forever my Rebecca Ellie!

In case you couldn’t guess, I love you, baby girl!

Love always,
Mommy

October 26, 2011

Nostalgia...

Dear Bex,

Yes, you're only nine months old. (Also - you're already nine months old!!) But that doesn't mean that The Daddy and I don't often talk about how you used to be, how you're already changing and growing up. He often gets upset when I talk about your next milestone to look out for, saying, "No, she can't do that she's just a baby!"



But last night, our FlipShare program was open on the computer, and we looked back at the first couple of videos from March and April, when you were 2-3 months old. And we were both in shock and awe at how TINY you were, how much you've grown and accomplished, and how quickly it has all gone by. I think I even saw The Daddy tear up, remembering those first few months.

Time goes quickly when you're having fun, and we're having the BEST time - and looking back proved exactly that.

We love you, baby girl!

Love,
Mommy

October 24, 2011

The First Time Apart

Dear Bex,
I hinted in the last post that it’s been a hectic time – and it has. Work has been so busy for me lately because I had a big event coming up that is FINALLY OVER! I am on the plane back right now.

I’ve been in Phoenix since Wednesday – and that night was the first I’ve ever spent away from you, baby girl! I was extremely nervous about leaving and got pretty upset the night or two before – but obviously knew you were in amazing hands with Dina (who was amazing and came early and stayed late and came Friday!) and the Daddy (who did SUCH a great job with NO help from anyone!). I had pictures of you with me that I stared at – ask anyone I was with – and that I was gladly able to show off to tons of people.

I missed you SO much - your smile, laugh, noises, hands, eyes and tush tush! I would talk to the Daddy and hear you in the background, and he'd put me on speaker to talk to you but you are still too young to understand what was going on. Dina says you would look around for me and missed me, which makes my heart break because you were probably so confused! I bought you a little coyote doll that said Arizona on the tummy - the first of many souvenirs we'll bring you from trips, I'm sure, and another "Mom moment" that struck me more than I thought it would.

The breaking point was when I finally figured out how to Skype with The Daddy. It was a little bit screwed up, so I don't think you could see me that well, but the second I saw you on The Daddy's lap I realized just how much I missed you. I cried when we signed off, knowing it was a full two more days before I'd see you, and I just wanted to get on a plane right then and come back!

But we made it through - I am finishing this post from home, and last night when I got here I went right into your room and watched you sleep for a few minutes, breathing gently, your head perched on top of all of the lovies you sleep with, and I just smiled. This is where I belong.

I love you, baby girl!

Love,
Mommy

The Shoot!

Dear Bex,

OK, I’m a little late with this post – it’s been a super hectic time! But I’ll start with last Friday – your modeling debut!

You were a fabulous model. You looked adorable (even though they put you in a not-so-cute hat), smiled, and had a great time! We spent 9-1 there, you napped in your stroller (thank goodness!) and were in an amazing, playful, happy mood. There were puppies running around that you chased, hallways that you crawled down, and I (obviously) brought a ton of toys to occupy your time (and the other babies’ time too, actually – everyone played with our things!). But the toys were unnecessary, because you’re happiest crawling around, pulling yourself up on things and eating magazines. The other babies were cute too, I admit, but as the quintessential clichéd mommy says, “You were the cutest one there!”

There was a seamstress on site in case you needed your sleeves shortened or something, but the outfit fit you well so that wasn’t necessary. There was a handler who was so great with you – she put you on the little bed setup that they had, all outfitted in Ralph Lauren linens, pillows and toys,, of course, and you were smitten with her. You stared right at her, and loved all of the toys that she had that squeaked, lit up and moved. She would set you up in the position they wanted to try, and squeak a toy in your face that would catch your attention. Then, she’d run back a few steps to the camera and do it again, so you would instantly do the perfect Gerber Baby / Zoolander look right at the lens… it was miraculous! Every picture was better than the one before.

They put a couple different hats on you, tucking your hair in, pulling more of your bangs out, and then took some with no hat at all – and you were a pro through everything!

They let us know that they got the shots they needed during our one shoot, so we were allowed to leave at lunchtime, which I think was for the best – you took a rocking nap on the ferry boat home, while I kept everyone updated on how the day went.

Then we went to a playdate at Maxie and Julia’s house which was SO much fun! Jordyn came with Brooks, Emily and Conor, and Meri and Eli too. I really miss the other mommies I met on maternity leave, and am so grateful when I get the chance to hang out with them. I learn so much from them and seeing what their babies are up to and doing, what worked for them in certain situations, and it’s amazing to watch all of you finally playing sort of with each other, as opposed to the first playdates when you lay on a mat all next to each other and not do anything! This was a mess of crawling, walking, pulling up, stealing toys from each other, putting everything in your mouths – it was fabulous!

It was an amazing Friday together, and one that made me truly feel like your mom for one of the first times. Obviously I feel like your mom all the time, when I feed you, dress you and take care of you, but taking you to the modeling shoot was another feeling entirely. I was proud of you, protective of you to make sure nothing crazy happened, and I was ecstatic for you – because the baby who hated the photo shoot we tried to do when she was only two days old was a perfect model who had so much fun – and I can’t wait to see where the pictures are used come March 2012!!

I love you, Baby Girl!

Love,
Mommy

October 12, 2011

Our Rollercoaster Day

Dear Bex,

We have not had a rollercoaster of a day like we did yesterday in SO LONG. We started off on the up and up, to amazing heights, and then came down with such force! But let's start at the beginning...

Last week, Mommy's friend Denae asked for pictures of you and some of your friends. She used to work at Ralph Lauren, and knew that they were looking for baby models within your age ranges. I didn't even send in any until Monday, because I just kept forgetting - but it turns out they loved the ones I sent in!



We got asked to come in for a "go-see" where they meet you, take a few of their own pictures, and get some information about you. Well, it turns out they loved you on that too! They emailed at 5 PM yesterday asking if you "were available" on Friday for a Ralph Lauren layette shoot! I let them know that you were (I mean, really, other than pooping, what do you have planned?!) and that was it - your first modeling shoot was booked! What an exciting day - I mean, The Daddy and I have always known you were beautiful, and just about everyone thinks that you're the cutest baby that there ever was, but to have a modeling shoot?! I think it's amazing and hilarious and exciting all at once. Here is a photo from Dina after the go-see:

By the way, I think Dina was the most excited of anyone - I love how much she loves you, baby girl, it is so awesome.

Anyway, I got home that night, and cuddled and played with you as we always do. You were getting tired, so I changed you, made your bottle, and sat in your glider to feed you - you wanted none of it. Two ounces in you got fidgety and wouldn't eat anymore. I walked around the room with you as I always do after your nighttime bottle, and let you touch the dots on your Rebecca growth chart, the butterflies on your wall, and the animals on your mobile. I put you in your bed, gave you your lovey, and shut the door. You never quite settled down, and forty five minutes later out of fear that you had spit up at some point, I came in to check on you and that was the end of trying to sleep - you were up, crying, inconsolable for the next 20 minutes. I took you out and took your temperature, which was normal. So fearing it was teething pain, I gave you Tylenol that you promptly spit up. And then you promptly vomited all over me, for the second time this week! I stripped off your clothes and mine, changed you, tried to wipe things up and calm you down. I then let you crawl around a bit, as that was the only way you were happy! I put you in your crib 20 minutes later, and you proceeded to scream for half an hour. You were irate about something! It instantly brought me back to your first two months, when you would cry at night despite our every attempt to settle you down - and it didn't feel good.

The Daddy came home and couldn't believe how upset you were, to the point that we broke all of our sleep training rules. We took you out of the crib, talked to you, brought you outside into the living room and our bedroom, and played with you. We snuggled with you, tried to get you to calm down in there, to no avail. You wouldn't let either of us out of your sight, and clung to whichever one of us you chose at that moment with dear life. Yes, it is an amazing feeling to be that needed and cherished by someone, but we had no idea what to do at that moment! We finally gave you a cold teether which helped a bit, and as you had calmed down more tried the Tylenol again, which finally worked. You began to relax and give in to your tiredness, and The Daddy rocked with you in the glider for a little while, singing softly to you, before he finally placed you in your crib at 9 - and you didn't even move for hours - or wake up the next day till almost 8 AM!

I hope you had sweet dreams despite the less than stellar time you had going to sleep - and hope to not have to go through that again tonight! And stay tuned for the story of Friday, your first (of many!? who knows!) modeling shoot!

I love you, baby girl!

Love,
Mommmy

October 10, 2011

Family

Dear Bex,

This weekend was full of family time - and you were in your glory for all of it. We were down in Lakewood, NJ, at Grandma and Grumpa's house from Friday through Sunday for Yom Kippur. You loved it at their house and crawled all over every inch, pulling yourself up on their couches, walls, TV stand, chairs and stools. You actually made your mark on their kitchen chairs when you pulled yourself up on it and started to eat the edge of the seat - we told you to stop, pulled you away, and lo and behold you left teeth track marks on it! Proof positive that you just have your two sharp bottom teeth, for now. You also climbed their (super long!) flight of stairs like a pro, and loved that you could play in the family room and look over into the kitchen and still see Grandma! You giggled and waved at her (and made her year)!

This Yom Kippur was strange for me, because it's the first one I remember that I didn't spend in temple at all. I was with you all day - getting ready to make a brief synagogue appearance, and taking a surprise trip up to GG's. I thought it was going to be hard to find the energy to do all of that without eating, but it was actually easier - mainly because of you! You kept me busy, chasing you while you explored all the new territory, laughing while you made faces and did things to make the family laugh, and making sure you ate, drank, napped and were changed and all taken care of. I barely had time to think about being hungry!

GG was so excited to see us, we definitely made her year too! There, we saw Aunt Judy, Uncle Howie and Suzanne, and Cousin Melissa. They all love you SO much, and were happy to spend the day fawning over your every move. You kept crawling right over to GG, who at 91 years old would lean over and pick you up on her lap like it was nothing! She had a great time playing and talking with you again.

You had so much fun at their house that both nights, you didn't want to go to sleep, for fear of missing something! Friday night you took a nice evening nap for two hours (!), and then woke up and hung out with Grandma and I for an hour past your normal bedtime. But let me tell you - you were having the time of your life! Babbling, crawling, playing, climbing on me... you had a blast. The next night again I tried to lay you down and you were having none of it. I let you come out again for half an hour or so, and then you were good with going to sleep, once you were convinced that you weren't missing anything, and tired enough to just relax in your travel crib and drift off to a long night of dreams.

Sunday Uncle Eric came back up with us to our apartment and watched football with The Daddy. He loves playing with you and messing around with you - it's so much fun to watch. I was in the kitchen getting dinner ready watching he and The Daddy both playing with you and it was just adorable - The Daddy comes from such a good family, and I'm so glad you had the chance to see so many of them this weekend.

Yesterday we also decided it's time for table food boot camp! We're trying our hardest to make you pick up food with your own hands, but you just can't get it yet, so we're going to do our best to help you out to learn, instead of just placing the food in your mouth ourselves. I decided to try to hand you a Cheerio instead of placing it in your mouth, so held it out to you. Instead of grabbing it, you lowered your head down to my hand and ate it out of my fingers! It was hilariously adorable, as you are all of the time.

I love you, baby girl!

Love,
Mommy

October 3, 2011

PURPLE

Dear Bex,

Ever since before you were born, you have been a lavender girl. I've known all along that as much pink as there is in the world for girls (and yes, you wear and have your share of that too), that I loved purple and that it was just a little bit less of a GIRLY GIRL statement. Your bedding is lavender, I buy you lavender clothes when I can, and I am just in love with the color.

Now, I read about a new campaign, the Period of PURPLE Crying, that speaks so much to me that tears well up when I read about it. This is what we went through with you to a tee. And even on this blog, when I looked back at that time, I attributed what we went through to your reflux and thinking we mistakenly called that colic. People talked of the witching hour, which seemed creepy but valid enough since - literally - everyone said it affected them.

But no, you were in the Period of Purple Crying. It wasn't your fault, or our fault, or even anything abnormal - and that is something that took me a long time to understand. As a new mom you're worried constantly about what you're doing, and how to fix everything to be the perfect June Cleaver model within days - which turns into weeks - which turns into months. And when your baby cries incessantly every night, no matter what you do, it is hard for it not to take a toll on you, your ego and your state of mind.

The Period of PURPLE Crying begins at about 2 weeks of age and continues until about 3-4 months. There are other common characteristics of this phases, or period, which are better described by the acronym PURPLE. All babies go through this Period it is just that during this time some can cry a lot, some far less, but they all do go through it.


I found out about this from one of my favorite blogs, Pregnant Chicken, and just like her, want to help raise awareness of this to new mothers. As she writes here:
I'm never a fan of hiding the ugly to shelter unsuspecting parents of what *could* happen because if it *does* happen, you don't feel prepared and you feel like you are the only one this is happening to. I have yet to meet a parent that didn't have a witching hour in their house so you are not alone.

So today I want to tell new moms, moms-to-be, and those thinking of having babies, listen up - this may happen to you. It will suck, but you will just power through it and survive, and still end up in absolute love with the baby that made all that racket. You will look at them months down the road, and say, as we have, "How is this sweet, perfect little girl the same one who raised such hell in the beginning of her life?"

The answer is, Bex, that yes, it's the same little girl. You entered our lives dramatically, and have since become the antithesis, not getting worked up about too much. And I couldn't love you anymore than I do today, when you smile at me, and clap your hands, and shriek when you see how big Elmo is on the last page of the book. And later, I won't be able to love you anymore than I will when you are a dramatic two-year-old, wanting your way and throwing tantrums. You are perfect, just as you are. You are YOU.

I love you, baby girl!

Love always,
Mommy

September 26, 2011

Trying to eat Cheerios

This is what we did Friday morning during breakfast, when I gave you some Cheerios for the first time. It didn't go so well in terms of eating, but the entertainment value was great!



I love you, baby girl!

Love always,
Mommy

What a weekend!

Dear Bex,

We had such an amazing long weekend together. Well, I guess technically they're just weekends now, since I have three-day-weekends all year round! Anyway - we were busy and got in lots of quality time together.

On Friday we drove to Connecticut to meet Sadie Whipple who was in with her mommy, Emily, from London! Neve and her mommy met us there too. We had a great afternoon with good food, catching up and lots of babies playing, napping and eating. You and Neve shared all of your toys and sippy cups, grabbing them right from each other and sticking any and everything into your mouths!



We got stuck in traffic on the way home because there were huge thunderstorms and it was rush hour - but you were great in the car. You napped most of the way (tired out from all that playing with your new favorite babysitter, Lynn Manheim!), and when you woke up mostly played quietly in your car seat as we made the final turns towards home. Thank g-d for your Music Together CD. As awful and annoying as the songs are, they keep you quiet. It's better when The Daddy isn't in the car too, because while I am fine listening to your CD, he is not! He makes fun of the songs and the people singing them all the time! But every now and then I catch him singing one to you - they do have a way of getting stuck in your head.

Saturday we had music class with your friends Yael, Lilly and Julia, which was fun, and then the three of us had a nice lunch at Ganache when we met your friend Ava and her mommmy. Hopefully we'll all have a playdate together soon! Then, we went to visit GG. She was so happy to have you over, and loved every second of playing with you, and telling you to 'beat those tom toms!' every time you hit something. You were crawling all around, pulling up on her couches, stools and chairs, and had a good visit.


On Sunday you woke up with a little bit of a cold! You were sneezing everywhere, and had a terribly runny nose. You did NOT enjoy us wiping your nosey either! I had just given you a bath and we were getting ready to leave the house for a walk, so The Daddy was feeding you when all of a sudden you gagged yourself (he had warned you not to!) and threw up EVERYwhere! For the next half hour we had to clean off your whole entire highchair, give you another bath and change you (and ourselves)! It set us back a bit, but luckily it was a somewhat lazy Sunday so that was okay. Finally, we went through the Hoboken Arts and Music Festival - it was a nice walk downtown, but not much to look at or buy (though I did manage to find you adorable dresses for the High Holidays). When we got home, Uncle Eric and Marcelo were over, so we played with them, watched football. Eric couldn't believe how much you had grown and loved taking pictures of you and just hanging out. Marcelo spoke Spanish to you and you loved that too! You are for sure going to be bilingual, which I love!

Pictures to come...

Then a few more people came over because they wanted to see you - the Lakinds and some of Erica's friends - it was a full-blown party! You finally took a late nap at 5:45, which the Daddy warned was a bad idea... you were in a bad mood when we woke you around 6:30, so The Daddy put you to bed soon after that, while I cooked dinner for us and Eric and Marcelo.

Like I said, a great weekend with lots of friends, family and fun! Your cold was already much better by yesterday afternoon, and today didn't seem as bad - hopefully it was a quick one, or maybe even just allergies. Fingers crossed!

I love you, baby girl!

Love,
Mommy

September 21, 2011

Eight months old!

Dear Bex,

You are eight months old today - eight months! I can hardly believe it. The time really has flown, as cheesy and cliched as that sounds! People always told us that time would go by so quickly once you have kids, and I never realized it until recently - Bex, you're no longer a newborn, and seem so grown up now that you're moving places on your own, making decisions about what you want to do when, what to play with when and where you want to be... you are evolving into your own person with opinions that you are just starting to express and I love watching that process happened (though I didn't much mind the girl who happily played in one spot with whatever toy you gave her!).

Yesterday when I got home from work, you were behind the couch playing with Dina. I called to you, and as I walked over and said, "Where's my baby girl?" your tiny head just popped up as you stood to greet me - and you were smiling right at me! It was amazing, almost like we had rehearsed it! Even Dina was laughing.

You get so excited when you are happy that you rock back and forth on all fours, like you can't calm down enough to crawl or climb at that second. You pant like a doggie too, and it is the funniest thing - yesterday I panted back and you thought that was just hilarious! You also love when we kiss your stomach or neck repeatedly, and you squeal with delight.

But the best reaction you have is when The Daddy gets home from work. You can be exhausted and whiny and at the end of your rope, but you see him come through the door and your face lights up, breaks into a huge smile, and you're good to hang for another 15-20 minutes.

I love all of the minutes we get to spend together, and have loved you for all 348,480 minutes of your life so far. I can't wait for the millions and billions of more minutes we have...

I love you, baby girl!

Love,
Mommy

September 19, 2011

A great family weekend...

Dear Bex,

You are an amazing girl. You are easygoing, curious, calm, and strong. This weekend we went to Mimi and PopPop's house on Saturday because Mommy and Daddy had a wedding to go to. We packed up to go, during which you pulled yourself up to stand in front of the couch, and The Daddy saw you pull yourself along the side while you walked. Walked!

When we got to Mimi and PopPop's, you lit up when you saw them, and immediately started crawling around. We had lunch, you played with the cat, and planted yourself in front of their mirrored wall, where you chatted with yourself, made out with yourself, and crawled back and forth while Mommy and Daddy got ready to go. Later, Mimi and PopPop put you to bed and you slept perfectly!

The next day, we had more playtime at their house and after you climbed the entire flight of stairs, you took a rocking two-hour nap! We left after your nap and bottle, sure that you would cause a scene in the car - but - you napped even more on our way into the city to meet Daddy's friend John from Utah (aka Utah)! You played in Bryant Park, hung out while we ate our lunch, and just generally were the cutest girl in the world.

It was a fabulous weekend of family time, gorgeous first hint of Fall weather and a great night out for The Daddy and me. I love how adaptable you've become, and how happy you are all the time these days. You love crawling at any chance you get, pulling yourself to standing wherever you may be able to, and playing with anything we'll allow you to stick in your mouth. You're too cute, and I'm cherishing these days, because I just bought you your walker. I think it's going to be a short while until you start walking, baby girl, which will be such a big change. Crawling has been a big change too - seeing you suddenly in a location different than where we left you always shocks us - but walking? Big kids walk, not babies... You're growing up too quickly already!

I love you, baby girl!

Love,
Mommy

September 14, 2011

Bedtime...

Dear Bex,

When you were first born, there was no set bedtime. You slept and woke as you saw fit - sometimes every hour, every two, or every three. We attempted to put you on a schedule fairly early, and it seemed to take - you started waking on your own like clockwork every 2 1/2 - 3 hours to eat! But you were never happy afterwards. You would cry and cry, and we didn't know what to do. Neither did Karen (or Debbie or Angela), though she did their best, and had more patience than I could ever dream of having!

Karen would just rock with you in the glider most of the time until you fell asleep. She had the room toasty warm and the TV on 24/7. She would talk to you in her loud voice and I swear you understood her! She would tell you to open your eyes, and she would ask why you were crying, and you would open them, or stop crying! She called you Chunk-a-lunks (in the sweetest way possible - hey, you were a big girl for just a couple of days old!) and she was your first best friend.

Once you were a week or so old we noticed a pattern to your crying. You were inconsolable at night. It was heartbreaking for us to listen to you cry at the top of your lungs for hours at a time. We tried everything to make you comfortable so that you would sleep - carrying you on your belly, carrying you on your side. Swaddling, not swaddling. Music, silence. Pushing you around in your stroller, swinging you in the swing. The bouncy seat. The Bjorn. The most effective though was the vent on our stovetop! For some reason that fan's white noise was one of the only things that could get you to calm down. We thought you were colicky then, but think that it was reflux and you were in pain by the end of the day. Karen put you on a schedule that worked well to try to get you to sleep through most of your usual crying time, and it worked for a little bit.

Debbie - well, we don't really know what she did for you at bedtime. We just took advantage of her being there and tried to get some sleep. She was convinced that you were upset because your feet were cold, and made us have socks on you at all times. She also started us thinking that you had gas - so we started giving you Mylicon, which often helped a bit.

The most patient and kooky, Angela, would walk around with you non-stop. Seriously, that woman must have worn paths into our hardwood floors and in the lobby and in the park near our building! In the apartment she would strap the Sleep Sheep to her wrist and walk you all around. She would take you outside as long as it wasn't snowing or raining, convinced that the fresh air would help you sleep better. And it did somewhat - but you were still so uncomfortable around 7ish until 10 and would cry and cry. By this point you were on medicine for reflux that wasn't helping, and the most gentle formula that they make. We had just one other option which we started right as Angela was leaving.

And that was the trick. At 8 weeks we started you on Prevacid, and soon enough you were like a different baby. No more Mylicon needed, or gripe water, or vent in the kitchen. We would put you to sleep earlier too, around 7, which also helped - who knows, maybe all those nights you were just saying, "Please shut up, stop rocking and singing and making me listen to music, I want to be asleep in my crib!"

And it was around then that putting you to bed became one of my favorite things to do. I was terrified to do it for the first two months, because we didn't know what was wrong. Once we figured it out, though, that all changed. Now we change you into your pajamas, put lavender scented lotion on you, and rock you lightly as we give you your last bottle. Sometimes you're all wound up and babble all the way through, barely eating. Sometimes you're starving and you suck down the whole bottle and pass out on our shoulder. But most of the time you happily eat what you want, curl up into our neck, and we walk you around the room letting you touch certain things. You love to touch the butterfly decals on the wall, and to spin your mobile yourself as you touch each animal. Then we put you in your crib with your Sleep Sheep making rain noises and your seahorse playing music, and you cuddle into your snuggler and go to sleep.

Little do you know that after that happens, The Daddy and I carry around your monitor all night to make sure you're okay, and to just stare at you. We eat dinner with you on the table, and have you near us on the couches and in bed. We laugh at positions you get yourself into and wonder if you'll be sore the next day from some of them!

Then, before we go to bed, we sneak into your room together and wave at you. We do this together almost every night, and always take a second to be in awe of the amazing person that we made while we give each other a quick kiss or squeeze of the hand, and then we go off to bed ourselves.

We love you, baby girl!

Love,
Mommy

September 13, 2011

Catching us up to now...

Dear Bex,

The maternity leave brings us up to when you were almost five months old... you were just getting on to your hands and knees and rocking back and forth, thinking about crawling.  You were napping three times a day, and just beginning to try solid foods like apples and bananas. You were a happy go lucky girl, who at six months would smile all the time and laugh - though not always like this!
Today, on The Daddy and my third anniversary, you are one week away from being eight months old.  You are an amazing, inquisitive, smiley, crawling machine. (Which you started doing the day after you turned seven months old, and the day before you cut your first tooth.) You pull yourself up on anything and everything - couches, the TV stand, us! You eat everything - peaches, pears, berries, peas, green beans, turkey, chicken... and we've just started experimenting with things for you to chew and suck on, like yogurt melts and puffs.  You also eat the foam tiles on our floor, all of your toys and other peoples, paper, books and anything you can get your mouth on! I like to think it's just because of your teething - was I right?!

You squeal with delight when The Daddy roughhouses with you and tosses you in the air, and when we flop you down on the bed and kiss your belly over and over.  You love when one of us walks into a room and leave whatever you are doing to crawl over to us.  You are the hit of all your playdates, as the oldest of all of The Mommy's friends' babies - they love seeing what they're about to get into next! You have hung out with Neve Aviv, Rylan Filiberti, Josie Pontelandolfo and Max and Lilly Silberman.You have Skyped with Sadie Whipple in London, and had a big cousins sleepover with Amanda and Ryan too!

We just took our first big family vacation to Georgia at the end of last month.  We flew out a night early because of Hurricane Irene, which gave me less time to freak out about taking you away, which is probably a good thing! Don't worry, I still managed to totally overpack your clothes, bathing suits and definitely toys!  But you were a champ the entire trip.  You were great on the plane down, sleeping on my chest until the last half hour when you woke up and smiled at everyone around us and played quietly.  You slept amazingly every night in your travel crib, loved being in the pool either in your float or carried by The Daddy or me.  You loved going in the ocean with The Daddy, whose greatest happiness was taking you in! I thought it was a bit too deep, but he knew he was alright, of course.  He'd never put you in danger, which I know, but it still raised my blood pressure just a bit! You came out for dinner with us every night, playing in your high chair and sometimes even acting better than the bigger kids did!  We were so nervous to go away with you, to see how you would do without your familiar surroundings and routine, but you were a dream baby, and it was an amazing trip.  I loved having you bond with your cousins and the whole family, and of  course Mimi and PopPop too.  I also loved having you to ourselves for a whole week straight, with no work distractions or plans! It is something I will look forward to every year.
 
 

I love you, baby girl!

Love,
Mommy

September 12, 2011

The Maternity Leave

Dear Bex,

From January 21 until June 14, you and I were a team.  You were my full time job and made me work hard!  We spent just about all day, every day together once Angela the nurse left towards the end of March.  Some things that I remember from those months:
  • We spent most of our time in this position on the couch playing, eating, resting...
  • You loved napping in your swing, but it had to be done exactly right, or otherwise you wouldn't fall asleep.  This entailed: cranking it up to the highest level of swinging, turning on the bird noise mode, turning on the ceiling fan in the living room, and me washing bottles at the same time. And giving you something to cuddle with.  I swear, this was all necessary! 
    I did it every day, 1-2 hours after you woke up, as it pretty much guaranteed me a 2 hour window.  I could shower then, or cook, or eat, or clean, but mostly I slept too!!
  • You had a ROCKING mohawk.  No matter how hard we tried, we could not make it go down! 
    In fact, Daddy liked to make it as high as possible.
  • My favorite thing was giving you bottles.  You would softly hum while eating, the cutest little noise in the world, that would pause when you swallowed.  It was absolutely adorable.  My least favorite thing was a tie between burping you, which could take forever, and you getting the hiccups, which happened so often! I dreaded that so much, because there was nothing that could stop it.  We started giving you rice cereal and oatmeal at 4 1/2 months.  You took to it fairly quickly and easily, and soon we added fruits to the mix for your breakfast, and then eventually a vegetable as a later meal.
  • We went to the amazing new mom's group at the Hoboken University Medical Center which changed my life - it showed me that every single new mother was in the same boat I was! It was a fabulous way to meet other new mothers too, and everyone sat in a circle with their babies peeing, pooping, breastfeeding, spitting up... it was heaven.  We luckily had Camille and Brendan to join us so we didn't have to sit alone in the beginning, and everyone was so nice and welcoming, and would have a big group lunch out together afterwards. I loved going even when you were a bit older, so that my advice could help out some of the newer moms.                                                                        It was so amazing to look at them and see where I had been a few weeks before, and be the knowledgeable one!
  • We started taking classes when you were about 8 weeks old.   Itsy Bitsy Yoga was first, then Music Together - and you couldn't have cared less about either!! The timing was always just a bit off for you, either it was time to eat, or sleep, or you had just eaten, or pooped -without fail, at every single class, we were doing our own thing.                           
  • I met a great group of girls in the classes.  They had been at the hospital group a few times too, but I really became friends with them through yoga and music.  We would do lunches out with them after classes, another thing that you never quite fell in love with! The other babies would play content in their strollers as their mothers lazily ate their food, and there you were screaming in your stroller so that I had to take you out and eat with one hand while swaying! Eventually you got the hang of it, and would give me some time to eat - thanks for that! We would have playdates together often too, in parks or at people's apartments.                                                                                                    And we still meet up now on my days off.      
  • We walked every inch of Hoboken - up and down Washington Street, in and out of stores, up and down the waterfront, visited every park - you name it, we did it!
  • I relished the moment that The Daddy would walk through the door - not only was I exhausted, but I loved seeing him interact with you, and at this time you were pretty much always still asleep when he left for work, leaving a short window in the weekdays for him to be with you. He was always so upset if he missed your bedtime, which rarely happened because he always made a point to be home in time. We even went to visit him at work one day.                                                                  Of course, all of his coworkers loved you! We stopped by to see GG on the way home too.
  • We took road trips to Westchester every so often, so you could play with your cousin, Ryan.  Mimi would come to Hoboken once or twice a week, and so would Grandma Helen, to get to know you better.  They loved seeing how much you changed week to week - something that was only apparent to me when someone else pointed it out, because I was with you so much!
  • We had tons of other visitors and playdates - friends, family, co-workers, other babies, pregnant people - it was a time with nothing planned, but so much that went on!
  • We went to the doctor monthly at that point, and would guess how much we thought you weighed prior to every visit.  You were always a healthy weight, that's for sure!!
  • I loved dressing you each morning.  I would pick out the cutest outfits depending on what we were doing or who we were seeing, making sure that everyone got to see all the cutest outfits at least once!
  • I would bathe you every other morning next to the kitchen sink in your little bathtub, something that you grew to love. You would kick and splash the whole time!  You hated getting out of the tub though - being dried off and getting dressed was (and still is) your least favorite part of the routine!
  • Right before I went back to work, we had a long Memorial Day Weekend with my family - traditionally a weekend away, we went to the Short Hills Hilton.  Very random, but nice, with a pool and everyone together.  Mommy and The Daddy had a wedding to go to so we left you with the family.  We got word that you were not sleeping well, and when we got back, you were up.  You woke up every hour, and finally we felt that you were raging hot with a fever.  I was terrified, and The Daddy instantly said we were taking you to the hospital, and we did.  You were so tiny, in the little pink hospital gown, and burning up.  They did some blood tests and urine tests, and I was so scared that something was wrong with you, but they just gave you Tylenol and let us sleep there and sent you home.  You were under the weather and not yourself for the next couple of days, but got better quickly.  That one experience made me want to shield you from pain and illness forever!! It broke my heart having to see you not well, and I hope that there is a minimal amount of that in your future...
I loved my time off - I loved our time together - and I love that I took the extra time that I needed to be okay with what happened during the Dark Days and all that I missed out on.  I loved that it was just the two of us, and that I fed you, changed you and tended to your every need on those days.  No one knew you better than I did those last few weeks I was off, Baby Girl, and that felt amazing to me.  I could preempt any feeling you'd have. I knew when you'd be hungry, tired, cold, hot or even going to the bathroom! 

I was not looking forward to going back to work in June, even when I found Dina and knew that she was perfect for us. And she is! She shows up at our house every morning and you light up - she is constantly singing to you, dancing with you, talking to you, and delighting in your every move, noise and milestone. She keeps you, me and our house in order and has made me working as painless as it could be.  No, I was not looking forward to going back, to having to work, to spending time without you and away from Hoboken, the things we did together and the people I met during maternity leave who I learned so much from....  But it has been the best thing for me.  I thrive on work and the people that I work with. I come home every night totally refreshed and ready to be a supermom for you, as opposed to being drained by the end of the day. I savor Fridays, when we're alone together, and it feels like I fall in love with you all over again every week.  And I live for the weekends when we're a family, all three of us together.
                 

I love you baby girl!
Love always,
Mommy