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.

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

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