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.


December 15, 2011


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...


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!