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.

August 16, 2012

Tiger Mother

Dear Bex,

There has been a lot of talk recently about a book called, "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother."  In it, the author details the strict way in which she was brought up.  Well, I am no Tiger Mother, baby girl - I'm Mush Mama.  One whimper from you, or big fat alligator tear that you can summon at a moment's notice or request, and I am  a puddle.  I frequently am using all of my willpower not to give in to your every whim!

However, as soon as you are in any type of discomfort or harm, I am the fiercest Tiger Mother there is.  Right now you have coxsackie virus (GREAT timing, by the way, as we leave for our annual trip to Georgia in two days!) and are extremely fussy and particular.  Eating and drinking don't appeal to you much because you have sores in your throat, and the pain is also making it somewhat hard to sleep, I think, since you fully had dark circles under your eyes just now before I put you down.  I want to shield and protect you with a ferociousness that I have never known - from germs that make you sick and uncomfortable, from physical and emotional pain, and from people like the woman I just spoke to on the phone.

Apparently, her grandchild had the same RadioFlyer Tricycle that Nicole bought you for your first birthday, and it was stolen from the playground near us.  She decided to confront Dina about having stolen it.  I am horrified to think about how Dina must have felt, and upset that you were there to even hear any of this, baby love.  I called the woman, Tiger Mother claws out, and explained exactly where and when we got the tricycle and that she was completely mistaken.  She was standoffish but apologized for the confusion, and now, twenty minutes after speaking to her, I'm still fuming.  I wish I had told her how much she scared Dina, how much she seems ridiculous in the first place for thinking that whoever did steal her tricycle would bring it back to that same playground, and offered to email her the receipt from Nicole to prove that it's ours.

Like I said - I want to protect you, and anything or anyone having to do with you, with a wicked ferocity.  And that's the kind of Tiger Mother I am proud to be.  The strict one? I'll have to work on my willpower against your insanely adorable charms... someday...

I love you, baby girl!


August 11, 2012

Happy Birthday To You, Bex (Six months late)

Dear Bex,

I never did get around to your birthday post.  As I've mentioned, it's been a bit crazy around here! So I'll just say a few things, and then let the party pictures by Glen and PopPop speak for themselves:

  • I planned your party for months - anxiety-fueled months about venues, entertainment, food, favors and guest lists - and it could not have turned out any more perfect. Except...
  • The only thing I never had anxiety about, or even really considered, was the weather.  It only snowed - literally - twice this entire winter.  Once for a huge blizzard in October that confused everyone, and once on YOUR first birthday.  This meant many people who we wanted to be there were unable to travel in to celebrate with us - meaning tons of leftover room in the venue, food and favors from our now smaller guest list!
  • You napped 364 days in a row at the exact same time - except this day.  You stayed up through your morning nap, and we had no choice but to let you power through to your 11 AM birthday party (planned for 11-2 because - YOU ALWAYS SLEEP BEFORE AND AFTER THAT!)

  • All around though, we had an awesome day - you were adorable, loved your puppet show with the folks from Puppetonia, had tons of friends and family there including Dina, and had a blast.  And then afterwards, all of our family members came back to our house for your baby naming, done by the rabbi from the United Synagogue of Hoboken.  He did a great job, and The Daddy and I spoke about why we named you Rebecca Ellie, AKA Rivka Esther, and it was touching and lovely.  Then you devoured cake for the first time, and loved that too. 

August 9, 2012

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

Dear Bex,

My amazing, inquisitive, bright, hilarious, impatient, defiant, gorgeous and sweet 1 1/2 year old girl - today is a landmark occasion in your (also amazing, inquisitive, bright, hilarious, impatient, defiant, gorgeous and sweet) mama's life.  Yesterday morning I took my last dose of medication to treat the postpartum depression that clouded the first weeks of your life.

The dark days  are still unbelievably sharp in my mind, and I unconsciously recall them often as I shake my head and wonder how those feelings are possible.  During those days, and even on some after I felt better, I was content to let others do the "work" of tending to you.  To change your diapers, feed you, even play with you - it was impossible to summon the strength, smiles and energy necessary to do it myself.  

For the past two nights, I had to stay in the city after work and didn't get to snuggle with you. And I ached to be here tonight, and looked forward to the all too quick hour after I get home from work when we  play, dance, read and sing together.  That feeling - to want to be the one to do the "work" - is one that I could not have fathomed feeling 18 months ago.

So this morning I woke up, and didn't take any medication for the first time in a year and a half. I feel amazing. I feel like me - and like the mother I always knew I would be.  I raced home to be with you tonight, and you raced to meet me at the door when I got here, yelling "hiiiiiiiii Mama!"  I sat talking with Dina about how hyper you were all day, and then you and I sat and read about twelve books before The Dada got home, at which point you told him to put on a shirt (you say this to him every night when he gets home, we think because he always changes first thing, but it is amazing nonetheless) and he sat and read with us too.  Then he had to go out, and I got to put you to bed all by myself (this is one of The Dada's favorite tasks and times with you, along with being able to be the one to get you in the morning, so I treasure the times I get to do this!)

We put on your pajamas, and brushed your teeth, and said good night to all the animals, and you asked if we could sing.  This is a newer thing with you, the desire to sing songs with us and have us sing for you.  I love letting you finish the lines of songs, and love even more when you belt out and sing entire songs to us, like Twinkle Twinkle, ABCs or My Bonnie.

As we sat in your glider, you snuggled into my chest sucking your thumb and waiting for me to begin, I was filled with ease, and awe at the love that I felt for you.  The feeling overwhelms me often, and can bring me to (happy!) tears in an instant.  But I stayed strong, and sang "The Love of My Life," the song that most reminds me of my happy pregnancy, and the relative calm of the hospital before the storm that followed, for me.  I sang about half of the song and stopped for some reason, when you looked up at me and said, "My yife?"  I was floored - I asked if you wanted me to keep singing Love of My Life, and you said yes, and when I got to the line "You're the love of my..." I stopped, and you took your thumb out and finished, "yife." and I bawled, while still somehow getting through the rest of the verse (with a little help from you). 

Moments like that take my breath away, and are ones I will always cherish - and this one, on this day - to know that I am back to ME, and you are the amazing you that you are - I can't even explain to you how much that meant to me.

You continue to surprise me with your wit, charm and intelligence, and are slowly but surely becoming a more feisty, opinionated and strong girl.  It is amazing to watch, even more amazing to experience, and the most amazing to feel.  

I am so grateful for the help I was able to get when I needed it - for the therapist I found to talk to, for the family that helped us all, for The Dada who blew away any expectations I had of him as a father, and even for the medication that brought me out of the darkness and back towards the light. But while I have been coming through that tunnel of darkness, I still haven't felt 100% like myself.  I have been close, but not totally me, until today.

I am beyond ecstatic to finally be basking in the light at the end of the tunnel.

I love you, more than you can ever know, baby girl!