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.

July 2, 2014

Life in our House

Dear Bex,

Life has been pretty hectic for the past couple of months - we are finally out of the haze of it and mostly back to normal. Dina hurt her foot at the very end of April, and ended up needing six weeks off for it to heal enough for her to come back and take care of you, my rambunctious, active, chica loca! We scrambled for coverage while she was out, with myself, The Daddy and all four grandparents pitching in, not to mention help from Dina's niece and a temporary nanny named Fely who you grew to love too. It was craziness, and while for the most part you were awesome, you are certainly a happier girl with Dina back in your life.

In the time since that happened you have had croup twice and a raging double ear infection. You have refused to take medicine, spitting it back in our faces, and had more than a few sleepless nights that I promise would have gone better if you had listened to us - but that would be too easy!

You have, though, in these couple of months, become enamored with my belly and all things about the baby. You call yourself a big sister already, ask about the baby all the time (is she or he moving? are they kicking? are they laughing? are they growing? when will the baby be here?) and kiss and rub my belly. You love to tickle it and say "Hi fuzzy fuzzy! You're so cute!" to the baby, which just makes me smile each time. We got you a big sister book that you love, and you have started pushing around your dolls in their strollers a lot more - not to mention acting like a baby a lot more too. This morning you asked for some baby food in jars from Kings - we may be taking this a bit far! :)

This past weekend we had our 2014 Climb out of the Darkness. In preparation for it, I have become super active with Postpartum Progress, the non-profit who organizes the walk, and that has been so great.  I got to meet some of the other women involved, including founder Katherine Stone, because we went to a taping of The Today Show to see David Gray - his new song, Back in the World, is the theme of this year's walk, as you can see in the video below (which the baby and I are in, just after 1:30!).

That's me!

Last year's walk was amazing, and this year's was just as incredible - we had 25 people come - family, friends and coworkers (and a photographer from!) - and raised more than $5,000 which boggles my mind. The support from people near to me and far, from people I speak to daily to people I haven't spoken to in over a decade, boggles my mind - and lets me know that this is a cause worth talking about.

The Daddy taking over reading a letter from Postpartum Progress founder Katherine Stone because I was too emotional. I could blame the pregnancy, but that's not entirely true.

You really didn't want to be in our family picture. 
So yes - things have been nuts.  Planning for the Climb, making sure you were well taken care of, your graduation from KVU and start of Camp Kidville and so much more has been a whirlwind!  Despite some extreme feistiness from you, which we've been trying to curb albeit somewhat unsuccessfully, you have been amazing through everything.  You make us laugh all the time - especially with your new brand of more mature (or immature) potty humor.  You are somewhat obsessed with playgrounds, and fearless when you get to go to them.  You absorb facts and the world around you at an unbelievable pace, remember things from MONTHS ago that you recall with perfect clarity, and even started writing all of your letters without anyone teaching you how to do so!  You addressed these Father's Day cards by yourself (OK, I made the G in Grumpa.)!

Already this summer, you have been swimming a few times, conquering your fear of putting your face and head in the water.  You have been fishing, thanks to Nicole and John's pond at their new house, and we have gone to your first baseball game (that you shocked us and loved) on Father's Day, took a trip to Margate, NJ, to visit Leslie, Sydney, Hayden and baby Dean and seen Daddy in a race or two. You are a blast to hang out with, and it is so much FUN right now to be your mom.

I get the feeling these next few months will be more of the same insanity, and then... who knows once this baby gets here!! Third trimester - the countdown is ON!!

I love you, baby girl.

Love always,

April 14, 2014

The News!

Dear Bex,

The Daddy and I have been talking about giving you a brother or sister for a little while now.  We went back and forth - you are SO much fun, and SO awesome and funny and we are SOOOO lucky - what if another baby isn't that same way? And I had a pretty hard time in the beginning after having you - were we ready to go through that all again?

In the end, we decided that we did want to press our luck for another baby - to hopefully have another as incredible as you are, and a sibling and best friend for you to have for life.

And in January, just after you turned 3, we learned that we would in fact be having a baby, in October.  We were sort of speechless - yes this is what we wanted, but the minute you find out it's really going to happen? Nothing prepares you for that.

We waited to make sure everything was going well, and then we got the fun of telling you.

Just after this (which cuts out annoyingly early due to low phone memory), you asked why we paused the TV. It was priceless, and exactly how The Daddy said it would go. Since then, you have really warmed up to the idea of being a big sister.  You love telling people that we're "getting a baby!", and tell me all the time that it's a girl that you'd like to name either A) Rebecca, B) Dina, C) Elsa or D) Jasmine.  Oh, and if it's a boy, which you adamantly tell us IT IS NOT, you will name him Poopy. Or Abu.

I am just about four months pregnant now, which means we have 5-6 months left - quite a bit of time.  My bump is totally showing (gotta love second pregnancies), and you have started patting it, asking to see it and just last week, talking to it. You said, "Hi there baby... hi little girl... Have a good dinner!" And this morning, you patted my belly and said "Hi in there... feel good!" which melted my heart.  It is moments like these, and me imagining you taking care of whoever is coming to join our family, that turn me into a bowl full of mush (and tears).  I am sure it will not all be as sweet as this, and there will be major adjustments for all four (!) of us, but I am beyond excited for every second.

I love you so much, baby girl.

Love always,

March 27, 2014

Bex in Specs

Dear Bex,

The day before you turned 3, we went to Toys R'Us to spend some of the money you have accumulated in gift cards since you were born.  It was your first spree, and I got to say,"We can pick a few things out to take home! This is a special day!"  We had a blast running around the store, looking at everything and visiting all your 'friends,' which is what you call every cartoon character you can recognize.  You played in the mini cars in the back, hopping in and out of various models for half an hour, and we chose some toys to bring home with us.

Just as we were about to hit the registers, you looked up at me to answer a question I had asked you, and I noticed your right eye turn in just slightly, but enough to take me aback.  I felt my heart drop, asked you to look at me again but couldn't make it happen again.  For the rest of the afternoon, I kept staring at your eyes trying to spot the problem again, and a few times, I did.

I was scared - what did the turning in mean? What was it a signal of? Was I imagining it? How long had I not noticed this for? I Googled, terrified myself, and asked The Daddy if he had noticed it - he said I was crazy, so I thought I was.  I kept seeing it though, and every time it made me shudder - I just knew I wasn't crazy, and asked Dina if she'd seen anything, but she hadn't either.  Still, I researched online and wondered what it could be.

Then, a week later, both The Daddy and Dina saw it too.  We went for your three-year check-up, and the doctor told me that if I suspected something, we should take you to the eye doctor to have it checked out - we were at the Englewood Eye Center a week later, and in that week we all kept seeing it happen more and more.  Even Grandma noticed it during a sleepover you had at her house.

The eye doctor did her examination, and immediately diagnosed you as farsighted. Your vision was +3.75, which is fairly severe - you would need to wear glasses, starting as soon as possible, all the time, until you were probably 10-11 years old.
Lunch at the diner after your appointment, with dilated pupils.
I would be lying if I said the news didn't shock me and make me upset.  In the grand scheme of things, are glasses a big deal? No.  Could there be MUCH worse diagnoses and remedies? Of course.  But I was still just shocked that the small thing I had noticed a few weeks earlier during a fun Toys R'Us outing had turned out to be a signal of something really wrong.

We chose frames, and you actually had a blast during that part, trying on different glasses, calling yourself Dr. Bex and generally cracking everyone up.  We picked out an adorable purple pair and came back to get them a week or so later, after having talked up how cool glasses would be that whole time.  You cried when it was time to put them on, but I let you work through that and a few minutes later you slipped them on.  "Whoah, things look different.  The sun is moving!" were your exact words, but since then, Bex, you've really never taken them off.  They help you see so much better that you love and know you need your glasses.

You have changed since having them, too - you concentrate on tasks for longer than you used to, and you are less clumsy, both of which were signs that you had been having trouble seeing things close up for a while. We bought you a cute little stuffed princess with a pouch on the back that holds your glasses at night, and you pop up each morning and run to get them. You have done better with this adjustment - which is quite a major one - than I ever could have imagined.  I am so impressed, and proud of you.

I love you, Bex in Specs!


March 25, 2014

School?! ALREADY?

Dear Bex,

Somehow, you are three.  Somehow, it is time to start thinking about preschool beyond the amazing Kidville University two-hour dropoff program we've done this year.  Somehow, we must make a real, adult decision about where you will spend the next year or two prior to Kindergarten.

In trying to decide between a private option or the free public preschool option in Hoboken, we've had the opportunity to do a lot of research, have a ton of conversations about what will work best for us, for you and (really, most importantly) for Dina and finally, to go on open houses / meetings / interviews.

Oh, the interview.

Our "backup option" should we not get a place in the public preschool program that Hoboken offers, which is quite possible due to overcrowding in Hoboken, was Hoboken Montessori.  It's expensive, yes, but it's also RIGHT across the street. I've learned a lot about the Montessori method at work recently, and really believe in its philosophies and techniques, so went for an open house.  I thought it was great and that it could be a good option for you - and then we brought you in for your interview.

My baby girl, it was the proudest I've been of you in your entire life yet.  You were unabashedly yourself - pretending to be characters, expressing yourself willfully and not letting anyone tell you what to do.  I don't think this is the type of child they were looking for - but it is the one I am in love with and am so proud to have!!

It began when the preschool director walked by prior to your interview and you said a charming hello - she asked your name, and you identified yourself as "Amanda."  I laughed and let her know that wasn't your name but my niece's, and asked you to tell her your real name.  "Ryan Baker." was your next response.  Again, I laughed and shook my head, glancing over at The Daddy who was also already laughing.  This was going to be interesting, we could tell...

They invited you into the room, and we accompanied you because you didn't want to go in alone.  I should mention that this was after we had to wake you from your afternoon nap, so you weren't the happiest girl - but I digress.  We entered the room and you looked around at all the toys - the teacher asked if you wanted to do one activity, and you responded with a definite and defiant "NO."  You wandered around a bit and declined other activities, then found the easel, where you colored for a minute or two before moving onto another activity. You walked over the the tower of block cubes, and swiftly knocked them down with one swipe.  The teacher attempted to show you how to carefully pick them up and restack them, and you did so for a moment.  You missed one larger block when restacking, and she asked what you thought would happen when you tried to balance it on top of the other, smaller blocks.  I swear, Bex, you stared her right in the eye, put that larger block squarely on top of the smaller ones and it balanced perfectly, and then you swiped and knocked them down again.  The Daddy and I were stifling laughter at this point, staring at you going through this classroom like a bull in a china shop.  You made messes that you refused to clean up, did some activities and abandoned them moments later, and generally were... you.

Once the teacher said, "I think I've seen enough," she asked if you had a nice time - you looked back at her, said a final, "NO."  and left the room.  The Daddy and I profusely thanked them, continued to giggle, and followed you - our brilliant, vivacious, imaginative girl - outside.

You got rejected a month later.


Feb 28
to meevan.neadel
Dear Mr. & Mrs. Neadle,

After a thorough review of your child’s application and our existing enrollment, our administrative team has determined that we are unable to offer you a contract for the 2014-2015 school year at Hoboken Montessori School.
It is never easy to make these difficult admissions decisions; I wish we could accommodate all the wonderful families we meet through the admission process. We are certain Rebecca will flourish at another of the fine schools in the area. 

We thank you for your interest in Hoboken Montessori School and wish you all the best in the future.

Denise Rosenthal
Shortly after this interview, The Daddy and I went to the Open House for the public preschool option that Hoboken offers.  The classrooms were filled with toys, colors, pictures and projects that the children had done.  They exuded warmth, playfulness and excitement, and I could immediately imagine you walking the halls and seamlessly fitting in.  We applied a few weeks later - fingers crossed we get a spot!!

I love you and all that you are, just the way you are, baby girl!

Love always,

January 20, 2014

The Night Before You Turn 3

Dear Bex,

My loveygirl, you are turning three tomorrow.  I just put you to bed for the last time as a two-year-old and tried to explain what birthdays were - the day each year that your mommy had you, that you were born.  I don't think you understood, though you may have since you really understand, remember and ponder just about everything these days. The Whys have started, and I never really know enough to satisfy them, though I try my best.  The memories that you pull out of thin air boggle my mind, and I often have to think hard but can decipher even the most random references you make.  We met someone named Jessie, and you remembered that Erica Lakind's teddy bear has the same name, something you learned months earlier when we visited their new apartment for half an hour. Seriously.

We have really become best friends recently, and that brings along the good with the bad.  Your best friend is the person that makes you laugh the hardest and most often, and who brings out the best in you, but can also push your buttons like no other since they know you so well. Yep, that's us!  We have the most fun together, you and I and The Daddy, and we laugh, sing, dance and play most of the time these days.  Candy Land, Zoominoes, puzzles, books, TV shows, songs and movies fill our days. You remember lines, sayings, quotes and songs and repeat them constantly, and you assign all of the people in your life roles from each of these - sometimes the three of us are Nemo, Dory and Marlin, sometimes we are members of the Paw Patrol or characters from Aladdin or a random show you fell in love with called Tree Fu Tom. We willingly act these out and call you by your chosen name, since if we don't you say, "I'm not Rebecca, I'm _______." (Nemo, Ryder, Abu, Tom...).  Then, on a dime and for no reason at all, you become frustrated, angry or sad and have a bit of a meltdown. Sometimes you yell at us or purposely do something that you know you're not supposed to, and while we are working through this with you it in turn makes us frustrated, angry or sad! We try not to have our own meltdowns and to stay calm, but admittedly  don't always succeed - welcome to the 3s is what we've been told by friends who have been down this road before!

You have also developed a quirk where you want to be like whoever we are near, even if we aren't necessarily playing with them.  This means if Amanda has her hat and gloves on, you better have a hat and gloves too! And if we are in the playroom and someone has a dress on, we may have to come back upstairs to put on a dress too and avoid the aforementioned tantrums (something Mommy is much more apt to do than The Daddy, for sure)! It really gets quite intricate, I must admit, but I'm usually willing to play along.

All in all though, you are still the most awesome kid around.  A month ago we went on vacation together to Puerto Rico with Lulu, Amanda and Ryan.  The daddies stayed home to work and it was a long six days without them. I was so nervous to be without The Daddy - he is such an integral part of us, and helps me SO much with you that I wasn't sure how we'd do without him, especially in a strange place with a strange crib and strange food and two (2!) four-hour plane flights. But there was no reason to be scared - as you have always done in the past, you proved to me over and over that you are a cool, fun, roll-with-the-punches girl. You were amazing on the plane, both times, including during the delay in the airport on the way home. You slept like a champ for five nights in a pretty small pack and play. You had a great time swimming in the pool and playing with your cousins, and were so sad when it was time to come home, until you realized that meant seeing The Daddy.  It was all you talked about the whole last two days I think! Admittedly it was all I thought about too.

We had your birthday party yesterday, and you had so much fun - we did it at Kidville since you are so comfortable there and it was great.  Tattoos, play-doh, art projects and blocks to start off, some time running and playing in the gym and then chicken fingers, pizza, fruit and cake to finish up.  We didn't sing Happy Birthday at your request, and even still you cried after from what I think is a bit of anxiety towards either the attention, noise or combination of the two.  You quickly got better once you got to lick the frosting off of your candles!  You got so many fun little presents and it was really the perfect way to celebrate with 20 of your friends and all four grandparents.

I can not believe that three years ago today, The Daddy and I drove through the Lincoln Tunnel to check into the hospital, a trip of which I still remember every second.  I was so nervous to meet you, to find out who had been kicking me and hiccuping in there for the past nine months, and to see who you would become.  I could not have imagined someone that brings so much to my life. Someone who makes me laugh out loud constantly with the hilarious, amazing, grown up and wise beyond her years words she says, tear up with pride by doing the most mundane task, and full-on ugly cry when I think of the years that have some how already passed and how quickly you are growing up.  I can not wait to see what else you've got in store for us, Babylove... my newest and bestest friend.

XOXOXOXOXOOXOXO to my still-two-year-old-daughter for at least tonight!

Love always,