A 1st Birthday Video for Reya

I actually made this video a while ago, but didn’t have the time to finalize it until recently. Here are some photos and snapshots of the first year of my daughter’s life.

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Reya on her 1st birthday! 9/17/14

Reya on her 1st birthday! 9/17/14

 

Happy 1st Birthday Reya!

I wrote about every little thing during Mylo’s first year. Reya just turned one and sadly, I haven’t written much about her at all.

One of the things I adore most about my daughter, is her timing and gentle nature. From the second she came into the world, she’s had a calm and gentle presence about her. When she was born she didn’t cry at all. She also didn’t open her eyes. Mylo on the other hand, came into the world ready to rock. His eyes were glued to whoever it was who was holding him.

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Mylo hit every milestone (or Mylostone) early. Reya took her time with the first year milestones and it’s made me feel that maybe I missed out on a lot of the “baby” stuff with my son.

Reya was content to chill in her baby chair for the first three months. Up until she was eight months old I could leave her in the middle of my bed and go to the bathroom. I know it doesn’t sound safe, but believe me, she wasn’t going anywhere until one day, she did. Off the bed. And then I learned my lesson fast.

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Chillin.

Reya is completely attached to me. I bonded to my son without a doubt, but as soon as he became mobile, it felt as if he was always running away from me. And he still is, today! Reya on the other hand, moves toward me. She follows my eyes with hers. She meets my smile with a bigger one. Reya crawls with fervor in my direction when I walk in the door from work. She’s either singing praise to be cute, or wining in disdain because she wants me to stop what I am doing and pick her up. She is just entirely present with me.

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Piggies!

We introduced solids to Reya when she was about four months old. I barely let Mylo have a sip of water at four months, let alone solid food. Baby girl really enjoys to eat and it has been a delight watching her negotiate and ponder new textures and tastes. Some of the things she loves is steamed vegetables, grilled cheese, pasta, french fries and ice cream. And of course she’s got a real thing for the beans, cheese and guacamole from our weekly forays to Chipotle.

Despite Reya’s healthy appetite for food, we nursed until two weeks shy of her birthday. I never expected to nurse her that long, despite the fact that I went 14 months with her brother. The part of me that wanted to end nursing looked forward to Reya’s “need” for me not being as dire. Right now, that need is still there. As there are some nights she insists on using me as a pacifier, despite the fact that nothing comes out. The transition has been bittersweet — there is something so sad about the finality of anything, especially breastfeeding.

Reya recently rode the Prospect Park carousel with wide eyes.

Reya rides the Prospect Park carousel with wide eyes.

Reya began sitting up somewhere between her 6th and 7th month. She was quite wobbly in the beginning, and she’s had many accidents. At 9 1/2 months she found her knees. I forgot how ridiculously cute babies are when they crawl!

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Mylo discovered the army crawl at 5 months old. So by the time he found his knees at 8 1/2 months, he just took off. With Reya it’s been real sweet watching her go from knees to butt and back again, contemplating how to make them work together. She also does an adorable backwards army crawl.

Reya loves to clap. She will return your claps with her own, and it is so sweet! Reya also enjoys doing a crawling face plant into pillows. The more pillows there are, the harder she will dive into them. All you have to do is say the word “pillow” and she does it. It is the absolute cutest!

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At 10 1/2 months Reya began standing up and it is clear how proud of herself she is when she does this. I am too, because there were times I wasn’t convinced it was going to happen! Walking is next and I know life is about to get more interesting, and difficult. I did not love the walking-but-not-talking stage with Mylo. Maybe because he didn’t listen to me. Here’s hoping Reya redeems this part of toddlerhood for me!

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Bam Bam!

My mom recently taught Reya how to blow kisses with her hands. It’s pretty darn cute.

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Rey-Rey on her 1st birthday!

I am overjoyed to have a daughter. And even more so because it is Reya who fills this role. Happy Birthday my Rey-Rey!

 

Reya’s First Two Months

Reya my love, you have been an absolute pleasure of a newborn baby.

I mainly say that because you SLEEP. And for this I am so very grateful!

We got off to a rough start with breastfeeding. The first week was trying and oh-so very painful. And I didn’t expect it to be. Especially since I had the very same experience with your brother Mylo when he was born three years ago. I sort of expected my breasts to remember. But they didn’t.

We spent the first couple of weeks holed up in my bedroom with my white T-shirt draped over our cheap Ikea bed lamp the midwives put there the day you were born – to dim the room. I did almost everything but eat in the bedroom. I fed you, changed you and would lay down next to you to steal some shut eye. The cracked nipples, latching issues, raging headaches and engorgement lasted one week – one very painful week – but then we were on our way.

Since the first week of your life, you’ve been sleeping 4-5 hour initial stretches. This past week it’s increased to seven, sometimes even eight hours. That’s not to say we don’t have the occasional bad night, we do. But it’s just that: occasional. At night you start out in the co-sleeper next to my side of the bed and when you wake up I unloosen your swaddle and put you in bed between us.

A couple of weeks old...

A couple of weeks old…

You spend the rest of the early morning hours cuddled up against me, breastfeeding. We hold hands, you snort and grunt, and we nod off back to sleep. It’s not the most comfortable position for me, (I prefer to sleep on my left side) but for the first time I’m getting a true taste of what it means to co-sleep.

See, I tried to do this with your brother but it wasn’t very enjoyable or restful. I looked through other blog posts to point to proof and only found one that said he stopped co-sleeping peacefully at about five months. THIS. CANNOT. BE. I must’ve been sugar coating it.

My big non-sleeping baby holding my little sleeping baby.

My baby who doesn’t sleep and my baby who does sleep.

It was difficult to know what color your eyes were those first couple of weeks. Mainly because your eyes were rarely open. But they’re wide open now and they’re a beautiful dark blue. Whether or not they’ll change, I don’t know.

You were born with a “stork bite” on your left eye lid and in between your eyes. When you were just a couple of days old you got your first case of acne. Baby acne. And apparently it’s to blame on me, or my hormones anyway. Luckily it doesn’t bother you and is no indication that you’ll have acne when you become a pubescent teenager.

When you were five weeks old your acne took on another meaning. Your cheeks became so red and raised. Dr. Google had me worrying it could be eczema but your pediatrician confirmed it was cradle cap. It was barely on your head and mostly all over your cheeks. A little olive oil, bacitracin and eliminating eggs from my diet for the past two weeks has helped nip it in the bud.

You began smiling back at me a few weeks ago and oh my is it a beautiful smile. I’m overcome by a profound pang of joy when you do this.

You love to be worn in the Ergo baby carrier that the women from my office gave to me at my Baby Sprinkle. Since you were one day old you’ve been worn all over Brooklyn.

As for the taking the bottle… that’s been a work in progress. You tricked us all when you took a bottle from dad at five weeks without even coming up for air, then not again after. But soon enough, you will have to.

I wanted another child to add to our family so much. So to have miscarried twice was such a blow. The third time though, it stuck. I then spent a good portion of my pregnancy worrying if I could hack it. Especially the newborn stage. Yet I couldn’t be happier that you are you. The child who drifted into my life and has made things pretty easy. So far.

Knowing that all my hurdles and hiccups brought me here, to this moment. Everything hard and trying that I’ve been through, has been a step closer to becoming your mom. And I am the better for it.

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A couple of months old…

 

Fun With My Son

I was recently reflecting on photos in my iPhone from this past summer. Seeing all the pics reminds me that with just one week to go until my due date, that I’ve had a hell of a fun summer with my son Mylo.

I made an extra effort to create memories of the time we had together. Even if he won’t remember them…I will never forget them.

I took him to the ocean five times. Two times it was just him and I. The other trips were with friends who have children too. Mylo loves the beach! Sure he loves the waves and the sand. He also loves climbing on the unused lifeguard chairs that are laying down in the sand. But what really cracks me up is that he especially loves to eat on the beach. And if you know my son you would know then why that’s so amusing. Mylo doesn’t have a whole lot of interest in food, and as a result it’s not always so easy to feed him. But the second we claim our spot in the sand, Mylo’s in the cooler and the seagulls are surrounding him.

Mylo and Olivia

Mylo and Olivia

Final day at the beach together.

Final day at the beach together.

I recently took him to a water park on Long Island called Splish Splash. I’ll admit, it was a bit too early to introduce him to water rides. It also turned out to be a super long day, not to mention expensive too. BUT, we went with a friend of mine, two of her young children and her 13 year old niece. So there were many hands on deck and despite the nasty spill Mylo took while chasing his buddy James, he had a lot of fun.

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The food options left a little more to be desired.

The food options at Splish Splash left a little more to be desired.

Last week we went with my friend Jenn, her two kids and her nephew to Hoyt Farm on Long Island. What a little gem of a place!

On one side of Hoyt Farm is two playgrounds and a small water park with fountains for cooling off. On the other side is a nature preserve. The two are connected by windy trails and an expansive field of rolling hills.

Mylo rockin' out on what Jenn's kids call "Big Mama"

Mylo rockin’ out on what Jenn’s kids call “Big Mama”

Mylo and Kailee feed the goats

Mylo and Kailee feed the goats

I’m certainly going to miss our time together as mommy and only child. It’s been an incredible three years full of sleep deprivation, learning curves and loads of fun. But I also look forward to the next chapter of our lives… when Mylo’s sibling completes us as a family.

Happy 3rd Birthday Mylo, My Love

Last year I had a toddler, this year I have a little boy. And what a memorable year it’s been!

I’ve enjoyed your toddler-hood but would consider you more difficult at 3 then how you were when you were 2 or 2 1/2. Perhaps because you learned to talk. Or because you know what you like and dislike. For instance, you don’t like to be told “no.” But then again, who does?

You were sick a few times over the winter, especially at Christmas when you made my brother and his wife nuts every time you went to lovingly inspect and kiss your baby cousin. We took a much-needed family vacation in March to Florida. This is right around the time you became obsessed with Curious George. You were on the cusp of really using your words but “George-speak” often got in the way. By May, though, in the matter of one week, you began speaking in full sentences.

What an awesome game changer!

You nearly knocked me off my seat one evening while we ate dinner at Chipotle. Toward the end of our meal when I offered you a bite of your cheese quesadilla you shook your head, put your hand on your belly and said “Mylo tummy hurts, no eat food.” I said “Oh, that’s too bad. I guess we can’t get frozen yogurt afterwards.” Your eyes widened then and you quickly recanted. “Mylo tummy feel better. Get frozen yogurt after dinner?”

It’s conversations like these that make my day.

I won’t lie, I’m terrified about bringing another life into this world. Your sibling is due one month after your birthday and our lives are going to change. Big time. I’m nervous about how the changes may affect you. Yet I’m also optimistic that you’ll adapt. Perhaps even better then we will.

You’ve been adorable during the course of my pregnancy. You haven’t done it in a while, but you like to peer into my deep cavernous belly button and ask if the baby is going to come out there. The first time you ever did that it sent me into a fit of hysterics. When I ask if you are going to have a brother or sister you’ve often replied sister. Lately though, it’s been “both.” This morning when daddy asked you the question, you replied that I was having a monster truck.

You’re sensitive. You’re caring. And you are absolutely hilarious. Happy Birthday to the little boy who forever changed, shaped and bettered my life.

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My big boy on his 3rd birthday!

Cousin Charlie

My cousin Charlie passed away last Friday, catching us all somewhat by surprise.

Our history with Charlie – for everyone other than my mom – was regretfully not that long.

I couldn’t have been any older than 12 when my mom came home one day and announced that she had bumped into her long-lost cousin while food shopping at Waldbaum’s. (Keep in mind this was before email and cell phones.) It was a weekday and she invited him for dinner. My aunt drove in from New Jersey, and my grandma came over too. It was a reunion and they were thrilled to have him back in their lives.

Charlie needed money, so he began cleaning and doing odd jobs around our house. His presence quickly became a familiar one, if not also a bit comical. Even at a young age, we were aware of how vastly different and cool Charlie was. He was my blue-collar kid cousin, though he was twice my age.

Charlie was a burly guy with tightly wound curls, bushy eyebrows and an infectious smile. He donned a true Brooklyn accent and thick gold chains. While doing work around the house, he often had visible “butt crack” which my brother and I found absolutely hysterical. He’d clean my mom out of food faster than me and my brother and our friends could. Charlie taught me what a boiler maker was (the kind you chug) when I was a freshman in high school.

And then he moved away.

In the 90’s Charlie headed west to Las Vegas where things were cheaper and he had his mom to look after. His mom Lilly lived to be 100 years old! Charlie, Lily in Vegas Newspaper

Charlie’s absence was definitely felt, but his name was popular in our house and he called to speak to my folks often. As I became older I observed a relationship between him and my dad that warmed my heart. They were friends but my dad also assumed the role of life coach, relationship therapist and parent to Charlie. My brother and I often joked that my dad got great pleasure from this, and he did.

There are so many wonderful memories with Charlie, nearly all of them make me smile and laugh. Like the time my dad was in Vegas for a trade show. He invited Charlie and told him to dress casually. What did Charlie show up in? A baby blue tuxedo! As if you don’t naturally notice a beefy man in a blue tuxedo, my dad recalls the commotion he made – while navigating the booths in search of him – with equal parts affection and embarrassment.

And then there was the final time I saw him in Vegas last year. My close friend Lauren tagged along on that family trip and the night we met up with Charlie he came on to her. Charlie told Lauren he was looking for a roommate and gave her his card, below. It was hysterical and harmless, but of course my dad directed (or tried anyway) Charlie’s attention some place else.

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Enough said.

I think Charlie looked at me a bit differently after I became a mom. But that’s ok. I’m pleased he got to meet and shower my son with kisses, even if all Mylo wanted to do was grab hold of Charlie’s eyebrows.

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December 2010 at my parents house

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My husband, my brother and my cousin Charlie in Vegas, 2011

Cousin Charlie was my crazy Uncle Eddie (National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation). I’m told there’s one in every family, but I also know that Charlie was one of a kind. I’m so glad my mom found him and shared him with us. He will be missed.

Family Fun in Florida

Last month we took a short but very sweet family vacation to Florida. Other then a beach trip to Montauk, it was our first vacation completely alone with our son Mylo. I honestly didn’t know how what to expect – would I feel smothered by having no alone time? Was it a big mistake to share a hotel room with him?

From the minute I woke him up at 5:15 in the morning to head to the airport, it was an adventure.

A true truck lover, I intentionally packed his toy airplane in his carry-on. I knew having a tangible toy plane would help him connect the one he was sitting in, to the one he liked to pretend fly through the air. Mylo was a trooper the entire flight.

Waiting to board at Laguardia

Waiting to board at Laguardia

Our hotel room wasn’t ready for us when we arrived but the front desk was kind enough to store our luggage. I took Mylo to the ladies room and changed him out of the sneakers, sweats and fleece he was wearing and into sandals, shorts and a t-shirt.

We had just arrived some place where you could really feel the sun on your skin. There was blue water and there were palm trees. Sure it was only Florida, but we had left behind more than four months of cold winter temperatures. It was paradise as far as I was concerned and somehow, Mylo “got” this.

You can tell it's our first day from how white my boy is.

You can tell it’s our first day from how white my boy is.

Mylo fell madly in love with the beach and the waves, which made us both very happy. One of his favorite activities while there was removing sand from the beach. He would gather up fists full of sand then throw them into the ocean. It didn’t seem to phase him any that he had a whole lot of ground to cover!

Beachin' it!

Beachin’ it!

There was some concern over what three vegetarians – the youngest of us being a very picky veg – would find to eat in Florida but we managed just fine. In fact three out of the four dinners we had were magnificent and could have given many New York City restaurants a run for their money.

As far as sharing a hotel room with Mylo, it was heavenly. The beds which were only fulls, left me and Jason playing bumper cars with my bump, literally. Not to mention that I can’t stand having to vie for blankets. So the remainder of the trip I shared a bed with Mylo and it was some of the best sleep I had had in a long time.

Canoodling my kid

Canoodling my kid

And there was alone time. One afternoon when Mylo fell asleep on the lounge chairs  by the pool, I lay next to him reading while Jason went for a run. Another time, Jason took Mylo to the beach playground while I went for a run in the morning.

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Mylo tackles a slide

On the last night of our trip my we got together with my childhood friend Rachel and her family, who drove from there home in Wellington to have dinner  with us.

Rach and me, friends since grade school.

Rach and me, friends since grade school.

Overall, Fort Lauderdale left more to be desired as a vacation spot. When I was in college Fort Lauderdale was a money town, where yachters went to vacation. Prior to our trip, I did not know this was no longer the case. There were more spring breakers then we would have preferred – especially at our ocean front hotel – which was not cheap. Apparently it’s still the norm to pack six to eight teens into one room.

We had a wonderful time on our much-needed family vacay to Florida, but we certainly wouldn’t return to Fort Lauderdale.

Mylo was not the least bit thrilled we pulled him away from his sand removal project for this family photo.

Mylo was not the least bit thrilled that we pulled him away from his sand removal project to pose in this family photo.

Finding Out I’m Pregnant

It was no deep dark secret that we’ve been trying to add to our family.

I miscarried for the second time last October and spent all of November trying to wrap my head around it. I just wasn’t convinced that I had carried two unhealthy babies. Nor did I believe that it was stress related. Thanks to the encouragement of a good friend who had went through the exact same thing, I pursued a doctor who would run some tests and then supported my efforts to keep my next pregnancy.

Never did I think the following month we’d become pregnant. When I missed my period around the New Year I took a pregnancy test. Minutes later, one faint line appeared. I tossed it in the bathroom garbage. I waited a few more days when I calculated 4 + weeks pregnant (if I was even pregnant) to take another. Again, I peed on a stick early in the morning. Minutes later, only one line appeared.

I lay back in bed and tossed and turned. I didn’t understand how I could be late, but test negative. Was I already in the process of miscarrying? Weeks four to five proved a crucial time in my prior pregnancies — it’s when I had had my two other losses. I didn’t want to start the suppositories if I wasn’t pregnant (they could prevent me from ovulating the following month) and yet if I was pregnant, the suppositories could help me keep the pregnancy.

Jason and I mulled it over in bed and decided I would make an appointment to see Dr. Brennan to have a blood test done.

Later that morning I was back in the bathroom when I saw the pink shiny wrapper of the pregnancy test staring back at me. Something made me pick it up and look at it. Yep, I garbage picked. I couldn’t believe my eyes, there was not one but TWO lines! One very bright and the other more faint. I dug deeper into the garbage and picked up the first pregnancy test. I pulled it out of its wrapper and same thing, two lines. One bright, one even fainter.

Top one was taken at 4 weeks 3 days. Bottom one at 4 weeks.

Top one was taken at 4 weeks 3 days. Bottom one at 4 weeks.

I called for Jason, who was in Mylo’s room, and blurted out “I AM pregnant!” There was a long hug and some tears of joy all while Mylo danced around us. It was a few days into the New Year, and one of the happiest moments of my life.

I’ll admit, patience has never been one of my strongest virtues. Knowing this, my husband told me, “it would have paid to be patient.” He was right. For once.

 

A Brother or Sister for Mylo

I am thrilled, relieved and pleased to share that we are 13 1/2 weeks pregnant!

Given last year’s losses, I was cautiously optimistic that I would ever make it past five weeks, let alone make it past the first trimester. But this time, I got a little help along the way in the form of vaginal suppositories. And I’m certain that’s why this baby has stayed.

I am grateful for the assistance I got from Dr. Brennan in Brooklyn. And I am so glad I pushed for the suppositories despite him pushing back at one point. On the other hand, I am happy to no longer have to wait up to an hour to see Dr. Brennan, or have my scheduled appointments routinely canceled because he has a mom in labor. I am confident in our decision to bring this baby into the world at home. And relieved that my insurance company approved our request to work with a homebirth midwife!

So much more about the highs and lows of this pregnancy but for now, we await patiently for September 2013 when we get to meet the child who will make Mylo a big brother!

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12 week scan. I swear the baby waved at me :)

 

All About Mylo Weekend

This past weekend it was all about Mylo. It was perfect timing since the prior weekend he got snowed in at his grandparents on Long Island, then spent his first two days back in Brooklyn at daycare. Not that either of those two things are bad, they’re actually great! After Mylo broke into a fit upon being dropped off at daycare Monday morning, which was followed by a phone call a few hours later because he wasn’t “acting like himself”, it became obvious that our son was missing us.

So the following weekend became what we dubbed, “an all about Mylo weekend.”

Friday we took him to see Sesame Street Live at Madison Square Garden. We arrived early, just in time to see Cookie Monster, Ernie and Zoe dancing around the “fun zone” pre-show. Mylo was in awe.

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The show itself was just like watching an episode. A healthy balance of story telling mixed with educational lessons, singing and dancing. The Sesame Street swag we bought was ridiculously over-priced, but seeing my boys’ eyes light up when he got a hold of his $10 Elmo balloon made every penny well worth it.

Mylo contemplates the craziness of the Fun Zone at Sesame Street Live

Mylo contemplates the craziness of the Fun Zone at Sesame Street Live

Much to our surprise it was 50 degrees when we got out of the show. We took the subway home to Brooklyn and went straight over to his favorite playground.

On Saturday, in honor of Black History Month, we went to the children’s floor of Macy’s for a story book reading of President Barack Obama’s “Of Thee I Sing: A letter to my daughters”.

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Sure Mylo was the only white kid, but we felt welcome nonetheless. We sat at little kiddie tables and made our own keepsake books after the reading. When Mylo grew tired of the festivities we bought him a pair of sandals for our trip to Florida next month. And because we spent more than $25 on the children’s floor, we were given a complimentary copy of Obama’s book.

Later in the day we took Mylo for a haircut. His hairdresser Danielle always does a fabulous job of trimming him while keeping the signature curls that we love.

Two peas in a pod watching "Cars"

Two peas in a pod watching “Cars”

We stopped by one more park afterward and then ended the weekend off with a scrumptious BYOB dinner at Layla Jones.

Mylo alternates between playing with his new "M" train and taking bites of pasta

Mylo alternates between playing with his new “M” train and taking bites of pasta