August 15, 2013

Hi Estelle

March 5, 2013
I need to write something. To somehow honor my new baby who I am loving on more and more each day. My daily wheels turn at warp speed and I rarely have a calm moment to exhale and reflect on how lucky I am to watch a new human grow and have a role in shaping who she becomes. I often feel like I'm failing her by not being 100% focused on her at all times the way I was with her sister. I find myself mindfully enjoying split seconds a day in an attempt to commit them to memory. The 5 minutes a day that her sister privately uses the bathroom is my time to keep my face close to my sweet Estelle, her little hands pulling at my cheeks, her little voice saying a breathy "heyyy", her eyes locked on mine, her little giggle as my whispers in her ear feel like tickles.

I look deeply into her eyes and try to memorize her face while silently thanking her for loving me as much as Savvy loved me as a baby even though I don't think I'm as good of a mother to her as I was to her older sister. Every time I nurse her, I'm relieved she is getting a tangible expression of my love and commitment even if my body is in transit to and from a play date or my mental focus is on Savannah or emails or coffee acquisition.

I found such profound joy immediately after becoming a mother. I thought that same love would hit me like a truck the second time around too. But really, life was normal. Things were hectic and crazy and I became consumed with the job of motherhood rather than the experience of motherhood. I didn't feel a profound personal change or growth. I suppose because I was already a mother, the newborn cuteness didn't slay me as much as it had the first time around. I didn't have any new revelations about womanhood like I did with Savannah, or perhaps I just didn't have the time to think deeply about things because I was so busy making sure my toddler got to the playground each day despite the snowy or rainy weather we experienced this spring.

The only new feeling is guilt. I managed to survive my first 2 and a half years of motherhood thinking I was doing a great job. I did right by Savannah. I poured all of me into her and never doubted that all my decisions and actions were right for my child and the perfect foundation for a lifelong mother/daughter relationship. But now, oh the guilt!! Guilt that Estelle doesn't have my full attention the way Savvy did. Guilt that I couldn't lovingly gaze at her and hold her during all of her naps the way I did during Savvy's first 3 months.

Not to mention the guilt that I destroyed Savannah's life by not raising her as an only child. Every time Savvy announces, "I don't like Estelle," I want to scream at her - "Estelle is here to make you happy!" Seriously, we worried Savvy would be lonely without a sibling throughout her life and that's the biggest reason Estelle is here. To have her rejected so often is beyond frustrating.

But she's here. And I love her. And I can't wait to learn more about her. She's approaching 6 months old and on the verge of movement and more deliberate babbles and the fun exploration of solids.

Estelle, my Star. My Shark Attack. Nord. Squacky. My loud baby. My strong baby. My chubster baby. My Sister Baby.

Her name. Estelle Georgiana. Its beautiful. Like her sweet face. It honors her great grandparents Esther, George and Barbara Ann. It means Star, a celebration of the vast sky(e). It was a happy revelation during a late night with Rob and my friend Melissa and was hotly debated, but it was her name and I love saying it and singing it.

Estelle then:






And now:

This dopey smirk signals huge smiles are coming!

Haha. Poor Savvy is thrilled.

5 months old
The sentiment of this post feels more melancholy than I usually feel and it certainly is the opposite of her joyous demeanor. Every smile is beaming, every giggle is contagious, every gaze at her big sister is awestruck. If I can make any guesses of her personality at this early age it is that she will enjoy life to the fullest, play hard, give great big bear hugs and sloppy kisses, be impulsive, happy, the type of girl that squeals with delight and screams the loudest on the playground.

January 4, 2013

First Adventure of 2013 - "The Event of a Thread" at Park Ave Armory

Our current bedtime routine is a family love fest. Savvy stays up late now that she's an old lady of almost 2 and a half, so Rob is usually home for bedtime. That leaves the three of us in our bed singing songs and tickling while we get Savvy in her jammies and get out her last ounces of silliness before she starts to calm down. Then we read ONE BOOK. But Savvy insists we all take all take a turn reading it. 

After a last minute trip to the bathroom for tooth brushing or using the potty it's time for lights out. That's when Savvy abruptly stops loving on Daddy and banishes Rob to the living room. "GO IN THE LUMI DADDY!"

It's our special time. "Big hug. I love you soooooo much," she says. "Let's talk. Let's talk 'bout what we did today." And so we recount the days events while we hug and I "itchie" her back. 

This is the time that I will miss the most when the new baby is born in March. This ultra lovey dovey Mommy/Savvy time in the quiet darkness of our bedroom. On days we don't anything and the talking "'bout what we did today" doesn't include anything more exciting than a trip to the supermarket, I get sad that pregnancy has slowed me down and kept us from having as many adventures as we had during the first half of 2012. 

After shedding a few tears Wednesday night about this very dilemma, I was excited to learn about an Ann Hamilton art installation at the Park Avenue Armory featuring giant swings when I checked Facebook Thursday morning. Indoor swings! A perfect mother daughter date! The exhibit closes this Sunday, January 6th -- definitely check it out if you're looking for last minute weekend plans.



Upon entering, you're confronted with a table of caged pigeons and performance artists reading from a scroll. Their voices are amplified in dozens of speakers placed in paper bags throughout the space. The swings hanging from the expansive space are connected to a large white curtain through a series of pulleys and ropes that make it sway. Even the swings sway on their own because they're interconnected.


Savvy wanted to ride by herself. The swings didn't go very high, but they certainly traveled 20 feet back and forth without so much as a push from me :)


She held on like a champ. 
 Notice in the video that I'm more afraid of her solo riding the swing than she is!



The best shot I could get of us swinging together. 
 Sav's favorite thing to do was push me on the swing. I got some serious distance! And she didn't get hit by the swing even though she would chase me after pushing. Always backed up enough afterwards. Phew.









So grown, yet still so small.
That night when we recounted our day in the darkness of bedtime ("We went to a art 'stallation!"), I told Savvy that I felt so blessed to go on exciting adventures with her. "When your new baby sister is born, things are going to change a lot. Instead of going out on adventures, there will be lots of new adventures right here at home that will keep us busy for a while."

"But we can take my baby shitter with us!" (Yup, that's how she pronounces sister. Love it!)

"That's right, Savvy. We can take your baby sister with us." My first born is wise beyond her years. She always knows what I need to hear.


September 24, 2012

Book Review: One Shot Away

One Shot Away Review
Remember how one really bad week in high school felt like an eternity that would impact the rest of your life?  Those heavy feelings of teen angst and determination to overcome the odds came rushing back to me as I read T. Glen Coughlin's latest novel, One Shot Away. The tagline for this teen novel is "A Wrestling Story", but it is much more than a tale of competition amongst a high school wrestling team.

Though their hardships are especially dismal - Diggy is struggling to make weight while dealing with a father who acts more like an abusive and monomaniacal coach than support figure; Jimmy, the star athlete, could face jail time and lose his posh girlfriend for doing his dad a shady favor; Trevor has to balance the death of his father and perceived betrayal of his mother all while fending off a jealous teammate who will go to great lengths to make sure he doesn't control their weight class - the three main characters are sympathetic and their circumstances paint a hyperbolic picture of universal senior year struggles, thus making the book appeal to an audience far wider than high school wrestlers and fans.

The book gave me an exciting glimpse into the lives of people I didn't know in high school. I knew my school had a wrestling team, but I didn't know anyone on it, nor did I realize what a commitment the sport was -- counting every calorie, working out obsessively, competition amongst your teammates as well as your competitors. It's intriguing. And the prose read like a fast-paced movie and kept me hooked -- my heartbeat accelerated right on cue as I held my breath during the climax of the novel when you're not sure if one of the characters will live or die during a cold-weather drowning incident. Coughlin's prose is fast-paced, articulate, smart and exciting! (A refreshing departure from the dumbed down, repetitive, dialogue-heavy prose of popular teen novels like *cough cough* the Twilight series.)

For someone like me, more than a decade beyond high school problems, Coughlin makes it easy to reflect on the time in your life when you realize your parents are flawed and are responsible for your flaws, when the activities you do after school define who you are to the point where you can't imagine life any other way, when a prank can leave devastating effects, and when graduation looms, that feeling of melancholy that resides in you when you realize you don't have to look back on HS life if you don't want to.

One Shot Away is recommended for teen boys, and I think this is a great book for parents to read with their sons.  Parent/child relationships are in the background of each character's struggle and could be used as a jumping off point for discussing your own relationships. I know it's difficult to get high school aged kids to read for fun. I think this book could remind them that quality literature can be cool - this book is gritty, honest, even a bit sexy (there is mention of "hooking up" and one minor character happens to be a motel prostitute but its all a very tame PG/PG-13). Definitely check it out!

One Shot Away will be released on October 2nd and is available for pre-order on Amazon.

Read an excerpt here.




Disclosure: I was provided an advanced copy from Harper Collins' Teen for review purposes. The author is a family member but we never discussed the book's themes and all opinions expressed are my own.

July 25, 2012

Girlie Milestones ~ Wordless Wednesday

1st Haircut and 1st Nail Polish:
My girlie girl is becoming a little lady.

After putting it off and putting it off, I decided to trim her hair myself for her first haircut. Super easy.


She loved the blow dryer!


A few days later, time for toes.

I used Sally Hansen Quick Dry polish. Dried SO fast. Toddler proof, for sure!


The tears came because Savvy wanted to paint Daddy's toenails too, but he refused.


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