November 23, 2010

Baby Tunnel Vision: Memories from the First 3 Months

Less than 3 hours old

There have been so many times when I wanted to write about my baby, my journey of motherhood, the beautiful times, the difficult times. But things got in the way. The baby woke up from a nap or was sleeping on me leaving me with just one hand to type. I worried that no one besides me would care about what I had to say, so why type it up for public consumption. Things were too personal to write to have attached to my name and all of Google to find. So I didn't write. And then I felt guilty for not writing. And then I felt that too much time had passed, so the first blog post I wrote after the long hiatus had better be good. Well, forget it. I'm letting all that go. If I want to write something I'm going to write it. And it if takes a few days before I finish it and hit publish, so be it. And if no one but me finds it riveting, so be it.

Rather than recap the last three amazing months in their entirety, I'll list some things about new motherhood and my baby girl that I hope I never forget. That I'm afraid I will forget if I don't write them down.


I thought Savannah was tired. She was crying and fussy. It was dark out. She had nursed, but was uncharacteristically wide awake. I swaddled her and cradled her in my arms. I rocked and sang to her, hoping it would put her to sleep because I, too was painfully exhausted. Instead, she stopped crying and just stared into my eyes, listening to me sing for AN HOUR. She didn't cry once; didn't make a sound; just gazed into my eyes; her gaze never wavered; it was incredible and exhausting. I sang Summertime, The Very Thought of You, Cheek to Cheek, Someone to Watch Over Me, Yesterday, over and over and over, wishing she would just fall asleep. Through stinging, tired eyes, a sore back and neck, I decided to savor the beauty of this connection because these tender moments don't last forever. Even though it felt like an eternity...


I remember the moment I learned the true meaning of trust. One of the moms I follow on Twitter had mentioned showering with her baby since she was a newborn. I was curious because it seemed so much easier and quicker than getting the bath all set up. After asking a few questions about logistics, we decided to give it a go. But of course I worried: I was worried that the intensity of the water and loudness of the shower in general would totally spook my 5 week old daughter. I worried that I would drop her. I thought about the best way to get her all soapy and had a plan in my mind for how it would all unfold efficiently. I anticipated 2-3 minutes of baby screams.

Instead, when Rob handed to Savannah to me while I was in the shower, she didn't make a sound. I cradled her in my left arm, securely holding onto one of her thighs in case she got slippery. She just looked up at me, unfazed by the commotion of the shower. How exciting! One thing I didn't plan for was the mist that was created when the water bounced off our our bodies. Teeny tiny beads of water collected on her face as it ricocheted off of us. I worried that the water would get in her eyes and bother her. She didn't care. She just kept her eyes on me the entire time. She had no reason to be afraid. She trusted me. She was with me so she was okay.


During the early days especially, if I was awake, I was staring lovingly at my baby. Like, deep intense, motherly staring. Often this staring occurred while Savannah was nursing, which gave me insane muscle spasms in my neck from looking down, but that's besides the point.

Rob went back to work after two weeks of being home with us, and it was just me and the baby all day long. She slept a lot. I stared at her. When she was awake, I often kept my face close to hers so she could see it clearly (brand new babies can only see about a foot in front of them). My eyes were pretty much on her all day minus the 10 minutes in the morning I would lay her in her crib so I could brush my teeth, get dressed and go to the bathroom. I became the willing victim of severe Baby Tunnel Vision.

One night when Rob came home from work, he looked HUGE to me. I had spent so much time staring so closely at my new baby's tiny face, that the size of a grown man's head was shocking to me. When he leaned in to kiss me, all I saw were his gigantic pores and individual beard hairs. He just seemed like a caricatured version of himself and it was almost grotesque to me. It was quite a weird experience and a perception that stuck around for a while. One morning we were having some lovey dovey time, and I kissed him and then marveled, "You look so old." He responded, "You look so young." He's a good husband.


Nothing prepared me for all the crying. MY crying that is. I was a weeping willow those first few weeks. I cried and cried over how amazing and adorable my daughter was. I marveled at how I created life and with that thought came the waterworks. My husband wasn't immune either. I caught him gazing at her in bed one morning and he appeared to have a tear in his eye. "Are you okay?" "She's just so cute," he blubbered.

I cried the night her umbilical cord stump fell off. Yeah, yeah, yeah, gross, whatever. I sobbed. "We have to have another baby. She's growing up so fast." She was two weeks old at the time, haha.

With the crazy hormone surge of pregnancy and giving birth comes the time when the hormones start to level off. My moods were a series of ups and downs for a while there. One night, I was astonished at how quickly I was losing the baby weight (most of it is water weight after all, so the first 35 pounds just fell off within 3-4 weeks). I still had 15 pounds to lose, but I looked at my new body in the mirror, a body that had carried life, and I said to my husband, "If this is my new body and it never goes back to normal, I'm totally fine with this." And I meant it. I felt great about myself. Fast forward a week later, and I'm sobbing about my stretch marks and squishy, malleable tummy in the shower.

I guess I want to remember these moments of intense emotion because those early weeks were just that. INTENSE. I never felt like more of a human, like more of a citizen of the ecosystem, like more of a female than during the weeks after giving birth. It made me realize the importance of motherhood and the privilege it is to witness a human grow up and shape part of their lives. This close introspection also made the sad and angry feelings that cropped up that much more exacerbated. And that's okay.


I read Dr. Sears' The Baby Book when I was pregnant, which introduced me to the idea of attachment parenting. I also read The Happiest Baby on the Block, which basically echoed the idea that you should hold your baby as much as possible during their first 3 months in order to create a womb-like environment. This will promote bonding, prevent crying, and encourage later independence because the initial foundation of trust between parent and child has been established. This idea really resonated with me.

When she was around 2 weeks old, I started to wear Savannah when we took walks, either in a Moby Wrap or Lillebaby carrier. She loved it and would fall asleep instantly, as opposed to her near-constant crying in her stroller. I loved it because I knew it was comforting for her to hear my heartbeat like she was used to; because I loved any excuse to snuggle her; because it didn't hurt my back like carrying her in my arms did; because it gave me freedom to use my arms; because she looked so silly being all tiny in a ginormous stroller.

Anyways, the memory I want to savor is how she would wake up after napping in the carrier. She would rocket her head off of my chest with the frowniest face I could ever imagine and take a huge, deep breath. Her eyes would still be closed, her lower lip completely rolled over and frowning, and she would look so disheveled because after all that time on my chest, she'd have sweat in her hair and on her face. Then she'd bang her head back on my chest just as hard and slowly open her eyes. Total, 100% old-man-style grumpy, hangover face. LOVE IT. Don't see it as much anymore now that she's usually in her stroller :(


There are many amazing things about breastfeeding. Someone needs to come up with the perfect onomatopoeia-spelling for the amazing *chomp* sound a hungry baby makes when they first start eating. That sound is just hilarious and satisfying. Baby sighs similar to those inspired in adults by Nutella or a heavily umami-laden savory sauce are music to my ears. Those sighs come after the *chomp* but before the adorable massaging. Yes, Savvy massages, slaps, scratches and strokes my boob and chest while she's eating. It's so freaking adorable.


Within the last month or so, Savannah discovered her hands and she's become able to grab things that interest her. The number one cutest thing she does with her hands is scratching her head because she does it in a way that only a 12 week old would. When you think about how you scratch something, you might press firmly with your first two fingers and move back and forth with your wrist. You probably don't use your thumb. Maybe you only use your ring finger for a small itch.

Whatever, you probably never thought of the way you scratch something. I never did either until I saw how differently Savvy scratches. All of her fingers move in unison and her arm stays completely steady. She just opens and closes her fist like a rhythmic claw. Open, close, open, close, open, close.

3 Days Away From 3 Months Old

September 12, 2010

Welcoming Savannah & the Evolution of Baby Smiles

Savannah Cielle P. joined our family at 8:19am on August 25, 2010.

Savannah, my husband and I have had many adventures since her birth (and during our epic pre-birth hospital stay and labor induction resulting in 24 hrs of labor + eventual c-section).

Here are some links to her extra-special moments during her first two weeks of life followed by a photo tutorial on teaching your week-old newborn how to smile.

Photos of Savannah's first moments after being born and our 4-day hospital stay:

Savannah's first days at home with mom and dad:

SavvyPea's YouTube Channel with fun(ny) videos.

And now, new parents take note...

Here's how to get your newborn to smile for an iPhone photo...

Start with a grumpy, furrowed-browed baby, otherwise known as a "newborn in her natural state":

Begin phase 1 of "Mommy trying to make baby happy":

If baby remains difficult, take matters into your own finger. Baby may remain skeptical:

Eventually a dimple appears! Almost a smile! The finger does the trick every time!

Success! Savvy smiles :)

Mommy takes full credit for the evolution of this baby's smile!

May 13, 2010

A Diaper Bag Popped My Cherry

We found out the bun in my oven was in fact a baby girl 6 weeks ago. Much to my own surprise, I didn't immediately raid every baby store in search for the cutest wardrobe ever for my mini me (or MeeseB as my husband affectionately refers to her).

Something felt wrong about buying stuff for her when I was still only 20 weeks pregnant. At that point I could barely feel her moving in my tummy. I was also overly concerned about getting her things in advance that later didn't match her personality. So I just let it be.

I finally went to big box baby retailers Babies R Us and buybuy BABY to set up my registry and briefly looked through the stores for something to buy her. Something that would make the perfect first gift from mommy to baby. I felt like I had to get SOMETHING, but it just didn't feel right. I wasn't inspired. this may sound shallow or selfish...Until I got excited about my own motherly fashion possibilities.

Yup, the first "baby" thing I bought was actually for me. I got my daily Ideeli flash sale alert email in my inbox during an two weeks ago, and low and behold there was a sale on high end diaper bags. I thought they just HAD to be better than the gender neutral or hyper childish bags sold at the big chain baby stores so I clicked into the sale and fell in love with the Timi & Leslie Jane diaper bag in Eggplant.

Exhibit A:

We all know I love a good deal, and seeing this bag for a little over $100 when the original tag said $375ish made my heart skip a beat. When I imagined how chic and awesome I would feel toting this bag around Yorkville with my little baby Moby Wrapped to my chest, I had an epiphany that yes, I could be a "hot mama". Motherhood won't take away my style (haha, I can dream). So I bought the bag!

It's huge and awesome and comes with all the usual diaper bag accoutrements like a changing pad and insulated bottle holder. And holy jeepers is the thing heavy--it will definitely help me burn calories. And did I mention it's HUGE? Whatever. Maybe it's a little impractical, as I probably won't use it everyday, but it got me excited about a different facet of my transition to motherhood.

And it popped my shopping-for-baby-stuff cherry. I'm still not going nuts -- I've only bought two outfits so far, but take look at how adorable these little numbers are:

Newborn waterfll Floral Bubble Jumper Sizes 0 - 12m

This is the Floral Bubble Jumper from the Children's Place. I also got the matching sun hat.

This hot little number is also from the Children's Place. I wish they made it in my size! I will just have to live vicariously through my soon-to-be-newborn.

Squeeee! I just really can't wait to meet my little munchkin. August can't get here soon enough. And until her adorable little personality is developed, I will simply adorn her using my personal style. And she can cringe at the photographic evidence years later.

March 17, 2010

How March Madness Applies to Fashion

I emerge from my winter of blog (and life) hibernation to say, YAY SPRING!

The sun is shining in NYC, the air is a refreshing, crisp 61 degrees, the crocuses are blossoming on 85th Street, and the not-quite-winter, not-quite-full-blown-spring weather confusion has some New Yorkers committing many fashion faux pas; flagrant offenses that have snapped me out of my winter funk and got my fingers typing again on ye olde blog for the first time since 2009.

March is a crazy month of uncertain weather and confusing clothing choices, but Daylight Savings Time has begun and the official first day of Spring is mere days away, here are some of my tips to leave winter behind and embrace warmth gracefully.

Four Fashion Tips for the Spring Transition:


Four Fashion Faux Pas New Yorkers Got Caught Committing TODAY:

1. Beware over-eagerly wearing new purchases and committing my NUMBER ONE FASHION PET PEEVE of all time. Now is the time to get excited about shopping again, its true. New season = New Purse, New Jacket, New SHOES! I know you are anxious to break in your new kicks but please inspect the shoes before wearing them out of the house willy nilly! Pourquoi? Just this morning, right after noticing the blooming crocuses on my way to the subway, the woman walking in front of me caught my eye. She was rocking a shiny, brown leather pump (with nude stockings and a great skirt) made of what appeared to be extremely supple and high quality leather. Brand spanking new. Their maiden voyage. But that’s not why I noticed her shoes. More blinding than the morning sun was a little, round, yellow sticker adhered to the soles of her shoes, probably indicating that they were an additional 20% off at Century 21. With every step she took, I wondered, “Why?...Why?...Why?” So I implore you, please inspect your new shoes before wearing them. You may think the bottom of your shoes isn’t visible, but alas, if that were the case no one would spend $1,000 on red-bottomed Louboutins. And if you pull off your price sticker and a gooey mess of glue and paper stays stuck to the shoe, don’t stop there. Finish the job. Scrape, scrape, and scrape some more.

2. When in doubt, your outermost layer should be Spring-y. When the forecast shows highs above 50 degrees, please, for the love of God, do not wear your knee-length puffy down coat, even at 8am. Anything that sheds – fur, wool, down - should be sent to the cleaners and then stored away until next December....starting last week! Wearing bulky outerwear makes others uncomfortable just LOOKING at you and reminds us of gloomy winter days, which we’re trying to forget about! Mornings may still be nippy and cool, but embrace the promise of warmer weather with a trench or short jacket and wear layers underneath if you need to stay warm. I call this dressing optimistically J

3. Your legs haven’t seen sun in 6 months. BABY STEPS to short skirts, please. I’ve seen more than a few fashionable ladies sport nude stockings with much success so far this month. Before baring your dry, pasty skin for all the world to see, consider going the pantyhose route until the weather is consistently above 70 degrees and your skin has a bit of a glow to it. I’m not advocating that you look like a self-tanning victim with matte, bronzed Oompa Loompa tights. Make sure to find a light-weight stocking in an appropriate skin tone. If you don’t like stockings but still want to wear your cute little skirts, please pair them with a boot instead of ballet flats for now. Just for another month or two until the world is used to seeing some skin again, then all bets are off.

4. Add a pop of color…judiciously. Winter is a great time for embracing neutrals and earth tones since they are so easy to match while layering and don't clash with sallow winter ghost-skin. Now that the sun is out, add a hint of brightness. Wear pink lipstick, a pastel scarf, yellow shoes, a light blue tie…just not all at the same time, please. I saw a man on the subway today wearing salt-colored khaki pants, a pastel blue sweater on top of a white collared shirt and a canary yellow tie. TOO SOON to dress for sailing or the Georgetown Waterfront. Instead, gradually add spring and summer colors to your wardrobe. That way you can still wear your basic black since that’s what’s front and center in your closet, but more cheerfully with the addition of pink earrings and a light green shimmery eye shadow or sparkly coral lip gloss. Get it?


Maybe I should have thanked the woman with yellow-stickered-soles... Thank you for shocking me out of my pregnant, winter coma and back to consciousness! Thank you for encouraging me to look around and notice all the other fashion offenders on the streets today so I could write up this informative advice post for the masses.

Thank you crocuses for showing your faces and being the first sign of new life this year!! I am back and will emerge from winter S.A.Dness with grace and exuberance. Blog, I will not abandon thee any longer. Clothing, you will no longer be dreary. Mood, you will be improved.

("First Spring Flowers" Photo Credit)

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