Monday, December 22, 2008

Melody's First Swing Ride

This was on her sixth month birthday a couple of weeks ago...
Big thanks to Elizabeth for taking these with her camera phone! Melody was next to her son Matthew, also 6 months and going for his first ride too!
Ooooh I like this....

Lovin' His Sister

Sometimes getting Theo to apologize to mommy and daddy is like pulling teeth. But you know what's sweet? Theo has no problem saying sorry to Melody. Even if he just comes close to running into her he says "Oh, sorry, Melody!" I'm jealous but secretly overjoyed :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

But Wait, There's More!

All this talk about Smellody and I almost neglected the original subject of this blog-- B.O.

My boy recently came home with a fancy Student of the Month certificate. Go Theo!

Happy Half-Year, Melody!

Excuse me? Are we at six months already? Where did it go. Seems like I hardly remember a thing, and yet I remember every second. If that makes sense at all.

But looking at my girl at six months, my heart is full. She's beautiful, smart, funny---the girl of my dreams! Here she is...
What a munchkin, huh? She's about 16.5 lbs. As you can see, she got her ears pierced! Mom and I took her to get it done just before Thanksgiving. Nov. 23 to be exact. She's officially a girl now.
That face. It kills me. Her eyes? They really kill everyone. In certain sunlight they actually look crystal.
Aaand look who's sitting! My hippie. She is going for longer and longer stretches--at most, a couple of minutes--before toppling over. She started really sitting about 2 or 3 weeks ago. She has excellent control on her belly, and is even beginning to explore the notion of getting onto her knees.

See the drool on her shirt? Yep, that's from nonstop teething. I said a month ago the teeth would come any day...I was wrong. Looks like she just may get her two front teeth for Christmas (and that's all she wants, cuz then she'd finally whistle).

Melody continues to adore Theo. That's who has her smiling in that last photo. She also loves her baby friends. The moms take turns hosting, and last night I had 14 people in my living room. Albeit half of them were babies, but they count as people. It's amazing how animated she gets around them. They really love spending time together. (And the moms love watching them play as we drank spiked eggnog.)

She's been eating solid food every other day, but she still has the tongue thrusting reflex and makes a huge mess. That will subside soon, which will make us both happy. She wants the food so, so badly! She just needs to figure out how to get it! Now that she's six months, the official "proper" time to get her eating, I'll feed her more regularly. So far she likes avocado, banana, apple, and rice cereal. For some reason she rejected sweet potato, which was Theo's first food that he loved. Guess she wants to be her own chick.

As for toys, she loves her playmat with the toys hanging down, her teether toys, and pushing Theo's cars. She still absolutely adores books and music. I mean, she's really a typical baby there. Her favorite toy is probably a human face. She loves to touch faces. And pet the cats, who have become such good sports they both deserve a medal.

At Thanksgiving she was just full of "da da da's"! She also has the ga ga ga sound. Though she mostly just squeals her head off these days. She's starting to discover blowing bubbles, too.

Melody went on the swings today for the first time! She absolutely loved it! We were with friends. Imagine four babies swinging in a row. It doesn't get much cuter.

She loves the lights of her first Christmas tree. We all are basking in the magic of the season. It's really the best time to have a lovely little family as I do, and I'm fortunate. Now on to enjoy the next half year!

Thanksgiving 2008

Better late than is a photographic look at Thanksgiving. Melody enjoyed her first Turkey Day...she even ate mashed potatoes and some rice pudding! Theo shoveled down the turkey and pretended not to enjoy it, but the rate at which he scarfed it into his mouth gave him away.Gotta love the boys on the trampoline. And Bo, ever the faithful companion, joined them. Now the Browns have a new puppy, Bailey, who we'll meet at Christmas. Can't wait!
Look at Ethan go!
As usual, Carl cooked up an incredible feast with the help of Jodi and the boys, who did a lot of the chopping and food prep. Good little sous chefs in our family!

Melody in her purple dress was the hit of the night! No one is used to having girls around.
Melody and Grandma Popcorn, looking proud! Such pretty ladies :)


This morning:

Theo: Mommy, where's the cookie jar?
Me: I hid it.
Theo: You broke it?
Me: No, not hit it. I hid it. I put it in a secret place.
Theo: Where's that?

Last night:

I was in the bedroom with Melody. Theo called from the living room in a whiny groggy voice:
"Mommmmmy! Come lay on the couch with me! Come get comfortable!"

Monday, November 10, 2008

Happy 5 Months Birthday, Melody!


As I type this, Melody is jumping in her doorway jumpy thingie and sucking on a frozen apple slice through a mesh feeder thingie. Yes, I said thingie twice. Why am I starting off with this information? Just to illustrate--sniff! My baby is growing up!

I expect her bottom teeth to appear any minute. Her fingers have taken up residence in her mouth. Any object she holds goes in there too.

Her favorite place to be is on her tummy. She has plenty of stuff to "do" while she's there, like look at herself in her mirror.

Her favorite games--there's the boring patty cake and peekaboo that I play with her. (Cuz, well, they work. She loves them.) But daddy's more creative. They have a routine where they do the hand jive, the mashed potato, the alligator, and the twist.

Her favorite person--toss-up between mommy and brother. She has to love me, I'm her mother. But the bond she has with Theo is really special. He made up a game where she lies on her playmat and he pulls it around. He's driving her around in a "schoolbus." He even tells her to put on her seatbelt! And to think we once worried that he didn't engage in imaginary play. She loves the game too, because it's an excuse to smile in awe at Theo as he walks around with her. Yesterday Theo held up a microphone to her and she broke out into wild laughter, which made him laugh. I love watching my babies! Which also includes my orange babies, who tend to sniff her periodically and then walk away. They're incredibly gentle with her...they just know.

We've taken to having Melody in bed with us when we read to Theo at storytime nightly. She loves books! She has no favorite at this stage, but she enjoys the process of looking at the pictures and the turning pages. Although again, she tends to watch Theo more than the books, with wide eyes. She likes to touch him. She grabs him and pokes him and pinches him. Like the cats, he's very tolerable around her and giggles and asks me why Melody is pinching him.

With Melody's gums still bare, breastfeeding is still a pleasure! The best part is her excitement when she knows it's mealtime. When she sees the "dinner" draw near, she flails her arms around and smiles, and her eyes twinkle! My favorite times are when she gets impatient with me and actually grabs my boob and brings it to her mouth. What a genius.

I started her on solids this week. Just a tablespoon of rice cereal here, a bit of smashed banana there. She likes everything she's had so far, but it's too soon to tell what she favors. I'm going to try to make as much of her baby food myself as I can, at least in the beginning. There is an awesome website for this: Wholesome Baby Food.

We still attend weekly playgroups with other mommies and babies in the 'hood. Melody really responds well to other babies. Like her brother, she's turning out to be a real observer.

On to stats--she's 15 and a half pounds and 24 inches long...that's 2 feet!

Now, Melody is asleep on daddy's chest. She's got him smitten, all right. He wants to build her a tower and keep her in it when she gets older. That closes my monthly report. I'm gonna go snuggle with my family!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Halloween 2008: Ocean Family

It was so windy I couldn't get my hair out of my face!

These photos are from the Annual Halloween Parade in the village. Forget Suri and the Brangelina brats--our kids were the most photographed kids in history!
At least 5 people asked if Melody was a real baby. They thought she was a doll, especially when she was asleep. At one point, she moved her arms, and someone actually yelped, leaping backward in surprise!

This is a press photo I found on the internet.
Another press photo. Joe and Theo did the Spongebob dance along the parade route.

Unfortunately these cell phone photos are the only ones I have of me as Ursula, the sea witch.

Joe was a big hit with the kids. One kid shouted, "Squidward's mean to you! Just ignore him!"

We marched with the ASPCA and the Mayor's Alliance for NYC Animal's float.

The prettiest little mermaid.

The kids had a great time at the parade. Melody managed to fall asleep, even though we were next to a marching band. Theo eventually tired out and rode on daddy Spongebob's shoulders--also falling asleep.

Random Ramblings of a Proud Mama

Happy Election Day. I'm trying not to get excited yet. I know it's not over 'til it's over.

So, cute stuff:

Last week, Melody went to the doc for a second round of shots, having gotten them 2 weeks earlier. As soon as she laid on the doc's table, she cried! I was so proud of my smartie pants for remembering what happens on that table. I think it's true that parents will find any excuse to be proud of their kids. Theo has always liked going to the doctor and even as a baby didn't cry when we arrived. I was always so proud of his bravery. And now I'm proud of Melody for having the opposite reaction.

Said Theo to doc, who was about to give Melody her shot: "Noooooo! Don't break Melody!"

Milestone report: on October 29, Melody actually sat on her own! Unassisted! It lasted a good 20 seconds before the plop. This girl is also as mobile as she possibly can be. She manages to get from one side of her play mat to the other, even though she can't crawl yet. Chica's got places to go.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Kiddie Anecodotes

Sometimes, when working, I keep a dictionary next to me as I edit. Right now, Melody is sitting on my lap and swatting at it. A little genius?

Melody is finally starting to bat at hanging toys. This morning she grabbed hold of the cow on the mobile for the first time!

Both kids went to the doc for shots on Saturday. Melody weighs 14lbs, 10 oz. As usual, she cried when she got the shot but was immediately comforted by nursing. Theo was up next, and I felt bad that I couldn't help him out the same way! He's such a drama queen, he was saying "ouchie, ouchie, huuurt" before he even got the shot! But daddy and the doctor gave him stickers, and he was fine a few seconds later.

Later that day, we visited Nonny and Aunt Don. Melody fell asleep in Aunt Don's arms; that's a sweet memory that I'll treasure.

So, funny story: Last night at dinner, Theo refused to eat his carrots. I told him if he ate his carrots, we'd make cookies. Still, he refused. Two hours later:
"Mommmmy, I wanna make cooookies."
"No, Theo, you didn't eat your carrots." (I really wanted the cookies, so it took all my willpower to reinforce my own rule.)
"First carrot, then cookies?"
"What, you want a carrot now?"
And so I took a raw carrot out of the fridge, peeled it, and fashioned a carrot stick. He ate the whole thing! And we made cookies.
Sigh. What a silly boy I have.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Happy 4 Month Birthday, Melody!

To celebrate, Melody got to have a bath this morning with her favorite person--her brother. I'll have photographic evidence of this happy event posted soon. The two of them sat making oogly eyes at each other the whole time; I'm not sure which of them is crazier about the other. All I know is Melody stares at Theo and smiles whenever he's around. And when he's not around, she stares at pictures of him on the wall and smiles.

Melody is 14 lbs, 6 oz. and still delightfully chubby!
Melody's learning the art of laughing from her gut. She's pretty easy to get going in a fit of chuckles.

Melody's favorite toys are a rattle that Aunt Pia gave her (it's wiry and she can hold on to it and put it to her mouth) and a super, super soft blankie attached to a bunny head. She does the same thing with that. I could swear she's teething, though I know it's early. I'm pretty sure I'm already seeing the two white spots through her bottom gums. Theo cut his first tooth at exactly six months, so I'll be curious to see what happens.

Melody likes her new swing, and spends a lot of time in her bouncie. She loves talking to her friends on her mobile still. She's really starting to love her play mat and getting great at tummy time.

She loves her weekly meetings with her baby friends in the neighborhood. The boys outnumber the girls, so she has several boyfriends competing for her attention already. I've caught a couple of them holding her hand.


AAAAAH I just love her!


There was really no better title for my blog post. I am, to say the least, overwhelmed. Theo had surgery today--in the most delicate place you could think of. The procedure was called a meatoplasty.

Theo was peeing out of an abnormally tiny hole and I never knew it, having had no point of reference. I always figured little boy=thin stream. But because of that tiny hole, it took him forever to pee and his bladder was never really empty. He must have always felt the urge to go, which explains all the accidents and the prolonged toilet training. Reading back on my first potty training blog entry now makes me go "ohhhhhhhhh." Check out the third paragraph.

I wasn't sure if I should blog this...I wanted to respect his privacy. But this is a big deal and a big changing point in all of our lives. His surgery today was a success. Even though his poor "down there" is swollen, bruised and bandaged, the stream that comes out is at least 5 times the width it was before. In other words...normal. All this time and I had no idea. None of us did.

Here's Theo in his kiddie hospital gown. A nurse was kind enough to take a cell phone picture for me.

Clowns came to visit him. The staff of the pediatric urology clinic were kind folks. And the name of Theo's surgeon...Dr. Dix. No, I'm not kidding. That's really his name.

So how's he doing now? He's been sky-high on codiene and completely happy. He played blocks, ate pizza, made cookies, read books, colored...but then there were the two unfortunate instances where he had to pee. He literally banged the walls howling in pain. I don't know who cried more, the boy or his mama. He had no idea what was happening to him or why. Although he seemed to understand our explanations as we gave them, once the extreme pain hit, all reason was out the window. He's finally sleeping now, and I hope it's better tomorrow. Within a few days he should feel pretty good. This should have been done when he was a baby, but at least he's not an adult. He'll grow up and have it over with.

He was so brave today, my poor monkey!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Melody Rolled Over!

She turned from her back fully over to her belly today.

Monday, September 22, 2008

My Visit to School

Theo's school had a Meet The Teacher day today. I had met Ms. C a couple of times, but briefly. Melody and I visited during Theo's lunch time, so it was just Ms. C and three other parents in the room. His class currently has just 6 kids! It was supposed to be 12. Leave it to the Board of Ed. to shortchange 6 kids who can really use a small class, but hey, their loss is Theo's gain. With a teacher and a para (assistant teacher), not to mention his therapists, he gets more attention than I'd ever have dreamed!

Ms. C is a lovely young woman with years of experience with special needs children. But she is teaching a regular Kindergarten curriculum and doesn't treat the kids any differently (meaning, she expects the same hard work), which I love. She's extremely patient and claims she doesn't get mad easily.

Theo is already ahead of the game, knowing his letters and numbers. Every day they do math, reading and writing, and he has all those things for homework every night. He has art and gym 3 times a week, and while unfortunately he doesn't have music class as I thought he would, they do plenty of singing in his class. He also has computer time and of course, a chance to play with blocks and play-doh and other fun things. They also have a station where they can listen to stories on headphones.

It was a thrill to meet the other parents and really get to talk and exchange email addresses. For some reason, that never happened in pre-school. This time around I plan to get involved with them. We all appreciated talking to a mom who'd been through all the tests and emotions that no one else can possibly relate to.

For example, I asked Ms. C for advice on how to get Theo to hold his pencil correctly, and the other moms all chimed in begging to know too! I was ecstatic to see I wasn't alone! (She had a great tip, they use their pointer and thumb to "pinch" and draw dots to serve as guides for where to put the fingers.)

These kids are going to have to take the same standardized tests as all the other kids when in upper grades, so the more he can absorb now in his little sponge stage, the better. I like Ms. C's system for learning to read and write. He's picked up writing very well so far.

My favorite thing that they do is have a few minutes every day where the kids are supposed to talk to each other. This is really important for these kids where social skills are an issue. Theo is getting to be a chatterbox at home, but he is still shy and quiet at school, especially with other kids. Partners are integrated into most of the activities throughout the day. Partners even read books together. Person A reads a page, then Person B, and so on. We're supposed to practice this at home, too.

The kids have jobs that rotate. Theo is door monitor this week. Which explains why he's been shutting our bedroom door every chance he gets and driving us nuts. The kids get fake dollars every time they follow a rule or do an extra good job on something. If they get 10 dollars they get a gold coin and a sticker. They lose dollars for breaking rules. It's a motivator that really works, she says.

They have a bunch of classic books that they are reading. Aunt Pia, Caps For Sale is one of them!! They are also writing a book of their own, together, as a class. The story is on giant paper! The kids are the characters and the drawings are of them, and at the end, when it's finished, they'll color it and "publish" it. The kids will take turns reading it to the class.

At the end of the conference, the kids returned from lunch with Ms. Rosa, the para. Theo teared up when I left. He didn't break down...he was just silently sad. My sweet, sensitive baby. He's doing just great. I'm so proud.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Baby Flower


Click to see more photos from my gathering with my mom group. These are Melody's friends!

Happiest Kindergartener On The Planet

This video of Theo on the first day of Kindergarten is the epitome of home-videoing. Daddy may be a whiz with a regular cam, but a video camera...not so much.
Look at how cute Theo is looking for the bus. You can tell he's not really paying attention to Joe because he's dying for the bus to get there.

No more character bookbags. It's all about being Mr. Cool.
A five-year-old can't fake that happiness.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Happy 3 Months Birthday, Melody!

At 3 months Melody weighs 13 lbs, 4 oz. She has almost doubled her birth weight. She has found her feet. She can roll to both sides from her back. Once there, she gets stuck and then frustrated. She's already pretty sturdy both in sitting and standing. Assisted, obviously.

She cracks up for no reason, and understands the cause and effect of making someone else smile when she smiles, and therefore smiles harder. She practices this especially when meeting new people.

Now that I'm back to work and working from home with her, she is starting to take 2 naps a day at 10:30 and 1:30. Her nighttime sleep is still far from routine. We've had 9 hour stretches, but this is rare. She usually needs a feeding at least once or twice a night.

Her hair is growing, and the color is always changing. Her eyes are still cobalt. Her cheeks are getting good and fat and rosy. Her thighs are chunky. Her feet are tiiiiiiny. I don't know if Theo's feet were this small even when he was born. He had those adorably long rabbit feet. (He still does. He's wearing a 13.5, the last kiddie size. His next shoes will be a big kid's size 1.)

We're now rotating the 3-6 month clothing into her wardrobe and figuring out what to do with all the stuff she's outgrown already. I like dressing her as a doll and as a tomboy, just as I do with myself.

I'm so in love! She looks at me like I'm GOD. But it is she who is my salvation.

Monday, September 01, 2008

What's Melody's Hair Doing?


Curling and getting lighter, it seems!

Up on the Balloon

Whoops! Never wrote about the balloon ride, did I? Central Park did balloon rides this summer. We had to get there at 7am, but it was worth it. I went with my little man while Joe and Melody waited on line for "Hair" tickets at the Delacorte.

I'd never seen Theo more excited about anything. He watched the balloon go up and down for two hours, and the anticipation mounted. He was so excited that he was a good boy while standing on line for the whole two hours, a tall order for a 5-year-old!

Up on the balloon.

Sometimes I love being a tourist in my own city.

The Beginning and the End

Happy Labor Day. Tomorrow is Theo's first day of kindergarten and my first day back to work.
I have to say, though, I had a kickass maternity leave. The other night at bedtime, when Theo makes up silly songs, he sang one about all the stuff he did this summer. He sang about going on a balloon, running the bases, walking the bridge, seeing the waterfall, and the boat ride. He's so sweet. He really takes it all in.

It's 5:57 AM and I've been blogging for over an hour. I finally had the chance and I took it! Besides, I couldn't get back to sleep after Melody's 3:30 feeding. But yawn, I'm going to try to snooze now. Good night (or good morning!).

Update, 6:03 AM. Never mind, someone is stirring. Who needs sleep, anyway? There are blue eyes to be looked at!

Ze Annual Coney Island Excursion

This was the best Coney Island trip yet! Along with the fun came a dash of melancholy--Theo was too big to ride his first ride! Here he is, July 4th , 2005 . (I started the blog in 2006).Theo's first ride--the fire trucks. This is one instance of pictures speaking louder. Joe and I both cried unexpectedly when we saw the look on his face. Little Theo (almost 3) just couldn't believe that something could be this great.

Before this year, I don't think I ever noticed that there were actually height maximums on some of the rides. And so he couldn't go on the flying swings either, which bummed him out. He did, however, have a couple of firsts. He went on the Tilt-A-Whirl with daddy and the Scrambler with me, both pretty wild rides for him. He was terrified and had the time of his life. The smile never left his face as he clung on for dear life. Theo's the only one I know who can be so scared and so happy simultaneously.

The same thing happened later, when I took him in the ocean. When we hit water where he could no longer stand, his arms gripped tightly around me. I held on to him with both arms, and if I lifted one to point to something, he said " No mommy, two hands, two hands!" But scared as he was, he didn't want to stop. He wanted to "swim" under the bridge and jump off the rocks into the water. I didn't plan on swimming and was fully clothed (the monkey had a suit on). But hey, it was my only ocean experience the whole summer, and I dried off in a jiffy--'twas a hot day. The water felt wonderful!! Theo got good and dirty afterward playing in the mud. Thank goodness for those boardwalk showers!

I had a moment yesterday. I was nursing Melody on the beach and watching Joe chase Theo around the playground, both of them laughing. I'd never been I said--I had a moment. :)

I'm so sad we didn't have a camera on this trip. We have pics from every year except this one. Check out the entry from 2 years comments about the frog ride are the same this year. I still wonder when he'll go on the Cyclone. I think it said you have to be 55 inches, and he's about 45" now (Which, btw, is the 95th percentile according to last week's doctor visit!).

As usual, Melody was a perfect baby the whole day, talking to us and laughing at us. She was amazingly alert and slept very little. She took it all in--she was wide eyed during the Cyclones game and on the long commute home.

In last year's Coney Island entry, I lamented that it was Astroland's final year. This turned out false, happily. The tradition will live on, and pretty soon Theo will be laughing at Melody for having to go on the baby rides. I'll be sad when he can't do the kiddie rides anymore. Not because it'll mean he's growing up. Kiddie rides are just a helluva lot cheaper.

Caught in the Act


I caught Theo on the floor wrapped up in his Spongebob blanket watching--you guessed it--Spongebob.

In the video he's singing "Best Day Ever," a song that plays during the credits. He can sing it bette r than this, but I just love watching him sing to himself when no one is around for him to "perform" for. He was just a sweet little boy singing along with Spongebob.

Goodbye Shea Stadium

Last Sunday, Melody saw her first and last Mets game at Shea, which will be only a memory next year as Citi Field takes its place as the new home of the brave. Theo got to run the bases after the game. By the time he ran across home plate, his smile was enormous! Joe thinks it's hilarious that he tried to run out on the field, as you can see from this video.

Tatis is the name of one of our players, and we thought it'd be funny to write his name there for obvious reasons.

We went to a Cyclones game last night at Coney Island for "Baby's First Ball Game" Night. I had sent this photo in before the game, and they flashed it on their big screen in between innings! Again, Theo got to run the bases, and this time--so did we! Melody was photographed "running" --maybe they'll put the photo on their website.

Melody and Her Friends

We bought a mobile to match Melody's crib, and it was a cool rain forest theme and did cool things, but she really wasn't very interested. We remembered how important Theo's mobile was to him, and so we went ahead and bought a similar one to his from Tiny Love. They make super stimulating stuff. Here's Melody talking to her friends, just as Theo always did.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Knuffle Bunny And Me

Theo does my Baby and Me Workout video with Knuffle Bunny.

Watch him kiss his "baby" every time he goes down, as the instructor does.


Melody's first laugh-- August 19th. It happened the same way Theo's first laugh did, and at around the same age! Joe takes the baby's hands and knocks them against his cheeks and makes a funny's a laugh-inducing machine!

August 25th-- Melody rolled over on to her left side for the first time--just in time for the democratic convention.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Theo's Birthdays

Theo has really blossomed these past weeks. A breakthrough may be a bit extreme, but suffice it to say, a lot of exciting things have been happening. For one, the last few times at the playground, I've seen him really approaching other kids, talking to them, interacting with them, and breaking his own routine to do so. Yesterday, a kid was hanging upside down, and Theo went up to him and said "why you upside down?" His big question to everyone is "why're you doing?"

We were so delighted by his birthday party at the playground this year. This was the first year he really hung out with us at his party and didn't run off to the playground every chance he got.

Theo was so patient waiting for us to start lighting the candles!
And these are the grownups! We had lots of kids, too!

The pinata was a big hit. Sorry--a mom joke, I know.

Theo loved his remote control car.

Here are the rest of the photos from the party. CLICK HERE TO VIEW PICS!

On the day of his actual birthday, we had a party for him at school. Last year this didn't go so well. Inexplicably, he cried through most of it. But this year, from the second we showed up at class, he was thrilled! His teacher loved watching Theo interact with Melody. He went up and gave the baby an unsolicited kiss, and Lavern could tell he was crazy about her.

Theo danced, read stories, and led the class in their goodbye song. At the end, he invited each kid up to give them a couple of toy cars that we brought.

Wanna see more pics of Theo's birthday party at school, and our trip to Central Park after?

Here's a video of Theo and daddy rowing the boat. We sang a round of "Row, Row, Row your boat" and of course sang "Melody, Melody, Melody, Melody, life is but a dream!"

Watching on as Theo plays.