Thursday, June 26, 2008
P.S. 71 in Ridgewood, Queens, is a small and old school (the building is over 100 years old), which gives it a bit of charm.
There are two full-time speech therapists on staff, as well as the other specialists Theo needs. We met one of them, and we met Theo's future Kindergarten teacher, a lovely young woman whom we immediately liked. We met the special ed. supervisor, who was very sweet and helpful. A social worker took us on a tour and showed us every bit of the school, including the two air-conditioned music classrooms (poor mom! her school doesn't have that!). Every staff member we talked to was exceedingly kind; they all obviously care a great deal about the children.
Theo's classroom is adorable, and the kids are on a similar level to the ones in his class at preschool, so that shouldn't be too much of a change for him. There will be about 10 kids in his class.
The special ed. kids are integrated into the rest of the school. They attend lunch, assemblies and playtime together. They will be following a standard Kindergarten curriculum. The staff is very focused on getting these kids caught up and the goal is for them to ultimately be in a regular classroom.
For now, P.S. 71 is in and that Long Island school is out. I hope this works out!
Bottom Line: I am the mother of a registered kindergartner. Sniff!
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Melody was cozy and comfy being carried by daddy, and slept during the whole commute both ways (I took her to feed her while we had pizza). Our little girl is two weeks old today, and is over 7 and a half pounds now. I weighed her using a very old baby scale Nonny gave me when I had Theo. Melody is getting prettier every day! And she's still such a good baby. She even let me sleep 5 hours straight last night, which was a miracle and a triumph for mama. The kids are both asleep right now, so I should follow suit. Good night!
We're seated at the dinner table. Joe walks to the kitchen to grab some water.
ME: Babe, if you want, there's some Pellegrino in the fridge. (I say Pellegrino with a very thick, exaggerated Italian accent.)
THEO: Mommy, why'd you say it like that?
Then I fast forwarded a few years to having to yell at her when we're at the playground. "Melody! No pushing! MELODY!" And I thought, hmm, that name just doesn't work with the naggy mom voice. It's too pretty and, well, melodic, for yelling! But hey, maybe she'll just be a perfect angel always and I'll never have to yell at her. Right? Riiight?
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Here's his graduation video...if you can't tolerate minutes of preschool singing, at least fast forward to the last ten seconds when Theo gets his diploma. It's worth seeing!
Theo's been singing his graduation songs around the house for weeks. You can tell he was a bit overwhelmed by the big crowd, and when the time came, sort of half sang and half looked around. It was the same with many of the kids. Theo was so cute when he spotted me, Joe and Grandma Popcorn in the audience. He did a double take and then smiled and waved.
When Theo marched in, Joe and I couldn't help but tear up. There was a photo of him in cap and gown on the wall, and he looked so tall and handsome. And I couldn't be more proud when he ran up to get his diploma. He was the most excited one in the room.
After the ceremony, there was a party in Theo's classroom. There was a ton of food, and we watched the kids march around the room to "The Ants Go Marching In," another song Theo is always singing at home. The kids all got balloons, and every one of them cried at least once when it broke. Too funny.
One of Theo's classmates, Ana, has a twin sister, who came with her mom to visit. Theo's reaction upon seeing the two of them together was priceless: "Look! Two Ana's!"
Melody, of course, was a big hit at school. The teachers who had been waiting with anticipation were excited to meet her. And the kids went crazy swarming around Theo's baby sister.
At the end of the party, Lavern and Grace presented the graduates with custom-made T-shirts and books. Theo is home now on a break, and then in July, summer session begins. After that--gulp--kindergarten!
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
CLICK HERE TO SEE THE ULTIMATE PHOTO ALBUM!
The day Melody was born, Lisandra arrived just minutes after birth. I had sent her a text to make her way over once the contractions got bad, just like I'd promised I would. The grandmas came soon after, arriving at the same time. My dad and Theo were with mom. Elliot and Gloria got there a few minutes later. Pretty soon my big, loud family was gushing over Melody while I lay in my postpartum hospital room, feeling sorry for my roomie, a new mom who probably wanted to be sleeping!
The gang left, and I sent out a mass text to my friends to announce the birth. A lot has changed in 5 years. With Theo I sent out proper birth announcements via snail mail. Will I do that now? Not a chance! Sorry, guys. Anyway, I sent the text saying visiting hours are 10 to 1o. Billy texted: "I'm on my way." Billy showed up with two other guys I knew from our karaoke outings, Kevin and Justin. Their visit was short and sweet. They were three dudes who looked completely bewildered (and kinda freaked out) at the whole birth thing. But they couldn't have been sweeter and more gracious. At about 9:40 PM Linda arrived! She stayed til the nurse came in to kick out visitors. It was really nice to have her there, and it was a triumphant moment to hear her say "I want one." I've got it on tape, Linda!
First thing the next morning Stacy came by on her way to work. We took a bunch of silly pics, like her holding up the baby Simba-style. Later that day Lisandra, Ura and J.C. came. Just as they left, Billy got there (again), this time bearing gifts. Flowers and a wonderful Beatrix Potter collection. My buddy Alison from work came, too. The whole work gang was planning on coming Thursday, but we decided on an early discharge from the hospital. We went home Wednesday night, just 26 hours after I gave birth!
I think Thursday was the only day no one came--we asked to have the day to ourselves. Friday, mom stopped by briefly.
Saturday was what I called Open House for friends who didn't get a chance to come to the hospital. Marcail came from Connecticut, and we spent a lovely couple of hours together. Lisandra came, and so did more work friends, Melissa and Amy. My parents came to take Theo for a few hours, and Joe was working, so it was just us girls. We ordered pizzas and chatted and passed around the baby, taking lots of pictures. It was a surprisingly relaxing day! I loved it!
Sunday was another family day. It was Father's Day, so Theo and I made peanut-butter banana oatmeal pancakes and eggs and sausages for breakfast. We gave Joe a tin with Theo's and Melody's hand prints next to each other, in a plaster-clay mold. Aunt Pia was in town! She brought Nonny with her, and Adam! Mom, dad, Ell, and Gloria came, too! This baby is very loved. It was wonderful to see my family dote on her.
Yesterday my friend of 20 years came over. It's amazing that I can say that about someone! Danielle and I met in Kindergarten, and it occurred to us that we were Theo's size. Actually, smaller, since he's so tall for his age. It was wonderful to see her. I hadn't seen her in 5 years. We reunited when Theo was born, and then lost touch again. Apparently I see her when I have babies! Hopefully it won't be another 5 years this time! Er, before I see her again. Not have a baby.
Today mom stopped by briefly again. It's cute how grandma is happy to come just to steal a few moments with her granddaughter.
Tomorrow Grandma Popcorn and Uncle Jim are coming for dinner, and my mom-in-law is going to spend the night with us so she can attend Theo's graduation Thursday morning. Yes...graduation!!!
Melody lost her cord stump Sunday morning. I was a little concerned since she was just 5 days old, but yesterday at her first doctor's appointment the doc cleaned the area and all is well. At the doc she measured at 20 inches! The doc watched me breastfeed and was pleased with how it was going. It was cute how she checked to make sure she could hear Melody's gulping noises. They did a hearing screening yesterday. She had failed her hearing test at the hospital, and we were told not to worry and that it was common that early. Yesterday she passed in both ears--what a relief!
I didn't use a sling with Theo, but this time around I did tons of research and picked a fabulous sling. I've been staring at it for months--I couldn't wait to use it! I love it, and so does my daughter. She sleeps in there like, well, a baby. So far I've already gone on a few outings. Today and yesterday I took Theo to the playground while wearing Melody. It's just wonderful, truly, being out with the kids.
I've been having fun with my little doll, dressing her in different outfits. I'll post pics soon.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Okay, sorry! Melody is 4 days old and an unbelievably good baby. She almost never cries, and when she does, her cry is pleasant and feminine. She sleeps all the time, and makes a million little faces, each one cuter than the next. She has a beautiful head of brunette hair and looks like her daddy. What a good Father's Day present!
Needless to say, we're madly in love. She gets sweeter and prettier by the minute, and is already a fun little girl. She brings joy to our home with every sneeze and gurgle. The baby sounds she makes while she breastfeeds are my favorite!
Theo's instant understanding and affection for his little sister have exceeded my hopes. He completely gets that she's the baby who was in my belly. He loves her and considers her his. He asks to hold her all the time ("I want Melody") and holds out his arms for her. He's fascinated by her little features and all the pooping and eating she does. I thought he'd find breastfeeding hysterical; instead, he's intrigued. He has a million questions, like when I'm burping her: "Mommy, why are you petting Melody?" And he gives me orders, like which boob to put her on. Sometimes he takes Knuffle Bunny or another stuffed animal and has them drink from my other boob.
Theo wants total control over diaper changes. He has to fetch the diaper and the wipes, and gets mad when I don't let him wipe her by himself. He's gotta be the one to tape the diaper, too. And when I say no, he whines, "I wanna help." But we've got an understanding now. I wipe, he tapes. It's a good arrangement.
Yesterday Theo was sitting with me and he said something to the effect of "Melody came out like chick in an egg." I was so impressed! At school they got to watch chicks hatch and caterpillars build cocoons and become butterflies, so I guess I gave birth at just the right time!
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Rewind to August 6th, 2003. I just had a baby boy zoom out of me in 2 and a half hours. The doctor, exasperated, said, "You may have to induce for your next one if you don't want to give birth in a cab!"
Fast forward to this pregnancy. I told my new doctor what happened with Theo and her advice was the same. Joe and I agreed we'd probably induce. When the time came, we set an induction date for June 10th.
Then I saw a documentary called "The Business of Being Born," and did a lot of reading and discussed induction with the ladies of my pregnancy forum, a board of women due in June with whom I've been conversing for months. They're strangers, but at my age I've got no circle of mom friends and I've turned to them for support and advice. There have been many heated debates on the board about natural childbirth. After all my research, I decided that doctors in America are induction-happy and I really didn't want to go this route. But I was also sure I'd go into labor before my induction date and get off the hook when it came to making that decision.
But then the night of June 9th rolled around, and still no baby. The nagging fear that I wouln't make it to the hospital on time was still strong, and we were so desperate (and yes, impatient) to meet the baby that we kept our appointment. We headed to Manhattan Monday night and we were early for our appointment, so we stopped at a cute little cafe. We realized we were sitting in a coffee place called "The Bean." We weren't sure if it was a bad omen or a nice little tribute to the bean we lost, and decided it was a happy thing. Then on our way to St. Vincent's Hospital, we ran into my friend Vincent, whom I hadn't seen in a few years.
At the hospital, I was admitted into the labor/delivery room and checked by a doctor. I was still only 1 cm dilated and not even 50% effaced, so they decided to administer Cervidil, a gel that softens your cervix and prepares you for labor. This was going to take 12 hours. I wasn't prepared for this. Joe and I both started to fear we'd made a huge mistake, that the baby obviously wasn't ready to come and that I was going to be spending many many hours in the hospital to avoid the fear of only spending one. It suddenly seemed really stupid. But we went through with the Cervidil anyway; we figured let's see if it works.
As the hours passed and we got some sleep, our attitudes improved. We decided to just enjoy the time we spent hanging out at the hospital. It's not like I was in pain. And so we did; we watched TV and played Travel Scrabble, agreeing that if we spelled Melody we'd get 100 points. At around 12:30 PM Joe put down a short word to give him four points, saying he was gambling on picking up a certain letter. I just snickered. It was a Scrabble move I wouldn't make. I rarely think it's smart to waste a turn waiting on a letter that would never come.
Just then Dr. Huang came in to check me out. My cervix was now 80-90 % effaced and I was 2-3 cm dilated. She asked if I wanted to eat lunch before starting the pitocin (the drug that induces contractions) and I said yes. She decided to strip my membranes first, which is a common process where a doctor separates your bag of water from your cervix. My doc had offered to do this at my last two appointments, and I hadn't wanted to (still hoping to go into labor naturally at that point). Well, she reached in there and man, that pain was unbelievable! It took me entirely off guard; I had no idea it would hurt so much!
But it turned out to be super effective. By the time Joe got back with my lunch, my contractions were feeling like labor contractions and 5-6 minutes apart. We thought, well, if we're in labor, then we don't need the pitocin, and decided to discuss this with the doctor. My contractions went on this way for 2 hours. They were painful, but I knew they were nothing compared with what was coming. They stayed at 5-6 minutes apart. When the doctor came in, she offered to start the pitocin, but thought if she broke my water the baby could come on its own and quickly. And so that's what we did.
And the contractions came closer together. And they got worse. And they got worse. And worse still Within a half hour I was no longer a human being. Just a whimpering, crying, sweaty mess. Joe was a good coach, reminding me to exhale and bringing me ice chips between contractions.
I tried all kinds of positions. All fours, the birthing ball, standing, squatting--I was standing with a contraction and suddenly I felt the baby drop. It felt like she was coming right now, and I begged the nurse to hurry and get the doctor. This is exactly what had happened with Theo--he had come out of nowhere. So I figured it was time. When Dr. Huang told me I was dilated at 6cm (out of 10), it was the worst news I'd ever heard. She cheerfully told me that it was great, and the baby was dropping, and I only had an hour or two left. The thought of this pain for another two hours was more than I could bear, and yet I rejected the epidural again, since I had been so determined not to get one.
Five minutes later I told Joe I didn't think I could stand it anymore. Feeling defeated, I asked for the epidural. At this point I was laying on my side and a complete disaster during contractions. All attempts to breathe properly were long gone and I was fighting to survive. I sighed, disappointed that I'd "wimped out" twice. The same had happened with Theo. They were just about to put the epidural needle in my back when I felt his head coming, and a few minutes later, he was born!
The doctor came in to tell me the anesthesiologist would be in soon. Right then, a contraction came and I felt my baby's head descend. "She's coming!" I shouted. The doctor put on a glove and checked quickly, and she she said it was time. She told me not to push, but I kept yelling that I had to and couldn't stop. The scene is a blur, but I remember Joe, the nurses and the doctor all trying to tell me not to push and me pushing anyway. I watched as Melody's head came out, and the doctor was scrambling to get her other glove on as she delivered the head. I wanted to shout "Forget the fucking gloves, I don't care about hygiene, get this baby out now!!"
And so the head was out, and seconds later Joe and I were watching the rest of Melody's body come out. She immediately cried to let us know she was okay and we were sobbing like lunatics. Time of birth, 4:47 PM.
Daddy cut the cord while I checked to make sure Melody was a girl--she was! All we could do was stare and cry. Meanwhile, the doc was delivering my placenta but I didn't feel a thing. I couldn't stop kissing the gooey gunky new baby on my chest. I couldn't believe how perfect she was. And Joe couldn't believe how purple she was! We couldn't believe her tiny feet. We expected swollen jackrabbit feet like Theo's, but hers were the opposite.
I put her to my breast and we kept her with us for a while before finally letting them weigh her and do their thang. She was 6 pounds, 15 ounces. Just one ounce less than Theo! They took her out to measure her and warm her, since they thought she was a little cold. She was 19 inches long (Theo was 20.5). My doctor kissed me and congratulated me. We were all still in shock over what happened.
At this point, Joe disappeared for a second to do something. He came back with the Travel Scrabble board, and on it he had spelled MELODY. The O was a blank. His gamble had paid off and he'd drawn an E, but the doctor came in before he could play the word. There was no sweeter time for him to present the word than this moment.
A few minutes later, Lisandra arrived and Joe went downstairs to meet his mother, who was also arriving. Lisandra brought me a Hershey bar, which was the best tasting thing I ever ate. She packed up my stuff for me and went to look at the baby in the nursery, and periodically came back with enthusiastic reports. I was dying for them to bring Melody back, I missed her so much! I was very awake and energetic from the high. With Theo I'd wanted to collapse and sleep.
They put me in a wheelchair to take me to my postpartum room. I heard my parents and Theo out in the hall. It was time for Melody to meet her brother.
Dr. Huang told me it was a good thing I induced, that I was right to do it. Even though my labor was more like 4 hours, after my water broke, she was born in an hour and 15 minutes! If it had broken at home I may not have made it! I was so relieved to feel validated in our decision.
I still would advise against elective induction. If it's not medically necessary, I just don't see the reason to do it. It takes longer and you're forcing your body to do things it's supposed to do on its own. My mind has changed, however, when it comes to epidurals. After I wimped out and asked for it with Theo, I felt like such a failure. But now that it's happened again, and as miserable as I was, I'm thinking it would have been nice not to feel anything! If I were to get pregnant again I think I'd ask for one from the beginning. But, as I repeated many times during labor...NEVER AGAIN. I have perfection in my boy and my girl. Who can ask for anything more?
Grandma Ice Cream finished Melody's blanket just in time.
Friday, June 06, 2008
Today is my last day at work before I start my leave. I went out to lunch with 10 coworkers. We had a great time. It was a bit melancholy. I'm going to miss the girls! I'm lucky to work with such a wonderful group of people.
But make no mistake about it-I'm looking forward to finally getting some REST! I can reaaaaaally use it. Unless, of course, the little one makes her appearance before that can happen. Send me some Melody vibes for tonight! I'm still gunning for June 7th!
The diapers I ordered arrived yesterday. It was fun putting them in the diaper stacker by her crib. Theo saw them and said "Melody's diapers!" I was amazed that he knew that. I think he's really getting this baby thing. I can't wait to see my beautiful boy as a big brother. He's a magical child...and to think I get to have another one. It's too much for this mommy to take!
Thursday, June 05, 2008
Thanks Mom! And thanks, Joe, for taking your mother-in-law in :)
Now I get to practice vegetarian cooking, yay!
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
I haven't gained any weight since last week. I wonder what Melody weighs now. I have been having so much fun buying her clothes and hair bows. This weekend I washed everything and enjoyed folding every little piece of clothing, imagining her in it. One day her clothes will be big like Theo's and laundry for 4 will be a pain, but right now it's so cute doing her laundry!
And I finally got around to buying diapers. I ordered a giant box, so we're really ready for her now! :)
Theo had a great time in the ocean. I'm really proud of him for going in. I wish I could have been there. No fun working when your kid is at the beach! How is that fair? Grrr. Oh well, it's great that Sharon took him, she's awesome. When Theo got home he kept smiling and saying he swam--it was so cute. He's the best. Ok, sorry, I'm having a mom moment.
Monday, June 02, 2008
After F.A.O. Schwartz we hit the park and took Theo on the carousel, which he can never tire of, and then let him go nuts at the playground.
The next day, Monday, we returned to the park with a picnic lunch and relaxed on the grass for a while. We walked a bit, took Theo to the playground and rock climbing, and finished the day buying the bug ice-cream and a giant yellow balloon (which more than a week later, he's still playing with).
I went downstairs to Pax to get breakfast. I ordered a nice, healthy spinach, tomato and cheese omelet for Melody. When I got upstairs, I was starving and ready to dig in. I was just taking my first bite when another friend and co-worker, Julie, came over to my desk. She told me we were being called in for the Humane Ed. meeting.
I grabbed my notepad and pen and followed Julie to the conference room, all the while complaining that I didn't get to eat and grumbling that I had too much work to do and why wasn't I notified about this meeting and blah blah blah.
Obviously, when Julie opened the door to the conference room, it wasn't a Humane Ed. meeting waiting on the other end, but my co-workers blowing noise makers and applauding. One even shouted "Aw, look, she has her notepad!" and everyone laughed. On the table there was a giant breakfast spread, and the room was covered in baby shower decorum.
Now, my office is the type to celebrate birthdays and things, so I'd be lying if I said I had no idea I'd get a shower. BUT we always do the parties in the afternoon, so this breakfast shower took me COMPLETELY off guard! I'm so thrilled that they pulled off the surprise!! Anita photographed the shower, and here I am walking in:My team went above and beyond. Pune, my boss, handled the awesome decorations. Michele, Alison, and Melissa planned such cute things. There was a piggy bank to which everyone had contributed money for Melody's trust fund...she got over 100 dollars! I've already put it into an account for her. There was a heart-shaped box where people could insert Pearls Of Wisdom. I haven't read them yet, since Michele is going to compile them into a book, but I expect them to be hilarious! Amy drew a fantastic, intricate picture of Melody surrounded by music notes (see pic in photo album). I got diapers and a baby book, too.
Best of all, Emily and Melissa had everyone contribute an article of baby clothing -- a onesie, socks, a bib-- and they hung all the items individually on a clothesline. I was instructed to pull the clothesline out of a giant bag. I pulled, and pulled, and pulled...it went on for infinity, it seemed!
Once again, I was overwhelmed at the love and effort thrown at me. My team is incredible, and so are the people who showed up, even senior staff members I didn't know too well. I'm not going to miss working while on leave, but I'm going to miss my friends. Between the two amazing showers I had in one week, I feel like one lucky mama.
Check out pics from the shower!
P.S. I never did get to eat the breakfast I ordered at Pax. Oh well!
When I arrived at my shower on that Sunday, the apartment was decorated with giant balloons shaped like baby bottles, and some balloons had Elyse written on them. Anything personalized is definitely a mom touch! Lisandra was already there instructing guests on game rules, and having them sign a giant T-shirt for me! She gave everyone a little pink clothespin to wear, telling them they can't say "baby" or "Melody" or they'll have to give up their pin to the person who catches them. By the end of the shower, Gloria had kicked ass, wearing many pins. I lost my pin in a matter of seconds.
Upon my entrance, Lisandra immediately stuck 2 pins on me, one of which lights up and says "Mom to be." It was so cute! Mom had done an amazing job on the food/drink spread. There were a million drinks, alcoholic and non. There was a snack table, and another table for the catered sandwiches mom ordered--yum!
The guests started pouring in, and soon we were all playing "Guess the number of pink safety pins in the baby bottle" and "Pin the pacifier on the baby." Joanne won that first game, correctly guessing 72. Krista won the second game. Lisandra made an adorable blindfold and drew a funny looking baby for that one!
Next we played a game where we all wore the name of a famous baby, fiction or non fiction on our back, and had to guess who it was based on other people's clues. Grandma Popcorn had "Baby Theo" on her back and won that game! I, of course, had Melody. Lisandra came up with some really creative babies, like Bambi. Everyone loved that game--they're still talking about it!
Lisandra measured my belly, and everyone had to guess how many inches it was. Pune won, with a correct guess of 42 inches.
Lisandra planned for a baby food eating contest, but after seeing everyone's face and their, um, non-eagerness about eating pureed carrots, Lisandra graciously axed that game and gave me the food to take home for Melody. It was hysterical!
Next was cake, which Gloria went to pick up. Mom ordered my favorite Carvel cake! Soon after I opened gifts. Gloria took on the task of writing down what everyone gave me, as she had done for me at my first shower, when Theo was in my belly. Melody got clothes galore, and opening them all was a cute-fest. I also got lots of the practical things I needed. We made out super well.
Joe was photographer during the shower, and Uncle Elliot took Theo home with him to give the girls free time. At the end, Elliot, Gloria and Mom helped me bring all the stuff home. Mom, Lisandra, thanks so much for the super successful event! It went perfectly! I couldn't have asked for a better shower. There was such incredible love in the room. All my favorite women were there. Very old friends, very new friends, coworkers, even mom's friends--it was overwhelming. I'll treasure this shower always
Check out pics from the shower!
Some people had left-Stacy, Melanie, Kathie, Star, Ura Yoana and Pune had been there, too. But here are most of us!