Category Archives: AJ

A First-time mommy’s nightmare

The last week has been a hot mess of runny noses, wet coughs, fevers and body aches for my family. We live in the Midwest where the flu has evidently hit hard! It all started the morning after Christmas; our son woke up with 101.5 temperature and nose running enough to fill a bathtub, which for any first time mom can be very scary. AJ had never been sick before this and I hardly knew what to do besides give him a bath to bring the fever down. My husband was so worried that he stayed home from work so we could freak out together. We got through the first day, unable to keep our baby’s temp down with baths and Tylenol for more than an hour or so. We’d decided to take him to the prompt care the next morning because he wasn’t eating much and wouldn’t sleep for more than a couple of hours at a time. I wound up calling the doctor’s office at around one in the morning because we couldn’t get him to sleep so that we could get some sleep.

Finally, the next day came and my sister in law drove us to the prompt care since my husband had to work. We waited about three hours before he was seen and his temp was 103.6. I broke down into tears of defeat as soon as the nurse left the room to get him some Motrin. How could I let my baby get so sick? What had I done wrong? What could I have done better?

All these questions were racing through my head and I almost forgot that I was sleep deprived and still new at being a mom. How could you possibly know how to do something that you’ve never done?

The doctor tested my sick little baby for the flu and wouldn’t you know, he was positive for type A. My poor baby had the flu at just ten and a half months old. I remember when the doctor left the room to write out a prescription for Tamiflu, I hugged my little boy close to my chest and gently rocked from side to side until he fell asleep. In a strange way, I felt as though we were bonding all over again– sharing something that only a parent can share with their child– and just like that, I was no longer the clueless first-time-mom anymore. I felt like I was in control again.

The nurse came back in, gave me the prescription and told me how to use Tylenol and Motrin to keep his fever down. Then she looked at me with a smile and said, “You’re his mother, you have that motherly instinct. Just listen to it. I can’t tell you how much I needed to hear that.

Five days later, AJ is on his last day of antibiotics and now my husband and I are sick, but despite our coughs and stuffed up noses, the only thing that matters to us is that AJ is back to his normal, playful self. I wanted to write this because I know what it’s like to have your baby sick for the first time and feel so helpless and scared. And if just one mom reads this and it helps her know that she’s not alone and that everything will be okay, then me sharing our experience with a sick baby will have been worth it. Another good thing to keep in mind that I’ve come to understand is that because he got sick now, he’s built up some anti-bodies! Which will help him in the long run.

So if you find yourself in the position I was in five days ago, don’t worry mommy. You know your baby. Listen to your mommy voice and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your doctor’s office has nurses that you can call twenty four seven and they really do help.

I Suddenly Want To Be The Griswolds

4198536813_a86c5aa436_z Growing up in South Florida made it pretty difficult to get into the “Christmas Spirit” although I still loved Christmas. I looked forward to the season every year and often wished that it would snow, just once, on Christmas Eve. I didn’t have my first white Christmas until I was 21, when I moved to New York. It was magical and all, but I was living in the dorms and therefore Christmas decorations were kept to a minimum.

When I moved to Connecticut was the first time I experienced snow during the holidays as well as epic decorations through out the house. My step dad would put lights up outside the house, we had a huge Christmas tree that sat in our living room from the week after Thanksgiving until the day after New Years and my mom and I would bake cookies and apple pies. It was wonderful. But I never thought I would want to literally vomit Christmas Spirit as badly as I do now that I have a family of my own.

When Adam and I first got together, the most we would do to get into the Christmas Spirit was put up a small tree (the only size we could fit in our one bedroom apartment at the time), exchange gifts and maybe watch one or two Christmas movies. The following year, we did the same and I added making “Bear Waffles” on Christmas morning into the mix. Our third Christmas together (last year), I was pregnant with our son and had already started wondering what Christmas would be like with our child with us. It was exciting, but the following morning, our tradition of Bear waffles and Christmas movies continued as usual but I made no effort to add to our tradition.

Now that we’re in the Midwest, with a house of our own, a nine month old and family close by, I feel this urge to cover our home (inside and out) in Christmas decorations. I have this beautiful image in my head of Adam and AJ standing outside, Adam squinting slightly as he tries to visualize hundreds of Christmas lights on our house, deciding where he should start. AJ rolling his eyes and lazily swinging his arms from side to side as he wonders how long dad is going to keep him outside in the cold. I know that this is a fantasy that has little chance of happening, mostly because Adam isn’t very enthusiastic when it comes to the holidays. He works in retail, so I tend to give him a pass on this.

Maybe when AJ gets older, he’ll change his mind when it comes to Christmas decor and I certainly hope so. Because now that we reside in this town (where we will likely reside for the rest of our lives), I have a need to build stronger family traditions. Especially since now we have a family of our own. I dream of one day stepping outside to tell my husband and our son that dinner is almost ready while hoping my announcement won’t startle either of them into falling from the roof where they’re hanging twenty thousand twinkle lights. To hear Adam yell in rejoice as he calls his family outside to see his masterpiece. To stand in our living room with the lights off as we stare at our decorated Christmas tree while listening to Elvis Presley sing Christmas classics.

2096339813_25b5c68851_z

To stand in front of our illuminated home, as a family, and relish in the Christmas cheer. I know it sounds pretty ridiculous and it certainly isn’t what Christmas is all about. However what Christmas is about is family, tradition, love and peace. As a mom, these are the things I strive for.

And so even though being like the Griswolds mostly happens in the movies and even though Adam isn’t a “Christmas Cheer” kind of guy, I believe that building our family’s traditions are important. So I’ll keep trying, I’ll keep adding traditions. I will strive for Griswoldism forever.

What are some of your family’s Christmas traditions?

Homecoming Parade (October 20, 2014)

Last month, I took AJ to our first ever Homecoming Day parade. I grew up in Miami and went to school in Hollywood where our Homecoming traditions consisted of a Spirit Week and a football game. When my sister-in-law invited me to come to the parade, I wasn’t sure what she was talking about. Was it an early Halloween parade? A fall parade? A just-for-fun parade? She explained that it was for Homecoming and that just confused me even more. I had never heard of a town having a Homecoming Day Parade and I was very intrigued. I quickly decided that AJ and I would go even though Adam was working and wouldn’t be able to join them, so we made plans to meet at our friend’s house and walk to the parade from there. IMG_20141010_145031_894

I was excited that the parade wasn’t far from our house and so curious to see what it would be like. My sister-in-law told me a little bit about what to expect and also mentioned that the marching bands from the middle school and high school would be performing. I was in the marching band in high school and had been part of many parades in my four years of playing trombone, but typically it was a Christmas parade and a Spring parade and that was it. However, I had no inkling about what kind of music the band would play at a Homecoming Day parade. Maybe “The Fight Song”?

Either way, I was beyond excited to go and see for myself. So, Friday afternoon on the day of the parade I packed AJ up and drove the two seconds down the street to our friend’s house. I then pulled out his stroller, strapped his cute little behind in and we all started walking the three blocks towards Downtown. It was beautiful outside, the sun was out and warm when you stood under in it’s light, but the wind gave the most exquisite breeze and made it just chilly enough to need a sweater. It was a perfect day.

My nephews had empty grocery bags and my brother-in-law filled me in that the parade marchers often threw candy for the kids that attended the parade. I thought that was pretty cool. My older nephew and niece are in the middle school marching band, so we stopped by where they were hanging out to say hello and wish them luck before we went to find a good spot to watch the parade. On the way down, my sister-in-law pointed out a few floats with “Class of ’75”, “Class of ’85” and “Class of ’98” on the banners hanging on the sides. She explained that every year for the parade, some of the alumni would get together and make a float for the parade. They would treat it as a class reunion of sorts. I thought that was super cool.

As we walked closer to our two block Downtown strip, my eyes went wide behind my aviator sunglasses. There on the sidewalks lining both sides of the street were dozens upon dozens of people. I turned to my sister-in-law, “Does everyone in town come to this?” I asked, my eyes still taking in the hoards of people laughing and talking on the sidewalks. “Pretty much,” she answered as we parked our strollers in front of The Hair Company.

IMG_20141010_152131_809We saw so many people we knew, some of which didn’t even have kids in the parade or children waiting to catch candies. They were simply there to support their community. It instantly gave me the warmest feeling I had ever felt and I couldn’t keep from smiling as the parade finally started. The bands marched down the street, one by one, each playing a catchy song for the parade viewers to enjoy. Even the bands from the neighboring towns performed! I couldn’t feel prouder watching my niece and nephew march in our town’s middle school band with such confidence. It looked like they were having so much fun and it made me remember how much fun I had during my years in band.

IMG_20141010_150537_081

After the bands, came the alumni floats and some of the local businesses promoting their brand and showing their support for our high school’s football team, who would play in the Homecoming game later that night. The class floats came after that and it blew me away how beautiful and elaborate they were. It was obvious that the kids in the individual classes took this parade very seriously and that made me enjoy the parade all the more.IMG_20141010_151757_148

IMG_20141010_151851_179

IMG_20141010_152151_920

And then the finale; the high school football team and cheerleaders proudly perched on a fire engine. It was surreal. It was so inspiring to see these kids and these people showing their pride and love for their town. I remember feeling like I had stumbled upon something so special when I agreed with Adam that we should move to this town. A town where I knew no one, but quickly felt as though I had family- real family- surrounding me and making me feel like I belong.

IMG_20141010_152209_665

The football team

IMG_20141010_152327_342

The Cheerleaders, three on each side of the engine.

I couldn’t keep myself from tearing up at how everyone was cheering, the kids shoveling candy into their bags as they were thrown by the people in the parade and I remember thinking, Thank God I have my shades on or people might think I’m crazy for crying at a parade.

 

I know it sounds strange but the fact that almost the entire town was there, in one place, for no other reason other than to support their local high school and show pride for their town was something I never dreamed I would experience. I mean, we used to have a ton of people come to our Homecoming games, but nothing- I mean absolutely nothing- compared to this. A parade thrown to celebrate Homecoming.

It’s been one of the greater experiences I’ve had in this little, tiny hidden treasure of the world and it makes me wonder what else is in store for me.

A Letter To My Teenage Son…

Dear Bubby (I’m sure you’ve told me to stop calling you this a million times by now),

By the time you read this, you will be getting ready to start your first year of high school. Right now you’re only eight and half months old and as I listen to you mumbling happily to yourself in your play pen, while every once in a while looking up at me and smiling- as though I’m the most important woman in the world to you- I realize that you have given me the most wonderful and precious gift any boy can give a girl. Being your mommy is and will continue to be the most important thing I have ever done. I have you to thank for choosing me for this job and I hope thus far I have done a good job.

When your dad and I found out you were growing in my belly, we were so scared. We hadn’t planned for you yet. We didn’t think that we wanted you yet. We thought we weren’t ready for you to come into our lives yet. But, Bubby, we were so wrong. From the first moment that we heard your little heart beating, strong and healthy, we were in love. You quickly became our world and the only doubt left in our hearts was whether we would good enough for you. Your dad and I vowed to try our best, because we already loved you so, so much even though we hadn’t met you yet.

The night you were born, we were so scared because we had planned for you to come one way, but you wanted to come a different way. Mommy cried, I won’t lie. I cried because you wouldn’t come the way I had imagined and because I was so scared for you. But then you came and I cried a little more because I couldn’t hold you right away, I couldn’t see you when the nurses took you to clean you off and weigh you. But don’t worry, baby, because daddy was there and he took so many pictures for me. The first time we heard you cry was the second time I had ever seen your daddy cry. His tears were ones of joy, mine were ones of longing, because mommy wanted to hold you so much, but you see they had to cut my belly to get you out so I had to wait until the doctors fixed me.

So dad and mimi went to see you in the special care and told me that you were perfect and loving all the attention the nurses were giving you (you ole flirt, you). The next day, when I finally held you, I felt this overwhelming sense of purpose. In that moment, as I held your bare body against the skin of my chest, I knew that I’d been chosen to do the most important job a woman could ever do. And I was ready to tackle this new job head on!

At first, you were perhaps the most demanding and toughest boss I had ever had and a few times I felt like I wasn’t cut out for the job. But every time your eyes would lock with mine, I knew you loved me. And I knew that you believed in me. You knew I was doing my best and you were willing to wait for me to get the hang of it. Thank you for that. Thank you for always smiling up at me when I was having a bad day, as though you somehow knew that I needed it. Thank you for laughing whenever I make a face that most people wouldn’t find funny.

Now, I’m not going to lie and say you’ve been a perfect angel. As a matter of fact when I started writing this letter, I’d put you to bed already, but you weren’t having it. You cried and yelled until I picked you up and brought you into the living room, where you played in your pack-n-play until dad got home. I had a headache today, Bubs, and you were pretty cranky most of the day. And every time I would go to change your diaper, you would kick your feet, somehow hitting me square in the boobs every time. I asked you to stop a bunch of times, but you would just smile up at me, giggle a little and kick again (you little turd).

I’ll admit, I got pretty frustrated and yelled a little, but I felt bad about it immediately after. Finally, after dad had been home for a while, you fell asleep drinking a bottle. I picked you up out of your playpen to take you to your room. You only woke up for a second, looked at me with sleepy, half-closed eyes and lay your head on my shoulder before you went back to sleep. I found myself smiling, my hand resting on your back as I abandoned my thoughts of taking you to your room and sat on the recliner. I wanted to feel you sleeping against me for as long as I could before you got too heavy and I put you in your crib.

So, you see…even though I was frustrated during the day and even though I got angry when you kicked me or swatted at my face, I still loved you more than anything in this world. Hearing your soft snore next to my ear was all it took to make me smile and remember how happy you make me, just by being you.

And now, you’re growing into a young man and I can only imagine that you’ve gotten more awesome by now. Maybe I should’ve waited for you to grow into a toddler before writing this to future-you, but the truth is, I don’t think how I feel is going to change much between now and then. I suspect my love for you will continue to grow right along with you and still grow as you get older, years from now. I just want you to know, my sweet Bubby, that I will always be here for you. I will always be in your corner. I will always kiss you goodnight and stroke your soft hair lovingly as you fall asleep.

And if you find yourself feeling alone (as so many high school boys sometimes do) just know that your dad and I will always listen. We will always fight for you. Also, if you have a rebellion period, try not to be too hard on me…but even if you are, I’ll still love you just as much if not more than I do now. You will always be my little Bubby. I also would like to apologize in advance if I someday call you this in front of your friends. I promise, if that happens, someday you’ll find some humor in it 😉

Love always, now, then and forever until my last day,

Mommy