Wednesday, December 29, 2010

One Year Ago Today

Dear Gilly,
One year ago today, in a hospital in Manhattan, at 10:18 a.m.,
on what had to be the coldest day of the year (though I’m too lazy to look it up),
you were born.
It was the best day of my life.
Mostly because for many years, I thought I couldn’t have you
but there you were
half daddy, half me,
but 100 percent your own.
I suddenly felt this incredible responsibility to somehow do you justice.
We brought you home on New Year’s Eve in a snowstorm,
feeding you as the ball dropped hazily in the background.
And all throughout the year
there were really high highs (smiles, crawls, steps, words)
And really low lows (nursing woes, mood swings and have I mentioned the baby weight?)
Moments that made me beam (“Does she EVER get fussy?”)
Moments that confused me (Did we pick the right doctor? The right daycare? Are vaccinations evil?)
Moments when I had to admit that perfection was not an option (jarred baby food is ALMOST as good as homemade, RIGHT?)
And moments when I once again realized that your dad really rocks (“Sleep, honey…I’ll get her”)
There were times that made me feel like a baby myself (“but I don’t WANT to go back to work yet”)
And times when I realized that it’s OK to be who *I* was born to be (“Wait, I kinda LIKE being back at work”).
We saw you go from a little swaddled burrito
to a bye-bye-waving, “uh oh” saying, cabinet opening, dancing-and-singing, almost running walker.
I think it’s pretty fitting, Gilly,
that you were born at the end of one year and the dawn of another.
A time that makes everyone reflect on how they can be a better person
because you’ve certainly done that to me.
Happy first birthday to my little girl
(Cake is on its way.)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


A lot’s been going on since my last post, and most of it pretty stressful. Gilly’s daycare center decided to suddenly—and unceremoniously—close its doors for good due to “the economy,” giving parents only two week’s notice to find new arrangements. This would be bad enough on its own, but dealing with it in the middle of a shopping, wrapping, baking, card-sending and party-attending holiday frenzy? Let’s just say I’m in need of some vino.

After calling pretty much every daycare center in Queens, I quickly realized that not very many accept babies under two for liability reasons. And the ones that do are booked solid and can offer a spot on a waiting list at best. Oh, and daycares in Manhattan near our offices? $2,200 a month MINIMUM, which is a bit hard to swallow. So it looks we’ll be doing a nanny share for the rest of the school year, and enrolling Gilly in an AWESOME school in the summer that’s willing to accept her into their 2-year-old program at just 18 months. She’ll have to get used to hanging out with older kids anyway, as she was born just two days shy of the December 31st kindergarten cut-off date, meaning she’ll start kindergarten at age 4 and always be one of the youngest in her class.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. This new school is sort of quirky and artsy and looks like it comes right out of a storybook. It’s a little bit further out of the way for us, but it oozes good vibes and history. The kids look genuinely happy to be there, the teachers are friendly, and everyone seems to care about kids and families. Oh, and did I mention that the toddlers were singing “Jingle Bell Rock” while wearing dangerously adorable sweater vests as part of their holiday party? It was almost too much to take, really. So that’s the plan. For now.

In milestone news, Gilly has gone from tentatively walking to outright running! She’s super active and always on-the-go, constantly looking for a drawer to open, a door to slam, a paper to rip, a toy to grab or a Cheerio to throw on the floor while saying “Uh-ohhh” in a singsong voice. She’s super curious about everything and doesn’t want to miss a trick. Lately, she likes to stick by my side whenever I’m cooking, which sort of makes my day, to be quite honest. Her bye-bye wave is both outrageously cute and totally oddball…reminiscent of a British matriarch.

I’ve tried to transition Gilly from formula to milk, but she downright refuses—at least for now. While incredibly good natured, she certainly makes it quite clear when she doesn’t want something. Like, um, forcefully pushing it out of her face and staring you down like you’re WHACK. She loves Olivia on Nick Jr., and even mimics the theme song in a baby babble sort of way. She also seems entranced by The Backyardigans (especially the musical numbers) as well as The Wonder Pets…or maybe that’s just my husband. He’s become a TOTAL Nick Jr. convert. I can't tell you how many times I've been subjected to this little ditty.

Other than that we’re just gearing up for Gilly’s first Christmas and—of course—her first birthday! Which is a whole 'nother post unto itself, people.

Happy Holidays to all!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Dream a Little Dream

As corny as it sounds, nothing is more inspiring to me than seeing someone make their dreams come true. The trouble is, most of us get sidetracked and discouraged by everyday challenges, whether they be financial, health-related, or simply of our own making (i.e., “I’m not good enough to be successful at X,Y,Z, therefore I’m not even going to try”). We all know someone who’s exceedingly—almost maddeningly—gifted, but chooses not to do anything with their talents. Others have a vague idea that they want to do something “creative,” but no clue how to actually make it happen in a tangible, saleable way.

I’ve been thinking a lot about life purpose since Gilly’s birth, and even more so as her first birthday approaches and I reflect back on her arrival. From the first second I held her, I saw her not as a fragile being, but as a fearless one with her own unique calling. I realized in that moment that I would do anything I could to help her achieve what she was put on this earth to do, nurturing and supporting her without ever pushing her.

Interestingly, my “provider” instincts were ignited, setting off a surge of ambition unlike anything I expected to feel as a new mom. Suddenly I was filled with an intense responsibility to create a comfortable life for Gilly, even if it meant more time at the office than I would have liked with a new baby at home. I suppose this “provider” mindset is a typically male one, but it didn’t happen to my husband. It happened to me. Subconsciously I wanted to establish optimal conditions in which to cultivate Gilly’s purpose, enabling her to explore hobbies of interest, see sights, take classes, etc.

Another “new mom” development? A pressing desire to help others figure out and achieve their own purposes, which has always been a passion of mine, but not quite to this degree. I suddenly found myself encouraging friends to pursue their creative work, helping people land jobs, or wanting to mentor junior colleagues at my office. These acts are all maternally-related for sure, but they feel like more than that. They feel like part of my own calling. Being a mom has given me a new layer understanding about myself, about my marriage and about the world—another gift that Gilly has bestowed upon us without even knowing it.

I recently read this quote in Martha Beck’s Finding Your Own North Star, and it’s too good not to share:

“Babies show up knowing the truth: Each of them is an utterly lovable, beautiful creature, with a unique mission in life and all the equipment necessary to fulfill that mission.”
I think we would all do well to go back to the pure place of innately “knowing” that we can and will fulfill our dreams and live our truth. It’s just a matter of believing it.

(Above photo taken in Union Square Park when Gilly was 8 months.)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Come to Mama!

Jar usually picks up Gilly from daycare, but last Tuesday he had an after-work event, so it was my turn to do the honors. Daycare closes at 6, which means I need to leave the office at 5 in order to comfortably make it there on time—and in magazine publishing, this is no easy feat. Then the subway kept slowing down between every stop, and by the time I got to our neighborhood I knew I was going to have to sprint—in patent leather heels no less—in order to avoid paying the dreaded late charge and keep the hard-working teachers from hating me. It was a total clichĂ© “working mom” moment: Me checking my watch every few paces as I frantically darted around fellow pedestrians, cell phone and leather bag in hand.

When I finally got there, breathless and schvitzing, Miss R informed me that Gilly was such a good girl as always, and that she wished all babies could be like her! Music to my ears! But then she said “And she’s doing so great with her steps!” I started to get nervous that she was going to tell me that Gilly was “officially” walking, and that I totally missed it. I said, “Yeah, she’s taking steps here and there,” to which she replied, “That’s right. I think she’ll be walking within a week.” Phew. Sigh of relief that I didn’t miss the big event. She could have just been saying that to make me feel better, but she was pretty believable.

Anyway, I brought Gilly home, fed her dinner, gave her a bath, put her monkey PJs on, and got down on the floor with her to play. I went in to the kitchen to put something in the sink and when I came back, she started walking towards me! I quickly grabbed my camera and captured the milestone while staying as calm as possible so that she wouldn’t get scared and stop, using my cell phone to bait her. I was so proud of her and I KNEW—while it was happening—that it was one of those moments that would stay inked in my mind forever, like when I saw Jar standing at the altar on our wedding day, or when I saw Gilly’s beautiful hands for the first time.

Part of me was sad that Jar wasn’t home to witness it, but another part of me was admittedly a little glad that it was just us two—Mommy and Gilly—because it reminded me of when I carried her inside me. My working mom guilt was assuaged for a moment as I saw those chunky little feet make their way across the floor, a look of elated determination on her face. It turns out Jar didn’t mind that he missed it anyway, thanks to the video documentation and plenty of other opportunities to see her walk. While I would have been jealous if the situation were reversed, he simply said, “I’m so glad you got to see it, hon,” with a huge smile on his face...proving once again that I'm far more of a tool than him. :-)

Oh, and just for posterity's sake, the above event took place on Tuesday, October 26—three days before Gilly's 10-month birthday. And also for posterity's sake? She's a 4 and a 1/2 wide width in walking shoes according to the measurement taken below, meaning that she "follows in the footsteps" of my wide-footed family. An honorable legacy, indeed.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Life is Simple, Life is Sweet

Boy oh boy, am I ever remiss about this blogging thing! While I’ve never been busier, I’ve also never felt more PRESENT. I find myself saying “thank you, thank you, thank you” in my subconscious all day long…not just for Gilly, but also for how she’s opening up our world. It’s funny how being a parent sort of lights a fire under you, inspiring you to do whatever it takes to create the best life possible for your little one. There’s still a lot of work to do in terms of becoming buttoned-up grownups, but our life is filled with laughter and silliness every single day, which seems to be a pretty good start.

Gilly doesn’t laugh often, but when she does, she’s a giggle machine. She usually gets a burst of energy at night right before bed, making her punchy and silly as all get-out. Jar and I compete over who can make Gilly laugh more—and although he’s the family funnyman, she’s finds my comedic stylings nothing short of hilarious. Her favorites?

  • I pretend to walk away then turn back around quickly with a big, crazy smile.
  • I have conversations with her stuffed animals or bath toys, making animated facial expressions and then acting like they scare me.
  • I say, “Oh, no you di-int” over and over, complete with exaggerated neck roll (works every time).
Sigh. She’s a really easy audience.

Jar still rocks her world, of course, but I’m finally catching up. Whoo hoo! I have to say I’m totally on board with this mommy phase. A few weeks ago I took a four-day business trip, going straight from the airport to her daycare to pick her up upon my return. The look on her face when I walked in the room was absolutely priceless—wide eyes, huge smile and a succession of blinks, as if she wasn’t sure if she was dreaming. Pushing her home in the stroller, she kept turning back every few paces with a huge grin on her face, as if to check if I was still there. I used to get nothing but stoic stares from her while Jar got all the smiles, and now THIS??! Talk about a heart melter!

In terms of development, Gilly is standing on her own and taking a few brief steps before wiping out. She weighs almost 21 pounds, measures 29.5 inches, and has (at last count) 9 teeth! She LOVES music (especially the Laurie Berkner Band) and bops from side to side as soon as a tune comes on. The other night we were watching Glee and she was MESMERIZED by the musical numbers—just staring at the screen with delight. Gilly’s also a fantastic eater and will chow down on pretty much anything: yogurt, tiny pieces of chicken, mashed avocado, cheddar cheese, Cheerios, and every variety of jarred baby food under the sun except for peas (and I can’t say I blame her). She’s super active and just wants to stand, climb and (try to) walk. We’ll let you know when she succeeds!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Lucky Number Seven

Crawling, holding her own bottle, and standing up in her crib…all in the same week? Yes, 7 months is turning out to be a magical age for Gilly when it comes to milestones. Just today, she waved bye-bye for the first time (to a baby in her music class) and sprouted her fourth tooth when I wasn’t looking. Other cool tricks?
  • She says “Dada,” “Baba” and “Yaya”…but no “Mama” yet (of course)

  • She moves her head in a very Stevie Wonder-like fashion when you ask her to do “side to side”

  • She pounds the table with her little fist when you say, “Do bang bang” (my Dad taught her that. Thanks, Dad!)

  • She feeds herself finger foods, like Cheerios, puffed rice and teething biscuits, which are messy little buggers

  • She’s outgrown her infant car seat and moved on to a “big girl” one

  • She scales furniture like it’s Mount Kilimanjaro. A real game changer, for sure.

Now that Gilly’s gone mobile, we’ve been furiously baby-proofing our home and buying new baby gear. One purchase I’m “on the fence” about is a baby gate Jar picked up that surrounds Gilly on all sides. You know how couples use shorthand with each other to describe certain household items when they’re in a hurry? After almost calling it a “cage” one day, we decided it was far more civilized to refer to as her “gated community”—or “community” for short.

In other news, Gilly’s experienced quite a few firsts this summer—first time in a pool, first time in the ocean, first time on a playground swing, first time at a petting zoo, and first time in Jersey! If she starts fist pumping, we’ll let you know.

Friday, June 18, 2010

First Father's Day

There are some dads who have always known, without a doubt, that they wanted to be dads. My husband isn’t one of them. Before getting married, Jar and I never talked about whether or not we wanted to have kids. We both just knew that we needed to be together and take the journey no matter what. For a long time I was convinced that we weren’t meant to be parents, and we both sort of made our peace with that. “You’re my family,” he would tell me.

We spent our five years of marriage and a few years before that in our own little world: traveling, hosting get-togethers, working, dancing around our living room, producing a play together, planting flowers and riding bikes—over the Golden Gate Bridge, down the Venice Beach boardwalk and through Forest Park in our home neighborhood of Queens.

Sometimes we would fight because we’re very different at the core. I’m ambitious, critical and a free spirit. He’s set in his ways, and more of a dreamer than a doer. When it came to the tough stuff—quitting smoking, getting out of debt, health issues—we always succeeded when we tackled it as a team. Like with most couples, life’s challenges made us stronger.

I am grateful for those years that we spent as a “family of two,” and I wouldn’t trade them for the world. No matter how impatient our family members were for us to have a baby, Gilly arrived at the right time—when our hearts were ready for her. It didn’t matter that we didn’t have the perfect suburban house or the minivan or the nearby grandparents or the means to be a one-income family. And it’s not that we don’t want those things either. We’re simply still figuring it out.

Jar would be the first to tell you that he’s not a “five year plan” type of guy. Though he’s a dedicated employee who’s been with his company for more than 16 years, he doesn’t play the ladder climbing game. He was raised to believe that as long as you had a paying job, you were doing OK. College was never discussed when he was growing up, though he did manage to go as an adult. A couple of years ago, in the middle of one of our “Are we going to have a baby?” talks, Jar confessed that he was scared that he wouldn’t be able to provide for his family in the way that he wanted to. “I’m almost 40 years old and I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up,” he said.

But all of that changed on December 29, 2009. Because on December 29, 2009, Jar become a father. And when Jar became a father, it became very clear, very quickly, that I was living with a man who had finally found his calling. I think I made the mistake that a lot of people do—thinking that someone’s “life purpose” had to be tied to their career. But here, finally, was his destiny, and she was staring us right in the face. Gilly had Jar’s facial expressions and she fit perfectly in the crook of his arm. Our family of two became a family of three.

After my maternity leave ended, Jar was lucky enough to be able to stay home with Gilly for 8 weeks, thanks to his company’s generous parental leave policy. Those 8 weeks, he said, were the best 8 weeks of his life. He would do “music mornings” where he would introduce our daughter to a different genre or artist—show tunes, classic rock, salsa, and yes, even the Bee Gees. He would swirl her around the living room “dance floor” to the strains of Mr. Bojangles, and then get down on the floor to help her practice her roll-over and sitting skills. He would write down every bottle she drank, take her for walks to the park, sit side-by-side with her on the couch to watch TV, and—my personal favorite—text me pictures of her throughout the day. I loved hearing about their days, and I loved seeing how happy he was being a dad.

These days we’re both back to work full time, so we’re learning how to split parenting down the middle. Jar wakes up early with Gilly in the morning and feeds her breakfast so I can sleep in a little. Then I get her dressed and take her to “school.” He races out of work every day at 5pm so that he can hop on the subway and pick her up before her daycare closes—which is always a stressful feat. Then he gives her dinner while waiting for me to get home. Then I read to her, bathe her, sing to her and give her the last bottle of the day. And so it goes. A true 50/50 team, like we’ve always been.

So here is to my other half, my partner, a late-blooming dad, but the very best one I could ever imagine for our daughter. Happy first Father’s Day.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Jump and Jive

After baring my soul in the last post, I thought I’d lighten things up with a quick rundown of what Gilly’s up to at the 4 ½ month mark. No one will probably care about this except for my mom, but whatevs…I’m going to share it anyway.

A couple of weeks ago we bought Gilly the above pictured Fisher-Price Rainforest Jumperoo, and she absolutely loves it. Her feet don’t quite reach the floor yet, so we’ve been putting my college art history textbook to good use, as you can see (sometimes we use Henry Kissinger’s Diplomacy, but that’s neither here nor there). Her favorite thing to do is grab the winged insect and squeeze the life out of it while groovin’ to the happy music. Good times. Some other happenings:

You Can’t Handle the Tooth!
Gillys’ proven to be an early teether—and a big drooler! Whenever her gums are bothering her, she does this funny little mouth thing where it looks like she’s sucking on a lemon. We let her chew on a chilled teething ring, but we haven’t used Infant Tylenol or Baby Orajel yet (I’m semi-crunchy about medicine). Her two bottom middle teeth are almost halfway in!

Rollin’, Rollin’
A couple nights before her 3-month birthday, I put Gilly down on a towel on the floor—on her back—while I went to get her bath ready. When I walked back in the room, her little naked bum was up in the air! Yes, our scrappy little girl decided to roll over for the first time on her own with no one there to witness it. And of course when we tried to get her to do it again, she wouldn’t. But now she’s rolling with abandon, both from back to tummy and tummy to back. I love seeing how determined she gets!

Too Legit to Sit
Gilly is starting to sit up on her own! Well, for a few seconds anyway, before toppling over sideways into mommy or daddy’s arms. So until Gilly masters this skill, she’s using her Boppy pillow or Bumbo seat for support. She has strong legs and LOVES to kick mommy and daddy.

Grow, Gilly, Grow!
I nursed Gilly as much as I could in the beginning, but after many struggles to make it work, she’s now exclusively on formula…and thriving! At her 4-month pediatrician visit she was 15+ pounds and 26 inches, putting her in the 70th percentile for weight and 90th percentile for length. (I kind of hate it when parents brag about their kids' percentiles, but I totally just did it. WHO AM I???)

Cereal Killah
Gilly tried cereal for the first time a couple weeks ago, and she wasn’t a huge fan at first. We’ve since played around with the texture and switched from rice cereal to oatmeal and she likes it a lot better. She still only eats it once a day (at night), but we’ll probably start adding a second feeling soon. Not that you needed to know that. :-)

Monday, May 3, 2010

A Weighty Matter

This is me about a week before I got pregnant. You might not be able to tell by looking at this picture, but I happen to be a person who has lost 100 pounds and kept most of it off for many years.

Baby weight is an issue that many new moms struggle with, but the matter becomes even more loaded when your weight has a “storied” past. The reason I got so big in the first place has a lot to do with a condition called PCOS, but I won’t bore you with those details. Suffice it to say that through proper treatment and lifestyle changes, I managed to reinvent myself, going from a size 24 (at my highest) to a size 10 (at my lowest).

When the size 10 me would look at pictures of the size 24 me, I wouldn’t see “me” at all. I would see a confused girl in a Nutty Professor-style fat suit. It looked like I was literally wearing a mask. When I met Jar, he helped to unmask me, allowing me to break out of my role as the chubby, best-friend sidekick. From that point on, everything changed—and for the first time, I felt like my body was working with me instead of against me. I fed it the right fuel, recalibrated it, and got it to operate on a whole new frequency. It was a new way of life.

While I was never thin by Hollywood standards, I felt good at the weight in this photo. As someone who skipped the prom and rarely had a boyfriend, it was a healing experience to finally be able to wear “regular” clothes and feel confident when I walked down the street. I told myself I would never go back to the way I was, and you know what? I didn’t, for many years.

And then I got pregnant.

Some pregnant women stay exactly the same except for a perfect little baby bump. Others gain weight all over and get bloated in the face. Me? Well, for me it was a bit more dramatic. I gained a RIDICULOUS amount of weight…an amount so ridiculous that it doesn’t even seem mathematically possible to have put it all on in 9 months. It was truly transformative.

I somehow always knew I’d be the type of woman to gain a lot of weight during pregnancy—not because I was mainlining junk food (I wasn’t), but simply because of my history. They say that once you lose weight, your fat cells shrink but they never really go away. Add to that my history of hormonal issues, lack of exercise due to extreme fatigue, and the fact that I had zero morning sickness and a healthy appetite, and there you have it. I was back in the fat suit in no time.

It got the point where it actually became awkward. All the “you look great!” and “you’re glowing!” comments I received early in my pregnancy were soon replaced with “oh, you poor thing.” By the third trimester, I no longer walked—I waddled. The rapid gain put such a strain on my back that I had to start going to physical therapy. I even had to work from home for the last couple of weeks before my maternity leave because I could no longer get up and down the subway steps. I can’t even tell you how many times strangers asked me about my “twins” or “triplets.”

When I would get upset about it, everyone would tell me not to worry—the important thing was that the baby was healthy. That, of course, would make me feel even worse. There I was, worried about my stupid weight when there’s a BABY growing inside of me. I must be a terrible mother! Of course, now I realize that it’s completely normal to feel overwhelmed by the physical and emotional upheaval of pregnancy weight, especially when you have a history like mine.

Everyone told me the weight would “fall off” after I had the baby, saying things like, “Most of it’s just water weight,” and “You’ll be so busy running around taking care of her that it’ll come right off!!” To that, I say HA! Despite my best efforts and all my usual weight loss tricks, I barely lost ANYTHING during my maternity leave. As the day to go back to work drew nearer, I had more and more anxiety about what my co-workers would think of me (as silly as that sounds). You know how people in offices tend to say things to returning moms like, “Oh my God, you look GREAT! Are you SURE you just had a baby?” Yeah, well I knew that no one was going to say that to me. And that kind of sucked.

The weekend before my return to work, I left Gilly with Jar and went out shopping for transitional work outfits that would fall somewhere between my maternity and pre-pregnancy wardrobes. I was in a gnarly emotional state: exhausted, scared, overwhelmed and consumed with thoughts of “how-in-the-world-am-I-going-to-be-able-to-leave-my-baby.” I went from store to store trying things on, but everything was ill-fitting, matronly or just plain wrong. I found myself back in the plus size department for the first time in years, thumbing through racks, angry with myself, tiptoeing through my past.

Finally I gave up, sat on a bench by myself, put my head in my hands, and cried. I must have cried for half an hour. I was crying not only for the current me, but also for the 18-year-old me…the girl in those old pictures. The one wearing the fat suit.

Here I am a few days after Gilly’s 4-month birthday, and I haven’t even lost half the weight yet. The extra pounds almost feel foreign to me, like they’re not supposed to be there. Sometimes I’ll catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror and I won’t recognize myself. I’ll see a picture of myself holding Gilly and my hands will look like they belong to someone else. That’s because I still see the world as the “new” me, but my body doesn’t match.

It’s a bit disconcerting, but then I remember that this body carried a new life into the world—a little girl that illuminates my world like a 1,000-watt light bulb. My weight is still a struggle—and I know it will probably take me well over a year to get back to where I want to be—but as soon as I hold my girl and breathe her in, every pound, every ounce, every minute on that elliptical machine is totally, completely worth it.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

A Daddy Named Jar

This is my hubby, Jar. Aside from oddball talents like juggling, tap dancing and balancing furniture on his chin, Jar is pretty much a regular guy. He likes the Mets, CafĂ© Bustelo, nerdy sci-fi TV shows and reading three newspapers a day from cover to cover. Unlike me, Jar happens to be a Republican—despite the fact that he’s a minority AND a non-profit employee in New York City, which sounds like the textbook profile of a liberal.

Jar is a big “routine” person and can be frustratingly set in his ways. Yet he also has a whimsical side, which means he’s not afraid to belt out show tunes at a piano bar, dress in costume for the occasional Ren Fair, or shake his booty on the dance floor at a wedding. For these reasons and many others, he’s often referred to as a “character.” It is also for these reasons that I love him.

What I love MOST about Jar, though, is that his heart is much more pure than mine. While I’m not exactly a shrew, I can definitely be moody, critical and tortured at times—the hallmarks of a perpetual soul searcher. Jar is even keel and sees the best in people. He knows what he likes and knows what he wants, and he’s not going to apologize for it. I’m pretty sure this attitude comes from his upbringing, which was far from easy. But Jar (being Jar) would never complain about it.

I always knew that Jar would be an incredible father, but he’s surpassed my expectations to a humbling degree. Gilly brings out the little kid in him, and the sheer delight in his eyes when he’s with her is probably the loveliest thing I’ve ever seen. Feedings, diapers, laundry? Jar is on it, often with a lot more patience than me. Oh, and he can make Gilly smile more easily than anyone else, which in turn makes me smile. So yeah…I’m pretty lucky to have these two.

A Girl Named Gilly

Meet Gilly. With furrowed brow and fisticuff hands, it’s plain to see that she’s no shrinking violet. I know this is going to sound strange, but when Gilly was first placed on my chest at her delivery, all matted and covered with blood, I took one look at her and thought, “Well, aren’t you a little broad?”

Instead of the bow-lips-and-button-nose look of many baby girls, she had these fierce little flared nostrils and the loudest cry in the nursery. She was breathtakingly beautiful, but not nearly as vulnerable as I'd expected her to be. She was already her own little person.

A month or so after Gilly was born, we received a note from the wife of my husband’s boss, a New York sophisticate. Someone at the office had sent her Gilly’s picture, and this was her reaction: “This child faces the world with a direct and assessing gaze that you really want to be on the right end of. Or, should you fail her test, at least you know she is too young to blab your failures around town.” That’s our Gilly. Yet she's also quite sweet and shy and decidedly girly...a well-rounded little lady, to be sure.

Shortly before we were discharged from the hospital, I started peppering our nurse with rapid-fire, neurotic questions while my husband Jar made awkward jokes in Gilly's "voice." The nursed looked at our daughter with a sympathetic smile while shaking her head. "Oh, Miss Gilly," she said. "You're going to have fun with these two." I hope you will, too. This will be a simple place to record our adventures while helping me make sense of mommyhood. As a full-time working mom with a pretty full plate, I'm sure I won't post as often as I'd like to, but you know what? That's OK. The Internet is already saturated with mommy blogs, but maybe you’ll make room for one more.

*That’s Gilly with a hard “G,” like “Good.” And no, it’s not her real name.