Thursday, September 22, 2011


Whoa- where'd my baby go?
Someone told me, not too long ago, that days go by slowly, but years go by swiftly. That has never been more true in my life since I became Alyssa's Mommy. Not a day goes by when I don't look at her and ask the heavens to please slow down time. I could swear we just brought her home from the hospital yesterday, and now she's saying things like, "Mommy, I put on shoes by self!" Insert screeching sound of brakes here. When did my baby turn into a toddler? And why is she suddenly marching into kid-hood?

I look back at the last two years and the answer to my questions are staring me right in the face. I can still remember when she could sit up by herself; when she ate her first solid food - pureed butternut squash; when she started sucking her thumb; when she became mobile and crawling like a crab; when she took her first steps; and when she started using her first words. During her first year, all the milestones were physical. This past year they're becoming more and more intellectual. The gleam in her eyes now comes from learning how to count to five; or how to identify animals and match their sounds; how to complete a puzzle; or how to put shoes on all "by self." What happens in year three? Complete sentences? Even finer motor skills? Quiet and focused play (I'm looking forward to that one!)? Learning the alphabet? Am I ready for this? I know she is.

It seems like it's all happening so fast... Her Daddy likes to remind me that she's only two. But she's also only two more years away from preschool! Four more years from first grade. Fourteen more from getting a drivers license. Sixteen from going to college! Whoa... the last two years might have seemed like they went by swiftly, but today is only Thursday. One day away from the weekend. It's only four o'clock and my baby will be home from daycare in an hour. I need to remind myself that every blink is a moment in time with Alyssa. And I will have millions of moments with her to come. She is only two, and no matter how many years go by she will always be my baby.

And just like that, time has slowed down for me again... in a blink of an eye.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Hindsight & Heartstrings

My little angel
When I was growing up my Mom and I used to fight a lot. I wasn't a wild child, but I apparently had quite the mouth. I liked to, let's say, reason with my Mom... and it got me into quite a bit of trouble. She used to tell me that someday I would have a child of my own and I'd understand why she was hurt and upset by whatever it was I'd said or done. I remember being little, feeling cornered and misunderstood. I used to think my Mom was out of her mind and that someday when I had a child of my own I would be a totally different mother. Whenever I was in time out I would imagine all the ways I would be a different mom to my child - that I would never get upset; that I would be patient; that I would never raise my voice or feel exasperated. I imagined that as a mother I would never be any of the things that drove me nuts about my Mom. I would only take all the things I loved about my Mom and our relationship, and leave behind the many things that I thought my Mom was wrong about. Fast forward to today...

I've been a Mom for two years. Alyssa is now in her full blown new toddler phase. She knows hundreds of words, but often gets frustrated when I or her Daddy can't understand her, or when she doesn't have the right words to use. This usually results in a tantrum, tears, and the absolute loss of all muscular ability and Alyssa melts into a puddle on the floor, sidewalk, or grass. One morning, Alyssa and I were going through our usual routine of getting dressed and picking out shoes. I wanted her to wear sneakers, and she wanted to wear jellies. I succeeded in getting the sneakers on her feet, but not without sustaining some battle wounds: Alyssa was not having anything to do with those sneakers and she wanted me to know it. She kicked and screamed, cried and wailed, and bucked the whole time. It's not easy for me to handle Alyssa when she's in one of these states and it takes a lot of deep breathing on my part to get through it without losing my cool. I was frustrated, hurt, and I could feel my blood pressure rising. Reasoning with her didn't work; hugging her close to me and saying "I love you, and you're going to have to calm down" didn't work; raising my voice and telling her what to do didn't work either; so letting her lie on the floor to cry it out was the only thing left to do. She lay there yelling at the top of her lungs, face bright red and so very mad at me. I sat there looking at her, having done what I could and feeling very vulnerable. Finally, she calmed down and I scooped her up into my arms. She came willingly, took her thumb out of her mouth and quietly whispered to me, "I love you, Mommy. I sorry, Mommy!"

Instantly the tears came. I hugged her tightly to me and told her I loved her too. But I was crying because at that moment I understood what my Mom meant all those years ago. I had a child now, and I realize that it isn't easy to be a Mom. It's hard work being patient when the little person in front of you, who you dedicate most of your waking hours to, is being stubborn and is wailing her head off. In that instant I wished I could take back all those times I had said something, or done something that must've made my Mom's heart ache. She was right all along. Someday had come, and I know it's only the beginning. I can't take back the past, but I can do my best now and in the future to make amends. As I hugged Alyssa I imagined the kind of Mom I'd be to her... I will take all the good things my Mom was to me: I will try to be patient, I will teach her how to take care of herself, I will steel myself when she makes mistakes because I know it will help her learn important lessons, I will always be there for her, and I will learn when it's time to let her go. Because someday, I hope that when she has a child of her own, she will come back to me and perhaps thank me for being the best Mom I could be to her.

And to my Mom- Thank you for being the best Mom you could be to me. I love you, and I'm sorry for all the times I hurt you. But you continue to be there for me unconditionally. I hope to be half as good as a mother to Alyssa as you are to me.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Art of Walking Away

Oh, the injustice of it all!
To be fair, I've been warned about the terrible twos. And not just recently, since I had Alyssa... but, all my life. When I was younger and use to give my Mom a hard time, I remember her saying to me, "Someday, you'll have a child of your own, and you'll understand." Stop chuckling, Mom, I can hear you half a world away!

In less than a month, Alyssa will be turning two. Something in her brain has, in the last month or so, decided that's already happened and a switch has been turned on. At least once a day, we must have a good ol' cry. Not just any cry: no wimpering, no sobbing, no tear-streaked cheeks... that's just a plain cry. A good ol' cry involves flat out noodling (no bones, refuse to get up off the floor), tightly closed eyes as tears are squeezed through, sometimes wringing of hands are involved, but mostly kicking of feet, and a plaintive cry for mercy. See the picture above? That's a good version of the good ol' cry. The child psychologists in our handy-dandy go-to parenting book all say this is part of the terrible twos; they say it has something to do with letting off steam; and that the best way to handle it is to... wait for it... walk away.

Now, I don't know about you, but for me, walking away from my tear-soaked baby girl is just about one of the hardest things for me to do! Have you seen the picture above?! But I'm learning that it's an art... this walking away thing. It's like training wheels on a bike... for parents. It reminds me when I was pregnant with Alyssa and how I used to go to the bathroom so often I considered moving in there. It was training for having to get up frequently at night once she arrived. Walking away from a screaming, drama-laden toddler is a lesson in deep breaths and emotional self-control. And I can see how it's training for times to come: her first day of school; the first time she knowingly yells at me that she never wants to see me again - ever; when she chooses to hang out with friends instead of me; when she insists on seeing a boy that threatens to give her Dad a heart attack; when she wants to move away for college.

Ok, rewind. Present day: Alyssa in her pjs, just finished two strawberries, walking down the hall with Daddy on a lazy Sunday morning. She suddenly runs out of the bedroom and runs smack into the wall in the hall. She falls down in shock, wimpers and says, "Head!" I tell her it's ok and to come show Mommy. She runs over to me and I kiss her head and ask, "Better?" She looks up at me with her big brown eyes, and says, "Yeths!" Then she runs away... Deep breath, Mommy, deep breath.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Alyssa's Fairytale

Soon to be made into a book!
I made this up for Alyssa around the time she was a month and a half old. Over time I've refined it and this is the story I tell her every now and then.

As told to Alyssa by Mommy...

Once upon a time in a land far, far away there was a little girl named Frances. She had a dream that someday she would meet her prince and that he would be her best friend, that he would make her laugh and that he would love her forever. So she dreamt and she wished, and she dreamt and she wished, and she dreamt and she wished, until one day Frances grew up. Then she realized that she couldn't wait around for her prince, instead she had to go out into the big, big world to find him. So she went to her Mom and Dad and asked them if she could go on a journey of a lifetime. And with their blessings off she went; out into the big, big world.

Now it so happens that also once upon a time in another land far, far away there lived a little boy named Dennis. He too had a dream that someday he would meet his princess and that she would be his best friend, and she would make him laugh, and she would love him forever. So he dreamt and he wished, and he dreamt and he wished, and he dreamt and he wished, until one day Dennis grew up. Then he realized he couldn't wait around for his princess, instead he had to go out into the big, big world to find her. So he went to his Mom and Dad and asked them if he could go on a journey of a lifetime. And with their blessings off he went; out into the big, big world.

Over the mountains, and over the oceans Dennis traveled until he came to a shining White City that sat by a Lake with crystal clear waters that stretched as far as the eye could see. And in that shining White City Dennis met a girl named Frances. They quickly became best friends, and everyday they made each other laugh, and then one day they realized they wanted to love each other forever. For Dennis had found his princess and Frances had found her prince!

But that's not the end of the story yet! Oh no, not at all! For Dennis and Frances had a dream of their own, that someday they could have a little princess to call their own. A little princess to whom they would be her best friends, that everyday they could make her laugh, and they would promise to love forever. So they dreamt and they wished, and they dreamt and they wished, and they dreamt and they wished... until one day... one beautiful summer night in that shining White City that sat by a Lake with crystal clear waters that stretched as far as the eye could see... On June 24, 2009 at 8:51pm, Alyssa Canonizado Belogorsky was born to Dennis and Frances. She was seven pounds-thirteen ounces, twenty-one inches long and as beautiful as the morning sun!

And that, my little princess... is YOU!

The End!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Down the Yellow Brick Road

I still remember the first time I watched The Wizard of Oz and when Dorothy, arm in arm with the Tin Man, The Lion, and The Scarecrow, started to follow the Yellow Brick Road I knew it was the beginning of an amazing journey. That's exactly how I feel now every time I interact with Alyssa. Her baby days were wonderful and sweet, but as a toddler it's a whole different world!

She is learning new things everyday and as she does so she gives me and her Daddy a whole new perspective. As she learns new words we're reminded to watch what we say. And as she uses the words she's learned I'm amazed at how her little mind works; I'm struck at how she puts concepts together and identifies what she sees, and remembers what she discovered yesterday. She picks up something new everyday - colors, shapes, even identifying numbers and letters in the alphabet. How does she know that a bear in a book, the stuffed animal on her bed, and a bear in the zoo are all the same thing... a bear?!

But what's truly amazing is that her awe at all things around her is absolutely contagious. When we took her recently to the aquarium the look in her eyes was indescribable. It was sheer wonder and joy... and I felt the same way. Alyssa's greatest gift to her Mommy and Daddy right now is bringing us into her world. As an adult you sometimes forget to marvel at the world around you. Things become mundane. As an adult with a toddler, you can't help but see the world through her eyes! Thank you, my little girl for opening my eyes to the wonder of flowers, and bears, and the "lolors" pink, "lellow", and "puh-ple". Thank you for showing me "pish" and "burs" and "la-la-las" (piggys in Sandra Boynton's book, Moo Ba La La La). And above all else, thank you for taking me and your Daddy, arm in arm with you down your Yellow Brick Road.