An amazing journey of motherhood

Vanessa Picariello will experience her first Mother’s Day on Sunday, May 12, with her 2-month-old son, Nathan.

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Nathan Louis Picariello is just 2 months old, but already he has attended a University of Miami spring football game, been on a peach-picking excursion in Clermont, joined a yoga class in Ocoee and spent a lazy spring afternoon at the Plant Street Market in Winter Garden.

Motherhood began at age 36 for Vanessa Picariello. She and her husband, Christopher, are new to Oakland and have fallen in love with their new life as a family of three.

“I was at Crooked Can in the middle of the day with (Nathan), and it was empty, and it was a nice March day, and it was nice to be out, just the two of us,” Picariello said.

The yoga didn’t go as well.

“We tried mom-and-baby yoga at Firefly (Yoga Company) in Ocoee,” she said. “That didn’t work. There was a wet onesie involved and screaming. We made a quick exit. We’ll try again next week.”

Motherhood certainly has changed Picariello, who admits to operating best with schedules and order.

“I’m very much a planner, I have to plan everything; I’m organized,” she said. “And while we want to keep him on a regular routine for his well-being, we just have to kick it out the window sometimes. We have to be flexible for whatever he needs.”

Nathan was born March 3 at Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies after a lengthy induction period. The love was instant.

“My husband took a picture, and this look on my face, I’ve never seen before,” Picariello said. “It was wonderment, awe, love, all this mixed together. And I think, what have I done in my life that I’ve planned for for more than a year … and prepared for months and months ahead, and I couldn’t think of anything, nothing that could begin to compare. There’s nothing in life that prepares you. … You have this life that’s relying on you for everything. It’s overwhelming but amazing at the same time.”

Motherhood is the most challenging yet most rewarding job, she said.

“Everyone tells you that it’s going to be really hard … I think for me I was surprised in the ways that it was so hard. … He can be crying for hours, and then one smile can erase all that, and you forget, and he’s so happy and playful.”

Picariello lives for all the little moments throughout the day, such as when he looks up at her and the smile spreads across his face.

“He’s still little, so I haven’t heard ‘mama’ or ‘I love you,’ but I like to think that’s his way of saying those things,” she said. “It’s so great to see him with my husband, too. When he walks in a room, and he recognizes him and smiles at him. Those are some of my favorite moments — watching the two of them together.”

Nathan was given the middle name Louis in honor of his great-grandfather, who lives in Massachusetts and has yet to meet the newest member of his family. Vanessa and Christopher went to the hospital with a list of first names, and they decided on Nathan after meeting their infant son.

Picariello’s mother says Nathan looks like his daddy; her mother-in-law thinks the baby looks just like his mother.

“When he sleeps with his hand to his face, he looks like Daddy,” Picariello said.

Nathan’s days are a rotation of meals, playtime and naps.

The parents try to follow the guidelines of a book called “On Becoming Baby Wise, Giving Your Infant the Gift of Nighttime Sleep,” by Dr. Robert Bicknam and Gary Ezzo.

“We tried to not call it a schedule as much as a routine, and that’s really saved us,” Picariello said.

Before Nathan’s arrival, Picariello was the head of public relations for Wyndham Destinations. She will return to her position at the end of June.



Amy Quesinberry

Community Editor Amy Quesinberry was born at the old West Orange Memorial Hospital and raised in Winter Garden. Aside from earning her journalism degree from the University of Georgia, she hasn’t strayed too far from her hometown and her three-mile bubble. She grew up reading The Winter Garden Times and knew in the eighth grade she wanted to write for her community newspaper. She has been part of the writing and editing team since 1990.

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