Look Who's 3!

In January 2004, we profiled six mothers-to-be, their pregnant bellies and their new little bundles of baby joy. Well, they’re out of diapers, growing fast and just turned 3. So is everything still such a treat? We check in for an update.
Three is a magical age. A 3-year-old is still cute and cuddly, but without the hassles of diapers and midnight feedings. A 3-year-old can just as easily jar you with an unanswerable question or melt you with a big hug and kiss.

That’s why we decided to check back with the moms and babies Cleveland Magazine featured in “Terrific Tummies” in our January 2004 issue.

In that article, six moms in their ninth month of pregnancy bravely exposed their pregnant bellies to our readers. Weeks later, we checked in with each to see how the birth went. The group had four boys and two girls.

Everyone is still married and living in Northeast Ohio. Recessive genes seem to dominate our group, since many of our dark-eyed, dark haired moms have blond and blue-eyed children. There have been a few moves and a few new babies during the past three years, too.

Here’s a look at our moms and their 3-year-olds ...
Kelly Zirzow

Then: Kelly and her husband, Erich, were still newlyweds in 2003 when Kelly found out she was pregnant. But they couldn’t have been happier. Kelly, a special education teacher and junior varsity volleyball coach at Grand Valley Middle School, had an easy eight-hour labor and fit back into her jeans just a week after giving birth to Izabella.

Now: Kelly and Erich added son Logan to the family March 11, 2006, in a birth that was even easier than her first. Kelly still teaches special education to fifth- through eighth-graders and is the assistant varsity basketball coach and junior varsity volleyball coach at Grand Valley Middle School. She is also working on her master’s degree in education at Youngstown State University. She loves being a working mom. Her parents, who help watch the kids, often bring them to games, so Izabella and Logan see their coach-mom in action.

Izabella: Everyone who meets Izabella thinks she must be about 6, not 3, says Kelly. Izabella may be playing basketball for her mom’s team some day. At 41 inches, she’s tall for her age. She’s also very articulate. Kelly says one day she patiently asked Izabella if she could be quiet. “OK,” Izabella answered confidently. “I’ll just talk to myself then!”

What she loves: Princesses, playing dress-up, Barbie, the roller skates she got for her third birthday, and her favorite stuffed animal, Bear.

What has surprised you the most? “Izabella has blond hair and blue eyes and I have dark hair and dark eyes. And, she’s a lefty,” says Kelly. “But, mostly, I’m surprised how fun it all is. Every age becomes more fun.”

Kimberly McElderry

Then: Kimberly and her husband, Jeffery, already had a 1-year-old daughter, Taren, when Jordan was born. Kimberly worked full time as an ultrasound technician at MetroHealth Medical Center. Taren’s birth was difficult, resulting in a C-section. So Kimberly was relieved when Jordan came naturally, with much less pain.

Now: Shortly after Jordan’s birth, Kimberly and Jeffery moved the family to a larger home with a big back yard in Oakwood Village. Kimberly still works as an ultrasound technologist, so Jordan and Taren go to preschool full time. Jordan adores his big sister and the two are best friends and protective of each other.

Jordan: Kimberly says the best word to describe Jordan is “nice.” He is a tall, handsome boy. He does everything quickly in an effort to keep up with his big sister. He is very bright, with a memory that never stops astounding her. “If we tell him something, he never forgets,” Kimberly says. “Days later, he’ll repeat it to us.”

What he loves: Playing with big sister Taren in the back yard, a Bratz doll that came with the name Dylan (but Jordan has renamed it Michael), learning his letters.

What has surprised you the most? With a boy and girl so close in age, Kimberly is always surprised by the differences. Taren loves to help her cook, but Jordan has no interest. While Jordan and Taren adore each other, when they do fight, Jordan has a more domineering personality and usually wins.
Melanie Friscone

Then: Melanie had an easy birth with Drexton. Melanie, the oldest of five siblings, and husband, Jason, found themselves sharing Drexton with all the relatives. But they loved it most when it was “just them.”

Now: Melanie and Jason welcomed daughter Delaney on Nov. 26, 2005, with an even easier birth than Drexton’s. They have moved from an apartment to a home they built on 4 acres. Melanie loves staying home full time with both children.
Drexton: Drexton has Melanie’s big dimples and her outgoing personality. All boy, he idolizes his twin uncles, who will turn 15 this month. “He’s 3 going on 15,” says Melanie.

What he loves: All sports, throwing rocks into the neighbor’s pond, Disney movies, Dora & Diego, playing board games.
What has surprised you the most? “How many people read Cleveland Magazine,” says Melanie. “People still ask me if I was in the article. I think my grandparents still carry it around.”
Kim Mitchell

Then: Kim and her husband, Jason, were married seven years before Autumn was born on a sunny fall day. The birth was extremely difficult, with 15 minutes passing before Kim heard her cry. At the time, Kim was working full time as a legal secretary and part time doing bookkeeping for her husband’s two businesses.

Now: Right before she was due to go back to the law firm, Kim decided to stay home with Autumn. She still helps Jason with his businesses, squeezing in the work around Autumn’s schedule.

Autumn: Kim describes Autumn as an outgoing “people person.” She is very articulate with a lively personality and will talk to just about anyone. She is very independent and, as Kim says, “just a really good child.”

What she loves: Being outside, watching movies, musical instruments, Barbie, Polly Pockets, Goofy cartoons, hot dogs with honey mustard, and celery for lunch every day.

What has surprised you the most? “How beautiful she is with her ocean-blue eyes,” Kim says. “Everybody loves her because she has such an outgoing personality. If we’re having a bad day, she just makes our day.”

Ellen Shimko

Then: Ellen and her husband, Andrew, had a 3-year-old daughter, Anne-Marie, when Erik was born. Ellen had a C-section scheduled, but went into labor before the date. The doctor proceeded with a C-section and Erik was born with a James Taylor CD playing in the background.

Now: The family moved three miles south to a four-bedroom colonial in a neighborhood loaded with young children. Ellen, who worked on her master’s in education right after Anne-Marie was born, feels fortunate to be home full time with both children. Erik and Anne-Marie are best friends. Anne-Marie started kindergarten this year, so Ellen is enjoying some one-on-one time with Erik.

Erik: “He wakes up happy every day,” says Ellen. He’s also very inquisitive. Despite the questioning, he is easygoing. Erik is independent and has his own opinions about things. One day, Erik asked for milk, but Ellen told him he could have water. He got the milk out and poured it himself — all over the kitchen floor. To top it off, he tried to frame Anne-Marie.
What he loves: Dora’s cousin, Diego, the backpack he wears so he can look like Diego, balls of all sorts, imitating his sister Anne-Marie.

What has surprised you the most? “He seems to be right-handed, but he throws and bats left-handed and kicks balls with his left foot,” Ellen says. “Everyone is very impressed. It seems his prospects are big.”

Carla Dawson

Then: Carla and her husband, Christopher, already had a 2-year-old daughter, Caleigh, when they welcomed Caden into the family. Caden came two weeks early and fast. Carla’s labor was just four hours.

Now: Carla and Christopher welcomed their third child, Catherine — who they call Cate — on June 10, 2005. Cate came just 20 minutes after they reached the hospital. Carla loves staying home full time with the three children. Caleigh started preschool this year, so Caden gets time to be the older sibling to Cate.

Caden: “He’s always smiling and just seems happy to be part of the world,” says Carla. She describes him as “a little ham” — and the easiest of her three kids.

What he loves: Toy trucks, cars, fire trucks and tractors, riding in his dad’s truck, and firefighters — he wants to be one when he grows up, just like his dad, a Garfield Heights fireman.

What has surprised you the most? “Everyone told us stories about sibling rivalry, but we’ve had none of it,” says Carla. “Caden is good with his older sister, and he’s just fun and real caring with the younger sister. He gets her to giggle, and she just giggles away!”
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