Monday, December 20, 2010

ornamental lovin'

Here is the ornament we received in the swap. Cute, huh?!



It doesn't actually have a smudge on it. I just covered up our last name* for public sharing. Actually, the painting is exquisite. I consider myself an artsy kind of gal but there's no way I could have painted such intricate little details as this ornament has. Big thanks to this lovely family for sharing their talents!

*It's not our real last name. It's the jumble of M's and my last names that we made-up and use "internally" to refer to ourselves. I totally love that it made it's way onto our tree this year. :-)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

thank you and an update

Thanks so much for your sympathy (and profanity) about the postponed FET. It was just exactly what I needed. Here’s the rest of the story:

I called the clinic on Monday to sort out this early ultrasound business. It turns out the nurse was wrong about me needing a CD2/3 scan, but she was right about the bottom line - there was no way to cycle off my next AF. It has to do with the fact that the embryology lab is closed for the holidays from 12/17 through 1/14 (how do I get a job there?!) and the fact that no patients can be “on the calendar” while the lab is closed. The nurse originally told me I couldn’t even be on estrogen while the lab was closed, but that changed after my meltdown, so I’m still a little confused on what the actual policy is. The non-negotiable part is that the absolute earliest they can thaw embryos for a transfer is 1/21, if my period happened to fall on a day to allow that, which of course it was not set to do.

I had already done some quick EDD calculating and figured out that if I needed to skip a cycle, I’d be due too late to use my flex spending dollars for the ridiculous insurance deductible I’ll have to meet at the time of delivery. When we funded my FSA this year, we put in the full $5000 figuring we’d spend more than that on either 1 FET + 1 delivery deductible OR 2 FETs, and back when we were making this decision, it seemed impossible that either of those possibilities wouldn’t fit neatly into the benefit year. I explained this whole thing to the nurse (tearfully, at times) and she felt bad enough for me that she agreed to talk to the doctor and get back to me with some ideas.

While I was waiting to hear back from her, I did some further research of my own and learned a couple of things: First, my period came early last time but I hadn’t updated the CD1s I’d penciled in for the next few months. That alone bought me a few extra days, let alone any more that would come if my period happened to be early again. I also discovered that the FSA grace period is 75 days rather than the 60 I’d been using in my calculations. The end result was that leaving everything as it was and skipping a cycle would lead to an EDD of 10/28/11 and an FSA grace period run-out of 11/14/11. As long as NOTHING ELSE went wrong, we should be okay.

Armed with this new information, I was considerably calmer when the nurse called back. And then it got even better. She talked with the doctor and they’d come up with the plan of putting me on BC pills starting on my next CD1 to throw my cycle on ice, so to speak. Then, they could take me off BC to induce a period at the right time for a transfer on 1/21 – the earliest possible date after their closure. If AF takes her sweet time coming or my lining isn’t up to snuff, I could get pushed back to 1/28, but hopefully no further than that. I explained what I’d learned and asked if there were any physical or other drawbacks to going the BC route and she insisted there is not and they do it all the time to get people’s cycles lined up correctly.

The final square in this comic strip of my day shows AF arriving a mere two hours after our call. I wasn’t expecting her for at least 4 more days, but there she was, and I have to admit I was thrilled to have someone to blame my rollercoaster emotions on. Fortunately, the nurse had already called in the BC and I was able to start them right way.

So, that’s the new plan. I’m popping BC pills like a high school student and watching the days pass by, again. Looks like we’ll have news of some kind by mid-February. Please, please let it be of the BFN/P variety.

God forbid it ever just be simple.

Tucking myself back underground now.

In other news, we got our ornament from the swap and it’s adorable! E hung it on the tree himself and checks on it nightly. I’ll snap some pics tonight so I can share them with you all. I also finished mine and it will be going out in tomorrow’s mail. Late, I know. We haven’t sent out our holiday cards either, so you’re in good company, oh undisclosed ornament recipient. It’s been a challenging couple of weeks. Sorry.

Friday, December 10, 2010

benched

Since I broke my own gag order about the FET, I'll let you in on the latest chapter so you aren't looking for an outcome report any time soon.

Today was supposed to be transfer day. Today was the day I was supposed to lay on a table with an overfull bladder and watch two flashes of light on an ultrasound screen. M and I both had the day off, my acupuncturist was on standby, and I went to bed Wednesday night in excited disbelief that it was so close. Then yesterday, I woke up with Elliot's stomach flu and puked my guts (and meds) out all day. I guess my body had been doing a good job of holding it at bay, but then I started the pre-transfer prednisone which handicapped my immune system and WHAM. My RE ruled that my body was not ready to go through with the transfer today, and as much as it killed me to hear it, I knew she was right. And with that, 3+ weeks of medications, monitoring and anticipation went out the window. We have to start all over. Icing on the cake? There's a high probability AF will show during the clinic's holiday closure which would mean having to wait another full cycle because they want to scan me on CD2 or 3. There's a chance we'll be into February before we get another shot at a transfer. The original plan was to transfer in October. October. Two days ago, we thought we'd have results by Christmas. Now, we're nowhere. We're not even back at the starting line yet.


I'm planning to argue with them on that early cycle ultrasound. I didn't have one for this cycle and I'm not sure why I would need one for the next cycle. I guess because of the hormone preparation I did? M had the idea to keep doing the PIO for another week to keep AF at bay. I'm still on the fence about this one. I thought it was a great idea, but then I was feeling so sore and achy last night (stomach flu, remember?) that we skipped it. In hindsight I wish we hadn't, but we did, and I kind of feel like my body has kind of been through enough without jerking it on and off progesterone. *sigh* Anyone have thoughts? I'm feeling too defeated by the whole thing to see the right answer in all of this.

Monday, December 6, 2010

trapped under something heavy

I bailed on NaBloPoMo. The only thing stranger (to me) than doing that is the fact that I don't care. I'm usually someone that will move heaven and earth to avoid any type of failure, even the most minor and inconsequential, but I'm not myself right now.

The Thing That Shall Not Be Blogged About is in full swing, and it's taking more out of me than I expected. Other things taking more out of me than expected - both good and bad - include but are not limited to:

- We bought a new (to us) car - yay! It's a 2007 VW Rabbit in great shape with low miles and heated seats. Yes, it has many other luxurious features but none are quite so lovely as the butt-warmers. :-) It will be a bit of a squeeze if we ever need to put two carseats into the back, but we tried it and it works. The fact that it even has a back seat is a huge step up from the tiny pickup M was driving until a week ago. I drive an SUV which is and can remain our primary family car, but this is a much more practical "back up" vehicle, and also M just plain works hard and deserves a better car than the one she had. Mission accomplished.

- My parents were here for an extended visit - yay! Elliot got to stay home from school for almost two full weeks of spoiling. My dad built him a train table for Christmas and he loves, loves, loves it.

- I celebrated a birthday by taking care of a violently ill toddler experiencing his first stomach virus - boo! He projectile-vomited every half hour for four hours straight. I have no idea where the sheer volume came from. Dinner reservations were canceled and towels were gone through two or three at a time. The vomiting started while walking through a shopping mall. I'll spare you the details, but trust me when I say it was the most terrible thing I've seen... ever? Maybe. Anyway, my mom was with us and it was as if time stood still while I had two simultaneous thoughts: The first was "Ohmygod, ohmygod, ohmygod. Mom!! Do something!! Help him!!!" and the second was "Waaaaaaaait a second... FUCK. I'm the mom." There was a pause - only a second or two but it felt like thirty - during which he turned his face toward mine and looked at me with scared, wide eyes and I froze, looking back at him with the exact same expression, I'm sure. And then I figured it out. And then I figured it out again... and again... and again. I've had better birthdays.

- Elliot has decided to discontinue both going to sleep on his own and sleeping through the night - boo! M and I are terribly sleep-deprived. Looks like another round of sleep training is in order. Hate.


- Work is crazy - boo! (Yawn)

So that's the scoop. I'm moody and anxious and emotional and tired and not really blogging, except for skimming my reader between meetings and such. I have been doing my best to keep up to date on everyone (despite how my pitiful lack of commenting makes it seem) but especially on my two bedresting buds who I continue to send good vibes to every single day.

Monday, November 22, 2010

what doesn't bend, breaks

Elliot has stopped sleeping through the night. It's no big deal, he's just done with it. He's also stopped going to bed like a dream and instead prefers to do it like a caged tiger with a thorn in its paw. I'm frazzled and sleep-deprived. Logic would tell you that if he is going to go to sleep late (on accounta the battle), be awake for up to 4 hours during the night, and then get up an hour early (which he's been doing since the time change), I should be back to "sleep when the baby sleeps" mode. But, much like when he was a newborn, I don't want to sleep when the baby sleeps. The more he's requiring of me during his waking hours (including those that fall between 1 and 4am), the more stubbornly I cling to my late-night Me Time of catching up on email and FB or reading a few pages of the latest book I'm forced to read at a snail's pace. The problem is that I'm not making it and I need some early bedtimes of my own. There it is, K. Consider the gauntlet thrown down.

My parents arrive late tonight for Thanksgiving. They'll be in our area for 2 weeks but it's yet to be decided whether they will stay with us the whole time or head out on their own next week. M and I are trying to make sure they get enough time with E who they don't get to see nearly enough of. They're trying to make sure they don't get on our nerves. We're all being very polite and accommodating. We'll see where the negotiations end up. Either way, we've got babysitters to see the new Harry Potter movie sometime in the next week so that's exciting news indeed!

Tonight is the Thanksgiving potluck dinner at E's school. It's always so fun watching him interact with his little buddies. He has two BFFs at school - Henry and Ben. I was such a girlgirlgirl growing up that it still weirds me out sometimes to have an "in" with the boy social circles, even when the boys in question are under 2 years old.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

toddler jukebox

I asked M for an idea to blog about and she suggested I do a 5-day Thanksgiving countdown letting you all know what I'm most thankful for, and that I culminate the series with a post about her and how lucky I am to have her in my life.

So anyway, moving on. ;-)

M burned me a CD of E's top tracks and I thought I'd share his playlist with you. I already mentioned he loves the music on this album from M's childhood, so we started with tracks #1, 3, 4*, 5, 7, 8, 10, 13, 16, 18 and 21, then added:
Jerk It Out - Caesars
My Sharona - The Knack (yup, I kept 'em)
Hey, Soul Sister - Train
Brown Eyed Girl - Van Morrison
Sister Kate - The Ditty Bops
Give a Little Love - Ziggy Marley
The Sign - Ace of Base
Roy G. Biv - TMBG
The Vowel Family - TMBG (I loathe this song, but E adores it.)
I Love a Circus - Dan Crow
Green Grass Grew All Around - Pete Seeger
Be Kind to Your Parents - Pete Seeger
If I Had a Hammer - Pete Seeger (I got on a downloading roll one day...)
Get Up Up Up - Farmer Jason
A Spoonful of Sugar - Julie Andrews

These songs didn't make it onto this CD but will surely be on the next one:
Will the Circle Be Unbroken - Arlo Guthrie & Pete Seeger
Two Mommies - Alistair Moock
Mr. Rock and Roll - Amy MacDonald
Imbuvu the Happiest Hippo - Ed Jordan
Holiday Road - Lindsay Buckingham
Be OK - Ingrid Michaelson
Here Comes the Sun - Beatles
All I Want Is You - Barry Louis Polisar
You are My Sunshine - Elizabeth Mitchell

He used to like Carbon Leaf and early Madonna as a baby but he hasn't listened to any in a while - mental note to get some back into rotation.

What songs/artists do your little ones like? Bonus points for music that won't make me want to take an ice pick to my ear drums. :-)

*This album was originally released in 1969 so there are a couple of songs that get skipped over as they don't quite mesh with our contemporary values. Those exceptions aside, I LOVE this album. The songs are musically diverse, creative and kid-friendly without being dumbed down. I'm really hard-pressed to pick a favorite as it seems to change week to week, but #4 is at the top of my list at the moment and you should check it out. It can be downloaded here or on iTunes, but be sure to get the Bernard Cribbins version. There are a lot of really awful remakes floating about.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

whoops

Party ran late last night. Guests didn't leave until well after midnight. NaBloPoMoOhWell.

Feeling tired and grumpy today and going to spare you whatever crankiness I'd fill this space with if I forced myself to write something.

How is Thanksgiving in 5 days?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

"moo-sick" and mayhem

E has started demanding his own music in the car. As soon as the engine turns over, the pleas begin, and they ramp up quickly. He used to be content to listen to whatever was on the radio, but that doesn't cut it anymore. He has his own playlist on my iphone, and his preferred songs within that playlist, and he has no difficulty communicating these preferences. I need to burn a CD of his faves so my phone isn't permanently tethered to the car stereo. The fact that he has certain songs he loves and others that he won't listen to more than a few seconds of makes me think he's absorbing more of the music than I have been giving him credit for. I should probably go ahead and take Jerk It Out and My Sharona out of the playlist now before his attachment to them grows any stronger. I've got some time before he starts understanding the words, but I can just see it now: We're at the park with friends and Elliot busts out "Always get it up for the touch of the younger kind..." Yikes. Bummer, those were kind of my bright spots among all the ugly ducklings and green grass growing all around.

It's been a bit of a trying week around here. Elliot seems to be very intent on establishing his independence from us, meaning he wants nothing at all to do with M and he's only minimally tolerant of me. It's great fun. He is also going through what we're thinking is a growth spurt. He's been eating like a horse and his sleep is all out of whack. This came together into a perfect storm the other night when he was awake from 1:00 to 4:30am and wanted to playplayplayplayplayplay. Once he realized he was not going to be let out of bed, all hell broke loose. M went in to console him at one point and he hit her then told her to go away. Um, excuse me? I know it's completely normal for him to go through periods where he feels more or less connected to one of us - there was a long stretch this summer where he was all about M and he could take or leave me - but it's annoying nonetheless, especially when it's accompanied by such atrocious behavior. M is doing a great job of rolling with it; better than I would, I'm sure. She's so cool and well-adjusted like that. :-)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

(almost) wordless wednesday

1 month old:

20 months old:

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

kitchen notes

M and I are hosting a low-key "dessert and drinks" game night this Friday. I'm tied up the next two evenings so I'm anticipating a very late night of preparations on Thursday. My plan isn't entirely thought out. I know I want to make two finger-food type desserts, one should probably be chocolate and one probably not (although if it were up to me I'd make chocolate everything) and I want one of them to be cupcakes with Nutella frosting. I'm still on the fence about whether banana cupcakes are okay for a group. It's what I'd make for myself, but I know banana is an iffy one for people so I'm leaning toward french vanilla to be safe. I tested out a Nutella buttercream recipe tonight and... oh my god.

Make it now. Thank me later.

1/2 c. butter, softened
1 c. Nutella
1/4 c. powdered sugar
up to 2T milk (I used about half)
Mix butter and Nutella until well blended. Add sugar gradually. Beat until fluffy. Add milk to desired consistency.

I'll let you know what I come up with for dessert #2. If you have any to-die-for recipes, feel free to share!

Monday, November 15, 2010

ready to purge

I am a pack rat, but I come by it honestly.

My grandmother (who cared for me every weekday until I started kindergarten) kept everything she ever touched. She filled a three-story home, floor to ceiling, with a lifetime of treasures and... other things. Every coat my mother wore in high school, every board game my uncles played with as children, every score book completed one inning at a time from the recliner in her living room... Every fishing lure my grandfather left behind when he moved out (long before I was born), every yogurt container, every box top... My grandmother had no money and she never threw away anything she thought she might use, even if it would be 10 years before it would come in handy. She was one of the most frugal, resourceful women I've ever known.

My mom taught me the joy of a sale at a young age. She was the quintessential bargain hunter. If the sale was good enough, she bought the item. It didn't matter much whether we had a use for it. She didn't teach it to me in these words, but I know she is where I learned the theory behind a particularly incriminating slogan of mine: "You're getting screwed if you DON'T buy that!" The house I grew up in had a basement storage room with plastic bins from floor to ceiling, full of nonperishables bought in bulk, holiday decorations purchased "the day after" for 75% off, gift bags and toys purchased on sale because "someone is always having a birthday." I never felt like my house was cluttered growing up. I just thought my mom was amazing because anything we could possibly need was right there under our very roof.

Our basement is much like my the one I described above. I still have every item of clothing Elliot has worn to date, except for a few pieces I loaned to friends, only after putting an initial in every tag to ensure it would find its way home. I'm harboring two matching wall hangings I bought years ago on clearance that have never been hung in this house and never will be. I have at least five times as many sheet sets as I have beds to put them on, and more towels than our family could use in a month. I cannot walk past Papyr.us after Christmas without buying a few rolls of wrapping paper. It's all really nice stuff.

For most of my adult life, this hasn't really been a problem. When I first moved into this 4 bedroom house all on my own, I had an abundance of space and nothing to make it homey with. It took me several years, but I eventually filled up all of the empty closets, cabinets and shelves. With Elliot's arrival and all that we brought in for him, our house officially exceeded its capacity, and it's all my fault. M doesn't have a single hoarding fiber in her entire body. Amazingly, she doesn't chastise me for the accumulation. I think she recognizes the emotional side of it and knows I need to deal with it in my own time. And I have begun, but good heavens it is a slow process. The amount of angst involved in getting rid of something inexpensive that I haven't used in years is something even I can't totally understand. All I can fall back on is the knowledge it's just not how I was raised. I was raised to keep things; to keep everything. It's my family's version of being responsible and prepared for whatever life throws at you. The problem is, I'm starting to feel a bit like I'm drowning.

In the last few months, I've become acutely aware of the weight of my possessions. Every thing I have in this house is something that must be maintained. It may be putting it away on a daily basis, shifting it once in a while to reach something else, or simply filing it once and forgetting about it, but I don't have time for extra steps anymore. Some days it is hard enough to find time to brush my teeth. Any time I might spend tending to material goods would be better spent with my child. Beyond that, I'd really like to not pass this charming characteristic down to him, and that means the time to reset my hardwiring is now.

Up until recently, I have believed to my core that the worst case scenario would be to have to re-purchase something I had and got rid of. I now realize the worst case scenario is having so much stuff that not only can I not maintain or enjoy it, its very presence causes me stress. I've taken some big steps already, but they're not nearly as big as those that still need to be taken. I've been whittling away at the edges for months, but it's time for a major cut. I feel ready - really, I do - but then I look around and I'm instantly overwhelmed. I don't know where to start, perhaps more emotionally than logistically. I know once I get some momentum behind me, it will become easier. What's the point of keeping X if I've already tossed A through W, right? It's just really hard. But it's also time.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

scatterbrain

I finally got caught up on my reader. My weeks of neglect yielded 300-something posts to catch up on. There were some real gems in there, too, like this post which just might make you pee your pants if you were obsessed with 90210 in the early 90s as I was.

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Elliot is 20 months old today. That is almost as many months as we spent trying to conceive him. I'm not sure I'll ever get used to how much faster time flies on this side of things. Just one more reminder to be grateful.

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Elliot says "bless you" when anyone sneezes, including the dog. The other day, he blessed me from his rear-facing carseat after I sneezed in the drivers seat. Adorable.

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I'm over the moon that E's feeling better, but I miss the extra cuddles.

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M's mom and I spent a couple of hours researching accommodations for a major trip we're taking with her family next summer. The whole thing is feeling much more real (and more rapidly approaching) than it did a few days ago. Are we going to survive overseas travel with a 2 year old? We're pros at domestic travel, but this is going to be a horse of a different color.

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M and I are considering thinking about possibly buying a new (maybe, but probably just new to us) car. We have been together almost 10 years and I have only just uncovered a tragic secret about M: She likes hatchbacks. ;-) I'm not a fan, but I guess you figured that. I had a hatchback in high school and I liked it at the time, but now they all kind of seem like "kid" cars to me; like the car you have before you move up to the real model*. Fortunately, I don't actually care all that much and since M will be the primary driver of this new car, a hatchback it likely will be, as long as we can find one that can comfortably fit two car seats in the back**. We're in the very, very early stages of research but we kind of like the Ma.zda 3s. Any good or bad experiences or other cars we should check out?

*No offense to the hatchback drivers out there. I have a deep affection for hatchback fans. I love them so much, I married one. ;-)
**See how I did that? Pretty freaking bold, huh?

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I got a pregnancy announcement on FB this weekend. The couple's first child was born 9 days after Elliot and #2 is due in May. I'm so jealous... and really happy for them... and jealous.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

confession time

The votes in Elliot's contest are so close, I'm afraid I'm going to give myself an ulcer from all the refresh page-ing I'm doing. I'm not sure why I care so much. OK, I have a few thoughts, but I don't want to share until the contest is over. Instead, I'll fill you in on another one of my (many) neuroses, inspired by Puffer's comment about how she feels when she's out without the twins.

I was totally fascinated (in a good way) by it because my own experience is exactly the opposite. When I'm out without Elliot, I too have a conscious awareness that people looking at me don't know I have a toddler at home, but 9 times out of 10, I hate it. If I'm in Tar.get or a grocery store without him, I'll sometimes go out of my way to buy something baby-related, even if we don't need it yet, just because I want people who see me to know. I'm not sure where this need to identify myself stems from - maybe it's some post-infertility brain damage or perhaps just standard-issue insecurity - but it makes me feel more comfortable in my skin, like my outsides match my insides. I think what has happened is that my identity as a mother has become so deeply rooted that I feel naked and self-conscious without my standard marker (the kiddo) on my hip. For the record, I totally think Puffer's take on all this is healthier. ;-)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Zzzzzz...

Best unintended consequence of having Granny here for a week to take care of your scary-sick toddler? Free, competent child care for an impromptu date night. :-)

Runner up: Watching your son learn to say grandma.

My food coma and I are not long for this world, but I'll be back tomorrow with a proper post.

P.S. Huge thanks to everyone who has voted for Elliot in the contest. I haven't checked the standings in a few hours (good thing - perhaps a post about my obsessive personality will be in order soon) but he's hanging out close to the top of the heap. Only a few more days to go!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Blogosphere powers, activate!

OK guys, I need your help.

I entered E in a photo contest for "worst" holiday picture. There aren't a lot of entries, so his odds are pretty good! At stake is $600 in gift cards and the priviledge of having your family's photo holiday card featured on the sponsors' websites. I think you can all understand why that last bit feels really cool and important. :-)

There are 79 people that follow this blog via google reader, and who knows how many more that keep up via other methods. There are less than 100 votes separating E from the first place photo. Those are pretty encouraging numbers. It would really, really mean a lot to me if you would take one minute out of your day to vote for us!

You can vote once per email address, but you do have to delete your cookies between votes. If you are feeling especially generous and wish to share this link elsewhere (i.e. on your own blog, FB page, etc.) you have not only my blessing but buckets of thanks as well! If I can repay the favor for you now or later, I will gladly do so.

To vote, just rate the picture 5 stars (which will count as 5 votes), click send, and confirm via email using the link they send you. It is super easy, fast and free.

Here's the link: http://blog.ecomom.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-photocontest/viewimg.php?img_id=49&post_id=1346&order=most_voted

Thank you so much for your help!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Chay-chay-chain...

I don't think I've received a chain letter in five years. Today, I received three. What gives?

In fairness, one was the same "letter" received twice (person A forwarded it to 10 person B's, one of which was me; another person B forwarded it to me as one of his 10 person C's) and the other was a totally labor-intensive book exchange. I have yet to decide whether I'll do either one. I'm leaning heavily toward no, but I'm already feeling guilty about letting down the people who sent them to me. Your thoughts? Chain letters are whack and I'm a bad friend if I forward them, right?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

last placeholder post, I promise

I don't want to say too much and risk jinxing anything, but E hasn't had any fever reducers for almost 24 hours. He's nowhere near 100%, but we're all feeling like we have reason to be hopeful. I, on the other hand, am flattened. I think the worry and sleep-deprivation of the past week has finally caught up with me.

I promise to be back with something of substance (and NOT baby-illness-related) tomorrow. Speaking of... If anyone has any questions or suggestions, let me know! I've never put out the call for questions before because I think people generally ask things as they come to mind, but if there's anything you've been sitting on that you'd like to know, I'll gladly put it in the NaBloPoMo queue! ;-)

Monday, November 8, 2010

two steps forward, one step back

This is so not the NaBloPoMo I had in mind.

So, today was mostly good. E was cool when he woke up (medicated, yes, but even the medicine wasn't keeping him cool the past few nights) and acting a bit more like himself, albeit a more fragile and needy version. We went to the doctor mid-day and learned that he has the beginnings of an ear infection. She doesn't think this is the cause of his illness of the past several days (which she agrees falls in the "nonspecific virus" category), but instead a secondary issue caused by his congestion draining into his ears. She prescribed an antibiotic. Bonus to this is that if there is some OTHER secondary infection that is causing the prolonged fever, it should knock that out too. The doctor was impressed with his low temp at the appointment (97.3!) and instructed us to d/c the anti-fever meds and see how things go.

He came home, seemed to do well, and then about three hours later, his fever was back up over a hundred. An hour after that, it was a degree higher and he seemed to feel terrible. So back on the medication we went and he laid on me, clenched and whimpering, until the meds kicked in at which point he perked right up. He spent dinner throwing food to the dog, making eyes at Granny, and laughing at his own little jokes and bodily functions.

I know all this means is we cut out the anti-fever meds too soon, but I can't help but be disappointed that the No Meds experiment failed so quickly. I'm VERY glad that we're a good distance away from the 104-105 range, and that we seem to be moving in the right direction (knock on wood) but I'm ready for my baby to just plain Feel Better already. He's had such a terrible week.

Thanks for all of your wonderful comments. It felt (feels) really good to know so many people were out there thinking of him and wishing him well.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

help is on the way

The boy is still sick. Really, really sick. We called the exchange this afternoon and have a list of things to watch for, any one of which means an expedited trip back to the ER. Every thing on the list has happened at least once in the past 24 hours, so I'm bracing myself for the possibility we'll be heading in at some point. Hopefully not, for E's sake.

M's mom is arriving on a midnight flight so M and I can spend some time at work this week, eat something other than takeout, and have clean clothes and sippy cups. It's amazing how many sippy cups one toddler can go through when you're "pushing fluids" by offering 3 different options per hour.

I'm so tired and so worried. This is really hard.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

update

Fever is lower today (99-102, but mostly on the lower side of that range) and he's acting more like himself, so hopefully we're moving in the right direction. We had a terrible experience in the ER: Multiple failed attempts to catheterize him for a urine sample (before giving up completely), multiple failed attempts to place an IV (before giving up completely), rough blood draw and finger-stick, urine collection bag taped all over (and subsequently removed from - ouch) his most sensitive areas... I'm really disappointed given that we drove past closer ERs in order to go to the childrens' hospital. I was kind of hoping for more kid-friendly care. Anyway, it's behind us now and we hopefully won't be back any time soon. Thanks for thinking of us and wishing E well.

Friday, November 5, 2010

105.2

That was Elliot's temp when we left for the ER this afternoon. We're home now with all sorts of things ruled out, nothing ruled in, and a fever the meds are barely cutting in half. I'm scared out of my mind. If you have good thoughts to spare, I'd certainly appreciate them.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

ode to a neglected baby book

The NaBloPoMo rules are one post per day. They don't really address when that post gets published, right? Yeah, this one is late. Moving on.

Sticking with the theme of running late...

I've fallen behind on updating Elliot's baby book lately. I've missed writing down his last six teeth (up to 14!), and I'm woefully behind on documenting words, favorite activities, etc. I'm going to scan back through the blog and see if I can fill in some blanks. So that I will have this post to look back on next time I need a reference point, here's what Elliot is up to these days. My apologies for the boring you all with this nuts and bolts-y post.

Favorite books: Go Dog Go, There's a Wocket in my Pocket, The Itsy Bitsy Spider, and the San Francisco book I can't remember the name of right now.

Favorite toys: Trains, trains, trains, and puzzles. Oh, and trains. The kid is obsessed. He has a bunch of different train toys, train puzzles, train books... you name it. My parents bought him a few Thomas engines and cars the last time we were out to visit him and he loves them. The seal has been broken on the branded toys. We had a good run. ;-)

Favorite songs: His faves to sing are The Old Lady Who Swallowed The Fly, two versions of If You're Happy and You Know It (especially the shouting Hooray part), and the Alphabet Song. He sings the last word of each phrase in these and it's so cute. His favorites to listen to and/or dance to are all of the songs from All Aboard (an album M had as a kid), The Vowel Family and Roy G. Biv (both TMBG). Oh, and The Sign by Ace of Base. I kid you not.

Best trick du jour: We toss all of his sippy cup parts into a big bin in a cabinet and pull out pieces as we need them. It's a tall (5 foot?) pantry-style cabinet with pull out bins, so not super easy to get into. Still, Elliot has learned to open the cabinet (by pulling the dishtowel that is hanging on the cabinet opener, which is at the top of the tall cabinet), pull out the wire bin, find a matching cup and lid (including by color), close everything up, stand on tiptoe to place the cup and lid juuuust on the lip of the counter top, come to us and take our hands, then lead us into the kitchen requesting juice along the way. He does this every day when he comes home from school, and a few times a day on the weekends. It's pretty impressive to watch, actually! M decided to see if he'd do it in reverse so she handed him the pieces of his cups straight out of the dishwasher. Sure enough, he took them to the cabinet, opened it up, put the pieces away, and closed everything behind him. The funniest part is that he'll only take one or two pieces at a time, and he closes the cabinet between each trip. This means the activity generally takes long enough to get the whole dishwasher unloaded while he is making his trips. Surely our time with this is limited. I know it won't be long until he realizes he can leave the cabinet open and the bin pulled out between trips, but it sure is handy for now! 

Runners-up for best trick: He can identify all 26 letters by name and/or by the name of the item pictured under the letter on his ABC puzzle, and when we count from 1 to 10 with him, he says about half of the numbers on his own. 

He mimics everything we say. Everything. Neither of us swear very often, but there have been more than one sh!t choruses after something was forgotten or dropped, so we're working on cutting that out completely. I love, love, love the way his toddler mouth sounds wrapped around octopus, butterfly, Oh no!, please (peas), thank you, bless youagain, spoon (boon), and of course, I love you. He also mispronounces blanket as "bacon" and meow and "laooow" and I really hate to correct them because they're just so cute. :-)

Last week, he went through this really funny hat obsession. He came home from school one day and I tried to take off his hat as we came into the house, but he grabbed it back, crying "My hat! My hat!" He placed it back on his head and there it stayed through playtime... and dinner... and right into the bathroom to be taken off with the rest of his clothes for bathtime. The next day, we went through the same routine upon arriving at school. I told his teacher about the night before and said he might demand to wear his hat all day. (He was wearing a brightly striped hat with a pointy spire on top and one of the other kids was following him around saying "Nice party hat! I like your party hat!" LOL!) I left him sitting at the table eating cereal in his hat and picked him up sitting in the same spot coloring, hat on head. I pulled it off for a moment and his hair was damp and matted underneath. His teacher confirmed that he had worn it all day. This lasted for 2-3 more days and then it was done. Not sure what it was about but we got some good laughs (and pictures) out of it!


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

reunited (and it feels so good)

The injury post has been tabled for another day (I know, you're so bummed) because I just got the best news and I'm too excited not to share. My BFF In Loco Parentis is moving back to our neck of the woods!! She just called me to share the good news on her way back to the airport from the interview in which she was offered the (super amazing incredible) job.

She and I met in TownA for undergrad and then, amazingly, both moved across the country to TownB for separate grad programs at the same university. After graduation, she took a job several states away and we haven't been able to see much of each other since then. Her son is almost a year old and our kids have never met. But that is all about to change because THEY'RE MOVING BACK! In two short months they will be living right down the road. Literally. I couldn't be more thrilled.

P.S. I was given full permission to breach blogger etiquette and share someone else's news. I believe the direct quote was "I better get a Na-Blo-Po-Whatever mention for this." :-)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Early Civics Lessons

Election Day 2008:

Election Day 2010:

And a bonus Election Day pic, taken this evening after a blood-curdling face plant on the patio. :-(

Speaking of injuries, E had a major one a few weeks ago. I'll fill you in tomorrow. It's much easier to talk about now that everyone is fully mended. :-/

Monday, November 1, 2010

my mother's daughter

When people asked me what E was going to be for Halloween this year, I answered that he was going to dress up as a child whose mother can't sew. The point is, I knew up front I had likely set my sights too high.

My mother made all of my Halloween costumes when I was a kid. I was Raggedy Ann, Strawberry Shortcake, a clown, a red crayon, a car hop, a mime, a robot, a fairy, a pirate, a Care Bear (the rainbow-bellied one, thank you very much - my root, perhaps?), and several other things, all lovingly crafted in the wee hours of the morning by my mom who worked full-time outside of our home, commuted an hour to and from work each day, did all of the laundry for our family of four and cooked (and served family-style) 95% of the dinners I ate from birth to age 17. I have memories of falling asleep on her bedroom floor, listening to the hum of her vintage sewing machine and waking in the morning to find expectation-shattering works of art laid across the foot of my bed or draped over a chair. Somewhere in all of that, those costumes became hard-wired into my psyche as the mark of a Real Mother.

I always knew that when I had my own children, I would make their costumes every year. After all, I was going to be a Good Mother. Elliot was seven months old on his first Halloween and I flat out missed the boat. The holiday completely snuck up on me and before I knew it I was purchasing a sock monkey costume online (which turned out to be perfect) and promising that would be the first and last costume I would buy him. M and I even picked out the pattern for his 2010 costume right then and there - a whole year in advance. I asked for and received a new sewing machine for my birthday so I would have no excuse this time around.

I should pause for a moment to let you know that I know this whole "mark of a good mother" business is ridiculous. I have known it all along. I'm a licensed mental health provider - I know crazy when I see it or, um, live it. Every time I told someone about my rationale for wanting to make his costume and they looked at me warily, as if trying to determine how to best confront my delusions, I held up my hands and said I know, I know, it's silly. I can't explain it; it's just one of those things.

I bought the fabric early - over a month in advance - and started cutting that night. Things got off to a decent start. And then I hit the sleeves. Oh my god, the sleeves. No matter what I did or how many youtube tutorials I watched, I could NOT get them to ease in correctly. Each time I ripped out a seam, I cursed at the holes it left in my cheap fabric. I finally decided to take a few days off... and I beat myself up mercilessly the whole time. I chastised myself for thinking I had the skills required to sew a costume from scratch. I reminded myself over and over again that I am not my mother, and sewing is just one of the many skills of hers that I am woefully deficient in. It sounds bad to spill that out here, but hang with me for a minute, because I think something positive came out of it.

My mom rocked Home Ec in high school, especially the sewing part. Seriously. She won an award for it her senior year and then proceeded to sew a full-length, fully-tailored coat to wear over her senior ball dress. A few years later, she sewed her own wedding dress. She is a very skilled seamstress. I am not. I never had to learn; I had her. But there are things I am better at than she is. I can teach Elliot about music and theater and visual art. I can show him how to see the big picture, plan things out, and see them through. I work in a field that will keep my finger on the pulse of social issues and I'll be able to talk with him and his friends about them in a relevant way. I need to use these things to make myself a Good Mother, instead of just trying to replicate the meaningful things my own mother did. I need to Do Me well, instead of Doing Her at eighty percent.

Armed with my new outlook, I went back to the costume and figured I needed to just finish the darn thing and then decide if it was wearable or a shopping trip was in order. Having given up the dream of making the perfect costume, things moved a bit more quickly. I attached the sleeves - not beautifully, but functionally - and made my way through the rest of the costume one late night at a time. Luckily for me, there was nothing left to sew that was anywhere near as difficult as the sleeves had been and toward the end of the project, I was turning out pieces that looked... dare I say it... good.

If I calculate my labor at $15 per hour and add in the cost of materials, I figure his gnome costume set us back around $185. But oh my, will you take a look at the finished product?




He wouldn't wear the beard. Not even for a millisecond.

When I look at those pictures, a whole new lesson (reminder?) emerges for me: It's okay to do something even if you can't execute it perfectly. This is a tough one for me as my monogrammed baggage contains some exceptionally maladaptive perfectionist qualities. I'm really glad I made his costume and I want to do it again next year. I plan to skip the angst and self-flagellation next time around, though. I'll be sure to let you know how that goes. ;-)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

I'm in

There are 375 unread items in my reader. (gulp) I haven't glanced at the thing in 2-3 weeks, other than the 5 posts that show in the top of my reader gadget on my google homepage, and I've only read a handful of those. This is partially due to having been ridiculously busy for the past few weeks, and partly about a needed break from technology. That said, I have decided to do NaBloPoMo again, which means you'll be seeing quite a bit more of me for the next month, and I promise to see more of you during that time as well.

Hope everyone is having a happy and safe Halloween!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

puzzle master

I have finally triumphed over technology. :-)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

growing up but not out and other updates

Elliot had his 18-month check-up on Monday. In the last three months, he has grown three inches and lost three ounces. This puts him around the 75th percentile for height (33in.) and just over the 50th for weight (26lbs. 5oz.).

He has 12 teeth with "several more" about to break through, per the doctor's observations. He rarely uses said teeth for eating; it has become a monumental struggle to get anything except fruit past his lips these days. He does quite enjoy brushing said teeth and would do so 10 times a day if we let him.

His doctor seemed underwhelmed by his preference to eat crayons rather than color with them, downright disappointed with my confession that he still gets a bottle at bedtime, and drop-jaw amazed by his mad puzzle skillz. (She had a color/shape sorting thing in the exam room and he consistently put everything on the right pegs which she deemed "pretty remarkable" for an 18-month old. Ha! She should see him do his alphabet puzzle! Perhaps you will see him if I can manage to upload the video I took yesterday.)

He seems to be starting to grab onto different names for us. We've been trying to plant seeds of Mom/Mommy for me and Mum/Mummy for M but we knew in the end it would be his decision. He seems to be going more in the direction of "Mama" for me and "Muh" for M. Hey, whatever works kiddo. He has also (finally) started saying his own name. Well, sort of, except he pronounces it "Luh-T" with the T being its own excessively crisp and clear syllable. It's by far the cutest thing he's done. This week. :-)

I started sewing his Halloween costume last night. Lord help us all.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

one point five

I'll keep this brief because I am oh-so-tired, but today is Elliot's 18-month "birthday" and I feel like that deserves  a moment of my time.

Here's my take on what rocks about having an 18-month old. I thought of this as we were driving home from work and school this evening. My car needed some work done on it so M and I traded vehicles, which meant I was in her pick-up, which meant E was on the seat beside me* and I could see and talk to and tickle him at will. When Elliot was a newborn, my love for him was primal; rooted in some evolutionary sense of ownership and duty. I am his mother, he is my son, of course I love him - that sort of thing. I made him from scratch, for heavens sake. At 18 months, I find I love him more because I really, really like him. His personality has taken on dimension and he has characteristics I can count on. I can honestly say I enjoy his company. He has turned into such a sweet little boy; kind, clever, talkative, adaptable, and happy, but with a temper. I feel like I'm finally getting to "meet" him as a person and not just a baby, and while I know (hope?) I would love him unconditionally, I'm thrilled to find I like him as much as I do.

*I would hasten to tell you that yes, we disabled the passenger airbag, but M's car is so old, it doesn't have a passenger airbag to disable. So, yeah. It also doesn't have power steering (or power anything for that matter) and it is sorely overdue for a paint job. Poor M. She really needs a new car. Guess it's time to buy a lottery ticket.

Monday, September 13, 2010

back from vacation

Sorry for the radio silence. Shortly after my last post, E and I ran away to my parents' house for a week with no internet, no cell phone and lots of beach time. It was awesome. The adjustment back to normal life has been a little rough, but we're getting there. I have about a hundred posts in my reader to get through, and that's only because I deleted anything that wasn't from a personal blog. I hope to be caught up with everyone soon.

Speaking of my last post, I'm leaving it up for now. I can't figure out a way to hide it without deleting it altogether and your comments are just too kind to lose. Thanks so much for all the support; I know the happy face was harder to find for some than others. You all are very good friends. :-)

So about that trip...






(the mystery shadow is my brother)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

coming clean

I have gone back and forth (and back and forth) about whether or not to write this post.

There is an FET in our very near future. We’ve jumped through all the pre-cycle hoops the RE requires and the funds to pay for the procedure arrived in my shiny new FSA this morning. Our original plan was to do a transfer this month until we realized it would fall right on top of a trip E and I are leaving on tomorrow morning. Then, we learned the dates of a major trip we’re taking with BIL/SIL next year and realized it would be good to push everything back one more month. While it doesn’t seem possible that our FET will produce an actual child (20% success rate at our clinic), it seemed like a responsible move to at least consider the fact that I might end up pregnant, improbable though that seems.

I’m sorry for not sharing this with you until now. To date, I have told one friend about our plans. One. I have been coveting this fantasy world where M and I become pregnant with no one else knowing about it. Can you imagine? We’d be so… normal. I knew there were costs – specifically, costs to you, my cherished IF blog community – but I hoped that you’d be able to understand why I did what I did. I wrote my “coming out” post a hundred times in my head – hopefully to be a pregnancy announcement post, but maybe just a “here’s what we’ve been up to but it didn’t work” post – begging for your forgiveness for not telling you and explaining how going through the process NOT on a microscope slide was so important for my own healing and for my relationship with M. With our first pregnancy, I spent two years blogging and message-boarding every decision, every blood test, every setback, and every emotion. You all got me through it. M was there every step of the way, of course, but you were an integral part of our team. In hindsight, I have wondered how things would have been different if I’d turned more toward M during those times of need. Was there a cost to inviting so many people into what is typically a 2-person journey? Did I share things with you I should have kept between us? I don’t know the answer, but I feel secure enough to do things differently this time and see how it goes. It’s different going down this road a second time. I don’t feel as panicked or desperate as I did while TTC #1. (Not yet, at least. Check back with me after a couple of failed FETs and we’ll see where I am then.) My gut tells me it will be good for me and M, and that doing things in a more private way will go miles toward replenishing some of what infertility has taken from me. Can you even imagine getting pregnant with only you and your partner knowing you were trying? How bold. How fantastical. What must it feel like to have that much power over your environment? I was determined to try it.

But then there is the fly in the ointment, and that fly is you, dear readers. I can’t make peace with my decision because I know how deeply a surprise pregnancy announcement would wound you. I have taken too much from this community – from you – to act selfishly now. As I write this, I know it is the right thing to do. I just have one favor to ask of you: I really don’t want to talk about this again until we have news to share. If you’d like to leave a comment on this post, I would be touched and grateful to read your thoughts. But going forward from here, can we all just pretend you don’t know anything? I promise to bring back news whenever there is news to bring.

I know that some (many?) of you have That Feeling in the pit of your stomach right now. How greedy and presumptuous of us to be headed back into the stirrups already. How selfish of me to have waited until now to spill the beans. I know, and I’m sorry. I wish there was more I could do to mitigate that pain. Hopefully you can feel the reverence with which I hold your feelings, even as I share something I know may injure them.

I’m going to leave this post up for about a week and then I will make it private. I figure that will allow plenty of time for any of my regular readers to get up to speed, and you are the only people I feel I owe any disclosure to. I have been blogging (well, journaling I guess, since I haven’t been sharing them) our FET steps up until this point and my intention is to make all of those posts public at some point. I will add this post in with those to be (re)published in the future.

Again, I would be honored to read any and all comments you feel so moved to leave here. I just ask that once this post is sealed off, the information is sealed with it until sometime in the future when it is re-opened under my own (hopefully happy) terms.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

viral meningitis and a migraine

Recently voted worst reason to spend a week off work, in our house at least.

The good news is I got the opportunity to watch the first two seasons of Dexter and the first season of 24 on Netflix instant play. The bad news is I'm looking over my shoulder for serial killers and I may never trust my co-workers again.

I've never had a migraine before. The doctor suspects it was triggered by the meningitis so hopefully I'll never have one again, either. It turns out that while Hand Foot Mouth (Elliot was sent home sick from school last week and this was circulating his classroom - did I mention that before?) is rarely transferred to adults with its fidelity intact, the virus that causes it can get into your system and manifest itself as viral meningitis instead. There are also a series of nasty "echoviruses" that troll around in the late summer looking for people to deliver meningitis to. Ah, the things I have learned in my doctors office lately. Regardless of cause, the end result is OhmygodIhavebeensofreakingsick.

I'm attempting some upright time today. Cross your fingers for me.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

hot under the collar

We're starting an FSA program at work that includes dependent care expenses. M already has one but she wasn't a legal guardian for E at the time of her last open enrollment and we didn't get our act together to start it up during the 30 days after the adoption so we've been waiting for her next open enrollment period to come around. Now I have the option of setting aside $5000 pre-tax for daycare. This is great, except that it means we have to make a decision. An infuriating, insulting decision. Which of us will claim E on our taxes this year? Because only one of us can, and unlike what we do with our mortgage every year (plug it into both of our tax returns to see who it helps more before deciding who claims it), we have to decide this right now.

Please excuse me while I lose my shit for a moment...

[Edited 30 minutes later to say... Never mind. Lost my nerve already. Actually, I just have a very sick little boy and what is likely to be a long, worried night ahead of me and I'm not in the mood for any blog drama this rant might have sparked. I saved the original post in my drafts, so maybe I'll post it again another time.]

I'm totally going to come back and delete the above once I cool off. I get that rage like that will only serve to divide us further and it's not representative of how I feel on a day to day basis. I just felt so separate and so unequal and so very angry sitting in my office FSA presentation. It was just a little more than I could bear so you get my vent.

On a more practical note, anyone have tips as to which of us should claim him? Is the general rule to go with the higher income parent or am I making that up? Also, anyone knowledgeable about dependent care FSAs versus child care tax credits and which is likely to benefit us more? Maybe we should skip the FSA business altogether? I'm totally in over my head on this stuff.

Oh and while I'm venting:  Dear Japanese spammers, would you PLEASE go haunt someone else's blog for a while? I'm so sick of deleting your comments. I'd hate to go to comment moderation but I'm starting to think it's the best option, at least for a while. Lame.

Monday, August 16, 2010

chatterbox

Elliot's 17-month "birthday" shall henceforth be known as The Milemarker at Which His Speech Exploded. I don't think I posted about this here (defensive much?) but at E's 12 month check-up, E's doctor suggested that he might be speech-delayed. I had asked her about the follow-up hearing test that was recommended on his Special Care discharge papers due to the ototoxic effects of the antibiotic they gave him via IV for the first week of his life. (Gah!!) The doctor agreed to order it, followed with the comment "It's probably a good idea anyway because of his speech delays." This was the first she'd said of it and I was so caught off guard, I didn't even question her about it. She'd asked a few questions earlier about what he was and wasn't saying but hadn't given any indication she didn't like my answers until then. Anyway, he had the hearing test about a month later and to the extent that they can test a 12-month old, he passed meaning he should not have any difficulty acquiring language.

So, we cruised along for a while, picking up a word here and a word there, and then during the last couple of weeks, E started not only repeating every single thing we say, but remembering the words and using them at other times. I realized last week that we are on the cusp of a phase where I won't even be able to keep track of all the words he uses. I was home with him most of last week so it gave me a good chance to keep track of everything he's saying, so here it is, the last word list I intend to make. :-)

Words Elliot uses correctly at 17 months:
balloon
flower
apple
water
juice
milk
bee
bird
dog
kitty
ball
banana
choo-choo
car
truck
bus
bunny
baby
mine (love this one)
hi
bye bye
star
sun
bubble
no
yellow
shoe
bottle
light
nose
frog
butterfly
chair
rock
beep beep
hooray
ta-da
whoa
He also does the animal sounds for cow, sheep, duck, horse, lion and dog (almost).

There are a handful (okay, a lot) of these you'd have no chance of identifying the first time you heard them (i.e. bunny = muh-nah, butterfly = buh-fye, flower = vow-ah). We recognize these words because we hear them consistently (usually in conjunction with him pointing at the object to name it), but he's not ready to use them on the debate team or anything. :-)

He's also been saying "la-loo" for the last few days but we haven't been able to figure out what word it is... until this morning when M correctly identified it as hello.

I know the light switch flips for kids at different times and 17 months seems to be ours. It's really exciting, especially after going through that speech-delay silliness a few months back.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

a tip and a story

You should totally enter this giveaway! I am not entering because I have a personal connection to the business owner and I know their goal is to find new customers, but I would love for one of those new customers to be one of my blog friends! Hurry, because today is the last day to enter.

I blogged about these shoes before here and 7 months later with more walking time under E's belt, I love them all the more. It turns out that E has ridiculously wide feet. I have no idea where they came from. (Lie. I totally do: Me.) After our first attempt to branch out into other wide-width brands (Stride Rite XW velcro-closure sandals) yielded pressure marks and scratches on E's uber-chubby feet, we realized we were "stuck" with S.oft St.ars for the forseeable future. They are expensive, but (1) they are comparable in price to the Stride Rites we bought and (2) they are handmade by an independently-owned, earth-friendly small business and (3) they are seriously built to last. All of E's SSs have held up WAY better than the Stride Rites, and he wears them 10x as often. They offer a line of less expensive pre-made shoes, but if you have a hard to fit foot, a creative streak, or both, you can design your own shoes down to the last itty-bitty detail for a few more dollars. We send E's foot measurements in with our order (they have a video on their site showing how to get these) and they use them to make sure we get a perfect fit. I can't say enough good things about them.

And the story... M just called to check in from her mom's birthday party. It sounds like E is behaving himself and everyone is having a great time. However, her father is apparently telling everyone that Elliot "looks just like his dad!" Hmm, there seems to have been a Message Fail somewhere along the line. Note to selves: Have a chat with Grandpa about Elliot's lack of a "dad" before E is old enough to know what he's talking about.

p.s. Let me know if you win some shoes! ;-)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

life in mono

I’ve been working on a big project lately that is a total time-suck. It’s in its final week and I’m logging an unprecedented number of hours per day but I’m in the home stretch. I can’t wait to get back to my normal life. As strange as this sounds, I’m surprised by just how much I miss my family.

M and I both work 20 minutes from our house, but in opposite directions, and since the daycare is less than a mile from my office, I generally handle all daycare pick up and drop off duties. My schedule is so crazy this week that M is picking E up every day. This means that instead of my normal routine of grabbing the kid and speeding home with him to drop him off and inhale a quick bite before racing right back to the same neighborhood I just came from, I get to choose a place to eat some dinner and kill an hour between obligations – no commute and no indigestion. I thought I’d appreciate the mini-vacation, but it turns out I really miss picking E up at school. He’s in bed before I get home which means the only time I’m seeing him this week is for the hour or so that we’re getting ready in the mornings, and any parent can tell you that is usually NOT quality time!

Add to this that M is taking E to visit her family at the end of this week. They’ll be gone Friday through Tuesday. When we planned the trip, it seemed like a great idea – M’s mom is celebrating her 70th birthday and not only can I not go (recall the big project), but I’ll be crazy busy all day Friday and Saturday (recall the big project) so M and E would be on their own anyway. Escaping to a temperate beach climate with M’s family seemed like a no-brainer. I thought it would be good for me, too. I was secretly reveling in the thought of full nights of sleep, long showers, leaving for work in the morning with only my own belongings, going out for a guilt-free celebration with friends after our project wraps up on Saturday night, and spending all day Sunday on the couch in my PJs. Now the trip is upon us, coming right off a week with no time with my little man, and I’d trade all of those things to keep them home.

I’m not sure how to explain this without sounding like a bad mom, but here it is: After 16.5 months of parenting with the demands of maintaining full-time employment and no family around for respite, I thought having a few hours (this week) followed by a few days (this weekend) “off duty” would be a welcome change. I really didn’t think I’d miss E too much. I mean, I see him all the time! It would be like a little retreat to my carefree, self-absorbed, pre-baby days! Boy was I ever wrong. I’m only on Day #2 of M picking E up from school and I’m already contemplating sneaking over there after work to steal a quick cuddle.

I realize now that I’ve become a little jaded. When we were working (and working and working) to bring E into the world, I thought I’d be unconditionally grateful for every sleepless night, every dirty diaper, and every temper tantrum until the end of time, should we ever be lucky enough to encounter those things. But that’s not realistic. It never was. That was just my infertility-damaged soul making promises it could never keep. The reality is that the sleep deprivation and the endless cycle of divining and meeting a little human’s needs is draining, and sometimes it makes you wish for a break – just a few days to catch your breath and remember that you yourself are a human with needs. Or at least it made me wish for this. It turns out the break isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

I have only been away from Elliot for two single overnights since he was born – both under 24 hours. It’s going to be a long, lonely 5 days. :-(

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

"my car"

Guess who said this in our living room yesterday morning?

Two words! Used together and in context! Woot!  :-)

Friday, July 30, 2010

a new kind of all-nighter

This post may resemble complaining, but it's not. I LOVE being awake for 90% of the time between 12am and 6:30am with my molar-sprouting son! M and I are thoroughly enjoying the fact that for the past week or more (I'm in such a state of euphoria, I've lost track) we have had the opportunity to bond with our screaming, writhing, discontent child for 1-2 hours at a time, and we only have to miss him for a quick 30-45 minute snooze before it starts again. It's been just like having a newborn again so, you know, it's all-around awesome. Good for our mental health, our productivity at work, and of course our relationship in general.

Last night I decided to try giving him alternating doses of tylenol and motrin in his sleep. We did one "dream dose" around 11pm. This bought us a couple hours more than we'd been getting and I set an alarm for a 2am dose, but alas, he woke screaming at 1:50am. One top molar is in and I can feel both bottom ones below the gum. No sign of the fourth one yet. This morning was just one long meltdown from the moment he woke up until we pulled out of the driveway. The cumulative sleep deprivation is obviously getting to him, too.

When I dropped him off at daycare, I told his teacher he'd been inconsolable all morning and I hoped things would go better for her. No sooner did I finish the sentence than I turned to see he'd pulled a book off the shelf and was sitting on his own, quietly and contentedly "reading" it to himself. His teacher said that he'd spent the whole previous day doing much of the same. This kid is usually a whirlwind at daycare but he obviously feels the need for some downtime. Kids' intuitive self-care is amazing sometimes.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

this and that

I'm here with a belated thank you to everyone who talked me off the ledge after my last post. I'll fill you in on how the story ended: My friend and I discussed the situation very briefly during the only time we saw each other (a couple of days later) but I was still too bound up emotionally to express much of anything. Then she went out of town for a few days. When she returned, I brought it up again and confessed that my feelings were hurt that we talk so openly about so much and yet she'd kept this from me, and also that I knew I was probably being paranoid, but I was worried about what her keeping it from me meant in the grand scheme of things. She swore up and down that it meant nothing; that she hadn't had a chance to tell anyone about it before her friend (now business partner) launched their website, not even her husband. I'm choosing to believe her because she's a good friend and I want to be over this. Here's hoping I'm not about to be knocked out by the Other Shoe on it's way down.

Honestly, the situation was eclipsed by a bigger, scarier WTF, but I'm filing it in the unbloggable folder for now. Mostly because I'd like my blog to be something other than long periods of neglect punctuated by complaints. Bor-ring.

So in the yay column: Elliot rocks my world. I realize I've said this every month since, like, month 5 but... 16 months old is totally my favorite time!! His sense of humor is really starting to come out and he's just so darn sweet, when he's not throwing himself on the floor and screaming until he can't breathe, but as long as I'm in the right mood, I even find that kind of cute. (C'mon, how do you not laugh when a child acts like you've removed a limb without anesthesia because you tell him he can't wear your adult-sized shoes to school?) M teases him about his low standards because he pronounces "Ta Da!" at full volume and thrusts both arms out to the side when he does something as impressive as stack a single block on top of another. He can point out his eyes, ears, nose, mouth, chin, head and tummy and tell us what a cow, sheep or duck says. Oh, and a rooster, if you count "doo-d'doo," which we do, because we have low standards too. :-) He's just a cool little dude.

Oh, this is sort of old news but I don't think I've posted this here before: I LOVE that he can walk. More experienced moms had me all freaked out about the walking stage: "Oh, you think he's tough now. Just wait until he's walking!" and "Don't encourage him to walk. He'll do it soon enough on his own and then you'll be in a world of trouble!" Well I'm here to file a complaint against that craziness. Stationary to crawling was a much bigger adjustment. I don't think he moves any faster walking than he did crawling but (a) I don't have to worry about his hands and knees getting dirty and/or torn up on questionable surfaces and (b) he can actually cover ground on his own now which is helpful if we need or want him to and (c) it makes him happy. He can get things for himself now which makes it easier to meet his needs than ever before. Sure we have to chase him around, but we were doing that when he was crawling and we weren't enjoying any of the "trade off" benefits of his independent ambulation. It's nice that when my arms are full of crap in the morning, we can make a single trip to the car because he can get there on his own two feet. It's nice that we can ask him to go get a pair of shoes from his room and he does it. We play the "take this to your Mom" game all the time - cute and functional. All this is to say that walking is good stuff in my book, so if you've had people tell you otherwise, please add these two cents to the mix.

It's been ages since I posted any pictures, so here are a few so you can see what a KID he's turned into lately:

most recent "bear" pic - 16 months

Fourth of July

last pro photo session - 15 months

Sunday, July 11, 2010

When will it ever end?

I'm not going to waste your time with the details. The nutshell version is that my closest local friend who was also my doula during E's birth launched a major pregnancy/birth-related project, obviously several months if not years in the making, and I heard about it through someone else. On Fac.ebook, of all places, when I was asked to "like" said project's page.

I'm also not going to waste your time with the freaking dissertation I could write about all the many ways this has ruined my night*. Poor M got an itemized list over dinner. Know that they are plentiful. And know that at least 90% of them are self-absorbed, infertility-and-traumatic-birth-scarred bullshit**. I know this, and yet I can't turn them off.

I have M as a barometer for how a normal, rational person should respond to this situation, and compared to her, I am like some kind of sad, deranged narcissist.

I have been feeling really proud of myself lately - like I might finally be getting a little distance and perspective. Apparently not. I guess I just needed the right trigger to be right back where I started.

No, that's not fair to say. I'm not back where I once was. I don't view every pregnant belly as part of a conspiracy and I have ventured back into certain physical and online spaces I had to stay away from for a long time. I'm better than I was. I guess that makes it all the more surprising (and infuriating) when something so minor can unleash this torrent of sadness and disappointment and frustration.

I just want to be a normal person with normal emotional responses to life. I'm so, so sick of this twisted gift that keeps on giving. I know you all are too, which is why I'm here. I just need to vent to some people who get it, so thanks for listening.

*Here's one weird one, though - perhaps you can help me with it: One of the things that is most upsetting to me is the fact that I can't figure out why she wouldn't tell me. It makes me feel left-out; it makes me feel stupid for not being able to see whatever it is; and it makes me feel nervous and defensive - like whatever I'm missing is going to come crashing down on my head at any second. There is some Reason X why she didn't think I could handle the information or she didn't trust me with it or she didn't value me enough to share it or something else I haven't even considered. Whatever it is, it ain't good. I feel lame for being so upset over something I can't even define, but the fact I can't define it is kind of the point. Not only was I kept in the dark, I'm still there in a way. Any insights to normalize or clarify this jumble would be appreciated.

**10% have nothing to do with anything infertility- or pregnancy- or baby-related and are just plain old hurt feelings at being left out. I literally talk to this woman for several hours every single weekday, and many weekends, too. We talk about anything and everything, or so I thought. But I know that even those feelings are tinted by my residual hurt feelings at being blindsided by her pregnancy announcement, which brings us back to... you get the picture.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

with butterfly wings

Disclaimer: I wrote the bulk of this post on 6/5/10, which is like 2 years ago in baby time. I am just now getting back to it to it. So it goes.

I have about a dozen things to write about, all of which could be posts unto themselves but they won't for lack of time so you get bullets.

  • Elliot is at a freaking awesome stage right now. He is picking up new actions, words and skills by the minute - literally. He learned "uh oh" last weekend and now stops at nothing to create situations in which he can use his new word. He has become pretty adept at copying our actions. The other night, I was cutting up strawberries for him and I stuck one of my fingers in my mouth to lick off the juice, then pulled it out with a smack of my lips. Guess what Elliot's new favorite trick is? (It's way cuter when an almost-15 month old does it.) M brought home a new set of hand weights and he's obsessed. He watched her do a bicep curl and now tries to imitate it (as best one can when lifting roughly 1/12 of one's body weight), complete with a dramatic exhale at the top. He has decided through no prompting of ours that a certain large, heavy blanket is his "ring-around-the-rosie blanket" and he won't perform unless he's standing on top of it. In fact, if we start singing the song and the blanket isn't down, he'll go to the basket it's in and heave it out for us. I gave him a bite of a chocolate truffle and he clapped his hands and said "Mmmmm!" He is crazy good at sucking his cheeks in for a fish face and he's all about the hugs and kisses right now.
  • Elliot is at a freaking challenging stage right now. Tooth #7 is newly in and we're waiting on... lord knows what. First I thought molars. Then I thought tooth #8. Now I've decided there's a submarine periscope trying to push it's way through. All I know is that teeth 1 through 6 weren't nearly this traumatic and if we ALL don't start sleeping better, none of us are going to make it out alive. Then there's the biting. We've asked the pediatrician for biting cessation tips on our last several visits as this has been going on - to some extent - for months. Each time she tells us the same thing - firmly tell him no and put him down - but it hasn't worked yet. This latest round of teething has catapulted his bad habit to new heights. The other day, I picked him up at daycare a little early and he was sequestered in a crib "to give the other kids a break from him." I'll admit to being a little miffed... until I saw the face of the little girl he bit. The poor kid had a puffy blood blister on her cheek where our little monster had clamped down. Nothing like that experience to ruin an afternoon. Any tips to stop the biting are more than welcome.
  • Speaking of daycare, I'm not quite as over the moon with E's daycare now that he's moved into the toddler room. I used to feel like we'd won the lottery in finding the best daycare in the world and now I realize it was just the infant room, not the whole center. Where he is now is more like "slightly-above-average" which is still plenty to be grateful for. I really like his main teacher, but she leaves about an hour and a half before I pick him up and I'm less enamored with the care he's left in during that time. No serious concerns - just noting a difference. Wow, this is a useless bullet. Nothing to see here, folks. My apologies.
  • Also speaking of daycare, M and E are both down with a nasty cold this weekend, courtesy of Elliot's classmate Charlie. Thanks, Charlie! Fortunately, they taught him to blow his own nose at daycare, too. He's really good at it. Maybe better than I am. Edited to add: That "cold" morphed into a double ear infection for E and tonsilitis for me and it knocked our entire house flat on its @ss for two solid weeks, hence the delay between writing and publishing.
  • M and I are a week into Jilli.an Mic.haels' 30-day Sh.red. That #$*@ is hard.
  • Oh, Elliot has another cool trick: He uses the clicker on my keychain to make the car horn honk repeatedly in the driveway! I'm sure our neighbors are loving it. He also pops the tailgate 9 out of 10 times, so our new morning routine involves me getting halfway out of the driveway before noticing the dashboard indicator is on and hopping out to re-latch the tailgate. If only I could catch on to things as quickly as he can.
  • And one more: If he gets his feet onto the tile or hardwood during his evening naked time, he creates his own personal slip n' slide... with his pee. No joke. The first time we thought it was a fluke, and it probably was, but now that he's discovered how much fun it is, he does it frequently and at will. First he makes the puddle, then he lays down in it on his belly and splashes and spins around, laughing hysterically the whole time while we curse and run for towels. I am fully aware that this peeing-on-command business is going to help us when it comes to potty-training time. I just have to figure out how to channel it...
  • My co-worker salvaged a little red convertible from the dumster behind her apartment building and she gave it to E, who thinks it's the Best Thing Ever. Witness:
  • I have another cloth diaper post brewing. It's a post-script to my previous post. The last few months have seen some changes in my opinions on things. I've typed and retyped a bunch of things here but deleted them all, so I'm going to leave it at that until I have a chance to think through what I want to say a bit more. Rest assured that I love cloth-diapering as much as before, if not more, and I'm still so glad we went that route!
  • June marks the two year anniversary of our successful IVF cycle. It feels like much less time has passed, and somehow, much more, too.
I don't know why I've been such a crappy blogger lately. I think I'm mostly just tired. I'm still not 100% well and I'm in the middle of an extra-curricular project that consumes my weeknights and will continue to do so until mid-August. I miss blogging, though. I miss knowing that no matter how hectic things are, I'm creating an archive I can look back on to remember this blur my life has become. Just some thoughts - neither here nor there, I guess.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Anatomy of an Adoption

February 23, 2009 – Met with attorney to ask some preliminary questions regarding adoption such as what the options in our state are (second-parent adoption is available), how soon we can take next steps (infant must be 6 months old), how to complete the birth certificate (do not list known donor), etc.

December 17, 2009 – Met with our primary attorney and a second attorney to begin process in earnest. Paid (large) flat fee for them to jointly represent us in legal proceedings to come. Attorney explains that I can not maintain my status as a legal parent and add M as a second legal parent - I must terminate my own rights and then we can adopt him jointly. We are assured this will all take place in a matter of seconds (i.e. no termination until the judge is actively signing the adoption order as well) but the bottom line is that in order for M to be granted any rights as a parent, I must legally disown and then adopt the son I gave birth to.

February 7, 2010 – Went to attorney’s office to sign papers in front of witnesses and have them notarized. K has to sign scary document terminating her parental rights. K and M have to jointly sign petition to adopt. Attorney mails a copy of termination of parental rights document to KD which he has to sign in front of two witnesses and a notary, then return by mail. We write check for court escrow account which must clear prior to filing.

February 19, 2010 – Case filed with family court. We are informed our next step is completing a home study with the Guardian-Ad-Litem, aka our 11 month old’s attorney.

March 10, 2010 – Mail requests for child abuse/neglect criminal record checks on both K and M. Attorney notifies us court date has been set for May 19th.

March 26, 2010 – Criminal record checks returned – no findings.

April 20, 2010 – Notified we have a problem. Since KD is not a legal parent and therefore cannot technically terminate his rights, Guardian ad Litem has requested newspaper notification of pending adoption. Catch is that newspaper ad has to run a minimum of 45 days prior to court date, which is unfortunate since our court date was only 29 days away. Alternatively, KD may be able to sign an affidavit claiming parental rights (prior to terminating them) but we’d need to get a revised birth certificate prior to court date and bureau of vital statistics typically does not offer that efficient of a turnaround. K expressed extreme dissatisfaction with this development and authorized attorney to spare no expense or assertiveness in trying to get things back on track.

April 22, 2010 – Attorney notified us problem was merely a “misunderstanding” and we’re on track for May 19th. We elected not to look a gift horse in the mouth.

April 24, 2010 – Talked with Attorney via phone to prepare for meeting with Guardian ad Litem. We are given a laundry list of things Guardian is likely to ask about including the layout of our home, our family and community supports, the history of our relationship and efforts to conceive, our educational and professional backgrounds, a detailed accounting of all of our debts and assets, and our thoughts on discipline, education, vaccinations and more.

May 3, 2010 – Met with Guardian ad Litem. Mercifully, “home study” is conducted as more of a formality than anything else and he ushers us through the information-gathering relatively quickly and painlessly.

May 18, 2010 – Talked with Attorney via phone to prepare for testimony in court.

May 19, 2010 – Court proceedings take place as scheduled. M and I both testify under oath. Elliot's attorney reports that it is "with great pleasure" that he recommends our petition to adopt be approved. Our son walks into the courtroom with one legal parent and walks out with two. M and I finally have legal rights and responsibilties that reflect our equal relationships to the child we have spent years dreaming of, planning for, conceiving, gestating, and raising. It feels even better than I thought it would. :-)

Ahoy mates!

Holy crap have I been busy.

No, I have not been busy entering giveaways. :-) In fact, I've hardly been on the internet at all for the past week. Much of that was an effort to avoid Lost finale spoilers (caught up now) and the rest was due to parental visits, spending a week as a stay-at-home-mom (how do you ladies keep up?!) and Big-Happenings-To-Be-Blogged-About-Shortly.

In the meantime, an answer to Katie's question on my last post: I usually don't waste time on the extra entries (except for following via google/blogger) unless I really, really want the prize being given away. Twitter seems to be the most common way of racking up extra entries but I don't know the first thing about tweeting - that is what it's called, right? ;-) So yeah, I usually just do one or two entries and move along. And also to Katie... congratulations on your win!!! If you're anything like me, you're in really big trouble now. :-) I initially thought I would only obsess over giveaways until I won something. Ha. My first win multiplied my addiction by about 1000%.

Oh, and just so this post isn't all business, I will tell you we have one new tooth in the front (#7) and at least one molar about to break through so no one is sleeping well in our house. Ugh. E has also picked up some two syllable words (flower, bubble) and added the second syllable to some others (kitty, bottle) and it makes him sound eerily person-like.