Monday, March 14, 2011

they say it's your birthday

He is two years old today. Two whole years - incontrovertible and unimaginable at the same time.

We had a great weekend of celebration. Saturday was his party during which we unleashed 9 toddlers on a massive train table and delightful madness ensued. Sunday, he opened his presents and spent the rest of the day bouncing off the walls and taking great delight in all of his new treasures.

He continues to be obsessed with trains. He can identify at least a dozen Thomas engines in a flash and from the most random of angles. He corrects us when we misidentify the various types of freight cars. Sometimes when he is playing with his trains, he'll softly sigh "Oh, Thomas and Friends." We have no idea where he got this originally, but our reactions are surely reinforcing it at this point, which is fine with us because it's cute as can be.

He's learned to sequence activities for bargaining purposes. When we ask him to go to his room for a diaper change, he will look us squarely in the eye and say "And then, back to trains." Once we agree, he'll go peacefully to his room. If not, he'll issue a counter-offer and we'll go from there until we've reached an acceptable compromise. :-)

His temper seems a hair better (knock on wood), or perhaps our management skills are simply improving.

He has a remarkable handle on plurals, which kind of blows my mind.

We got a potty seat and he asks to sit on it from time to time. Please don't let this behavior be confused with anything resembling actual potty training. I'm pretty sure that's at least 8 years away. Ditto for a big boy bed.

Speaking of big boy beds, he's transitioning into the "younger preschool" room at school next week. This means no more bibs, no more sippy cups, less unstructured time, and naps on a cot. I'm kind of sick over the thought of it. I just keep reminding myself I had the same anxiety over him moving to the toddler room and that worked out fine, so surely this will too.

He is a superstar with his pleases and thank yous. We almost never have to remind him anymore, and when he chirps his sweet, heartfelt "thank you, mama" at the most unexpected of times, it just melts your heart.

He is fearless. Fearless. When we go to a playground, he heads straight for the highest, most dangerous piece of apparatus in sight. This is a poor complement to his pathologically nervous mother.

He does a mean "I'm a little teapot." 'Nuff said.

I'm forgetting things I'll want to remember later, but those are a few of the highlights for now. It is a privilege and a joy watching him develop; worth every painful acronym we went through to get him.

We are continuing to develop, too. I was looking through some of his teeny baby pics the other night and I came across a series of pictures we took of him when he was about three weeks old. We were trying some different cloth diapers on him to see if any of them fit (they didn't) and snapping pics of each one because they looked so ridiculously huge on him. He was screaming; not a rare occurrence in those days. At the time, we thought he was (understandably) impatient with our belabored exercise. In looking back at the pictures, I can see clearly that he was cold. On one hand... Gah! Dumb parents, freezing your child to death! On the other hand... Wow. We've come a long way, baby. I can see something in a still image now that I missed when it was live in front of my face two years ago. We were fumbling along, getting by fine I guess (if you don't count the baby-sicle), but now, we're parents. Real ones. With skills.

On this day of celebrating E's arrival into our world, I am grateful to M for sticking with me through ttc, pregnancy, labor, and all that has come since, and to E for coming into our lives and giving us "big hugs" (his term) and kisses and keeping us on our toes. He is teaching us and transforming us by the day. This day is really a celebration of our whole family, and I couldn't be more thankful to be a part of it.

Friday, March 11, 2011


1. This past week ranks in my top 5 Worst Work Weeks Ever, and that's saying something as my job has been circling the drain for some time now. There were some other rough patches mixed in as well. Hard to say whether the chicken or the egg came first on that one.

2. Today, on the other hand, was wonderful. I took the day off to finish the preparations for my big boy's SECOND birthday party (good grief), to be held tomorrow afternoon. I ran around like a mad woman all day but it was sunny and beautiful and I crossed everything off my list.

3. I'm still working on that other post I advertised; the one where you are going to tell me whether we should move now or wait. I'm mostly sure the answer has already surfaced, but there are some lingering thoughts bouncing around.

4. I have another post brewing too; a "left behind" post. (See items 1 and 3.) Oh, and there will be three visibly pregnant women at E's b-day party tomorrow. The fourth one we thought might come isn't going to make it. Lord help me.

5. I'm wrestling with the same privacy concerns so many of you have already written about. Scary stuff going on out there. Not sure yet what direction I'll go in with it, but it's been heavy on my mind the last few days.

6. Today was my due date. Exactly two years ago, I was on my way home from a late dinner, wondering if the contractions I'd been having for the last week were ever going to turn into something worthwhile. Little did I know, I only had a few more hours to wait before things would start to get exciting.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Meet The Beatle! (a.k.a. we picked a donor)

I think we're over the hump. I should say that I think "I" am over the hump as I'm not sure M ever really had a hump to get over. She has been so great over the past few weeks - giving me wide berth to sort through my smorgasbord of emotions but checking in frequently and letting me talk it out as much as I've needed to. I think it came organically to some extent because she doesn't have a lot of strong feelings about this stuff, and as I have nothing BUT strong feelings about it, it was easy for her to defer to me. Because of that, I can't say I know for sure how she felt deep down at each step along the way. I probed her constantly for her input, hoping she'd say something that would sway me one way or another, and occasionally she did, but for the most part, she would tell me she was leaning gently toward X or Y, but she would back whatever course of action gave me the most peace.

One night, we had a conversation in which I said I just still really, really, really wanted to use KD, but I knew that wasn't a good option for many reasons, so I was ready to start looking at donors in hopes we'd find one that I could get excited about. I thought it might be too much to ask to have The Great Unknown beat out KD in the battle for my heart, but if I could pin a face or a profile to it... Maybe that would be bridge I needed.

I am always fascinated by the various criteria people use to choose donors - what is important to one person versus another. Last time we went sperm shopping, we chose based upon the overall vibe we got from his responses to the open ended questions and his essay. I remember clearly that we chose the donor we'd most like to be friends with, with the hope that his constellation of personality traits would most closely resemble ours. This time around, my priorities were for someone with English heritage (M is 100% English) so the answer to the "what are we?" question would be the same for both (all?) of our children, and for the donor who looked most like KD so that our children would be most likely to resemble each other*. (I realize this sounds shallow, but it's part of how I've come to terms with this course of action. And hey, I must not be alone in this desire given the number of banks that offer face matching services!) Oh, and we also wanted the donor to be ID-Release to mitigate one of the concerns I blogged about beforeIn Loco Parentis had given me a tip that she and her partner found Xy.tex to provide more information than some of the other banks, so while we skimmed a couple other options, that was where we started our search in earnest. We figured we could always switch to another bank if none of the Xy.tex donors floated our collective boat. M and I perused the profiles that night I brought it up and pulled out half a dozen that we liked. She picked one as her favorite. I was still feeling too unsettled about the whole thing to care much for any of them myself.

A few days later, I got an email from Xy.tex offering a discount on the membership package we'd planned to purchase anyway. We figured we'd wait until closer to our actual cycle, but I never met a sale I didn't like, so we took the plunge. We purchased the membership at something like 10pm and M headed straight to bed while I stayed up for the next several hours reviewing the profiles of every Caucasian, ID-release donor who had an adult photo on their site. There was a clear winner, and I knew it as soon as his photo popped up on the page. His baby photo (in which he is not a baby so much as a kindergartener) could easily be Elliot's brother or cousin, and his adult photo looks very much like the pictures I have seen of KD 20 years ago. Both M and I (and KD) are very musical and this donor is playing the guitar in his adult picture. That, plus his full British heritage and the features to match make me think he looks just like a Beatle, hence the blog nickname which I plan to hold on to. :-)

Imagine my delight when I scrolled down to read his profile and - I kid you not - out of the 102 Caucasian, ID-release donors with adult photos on their site, he was the very donor M had already picked as her favorite from our review of the basic profiles several nights earlier. How's that for meant to be?

His inventory is pretty low right now so we're trying to decide if we're committed enough to purchase some now and store it at our RE's office until we're ready to use it. I think we are.

Tangent: I have this one lingering anon donor sperm question that I haven't resolved yet. For those of you who have used donor sperm, how open were/are you in comparing donor numbers with other families using the same bank? For those who are still in the planning stages, what are your thoughts on this? I think I'm a little gun-shy in this area after we panicked a friend by nearly using the same donor as she did, but is there something weird about conceiving half-siblings of people you know, in or out of the computer? Or is it fine, or even desirable, because hey, there are gonna be X number of half-sibs out there whether you like it or not - at least this way you can be connected to one or more of them. Alternatively, is it easiest to stick your head in the sand on the half-sib issue altogether and take a "don't ask, don't tell" approach to other donor sperm families? I have no strong leaning on it myself (yet - ha ha), but I'd love to hear what everyone else thinks.

So, that's the story of how two people fell in love... with a donor. My world sure is spinning fast these days.

*If I'm completely honest, I don't really know what M's priorities were this time, and I'm not sure she did either. The last time we talked about it, she admitted that she was feeling pulled in multiple directions about what was most important to her. It sort of became a moot discussion point once we started looking at profiles and flagging favorites, so I'm not sure what her final ranking of priorities would have looked like. I should ask her.