Saturday, December 31, 2011

Auld Lang Syne

Should Clomid cycles be forgot
And rounds of IVF
More take-home babies all around
For friends in the Internet

Happy New Year, everyone. Happy 2012 ahead.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Monday, December 19, 2011

Merry and Bright

I found this wrapped in Christmas paper with a bow when I picked Jackson up from school one day last week.  He made it during a special art project.
OH. You guys. My kid's first fingerpainting. I cannot describe to you how much I love this. How much I love him. The holidays make me all mushy and gushy and hormotional. Weep.

There are a couple of babies (TINY. Baybees.) joining Jackson's class in the next month, between 3-6 months old.  And he is due to transition out of the Infant (Baybee) Room and into the Toddler (Big Boy) Room some time in the spring or early summer. So the next few months will bring observations of Jackson's big brother potential around the babies. And his blooming independence in the Big Boy Room.  And I will be moving slowly toward the next things, the hopeful plans for a little brother or sister, the savings for a new house, the rest of the pesky baby weight to lose while we wait for Operation Take Two Nummer Zwei Le Bebe Dos to commence.  Working to keep myself sharp and afford all these things. Trying to just be here and in the moment and happy.

So Merry Christmas (or Happy Chanukah), you guys.  Also, Happy Festivus for the rest of us.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Odds vs Ends

Random deep thoughts, meine Damen und Herren.

The Girl is Crafty Like Ice is Cold: I borrowed (stole) Jen's idea for her little dude and made these as Jackson's Christmas present:
Note: I (sadly) did not sneak off and have a second kid. Katie is our rescued dog (side note: what is it with animal rescue people giving animals human names? Scratch Katherine/Katie/Kate off the potential girl's names list). Eagle-eyed readers may notice I have a spare block for our family just in case. You know. In case we grow another baby. I made blocks for the entire family:
I modpodged like a muthafucka, y'all. I might decoupage every surface in my house.

Miss(ed) Manners: We went to our irritating-as-shit neighbors' Christmas party last Saturday. We go solely out of a sense of obligation, and take solace in the fact that other neighbors do the same. At least we like the other neighbors and can chat with them (and make plans to hang out with them on the sly). So, the less-than-awesome-total-asshole neighbors started handing out Christmas presents to select friends and neighbors in the middle of the party, including a giant Thomas-the-Train set for their friend's 17-month-old. And they insisted he open it up and play with it. I didn't expect or want a gift from them, for KB and me or for Jackson, and I didn't bring them a present (other than a host/hostess gift of a bottle of wine BECAUSE WE HAVE MANNERS) but how do I stop a toddler from wanting to play with another kid's toy when it's right there in front of him and everything else in the room is a "no-no -- please, Jackson, no-no -- oh gawd, don't grab the glass ornament or painted pinecones, etc."? The other kid's parents were nice about it, but in the kerfuffle Jackson got a huge cardboard cut on his cheek while packaging was flying around the room. That angered me so much I cannot even tell you. Gurgling, bubbling, seething anger. Not only were these jackholes being obnoxiously rude about handing out presents to just a few people, and oohing and aahing as loudly and mega-obscenely as they could, but they couldn't even muster enough class to have a small toy for Jackson while lavishing gifts and opening them for another kid nearly the same age. And then the cut on his face. Oh, and their two giant dogs roamed freely and humped the kids. Their solution? Scream at the dogs in front of the kids and otherwise do nothing. I CAN'T WAIT TO MOVE TO ANOTHER HOUSE. Did I say that out loud? No, fuckers, I shouted it. I now return to my usual programming of avoiding these un-neighborly assmonkeys like a fratboy with herpes.

Broken Social Scene: I have a playdate with a friend from grad school and her daughter tomorrow. Like, a real playdate, at my house. This is uncharted territory for me, you guys. I think this makes me a legit mama now. (I take Jackson places, I swear, and we meet other friends and their kids for activities, but people? coming to my house? a first.) This grad school friend is living a similar life now -- she did the academic postdoc (check) and left to do freelance pharma and tech consulting (check). She's also part-time and uses a nanny for her 16-month-old daughter when she works and sends her older son (around 3, I think) to pre-school. I'm looking forward to swapping stories about how we are finally free from the academic slave trade, and how part-time freelance consulting rules (uh-huh), and inquiring about how much harder it actually is to have two kids about 2-3 years apart (I'm leading my own study, ya'll, and recruiting subjects to survey). This is kind of a big step for me because I'm possibly the Greatest Homebody Ever. We'll see how it goes.

It Takes Two to Make a Thing Go Right: I poas-ed last week, everyone. Stifle your laughter, it's not nice. I realized that KB and I had done Le Deed at precisely the right time for ovulation and thought it might just be possible. Guess what happened when I tested? Besides the obvious, that it was stark-white-negative? My period started approximately one hour later. Oh, universe. *shaking fist at sky* KB's surprise was manifested as, "Oh, you mean my super-sperm didn't impregnate you?" I guess not. And we are now within the month or so in which we said we would meet with the RE to begin the process all over again. So why haven't I made the call to schedule the appointment? I should call. Maybe tomorrow.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Meta

If you like wit and profanity, here is some stuff for your eyes to look at while you chuckle.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Napster

Jackson has become (note the perfect present tense, it is intentional) a good sleeper, but not without some hurdles to overcome along the way. In the wee early months (oh gawd, months) we had colic. He transitioned to his crib just fine but liked to get up 3-4 times minimum each night to nurse, for a long time (oh gawd, months). In the past 4-6 months, we've made huge strides in sleep with him going to bed quite easily around 7pm and sleeping through the night until 4-6am, when he wants to cuddle and have some milk (I used to nurse until The Strike led to the Self-Weaning, and now it's just a sippy with a few ounces of moo-milk). He then goes back to sleep until around 7am or so. Last night we began the project of eliminating the wee-early-morning milk run. If it was consistently happening around 5-6am or so, I wouldn't really care because, seriously, cuddling with your bebe when he's half asleep and the house is quiet is like leisure time. But some nights he's up for that sippy as early as 3am, and we've tried comforting him back to sleep without it and it fails. Must.have.milk. Last night went okay, with minimal fussing, and he slept in until 8am. Win-win so far. Wish us luck tonight.

And the napping. He's been a crap-napper since day 1, hardly staying out longer than 30 minutes. He whittled his naptime down to one per day a few months ago and would not fall asleep in his crib at home. Bollocks. So we've been strapping him in the car and running around town doing errands to get him to nap in his carseat, which works but can be a pain in the asshole. Last weekend I said, "Enough." He naps at school, even if only for half an hour and once a day, ergo he can do it at home. I plopped him in his crib with a blanket and a toy and some rain forest-y sounds and he babbled and played for half an hour and then, boom. Slept for an hour and a half. Hour and a freaking half. He did it again today, twice. Twice. I'm kicking myself for waiting so long to get to this. The more you know.

And speaking of, he's waking up from his second hour-plus nap today, right now. Huzzah. Off I go.

p.s. Here was this morning's prelude to a nap:

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Giving Thanks

I'm thankful today and every day for my boys. And for all of you, Bloggy Friends. That is all. Now let's stuff our faces with turkey and side dishes. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you.

(To my International Bloggy Friends, today is Exhibit A, as to why 115% of Americans are obese.  Gluttony, it's what's for dinner.)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Bosom Buddies

The long-forgotten post about my therapist/bosom buddy is here. Stop holding your breath, darlings!

She was recommended to me years ago by a friend who is also a therapist. The friend is a bass player and we played in a band together at the time. To cut a 33-year story short, after my wedding reception, during which my mother made it all about her and provided the 100-pound straw that broke the camel's back, I decided ENOUGH. I knew at that precise moment that I could not manage her brand of crazy anymore and I had to figure out what to do. So I explained enough about it to my friend to convey my therapy goals, and with recommendation in hand, I was off to get my head shrunk.

We started right off the bat with some deep, dark shit. Abusive and neglectful childhood, narcissistic and delusional mother, and so on. I left most sessions crying a mix of agony and relief. And then we worked through a lot of that, and I came out the other side with a confidence I had not felt before. I did not have to endure this anymore. I could walk away. And so I did. My therapist essentially, actually literally, gave me permission to cut my mother out of my life to preserve my own happiness. And so I have. It still requires a degree of active management (Krazytends to not take hints or honor requests) but it's been a huge weight lifted. So, yay therapy.

When my job at that time (management! business development! travel! 60-hour workweeks!) started to feel shitty, and then we got The Diagnosis (super shitty sperm syndrome, SSSS), I continued going to therapy to deal with these emerging issues. And we worked through them, too. But once I got pregnant and had started a new work-from-home job, I stopped going to therapy. I thought, I've got this.

Oh, stupid me. You've never got this.

So in the wake of returning to work full time after a nearly 4-month maternity leave, at which time I kind of lost my shit and my mind, I quit the job and immediately called to make a therapy appointment. Like, 5 minutes after I gave my resignation. I was diagnosed with postpartum anxiety and we talked about drugs, talked about behavioral modification, talked about self care, and without even needing the drugs, things started to get better. She shared stories with me about her kids' colic and breastfeeding struggles and sleepless nights and the first thing she said after our first session back together was, "Girl, we've got to get you some sleep." So, once again. Yay therapy.

Now for the interesting part. The friend who recommended her to me started a private practice, and my therapist joined him in a shared office. (I now typically go to appointments a few minutes early to catch my friend in between his appointments, and we chit chat.) Anyway, the friend just got married and both KB and I AND the therapist and her husband were invited. No, scrap that. We were all in the wedding. Yeah. KB and Mr. Therapist were both groomsmen, Dr. Therapist Lady gave a reading (the "love is patient" one for you biblical scholars), and I sang a couple of songs. We all sat together at the rehearsal dinner. We looked at pictures of each other's kids. We drank tequila together. We also sat AND DANCED together (white people dancing, natch -- it included The Lawnmower) at the reception. It turns out we have a lot in common as civilians and we make good company. Huh.

Both KB and Mr. Therapist said to us (separately), "Jen needs to find a new therapist so we can all hang out." What a strange compliment, you guys. But the truth is, if I had met Dr. Therapist Lady at our mutual friend's wedding or anywhere else under different circumstances, I think we would have become fast friends. When we talk about my mother-in-law issues in sessions, it almost feels like two friends bitching together. (Except I get a bill.) It's simultaneously weird and comforting. But that's how I'd sum up therapy in general, anyway.

Our current discussions center around A) how to deal with my in-law's brand of crazy (the mild variety) and how to deal with the anxiety that creeps in over planning for Operation Der Kinder Nummer Zwei. And I learned my lesson about foolishly thinking, I've got this. Maintenance, man. Just because you change your oil doesn't mean your taillight won't go out. I plan on continuing to go, even if we cut back on frequency (every 2 weeks now and longer stretches around the holidays) through the next 6 months or so, at least, as we embark on another embryological journey to the center of my bank account and my uterus. And then I'll be sure to go back after Hypothetical Bebe Deux is here to head off postpartum-whatever at the pass. This dog can learn new tricks.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Ugh. Times Twenty.

The Duggars have bred again. Good grief.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Don't Be a Fool, Stay in School

So, here goes.

I'm glad Jackson is in daycare. Er, school.

Side note (aka, just the facts, ma'am): His daycare is actually accredited as a school, since it is a certified Montessori program. They have an infant classroom that takes babies from 3 months to around 18 months, after which they transition to a toddler classroom that holds kids up to 3 years, and then there is a pre-K and a Kindergarten program. Parents who have put their older kids through public school Kindergarten have all told me they intend to put their younger kids in the Montessori Kindergarten because they believe it is better. And since Jackson has a fall birthday that would make him one of the youngest kids in a public school Kindergarten class, this might be a good option for us in a zillion years when the time is right because my baby will never be that big (denial, it's not just a river in Egypt!). The teachers have childhood education degrees, the kids all know each other, and the parents are really involved. It's everything I could hope for as a learning and social environment for Jackson and a place to meet other parents for KB and me.

So, anyway, when I returned to my full-time job back in January, when Jackson was 14 weeks old, I was worked to the bone right away and I got sick with repeated mastitis and sinus infections and crippling anxiety and I quit THE END. KB and I were in a financial situation where we could live without my salary and that suited me just fine. I had a vague notion I might return to work, but I desperately wanted to find a way to make it more flexible, part-time, and overall less stressful. I didn't object to sending Jackson to school full-time in general, but it added to my then-horrific level of post-partum anxiety about Making It All Work and Being Everything to Everybody. That shit will kill you. I actually kept him in school while I stayed home, starting seeing my therapist again, and just relaxed my schedule with him so that I dropped him off whenever I felt like it, after we'd spent time together in the morning playing and having breakfast and maybe going for a walk, and then I picked him up as soon as I felt like I had gotten some chores done around the quiet house and felt ready to give him my undivided attention for the afternoon before KB came home. Lucky for me, he warmed up to the teachers and his classmates/friends right away, and they are as thick as thieves to this day. They've learned to crawl together, walk together, and play hide-and-seek together every weekday. He gets visibly excited when we pull into the parking lot. It's about 6 hours a day of pure playtime joy. And they have a Spanish and a music teacher. Jackson plays a mean tambourine. Educational. And Jackson has never suffered a single serious episode of separation anxiety (he whines for me sometimes, but never throws a fit). He's learned to play with other children, to respect other adults, and is by everyone-who-meets-him's account an extremely happy and easy-going kid. Huzza. Oh, and to squash one favorite counterpoint, he's had just one ear infection (which occurred while I was home with him), only a couple of minor colds, and one bout of pinkeye. Kid is healthy as a horse.

When I decided I was ready to begin picking up freelance work, and the contracts came in, and then more contracts came in, I was careful not to overdo it. I had some wicked anxiety and do not desire to fight that demon again. I successfully avoided Better Living Through Chemistry (and no judgement passed on anyone who is on that path), and have had a successful transition back into working on a part-time, flexible basis. It doesn't hurt that I make as much doing this part-time as I did on full-time salary (no corporate overhead, higher consulting rates). This sounds like a humblebrag, and I guess it totally is, but I am now in a position to make more doing less and I have never been happier about it. I get to interpret cool clinical data, write cool regulatory documents outlining the key results, and help send it off to the FDA. I get to run meetings with other scientists and statisticians who listen to what I have to say and then do what I say. I get to learn new things and use what I've learned and it pays bills. To me, that rules. And I need this to be the best "me" I can be. Otherwise I just see myself sitting alone in a room peeling yellow wallpaper until I die. (Where are my literary nerds?) And our family is better off financially for it. We live more comfortably; we know Jackson will be able to go to college. And it's the only way we afforded IVF (times three) in the first place, and are able to consider it again, to even HAVE children to think about putting in school or not. It makes our life as we know it possible.

But none of that is really the point. The whole situation boils down to this: I like having time to myself. I like being able to engage in something I find intellectually challenging (work) and also having time to finish the laundry or prepare Jackson's meals in advance or sip a cup of coffee in silence. I like the break. And it has taken me a while to accept that this does not make me a bad, or in any way worse, mama. It makes me human. It's just how my brain is hardwired and my chemistry balances. And I can tell you, when I send Jackson off to school, and then pick him up, it ensures my time with him feels special and that I'm not too worn down from a long day of chasing him around and the random toddler-ish standoffs and struggles (see also: tantrums) to enjoy playing with him or to do the necessary wrangling to get him into a highchair or in his sleepsack for bedtime.

And there's no way this doesn't sound judgy to the stay-at-home mamas, but I like to think that I am sending an important message to Jackson as he grows and learns that both mama and daddy earn a living for our family. My job clearly is different from KB's, and is sort of a hybrid of stay-at-home and work, but I like that Jackson will know that ladies bring home the bacon, too. I will be proud to tell my son that his mama is a doctor. A lady doctor, y'all.

Second side note: I detest getting mail addressed to "Mr. and Mrs. B___" almost as much as I loathe seeing something addressed to "Mrs. K. B_____." ZOMG I did not surrender my identity for realz use my goddamned name and by the way I am a doctor. Full stop.

So, to my bloggy friends who stay home with your bebes, I salute you. You do what I cannot, and I am okay with that. And to my bloggy friends who work and send your bebes to school, I salute you, too. We all do what we must to make ends meet for our families, and to enrich ourselves. And THAT makes us the best mamas we can be.

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Great Pumpkin

Step One: Audition a field of pumpkins to find the best one.
Step Two: Yoda, you are. Thoroughly disgusting, pumpkin guts are to me.
 Step Three: Seriously, Yoda, you are. A nerd like your parents, you may be.
Step Four: Not to be outdone, Katie the Dog sported this (tragically unrelated) costume.
Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I'll Tell You Who Gives Two Shits

You guys, I'm worrried that my baby might be dumb.

I let him run around the house naked while we were preparing to take a bath, and for no good reason at all he crouched down and shat on the floor. What kind of baby does that? It's uncivilized.

What happened next was akin to Neo dodging bullets in The Matrix. I cried out "NOOOOOOOO!" in slow-mo and reached for wipes, only to discover that the bin was EMPTY. I ripped open a brand new container of super spendy gDiaper wipes (biodegradable! chlorine-free! requires a small loan to purchase!) and used them to poop-scoop while Jackson toddled away, laughing hysterically.

BULLET DODGED.

Only not.

Do you think I learned any lessons from this turdy near-miss?

No. No, I did not.

Feeling confident, I let Jackson continue running around with his bits n' pieces flapping in the proverbial breeze. And then. He crouched down and took a mighty dump. Again. AND HE WAS LAUGHING WHILE HE POOPED. ON THE FLOOR. AGAIN. Only now he knew that poop was imminent, and as I scurried over with more wipes, he REACHED FOR A TURD. I batted his hand away, which was apparently part of the game and made him laugh even more hysterically. Maniacally. And while I flushed his turdle down the toilet across the hall, he starting WHIZZING ON THE FLOOR. And for the first time, he made the connection between pee itself and the act of peeing. As in, ohmahgawd the pee is coming out of mah pee-hole and I MADE IT DO IT I AM SO AWESOME LIKE A MAGIC BEHBEH WIZARD YAY! He grabbed at his junk and laughed while the pee just.kept.coming. People, all I could do was stand there and watch and laugh with him. His total delight was pretty contagious. I wiped up his puddle with a nearby burp cloth and off to the kitchen sink bath we went.

True story. The end.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

Oh, Bloggy Friends. I am a terrible, terrible blogger and I love and miss you all. Hugs and kisses, y'all.

I am reduced to bullets. Again....
  • Jackson WALKS. No, wait. He RUNS. He rarely crawls anymore, and instead of his late evening eye rubs to tell us he's ready for bed, we wait until he starts stumbling and falling. This new activity wears him out so thoroughly that he's ready to start his bedtime routine by 6:30 some nights. He's beginning to sleep in a little longer some mornings, too, so we're on the verge of getting more and more sleep at night. Hallelujah, rejoice!
  • He's saying actual, real, for-serious WORDS now. He says "mama" and "dada" and "do" (for doggy), "hi" and "bye" and then a bunch of nonsense we haven't decoded yet. He waves and says "hi" and "bye" to people. Hearing it in that twee little voice is the awesomest. Then again, when he's tired or irritated and moans "mama-mama-mama..." over and over....well, that's still awesome.
  • We made the move to cloth diapers at daycare. We've been spared any serious diaper rash until recently, when the near-constant emergence of new teeth (we're up to 8) means increased quantity and weirder quality of pooping. So the poor kid has had a red-baboon bottom for a few weeks now. Even triple paste (holy shit! this stuff is spendy -- I practically had to offer collateral to buy a tub) isn't clearing it up. I discussed with the head teacher in his classroom, explaining that we cloth diaper at home and it helps, and SHE suggested we bring in the cloth diapers. It turns out that another kid in the infant classroom has been using gDiapers all along. (*DOH!*) So Jackson gets all gPants all the time (except at night time, when he is a super-soaker complete with leaky diapers in recent weeks) and Mama gets to do laundry all the time. It's a fair trade for the sake of his bottom.
  • Since we got the all-clear to give Jackson moo-milk at his 12-month check-up, we've noticed he pees A LOT MORE. Especially at night. I can only hazard a guess as to the reason, perhaps something related to the protein and liquid composition of cow's milk and how the kidney processes it. I'm too lazy to consult Dr. Google on this. At any rate, he leaked through, no, SOAKED through, his night time diapers a few times in the past couple of weeks, to the point where I was waking up to a sopping wet baby and crib every morning for days in a row. Changing his diaper in the middle of the night is counter-productive to all the sleep progress we've made, so we tried the special night time diapers (complete with Branded Cartoon Characters! Oh yay! Take a piss on Elmo, sweetheart! Crap out a turd on Pooh!). They were an epic fail. They actually leaked WORSE. I tried stuffing a gDiaper disposable insert inside the night time diaper for extra absorbancy, but still no dice. Just a wet, pissed off baby and wet, pissed-on crib sheet. In the past week we've cut back on his milk consumption and substituted water and snacks, and that has helped. So word to the wise, moo-milk might equal human hydrant. The more you know.
  • Freelance work is going really well so far. I've been working just 2-3 days per week and have some long-term (4-6 month) contracts committed, so I don't have to spend time looking for more work until after the holidays. And it hasn't been too stressful since my current clients are actually pretty organized and friendly (you don't always get so lucky -- it's a grab bag). I just made an appointment to meet with an accountant (*gulp*) to figure out how to address my taxes for the remainder of this year and next year, and to determine if I need to create an LLC or just keep operating as a sole proprietor. I don't really want the hassle of forming a bona fide small business, unless there are significant tax liability incentives to do so (i.e., if the income can be classified as business profit/reinvestment at a lower tax rate or something), since there's no career development advantage to the LLC designation. So I'll let Mr. Professional Beancounter tell me what I should do and abide.
  • I've come back full circle to having baby-on-the-brain. I've been thinking a lot about calling to make that initial consultation with our RE to schedule retesting and sort out a treatment plan for Operation Baby B Take Two Part Deux The Empire Strikes Back II. KB and I loosely agreed a while ago that we would do that after the holidays, which are getting closer and closer and closer....and I am getting itchy to make the appointment. I'm doing my best to pull back on the reigns a bit, since I'm just hitting my stride with the freelance gig and we have a few home repairs that need to be addressed as we map out the next year or so in preparation for trying to sell our house and move into a bigger house. Whew. When I think about all of this, my brain shorts out because A) how will the timing of treatment and potential (hopeful) pregnancy work out against the backdrop of trying to sell a house and move? B) is this a big deal considering it's only a cross-town move? C) can I ramp up my work efforts in the next 6 months or so to stash some money in case I need time off (or, in freelance terms, to stop taking jobs) during treatment, during pregnancy, and after the Hypothetical Baby B Numero Dos Take Two Part Deux The Second is born? 8) how much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? $#) what is the meaning of life, the universe, and everything? (42. And at least I have a towel.)
  • Feel free to give me a virtual bitch slap, but I am trying to cope with the fact that things are going pretty great right now. I am NOT used to this. I've lived my entire life waiting for the other shoe to drop, and things are, for once, falling into place. Set aside the fact that to grow our family by +1 more, we still have to go through infertility treatment, and that we are trying to perform financial and real estate magic to find a bigger house. And forget about the fact that the timing of all of this seems a little compact. I am working hard on focusing on the present. Things are good. Life is good. Amen.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Party Like It's Your Birthday

On Friday, there was this:
KB made Jackson's first birthday cake, which proved far less interesting than the plate it was on:
After we put him to bed, KB and I enjoyed some damn fine devil's food cake. Someone had to eat it.
And then Saturday, we unleashed the gates of hell...I mean, we invited the whole family and some friends and neighbors to celebrate Jackson's birthday with more cake!* and presents:
He wore that bow on his head for quite a while, which is more than I can say for his birthday hat:
We took this picture mere milliseconds before he enthusiastically ripped the hat off and chucked it.
He also got to play with a friend**:
And spend some time with his only cousin***:
I sent everyone home with these:
And to ensure they all got The Diabeetus, some of these, too:
And at the end of a long day, Jackson got to enjoy his loot:
That stinkeye was directed at some irritating neighbors.****
That's better.
Disclaimer: I did not make any of the crafty-type stuffs you see above. What I made was this:
And the highchair banner here:
I mean, come on, you guys: I sewed! I have sewn! (Not to be confused with the conjugation, "I sew.") Most everything else was from Etsy. (I heart Etsy, people. Hard.)

*The cake is from Cake Nouveau in Ann Arbor. The owner has competed (and won!) on Food Network cake challenges, which I became addicted to watching while pregnant and melding with the sofa. That and HGTv. I know how to build, fix, landscape, and/or stage a house, y'all.

**I have a mommy friend! For real!

***I don't count my stepsister and her redneck clan, since I don't really even know her. Plus, I bet she would think my party was lame since it wasn't at Hooters. Backyard barbecue, boring! Not a single stripper or a clown in blackface or a confederate flag or a gun or a can of Bud to be seen!

****Oh, the annoying neighbors. They walked in and stood in front of the small pile of gifts, refusing to put theirs down. I had Jackson in my arms and had to put him on the floor to take the gifts from their hands, pivot 15 degrees, and bend over slightly to place on the pile for them. Then they shouted, "Where's the alcohol?" (When you think, "Kid's first birthday party," don't you always also think, "Let's get shitfaced!"? They pounded a bottle of wine and about half a dozen beers by themselves.) And then...we had made a decision before the party started to not open gifts since Jackson has the attention span of a gnat and the patience of Joan Crawford on a wire hanger rant; everyone seemed to get this. Most everyone. After all but a couple of people (family members) had left, and we were starting to clean up, we realized the neighbors were parked on our sofa staring at us. Drinks in hand, natch. They sternly requested we open their gifts, right then and there, thankyouverymuch. So we did, to avoid their wrath, which is when I captured Jackson's insightful look, above. I look forward to moving, you guys. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to write a thank-you note to these charming people and then sprinkle it with sugar and perfume and maybe wipe my ass with it before mailing.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Where the Buffalo Roam

Well, we were not eaten by bears. And we did not drive off the steep side of the mountain a la Thelma and Louise. We also did not see a single goddamned buffalo. My life is not yet complete.

Jackson did remarkably well for about 75% of our air travel, falling asleep during takeoff and napping through much of the flight. That is, for three out of four total flights (two each way). And so he made up for it on the fourth, which happened to be the Minneapolis-to-Detroit leg that brought us home. Holy hell, y'all. He squirmed, he cried, he fussed, he bit, he hit, he rubbed his weary little eyes BUT HE WOULD NOT SLEEP. And that was how I lost my mind, The End.

Other than that, we did fine. After the first night of adjusting to the time zone change and the day of travel, he slept through the night and awoke cheerfully every morning. We took him to the wedding rehearsal Friday afternoon and he charmed everyone with his toothy grin and played peek-a-boo over the church pews. There were a bunch of the bride's family members there with even more bunches of kids (this is a rather fecund Catholic family) including two newborns who are merely days old. They were dragged, er, invited, along to all the events and their parents were run ragged trying to get them to sleep in strollers and carseats, late into the evening during the rehearsal dinner and late into the night during the wedding reception. Dude. I am so grateful my sister was able to come and "nanny" for us during the wedding events because I would have lost whatever is left of my marbles if I'd had to deal with that on top of the travel stress and the nervousness of singing in someone's wedding. (Thank goodness I didn't mess it up. We'll see -- and hear -- when the wedding video is edited.) We were able to actually relax and enjoy the dinner and the reception. We even danced! Well, white-people-style, but still. (Actually, KB got down on the ground and did a little breakdancing for us. And I moonwalked, as much as someone in high heels can.) We had a little fun. Maybe even more than a little. Go us!

And so with our extra days there, we got all vacationy and saw wildlife, the Badlands, Wall Drug, the Crazy Horse monument, and Mount Rushmore. See? See:
And now we are home (sweet home!), cleaning up the house and preparing for a certain little man's first birthday party on Saturday. And I keep muttering under my breath, "serenity now!" as if it will keep me sane. Because, you know, having the whole family over plus kid-centric event plus a couple of other kids to entertain divided by it might rain equals Mommy is scheduling a massage for next week.

And on the next edition of Jen's Random Infrequent Updates: how I became friends with my therapist.*

*She shares an office with the groom, our mutual friend, and so was at the wedding; we socialized as civilians, and now KB and her husband are like bona fide friends. And I think my therapist and I might be, too. So....huh. We'll analyze this, my Interweb Armchair Psychologists, another day.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Thing 1 and Thing 2

Packing for Le Trip: We haven't been gone this long on our last couple of semi-local trips (Chicago, Saugatuck) AND we'll be in the prairie-boonies, so I want to be sure we have what we need for das kind. They have a washer and dryer at the resort, so I'm bringing cloth diapers (although we'll stick to disposables for the airport and while my sister is babysitting). The poor bebe has raging diaper rash right now that gets better for a day, then worse again, then better, then...lather, rinse, repeat. I think it's partly due to formula *blech* making his poops disgusting with the contribution of the teething/increased saliva/fever constellation of shitty symptoms *rimshot**pun*. I have extra bottles of pain reliever and numby-gummy gel to stash in my purse (after we clear airport security, of course; until then it will be crammed into a fucking useless if-we-put-our-belongings-into-tiny-goddamned-clear-plastic-bags-and-take-our-shoes-off-then-the-terrorists-won't-win bag). Because, oh yeah, tooth #6. The weather is supposed to drop from 80 to 60 while we're there, so lots of clothes will come. And we'll have to bring actual socks and shoes for Jackson...his barefoot summer days are coming to an end. I'm not sure how sleep will go since we'll be 2 time zones behind his 7pm bedtime, and coming in and out of the cabin while he's sleeping. I guess we'll see. Fingers crossed for minimal horribleness. Okay, I guess we can be a tad more optimistic and hope for actual pleasant fun. Why not.

Look Who's Talking: I initiated (or re-initiated) the conversation with KB re: when-to-go-back-to-the-RE. Here's some relevant info: KB has been followed by a urologist since we received our super-awesome severe male factor infertility diagnosis, and the only clinically significant physical or biochemical flaw ever detected is a testosterone level just below normal, which could explain the fucked up sperm. On our last IVF cycle, KB was on Clomid and we actually saw our 0% normal morphology leap up to an incredible *brace yourselves**are you sitting down?* 1% normal. I'm no mathematician, but that's a 33% improvement relative to the 3% cutoff for normal! Yippee-ki-yay-motherfuckers! Motility never showed improvement, but I dare not dream for actual normalcy. Even since discontinuing Clomid over a year ago, KB's testosterone level has remained in the normal range, which might (key word) mean a prolonged period of better sperm production. Maybe. Possibly. We don't know. (And there it is: hope. Creeping back in. Asshole.) Although I wouldn't bat an eyelash at a surprise pregnancy (bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha...that cracks me up), I think that 2-3 years between kids is about right. This would mean trying to get pregnant over the next year. So I asked KB if he thought we could make an appointment with the RE after Christmas to repeat all the testing that led to our diagnosis in the first place, and he thought that sounded fine. It's not a commitment to do anything just yet, but it'll tell us where we stand. Gawd, would I love it if our RE told us we were candidates for timed sexiness, or medicated IUI, instead of IVF. Wouldn't that be something? *le sigh*

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

And Then There Were Five

Five ta-ta-toothies. They JUST. KEEP. COMING. Fortunately (I guess?) the cutting of this new tooth was masked by the head cold we've all had for the past week. I just noticed this new little bottom tooth had already cut the gum this past weekend, having assumed all the fussing and nighttime waking and sniffles and whatnot were from the cold.

Because, yeah, that's how we celebrate holiday weekends -- Sudafed and Gatorade-tinis! We went ahead (foolishly?) with plans to have the whole family over on Labor Day and hoped for the best. And did not get it. Things were fine until, well, the people showed up. I was trying to feed Jackson before the Distractors were here but one of them arrived early and proceeded to hover and talk and shake toys at and otherwise prevent the feeding of one hungry little boy. We asked politely (as we have had to before, as always to no avail) for the distracting to wait and, predictably, the request was ignored. Whatevs. I shoved some food down his gullet anyhow and we moved on. Then a while later, when Jackson was rubbing his eyes and falling down from exhaustion (did you know the Distractors are also masterful Overstimulators?), I took him back to his room to try and settle him down for a nap. He's become a great nighttime sleeper, but daytime naps are not as easy. We usually take him for a walk or a car ride, which I thought might be kind of rude with people over at our house. Plus they had my car blocked in. So I rocked, sang to, and walked around with a fussy, sleepy boy for half an hour before he finally sacked out in my arms for another half hour. I stayed back there for my own respite, and because sleeping moppet = bliss. When I re-emerged with a well-rested baby, there had apparently been serious dramaz. KB was accosted by an older family member who sneeringly accused him of "coddling" the baby by asking people to keep their voices down while Jackson slept, and he didn't back down from his request nor did he take this insult lying down....so a brief fight ensued and the family member stormed out of our house. Jayzuz. Who's being the baby, here? He got an apology today that included something to the effect of, "...but YOUR words hurt me deeply..." so it's not 100% apologizing, more like insinuating that by pushing back against her stupid remark, KB drove her to madness or something. Ferchrissakes. Can't we all just get along?

In other news, I am starting to prepare for our 1-week adventure to South Dakota. Yes, one of the fly-over states is our vacation destination. KB and I are in a friend's wedding, and my sister is joining us for a couple of days to watch the munchkin. I am hopeful (but not counting on) that away-from-home sleep and cloth diapering and airport shenanigans will not break me. I already think I have a touch of the crazy, and it might not take much of a push to get me over the edge, y'all.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Ranting and Raving

Ahem. Le bullets.
  • My period is now regular (~30-day cycle). Yay? This means it should come again while we are on vacation at our friend's wedding. Not yay. *shakes fist at mother nature*
  • Jackson is still anti-nursing. He may have effectively weaned himself. All the super-pro-breastfeeding information sources (LLL, kellymom, Dr. Sears, etc.) swear on a stack of What To Expect baby manuals that babies under the age of 1 JUST NEVER EVER self-wean, but I've tried to encourage him to nurse for over a week now and he is simply not interested. He no longer fusses about it, but makes no attempt to latch and just waits for the bottle to come. So, that's that. I'll keep offering, I suppose, because I like the feeling of my head against a brick wall. And I'll keep pumping so he can continue to be breastfed until we switch to moo-milk in a few weeks. But I doubt I'll be able to pump enough to cover his usual consumption, and when the freezer stash runs out I'll have to supplement with formula. It's not what I planned, and not what I want, but it's probably just necessary. And so I am pushing myself toward the acceptance phase of this grief. I wish I could keep nursing him, but the stars aligned in some fucked up way and it appears to be over. Like, ovah. At least he's still cuddly while he slurps his bottle. I've got that going.
  • He just cut two teeth at once. I don't believe it's twice as bad as one tooth at a time, I think it's actually on a logarithmic scale. The poor kid gets a fever (in the morning and fever all through the night...) and a whole-body rash to add insult to his sore gum injury. But both of these teeth (upper front two) have cut the gum, so hopefully the worst is over. His sleep is still pretty decent outside of a couple of nights last week with frequent wakings and a lot of rocking back to sleep (my secret weapon -- nursing -- has been disarmed). His smile is gummy no more. Now it's ta-ta-toothy.
  • I am planning the shit out of his first birthday party. It won't be a huge thing, just family and a few friends, but it's super important to me that it's special. That every birthday is special. I don't recall ever having a birthday party, or even a big deal being made of my birthday, for a variety of reasons traced back to shitty parenting. So, at the risk of sounding like one of those parents who live vicariously through their children, I want to plan really special celebrations for him. Starting either next year or the following, I'll let him pick the theme and invite his "friends" but for this year, I get to go nuts with it. The theme: sock monkeys. There will be pictures. Also, I've made crafty shit for it. Involving a sewing machine. Truth.
  • I am getting worse, not better, at keeping my shit together when family members get in my parenting bidniss. I sometimes envision punching them in the face to make myself feel better. Seriously. Situational examples: 
    • Deliberately distracting him while I am trying to feed him in his highchair
    • Offering him cookies and passive-aggressively insulting me when I say "we don't give him cookies," including trying to convince me that cookies don't have sugar in them and then switching the rationale to "well, I raised my kids on it..." like I'm supposed to give a shit about that
    • Crowding around and hovering when I change his diaper like he's a circus chimp performing for their entertainment -- it's shit, people, very smelly and foul shit accompanied by piss, so let's take a step back and let me tend to it
  • Speaking of, we are having huge success with cloth diapering at home, and it's just downright helpful when he gets rashy from the teething, or heat, or wearing sunscreen a lot, or whatever. He has delicate skin I guess. We're using mostly gDiapers at home and it's so stinking easy. I let KB use the biodegradable inserts so he doesn't have to handle the cloth insert, but we just use those sparingly (spendy!). It helps with diaper rash and heat rash so, so much. I haven't sent them to school yet, but I may request a meeting with the head teacher in the infant classroom to discuss it this fall (like, next month). It's really just not that hard. I wish I had known more about and been more confident of it sooner. If we have another baby I wouldn't hesitate to use cloth right away.
  • I am grappling with mixed emotions as my teensy weensy baby becomes a toddler. He's on the verge of walking! He babbles with purpose and seems to "know" a few "words"! He eats honest-to-god grown up people food by the tiny fistful! It's amazing and fascinating to watch him grow and develop his personality and skills, but it also breaks my heart to cross things off the list as we move past all the milestones. No more nursing. No more baby sleeping on my chest. No more helpless newborn. Instead, I have this massively funny little moppet with curly blond hair that seems to grow an inch a week and who is ready to lead me on chases around the house and who loves to swing at the park and who gives me hugs before bed and when he wakes up in the morning. Bittersweet. To say the least.
  • Will we try to have another baby? I don't know. A few months ago I felt so confident about it, and now maybe a little more ambivalent. I think that's mainly a product of wanting to focus on Jackson and not put energy into thinking about a hypothetical baby. But I still think I want to try, maybe early next year. Now that my periods seem to be regulating, I am surely going to have a surprise pregnancy any day. For sure. You'll all be the first to know.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Strrrrrrrrike

Aaaaaaand....you're out. Almost.

Still no go with the nursing. Day 3 of the strike. He's not afraid of my boobs anymore, but won't even attempt to latch. He just fusses until I give him a bottle. I might try toughing it out tonight and refuse to give him a bottle so that nursing is the only way to get milk. I just don't know. Will that work? Will it make it worse? Now I'm going H.A.M. on this breast pump from 4am until 10pm. Fuuuck.

Natch, the pediatrician says I should just switch to formula for the last month until it's time for cow's milk. Of course he would say that. Most moms are already on formula at this point, and I am the breastfeeding zebra among horses. To all of which I say, again, fuuuuuck. I don't want to switch to formula. I want to nurse my baby. Neither of us is ready for this to be over yet.

I hate this.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Strike

Jackson has been on a nursing strike since Saturday afternoon. Not only does he seem to be on the verge of cutting another tooth or two, which made nursing difficult for maybe 10 minutes with each of the first two teeth, but he bit me Saturday (not hard, thank goodness, but enough to elicit a surprised and firm negative response) and may now be afraid to nurse. Which means I have to pump more. Which is shit. I can't produce as much with a pump as I can nursing him, and a meager freezer supply is all I have to help and once that's gone, it's gone. And I feel like total shit. Like I caused this by scaring him after the not-really-that-bad bite. More than anything, I feel like shit because when I try to nurse him he pushes me away and cries. I can barely stand it.

I've read every reasonably credible interweb resource there is and am trying to take solace in the fact that A) everyone assures it's not my fault (though I feel like it is) and B) strikes usually resolve within a week. But in the meantime. Shit.

9am Update: I got him to latch a couple of times this morning by distracting him with my phone case (his most beloved plaything). He tentatively latched, took one suck, let go, then did it again. It's pretty obvious he's carefully making sure I'm not gonna scream and backhand him. I tried again a little while later and no dice, but I am at least encouraged that we might be headed in the right direction. So back to being hopeful instead of crying, y'all.

Thursday, August 4, 2011