I Mind the Gap

When I quit my job last fall, the main reason was to be a stay-at-home-mom.  But the other reason was to have sort of gap year, I guess I’d call it.  If I were 18 and British.  I wanted to have the time and energy to do and try all the things I’d been talking about for years.  As my old job was quite demanding, I had very little of myself left at the end of each day to devote to other, more personal creative projects.  Like this blog.

You may have noticed I’ve slowed down with the posts. It’s not because I ran out of things to say or I’m bored. Quite the contrary. I’ve been working for several hours a day on material for some writing program applications. I won’t go too into it because:

  • I don’t want to jinx it.
  • Nothing will probably come of it.
  • As someone said to me at a party last weekend, I might be afraid to succeed.

But today marks a big milestone.  Not for Posey, but for me.  I finished the applications, and I sent them in. Cheers to me.  Now what?

I think I may have been devoting so much time on this one thing to avoid another thing. I need to start looking for a job soon. Maybe.

When is the right time to go back to work? I’ve had so many interesting conversations about this topic lately…

Stay tuned.  We’ll be right back.

 

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4 Things I Am Not OK With

I am kind of paranoid.  And due to said paranoia, I was pretty certain I was doomed to be an over-protective parent. It’s how I was raised (don’t deny it, Mom & Dad), and I reckoned it was encoded in my genetic makeup. And when she came out a preemie? I expected myself to have 8,000 items in my cart at http://www.plasticbabybubble.com.

This week, Posey will be 8 months old. I’m happy to report that I’m not as cuckoo as I expected myself to be.  Wanna hold her? Sure! Dirty hands? That’s cool– it builds up her immunity.  Nap time is lax– it happens every day, but not at the same exact time– and nothing is baby-proofed yet. However, there are a few things on my list that have recently floated to the top of my motherhood ocean, and I cannot skim them off.

They are:

Dogs

When I push the stroller past a dog on the street, my whole body tenses.  I am sure the leash will snap when that pit bull mistakes Posey for a Cornish game hen.  Today, we went to a barbecue, and the host’s giant pooch came a-sniffin’.  Beef didn’t react, so I decided to take his lead and not freak out.  Then the dog stuck its schnoz in the Pose’s face… and licked her.  She smiled. I did not. Later, Beef told me he didn’t jump because he didn’t want to scare the dog, but he was pretty sure our baby was gonna get dingo-ed.             So dogs = baby eaters.  This is a proven fact. Horrifying.

Slings

At this same barbecue, some friends were toting their infant in a fabric sling. The baby was so happy. She was sound asleep, curled up in fetal position– which is the first time I’ve ever used that phrase about someone who was recently an actual fetus.  It was so Mother Earthy. My baby, on the other hand, was sweaty and mad, strapped in her heavy-ass car seat that’s giving me forearm wrinkles from the increasing weight.  I was so jealous of the sling. But I have to stick to my guns. Slings = Baby Suffocators.  Also a proven fact.

The Sun

Huge sun hat, gobs of baby sunscreen.  Her skin is so perfect– how would I ever forgive myself for ruining it? All winter, I looked forward to taking her to the pool. She might have to wear a swimming snow-suit. For the coverage.

Nuts

I am nutty about nuts. Beef is, too. We also eat a lot of granola bars. I can’t tell you how many times one of us has eaten a peanut butter granola bar, smooched the baby, freaked out, and ran to wash her face. At least I’m not alone in this behavior, because it’s pretty specific.

What weird is that last week, we were both totally okay with her putting a pacifier in her mouth that had fallen on the floor of a church. You know, the kind that’s never had its floor washed ever since being built in literally 1899.

113 Year Old Dirt = Puts Hair On Your Chest.

Posey’s 1st Opinion

The first time I took Posey on the swings, she hated it.  She sat there, in her fancy coat, and just hung. No smile. No movement.

Nothing.

The second time I took her, she had the time of her life. She grinned, she rocked, she rolled.

What was different? Another baby.

Posey didn’t seem to know how to form her own opinion.  The swings weren’t fun until she watched someone else enjoy them.  Sweet potatoes, peas, apples, carrots all got sad faces until I made a silly “Mmmmmmm!” sound after the first bite. Then they were delicious. She liked what we told her to like. I know she’s a baby, but still. This kind of made me sad. As a kid, I was really concerned with what others liked/did/wanted. I didn’t grow out of it until college.  I think I hoped my kid would march to the beat of her own drum at an early age.

And then, we went shoe shopping.

I held up gold gladiator sandals. Denim sneakers. White, flowery mary janes. Yellow ballet flats. And the glorious pink leather owl thingies. I used the bracket system. By process of elimination, the owl slip-ons won every time, no matter which hand I held them in. She reached for them– and only them– every single time. She liked something. I was so proud.

Posey wore her new owl shoes out on the town tonight. I would have chosen the gold sandals. She made a different choice than I would have. She has her own opinion now.

And I’m devastated.

The Benefits of Having Internet Friends

Almost two years ago, I was starting the process of IVF and was feeling totally scared. I didn’t know anyone else that had ever done it, I had a million questions, and I wanted a buddy or two who knew what it was like to walk in these particular shoes. So I did something scary– I reached out.

Online.

I posted a message on babycenter.com’s message boards asking if anyone else out there was also about to begin the process. And something awesome happened: I met five other women all across the country, all in the same boat, who my husband named– in no particular order– Upper East Side, Bloomington, Texas, Oklahoma and Portland. Some of his geography was a little off, but I guess it helped him keep them straight.

We communicated daily for the next several weeks about the injections, the side effects, how our egg retrievals went, how our husbands were dealing with things, how WE were dealing with things. And then, something not-so-awesome-happened: ALL FIVE OF THEM GOT PREGNANT.

Except me.

In real life, that would have been a real friendship test. In the internet-friend world, it would have been easy for me to retreat. But it was too late. We were all in too deep and cared too much, and they knew almost exactly what I was going through. I stayed in the group. And six months later when I finally DID get pregnant after two more tries, these five women were the first people I told. After two years, they are no longer my internet friends– they’re my REAL friends (even though I’ve only met one in person).

Today marks the 1st birthday of the first babies (twins!) that were born out of our merry little band of mothers. Six women; eight babies. I was so lucky to find them, and it turns out they might have actually literally helped me get pregnant. Harvard-led research indicates that women experiencing infertility are more likely to conceive if they participate in a stress-reducing program, such as a support group.

So if you found out that having a baby is going to be tough for you, I encourage you to reach out and talk to other women in the same baby-boat. Babycenter is a great place to start; so is Resolve.

Epilogue: We’re all still very much in contact and have taken our relationship to the next level… Facebook. Happy Birthday, L & C.

Happy Thawsgiving!

After two failed IVF treatments, our doctor told us there was nothing else he could do for us. It was probably best that we take our files and go– find another practice, another doctor, another hope to hold on to.

There was just one last bit of business to take care of before we parted ways. Six months prior, Beef and I banked two leftover embryos in the freezer, and I hate wasting leftovers.

On February 22nd, 2011, we showed up at the clinic unsure if our two little buggers had even survived the thaw. Not only did they– but one was already dividing, multiplying, growing…We could even see in the grainy microscope picture that it had busted out of its shell.

99% sure she's the one on the right

The procedure was the worst of all three I’d endured. I literally saw stars from the pain. But I got through it, ate my animal crackers afterwards, and went home to rest. Two weeks later, we found out we were pregnant.

My baby is the strongest person I’ve ever met. I don’t know anyone else who was cryogenically frozen for six months, defrosted, shot out of a cannon, born almost six weeks early… and so unphased by any of it.

I guess maybe she wanted us as much as we wanted her.

Happy Thawsgiving.

Milestone of the Week: Week 19

Today my baby is 19 weeks old.

At 19 weeks, I SHOULD be able to: delete the Kitty Halftime Show from my DVR no matter how many times I tell myself Posey really enjoys watching it. Especially the water dish cam shots.

I MIGHT be able: To prepare myself for the fact that I can’t protect her from everything and everyone– and nut allergies. Please God, skirt us around that tree nut thing.

I wish every night before I go to sleep: That I will be able to raise a kind, brave, empathetic, confident woman who would never, ever allow herself to be in a relationship with someone who takes advantage of or abuses her. Or maybe worse, wish she WERE in a relationship with someone like that.

Milestone of the Week: Week 18

Every week, I get an automatic email telling me what my baby should and might be able to do at each week of development. I find it a little unfair that no one is measuring my own little baby steps, so I think it’s only right and good and fair to do it here.

My baby is 18 weeks old.

At 18 weeks, I MIGHT be able to: Not feel guilty that flossing my teeth for two whole minutes is selfish and indulgent.

At 18 weeks, I SHOULD be able to: No longer use the post-natal hormone level fluctuation excuse to rationalize to myself why I actually get a spring in my step on days that 2 Broke Girls is on.

Now your turn! What can you mighta-shoulda?