The Good Stuff

I love a quirk. Learning of these intimate little oddities is the best way I know to connect with people. Quirks are the good stuff. To that end, I’m realizing that I need to capture them somewhere and this strikes me as the perfect spot.

Here’s a glimpse into our odd little world at newly 1 and almost 3.

IMG_0803

“All of we are blue birds”. This one is about to kill us. I’m working to keep perspective and realize that years from now we will remember this with fondness, but at three weeks in it’s not easy. Yogi has decided that we are a family of blue birds. Among other things, this means that we are not to refer to one another as anything other than “bluebird”. No Mama, no Mommy, no big or little brother. We are “just bluebirds”. This makes clarity in conversation damn near impossible. We’ve become quite adept at pointing when it is possible to do so and referencing “that other bluebird” when it’s not. Also, we all sleep in nests.

The Monk has uttered his first (I guess it counts) word:, “Uh-oh”. Long time readers may remember that this was also Yogi’s first word. I admit to some concern that “uh-oh” is the first clear statement that either of our boys ever made, but putting their mental health aside it sure does sound adorable.

Yogi likes the ladies. I never imagined that this kind of thing would be so evident so young, but at least in this moment, Yogi has very clear interests. It started a few weeks ago at bedtime. Between reading stories and singing songs, we always talk about our day. On playgroup days, Yogi likes to name each kid and talk about something funny they did. Out of nowhere Yogi looks up at me from under his eyelashes and shyly says “Let’s talk about the Moms”. Um, excuse me….what?!! In the moments that followed I learned that the boy knows the name of every Mom (if I could name the kid, he could name the Mom) and that he likes Meredith. This is the way he put it. “I like Meredith. Let’s invite her over all by herself.” Oh.My.

Monkey would like to take the stairs thank.you.very.much. I never dreamed that I would allow my barely one year old to charge up our notoriously dangerous stairs solo, but the man cannot be stopped. Thankfully he shows no interest in going down, but he is fully committed to going up. Not once has he faltered or stumbled. The very moment that the gate is opened, he’s headed up at great speed. He can be in another room. I swear he must feel it in his bones.

Mama appreciates a jock*. After shoving exercise underneath the list since Monkey’s birth, I’m back at it. I’m not running and I’m not yogi-ing. If you can believe it, I’m doing circuit training. Wha?!!! Owing quite a lot to my certainty that osteoporosis is in my future, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how much I would benefit from weight training. All those bones and muscles so nice and strong. It’s a lovely idea. Unfortunately, the reality has never quite lived up to the fantasy… until now. As in so many things it’s taken a butch little lesbian with some junk in her trunk to get me on board. I’m talking about Jillian Michaels. Yes, she’s entirely too bossy and she flirts in a painfully awkward way with her….(what do you call them?) back-up dancers on the video, but I can swing 20 minutes a day and I appreciate the eye candy. I turned the corner in my Jillian interest after learning that she’s married to a very kind looking yoga instructor and has two kids almost the exact ages of ours. This girl needs back story.

 

*This is something I learned about myself only after meeting my wife. I’ve never had any occasion to interact with sporty people before her, so I had no idea.

One Year with the Monk

DSC_1032

I am in love with this baby.

I haven’t written much about him here and that is a sad fact. Unfortunately, now that we’re two kids in, I think it’s safe to acknowledge that I really struggle with infancy. Really really. Monkey’s early months were even more of a struggle because of the juggling act that more than one kid requires. If it’s possible to have postpartum depression without actually giving birth, then I’ve had it. Twice. But somewhere around 9-10 months, the sky always brightens and by the 1 year mark I just seem to come back to myself again. A most welcome blessing.

The good news is that I’ve (mostly) forgiven myself for these long seasons of darkness and if we decide to do all of this again I’ll be even more gentle with myself the third time around. There is so much comfort in knowing what to expect.

For now I’m just taking deep breaths and reveling in the wonder of these little creatures. Grateful that now I can see them more clearly. I never imagined that I would spend my days with a Yogi and a Monk, but I couldn’t be happier that I do.

For now though, the Monk.

Even during the slog of those first few months I was able to recognize that the little dude was simply luminous. Whenever someone would ask about him I almost always described him as a ray of light. I’m not sure I even knew what I meant at first, but it couldn’t be more true. Sure he howls like a banshee, has been a difficult sleeper and elevated spitting up  to a level I never even knew to fear, but the guy is pure and clear and wide open.

His default expression is one of wide-eyed interest. He’s curious, yes, but well before he’s entirely sure what he’s getting himself into, he’s ready for it. He’s all in. My wife is always calling him “game” and I think that’s just right. Whatever you’ve got, he’s up for it and he’s not holding anything back. Want to cram him in the back of a tiny dump truck and push him around the house at top speed? Let’s do it! How about having brother dump yet another cup of water on his head in the tub? Sign that boy up! The little dude knows nothing of hesitation or skepticism. His favorite place is right in the middle of things. If something is happening, the Monk wants to be there.

And then, there’s the snuggling. Mommies, big brother, stuffed animals, pillows, people he’s never met; the Monk would like nothing more than to get as close as possible. He is a professional snuggler. His combination of huge eyes, bright smile and happy chub means that he’s almost never rebuffed. At 23 lbs it’s getting increasingly hard to maintain, but Monkey loves to be held. Always has. When he gets put down, it’s almost never his idea.

This year with the Monk has been such a gift. He has brought a wonderful kind of lightness into our family. The rest of us tend towards weighty seriousness, but not our little guy. He has a direct line to the simple, uncomplicated wonder of each moment.

Lucky, that’s what we are.

DSC_1051

DSC_1061

 

Big Day Around Here

IMG_5739

Today this little dude turned 1. The Monk has been with us for an entire year. Hard to believe. I have so much more to say about this little person, but no time to say it. A picture for now.

photo-68

Today was also the last day of school for this little dude. His last day in the 2’s. Next year I’ll be taking a big 3 year old to school. My oh my.

To celebrate this red letter Thursday, Mommy made strawberry pancakes for dinner. The boys stood side by side in the tower and helped. Yum!

Still Sparky

Clearly this guy is still his calm, chill self.  I, of course, am not.  I think the best description of my current state is sparky.  Reduced need for sleep, increased energy and lightning fast thoughts.  A small touch (spark?) of mania.  Baby mania.

My wife went in for the second beta at lunchtime and now it’s wait time and the clock.is.ticking.  I’m feeling optimistic though.  She felt pretty yucky last night and I couldn’t have been happier.  😉  Yesterday was our anniversary and I cooked jambalaya (yum!) for dinner (which Yogi LOVED by the way) and we had my wife’s favorite desert of brownies with vanilla ice cream.  It was a heavier meal than is typical around here and my lovely bride spent the rest of the evening with terrible heart burn.  Yay!!!!  Even she was happy about it.

In the midst of all of this beta craziness, Yogi has been doing some fun things.  First, did you notice the picture at the top of this post?!  He looks ridiculously cute in denim, but….. babies don’t wear jeans.  😦  He looks like such a big boy I can hardly stand it.  This is the outfit he wore to school on Tuesday when he went back for his first full (9-2) day.  He did cry this time when I kissed him goodbye, but I waited outside the door and he had stopped in less than two minutes.  When I picked him up that afternoon his teachers said that he had made it all the way to their actual naptime at noon without snoozing on the sly!  He did however refuse to drink either milk or water in spite of the fact that I brought his two favorite cups (this is a relative term), but I imagine he won’t dehydrate in 5 hours.  At least I hope not.  Overall I think he had fun and I’m proud of him.  I am getting pretty sick of the sippy-stand off though.

I’ll post the beta when I hear it.  I’ve still just got SUCH a strong twin feeling, but who knows.  I know you can’t know for sure until you can see what’s going on in there with ultrasound, but if the number more than doubles isn’t that kind of suggestive?  If you have thoughts or ideas about this, I’d love to hear them.  Thanks to everyone for being so excited for us!

Are You My Mother?

Thanks to R and J at .breaking into blossom. I’ve got a great new blog in my reader.  It’s called Regular Midwesterners and last week they posed an interesting question.  You can read J’s response here.

Do you think of yourself as a “mother”? A “father”? Something in between? Why?

For reasons that are likely obvious, I love this question.

The strange state in which I reside and adopted my son, thinks of me as a “father”.  On his newly issued birth certificate my name is typed neatly in the box marked “Father”.  This is both ridiculous and hilarious.  Oh how I do love the South.  When we can’t figure out how to handle something, we just barrel through making assess of ourselves.

I think of myself as a “Mama”, which I occasionally also spell as Momma.  I haven’t decided which version I like best.  No matter how it’s spelled, Momma suits me.  It’s a designation that has more flexible associations (for me at least) than the more buttoned-up options of either Mother or Father.  Mama offers opportunity for invention.

I am a Momma when:

  • I hold my wife close to my body so I can feel our baby kick
  • I pull my shoulders back with pride when I introduce her to someone as my wife
  • I snuggle Yogi close whenever he slows down long enough to allow it
  • I worry obsessively about whether he will abandon milk forever when we forcibly remove him from the bottle
  • I initiate a game of “pillows” by tossing pillows at Yogi’s head and tickling him to within an inch of his life while he’s down
  • I tear up listening to Yogi and his Mommy splashing and giggling in the tub
  • I toss him over my shoulder and dangle him by his feet asking “Where’s the baby?” when he gets impatient while running errands
  • I’ve never seen two more handsome people than Yogi and my wife in khaki pants and collared shirts

While there can certainly be comfort in a script, gay families have something that is even more precious.  We have the blank page, pregnant* with possibility.

* I am working the word “pregnant” into absolutely any space that will consider allowing it.

I’m a Lunatic. For Sure.

So many thoughts swirling around my head.

The good news is that my Dad came home from the hospital this morning.  I would feel even better about it if the doctors had had something definitive to say about why he ended up there in the first place, but I’ll take what I can get.  After all kinds of tests and blood work, they couldn’t find anything that looked out of whack.  He got bag after bag of fluids while he was there though and that definitely seemed to help.  I guess the cumulative effect of all of the chemo drugs took a toll, but he is on the mend.  Whew.  That is a tremendous relief.

And then there’s the fact that we have THREE MORE DAYS.  I’m counting Monday because when my wife called to coordinate the test with her OB office they told her they would call with the results on Tuesday.  TUESDAY?!!!!  They agreed to put a rush on it for more $$ (grumble, grumble), but I’m still thinking it might be close of business Monday.  The details don’t really matter actually.  This wait feels endless.

But by far the weirdest thing going on around here is the fact that I am entirely preoccupied with something that I’ve only given the briefest thought to before.

Twins.

I have twins on the brain.  It must be because of the fact that we transferred an almost unthinkable three embryos.  I never thought about twins in any serious way during the wait after the transfer we did with two embryos.  The only thinking I’ve ever done about twins was in the very early days when we were moving towards IVF and having conversations about risks and being conservative and doing what we could to avoid it.  Not because having two babies at the same time sounded like a terrible thing (overwhelming, yes.  terrible, no) but because it sounded like a medically risky thing.

Now I feel a little differently.  My wife had such a strong and healthy pregnancy with Yogi and although the birth experience wasn’t what we had hoped for (damn C section), I’m not as nervous as I used to be.  This is probably overconfidence, but it’s where I am.  Yup.  Where I am is right smack dab in the middle of “Hoping for Twins” land.  Am I a lunatic or what?  At least I realize I’m a lunatic.  I do have that going for me.

 

Some Days You Just Want to Eat a Sheep

That isn’t strictly true (at least for me – Yogi clearly has other impulses), but this picture has been the bright spot in my day.  A day that hasn’t been bright.

First there is the fact that my father FINALLY went to the doctor this AM after running a fever (it was 105 yesterday) since last Saturday and they admitted him to the hospital.  He has spent the first week of each month since April undergoing four days of chemo and last week was one of those weeks.  Usually it takes a few days, but he bounces back and feels alright for the rest of the month.

This time it didn’t happen that way.  According to my Mom, he hasn’t gotten out of bed in four days.  That’s what really got me.  I’ve never known my Dad to spend daylight hours in bed.  Certainly not for days in a row.  And now he’s in the hospital and they are running tests.  Not good news.  Not at all.

Then there is the fact that my wife is leaving tmw for a workshop and she won’t be back until late Saturday night.  That is three days of single Mom-ness during which I am sure to be completely preoccupied with thoughts (alternately optimistic and pessimistic) about whether or not we’re pregnant and now anxiety and fear about what is going on with my Dad.

Also today Jen posted sad news about the struggle that her family has been dealing with and it has just broken my heart.  I’ve been reading their blog since I started my own and I feel like I know them in some small way.  If you read Adventures of Jen, Tiff and Chunk, head over there and let her know that she’s not alone.

Tomorrow is another day…..

The Real Thing

Today was a big day.  Yogi embarked on his first day of school!!!  Everyone keeps reminding me that it’s not actually school (it’s Mother’s Day Out), but I’m stubborn.  And I like school.

Whatever it’s called it means that the little guy will be spending each Tuesday and Thursday from 9-2 with two teachers and a handful of other 1 year olds.  My wife and I are excited about this school and his teachers and this opportunity for him to gain a little independence, have new experiences and enjoy himself.

Last Tuesday the three of us went in for a Visiting Day during which we spoke with the teachers and the other parents and Yogi investigated the toys and the classroom and the other kids.  In spite of the fact that most of the other kids were walking AND we found out that he needed to wear shoes to school (What??!!  The kid doesn’t walk, what does he need with shoes?), it was a good morning.

This morning was the real thing.  I packed up all of his required gear (diapers, change of clothes, lovey, lunch in approved container) and we walked through the cold rain (is it winter all of a sudden?) to his classroom.  I had decided that for Yogi’s sake I would take the calm and confident approach to my departure.  No dragging it out and save the tears for the car.  Of course, nothing ever unfolds in quite the way you plan.  After putting his bag in the Yogi cubby and his lunch in the fridge, I sat him down in front of the mailbox that he seemed to like on Visiting Day and my work was done.  A little girl crawled over immediately and they started opening and closing the mailbox like it was the greatest game ever.  They were so engaged that I decided not to insert myself and instead just slipped quietly out of the room.

I do admit to hanging around the door for a few minutes listening for tears, but none came.  He didn’t cry!  And what’s even more surprising it that I didn’t cry.  Not then and not in the car afterwards.  I did think about him non-stop between drop-off and pick-up, but it was excited/optimistic thinking not crazy worry thinking.

When I picked him up one of the teachers was holding him and he had a passie in his mouth.  We are only doing passie in the crib these days so I braced myself.  In spite of the passie, the teacher said he had had a good morning.  He caught about a 45 minute snooze mid-morning while everyone else played and some kid ate most of his strawberries at lunch, but all else was smooth sailing.  Well, he also refused milk from a sippy, but that is hardly a shocker.  From what I could gather the kids played and ate lunch and do whatever it is kids do during these kinds of programs.

The rest of the afternoon seemed pretty much like any other afternoon so I guess the boy was no worse for wear.  Yay Yogi!!!!

Eight More Days

Waiting is hard.  Thinking about the fact that were it not for work related travel we would have only five more days is harder.  We have agreed (and we WILL.NOT give into the urges that I know will come) not to POAS before the blood test.  Incomplete information is such a curse and the potential for getting a faint line or not having a line isn’t worth the risk.

And so….. we wait.

And while we wait we have a delightfully busy Yogi to keep us distracted.  The boy is wowing us each day with new surprises.  Here are a few of his new tricks:

  • Moving his hand towards the moon in his book On the Night You Were Born when asked “Yogi, show me the moon.”
  • Lighting up and crawling at top speed towards the ball to pick it up and bring it to Mommy when asked “Do you see the ball?  Bring Mommy the ball?”
  • Occasionally taking an actual sip of cold milk from his sippy cup.  Progress!! (Dr. Wonderful said that his No Bottle goal would be 15 months so we’re going with that for now)
  • Sitting on the floor reading himself a book in a distinct voice that we’ve started calling his “book voice”
  • Crawling eagerly towards his high chair when handed his spoon

Having a 1 year old changes the feel of the wait, but I’m not sure it makes it any easier.  It’s still going to be a VERY long eight days.

Hope

Gearing up for the needle ceremony (the 1st day of P during TTC #2) this morning felt brand new.  There was still the drawing in the progesterone with the big needle and switching to the smaller one for the injection.  Rolling the syringe around in my palms to warm it up while my wife arranged herself tail up on the bed.  The alcohol pad beforehand and the massage into the muscle afterward.  But in the moment between stretching her skin taut and pushing in, there was the sound of this guy chattering on the monitor from the room next door.  In the 40-60 times I have moved through these very same steps, they’ve never felt quite the way they did this morning.