Tuesday, January 01, 2013

I miss me...

 I'm going to try to start blogging a little more regularly than every-three-years. I miss having the ME time, I miss having somewhere to get it all out, and I miss having something I can look back over and see where I've been, and how far I've come.

Since this is a major milestone for me, I'm totally going to start out with a long and important ground-breaking post. Well... it's long at least. Probably I'll come back soon and maybe give an update about where I am in life now, but not yet.. That's an even longer and more complicated story...

Today, I look like a vampire. And not even the bad-ass kind. The teen-angst sparkly kind. Holy fudge.

It's entirely not my fault. I blame it on school. Because dammit, if it weren't for school, none of this would have happened.

How, you ask? That's a long story.

I realized this morning with crisis #1 (the inability to locate my spanx), and with crisis #2 (the subsequent disappearance of my brow powder, an apparent necessity of my morning routine), that I have become that woman. You know the one.

Excuse me for a minute. PB just came in with a fully-loaded suitcase for our overnight trip tomorrow. We'll be gone all of 36 hours. I think she's packed enough for a week-long vacay. Oh my, I can't imagine where she learned that.

Where was I?  Oh yes, that woman.

The one who spends wayyyy too much time primping and prepping. High maintenance. I used to be a low-maintenance chick. My entire "routine" consisted of getting clean, and then maybe throwing on a little eyeliner. Mascara too, but only if it was a special occasion. I did eventually figure out what to do with all the other lotions, potions and pots of goo, (Read that as: I got a job at a makeup store and sort of had to learn it..) but except for work, it was still just a special-occasion thing. It was fun to play with my makeup and hair, and be girly once in a while. Once I had G and was a full-time stay-at-home, I went back to the happy-if-I'm-clean method of primping. And seriously, that boy was so high maintenance that I was totally happy if I had a shower without a major crisis. But I digress...

So there I was, perfectly happy if my entire routine involved taking a shower and brushing my hair. Then I went back to school.

Oh my Lord, want to feel old? Start your education on the downside of your 30s. Still, I would recommend it. Better late than never, and 40 is the new 30 and all, so really I'll only be 30 when I graduate. Sorta.

At any rate, I figured that it would do me good to get back in the swing of things and get used to having to get up and get ready in a reasonable amount of time day after day, because some day, I'm going to need to have to do that when I have a job, and it seemed perfectly logical at the time, until it spiralled out of control and found me doing such crazy things as trimming my eyebrows along with waxing and plucking, or flat-ironing my hair before curling it, or owning twice as many shades of lipstick as I do bras, or even shaving my legs on a day when no one (no one!) will see them, and now, NOW I look like a vampire. All because I went back to school.

Here's what happened: I was trying out a new eyeshadow, and following the instructions for a slightly different look, one which involves using a "highlight color".. well, my highlight color wasn't very highlight-y so I figured since I'm not going anywhere today* it would be ok to go a little less subtle, and I pulled out my sparkly dust. I was applying this to my brow, being very VERY gentle because the slightest twitch sends a cloud of sparkle everywhere like a miniature beanbag exploding all over my face (seriously, have you ever had a beanbag chair that sprung a leak? Those tiny little styrofoam dots stick to everything, go all over and show up weeks later like a reminder of that night you wish you could forget. That is exactly what this sparkly dust will do).

So then I dropped the sparkle brush. It flipped end-over-end in some weird slow-motion fashion. All... Down... My... Face.

And now I look like a Cullen. Thank God it's an overcast day out there. If I learned anything useful from those books, I learned that as long as it's cloudy, no one will notice anything.

*(except perhaps that giant obnoxious store that shall remain nameless, and everyone knows that it doesn't matter WHAT you look like there... so it's practically the same dress code as lounging around the house, only with more pants. Seriously, one of these days I'm going to wind up on that website.)

Sunday, February 28, 2010


I'm not sure if anyone still reads this, but I wanted a quiet place to sort this out, and this is my anonymous spot.

Tomorrow I find myself in a bizarre situation. I have an appointment for birth control. I'm getting an IUD. Reversible, but long-term. Given my age, realistically, it's permanent. This is it. For most people, that's just a normal part of responsible womanhood. For me it's a milestone I never thought I'd see - a time when I feel like my family is complete. By choice. It's a bittersweet milestone. Voluntarily taking away my fertility feels both sad and weird, mixed with a strange feeling of empowerment: I am fertile enough to need to prevent future pregnancies! Holy shit.

How the hell did I get here? When I posted last, I was rejoicing about PB trying to eat, B & I were still pondering adding another little Grail 'some day in the future', and G was .. well, he was G. He, at least, hasn't changed much since then. Still a challenge, still my wonderful little boy. Everything else has evolved in ways I never expected.

PB did learn how to eat. In fact, she is so good at it that I can count on one hand the number of foods she won't eat. She's not a baby any more, by any stretch of the imagination. She's now 2.5, though most people think she's closer to 4, and she thinks she's closer to 14. She is a beautiful little dictator, having B wrapped firmly around her chubby little finger, and spending most of her days bossing around her brothers. Yes, brothers, plural.

Surprise! That's pretty much how I felt when I found out about Little D. Absolute fucking shock might be a little closer to the truth, really.

D is almost 6 months now, and is the reason why I have an appointment tomorrow. He is incredibly easy: he eats, sleeps and plays well. Doesn't cry without a reason. Tho he is a bit shy and reserved, he's got a smile that can light up my world.. in short, we really hit the genetic lottery this time*.

We just don't want to do it again, especially now that we know that my flavor of PCOS is like reproductive roulette. Well, ok, B does not want to do it again. I'd be up for another round, but I know that I shouldn't. Pregnancy has not been my friend. G introduced me to postpartum pre-eclampsia, something I never even knew existed prior to that. PB introduced me to PIH that sticks around and becomes regular old hypertension .. and D taught me that blood pressure can be just as dangerous for baby as it is for me. He was born at 35.5 weeks, weighing in at a whopping 4 lbs 12 oz, and not quite 18" long. We weren't sure what to expect because we knew he wasn't doing well... and then he came into the world screaming and pink and very nearly perfect.. but he was tiny. In fact, that was the one thing B said to me, when I asked how he looked as they whisked him away - "He's tiny" said B. I know that - but what else? "No, baby, I don't think you understand, he's really fucking tiny". Kinda shellshocked. In the nursery, he was the tiny baby. In the NICU, he was the big boy. It's all relative. When he was born, I thought he was small. By the time he came home a week later, I understood what small really meant. I don't want to push my luck and find out just how much worse things could have been.

So I have that appointment tomorrow. I'm sad, but excited. I think I need to focus less on this being the end of my baby-making days, and focus more on how freaking excited I am that *I* am the one in control of this decision. This time.

*yes, that sounds bad. No favoritism here, because I do love all my babes ~ but it is no secret that G was an incredibly challenge as an infant, and PB was tough just by virtue of circumstance.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Major milestones

This week, PB licked a pretzel... while not a major milestone for most babes, this is a milestone of epic proportions for MY babe. She put a piece of food in her mouth voluntarily (!!!) .. a feat which has not yet been repeated, but for which I am extremely proud. You'd think my child had won the Nobel Prize, that's how freaking proud I am of her.

Her feeding therapist is also proud.

Her feeding therapist. Who knew these job descriptions existed?

My insurance pays a lot of money for a very nice lady to come to my house twice a week and play with my baby. Seriously. And it squicks me out.

Sure, it's goal-oriented playing, but it's a process that involves trying to get PB to bite, lick or chew things, and which generally involves PB putting toys (or her own fingers) into Miss Shannon's mouth.. an exercise that pushes my squick factor to the limits. My child is sharing toys, and all the germiness that comes with saliva, with a stranger who also shares toys (and most probably saliva and germs) with other children, who are also strangers to me. I feel like I'm in the midst of a germ-a-palooza.

Still, for that minute where my child giggled at her own boldness as she stuck that pretzel into her mouth, it was all worth it.

Sometimes those milestones that others take for granted are the ones we celebrate the most here in the Grail household.

Friday, May 30, 2008

That ain't how we do it here, son....

I know I've mentioned here that G is a mama's boy. That is his defining characteristic (even more so than his quirky behavior, or nonconformity). Lately he's been having a lot of anxiety about moving out. Poor kid, he's only four and he's freaking about living on his own.

Like most things that provoke anxiety in G, this one was totally my fault, and totally unintentional. See, I made the mistake of telling him that he was going to move into his own house.... some day. It came about kind of innocently: I was tucking him in bed one night and he voiced the opinion that he couldn't wait to be daddy's age so he could sleep in my bed like daddy does, which is infinitely preferable to his own bed. Envisioning the next 60 or so years of having to lay with him to get him to sleep, and feeling a little queasy at the prospect, I blurted "by the time you're daddy's age, you'll be sleeping in your own house". He freaked out at the thought of living somewhere - anywhere - that didn't involve me. I assured him that he was not going to be forced out before he was ready*... but we have still revisited that topic several times. After all, G will be five in just a few short months. In his mind, five is a gloriously grown age; the oldest (and tallest!) boy in his class at school is already five. To G, five brings the promise of being older, more independent (and taller! bless his little heart, that's soooo important)... and with age comes the anxiety of leaving the nest.

Yesterday a new wrinkle occurred to him - although I have assured him that he is welcome to keep his room (and his toys) under my roof for as long as he desires.... I have made no such assurances about PB.

He has many plans for PB, and none of them involve her moving out.

G is fascinated by the concept of pregnancy. He loves the idea that babies grow in bellies, and he was highly indignant when he learned that his belly lacked the proper plumbing for it... it took a little while for him to connect the concept of "only girls can be moms" with "PB is a girl", but once he did, he promptly decided that when she is mom's age, PB will have a baby in her belly.**

Yesterday he voiced his master plan for keeping our family whole and intact for decades: When my babies are grown, G will live with us, and since I am not available for marriage, he will settle for his second choice, PB, thereby ensuring that neither he (who has been assured a safe place in the house for as long as he wishes) nor PB will ever be forced out. Since they will be married (and since he is unable to birth his own children), PB will have a baby in her belly and will graciously allow him to be the daddy. Here, I feel compelled to add that he really has no concept of the biology of conception; in his mind, the baby just appears in utero as if by magic, the father has no involvement in that appearing, and is deemed the father by virtue of his marriage to the mother.

Oh my. Not exactly my plan for successful offspring.

Setting aside the squick-ness of his plan (I mean really - sibling marriage? and coparenting? eek!), and reminding myself that he is, after all, only four and young enough that he still believes that "P*wer R@nger" is an attainable career goal, I can momentarily be proud that however much they pester each other, however many times G refuses (loudly!) to share his toys, his games or his mom, deep down, PB is still important to him. After all, despite the fact that he believes girls are gross, there is one girl that he thinks is ok enough to be his friend, even if she is his sister.

... he dealt with it pretty well when I dished up the double-dose of disappointment by informing him that PB could neither be his wife, nor the mother of his children; his familial plans were apparently a desperate attempt to keep his baby sis from being kicked out of the house. having been assured that was not our plan for PB, he was no longer interested in pursuing the idea of marriage... or children, thankfully!

~ ~ ~

*unless, like, he reaches 30 and still isn't ready, but he doesn't grasp the nuances of situational ethics, so I let that one slide.... for now. If he reaches his 20s and still thinks there's no place like mom's, we'll revisit the topic.

** and if that's her desire, please, please, let it be an easy journey.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Just taking a minute...

to say I'm still alive. I'd like to say it's been busy here and that's why I haven't been writing, but the truth is that while it has been busy, I'm more stuck in that place where I don't know what to say. I guess I'll just start updating and hope I reach some level of bloggy inspiration.

Overall things are going well here. As I'm typing this, P'Bean is standing, holding on to the chair next to me and chucking pretzels at the dogs. She's got enough hair for a little palm-tree pigtail on top of her head with a girly little bow and she's round enough that she's certifiably pinchable. She's come a long way since my last update. I look at her and I'm still amazed when I think "I did that". It's particularly apt in this case - P'Bean is exclusively breastfed. I'm attempting to embrace that and be proud of it, but the fact remains that it's not by choice. Not by my choice at least... so if it sounds like I'm bragging that my lactation was sufficient, I'm only trying to impress myself. It turns out that all the spitting up PB did as a babe was because of her reflux.. the reflux that no one knew she had til after she started on solids. We started those right about 6 months, and baby food gagged her. We thought that was kinda cute in an "oh, look, she takes after her Gran who chokes on everything" kind of way... but when a full month of attempting solids yielded nothing more than a progression of the gagging (we moved on to spitting! and vomiting!), I started thinking maybe she wasn't ready.. so I dusted off my referral to the ever-trusty Dr Google and started doing searches like "how to tell if the world's most perfect baby is ready for solids". Dr G informed me that one could ascertain this by watching how baby mouths objects. So I started watching. After a full day I came to the realization that (a) I am really slack in my babyproofing and (b) PB doesn't put anything into her mouth. I casually mentioned it at a visit to the pedi, who confirmed Dr Google's diagnosis of "something ain't right", and fired off a few more referrals. The pediatric GI suspected reflux, cut a script for some rockin' baby antacid, and sent her to the OT for a 'feeding test'.. and now here we are, almost two months later: the only thing that PB will voluntarily eat (besides her ever-favorite nah-nahs*) is her baby antacid. She loooooooves that. By the time the reflux was caught, it had already created bigger problems. They've called it an aversion, said that she's orally defensive and despite repeated attempts at desensitizing her to textures, and weeks of tactile/facial stimulation, PB is no closer to eating 'real' food now than she was at birth. C'est la vie, right? I'm about to pack it in and admit that karma is forcing me to seem like the poster child for lactation. First G had dental issues that interfered with his nutrition, and we extended my extended breastfeeding (have I ever mentioned that he didn't wean til he was nearly 3? yeah. I was 'that' mom), and now Beans, who is working on a family record for exclusive breastfeeding. I need to just admit defeat and join L@ Leche.

Seriously I didn't start out this update intending to spend so much time discussing lactation. These things just happen. My bloggy inspiration apparently came in the form of breasts.

At any rate, other than Bean's feeding quirks, she's still very nearly perfect... and in all honestly, I'm not freaking out that she can't eat. It'll get worked out, and until then, it's not like anyone's too worried. My delicate little Princess is built like a tank. She has a double chin, triple thighs and is in the 95th and 97th percentiles for height and weight, respectively. The major complications of her feeding issues (so far as the pedi and Google have informed me) come in the form of malnutrition and decreased growth. Those aren't even a blip on the PB radar.

G is doing pretty well too. He's in the final weeks of pre-k and we've already turned in his paperwork for k'garten. I have to admit this: whenever I think of that, the phrase running through my head is holy fucknuts, how did that happen?? I'm a lot a little worried about k'garten because G is still having some trouble with his innate need for non-conformity; at our most recent meeting, his teacher confessed to me that she, too, is worried about how he will do next year. I'm adding that to the list of "I'll worry about it later because I've got enough going on right now". His k'garten physical included some mildly worrying news, but nothing too serious, I don't think. (though it's hard to hear "skeletal defect" and not think something is seriously wrong, I'm mostly reassured that it isn't too serious), which brings me to my next topic, B and his family planning decision.

Between G's physical and Bean's consult with the GI and OT (which all came in the span of a week and a half), B is none too keen to even discuss the idea of any future additions to the Grail household. He has informed me that he does not want any future fertility treatment. Ever. Not that I was going to run out and grab some clomid or anything, but I was a bit put out anyway. I can't fault his reasoning, so I'm just letting it go for now... For now, I understand that he's worried about his babies and he needs to work that out in his mind before he is comfortable with the idea that their issues are not genetic. We will have to have an extended discussion on the topic later, because really, does met count as treatment for IF or treatment for IR? I really need to go back on my met for the IR, but I'm not going to be 'that woman' who starts IF treatment without the knowledge of her spouse**.. and if he's truly that worried about the possibility of problems with a future babe, even metformin without birth control would feel like a betrayal of the sacred Grail matrimonial trust. We haven't had that indepth discussion yet, but I'm sure it'll be blog fodder for the future, and by then I'll have figured out where my head is in that discussion. We'd already decided any future IF treatment would be met and the good ole 'if it happens, it happens', but hearing B say it in such a definitive way made me realize that I definitely do want one more and some part of my mind had already formed a Plan B if Plan A didn't work. B is much closer to the "our family is complete" mindset than I am. I'm sure that one will work out, too.. and it's not like I haven't got enough going on as it is that I'm even worrying about future Grail-lets just yet.

... because, despite the fact that future children are an as-yet-unresolved discussion in our house, we do have a furry new addition. Just in case P'Bean's clingy stranger-anxiety phase and G's constant need for mama-attention isn't enough. We have a puppy now. I had this great little rent-a-pup scheme going on that totally backfired. I was doing a little puppy-sitting for a guy on B's ship, which worked out well: B's friend didn't have to worry about what to do with his dog when the ship sailed, the kids got a little fuzzball to play with on occasion, and I got a reminder that no matter how cute a fuzzball is, I didn't want one fulltime... and then the fuzzball's owner came to the realization that puppies are a big commitment. They take a lot of work, and a lot of time, and if you take a baby who is of a breed that is rather big and rather attention-needy and leave him home for hours on end, destruction ensues... as he grows, so does the destruction... and the next thing I knew, we had a puppy.

.. and now, that puppy is chewing on PB's cute little hair bow, and PB is squawking her displeasure (did I mention the bow is still on PB's head?). I think that's my reminder that my blog-time is up. I have pics (of puppy, of kids, or both) if anyone's interested... I'm slogging my way through a couple months of bloglines and hope to be caught up soon.. and with a bit of luck (and maybe even some non-breast inspired inspiration), I'll actually start blogging here again.

*I'm not entirely sure where she got the idea that my ta-tas are nah-nahs, but that's what she calls 'em. I refuse to put that one in the baby book as Bean's first word, but there it is.

** yeah, I do know one of those.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Pardon my rambling..

So... I was talking to my neighbor yesterday. Before I go into this, probably I should mention that she's a decent person and I do like her. Sometimes she just doesn't fully engage her brain before her mouth opens. Or maybe she's just prone to voicing things that other people only think, and wouldn't actually say out loud. Either way, she's not a bad person. Hell, I have those flaws sometimes too. Ok, a lot of times.

Anyhow, Neighbor was holding P'Bean and mentioned that she's been thinking a lot about whether they should have another baby. P'Bean is (naturally) a perfect babe and inspires these thoughts in people. people other than me I mean. her very perfection fills me with terror - what if I've achieved the pinnacle of reproduction and anything more would be pushing my luck?

As it turns out, my neighbor is also worried that asking for a third perfect child would be too much, seeing as how she's already got two perfect kids. I kinda misunderstood that one. I thought she was worried because she's got two really well-behaved children and hell, that doesn't really happen three times, now does it?

No, as it turns out my neighbor is worried about genetic perfection. Because, you know, she's just turned 30 and her risk for Down syndrome increases after 35. I swear, this woman keeps forgetting that I'm older than she is. Apparently she also forgets that her longest period of 'trying' for a baby was 3 months. Because she's worried about a theoretical risk five years in the future.

I know that this is one of those things that women worry about. (although maybe not as vocally or as horrified as Neighbor.) With all the talk about 'advanced maternal age' and 'risks' and all. Like there's some switch that gets flipped at midnight on the eve of a woman's 35th birthday whereupon her ovaries turn into that proverbial pumpkin and the uterine fairy godmother runs off with Prince Charming leaving this poor advanced-aged woman's reproductive organs adrift and directionless, I guess... but this just doesn't seem like a Big Fear to me.

It's a 'potential' and not an 'actual'.

I'm working extra-hard this year to only worry about the things that are actualities, and not stress over potentials. Most of us have enough actual problems that we don't need to worry about the maybes.

I know an awful lot of people that have been struggling to wrap their minds around their children's individual challenges lately. Things that seem small to an outsider (or at least not Big, if not exactly small either).

It's something that I've been struggling with lately. G has a few quirks that can be difficult. Maybe they're not as obvious to the general public as Down syndrome, but they are as obvious to me as if they were branded on his forehead. I just want his life to be easy. I want him to fit in and to be one of the kids.

Most recently, I've been struggling to wrap my mind around G's speech problem. Seems like a small fear, doesn't it? I mean, he's bright and healthy, his physical development has been perfect.. but he just can't seem to make his mouth work the way his brain does. We've made great strides in his communication and he can generally get his point across to the people who matter.. but I learned a long time ago that 'speech' and 'communication' do not mean the same thing. Or, as his speech therapist summed it up: he compensates well.

True that, he does. If he can't be understood he will go into a torrent of descriptive phrases and charade, expertly combining words and pantomime until his audience can figure out what he's trying to say.

Problem is, this only works if the audience is as determined as he is. Other kids, they aren't generally so persistent. If they can't understand him, they go one of two ways: either they give up on talking and just play without too many words, or they give up on him.

That is not what I want for my son.

What may seem like a small fear to others has become a big deal in my everyday life. It hits like a physical blow when I hear people comment on G. Most commonly I hear things like "what's wrong with him?" .. although there was that one memorable little boy at the park who wanted to know if he was speaking Chinese. Kinda makes me want to scream.. see, G's speech problem is almost exclusively with articulation. His vocabulary is above-average, his receptive language is just fine.. in English that means he understands every damn thing people say about him.

During one of his evaluations, the psychologist mentioned that before G starts kindergarten, she wants me to bring him in for an IQ test so that I will have actual numbers to bring to school because the schools have been known to make assumptions about intelligence based on ability to speak. That hurt, too. I expect that from random kids at the park. I don't like it, but they're not exactly trained professionals so hey, it's not like they know better.. but his school? Sigh...

They have warned me that his school will expect less of him.. that he will have problems reading because of his speech.. that this will be a long uphill battle that will take probably years of intensive therapy to conquer... and will likely involve therapy for his self-esteem as well, as this will all take a toll on him..

What the hell? It's a flippin' speech problem!

When all this started I figured he'd get a little speech therapy once or twice a week and in a few months things would be just ducky. He got speech once a week for the first six months. Twice a week for the next year and a half. They've just increased him to four times a week (two group sessions, two individual) with plans to increase that to five times a week (two group, three individual).

My saving grace is that they expect he will overcome this obstacle. Some day he will talk and be understood. I don't expect he will ever completely blend in to the crowd (because his personality doesn't encourage that sort of thing... but I love that he will have that option if he wants it. I realize that is a gift.

.. and while I'm doing all this realizing, I realize that if anyone had told me years ago that I'd consider a speech problem a Big Deal, a Life-Altering struggle, I'd have rolled my eyes and called 'em an ass-hat, as I am wont to do.

So really, I guess every fear is a valid fear... but my couple-weeks-late resolution still stands: valid or not, I will not worry about things that have not happened.

That said... I know that as Big as G's speech problem seems, it would not have stopped me from wanting him. Perhaps we have achieved reproductive perfection in PB. Perhaps any future child would have a newer, scarier Big problem.. perhaps he-or-she would have a known Big problem. Or a known small problem. Or not. I'm not going to let that make my decision for me.. when B comes home (in just a few short weeks!) we're planning on starting the pre-trying trying*.

*I'll explain that phrase in my next posting. this one has been exhausting to type out, and I'm not really in a mindset where I can switch gears to another new topic immediately.. this got a little more involved than I'd intended for announcing that we'd decided to bite the bullet and consider attempting another baby in this lifetime. this decade even. no matter how scary it seems.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Holy ass-hat.

I saw my GP the other day so that she could tweak my meds 'cause my blood pressure is still too high. First, instead of just increasing my dosage, she switched my blood pressure meds because she didn't think the one I was taking was safe for a breastfeeding mom. No problem, it's not like it was really working for me anyway, right?

Then, she started in on my zoloft. I believe her exact words were "you do realize that your baby is getting that, too, right?" .. in this tone of voice like I was being selfish for needlessly exposing my baby to medication.

Pardon my language, but what the fuck?

I had just finished telling her that my OB prescribed the zoloft for postpartum depression... so she knew that (a) this was something the OB prescribed (and presumably they should know about lactation) and (b) I have postpartum depression.

She didn't ask me about the severity of my PPD (not very), or if I had discussed the risk vs. benefit with the OB (I had), just snapped off that little remark.

It scares me to think that some day this ass-hat might make the same judgmental comment to a mom who is suffering from severe PPD, who hasn't done the research to confirm that her medication is safe.. who decides to stop taking necessary meds based on one nasty GP who seems to think that PPD isn't worth treating. Or maybe it was the breastfeeding that she thought should go, rather than the treatment. Either way, her information was inaccurate.

I've complained about her, and I hope that someone in her chain of command can educate her. She is, after all, a military GP.. statistically speaking, military wives are more likely to suffer from PPD. She should already know how this works.


Friday, November 30, 2007

4 months today.

No, that's not P'Bean's age it's how long B's been gone.

I am so ready for him to come home.

I'm having such a hard time with the holidays this year. Mel had a great post the other day about the emotional minefield of Christmas during IF. Or rather, the emotional minefield of IF during Christmas... so true. It's a tough time of year whenever your family isn't complete... or is complete (enough) but isn't together.

Tonight, G was marveling at the neighborhood lights. He thought the lights meant that it was Christmas.

No, not yet. People put their lights out early because they're excited that Christmas will be here in a few weeks.

.. and then he asked why we didn't have any lights outside our house.

Because, sweet boy, that's your dad's thing*.

And maybe because your mom is not all that excited.

It's a huge reminder of everything that B's missing.

For the first few months, I just didn't think about what B was missing. I couldn't think about it.

.. and he couldn't think about anything else.

He has missed PB's first smile, laugh, and her first tears. G's first day of pre-k, that sweet and indefinable moment where he pulled out his independence and stood on his own as just one of the big kids, and the everyday moments of two little ones learning how siblings interact.

G started pre-k the day before T'giving. I emailed B lots of pictures, and happily reported that no one had cried.

He emailed me back with just two words "except me".


That's what I think of every time someone tells me that it must be hard having him gone... yeah, it's hard - but it's nothing compared to what he's going through.

_ _ _

ok, I wrote all that last week, with the intention of actually finishing it. I had sorta even planned on working in the point I actually sat down to write - which was that B & I had that always-fun 'state of the union' discussion re: family planning... and I've been trying to write about it ever since. Twice I've sat down to work through it in my mind and my keyboard.. and twice I managed to write an entire post without once mentioning the actual subject I'd intended to discuss.

Obviously it's not an easy thing for me to think through (else I'd have written the #$^&! post and published it and been done already) .. so .. maybe next time?

* Usually we have enough lights strung around the front yard to qualify us for the Hall of Shame.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

'D' is for drummer

Every flippin' time I think I'm going to blog more, life happens... and then all the great anecdotes and topics I think of just fall outta my head before I've even had a chance to type 'em.

So G started pre-k last week (better late than never, right?) word of advice - if you attempt to enroll your child in pre-k, and said child marches to his own drummer, and the pre-k even breathes the words "wait list", just find a new school.

It is exceedingly difficult to teach a nonconformist to conform... and once you're three months into the school year and all the other kids already know the rules and ropes, the honeymoon period is over and conformity is expected.

It's been a fun week... G's starting to get the hang of some things, but he does still like to do it his own way. His homework* yesterday was to write the letter "d" .. he was ok with that, but he didn't want to write it on the line.. and when he asked why he had to write it on the line and the best answer I could come up with was "because that's what they said to do", I figured screw 'em, he's four. And if he wants to write his d's sideways and under the line, so be it. This week, we're working on why a nap mat isn't a wrestling mat - surely where he writes his 'd' is small stuff in comparison. Besides, I like that he has his own opinions and questions the status quo. Tonight, while picking the d's out in the book we were reading, he pointed to a 'p'. I dutifully pointed out that it was a 'p' and not a 'd'.. and G flipped the book over to show me that it was, indeed, a 'd', I just had to look at it a little differently.

.. and after all, isn't that one of the reasons I wanted to be a parent? To learn to see the world in a different way, through my child's eyes?

Rock on, my free-thinking little man..

*yes, homework! in pre-k! wtf??

Friday, November 16, 2007

Merry Flippin' Holidays

For weeks, B has been bugging me to send him my measurements because he's trying to order my C'mas present and needs this information. Why yes, I am pretty sure that said present is going to be tiny, see-through, and more for him than me, but that's practically a tradition in the Grail household. Some day I'll tell you the story of how he wanted to get me a bikini wax for C'mas. A Brazilian wax.

.. and he cannot imagine why I haven't been jumping up and down with eager excitement, breathlessly emailing him those numbers.

So tonight, I decide to bite the bullet, and shut his arse up cheerfully send him my information.

Do you know they make tape measures that only go up to 36"??

Yeah. And I own one of them.

It's going to take some serious retail therapy to get over this. Or maybe cupcakes... which, I admit, may be part of the problem.

I can't believe that when I finally gathered up the courage to confront my jiggly curvaceous body, I couldn't stretch the tape measure around it.

I am simply too much woman for that f'ing thing tiny little tape measure, I suppose.

Oh hell, it's not that I expected to be under 36" anywhere. It's just the idea.

I've outgrown a tape measure (!!)

Saturday, November 10, 2007


I found this nifty link in a friend's myspace blog the other day:

Look-alike Meter

Upload kid-pics and parent-pics and it will tell you which parent the kid resembles more*.

So, it was fun to play with, but it got me thinking... the physical stuff is pretty easy: G inherited my grandfather's eye color and B's everything else, P'Bean got the sweet little double chin I had as a babe,** her father's blue eyes and long toes... it's fun looking at parts and picking out who got what from whom...

.. but that always leads me to wonder which child inherited what bad genes from us, too.

Some of it I know already, some of it I just worry about. G inherited my quirky mindset, my tendency to worry too much and his Dad's ADHD. I worry that he's inherited the double whopper of B's dyslexia, but that's one that will have to wait unless/until he's old enough to sit still and learn his letters. They tell me that his speech delays will cause him problems with reading anyway, so it could be a moot point.. my bright child will likely struggle in school.

Because of the things he's inherited from us.

P'Bean is still largely unknown. She's just too little for me to know yet. I worry that she'll struggle with PCOS, or high blood pressure, or some other problem that will creep up when she's an adult. Something I gave her.

.. if I hadn't spent so much time worrying about my genetics, and wondering if our IF was a cosmic hint not to have children, I probably wouldn't even be having these thoughts.

.. and ya know, whatever their struggles, difficuties or genetic quirks, I wouldn't change either of them. I adore them just the way they are.

~edited to remove photo~

*I make absolutely no claims on its accuracy, as it said my stepson looks more like me than his dad.

**truth: I had a triple chin. P'Bean only has a double chin, but it's chunky enough that I have to floss her neck at bath-time.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Survival of the what-est?

First, I am still alive and around. I'm still reading blogs but I'm finding it a bit difficult to comment for some reason. I've been dealing with a bit of postpartum... something. It's not depression, but it's something - I would definitely say my emotions are not on an even keel.. I do have the appropriate pharmaceuticals to hopefully pull things together sooner rather than later, but until they take affect, I'll probably stay quiet.

That said.... here's what I was thinking about today. It's a bit stream of consciousness. so forgive me if it jumps around - that IS really how my mind works.

I read a lot of blogs. The majority of them are IF blogs, but there are a sprinkling of other genres in my bloglines. Today I read an interesting commentary on the latest Duggary addition, written by a woman who is a diehard childfree. You think the IF community has fun stuff to say about the Dugg*rs? You should check out what the CF community has to say.

At any rate, the blog got me to thinking about overpopulation. First I thought "at the rate that IF is spreading, I don't think we need to worry about overpopulation.. we need to worry about extinction" (hey, I'm allowed to get all melodramatic and extremist in my own mind). .. from there, unbidden, the following thought skittered across my consciousness "nah... we won't go extinct - plenty of uberfertile crack ho's and morons out there, they'll make up for the infertiles".

.. and then I realized - holy shit... IF doesn't affect the ignorant and just plain stupid*. Every single IF woman I know is intelligent and articulate. I spent a few moments debating with myself whether or not that was because the majority of the IF community that I 'know' is in the blogosphere. Initially I thought perhaps that was because bloggers tend to be articulate and intelligent, but I threw out that theory when I remembered reading a few (non-IF) blogs that have been written by the truly dense. So I concluded that bloggers in general aren't more intelligent than the average population... just that IF bloggers seem to be.** Interestingly, the same holds true for those who are childfree.

So here we have two growing subsects of the population who are experiencing subfertility, either by choice or by sheer bad luck... while the lower rungs on the food chain are experiencing what seems to be a population explosion.

Does this bode well for the future of mankind?

Clearly, Darwin had it backwards.

*Seriously... do you know any morons who are infertile?

**lest I sound all egotistical, no, I'm not including myself in that generalization. Lord knows I can be a giant doofus in real life.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Thursday, where I put on my rose-colored glasses and get sappy..

So... B's been gone a month now. Yesterday we got to do a supercool video conference* with him. While waiting for our allotted 10 minutes, we got shuffled into a holding room with the other spouses and children. Several people asked me if it was the first time B would be able to see Princess Bean.

Well, no, PB was a week old when he left, so he was there when she was born...

One woman commented that she definitely wouldn't want to birth while her husband was deployed and said something along the lines of "I'd never let him do that" .. by 'that' I'm assuming she meant knock her up at a bad time.. hahaha.**

Ohhh yeah.. I love that stuff. Good ole Family Planning.

Remember that discussion?

I know I shouldn't get offended when people say things like that. Nobody knows better than I do that PB's birth could have been timed better... but I also know that the alternative could be not having Bean. If we'd decided that last October would produce an unbearable due date (and you know that discussion was on the table), then I wouldn't have Bean. I might have someone else, but it wouldn't be Bean. I might not have anyone at all. I am starting to believe that early fall has some sort of mythical fertility-enhancing properties for B.. so skipping the 'undesirable due date' cycles might just have meant missing our chance last year.

So when this discussion comes up, I want to stand up and scream that we're not stupid, or careless, we knew that getting pregnant in late October would mean that our baby would be born right before he left, but we just couldn't take a chance on skipping that cycle and missing our opportunity. And hey, thanks for reminding me how sucktastic it is that B only knows his daughter through pictures and emails. Or that PB knows her father's voice on the phone, but not the feel of his arms holding her, or the smell of his chest as she snuggles up there for a nap. Fan-freaking-tastic reminder.

Just before we were called back to talk to the B, another wife arrived carrying a baby approximately Bean's size. So... are you infertile also or just careless/stupid? I was so tempted.

.. and then there's the "ohh.. you have your boy and girl, how perfect". Yep, we think they're perfect also. We'd think they were perfect no matter what. It's no secret that I wanted Bean to be a girl... but it's also no secret that I'd have been thrilled if Bean were a boy.

There is often some asshat who assumes that G really wanted a brother (he did not, he was hoping for a sister from the beginning) and tells G that sisters can be fun, too. It's pretty common for this to prompt G to explain that he has a sister AND a brother. Recently one particularly ass-hat-ish person informed me that I needed another so we'd have two boys and two girls. W..T..F..?

That was seriously way more insulting than all the other 'next one' comments put together.

Just the thought of having another child some day is an emotional minefield. One that I'm certainly not prepared to discuss with a tactless stranger in the grocery line.. assuming, of course that I even knew how I felt about it. The farthest we've gotten at that discussion so far is the debate over whether we need birth control until we figure out what we're doing some day.

It is such a relief to be content. Years of charting, months of time being broken into two-week increments, so very many emotional highs and lows.. I like where I am now. Very much.

I guess that's my whole point. All the comments that point out to me that (they think) I should regret the timing of my Bean's birth, or the comments that imply that I'd be less happy with a boy-Bean, or even the people who think I should be looking ahead and thinking about 'the next' .. they make me realize more than ever that I'm at peace with circumstances, content where I am, and yes, downright happy about it. I know what it took to get to this place in my life and it is so wonderful to be able to really enjoy just being here.

*there's nothing that'll make a hormonal chick cry like watching an I-miss-my-daddy four year old get to see his dad and play a little paper scissors rock when they're thousands of miles apart.

**ohhh, she was such a new wife. veteran wives know that not all deployments are planned and that no matter when you 'plan' to give birth, underways happen, too.. so if you want to make sure that your military hubby is home for a birth, better wait til shore duty.. and even then, you gotta hope that an IA deployment doesn't pull him away for parts unknown. In short, there IS no planning for when he's home, just planning and hoping he'll be home then.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Older than my years...

As promised.. how I started to feel downright old...

I was at the grocery store the other day.. as I was wrangling the kids through the aisles, we happened to wander down the beer aisle*... and passed a man who was perusing the beer.. It made me remember the days when a friday evening trip to the grocery was to pick up beer and cigarettes... ahh.. nostalgia!

Not this particular Friday night, no sirree. I had a cart full of junk food. G & I had had a Very Bad Day and I wanted to celebrate the end of that Very Bad Day with a chocolate chip cookies, popcorn and various forms of junk food. Only since we didn't have any chooclate chip cookies (or chocolate chips to make 'em!), or popcorn OR junk food, we had to run to the store. So as I wheeled my whiny charges past the beer man, I contemplated the differences between a beer-soaked Friday night, and a Friday night where G & I will get hopped up on grape soda and potato chips.

And then I loaded the kids, and the sugar, into the minivan and headed home, singing along to the 'retro' 80s night on the radio.

Part of me misses the beer nights.

Most of me enjoys my grape soda and cookies.

But it does make me feel old.

This feeling like a grown-up, it's pretty new. I know that technically, parenthood makes you grow up.** And I did kinda grow up after having G. I did, after all, give up tequila shots and dancing on tables after his birth, so that's something, right?

But I still didn't really feel like a grown-up.

Somehow, that part happened some time after Princess Bean was born. I have no idea why, what changed that made me suddenly feel older than my years. I'll have to think on that part, and get back to you. For now, I'm going to go crank the oldies station and headbang along to a little retro 80's music, ok?

*what kind of grocery store puts the popcorn in the beer aisle? we spent 20 minutes wandering around before we found popcorn. I guess that's what I get for going to an unfamiliar grocery store. And being old.

**well.. it should, at least