Thursday, December 18, 2014

sick day

That's what it took to get me to write a blog post. Technically, I'm on my third sick day in a row. Some nasty stomach virus has gotten hold of me and is not letting go. It's not great to miss so much work, but frankly, I'm not that surprised I'm this sick. I've been exhausted. I'm grated down to my apple core. There aren't many defences left. Viruses are opportunistic little creatures, and I looked like a sure bet.

The somewhat hilarious past is that I was at work when this all started. I had to excuse myself during a session with a family to rush to the bathroom and hurl. Splashed water on my face, went right back in there and finished the session. I did ask them to wash their hands when they left my office.

The Christmas preps are more or less done. Presents, cards, tree, meal prep (not done, but planned), cookies, etc. You know it. You do it too. It's hard to fit in to the regular jam packed routines of regular life, a life in which as a working mother, I do so much. You know it. You do it too (whether you have a paying job or not). It all easily seems like a chore to me. Christmas is not an easy time, in my experience. I don't have a good relationship with my family. My relationship with my in-laws has broken down. And there were many years of hoping for a pregnancy and a baby when Christmas was just another thing to endure.

None of those layers of stuff have gone anywhere, except for the childlessness. However, this year, I am approaching it with new eyes. My daughter is almost 22 months. She will awaken to magic, if I but foster this awakening. This gives me a new sense of purpose approaching the holidays. I'm usually such a crank, walking backwards into December, ready for January by the 2nd of the month. But this year, beyond my regular crankiness, I am doing the things that Christmas requires. I took GG out to buy a Christmas tree. I decorated it with safe ornaments for her. I have put up the christmas cards. I have invited her grandparents, the ones who barely talk to me, for Christmas dinner. I am doing the things. It is important to her, and to me.

On boxing day, I'll have to fly with my toddler to Montreal to visit my family. Let's deconstruct that. First of all, flying with a toddler sounds horrifying*. At least the flight is only about an hour. And then there is flying. I have never been a happy air passenger, but my fear of flying became established when I traveled with GG as an infant. Exposure is the best thing I can do to manage this fear, and so I will make myself board that plane. I can see it from here: GG will be happy as pie, and I will be crying with my face stamped on the window, begging all deities to let us land safely (which was the scenario last time, except she was 4 months old and slept on both flights). I'm glad Mr. A loves to fly, because he can show our girl that it isn't so bad. All of this is important. I need to see my parents, my dad especially. My family needs to see GG and be part of her life somehow. I am doing the things. It is important to her, and to me.

To summarize, this year, there is still a generous amount of 'must get through the holidays', but with a dash of heightened sense of parental responsibility to create a wonderful experience for my child. Sounds promising.

Happy Holidays to you, dear women.

* All advice on this topic is welcomed in the comment section. 

Saturday, November 29, 2014


I was at the natural food store in Pleasantville the other day and needed an updated vitamin card (don't ask). The young chap at the cash asked: "Are you a student or a senior?"

I had to laugh.

The answer I should have given was:

"dude, you are catching me in the 5 minutes between the one and the other."

More later. Just thought I'd pop up and say hello.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

October First

Dates are very meaningful to me. It always surprises people when I remember their birthday. But I do. For the most part. I have intricate maps of information in my head, which is how I remember a lot of things. Dates are located on a rounded square depicting the calendar year, and in my mind, I literally travel that rounded square each year as we go through the weeks, months, seasons. I'm just a psychology nerd.

October First. Two Thousand and Nine.

That's the day when things went from maybe to NO. It was unequivocal: no babies would ever come from my genetic material. I couldn't make a baby from scratch. It was NEVER going to happen. It's not that it would have been possible before 10/01/2009, because my ovaries were inactive and un-stimulable before then. But that's the day it became crystal clear.

There were two terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days during my awful journey through infertility. October first, 2009, and May 25, 2011. I can't tell which was worse, and rank ordering them is moot.

Both involved a drive from Fertility Treatment Town to Pleasantville, neither of which I really remember. Neither of which were entirely safe for me to do alone. But I look back now and I feel those two drives were emblematic. Alone, and empty handed. The first, without eggs to make a baby. The second, without life inside the baby inside of me.

I remember the Santa Cruz Lemonade jar on the May 2011 drive. I was pregnant, thirsty and craved lemonade. I had it in the car. I drank it awkwardly on highway 401, at 125 km per hour.

I thought about it a lot today. October First, two thousand and nine. I remember getting home and lying down on the couch and sleeping and losing a lot of time that day. My body was NEVER going to make eggs. My body was NEVER going to make a baby.

When at supper on the evening of Oct. 1, 2009 Mr. A asked what I was going to do the next day, I could hardly fathom the question, let alone make up an answer. I think I said I would try to get out of bed. A part of me died on that day. What are you supposed to do the day after a part of you dies?

10/01/2009. That was five years ago now.

This evening, I rocked my baby to sleep, like I do most evenings. My body did not make this baby. My body grew this baby. This baby is my baby. She will never need to know about October 1, 2009. She will only need to know about June 23, 2012 (the embryo transfer) and February 28, 2013 (her birthday). The sorrow which lay ground for her existence is not hers: it is mine. Her life is hers, with its joys, its tribulations, its constant learnings, its intensity.

I think about genetics very little these days. What I think about is how to give my girl everything, EVERYTHING she needs to grow up strong, and healthy, and smart, and strong. Our mother-daughter genetic disparity is part of her story, part of mine. And that will be the subject of interesting discussions, and meaningful soul searching on her part in a few decades.

October First, two thousand and fourteen. I have a daughter. I am someone's mother.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Still here. Still, ahem, blogging.

 I could write more often, couldn't I? there are so many things I could do better, more often, with greater care, with better follow-through, and more mindfully. Shit. To be honest, I'm glad I remember to floss every night.

Being the working mom of a toddler is kicking my ass, admittedly. It probably doesn't help that my perfectionistic tendencies get kicked up a notch when I'm stressed. My perfectionism isn't pathological. At least not for the most part. Unfortunately, my husband's inattentiveness and forgetfulness are pathological, and making some things about family life quite difficult. There is more to say here, but I will have to leave it at that. Things are hard.

I changed jobs in July. I left my old job at the community mental health centre with much regret. I really liked it there and they really liked me. I also felt disloyal, since they had initially hired me on a contract, and then offered me the full time permanent position when I was 6-months pregnant, knowing I was soon to be away for a year. It was good work, and it had a lot of what I liked in being a child psychologist, but there were a few key things missing. A job came up at a university children's hospital 45 minutes away from Pleasantville, with better pay, better benefits, in an area germane to the topic of my MA and PhD research. The interview went quite well I thought, and I received a phone call a few days later saying that they wanted me. Turns out they interviewed 10 people, and hired me without a second interview. My ego had trouble fitting through the doors for a few days after that. I was very pleased with this outcome. It's true that I have worked my ass off for this, and it always feels good to be rewarded for my years of very hard work. And folks,  I'm one of those lucky people who LOVES what she does.

My Gummy girl is about to be 18 months. From April to August, she has been sick so, SO often. She's had 3 double-ear infections (needing antibiotics each time. ARGHH!), at least 2 stomach viruses (the one she had 2 weeks ago dragged on for 7 days, and Mr. A got it too, which meant taking time off work three weeks into my new job. Cue newbie anxiety). She looked quite thin a few weeks ago, and with the illnesses and the transition out of cloth diapers, she had an adolescent-boy-pants look going on. I went out and got her smaller shorts to wear, fearing that the ones she had were impeding her gross motor development. Luckily, she has been well since the last puke-fest, and is doing better with holding her food down and her shorts up.

The childcare situation continued to be a rock in my shoe. In addition to everything I've complained about on here, the fact that Shitty Daycare was making her SICK did nothing to help me like it. There was the 15-month ages and stages questionnaire (ASQ) that one caregiver filled out, stating that my child had no language. It lacked a lot of nuance and context, but I understand that the caregivers are not as well educated as I would like them to be. They sent the 18-month ASQ this past Friday, and in the process, voided any remaining chances I had resolved to give them. They described my baby as having "extreme mood swings for no apparent reason", which in my world is code for bipolar disorder. Could they not have described her as "still adjusting from being away from her parents?" Wouldn't that be a kinder, more developmentally and contextually appropriate way of talking about someone's development over months 16, 17 and 18 of their young lives?

Well, I'll save you the suspense. Gummy got a spot at the Good Daycare on the university campus (where Sattva's girls went) and we are withdrawing gummy's tiny ass out of Shitty Daycare pronto. I'm only just trying to figure out if I should call the Shitty Daycare director and tell her that as a child psychologist, I would have grave concerns if I was consulting to a daycare centre where care providers described infants/toddlers in such a way. And that as a mother, I find it unacceptable.

The new Good Daycare. Oh! The Good Daycare is beautiful. It has natural light, wooded outdoor playgrounds, play-based learning. I am a little awestruck, and I do realize that it will not be perfect. But oh-so-better than Shitty Daycare. Oh-So-Better. There is no where to go but up as far as I can tell.

Also, my child does not have bipolar disorder. She is, admittedly, entering the heart of toddlerhood, and is rather forward about expressing her needs, wants and feelings. She is a little girl with a temperament on the intense side, but who is otherwise quite adaptable, content, curious, loving, and yes, she is developing language. Her expressive language is lagging a little because she is growing up in a bilingual household. But her receptive language is right on target. She is doing well. I know because I'm her mother.

She is my everything, that gummy girl.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Two years now

It's been two years today since the embryo transfer that resulted in the creation of our wondrous Gummy Girl. I think of all the cycles we have collectively attempted and how so many (most?) have failed. I think of how a precious few have (or will) become our children. I still marvel at this miracle. Every day. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Gummy the toddler

It's been hard to write, folks. It's not that I've lost my grammar or vocabulary, and I probably could squeeze in a post here and there at work. But I've been struggling personally and it seems inappropriate to share everything I have on my mind in this context. So instead, I thought I would talk about the best part of my days, my weeks and my life: Mademoiselle Gummy.

She is still at the mediocre day care. As soon as I made the potential nanny a job offer, she vanished into thin air. Tells you something about her age and inexperience with the job market. Rule of thumb, little girl, when someone offers you a job, you should say yes or no, but you should say something. She will hopefully learn this lesson, but I am not the one who will teach it to her.

At about the same time that the nanny wasn't materializing, money concerns simmered to a near boiling point.* My motivation to look for a nanny evaporated as Gummy became able to tolerate going to day care. She continues to struggle with drop offs and pick ups (there are tears, sometimes accompanied by horrified, baffled looks in our directions about why the fuck we are leaving her with strangers), but she is reportedly doing fine during the day. The day care centre has done nothing to impress us as parents, and she will be leaving this centre as soon as a spot becomes available in another centre where her name sits on a wait list for now. I am not happy about this situation, but I am trying to just exercise patience.

Meanwhile, she started walking on May 4, a few days after reaching the 14-month mark. She had been walking around assisted for a while, with us holding her hands or holding on to her tiny shopping cart. But one Saturday, her friend Bea came over, and Bea walked around like a champion. Gummy got inspired and the next morning she started walking around unassisted. She was met with our very loud squeals of delight, and took it up as a practice. For a week, whenever she walked unassisted, she emitted a loud squeal, figuring that the two went together.

She also started using words. Ok, it's mainly ONE recognizable word, but I'm optimistic that there are more forming in her sweet noggin. In late April, she suddenly said a very H-y "HI" with a wave of the hand. She did that when her father entered her room, and then did it again when she saw me, and again for the cat. She did it all day long, whenever it seemed appropriate to her, and mostly, it also seemed appropriate to us. She was using a recognizable work in context! I nearly wet myself. Since then, she has also said the word "moo" when looking at the depiction of a cow (is moo a word?).

Gummy seems to understand a thing or two about what's going on around her. She figured out that the owl in one of her books is much like the owl atop her bookshelf so she points to it when we get to that page in her book. She exhibits book preferences, and wants to look at certain ones over and over (rapidly if possible, but on some pages she likes to linger). She makes her wishes known as best as one can without language, and is starting to have the impatience of a toddler. And I guess since she officially toddles, she is now a toddler!

Gummy has also become more cuddly. She likes when I put her to bed (as much as I do? I can't imagine). She likes me to play with her hair, rub her back and read her stories. At some point, she insists on facing me and she just stares and smiles (and sometimes wants to inspect the contents of my mouth, which is uncomfortable, but hard to deny her this moment of pseudo-dentistry). She likes to put her head on my shoulder and tap-tap-tap on my back. "there, there, maman**" she seems to say.

I could gush about my girl for another long while, but it's bedtime. I will leave you with a few pictures instead.

This is at the park, inside a hippopotamus. 

*Being solely responsible for paying for mediocre day care, plus my professional dues, plus my liability insurance, plus a shitload of money to get the car fixed = big freak out for Augusta. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

emerging, maybe.

Although, really, it's still a feeling of submersion I hold inside.

Your comments on my last post were very much appreciated. It still amazes me that you read my blog and write me the most generous comments, texts or emails. You are big-hearted women, and I am so lucky and blessed to know you.

We are swimming in a weird status quo as far as child care goes. Gummy Girl continues to attend Mediocre Child Care Centre. She continues to struggle with separation, although she is getting used to the drill. Her father and I continue to feel dissatisfied with this situation, although we both recognize that emotions aside, this is not horrible. Or even bad. It's a good enough child care placement. But word, good enough feels far short of what a mother wants for her precious girl.

My frantic nanny search was, as is true for so many things in life, require a ton of effort for little return. Lots of sifting through potential candidates, some of which made it to Augusta's Gate #1 (phone call) and were quickly dismissed. Mostly on grounds of availability. At least one on grounds of my gut saying I couldn't trust her (and I listened to said gut this time, you'll be happy to note).

We interviewed a young woman last weekend. She sounded like a winner on the phone, but having her in our home confirmed it. Gummy smiled at her, waved at her and gestured to be picked up by her soon after she arrived. This is Gummy at her most comfortable. As for Mr. A and I, we both felt like we could trust this young woman and that she loves children.

It took a few days to hear back from her about her references, but she came through, and I started calling them last night. One mom told me she left her 10-month-old with this young woman for the weekend. I think that speaks volumes.

So, it's not finalized yet, but it looks like we might have a nanny. It will eat up a rather large percentage of my income, but at least my mind and heart will be much more at peace. And I feel like I will be giving my girl more than just good enough.