Monday, November 14, 2016

The Next Conversation: Embryo Donation

Leslie and I spoke on the phone a couple of days ago. She met with a lawyer a few days ago, out on the west coast where she lives. The lawyer said I have to get a lawyer as well. Which I get, intellectually, but emotionally it feels distasteful. I feel like once the embryos are handed over, she's the mom and should have all decision making rights. But I guess we have to spell out the terms of how many of the embryos (I have four but prefer not to hand them all over in one fell swoop).

Tomorrow I meet with the same psychologist I met with before using donor sperm to conceive Calliope. I journeyed out into Long Island by train to meet with her last time, no small feat after a full day of work, only to discover that she is a parent of one of my patients... and she dropped her son off to school every day!

This time we are meeting for tea at the Chocolate Room and she is charging me the price of a cup of tea. When we meet with Leslie, too, and she has to fill out a bunch of forms certifiying our mutual psychological well being before the transfer of embryos takes placed, she is charging me with bringing her a bag of bulbs to plant at the public school across the street from her home.

I love my village!

Anyway, the more the the idea of donating my embryos to Leslie percolates, the more excited I get. I'm suddenly remembering how physically miserable I was in my mid-pregnancy with Amelie -- the reflux was so awful and I was so nauseated and had to sleep sitting up so often. I will never miss that! And while I do adore infants, it's so lovely to put my children to bed at 6:30 pm and be pretty much assured that I have the rest of the night to myself. I love sleeping all night, every night. Well, almost every night.

And I very hesitantly told Leslie that I loved the idea of donating an embryo to her as a way to grow my family. The thing I didn't realize when I decided to become an SMC is that not only would my child only have one parent, she would also be missing an entire set of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. And now they have no grandparents, and all their first cousins (currently four of them but a fifth is expected this winter, hooray!) are at least four hours away. Too far to see on a weekend.

So having a donor sibling (is that even the right term?) possibly in upstate New York would be wonderful! Calliope has a "milk sister" -- a little girl who received donated milk from me when I was nursing Calliope -- and this little girl is now in our school. And both girls are fascinated by each other. I imagine she would love the idea of even more family. I mentioned the idea of calling the kids "Super Cousins" and Leslie loved the idea. It's complicated because they are not "diblings" -- donor half siblings -- they are full siblings. Yet calling this other child a brother or sister feels like a disservice, to me, to the beloved relationship between Calliope and Amelie. This child won't share a room with my girls. He'll belong to his own family.

Why V*ginas Are More Relaxing

We are riding quietly in the car when suddenly,

Calliope: Vaginas are more relaxing.

Me: Ah. Um. Well. What makes you say that?

Calliope: Because with a vagina you get to pee sitting down. If you have a penis you have to pee standing up. That's more tiring.

Me: Ah, I see.

Calliope: That's why vaginas are more fun.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Nineteen Months

A rare moment with just Amelie and me. Super delicious! Like her apple.
Things are actually getting slowly, slightly, easier!

Amelie has discovered a newfound interest in cooking. Every morning, I sneakily try to prepare my smoothie very, very quietly... to no avail. Amelie comes prancing into the question, "Mommy? Mommy? Mommy?" until I pick her up. She sits on the counter and helps dump the ingredients into the bowl, generally sticking her finger into the bowl between each dumping to taste each items. Then she helps hold the immersion blender with me.

It's a nice little morning ritual together before we spend many hours apart. Even if it does slow me down.

Helping me tear the kale for dinner. There's a wooden spoon because naturally (?) she
wanted to stir it.

She's also discovered counting. And counts everything. "Why, do, fee" (her version of "one, two, three.")

And singing. She loves Twinkle Twinkle and the ABC's. And gets in about every tenth word.

She had her first episode of wheezing, naturally as I was rushing to get her out the door to go meet Calliope for Trick or Treating. Being a second child, I just gave her a couple puffs of Calliope's inhaler and resolved to see the doctor the next day. And since she was mostly better, I decided to just call the doctor the following day. She's fine now but I suspect she'll start wheezing with the next cold, again, just like Calliope did. Calliope, happily, has not had a wheezing episode in a year though she was on inhaled steroids all winter and spring last year to prevent them. But now she's been steroid free for a number of months without any symptoms. Fingers crossed she's outgrown it! And that Calliope has too. But since it happens to me occasionally, too, they may not.

Having a blast eating apples at the Farmer's Market with our beloved friends Eleanor and Leo.


Halloween 2016

When you're less than two and a half feet tall, a six inch doorstep is a might fine seat. 
Amelie and Leo.

Amelie is already enjoying the fine art of candy sorting. Even if she doesn't know what most of it is.

Group shot. From right to left: scarecrow, owl, grumpy princess, giraffe. And a Mommy in a cowboy hat.

Lollipop face
Halloween sisters

Kitty cat jack o'lantern. Calliope and Eleanor actually helped. A little.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Forty Two Years

If the kids can get age related posts, then surely I can too.

So I turned forty-two. Which sounds shockingly old. Or at least, shockingly middle aged. At some point in the last few years my age started sounding just completely implausible. I don't quite understand how the number got so high. I realized that it's statistically likely that my life is about half over, maybe even a little more. Of course I hope I have more years left than that.

Crazy, too, to think that maybe all the best things have already happened? I grew up and left home -- well, the growing up part often sucked but leaving home was an unmitigated blessing. I lived in California for a while, then New York. And mainly, of course, I had my two beautiful babies.

So I'm pleased to report that I am enjoying life way more than I did last school year. Thank god. I'm actually pretty damn happy. I'm trying to remember to take a breath and look around and remember that this is it. This is my life. It's about as good now as it will ever be. I don't want to always be rushing to get to the next thing. I want to enjoy right now.

I had my second "Freedom Friday" this past week -- I had a sitter take the kid home and another sitter put both kids to bed. I went to the movies with a new colleague friend and unfortunately the movie we picked was seriously dark and depressing. But then we walked around on lively Smith Street, after dark, and went to a hopping small plates type restaurant and had to shout, just a little bit, to hear each other, which was pretty tiring but also felt a little thrilling. Boring old me, out on a Friday night!

I'm definitely more patient with Calliope than a year ago. I yell a lot less. And I'm appreciating Amelie more -- usually -- than I was a few weeks ago.  Last night I tried a suggestion I read recently, of lying down with Calliope at bedtime, in the dark, and asking if she has any worries. Apparently kids will spill stuff at that time of the day that somehow never comes up at other times. And sure enough, Calliope shared that she was worried about someone stealing her! Poor puss. Thank you teachers for teaching her about Stranger Danger, a mostly invented worry (kids are generally kidnapped by noncustodial family members, NOT by strangers).  She also worries about me leaving her somewhere for a play date without making sure she is comfortable first. I'm hoping that by doing this on a regular basis, we will get in the habit of sharing before the big scary worries start (mean girls, body image issues, drugs, etc).

My apartment is staying tidier than it used to. Which makes me more zen. And I'm still loving my food subscription service, even though I spend more time cooking and washing dishes than when I use my own super simple recipes.

I'm even doing better at work. I don't let myself relax and do my own things until all the work is done. Except for a short break to read the SMC Forum over lunch. Everyone needs a break sometimes. Working out in my office at the end of the school day is mostly going well, also. The times that I've thought -- oh, I'll just scoot home now, when traffic is light, and work out at home -- mostly haven't gone well. It's a lot harder to work out at home with Amelie around. She doesn't seem to appreciate how I'm a better mother after I get my workout in.

I wasn't watching any TV for the month of September and it's amazing how much more sleep I got and how much free time I felt like I had. I started to watch again this month and suddenly I was getting to bed a lot later. I think I've got to make a rule that I only watch on weekends.

The big challenge for me is my nighttime eating. I crave sweets and snacking in general when I'm tired. Some nights I'm just exhausted and I just want that feeling of being filled up. And then I feel guilty and mad at myself in the morning. Not a great way to start the day. I mostly don't snack on really bad things, but even dried fruit is sugar and not good for my PCOS-y body. Also, with both my parents dying in their sixties of cancer despite not having significant risk factors, I worry about longevity. I want to be around for my kids for a very long time. And sugar is the devil, I'm convinced. Trying to figure out the key for this. Mostly it seems like fresh fruit and a dash of heavy cream. And even more than that, getting enough sleep the previous night so I don't reach that point of exhaustion the next day. Simple solutions are definitely not easy!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Eighteen Months And Other Things

In which Calliope triumphantly prepares Amelie's bottle, hoists her onto the couch, and
arranges a compliant if not enthusiastic Amelie on her lap. 

Girlfriend has been in the world for a year and a half! I asked Calliope if she remembers life before Amelie and she said, "Yes, it was boring." She's been in a big Amelie kick lately, asking me to lift Amelie into the crib so they can play together there -- I don't know what they play but I heard peals of laughter from their room this morning -- and begging to prepare Amelie's bottles before insisting on being the one to hold Amelie while she drinks her milk.

Amelie seems to take all this devotion is stride but secretly, I swoon.

I saw Amelie arguably running (versus fast walking) for the very first time this morning and she made her first non-prompted animal sound today -- Maaaaa. She's finally getting interested in  Little Blue Truck and all its animal sounds -- this was one of Calliope's early favorites and I was wondering if Amelie would love it as much.

First amusement park ride... and I didn't have to go on it!

In which Amelie looks for fish on the amusement park ride.

I went on this ride with her because it whipped around the bend so fast I was worried about her getting whiplash.
That's Amy and Leo behind us.

She's being exposed to lots of Spanish -- the nanny mostly speaks to her in Spanish -- and I am wondering if I should be making an effort to speak to her in English or if I should work on Spanish, too. I do think she's a little slower to accumulate vocabulary than Calliope was, presumably because of learning two languages at once. She clearly understands a lot in both languages.

And this fall they've finally learned to fall asleep together (in the same room, not the same bed) which makes life a lot easier for -- me last I let Calliope fall asleep in my bed and then I had to carry her back to her bed each night.

Not too many other developments to report since I only just wrote the seventeen month post.

Calliope and neighborhood friends, being "a spy and two ballet dancers"

Amelie has started to beg to sit in Calliope's booster seat instead of her highchair.
She looks incredibly short in it -- this photo doesn't do it justice -- but she's clearly very, very
pleased to be in a Big Girl Chair. And to use a plate. Which she mostly doesn't throw. Mostly.

As for me for me, so far being back at work is going pretty well. I've only had one two day week of kids and then one four-day week of kids -- this is my first five day week -- so I may be speaking too soon. But fingers are crossed. I'm trying really hard to keep up with my School Year Intentions. Special Time with each girl each night has totally fallen by the wayside -- most nights, there is just no time -- but I'm at least trying to not be so damn impatient with them. I'm still reading books, albeit slowly, and loving it. I've been working out in my office and it's mostly going well. It's a bummer getting home later but it's nice not having the workout hang over my head when I get home from work -- I can be fully present once I'm there. If you count cooking dinner to be fully present. I'm doing a food subscription service, where I get deliveries of all the ingredients and I have to assemble them. I LOVE it, so far, but it's definitely a lot more time in the kitchen and a lot more time cleaning up. The cooking I mostly enjoy but naturally the clean up is not so rewarding.

I'm loving the food so much I take pictures of it. This is tuna nicoise salad
with homemade sweet potato "chips." 

The after school babysitting... Well. Calliope is in love with both of them. But one of them gave notice today. Her former boss begged her to come back to working full time for her (she had been working just every other weekend). So that sucks. The other babysitter agreed to add on an extra day, Friday, but she can't ever work late on Fridays because she observes Shabbat with her grandmother every Friday. So that's a big bummer, but not exactly a disaster. I just had my first Freedom Friday last week and it was pretty delicious. But I'm not sure I can have one babysitter hand off my kids to another babysitter at the end of a very long week so that might be the end of that. Boo.

Feisty girl with pigtails

I'm still feeling pretty caught up with things -- look at me writing an 18 month post on the very day she turns 18 months! I'm hoping that if I can just stay caught up, life will be a lot less stressful than constantly trying to get caught up. The house is still tidy and I'm mostly not letting myself relax at work until all the work is done. It's hard, having that discipline, and it may become impossible when work gets even busier -- it already feels quite busy! -- but so far, so good. And I'm trying to work on five good meditative breaths when I start to feel my blood pressure rise.

And now it's 9 pm and so, according to another Intention, it's time to go to bed. Good night!