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Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloweensgiving


A month ago on Halloween, I picked out my lucky bunny shirt and went with Patrick to the IVF clinic in Brno, and a year later...




Okay, so these pictures were actually taken prior to Halloween, but when you have a lobster costume and a baby in a good mood (mostly...) it's best to do a lobster test run.  Anyway, we are having a very happy Halloween (minus a slightly sad crustacean for a minute there).  What a difference a year makes.  

Now, Halloween is a really special holiday for us.  How wonderful that a year later we're able to spend it not hoping beyond hope, but instead zipping that hoped-beyond-hoped-for baby into a lobster costume.  Halloween should really be our family Thanksgiving.  Halloweensgiving.

I've been thinking a lot about how our IVF story really is our story, too -- mine, Patrick's, and our daughter's too.  It's this messy tangled up thing, and writing about it so openly now (like in this post with references to it, photos, etc) is definitely something I think about in the conversation about online presences of kids before they're old enough to decide what they want their online presences to be.  I've been thinking so much that I interviewed Mel of Stirrup Queens for my column for her wisdom, so if you're interested in more about that, I'd like to point you to my work over there today.

For now, I'll probably post baby photos, and taper off from there.  It's my story, and it's her story, and I'm trying to find the best way to tell it as it continues to unfold (and to know when it doesn't need to be told at all).  It's the Wild West out here in Internet land, and growing up having an online identity is such a new thing, that this is in no way a judgement based on what others have decided is right for their families and little ones.  Lord knows I waffle constantly.  I kind of want to be like Sweet Fine Day, with the kids just gracefully fading from the content over time as they aged.  

But for today, I want to practically shout from the rooftops how thankful I am that this Halloweensgiving we can celebrate.  It's not a birthday or anything, but it feels like a special little addition to the day.  I'll never forget walking through the streets of Brno, chilly autumn wind whirling around us, holding this secret hope and not knowing at all what lay ahead.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Breastfeeding goals, writ small

I've been experiencing a low supply problem with breastfeeding, and this past week Freddie has been going through a growth spurt, making that harder.  But rather than bore you with the details, I'm just going to share my approach.  We've been trying out YNAB for our finances this month, and while it's similar to the Google spreadsheet we'd been forever tinkering with before, this is way better, and keeps us more focused.  I like the CONSTANT VIGILANCE but also hey man it's cool you overspent in the lunch budget, let's just move stuff around and remember you're not a failure, just work with what you have two-pronged approach.  It's all about breaking up long-term goals into manageable chunks rather than going at it government-style and trying to forecast and budget money you don't physically have at the moment.

I'm taking the YNAB approach to breastfeeding, in that from here on out, I'm going to simply concern myself with the amount of milk I have, rather than try to worry about the amount of milk I'm going to have.  This week I have an amount of milk in the freezer and fridge which will cover, say, 4 days.  Anything I pump is a bonus, but I'm not factoring it into my long-term breastfeeding goals.  I am no longer trying to breastfeed for a year, for six months, or a week.  I have enough breastmilk for four days, so I'm trying to breastfeed for four days.  If I get to the end of those four days and I have more breastmilk saved up, great!  I'm going to try to breastfeed for however many days that will cover.  No more long-term visionary plan.  That's simply too big and stressful to think about.  I need smaller chunks of the pie to work towards.  And when the supply issue makes it clear that hey, I don't have enough to cover that goal, then to the store for formula (already researched and picked out) we go to supplement.

This feels way more mentally manageable, and somehow makes me feel slightly more in control and less of a failure.  I have a plan.  It's kind of a shitty plan, since it's not ideal.  But life isn't ideal, maaaan.  I'm doing everything I reasonably can to breastfeed my daughter as long as I can, and right now "as long as I can" looks like 4 days, according to my "budget".  So, if I make it that long, I'm successful and have reached that goal.  And we'll go from there.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Library rule #1: The way to a kid's heart = stickers

Hello Kitty

Some days involve craziness, but then other days, I come into work and get reminded why it's all worth it.  I put together a Hello Kitty Reading Day event for this past Saturday, and the pictures the librarian who ran it took made me so happy.  These little kids had a blasty-blast with their Hello Kitty craft and library scavenger hunt (I threw down some rhymes and made them learn about where different types of books are in the library that Hello Kitty likes best -- did you know one of her favorite subjects is music?) and my only regret is that we had but 20 sheets or so of stickers to give away instead of 200.  Apparently the phrase "I WILL CHERISH THESE" was uttered regarding the cherry-scented stickers.

I feel ya kid.  I hoarded stickers like dragon's gold as a kid.  You don't use stickers.  They're for hoarding away until some inevitable someday when the sticker MUST be used, and one must wait for that perfect moment.  Sometimes for years.

So yeah.  It's been really hard to not feel completely exhausted all the time, and it sometimes helps to go into work and see photographic evidence of your awesomeness* according to 13 little girls.  Hooray.


*Okay, so Hello Kitty's awesomeness.  But I put the darn program together so I feel somewhat responsible for the grins, too.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

October




I don't photoshop baby photos aside from adjusting exposure.  THIS IS REAL.  *melt*

Anyway, October so far:
~
  • Read all of Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point in 48 hours in order to lead the library's book discussion.  Holding it together score: 100, A+, totally.
  • Went to the Hardywood brewery/food truck court TWICE.  That place is people-with-babies-and-beer mecca.
  • Read The Very Hungry Caterpillar about 800 times.  As you do.
It's so crazy to think that a year ago, Patrick and I were getting ready to embark to Brno in the Czech Republic for the biggest gamble in our lives to date.  And now I'm listening to Vashti Bunyan and trying to drink my coffee and type this while holding my baby -- MY BABY -- before it's time to run out the door to take her to her Grammy's.  

And boom, time.  This is so very hard -- there are a lot of Hard Things, like breastfeeding and working -- but the good things are so very good.


Friday, October 3, 2014

Life in one perfect screencap


Baby baby baby baby baby baby mac-n-cheese/wine.

Yep, that pretty much sums it up.  

Monday, September 29, 2014

A fool and his money are soon parted

Finally start on that cap-sleeve tattoo fund

Buy a house again someday

Another IVF round + trip abroad for a meetup with that frozen embryo across the ocean

Say fuck it to owning a house and purchase an Airstream instead -- glamping forever!

Start a fund to eliminate the word "glamping" from all vocabularies everywhere, including my own

Cosmetic dentistry to fix these fluoride stains that cause me unceasing angst

Pay off debt and save save save <------- the name of the game outside of my fantasy list.  At least in my head, I'm covered in tattoos and have a prettier smile.  Someday, someday!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Spinning plates and leveling


Behold, my cute baby!  

She's changing so rapidly -- at 9 pounds (probably 10+ by now, since that 9lbs is from a pediatrician appointment two weeks ago!) she's outgrown her newborn swaddle wrap.  Next stop college or trade school or the Peace Corps or astronaut academy or welding class or Google University (I'm assuming this will be a Thing by then...).  I just hope she doesn't want to -- shudder -- attend Bing College (GU's rival).

There are some big changes going on at work too, and everyone knows that change is hard, so for the past week that's been weighing heavily on my mind.  And then there was the time a few weeks ago when I goofed up (minor mistake, but still) at 4:59 on a Friday, thus sending me into paroxysms of fretting all weekend, because I take pride in my work and lately I've been struggling to function at what I consider to be a decent level at times.  While I feel pretty confident parenting (as in, hey, I know nothing [Jon Snow] but I've kept her alive and well this long, so....hey, we're ok!) I feel way more plagued by self-doubt at my job.  What if I've forgotten something, what if there are program supplies I neglected to pick up, what if I forget x or y or z.  I'm spinning plates.  I suspect this heightened career-worry is a survival technique conjured up by my brain, because otherwise I'd be plagued with more worry about getting in the car with her (other drivers are scary!) or staying awake watching her sleep to make sure she's breathing.  I guess I'm going to worry about one thing or another at any given moment, but it's heavily tilted towards work, so I hope that levels out soon.

Life is good, but...heavy, weighty, muffled in the fog of new parenthood, and the rest of life just spins about me/us.  The angst is amped up when it occurs, but the joy is amped too (her smile, her smile).  I feel more balanced than I did a month ago when I felt like I was a star collapsing in on myself at times, so I think things are leveling.  But the self-doubt persists.  I hope that levels off soon too.