Only one week left until I'm a Dr.

Not technically… but essentially. I’m defending my PhD dissertation on Friday, Dec 13th, 2019. Although there will likely be some edits to complete before submitting the final document to my university’s office of graduate studies for acceptance, the successful defense is really celebrated as the moment you are granted those credentials.

I wish Avery could see me make it through this momentous occasion, but she’s not of an age where she can silently sit through a half hour presentation followed by up to 2 hours of questioning by a panel of scholars. My father-in-law will be babysitting her, and my parents will both be in attendance at the defense.

My wife is buying me a diamond ring as a congratulatory gift (a stacking addition to my wedding rings).

This is really happening…

Getting rid of the baby stuff – will we regret it??

At the same time that Avery is still expressing to us that she really wants a sibling, and even that she’s sad that she doesn’t have a sibling….. I just sold a bunch of our best baby and toddler gear that we had been holding on to, and I gave all of my maternity clothes to a friend.

We still go through a bit of rollercoastering on the topic – we go from being certain that we’re done to my wife saying, “the earliest I’d be ready to try again is the new year, maybe February.” (That came completely out of the blue and I chose to ignore it for my own mental health). The will-we-or-won’t-we continues, although I keep getting rid of our baby stuff like we’re one-and-done. 😳

First snow of the season ❄️

Avery and I were outside by 7am this morning to check out the first snow of the season!

Nature’s handwarmer: fresh laid eggs 😉
#backyardchickensarethebest

We have many holiday season traditions, but the first one is usually to crack out the old snowperson cookie jar to write the date of the first snow fall on the bottom ♥️ Looks like we’ll be digging into the Christmas bins today 😉

Work update – and a defense date!

My defense date has been set. I will defend my dissertation (and hopefully be granted this damn PhD already) on Dec 13. I’m so excited to be done that I’m almost not even nervous 😆 Almost…

In the meantime, I’ve been working 4 days a week for the same consulting firm I started with in August, and it’s going pretty well. The work is interesting, the hours are flexible, and the people are great. They offered me a salary position, but with my defense being pushed back to the end of the year I’ve requested to not go full time till January. That allows me the psychological freedom of being able to work (or not work) whenever I want over the holidays. I’m going to take that little break for myself… I’m also doing a Teaching Assistantship this semester – my last one ever!! – and while it has been pretty simple and the Prof has been great, the marking always falls at the most inconvenient times for my other responsibilities. I’m so excited to no longer have anything university related to take my focus in the new year. I’ll be an employee with one employer and I’ll have a regular, steady paycheck. I’m not saying life will be any easier, but it will be a hell of a lot simpler.

An Avery update (and more on the Waldorf School)

Avery has been making up songs a lot lately. Here’s a sampling of the lyrics from one little ditty:

“I can help you
But I don’t know where you went,
You went for a walk in the dirt,
And you found a worm”

She’s also starting to be able to carry a tune, and I noticed her doing arpeggios last night as she sang to herself while brushing her teeth… It’s adorable, and I always want to record a video of her songs, but never want to leave the moment to get my phone.

Avery has also been talking a lot about how she’s going to get (or she wants) a baby sister or brother. She told my mom the other day that she was going to have a baby sister, and my mom had some questions for me after their conversation 😆

She has been saying she wants to share her room with a baby, that she’d get rid of her toys so we could buy baby toys for a sibling, and that she’d help them learn to walk and talk and she’d love them so much. C’mon, kid… You’re making this hard… We had just finally settled into a phase of BOTH my wife and I being on the same one-and-done page, but this kind of thing makes us open the damn conversation again.

******

Yesterday evening we went to Avery’s new daycare for an outdoor soup dinner (the daycare kids made bread to go with it), and the parents and caregivers got to go on the forest walk the kids do every day. The terrain isn’t exactly smooth, and once they reach the end of the path there’s a large clearing full of climbing trees and ripe walnuts and little structures and paths made by the kids with branches and logs. They spend 1 to 2 hours here every day, rain or shine, even in the cold, snowy winter months (accordingly, we’ve invested in wool clothes and need to shell out for a serious snow suit and boots).

I watched Avery climbing a tree without hesitation and I couldn’t believe this was the same 3 year old from early September who didn’t want to go down a slide unless I checked it for safety first… This Waldorf school has been so great for her so far. And last week when she was stuck at home sick (AGAIN), she was sad about not being able to go to her daycare. Most evenings when I’m putting her to bed she says she’s excited to go to school the next day.

That said, she still says she misses her old daycare provider. We’ve done two playdates with two of the kids from the old daycare, and while Avery loved it, we’re already too socially stretched to make a regular thing of it.

Cuddling to sleep

We’ve always physically assisted Avery in the sleep department. She has always required either nursing, rocking, or cuddling to sleep. We now talk to her about how she’s old enough to go to sleep on her own, but since I love the quality cuddle time and am not eager to end it, we’re leaving it up to her to decide when she’s ready. There have been a couple of times where she wanted to feel like a big kid and tried going to sleep on her own, but she would just end up whimpering so sadly, and when we would go to her she’d tell us she was afraid of ghosts and/or missed us so much.

I’ve been happy with how we’ve done bedtimes – in retrospect. When she was a baby I heard a lot of messages of the importance of sleep training and how damaging it is to be a “sleep crutch” for your baby and you shouldn’t breastfeed to sleep and they’re going to be sleeping with you when they go off to college…. All that garbage… those messages made me doubt my instincts – and of course we occasionally tried gentle sleep training approaches. But now I’m totally over meeting expectations and just want to cuddle my kid before she doesn’t want cuddles anymore. ESPECIALLY now that she’s in daycare for 9 hours a day and I’m hungry for quality time for which there just aren’t enough waking hours in a day. Sometimes we’ll cuddle in her bed and talk for an hour about her day or about her hopes and dreams or whatever ridiculous and hilarious ideas she has floating around in her head. I love it.

What really brought home this sense of we’re doing the right thing for our kid is when Avery mentioned to me – during our bedtime cuddle last night – that she remembered sleeping in a crib (which was over by the time she was 7 months old).

She said, “when I was a baby you kept leaving me alone because you didn’t fit in my bed, but I was scared and I wanted to cuddle with you.”

It’s amazing what young kids can remember about their first year of life…

“I’m going to have a baby sister one day and I’m going to share my room and all my toys with her!”

It’s no secret that I’ve wanted another baby, but I’ve been so ridiculously stressed lately (I had a horrible panic attack last night while working on my dissertation edits at 10:30pm). My wife is happy that we finally have two incomes and we are finally making more meaningful contributions toward our house downpayment fund, and even toward retirement savings… She has also come out of her depression, and she isn’t ready to disrupt this newfound “easy life” that she’s experiencing. And of course, I’m just learning to balance full time work with wrapping up my dissertation and a teaching assistantship I naively took on, and I’m feeling not ready for another baby for opposite reasons than my wife’s reasons.

But Avery seems to be wondering why she doesn’t have a sibling yet… She keeps declaring to us that she’s going to have a baby sister one day, and promises to share with her and keep her from putting things in her mouth… As if she’s trying to prove to us that she deserves a sibling 😆

Maybe we’ll be those people who have kids 6 years apart. I need to get my head above water before I can think about entering down that will-we-or-won’t-we emotional path again.