“Avery no baby!”

We’ve started talking to Avery about maybe making her a baby sister or brother to see how she reacts (although realistically it’ll be a year before she actually GETS a sibling). I asked her if she wanted a baby.

Poor choice of words.

She adamantly shouted, “no baby! No baby, mommy!”

I asked her why not, and she said “Avery no baby. Avery big kid.”

Ooooh. Yeah, she’s sensitive about being called a baby right now 😂

So I rephrased the question. “What do you think about our family growing so that it’s mommy, mo, Avery, and a NEW baby?”

“New baby! Yeah, new baby.” And then she gave me a huge hug and a kiss. Heartmelting.

We’ve brought it up a couple of times now and she, SO FAR, has always seemed on board. My sister-in-law is due with her second in a couple of weeks and I’m interested to see what Avery will think of them, and I also want Avery to watch our nephew and his new baby sibling interact (as much as a newborn can interact…) so she can start to comprehend what “sibling” is.

In other news, I’m kicking myself for purging all of our TTC stuff… I had a massive bag of syringes that I had ordered from China and an equally massive bag of cheapie OPKs, and back when I was 99.9% sure we were one-and-done, I threw them away. I was tired of them cluttering up my closet. Now I’ll have to source all of that again. I also ALMOST gave away all of my maternity clothes, but luckily I had been too lazy to dig them out of our crawl space.

At the start of my next cycle my wife wants me to start taking my morning temperatures again to track ovulation. That was the most reliable method we found for getting AI timing just right. I recall that you’re supposed to set an alarm at a consistent early morning hour every day so that you get your temp reading immediately upon waking (before getting out of bed or otherwise moving a muscle). Currently, my toddler wakes me around 5am with a blood curdling scream (she then calms down and goes back to sleep when I go to her room and cuddle with her). So, I guess I’m supposed to take my temp at 4:55am? Yeah, right. Not gonna happen. I’ll do the best I can do, and maybe during the month we’re actually TTC I’ll take it more seriously.

I’m happy with how on board my wife is this time. Last time I felt slightly embarrassed by my planning and cycle tracking and more planning… I had to explain why I needed to buy a giant pack of these OPKs from China and she didn’t really get it or appreciate that they really were necessary. Same goes for taking my temp – she thought I was nuts. But now she has seen what it takes to get pregnant with as little wasted efforts as possible and this time SHE’S pushing ME. It’s nice.

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New plan for making baby #2

We had been talking about doing reciprocal IVF for baby #2, and starting the process at least a year from now so I could have some employment under my belt.

Well, we did the math and realized that our kids would be at least 4 years apart doing it that way, and we both wanted our kids to be 3 years apart. I guess we just glazed over that fact before…

Also, my wife decided that having her genes in our next child wasn’t important enough to be worth the expense and the intrusiveness of the IVF procedures.

So, our new plan is to make baby #2 the same way we made baby #1: at home AI using our known donor. And the timeline has moved up to start ttc sometime around this December.

So I’m enjoying my alcoholic beverages a little extra right now and we’re working on a to-do list of things we want to get done before we add a new baby to our family (things like purge and clean our shed, paint a few rooms in our house, spend a night away together without our baby #1…).

Of course these plans are always subject to change as we continue to discuss what life would look like with a second baby and still only one employed parent… But this is our new plan, and I’m getting excited about it.

We’re old pro’s at sleep

Sleep has been as good as I could have hoped for from an almost-2-year-old toddler, despite the fact that we’re going through another sleep regression. Its been a long time since our last regression, and I think this, the 2 year regression, is the last one to expect! It’s funny to contemplate how chilled out I am about a sleep regression now, considering how anxious and upset I would get over the early ones in her first year.

When we were in the throes of terrible infant and baby sleep, I used to tell myself that I could survive until she was 2 1/2, if that’s how long it took for her to sleep through the night. Although she doesn’t consistently sleep through the night – and this week has been waking every 2 hours again – we get a LOT more sleep than we used to. And bedtime is a relaxing thing now, where we lay with her and read books, and stay with her while she falls asleep. It takes 20 minutes to an hour, depending on the length of the books she picks (she gets 5 books), and how wired she is from the day.

Speaking of laying with your toddler while they fall asleep, I’ve noticed a difference in acceptable sleep-aiding behaviour for toddlers than what was considered acceptable for babies. Why was I told by society-at-large (and family and friends) that I was creating bad habits by sleeping next to by baby, by nursing her to sleep, by rocking her to sleep and then laying her down in her crib… But now, by lying with her as she falls asleep in her bed, I’m just working with her toddler needs? It seems that everyone in my social circle lays with their young children while they fall asleep, and it’s considered to be just the way it is at bedtime for toddlers.

Is it because the parents who had challenging baby-sleepers took a couple of years to stop fighting and give in to what their kids were asking for? Or is it because even babies who slept well on their own grew into toddlers who wanted extra comfort and connection at bedtime?

Regardless, sleep, in all its stages from good to challenging, is something I feel like we finally have down pat. We’re old pro’s.

Ready for a newborn again

I was going into this baby #2 thing a little reluctantly. I still felt overwhelmed by my first year and a half as a mother and couldn’t imagine doing it all over again. I was totally content with my one, perfect child. But my wife wanted another baby, and I wanted to give that to her. I knew I would love another baby and wouldn’t regret it, but I also knew it would be HARD.

But then I weaned my toddler from breastfeeding and suddenly I find myself CRAVING a baby again. It’s amazing what hormone changes can do to your mindset.

We’re still pretty distant from starting the process. My wife is going to give me the signal when she’s ready for an IVF consultation. We have talked about which clinic to use, but haven’t chosen one yet. When we do finally get that consultation appointment, we would move ahead with the process (because IVF is government funded in Ontario (so thankful), there’s a wait list and we’d want to get on that list pronto). However, there’s also a chance the the consultation will scare my wife off of reciprocal IVF altogether, in which case we’d wait a while and do things the way we did to make Avery – at home. It’s still all very much up in the air as to when we start and what method we’ll use. We haven’t even spoken to our donor about it.

I can feel myself getting antcy now. It all feels so familiar…

Duty Calls: Balancing work & family

We’ve been away every weekend this summer, we’ve been sick a lot making for a lot of missed daycare, and our daycare provider is on holidays this week. I haven’t been getting work done. Tonight, my wife is primary caregiver while I sit at a restaurant/lounge and do some work over a pint.

It feels different than it used to to sit at this place and work. When you’re a parent, part of your brain is always on your child(ren). I can’t get lost in my work like I used to. I know my wife will be totally fine with the full bedtime routine because she has been doing so well putting Avery to sleep since we weaned, but I feel shitty about the way I had to leave Avery tonight – I had to sneak out. I tried saying goodbye in a casual, non-chalant way – “see ya later, sweetie, I have to go do some work,” but she started screaming and clung to my legs begging to be picked up. So we got her distracted with some fun task and I snuck out.

She has been very sensitive about my absence lately. You can see her get nervous as bedtime approaches, not knowing if she’ll get me or her Mo. We have yet to settle into a new routine regarding which one of us puts her to bed. I’ve put her to sleep twice now, and it has gone fairly well both times. We’re going to settle into a two-nights-on two-nights-off schedule so that bath night (which happens every other night) isn’t always the same parent’s responsibility. The parent who gives her her bath and gets her ready for bed won’t be the same parent who reads her books in bed and lays with her till she falls asleep. She’ll get both of us every night. She just has to get used to the new normal.

I’m still in a “I miss breastfeeding” phase.I feel like I’ve lost a superpower. But I know it’s not a real regret, just nostalgia. And Avery only asks for milk once every other day or so now, and doesn’t get upset when I remind her that it’s all gone. She has been such a strong little person.

A week after weaning: tantrum city

Ugh. This week has been a ride. Weaning has hit me kind of hard emotionally, and even though I know that I was ready and I know Avery’s going to be just fine, it’s hard not to be filled with regrets when naptimes become a 2 hour long tantrum with absolutely zero sleep resulting in an extra tired and clingy toddler.

She can open her bedroom door, now, so even though I try to follow regular routine and lay down with her in her dark room, read a book, and spoon her to sleep, she jumps up and runs to the door screaming as soon as I say there’s no more milk. She busts out of the room (so it’s no longer dark) and rattles the baby gate at the top of the stairs aggressively, screaming to go downstairs. She even slams her door shut behind her, closing me in there. She won’t let me near her. I let it go for 2 hours, two days in a row, while I patiently waited in her bed for her to change her mind. When she finally stopped screaming and exhaustedly just sat in the hallway holding the baby-gate bars, I caved and said we had finished nap time, even though she didn’t use it to sleep, and we could go downstairs. After those two days from hell, I started taking her for drives in the car for naps. Not environmentally sustainable. Not sure where to go from here, so we’re taking it one day at a time with no long-term plan.

In my frustrated haze, I miss how peaceful and easy it was to lay down, have her lovingly snuggle into me, and nourish herself for a few minutes before falling into a deep sleep that lasted anywhere from 2-3 hours. But I have to consciously remind myself that sometimes she’d need to be attached to me for all 3 hours, and she’d bite me, and there was no milk left after the first few minutes anyway…

To add insult to injury for poor Avery, she had a stomach virus this week. What we thought was a one-time barf at the cottage last weekend turned into ocassional vomiting in the evenings, no appetite, and 4 missed daycare days this week (other kids at daycare had it, too, of course). It was a relatively mild virus, but the vomiting and no appetite made me feel guilty about weaning, too.

Avery’s temperament is obviously affected by the change – increased tantrums, followed by intense clingy sessions. This morning, when I told her it was time to leave the park, she had a tantrum that lasted most of the horribly awkward walk home. I couldn’t get her strapped into the stroller, and had to hold her with one arm (a writhing, 30 pound, almost-2-year-old is HARD TO CARRY) and push/drag our stroller with the other. A walk that should have taken 5 minutes took 30 minutes. But right before we got home she stopped, pushed her cheek against mine, clung to my neck, and said “sorry.” She’s such a good kid dealing with overpowering emotions.

I don’t know how much of the mood change is caused by being cut-off from nursing, and how much is from the resultant loss of sleep, or from being sick, or from her general age and stage in life. Bad combination of events.

Regardless, there’s no turning back, now. Her and I will both have to deal with the emotions as they come at us, and hopefully we’ll level out and be content with our new relationship soon…

Prying children from their parents’ arms: Life is a living hell for so many humans and I have nothing hopeful to say about it.

I just can’t handle the news again. The separation of children from their parents at detainment camps is too much for my emotions to handle. I donated a bit of money to an organization set out to help the families to reunite, but there’s nothing else I can do. And it hurts. There’s a sound clip that has been used on the radio news coverage of this traumatic situation – a young child crying for their mother. It tears me apart inside to hear it. I can’t handle children going through trauma now that I’m a mother – I just can’t. But what can I do? I feel completely useless in this situation.

Maybe I’m extra sensitive because I just stopped breastfeeding AND I have my period, but the situation in the states is more than I can handle. I’ve been crying about it. I’ve been trying to avoid listening to news. I’ve been squeezing my daughter so tightly, and living in equal parts graditude for the privileged life we have, and utter fear that it could all be taken away from us and we could also be torn apart by any number of terrible events.

That is all. Sorry for the bummer post.