Avery loves swimming lessons so much. I didn’t go to this one but she has been excited for it since the weekend. Tonight she bounded out the door squealing “swimming lessons!!” and came home all proud of herself for all the things she did. This time she jumped off the side of the pool to the instructor (not just to her Mo), and she dunked her head twice. It’s kind of surreal to think that this is her last series of lessons with one of us in the pool with her…
While she was at swimming lessons, I drank scotch, cleaned the pantry, and made bread. My wife and I have been a bit on edge with each other this week and the scotch and alone time was nice.
Avery was having another restless night last night because of the fever and general flu symptoms. I brought her into our bed around 5am (after spending hours going in and out of her room, holding warm washcloths against her chapped nose, handing her water, and taking her temperature). Not long after she got comfy with her head next to mine on my pillow, she started coughing. Suddenly I heard a heaving gag and I felt a spew of chunky liquid on my face. All the mucous triggered a little coughing and vomiting fit. Her barf literally sprayed me in the face. Before even wiping my face off, I picked her up and rubbed her back while she continued to barf down my back and into my hair. This is #momlife, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It can be gross, but it’s my calling.
The good news is, her fever broke this afternoon. The bad news is, now I have it.
Yesterday I picked Avery up from daycare at lunch and we went to get our flu shots. I really procrastinated on this task, but with the preschooler deaths being reported in Canada this year, I felt it was better late than never. When we got to the doctor’s office, I was told they only had 4 left, so I couldn’t get one. We also discovered that Avery had a fever… She had a cough through the night previous, but had been acting fine at daycare all morning and didn’t even feel hot to touch. But apparently I missed the fact that she had a virus 😣 Sorry kid.
It’s not generally recommended to get the flu shot when you have a pre-existing fever, but because the clinic was almost out of stock, our doctor helped me make the decision to give her the shot anyway. We were warned that she’d possibly feel twice as yucky as she would if she just had a virus, or just had the shot. And she did. She was a sad sack, who luckily slept the afternoon away. But by 10:30pm she was still wide awake, tossing and turning. We brought her into our bed. By 12:30am she was tossing and turning and whimpering in a light sleep. At 1am I woke her up to put her on the potty. More tossing and turning ensued. At 6am she was awake for the day. It was a rough night.
I woke up with some seriously unfortunately timed period cramps. I laid on the couch while I waited for the advil to kick in. Avery tucked me in under a cozy blanket, stroked my face and told me she loved me, and made me [pretend] coffee and breakfast. All while feeling like crap herself. She is seriously the best.
It’s seems that no matter how how much planning and intention is required for us to conceive a child, we’re always in a wishy-washy grey area of uncertainty when it comes to TTC plans. With our first, only one of us was ready in the first two cycles we tried. We spent a good year trying to determine when we would start, and didn’t get on the same page until the month we actually conceived.
This time around we’re in that same wishy-washy grey area of uncertainty. This time we’re both on board already, but knowing when to start trying depends on knowing when I’ll have defended my PhD. I won’t know that date with any certainty until about 3 months before I actually defend, and we’re not waiting until then to conceive because I’m putting my career on hold for baby #2. If all goes well with this next round of data collection, I can fairly safely say I’ll be done by mid-late fall 2019. So starting TTC in March would give me a window of 1-3 months between being done and having a baby. But I won’t know until April if I have all the data I need…
This all drives home the idea that there is no right time to have a baby. Even if there is an ideal time in your life to introduce a new baby, we really have little control over things like how long it takes to conceive or what surprise life event pops up while pregnant… The best we can do is to try to conceive with intent but be flexible and prepared to adjust expectations if/when an alternate reality slaps you in the face.
“She’s so artistic… It’s not surprising – there are lots of artistic genes in her.”
“She’s so good at puzzles! She takes after her great grandpa!”
“Look at the way she sticks her tongue out when she concentrates… Just like her great grandpa.”
“You were clumsy when you were her age, too.”
“She’s so athletic. Must get that from the donor’s side!”
These are all things people have said to me, about my daughter, referring to her genetic heritage. These comments come so frequently that all of these examples could have easily been made on the same day, by the same person.
My parents are particularly guilty of focusing on genes (although they’re by no means the only ones). At first I defended their right to make comments about how much she reminded them of me as a child. I thought it was just all about nostalgia. But over time, and after hearing (really hearing) my wife’s feelings, I’ve started to see the comments as disrespectful and ignorant. It’s one thing to see your own child in features of your grandchild, and to take delight in that. But it’s another thing to completely disregard the learning of behaviours and make logical leaps to connect a behaviour or trait to some family gene. The “artistic genes” comment is an example of the logical stretch… My grandparent who was referred to here was the only person in my entire family history who could draw. The rest of us can barely make a recognizable stick figure. My wife is an artist. She was accepted into a university program for fine art. That truth was totally disregarded.
The frequency of these types of comments show that the commenters really aren’t considering my wife’s role in who our daughter is becoming. When the comment about Avery being good at puzzles was made, my wife literally had just finished a puzzle that day in front of the person who made the comment. Instead of assuming that my wife’s influence had taught Avery to appreciate puzzles, the illogical jump was that her great grandfather had somehow imparted puzzle-loving genes on her.
I won’t go into how it makes my wife feel, because those aren’t my feelings to share. But it makes me feel frustrated that my wife will always have her influence forgotten or denied; that my daughter will see that others assume her Mo is less connected to her or is less responsible for the person she becomes; that we will constantly be on alert as we anticipate the comments that make us cringe.