About Amy

This blog is about my wife's and my experiences making a baby and then raising the child. I'm a PhD candidate trying to balance dissertation work, parenting, marriage, and home-maker endeavours. I also dabble in urban homesteading, and sometimes share stories about my chickens and gardens. I'll candidly share my successes and failures in this balancing act.

Another first

Avery is nearly 3 and a half years old. She has ALWAYS required someone nursing, rocking, or cuddling her to sleep. We’ve loved the quality time we get with her now while we lay with her in her bed till she falls asleep – it’s a time for good conversation and lots of hugs and kisses. But we’ve also been putting the bug in her ear that we’d like her to be able to go to sleep on her own one day, when she feels ready.

We’d tried a couple of times when she thought she was ready, but as soon as we closed her door behind us she would start whimpering and saying there was a ghost, or that she missed us so much… So we’d go back in her room and say we’d try again another night.

Last night she declared that she was ready to go to bed by herself. It was my wife’s turn for bedtime, so she gave her a shower, brushed her teeth, and gave her her nightly medicine. She helped her into her pajamas, and read her a couple of books. Then she said goodnight and left the room. For a few minutes Avery laid by her door and peeked under it to see if we were still there. Then she gathered up a pile of stuffed animals and climbed into bed and went to sleep.

And that was it! Her first night going to sleep on her own was completely painless. She was ready. I don’t know if it’ll keep up every night, but I do think she got a sense of pride from it, so I’m hopeful. I’m also sad to have potentially lost that cuddle time, so we’ll have to make sure to get lots of extra cuddles in before bed and on the weekends… But having a confident child is worth a reduction in cuddles. I suppose it’s a necessary part of raising a child…

The death of a friend

I had this best friend for the past 20 years… He was a loser like me in high school and we hit it off right from the start. When we finished high school, we went through phases of being distant and being close. Our close friend phases involved hour- long phone calls nearly every day. For a period of time, we both attended the same university (although we were both mature students coming from very different places).

We were best friends because we could be 110% ourselves around each other, and because we always came back together like nothing had changed, even after stints of a couple of years without talking. But, our relationship was also pitted with a lot of negative emotions.

One of the memories I feel the most shame from is that he paid me to get naked in front of him when we were teens. He was never able to find female companionship and I felt pitty for him. I allowed him to buy a glimpse of female nudity. He and I both made mistakes in that decision. I think we both felt gross about it for years to come.

The real issue in our friendship is that he was in love with me. He had been for our entire friendship. Although he admitted to it a few times, he also claimed to have gotten over it in more recent years. He came to my wedding (although he did get drunk and a bit emotional – in a negative way). He claimed to be over me and happy that I’d found love and started a family. He was one of the first people I told I was pregnant. But despite his vows that he was happy for me, I always saw a sadness, or disappointment, in his face when I shared happy news about my love life or my family growing.

My wife was uncomfortable with me spending time with him, for obvious reasons. Over the last 3 or 4 years I worked hard to casually cut him out of my life, so as to not hurt him with a sudden rejection but to nonetheless send a message that we were growing apart and I was easing my way out of the friendship.

But then one day last year he called me out of the blue. He said he had no one else to talk to, and that he had just been diagnosed with cancer. We were both 32 at the time. He didn’t know how to tell his mom, and he didn’t have any other friends he was close enough with to tell. We talked for over an hour that day, on our first phone call in over a year.

Over the past year we started casually texting again. My wife agreed that I shouldn’t shut him out when I was all he had for support. I didn’t go out of my way to support him though, which I feel bad about. I only visited him in person once this past year. He called me a few times and cried through the phone about how terrifying his situation was. He told me that he couldn’t bring himself to be honest with his mom about the full extent of his cancer; that it had spread all throughout his body and that he knew he didn’t have much time left. He hadn’t told a single other friend besides me. And I wasn’t ready to be there for him again as a best friend.

On boxing day, I text him to see how he was doing. His response was incoherent. I tried to arrange a call but he incoherently communicated that he was in the hospital and couldn’t talk on the phone. On New Year’s Eve his mother texted me using his phone. She said he was in a hospice and only had a few days left. She knew we had been close, and even though he was no longer responsive, she offered for me to see him one last time.

I took the 4 hour round trip on new year’s eve and saw him in a way he wouldn’t want me to have seen him. He wouldn’t want that image of him – emaciated and slack jawed – to be burned in my memory of him. But I’m glad I went to say goodbye. It was horrible and heart wrenching, but when I spoke to him his eyes moved. I think he was in there somewhere and I think he heard me. He died early the next morning, just yesterday. New Year’s Day.

He was the first peer I’ve lost to death. 33 years old. Our relationship was so complicated, but we were best friends, for better or for worse.

Money coming our way?

My wife and I have been planning to buy the house we rent from my mom. We’ve lived here for 8 years and we’ve made it our own. I’ve spent years developing a perennial edible garden, with all the infrastructure (if you don’t know this about me yet, developing my property into a suburban homestead has been one of my top passions over the years – and one of our biggest investments). This was the house we got engaged in, started our marriage in, and started our family in. We wanted to buy this house because it felt like home, but also because we couldn’t afford to buy any other house. My mom would cut us a deal so we wouldn’t have to pay full market value. We’re in a housing market right now where even families making over $100,000 a year can’t buy a house, and with me in school for the last 12 years, we haven’t been able to save enough to secure a big enough mortgage for a solidly built house, unless we bought from my mom at a discount.

But the other day my father-in-law told us not to buy our house. At first we got defensive – was he saying it wasn’t a good house?? This was our home that we’d worked on for years! But no, he was giving us a heads up that when he sold my wife’s childhood home, there’d be a good chunk of money coming our way that would significantly impact the kind of house we could afford to buy.

So here we are in limbo, waiting for his house to go on the market. We’ve pretty much decided that if we end up being able to afford a slightly bigger house with more than our current 2 bedrooms, WE’LL HAVE A SECOND CHILD. He cannot list his house fast enough…. The unknown is killing me.

It is kind of awkward accepting that kind of money from family. Not awkward because it’ll change our family dynamics or because he’ll make us feel we owe him – awkward because we are getting so much handed to us on a silver platter without earning it, and it makes my white, 3rd generation Canadian, educated family privilege glaringly obvious. It’s uncomfortable to look my privilege square in the eye and choose to use it for selfish purposes. We could take some of that money to support people in need… But we’re sinking it all into our house fund. I feel like less of a good person taking the money. And I think I should feel like less of a good person…

This isn’t my first time accepting free money and using it for personal gain. When my grandmother passed away she left me enough money to completely cover my student loan debt. The difference was, she stipulated that the money was to be used to pay off my student loans, so I really had little choice. In this case, my father-in-law would be very disappointed if we donated much of the money, but it’s not like it’s his dieing wish that we use it to buy a house…

Anyway, this is all moot because we’re using it to buy a house. We just have to wait till spring when he lists his house (it’ll sell immediately) to find out what we can spend on a house, and then we have to FIND our forever home, which won’t be easy. I imagine we’d start trying for another baby as soon as we found out our house hunting budget, rather than waiting to find and move in to our forever home. But for now, we linger here in limbo… The anticipation, as always, is killing me.

A bullet point update

I’ve let the time between blog posts go too long. There’s too much to write to fit it in one post, so I’ll do a bullet point update.

  • I got my PhD 🎉🎊🎉🎓 The defense went really, really well, and I’ve been celebrating all week. I’ve been in post-secondary school for 12 years, grad school for 8 of those. It’s surreal that it’s finally over.
  • We’re ready for Christmas, and it feels good. This is going to be one heck of a magical year with our 3 year old. Example, she keeps turning off the lights in the house so we can admire “the magical lights on our tree. Look how magical it looks, mommy!”
  • We went to a winter solstice marionette play at Avery’s daycare tonight. The other kids were behaving totally normally for a crowd of preschoolers and couldn’t sit still or be quiet (and they were cracking me up with their antics), but Avery sat perfectly still and quietly in the front row on a little cushion, and was completely absorbed in the show from start to finish. She didn’t even seem to notice the kids rolling around in front of her. I think she’ll do well in formal education… She can sit quietly and focus better than I can.
  • The will-we-or-won’t-we have a second child internal debate continues. Today we mapped out how we could turn our bedroom and walk-in closet into a kid’s room and we’d take Avery’s room. It would be a really cute way for two kids to share a room. But at the same time, I don’t want to leave my brand new amazing employers high and dry so soon after starting work with them.
  • More on the above point: I’ve been having dreams about a baby, and it feels like the dreams I used to have about Avery.
  • Ok, all the points from here on out are about the will-we-or-won’t-we have a second child debate. Who am I kidding – even getting the PhD took less mental energy than this decision is taking.
  • I really, really miss breastfeeding. Maybe that’s weird, and maybe I’m one in 10,000 women who had a really great experience with breastfeeding, but there was something so emotionally fulfilling about it.
  • Even with my professional identity finally coming to fruition, I feel the strong urge to throw all of myself into being a nurturer to my offspring.
  • Oh, but the planet is totally overpopulated, and I don’t want to contribute to the problem any more than I already do just by living. And what will the future be like for my kids? Will there be war, famine, epidemics?

I think this is as positive and uplifting a place as any to end my rambling update 😉

Hopefully I can pull off more regular posts in the new year!

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 😉

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 😉