The most thoughtful gift

My wife used to work in the automotive industry. She worked with a bunch of old-school Italian guys, and she often felt she couldn’t be her authentic self. But there were a few guys in her plant who were totally supportive of us, and even years after she stopped working there, they visit us and send Avery gifts.

A package arrived in the mail yesterday, addressed to Avery. Inside were three little stuffed bears, and this book. I was blown away by the thoughtfulness of this book, gifted to Avery by a old Italian guy. The world’s not all bad!

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My almost weekend off

I have a lot of work to do these days, and the longer I take to do it, the longer we have to put off having another baby. So my wife was going to take Avery to the family cottage this weekend where she could be with her cousins and frolic and play. I was going to have a solid weekend to myself – Friday night till Sunday night. I was going to work all day, and then relax all night. I had my bottle of wine and TV playlist selected.

But today Avery came down with pneumonia. I’m babying my baby instead of relaxing in front of the TV. I’m bummed about it, but I also wouldn’t want to be anywhere else but by her side while she’s sick. I’m really sad for her that she didn’t get to go to the cottage though… She had been talking about it for WEEKS, and had a little cry when we told her she couldn’t go. But I’m sure she’d rather be cuddled in my arms when she feels like this, too.

Family Planning as a PhD Mom

Here’s a secret… I had been planning to start trying to make baby #2 in the first week of January. I had kept it from the blog. We had been updating our donor contract, gotten our donor on board, I’d been collecting syringes from the pharmacy, and taking a prenatal vitamin. But then my PhD progress threw a wrench in the works.

I finally got my dissertation data last week, and it was not all that I hoped it would be. It was OK, but not enough to constitute a dissertation. So, my advisory committee and I decided that I needed a second study. A new study, a new ethics application, another 400 people recruited, another big batch of data collected, and a whole new story to write up about it. My original plan was to be finished writing in spring, and defend early summer. My new plan is to finish writing in summer, and defend in fall. So conceiving in January would mean I could be defending my dissertation with a fresh baby on my boob – no thanks!

The new plan is to start trying to conceive in MAYBE March, skip April (we’re too busy in December to have a December baby), and resume in May. I’m bummed out for many reasons…

“mommy’s my favourite” and anyone else is chopped liver

Sometimes I wish I could be straight JUST because it would be easy to fall back on gender roles to explain away inequities in my relationship. The big issue right now is my wife being second favourite to our daughter. Actually, third favourite – she says “mommy’s my favourite, Albus [the cat] is my favourite buddy.” My wife has been met with avoidant behaviour from our daughter the last month or so. She gets home from work and Avery cringes and hits her if she goes in for a hug, and becomes INSANELY clingy to me. It’s really hard, and really sad. Can’t imagine how hard and sad it is for my wife.

But in hetero relationships, we’ve heard that it’s common for the kids to want nothing to do with the dads for a good long time. It’s easy when it’s a matter of moms versus dads. Women are so often primary caregivers, and men are socialized to not care if their kids go to their mother for every booboo and request. It’s what’s normal.

I think what’s happening with my wife and daughter IS normal, to an extent, but it’s hard to see it that way when our daughter wants one mom so much more than the other mom. We’re both moms – but our roles are as different as any opposite-sex couple out there.

Working backwards from baby

My wife and I have been waffling on when to have baby #2 (and some days we even go back and forth on whether or not to have another child at all). But it seems that we really thought about timelines for the first time last night – when do we want to HAVE baby #2? When’s the best time to disrupt the flow of our lives so that it will cause the least waves?

Originally I had thought that I’d love to be done school and have a job first, so I could get a paid maternity leave. But the issue of disrupting my professional trajectory is a very real one – when I had Avery I completely lost my passion and drive for my PhD and my CV has become outdated and unattractive to potential employers. If that happens again, I will not want to be newly employed by a company I hope to stay at long term when I go through my “mothering-is-everything” phase. So we have decided (and I say that word without strong conviction) to aim to have a baby shortly after I’ve defended my dissertation. Since I aim to defend in early summer 2019, and we don’t want any more birthdays in July and August (there are 7 immediate family birthdays in these two months already), we’re looking at trying in January. BUT I highly doubt that will happen because I haven’t been tracking my cycle and we haven’t even talked to our donor about it, let alone get our donor contract renewed.

Suddenly it feels like 9 months is a long time, when I don’t want to be sitting around between PhD and career for longer than I need to.

A toddler growth spurt

Oy Vey, it has been a while since I wrote, by my standards (a whole 2 weeks!). I haven’t been in a writing mood, which is weird for me. But here’s an update.

Avery has been going through a growth spurt. I kind of assumed these would be gone – or less life-disrupting – by the time she was two, but apparently I was wrong.

The first sign is the eating. Avery has been a picky eater for months and months and months. We had to rely on trickery to get vegetables into her. But for the past two weeks she has been eating everything in her sight. As an example, here’s what she had for an afternoon snack today: a cup and a half of sweet potato crackers, a peach, a pear, a banana, a hot chocolate with whipped cream, and a piece of toast. And she was beside herself cranky from hunger at 4:30 but she didn’t get dinner till 5:30. She then ate a full dinner of weird things (panko crusted baked tofu, pad Thai, and two adult sized portions of steamed green beans. And of course she had bedtime snacks). It’s out of control. We went to a family member’s house on the weekend and she had eaten through all the snacks we’d packed on the drive there, and then ate our family member out of house and home while we were there. The eating part of this growth spurt is definitely a welcome change, because we don’t have to worry at all that she’s getting enough nutrition.

The not so great side effect of this growth spurt is the clinginess. She is extremely possessive of me right now. When my wife gets home from work Avery suddenly turns into a whiney monster who will literally pin me down rather than have me do anything else besides hold her. I love my strong attachment with my daughter, but even I start to feel a little suffocated when she’s wrapped tightly around my neck, pinning me to the couch or floor, and if I stand up letting out an ear piercing whine/cry. I give her hugs because I don’t know what else to do, and it’s always just 4:30-bedtime. Right when my wife gets home. It’s unfortunate.

On that note, we are still going strong with no daytime naps. She’s definitely tired in the afternoon (and that probably has something to do with the clinginess), but she’s functioning fine, and bedtime is a 15 minute joyful cuddlefest now, instead of a 90 min frustration-fest. She napped twice in the past two weeks when we were on long car trips, and those bedtimes were horribly long. No naps it is. I’ll post more about that later.

I plan to do Blogmas, which is a daily blogging challenge in the month of December. There will be plenty of updates to come, including updates on our TTC plans!