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!
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.
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…
For the last few months Avery has been sounding pretty proud of the fact that she has two moms. She shouts it out when we read books with a dad in them, or when we’re talking about her cousins and their parents, or randomly from the back of the car or while falling asleep at night: “Avery has two moms!”
She also talks about how her family looks different from others. She’ll say, “mommy has one mom.” And “Mo has one dad.” And her train of thought always concludes with another very proud sounding proclamation that she has two moms.
I love it.
We went to my wife’s work holiday party on the weekend. My mom babysat. The dinner was amazing, and it was nice to get dressed up for a change. But by 9:30, I was ready to go home and cuddle in bed watching Netflix. When the music started for the dance, I could no longer hear any of the conversations going on around me. I sat there like a lump on a log, watching the time tick by, dreaming of my comfy bed, and trying not to dwell on what time I’d be woken up in the morning, or how many times I’d be needed through the night. By 10:30 I was grumpy. Our ride was being chivalrous and not pressuring his other “fares” to wrap it up for the night. My wife sat with me but didn’t want to say anything to our ride, and didn’t want to offend him by calling a cab.
So there we sat, watching people dance, looking like the grumpy, party pooper uncles at a wedding.
Finally, by 11:45, we got our lift home. I hate being such a party scrooge, but I really just love quiet, intimate events that end before my bedtime. Am I a 90 year old trapped in a 32 year old’s body? Maybe.
On the plus side, Avery only woke once in the night, and slept in until EIGHT FUCKING THIRTY. She has never slept that late. Thank you, wonderful child.
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.
We had our donor’s family over for dinner recently. Their two kids are 8 years and 18 months, and Avery has a budding friendship with both of them; especially the older one, who seriously loves Avery (seriously – she says it all the time, and hugs the daylights out of her, and it’s the sweetest thing ever).
We feel so incredibly lucky to have this positive relationship with our donor and his whole family. Although we’ve decided to have another baby so that Avery will have an actual sibling, it’s feels good to know she has other kids out there her age who she can be connected to in a special way. It’s different from a friendship, and it’s definitely not a sibling relationship. It’s just a unique relationship that not all kids get to experience.