The weekend

Tomorrow morning I leave for the weekend. By myself.

I’m excited to be going. I’m visiting my bff for the long weekend. I’m unbelievably psyched about working, reading, and maybe even napping (!) on the plane (::coughcoughbloodymarycoughcough::). I’m going to stay up late, sleep in, drink too much coffee and too much whiskey.

But I’m also sad — sluggish in my packing, anxious about what’s done and what’s not as A and the zunzun embark on their first weekend alone together. My first night(s!) away from him.

A and I are both a little apprehensive. We’re not sure how the zunzun will grapple with the change, and we’re nervous about how he’ll react to such an extended time with no nursing. (I will be so sad if this trip weans him, but it’s a risk, even as he’s still a fiend about it.) It might mean some very early mornings for both of them. We’ll see, I suppose. He’s been known to surprise us.

They will be fine, of course. Good, even — it’s important that they get time alone together. It’ll be good for all of us. I do know it.

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We have walking!

Just when we thought the zunzun would have to take his push-toys to kindergarten with him, he up and decided this morning that he was going to walk.

The record so far is 14 steps in a row.

Now everybody who asks us constantly if he’s walking yet can go eff themselves!

Sleep: a year (+) in review

We never wanted to co-sleep. We initially bought a sidecar sleeper for our bed, and put it on A’s side in the beginning, with the hopes that she would be the first line of defense for night wakings in the early weeks, and then hoping to share more of the duties once breastfeeding was established and he was taking bottles. (We never planned on equal sharing of the night wakings, since I was to be the primary caregiver and A needed to continue to work during the day. You know, for money.) This worked for the first few weeks, but it soon became apparent that night feedings were never going to be given with bottles (he hated them, refused them altogether for months, and never took any comfort from them); likewise, the fact that he never took a pacifier meant that my chestal region was a necessary component of most early wakings.

Even so, we held strong with our mantra: The baby is not invited into our bed. Except for naps. Who doesn’t love a good family nap when you can get one?

By 11 weeks, he was sleeping so terribly after we came to bed that we decided to try him out in his crib in his own room (next door to ours). It was earlier than we’d planned on making that switch, but were hoping that we’d all sleep better that way. And we did. But when, at 3.5 months or so, the zunzun slept his first nine hour stretch, my body immediately relinquished its ability to get up and deal with him in the night. Or at least, to do so without waking me up all the way and making it very hard for me to get back to sleep once he was.

That’s when we became accidental co-sleepers.

I realized not very long ago that when we say that the zunzun has always been a good sleeper, it’s all relative. True, nearly every night of his life he’s had a stretch of 4-5 hours of sleep. But we never sleep trained him (successfully, anyway: see attempts at CIO circa Christmas 2012), and he had multiple night wakings until only a couple of months ago.

Our concession, beginning at 3.5 months, was that he came into our bed at his first night-waking post-our bedtime. Which gradually meant that we went to bed whenever his night waking closest to our normal bedtime occurred.

And you know what? It was mostly fine. We found that we liked the snuggles, could abide the sometimes rough nights, and loved waking up as a family.

We still do.

It is no longer pleasant, though, on the odd night when the zunzun finds his way into our bed for most of the night. It basically relegates me to boob buffet and poor A to footrest-face. Nobody sleeps well.

But it also bums us out if he goes too many nights in a row sleeping all the way til morning in his crib. Our favorites these days are the nights when he comes into our bed at 5:30-6am (later than that and he won’t really go back to sleep), snuggles in to nurse and sprawl with his guys, and sleeps with us til 7, 7:30, sometimes even 8. Then we all wake up together, refreshed and jolly, happy to give and receive raspberries, make and take pretend phone calls, and play all of the other little games we’ve taken to playing in the morning bed.

Ideally, we’d like to have the zunzun falling asleep on his own, if only for naps (I think we both still like rocking him to sleep at night, having some quiet time and snugs). But for now, we’re feeling okay about where things are at.

Sleep is the one thing I think I’d really try to do differently if there’s a next baby. Like that lying down drowsy thing? Or maybe even sleep training at an age when they’re less likely to be the moststubborninthewholeworld. We also know it’s unlikely that we’ll have a baby with the same temperament twice, so who knows. Making plans and all that…

Fine motor skillz

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At 14+ months, the zunzun still resolutely refuses to walk independently (sure, a step here and there, but no more than that!), but he’s been jammin’ on the fine motor skills. He stacked this tower yesterday, with mami’s help steadying, and can do six blocks on his very own.

Other fave activities of late: unpacking all the things in all the cabinets and all the drawers; piling up all his guys and lying down on top of the pile; blowing raspberries on any swath of uncovered skin; giving kisses and hugs; playing drums and xylophone; pushing the walkie toys up and down the hallways.

Lost boys

I have, like so many of you, been thinking every day about the loss of Caemon and about what his moms must be going through. It is unimaginable and unbearable and unspeakable. And yet, even as we pause and go quiet and reflect, we also can’t help but imagine it because that’s precisely what makes us reach out to try to help his moms bear it, to speak of it because that’s how his memory persists.

We had a woman to brunch on Sunday whose son was murdered two years ago. A has been following this story since the shooting, and this mother had wanted to meet the zunzun. Her own boy, her youngest child, was almost 17, taking out the garbage one July afternoon, and was shot twice in the face. The shooter, whose trial is scheduled at long last to begin March 5, is a gang member, though the motive for the killing remains unclear. This woman had gone Friday to the visitation for the girl who was murdered two weeks ago in a playground two blocks from our home, and said what we all keep saying: this has got to stop. So she’s doing whatever she can — she belongs to a couple of groups for parents of murdered children; she mother-hens her son’s friends, and stays on them so that some of them, hopefully, will testify when the time comes. She still sleeps every night under her son’s bedspread.

 

I know the stories of these two lost boys don’t fit together neatly, that their deaths are so very different from one another. But they are both the result of things we are trying, in whatever ways we can, to fight.

I just want to mark the presence of their absences. The holes they left behind, and the mothers who do whatever they can to move through their lives with them.

Three vials

Do you remember how in July or August I wrote that we had bought three vials of sperm, quite unexpectedly? It’s like an acorn I buried in the fall, then forgot where I buried it and now summer has come and I’m all like, “Oh snap! There’s an acorn here!”

Just exactly like that.

It’s been so interesting to watch the evolution of these blogs I started following when we first started TTC, how most of them became baby/parenting blogs, and how many of them are now going (or have already gone) back to TTC.

We’re not quite ready to join you.

BUT I will tell you about these three vials, how we came to have them, and what we plan to do about it.

Some time ago, I wrote that our donor was no longer available. After a couple of months of thinking Oh, that’s kind of a bummer but whatevssss, I decided to call the bank and ask them exactly what it meant, if there was a sibling reserve, etc. The lady was all, It means there’s no sperm, duh. And I was all, Cool, no worries, just checking. And she said, You could get on the waiting list. And I said, Okay. And she said, Psychhhhhh! It’s totally full! And I said, Okay. And she said, Psychhhhh! There’s one spot left! So I got on the waiting list, and she made sure to get my hopes set real real real really low (“He’s no longer donating, this would only be if someone sold their vials back” etc etc. I GOT IT, LADY!).

NO SHIT, four days later, someone from the bank called me and asked if I wanted SEVEN IUI vials.

UHHHHHHHH

So A and I did some chatting about it and ended up buying three.

And now we store them.

We have talked about maybe trying in the fall. We both, in turn, think we should definitely try to have another baby and then, at other times, have doubts about expanding the family. Ironically, it’s the moments when we feel most gushy and lovey about the zunzun that we wonder if it would be wise or happy-making for us to bring another baby in. It also hasn’t been determined whether “trying” would mean giving it a shot with those three vials and seeing what happens, or whether “trying” would mean something more extended than that. Part of me thinks that we can’t allow any baby fever to take hold until a) we’re ready and b) we know it’s going to happen.

Further, it has been determined (by me — don’t worry, I am the source of my own duress) that this is the year of my dissertation. That bitch is gonna get written this year OR ELSE. (Or else what? Please don’t ask. I will get depressed and weep.) So I would prefer not to start trying until I’m drafting my last chapter, so as to increase the likelihood of my ever getting to be Dr. Zunzun’smama. (My ambivalence about finishing my degree is overwhelming in relation to my doubts about another baby. Though I don’t feel ambivalent about the fact that if another baby comes along before this thing is pretty well finished, I can probably kiss it goodbye, for better or worse.) That way, being pregnant would be the kick in the pants to edit the shit out of that thing and be done with it.

So in the meantime, we store the three vials. We haven’t put ourselves back on the waiting list to see if more vials become available. I don’t think we’re in a position to buy more right now, anyway, and I don’t think we want to have that conversation yet.