Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Um, Yeah

So, some of you emailed to ask and therefore already know this, others do not. Sorry for going offline for a couple of months. I know it looked like I went PWP and didn't tell anyone. The reality was that I was the only one with the password. I inadvertently exposed myself to someone IRL who I didn't really want reading along and therefore wanted to find a way to keep posting but have it be temporarily private. I didn't mean to keep it that way for so long.

There are posts throughout the "private period," and some previously unpublished drafts that predate it. If you read in a reader, you may have just had them all released to you. If not, you may need to go back. The first former draft was September 29. There are a couple from early October. After that, I was offline, so it's all new to the rest of you.

Again, sorry for going offline and especially for doing so in a way that may have made some people feel as though they were left out -- it wasn't about any of you, and no one else was not left out (if that makes sense). I'm glad to have those of you who are still reading back in my life. :)

EDITED TO ADD: You may want to read the posts from oldest to newest, if possible. Otherwise, you may be in for some, um, surprises.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Fifteen Months, Medically

Harry's fifteen month appointment was today. He is certainly a big kid -- 32 inches and 26 pounds 2 ounces with a 48 cm noggin. This puts him around the 75th percentile across the board, though I think he is actually longer than 32 inches -- for some reason, the measuring made him very angry and I think the nurse just wanted to get it over with.

Our doctor's daughter was born on Harry's first birthday, so she was on leave for his 12 month checkup. She wasn't expected back until January, but because the baby came early, her leave began early, so she came back early, so our appointment with the doctor we saw in September was rescheduled to one with her, which we were happy about. Then yesterday, we got a call that she was going to be out for the day, so we got rescheduled with some other random doctor. Let me just say that had we met with her when interviewing doctors, we would likely have chosen a different practice. I like our pedi because she's pretty laid-back and non-alarmist. Not so this woman.

So, though it bothers me a little, I have tried not to make a big deal about the fact that while Harry has a few words (and uses them a lot), none of them is mama or dada. And it's not because he has come up with some other thing to call us. He doesn't call either of us anything. He know both that the dog is dog and that his name is Buddy (or budzz, as it sounds coming out of Harry's mouth), but neither of us is worthy of a name. Again, it makes me a little sad, but I haven't worried much. Not so this doctor.

Harry has now been officially diagnosed as having a mild speech delay. Not just in their files, but in the forms for daycare. All because he only has seven words at 15 months and because none of them is mama or dada. She also made me fill out the M-CHAT, which seemed a bit aggressive, especially given my answers to her other questions (like that Harry is very affectionate, he gives hugs and kisses, he plays peekaboo, he pushes cars on the floor and says "vroom vroom" (rather than just banging them or spinning the wheels), that while he doesn't imitate words/word-sounds, he does imitate funny sounds). She also wanted to put him on antibiotics because he had some fluid in his ears, even though he is just getting over a cold and hasn't had a fever and while they were a tinge pink they were not at all red. I got her to agree to wait and see -- if he seems to be in pain or develops a fever, we'll call immediately; if not, we'll bring him back in two weeks for a checkup.

Does she seem very aggressive to anyone else? Or am I in denial?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Fifteen Months

Dear Harry,

Mommy's camera died and for some reason that resulted in no fourteen month letter. I'm sorry :( I'm especially sorry because a lot happened that month. You went from taking a step or two, to doing the Frankenwalk across the room, to walking full time. We went apple picking and visited a pumpkin patch and took a hay ride, which may have been the highlight of your young life. You were so excited to be up close and personal with a tractor. You took your first trip to the Aquarium. On Halloween, you went to your first football game with us and Papa and Grandma P, where you saw Mommy and Daddy's alma mater beat Papa's. That night, you were a monkey for Halloween. We pushed you in your red wagon, then you got out and pushed the wagon for a while. It was unseasonably warm, so we regretted not outfitting you in the Bam-Bam costume we planned, which we called off because we thought you'd be cold, but instead you got sweaty in your warm, snuggly monkey outfit. As you will someday learn, hindsight is always 20-20. The next weekend, we went to see Aunt K and Big Papa to celebrate Big Papa's 93rd birthday.

The camera is still broken but we've done our best to use the older camera. I'm sorry there aren't many good pictures from this month, but we'll hopefully have the good camera fixed and home soon.

This month, we celebrated Thanksgiving with Papa and Grandma P and three of your uncles. Everyone wanted to find good toys for you, so Uncle T went to the basement and hunted around for his own toys from when he and Mommy were kids, and we got out our old blocks, and you had a ton of fun. We discovered that you love cranberries, but not turkey. It was a rather bizarre discovery. Thanks to you, we actually had dinner at a reasonable hour for once, which you may one day discover is a rare occasion with Papa. Though it was later than promised, so you had to go right to bed when you were done eating all those cranberries. The next day, we had Thanksgiving Part II with Grandpa and Grandpa and Auntie T and Great-Grandpa. You mainly ate Grandma's cinnamon bread, which I think is what most of us would do if we were fourteen months old and people let us do that. Grandma also gave you your second haircut. You look fabulous. The next day, we took advantage of the warm weather and went to the park to swing and go down the slide and explore the tunnels (and show off the new haircut).

You had your second ever visit with Santa this month. Last year, you were less than two months old (as we went on Veteran's Day), so we didn't expect much. This year, you were about equally non-plussed. No tears, but no smiles either. The best photo was one with you two looking at each other. It may end up as our Christmas card if we can't get a better one before we need to order them.

Yesterday, we got our Christmas tree! It was cold -- very, very cold. We bundled you up in your much-hated coat and hat and gloves and wrapped a blanket around you in the stroller. But your cheeks still got red, so we tried to pick quickly. I think we ended up with our best tree yet -- not just our best in your lifetime but the best your dad and I have had in our ten Christmases together. Hopefully we'll decorate it soon. But it looks great as-is. We didn't manage to get an official monthiversary shot this month, but we did take some photos by the tree, so one of those is the header for this letter. I hope that's okay. We'll try to do a real one in January!

Finally, last night we took you to Zoolights at the Stone Zoo. It was a little underwhelming, but it was nice to get out and do something different and in the holiday spirit. The lights were nice, and you liked the animals you were able to see, few as they were. We took pictures, but we used a film camera and haven't had them developed yet. Film camera -- that must be a totally foreign concept to you :)

I'm excited for the upcoming month. We will celebrate Christmas, and we won't be doing it in the car! Hooray! We should also get some time to spend together -- a whole week with nothing to do but enjoy one another's company. And I'm really looking forward to it.

All my love,


Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving: The One Where I Lose It

It got worse. P spent Wednesday afternoon making the mashed potatoes. Wednesday night, we put Harry to bed in the car and drove to my brother's house and transferred Harry to the pack and play. The three of us then each took a item and prepped the beans, which I then cooked. Thursday, we headed to my dad's. My stepfamily showed up in the early afternoon, and my stepbrothers immediately planted themselves in front of the TV, where they proceeded to spend the entire day.

While P attempted (unsuccessfully) to get Harry to take a nap, I began working on stuffing and sweet potato casserole. My brother helped by washing things when I finished working with them. The stepbrothers would occasionally wander in to get a new beer but never offered to help. It was a long day in the kitchen. The only contribution either of them made was that my dad explicitly asked one of them to stir the gravy, which he did, but he didn't look happy about it. They did manage to contribute very large appetites, eating an enormous amount of food. Possibly because they were rather stoned.

The following morning, my dad asked if anyone was particularly committed to having turkey leftovers. We said we'd take some if it wasn't a hassle but we weren't especially committed. It turned out that he was hoping to re-roast the half of the bird that was not yet carved some night when my brother was over for dinner. His wife stated that she and her boys wanted leftovers. Seriously? You contribute essentially nothing and you insist on leftovers?

They also insisted on pie. My dad divided up what remained of the pie, putting some in a box for him, some in a box for the boys and some in a box for us. When we were getting ready to leave, I asked my dad for our pie. He pointed to an empty spot on the counter, then realized that the boys had taken not only their pie but also ours.

Fuck that. Really? You contribute nothing, you insist on having leftover turkey even though it's inconvenient for the person who prepared it, and then you steal the leftover pie of the people who made 90% of the food? FUCK YOU!! Yeah, I was and am pissed. I called my stepmother to tell her to stop wherever they were and surrender the pie (they had only left ten minutes earlier), but her phone was off. One stepbrother seems to be surgically attached to his iPhone, so I emailed him, but he didn't respond. So we got no pie. And I decided that I will never again have Thanksgiving with them unless there is an arrangement made in advance regarding what each person will be contributing -- one which prohibits freeloaders -- and some sort of lockbox for my damn leftovers.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving: The one where Harry likes cranberry

My stepmother's contribution to Thanksgiving was a cranberry dish involving cranberries, orange, and who knows what else. When she suggested that would be her contribution, I had to laugh a little, since I know that my dad, my brother, P and I do not eat generally cranberry concoction at Thanksgiving. So the only contribution she and her boys would be making was something that only they would eat.

When we sat down to eat, the cranberry was in front of Harry. He immediately started pointing at it. He ate his mixed veggies and some mashed potatoes and some stuffing and some sweet potato casserole. He rejected his turkey, as expected. But throughout, he kept pointing at the cranberry. My stepmother kept telling him he wouldn't like it, that it was tart. But he kept pointing.

Finally, we gave in. We put a few bites on his tray and let him try it. He made a face, one that clearly noted the tartness. And then he grabbed another handful. And another. He made that face each time, but he kept on eating, like it was the best food he'd ever tasted. We kept scooping more onto the tray, and he kept eating it. Apparently, Harry likes tart things, including cranberry.

Needlesstosay, we ended up with half of the leftover cranberry.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving: The One Where We Do All The Work

In the almost ten years we've been together, P and I have spent Thanksgiving with his family. Until last year, my dad and brother joined us. His mom is a good cook and does a good job of assigning people things to bring so that she doesn't get overwhelmed. And the added bonus is that his mom's house is only ten minutes from us. Maybe fifteen. So, aside from last year when we went to his aunt's vacation house three and a half hours away, we spent Thanksgiving at his mom's. But my dad got remarried last year, increasing the size of my family and making it difficult/impossible to join the families together. It started to feel like we were supposed to trade off, so we agreed to head to my dad's this year.

So we're heading to RI. But my dad doesn't usually host Thanksgiving, or hasn't in a long while. Which means he doesn't really know how to do this. He is a firm adherent to the philosophy that holidays are about family/people rather than food or presents and therefore thinks effort should be minimized with respect to the latter two categories. Consequently, he is providing turkey, baked potatoes, peas, and a pie, and anyone who wants anything else is responsible for bringing it. Which means that P and I are responsible for mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, green beans, stuffing, and a second pie. Because my dad's wife and her (adult) sons are incapable of contributing anything. This pisses me off to no end. Thankfully my brother is going to help us prep when he can (keeping in mind that he has to work Thanksgiving morning, so I'm genuinely thankful that he's going to help at all).

I sent an email listing the menu (basically, what my dad would provide) and asking what people were bringing. My dad's wife offered to bring cranberry. No one else said a single fucking word, until one of her boys said he hoped the second pie would be pumpkin or pecan, but didn't offer to, say, bring it himself. Leaving the rest to me and P -- you know, the pregnant woman and her husband and their toddler. And my brother, who actually has work to do that day. Ugh. Not that I'm bitter or anything ;) With P's mom, everyone gets assigned one or two things, and we only have to drive 10 minutes. So, yeah, next year, we're back to going there. And we may not do the alternation thing. Because let's be real -- Thanksgiving is kind of about the food. But if I'm going to have to make it all, I'm not going to travel with my bags of food.

Edited to add: Later this afternoon, my dad sent an email asking what people wanted for beer. He noted that he has Michelob and Coors Light. My goddamn stepbrother wrote back to say he'd like Sierra Nevada or Heineken. Really, you self-centered son of a bitch? I got pissed. P decided to respond to the email, suggesting that perhaps anyone who wasn't okay with Coors Light or Michelob could bring their own to save my dad from having to go buy a bunch of six-packs for anyone who wanted something different. What is wrong with these people?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Not fired

Are you as shocked as I was? Because I was shocked. I did get a "pick up your hours or you may get an 'exit' message in the spring" but it was, surprisingly, accompanied by an acknowledgement that some of the responsibility for the lack of hours lies with the firm/the department for not giving me enough work.

I feel like I had been putting on a brave face for a while, acting as though it was a done deal and therefore I just didn't care. But, as I mentioned yesterday, I did/do. Before my review, I went to talk to a friend/colleague and completely fell apart. I brought a tissue to my review in case I couldn't hold the tears back in front of these two men I'd never met before.

I had been told by friends who were fired in the spring that their reviews had all began with their reviewer looking all dour and saying "It's not good news." When I walked in, there were no dour faces, and no one said anything about news. They actually had my review file out, which I took as a decent sign, since I heard they didn't even bring them to the bad reviews in the spring. My reviewer began by asking how I felt things had been going since I came back from leave. I took this as my opening to say my piece, and I'm glad I did. I laid it all out there -- my frustration, my disappointment, my feelings of uselessness. I left out the anger, figuring I'd save that for if I was in fact fired.

My reviewer then commented that I had pretty much covered the first half of the review -- I didn't have enough work, making it tough to keep pace with my peers, which is the expectation of associates at the firm. He said he was impressed with my maturity in both recognizing the problem and being willing and able to acknowledge it, that usually the "getting the associate to recognize the problem" part is the hardest part of this type of review. He then spoke for a bit about how the firm makes very few hiring mistakes, and it expects that those are rectified quickly, so if I made it to this point, I was clearly a good attorney and that the comments in my reviews clearly reflected that. He then did the actual review, summarizing my comments and reading some to me. They were overwhelmingly quite positive. The one negative that wasn't related to the fact that I don't have enough work was insufficiently specific for me to even know what the partner was talking about, and the partner, in writing it, stated that he could have been misremembering, or it could have been a fluke.

We then had a discussion about what to do to fix the not enough work problem. The head of my department offered to make some calls to find me some work. And both he and my reviewer told me to check in if things continued to be slow for me. Here's hoping this plan works. Honestly, even if it doesn't, I have now ensured my continued employment until late May. And that's pretty much what I was hoping for.

All in all, as good as was possible under the circumstances. And 1000 times better than I actually expected.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


My annual review is tomorrow. The thought makes me want to curl up in a ball and cry.

If you asked me at the end of the summer, I would have said I thought the odds of me losing my job at this review were around 80%. As the fall wore on, I felt a little better about things, though I'm not entirely sure why. In part, I realized one of the partners I was working with just wasn't focused on our case, rather than being pissed at me for some indeterminable reason. In part, I think I was just feeling a bit more optimistic about life. But I probably would have brought the odds down to 65% or so.

Reviews began last week. Rumor has it that there has been a bit of a bloodbath among the junior associate ranks, but it's been rumor with no real proof. I don't know of any people at my level who have been affected. But I also know that everyone else in my class in my department has been busy, but I have had little to no work. And I think this bodes very badly. Last night I had a nightmare about my review. My reviewer fired me, then called me an idiot and mocked me. I tried to defend myself, which only made things worse. And none of my friends seemed to care that I had just lost my job, which made me angry. When I woke up, I was crying, tears streaming down my face. I've been trying to act like I just don't care, or like I'm so prepared for it that it won't matter, but it will. In case anyone is wondering, the blase is an act, albeit one that I myself have bought into. I'd probably put the odds of me getting fired around 95% now. And that scares the crap out of me.

Obviously, there's the financial issue. How will we possibly support ourselves? Then there's the timing issue. How can I look for a job while pregnant? If I wait, that leaves me unemployed (and income-less) for an awfully long time. But if I barrel ahead, I will be looking for a job while pregnant and needing to take leave within six months of starting, which doesn't seem to be the right message to send to a new employer. Plus, I doubt I'd get much leave wherever I landed. And then there's the self-worth issue. Who the hell am I if it turns out I am someone who gets fired?

So I'm scared. But I'm also pissed. I feel like some of the blame for the situation I find myself in is definitely mine -- I didn't ask for work in the weeks following my miscarriage, and I didn't push for work even when I started asking again. But even when I did push for work, I didn't get any, or at least not much. And then I went on leave, and when I came back, getting work was even harder. Other people in my department have been busy. People in my class year. But I haven't. I knew I needed to hit the ground running when I came back in March, and I felt like I did everything I could to do so. I begged for work from anyone and everyone. And I got some. But it wasn't enough. And I got almost nothing through the central assignment system, through which we are supposed to get the bulk of our work. And eventually I gave up. At some point it became obvious that there was nothing I could do to save my job. I felt as though the deck was stacked against me, and now here I am. And I am far from the only woman in my department who has had a child or multiple children and found themselves in this position. All the women in my department who seemed to successfully balance work and family have been fired in the past year.

So I'm scared and angry and anxious and frustrated. And uncertain how to handle the moment. Act tough? Show my anger? Burst into tears? Rage against the system? I suspect I will just react, most likely with tears. There will be a lot I will want to say, but I suspect I'll be so afraid of making no sense that I won't say much. And then I'll have to add regretful to my list.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Uneventful NT Scan

We had our NT scan today. It was rather uneventful. The measurement was right on target -- 1.6, I believe. They had some trouble getting any other measurements but seemed satisfied by the end. We got a few pictures, including a 3D one, to take home. All in all, uneventful but in a good way.

As a random note, Harry was pretty active at that point but this baby put him to shame, moving all over the place. We may be in trouble.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Halloween: Franken-Monkey

Harry was supposed to be Bam-Bam for Halloween. But we live in New England, and I was worried that it would be too cold to have him out in a cloth diaper and little else in late October. So we decided that he would be a monkey, wearing a generic costume we found at BRU. Of course, it ended up being unseasonably warm, and he was sweating in his monkey suit.

Regardless, my dad and stepmother and Ps mom and her husband came over that evening to see him all dressed up and stayed at our house distributing candy while we took Harry around the neighborhood. We figured he didn't need to collect any candy, but we loaded him up in his wagon along with a tiny pail that could fit 6 or so candies in it and brought him around the neighborhood anyway, mainly just to wish folks a Happy Halloween. Despite the fact that it was Saturday and the weather was warm, there were very few kids out, so a lot of people insisted we take candy even if Harry wasn't going to eat it. And some of the other kids in the neighborhood thought it would be cute to share their candy with him, so kids put candy in the wagon with him. Despite our efforts, I think we ended the evening with more candy in our house than we started with.

On an unrelated note, as you can see from the photo, Harry has gotten pretty stable on his feet. But he still does the Franken-walk for stability. He'll grow out of that, right?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Our friends' ultrasound showed twins! They are a little freaked out, and she has some truly awful morning sickness settling in, but we are thrilled for them.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Thirteen Months

My little munchkin,

I thought it was crazy when you turned one, but now you're more than one and it seems even crazier. You are really becoming a kid. You can take at least a few steps, and you don't drink from bottles, and you wear size 5 shoes -- with real soles! When did you get so grown up?

Though your birthday was last month, this month, you had a birthday party (since you were out of town for a wedding on your actual birthday). Your closest family and friends were all there. You did a lot of pushing of things (your car, your wagon -- including when other kids were in it) and you ate a cupcake. It was your first taste of sugar, and you seemed uncertain at first, but you caught on. But only after Grandma smeared some icing in your mouth. You then separated the top of the cupcake from the stump and waved the stump around, mashing it in your hair, then throwing it on the ground. You were quite a mess by the time you were done. And you did not like getting cleaned up.

Honestly, one of the biggest developments this month were the ones that were the least obvious. You really started to figure things out. You figured out how to open the latch on the cupboard with the DVDs. Strangely, you take out the same one every time -- Madagascar on BluRay, which is funny since we don't have a BluRay player. Perhaps one day. You also became obsessed with phones and have, sadly, figured out how to push random sequences of buttons on my (old) cell phone -- sequences I can't seem to identify, as my phone stopped ringing for several weeks. You have also figured out how to change the channel on the DVR without using a remote and how to change the volume on the receiver when it's off so that when someone turns the TV on it blasts at an obscene volume. Awesome. Maybe our decision to let you watch the Pats on TV wasn't such a good idea.

Finally, one of my favorite of your discoveries has been your discovery of the value of fitting in. To be clear, it's not my favorite because I want you to want to fit in. Rather it's my favorite because it is absolutely hysterical to watch you when you hear others around you laughing and realize that while you don't get the joke you don't want to be left out of the fun, so you let out a "ha, ha, ha" that is so obviously fake it makes everyone laugh harder. It's adorable. That said, sometimes you're better off not getting the joke -- just because everyone else is laughing doesn't mean it was actually funny.

Whether or not we make you laugh or merely make you fake laugh, you certainly make us laugh. Our big boy.

All my love,


Monday, October 12, 2009


Their second beta, on Friday at 14dp3dt, was 684. Ultrasound is scheduled for 10/20. They are starting to believe this might really be happening. Yay!

We went away with them and another couple this weekend. It was a little weird being the pregnancy expert (being the only one there who had been pregnant before), being asked to offer advice on foods to avoid, what symptoms were normal, etc. She freely admitted to having spent three years focused on getting pregnant and then on raising a baby and having spent no time at all thinking about the being pregnant part. It was actually kind of funny.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

First Appointment

We have a heartbeat. Based on measurements, EDD is 6/1/10 (consistent with my guess that I ovulated late -- based on LMP, EDD would be 5/25, I think). Crazy.

Wordless Wednesday: Reflective

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


That was our friends' beta this morning, at 11dp3dt. Whoo-hoo!

Whoo-hoo again!

I cried a little when I found out, and I assume they did too.

Friday, October 2, 2009


(I originally wrote this post on my Blackberry and then it disappeared. If you are someone who posts via Blackberry, got any pointers?)

I thought it might be worthwhile to explain why it is that keeping this pregnancy under wraps is important to me. There are, in fact, a number of reasons. The first is probably the most obvious reason: the uncertainty over the outcome. We are the type of people who wait until they are out of the first trimester to tell anyone other than our parents or siblings (and with the pregnancy we lost, we didn't/hadn't planned to tell them before the end of the first trimester either and didn't end up telling them until we were pregnant again). I know there are a lot of people who don't wait or who think that doing so is silly, and I have no problem with that approach for them, but we aren't those people. In part, it's the fear of having to untell. In part, it's something else that I can't name -- superstition, maybe? But we are non-tellers.

The second reason can best be summarized as "work." I am nervous about taking two leaves so close together. I am worried about the signals it sends. I am especially worried because of how difficult it has been for me to get any traction work-wise since I came back from leave in March. I am worried that it will be even more difficult doing so a second time. I am worried that I won't get to come back from leave a second time. I am worried that it sends the wrong message about my commitment to my job. Or, perhaps, I am worried that it in fact sends exactly the right message as far as accuracy of content goes, but I'm just not sure I want the message sent. Regardless, postponing telling anyone seems like an easy way to avoid having to confront these issues.

The third reason is our friends and their current IVF cycle. I really hope this is the one for them. But whether it is or it isn't, I don't want to say anything about us while they are still waiting to find out. If it is the one, I want to give them time to enjoy being the pregnant people without anyone else being pregnant too. And if it's not, I want them to have time to grieve before I drop a fucking bomb on them. Man, I hope this is the one, for their sake and for my own -- the guilt might kill me.

So that's three of the prime reasons why we will be keeping this a secret, and why I will be saving this as a draft for now. And why I would love it if I could just never tell anyone at all.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Becoming Picky

If Harry could eat the same thing every day, I'm pretty sure this is what his menu would look like:

Breakfast: Yogurt, english muffin, fruit. A soy sausage every other day.

Lunch: Grilled cheese on wheat bread, fruit.

Dinner: Pasta with red sauce, peas, fruit.

I actually think he would gladly eat just yogurt and fruit (with no major preference regarding what fruit -- berries, pineapple, melon, banana, kiwi, peaches, pears, plums -- he loves them all, and more). I've started mixing veggie purees into his morning yogurt to try to get some more veggies into him. And he does eat other food (I try not to indulge the pickiness, which often results in very little dinner), but it's often a struggle.

For tomorrow's lunch at day care, I packed a veggie dog, some cheese cubes, some wax beans (which he won't eat for us, but maybe he will for her), some watermelon, and half a mini-bagel (which I may trade for an english muffin at the last minute, as he prefers the muffin, but it seems like a lot of food). Miss M provides lunch for the kids, but we pack Harry's -- they are all very picky toddlers, so they tend to do a lot of chicken nuggets and fries, pizza, grilled cheese, etc., and I'd rather avoid him eating that much fried food (and avoid him developing a taste for it).

He used to be such a great and adventurous eater (he tried parsnips and used to love beets). Are those days gone, or just on hiatus?
ETA: I spoke too soon. This morning, he rejected fruit too, only eating yogurt. The rest, as usual, was tossed to the floor, making Buddy very happy.

Neither Trying Nor Preventing

Apparently, such a strategy can have the following consequences:

(Apologies for the awful picture.) The first one strip was last Tuesday.

Since my period has been irregular since Harry was born because of the whole nursing thing, I have no idea when I ovulated, but if I had to guess I would have thought it was several (like 4-5) days after the last time we actually did the deed, so this is a huge surprise to say the least. That first strip is rather faint, which would be consistent with it being about 14dpo. If there's any validity to the Shettles Method, I'm guessing this will be a girl, if in fact we get that far.

Strangely, I'm not feeling as nervous or anxious as I would expect. Or, to the extent I'm feeling nervous/anxious, it's more over the idea of possibly having two under two or of having to manage a career and two small kids or of having to tell my dad, who I suspect will feel that the latter is impossible, or at least that my work will be less than thrilled, thereby derailing my career further.

For now, I will attempt to be excited. And for now, we will keep this a serious secret. And for now, I am going to save this post as a draft, to be published later.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Update on the Last Post

They retrieved 9 eggs on Tuesday, of which 4 fertilized. She is pretty upset, as they got 16 last time, of which 11 fertilized. (Of course, last time her transfer got cancelled due to OHSS.) Transfer is scheduled for Friday. My fingers remain crossed for them. Keep yours crossed too.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Fingers Crossed

Harry's godparents have been trying to conceive for three or so years now. The day I had the D&E back in 2007, she had an HSG that showed that her tubes were blocked. Completely. In the two years since then, we had Harry, who is now one. In that same two year period, they fought a series of battles with their insurance company. She had a bilateral salpingectomy. They began their first of two covered rounds of IVF, but she showed signs of OHSS post-retrieval, so the transfer was cancelled. They did two FETs, neither successful. They did a lot of thinking and a lot of waiting.

Last night at two a.m was her trigger shot for their second-and-final insurance-covered fresh cycle. Retrieval is tomorrow at two. Transfer will be Friday or Saturday, barring any recurrence of the OHSS signs.

Shit has not been going particularly well for them in general lately. She is finishing her dissertation and trying to enter the job market. This is tough at any time, but the economy sucks, and her research findings and her hypotheses aren't lining up completely, and she's a perfectionist (I say that in the best way, of course), so she's stressed. And, well, rather hormonal. Meanwhile, his company first cut salaries, then furloughed people, including him. So they can't afford a fresh cycle on their own dime. This may be it for them for now.

I'm guessing they don't need any advice per se, but if anyone has any prayers/positive thoughts to spare and/or has any words of any sort, whether they be of comfort or encouragement or other forms of wisdom, I'd be happy to pass them along.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

One Year

My wonderful little boy,

It seems wholly impossible that it has been a year since you came into our lives. As cliched as it is, it feels like just yesterday that you were born, but I can't really remember our life without you. In that year you have gone from being a helpless newborn to being a fiercely determined, rambunctious little boy. I have loved every minute of being your mom, even the minutes where you bit hard enough to draw blood or screamed for no reason or threw all your food on the floor for the dog. Every. Minute. They have been the best 525,600 minutes of my life.

This month has been full of fun. You rediscovered books -- and remembered that they are not just for eating. You love to flip the pages and look at the pictures. You love your big picture books and Beep Beep Peekaboo and Fuzzy Fuzzy Fuzzy. You also love Alligator Alphabet, requesting it be read MANY TIMES after almost every nap -- you see the painting on the wall and want to touch the animals (mainly the yak and the zebra), so we read the book instead. Unsurprisingly, your first word was book. And even less surprisingly, your second was dog. You continue to be slightly obsessed with the dog.

You are also really into your walking toys. You love walking, but you can't quite do it on your own yet, so you spend what seems like an inordinate amount of time pushing your truck across the room, walking around it to get to the other side, then pushing it back. It was a happy day in our house when you discovered that you could walk to the other side to push it back, ending the days of sitting down and crying. You also enjoy walking the truck to the airplane, and the airplane to the giraffe, or any of them to a piece of furniture that you can cruise along to get to the next thing, whether it be another walking toy, another piece of furniture, the exersaucer (you love being able to walk around it and check out the toys from the outside), your music table, or your workbench. I think you have too many toys.

This month you also took your first step, down at Grandma Ps beach house, where we spent Labor Day with Papa and Grandma P and your cousins and your uncles and aunt. I don't think the step was on purpose -- you let go, took one step, and fell down -- but you did do it. While there, you also took your first dip in the Atlantic. It was definitely more successful than the Pacific. You liked it so much that, when we were sitting on the beach, you took my hands and walked me back down to the water to go back in, wading in up to your chest and laughing away. I am so glad you have decided you like the water. Now that you bathe in the big boy bathtub and spent time in a pool both at our house and at daycare, maybe it seems more familiar. Or maybe you just knew that this was your ocean. I'm happy either way.

I'm sorry that you had to wake up in the morning on your first birthday in a pack n play in a hotel room, but daddy's cousin got married and we had to go. You did get to celebrate with a belgian waffle, followed by your first haircut (it was getting a bit shaggy around the ears), thanks to Grandma. We spent the evening at Fenway Park, where you got to see your name on the scoreboard, along with birthday wishes from your dad and me. You also got to see the Red Sox win for the sixth time this year -- this time from excellent seats on the first base line. You held up a sign telling everyone it was your birthday, which everyone in our section loved but no one on TV saw. You were on TV, though -- in the background for every left-handed batter but not with the sign. We'll save it -- you have a lot of birthdays ahead of you.

My sweetpea, my munchkin, my big guy, my baby boy. I love you with all my heart, on this, your first birthday, and for every day before and every day yet to come.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Time for a Change?

Over the years, when recruiters have called, I have always just said I wasn't looking.

Today, I told one to call back in a few weeks. I need some time to gather my thoughts.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Table Food = Messy

First pizza, al fresco at Uno's (we forgot a bib, so Uno's offered us a disposable apron, which was essentially a trash bag, cut to cover Harry's whole torso):

Macaroni with sweet potato mush sauce:

Blueberry pancakes:

Pasta with red sauce (I can't look at this picture without laughing):

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Anniversary, Apathy, Exhaustion: Catching Up

So I have had a bunch of posts that I've meant to, well, post, but haven't had time. So, in order to catch up, I'm just going to do a bulleted list of stuff, starting with the good and moving to the less good:
  • P and I celebrated our four year anniversary last week (the 20th). Four years is the fruit & flowers (traditional) or appliances (modern) anniversary. So P sent me flowers and gave me a new air conditioner for our room (we had given ours to Harry). I sent him an edible arrangement (with the anniversary sampler added on) and got him a second guitar for Guitar Hero. Very romantic :) On Saturday, my SIL babysat, and P and I enjoyed a fantastic dinner out, then went to see Harry Potter at the IMAX. It was an awesome night -- wonderful meal, great movie, better company. Happy anniversary, P!
  • Harry has begun table food in earnest. We have ordered him food off the kids menu at a couple of restaurants. It has been quite messy but fun. It seems he will eat anything with tomato sauce. And he loves blueberry pancakes.
  • I find myself somewhat busy at work. I've been having a lot of trouble motivating lately (see next bullet), though, which isn't good. I have a lot more to say on this, but it's not really a bullet list kind of thing.
  • Lately (like, since June), I've been feeling, well, not myself. I guess that's the best way to describe it. I've been feeling tired and run down and generally apathetic. I just don't care about much of anything. Most of the time, whatever I'm doing, I'd rather be doing something else. And beyond apathy, I am definitely feeling some degree of antipathy when it comes to work. I have waves of feeling differently, but they are infrequent and unpredictable. And I have been eating too much, in a very mindless way, and not healthy food, which makes me feel more run down and generally bad about myself. I had an appointment with my doctor last week (for a physical) and brought it up with her. She did a bunch of bloodwork to rule out any physical causes, and it all came back normal. Her best guess (and mine, I suppose) is depression. She recommended an anti-depressant. But the last time I tried one (in college), I had a very bad reaction to it (severe anxiety -- severe enough to land me in health services, where they doped me up on a boatload of sedatives). So I'm reluctant.
  • My tiredness/run down-ness is not being helped by the fact that Harry has gone from being a great sleeper to being a mediocre (at best) one. After sleeping through the night since 10 weeks, we have now had several weeks of wake-ups. Some wake-ups are quick, others not so much. And he pulls himself to standing and will wail on and on, so we can't really just let him cry it out, though we may try some modified form of it tonight in the hope of finding something, anything, that might help. For an example of what we've been dealing with, on Tuesday I was working until about 1am. I then couldn't sleep. I finally fell asleep at 2 or so Within 5 minutes, Harry woke up screaming. When I went in there, his elbow was stuck in the bars of the crib (his actual elbow -- his hand and body were still inside, but his elbow was outside). I unstuck it and rubbed his back for a bit. He lifted his head up (which is generally an indication that he's about to sit, then stand), so I picked him up to settle him, but he was like a sack of potatoes. I put him back down a minute later. He moved around a little and fell back to sleep. This was one of the better nights. But I then had trouble getting back to sleep. So last night I decided to go to bed early-ish (10:30 or so), since I'd only slept 3 hours the night before. But Harry didn't like that plan. He woke up at 10:45, screaming. We let it go for a few minutes, but it got worse rather than better. P went in to rock him, but Harry continued to scream/cry for an hour or more, preventing me from sleeping. He finally calmed down, but wasn't sleepy. At 12:15, I took over, and after 15 minutes he was asleep. But he woke up when I tried to leave. By that point I was too tired to deal, so I turned off the monitor so I could sleep and let P take over again. Harry didn't fall asleep until 1:15. During the time he was awake, we tried Motrin and Orajel, in case it was teething. P gave him a bottle, in case it was hunger. He had a few farts, but not enough for me to think it was gas. He's pooped a bunch lately, so it's not constipation (though the poops have been wetter than usual, but not so wet as to make me worry about a bug). P thinks it's developmental, relating to an approaching language development, since he tends to spend his settled-but-not-sleepy time "talking." (He says "duck" and "book" (and other things, but mainly those two) over and over, pointing at any number of things, most of which are neither ducks nor books.) I'm nearing a breaking point.

And that's all I have to say about those things for now. Advice and/or assvice on any of those topics is welcome.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Eleven Months

Dear Harry,

It seems completely unreal to me that you are eleven months old, only one month shy of a full year. More accurately, it seems unreal to me in the abstract that you are eleven months old, but, when I look at you and see the little boy you have become and think back to the baby you were, it seems very real. Because you have become a little boy.

After many months of frustration on your part, you finally figured out crawling this month. Your style is a little funny -- you use your hands, one knee and one foot. It looks funny, but you're quite quick. And within two weeks of figuring that out, you had mastered getting to sitting, pulling to standing and cruising. You love the new-found mobility and freedom. And you get into everything, seemingly drawn to the things that are least appropriate, more drawn the more we try to keep you away. You love the dog's bones, and his food, and the bottles in the wine rack. In a room full of your toys, with a dog bone tucked away in a corner, you will somehow sense the bone and make a beeline for it, getting it into your mouth before we've realized that you've taken off.

You made your first trip up to the cottage this year. We did the drive overnight in both directions to ensure that you slept, which, of course, ensured that we did not. The weather wasn't great -- rainy, overcast, cool enough that you needed footie jammies and more pants than we brought -- but we made our best of it. Daddy and Grandpa made you a beach, which makes them pretty awesome. You went out on the boat, sat in the water (though you did not like to go swimming, which makes Mommy a little sad) and played in the sand. You got to spend time with Grandma and Grandpa and Great-Grandpa, as well as your cousin B.

You also visited the place in Maine where Mommy's family has gone for 57 years. You are now the fifth generation to have been up there. I wish we could have been there for longer than a weekend. Maybe next year. Maybe by then you'll be ready to try sailing!

After eight months of being a pretty great sleeper, with all the new stuff, you started to have a harder time sleeping. It started when we were on vacation, but continued on and off when we got home, so maybe it wasn't just that you hated the borrowed pack n play. When we put you down, or when you wake up at night, you push yourself to sitting and begin to cry. With some regularity, you have begun to require rocking and/or singing in order to fall asleep, which is exhausting, especially in the middle of the night. I'm not sure if your brain and/or body is on overdrive, or if you're teething, or if we've been feeding you something that is bothering you, but I hope you go back to sleeping well soon.

You have also had a lot to say this month. You still don't have any words, or at least no words that Daddy and I can recognize, but you certainly spend a lot of time talking, often quite loudly. You are not a quiet child. I think you get this from Mommy's family. You also figured out this month that your toy crates had toys in them. It was pretty funny to watch. Of course, once you knew where we had hidden it, you immediately took that dang butterfly back out, putting it and it's tremendously annoying songs back into circulation. We had enjoyed the reprieve.

It has been truly wonderful getting to watch you grow and learn and explore this past month. Now if we could just work on the sleeping thing...

With all my love,


Sunday, August 2, 2009

What A Difference Two Weeks Makes

In the past two weeks, Harry has:
  • mastered crawling (though on hands, one knee and the other foot)
  • mastered getting himself seated
  • mastered pulling up on stuff
  • begun cruising
  • (as a result of those four items, he now requires rocking to sleep at least 75% of the time or he wails and wails until we go in and find him sitting up in his crib crying, holding his arms out to be picked back up)
  • (also as a result of those four items, he now requires singing in order to have his diaper changed or he either crawls off or cries if you try to prevent the crawling through some form of baby-wrangling)
  • mastered walking while holding on to hands (purposeful, quick walking as opposed to thudding, haphazard steps, which he started a while back). He is also able to sit back down and to let go with one hand to bend over and pick up a toy (or piece of lint or old food).
  • been to his second foreign country -- he has now been to more non-U.S. countries than his aunt and uncle combined
  • pulled his first all-nighter (well, up from 11:30 on -- he did sleep 3.5 hours to start the night)
  • begun nursing strike number 2 (which I am now fairly confident is stemming from the return of my monthly cycle. Each strike has begun in the week and a half leading up to a (one-day) period, with the last one ending the day the period began/occurred. If that's the case again, I can live with it. My supply seems to nosedive during that week+ (or I stop responding to the pump) and it takes ages to get a letdown then, so I think he's impatient. At least the biting is less bad this time. Mainly he just gives up. Though he gave me the worst bite yet last week, bad enough that I ached for days afterward.)
  • been on his first boat ride
  • gone swimming in a lake
  • learned how to throw tennis balls for the dog
  • taken his first bath in the big tub
  • begun waving
I am exhausted. (The fact that the aforementioned all-nighter was two nights ago, and last night we drove all night on our way back from vacation so as to avoid ten hours in the car with him awake is partly to blame for that.)

This unwilling-to-go-down-easily-or-have-a-diaper-change thing ends at some point, right?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Boobs Are Back to Work

As noted in my most recent letter to Harry, the nursing strike appears to be over, at least for now. It ended as quickly and as inexplicably as it began. One day, ten/eleven/twelve/thirteen days in (I wasn't counting in the beginning, not realizing it would last so damn long), I offered before his first nap, and he nursed rather than biting.

The night before, at the suggestion of a lactation consultant, we did a dream feed, and he gladly took a boob in his sleep. That was the only real change that occurred right then. But, for the sake of anyone who may stumble upon this, here is a list of what we tried, none of which seemed to make much of a difference:
  • Cutting back on solids, especially at dinner-time
  • Cutting back on daycare bottles, in the hope that he'd be hungrier at home
  • Switch back to slow flow bottle nipples to reduce the likelihood of bottle preference continuing
  • Paced bottle feeding (at home -- I didn't ask his daycare provider to do it)
  • Not having me give a bottle (i.e. bottle only comes from Daddy or Miss M; if you want Mommy and milk, you have to nurse -- we had only just switched to this, so this might have helped too)
  • Offering the bottle first to satiate some of his hunger, then switch to the breast (this resulted in a lot of biting, except one time when he nursed)
  • Trying every imaginable position
  • Changing up the times of his nursing sessions, including while sleepy and while just waking (from naps -- the one nursing session he had kept was when he woke in the morning)
  • Fenugreek to increase supply
  • Breast compressions to speed up flow
  • Increased skin to skin time
  • Only nursing with the window open (this may have helped, as he still is more apt to bite if the window is closed -- at some point I realized that his morning nursing was always with the window open but the rest of the day/evening it was often closed)

We had long ago eliminated nursing anywhere other than his room, in the glider, with no distractions. The only recommendations we didn't try were nursing in the bath (I probably eventually would have gone there too) and co-sleeping.

I have no idea how to express how much this experience sucked. To quote the email I wrote on one of the last days of the strike: "I'm honestly just feeling completely worn out, exhausted and rejected. Since I went back to work after being home with him for 6 months, I was able to get over some of the guilt of being away from him all day by coming home and having this time that was just for us. But now instead of finding me comforting he bites me and today has begun to cry when I hold him. It's just painful, physically (from the biting) and emotionally. Here I am, an overeducated lawyer at a big law firm, and I cry myself to sleep at night because I feel (irrationally, I know) like my son doesn't need or love me any more. I just want there to be a solution, a way to get back to where we used to be, but I'm starting to realize there just may not be one, and I just feel so sad."

I'm glad this chapter appears to be over, at least for now. Inevitably, of course, he will now decide he wants to nurse longer than I want to, like, say, until college, bringing on a different set of guilt and stress issues entirely. But we'll deal with that when/if we get there.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Ten Months

My dear sweetpea,

I'll admit it. This month was tough. I think all the not-crawling finally got to you, and you made sure daddy and I knew it any way you could. There was a lot of biting, and a nursing strike that I was sure was early weaning, and yelling. Lots and lots of yelling.

I found myself very frustrated a lot of the time, frazzled in a way I hadn't really felt since you were born. But every time I wanted to get angry with you, I remembered that you were probably more frustrated than I was. There are just so many things that you want to be able to do and seem convinced that you should be able to do, but you can't quite master them. And you don't even have words to explain how frustrating that is. I kept thinking back to when I spent the summer in France and all of a sudden found myself overwhelmed with homesickness in a way I totally didn't expect. My host sister thought I'd feel better if we went to an American movie with French subtitles, so we went to see Mrs. Doubtfire. But when we got there, it turned out to be Mme. Doubtfire, and the jokes just didn't translate properly into poorly-dubbed French and were delivered by someone other than Robin Williams. It wasn't funny at all, and I didn't feel less alone. And I cried, because that moment so perfectly captured everything I had been feeling. And I HAD words, in two languages, but just couldn't find any in either language that could really express my sense of disjuncture. So I'm impressed that you don't cry, that you only yell in frustration. It must be so hard to feel so much and be so unable to do anything about it.

Thankfully, after ten days the nursing strike now appears to be over (though I'm afraid to put it in writing for fear of jinxing it), and "gentle" seems to be working in conjunction with holding your hand tightly to deal with the hitting, but there's still no crawling, so there's still a lot of yelling and some biting for good measure. I am hoping this is not a brief window into what you will be like at 2, as you seem to be very strong-willed.

Good thing for you that you are also very cute.

This month also marked a few other firsts, including your first trip to the zoo. Daddy and I took you there with Papa. We saw some cool animals, but a lot of exhibits were closed. I'm sure we'll go back soon, though.

At your last doctor's appointment, we discovered that you actually had grown a lot, moving from the 18th to the 62nd percentile in weight and from the 75th to the 85th in length. I guess it wasn't our imagination. Also, Dr E gave you the okay to start on new foods (i.e. foods that are not fruits, vegetables and cereal). You now eat black beans and kidney beans, yogurt, cheese, bread, bagels, waffles, pancakes, scrambled egg yolks, tofu and many other tasty treats, including a couple of new vegetables. The best? Cheese. Followed by black beans and yogurt. The worst? Tofu, broccoli and cauliflower. You are pretty positive that none of these is food -- if you eat it by accident, you pull it back out and make a lovely face. This from the same boy that will eat wood chips. You have a strange palate. Also, you have decided that you are completely done with being fed and insist on self-feeding. This is messy. But it's nice that you have an area in which to assert your independence.

Speaking of you and feeding, you also learned how to give the dog a treat, though you did think it was for you at first:

I must admit, I worry a little about your lack of crawling, even though Dr E said not to and even though I always swore I would not be that type of mom. I know some babies aren't into it and go straight to walking. That would be fine with me. I worry mainly, though, because you are into it, you just can't figure it out. For three months now (maybe more?), you have been so desperate to crawl, pushing on hands and knees, rocking and . . . scooting backwards. You have become more desperate but don't seem any closer to forward movement. I hope you master it soon, for everyone's sake, even though Daddy and I really don't want to childproof. I can't wait to see the look of accomplishment on your face when you finally put it together.

Through it all, sweetpea, through the yelling and the biting and the nursing strike and the hitting, I love you with all my heart. I always will.