The French Equation

I am going to be very un-UnMom-like* today, and talk about my kid. You'll forgive me I know, because after all, if I am going to be posting every day this month I will need all the material I can get.

In the fall, my one-and-only will be starting Kindergarten. I know! This is hard for all mothers. Part of me is very much in love with his growing independence and the idea of saving money on daycare, and part of me just wants to keep him home in a small room feeding him mush and halved grapes until he is 30. (Fortunately, that last part is much smaller, or it could be awkward for everyone.)

We could have waited another year, or "redshirted" him, as his birthday is in October. But I think he is ready, for the most part, and besides, he's quite a large child. Alfred is 6'3", and Xander has clearly inherited that. If we kept him back another year, I worry that he'd be the size of a 9-year-old and prone to throwing his weight around, or subject to teasing.

It's weird, this desire to keep our children within the tiny spectrum of "average".

Anyway, now our dilemma is, "French Immersion or not French Immersion?". In Canada we have that as an option in public schools, to have our children be taught in two languages. (Obviously, they ease them into it.) Alfred and I had some differences of opinion about this. Essentially, it was a conflict of two different experiences; I was taught in French Immersion for a large chunk of my schooling, and Alfred was not. 

The two schools we have access to measure up equally, really. Xander has friends that will be going to each, they both have a good after-school program. We met both Kindergarten teachers. The teacher at the English school is...fine. She's fine. She's nearing retirement so she's not that enthusiastic, but she's fine.

The Kindergarten teacher at the French Immersion school is amazing. She spoke eloquently about her teaching philosophy, she came around and introduced herself to every single parent, she invited us in to her tidy, inspiring, Montessori-esque classroom. 

However. She is also about to give birth.

Again, Canada is different in that women don't have to dash back to work when their infant is 6 weeks old. We're extremely lucky - we can access government assistance for up to a year's maternity leave. So...Xander would never really be taught by this gem of a person, and the school doesn't know who is replacing her. It could be someone equally wonderful, or it could be Cruella DeVille looking for her next preschooler-skin coat.

Alfred has mostly conceded that a second language is good, and that Xander's english skills won't suffer. We're (mostly) in agreement about putting him in French Immersion. But I have misgivings about committing him to being taught by someone I've never met. 

So, yes, dilemma. When did being a parent become so hard?

 

* Related: at some point I explained to Xander that 'un' meant 'not'. I can't remember the situation that required this explanation, but a couple of days later I told him that honey bees can sting. He insisted they could not, so I asked him what kind of bees DO sting. "Regular bees," he replied, "bumblebees, un-honeybees..."

See, you guys? LANGUAGE IS HIS FRIEND.

Where I capitalize a lot of unnecessary stuff

Because this appears to be turning into a Subjecting You All To My Health Concerns blog, I should probably tell you about my latest ovarian escapades.

(This is the point at which my 2 male readers are allowed to leave the room.)

(No, really. Go on, guys.)

I haven’t said anything about it in a while, because things have been status quo, as in, apparently I’m in menopause.

Recently I got a “final” diagnosis from a new OB-GYN, and guess what? Apparently I’m in menopause!

“Well,” he qualified, “before the age of 40 it’s actually called Premature Ovarian Failure.”

I thought, Hear that, girls? You’re failures! Both of you! MAMA IS SO PROUD.

(I didn’t say that, however. I cocked an eyebrow and informed him, “That is a terrible name.” He concurred and started referring to it as Premature Ovarian Shutdown. Which…is still terrible. Well, he tried.)

Anyway, bottom line is that I am now on Hormone Replacement Therapy, the traditional, non-bioidentical kind, which is just fine with me because at this point I am just fucking sick of dealing with it. Will it make me sleep better? Make me less bitchy? Remove this brain fog that I have been swimming through for over 2 years? Great! Sign me up!

It does, and it has made great strides in those areas. I’m pretty happy to go back to being recreationally bitchy, instead of compulsively so.

The other bottom line is that in order to conceive, I would need a donor egg. I actually have several egg offers, because I am singularly blessed in the area of Friends Who Would Give Me An Egg And Also Probably Help Me Move A Body. (I’m somewhat deficient in the areas of Friends Who Want To Fly Me To Maui and Friends Who Have An Extra Jaguar They Just Don’t Know What To Do With, if anybody wants to step up. But I think I’m still ahead of the game.) The donor egg option isn’t completely off the table, but…well, I’m not sure we’re entirely comfortable with it, and Xander is 4 and somewhat self-sufficient, sometimes he can even go 15 whole minutes without attempting to maim himself, and do we really want to go back to that whole diapering thing again?

(I’ll keep you posted on that one.)

Of course there’s always the possibility that my ovaries will “wake up” and drop a random egg, which I’m sure is exactly what will happen…when I’m 47.

That’s just kind of how things work around here.

So let the sun shine in/face it with a grin/smilers never lose/and you get to freak out the neighbours

My mother asked me this past weekend if I’d like any houseplants.  I politely declined, because despite my ability to grow a mean garden, greenery does not fare well within my humble abode.  Apparently, my capacity for keeping things alive inside the house only has three available openings.  Pre-child, this was:

1) Alfred

2) Dog

3) Houseplants.

Now that my son is around, the plants have been bumped off the list:

1) Child

2) Alfred

3) Dog.

Incidentally, the dog is really glad that we’re apparently unable to have any more kids.

My mother’s response when I told her I had trouble keeping houseplants alive was, “Well, it is pretty dark in your house”.  Which made me stop and think, because actually, it isn’t all that dark in my house.  It’s KEPT quite dark, because due to Alfred’s shift work and my the kid’s nap schedule there seems to be someone trying to sleep at any given moment.  But the house itself can be airy and bright, given the opportunity.  I’m just too lazy to be opening and closing the blinds all the damn time.

So, as attractive as my chocolate brown brocade drapes are*, I came home and made an elaborate show of swooshing them back and letting the sun shine in.

IMG_7801

 

I realized two things:

1) Holy shit, it’s spring.

2) My windows are probably half the reason it’s dark in here.  There is a blur of dog-snot trails across the bottom 2 feet of glass.

We enjoyed our 5 minutes in the sun.  Then it was grey and snowed for 3 days.

Fucking spring.

 

IMG_7800

 

*Actually more attractive than that makes them sound, thankyouverymuch.

Fuck it, just hook me up to a clomid IV and I'll pump out decaplets

Last week I got up in the pre-dawn hours, got in a cab and travelled to BlogHer in NYC.

This week I got up in the pre-dawn hours, got in my car and drove 4 hours to another city for my appointment with the doctor who would, according to the last naturopath I saw, fix my hormone issues with bio-identicals. So that I can get pregnant and have my own teeny bambino for other bloggers to NOM on at a future BlogHer conference.

(Note to self: don't try to be a hero, just stop and pee when you need to go, even if it doesn't coincide with your route plan. Because when you finally arrive at your predetermined pit stop, they may be changing the light fixtures in the bathroom, leaving you flapping your hands and whimpering and generally confirming that out-of-towners are batshit crazy.)

The gyno asked some standard questions, did a Pap smear, and checked to make sure that my uterus is where it should be. Then he told me that he didn't think the bio-identicals would do anything for me beyond easing the symptoms of menopause; that's all he prescribes them for. If I really want to get pregnant, he strongly recommends fertility drugs.

In case I haven't mentioned it, fertility drugs are not an option I'm interested in. I am trying to feel normal, not more insane. I think I've done enough synthetic hormonal damage to myself over the years; my body isn't currently manufacturing it's own hormones, so there's no guarantee I'd STAY pregnant. And if I did, I don't think I'm up to the challenge of potential twins, triplets, quadruplets - or their associated reality tv shows.

So I told him I'd think about it, and I got back in the trusty Honda and drove home, with my throat aching with unshed tears of frustration and only the GPS for company.

Go right. Go right. I said go right. Turn around if possible. Turn around, you barren witch.

I think she cut me some slack out of sympathy.

I liked last week's trip a whole lot better.

In which I reveal what a total froot loop I really am

I made a cryptic reference to my latest naturopath visit last week, and said it was 'hopeful' (or perhaps 'positive' - I don't remember and I'm too lazy to go back and look). But I didn't really get into it because I wanted to see how it all shook out.

Well, it all shook out, so I guess I can fill you in now. Another post about my dysfunctional uterus! Aren't you excited?

Anyway. This naturopath - who isn't actually a naturopath but a 'Doctor of Natural Medicine', which means that she has essentially the same education but is perhaps less of a flake - is actually the step-mother-in-law of my friend Elle. Which means that Elle isn't related to her at all, but she does have to deal with her on a regular basis. Elle gave her this recommendation:

"I have never hated someone more in my life...that I would trust with my life."

Strong words. I don't think I particularly liked her either. She extremely abrupt and had this way of making me feel like I'd gotten the answer to her question WRONG. Um - it's not a test, lady, you're asking me about my eating habits. But she obviously knew her shit, and she was clearly not in it to bilk me out of my money. (Her parting words? "I'm not interested in seeing you again." I think I got helped and then dumped, all within a few hours.)

As a sidenote-that-will-soon-become-relevant, she had an MD traipsing around after her last week. An MD who is interested in alternative therapies. I know, right? I saw a unicorn shortly thereafter.

The upshot of the first (and last, apparently, since she's not interested in seeing me again) session was that she doesn't believe that I'm in menopause. I don't either, but it's sometimes hard to convince myself of that when I haven't had a period since DECEMBER. She felt that 15-odd years of oral contraceptives (oh, shut up, they were all very meaningful sexual relationships) quickly followed by a somewhat problematic pregnancy and delivery had left my body a little traumatized.

I don't know why. They only induced me SEVEN TIMES.

(As another aside, I just went back and re-read my epic birth story that I posted on my other blog. I'm...not actually sure I want to do this again, now.)

Anyway, add to that my work stress and sleep deprivation (sure, my kid slept through the night...once), and my body is just depleted. Of everything, especially hormones. Apparently you have to nourish your body in order for it to manufacture it's own hormones. Who knew?

She gave me some melatonin and a recipe for a warm-milk-and-nutmeg concoction to help me sleep (I couldn't seem to convince her that my toddler is trying to make me commit suicide by waking up 3 times a night at the age of almost-three). And she recommended that I begin hormone replacement therapy with bio-identicals.

What are bio-identicals, you say? Well, they're manufactured hormones. But unlike conventional synthetic hormones, they're exactly the same makeup as your own hormones. Hence the name. They have such questionable advocates as Suzanne Somers and Oprah, and there is only one doctor in this entire province who will prescribe them. He is a 4-1/2 hour drive away.

(As yet another aside, after some research I've discovered that bio-identicals are unpopular with mainstream docs because they're unpopular with drug companies. Drug companies can't patent something that has the identical makeup to someone's own hormones, you see. Therefore they can't charge the exorbitant prices they charge for name brand drugs, so they don't promote them. IT'S A FUCKING CONSPIRACY.)

(Aaaaannnnd, just like that, I've tipped my hand. I'm an eco-weirdo conspiracy theorist. My mother is so proud.)

While I am not a fan of some doctor pumping me full of synthetic hormones, I felt like this particular approach might actually work for me. But a Doctor of Natural Medicine doesn't have a place in the 'chain of command' in our health system - and how does one explain to their GP that they want a referral to THIS doctor, because they don't trust conventional medicine? This is where the lurking MD comes in - she was there for the diagnosis and totally gets it. Coincidentally, she is taking new patients. So I saw her this week, and she ordered about 9 different blood tests, and made the referral to the OBGYN.

I see him in August, shortly after returning from BlogHer. I will have to leave at 6 in the morning.

I'll keep you posted as to whether I fall asleep at the wheel or not.

Anyway, everybody knows creeps don't have access to the INTERNET

I've spent the last couple of weeks trying to find part-time daycare for my son. It's like tracking down the last fucking unicorn or comfortable pantyhose. It does not exist. He's been on the list for a couple of daycare centres for over a year and a half, but they don't take part-timers his age. And everyone else I've called either has no room, no room for his age, or they don't take part-timers either.

Or they just don't ever fucking call back. Which presumably means they don't have a spot, but I've spent a lot of time checking my cel phone, sitting by my cel phone, compulsively checking my email, thinking well surely they're busy with children it'll take a day or two, thinking but they seem perfect, surely they're going to call and offer an interview, for the luvva god why don't they call why don't they like me I'm likeable please please like me WAAAAAAAHHHHH!

Ahem.

Anyway, I've been searching a lot of home daycares on a local classifieds website. Dayhomes seem to be abundant and occasionally one will call me back. The Office Ninja was bemoaning her own daycare woes, trying to find somewhere to stash her 7-year-old after school, so I suggested the website (and dayhomes) to her.

She looked at me like I'd suggested her kid turn a few tricks while he waited.

"Just...somebody's house? Off a classifieds website??"

"Uh...yeah."

"That seems....really weird and creepy," she informed me, with a look of utter disdain.

"Oh? My brother and I did that all through elementary school. A woman who lived close to the school, we just went there for lunch and after school," I offered.

"And did your mom find her off a classifieds website?" the Office Ninja demanded, with about as much disdain as a person could feasibly cram into one sentence.

"Uh..no. She found her when I fell off a jungle gym in the playground and cracked my head, and I was crying so the daycare lady came out and took me into her house to call my Mom. Which, in this day and age, WOULD be creepy. But I'm sure if the website had existed back then with the dinosaurs, my Mom would be looking on it. Where would YOU look to find home daycares?"

"The newspaper," she informed me with a sniff.

Oh. Well, naturally. Because pedophiles who can afford the 30 bucks for a newspaper ad are so much less creepy than the ones who post on website classifieds?

(Does anyone even READ the newspaper anymore?)

Toddlers - Worlds Worst Travelling Companions

Today's guest poster is non other than Sprite's Keeper. She took the high road and didn't post about booze or nudity, but now I'm officially stressed that my kid won't fit INTO the Pack n' Play. Thanks, Jen! I owe you one. Really. Ahem, so, when's your next flight?

Huh. The blogosphere in Canada looks surprisingly similar to the blogosphere in Florida. Except they say things like "eh" and "ya" and "God save the queen." (Who saves the king? What's his safety net?) Anyway, I'm sure you've gathered by now that Keely took the kid and the husband and traipsed across the Canadian provinces for some well deserved quiet time and asked a few of us to handle her site for the day. Of course, I am always happy to do so, but I do believe in equality among the posting masses so she'll owe me one. In fact, we're going on our own holiday come Labor Day so I may ask for some payback that Monday. (Ooh, wait. That's also the first Monday of the month, a HASAY day. That may work. If she loses weight, and she's been running so she should be losing, then I can reap the benefits. If she gains weight, I can just say, "Hey, that was Keely writing on my site! I'm being good!" I like this plan..

Wow, that tangent took up a lot of space.

Last week, when Keely was stressing over the trip and carting a Pack'n'Play across planes, trains, and possibly buses, I expressed sympathy (and maybe an LOL) (and those of you who read my comments, I do NOT LOL) and found my topic for my guest post. (Which I thought was more in taste than booze and nudity.) (If you were in the same email thread that I was, you'll know what I mean.) I miss our Pack'n'Play. Badly. It really was the best baby item we had for Sprite. Anywhere we went, she was set for a place to sleep. Spending the weekend at my parents as often as we do when visiting the East Coast, it took less than a minute to set her up for a nap or the night. She was comfortable, she was content, she was CONTAINED. (Can I stress the contained part any more? It really does bear a second emphasis. CONTAINED!!)

When we were planning our registry and all the crap we would have to bring into our home to keep a kid happy, the Pack'n'Play was the first thing we zeroed that scanning gun on. In fact, the only pause in our decision was whether we wanted to "girly" It up or go with a neutral tone in case the next child was a boy. We went neutral. (We're realists.) (And frugal. Do you realize how much those things cost?) We used the Pack'n'Play (later redubbed the Hose'n'Go after a particularly bad blowout as performed by Sprite and an easy clean up with wet wipes. Seriously, no stains! Is there any wonder why I love the damn thing so much?) for almost everything during Sprite's first two years. It served as a bassinet for the first three months when Sprite needed to be close by during those nighttime nursing sessions. Only when she started sleeping through the night (right around that third month) did it stop becoming a major character and resort to guest starring roles when we traveled.

When we vacationed anywhere, that Pack'n'Play had reserved space in our van. We used it everywhere whenever Sprite needed a place to rest her head (or her tushy when we were in places not quite baby friendly). Until..

(You knew this part was coming.)

She outgrew the Pack'n'Play. (Sob!) It just happened so suddenly. Granted, she had already transitioned to a toddler bed since I had caught her with a foot over the crib railing a few months prior and John had decided she could sleep on her Elmo couch one night and she did well, so I knew the day was fast approaching when we would actually have to WATCH her while out of town instead of slamming out a quick lullaby and re-joining the grown ups when her bedtime came knowing she would be safe because, hello? CONTAINED.

So, one night last fall, when we were planning on going out with some friends and my parents were going to "watch her" (quoted because the plan was that she would already be asleep when we left therefore their part of it was to go on about their night since the only thing the toddler was actively doing was drooling) and John and I gave Sprite her abbreviated bedtime routine and left her in the Pack'n'Play. Our friends showed up, we sat in my parents' living room and talked for a few minutes, and I quickly excused myself to check on Sprite one last time before we left.

(Yeah, this is the part. Right here.)

I opened the door to the darkened room and heard her breathing heavily. Huh? Flipping the switch, I found out why. She had climbed out of the Pack'n'Play and was enjoying a late night jump on our aerobed. She saw me see her and immediately crouched down as if that would erase the jumping I had witnessed. Somehow her reasoning was skewed because, um, she was still outside the Pack'n'Play. How would she erase that?

"Hi, Mommy," she panted.

There went my plans. My parents were already in bed, our friends were gearing to go out, and I still had an active toddler on my hands. I brought Sprite out to bestow some good night kisses on everyone and retreated to our room to make sure she fell asleep while John and our friends went out. (I told him to go. One of the people was his best friend who lives in California and this would mark the second time they'd seen each other in five years. Would I make him miss out on bonding with his buddy? Hell no! Would he owe me? Hell yes.)

Since then, we decided it was time to put the Pack'n'Play out to pasture. At least until the next baby comes. Sprite now sleeps on an extra toddler mattress we were given and we stow that one at my parents' since it cannot dismantle for easy traveling the way our Pack'n'Play does (or did). (Sob!) And of course, her journey to the Land of Nod must be supervised now since a toddler can get into a lot of trouble when left alone in any room that hasn't seen a child's intentions in decades. I can only imagine what the nights will be like when we head to Orlando on Labor Day weekend and she has an entire bed to herself. (John and I refuse to share a bed with her. She kicks. A lot.)

So, Keely, here's hoping your vacation brings a lot of happy memories and a lot of restful nights. And here's hoping Xander stays put in his Pack'n'Play and any aspirations for being an Olympic pole vaulter wait until you're back home and not worried about other people's possessions.

I could have solved this by just not coming home

So! No Doubt? Honestly, the best show I've seen in a really really REALLY long time. They looked like they were having so much fun, the sound was fantastic, the seats were good (a little nosebleedy, but great view). They were the only band EVER to say "You're the best crowd EVER!" and sound like they actually meant it.

Gwen looked fantastic. I want to be her. Can I be her? Who do I have to kill?

(I settled for buying a hoodie and not killing anybody).

We had a great dinner. I got to sleep all fucking night! And hog the bed! And then we had an awesome breakfast at Stella's followed by some SHOPPING. In a mall much less lame than the ones we have here. The kind of mall where (as FoN put it) there's a swirling vortex that sucks you in and suddenly you've lost 6 hours and $500.

Sigh.

Totally needed that holiday. Except for the tiny detail at the end. The part where, when I got home, my child wanted nothing to do with me. Actually climbed over his father to get away from me.

I was still a little deaf from the concert, but I'm pretty sure I could hear my heart breaking.

Sob.

More Mom than Un, sorry

On Monday I'm heading out to the highly cosmopolitan city of Winterpeg to see No Doubt in concert. And I'm kind of freaking out.

Not about the concert, although I imagine it will be fabulous and Gwen Stefani will spot fellow moms through the crowd and invite us backstage to drink wine and give each other pedicures while playing dress-up in the latest L.A.M.B. goods. No, I'm freaking out because I'm going to be away from my son overnight.

I don't talk about parenting or my kid much on this blog and that's because it's the UN Mom. So this isn't about parenting or my kid. This is about me being a big fucking softie and crying about leaving my toddler alone with, horrors, his father, oh boo hoo.

I mean, seriously, it's not like I'm sticking him in a cage for the duration. He'll be fine (though hubby may have some scarring). I've just never been away from him for more than 8 or 9 hours, and never overnight. I'm going to miss him.

Okay, I'm not going to miss the temper tantrums he's been throwing at every diaper change and nap time and for that matter, it'll be nice to be in company that's continent. And I'm not going to miss the random wake ups (yes, still) that only seem to occur after I've JUST drifted off to sleep.

But, still. What if he needs me? What if he has a nightmare and I'm not there to rock him and pat his little back?

I mean, it'll be nice to have a whole bed all to myself and no toddler-clock and there's very little chance that anyone will wake up covered in their own feces. And it might be nice to walk through a crowd without being perpetually on the edge of a panic attack that my companion will be abducted when I glance away. Or eat a meal without having something thrown at my head, or drink my coffee without having to explain that it's "hot, I said it's hot, no don't touch I said it's HOT wait awwwwww....well what did I just tell you?"

Hm.

You know what? I think he'll be fine.