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    Entries in more mom than un (9)


    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.



    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.




    *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.