Grounding Our Fairy

RR has a lot of things going for her. She’s everyone’s friend, she charms adults, she got a fair shake in the genetic lottery, she’s strong and fast and coordinated, she reads and writes, she’s funny, really funny, she’s thoughtful and kind, she draws like an artist.

She still isn’t fully potty trained. She walks on her toes.

So far we’ve gotten by on the doctors’ assurances that:
1) There are no sensory issues.
2) Many kids struggle with toilet training through 5.
3) Her toe walking will abate.

Our wonderful doctor once wrote:
“Given how utterly fabulous, active, creative and intelligent RR is I do not believe that her tippytoeness is indicative of anything other than her wings not being fully developed yet. Fairy wings don’t typically develop fully until the age of 7, and she is just compensating because she is ready to fly NOW.  I would only pay attention if you see her leave the ground, and then only to make sure she doesn’t take flight before she’s mastered it fully and can do so safely.”

You guys. Do you not just love her?

But in a visit today we talked about the two issues combined and tried to zero in on what might be causing them and whether they are related. She thought that a visit to a developmental pediatrician might shed some light. Debra and I have been cautiously watching the (lack of) development in these areas and with a new camp and new school coming, I’d like to make sure we’re doing everything we can to ensure her body supports her development rather than hinders it. Still though. I hoped it wouldn’t come to this point.

It’s unlikely we’ll get in quickly so there’s no point in worrying now. I’m hopeful that they can help bring her back to earth and more hopeful that another doctor will have a breakthrough suggestion on eliminating accidents. And, of course, that nothing else needs attention.


A Different Sort of Grieving

My dad had another MRI yesterday and has his regular check-in with the doctor this afternoon. In black and white that looks so much less ominous than it feels.

I spend a lot of time crying when no one is looking. Everyone in my family is outwardly (and probably inwardly) managing this so differently that I feel as though I’m grieving five different ways all at once. We’re all grieving for loss, yes, even though it feels like we technically shouldn’t be grieving yet because we haven’t had The Loss.

I see my mother flying like a trapped bird into every wall and window except the open door right in front of her. I see my sister brandishing her essential oils and conspiracy theories. I see my other sister quivering into immobility. I see my dad disintegrating. I see my wife on eggshells, navigating me and the terrible reminder of her own losses. I don’t know how to manage it all.

And it isn’t stopping. It’s only magnifying. My scatter-brained mother forgot to refill my father’s chemo a week ago prompting her to identify a dozen ways in which he was “better.” One sister surged forward proclaiming that obviously there’s another solution to this cancer besides chemo. The other sister tolled the bell of doom, “doesn’t everyone think dad’s just tapping out?”

Maybe. Maybe he made a decision. It wouldn’t be the first time he and my mom have decided to wait on some big news in order to “protect you girls.” I haven’t seen any real improvements from Cancer Dad to Regular Dad. His balance is still shaky, his jokes make no sense, he’s slow as molasses, he doesn’t talk much, he fumbles. It hurts so, so much.

It’s not a competition to see who’s handling it better but I wish we were all handling it differently. I wish we weren’t handling it at all.


Trying to Get to Spring with a Clear Heart

Not being pregnant is something I can’t complain about to the people around me. Not only would it be a surprise:

I’m so sad I couldn’t get pregnant…
Oh! You were trying?

But I’m not sure what I’d expect to happen. There’s nothing to be sorry about and I don’t want to talk about how amazing it would have felt to carry a child. I don’t want to have to list all the reasons why RR being the only is the best thing ever, just to make myself feel better. I don’t want to feel selfish, which I absolutely do, ever time I’m jealous of someone else who, on the surface, appears to have come up pregnant just by thinking about it.

photo 1

I wish I wasn’t though. Jealous. I also wish I didn’t have so many (or any) pregnant coworkers. I wish the next season wasn’t summer, when there are no more coats and sweaters to keep coming attractions under wraps. That’s a lot of wishing about things I can’t change.

photo 4

I’d like to know when I’ll stop feeling that pang – parts frustration, loss, disappointment, even a little bit of wondering why we didn’t do more or try harder. I’d like to know when I’ll stop noting where my cycle is and having the second of mourning on the 15th of the month. So perfect. But not. Obviously not. I’d like to know when the balance will tip permanently in favor of not being pregnant.

photo 3

This sounds sad. but I’m mostly just noticing it. I wish I wasn’t, but there it is. Lots of other things are going on and I’m excited to talk about those instead, but I just had to get those words out first.

photo 5



Return of the Wolverine

It’s a miracle we survived the weekend. RR is pretty even-tempered for a wolverine. In fact, we haven’t even seen much wolverining in the last several months. There are fits, occasionally, but nothing a little distraction can’t fix.


This weekend brought us the return of our early twos RR. The child that screamed without ceasing at the top of her lungs for 30 minutes at a time. The child that could not be consoled or distracted. The child that made us say, with utter certainty, that we would not be having a second child, no thank you. I can almost mark the day those tantrums stopped. All of a sudden two kids seemed totally manageable. It’s a good thing I didn’t get pregnant because yesterday I’d have cried myself to sleep at the thought of another.

I don’t know if there’s a why. We removed the Frosty and Rudolf dvds that we had absentmindedly allowed free access to. We gave her water to interrupt the sobs. We tried putting her in her room (which I don’t dig, given the years I spent shut in my room as a tantrumer). We tried hugs. We tried compassion. We tried food. We tried ignoring her. There was no constant solution.

She cried for 30 minutes in the morning (inexplicably). She sobbed at gymnastics (out-of-character). She threw a colossal fit at suppertime that prompted me to leave the house and Debra to cave in to her demands. I don’t like that. I don’t like any of it. I feel completely helpless and I’d like our reasonable child back. Or, barring that, at least someone who screams AND is potty-trained.


GTFO Cyst?

Probably just a little cyst, the fertility clinic says. That’s why you’re late but the tests are negative. Just wait until Monday. I’m sure, as soon as you hang up with me your period will come.

And so we wait.

I got up this morning to take a test, narrowly missing the sizable brown spider perched at the entrance to the bathroom. We have a small bathroom, you all, and that spider looked like it filled the whole door frame. He observed while I tried to work the stick, which is hard if you’re not the sort of person who prefers to open her eyes until she at least gets into the shower (that’s right, I brush my teeth blind, fun facts!) and harder still if you’re trying to keep one eye on the hulking spider in the door just in case he hasn’t got his eyes open either and blunders toward you. It’s hard not to think that I might have done it wrong but seriously, it’s not that hard to pee on a stick.

Last night we spent some time talking about all the good things to come if I’m pregnant which, last night, seemed a very real possibility. Except, of course, for the complete absence of symptoms. I’m not late. Not like this. And it seemed plausible that a negative test two weeks after the IUI wasn’t the final word. So I was surprised this morning to see only the test line and nothing else. It does not seem plausible that a test 16 days after the IUI would be wrong. So what’s going on in there?

If it’s a cyst, I’m glad it’s the first we’re seeing of it. Knowing that it could derail upcoming attempts would be so frustrating and, since we’re done, it’s less frustrating and more worrying. I hope I haven’t damaged something to the extent further intervention is needed.

In Which My Coping Mechanism Might Get the Better of Me

You guys, I prefer pragmatic to pessimist. I don’t always assume the worst will happen but I do prepare for the worst so that I can make the most of it if it does happen. When the worst case scenario is suddenly reality, I’m often past it before it can get the better of me. I’m pretty sure my former therapist (not former because she wasn’t awesome, which she is, former because I am mostly sane and mostly broke. Voila. Former.) would call this negative fortune-telling or some such. It’s not a self-fulfilling prophecy though, as I said, the worst rarely happens.

Aha, you say, but you’re dwelling on the negative! And I’ll concede that you could look at it that way. But, in almost all situations, I’ve come up with solutions long before you could call it dwelling. Flight being cancelled? Out of my control. Not self-fulfilling negativity. But, because I considered the possibility, I’m usually able to bounce back (at least when not stranded with my family) and make the best of it. It’s a coping mechanism, not something I spend all day doing.

Coping with not having a baby has been well within the “dwelling” zone. Again, I reject the idea that this is a self-fulfilling prophecy, though my mother would certainly insist that by even considering it, I’m making it come true. While I agree that our thoughts have power, I’m not caving on this one, if I’m thinking myself unpregnant, then I’ll eat my hat.



That has left me in a difficult position. I’m coping with this. Debra and I have been keeping a running list of all the reasons why just having one child is a really good idea. But now I’m late and I have to admit, having just one sounds great. I’m afraid I’ve dug a very uncomfortable hole.

So I’m late, but only by a day and the pregnancy test I took still screams negative. As has been the case this entire cycle, I have no symptoms of anything. No PMS, no anything. I’m not down with this, as you can imagine. This coping strategy suddenly is making things very…awkward.


Check In

Back to the clinic for a progesterone test. I wasn’t required to go this time and I have a spotless ovulation record but, as I’m feeling fewer symptoms than ever before, I just wanted some $56 insurance. You know, $56 is a drop in the bucket in this whole baby making business.

It’s also not really any sort of insurance at all as my progesterone was top of the class last month and my mythical baby was a uterine dropout. But compared to previous months, nothing is happening. I don’t have any symptoms to record in all my recording places. So I’d like to know, are there any eggs in there at all?

Apparently there is one in there somewhere as the number was 55 this time (hey! a dollar a point!) and, as the nurse reported, this is excellent for a medicated cycle. I question her use of the word excellent as last time the number was 75 but hey, maybe 55 is my baby-netting sweet spot. Another seven days and we’ll have our answer. In the meantime, I’m compiling a list of all the good things about just having one.




Someone around here has a cat. More than one cat.

Whoa! Your cologne is fogging up the joint.

Did I spend all day yesterday weeding? My back!

Let’s see, are there any sales on concealer? My face is a mess.

Is it hot in here or is it me?

I think we have the clomid to thank for all that. I’m walking around like a super scent-sensitive arthritic lady with one hand pressed to my back and the other hovering somewhere around my nose to simultaneously wave off the fumes, fan myself, and hide my ridiculously broken out chin. I’m going to be a hoot when I teach classes today.

I’m looking at it this way, if I don’t ever get pregnant at least I’ll have this time with clomid to pretend I know what it’s like.

And THAT’S Why I Haven’t Called

My mother emailed this week. I was just wondering, she said, if potty training was going badly. That must be why you haven’t called, she helpfully added.

She’s right though. I’m conspicuously absent even in my own head. As if drawing attention to myself will out me as a terrible parent and unreasonable partner, equally unsuccessful at both. One who can’t figure out how to work a toddler. One who can’t figure out how to work her own body. One who leaves her wife in the lurch to keep the house running. I’m getting the better of myself here. I’m not having much fun being me. And so no, mom, I haven’t called. Be thankful.

The last two weeks have been ridiculously difficult. RR screams and cries a lot. I tried to come up with a better word than a lot but constantly seemed harsh; she is (sort of) sleeping. You’re stuck with a lot. The last two nights she has woken up crying three or four times. Wrassling her out the door and into the car could be considered a strength training exercise. Yes, we use the word wrassling around here.

We got an email from her teachers today, suggesting that she return to diapers. Torn between cheering and crying, Debra and I split forces and she called the school director (to make sure we wouldn’t get kicked out for this eventually) and I called our doctor (to make sure we weren’t damaging RR somehow). It seems we all agree. Back to diapers, shelve the panties and pull-ups, and wait.

I think it will happen quickly, though I haven’t been right about much lately. I think she just isn’t ready right now. I also think that, when she is ready, she’ll switch with fewer problems. This? This has been killing me. Do you know what it’s like not to talk to yourself at all? No internal thoughts? Nothing other than: Time to do this. Now this. Now stop doing that and do this. It’s like I somehow unintentionally got on auto-pilot. New school, new semester, new students, potty training, tantrums, wake-ups, whining, weeping. There’s no ROOM for any thoughts.

Back to diapers we go. Tell you what, it’s going to be a MUCH nicer weekend.



It’s All Temporary, Right?

Here’s how I hoped the week would end:

RR potty-trained! Me pregnant! 

Instead, it’s more like this:

RR does not believe the potty applies to her. I am googling “can I be pregnant with no symptoms” for the 4th time in as many months.

Fortunately, neither of these things are permanent conditions. Neither is my migraine nor the terrible smell the salon left on my hair. Not the pizza in the fridge (what were we thinking?) or the pool of pee on my bedroom floor (what was she thinking?). Definitely not the stress of the beginning of a new semester. And, of course, not even the students are permanent since they shortly will be off celebrating the winter holidays somewhere and then, not too long after, all 20,000 of them will leave town for the summer. I like having them here. And I like them. Preparing for them gives me a headache.

You guys. I expect things to start looking up around here shortly. None of this can last forever.