Interlude

Thank you so much for all of the comments on my previous post.  Your commiseration, advice, information and perspectives have all been so helpful.

We ended up having a lovely Thanksgiving with my family.  And Roo and my mom had a brave and wonderful conversation that cleared up a number of misunderstandings.  My mom and I talked a bit as well.  After all of this Roo and I are leaning towards taking my parents up on their incredibly generous offer of financial help with IVF.

My emotions on this swing wildly from moment to moment.  At times I am excited that we could soon be moving on to a new plan that will give us much better odds of success.  At others I am angry and bitter that we have come to this point.  In other moments I am anxious about the IVF process and how much Roo will have to go through.  And there are plenty of times when I am guilty about having acess to financial help that so many others do not–and if I have access to this kind of money shouldn’t I use it to save starving children rather than bringing another 1st-world consumer-of-resources into the world?

I realized recently that I am spending hours at a time lost in thoughts about the past (reflecting on how painful this process has been and wondering why it hasn’t worked already) or the future (should we really do IVF?  what will it be like if we do?) or the never-will-be (all of the bitter and grieving thoughts about experiences that we won’t have because of having a larger age gap between our kids).  It’s not the best way to live my life.  I know that I will need time in the next few months for thinking and planning and grieving and raging.  But my goal is to set aside bits of time for those things, and to spend the rest of my time working on being present to what’s going on around me right now.

One of the best ways to remain in the present is to spend time with Tadpole, who throws himself into every moment with so much energy and enthusiasm.  We spent a lovely evening together on Tuesday when Roo was at an appointment and I thought I’d write more about it in an attempt to remind myself how really wonderful many things about my present life are.

To set the scene I should mention that one of the million things that I love about Tadpole is how little he tries to fit in or to do things like other people.  He dresses himself, and his clothes often end up on backwards (sometimes on purpose and sometimes by accident).  At times I mention to him that he has ended up with something on backwards and check in with him about whether he wants it that way or not.  And his usual reaction is to assert that he likes it just fine the way it is.  One day, when he was wearing a shirt with a backhoe on it, he said “I like it because I want the people who are behind me to see my digger.”  He also has a new pair of sparkly purple sneakers, which he adores (somehow we lost one of his beloved fire truck sneakers on the way home from Thanksgiving.  I’m still completely baffled about how that happened).  I lovelovelove that he is so thrilled to have shoes in his favorite color and so unconcerned with rules about who should be allowed to wear shiny purple shoes.  So on this particular Tuesday my beloved child happened to be wearing all of his clothing backwards (which meant the drawstring in his pants waistband made a little tail and the label in the front of his t-shirt was sticking out under his chin) and his purple sneakers.

Another one of the million things that I love about Tad is his imagination and how seamlessly he switches back and forth between reality and fantasy.  We arrived home after I picked him up at school and were looking through the mail.  He found a Christmas card from an old work colleague of mine with a picture-perfect nuclear family (1 husband, 1 wife, 1 boy, 1 girl, 1 dog).  Suddenly we were that family, and I was the “husband” and the yoyo that he dragged around the house was the dog.  Then “a fairy came” and Tad was transformed from a woman into a man, “so in this family there are two husbands.”  I was told that it was bed time and instructed to lie down on the living room couch while he lay down on an adjacent chair.  We were very “I Love Lucy” with our separate beds.  Then it was “morning” and time to get up.  I had gotten quite comfortable on the couch and protested so he said, “it’s okay husband!  I will make you breakfast!” and proceeded to create “scrambled eggs” and “sausages” that looked remarkably like his Brio train cars.

After our imaginary breakfast, Tad helped me make real mac and cheese.  He counted spoonfuls of milk, stirred in the cheese powder, and proudly carried his own bowl to the table.  We held hands to say our “thank yous” (our family’s form of saying grace, each saying something that we’re thankful for).  And we talked over dinner about the tool belt he had made at school and plans for tomorrow.

We had a little time to play after dinner.  I was impressed to watch Tad put together a big floor puzzle with no assistance from me.  And I was proud of myself for biting my tongue when he asked for help because each time he was able to figure out a solution on his own.  Then he wanted to get out another toy, and I told him he needed to put the puzzle away first.  He cocked his head to one side and said,  “Okay Momma, I make a plan with you.  You want me to put it away and I do not want to put it away so I will put away 4 puzzle pieces.”  It was hard to argue with such a confident negotiator.

I told him it was time for bed and he asked to be carried up the stairs.  Sometimes I wonder if I should do this for an almost-4-year-old, but he is so grown up in many respects that I’m pretty willing to let him be a little guy from time to time.  Besides, I love the fact that he tucks his chin over my shoulder and snuggles against my neck.  I got him into his pajamas and we brushed his teeth.  Then we read his dinosaur book and I sang him 2 songs.  Roo and I used to be allowed to sing actual lullabies, but now he demands that we create songs on the spot–and he usually provides the topic as well.  Recent song topics have included, “me and my cousin C driving in a truck,” “taking a train to the doctor’s office” and “hall monitors” (after encountering that term in a book we’d read).  After songs I (or Roo and I, if we’re doing bedtime together) lie down with him in his bed for a few minutes.  On Tuesday he was restless, as he often is, but I still love having a few minutes to hug his wiggly little body.  After a few minutes of snuggling, I headed back downstairs to clean up the kitchen, pack lunches…and obsess about the TTC process.

It is very hard to be in this in-between space where we don’t know what the way forward will be like.  I don’t like not (yet) having a plan.  I hate how much time and energy the TTC process is taking.  So I’m trying to take a little of it back by being present to moments like Tuesday night.  I don’t want to be so caught up in our struggles to conceive kiddo #2 that I miss out on moments like these.

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7 Comments

Filed under Gender, Tadpole, TTC #2, Uncategorized

7 responses to “Interlude

  1. e10stix

    I can totally commiserate – its amazing how much brain power you can “waste” on what could have been…..we are still a few months away but will be broaching the to-IVF or not decision in the next year and struggle with the same concerns about using such large sums of money to bring one more person into the world…wishing you guys a warm holiday season with a calm mind!

  2. This stuff is so, so hard.

    IVF’s a new world, yes, and can (literally) be a pain in the butt — but I also think it’s a wonderful thing. I’m convinced we would never have Small Boy if it weren’t for IVF. The endless and expensive grind of IUIs wore me down; I’d rather do something harder with more of a chance of actually working. Which is all to say: if you decide to go that route, it is not all that awful really, and the results can be well worth it. I pretty much know IVF like the back of my hand by now, so if you ever want to talk about any details, you know where to find me.

    I also know about the anger and regret — I never meant to be trying at the age I am now — I never meant to have my kids this far apart — but some aspects of my life are sweeter than I ever could have planned for, so I guess it’s good I didn’t get to plan everything.

    On the list of things that you couldn’t possibly plan: how cute is “I want the people behind me to see my digger”?!?

    Take care of yourself and each other…. did I mention that this stuff is hard?

  3. Tad seems like sunshine on legs! What a remarkable little person! I love your stories about him. From these it doesn’t seem like you’re ever in danger of forgetting to enjoy the present.

    I hear you about the age-gap issue. I always envisioned sibs close together, but since that’s not to be I’ve been around a bunch of sibling pairs that really enjoy one another: a 12 year old and a 6 year old, a 8 year old and a 2 year old, and, just this past weekend, a 9 year old and a 4 year old. I’ve been feeling a lot better about that.

    I hope you very quickly arrive at a nicely specified plan and settle into a sense of excitement about it. I’m so glad to year you had such a nice Thanksgiving!

  4. The word on the street is that whatever spacing you end up with, kidwise, turns out to have advantages and disadvantages. I’ve got a brother who is 18 months older, and one who is ten years younger, and I find that to be true. Though I guess it’s not the spacing that troubles you, it’s the not knowing how much longer you’ll have to endure. AAAAaaand, I think you’ve said exactly these things already, so I don’t imagine I’m offering much comfort. ANYHOW, I admire you for trying to stay focused on the good, and MY, is Tad ever a big chunk of charming and adorable good. ANd I am very chirked to hear about the brave and good conversation. Whatever the outcome of this process, that had to be a valuable thing.

  5. I’m glad you and Roo talked to your parents and are feeling better about accepting the money. I TOTALLY understand the mixed feelings over taking money from family for IVF and feeling guilt over that privilege. I know how upsetting these decisions are. We spent so much of our TTC time with Goldie just bewildered over the lack of answers and the lack of a clear path. But you’ll find your path and you’ll find your baby. IVF is a whole different ball game. It’s a ton of work and stress but the outcomes are just so much better. I hate how hard this process has to be for you and so many others.

  6. A

    Your Tad sounds like the best solace in the world. What a sweet, clever boy.

    Have you ever heard of a book called Unsung Lullabies (try to get past the title)? My friend just dropped it off today, and it looks like it could be useful for us. If it is, I’ll let you know. My friend is a therapist, and she pre-screened it, so I trust it will be useful.

    I hope that IVF will be a relatively breezy path for you guys.

  7. That sounds great that you both worked some stuff out with your family, regardless of if you accept their offer of help.
    Roo sounds awesome and I love his negotiation skills and imagining that outfit. Thanks for the smiles on what has been a bit of a s**t day.

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