Emerging

No one died, I didn’t move, or change jobs, yet I am emerging from a period of high stress. We have beautiful weather in my part of the country. This must be like winter in Italy. Perfect temperature to dress up in layers, and look great, but no snow. The flip side has been persistent illness. Colds and coughs, pneumonia, and in my house scarlet fever. Who gets that?! Then my good husband was even less available, all his time bought by a higher bidder than me. At the same time our kids’ needs were suddenly changing. My 2 year old became a little girl who decided one day she was done with diapers. My five year old is wanting to control everyone and everything. Lego breaks, and he’s also falling apart. There are moments when everyone is throwing a tantrum. Did I mention sleep. While the children where growing and changing and getting sick, and needing the doctor on a weekly basis, I wasn’t getting any sleep. I was breaking down and not even realizing. My period just quit. I went back to my reproductive specialist. Blood tests and an ultrasound revealed  that my uterus and ovaries did nothing for the last 40 days. They were the only part of my body taking a break. I am taking provera now for the next 7 to ten days. The doctor says I shouldn’t even expect a period, because no lining grew in my uterus, so there is nothing to shed.

The good news is that finally, after some pleading, scolding and standing up for myself and how I want my husband to treat me, and family time, he came home to do bedtime. He has been able to get the children to sleep in their own beds…all night long. I have had three glorious nights of undisturbed sleep. I feel like a new woman. I am feeling ready again to purse my ideas and do something…honestly just do something that I haven’t done before. Time to get butterflies.

 

Binge

It's all too much
It’s all too much

Breakfast is looking a lot different around here. I am yelling, well, almost never. At least not for the past three days. My husband has finally seen the value of helping with the morning routine. Everyone is happier for the most part. Now there is time for me to treat him like my boyfriend again. He gets the attention he needs. I offer an actual kind hearted good morning, a kiss goodbye and a genuine wish for him to have a nice day at work. The best part is really how the kids seem to be calmer and I can take a moment to shower. Getting the morning routine down may take years.

Sometimes I make lunches the night before. This makes it easier, but often I am simply too tired.
Despite this new help…I am eating everything in site. Buying every good deal and drinking whatever is put in front of me. I am bingeing.
I told my husband today that I just need to get away from my life. He laughed and asked me if I’d like to hear a joke. I want to not have to stand around with two dozen other over heating parents waiting in the standing room only viewing area,  for their kid’s martial arts lesson to end. I want to escape another drop-off, and pick-up, another run to the store for kid snacks, and the loads of laundry that make up my personal fifth circle of hell. The craziest part of this experience is that a little bit of help let’s me realize how much pressure there is everyday to plan and complete tasks. It is truly tiring. By the time I get this right, I will have kids long gone out of the house. I am thankful that there is money and dare I say credit to fuel the madness.
The gallstone issue has not amounted to much, which may be good news. I have had no news on that front. This idea of a third child is fleeting. My age old infertility is the problem. I will find out shortly what can be done about it, if anything.
But I am in a funk that I am finding tough to shake. Meantime, I am checking my work email constantly. I am being asked to work on projects that are at once frightening and welcome.
Hope I can deliver. This is what I have wanted. I feel a bit frantic yet trying to keep it all together.
My husband asks me for a smile. In this moment. I don’t have that to give. Imagine, when a smile is too hard.

Can a girl catch her breath

Twirling girl
Twirling girl

It was 2:30pm today before any actual food passed my lips. My oldest slept in until  7:29am so I had time to put some cereal in a bowl for the 2 year old, make French toast and prepare lunch. It is magical having some sort of breakfast prepared before the kids reach the table. It makes all the difference between screaming monster family and a photo spread in Parenting magazine.

I was running around to doctor appointments. The first one tells me I am ovulating and could produce two eggs this cycle one from each ovary. The other appointment, to verify any gallstones. I have cut out sugar, and dairy to try to help them disappear. I bought $90 in pills at the health food store to improve digestion so that maybe they would disappear. I will get results next week from the fertility doctor who saw them in the first place. This is often how gallstones are discovered, by accident. No sugar and dairy for a week equals about two pounds lost. Yes.

So I take my two year old with me to the fertility clinic. I feel crazy. Every moment of the day I question this need for a third child. I am an only child from a single parent home. I silently vowed to have a family, and check off all the boxes that we already know makes good families and happy people. I want to make sure my kids never feel alone in the world and that they know as weird as their life may be, they are not the only one who lived that experience. Loneliness is something one carries inside them. Not having any siblings puts a fine point on it all. There are moments I wish I could call someone and be vulnerable. Friends don’t really become family, because they have family of their own.

This question of a third child seems rich when some people struggle for just one. Every time my kids have a meltdown, or I am alone to do school drop off and pick, making lunches giving baths and changing diapers I wonder if I can add another person to this madness. The answer is often no.

My husband still gets caught up in what people think of him. He drinks too much and opts out of adult things, like paying bills and family obligations. My mother is as she always was, available when she wants to be, which is not often.

This urge to create my own healthy family is strong. I worry that my career will be over and that my bosses won’t take me seriously with three kids. That my colleagues will count me out. It’s hard to keep up. But maybe I wouldn’t have it any other way.

We mused this weekend about moving to the country visiting family. My oldest cried when it was time to return to the city. But the minute I stepped through my front door, I was angry with myself that I had even entertained the idea of giving it all up to sit in the country and take it slow.

This black wife is just not built that way….

bw

Middle Age Problems

The window for my last possible child is closing. I am  past 40 and it’s now or never. It is hard to come to terms with leaving the childbearing time of life behind. No more making friends in the park, no more watching a tiny being turn into a the master of their little world. I enjoy the baby stage even with all the challenges.

I was talking to my fertility doctor and investigating the possibility. I told him about this pain on my left side that I get. He checked it out with his ultrasound and it looks like Gallstones and sludge.

No way to have a baby till that’s taken care of and soon. I called my naturopath. I’m seeing her later today. I also booked another ultrasound to check it out and be sure. The treatment is removal. And then no fatty foods for me, or risk the runs!

This is an unpleasant development. And my back pain is as a result of losing some curvature in my spine after being pregnant twice. I have said for a long time, I am not done with babies, but maybe very soon I will have to say finally, I AM done.

Lead Parent

20150912_150456_resizedSo I am the lead parent. I have a full time job with early morning hours. I am still the one taking the kids to check ups, lessons, birthday parties and play dates. My husband vaguely knows where the children’s doctor is located. He did take our son to a dental appointment once. That is once in 5 years. He doesn’t do birthday parties as a rule but has accompanied us on a couple of occasions. What he doesn’t realize is that everyone hates kids parties. Standing around watching your kid eat bad food and run wild while you try to chat with some parent. You’ll likely never remember their name and you don’t care. Even when they offer alcohol. It never feels like a good way to spend three or four hours, not to mention the agony about how much to spend on the gift. Moms know when you got the gift off a clearance shelf. So the $20-30 gift certificate is my standard give or gift of the same value. I often get my kid to make a card. Why throw away another $5.

As lead parent, I get up in the middle of the night when the kids call. My husband started out his parenting role as the,”I’ll stay in bed till the ambulance arrives,” kind of parent. Well, the price to pay for that is that your kids don’t respond quickly to you in the lead parent role. Lead parents are the ones who comfort, care for and change wet and dirty clothes. Lead parents appear in the doorway and the children are happy and over excited. Last night was a parenting fail.

My husband came home late. He was going to parent out of guilt. The babies woke up calling for Mama. He decided he needed to do the comforting. My daughter screamed and cried. I was wide awake in another room. I didn’t go to her because my husband wanted to parent and it would be a giant fight if I stepped in to offer comfort. I was angry at myself, and at him. This was simply stupid. We were all playing at satisfying my husbands need to parent and not serving the needs of the children.

We all know who we married. I married someone who needed to grow and be less selfish.That growth happens in fits and starts then stalls. So I wait.

Getting up in the middle of the night, being sleep deprived, and eating badly because you have young kids, actually doesn’t last forever. It just feels like it. Already my children are growing and allowing me more freedom.

My husband spends a lot of time fighting this part of having young ones. But he is also fighting his guilt.

He goes through episodes. I wish I was a psychiatrist. I’m sure I’d know what then, what was going on his brain. But when work gets stressful, he will look for me to fight, and impose on my role as lead parent. We can’t just trade off when we want.  He needs to step up and I will always remain lead parent until I can’t, and he can take over making the appointments, buying the clothes, making the lunches and picking up children from school.

In terms of childcare, too much is on my plate. But I married someone who can justify why he’s not participating. Whether it’s a reno or raising the kids. I actually get the blame for wanting to do it all. But here’s what… I am a black woman who as Margo Jefferson tells it in her memoir “Negroland,” we are not allowed to get depressed, or drop out. So I DO all the things that need to be done, and I keep doing….but  one day this past summer I had a case of vertigo and collapsed in the school yard.

I looked into the faces of my children just 5 and 2. There were no tears, no sign of worry. I knew I would be fine. My husband was not calm. He would have to be lead parent until I was well. He couldn’t tell if I’d be ok.

In that moment I remember thinking…he is so dumb.

I was fine in the end. No sign of any medical problem.  No diagnosis. I went home that night.

So my husband is at work, likely having a bad day. His go to fight tonight, I am sure, will be a,” why we don’t have enough sex.” Well the moment the children get home, we’ll have some dinner, then head back to school for parent teacher night. They’ll have to come with me. It would be a big ask for him to leave work by 7pm. That’s why I’m the lead parent.

Bw

And my white doctor said….

CLIVE
CLIVE

I walked into an antique store. The coloured glass drew me inside. Of course the antique dealers where chatty. Their stuff was good. I was starting to feel obliged to buy something especially after One of the partners opened his $400 Hydro bill which was cheap he said. So, I get to talking with Clive. Yes, I’m out for a walk , I say, to stay in better shape than riding my bike. Clive launches into this story about falling off his bike, and breaking three ribs. ‘I went uptown to the hospital and ‘this Chinese doctor, said I was fine… then I went to this white doctor a few days later who saw right away, that I had three broken ribs!’

WHAT!?

I was about to buy a broach to help out with the Hydro bill. I had to walk out. Before I did, I stood at the counter just looking at him talk. I wanted to ask what exactly he meant. But really who cares. He’s been telling that story for over a decade.I didn’t want him to explain. That was just plain racist…it was also in the way he did a little Chinese  accent. Terrible. In these moments, its hard for me to call people out. I just walk away. I chocked on the words “CLIVE YOU CAN’T SAY THAT.” Talk about people’s competence, leave their race out of it. Any medical association will tell you there are also bad white doctors. I failed in not correcting a fool.

Why did he say that to me? I ran from Clive to find a coffee…a strong one.

Under Pressure

XaSdA
Designing Duo Colin and Justin and our European guests

My husband’s friends were coming to dinner. They are in from someplace in Germany… oh and they know Colin and Justin. Who are they, and so? Well they are a design duo with style in spades. They play with colour and pattern no matter what’s in vogue. I adore them and have watched them on tv.

I was at the park getting grubby with my kids when my husband calls to say they are  coming along to meet up with our dinner guests. In my mind the ultimate interior decorators are coming and my house looks like a wind storm blew through. The Sofa….it must be vacuumed. It’s almost symbolic. Get rid of the hidden chaos and grime by showing that dried up cereal who’s boss. I tried to call a maid service. Sunday. Not possible. I was going to be the maid service, as usual. I forced lunch into my children at the park and texted a babysitter. No one was answering the phone. With only 2.5 hours to dinner, I had to think fast. What needs to be cleaned before people show up. My husband joked that I’d lose it, break down, and just fold laundry.  I came home, made beds. Stored clean unfolded laundry in the dryer. Took the dirty stuff and stuff without a home and put it into the laundry basket.

Bedrooms, even clean ones can be stuffy. I spritzed the sheets with conditioner and water!  It freshens things up. Cleaned up as many flat surfaces. Putting away paper and books. A quick sweep and a few bags of garbage later we were ready. I had no makeup on. But a clean face, a glass of wine and perfume make everyone look ready for guests.

So how did I do it. Collecting names of capable babysitters is key. At the moment I only have one. I started cleaning up toys the day before. Keeping ontop of toys is a job I neglect and regret. My husband and I are a good team when it comes to dinner parties. He does the food and I do the house. But here’s the annoying habit he has…. he likes to argue about highly inappropriate issues while I am rushing around trying to make it all work. This time? why we don’t have enough sex! Are you kidding me?!

These stress arguments are tough. How do you NOT  get pulled into them? If you know… share.

So Colin anf Justin show up and get a house tour. “Lovely, lovely, nice idea for a second floor laundry in a small space,” they say. When I think the tour is done… they ask to see the basement. “Sure!” I am really thinking whatever.  At this point I’d had enough wine not to care much.

I feel primed for dinner party/cocktail season. Bring it on.

Bw