Yesterday Angus hit 5 months! We haven’t take his ‘official’ 5 month pictures yet, but here’s one I caught yesterday to give you a peak:
Mostly I’m going to tell you about family drama.
There’s Xmas in Indiana, with L’s family. On the whole, it wasn’t bad. Since L’s mom sold her house in their hometown and is currently camped out with L’s brother and SIL while she waits for her house in Florida to be built, we don’t have a comfy space that feels like ‘ours.’ We stayed with L’s cousin who is lovely and was so kind, but it just never felt like we could settle. There was lots of room, but none of it really worked for us.
Then there was the church stuff. L has two older brothers – the older one has been involved with super conservative evangelical mega churches since L and I got together, and even works for one now (and has in the past.) The middle brother is less committal and generally more middle child, but has never been super involved with anything. His wife, however, recently got involved with the conservative mega church where Older Brother works. We had our suspicions after a few days that her involvement with the church may have shifted some of her feelings about us, mostly because she was being much colder and more distant from both of us. Then we learned that our niece had asked her mom about us – something along the lines of “Auntie Lala and Auntie Andie are both girls and they are married, right?” and her mom (middle bros wife) said, “Yes, but we don’t believe in that.”
I HATE the “we don’t believe in that” bullshit. Like, I’m sorry, what don’t you believe in – we are real people who are actually and legally married. So what you are actually saying is, we believe that they are wrong/going to hell/fucked up/whatever. You DO believe something about us, so say what you do believe in. You have to fess up to the fucked up implications if you do that, though, and SIL definitely doesn’t want to do that.
The worst of it, though, is how silent everyone else stays. No one said anything to SIL, in her recounting of this story, about how confusing that might be for our niece (to hear that her family ‘doesn’t believe’ in her aunts but . . .they’re her aunts and she should be nice to them?) or how hurtful it is to us, or how our GOD DAMN identity isn’t something that we can ‘agree to disagree’ about, or if you’re going to believe that stuff you should probably let us know and not pretend everything is fine and dandy. It’s hard to not feel slighted by the silence or their urging to just ‘ignore it,’ as though this were some friendly razzing.
Still . . .Christmas was still lovely because toddlers make holidays magical.
And then there’s my family . . .
We are visiting in March, since this year wasn’t our Denver xmas (side note: all Xmases going forward will be Washington/wherever-the-hell-we-live Xmases) and are trying to schedule everything out. For a variety of reasons (see here) we decided we didn’t want to spend all of the days and nights with my parents, and that we’d also spend part of the time staying with our besties M+L. I told my mom this, and she lost it. There was a lot about how she hasn’t met Gus yet, how I should recognize how important family is and prioritize that, how she hardly even knew us because we hardly saw her, etc etc etc. All of which just reaffirmed for me why we don’t want to stay there the whole time. There’s also the reality that my parents live pretty far out in the suburbs and our friends all live closer in to Denver or in the city proper, and we are NOT just going to Denver to see family and our friends are as important to us as our family is and that isn’t going to change.
The whole conversation was a mess. She wanted to talk about it more, even after I told her that more talking would not result in any change to our plans, and wanted to do some ‘let’s each take the other person’s perspective’ exercise which normally I’d be game for but she followed it up with, “like, you could try and understand why it would be so hurtful that you’d stay with someone besides me when I haven’t even met my youngest grandchild yet.” At which point I was like nopenopenope. Let’s not forget that they have also not come to visit us since Gus was born, nor does it seem like something they are planning to do. But, whatever. Fucking DRAMA. I imagine it is not going to go well when I tell them there will be no more Christmas visits. But, y’all . . .I don’t want my kids growing up having Christmas switch locations each year, without the opportunity to have our own traditions and experiences. So, whatever . . .everyone gets to have feelings and I’m not responsible for them and that’s what I’m gonna keep telling myself as I sit through this damned mess.
- Ansel seems to have gone through some sort of developmental leap. He has gone from verbal to conversational (does that make sense? Like, before he said stuff but now he’s engaged in telling and back and forth and stories and experiences) and is taking things on easily that before were real chores – teeth brushing, table clearing, toy pick up. He’s also been about 95% sweet to his brother without even the aggressive love bubbling up, an improvement from the 75% he was at. I’ve started very slowly ‘weaning’ by limiting nursing to before nap when I’m home, before bed, and when we wake up. I have no idea when or how I’ll start dropping those others, but the goal is to stop nursing in the next 6ish months.
- Angus can hold his head up and roll both ways – easily from front to back and from back to front with help/less consistently. He has the most charming smile and does this very adorable thing with his eyebrows. He’s still small – just hitting 12 lbs! – but continues gaining. He’s been getting fortified donor milk in addition to nursing which has taken the pressure off L a bit. He’s also been sick a lot, which sucks. It’s the saddest when a tiny dude is hacking and sneezing. Ansel didn’t get his first cold until he was 10 months old. Angus has not fared quite so well.
- The flight to and from Indy went really well. I 110% 5 star highly recommend the cares harness (and shout out to Lemon Drop for the suggestion) which kept Ansel contained but still left us space in the seats. He did well watching the iPad and coloring and playing with his trolls. We told him he could only get out of the harness to take a nap on my lap, and that’s exactly what he did. The flight home went well in terms of toddler energy, but had it’s own complications. Ansel picked up a miserable cough while in Indy, and was hacking up a lung the whole flight. As often happens, his cough turned into vomiting, which happened forcefully and repeatedly at about hour 2.5 (out of 5.) So, I spent a lot of the flight covered in puke. No thumbs up, do not recommend.
- We have continued asking Ansel about his interest in wearing Minnie Mouse or Paw Patrol chonies and/or peeing on the potty. He sometimes wants the underpants but never wants the potty. We gave it a bit more of a concentrated effort in the last couple days with 0 progression so, back to waiting we go. He’ll eventually be potty trained. I hope.
- We have suspected for a while that Ansel would do well in the setting of an outdoor preschool. (for those of you who don’t know, there is a growing movement of outdoor schools – and yes, it’s outdoors ALL day, all year round – https://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/31/fashion/outdoor-preschool-in-nature.html, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/18/t-magazine/germany-forest-kindergarten-outdoor-preschool-waldkitas.html ) When we initially moved, we heard about a program that was starting in Seattle, and even signed up on the list to be contacted when Ansel turned 3. Of course, now we live in Tacoma so the Seattle program wouldn’t work . . .until they decided to open one in the suburb nearest us in 2018! There’s also an outdoor preschool at the Tacoma Nature Center, so we have options! The Seattle based school, Tiny Trees, is also very affordable so we are excited to explore it. It costs enough that we can’t afford it unless L goes back to work (which she wants to do anyway) but it’s still much more reasonable than typical preschool. We decided to do a free Tinkergarten trial to see if our hunch was right and, lo and behold, Ansel was more focused and engaged in the activities at Tinkergarten than he has been at any time in his regular preschool class. There’s growing evidence that being outdoors can work especially well for kids who are kinesthetic and need movement or who have ADHD. I think this is going to be a great solution for us and I’m SO excited to try and make it work.
- Also, OMFG my kid is almost THREE?!
- It’s my busy season at work with lots of early mornings and very long days. In addition, L was cast in a show with a local theater company, and rehearsals are three evenings a week and Saturday and Sunday afternoons. She can take Angus to rehearsal sometimes, but, in any case, shit is about to get really busy and we are about to see each other a lot less. Accordingly (and, hopefully she doesn’t mind my sharing this with my reading public) we have decided our 2018 resolution is to have sex every Saturday of the year (with reschedules possible for extenuating circumstances.) After months of parenting a toddler + an infant and all the requisite time/energy/self confidence sucks therein, it’s been waaay too long. We decided that setting aside a specific day and making a fun commitment would help us and, if we can beat our goal of 1x/week or 52 times this year, that would be even better! So far, we’re 1 for 1!
- We are finally getting to the phase of having two children when I have daily affirmations about WHY we decided this was a good idea. Angus looks at Ansel like he is the funniest, most amazing person. Ansel gently kisses Anguses nose and tells him he’s a good baby and sings him a song about going night-night. A few days ago he ‘read’ a book to Gus. Almost daily my heart explodes a little bit. Which is good because I’m still so.fucking.tired.