9 months

First of course . . .


Angus is NINE MONTHS OLD! (weird. Wasn’t Ansel just born?) At his 9 month appointment, he weighed in at 17lbs 9oz, putting him in the 10th percentile. Not too shabby, considering he was only in the 2nd at his 6 month appointment, and before that he wasn’t even on the regular charts. He’s in the 50th percentile for height too, confirming that he is kind of a long, skinny baby and explaining why the 6-9 month clothes fit perfectly length wise but are still pretty roomy around the middle.

As for sleep . . .it’s been hit or miss, though I think the overall trend has improved. He had a night with an 8 hour stretch (for him, not for us) which felt magical but . . .mostly he’s been in the 3ish hour mark, which is still better than it could be. He’s been waking for the day very early though, which is its own kind of stress. A week or so ago, we decided that because of this, I’d take on the night wake ups (usually 2 from when we go to bed at 10:30-11 until around 3-4 am, and then Laurie would get up with him. Since Ansel still crawls in bed to nurse and cuddle in the morning and is a beast when he has to get up early, this allows me to ‘sleep in’ (it’s all relative) with him while L gets up around 5am with Angus, and we both get at least one semi-solid chunk of sleep. We haven’t set up our follow up or any additional work with the sleep consultant yet since things seem to be improving and also she requires us to keep a log of 48 hours with an inordinate amount of detail and we just cannot seem to make that happen.

Ansel has recently seemed to emerge from the ‘parallel play’ phase and is now VERY interested in playing with others. This has been very sweet, but has also come with some rough edges (probably more for us than him, if I’m being honest.) He seems to have taken a special shine to one of the kids in his class, R. I’m always unsure if this is simply circumstantial – we went to R’s birthday party, and he had a couple of playdates with her recently – or if he really does just like her better, you know? In any case, last week at school R was holding hands with J (they do seem to have become a friendship couple, spending most of their time together at school – and this may be a part of the context too, that Ansel sees that and wants a buddy in a similar capacity) and Ansel approached them and asked to hold her other hand and she very forcefully pulled it away and told him no. He got really upset and ran off and didn’t want to talk about it. Later that day, R & J told him he couldn’t play with them and he left sad and tearful. The teacher intervened the second time since, for her, while it’s fine to not hold hands with someone (we all get to choose the physical contact we are ok with), and it’s ok to play alone and tell people you are playing alone, you can’t tell one person they can’t play if you are playing with someone else or a group (this makes sense to me for preschool.) L was a working parent that day, so she witnessed all of this. And, another mom who we’ve become friends with, told us it’s happened before. Both L and I felt totally heartbroken about the situation, though that same night Ansel was talking about his friend R like nothing had happened, so clearly we are holding on to it in a different way.

It got me thinking about how the challenges of parenting change over time. It segues from keeping them healthy and alive while they are virtually helpless to helping them weather the heartbreaks and complexities of being a human in relationship with other humans. It’s a difficult task, to teach a small person how to be a friend, help them understand that sometimes – no matter what you do – someone doesn’t want to be your friend, and hope they both keep their wonderful unique qualities and also understand that not everyone will like them for it. I, of course, can’t understand why someone wouldn’t adore Ansel like I do. But, I know not everyone will and he’ll get his tender heart hurt. This is just the first time of many.


On a happier note, though, with the warming weather and longer days, I’ve started taking Ansel to the school down the street, which has a beautiful playground accessible to the community after school hours. There are often other kids there, and he has played with a few of them. On a few occasions, older kids (in the 6-9 range) have kind of taken him in, teaching him to play games or indulging him in his toddler versions. He talks about ‘his friends’ while we walk to the ‘big park’ and is disappointed when no one is there. Last night, he was very clear and direct that he didn’t want a hug from one of the older girls but that he did want to high-5 her, and that felt really lovely too. Lots of lessons about how to engage other people – the hard and the good, they always come together, right?


Speaking of hard lessons . . .last Thursday on my way home from work, I swerved to miss something in the road right as the road narrowed, and ended up skirting the guardrail. My car was drivable and not seriously mechanically or structurally damaged, and I was fine. But, there was definitely some pretty significant damage to the body, and the passenger side door wouldn’t open. I called the next day to file a claim with the insurance company and learned . . .we didn’t have collision coverage on the car? This seemed impossible to me since I would just never made that choice and we had full coverage on the other car. When I called my agent, she confirmed. And then I remembered that the employee at the agency who’d set us up when we purchased our house had also fucked up the homeowner’s policy, almost delaying the closing and costing us additional fees from the sellers. Now, apparently, he had also failed to give us collision coverage on the car (though there was other weird stuff on there) and because I’d done everything over the phone, there was no record that I’d ever asked for anything different. And, then, of course, I’d been dumb enough to not look at the policy closely before I signed it (I remember the day I did, too . . .I drove down to Tacoma from Seattle to do it and was frazzled and running late for work . . .an explanation but not an excuse.) So . . .we were on the hook for the full cost of whatever repairs needed to be made.


I’m lucky enough to be able to ask for a loan from my parents, since they both have the resources and are happy to share them with me. So, that’s what I did. We are getting second hand parts and the cost is actually less expensive than I anticipated it would be, but it still sucks. So, for now my car is in the shop and I’m in a rental, deeply grateful, a little bitter, and somewhat wiser. May my mistake encourage you to read everything you sign twice.


I also had the MRI on my ankle and a follow up with the doctor. The numbness in my foot is being caused by swelling in my ankle from general scar tissue and inflammation. He could do a tarsal tunnel release but doubts it would have much, if any, effect on the numbness because the issue is my ankle. This is just a symptom of more significant problems. My options for repairing the ankle are to fuse it, which he wouldn’t recommend since I already have arthritis in my sub talar joint and the fusion would exacerbate that, at which point the only option would be excrutiating pain in that joint or fusion of that joint, which would leave me with no functionality in my ankle at all – basically I’d be able to hobble but not much else. The other option is ankle replacement. It would restore function and eliminate pain . . .BUT . . .replacements don’t last a super long time. Right now, the technology is at about 10 years (significantly less than hip or knee replacements) and then you’d either need a new replacement or a fusion. And after the second replacement, you’d almost certainly need a fusion. But, with each subsequent surgery, you up the risk of infection or other complications and the worst case scenario of course, would be amputation. All of that is scary to think about.

For now, I’m going to learn to live with the numbness and the pain I experience, and hold off on anything until I feel like the pain is so bad I have to make a decision. Until then, I’ve sunk some money into two pairs of shoes – one athletic, the other dress – that are recommended for ankle arthritis and improve functionality of the joint. And I’m begrudgingly committed to wearing them. I have fucking huge, ugly feet and have always struggled to wear cute shoes, but now I’m really going to look frumpy. But, better frump than pain. This will be my mantra.


Finally, L had an interview with a charter school network last week. They said she should hear from the individual schools late this week or next to potentially schedule an in person interview. She’s also a semi-finalist for an Emerging Artists program that would allow her to get some intensive training and support for developing a one person show. She’s interested in exploring the intersections of being a non-normatively gendered pregnant person, how gender and parenting interact. I’m excited about both of these possibilities being fulfilling and engaging her great talent in a way that being a stay at home parent just hasn’t.