The last few weeks have been only slightly short of miserable. Like, we are IN IT, y’all.
The biggest contributing factor is that EVERYONE has been sick, with each of us at different places on the sickness to wellness spectrum at different points in time, but none of us actually achieving actual non-sick status for the last 3+ weeks. It started with Ansel crawling into our bed with a hacking cough and progressed into colds all around, bronchitis for L and I that is still working it’s way out, a stomach virus complete with awful cramps for the adults in the house, and now Hand Foot and Mouth disease – first in Angus and now in Ansel. L started getting a super sore throat yesterday and woke up this morning with spots so we’re up to 3/4 HFM Chez Gayby. I am scheduled to teach in sex ed classes every day for the next two weeks – this is NOT a time that I can take off, so I’ll take whatever magic you got that I don’t succumb too.
With illness comes clingy babies and grumpy toddlers and even more disrupted sleep than usual. It’s really not surprising that we haven’t been able to recover, since to do so would mean getting enough rest and being able to take care of ourselves or each other. But two sick kids means that idea is a pipe dream at best. And by the time the day is over, we are exhausted from caring for sick kids and working and not feeling well ourselves, so the usual house stuff isn’t really happening either.
It just feels like we are being kicked when we’re down, like we can’t quite escape the constant onslaught of sickness. Life with two kids feels relentless most times, but recently it’s felt more like treading water with more than the occasional bout of not quite being above the surface. Super contagious sickness means that we don’t even have the usual sources of support since those are the preschool parents who, understandably, want to keep their distance. This is one of those times when, despite the drama and exasperation my mom often causes me, I wish I lived closer to family. L said yesterday we’ve just got one nostril above the water, and that feels about right.
The sleep consultant won’t work with us until she feels like Gus’ ‘underlying issues’ are managed, which mostly means (I think) that the iron/anemia issue is resolved. We’ve been giving him liquid ferrous sulfate since the last test showed low iron and when it was rechecked last week, it had only increased a very small amount. Our pediatrician hasn’t returned our calls about what to do next (in fact, I’m on hold for them as I write this, and I’m annoyed about it. ) She also continues to be kind of weird about the dentist not clipping his tongue tie, only the lip tie. But I’m gonna be real that I trust the pediatric dentist on this more than the sleep consultant who’s only seen pictures and who doesn’t evaluate functionality anyway. The main point of this all is that we continue to get very, very little sleep. When Gus first came down with the HFM, he wouldn’t let us put him down to sleep at night like, at all. We ended up taking shifts holding him so we each could get a chunk of sleep, but four hours isn’t actually sustainable. But, for now we’re in a holding pattern.
L did not move forward with the charter school for a job, but she did get accepted into the emerging artist program! It’s a really incredible opportunity for her to get a bunch of training on things like fundraising to support her art, have time and resources to devote to developing a new solo show, and a reputable venue to promote and host the solo show. It’s not a paid gig, which is a bummer, but the pay off in exposure and skills will be well worth the time and energy. She continues to apply for stuff as it comes up, and we continue to really hope that the perfect job is coming, because the perfect job is not staying home with our (adorable, perfect, amazing) children.
Perhaps you recall my reclassification process which was denied in January . After talking to my union rep and my boss, I decided to appeal the decision. This time, armed with some additional information about how the process works and what I needed to make clear, I submitted an extensive document outlining my additional work and why it was more in line with the higher classification. The few weeks between the decision and deciding to submit the appeal were a bit tumultuous. I ended up talking to my bosses boss (who was my boss until about a year ago) didn’t support my reclassification, primarily because ‘everyone else who’s been reclassified has been here many years’ and so she felt it was ‘premature.’ Of course, that actually ought to have nothing to do with how my job is classified, but her opinion carries weight and may have been a primary factor in their decision. I smiled and nodded and thought mean names in my head. My union rep advised me to keep quiet and she did some investigation into potential next steps if the appeal doesn’t work. She heard from the division head that he would be open to creating a path to the new classification for me should the appeal not go through.
I had my reconsideration panel three weeks ago (can we all just admit than anything job related + panel = fucking terrifying?) I brought both the document I’d initially submitted as well as a chart comparing my current job classification duties as compared to the new duties as compared to the work I do. Only my (very very supportive) boss was there, and she had a document outlining my work and her support for the panel as well. Once again, it was a shockingly brief meeting with very few questions – which can either feel good (my work was clear!) or shitty (they have already decided!) but ultimately I ended up feeling good about it. They told me I’d hear in 2-4 weeks but “likely closer to two, as we like to close these as soon as possible and yours has been open for quite some time.”
So, basically since last Wednesday (the two week mark) I’ve been anxiously checking my work e-mail hoping to see a decision. I still haven’t heard and while I’m still within the window they gave me, the longer I have to wait, the greater the anxiety. Because our brains are hardwired to look for the worst possible evidence in the face of the unknown. Or, at least, mine is. I decided to send a very polite e-mail inquiring about things, even though we haven’t reached the deadline. I hope that wasn’t a bad idea – not that it could impact the decision directly (hello, union rules!) but just because I don’t like to annoy people. Still, my boss is out of town and I have this idea that the decision is waiting in her inbox and that makes me die a little inside too.
Anyway, if it works out, it’ll will be both a pretty solid pay increase (at least 5%, I believe) plus back pay from the time I submitted for the reclass (November.) It also gives me some job protection in the weird system we have (ask if you care but it’s really too complicated to get into) and most importantly its recognition for the work I’ve been doing for almost two fucking years.
In some brief kid updates:
- Ansel has started going to sleep on the floor in front of his door. This is weird but I guess ok? Not sure why he does it and for a while I was going in and transferring him to bed, but this usually involved the door hitting him on the head and that seemed counterproductive. This has coincided with him coming into our bed to sleep at around 3am as well. Although we used to be kind of strict about when he could come in, we’ve gotten lax. Now that he doesn’t demand to nurse when he climbs in (he still nurses a tiny bit when we actually wake up in the morning, just not from the moment he’s in our bed) he’s mostly just sweet and snuggly. And honestly, we are ok with whatever sleep we are getting, we’ve gotten less picky about what it looks like.
- Angus is thisclose to crawling. He’s actually doing a kind of weird one leg back crawl, where he’s constantly poised to sit back on his butt, but it’s definitely slower and more awkward than a regular crawl. He’s waaaay more interested in pulling himself to stand. L feels very strongly about crawling being an important thing for reading, eyesight, etc and honestly I trust her knowledge on this. But convincing him might be a different story.
- Ansel has started telling jokes!
- Ansel was evaluated for his eating stuff (gagging, vomiting, extremely limited variety of food) – which I realize I don’t think I’ve talked about much here. It took us a while to get a referral because his weight is good, which apparently is what the pediatricians of the world go on. But the daily gagging and spitting, the frequent vomiting, and the fact that he won’t try anything new – even ‘kid food’ – was concerning to us. They determined he does need some feeding therapy, and so he starts that in a few weeks. The assessment included doing a little bit of work and he ended up eating ‘apple sticks’ (just apple cut into long thin pieces) and has since eaten apples pretty frequently, which wasn’t happening before, so I have high hopes!
Send some light. We could use it.