Well, somehow my goal to write more often turned into 3 months of dead air. I’m blaming it at least partially on the pseudo seasonal depression I get in the summer. I mean, it’s not seasonal depression in the traditional sense but it does hit me every summer like clockwork. I lose my motivation and it’s hard to find a lot of joy. I hate sweating and I feel bad about my body and having always been the type of kid who needed school to be socially fulfilled, I have deep memories of mostly being lonely.
But now it’s fall, and everything is better in the fall, especially in the Pacific Northwest, where it is actually fall-like for most of the season. In Colorado, it can be 85 degrees on one day in October and 40 and snowing a few days later and you know what? That is summer + winter, not fall. But here, it’s been in the low to mid 70’s for the last month-ish and now it’s dipping into the 60’s. We are starting to get rain, yes, but there are also lots of days that are sunny and crisp. And so I feel alive again.
But I missed some things, of course. The biggest is that ANGUS TURNED ONE! Which is, obviously, a pretty big deal, because it means we kept two children alive, stayed married and are even semi-sane while doing so after a full year. And it has been a year. I do think we are coming to a clearing, finally, but it’s been rough. And Gus is still a terrible sleeper and has awful separation anxiety that only L (and occasionally me) can soothe. But, he’s a solid healthy weight (20 lbs at his 1 year check and definitely bigger now) and is getting more independent (though he still loses his mind when you leave his sight) which means we have a little less to worry about, anyway. And the thing is, I imagine he may always been a little more ‘challenging’ in these respects than Ansel was/is. Ah, learning that your children are actually two very different people, a lesson that you seem to always need to re-learn . . .
Angus isn’t walking quite yet, though he’s taken a handful of steps a bunch of times, and happily stands without support for minutes at a time. I think his inability is more lack of motivation/confidence. He gets around really fast with his scoot-crawl, so I don’t know that he sees the utility of walking quite yet. Still, we invested in some (adorable) boggs rain boots for him since he’ll undoubtedly need them at some point this season. Also: baby boots. He eats whatever you put in front of him and usually asks for more of whatever it is. Special love for strawberries, green beans, Juanita’s sweet-chili chips and chicken. May he always eat so well. He went from basically being unable to pick anything up to using his pincher grasp like a champ. Enjoying eating has definitely eased the concerns about weight. He’s also now drinking milk (cow and almond) in addition to nursing, which is much more affordable than the formula supplementing we were doing.
But OMG this kid can talk! He’s always been very vocal and made a lot of noise, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that he’s picked up words easily. He says “hot dog” (thanks, Mickey Mouse), “Ansel,” “Dog”, “Mama/Mommy,” “more,” “apple” (which is what he calls all fruits), “bye” and “hi”, “all done” and . . .more! He’ll repeat so many things once, but these are his everyday vocab words. Dude has a lot to say.
Ansel started outdoor preschool and is LOVING it. It’s 5 days/week from 8:30-12:30, different from last year which was only 2 days and only 1 hour 45 minutes a day. We really needed him to have more interaction and just, you know, STUFF to do than L can provide as a stay at home parent with a clingy ass baby as well. It’s a very different feel from the co-op – I’ve only really talked to one of the other families, and that’s because I stalked everyone on FB and found the only other two mom family and basically made them be our friends. I’m sure the system of just dropping off and going, and utilizing the FB class group to mostly just look at cute pictures of your kid is pretty standard. But in the co-op, folks who weren’t working would just hang out, and we really created a community of people. I miss that AND I’m very glad Ansel is in his current school.
Ansel is also currently in both food therapy and speech therapy. The food therapy started in the summer and is focused on helping him expand his palette and try new things. It’s been pretty successful, though that doesn’t mean he’s necessarily eating all kind of exotic foods! We’ve added a few items to his list (including sunbutter, which was necessary for school lunch!) and he’s gotten more ok with trying new things. He’s still incredibly ‘picky’ and as likely to spit or vomit as not, but I am seeing things change. I’ll hope it continues. He also has days where he basically just shuts down because it’s just too hard for him to do.
Speech therapy is focused on articulation. Ansel has a LOT of words, and a lot of long and complex sentences. The problem is, not many people can understand him. L and I probably get 50-60%, strangers are much less. He gets so sad and frustrated when we can’t understand him, though he’s gotten very creative about explaining what he means using other words. (ex: he said “I want a sister!” but we couldn’t understand “sister” because his “s” is a mess. So he said, “you know, a baby girl!” ahhhh . . .of course! Also, what?!?!) The therapist said he definitely needs some support and while he might get there with some of it eventually, it’s easier to work with now and just avoid there being a more complicated issue down the line. He seems to enjoy this much more, but he’s only been going a few weeks so it’s hard to tell if its making much difference.
L performed her 10 minute solo piece, created during her fellowship, in August and it was incredible. She’s scheduled to do two additional solo festival performances in October and November, and has been working on getting more of her script developed. It’s really a lovely show exploring gender and parenting and bodies, and I wish all of you could see it! That said, she’s likely to take it to some festivals around the country when it’s really done – Portland and Denver almost certainly – so I’ll keep y’all updated.
She’s also been continuing to look for work and had, for real, some of the shittiest luck ever. For example, she sent her resume and cover letter for a position with a small Arts non profit. The ED e-mailed her back the next day, asking for an interview the following week. Unfortunately, the next week we were going to be in Florida, so she replied and let the ED know she couldn’t do next week but was super excited and would love to come another time. And she just never heard back . . .even though the job description said interviews weren’t for another two weeks, even though she called and e-mailed to follow up . . .just, nothing. AYFKM? Other jobs sound great but the pay is barely enough to cover childcare. She had an interview for a job at Evergreen State College on Monday. It could be good and there’s an onsite daycare for $1200/month (a steal!) that Gus could maybe go to but it’s pretty far out and the daycare wouldn’t be an option for Ansel. So . . .who knows? I know she’s feeling frustrated and shitty about herself. It’s so hard not to let messages about how much money we make and our worth impact us, even when we don’t want them to.
Last week I had a video EEG to try and, once again, discover WTH is happening when I randomly lose consciousness. I spent three nights and almost 4 days hooked up to a bunch of different monitors, unable to leave my bed without someone in the room (seriously, there was an alarm) and . . .nothing happened. The neurologist said that it is not epilepsy so . . .that’s good? But she thinks it’s “sleep attacks” and I am really sure that I am not falling asleep while walking to the bathroom at work, you know? Whatever. The search continues, I guess.
Our trip to Florida to visit L’s mom was . . .kind of boring. We both thought her mom would have more ideas about keeping the kids entertained (lord knows I don’t know anything about Cape Coral!) but mostly, we sat around a lot. The red tide kept us away from the beach, and lack of $$ kept us away from a lot of other stuff. So we sat and sweated and went to some parks and swimming but I was a little like . . .we travelled 8 hours in a flying tin can with two children for this? I always love seeing my MIL, though, and her new house is great. We just know now to 1) not come in the summer (oh god the sweating) and 2) plan ahead on our own a little more.
Because we want our annual travel plan to include Florida in the late winter/early spring, and Colorado in the fall (to avoid the Christmas drama), and we managed to do the exact opposite of that this year (went to CO in March), we decided to do a quick trip to visit my family in late October to get back on track. Hopefully my mom will continue to stay out of the hospital and it won’t be another trip where I leave feeling shitty about my family relationships.
Finally . . .the day before we leave for Denver, we will finalize our second parent adoptions. Despite getting some really generous $$ from some friends (thanks, y’all know who you are), we were still unable to afford the process for both kids – namely, the social worker fees which were going to be a minimum of $1000 – though that wouldn’t include any lawyers fees and would mean doing everything pro se and hoping it all worked out. A few months ago, I happened to see that the local LGBTQ bar association was going to run a clinic allowing a small number of families to get the process done for significantly less, thanks to volunteer lawyers and social workers, allowing us to pay only incidentals and filing fees which we could, thanks to our friends again, afford. We’ve spent the last 6 weeks filling out invasive forms (sure, I’ll tell you all about my mental health and explain why I don’t have any stocks or bonds and also here’s the equity in my house . . .) but we’ve also had lovely, supportive people working with us. On October 26th, all of the families who worked with this clinic will have their adoption decrees finalized and all the anxiety about what the narcissist in chief might do next will, at least, be tempered with a modicum of security for our family.
And that’s where I’m gonna stop before I devolve into a political rage-cry mess. Maybe next time for that.