Thursday, October 27, 2011

Are you a Boy or a Girl?


When I dropped my Little one off at daycare the other day, pretty much the first words out of one of the "older" carers mouths was "Are you a boy or a girl?"

Cue a WTF look from me.

One of the little girls answered "I'm a girl!" and the carer shushed her and asked my Little once more "are you a boy or a girl?"

His answer was a quizzical look and a strong "I'm Manny!"

I grinned. That's my kiddo. Labels are for soup cans.

The carer looks up at me and explains that she is teaching them "differences" and the differences between boys and girls. I must have had a deer in the headlights look because she went on with "maybe Mummy can practice teaching you at home!"

Honestly I had no idea what to say. I was dumbfounded. I didn't want to cause a scene so I stayed quiet. Was I being oversensitive because of my queerness? Probably. But it just seemed wrong to me.

Do I say to her that we do not enforce gender stereotypes on our children?
Do I tell her that within our community of friends we have a number of transgender and genderqueer peeps who we love and support?
That a couple of people our children once knew as "she" are now "he"?
Do I tell her that Manny is way too young to know yet whether he is a girl or a boy?
Or quite simply that I feel it is an inappropriate choice of topic?

What would you do?



I would like to clarify that I do call him my sweet boy, darling boy etc constantly, we are not raising him genderless, it just struck me quite strongly (and unexpectedly) as I heard her asking such a black and white question. We assume he is a boy. That he will grow up to be a man. But that may not be the case and I know it. I dont think there is anything wrong with explaining genders to your kids (aka "Mummy is a girl") but this seemed different to me. Perhaps I am oversensitive?!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Viability

Interrupting your regularly scheduled nonsense post to say.......


VIABILITY!


That's right...24 weeks today. Not that I'm ready for the little one to come any time soon.

Had my regular Dr appointment and had a quick growth scan, everything is ahead of dates which warms my heart, because growth is one of our key markers to make sure there is no repeat chromosomal problems that took our Starbaby from earth (we do not want to do any invasive testing as we have decided we would continue an affected pregnancy anyway).

HC = 24w4d         FL = 24w3d
BPD = 24w4d       AC = 24w5d

Which puts the average at 24+4 = a full 4 days ahead...grow baby grow!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Pro Blogger's training day and a whirlwind weekend away

Very early on Friday morning...and I do mean very early...(like 5am early)...I was up and on my way to Melbourne-town for my first venture into the world of professional blogging. Well, let's be honest, me being me - the best I can hope for is semi-sometimes-almost professional blogging ;)

When I heard that Darren Rowse from ProBlogger and Digital Photography School (two of my favourite sites) was hosting a Training Event, I knew it was time to finally take that step towards creating the spaces that I have been thinking about (and procrastinating from) for over a year now. My bestie happens to live in Melbourne so I figured it was a good way to tie in a visit and a conference at the same time.

I probably should've thought through the 6:50am departure though, and flown in the night before - considering the free accommodation! Mornings and I are not friends, and likely never will be. I did, however, make my flight - with a few minutes to spare (can you believe it?). Unfortunately, with my inability to calculate times effectively, I landed at 8:35am...and registration for the conference was at 8:30am. Oops. As the event started, I was sitting in a taxi with the laziest taxi driver on earth, frantically tweeting all the other bloggers stuck in traffic. At least I didn't have to drive (seriously Melbourne, WTF with the hook turns??) and I did eventually make it there (an hour and $58 later).

It was an interesting and valuable day (especially within my amazingly sleep deprived mind). If anyone is interested in the things we learned, please let me know and I am happy to pass on my notes (I took so many!). I may even write up a proper summary of the day at some point (hoping to get on it tomorrow). For now, if you're interested, Veronica and Tina Gray have both written great reviews. One of the most amazing moments of the day was the surprise speaker - Tim Ferriss, who had just come from being a keynote speaker with Richard Branson at a very high profile convention. How lucky are we, and what an inspiration.


Even though I knew nary a soul there, I managed to make some great connections with some lovely people, who incidentally, also happen to have fabulous blogs! I have been thinking of the best way to celebrate these new connections, and I think a short review of each blog here within my humble space is going to be a good start. So if you are looking for some great new reads...stick around for the next week or so and follow along as I make the rounds of the wonderful #pbevent crew.

I stayed for part of the networking event after the conference, but as the day wore on and I became more and more tired, (23 weeks pregnant + long day) I also felt more and more socially anxious and awkward around so many people I didn't know.

Luckily my best Sam was on her way in to meet me and take me out to dinner, followed up by the delicious, famous Niko cheesecake in Oakleigh (<<-- not my image but the same cheesecake from Niko's). Unfortunately I had eaten so much at the ProBlogger event, that I could not eat a single bite. Never fear, I polished off the whole piece the next morning for breakfast!

A day of shopping at Chadstone later, it was Saturday night and I was on my way back home. A minor detour across the West Gate Bridge and back again, (nice driving Sam ;) and I was still early for my flight (well, there's a first time for everything).

Of course, Melbourne being Melbourne (the jokes about the weather are not undeserved) a massive hailstorm hit right as we were supposed to board our plane. Cue another half hour wait to board, and then another half hour on the plane waiting to take off! Eventually the plane took off, and within 5 minutes in the air we were into clear skies and sunshine.

Within an hour we were flying over my little town again. I knew I had to get through an 18th birthday party before I could actually go home, but I couldn't wait to land and be with my little family again.

I love landing into my hometown.

Every. Single. Time.


Niko cheesecake image from here: source

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Discriminating against toddlers??

Today I am linking up with Thankful Thursdays at Kate's blog...but I am finding it difficult to be thankful.


I have just been informed that my baby's playgroup has been banned from our community centre...because all the parents are gay.

We have been meeting in the same place, at the same time, for three years. New managers came in a few months ago and have been making things...difficult...for a while. Last week we were told that they were going to make some "business decisions" one of which was to cancel the childrens groups (because children really have no place in a COMMUNITY CENTRE, right?) We were told to find a new place, but would be welcome to continue to meet until we find a new venue.

We were upset, but I was a little glad to find somewhere new that didnt make us feel uncomfortable. I accepted it and wasn't going to make a fuss. But this morning, the group arrived to find the door to our room locked and the lights off. No staff could be found anywhere (cowards). A sign was on the door that we were suspended from the centre. Suspended. Like we are in high school being punished for talking in class.

I found out through phone calls because I am busy procrastinating organising everything ready to go to ProBlogger's event in Melbourne tomorrow so I wasn't going to go. That and I wanted to take a nap. I woke up to three missed calls and a quick succession of three more calls. Everyone is understandably upset.

They did tell us it was a business decision didn't they. Surely it's not because we are gay. They just hate children. But wait, is that a toddlers music class still going in the back rooms? YES IT IS.

How dare they take this away from our children simply because the parents are gay.

We are just like every other parent. We play with play-doh. We go for walks. We cook meals for our family and we enrol our kids in kindergarten. We spend nights awake worrying that the baby will stop breathing. We hug and kiss and love our kids. We are just like every other parent.

But I am not devoid of perspective.

I am thankful that we live in a country where this particular kind of discrimination is outrageous to us. We do not live in a country where we could be imprisoned or killed for being who we are. We do not have to hide who we are, who we love, our kids do not have to pretend they don't have two mums.

But it still stings when we hear that we are considered different, less worthy, than a straight family. It hurts me and it hurts my kids, which in turn makes me angry. More than angry. But that's an emotion for another day.




Tuesday, October 18, 2011

another young life lost

**TRIGGERS** please be aware I talk about suicide in this post. If you are struggling with depression please reach out. You can contact Lifeline 24 hours a day on 13 11 14

Once again I had a blog post ready to publish tonight, and was completely blindsided by yet another suicide. This makes five in a year among people I know. In my opinion, that is 5 too many.

The young man we all lost today was a sweet kid, just a teenager. He was the best friend of my little cuz. At every family gathering he would go out of his way to speak to us, and he was so gentle, and funny...but I knew he had a wild side!

I remember the first time he met my Little. He was so fascinated by his tiny feet and tiny shoes. I always spoke highly of him. Told the rest of the family that my cuz was lucky to have friends like him. That he would look out for him.

And today, we find that he has taken his own life. My first response is pure sadness. For him, for his family, for his hundreds of friends. My second response is anger.

Why are our kids still killing themselves? What are we doing wrong? What more can we do?

My Rocket will turn ten in January. And then it's a slippery slope into the teenage years. He is a highly emotional kid. He is easily hurt. And I am terrified that one day I will get the call that JC's parents got today. Terrified.

May you find peace, young man. You had so much to live for, I wish you might have understood that.


If you are struggling with depression or thoughts of suicide PLEASE reach out. You can contact Lifeline 24 hours a day on 13 11 1. Life is worth it. It does get better.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

the Wave of Light - Remembering our Lost Babies - October 15th

Once again we are joining the Wave of Light across the world for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness/Rememberance Day.


We remember them every single day of our lives, but today, on October 15th, we remind the world. Our babies lived. They were here. They left their tiny footprint on the world, and all over our hearts. Our lives go on, forever changed by the tiny person we held in our arms only briefly.

My tiny boy was desperately wanted. He was loved by so many people, who were all so anxious to meet him. None of them ever had the chance.

Today I remember him. I remember his little siblings, conceived last year, and lost. Our Hercules was our success on our first round of IVF. We couldn't believe our luck. On the 1st of June we lost him. Our Walnuts were with us too short a time. We lost one at 4 weeks and the other at 7 weeks. 

But my boy. My tiny boy. My full term, 3lb 7oz baby boy. Most days I just can't believe he was here, and now he's gone. I felt him grow within me and we talked every day. He made me eat fresh oranges by the kilo and do a little dance every time we had peaches. He made me want Frosties desperately and his Mim would go out at all hours to fetch them for us. He had a room waiting for him, filled with tiny leather jackets to match his Aunty's, and tiny Everlast sneakers to wear out to Gaelic footy. He was named, and loved, and loved.

He was here.
He existed.
I love him so much I think my heart might burst wide open.
His life has changed my life permanently.
And today I am joining the rest of the world as we share in the memories of our little ones.

Olive Lucy 27th August 2007
McKenna Rae 27th May 2007
Eli 20th February 2008 and Collin 1st January 2009
Jack Joseph Lee 3rd November 2007
Scarlett Casey 17th February 2009
Ella Jane 11th November 2010
Tristan Alexander 21st January 2008
Cooper Riley 2007 and Brayden Miller 2008
Gabriel, Brennan and Parker 24th January 2007
if you would like to add your beloved baby to my Love List, please leave a comment below...






Friday, October 14, 2011

Things I Know





I know that an innocent comment made recently by a friend made me Laugh Out Loud, but now creeps me out (stalk much?)

I know that I have not kept up with the commitments I made to my parenting and while I feel guilty about it, I still struggle to find the motivation to get going

I know that I have so much to do around here but I am just. so. tired. that all I want to do is lie around and eat!

I know that I have little to no patience with my Big Kid and I feel really bad about it, but he just bugs me SO MUCH sometimes!

I know that freh fruit and vegies are good for me, but killer pythons >> taste so much better! (starting to think my baby may come out with multicoloured stripes and a forked tongue...)

I know that we still have so much to organise and move before we can start the renovations on this house...but it's all so overwhelming - how on earth did we end up with so. much. STUFF???

I know that it's definitely time to get up off the couch and actually do something....

Apparently this episode of things I know was brought to you by the letter G for Guilty and L for Lazy!

Monday, October 10, 2011

the dreaded announcements

It has now reached that point in my pregnancy where it is unavoidable. My belly has taken on gargantuan proportions. Waddling is imminent. People started asking weeks ago. It was time. To start telling people.

At 11 weeks we told our parents because I was already showing. When I say 'we' I of course mean Lou. Because I have always found it incredibly difficult to mutter those infamous words "I'm pregnant" - even before all of our losses. Lou thinks it may harken back to me having to 'fess up to my mother at 17 years old that I had gone and got myself up the duff. Who knows? All I know is that I find it possibly the most awkward statement to make in the entire English language.

***

This past week I knew I had to tell the HR at my work before she heard it somewhere else, and of course, couldn't rely on using Lou to make the announcement! I did it though, and cringed at the "oh how wonderful you must be so EXCITED!!!!" comments.

I couldn't help myself, I explained to her about my high risk status. Mentioned the unmentionable words that have always come so easy to me, that my son died a few years ago and my pregnancies are always watched closely as a result. She was shocked to say the least. I enjoyed the shock infinitely more than the excitement (this is the HR that has been making my working life very difficult for the last few months, I wouldnt normally take delight in seeing someone squirm...)

Of course this means that in the next email newsletter sent out to the whole firm (sent out the next day) my little piece of news was included. Joy *twirls finger*. This, of course, means that all I've had all day is people coming up and gushing over how excited I must be. This, of course, makes me uncomfortable AND terrified again.

***

When it came to announcing to our friends, I chickened out and did the facebook thing by just posting an ultrasound photo.I did make sure that I sent a private message beforehand to each of my friends who I knew would be sensitive to the news, it was the least I could do after being knocked on my ass by so many pregnancy announcements myself.

It seemed like as soon as I did, there was a flurry of more announcements by my friends, some as early as 4 weeks! Honestly that just makes me cringe. I can't even imagine announcing it to the world at that point!

I know that there are some people who still don't know about the Bumblebee (lou's nickname for this newest baby). Luckily I am now at the point where they can tell 100% that I'm not just putting on weight, so I leave it up to them to comment! So this time round I've only had to officially say the words once.


How do you feel about pregnancy announcements? Are you excited and want to tell everyone straight away or are you like me and wish you could just announce the birth 9 months later??

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The easiest thing to do on earth is not write...


I have hit total bloggers block. I think of things randomly that I could post, but then I open up the window and it sits there blankly, mocking me with it's blankety blankness.
 

So I procrastinate and read a few other blogs, then I come back, stare at the blankness some more.
Log into Twitter, get overwhelmed, close Twitter.
Open my Emails, see there is nothing interesting, close Emails.
Come back and stare at the blankness some more.
Log into Facebook, decide all my friends are boring, close Facebook.

This pretty much repeats itself for a few hours and then I sigh, close the computer down and go downstairs to watch Family Guy instead. I can literally feel my brain cells screaming and dying as we speak.

I always worried about having a blog that was so specifically based around ALI (adoption, loss and infertility). That was why I wanted to have this blog be something more. But I had so many friends in the ALI community that followed me from previous blogs, and fertility treatments took up ALL of my time for a good year and a half, it just turned into that. I have seen so many times, when the blogger finally gets pregnant, its like they run out of things to say and all of a sudden, they are gone.

That isn't the reason for my absence. It's pure laziness. I am so exhausted that my brain just shuts down the minute I get home! I am hoping that with a bit of planning I can at least get something interesting on the page (screen?) to maybe kickstart me back on the blogging track.

Until then, any suggestions for breaking bloggers block are extremely welcome!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I don't celebrate anymore

I don't celebrate any more.
Birthdays are truly just another day. I try to make Lou's day bright on her birthday, but I think we both feel like it's another day.
The year after my Star died, I celebrated every month. It was an important thing for me to do, and I know that now. But after that first year,

Every day is just another day. I don't celebrate the seasons as I once did. I don't plan for Christmas, and Easter the way I once did. I don't carefully plan and execute a beautiful altar for Dia de los Angelitos.
The days, and months, and years simply pass me by.

Perhaps this is just another extension of the depression I have been battling most of my life. Perhaps that is where I am again, now. It all just seems so overwhelming.

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