Saturday, 1 September 2018

Dani 7 months

August went by even faster than July it seems.

Yesterday was Dani’s 7 month birthday. We are currently on a short vacation here:



That’s the scenery on a walk I took anyway: we are staying in the city

Another view from our drive today:




Highlights of month 7:

  • Babbling: ma-ma-ma-ma, ga-ga-ga-ga, bla-bla-bla-bla
  • Eating 3 meals of mush a day and sometimes things like yoghurt that are baby friendly. And ice cream on occasion. We enjoy life. She eats basically everything; I think she’s been unenthusiastic about food once. Today she ate a whole jar of beef and I gave a few bites of mug brownie after (AJ makes them with me.). That made her so happy; she was so excited about life for the remainder of the evening.
  • Breastfeeds regularly
  • ***UPDATE BREAKING NEWS*** we have a lower front tooth finally showing!
  • Starting to sit unsupported (well, less supported)
  • Rolling back to front and front to back. Not exactly crawling but she doesn’t stay in one place anymore: can cover quite a bit of ground just squirming and rolling
  • Sleeping well: wakes at night once intermittently. We finally made the transition from co sleeper to crib and yes I’m doing ok, thanks.
  • Not going back to school for the first time in 10 years. Mixed feelings but mostly gratitude that I have this precious time with family. I can’t help but think ahead to next year though and all the transitions that will be happening then. It does make me even more appreciative of each day and moment.
First passport! 

Drinking boob milk and playing with my shirt. So much baby love.




Tuesday, 31 July 2018

6 months: half year birthday

I’ve now had a baby for 6 months and I get another 6 months with a baby until she turns into a toddler. It’s a bit sad how fast time is going.

But not really. Because she is after all the cutest embodiment of passing time.



14.5 pounds. Length, I dunno. Long.

Sits with support, rocks herself back and forth, rolls from back to tummy. Has rolled a couple of times tummy to back.

Pushes all the way up to her hands and turns her body around, though not crawling yet.

Likes to play with her feet, especially games of footsie with big sister. Very wiggly toes.

Squealing and giggling, especially at big sister. Loves to raspberry and laughs when other people do it.

Eating, eating eating. We started purées this month and Dani loooooooves them. She has eaten everything we have given her. She particularly likes a creation of her daddy’s: chicken, apple, prune and pear. We make our own baby food and use the packaged stuff if we are going somewhere.

We started offering formula only when I am away from her (eg date night) and grandparents are taking care of her. Pumping breastmilk was getting more and more onerous and I wasn’t getting enough. We figured she would drink formula as she eats and drinks anything. We were right. But otherwise still breastfeeding. 

Still self soothes by sucking thumb.

Mostly a good sleeper. Early riser (between 6 and 7) with sometimes a night time feeding.

Still incredibly snuggly and cuddly and huggable. 

AJ is still a loving and attentive big sister. And mostly considerate. We have talked on occasion about how she can’t just take toys away from Dani when she feels like it. One day Dani will be big enough to say no and be annoyed about it.

Still doing lots of family stuff and hanging out with other families a fair bit. The summer continues to be awesome; I just can’t believe it’s going to be August already.

Cuteness you can almost taste:








Monday, 23 July 2018

Microblog Mondays: torthúil reads

A few weeks ago I started a new writing/reading project: Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago. I’m currently on chapter 4. It’s a difficult book, as it tackles the heavy topic of why humans would do some of the most evil actions recorded in history, and not just a few humans, but most people in a society.  I decided to start a new blog where I would record my observations and thoughts as I read. So far I am writing something resembling a personal essay for every chapter, which has slowed down the reading pace even more. However, it has helped me recall and process what I read. I like this. I have the sort of brain that quickly grasps the bigger picture but forgets details. I’m the person who says: “I read this interesting story about....but sorry I can’t remember the names or the dates or where it happened! You’ll have to google that....but here’s what I learned!” Writing as I read helps me to not forget so fast.

My new blog is torthúil reads. I write about my reasons for undertaking The Gulag Archipelago here. I’ve written about chapters 1-3 so far. In my ideal world, a few people will read along with me (reading the book as well would be stellar, but I try to make the blog entries readable even if you’ve never read Gulag Archipelago). However, I’m committed to this even if it’s just me: that is part of the challenge. I want to increase my confidence and ability to write about difficult material. If anyone else does read, I'd be interested in 1) For people who have read GA: how your impressions about the book are similar or different from mine, and whether similar or different parts of the book made an impression on you. 2) for people who haven't read GA, I'd be interested in your reactions to the sections of the book I discuss (I quote extensively. Sometimes it's hard not to copy large sections of each chapter because I can't believe what I just read.)

Here’s an excerpt from my entry on the first chapter, "Arrest":

The first theme of chapter one is the shock and outrage of arrest. The moment of arrest is a life crisis where it appears that everything you once believed is wrong.
“The Universe has many different centres as there are living beings in it. Each of us is a centre of the Universe, and that Universe is shattered when they hiss at you: ‘You are under arrest!’
“If you are arrested, can anything else remain unshattered by this cataclysm?
But the darkened mind is incapable of embracing these displacements in our universe, and both the most sophisticated and the veriest simpleton among us, drawing on all life’s experiences, can gasp out only: ‘Me? What for?’
And this is a question which,though repeated millions and millions of times before, has yet to receive an answer.
Arrest is an instantaneous, shattering thrust, expulsion, somersault from one state to another.” (Pages 3-4)
I suspect one reason I did not make progress with GA when I was younger was because I did not have personal experience of the feeling Solzhenitsyn is talking about. I had not had my assumed reality and expectations shattered; I had not been thrust from one state into another. Life was still very safe and predictable. This of course changes in most people’s lives as they grow older. Apart from arrest in a totalitarian state, some analogous experiences might be diagnosis with a serious illness (self or loved one), being a crime victim, a severe accident or injury.  In my case I think being told we might never be able to have children was my most profound displacement. It altered all my assumptions and how I saw my place in society. (Chapter 1, Arrest)

 Back to Microblog Mondays

Saturday, 7 July 2018

5 going on 6 months

Hey, I was doing well there with regular blogging for a while! Then summer happened apparently.

It’s kind of amusing to write these baby updates as they parallel AJ’s so closely. I could practically copy AJ’s except that Dani is meeting her physical milestones about a month sooner.

Dani was 5 months old at the end of June.



  • Sitting and “standing” with support
  • Rolling rolling rolling...from back to tummy. Not from tummy to back yet, so she often gets frustrated. She rolls, squawks about it, we roll her back; anywhere from 20 seconds to two minutes later she’s rolled again. Aaaaaand repeat.
  • Laughs, at mom and dad but especially at big sister
  • Likes mobiles, and immediately perks up when I play them on her mat or crib
  • Still likes the mechanical swing. And it gives me a break when she’s rolled and cried for the 100th time
  • No visual evidence of teeth yet....but tons of drool, and sometimes a pricking sensation on my breast
  • We started solids a bit earlier this time because she was showing interest. Dani was very excited to try avocado mixed with breast milk.



  • Going to move to crib...any day now
  • Squeals loudly for attention and to be part of group. Loves giggling and interacting with her sister
  • Generally social and likes attention
  • At vaccine appt, 14lbs l oz
  • Wearing 6-9 month clothing
  • Still likes baths
  • Usually good sleeper, sometimes early wakes
  • Curious about movies
  • Sucks thumb and everything else including toes
  • First family vacation went well. We did a road trip to see Mr Turtle’s convocation ceremony and then spent a few days in the city where he grew up. Nothing overly ambitious but we enjoyed ourselves and family outings to malls, zoo, parks, historical parks etc. 
We are enjoying the summer a lot. Activities include:
  • Fairly frequent play dates with community playgroup and a family or two that I am friends with. A happy synchronicity happened with my fellow infertile friend from AJ’s daycare, in that we had babies within a few months of each other. So both being on mat leave now we can do things together
  • AJ is taking swim lessons and doing great 
  • I completed my stroller -cize class and planning to take again. Also doing some drop in ballet barre classses. Hoping to shake a few pounds off my belly and hips and thighs and improve fitness. I figure I should get as fit as I can before 40 as I imagine it becomes a war of attrition at some point after that
  • Family outings to zoo, playgrounds, kid themed areas etc
  • Quite a bit of time with grandparents

....so life is good. I have started a new reading blog, and I’ll link to it in a bit. The first book I picked is super tough (Gulag Archipelago) and I’m blogging about every chapter. But I’m enjoying the challenge to write about a different topic. I’m making myself get through at least 3 chapters before sharing it (although you can find the link by going to my blogger profile).  I want to know I can carry on under my own steam so if nobody actually reads it I don’t feel discouraged.

Enjoy the summer and this precious unique moment...happiness and joy to all...

Monday, 4 June 2018

5 years reflections: resolving

So, I’ve been struggling a little with “being resolved”. Even though I feel for all practical purposes that we are resolved, as in, finished having kids. But it sounds so....one directional. So wrapped up and tidy. And I don’t feel especially tidy or like I have a direction. I’m dealing with a healthy amount of internal chaos, although it feels like purposeful chaos. It occurs to me that I like the continuous present tense better: “I am resolving.” Also there’s an incompleteness to the statement: resolving to do what? Indeed!

As I move toward the next phase in our lives, I’ve found the best way, at least right now, to resolve is to embrace being complicated. And to recognize that there are multiple layers to resolution, and I’m going to have to deal with them a few at a time. 

Where I’m at:

The family discussion: Mr Turtle says he feels very fortunate to have two children, and I can’t say I disagree. We also talked about permanent birth control, and he volunteered to be the one to have a procedure....which filled me with a surprising feeling of relief. Although we went through infertility together, I feel like most of the drama was enacted on and in my body. Even though I was extremely lucky in many ways, it was still a physical and psychological burden. To consider putting hormones in my body (nope nope nope), foreign objects (ugh, not really appealing) or surgery (not wild about that either) feels like an additional burden. For Mr Turtle to offer to take responsibility for this piece, without being asked....it is an act of great kindness and generosity, and I didn’t understand what it meant to me till it was offered.

I don’t know when a procedure actually happen, and we need to have more conversations, because the emotional piece is still complicated for me. But I think what I need most is to acknowledge it, and to work through it. I don’t need to be frozen in time. I can act like I know what I’m doing, even if I don’t, all the time.

Blogging and related commitments: I like torthuil. Writing about my experiences and inner world during infertility struggles helped make it manageable. The connections I made with this blog kept me above water many times. At the same time, I feel like I need to grow away from anonymous confessional blogging. I started blogging here because what I was doing (journaling) wasn’t answering my need. And I’m starting to feel that way again. Although I don’t want to shut down torthuil either, if for no other reason that its existence gives me perspective by providing contrast.

What will I write, in what context or community? Not sure, but it will involve writing a new life into reality. Much the way torthuil did. When I started blogging, I was facing the unknown, unsure if we would ever have children, questions of science and ethics and relationships and personal limits swirling around me. Now these questions have been answered, as well as I’m ever going to be able to answer them. It’s time to look for new questions.

With that in mind:
  • I’ll continue to write here. I’ll probably move the pages and template around a little. But all the content will stay up for now. I am not sure why, but it still feels necessary to have my story out there, in public, accessible. I don’t care about having a ton of readers (I value those I have) and I don’t even know if I have a point in writing. But visibility is a risk and....I need to take that risk. I need putting my words down to be an act of courage. 
  • I will no longer actively follow trying to conceive blogs. It’s not my pressing issue anymore and I need to step away. With the following exceptions: the blogs I already follow, anyone who reaches out to me, and anyone I get interested in just because I do. I can’t not read an interesting story. 
  • I’m going to start thinking more deliberately about what I want the rest of my life to look like. Miracle babies and all! It’s discombobulating to realize The Rest Of Life doesn’t have to take second priority to getting pregnant. Wonder of wonders. I can actually think of something else.
The possibilities are just starting to occur to me.

******
Addendum:
Shortly after I wrote the notes above, I had an interesting dream. I was in the deep water playing on a sort of raft or surfboard. For some reason I had personal possessions with me that were valuable, including a journal. These possessions kept falling off the raft, but I didn’t feel a deep sense of loss until the journal was lost in the depths. And I wasn’t sure what was written in it, even, but I thought it contained memories of our early marriage. However upset as I was, it never occurred to me to stop playing in the water. Rather I left behind the raft and all the stuff I had with me and started taking these huge bouncy leaps through in the water, as if I had a giant pogo stick. I suddenly found the ability to jump high in the air and go farther and deeper than I ever had. And there was a group of people somewhere in the distance, who were saying: you can come join us. I don’t know who exactly they were, but it was easier to join them now that I was free of the raft.

*****

Thursday, 31 May 2018

Dani 4 months

What, it’s the end of May? I guess we were having lots of fun this month....

I am still excited when I get to write an update on the 31st, ie when Dani has a “real” month birthday.

I have filled the car with gas 3 times since Dani was born. (It was full the day of.) I will one day lose count but I haven’t yet. Obviously I am driving less which is good as gas prices  have sure gone up.

Anytime it’s a full moon I think of Dani’s birthday.

I had to delete the photos and video from Dani’s birth and early weeks off my phone a couple of weeks ago. And even though they are on the hard drive I feel kinda crappy about it because it means I can’t see them anytime I want. I struggle to organize media but I really would like to some way make photos and videos more accessible while keeping them safe. I feel like there’s some kind of cloud technology I should learn how to use.  I like the hard drive backup but I’d like a virtual backup too. People who know about this sort of thing, feel free to comment.

Dani continues to meet her milestones. She is long and lean like her sister. I forgot to write down her length and weight at the doctors’, oops. She is a solid little cutie, though.

What’s new the past month:
  • Sits with support, and tries to sit up from a lying down or reclined position
  • Pushes up when she’s on her tummy and holds up her head



  • Rolls onto her side (usually in pursuit of her thumb). Doctor thinks she is getrting ready to roll all the way and will do this early.
  • We saw a specialist about the hip dysplasia, but he was not convinced there is a problem (apparently only one photo showed an issue, and there are no physical signs of a problem). So we will go back for a follow up ultrasound.
  • Squeals and giggles. I have a fitful career as a comedian, as in I sometimes discover a silly sound or word that will make her giggle for a few minutes, until she’s bored with the joke.
  • Blowing Raspberries
  • Grabs her toes



  • Still loves to suck her thumb
  • Taking a bottle better: last date night she stayed with grandparents and actually drank all the milk I left her
  • Sleeps  through night for most part, but starting to wake up to be fed between 4 and 5am....usually I can get her, and myself, back to sleep for another hour or two though. Self soothes with her thumb.....no more swaddled arms.
  • Dani is increasingly full of charm and personality. Sibling interactions continue to go well. AJ and Dani can interact for a few minutes together, smiling and cuddling. AJ shows great caring to her baby sister. 
  • Nicknames: Dani, Dani Bear, or simply Bear
Me:
  • Had a period of time this month when I felt really exhausted, but energy seems to have returned
  • Breastfeeding going well. Boobs don’t feel so huge and heavy anymore  so I think my body has found a balance 
  • On the other hand I wonder if hormones are being weird. I have been waking up hot lately, even when it isn’t a hot night. It’s not exactly how I’ve heard a hot flash described, not so dramatic, but I wonder? Also woke up nauseous in the night which sometimes occurs during menstrual cycle (though it has not returned)
  • Weight is slowly coming off. I don’t usually pay much attention to my weight so I imagined myself losing 5 lbs a month which isn’t apparently realistic, especially since I’m not interested in making any major lifestyle changes. I go for walks with the kids, take a weekly exercise class and try not to snack on junk food.  I’m down to about 12 lbs over pre preg weight and consistently dropping and I’m good with that.
Plans:
  • Vacation next week, to Mr Turtle’s convocation ceremony and then a few days in the city where he was born. MIL and husband will be there too. Should be fun.
  • We are enjoying the summer and play date opportunities. And relax time, either inside or outside.
Wishing everyone a wonderful June.

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Dani 3 months

Our baby girl is 3 months, and so cuddly and fun!  This is such a super snuggly age: old enough to not be too wobbly but little enough to fit perfectly in the crook of my arm.






I’ve bern writing this when I have a chance in my phone. Haphazard bullet points it is: 
  • Dani learned to suck her thumb. I joke that she has accomplished her first life goal because she has been trying so hard for weeks. Not sure how I feel about thumb sucking in general but I have to give her “thumbs up” for persistence anyway. AJ also learned to suck her thumb at the same age but interestingly lost interest in it shortly after. Dani does seem to like to self soothe though, so she might be a longer term commitment.


  • Smiles and laughs. It’s wonderful to see her sheer joy at being in the world. 
  • Wearing 6 month size clothes 
  • Favourite toy is a knotted ribbon I call the jellyfish.  It was on one of her shower presents and she can be entertained for long periods of time watching it dangled over her head.



  • Enjoys music, lately the musical “Cats”. Why Cats? Well we were playing with the jellyfish, (see above) and that brought to mind jellicle cats, so I played her a couple of songs and she seemed to like them, so now we regularly listen to the whole soundtrack. I like the poetry, the variety in instrumentation, and the general playful absurdity of it.
  • Dani likes to be upright and tries to sit up. Increasingly I hold her in a supported seated position. 
  • Loves being sung to and having her feet played with while we sing a song: eg hokey pokey, wheels on the bus, this is the way we ride our bicycle, if you’re happy and you know it
  • Sleep is getting a bit rougher? Dani was sleeping through the night consistently, but the past couple of weeks have seem more early morning and middle of the night wake ups.  Perhaps it is the warmer weather which makes it harder  to get cozy without being hot? She will quickly go back to sleep after a feed but I have not been able to get back to sleep as easily, so I have had long wakeful periods at night. It still works best to swaddle Dani’s arms in in the Halo sleep sack, but she will outgrow the swaddle soon I think. So there could be more challenges on the horizon.
  • Brings hand together, can hold a toy kind of and tries to bring it to her mouth. She is opening and closing her fingers and appears to be using them to grasp.
  • Rolls onto her side 
  • Lifting head slightly during tummy time. She can fairly easily move it from side to side now.
  • Watches and listens while AJ tells her a story. Dani really does seem to like her big sister. AJ is very affectionate with her and I encourage her to talk to and interact with her little sister.

     
  • Diagnosed with mild hip dyplasia in her right hip. The screening is protocol for all breech babies, and being female increases the risk.  I am currently waiting to hear back for consult with orthopaedic surgeon. At this age the interventions are non surgical from what I have read. I’m hoping it is no big deal, but I’m still disappointed she has it as I’d convinced myself she didn’t and the screening was only a precaution.
  • I feel like Dani’s emotions are more intense than AJ’s. She shows happiness much of the time but when she is displeased the fury rains down on the just and the unjust. Other family members also have difficulty soothing her: it usually has to be me (and my boobs). Mr Turtle can also do a pretty good job short term if he lets her suck his finger.
  • Dani enjoys her bath and we have also taken her to the swimming pool a few times. She enjoys splashing in the warm water of the shallow kiddie pool. Both the girls have a fun time there though I find it a bit revolting: there were unidentified brown particulates floating in the water once for example. Also AJ likes to point to things on the floor and say “What’s that Mommy?” I finally told her that if she kept pointing out to me what was on the floor, we might never come to the pool again.
  • Outside time is still enjoyed. Dani has not been too fond of the mei tai so mostly we use the stroller. She will still sleep in the stroller though not as much as she used to. Still it’s highly likely on any given day that she has her nap outside. She also seems to enjoy the playpen outside so we will likely do more of that.
In summary, I am just so happy our baby girl chose to manifest in our family a year ago. Already memory is editing the past and it’s hard to imagine a time when she wasn’t here (though the blog does help preserve the record of those times, with their questions and uncertainties.) I am simultaneously trying to savour every moment and so excited for what is to come.