Wednesday 27 May 2015

The seventh month

Ever since AJ was born, I felt that her personality was a certain percentage baby, and a certain percentage AJ. It would vary from moment to moment. Early on, she was 95% baby and only 5% AJ. But at other times I felt like I was seeing a glimpse of the individual she would be. Perhaps 30% AJ, 70% baby. Then she would revert back to 95% baby. It's one of the amazing things about observing her.

As AJ grows, I see the percentage slowly changing from Mostly Baby to More and More AJ. Of course there is a lot of baby left, and I'm not in a hurry to lose that! But she is an ever-evolving creature. It's hypnotic, astonishing, and sometimes almost terrifying to watch. What have we unleashed upon the world? How can life surround us prodigiously, and yet be so unique and miraculous at once? We weren't and aren't entitled to this experience. Infertility taught us that. But we haven't done anything to deserve it either. I'm left saying: the only answer to life is to live.

What's new this month:
  • Babbling!  AJ started with Da-da-da-da ba-ba-ba-ba in the middle of May. The first week of this was almost frightening. They aren't words exactly, but AJ babbles with such conviction and expression it does seem like she is getting a message across. Her grandparents swear she has said entire sentences to them.  I wouldn't go that far, but it does feel like a giant leap forward. I feel like she will start giving me her opinions on politics, culture and ideas soon. I better get up to speed so I have something intelligent to say back. Boobsie-woobsie-poopsie-poo just won't cut it anymore!
  • Sitting on her own, at least for a little while (still will topple after a minute or two). But she has learned some balance techniques, and she can sit and play with a toy, and if she drops it will reach for it.
  • Steadily holds an object in her hands to chew on.
  • Holds two small objects in her hands and bangs them together. I joke this is a precursor for knitting. AJ has many knitters in her extended family (I include my close friends here). 
  • Hands and feet are coordinated together. So for example if she wants a toy and it's out of reach, she will try to kick it into reach
  • Definitely getting separation anxiety: AJ will frequently protest when I leave the room, or even I try to put her down in the (assumed) expectation that she will be able to amuse herself for a while. She also doesn't like when we walk away from her for some reason!  AJ does still play on her own for periods of time, but she also is insisting on interaction more frequently. In the big picture of things I am glad to see her being a social being and asking for what she wants!
  • AJ is now sleeping nights in her crib! I loved having her next to me at night so I was not looking forward to this at all, but I managed to cope by just putting her in the crib one night without too much planning or anticipation. Also I'm sure AJ is much more comfortable in the crib, because she is a big girl now and needs room to stretch out and move. Knowing that it is better for her makes it OK for me. The baby monitor helps a lot too. I can be anywhere in the house and still keep an eye on her.  So far we have all adjusted quite easily. Also, AJ still can fit in the Halo and I'll put her in it sometimes if I need to put her down and the bed isn't made. Actually packing it away might make me more sad. It was the first baby item I bought.
My favourite "I outgrew the Halo" photo

  • I'm cautiously hopeful that with the transition to the crib, sleep patterns are getting more consistent. AJ did start waking more frequently between 5.5 and 6.5 months. I think she was having a growth spurt, and the cold she got as well as the fact she was outgrowing the Halo probably didn't help. I don't think I've ever been seriously sleep deprived but there were some days I was dazed and dragging myself around. Lately though AJ seems to be doing more 4 and 5 hour sleep stretches. We're even managing to get her to bed around 9pm instead of 10:30 or 11:00pm. It does take some planning and discipline to maintain a consistent bedtime, instead of letting AJ stay up watching TV with us. In our case it's more parent training rather than sleep training LOL.
  • AJ is eating solids twice a day, roughly corresponding to "breakfast" and "dinner." Her first meal is usually the two of us, at least on weekdays. I often give her fruit such as apple, pear or banana with oatmeal. I bought steel-cut oats since they are supposedly healthier. We have also introduced quinoa.  The cereal gives the fruit a more interesting texture, I think. In the evening the 3 of us eat together and this is when we introduce new foods (because if there is some allergic reaction I want Mr. Turtle to help deal with it LOL.) Her favourite "dinner" food so far is lentils with a vegetable blended in, e.g. carrot and/or sweet potato. We've tried meat (beef, chicken, turkey) both pureed and finger food but she isn't as keen on it, though she will try it. Mainly she likes to drop it into her lap. Lately AJ also wants to play with her spoon/bowl/food more and will fuss if we try to push "our" agenda; in other words she can be less cooperative about being fed although she still seems to enjoy it most of the time.
  • Solids mean pooping is less frequent, then happens in bigger quantities. I don't think this is a problem but when she hasn't pooped much in a day or two I wonder where she is keeping it all. 
  • AJ also enjoys sipping water from a cup (which we always use at home during meals) and  from a sippy cup (which I use when out and about). In fact she is fascinated with water in general. She likes to watch the faucet be turned on and off. In the bath she enjoys splashing and if water splashes in her face she sticks out her tongue to try to catch it. (Just when I think she can't. possibly. be. cuter SHE STICKS OUT HER TONGUE.)
  • Two (at last count) bottom front teeth coming in! I think AJ is handling it quite well. She likes to bite things but that is nothing new; just now her bite feels like a little piranha. I can't really tell if she's cranky about the teeth in particular.
Parenting minutiae:

  •  I haven't given AJ any baby cereals, other than a package of rice cereal that we received as a sample. She wasn't keen on it so we never bought any more. As far as I can tell the only reason that baby cereals are recommended is because they are fortified with iron, which is important for 6 month+ breast fed babies. I'm not over-particular about food; we (the adults) eat all kinds of food including processed foods. But it seems logical to me that AJ get her iron from a variety of foods rather than enriched cereals. I do think it is a life-long advantage to have a varied diet and be open to all kinds of different tastes, and it seems to me it's never to early to start introducing variety and "real" food. But I do sometimes worry about the iron. Any feedback on how others are handling this? 
  • AJ is back in the stroller for most walks, as the front carry is feeling too confining and sweaty. I still use the carrier for schlepping AJ in and out of the car: No thanks to hauling around 15+ pounds of baby in the bucket seat! I would like to try a back carry but haven't worked up the nerve yet.
  • AJ is wearing 9mos+ clothing sizes (the exception being Car.ter's which seems to make longer onesies). Anyone else think that companies size baby clothes small to get you to buy more? LOL. I have to remember to take some of AJ's current clothes when shopping for her to make sure I'm actually getting bigger sizes.
7 months post-partum:

Much the same as last month.
  • I'm bringing back more items from my pre-pregnancy wardrobe, but only tops. The only pants that fit are the stretchier bigger sizes that I bought when I was a little bit pregnant. I really doubt I'm ever going to fit the smaller trouser sizes of a previous life. But I haven't brought myself to give anything away yet. 
  • I never had a lot of hair fall out. Everybody talks about losing hair and I wonder about it every time I get a hair cut: what if they cut and thin my hair and then it all falls out?! But I have not noticed anything.
  • Pumping has been more of a challenge lately.  I have to work really hard to express a decent amount of breastmilk, and the fact it's so irksome makes me avoid doing it, which probably makes the matter worse.  AJ seems to eat as much as ever, so maybe my body is just very good at making exactly what she needs.
  • The period came back again last month (about a 30 day interval)
  • Update: I wasn't sure if I should include this but after talking with MIL I think I will. A few nights ago I got up in the middle of the night to feed AJ. After she was back in bed I went to get a glass of water. I got it from the frig and it was quite cold. I gulped a bit too much too fast, and probably swallowed some air too, with the result that I got a sharp pain in my chest. I remember taking a few deep breaths, putting the glass down, and thinking "the pain is getting better." Next thing I knew however I was lying on the floor in a stupor and Mr. Turtle was talking to me! I had fainted. He called the ambulance and I was checked by the paramedics. Everything looked fine and luckily I did not have a concussion, although I had an achy head and queasiness for a few hours (some time in bed helped).
  • I have fainted from pain before, so I was inclined to dismiss this as freakish bad luck. However MIL talked to a dietitian/lactation consultant who had this to add: "Calorie requirement post delivery is 18 calories per pound of body weight with an additional 400-500 calories for nursing moms.  Water requirement is 1.5 ounces per pound of body weight. [Consultant] tells me it is very common to see new moms depleted by 4-6 month mark because you have consumed all of your excess stored energy.  Another suggestion is to use a bottle for snacks or comfort and breast milk for meals and one more tip, feeding baby a snack rich in protein and or fat (avocado or legumes) later in the day will help sustain her through the night."
  • I never calorie count, so I'll have to do some extra math to figure out if I am meeting those requirements. However, I do know that I sometimes go hours between meals (just forgetfulness). And same with water. I was really responsible during pregnancy but not always now. So it's possible I'm depleted. I wanted to put that out there for other moms, especially since we often focus on weight etc. but it's important to remember to take care of ourselves after pregnancy too. Also the bit about protein is true too: AJ had a big serving of lentils last night and slept through the night for the first time in weeks!
I blogged about my work situation a couple of weeks ago. It's been on my mind a lot this month. I have applied for a year's extra leave. I do not know if it will be approved but I was told the application would at least be considered, and so I wanted to take advantage of that possibility if I could. I retain my contract status while on leave so I will still be placed in a job next year, and be able to apply for other jobs under the same contract.  If the leave is not approved I will start a new job in September, probably one I am assigned or another if I am lucky enough to have other choices and be accepted. I do hope the leave is approved, but in any case it has been good to work through things and think about what I really want. I probably wouldn't have done that if I hadn't been surplused from my other position, so who knows, I may well have been unhappier.

Here is this month in pictures. Wishing everyone the best for the rest of the week!

Sunday 24 May 2015

What I (finally) wrote for CIAW

So, after hemming and hawing about what if anything to post on social media about infertility, for Canadian Infertility Awareness Week (CIAW), I finally shared the text and image below. As for all the issues I discussed around sharing about infertility on social media? Well, I didn't resolve any of them, but I decided (as I have many times in my life before) to do something even though I wasn't sure of all the contingencies. After all, the only sure way to know the consequences of your actions is to....act.

May 19th to 28th is Canadian Infertility Awareness Week. To quote the Infertility Awareness Association of Canada website: "1 in 6 Canadian couples, of childbearing age, struggle to conceive. Infertility affects thousands of women and men across our country. It is a medical condition that can leave us feeling isolated, confused, heartbroken and helpless. Through IAAC’s ‪#‎1in6‬ campaign, we aim to empower patients to speak out about their lived infertility experiences and to educate the public about taking control of their own fertility." We are 1 in 6. I would like to acknowledge all the people who have supported and continue to support our family, as well as our friends, family and colleagues who are struggling to build their families (1 in 6 means someone you know). To learn more, visit . I will also post some other articles and information in the comments section below as the spirit moves me.

So what happened? Not a lot, really. There were a few "likes" and a comment from a fellow blogger who is connected to me on Fa.cebook. The post didn't get anywhere near the attention that my posts about the baby get, or even the random silly observations I usually make. A typical Fa.cebook post from me: "I really like that feeling when I get ALL the laundry done and there are no dirty clothes in the house at all! (yes my life is exciting and I like it that way. :D)"  People can relate to that kind of crap. Infertility, meh. Admittedly, as my fellow blogger pointed out, the "confession" part of the post was somewhat buried, so people might not have read that far or even made the personal connection. I'm sure my post could have had more impact if I'd included "human interest" content, but even though I drafted a few that were more personal, I couldn't bring myself to more vulnerable.

On the other hand, there weren't any inappropriate inquiries or comments, either. It remains to be seen if I will still get "so when are you having the next one?" comments. :-) As I stated before, I would be quite happy if my post does nothing but shut those down.

My conclusion? Fa.cebook is still for silly stuff, torthúil is for serious stuff (when I want to be serious).  But I don't regret making the post. The picture and the text is also sitting in my small Facebook family album, and I've no intention of removing it, so anyone who looks through the album will encounter it as part of our story.

Having the luxury of very few filters on torthúil, I can say without hesitation that living with/through infertility and subfertility has affected who I am. In some ways it has brought out my negative and self-centred side. I cringe at pregnancy announcements, especially - now - second pregnancy announcements. For example, I'm resentful every time I hear about a certain Royal Family's two children, or the fact that the Duch.ess can pop two babies in two years (or something), all the while showing off a perfect body and wardrobe, while everybody oohs and aahs over the fact she has a functioning reproductive system. Bitter and jealous? Definitely. I'm not proud of those emotions, but I don't fight them either; I try to just accept and then ignore them/move on/not feed the Grinch. On the other hand, I've learned so much from following many people in the blog community. It has been an education of the heart and mind. I would like to think I'm a more thoughtful and compassionate person because of it. And I'm endlessly humbled by the encouragement and compassion others have given me, especially those who have been through immeasurable heartache.

Monday 18 May 2015

Microblog Mondays: Worlds of Letters

I've been reading the collected novels of Jane Austen the past couple of months. It started out as a mission to find an offbeat wedding ceremony reading for a friend, but she turned out to be easier to please than I supposed, and chose one before I had a chance to get through all the books. So now I'm just reading for my own enjoyment. Somehow despite being an avid reader my whole life and studying mainly British literature in university, I never read Jane Austen.

There is a lot to appreciate and enjoy in Jane Austen's novels, as I'm sure many people have personally experienced. One thing I found myself noticing in her books was the role of letters. Specifically, the way letters were written and read reminded me of the blog world. torthúil has been an important part of my life the past two and half years, as have many other blogs I've encountered. At several points I've thought to myself: What did people do before blogs? I have many supportive people around me IRL, but still, the blog has helped a lot through some critical times.

It was interesting to read about people's lives in 1700s England and see parallels that made me think that despite the very recent technology that enabled blogging, it is not entirely unique in the history of personal letters. Here are a couple of things that I noticed:

Some letters were no doubt intended only to be read by one person, but most often in the novels, they are read multiple times, often to several people at once, and discussed.  I have written a few "old fashioned" letters in the past (it was long time ago) and still keep up email correspondence with a few people, though not as much as I used to. But I always wrote those letters and emails with the intention that they'd only be read by one person. To write a letter that you knew would be read by several people would really be more like writing a blog entry than a personal letter, I think.

Of course there is a key difference in that letters weren't ever anonymous, (I don't believe?) and blogs can be. Although in the case of the blogs I regularly follow, I often forget that they are anonymous. Unless the writer makes a point of saying that they are omitting certain details, I don't think about it much at all, other than to acknowledge to myself that I am only ever getting one side of the story (but again that would be true even if you were talking in person). Obviously anonymity does matter for many reasons, but on the other hand every identity is authored in some way. There are people in real life who know my name and vital details but they don't know anywhere near as much about me as the people who read torthúil regularly. So really, which identity is more "anonymous?"

The other piece I found interesting was the rules around correspondence between men and women. One was that it was inappropriate for a man and woman to carry on a private correspondence unless they were engaged. I think (not 100% sure about this one) that it was OK for them to correspond if the letters were going to be shared. But to carry on a "secret" or private correspondence unless you were fiances was not allowed.  And if the engagement was broken, then each party was expected to return all the (love) letters.

I compared the situations described in the books to today's social media and my thought is that the rules were a very good idea. Now I've never really been through a breakup, so I'm not sure what the contemporary etiquette is, though I think people are usually expected to return each other's gifts et cetera (someone weigh in here?) But do we have agreements about what happens to electronic correspondence, photos, etc.? Again I haven't experienced it personally. But I think that would be a very important topic to discuss for anybody dating in the electronic age. We now have video chat, sexting, social media: and all that stuff is a heck of a lot harder to "return" (the word barely applies) than a packet of letters. There are also opportunities to do some deeply nasty things such as sharing intimate photos and information on public websites to shame an ex (there are websites especially dedicated to this kind of humiliation).  Are people setting boundaries around this stuff when they begin a relationship? If not they could learn a few things from Jane Austen!

There you go: a few random observations connecting our world to Jane Austen's! Any other readers of Jane Austen out there? What do you most enjoy? Any other observations connected our technological communication to less technological pasts?

Microblog Mondays home page

Monday 11 May 2015

I feel a bit guilty saying this, but...

Mother's Day was kind of weird.

I'm only allowing myself to say it on the blog, because I deeply appreciate the people who took the time to wish me a happy "first mother's day" and I wouldn't risk making them feel bad for any reason.  Among the many people who find Mother's Day difficult, I include my step-MIL, whose adult son was killed in a car crash three years ago, and my MIL, who as a child lost both of her parents in a car accident. (Drive safely everyone.) If they have the courage to celebrate, or at least acknowledge Mother's Day, and ask to be acknowledged, well I must find the courage to do it.

My own mother and I are casual about Mother's Day. We didn't celebrate it when I was a child, but as an adult I would usually give her a card and a small gift. Since she retired she's usually out of town on that day, however, so I would just wish her a happy day before she left. We never made much out of holidays in my family and we spend time together outside of holidays. And of course going through the experiences associated with infertility in recent years, I became even more ambivalent about Mother's Day.

I forgot all about Mother's Day this year until a couple of weeks ago, when I was reminded by all the incessant advertising. The message of the ads is: "If you don't DO SOMETHING (i.e. buy X product) for your mom YOU DON'T REALLY LOVE HER AND SHE WILL NEVER FORGIVE YOU." I hate that message.  I don't want AJ guilt-tripped into buying or doing things for me in the future. OK, as her mom I may give her a guilt trip sometimes but that doesn't mean I want everybody else lending a hand too!  It seems to me that there's a push in our society to reduce every experience and emotion into a product or image that can be bought and sold.  We can't possibly have a joyful or uplifting moment without some sort of commercial exchange taking place first.

Yesterday my step-MIL hosted brunch at her house and we had delicious food and exchanged cards. My mom gave me flowers. I gave my mom and step-MIL cookies (baked in a macaron class the day before!). Being together with family and extended family is a privilege. I wouldn't have it any other way. But I like getting together even better without the "Mother's Day" baggage. I was relieved when the cards were put away and all the obvious things had been said and we could just have a normal Sunday.


Saturday 9 May 2015

Next year will be a good year to....? (working through it)

The title is a throwback to a post I wrote back in March of 2013, called "Next year will not be a good year to...." In that post I mused about how uncertainty about parenthood and possible future fertility treatments led me to not pursue a job change or other significant professional activities. By that point in our journey I had done some research, including reading many infertility blogs, and I had at least a theoretical understanding of the emotional and physical toll of infertility and sub-fertility. So I made my choice: I would stay in the same school, with the same job, at least until something in my life situation changed.

I think I made the right decision. Of course there is no way to peer into an alternate universe and see how things might have turned out if I had felt or done differently. But I do know that I couldn't have asked for more supportive colleagues. They said and did all the right things when I undergoing testing and then finally proceeding with our IVF cycle, which was ultimately cancelled. Most importantly of all though, they helped me through the soul-crushing anxiety of the first weeks of the pregnancy that followed. Everyone worked extra hard to keep our program running smoothly when I was going for test after test, or at home distraught and sick. They offered deep, real compassion when I expected the worst and shared the joy when things turned out well. There will always be a special place in my heart for the people who helped us through that time.

Now to the present. The teaching staff in my program has been reduced from two to one, and because I am the less senior of the two teachers, I have been surplussed (basically that means laid off, though I retain my contract status with the school board and have certain rights because of that).

My feelings are mixed. On one hand, I accept the situation without bitterness or regret and I'm actually almost grateful. The first thing I did after signing the surplus papers was go into my email account and gleefully delete any remaining emails from work. Truth: I've been emotionally and professionally ready to move on since I wrote that March 2013 entry, at least. I feel like my job was a project, a worthwhile one and now it is finished. I stayed on for the reasons I discussed, and because I felt the work was meaningful, but also in part because it was comfortable to have the same job year after year. Even after AJ was born I couldn't quite bring myself to contemplate leaving my job. I thought that meant I was very passionate about my work and also afraid of unemployment, but part of it was habit and perhaps not wanting to think very deeply about the matter.

There are always fears in facing the unknown, too. I have had many very positive teaching experiences in the past ten years, and have faced many challenges successfully. I've also had some pretty negative experiences, especially when I was just starting out. I have felt anxious, overwhelmed, and inadequate.  My tendency to perfectionism and self-doubt can leave me almost paralyzed under a heavy workload. When it's going well, teaching is a wonderful calling. When it's not, it can be existential torture.  I know I've developed skills and resiliency but I also know that even in the years since I started teaching all work in education has become more complex and demanding. It seems like we are always expected to do a little more with a little less. I think I will be fine but I know what it feels like to be not fine.

And of course now AJ is part of our lives, and yay for that! I think my biggest fear at the moment: Taking on a job that that causes a great deal of stress and takes away time from family. When I start to look at everything in a negative light I think that is mainly why.  Now that I know I won't be returning to the same position, I'm second-guessing my decision to go back to work when AJ is just 10 months old. (Mr. Turtle will take the last 5 weeks of parental leave if I'm back to work.) I wonder why didn't I apply to have my leave extended instead? I was trying to make the transition easier for my program, but of course that no longer applies. And as far as I understand I can no longer extend my leave or apply for another one (although I should clarify that).

I am now a "must place" under my contract. Human resources will place me in a job they think most suitable. It will be full time because that was what my previous job was, and with the same grade levels. If I want a different job from the placement, or to switch  to part-time status, I can apply to open postings afterwards. But the fearful voice says: what if there aren't any appropriate ones or I don't get any offers? I could also apply for a job share, but what if there are no takers or it is not cetera...  What if I'm stuck in something for 2 years that doesn't suit me professionally and/or takes away from family time? Obviously the option also exists to terminate my contract with 30 days notice, which would not be the end of the world; I'm sure I could still apply to substitute teach or something. But I wonder if there were better options that I didn't investigate properly.

Anyway, as you  can tell this is speculation about things that haven't happened yet and my thoughts are all over the place.  And I know there are probably people reading this thinking: you are in such a privileged position! I know I am....I guess in some ways that makes me feel even more pressure not to mess it up. I will just work through the process and try to keep my priorities clear. It will also be good to re-do my resume which I haven't touched in too many years.  And I will have to keep talking to Mr. Turtle because he is the voice of sanity and support.

Monday 4 May 2015

The sixth month

The sixth month has been so fun (mostly) and amazing because every other day it felt like something new was happening. We are also being catapulted into a developmental stage where we have to learn new skills as parents, which is exciting and intimidating too. When you've found your groove it's nice to feel like you can keep on going the same way, but babies change and what has worked the last months is going to be out of date soon!

AJ's milestones:

  • Toe sucking quickly followed foot grabbing. It was immediately a preferred activity and the motivator for some serious baby yoga, especially on the change table unencumbered by clothes (although AJ can now get the toe in her mouth fully dressed while wearing a cloth diaper.). Sometimes when she's curled herself into a ball doing this I lean over her and ask: "Baby, can you still fit inside Mommy?" (Hellz no. Cue demented laughter.)
  • Started solids, not necessarily the way we planned it. First of all, at Easter dinner step-MIL handed AJ a cooked carrot. AJ held it, stared at it, then put it in her mouth and sucked it. I was a little freaked out but I was quite sure that she would figure out what to do with it, so I let matters take their course. She sucked off a small portion, moved it around her mouth and spat it out. I should add that the grandparents are very loving, respectful and helpful so occasional antics like this don't bother me much.
  • A couple of weeks later, AJ and I were hanging out on the floor. AJ was playing on her mat and I was checking out some websites and eating lunch, part of which was hummous and celery sticks. I finished the celery and I was distracted by the computer for 3, maybe 5 minutes at most. When I looked again, AJ's feet, hands and face were covered in hummous, as well as anything else within reach. It was never near her hands so she must have got her feet in it, then got it from feet to hands to face. I'm sure some made it into her mouth too although probably not much. I did spend some time nervously googling hummous allergies but there were no ill effects. Note to self: out of reach must include feet.
  • Since those first adventures, we have been introducing food in a more deliberate way. We tried finger foods and smushed-up food. AJ wasn't really sure what to do with the finger foods, except for Arrowroot cookies which she likes to gnaw on. She liked the spoon and caught onto it quickly so we have been offering mushes. So far we have tried: banana, avocado, peas, carrot, sweet potato, and chicken smushed with breast milk. AJ has been game for all of it. She doesn't eat any more than a couple of tablespoons per meal, but she does eat it - and the evidence is showing up at the other end! I think we will have to start using disposable inserts in her diapers. Anyone else using those and have recommendations?
  • Rolling from back to front! As described here. AJ still doesn't know what to do when she rolls onto her belly. She arches her back, but instead of pushing up with her arms, she spreads them out to each side and reaches back as if she is skydiving. Perhaps she will skip crawling entirely.
  • Becoming more and more confident with sitting. She is learning to balance on her own slowly.
  • AJ is "standing" with support.
  • On the not-so-fun front, first cold. A horrid cold has been making its rounds in the city and AJ, Mr. Turtle and the grandparents all caught it. I escaped the really bad version, though I had a few days of feeling yucky (yay immune system). AJ didn't have it too bad, luckily. It was so sweet to see her trying to be happy and enjoy life despite her discomfort. I learned to use the snot sucker. It was fairly effective but AJ hated it. Hated it. Can't say I blame her. At least she felt better afterwards.
  • AJ doesn't have separation anxiety quite yet, but I think it is coming. She will often whimper when I leave the room. Especially if she is in a "mood." She has been turning her head and following us with her eyes for some time now, but this month we saw the awareness becoming stronger. Once when we were leaving her with grandparents for an evening she started to "sad cry." It was heart-wrenching!
  • Plays Peek-a-boo, although we have to mix it up or she gets bored
  • More and more actual laughing. The funniest thing I can do right now: make exaggerated chewing motions with my mouth. Mr. Turtle delights her by bring bringing her up close to his face and singing or talking. She also likes to bite his nose.
Other parent minutiae:
  • When I'm holding AJ on my shoulder, I love to stare at the shape made by her head and profile. Seeing just part of her is different from seeing her whole face and body but somehow just as intriguing. I wish I could get a photo from that perspective because one day I will no longer have it. I also love the sound and feel of her breathing when I hold her close to me. When I was pregnant all I could think of most of the time was baby snuggling and breast feeding. That was my idea of parenthood. I know that reality is supposed to crush our illusions, but the truth? Baby snuggling is a wonderful part of parenting. I was right!
  • I love when the 3 of us go out as a family. For some reason I feel like a real family when we are all together in public. I enjoy being at home with AJ, but somehow I still feel like I'm playing at a role. I don't have any difficulty calling myself a mother or calling AJ my daughter, but on some level I don't believe it.  But when we are traipsing around the mall or the park, I feel like this is real.
  • Paradoxically, it's becoming harder to remember what life was like before AJ.  At least, in the sense of remembering day to day life. How was our house arranged? I can't picture it. How did I navigate my day? seems like a dream, and a rather dull one at that. We ate out at restaurants twice a week sometimes and thought that was fun? Who were we? At the same time, I have powerful memory impressions that can be triggered by almost anything. Discussing my friend's wedding caused me to flashback to the hours of our wedding day, as if I was there again.  Walking to the park in my childhood neighbourhood with AJ and my mom, I could have been 10 years old again. A fellow blogger's mention of a town we visited on our honeymoon took me back there like time travel. It's actually quite awesome. 
Purchases this month:
  • Highchair! AJ looks like a baby CEO in it. She is now eating meals with us at the table. Correction: Mr. Turtle and I have started eating dinner at the table instead of in front of the TV, so AJ can get used to her chair.
  • Baby monitor. Because the Halo really is going to be too small soon, and AJ will transition to her crib for nights. Yes, we have a baby monitor though the nursery is across the hall. At some point though I do hope to move AJ's bedtime to maybe 9pm, instead of 10 or 11pm, and then Mr. Turtle and I can hang out in the basement with the baby monitor while she's in her crib. As it stands I'm not comfortable leaving her alone upstairs. Pretty hard to watch a movie when you are running upstairs every 10 minutes to check on baby. But who knows when that will happen. AJ has never been amenable to early bedtimes and in the weeks after she was born we all just adjusted to have the same bedtime.
6 months post-partum:
  • I discovered my bella-bands make great tube tops.  Comes in handy for extra support over a sports bra or underneath a sheer blouse
  • Weight is steady, trending downward, but slowly. Happy with look and feel of body. Not optimistic that I will ever wear my favourite hemp pants again, though. Every time I try them, I think: "Did my hips ever actually fit into there?" On the other hand, my leather jackets fit again! Hurrah!
  • I think I've gotten much stronger since having a baby, especially in the core. Probably all the lifting, carrying and baby-wearing, as well as all the squats I do without thinking in the course of a day!
  • I have no incontinence, mercifully, but have some issue with fully emptying bladder. I pee and often ten minutes later I feel like I have to pee again. Or I can get a book and sit on the  toilet for several minutes until I feel totally empty. Doctors says it is a pelvic floor matter, continue doing kegels. Which I never remember to do, except at yoga.
  • The Period returned halfway through this month....dum dum dum. It was lighter than previously but still period-like, and did follow some observable fertile symptoms (e.g. EWCM, cramps, mild nausea) so I'm fairly confident in saying it was The Period. Of course, it may not be regular. I feel quite neutral about it. On one hand it was nice to have a break from it. On the other hand, I can't help wondering about the possibility of a second pregnancy and so it is reassuring to have evidence that it might be possible.
  • At my physical I mentioned fertility to my doctor. "You know you can conceive" was his comment, followed by "It's still quite early" and then "if baby is about a year old and nothing has happened, we'll talk." I asked if intervention would mean a referral to the fertility clinic and he said yes. I don't know if I want to go back to the Fertility Clinic, but I agree with the doctor that we can cross that bridge when we come to it. For now we are not trying, not preventing. Mr. Turtle says he wants to "just relax." Curdling as that phrase usually is, it actually does make sense at the present. I don't particularly want to be pregnant before AJ turns one; at the same time, if we are somehow (super) fertile enough that the occasional unscheduled tumble can get me pregnant, damn right I want to take advantage of that.
In pictures:

Some changes in my work life are imminent, but I don't know exactly what yet and this entry is very long already, so I'll save that  for later.

I blogged about my mom a few months ago. I haven't mentioned since, mostly because things have gone very smoothly for her, all things considered. She is now finished with all breast cancer treatments and had minimal side effects, so I hope to see her health continue to improve.

Wishing everyone a good week and happy spring.