Wednesday, May 20, 2020

A writing spurt

I am sitting down to write at nearly midnight. 

I have been up since 6:30am, teleworking/supervising homeschool/wrangling a toddler since around 9.

My health is good I suppose. I force us all to go on daily walks for our vitamin D and fresh air. We drive to a fancy nearby neighborhood and walk around and ogle other people's houses and yards (while I excel at keeping children and cats alive, plant life not so much).

My life is as structured as I can make it, with many standing meetings and calls and work obligations.  Representing healthcare workers who are literally begging for PPE and hazard pay at hospitals and nursing homes really shakes some life into your job-related urgency.

Samantha is on what s basically a functional nap and sleep schedule.  I gave up on potty training while teleworking on Day 1. Like, I looked down from my laptop and said, oh hell no, I am not doing this too.  And that was that.  More diapers on the list? Check.

I do most of the cooking and cleaning too. The division of labor is not so neatly divided, but Viking is also in the thick of his work right now. In a few weeks his schedule lets up a bit and he's gonna be responsible for more meals.

Niblet is over zoom classes.  So over them. Her type-A personality will not allow her to skip her assignments, but this kind of learning is sucking the life out of her.  Mostly I order her books and she retreats to her room or a tree swing in our yard to read them.  Watching her swing every day puts a pang in my heart like nothing I could ever imagine. "Mom," she said, "this summer I imagine I will be a lot like Anne of Green Gables, wandering around a daydreaming." Jesus Christ Kid.

If anyone out there is reading my midnight ramblings, PLEASE comment below on how you're holding up.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

what is time

The weeks between my last post and this one feel like a cavernous gap in time.

Today I have technically been sheltering place with my kids since March 18. 

Today Sammi will continue to watch way too much Sesame Street episodes.

Today Niblet and I will try to make the best of homeschool and virtual learning.

Today I used a day of personal leave so I can cook some matzo ball soup for Passover. We won't be doing our own seder, we will be zooming into a friend's family seder which would be infinitely more true to tradition than mine anyways.

Today Viking is in the attic, where he stays and works from about 7am to 5pm. He emerges to help when I plea for it, but I'll be honest, there's a lot of single parenting going on here. I tend to try to do most of my work after the tiny one goes to bed around 7:30pm.

Today I will get Sammi out for one of our daily walks where I have to physically restrain her from running over to people.

Today the cat will lie for hours on the old laptop I've given to Niblet.

Today I will thank my lucky stars that we are all still healthy.

Today I will continue to have nagging worries about my parents, who are in NYC in a Bronx apartment building with a bunch of COVID 19 cases.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Justonemore Rona edition

EVERYONE. Everyone.

How are you all my lovelies?

We are holed up in casa de justonemore taking pandemic life day by day. We have food. We have a house with a cozy finished attic. We have a backyard with a giant tire swing. Things could be so so much worse.

Viking and I are both working from home (in said attic) doing zoom meetings with visits from Princess the cat, while our Nanny comes to keep our girls alive each day.  Niblet is baking cakes and taking walks (practicing social distancing) and doing some really boring worksheets. I've been trying to set her up with some online classes and video chats with her friends.  She's also watched the 5 hour Colin Firth Pride and Prejudice DVD set a few times (that's my girl all right).

Sammi is being a lunatic 2 year old with all of the screaming, running and sleep regressions she can muster. I'm kinda happy that no one really sees what I'm looking like these days, though I've been reallu keen on showering and getting dressed each day.

Our cousins who live ten minutes away down the road just brought their newborn daughter home from the hospital two weeks ago. We had hoped to be snuggling a newborn these days but oh well.

Honestly I am shockingly calm about the potential long-term lockdown.  Being an anxiety-ridden PTSD survivor my brain has been training for this for years. Like, this isn't as bad as the terrible thing my brain has conjured up for so many decades.

That said I do have some worries. I worry that our nanny will get sick because she has some pre-existing conditions (we're being as careful as possible but). If anyone gets a fever she's not coming here - for HER protection. I'm prepared to pay her regardless of whether she's here or not because I still have a job. Nevertheless, this is pretty uncharted territory for all of us.

I finally took an online ballet class which felt great (well, technically it felt painful), but it was good for my brain.

Feel free to comment on anything that strikes your fancy.  I am also sending a special shout-out to any mommas out there who may be expecting. Sending you all the strength and love in the world right now.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

New year new anxiety

Ahh it was bound to happen. The past two years have been, all in all, bliss. Good health, happy healthy babies.  Things were bound to veer a bit, right?

Abnormal mammogram results in left breast. Could be nothing. Reasonable brain says, hey that was the milking work-horse. It's only been three months, maybe the milk ducts are still visible and causing a wonky image.

Or not. Sigh.

Meanwhile, I have some work stress - nothing do or die, nothing that will lead to any kind of housing or health catastrophe. But I'm currently doing my job plus another (our policy analyst resigned) and well, it's a lot.

Add this to the general fuckery of daily living (who else out there has like 10K in credit card debt hat they're trying to bring down, that wasn't the result of a new car or fancy vacation but racked up on things like their children's ballet lessons?)

All of this shall pass.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

If I could do it all over again

Samantha is turning two.  SAMANTHA IS TURNING TWO.

Her sister just turned eleven.  ELEVEN.

If I could do it all again, if I knew then what I know now.... I would have started earlier.

Now, functionally, I'm not sure what this would look like.  Viking and I were together for 5 years before our marriage. Making it legal was inevitable, but maybe I would have pressed harder. I was 33 when we married, 34 when Niblet was born.

My mom and I have talked about how I should have ignored my job worries and started trying for a second baby immediately after Niblet was born. Yeah, I lost a year or two there. Who knows. And that's leaving aside the five straight years of  pregnancies and loss.

Please don't misunderstand, I wake up every day unbelievably grateful for my daughters.  Daughters with an S! But the reality is I might be one of those crazy women who had more, if given the chance. Sure, maybe the environmentalist in me would stop at two. But god help me I love babies, and it seems, I crave babies. And if the eleven year old is any indication, I still like them when they become old and snarky and indignant of your very existence.

"Gonna try for another?" my vice president asked me the other day. My jaw dropped.  "Do you realize how old I am?" I responded.

But in a different universe, in an alternative reality, the honest truth is yes.  Yes. I would.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

A decade

Last night was HARD. Samantha has been fighting some nasty virus for days. Her cough sounds horrible, her temps have been erratic. She slept maybe a total of 2 hours straight, and was inconsolable when she wasn't in my arms. There was a lot of me trying to hold her squirming body against mine in a rocking chair.

I got her to the doctor this morning and thankfully she doesn't have RSV which was my initial fear. No, based on her symptoms and check up she was whacked by a stomach virus late last week, recovered, and was whacked by another virus that's mainly causing congestion. We should be out of the woods in a few days.

This uneventful run of the mill life of a sick toddler got me thinking of the last decade.

Let me step back. Niblet is obsessed with "Mr. Kate" - a YouTuber who does interior design with her husband. We were binging on it the other day, while Sammi remained the dynamo of dangerous climbing in the living room, all while sniffling, coughing and snotting away on our furniture.

"What's a miscarriage?" asked Niblet, when we hit an episode featuring a couple who were expecting after three miscarriages (one was technically a stillbirth but I didn't get into it). The mother was now a week away from holding a baby in her arms.
"It's when you're pregnant and your baby doesn't live sweetie. You know how I said I had many of them before..." I stared at the screen, showing a nursery filled with rainbows and butterflies. "Sammi is our rainbow baby."

This decade. Oh my god, this decade.

I celebrated twelve years of marriage.

I raised a gorgeous insanely smart daughter into tweenhood.

I found a job near my home where I will likely retire fighting for low wage healthcare workers in my City.

I became a Zumba instructor.

I discovered a need to embrace my religious heritage in ways that surprised me.

I experienced eight consecutive pregnancy losses. They included a partial molar pregnancy and a TFMR in the second trimester. 

I had four D&Cs. I developed Asherman's Syndrome and sought treatment in Boston. 

I embarked on Donor Egg IVF at a clinic in Delaware, a process that involved more introspection and frankly, legal expertise, than I ever could have imagined.

I got pregnant from my first IVF cycle. 

I carried a supremely healthy baby, in the lowest-risk pregnancy of a highest-risk pregnant woman of advanced maternal age the world may ever have seen.

Samantha was born. Niblet got a long-awaited sister. I discovered the need for a baby all those years wasn't some sort of misplaced energy. Samantha was the baby who was supposed to be in my arms during those sleepless nights filled with coughing and discomfort. 

Samantha is now almost two.

I memorialized it all in this blog, this love letter to my daughters.

This decade.

Monday, December 23, 2019

thinking of all of the beautiful souls

We're in the frenzy of the season now, aren't we.

I'm at work right now, taking a break from a ginormous project that is occupying a good portion of my brain even when I leave work.

I'm stressing at night over impending state and federal tax payments for our nanny - I am a little unsure where I will scrape the money together if I don't get any kind of cash hanukkah gift from  my parents.

Through all of this - the stress of a skyrocketing credit card balance and the deep concern that we can't pay our bills - I am just clinging to the joy of my family.

To all the mammas who are still reeling in their grief, I see you.

To the mammas who feel those stabs as I do - intermittently - but acutely when they arrive - I see you.

I've been flooded with memories the past few days, as my household adjusts to life without my MIL. Viking is most definitely drinking his feelings, it's a sad sight to see.  My FIL will be arriving today. He is a recovering alcoholic and will be a good, calming influence on my husband. They need each other desperately right now.

I am the wandering Jewess, yet the specific person who throws the Christmas parties for the family I have married into. Christmas Eve dinner will include my FIL, possible my brother and sister-in-law and a family of friends who were looking for some place to find company. We'll have a ridiculous amount of food (I'm Jewish after all).

Christmas Day I will also host an open house for family (some cousins who are expecting, our uncle, and another family of friends looking for something to do). Muffin tin eggs (google it!), Nutella waffles and mushroom hash brown casseroles will be on the menu.  Possible a soup too if I feel inspired.

Niblet and I baked a million cookies, made some chocolate bark and started curing a bunch of salmon  for gravlax.

Meanwhile, Samantha is the most adorable troublemaker in the world. She's a tornado of destruction through the house causing more spills, breaks and the need for vacuuming than anyone her size.

And she is the greatest gift our household has ever known.