Friday, January 29, 2010

What We Have Here

I tend to get myself into trouble a lot with my blog posts, not for my rambling run-on sentences and self-important prose, but for the many ways I like to comment on my current status as it relates to other people. People who may have offended me or upset me or angered me, or made me go to the grocery store 10 seconds before their wedding to get them all new flowers to make them a bouquet. People who, uh, read my blog. That's one of the biggest problems with blogging; you have this great venue for venting all your hurt and frustrations, or for celebrating all your achievements, but those same people you want to celebrate with can also be the ones who cause you pain sometimes. You want to write openly and honestly (because hello, what's the point if you can't), but you don't want to unintentionally hurt someone's feelings or scandalize them or spill secrets (soooo hard not to blog a few weeks ago that I was going to Atlanta for a surprise party, just in case!).

That being said...

(now that everyone is like, 'Oh, shit, what the hell is she getting ready to spill? Is it about ME?!' No, don't worry, not this one. This one is about The Donor. Who may or may not read my blog. But most likely doesn't any more, so I spent all that intro time explaining that I simply had to talk about this or freak out, and it doesn't really make any difference.)

Quiet is being quiet. Like, as in, total radio silence. I left him a voicemail before the holidays and another shortly thereafter, and sent him an email last week that came right out and asked, 'Look, dude, am I being ignored?'. The definite lack of response to any of my communication attempts was a pretty clear answer.
Now, as many of you know, the relationship with Quiet has been politely strained for some time. Pretty much since I got pregnant with his magic Jelly-making jelly and he went totally insane and changed his mind about everything. But for Jellybean's sake I continued to try to reach out to him, maintain something of an acquaintanceship. There is going to come a time when she has questions that only he can answer for her, and I really, REALLY want that to be an option for her. I guess I should go ahead and start using past-tense here.
I really wanted her to be able to find comfort and closure speaking to her biological father.

I know it's not going to happen tomorrow, but I'm really starting to freak out a little about screwing her up over the whole thing. I don't want her to feel unloved and abandoned by someone who honestly never wanted to have her in the first place, and only did it as a favor to a friend. Yes, let's tell a five- or six-year old THAT. What's the story now? If we really and truly are cut out of his life forever, tell me how I can answer the question, 'Why can't I talk to my daddy?'. Part 1 of the answer is still, 'Because he's not a daddy; just like some other kids, you don't have one of those, you have a biological father'. But whereas Part 2 use to be, 'You can call him right now if you want', now it's going to have to be 'He doesn't want to be part of our lives'? Am I going to be the bad guy to her, standing between her and her imaginary awesome Dad? Will she see me as denying her that, or lying to her, or hurting her, even if I am doing none of those things? Will it affect her relationships with men, and will she always feel incomplete or, worse yet, like she did something wrong and was unworthy of his love or attention?

This is where it might have been slightly easier to use an unknown donor, because then I could truthfully and honestly answer that I didn't know who it was and that would be the end of it. Simple. Clean. What if she's older, like 15, and asks for his full name and last known whereabouts? What if she finds him, and calls him, and he refuses to speak to her? Is that better, or worse than me not giving her the info at all? What if he does speak to her, but only once, and will not see her or talk to her again? Better, or worse? It's like an eye exam, only much more damaging and without my hotty optometrist in the room to console you and hand you tissues.

As a mother you never want to see your child unhappy. You always want to do everything within your power to make things easier. It's part of the reason my generation got into so much trouble with this whole Helicopter Parenting thing. I guess I have extra-special guilt because I chose to have Jellybean without a partner, so whether or not it makes sense I feel like I failed her in some way from the get-go. I try to do whatever I can, whenever I can, to keep that feeling at bay. I just don't know what to do to make this better.

Somebody, please tell me how to make this better.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

One is the Happiest Number

Apparently 18 months is the magic age. Baby is a baby no longer, it’s undeniable. Your toddler now walks and talks and feeds himself and can sit and play or read or watch ‘The Soup’ quietly by himself. You have time to take a breath, and you step back suddenly one day and look at this little person and realize, ‘Holy crap, I hope I did ok because it’s too late now if I didn’t – she’s a person!’. This funny, smart, interesting little creature walking around in your house (or standing in the middle of the kitchen, spinning in circles, screeching) has moods and temperaments, likes and dislikes, and is more and more self-aware, every day. Newborn struggles, the birth experience, even the nausea and sleeplessness of pregnancy grow dimmer and dimmer. 18 months is when you look at your child, and wonder – is this it?

I always wanted to have a big family. I never had career aspirations, or a need to climb a corporate ladder. I don’t like annual review time because I don’t want to grow and develop, or take on more responsibilities or a stronger leadership role on the team. If I have to work, then I want to keep my head down and my nose clean and do the bare minimum, because it’s just not a priority for me. My job is ok, but it’s not my life’s ambition or my heart’s desire, because that is being a mother. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, I find myself still single and at the tail end of my child-bearing years (that hurts even to type, weird). I’m not really sure how I ended up here, but here I am. I’m incredibly, unbelievably lucky to have my one and only Jellybean, but it doesn’t mean I haven’t thought about what it would take or mean to have another.

Happily married women have luxuries that us single gals don’t have. Traditionally, a husband means financial and emotional support, physical comfort, security, stability, and most importantly, magic baby-making key ingredients. When married women thinks about having another baby, their considerations are hugely different; their primary focus is how it would affect existing siblings, what it would mean for the household schedule, whether the budget could support it. The single mother has those concerns as well, but first and foremost is the ‘how’. Where will the magic baby-making ingredients come from? Will the sibling be a full sibling, and does that matter? Is the original donor still willing and able? How do you go about using a bank if the first father is now an ex-husband? Can you afford any necessary fertility treatments, or the payments for the ingredients and all the appointments?

Jellybean’s donor, as most of you know, use to be a really good friend of mine. He kinda cracked up a bit when I got pregnant, and doesn’t exactly return my calls any more. Which makes me sad, but I am so grateful to him that I can’t fault him anything. So, in summary, I can’t get more Jenny-maker where that came from. There’s the first hurdle – a sibling wouldn’t be a full sibling. Does that bother me? No, not really. But going to a bank? That does. The time and cost and hassle and agony of choosing ‘who’, and the shipping and the doctors and the washing and the timing of ‘when’, the same old fears of ‘what if’ magnified by another few years of ‘advanced maternal age’. The thought of going through it all again, still alone, but with Jellybean to take care of as well – I know people do it, but it’s overwhelming to me. I would become a totally different person for Jelly. It’s not like there’s someone else who could give her extra attention, spend some special time with her when I’m exhausted and distracted. As much as I like the idea of siblings and always hated the idea of ‘the only child’, I don’t think a baby is the best thing for either of us.

I will turn 39 in five months (and omg, thank you to everyone for saying I looked, like, 10 years younger!! I heart you all!). My magic date is 40. Yes, there is still a chance for me to meet a special someone and decide to share a life with him, so I won’t say ‘never’.* But if I have to be a mama-of-one instead of a mama-to-many, is there a better kid I could have? I may be a little sad, and have to be a little more careful about not dumping all my expectations on one little person, but who wouldn’t be totally, completely satisfied with a Bean? She doesn’t have a sister to commiserate with, but she doesn’t have a sister who will make her drink perfume out of a play tea set. She doesn’t have a brother to hang out with, but she goes to playdates with friends and has a huge non-related family who love her. She’ll travel more, and college will be paid for, and she’ll always know how wanted and special she is.

My first, my only.

*The internet dating thing is on hold. Ugh, so awful. Stuff blew up at work, and the holidays happened, and I got depressed by all the rednecks in Nascar jackets who wanted to hook up with me. In a few months when I've forgotten how horrible it is I'll try again. Besides, I'm working on my winter hibernation weight, so don't exactly feel like getting gussied up and going out. More like sitting on my couch in a bad acrylic reindeer sweater watching 'Go Diego Go' and eating Sour Cream & Onion chips.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

When a Fellow Blogger Gives You a Lemonade Stand, You Make a Blog Post

Yay! I got my second blog award, thanks to my friend Rhaven and fellow TM-er (and also CSM-er). The rules are I need to nominate 10 blogs 'who show great attitude and gratitude'. Awesome. I like those apples. Err, lemons. So let's make some lemonade! The ladies (and lone gentleman) below prove that life is far from perfect, but rock it nonetheless.

If you can take a minute to show these folks some internet luv I'd appreciate it. I've been reading some of them for years, through pregnancy and parenting woes and joys, and they're all good people. Except for that Nate, you have to keep an eye on that one.

It's nice to think about lemonade stands and summer, even though I know I'll long for the cold dark nights once I'm lying awake, hot and sticky with the A/C blasting. My mum and I are trading emails this morning, trying to book a cottage for The Great Canadian Summer Adventure 2010 (yes, that means another drive with Jenny. Also, do you realize the trip to Halifax next month will be her 5th flight before she's 2? That's kinda cool). Jellybean and I start swimming lessons this weekend - FUN!! Did I mention that already? Yeah, I'm a little excited. Mostly because I know how happy it will make her.

And did I mention that it dawned on me that 2010 meant I only had one more year til I was 40?

THAT IS JUST CRAZY. I am quite clearly only 27 years old, max. How can I be 40 when that's how old my mum and dad are? The math doesn't even work out. And Jelly can't have a mom that old, that's DECREPIT. Sheesh.

Monday, January 4, 2010

2010 - A Blog Odyssey

Happy 2010! Everyone is so surly this morning, grumpy to be back at work after extended time off. For the first year in ever-since-I-can-remember I actually worked the two weeks of Christmas, taking just Christmas Eve off. It was surprisingly awesome. It was VERY quiet at work, which meant I got lots done (on Farmville), and my boss was out, and all my conference calls were cancelled and I didn't have that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach about a deliverable or anything, not even once! I have to rethink my future December vacation strategy.
Jelly is going through a tough time with all the holiday commotion and tree-taking-downage and inconsistency with daycare attendance. It's been a month now that she's been crying at drop-off, and I finally made myself worried enough to look up 'How To Tell When Someone Has Been Hurting Your Baby' online (which no one, I mean no one, should ever read). I know it's just the age and the separation anxiety and the long weekends and stays at Tata's Winter Day Camp and Bar, but, you know. You can't help the worrying. But Ms.D is very sweet, and kept Jelly a few extra hours on New Year's Eve so that The Ta and I could go out for a very fancy, very rich, very expensive dinner, which was a nice last-minute event. We had a blast at Marbles Kids Museum, and played outside in the cold at the park, and had some friends over, and visited the dogs - a very full weekend. So I feel ok about it being Monday.We've already got a few trips scheduled in the next few months, which is exciting. One involves me ditching Jellybean and getting drunk out of my mind in a nearby locale, and the other involves me flying with Jelly (in her own seat! so exciting! no squirrely toddler in my lap!) to go visit my sister and family in their new house in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In February, which is kinda stupid, but oh well. Need to see the fairy princess niece and Fat Nate before I waste away from longing.
Ha! Waste away. Anyone else bulking up for the cold weather? I'm so pissed, because I had JUST bought two new pairs of smaller-sized jeans, and then BAM! it drops to 20 degrees. I'm shoveling pie, flan, sour cream & onion chips, anything I can get my hands on, into my gaping maw. I'm going to have to get a Snuggie and start wearing it to the Wal-Mart.

Cute Things That Jellybean Has Done Recently:

A little boy was crying at Marbles, and Jenny looked at the toy in her hand, and went over and gave it to him. And patted him gently on the arm. Awwwww!!! The little boy, much like 90% of the population in attendance, was a grumpy little suck who didn't appreciate it at all. But look at my empathetic little daughter! So proud of the toddler, sharing!

Said 'Mine!'. Seriously, I should be more worried, but it was really cute. And it was about her blanky, so she's got a right to feel possessive. It will get less cute as I hear it more, I'm sure.

Blown raspberries on my belly, then giggled hysterically. As did I.

Put her little fat foot up on the dinner table while eating, then immediately widen her eyes and go, 'Ohhhhhhh noooooo!' and put it back down again. Nice self-correction, kid. And I don't appreciate the imitation of me. Ok, yes, I totally do, it was spot-on.
So there you have it, just me and Jelly, plodding along, trying to get back into the (real) work schedule/daycare schedule, hanging out on the weekends trying out fingerpainting and new recipes and new skills.
And new words, too - I sat down and counted this morning since I read that 10-50 words was average for this age. I figure The Bean is at about 30 clear, understandable words, plus a dozen or so more that I can understand depending on the situation or environment or added hand gestures. So that's pretty decent.

I have no New Year's resolutions to share, but I did totally make black-eyed peas for new year's day dinner (the dish, not the musical group), and they were pretty lame. Jenny wouldn't touch 'em. My resolutions are always the same lately anyhow; lose weight, read more, be more patient with Beaner, stop procrastinating. Yeah, good luck with all that.
Here's to the next decade and what it will bring us all.