WordPress isn’t letting me edit my post for today about family – it was full of pictures and all about “Family Day”, our Father’s Day/ adoption day hybrid. Bugger it. I’ll do a roundabout post via gmail.
My family just went from four to five with the birth of my second son, our third child. My wife had our first, a girl, after 4 years of trying, and I had the last two boys amidst IVF, low sperm vials and miscarriages. We have struggled so very hard, painfully and expensively with infertility, have many miscarriages and tens of thousands of dollars invested in our kids. We are both fully committed to all of them, to our family, and know how lucky we are. Having struggled so hard to achieve our dreams, there is nothing mindless or accidental about our family. Long before The Kids Are Alright, we chose to use the same anonymous ID-release donor for all three kids so they will have a shared experience of contacting, or choosing not to contact, their donor, be it positive or negative. We have both breastfed all the kids interchangeably, which has fostered another level of amazing connection between us all.
My wife and I have cemented our family in as many legal ways as are available to us. We have chosen to 2nd parent adopt each others kids to give us an added degree of legal standing in a world that actively denies us credibility. We have wills, designated power of attorney, blah blah blah. Everything that happens easily and without cost for straight folks. The funny thing is that I wouldn’t change my life for anything. I’d like it to be easier, and cheaper, to get the same protections that others have, but my wife is the love of my life. Neither of us are perfect, we will always be on a path of figuring out who we are, where we are going, and if we can do all that together. But our days are filled with laughter and love, frustration and angst and worry. Just like all couples, families and parents.
Here is my Big Gay Agenda for June 1, 2011:
(Wife out of town, I’m home with the 4.5 yo Maya, almost 4 yo Griffin, and 4 month old Truman on a 10 acre upstate NY homestead with 2 big dogs, 17 chickens, and a house that spontaneously produces clutter.)
7ish: Wake, feed/dress big kids while baby sleeps, send the Bigs out to play on deck in cool morning sun while I nurse baby and drink iced coffee. Reality: I woke at 3 am to a little chunky 4 mo old baby grabbing my nightie and kicking me in his excitement to nurse. His belly was full and he was asleep in 10 minutes; I was awake until about 6 am thinking about refinancing my house, redecorating the entire first floor, and where in the hell my last tax return might be. We all woke up around 7, fighting ensued, and the TV was turned on until I could get the baby back to sleep.
9am: Call credit union and set up refinance appointment; cancel TV cable; set up PT for my back which has been in some kind of spasm since baby was born, rendering me a poor excuse for a mom; plan dinner menu; catch up on coop preschool duties while kids build Sistine Chapel with blocks in cool breezy house. Reality: HOT and muggy. TV stayed on as each time I tried to turn it off WWIII erupted due to early waking and lack of supervision. Baby wouldn’t fall asleep, so I made my calls and appointments with lots of “What? Can you repeat that? My kids are a little loud, did you say 4.3%?” And “I can get all 8 million channels at a discount of $45 per month? Yup, keep me hooked up for now.” No masterpiece was built; instead, they played “Santa” in which they find a blanket and toss all their toys onto it in a big ‘sack of toys’ and drag it around the house giggling before abandoning it and calling to me that they have “nothing to doooooooooo, play with us Mommy!” Which I did, for a long while. I loved them until I couldn’t anymore, then I moved on to the next item.
10am: Start 2 loaves of no-knead bread to rise. Depart house for local food coop. Go to library, return books, select new mind-expanding literature and folk music. Keep the peace and make sure no on runs in street. Reality: Kids refuse to leave house. I decide to cut losses and run errands after naps. Cobble together leftover lunch of whole wheat noodles, vegetable barley soup and cheese toast. Son eats everything, daughter eats one bite of each dish and declares herself full. No bread started, no groceries purchased, but no bloodshed. Baby still alive and seemingly happy.
12pm: Finish eating, go down for naps. Read books from recent library trip. Reality: Baby wakes from his morning nap at 11:59. Kids are in bed in cloth diapers with books we own and have read a hundred times (I’m clearly the only one bored) in hand at 1pm; by 1:20 they are asleep and I realize baby isn’t going to sleep again so soon, so i rise – cursing him only mildly that I won’t get my *strongly needed* midday rest – and head outside to plant listless tomato plants.
3pm: **Revised plan: Depart immediately for library, return overdue books. Treat delightful kids to root beer float after library at oh-so-cute local soda fountain; blow Weight watcher’s points joining them. Return home with groceries via food coop, cook nutritious dinner. Reality: Baby is fussy in neglecto-saucer since his neck muscles are still weak; I get potager weeded and tomato plants in by the time the Bigs wake from nap and wander down crying that I wasn’t in bed with them for naps. Deer flies ferocious, get many bites while in shade digging out pernicious roots of goddawful weeds. Nurse now exhausted baby down. Mama returns early to much screaming rejoicing from business trip; kids are also pleased to see her. After one look at my eyes rolling back in head she dons her swimsuit and joins Bigs in wading pool for frolic while I work on debugging WordPress so I can blog for LGBT Families in a timely manner. No go. I decide to type post into gmail and email it in with no pics of lovely family on lawn of vineyard. Baby sleeps on; at this rate, bed time is a shambles but BLOG POST GETTING WRITTEN! Blog has been so neglected that I let everything slide for a while.
5:30pm: Feed Bigs, send to tubbie to wash off Australian sunblock. Reality: Well, we skipped sunblock in favor of Mexican heritage and rash guard shirts. Vow to move pool to shaded spot after dark tonight.
7pm: Nurse down baby and watch news while Mama puts Bigs to bed. They miss her, love to nurse (still) and go quietly. Reality: Still an option, although I must alert her to the new bedtime system involving no books-on-cd for Bigs that I put in place in her one-night absence in an effort to get night-owl daughter to sleep before 11 pm. (This totally cramped my solo-parenting style last night, as I was ready for bed by 9pm.)
8pm: Spend quality time gazing into wife’s eyes, hearing all her exciting tales of business trip and reconnecting with good friends, not to mention using her brain and feeling valued in the workplace. (Note to self: remind her how she is my only job review, and encourage her to go against every bone in her body and give me feedback, preferably positive, about my daily and entire existence.)
10pm: Bed time for me and baby. Wife to join us in big queen sized bed until Bigs wake and they all move to co-sleep in guest room double bed, leaving me and baby in giant bed which we need since he can now scootch in heat-sensing mission to press against me and keep me awake. Play a little footsie in honor of her being home, but fall asleep before anything develops because Hello! 3am wake up? New baby? Yeah. Footsie and then sleep.
June 2, 2011: Begin again, hope to do it all better, no yelling, less TV.