What we're REALLY up to

Friday

On Today’s Agenda:

5:30 Wunderkind wake-up call

8:30 Girl Genius preschool drop-off

9:00 Nap for the baby and an exciting kitchen clean-up for me

9:30 Field mouse exterminator does his business

11:00 Shopping for five-year-old boy’s birthday present

12:00 Baby lunch

1:00 The endless dance of “will he or won’t he nap?”

1:30 Climbing Mount McFoldMe

3:00 Preschool pick-up

 

Glamorous

Blog Carnival: Donor Sperm

So a bunch of bloggers are writing about some aspect of using donor sperm today. Whenever you get a couple of women who want a baby, you’ve got to get the sperm somewhere. It’s inevitable. And there are different options out there, depending on what you are looking for.

We used an anonymous donor from a sperm bank, as was my wife’s preference. As the non-gestating mother, she got to make the final decision. I thought that she had “more to lose” in terms of not having a genetic link to our kids and therefore I wanted to do whatever she was comfortable with, and sperm was “her job” in the process. But I’m not going to write about that.

I’m sure many of you have seen the article in the Boston Globe about the dude who donated sperm and has 70-something kids. It was all about how he was reaching out to them and blah blah blah. And some people gasped, “70 kids! That’s insane.”

I am here to tell you that I would not be at all surprised if my children have more than 70 genetic half-siblings. We purchased from a bank with a high guaranteed sperm count who also is willing to give that sperm to a LOT of families. I am not sure if I am remembering correctly, but I think it was 40 families. They would sell to FORTY families.

Think about that for a moment. They sell to forty families and families have multiple kids. And then maybe some people have some leftover sperm after their families are completely and they sell those vials to other families – outside of the bank’s knowledge – and then there are more than 40 families. And our donor had a pretty good success rate, I have to give him that. Let’s put it this way: I used him twice, and I have two children. End of story.

So what I worry about, more than “donor sibling incest” or about whether or not my children will be upset that their donor is not willing to be known (because really? even a dude with good intentions is not going to have much to offer 80 kids), it’s that one day my children, my absolutely special, lights-of-my-life, perfectly unique and wonderful children are going to think about their origins and feel mass-produced. They are my children, and they are my wife’s children, but they are – in some ways – products of donor #9558. Products like IKEA furniture. (You know – they’re cool, they’re hip, they’re really cute, BUT EVERYONE HAS THEM.)

Will my children one day find out that they are 2 of (let’s say) 80 and feel less special? Will they feel like pieces of meat? Will they feel somehow cheapened that all of these other children share half of their genetic origins? My brother and I are the only two combinations of our mother’s DNA and our father’s DNA. Neither of them had other children. We are IT. There is something concise and neat about it. My two sets of grandparents each had two children. My mother and her sister each had two children. My father had (obviously) two children and his brother adopted one child. My children’s father may have 70 children, or 80, or more. And worse (or better?), we will never know how many. I believe last reported tally was over 40 but we all know that many people don’t report births to the bank.

Our donor still has vials being sold. (Would you like to have kid #81? He makes cute babies.) They started being sold more than eight years ago, as I know of a donor sibling who is eight or slightly older. Sometimes I can’t help but picture a little assembly line-type machine spitting out babies, and in my mind it looks a lot like the “Children’s Television Sausage Factory.”

(Follow the conversation over at http://firsttimesecondtime.com/2011/09/donor-sibling-registry-yay-nay/)

Fish

I made the most delicious baked fish tonight for dinner. It was incredibly tasty. My kid ate five helpings of it. For serious. Five.

There was also broccoli.

Work

Now that the school year has begun in earnest, the biggest thing on the Gay Agenda outside of kid business is work. As in, going to work. As in, having to take a shower every day. Dude. Shower on the Daily Agenda? Blasphemy.

I work a four-day work week and have Fridays off. (HELLO!) I send #1 to preschool and #2 and I kick it Old School like we did when I was on mat leave. Right now he is Kickin’ It Crib Style. On Friday mornings, the Gay Agenda looks like this: Do morning stuff, bring #1 to school, hit up the coffee place drive-through for a delicious coffee and a muffin, put #2 down for nap, chill. It is Made of Awesome. (And did you notice that I said MUFFIN? Ha ha ha ha ha, I kill myself.)

This is the part of the morning (nap time) where the Agenda should involve laundry, kitchen-cleaning, anything that isn’t able to get done during the frenetic pace of the work week. Instead, I will stick to muffin-diving. Mmmmm.

A little seriousness

There are a group of queer family bloggers who are coming together to blog about common topics. (I’ve been told they call this a “blog carnival” although I have not seen any cotton candy or carousels, so I call foul.) I’m taking a break from the mindless drivel of my life to pontificate more mindless drivel, though of the more serious variety. Current topic is how trying to make babies, making babies, and raising babies can affect your primary relationship. The link to the next post in the series is at the bottom of my post.

I have wanted to be a parent my whole life. I remember dreaming of parenthood when I was no more than seven, and that dream only grew and flourished as time passed. Every relationship I entered into had to pass “the parent test”: would I parent with this person? Is this person co-parent material? If not, why bother, right?

My wife and I got together in the space between my previous marriage crumbling and my willingness to settle down again. Being that she is patient (and stubborn), she was willing to let me sort some things out before making any kind of commitment. I was upfront about my desire to raise children and she seemed equally interested, but from a distance: later. Later, we will have children. We will have children but not now. This was complicated by the fact that she was to bear our children, so if she wasn’t ready, then what? Well as a Type A, goal-driven freak, I’ll tell you what: I made an appointment with a fertility clinic and before we both knew it, we were on the Crazy Train.

Trying to make a baby was a frustrating process, made more frustrating by our different approaches to it. I dove in head-first, consumed by research and reading and blogs and forums and the like and she… was content to let me do that. I made charts and graphs, I drove our doctor crazy, I analyzed fake symptoms. And I had my days completely disrupted by injections, ultrasounds, blood tests, pee tests… all in the name of science! I always wanted more from her, but didn’t have a good way to ask. I tried. And failed. Basically, I wished she was like some of the other women in the blogosphere who were checking out their wives’ cervices and plotting data points, although I had that under control.

I guess the crazy thing is that you know your partner has a certain personality and way of doing things and then you – wait for it – expect them to miraculously start doing something else because you’re trying to make a baby. Or because you managed to get pregnant. And then, if you’re lucky, you actually bring the baby home and guess what? There you are, at home, with your baby, expecting your partner to do things differently. You’re analyzing input and output, reading endless documents about swaddling, shushing, white noise, reflux, infant sleep (or lack thereof). You end up discovering on the 5th day of your baby’s life that not only is your milk not in, it is never coming in, and then you research some more. Alone.

Let me take a moment to interject with a story that illustrates our differences. I was pregnant. I scoured our local Freecycle list for every baby item I was hoping not to buy: baby bathtub, potty, extra stroller, baby clothing, cloth diapers, nursing shirts, you name it. She came home with a Freecycled drafting table and a grass seed spreader. And thus it began.

My life was ready for a baby before I ever even asked, “Do you think you want to have kids someday?” My HEART was ready for a baby well before that. And then, there she was. And I was struck by a confusion I hadn’t anticipated – which was my primary relationship? My wife had my heart, but now… now there was a little squirmy being for whom I would do anything. My wife tells me that she saw me physically change, right there on the delivery bed, the minute they handed the baby into my arms. She says my eyes changed, my voice changed, the way I carried my body changed – all in that moment. I don’t doubt it. I had lived my life for that moment.

Having kids has exposed how different we are in ways I never imagined. I always thought of us as somewhat similar, if not complementary, people. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. We come to the same place on two very different roads, walking very different paces, and stop for different sights along the way. As long as we still have that same destination in our minds, I believe that we can continue to weather the storms that rumble through our home, but I’m not going to lie: it’s hard. It is hard to rarely feel like we are on the same page or even reading the same book. It is hard to feel like my life has been consumed by parenthood, that children have swallowed me up completely (and completely willingly), and not have someone to share that feeling with. That’s not to say that she is not consumed by parenthood in her own way, just that, well, she has been better at keeping a semblance of her pre-kid life in ways I have not.

I don’t know what the future holds and sometimes I don’t think the future looks very promising for what I thought was rock solid. But then again, sometimes I don’t feel like I’m a very good mom and I don’t stop momming it up just because I hit a rough spot. In fact, the times that are hardest with my kids are the times I need to dig deep and put even more of me and my heart into it. So why should my marriage be any different?

(Continue down this road at http://motheringmakena.wordpress.com/2011/09/18/the-one-where-i-spill-the-beans/ and use the password “mocha”)

Yesterday’s Agenda was clearly subversive.

 

After I took #1 to church, we fetched the rest of the family and went out to lunch, where #2 made a hideous mess and we offered to sweep it up ourselves, but were denied. Then we went to a warehouse club store to buy – wait for it – toilet paper, paper towels, laundry detergent, and juice boxes. GASP.

Then we came home and in a reversal of roles, #2 refused to nap while #1 fell asleep, I cut the grass in the backyard, and then dinner was made.

Later the littles went to bed and I did lots of laundry.

It’s tough bucking the dominant paradigm all day, but I managed.

24 hours, by the numbers

6:00pm – Baby falls asleep.
9:30pm – Baby wakes up, hysterical, refuses to be put down.
11:30pm – Baby wakes up, is able to be put back to sleep.
1:30am – Baby wakes up, crawling everywhere.
2:30am – Baby finally falls asleep after a bottle.
4:40am – Baby wakes up for the day ready to play.
7:30am – Baby falls asleep in car on way to day care.
8:30am – Drop Big Kid off at preschool.
9:00am – Arrive at work.
3:15pm – Leave work.
3:30pm – Pick up Baby from day care.
4:00pm – Pick up Big Kid from preschool.
4:15pm – Bring kids to Big Kid’s PT evaluation.
5:40pm – Leave PT evaluation with two cranky kids.
5:55pm – Pick up Happy Meal for Big Kid.
6:00pm – Arrive home.

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