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Our Journey

2002 Uterine Fibroid Surgery #1

2003 1st consult with an RE, you know, just in case

2003 Got Married (at 37 (me) & 34 (DH) years old)

2003/2004 Naturally conceived pregnancies BFPs #1, #2, & #3 and miscarriages #1, #2, #3

2005 Uterine Fibroid Surgery #2

2005 IVF #1, BFN #1

2005 IUIs #1 and #2, just because, BFN #2 & #3

2005 FET from IVF #1, BFN #4

2006 Exploratory surgery to remove scar tissue from fibroid sugery #2

2006 IVF #2 (w PGD), BFP #4

2006 Emergency cerclage for IC @ 16w6d (5 months + 1 week of complete bed rest at home ensues)

2007 Our son is born @ 38w by scheduled c-section

2007 IVF #3 for baby #2, BFN #5

2007 IVF #4, BFP #5, miscarriage #4

2008 IVF #5, BFP #6, miscarriage #5

2008 IVF #6, BFP #7, miscarriage #6

2008 DE IVF #7, BFN #6

2009 DEFET #8, cancelled, embryos don't thaw

2010 Decide to adopt domestically

12.17.10 Profile is live with our agency

November 2011 Consult with RE re: donated embryo cycle

Early January 2012 Cleared to proceed with deFET

January 2012 Freeze our profile

1.20.12 deFET begins
2.12.12 eSET of one compacted morula
2.22.12 BFN

3.23.12 deFET #2 begins
4.14.12 transfer 3 embryos (1-8 cell, 1-5 cell, 1-4 cell)
4.22.12 + HPT
4.24.12 Beta #1 = 48.4
4.26.12 Beta #2 = 125.7
4.30.12 Beta #3 = 777.8
5.11.12 1st U/S - Singleton!
7.12.12 It's a Boy!
12.26.12 C-section: Baby G is born, 9#5oz, 20.5"

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A Simpler Summer

I have found myself saying the dreaded, “when I was your age” to my older son in response to him saying he is bored. This is the middle of his second week of summer vacation (I started this post a week ago and he has since started summer school at his school). And, I did my best to schedule activities during these past two weeks that would be fun for him (slip n slide play dates, play dates at a friends house, day camp at the local country club with a friend, Lego day camps, and an amusement park today).

One thing I have struggled with as a parent who grew up in a vastly different time, was wanting to provide outlets for my kids while not making them dependent on activities to stimulate their minds. I do far less than most parents I know but far more than was ever done for me as a child. Attending summer camp is something I never did as a kid.

It was a different, pre-9/11, pre-rampant shooting sprees, pre-Megan’s law time. With the exception of a family vacation (which was never fun because my dad was wound so tightly that if we every got off track, if his itinerary wasn’t executed perfectly, we’d all pay), and the very occasional trip to the beach or Disneyland or Knott’s Berry Farm, we were responsible for creating our own fun. We lived in a real neighborhood where there were sidewalks and other kids that we either went to church or school with or that simply lived nearby (and ‘nearby’ could be up to a 10 block bike ride away). My parents both worked so we were with my grandparents during the days. We’d play with the hose or with water balloons or a slip n slide and eat Popsicles or snow cones or bomb pops. A highlight of any day or week, even, was when the ice cream truck came around.

Nothing was really planned for us. A play date happened when other kids happened to be out or around at the same time we were. We’d find each other and gravitate to one house or the next or play in the street. Hopscotch was a favorite, and so was jump rope, tag, and hide and seek. Or, a real treat would be if our parents decided to get together with other parents who had kids. Even though their getting together was the event, we benefited if the other couple had kids.

Our parents were not our friends. I do not ever recall my mother playing dolls with me, having a tea party, or any of the myriad things I do with my sons. I do remember playing board games when we were older (Life, Parcheesi, Monopoly, and I became a bit of a poker ace playing with my grandpa) but I had no expectation that my parents were my playmates. True, until I was 11, there were three of us kids, so we were better suited to play with each other. But there was a ‘children should be seen and not heard’ element to my childhood, at least at home. My grandparents and aunts and uncles were far better playmates.

Life is entirely different for my kids. With my older son, one of us was home with him, if only part-time, until he started kindergarten and ever since I’ve been picking him up from school. We are very involved parents (but, parents none-the-less and not looking to be best friends with our kids) and since our older son was an only child for almost 6 years we were his play mates and, to a degree, still are.

Kids here routinely spend summers in one day camp or another. Even though there are 4 families that live on our cud-de-sac, we NEVER hear the shrill of children playing during the day. None of the kids on this block are home during the day. And, now, at least in the mornings, neither is my older son. But, come afternoon, after lunch, and we’re outside playing badminton or slip n sliding or hoking the hose up to the slide on his fort to make a water slider, etc. We get frozen yogurt or play cards and, yes, my older son will sometimes watch TV or play on the iPad but we’ve regulated his screen time since he was a toddler and still do. So, if he uses his time during the day, he won’t get screen time before bed. I’m not even sure when parents stop regulating it, but we’re not there, yet.

At any rate, with t 5y9m age difference, this summer is more challenging than any one before it. G mostly takes two naps a day (one long morning nap and one shorter late afternoon catnap), so we really have only a few hours of unplanned time every afternoon. It is hard to attend to both kids on such different ends of the developmental spectrum. I have to keep an eye on G at all times which makes undivided attention for H hard to come by unless G is napping. And, because the other kids we know are in camp all day, it’s not like I can schedule play dates. I feel pressure and, to a lesser degree, guilt if I don’t have something planned.

And, then, I wonder if I have to plan every single afternoon. We have a house full of toys and games and self guided activities and an entire backyard and garage that’s set-up like a playroom. Still, my older son wants me to play with him. I feel guilty for not wanting to or not being able to but at the same time want him to cultivate skills that allow him to play on his own. Sometimes I’ll get him started with something and let him finish. It never seems like enough and with an active toddler, I just don’t have the creative energy to design afternoon play for them both.

This has taken me over a week to finish and post, so I’ll stop my rant there. I’m not going to succumb to the pressure and I want this to be a simpler summer. This is just to say that even though the 4th of July is next week, it feels like it’s going to be a long one, but I know it will go by in a flash. Do any other SAHMs struggle with this? It feels like a high class problem because I am so fortunate to be home with them but I am trying to find a job (more on that later) which is its own job. Never enough time…

Tomorrow G will be 18 months. EIGHTEEN MONTHS! OHEMGEE!

(Publishing without previewing or editing in the interest of getting it posted. Fingers crossed it makes sense.)

8 comments to A Simpler Summer

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  • In our neighbourhood, I don’t see any kids playing out front or out back. And now we don’t even have a back yard for him to go into, just a deck. Seems like we always live around retired folk. I’m a SAHM too and it seems like I spend most of my free daylight hours trying to keep my 4.5 year old entertained with play dates. Now that it’s summer, it’s all about keeping him active in courses and activities. I’m one of the few mums that just has one kid and so he rarely has anyone to spontaneously play with. And I’m lousy at playing with cars or wrestling. We just joined the rest and put our kid in a bike camp to learn how to ride a bike. Crazy! But that’s the way it is now. So yes I drive a lot and drop him off and then I have time to walk the dog or do errands. And by the looks of it, that’s exactly what every other parent seems to be doing. My credit card is getting quite a workout and I don’t know how I’m going to keep up!

  • I worry about this a lot. Especially because we live in a more urban neighborhood. I wonder how we are going to handle summers. It doesn’t seems like many kids spontaneously play in our neighborhood. :/

  • ana

    This is something I think about. In fact, I kind of worried, that as a two-working-parent household, we’d be depriving our kids of the lazy summer days I grew up with (with a SAHM). But it seems that the SAHMs worry about keeping their kids in activities all summer, too! You can’t win! Is it that the other moms on your street work, and thats why the kids are in camp? Otherwise it seems like an unnecessary expense and hassle (forms and physicals, drop off/pick up, packing lunches, etc…)

    The age difference between your kids makes it hard, I’m sure, and it seems like you are doing a great job. My boys are in daycare during the week, but on weekends/holidays, they do play together and can entertain themselves for short periods of time (someone usually gets hurt within 15 minutes, though)—it helps a lot that they are only 21 months apart, so they can do a lot of the same things.

    What Sarah B says is interesting, about better adult relationships. I have a pretty good relationship with my parents, but we still aren’t FRIENDS and I keep a lot from them too, even in my late 30s. I wonder what it’ll be like with my boys.

  • You might find this article interesting. It really made me think about how we are parenting, and if we’re striking the right balance (for us).

    http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2014/03/hey-parents-leave-those-kids-alone/358631/

  • Sarah B

    Things HAVE changed, haven’t they??!! I am extremely blessed and lucky that we live on a street with a lot of kids who do wander around and spontaneously mix. Otherwise, we’re a pretty ‘modern’ family in the sense that both parents work, and my kids are in all day camps for the summer for childcare reasons. If it makes any difference, my sense is that kids have different relationships with their parents into adulthood than my parents did. I think many families of the boomers’ generation were of the be seen and not heard, do as I say and not as I do, and I think relationships suffered because of that mentality. I think parents today are more willing to work issues through with their kids today, and I think that makes better lifelong relationships and whole people. I do agree that kids are deprived of the benefits of downtime and boredom, though. I think it is part social and part technological phenomenon.

  • This makes a lot of sense and sound hard, especially with the age difference and the two naps. It is really different from when we were growing up. One big change is two parents working households and lack of grandparent involvement. My guess is some of those families whose kids are in daycare all day are there for childcare reasons and not just entertainment reasons. I feel blessed that one of Leland’s Montessori teachers is keeping him this summer so he can have a lazy “walk to the park” summer with her rather than having a daycare/day camp activity packed summer. But still – he’s not outside paying with the neighbors in the afternoon.

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