Saturday, October 25, 2014

Tubes, PT and all things toddler

It's been a crazy couple of weeks, with lots of developments on the career front, family front and home front. All of which are topics one could easily write multiple posts about. So to preempt that, below is a bullet list of all that is happening. Feel free to pick through.

The Beats: I'm long overdue for an update, so here's what's been happening
  • She-Beat started PT two weeks ago and already we're seeing a huge difference. The physical therapist quickly agreed that her severe dislike of being on her tummy has likely impacted her gross motor development. So we're working backwards, focusing first on walking and cruising, pulling up, then getting her on hands-and-knees and progressing to crawling. Even with only 2 session under her belt, our little girl is now VERY insistent on standing, pulling-up from a seated position and has started cruising. In addition, her therapist got her to climb 3 steps on the school play structure. She's clearly so proud! I'm still learning how to do the different techniques to help her, but her teachers at school have already been amazing with continuing her exercises. Fingers crossed for continued improvement!
  • Speaking of movement, He-beat is WALKING! Grey and I now understand why they call kids at this age toddlers. Each day, he's becoming more and more confident, practically spiriting across the room. He-Beat's other favorite activity is climbing. Particularly stairs, but high-chairs, ledges on windows and anything with a ledge will do. He's already eyeing the slats in his crib....
  • On top of the gross motor, both Beats have started talking. She-Beat is more advanced than her brother with this as she is up to 4-5 words (He-Beat is 2-3 words). Favorite words at the moment: "Up" "Daddy" "Daisy" "Star" "Jaxson" and "No." We're working on "Mama."
  • Hugging and giving kisses has become a favorite for both kids. Not uncommon to see Grey with a big smile on his face returning those hugs, especially after a long, hard day at work.
  • Finally, both Beats had surgery yesterday to have tubes placed in their ears. Quite an ordeal for a 5 minute surgery as they had to give both kids general anesthesia. This meant a whole morning of fasting for 2 toddlers and stopping liquids at 9 am (surgery happen at 12:30 and 12:45 pm). Through some minor miracle, both kids stayed in good spirits until the masks were put on. Both are still recovering, with lots of napping, bland food and tons of liquids. I truly hope to never have to go through an experience like that again.

Family: Despite opening up to my brother, I've been dropping the ball with outing myself to my family. Here's where we're at.
  • Brief backstory: 3 years ago, following a diagnosis of infertility and 3 failed IUIs, my mom contacted Grey and me to ask us to adopt her sister's grandson. The state had recently pulled him from my cousin's custody for a second time and were looking for family to adopt him as they were looking into terminating parental rights. I learned later that my aunt's ex-BIL had offered to adopt him, which sent my aunt into a tizzy. The solution was to push Grey and me into the adoption, with the idea that when my cousin had finally got her acted together, she could simply take over raising him again. At that point, it became very clear that not only were we not going to be supported going into IVF, but my mom would always prioritize her siblings over her own daughter. I called my parents that evening and somehow maintained a civil conversation explaining why their wishes were not going to be honored. And then I said good-bye.
  • Fast forward 3 years. Grey and I have decided that it is time to make my family aware of the Beats and reestablish a connection. But one with firm boundaries and a lot of distance. Step 1 was talking to my brother. Step 2 is drafting letters to uncles. The plan is to contact my parents' brothers and alert them to what is coming. The goal is to have 3 points of contact within the family (one on each side and my brother) prior to dropping the bomb on my parents. Problem is, writing these letters has been far more complicated than I originally thought. I've done one brain-dump and now need to edit. 
  • The letter to my parents has been so hard to write. I'm still so angry with both of them about how they have treated me for the past 30 years. Through Dee and David, I've learned that it's all due to dysfunction that has spanned generations. Still, I'm struggling. I've been asked what type of relationship I want to have with them and I want them to have with the Beats. Quite frankly, I don't trust them in either regard and Grey and I have already agreed that they are not allowed alone with either of our kids for any reason. So for now, it's more of opening the channels and letting them know we're alive, doing well and are willing to talk. All the rest will need to be negotiated.
Other home-front news: I have a whole post drafted about the Pigeon Palace. But for now we'll focus on Fleur.
  • On October 8th, she had a hearing with the county judge. I haven't had a chance to read the report, but from what little information I got from the lawyer, apparently the judge was very unsympathetic to her case or her family's. She was ordered off the property ASAP, with threats of jail-time if she failed.
  • What this meant was that Fleur's 95 yr-old father hired movers to resolve this. She fired them, which meant her 73 yr-old sister had to step up and negotiate moving her. There was a lot of back-and-forth for the next couple of weeks, with Fleur clearly very agitated about the whole situation. 
  • Late last week, we learned the sheriff would be on the property to do a lock-out. Fleur was alerted. Two days later her car disappeared from the property. We learned a few days after that that she had vacated the property.
  • Since vacating, I've followed up with Adult Protective Services. Fleur qualifies for assistance and mental health treatment, but until proven incompetent no one outside her family could request this for her. With her forced eviction, the state now considers her incompetent and are intervening. The case worker sighed heavily when I talked with her, emphasizing the fact that so much hardship could have been prevented if the family had stepped forward to seek out these resources. That though mental illness is difficult to manage, there is help ranging from low-income housing, access to assistance and even assigned caseworkers. Needless to say, I'm still far from happy about how all of this went down.
  • The short and the long of it is I'm currently teaching part-time and loving being back in the classroom. My students, though young, are thoughtful and engaging. It's been fun working with them.
  • What I'm not liking is how temporary faculty are treated. There's been a lot of broken promises, last-minute demands and failure to provide important information. All of which is negatively impacting my students. It sucks that people in administrative capacities treat temporary faculty so poorly as it is clear the system absolutely requires them to function.  
  • On top of all of this, I've been job-hunting. Both Grey and I are at transition points and are looking for the next steps. With the funding environment being the way it is, though, so many scientists are either struggling or completely abandoning their careers for options that won't break them. It's a frustrating time as there's a clear need to not only inject the whole system with money so important, life-saving research can happening, but also to completely overhaul the whole system so that those doing research and making advances can actually survive. Anyway, as stupid as it sounds, we've both been applying for faculty positions, corporate positions and looking into longer-term options. 
  • Finally, I was invited to meet with a group of high-school girls to talk about pursuing careers in STEM. I almost fell over laughing. Fordes magazine recently ran an article listing Biology and Chemistry as no. 8 & 9 worst career options and majors. Computer science, engineering and physics? Awesome choices. But anyone pursuing biomedical research is considered a sucker. I'm debating about whether to go. 


  1. One of our twins had his second set of tubes put In yesterday too! I hope they are recovering well!

  2. Wow! So much going on! Congrats to the Beats for doing so well. Hugs and kisses are the BEST!!! I wish you lots of love and wisdom as you go down this road with your family.

  3. Wow Cristy, this is so much! First off, yay Beats for being so awesome and smart! They sound like they make their Mama and Daddy very proud. My favourite stage so far has definitely been what you are now heading into!

    The survey sounds like a bloody awful experience. I'm glad to hear that they are recovering and that the experience was mostly positive, but holy hell, not something anyone would want to do again! Poor little guys. I hope the tubes work their magic.

    Family - oh man Cristy, this is a doozy. I'm so sorry you are having to work through this. But a necessary next step in personal healing at the very least. Good for you.

    Job - yes, a career in academia is a tricky thing right now in Canada too. Apollo is a uni teacher too and part time uncertainty at the uni level prompted him to find a FT, pension earning, stable gig at a community college. Less glamour, but certainly more stable for us as a family.

    Advocating for something that you're struggling with right now sounds like it may have more downsides than upsides... Not sure if you're seeking advice, but I would be inclined to politely decline and focus on what you've currently got on your plate.

    Thanks for the update. Thinking of you guys!

  4. I'll start with last things first. Seriously? Biomedical research always seems such a fascinating area (especially to a political science graduate), and very well respected in NZ too. Good luck on the job hunt. It's never an easy thing.

    You've really had a whole lot going on. The Beats sound adorable, and I'm glad all is going well, and hope the trauma of their general anesthetics is a long distant memory for you all.

    And all I can do is wish you luck with the family issues. Family stuff always has the power to upset us, so I think the measured way you're going about all this is the best way to cope and protect you and your family.

  5. Hope the twins are recovering well! I can't believe they are so big and walking and talking!

  6. Definitely lots going on, & I wish you luck with all of it! Glad the Beats are both doing well!


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