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I don’t know why I did it, but I feel like I made a gay parenting mistake.

My son, Cakie was talking about when he was in my tummy.  I told him he had been in Mama’s tummy.  Now he thinks I’m the least important mom.

My honey says not to worry, that all kids play favorites.  But not all kids have two wombs from which they could have sprung.  And not all kids are a cut and dry as Cake.  When he decides something, that is the end of the story.

So now I’m Trucker’s mom and A is his mom.  We keep trying to explain it to him; he keeps rejecting our explanations.  I spend much more time with him than A does.  We walk to school together.  I pick him up and entertain and feed him until A gets home.  He misses her.  So maybe he just wants to connect with her.

It doesn’t help that Trucker is a complete cling-o-rama on me.  He won’t let A read him a story.  Only me.  So when I try to read with Cakie, Trucker slides in and tries to take over.

They are both latching on to their bio moms.  It makes me feel weird.

Sorry I’ve not been blogging much.  My life feels a little like a hamster on a wheel.  Except I’m not getting any exercise.

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Filed under family, LGBT, my second son, my son

Half-Assed Housewife’s Handy Tip #3 — What to Feed the Children

Here’s my tip.  Are you ready?

When you can’t think of anything to cook for dinner for your kids besides fishsticks, ask a 24 year old.  Yes.  I know one of those.  My new co-teacher actually just turned 24.  So she’s pretty much 23.  Which means she still has braincells.  So when I worried out loud about being the only one in charge of dinners pretty-much now that my honey has her fancy happy job far far away (for which I am extremely grateful, because it saved her from an awful situation and it is actually fulfilling and important), and how I didn’t want to fall into the frozen food abyss, yet I don’t really have much time to cook for the poor dears, this young thing (bless her braincell-filled soul) rattled off about fifteen ideas.  Let me just clarify that I must be able to assemble these dinners very quickly, as my dear little Trucker is a bit of a clingon. As much as I like to hang out in the kitchen and cook, that is not much of an option when Mama isn’t home.  Was my dilemma something she had been thinking about at all at any moment in the previous year?  No.  Youngins are so neat.

Of course, I not being 23/24, don’t remember all 15 ideas.  But what I do remember, I will share with you:

  • Quesadillas!  Duh.  You can put some veggies in, too.
  • Grilled cheese, or — she claims she ate this when she lived in Tanzania — grilled PB&J.  That actually sounds delicious to me.
  • Pizza bagels.  I did try to make these once, and Cakie did not approve.  But I tried them this week and they were a hit.  A smash hit.  He asked for seconds, which is unheard of in these parts.
  • Tuna and celery.  Dip tuna into celery.  Fun for the whole family.
  • Dip night.  Get several dips like bean dip, hummus and guacamole.  Then offer veggies cut into dipping sticks and whole grain crackers.  Fun fun fun!
  • I actually had my own idea.  I know, right?  I bought a whole roasted chicken on Sunday, and used it for the protein in several of the dishes.  There was chicken on the pizza bagels and chicken in the quesadillas.  And of course, one night we had… chicken.
  • Quiche.  Yum.  With veggies.  And… chicken?
  • Uh.  I only remember 6 ideas?  Ugh.
  • I bought a tasty soba noodle prepared thingee at my food coop.  It worked as a side dish and a main dish — with chicken.
  • I also whipped out the old Ge0rge F0reman Grill that we bought at the Dollar General several years ago and has been living in the closet.  I’m thinking I might be able to either think of some kind of panini situation, or grill something (other than chicken) quickly.

All of these meals are to be supplemented with veggies on the side.  Cake eats them first.  Trucker ignores them like they’re pork.  But I keep trying.  I will allow myself one night of real pizza a week.  And one night of fish sticks.  But just one, ok?

That brings me to lunch.  Because now that Cakie is a big kindergarten boy, I need to pack him a real lunch.  Now I really ought to ask my co-teacher about this because I’m sure she’ll have at least fifteen ideas.  And I need to whip out a recording device when I ask her, so I can remember more than 6 of the things she says.  But here are my ideas:

  • I have made the run-of-the-mill sandwich for Cake several times in the week.  He likes the turkey salami from the food coop.  And he likes peanut butter.  Though I feel guilty packing the nuts, because I don’t want to harm any allergic kids.  On the other hand, my school is not nut-free.  The cafeteria actually makes PB&J for school lunches.  So… I just packed it.
  • One day I gave him hummus and crackers instead of a sandwich.
  • I’m thinking of making a (I hate the real thing) healthy version of Lunchables.  I’m going to cut up the cold cuts into cracker-sized bits.  Then I’m going to put in crackers.  Then I’m going to put in a stack of cheese the same size.  And I’m going to put them in little cupcake papers.  And I’ll put in something sweet (yogurt or dried fruit), too.  It may be a success.  Or it may fall apart all over the place and be a big mess by the time he opens it.
  • I’m going to make the same old sandwich and cut it into shapes, a la Kevin Henkes’ Lily.
  • I’m going to make the same old sandwich and roll it into spirals, then toothpick together.
  • I’ve thought of soup in a thermos, but he generally does not eat soup, so I’m not sure how it will go over.

Mostly, I’m happy that thus far, he has chosen my food over the cafeteria food.  I’m not sure that he knows that he has a choice.  But I’m going to run with this while I can.

So, do any of you have any brilliant lunch or extremely easy, but healthful, dinner ideas to share with my teeny-tiny readership?  Do tell.

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Filed under Half-Assed Housewife's Handy Tips, my second son, my son

Different Donors

My sons have two different donors.  Different donors, different biological mothers.  In effect, they have no biological connection.

They are brothers, for sure.  Cakie is learning everything he needs to know about how to be a child from his willing teacher, Cake.  I don’t need to argue here at all about the fact that they are brothers.  They are being raised by the same two parents in the same way in the same house.

One of them looks a little like Obama.  The other resembles Desi Arnaz.  One is a tall skinny muscular reed.  The other is a truck.  Despite my efforts in selecting a second donor, the boys do not look alike at all.  One might argue that many biological siblings do not look alike.  True.  They do act alike in many ways.  They have the same very very high energy level.  They both love to play outside. Trucker is far more into trucks and balls than Cake ever was.  Cake likes music and cooking and superheros.

I wonder what will happen when they learn that they have different donors?  I worry that it might cheapen their bond.  It may make them angry at us.  As though we carried on some type of charade.  Or that someone else will discredit their relationship as siblings.  I worry, too, what will happen if either one tries to find their donor.  Already, Cake has two donor siblings on the registry.  Little girls.  I haven’t paid the fee, so I have not contacted the parents yet.  But I know they are there.  And if Cake wants to find his donor and he cannot, I can offer up these half-sisters.  There are no siblings on the registry for Truck.  Could I pay the fee and put up a profile?  Yes.  Maybe that might make one come out of the woodwork.  Maybe not.  What if one of them has a donor who is willing to meet them or even have a relationship once they turn 18?  While the other has a donor who has passed away, or worse, doesn’t even want to talk to him? I don’t worry about these things constantly or anything.  They just, every once in a while, pop into my head.

When Cakie was conceived, there were no open donors.  It wasn’t a thing the sperm banks had convinced anyone to do yet.  So when it was time to choose a benefactor for Trucker’s egg, I also chose a closed donor.  It did it on purpose.  I signed a paper stating that I would not look for the donor.  I did this knowing that the baby didn’t sign anything.  And if either of them want to look, they will have my blessing.  And if I happen to stumble across a photo of a man that is his race, his height, his weight, his age and has long curling eyelashes, while I’m randomly trolling California acting agency websites for no particular reason, so be it.

My biggest goal is to handle all of this with grace.  I want to teach my kids that our family is one made from love.  Love that is stronger than a spiral helix.  It is like a triple-mega spiral helix made out of steel.  Yeah.  That sounds good.

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Filed under family, my second son, sperm shopping

The Donor Mark

My son has the likes-to-watch-sports gene.  He did not get this from me.

I don’t plan to point things like this out to my kids.  There’s this unspoken fear of the moment when we will need to address the fact of the donors in our kids lives.  There is also this urge to pretend since we don’t know who the donors are, that we can make them go away.  Part of me wants my honey and I to be the only important people in the creation of our kids.

The other part of me knows that the donors are important.  Not only are they important, but I feel like even though I don’t know their names or their adult faces, I feel like we live with them.  We know them better than we know our good friends.  I’m so glad for them.  I’m so glad for whatever circumstances lead to them walking in to the cryobank, filling out all of those forms, walking uncomfortably into a little room and producing for us the ingredient that would eventually become our sons.  I am confident that wherever he is, Trucker’s donor is either thinking about throwing or actually throwing a ball.  Cakie’s donor is charming someone at this very moment.  I’m sure of it.

The discomfort comes from knowing that the donors are a question mark.  Will the boys be driven to try to identify them?  If they do find them, will these men disappoint my sons?  Since I have two different donors, will the boys have two uncomfortably different experiences surrounding their donors?  I am sure that they will want to know them, even if we down-play their role.  Once they take a biology class and see the fruit flies and their eye colors,  once they read a study on identical twins, or venture into my grandfather’s meticulously researched geneology of his side of my family, they will want to know.

I know this.  But I wish I could take that donor question mark and stretch it straight into an exclamation point.  A sure statement, showing a strong emotion.

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Filed under family, IUI, LGBT, my second son, my son, sperm shopping, Trucker

Birthday Parties. Meh.

Let me just start this by saying that I am a big fan of the birthday. (Mine is in just a couple of days!)  I’ve always enjoyed my own birthday.  I’ve thrown countless surprise parties for friends and family.  And even though I am older and find less hoopla in order for the day, I still demand cake.

Throwing parties for one’s kids, on the other hand, is … uh.  It is a mix of fun and uncertainty.  Take Cakie’s birthdays, for example,  we’ve always taken great joy in making him a very special cake (guitar, Diego’s head, Superman).  We’ve also always had his party at home.  They have always been fun.  This year, for the first time, we are shelling out the big bucks to have his party at a place that does everything for you.  I am not excited about the big bucks.  I am excited about the does everything for you.  But I can’t help but think that we’re still going to be going crazy the day before.  I still want to make a special cake, but I don’t really, really want to, if my ten zillion dollars includes an ice cream cake.  I don’t know who to invite.  We bought the package for twelve kids.  But most of the folks at his daycare, as a rule, don’t RSVP.  And since I have been to several of these parties at the same place with the same kids, I see that people bring siblings, even when the invitations specifically say, please do not bring siblings.  And why would that worry me?  Every extra kid is another thirty bucks on top of the ten zillion dollars.  Then this morning came the expected snafu… one of Cake’s friends at daycare has the very same birthday.  So today we got the evite for his party at the same time and the same day.  My honey didn’t seem phased, saying we could just invite kids who are not from the daycare.  But, umm, I feel like we kind of need to invite Cakie’s friends.  On the other hand, maybe thirty kids won’t show up, and we’ll get to keep our home and our car instead of handing it over to the Bouncy House place.

Trucker’s birthday was last weekend.  I aimed for the number-of-child-guests-matches-the-number-of-years-old-the-child-will-be rule.  Since he was turning 2, I ended up with four child guests.  Because I’m not so great at math.  The goal was to keep things simple.  But I went overboard anyway, and cooked up a storm.  After the fact, I realized that this was probably my last kid party to which I could have just invited my-own-aged friends.  And though some of the parents I invited are my friends (Hi, sn!) I felt like I could have made it more fun for me by inviting one other baby, and a bunch of my friends.  Though I know it is not supposed to be all about me.

This is all to say that I never realized how complicated all of this is.  And I don’t know that I am making it complicated.  I think it just is.  I’ve done my best to keep it simple.  Like I say to my students when I teach math (yeah, they let me do that, can you believe it?)  I always like to find the most efficient strategy that gets me the right answer.  Because I don’t like doing extra work.

I want to most efficient birthday party strategy that doesn’t cost me the down payment on a new house and doesn’t kill the joy and creativity of having the party in the first place.  And that would be?

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Filed under family, my hon, my second son, my son, Trucker

Dear Trucker, (Two Years!?)

Dear Trucker,

You are going to be two years old on Sunday.  Never mind the fact that you have looked like a two year old for the past six months.

You have all of the passion and strength of a two year old already.  You are constantly exploring your world, and finding dangerous things, which as your mother I am obligated to remove from your hands.  This often ends in a fists-clenched, floor kicking scream fest.  I don’t blame you.  I do not like when new and exciting things get yanked from my grasp either.

You don’t look out the window at trucks as often.  You do love your toy trucks.  Especially if you can hook one vehicle on to another.  Awesome.  Another trick you do is to fill up the back of your dump trucks and spill them on to the floor, or balance other cars and trucks onto the back of a larger truck.  After a recent weekend trip to the beach, you have widened your horizon to include boats and planes.  While we are in the car you still gladly point out each truck, taxi, bus, and sometimes even car that passes us.  If you happen to spot a river or ocean out the window, you scream “WWWWAAAAAAAADAAAAAH.”  It sounds a little unsober.  I love it.

Everything your older brother does or says, you do and say.  Sometimes I can’t handle the cute.  If Cakie strikes up a conversation with one of our neighbors on the elevator, you will just start talking as well.  Never mind that you aren’t saying words we recognize.  You are learning from your brother how to be a friendly, social person.

You are a junk food junkie.  It is not my fault.  (Entirely.)  You just love meat.  So when I cook dinner and serve you the meat and vegetables, you eat the meat.  That is all.   But I keep serving the vegetables.  I do and I will.  You love pizza and hot dogs.   But I get the pricey organic ones from the coop.  The pizza is just a bi-product of having two working moms.  We indulge once a week.  You have had some good broccoli moments, which I’m hoping will bloom into a full-on love affair with broccoli, much like the one your brother is having.  (You like to do everything he does, remember?)

Another wonderful development (wait for it….)  You drink your milk from a cup!!!! Yay!  One day you demanded milk and pointed to a sippy.  So I filled the sippy and you drank it.  Mama suggested giving the bottles away, which I plan to do.  We’ve had a little resistance in the morning, but you are giving in.  And growing up.  Thank you for making the bottle-weaning business not-so-hard for Mommy.  Mommy is very very grateful.

Your movement-prodigy skills continue to amaze us.  Now, not only do you ride a scooter, you do tricks on it.  You can ride while lifting one leg behind you in an arabesque.  You can ride leaning all the way back on your standing leg, while stretching your other leg behind you into what is essentially a split.  You ride wiggling the handlebars quickly from side to side.  I call it the weeble-wobble.  And to stop the scooter, you put your foot down toe-top down on the ground and drag your leg elegantly behind you.  It isn’t so great for your shoes, but it looks very fancy.

Thank you for everything, my boy.  We think you are the bee’s knees.

Love,

Mommy

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Filed under my second son, Trucker

Unrestaurantable

We went to SN’s birthday dinner at a scrumptious Thai restaurant in Queens.  Trucker has been considered by his moms to be unrestaurantable for so long, that I just couldn’t take it anymore.  Besides, we had that test run with grandma at the local diner and he did just fine.  He sat in the high chair, flirted with the servers, and generally didn’t make too much noise.  My cabin fever got the best of me and we ventured out.  It was a kid-friendly restaurant with a lovely garden and we were a three-high chair party.

Alas.  The boy… the boy remains on the U-list.  They had a lovely fountain.  I thought this would be a great distraction, if he got bored at the table, we could go over and look and play at the fountain.  It was too much of a distraction.  There was very little sitting at the table.  If he was at the table, he only sat in the high chair for a total of five minutes, where he did actually devour some dumplings.  Then it was on to my or A’s lap, where he lunged and twisted about in a concentrated effort to get back to the fountain.  Once at the fountain, he would do everything in his power to attempt to climb in to the fountain.  Yeah.  I’m not going to be that mom.  I already am the one who was letting him stick his hand in the water and get his shirt all wet.  Cakie was pretty good, though, aside from the two mad dashes to the fountain from our table, before I gave him a talking to about running in restaurants.  I hate when kids run in restaurants. That said, there was no food thrown.  No actual loud melt-downs occured, and no waitstaff sent a platter of plates flying into the fountain because of tripping over my children.  It was more about the fact that it just wasn’t entirely relaxing.

On the up side, I did actually get time to sit at the table and chat with grown-ups.  I enjoyed that quite a bit.  And I have my honey to thank, since she took longer boychick-tending shifts than I did.  I love her.

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Filed under family, my hon, my second son, my son