All night

It is really hot here (for Oregon). Leah brilliantly bought a watermelon yesterday, which Darwin proceeded to dent impressively. For the last week, Darwin has woken with a dry diaper every morning. She’s been out of daytime diapers for awhile now, but we told her she needed two weeks of dry wake ups before she could drop her nighttime diaper. I assumed when I watched her put away that watermelon last night that she would be wet this morning. Instead, she woke up quite disoriented around 12:45, sat up and said “mama I need to go potty!” After using the bathroom I asked if she wanted her diaper on (it was so hot…). She proceeded to be diaperless and dry for the rest of the night. 

Tonight, we try diaperless at bedtime. Wish us (and our sheets) luck! 

8 funny things on a summer solstice

1) Darwin calls scones ‘cones’. 

2) Linnea points at everything all the time now. When I get home from work, she sits in my lap and grins and points in my face over and over saying “mama!”

3) Darwin taught Linnea how to say “bam” when she gives high fives, but Linnea says a ‘d’ instead of a ‘b’. 

4) Darwin says Xenopus gilli. And ‘that’s a coniferous tree!” And “that bird is a Robin.” Science parenting success. 

5) Linnea sticks her toes in your face and says “ticku-ticku” and laughs hilariously.

6) Darwin spent about 30 minutes throwing rocks in the river this afternoon. A dog came by and she took off, saying she was “going to go help the doggy in the water!”

7) Linnea puts everything on her head to play peekaboo. Everything. Books, clothes, a small piece of string. She thinks she is so funny. She is right. 

8) Our latest conversation:

“I’m ready to go to my preschool Mom.”

I’m glad you’re excited but they don’t start until August.

“I think it’s time for August, Mom. I’m getting tired of summer vacation, Mom, I’m ready to go back to preschool.”



Apparently she’s been going to preschool for ‘years and years’. Who knew. 


When we decided it was a good time to try to get pregnant the first time, I was 29 and the thought of long term family planning (‘how many, when, what spacing’) seemed like questions far too optimistic for two women who had not yet been pregnant. Who knew if our first attempts would work? And I always knew I wanted two kids if possible, so it wasn’t really on my radar that I might be about to turn 34, happily caring for two strong-willed, funny, capable, strong, smart, and energetic children and asking these very questions. I never really considered that I would become one of those people who thinks about timing children in relation to what my body might be capable of doing. But here I am, to spite myself. 

I should probably start with this: we don’t know if we’ll try to grow our family more. Many of my readers know first or second hand that even if we choose to try, it might not happen, with no connection to age. I have a whole list of blog topics that I’ve been thinking about surrounding growing our family, including but not limited to: Are we ridiculous to think about more children while I’m working full time, my wife is in her PhD program, and we already have two small children who are eating us one nibble at a time? Is the stress of ttc really worth it with two little ones?My mother and the guilt of increasing her carbon footprint. The effect on our sweet toddler who is already jealous of the sister who doesn’t get to nurse with me. The effect on the little peanut who has recently discovered ‘mamama’ can also mean ‘mine!’ Will it matter when the Cascadia fault brings down the entire west side of Oregon? Climate change. Evil orange 45 and trying to pay for Healthcare. Nuclear holocaust. Basically in that order. 

But today, I’m thinking about my ability to have kids, and my body and mind as I get older. We don’t want to have large age gaps between kids. 22 months is nice. They are old enough now that they have started playing together. They are also old enough now that we had started trying for Linnea when Darwin was Linnea’s age. I wish we were ready now, but yeah no. So the question becomes, when would we be ready? Will the choice be made for us by simply…timing out? Darwin still doesn’t sleep through the night (well, sometimes by the 5 hours definition of it, but that’s some next label bullshit right there). If and when she starts, could I really see starting over with a nurseling? If my mother’s experience is to be expanded to my own offspring, I would need to get pregnant before Darwin turns 4. That seems like a reasonable goal. A year from now I could see possibly being in a good position to try. 

I would be 35. ‘Geriatric’ under the ob definition of pregnancy. My midwife wouldn’t label anything so poorly. If it was another low risk pregnancy I could certainly plan another homebirth. This also pushes back the possibility of a fourth, Leah would be 36 or 37 before we would be ready again. So that complicates things. I wish I could say ‘one thing at a time’ but with us it is really two. Three if you count Leah’s dissertation. Because that’s it’s own baby. 

Are we totally crazy to even be thinking about this? Probably. But the world needs more gaybies. Someone has to do it, right? 


We had a feeling. Back when Linnea was just shy of 5 months and began scooting backwards. At 6 months when she launched herself off of my lap (luckily I was sitting on the floor at the time). At just past 6 months when she began to crawl forward. Today, it becsme truly and undeniably official: we have a fearless climber on our hands. 


Today, one day shy of 11 months, Linnea climbed onto our couch without any help. Perspective: Darwin did this around 18 months. Persistent and strong are the two words that best describe this little monkey. Don’t change, kid. You’re going places. 

11 month miracle

A few days ago, Linnea started going to sleep for me. It actually happened a couple of weeks ago. She was sitting in my lap while I worked and just…fell asleep. Now, at nap time, I pick her up, carry her into the bedroom, turn on the white noise and sing her a short song. I lay her down *awake and not screaming* and she drifts off peacefully in 3 to 10 minutes. 

If Linnea had been our first child, I would absolutely be one of those parents who says ‘sleep training works!’ And by that I mean letting her cry on me while she would fall asleep, for months, rather than giving her back to Leah and having her nurse down. Having done similar things with Darwin, however, I can unequivocally say that children are a product of…themselves. As parents we can work with them, but they are clearly their own people, as shocking as that is to me ever time something like this happens. 

Linnea is clearly better ‘programmed’ for sleep than Darwin was or is. As is evidenced by the sleep chair kid here:

Linnea asleep in a bumbo (carefully supervised on the table)

Work and travel

Part of my job involves going to conferences, often to present on the research I’m working on, and to connect with other folks doing related work. A few months ago I received an email from a ccolleague I’d met at least 4 years ago, asking if I’d be interested in presenting on my work at a local(ish) economics conference. After checking with my bosses and getting the go ahead, I ran it past Leah, then my mom, because in the past I’ve taken Darwin along with me, and my mother has spent the day with her while I work. It worked out that my mother got back from a trip at midnight the night before we would have to leave (at 7 am), but she was game, so I said yes.

Wednesday morning dawned early. Dramatic? 5am. I could have slept until 6, but the chronic anxiety of a researcher on soft money had me going with the sunrise. It took nearly 45 minutes to get Darwin into (dirty) clothes (I pulled from the hamper because she had to have a tank and ‘no mama, not that one!’). We were on the road by 8, thankfully with plenty of time to get there before my presentation. We had a near miss of motion sickness driving through a windy pass, but Darwin was a champ. We got there in record time with only one pee stop. (It’s been a week without an accident, I’m calling us trained now…)

While I was at my conference, which went amazingly well and involved visiting with colleagues and beer, my mom and Darwin got to go play at the high desert museum, fix a flat tire, and see a fish hatchery. I can’t really say which of us had more fun.

My mom is one of those people that Darwin doesn’t fight with over every little thing, mostly, I suspect, because she always has her grandma’s full attention, they go at a nice pace for a two year old and a seventy year old, and my mother has a dozen Pete the Cat books on her Nook (which Darwin calls her “Nookie”). 

The story was more difficult when we were all together. Darwin whined and clung and refused to cooperate when I was present. This isn’t anything new. I given her choices about getting dressed or eating or which shoes to wear, and she responds with a sulky face and a loud “NOTHING.” Sometimes after running to a corner and peering at me from over her shoulder with an epic pout. 

In spite of all the toddler independence, we had a very nice whirlwind trip. I’m so grateful that my mother likes my kid, that she’s flexible enough to be able to join us on these trips, and that Darwin adores her as well. 

Now I just have to figure out how to solve complex policy questions about wildfire risk and landscape management and prove myself to be indispensable so that we can continue to have opportunities to do this into the future.