Funniest thing all week

Today was the sixth day of the last ten working days where at least one kid was home sick or in isolation. Sprout has lovingly bestowed her cold on me as well, so everyone is starting to drag a bit.

So here is the thing that has been making me chuckle, out loud, sporadically for the last week.

Pea is playing a new world-building game, where he is in charge of a family of beavers (yes really). They have to build dams and engineer water flow and farm food and build up stores for the periodic droughts. Water is a key resource and can be life or death for your beavers.

Pea kept losing all his beavers. They wouldn’t even be in a drought and they would all suddenly die. Upon examination, it was lack of water. Pea was frustrated, as he had chosen to build the larger pump option, and was prioritizing upgrading them and keeping them manned at all times. And still – no water. Plus the pumps were running at 5-14% efficiency, which was frustrating.

Pea explained this all to me in detail as he wandered downstairs to try, once again, to keep his beaver crew alive. He was sure there was some game mechanic he was missing, but hadn’t found it yet.

He came back up that night, with hale and hearty beavers. It turns out he had misread something – the bigger water pump option was not a pump, it was a water DUMP.

Every time his beavers ran low on water, he would marshal them to the dumps and increase the dumps’ activity. He was rigorously upgrading! Staffing through the nights!

The dumps were working at so low efficiency because there wasn’t any more water to dump.

It is an uncharacteristic gaffe for Pea, but it’s mostly funny to me as an absurdist example of the piling on behind a bad decision that always seems to happen.

* no beavers were harmed in the making of this post, only a few beaver-shaped pixels.

Update update, overdue

Three bullet points apiece, because life is moving quickly and it’s nice to have a record.

Except I cannot make bullet points anymore in WordPress? This platform is starting to make me feel creaky and old, because they keep updating it to look more swish but keep removing components I enjoyed and use. I bet swish isn’t even slang any more.

This update brought to you by late-night server installations, because there’s a lot of dead time in between aggravatedly pushing buttons.

SPROUT
1. Sprout’s stammer has completely evaporated in the past three months. So that’s that. She continues to have a ridiculous vocabulary.

2. Using that vocabulary, Sprout has gotten in touch with her emotions, and spends the vast majority of her time telling us “I’m sad” whenever anything, however minor, has happened that is contrary to her world view.
Sprout: “I am going to get off my chair and sit unner a table!”
Me/Pea: “No Sprout, you have to stay on your chair at dinner.”
Sprout: “I’m sad. I need a snuggle from Mama.” gets off chair

3. Sprout tells us daily that she doesn’t like daycare. When pressed, she says she likes the food, playground, people, her little cot, naps, some of the toys, and that there are other kids, but none of the other kids in particular. When asked what she doesn’t like about daycare she says “I have beautiful days there”. Pea and I have decided what she means is that daycare is not as much fun as being at home with nanny C and with Mama and Dada there at lunch and periodically through the day, which, fair.

SPUD

1. Spud is liking kindergarten. We don’t get any information from him, aside from claims they are learning the chicken dance every day, and that there is excrement on the lunch tables, both of which we eventually, reluctantly, had to ask his teacher about (false on both counts). He is pleased to go. He eats his entire lunch except when he runs out of time (and then it is the vegetables he doesn’t particularly like that suspiciously had no more time allotted). He came home one day with a drawing of a tiger on top of someone’s head, which was the most elaborate drawing we’ve seen from him.

2. Concurrent with Spud liking kindergarten, Spud’s intense violent phase of the past 2 months has evaporated. Big transitions are hard when you are four, but you aren’t allowed to take it out on your mother, or your smaller sister when that isn’t getting results. I am much relieved to no longer be a punching bag, or goalie preventing lobbed objects from hitting Sprout. We are working with him to find other ways to express emotions (there’s a lot of yelling at ceilings at the moment, which is vastly preferable but still not particularly enjoyable).

3. Spud got quite into extreme weather this summer, thanks to the endless thunderstorm and tornado warnings*. I draw him little notes in his lunch boxes on a theme each week. Last week was weather, and after three notes on hurricanes and the like, and on a day when he had chosen dinosaur pants, t-shirt, sweatshirt, lunchbox, and backpack to “have a theme day so I can show my teachers”, he came home with a drawing of a Hurricanisaurus and a Tornadactyl, clearly a collaboration between him and his teacher. It was fun. Spud was selectively mute** in daycare for the first ~8 months, so it’s really neat to see him enjoying and interacting with kindergarten.

PEA

1. Pea’s team at Golden Company is being reassigned, again. It’s the first time I’ve seen him seriously consider recruiter emails for other companies, as this is now three straight years of him gearing up to a project only to have it fizzle, move, or be assigned to others. Since starting at the office here five years ago, he has been forcibly moved off of teams and onto new projects four times. It is Golden Company’s way, and Pea is performing well (he’s probably going up for promotion next round), but it is frustrating to constantly be starting over.

2. Pea has risen to the “Spud won’t eat dairy and school doesn’t allow any nuts or nut substitutes” challenge by adapting his previously walnut-filled sourdough to fully seedy, and filling our pantry with odd seeds, spreads, and enriched flours to bake things like tahini and coconut bliss balls and date-based home-baked spelt granola bars. Mainly we need his afternoon snack to be more than just carbohydrates, or at least contain some semblance of complex nutrition. Spud smells the new offerings with suspicion, but has been eating them happily enough.

3. Pea is still introspecting and examining his relationship with alcohol. He read A Million Tiny Pieces last month, which is a memoire of addiction, rehab, and recovery. I had read it last year, and was surprised he picked it up, feeling it was a bit close to home. He says most of the depictions of addiction really didn’t resonate with him, that he feels his actions were more strongly rooted in habit than addiction. From everything he’s said, this feels true to me, but does not remove the requirement for caution and vigilance (he agrees).

LAB MONKEY

1. September always catches me off-guard, and it did so again this year. I’m perilously behind, but am coping by applying my mat leave tactics – a laser focus on the important things, with occasional dedicated hours for all the other noise, as otherwise the admin tasks will subsume all my available time. This was made worse by Sprout being home for three days this week for a close contact isolation stint (which started late, day 7 post-last-exposure before a positive test was reported). We’re all negative, so dodged that bullet. I’d been working as though the kids might be home any moment, and while that was exhausting and nerve-wracking as a modus operandi, it did mean there was precious little I’d procrastinated coming into this week. Pea and I split the days home with Sprout, and each got about a 4.5 hour work day (thank goodness for naps!), with some top-up time in the evenings.

2. I saw a TikTok where a woman was saying she never worries about being a good wife the way she worries about whether she’s a good mother – she worries about the state of her relationship with her husband – so why not do the same with kids? I’ve been thinking about it all week, and thinking of ways to strengthen my relationship with each of the kids. At the end of the day, that bond, that trust and love, is so much more important than the myriad little check-boxes required for achieving motherhood accomplishment. I get mired in the checkboxes. That if they have shoes that fit, and lunches that are interesting and well-balanced, and if they spend time outside, that I’m doing ok. And all of those things are important, but it was a good reminder to me, in my busiest season, that the silly songs and the deeper talks and the little moments where I specifically dedicatedly cherish them and the firm but clearly explained boundaries – those are the bits that will stick.

3. My extroversion goes in waves, where I need people, and where I’m ok to just have check-ins with my inner circle. I set up the next two weeks as though I need people, and I overdid it! Not because I am in an extroversion trough, but because we’re trying to keep the kids’ weekends a bit relaxed as they adjust to busier days at school and daycare, and because I’m writing a big grant that is due in five days, and I’ve needed/still need extra time for it. Luckily (?) Sprout’s isolation and the continued inclement weather this fall have scuttled a number of plans this week, which I’ve been able to reschedule spread out over more time, and, critically, after the grant is due.

And that’s us! Both kids are doing well with transitions, both parents managed our first foray into what is sure to be a rotating door of kids in and out of school this fall, and we’re each of us, and collectively, doing better than I would have guessed two months ago.

* I specifically moved my family north, inland, onto a geologically stable land mass in a region with abundant freshwater in hopes of mitigating our early experience of climate change, and I am taking the recent uptick in tornados here as a personal affront. Tornados were exceedingly rare here ten years ago, and we had six tornado warnings and two actual tornados this summer (in a wide region, but still). I feel personally aggrieved.
** He wasn’t fully mute, but basically only spoke if asked direct questions and then in as few words as possible. I didn’t even know it was happening, they just thought he was quiet/shy. Then one day his educators told me, very excitedly, that he had told them a story about our fish (we had bought new fish), and the story was “we bought new fish, five of them!”, and that is when I realized he didn’t actually talk at daycare. Two weeks later, he came in and aggressively chanted the entirety of Anna Dewdney’s Little Excavator at them, and then told so many stories they had to ask him to be quiet.***
*** Part of me is reading this Spud update and wondering if I don’t need to go get my kid tested or possibly some therapy…. I think he’s ok. He’s introverted, and he struggles with big feelings, but he’s empathetic and he’s bright, and once he’s comfortable in a situation, he’s charming and engaged. It’s just been a tough two months for transitions and changes.

Sure, kid, sure

Spud can read, but Spud won’t read if anyone is watching. I sent him to school with notes in his lunchbox this week, but eventually resorted to just sending drawings because he was insisting he couldn’t read the notes (but then explained to his father when I was out of sight but not earshot that he had read them but thought the pictures were funnier) (and then asked why “school is spelt wrong on that sign Mama?” when one O had fallen off) (and then corrected me when I purposefully read a sign at the park to have an opposite meaning).

Spud during an evening story: No Mama, I don’t think that’s a cactus wren. It’s a hmmmm flips to the back glossary, finds the bird, squints a gilded flicker, see Mama?

Spud at lunch: why does your mug say coffee on it when you have tea in it? What is a starbuck?

Spud at lunch (same lunch): Mama, those aren’t plain chips, those are classic. See onna bag? Classic.

All this to say, I am 99% sure he can read a note that says “have a great day, I love you”.

Spud started school this week! So far his days have been “terrible horrible no good and very bad” stated calmly and contentedly. He says it is like daycare but with “more kids and less toys!”. He is DELIGHTED that his grandmother picks him up on Wednesdays. He is resigned to having much less time with nanny C, who picks him up Monday, Tuesday, and Friday. He was entirely non-plussed to be picked up by me on Thursday, but I was very pleased to be out of the house and spending some one on one time with him. Pea and I are trading Thursdays, which I think will work well.

Sprout had her first week of full time daycare, and was “quite emotional” the first few days and then “all smiles, no crying” the next two. She had quite a few new kids in her room for September, which I think threw her off. Also, she spends quite a lot of her days with us crying, so am not sure “emotional” isn’t just baseline Sprout, who feels personally injured whenever something isn’t exactly to her specifications (ah to be two!).

We survived the week, and while both kids were fried at the end of each day, they both did really well. Pea and I are planning another quiet week of easy meals in case the other shoe drops this week, but so far it’s been pretty smooth sailing.

Rolling progress

A few years ago, a colleague laughingly mentioned that he was “becoming more and more comfortable with just moving his entire to-do list over month by month”.

I had goals and plans for the summer. I worked hard for almost all of the summer. My people also worked hard. We made some great things happen, and made progress on nearly everything.

My goal list sits, largely unchanged, because nothing actually got FINISHED.

I am not yet comfortable with this. I am part of the problem though, often a delay when something is on my plate, because my plate overflows weekly.

This post brought to you by my near total burnout after completing a 20 page tutorial for a workshop as well as a 10 page grant application that I thought was just a formality-style form in the past three days, amidst meetings, a conference, and a workshop (which the tutorial is FOR).

I wanted to be editing my students’ papers (3 on my desk at the moment) and starting a massive grant application that is due at the end of the month, but the “urgent and important” column in my to do list is now entirely deadline-driven. Anything important but not urgent might have to wait til October, and the only non-urgent, non-important things that get done are administrivia that will otherwise make my life harder or prevent my people from being paid appropriately.

I like this job, but honestly, it is a bit much. I’d so love to be able to take a week’s vacation and not be punished for it. Take a week and not be doing work in every brief moment alone. I haven’t figured out how to do that and make life even plausible on the other side.

It’s the start of the school year, and I’m fried, but also hopeful I’ll be able to get some of these goals actually accomplished this semester (she says, not yet ruefully laughing at the prospect).

Cottage o’clock

We are back from a cottage, a week away on a lake, with walks along a rail trail to a playground, jaunts into town for ice cream, paddle-boating along the shore, and many happy hours wading on our tiny, private, perfect beach.

It was a lovely week, sunny if cool. We’ve had an intensely rainy summer, so much so it is threatening the crops almost as much as the droughts out west. It has been rare to string two sunny days together, and last week we had five in a row. A spot of luck!

Renting this cottage was like an extreme sport. With nowhere to go but our own backyard, Ontarians flooded the cottage rental market. I was lucky to have a savvy older sister who helped me find a site where, as long as you saw the email quickly, you’d have a decent shot at booking a cottage of interest. The owner of this cottage and I chatted a few times over the week, and he told me to call him next winter if we knew we wanted to book with him again. Perhaps! It was a great cottage, especially for tiny kids, as the beach was very shallow for ages, and they could wade and paddle with confidence.

This week was our one week of vacation that isn’t visiting family this year. It was a chance to relax, have new scenery, spend time with the kids exploring. It was, honestly, wonderful. Neither of us gravitate to cottages as a first choice for vacation, but we both had an excellent time. I didn’t want to leave, but we weren’t allowed to stay, so made our way home yesterday via a conservation area for a very hot hike and picnic.

A discovery – I need to prioritize swimming in some meaningful fashion. I love swimming. There is something about the sensory deprivation coupled to cardio that I find deeply, lastingly soothing. It is an intense anxiety panacea. I haven’t swum regularly since my PhD, but it was a staple of my decade at various universities. It’s a hassle, with specific swim times, and requirements for showers, and needing a locker or good swim bag, and needing to either not be a yeti or not care about being a yeti, and and and, but I think I need to figure it out.

A second discovery – Sprout hates the travel crib. This is problematic as we have another trip planned in two weeks. She says the crib is “too bubbly”, which we think means the sides are mesh and she can’t mash her head against them as firmly as she does against the crib rails. She absolutely cannot be in a bed yet, she is nothing but trouble when tired and unsupervised, so I have no solution to this. She rejected sleep at nap and bedtime all week so is a very tired kid today. This was unexpected because Spud LOVED the travel crib, but my kids delight in their opposite ways, so I should perhaps have been less surprised.

This week was my marker for having to take September more seriously. We start with Sprout visiting daycare this week. I made a list of things we need for Spud for school (school!! I have many feelings, complicated by the ongoing pandemic). It is time to gear up, get organized, get some important things done at work. These last few weeks of summer will be packed, so I’m very glad we’ve had this time to rest.

On the allocation of wealth

Specifically, mine and Pea’s, for the month of August 2021, which has 22 working days.

We will have:

  • 22 days of full-time care for Sprout from our nanny
  • 22 days of full-time care for Sprout from our daycare
  • 13 days of full-time care for Spud from our daycare
  • 9 days of full-time care for Spud from our nanny
  • 7 days of time at a cottage (including 15 child-days of childcare we will not use)
  • 7 days of time at grandparents’ houses (including 15 additional child-days of childcare we will not use)

It is a transition month, with Sprout attending some mornings at daycare, gradually building up to a full day every other day, before going to full time in September. We promised our nanny full-time for August (and we love her and she is going to do after-school care for some of the days for Spud after kindergarten starts and so not screwing her over is important on several levels). We took the cottage week we could find (cut-throat affair this summer!). We held off on visiting grandparents until (a) one set was actually in the country and through quarantine, (b) our region was out of lockdown stably, and (c) in the hopes the restrictions around seeing my father ease (an hour a day, outside, with max 2 visitors…………. ok.). So it all makes sense, but my goodness is it going to be a big pile of money used inefficiently.

We saw this coming (I saw this coming), and so in April, when Pea realized the new household budget he had made for us accidentally included saving at a doubled rate for massive one-off events (like renovations, furnaces, etc.), I suggested we keep the punitive savings plan in place until September. This allowed us to build an aggressive nest-egg so that our poor joint account could handle the nonsense of August. Come September, we’ll know what after-care costs are, and can rejig so that we have a bit more breathing room*.

* I have no shirts or pants that are work-suitable, having been in mat clothing or nursing gear for four of the past five years, and having transitioned smoothly into work-from-home sweats once I weaned Sprout. I need to start curating a small wardrobe, but cannot currently afford to (it is a highly aggressive savings plan). Luckily my university is not expecting people to be back more than one day a week for the next three or four months, unless they are teaching to large crowds of non-vaccine-mandated 20 somethings, which also luckily, I am not.

And so this is two

Dearest Sprout, you are two today! What an amazing milestone for an amazing person.

You spent yesterday at your online party commandeering the screen, pulling a little chair over so you could sit front and center, calling out everyone’s names like it was a Romper Room wrap-up. Today you spent the day delighted that it was your birthday – chatting about it, opening presents at a snail’s pace (you only had four to open today, and you still have two for tomorrow because you wanted to thoroughly play with everything once unwrapped). I asked you last week what you wanted on your cake, with a short list of suggestions prepared in case you were baffled – you thought for a moment and then grinned ear to ear and said “Sprinkles! Sprinkles for me for my cake for my birthday!”. And so sprinkles you had!

Sprout, you are both wise beyond your years and a bundle of mischief, with a dimpled smile that gets you out of a lot of the trouble that you cause.

You are deeply and openly loving, filled with smiles and big bear hugs and snuggles for everyone. You RUN to see me, or your Dada, or your nanny C when we come in the door, arms outstretched for a swing UP UP and a hug. You have many precious stuffies, but your wee bear and mousie are your firm nighttime companions. If we allowed it, I am sure the entire menagerie would be in your crib with you. You love building nests and snuggling in them – so much so that we joked about getting you a dog bed as a permanent nest for your birthday. Your Dada instead got you the most indulgent but perfect birthday gift in the world:

It is hard to believe you are only two, as you have been very two for a long time now – you have firm opinions and specific demands, and you don’t brook failures or substitutions lightly. You have an independence streak that manifests in pure physicality – you can dress yourself, you’re trying to potty train for the fun of it, and you’ve mastered Spud’s scooter. You desperately want to be learning to pedal bike right alongside him, but alas, your legs are too short still.

What a year it has been, with months of lockdowns, driveway visits and zoom calls with family, and a complete absence of playdates, library story times, and music and movement meet-ups (which I think you would have adored, busting out your epic monkey-arm-bounce dance). You had your first real Hallowe’en in our backyard (but you refused to put on your costume until months later, and then would not take it off). You run away from people, terrified, at parks, playgrounds, or if our mail carrier comes around the corner unexpectedly. You aren’t shy by nature, this is all pandemic nurturing. But! A sliver of hope. When your Grannie came over for a rare, safe, indoor visit, you spent the entire time glued to her. You haven’t touched her since you were 9 months old, and having the option was pure delight for you.

You have spent more time with your brother this year than with any other human, and the two of you are thick as thieves for it. Sure, he knocks you over and bonks your head, and sure, you purposefully mix up his LEGO pieces to make him mad, but most of the time you are delighted to play together. You take your role as smaller sibling quite seriously, including sitting on Spud or squeezing into his space whenever possible.

Sprout, this year you have grown from a barely-walking, moon-cheeked smiley baby to a running, jumping, chatting, joking, giggling, shrieking toddler. You tell knock knock jokes, but without the punchline. You have nearly all your teeth (one on its way and two in the wings, and then you are done for a while, you poor thing). You climb up and down stairs easily and reliably. You can open the fridge, which is a disaster, and you opened a door for the first time two days ago, ushering in a new era. You’ve been closing doors for months, leading to frequent confusion in the house.

Sprout, you make me laugh every day, and you bring lightness and joy into my life. Your sunny smile under a messy mop of curls fill my heart. We weaned this year, after a lovely long time sharing snuggles together. Now we spend our evenings cuddled up reading books, with you asking for “another story? Another story not bedtime?”.

You are my last baby, my easily-come-by baby, and my stubborn, strong-willed, delighted and delightful daughter. Happy Birthday, Sprout. I love you more than words, to the moon and back, forever and a day.

Six months and two years

It has been six months since I rummaged in Pea’s office closet and discovered his destructive habit. He has not drunk in an uncontrolled manner since, and, rather than push up against the restrictions we have set, is drinking less than “allowed” and spending time introspecting, trying to determine what was the draw to alcohol, the why of his behaviour. I think his therapist is helping, though we don’t talk about it. We are at the time point where we were going to revisit restrictions, and he isn’t all that interested in changing things (right now we drink up to 2 drinks, twice a week, but usually he just has a beer while BBQing once a week).

For me, forgiveness is still coming slowly. I’m not angry about the addiction, and I’m proud of the changes he has made and his dedicated interest in keeping things under control. I am still wobbly on trust. His actions caused me to be taking many risks with my own health and safety as well as those of my kids, which I would not have done if I had known the full story. He remains invested in his own privacy and does not share anything around alcohol unprompted, which leaves me wondering if I’m asking the right questions. He is an intrinsically private person, but I had hoped that by this point he would have recognized that I need us to be a team to move forward. He does not seem to take my feelings or perceptions into account when suggesting new ways of being, and I am tired of having the same fight over and over – where he hasn’t considered how his plans will make me feel and then is angry that I am dismissive or reject a plan, when I am hurt and angry. We don’t fight often anymore, but it is always the same fight.

I am getting frustrated and have said this. I have asked again, though more of a demand, that we see a couple’s therapist. He has agreed, reluctantly, but it seems it will be on me to set anything up and again, I wish he was willing to put some energy toward our relationship. I think he sees his behaviour modification as the solution to the entire issue, and while it is big and necessary, for me it doesn’t feel like the root of the relationship issue. It is also possible that his energy is still tied up in that modification, but not based on his reported experience. Not drinking seems … easy for him, or at least, it is an infrequent moment where he is having to deal with intrusive thoughts around alcohol.

I had resolved to not make any major decisions about the relationship until six months, so this is a point of reflection. Things are a lot better, and in many ways I can see a clear path to a healthy and fruitful relationship. We seem stuck on a few issues and that’s why I want to recruit some outside help. I don’t want his instinctive action to be that of defence and withdrawal, and I don’t want mine to be anger and criticism, but we’re locked into that pattern.

Yesterday was also the two-year anniversary of my email to my research group, telling them I was too pregnant to hobble to campus and that I would be working from home for the week pre-baby. Sprout arrived four days later, the pandemic hit two weeks before I was meant to return to work, and I’ve been home since! Two years at home was not my intention, and it has been glorious and awful. As things start to slowly open up here, my household has started to see grandparents inside, which has been absolutely lovely. We won’t relax much more than that though, as the kids are unvaccinated, but my mom came over for the afternoon and dinner last weekend. Sprout treated her like the world’s best stuffed animal, snuggling up to her side constantly. Spud was more reserved but also delighted. It was so deeply, restoratively nice to have her here. I am hopeful we are nearing the end of wide scale restrictions and that my region can keep cases under control, but am also treating this summer as a gap to be exploited, as cases may spike again in Fall with unvaccinated kids back in schools. We’ll see, progress is definitely being made so there is reason to hope.

Tasty biofilms

Me: this thesis is pretty good! The student has even defined a microbiome in a way I agree with.

Pea: but what if it was a microbiome with icing on top?

Me: looks exasperated… then thoughtful it would be glycolysis dominated. And probably also experiencing osmotic stress. Icing is toooooo sweet for microbes.

Pea: … you don’t have to know the answer to every question, you know.

Me: have you even ever met me?!

We are visiting one set of Pea’s parents, thanks to vaccines, negative tests, and low case counts near them. It’s really nice to see them, give some hugs, have them get to know their grandkids after nearly a year apart. It is great. Today started with fudge at breakfast and ended with Spud going to bed 45 minutes late, which seems just about right for a grandparent-defined day. Both kids are thrilled and absolutely loving a big road trip and change of scene (we were worried, as it’s been a long time, but they are rolling with everything with glee and aplomb).

[sung] Pa Pa Pa Pa Pa Paw Patrol!

Sprout has a stammer. She’s had it since she started talking – we remarked on her cute habit of repeating the first syllable of most words. Ma-mama! Da-dada! Pi-pickle! But as her language has progressed, the stammer has persisted. Most of the time, it is the first syllable of any sentence, indiscriminate of what letter is involved. “Go-go playground in car ride!” “Do-don’t like that, thanks.” Lately she also occasionally extends a word (“Do-don’t want tooooooooooooooo nap”), but it’s hard to know if that is the stammer, or just the usual toddler speech, or a slightly eccentric emphasis.

We’re not worried about it, yet. It is somewhere in-between “normal toddler” stammering and “high-likelihood to persist or worsen” stammering, based on online charts of specific behaviors associated with each. We’re not pointing it out, or correcting her. The advice is to leave it be, and to slow down the communication in your home. Cheery website examples of kids with stammers often note a fast-paced, word-play heavy household, and early advanced speech from the stammerer. Guilty! We’re a punny crew, and Sprout has been burbling in sentences for months now.

Her stammer was so cute until it… wasn’t. Anything neurological with my kids is a huge spark for anxiety spirals in me. She fell on her head when she was little, off our bed, on my watch. Did it break her brain? She cries til she passes out still – is that related? Is it brain cancer? Did I give her brain cancer by allowing her to fall off a bed? (I am aware the last is not possible, it is about as hyperbolic as my brain tends to get though.)

I am relatively sure she is fine, and will be fine, and if she needs some speech therapy to deal with a stammer, we will find her a speech therapist. I’m not usually concerned about it, until it is 4 am and I’ve been woken by a summer thunderstorm sheeting rain across my roof, and my brain searches for things to spin on.