Sunday, November 3, 2013

Day 3: Pseudofail

Well, that didn't take long. Three days in and I'm already posting what I like to call a "placeholder" post. Sigh. 

I was feeling uninspired this afternoon while they were napping, and am already paying for the recent increased typing I've been doing on my phone (wrist, you are no good to me!). So I figured I'd wait till they were down tonight and punch something out on my computer. But then, but then...

Daylight Saving Time, that foul, obnoxious bit of nonsense, ended. Seriously, whomever thought up that gem did NOT have children. Bastard. No, wait. That's not having a father. Asshole. That one's equal opportunity. 

So, they held out nearly till their "normal" naptime, but only slept two out of their usual three hours. And then, terrible parents that we are, we didn't do bedtime till after Sunday Night Football. I know, I know. We're literally the worst. 

Anyway, our resident goblin royalty was definitely overtired, so much so that even the no-fail Daddy Method, well, failed. 

So a quick post from bed will have to suffice tonight. 

Sleep tight, all. Enjoy your Monday morning sleep in. 

That is, unless you have kids. In which case... 

I feel your pain. 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Goodnight Moonigans

It's nice to have really important parenting preferences in common with your partner, such as which book to read at bedtime. Of course, once the beebs are older, we won't really have a say in the matter, so it's imperative that we get in as much reading of the (age-appropriate) books of our choosing now while they're still amenable to us making important decisions for them--such as which book to read at bedtime.

Lucky for The Barbarian and me, that choice was a no-brainer: Goodnight Moon. I mean, right? Are we wrong here? That book could in no way ever be improved upon because it is perfection itself. The cadence, the rhyming, the mood set by the illustrations, the simplicity. If I could move into a book, it would be that one. I'd even eat the mush. 

So, you would think us reading a bedtime story to our kids would be fairly straightforward and rote, but being that it's us, it's rarely that simple. 

To begin with, we needed to figure out who read what, because this was not something either of us wanted to be left out of (yep, I totally just ended a sentence that way--deal with it). And it took some trial and error because of the varying layouts of the pages. Sometimes there's a line on each facing page, sometimes there are two. Sometimes there are two lines on one page and none on the other. And sometimes there's only one line on one page and that's it. It was hard to find a rhythm. And would we always read it the same way each time so that we always had the same lines? Or would we change things up every once in a while? I mean, clearly this nightly experience will have an enormous impact on the development of our children, so we had to get it right. 

Eventually we settled on a nice pattern, and you'd think that might be the end of the story. But it's not. Why? Well, because apparently I'm not very good at patterns. Or taking turns. Or remembering whose turn it is. Or focusing my attention for the length of a simple board book I know by heart. 

Why? Because babies, that's why. They're clearly distracting. That's sort of their whole schtick. Obviously it's bedtime when we read our bedtime story, so they're sleepy, and when they're sleepy, they often want to nurse. But then they get distracted by the story (see? I'm not the only who gets distracted in this house) and want to crawl into The Barbarian's lap (we sit next to each other on the couch, but he always holds the book--if I try to hold it, things really fall apart). They switch places a lot or sometimes wander off or are seriously just so damn adorable, I forget what we're doing and just stare at them. It happens. It's not my fault. Biology or something. 

Anyway, The Barbarian NEVER seems to be affected by any of this, so I'm always the one looking like an asshole because he'll read his line and wait for me to read mine, but I'll have forgotten we were even reading a story in the first place and wonder why he's staring at me. Or I'll get pissy because he stole my line and he'll point out that I stole his the previous page. Or I'll have the last two lines before turning the page, but I'll only read one and then wonder what the holdup is. Seriously, I'm the worst. Who has that much trouble with a board book?

The best nights are when ridiculous things happen that then become part of the ritual of reading the book, though. For us, of course. The beebs have zero clue yet how awesome and amazing their parents really are--but boy will they be proud when they figure it out. 

For example, early on, when the beebs were still far too young to be into it, we were sitting on our bed reading the book and the beebs were crawling around, paying little attention. At one point, King Toad Agooga crawled into my lap, and, because his timing is impeccable, while I was reading quite possibly my favourite line about the "quiet old lady whispering...", he stuck his entire hand in my mouth just as I opened it to say, "hush." What came out, then, was more of a guttural, "hoacgh." I'll never forget The Barbarian's face as he looked over to enquire what the hell I was on about. I, of course, was already laughing my ass off and it's quite possible we had an extremely difficult time finishing the story that night because, well, because laughing. But it's totally become a thing, and every few nights, one or the other--or both at the same time if our brains are tuned correctly--say "hoacgh" instead of "hush." And always with added emphasis, leaning in and side-glancing at each other while trying not to laugh. The beebs don't seem to know the difference in pronunciation yet, so we don't get called out for it. And who can blame them? It's subtle. 

My new favourite, though, happened just recently. It's probably my favourite because this time, it really was The Barbarian being ridiculous for a change. We were reading along in our usual manner when I realized I didn't know whose line it was. Like literally, I couldn't remember if he had just read a line or if I had. Two seconds previous. Who does that? So I sort of glanced over at The Barbarian with a confused look on my face, and apparently, that signaled to him that, since it was indeed my turn, I simply couldn't remember my line. You know, the one printed on the page a foot or two in front of my face. So what does the ever helpful man do? He begins pantomiming the line--"goodnight comb"--by mouthing it and pretending he's running a comb through his dreads (because that's even possible). The absolute best part was the wide-eyed, nodding, encouraging face he donned to do this, like I was a frightened child onstage who really had forgotten my line, he attempting to jog my memory from the wings. 

I totally lost it. Who IS that guy? And of course now I start giggling several pages ahead of that line in anticipation of remembering how absurdly he handled the situation.

But then, who am I to judge? I can't even be bothered to remember if I've just spoken out loud or not.

And that, my friends, is a special kind of crazy.

The end.

Friday, November 1, 2013


So, I'm doing this. Starting today. All month. 

What is "this?" This is National Blog Posting Month, a commitment made with BlogHer to post to your blog every day for the month of November, to help get you in the groove of writing every day, and put yourself out there for all the world to see if you so choose. And it just so happens that I did so choose to do that last bit. What the actual fuck.

And did you catch the (not exactly but I like the phrase) middle part? EVERY. DAY. Every single one of them. Today, tomorrow, the next day, the day after that--all the way till 30 Nov. That's, wait... 30 DAYS of consecutive blog posts. From me. Mrs. I'm Not Even Going to Average Out My Posts to Give Comparison to How Few I Normally Do a Month Because That Would Be Embarrassing. And I never do anything to embarrass myself in some alternate reality that in no way exists

Anyway. So, yeah. I've been saying that I'd like to be posting regularly, and I think once a day is pretty regular (at least for some things...pooping, yes...blinking, not so much), so I've taken on this challenge to help encourage me in that department. I don't even want to think about how I feel regarding the possibility of the citizens of the internets at large reading my blog, though. 


So I won't. And maybe they won't. Who knows?

So there you have it. Lots and lots from me this month. Of varying quality, to be sure. But maybe I'll take the opportunity to tell the story of King Toad Agooga and The Goblin Queen, and that should be pretty neato. 


I make no promises.   

Thursday, October 24, 2013

I crack myself up

I do. All the time. Just ask The Barbarian.

But having kids adds a whole new dimension to it. Because when you are at home all day with your kids, the possibilities for ridiculousness are constant. Why? Because kids are RIDICULOUS. Add in a less than normal mama (vastly less than normal?), and seriously. Ridiculousness abounds.

Like yesterday, for example (you knew there'd be an example, right?). We had a loooooooong night previous for most likely teething-related reasons, and we were all a bit tired and fussy yesterday. Luckily, Grandma and Grandpa Walrus were here in the morning to keep them entertained while I cleaned the kitchen ( I the only one who sees something unfair in this scenario?) and started in on the junk room our bedroom, my current project (don't even ask). They ended up taking an extremely decent nap after that (near three hours, The Goblin Queen thankfully going down again for an additional hour after waking up partway through), but the remainder of the afternoon and early evening before The Barbarian got home (after being stuck in horrendous traffic) was very hit or miss. I was trying to get a shepherd's pie in the oven for dinner--an AMAZING shepherd's pie by Alton Brown, introduced to us by a friend who delivered meals to us while both of us were on bedrest during our pregnancy because WE HAVE AWESOME FRIENDS--and it was definitely a performance in several acts.

I tried distracting them with all manner of fun activities (okay, maybe only two) using one of their current favourite items, pompoms. I got down two egg cartons from the stash we keep on top of the fridge (with the intention of giving them to my mom in order for her to more easily gift out her chickens' eggs to the family, of course, but in reality, we stash them there for months and quite possibly years on end until people begin asking about the dust-covered collection and we're forced to just recycle the lot out of embarrassment) and poured some pompoms in a bowl and showed them how nicely they fit in the little egg cups. They thought this was pretty neat, putting them in and taking them out, and trying to close the egg cartons, and even turning the cartons upside down and squishing them in the spaces between the bottoms of the egg cups. But seriously, it lasted a grand total of four and a half minutes before they were clamoring for me again. Dude. Toddlers.

So I ripped the last two paper towels off the roll in the kitchen and scrounged in the bathroom trash for empty toilet paper rolls (yes, my children play with bathroom trash--it strengthens the immune system) so I could then spend five minutes searching for the painter's tape in order to tape said empty cardboard tubes onto the wall at various heights in order for The Goblin Queen and King Toad Agooga to make pompoms slide down the tubes of their own accord after being shown how this amazingness worked by their oh-so-dedicated mama. Of course, that's not what happened at all after my enthusiastic demonstration. They immediately ripped the tubes off the wall, KTA marching about shouting through one, and TGQ wandering over to one of their current empty cardboard boxes ("baby traps," as The Barbarian calls them) and deciding it was vastly more entertaining to throw the pompom still clutched in her hand into the box with an ecstatic exclamation in gibberish. But really, can you blame her? 

I hurriedly escaped back to the kitchen but was found moments later by an extremely needy TGQ. I was determined to push through as much as I could, though, and so we began our "kitchen dance," her alternating sitting on my feet, crawling through my legs, and grabbing my pants in iron fists while digging in her heels--all of which combine to make it near impossible to get to and from the island, the sink, and the stove. This dance is performed to the popular tune of "Fussy, Demanding, Pathetic Toddler." It's a classic. And this version of the dance is actually only the beginner/intermediate level. Why? BECAUSE THERE WAS ONLY ONE TINY HUMAN PERFORMIMG THE PART OF THE TINY HUMAN. We sell tickets to the full show. It's intense. 

Anyway, after fucking up the recipe slightly due to, ahem, being distracted, and totally getting outwardly frustrated at said source of distraction because of it (SIGH), I got to a point where I could pick her up for the remaining fine minutes of simmering and stirring until I was at a stopping point and we could go nurse. However, she then proceeded to do that most endearing of small child activities wherein she demanded to be picked up, then flung and wriggled her little body as if to say she wanted down, then immediately lost her shit upon being put down, only to be picked back up so she could begin the routine again. WHY DO THEY DO THAT? I eventually got outwardly frustrated with her again, even louder and more forceful than previously (BIGGER SIGH). 

So by the time we made it out of the kitchen and met up with KTA on the couch to nurse, I was, how you say, OVER IT. But they snuggled in close, one on each side, and happily and with great relief on the part of TGQ, nursed. And the vast majority of my feelings of frustration evaporated. Nursing's pretty awesome like that. 

And when I'm not feeling like I want to attach my children to a wall with huge strips of velcro to ensure their safety while I abandon them for the fresh air and emptiness of the patio with a tasty adult beverage, I'm more apt to crack myself up. So when TGQ stopped nursing and pulled my shirt down over the nipple, looking up at me and waiting with that gleam in her eye and little smile on her face for the perfect moment to reveal said nipple to the familiar exclamation, upon the final reveal, I yelled, "PEEKABOOBIE!" and sat on the couch laughing hysterically at myself under the gaze of two highly unimpressed toddlers. 

The end. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

I'm not very good at this whole thing

Which is hilarious because it's not for lack of things to say. Truly. The Barbarian has always said he enjoys just listening to me talk (he's not alone in this statement either). I think he has to say that, though, right? Because we're married? I don't know what the hell those other people's excuses are exactly. Weirdos.

So I'm pretty sure I mentioned last time something about encouraging King Toad Agooga and The Goblin Queen to nap on their own so I could have some free time during the day to do things like, say, write blog posts.



Basically, that hasn't happened. At all. Even once.

Why? Because SLEEP. That's why. We have spent the past 14 months doing everything we can to get them TO sleep, that the thought of doing something I know full well will INHIBIT their sleep makes me a bit...ill. I just can't bring myself to start the process. Any process.

The process is key too, because really, I have zero clue what this "process" should look like. Oddly (or rather, not oddly in the least), I've seen two parents post about this exact thing in groups on Facebook during the past few days, one a mama of twins. How the hell do you get your toddler used to napping on his or her own if they're used to napping with you (and boobie) there? Beats the shit out of me.

Honestly, I think I could handle the process with just one--as haughty and obnoxious as that must come across to parents struggling with this issue with just one child. For me, it's just a logistics issue. Unlatching a baby from the boobie and inching away until you're free of floppy arms and legs, then (somewhat) silently rolling or scooching over and slipping off the bed is doable to me. But how do you do that when there's a baby on both sides? If I get extremely wickedly lucky, they both eventually pop off the boobie and roll away a bit of their own accord. That makes things much easier.

So. Ask me how often that actually happens? Mmmm, hmmm.

Anyway. Blah, blah, blah, sleep, blah, blah, blah.

What else? Well, Autumn, that's what else. (And yes, I capitalize the seasons because they should be capitalized. I'm not even alone in this thinking. Back me up here, people.) Although our Autumn so far has consisted of 80-degree days, the nights and especially mornings have been fairly chilly and we finally procured some adorable fuzzy slippers for KTA and TGQ (courtesy of Nana) to protect their feet from our mostly uncarpeted house. They, however, don't grasp the concept of cold bare feet versus warm slippered feet, so they have far more fun taking them off. They do then invariably attempt to immediately put them back on, but, well, you know. We're still working on that.

I'm also forcing my love of Autumn cooking and baking on them, admittedly with mixed results. They LOVE the apples slices cooked in coconut oil and sprinkled with cinnamon. And even though I started that months ago, we had taken a break from it and it just seems appropriately Autumn, no? If given sliced raw apple, which they do like, they'll maybe eat a slice or two each. When cooked this way, they will literally go through an entire apple between the two of them. They. Love. It.

I also made them some pumpkin pancakes (after searching for a recipe that wasn't completely laden with sugar so as not to upset The Barbarian and his rabid anti-sugar ways), and they totally dug those. The recipe made an enormous batch of silver dollar pancakes, so I made them all and froze them for easy breakfasts and snacks. Sometimes I do awesome things like that. Sometimes.

Last week I made some persimmon bread, which was DELICIOUS, but they were so-so on it. Ditto the butternut squash bars I made a few days ago, which again, I thought were delightful. I had wanted to try a butternut squash yeast bread with some of the puree I have left, but realized I was out of yeast--which goes to show how long it's been since I've baked regularly. For shame. However, I think I will go ahead and make more pancakes with the squash instead of pumpkin, and maybe even some pumpkin bread with squash puree substituted. My Memere's pumpkin bread recipe is ridonculously delicious and I'm interested to see how it would be with the butternut squash. And dammit, it's that time of year, okay?

So, yeah. Lots of other things too. But I'll save more for later because that's how this whole thing works, right?

That is, if I come back anytime soon.


Saturday, September 14, 2013


Damn arthritis.

Seriously. I hate it. It's obnoxiously annoying. Which is a pretty redundant phrase, but arthritis is pretty redundantly stupid, so it fits.

Or something.

Okay, it's not like I was super gung-ho on the writings of the blog posts, but I at least did more than one, and possibly even did more than one a month (I'm too lazy to even go verify that, however), so at least it was more than nothing. And actually, I was super gung-ho. In my head. But getting what's in my head to translate into reality can be a problem. Hence the lack of posts. See how neat that wraps up to be? You missed me, didn't you?


Thwarted. By the damn arthritis.

Osteoarthritis, to be exact. Mostly in the base joint of my thumbs, and more so in my right hand because, well, you know. I'm right-handed and all. It seems to be genetic, as my mama has the same issue, and it seems to be related to our double-jointedness. Bending my thumbs back ridiculously far at the first joint is my circus cred, for sure.

And that's obviously how I learned to use my thumbs, as that position is my strongest, most natural grip. My arthritis began flaring here and there in my mid-twenties when I would use the joint that way for prolonged periods or with a lot of force, such as when I would use chopsticks several times in a week (and yes, if you're imagining that, you're realizing I hold my chopsticks weird...I don't think it counts as circus cred, though). The pad at the base of my thumb would get super swollen and the joint would ache, but I would ice it and pop some vitamin I (a clue into how much ibuprofen I've taken on a regular basis over the years), and all would eventually be well.

But then I moved to Montreal and that next full winter, things got really, really bad. I was in so much pain and had lost so much strength in those joints, I could barely get through my day. Brushing my teeth, styling my hair (I used to do that back then), pulling up my freaking pants, doing the dishes. I broke so many dishes during that period because I literally didn't have the strength to hold onto them. I used to turn my hands palms facing out to the sides and grasp the waist of my pants with just my fingers that way to pull them up (yes, it's as awkward as it sounds). Buttons and zippers were my nemesis. And this was Montreal. IN WINTER. If you haven't been there, I'm not even going to describe it to you because the very thought of it would frighten you. True story.

Anyway. Using Canada's awesome communist socialized medical system, I was fitted with braces to wear while I slept and as often as possible while I was at home (you have not experienced the ultimate in comfort until you have slept in two hard braces extending from the base of your fingers halfway down your forearm, keeping your thumb immobile, every night for months, let me tell you), and one for writing at school that was molded while I held a pen and kept the joint stable while I wrote (it was not comfortable or helpful in terms of writing AT ALL). Basically, I was a mess. And not very stylish.

But when I moved back to California, voila. In very short order, I was rarely if ever dealing with the issue. I was dealing with carpal tunnel syndrome in a very bad way, of course, because you know, the more problems you have in one part of your body, the better, I always say. But arthritis? Nah. Not really at all.

That is, until my genius plan to type, type, type away on my phone while in bed with the beebs (who, I've been admonished, are now very much toddlers, so...can we still use that term? Hmmm...). Obviously the way I hold the phone and use my thumb to type is severely exacerbating my arthritis, which is, in turn, keeping me from writing. And that is, in turn, making me very fussy. Well, among other things. The Barbarian likes to describe me as "fussy" in general. It's his polite way of saying I'm a total bitch. These are the things that keep marriages thriving, right?

So, there you have it. The reason (excuse?) for why I have been ever so less than prolific with the posting. Of course it means I will have to come up with some other plan for finding time to write, but things are in the works. We are making headway with The Barbarian putting the babies to sleep (with the occasional assist from me) and them actually staying that way for sometimes a few glorious hours before waking to nurse or before we finally just come to bed. We actually WATCHED TV the other night. It was insanity. And after finishing the first show and convincing ourselves they were just asleep and not dead, we watched A SECOND SHOW. I know. I know. I could get used to this.

And I think I am finally ready to start having them get used to napping without me. Not falling asleep without me, of course, as I'll still nurse them down, but I'm working up the nerve to start sneaking away once they are out-out. And I say "working up the nerve" because this will, of course, mean their naps will most likely be depressingly short for a while, as they are used to half-waking and latching back on and falling back asleep several times over the course of a nap. But I'm hopeful and confident that with enough persistence on my part, we can come to an understanding, so to speak, and they'll get used to the idea that I'll be there when they fall asleep, but not when they wake up. We shall see, eh?

So expect more from me. But not too much. We must always endeavour to be realistic. Because being unrealistic makes me fussy.

And The Barbarian doesn't need any more validation in that department.

Trust me.         

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

THAT parent

I'm pretty sure it's safe to say those of us who know all along that we'll become parents have an image of that parent before actually having children. Sometimes that vision is created and tweaked long before even being ready to start a family, and when that happens, the imagined future narrative of one's life as a parent can become an utterly daunting ideal constantly flashing in the back of your mind as you navigate the oftentimes stormy waters of parenthood. (Because comparing parenting to attempting to control and right a constantly flailing, listing, wayward ship is not wholly inaccurate, am I right?)

This was--and is--the case for me. I began babysitting here and there starting at a very young age (10, I believe, as I was ever the astonishingly mature child...yes, I seem to have devolved in many areas...) and eventually turned my love of children and caring for them into what I suppose I can call a career nannying. And the fact that I have a hard time referring to the 14 years I spent as a nanny a "career" really does speak to the ridiculous values this society places--and doesn't place--on things deemed "work." Or maybe those are my hangups. Hmmm. Something to consider.

Anyway. The point is, I nannied for a LONG TIME. I should say, I had the absolute pleasure of nannying for a long time. Because while it was still a job, and I didn't always necessarily jump for joy at the thought of getting up and doing it again the next day, I really did love nannying. I was honoured the parents I worked for trusted me to help raise their children, and I felt thankful my "work" was helping me learn valuable and very applicable life skills. And over the years, as I spent time with many different children and was exposed to many different ways of parenting, I developed a pretty detailed blueprint for my eventual approach to parenting.

All the while, though, I was repeatedly told, and readily agreed, that things would be so very different when I had my own children. However, I think maybe somewhere in the back of my mind, I rolled my eyes a bit whenever this was mentioned. Of course it would be different. I would have the weight of full responsibility for EVERYTHING relating to my children bearing down on me at all times. I would be sleep-deprived and hormonal--and I certainly wouldn't be able to just go home at the end of the day. I would be home. All the time. But even knowing these things rationally, I'm pretty sure I still thought I could overcome a lot of it and stick to these lofty ideals I had so meticulously assembled for myself. 

Then I had babies. Two of them. AT THE SAME TIME. Remember that whole thing? 

That is not to say things would necessarily be different if we had only had one to start. We'll never know, I suppose. What we do know, though, is that having twins, especially, I think, for your first (and second), effectively renders any vision of your list of dos and don'ts as a parent null and void. NULL. AND. VOID. 

Like TV, for instance. I'm not much of a TV-watcher myself (neither is The Barbarian). In fact, up until briefly last year, I had never even had broadcast or cable TV in my home, and had gone quite a while without even an actual TV. I'm also well aware of the research linking early TV-watching and media influence in general with all sorts of not very desirable effects. So I had firmly decided my children would not watch ANY television until two years old at the earliest. Wanna know how long it took me before I scanned Netflix for something that wouldn't make me more insane than I already felt while attempting to distract them for even two minutes in order to quell the fussing and clinging and neediness so I could breathe deeply and stifle the urge to scream out of sheer exhaustion and frustration? Seven months. SEVEN MONTHS. Which, if my math is correct, is really nowhere even in the general vicinity of two years.

And now, at one year, they watch TV daily. And I shouldn't really say "TV," I suppose, because it's not uncontrolled nonsense spewing into my home, and they certainly don't watch commercials. But I put shows on for them from either Netflix or Amazon Prime when I need to clean up a bit, hold them off for nap (we're still technically in the transition between two naps and one nap, so lengthening that morning gap can still be a struggle sometimes), or just feel like having something on in the background. Which is terrible. I admit that. And, as not a TV-watcher--as not even someone who generally ever even watches movies or shows alone--I never got the whole background TV thing. In fact, it drove me crazy when I walked into people's houses and it was just on, all the time. My mom eventually had to get used to the fact that when I arrived at her house, the first thing I did was head straight for the TV and turn it off. She eventually began hurriedly doing it herself upon my arrival. I'm so rude.

I will admit that this is an area in which we are just recently realizing we really should step it back. Because, seriously--they love TV. I mean, what kid doesn't? What person doesn't? It's a well documented phenomenon that those of us who don't watch TV on a regular basis simply cannot take our eyes off the damn thing if we find ourselves in close proximity to one that's on. Dude. It's uncontrollable. I get it. It's a (in our case) huge box exploding with lights and noises and music and shapes and movement and it's just plain neat. King Toad Agooga and The Goblin Queen especially like the music because they LOVE to dance. Especially TGQ. Sometimes she wakes up and the very first thing she does, while still literally half asleep, is sit up and start dancing (which for her is holding her arms out in front of her, bent in at the elbows a bit, and moving them side to side while twisting her body just slightly. We realized some months ago that she must associate this move with dancing, as Ehren would stand her in his lap when she was tiny, grab her arms, and then pump them in and out, making her whole body, but especially her booty, shake side to side while he sang, "Shake, shake, shake your booty..." And she was so floppy, it was wildly entertaining. He also used to animate her arms and make up raps for her to perform when she was really tiny and it was hifuckinglarious. I'm not sure we ever actually got one on video, though. It's official. We suck.). It took KTA a little while longer to pick up the dancing thing (apparently TGQ, who is very like me in many ways, gets this from me, as, according to legend, I was always, always parents still call me "Boogie" actually), but he has his own very distinct style consisting of bending his knees and bouncing up and down. And he almost always looks to see if anyone is watching him perform. With the cutest little smile on his face too. It's ridonculously adorable. And I love that their dancing styles are so different. They're just the coolest.

But I digress.

TV, right. TV is bad, m'kay? I mean, they're asking for it now...and getting a bit pissy when I turn it off sometimes. Nothing distraction doesn't immediately quash, but it's a definite change from even a few weeks ago. And obviously part of that is because they're developmentally more advanced every week and are "getting" the TV way more. They certainly don't actually watch it the entire time it's on, but that percentage is getting higher and higher. And interestingly, I was re-reading some research on TV and the developing brain after beginning this post, and most things I came across noted that children their age don't even understand what's happening on TV. But I'm not so sure--they laugh at funny parts and sometimes imitate what a character is doing, like jumping. I mean, we know they're geniuses, but... 

So anyway, my point is that we are making a concerted effort to not have it on so much (and are excited to finish our fenced play area in the backyard so we can spend more time outdoors during the day...walks in the stroller only do so much for my busy children and there is no way I can handle taking both to the park alone--a few minutes on the patio the other day netted us a scraped chin, quite a bit of ingested dirt, and a faceplant into a cooler still filled with water leftover from their party. As hard as I try, I still can't seem to be everywhere at once. I'm not sure what the deal is...), but the reality is that it's on sometimes and will most likely continue to be on sometimes. And I'm okay with that. The main sticking point in the research seems to be that children who are watching TV are not being interacted with, especially verbally, by their caregivers, and that's really where the negative effect on brain development comes in. But this is not the case for the beebs. Truly, it's challenging to ever really shut me up, and those poor things are stuck here all day with me. Can you imagine the inane bullshit they have to listen to? Poor dears. And while there is definitely still lots we don't know about how TV and media in general affects babies' brains in those crucial first few years, much of my generation--and I realize we are wading firmly into logical fallacy territory here--watched a hell of a lot of TV starting early on (Sesame Street FTW!), and we turned out this side of pretty okay, I think. That's a rhetorical statement, by the way. No commentary needed.

So there's that.

Also, cloth diapers. That's a crunchy, post-hippie thing to do, right? Well, by golly, I was gonna use cloth diapers. And what's not to love? Better for their skin, better for the environment, better for your budget. I had used cloth diapers on babies in the past and thought it was a no-brainer. 

And we did...for a while. Well, not to begin with actually, as the hospital (where we never expected to be in the first place) supplied us with all the Pampers we could go through, and seeing as KTA was in the NICU for a while and they sent TGQ home with plenty, we just used those. Which felt like such a copout, not just because they weren't cloth, but because they were Pampers. They weren't even good hippie diapers. They had characters on them and smelled like baby (that's a trademarked scent, right?). But whatever, they were free and handy. Eventually we started using cloth on TGQ, but poor KTA, being only 4lbs, 13oz at birth, was way too tiny for even the preemie cloth diapers we ended up ordering. However, by two months or so, I'd say they were in cloth most of the time, except at night, and except when I hadn't done the laundry, and except when we weren't at home, and except when we felt lazy. But I'm pretty sure it was still, overall, a majority.

This pattern went on for a while and we were happy. Except for that damn yeast diaper rash that kept rearing its ugly head. This led to the adventure known as "stripping the diapers." So we stripped them in an attempt to rid ourselves once and for all of this terribly annoying affliction. And we stripped them again. And again. And again. In different solutions. In different machines. Using different methods. And just when I think we had finally rid ourselves of it, our washing machine stopped performing in anything close to an efficient manner (which is so not an okay reality in a household with babies), so we bought a new one. And because I have been wanting one for years for all sorts of efficiency reasons, we got a front-loader. Now, I actually knew in the back of my mind that front-loaders are NOT good for washing cloth diapers. I had read this in an article or two or five at some point in my research about cloth and caring for cloth and stripping and all that. But did I remember this at the time of purchase? No. No, I did not. Why? Because babies. That's why.

So we got our front-loader. And I loved it. But I began to hate our diapers. That efficiency thing I loved so much about front-loaders turns out to be the thing that makes them so shitty for washing cloth diapers--they don't use nearly enough water. It adds water based on the weight of the load, and since most diapers that go in aren't completely saturated (we opted not to keep them soaking in between loads as some people do), the machine adds much less water than it should because as soon as the water hits the diapers, they just soak it all up and are being tossed around mostly wet, but not actually in water...which as you can imagine, does not get them particularly clean. There are all these workarounds to the problem like adding a soaking wet towel or two to the load or--get this--standing there and adding a few GALLONS of water through the detergent dispensing drawer during the cycle. BWAHAHAHAHA!! Yeah. Right. I so totally have time to do that. Every time I wash diapers. Because I even have time to wash the fucking diapers regularly as it is. Fuck me.

And do you know what happens when cloth diapers don't get properly cleaned? As soon as they get peed in, they stink. Really, really badly. Like obnoxiously bad. Add to this the fact that after babies start eating solids, their poop doesn't just wash off in the machine anymore, and you have to devise some way to catch, scrape, or rinse the poo off before washing them, which is seriously NOT a favourite in any sense of the word past time of mine, and you have us arriving at the reality of choosing, nine or ten months in, that we were going with disposables full-time "for now." Because that's what I keep telling myself. But that's totally a crock because we're not going back to cloth. Maybe next baby. But definitely not these. I make myself feel better by getting environmentally-friendly diapers at a fat discount on Amazon, but I still feel less than because of this. But you know what? Fuck it. Disposable diapers are SO MUCH EASIER. And that is the name of the game these days, my friends. The name of the game. 

So I realize that's a fairly high word count for only two examples of how and why I'm not exactly the parent I imagined I'd be, but that's what you're getting. The Barbarian has been royally on my case about finishing a new post (he likes to read what I write, or something? I dunno), so I'll compile more examples of my imperfection as a mother in some (many) future post(s). 

The takeaway from this, of course, though, is that all the planning and scheming and visualizing and promising and smug feelings of preemptive satisfaction in the world cannot ever adequately prepare you for the realities of having your own wee progeny in your own house on your own time ALL THE TIME FOREVER AND EVER. Or at least until they move out, which, in this economy is probably never anyway. 

Oh, also? It's okay to let your kids watch TV and wear disposable diapers. Why? Because I said so, that's why. But never actually say that phrase to your kids. Because that's DEFINITELY on the "do not do" list--and it's staying there. 



Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Mayor of Peepiss Town

So this one should definitely be filed under weird shit The Barbarian and I do as parents. And make room. It's gonna be a big file.

Both of our families are a bit strange, but creatively and awesomely so (mostly...?). However, I think maybe The Barbarian's family takes the cake in terms of the wealth of bizarre traditions, nicknames, euphemisms, stories, and the like belonging to them. The Barbarian and his sister Auntie Smellia, close in age and just plain close, apparently grew up in the most fantastical world of imaginative delight. Seriously, these two were like the coolest weird kids ever. They held mock trials for their delinquent stuffed animals and traded messages at bedtime via Grandpa Walrus, posing as their alter egos, New Zealand John and Big Boss Diane. And no, they're not named any version of John or Diane. I mean, you can't make this shit up. Well, you can technically, because they did. But you know what I mean. They were NERDS. Big, epically awesome nerds. My siblings and I just held each other down and farted on one another. Ours was a different brand of epically awesome...something. 

Anyway. One of my favourite concepts of theirs has always been the mythical and magical land known as Peepiss Town. What is Peepiss Town, you ask? Well, it's where you go to pee or take a piss. OBVIOUSLY. So when you have to pee, you announce that you are "going to Peepiss Town." Isn't that grand? I mean, in reality, the idea of a town everyone uses specifically as a depository for urine is utterly disgusting, even for me. But somehow, framed as this juvenile euphemism for peeing, it simply sparks my imagination and childish delight. Because I'm strange. I know. 

Now, then. When you have twins, there is, of course, a natural tendency to want to compare them, and it's something of which The Barbarian and I work to be really conscious. Obviously there's no way to completely avoid it, but we do try to minimize the practice so there isn't this air of competition all the time. That is, until it comes to comparing wet diapers first thing in the morning. Because, dangus. Those are some seriously hefty diapers after 11 or 12 hours. And yes, that means no, we don't change diapers overnight. I think maybe we did when they were super tiny, but it didn't last long. Our goal is to keep them asleep, not wake them up to perform their least favourite activity in the middle of the night. That's just setting everyone up for failure, and we like to keep things positive around these parts. Positive parenting through grossly saturated diapers. Whatever works, right? 

So first thing in the morning... Okay, that's not true--we stay in bed for a while pretending the babies aren't actually awake as they sing and jump on our bladders, then we, surprise, empty said abused bladders, and someone puts the kettle on. I mean, I already made it pretty clear their diapers are not really a priority for us, so don't act all shocked. Let's start again, then. 

So when we get around to it sometime after everyone's awake in the general vicinity of first thing in the morning, we change the beebs' diapers and cannot help afterwards but compare the two little wrapped up packages that fit so nicely in our hands (am I the only one who appreciates the perfect tidiness of a nicely rolled with tabs folded in diaper? Yes? Okay, then.). And we get pretty technical about it too, holding them simultaneously while gently lifting them up and down to gauge which one's heavier. If we had a digital kitchen scale, we would totally use that shit for this. Wait. OH, MY GODS, WE NEED A DIGITAL SCALE. That would change everything. Wow. Mind blown. 

Okay, so once we have determined whose diaper weighs more, that beeb is declared--you guessed it--Mayor of Peepiss Town. Because why wouldn't the baby with the most pee in their diaper get to be the Mayor of Peepiss Town? It actually makes perfectly logical sense if you think about it. So, in fact, refile this under perfectly logical shit The Barbarian and I do as parents that you wish you had thought of first. Not sure on the size of this file yet, though. Jury's still out.

Now, for all of you wondering (and I know you are), the election process goes like this. A new election is held every morning, and the amount of pee contained in each diaper act as votes, with the heaviest diaper obviously containing the most votes. Sometimes votes are lost if we have a leaking incident prior to our lazy asses actually changing diapers. And that's basically too bad for the candidate in question. We call it the "hanging chad" effect and we do not, I repeat, do NOT count hanging chads. How would we even logistically do that? So, no. Votes lost are votes lost.

Sometimes, though, a candidate will attempt to gain the upper hand by winning votes from Poo County. The votes from Poo County come from the sort of fringe citizens living outside the town proper, and they are notoriously difficult to convince to participate in the very democratic process of choosing a new town mayor. They can only be convinced to vote in about a quarter of all elections, and that's generally only after some heavy canvassing on the part of the candidates' campaign teams, run by either of our two resident campaign managers, Pig or Furry Bubba. Furry Bubba is a much more effective manager, whereas Pig is simply more than a bit apathetic about the whole thing. Consequently, the beebs are constantly attempting to lure Furry Bubba to their campaign with promises of more highchair droppings, and he's not particularly loyal in the realm of politics, so he bounces back and forth. Technically, the voting rights status of folks living in the greater Poo County region as it pertains to electing a town mayor is, and always has been, in question. But we let these votes stand, as separating them from the proper town votes is essentially not a venture we're willing to undertake "first thing" in the morning, also known as ever.

Occasionally there is a recount. Normally either The Barbarian or I count the votes and declare a winner, but sometimes the count is so close, we must consult and have a recount. These are very tense mornings. But transparency and fairness are of utmost importance in the politics of our house, so we work tirelessly until we're confident of the outcome. Okay, not really. Especially if the kettle is whistling. But you get my point.

And on very rare occasions, no clear winner can be determined, so we have a runoff. The first person to receive late votes from Poo County is then officially declared Mayor of Peepiss town for the day. Poo County is very influential. The gerrymandering in the evenings is just ridiculous, basically producing a new map every day. It's really quite challenging to keep track of it all. But what kind of parents would we be if we didn't?  

So that, my friends, is how The Barbarian and I begin every day--by holding an election for Mayor of Peepiss Town featuring our 11-month-old twins as candidates and their pee-soaked diapers as votes.

Now you know.                 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Hiding in the bathroom

A basic fact about being a mama to wee folk is that you are always "on." And again, even more so with twins. Yes, having two young children of any age is challenging, but even a year's difference in age makes a huge impact on their needs and level of independence. Having two of the same age means they essentially always need the same thing at the same time--and that, my friends, makes for some serious juggling on the part of the mama.

Being that we practice what some call "attachment parenting" (AP), but what I tend to refer to as "instinctual" or "intuitive" parenting (if you are meeting the very real needs of your child in a way that feels good in your heart and core, regardless of what some "expert" in some books says, then you're doing it right), the beebs have spent the vast majority of their lives thus far physically attached to someone, mostly me, of course, with The Barbarian coming in a close second because he's awesome like that. They get nursed, held, cuddled, carried, worn, and they sleep on or next to us. And we wouldn't have it any other way. We'll be super sad when they're too old and busy for constant cuddles. In fact, I'm sad just thinking about it. 

However, that is not to say I love every minute of it. Because I most certainly do not. Seriously, a ten minute chunk of my day can and does often look like this:

I'm sitting on the couch nursing one baby. 

Other baby comes over smelling decidedly like crap (and that's pronounced "crepe" in my house, the American pronunciation, of course...and don't ask...that one's The Barbarian's doing). 

I put first baby down so I can lift other baby up to change his/her diaper. 

First baby cries and fusses and tries to crawl back up into my lap while I am attempting to wipe crap off other baby's bum and not get any on the couch, my hands, other baby's hands, first baby's hands, etc. (yes, they've recently found their bits and it's wuv, twoo wuv, especially for King Toad Agooga--go figure). 

Other baby cries and fusses and flails and makes every attempt to get out of my reach, off the couch, to Mexico, etc. 

I finish with other baby and set him/her back on the floor so I can lift first baby back up to finish nursing. 

Other baby waits till first baby is latched back on before deciding he/she too would like to nurse. 

I lift other baby up to nurse without even unlatching first baby. I am that amazing. 

I nurse both babies for a minute until other baby decides she/he didn't really want to nurse, but instead wanted to use the location advantage to climb onto the side table next to the couch. 

I strong arm other baby off the side table and back down to the floor while keeping first baby latched. Yep, you guessed it. Amazing abounds.  

Other baby cries and fusses and wants back up. 

First baby pops off the boobie and slides off the couch (sometimes, as in the case of King Toad Agooga, the sliding off happens before the popping's as fantastic as it sounds). 

I pick other baby back up and ask if he/she wants to nurse a bit more. He/she clearly indicates the desire to either a) get back on the side table, or b) climb up the back of the couch in an attempt to faceplant on the hardwood, so we both get down off the couch. 

I find first baby under dining room table eating a piece of mail that has been blown off said table by the ceiling fan. 

I remove piece of mail and small chewed up bits from first baby's mouth. 

First baby cries and fusses. 

I find something to distract first baby. 

I hear massive thud and look over to see that other baby has fallen off/over a box/toy/him/herself and rush to pick him/her up. 

First baby takes opportunity to bother Pig, the decidedly less beeb-friendly of our two beasts. 

I rush over to remove first baby from Pig's bed while still comforting other baby. 

First baby goes back for more. They are nothing if not tenacious. 

I remove first baby yet again and relocate Pig to the other side of the baby gate in the hall (poor, poor Pig), while still comforting other baby. 

Other baby finally decides he/she is ready to get back down. 

Just then, first baby knocks over the water glass I thought was out of reach (silly mama) and spills it all over him/herself and the floor.

I head for a towel...

And it goes on like this all day. ALL. DAYExcept for when they're sleeping, of course, in which case they're tucked into my armpits. A vast improvement on some levels, to be sure, but I'm sure you caught the part where they're still ATTACHED TO MY PERSON, even in sleep? Again, I truly wouldn't have it any other way. But sometimes, just sometimes, I have the overwhelming urge to quietly slip out the front door while they're otherwise engaged, head to the pub, order a pitcher for one, and pretend I don't have children for a few hours. It's true. I make The Barbarian hide my keys sometimes so I can't, because I am far too lazy to walk to the pub. Just kidding. About the keys. Mostly.

So what do I do instead when I have support and the opportunity presents itself? I do what undoubtedly all mamas, but especially, it turns out, mamas of multiples, do--I hide in the bathroom.

I believe it may have been The Barbarian who first used that phrasing many months ago when it had become a discernible pattern, as in, calling from the other room, "Don't hide for too long in there." And I had to laugh because that's exactly what I had taken to doing. 

Now, I'm totally not that completely anal, OCD martyr of a mama who is convinced only she can and should care for her children at all times. I take help whenever and wherever (if not necessarily from whomever...these are my children we're talking about, after all) I can get it. But the truth is that, especially when they were younger and nursing more, they needed me (I absolutely loathe pumping and, therefore, they have had very few bottles of expressed milk in their lives). And oftentimes they just want me. And honestly, I know what it takes to handle them both, so even when it's The Barbarian on duty, I feel bad just leaving them to someone else.

So whenever I'm not "on," so to speak, with the babies, I'm ostensibly "on" in some other capacity befitting a person engaged in my line of work--I'm cooking, cleaning, running errands, doing laundry, etc. I'm not out on the patio lounging in the sun, drinking a mojito and reading nerdy non-fiction (as opposed to the seemingly requisite or predictable trashy novel of my station in life--I don't do trashy novels...I find them...trashy). I'm doing something that needs to get done. I'm attempting to make a dent in the chaos that is my life and home. I'm being productive.

But when I'm in the bathroom, attending to very real and pressing needs, I find that after I've actually been...productive...I'm not in any real hurry to get up. And seeing as I always visit the loo with my handy-dandy iPhone (sometimes even my MacBook), the situation lends itself perfectly for taking a real break just for myself. To peruse Facebook or read articles or send emails or texts or, even, blog. I can justify it because I can't very well NOT go to the bathroom, but who's to say how long such things actually need to take? Seeing as we have only one bathroom, on occasion The Barbarian will come interrupt, but who's really going to come bother a mama in the bathroom? I mean, rude people, sure. But I try to limit my exposure to rude people in my own home. Don't you?

So I take advantage of that fact and I hide. Sometimes I hide until my feet fall asleep. True story.

Because, seriously, being able to go to the bathroom ALONE and without being subjected to the pitiful cries of my poor abandoned children on the other side of the baby gate in the hall is, like, I don't know. I don't even know what it's like. But whatever that thing is that it's like, that thing is full of awesome. That I do know.

A while back, another mama in my fabulous Facebook group for parents raising multiples in the style we do, asked how other mamas found time for themselves. I was highly entertained and delighted to see that I was not the only one who answered, "I hide in the bathroom."

So fair warning: This and any future post you may read has a very high likelihood of having been composed, at least in part, while I hid in the bathroom.

And I know you wanted to know that.

You're welcome.      

Friday, July 5, 2013

The hazards of not putting your boobies away

...or, An example of the resounding awesomeness of The Barbarian. 

The phenomenon of new breastfeeding mamas forgetting to put their boobies away was first pointed out to me by our apprentice midwife a few weeks after the beebs were born when, being a stellar photographer in addition to her talents helping mamas and babies in their transition to happy dyad, she stopped by to take some newborn shots of The Goblin Queen and King Toad Agooga. Ehren was helping her with one while I sat on the floor nursing the other, and at one point she looked over and asked if she could capture me nursing as well. I readily agreed, but before she took any photos, she casually mentioned that my other boobie was out, just in case I wanted to put it away before she began. I laughed and tucked it away, having been completely unaware that it was exposed. She shrugged and said that all new mamas forget to put their boobies away. It was just the way of things. 

And it is totally the way of things. You are nursing so, so much in the beginning--and doubly so with twins--that it seems rather pointless to ever put them away. Having them out just becomes your natural state and makes the whole affair that much easier. It was months, I think, before I became more aware of and consistent about putting my boobies away. Guests in my house just simply had to deal with that fact. I am not really a modest person to begin with and at that point viewed my boobies as exactly what they are--the parts of my body with which I fed, comforted, and put my babies to sleep. Simple as that. No reason for anyone to get embarrassed. And I am ridiculously lucky to have two families and a group of friends who have been beyond supportive in my breastfeeding the beebs. I realize not every mama has that and truly feel extraordinarily lucky. 

And I loved the phrase so much, I still say, "Hold on, let me put my boobie(s) away" to the babies when they're ready to move on to the next thing. And I'm still lazy about latching my nursing bra or buttoning up my tank when it's just us around the house because, well, because it's MAH HOUSE. And if you don't like it, you can get the fuck out. Goonie goo goo. 

So it was this afternoon after I nursed the beebs ahead of The Barbarian taking them on a "seepy walk." Their morning nap is usually pretty solid, but the afternoon one can be hit or miss, and when he's home, The Barbarian will often take them for a walk in an attempt to get them to sleep somewhere/how other than me lying down with them in bed so I can actually try to get some stuff done. In this case, it was so I could run to the store and start prepping meals to freeze for later in the week, an efficiency/streamlining technique I've been wanting to try out. 

They got loaded up and left, leaving the front door open and the screen unlatched and just resting against the jamb, as I would be leaving that way momentarily. I sat back down at the dining room table to go over my list one more time, but Pig and Apacolips, our beasts, began barking at something through the screen door, so I got up and put them out back, where they were headed shortly once I left anyway. 

I sat back down, facing the front door, as it opens into the dining room half of our main front room, and heard footsteps coming up the porch steps. I assumed The Barbarian had forgotten something and didn't even glance up until I heard a voice I didn't recognize. It wasn't The Barbarian at all, but two men, one older at the base of the steps and one younger right up against the unlatched screen door, both in the uniforms and hats of some company. 

And there I was, sitting not 12 feet away, my nursing bra pulled up on both sides but in danger of falling, as it wasn't latched, and my tank unbuttoned down past my breasts and completely open (I had intended to change to go to the store, so hadn't bothered doing it all back up). I was completely and thoroughly caught off guard. SHIT. Do I take a minute to latch and button and draw attention to the fact that my tits are basically hanging out? I started to, but saw the guy smirk, so stopped and just crossed my arms over my chest as I quickly tried to figure out what the fuck they wanted so I could tell them to GTFO. 

They were from some independent energy company trying to sell us their services by starting off saying they work "for" or "with" our current provider, which is an obnoxious load of crap. I called our provider after the last guy asked to see my bill to make sure I was "getting my discounts." I was told they had no affiliation, but, unfortunately, it's not illegal for them to say that they do to get a foot in the door, so to speak (literally?). 

Realizing it was the same scenario as last time, I was repeatedly telling him we weren't interested as I moved the toy storage ottoman propping the front door open out of the way so I could close it (King Toad Agooga likes to try to smash The Goblin Queen in between the door and the screen while she kneels or stands and innocently surveys her goblin domain...or maybe not so either case, hence the ottoman). 

While I'm doing this, the guy is right up to the screen, creepily leering at my breasts with this disgusting smirk on his face, asking me question after question apparently in an attempt to prolong his viewing pleasure even though I am literally closing the door in his face as he leans sideways to get one more glimpse before I finally manage to.

Now, obviously, I was pissed and thoroughly creeped out, but for a split second, I was downright scared. I fully admit that. And I wouldn't say I scare easily in those types of situations. But my husband and children were gone, my trusty beasts were behind a sliding glass door, I was feeling completely vulnerable in my exposed state, and there was literally nothing stopping those men from coming into my house. And again, I am not one to worry or fret about that type of thing most of the time. But this scared me. The energy coming off that guy was not good. 

I was so upset once they left that I let the dogs in and didn't even want to leave the house to go to the store. I texted The Barbarian to tell him what happened, and when I didn't hear back (because his phone was on silent), I called. He finally answered and read the texts while we were on the phone...and then I just broke down. I was that upset. 

And what really upset me the most is that I was in that state of not-completely-covered because I had been FEEDING MY BABIES, YOU FUCKING ASSHOLE. I wasn't just hanging around the house with my boobs ready to pop waiting for your sorry ass to show up at my door and ogle them. I had, moments before, been nursing my beloved progeny in the hopes it would soothe them and fill their bellies so that they might fall asleep in the stroller, saving me the time it would take to nap with them so that I could grocery shop in order to feed my family--not even my favourite activity either (the shopping bit, not the feeding people bit...that I most certainly love). It was an innocent and natural and special occurrence, and yet I felt somehow ashamed or embarrassed or foolish or something I shouldn't have been made to feel in the aftermath of our encounter (and yes, I fully realize I chose to feel that way, but seriously, this just in--the tests came back and I AM human...mostly). 

And for whatever reason, the fact that that seriously yucky and slightly scary interaction was in any way related to me nursing just really got to me. I felt taken advantage of by a total creeper in my own house. A polite person would have maybe, I don't know, TURNED AROUND for a godsdamn minute when he realized I had been caught with my...nursing bra...down. Or at least averted his eyes for a second. Or something. But he didn't. He chose to be an asshole. 

And we all make choices. The Barbarian made a choice too. He arrived home a little while later (to my relief) and as I was helping him extract the babies from the stroller, he told me the most fantastic thing. He had spied what he (correctly) assumed were those same men on his way home, and guess what? He approached them, told them they had thoroughly creeped out his wife, demanded an apology (which he got), made them write down our address, and told them to never come to our house again. HAH! And he said the younger guy, who had been so forward with me, wouldn't even look him in the eyes. Why? BECAUSE HE KNEW HE HAD BEEN AN ASSHOLE, THAT'S WHY. 

So, basically, I just have one question: How awesome is my husband, right? RIGHT? 

The end. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Of mamas, new and not so new

I said I would touch on my changed view of babies' sleep habits and needs and link to some of the super useful and awesome websites I've found that have helped me get there in this post, but I've changed my mind. And I get to do that. Because this is my blog. NEAT.

I do actually want to start off by talking about sleep, though--at least as much as to say that my family is sleeping and I am not. As the beebs' first birthday quickly approaches and the reality of that just completely and thoroughly blows my mind, I often find myself wondering how much longer I can refer to myself as a "new mama." When does one cross over from "new" to just plain ol' "mama?" Because new mamas are supposed to sleep when their baby/ies is/are sleeping, but I woke up at 5:30 to nurse The Goblin Queen and once she was back asleep, decided getting up by myself in a quiet house sounded better than continuing to sleep for several more hours.

Did you catch that? I chose something else over SLEEP. Sleep, that most necessary of requirements of which I have experienced so little over the past 20 months or so. I was plagued by insomnia in my early pregnancy, was too uncomfortable to sleep well in my late pregnancy, and once they made their debut, well, all bets were off in that department. Apparently I handle sleep deprivation very well according to most everyone I know. I have gotten countless and continuous comments in that vein over the months. But it seemed to have caught up with me recently and the normal forgetfulness and missing words on the tip of my tongue turned into dropping things, breaking things, knocking things over, doing bizarre things and having zero recollection of them afterwards. I made it a priority to make sure I was eating regularly after that and made myself nap with the babies when I could. And right around that time we changed up our bedtime routine to me actually just going to bed with the babies around 9pm. I don't sleep right away, of course, but I think just having that extra time in bed is helping.

Which brings us to this morning and my choice to sneak out of bed (not the easiest task when one sleeps between two tiny sleeping grenades, seemingly ready to rouse at any minute), make a cup of coffee, and actually get on my computer, as opposed to doing everything from my phone, which is decidedly more mobile (hah!) and easier to use while nursing or flitting from room to room after two whirling dervishes. And, as luck would have it, the oddest thing just occurred as I was literally about to describe my babies as hand grenades--one woke up. Can you believe it? King Toad Agooga had woken when The Goblin Queen did and wanted to nurse, but as he had just nursed not long before, I handed him off to The Barbarian, on whose chest he happily went back to sleep...until a few minutes ago. But really, a little boobie does wonders for sleepy toads and goblins alike, and I chose, once again, to sneak back out to my now less-than-ideally hot coffee (I am nothing if not fussy about the temperature of my coffee...and beer, for that matter...but for completely opposite reasons, of course) and trusty computer (have I mentioned how much I love my computer? No? A post for another time then).

So why, if I am normally so freaking exhausted, I don't even feel like mustering the energy to shower when I have the chance, am I up long (hopefully) before everyone else? Well, it's quite possibly because I am SICK OF LYING IN BED NURSING BABIES AND TRYING TO GET ONE OR MORE (PREFERABLY MORE) OF US TO SLEEP. Seriously, people. If the ALL CAPS didn't tip you off, let me just take a moment to clarify that that statement is so full of truth, it's not even funny. It's far from funny. Very far. Like, all the way far. Far, far away. In a galaxy. Wait.

For the record, I LOVE nursing my babies to sleep. I really, really do. And I believe I love it precisely because it's the way the whole system is set up to work. It feels right and good and satisfying, to all of us. But, dangus. I spend a lot of my time doing just that. And, honestly, after nearly 11 months, it gets a little old sometimes.

And, if we're being honest here, after 11 months of being a "new mama," I think maybe I'm ready to just be a "mama" now. I'm ready to not desire only to sleep when I have the opportunity. I'm ready to not feel like I am merely treading water when it comes to keeping house. I'm ready to put even whatever tiny bit of time and energy I can scrounge up into pursuits other than filling tiny bellies and wiping tiny bums and making sure we all have what we need to eke by every day. Because just doing all that is exhausting--just as exhausting as it is to actually do all that. If that makes any sense. It very well may not. You should probably just get used to that.

I recently heard a new mama of twins, one with an older child already, mention that she felt she was spending the vast majority of her time nursing and wondered if she would ever not be. Her twins were some number of weeks old, like single digits. It definitely took me a lot longer to get to that point, and I'm sure having my twins first made a difference. And really, it's been a slow progression. From nursing round the clock, not really being able to put them down for any length of time, not showering or getting out of jams for days on end (it happens), not really thinking much beyond the current milk, sleep, and diaper nursing mostly during times associated with sleep, having an established mealtime routine several times a day, being able to put them down and watch them crawl (The Goblin Queen) and toddle (King Toad Agooga) off to engage in shenanigans big and small while I surreptitiously attempt some housework for a few minutes (I say surreptitiously because once they notice, they invariably want to "help," and we all know how "helpful" "help" from babies is...).

So somehow, suddenly, here we are. I'm thinking about the bigger picture of our lives and future again. I'm entertaining ideas of how we can live more sustainably and instill better habits and expectations in our children than the ones with which we were bestowed. I'm experimenting with ways to make our days and weeks go more smoothly so that instead of trying to play catchup on the laundry or dishes or vacuuming, our free time can be spent pursuing other interests like growing and preserving food, making things we might otherwise have purchased, exploring our community as a family, getting out in nature more.

And I'm still figuring out how my new life as a "mama," instead of my life as a "new mama," is going to look. What will my children's earliest memories of me entail? What will they grow up and tell others of the special days we spent together when they were small? What activities and routines and traditions will they make sure to do and keep alive with their own children one day because those things had such an important impact on them as children? Because, how lucky am I that this is my life and these are my children and these are our days? Our days to fill with whatever excitement, adventure, wonder, and magic we may find. And love. Lots and lots of love.

Especially, for now, as we nurse to sleep.      

Friday, June 21, 2013

Naptime: Fun for...everyone?

So, not surprisingly, we have struggled with sleep since the beebs were born. To be more precise, we've obsessed over it. We've coveted it. For them and for ourselves. We've looked forward to what little sleep we might get out of a session, while simultaneously dreading the very thought of beginning the "process." I've pondered and researched the subject so thoroughly, facts and statistics seep out of my pores. Or...something like that. 

Anyway, I think it can be safely said that all new parents obsess to a point about sleep and whether their baby is getting enough (sadly, that obsession doesn't extend to themselves because, well, sleep? WHAT'S THAT?). And, as one might imagine, twins only slightly ups the ante. Getting one baby to sleep and doing everything you can to keep him or her that way can be a challenge like literally no other. Doing it with two is just a joke--and not a funny one either. 

The Barbarian and I are a bizarre mix of tastes, attributes, and beliefs, but we lean pretty "crunchy" when it comes to a lot of things, parenting included. Breastfeeding was a no-brainer for us, even though we were having twins and, tragically, the vast majority of people have been led to believe that exclusively breastfeeding twins is a completely unattainable goal. Well, I am here to set the record straight: That's a load of crap. 

Being that the beebs are breastfed, they almost always nurse to go to sleep. Why? Because it's easy, effective, and the way the system is designed. The Barbarian, though, having a ridiculously strong maternal instinct (have I mentioned he's half girl? Yep, half girl, half barbarian. Seriously, it's the best mix, ladies...just FYI, and all), has developed the "Daddy Method," an extremely effective way of putting them to sleep much of the time. We've, therefore, done a mix of the two for naps and nighttime since they were tiny, changing things up when whatever we were doing stopped working because, well, because IT ALWAYS STOPS WORKING AT SOME POINT. These beebs, man. They don't believe in a static existence. How...beebish of them. 

I won't go into the entire evolution of our sleep routine, but will make a confession as to what naps generally look like as of the past few months. They look exactly like the scene evident right this very minute: Me lying on my back with a beeb tucked in each armpit fast asleep, often latched and "slursing," as we've termed that nursing while sleeping thing they do. Before about a month ago, it was me sitting propped up and them lying on various pillows tucked around me in the nursing position known as the "football" hold, facing in on their sides, heads together, bodies extending back along my sides. The lying down is a vast improvement, let me tell you. It took us a while, though, because I was confused as to how my boobs were supposed to face those directions. I mean, they're certainly more saggy at this stage, but umm, hmmmm... Anyway. It was an awesome AHA! moment when we all figured it out. There are lots of those with twins. They seriously make you feel like a freaking superhero. "That's right, bitches! I got my boobies to point two different directions with the help of my tiny humans! Put THAT in your pipe and smoke it!!" Or...something like that. 

So, my point with all of this (it's not always guaranteed, but there's usually a some point)? The beebs sleep on or right next to me their entire nap, except on the fairly rare occasion I can sneak away, and that's essentially just when one wakes up before the other and the two of us successfully make it out because the other is still so comatose. Sometimes they do nap in the car, but for the most part this is our setup--hence all the free time to dick around online and, now, blog for your enjoyment (don't worry--I use that term loosely). 

Can I just hear the whispers of admonition from many about our nap setup? Why, yes. Yes, I can. And do I care? Why, no. No, I do not. I'm leaving the explanation and reasoning and science in support for the next post, but suffice it to say that while I don't always love the setup (the things I could get done while they sleep!), the beebs do, in fact, sleep this way. And, ladies and gentlemen... I'LL TAKE IT. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

They're everywhere

The babies. They really are. EVERYWHERE.

10 months in and I still have absolutely zero clue how to respond to the inevitable, "I don't know how you do it." From friends, family, strangers. Well-meaning, all, for sure. And really meant to be a compliment (I think). But, still. What do I say to that?

"Me neither" is the obvious and, truly, most realistic answer. Because, seriously, the fact that we are all in one piece and somewhat clean and fed and living even close to a normal existence right now is a testament to the fact that miracles do happen. Okay, that's superbly dramatic, but not far from how it feels some days. I literally just asked The Barbarian today to confirm how it is that he really does feel comfortable leaving me alone with his children most days. Probably not the question one wants to receive from his or her fantastically sleep-deprived wife, but we like to keep things honest and real around these parts. For the record, he said he had the utmost faith in me. Or something like that. I think. I'm, in all honesty, too exhausted to remember.

As a longtime nanny, I have years and years of experience caring for more than one child at a time (not while hormonally imbalanced and lacking a true full night's sleep in well over a year, of course, but it's not like this is my first rodeo when it comes to wrangling wee folk). But two babies of the same age and developmental stage is, well, a whole universe unto itself. Parents of twins (I can't even begin to fathom what it's like for parents of higher order multiples...) like to say that caring for two babies at once is in no way equal to the sum of its parts--it's not double the work, it's at least triple, if not more. They say this BECAUSE IT'S TRUE. I'm really not quite sure on the mechanism behind this reality as yet, but I can verify that it is, indeed, the case.

I am constantly hearing from other mamas that they could barely hack it with one, and don't know what they would have done (or would do) with two. And all the while, I'm thinking, HAH! Give me ONE baby for a DAY and I will conquer the WORLD! Okay, not really. Not even close, actually. But if I said I didn't find myself thinking on occasion how much easier my day would be or how much I could be getting done if I ONLY had ONE baby, I would be a BIG, FAT LIAR WHO LIES. Because some (most?) days, I get a huge wad of NOTHING done. Except take fairly good care of my babies, of course. From what I've heard, they are extremely happy, engaged, present, content...and really, I would have to agree. They are, in a word, AWESOME. No bias here, of course.

But, DUDE. Stress. And serious feelings of inadequacy. And stress. Did I mention that one? Because, truly, those are my days. Amid all the giggles and smiles and cuddles and hilarious shenanigans and delight at new discoveries and simple pleasures and all that, of course. It really IS the most phenomenally astounding dichotomy of experiences, parenthood. The most amazingly rewarding experience of your life is, at once, the most overwhelmingly anxiety-, depression-, and stress-inducing event imaginable. I mean, seriously. I can't make this shit up. It's BANANAS.

However, more and more recently, as the beebs (as we call them) get older (which is, in and of itself, a most bizarre experience), I've been faced with the fact that I would like to have something else to occupy those few hours a day I (usually) have to "dick around online" (am I the only one who uses that phrase...?). I won't get into why I have so much dicking around time at this...time (we'll save the judging for later), but will say that I have considered blogging "again" (my "blogging" in the past has been erratic, to say the least) as something that might fill my time. A recent question from a friend as to the status of a former blog solidified my intent to make it so, Number One.

So here we are. A mama, a toad, a goblin, and a barbarian. And some furry creatures as well. Blathering on about whatever suits my fancy, really.

Welcome. And won't you stay awhile? Or come again? Or make yourself useful?

I'm sure we could use all three.