Sunday, August 30, 2009

This post has entirely TOO MUCH INFORMATION, but I'm switching to Pampers.

Not for the babies. Nothing but the best unbleached cotton pre-folds for their cute little tushies. No, the Pampers are for me.

Remember the crazy astronaut lady who drove across the country wearing diapers to kidnap her romantic rival? Perhaps we were all too quick to judge. I'm not advocating deluded cross-country treks to tie people up with duct tape. Just diapers. For grown ups. And I don't mean Depends. I'm not looking for a little light leakage protection for those inconvenient times where I might laugh so hard I pee. I'm looking for pee-freely-all-day-long convenience.

Because I have two babies. And peeing, apparently, is a luxury not afforded to the likes of me. After my little grocery store bathroom/pee on the foot incident, I was pretty glad to have that awkwardness behind me.

So imagine my chagrin the other day when I took the babies out for errands and suddenly had to pee. Right. Now.

Unlike my episode in the grocery store, this time I was without help and therefore wearing one baby on front and one on back. And after my little episode in the grocery store, I determined that I was way too smart to even try and use a public restroom with babies hanging off all sides of me.

So I held it.

I made it through the store, loaded our purchases into the car, strapped both babies into their car seats, and begged my bladder to hold on until I could at least get out of the vehicle at home, at which point I fully expected to pee myself, but hey, at least I'd be at home with two six month olds as the only witnesses.

But then Kyle called. With car trouble. And needed me to meet him at the garage for a ride. In an hour. No time to make it home and wet myself.

And I decided, I can totally handle this. I had a birthday present that I needed to purchase, so I calmly made the decision to drive us to a department store, where I would strap one baby on my front, carry one, and make my way to the restroom like a normal human being. Relief being had, I would knock out another errand in purchasing the present, and we would then calmly exit the store and drive to the garage.

So I drove to the store. I strapped Rhys on my front and hoisted Quin onto my hip. We entered the store. I located the restrooms and shuffled in with the babies. I found an empty stall, squeezed inside, and somehow managed to slide the lock closed with my one free hand. Then, through some David Blaine-esque wonders of squirming and dexterity, I managed to hold onto Quin, see over Rhys, and unbutton, unzip, and ahhhhh. And then it was over, and I was all, "phew!"

Except it wasn't over. Because then I had to use my kind-of-free hand to wrestle with the toilet paper, and then attempt to re-button and re-zip while somehow managing to not drop a baby on the disgusting and gritty tiled floor. After quickly determining that it would be wholly inappropriate to set Quin down on said floor, I swung my leg up against the stall wall, perched Quin on top of it, and using the crook of my arm, hugged him around the waist to create enough free hand-age to properly clothe myself. It worked. But apparently, out of fear of dropping him into the toilet, I squeezed Quin just a teensy bit too hard. He made a sound like the emptying of a ketchup bottle, and let loose with the most foul smelling baby poop that's ever crossed my olfactory path.

No matter. Because I'm basically a professional mom and can deal with this sort of situation. We would quietly exit the restroom, select and purchase our gift, and finally squeeze in a quick diaper change in the car before picking up Kyle. Cake.

And then I remembered that in my haste to get out the door, I neglected to bring wipes. That I in fact said to myself, "I'm only going out for one quick errand. I'll only change a diaper in an absolute emergency. And in an absolute emergency, wipes...meh."

And then my little remembrance was broken by two loud wails. And it occurs to me that golly, babies need to eat. And since I was only going out for "one quick errand" I had kind of forgotten about that.

So we made our way through the store, dodging dirty looks and pretending not to notice the stench of feces or the FEED ME NOW DAMMIT cries emanating from my hungry little angels.

Channeling the optimism of the Little Engine That Could, I made it through checkout, signed our receipt with one lopsided hand, and dashed to the car. I settled one baby on the passenger seat, handed him a totally safe package of antibacterial hand wipes to play with, turned on the engine for a little AC, whipped out my boob for the other baby, and waited for the Mother of the Year award people to come find me like the Publisher's Clearinghouse people and their big fat checks. Or DCYF, either one.

With one satisfied baby and another hovering dangerously close to figuring out the child-proof wipes lid, I whipped out the other boob and switched babies. Discretion, privacy...meh. Once all were fed and happy, I strapped them into their little seats and crossed my fingers in hopes that we wouldn't end up with squished poop leaking down the sides of Quin's thighs and all over the car seat.

I drove to the garage while contemplating the poop situation. Poor Quin, sitting in poop. To change or not to change? And then got a call from Kyle that he was running late.

In all of my motherly glory, I somehow could not bring myself to let my little bee sit in his own fecal matter for one more minute. And at that moment I remembered my totally appropriate in-a-pinch toy; the antibacterial hand wipes! I quickly scanned the label, paying particular attention for any warnings to the tune of "do not use on your baby's genitals" and finding none, I pretended not to notice the warning to "ask a doctor" before use on anyone under the age of two.
I had him changed, re-diapered, and happily playing with an actual toy in his car seat before Kyle even arrived.

And I've like, totally got this motherhood thing down.

Yes, Quin has a raging diaper rash.

Yes, I am treating it. With actual diaper rash treatments, and not just an old can of Cherry Dr. Pepper I found in the back of my refrigerator.

Vacationing...because that's what we do.

So we went camping with the babies.

And I wonder, in retrospect, what caused the insane delusion I had earlier in the summer when I wistfully described to Kyle how wonderful it would be to camp as a family on the ocean. How we'd set up on the beach every day and he and I would take turns playing in the surf while the babies peacefully played under their sun shade. How we'd enjoy a few cold beers around our campfire at night and then turn in to bed while the waves lulled us all to sleep. Ha.


First there was the issue of Bill. As in Hurricane Bill. Included in his little bag of tricks were eighteen foot waves, a high tide that swept nine feet beyond the shoreline, and one night of torrential downpours. The only things frolicking in the sea were several tree-sized pieces of driftwood and three drunken guys on boogie boards who prompted me to make Kyle promise, PROMISE! that he would not dive in to rescue them should they begin to drown. I kept envisioning the headline: Dashingly handsome husband and father drowns while rescuing local drunken idiots. Drunken idiots alive and well; offer heartbroken wife conciliatory six pack. And then, several weeks later, the follow-up: Heartbroken wife attacks local drunken idiots; removes eyeballs and penises.

But I have truly digressed here.

Aside from Bill, we found that camping with two babies is just plain old hard. There were the mosquitoes, and the guy at the site adjacent to ours who one night made the loud announcement, "who let the fire go out? Shit! Somebody get me a lighter and the bug spray." Surely, I thought to myself, the lighter and the bug spray are in no way connected to his plan to restart the fire. Two minutes later there was a pop and a flash, and then the peculiar chemical odor of burning DEET.

And before babies, we would have been all, "...and we were totally high off the burning DEET, which was hilarious, even though it's a bummer that now we will probably get cancer and die." But somehow, with our babies' little lungs in mind, flaming insecticide is less funny. I considered running over to his site and screaming like a maniac: "Do you know how HARD we worked for these babies? And you're burning DEET!" but then decided a better punishment would be to quietly wile away the hours until bedtime when our babies would show our environmentally responsible neighbor a thing or two about neighborly-ness.

We had planned to stay for three nights, which in retrospect seems foolishly aggressive. As the evening of night two settled in around us, I sat in the tent desperately attempting to entertain our increasingly stir-crazy babies, while Kyle worked outside in the rain to keep our fire alive (sans explosive chemicals) so that he could cook some dinner. I found myself cursing our three-night ambition and wondering if my back could survive another two nights nursing two babies while laying on the bumpy hard ground and swatting away mosquitoes. I wanted to go home but couldn't say so, lest I should appear to be wimping out on our "vacation."

Kyle walked up to the tent and looked in at me. "I think we should consider leaving tomorrow."

Hallelujah. And thank god for husbandly ESP.

We got up at 6am, wiped the slugs off our gear, and beat it out of there.

We're learning.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Tomorrow is my five year wedding anniversary. Well, not just my anniversary. Go figure, it's my husband's also. I struggle with this issue of language in my blog. Whether to say I or we. Mine or ours. Me or us. Partly because I am the author and don't want to speak for him, to drag him into my crazy ramblings. But partly because he's private and I respect that. I tease that people must read my blog and think that I'm a single parent, or that I make all the decisions, or that he's just not that involved. Until today. Happy anniversary, babe. I'm breaching your privacy.

I fell in love with Kyle in high school. We started off casually dating and making good use of empty parking lots. I had no idea I was falling in love until one day in study hall I sat watching him and noticed that he had gone from being just a boy to being a boy who glowed. A luminescent, golden glow. Regular high school boys do not glow. Not before you love them.

We dated for the next six years, and when I was finally certain that it would never happen, he asked me to marry him. I said yes.

Never in my life have I ever been so sure of anything as I have always been of Kyle. He is the most perfect human being I have ever known. He's good at life.

He is quietly confident and confidently quiet. He is proud, sensitive, and determined. He is the best listener. He never just tries - he does. He is fiercely loyal and wiser than he'll take credit for.

He cooks dinner.

Through infertility he stood by me, carried me, dragged me, pushed me, pulled me, saved me and saved me again.

He gives me the big piece whenever we share something good.

He is genuine, honest, and beautifully good.

As a father, he is unfailingly patient. When the babies were born and I couldn't be with them, he stayed with me until I was okay and then rushed to be by their side. He stood vigil over them in their little isolettes for over five hours telling them to fight and be strong. He is even more magnificent as a father than I'd ever imagined. He changes diapers, reads books, sings lullabies, wears a Moby wrap, tickles, plays, and wakes up with us at 3am. He holds us steady and strong as a family.

We've been married for five years, together for twelve. I still have a crush on this man.

A thousand times over, I am a better person because of him.

I love this journey.

Monday, August 17, 2009


Loving my babies is easy. Addictive. Intoxicating. Rewarding. Amazing.

Parenting is hard. Hard because it takes restraint. Discipline. Decisions.

I want so desperately to get it right. Because here we are with this grave and awesome responsibility of having created two little lives. Two beings who we yearned for, cried for, hoped for. Two tiny people we pushed and pulled into being.

And here they are. Being, learning, growing. Becoming. Right in front of our very eyes.

At first all we had to do was love and nurture. Nurse them when they needed comfort. Hold them close. Keep them clean and warm and dry. Not that it was easy. But it was rote.

Things seem to progressively become more complicated.

Sleep continues to be a struggle. Some days we have no naps. Some nights we seem to have no more than thirty minutes of sleep. We need to make a decision about how to work through it. Do we let them cry it out? Or do we wait for their systems to work through this?

I have my own opinions on this. I have instincts. I've researched. I've read. I've asked just about everyone I know. And yet I haven't found clarity.

Every cell in my motherly self screams "NO!" to cry it out. How can I sit there, as my sweet babies call out to me in the one way they know how, and not respond? I want them to feel secure in the knowledge that when they communicate their needs, they can trust me to help. But then there's the lack of sleep. They need sleep. Their parents need sleep. And they need to learn boundaries. And to self-soothe. But then there's consistency. If we start down a path of cry it out, can I stick to it? And if I don't stick to it, what does that teach them about trust and security?

I think to myself, "I just want to love them" and know before the thought has finished forming in my head that these decisions are part of loving them. Even when I don't know the answers.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The bubble.

Today the babies had their first shots.

I've held off on shots up until now because I think I'm smarter than the American Academy of Pediatrics and their "recommended vaccination schedule." Plus, since I'm not sleeping with all the drug companies who manufacture vaccines, I figure I have a much less biased view on what's really necessary.

And I've researched the issue. Beyond watching Jenny McCarthy on Oprah. Beyond word of mouth concerns about autism and mercury (incidentally, mercury is rarely used in vaccines these days). Beyond the popular conversations on vaccines is a lot of information that I find concerning. Like the fact that the FDA recommends an infant not receive more than 30 micrograms of aluminum in one day, yet most infant vaccines contain anywhere from 125-850 micrograms of it because the FDA doesn't regulate aluminum levels in vaccines. Although it has been established that aluminum can cause neurologic harm, aside from that we really don't know much about how toxic it really may be because it hasn't been thoroughly studied. So suffice to say, I don't feel all warm and fuzzy about injecting my sweet babies full of it. I also don't like the idea of injecting my babies with formaldehyde, MSG, human lung cells, or monkey kidney cells (to name just a few other savory vaccine ingredients). So.

We're lucky to have a fantastic doctor who is willing to customize a vaccination schedule that seems a little less in the pocket of drug companies. For instance, she agrees that our babies are at low risk for Hep B since it's mainly an STD and last I checked the babies aren't yet sexually active. So we're skipping that for now and waiting until they're a little more likely to get lucky.

Anyway, enough non-subtle harping. We are vaccinating, just at our own pace and only when it makes sense.

Today was time for their first shot. HIB, for those of you who are curious about which vaccine my high and mighty self deemed important enough to subject the babies to.

And ouch.

The way their little faces crumpled and their eyes formed tiny tears. The way they cried and then pulled themselves together. The way they fussed all afternoon. The way they refused to nurse. The way they cried without consolation every time they bumped their sore legs. Quin's little fever and swollen, red thigh. Rhys' insistence on continuing to play.

Maybe I'm a little overly dramatic. But they're my babies. And I chose this, knowing it would cause them pain but that it was for the greater good. So ouch. Ouch knowing that this was the first but certainly not the last time I will have to choose some bad with the good for them. Ouch because I can't protect them forever.

Ouch because a Hotwheels band aid and some infant Tylenol won't always fix it.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Where sleep and itsy bitsy collide.

There are times when my life seems to have turned into one big swirling mass of "making it through." That makes it seem as though things are quite bleak, which they are not. Things are actually quite wonderful. But life with twins is a shitload of work.

Days sometimes mesh together in odd medleys: poop, bath time, begging the babies to sleep, marathon nursing, and desperately singing Itsy Bitsy Spider as though my very sanity depended on its ability to quell the storm.

The babies have developed a taste for the leisurely life of vacationing. They regularly take vacations from pooping (for 8 days, in our longest stretch), and a particular favorite, vacations from sleep.


Honestly, the word itself makes me want to cry. I love it and miss it so.

Up until about two weeks ago, we had made some progress in the area of sleep. The babies would go down (after much encouragement) in their cribs and sleep for 1-5 hours, after which they would nurse on and off throughout the night but for the most part would transfer happily back into their cribs with nice full bellies. Life was really freaking delicious.

And then.

I wish I could tell you what happened next. But I don't know what it was. And that's a part of the problem. Because all of a sudden, the sleeping just stopped. We seem to be back at square one. "Bed time" is followed by frequent wakings every 20 minutes. This pattern continues on for sometimes as many as five hours. And for the last five nights, this trend has gone on basically all night long, resulting in almost no sleep for the desperate and weary parents.

Last night, somewhere in the midst of a luxurious three hours of sleep, I felt a fluttery little scurry across my forehead and down one of my arms. I don't like things that scurry and went into an immediate state of panic. My panic was quickly overruled by my exhaustion, which refused to cooperate with my repeated commands to flail, jump, scream, and make gagging noises whilst simultaneously slapping at my own flesh until all things scurry-ish met a certain death. So I lay there in a lumpish ball of exhaustion, until finally my still very panicked brain managed to feebly lift an arm and make sloppy swipes in the general direction of arm and forehead.

And really, to be attacked by some unknown predator in my own bed when I'm already sickeningly deprived of sleep hardly seems fair.

Morning came, and perhaps pushed to the edge by my mid-sleep attack, I finally hit "the wall." My reserves were just gone.

I called in tired to work.

I brought the babies to Grammie's house.

I went home and slept. I slept like a person who's drowning gasps for air. Greedily, deeply, desperately.

Close to four hours later, I woke up feeling like Madonna in her cone bra. I rubbed my eyes and looked around.

Laying next to me on my bed was the crumpled dead body of a huge spider.

I killed Itsy Bitsy. And not just with my singing this time.

Am I caught up on sleep? Hardly. But those four hours were beautiful and precious and necessary.

Onward and upward.

Except not for Itsy Bitsy, may he rest in peace as I work on healing the many spider bites all up and down my arms.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Erranding with the babes

So sometimes we have to venture out into the real world. For the first few months, we weren't allowed to do this. Preemies, flu season. But now we are, and we do.

For grocery shopping, I typically wear one baby on my back and one on my front. We get lots of looks. As fellow shoppers approach me from the front, it tends to go, "Oh look! She's wearing her baby! How quaint..." as if my ears are non-functional what with the baby hanging off my front and all. And then they, or I, turn to the side. "Oh LOOK NOW! TWO BABIES! Hah! She has babies hanging off all over the place!" Like I'm Octomom and there are children peeking out from behind my kneecaps and underneath my armpits.

My babies are superbly well-behaved (at least at this juncture in life...but let's talk again in a year, shall we?) in public. Even when odd strangers approach and (Oh yes they do) touch their cheeks and hands and get all face-to-face with them while I stand stiffly and smile my most "get the F*** away from my babies before I cause you bodily harm" smile.

This past weekend, while at the grocery store, I met a woman who at first just seemed elderly and quite cute, in her square-toed heels and orange hair. And then. She offered to take my babies home. "I think I'll keep them..." I stammered, and went on my way, glad to be done with her. But. She was one of those parallel shoppers. On the same rhythm. You know the deal. In the same aisles. Reaching for the same ground turkey. All. Through. The. Store. The fact that I was on the same pace as a woman in her late eighties didn't enthuse me, either. And at every encounter, my ability to believe in the innocence of her offers wavered. By aisle ten, I was getting an amazingly creepy promise that "I'll find a way to sneak them home with me, I will!"

And I'm amazed by the fellow shoppers who meander toward us, circling in awe and saying, "God that must be heavy on your back!" What? Carrying thirty pounds of twin? Yes, in fact, it is. And so I'd like to make this trip as quick as possible. And standing around while you circle us isn't helping.

Monday was an erranding day. The peculiar task of cashing a Bank of America check from Fairpoint (who sucks, and wouldn't have owed us a check if they didn't screw up all their billing in the first place) in a town I rarely shop in and don't know what is where. And then the task of shopping at Trader Joe's, my new love and the reason for us being in a town where my non-existent navigational skills become even more scarce.

Not knowing my way around, I wasn't sure how I'd cash my check. Because the odds of running into my bank, with my luck, in a strange town, are not good. So when I saw a Bank of America, NOT my bank, but the bank the check was cut from, I was psyched. In fact, I was thinking that I'm superbly lucky in life and that the Universe absolutely loves me. I pulled in and up to the drive through. And saw a sign that said "Drive through services are for Bank of America customers only. Other customers, please come inside." WTF. I have six month old twins in the back seat. I was already sandwiched in line. I pulled up to the tubey thing, inserted my check and ID, and sent it away through the vacuum-ish pipe. I crossed my fingers and waited, hoping that my $107.48 would magically appear back to me in a neat little envelope and absolutely zero flack from the teller.

"Ma'am. Ma'am? Do you have an account here?"


"I don't. But I do have six month old twins in the car, and really don't want to get them out just to cash a check." Twin babies always help make the case.

"Ma'am, if you don't have an account, we can't serve you through the drive through. We need your thumb print to cash your check."

Apparently twin babies have little sway at Bank of America.

By the way, Bank of America (just in case you're reading): you're not the Bank of Zurich. This isn't the Da Vinci Code. I'm not Tom Hanks. My thumb print? Really? All I want is my $107.48 back from the idiot thieves at Fairpoint.

"Ok. Well, I really can't come in, sooo..."

"We can send somebody out to your car to stand with your babies while you run in." A second, eager looking teller waved to me from the window.

Leave my sweet babies waiting in the car on a 90 degree day while a total stranger stands watch so that I can run inside and have my thumb scanned? Tempting.

"Umm. I'm not leaving my babies." Bank of America suddenly felt creepy. I made a Da Vinci Code-ish getaway and didn't look back.

About half a mile down the road, I found my bank. They cashed my check, returning the $107.48 to its rightful owner. They did not request to scan my thumb or stand watch over my children.

Trader Joe's was a smashing success. Especially if you consider repeatedly zerberting at your six month old twins to make them laugh! not cry! throughout the entire store to be a success. And if people judge me for excessive zerberting in public as though I'm having a bizarre oral seizure, I don't care. We stocked up on baked pea chips (quite delicious), barbecue sauce, and some newly released and excessively fantastic gummy candies. The babies were confused for girl babies only once, prompting me to assure the embarrassed and confused shopper that my children are quite comfortable in their masculinity and that apologies would not be necessary.

I'm getting used to this life. And I like it.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Shut up, Tylenol.

A couple of mornings ago, after a whopping four hours of sleep, I saw a commercial for Tylenol PM. I'm wondering if Tylenol PM has ever parented babies.

"Sleep is your body's strongest ally" purred the sexy lady voice. Cut to pictures of people sleeping peacefully. Laying down. In beds.

"The more you sleep, the better you feel" she promised.

F*** you, Tylenol PM.

And thank you for rubbing it in.