Friday, September 25, 2009


One time when Bella was a puppy, we made the mistake of letting her "chew" on several corn cobs. She was on her sixth one when the thought finally permeated the cheap plywood of our skulls that hey...where are the previous five cobs...OH LORD IS SHE ACTUALLY EATING THEM???

Ten days and zero poops later, we were at the vet's with one seriously backed up puppy and several hundred dollars worth of x-rays confirming the presence of six mushy corn cobs, all neatly lined up in her intestines.

Overly anxious and slightly neurotic pet mother that I once was, I asked the most pressing and logical question that popped into my head: "Is she going to die?" When his laughter died down, the vet sighed and looked at me.

"Just you wait. She's the center of your universe now. But in a few years you'll have a baby, forget about the dog, and then come in crying and wanting us to fix it because she's developed all sorts of behavioral problems."

Well thanks, jackass. Love the bedside manner.

I angrily explained to him that there was no way I would ever allow that to happen. Explained that Bella was special to me. I couldn't tell him that maybe I wouldn't have a baby in a few years. That I was trying and it wasn't working. And that Bella was the stand in, the willing recipient of my excess maternal energy.

For two years, our little mother-baby/pet owner-pet relationship worked. It was ignorant bliss. She absorbed my sadness and helped me feel needed. She stayed by my side as I ran and ran and ran. I petted her, adored her, babied her, nurtured her. We went to puppy class, to the beach, to the relatives' for holidays.

And then I got pregnant.

At first I didn't think much would change. I was excited for Bella to be a big sister. I didn't have the energy to run and play, but we snuggled a lot and life went on.

And then my water broke.

In all the craziness that ensued, I remember one moment clearly. Kyle and I, rushing to get out the door and into the car for a frantic trip to the hospital. Blood, blood, blood. Everywhere. Scared Bella. Bella trying to run out the door with us. And Kyle yelling at Bella to stay. Yelling. Out of panic and fear and necessity. It was the first time either of us had really ever yelled at her.

What followed is mostly now a blur. Weeks in the NICU - functioning - barely. Bella staying at my parent's house. I could not stand up straight. Could hardly feed myself dinner. Did not have the emotional, physical, or mental capacity to wash a load of laundry. The idea of Bella coming home was terrifying to me.

I don't remember when she came home. I don't know if it was before or after the babies were released from the hospital. I only remember realizing that I could not be relied upon to feed her consistently, and delegating that job to Kyle. Eight months later, it's still his job.

Bella, my former muse, my joy and love, is rarely mentioned in my blog anymore. I've avoided writing about her because I'm embarrassed. Embarrassed of how often I walk by her and feel nothing but disgust for the burden that she is to me. Embarrassed because she deserves better and is stuck with me because I'm too stubborn to stop believing that things will change.

Embarrassed. Because when I pull into the driveway, she runs and greets me like I'm the most amazing person in the world. And with the belief that today is a new day. And the willingness to forgive and forget. And the wildly desperate hope that I will do something, anything, to help her feel loved once again.

Embarrassed, because she drops her head and sulks away when I tell her to "move it!" in my nastiest voice.

Embarrassed, because my dog surpasses me in loyalty, forgiveness, and unconditional love.

I'm searching for the day where I stop letting her down.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Copious amounts of snot.

So lately I've indulged in a little light bragging about the health of my children. Perhaps I am a bit sensitive about having had them two months early, but it seems the expectation is that preemies would be constantly sick and frail and snotty-nosed. But mine are not.

Aside from our initial stint in the NICU, the babies have been healthy for the larger part of eight months. We had a blip of a cold that lasted a day this spring, but that was it. And since I have two babies, that's like sixteen cumulative months of health. So I've been all, "Go me and my miraculous healseveryailmentbringitonH1N1you'vegotnothingontheseboobies breast milk."

Nobody likes a brag.

So of course what happened next is that we all got sick.

Rather than spending my week recounting our thrilling adventures to the Internet, I've instead been working on developing my bulb-syringe skills. And wondering if I'm the only mother who has to sit on her infant to create even the slightest chance of a successful nose/syringe interaction. And popping homeopathic cold remedies into the babies' mouths like Skittles.

Consider me humbled.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

From now on I'll be blogging about irrational animal fears.

Last week the babies and I were chased by a demonic cow.

This week?

An asshole of a mule with an extraordinarily large penis.

I wish I were joking.

With my trusty hammer safely tucked into the under-basket of our stroller, I set out on our typical route for a nice autumn walk. As we approached the scene of the cow chase, I scanned the fields warily. No cows.


I noticed an absolutely benign looking mule. Half donkey, half horse. Typically infertile. Finally, an animal I have something in common with. He stood next to the fence grazing. I gave a psychic little hello and walked on.

And then he brayed. A terrible, bone rattling bray.

And starting trotting along the fence next to us.

I walked faster. He trotted faster. I picked it up to a jog. He galloped.

In the distance, I could see the electric fence cutting through the field sectioning it off. Safety was in sight.

As I sprinted toward it, I started to have my doubts.

What if the fence is only for looks? What if these farmers did not pay their electric bill and it's not working? What if this incredibly well endowed mule leaps over it in a frothing, blood thirsty frenzy?

The fence worked. The mule stopped.

I stopped.

I turned and looked at his ugly squinty eyes and long nose. It occurred to me that I have developed a raging farm animal phobia. I googled this. Zoophobia. Ah ha.

And I don't know why I suddenly seem to have this raw animal magnetism. The last thing I want is to attract the attention of large domesticated animals. Is it our bright orange stroller? Is it the patchouli? Or is it that they sense the fear oozing out of my pores like fat on bacon?

The realist in me does not intervene to come up with helpful, practical reasons why these large beasts will not break through their fence and stampede me like kindergartners on ants. My inner realist does, however, show up three thoughts too late to remind me that a hammer is likely a poor choice of weapon against an attacking mule in the 800-1000 lb range. Stop mule, stop! I insist. Disobey me and I will render a massive goose-egg on your head! A MASSIVE GOOSE EGG! I wonder if Google can help me get one of those tranquilizer dart guns they use on Animal Planet to sedate lions.

I find myself casually hoping that a mosquito infected with EEE or West Nile Virus will stop for a little mule snack on its way through the neighborhood. Does that make me a bad person, or just an optimistic Zoophobe?

Where am I going with all of this?

I have no idea. But probably not on a walk. Not until Google comes through for me with those tranquilizer darts.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


They say you cannot live off of vitamins alone. That vitamins are for "supplementation," a sort of nutritional insurance policy, if you will.

But I wonder. Maybe they're just saying that. Maybe you can live off of vitamins alone. Maybe the need to eat actual food is simply a fictionalization brought on by lobbyists just like corn subsidies and the rest of our corrupt food system in the US.

See, I have recently given up food. So you can probably understand why I'm hopeful that perhaps boatloads of vitamins will be enough to keep me kicking.

First it was dairy, and then soy. My determination to exclusively breastfeed wasn't about to be squashed by a little reflux and the delicate, immature digestive systems of my little loves. After months of cheating and sneaking teensy bits of dairy here and there, I finally kicked the habit and stocked the house with sheep's milk cheese, coconut milk ice cream, Earth Balance butter substitute, and goat's milk.

Problem solved.

I sat back and started counting the days until the babies' digestive systems would allow for the delicious reintroduction of things like MOZZARELLA (sigh) and BEN AND JERRY'S (sniff).

And then something happened.

I share a lot with you, Internet. I've shared stirrup stories and incidents of accidentally urinating on myself. I've shared postpartum depression and infertility. And all that sharing has been nice. But I have standards. There is a line. I actually didn't know if I had one, one of those line thingies. But I do. And I've stumbled upon it. Suffice to say, I am not going to share details. But something happened. It happened once, then twice, and then a third time. Three days in a row.

And I was concerned. Alarmed, even.

It involved blood and what I could only suspect might be my intestines. Ahem. The line.

I called the doctor. Made an appointment. She and I had a nice long chat.

The good news? Now I can breastfeed until the babies are eleven (I won't) because who cares if their still young digestive systems are finicky about what I put into my mouth?

Because apparently, my own digestive system has developed some raging, bloody (The line. The LINE...dammit!) finicky-ness of its own.

Did my doctor suggest a colonoscopy? Oh yes she did. And to avoid having a camera poking all about the business of my bum, I've decided to take option B and first try cutting out gluten and kissing dairy goodbye for...forever?

If things improve? Apparently I have colitis.

If things don't? Hello, bum-cam. And in the back of my mind, I am trying to quell the raging fear that I have cancer in my butt.

Until then, I am living on a totally delicious diet of, um, vitamins.

And can I just add that there are like, a lot of body parts? Pretty, glamorous things like arms and legs, and then neutral things like noses and toes. Yet with so many options, I, with my inability to respect the line, end up with issues in my effing ass.

That's right, Internet. It is all EFFED UP. My derriere. Butt. Bottom. Booty. Tush. Keister. Heinie. Rear. Caboose. Fanny. Rump. Badonkadonk.

Crap. (Get it? Get it?)

Screw the line.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


While we were on our totally awesome and relaxing and you-should-be-jealous-of-its-fabulousity camping trip, Quin cut his first tooth. A tooth!

It is razor sharp and adorable. I'm waiting for him to bite a nipple off, and in my head have been practicing saying "NO" in a gentle yet firm voice. We'll see.

Would I bite you, Mama?

Rhys is also teething, although seems quite far from actually sprouting any teeth. Either way, I've been trying to be especially mindful and appreciative of these last few weeks of big, toothless grins.

These new days of teething have led to my becoming acquainted with a little product that moms-in-the-know have affectionately nicknamed "Baby Crack." Stop being horrified and just agree that it's funny.

Apparently the box itself provides some teething relief.

I know, I know. Good mothers do NOT allow their babies to chew on packaging.

My babies are seven months old. They are beautiful and growing. Looking through these pictures with Kyle tonight, we kept looking at each other and saying, "We MADE them!" Holy crap. We made beautiful little people.

My little Bee, Quin.

Rhys, my little Bear.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


When I take the babies for a walk in our super-duper BOB stroller that cost more than my first car, I tend to bring a hammer along. For protection. Just in case. I think it's a hormonal thing. I used to go walking and running pre-babies totally hammer-less. But now. Babies. MY babies. What I lack in stature, I like to think I make up for in scrappiness. And innovation in weaponry choices, apparently.

And if I had to, I would use it.

I probably won't have to.

I realized this the other day when getting ready to take the babies out for a little stroll. I also realized that 1. I have an active imagination and 2. Imagination + hammer + willingness to use it, may = trouble.

In an effort to avoid having to leave our neighbors a note to the tune of, Dear Neighbors...I apologize for throwing a hammer at your dog. I thought she was a bear! Oopsies. Should we BBQ sometime? I decided that perhaps I should wean myself from the hammer. Immediately.

So we walked, hammer-less.

And really, at first, it was fine. The sky was blue, the birds chirping, and the teensiest wisp of fall hanging in the background.

But then we approached one of the several farms on our road. And I should take a moment here to explain that I live in the country. Grew up here. This does not, however, necessarily mean that I am a country-girl. For instance, and please do not laugh, I am terrified of horses. Because JEE-SHUSH. Look at those things. It's not just horses. I lack a general trust of bugs, dogs, and wildlife in general. Animals can sense my fear.

I pushed the stroller along the road, attempting to be absolutely casual as I scoped out what sort of farm-stuff might be hanging out in the field. Two cows. This I can handle. Cows, I am not so much afraid of. Like I am supposed to be intimidated by their ferocious moos. Feeling bold, I kind of threw my shoulders back and did a little "I can totally walk without a hammer" swagger.

And maybe that's what pissed them off. Because all of a sudden, these peaceful bovines charged their rickety fence. Cow-bells jingling, they did a sort of moo-growl and snorted steam out of their noses and flickered the fires of hell in their big ol' brown cow eyes. And they charged the fence again. And again.

I picked up my pace, thinking to myself, "I bet I should not run. I bet I should not run" and then I started running, pushing our massive stroller and startled babies in a DANGER! DANGER! kind of way. And then the cows started running too.

When cows run, the earth shakes. And their beastly hooves go CALLUMP! CALLOMP! And did I mention that these cows were sporting horns?

I ran until I could not run anymore. It is not easy to maintain a sprint while wearing Birkenstocks and pushing a double stroller down a bumpy dirt road and constantly looking over your shoulder to see if one of the Cows of Doom has broken through the fence yet to recreate the running of the bulls here in my very own neighborhood.

And all I can keep thinking is "I'm lactating too, bitch" like that really matters but it's the only thing I can think of that me and these cows have in common and perhaps we should all just go about our day in a peaceful manner and GOD are they lucky I don't have my hammer with me.

But then we have passed by them and hammer or no hammer, we're all safe and intact.

And don't you go thinking that I then was so shook-up that I turned us all around and retreated home. No sirree. Cause that would have meant doubling back past the Cows of Doom and Hell Fire and Poisonous Rattlesnake Venom all over again and NO WAY was I about to do that.

No, we took a nice long walk. Nice and long with fresh air and sunshine and the knowledge that those cows would have to go back inside sometime. And they did. And we went home.

Incidentally, I'm taking the babies for walk in just a couple minutes. Coming with us? My trusty little hammer.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Help NiNi Bambini

NiNi Bambini is a maternal wellness center I go to with the babies and sometimes refer to in my posts.

This amazing business provides critical support to expectant parents and new moms by providing a warm and nurturing environment for support groups, baby play groups, and SO, SO much more. Having this resource has helped me make it through some of my darkest days as a new mom. And I shudder as I write that: Darkest days as a new mom. After wanting to be a mother for so long, should there really be dark days? Shouldn't I spend every day basking in the wonder that is new life? NiNi Bambini has helped me to reconcile this nagging question. Being a new mom is hard work - exhausting - and working through that doesn't make me ungrateful or less of a mom. It makes me human. NiNi Bambini has provided me with a safe space to explore my transition and growth as a new mother. Every community should have a NiNi Bambini.

So I'm sad when I consider that this business is struggling to stay afloat in these difficult economic times. And I'm frustrated, because Wal-Mart will make it through, despite the fact that it adds no character or sense of life to my community.

Recently I worked with some of the other moms from NiNi Bambini to nominate this little business for a $100,000 small business grant. This grant would make a world of difference for so many families that will walk through NiNi Bambini's welcoming doors.

I hope that you'll join me in supporting NiNi Bambini by clicking the link below and endorsing our nomination. The more endorsments, the better the chances that it will be chosen.

Every new mom needs support.

Please visit Shine A Light and endorse NiNi Bambini...thanks!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


I've always found comfort in the philosophy that there are no absolutes. As though there's a Get Out of Jail Free card waiting around each and every corner if you can just remember to look for it. But although I find comfort in it, I don't live my life around it. I suspect that's true for most of us. And that can make things more complicated than they need to be. Getting caught up on something, anything, because that's the way we expect it to be. Or because that's the way it's supposed to be.

Am I making sense?

If I'm not, it's because there's a baby crying in the background. And with every little tear that is shed, a piece of me just crumples and dies.

Because I'm letting my babies cry.

On purpose.

Because there are no absolutes.

In my heart of hearts, I truly believed I would never resort to sleep training. To "crying it out."

I have.

What we were doing was not working. Not for the babies. Not for us.

For seven months, Kyle and I have dutifully responded to every cry within seconds. We have stayed up around the clock rocking, bouncing, and nursing the babies back to sleep. I don't really want anyone to know how many nights we got up every twenty minutes all night long and then dragged our exhausted selves out of bed the next morning to face the day. Sleep deprivation is scary. Dangerous.

It. Was. Not. Working.

I've agonized over this issue. Advice has been abundant. I've been terrified to do the wrong thing. And although I hate to admit it, I've been loathe to be judged.

And here I am.

Feeling confident. Feeling heartbroken. Feeling like I'm doing the right thing. Feeling the weight of responsibility that comes with really doing this right. Understanding commitment in a new way. Commitment that impacts my children.

Letting the babies cry breaks my heart. But this is ultimately not about me. It's about them. For them. Because they need sleep so that they can grow and develop. And because setting loving boundaries is our job as parents.

I would protect them from every sadness, every harm, every disappointment, if only I could.

I hate that I can't.

And I owe it to them, these babies that we have brought into this world, to be honest with myself about that.