Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Reasons Why I Am A Bad Mother

I hope the fall TV season starts soon. Nothing makes you feel quite so loser-ly as settling on the couch, pressing play on the Tivo and hearing “Previously on Fat March…”.

We came home from vacation to a completely defrosted refrigerator and freezer. Not good. I think I didn’t close the door all the way when we left for vacation. Everything was ruined. All sorts of salad dressings and frozen homemade pasta sauces and chicken broth and cheeses and ice cream and juices and my beloved Dr. Pepper, once cool and delicious, now thawed and warm. But all that was nothing compared to the devastation of losing all of the frozen breast milk in the freezer. My precious Maddie milk, that I was parsing out to her just a little a day in order to s-t-r-e-t-c-h it out, so I could say she was breastfeed for (x) months.

Replenishing that is going to be a problem. For reasons I don’t understand, my right breast has closed up shop. No more milk on that side at all. My oversized bigger-than-the-other-side breast is the only source of nourishment. I breastfeed Avery and pump in between for Maddie. But my milk may be drying up on that side too, since Avery seems increasingly hungry after BFing and pumping usually yields low amounts. I know I can’t really blame myself. And even if it was my fault, I have the ultimate trump card of “I am taking care of two newborns.” But still it makes me feel like a bad mother.

Other reasons why Child Services might show up:

• I am remiss in instituting tummy time. Flipping the girls over onto their oversized bellys and watching them struggle to arrange the arms and get off of their stuffed stomachs is just so is difficult to watch. They look so uncomfortable. And when I look into their eyes before they smash their noses into the floor again I can almost see them pleading with me to stop the madness. My justification for this is that they both have very good muscle tone and they have been supporting their own heads since almost birth. Besides, Maddie rolls to her side all the time, usually to gaze lovingly at her (other) mother or to get away from her sister. And Avery’s fat rolls keep her head nice and erect.

• Maddie will grow up thinking her name is “When did she nap?” and Avery will think that her name is “When did she eat last?” These are the phrases we toss around most frequently in regards to these two babies. Maddie might also respond to Maddiegator, Maddie-kins, Madd-a-licious and The Madness of King George. Avery might respond to Aviator, Aves, Ave, Avy-kins, Little Friend, Mini Friend and Chunk-a-licious. But Madeline and Avery? Blank stares.

• I let them watch TV. Something about the bright lights and moving pictures calms and mesmerizes them. Avery actually cooed and laughed while watching a fashion show on the Today Show. They both get fidgety if we pause a show for even a moment. I started this practice at 12 weeks 10 weeks 8 weeks 4 weeks old. Yes, at a mere month of age, I discovered that television will be an active parent part of our children’s lives. I like to say that they are watching Meet the Press and PBS and C-Span, but that would be a lie. Big Brother, My Life on the D List, Top Chef and the aforementioned Fat March are on the Tivo list. Like I said, it is summer and the pickins’ are slim.

• Maddie already has diaper rash and Avery has super-dry alligator skin. And both girls get dust bunnies between their fingers. Dust bunnies IN my children. I have to be responsible for these things to a point.

I could go on, but my ego can’t take it.

I finished Harry Potter. I was not as pleased as others seem to be. But that is a whole nother post.

An empty refrigerator is an interesting thing. Almost a metaphor. Like a clean slate. Yes, I was the one to leave the door open. But the fridge should have sensed my flaws and compensated by NOT defrosting everything. Obviously this picture was taken during happier times, before the fridge chewed up and spit out our hunted-and-gathered foods. Below is a self portrait from vacation. How pretentious does that sound? Self portrait. Ha!

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Story That Must Be Told

Nicole doesn’t want me to tell this story, but I have to.

We are enjoying our final evening of our too-short vacation. Our hotel room has a huge tub in it, big enough for three adults or two adults and two mini people or four or five mini people. The girls love being in tubs (by “love” I mean they don’t scream their heads off) so taking a bath together seems like a nice way to end our trip. Normally I bathe the girls (one at a time) by myself in our only-good-for-one-adult tub, because those baby tubs are too annoying. It’s nice to have some adult company for a change.

We fill up the tub, put in baby-friendly bubbles and carefully climb in. We are each holding a baby and enjoying the cleansing, scream-free moments when little bubbles rise to the surface. Ha Ha, I say, Miss Avery farted. It’s cute, in the water and all, with the bubbles, and that look of complete blankness on her mini face. But then rising to the surface are some decidedly not bubble-like things. She didn’t fart. She pooped. And baby poop is not a solid thing. Almost instantly little brown flakey flecks spread throughout the water. Contamination in mere moments. Avery has no idea what happened and looks happy as a clam and perhaps a bit relieved. We were out of the tub in a flash, running around naked with two screaming babies who wanted to know why they were wrenched so cruelly from the womb-like tub.

I don’t want to go home tomorrow.

I am on the last chapter of Harry Potter. I can’t wait to see how this mess ends.

Pictured above are some vacation images: On top are the four of us at the wedding. I like this picture because I love the way Nicole is holding Avery. We are standing on a hill, and Nicole is standing into the incline, but it looks like she is offering up Avery, like a cut of meat. And if she spoke Nicole would have an accent and say something like “Itsa veddy nice cut.” That’s what I hear in my head. The middle picture is a sour cream donut from Hole In One on Cape Cod. We also sampled the Boston Cream donuts, thinking that the closer we are to Boston, the better a Boston Cream donut must be. Turns out the donuts from a random Jersey City grocery store still win out as our favorite. I’m happy to spend my life having these BCD (Boston Cream Donut) smackdowns. On the bottom is a picture of Avery in the outfit that inspired the song “My Name is Avery and I Have a Belly That is Like an Old Man’s.” Another lyric is: “I stand real tall and I wear my pants hiked up to my chest.” It is sung in a low, low, low voice and it is sorta like the kind of song you would hear on a porch down south sung by some old men with homemade instruments. We make these songs up every day.

Lots more pictures are posted on my picture website.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Northampton! Cape Cod! Salvation!

We leave tomorrow for our vacation and I am so excited I can barely take it. I have been counting the days for weeks now. Today I am packing, which is a labor of love for me, so today is a good day too. Tomorrow I wake up, feed a baby, go to the gym, pack the car and we are off.

It will be interesting to vacation with the girls. I can’t wait to show them a world outside the city and the town that may become their future vacation-home location. I still can’t believe we will be in Northampton with our children. I remember looking at real estate up there one weekend when I was pregnant. We told the agent I was pregnant and it was all so exciting. We were driving around, going from house to house, and I was in so much pain. Every bump in the road ricocheted pain through my body. I hard a hard time getting up from a sitting position. I felt such physical pressure that I chalked up to pregnancy pain. That turned out to be the ectopic pregnancy. We have spent so many post-miscarriage weekends, waiting-for-the-beta-call weekends and TTC weekends in that town. We have celebrated there and mourned there. We have spent two new year’s there. It seemed like we would never be there with kids. And now we are setting off with our two daughters and I can’t wait. I’m just sad that they are too young to indulge in Herrell’s delicious Burnt Sugar and Butter ice cream!

I am getting my hair cut today, which is always a bit terrifying. I am hair-cut phobic. I’ve had a few bad hair cuts in my time, so I am cautious. I usually just take an inch off (straight line) and that’s it. I have to color my hair too because the gray is coming in like crazy, but that is next week’s appointment. I don’t have the patience to sit in a chair for that long at one time anymore. Today is just the cut. I wish I had the guts to do something dramatic. We’ll see.

I’ll be updating on the road on my picture website I am borrowing my SIL’s giant paparazzi-esque zoom lens, so I will hopefully have some great pictures. My camera bag is almost as big as the diaper bag.

Pictured above is the baby know as Captain von Snifflesworth, Captain von Wigglesworth, Smiley, Scoochi, Aviator, Aves and Avery.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Never Say Never

Someone, and I am not naming names, (Madeline) decided that nighttime isn’t for sleeping for the second night in a row. I don’t know if this is because Nicole was away (loss of her sleeping buddy) or if because she has taken to taking a late nap around 6 at night (too much of a good thing) or if because she just feels like hanging out at the wee hours in the morning (early signs of a party-girl). She is a mystery wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a riddle. Or is it a riddle in a mystery in an enigma??

On a positive note, this two-night disruption has given me perspective. Turns out they have been sleeping pretty okay, with only two wakings a night, usually around midnight and then again at 4. And this had made me a happier and better-rested person. So our sleep (read: mood) is getting better as theirs improves. But now, for the second day in a row, I am exhausted. I was up so much last night that I am not sure what my longest stretch of sleep was. It is going to be a very subdued day for me. Maybe it is good it is raining. I have an excuse to do nothing so I can hopefully recharge.

This whole mothering thing is getting better, but in such tiny increments. Sometimes I feel like I am robbed of the special moments of newborn-ness and infancy and that precious bonding time because I am too busy just trying to keep my head above water. I sound like a broken record, but this is hard. Hard hard hard.

I feel like I am constantly letting the babies down, literally and figuratively. One cries. I pick her up and settle her down. She is calm and the other one cries. I put down the first baby, pick up the second, calm her down and the other starts the cycle again. If I can’t break this cycle I am in for a rough couple of hours. Maybe I need to toughen up, but I hate to hear them cry. A little whining is ok, but once their faces start changing color, I think enough is enough.

I am still trying to figure out balance. How I am supposed to take care of both of them and take care of our home and take care of myself. It still takes me days to respond to emails or messages. And I am still writing thank yous. And I never sent out birth announcements. My list of Things To Do gets longer by the day. I used to be so efficient and organized and orderly. It will be a long run back to that.

And the babies first smile was to the ceiling fan. Both of them. That’s gratitude.

I really am anxious about what happens when these girls grow up and digest the fact that they aren’t like most other families. There aren’t enough “alternative” families in our immediate circle (in other words, that we hang out with on a regular basis). I worry how this will affect them. Where will they see there own family paradigm reflected back at them?

When we were TTC I was obsessed with the Rosie O’Donnell gay family cruise. I couldn’t wait till we had our own children that we could take on a trip, an entire boat filled with families like our child’s (or, in this case, children). Each failed cycle became “Great. Guess we won’t be taking a cruise this spring/summer” (said in a very sarcastic tone). I think it was my way of dealing with disappointment by transferring said disappointment to something less tragic than a failed cycle. A missed vacation is awful but yet another failed cycle was catastrophic. I deal with awful better.

Now that we have children I feel like we can go, like we deserve this trip. Next summer there is a cruise to new England and Canada that I really want to go on. The boat leaves from down the street from us, literally. We could walk to the boat if it weren’t for 1,000 pounds of luggage. However, it strikes me that they girls won’t really be able to process this alternative-family-palooza at the ripe age of one. Is this trip for me or them? I went on one cruise with a friend 5 years ago and it was not my most favorite type of vacation. In other words: I am not a large cruise ship kinda girl. Nicole isn’t really either. But we think being surrounded by all these families might make it bearable if not fantastic. How great it would be to spend an entire week feeling like you are not being judged. Has anyone out there ever been on one of these cruises? Are they spectacular? Or over-hyped?

Will global warming affect this year’s crop of Macintosh apples? I am so tired of slumming it with Braeburns.

When I found out it was twins and then that it was twin girls, I said I would not dress them alike and I would not dress them in pink. Flash forward almost three months after birth and these I actively seek out matching outfits and they wear pink an awful lot. Pictured above are Mad and Avery in cute little whales dresses given to them by their Aunt Jenni.

Countdown three sleeps till our Cape Cod getaway!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Nice Day, Huh?

This morning at the gym, REM’s “It’s The End of the World As We Know It” came on my iPod just as a montage of Bush came on cnn. Coincidence?

Yesterday I packed up the girls and headed to my brother and sister-in-law’s boat for the day. It was me and Mina and four kids. Slightly chaotic but it was so great to be outside, in the sun, relaxing on the water.

It brought back good memories of living on a boat, but it was so different. It’s amazing to think how much my life has changed since those days. Back then, on a day like yesterday, I’d be lying out in the sun in a bathing suit, with the stereo turned up louder than it should be, possibly enjoying a drink or twelve if it was after 12:00, flipping through magazines. Maybe taking cigarette breaks. Not a care in the world. Yesterday I was mainly in the shade, changing diapers and breastfeeding the hungry Avery. It’s funny to think that I used to occasionally lay out topless and now I am occasionally topless again on a boat, for very different reasons. I like it better the latter way .

I even got to take a 20 minute cat nap while the girls slept and Mina kept an eye on everything. I was sprawled out on the bow, laying on my stomach, lulled by the water lapping at the boat and the gentle rocking. My mini-nap was cut short when my hurricane of a nephew joined me. He was running around the bow, apparently fascinated by the sun, the water, the sound of his feet, me, the rail, other boats, the sun, the fishies, the clouds, the city skyline, his scooter. In other words, anything. And he had a comment about everything. I got him to calm down and lay next to me. For about three seconds he was silent, and then he turned to me and said “Nice day, huh?”

He is so cute.

The other day when he was here at our apartment he went crazy when he saw that we put a new carpet down in the entry way. He was so excited, as if he found a secret toy room or a stash of candy. Over the moon over a carpet. He was literally dancing with joy.

We had an amazing night a couple of days ago. Avery slept from 8:30 until 4:30! And Maddie went five hours before waking for more food. I hoped this meant we were turning the corner and had high hopes for last night. Alas, not as good as the night before. Avery went to bed at 8:30 and woke up at 12:30 and 4:30. Then she decided to start her day at 6:45. Maddie is Nicole’s charge so I am not sure of her waking times.

All in all it is MUCH better than before, without a doubt. I can handle waking up once in the middle of the night and once in the wee hours of the morning. What I do now is after Avery’s 4:30 feeding I change and go to the gym (it opens at 5:00). And that workout gives me the energy to get through the day. Well, that and the espresso I have started drinking every morning.

Next week we are going to Cape Cod for a mini vacation and I am so excited. I pack the car every day in my head (I love packing for road trips) and try to visualize happy, sleepy, like-being-in-the-car babies. We are going to a wedding there on Saturday, which means they will be wearing their adorable dresses. And I will have to get dressed up too. It will be a nice change from tank tops and flip-flops, my summer wardrobe. And maybe a chance for our first family portrait!

I am solo this week. And maybe next. There was an unexpected Nanny debacle of mini-epic proportions. Since Nanny Annie goes back to work (she’s a kindergarten teacher) Nanny Annie’s girlfriend Nancy (Nanny Nan) will be taking over. She is in grad school, but has no classes on Thursdays and Fridays, so she will be here those days. She is also a certified personal trainer, so I am excited! My shoulder is still bothering me (physical therapy student Nan) and I’ve already discussed the train wreck that is my stomach (personal trainer Nan). Nanny Nan will have a lot on her plate.

In the meantime, I am nervous. Nicole goes to Boston for work on Sunday morning and won’t be home till Monday night. I know 48 hours doesn’t seem like much, but it will be hard for me. Especially since the girls wake up at different times at night. I’m still not sure what I am going to do. Most people I know work, so getting a helper for the overnight is hard. And my sister-in-law and brother are taking a boat trip over the weekend, so they won’t be around. Has anyone stayed home alone with newborn-ish twins and survived?

Pictured above are Leif and Skye finishing with his Dora pole. They chummed with about eight hamburger rolls. Anything to keep the troops happy. Pictured below is Maddie getting a hug from her cousin and aunt. I think they both loved being on the boat. Maybe the motion reminds them of womb life?

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Reading, Writing and Bad Articles

* See update at bottom!

Suddenly, Parents magazine has started to show up in our mailbox. It isn’t a very good magazine, though I can’t say I’ve been an avid reader over the years: I make this judgment based solely on the quick glimpses I’ve had of it in gynecologist waiting rooms. As a self-proclaimed magazine expert, I give myself this self-proclaimed right.

Anyway, I was flipping through the latest issue before I recycled it and an article caught my eye: “Eight Things No One Tells You.” This is right up my alley, so I start perusing it. That’s four minutes of my life that I will never get back. I have very little time to pursue reading activities and I shouldn’t have wasted precious minutes on this triteness. It is positively scary how really extreme things were discussed in such a lighthearted way. The subheadings in the piece announce things like “You’ll Feel Helpless” and “There’s No Privacy” and “You’ll Have No Control” and “There Is No Learning Curve.” Great. Sign me up.

If a hobby engendered such reactions, you most likely wouldn’t do it, right? If you were reading an article called “Eight Things No One Tells You About SCUBA Diving,” what would you think if you saw subheadings like “Your Lungs Might Collapse Under Water” or “You Could Be Attacked By A Man-Eating Shark” or “Danger Lurks in Unlikely Places.” Seriously.

I have to give the magazine credit for addressing such an important topic in a sea of fluff pieces, but I just wish it was handled in a more hard-hitting and serious way. Don’t try to make it cute, because things like feeling helpless isn’t cute. Not having control isn’t just a downer, it is downright horrifying. Also, I can’t shake the notion that the subtext of the article is, “Silly little lady. Being a parent is hard.” [Say that in a mocking, exaggerated, fake-whiney sorta tone.] If you feel like you are losing control, the article says, then you can remember that this is a good time to practice counting to 10. Are you kidding me? That doesn’t even work with a four-year-old.

I have started to read the Adrienne Rich book, which showed up yesterday, and it is fantastic. Amazing. Eye-opening. I read the first three pages and I am stunned at how elegant and eloquent her writing is, and how honest she is. To wit: “My children cause me the most exquisite suffering….It is the suffering of ambivalence: The murderous alternation between bitter resentment and raw-edged nerves and blissful gratification and tenderness. Sometimes I seem to myself…..a monster of selfishness and intolerance.” This quote is an excerpt from her journal. Her journal, a place where you jot down thoughts and write about your feeling. A place where you write extemporaneously. My journal entries would sound like “Today I was mad. SO very mad! Arrgghh.” She manages to sound like Shakespeare as she sorts her feelings out. I can’t wait to read more of this book. And I still have to finish Harry Potter. I love having a stack of books that I can’t wait to read.

Oh, the new store on the corner is a T M*bile store. Yawn. That does NOTHING for me at all.

Pictured above is Miss Maddie holding onto Nicole’s fingers. This is Maddie’s little way of ensuring that she isn’t put down to sleep by herself. Put her down and remove her fingers and she wakes up. Screaming. Pacifier be damned. I have to try that someday.

*I posted another belly shot in my last post, which shows it at its most horrifying angle. The front-on shots just don't do it justice. It looked almost flat-ish in those shots and it is so not like that!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Who Says We Can’t Have Meaningful Conversations?

There has been an empty storefront a block away from us for a couple of years. Recently there has been some activity inside and so we have been wondering what is going into that space. I hope, as always, for a book store, because 5 blocks to Borders is just w-a-y too far for me to walk. [I’m kidding…but I would still like another bookstore!] Today, on the way home from a software-buying outing I noticed an awning was up revealing what was going to open up in that space. I went home and was excited to tell Nicole that the mystery was solved:

Me: Guess what they are putting in on the corner?
Nicole: I have no idea.
Me: Guess:
Nicole: A Houlihan’s.
Me: No. Guess again!
Nicole: A vitamin store. [Notice please that there is no question mark, as she says these things with no up inflection. I might describe her tone as weary.]
Me: Nope. Try again!
Nicole: I’m not going to guess again. I guessed twice already and now I’m done.
Me: I’m not going to tell you then.
Nicole: Well, I guess the game is over.

Another conversation:

Me: Who is that cartoon character? He talks in a high monotone voice and sounds a little like this. [I demonstrate]
Nicole: I don't know, but I will think about it.
Me: No you won't. You won’t think about it.
Nicole: You’re right. I won’t think about it at all. [laughs manically.]

Other topics of conversation included:

• What Should We Order In For Dinner?
• Why Is The Baby Screaming?
• Should We Take A Walk Outside With the Babies or Just Put On Our Pajamas?
• Why the Nachos We Ordered with Dinner are Bad.
• When Did the Babies Eat Last?
• Why oh Why is the Baby Screaming?

I guess we need to work harder at having meaningful conversations!

Pictured above, as promised, my stomach. The first picture is before. And by “before” I mean before all those IVF and IUI drugs. The middle picture is during. The bottom picture is after. The shadows on my sides of my stomach make it seem like there is definition there. There is not. Those “shadows” are actually contour lines. My stomach juts out from those two parts on the side, giving me the appearance of still being pregnant from the side. It is lumpy and bumpy, not soft and squishy like normal fat. Those purple lines are stretch marks that I got in the last week of pregnancy. I was fine until that last week. My belly button looks stretched out like an old turtleneck. My hips are wider and my waist is much meatier. I have to have Nicole take a profile shot so you can get the full effect. Also, when I sit don, my stomach folds into several neat little bumps.

Don’t get me wrong: I am not complaining about my stretched-out skin and war-torn body. For the first time in my life I am actually ironically more comfortable with my body, flaws and flab and all. It is what it is, and it did an amazing thing. But there still is that side of me, with all the body image problems and borderline food issues problems. After all, I went on my first diet when I was in 3rd grade. I used to go to the gym twice a day and I would practically starve myself on a low-calorie diet and weigh myself 10 times a day. I am trying really hard to avoid such manias.

I still care but that doesn’t stop me from eating an entire box of Wheat Thins today. Or a bag of pretzels. And ice cream. There needs to be a balance but not today.

* Update: The bottom picture is a better shot of what my stomach looks like. The front-on shot didn't do it justice! In this picture, I look like I am still pregnant. And we all know that is categorically impossible!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Prepare To Qualify

Prepare To Qualify

This was our exchange during a let’s-calm-the-babies walk to get ice cream (our dinner) the other night:

Nicole: I have some bad news.
Me: Okay... [fear and blood pressure rising….]
Nicole: I have to go to Boston next Sunday [for work] and I have to spend the night.
Me: [panicking inside; trying to think positive, calculating exactly how many hours she will be gone, including transportation to and from the airport] That’s ok. That will be fine. We’ll be okay for a couple days. It’s not like you are going to San Francisco for a week or something.
Nicole: Well, I have to go to San Francisco for a week in September.

We discussed for a few minutes the concept of me and the girls going to San Francisco too, and Nicole was very indulgent in that fantasy. But we quickly determined that that would be unrealistic: baby jet lag; walking up those hills with a Bjorned baby and a stroller; and I would be alone all day while Nicole worked east coast hours on the west coast.

On the plus side, sourdough bread; family all together; a swanky hotel, in which I would most likely spend lots of time with napping babies. And maybe a trip to Muir Woods to visit the redwood trees.

Neagtive side: Cross-country trip with four-month-olds.

It’s not going to happen. As much as I want it to, it is just too soon.

The Adrienne Rich book is called Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Experience and Institution. It might be a bit too extreme for my tastes, but I read a provocative quote from it and I must admit I am intrigued with Rich’s rather controversial take on motherhood as being both a blessing and burden. And I read a part that talked about how hard/overwhelming it can be. I like books these days that forces readers to take off the rose-colored glasses and look at everything for what it really is.

Today, the girls were little angels/ Nanny Annie and I visited my friend Jen (the one with twins) at her beautiful home (Trees! Nature! Grass! Bugs! Butterflies! Driveway!). We ate BBQ’d chicken and corn on the cob while sitting in the backyard where you can hear the breeze through the trees. The babies slept and ate and smiled and coo’d and generally just did a great job being cute. I had a sneak peek at what life with twins will be like when they are older and it is good! They really are each other’s playmates! Jen’s kids played on the swingset and played inside the house and on the patio and in the pool. They were so cute with one another.

Cuteness continued way into the evening. But Avery and I had a brief upset at the grocery store. I took Avery to buy a few things and she started to cry as I waited on line. Not a whiney little blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cry, but a full on red-faced scream cry. I had no idea what to do. I still feel like there is an voiceover announcer following me around saying “And today, the role of mother will be played by Jennifer.” People we looking at me and I was looking right back at them, trying to convey “I have NO idea what is wrong with her ha ha ha” with my facial expression. Crying continued so I unstrapped her and picked her up. I bounced her and patted her back and wouldn’t you know it, she releases a giant burp and a lot of spit up, all over my shirt and her dress and the floor. I laughed nervously and made some comment about how silly I was not to bring a burp cloth, and proceeded to wipe Avery’s wet face and neck with the bottom of my tee shirt. Here’s hoping that no one behind me on line was from Child Protective Services.

This incident hits horror from several angles:

1. This is one of the first days this summer when I wore a “good” tee shirt. Meaning, one I did not want to ruin. It’s one of those $14.50 Gap ones. It’s soft, soft pink, like the inside of an aged clam shell. I only pull it out for special occasions or when I am wearing pants with pink in them. Best laid plans and all.
2. Lifting up the bottom of my shirt meant revealing part of my stomach. Some might say too much of my stomach. And I am not sure the general public is ready for that yet. Perhaps I will take a picture a do a little before-and-after here so you can see what I mean.
3. This is my local grocery store. I go here every day (sometimes twice a day). And I don’t want to look like an incompetent fool.
4. This little disturbance meant there was ample time for everyone on line to analyze my purchases: Dr. Pepper, pretzels and ice cream. Why couldn’t this happen on a healthy food run, when I am buying fruits and veggies? All I have to say is thank goodness I put back the enormous bag of Gummi Bears that I was going to buy.

Tales of life on a boat to come….

Pictured above are Avery and me on the hammock and Mad in her car seat. Both are wearing cute sailor dresses given to them by their Aunt Jenni, our host or the afternoon. I’m sad that they will grow out of these dresses!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Politics/Memories/Sleep/Eye Contact

Bush approves a bill allowing for even MORE Big Brotheresque eavesdropping. And he vetoes a bill that would provide health care coverage to three million children. Anyone else think there is something wrong with this country?

In other current even news of the weird, am I the only one who thinks that Murdoch buying the Wall Street Journal is a bit like Voldemort buying The Daily Prophet? (I have Harry Potter on the brain, as I am still trying to read the last book.) What is the city coming to?

I technically have nothing against Mr. Murdoch, because I had one encounter (sort of) with him that was pleasantly memorable. I used to live on a boat at a marina here in New York City. Murdoch married his latest wife on his boat, a huge over 100-foot beautiful sailboat that is strong enough to cross oceans. His boat remained dock across from mine for some time, blocking my view (bad thing) but also blocking some of the wakes that rocked my boat (good thing). On the night of his wedding there were so many glittery dressed-to-the-nines people on my dock, and then there was me, dressed in shorts and a bathing suit top, on my boat, drinking in the scene.

When the boat returned to the dock (after a firework show in the harbor that I could see) the dock boys were gone for the night so I ran down to catch the lines. Now this is quite an undertaking with these big boats: They have engines on the bow and stern to glide the boat to the dock but they still need to get a line on the bow and stern and a couple of spring lines in between or else they risk damaging the hull. The ropes for his boat are as thick as the diameter of my tight and attached to weighted balls to make the throwing easier. So I caught the lines and tied them off on the cleat and as a thank you Mr. Murdoch sent over a bottle of champagne. A very very expensive bottle of champagne, the kind billionaires buy. How cool is that? Still, I dislike his politics. And I still think it is weird that he is buying the Journal.

Right now both babies are sleeping and Nanny Annie is here so life is pretty good! We (Nicole and I, that is) had a couple of good nights in a row. I don’t want to jinx it so I am not going to talk about it yet. But it is getting a little better. Maddie still needs to sleep with Nicole. And Avery occasionally likes to get up hourly for breastsnacking. But I have more energy during the day. Or maybe that energy is coming from the gym. I have lost all perspective.

In an attempt to understand why the babies can be so (adorably) devilish, Nicole is tearing through different baby books. Almost every week she comes home with “I was talking to (insert random name here) and he said that (insert random book here) changed his life with his baby (or babies).” And so off I go to B&N to buy said book, which she reads, and then attempts to incorporate into our lives somehow. I think we are following too many systems to be effective. One system allotted time in the schedule of the day for me to wash and sterilize bottles. It also told me when I was “allowed” to talk to my babies and look in their eyes. I want them sleeping better and eating more less often, but not at the sacrifice of eye contact. Good grief.

Anyone ever read anything by Adrienne Rich? I just bought her book and can’t wait to read it, in my spare time. A feminist perspective on motherhood. One quote of hers I read was quite profound.

In cute news, the girls are now wearing pajamas. Yes, after 9 weeks on this earth they finally get taken out of their day onesies and put into nighttime sleepers. They look adorable in them, like Sweet Pea! They are also smiling more and cooing more. And I swear Avery laughed today when she got into BFing position. Just like her (other) mother, she suffers from food excitement!

Friday, August 03, 2007

The Way We Were (Are)

I was on the subway the other day with Avery or was it Madeline and slid into a seat next to a woman just as the train lurched ahead. By slid I mean I practically tumbled into a random woman’s lap. She was quite understanding and made the requisite baby comments. She told me about her one-year-old at home. And then she said “Isn’t it really hard? Being a parent?” Who says these sort of things? To strangers on a subway?

Regardless, she picked the wrong person to talk to if she was being rhetorical because 1.) I have no problem opening up to complete strangers and 2.) I can talk for long periods of time and 3.) I find this parenting thing, to quote her, really hard.

It is insane how intimate you can get between 14th Street and 50th Street. I was happy to have an ear willing to listen to me and she was happy to unpack her dark un-PC thoughts. I even thought about staying on the train past my stop so we could talk more. But I thought that might be too much of a good thing. So we wrapped it up, a little awkwardly since I had approximately 5 seconds before the subway doors closed shut again. We wished each other luck, and she went speeding off uptown in the dark tunnel with her dark thoughts and I climbed back into the sunlight of the street, a little brighter and a little less alone.

This isn’t parenting, not quite, what I am doing. This is schedule management and feeding management and sanitation disposal and more. When exactly will I feel like a mother? Who is my role model for that?

I was (mis)lead to believe that being a mother was some sort of innate skill set. I was born with mothering abilities. I would rise to the occasion without a single fumble or stumble. I can file that away under Bullshit and Other Lies, much like the old chestnut I Will Get Pregnant When I Want To. Creating these babies took a lot of time and money and energy, and maybe being a (good) mother will take a while too. I have no idea because it is hard to find people willing to talk too much about it.

It is 10:30 on Friday night and already my old life has faded from memory. I am sitting in a dark living room with fidgety Maddie, who, despite all efforts, refuses to sleep. She has been feed and burped and cuddled and walked and bounced and put down in a swing, a bouncy seat, a crib and a co-sleeper. She has had a diaper change and an emergency issuance of gripe water. She has spent time on her acid trip playmat (way too stimulating). She enjoyed a walk in the sultry (ha) Manhattan air. She has been held in no less than six different positions. And she still will not sleep.

If I turned the lights on I am sure I would see her with a smirk on her little face, mocking our efforts. Right now she is in the swing making her loud little breathing noises in such a way that I can tell without even looking at her that her eyes are wide open. I might be better equipped to deal with this except last night was awful… hourly wakings and a stretch from 2 am till 4 am when both babies were up and wired like they just had a six pack of Red Bu*ll. And I was on my own with them from 4 pm until almost 8, when Nicole got home, which to most people might seem like no big deal, but when you have two overtired, colicky babies who desperately need to sleep and need your constant attention, you want a freaking sticker, dammit. Wit these babies, day drifts into night drifts into middle of the night and repeat. It is as if there is no beginning and no end, just an endless loop. A loop, I might add, that I don’t feel particularly “good” at.

I haven’t had much practice.

Pictured above is m-m-m-memories, light the corner of my mind, misty water color memories.…..