Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Short List: Mother of the Year

1. My twin feeding strategy: Fill one tiny spoon with food and put it into Maddie’s mouth; wipe off the spit-out/dribbled-out extra food from her face with spoon, feed face food to Avery. Repeat with other baby.
2. Sometimes I wait so long between baths for the girls that I think I could culture neck cheese. Crazy how those little necks are a breeding ground for…whatever that stuff is. Also toe lint and finger lint abounds, still.
3. Since my children are, of course, the most beautiful, well behaved and amazing babies in the world (naturally) I sent their pictures to a modeling agency. It’s about time they pulled their load around here. But I feel like I am already moving to the evil stage-mom end of the spectrum, a la Linds*y L*han’s mom. Next thing you know I’ll be caught partying on the town with them and letting them dress in way-too-short mini dresses, cutting out carbs, trying to diet them down to three- to six-month clothes. This could all happen, because Maddie and Avery received a call back from the agency. Now that isn’t exactly a job, but only 100 kids out of 5,000 were called back! I am so proud that my daughters are recognized for such superficial reasons! Next stop, America’s Top Model Baby. See. That’s bad.

I had a dream last night that I looked at an apartment to buy that had all glass walls. Curtains everywhere. In the bedroom I peeked behind the curtains and noticed there was a music room on the other side of the wall set up for a small band. The kitchen was ultra modern. I curled up on the bed (all white and fluffy) and fell asleep. I woke up the next day and the owner was there. I felt all awkward, like one might feel after a drunken one-night-stand. What does it all mean?! My dreams have been so vivid lately. By “lately,” I mean for the last two years.

Anyone see the train wreck that was DWTS last night? It was crazy as in crazy bad. I was so uncomfortable watching Marie. And how many times was she going to plug her doll line? This is my first season watching and regardless of the ridiculousness I am hooked. I have been casting my Dream Season DWTS. Here's who I have so far: Liza Minelli (and maybe her ex becasue wow, he is a freak show), Kathy Lee Gifford (and maybe Kelly Ripa so there is a Kathy/Kelly showdown), Judge Judy, maybe Dolly Parton, Paula Abdul...I could go on. My men list is short as in none. I am trying to think of someone not quite as obscure as say Tom Wopat but not so obvious cheese-arific as William Shatner. Yes, this is what is on my mind these days. It beats last night's erudite debate with Nicole, while watching the DWTS semi-finals:

N: She has a small heiney.
Me: You can't call an adult's butt a heiney. Heniys are for babies. Adults have butts.
N: That is so small it is a heiney.
Me: It's a butt.
N: No that is clearly a heiney.

The conversation continued in that vein for another minute or two.

Pictured above, Exhibit A and B. On top, Madeline about to put a power cord into her mouth. Notice my first instinct was to capture that moment on film…and not remove said cord from her clutches. On bottom, just look at their little shirts. They are filthy!

Monday, November 26, 2007

New and Improved

We’re back from Florida. It was nice to get away and both babies adapted well to being in a new environment and sleeping in new cribs. They were superstars. And the weather was perfect: In the 80s during the day and chilly enough at night for a sweater. I saw a bald eagle, a turtle, lots of lizards, a hawk, lots of fish, an osprey and an alligator.

Contrary to what some have said, the challenge of flying with babies did not magically erase my own fear of flying. In fact, it felt worse. I took x*nax but it does absolutely nothing for me, except make me feel sleepy. The second we hit turbulence, my stomach drops and fears of falling planes pop into my head. I am also very sensitive to pitch, so if the engine sound changes even an iota, I notice and assume it is failing. It didn’t help that on one of the legs I was seated next to a man who kept commenting how oxygen masks won’t help us it the plane is going down and that he didn’t fly after nine eleven because he didn’t want to be a human missile. Having the girls makes it a little worse because Nicole, who previously was able to hold my hand and literally talk me through it, now focuses on the baby on her lap. And because of flying regulations we can’t fly next to each other. We were across the row from each other, but it is not the same thing.

The babies were both fine on the plane. Beyond fine. Maddie slept during take off and landing, like a mini flying pro/show off. And Avery nestled contently in my arms, happy to play with my sweater or finger. It truly was a dream. With the exception of having to check a million pieces of luggage, flying with children was a great experience. I just jinxed us.

Both girls have developments. Avery has learned a new sound: The screech. Its pitch could call dolphins. She uses it to say she is happy, sad, mad, angry, tired, hungry, excited, intrigued and bored. In other words, all the time. At first it was cute but wow, it is screechy. And Maddie has cut her first tooth! It is right in front on the bottom. She has been drooling a lot but she hasn’t own any of the crankiness or discontentness usually associated with teething. She is happy as a clam, now new and improved with a tiny tooth.

It’s a dreary Monday here, compounded by the fact that I am alone again after a week plus of constant daytime company. It’s hard to adjust to, being alone again with two babies that communicate only through crying and now screeching with no one to share the day or the duties with. I’m also just plain grumpy, irrationally so, but there it is. It’s hard to climb out of these moods, especially when you feel guilty for feeling down when you know you should feel so happy for being so lucky in so many ways. Ah, the holiday season….

Pictured above, the four of us. Below that a creepy creepy doll that lives at Nicole’s parents’ house. This doll gives me nightmares. I keep imagining it coming to life at night, walking around, standing over my bed with a tiny little doll knife sculpted from eyeliner…..

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Both Sides Now of the Heart of the Matter

The doctor felt the “bump” that Nicole and I felt and said it was a muscle. I discovered nothing, apparently. Thank goodness. I felt silly for my over-reaction but why take chances? It really felt bump-like to me. I had no idea muscles could feel round and tumor-like and scary.

As a bonus, I got a breast exam. Doctors sometimes have a way of talking that makes you think immediately that you are going to die. To wit:

Doctor (with his hands on my breasts): Do you have a history of lumps in your breasts?
Me: No. Why?
Doctor: Have you ever had any? (still kneading my breast)
Me: No. Why?
Doctor: Not even here, in this quadrant? (knead, squeeze)
Me: No. Why?
Doctor: You sure? Any family history? (knead, knead, knead)
Me: No. Why?
Doctor: Have you felt any lumps?
Me: No why?
Doctor: When did you examine yourself last? (squeeze)
Me: WHY?????

After a long pause, he says, “No reason. Just questions I ask.” I liked my other doctor better, who made small talk about the weather and traffic while she examined me. So uterus seems okay; breasts seem okay and my cervix looked good. Blood pressure is 80 over 50. I don’t take good health for granted anymore.

I went to my friend’s baby shower today. It made me kind of sad because it is the last shower in this particular friend group (my high school friends). An end of an era of sorts. For years now we have attended each other’s showers and parties and weddings and such and now these sort of rights of passage events are over. Which is not to say we aren’t in each other’s lives or won’t see eachother; I just mean that I feel like we have all transitioned now into these new worlds of families and children and careers and all the relevant parties are over.

I have six million thoughts in my head, each one in a different direction. Spending time with my friends, especially when we are all together, it is one of those things that life is all about. What makes life good. As my old therapist would say, it's touching the glue of a relationship, these types of moments. I guess it wouldn't be special if it happened all of the time? On the (long) drive-in-traffic back to the city, The Heart of the Matter came on the radio. I’ve copied the lyrics here before but here it is again, a snippet. The lyrics always, always, always get to me:

There are people in your life who’ve come and gone
They let you down you know
They hurt your pride
You better put it all behind you baby; life goes on
You keep carrying that anger; it’ll eat you up inside, baby
I’ve been trying to get down
To the heart of the matter
But my will gets weak
And my thought seem to scatter
But I think its about forgiveness….

Each time I hear that song, I relate to it in new ways. That song and Both Sides Now, by Joni Mitchell.

I read an article today (yes, I had the life of Riley today, compete with baby shower and drives by myself in the car and a manicure and magazine reading time). Anyway the article talked about how women view their relationships with their mothers differently as they age. And it brought up a point of how women tend to idealize their fathers but scorn their mothers. So the cad-like, evil bastard of a father (and those on the other end of the spectrum) can do almost no wrong but mothers, we drag them over the coals if they so much as sneeze in a way we don’t like. The article mentioned also how we continually seek approval from our mothers. And it might have disagreed to just today I spoke with my mom on the phone and she made a particular comment and wow, I felt over the moon. A little it of praise goes a long way in mother/daughter relationships, both ways.

We leave for Florida tomorrow morning. Two babies and me, the reluctant flyer. Pass the xanax....

Pictured above, is this not the cutest sweatshirt you have ever seen? A zip-up hoodie. I LOVE it. It is my new favorite thing, replacing the mini Le Crueset pot I my heart of favorite Material Items. I like it so much I just bought two more to give to someone. Thing is, it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, I’m afraid. Not everyone wants to run around in cloudwear. But seriously, how cute are those fangs?! And I’m a sucker for repeating patterns. Avery likes them too: When I wear my heart pajamas, she gets crazy and oh so excited. Stripes push her over the edge.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Things That Go Bump In The Tub

The other night I was in the tub, enjoying my new evening bath tradition, and felt my scar. Under my scar in the uterus area I felt a bump. A big, round maybe hard bump smack dab in the center. I called Nicole over to feel and expected her to say 1.) you’re fine or 2.) It’s nothing or 3.) I don’t feel anything. Enjoy your bath. Instead she said something calculated like I’m sure it’s fine but you should go see the doctor tomorrow anyway.

I felt this bump about a week ago, around the time my cycle started again and thought that it was maybe my ovaries, all inflated from a year plus of non-use. Even though it was in the middle of my uterus and not on the side, I still convinced myself it was an ovary. I pretty much ignored it until that bath. I’d like to think it truly is nothing but I’ve been around long enough to know that unfortunately that isn’t always the case. It could also just be how things heal. The scar is pulled taut, creating a place for tummy flab to hang over. Everything is changed down there, landscape-wise.

I am in between gynecologists and I knew I could never get an immediate appointment with the new one I chose; it took me three months to get the appointment I already had for the end of December. So I called up my ob/gyn’s office and talked my way into an appointment for today. I must admit I stretched the truth a bit with the receptionist, a.k.a. The Gatekeeper. I told her that I had a “big” bump right under my scar so that it may be C-section-related and therefore their domain. I didn’t want to take a chance that I didn’t get in. Technically, they canceled my last “exit” appointment about three months ago and I just never rescheduled. So this is my rescheduled appointment. Let’s hope it’s uneventful.

I needed this to happen because we leave for Florida on Sunday for a week and I don’t want to spend all of the week worried about this. I am worried about how we are going to manage a flight to Florida with the girls. And the car seats. And stroller. And food. And bags. And teething rings. And checked-in luggage. This three-hour flight seems like a marathon. Whenever I start really going off the deep end I remember that my sister-in-law flies back and forth to Japan with Leif and Skye, sometimes alone, and that is a twelve hour flight. Of course this is compounded by the fact that I have a teensy little fear of flying brought on by who-knows-what a few years ago. I am very close to eschewing all air travel and learning how to drive an RV. And there are ships that can take us to places like Europe. Really, who needs planes?

Please someone stop me from obsessively checking the turbulence reports. And weather reports. And statistics.

My appointment is at 10:15. Think happy it’s-nothing vibes.

Pictured above, the two of them. I can’t wait for them to talk! I can’t wait to hear what they have to say! Below, Mama Pot and Baby Pot. This little pot is my favorite new thing right now! It’s used to heat up the girls’ frozen food cubes. So far they have had sweet potatoes and bananas from scratch. I’ll be adding more foods very soon, since they are almost six months. Below that, my first blogged video. Look at Maddie. I swear she thinks she is a model!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Noise, Nose and News

Here’s the trouble with twins: They are the yin to the other’s yang, in both good and bad ways.

With twins, you never quite get a break. When you have one child, maybe that baby doesn’t sleep through the night but takes great naps during the day. So you are up all night but get a break during the day. With twins, it’s like they draw straws and decide one will nap during the day but the other won’t. And one will sleep through the night while the other won’t. In the end it means that you don’t get a break at night and you don’t get a break during the day. There is rarely that moment of synchronicity. When both are eating well and sleeping well and all of those other things babies are supposed to do. Like today: It’s almost funny how one cried in the car for no reason; and as soon as she stopped, the other started up.

We were supposed to be in Northampton this weekend, but canceled the trip due to Avery’s little cold. Second reason for canceling is the desire to continue CIO in one place. I’m sad, because I was really looking forward to it. But we are going to Florida next week to visit Nicole’s family. So there is a lot going on.

Right now Avery is battling the sniffles. Her first case of it. I’m not quite sure if it is a cold or teething or a food allergy. Regardless, her nose is like a faucet and that makes laying down hard for her. Listening to her breathing through her mouth, that raspy sort of breathing that could mean so many scary things, it’s awful. My instinct is to close my mouth over her nose and just suck everything out of her. Seriously. Like I am an animal.

It’s funny, that is the sort of animal instinct I thought would instantly happen when the girls were born. Like I would lick the afterbirth off of my children and regurgitate food into their little mouths, if I had to. And now, little by little, I see these bizarre instinctive behaviors emerging. Digging wax out of the ears with my finger nail, and the aforementioned urge to drain Avery’s nose with my mouth. This is just the tip of the iceberg I’m sure.

My life certainly shifted in dramatic ways instantly when the girls were born, but I have to say that not everything is shaking out as I expected. Even as I sit here on, refreshed from my bath and a good day of shopping that included a snowman cookie jar and satiated from my daily ice cream with Nicole across the room from me working on her computer and two babies sleeping soundly (please) in their room, I can’t turn off the stupid noise in my head. The wasted thoughts on ridiculous, stupid things.

The noise stopped, a complete hard stop, when I was in the hospital when the babies were born. The line connecting my brain with the dark part of me was severed. Instead I focused on pain and health worries and new baby concerns. That is why, as I have said before, despite all of the physical pain and suffering of that time, I look back on it with fondness. I’m practically nostalgic for it. I was living moment to moment. I was living in the moment. No noise or news or negativity. My world collapsed into the little hospital room, with only Nicole and Madeline and Avery in orbit. And then it carried over into our home in the beginning. Just us, trying to figure things out and sort through the details of this new paradigm in our life.

But once all the dust settles, wow, those stupid thoughts come back. The body issues; the food issues; family issues; wasting time thinking about stupid things or people who aren’t worth it. Like this one: I have a friend I am (was) extremely fond of. But the dynamics of the relationship radically changed. It’s funny, because Nicole and I always used to talk about her on the way up to Northampton. It just started as a coincidence, that we would tell stories and offer praises for what an Amazing Friend she was. Then it became tradition, talking about how great she was, each trip.

And then it slowly slowly slowly deteriorated. I would love to go into detail but in the end, what is the point? It's just sad, period, end of story. People change and circumstances change and, as someone said once you don't have to change your friends if you realize your friends change. When will I realize that friendships aren’t contracts? There are times when I feel like if you so much as smile at me then we are friends for life. I take the commitment of friendship really seriously, perhaps more than I should. But I grew up with a distant and dysfunctional family, so friends, they became my family. And you accept your family, good, bad and ugly.

Well, you do until you get to a point when you just can't accept certain things and certain behaviors. And with this particular person, I got to that point. I miss her and I’m sure the feeling is mutual, but what can you do? We still talk from time to time and there is that intention to "get together" in that nebulous, never-really-going-to-happen sort of way. But I think we both know it's all talk.

The whole situation will annoy me, anger me, sadden me or frustrate me, depending on the day. That is what I mean about deficit thinking: I spend a disproportionate amount of time thinking about her than I do counting my blessings for the amazing friends I do have. The friends I’ve had for two decades; the new friends I have been lucky enough to meet in adult life; old friends that I share new language with. I may be hurt more than the average person but in the end, I feel lucky and so grateful. And I am trying really hard to focus on that and not the crap.

CIO is up to Two Weeks and A Day. We still call it CIO but truth be told, no one is really crying it out that much anymore. Maddie sleeps through the night usually, with a stirring here and there. In bed by 6:15/6:30 and up around 6:00. Amazing. Avery still wants one bottle in the middle of the night. It’s Ladies’ Choice with her: Sometimes around midnight and other times closer to 3:00. Until her little cold, though, she was pretty steady. So I have to say that this method, as hard as it is, does work. I’m not sure how to wean Avery form her middle-of-the-night bottle but we’ll leave that till after her cold and after our Thanksgiving trip to Florida. I am curious to see how a week in a new location will affect this. By “curious” I mean “terrified.”

Other news: On the running front, I signed up for my first race! It’s four miles, a distance that seems doable. I almost signed up for a 10K, with the encouragement of my running guru Molly, but decided against it because that is one whole loop around Central Park and I don’t even like to WALK that! Psychologically that would be very hard for my first race! I am still trying to figure out if I can train for a marathon. It is crazy…26.2 miles. I don’t even like to drive that far. But let’s go one race at a time. After all, until a couple of months ago, I could only run two minutes at a time. And now I can run 45 minutes, sometimes straight. I would love to do it, just for the sheer satisfaction of creating a goal and working toward accomplishing it. That and the chance/excuse to carbo load.

More news: my five-year-old nephew was voted Student of the Month for October. I totally get now why people get those bumper stickers! I was so proud. I hugged him yesterday to congratulate him and till the day I die, I will never forget that sweet look of his, a little embarrassed, a little proud, and so quick to embrace. He is Mr. Smarty Pants, reading up a storm.

Pictured above, my little sniffly Avery. I love her eyebrows! Like little inchworms! She does indeed look so much like Nicole. A medical mystery and miracle! And my teeth look so white.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Longing For Gray

I have such a love/hate relationship with girly girl emporium Vict*ria’s S*cret. All that pink and those frills and bows and impractically padded D cup bras. All those absurd undergarments that never support me like they should. So why is it every time I walk in there I feel like all I need is one matching bra-and-panty and then I will be the hottest, sexiest, most desirable woman in the world? Just a $90 set of underwear and I am good to go. This urge to buy underwear/instantly become sexy has been so strong in the past that I actually once applied for a VS credit card on the spot and charged everything because it seemed so frivolous to spend the money I had on all that. It seemed MUCH smarter to spend money I didn’t have, and pay that off $20 a month plus 25 percent interest. In my defense, I was in my 20s. I know better now. Sometimes. But still, today, I really really wanted that overpriced matching set of anything. So sparkly and frilly and lacy and impractical….

Yesterday I bought jeans. It seems like a practical purchase, considering my current stay-at-home status. Of course, the process of trying on clothes kick started all those lovely body issues. I got mad at myself in the dressing room. Because the jeans aren’t the right size (I should be smaller) and they are a little too snug where they should be loose (my waist should be smaller) and because my stomach mushrooms or muffin tops (pick your metaphor) over the top of the jeans in a new and not-so-welcome way.

I don’t have unrealistic expectations for myself. I just want to be perfect. So let me rephrase that: I have extremely unrealistic expectations for myself. I am trying to get past them, I really am, for many reasons, not the least of which is that I don’t want my two children to grow up with issues like this. But this whole getting older thing (the body breaks down in new and unusual ways; your metabolism changes; gravity becomes a bigger issue) really compounds the issue. And food issues add something undesirable to the mix. And the all-or-nothing attitude thing. And the I-fucked-today-up-by-eating-two-pretzels-so-I-might-as-well-just-eat-a-box-of-crackers-thing. I could go on.

Here’s a perfect example of my all-or-nothing attitude (heretofore to be referred to as aona because I don’t feel like typing it out): I went to Jen’s house the other day, but made a stop on the way to pick up some supplies for some projects I am working on. I grabbed a bag of gummi bears for Jen, since she is pregnant and craved them. I also got a candy bar for her. (I figure she can indulge in this without guilt if it is a gift.) Anyway, so I get in the car and the girls are getting fussy. They both are crying and I am trying to navigate my way through roads I am not familiar with at all. I felt disoriented and the crying oh the nonstop crying in the car makes you INSANE after a while. I was hungry. I had to pee. I figured gummi bears would make ALL this better. So I ripped open the bag with my teeth and saw no harm in eating just a few of the green ones. I ate the entire bag. Not the snack-sized bag, the big share-with-other’s sized bag. A bag that would sit in a normal person’s cabinet for weeks!

That might seem harmless enough but the problem is that these singular events snowball into entire sequences of bad events that can spans weeks if I let it. One bag of gummi bears leads to one box of the treat that is something like a cracker but more like a snack which leads to not my sensible ice cream bar but half of a pint of ice cream for dessert which leads to skipping the gym which leads to eating whatever I want whenever I want which leads to low low low self esteem which leads to more body issues which leads to a viscous cycle of eat/don’t work out/feel like shit until I wake up one day and just say enough is enough. Sometimes it takes an hour, sometimes a few days and sometimes a week (and sometimes, sadly, much, much longer) to get to the point where I reset myself. And let me tell you, people, a week (day or even hour) of eating crap and not working out and beating yourself up for it and feeling like shit every time you looked in the mirror is not fun.

So that is life with aona. When I am good, I am very good. I can be very disciplined and dedicated and controlled and organized. And when I am bad, I am ridiculous. I can be perfect and the second I am not, I dip so far into the opposite side of perfect that it is crazy.

I am not terribly comfortable writing about this sort of stuff, but oh well. And let’s be honest, the only reason why I can write about this now is because I am in a good phase.
This blog has always been about me having a place to vent/share/opine/record/reflect. The fact that other people read these long, meandering not-very-well written posts blows my mind. I can’t imagine how others might find my life interesting!

I am also a firm believer in admitting you have an issue as a precursor to changing it. And since this is something that is so hard to talk about because it is embarrassing/some people just don’t get it/makes me seem weak and imperfect/here we go again, I’d rather write about it and then go about my life as if everything is just fine. My life has always been about such extremes. One of these days, I hope to live happily in the middle.

Pictured above is my adorable Madeline. How cute is she? Wow, do I need a manicure.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Now Back To Our Regularly Scheduled Show

First, to answer a few questions I saw in the comments:

The girls are in the same bedroom but differently cribs. Bizarrely, they don’t seem to mind the other’s crying. Maddie sleeps through Avery crying out and vice versa. Thank goodness for that. The other night, Avery had a rough night. She cried out for almost an hour. But Maddie slept through it, with her cute little footie-pajama’d butt in the air.

In the midst of the nighttime CIO we are also trying to set them onto a nap schedule. They both wake up between 5:00 and 6:00 in the morning. Within about an hour and a half of waking up they are ready for a little nap (about an hour long). Then they take morning nap for an hour or two and an afternoon nap of about an hour and a half. This, of course, changes on a daily basis but we are working toward putting them on that two-nap schedule, with an early morning just-after-waking-up nap.

Avery most definitely looks like Nicole but, alas, she is of my egg. Both babies came from my eggs. After my first two failed IVFs, we looked into using Nicole’s eggs. I wanted to do that anyway: One baby with Nicole’s egg and one with mine. But the logistics were insane: Nicole would have to relinquish all rights to her own egg if it were to gestate in me and then, once the baby is born, which is biologically hers, she would have to adopt said child back. Crazy and wrong. So we went with just my eggs, making life much simpler. But Avery really looks like Nicole. And people say Maddie looks like me, but I don’t see me in either baby, really.

Life as we knew it is slowly coming back. We are starting to get our nights back! Last night was CIO Night 11. We have a new plan: One of us sleeps on the couch and monitors the babies while the other person gets to sleep in the bedroom, baby-monitor-less and peaceful. Last night I won the lottery and got to be the one who slept in the bedroom. And I slept ALL night! That is the first time in almost a YEAR that I got to sleep all night!

It was weird, being alone. I felt like Nicole was on a business trip and took the babies with her. I slept in my special alone mode: In the middle of the bed with an iPod and book next to me. I went to bed around 9 and read for a while (not sure how long) and woke up at the alarm at 5:00. It was blissful and amazing. I was so rested. I went to the gym and when I got home I was so energized that I was practically running, moving from kitchen to living room to bathroom and bedrooms, organizing, cleaning, straightening up. It is insane what a difference a good night’s sleep can make.

And I may luck out again tonight because Nicole thinks that consistency is key. So for consistency’s sake, she will be the one to greet the girls in the morning and attend to evening needs, should there be any. I am not going to argue! However, I do know that means a couple of nights for me on the couch is in the future!

So CIO is going really well. Maddie, I am proud to say, has been indoctrinated into the world of long-term sleeping. She goes down around 6:00 or 6:30 and sleeps until around 5:30 or 6:00. I can’t believe that this is working! CIO is truly successful, if you can endure the nightly hell and stick to it and keep plugging away, no matter what. Avery wants a bottle once a night still. If she cries at night and we give her a bottle, she happily drinks it and goes right back to sleep. We aren’t sure when we will wean her from the bottle, but right now it’s okay for her to get us up once a night to eat. MUCH better than our previous schedule of getting up about 5 times a night.

Our next challenge is to get them to sleep a little later. Daylight savings kind of threw things off. They are waking at 5:00, which is really 6:00 in their baby brains. I think 6:30 is a good time for them to get up and I would like to move toward that paradigm. Healthy Sleep Habits Healthy Baby or whatever it is called says that in order to do that you have to put them to bed earlier. This of course is counter intuitive: I would think that if I want them to sleep later I put them to bed later. Not so. So We will be trying to put them done a few minutes earlier each night, inching toward the 6:0 p.m. mark I guess.

I am reading this book called Slow Fat Triathlete. It is about a 200 plus pound woman who races in triathlons. The book so inspiring. I wouldn’t exactly say it is written well (it’s conversational style is so annoying at times and her attempts at wittiness are over the top), but I love the message: That we all can live out our fitness goals in the bodies we have. It’s really inspirational (and practical, if your really want to do triathlons).

I always thought I had to lose weight to be a runner. But really, you can run in whatever body you have. My entire life I thought I couldn’t run. I listened to people tell me that I had the wrong body type to run. While there might be some truth to that (it’s hard to lug around big boobs while running) it really doesn’t matter because I am not trying to be an Olympic athlete. I never said I wanted to be a star runner. I’m happy to just go at my own pace. I started running one minute at a time because that was all I could do. I can now run for 45 minutes without stopping. It’s insane, watching myself get stronger at this. For me, this has been a huge accomplishment and something that I am proud of. I never thought I could do it and now I am doing it. I am signing up for my first race: Four miles in Central Park in December. There is something to be said for setting goals and working toward reaching them.

This weekend my friend Chris was in town and we went to see Spring Awakening. We had amazing front row center seats! It was great. One thing I found interesting was that the show warns that there is brief nudity. And there was. I spent the entire show looking for the brief nudity that I was stunned that I didn’t see the sex scenes or masturbation scenes coming (no pun intended).

We are going Northampton leaf peeping this weekend and I am so excited! Technically we should be past foliage prime now but the long hot and dry summer makes the season longer and not so vibrant. I was at my friend Jen’s house yesterday and was amazed at how beautiful it was. Here in the concrete city there aren’t many signs of fall. Her entire yard was strewn with crunchy brown and yellow and red and green leaves. It is fun for me, since I don’t have to rake them up! And I collected some leaves for a project I want to do, that I will now have time to complete, since the girls are going to bed so early.

Pictured above, my little eaters! They are really messy. Avery has joined the world of solid-food eaters, following the lead of Maddie. Maddie LOVES solids and cries in between bites. I literally need to have a spoon waiting at her lips or she starts crying!

By the way: I have a copy of taking Charge of Your Fertility. It is a great book that is looking for a new home. Anyone need it? I'll send it out...just let me know in the comments if you want it and I'll send you my email address.

Friday, November 02, 2007

CIO: Micro and Macro

I am too tired to write about CIO on the micro level so I will write about it on the macro. Last night was Night Seven. The books and experts and people who have gone through this say it takes about a week. But that is usually with one baby. With two, I think it takes longer.

Last night, Maddie cried out maybe twice, but soothed herself back to sleep in maybe 30 seconds. Avery cried out once around midnight. After almost a half hour we gave her a bottle. We are sort of on the fence with this: On one hand we want Avery to stop expecting nighttime feedings but on the other hand, we are okay with her having one bottle a night. One night she needs it, the next she is fine and soothes herself to sleep without it.

So Nicole and I seem to be getting more sleep than ever before. Hurray! Why, then, are we both so exhausted? My entire body hurts really hurts. We are both not sleeping well. It is as if we are back in the newborn stages. My sleep is not interrupted by them as much as it was just a week ago, but I am not getting into a deep sleep. I think we are just so on edge, waiting for the cry and the inevitable emotional turmoil that accompanies it. Wondering what the night has in store for us. Wondering when it will be over.

Because I am uncharacteristically at a lack for words, I interviewed Nicole (jacked up from her morning latte-with-double-shot-of-espresso) for her thoughts on this experience:

Q: How has the CIO experience been for you?
“Exhausting, physically and emotionally. The hardest part is not going in and picking them up. Hearing brand new screams and cries that I haven’t heard before. I am impressed with their creativity when it comes to crying.”

Q: What makes CIO so difficult?
“The fact that it is different every night. Someone will get up 12:00 one night and at 3:00 the next. No consistency. And for different reasons: Is it random pacifier pop-in time [for Maddie] or is this hungry time [for Avery]? Are they uncomfortable? Are their heads stuck between the spindles and they are about to break their necks? I don’t know.”

Q: What has surprised you about CIO?
“The surprise part to me was the stress between us. We are both fighting in the middle of the night over who should deal with it and how we should deal with it. What did we agree on? How did we decide to handle a situation? It’s hard to remember in the middle of the night.”

Q: What has been the easiest part of CIO?
“The one thing that is easiest is the bedtime routine. Avery is going down like a champ. Maddie goes right to sleep. Getting them down has been so easy. They both know it’s bedtime.” [for the record, bedtime routine goes as follows: Change into PJs; read Goodnight Moon; saying goodnight to relatives/friends while sipping on one last bottle; then crib. The whole process, start to finish, is about 15 minutes.]

Q: If you were managing this a project at work how would you do it differently?
“I’d be writing everything down at night and looking for any trends. The key thing is to find out what the cry threshold is. For Avery it’s about 20 minutes or a half hour. But that is gut instinct. I can’t defend that with data, so I’d like to have something written down that we could analyze. And I think I would have project meetings every morning and evenings. We would do post mortems the next day to talk about what went well and what didn’t go so well.”

There you have it.

Now some random wrap-up thoughts: The girls go to sleep at an incomprehensively early 6:30 pm and they sleep until 6:30 or 7:30 in the morning. We are starting to have nights again. And Nicole and I actually had dinner together, at the table. This is a huge improvement from the solitary wolfing-it-down approach we usualy take. And I went out to dinner with a friend last night.

Their nighttime wakings are fewer and farer between, much better than when they were sleeping with us, that is certain. The CIO process has helped us turn a corner. It hasn’t been easy, mentally, emotionally or physically, but it is worth it. I know CIO isn’t for every family, and I can see why some people don’t want to do it. But for us, it is working. Slower than I would like, but it is working.

Pictured above, Halloween Maddie and Avery! Yesterday we went on a post-Halloween spending spree and paid 50 percent or more less for all sorts of Halloween decorations. I’ve said it before but I will say it again: I LOVE Target!!