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.


whatthef*ck said...

jesus you've been busy. i'm just catching up on your blog. i had so many thoughts about things you wrote. i get the dark part you referred to. yep once the chaos is over and the dust settles my same old self is there waiting for me. always. i hear you. theres more to say for sure.

good for you for boot camping the girls. i am a big fan and it worked great with my two other kids. just starting on babybear. she started getting up and screaming at 9:30 pm. 9 fucking 30?! and 11, 1, 3, 5. that's newborn bullshit. suddenly she's better. the other day i let her cry when she did the 40 minute nap thing and she went back to sleep for 2 hours!! i almost had to do the dead baby check! she slept better that night too.

good for you for working out. i have not worked ut once yet and i feel like a big fat ass with zero muscle tone. i still look pregnant. i wish i could compulsively (or at least occasionally) exercise but alas thats not my thing. intense shit you wrote about your opposing tendencies, i.e. regimented exercise then rapid decline into a bag of gummy bears. like a rebellious teenager with puritanical parents. if this comment gets erased i will wig. i better copy it.

your girls are so beautiful

calliope said...

your teeth DO look white. You must hang in the glow of your computer screen more often.

I love how you describe the primalness that is the love you have for your girls. Sucking out the snot? I mean that is hard core love. And you write about it in a way that isn't gross- it is just like, "this is where I will go to make my child comfortable"

And WOO HOO on signing up for the race! You are inspiring me.

starrhillgirl said...

Oh, wow - that phrase about old friends and new language blows my mind. What a fantastic way to put it.
Avery's eyebrows *are* like little inchworms! Cute, cute, cute.

Julia said...

What a cutie pie. Sorry about the sniffles.
I used this on my son with his 1st cold. He hated it, but works so much better than one of those bulb things at clearing at the snot!

Homestead Mom said...

I love this post. I have written a very similar one in my head many times, but never had time to actually post it. I have a 13 month old and a 5 month old, and we are only CIOing the elder kid.

I have often - not kidding - thought about the snot sucking. My poor son has my nostrils, and they do not accommodate snot easily and still breathe. I remember seeing ads for the NoseFrida while DP was pregnant, but forgot about it. I may buy one now, thanks to Julia's mention.

I suffer from what I have referred to since 4th grade as monkey-brain,an unquiet mind, and was blissfully in a quiet brain place from when baby #1 was born (my DP carried her) until about 4 months after my son was born and the hormones wore off. I now am back on the frontlines of trying to sleep, be mindful, calm and appreciative more than stressed, insomniatic, judgemental, etc.

Thanks for what you write, how you write it, and bless you for finding the time!

Holly said...

You have been busy! Glad the CIO thing seems to be working okay.
I totally understand that noise in your head. Sometimes it's louder than others.
Friendship is one of the things I think about constantly. We have friends we wish we saw more, some we wish weren't as needy, but you are right. They don't come with contracts. People change. Circumstances change. You do keep telling yourself to be happy for the constant ones or the current flow of great friends.
Sorry you didn't take the trip to Northampton. I can't believe it's less than an hour from my office and I've never been.
Also congrats on the road race sign up. I am still in the "need to start" the running program. The longer I let the ideas simmer about running, the more frustrated I'll get for not starting!