Sunday, March 02, 2008

Everything Counts in Large Amounts*

Sometimes I think about going back to grad school and working toward a doctorate, because a girl can’t have too many degrees with no discernible career path, as far as I am concerned. Then I think, someone who can’t make heads or tails of daylight savings doesn’t deserve a doctorate.

Work this out with me: In a few weeks, we spring forward. So that means what used to be 6:00 p.m. now becomes 7:00 p.m. Which means it will be darker later and lighter earlier? Or darker earlier and lighter later? See, that is where I fall apart. I can’t figure it out and year after year—twice a year—I am absolutely befuddled. I just can’t wrap my mind around it. I will withdraw all applications immediately and move to one of those ignoring-daylight-savings states. New Mexico I think? Or is it NeVAda?

The girls just had their nine-month appointment, a logistical challenge made easier since Nicole’s mom (visiting from Florida) accompanied me to the appointment. Madeline is about 19 and a half pounds and Avery is about 20 and a half pounds. Fiftieth percentile and seventy-fifth, respectively. No wonder my arms are tired. All went well, until the doctor asked me if I noticed that one of Avery’s eyes looked a little turned in. Why, no, I didn’t. Seriously, I had no idea. I noticed when she looked down at things that she would be a little cross-eyed, but I thought that was normal and even a little charming and endearing. My pediatrician says it looks like she has a slight case of lazy eye, though she used a more vanilla-pc term than that. Now I can’t look at her without thinking “OMG her eyes are COMPELTLEY crossed.” Which they aren’t.

Since I want both sets of my children’s eyes to be cross-training/aerobic superstars, we are off to an eye specialist, where the recommended course of action might be an eye patch. I had the same lazy-eye issue as a child, but I had the joy of eye-patching as a kindergartner, not as a baby, when you can be dressed in Technicolor elastic clothing and not care, let alone worry about headgear or eye patches. Having at patch at five, now that is tough. Nothing says “sit at my table and share my crayons” like a pirate patch on your face. Red Rover doesn’t let patchy come over. So if Miss Avery does have to wear a patch, at least she won’t experience childhood alienation.

Naturally I am worried sick that this is the tip of a health-crisis iceberg, that a doctor will uncover some disease that I have never heard of whose number one symptom is lazy eye. Then I remember, wait a minute, this happened to me as a child. And it is common. Then I worry again. It is an endless worry/denial cycle.

I have been ridiculously negligent in keeping up with the two baby journals I swore I would update on a regular basis (I got so tired of crossing out “daddy” and scribbling “mommy” above it). So I need to record a few milestones here:

1.) Avery has started dancing (literally, on Friday the leap day), and is particularly fond of the musical stylings of her Fisher Price picnic table. She also loves the British bus that plays tinny, ten-second ditties. She bends her knees and bops up and down until the music stops. I play music during the day and when I have had enough caffeine, I have been known to bust a move in front of the girls in a lame attempt to get a giggle or solicit a smile. Lately, though, orchestral music has been tops on the play list, which you really can’t dance to, so a few rounds of La Cucharacha is rocking Avery’s world.

2.) Madeline eats like a machine. If she sees me with any food, she drops what she is doing and crawls over to me, with an attitude, I might add. She practically punches her arms out, splatting her starfish hands on the floor, and moves her legs in double time, head down in concentration. Then she climbs up on my chair or my legs or wherever I am at tries to get at whatever I am eating. She has seven teeth and a couple more on the way, so my guess is she is looking to practice. This weekend, she ate a Vienna Finger (not the crème, just the wafer). That was Nana’s doing (Nicole’s Mom). Nicole and I took the girls to a children’s bookstore with a cupcake café and shared a donut. Maddie freaked until we gave her little bits of the donut insides. She also eats Cheerios like she is trying to qualifying for some Olympic Cherrio-eating game. Pretty much anything you offer her is eaten with glee. She even starts to eat books and magazine covers, until I intervene.

3.) They both babble a lot. Avery must be taking some foreign language courses in her spare time because she speaks a form of German or Yiddish. A lot of “dut” and gudt” and yat” with the requisite mamas and dadas and nanas. Madeline is more likely to concentrate on the softer sounds, the little delicate snowflake that she is. At times they both will say “Mahmmm” and look right at me or Nicole, and my eyes almost fill with tears. Then they will go over to the magazine rack or the file drawer and say “Mahmmm.” So either they think we resemble dark wooden furniture or they haven’t quite figure out names go with faces.

4.) Both are crawling, both are standing, both are edging, both have stood on their own without holding onto anything. And both squat so much that I can’t believe they don’t have baby buns of steel. Both have chubby butts and chunky thighs and perfect puffy cheeks. They go to bed between 5 and 6 at night and sleep until around 5:00/5:30 in the morning. They usually go down without a fight; We have been lucky on that front. On a good night, no one gets up, But on random nights, one will get up for no reason in particular. Nicole surmises that it is teeth-related, because interrupted sleep usually coincides with interrupted baby gums. Who knows. Once upon a time I thought babies learned to sleep through the night and then BOOM, done, every night, for the rest of their lives. Not so.

It’s been a busy week made dreadful by some sort of ear infection. First there was that stinging pain in my left ear. Then Nicole poured peroxide in it, saying this is a healthy ear maintenance procedure. Then I felt that same stinging pain and that swimming-all-day clogged feeling. So my hearing is off and I have had a few dizzy spells and I know I must go to the doctor, but that ain’t happening. I also need to get a throat sonogram and an MRI and bloodwork and some non-healing mole/shingle thing checked out, but I am not doing any of that either. Ugh. I want to take care of myself and all that but in reality with the girls, it is hard. The god thing is, the ear feels a little better today so perhaps it is heading down the healing road.

Nicole and I still struggle to find the balance of them and us. Singular and plural. And Lordy, it is a struggle. I told her tonight that since we don’t get to go out spend time together like we used to then every moment we are together counts, like, thrice fold. So a brief verbal exchange over sizzling turkey meatballs now carries the same weight as an afternoon movie. A trip to the park is a weekend away. Two minutes on the floor with the little ladies is a dinner out. Every little moment counts. And when they all aren’t Precious Moments, with a porcelain figurine to match, I don’t react well. I am an imperfect perfectionist, an out-of-control control freak. If we can’t spend the afternoon lounging on the couch watching bad movie and eating nachos then I want every word and sentiment in this house dripping with sunshine and happiness. That comes out a tad more aggressive than I mean it to. I will elaborate on another post. Now I need to hit the sack.

Pictured above, Madame Madeline’s buns of steel. And below that, Miss Avery. Lazy eye, my ass. That eye is merely exercising its right to not work as hard as the other.

*Title from Depeche Mode.


Mikhela said...

12 hours sleeps! ohmigod we can only dream. I am home alone with our 12 week old twins tonight & its just taken me from 5.45 to 7.45pm to get them both down, both asleep, together in their cot. F**k. What a saga.

Anyway. On the topic of lazy eyes our girl did end up having a very rare disorder that no one has ever heard of. It could be bad, it could be fine. I'm thinking it will be fine & I'm managing to have those thoughts by exercising major anxiety restraint.

Tips on sleeping welcomed.


K J and the kids said...

I hope the doctor tells you that it isn't severe enough to do anything...time will heal all wounds.
I've seen many pictures and never noticed I say no big deal :)

They sound like champs. I can't believe they are 9 months old.

Hope your ear feels better.

nailgirl said...

I cant believe that they are 9 months old either. I love the pampers butt shot. My brand of choice.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the encouragement. I was almost going to stop posting about my progress, because lets face it, that's the last thing you need to be hearing. I mean when you posted about your drinking i am sure that that was not what you had in mind.
But when I read your reply I was glad that you were there encouraging me and offering the support. I agree just taking it one day at a time. I didn't drink last night, and again feeling great. The book says to not look at it likes it's forever and that's what I intend to do.

Jen said...

I almost wrote EXACTLY the same thing about daylight savings time. I don't get it either. It baffles me. And I am a smart person!

calliope said...

I can't shake the image of you in an eye patch at 5. I so would have been sharing crayons with you.


Homestead Mom said...

Delurking. I enjoy the heck out of your blog. We have some overlaps, some of which I don't blog about since my family reads my blog (I made it anonymous, then told my dad about it. Duh!)

We had an eye issue, but it turned out to be nothing. Hope yours is resolved easily.

I have wanted to comment more, but we've got 2 babes and I have a hard time finding the time. I don't know how you do it! Maybe once we night wean.

Thanks for what you offer the blogosphere - it makes a positive difference in my life.

Anonymous said...

Our girls are 11 and 10, and I'm still b!thching that we don't spend any time together...yesterday was day 14 of seeing the back of his head as he went skiing and I stayed home to clean/entertain/do laundry.

Words will be said soon. In the meantime, I'm getting an ulcer keeping the smile on my face. Aaand, this happens in the summer (golf). OMG, I am so in your corner!

Married Lesbian Mom said...

OMG 12 hours! I am lucky if I can get Jamesen down for more than 6 hours straight. The girls are so darn cute.

Anonymous said...

I love the image of a 5-year-old pirate. This is why I shouldn't be allowed to make decisions for my future children. I would so have painted a skull and crossbones on the eyepatch and sent you out with a hat and a puffy shirt every day... because my amusement has a hard time resisting. I see lots of baby pictures in silly costumes for my future children.

Michelle said...

I am equally baffled by daylight savings time. I thought about it earlier this week, repeated to myself, "spring ahead, fall back," and it hurt my brain too much to fully process what that meant, exactly. And what it would mean for bedtimes and naps. I'm glad to know that I'm not alone.

I've been thinking about how you might manage swimming with twins. I think it's something that definitely requires a 1:1 ratio. Is there a time that all 4 of you could go? Or a place to take lessons with a child care option? Several of the parents I've met at the club where we take lessons put one kid in care while they swim with the other, and alternate days.

Anonymous said...

Daylight saving means getting up when it is darker and it being lighter in the evenings, all the better to take in more of those hot summer rays.
Here in Oz we can never get enough summer daylight!

Anonymous said...

I'm trying to make an effort to comment on all the blogs I read. I've been following yours for a few months and I love it! Thanks for the sharing so much of your life. You're a great writer!

Also, I'm baffled by day light savings time too. I can actually fully justify more light in the morning and less light in the morning so I've given up.