Thursday, December 31, 2009

Year in Review

On the eve of 2010, I've been thinking about what 2009 has been like for me and my husband. Here is our year in review:

-Two new children

-Approximately 1600 diapers

-1200 ounces of laundry soap

-27 pounds of baking soda

-A new dishwasher, car, and garbage disposal (see bullet point #1)

-Seven weeks of home construction

-Three months with no more than three consecutive hours of sleep

-Vivi starting nursery school

-Delicious meals made by friends who took pity on us

-Quiet winter evenings by the sewing machine

-Booboos and daddy's remedies

-Amelia Bedelia, why must Vivi love you so?

-Our beloved Brown student who helps us several days a week and Aunt Jane who lived with us for the summer and still says (honestly, I think) that she misses seeing her nieces everyday.

-Countless tears

And lots and lots of joy.

See you in the New Year!

Love,

Mama Mama

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Cleaning It Up

Vivi is a master chef. We frequently enjoy onion muffins with fried maple syrup or spaghetti with poop sauce, all of which is made with love in her play kitchen. What Vivi is not a master at is cleaning up her own messes. After the millionth time of stepping on her toy whisk and cupcake pan, we had the following conversation:

"Vi, will you please pick up that mess in there?" I asked in my usual exasperated tone.

"Mama, I didn't make that mess."

"Oh yeah?"

"Chaos did it. He came up from the basement when you weren't looking and did it."

For those of you who are new to this blog and don't know who Chaos is, allow me to explain. He is the monster who makes a mess. He lived in our friends' basement for several years but moved into our house right after the Turtles arrived.

Now I am thinking that if we can have imaginary monsters who make messes, we most certainly can have imaginary beings clean them up. Let me introduce you to the newest member of our family, Mrs. Enid W. McGrump:




Enid is a monster who hates messes but loves wearing nightgowns and slippers, even in the daytime! She has been known to sneak around the house just to look for messes and if she finds one, look out! Enid W. McGrump cleans the mess herself but takes all the items and places them in an undisclosed location (kind of like Dick Cheney) until certain little girls earn them back. It's hard to catch a glimpse of Enid and this is the only known photograph of her.

There's about to be a big monster battle at our house. Who is your money on?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Good Stuff

Our holidays were full of good stuff this year-- the kind you can't quantify or hold in your hands. The stuff that doesn't make you cringe when the credit card bill rolls in or demand batteries in a size that you most certainly do not have. The things that made our Christmas so wonderful, as Dr. Seuss put it, didn't come from a store.

We shared delicious food with friends who joined us on Christmas Eve and had a joyful sing-along around our piano. My husband, who was not raised celebrating Christmas, happily indulged all of our musical requests.

Vivi and I packed up a large box of food for our local food bank and she wrapped up some of her toys to give to her baby sisters. She is beginning to understand that when we give to others, we receive much in return.

My husband and I got to see Santa Claus through our daughter's eyes and were pleased to hear Vivi say, "That Santa is a nice guy. I will write him a thank you note for my scooter." (A scooter that cost us $15 on Craig's List, by the way.)

We did not stress out about how our holiday should be and enjoyed leftovers for our Christmas meal. I accepted that three-eyed and one-armed gingerbread men were just fine because my daughter made them. In fact, I think most of the calories we've consumed the last few days came from cookies.

We stayed in our pajamas and played Sorry and Candyland and Chutes and Ladders and dominoes. Sometimes I even won.

But the sweetest, loveliest gift of all was one that was not given to me. It was a card my husband gave to Vivi. He wrote how much he loved her and what a joy she is to him. The card does not mean much to her now but I'm tucking it away because I suspect that one day she will treasure it as much as I do.

So as the New Year approaches, I'll be holding on to these memories and wishing you and yours all the good stuff this holiday season.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Previews

Rejoice! A holiday miracle has happened-- my husband and I went out on a hot date last night. With the Turtles going to bed by 6:30 every evening, we decided we would be wild and crazy, get them a babysitter, and go out for dinner and a movie. I know. We've outdone ourselves.

In order to enjoy our date, some prep work needed to be done. A frozen pizza was purchased for Vivi and the babysitter, a movie was rented, and the popcorn was pre-popped. After dinner, Vivi was to take a bath and then she could stay up and watch Babe, the film I had chosen for the occasion.

Now, being a person who isn't really familiar with kids' movies, I thought a film about a sheep-herding pig would be totally innocuous. When we got home from our date, however, the sitter informed us that Vivi was rather upset about a sheep dying and Babe getting sick. (Ummm... a sheep dies in it? There's blood? What about the happy little pig?) So it was no surprise this morning when Vivi said, "Mama, that dog bited the sheep and there was blood! Why did that sheep die?" I didn't want a night out to lead to these kinds of questions!

It seems that knowing the back story of a movie might serve me and my family well. Last night, my husband and I chose to see Brothers. I had vaguely heard that it was about a couple of brothers (duh!) and that the movie was getting good reviews. I was not prepared for what I saw though. The film profoundly affected me and while I won't give the ending away, it wasn't exactly light, hot date kind of material.

Next time, I'll read the reviews and see the previews, for everyone's sake.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Holiday Happenings

Now that Vivi is three and a half, there's holiday spirit oozing out of every nook and crannie of this house. She is really into the whole thing and I find myself enjoying the holidays so much more because of it.

The first weekend in December, my Jewish husband took Vivi and a Turtle out to pick out the Christmas tree while I took another Turtle with me to a friend's baby shower. My husband really seems to enjoy Christmas and I know that he and Vivi spent a good amount of time deliberating on the perfect tree. They both came home very excited by the one they chose. Here she is:


We become very attached to our Christmas trees and every year we give it a name. Vivi offered Jimmy the Skunk for this year's tree but we decided to go with her second choice, Penelope.

We have also been whipping
up various confections like nobody's business. I participate in an annual cookie swap which is one of my favorite events of the holidays. Everyone always seems to come up with something new and interesting. Here were my contributions:



I couldn't have baked all those treats without my little "helper":


Hanukkah started last Friday evening so we've also been lighting our menorah and letting our Turtles play with matches:



And, of course, it would not be December without a semi-disasterous photo shoot:


Now, back to my sewing. See you in a few days!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Babies

I've been thinking a lot lately about what it means to be a baby in this country. When I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Central Asia, the specifics of childrearing were pretty much lost on me. I was 22 at the time and not thinking much about kids, even though I spent most of my working days with them. What was very clear is that the children were raised by the community and they had a lot of independence.

About four months into my service, I got my own bachelorette pad. It was two rooms with a shared outbuilding containing a hole for relieving yourself and an adjacent room with a torch and cauldron for washing. It was January and it was cold the day I moved. When I opened the door to my place, I found my neighbor bathing her newborn daughter in a pot next to the open flame on the gas stove. I didn't think much of it at the time but now I laugh at the thought of that sort of thing happening here.

As parents, there are plenty of things to protect our kids from-- bullies, drugs, and oncoming traffic are a few good examples-- but I think we are remiss when we try to prevent every single potentially bad things from ever happening to them. Read any issue of Parents magazine, and you'll find yourself plagued by fear that a random piece of hair may accidentally get wrapped around your baby's finger and cut off his circulation. Or you'll find that for $19.95 you can own a contraption that will prevent a door from slamming on little Mary's hand. Of course no one wants poor Mary to get a boo boo but if it happens once she's likely to be a little bit more careful the next time she closes the door. Wouldn't it be better to just teach our kids how to handle the bumps and bruises that come along in life?

I often wonder if I would be a different parent if I had my daughters somewhere else. Right now, I often feel like I am swimming upstream against a rising tide of anxiety about how unsafe the world supposedly is. This past summer, I frequently let Vivi play outside alone. I could see her from the window and I felt that, given the demands of the Turtles, it wasn't fair to have her sequestered in the house all the time. I had four different neighbors knock on my door to tell me that she was out in the yard. (Ummm... yeah, I know. It's because I have neighbors who also look out for my kid that I felt comfortable doing that.)

In light of all my ponderings, I was pleased to see this on You Tube. In April 2010, we can see how we compare.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Santa and The Mall

I hate the freaking mall. It is the last place I want to go when I need to do holiday shopping. The crowds, the nasty fast food smell, the stores that sell unoriginal Chinese-made crap-- it is all just too much for this mama to bear. And yet, out of necessity, I found myself there last week trying to find some plain old long sleeved white onesies for the Turtles' thrift store Christmas dresses.

It seemed like it would be a quick trip. I would take Vivi to the mall and my husband would take the Turtles off to the local Medicare office building in a desperate attempt to try and figure out why he hasn't been paid for the last nine months of work. (Alas, his pay has been foiled by a Kafka-esque scenario involving a change of address form. It would almost be funny if it wasn't our damn livelihood. But I digress...)

Anyway, back to the mall... We had no luck with the onesies and as Vivi and I were hightailing it around a corner trying desperately to get back out to the daylight, she stopped in her tracks and gasped in surprise. There, in all of his furry, festive, and belly-shaking glory, was Santa Claus. Vivi stood there motionless as she took in the scene.

I crouched down next to her and said, "V, you know, that isn't the real Santa Claus. The real Santa is at home busy making all the toys for the well-behaved girls and boys." All the while, I was thinking about how I hated the mall for putting me in this predicament.

"Mama, he is waving at me," she said in a whisper.

"You can wave at him if you'd like," I answered.

She waved and then blew him a kiss. He blew her a kiss.

I said, "Are you ready to go now?"

She nodded and we headed off in the opposite direction. When we were a few feet away, she said, "Mama, that was the real Santa Claus."

"Oh yeah? What makes you think so?"

"He waved at me so he must have known who I was. Plus, I don't think pretend Santas blow kisses."

That was enough to convince Vivi and her sincerity softened my crankiness about the commercialization of the holidays. It was a magical moment for her and I hope I will always remember it. I still don't think the real Santa hangs out at the stupid mall to charge people an arm and a leg for a photo though.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Rules

It seems that I got a little sidetracked with the Thanksgiving holiday and sufficiently neglected this blog. Such is the life of this mama: a week late, several dollars short, and more kids than hands. I probably should be giving myself props for just making it to New Jersey and back with all of my children accounted for but being thankful for things is soooo November. It's December now and the rules are changing.

Rule #1: No more public performances during naptime.
Just because people tell you that your three year-old is very mature, it does not mean that she will hold it together for an entire production of The Nutcracker. It took a meltdown during intermission at Lincoln Center and a subsequent walking tantrum on 8th Avenue to get us to rethink things.

Rule #2: Everyone is responsible for taking care of their own wedgies.
Vivi came up with this one and I can't agree more. I will feed you and I will love you. On occasion, I may even wipe your tush but I draw the line at removing your panties from your butt-crack.

Rule #3: If you don't finish it, don't worry. Mama is the "garbage ass-posale."
Yes, it's true. If you don't finish your supper, Mama will. This isn't exactly a new rule but certainly one that bears repeating. And Vivi likes to repeat "ass-posale."

Rule #4: Santa can see you.
If you are thinking of stealing the chocolates out of the advent calendar or waking your little sisters up from a nap, you better watch out. Santa knows everything. No, I don't know how he knows but he just does. That's why it is magic.

Rule #5: Shoes off in the house.
Hey, just because it is nearly 70 degrees in Rhode Island on December 3 does not mean that you get to track crud into the house. For the first time since the Turtles were born, the entire house is clean (thanks to our wonderful cleaning lady) and it is Mama and Mama only who gets to make the mess. (Or roll around naked on the freshly-washed floors while hooting with delight.)

Got it?

Good.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Just Wondering

Why is it that as soon as our Turtles started sleeping through the night Vivi started getting up four or five times?

Why is it that, after a freak white-water rafting mishap ten years ago, I needed to sacrifice a molar to the oral surgeon four days before Thanksgiving?

Why is it that other people tell you how sweet and curious and polite your three-year-old is but you, the mother, rarely see that behavior at home?

My husband says that all this is just Murphy's Law.

Why is it that I forgot that the rug cleaners were supposed to come at 8:30 this morning yet I still managed to have on decent pajamas and a polar fleece jacket thick enough to cover my braless state?

That, my friends, is really good luck.

Today, like most days, I am thankful for my good luck. Sure, it's not lucky to be getting up frequently at night, to have a crater-sized hole where my molar used to be, or to have to deal with a really cranky kid. BUT if I never had the good luck to meet my husband, I wouldn't have all of the wonderful things that I have in my life now.

Like this:

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Cleaning Lady

I grew up in a very small house with five siblings, two parents, a dog, and tons of stuff. We had one bathroom and a tiny living room. The house was always a disaster and the noise level rivaled that of a rock concert. It was 1200 square feet of overstimulation and I have no idea how I survived it. My heart races a little now just thinking of it.

You see, I am the type of person who likes things a certain way. I need quiet to clear my head. I need to know where my things are. I need to have my bills paid on time, my children bathed semi-regularly, and I need to have the house in a condition that is clean and presentable. I have tried embracing the chaos that rules my every day but it is a fight against who I truly am-- a type A control freak who thrives on routine and feels more comfortable in a library (ahh... quiet! systems! organization!) than in her own freaking house (noise! chaos! filth! boo...). I get the joke the universe has played on me with these twins and a pre-schooler but it doesn't mean I have to find it funny.

So what is a gal like me to do? My husband suggested that we get more help "with the kids" but the reality is I actually enjoy my children most of the time. What I don't enjoy is mopping the floors and dusting. I want to be able to play with my Turtles and not be thinking about how I should clean the floors because they are on the cusp of crawling. Frankly, I want to be rid of that burden and since I don't have the capability to just let it go mentally, we are hiring a cleaning lady.

She comes tomorrow to inspect the place and give me her rate. Naturally, I spent the weekend cleaning. I wouldn't want her to think that we're a bunch of exhausted slobs who can't manage their messy children now can !?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Handmade for the Holidays

There are many blogs that I peruse on a semi-regular basis. I like to read about other mothers' trials and tribulations, particularly those who have multiples. I keep up to date on friends' travels and other adventures. I have a few blogs with health and environmentalism bents that I enjoy and of course, there's no shortage of craft and sewing tutorials to keep my hands busy. Being relatively new to the whole blogosphere, it's a real thrill happening upon something that makes me laugh or makes my life a little bit saner or more "green."

A few weeks ago when I was reading The Crunchy Chicken blog, I found the perfect way to approach the holidays this year. With her "Buy Hand" challenge, this blogger asks that you do one or more of the following:
  • hand-make your gifts
  • buy your gifts that are handmade by someone else (like from Etsy or a local craftsperson)
  • buy it used either at a thrift store, yard sale, Craigslist or Freecycle, etc.
  • buy tickets, memberships to museums, or another non-tangible item
  • barter for your gifts
So I went ahead and took the pledge. This takes all the things that I love (the holidays, my family, crafting, and being conscious of my impact on the environment) and rolls it all into one.

As I've blogged about in the past, December has a way of getting out of control very quickly around here. I have five siblings and my husband has three. Combine that with some very generous grandparents, Santa Claus, and eight nights of Hanukkah and all of a sudden we have one bleary-eyed pre-schooler tearing through wrapping paper without any clue of how to take it all in. It truly is an embarrassment of riches. With the Buy Hand challenge, I'm hoping to emphasize the process and love that goes into the things we give and make it less about the stuff. I don't want to deprive the grandparents and aunts the joy of giving my girls' gifts, I just want to take a step back within our little family. Since we'll be home for the holidays this year, it should be a lot easier.

But how to do it? First, I've turned our dining room into my crafting room which gives me a place to go. With everything already out, it makes it easy to sit down and get to work after the kids are in bed. So far, I've whipped up leg warmers, rattles, bibs, fairy wands, snack sacks, a "memory" game out of paint chip cards, and various other doo dads for the girls' stockings. We'll round them out with some used board books for the Turtles' and a video for Vivi.

With the gifts from us, Vivi is getting a scooter from Santa (found in great condition on Craig's List for $15) and a homemade canopy/reading nook from Mom and Dad for her new room. We are in the market for a used BOB duallie stroller which will be the Turtles' and our gift to each other. (Take that crappy ol' New England sidewalks!) I'll probably let Vivi pick out a used book or something small from a local craft fair to give to her sisters and her dad. That's it.

Any night after 7:15, you can find me in the dining room getting my craft on. Why not come on over and join me?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Done

Vivi's room is done and the girl is all moved in. I'm no Martha Stewart but I did put on my crafty pants (with the elastic waist) and let a little acrylic paint fly. Then, because that wasn't enough and I needed another way to channel (increase?) my stress, I decided to sew her some curtains. Alas, the final product:









Still working on the curtains to the Turtles' room so stay tuned.

Mama Rage

I don't seem to be lacking in anger these days. This home improvement project has me stressed beyond belief and I find myself barely able to keep my mama rage in check. I am exhausted to the core from eight months of little sleep and I have little patience for the usual shenanigans that come with having a three-year old in the house.

This morning, Vivi intentionally woke up one of her sisters. Just one. For those of you without twins, one baby awake in the morning while the other sleeps is pretty much a guarantee that there will not be one moment that day when they both will be sleeping. Not one. The rage that erupted from within me after Vivi's transgression was disgusting. A full-on volcano of anger and issues spewing forth with little warning to anyone who happened to be around. I am ashamed of myself. Three-year olds are expected to do annoying stuff like this so why the hell am I the one acting like a child?

To top off my nasty mood, my husband called me a control freak. My husband, who never says a mean word about anyone, actually called me that and so I swore and threw a People magazine at him. It would almost be funny if I didn't feel like I am desperately clinging to my sanity.

If there is nothing that exists in my life that is calm and peaceful, how can I expect my mind and mood to be too? Or is that just a requirement for being a sane grown-up?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Almost There

After a month of dust, drywall, lead, and tears, the end is in sight for our home renovation project. Hot damn! Of course, the cost will be more than double what we expected but unexpectedly doubling things seems to be what we do.

Vivi should be out of the basement and into her new space by Sunday. The ceiling needs to be painted and the room could use a thorough cleaning but other than that it is ready to go. I've got some crafty ideas up my sleeve which I hope to have time to implement, not the least of which is making her curtains. We'll see how that goes. Until the final unveiling, you can get a look at the room here:


The Turtles' room still has a ways to go. To combat the lead paint on the floor, it made the most sense for us to install a brand new floor on top of the existing one. That will go in on Saturday. We could have just ripped out the part with the paint but that would have meant we would have needed to remove the built-ins as well. Since we had just shelled out a bunch of money to rebuild said built-ins (in the pre-lead discovery period), I was a wee bit unenthusiastic to go that route. Here's the room as it stands now:


I'll post final room pictures in a week or so. Let Operation Basement Exodus begin!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Bad Sign?

Is it a bad sign when last night at dinner I offered Vivi juice and she said, "I don't know, Mama. Does it have protein in it?"


Is it also a bad sign when my husband greets the day by saying, "Only about 1000 more days until they [our girls] are all in school!"?


Well, when you put it that way. At least one Turtle didn't seem to mind.


Monday, November 2, 2009

Code Words

Saturday mornings around this place are pretty standard. My husband watches the kids while he talks to his father between 8 and 9 a.m. There's usually a lot of noise but I manage to squeeze in a few extra minutes of sleep during this time. Then, as his conversation finishes up, my husband gathers his checkbook and co-payments from the week and prepares to head off to the bank. Vivi accompanies him with the sole purpose of getting a lollipop and I get to ease into my morning with one less child in the house. It's been a pretty good system overall.


On Halloween morning, things took a different turn with this conversation:

Husband: "I am going to go to the b-a-n-k by myself because she [Vivi] will get plenty of candy tonight."

Me: "Good point. Are you going now?"

Vivi: "Daddy, where are you going?"

Husband: "I am going to take care of some business."

Vivi: "I want to go with you!"

Husband: "You don' t even know where I am going. I'll be right back."

Vivi, near hysterical: "DADDY!! I want to go to the B-A-N-K!!!!!"


As Vivi turned from toddler to preschooler, we discovered that she was picking up on a lot of conversations that weren't meant for her ears. She was never a child to miss much but when she recently called our eccentric neighbor "Crazy J," I knew I had to keep my less than complimentary opinions to myself. Or, at least wait until well after bedtime.

So much for our code words.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hibernation

The preparation for our winter hibernation has begun. Like a switch, we've gone from the hustle and bustle of warmer weather to the paradoxical illness and fortifying associated with the colder months. Being of old Yankee stock, I rather look forward to this hunkering down.

With the wind and the rain, the cold virus has swept into our home. It hit Vivi first and now the Turtles' are dripping and sneezing and all around feverish. They have still maintained their congenial temperaments as though they accept this as part of our transition. Their sleep is sporadic but when it comes it is deep and peaceful. As is mine.

Vivi has found a lot of solace in playing quietly and independently. She loves to sit at the table and practice writing her letters and her name. She is pensive and creative and seems to have absorbed that we're moving at just a little slower pace these days. The last vestige of summer-- Vivi's dresses-- are still present but they are on top of pants and shirts and underneath fleece.

Like any mammal preparing for the winter, my girls' appetite is unfettered. Vivi ate four pumpkin pancakes this morning and will likely need a snack before 10. She had two helpings of vegetables and baked ziti last night and still had room for some apple cranberry crisp straight from the crock pot. The Turtles' are navigating the world of solid food and were recently introduced to a second non-liquid meal. Despite their enjoyment of these new foods, I am perpetually engorged with their milk.

We are all full here and that fullness feels good.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Can't Hold It

Vivi has made peace with the potty. (Or perhaps more accurately, she has made pees with the potty. Hey, I really crack myself up sometimes.) The pants-wetting regression that followed the Turtles' birth is now thankfully just a distant memory and we are thrilled that she lets us know what her pottying needs are.

When the time comes for Vivi to make her deposit, her proclamations are full of movement and drama. She dances around grabbing her crotch and yells, "Ugh! Mama, I can't hold my pee! I gotta go NOW! It is coming on really fast!!!!" When Vivi dances, Mama jumps which is a real change for a mama who has had a baby on each breast for seven months now.

With this kind of success, Vivi is currently trying to capitalize in other ways on Mama's quick response. As I was loading her into the car this afternoon, she exclaimed, "Mama, I really need a snack. Ugh! Ugh! I just can't hold my hungries!" She has also had an attack of the thirties in recent days too.

What can I say? There's only so much jumping this Mama can do. The thirsties and hungries sometimes just have to wait.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Slumber Party

Vivi had her first sleep-over last night. Unbeknownst to me, she has been not so subtly asking all of her friends' parents if they would either let their child sleep at our house or if she could sleep at theirs. This made me wonder if my poor child is really aching to get out of the construction madness that has consumed our days or if she thinks yet another child in our basement would only improve the party.

Who knows.

What I do know is that my dear friend, Lovely Mama, agreed to Vivi's request and the sleepover went off without a hitch. Lovely Mama is a generous soul who loves Vivi in such a pure and beautiful way that my grinchy mama heart grows three sizes whenever I see them interact. Of course, Lovely Mama was probably a bit worn out today from dealing with my daughter and her son's sleep-deprived antics but she still didn't drop Vivi off at home until 2:30 this afternoon. 2:30!

Lovely Mama must also be Super Mom.



Thursday, October 22, 2009

$&#*$&

I am about to lose my shit. BIG. TIME. What started as a little renovation project that involved taking one wall down and putting one new wall up has turned into a bloody $*%(#)$ nightmare. And all the screeching and tears indicate that I am definitely awake for the whole stupid thing.

Two words sum up our problem: lead paint. Two more words make this problem especially upsetting: dismissive contractor.

Like most people who live in old houses, we've got lead paint. Ours just happens to be on the hardwood floor in the Turtles' future room. We didn't think much of this paint initially because it was under a piece of old shag carpeting that was in our walk-in closet. When the wall to the closet came down and the carpet came up, we saw that the floor was green and it looked a little incongruous next to the regular old pine boards. As we were about to embark on the refinishing project, it occurred to us that it might be a smart idea to check to make sure that lovely green wasn't lead. Well, duh.

That's when things started to get really tricky. Our contractor was just going to go ahead and sand it off with no extra precaution. After a call to the Rhode Island Department of Health, I put the kibosh on that. The contractor dismissed my concerns which really pissed me off. There I go again being an overly cautious mother because I don't want my three little girls (the majority of whom aren't even eight freaking months old) to breathe in lead dust. So I kicked her off the job. (The fact that our floor contractor is also bald because she is undergoing chemotherapy for ovarian cancer is not lost on me. Apparently, I am the only one seeing the irony here.)

We managed to get Vivi's floor refinished but the smell was so toxic that we moved out of the house for a night. The Radisson felt like an oasis of calm until bedtime when NO ONE would go to sleep. (Of course anyone with a half a brain could have foreseen the hotel disaster coming but my quarter of a brain has clearly been fully expended on the remodeling project itself.)

Now we are all camped out in the basement and waiting until Saturday morning when the lead abatement guy can come and tell us how he is going to empty out our savings.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Haircut

Vivi is a regular at Ernie's Barber Shop. While I tend to let my hair go until it is a frightening, frizzed-out, untamed mess, my husband can be counted on for a trim every few weeks. It has become the tradition that when my husband goes to the barber, Vivi goes too. Ernie gets a real kick out of Vivi and Vivi gets a kick out of Ernie's candy jar. It is a win-win situation.

A couple of months ago, I wanted in on the action and decided to take Vivi with me to the hairdresser. I figured she would enjoy the hustle and bustle of the place and the old ladies who congregate there would love to see her head of curls. Plus, I was going to be transformed from long-haired mess to short-haired super-mom. (Well, that is what I was hoping for at least.) Who wouldn't want to witness that?


Well, it wasn't quite the wonderful bonding experience I had imagined. Vivi was bored out of her mind and while the old ladies did fawn over her curls, she just tried to hide behind her coloring book. Oh, and my transformation? Let's just say my daughter was less than impressed and I'm still waiting for those super-mom skills to kick in.

With such an uneventful trip to the salon, I was surprised when Vivi recently started asking to have her hair cut. It is certainly long enough but one wouldn't know that by looking at it. The curls are so tight they have yet to become a nuisance. Plus, we seem to spend a lot of time these days making her look "stylish" with every sort of elastic band or hair clip we come across. Short hair would put an end to that.

It took me a while to realize what was going on with her. It wasn't about the hair. It was about the scissors.


Too bad it took seeing numerous disembodied curls throughout the house to finally tip me off.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Making Progress

I find that I am both a perfectionist and
a people-pleaser and this is unfortunate. Now that we have undertaken this little renovation project and I've put my home in someone else's hands, I have been all full of angst because of these traits. Ugh...

It all started on Friday when we were taking in our contractor's progress. At first glance, I was happy with how the rooms looked but when I started really looking, I noticed that the baseboards he installed were made of medium-density fiberboard. MDF is a cheap, engineered wood product and it isn't in keeping with the architectural integrity of our 88 year-old house. It is also quite toxic. (The glue used in its production is particularly egregious.) I wasn't happy.




So, what to do? I didn't want the MDF there but I also knew that our contractor had done a lot of work that would need to be undone if I wanted it changed. I was upset that he didn't clear the MDF with us in advance but then I thought maybe I should have clarified that we expected him to use wood. I'm so eager to have this project done but I also didn't want to have my girls sleeping in rooms when I knew the baseboards would be off-gasing all sorts of crap. See what I mean about angst?

Then my husband, the voice of reason, made it very clear. We are doing this now and we are not doing it again. We are paying him to do it how we want and it needs to be changed. So, in my husband's very diplomatic way, he laid it all down for the contractor. I think the contractor was annoyed but he agreed. (His defense was that since we would need to paint the baseboards anyway, why not use the MDF since it would look the same as wood once painted? That's where I got a little psycho Earth Mama on his ass and started ranting about toxic glue!)



And so what did I do yesterday? I baked him cookies as a peace offering.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Construction

The remodel has begun. We are in the midst of two by fours and old horse hair plaster, hammers and saws, and hope and horror. Our little two bedroom home is being converted into a little three bedroom home and while I am optimistic about how the change will improve the quality of our lives, I am not exactly thrilled to have to do it. We are sealed in plastic and still covered in dust.

The construction zone used to be our bedroom. It has two windows, a large walk-in closet, and enough floorspace to accommodate two cribs, two dressers, and a queen-size bed. There is a door at either end of the room which made us realize that, at some point during our home's 80-year history, our big room used to be two small rooms. With that knowledge, our plan was hatched.

And this is what that large room where my Turtles entered the world looks like now:








My home's bones are laid bare before my eyes. The nakedness makes me want to turn away out of respect to its history. I am uncomfortable, in a deeply emotional way, with destroying a part of something that has given me so much. Yet, with a bonus baby in our family, we can't live as it was before. The house and I will need to compromise. I'll try not to look too deeply at its cracked facade if it can promise to accommodate our family.


Then, as if awaking from a dream, I am jolted by the sound of our contractor's voice. He is yelling to his older, orthodox Jewish assistant, "Hey, Ma! I'm gonna need the Sawzall."

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Vampires

Much to the neglect of my family, I am fully engrossed in Stephenie Meyer's Twilight saga. I will be the first to admit that a young adult book about vampires who have sworn off human blood wouldn't normally be at the top of my must-read list but I am sucked in (pretty clever pun, eh?) and with only a book and a half to go, I must finish.

Normally, I am not the type to jump on the mass-market book bandwagon. I missed the whole Harry Potter thing while I was in Peace Corps and never felt the desire to pick up the book upon my return. Science fiction has never really been my thing so when my friend MiNa gave me the Twilight book "just in case" I wanted to see what all the fuss was about, I thought that I would politely return it to her a week or so later with the usual "too busy" excuse.

Then I curiously read the first few pages and well, you see where this is heading. It's not that the book is well-written. It isn't. The story, however, is something that I find incredibly fascinating. What if vampires could fall in love with humans and vice versa? Ahhh, the complications!

Since vampires seem to have settled in as part of our cultural ethos, it is only natural that one of my dearest friend's books should be part of this literary coven. Soulless by Gail Carriger is a comedy of manners set in Victorian London: full of werewolves, vampires, dirigibles, and tea-drinking. Who could ask for more?

The book is being released today and I encourage my readers to check it out. Like Gail herself, it is bound to be entertaining.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Cha Cha Cha Changes

We seem to be on a six month cycle of change around here and we're about to enter a new phase.

Six months ago the Turtles came into the world and everything that was normal at the time was quickly upended by the chaos that accompanies a new child... or two. We have settled into that chaos now and while it can still be maddening, it also feels comfortable and secure. On the rare occasion when I have found myself without my children, it is still next to impossible for me to accomplish anything. I run around the house, manically flitting from one task to the next, while seeing not one single thing to completion. That's my new reality and I'm surprised to say that I am finally comfortable with that.

So as September draws to an end, we are closing the door on the new parents to three cycle. Vivi is happily enjoying her new identity as a preschooler and we are slowly accepting the fact that she now has a small part of her life that doesn't include us. She is growing into her own person who is having her own adventures but it is us, her parents, who are learning the lessons of letting go.

And then there's the construction... Our bedroom, where the Turtles were born, will be returned to its original state of two smaller bedrooms. Vivi will occupy one side while the Turtles will be on the other. We will move into Vivi's current room, the original master bedroom. It's a change that we expect to be difficult but it will give us five more years in this house, at least. We are, in essence, preparing for all the cycles that will follow this one.

With all the change, I figured it was about time to gussy up this blog. Let's begin again...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Little People

Baby, baby, where have you gone?

Literally.

I was sitting at my desk with a certain Jude Bug lying on the floor directly behind me playing with her ball. When I turned around, not more than a couple of minutes later, she was heading into the kitchen.


Maybe she wanted some of the delicious yogurt she shared with her sister the other night.


Well, she thought it was delicious.

These Turtles continue to amaze me. They are growing at the speed of light and although every day seems to be a challenge of survival, the time is passing very quickly. Their personalities are becoming much clearer and though they are quite different, they seem incomplete with out the other. I feel their bodies relax simultaneously when they hold hands while nursing. Just the other day, Eliya was cracking up whenever Jude brushed her face with her hand.

They are beautiful separate but glorious together and that is more than enough to keep us going for another day.


Monday, September 21, 2009

More Questions About Sleep

It has been nearly a week since the cry-it-out experiment began and we've had some success. It is not the blissful, perfect sleep I had in mind but it is a definite improvement over the multiple night wakings we were enduring. I'm just not sure if my expectations for these Turtles are reasonable.

So, fair readers who have survived the cry-it-out technique, I need your help.

Here's the back story: I've been putting the Turtles down to bed between 6:30 and 7 p.m. with little fuss. For the first three or four nights, they would stir at around 10 p.m. and I would nurse them in their semi-sleep state and then head off to bed myself. I wouldn't pick them up again until 5 a.m. or after. The first night Jude cried for two and a half hours but subsequent nights have been much better. They still wake up and cry but usually don't go longer than 20 minutes.

By the end of the week, I decided to let them put themselves back to sleep at the 10 p.m. waking. I have been so exhausted that staying up until 10 myself has been a near impossibility and I wanted to see how long they could go before needing to nurse.

I think that is where I screwed up.

Now the babies are waking at 2 a.m. and I am feeding them. They are doing about a 7 hour stretch which seems like a lot by comparison but I am still hauling my butt out of bed in the middle of the night.

So, here are my questions: How long of a sleep stretch can I reasonably expect from 6 1/2 month old babies that are average size? When you let your baby cry-it-out, what time period did you consider sleeping through the night? Did they still wake up in the middle of the night and fuss? Were they in your room or their own room to sleep? (Right now, the babies are in our room with us. I think this is contributing to everyone's sleep problem but until we begin construction on our two bedroom house in a month or so, I'm not sure how to remedy this.)

You would think that these twins were my first babies because I have no clue what I am doing with this sleep problem. Vivi was such an easy kid by comparison and there was just one of her!

Help!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Crying It Out

So we did it. We let the babies cry it out and oh god, it hurt. It hurt really badly.

As I have written in the past, our Turtles are not great sleepers. Part of this, I believe, is their natural inclination but I also recognize that I have likely created a situation that rewards their desire to stay awake. Like at 11:00 p.m., 1:00 a.m., 3:00 a.m., and 5:00 a.m. when I nurse them back into sleepy oblivion.

It started innocently enough. Every parent of twins told me to feed the babies at the same time and I did that... for three days. On hour 36 of hardly any sleep, I gave up. You see, nursing two babies at a time was logistically very difficult for me. I required a light, a chair, a pillow for my back, a huge pillow for my front, and someone to help me align two babies. Add to this the fact that I effectively forgot how to nurse and was in so much pain that I would cry the moment each baby latched on. I knew I had something all wrong. By the time each nursing session was complete, we all were wide awake and completely agitated. No one could sleep.

My post-partum doula helped me get the nursing on track but I knew that if I was ever going to sleep again, I had to nurse them one at a time while lying on my side in bed. (Thus no light, pillow, or help was needed.) It has worked beautifully. Baby eats and I sleep while it happens.

Well, here we are six months later with Turtles who are double their birth weights. I know they can go more than two hours a night and we have occasionally let them fuss only to have them fall back asleep within a few minutes. Because we all share a room, however, it is impossible for me to let them cry for long periods. As most mothers can attest, it is torture listening to your baby cry.

So we made THE DECISION that I wouldn't nurse them in the middle of the night anymore. I slept in Vivi's room. My husband slept on the couch. I fed them at 10:30 p.m. and not again until 5 a.m. I would love to say that it was a huge success but Jude cried from about 1 a.m. until 3:30. My husband gave me a pep talk at 3 a.m. before I moved to the basement, in tears myself. I know that the babies NEED to learn how to sleep through the night and I wasn't helping them by nursing them back to sleep. It's hard to be rational in the middle of the night though.

Tonight we'll do it all over again. This time, I am hoping for better results.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

School Part II

Vivi, in all her three year old charm, started school on Thursday. It was a big event around this place. Vivi was excited. Daddy was excited. Mama was REALLY excited. The Turtles even seemed excited.

When Vivi awoke for school, she informed me that she wanted to wear a dress because she needed "to look stylish." I told her that it was probably a little chilly for a dress but she wasn't swayed. "I'll just wear my leg warmers then."

And there you have it:



So far, we have been pleased with the nursery school we have chosen for Vivi. It is a small, local cooperative where the teachers are progressive and the format is entirely "child-led." The community of parents seems happy and the work involved appears not to be too onerous. I think our whole family is going to get a lot out of it and I am really looking forward to that.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Growing Up

It seems we are all getting older around here. Our Labor Day weekend was spent celebrating various milestones, including my birthday and the Turtles' six months of life. With each passing month, time seems to speed up so much so that my birthday came like a hurricane-force wind and knocked me on my extra-cushioned ass. I barely had a chance to catch my breath from the preceding year.

Whoooooosh...

Now, here I am 33 years old and thinking that this has to be my year of threes: three children (one of whom is three), three major appliances broken in as many months, and three hours of sleep a night. I am just waiting for the genie in a bottle to grant me three wishes.

And so we celebrated with at least three types of cake:




And then 24 short hours later, the Turtles turned six months old. SIX WHOLE MONTHS! We had some mashed banana, sang some songs, and generally spent the entire day impressed with the fact that we managed to keep our children and ourselves alive and our house intact (save for three major appliances) for SIX WHOLE MONTHS!


Now, that really is a reason to celebrate!


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig

I finally left my family. My exit was premeditated and executed with such precision that I may have a future as a CIA agent... or a wedding planner. While I normally fantasize about slipping out of the house under cover of darkness, I left town last Friday morning in broad daylight with the blessing of my husband. I didn't come home until Monday night and it was glorious.

It's fair to say that I have been pretty burned out by my domestic duties. I love my family but, good god, I was turning into a Class A Crankypants. I was just tired and miserable and isolated in my mom of multiple babies identity.* I was getting bogged down in what I hated about my life instead of enjoying what I do. Six months of chronic sleep deprivation has a way of doing that to a person.

So when the invitation came from my friend E. to visit her and some of our Peace Corps friends in San Diego, I jumped at the chance. E. is one of my dearest friends and we were practically inseparable during our service. It was no surprise to our PC group that we went on to have our most recent babies within 15 days of each other. The trip was an opportunity to see E. and meet her baby, introduce her to one of my Turtles, reunite with friends I hadn't seen in a decade, and get a respite from my domestic duties.

Before I had the Turtles, I never would have thought that traveling across country with an infant would be something I would do to get a break, but that's just what it was. My husband chose the traveling baby which alleviated my guilt. (OK, it wasn't Sophie's choice but I couldn't bear to choose one baby over another.) My friends were the best baby entertainers around and I got to have my first really good fish tacos in years.

Oh, and when Vivi and I snuggled after my late-night return, she said, "Mama, you know what? I really missed you."

Bingo!




*I know there are Moms of Multiples groups around. The problem is that the one here in my area meets at 7 p.m. which is the WORST possible time for us.

Monday, August 24, 2009

School

I spent the weekend feeling a bit unsettled and I'm not sure how to let it go.

When I picked Vivi up from her last day of camp on Friday, the teacher said to me, "She did great all week. You would never know that she's never been to school." I am sure the teacher meant it in a complimentary way but the comment bothered me. I felt like there was some judgement that Vivi, being three years and four months old, should have had some type of formal education before now or that it was odd to find a child who is bright and socialized even without school.

Since Vivi was 13 months old, I have been home with her full-time. My husband and I always knew that when she was pre-school age, we would send her to an official nursery school. This idea, however, that children need to be in some sort of formal learning environment before they are even done toddling seems a tad ridiculous. I have even heard parents of babies refer to their child's daycare as "school." Are you kidding me? Can't a baby just be a baby?

We live in a society where getting ahead means everything: more money, more recognition, and supposedly more happiness. Pregnant women are bombarded with messages that if they listen to Mozart, their progeny will be smarter. If we plop our babies in front of Baby Einstein videos, they will talk sooner. If we enroll our toddlers in Arabic classes and figure drawing, they'll be more appealing to college admission officers. It's all about "learning." It doesn't matter if the child is ready or not.

And yet it is hard for me NOT to sign my child up for lots of enrichment activities. We live in a community that is home to one of the finest universities in the country. We are surrounded by overachievers and academics. I want Vivi and her sisters to be successful too and I'm not necessarily anti-class. (We have done some things. Vivi and I took a mom and toddler yoga class while I was pregnant and Vivi is now learning how to swim at the Y.) What I have found, however, is that Vivi, like most children, learns when she is developmentally ready-- not when she is force fed information in the name of school.

As a result, I am holding tight to my Mama Mama Quite Contrary identity. I am opting out of the rat race because I am raising little girls, not rats. My children can have their adulthood to be overscheduled and stressed out. For now, you will find us at the playground making mud pies and picking our noses.

Want to join us?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Uninspired


I went to the farm a couple of weeks ago and they had yukon potatoes, in all their glorious fresh from the earth goodness. Excited by their appearance, I ran through all the things I could make with them: mashed potatoes, a tart with a potato crust, some hearty kind of soup. I purchased a couple pounds and was filled with warm thoughts on the drive home. Then, to my horror, I realized that it isn't November. In fact, it is August and it is bloody hot outside. (Hence, the warm thoughts.)

Oh, and I hate potato salad. So they sit on the counter waiting for a damn culinary intervention.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Lunch

Vivi is a great eater and for that, I am grateful. I would love to take credit for her unusual pre-school taste buds but I think she is just a curious kid and that curiosity extends to food as well. She's been taking lunch all this week and has had everything from sesame noodles to tabbouleh. Her lunch box comes home empty and I'm delighted that I manage to hit a home run in the food department.

That is until yesterday when I committed the cardinal sin of parenting in the new millennium. I sent Vivi to camp with....

PEANUT BUTTER!!!!!!!!!! (On a boring ol' rice cake, no less.)

Apparently schools today have this thing about peanut butter. If I send it in my child's lunch and another child with a peanut allergy happens to eat it and go into anaphylaxis... well, that would be a bad thing. I guess I was supposed to know this without being told.

Obviously, no one wants a kid's life to be threatened but it seems to me that banning it from an entire school because of one child seems like an over-reaction. Should we be eradicating bees for those who happen to be allergic to bee stings? Those children learn to stay away from bees, should we not teach children who have peanut allergies to steer clear of the nuts?

I'm sure I'm oversimplifying the situation but gosh, where did these allergies come from? When I was a kid it was the rare child who had a life-threatening allergy. Now it seems that peanut butter is akin to heroin as a potential killer of our children. Ok, now I'm just being dramatic.

But what gives?

On the upside of the food topic, the Turtles tried their first meal of rice cereal:





Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Good Meals

I woke up this morning to find Vivi cooking in her kitchen. She was making us "raspberry noodles" for breakfast. With a big day of camp ahead of her, she apparently needed something more fortifying than the bowl of dry cereal and watered down juice my husband put before her. Talk about a breakfast of champions.

In order to properly cook her meal, Vivi had to put on her apron and chef's hat:






And nothing else:

I finished my delicious breakfast and Vivi happily left for camp. Then I went to the kitchen and polished off some raw cookie dough. Yeah, that's right. I made it on Sunday but it's been too blazing hot to put it in the oven and my attempts to make a few in the toaster oven failed miserably. So I've been eating it raw. It is both exhilarating and disgusting all at the same time.

Please ignore previous post about getting my fitness on.


Monday, August 17, 2009

Camp

This morning we shipped Vivi off to camp. I never envisioned camp for a three-year-old but by mid-June I was pretty certain that I was going to need some help at the end of August if I wanted to survive the summer with my sanity intact. So all this week my little spitfire will be getting her kicks from 8:30 until 3:30 under someone else's supervision.

Last night, in the heat and chaos of our "vacation" week coming to an end, I was ironing name labels into Vivi's clothes and packing lunches. My husband was beginning the mental and organizational adjustment of returning to work and we all were feeling a bit excited and anxious about the whole prospect of the two of them being out of the house all day.

Vivi went to bed at about 8 and by 8:30 I had climbed in with her. I wanted to snuggle and hold onto my first baby who is so much a kid that I can hardly stand it. "Mama, you can sleep in my bed tonight," she said. When I told her that I would take up too much space in her bed, she said, "well, you can sleep on my futon then." I don't know if she was sensing my insecurity or expressing her own. I sang her Good Night, My Angel while we snuggled and then kissed her goodnight.

As I was creeping out of her room, Vivi asked, "Mama, can I take some string cheese in my lunch tomorrow?"

"Yes, love."

"And the noodles in the green bowl?"

"Yes."

"And some blueberries?"

"Okay."

"And some goldfish for my after lunch snack?"

"Sure, sweetheart."

And then I went downstairs and repacked her lunch.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Social Cues

Vivi has started to... ahem... touch herself. It's been hot out and she's been going without clothes for the better part of the week so she's had more than enough opportunities to give her body a thorough review. It's not that I have a problem with her exploring her body. It's natural and normal and all that. I just really don't want to see her do it.

So the other day, while she was checking things out, I said, "Hey V, I know you like to touch there but it is your business and you should have some privacy."

"But Mama, I want to do it here."

"Well, some people may not want to see it. That's not polite."

"Mama, if you don't like it, don't look."

Well, I wasn't quite sure what to say to that. I mean it is how I feel about breastfeeding in public. I don't flaunt my breasts but if one or both of my babies needs to eat, the boobs have to come out. If someone doesn't like it, too bad. They probably don't live in this neighborhood anyway. If Vivi can't touch herself in her own house, then where can she?

I've pretty much decided to let the touching issue slide for the time being. Now if I could just take care of this problem:




Thursday, August 6, 2009

What I Thought

There are a few words that I thought I'd never say as a parent. Things like "...because I said so" or "if I have to stop this car..." Those phrases always seemed tired and old and I vowed never to use them. Well, I am old and tired and I have to admit that I have threatened to stop the car on numerous occasions.

This morning, however, I uttered eight words that I really didn't expect ever to string together. In horror, I yelled, "VIVI! DON'T PUT LIP GLOSS ON THE BABIES!!!!!!!!!!!"

Getting My Fitness On

I know I'm fat. Yeah, yeah, I gave birth to twins five months ago and I probably should be easier on myself but I know what I can look like. And what I'm looking at every day ain't it.

With both of my pregnancies, I ate sensibly and gained the recommended amount of weight. I didn't deny myself anything but I didn't overdo it either. I gave birth to three good-sized babies and have nursed or plan to nurse them all exclusively until they start solid foods. After that, I'll just continue nursing at least until they are one. This plan worked beautifully with Vivi and my pregnancy weight melted off. With the Turtles, it just hasn't happened.

I'm sure there are a whole host of reasons for this. Vivi was the model baby- sleeping soundly, regularly, and through the night by three months. She was the only child so getting out for a walk was never a problem. I returned to work part-time when she was 13 weeks so we had a routine for our meals and snacks. We both thrived with the structure.

With the Turtles' arrival, it has been chaos from the beginning. I go most of the day without eating because I am just too busy. When 3:00 hits, I am ready to crash so I start my 6 hour snacking ritual. I go from sweet to salty and back again until about 9 when I am full. Exercise has virtually not happened.

About a month ago, a package came in the mail. It was a surprise from my husband who, since the birth of the twins, has been showering me with gifts. (I think these gifts are to show his gratitude for growing, birthing, and raising our girls. I think they also help assuage his guilt at being relieved that he doesn't have to be home full-time with them.) Anyway, I open to box to discover a Nintendo Wii and the Wii Fit Balance Board.

My response, "Either you really love me or you really do think I'm fat."

So, here I am in the digital age, trying to get my fitness on. Any suggestions from you moms of multiple children out there? This fat curmudgeonly technophobe needs all the help she can get.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Feeling Folksy


Sunday morning we packed up ALL of our children and headed south to the Newport Folk Festival. We purchased the tickets one rainy June evening when sitting outside listening to music seemed like a nice way to relax. Not once, in our sleep-deprived delirium, did we consider how we would actually pull it off. All we thought was we will never have a chance to hear Pete Seegar, Judy Collins, Joan Baez, and Arlo Guthrie in one place again. It was a gift we wanted to give our girls even if they wouldn't ultimately remember it.

When we got there, I feared we had made a terrible mistake. There was no shade to be had in the entire park and our beach umbrella was "strictly prohibited." Apparently, those festival folk don't like to have their view obstructed. I frantically covered my children in sunscreen (even the babies) and hats and prayed for clouds. By 2:30, my prayers had been answered.

The clouds rolled in and the breeze off the water made it the perfect temperature. The babies delighted everyone around them and barely uttered a fuss the entire day. Vivi loved all the people watching, the snacks, and the music. She even loosened up enough to dance.

Late into the afternoon, I was feeling all proud hippy mama. We were basking among the crowd and Joan Baez had lulled our girls to sleep. She told a story about singing a particular song at her son's wedding and then again at her parent's wedding when they decided, at age 91, to get remarried after a 30 year divorce. As she started to sing Forever Young, I turned to my dear husband and said, "That's our wedding song too!"

His reply, "It is?"

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Princess

It's no secret that I abhor the whole little girl as princess thing. I've blogged about it before and have been pretty happy that we have been relatively princess-free in this house. I understand that girls probably have a natural inclination toward dress-up and glittery things and I can respect that. (In fact, I love when Vivi gets into costume and engages in pretend play.) I just want that inclination to appear organically and not because it is being fostered by Disney commercials. The last thing I need is a preschooler with a bleary-eyed case of the gimmies.

So yesterday afternoon, after putting on layer after layer of homemade tutu goodness, Vivi announced that she was Princess Lolly from Candyland.

"Well Princess Lolly," I announced, "it's time for your nap."
"Mama, princesses don't take naps."

Geez, how quickly the rules change when the glitter comes out!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Love and Loss

I've been in and out of a funk for the past week mourning the loss of my pre-twin life. The Turtles are still wonderful little babies (despite their complete and obvious lack of desire to sleep) and I find myself delighting in their smiles and giggles. Vivi has her wonderful moments too but the combination of all these kids and the housework and the inability to see one thing to completion makes me miss everything I had before.

And, here's the kicker, it is not that I don't have help. My sister has been living with us since mid-May. While it has been wonderful to have an extra set of hands, she clearly had no idea what she was getting herself into. Not long after her arrival, she discovered that Vivi, her beloved niece, could actually misbehave in a pretty spectacular way. Her new nieces also turned out to be a whole lot more stinky and demanding than I think she can stomach. She has been counting down the days to her August 1 departure since June and her increasingly obvious disdain for being here makes me angry and resentful. (The fact that she *can* leave while I can't is generally what pushes me over the edge.)

So here it is-- my life with three girls, a messy house, a cranky aunt, and a worn-out husband. And here I am with dirty hair, bad breath (Vivi informed me of this), and at exactly the same weight I was a week after the babies were born. Where are my damn breastfeeding benefits?!?

With all this, what's not to miss?