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?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Martha

OK, I admit it. I have Martha Stewart tendencies. (The domestic kind, not the felony type.) If I didn't have all these kids, I fancy spending my days crafting, sewing, and baking. This is ironic because before I had children, I wasn't exactly queen of the quilting bee. I was too busy with my career and the desire to do fun single women sorts of activities with other fun single women. (And aren't those activities almost always about finding fun single men?)


I think getting married and moving into a house sealed the domestic deal for me. My husband lived in our home for 12 years before I came on the scene and, in my esteemed domestic opinion, the house needed A LOT of work. Bright pink, yellow, and blue Victorian furniture in the living room? Gone! Pink flowered wallpaper in the dining room? Gone. Striped blue wallpaper with matching blue carpet in a bedroom? Gone. Dingy bathrooms and floors? Cleaned to a sparkle. It wasn't that my husband is a slob or has a thing for tacky home decor. He just doesn't care nor can he really "see" dirt the way I can.


After a year of painting, purging, and polishing his house finally became our house and I've been able to use any subsequent free time to hone my limited craft and cooking skills. I've made a dress for Vivi, bibs for my nephew, superhero capes, and felt play food. I've learned how to make a delicious baklava and reupholster the seats of chairs. I've produced nothing fancy but the completion of a project has been intensely gratifying.


I think that is why, since the arrival of the Turtles, I've really missed my domestic pursuits. Sure, there's laundry and the daunting task of getting meals on the table but my dinners are pathetic and the laundry never gets done. It's hard to feel all Martha Stewart when you've got piles of stinky onesies at your feet.


Enter my friend Brynne and her recommendation of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, a delightful cookbook that allows you to bake bread with just five minutes of active work. I've checked it out of the library and have been a bread-baking fool since then. It's very easy (no kneading required) and at the end of most days, I can look at the loaf and think not only did my children and I survive another day, I also made some delicious bread!

My loaf rising on the counter this morning.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

New and Not So Improved

Despite the chaos that rules my every day, I've made a few realizations lately about the state of my life. This is refreshing because it means that just for a split second, I can mentally step outside of the turmoil and see things for what they truly are. This is what I have noticed:

Vivi cooks more meals in her play kitchen than I do in my real one.


If a swing or bouncy seat does not contain a real baby, it contains a pretend one.




We are down to one binky for two babies and that is not a good situation but I still can't manage to remember to pick up some new ones when I leave the house.


I'm still in my maternity clothes because I'd rather wear those than go up a size in my regular pants.


Despite loving my children with incredible intensity, there is one point during every day when I have a (thankfully) fleeting desire to leave and not return.


When my diaper supply seems significantly diminished, I check Vivi's stuffed animals and find most of them outfitted in the Turtles' diapers.

It's almost daily that someone comes up to me on the playground and says, "Twins? Wow! I don't know how you do it." Well, the truth is I do it sloppily, with a lot of tears and frustration and more than a few accidents. Doing IT doesn't necessarily mean doing it well and I am sure there are plenty of parents out there who could do it better.


Oh well...

Monday, July 13, 2009

Being Done

Right before I go to sleep at night, I check on Vivi. It's a habit that began when she moved out of our room at eight months old. I usually find her perilously hanging off part of her bed so I straighten her up while she sleeps, give her a kiss, and then head off to bed myself.

Last night, however, she was lying in bed awake and staring at the ceiling. When I poked my head in, she said, "Mama, why did I have to sleep in that thing like Baby Max?" Now, Max is my friend Karen's newborn son who was born in the same hospital as Vivi. When we visited Karen and Max, I showed Vivi the nursery and the room I stayed in following her birth. She was mesmerized but I didn't recall Max being anywhere but in someone's arms.

"Do you mean the isolette?" I asked.
"That place where Baby Max sleeps. Did I sleep there?"
"Yes, you did. The isolette is a special bed for new babies."
"Mama, why did I have to come out of your tum tum?"
"Well Vi, you were ready to be born. You couldn't stay in there forever. There wouldn't be enough room."
"Mama, I want to see another baby being born like I did with Ellie-olie."
I laughed and said, "Well one day when you are big like Mama, you can have your own baby. Mama is done having babies."

Not surprisingly, Vivi asked why. I told her that it is a lot of work taking care of babies and that I love her and Jude and Eliya too much to have another.

I love the moments with Vivi when we sit and talk before bed instead of arguing about stories, teeth-brushing, or whatever else. She is sweet and curious and I am reminded of how deeply I love her.

Last night, I was also struck by how absolutely certain I am that I don't want any more children. Despite the joy I have from interactions like the one I had with Vivi, I know that three children will be it. My husband and I don't feel that we have any more to give than what we are already giving to our girls. To demonstrate the finality of it all, we have been passing along every possible baby item that is no longer of use to us. It is without one ounce of hesitation that we remove these things from our home.

Then, a few days ago and seemingly out of nowhere, my husband said in a somewhat wistful tone, "It sure would be nice to have at least one boy."

I'll chalk that up to a sleepless delusion.


Saturday, July 11, 2009

Hello World!

This is the face of a mother whose babies slept (mostly) through the night. Eliya slept uninterrupted from 8 p.m. until 6 a.m. and Jude did the same stretch with two very short feedings at 11:30 and at 4.


A new day has dawned, my friends, and this day will be a day like no other in the last four and a half months. Today I will be able to hold a conversation, do simple addition in my head again, and NOT yell at my kids. Well, the last one may be a stretch but hey, Rome wasn't built in a day.

I think this must be what winning the lottery feels like!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Conversations

If there is one thing that Vivi gets from me, it is the somewhat unsettling ability to sleep-talk. Not a night goes by that we don't hear her. Sometimes she is mumbling and difficult to understand and then other times I can carry on full-conversations with her while she is completely passed out in bed. Last Saturday night was just one of those occasions.

We were in VT and staying at my sister's house. I was in bed nursing one baby while Vivi was camped out on the floor next to me. At about 2 in the morning, we had this conversation:

Vivi: Mama, shut the door.

Me: Vivi, I need that light to help me feed the baby.

Vivi: Mama, I really tired and I want to sleep.

Me: OK, sweetheart, I'll close the door when I finish.

This was particularly ironic since she was completely asleep during our entire exchange. I never did close the door and of course, she had no memory of the conversation the next morning.

Last night, I found myself lying in bed and these were the thoughts running through my head: "Hey, you're lying on your belly. Finally! All those months of pregnancy and you couldn't sleep on your stomach and now here you are. So get to sleep. The babies are going to wake up soon so you need to sleep. Why can't I sleep? They'll be up soon. Must sleep. I'm so tired why can't I fall asleep? Argh!!!!!"

The difference between me and Vivi is that she has her conversations while sleeping and sleeping isn't something I do anymore.

One peaceful sleeper in this house...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Hair

I have this thing about hair. I've spent all my life being defined by my red locks and it has been both a blessing and a curse. For every person who admires the color, there is someone else who makes some stupid comment about how "fiery" redheads can be. The attention my hair brought me as a child was seldom welcomed and I've gotten enough Pippi Longstocking and Little Orphan Annie references to last a lifetime.


Sadly, it seems that the same fate is befalling my girls. No one appears to have red hair but Vivi has a head full of truly outstanding curls. It's next to impossible to go anywhere without someone pointing at her and smiling or commenting. It's never negative but it is attention paid to how she looks and that makes me a little uncomfortable. Just the other day, she stared at the mirror and said, "My hair is very curly and beautiful today." Well, yes it was but if I'm not on top of the hair everyday it very easily turns into dreadlocks. And dreadlocks on a 32 lb. half Jewish little girl rarely works.

It will be interesting to see what kind of hair the Turtles develop. Right now, they have their own unique styles of baby hairdos. Jude is rocking the Mr. T mohawk:


And Eliya has a reverse soul patch. Those may be cool on some hip, yet sensitive musician but on my 4-month old, it's kind of funny.


I recognize that I am pointing out the way my girls look. My rationale? I'm not doing it in front of them (just for all of cyberspace to see) and this is for posterity. Mama logic at its best...


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Trot Trot to Grandma's House...

...to let a little girl ride a tractor. I, with the help of my sister, am taking the girls up to Vermont for a few days. It will be our first trip up there since the babies were born so it's bound to be an adventure.



There are two things that Vivi absolutely loves about going to her grandparents' house in the country. The first is Bear, my parents' beloved chocolate lab. The second is getting to "drive" grandpa's tractor. She gets a lot of freedom at Grandma's house (and not just the "you can have oreos for breakfast" kind) which I think is going to relax Vivi a little bit. There's tons of land to run around on and no traffic. It's free-range and that will be good.




Now, if the rain will just hold off...