Friday, February 26, 2010

Compliments?

I have a sweet high-school student who comes in and helps us out during the insane time of 5-7 p.m.  For those of you who don't have children, or have forgotten, this is the time of day when a mother would rather rip out her own toenails than be alone with her demanding children.  A time when EVERYONE is at their wits' end and nothing can get done fast enough. 

We hired this babysitter back in August during the period between when my sister left and our Brown student returned for the fall.  She came to the interview with her mother and I hired the girl the next day.  She started that evening and has worked with us ever since. 

So, a couple of weeks ago, we had this conversation:

Babysitter:  My mom wants to come visit and see the babies again.  Is that okay?
Me:  Sure.  Can she take one home with her?  Ha..Ha...
Babysitter:  I'm sure she would.  When we met you, we were surprised at how nice you are.
Me:  What do you mean?
Babysitter:  Well, when we saw your house we just thought you were probably snobs.
Me:  Well, I had to clean the place up otherwise you never would have come to work for us.

This conversation surprised me.  By no stretch of the imagination is our house high-end.  While it is true that over the last six years I've turned this house from the grandmother-special my husband inherited to something more to my liking, the bulk of the money we've poured into it has been for structural/environmental changes.  (New windows, a rebuilt chimney, and a new boiler to name a few.)  It certainly didn't cost us much to rip off all the wallpaper and slap some paint on the walls but I guess it did make a difference. 

Whatever the reason, our babysitter's comment really meant a lot to me.  There's still a lot to be done in this house (isn't there always?) but I finally feel like this place is my home and I am happy here.  Her statement wasn't a direct compliment but I will take it, nonetheless.

Oh yeah, and I am a nice person too.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Arts and Crafts

Vivi is our little multimedia artist.  The child is not content with just crayons and paper.  Oh no!  Every project must involve glue, glitter, stickers, or any other random scrap of something we have lying around.  Her philosophy is the more, the better.  

To ease our daily craft routine, I've compiled all of our various art supplies in one rubbermaid container which she has dubbed the "arts and crafts box."  The box sits on a low shelf in my office and she is free to take it and use it as she wishes.  There are just a couple of rules.  One is that she must do her art at the table.  The second is that she  must put everything back in the box and return the box to the shelf when she is finished. 

Simple enough, right?  It has been... until this morning.  That's when we discovered this work of art sitting on the kitchen table:


So long sippy cups.  Bye-bye big kid scissors.  

Hey, at least the arts and crafts box was nicely returned to its home on the bottom shelf. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Off the Deep End

Yesterday was just one of those days when I felt like I had it worse than every other mother in the world.  The sort of day when nothing goes right and I am living some sort of existential nightmare where there is no rest, no end to the crying, and no freaking escape from my children.  A god-awful, suck-the-life-out-of-you kind of day that makes a woman hate every other mother who has ever complained about how hard it is with their kid-- their one child or their two children-- because they (the infamous "they") do not know how much harder it all is with twins. 

And, let me just say it now, having twins is so much more than double the work.  It is the kind of thing that makes one regret becoming a parent at all.  There, I said it.  I have been so good about staying positive the last eleven and a half months that I barely have let the drag of it all get to me.  Well, it got to me yesterday so unless you have twins yourself, I hate you.  I hate that you do not know what this is like.  YOU. JUST. DO. NOT. UNDERSTAND.  I want you to suffer so I can have someone to commiserate with. Not only am I a raving, crazy bitch-- I am a raving, selfish, crazy bitch.  How do you like those apples?

Yesterday, I went off the deep end.

And today, I am back. 

Today, my girls slept more than twenty minutes in a twelve hour period and I have regained some of my equilibrium.  I've decided that I still love them.  I also got to talk to adults today and I even found  solace in those mother friends of mine who don't have twins.  I still love them too.  And I think maybe, just maybe, they might love me too.  I am sorry for being a raving, selfish, crazy bitch and of course, I don't regret my Turtles.

And to those mothers of triplets and quads, you're right.  I just don't get it. 

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Love Letter

Dear Bob,
      I heard rumors about you at the playground.  Many a woman has reported that you are strong and tough but have a soft, sensitive side.  The word around the swings is that you really seem to take good care of the children and these ladies wouldn't know what to do without you in their lives.  They say that the big potholes of life are just little bumps in the road to you.  As you know now, it was that attitude and your zest for life that made me want to meet you.
      I believe that our first rendezvous was one of passion and promise.  I had that giddy feeling of potential and I knew what the ladies said was true.  You would never let me or my girls down.  I am singing your praises without any benefit to me other than your unwavering support and commitment.  You have already given me so much and I only hope that I can continue to be worthy of your gifts.
       Bob, it is today that I can finally admit to you and all who know me that I love you.  It is time that I take our affair public.  I believe that you will find a happy place here in our home and my husband will learn to love you as I have.
       Until we meet again, my love,
Mama Mama


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Goodbye

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am saddened to report that the golden period of twin-parenting is now over.  It was a short but glorious time.  A time when my Turtles were mostly sleeping for 11 hour stretches.  A time when they could sit in one place and happily amuse themselves.  A time when I could use the bathroom and know that when I came out they would be exactly where I left them.  A time, I knew even while it was happening, that I would miss when it was over. 

And over it is.  BIG TIME.

Not only are the Turtles moving but they are two disparate paths of destruction.  Eliya takes to climbing on things and pulling stuff off shelves while Jude has a penchant for scooting around commando-style, tasting power cords, and getting herself stuck under the couch.   

One would think that all the movement would make them more tired but I've not found this to be true.  The inability to sit still results in very short nursing sessions, for Ellie in particular.  (I swear her baby cooing can be translated into, "Why drink milk when I can get my hands on that delicious People magazine?")  I know that she is still hungry because ten minutes after she has moved away from the breast, she will be back crawling on my lap trying to nurse.  When I attempt to refocus her, she bites me.  Not in a malicious way, of course, but enough so that she drew blood once and now I am just a wee bit skittish about putting my boob in her mouth.  All in all, this lack of focus is causing her to wake at about 3 a.m. to feed. 

The naps and night rest are also complicated by the fact that Ellie can pull herself up to standing in the crib.  I barely have Jude in her crib before I have to return to put Eliya back down.  She hasn't quite figured out how to get herself down once she has gotten up so it often takes several trips back into the room to move her  before she actually conks out.  The one mitigating factor in this is that Eliya just looks so pleased as the queen of her castle that I have a hard time not smiling at her each time I go in. 

Not to be outdone by the Turtles' silliness, Vivi thought it would be hysterical to lock me, my husband, and the babies in the basement this morning.  Yeah, that's right.  We have a playroom down there and while my husband and I were wrangling babies, Vivi ran up the stairs, shut the door, moved the kitchen chair over and pushed the lock closed.  (The lock, by the way, is about six feet high on the door.)  I took the highly unsuccessful approach of  yelling and threatening all sorts of things if she didn't "open the door right this minute."  My husband, on the other hand, used his gentle voice of reason and got her to unlock it after a couple of minutes.  (Let this be yet another lesson to myself:  threatening hardly ever works with her.)

All this being said, I'm going to try to keep regularly updating this blog.  If you don't hear from me for a week or so, send out the guard.  This mama will likely have been taken hostage.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Other Room

About two months ago, I promised to post pictures of the Turtles' new bedroom.  I never quite got around to it because I never felt like the room was done.  The babies were sleeping in there but it took a bit of time for me to decide on a rug and make the curtains.  Once that was done, I needed something for the walls.  I discovered some lovely prints from Art and Philanthropy but couldn't justify buying them (despite the philanthropic bent) after we'd spent so much on the damn renovation project.

Alas, ask and you shall receive.  My mother got the alphabet and number prints for the Turtles for Christmas and, one month later, I finally got them on the walls.  If you need a reminder of how the room looked before, you can click here.  This is their room now:





Vivi putting Ellie in a headlock while Jude smiles is typical of the wild shenanigans that happen in this room.  Now on to other projects.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Resolutions So Far

I thought that since it is the end of the first month of the new decade I should take a look at our 2010 resolutions and see how we have fared thus far.  In no particular order, we decided to:

Give up juice and papertowels
Grade B

I have not purchased any juice this month and I don't miss it.  Vivi asks for it occasionally but it is my husband who has been going through some serious juice withdrawl.  He has boxes of Gatorade-type rehydration powder that he uses for refueling after particularly hard workouts except now he just drinks the stuff with dinner.  Those boxes are his responsibility so when they're gone, they're gone.  I'm not buying more.  Maybe then he can take the first step toward recovery and acknowledge he has a problem with juice.

Like the Gatorade powder, we had some papertowels on hand from last year.  I've barely touched them and have pretty much trained myself to use clean rags or dish towels instead.  I don't anticipate that we'll be buying more.

Bake bread instead of buying it
Grade A+

My bread machine and I have become great friends.  I have purchased no bread or bread-type products this month and I we don't miss them.  Plus, there's the added bonus of how good baking bread makes our house smell.

Limit our baby wipe usage to major poop disasters
Grade D

This is an area where I definitely need improvement.  It is automatic to just grab a wipe when I am changing the Turtles' diapers and none of us are the better for it.  I've been trying to leave out burp cloths to dry them after they pee but I need to be more aware overall of what I am doing.

Get out of the house every day for a walk
Grade B+

We've done pretty well on this.  The girls love their fancy new stroller and I've enjoyed burning a few calories here and there.  I've fudged this on the really cold days but I expect that I'll give myself an A once the weather is consistently good.

Make our own cards and presents, as much as possible
Grade D-

So, ummm, there was this super sale at Baby Gap and my old neighbor had a baby and well... I did make one little thing for her new daughter but I didn't exactly honor the spirit of this resolution.  You should see the card I made though.  It was freaking awesome. 

Utilize more of our museum memberships, public libraries, and parks
Grade A

We have been pretty good at finding free stuff to do or making our own entertainment. My husband took the girls to the children's museum.  We've gotten movies and books out of the library and Vivi and I have been artists and crafters.  My husband and I went out on Friday to see Up in the Air  but since our dates are few and far between, the $20 we spent was a good investment.  All in all, this hasn't felt like a huge change because we don't have that much of a swinging social life as it is.

Purge our home of PVC (cling wrap, ziplock bags, plastic straws, etc.)
Grade B+

The plastic straws are gone and I am no longer using cling wrap (although training my husband to do so  is proving to be a challenge.)  We still have plastic bags on hand but I'm doing my best to store all food in glass containers.  I've thrown out all soft plastic toys and purged my closet of any vinyl purses.  (So long beloved Kate Spade knock-off.  You served my ignorance well.)  We have a couple of pull-down shades that will be taking an express trip to the garbage bin as soon as we locate our interior wooden shutters.  We got rid of our plastic shower liners and mattress pad covers a while ago but I still have concern over the Turtles' crib mattresses.  We can't afford to replace them with the organic cotton kind so I'm just double covering them and hoping for the best.  We have some larger projects like replacing the vinyl tiles on our bathroom floors but that will have to wait until we have some extra money.    To learn more about the toxicity of PVC, check out http://www.greenamericatoday.org/.

Spend less time on the computer (ha! ha!)
Grade D-

Well, at least I knew about the futility of this when I initially wrote the resolution but hey, if I didn't use the computer so much how would I know about all the problems with PVC? Yeah, that's the reason... 

Take shorter showers
Grade C

I am not exactly taking shorter showers (it's just so darn quiet in there) but I am taking fewer showers.  Better for the earth but worse for those who have to spend time with me.  Hey, we all have to do our part.  Mine just happens to smell of baby vomit and sour milk.

Summary

All in all, I've been fairly happy with our progress.  Our grocery bill was nearly $300 less this month which is reason enough to keep going.  What about you?  Are you making any changes this year?  How are they going?