Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Hard Night's Day

After a pretty awful night of babies getting up every hour, I was certain today would be better.  The Turtles are still miserable with a nasty, nasty cold but I knew that they would probably get some good naps in today.  Except that they haven't really.  Of course, the little sleep that has come has not come at the same time for both Turtles.

Then, alas, the rain stopped and the sun finally came out.  So we went outside for a walk.  It was cold.  My thermometer misled me and damn it, if we didn't all get a chill.  I've been wrapped up in a scarf ever since.

It's not even 2:00 and I've already hit the low-point of the day.  Since Vivi had an accident and was smelling of eau de pee pee and I was still sporting the post-vomit stink that befell me when Jude puked down my shirt in the middle of the night, I decided to let her shower with me.  I'm nothing if not efficient.  Unfortunately, that was when it happened.  The dreaded comment that only an innocent, yet observant, child could get away with.

Mama, she said, you look like you have a baby still in your tummy.  Your boobs are big too.

Thanks, child.  Thanks. 

Monday, March 22, 2010

It's My Business!

I'm not joking when I say that one of Vivi's earliest words was privacy.  Or, as she said it, pri-a-see.  I first discovered that she knew the word when she kept repeating it while pulling on the sun shade of her stroller.  When I got the message and finally pulled it down she quickly relaxed into sleep.  Thus began her frequent demands for pri-a-see, both in the stroller and while on the potty.  

So it is no surprise, as she nears the age of four, that having her privacy is still of utmost importance.  Her bedroom is now officially a "turtle-free zone" and it is not uncommon to find that she has locked the door while she is in the bathroom.  I'm fine with this.  There's nothing in our tiny bathroom that could hurt her and I can absolutely identify with wanting a quiet place free of interruption, even if it is just for a couple of minutes.

Lately though, her privacy demands are mostly because she doesn't want anyone to see her "business."  The phase of getting naked and loving it has been replaced by a newfound sense of modesty.  We have never told her that she needs to cover up but we have explained that she needs to take care of her body and that some people like to keep their business private.  (So that's why when you are in a dressing room with mommy she would really prefer that you not swing the door wide open.)

As the weather has warmed here and we've been spending more time outside, Vivi is trying to negotiate keeping her business private with the occasional neccessity of relieving one's self outdoors.  The other day we were at a local park that has a playground as well as a wide, open field.  The park is surrounded on roughly three sides with houses and a line of trees on the fourth side.  I was feeding her sisters when she came up to me.

Mama I gotta go poop!
Do you want me to help you?
I want my privacy so no one can see my business.
Ok, well, go find a quiet spot and yell to me when you want me to come wipe and pick up the poop.

So off she went and I continued to feed her sisters.  When I heard her yelling, I stood up and scanned the line of trees.  No Vivi.  As my eyes moved over the park, I spotted her-- naked tushie saluting the sky smack dab in the middle of the open field.

I guess we all have different levels of privacy.

Monday, March 15, 2010


I live in a small community in a small city in a really small state.  I grew up in Vermont and while I could appreciate the beauty of the place, I often felt stifled by its provinciality.  As a result, I decided to go to college 600 miles from home and travel the world upon graduation.  When I returned to the United States a year and a half later, I moved to Boston.  The big city suited me and I was downright miserable when marriage called me to Providence.  At the time, it made sense for me to make the move instead of my husband but I still resented that ALL my friends lived someplace else.  It was hard going from having a really active social life to having my husband be my only available friend.   

Motherhood changed all that.  Not only was Vivi a joy to be around but her very existance led to a blossoming social life for me.  I met other mothers at libraries and parks, breastfeeding support groups and grocery stores.  This is the beauty of living in a small community in a small city-- you tend to see the same people over and over again.  While that can be annoying for people who enjoy their anonymity, I found the familiarity comforting.

When we discovered our two babies, it was late November.  The weather had turned chilly and we weren't making it to the park as frequently.  I knew a couple of other women from our neighborhood whose babies were due around the same time but I never managed to see them to tell them about my bonus baby.  There were so many people that I thought never knew I had two babies cooking.  How could they?  New Englanders tend to hibernate in the cold months and I certainly wasn't venturing out if I could help it.  I saw my very close friends regularly and that was it.

I delivered my Turtles on March 6th.  I was on midwife-imposed house arrest for the week following but I was out the door with two babies wrapped to my chest within ten days.  The first warm, sunny day in March can make a woman do crazy things and I was desperate to get out of the house.  When I arrived at the park, I saw a young woman who I didn't know.  I recognized her accent and asked if she was from Turkey.  She was and we chatted a bit.  Within moments, she said to me,  "I've heard about you!  You're the woman who discovered her twins very late and then had them at home." 

Ummm, yeah.  So apparently these twins have given me a reputation.  I never quite figured out how the Turkish woman knew all that.  I doubt she was reading this blog but that made me wonder, if you are local and you read this, can you reveal yourself?  That way I don't have to wonder why you know my daughter loves poop jokes when I run into you at the park.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Happy Birthday!

Today my Turtles turned one.  We ate lots of cake.  Life is good.

Very good.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


I think most parents would agree that each passing stage of their child's life is bittersweet.  While it is exciting to see how our children change and grow, every new development often reflects a loss of something else.  As my Turtles turn one, I feel this in a very profound way.  In what has been the fastest year of my life, I look toward their birthday with a great sadness that is only mildly offset by relief.  This may be a common feeling for mothers of multiples but it doesn't make it any easier.

Jude Bug and Ellie Bean have brought me great joy this past year but I would be dishonest if I didn't acknowledge that the joy was deeply mitigated by the fact that I spent the vast majority of our time purely focused on our survival.  There was never any time to focus on tiny fingers wrapped around my own.  There was hardly a moment when I could marvel at the miracle of two full-term, full-sized babies my husband and I created.  I never once felt like I could bury my face in a baby's neck and let the softness and scent relax me.  I didn't get to see the babies give each other their first kiss because I was in the kitchen trying to throw dinner together.  (I heard the squeal of delight from our helper in the other room.)  With time gained, much was lost.  

My lucidity and energy were fleeting at best this year and  I couldn't be the mother I wanted to be.  The sweet, adoring moments with a child that settle into a mother's psyche for eternity are tinged with gray in mine.  I've not been able to fully enjoy one child without worrying that I was neglecting another.  The perfectionist in me bristles at the inadequacy of my mothering.  While I know that having more than one baby at a time gives me an extra pass to lose my shit occasionally, I don't like that it sometimes comes to that.

The past year has been hard on me, our Turtles, Vivi, and my marriage.  When I was eight months pregnant with the Turtles and at a park with Vivi, a mother of 15 month old twins was there.  She said to me, "If your marriage survives the first year with twins, then you can survive anything."  I thought that had to be one of the most obnoxious things someone could say to a woman expecting twins.  I've discovered that she was right (BUT that doesn't mean her comment wasn't obnoxious) and it is indisputable that my husband and I have suffered (often independently and with much anger at each other) this year.  While my children may be malleable and flexible, my husband is not.   

So when Saturday hits and the Turtles officially begin their second year, I'm going to try and be the mother and wife I want to be.  I will celebrate their milestone and be thankful for the literal survival of my family.  I will love my girls up and it will be good, if only for a day.  

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Saturday night Vivi got to have her second sleepover with her friend G.  Lovely Mama invited her to stay knowing that Vivi loves nothing more than being able to sleep at someone else's house.  I don't know if it is just a big girl thing or just wanting a solid block of time to rest without being woken up by a Turtle.  Either way, she could hardly contain her excitement at getting out of the house.

According to Lovely Mama, Vivi and G had a great time with no more than their usual sibling-like bickering.  They had ravioli, made popsicles, and finished the evening off by watching Mary Poppins.  Vivi was semi-comatose and drooling on the couch cushion by the time the movie ended so Lovely Mama put both kids to bed in the same room.  Everything was going smoothly.

Well, until, the talking began in the bedroom.  Talking and talking and talking....  Lovely Mama went in three or four times to settle G to sleep.  After nearly an hour or so, he walked out of the bedroom and had this conversation with Lovely Mama:

G:  When are you coming to bed?
Mama:  Soon, G.  Now go back in there with Vivi and try to sleep.
G:  Vivi's not in there anymore.

A panicked Lovely Mama checked the bedroom and Vivi wasn't in there.  She quickly ran to the other bedroom to find Vivi asleep on top of the covers on the bed.  Relieved, she started moving Vivi to get her under the blankets.  As Lovely Mama tucked her in, Vivi mumbled, "He was just talking and talking.  He wouldn't stop and I need to sleep."

While Vivi couldn't sleep with all the talking, I discovered that I couldn't sleep without her in the house.  I really missed her and seriously contemplated sleeping in her bed for the night.  But, like Papa Bear, she would have come home and demanded who had slept in her bed so I figured it would be wise to respect her space. 

Given the challenges of the sleepover, I think both Lovely Mama and Vivi would agree that we won't be doing one again anytime soon.  She's still available for afternoon playdates though.  Any takers?