Showing posts from June, 2009


In recent weeks, we have been visited by numerous wildlife in our Providence backyard. We have a bunny, a skunk who seems to have taken up residence behind our shed, and more squirrels than we can count. On any given night, we can see one or all of them. Throw a naked Vivi into the mix and it's quite a show. The squirrels are particularly bothersome and my husband is engaged in an ongoing war with them. In the last year, they have managed to eat through the thick plastic of our compost bin in order to feast themselves on our banana peels and apple cores. They then leave the debris all over our yard and on our back porch. They also have built a home in our roof. The squirrels are bold, to say the least. One morning I walked into the kitchen to see one spread eagle on the screen of our back door. My scream was enough to scare it away but I frequently hear them scurrying along our kitchen window (which happens to look out on our garden and compost.) In the last month or so, my

Is Three the New Two?

Ok , what happened to my sweet little girl? Vivi has gone from utter delight with occasional moments of crankiness to rude, crude, and full of bad attitude. I expected limit-testing and all the things I have been told that go along with being two but our twos were far from terrible. Three, however, is kicking my ass. It's like a switch was flipped. Vivi repeatedly yells, throws tantrums, and says things in a way that makes me think my daughter is 13 and not 3. She has taken recalcitrant behavior to a whole new level and I'm too tired to do anything but yell back and put her into extended time-outs. It's an ugly scene. On Friday Vivi and I were butting heads all day and I came very close to spanking her on numerous occasions. (I feel that every parent has the right to make her own decisions about reasonable discipline but I am not in the pro-spanking camp for reasons I won't go into here.) We both made it to bedtime by the skin of our teeth but while I was putting

Dress Up

When I was a little girl, I loved to dress up. My mother would buy old prom and wedding dresses from the Salvation Army and we had a trunk stuffed with them. They were big and bright and gaudy dresses which made them absolutely beautiful to our elementary school sensibilities. We prided ourselves on our thrift store finery. The urge to dress up still hits us even now. Last year on a trip home to Vermont, my sister Jane and I got ourselves dolled up in her old prom dresses and my sister Katie's million or so bridesmaid gowns. ( Ahhh ... always a bride's maid, never a bride.) We did a very classy photo shoot to boot. So it is no surprise that upon waking this morning, I find my big girl all dressed and ready to start the day. Here she is:

A New Day

Last night I made a conscious decision to trade in my crabby pants for crafty pants. The evening was no less crazy but the chaos was punctuated by moments of real sweetness. As I was preparing our 10 minute stir-fry dinner, Vivi proclaimed, " Oooh , I love the baby corns and I love the mama corns too!" She also informed me that her hair "looked really curly and cute today" and that one of her peers "has got a lot of problems" because he frequently acts out and makes her cry. A perky narcissist or a highly opinionated shrink-- my child might be both but her comments brought some levity to a normally stressful time of day. So after we managed to get all the kids to bed, I busted out my sewing machine. I've been feeling pretty terrible that a lot of my green living practices have been thrown out the highly insulated window since the Turtles came along. The dryer runs almost daily and we have gone from putting out one bag of trash to a minimum of three ev

Ticket to Freedom

I maintained my career the first year of Vivi's life. While I was lucky to have a very flexible schedule, Fridays were often an extended day in the office for me. That meant that I spent many a moment with a pump attached to my breast. There was nothing enjoyable about pumping and I dreaded doing it. Needless to say that when Vivi weaned at 13 months I didn't shed a single tear over my now useless pump. I didn't think about the pump for a couple of years. It was only when the toy/baby crap store near my house put one on display in their front window did all the negative feelings come rushing back. It was early in my second pregnancy when this happened and I consoled myself with the thought that I wasn't working anymore so I wouldn't really need the pump. Plus, it wasn't like I was carrying twins or anything so I wouldn't even really be nursing that much. Ha! (By the way, who was the idiot that thought putting a breast pump in a display window would actual

The Downside Every Day

I wouldn't say that I am normally a Negative Nelly but these last few weeks I seem to have firmly planted myself on the downside of things. It's been raining since the beginning of June with little respite and I've been bogged down with endless childcare and stories of sadness. I'm tired and I'm fat and I'm feeling that the world just isn't very fair. I know I should think of my children as blessings and the vast majority of the time I do but there are moments when I want to walk away from them all. Vivi is testing every possible boundary (and peeing on it in the process) and the babies are just heaping piles of endless need. My husband works too much to support us all and I feel angry that I don't get to go to an office and deal with mentally ill people. (Oh, that grass just keeps getting greener...) Yet, I have so many friends who are desperate to have a child. Beautiful, healthy, and successful women who can't seem to get pregnant. One of my d

Cranky Pants

I've been a real cranky pants the last few days. I find myself yelling at Vivi for... well, for being three. It has gotten so bad that her frequent response to my crankiness is to yell back at me, "MAMA! DON'T SAY THAT!!!" I realize on some level that her behavior seldom deserves the response I give her but by the end of the day I am just so spent that it takes very little to push me over the edge. I mean, God, how many times do I have to tell her to stop blowing bubbles in her juice? My crankiness isn't something I save for home. It has made its way into the public domain too. Vivi and I made a quick trip to Whole Foods to get some milk and, as I've been known to do lately, I bribed her with a cookie so she'd hold it together while I got a few more errands done. As we were waiting behind a man and a woman standing in front of the cookie display, I saw the man reach bare-handed into the cupboard and grab a roll. He proceeded to touch the roll all

Big Sister

Since the Turtles arrived in early March, Vivi has enjoyed her role as a big sister. While she seems to be holding a grudge against me and my husband for not being as available to her, she doesn't take it out on Jude and Eliya . Vivi adores them and it is not uncommon for me to find her holding their hands while she extols the virtues of being older. During dinner last night, my husband and I were attempting to eat with a baby perched in one arm. Vivi, apparently feeling that the babies were missing out on something, looked at Jude and said, "Jude Bug, you are too small for quinoa and shrimp but I can give you a snuggle." Because Vivi has no shortage of love to give, we've had to train her on when it is appropriate to play with them. We've taught her that if she is making faces at them and they start to fuss or turn away, she needs to give them their space. We also have a strict rule that Vivi is not to touch Jude and Eliya while they are sleeping. As I've


I hate to admit it but my life seems to involve a seemingly endless amount of shit. I wish I could say that I am speaking figuratively here but I'm not. Friday afternoon, I was rummaging through our hutch in the dining room when I caught a whiff of poop. I couldn't place the origin of the smell. It wasn't on my shoes or on Vivi. Breastmilk poop has a distinctively different smell so I ruled the babies out. The windows weren't open so it couldn't have drifted in from the outside. Without an obvious origin, I started to think that I was imagining it. I went about my day plagued by the awful smell. We were leaving for New Jersey at the kids' bedtime so I was doing the usual pre-trip chores when, at about an hour before our departure, I saw Vivi scoot out from under the dining room table. She had a look on her face that told me everything. "Vi, what were you doing under the table?" I asked. "Nothing, Mama." "Did you poop?&quo

Orgasmic Birth

Yeah, that's right. I was incredulous too. Wednesday night I went to a screening of a film with that very title and while it might not have been the wisest idea to watch a birthing video twelve weeks postpartum, I was intrigued by the idea. I wouldn't have descr ibed any of my daughters' births as orgasmic by any stretch of the imagination yet I had heard such a thing was possible. I wanted to see if that was really the case. Since my first pregnancy with Vivi, I've had an interest in birth and how it is regarded in our country. I read the usual suspects when it came to pregnancy books. Everything from What to Expect When You're Expecting (two enthusiastic thumbs down on that one... should be called How to Make You Into a Neurotic Mess When You're Expecting) to the inimitable Birthing From Within . As a childless woman, I feared birth and always imagined I would make the most of what western medicine offered me. Once I became pregnant, however, I wan

Do I Know You From Somewhere?

According to all the parenting books and magazines I've read over the last three years, babies enjoy looking at people's faces. I didn't think they had discriminating face preferences which is why I find it so curious that my Turtles haven't seemed interested in each other. It's not a general face aversion-- they are more than interested in everyone else's! When seated across from each other, however, their apathy is stunning. I'm not sure why this is. (Damn those useless parenting books...) My best conclusion is that they are so used to seeing the face of the other that it's more like scenery than anything else. Babies at this young age don't seem to have a sense of self but maybe they don't see their twin as a separate person. It's all very confusing to me and my conclusion isn't very satisfying. It has been a challenge at times to adapt myself to my new identity as a multiple-baby mama. Twins seem to bring many more questions about t