Toddler Truth, Times Two

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How anxiously I awaited the onset of actual conversation with my twosome…

So many months were spent gazing into their wee eyes…just hoping  for (and often, projecting) a returned gaze of love.   With the advent of their oral dexterity, surely all the affection so generously lavished upon them would be reciprocally expressed to my eager, and maternally misty, delight.

Alas, as our twins’ language skills developed rapidly and fluently, it became glaringly clear that emotional declarations were not their top priority.

Instead, keen powers of observation and remarkably detailed memories provided them with the motivation for their earliest commentary.

Honesty.  Pure. Unadulterated. Unvarnished. Horrifyingly unedited.

Imagine poor Mommy’s dual-injected reality check…courtesy of my beloved twins, verbally unleashed.  So begins the re-assessment of my self-image, through their empirically-accurate perspective…..

On my housekeeping skills:
….or perhaps more correctly phrased, my lack thereof.
Yes, I have exploited my own children.  Having young twins has provided me with the seemingly perfect alibi for my far-from-immaculate household. When I unearthed the spritzer of Windex to clean our glass-topped coffee table, my son declared, “That’s Grandma’s!” If possession is truly 9/10ths of the law, she’s certainly had it in her hands more than I.  He’s right; it’s hers.

On my musical abilities:
…or perhaps more correctly phrased, my lack thereof. 
For the first 23 months of our twins’ lives I sang along cheerfully with Raffi, the Sesame Street Gang (Oscar and I are blessed with the same vocal range), They Might Be Giants, Cedarmont Kids… all the Billboard chart-toppers.  At 24 months, our daughter began to yell “No!” from the backseat of the car.  Assuming the song mid-play was not a favorite, I’d advance to the next track. By 25 months, she was able to elaborate with greater clarity, “No! Mommy can’t sing!”  So
ended my aspirations of Karaoke stardom on Children’s Song Night.

On my post-twin delivery figure:
Many (okay, most) days, I waited to shower until my twosome was down for their afternoon nap.  On the day of this disheartening revelation, my son’s wailing could clearly be heard over the shower flow.  Concerned about the possibility of his extremities hopelessly wedged betwixt crib slats; or worse yet, his sister pulling aforementioned body-parts against the crib slats like twigs for the snapping, I sprinted to the nursery.

My soggy-faced son, shocked silent by the visage of his naked, dripping Mom, whispered (with perceptible horror in his voice), “Mommy, please put some clothes on.”  Suppose I should be proud.  At least he tried to be polite.

On my grammar :
My daughter sat in her high chair forcefully fork-spearing her banana slices as if they needed to be subdued prior to consumption. Watching the poor slices being mutilated beyond fork-friendly, I suggested, “Honey, you need to do that gentle! Look how mushy the bananas are getting.” Without so much as a glance in my direction, she responded, “Sarah will do it gently.”   Well, at least I don’t refer to myself in the third person.

On my time management & twin juggling skills:
…or perhaps more correctly phrased, my lack thereof.
Before my twosome could inform me that I was mistaken, I took substantial pride in single-handledly taking them on daily out-of-the-house adventures. One particluar day, my daughter, with her shoes on and jacket zipped, was jumping up and
down by the front door chanting, “Let’s go! Let’s go!” In an effort to explain (important note: “explaining” to toddlers is
rarely a useful practice) why we couldn’t leave immediately, I reminded her that she had a brother, also needed shoes and a jacket prior to our departure. In her effort to explain the delay, she declared, “We’ll go in the car as soon as Mommy gets her act together.”

On my personal hygiene:
[Warning: This story is not for the squeamish.]

While in the process of potty training, my husband and I made a frequent practice of allowing/encouraging our twins to “watch” Mommy and Daddy “go potty.” On this particular day, while pulling down my pants for the Potty Parade, I noticed my period was starting a day early. A small spot of darkish flow was in the crotch of my panties. My son, ever empathetic, pointed to the brownish area and sympathized, “That’s okay, Mommy.  You had an accident.” In keeping with my earlier-stated theory on the lunacy of offering explanations to toddlers, I replied simply, “You’re right.  Thanks for making me feel better.”   Wish he could do something for cramps.

On my appearance:
As I was changing my daughter’s diaper, she was reading P.D. Eastman’s classic, The Alphabet Book.  Suddenly, she began kissing a page and cooing, “Ooooh, Mommy!” My mind reeled as I tried to guess which of the illustrations had caused her to think of me so affectionately.  Was I the regal “Queen with a Quarter?”  Perhaps I was the gleeful, fast-moving “Rabbit on Rollerskates.”   No such luck.  When I asked to see the picture of Mommy, lo and behold, apparently I resemble “Walrus with a Wig.”

In an earlier episode, when she informed me that the Veggie Tales’ Archie Asparagus “Looks like Mommy”, I must confess that out of sheer desperation, I took solace in the fact that he was “bookish and lean.”

Now for those of you twin mommies whose twins have yet to share their “truth”, try not to panic.  Not all of their observations are so dramatically ego-bruising.

One Friday night, not long after the walrus incident, as my twosome came down to say “Good Night” to me and my Book Club galpals, my daughter picked up a framed movie still of a young Audrey Hepburn and pronounced with pride, “That looks like Mommy!”  As if that didn’t have me beaming enough, she subsequently picked up the companionate photo of a young Paul Newman and chirped, “And that looks like Daddy!”

Suffice it to say, I think I have decided which truths I’ll believe.

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The Twin Card

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My husband and I love to whip this little puppy out as much as we can. And I know you all know what I’m talking about. It’s called the Twin Card and I hope you all use it as frequently as I do.

I used to be the type of person that wouldn’t dare ask for help, let alone accept someone’s offer. I never felt “entitled” to anything that I didn’t earn, meaning we all live in this world and some days we get some special lovin’ from others and some days, to put it nicely, we don’t. I just never felt that I deserved special treatment over anyone else. That is, until I had twins.

When our boys were first born, I was shocked by how much it just naturally came out. “We have 3 week old twins at home, do you think you could _______ (fill my prescription right away, open up another cash register, let me cut to the front of the line, etc.).” I guess at first I used it more or less out of sheer desperation. And it was amazing how well it worked! I was astonished how people automatically said, “Oh you poor thing. Of course!” and then how many of those also said, “My sister/friend/cousin has twins so I know what you are going through!” I’ll admit it, part of me resented (and still does) the whole “poor you” sentiment. But it’s out there no matter what, so I figured I might as well milk it for all it’s worth.

I’ve been diggin’ the special treatment ever since. After all, having twins I’ve actually started to feel like I do deserve it. We have used the twin card when making plane reservations and requesting seats across the aisle from one another, and better yet, getting a whole row to ourselves. We’ve used it to get out of a late payment or two (I know…shame, shame!). We use it to haggle lower prices and get discounts. And you just never know what can happen when you whip out your twin card. It’s like flashing your automatic entrance into a secret society, and other members of that society (for the most part), just know how to treat you right. It opens doors, gets you clients, introduces you to new and fabulous people. You just never know.

Of course, there’s no need to flash the card when you have your kids on hand – it’s a given (well, to most). And it’s remarkable how much extra help I’m offered when out and about with them. Doors are opened, cashiers and baggers ask to take my groceries to the car, even strangers offer to load bags into the trunk. I used to NEVER take people up on this kind of help in the beginning (because, damn it, I could do it all! And having twins isn’t really that hard!), but now I relish it. Because every little bit helps and gosh, it sure is nice watching someone else do the heavy lifting for a change.

So if you find yourself in a situation where you just need a little help, try pulling out your twin card and see what happens. It’s just one of the many “perks” we get being parents of multiples. You might be surprised what happens when you’re a card carrying member!

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The Little Things

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Is this what my life has come to?

I went to the dentist this week. And ENJOYED it.  

Think about it: guilt-free time off of my feet. Somebody asking me how I am doing. Am I okay?  What flavor of polish would I like. I can even catch up on my celebrity gossip with the latest People magazine.

As a working MoM, I always feel like I am not spending enough time with my kids. I am constantly making myself sick about worried about whether or not they are getting enough individual attention and whether or not I am there enough for them. So, taking any time for myself – when the children are still awake – usually comes at a high price: guilt. I have come to think of my time in the office as my “time off”.

I am blessed with a husband who knows that I consider going to work to be time off and he tries to force me to take “me” time and relax now and then. But unless I leave the house (which I usually feel too guilty to do), I can’t stop myself from responding to crying or “helping” him when he is tending to a child.

But, send me some place like the dentist and there is NO CHANCE of hearing crying. No chance of that nagging feeling to correct something that is happening. And best of all: I have to be there. This is not playtime. So I don’t feel guilty for being so relaxed reclining in that chair, feet up, music playing.

I can’t believe I am at the point where going to the dentist is something I look forward to and enjoy.  But I will take it! Other things that can make me blissfully happy at this point include: finishing an entire meal (with utensils) while sitting down at a table, drinking a cup of HOT coffee, and getting through the day without having to change my clothes more than once.  Ah…the little things!

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Movin' on up!

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This post, my friends, will contain absolutely no advice.  Zero.  Zip.  Zilch.  Instead, I’m asking for your advice.  Can you help?  Please?

Earlier in the week, Rebecca wrote a post about the shrinking of your living space once twins come into the picture.  Two babies at once = lots-o-stuff.  No matter how large your house, it seems to shrink exponentially as the months in which your kids have inhabited the Earth go by.  First, it’s the bouncy seats, swings, play mats, and Bumbo chairs that liter the living room.  Then around the 5th month mark, the aforementioned items are handed down to another expectant MOM (to fill up her living room!), and it’s the Exersaucers, Jumperoos and high chairs that take their place. 

We sold the ol’ Exersaucer and Jumperoo on Craigslist a month or two ago and, damn…that was a happy day!  “More space!!”, B and I said to each-other.  That was, until they started walking.  And climbing.  And being….well, 1-year olds! 

It was at that time that we decided enough-was-enough and started looking around at houses.  Right now, the space in which we live is 1,388 square feet.  That seemed HUGE before we had kids.  We would rarely even use our downstairs, which includes two bedrooms and a bathroom.  We had one entire bedroom (now the boys’ room) that contained nothing more than backpacks and sleeping bags.  We stored them in the abandoned room simply because something had to be in there.  It couldn’t just be….empty! 

Now we seem to be bursting out at the seams of our little home.  The boys enjoy exploring every square inch.  And the primary-colored plastic explosion that is now our living room…well, it needs to be a bit bigger. 

We’ve been looking at houses for a few months now.  While attending open houses, even the 1,600 square foot homes seem SO big.  But we know that, once the boys get older, that amount of space will seem small as well.  So, we decided to stay around the 2,000 square foot mark.  Not to big, but not too small.  I’m all for living in the smallest amount of space that is feasible for a family.  Less to heat, less to clean and less space to search when your kid plays a game of “hide mommy’s car keys”. 

So.  We need to move into a bigger home.  Check.  That would entail us having to sell our current home…and you guessed it!  That’s where you come in! 

Dear readers, how is a family of four supposed to live in their current home, all while giving the “illusion” that it is not lived in?  How do you make your home as uncluttered as possible when you have two one-year olds and all of the paraphernalia that accompanies them, cluttering up your house?  Moreover, how are you supposed to show your house when you and your husband both work full-time and the only time during the week that you have available to show your home is between the hours of 5:30 pm and 6:30 pm, which also happens to coincide with the time in which your two little munchkins start flinging sweet potatoes and black beans all over the dining room (aka, their dinner time)?

If any of our readers have experienced selling their current home and moving into a new house with kids in tow, we want to hear from you!  Give us your tips on staying sane while movin’ on up… 

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Foodies

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Being a mother of multiples (or a MOM), has taught me one thing above all else – GET ORGANIZED OR DIE. It’s one of the reasons those of us with multiples say that there’s a reason God gave us twins (or more). It’s because we can handle it, even if we don’t think we can.

Organization in the kitchen became an immediate need when the boys came home from hospital. We went to bottles within the first couple of days with me pumping, so there was the nightly dance of cleaning bottles/prepping for the next day/washing the pumping equipment/storing the milk. Sigh. I’ve almost forgotten those days in a haze of sleep-deprivation.

Now that my guys are older (4 1/2), we’ve gotten to the point where our grocery needs are pretty consistent each week. I’ve made a little printable list that I just check off when it’s grocery day (Sunday for us) and then add to it with anything the hubby and I might need. I know you can find pre-printed lists out there but I found it was most helpful to make my own as I felt like I was always crossing more off than I kept. So feel free to download mine and make it your own. Just don’t judge me, please. (And by the way, “hexagon crackers” are oyster crackers – that’s what my guys call them because they are, I’m convinced, geniuses.) The grocery list has two complete lists on a single page, so you can print it out and cut it apart. Are you picking up that I like to make the most of my resources?

CraftyLissaGroceryList

A few other lessons learned in the food department:

1. Juice – of course, we all know you’re not supposed to let your kids drink too much juice. I’ve never taken the time to find out how much juice is too much juice, because I’m lazy. So we just don’t have juice in our house. Except ORANGE JUICE. My boys are obsessed with orange juice and have been from a very young age. Their orange juice habit is about 2 cans per week right now. The big cans. Seriously. So here’s my trick – I water it WAY down. It’s probably got double the amount of water necessary to mix it up. My boys have always had it that way and have never noticed the difference in taste of the full-strength versions at MickyD’s (on those rare eating out occasions). Try it with your juice – it might just work! The only drawback, hubby and I don’t drink it anymore. Wait, maybe that’s a good thing…

2. Cereal – not sure if you’ve noticed this yet, but no one told me that cereal is so expensive! Geesh. $4 for a small box? I know, I know, it’s a whole meal in there, but I’m cheap. So I get the store brands whenever I can. I can’t tell any difference. This is probably a DUH for most everyone but me, but I’d never had generic cereal prior to having kids. Maybe if you have older picky kids, you could fake ’em out even more by putting the generic cereal IN the brand-name box? It’s worth a try…

3. Applesauce – have you ever tried applesauce as an adult? Check the ingredients. Can you believe they put SUGAR in there? It’s already sweet enough to make my cheeks hurt! We stick with the unsweetened kind. It’s the same as the baby food version, taste-wise. And we save some more money by getting the store brand of this as well. Generic, unsweetened applesauce – yes, that’s the very definition of a frugal mom.

Now if we could just figure out what to feed ourselves, the adults…

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Little Ways your Little Ones Can Help!

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Know what’s super-awesome? When your husband is there to help you manage the two screaming little babies you are now responsible for taking care of. So what do you do when he’s NOT around? If you’re really fertile lucky, you might have an older child around the house that is capable of helping out with small, but important, tasks. Of course, the things that your bigger little one can help out with varies depending on their age and maturity. Twice a week I work a full day at home with all three of the girls and no helper. Let’s just say I’ve become resourceful!

Some of the baby-related jobs that I tricked encouraged the Monkey (who is 5) to help me out with:

  • Nuk-Keeper: She’s like a little detective! Jason blamed me for mis-placing all of the Nuk’s. Peyton found 5 of them under the crib.
  • Toy Duty: She is in charge of the toys. She knows which ones they like, and before we leave she gets them out of the toy basket and gives them to the girls.
  • Bottle-Shaker: OK. One piece of advice: Make sure that the lid is on properly. You don’t need any unnecessary frustration.
  • Pajama-Picker-Outer: We have this really awesome alternative to standard dressers. It is low enough for Monkey to reach, so I can tell which drawer to look in and pick out an outfit when the girls are in need a change of clothes!
  • Diaper-Runner: self-explanatory!
  • Dirty Bottle Finder: She does a quick once-over to make sure there are no dirty bottles that we forgot to put in the dishwasher.
  • Entertainer: We always put the currently unhappy baby in the middle car seat so that Monkey can practice her silly faces, re-insert nuks, hold bottles, or sing songs to said baby to help the drive go a little more smoothly. (see picture above)

Some of the Monkey’s other favorite household jobs to help me out with include (all require supervision!):

  • Laundry: Putting in the quarters, transferring from washer to dryer, folding towels & baby blankets, etc.
  • Watering plants
  • Cooking: Finding ingredients, stirring noodles
  • Kitchen detail: Wiping down counters, putting away silverware

Some things definitely do NOT work (ie: Letting Monkey push the double stroller while at the mall on the weekend. Bad idea all around). So, what has worked for your family? What has not? (Please also share your big kids’ ages!)

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When Mama Ain't Happy, Ain't Nobody Happy

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Categories Family, Mommy Issues8 Comments

Anyone who has ever heard this saying knows how true it is! Recently, it occurred to me that as the Mama to F and J, my attitude has a direct and important impact on THEIR happiness.

As MoMs we expect a lot of ourselves, and our days are often consumed with tasks, chores, obligations and expectations. We are under a lot of pressure, and most of us collapse into a heap of “used-up-Mommy” at the end of the day. Some days our kids are lucky we fed them and didn’t lose them at the grocery store! Other times, our homes are flooded with illness (and vomit, and snot!), and our caregiver capacity is stretched to the max. Occasionally, we just have really rotten days, or find out that our house needs a new $roof$. And my personal nemesis, PMS, usually rears its ugly head at the most inopportune times. And yet, my emotional barometer sets the tone for my whole family. That is a big responsibility!

My son and daughter are still pretty darn young. But they are growing up quickly, and they study me like crazy. They watch my expressions, and consider my movements. For example, anyone who has young children knows that if you cheer when they fall, as opposed to gasping in horror, that they are less likely to cry. Why? Because they are picking up on our cues. (If Mommy or Daddy aren’t freaked out about my tumble, then I must be okay, but if they are freaked out then I must REALLY be hurt!!!)

As F and J’s Mom, I am challenged to make the most of our days, especially when the weather, the world or wiping noses is getting to me. This really isn’t a “how to” post, rather, I am writing to remind myself and others, that as moms, we have the power to infuse our homes with laughter, joy and happiness. OR we can be a black and angry cloud that rains down on our family.

Now, I will be the first to admit that I am not super-mom. There are days when I have to hide from the kids or take a bathroom break just to have a few minutes sans-crying, or I will lose my mind. But I know that if I pick up the screaming child and do a little jig and make funny faces I can usually stop their crying. In a way, I guess that does make me a super-powered, super-mom!

My sister-in-law was housebound with my 2 year old niece during a stretch of particularly nasty weather. You know what they did? Built a fort in the dining room and read books with a flashlight! Now that is how you turn crummy circumstances (AKA Pennsylvania weather) into a good memory.

We at “How Do You Do It?” would love to hear how you creative MoMs out there keep family life in perspective, and work at being Happy Mama’s!

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I'm Still Here, You Know

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After recovering from the initial shock of hearing I was having two babies instead of one, my next thoughts were of my older child. She was our princess, our angel. For 22 months we had essentially been at her beck and call. Spoiled? No. But definitely used to a certain amount of attention. How would she cope with the colossal change in her little world?

Things started to change for her when I was put on bed rest. It is hard for a 2-year old to comprehend why suddenly Mommy won’t get up anymore. But, she was a trooper during most of that time. And a little really went a long way towards reassuring her. The best investment we ever made was in two breakfast trays from Bed Bath & Beyond. We would enjoy meals together (albeit in the living room or in my bedroom),  color or play with play-do. We also did a lot of reading together, although now she had to sit next to me as my lap had all but vanished!

Finally the babies were born and we were all home together as a family. Unfortunately, most of the time Mommy’s two hands were occupied by … two babies. And, even though the babies ate at the same time, their nap schedules didn’t always jive. So, usually there was one baby awake needing … something. That didn’t leave a lot of time for one-on-one time with the Big Sister.

So, what’s a MoM to do? Obviously I’m meeting all of their physical needs, but am I doing enough emotionally for each? How do I make sure everyone is getting enough “Mommy Time”? And how do I keep myself from being consumed with guilt when my Big Kid seems to feel left out? Here are a few lessons I’ve learned:

First, accept that you can’t be everywhere at once. It is physically impossible to meet the demands of three (or more) crying or whining children at the same time. The sooner you accept this, the better. In our house we take a triage approach. It’s not necessarily who is crying the loudest that we tend to first, it’s who has a greater need. For example, a poopy diaper wins over “I need a snack NOW”. And getting a potty-training toddler onto the toilet wins out over a baby who just happens to be done in the exersaucer NOW.

Second, stick to routine. We kept our daughter in daycare throughout my bed rest and for the first six weeks after the boys were born. That way, she knew what a good portion of her days would entail. Now routines help us to manage her expectations of we can do for/with her in the course of the day. For example, the boys’ bedtime routine ends about an hour before her bedtime. So, while she may lack the attention she desires in the evening while we bathe/dress/feed them, she knows the end result is undivided attention from Mommy and Daddy before she goes to bed.

Third, recognize the cries for attention and try to make up for it where you can at a later time. A toddler or preschooler may not have the words to say “I really need you to pay attention to me because I miss you.” But even the best-behaved children will try to relay this information through their actions. Here are some things we’ve seen in our house:

  • Potty regression (if I have an accident, they’ll have to stop what they’re doing and deal with me)
  • Refusal to eat meals when served (Dinner is important to Mommy. If I say I don’t want it, she’ll put her attention into getting me to eat)
  • Tantrums (self-explanatory!)
  • Bedtime troubles (they want me to sleep and will do all in their power to get me to do so)

While we try our hardest not to give in while a tantrum is taking place, we do try to give her a little extra one-on-one time in the following days because we know the behavior was her way of trying to tell us something.

Fourth, invest in a baby carrier. As previously stated here, a carrier is a must for any MoM. So, get one baby down for a nap, strap the other one on and then use your TWO free hands to play with your big kid(s). It is amazing how much more you can do if you have one of these!

Fifth, communicate with your child. Saying things like “I can’t right now” may actually sound like “I don’t want to” to a 2 or 3 year old. Try being more specific, like “I’d love to read that book to you. Let me just finish changing this dirty diaper and settle your brother down. We’ll both enjoy the book more if he’s quiet.”

Sure, there are days when you’re going to feel pulled in a million different directions trying to be there for all of your children (oh yeah, and your husband may want some attention too!) But if you really try to accept that you’re doing the best you can with the time you have, you’ll feel a lot better.

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The man in your bed

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Some time around the 3rd month, I rolled over one morning after a (blissful!) 4-hour stretch of sleep to find a man in my bed.  As I rubbed my sleepy eyes to get a better look, I wondered…”who was this mysterious fellow that I had, apparently, spent the night with?”, and then I noticed that he looked suspiciously like an exhasted version of the man I married a few years back.

When B and I first found out that, “Surprise! It’s twins!”, after the initial shock, I found myself more in love with my husband than ever before.  Those 9 months of waiting and anticipating were amazing!  We’d go out to dinner and talk endlessly about how, in a few months, we’d be bringing our boys hiking, camping and out to dinner.  We found ourselves constantly repeating, “I can’t wait when the boys….XYZ”.  We’d plan our future as a family right from the dinner table. 

What was missing from all of our discussions was how having twins would affect our marriage. 

Fast forward 9 months and, although the love was still there, our relationship as husband and wife changed.  Drastically.  For the first 3 months, instead of B the Husband, I was now co-habitating with B, the Father of my Children.  He went from Husband to Teammate/Nightshift worker/Sandwhich maker/Diaper changer/Guy who poured my miniscual amounts of EBM into little plastic bags to be frozen.  Our deepest conversations usually happened at 2am (the end of his “shift”), when my Teammate would give me a quick report on what time each kid peed, pooped, slept and ate.  We’d slap eachother’s hands with a “TAG!  You’re it!” gesture and we were off to our respective posts.  B to the bedroom for some zzz’s before getting up to go to work and me to the family room where I would watch over the babes. 

Oh, those first months were tough!  Between sleep deprivation, hormone fluctuations, doctor’s appointments, visitors, and breastfeeding struggles, there just wasn’t enough time for “us”.  Rarely did we kiss, rarely did we hug, and rarely did we have enough energy to ask how eachothers’ day had gone.  For two people who once decided to share the rest of their lives together, this was quite a change.

No book, magazine, pre-birth class or best friend can prepare you for the post-birth relationship that you’ll have with your spouse.  There’s the BAD:  You’ve just washed the 21st bottle of the day and the sink is finally empty until your husband decides he can’t take the extra 1.3 seconds to put his dirty silverware in the dishwasher (where it belongs).  You yell.  He yells.  And then the babes start yelling (even louder than you both combined) and procede to projectile vomit all over the couch cushion that you just steam cleaned for the millionth time since D-Day.  And then, of course, you forget what you were even arguing about because you are both attempting to rescue a kid from Lake Vomit.  And then there’s the GOOD:  The kids are both quiety asleep in their bouncers, keeping their Soothies in place.  The dinner that your neighbor graciously prepared is piping hot and ready to be enjoyed.  You both sit down at the table (at the same time!).  And finish the entire meal, all while engaging in conversation that doesn’t include the word “poop”, before the kids wake up to be fed.

Because hindsight is 20/20, I compiled a list of little things that you and your spouse can do during the first (exhausting!) months in an attempt to shift the focus back to the real reason why you started out on this Great Adventure called Parenting:  LOVE!

  • Say “please” and “thank-you”.  It sounds lame, but they aren’t called The Magic Words for nothin’.   
  • Take a break, alone, at least once a day.  And no, pumping breast milk in a quiet (and kid-free) room does not count. 
  • Take a break, together, once a day.  When both kids are asleep, try to spend a few minutes re-connecting, even if it’s just doing the dishes together for 10 minutes (though, this isn’t really a “break”).  Talk about your day, ask your spouse where he’d like to go on vacation (in 2 years), or what book he’s looking forward to reading (and yes, you will read for pleasure again one day!  I promise).  Just don’t talk about how exhausted you are and that you’re not sure if you’re going to make it through the next day without a stiff martini.
  • Hug and kiss your spouse.  Seriously.  It only takes a second.
  • Focus on the positive.  The first few months are rough, but they will also be filled with some of your most cherished moments.  Enjoy the little things that matter.  Sure, feeding two infants at once is anything but easy, but really…how many people in this world get the chance to do this?  Just knowing that you ARE doing it is and, by god, it’s working!, is reason to celebrate!
  • Don’t keep a tally.  Maybe you had to fold the 4 loads of laundy that have been sitting in the Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper for 2 days straight, but your spouse fixed the wobbly wheel of your used Snap-n’ Go (without having to ask him!) that you discovered after today’s pedi appointment.
  • Plan your first night out.  Someday…soon…there will be a time when you and your spouse can get the hell out of the house.  Together, sans the bundles of joy.  It’ll be exciting and it will be terrifying.  But, it’s got to happen sooner or later…and, anticipation is the best part!  What restaurant will you go to?  What will you order?  Will you be able to finish an entire glass of wine without feeling highly buzzed?

It was’t until the sixth-month mark that I finally started to recognize the man in my bed.  Even if I’d occassionally find that same man on the couch, after kicking him out in the middle of the night to make room for two squirmy kids.  

Our babes are almost 13 months now, and B and I are still attempting to figure out the delicate balancing act between career, children and marriage.  They say you can’t have it all.  But damnit, I’d like to try.

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There Are Two Things In Life For Which We Are Never Truly Prepared: Twins

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Categories Family, Pregnancy9 Comments
Clarity and Moxie at 7 weeks

“What do you mean, TWO MORE?”

That was my exact reaction to the ultrasound technician when asked us how we’d feel about having two more babies, in addition to our first daughter. The thought of having twins made me want run for the hills never crossed my mind. The tech was nice enough to send me on my way to the bathroom to empty my obnoxiously full bladder. I remember walking down the hallway thinking “What the hell just happened?!” On our way out, the staff expressed their congratulations, to which I just muttered, “Ha. Yeah. Thanks.” Then I cried. I cried for a good twenty minutes. I cried when I told my parents that we weren’t just expecting one baby. We are not talking tears of joy here. These were tears of absolute fear of what was to come in October. How are we going to handle two full-time careers, two babies, and a five year old?! How will we afford to feed and clothe everyone? How will we afford DAYCARE?! At one point, I even thought to myself, a lot of pregnancies start off as twins and we are only seven weeks in. There’s always a chance of losing one, and that might be for the better.

Around week twelve, after a night of some – ahem – one on one time with my husband, I noticed some spotting as I went to the bathroom. A quick call to my OB’s office led me to believe that I could be possibly suffering a miscarriage of one or even both babies. Once again, there were tears. After only a few weeks of knowing that I was pregnant with twins, I became confident in my ability to handle fact that life was going to get a whole lot harder in a few months. I wanted to meet both of these babies. This is how it is supposed to be! No way was this happening to us. Thankfully, we were able to see them the next morning at an emergency ultrasound. Two strong little heartbeats inside two little tiny black blobs.

Here comes the mushy part. All of the fears that I felt at the beginning are now completely overshadowed by the feeling that comes over me when the twins smile at us, when I see them looking at Monkey (my big girl), and yes, even when they have smelly butts. Now I can’t even imagine what it would have been like to have had only one more. Oh wait, yes I can. Do I wish I had that? Absolutely not. Besides, playing Guitar Hero is more fun at night once everyone has gone to sleep.

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