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What a difference a year makes!  A few days ago, I turned 34.  The past year flew by even though some days I felt like I watched the clock tick away each excruciating second until bedtime.  I suppose that is life with young children, especially two of them.  The year was a whirlwind of firsts: first foods, first steps, first birthdays, first words.  It has been exhausting and exhilarating, sometimes switching between the two in a span of minutes.  And I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

As a birthday gift, my mother offered to babysit and my husband and I went out to dinner to celebrate.  We hadn’t been out in a long time because I have an extreme case of  new-mom babysitter phobia.  (I attribute this in part to a wild imagination and in part to my prior life as a prosecutor in the child abuse/sex crimes division. NOT a good combination, I assure you.)  On a friend’s recommendation, I made reservations at a new restaurant in Austin, Lenoir.  It turned out to be a fantastic evening.

Date Night

Lenior is a small restaurant opened by husband and wife team Todd Duplechan and Jessica Maher.  It touts itself as a neighborhood restaurant, encouraging  a base of loyal local patrons and sourcing fresh ingredients locally.  The menu is a prix fixe three or four course dinner which changes weekly and is extremely reasonably priced ($38 for a three-course meal, $10 more for the four-course meal).  The wine list is on the expensive side (this coming from someone who balks at paying more than $10 for a bottle of wine at the store) but the bottle of Malbec we ordered was well worth it.

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A few of the highlights were my first course—a roasted tomato filled with Indian spiced beans and thinly sliced pieces of okra, sitting in an herb-yogurt broth—and my husband’s second course—soft-shelled crawfish sitting on a bed of thai herb salad with a vinaigrette.  Yum, just yum.

 

My first course

My first course

 

 

Brian's second course

My husband’s second course

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But the most amazing course was my husband’s dessert.  He ordered the pistachio cake served with poached pears and a scoop of ginger ice cream.  Oh my God. It was delicious.  The cake had an almost crunchy outer crust but was perfectly moist inside and the ginger ice cream actually sent a spicy heat down your throat.  I regret to say I did not get a picture of it, most likely because by that point a) the bottle of wine was finished and b) who can wait to take a picture before digging into dessert?

 

If you live in or ever find yourself in Austin, Lenoir is a must.

“Something will have gone out of us as a people if we ever let the remaining wilderness be destroyed…We simply need that wild country available to us, even if we never do more than drive to its edge and look in.”  – Wallace Stegner, The Sound of Mountain Water

This past week, I got to drive to the edge of the wilderness and look in.  My husband, the boys and I flew to Estes Park, Colorado to visit my in-laws.  After the craziness of traveling with 17-month-old twins, being in that awe-inspiring setting was a blessing and we had so much fun showing the boys some of the wonders of Rocky Mountain National Park.  Additionally, I immensely enjoyed the break from the 100+ degree weather we were having in Austin and are apparently going to have until the end of time.

View from the house

View from the house

view from the house

view from the house

Aidan contemplating the view

Aidan contemplating the view

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We took the boys to the Alluvial Fan, a series of waterfalls that come down the mountain and spread out into a “fan” as they near the bottom. The water was crystal clear and extremely cold and the boys enjoyed splashing and saying “cold.” They also were quite entertained by throwing rocks as far out into the water as they could.

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Me trying to get Cam to notice the chipmunk that was holding my hand!

 

We also drove and walked up further into the park for a look at Bear Lake, one of a series of lakes created by glacial melt and water coming down the mountains.  I know this because we had a great tour-guide, my father-in-law, who is a certified hike-master!  The lake was beautiful, like something out of a movie, and we were even fortunate enough to see an elk just a few feet away who was grazing by the path.  The boys enjoyed running up and down the paths and Aidan greeted every passerby by waving and saying “hello!”

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Bear Lake

 

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Overall, a wonderful experience.  I loved showing the boys things they had never seen before and watching their reactions.  We can’t wait to return in the winter and  see everything covered in snow!

 

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IMG_0319I’m 33, a mother of two, and officially back on the market.  No, I’m not looking for a man (I have a husband who cleans the kitchen nightly- who in their right mind would get rid of that?).  I’m talking about the play dating scene.  The meat market that is music class, Gymboree, a park, or wherever you take your kids as a stay-at-home parent to keep from losing your sanity.  These places are chock full of moms (I say moms here because that is mostly what I run into- although I do have a stay-at-home dad friend in the boys “gym class”) who, in between hovering over their kiddos, are also surveying the room, looking for a possible play date partner.   Play date partners are essential to help you through the monotonous days that sometimes comprise raising children under five.

You see someone who looks relatively normal across the way.  By normal I mean to say that she isn’t sporting prison tattoos or breastfeeding her five-year-old.  The two of you strike up a conversation.  Here is where kids really come in handy.  You ALWAYS have an ice-breaker, something to make small-talk about.  “Oh wow, he’s really mobile – how old is he?” or usually in my case “Wow, are both of them yours? I don’t know how you do it!” (uh, I have no choice, and that is also the reason that you have jeans and make-up on and appear to have washed your hair in the last two days while I am barely managing to sport this t-shirt which I may or may not have slept in last night- I honestly can’t remember).

My point is, there is always something to talk about, and contrary to the actual dating scene, its refreshingly never about yourself.  This somehow makes it easier for an introvert such as myself to talk to complete strangers with relative ease.   Although at least with the regular dating scene, you did have adult beverages which really made everyone so much more interesting and deep.  Maybe they should have a cocktail hour at the Little Gym.  I’ll drop it into the suggestion box.  Anonymously,  of course.

This small-talk sometimes leads to an exchanged number or email address and a promise to “get the kids together.”  Of course, all of your kids are under two and could care less about “getting together.”  Their main concern is whether there is an appropriate amount of Bunny Grahams in your purse for the ride home.  Everyone knows that the play dates are for the parents at this age.  So it doesn’t matter how cute or smart that little kid is, if his mom is a total psycho, the play date ain’t happening.

So you leave with the hope and promise of a new number or email stored away in your iPhone.  But how long should you wait before you text or email?  You don’t want the other mom to think you are desperate, that you can’t handle a day or two alone with your kids with nothing but you and a website of “Montessori- inspired” activities to keep them from a total breakdown.  Because of course you would never just put on the television at 3 in the afternoon and beg your children to watch Baby Einstein videos while you lay on the couch with a pillow over your head….

After the first play date comes the inevitable post-date analysis.  Was she totally offended that my boys smeared peanut butter and banana on her rather expensive looking carpet and drank her baby’s breast-milk?  Can I stomach the fact that she actually makes her kids gluten-free, whole-wheat, vanilla wafers from scratch and barely managed to contain her disgust when I whipped out very non-organic fig newtons to prevent a break-down on the ride home?  What about that I know waaay too much about her breastfeeding habits after one date?  Or maybe she’s just not that into me.

I have met some great moms through this process.  A couple of us have been dating for over three months! I also have one that I am reserving judgment on.  She may have swept her crazy under the rug just enough at the first introduction, but some of those dust bunnies were peeking out from under the rug on our first date.  Just peeking, though, so I think she deserves another chance.  That, and I’m pretty sure that by next Thursday at 3 p.m. I’ll meet Ted Kaczynski for a play date just to get out of my house.

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Well, maybe not Neverland.  The boys and I did, however, make a trip to the Zilker Botanical Garden to look at all of the spring flowers and to see an exhibit of “Faerie Houses” designed by local Austinites.  They absolutely love being outside and so I struggle to come up with places that we can go where I can keep a handle on them by myself!  The garden was perfect.  It was a muggy and overcast day, so the scent of all of the blooming trees and flowers was thick in the air and I wondered if Aidan and Cameron noticed it.  They were quiet, eyes wide open and watching EVERYTHING.  I finally maneuvered my giant stroller to the “Faerie Trial” and was not disappointed.

Faeries, come take me out of this dull world, For I would ride with you upon the wind,     
 Run on the top of the disheveled tide,
 And dance upon the mountains like a flame.”
– William Butler Yeats, The Land of Heart’s Desire

These were some of my favorites.

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Later on the trail, a very pleasant woman offered to take my picture with the boys in front of a waterfall which had completely mesmerized them.  I realized lately that I have very few pictures of myself with the boys, being as I am usually the one taking the photos.  So I was happy with the picture, even if I was wearing my husband’s t-shirt and yoga crop pants in public (Hey, at least I managed a shower).

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We also walked through the Japanese Garden, which I loved.  I remember going to the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park as a child when my family lived in California. It was always my favorite place.  And not only because my brother and I got to have tea and as many sesame cookies as we could eat when we got to the end!  These gardens are so peaceful and beautiful in their simplicity.  Zilker’s  was no exception.

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Overall, the boys and I had a beautiful morning.  Of course, the park hike ended when I thought it would be a good idea to sit on a bench in a grassy area and let the boys out of their stroller.  Cameron immediately started sampling the foliage, Aidan found the patch of mud, and then they both began playing with a plant that I am 85% sure was poison ivy.  After scrubbing their poor hands raw with wipes, we ended the excursion and went home for veggie burgers, peaches and peas.

It’s nap time here. A truly blessed time of day in the life of any mother- and I don’t care how much you adore your child(ren).  My boys have recently started napping TOGETHER and CONSISTENTLY in the afternoon for between one and a half to two hours.  And it only took 11 months.  Sometimes, after I have finally wrangled them into bed, there are so many things racing through my head that I need to do, should do, and CAN do that I end up sitting on the couch with my dog and staring outside because I have no idea where to begin!

I’ve decided that on some days I should leave all of the bottle cleaning, laundry, cooking and bill paying until after my husband gets home and after the boys are in bed and use this time for me.  Which means I am working on blog posts again.  But until I finish the post I am currently working on, I ran across this quote which I loved and wanted to share.  I actually ran across it twice, the first time when I was watching a special on the History Channel over President’s Day weekend, and the second just today as I was reading another woman’s blog.  Enjoy.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” Theodore Roosevelt

A post for the new year, five days late, but better than never!  I had such great intentions for drafting a Thanksgiving post, which then turned into a Christmas post, and has now inevitably turned into a late New Year’s post.  2012 was a momentous year, with several huge milestones.  We settled into a new life in the suburbs, transitioning from our urban rental right outside of downtown Austin to a single-family home south of the city.  I left my job and transitioned into the role of stay-at-home- mom.  But most notably, of course, was that March of 2012 gave me my two precious miracle babies. (I’d like to point out here that I still refer to them as “precious” even as I sit here watching Cameron on the baby monitor sitting in his crib and screaming at the camera with indignant fury at being told it is nap-time).  We spent the rest of 2012 transitioning from the DINK (double-income-no-kids) lifestyle to the new-parents-single-income lifestyle.  A shock to the system to say the least!  I am convinced this transition will last until our boys are grown and gone and the next transition begins.

Last night we had dinner with a couple we just met who moved to Austin a month or so ago and is expecting twin boys in February.  Talking with them and hearing their questions made me reflect on this past year.  All of a sudden, I realized that WE are now the experienced ones, as crazy as that sounds.  Because on a daily basis, my husband and I are pretty darn sure we have no clue what we are doing.  But after a little more than nine months, I have given up the obsessive book and internet research that was making me crazy and we have adopted a system of child-raising (at least in this early stage) that can be summed up by asking, “Is anyone choking? sick? covered in poop? pee? vomit? no? OK, we’re good.”

Our conversation with this couple allowed me to reflect back on the last nine months of our lives.  I remember the day Aidan and Cameron were born, how nervous, excited and overwhelmed I was.  After over a year of tests, surgeries, fertility treatments and repeated disappointments, the moment hadn’t seemed possible.  I remember seeing them for the first time, so very little, and not believing that they were both actually inside me just moments before!  That week in the hospital, I felt so protective of these tiny beings that were entirely dependent on me for survival and I didn’t see how I could possibly love anything any more than I loved them.  But nine months later, I think that, if possible, I love them even more than I did during that first week.  And it feels like that love grows every day.  If it keeps up on this exponential scale, I worry that my heart might possibly burst at the seams.

Me and the boys

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Me and the boys xmas

Now

I am so excited about 2013.  I look forward to spending time with my new little family and my wonderful friends, the boy’s first birthday, beginning several projects and working on several in progress.  I know that 2013 will have rocky parts, just like 2012 did, but we made it through, survived and thrived.  So bring it on 2013!

Fall, Me, and 33

33!There was a cold front here in Austin this weekend.  The high was 91 on Saturday.  If you are not from Texas you are most likely rolling your eyes at this, but if you are you know that in August in Texas you are a prisoner to the heat. Maybe it was the heat, maybe it was hormones, but I was feeling down in August.  Yesterday was my 33rd birthday, and last week, I wasn’t even sure I wanted to celebrate it.  I was fatigued from dealing with the boys by myself everyday, being hard on myself about my post-baby body, and tired of existing in yoga pants and t-shirts that usually had day-old spit-up stains on them because I had time to do everyone’s laundry but my own.  (Yes, feel free to insert the sound of a violin playing here…).

One evening, after collapsing into bed, I picked up my copy of Simple Abundance by Sara Ban Breathnach and flipped to the corresponding day.  In that day’s essay, she was discussing the idea that there is an inner artist in every woman and the art we create is living an authentic life day to day.  She wrote, “women are artists of the everyday.  The world does not acknowledge or applaud everyday art, as we must.  We are the keepers of a sacred truth.  We must cherish this wisdom and pass it on to those we love.”  Amazing.  And just what I needed after a day of exhausting minutia.

I am trying to appreciate the art in everything I do. From singing songs to my boys, to cooking a meal, and yes, even folding laundry.  I am also trying to appreciate the everyday art and beauty in the world around me.  Today, I had a thrill of excitement because on my trip to the grocery store, I discovered that the pumpkins were on display!  I love all things Fall, and I think it is surely no accident that my birthday falls on the cusp of autumn.

Pumpkins!

This weekend, I also came to appreciate how blessed I am to have wonderful friends in my life.  They celebrate with me, drag me out of my shell and into the world when I need it, and listen to me when life is sometimes too much to bear alone.  They are amazing women and everyday artists who are striving to live authentic lives each in their own very different way.  I am looking forward to an autumn (and a 34th year!) full of friendship and family, with beauty and possibility around every corner.

“That is part of the beauty of all literature.  You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone.  You belong.”

– F. Scott Fitzgerald

 

I am what you would call a bibliophile.  I love books– I mean, I really, really love them. (My husband can attest to this as the number of book boxes he has had to pack and move increases each time at what he feels is an alarming rate).  And I’ve loved them as long as I can remember.  I recognize now that I owe my parents a great deal of gratitude for introducing me to books at an early age and for encouraging me to read when I was younger.  I remember my dad reading The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn to my brother and I when we were little, along with selections from Edgar Allen Poe including “The Raven,” in which he would croak the word “nevermore” in his best impression of what a creepy talking raven would sound like.  I remember devouring the Nancy Drew mysteries, wondering how I could lead such an adventurous and exciting life.  I also remember when my third grade teacher read us Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time and I would listen in amazement, think about the characters for the rest of the day and night, and anxiously await the next chapter.  My mother would take my brother and I to the library and we would cram all the books we could in the bag she brought to take home.  I still have that kid in a candy shop feeling when I walk into a library.  Rows and rows of books on any subject you could imagine and thousands of different stories just waiting for you to lose yourself in them – I want to stay for hours.  (I thought I should be a librarian for awhile until I realized that the job description did not include sitting in the library and reading the books).  I miss having the time that I had when I was a kid, and even when I was in college, to read a book for hours.  Still, I do try to read at every opportunity and usually can’t wait until I can climb into my bed and pick up that book on the nightstand.

My husband doesn’t know it yet, but this is the design for our den…

Every summer there are various “Summer Reading lists” put forth by everyone from Barnes and Noble to the New York Times Book Review.  Since we are almost midway through August, I thought I would share my own summer reading recommendations.  (As a side note, I feel a duty to mention that yes, I did read Shades of Grey because the trilogy was numbers one, two and three on the NYT Bestseller list and I was curious.  No, I did not read the sequels as the first was so poorly written –and I mean grammatical errors galore not to mention just bad prose–and the plot so flimsy that I found myself wondering just how exactly the author was going to fill up two more books.  Oh right, more completely ridiculous sex scenes. But she is laughing all the way to the bank so what does she care and how can I blame her!)

What follows are some of the best books I have read in the past year or two.  They have terrific story lines, amazing characters, and give a GREAT summer escape.

1. Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon.

This book was originally published in 1991, and I had never heard of it until my mother-in-law, a fellow bibliophile, gave it to me for Christmas.  It was one of the best Christmas presents I have ever received.  I feel like I should warn you that actually, this is the first book in a series.  Book eight is scheduled for publication sometime in 2013.  And once you start reading Outlander, you will have to read the rest of the series.  The books tell the story of Claire Randall, a nurse during WWII who travels to Scotland with her husband after the war is over.  After stumbling upon some ancient stone ruins,  she finds herself transported back to Scotland in  1743.  There she meets James Fraser, a Scottish Highland warrior (who you will absolutely fall in love with) and you will have to read the book and the rest of the series because I am not spoiling it with any more description.  Diana Gabaldon is a former professor and she researches her books so well that the level of detail in this historical fiction is fascinating.  She also has a great sense of humor that comes across in her writing.  Definitely some of the best character development I have ever seen, I envy her talent.  You will forget these people aren’t real.

 

Dark brown book cover saying "The HISTORIAN"; then "A Novel" in a shiny gold stripe, then "ELIZABETH KOSTOVA". A few thin reddish streaks stretch from the top almost to the bottom.

2. The Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova

Again, my mother-in-law gave me this book and when I started to read it, I had no idea it was about vampires.  And no, it is nothing like Twilight. There aren’t any vampires falling in love, driving fancy sports cars  or sucking peoples blood.  This author has obviously painstakingly researched this book and it reads like a really creepy history book about eastern Europe.  I could not put it down.  It opens with a young woman who finds a stack of letters in her father’s library addressed to “My dear and unfortunate successor…”  She begins to track down secrets of her father’s past which lead to some very dark places.  The book is actually like one of those scary movies where nothing outwardly scary is happening, but you are holding your breath and have adrenaline surging in your veins and can’t point to exactly why.  Let’s just say I did want to sleep with my light on a few times.

 


3. A Discovery of Witches, by Deborah Harkness

Okay, so this one also has a vampire in it, and a witch, and daemons… but before you think I am a nut, this book was very surprisingly good!  Again, nothing at all like the Twilight, etc. phenomenon.  The author is a history professor.  On her website, she says she thought one day, “if there really are vampires, what do they do for a living?”  This is the story of Diana Bishop, a PhD student who is a witch but does not actually want to be one and has spent her entire life fighting her identity.  One day, when she is researching in an Oxford library, she finds a book which causes all sorts of attention to come to her from the world of creatures (i.e. witches, vampires, daemons, etc.)  This includes attention from Matthew Clairmont, a 1500-year-old vampire who is a geneticist and DNA researcher.  I love the storyline of this book and I love how the author weaves all of these mythical and magical elements into society in a way that seems so real.  The book is the first in a trilogy and I just finished reading the second book, Shadow of Night.  That book also reads like a history of Elizabethan England (another subject that fascinates me) and I couldn’t put it down.

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4. The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak

This is an amazingly creative story about a young girl during World War II in Nazi Germany related to the reader by the narrator, Death.  This is a young adult book, but is one of those books that is so powerful, I think every adult should read it.  As you can imagine from the description, it is sad subject material, but the writing is beautiful and the story and characters extremely moving.  I recommended this to my book club and everyone loved it. (Caution: You will need a box of Kleenex).

5. Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel.

This book is all about the politics, lies, sex, and intrigue of King Henry the VIII’s court told from the vantage point of Thomas Cromwell.  Such a great book and and interesting take on historical fiction.  I liked the portrayal of Cromwell as a sympathetic figure– it comes across as almost a “rags-to-riches” story of his survival and eventual appointment as one of King Henry’s advisers.  Again a fantastically researched historical fiction book.  This book ends with the execution of Thomas More and the sequel entitled Bring up the Bodies was just released, which details the rise and ultimate fall of Anne Boleyn.

 

 
ENJOY!  I am about to start Cutting for Stone, by Abraham Verghese.  I hope it’s as good as it sounds!

Baby Brain

I once thought that lists as blog entries were a somewhat lazy substitute for organizing one’s thoughts.  I changed my mind a bit, however, because a list seemed the only appropriate way to distill into a halfway cogent structure the muddle that has been my brain recently.  I was thinking about what the subject of my next blog post would be, and feeling guilty again that so much time had passed since the last entry.  Every topic that came to mind of course was baby-related. This was frustrating to me because I had promised myself prior to giving birth that I would not be completely defined by my children, that it was essential to have a life and interests outside of them.  I confess, I also smugly thought that I would not become one of “those people,” you know, the ones who talk about nothing but their kids all the time.  Let me just say up front that the birth of my boys completely eradicated many of my smug thoughts about “those people.”  The following is a list of random anecdotes about my current life with twins so far that have been bouncing around in my brain like a pin-ball machine whenever I sit down to try to write.  I think I need to cut myself a break.  Having two three-and-a-half month old babies pretty much ensures that the only thing on my mind is BABIES (and occasionally the dog who lays on the couch all day and makes me feel guilty for neglecting her…oh, and my husband, sometimes).  So I figured I would get over my reticence to write about nothing but my kids and get it all out in one post.

  1. Poop.

Yes, poop.  I specifically recall a good friend of mine telling me that when you have kids, you will be obsessed with it.  When do they poop, how do they act when they poop, what does the poop look like, smell like, etc.  You get the picture.  I of course knew I would never be so banal as to let a bodily function invade my everyday discussions.  Ha.  For the first two months of my boys’ lives, based on a chart I kept, I could tell you the exact date and time of day each of them pooped.  A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I had a couple over for dinner.  The amount of time that passed before poop was discussed: 20 minutes.  (This couple also has a five month old).  I called my husband at work the other day.  I used to call my husband at work to plan a lunch outing at a new restaurant in town, to ask a question about some element of criminal law, or to ask a question about how best to pursue a certain legal matter.  The other day I called my husband to inform him that our son had pooped (our son had issues with this for several days in case you were curious).  The sad thing is, my husband actually paused a conversation he was having with someone in his office to discuss it.  I really hope this person has kids.

“You’re the Mom and you’re in charge? Yeah ok, we’ll let you think that…for now.”

  1. Things overheard at an Austin Mothers of Multiples Meeting.

I went to my first AMOM meeting in June.  I don’t want to be overly dramatic and describe it as life-changing, but I will.  It was life-changing.  After the general meet-and-greet,  we split into groups based on the age of each person’s children.  I made my way to the newborns/infants group.  A group of approximately twelve of us sat around in a circle and looked at each other.  One new mom who had six-week old twin girls broke the silence by confessing, “I’m here for someone to tell me that it gets better.”  The group released a collective sigh and what followed was what I can only describe as a group therapy discussion.  It was truly what I needed that night as I had completed my first couple of weeks alone with the boys after all the mom-saints left to go back to their own lives.  My favorite quotes from the evening’s discussion: “You have to just look at them and tell them, ‘I’m the mom!’ or they’ll gang up on you,” “My husband needs friends and I want him out of the house, does anyone else’s husband need friends?” and “Does anyone else curse at their babies? I mean, in a singsong voice and everything, but still….”

  1. The Sliding Scale of Cleanliness.

The same friend that coined “down the baby rabbit hole” (described in my prior post) introduced me to this phenomenon.  It describes how one’s standards of cleanliness and what constitutes good hygiene are once again magically altered by the birth of children.  Before children the standard was this: “Gross! There is a stain or some substance on my shirt, I’d better change it.”  After children:  “Hmmm, there seems to be a pee stain next to the spit-up stain on my shirt… well, as long as it’s not poop!”  A second scenario: Upon pulling back the covers to your bed, you discover that the baby you laid there momentarily earlier in the day while you threw on some clothes did in fact spit up in copious amounts.  According to the sliding scale of cleanliness, your desire to change the sheets is weighed against the exhaustion you feel and the knowledge that you will be up again in a few short hours.  Thus, you crawl into bed, lay directly on the spit up because, well, at least it’s not wet, and fall blissfully asleep.

“First step in the master plan: disarm her with complete cuteness!”

4.  Twin Celebrity

When  you have multiples, it is difficult to exist under the radar.  This has required some getting used to on my part because I am in my comfort zone under the radar and twins bring attention.  Constant attention.  Even with the incidence of multiples on the rise, having twins is still a novelty and people love to  inspect the phenomenon.  Sometimes this is not a bad thing.  Yesterday, a woman at the grocery store let me cut  in front of her in line even when she had already unloaded her cart.  She turned around and looked at me and the boys and demanded that I go ahead.  I was extremely grateful, although in my head I wondered just how harried I looked!  When I take the boys on the daily morning walk in the neighborhood, everyone that we pass turns to stare and those who are a bit bolder stop to peer into the stroller.  A couple of weeks ago at Sam’s Club, I received a hug from a complete stranger in the parking lot and assurances from two other strangers inside that I was blessed and that they would be praying/thinking of me.  Young children usually point and say loudly, “look- two babies!”  Yesterday at Babies ‘R Us as I was unloading the babies into the car and wrestling my behemoth stroller into the trunk, an older woman told me that I was a brave mom to leave the house.  I told her it was not so much an act of courage as it was an act of desperation! There is certainly no quicker path to the end of sanity than being confined to your house with two babies whose master plan is obviously to join forces and conquer mom.  In fact, the first advice I received from a fellow mother of multiples was “you can’t show fear.”

And now I have to end this brief snapshot of my life.  From the sound of it, it appears the boys are mounting an offensive against my husband in the living room, and I’m pretty sure they’ve detected fear.  Mom to the rescue! (or hopefully, naptime).

 

 

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Aidan

Yesterday was my twin boys’ two-month birthday.  I feel (depending on the moment and my mood) like these past two months have passed by in a whirlwind or alternatively that I am emerging from a black hole of time. Nothing any friend or stranger could ever tell you can prepare you for that great leap into parenthood, and more exactly, into motherhood.  I find that the words so many offered – “it will change your life,” or “your life will never be the same again” – always delivered with a knowing (and sometimes smug) smile, fail to completely encapsulate the situation.  A more apt description came from a friend of mine who had her baby four months before me.  When I called to check in on her a week or so after the birth she said, “I’ve gone down the baby rabbit hole.”

The first months have certainly had the Alice in Wonderlandish vibe that my friend felt.  From the time I drove to the hospital in the dark on the morning of March 26th to have my babies, my life has been a series of strange, scary and wonderful events that I previously would not have believed possible.  Even as I sit here to write this post, I can’t come up with the proper words to describe the experience.  Suffice to say, I personally believe that having twins is excuse enough to have neglected this blog for as long as I have.  Although I really started the neglect during my whopper of a pregnancy (which, by the way,  also deserved an Alice in Wonderland theme- perhaps more on that in another post when I am far enough removed to find the humor…).  Another wise friend counseled me one day as I beat myself up for failing to follow through on my blogging.  She said that all of my creative energy was being directed to the ultimate act of creation that was taking place inside my belly.  I think that is brilliant.  (A bit of unsolicited advice here: always have friends that are more brilliant than you think you are).

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Cameron

All in all, these awesome little beings are sleeping more, I am starting to get the hang of this mommy thing, and as a result, I am getting parts of my life back, little bit by little bit. One of those parts is, I hope, the ability to regularly post on my blog.  Their father and I are extremely proud of the night-time routine we think we have established. (And yes, I know that by writing this down, I am jinxing the delicate situation, but here I go…).  Baths, bottles, and in bed by nine to nine-thirty.  The munchkins then have the uncanny ability to wake up at the exact same second I swear, and so at around one a.m., one of us will prop them up on their boppy pillows on the floor and feed them at the same time.  The next person repeats at around four or five a.m.  At six-thirty or seven a.m., the sun is rising and so are they, at which point my husband and I give up on sleep and everyone piles in the bed.  This includes several boppy pillows, pacifiers, bottles, burp cloths, a dog, and two very strong cups of coffee.  And when I looked at my little family in my bed this morning, going down that rabbit hole was so completely worth it.

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