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Posts Tagged ‘life’

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

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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

Then

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!

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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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“Be patient towards all that is unsolved in your heart, and try to love the questions themselves.

Do not now seek the answers,

which cannot be given to you because you would not be able to live them.

And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now.

Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it,

live along some distant day into the answers.”

— Ranier Maria Rilke, LETTER TO A YOUNG POET

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A Balancing Act

“Desire urges me on, as fear bridles me.”

– Giordano Bruno (1548 – 1600)

I came across this quote in a book I was reading recently and the truth of it struck me.  It seems to describe almost every aspect of my life (and I’m betting I’m not the only one, although perhaps this is misplaced hope that I’m not the only one stuck in the mire).  Whether in my work, relationship, or personal ambitions, I always seem to be engaged in a constant back and forth dance between the desire for something I want to have, be, or create, and the fear that inhibits action.

My twenty-month-old niece came to visit recently and I spent the whole weekend watching her explore her world, envious of her unbridled zest for life and desire to do and discover whatever was in front of her.  At one point, in the pool in my neighborhood, my sister-in-law put her waist deep into the one- foot baby pool.  Instead of crying or cowering in fear at the new experience, she squealed with delight and began to walk, then run, through the water.  Even after she went headfirst under the water a few times because she got in front of her feet, she merely coughed, blinked the water from her eyes, and then begged to be put back into the water to continue her explorations.  When I lifted her out of the water and splashed her back in, she threw back her head in mid-air and screeched with what can only be described as the purest joy. 

Compare this to adult life, where, when one has fallen headfirst quite a few times into deep water (as I most certainly have), the tendency is to withdraw into yourself out of a fear of falling again rather than letting yourself experience life’s challenges with relish.  I wish I could bottle and sell some of the simple joy that radiated out of my niece all weekend over every new event or thing put in front of her — I’d be a rich woman.  Don’t get me wrong, there are most definitely moments in the life of a twenty-month-old that I would not describe as “radiating simple joy” and that in fact may be more accurately described using words like “exorcism.”  However, those moments are fodder for another post entirely.

I think my new mission will be to constantly remind myself to experience and live life like a twenty-month old; I’ll try to look at everything I see with wonder and attempt to let go of the fear to follow every one of my desires.  Then perhaps someday I’ll be able to master this life-long balancing act between desire and fear. I just might leave out the back to back episodes of Dora the Explorer.

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The Best of It

Ok, Ok, I know.  It is the epitome of laziness to keep posting someone else’s genius on your own blog….. but until I finish the actual post I have been working on, it bothers me to see nothing new!  Plus I really like this one. 

The Best of It

–       Kay Ryan

 However carved up  
or pared down we get,  
we keep on making  
the best of it as though  
it doesn’t matter that  
our acre’s down to  
a square foot. As  
though our garden  
could be one bean  
and we’d rejoice if  
it flourishes, as  
though one bean  
could nourish us.

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