Tuesday, January 31, 2006

A new baby is here!

Congratulations to Reesh, who welcomed Lily into the world today!

I need a tattoo.

There are moments when I feel like I need to do something spontaneous to remind me of who I used to be... or who I still am? And it's been a long time. As soon as I got pregnant I was pretty much out of commission because of nausea and vomiting, and then I got really big really fast. It's just been a long time since I felt a free and active part of this fast-spinning world.

So, what should I get? For a tattoo I mean. I want something kind of sailoresque with a feminist slant. I've always kind of liked hearts with arrows going through them. It represents the intensity of love, I think - you know, having so much love in your heart for someone that it almost hurts a little. Does anyone have any other suggestions? And what about body location? I'm not the firmest gal in the world, so I don't want anywhere that's gonna sag a lot.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Tales of the Coop Crazies

When we first moved here, we joined our local food coop against the warnings of our many friends. They all told us that the coop was chock full of nuts who took everything way too seriously and, well, militantly. But SP and I, being two young, crazy, soy product-loving kids (not to mention poor and unemployed), decided that joining the coop would be the best way to save money while saving the earth and fighting the corporate powers that be at the big supermarket chains. "What do our friends know," said we. "They are letting their jaded yuppy outlooks and conveniences cloud their judgments about this wonderful opportunity. Ha Ha! We are so very smart - and unjaded!"

We remained members for a few years and did all of our shopping there. It is the type of coop where you have to work once a month in order to maintain membership; you can't just pay a fee and skip the work one month. We went on leave last year in part because I was going to grad school, working 3 part time teaching jobs, and trying to get pregnant. That last one should be of no consequence to our coop membership, but I was depressed from the whole not being pregnant thing and didn't want to have to do one more thing on the weekends that would get in the way of my crying fits, you know?

Anyway, I willingly cycled through many different jobs while at the coop: produce stocking, produce inventory, bulk stocking, grocery stocking, box breakdown, grocery item pricing, picking out the rotten produce from the aisles, frozen food inventory (that was a cold one!), answering phones in the office, and the mack daddy of coop jobs - checkout. The final job I had before I left was maintenance, which mostly boils down to cleaning toilets and mopping floors. I didn't really mind that one, especially given the fact that the shift was an hour shorter than any other shift, and SP and I were both doing it. And we were good workers, too. Man, did we get things clean! So many people stand around chit-chatting while they should be doing their jobs, but not SP and me. Thanks to that good old Germanic "work is the only way you will be able to develop even an ounce of self-respect" ethic, we did our jobs and we did 'em well. But. Working there was another thing on my over-crowded "to do" list, and it turned out to be the straw that broke the camel's back. Well, that's part of the story. The other part has to do with some of the less kind and perhaps less sane members of the coop, or as I like to call them, the Coop Crazies.

I should have known that something was just not right that first year, when a shopper (and co-member) came up to me while I was stocking lettuce and said, "I feel like you should be stocking that lettuce a lot more effectively." "Oh?" I said, startled by this weird criticism at a pre-coffee 8AM Sunday morning shift. "Yes. You see, the lettuce can't breathe the way you are stocking it. Now do it this way. See, now it is breathing. You have to think about these things when you're in charge of stocking the lettuce." Dumbfounded, I stood there long after she left holding a head of lettuce at eye level, wondering where its lungs or gills might be found. Now see, that was the good part of doing maintenance: most people there don't have the nerve to criticize your toilet-cleaning skills because, well, you're basically washing away particles of other people's shit, and being guilty liberal types who are willing to hire others to clean their toilets but will never talk about the fact that someone else is cleaning their toilet, they leave you alone. But I digress.

Many little signs that things were amiss would follow. Like the time that SP was helping stock some free-range chicken, and his assigned partner just stood there watching him, at which point he asked her if she could help. She responded, "I just feel like I can't work with the poultry." Now here's the thing. Either you want to or don't want to, and that's fine. But you can't feel this. Not wanting to stock poultry, or even not being able to stock poultry, is not a feeling. And why did you accept this job if you knew you did not want to touch chicken? Another similar thing I remember: Once when I was breaking down boxes and the squad leader came by with a man whom he said would be joining me. "That's great," I said cheerfully, "cuz there sure are a lot of boxes here!" Once the leader was gone, I asked the guy if he knew how to stack the broken down boxes so they would be ready for recycling. He nodded and grunted, not making eye contact. Okay, not a social guy, so what. Not all of us have to be Chatty Cathys, no problem. Well, a couple minutes later, he came up to me and murmured, "Excuse me, but I feel like I can really handle this job alone." Again with the feeling. "That's okay," I chirped, "because this is what they asked me to do today, so if you don't mind I'm just gonna continue here till the end of my shift." "Umm, well, the thing is that this is my job, so I really just feel like I need to do this job and maybe you can see what else there is to do. See, this is my job, so I just think I should be able to do my job." "But you were late," I said, much less cheerfully. "This. is. my. job." Okay, nutcase, I think I'll go before you get all boxcutter crazy on me.

And you would be surprised at how many fights there were among all those peace-loving, hemp-wearing folk! Most of the scuffles had to do with the politics of standing in line, cart ownership, and cart parking. The worst one I ever saw was when I was working the express check-out. There was a short line of people. Somehow one woman thought that she should be in front of another woman who had a young child with her. The one with the child quietly explained that she had been there first. I really don't know who was right, by the way. Well, the aggressive one kept pecking at the other until her voice was quite loud and she was saying things like, "What are you teaching your poor child? She's going to be so lost in this world. What are you teaching this child about conflict-resolution? You are not fit to be a member of this coop! I'm going to report you! You are violating the rules of this coop!" Of course, we were all paying attention to what was going on but trying to seem like we were oblivious to it. I made the mistake, though, of catching the crazy gal's eye, at which point she hollered to me, "You were sitting there this whole time. You saw her cut in front of me, right?" "I didn't see what happened," I replied. "Nonsense! I'm reporting both of you to the coop! The rules of the coop say that members must be repsonsible for other members! That is what makes it cooperative! And you're not following those rules!" Ayayayay! And that, my friends, is a big reason I filed for separation from the coop. You see, I didn't have time for the pain, regardless of the fact that tofu was 50 cents less than at your average store.

So guess what? We rejoined! Turns out that if you have or adopt a child, you get 12 months where you don't have to work. And if you have two babies, that's 24 months. Well, I mean between the two parents, you have to split this amount of time off. So that means with twins neither SP nor I have to work for a year. And being that we can save a lot of money and need to since we're living on one salary right now which will almost inevitably put us in the red each month, and being that we like organic shit, and being that we don't have to work with the Coop Crazies for a whole year, we're taking the plunge. Besides, how else are we going to get our weekly drama fix now that we're boring homebound parents? It's almost as good as going to the movies, y'all!

end note
I shouldn't have to say this, gentle readers, but just in case you were offended: It is probably only a very small percentage of coop members who are loop-t-loop. All the rest are wonderful, upstanding, deeply thinking, diversity-loving, organic-eating, baby-wearing, puppy-nuturing, plant-watering citizens of the world. Okay now?

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Brown Bag Lecture on Infant Care Techniques, Part 1 in the series. JB will lecture.

Thank you for attending part 1 in our lecture series. Also, thanks to the cafeteria ladies for so generously offering these bologna sandwich lunches at a reduced cost to our attendees. Now for our lecture.

Many of you have heard of the Cry It Out method. To be honest with you, I myself abhore the idea of letting your baby lie there in his crib all alone to suffer, just for the sake of teaching him how to "self-sooth" as if that was a proven phenomenon. Instead of dwelling on the flaws of this so-called method of care, however, I would like to focus my energies on offering a positive alternative. I think you will find what I am about to discuss both thoughtful and practical. It is called the "For the love of God, when will you stop crying?" technique. This technique may take some time to master, so don't be too hard on yourself if it takes you a few tries to get the hang of it.

Here is how the technique is executed. First, bring a second baby the same age as your first into your home. Next, go about your day, changing and feeding them on demand. Hold and cuddle them. Speak to them in a high-pitched voice and wait for their cooing responses, in this way carrying on "infant conversations." Put them on a mat for an ample amount of "tummy time" in order to build upper body strength. When they have tired of that, put on "Big Poppa" by The Notorius B.I.G. and move their bodies in a hip-hop dancing manner (including throwing they hands in the ay-uh like theyz a true play-uh) and videotape it, making magical family memories for all to cherish. Repeat this cycle of activities throughout the day. Then, when about 5 PM arrives, wait for the simultaneous and escalating screams to begin. Pick one of the babies up and observe how the other one cries more loudly. Put the one you're holding down and pick the other one up. Listen while the one who is down screams at the top of his lungs. Put them both down. Attempt putting pacifiers in their mouths and watch as they angrily swat your hand out of their faces during said attempts. Run a hair drier next to their ears and continue to listen to them cry. When the crying peaks in terms of pitch and volume, (and here's where the "For the love of God, when will you stop crying?" technique really comes into play), put them both in their crib, humoring yourself by starting their Jazzy Jazz Time mobile, and walk away. When you reach the kitchen, sit at the table with head in hands as their crying reaches heights that you never knew could exsist. Finally, put "Big Poppa" on repeat being sure to turn the volume to its maximum. Now consume an alcoholic beverage. Any will do, including one of the tall boys of Bud that B brought over a couple Sundays ago. Drink until the babies' crying seems like "no big deal," and your partner walks through the door, at which point the crying will most probably stop, and the babies will lie there like precious little sleeping angels for your partner to ooh and ah over.

Be sure to return for part 2 in our series called "Why not consider substituting Wearing Your Baby with the 'Hey, how come I can't figure out a way to carry 2 kids around with me whilst going about my day? I guess I'll just put them in their car seats and let them entertain themselves by staring at our CD rack'" method.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Why do you ask?

All of you with twins are probably used to the question by now: Was it IVF or natural? Back in my days of ignorance and lack of tact, I had occasion to ask the same question. Well, in my case it was "natural," though I don't think of any manner of conception as being unnatural so I don't like to use that term. Though we conceived without the help of IVF, I resent the question probably because we did indeed have trouble conceiving, and the conception was, to us, nothing short of a miracle. I had just had a second surgery in the course of a year for endometriosis with a shaky outlook for conceiving, and we were about to start drugs. IVF was the short step after that. I've had a few friends and acquaintances who have done IVF. Some of them conceived, and, yes, they conceived twins. For some of them IVF was not successful, and they adopted or are on the road to adoption. There was and is a lot of heartbreak for them all, but if you're reading this blog it's quite possible you already assumed that.

It boils down to this: if you're asking the IVF vs. "natural" question, chances are that you are either a)fertile b)have never tried to conceive or c)have struggled but don't realize this would offend people (wake up and smell the Clomid, people!). When I answer that my twins are "natural," you wink at me and say, "Wow, that's so nice! ...and so unusual these days with everyone going on drugs and whatnot!" There is truth to that; but the way it is usually said, I feel as though you are implying that conceiving without help is superior. And how far does that go? Was my pregnancy superior to others'? Just asking, since I threw up through its entirety, ended up in preterm labor at 27+ weeks which was stopped with me spending a week in the hospital on dizzying magnesium and then sticking myself in the leg for 6 weeks so I could receive terbutaline, a drug that some associate with autism, while on total bedrest. Or does it mean that my babies are superior to others'? Hmmm, let's think...I delivered my babies at 34 weeks, and then they spent their first 3 and 5 weeks in a hospital and have continuing health problems. Yeah, that's superior, alright.

Now I'm not playing misery poker here. I am glad for what I have, and my pregnancy and my babies are things I am exceedingly proud of. I also know that others have had much rougher experiences than my own on all fronts. But there is a whole slew of people who have had better experiences on all fronts as well. And to those fortunate people, who are also often the ones doing the asking, here's the thing. Don't assume I'm part of some club of "normal people" that you are in, just because I conceived without the help of IVF. I'm not in your club, and my experiences are such that I never could feel comfortable even if I got in. It especially blows my mind when medical professionals ask. I say, "Why, does it have to do with my babies' health or treatment?" Answer, "No, just wondering." (Really? Cuz I was just wondering why it is that every time we visit, you have coral pink lipstick on your teeth. Ever heard of a mirror? See, I was just wondering, but I was able to control my urge to ask. Take a lesson.) I have decided to not respond to this question anymore, other than with a, "Why do you ask?" Better to make people feel uncomfortable than feel uncomfortable myself.

Please note that I am not perfect. I am certain that I ask people dumb questions without even knowing it, because their struggles are not mine and so I'm ignorant. I try hard not to be, but it's inevitable. So if you are asking what I have decided is a dumb question, then please forgive me for judging you, because you probably really mean no harm. But please don't ask me anymore either.

Friday, January 20, 2006

finally got around to wearing a baby (and other boring baby stuff)

I really got nothin' people, but if you have time to kill, be my guest:

This morning I am trying for the first time to hold one of them in a sling. It's a sling that I inherited from a neighbor. I looked it up on the internet, and it's gotten good reviews from a wide variety of sources. Is it right for him to look like his neck's about to snap off? Just checking. He's sleeping in it, so I guess he doesn't mind.

Yesterday was so much more manageable than the day before. The babies took a long afternoon nap, leaving me time for myself. Up until this week, I felt like I had a lot of free time. I thought, "It's not so hard!" Yeah. That was before the babies discovered the ancient art of colic. Their ritual takes place in the evening, sometime between 5 and 10 PM. It has actually only happened maybe three times, but the screaming makes it quite memorable. For those of you who've experienced it, you know - it's not just regular crying; it's more like they're screaming bloody murder, as if someone's taken a blowtorch to them. And with two at the same time? Forget it. Have you ever heard of Twin Escalation Syndrome? It's when one twin exhibits a behavior and the other takes on the same behavior, only in a more severe way. It's a, "I'll see your screaming and double it!" kind of deal. And the pattern continues until the hand has been won.

There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason behind the colic. Nothing unusual in my diet, no change in their schedule, etc. One day they cry, the next day they're happy as clams. It just is. Hard for a control freak like me to accept. But hey, they are little people who, just like the rest of us, sometimes get wound up from the day's stressors. Too bad they can't just sit back and relax with a nice martini like the rest of us. Fortunately, they continue to sleep well at night. We are only up with them once or twice in general. I must enjoy this while it lasts. It is such a privilege to be even remotely well-rested, I know.

My parents announced to me that they were coming this weekend to see a show and shop, etc., not to see they babies, but could they stop by if just for an hour or so??? Argh!!!! They have never once come to NYC as tourists. It's a pretty lame and thinly veiled excuse to see the babies, if you ask me. The reason I'm pissed is that I did not invite them, and they have backed me into a corner. They knew I was still getting over the babies being in the hospital, and for me that meant having alone time with my family and maybe a few friends here and there. Some normal, quiet, boring time. So you know what I told them? I said that this weekend would not be good for visitors, but if they wanted to watch the babies for 2 hours tonight while SP and I get some dinner right around here, that would be fine. And of course they ate it up. It's a little stressful because no one can feed J other than me due to his swallowing/breathing issues (we're going to the doctor next week to get this checked out). We'll have to go somewhere near our home, in case he starts screaming because of a hunger pang. But at least it's a little alone time with SP, and at least I don't have to interact with my parents considering how annoyed I am. And with any luck, maybe the babies will choose tonight to be colicky.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

hitting the fan

Why oh why do they not stop crying?
Honey, I don't care how much debt we are gradually getting ourselves into; we are ordering out again tonight!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

snapshot of the long weekend

  • number of mornings I slept in while SP took the boys to another room : 1
  • number of Christmas trees we got rid of after finally exchanging gifts and enjoying the tree: 1
  • number of homemade pizzas we made and ate: 2
  • number of breadmakers retrieved and dusted off in order to make pizza dough: 1
  • number of games of Yahtzee we played: 1
  • number of times I suddenly felt depressed: several
  • number of times we went to bed exhausted: 3
  • number of screaming babies we carried around one night because my breastmilk was causing them problems (too much Indian food): 2
  • number of times I felt disoriented and sad because SP and I can't do so many things we used to: many
  • number of times SP washed dishes and straightened up while I relaxed: many
  • number of DVDs we watched: 3
  • number of times I laughed at SP's hilarious dancing in the kitchen: many many
  • number of pages I read in the book SP got me from the library: 10
  • number of times we took J to the hospital for a blood test only to find the lab was closed: 1 - grrrrrr!
  • number of pre-pregnancy jeans I can now wear: 2 (nevermind the gut hanging over them - it still counts!!!)
  • number of months it's been since I've had a haircut: 12?
  • number of times this weekend I thought I should really go get a haircut but then decided it sounded too boring: 12?
  • number of appointments I tried to make for J: 3
  • number of appointments I cancelled for myself: 1
  • number of times SP and I did something that a lady shouldn't speak of: a lady never tells (but it was more than twice!)
  • number of times I forgot to take my new birth control pills: 1
  • number of pregnancies we hope will not result from my negligence: 1
  • number of times I thought how great it is to have twins: several
  • number of times I thought how very difficult it is to have twins: several
  • number of times I've had to let one of the babies cry because I don't have enough hands: countless
  • number of times I felt guilty about letting one of the babies cry: many, but not all
  • number of times I wished I only had one baby: none
  • number of times I fell in love looking into my babies' eyes once again: many
  • number of times I came to a breaking point with their crying in tandem: 2
  • number of days we felt desperately cooped up because of the weather: 2
  • number of walks we took on the day that it was finally nice out: 1
And at the end of the walk, we stopped by a pub that's 2 blocks from our house to see if we dared to have lunch there, babies in tow. It was, as we'd hoped, empty, I guess because of MLK day. So SP ducked inside and asked if they would be able to accommodate a twin stroller, and the waitress, who has two boys 11 mo. apart, was all for it. She made room and gave us a back table. We were literally the only ones eating there (there were a couple people up at the bar), so we didn't have to worry about germs. We sat there and each had a pint and a burger. It was really nice. We had some pumped milk along, so the babies had lunch too. I held a fussy little M on my lap while eating, and it worked. So maybe, just maybe, we won't spend the rest of our lives in our apartment afterall.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Baby Update

They had their 2 months check-up yesterday:
  • J is 9 lbs. and M is 10 lbs. 8 oz.
  • they are both mostly normal in terms of development, perhaps behind on a couple of things, but no big deal
  • Dr. suspects J's wet breathing would be explained by laryngeal malacia and is sending him to a specialist to confirm it; if so, it's not a serious thing, and he'll outgrow it
  • J is still (somewhat inexplicably) yellow and anemic, so he must continue to get blood drawn and see a hemotologist
  • it is fine to take them out if they are bundled up and in a rain cover, but since it is doubtful that they'll get the shots for RSV, avoid places where air is trapped such as the subway or crowded public places, and also avoid visits from children
  • they got their vaccinations, and it was pretty uneventful compared to how bad other parents say it is; I guess that's because we've already seen the babies get so many IVs and blood tests that it didn't seem severe
  • a naked little toddler ran up to our exam room to say hello - can't wait till we get to that stage!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

baby weight

Yesterday we went to the gastroenterologist for J's "wet breathing." The doctor said it sounds okay but to be sure, she'd send him to see a speech pathologist. That's who we wanted to see in the first place. Damn HMOs! You need to have so many extra appointments just to get a referral to the person you really need to see. In other annoying insurance news, our up-till-now good insurance company is refusing to grant the boys further injections of Synergis, a vaccine to prevent premies from getting RSV, a very serious infection in babies that comes from the common cold. The boys were given the first of what was to be 5 injections when they were in the NICU. Once out of the hospital, however, our company decided they didn't meet all the qualifications to get it. But - get this- if one of us smoked, they would qualify. And we didn't realize that and so didn't claim to be smokers when they asked. SP, the pediatrician and I have all argued with the insurance co., and no go. It sucks, because the boys are still going to all these appointments and waiting in rooms full of sick kids. It puts me on edge just thinking about it.

Every time there is a medical issue and J has to go see another doctor, I have this irrational fear that he will have to go back to the hospital. It is so intense sometimes that I have to almost talk myself out of it. Most disturbing are my recent dreams. Almost every night for the past few, I've dreamt that one of my babies is in the hospital and I'm struggling to find him. Last night my mind took it up a notch and concocted a dream in which my babies were in distress and I was diagnosed with breast cancer, all in the same hospital at the same time. I think this is some form of post-traumatic stress. This type of dream has crept in in the weeks that followed other stressful situations as well. It's like my brain senses that now that the bad situation has passed, I have some capacity to begin dealing with my feelings. I think that this will wear off with time. It doesn't seem to be interfering with my daily life, and I'm still getting plenty of sleep, nor am I am feeling depressed. If it goes on, though, I would see someone for help.

Despite all the tough things, it's great to be a parent. I love these guys so much. It's amazing that despite the amount of crap a new parent can go through, he or she still has the capacity for so much joy. Maybe that's the only way you can get through it all. People tell me that parents spend all their lives worrying. The happiness that comes from loving your child has to exceed that worry in order to make it all worth it, and thank goodness it does. Otherwise we might go extinct.

Friday, January 06, 2006

The Late Show with J and M

The only thing that makes getting up to breastfeed several times in the middle of the night somewhat tolerable (other than, er, the gratification one gets from nourishing precious lives...) is late night TV. As I've mentioned before, I don't have cable, which makes the selection pretty bleak. I must say, however, that I think what's on in the wee hours might be better than what's on during the day.

You have your South Park. That's a good one for when you just can't believe you're up yet again. Hearing Cartman yell, "Screw you!" in his vile little voice either breaks the tension or articulates just how you feel. Plus seeing Kenny's head blown off repeatedly is just inexplicably funny in the middle of the night. There is also The Jeffersons. I never really watched it growing up, so it's kind of interesting to see now. I'm a pretty big All in the Family fan, and I think The Jeffersons characters might have gotten their start on that show. Does anyone know if that's true? Frasier is another one that's on that I never really watched until the reruns started. I guess I always thought it would be boring and pretentious because that's how I felt about the Frasier character on Cheers. But it's actually not bad. Seeing the Crane brothers is even a little funny, considering I have two boys now, though I am hoping they wouldn't turn out as snobby as those guys. With SP and me as parents, I don't think that'll happen. Too much blue collar in our otherwise potentially snooty blood. Let's see, what else is on at night? Among the weirder stuff are repeats of late night talk shows. To me, these shouldn't be on repeat, because who wants to see a has-been celebrity with an outdated do being interviewed about some movie that came out 5 years ago?

Now, I do have some ideas for what could be added to the late night selection. I don't expect much, since I don't have cable. I have limited my choices to old sitcoms. Here's what I'd like to see: MASH, All in the Family, I Love Lucy, The Mary Tyler Moore Show (the early ones), Roseanne, The Cosby Show, It's a Different World, Mission Impossible, Welcome Back Cotter, Taxi, 1970s Saturday Night Live, The Muppet Show, and maybe even some Brady Bunch for good measure (as long as that included the one where the Brady family goes out West to a ghost town and gets locked in an old jail by some psycho and then escapes by brilliantly tying their belts together to make a lasso that Mike uses to get the keys off of the hook). Granted, I am basing these requests on what I used to like to watch, and it's quite possible I would not enjoy the shows as much now that I am a mature (!) adult. But it's worth a try. Does anyone have an "in" with the people who run the half-ass local TV networks in NYC? If so, you have my list. Now make it happen!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

"Once the baby comes, you'll never do anything ever again. Ever."

People like to talk. They like to tell you how hard it will be, for example, to care for two newborns instead of one. They like to puff out their chest feathers and tell you all about their own experiences, usually semi-fictional accounts. I've been thinking about some of the things people told me when I was pregnant, and whether they were right or wrong.

Things people were wrong about regarding having a baby:
  • You'll never have time to sit down and watch a movie or TV together once the babies come.
    • Wrong. We have already curled up on the couch together and watched some movies while the babies were sleeping. The secret: do this instead of the dishes or cleaning.
  • You'll never sleep once the babies arrive.
    • Wrong and right. Some nights we get 7 hours (not consecutive), while other nights we get much less (like last night- damn, that sucked.). It just depends on the night.
  • You'll never have sex again once you have kids!
    • Wrong. I'm not saying my sex life is exactly red hot at the moment, but it certainly still exists
  • You've never loved anyone as much as you love your baby.
    • Wrong. I love SP as much as I love my babies, without a doubt. The difference would be that I loved my babies unconditionally right from the start.
    Things people were right about regarding having a baby:
    • Your own baby's crying doesn't irritate you the same way others' do.
      • Surprisingly true. I feel much more sympathetic and loving toward them when they cry than I would have expected.
    • Your own baby is the cutest thing in the world to you.
      • Oh yes. You cannot tell whether your baby is objectively cute or not (you assume it is, of course). Think of the Seinf+ld episode in which the adoring parents make all their friends look at their hideous baby, not having a clue as to how ugly it is.
    • You will talk endlessly to others about the babies' poop as well as details of their birth, realizing all too late that your friends are not nearly as interested in hearing about these things as you are talking about them.
      • This is all too clearly illustrated when your husband starts talking about the details of how they made the incisions during your C-section to an old college buddy you run into on the subway. Believe me, the dood doesn't want to know.
    • You will not shower as often as you used to once the babies arrive.
      • All too true. Thank the lord for deodorant.
    • You will never know what it's really like to worry until you have kids.
      • What more can I say?

    Wednesday, January 04, 2006


    I have so much on my mind that it's hard to choose one thing to write about. My worries as a new mom are dislodging my ability to organize my thoughts, so I figure the first thing to write about is worry itself.

    I have already noticed myself slipping into an obsessive stay-at-home-mom realm. The outside world? What's that and who cares, anyway? I am pretty happy to be the one to hold the babies when they cry, feed them when they're hungry, and assess what they sound like when they sleep or after they eat. However,... with that comes a world of worry. The things that I look for, think about, experience are simply not things that anyone else will know. I wouldn't have understood the intensity of being a primary care-giver before this. The natural intensity certainly has not been eased by my very difficult experiences as a new mother. Now, I am living this new life of actually having them both here with me, and instead of this life feeling free or blissful it seems fragile, unreal, radical. I hope the tedium that other stay-at-homes sometimes describe comes to me soon.

    Already I can't believe how fast the time is going. Yesterday M didn't fit into some 0-3 mo. clothes we have. It's pretty weird to think we probably won't have any more kids and that this is the time to soak everything up. ...strange and even a little sad to think that he will never be as tiny as he was when I first held him. At the same time I am still so shocked by having two new babies and all that we've been through with them so far, that I am a little too numb to enjoy or even probably notice everything going on with them. Does that make sense? It's a weird place to be.

    Having said all that, I do feel a subtle decompression from day to day, going slowly from a 10 on the stressometer to a 9.9, and that provides some hope. I think it comes down to this: most moms are told that their every little fear when it comes to a runny nose, strangly colored poop, or a low-grade fever is unfounded - the "new parent jitters." I was told early on that my babies' problems ranged from the mildly serious to the very serious. Where does that leave me? I'd like to think that every worry I have is me being a paranoid, first-time parent..., but I have no foundation for that notion anymore. That's really tough. I don't know what to do with that. My instinct is that time will help a lot, and that I will go from a 10 to 9.9 to 9.7 to 9.3 to 8.5 to 6.5, in bigger and bigger chunks the fear will shed, and eventually I'll settle into a cushy 3 on the new parent stressometer. For now, though, worry fades at a rate of a tenth, and at the same time my baby is already growing out of his clothes.

    Tuesday, January 03, 2006

    Update in 2006

    In my family, we ate pork and sauerkraut for good luck on New Year's Day. My mother-in-law gave us creamed herring this year for the same reason. I don't care for either dish, and so I refuse to eat them, but I am hoping for some good luck this year. Admittedly, 2005 was the luckiest it gets. Not only did I get pregnant out of the blue after lots of dead-end trying, but we got 2 of 'em. It's hard to imagine anything better. However, we parted 2005 not sure whether we were still in the good graces of Lady Luck, what with November and December being quite touch-and-go.

    J continues to be alert and feed well. He's still getting epogen. I don't know his current hemoglobin level, but judging from his behavior I doubt it's significantly lower than before. He is still pretty yellow, however, which remains a concern. Also, we are still wrestling with the cause of all of this. Tests are still out, and there are some tests that can't give conclusive results until he is older. Hopefully it is something inexplicable that will just resolve itself or it's nothing serious.

    The only other problem I can see right now is that he still doesn't feed well from a bottle (of expressed breast milk). He does okay sometimes but will often gag and choke, leaving him trying to work things out of his windpipe well after he's fed - sounds that are horrible and therefore worrisome to listen to as a parent, let me tell you. Why not breastfeed him exclusively, you ask? Well, if I have to go somewhere he has to have a bottle. Also, with 2 babies it's helpful if Daddy can feed them sometimes. And lastly, swallowing coordination is part of his development and shouldn't be ignored (that, from my sister who is a speech pathologist - they are the ones who do swallowing assessments and therapies). But all in all we are pleased with his current behavior. And he is soooooo cute, still with the fat cheeks! His brother is very handsome too. We keep saying that we don't know how we ended up with 2 such cute little guys!

    SP went back to work yesterday, fulltime. It is harder here with 2 hands instead of 4. Nights are harder too because I'm already tired from the day. However, I think once I get used to being home with them it will get easier. They're still pretty easy, compared to other descriptions I've heard from other women of life with infants. Knock on wood. Decreasing the extreme level of worry I'm still experiencing for J would also help to make the day pass more calmly. I hope that will come with time.

    I have lost 35 of the 50 lbs. without trying and have plateaued at 15 lbs. to go. Nursing twins helps I guess, but I think it's going to be slow-going now. Speaking of nursing, I have come to the conclusion that I am actually making too much milk, or I have an overactive letdown. I won't go into detail at the moment as to why I think it's so, but picture your nipple as a frequently flowing, far-reaching fountain or fire hydrant and you'll get the idea. Too much of a good thing is better than too little, but the babies may be filling up on foremilk too quickly, not getting optimal nutrition (though there's no doubt they're gaining weight!). In addition, I don't think the rapid, uncontrollable flow of milk is helping J learn to coordinate his swallow. I've been reading suggestions of how to help the situation, and I'll also probably hire a lactation consultant to help me.

    Last on this update, I resolve to write about some other things than child-rearing craziness in 2006. If not for you, I need to know that there's more going on in my mind and life than the endless details of baby care-giving. It's hard to get outside of that obsessive, concentrated mode of thought when you are suddenly responsibly for 2 little people who can't talk yet to tell you what they need. This blog will hopefully help me get outside of that once in a while. -Not to say that there won't be a lot of baby posts, but you gotta have a goal, right?