Tuesday, December 15, 2009


I am cutting myself some slack.

Nonetheless, things are feeling quite overwhelming to me today what with the move and still unpacking and finishing the house, trying to clean an unpacked house, starting back to school in one month, prepping a new class, learning a new computer system for class, revising an NSF grant, submitting at least one conference paper and preferably two and/or perhaps a symposium in one month, shopping for Christmas, deciding on and sticking to our Christmas budget when I can't get out of the house to shop and Amazon's days of free super saving shipping are drawing nigh, transitioning to a new nanny, providing the nanny with resources and family beliefs on bonding and interaction and feeding, learning appropriate interaction activities for the twins and nanny(s), trying to keep on the good side of nanny(s) because losing them screws us in innumerable ways for this semester, keeping track of Christopher and Bridget's health/eating/development, trying to eat different foods to help Christopher's skin, going to the bazillion wonderful Christmas recitals Conor is in, finalizing Conor's kindergarten choices, deciding whether twins are going to stay with a nanny in the fall or go to Conor's daycare (applications due in February), figuring out how the HELL we're going to make it financially until July when Conor stops daycare, and generally just trying to remember to breathe and eat and pee.

There is more, but these are the top things on my mind.

It is times like these that I do realize that THANK GOD I AM PAST TENURE and I can just relax and do things one at a time. (Instead of everything all the time, faster and better, which was life before tenure)

The doctor called Christopher's eczema "run of the mill" typical eczema and prescribed a very mild oily cortisone steroid for flare ups. We are to keep the child lubed twice a day with Cetaphil lotion (or one the doc recommends, which I imagine is expensive and has paid him money to recommend). I'm glad we went. The 1% cortisone cream did make a difference, but I'd rather have a doctor's advice when putting steroids on my child's face.

In any case, I feel better getting it out. And now I shall self-medicate with a glass of wine. Have any idea when I'm going to fit exercise in my schedule? Cause that's really what I'd like to self-medicate with.

Monday, December 14, 2009


Oh, I just made that up. It is a pretty crazy month thus far.

We're functioning in the house now. There are still plenty of boxes left to unpack. But the master closet is set up and most of the boxes are out of the master bedroom.

Dave is actually playing with the AT&T Uverse TV and we both are so overwhelmed. We found some games on the system this weekend (or I should say, my tech and otherwise genius brother-in-law did) and we have no idea where they are now. And have no idea how to find the time to find them again.

School starts in one month, and I am a bit concerned about how I am going to do this with 3 kids. Dinners are CRAZY around here. And that's when I have a couple of hours to put together a lame meal. What about when we're down to hour singular?

And Christopher's eczema is not better. I'm off both wheat and dairy for now and we're taking him to a pediatric dermatologist tomorrow.

Still, it's all good. Conor sang for the first time with his choir in front of the whole church for the Christmas sing-along. This Wednesday is the Christmas Pageant, and Conor is going to be a sheep. Very cute. We're loving the house and considering how uncomfortable Christopher is at night, sleep is realistic at this stage.

The first two years are the worst, right? I need to go back and read my blog and figure out when it gets easy again.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Back Up To Speed

Yes, yes, I only missed my NaBloPoMo goals by two days. But we only got internet on Friday night (Dec 4) and the last two posts would have basically been some version of "HOLDER POST FOR NABLOPOMO" and really, after getting tenure, I have absolutely no tolerance for self-imposed goals that cause me stress and provide me little in rewards (beyond----"NaBloPoMo! WOOHOO!").

So, ummm, yeah.

We have moved in and are still unpacking. You'd be surprised how slowly it takes to do things with twins around. I thank God(dess) for my buckle tai. I was able to put a baby on my back, get him/her to sleep and pretty much unpack for as long as I pleased. Folks, if you only have one baby you HAVE to get one of these things!! There is no reason to suffer about not doing what you need to do if you have one child and a buckle tai. You can sit, eat, cook, clean, or dance like a monkey and everybody is safe and happy.

In any case, we are absolutely digging the new house. Although, I have to say, there is something completely perverse about moving into your dream house and then scouring every inch of it to find all its problems to give to the contractor to fix (it's called the Punch List). A psychologist did not design this process. It's like getting your perfect present and then having to tell Santa why it's not perfect.

Still, we love it. I have already taken a bath in the massive claw foot tub. I was in there for a half hour and the water was still warm. Here's a vote for a cast iron tub over an acrylic one, in case you are making that decision. There are a few things we'd probably do a little differently now that we're here (decorating decisions, not structural ones), but Dave can easily fix those things we've identified already.

Our primary nanny for next semester started part time last week. She's coming three days this week, too. (We have another nanny/sitter we'll be using too, but more on the nanny team later) The thing is, folks, I thought since I'd already put Conor in daycare this process would not be so difficult. But twins are different, folks. And Christopher lost his bottle skills in the last couple of months. He drank from a bottle for the first 6 to 8 weeks of his life, but now? If it's not straight from the cow, it's not acceptable milk. Also, the kids are just starting to develop object permanence, which means they now understand that when I'm not there, I haven't just disappeared from this world. I'm somewhere and they want me back. Crying and separation anxiety ensues. It's not a lot of fun for anyone.

In any case, they have to get used to the sitter and I have to let them. That sort of sucks for all three of us (four including the nanny. Five including the nannies). But that's what has to happen. I fully understand that 2 months from now, this won't be a problem anymore, but right now, it's not the most fun I've had in the last 6 months in case you're wondering.

OK. Harry Potter is distracting me. I must go. Tomorrow is the babies' 6 month check up. I'm excited to see how they have grown.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Day 2

We've been in the house 2 days now. We've unpacked a few boxes, and we still don't have internet. AT&T customer sucks. Dave had to convince them that our original appt to have Uverse installed -- dec 31, 2036--seemed a little extreme. Are they really that busy with new accts? If so, they are about to lose one.

Anyhoo, I'm typing on my phone. I'm drinking a glass of wine. I'm not as tired as I was last night.


Friday, November 27, 2009


we've moved in! no internet yet, but we're in! we have great friends. . .and a gret new house!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

It's been a rough year, with the issue of my pregnancy, the twins' time in NICU and the remodel. However, it's also been one of the best years of my life as I realized what a community of friends and family I have.

Truly, I am thankful for understanding that we are part of a bigger community and we feel very lucky to be here.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Fin Slippy

I just poured myself an enormous glass of wine. I didn't even mean to do it. Well, yes, I did meant to pour myself some wine. It's not like I was planning on drinking milk and accidentally poured wine. However, I had no intention of pouring myself the amount of wine I did until I did it.

But now, what the hell. I'm going to drink it. I might even pour myself another one after that.

Things still look like we're moving on Friday. (And as this is Thanksgiving weekend, I expect by the time folks read this, we would have already been stuffed with turkey, moved and be mostly unpacked) The cleaners came, little things were done, the leak in the wall was fixed. Oh, yes. The last part was fun! At some point, someone saw water running out of the outside wall of our house. That's never good. Indeed, all of our (very active) crew stopped what they were doing and went to stare in very alarmed matter at the water running out of our house. If you ever want to see a construction crew jump to, arrange for this sort of event. Fortunately, the crew chief intuited where the likely leak was and they found it and fixed it with minimal disruption. Nonetheless, caffeine was not required in the afternoon.

As for the Fin Slippy part, I'm actually not referring to Finslippy, but to Christopher. We've taken to putting socks on his hands at night to help him from scratching his head. Since these look like fins, and we slathering him with aquaphor, he indeed reminds of us Fin Slippy.

We've also decided that there was no correlation between the milk I wasn't consuming and any change in his eczema, his problems do not seem allergy related. Nonetheless, we need to keep him covered in aquaphor. Last night, he would not sleep, which was annoying me. (I'm not up for mother of the year, in case you're wondering) Then I realized he was trying to scratch his head and couldn't because of the fins. I put the aquaphor on him and he moaned with relief and within seconds was asleep.

Yeah, I felt like a jerk for thinking he just had a "sleeping problem" instead of realizing he was in pain. It is obvious to me how I could go down the Crying It Out path on something like this, not realizing that Christopher was in pain. Not every problem is this solvable, but it was humbling to see how mistaken I was about why Christopher wasn't sleeping.

In any case, he's so covered in aquaphor that he could slip off the bed. Uh-oh. Must run. Crying.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Cuteness and Scams

Have I mentioned how much of a flirt Bridget is? Actually, she's probably just more of an extrovert. In any case, she loves seeing what is going on around her. If I am feeding here and there is any activity in the room, she takes a sip and strains to look over her shoulder to see if people are still there and they are doing anything interesting. She also engages everyone she sees with smiles and laughs.

Christopher, like his big brother before him, always values the boob first. A parade with dancing monkeys and singing elephants could be going by, but if there's a chance to eat, he's going to take it.

Ok. That's about as creative as I can get on that part. They are painting like fiends at the house today. We're going to Lowes and getting the twins' closet system and a few other things. Hopefully, we can install that stuff tomorrow.

As far as scams go, I do want to talk about falling for one--the first time in forever. While bfing the twins and watching TV a few months ago, I saw something about a free trial for wrinkle reducers. Although I did not get that exact one, I did see about the Dermitage free trial. Although I know my brain has been oxygen deprived, I did not see anything else about buying any other products. Well, guess what. Yesterday, $100 worth of products arrived based on the "subscription" I signed up for. I cancelled my "subscription" today, but I have to keep and pay for the additional products they just sent me. I am definitely not the first person to call and complain--in fact, they told me where the information was on the payment page (on the absolute bottom)--not anywhere on the info about the trial. So they have covered their legal bases, but, in my opinion, they are still deceptive in their practices.

I hope this helps some other people in making a decision about using this product.

Further goals today: dye hair, take shower, move boxes, pack boxes.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Well, Alrighty Then

So the move has been postponed until Friday. There were issues with the floor and the cleaners couldn't do their cleaning, blah, blah.

In other news, though, the painting is done--the painters only have the interior trim left. (Neighbors, do not worry--the current light blue/green combination on the outside is not staying). We have our final light fixture up and there are other things that happened today.

Tomorrow, they finish putting in the doorknobs and doorstops, finish the trim, and put the final coat of polyurethane on the floor. And HOPEFULLY, they'll turn our electricity on. That would solve a lot of the potential problems so we can move in on Friday.

I'm so tired and so ready to get this done at the same time.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Our closets and cabinets are beginning to vomit their belongings out into the rental. We are dutifully cleaning them, wrapping them up and gently putting them in boxes. There are steps forward in some aspects of finishing the house and steps nowhere in others.

Oddly, for the last two mornings, I've been waking up singing to myself: I Am Not Your Broom. I did not understand why until I read the lyrics. Then I found it very amusing.

After waking up this morning singing "I Am Not Your Broom" to myself, I then put myself back to sleep singing the round "Shalom, My Good Friend." I even tried doing the round myself in my sleep.

Yeah. Lots going on around here.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Beginning of the End

We have entered the beginning of the end of the remodel. Dave is finishing up painting; I've cleaned the fridge and the stove to move back into the house. The final part of the house is being stained.

Our architect came by today for a final view of the house. She won three awards at a banquet last night in recognition of some of her projects being the best in category in Charlotte. Here is the one featured in the Observer. It's not too shabby having an award winning architect design your remodel. Especially, when the award is in the type of remodel we're doing (historic, but a boatload cheaper than the one featured here)

Tomorrow, Dave paints like a wild man while we pack up boxes. Monday, I'm hoping we move boxes and Tuesday we move furniture.

You can probably expect the next 5 or 6 entries to be variations on this theme as I keep up my nablopambo obligations and move houses. Have I mentioned how tired I am lately? Consider it mentioned.

Friday, November 20, 2009


First, the fun note. Today, Christopher had the most fun he's ever had in his life. The same sort of thing happened to Conor, but it was the worse day of his life and it happened during the throes of colic. It was pretty obvious that it was a pretty bad day for Conor and at 6 weeks of age---I was pretty sure it was the worst day of his life thus far. If he could compare, all other bad days in his life would be either a little worse or a little better than that day.

For Christopher, he had what appeared to us to be the most fun he's had in his life. How could we tell? The continuous laughter. What caused it? Listening to Conor read their bedtime story. We have no idea why that tickled Christopher's funny bone, but he loved it. Conor might as well have been successfully headlining a comic club as much as Christopher laughed. Bridget thought it was funny, too, but she didn't laugh nearly as much as Christopher did. Hence, the most fun Christopher has had in his short life.

The Ack part of our day comes from the remodel. BTW, although the beginning was stressful, the end is about to make us both nutty. er.

We had planned on moving in tomorrow, but that would have entailed every absolute thing happening exactly on schedule. And you know as well as we do, that doesn't happened. So then we thought we'd move in on Tuesday. It would have to be either Tuesday or next Saturday and we'd already given notice on our rental and it may be rented very soon.

So of course the unexpected arose and we haven't passed our final inspection (so no electricity), the exterior of the house hasn't been painted (and some parts of the interior), and part of the floor has not been finished yet. These are, in order, very important, slightly important, and moderately important. Without final inspection, we can't get our electricity turned on. So hopefully on Monday it will pass inspection and Monday or Tuesday, we'll have our permanent electricity. They can paint the house when we're moving in, I don't care. But the floor. Well, they are going to need to do a coat of finish on Sunday in order to do the final coat on Monday so that we can walk across it Tuesday to move in. We won't be able to put furniture in these rooms (the twins room and the upstairs loft), but that's no big deal. But if they don't come on Sunday, they'll have to do the final coat on Tuesday and we can't be living there when they do that.


Ack, ack, ack.

And hopefully, we'll have electricity on Tuesday.


But honestly, our friends are letting us stay here in the rental as long as we need. So if we HAVE to postpone the move until next Saturday, we will. It would just be really nice to have all those days to unpack instead of staring at the back of our house wanting to move in.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Well, that's how my day started. About 4:51, someone semi-small and very cuddly had some problems in his diaper. It was one of those noises that wakes one from sleep. And it didn't sound good. After a quick change of her poopie diaper, I realized that I, too, needed to stop by the loo and have a visit. (Not to be too graphic)

So, once again, I have taken one for the team. I'll say it again, I don't mind being sicker than the babies, and I don't want to say anything negative about my husband. But still.

The good news is that this bug seems to have come and gone quickly for us. I've heard that some folks are getting 10 days worth of bad poopie diapers. I'm hoping that was it for us.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

NICU Month

Apparently, November 17th is National Fight for Preemies day. I know that because of this amazing essay by Julie at A Little Pregnant. I have to be perfectly honest that I have not become a outspoken advocate for the March of Dimes, even after the twins' time in NICU. (Denial: It's not just a river in Egypt!)

But their time in NICU still affects me. I was a weepy mess after reading Julie's essay. And then on Tuesday, I ended up taking Christopher to the pediatrician because I felt like he was having apnea during a nap. The scoop is that I had left for a while and Christopher had gotten very upset with the sitter. I came back, nursed him, and he went to sleep. Except...

Do you know how children will hiccup when they are crying? They sort of try to catch their breath and it sounds like a hiccup. Well, Christopher was doing that while he was crying and then he fell to sleep. And then he started doing it while he was sleeping--just the hiccuping part, not the crying. And sometimes, between hiccups, he wasn't breathing. He. Wasn't. Breathing. He would hiccup and I'd hear him breathe a few times. Then he'd hiccup again and I'd start counting one, two, three, four, five, six...Hiccup and another breath. This happened for about 20 minutes when I called the doctor's office the first time. They told me it just sounded like he was recovering from crying and to wait for another hour and then they'd follow back. That's when I started counting the time between crying and noticed it was for a period of time. So I called the doctor's office and came in.

Of COURSE, when I woke Christopher up and he started gently crying, his breathing went back to normal. And when we got to the doctor, everything turned out ok.

But what GALLS the every loving HELL out of me is that the doctor spent the visit telling me why Christopher was crying and that I simply should not respond to him when he gets upset when I leave the room. What the ever loving fuckity fuck does that have to do with anything??

Apparently, because I told them that the episode started after he was crying and he was fine when they came in, I was classified as the Typical Neurotic Mommy Who Can't Stand For Her Baby To Cry. My sitter and I were both getting pissed and she was very glad (she later told me) when I said "Actually, I'm not concerned about how we handle crying. I came in here because we were concerned he wasn't breathing."

Two things from that: 1) When I start a sentence what "Actually" I can pretty much guarantee that I'm going to say something in which I think you are completely wrong and I am completely right. 2) No one, that is, NO ONE asked me why I thought Christopher wasn't breathing. NO ONE. They all assumed I was overreacting to his crying and not to the fact that he wasn't taking regular breaths. Since he was in NICU for not breathing, I think my concerns out to be taken seriously. I know this isn't the same as Apnea of Prematurity, but surely, my concerns deserved something more than "Well, isn't she the hysterical little mommy."

I have to say my sitter made me laugh as we were debriefing about the whole visit. Several times the doctor said "Well, as you know from when Conor was young, blah, blah, blah." My sitter said "I wanted to say 'Since you know that she already knows this, then why are you still talking?!'" That has made me laugh out loud several times. My sitter is much quicker on her feet than I am.

I have no doubt that I was very sensitive yesterday about this issue. A Little Pregnant's essay on her son's experiences in NICU stirred up some stuff with me. And I realized I don't have *any* positive feelings about their birth. Yes, I am thrilled to have my twins, but the thrill started when they came home, not when they were born and were whisked away to NICU. (And did I tell you that the first night Bridget came home, Dave was rough housing with Conor and accidentally--ha!--threw him into a ceiling fan? And Conor had to go to the emergency room and get 3 staples in his head? On THE FIRST NIGHT ONE OF OUR TWINS CAME HOME FROM THE HOSPITAL?) So let's just say that to me, the thrill of their being born to me started when Christopher came home, too.

Do you know what I think of when I think of their birth? I think of this picture. This is Bridget struggling to breathe just after she was born. I'm no medical doctor, but that big indentation in her chest does not look good to me.

So that is why yesterday, Dave and I decided to give some money to the March of Dimes. Maybe you'd like to donate some money, too.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

High Chairs Or Thumbelina at the Table

Being the slow parents that we are, it wasn't until last night that we realized that instead of holding the twins in our laps while we ate, we could probably put them in a high chair at the table and they'd be just as happy. This is indeed true. And although they did not eat, we wanted to document their first time in their high chairs at the table.

So here is Christopher, eating his fingers per usual, and enjoying his new high chair.

And here is our daughter, Thumbelina, engulfed in her high chair. Seriously! Do you see how small she is in that chair!?!? We were absolutely dying of laughter.

And just so you can tell it wasn't just some wonky angle, here she is tonight playing with toys in her chair. It just makes me laugh. And she's grown!!! She's close to 25th percentile. How do the really small kids eat in their high chairs?

I absolutely love these pictures. Now, if they would just stop teething so we can all sleep, I'd be much happier.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Southern and Parents

As Dave and I ate this amazing gumbo that a friend brought by tonight, he decided that there are four groups of Southern food:

1) Cook the hooey out of it (i.e., any vegetable made in the south)
2) Add Bacon
3) Fried
4) Gravy

All I can say to that is: YUMMMMY!

In case you are wondering, the parents in our neighborhood whose children are starting kindergarten this year are obsessed with where their children are going to school. The vast majority of the conversations Dave and I have right now are where to send Conor to school. To give you some perspective, the debates are like CIO vs AP parenting....only worse.

Actually, I take that back. For my friends at least, we seem to be supportive of each other's kindergarten choices. And just before I started this blog entry, Dave and I realized that NONE of our friends are making the same choice! Not a single one. So from our perspective: none of our friends have looked at the same schools and all agreed on the same school.

What I appreciate the most about our friends is that we all seem to be supportive of each other. This weekend, a good friend and I had a cleaning party at the new house and could truly support that a school we didn't choose was indeed a good school and a good choice for each other's family. Dave and my impression thus far is that all the schools we've seen are "over the bar" in that they would be good educational choices. I don't think any of the magnet schools we've seen are bad.

NONETHELESS, today a friend explained to me how "parents she knew, parents whose parenting styles she respected, had chosen a particular school (<--the school she mistakenly thought we are choosing), but it simply was not a good fit for her child." Now, being the psychologist interested in communication that I am, let's parse that statement. If that statement had been "That's a good school, but not a good fit for my child or my family", I would think that was a fine, non-judgmental statement. Indeed, I think all of our choices are based our family's beliefs about what makes good education (pedagogy or pedagogical philosophy if you want to sound fancy; I have had to submit my personal pedagogy at every job appointment or review I've had as a professor). Some are more traditional than others. Some are less traditional than others. There you go. That's fine.

But that's not what this woman said. She had to justify her statement by talking about the families who have chosen this particular school by saying she "still" thought they were good parents. Implying, of course, that they had chosen the WRONG school, but she wanted me to think she respected their (clearly poor?) parenting style. Let me translate, "GOOD Lord, they don't seem like wackadoodle parents but that school sucks!!!" She even continued on trying to convince me that this school had poor resources and weak parental involvement until I finally got her to understand we were talking about another school--although, ironically, I know people who go to the school she was referring to and they love it. Good parents, too.

Have we not been through all this before? here's a clue: see CIO vs. AP above. I'm over it.

It recently occurred to me that we don't tell each other how to be married, do we? We don't say to each other: in order to have a good marriage, you must have sex X amount of times in Y amount of ways; you must split (or not) your finances in this way; you much divide house chores this way; you must live in this house with this many children and this many pets; you must do everything I've done exactly the way I've done it or your marriage is bad and wrong.

Somebody might try to tell you (or me) that, but my response is simply: Bite me. Marriages and other long term relationships are unique. No one expects that all marriages are the same. Why then do we expect other family choices, like um, parenting, should be the same, too? Insecurity is the answer. And I am too dadgummed tired to be insecure about that.

I think it's time for me to go fix me some fried bacon gravy and cook the hooey out of it.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


So the mini-Conor clone known as Christopher, yes, what is he like? The similarities between Conor and Christopher are pretty amazing. They look alike, they smile the same, they are hitting their physical milestones at about the same time, and they have the same interest in food!

One big difference is Christopher's temper. Conor has a definite midwestern calmness about him that isn't anywhere in Christopher's consciousness. I have learned that when the boo-boo lip emerges, I have a nano-second to react or the screaming and the (nonverbal) cussing begins. Neither Conor nor Bridget have a temper like this. And although it keeps me hopping, I think it's awfully sweet.

On the other hand, Christopher (like Conor) is a big laugher. I have already found his ticklish spots and kisses on his neck get him going every time. Bridget honestly just started laughing today. We were outside and I was double slinging so I didn't have any free hands. Nonetheless, Patches really, really wanted me to throw the frisbee. Instead, I put my foot under it and lofted it up in the air as high as I could. Although it only went a few feet, Patches happily fetched it just like I'd thrown it across the yard. After a few fetches, Bridget started giggling. The more we did, the louder she got. I have no idea why that was so funny to her, but Patches and I were very happy to keep doing that funny version of fetch to keep her laughing.

But back to Christopher. Christopher (like Conor) is also a very smoochie boy. But either I didn't notice it this early with Conor or Christopher is trying very early to figure out how to kiss. Last night when he was supposed to be going to sleep, Christopher decided it was time to flirt. And then he started coming at my face with an open drooly mouth. Since I know he knows where the nummies are, I was a bit confused. Then I just gave me him cheek and he put his mouth fully on it, drooled a bit and then pulled back looking very pleased with himself. I have to admit that this was so adorable that we did this for a very, very long time. Who can resist one's son trying to reciprocate love? I certainly can't.

And the most unusual thing about Christopher is his ability to provide amazing back massages at this early age. Let me explain. I am finally confident having both babies with me in bed. However, at some point in the night I have to roll over and feed one while the other snuggles against my back. (As an aside, I have become the queen of rolling over in one spot) While Christopher snacks, Bridget is likely to gently tug at my pajamas should she get hungry. Christopher, being the enormo baby that he is, is a bit more dramatic.

He will flail his limbs beating me in my back to get my attention. Once, I rolled over and he was attacking Dave thinking that might be a new source of milk. But if I'm really lucky, and he's more just stirring in his sleep versus demanding food, his flailing arms and legs will hit on some pressure points in my back and relieve some of the tension there. It's definitely not a skilled massage, but it's a freebie back rub and I do appreciate it. (And no, I've never delayed rolling over to get more massage---it's not that good!)

And I'm very excited about our new buckle tai sling for Christopher. We got it yesterday and I was able to put it on once today. Christopher loved being on my back and going about the day. I have to work on it though. I tried to put it on a second time and ended up whacking Christopher in the head with my elbow. There was crying and it was not good for anyone. But, once I figure it out, I think it's going to be a life saver.

That said, I'm pooped. Time for bed and getting ready for the new week. Not that it's really that much different than the end nor the middle of the week. Or the weekend for that matter. I don't know how fulltime SAHMs do it.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Place Holder

This is a place holder post so that I can still qualify for NaPlambo or whatever the name is. Good day but pooped. Cleaned the house of the new kitchen with a friend and picked up my buckle tai, the new sling for the babies. I realize it won't solve all our problems with young twins, but I'm thinking a lot is going to be fixed as I'll be able to pick up both babies safely at the same time.

Tonight's bedtime routine was a bit long mainly because Christopher got a second wind and decided he wanted to practice kissing me. Who can possibly resist a wide-open, smiling, mouthy kiss from a short bald chubby guy who laughs every time he presses his drooly mouth against my cheek? I certainly can't. I'm even looking forward to those same kisses tomorrow morning.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Happy Naps

Today was one of the few days that both twins have had good, substantial naps today. They had a good 2 hours this morning and a good 1 1/2 to 2 hours this afternoon.


It's so nice when they are not whining from their lack of sleep. That said, I think my daughter needs to better understand that no one is making her roll over. If she doesn't want to roll over, she doesn't have to! Rolling over and landing on her belly apparently pisses her off to no end. No one has any expectations of her rolling, yet she continues to roll and blame us for it. Can't wait until puberty!!

We've also decided to delay our move into the new house. I need to tell my mom and dad who are helping us move, and if they are reading this before I talk to them--we're delaying the move. There are issues with letting the floor completely cure before we move in and it would just be a good idea to wait a few more days.

Oh, yes. Now I remember what I wanted to blog about this morning. This idea probably came to me about the time I was getting dressed. Yes, my post twin pregnancy body. Honestly, I can get back into most of the clothes I was wearing before I got pg last year, but nothing fits the same.

First, and most shockingly to me, I really miss my A-cup boobs. As Dave pointed out with wide eyes and up and down hand motions upon seeing an old picture of me, I was "flat, flat, FLAT as a board! There was nothin' there!!" This cannot be said about me now and I cannot tell you how surprised I am to miss my former flat-as-a-board like figure. Clothes fit better and it's easier to run around.

Second, my belly is huge. In fact, I think I might have diastasis recti, or basically my stomach muscles have stretched too far apart. Besides the lovely pot belly that I can't get rid of despite being at a decent weight, my back and shoulders are all tweaked and I'm in pain most of the time. I'm hoping the doctor will provide some advice if I really have it. But truly, my body shows the what I've done with my life the last couple of years. And it's ruined my chances of ever being a Victoria Secret model. Just saying.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


I haven't really dedicated single blog entries to the twins as individuals, and I feel like I ought to. Although it's easy to lump them into a unit ("the twins"), they are quite unique and a lot of fun just by themselves.

Bridget is a bit of a pistol. Originally, we called out a Code Binky whenever she was going to sleep and dropped her binky. While we'll still call out Code Binky, now it's more like Bink! Bink! Bink!! to whomever is closest. And sometimes, we don't even need a binky to get worried. That's when we call out Code Bridget, which means, figure out what the problem is and fix it before all Bridget breaks loose.

The child can scream. You can be holding her when all Bridget breaks loose and not become deaf from the sound of her screams. It is obvious to others when this happens by the frozen expression on the holder's face and he/she thinks of a way to calm Bridget, and the blood coming out of the holder's ears.

That said, she is also one of the most charming people I know. This morning, she was playing in her exersaucer, and she looked down at Patches and gave him her huge toothless grin and crinkled nose. Patches was so excited by her flirting that he hopped up, trotted over to her and gave her a big kiss on her face. We really, really try to discourage the dog kisses, but I get the reason why he did it. When she smiles that charismatic smile, it's hard not to come over and scoop her up and kiss her.

Of course, now she's upstairs protesting a little about going to sleep. Dave is with her for now. I'm hoping she'll let him put her back to sleep so I can have a break. It is incredibly hard being a SAHM (even temporarily) for twins.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Crappity Crap

Today was one of those days that I will happily forget the details. Just so I can later read back and go, "Oh, yeah, that day definitely sucked", I shall share some of them with you.

The gist of the problem was that neither of the twins took naps today. Christopher had a couple of 20 to 30 minute cat naps, but Bridget didn't sleep at all. There was screaming all around, and I don't mean just the babies.

Then about 3:00, we went over to meet with the other children's choir members at church. Conor's kinder choir (and the other youth choirs) sang at the Southern Christmas show. Of course, both babies fell asleep on the drive over to the church (yay!) and woke up screaming on the drive over to the event (booo!). I sat in the parking lot at the event and nursed both babies and they were in happy moods during the entire 20 minute concert (yay!). And in case you're wondering, 20 minutes is a good length of time for children to sing and not nearly enough reward for getting the whole family over there.

In any case, it's raining here. A lot. I woke up this morning thinking: Ida? Ho! I'm tired of the rain and it's disconcerting to see the animals gathering two by two and the big wooden ship being built at the end of the street. If you think I'm exaggerating, last weekend was the first weekend in 8 that it didn't rain. And to compensate for it, we've had 3-5 inches of rain in the last 2 days.

I'm pooped and the rain doesn't help. And tomorrow, we're going to another school open house and I have to take a shower and wash my hair at some point. Bleah, bleah, and more bleah.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Language Academy

This morning, I went to the public K-8 language academy open house. I know I've mentioned it before, but to repeat myself, our local elementary school is one of the worst in the county. WOOHOO! The middle school after it is pretty bad, too. And the high school after that is not known for being the top in the county.

So we're looking. Today was the first open house and I was pretty impressed. The building itself is nothing to get excited over (which is important to many folks around here). It's 50 years old. But it has some of the highest test scores in the county and, well, I don't know, the kids learn another language.

And I don't mean "learn" another language like I learned French in high school. I mean starting the first moment of the first day of kindergarten, they are immersed in their language track. Even on the first day, the teachers speak no English but they do a lot of pantomiming.

We toured a kindergarten class in each of the four languages: Chinese, Japanese, French and German. Holy Freaking Cow. These children were exposed to the language for the first time at the end of August. And maybe it's because I could understand enough of the German and French, but the Chinese and Japanese classes blew me (and the other parents) out of the water. Kids in all the classes were completely understanding and responding to the teacher in their language track. They were all doing math, singing, spelling, just doing all this amazing kindergarten stuff....in another language. Wow. Seriously, the students in the Chinese class were doing something with math that just made my jaw drop. I know I'm hormonal, but it was amazing.

What a gift we feel we could give Conor, even if he does not choose to use it in a career. How amazing to be completely fluent in another language. At this point, we're debating between French and German. I speak some French and I think that if our children knew French and English, they could go anywhere in this world. However, we have good friends in Germany and we will likely visit with them and hopefully vacation with them (in Spain! long story). In addition, there is a German family right across the street from us.

In all honesty, I would be thrilled if the kids started in one of these languages and then picked up the other in the 5th grade (also an option). Seriously. WOW. This is a free option for us here in Charlotte, NC. Pretty dang cool.

That said, we are also going to see an International Baccalaureate, a Montessori, and a traditional elementary school. But this was amazing.

Oh, and thanks for yesterday's comments and friendings (speaking of France), :-) . Like Carter, my identities bleed on each other. And I appreciate Matt's thoughts about posting links. Now that I've fixed my FB problems, I can do that with interesting stuff. But do I friend our Dean on FB? I'd love to, but I think she'd think I was a wingnut.

Back to the subject, are your schools as whacked as this? Do you have to search for a school or can you just go to the one closest to you?

Monday, November 09, 2009

New Media

Here's a big change of subject, but something that has been on my mind. I have a question for all you folks who blog and/or use Facebook and Twitter. I do all three and am in a bit of a quandry over what to do with some of these media.

First, if you're on FB and haven't friended me, give me a holler. I'm actually quite a bit more active on it than I am here. I also have a twitter account (see the right) which I sometimes use and I sometimes don't.

The issue for all of these things is how much I "talk" about personal stuff and how much I talk about "professional" stuff. Back in the olden days when I first started blogging, one was advised in no uncertain terms NOT to talk about work stuff online (see Dooce). But now, I'm finding that folks are using blogs and FB and twitter to talk about work things.

Certainly, it's still not advisable to talk about office gossip online a la "Can you believe what an idiot so-and-so is?" or "I think X is dating Y." Although, really, that would qualify as both the most interesting and the most boring stuff depending on whether you knew so-and-so, X or Y or not.

But a lot of folks, and actually, a lot of my peers, are twittering and blogging and FBing about professional things. And none of them are blogging about social things, much less "mother" things.

So should I use my FB or twitter accounts to be more professional? (This venue is too far gone t all of a sudden be professional) And what would I talk about? We've already established that office politics are out. Do I twitter/FB about teaching or general professional activities throughout the day ("Am running SPSS now! Next I'll do confirmatory factor analysis! WOOHOO!")? About what I'm reading ("Information and communication technologies are cold media!")? About what I'm researching (No way on that--it's not peer reviewed and I don't want someone to steal my ideas, should any one of them be worth stealing)?

Some friends/colleagues post about things they've read in the NY Times, etc. But I figure my friends, should they be interested in such things, would have already read it.

My concern is that my colleagues are talking about smartypants stuff and I'm talking about poopie diapers (Christopher had a DOOZY today; it was like a volcano shooting out of his diaper and pants). I don't want to sound so "fluffy". And I actually do get really excited about my research and my work. I actually can do smartypants stuff myself. I just don't know why anyone would want to hear about that from a tweet. And all the good stuff about teaching ("Let's see, what do you need on the final to get a B in the class? Well, you got a D on the first exam. A D on the second exam. And a D on the third exam. Hmmmm, you need to score 457 on a 100 point test to get a B in this class." <--actual conversation from several years ago), I can't really do since I'm no longer anonymous on any of these venues.

I have few boundaries between my identity as a professor/research and my identity as a mother or as "Anita." I don't blog or tweet or update on my work not because I don't really get excited about it, but because I can't imagine that many other people getting excited about it. ("Woohoo!! Sense of virtual community! WOOHOO!! Comes from interactions and support! Is mediated by norms! Sanctioning hurts it! YEAH, BABY!!! Now, we're talking!!")

I don't know. Maybe now that I have tenure, when I go back to work I will twitter or blog a bit more about being a working mom. Maybe about the research process. Maybe some about what I'm doing. Or not. We'll see.

Do you twitter or FB with work colleagues? Do folks at work read your blog? How does that work for you?

Now, I'm going to go open the fridge door and hope that some sort of snack food has magically appeared in there from 30 minutes ago. I am SO HUNGRY. I am ALWAYS SO HUNGRY. And I did eat an avocado and nuts today already. And I finished up the hummus a few days ago and they were out of boiled eggs. I'm not a skinny minny by any means from all this bfing. But BOY AM I HUNGRY.

Sunday, November 08, 2009


Went to Ikea today to look at closet systems. Also, got our H1N1 vaccinations at a local clinic.

I am POOPED. And it's time to put the babies to bed. I would blog afterwards to write something more witty than this, but I'm at 50-50 whether I'm coming back downstairs after the twins go to sleep.

Just one more thing: Bridget has figured out both front-to-back and back-to-front roly polies. She is adorable and amusing herself and us to no end. We've also lost whatever unguarded time we have had with her.

sigh. I am so tired.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Lessons Learned Part Deux

Today, Dave worked on painting the downstairs while I cleaned out the cabinets in the kitchen. Here's another lesson we've learned: move all your stuff out of the house. We thought they wouldn't end up working in a couple of the rooms and moved a lot of our boxes in there; they ended up in those rooms--including a foot through the ceiling of a closet nearly ruining a substantial amount of our clothing. (Contractor is going to fix that).

The kitchen cabinets still had some stuff in them and we noticed this week that lots of dust had gotten in there. Yuck. I still have about half the cabinets to clean and a lot of dishes to wash.

Bottom line, we should have moved everything out and then could have easily moved everything back in.

Here's a question for you: do you use shelf liners? I always thought it was a Southern thing. None of my roommates up North or out West used it and thought I was a nut for suggesting it. however, the dirt I'm seeing in the shelves would be a lot easier to clean if I could just, oh, I don't know, change the lining as opposed to unsuccessfully trying to scrub it out. How about yor house? Do you use it? What kind?

Off to review an NSF grant proposal on a Saturday night. Fun times!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Remodel Lessons

This will be a multi-part post. Just warnin' ya.

We've learned a lot about the remodel. Not the least of which is goes along the lines of "Hmmm, didn't think that was going to be as important as it was." Some things seem obvious and some still feel like revelations most days.

First of all, we're really happy with our architect. That was totally worth the money. The reason is that we never would have come up with their solution for adding a master suite and an extra bedroom. Our solution would have sucked.

Second, our contractor charged by the task, not by the hour. So if it took less time or more (like the problems they found in the old family room), that was on their dime. There was no construction problem that came up that we had to pay extra for.

On the other hand. . . .

The extra charges we ended up paying for had to do with wanting some lighting or plumbing fixture that was nicer than our allotted construction "allowance." This is apparently where everyone pays more than they think they are going to. Occasionally, it's simply going to the contractor's preferred store and picking out fixtures that are more expensive that you meant to. Other times, it's part of the realization that after the construction, you really need an X in this Y space.

More specific things we learned:
*Working with a contractor generally gets you about a 50-60% discount on the store's prices.
*You can occasionally find online specials that cost about 20% what the store is offering. Not 20% off. 20% of. Very nice.
*A clever husband can sometimes find building materials for sale on Craig's list and save, oh let's say, $1500 off the best deal the contractor can get. Go, Dave!!

And here's the hardest and most strange lesson: Those extras--those lighting, plumping and paint choices--appear to be the most important ones, but they are not. I'm not thrilled with my custom built bathroom vanity. It's built exactly the way I asked for it on the design. But I don't think it's going to work for me. However, for a little bit more money (probably less than $100), I can have that fixed. The general bathroom on the other hand--the shape, location, windows, etc? That I really like.

Even if Dave and I picked the butt ugliest lighting and plumbing fixtures and paints, they can eventually be replaced. Yes, it will cost money, but only a couple of hundred dollars really. The house itself? Not so easy to change. Those are the things one sees and uses day to day and they are really the least important. Yeah, I get it, they are the most important as far as how pretty and stylish the house looks. But it's the bones of the house that really have the most importance in how well your house is going to work as a home.

So there you go. Ideas we hope you can use in your remodel. I have absolutely no doubt more will be coming. (Like how to get cheap granite for your counters!)

Thursday, November 05, 2009

You're my Friend, Aren't You?

A few weeks ago, we were leaving church and as we got into the mini-van (!), Conor shouted to another family as they were getting into their car ((sigh)) "HEY!! I know you! Don't I know you!? You're my friend, aren't you!?"

Dave and I laughed about this. It's not so different than he and I are: happy to see people that we know, unsure about who our friends are, hoping that the people we know are our friends or that they might want to be our friends, and most likely, appearing very geeky to the people that we know and scaring them off from actually being our friends.


But it was still very cute. Then last night, we had dinner at church so we could see Conor's kinder-choir sing (speaking of cute!). Conor spent the first part of the dinner running around the entire dining hall pointing to friends and shouting "I know you! You're my friend."

On the one hand, that's sweet. It shows how comfortable he is at this church and that he's starting to get to know other kids. And on the other hand, visions of junior high are dancing in my head. And it's Not. Good.

Neither Dave nor I were the popular kids in high school and judging by the pictures we've shown each other from those days, it's clear why we didn't have a lot of dates. I don't know, maybe acknowledging the other kids and how he likes them (or how he thinks they like him, I'm not sure) is the path to popularity that Dave and I missed. I'm definitely not saying that we want Conor to be a popular kid. The one thing Dave and I do agree about high school is that it's better to geek and not peak.

But still. I'm not sure about all this running around to the different tables and saying "You're my friend!" I think that it shows how unselfconscious our son is and how utterly assured Conor is about being accepted for *exactly* how he is. That's amazing! How lucky to feel that way in your life. I just don't want him to lose that feeling. Or, more honestly, I know that feeling is bound to go away some time. And it's could be a painful experience for him. And it's a little bit sad to know that about life.

It just hits too close to home. You're my friend. Aren't you?

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Off of Milk

Christopher has horrible eczema and we think it's due to a milk allergy. Honestly, it's really bad. If you can look past the triple chins and the pinch-able cheeks below, you'll see just how awful his breakouts have become.

And this was the day after the really bad break out.

So I'm not eating any dairy. And ironically, I can't eat goat's milk or yogurt either because of the high correlation between cow's milk and goat's milk allergies. Folks, I had no idea how many milk products I'm used to eating. Besides cream for my coffee, I apparently consider ice cream and cheese as my go-to snacks when I'm hungry. And I'm always hungry. But that's another post.

In any case, I need to go get some snacks that are not Halloween candy and are not potato chips and are also not dairy. Any suggestions? I'm really hungry. And I can't have Christopher looking that scaly again.

We'll do another picture at the end of this week. So far, his skin has really improved and doesn't feel nearly as leathery as it did. If we get close to clear skin, I'll be thrilled. And hungry. And perhaps thinner?

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Big Butts

I was just upstairs talking to myself in terms of a blog post: "You know this house, the rental, looks a lot smaller from the street than it really is. Like our remodeled house and most houses in this neighborhood, it's got a small facade. Like most people I know, it has a small front and a big behind. Heh heh heh heh heh. This is something I should blog for Naplambo or whatever this is called."

So yesterday you saw our big behind. Today is our small front. Behold the before.

And the after. Not so much of a difference.

Monday, November 02, 2009

The Remodel

Here's a little before and after of our house. This is before in March.

This is pretty much the same shot at the end of September.

We still have a few more weeks' work to do including painting, finishing the floor, and installing the plumbing and light fixtures. You know, little stuff. (Oh, and the colors are going to be what you can see on the outside of the after picture--dark and light blue).

We've just decided that starting November 20th, we're going to start moving in. And yes, it was crazy to remodel when expecting twins. But what the heck.

In any case, remodeling lessons will be following. Once I can type without the babies crying.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

National Blog Posting Month

Should I? Would it finally jump start my a$$ to record the life of my twins in a more detailed basis?

Why the hell not? Why not stress myself out with a task of my own choosing!

I say this at the end of a 5 minute break of mild fussing and the beginning of a larger fussing session. (Dave has just come back from the house; a break for me)

Halloween was fun. Except for the fact we only trick or treated for 15 minutes because of the rain. Pictures are here (to be added when facebook actually sends the link). Actually, I cannot fully express to you how bugged I was that we were only out of the house about 25 minutes for Halloween. I had apparently been looking forward to this event for a really long time and because of a little thing like a sudden downpour, all the members of my family who could use words wanted to go back home. By the time we arrived there, the rain had stopped, but we still called it a night.

For those of you who do not have infant twins in your home, perhaps this will illuminate just how isolating it is to be at home with them all the time. I've started walking during the day during their naps, which has helped a lot (they are in their stroller). I'm trying to call more friends on the phone so I can at least talk to people. I am trying to schedule a few lunches or coffees out with some friends to get out, too. That is more challenging than you can imagine because we're trying to finish up the remodel and Dave is saving us tons of money by doing work for us. But it means that I am home alone more, too. So, it's a trade off of not getting the work done that we need to get done on the house versus my sanity.

In any case, I had really been looking forward to Seeing. Other. People! Being out of The House! Experiencing this thing I've heard about called "fun." It happened for about 15 minutes in the rain. And then we came home. I honestly felt shat upon by the universe. Happens though, huh? This is one case where you can honestly say, "Girl, you need to get out of the house more."

Ain't that the damn truth.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Don't Make Mama Mad

Dear NY Times:

Wow! Really? Most parents lose their temper at some point or another and yell at their children? And most of them feel guilty about it afterward? And no parenting philosophy in the world endorses shouting as a good parenting technique? What novel reporting!! Is that really "all the news that's fit to print?" Here's a suggestion for next week's Styles section: The sun is going to rise tomorrow. Then it's going to set. And it might be cloudy.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sleep, Part 473

I just had to negotiate 10 minutes from Conor so that I could write this post. It's not really working out all that well, but I thought I'd let you know that's how we roll around here.

The good news is that the sleep issues are getting much better around here. After starting Operation Early to Bed and Early to Rise, we started bedtime earlier, which has led to clear naps in the morning and semi-clear naps in the afternoon. The only problem is that Early to Bed can mean Much Earlier to Rise than we meant. That's not as bad for us as it could be for others, but also for the last 2 nights, it's been snuggle-rama to get them to sleep and I've gone to bed soon after they have. Really, again, not a problem, but I would like to have just a little time by myself. JUST A LITTLE TIME BY MYSELF. Ahem, where was I?

Oh, yes. I also remembered this site on Bed Timing and looked up the section on 4 to 6 month olds and realized, by jove and by golly, there is no way on earth sleep things are going to get better for 6 more weeks. The babies are in a cognitive growth spurt and with babies, when development accelerates, sleep goes downhill. And if you could see the smiles, laughs, and general discovery we're seeing in these bunnies, you'd know that they are developmentally where they should be at 4 months, at least in this part.

So sleep, it's better. It's not great. Just like us.

So why is Conor home on a Wednesday? Well. H1N1 is going around his classroom and we're keeping him home this week in the hopes of keeping him, and thus the twins, from getting sick. Of course, DAVE came home with a 102 fever last night and a massive headache! So we're thinking he might have the flu. However, his fever broke overnight and it feels more like a bad cold right now. Considering we're old farts, perhaps the swine flu is just a piglet flu for us. No biggy, just a piggy. Apparently, one is only contagious during the fever, so if none of us get his version by this weekend, we should be ok.

I hate that I cannot write more on the blog right now. The twins are doing such amazing things. They are discovering each other and actually LIKE playing beside each other. I think they are even trying to start kissing back--either that or they can't distinguish a cheek from a boob. Christopher is starting to laugh and Bridget is starting to blow raspberries and scream. Oh, dear. She is loud. Just like I am. And she is having a blast figuring out what sounds she can make. At times, I'm not sure I have a daughter or a howler monkey. Both are starting to teeth and there is drool everywhere. There is also poop everywhere and I think Bridget in particular is in a bit of a growth spurt.

None of this does any justice to the cuteness and charm they are displaying over here. But I am not joking when I tell my colleagues who ask me if I miss work that actually, I miss being able to pee when I want to. Work, and the free cognitive time that it implies, is so far away from my reality that I don't even know what it is.

Speaking of lack of free time, I've neglected Christopher long enough. Have I mentioned what a temper my younger son has? I take full credit for that, too. I must go relieve him from his anger.

((Insert witty closing here))

Sunday, October 11, 2009

You Kiss Your Mommy With That Mouth?

Parent #1: "Be sure and wipe your booty when you're done."


P#1 to P#2: "You know, when I was in high school, I never expected I'd say a sentence like that."

((Laughs from both parents))


P#2: "What are you doing in there?"

Child: "Kissing the toilet."

P#2: "Don't kiss the toilet!!"


P#2 to P#1: "Now that's a sentence I never expected to say."

Wednesday, October 07, 2009


First, an update on the twins' development. We went for their 4 month old check up yesterday. Christopher is one ounce less than Conor was at 4 months. One ounce and 6 weeks preemie. Who wants to vote on who'll be the taller brother? Conor's at 99th percentile. How much taller can Christopher be?

Bridget is at 10th percentile weight but 40th percentile height! That explains why she continues to look so skinny while Christopher looks so pudgy. The boy has man boobs. The only thing we worry about with Bridget is that she's going to go to high school in 0-3 infant size clothing.

Best news of all: the twins have caught up with their chronological age developmentally, and may even be ahead in some areas. Preemies! Caught up and ahead at 4 months!!! We're just relieved and feel like we can stop worrying. Mostly. I don't think either is really at their "genetic height or weight". That may take a bit longer.

Okay, so what is the big stuff about choices? The real stuff on our mind is figuring out the twins daycare while we also decide on Conor's kindergarten options. ((((sigh)))) This is just something you don't think about before you have kids and don't stop thinking about after they are born. Well, maybe the Kindergarten thing is specific to living in a big city. In a "transitional neighborhood" in a bad city. With the worst elementary school in the county as your home school. Woohooo!!!

So we, along with all our other neighbors whose children may be going to Kindergarten are freaking out. Registration for next year's school year started this week. And we're all also starting to figure out which magnet program we're going to. And yes, the first open house for schools is next Tuesday. That's right!! On this Tuesday, we have to visit a school which may be where we send Conor NEXT YEAR!!

There are only two or three options we are seriously considering for Conor: 1) a traditional school in a better school district, 2) an elementary international baccalaureate school or 3) the language academy. In all honesty, we're leaning towards the language academy. (These are all free public options, btw). We're thinking either French, Chinese, or German in that order. What a gift to give a child the ability to be completely fluent in another language before the age of 12 (when the brain stops being able to easily acquire language or musical skills). And yes, Spanish is important, but the academy doesn't do Spanish and moving from French to Spanish in High school and being trilingual is not the worse thing ever.

Nonetheless, we have to visit several of the schools and figure out which is the best match for Conor and for our family. Other issues include: how far away the school is, what middle and high school does it feed into, the hours, is there a bus to it?, etc., etc.

For the twins, we're looking into daycare options for when I go back to school. The price of two children at daycare makes having a nanny somewhat reasonable. The problem is that we LOVE our daycare. But we might be able to save anywhere from $4K to $6K a year depending on a whole excel spreadsheet's worth of options and variables. Over 4 to 5 years, that's a little bit of money. I think for sure in the spring, we're going to have a nanny, one reason being that our daycare may not have space for both twins. For next fall, we just don't know.

Oh, and yeah. In the spring--we'll be paying for all three children in daycare. That's going to be about the same amount of money per month as our mortgage. Double your mortgage and then figure out how you're going to pay for everything else. Then send us that secret along with a check for $100. :-) That should help out with the groceries, at least!

Christopher calls. The butterfly toy has lost its appeal.

Monday, September 28, 2009


Oh, dear. It's been a while since I've last posted. There's no good reason for this--I'm not in the hospital, everyone is healthy, I'm quite happy staying at home this semester. It's just, well, I'm busy.

There are times when from about 8:00 when Dave leaves until 5:30 when he comes back that I've had about 45 minutes to myself. The twins are doing really well; we don't have a lot of crying. But sometimes, one is awake and needs attention until s/he goes to sleep and then the other wakes up and needs to eat and have some Mommy time.

Right now, they are both asleep. BTW, those of you who are SAHM, feel free to pass on advice on naps, etc. It seems like the afternoon nap is becoming clear. They are both sleeping for a good period in the afternoon and acting quite happy and smilely afterwards. (We appear, at 15 weeks chronological and 9 weeks adjusted to be clearly past the colicky stage). The morning naps are a bit more sketchy. My friends who have been SAHM during this time told me that the morning naps would be the first that are clearly established, but I'm not seeing it. Bridget usually goes to sleep first and naps for a couple of hours. Christopher is more on and off and I can't tell when his morning nap is truly happening.

As for night, well, Oh Joy. Last night was a bit rough but for the last week or so, Bridget usually goes to sleep about 9 pm, wakes up at 3 and 6 for a quick snack and then sleeps until 8 am or so. Christopher goes to sleep between 9:30 and 10 (we've had some horrible later times, but usually then) and then wakes up about, oh, 7:30 or so for his snack. Others might think Bridget waking up at 3 and 6 is rough, but I think it's easy. I bring her into bed, she eats and we're done.
Also, I'm finding that having both babies in bed at the same time is not that difficult. I can't move, but it's not that difficult. Heat seeking missiles that they are, it does not matter where I lie them down initially, soon enough they have scooted across the bed and are glued to my side. I can lie on my back with both babies nestled in my pits or I can be on one side snuggling one while the other spoons me (or spoons my shoulder) from behind. I used to worry that I'd roll on the baby behind me, but as I said, I don't move. If I have to get up, I do a sideways sit up and there you go.

What about Dave? How is he sleeping with the twins in bed? Well, the correct question is how about Dave and Conor. We have a bit of a bed shuffle going on around here. When Dave and I go to bed, all the children are snuggled up tight in their beds. Sometime around 2, Conor comes up and gets Dave and they go downstairs to sleep in the guest room. (We decided 5 in the bed is too crowded). Around 3, Bridget comes to bed. Around 6 (sometimes), Christopher comes to bed. Around 7, Conor comes back up to our bed and he and I snuggle while Dave makes us breakfast. Sometimes, I must admit, I try to encourage Conor not to snuggle with So Much Love for the twins and me, especially if I or one of the babies has just gotten back to sleep. I feel incredibly guilty, but Conor is still a 5 year old boy and although he's a gentle, loving 5 year old boy, he's still a LOVING 5 year old boy. The command "gentle!!" is used a bit more and probably in a less gentle voice by me than it should be.

So as far as sleep goes, I can't complain. But sometimes I do. Life's been good to me, so faaaaaaaar.

Ahem, yeah, well, still I can't explain why I am still so pooped all the time. They are great twins and I am getting decent sleep. I can count on them sleeping at least until 3. But still, I'm pooped. I'm thinking the double dose of hormones I have from breastfeeding has got to have something to do with it. There's no reason I should feel this tired all the time!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Six Years

Last night, I was reading a book (a grown up book, which at this point in my life is exciting), and the protagonist drank a vodka and cranberry.

"Wow," I thought, "I can have a vodka and cranberry, too. I can have a vodka and cranberry any time I want for the rest of my life. WOW."

There's been a series of these revelations since the twins have been born: I can sell baby equipment, I can drink, I can exercise, I can train for a triathlon (again). It's like a whole new section of my life has opened up again now that we're not trying to get pregnant and won't ever try to again.

At first, I thought it had only been 4 years--that's how long we've been trying to give Conor a sibling or two. But then I realized we started trying to have Conor 6 years ago. So it's been 6 years that every month has a contingency. Every month where I decided whether or not it's worth the risk to buy new clothes---because I might need maternity clothes sooner or later. Six years where I've wondered whether or not it's safe to have a drink.

I don't know if other women experience this when they are trying to get pg. I'm pretty sure men don't quite get the point of dual processing one's life (well, I could train for a triathlon or marathon but I may be 7 months pregnant then).

It's just very nice to be through this journey and to finally be able to be wholly me again. Well, as me as I can be breastfeeding twins.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Lessons Learned

Here's an idea:

When your twins are overly tired, that is not the best time to learn they are frightened of the coffee grinder.

And then, after that? It's probably best not to trim their nails and get too close on one of them.

There are lines one shouldn't cross and then there are chasms.

Good mothers know this. I have to be taught.

Thursday, September 03, 2009


It's 12:00 and even though I got up at 6:30 this morning, this is my first break.

The babies are actually sleeping well through the night, but we're still adapting. Conor still comes to bed, or he wants to still come to bed. But we're afraid he's going to roll over on the babies, who are now sleeping on either side of me. So Conor and Dave head down to the guest bedroom to sleep while the twins and I stay in the new king sized bed. (This does not suck)

The only problem is that the babies love, love, love to snuggle (just like Conor) and their favorite position is with their head facing my armpit. Or in my armpit. It varies. I don't move at night any more. I don't think it's possible to roll over on them because I can't roll at all. I can't move.

In any case, we're moving along. I'm ready to drop these last 10 lbs so I can't start working on the next 10 lbs to lose and then start fantasizing about the final 10 lbs to lose to get back to pre-marriage weight. (HA!) Really, what I fantasize about right now is a big, guilt-free glass of pinot noir and a full night's sleep. In a year, I will definitely have it. I'll probably have it before then (the guilt free part). But in a year, it will be guaranteed. The weight? I don't know about. But I'm definitely working the muffin top look. My butt indeed must be smaller so that I can wear these clothes because I don't remember the rolls last summer.

Fun part of break done. Must go fold clothes and wash dishes before the housekeeper gets here!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009


I can barely put a sentence together, much less a paragraph or a whole post. But that doesn't mean I'm not thinking of things I want to share here. I may have to do snippet posts for a while. You know, a while being that length of time when I can pee whenever I like and not when I have to sneak it into a free moment in my day.

On Sunday during breakfast, Conor said "Patches!! Stop licking me!! I'm not a lollipop for dogs!!" Dave and I were overly impressed with our son's creativity. A dog lollipop. That totally fits with Patches' behavior lately.

Speaking of Patches, he continues to pass judgment on us as parents and the twins as puppies. Lately, he's been indicating that one of the twins' crying is excessive and perhaps that puppy is defective. At times, I agree.

I never thought I'd be the type of person who would want to dress her twins alike, but I totally do! The problem is finding matching clothes for boys and girls, especially when one is tiny and one is ginormous.

And surprisingly, I can already fit back into my prepregnancy clothes. I know my belly is much bigger now than it was last year. It's still distended from the twins. Dave suggested that perhaps my butt was not as big this year. Ummm, thanks?

We're in cry-o-rama here at the mother thing household. It's not nearly as much fun as it sounds. The only thing is that I know from this being our second time around that it's not going to last forever. I really, really, really hope it's not going to last forever and I'll be able to get out of the house and start living again.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Public Service Announcement

This isn't the first time in the last 2 years that I've said something or Dave and I have had a conversation and the topci has ended up on the Diane Rehm show, featured in an NPR story or in the NY Times. Nonetheless, just this week I said to both Dave and my Mom that I feel a little PTSD from the NICU. Certainly, I've noticed a pretty deep spot in my heart or soul of grief about how my twins came into this world and had to be in NICU for so long.

I'm not one to push those feelings aside or ignore them. Instead, I try to feel them when I need to and experience the grief and fear that I could not experience then.

So guess what article was in the NY Times Health and Science section this week? Two studies are suggesting that parents whose children have been in NICU experience post-traumatic stress, even to the point of developing PTSD. Go figure.

I don't think my feelings are going to develop into PTSD. Nonetheless, may I say again that NICU sucks. And it sucks for longer than the babies are in there. And if you know a parent whose child has been in NICU, there is going to be suckiness even after their child graduates.

There. Must go smooch on my daughter who is fussing a bit. That doesn't suck at all.

(Ironically, she had just dropped her binky...so she needed to suck)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Best Laid Plans....

It started with fussiness. Bridget has been getting a bit fussy when she and Christopher nurse together. Christopher is pretty calm and confident that he can get all the nummies he needs. Bridget worries and frets and can't get into position when she can see Christopher half a mom's body away. So it started with fussiness. But it has moved to the stink eye.

Bridget now gives Christopher the stink eye most times they nurse together. And bless her little heart, it backfires and she ends up feeling the anger of the stink eye herself. So even if we wanted to put the babies on a schedule, the stink eye prevents us.


As I said, we're not so much on the schedule, but we were loving the routine. We're still routinized: they still eat, play, and sleep around the same time. But any plans to encourage them to eat exactly at the same time are out the door. Bridget gets too upset and she needs to save her calories for growth, not for bursting my ear drum.

And how is Patches doing, you ask? (Smooth transition...not) He is well. He is happy to have more puppies in the pack. But he is concerned about our abilities to properly parent the loud one--Bridget.

People have accused me of exaggerating, but I'm not in this instance. Before we diagnosed Bridget with reflux, we had real problems with her screaming. Indeed, a few days before the doctor's visit she was screaming and Patches gave me a look that clearly indicated his thoughts. He was heading out the door of our bedroom and turned and with a disappointed expression, projected onto me: "You are not doing that right."

Yes, you can say I was imagining that, but I know my dog. And I know what he thinks. And he was sorely disappointed in my parenting skills at that point.

A few days later, I was nursing them together (it was the beginning of the stink eye), and Bridget was screaming, of course. Patches sat up from his nap and barked at me! Just one bark. And it was one of those heads up barks that dogs have. But I knew what he was thinking "Are you paying attention here? Fix it!!"

And on one of my first days alone, Bridget had a melt-down (notice a theme here?) while I was changing Christopher's diaper. I ended up putting Christopher in a safe place while I ran to pick her up. As soon as I started running, Patches started running, too, to safely escort me to Bridget. (All 7 feet it took me to get there)

So yes, there we are. Having my parenting skills judged by a dog and keeping my daughter from giving her brother the stink eye. We actually have created a "stink eye cloth", essentially a burp cloth I hold between them if we are trying to have them nurse at the same time. Because they have not yet developed object permanence, neither of them have any idea the other one is behind the cloth. It works mostly, unless Christopher starts stretching out his enormous monkey arms and pokes Bridget in the eye or sticks a finger up her nose.

Hmmm, maybe that's why she gives him the stink eye? I doubt it. Even when he's nursing in his sleep it bothers her.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

So How is Conor Doing?

The first question people ask after inquiring about the twins is how Conor is doing? I hope I've bragged enough about what a wonderful big brother Conor is. He loves the twins. I mean he loooooooves the twins. We are going to have to put a limit on the number of kisses he can give them at any one time, he loves them so much. But then again, why limit how much he loves them? I'm not sure it's this common to have a big brother so into having a little brother and sister.

He also tries really hard to help them. If they are crying, he'll start singing to them. If they are in their bouncy chairs, he will gently bounce them. (sometimes more "gently" than others). He will try to give them their binky (Bridget, in particular, likes the bink). And he always tells them that their big brother is here and that they love him. (Not so much "big brother loves them" but that "they love their big brother")

I really can't believe what a great big brother he is. But that doesn't mean that everything is all hunky dory. Who would expect it to be so?

This is a picture that Conor's teacher transferred from the t-shirt we gave him for becoming a big brother. Conor himself wrote the twins' names and his own. If I ever lose this picture, it will break my heart. It is the cutest thing I've ever seen. He has it hanging up in his room in a very prominent spot.

This, on the other hand, is a picture he drew of his family last week.

One might note a couple of things. One, Dave is drawn appropriately: tall and then. I, on the other hand, am the size of Conor and the shape of a potato. I have lost about 55 lbs from the pregnancy and have less than 10 lbs to go to get back to pre-pregnancy weight. I *was* a potato, but now I'm more of an apple now. (Did I ever tell you about the first picture Conor drew of our big family with Bridget playing with him and Christopher playing with Dave and me the size of a whale lying in a bed between them? It was right after the babies were born and I'd been on bedrest for 6+ weeks. Kids communicate through pictures, in case you were wondering) In any case, Conor is, correctly and mentally healthily, drawn happy and in the middle of us. Yay!

However, where are the twins!?!? If he's so psyched about having the twins, where are they? I asked and he said that he just didn't draw them. However, what is up with the 5 suns at the top? Granted, I am not a clinical child psychologist, but it seems to me that the entire family is actually in the suns happy above!! He wants to assert that he is the center of our lives (he still is) but there are additional parts of our family.

So overall, how is Conor? Just fine. He is still coming up and sleeping with us most nights. And in the mornings, he oohs and aahs while the babies have their breakfast. He tries really hard to be gentle and responsive to them. And you'd be hard pressed not to think he's the best big brother in the world. It all serves to make me fall more in love with him. Just as I'm also falling in love with our new son and daughter.

Gotta go. Twins want nummies.

Saturday, August 08, 2009


Yesterday was pretty hellish as we got out of our unofficial schedule, ahem, I mean routine. Bridget ended up with only about a 3 or 4 hour nap all day long and that made for a very cranky daughter.

We also went to doctor for the twins' 2 month check up. At 11 lbs 12 oz, Christopher is up to 5oth percentile (from 10th percentile) on weight and at 23 inches, 50th percentile on height. His noggin also rates at 50th percentile. So pretty much, Christopher is perfectly average for a 2 month old!

At 8 lbs 8 oz, Briget got on the chart this month, coming in at a wonderful 5th percentile. Oddly, she's 10th percentile for height and 30th percentile for noggin size. It's odd because I thought children went out before they went up---being a little fatter before they get a little taller. It may explain why she still looks skinny even though she is getting some meat on her bones.

We also have a bit of info on when the growth spurts will start/stop. Term babies have their spurts at 10 days, 3 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months and 6 months. Preemies? Well, I found in our NICU book that preemies growth spurts start at 36 weeks (adjusted age) and end 2 1/2 months adjusted age. What does that mean? Well, the twins will be 2 1/2 months in 2 weeks. But they will be 2 1/2 months adjusted age at the end of September. That means, basically, their growth spurt will last about 14 weeks. Straight. Continuous. Boobage. For 14 weeks. Four. Teen. Weeks. Boobs. Mooooooooooooooooooooooo.

And toots. Lord, it's windy around here and it has nothing to do with the afternoon thunderstorms. Christopher set a world record 10 second toot the other day. And I can actually feel puffs of air on my face and chest when they burp. I don't imagine we're going to see any consistent sleeping through the night until the end of September. I just don't think it's even possible for babies to sleep through the night during a growth spurt. And have I mentioned that 14 week growth spurt? Well, let's just say, I think we're at the best we're going to see right now: sleeping 3 to 4 hours at a time. Which is just fine. I do not want to complain about that. But these are two hungry babies.

What makes it worth it are the smiles the babies are starting to freely give. Depending on which age we're talking about (9 weeks chronological or 3 weeks adjusted), they are either way behind or way ahead. If I had to guess where they are developmentally, I'd say about 6 weeks. For some reason, that just feels about right. Yes, all my vast experience with babies (Conor!) makes me think we're at about 6 weeks old around here.

More pictures up soon. I need to either get it back together on Flickr or choose another site. I think Flickr is fine, but I actually need to do something.

Ok--I've stolen enough time. I am in the midst of a 14 week growth spurt, you know.