Archive for March, 2010

Parenting: How we roll.

March 31, 2010

So, some thoughts on how and why we do certain things. You know, our ‘parenting approach.’ I’m going to stay away from wider labels, as I don’t know how helpful they are in the day-to-day of our lives. My choices are not picking on your choices, should they not happen to match. I know there are gazillions of ways to parent, and only on a selective few topics do I really believe that the way we do things is a way other people should try. Most of the stuff is down to each of us as individuals, and I’m not about to shit on your parenting parade.

Circumcision – This is a huge NO for us. We would not consider circumcising Snort; luckily we live in a country where it’s the norm to leave baby boys and their pee-pees alone, but we would have taken this decision regardless. I view circumcision as a violation of another person’s body. He might be a baby, but he does have his own personhood and I’m not about to make irreversible choices that are largely cosmestic.

This seems linked with my idea about babies who are born intersexed – that is, with both male and female genitals. I have known several adults who had their parents make a choice for them when they were days or hours old, and I have never known an adult who was pleased their parents did this.

Sleeping arrangements – Our bed is not big enough for cosleeping, and I don’t know how open we would have been to it in the first place. That being said, when the babies were little that IS what we did – albeit falling asleep while feeding twins in the middle of the night probably isn’t to be encouraged, but we woke up plenty of times with snug little babies in bed. Mainly, though, the babies coslept with each other.

Snort and Coconut shared a crib until they were six months old. This crib was in our room, pulled up next to our bed. The side facing us was lowered, with only about 8 inches of bars above the mattress. By the time they were four and five months old, it took some creative arranging to keep them sharing. By six months, it was a problem. Our room does not have space for two cribs, so they moved into the second bedroom then.

It wasn’t really that bad of a transition, though I think Snort had a couple of wee problems at the beginning. (Coconut sleeps like a brick shithouse.) The past couple of weeks Snort and sleeping have gotten all jacked up, and it is getting to be a ritual to let him in our bed at about 5 am, and occasionally Coconut instead or as well. It’s nice.

Getting babies to sleep – We are not fans of crying it out. I do know many parents do this for valid reasons, but the ones who do it because they want their six week old to go to sleep on their own so they can have a life of their own? Uh, no. I do judge.

Our babies go to sleep between 7-8 every night, sometimes a wee bit later. They fall asleep with us in the lounge – in their bouncy chairs, on our laps, or while being worn in a sling. Once they are asleep, we pop them into their cribs and that is that.Should they wake up in the night – though this is rare – we go to them and cuddle them.

Routine - Apparently I’m a fucked up twin mom, because we do not do routine. I know around 6 weeks I felt desperate and like I should try some routine and began reading lots of scary books. Plus, every book on twin parenting was all about slamming them onto a schedule as quickly as possible.

That’s not how I roll.

As the babies have gotten older, their body rhythms have set a certain natural schedule that doesn’t change  much day to day. Wake up, play, milk feed, nap. Wake up, solid feed, play, usually nap, milk feed. Play, nap, maybe another solid feed. Milk feed, play, then down for the night. Their fourth milk feed happens around 10 or 11, Coconut sleeps through this, Snort wakes up but barely.

Vaccinations - We vaccinate. For us, it makes sense. That being said, we started them a bit late and have had them quite spread out. In our country, you cannot be selective about what jabs you want or not – they are often all mixed in one vial. Our solution to make us feel better is to have two month gaps between each set, which is why they fairly recently finished the course that ‘should’ be finished at four months.

Babywearing – Obviously, we babywear. Not to the point of obsession, but when it is useful. When they were little, ‘useful’ meant the early evening when they went apeshit for no apparent reason. Now, ‘useful’ means out in public rather than a stroller (my body permitting), in the house for naps sometimes, when they are sick and want cuddles, etc.

Feeding (solids) - We do Baby Led Weaning and I have NO hesitations about recommending this as a great option for anyone with a baby six months plus. Though I encourage education – it’s not just about skipping purees, it’s about your babies having choices that are respected. Gill Rapley’s book is excellent.

We chose this as we want our children to know about the real tastes and textures of food from the start. The side benefit is increased development of fine motor skills and problem solving skills. We also want them to develop healthy relationships with food and trust themselves.

We have never given a puree or spoonfed, with the exception of the babies spoonfeeding themselves yogurt or oatmeal. (And indeed, I think me spoonfeeding two babies would be a fucking nightmare.)

TMD and I are vegetarians and have no problem with either/both babies eating meat if they want, but thus far they’ve had a vegetarian (and largely vegan) diet. This is because touching meat would make TMD throw up, and because while I probably could cook it without gagging too much, I would also likely poison the babies as I do not know how to cook meat.

Milk feeds – Our milk is powdered and comes in a can, served up in a bottle. I have written about my struggles to breastfeed in this blog, but probably nothing near the truth of what it was like. I loved breastfeeding; I never had a sore nipple or anything but pleasure. That being said, it did not work. If you want to know more about why, please read this. I was tempted to cross post it here and still may do, but in the meantime click the link.

That being said, we bottlefeed in a way that mimics breastfeeding. I usually only feed one baby at a time. I always hold them. I have never prop fed. I allow them to feed on demand, and in some ways they are living a singleton type life in terms of not being pounded into tandem feeds of proscribed amounts of milk. They drink as much or as little as they choose, when they choose. This is roughly every four hours, but as they eat more, this stretches out.

Rather than dropping milk feeds (which we don’t want them to do at this young age!!) they simply spread them out. Smart. See, you can trust babies to sort themselves out in terms of food…

(though when they were newborn and there were big problems with weight and dehydration due to the aforementioned breastfeeding issues, we were on a strict schedule of needing them to eat every three hours maximum)

Education – I am fascinated by unschooling, but for TMD it is an absolute no. This is fine by me. When it is time, our kids will attend a local school – preferably one with no ties to any religion. Not that we are so attached to Buddhism that our kids can’t experience other sorts, but more than Christian values (please, I do not  mean to offend) can be intolerant, and we don’t want that for our children. You know, and their two mums.

Natural parenting – we do it. I’m not saying I am 100% clear on what that means, but for us it means trying to have a more holistic approach to things. We don’t really give medicine (though would, of course, if it were needed), and would prefer to try other stuff than dosing them up. For example: teething necklaces made from baltic amber. Say what you will, but when our kids wore them every day (there is a cumulative effect, apparently, it’s not a as-and-when type thing) they were happy. Coco’s is now missing and presumably covered in rotting yogurt, and since not using them we have red cheeks, red bottoms, more crying.

I am really a total fucking skeptic, but a total fucking skeptic who wants to believe, you know? And I would rather try to avoid seeing ignoring your baby in an outward facing stroller, spoonfeeding nightmares, and giving them baby aspirin for every little thing as the norm.

Diapers – we use disposables.  There was every plan to use cloth nappies if we were only having one baby, but along came two. We live in a climate where you can’t hang things out to dry, where it is rare to own a dryer anyway, and where we had limited floor space to air dry in the house. When they were newborn, we did three loads of laundry a day to keep up with things – cloth nappies would have been a giant, horrid nightmare. Now that diapering is changing, I am starting to consider making the switch. We’ll see. That being said, I feel little guilt (please don’t stone me) about using disposables because we are actually very very super green in all other aspects of our life.

How I am with them, in general – they make me laugh. I have never gotten angry with either of them. I am quite silly and, uh, unrestrained in my fucking weirdness – but much like people in the real world, it seems to make the babies like me more. I talk to them a lot, I make up inappropriate rap songs, etc etc. I kiss them roughly twenty million times a day, each.

I am also a worrier. I have nightmares of them stopping breathing. I try to be super relaxed about health issues, because really they are super duper healthy, but sometimes reading the blogs of less fortunate babies (and parents) terrifies me to my core.

Twin things – We started a chart in hospital to help with breastfeeding. This is a piece of paper on a clipboard, with a watch on it. We are still keeping track of every poop, every feed, and solid foods – along with notes of reactions they may have. This chart also keeps track of their meds. With two babies, it can be difficult to remember who did what when, and sometimes that is important to know.

People say I am super organized when they come over, even before they see the chart, but really – as a parent of twins, you just have to have these little extra ways to help sort things out. It’s not that I am organized or anal, it is that I have two babies.

Sticky hands – Sticky hands have always made me feel ill. I hate when my hands are el grosso. That being said, 20 minutes ago I thought nothing of sliding my thumbs along the very oozy and goopy passionfruit halves to help loosen the stuff along the bottom for the babies. BLW is making me enjoy and appreciate mess, and that is just about miraculous.

There. Did I hit everything up? How many of you did I alienate?

Babies’ first loves.

March 30, 2010

Last week:

Coconut:  aah?

Me: What, honey?

Coconut: Aaht?

Me: Yeah, okay, aaht.

Coconut: pointedly turns head and looks at cat. AACT?

Me: Yes! Yes, ‘cat’. That’s our kitty cat.

Coconut: Aaht?

A few days later, in the garden:

Coconut: Aaht? Very excited voice.

Me: I look around for our cat. Cat? Where’s our kitty? I don’t know if she’s outside, Coco.

Coconut: Aaht! Stares at squirrel and squeals. Aaht?

Today, sat in the chair next to cat tower:

Snort: tiny little contemplative voice. Aaaaah?

Me: Yes, that’s the cat. See the cat?

Snort:  at?

Me: Cat.

Snort: Cccccccccccccc……………………at?

Me: Yes, cat!

Snort: Cat.

Me: Cat!

Snort: Cat! Reaches out to try to pet the cat. Cat. Cat. Cat.

Me: You just said ‘cat’! You said ‘cat’.

Snort:  Cat? Cat.

A love letter that rambles around.

March 30, 2010

I love you sooooooooooo much.

I love you enough to pick snot out of your nose, to persist in wiping hummous off your face even though you scream and wiggle, to bury my nose deep in your butt and sniff to see what’s going on.

I love you when you look around for me, again and again, before yelling ‘MAMA!’

I love you when you whisper, ‘Dad’ to me.

I love you both so much I almost exploded today with it all. Good exploded, not crazy people exploded. The joy you get from seeing my face, the joy I get from performing mad hand clapping, leg slapping dances to distract you from your hunger.

Mealtimes are such a joy. We’ve never had a struggle because you are in charge – the only tears have been when we’re not giving Coconut the food fast enough!

For posterity, the foods you’ve eaten:

carrot
mashed potato
sweet potato
mashed sweet potato
veggie fingers
banana
passion fruit
plum
avacado
hummous on toast, ricecakes, whatev!
ricecakes
toast
marmite sandwiches
water
prune juice
green beans
bean burger in a pita with mango and lime sauce
baby pizza
cheese on toast
panini
apricot
nectarine
yogurt in all organic and full fat varieties!
pancakes
pear
apple
broccoli
oatmeal
mango
cucumber
melon
breadsticks
squash
cheese straw
courgette
cream cheese sandwiches
pasta with strained tomato sauce, lentils, and cheese
one chip
bagel

And probably about 60 other things. You try everything. You like everything because you are feeding yourself. Even if you don’t like it, you’ll try it again and again and thus far, have not rejected any foods.

You can both feed yourself with spoons now. You can drink out of your cups.

How are you this old?? (A bit more than 7.5 months!)

Neither of you can ‘properly’ sit yet, like sitting and being left alone to do so for any real period of time (though you both bring yourself to sitting positions on your bouncy chairs – yikes, and Coco is constantly doing Pilates type crunches on the floor!). I don’t think you see any point in sitting, because you are always moving and exploring. Snort does it by rolling, Coconut does rolling and also backwards arching scooting. You are both trying to crawl.

You can stand up for long periods of time if I hold you under your arms.

You love kisses and hugs and books and toys. You can each play alone for startling periods of time (we’re talking like an hour!!), though you often roll over to each other to pat cheeks or steal toys. If you’ve been playing on your own and I come over and wiggle my fingers, saying ‘tickle tickle!’ you will wiggle in delight and reach up to me. And laugh. You laugh so much.

This morning you talked back and forth for ages, the love you have for each other just shining and obvious.

I love you enough to want you to keep growing, even though mixed in with all the awe and joy is sadness. You have gone from two teeny tiny babies into, well, grown up babies. Snort has a full head of blonde chickenfluff hair, Coconut is – uh – getting there. She’s got light brown and blonde curly hair, from what we can guess.

Blue eyes, brown eyes, delightful baby thighs, big laughs.

Oh, my heart aches I love you so deeply. I will always love you and love you and love you.

What it means to be a parent, and how we do it.

March 29, 2010

Been thinking about writing on a certain topic for months – since biscuit-on-a-plate lady, actually. But for now, I’m going to copy a post from my other blog (written last Thursday)  here:

The only other babywearing mama in my town (aside from my wife, of course!) came over today with her lovely baby girl. She brought along some slings for me to try – an Ocah, a Girasol shortie, and a DELICIOUS petrol fishie from Didymos. Unfortunately I was a bit sore so didn’t do too much babywearing at all, though did have Coconut up on my back  while I toted her into the kitchen and then nursery.

Let’s just say I hope said mama gets sick of the fishie because I lust for it. (Yes, Sarah, I am talking to you. Are you reading? Ha.)

I really do like being around other mamas who are into slinging their babies – and everything that may or may not come with it.

We’re talking cosleeping, cloth diapering, breastfeeding, baby led weaning, natural parenting, attachment parenting, etc etc.  I certainly don’t tick all those boxes, but I tick some of them.

What about you? I’m curious about all the people who find their way to this blog. What’s your opinion on amber teething necklaces? On how to wean your baby? What sort of diapers/nappies do you use?

What boxes do YOU tick?

I ask because people always surprise me. Someone I went to school with responded to my facebook status today, in which I mentioned that we were inadvertently becoming cosleepers (albeit not all in the same bed – we don’t fit) as the babies were going through a weird waking in the night sort of thing. She came out of the cosleeping closet and said she’d been doing it three years!

So many of our choices as parents feel right to us, yet can be frowned upon by other people. I wonder why that is. For me, my priorities aren’t to have my babies walking or talking before anyone else. I’m not really into the whole competition scene that so many people get dragged into – though I won’t lie. I sometimes wonder, ‘Why aren’t they sitting yet? When will they get teeth? Oh my god, is Coconut saying “mama” on purpose?!?!’

I care more about raising my twins to be imaginative, secure, and emotionally intelligent kids. I care more about nurturing their self-esteem than my own – which is why I love them exactly as they are, whether they walk at ten, twelve, or fifteen months. I don’t need to show off their mad rolling skillz, because honestly? Who cares??

Other mothers don’t want to hear me talk about how I am clearly raising two super geniuses, and does it do anyone any good? I want Snort & Coconut to always, always feel loved – at their very cores, not just because of things they accomplish.

So tell me. What are your priorities? What sort of parent are you? What choices are you making for yourself, your children, your family?


We’ve been debating the whole talking thing…

March 26, 2010

Last night TMD was eating with the babies. Snort pointed at his sippy cup which was just out of reach and demanded, ‘Water, Dad!!’

I shit you not.

I’m starting to think some of the words we’re getting might be on purpose. I don’t want to be one of those crazy people who thinks their child’s simple babbling is really them giving monologues on physics or something, but. Hmm.

Coconut will often say ‘hihihihihi’ when you pick her up. Last night when she was said she reached out her arms and said, ‘Mum. Mum. Mum.’ until I picked her up.

Snort has said the odd ‘hello’ – which I do think is probably a happy accident – and that ‘water’ last night was clear as a fucking bell. And let’s not forget what is babbling – ‘dadadadada.’ And ‘dad.’ Though he seems to shout ‘dad’ when we are encouraging ‘mama’ and then laughs like a maniac, so maybe he is just a smart ass.

I was talking to my mom and admitting we’re probably crazy, and then she said, ‘Well, maybe not. You started talking very young.’

Keep your eyes and ears peeled, folks.

(Does this mean I have to stop saying ‘fuck’ and ‘shit’??)

A note to people pregnant with twins.

March 25, 2010

I shall type quickly, with no absolute purpose in mind. I’m awake, the babies are awake, no one has eaten yet, I need to poop.  This leaves me with a minimum opportunity to write blog entries, people. I am sacrificing the health of my bowel to write these words.

Lately I’ve been reading blogs of people pregnant with twins, or parenting newborn twins. Can I say ‘nostalgic’? I cannot fucking believe I have the opportunity to be nostalgic about this. I have two healthy, happy 7 month old babies. My friend round the corner is getting bigger and bigger and more pissed off looking with every day. I look at her and think, ‘That was me last year! That lady has 2 babies in her belly!’ I veer between disbelief that the human body can support and nurture multiple pregnancies, to wondering when I can do it all again.

I love being a twin mama. When they were younger, I had two or three breakdowns. You know, sobbing while they were sobbing, losing my mind, hunching over the kitchen sink wondering WHEN THE SCREAMING WOULD STOP.

I don’t have those moments anymore. (Please, baby Jesus, let me not have jinxed myself!) Yes, I am tired most of the time – and every day at 3:30 I lose the will to keep moving. Yes, I am in a lot of pain and sometimes that makes me cry. But the babies? A constant, never ceasing delight.

One scootching around on her back, following me and saying, ‘Mamamamamama.’ The other on my lap, twisting to look up at my face and give me a heartwrenching smile. How could I get tired of this?

Granted, our days are starting to be action packed. Fitting in solid feeds, among everything else, is a teensy bit of a bitch. But we have such fun once we’re actually eating. Snort and Coconut are very very chatty babies, and when Coco is really enjoying her food she sort of hum/talks while she eats. Snort, on the other hand, keeps looking at her and smiling. Wiggling his wrists in little circles that we refer to as his ‘wrist exercises.’

A few times I’ve gone to the bathroom and heard baby giggles. I rush in, pants around my ankles, to catch the action. Cue two babies, facing each other on their sides, holding hands and roaring with laughter. Cue Coconut putting her fingers in Snort’s mouth, cue them playing with each other’s toes, cue toy stealing, cue wrestling, cue more love. Sometimes the babies look to each other to sort of doublecheck things out – before they look at me or TMD.

Twins are magic, magical, magiclicious. If you are pregnant with them, you have something heading your way that – trust me on this – you could not have imagined beforehand.

I think the reason I’m not cracking up, or why the first year isn’t the living hell I read it is on other people’s blogs, is how fucking calm I am. It really does take a lot to get me feeling anxious or sad. I have never gotten angry with them. Even in the earlier days when their tears happened more, I would force my body to relax, so that my body language and muscle tension said, ‘Happy, relaxed mommy. You be relaxed too, ok?’ And it worked.

Now I don’t have to pretend. I am relaxed about 99% of the time, and the other 1% is usually about trying to cope with meeting the daily demands of life while being physically under the weather. (I just want to walk again. I do. I miss walking, putting one foot in front of the other, going places.)

At first I was afraid to be home alone with the babies. I didn’t know what I would do with them. It was pure terror. Then Mil came and I wanted to be on my own, and I did it. It wasn’t so bad. Then I was afraid of going out alone with them. Dude, I am SO over that now. If I was able to walk, I would be outta here a few times a week. I don’t care if one or both wanted feeding out, I don’t care if they cried because they were tired, I am not afraid of other parents looking at me and thinking, ‘Why are those babies crying?’ Because I think what they would really be thinking is, ‘How does she do it with TWO babies?’

I’ll tell you how: with love.

Conversations I seem to have twenty times a day:

March 22, 2010

Snort: Dad.

Me: Mama. Mama, Snortie, can you say ‘Mama?’

Snort: Dada.  *giggle* Dadadadadadada. Dad.

Me: Mama.

Snort: Dad. *laugh*

Me: MAMA. Mama. Mamamamamama. MAMA.

Snort: Dada. Dada. *blows raspberry* DAD!

In other news, Coconut has stopped with the ‘dadas’ and is saying a lot of ‘mamas’ and ‘mummies.’ Don’t think it’s on purpose, if you see what I mean, but at least we’re getting to the right idea.

She also was CALLING the cat today, by saying what I imagine she thinks the word for ‘cat’ is, while smacking her leg repeatedly, which is how I get the cat to come over. She also tried to eat kitty’s tail.

As I type this: DADADADADA. *raspberry* DAD.

In other other news, the two of them were just lying on their sides facing each other holding hands, chatting back and forth and laughing uncontrollably. Of course, the camera has been missing all day.

(Also, look at the pictures in the last two entries. GODDAMN are they cute, hey?)

This post brought to you by the YOU HAVE TWO MOMS SO YOU’D BETTER LEARN TO SAY MAMA REAL SOON foundation.

Terrance and Phillip, the remake.

March 22, 2010

Your hair tastes so GROSS!

March 21, 2010

Therablog.

March 20, 2010

So, the other day I was talking with a friend about sexual abuse. We won’t go into details, because I know some readers have faced this and I don’t want to trigger anything for anyone. (If I write about this more in future, will put a ‘sensitive’ warning at start of post.)

That night, I had a dream that was like remembering things. Not very dreamlike at all, if you get me, more like my brain opening up doors and me saying, ‘Oh, yes, that’s how it was.’ I tried to tell myself it was because of this conversation with a friend – and it probably was – but kept thinking about it.

Then a certain post went up on Violence Unsilenced (a great, great site!) and I found myself having difficulty breathing. Literally felt like all the air was out of my lungs, I felt nervy and panic ridden. It didn’t help that I’m quite friendly with the author of the post, and was completely blindsided by how a ‘normal’ person (like me, of course, like me) can have this whole malignant past and be brave enough to tell people about it.

All of that aside, we went out today and when we got back in I was so sore I needed to go have a rest. I ended up falling into a very deep sleep, and who was there? Kleinette (my old therapist, for those of you who are newish to the blog). Kleinette was there with me in the area where I grew up, driving a car while I was in the backseat. (And had quadruplets in this dream, that TMD handily left for me and Kleinette to drive around- despite having no car seats. Way to be unsafe, TMD’s dreamself!)

We sort of went around different places, had some good, challenging talks, etc.

I woke up feeling like I’d just had a very intense therapy session. It was good, but also bizarre. And can I say, I haven’t had a dream about Kleinette in, what? Years?

The dream had come to a natural conclusion, and then I was properly woken up by two manically screaming babies. I decided to take pity on TMD and hobbled out of the bedroom to help feed. So I’ve lost some of the clarity of our dream discussion, but a few salient points remain. And the emotional feeling of having probed wounds, but knowing I am strong enough to deal with that now, certainly has stuck with me.

Just wanted to get this stuff down in case it was important. And there I go, downplaying it. It is important. And it was nice to see Kleinette! Yes, I know she was a figment of my mind, but she has connotations of safety for me – and it is always nice to see the face of someone you care about, in reality or dreams. Perhaps she has ‘come back’ to help me think deal with things, sort of like Dumbo and his magic feather.

The one thought I had upon waking was, ‘Of course I’ve got a fucking pelvic problem.’ This was the result of thinking about finally writing Kleinette back (ah, you don’t know about her baby gift drama – I sent her a birth announcement, she sent me a fab card and awesome baby slippers, I didn’t write back because I didn’t want her to think I was stalkery, she ended up texting at New Year’s to see if I got the stuff, I felt like a heel for not thanking her, etc) and mentioning the SPD. Then I remembered that it was mentioned on more than one occasion about my – holy shit, I forgot the acronym.

PMDD. Yes, PMDD.

And then I thought (because apparently you can take me out of a paying job as a counsellor and put me on maternity leave, but you cannot take the counsellor out of me), isn’t it innnnnteresting that all my major problems are in that one region of my body. I also thought about how the last time I lost shedloads of weight, I was in therapy – not to talk about weight at all, but the weight seemed to fly off during therapy/training as a counsellor, and I don’t think that was an accident.

If this is a bunch of wobbling, rambling mess, forgive me. It’s late at night, and I’ve already been asleep for like four hours. Just feel like I needed to write something real, and also, well, you know. Comfort blogging. It’s better than your favourite comfort movie, or at least it is to me.

Night, all. Hope you’ve had a good Saturday and will have an even better Sunday.


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