Archive for August, 2010

Keepupdates.

August 31, 2010

My mom is arriving on Thursday and staying for a bit more than a week, so not sure how much updating there will be. I have a lot I want to write about, but I find the babies are needing/wanting more and more attention, so internet time is limited!

So much is going on. So much needs to be done.

Renewing my Country A passport, figuring out Snort’s many allergies and the return of worsening eczema, getting a Country B driving license (a whole post is needed for this one!), weaning off bottles, trying to not shriek every time I move (SPD bad today…I carried Snort up STAIRS yesterday. Ow.), find time to write, continue weight loss (a whole ‘nother post, with pics), achieve world domination, etc.

Yesterday morning we went to someone’s house, locally, with a bunch of bags and babies. This couple basically entertained our kids while we had the run of literally thousands of books, all for free. We got a nice haul, but WOW was this house fantastic. It was so huge, huge even by Country A standards. We also found out how much it was on the market for, and how much it sold for. In a curiously weird way it gave me hope, because it was not a million. The price was still unreachable and inconceivable for us, but maybe not for always. Just for right now.

It’s hard surviving on one salary. Every time someone gifts us with baby clothing or supplies in any way, it relieves a little of the pressure. Formula and diapers are still the main expenses, and holy jesus are they expensive!!

We’re doing okay, though, and even though we are poor by the standards of both our families (though of course how lucky we are to have a mortgage and a lovely flat, food to eat, heating to put on) this is what we choose. Snort and Coconut grow more every day, but they are still too little to even think about shipping off to daycare (for us, I judge other families not!). This is it, again for now: they will always be looked after in their own home by their own parents.

I do need to drive, though, so that we can take field trips and do stuff. And so that I can take them to their various appointments and TMD doesn’t have to keep juggling this with work – because from April? She may not have a job. I choose to stick my head in the sand about that, because we want to be able to continue to have one of us home with the babies – and she earns much more than I ever did.

Still, though. On this sunny morning it all seems okay.

High School Musical.

August 29, 2010

I’m pretty certain that earlier in the week, for no discernible reason, I was thinking about the Steve Miller Band. This morning I woke up with a craving to hear the CD. While I supervised breakfast, TMD went hunting for it (‘Oh,’ she said, ‘I think it’s in that CD case labelled Existere’s bullshit music from high school!’). Next thing you know, we are motherchucking ROCKING IT OUT.

Crazy people dancing, in other words. Like sort of bouncing up and down, doing our own thing, only to extend our arms and wiggle our spirit fingers in time with the music. Coconut was smiling and clapping. Snort’s eyes sort of glazed over (I think he was in self protection mode).

It got me to thinking: in high school, my First Love – let’s call him Redneck…no, that’s mean. How about …no, hmm. Okay. Let’s call him Steve, courtesy of the Steve Miller Band.

Anyway, when we broke up several things happened. One is that I turned into a crazy Catholic whore who kissed a lot of boys. Two is that my father offered him a job for the summer (Ultimate Betrayal Number One). Three is that I went to a Steve Miller Band concert with some friends.

It had been a raw summer. I was getting ready to move away from home at the tender age of seventeen and very scared about university. Steve, my boyfriend of two years who I was convinced I would marry had just dumped my ass – and on that same day, I threw a bowling ball at his head.  I was living at camp most of the summer, but this one weekend I hooked up with my high school friends in order to Party! It! Up! at this concert. (Our idea of partying is probably radically opposed to most people’s.)

Well, now, who should I bump into but my pal Steve?? The heartbreaker, the ‘I know I’ll always love you but I can’t be with you’ bastard who dumped me two weeks before prom. Oh, Steve.  And who was Steve at the concert with? MY FATHER. (Ultimate Betrayal Number Two.)

Oh, I got so fucking bummed out I spent most of the concert walking around with my pal Fishy. This concert place was outdoors on a big hill, and I spent most of it on the other side of the big hill, endlessly talking about the fact that my father had invited my ex-boyfriend to a fucking concert.

Meeeeemmmmmories. Sweet memories.

Incidentally, my ‘father’ has not sent so much as a card for Snort & Coconut’s birthday (Sister, I know you act out of love, but please don’t remind him of this. Just don’t mention us, okay?). In a way it’s a terrible relief.

Relief because I’d said to TMD that if he failed to acknowledge their birthday it would be further proof (if I needed it) that he has no place in my life. Terrible because it feels like he is rejecting me and my babies, and really I want to be the one rejecting him.

At any rate, Snort is asleep. Coco has shat herself magnificently, but I can’t leave him as he’s sleeping on the couch. I type as I wait for TMD to come in from installing their new car seats and change Coco.

When everyone wakes up, I’m putting on Jimi Hendrix.

Stuff I enjoyed reading this week.

August 26, 2010

So, links to things I enjoyed reading this week….

First up, how do you feel about some of those obnoxious ‘like’ things on Facebook? Ignoring the fact that the vast majority are spelled wrong and have the grammar skills of a 2 month old, some of the messages in them are quite appalling.

One that particularly jumps out to annoy my ass is ‘I’d rather go to jail for spanking my kids than for them to go to jail because I didn’t.’ Yeah. Well, Code Name: Mama has countered this DISlikey with some stark statistics that I found (obvious and) interesting. A great thing to trot out next time someone says you are being too soft on your kids.

Next up? I’m sure most of us have heard of skin-to-skin, or kangaroo, care. This is encouraged as a matter of fact after birth here in Country B, and research has shown it to be a huge benefit to preemies. That being said, when I was pregnant we were told if the babies were born early we wouldn’t be ‘allowed’ to ‘handle them’ much. Oh yeah? This mum in Australia gave birth to twins at 27 weeks – and her son was declared dead. After two hours of skin-to-skin cuddles, talking, and a wee snifter of breastmilk, well…a miracle.

And the third and final link of the evening: babywearing. I think we all know of a certain babywearing blog focusing on wearing twins that put up lots of cool videos and informative posts, but it’s sort of defunct now that the said mama is no longer really babywearing. *ahem*  That certain mama is still getting emails and messages from around the world, and the word ‘guru’ has been bandied about. I…I mean, that mama….thought she would link you through to the woman who was her guru.

This page has tons and tons of videos showing different wrap carries. Many are for wearing two babies/toddlers/children, but there are also a shitton focusing on just one kid. We’re talking front carries, back carries, torso carries – you name it, it’s probably here. She also invented the double tandem wrap carry that I used most often with Snort and Coconut. Go. Be amazed. Learn.

So. Did you see anything on the ol’ interwebs that you think myself or the readers of this blog might be interested in? I know this circumcision decision flow chart was my favourite image of the week – aside from the gazillion pictures of my own kids I took!

TMD has pleurisy.

August 24, 2010

Me: Shit. Everyone on Twitter is saying this can turn into pneumonia really easily. I bet you could have walking pneumonia right now.

TMD: Walking pneumonia? You made that shit up.

Me: No, we have it in Country A. I think it’s like, uh, you’ve got pneumonia but it’s not terrible pneumonia yet, so you are still walking around and going about your business.

TMD: You’ve got walking crazy.

Thoughts on breastfeeding: the past, and the possible future.

August 23, 2010

I don’t know if we’ll have more kids naturally. I have been gung ho. A couple of months ago I was convinced it was the ‘perfect’ time to get pregnant – and now, wow am I happy I’m not. Chasing after these two with a baby cooking? Ha.

The past month has been killer. August is always a big month – lots of sad anniversaries. But it also is our anniversary, and now the birthday of Snort and Coconut. Just like life, August is good and bad.

I wonder if my ambiguity about pregnancy is why I am also lackluster about weight loss. I know I have to lose all my weight to be able to donate eggs again, and I certainly think we’d go the IVF/eggshare route again.

I’ve been thinking a lot about stuff. Breastfeeding….a lot.

How they got sunken fontanels (sp?), how they were so dehydrated, how they did not pee….except little crystals and blood. How their weight plummeted well below a loss of 15%.  How it kept dropping.   Breastfeeding was the best thing ever for me, but perhaps not for my babies. I don’t know if I would try again.

Certainly the suckling has been known to help regenerate nerves, and make breastfeeding after a reduction a possibility in second, third, fourth pregnancies. Certainly I would want to breastfeed, but it would be an act of courage as the last time it hurt me so badly when it failed.

I’m happy now. We formula fed our babies and, well, it was good. As I’ve said before, there are good things about bottle feeding – please don’t jump down my throat or criticize, because unless you have been desperate to breastfeed and medically could not, you don’t know what it’s like. I chose (finally) to forgive my body and move on. To accept things as they were, and to be grateful for how my cherished kids were developing.

The next time around I would meet with a lactation consultant before birth, to have an action plan in place. I know giving a bottle fucks with milk production in normal boobies, but with my boobies and history, I would not withhold a bottle to ‘just see,’ since my kids got pretty fucking sick from my inability to give them milk this time around.

All the buzz on Twitter lately is about milk donation. I applaud those who donate, as well as those mums who need a bit of help and have the wherewithal to get connected to resources. I don’t know that milk banks exist here, but again – I’d do some research before another baby came along, even to make some informal connections.

I think parents hold so fast, so tight, to their ideals – the way they do it is so good, feels so right, that they want to tell everyone else about it. Certainly I was like that with babywearing and baby led weaning. But sometimes that tips too far over the edge into condemnation.

The number of twitter convos I’ve had….

ie

Them: There is no reason EVERY mother cannot breastfeed her baby.

Me: Um, actually I couldn’t breastfeed. I was medically unable to.

Them: Bullshit. The only excuse is if you have some sort of disease you might pass on or something.

Me: Well, actually not. I had a breast reduction and the surgery damaged my breasts too badly to be able to feed my children.

Them: *backtracking wildly* Oh, yeah, well, I mean that’s different. That’s medical.

Me: *sigh*

I am the sort of person who will always speak up. Hell, if I was breastfeeding I’d do it outloud, so proud, in public. I’d get a couple of those boobie beanies and tandem nurse any old place. But I think it’s ridiculous how shamed and horrible I felt about offering bottles in public.

It’s interesting how the internet has skewed my perceptions. My online connections are usually all AP (attachment parenting) people. You know, people more likely to be into natural parenting, babywearing, cosleeping, breastfeeding, anti-CIO, etc. Most cloth diaper and some are anti-vax.

These people are so accepting of me and my non-boobie milk, but only once I’ve gone through and explained why I’m not breastfeeding. It’s like being gay – I come out again and again as a formula feeder. I used to sort of keep my mouth shut, which goes against my personality. But now I can say, well, you know know? I forumla feed. Breastfeeding doesn’t work for everyone. I had a surgery when I was 19; I could beat myself up about that for eternity, but what is the point?

It’s so possible to be AP when bottle feeding. Not all formula feeders are propping bottles up into the mouths of babes strapped into carseats and ignored. I held my babies every feed – despite having one of me and two of them. They cuddled into me, and still do, to eat. My respect for breastfeeding and all the benefits is deep, and I emulated them as much as possible – we only fed on demand (they choose when and how much milk to eat, we do not encourage them to have more or discourage them from eating), and now we do baby led weaning and will led them decide when is the right time to transition away from milk feeds.

We do it as naturally as possible, as gently as possible, as respectfully as possible.

If only all parents offered other parents the same treatment.

I know it’s hard. Hell, I judge people. When the babies were first born, someone I went to school with sent me a link via facebook for this feeding thing (the assumption being there would be no breastfeeding, which is NOT a good thing!). It was like a pacifier connected to a tube that dipped into a bottle. She attached a picture of her three week old infant left alone on the side of a swimming pool while she and her hubby frolicked in the water.

Yes, I judge. Yes, I am horrified.

But what is my judgment going to do to her? Nothing. Offering shame and condemnation is not helpful; education is, but only in the right circumstances. I’ve had lectures (again, via my pal twitter) about formula being poison, about bottle feeding moms not giving a damn about their kids’ health, etc. And then always, always, the backtracking when they learn about my situation. Always the embarassed, ‘Oh, I don’t judge people who can’t feed because, like, they can’t.’

Well, you do. You do judge when you presume to talk about how formula is akin to the coming of the anti-christ.

Did I love breastfeeding? Yes. Did it work for us? No. It (well, not breastfeeding, but the failure of breastfeeding) made my children sick.

I’m sorry. I don’t know how this got so long or so rambling, or what was my original point. I think somewhere in here I meant to say that if I get pregnant again, I’m going to be a lot more gentle and forgiving of myself this time around.

Just a friendly warning, really.

August 21, 2010

Just for posterity’s sake, just because it’s too good not to mention.

TMD hurts when she breathes. She went to the drop in clinic today to be told what she had sounded like pluresy.  I was like, did you time travel back to the 1700s to catch that shit? Apparently it’s not, but they don’t know what it is. She’s on meds and if it doesn’t clear up she needs chest x rays.

And our little plague of bad luck (I don’t need to remind you of all the injuries and sicknesses, do I? Didn’t think so.) has now spread to the garden. We woke up this morning to two trees that had cracked in half and fallen into our garden*. WTF.

Our radius of evil power is increasing, earthlings.

*Thank god our neighbor on the other side of us is a nice, nice guy. He walked past our flat (seeing me in the ugliest nightgown ever, I’m trying to repress the memory)to check things out. I think he realises we don’t have the time or energy to deal with fallen tree bullshit, so he drove to his dad’s house to get a fucking SAW and took the trees apart and moved them out of our yard.

Here’s hoping the bad luck doesn’t spread slightly to the left, because he doesn’t deserve to be hit by it!

Second post this morning.

August 20, 2010

After writing the last post (an hour ago) – a true monster of details and circumstances – I decided to approach naptime the way I have always.

Don’t try to put an awake baby to sleep.

If they seem sleepy and I try and they don’t sleep, back onto the floor for five more minutes. Keep trying.

This shit has never failed me, and I don’t know why I suddenly felt like I needed to exert tons of control over their sleeping; I think it’s FEAR. Fear of losing the tandem nap, fear of them not sleeping enough, fear of more afternoon meltdowns.

I did it this morning. Took a couple of attempts, and then Snort just laid nice and still with his blankie, breathing deeper and deeper, eyes slowly blinking, till he conked out. Coco took an extra five minutes, and ended up sitting on my lap and leaning back (I have to hold her if he is asleep as otherwise she will keep patting him and poking him and hitting him till he wakes up!), and lo and behold she ended up passing out as well.

Cue 20 blissful minutes where I googled about how to renew my Country A passport, updated my fitness thingy, etc. I was feeling hopeful and happy about this nap, because Snort is awfully sick and does need sleep…

AND THEN THE PHONE RANG.

Woke Snort right up, cue manic screaming for milk, cue Coconut waking up. Cue two poopy diapers.

Ha.

Ha ha ha ha ha.

See Existere laugh. Laugh, Existere, laugh.

Update on the blood letting.

August 20, 2010

Thank you to everyone who got in touch with me after I posted yesterday, either via this blog or elsewhere. It helped.

Right after writing that, TMD got home. I was in floods of tears and escaped to the bedroom. Within five minutes of her being ‘on duty,’ I heard Coconut start screaming uncontrollably, and I heard TMD saying, ‘Oh, honey, your nose is bleeding again.’ Yes, she fell and smashed her face against the tv. Again.

They had dinner and baths, and then just as bathtime was ending I heard an almighty clunk and outraged screaming that lasted forever. Apparently Snort was standing up on the floor, holding on to the tub and bouncing, and came down too hard – effectively smashing his mouth against the edge and biting through his lip. Again. Blood all over himself.

And this morning? Dried blood still all over Coco’s face.

I would not change this.

I like that my children are so fearless, so into exploring, so confident in themselves and the world around them. It just means that during this period, this transition, it’s especially tough.

Coconut’s great trick is letting go of whatever she is holding onto and just free falling. Sometimes she even purposely falls backward while laughing.

Snort’s tricks include yanking open baby gates, opening the patio door (and screaming like bloody murder when he finds I have jimmy-rigged it not to open), and running away. As of this morning, though, he has stood up and let go of shit twice.

Coco, on the other hand, let go of the tv this morning, stood by herself for a couple of seconds, and then managed to carefully lower herself into a sitting position from standing, using nothing for balance. On her side of things, perhaps the edging closer to walking will mean less of the face smashing incidents. On Snort’s, he’s only just starting to take these risks – though at playgroup he did hang on to the handle of a door on a play kitchen ….and while only holding that handle, nothing else, used that hand to open and shut the door multiple times while he was rock steady on his feet.

Nighttimes are a fucking nightmare at the moment. I woke up this morning to come into the lounge. *warning: bad advert for co-sleeping ahead* TMD was lying along the outside of the couch. Both babies were on the inside, lying feet to feet. Everyone was asleep.

The constant night waking is partially because they both have colds…and Snort may be teething as well. But I feel like there is something else going on. The last time we had a week of nightmarish night wakings, they both started pulling up to their feet. I wonder if this spat of night waking is related to possible first independent steps – though I feel like we’re still a month away with Coco for that, and longer for Snort. Both can walk along furniture or walls, and Coconut excels at walking while holding hands – so maybe they are closer than I think?

Maybe I should hand them a deck of cards and see if their new milestone (aka ‘trick’) involves magic.

I am grateful to have babies so securely attached that they are happy to play by themselves, happy to run away and explore every corner of the room at playgroup, happy to be in large groups of other kids and parents. I am happy that being twins means they are more confident and social with other children – something I only noticed yesterday in children that were at least aged 3, and only with pushing and prodding from their parents. All of these are good things.

That’s what I need to keep reminding myself.

Sil sent me a text yesterday saying this is a tricky time as they are both developing real minds of their own (boy HOWDY are they!), but still have limited understanding of things. She says give it a few months – when they are walking, when they have more words it’ll get better again.

I hope she’s right.

It’s also amazing to go from worrying about whether I’ll walk again to complaining about how bad my thigh muscles hurt from the sheer number of times I had to get up off the floor at playgroup. To go from awe at being able to walk to annoyance at how badly it hurts my legs. Funny, that.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to try to brush their teeth. God willing we’ll all get out of it alive.

(Also, naps are so screwy. Why?? WHY IS THIS HAPPENING? Even when they are tired it’s pure torture to get them to sleep. This week is kicking my ass.)

How can two days completely wear and tear me down??

August 19, 2010

Did you read my cute yet passive aggressive poem in the last entry?

I’m beyond being cute.

This is probably just my period, or being sleep deprived for over a year, or getting sick. But.

BUT.

I feel shit. After weeks of one miracle after another, the last two days have been like being trapped in a universe of woe. I hope to god this is teething. Or maybe just a rough transition from babyhood to toddlerhood.

Playgroup this morning was awesome, but I had staff members running the fuck around after (mainly) Snort, and other mothers grabbing Coco/Snort at various times. It took like 607 of us to keep them both alive, and that’s only a slight exaggeration.

This afternoon I ran for Snort to make sure he wasn’t eating the possibly poisonous wild mushrooms in the garden. Two seconds later I turned to encourage Coco to come to us. When she did, her mouth/cheek was smeared with mysterious berry juice of hopefully non-poison mysterious berries.

It’s a constant flood of injuries, of being pulled in two directions at once, of me feeling so. fucking. tired.

Coco is ready to drop a nap, Snort is not – so after months and months of peaceful tandem napping, I have craziness where no one is tandem napping – and in fact, everyone has new problems falling asleep.

Snort has snot running from his nose, Coco keeps falling and hurting her mouth, both spent yesterday afternoon in a complete and total meltdown. I felt RAGE at them. Wanting to smack them repeatedly rage. I even wanted to BITE Coconut in the late afternoon after she bit me.

What the fuck, people. This isn’t me.

TMD came home yesterday and I was just sitting on the couch sobbing. I then went into hospital to get some insoles fitted, and that five minutes alone in the hospital waiting room was fucking bliss. Maybe I just need a break.

I don’t get it. I feel like all my fucking smooth talk in the first year about how easy twins were has come back to bite me solidly in the ass. About six different mothers at playgroup this morning came up to me to say some variation of ‘I don’t know how you DO it with twins, I couldn’t do it, I salute you.’ I bet they all left the group wishing they would never have twins.

This makes me sad. You all know I LOVE twins.

But today? I am crying.

I am worried that my crazy lady self I had in my early twenties is coming back – where before every period I had some pretty miserable mental health probs. I was always told it would go when I had a baby – and in fact I’ve not had that problem in almost ten years. So I have to believe it’s the last week of very broken sleep.

Teething? Snort’s cold? Ingestion of poison allergy foods? Who the fuck knows.

I am so worried I can’t ‘do’ this anymore. I pray this is just that rough transition, a shitty month or two that I can laugh about in a few months down the road.

But what if I can’t? Won’t?

Crying again. Headachey.

Ugh.

Ode to twins.

August 19, 2010

Hello, hello,
you think we’re awfully sweet
but if you dare displease us
we’ll knock you off your feet.

We love, we love
we love to brush our teeth (OURSELVES!)
and if you try to do it for us
we’ll show you how we weep.

You pop, you pop,
out of t’room to have a poop
we’ll shut the door behind you
and listen to you whoop.

We go, we go
to playgroup – lots of fun!
you’ll spend the whole time chasing us
always on the run.

You hope, you hope
you hope we’ll go to sleep
afternoon napping is
only for the weak!!

And on that note, I am off to facilitate said nap. We skipped the morning nap today to go to our very first playgroup (first outing I’ve ever done on my own with them!) and while it was awesome, I am PRAYING for a nice, long tandem nap.


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