Archive for January, 2010
Taking the babies into ‘a leading global city and one of the world’s financial centres’ (thanks, Wiki) today for a birthday lunch with Compadre.
As we have missed most of his birthdays – even pre-children – he must realise how much we love him to bundle them up and take them to The Big City. We’ll have to be on guard to make sure they don’t run away into a life of debauchery or crime. (Ha, we are totally going to this posh area where we used to live and the worst crime is probably a rich twenty-something vomiting in public at 3 in the morning.) In fact, I know a non-rich girl who may have vomited up red wine on the sidewalk once. She lives in our house, but she ain’t me. Just sayin’.
There is snow on the ground, so hopefully all the dumbasses in this area who never see snow and assume that cars cannot be used with snow – but go out anyway, sliding around like fucking bumper cars – will decide to stay in for once.
Don’t know where this weather has come from. Yesterday afternoon it was so sunny and gorgeous and I thought to myself, ‘Self, you’ve got to buck up. Take the babies for a walk. You will all like it.’ Got them strapped to me, got outside, got to the furthest point away from the house, and suddenly weird white balls were falling.
I thought, ‘Leftover petals from this tree? Styrofoam balls, why are there so many fucking styrofoam balls?’ Then I realised it was hail. Giant hailballs that only increased in size and were pelting down. Coconut was NOT impressed. Snort didn’t seem to care too much. I made right for the house while trying to stop Coconut’s face from being blasted off by the killer hail.
We go into the city today, for the first time since our trip to the Embassy to get them their passports/foreign birth certificates. We may try to cram them into their snowsuits, which probably won’t fit, but if you see a two mom family with what appears to be giant teddy bears strapped to their fronts, make sure you stop and say hi.
They are wearing their new amber teething necklaces and looking hawt, so we’ll have to closely supervise Compadre and C Dawg to make sure they don’t spirit the babies off to join them for the pub crawl due to start after our lunch. We’re planning on skipping that part!!
Love to you all.
Um, hello today! Hello! Hi. How ya doin’?
I went for my first ever ever walk outside while tandem wearing the babies today. Coconut was semi-securely (ha!) in my new-to-me purple wrap on the front, while Snort was having a very good look around at the world from my new-to-me Connecta on my back! Aussie was here, so she popped on his hat once he was on me – and then popped on her baby in the Close carrier we have on loan.
No, this isn’t just a list of the carriers we used today.
It’s pointing out that: 1) I left the house during the day, 2) I left the house while babywearing today, 3) I walked today.
We didn’t go far. Just to the end of our little street, turn right, walk a bit, come back. Then down the side of our house on the path through the green green space, back into the house. Voile. Hey presto. Maybe about ten minutes, realistically speaking.
But I did it.
I did. Me. The one who’s been in a wheelchair for months? The one who can be in so much pain from SPD that it hurts me to change diapers? Yeah, me. ME. The past few days I have noticed a dramatic reduction in my SPD pain. So much so that I have been focused on my aching back muscles (if you think wearing babies doesn’t work your muscles, oh, my friend, think again!) and not really noticing any major SPD pain. My right hip is still tricky, and my back pelvic joint is still a little bitchy, but on the whole I think I have made some major healing steps.
Oh, and my other dream came true. As we were walking down the street, my crazy ass train friend John ran out of his house after us to say hello. He’s gotten a divorce, and I asked him if I was the reason he had done so. Obviously, he said yes.
He also thought Walnut was Snort, and Aussie was just a pal helping me walk my babies. Yes, because I have one white baby and one brown baby. While that is possible, I suppose, is it likely? That being said, I want to take a minute to sing the praises of my favourite non-child baby. He is lush. (And not just because he clearly adores my all singing, all dancing auntie ass.)
As is his mother. Having a friend like Aussie is priceless. I say, let me tell you all my crazy thoughts. She nods and tells me her crazy thoughts, which fit beside mine like pieces of a puzzle. She says, let me tell you how fucking weird I am with my partner, I nod and say, yes, I did that to TMD last week. Utter and complete honesty on both sides brings me laughter and relief.
So does this little ten minute walk. The only downside is that I didn’t have my camera to make John take a picture of Aussie, me, and the three bablets – or to make Aussie take a picture of me with John. Ha!
Today my sister turns 26. For her, a handful of select childhood memories:
Bite Monster: the scariest fucking game in the universe. She would chomp her teeth together and advance on me; she was like Michael Myers. It didn’t matter how fast I ran or where I went, her slow and steady gait inspired a level of terror in me you would not believe. For awhile I thwarted her by stiffening my arms into straight lines, making fists, and moving them up and down in an alternate way. This stopped working as soon as she realised I wouldn’t actually hit her.
Behind our house and nice green grass with requisite trees was a strip of woods. These woods had a teensy tiny creek. In the winter we would snowsuit ourselves up and slide along the ice on our bellies. One year the ice cracked (I’m talking a trickle of water here, people) and the brown water began to pool on the ice. We freaked and semi-climbed a tree, staying there for hours.
Blondie also liked to try to punch me in the stomach (seeing a pattern here, people?). I stopped her doing this by telling her I was pregnant with twins: Daisy and Joey. A few years in and a triplet appeared: Petunia.
The anger in my chest as I realised she and her friend had gone through my paper journals with a red pen, making bitchy little notes in the margin.
The pride that swelled in me every time I got to see her play volleyball in high school. Or run track. Or do that scary ass high jump thing. She was really, really good at sports and I was really, really good at sitting in the stands and sending her good vibes.
Saturday Night Sneak Out Club. No list of memories would be complete without this on the list. I decided that every Saturday night we would wait until our parents were asleep, then find a location in the house to have a slumber party for two. I even dedicated a notebook to recording our escapades. We never actually did this; she says that she used to come and try to wake me up and I would just flail at her in my sleep.
Camping in …uh….Country C. The way you could earn a button/badge thing for every bag of garbage you collected. Riding our bikes to the nightly educational movies. Climbing the rocks at the end of the beach. Stony beaches. The island on the sand dune. Bears at the dump.
Did you know, Blondie, we went when you were very little and stayed in a tent? You rolled over on top of a lantern and your sleeping bag melted.
Watching my mother dive into the swimming pool to rescue baby Blondie after she had rolled in and sunk to the bottom. Watching the babysitter drop Blondie on her head on the hardwood floors of our family room. Watching Blondie fall on her head onto an asphalt parking lot.
Vampires: a semi-scary, delicious game. (All our games involved biting, apparently.) We would take turns securing ourselves in a pile of pillows and blankets. When we were ready, we would call out for the other one to pretend to be a vampire and break into our little nests. This one was good shit. I know it sounds lame, but it was fucking awesome.
Both in the bathtub, slipping and sliding back and forth, water sloshing everywhere. We had another lame-o game (but still awesome!) that involved trying to avoid letting a washcloth or multiple washcloths touch us while we were in the tub.
I remember when Blondie was a baby in a walker, and there was a tornado watch. My grandparents were over and we all sat in the kitchen while she rolled around, looking at us each in turn. This memory is the yellow colour of faded photographs, and one of my happiest snapshots.
Every other baby memory that doesn’t involve threatened cranial damage involves her thick, thick black hair and her endless baby screaming.
Another memory: a tornado coming, Mom tucking us into a cardboard box in the basement, throwing a thick mattress on top of us. Endless other tornado times in the basement, Grandma’s afgans pulled over our faces in case glass broke.
A morbid thing I always did…slowing down my actions, flipping my hair, laughing. Saying, ‘This is how you’ll remember me when I’m dead.’
The mirror, the mirror, oh the mirror. Arching our backs randomly and just saying, ‘SAVE me, from the FIRE.’ Always done with a grimace.
Or the mean little song from a Muppet-type movie: Blondie, never really learned how to play…oh eee oh…she’s always been a stick in the mud. Blondie, now I’m gonna show you the way ….oh eee oh….why you wanna be a dud. She sang this to me as well. It was like the ultimate insult.
Forehead pushes. We would face each other, bend over, and push our foreheads together as hard as possible while, yes, grimacing. This was satisfying to me in a weird ass way.
We liked Full House. On one episode, Michelle said to DJ, ‘You’re smart, pretty, and cool and I want to be just like you.’ I always said this to her….’Because I’m smart, pretty, and cool and you want to be just like me?’ We laughed about this a lot.
When we grew up, she told me that yes, I was smart, pretty, and cool and she wanted to be just like me.
My sister is a survivor. My sister tries to heal her wounds and is not sure how. My sister is an explorer, a poet, a smart businesswoman, a creative shape-changing she-girl who is always reinventing herself. My sister lives for the woods, for adrenaline, for new things. My sister longs for stability and romance and a perfect understanding of things.
She is beautiful, curious, brave, funny, quirky, hopeful.
Happy birthday to you,
happy birthday to you,
happy birthday, dear sister,
happy birthday to you.
I am glad you are the one that remembers our childhood with me.
I had five years without you in my life, and the first time I held you in my arms, I was stunned by happiness. I finally had my baby, my little sister, and I was gentle with you. Forgive me for the times I was not as gentle, but remember that there is always a five year old in me who is amazed, deeply, at how much I love you and how much you belong in my life.
I think people often use New Year’s resolutions in a wish-making way. Like, ‘I wish this was the year I would lose 30 pounds, get a new job, buy a house, etc etc.’ I don’t think wishes without action often give us much, not do I think actions without hope can be very inspired.
Regardless, if I had wishes for New Year’s? I would allocate some of them to other people.
I wish apieceofwood would get pregnant this year. She’s funny, she’s got a dirty sailor mouth, she’s friendly, she’s genuine. Her kid would have a lot of fun with her, I feel, despite the fact that I have not met her in real life. I don’t know much about her husband – okay, anything – but I’m assuming he is also awesome since she likes him. If you have spare time or wishes, go offer her support as she faces the dreaded needles of IVF yet again.
I also wish that Becky and Holly would get knocked up. They have been through a lot on their voyage to conceive, things I keep trying to write here and then erasing because it seems too private – despite the fact that it is in their blog. Becky’s tummy wants to get stretch marks and be kicked and have kisses from Holly, okay, universe? If you have some more spare time and like the lesbian families (which of course you do, dear readers, as you are reading about MY lesbolicious family) go say hi to these fun, adventurous, yearning moms-to-be.
There are a lot of hopes I have for people in this world, most of whom are faces I’ve only seen in pictures. Some, though, are people I love and hug and kiss. I wish that my dear friend Aussie will have a miraculously beautiful wedding, and oh, how I wish we could be there with her on her big day. I wish that I could have spent every day of my two weeks at home with Cookie, not because she’s oh-so-Jewish and brought us food every time we saw her, but because she is home to me. I wish that Compadre and C Dawg continue to laugh as much together this year as they did last year.
I wish my sister peace. Inner peace, understanding, some little pool of calm inside herself – even as she continues to explore the world, her world, and do all sorts of adventurous physical shit.
And of the other bloggers I could write seven thousand words about because I have read their millions of words? I wish I could meet and hang out with her (and I hope she loves her new house) and her (she already feels like someone I should be meeting for cake immediately!) – because twim moms need to stick together. I wish for the continued growth and beauty of this girl and that girl, and their gorgeous mothers. I wish that this woman regains control over her body. I wish for this girl to see how beautiful she is.
I think blogs can be little pieces of miracles. I went back the other day and reread our time trying to conceive with IVF (November 2008, kids), I read our pregnancy again. And through it all, I was like, ‘Don’t give up, little happy and hopeful women. This is going to work. Snort and Coconut are going to come.’ And that story was already written, already had the happy ending.
I have to believe the same is true for people I care about, even if their happy endings are not yet committed to paper.
If you wear a baby to the shops, your hands are free on the way home to hold a Rice Krispie treat and a Diet Coke.
In other news, did you read the subtext? I walked all the way to the shops yesterday! With a baby on my tummy! My back started clicking about halfway there, but I decided to push on. My legs were supersore and my crotchly SPD hurt a bit, but nothing like I had expected. Is this the first step to being able to wear both and walk to baby clinic (across from the shops)?
In other other news, I shot a how-to video for tandem wearing twins with a wrap on front and a Connecta on the back. I need to reshoot as, uh, it was my first attempt with this combo of carriers (and will not be my last! SO EASY, so comfy, such good weight distribution) and it was hard to use the hip scoot to get Snort on my back. In the video, it looks as if I’m *clears throat* close to dropping him. Don’t worry. I wasn’t. He clings to my hips and back like a limpet, as does his sister.
But I am wondering about these videos. I’ve had a number of people approach me with tandem wearing, or solo wearing, questions. I think videos are so frickin’ helpful, much better than reading descriptions or looking at pictures. But…post the videos here? A different blog? Just facebook/youtube?
I’m not sure. I have opened another wordpress blog in case I decide to go down that route. At any rate, when a video is ready, would you be interested in seeing it? Would it be helpful? It demonstrates a good carry for a singleton on the front, and then also shows how to get a structured soft carrier with buckles on the back – and how the two work together. Input, please.
This obviously links into the whole anonymity thing. Hmm.
I used to spend Monday nights counselling in an amazing place – the first place I ever worked with adults and liked it, actually. I would walk there from our home, a ten minute walk along tree lined streets, and when I walked through the door I was among friends. Everyone was gay, so the thing that happened at other agencies didn’t happen here. In other agencies, I was always referred the gay clients.
Not sure why. Much like some of my colleagues in others jobs were almost mythically scared of counselling – ‘I’m not a counsellor, I can’t talk about those sorts of things with people, I don’t want to open a can of worms’ – people in these other agencies must have thought I had gay superpowers. It’s odd, the assumption that just because a person is gay that must be why they are in therapy. My clients at these other places wanted to talk about depression, losing a baby, their experiences in combat.
The reverse happened on Monday nights. Because everyone was gay, I was often referred clients with mental health issues. Now, don’t get me wrong, I like mental health as much as…well, as much as me, but sometimes it’s nice to say, ‘No, thanks. I have too many clients with too many needs. I need a few people who are a little less complex.’
On those nights I sat among friends, three other counsellors and the night administrator. We talked about our training, played with a kitten that always managed to sneak into the building, struggled over notes, drank a lot of half-cold tea. My clients came, one by one, and I would go into the waiting room to get them. I always filled up with water, we climbed the stairs, I shut the door behind us and we settled in to work.
The people were astonishing in their bravery, in their terror, in their confusion and joy and hope. In their despair. I would listen to one person speak of their absolute certainty they had HIV, yet still fell to their knees every weekend in dark alleys, pleasuring strangers. I heard about the preparations someone else was making for the end of the world, for disasters right around the corner. I nodded along as people talked about starting relationships, ending relationships, wanting to lose their virginity, wanting to lose themselves in the perfect oblivion of happiness that they were sure a forever-relationship would give.
I would walk down the stairs, back to my colleagues, and we would share ten minutes together before the next set of clients walked up the path. We ate biscuits, flirted with each other (oh, how I miss my gay boyfriend!), processed difficult sessions in huddled two or three minute support sessions. Then the next client would appear. And the next.
The room I worked in had tapestries hanging on the walls, comfortable padded chairs that rocked gently, a window that never totally shut, a skylight that made any rain sound like gunshots. It had puppets and clay and toys in the corner, for during the days it was used during family therapy.
In that room, one person spread out cards on the ground, as we made a storyline of her life, her dreams, her what-nexts. Another borrowed a puzzle, each piece an animal, and we talked about who she was, who her sister was, her mother. Another brought his own lists into the room, driven to meet each point and subpoint, to achieve everything in five minutes or feel doomed as a failure. One clutched a pillow to her stomach every session, as if she was protecting her insides the only way she knew how.
In that room, I supported people changing gender. I offered someone the genuine human contact their psychiatrist seemed unable to. I accepted a painting a client did, with obscure figures representing our relationship; it was beautiful.
Every other week on Thursday afternoons, I would appear in that room again. There I shared my work with others, we discussed people – not cases, I admitted that sometimes I needed a break and I learned how to ask for one. We used glitter, we made cards for those leaving, we welcomed those who joined in. Our group eventually settled on three counsellors and a supervisor, women joined together in their curiosity about themselves and other people.
I miss that room, those people. I wonder how my past clients are doing, and have to feel that most of them are still on their path to growing up, growing out, developing. I miss the feel of Monday nights, as the warmth and belonging wrapped around me. I miss the way it was to deepen my practice as a counsellor, to realise that yes, I was good working with adults, I liked working with adults, I might actually consider working with adults again. I miss the faces – those that were tear stained, those that were angry and blaming, those that were looking to me to fill something they were having trouble filling in themselves.
I miss the wobbles and the uncertainties, the what-the-fuck-do-I-say-now moments, the comfort and belief that I didn’t need to have all the answers, because the people sitting not-quite-across from me usually did.
It was nice.
When I was a child, there was a stretch of railroad track suspended high above a muddy river. My father, his parents, my mother, my sister, my cousins – everyone loved to walk over the evenly spaced pieces of wood, perhaps because the feel of danger – but mostly because everyone believed there was no way anything bad could ever happen.
I did not. I hated those tracks, and the terror of creeping across them, hardly daring to breathe, the fucking relief when stepping onto grass on the other side. But the knowledge that I would have to turn around, at some point, and cross them again. No matter the sweetness of the smell of honeysuckle, no matter the sunlight dancing through impossibly green leaves. Every step forward was a lie, because I knew, knew, simply knew it would require me to turn back with a brave face and walk across those tracks again.
It never occured to me to tell anyone I didn’t want to, and even if I had, my father would have shamed me into it with his jollying along, his laughter, his head shaking as if to say, Who is this girl I have raised as my daughter?
But he didn’t, you know. Raise me. Oh, he shaped me. Every time I heard my mother pushed down the stairs, every time he hit me, every time he drank and drank and drank and decided he wasn’t going to bother coming home. Sometimes we walked in fields, exploring the world and me being given a chance to be me, in a way my mother couldn’t provide. Most times it was the laughter, the jokes, the cruel games I never quite believed were games. Even then, I knew he meant to hurt, to twist me up, to confuse.
His parents owned that house a drive away from the railroad tracks. My grandfather was a gentle, short, smiling soul. He had the misfortune to share his life with my grandmother, a hard, thin shell of a woman who didn’t understand how to give or receive love. She watched birds, he smiled and called my sister ‘Snicklefritz.’
They had a path behind their house, an escape I loved. Unlike the railroad tracks, so free and high in the sunshine, this path was crowded by trees, never walked on by anyone but me, it felt, and went past things dear to me. A little shelter that was never explained. An open meadow ringed by perfectly spaced pine trees. Peace and space away from everyone else and room to think, think, think. Space to be.
I have dreamt of that path this week, perhaps last night, though with a mother’s tired mind I cannot promise it is so. But this week, perhaps last night, I took TMD along that path. At first it was different, then I began to recognise things. Instead of grasping with my hands, my feet knew the way and we walked in the dappled quiet.
Upon waking, I thought, That’s weird. I haven’t thought of that path in years. Upon waking, I thought, I wonder if he is going to die.
This morning I heard the news: my grandfather, the peaceful teacher who had fought in the world’s greatest war, had died. Sometime between 2:30 and 5:30 am.
I have not seen or spoken to my father’s parents in over seven years. I heard the news, I felt the immediate shock of What? Death still exists? I felt nothing much after that, aside from a twinge of guilt for not feeling much. This man, this man who lost his memory at the end, had a picture of my babies hanging on the wall of his nursing home. It was the only thing on that board. I don’t know if he even knew who they were. Who I was.
I went through the day, not feeling much, feeling like I should feel more.
This evening TMD came into the bathroom. I was in a hot tub, I looked at her, and I started to cry.
For myself, for my healing, I wish the courage to walk those tracks. Or to say, You know? I like it over here. I don’t have to cross them if I don’t want to. Those tracks go in only one direction, and the rest of the ground can take me in millions.
For that man who died this morning, I wish peace, escape and freedom to be, solitude if he wishes, but a place in my memory worn as smooth as a path I once liked to walk.