Saturday, October 1, 2011

Updates from the Sporadic Mommy Blogger

Wow. So I guess it’s been awhile. The girls are driving now. Applying to colleges. Julie just got a tattoo and Anna is dating a football player named Buddy…

Okay, so it hasn’t been quite that long, but it feels like I could blink and all of that could be happening. Well, I pray there’s no tattoo or a Buddy, but you know what I mean.

The girls’ first birthday came and went. They’re now 13 months old. Anna is walking/running all over the place, but Julie hasn’t really taken to it yet. She’ll take a few wobbly steps before deciding that crawling is the more efficient method of transport. I’m confident she’ll figure it out soon enough though, and to be completely honest, I’m not in a rush to have two toddlers sprinting around the house. One runner and one crawler is challenging enough.

I am, however, anxious for more words. They’ll say Mama and Dada, but that’s about it. I think they’re trying to say other words, but I’ve never been very good with baby talk so hell if I can make it out. I saw a Facebook post the other day from a mother bragging about all the things her 12 month old was saying – “ooh da” for “who’s that” and “dit dow” for “get down.” It got me thinking; maybe my girls are talking but I’m just not a very good translator. Who knows.

Their word comprehension amazes me though. If I say, “Who’s that?” while pointing at Roger, I’m met with blank stares, but if I ask “Where’s Daddy?” they point right to him. They’ll point to their heads, toes, and bellies when asked. They stick out their tongues on command. They’ll fetch certain toys when I tell them too – monkey, puppy, ball, cookie monster, a book. If I mention Sesame Street they look expectantly at the TV. They stand up when I ask them too. They sit down when I say “bum on the seat” (something I’m constantly saying to my little monkeys). They also understand “cuddle” and “kiss,” and let me tell you, there is nothing more adorable than saying “sister cuddles!” and watching the two of them hug. Julie though, can be a bit stingy with her kisses. She may not have figured out how to say “no” verbally, but she sure knows how to express the sentiment. “Can I have a kiss, Julie?” If she’s not in the mood to cuddle, she shakes her head. “Will you take a bite of broccoli?” She presses her lips together and shakes her head. “Can Anna have a turn?” She shakes her head. Yes, I realize I’m in trouble.

But wait. What am I doing? If you’re unfortunate enough to still be reading , I feel I should apologize. I didn’t set out to document my babies’ milestones here and yet…when did I become a mommy blogger? Oh yeah, I guess I’d have to post with some kind of frequency in order to be classified as such. No worries there; I don’t see that happening any time soon. But while I'm on a roll, I might as well post a couple cute photos of my spawn. Because that's what mommy bloggers do.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The terrifying implications of shape-sorting

I have a hundred blog posts in my head right now (okay maybe not a hundred, but at least ten) but just no time to write them. Well, that’s not true; I have as many hours in my day as the next person, but there just always seems to be something more pressing than composing a blog post. You know - work, babies, laundry, more work, dishes, sleep. I don’t beat myself up for not posting because honestly, the amount I accomplish in any given day is pretty damn impressive - even if I can‘t manage to post with any kind of predictability.

But the thing is, I miss it. I miss writing about the things I care about. And even if I wasn’t a writer, as a mom, I want to document all the cool little things my babies are doing. So while I may not have time to explore all the nuances about being a working wife and mother of twins, I can at least keep a record of what my little girls are doing, right? So here goes...

This tenth month has brought all kinds of new tricks. Both of the girls are now master crawlers and cruisers, which means my days with them are literally spent chasing babies. They’re babbling more, but still no real words (except "Dada" of course - the little traitors). That doesn’t mean they can’t communicate though - and they certainly aren’t shy about letting you know how they’re feeling. Anna started waving a while ago - mostly at the Winnie the Pooh balloon in the nursery. Julie also loves Pooh, but only recently started waving at him too. They’ll wave at people now as well, but not always at the right time. They've also started clapping. And when one starts the other immediately joins in - just like little cheerleaders - God help me.

They're eating all kinds of foods - pasta, cheese, black beans, sweet potato fries, kiwi, watermelon, berries. They love peanut butter which you're not supposed to give babies before their first birthday, but seriously? With the amount of peanut butter I consumed while pregnant and breastfeeding, I figured there's no way they could be allergic. And thank God they're not. I might have to disown them.

People ask about their personalities, and I feel hesitant to comment because it seems too early to burden them with traits and characteristics they may or may not keep. And I worry that the assumptions I make about their personalities now will potentially affect how I (and others) treat them. For example, my mom bought them a little bucket with a lid that you sort shapes into. You know - the circle goes in the circle hole, the square goes in the square hole, etc. For months now I've been trying to show them both how to do it, but only in the last week or so has Julie figured it out. She can do the circle all on her own and with a little help can do the other shapes too. I clap and squeal when she gets it right and she giggles with glee at the praise. Anna, completely oblivious to her sister's accomplishment, also enjoys the praise. She looks up from whatever she's doing and gives me a big smile as if to say, "Yes, Mommy, I am pretty wonderful!" before going back to whatever she's doing.

Julie however remains focused on the task at hand, and she gets very frustrated when she can't do it on her own (just like Mommy!). Anna on the other hand, doesn't seem to understand why you would go to the trouble of putting the circle in the circle hole when you could just as easily lift the lid and put the circle (along with all the other shapes) directly in the bucket. And really, she has a point. Why shouldn't you take the solution that requires less effort? (A point often made by Daddy!). It would be easy for me to fall into a pattern of treating Julie like me - a hardworking perfectionist determined to do everything right - and Anna like Roger - a laid back optimist eager to make the best of every situation.

It's not that I think they'll end up in therapy if we do treat them differently because of how they approach shape sorting, but I still want to try my best not to do it. And it's just so tempting - because it's not just the shape sorter. We've been making these comparisons since we brought them home from the hospital. When Julie was screaming for no discernible reason while Anna was cooing in her crib we assumed it was because Julie was stressed and dramatic (like Mommy!) and Anna was taking it easy (like Daddy!). That's not to say Anna hasn't had her moments of inexplicable screaming and Julie has never taken things in stride - they have and they do. In fact, they're constantly switching roles (and thank God they do because those rare moments when they're both inexplicably screaming are near impossible to cope with!). But I want to be careful not to fall into a pattern of treating Julie one way and Anna another. I want them both to know that I think they're both capable of anything. Julie may be named after her orthopedic surgeon aunt but Anna is just as likely to become one. And Bryanna Darby may be named after her athletic grandfather and her artistic aunt, but Julie could just as easily turn out to be the athlete or the actress.

Even if I wanted to, I know I can't dictate their future. But I want to make an effort to open doors - not to push them through. I know; they're barely ten months old and I'm already assessing the potential ways I might screw them up, but how can I not? There are just so many ways...

You know, maybe it's best that I don't usually have time to write because thinking about it all is just a little too terrifying.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Babies On Board

I remember looking at strollers when I was pregnant and the sales guy saying something about using it at the grocery store and thinking “Why would I ever take two babies to the grocery store?” But now that I have those two babies, I find myself wanting to take them everywhere. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s a total pain in the ass to get two babies in and out of their car seats and in and out of the stroller (especially when I’m on my own) but the actual being with them in stores, restaurants, parks, etc is actually really fun. The girls like the change of scenery and I like showing them new things. And I’ll admit it, I kind of like the attention too.

There is a certain look you get when you are cruising around Target with two babies in a stroller. It’s kind of a half-smile/nod that I interpret to be a combination of admiration and pity. In my (quite possibly delusional) mind I imagine they’re thinking “What adorable babies, but how does she do it?” My response to this look of pity and admiration is kind of a shrug/smile that is meant to convey “Thanks, I’m doing the best I can!”

These looks have become so common that I’ve started to anticipate them before they happen. In fact, occasionally I find myself giving my shrug/smile to people that haven’t given me the admiration/pity look at all. They’re just going about their shopping when some strange woman with sweet potatoes smeared on her shirt gives them an odd shrug/smile. I can’t help it!

Now the looks I get at the park are a little bit different. The girls are in the jogging stroller as I huff and puff around the trail getting one of two looks. One of the “park looks” consists of a big smile and nod that can only be interpreted as admiration and encouragement. The look may even be accompanied by “You go girl!” (I eat that crap up!)

The other “park look” is kind of a raised eyebrow “tsk tsk” that suggests they think I am somehow putting my babies at risk by bouncing them around the park in the heat/cold where they might be harmed by bugs/dogs/squirrels/etc. (I ignore these looks!)

But there at the park, I find myself once again anticipating the looks of admiration/encouragement and I often give a big smile of appreciation to random runners who haven’t even noticed that I’m pushing a giant double stroller. And of course on those rare weekend mornings when I’m jogging without said stroller, I tend to forget that I’m sans babies and give my big smile of appreciation to puzzled strangers.

I then remember that I’m just another jogger at the park and, without my babies, I have no excuse for my sluggish pace and racing heartbeat. So yeah, is it any wonder I prefer to travel with my two babies in tow?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


As of Mother’s Day weekend, Julie is officially crawling. Anna is technically crawling too, but she can really only move backwards. Go figure. They’re both pulling up on whatever sturdy (and not-so-sturdy) object they can get their hands on. And if you really listen (and are completely desperate to hear it) you can definitely make out “Mama” and “Dada” amid the baby babble. It’s just crazy how they’re becoming little people right before my eyes.

Every parent will tell you how fast the time flies, and I guess it’s true. I can’t believe they’re nearly nine months old already, but then again, I can hardly remember my life before them so in some ways I can’t believe it’s only been nine months.

Time is a funny thing. Most days, my time at home with the girls goes so fast (except for that neverending hour between 5 and 6 when the girls are especially cranky and "Daddy" isn't home to help yet). After we’ve put them down for the night I look around and wonder where the day went. It’s likely we didn’t leave the house except for a walk to the park and maybe I managed to complete a load or two of laundry – so where did the time go? It’s a mystery, but my best guess goes like this:

4 hours feeding babies – milk, baby food, and now “finger foods”
2 hours changing diapers and dressing babies
3 hours playing with babies (me on the floor serving as jungle gym, clown, librarian, musician, and basic safety net)
1.5 hours walking/jogging to the park (includes time spent getting babies in and out of stroller!)
.5 hours bathing babies
2 hours of me scrambling around the house washing dishes, doing laundry, taking a shower, and possibly uploading pictures or posting a blog while the girls nap

That adds up to the 13 hours that account for the babies’ day. My day is a bit longer but I won’t bore you with my few additional activities. I’ll just say they’re minimal and that it all ends with me collapsed in the bed with my kindle over my face. My days in the office also end like that but they're not quite as tiring! It's constant chaos, and yet somehow I wouldn't change a thing. (That's a lie. I'd have a live-in maid!)

So as you can see, the days and weeks go by in a blur, and now over a month has passed since our trip to South Africa.

I intended to write a little more about our time there, but in hindsight it hardly seems as dramatic as it felt at the time. Sure, I could tell you how Julie refused to sleep for more than an hour at a time. How neither of them would nap unless being pushed in the stroller. I could tell you about the post-funeral luncheon where they would have napped in said stroller were it not for the ear-splitting sound of a tile cutter being used on the sidewalk outside (not to mention the oh-so-healthy smell of formaldehyde). I could recount the strangeness of being the sober one amid a grieving family that loves its alcohol or the joy of being reunited with so many friends and family and then the guilt that accompanied that joy (for the reason for the reunion was so very sad). I could tell you how in awe I was of my husband's strength during what was probably the hardest week of his life so far.

But those stories don’t seem all that entertaining now. And to be honest, I just don’t have the time!

Napping in South Africa (yes, that's a mosquito net!)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Infant in Arms

A parent’s first airplane flight with a baby is always a bit nerve wracking. No one wants to be the mom (or dad) holding a screaming infant anywhere – but particularly not in the confined space of an airplane. But that's just the obvious concern. There is also the challenge of getting through security with a baby, not to mention all of the crap you have to bring along with you when travelling with an infant - car seats, strollers, diaper bags, toys, etc. People do it all the time though, so when the time came for us to book our babies' first flight, we knew that we too would manage somehow.

Of course, most parents don't take their baby to South Africa for its first flight. And most parents don't bring two babies along for the ride. But this too is possible.

We arrived at the airport four hours before our departure completely terrified. Well, I was terrified; Roger was in a grief induced haze. But I'm here to tell you that there are angels among us and my friend Ashley is one of them! She works for Delta and had managed to go ahead and reserve the bulkhead seats for us with the bassinet option (for both legs of the trip). This was a huge relief! She met us at the airport for moral support and was even able to walk us through security. And thank God she did! I don't know how we would have managed to get the girls out of the stroller, fold up the stroller, hoist it onto the conveyor belt along with our 4 carry on bags, remove our shoes, walk through the scanner, collect our 4 carry on bags and the stroller, open the stroller, get he girls back in the stroller and get our shoes back on without an extra pair of arms. (We would actually figure out how to do this on the way back, but it would have been way too much for the first step in our journey!). So thank God for Ashley.

Once we were through security things went pretty smoothly. We rode the train to the international gate. We fed the girls their dinner, changed their diapers, and loaded them into the Baby Bjorn carriers (Ashley had advised this was the easiest way to board the plane). They invited people with small children to board shortly after the first class passengers. This was about 7 pm. We bravely walked down the Jetway trying not to think about the fact that we would not be able to exit the plane until 11:30 am the following day (the time at our destination would be 5:30 pm).

Now, the bulkhead is by far the best place to sit in coach. There is a ton of extra leg room. However, because there are no seats in front of you, you have to store your carry on bags in the overhead. This does not allow for very easy access if you are 5' 4 and holding a 15 lb baby. In fact, even if you are 6'3 and holding a baby, you still don't have easy access. We quickly realized this and grabbed the essentials - diapers, wipes, the changing pad, pacifier, and a teether or two - and stuffed them in the magazine pockets on the wall in front of us. Everything else went in the overhead - including the snacks my friend Robin had thought to pack for us, knowing it would be hard for us to eat meals with babies in our arms. She's so considerate. If only we'd been able to get to them during the 16 hour flight. But who needs to eat anyway?

Little known fact about airplanes. You know the oxygen masks that drop down from the ceiling in case of emergency? Well, they wisely put an extra one above each section in case someone is travelling with an "infant in arms." So on our flight, each section of three seats had four masks above it. This is okay if one person in that section is holding a baby, but it's not okay if two people in that section are holding babies. You see where I'm going with this? That's right - Roger and I couldn't sit next to each other. Well, we were next to each other, but there was an aisle between us. Great.

Sitting an aisle apart from my husband wouldn't have been that big of a deal except that I'm still breastfeeding. I felt sure this would make travelling easier (no bottles and formula to pack - yay!) but even with my stylish nursing cover, there was simply no way for me to feed a baby without getting way too up close and personal with the woman next to me. It wasn't a matter of modesty - it was a matter of space. There simply wasn't room to position a baby the way I needed to without borrowing some serious space from the seat next to me. So what did I do? I ended up feeding my babies in the bathroom. I'm assuming most of you have used the lavatory on an airplane before so I don't need to describe the horror of everything that entailed. Needless to say it's not a place you want to spend an extended period of time. But in addition to serving as a place to nurse babies, I also used the bathroom as a sort of cone of silence. Any time my baby (I say "my baby" to mean whichever baby I was holding at that time) got really fussy and inconsolable, I darted to the bathroom where I could pretend no one could hear us. Yes, I said "us," for I too shed some tears in that bathroom.

But the worst part of the flight wasn't the stress of holding a crying baby while an entire plane full of people are trying to sleep - in fact, a few hours into it, that was the least of my concerns. The hardest part was the physical exhaustion of holding a baby for 16 hours straight. We were constantly holding babies! It's not like I could ask Roger to hold her while I ate something, or got something out of the overhead, or even went to the bathroom - because he too was holding a baby!

"But what about the bassinet?" you may be wondering. In case you're not familiar, each section of the bulkhead has a place to hook a bassinet where a baby can safely sleep, but my babies were having none of it. It would have been perfect for a baby that still slept in a swaddle, but at my girls' current size and levels of mobility, the bassinet simply wasn't going to cut it. Now, they may have settled into it had I given them a little time, but how do you explain to an entire plane full of people - "Hey, I know my baby is screaming but I really think if we give her 5-10 minutes she may just settle!" You don't. So the bassinets just became a depository for diapers, wipes, and toys.

So what did we do with two babies for 16 hours? It's all a bit of a blur now. I feel like I spent at least 13 of those 16 hours just walking around the plane or hiding out in the bathroom. At one point my baby - it was Anna I think? - fell into a pretty deep sleep and I was able to sit down for almost an hour and doze with her in my arms. Roger was able to get each of the girls to sleep in the Baby Bjorn for awhile so he could nod off without worrying about dropping them. I tried the Baby Bjorn with Julie early in the flight but for some reason it sent her into a fit of rage so I was hesitant to try again.

Fortunately, the older woman to my left was genuinely sympathetic. She did actually hold a baby a time or two so that I could find something in the overhead and once so I could go to the bathroom. (Roger and I would both eventually figure out how to pee while holding a baby.) And honestly, had I known how close to passing out I would be by the end of the flight I might have taken her up on her offer to hold Anna while I ate something. But stupidly, I didn't. The flight attendants were less helpful than I thought they would be. They sailed right by with their trays of food, never offering any kind of alternative - like a sandwich - to someone who might not have the ability to fold out their tray. (Sorry to harp on the subject, but you know I'm not one to miss a meal - much less three of them! And hello? Breastfeeding two babies makes you extra hungry. So there.)

At one point during the flight - while hiding in the bathroom with a crying Julie while listening to Anna cry in the main cabin - I swore to myself I would never make this flight with two babies again. Then I realized I would indeed make the flight again - in eight days. I briefly contemplated just staying in South Africa until the girls were older - but when would be old enough? Sigh. I would have to do it again. But hey, it was almost over right? How long had we been in the air anyway? Surely we were in the homestretch I thought as I made my way back to my seat. I caught a glance of the time on the flight screen. We'd been in the air six hours. I looked at Roger - his face still red from the anxiety of holding a crying baby in a plane full of sleeping passengers. "We're not even half way there," I whispered with desperation in my voice. Roger said nothing, but I'm pretty sure I saw a tear in his eye.

Needless to say we made it. And the flight back to Atlanta, while two hours longer than the flight to Joburg, was actually a thousand times better. (There were two empty seats in my section of the bulkhead so Roger was able to move into my section and we had a free seat beside us.) The thing is, I knew the flights would be hard. I wasn't prepared for just how hard, but still, I knew. What I wasn't prepared for was how hard it would be to take care of my babies in a totally new environment, not to mention timezone.

But I'll save those horrors for a different post. I've whined enough for one afternoon...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Larger than life.

The world is a much darker place than it was two weeks ago. That's because on March 29, 2011 - on his 36th wedding anniversary - Frederick Bryan Melhuish took his last breath.

My father-in-law was truly larger than life. And yet, to use a cliche to describe someone so unique seems somehow wrong. But how else do you describe the way his very presence filled up a room? How the people around him couldn't help but notice his big laugh, his loud voice, his jovial nature? Strangers were drawn to him. Friends and acquaintances sought out opportunities to be near him. And why wouldn't they? Bryan always appeared to be having more fun than anyone else - whether he was dancing with his glamorous wife, knocking back cane and Cokes with his sons, throwing the ball with his grandchildren, playing tennis with friends, or even just enjoying a bacon sandwich on his own.

Bryan loved life, but he certainly had his grumpy moments too. Of course he made no apologies for his grumpiness. Or anything else for that matter. Bryan was who he was. Take him or leave him. And most people were more than willing to take him exactly as he was. He could call your baby ugly one minute then have you laughing about it in the next.

No, Bryan didn't hold back his opinions. But he never held back his emotions either. The words "I love you" flowed freely from his lips, and perhaps that is the thing I loved most about him. I can't count the number of times I heard him say those words to his wife, to his children, his grandchildren, even his friends. And of course, I heard him say them to me often as well. I can still hear him saying, "I love you, my girl. Take good care of those babies," the last time I saw him.

What I never told Bryan was how grateful I was that he said those words so freely. Because in doing so, he taught his children to say them also. And now, I hear those words from my husband multiple times a day. My little girls hear them from their father all day long. The words "I love you" certainly aren't saved for special occasions around our house. Nor should they be.

Bryan was certainly larger than life. But he wasn't stronger than death. The battle he fought with cancer wasn't one he could win. He valiantly kept the enemy at bay for more than eight years, but the war had to end eventually. And I think he made peace with that fact long before anyone else did. He continued to let doctors poke and prod him to humor his loved ones, even though he knew the time was coming for him to wave the white flag.

We all knew the end was near, but no one was ready to say goodbye. Certainly not last October, when Bryan and Sally came to Atlanta to meet their newest grandchildren. And yet the distance made it impossible for us to say one last final goodbye in person. Instead we Skyped almost daily until it seemed cruel to force him to wave at a webcam from his bed. Then we knew it was time. We booked our flight but Bryan passed away the morning we left.

Perhaps it's better that way. I don't think the larger than life man we knew would have wanted our final memories of him to be at his deathbed. Instead we'll remember him as he was. Laughing. Drinking. Dancing. Telling Jokes. Offending people. Answering the door without any clothes on. Shouting at his favorite sports team on the television. Handing out champagne cocktails as he welcomed you to the party.

And I'm sure he'll have one waiting for all of us when we see him again someday...

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Roger is such an amazing dad. And he and I, well, we have this bedtime routine down to a science. I often think that if we only had one baby, we'd probably take turns putting our little one to bed (or let's face it, I'd probably do it 90% of the time) but because we have two, both of our babies get to have both of their parents put them to bed every night (well, most nights).

I say all this to preface what I'm about to tell you. Because if I told you what I'm about to tell you without this preamble you'd probably think Roger is the kind of dad that never changes diapers or dresses babies - and you would definitely be wrong.

But tonight, Roger bathed Anna and dressed her in her PJ's but forgot one small detail. A diaper.

Fortunately, part of our routine involves one of us setting out the diapers so that they are ready to go when we get them out of the bath (we're like an assembly line around here!). So I noticed that the diaper for Anna was still sitting there when I went to dress Julie, and I asked him about it. He put his hand on Anna's bum and immediately realized his mistake.

It's a funny story - in a "Silly Daddy!" kind of way. It's worth sharing anyway (well, clearly I thought so!). But as I'm writing this, I'm starting to think maybe it's not so funny. Because Roger has a lot on his mind lately. I get the sense that he's moving through each day on autopilot, so maybe it's not all that surprising that he could overlook a detail like a diaper.

See, Roger's dad is sick. Really sick. And he's been battling this sickness for almost as long as we've been married, but the battle is almost over. Any day now they say...

So yeah, Roger has a lot on his mind. And really, how important is a diaper anyway?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Haunted House

Last week Roger played tennis. Twice. That means there were two nights last week where I bathed, fed, and put to bed - not one - but two babies. At the same time. Now, if I didn't have such an amazing husband I probably would have had to master this process months ago, but lucky for me - most nights Roger is home to do the "bedtime routine" with me. But we're both feeling braver lately. I've left Roger on his own a few times to feed the girls and put them to bed, and he's done great. So of course I had to one up him by adding the bath into the mix!

And I did it! I wouldn't say I made it look easy. In fact, I'm pretty sure my heart rate was over 160 the whole time, but that's okay, right? The girls were clean, fed, and happily snoozing by 7:30.

I went downstairs to wash up the various baby paraphernalia overflowing the kitchen sink. I was feeling particularly proud of myself when I heard a faint moaning from the monitor. My stomach tightened. (Not sure how else to explain that sickening feeling in your stomach when you sense that your baby isn't asleep when she should be!) I turn off the faucet and step closer to the monitor. Nothing. I turn the water back on.

Now, sometimes after a full day of taking care of babies, you continue to hear baby noises long after the babies have fallen into a peaceful sleep. But I swear it's not just in my head this time. I put the monitor to my ear. Yes, definitely some kind of moaning. Clearly, no one is in desperate need of my attention but it's just - weird.

I go back upstairs to check out the situation. I stroll past the nursery door, but I don't hear anything. I tiptoe inside the room. Nothing. I go back downstairs, satisfied that my babies are sleeping soundly. But I continue to hear the weird moans. I'm embarrassed to say it took me three more trips to the nursery before I finally resigned myself to the fact that either 1) I'm crazy, or 2) the monitor is haunted.

Roger called to tell me he was on his way home, I told him about the haunted monitor.

"Well it makes sense, of course," he says gravely. But my silence informs him that it does not make sense to me. "Because of the baby in the closet."

I instantly know what he means, and I feel oddly relieved. See the couple that lived in this house before us inherited an antique baby gown when they moved in. It was hanging on a wooden hanger on a hook behind what is now the guest room door and they never moved it. They thought it was "good luck" (though I'm not sure why?) so they kindly left it in its original spot for us.

Very sweet. And completely creepy. Roger and I lived in the guest room for the first month or so after we moved in and I couldn't sleep with the damn thing hanging there so I promptly relocated it to the closet. I couldn't bring myself to get rid of it though.

But now I might have to. I can't have some ancient baby haunting my monitor. I'm close enough to crazy as it is...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Pinch me

I've been hesitant to talk about this for fear of jinxing it, but it's been nearly three weeks now, so I guess it's time to share. As of March 1st I'm working part-time. I still have my same job - albeit with reduced responsibilities - but I only report to work on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. I'm home with the girls on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and a nanny (a highly qualified mother of four daughters!) stays with the girls on the days I'm at work.

It almost feels too good to be true. I get to spend more time with my babies while still staying involved at work. The girls' constant colds seem to have gone away. They are definitely getting more attention, and they seem less fussy at night thanks to better naps during the day. And for the first time in months, I don't feel like a zombie.

But I wouldn't be me if I couldn't find something to stress about even in this ideal arrangment. And I have - it's too perfect! I keep waiting for something to go wrong. The nanny decides she doesn't like the job. My boss decides he doesn't need me as much as he thought he did.

And if I'm being really honest, I think I'm also a little worried that by moving to a part-time position I've somehow admitted defeat. I couldn't do it all. I'm not Superwoman.

But you know what? That's okay. I may have lost a few bragging rights, but at this moment, I wouldn't change a thing.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Love letter

It's been a rough couple of weeks. Lots of drama at work (the least of which though perhaps the most entertaining involved a horrifying breast milk/wardrobe malfunction. But that's a story for another time). The girls were sick - two bad colds and one ear infection causing two trips to the doctor and a week of sleepless nights. And of course, I continue to think just getting myself and my two babies out the door and back in again every day is a feat in and of itself. Every night, I really think I deserve a medal. (But who really wants a medal? I reward myself with ice cream instead!)

So needless to say, Valentine's Day was not high on my priority list this year. Not that it ever really is, but this year, I didn't even have the energy to look through the cards at Kroger and pick one out for Roger. When I told Roger this, he was more than okay with overlooking the holiday altogether. I am 100% confident that this does not say something horrible about my marriage. In fact, I' m more in love with my husband today than I was yesterday. And after nine years together (our anniversary is in two weeks!), I can truly say that each day it just continues to get better.

So while I didn't have the energy to pick out a Valentine for him, I do want to spend the ten minutes I have before the girls wake up composing this little love letter to him. Because he is truly amazing, and I can't help but want to shout from the rooftops how incredible the man I married is.

I never doubt for a second how much he loves me and our babies, because he shows us in all the right ways. Yes, he tells me he loves me multiple times every day, but I know it's true because my travel coffee cup and the girls' bag of bottles is waiting for me in the car every morning, because we take turns getting up with the girls at night when they're sick, because he volunteers to do the grocery shopping so I don't have to, because he cleans the bottles when we get home while I spend precious moments with our babies, because he helps me bathe and feed them every night, because he reads the story and sings the lullabye with me, because he cooks dinner while I prepare the bottles for the next day, because he helps me with the laundry, because at least once a week he says "Thank you for taking such good care of our girls." Seriously, if you read a book with a husband like Roger in it, you probably wouldn't believe the character was realistic. He's just almost too good to be true.

So this is my love letter to him. Because I don't know if I'm as good at showing it as he is, but I love him more than I could ever express in words.

And now I'll shut up about how great I have it...I'd hate to make other husbands look bad!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Don't Judge Me

You can't wear shoes in the infant room at the girls' school (calling it "school" makes me feel better than calling it "daycare"). Well, you can wear shoes but you have to cover them with "anti-skid covers," paper-type shoes like I imagine surgeons wear over their shoes before going into the OR. I understand the point of them - you don't want the stuff that's on the bottom of your shoes tracked all over the same floor where your baby is rolling around all day (and yes, both of my babies are now rolling around!). But have you ever tried to slip on paper shoes over your heels while carrying two infants in their car seats and a bag of 6 bottles? It's next to impossible.

The alternative to wearing these paper shoes is slipping off your shoes before you go in. Much easier. So I keep a pair of black flats in the car with me that I can easily slip off and on when carting the babies to and from the infant room. After I drop off the girls and am back in the car, I change into my boots or heels or whatever I planned on wearing to work. Of course sometimes, probably more than I should, I just end up wearing the black flats to the office. But if I do manage to wear something slightly more stylish to work, I then change back into the flats before I go into the school.

Last Wednesday though, I didn't quite complete the transfer. I somehow arrived in the lobby of the school wearing one black flat and one black high heel. (And no, I don't know how I manged to walk from the car to the lobby without noticing, but I did. I've got a lot going on, people!) I quickly debated what was more embarrassing - running back to the car to make the switch before collecting the girls or hobbling down the hall to the infant room in my mismatched shoes. I started to keep on hobbling, but then I tried to imagine me hobbling back to the car with the two babies and the bottle bag and I reversed my decision. So I darted back to the car, relieved that I'd only been noticed by one smirking father in the lobby. (If that b*tchy director had been around, no doubt she would have commented!)

Of course when I enter the infant room the father from the lobby is in there collecting his baby too. I avoid eye contact with him but make sure he knows that I'm there to collect two babies as opposed to his one. Yeah, I'd like to see him try to drop off and collect two babies every day and still manage to coordinate details like shoes.

I need a sign or a t-shirt that reads, "Don't judge me, I'm the mother of twins." And by the way, how long do you think I can keep riding that excuse? Because I'm thinking I'm gonna need 10, maybe 15 years before I manage to get it together.

Eh, who are we kidding, I've never really had it together. But at least now I have an excuse, right?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Best Laid Plans

At the beginning of every new year, we tend to remark about how fast time flies. "Can you believe another year has gone by?" we say. But this year, I can definitely believe a year has passed. In fact, I'm a bit awed that it's only been a year since last New Year's Day. So much has happened! Could it be that 365 days ago I wasn't even pregnant? (Well, I was pregnant, but I didn't know it yet!).

It wasn't until January 15th that I took the test and two blue lines appeared. Roger and I were simultaneously thrilled and terrified to learn that we were having a baby, but this was the plan, right? We had begun looking for a house a few months earlier, with the intention of starting a family, and there we were, pregnant and ready to close on a house on January 28th. It was all happening according to plan. But then on January 29th, my ultrasound showed two heartbeats - definitely not part of the plan!

But one heartbeat was really slow, barely there in fact. The doctor explained that while I was currently pregnant with two babies, there was a strong possibility that one of them might not make it. Roger and I spent the following weeks both excited and scared - trying to wrap our heads around the possibility of twins without letting ourselves get excited about the idea.

Three very long weeks later, my second ultrasound showed two strong heartbeats. Baby B just needed some time to catch up. I admit, I was a little surprised by the rush of relief I felt in that moment. I was so very scared of having twins, but I had been even more scared to not have them. Of course Roger claims he was never scared. He knew all along that they would both be fine. And as for how we would juggle two babies, well as usual, he said we would "make a plan."

But a month later, we learned of a new threat to our plan. Roger's company was closing the Atlanta office. We would have to relocate to Chicago or find a new job. I panicked of course, but Roger never did. He simply began job hunting, and by June he had found an even better job.

And then a few months later our girls arrived, and despite all of the planning we had done for their arrival, nothing could have prepared us for the incredible experience of meeting them and learning how to care for and comfort them.

2010 has been a crazy year. And things haven't gone exactly as planned, but you know what? They've turned out even better.

Still, here's hoping 2011 isn't quite so eventful. A nice quiet year...well, that's the plan anyway.