Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Mama's Girl

I’m a mama’s girl. I know that doesn’t make me particularly cool, but it’s 100% true. We could speculate about why I'm such a mama's girl, but that’s what the psychiatrist’s couch is for, right? Regardless of the many reasons, I’m extremely close to my mom. I’d do anything for her, and she for me. So what’s the problem? Well, I wouldn’t say there’s a problem exactly; it’s just a weakness or a dependency that I feel the need to acknowledge.

Long past my 18th birthday, I’ve depended on my mom for love and support, but since becoming a mother myself, I’ve taken this dependency to a whole new level. In fact, I don’t think I’ve been this dependent on her since I was a child, unable to cook or drive or earn money for myself! And this goes against the natural order of things, right? Parents give unconditionally to their children as they grow, but then as adults, the children are supposed to give back. Only I don’t think I’m giving back. Before I had babies, maybe I was, a little bit anyway, but now I just take and take and take. It’s a little embarrassing, shameful even, but there it is.

Now I’m sure my mom would say the two little blonde “angels” that I have brought into her life are more than enough “repayment” for her, but that hardly seems fair. I mean, I know she loves my girls and enjoys taking care of them, but I also know that the time spent on her own with them is not exactly easy on her. But despite the physical challenges my wee ones present, my mom eagerly comes over almost every weekend to serve as babysitter and provide an extra pair of hands. And those hands never come empty. Whether it’s clothes for the girls (or me!), soup or meatloaf for weeknight dinners, filters for my air purifier, or some gadget she’s found to help us with the tasks of daily living - there are no limits to her generosity.

And I apparently have no limits to how much I can accept. In other circumstances, I think of myself as pretty self-reliant, but when it comes to being a mom – well, I’d be completely lost without mine.

But I think I’m okay with that. I mean, as long as she is of course. And I can only pray that one day my girls feel about me the way I feel about my mom. Of course, I’m terrified of the road we’ll have to travel to get there, but I hope we do. I’d love a couple of mama’s girls of my own.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

What's the Plan?!?!?

I thought I had a little more time. The girls don’t turn two for another six months, and yet I fear the so-called “terrible twos” have already arrived. Times two. I’m not gonna lie. I’m terrified. And I have no idea what I’m doing.

Before the girls were born, I probably read ten books about having a baby (or two). And while, yes, I was overwhelmed by the reality of having two newborns, those books had given me a plan and I worked that plan. I clung to the plan! The plan kept me sane during some pretty intense times. (It might have driven everyone else crazy but I wasn’t worried about them!) I think I mellowed out a little during the second half of the first year, but I still stuck to the plan for the most part. And I felt good about that. I was pretty confident that I was doing a good job, that I was doing what was best for my kids – as long as I stuck to the plan.

Now, there is no plan. Spankings? Time outs? Naughty chairs? I don't know! Should I let my child scream and cry on the kitchen floor while I go about my business? What about in public? Is it bad to give in and hold the screaming child in the grocery store if that’s the only way to quiet her?

I’m sure every mother faces these challenges, but (forgive me for pulling the twin card) I really think the second one complicates matters further (and I'm sure any second child makes it harder, not just a twin). Yesterday at the park, Julie was being obnoxious but Anna was having so much fun. If it had just been Julie I would have taken her home as soon as the first tantrum began, but I didn’t want to punish Anna too. So there I was with a screaming toddler tucked under one arm as I pushed a smiling toddler in the swing.

I need a plan and fast. If anybody’s out there, I beg you to share your wisdom below.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Valentines

Valentine’s Day, 2002. A boy I’d known for a little over a year took me to a Thai restaurant in Kensington where we ordered food so spicy we could barely eat it. We drank too many pints and talked excitedly about our move back to the US along with our secret marriage. I was ready to throw caution to the wind and trust my instincts 100%.

Good thing too…

Monday, February 13, 2012


Lately, I’m kind of a mess. Sure, I have a pretty good reason (two of them in fact) for the ponytail in my hair and the boogers on my sweater. But my, well, let's be nice and say "disheveled" appearance, is not exactly something I’m proud of. Now honestly, even in my pre-baby life, no one would have dared call me a fashionista, but still, showing up at work in a stained purple sweatshirt and a ponytail is a new low even for me (in my small defense, it was a casual Friday).

I fear I’ve become a cliché, the woman that “let herself go” now that she has kids. Except it would be one thing if I wore sweatshirts and ponytails because I only left the house to go to the grocery store, but no, I still go to an office most days. An office where a hundred other women prance around in their high heels and scandalously short but super cute dresses. Even if I did have the cash (and the fashion sense) to buy those clothes, it just looks like it takes so much effort. And all of the energy I have to spend on getting dressed has to be distributed between three people now.

I'm never gonna be one of those super-polished women. I envied them in college, and I envy them now but it's just not who I am. That being said, I’m pretty sure this isn't who I am either.

I'm not exactly sure what to do about this. And I'm a little scared to confess my insecurity so publicly. But there it is. I'm a mess. And just as soon as this pink eye clears up, I plan to do something about it.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


This morning I saw my fifth doctor in as many weeks. Today it was for the girls. Yesterday it was for me. Welcome to day care, I guess. I have pink eye (awesome) and a cough so persistent my ribs ache. Julie has her third ear infection of 2012. Anna has diarrhea and the resulting diaper rash requires wound care. Their noses are constantly running, and despite my best efforts, the snot ends up everywhere. What can I say? It’s good times, all around.

Last week I was home with the girls on Friday, and Roger and I had planned to take them out for an early dinner as soon as he got home. He walked into the kitchen and started playing with the girls, and I ran up the stairs saying, “We’re ready; I just need to grab a booger-free fleece.” I grabbed a fleece off a hook in my closet and slipped it on as I came back down. “Look at me, girls! I’m all dressed up in my booger-free fleece!”

Roger looked up and laughed. “What?” I said defensively. He just shook his head and pointed at my shoulder. “Try again, Babe.”

I hung my head in shame.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

No, no, no!

Early on, I read somewhere that you’re not supposed to use the word “no” with infants and young toddlers. Instead of saying “no” all the time you’re just supposed to redirect their attention. Roger and I both discussed it and this was going to be our strategy. And yet, when your child is climbing on the wine rack or reaching for the stove (or both, simultaneously), I challenge you to say anything other than “No!” It’s simply impossible.

Okay, maybe you manage to say “Here darling, look at the zebra toy!” the first time, maybe even the second and third time too, but once you get to the seventeenth time, you’re sure as hell not talking about the zebra toy. You’re screaming “No!” Well, at least I am (Roger too!). And as a result, I have two adorable little creatures that say, “No!” all the time. It’s an adorable, “No!” I’ll give them that. Sometimes it sounds almost like a song: "No, no, no, no!" And it’s often accompanied by a finger waggle (I don’t actually waggle my finger when I’m shouting at them for climbing on the wine rack. I think they got the waggle from the 10 Little Monkeys song. You know, “No more monkeys jumping on the bed!” We waggle during that part. It’s pretty cute actually.) But now, any time the girls do something they know they shouldn’t be doing, they look at me and say “No, no, no!” usually while waggling their fingers. They’ll also do it when I shout at the dogs. Or when I tell Julie “No!” Anna reinforces it by saying “No!” too. Or maybe she’s mocking me. I’m not 100% sure.

They also answer pretty much any question with “No.” Anna more so than Julie. “Did you have a good day?” I ask every day as we leave the day care center. Julie usually answers by repeating the word “day” as a question: “Day? Day?” But Anna answers with an emphatic, “No!” to which I say: “Well, why not?” At this point Anna usually replies in a gibberish sentence ending with a very matter-of-fact, “Mama Dada,” while Julie is still going “Day? Day?”

All this while I’m trying to open the car door with a toddler in each arm.

Once we get home, I review their little take-home sheets to see what they ate and if they did anything noteworthy. “Did you have fun at school today?” I ask. “No!” Anna replies, almost indignantly. “Were the teachers nice to you?” “No!” By now, Julie is joining in too. “Did they change your diaper at all?” “No!” Roger and I can’t help but laugh, because at this point, the chorus of “no’s” is still pretty humorous. But I have a feeling, in the not-too-distant future, all these “no’s” are going to lose their charm.

It’s my own fault I guess. I should have stuck with the damn zebra toy.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


So, the girls are back in day care. Well, we don’t call it “day care” of course; we call it school because that sounds nicer. It’s going well, I guess. The first few weeks were rough. Both girls had to be peeled from my body every morning, their little faces contorting with so much pain they appeared to have been stabbed. But it’s not like the sound of their screams or the image of them grabbing for me is seared into my brain or anything. I’m much too rational to think that they feel abandoned or that I don’t love them. I know better than that.


The thing is, when they were at home all day, I worried that because they weren't around very many people I was giving them extreme stranger anxiety. I worried that they were bored, that they weren’t learning enough. I worried that by not exposing them to germs now I was setting them up for illness later. I worried. A lot.

Of course now I worry about different things. I worry about the processed, sugary food the day care gives them. I worry that no one wipes their noses (which thanks to those day care germs are now constantly running). I worry that they give Julie her pacifier too much. I worry that their colds will never go away. And sure, I worry that they feel abandoned. The fact that Julie still cries every morning when I drop them off worries me.

But by now I've realized that being a parent just means worrying. As my brother-in-law put it shortly after the girls were born, "Your worst case scenario just got a whole lot worse." And it's so true. Even my carefree husband worries. Which is kind of adorable, actually. He dropped the girls off with me earlier this week, and after listening to me complain about the fact that I'm not getting enough feedback from the teachers, he just marched right up to the director and said "We'd like to see some comments in the notes section of their take-home sheet. You know, just something to make us feel good." The director just nodded and smiled, "Of course."

And now there are comments, so we don't worry quite so much. But we still worry. Because that's what parents do.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

I'm back.

I miss writing. Okay sure, I write all day long at work, but that’s not the kind of writing I mean. I miss writing about me. About my impossibly charming husband. My ridiculously cute spawn. My horrible M-I-L. My cat-loving, pacifier-stealing dogs. I miss writing about the random details of my everyday life. I realize the world doesn’t necessarily want or need to read my details, but honestly, I’m not asking them to. Not yet anyway. For now I just need to write. So that’s what I plan to do. Regularly. I’m not going to promise it will be any good. In fact, some days I'm sure it won't be. But I’m just going to write. And you're more than welcome to read along. Feel free to comment. Or just say hi. You can correct grammatical errors too. After all, I'm in this to become a better writer. Other than that, I'm not sure what my goal is. But that's okay. Like I said, for now I just need to write.