Wednesday, November 25, 2009

gratitude, but no pictures

Why no pictures? Because I can't find the cord that connects the camera to the computer. It probably has been pressed into service as a leash or a lasso by a certain junior member of this household. Or possibly I misplaced it while tidying up in a sleep deprived fugue state. Either way, I'm sure it will turn up eventually, and then I can feel properly guilty about not having any decent pictures of the babies and Joseph together. What I'm going to use as this year's Christmas picture is anybody's guess. (For that matter, what I'm going to do about Christmas presents is also anybody's guess, but let's start small.)

Anyway, gratitude:

I'm grateful, really really grateful for help from family and friends. I get sort of dizzy and almost black out when I start to imagine what the past few months would have been like without my parents being around to take care of Joseph. And as for all the people who were there with kind words and generous offers of help ...I'm always amazed when it turns out that people give a damn about me (because i'm awesome like that).

Of course I'm grateful for having the world's most charming two year old, who now spontaneously tells me that he loves me and that he's mama's little bunny (!). I'm grateful for two healthy babies, and that all the bad things I wouldn't let myself think about didn't happen. And I'm beyond grateful for my husband.

Wouldn't this post have been so much better if there were a picture of a bunch of smiling babies? Oh well. Happy thanksgiving!

Friday, November 20, 2009

major success

We've had some major successes this week, starting with a trip to the grocery store during which the worst thing that happened was a four year old sneezing on Violet.  We can all thank Zoloft for the fact that the four year old (and her mother) did not find her life cut short right in the middle of the Whole Foods dairy aisle.

Another big deal is that I've spent much more time with Joseph and the babies at home, without my parents or Scott taking Joseph for part of the day.  This has not been fabulous (life with two babies and a toddler makes the previous 31 years of my life feel like an extended vacation) but neither has it been the nightmare I anticipated. Joseph is easily amused, Violet sleeps like she's drugged, and even Harry spends the greater part of the day unconscious as long as I nurse and bounce him every twenty minutes or so.  I'm pretty much able to meet everybody's food/laundry/hygiene needs, and even do a little bit of knitting and sewing (in two minute intervals, but still).  I feel super accomplished as long as I hold myself to this new, realistic standard and don't try to do anything insane like clean the bathtubs.  I want to cry when I look at my neglected garden, but maybe this spring I'll do something about it.  Maybe.

Monday, November 16, 2009

pictures of children who do not sleep

After what looked like a promising start it turns out the babies are just as crap sleepers as the rest of their family.  Harry can't seem to sleep for more than 20 minutes at stretch, and when he wakes up Violet joins him (whether out of sympathy or perversion is not clear).  

Yes, they're holding hands.  They do that.  I need to focus on moments like these so I feel less tempted to break the law at 4:30 am when I've gotten a grand total of 45 minutes of sleep.  I think I must have grown as a person since Joseph was a newborn because I feel much more sane and accepting about the sleep situation.  Or perhaps two years of Joseph-induced sleeplessness has just crushed my spirit.

This picture was taken at 5:00 in the morning, which is Joseph's new time to rise and shine.  My wonderful and patient husband, who has taken over mornings with Joseph while I attempt to scrape together a few nonconsecutive hours of sleep, killed some time by taking the winter accessories out of the closet and letting Joseph make himself all fancy.  I like this picture because it looks like he and Indiana are waiting for the bus:  no eye contact, bodies pointed away from one another, plenty of space between them.  This is unusual because in all the other pictures from that morning they appear to be trying to lick one another's teeth.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

bath time

The other day I decided it was high time for the babies to have a proper bath.  Harry had developed a habit of peeing in his own face and spitting up in Violet's, and I really did not feel that a damp washcloth was equal to the situation. 

Here's what I learned:

In order to successfully bathe two babies at once, at least one of the following elements must be present:
  • a second adult
  • sufficient head control on the part of the babies
  • ninja reflexes
Otherwise it's a bit harrowing.

The babies enjoyed it thoroughly.  I would have taken a picture if I hadn't been too busy clinging onto their slippery little selves for dear life.  Instead, we have a picture (taken by my mother, who arrived at my house at just the right moment) of them wrapped up in a towel after their bath.

That's Violet on the left, wearing her trademark expression of disdain, and Harry, looking like a tired alien.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Harry, at less than two weeks old and just under six pounds, has achieved total thumb-sucking mastery.

Violet and I are thrilled because this probably means our various parts will not be used for 24/7 comfort sucking.  The poor girl was being devoured by her brother.  Not ok.  Although I kind of wish I had taken a picture of him sucking her elbow, and her expression of distaste.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

a bullet pointed list

Oh, how I used to rail against bullet pointed lists when I was teaching English composition.  I had a whole mini-lecture in which I explained that 90% of the time bullet points are embarrassingly illiterate ("here are some interesting things you might not know about bee keeping / my grandmother / gender inequity in the Indian subcontinent") or are transparent efforts to avoid transforming scattered ideas into a coherent thought ("here's some stuff I have in my notes, but I've already reached the page minimum so I won't bother trying to shape this into a paragraph").    

I have no idea why that popped into my brain today.  I actually really like lists, especially on the interwebs, where a bullet pointed list is like a freaking petrarchan sonnet compared to most everything else.


  • The boob situation, OMG.  You can see them from outer space.  They could be in an Aerosmith video (the rest of me, not so much).  After 31 years of unremarkability, my bosom has found its calling.  Everything in my house in covered in leaked breast milk.  You'd think that nursing two babies would mean less leakage, less oversupply.  Not so.  All that supply & demand stuff the breastfeeding experts talk about must be true (i.e., the babies demand more, I supply more, etc etc etc until there are puddles of the stuff everywhere you look). 

  • The diapers I made are working brilliantly.  However, if my husband does not start folding back the laundry tabs I am going to do something drastic.  A semi-related anecdote: last month Scott and my dad were changing Joseph's diaper (because this is a job for two strong men), and I overheard Scott telling my dad "you've got to fold the tabs back or you'll get us both killed!"  Yes, ruining my diapers is more than your life is worth.  TAKE HEED.
  • Joseph remains pretty mellow in the face of the baby invasion.  I'd like to believe that this has something to do with my excellent parenting skills, but probably it's just because 1) he's an awesome kid, and 2) my parents and Scott are taking him on daily adventures.  Or maybe, 3) he's saving it all up for his future therapists.  Here's a somewhat gratuitous photo of him stalking a turtle on one of his outings with Scott:

  • I gained sixty five pounds during the pregnancy.  Now somebody tell me why yesterday, nine days after giving birth, I put myself through the hell of trying on several pieces of non-maternity clothing in my closet.  Do I hate myself that much?  We need a rule that when you have a baby, somebody comes into your house and takes away all your pre-pregnancy clothing until you're about ten weeks postpartum.  Or possibly forever. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

an update

Yes, that's actually how they sleep, all cuddled together.  Even at night when I'm in bed with them, they tend to face one another rather than me.  Very sweet.

Things are going well.  Very well, in fact.  By some miracle I'm getting almost 7 hours of sleep daily, despite the fact that I spend close to 16 hours a day breastfeeding.  The babies are very sleepy so it takes them a long time to nurse, and I haven't quite mastered feeding them both at once; also they need to eat every two hours because it's so important that they keep gaining weight.  That all adds up to breastfeeding around the clock, which is fine by me since I'm just thrilled that I haven't had to use any formula or do any pumping and I can keep it simple:  babies, mama, cuddles.

Joseph is taking this all wonderfully.  I am so relieved.  He's spending a lot more time with his grandparents and father so I can take care of the babies, and when he does see me the babies are always on me, but that doesn't seem to make him jealous.  He likes to help change their diapers and rock them to sleep; he has spent so much time watching them nurse that he's now a fully qualified lactation consultant.  He cheers us on ("Good job Violet, good job Mama!" "Babies growing!"). The most fascinating thing he has ever seen is when I hand express some milk into Violet's mouth to keep her awake.  He desperately wants to help accomplish this feat, which should make for a few interesting therapy sessions twenty years from now. 

I really need to get a picture of him holding one of the babies.  He looks so proud.  And huge.  How is it that toddlers triple in size when they have a newborn sibling?

Monday, November 2, 2009

voila! kitchen laundry bag

I make a lot of stuff, but most of it doesn't wind up making much of a quality of life difference for me or anybody else. For example, the bath mat? Nobody cares. Everybody was perfectly happy using a wadded up towel. My adorable coasters? The coaster-phobes in my life continue to use kitchen rags.

But this, this thing of wonder, this laundry bag: it has changed our lives. We finally, finally, finally have a place to put our used napkins, rags, dish cloths, handkerchiefs, tea towels, etc. A pile of dirty laundry sitting on the counter is not conducive to anybody's happiness (except the ants). It's enough to make me want to go back to using paper towels and all the other disposable stuff.  Also, having a clearly designated place for dirty kitchen laundry makes it easier for other people to actually help out with meals and cleaning, which is especially nice if you happen to spend all day nursing newborns.  For example.

Also, everything in my damn house is gray-brown and/or white, with odd patches of dusty moss green. I'm kind of thrilled by the idea of having something colorful in the kitchen. Yellow is really doing it for me lately. I've found that adding lots of linen makes bright colors a lot more palatable to me (and sort of coordinates with the greigeness of the rest of the house).

PS I finished the inside seams of the bag with bias tape, just for the added thrill.