Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Sleeping Synchronicity

I love to take pictures of the girls sleeping. Oh, their innocent little faces! Arms splayed in that wanton, youthful fashion that disappears as we age.

they are anti pajamas, can you tell? 

They remained happily in their cribs until they were 4. When most parents are contemplating toddler beds (I shuddered at the thought), my husband constructed the perfect, escape-free obstacle in the form of a long, narrow board drilled above the drop-side of each crib, at such an angle to prevent little climbers from escaping, much in the same way that barbed-wire fences are slanted at the top of a prison yard.

When they were old enough to need to use the bathroom in the middle of the night, we simply dropped the sides so they could climb over and out. We put an ottoman near each crib to use as a sturdy platform to get out safely and easily.

Finally, when their beanpole bodies took up too much space in the cribs, we put 2 foam mattresses side by side on the floor. Their room was too small for this arrangement, but we all sort of loved it. We could spread out, read books and more importantly, I could stealthily escape after they closed their eyes.

During my nightly check-in, I would often see them in the same position, or mirroring each other, such as in the picture above. Sometimes it was downright uncanny, as though a whimsical twin fairy appeared to rearrange their limbs just so. 

Around their 5th birthday, we decided bunk beds would be the most efficient use of space in their small bedroom, and besides, what kid doesn't love bunk beds? I worried they would argue about who got the top, but it wasn't a problem - Tristyn chose the top and Jaeda happily took the bottom. It has changed a few times, but the drama has been minimal, much to my surprise. Plus, the twin mattresses are still big enough for them to sleep together if they can't decide. 

They do tend to stay up and giggle or talk if they sleep on the same level, so I have mostly discouraged it, but lately, they are both on the bottom bunk in the morning about 75% of the time. (Why they don't sleep together on the top is beyond me. For some reason, they prefer the bottom.) 

Usually they are my reliable alarm clocks, two loquacious little girls discussing god-knows-what in their bathroom, which shares a wall with my bedroom.

But on one recent morning, I found them splayed in that twin fashion, Tristyn's head within an inch of Jaeda's spasmodic feet, and attempted to rouse them, with no result. I decided to let them sleep a while longer while I showered and when I returned, they hadn't moved. I cooed good morning salutations to them, feeling bad for having to wake them. Nothing! I sat on the edge of the bed to wait and contemplated my next move. Suddenly, apropos of nothing, with impressive identical twin you-wouldn't-believe-it-unless-you-were-there synchronicity, they both raised their heads at the Exact. Same. Moment.

Tonight, as I was wedged between the wall and the mattress of the bottom bunk bed, with Jaeda grinding her teeth next to me, and Tristyn's legs twitching between us, I schemed at how to maneuver myself carefully out of the bed without waking either of them and risk being reprimanded for leaving. (Do they really think I'm going to sleep there all night?)

As I stared up at the wood slats supporting the top mattress, I thought about how it feels like yesterday when they were chubby little babies and in the blink of an eye they will be moody teenagers, and I reminded myself to just Be.

"And when the night is cloudy there is still a light that shines on me... Shine until tomorrow, let it be" - The Beatles 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Morning Routine

I've always prided myself on being low-maintenance. To this day, I can be showered and ready - presentable even - in 15 minutes flat. My husband never complains that his wife takes too long to get ready. And it was always me waiting on my friends to finish their silly hair and makeup rituals before going out.

Just as with 99% of life's normalcies, having babies changed things. Take getting ready in the morning. When I started back to to work at 8 weeks postpartum, my morning routine went from 20 minutes to two and a half hours: Besides showering and dressing myself, I had two babies to tend to. Diaper and dress. Breastfeed the squeaky-wheel  infant while the other one waited patiently (ha ha) in her crib. Pump opposite side (yes, while nursing).

Rinse and repeat.

Pack their "lunch". Six carefully prepared bottles, measured to the exact milliliter.

Pack the diaper bag (see list) and re-supply portable breast pump for use in my office.

Strap both babies into car seats and lug them out to car, making sure not to forget my purse, their lunch, diaper bag, breast pump and keys.

After dropping the babies at daycare and an hour commute to work, I was exhausted before my day even started!

Now? I awake to their sisterly bickering outside my bedroom door. Sometimes, they will stand by my bedside and pester me by tickling my feet or touching my face. They take my warm place in the bed and I turn on Dora the Explorer and hop in the shower. As soon as I hear Dora signing that irritating "We did it" tune, I click the TV off and they scamper to their bedroom to get dressed and brush their teeth and hair.

Assuming no bumps in the road, we can be out the door in 30 minutes flat. The daycare feeds them breakfast and I grab a coffee at my local espresso stand before hitting the road and eat yogurt and fruit at my desk.

Of course, getting to this routine took blood, sweat and tears to perfect. Lots of tears. Encouraging two grumpy toddlers to get dressed while attempting to get myself presentable for work was not always easy, and I ended up practically in tears myself while arriving late at the office many more times that I can count.

I can laugh at this video now, but I can tell by the tone in my voice that this was one of those mornings...

Sorry for the sideways video! Obviously, I had more important things on my mind.

Thursday, June 7, 2012


While filling out doctor forms for Jaeda & Tristyn's 5 year wellness check, I contemplated how to describe the exercise the girls get. Inside our house. Let's face it - we live in the soggy (and very often, cold) Pacific Northwest, and I'm not the most outdoorsy person (as my favorite comedian, Jim Gaffigan would say; I'm "indoorsy") so we find ways to expend some of that childhood energy inside the house. As it just so happens, the bottom floor of our house makes for a great running track.

The other night, while engrossed in a spirited game of monster, I chased them in circles around the house, stopping only when they begged to rest and drink water. I removed my socks for better traction and continued the pursuit.

After thoroughly tiring myself out, (which meant they still had loads of energy) I stole away up the stairs to the quiet sanctity of my craft table.

A few minutes later, Colin came upstairs to report that there was blood "all over the carpet" downstairs. HUH? We tried to figure out where it could have possibly come from until I looked down at my own feet and whaddya know? The chair mat (and partially the carpet) under my big toe was a pool of blood. And true to the report, there were smeared blood stains All. Over. The. Carpet.

Growing up, there were four of us teenagers in a small mobile home. We used to rough house so much that we'd put holes in the walls. Literally. We called it the cardboard house.

Our house has certainly suffered under the proverbial weight of children, but blood stains all over the carpet trumps spilled formula on the couch or vomit soaked into a mattress.

I'm constantly reminding myself to live in the moment with my children instead of stressing out about the condition of my house.

I want my girls to remember their mom letting loose and having fun with them, not worrying about messes. I can do that after they've gone to bed.


Does this count as exercise?

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Sign of The Times

Before I had kids, I expressed the fear that many of my childless friends shared - the worry that we would bring a child/children into this cruel, over populated world full of hatred, crime and evil. Especially after 9/11.

A world with homelessness, starvation, child abuse and cancer. Teenage pregnancy, Jersey Shore and  MTV reality shows that glorify despicable behavior.

But from their precarious first moments of life, they have benefited from the age we live in.

The advances in healthcare - from the sophisticated gadgets in the NICU to the nasal spray flu vaccine.

They can talk to their grandma face to face, despite the fact that she is 1,000 miles away.

They have the internet, where knowledge and images, no matter how esoteric, are just a click away.

Velcro on shoes. Elastic bands on sleeping bags instead of those maddening nylon ties. TV that can be paused for a potty break.

But, more than all that, they also live in a world where a woman's vote means just as much as a man's. And where women can aspire to be doctors, engineers or professors.

My girls have entered that delicious stage where they are piecing together the knowledge they have gathered into the jigsaw puzzle of life.

While watching The Smurfs Movie and I mentioned that the actor (Neil Patrick Harris) and his husband have twins too! Tristyn hesitantly corrected me by saying, "Husband? That's a man." To which I responded, "Yes, he has a husband. Remember that song about Two Daddies and *Two Mommies?" She stared at me for a second (I could almost see the wheels turning), nodded her head and filed it away in her little knowledge box.

The other night, snuggled up in their beds after reading books, we talked about what they did in pre-school that day. They learned about George Washington! I asked a few follow up questions and then asked them if they knew who the president was today. Jaeda thought for a second before proudly bursting out with the answer, "Barack Obama"!

It isn't relevant to them that he is the first African American president. And I love that.

Reaping the benefits of modern medical technology @ 2 days old. Their first time side by side (outside of the womb) 

This post was inspired by Kim of Baby Feet.

*From the album A Cow Says Moock, by Alastair Moock. It is awesome - buy it now.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


I'm slow to adjust. I think that's one of my idiosyncrasies. Or maybe that's just a human condition? If I expect one thing and get another, I'm all out of whack until I can re-calibrate my expectations.

Take parenthood for example. (ha!)

Having been thrust, a bit unexpectedly, not to mention earlier than anticipated, into motherhood (yes, I'm dramatic - but I'm good at it so just go with it), it took many internal struggles to relinquish the life that was once mine and mine alone, in order to mother my young. As I'm sure many new mothers struggle, it was difficult to accept my new role and toss aside my own personal interests and desires.

But as they get older, they have become so much more independent. The incessant requests for my time and attention have diminished drastically. They can wash their own hair, put on their own bike helmets, brush their own teeth, even buckle their own seat belts! The million minuscule things that added up to a mountain of effort for me has whittled away to a mole hill, leaving me feeling... a bit lost.

What do I do now to fill the space evacuated by growing children? Having more children is neither a desire nor a possibility (hubby shudders at the thought and quite honestly, so do I).

Lately, I find myself wandering around the house actually *looking* for the next task or activity, whereas before, I would have given my right arm to clone myself so as to be in two places at once, which seemed like a necessity as the mother of two young children. (Honestly, I don't know how moms of numerous children do it).

Its not like I don't still have plenty to keep me busy. I work 32 hours a week. I maintain a household; pay bills, cook, clean, etc. I maintain this blog (barely) and my style blog. I sell on eBay. I read. I try to remain social with friends and family. I make jewelry when the inspiration hits me. I am (slowly) teaching myself how to sew.

Oh yeah, and that parenting gig.

There is an underlying desire to simply stay home and "nest", as they say, a notion that I fought every step of the way after getting married, and one that eluded me as my pregnancy progressed, despite the stories that that is how I would know I was getting close to delivering. (I laugh at that - not only did I deliver 6 weeks early, but I was too busy freaking out at the prospect of two infants. "Nesting" was not in my vocabulary).

Here is my latest distraction:
A good old fashioned puzzle 
And, thanks to Pinterest, I've also been cooking and baking more. But I still feel like I should be doing more, like these tidbits of down time are illegal.

Next on my list: I need to learn how to just BE.

Maybe I can take lessons from these two:

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Tao of Twins

When I bought my twin jogging stroller from a father of twins off craigslist, I was harried and scatter-brained, having packed up the girls (who were 10 months old at the time, I believe) and driven 45 minutes to an unknown destination. His twin boys were seven. He coerced them to break from their game to come out to the garage and utter a shy hello to me. I barely related to this man. As he loaded the stroller into my car, he looked at me and said, "It really does get easier", a sentiment that felt like a flimsy platitude that twin parents say to each other. But he said it so, I don't know, earnestly, that I believed him.

Of course, I forgot that sentiment immediately upon pulling out of his driveway, the girls again demanding my attention while I navigated back to our house.

Now? As the girls near 5, I know what he really wanted to say: "It gets easy." Not easier. Easy.

I'm a bit hesitant to write those words, lest I lose my grasp on the difficulty banner that floats over my head at the very whisper of the word 'twins'. High risk pregnancy, back to back births, preemie babies, double infant care, two toddlers, etc. etc.

Nevertheless, it's official. I've turned the corner from being the recipient of sympathetic stares at the imagined difficulty of mothering twinfants or twin toddlers to being the one giving the look to moms of different age children.

I have two well trained helpers that monitor each others' behavior and best of all --- play together. For hours on end. And! They wear the same clothes. They are learning the same things. They can help each other to do just about anything that might otherwise require adult assistance. They comfort each other. They cooperate. They share.

They even give each other the occasional massage.

So Holly, if you're reading this: It Does Get Easier.
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