Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Olympic Fever

**Warning** This post (as it won't be surprising to most) deals with poop. If you're grossed out, not interested, or are some classy person who thinks mommy-blog posts about poop are cliche, then just go check out Cake Wrecks or something.

USA!! USA!! Like most of America, Nora and Nolan are super excited about the 2012 Summer Olympics. Their enthusiasm is somewhat of a surprise, however, due to their tender age and the fact that they're not allowed to watch television, but let's not squelch passion for physical activity, nor good old fashioned patriotism!

In an homage to the ancient games the twins have created their own Olympic event. Thinking themselves quite clever, they named this contest the 25M Twin BM Relay ("Get it, Mom?" they giggled. "The 'M' isn't meters it's minutes and instead of an IM relay it's.." Yeah, yeah, kids. We get it.) The BM Relay's debut was just this morning, as a matter of fact!

After enjoying a delicious breakfast of cinnamon apple banana oatmeal, Nora, Nolan, and I adjourned to the nursery for diaper changes, playtime, then ultimately nap. As both were quite pungent, I could tell I had my work cut out for me. Miss Nora was first and, as expected, had destroyed her diaper. No big deal. I changed her then set her down on the floor to play. That's when the fun began.

Here is the official rulebook description of the Olympic 25M Twin BM Relay:
-The Mother shall have no prior knowledge that the event has begun, nor even of its existence.
-The relay should ideally take place when there is Somewhere To Go Soon.
-Order of Events for Relay
    1. Twin A has a poopy diaper, gets changed by The Mother
    2. Twin A is sat upon the blanket to play.
    3a. Twin B has a poopy diaper, gets changed.
    3b. Simultaneously Twin A must let out a loud grunt, indicating poo is nigh.
    3c. The Mother shall say "Oh no you don't! Ugh! I just changed you!"
    3d. Twin B will pee on The Mother while she's not looking (Extra points awarded if he gets his own face as well)
    4. The Mother will change Twin B's outfit. (Extra points awarded for swearing)
    5. Twin B is sat upon the blanket to play.
    6. Twin A has a poopy diaper, gets changed.
    6b. Simultaneously Twin B must let out a loud grunt, indicating poo is nigh.
    6c. The Mother shall say "Are you kidding me?! What is this? Some kind of poop relay?!"
    7. Twin A is sat upon the blanket to play.
    8.  Twin B has a poopy diaper, gets changed. (Extra points awarded for swearing here also)
    9. Twin B is sat upon the blanket to play.
   10. Top points awarded if The Mother actually cries when both twins look at her and laugh out loud at their own hilarity. 

Congratulations!  Nora and Nolan have won the gold!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Finish this Sentence...

Clothes __________
 a) make the man.
 b) aren't necessary. (I'm a nudist.)
 c) transform a (more or less) rational woman into a pathetic, blubbering mess on the nursery floor, surrounded by a mountain of outgrown onesies, as she wipes tears off of her phone screen while texting her husband about how her babies are growing up so fast.

The correct answer here is C (clearly). I'm not a nudist, nor have I intentions on becoming one. Then again, I never had intentions of becoming a clinging, sentimental mommy who gets weepy thinking about how quickly her precious, tiny angels are turning into adults who will leave her and never want her kisses and snuggles ever again. Ugh.

To combat this rising crazy, er, panic that my babies are growing up too quickly for the past several days I've been forcing Nora and Nolan into outfits that are too small for them, because I'm not ready to let go yet (totally not crazy). Have you ever seen a six month old in high waters? How about a dress that is now approximately a t-shirt? If they're still wearing 3 month sizes they're still only 3 months, right?!(again, not crazy)

So, intentions. I guess we'll see how the nudist thing turns out after all.

Outfits for their 2 Week doctor appointment. <3

Friday, July 20, 2012

Passive Aggression and the Almighty Baby Monitor

"Oh look, Nora, Mommy left the wipes open...again"

"Nolan, you know you're not supposed to watch TV! Let's turn it off."

"You know, guys, you could just tell Mommy that you don't like show tunes."

Our poor children. Perhaps they'll never know that they are really just pawns in the intricate game of passive aggression between me and Corey. Please keep in mind that my husband and I love each other very much and we communicate well, but also keep in mind that we are married. To each other. In the olden days it was just the dog bearing the weighty burden of our off-hand remarks, snarky comments, and scathing criticisms delivered in loving baby-talk ("Brenley! Why did you leave Daddy's shoes in front of the door for me to trip on?!"). Lucky for her, we now have two more non-speaking life forms off of which to bounce our true feelings and frustrations.

This emotional immaturity doesn't stop at verbal digs, oh no. There are myriad sighs, eye rolls, cupboard slams, and hardwood floor stomps to really drive home those subtle-but-not-really-subtle hints of displeasure. A few of my favorites center around the Almighty Baby Monitor.

The baby monitor is a necessary evil. It's a fantastic tool, yet you find yourself bound to it, night after night: a slave to its hypnotizing static, remote camera panning, and night vision. Yes, our house is only 1600 square feet and we really could hear them anywhere, but the monitor gives you the most crucial information of your entire day or night: ARE THE BABIES STILL ASLEEP?! If they are not, then someone has to go in there...and you don't want it to be you.

There are a few passive aggressive ways to avoid the nighttime nursery visit. First, keeping it simple, is to just pretend that you didn't wake up when you heard your daughter wake out of a sound sleep screaming like a banshee at 2:30am. Fake sleep. Make your partner get her. It is imperative to follow this up with a concerned (and appropriately groggy sounding) "Is everything okay? Is someone up? Oh, I didn't even hear her!" when your partner returns to bed. I admit I do this. I am a jerk.

Corey likes the I'm Going Downstairs To Play Video Games But Text Me If They Wake Up approach. Yeah, if one of the babies is crying I'm going to grab my phone and text you in the basement to let you know that one of the babies is crying instead of going in there and putting a stop to it before the other one wakes up. Probably not. This one is a good one.

The last one we are both guilty of. Once we have put the kids to bed one of us will grab the monitor and set it on the coffee table so we can keep an eye on them. Here's the sneaky part...when putting the monitor on the coffee table you have to put it (nonchalantly) as close to the other person as possible without their noticing. That way if there's a sound they have to check the monitor making them feel obligated to go in and you can stay on the couch, comfortably sipping your second (second, right?) glass of wine and playing Words With Friends. Perfect.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Cautionary Tale

Today was a frightening day. I knew that it would come eventually, but why so soon? Only at six months? A mother likes to think she can keep her babies little and safe and sheltered forever, but that's not the case.

Nolan got his first bruise. On his forehead. I feel terrible. I tried to protect him, but there was nothing I could do, especially against such a vicious attack from such a depraved individual and his nasty little accomplice.

Dennis Hopper (left) and Beefy the Cow. These two deserve the worst the system has to offer.
That's them, folks, the ones who hurt my baby. None other than Dennis Hopper and Beefy the Cow. Even writing their names and seeing their foul faces fills my mouth with bile and my heart with anger. How did this happen? Let me share our tale of pain and woe so that it might not happen to you and yours!

Nora, Nolan, and I were playing on the floor and I was helping Nolan practice sitting. Dennis Hopper and Beefy the Cow had been loitering, innocently enough, on our blanket. I could see no reason for them to not be there...they had gotten along well with the children in the past.

Suddenly, Nolan's disproportionately heavy head caused him to lose his balance, falling right into Dennis' waiting trap. As poor Nolan's head made audible contact with Dennis' hard face, Beefy just sat and watched, wearing that malicious smirk on his stupid little face.

It was over almost as soon as it began, even though these things seem to happen in slow motion to those involved. After the attack I have to say I was extremely proud of Nolan's reaction. I scooped him up and got him out of reach of the repugnant pair. He hardly cried at all and the only medical attention needed was a few well-placed kisses. Nolan is at home recovering now.

I can't say that Dennis Hopper and his pal Beefy are going to be so lucky, however. This is a warning to everyone out there. If you hurt my child, I will hurt you.

I'm putting you on notice, Dennis. You best watch your back.

Friday, July 6, 2012

The System. Is Down.

Please bear with us as we have not posted in a few days. Unfortunately our laptop has come down with a sudden case of Got-Water-Spilled-On-It and it's really annoying to write a blog from an iPhone. Until we get it fixed/replaced, we just might be maintaining radio silence. Hope to see you all soon!!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

24 weeks later: a father's recollection of our first months with twins (part three)

In a few days, our babies will be six months old. This week, they learned how to roll over from all angles and body positions. The supplemental bottles we started off with have been replaced with oatmeal cereal, and we’ll soon introduce vegetables and fruit to their menu. The Crying-to-Laughing ratio has swung decidedly in favor of laughter for both of them (most of the time), and the differences in their personalities have become evident and delightful. Sometimes I look at this progression and it’s hard to believe. Thinking back to how agonizingly slow those first weeks seemed--when I’d lie in bed in between feedings, awake in spite of the 96 minutes of sleep I’d gotten over the course of the day and thinking of ways I could take it all back and get a do-over—I’m amazed at how time can pass so quickly. I suspect this won’t be the last time this happens.

Recently, a friend of mine—whose wife is pregnant with their first child, and who I hadn’t seen in a few months—stopped by our place to visit and have a drink. After checking to see if my wife was in earshot he looked at me, eyes wide, and said “Be honest, man--what am I in for?”

For a second, I almost was. I was tempted to tell our story, to try explaining The Feeding Schedule and describe how during those first weeks, the differences between night and day, weekend and weekday, are largely semantic and wholly irrelevant. I almost broke out the Charlie Brown Football Analogy to illustrate how in the beginning, every "good" day makes it seem like you're tantalizingly close to a breakthrough, and in spite of all your better judgment you allow yourself to think, "man, today's the day I finally kick that damn ball!" but in the end you wind up on your back anyway, staring up at the ceiling, bewildered, wondering how it all went so wrong, so quickly. 

Instead, I handed him a beer and said “Well buddy, all I can say is your life is going to change, that’s for sure.” Let him find out for himself. Besides, they’re only having one baby anyway. How hard can it be?

24 weeks later: a father's recollection of our first months with twins (part two)

Part II   
One of the most common (and least helpful) things expectant parents hear is, “Boy, your life is really going to change!” As parents of twins, this became a daily occurrence. Family members, friends, and strangers at the store all seemed linked by a common need to let us know that when our babies arrived, “things are sure going to be different!” 

Thankfully, we were already on top of it and had vowed we’d be ready for this new and different lifestyle. My wife had scoured the library and local bookstores for materials on parenthood. We interviewed friends who already had children for hints, tips, and lessons learned from their experiences. We enrolled in hours of classes to help us prepare for the twins. We spent a weekend with a group of expectant parents studying Childbirth Education, took eight hours of night classes on nursing, and finished off the trifecta with a two-hour course titled “Mommy and Me,” a riveting yet touching experience where I learned the practical application of rectal thermometry.

Well-studied on parenting stories and with these classes under our belts, I felt we had a handle on how much change we were in for, thought we’d settle in fairly quickly once we got past the Great Unknown of the actual delivery. As an example, here’s a conversation between my wife and I during our first day in the hospital:

Me: “The nurses are going to ask whether we want the babies to sleep in the nursery tonight. I think we should say no—I mean, we’re going to be going home in the next few days and we won’t be able to pass them off to a nurse or a nursery then, so we might as well get started having them around tonight, right?”

Kate: “Makes sense, OK, let’s do it.”

This noble plan lasted until 9:00 p.m. By 9:30, after a frantic call to our nurse, the babies were resting peacefully (presumably) in the nursery. Kate and I were fast asleep (definitively) in our room…until midnight, that is, when the nurses brought Nolan and Nora in for their 12:00 feeding. And thus, we were introduced to The Feeding Schedule.

Ah, The Feeding Schedule: the one common thread initiating all new mothers and fathers into the collective kick-in-the-groin that is new parenthood. Mention The Feeding Schedule to any new parent you meet and I promise you that eight in ten will either cross themselves, shuddering, or break into tears. I firmly believe that whatever diabolical super genius devised The Feeding Schedule is also responsible for constructing Dick Cheney and unleashing Him upon this unsuspecting world.

Anyway...The Feeding Schedule. We were instructed to feed our newborns every three hours. Because of their low birth weights (5 lbs., 4 oz. for Nolan; 6 lbs. for Nora), we also had to supplement these feedings with small bottles. Our schedule consisted of round-the-clock feedings beginning at 12:00 a.m. and continuing through to midnight, when the schedule would begin again. In the early days, a typical feeding session went something like this: wake up 10 minutes prior to feeding time to get things prepared; wake up the babies with a diaper change; settle on the couch for feeding; wake up babies again (in those days, we actually worked to keep them awake--hilarious, I know); 20-30 minutes of intermittent nursing, followed by another 20-30 minutes of bottles; put twins back in the crib; clean up; back to sleep. A typical feeding session lasted anywhere from 60-90 minutes, which put us back in bed about an hour and a half before we had to get up for the next round. Rinse. Repeat. For 10 weeks.

That’s right—10 weeks. As we got into these routines and the babies got a little older, things became slightly more efficient--like a NASCAR pit crew we were frantically exploring ways to shave off precious minutes here and eliminate wasted seconds there, all in the quest for two full, unbroken hours of sleep between feedings. The first time we pulled it off in under 50 minutes we celebrated with a euphoria that bordered on the hysteric, and I place it fondly among our first parenting “success” stories. But even achieving these efficiencies, those first three months were brutal. I can count on one hand the number of nights where we had more than 4 hours of unbroken sleep, and those first weeks passed in a blur of coffee refills, missed meals, bad movies on FX, and marathons of Teen Mom and Jersey Shore. Thanks to 24-hour play loops, night and day held no real significance; I remember sitting on my couch one night watching Armageddon, holding babies in each arm, only to find myself in the same position the next day watching the exact same scene. Like that Bill Murray movie, Groundhog Day, only no one was laughing.

And so it went, all through January and into February. Finally Nora cracked the 10-pound barrier, and almost immediately she began sleeping through the night. Nolan soon followed. The shift was so abrupt and unexpected I didn’t believe it at first, sure it was some kind of trap. The first night I woke nearly every hour to check the monitor, certain something was wrong. The second night was every other hour; by the third night, I started to believe that maybe, just maybe, we’d reached that mythical Promised Land at which our parents and friends had hinted, that time when “it gets better.” I woke on the morning of the fourth day, seven (nearly) uninterrupted hours of sleep later, surprised to see the calendar read March.