Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Twenty Five Months

Wait. Do I still have to do these by months? Two years and a month doesn't have the same ring about it, does it?

A lot has happened over the past month. Here's the recap:
  1. Since Emma looked like she was about to vault over the side of her crib, we removed both cribs and put the mattresses on the floor. The twins now sleep, side by side, on the floor without bars keeping them from escaping. We do make sure we shut their door, though.
    "Dis mah bed. Dis mah brudder. He crazy."

  2. Emma finally said Logan's name...yesterday. He can say her name, as can she, but neither said Logan until I asked her to yesterday ("Yogan"). She still just calls him "Brudder" or "baby".
  3. Both of the twins refer to Caitlin as "Kay-Kay" or "sissy".
  4. We've started trying a little potty training and Emma peed in the potty once (this past week!)! Singing and dancing ensued. No further potty action has taken place. Phoo. Logan wants nothing to do with the potty, but is happy to tell you that he needs a new "diapah". As in, "Diapah wet." or "Poopie! Poopie diapah."
  5. We took the whole family out to see Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs this past Sunday. It was the first movie the twins have ever seen in a theatre! It went pretty well! They stayed on our laps for the first half of the movie and then needed to get down. Since we were in the second row of seats and it was a pretty empty theatre, they had the entire first row to walk around in and the main aisle to run around in while the movie played on. At one point, each twin separately came up, sat in my lap, grabbed my head and gave me a big old smooch. Just 'cause. Sweet!
  6. We stopped using the highchairs and now have the twins eating at the table with us, on regular chairs, with regular spoons and forks. The Mess Index just shot up by a factor of 10. Ugh.
    "Oat meeuhl. Iz gud."

  7. They've gained a huge pile of words in the last month. I'd like to tell you what they are, but it's been a blur. Except that they no longer like to say just "No.", but "No way!". At some point, I'm sure they'll switch to "Oh hell no!", but that may be awhile. Logan's new phrase is "Come back!", mostly uttered to escaping kitties. Emma likes to say "I gonna getchu! I gonna getchu, fishies!" and no, I have no idea how that originated. Too much Finding Nemo?
  8. At their 2 year wellness check, we again verified that Emma is 4 ounces heavier than Logan and a couple of inches taller. He's still in the 3rd percentile, but still totally trending upwards on his very own curve. Emma is in the 10th percentile, but also still curving upwards. Yet they both have 50th percentile noggins. Go figure.
  9. Their ridiculous levels of agility and fearlessness means they like to climb to the very top of the play structure and slide down the biggest slide. Oh yes, it does.
  10. Both twins have discovered a new, unholy love of chasing Domino around and laughing like complete maniacs. The cat does not appreciate the exercise. I have to fight to not cackle out loud and instead insist they treat him gently and move them away when it seems like they have him cornered. I'm pretty certain there's only so much he's going to put up with before he comes out swingin'. Kaboom, on the other hand, is totally happy letting either twin pet his belly. And he's the scaredy cat!
  11. Logan has discovered a new and enduring love of cars. He received a little wooden one for his birthday and slept with it for weeks. Now when we go out, he has to have a car and his blankie. And a water bottle. My arms are getting awfully full.
    Tiny orange car in kung-fu action grip left hand.

  12. Emma is a monkey. Yes, you already knew that. However, on Monday she climbed straight up a 6' tall seedling rack I had in the backyard. She was able to go up, but not down. Caitlin, who had been outside with the twins, yelled for help. When I came out onto the deck, I saw Emma almost all the way at the top and had an inner freak out. Then she started saying, "Hep me! Hep me!" in her tiny voice and it totally cracked me up; she was my kitten stuck in a tree. I plucked her off the rack and she clung to me happily. I don't think she's "learned her lesson", but I do think she was relieved to be rescued.
  13. The twins have been practicing going down the stairs like big people do: forwards. Mostly this seems to involve yelling from the top step "Hand! Hand!" until you oblige them and help them down the stairs. Sometimes they hold onto the rail as they go down instead, but they sure seem to like yelling "Hand! Hand!" a lot more.
    "I go downstairs. I gotta take dis call."

    In case you're wondering why she's wearing a winter jacket and pjs, the answer is: she's two.
    "I'm comin' down, you bedder move."
    "I'm goin' up. YOU bedder move!"

  14. I feel certain they had their first sentence in this last month, but damned if I can remember what it was! "Dat's good!" comes up often in reference to something I made for dinner. "What's dat?" or "What's dis?" comes up all the time, but doesn't count as a sentence.
  15. There's been a big increase in the amount of "Peese!" I get on a daily basis. Color me "pleased".
  16. We've got them working on the concept of "Trade", when yelling "Share!" wasn't getting them what they wanted. Trade seems to work about 75% of the time. The rest of the time is screaming and crying and possible sibling whacking which doesn't work at all, but is oddly satisfying to the 2 year old mind.
  17. The twins really like to drink out of regular cups, but I'm not willing to put up with all of the spilling. Yet. Occasionally we'll give them a tiny cup with 1/2" of water in it to try and limit the damage they can do. Bet you didn't know that a 1/2" of water can be spread in a 6' puddle through which short people can frolic and splash. It's twin magic.
    "Mmmm! Wadder!"


  18. Still have no clue when Logan is going to sleep all the way through the night on a regular basis. Maybe next year. ACK!
    "I don't need no sleep! I borned caffeinated!"

  19. Cellphones. Madly in love with. Madly.
    "Mom! No pictures! I'm on da phone!"

    "Yeah, I'm gonna have ta call you back."

  20. They've discovered the thrill of running in different directions when we're at school, picking Caitlin up. I've discovered the thrill of overalls-as-handles. Freakin' awesome!
    "Run! She can't possibly catch us both!"


I'm still waiting for it to get easier. Good thing they're still cute.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Broken Hearted Crying

I unwittingly reached a new low in parenting my eldest on Friday.

She's joined the school choir this year and had a performance at a local retirement home on Friday. I knew this. I was going to pick her up at 4:30 after it was done, instead of attending since a) the twins would be with me and b) the school concert is this next Tuesday where I'd get to see the whole show in relative comfort (e.g. with more arms available to hold squirmy twins).

Then I got the call from Eric where he told me that she told him that I'd be walking her to the performance after school. Uh...what?!

Suddenly, I was on the hook.

Well, okay then. I packed up the twins and the stroller and went up to her school and waited in the hallway with all of the other parents that were walking. I did not, however, walk into the classroom when all of the other parents walked in because I had the twins running up and down the hallway to try to burn some energy off of them.

This was my fatal mistake.

Lined up outside the classroom were the choir snacks, so I knew that if I just waited, Caitlin would come out to grab a snack and we'd say Hi! She did come out, eventually, in the last group to get snacks and her eyes were red-rimmed and bloodshot.

"Caitlin! Hi! Wha--what's the matter? Why are you crying?"

Caitlin threw herself at my legs, wrapped her arms around my waist and choked out that she didn't think I was coming. That she looked and looked at all of the moms and didn't see me and thought I wouldn't be there.

I was utterly crushed. She was utterly crushed.

I had no idea how important it was to walk in that door. I had no idea she was looking forward to seeing me so much. I had no idea that she cared THAT MUCH. I crushed her and I never knew it until I was patting her back and hugging her tight and apologizing for not walking in the classroom door.

We fight so often these days that I actually forget that she's 8 years old and still loves me dearly, even when she's being a terrific brat. I forget that our fighting and yelling and rounds of punishment for rudeness and door slamming and talking back is not the same as hating me. Even when she says she hates me. I forgot that sometimes it means more to just show up to an event than it does to actually participate in it (I spent half the time watching/listening and the other half showing the twins the home therapy dog and fish tank and responding to questions from the staff about the twins.).

This parenting gig is hard freakin' work but it's the stuff like this that blindsides you that makes me feel like a failure.

She's fine now. The performance went really well and she sings like an angel. I'm looking forward to the school concert where I'll get to hear it again with the rest of the family and maybe even take a picture or two.

My hard lesson for the day: Don't forget to walk in the door.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

If I ever...

decide to write a book about, you know, all this [Wild gesture to encompass crazy household of 2 year old twins, 8 year old girl , 2 cats, 1 husband, several thousand plants and a dying, weed infested lawn and the skeletal remains of a vegetable garden.] I have a title.

You know, in case I can ever sit down and write anything. Also assuming anyone would read such drivel.

The title?

Remain Calm.

Don't steal it. It's totally mine.

I'm warnin' ya!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Die in a fire!

During one of our recent grocery story runs, Caitlin noted to me that she and the twins would be perfect for the parts of the children from A Series of Unfortunately Events.

"Emma could be Sunny, Logan can be Klaus and I can be Beatrice!" she announced happily.

"So wait," I responded with evil intent, "You want daddy and I to die in a fire* just so you can have an adventure?!"

"No! Not like that! You could be some of the nice people we run into!" Caitlin's eyes grew wide with shock.

"You mean the people that keep being killed off in terrible ways? Those people?!" I absolutely leered at her, enjoyed her discomfort.


"Sorry honey, we're staying alive. No adventures for you!" And then I grinned my big Evil Mommy grin.

Because clearly if you want to have adventures, your parents have to be dead (See Harry Potter.). At a minimum, your mom has to be (See Nancy Drew.). Moms don't allow adventures.

They interfere with bedtime.

* I then spent the rest of the evening randomly whispering "Die in a fiyah!" to Eric. I'm so mean! Hee!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

The "D" Word

The following post is not for the faint of heart. Just so you know. Leave now if you just don't want to hear any Debbie Downer stuff. Some of you don't want to hear it. You've even told me so, so here's your fair warning.

... may have noticed I haven't been writing much. Not too many photographs, either. Perhaps you're thinking, "Oh, she just must be sooo busy with all the Happy Homemaker crap! Maybe she's canning tomatoes or something?" No such luck. I'd give my vegetable gardening a C- this year. I sucked at it and the weather didn't help any. I had a poor tomato harvest, not even enough to make a single soup.

I've been feeling depr down. Very.



Quite frankly I'm tired. I'm so tired, I've gone right through exhaustion into another dimension. Apparently it's call The Crazies. I've always suspected that long term sleep deprivation leads to The Crazies. Hey look! I'm right! Um...yay me? Now when I say long term, you'll have to believe me when I tell you that I haven't slept for 8 hours or longer more than about 3 times in the last three years.

I am not fucking joking.

Recently, Logan has decided that he needs to wake up Every. Single. Solitary. Night. for the last several weeks. Right as we get in bed, whether that's 10 o'clock, 12 o'clock or 1 am, he wakes up just as we've snuggled up in bed. Right after I've found the comfortable spot on the pillow and exhaled deeply after a long day of twin rangling, the first cry goes up.

Why? I don't freakin' know. We've tried feeding him (Maybe it's a growth spurt?!), we've tried rocking him (For two HOURS.), we've tried ignoring him (He can cry longer than we can last and his semi-hysterical crying then wakes up Emma.) and now we're back to re-Ferberizing him (Don't chew me out in the comments about this method. It works on our kids. Also? I am not co-sleeping with twins. There is no bed big enough in this house.). So. Broken sleep. A lot of it for a very long time.

Then, to make matters worse, after spending all day wrangling screaming short people, I'd like some time to myself and possibly with my spouse. This often leads to getting to bed even later. Every night I plan on going to bed at 10 pm, but then wind up One-More-Thing-ing myself until midnight. One more email. One more blog. One more lolcat. I try to eke out a little more "me" time and then, yes, suffer for it in the morning.

Yelling and crying follow.

I know that exercise would help me feel better, but it's lonely as hell exercising by myself. I know that vitamins would help me feel at least slightly more energetic, but I'm too depr down to take them. I get out at least once a day, with the twins, to go pick up Caitlin from school. On good days, I walk the mile uphill (All uphill and that's not an exaggeration.) to go get her. I'm trying to click with the local moms and am having a rough time of it. My Crazy probably seeps out when I'm talking to them and they all move away from me on the bench there. The wild look in my eyes probably gives me away.

Now before you say, "Well, why don't you go Get Some Help, dumbass!", let me tell you this: we are the face of the current healthcare crisis. We are the fucking poster children for it. We don't have HC through an employer and therefore are paying for catastrophic coverage out of pocket, which ain't cheap. Anything I do to get "looked at" and potentially "treated" will either shoot that payment up to unaffordable levels or will put me on some List and then somewhere in my future someone will be all "Pre-existing condition" up in my face. Yay for the health insurance companies and the Free Market system! It's working for ME! Woooooo!

And now you know I am all for socializing our healthcare because this is just stupid. It's a stupid position to be in and I know that I'm not the only person out here that feels down and isn't talking to a professional about it because of the potential repercussion on their coverage.


I mope.

I am a bad mother. A bad wife. A crappy friend. Oh and I talk badly to myself about myself. My inner dialogue is vicious. Surprise! Few people can be as mean to me as I am to me.

Except for once, a few months ago, someone said something so awful to me that our relationship took a heavy blow. I was already down and it was like being kicked repeatedly in the face. So. That was fun.

Um. Yeah.

So the writing isn't happening. The photography isn't happening. The sleeping isn't happening. The weight loss reversed and now I'm right back where I was 2 months ago because the baking is still happening.

I'm so far down, I've got tunnel vision trying to look up. I'm not so far down that I can't get up and get moving and smile, laugh, change another fucking diaper and go grocery shopping (I hate grocery shopping. Why does my eldest need to touch everything in the store?! GERMS! Fuckin' SWINE FLU, child! Cut it out!). I spend most of every day thinking about food: what to cook, when to cook, what will they eat, why aren't they eating, cleaning up after baking and cooking, making breakfast, lunch and dinner and then cleaning up what comes out of short people that aren't potty trained yet (Insert hysterical laughter here.) and cleaning up the mess they leave behind when they do eat.

I'm fucked up.

So, please, whatever you do, if you don't want to know, DON'T ask me how I'm doing, or how I'm feeling or how things are going. Because, you see, the evil part of me will want to unload on you. The desperate part of me needs to unload on you. The cynical part of me knows you don't fucking want to know and are just asking to Be Polite. Don't bother. Maybe you are down and feel like you can't handle one more thing, or someone else's personal crisis. That's totally cool. I get that. You should note, however, that I am very careful how I greet people and only really ask "How are you doing?" if I
  • want to know the answer and
  • am willing to take the time to hear the answer.
I've also discovered, with help, that when you're down, sharing your pain with someone else really does lighten the burden on both parties.

Now what?

Now I wait. I'm waiting out the dark times. I'm waiting for us to have enough cash for day care. I'm waiting for yet another spring. I'm waiting for the day when I have something good to write about.

In case you're wondering why my garden looks like shit and why my house is never clean, it's because I'm waiting. I'm waiting for a time when I don't suck.

How are you doing? Because I'd really like to know.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

No Impact Man Movie! In Boulder! Tonight! (And an anti-plastic rant, because apparently I woke up on the Ranty side of the bed this morning.)

Guess who's going to a movie tonight?!

That's right! ME!

It will be at CU in Boulder at 7pm tonight. If you're interested, you should go! And look for me! I'll be the one with the crazy look in her eye because I'll be out of the house without children!

So yeah, you should go. Maybe we can all learn a little something more to help us reduce our impacts on the environment. That's my plan, at any rate.

On a related - yet separate - note, I just weighed our week's worth of trash today and we came up at 15 lbs for our family of five. Unlike Julie, though, I didn't weigh our recycling. It's compost week over here, so the recycling is half in and half out of the house. Next week, maybe I'll have a look at that weight as well. We're cutting down and cutting back partly due to the economy and partly due to my environmentalism. It's really nice to look back and realize that by baking my own bread since February, I've kept ~96 plastic bread bags out of the trash (~40 English muffin bags and another ~40 bagel bags as well). Although we would have put cat littler into them before tossing them anyway, not using them in the first place is even better. We still have plenty of cereal, cat litter, oatmeal and assorted other plastic bags to use instead.

When you think about the fact that every single one of the plastic items ever created is still on this Earth, it makes my changes seem infinitesimally small in comparison. However, not trying to make a difference is not an option for me. We're poisoning ourselves, our oceans, our wildlife and our children.
Dead albatross. Photo: Cynthia Vanderlip/Algalita Marine Research Foundation, from Plastic Oceans.

Living deformed turtle. Photo: Dino Ferri/Audobon Institute from Plastic Oceans.

We must step up and take responsibility for our actions, demand change from industry and our government and fix it before it's too late. Hopefully it isn't already.

For a detailed breakdown of the garbage patch, click this link to view the illustration by Heather Jones, from Plastic Oceans.

I'm not suggesting we all become pioneering monks. What I am suggesting is that there's a better way to live. That if we demanded stronger environmental protections of the government (Make those calls! Vote! Write those letters!) and demanded change from industry (Buy wisely! Vote with your dollars! Write those letters!), we'd see changes in packaging, new choices in the marketplace (e.g. the boom in organic food) and a reduction in pollution. Why am I responsible for disposing of all the plastic waste that every damned thing comes packaged in these days? Why isn't Industry responsible for their product from cradle to grave? Do we really need those crazy blister packs surrounding every small techie device made now?

There has to be another way.

We just have to look for it, demand it, strive for it.

So yeah. I'm going to the movies, but it's about a whole lot more than entertainment.

Updated to add: Believe it or not, after all the run up, we didn't get to see the movie. The projector at CU broke. We went all that way, waited around, at 7:35 pm they called it and said they'd refund our money. Now I have to wait until it comes out on DVD. If any of you get to see it, tell me how it was. I'm so bummed.
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