Peanut Butter and Jelly Turn Two

Two years ago today, at about this time of day, I was in the last stages of labor with Peanut Butter and Jelly. It was too soon for them to be born and they were too small. I was afraid and suddenly felt completely unprepared to take care of two new humans. I knew we would have a NICU stay ahead of us, but I didn’t really know what that would mean. I was also excited about the prospect of meeting these two little boys who had been kicking and poking at me!

The birth did not go as well as any of us would have liked. I remember very little after they wheeled me into the operating room. I had a vaginal birth and began bleeding heavily as soon as Jelly came out. I still don’t know why. As I was losing blood my pressure was dropping and I felt myself fading away. I know they showed me the babies but all I really remember was that I felt like I was saying goodbye to them instead of hello. I don’t remember much of the hour or two after that.

I thought I was dying but was not upset about it. I felt peaceful. As it turns out, I was probably not in much danger of dying. I didn’t go into cardiac arrest or anything and they called down for blood but ended up not doing a transfusion. I lost quite a lot but the doctor was able to stop the bleeding.

The boys had pretty good apgar scores but were sent to the level 1 NICU. It was about 4 hours before I was able to see them and I was still sort of out of it. I remember how very tiny they looked and how scary it was to see them hooked up to machines with tubes coming out every which way. They boys had their own dedicated nurse. She seemed so unafraid of handling them. It seemed like she was just tossing them around. I was afraid to hold them but she convinced me I wouldn’t break them.

I honestly don’t remember whom I held first. I do remember that the very first thing I tried to do was nurse. Neither of them were able to suck and that made me very sad (as it turned out, it would take them 3 months to learn how to nurse).

During those first couple of weeks, hearing the little squeaks that were their cries made me inexplicably happy. I figured if they could cry, they were ok. (oh how that has changed!)

They came home after 3 weeks and then the really scary part began.

But I survived the first year and now the second. The tiny babies in the NICU have grown into fun, active, (almost) normal-sized toddlers.

I’m still scared and often feel wholly unnprepared to take care of these two little human beings, but they generally seem happy and secure. My hope is that I can be the mother they deserve to have.

Tired

I’m tired.

I’m the kind of tired that can’t be fixed with a couple of hours of extra sleep.

I’m tired way down in my soul. I’m overwhelmed by all that I should be and all that I am not.

I have often heard the phrase, “I’m raising a human being, not managing an inconvenience.” I repeat this to myself over and over because in all honesty, I sometimes feel like the latter rather than the former.

Having children provides constant, unrelenting stress. We all know that. The follow-up to that sentence is usually, “but the moments of joy make it all worth it!”

What does it mean that I don’t always believe that?

Control

I have control issues. Like if I’m not in control, I get out of control.

We did baby led weaning with the twins and it has gone very well so far, with a few exceptions. At 17 months they still do not know how to use a spoon or dip things into yogurt or hummus or that sort of thing. Part of that may be related to their developmental delays, but I don’t know. They aren’t *that* delayed.

They have, up until recently, been great about trying new things and eating many different types of foods. Lately though, they’ve gotten into the habit of turning up their noses at most vegetables, including ones they used to gobble up. I know this is supposed to be a normal phase in their development but it is making me absolutely crazy. The waste is near the top of my list. If they don’t want something they fling it onto the floor, and nothing makes me lose my cool more quickly than that.

Beyond that though, I am terrified of ending up with picky eaters. I just absolutely refuse to cook separate meals for each person in the family. I cook a meal, damn it, and y’all are going to eat it. I refuse to have the sort of children who freak out if they find a millimeter size piece of onion in a dish. I am not going to capitulate to food tantrums.

I keep reading that you should just let your kids make their own decisions about food, and I do that with the volume of food they eat. I provide a variety of foods and don’t include things I don’t want them to eat. We don’t have dessert (at least, they don’t) and I don’t offer what I consider junk food as part of their meals. For example, if we have sandwiches for lunch, chips are not a side dish.

It’s really getting to me that they are suddenly refusing so many foods and I am struggling to be calm about it. I know this is mostly about my own control issues but I don’t know how to deal with that either.

 

That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

Goldfish Confessions

I am a bit (perhaps more than a bit) of a snob when it comes to food. I’m not a foodie. I don’t expect every meal to be an elaborate, organic, locally sourced, exotic deal. I make meatloaf, just like the rest of us. I am picky about the ingredients I use though. Cheez Whiz, Velveeta, Kraft Singles, Hamburger Helper, Totino’s Pizza Rolls, “parmesan” from a green can, soft drinks, Kool-Aid, Wonder Bread, Cool-Whip, and margarine are some examples of things that do not cross the threshold of my house.

But lately I’ve been noticing the beginnings of the food wars with my 15-month-old twins. I try really hard to make mealtimes pleasant and stress-free. I offer them a variety of healthy foods at each meal and let them decide what and how much to eat.

Which is great in theory.

But then there are the days when one or both scream and throw to the floor every.single.thing I offer them, even Trader Joe’s O’s. I know they are hungry and miserable. I start to panic and feel desperate to get something into them.

That’s when the Pepperidge Farm Goldfish come out. I’m embarrassed that I do this. It feels shameful to me, but so far they have never refused to eat them. I know this is not exactly a healthy food item but I feel better knowing they are eating *something*.

It’s a slippery slope though. Where will I stop? I’m giving them Goldfish now. Will I start grabbing a hamburger for them at a fast food restaurant because we’re in a hurry and I didn’t plan well? Will I buy cans of Spaghetti-O’s because it’s a quick meal in a hurry? I’d like to think I won’t. I currently buy Sprout Organic Toddler Meals to have as a quick and ready meal for them when I need it. They are expensive though and I find that when I know they are in the cupboard, I’m much more likely to feed that to them when I’m feeling rushed or harried instead of using them as an emergency backup.

I feel like I’m sliding down the rope faster than I’d hoped. I know a little slippage is inevitable, but I know I need to pay close attention to what’s happening now so that later on I don’t end up wondering why my kids won’t eat anything with a vegetable in it.

That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

I’m Not Supermom… Yet

I want to be Supermom.

I see article after article, blog after blog, talking about letting go of the Supermom ideal.

But what if I don’t want to? What if I need that goal to avoid being Mediocremom? Isn’t it ok to strive to be the very, very best I can be?

It is a lot of pressure. I rarely measure up. But it’s a goal. It’s something I can and will continue to reach toward, stretching my arms up a little more each day. I feel like my kids deserve that. This is my career for the foreseeable future and I think I owe it to my family and to myself to work really hard at it.

Yes, I want to cook a homemade, healthy, full dinner for my family every day.
Yes, I want to volunteer and be on the board of my local Mothers of Multiples club.
Yes, I want to provide new and creative invitations to play for the boys.
Yes, I want to keep a clean, neat, inviting home for my husband to come home to every day and for all of us to enjoy.
Yes, I want to provide many opportunities for my boys to have enriching, social-skills-building activities.
Yes, I want to continue to look nice and dress well (i.e. not hang around in pajamas or sweat pants).
Yes, I want to keep my energy up and have some “me” to give to my husband at night.

There are days when I feel I just can’t do it. I look around and feel overwhelmed about what I need to accomplish. I open a jar of spaghetti sauce and dump it on some pasta without even bothering to make vegetables or a salad. I fall into bed hoping my husband will already be asleep and not looking for anything. I leave the boys to amuse themselves in the playroom for much too long. People say, “it’s ok! You can’t do and be everything! Give yourself a break!” But I feel like giving myself a break leads to giving myself excuses for not doing what needs to be done.

I need Supermom-me following me around, kicking me in the ass and telling me to put my big girl pants on.

What does being a Supermom mean to you?

That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

An Invitation to Play #1

I’ve discovered a few neat sites with all sorts of learning-play ideas for little kids. They often call them “invitations to play”. Most are too advanced for my munchkins but I’ve been thinking about how to use the idea for my pre-walking still-put-everything-in-their-mouths somewhat-delayed-skills guys.

I had a little brainstorm last night. Some time ago I filled an empty water bottle with different types of beans. They aren’t all that interested in it. I think it’s too heavy for them to really play with it, and they don’t have the rolling thing down pat yet.

I thought it might be interesting to use the beans in a familiar item in a way that would be new and unexpected. I filled one sippy cup with water, and another with beans. Of course, I checked to be sure none of the little beans could come popping through the straw.

Two sippy cups

One of these sippy cups is not like the other

At first, Peanut butter was a lot more interested in the camera than the sippy cups.

Peanut Butter grabs the camera

Peanut Butter grabs the camera

It was funny to watch them try to drink the beans, shake the cup, drink the water, and then try to drink the beans again.

different

This one is different from the other

shaking it

Check out the noise this makes when I shake it!

I want it

If you have it, I want it

Drinking Beans

I’ll drink the water; you drink the beans

Pinterest, of course, has lots of pins for invitations to play. Many of them are far too advanced for the boys, but I’m certainly keeping bookmarks for future reference.

Emerging

The twins are really growing and developing now. At 14 months, they don’t walk or say any words or even have much in the way of language/communication skills at all. In fact, we will be having developmental therapy 2 hours a week beginning this week to help them catch up.

But they crawl faster than I can run and smile and giggle and laugh and hug each other and eat enormous amounts of food. We are mostly in a sweet spot right now, where they can play and entertain each other for as much as an hour at a time. They take two decent naps a day and sleep all night, rarely waking up. They love their mama and dada very much and are healthy, happy boys.

The twins at 14 months

Peanut Butter & Jelly, my sweet loving babies

The stress never ends of course. As one thing gets easier another gets harder, but I have more hopeful days than not, and that’s a huge relief to me.

I stopped writing regularly here when I was going through a very difficult weaning process with them. It was absolutely heartbreaking for me and I was very depressed about it. I know that most people just don’t understand the depth of despair it caused me and it was hard to even write about it. I’m a little further removed from the whole thing now and while I’m still really sad and disappointed over what I continue to see as an absolute failure on my body’s part to adequately nourish my children, I’m feeling twinges more than stabbing pains now.

I hope I’ll have the self-discipline to write regularly now. I’ve convinced myself that I don’t need to have a long, soul-baring post every time. One of my favorite bloggers, eckids, posts nearly every day, with mostly short but interesting notes, ideas and musings. I’d love to follow her lead.

Until soon,

That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

Up, Up, Up

Jelly learned how to climb up the stairs just now. I love it when I can catch them, on camera, doing something for the very first time. I feel so lucky to be able to be a part of everything they do. I hope I can do right by these precious, unexpected gifts from the universe.

Jelly climbs the stairs

Jelly climbs the stairs for the first time.

That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

Anniversaries Come and Go

My first anniversary was yesterday. I’d been worrying over it for weeks and so was secretly glad when neither of us mentioned it. It was a tough day with the twins, and OW was working on our taxes. It was cold as hell (if hell were as cold as North Carolina in the Winter) and windy, so we didn’t even discuss having a Sunday outing.

When it was time for bed, I had a pit in my stomach as I crawled in. I was anxious and couldn’t sleep. As midnight neared, I felt like I ought to at least wish him a happy anniversary but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Then both of the boys started screaming, so that put an end to that.

This morning, just as OW was walking out the door I said, “Happy belated anniversary.” He looked stunned. “No! What are you talking about? It’s tomorrow!”  He’d gotten it into his head that we’d gotten married on Valentine’s Day. I don’t know why, because one of our big discussions when deciding on the date was that it was too close to Valentine’s Day.

He told me he had a present and a card and everything and just felt stupid about mixing up the date. The pit in my stomach came back and I felt the blood drain from my face.

I . have . nothing .

I don’t even have a card. I blurted out that I hadn’t gotten him anything and he told me he doesn’t want anything. “Besides,” he said, “I bought the gift for you last year, so I’ve had it for a long time.”

This was supposed to make me feel better but it made me feel even worse. He’d been thinking about our first anniversary since last year.

He is so thoughtful.

I am so… not.

Do I pack up the twins and wander around town today, desperately trying to come up with a gift? Honestly, it’s been such a hard week-and-a-half with Peanut Butter and Jelly that all I really want to do is run away and curl up in a cave somewhere.

UPDATE: I did pack up the twins, but didn’t roam all over town. I remembered him mentioning something he really wanted but didn’t feel he could justify the cost of. It’s the entire series of Star Wars movies on Blu-Ray. I know he’ll love it and I know he’ll force me to watch all six of them. It’s wrapped and ready to give and I feel much less stressed out.

That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

First Anniversary

My husband and I’s first anniversary is exactly 2 weeks away and I am starting to panic. Before I got pregnant, we hadn’t exactly discussed getting married. I mean, both of us sort of assumed that was coming I think, but he hadn’t formally proposed and I was careful never to have that “when are you going to marry me?” conversation with him. I knew it would come when it came.

Once I discovered I was pregnant, that discussion happened, and it was awkward. He insisted that we get married and that we do it before the boys were born. I told him I was very uncomfortable with the idea that he was marrying me because I was pregnant. He said he wasn’t. It was awkward. Did I say that already?

He assured me that he’d been working towards asking me. He is the sort of person who needed to have the honeymoon planned before he could even pop the question and he had actually been working on that! So we agreed that we would get married. Still, he proposed in a wonderful way, and tried to make it as romantic and spontaneous as possible. He went to my mother (who didn’t know I was pregnant) and asked for her blessing. He picked out a ring he thought I would love. He arranged for us and his mother, my mother, and my mom’s partner to go to dinner together, during which he pulled out the box, made a speech, and formally asked me to marry him. It was all supposed to be a surprise, but it’s hard to surprise me. I acted very surprised. Our mothers literally wept with joy.

We put off setting a date and planning the wedding because my pregnancy was going so badly and we were just consumed by that. In January, however, we knew we’d better get moving. I was willing to go to the courthouse, but he wanted a real wedding, in the church, with his family and friends there. We planned a lovely wedding in only 6 weeks and truly I don’t know how we did it. OW put a tremendous amount of effort into it. I had no idea a nice wedding could be so important to a man! We even had a little honeymoon on the beach in South Florida, in the town I lived in for years and years. I was on semi-bedrest so I mostly sat in the living room of our suite and looked at the beach, but it was beautiful and relaxing. Sadly, his plan for a honeymoon in New Zealand has been put on indefinite hold.

So now it’s a year later. I can’t believe it’s been a year already and I wish we could have a celebration befitting a first anniversary. A romantic weekend getaway in the same boutique hotel where we spent our honeymoon would be perfect. A close second would be a few days in the mountains of North Carolina.

I’m afraid what we will actually do is call my mother-in-law at the last minute and have dinner at a decent restaurant where you don’t need a reservation, then rush home because we know the babies won’t go down for their grandma and will likely be screaming. I don’t really have the time or energy to c0me up with the sort of creative, romantic gift I would have pre-twins. I’m even at a loss for ideas for a non-romantic, non-creative gift.

What I’m most nervous about is that OW will do something really thoughtful for me and I will have crap for him. It’s causing me a lot of stress and anxiety. Taking care of the boys is just so all-consuming. Do you have any easy-to-execute ideas for me?

That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

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