Monthly Archives: August 2011

The AARP is creeping up the driveway

Yesterday was OW’s 42nd birthday and it got me thinking again about age. We never expected to be parents at our age. I know it’s much more common now for women over 40 to have children, but it certainly wasn’t in my life plan.

We’ll both be eligible for AARP (the American Association of Retired People, for non-U.S. folks) before our kids start high school.

Stop and think about that for a moment.

Have you recovered from the shock and horror of that? I haven’t.

I’ve been thinking about the various things that come with age. What does retirement mean to us now? What did it mean to us before? We’d never really talked about it. Neither of us has been good about putting money aside for it and now we have that plus the costs of raising children to think about. Fortunately our only debt is a mortgage, one car payment and OW’s student loans. We don’t carry a balance on our credit cards and pay cash for things like furniture, home improvements, etc. Still, we are now living on 2/3 of our former income and have a lot more expenses. Will we be able to keep up with our changing finances? It’s nerve-wracking.

The physical changes that happen as we get older frighten me a lot. I wasn’t in great shape before I had these kids. I have a good figure but that’s mostly luck. I looked great with my clothes on but not so much without. I was slim but flabby and had zero stamina. I couldn’t run (or probably even walk) a 5k if my life depended on it. OW is in much better shape than I am but he is obese and already has issues with his joints.

I feel truly compelled now to get into shape. I desperately want to be an active mom, not one schlumped on the couch without the energy to get out and play with her kids, but it’s really intimidating. I’m only 5 to 10 pounds above my pre-pregnancy weight but I’m certainly in no better shape now than I was before. When and how am I supposed to find the time to exercise? I generally do my writing in 15-minute blocks when they are both (thank you Universe!) sleeping at the same time. I tweet, do email, etc. from my smartphone while I’m nursing or just holding. I don’t know how to fit in real exercise. Plus, I’m just generally so intimidated by the prospect that it makes me wilt to even think about it.

I think OW and I are generally in good health. Aside from not being in shape (which is a big deal, I know) neither of us has serious physical health problems – so far. That will likely change as we age and I am worried about saddling our kids with our problems before they even have a chance to start families of their own. I am probably being too pessimistic about this but it does worry me. I know that the best way to head that off is to make sure we take good care of ourselves, so I shall refer myself back to the previous paragraph.

The positive in this area is that I am pretty big on eating well. We don’t follow any kind of extreme plan, but I generally refuse to make food with ingredients that come out of boxes and cans. No cream-of-something soups, no instant anything, no Chef Boyardee, no Velveeta (insert extra gagging noises here), and no pretend cheese that comes by the slice wrapped in weird plastic. Oh – and I want to make an announcement: No Totino’s Pizza Rolls shall ever cross the threshold of this house!

So now we’re faced with being 46 when the boys start kindergarten. OW and I will be 56 when the boys start high school. I imagined myself at 56 having several grandchildren, not surly teenage boys.

How in the world are we going to keep up? I will D.I.E. if anyone ever asks me if I’m their grandmother. That’s unlikely right now but 15 years from now? I’m not so sure. Are you an AMA (advanced maternal age) mom? How do you feel about it? Do you believe that we really are as young as we think we are? Have you had to change your perspective on things now that you have small children?

Bare your soul to me, please.

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

The Weekend, or Why I Don’t Have a Blog Post

What a weekend. Sometimes I am literally unsure that I will survive this. When they are both screaming and I can’t seem to console either one, I sit on the bed crying right along with them, understanding that this does not get better. It just gets different. OW doesn’t get that because he hadn’t had kids before this.

So my weekend was comprised mostly of this

Some screaming

And this

This guy doesn't want to be left out

And when they didn’t have enough strength left in them to scream anymore, there were a few 20-minute blocks of this (never at the same time of course),

Passed out from sheer exhaustion

followed up with the next round of this

I'm not finished

My brain is on fire. That is all.

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

Bonding, or a Lack Thereof

This is a blog post for which I would really, really like feedback from other moms.

When I was falling in love with my husband, I would look at him and feel pure love washing over me. This wasn’t lust (although there was plenty of that), it was a sense of being lost inside of him, and he in me. I was expecting to feel this with my boys and I didn’t.

Peanut Butter & Jelly (I picked my code names!) are four months old now. I am concerned that I haven’t properly bonded with them. At the beginning, when they were in the NICU, my main emotion was fear. It was overwhelming and I got very little sleep. I felt something toward them, but I’m not sure what to call it. I spent all day, every day at the hospital, and I held them, but for all but 2 days of the 3 weeks they were there, I couldn’t do much with them. I couldn’t feed them (they were fed through a tube), I couldn’t go anywhere with them (they were attached to multiple monitors/IVs etc), and for the first week I was limited in the amount of time I could hold them because they had to be under jaundice lights and Jelly had to stay in an isolette. I spent my days pumping and looking at them, trying to will myself to feel a surge of love for them. I felt affection. I felt a desire to protect them. I cried when Jelly had bradycardia episodes, but I didn’t feel what I thought I should feel.

I’ve read that it can be normal. If it is, why do I feel so much shame about it? I believe in attachment parenting, yet I feel sort of detached from my little babies. It makes me feel like a fraud.

Breastfeeding was and is something incredibly important to me. I stuck it out when I think most people would have given up. I began truly breastfeeding (rather than bottle-feeding pumped milk) around 11 weeks. I thought for sure that would be the thing that would truly meld my heart with theirs. It worked that way with my first two children, so why hasn’t it this time?

People told me that it would come after we got home from the hospital, but it didn’t.

People told me that it would come once they could keep their eyes open and look around, but it didn’t.

People told me that it would come when they could smile and coo, but it hasn’t.

When does it come? Have I missed some window of opportunity? What’s wrong with me that I don’t feel it?

Moreover, what does it feel like? I imagine it’s this gushing sort of emotion, or maybe just a sense of peace when you look at your child. Is this right? How would you describe it?

 

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

.

Mostly Wordless Wednesday

Special guest bloggers, Peanut Butter & Jelly: We’re four months old now and look how far we’ve come!

Peanut Butter & Jelly, birth-day

Peanut Butter & Jelly, 4 months

Am I Attached?

I believe 100% in attachment parenting.

I practice attachment parenting.

I try to practice attachment parenting.

I try to practice parenting when I’m not too touched out.

I breastfeed, cloth diaper and carry the babies around in a mei tai when I’m not too tired.

Yeh, so I’m not nearly as attached as I thought I was. When I had the First Set, I was way into attachment parenting. I was 19, unexpectedly pregnant, scared to death and knew nothing about babies or parenting. I happened upon The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by chance when I was pregnant and just devoured it. It became my bible. From that, I was introduced to The Sears family and learned all about attachment parenting. I am not someone who does things halfway. When I dedicate myself to a philosophy, I throw myself in head first. That was especially true of me twenty plus years ago.

Until each of my boys was a year old, I was not apart from them for more than two hours. I was a stay-at-home mom, even though by most people’s standards we couldn’t afford for me to stay home. We made do. We had one car and lived very, very simply. The fact that we had no money and no family nearby made it easier to be attached – I had nowhere to go and no one to watch them!

I became a La Leche League leader and attended classes on positive parenting, gentle discipline and the like. I had a pair of Birkenstocks for god’s sake! (they must have been a gift because I never would have paid for a pair of those!)

As they got older things happened that forced me to mostly abandon the concept of attachment parenting (which is a big story for another day. Maybe.) as I conceived of it. When I discovered I was pregnant again after all of these years, I assumed I would parent the same way I had before. The thing is, I’m not who I was 20 years ago. I’ve changed and matured and my outlook on life has mellowed. I’m not as extreme as I used to be.

I still intended to have a natural, unmedicated birth. I had my second child at home with a midwife and I knew I wouldn’t be able to do that this time, but I did rather naively believe I could have the same general experience this time. That turned out to be so wrong. I was fortunate in that I was able to give birth vaginally, but the unmedicated birth, immediate breastfeeding, bonding, delayed cutting of the cord and that sort of thing just wasn’t possible. After four hours I was permitted to see and hold my sweet boys for just a few minutes and then was told I could come back in three hours for another few minutes.

I don’t want to tell my birth story and NICU story just yet, but not having your children with you is not a good way to start the bonding process. I was at the hospital every single day from morning shift change to evening shift change, but it is not the same thing at all. My babies had all sorts of wires, tubes and monitors attached to their bodies, one of mine was in an isolette for a good part of the time, they were neurologically incapable of breastfeeding and someone was literally always watching me.

When we got home I still had to pump every couple of hours and bottle feed because they still couldn’t nurse (and couldn’t do it well for the first 10 or 11 weeks of their lives). They were too tiny for me to put them in a sling or other carrier, and I was mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted. I think I was doing everything I could but I’m not sure. I’m still carrying guilt about not “attaching” myself as well as I wanted to during that time.

As they got bigger, I felt more comfortable carrying them in a sling, but most of the time I just didn’t want to. I couldn’t carry one in the sling and hold or carry the other. It seemed (and still seems a lot of the time) that someone was always crying. I was incredibly sleep deprived. In the moments when both of them were sleeping at once, all I wanted to do was stop being touched or needed.

So how much of an attachment parent am I? Let’s see what they say. According to Attachment Parenting International, the eight concepts of attachment parenting are:

* Prepare for Pregnancy, Birth, and Parenting

– Well I did prepare for pregnancy, birth and parenting as well as I could. I was not able to live up to my internal ideal, but by their definition, I have met this requirement. It seems that going into it with thought and intention is what’s important here.

* Feed with Love and Respect

– I was absolutely heartbroken not to be able to exclusively breastfeed. I have persevered way beyond what I ever imagined I was capable of and am now only giving formula for about 25% of their daily intake. This is a huge accomplishment for me and I’m very proud of it. Still, there is that lingering guilt about not being able to say that I exclusively breastfeed.

* Respond with Sensitivity

– This is one I’m trying to do but is so, so hard with twins. The desire is there, but the reality is that one of the boys has to cry for a while before I can get to him. This happens every single day and it’s horrible. One is crying and wants to be fed. I start nursing and after a couple of minutes the other begins to cry. If I put the first one down to attend to the second, the first one begins to wail. There is no way around it that I can see and it breaks my heart.

*Use Nurturing Touch

– I did quite a bit of kangaroo care when the boys were in the hospital. Once we got home it became a lot more difficult. It was virtually impossible for me to safely get both up onto my chest at once. I feel pretty guilty (a recurring theme here) about not spending more time skin-to-skin with them during the first three months. I should probably take off my shirt and their clothes for nursing when we’re at home now, but this becomes logistically difficult too. Our thermostat is set to 74 degrees. OW cannot tolerate it any warmer than this, and even 74 is a compromise for us. The boys’ little hands and feet are like icicles if they don’t have pants and socks on and I wear a sweater inside all the time too. I can’t imagine stripping and then re-dressing them and me every time we nurse. Egads!

* Ensure Safe Sleep, Physically and Emotionally

– I think I’m doing OK with this. They sleep in a co-sleeper right now. We ended up moving it away from the bed because it became so awkward to get in and out of bed with it there. When they wake up at night I just pull them in bed with me and then put them back if I wake up later or if the other one needs my attention. I think this fits perfectly. BUT – we’re preparing the nursery, which is on a different floor than the master bedroom. OW is definitely planning for them to move to their cribs at some point but I’m afraid it will be before I am (or they are) ready. I imagine I’ll end up sleeping in the guest bedroom next to the nursery. My ex-husband and I practiced full bed-sharing with the First Set which was great at first. It became not-so-great after they turned about two. At that point I couldn’t wait for them to get the hell out of my bed. They did transition of course, but I wish I’d had a better game plan. Is it better for me to gently transition them now, before they turn one? Does this go against the philosophy of attachment parenting? I have no intention of putting them in a crib, shutting the door and leaving them there come hell or high water, but I want OW and I to have our own space too.

* Provide Consistent and Loving Care

– Well, I am a SAHM and I am the primary care-giver. OW is a consistent care giver at night and in the morning. We have close family members who come over to help while we’re there and babysit for us for a few hours at a time when we go somewhere. I feel confident about this one. I don’t always feel like I’m being loving (I made up a song to sing to them while carrying both at once, trying to calm them, in which the only lyrics were “Shut up. Shut up. Shut up. Shut up.” It was a pleasant song. I’m just glad they don’t understand me yet.)

* Practice Positive Discipline

– We’re not at that point yet, but my hope is that OW and I will be able to agree on what appropriate discipline is.

* Strive for Balance in Personal and Family Life

– I completely failed at this with my first husband and children. There was no balance at all and my marriage suffered, I suffered, and because of that the children ended up suffering. I am working on finding better balance this time but worry that “balance” means “Mommy is selfish”. That’s a difficult stone to dislodge from my gut but I’m working on it.

How do you think I measure up?

Code Names

Should I keep my family’s real names private?

I’ve been giving some thought to this recently. On our family blog, which is really just baby update stuff, we use all of our real names. It’s a WordPress blog and I have it set as not searchable. We give the address to our friends and family and that’s about it. I am aware that it’s not private and in fact I had that link as my Twitter link at first. I’m not terribly worried about it, as I don’t reveal our address or even the name of our town. Our family knows where we live.

This blog though is one I’m putting out there for the world (but hopefully not my friends and family – Doh!) to read. I will definitely keep my husband’s name private because he is not a social media guy and is very wary about that sort of thing. I don’t use my last name anywhere here or on Twitter and I don’t link this blog or my Twitter account to my Facebook account.

So I suppose I shouldn’t use my kids’ real names either. I notice that most mommy bloggers don’t. They all have cute code names for their family members.

I want cute code names for mine! I know I don’t have a ton of readers, but I think there are at least two or three of you so far. Can you help me pick out my code names or give me guidance?

I already call my hubby “OW” for Other Whole. He’s definitely not a half. In fact, he may be more than a whole because he has to make up for what I lack!

My oldest son is almost 22 years old. He is a musician with a tortured soul. He lives independently, even though that means sleeping on a mattress in someone’s basement. Ugh. I figure he’ll get tired of that eventually. He’s super cool. Like, he is the sort of dude people see and immediately want to hang around with because he looks like and gives off the aura of a quiet rock star. He’s not outgoing, he doesn’t talk a lot and he doesn’t seek followers. He just oozes cool and I don’t know how else to describe that. It’s very attractive to people. We’ll be in a restaurant and wannabe cool dudes approach him and desperately try to engage him in conversation. It’s so interesting to watch.

My second son is almost 20 years old. He is trying to figure out what kind of man he wants to be. He has really worked to seem hard and cold. He has claimed to be an anarchist (that’s finally fading, thank goodness), to hate the police, and to generally want to buck authority. But the truth is that he is a very sweet-hearted kid who thinks of other people’s feelings, wants to have a wife and a family, and needs a major boost of self-confidence. He is friendly and loving, but gets frustrated easily. He is sorely lacking in self-discipline but I’m hoping he’ll get better as he moves through school (he is FINALLY starting community college this semester and I am beyond relieved).

My twins are harder. They are starting to have personalities, but let’s face it: How much personality does a four-month-old baby have? My first one is the bigger of the two, and has a deeper voice. He is generally more willing to sleep and seems to just be more laid back in general. The second kid is the little guy but makes up for it in volume and pitch. He has a cry that I think must be the equivalent of having an ice pick driven through your head. And he is loud. L-O-U-D. He goes from zero to 60 in under 30 seconds. The bigger guy builds up more slowly and never gets that high-pitched screechy scream. They are mo/di twins and I honestly have a hard time telling them apart when they aren’t next to each other. Using physical appearance to come up with a nickname definitely won’t work here. Their size probably doesn’t either because the hope is that the little one will catch up to his brother by the time they are two years old. I’m hopeful that the screaming business won’t outlast infancy (oh pleasepleasepleaseplease).

So how do I come up with a nickname for these two? Even at home I don’t really have cutesy names for them. I call them both boo-boo and pooky-poo and that sort of thing, but when I’m talking about one of them I call them by their given name. How did you choose your family’s code names and what advice do you have for me?

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

I Know Exactly How You Feel

My twins were born April 19, 2011, so they are four months old as I write this. They were born six weeks early and we spent three weeks in the NICU before we were able to come home. I think those were close to the hardest three weeks of my life. There have been a couple of other moments with my oldest son that were as hard, but those are stories for another day.

After the first week I felt pretty confident that they would survive.  But I still had to go home without my babies every night and that was heartbreaking.

I see-sawed between feeling completely absorbed in my babies, my fears, my sadness and then on the other hand feeling so lucky and grateful that we weren’t nearly as bad off as many of the other babies in the NICU, which in turn made me feel guilty about being so self-absorbed.

We survived those three weeks and the next three weeks, when I was paranoid about everything and unwilling to let even family members other than Grandma come over to see the boys. It was really stressful. I’m not sure stressful covers it, but we got through it.

Now the boys are growing and doing the things that babies of their adjusted age do. They are still very small even for their adjusted age, but they are perfectly formed little babies.

So I get really, really annoyed when people make comments to me that are probably well-meaning but are hurtful and invalidating to me.

“Oh, they were only 6 weeks early? That’s not bad for twins.”

It is bad. It is not good to have your baby born a month and a half early. We were very, very lucky that I was able to get steroid shots the week before and that the boys didn’t have breathing problems, so please don’t tell me it’s not a big deal for them to be six weeks early.

“At least you didn’t have them at X weeks.”

I’m very glad we were able to hold out until 34 weeks, but this isn’t a competition.

“Wow, they were 3.5 and 4 pounds when they were born? That’s a pretty good size for twins.”

Nope. It’s not. When we’re talking about weights in terms of a few pounds, a pound is a big deal. The average weight of a full term newborn is 7.5 pounds. Three and a half pounds is less than half of that. Four pounds is just over half of that. The average weight of a twin is 5.5 pounds. A 3.5 pound baby is is only 60% of the weight of an average twin, and remember that many twins are born early, so the average is low because it includes the micro-preemies. The average weight for a full term baby also includes micro-preemie weights, but there are far fewer of them. Our babies were in the category of premature, growth restricted, low birth weight, with my little guy on the cusp of very low birth weight. This puts them both at increased risk for all kinds of problems in the future. This especially true for my little Roland.

“They’re growing fine. They’re not that small.”

Yes they are. Again, it’s not a competition but it is a fact that they are very small for both their chronological and adjusted ages. Should I just agree with you and say, “oh, right, they aren’t small at all, my mistake”? I don’t get that. Are you trying to make me feel better? I’m ok with them being small. Small and healthy is just fine. I don’t know what the future holds though. Will they have developmental delays? Will they have physical problems that will emerge as they get older? I don’t know. I don’t focus on it, but it’s definitely in the back of my mind.

“I know exactly how you feel. My sister/friend/aunt had her baby at 24/28/32 weeks and he was only 1/3/4.5 pounds when he was born.”

No, actually, you don’t know how I feel. Unless you’ve been through this experience you really do not know what it’s like. And even though I know what it’s like to endure the stress and fear of having your babies in NICU, I do NOT know what it’s like to have them there for months, or to have to see your baby on a breathing machine, or have to deal with your tiny baby having multiple surgeries. I’m not going to pretend I do. I hope I can empathize somewhat, but I won’t claim that I know what it’s like.

People who say this are generally in one of two camps. The first is the person who is really trying to find something similar in their life experience that they can share with me and make a connection with me. I do appreciate that. I know it’s an expression of empathy.

For others, it seems to be some kind of one-upmanship game. My baby was born at 34 weeks, your friend’s was born at 28. My baby was 3.5 pounds, your sister’s was 2.8.  I’m not sure how to describe it because it’s late and my ability to write coherently is fading fast. But I definitely feel it when someone wants me to know that they had it worse and that I should feel lucky.

Well, I do feel lucky. I know I am very, very lucky that I got to come home with two apparently healthy, perfect little babies. I know and feel deeply in my heart for those who had and have much more difficult obstacles to overcome.

But please, please don’t invalidate what we went through. I know, oh Lord I KNOW it could have been so much worse and I am truly grateful for what we have. But let me grieve for what we lost too, even if it seems inconsequential to you.

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

Sleep. Sweet, Sweet Sleep.

I’ve had sleeping – or rather, not sleeping – issues since childhood. I have trouble allowing my mind to shut down and relax and it’s terribly frustrating. Even when I’m really tired I often lie in bed staring at the ceiling for hours, thinking and worrying. Every night I dread going to bed and put it off as long as I can. OW simply cannot fathom this. He looks forward to bed time. He strips down to boxers, crawls into bed, gives the sheet a billowy yank and then lets loose a satisfied groan that I’d think he’d reserve for other activities. Within a few minutes he is happily snoring. He’s never had problems sleeping and doesn’t understand why I do.

I’ve tried to explain it, though I don’t fully understand it myself. When I get into bed at night an overwhelming sense of dread comes over me. A dark, quiet room is not relaxing for me. It is extremely anxiety provoking because then I have nothing to do but think. And thinking gets me into deep trouble, trouble with a capital T (I say, trouble right here in River City! – couldn’t resist that).

During the day my mind is always going. I’m not necessarily the sort of person who always has to be doing something physical. You know the type: cleaning one more counter, straightening papers that don’t need to be straightened, tapping their foot. I do those things, but not obsessively enough for anyone to notice. No, my busyness is primarily in my head. I occupy myself by researching whatever is my fancy of the moment, reading blogs and forums, commenting on blogs and forums, playing Sudoku, writing and so forth. Of course, with newborn twins I do spend a large portion of my day doing the physical tasks necessary to take care of them. But every moment I’m doing something with them that involves sitting, I’m on my smartphone, reading, writing or playing Sudoku. I don’t allow myself to have brain downtime.

Then 10:00 p.m. comes and I start to get nervous. OW starts making noise about how we should go to bed. Then 10:30 rolls around and he says that he’s tired and going to bed after the news. Then 11:00 looms and he says that he is definitely going to bed. All the while, the implication is that I should be going to bed too. (As an aside, every single one of my husbands has been insistent that I go to bed when they do. I hate it. That’s a post for another day.) I agree to get in bed, but only if I can have the television AND my phone going. If I can keep the television on until I pass out, I don’t have to think.

And here is my little confession for the day: I love sleeping pills.

I suppose some might see my need for them as an addiction. I don’t think I’m addicted to sleeping pills any more than you would call a diabetic addicted to insulin. I’ve tried several but for me, there is nothing like Ambien.

Oh, Ambien, you are better than chocolate, better than wine, better than sex (although frankly you make all of those things even more lovely than they already are).

Off track there for a moment.

The point is, Ambien makes me feel safe when I go to bed. I know that within ten to 15 minutes after taking it, I will be in that beautiful hypnotic state where I can relax and sleep. My worries disappear, the physical tension in my body releases, and I don’t have to fight.

I’ve been taking it on and off for probably six or eight years now. I’ve been able to keep my dosage fairly low by rotating it with other things like Valium or Xanax. Although I like those things, they don’t give me the true sleep of the dead I get with Ambien.

I do have some of the weird side effects with Ambien that you’ve probably heard about. I sleep-eat, which is really strange. I’ll wake up in the morning with empty wrappers or dishes next to the bed and have no memory of eating. Occasionally I can’t figure out what I ate. Sometimes there is clear evidence in my hair, on the sheets, or smeared across my chest, which is not as amusing as it sounds. I’ve never tried to cook anything. Apparently I just rummage around in the kitchen looking for things I can eat as-is. That may include things better cooked or heated up, but I’ve never eaten raw meat or anything. That proves to me that I do it with some sort of consciousness, but just don’t remember it.

I also have visual and auditory hallucinations. I actually love those. I don’t have them all the time, and the longer I’ve been taking the Ambien every night for a stretch, the less I have them. But they are always similar in nature. They aren’t frightening to me at all.

I’m going to take a deep breath and tell you the secret of the hedge people. Yes, I hallucinate what I call the hedge people, and I’m always happy to see them. They’re like old friends, and they seem happy to see me as well. I see a hedge, and in, around and on top of the hedge are these sort of leafy-looking people. Or not people, exactly. Sprites maybe? At any rate, I talk to them and they talk to me. This I know primarily because OW tells me about the conversations I have with them. In the morning I do remember the hedge people and they make me feel warm and fuzzy inside. When I take the pills I find myself hoping to see my little friends. I know that’s completely bizarre. But they are friendly and comforting and they send me off to a deep sleep I desperately need.

I was terrified about coming off of the Ambien when I found out I was pregnant. I assumed I couldn’t continue but some research and my doctor’s advice convinced me otherwise. I was able to keep taking it through most of the pregnancy, but needed to stop once the boys came home. According to my doctor (and I am not one, so I may not have this exactly correct) the placenta acts as a barrier to some degree and the Ambien doesn’t just mainline to the fetus. It does pass through breastmilk, but the amount is low and decreases significantly within three hours of so of taking it, much like alcohol.

But I haven’t taken it since the babies came home from the hospital, mostly because I was afraid of not being able to wake up to care for them when they needed me. Lately I’ve been noticing that I need a couple of Xanax to relax enough to go to sleep though, so I’m thinking of trying a half-dose of the Ambien again. The boys are now predictably sleeping until at least 3:30 or 4:00 a.m. every night, so I think I could manage it.

The whole thing makes me a little squeegy though. I want to be able to just sleep like a normal person. But I don’t and never have. So do I stay up all night, full of anxiety and then miserable the next day? Or do I reclaim my little addiction? It’s 3:00 a.m. right now, so my opinion is pretty biased at the moment.

Now where did I stash that little bottle?

(Please direct hateful comments and advice on how to relax to my spam folder. Thank you.)

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

 

 

Friday Food Confessions

I have a complicated relationship with food. Don’t we all? I think mine is a bit different than most but maybe that’s because very few of us are truly honest, even with ourselves, about details that shame us.

I’m letting my shame come out.

On a fairly anonymous blog.

I don’t have the courage to be up front about this stuff in my real life, but this is bare wood, right?

I’m of a totally normal weight. In fact, before I got pregnant with the twins (Before Twins – BT) I was pretty bombshell-esque if I do say so myself. I wore tucked-in blouses with snug-fitting pencil skirts and high heels to work every day. I had big boobs, a tiny waist and respectably curvy hips.

I’m only 10 pounds above what I was BT, but it’s amazing how much that 10 affects my clothing choices and my self image. I have TT (twin tummy) and my boobs went from big and luscious to gigantic and obscene. I’ve developed saddle bags. I guess I had them to some extent before but they were minimal and didn’t really bother me.

Even BT though, I was weird and sneaky and very secretive about food. I would hide food even when I lived alone. Why? I don’t know. I was afraid someone would come over and see what I really ate I guess. I still hide food. I hide it from OW. When the twins get old enough to notice that I eat food and to want some, I’ll be hiding food from them too. I’ll snatch bites of things from behind cupboard doors or around the corner from the playroom. I know this about myself because that’s exactly what I did with FS (the first set).

This week I made a loaf of banana bread as a birthday gift for an uncle-in-law I’ve met maybe two or three times. I’d let some bananas get really ripe, I looked up fabulous recipes using weights instead of measurements and I studied the optimal mixing methods, all so I could make the perfect loaf for this uncle-in-law-whom-I’d-met-maybe-two-or-three-times.

when I started making it though, I began to feel an overwhelming sense of greed and regret that I was going to have to give it away. I thought about just not giving it to him and wishing him a happy birthday with nothing in hand. I thought about making mini-muffins so I could eat some and not have anyone notice it wasn’t a full recipe’s worth.

I worked hard to control myself and continued on. I lost that control some at the end, just before pouring the batter into the loaf pan. I started eating the batter. Just a bit that splashed onto my hand at first. Then a dollop from the scraper, then a spoonful, then another.

How gross is that?

I’d be absolutely mortified if OW or his mother or my mother or anyone I know knew about this.

And that’s just the beginning, Friends. My food weirdness will take care of loads of blog posts.

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

Acronyms

BT – before twins

FS – the first set of children

OW – other whole, husband

TT – twin tummy