Monthly Archives: December 2011

The Twins’ First Christmas

The twins’ first Christmas was fun, but we made an effort not to go crazy with it. OW and I agreed not to buy them any presents. They really have everything they need right now, won’t remember it, and will get plenty of gifts from relatives. Unfortunately, OW couldn’t resist the urge and did buy them a few things. I did not and then I felt like a heel.

Santa brings a red wagon for the boys

Santa brings a red wagon for the boys

That aside, I’d been determined to enjoy this first Christmas with my all four of my boys, so OW and I made some decisions early on. We bought far fewer gifts this year, focusing on family and settling for sending cards to friends. OW and I decided to get ourselves a new TV for the bedroom and not buy any gifts for each other (OW reneged on that too, but only a little). We only went to one party. We decorated but didn’t pull out every single knick-knack from the boxes. I didn’t do any baking or fool myself into thinking I’d make lovely food gifts for all of my neighbors.

All of this really did make for a more peaceful holiday and I’m glad we did it. As the boys get older I’d like to incorporate them into activities like decorating and baking, but for now I’m happy to keep it very simple. We had a leisurely morning eating sausage balls and sticky buns, listening to Christmas music, and opening our relatively few presents. We went to OW’s mom’s house for dinner in the afternoon and that was the most stressful part of the day. The twins wouldn’t sleep and hardly ate and were miserable, cranky babies. I nearly put my foot down and refused to go because I knew what we were in for, but I also knew that would result in a war, so I acquiesced.

Do you celebrate something at this time of year? How did you spend your holiday?

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

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Outings with the Babes

I’ve managed outings alone with the twins two days in a row now. We have relatively short windows of opportunity in which to get things done while both boys are clean, fed and not in need of a nap. It seems to wear them out, so they often fall asleep in the car on the way home, which is a disaster. They won’t stay asleep in their car seats after we get home, but when I try to gently transfer them, they always wake up from their 10 or 15 minute nap ready to go. This means our regular napping schedule (I use the term loosely) gets messed up.

Truthfully, our lives would probably be easier if we never went out. Then I could keep them on a sleeping, eating, diaper changing, playing schedule. I’ve never been one for keeping children on a schedule but these guys do so much better when we have a solid routine.

Yesterday we tried sitting in the grocery cart for the first time. Neither Peanut Butter nor Jelly can sit very well on their own, but I was counting on the support they could give each other and the waist strap to keep them mostly upright. I also stuffed blankets on the side. I’m not 100% sure it was worth all the trouble. It takes about as long to do that as to put one up on my back. Still, it was fun to see them like that.

Jelly & Peanut Butter in a grocery cart for the first time

Today in the parking lot of a store, I was busily getting the boys sorted out in the cart. It’s in the low 50s F (11C) here and the boys and I were dressed in long pants, socks (well, I had shoes on) and long sleeved shirts. I didn’t bother with hats or coats or sweaters because we only needed to walk from our warm car to the warm store. A well-meaning old lady stopped to, er, help. She was convinced the boys were not dressed warmly enough, that I had the shopping cart too far into the lane of traffic, and that they were not comfortable in the cart. Sigh. I smiled and assured her that we were all fine. She was not at all convinced.

I hope I won’t be the sort of old lady who interferes with others’ parenting choices. I’ll just be condescending and judgmental in my head. J

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

Feeling Incompetent

Today has been one of those days where I am pretty sure I just can’t do it. I feel completely inept at taking care of my children, my husband, the house and myself. The sleeping problems around here seem to be getting worse, not better, and I am exhausted.

I haven’t been to the supermarket in nearly two weeks. There are mountains of crap piled up on both the dining room and kitchen tables. The kitchen is only clean because Super-Husband cleans it, runs the dishwasher and empties the dishwasher every day. The floors – oh the floors. We have a sand pit in the area next to the dog door. Dog hair tumbleweeds drift across the living room. I can’t remember to do basic things like call the pediatrician for a refill on Jelly’s reflux medicine. Poor OW probably doesn’t remember what I look like naked. I’m so miserable and ashamed about how I’m neglecting him. I swore I wouldn’t.

You know how they say the Universe (or God or Allah or Goddess – take your pick) doesn’t give you more than you can handle? That’s a flat-out lie. It’s a lie. People regularly get more than they can handle. The fact that folks live, physically, through hard times does not mean they “handled” it. People freak out, retreat, end up in psych units, drink, drug and lots of other things.

I’m not drinking (much anyway), drugging, near being committed or anything like that. I am freaking out and retreating. We ARE given more than we can handle sometimes. Now is one of those times for me. There is a voice in the back of my head that whispers, “They will grow out of this. This isn’t forever. You will sleep again. You will be able to vacuum the floor again. You will shave your legs again. You will be able to make time for your husband again.” But I don’t believe her.  I’m having a really hard time seeing past the sleep deprivation; past the endless, miserable days when the boys simply will not sleep.

I made a decision last week that was really, really hard for me, and I’m still not sure I’m doing the right thing. I think that’s adding to the stress I’m feeling. I’m not good at making decisions, which is why I married a man who is great at it, and I am nearly always happy to defer to his judgement. But this was a decision only I could make and no one could or can really help me with it.

I come back all the time to the nagging worry that I will not make good decisions and that my poor decisions will negatively impact my children and haunt them into adulthood. I know this is a possibility because I see the results of my bad decisions in my two adult children. The regret I live with is crushing and makes me feel nearly paralyzed when it comes to making certain decisions about the kids in Parenting Part II. I KNOW that I am inept in some ways. Not in every way, I’ll give myself that, but in ways that count. I didn’t think I would have to revisit my shortcomings in this area again. Now here they are, bright and shining in my face like an interrogation lamp.

Maybe I’ll be able to see things more clearly once I’ve had a few days of decent sleep, but I don’t know when that will be. In the meantime,  I am desperately treading water, trying to stop the waves from pushing me under. Sometimes it seems like it would be easier to just stop kicking, but I know I can’t. And I won’t.

But damn, my legs are tired.

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