Category Archives: Family

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.

Advertisements

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.

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.

First Day-Trip with the Twins

We went to the 4th annual Seagrove Pottery Festival this weekend. This was our first all-day trip out with the twins and I was scared to death. They are 7 months old and we’d never taken a day trip! It was a two-hour drive each way. We thought we’d drive out, spend a couple of hours there and then drive back. Instead, we left the house at 9:30 a.m. and didn’t return until 6:30 p.m. They boys did so much better than I thought they would, but I attribute that almost entirely to the fact that we wore them the entire time. No stroller whatsoever. After wearing them at the State Fair last month, I think OW realized what a good idea it really is.

This was at the Farmers Market a couple of months ago.

We took them off only a couple of times to change diapers and nurse. On every aisle we were stopped over and over by people expressing astonishment at the fact that we had twins and were wearing them. Ha! It is such a strange thing to me that it is strange. I pitied the folks trying to navigate a stroller through the maze of very expensive, very fragile pottery.

We ended up spending way more than we’d planned on, but isn’t that the way it is? These are pieces that will appreciate in value and things we love. We even won a gorgeous piece in a silent auction. There is a very well-known potter named Boyd Owens who was so friendly and kind to us. He gave us two Noah’s Ark themed mugs for the boys and it made my heart flutter!

Some of the pieces we bought.

The boys started crying when we were about 15 minutes from the house, which was difficult, but they were calm the rest of the evening. We were triumphant in our victory, but we celebrated too soon. Peanut Butter and Jelly did not sleep well at all that night, and we thought we’d lose our minds before sunrise. Was it a coincidence or punishment for our gall?

The success of this trip is making me think that maybe we’re starting to turn a corner. I’m finding a bit easier to have a predictable routine, I can plan little errands out of the house without it causing a meltdown for all of us, and the boys can play and entertain themselves for a little while at a time. I’m afraid to be too optimistic but I don’t want to have a negative attitude that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy either.

Now if we could just get this sleep thing worked out…

Funky piggy banks for the boys. Check out the teeth on the blue one and the tusks on the green one!

When did you attempt your first day trip out with your newborn? I’m especially interested in hearing from you if you have twins.

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

OW and the Fluish Weekend

OW and I had big plans for this past weekend. We had men’s night/women’s night out with his church (I’m not a member but they graciously welcome me to all of their events). We had his law school reunion picnic Saturday morning, and we planned to go to the state fair Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately, OW woke up Friday morning with a fever and body aches. Our whole weekend was shot.

I felt badly for him, and tried to take care of him, as much as he let me, but I feel an odd sort of resentment. It’s not resentment directed toward him, exactly. It’s just that I was really looking forward to having some family fun time. Ever since the babies were born six months ago, it seems like every weekend involves doing work around the house (the nursery still isn’t done) or OW either wanting to do nothing but vegetate or having to go in to the office. I was really excited about doing real family stuff. The kind of stuff real families do.

Instead, I spent the weekend bringing him Tylenol and trying to convince him to eat and drink plenty of fluids (neither of which he did). And I sort of resent it.

Because

I TOLD him to get the flu shot. I TOLD him he had to do it now that we have the babies. I TOLD him to do it at the beginning of September.

All-mighty, All-knowing OW rolled his eyes at me. And now we’ve had a ruined weekend that we can’t get back.

Whew. That just sort of burst out.

So I guess my resentment is directed toward him more than I thought it was. I shouldn’t be so petty, but I’m alone with the twins for a minimum of 12 hours a day, every day and it’s hard. I know he works really hard but he gets to eat lunch every day. He can eat alone if he wants to, or with friends, or at a park, or in a restaurant. He speaks to grownups every day and doesn’t walk around soaked in someone else’s bodily fluids.

He’s really helpful in the mornings and evenings on weekdays. It’s the weekends I really hate. I often get the feeling he thinks he should have the weekend off. Well, me too Buddy.

I know all of this is the age-old gripe that moms have. I can’t write about it in a new, fresh, witty way. I’m just annoyed and wanted to hang my dirty laundry right out on the Internet’s clothesline. So there!

P.S. On this day, exactly six months ago, I gave birth to two beautiful, tiny, human beings. Sometimes I can’t believe it’s only been six months, and sometimes I can’t believe it’s only been six months.

Jelly & Peanut Butter

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

Nighttime Parenting

The boys are five months old now and have slept in our room since they came home from the hospital. We have a co-sleeper that used to be attached to the bed, but it was such a nuisance for me to get in and out of bed that we moved it against the wall. Generally, one or the other will wake up around 3:30 or 4:00 a.m. and I just pull him into bed with me to nurse. We both fall back asleep and when/if the next one wakes up I just switch. I always wake up with someone next to me in bed.

And I like it this way.

And OW tolerates it.

He is pushing to get the nursery finished and he thinks that once it’s finished and the cribs are moved in, the babies will move in too. I wouldn’t be completely opposed to that except that we have a first floor master. The nursery is upstairs. I’ve told him repeatedly that I have no intention of trudging upstairs, sitting in a chair to nurse, putting the baby back in the crib once I’m sure he’s asleep, going back downstairs, and repeating this two, three or more times per night. I simply won’t do it. I told him that I may start out the night in our bedroom but that once I go upstairs I stay upstairs. I don’t mind putting them in the crib to start, but after that I’ll just sleep in the guest bedroom with one or both of them next to me.

He wonders how long this arrangement will go on and I’m afraid to tell him that it could be a year or even two (possibly more?). Two year olds don’t always sleep through the night either and do I want my two year olds to come down the stairs alone at night in order to crawl into bed with us? I guess I’ll have to make those judgments as they grow and I can gauge their abilities, but I’m concerned this could go on for two or three years.

My concern isn’t whether they sleep in bed with us. My concern is that OW will not understand why it’s so important to me that I don’t stop parenting just because the sun has gone down. My first husband and I practiced complete bed-sharing with our first two – we never even had a crib – but that was really too much. I’m feeling more in the middle this time. The boys can start out in their own beds and come to us when they need to. I want them to see their room and their beds as a welcoming, comforting place to be and not a prison in which they are locked every night. I won’t leave them in there with a no-matter-what attitude. I don’t think OW wants to do that either. I think he is truly ignorant of how babies and toddlers develop.

My sister has four year old twins (I know that’s odd, but it’s a totally bizarre coincidence, since hers are dizygotic and mine are monozygotic). She had them in their own cribs in their own room right from the beginning. She went back to work full time about three months after they were born. I believe she practiced CIO but I’m not sure because I’m afraid to ask. At some point she changed the door knob on the boys’ room so that she could lock it from the outside. I was beyond horrified when my mother told me that. I swore I would never do that. She scoffed at me and said, “Oh yes you will.” Oh no I won’t. I can imagine putting a gate there. I can imagine putting a pretty tall gate there to keep wandering toddlers from toddling to unsafe places but I cannot imagine locking my children in their room.

What will our nighttime parenting look like as the boys grow? I’m not sure yet, but I hope I’ll always be respectful of both their and OW’s and my needs.

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

I love my husband but

I love my husband. I really do.

But.

You knew there was a but, right?

I need to start by extolling his virtues as both a husband and a father. He gave me flowers and a card for our semi-versary. That’s right, he made a big deal out of us being married for six months. How cool is that? He is loving and attentive for the most part. He takes my feelings into consideration and respects my opinions. He won’t let me carry a heavy bag and holds the door for me.

He shines as a father too. He got up every time the babies did for the first several months when I was having to pump and give bottles (the boys weren’t up to speed on breastfeeding yet). He’ll still get up during the night if I need help. He’s rinsed out more poopy diapers than I have and he never cringes or complains. Every single morning, weekends included, he gets up before I do. He makes me an iced coffee just the way I like it, brings the vitamins and medications into the bedroom for all of us, and changes the diapers of wakeful babies while I’m still rubbing the sleep out of my eyes. He’ll throw the diapers in the dryer and unload the dishwasher for me. In the evening he is just as likely as I am to put aside a hot dinner to hold a crying babe. He’s willing to learn to babywear, and is excited about our future together as a family.

So I was perplexed and annoyed to get a phone call from him while I was in the supermarket Monday evening. The store is 8 minutes from the house. I had a list and had been methodically working my way through it for about 40 minutes and I was nearly done. The phone rang and all I could hear was the twins screaming bloody murder.  “Hello? Hello?” I said. Finally, his strained voice says to me, “Do you hear that? Do you hear that? You’ve got to come home!”

I told him that I was working my way through as quickly as I could and would be home as soon as possible. I felt a twinge of annoyance at that point, but kept moving. Ten minutes later, as I was just crossing off the last few items on my list, he called again. “Come home!” he demanded. Now I was mad. I was standing in the checkout line when I got a text from him telling me to hurry up.

Now I was pissed off. What did he think I was doing? I was not dilly-dallying. It’s not like I was getting a pedicure. I was buying food so our family could eat! I make my list in order by aisle so I don’t have to cross back through the store. I was buying exactly what was on my list and not lingering in front of the cookies. I was going as fast as I effing could.

When I got home he was a wreck. I had been gone exactly one hour. The babies had been crying for 45 minutes and he was about to have a breakdown.

Seriously?

I mean, seriously?

What the fuck does he think I deal with every fucking day?

Whew – sorry about the profanity, but really. This is my life. It’s my life all day every single day. There is 45 minutes of stereo screaming on a GOOD day. I don’t call him and tell him he has to come home. There are days when I send him a text or emailsaying that it’s been a bad day and asking whether he could please bring home dinner. There have even been days when I’ve called him, crying, to say that it’s not fair to Peanut Butter that Jelly cries so much and needs more attention. But I do that because I need to tell someone about my pain. I don’t insist that he drop what he’s doing to come save me.

In fact, I was virtually alone with the twins the entire Labor Day weekend because he’s been painting all of the rooms on the second floor of our house (which I appreciate – he has worked really hard on home improvements and sees it as a gift to our whole family). The boys have been particularly fussy of late and he listened to me caring for two crying babies by myself for the whole weekend. I do appreciate the work, but I am offended that I was not allowed one freaking hour to do grocery shopping.

I’m so tempted to jab him with comments about how I have to deal with them all the time and he doesn’t. He likes to tell me how hard his job is. I know it is very stressful and I never diminish that. Could I get a little credit too though? And couldn’t he just suck it up and let me enjoy an hour by myself at the supermarket?

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

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.

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?