Category Archives: Twins

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.