Thursday, June 30, 2011

Stationery card

Script Twins Pink Birth Announcement
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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Diaper that Ate Cleveland

I just giggled. And giggled and giggled and giggled.

What else could I do? The whole situation was so absurd -- there we were, rather experienced parents, faced with the diapering situation that proved we had somehow sinned against nature.

And I giggled.

Y'all have read my disclaimer to the right, right? This is one of those bodily fluid posts. Actually, it's really a comedy of errors post which uses a dirty diaper as the antagonist. Scott and I are the protagonists, though our actions were less-than-heroic.

Here's the setting: a small lobby in an academic building at a large local institution where we have brought our older two children to be experimented upon. Cue maniacal evil laugh. No, really, they were taking part in a non-invasive psychological experiment where they looked at images on a computer and touched the screen -- nothing painful, nor scary, though they were ensconced in a sound-proof booth.

Milo was first up and after he was whisked away, Scott and I decided to change Willa's poopy diaper. Willa is a power pooper -- she only goes every 3-4 days and when she does, she can fill a diaper like none other. We knew this was going to be a two-person job as there wasn't an adequate place for us to lay her for the change, so she was on her diaper pad on a low vinyl loveseat. Violet was sitting by her feet, Scott was prepped to grab her legs, and I was ready with the wipes.

First error: Not picking the floor. For reasons that will become obvious at some point in this growing narrative.

Second error: Not assembling all of the diapering needs before starting. Also for reasons soon to become apparent.

So I unsnap the diaper cover (we're cloth diapering) and discover poop of the normal amount and consistency. Scott holds Willa's legs, probably higher than she'd like because she starts making yowl-y discontent sounds. At this time, the diaper mess is contained in the diaper and I am working systematically to get the poo off of her. For an unknown reason, Scott lets go of her right leg and she immediately puts her tiny sock right into the diaper. He grabs her leg and peels off the sock as I chide him for letting go.

Good-naturedly he replies, "Yeah... that was a bonehead rookie error. I was pulling down my shirt." OK, I get not wanting to show your back hair to the world, but we were the only ones there. If only we'd stopped there...

As I'm about to get the last of the poo, Willa suddenly decides she wants to check out what's going on down there, flailing her arms towards the mess. I grab her hand before it comes in contact with the poo, but her shirt became an unfortunate casualty. Finally, I wipe the last of the poo from her bum -- it was a five wipe diaper (to this point). Scott gently peels her poopy shirt over her head as I turn my back for a second to grab a new diaper cover (I already had the diaper in hand).

Third Error: Turning our backs for just a moment.

As I turn back around, I notice a growing wet spot under my babe. She was peeing. And the diaper mat is not absorbant. I stood there, frozen, thinking, "She's not going to pee THAT much, is she?"

Right? Wrong.

Fourth Error: Freezing up like a popsicle in Antarctica.

Fifth Error: Not watching where your feet are going when you're moving.

Scott notices my statue impression and dives into the fray to soak up the pee with the poopy shirt he's holding (instead of the absorbent diaper I was holding like a white flag, surrendering to the situation). As he lunges past me, he catches his toenail on something, breaking it and crying, "Ow!"

He folds the diaper mat around Willa like a taco shell to stem the flood of pee from soaking the couch, all the while sucking air through his teeth and exhaling "Ow! Ow! Ow!"

And that's when I lost it. I fell into a giggle fit that lasted at least ten minutes.

In a matter of moments, I had Willa re-diapered and had shown Scott where the spare onesies were. We wiped up the pee, dressed the baby, crammed every soiled thing into my wet bag, and then looked over to see the absolutely horrified look on Violet's little face.

What was running through her mind? Was she appalled by the bodily functions of her infant sister? Fearing for her life at being left in the hands of us as parents? Wondering how she managed to make it to the ripe old age of 3 and 3/4 without suffering physical harm? All of the above?

So, anyway... Just when you think you've got the whole parenting thing figured out, Revenge of the Diaper will strike and put you right back in your place.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Two Turn Signals Down, Pixar

John Lasseter and Pixar Films, you should be ashamed of yourselves.

I have no idea WHAT that was that we just took our kids to this afternoon. It was supposed to be Cars 2, but seemed like love child of Disney merchandising and Mission: Impossible 27 - The One with the Dippy Sidekick.

Scott and I have, for the last decade, chosen to see Pixar films reviews unread due to the tremendous quality of writing and the depth of heart in the painstakingly realized characters.

But this? No... this, your 25th anniversary film, was essentially one big freakin' commercial. I get that cars (and Cars) are easy merchandise to move. What parent or grandparent feels guilty about dropping $5-6 on a measly Car? Heck, we have an entire tubful of them from the first movie. My favorite is Doc Hudson with his Hudson Hornet racing stickers on -- hubba hubba! However, a mere ten minutes into this film and I was rolling my eyes. Sumo cars. Flight attendant cars. Italian villager cars. British royal cars. The cast list goes on and on and on and on... Not to mention all of the playsets: fancy hotels, oil rigs, Japanese/Italian/British racetracks... Where was Radiator Stinks? Oh, yeah... in the background.

For a company that prided itself on pushing the boundaries of technology and the notion that animated films could just be GOOD MOVIES, this one was a huge letdown. Had any other studio released it, my comment would have been, "Oh, it was fun, but it was no Pixar movie."

Where were the layers in the storytelling? There was nothing so unexpected as Dory, so breathtaking as Wall-E and Eve dancing in the starts, so heartwarming as Andy jumping into the box of toys going to Bonnie's house. No one went on an emotional journey like both Lightning McQueen and Doc Hudson did in the original. Mater is, was, and always will be Mater -- he's a character who is comfortable being who he is and to put him in the position where he doubts himself rings a sour note. There's a reason he's drawn like a second-grader just growing into his adult teeth -- his innocence is so pervasive, his naivete so genuine that he has to look like a child. No second grader goes on a journey of self-realization where he suddenly sees himself from the perspective of others and thinks what he sees is bad. Mater just doesn't have the insecurity to do that.

And the friendship lesson? Lightning learned that one when Sally tipped his hand into getting him to follow through with the whole helicopter ride thing. He's got that one down. Even the attempt to make him grow exasperated with Mater seems like a stretch.

This movie feels like the writers sat around and tried to make a full-length film out of one of the Mater shorts on the Disney Channel. There just wasn't enough there for a feature film. The race sequences are built for a video game -- the rainbow bridge was straight our of Mario Kart. How disappointing.

I guess that maybe, after 25 years, you aren't the new kids on the block anymore. You aren't the maverick, the visionary, the one with "it." You have become the establishment. And we're the unfortunate parents who you're trying to get to pay for it. Two turn signals down, Pixar.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Lend Me Your Ear

My brain is leaking out of my ear.

Well, not really my brain, but my eardrum ruptured this morning and it just sounds funnier to say it's my brain evacuating me than ear fluid, right? Especially since I had a doozy of a day yesterday and took to the interwebs before I had a chance to gather myself together and process my day like the adult I'm supposed to be. D'oh!


Much better all around. 1. My ear doesn't hurt anymore -- it's just drippy and gross and I can't hear with it, but it's not painful. 2. I got more sleep last night than I did the night before.

Number 2 is the biggest reason I'm feeling more like myself again. I think it's a foregone conclusion that every post I make where I sound like a whiny-assed baby was preceded by a Night of Little Sleep. I really don't even need that much more sleep to make a difference -- last night I crashed from 11 - 2 and 3:30 - 5 and 5:40 - 6:30 and feel oh-so-much better than I did yesterday.

Heck, I even peered silently at my sleeping children (all of them) before I left for work and thought "I'm gonna miss you guys...". Not "Oh, good gravy, WHY did I think I needed more than zero children?" like I thought yesterday.

So here are some witty musings on a ruptured eardrum:

a) My kids will be able to get away with a ton of stuff today, provided they do it all to my left side since I can't hear.

b) People freak the freak out when you say you've ruptured an eardrum. It actually feels better than the ear pain (I promise), though the yellow gunk I keep dabbing away is pretty icky. At least it's not blood!

c) I'm going to the doctor as soon as Scott gets home from work today. And I'm looking forward to it! Think about it -- when you're at the doctor, you get to talk about yourself, you are the center of attention, and they have to make you feel better. Plus, I'll totally get to wander around Target as I wait for my prescription to be filled. What could be better than a solo trip where I'm guaranteed to have to walk around for at least 20 minutes as they process my prescription?

d) I have a built in excuse for ignoring whomever and whatever I want -- what was that? Did you say something to me? You sounded a bit like Charlie Brown's teacher. Wah-wah. Wah wah wah-wah wah wah.

Hey -- why don't you all send me some more ideas on why it's a super thing that my eardrum ruptured? Go ahead and be as goofy as you dare...

But mostly I'm looking forward to that trip to Target. It's gonna be my light at the end of the ear canal today. Pretty pathetic, huh?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Some Days...

I am having a bad mommy day today. A ba-a-a-a-a-ad mommy day.

I simply have no patience for poor Milo and Violet. To be fair, they have found every way to exploit the fact that my hands have been full of babies, bottles, diapers, and pumping. Prime example? Just now they splashed gallons of water out of the tub during their bath. Something they have done a thousand times and have been reprimanded for a thousand times and yet here I am, shaking with rage and bawling so that I don't say something awful to them.

Why is this so darn hard some days? Why can't the kids see they've pushed me past my breaking point and step back? Why do I feel like such a failure at this day after day after day? OK -- I don't feel like a failure every day. But my current sleep deprived state has me feeling like a failure more days than not.

And I feel like I'm failing at everything. I'm far too impatient with the big kids. I can't get the babies to want to nurse except for once in a blue moon. I'm stressed enough that my pumping totals are dwindling. I don't have time for an adult relationship with my husband, and when the poor fella does get lucky, I fume all night because I lost precious sleep for sex. My house is falling apart -- I can't keep up on anything but the kitchen, bathrooms, diapers, cooking, and laundry.

I suppose I might be a bit of a control freak because if someone offers to help, all I can think is "It would take me more time to explain than it would to just do it." And so I'm washing bottles and doing diapers at 1:00 am and 4:00 am on a regular basis. And fretting because my hard-working husband continues to fold the towels wrong after 15 years of marriage.

To top it all off, my left ear has gone from plugged up to completely blocked to starting to hurt. I should probably go to the doctor tomorrow, but I'm working in the morning and Scott's working in the afternoon and I don't want to drag the kids out. Plus, I'd actually like to touch base with my regular physician to get my asthma inhaler refilled so that I can maybe get out and get some exercise in this allergy-inducing season.

And now I feel like a total putz for whining. Yay! Pity party for me!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Victim of Brutality

Right now, things are quiet in my house. And it's pretty darn eerie.

Milo and Violet are munching on a snack of Frosted Flakes and the babies are napping -- one in the swing and one hanging in the Intellitainer (a non-rocking Exersaucer). I'm not sure why she's comfy like that, but I'm just gonna go with it for now.

And I am a zombie. A complete and total useless waste of flesh today. I can't stay awake long enough to feed a baby or pump -- just the act of sitting still is enough to knock me out today.


Night times are just plain brutal.

We're both on call for most of the night -- it takes both of us to feed the babes and I'm not exaggerating this one. I can't imagine how single parents do this...

Milo wasn't too bad at night. Once we decided not to breastfeed him, we were able to split his nighttime feedings. I'd take the early one and Scott the later one and we'd both only have to be awake once at night,

With Violet, I nursed her mostly in my sleep. All night long, yes, but I was asleep in a chair so I barely noticed.

But this time? It's just monumental. For the most part, the girls are still on a 3 hour rotation. So we feed them at about 9, taking about 40 minutes. Then we put them to bed. Scott does the getting them to sleep part while I pump. Then I wash bottles and start the load of diapers, get ready for bed and take a shower since I've discovered that I really don't have time to shower in the morning before work. I get to bed around 11:00.

One hour of sleep.

The girls wake at 12ish for their next feeding, again taking about 40 minutes. Then I pump, run the diapers through the hot wash, wash bottles and come back to bed around 1:30 - 1:45.

One hour and fifteen minutes to one and a half hours of sleep.

The girls wake at 3ish for their next feeding, again taking about 40 minutes. Then I pump, put the diapers in the dryer, wash bottles and come back to bed around 4:30 - 4:45.

One hour and fifteen minutes to one and a half hours of sleep.

The girls wake at 6ish for their next feeding, again taking about 40 minutes. Then I pump, make my coffee and breakfast and get ready for the day.

Now some days we get an extra half an hour to an hour of sleep between one of the feedings, but never between more than one. So that means on the best day where we get an extra hour and my housework takes less time than expected, I will get 5 hours of sleep. On a normal day it's closer to three and a half hours.

Could I go to bed right after the 9 o'clock feeding? Not really -- Milo and Violet are rarely settled by then and some nights we're eating after a t-ball game or at the pool or visiting Grandma and Grandpa and time slips away so very quickly. And now that I'm back to work I can't go back to sleep after the 6 o'clock feeding. I had been able to do that until last week and Scott still does (lucky bastard).

And weekends? Well, because I'm generally still up at 7 o'clock after pumping and washing bottles, I nearly always greet one or two of the walking children on the way down the stairs as I head back up to join Scott for another hour of sleep, so no chance for more sleep once they're awake. I've gone so far as to try and convince them that I am completely capable of snuggling them on the couch while I'm sound asleep. It's true, you know... But they don't buy it and start talking to me anyway, frequently pleading "Mommy! Open your eyes!"

Well, Mommy doesn't want to open her eyes. Mommy needs a darn nap! But that's not really going to happen, either, because as soon as Mommy gets home from work, Daddy heads out to the garden or to his parents to mow or to a meeting or to care for the chickens. And Mommy doesn't get a chance to deliberately close her eyes.

I just wish for one day where all I did was nurse, feed, and pump then roll over and go back to sleep. But that would require another adult to assist Scott and if there's another adult around, he's back out to work on out poor overgrown garden, to mow, or to meet with people and I get suckered back into the fray no matter what.

I seriously don't know why it isn't standard issue for moms of infant multiples to get free maid/cook/garden service. If I ruled the world, that is what would happen.

In the mean time, I'll just watch the rest of my family sleep as I play dairy cow, dishwasher, and diaper service. Or, in other words, Mom.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Myth Bustin'

Have you heard this one? Early walker, late talker.

Or this one? Boys talk later than girls.

While either or both of those might be true for some kids, I'd like to challenge these statements and assure you that they are, at least for my family, not factual.

Early walker, late talker...

What I really hate about this platitude is that it implies that it implies that your early walker is somehow showing a tendency towards stupidity. Or that your early talker is so patently uncoordinated that he or she will never learn to run in a straight line or something. If that were the case, wouldn't half of the population be stumbling drunkenly across the room while debating particle physics and the rest sprinting around gracefully while extolling the virtues of Michael Bay films?

I get that sometimes a child will focus on developing in one area and hit a certain milestone before another milestone. And that is completely normal. But so is the kid who learns to walk and talk at about the same time. So down with that platitude!

Boys blah blah slower than girls blah blah...

Again, I really think you need to take this on a case by case basis. My daughter developed speech ahead of her scheduled milestones, that's true. But my son? He blew her out of the water. In fact, he was so verbal so early Scott actually asked me if Violet was slow. (Ha!) One his first birthday, mILO used an actual sentence -- signing the word "more", saying "turkey" and signing "please." More turkey, please. Heck it wasn't just that he used a sentence, he use proper manners. All right, that was a sentence fragment, but you get the picture.

OK -- before I sound like one of those moms who brags all over her kids, he also can't remember from one day to the next where he's left his shoes. Hint: in the same place they always go.

But, yeah -- give your boys a chance! They aren't Neanderthals simply because they have that Y chromosome -- nah, caveman behavior takes some practice! It takes some talent to become a big ol' Weiner, you know...

This post is part of the Multiples and More Question of the Week Link-Up. Brought to you by frazzled parents of multiples everywhere. Or anywhere. Or nowhere. Or here.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Back to Work!

Yesterday was my first day back to work since I was placed on bedrest on April 8th.

For some working moms, the transition back to work is tough. I can't say that it is terribly difficult for me because each time I've gone back to work, Scott has had an additional week or so of paternity leave during which he cares for the new baby. And, given that I love and trust the man enough to want to have a gaggle of children with him, I have absolutely no qualms about leaving him alone with our kids, even as itty-bitty infants.

I just deleted a Judgy McJudgerson paragraph about choosing to have kids with someone you don't trust. It's too early in the morning (4 a.m.) for snark.

And this is how the summer will go: mommy works until noon, then comes home. Not a bad gig, let me tell you -- I get to come to work where I can choose whether or not to have music playing and definitely don't have children fighting all around me all day and then, about the time that I start to miss everyone, I get to come home and take over house mama duties so that Scott can work int he yard or go to meetings or whatever. And then we all get to hang in the evenings. Well, if hanging out includes t-ball games and swimming lessons, which it does this month.

Anyway, I came home from my easy first day back to pull into our driveway and be greeted by raucous giggling. And two blonde children who came dancing out from their hiding place behind Daddy's truck wearing nothing but swim diapers. Keep in mind that neither of these children have worn diapers for eons and that the diapers they had on were for babied up to 24 pounds. It made me pretty glad that we live out in the middle of nowhere...

Oh, and the babies were just fine, too.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

School's Out for Summer!

The twins are seven weeks old and we're still eating every 3 hours. Mama is still pumping about half of what babies need to eat. The weather has been hotter than hot the last few days.

And school is out for the summer.

While the twins are getting the hang of being on the outside, my older two kidlets are just wanting to be outside. Which is great when it's not 90 in the shade. We're blowing through sunscreen like we have stock in Coppertone. And drinking gallons of water. And using gallons of water for the Slip'n'Slide, which is stationed right outside the kitchen window because I'm not sitting outside with wee tiny infants when the heat index is 100 degrees.

So Milo and Violet have been enjoying the kind of summer that I did when I was a kid. you know the one -- where your exasperated and annoyed mother, tired of hearing yet another "But she blah, blah, blah" or "Mom! He blah, blah, blah," sends you outside largely unsupervised to discover the wonders of your own backyard.

Activities my children have discovered:

1. Running around (duh)
2. Driving the battery operated Gator
3. Riding bikes on the corn crib pad
4. Slip'n'Slide
5. Climbing all over the play set
6. Heaping tons of flowering weeds on Mocha's grave
7. Sidewalk chalk
8. Weeding the strawberries
9. Blowing bubbles
10. Flying a kite

They have also done the following:

1. Left every pair of shows they own outside to get rained upon
2. Pulled up flowers I kinda wanted to keep and strewn them on Mocha's grave
3. Semi-washed the van -- now it looks like someone puked road dust on the side of the van away from the hose connection
4. Gotten more invisible scrapes, cuts, and bruises than I could imagine
5. Lost juice pouches to the prairie
6. Left their bikes out all night, thankfully there's been no rain
7. Squashed the carrots and radishes we planted along our sidewalk instead of landscaping with perennials that I would likely kill
8. Left sunscreen-y footprints all over my wood floors
9. Tried to fly said kite under the only power lines on our acre and balked when I sent them away from the power lines
10. Made their dear mother insane during the heat of the last few days by bouncing balls in the house, whining, begging for snacks all day long, changing clothes thirteen times a day, leaving Legos on the floor like landmines, leaving half-drunk cups of water all over, insisting on watching the most inane cartoons on Netflix, fighting constantly over nothing, and hopping up and down in tears any time she asks them to quiet down, put something which they had gotten out away, or wait ten minutes for a meal instead of having a snack.

And school's only been out for a week...

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Heaven Has Never Gotten a Better Dog

She was my first baby, her eyes so bright and intelligent. Her little paws velvet soft, used only for a few weeks before she came home with us.

I remember her sweet, milky breath and that warm puppy smell.

I remember how excited she was, that I needed to sit by her food bowl in order for her to pay attention to her food long enough to eat it.

I remember the first time she barfed up stuff that wasn't food. I couldn't imagine why lint, a small scrap of wire, mulch, and part of something plastic seemed appetizing to her, yet the evidence was clear that she'd eaten all of that.

I remember her surprise when she discovered frogs and they jumped.

I remember long walks in the cool of night. And later, walks with two dogs hitched to the front of the jogging stroller like a team of horses.

I remember her constant affection.

I remember using her for a pillow while napping when I was pregnant with Milo.

I remember that she knew I was pregnant before I did each time I was pregnant. And that she also knew when I wasn't pregnant any more and was mourning losses.

She had a scent -- musky, musty and wise. It was all her own and it comforted me whenever I felt life was too hectic, too spastic, too much.

I miss you, Mo. I miss you when you begged for food (pizza and pork were your favorites). You were never so beautiful as when you begged for food.

You were so smart, so sweet, so very, very kind and patient. You knew who loved you and you loved them back, amply. My children loved and love you. They bore the news of your death with large, sad eyes. Milo's tears spilled into my shirt and Violet watched your body, soaking up the details of your fur as if she was taking a photo.

I have cried for you every night as I sit in the quiet dark, listening to Tessie's melancholy snore and the whirring of my pump. I think of all of the joy you brought me and hope that you will forgive me that the last six weeks of your life were a blur of newborn twins for us. I am so sorry that I just didn't have enough of me to go around and that you and Tess were the ones who got the least.

Oh, my Mo... I hope that you are somewhere dreaming a wonderful dream, chasing pheasants or splashing in a pond or playing fetch with a sweet-faced blond boy in the waning evening sunlight. I miss you, MoMo, and always will.

Mocha Latte
7/9/00 - 5/31/11