Friday, April 15, 2011

Well, y'all, we walked again this morning. I think the statistic is that you have to do something for 21 days for it to become a habit. Too bad swimming starts in 2 weeks. Oh well. One day at a time.

Girls are still a little under the weather, Livi is a potty training super star but I'm sticking close to home for now until she is 100% there. I'm hoping that in a week or 2 I will feel brave enough to start taking her out in PANTIES!!!

My mean cat is at the vet, he's suspecting renal failure. She has been really sweet and cuddly lately which is how we knew that something was very very wrong. She has lost a lot of weight in the past year too, and she wasn't really big to start with, so I don't know. Doesn't look good.

In the mornings, the Twincesses like to take a little inventory of where everyone is, and they go through the list of all the people they can think of and talk about or ask where they are. The list changes from day to day, but since my folks' visit they always say "Mimi and Papa in IOWA!!! So COLD!!!" This morning Liv said, "Mimi and Papa in IKEA!!!" I laughed out loud, and pictured my parents waking up in one of those little display bedrooms set up in the Ikea showroom. Well, at least there is a restaurant there. It really wouldn't be a bad place to live. And Olivia certainly loves it.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

We Interrupt This Silence With an Actual Blog Post

Ahem. Where were we then? Ah, yes. I was ignoring you. Sorry about that. No excuse really, just chasing the Lovelies and trying to maintain all things non-Lovely. But things are good.

The girls are just EXPLODING with language and, almost overnight, they developed this ability to role-play, which is fascinating to watch. Well, it's fascinating to me at least, to see them rock their baby dolls and play the role of "Mama." What a mirror they hold up, when I hear my words coming out of their little mouths, when Liv stumbles and Soph says, "You okay, Livi? You bump your head? I kiss it?" Or when Liv feeds her doll and I hear her murmuring "Yum, yum, baby. It yummy chicken for you. Careful, baby. No chicken on floor." My favorite are the unsolicited "Bless you" "'Scuse me!" and "I sorry"'s.

So sweet.

But there's a darker side to these two little echos.

And it really bothers me to hear it.

Coda was a really good dog. People were always telling me what a sweet boy he was, and he was super high on our priority list. He was secure. He was loved. He was maybe even a little spoiled.

But things change. Our friends who had dogs that pre-dated their kids warned us: Just wait. Your poor dog will be so low on the ladder you won't even believe it. He will fall completely off the radar. He won't be your baby anymore. He will be so neglected.

It was hard to imagine, before that moment when we crossed the threshold into the house for the first time, carrying two impossibly tiny bundles. But the reality set in. Coda was big. Clumsy. Loud. Hairy. With huge sharp teeth. Our sweet boy was a threat. A menace. Demanding time and energy that we simply did not have.

And if you've watched 60 seconds of The Dog Whisperer, you know how these things go. A dog who is not exercised develops discipline issues. Becomes antsy, underfoot, needy, pent-up. It's not his fault. It's his nature. And this, over time, let to me beg dearest to do SOMETHING. Because it was more than I could stand. I wanted to get rid of the dog.

And the way the kids talk to him, snap at him, is hard to hear. My own harsh words, ones I would NEVER direct at the girls, ones I NEVER wanted them to hear, were thrown at the dog on a daily basis. And I feel a pang of guilt at the lesson I am teaching them, and at how unfair the whole thing is to Coda. I don't want them to think it's okay to be ugly and unkind towards any living thing, no matter what a pain in the ass it is sometimes.

So this morning I decided to make a change. Even though I had 100 excuses not to. Even though the girls are under the weather, and the dog is nearly impossible to get on the leash without knocking me over in his frenzied excitement, even though it's starting to get hot in the mornings and swim lessons start in 2 weeks so it won't be practical to maintain. Today, the girls climbed into their stroller, I grabbed a tennis ball and wrangled Coda on to his leash. And we walked. And I told him what a good boy he is. We went all the way to the open field and I let him run until he couldn't run any more. The girls and I complemented his fetching, and when we got home I let the girls give him a treat and he collapsed into a spent and happy heap under the table.

Not promising I am going to do this every day, but I am taking control over my relationship with this dog. And I think it's going to be better for all of us.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled silence.

Sunday, February 6, 2011


It had been one of “those days.”

Not a bad day, necessarily, just a long one, full of running and missed naps and much whining, and an early bedtime because we were all just fed up.

I couldn’t wait to watch Idol, and to tidy the house that had been neglected all day because the kids and I had been out and about.

The girls were quiet immediately, exhausted from the chaos in their normally regimented little lives. I couldn’t believe it when, 30 minutes later, I heard Olivia in the monitor, her groaning turning to crying turning to the moaning of “Mamamamamamama.” “Ugggggh,” I complained to Dearest, ”Really? I have not had one second of break from that kid ALL DAY. Why can’t she JUST SLEEP?!”

I stomped up the stairs, grumbling to myself about the messy house and the one show that I enjoy watching. I plucked Olivia from her crib before she woke Soph, plopped down with her in the overstuffed rocking chair in the nursery, and commenced rocking. I fumed while she buried her head in the crook of my arm, and I rocked. I looked at the clock, and I rocked. In my mind I begged her to just hurry up and go to sleep, and I rocked.

Liv squirmed. I started to think about my energy, about my breathing, focused on relaxing my tense muscles, and I rocked. I felt Olivia’s fists start to loosen their grip on my shirt. I looked at my sweet girl. She is so big, so heavy, so formed as a human being, I hardly think of her as a baby anymore. Suddenly it was good, having her in my arms, and I let go of my anxiety, of my needs, of my demands on her. I thought about a writing by the Buddha I had read the other day:

He who loves 50 people has 50 woes; he who loves no one has no woes.

In that moment I flashed back, back to Dearest and I walking through our just-framed out house, giddy with excitement over the possibilities this place held and the future that would unfold here. We gazed out the holes that would one day be the windows, and referred to this room as “the nursery.” I thought about the years that this was just a guest bedroom, too big for its little full sized bed, too quiet and too empty. The door to this room was closed for 3 long years, I couldn’t face it, this space that embodied all the disappointment I was feeling. I didn’t want to believe that this would be a guest room forever. But sometimes I wondered.

We were so fortunate, I reminded myself. We had so much: the resources, the fortitude, the support, to tackle infertility. We had luck on our side. Our girls were born healthy, beautiful, brilliant.

I fought back as my anger turned on myself. How could I resent my baby needing me? I would do anything for my daughters. I knew that the first moment that I saw their heartbeats on the monitor, and I know it more with each passing day. I am so aware that it won’t be too long before we are dropping them off at school, reminding them of their curfew, walking them down the aisle. For now though, for such a finite time, they need me. And so I rocked. For longer than I had to.

I love my girls. I love my husband. I wouldn’t trade my woes for anything.

Friday, January 28, 2011

30 Days of Truth: Day 12

Day 12 -- Something You Never Get Compliments On

Well, this is turning into 30 years of truth, isn't it? Oh well, good thing I am not writing this blog on a deadline or anything.

Is this supposed to be something I never get compliments on but I should because I am awesome at it? Or something I never get compliments on rightfully so because I suck at it? Guess I'll answer both.

Something I should get lots of compliments on but I don't: parenting. Like every parent, I think. It's hard. So so hard. To do it well, at least. But no one is here watching, no one goes, "Wow, you could have just put the kids in front of the TV this afternoon, but you didn't. You packed them up, you took them to the park, you put them first even though you weren't feeling well." No one gives you a medal for taking the time to cook them something nutritious when you really just wanted to drive through somewhere. No one can possibly know the sacrifices you make over and over, moment after moment. It just comes with the territory. I got a lot of warm fuzzies teaching other peoples' kids, kind notes from parents, compliments from co workers, thanks from the students. I miss it sometimes, but I know that the good choices I make for the girls are an investment in their future, and that is thanks enough for me.

Something I will never get a compliment on ever: my attention span. I do nothing in a linear fashion. Ever. I am the one who leaves the milk on the counter, who gets halfway into 6 different projects all at once, who can't just sit and watch a TV show without ALSO surfing the net. I am absolutely a poster child for untreated adult ADD. I'm so used to it. I don't mind it. I don't find that it limits me in any way. (Except for having a TERRIBLE memory. That part I would like to fix.) It's just how I roll. It drives poor Dearest to distraction half the time, to the point that I have considered getting medicated just for his sake.

Here's a dumb joke, but it's a pretty good summary of my day-to-day life, except add two toddlers to the mix:

I decide to water my garden.

As I turn on the hose, I look over at my car and decide it needs washing.

As I start toward the garage, I notice mail on the table that I collected from the mail box earlier. I decide to go through the mail before I wash the car.

I lay my car keys on the table, put the junk mail in the garbage can under the table, and notice that it is full.

So, I decide to put the bills back on the table and take out the garbage first.

But then I think, since I'm going to be near the mail box when I take out the garbage anyway, I may as well pay the bills first.

I take my check book off the table, and see that there is only 1 check left.

My extra checks are in my desk in the study, so I go inside the house to my desk where I find the can of Coke I'd been drinking.

I'm going to look for my checks, but first I need to push the Coke aside so that I don't accidentally knock it over.

The Coke is getting warm, and I decide to put it in the fridge to keep it cold.

As I head toward the kitchen with the Coke, a vase of flowers on the table catches my eye - they need water.

I put the Coke on the table and discover my reading glasses that I've been searching for all morning.

I decide I better put them back on my desk, but first I'm going to water the flowers. I set the glasses back down on the table, fill a container with water and suddenly spot the TV remote control.

Someone left it on the kitchen table. I realize that tonight when we watch TV, I'll be looking for the remote control, but I won't remember that it's on the kitchen table, so I decide to put it back in the front room where it belongs, but first I'll water the flowers.

I pour some water in the flowers, but quite a bit of it spills on the floor.

So, I set the remote control back on the table, get some towels and wipe up the spill.

Then, I head down the hall trying to remember what I was planning to do.

At the end of the day:
- the car isn't washed
- the bills aren't paid
- there is a warm can of Coke sitting on the worktop
- the flowers don't have enough water
- there is still only 1 check in my check book
- I can't find the remote control
- I can't find my glasses
- and I don't remember what I did with the car keys.

Then, when I try to figure out why nothing got done today, I'm really baffled because I know I was busy all day, and I'm really tired.

I realize this is a serious problem, and I'll try to get some help for it, but first I'll check my e-mail.