Archive for November, 2007

My tribe may only exist on the internet.

Last night we attended an “expectant parents’ meeting” of a local Parents of Multiples group, hosted at a private residence in a very upscale neighborhood. When we got out of the car, Husband pointed at two tiny chairs on the porch, each with a boy’s name painted on it. They were the sorts of names you associate with hulking teenagers wearing polo shirts and backwards baseball caps. “These are not our kind of people,” he said morosely.

I glared at him. “Can we just give them a chance, please?” I’ve really been wanting to meet other parents of twins, and I wasn’t prepared to abandon hope of meeting kindred spirits before I’d even walked in the door.

Unfortunately – and as usual – he was right. The meeting was led by two mothers of twins, who were very eager to share their stories about pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, and sleep issues. Most of these stories were pretty negative, which, okay – pregnancy and parenting of multiples is different from singletons, and who am I to judge another parent’s experience? There was a round of introductions, and everyone cooed enviously over the woman who, at 32 weeks pregnant, had only gained 26 pounds. I tried not to let my incredulity show too much; low weight gain is not particularly healthy for a multiple pregnancy – the goal is typically a bare minimum of 35 pounds, with 50 or so considered optimal for higher birthweight babies. But this is LA, after all, where Thin Is In no matter what the price.

Sleep and time management were two of the biggest topics. The solution? Nannies and night nurses. “So worth it,” was the conclusion, “especially if you like your sleep.” We expectant parents received copious information on interviewing nannies, checking references, and paying them (“You’ll pay more for an English-speaking nanny, but don’t you want someone who can communicate with your kids?”). The possibility that such alternatives were not remotely affordable – or desirable – for some parents was simply not addressed.

Breastfeeding was presented as a virtuous-but-often-unattainable goal, and one that we shouldn’t feel too much pressure to pursue. “How long can you exclusively breastfeed twins?” asked one woman. “Well, I did it for nearly five months,” replied the host, failing utterly to answer the question. I timidly raised my hand, and suggested La Leche League as a resource for information about breastfeeding multiples. We had attended a meeting there the night before, and had come away with some really great information and resources. The host made a moue of distaste and jumped in to warn the group that “La Leche League is pretty militant and hardcore.”

All in all, we came away feeling like a couple of uppity, barefoot hippies who would get our comeuppance when these babies were born and we suddenly discovered that it really was impossible to raise twins without a big house, a stay-at-home mom, and paid help – oh, and lots and lots of formula. As much as I want to connect with other parents of twins, this group is clearly not for us.

If anyone knows of any hippie parents of multiples in the greater Los Angeles area, please let us know. I’ll invite them all over to our small, patchouli-scented apartment. For potluck, of course.

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Thanks.

I’d like to think of it only as a couple days off from work, a time to be with family and friends, to fit as much as I can into my rapidly shrinking stomach (babies’ feet are up there now!), and to relax and listen to the “This American Lifemarathon on KCRW. But as it is the holiday season, and I am genetically predisposed to neurosis, I would like to share with you everything that troubles me about this upcoming long weekend.

First, there is my conscience. Celebrating a mythologized peace between native peoples and colonial invaders is always kind of awkward, doncha think? Tisquantum, called Squanto, is revered in elementary schools nationwide as the kindly Indian who taught the Pilgrims how to survive the harsh New World winters. As for Tisquantum’s own history – how he was kidnapped, enslaved, and shipped to Spain fifteen years earlier; his journey from Spain to England; his transport back to New England in order that he might act as a peace broker between the English and the understandably hostile indigenous residents (a plan thwarted by the fact that all of his people had been killed by plague while he was away); his later corruption and the resultant death sentence imposed upon him by the leader of the Wampanoag confederation, which he narrowly escaped – Well, I must have been out sick the day my teacher covered that part.

But let’s get past all that unpleasantness. After all, it was a long time ago, and the celebration of Thanksgiving today has little if anything to do with its origins. (I will say that with a straight face, I will.)

Let’s get to the part where it’s about family and friends and being thankful for each other and all of our blessings. That’s something I can get behind, at least in theory. I am so deeply grateful to be spending this holiday with my husband, my friends, and the two little wrigglers in my midsection. At the same time, we’ve had the predictable slights (thoughtless rather than malicious, I’m sure) from some family, and I’m trying not to let that hurt more than it has to. The pressure we feel to be happy at this time of the year always makes people miserable, have you noticed?

Thanksgiving also seems to be beginning of the countdown to the gifty holidays, which are miseries unto themselves when money is tight. This year, as always, I will be a cheerful participant in Buy Nothing Day, but this year, perhaps more than in years past, my choice to participate will be balanced with my need to participate.

That about does it for my holiday anxieties right now. Misery loves company, though; what monsters lurk in your holiday closets?

Oh – and happy Thanksgiving!

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I am such an ass.

A gentleman with interesting hair and a confused expression wandered into my office and asked for directions to a conference room. I offered to walk him there, as I needed to stretch anyway. As I waddled and he huffed down the corridor, I kept thinking, “this guy’s a rock star. I know he’s a rock star. Who is he? Why can’t I remember his name?”

Yeah. It was George Clinton.

A couple of secretaries and I hovered near the elevator for a while with a camera, hoping we’d catch him before he left, but we found out he’s in an all-day thing and may well be here late. Rats. I wanted to take a photo with his hand on my big, pregnant belly.

Now my babies may never be funktified.

funky

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Catching y’all up

So I am back from vacation, and already whiny. We spent the first few days back East in Virginia with Silligirl and her funny, adorable daughters. The girls are at the age when “sharing” is a key concept, and they generously shared their colds with Husband and me. I am nearly recovered, but Husband is buried in a mountain of used Kleenex, from which piteous moans occasionally emerge. As SilliTot put it hoarsely, he has “so many froggies” in his throat.

We went north after that, to my parents’ house in Connecticut, where my mother took me shopping for maternity clothes. I am quite huge now – measuring at about 6 1/2 months, though I’m only almost-5. That’s twins for ya. At any rate, I am much more comfortable now that my pants are no longer beating me up.

We did some stuff and saw some people, and it was all lovely, though I felt quite exhausted by the end of the week. I’m going to make it a point to hibernate at some point before these babies arrive. Just spend three days or so vegging out.

And speaking of vegging out, here’s what I made for my mother’s birthday present:

Ninjabun 1
She is an avid gardener, so I thought this would be appreciated.

A vegetable garden . . .
Ninjabun 2

with a surprise!
Ninjabun 4

According to the pattern-maker, “Ninjabun is covert, sneaky, and VERY hungry!”

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