Archive for November, 2008

Travelogue: the flight.

  • Husband and I were seated on the aisle three rows apart, and he gave Robin a bottle while I nursed Wren during takeoff. Robin refused to take it and yelled the whole way up. Wren nursed and fell asleep before we reached cruising altitude, but the “Fasten Seatbelt” sign remained stubbornly lit, and so I could not perform the baby exchange that would allow me to stop my other kid from infuriating everyone around us. A flight attendant who was either very kind or very sick of the noise brought Robin to me and passed Wren up to Husband, so I was able to muzzle him with a boob, after which he immediately slipped into unconsciousness. Both babies slept for a good part of the flight.
  • Both babies yelled the whole way down.
  • Wren then slept through the entire second hop from D.C. to our local airport, during which I was seated next to a most engaging busybody from New Orleans, who told me all about her job, her kids, her kids’ jobs, how much money they made, and her grandkids. All in the first ten minutes. The rest of the flight, she listed the places she had traveled to and the ways in which those places were inferior to home.
  • Following the advice of some other mothers of twins, I tucked earplugs and a bag of Hershey’s Kisses into my carry on luggage for distribution to unhappy fellow passengers. I am pleased to report that I did not require either of them, and so made it to New England with a full bag of Hershey’s Kisses, into which we have been delving each night while drinking red wine.
  • I had sushi tonight, for the first time since becoming pregnant in July of ’07. This has nothing to do with our flight, but I am so pleased I just had to share.

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Pray for us.

We’re taking two eight-and-a-half month old babies on a plane – actually, two planes – back to my parents’ house in New England. If we make it without being murdered by other passengers, we’ll be there for ten days.

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Due to a dearth of comments, today’s post will just be a photo.

What's up, Doc?

Take that, internet.

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Step away from the phone.

There is a discussion over at Annika’s blog about following your mommy instincts when it comes to the all-important question of Strangers: Good or Bad? And in that vein, I thought I would relate to you a small story.

I am on an e-mail list for LA moms. It’s mostly exactly what you think it would be: nannies, casting calls, casting calls for nannies, and queries about what the fuck that helicopter was doing circling my house for three hours last night. Just often enough to keep me from unsubscribing, though, an interesting tidbit comes through. The other day there was a frantic e-mail from a woman who had been in Trader Joe’s, minding her own business, when she heard a little boy say to his female caretaker, “I miss my family.” “I am your family,” the caretaker replied. The two finished their shopping, and when it came time to sign for the credit card, she let the little boy sign the name.

The woman who wrote in to the list was appalled. Clearly, the boy had been kidnapped by this monstrous beast! Kidnapped, taken to Trader Joe’s, and forced to sign for groceries he not only had not chosen himself, but which included no sugary cereal at all! Now only she could save him. She rounded up store employees and shared what she had heard with them. She tried to get them to follow the woman out to the parking lot and get her license number. She asked the list whether she should call the police. Eventually she did call the police, and they refused to do anything. Would. You. Believe. It.

What surprised me even more than one person overreacting was the number of people who wrote back in support of her, saying Follow your instincts! Go with your gut! Call the police! I believe that instinct is important, and generally guides us well. But where do you draw the line between Going With Your Gut and Going Totally Nuts? Because, to me, this thuds right into the latter category.

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The night nursing olympics.

Each night, sometime between eight and nine-thirty p.m., I get in bed to nurse the babies to sleep. I flop onto my back, a pillow-propped baby tucked into the crook of each arm. and the two little remoras latch right on. It is a feat surprisingly easy to achieve, since my breasts are the size of small planets, only rather squishier and very much subject to earth’s gravity, sliding obligingly to the sides of my ribcage when I lie down.

Up until quite recently, this worked well. But something about turning eight months old has brought out the nighttime gymnasts in my children. They latch on to the nipple, then begin to twist and wriggle like octopuses. They stand on their heads; they arch their backs; they turn upside down and flail adorably. Not so adorably, they grab each other’s hair and ears, stick their fingers in each other’s eyes, and slide sneaky little feet across my belly to kick each other. What is this, I ask them, revenge for slights incurred in the womb? They grin at me and do not answer (“Oom!” and “Bleeh” don’t count).

Last night Wren managed to roll up on top of me and then over again, so she was lying on her stomach on my stomach. Then she looked down at her brother on the other side, giggled, and PUSHED HIM OFF THE BOOB AND TOOK IT FOR HERSELF.

We may have to rethink this routine.

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Thoughts on fire.

The air tastes like ash. My throat hurts each morning. A haze of yellowish-brown hangs over the hills; I watch from my office window as it glowers at the city. From my window, I can see a great tower of smoke curling into the sky. According to the internet, that tower is 22.5 miles away.

Robin says “oom!” at the fires, at the smoke. Robin says “oom!” at everything. “Oom!” A kitty! “Oom!” A bottle! “Oom!” My daddy! What a marvelous word, that can contain so much.

This morning our co-counsel sent me yet another e-mail blaming me for something that is completely not my fault. That is, in fact, the fault of a third party unassociated with either of our offices. I sent him back a long e-mail recapping the events that have led us to this point and ending with “I just don’t see why you need to keep placing the blame on me, thus forcing me to write long e-mails defending myself.” In retrospect, I should have just written back, “Oom!” and let it go.

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Silence is complicity.

I struggled with what to write about today. I considered baby stories (still not sleeping! I’m really tired!); I pondered knitting anxieties (seaming! Argh!). But I kept coming back to one stark fact: I’m not blogging about Proposition 8. And I’m not doing it because I don’t have to. It doesn’t affect me. Not personally. My marriage is still safe. No one’s angling to take it away, or prevent me from doing it again tomorrow if I so choose. Why should I talk about Prop 8 when I could tell funny stories or put up cute baby photos instead?

Not talking about things is a privilege granted to those in unmarked categories. Not talking about racism is a privilege of being White. Not talking about sexism is a privilege of being male. And not talking about prop 8 is a privilege of being straight. But here’s the thing: I’m not straight. My romantic relationships before I met my husband? Were with women. One of whom I stayed with for nearly four years. What if we had stayed together? What if I had had twins with her? In that case, you better believe I would be outraged, furious, saddened, and blogging about this every single day.* So I owe it not to someone else to talk about this, write about this, and generally make a stink, but to myself. To myself and to my children, who might come home one day with same-sex partners. Who might one day want to marry them.

I won’t write about it every day, because did I mention cute baby photos? But I will be bringing it up again. And again. Until the damn thing’s fixed.

Faith is blogging about it regularly, and has details on local Los Angeles protests and boycotts.

Here’s a website with more information on protests and actions.

And here, if you haven’t yet watched it, is Keith Olbermann’s excellent rant.

*Well, okay, I’d probably still be putting up cute baby photos sometimes.

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I am not this good.

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Babies should come with snooze buttons.

As far as sleep is concerned, we’ve been relatively lucky. I say this knowing I might evoke jealous rage in some of you, and possibly even incur vengeful tomato-throwing. But before you turn to your vegetable bin, let me reassure you, I’m only mentioning it because it might be over. In the last week, Robin has woken every half hour or so after being put down in his cosleeper, and Wren has decided that staying up until midnight is fun that should be shared by the whole family. By 1am, I am pinned on my back with a baby glued to each boob, and the rest of the night passes in fits of light snoozing interrupted by gymnastical gyrations on Wren’s part and fierce nipple-chewing on Robin’s.

So far the best thing about using cloth diapers is that I can one-handedly haul a baby back into position by grabbing only its bulky diaper-butt. This is quite useful after Wren has crawled in her sleep and has begun to fuss about not being able to reach the nipple from her new location by my right ear.

We’re still lucky, I know. But that won’t stop me from whining that I’m tired as I down my third cup of coffee.

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Balancing act.

I adore both of my children with every tiny, spangled atom of my soul. But when I’m nursing someone, or changing somebody’s diaper, it’s easy to see reproach filling the blue eyes of the other baby.

“Mama,” I can hear them ask in a small, tear-choked voice, “Don’t you love me at all? Then HOW DARE YOU DAUB POOP OFF THAT BABY’S BUTT WHILE I AM HERE CRYING?”

(And no, they do not talk yet, and yes, I know it’s not a great mental health sign that I can hear them anyway.)

The other night I dreamed that, in a fit of rage at something totally non-baby-related, I pushed over the stroller with one of the babies in it. Because my subconscious has watched too many cartoons, the baby fell into a sweet potato pie and came up unharmed, but squalling and covered in orange mush. I immediately clutched the baby to my chest and cuddled it and brushed sweet potatoes off of its nose and apologized and generally felt horrible. After I woke up, I wondered, what kind of mother am I? Who dreams about pushing over one of her babies? Couldn’t I at least have dreamed of pushing them both? I mean, let’s dole out the psychic trauma in equal portions here.

Since then I’ve been a mess of anxiety. If I put these cute blue pants on Wren and these slightly less cute brown ones on Robin, am I sending a message? If both babies are crying and I pick Robin up first, will Wren sniffle about it in therapy later? And let me tell you, it really doesn’t help when strangers see the size disparity between them and say “So, are ya only feeding one of them?” It’s such a stupid question, because of course we’re only feeding one of them. We also keep one locked in a box between the hours of ten and three.

Except on weekends, of course. We’re not total monsters.

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