Archive for Twins

Children should be seen and not heard, I guess.

I got in a fiiiiiiiiiiiight at the Farmer’s Market again yesterday (the last one was nearly a year ago, when some lady snapped at me to cover up while nursing). We had brought the kids over to have brunch. Robin was unhappy with A) food not coming fast enough, B) being in the stroller, C) the way we kept feeding the other baby instead of him, WTF, and D) everything else. He yelled periodically. Not constantly, and it’s not as if we weren’t doing our best to address it. But two asshole women at a nearby table kept glaring at me, and when I smiled apologetically at one she sneered, “I’m not smiling.” And they kept glaring. And glaring. Finally I went over there and said, “Hey, so, I’m getting a lot of nasty looks from over here, and it’s really bothering me.” Ms. I’m-Not-Smiling told me, unsmiling, that my children were disrupting her meal. “I’ve been watching you,” she said, “and every time he yells you pop food in his mouth. You’re rewarding his bad behavior.”

“Let me get this straight: he’s yelling because he’s hungry, so you want me to . . . not feed him?”

Well, they had come here to have a peaceful lunch. I pointed out that this was the Farmer’s Market; it was filled with kids and loud people. But all of the other kids near us were behaving perfectly, they answered.

“All of the other kids near us are older and capable of speech.”

Ms. I’m-Not-Smiling told me that she was a high school teacher, so she knew how kids like mine were going to turn out. I asked her if she really thought her badly behaved students were bad because their parents had fed them when they yelled for food when they were one year old.

There was more. Too much more. Husband came over and I informed him that we had been doing this whole parenting thing wrong all along and THANK GOD SOMEONE WAS HERE TO SET US STRAIGHT.

Oh, the whole thing was a freaking trainwreck. At the same time that their rudeness made me angry, it also reinforced my anxiety about bringing the kids out in public. It’s true: sometimes they’re loud (especially, I’ve noticed, when they are in loud environments). I’m already completely embarrassed by it even before the kind contributions of Ms. I’m-Not-Smiling. But what am I supposed to do, keep them locked away until they’re six?


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Warning: This post is largely about poop. Lots and lots of poop.

Ah, Rotavirus, my new mortal enemy.

Wren started vomiting on Wednesday the 4th, and I brought her to the ER in the evening after the vomit turned bright yellow and she became listless. They did an ultrasound to check for intussusception, and found none. They said she was dehydrated, stuck in an IV, filled her up like a little water balloon, and sent her home after a few hours. The next day she didn’t vomit, but she just wouldn’t stay awake. At times, I couldn’t wake her up at all, even with flicking her feet and rubbing her chest. She wouldn’t nurse, she wouldn’t eat or drink anything. She wouldn’t whack her brother with blocks, even when we put the blocks in her hand and sat him right next to her. This alone told me that something was Not Right.

I called her doctor, who asked me, “When she’s awake, is she coherent?”
“Um, she’s one year old, so I’d have to say no.”
“I mean age-appropriate coherence.”
“Well, she said ‘kitty’ a couple of times, but not like she meant it. If you mean does she seem focused and aware, that’s still a no.”
“You should probably bring her back to the ER.”

The ER doctor, a sombre man with a dark beard, tossed around the possibility of meningitis, and did a lumbar puncture to rule it out. Immediately after the puncture (and probably in revenge for it because Holy Mother of All That Blows was that traumatic), she developed explosive diarrhea. He admitted her to the hospital, where she was soon diagnosed with Rotavirus, the baby stomach flu from hell. The baby LoJack on her ankle and the IV machine plugged into the wall meant I couldn’t even take her for a walk, so the only time I got to leave the room was when Husband and Robin came to visit. I bathed only with baby wipes and deodorant. Wren kept pooping on me. I was sticky and smelly and my hair fused into one big puffy dreadlock. When Husband brought me a change of clothes I nearly cried with joy. Wren pooped on them an hour later.

We came home on Sunday. I showered immediately. Wren improved over the next couple of days. Her last diarrhea was on Tuesday morning. That same morning, I got a serious case of The Puking, which – thank heavens – lasted only about twelve hours. Phew! All done.



Through all of this, Robin had been running a fever between 101 and 102, and he developed a really fancy rash and got kinda cranky, but seemed basically okay. Until this Wednesday. As soon as he saw that his sister was better and his mother had stopped throwing up, my kind and considerate little boy started having diarrhea. A lot of it. Everywhere. And that’s where we are now, still mired in the poopfest. This morning I changed his diaper, and in the .05 seconds between one diaper coming off and the next going on, he sprayed the changing table, the wall, and part of the window with liquid poo.

At least we’re at home, where I can shower.

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In which I make myself unpopular.

The woman in the grocery store smiled at my two shrieking monsters. “Two is perfect!” She lowered her voice to a confidential whisper. “Eight is too many.”

We’ve been getting so much of this sort of offhand remark, I’ve started to call them “octuplet-bys”. And I get it, I do: eight is a lot of babies. Fourteen, with the six already at home, is REALLY a lot of babies. Since the news broke, though, I’ve found myself awkwardly defensive of Nadya Suleman and her prodigious reproduction. Not because I think having eight children at once is a good or even neutral idea. I think it’s a terrible idea. But some of the criticism leveled at Suleman in this case seems to me to be misplaced and unfair.

It is totally valid to point out that having octuplets (or even the septuplets everyone thought she was carrying) is incredibly dangerous for the mother and all the babies. Any doctor who agreed to put eight embryos in the uterus of a woman – any woman, much less one with a proven history of successful pregnancy – should have his license taken away and maybe be hung up by his toes, or some other small, roundish, dangly bit. If, as has been widely speculated by Those Who Know About Such Things (meaning infertility bloggers and commenters), the woman obtained fertility drugs in some shady manner and got herself very knocked up and then refused to reduce the pregnancy, then it was incredibly stupid and irresponsible of her to do so, because of the above-mentioned risks to everyone’s health.

Much of the criticism I’m reading, though, has less to do with the health risks and more to do with moral outrage over the financial aspect. How dare this woman, who appears to be unmarried and not wealthy, proceed with a reproductive process and end result she can’t pay for? The internet is initially aghast at the prospect of the state footing the bill for these children. THEN word emerges that Suleman has obtained a publicist and is in negotiations to give interviews, and suddenly the focus of the fury shifts. A “famewhore,” some call her; there is rampant speculation that she had all fourteen kids for the money she would one day reap in reality show residuals.

We’re in the midst of some scary, scary economic times, and frankly I think this woman is catching backlash from a generalized anxiety about money right now. No matter how she ended up mama to a bajillion babies, she now has to support them and I do not blame her one tiny bit for doing whatever media gigs come her way in order to pay for those children.

It’s unfortunate, no, worse than unfortunate – it sucks that cases like this become the face of infertility. It makes it harder to persuade insurance companies to cover fertility treatment and increases the general public bafflement and hostility infertile people already encounter (we’re selfish, why don’t we just adopt?). And that’s another valid reason to criticize Nadya Suleman. But the Welfare Mom/Famewhore catch-22? I think we can ditch that little bit of nastiness.

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I just sold a big bag of 0-3 month sized clothing on Craigslist. I could not sell the 3-6 month sized stuff yet because Wren still fits in it.

The babies are ten months, two weeks, and three days old.

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It only looks innocent.

“At this age, babies like to make noise,” I read in a child development book a few weeks ago. “Rather than get them expensive new toys, give them some pots and pans to bang together.” Okay! I rubbed my hands together in the glee of the congenitally cheap. I delved into my cabinets, and pulled out some pot lids and small pans, which I presented to a cheerfully drooling Wren. And oh, the cacophony! The rapturous tintinnabulation!

Alas, the joy was not fated to last. Robin, my sensitive fellow, when he is feeling particularly put upon by the rigors of babyhood and just wants to think for a minute, dammit, objects to loud noises. At these times, a sneeze, a slammed door, or – god forbid – a banged pot lid can send him into paroxysms of howling anguish. Of course Wren, lacking any such delicacy, likes to scream and smash things together as often and as loudly as possible.

butter-cookies-2 In an effort to respect Wren’s needs as well as those of her more high-strung sibling, I gave her a Danish Cookie Tin. It’s lighter than a cooking pot, and the sound it makes when beaten wildly against the floor is a more musical sort of racket. Robin looked a bit suspicious and gave it a wide berth, but was otherwise all right.

Cut to Wednesday night. Wren placed the tin carefully in the middle of the room, then sidled over to the CD rack where Robin sat and pulled herself up to standing. She spread her fingers as wide as she could and pulled seven or eight CDs onto the floor. CRASH! Robin began to wail. “Oh, sweet pea,” I said comfortingly, “come to Mama!” Still red-faced and crying, he crawled toward me. Of course, because he was crying, he couldn’t see where he was going very well. He put his knee right into the Danish Cookie Tin. BANG! WOW-WOW-WOW, it spun loudly on the floor. Defeat! Apocalypse! Robin sat and screamed.

The cookie tin has now been banished to the kitchen, where it lurks malevolently, waiting for recycling day. And Wren is looking for new havoc to wreak.

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Pop Quiz

1. Which baby am I?

Which baby am I?

2. Okay, now which baby am I?

Okay, now which baby am I?

3. And now?  Which baby?

And now? Which baby?

which baby?

Last one: which baby?

I ask because I recently sent out some photos, and it quickly became apparent that people had difficulty telling my kids apart. I’m curious: can you tell which baby is which? (Remember, your choices are Robin and Wren. Harlow Madden and Suri Cruise do not appear in this photo set.)

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Come on, now.

$13,000 really only pays for one baby.

I’m just kidding. Considering that our twins’ NICU bills came to about a quarter of a million dollars for two weeks, $13,000 isn’t nearly enough for even one.

[No, really, I’m just kidding, FBI.]

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Travelogue: the flight home.

Highlights of the return trip:

  • Robin chose the day of our flight to begin cutting teeth numbers five and six. He was understandably crabby about it. Not as crabby as my nipples, though.
  • A man leaned over us to get at the overhead bin, and Wren grabbed his crotch. I don’t know who was more embarrassed, him or me. It certainly wasn’t Wren, though; she was grinning away like a mad thing.

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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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