Wednesday, February 27, 2013

what the hell happened to my children?

In the last 24 hours, my children have turned into naughty naughties!

Now, you know we have our share of calamities, but this is two-year-old sh**.

It started when, after a nice morning at preschool, and a nice hour at Little Gym, we came home, I gave them their snack, and turned on the TV. I told them I needed to go take a shower upstairs because

Now wait, twynmawrmom. You just said you left them alone. In a room. On a different floor. For an entire shower?

Yes. I gave my lungs a chance to breathe (they didn't take it) during Little Gym by trying to run outside and thusly, needed a shower in the middle of the day. Particularly because I was headed to a sewing class that night.

Yay! Sewing class! I'm so progress-ful!

And yes, I left them alone. I do it all the time. Especially in that post-activity lull that is supposed to be naptime. Watch some TV while mommy gets a breather. Nothing new. 

No
hardly any  
Not many calamities have resulted from this practice.

So where was I. It started when I came back down from the shower and little boy had scribbled a design. On the COUCH cushion. In RED. MARKER....AHHHHHHH!!!!!

And on the kitchen table.

And on the non-removable ARM OF THE COUCH.

And on his dinosaur 'landing'.

AND on the floor.

And on his legs. And arms.

Let's just say, I was seeing RED.

I don't even remember exactly how I stumbled across it. They were sitting around the coffee table on the floor and I noticed the little guy had a red marker in his hand. And he was right next to a throw pillow that was conspicuously on the seat of the couch, not rested up at the head. Oh I guess I do remember...

Underneath that throw pillow was this...

And that's when I started to look around.

What the hell is that supposed to be anyhow? A whale? A boat with a penis inside it?

And, saying nothing, I grabbed his hand and started to walk him down the hallway to the "time out" chairs. And he, knowingly, started to wail.

As I began to clean up, it hit me: he is 4. He can get on his hands and knees and scrub this sh**. He can't spray the cleaner, he can't use cotton balls of nail polish remover on the table, but he can do the laundry. He can put away the jackets that are still on the floor from when we got home from class. He can use the vacuum attachment to clean underneath the couch cushions [since we are tearing apart the couch anyways]. He can wipe the floor after I spray it. He can take clean laundry upstairs, and put dirty laundry in hampers. He can separate all the markers from the crayons in the 'art box' and throw them in the F**KEN GARBAGE.

So that's where we started.

And it was a lot of work. for mommy.
How much damage can one person DO in 10 minutes? I believe the little bits of apple might have been left to lead me to believe some type of squirrel was actually responsible...

I think he actually loved the attention, the work, and the direction. [fail]

Because this morning I found him, from what I can tell, taking play cups from the bathtub, dipping them in the toilet, and then tossing toilet water in the bathtub. And, in the process, dripping toilet water all over the bathroom floor. His sister was not uninvolved.  So again, I made them clean it up. I sprayed cleaner while they used paper towels to mop it all up. And then I walked them downstairs to my husband's office, which is underneath their bathroom, where some of the ceiling is chipping off. Although this patch has existed since we moved into this house as a result of the neglect while it was foreclosed upon by the previous homeowners, I led them to believe that they were causing this damage slowly over time and that someday they may very well cause the toilet and/or bathtub to fall through the floor into their Daddy's office.

Not less than five new rules, two new speeches and one hour later, little guy is tearing off all the toilet paper on the roll and stuffing it into a canister next to the toilet in mommy's bathroom.

WHAT THE HELL CONSEQUENCES AM I SUPPOSED TO DO??

WHAT'S GOING TO GET THROUGH TO YOU PEOPLE?!?!

And why is this always toilet related? Jeez...The amount they talk about their poops, I could write a book...

And then there's how my husband reacted.

Let's just say, the scene could have been excerpted from The Sound of Music. Pretty sure he's already ordered me a whistle on amazon.

"The hills are alive..."

The twyns and myself, however....well...we'll see....




Sunday, February 24, 2013

The pros & cons of constant reunion

I know that I live a lot of my life online right now; making connections with people electronically is what fuels me through a kid-infused life. I don't have a workplace per se, or coworkers per se, but online, I can create that for myself, and being the social creature that I am, it's invaluable

If I can impart some words of wisdom to my children I would want them to know that their social life is their life. Their work life can become their social life, should they enjoy their work and their coworkers, but what you produce in your work is just that: what you produce. It may be art, it may be commerce, but it emanates from you, it is not you.


CON
Living in a constant state of high school reunion has been getting to me. I watched two friends be featured in The New York Times and three appear and/or be nominated at the Tony awards last year. High school friends who are artists have also reached major standards of success.

Standard is a good word...
There is no way to define a standard for the many silly things that I do, 
much less achieve or surpass that nonexistent standard.
Who are the artists next door? Am I keeping up with them?
Am I an artist still? 
Creativity definitely becomes less reliable and takes longer to show up now, 
as I get further from my days of doing it full time.

Let me say it plainly: creativity gets old, like my bones. 

But maybe it will be like muscles...less retention and needing more maintenance, 
but proving to have much more endurance.
Yes let's go with that. 
Intimidating myself. 
Make it no big deal.

PRO
I'm running this little pep talk in the back of my mind because, on the other hand, living in a constant state of high school reunion also reminds me of the many places that I've come from. And I guess it reminds other people that I still exist, because an old friend recently invited me to be a part of a project that is years down the road, but shhhhhh it's very exciting. 

Whereas I don't think that I am that person anymore, several people [as of late, an in a surprisingly large number of random encounters] do.
[thanks.]


Friday, February 22, 2013

#Mommy Problems

Every travail has their trivial tribulations...

#1juicebox2kids
#1cookie1mommynohidingplace
#nokidsmealsatstarbucks
#nodrivethrustarbucksnearby
#2kids2exitdoors
#haminkidslunch #FridayduringLent #WorstCatholicEver
#gymdaycareclosed
#3swings4kids
#3birthdayparties1day0alcohol
#theyfoundthecupcakes
#theyfoundthebandaids
#theyfoundthequiltingpins
#theyfoundtheknives
#theyfoundtheHalloweencandy
#theyfoundthesexcave
#threesacrowdonthetreadmill
#2kids1uterus
#2boobs3brasizes
#kidsinpjsforschool
#mommyinpjsatstore
#nodaddyforbedtime
#nobedtimefordaddy
#DVRfullnotenoughpreschool
#cupcakesforkids #nowineformommy #badcombo

Share yours in the comments here or on fb
You know you got one...


Also for fun-for-Friday, I present to you: the difference between girls and boys.
Or at least, my son and daughter.

Should I be worried?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Join a [main line] mommy group already!

I've had a lot of people ask me mommy questions like how I know someone, where to get diapers, how to avoid post partum depression, how to feed their children lunch for free on a Tuesday, where they should live and whom their children should marry and, collectively, I'd like to shout:


Join a mommy group already! 

I know that the majority of my readers are already mommies, so I guess I'm blogging today for someone who may be stumbling upon my blog by Google-ing:
  • lego up my son's nose
  • flynn rider
  • explaining twitter to old people
  • If I drop my children off in the woods, does it make a sound as my tires peel away?
  • moms of multiples exchange sale
But seriously, I have described in detail how much my mommy groups have been my saving grace in Stay-at-Home-Momdom, but any level of 'working' mommy should grab one as soon as the little monkey pops out.


Here's how the thread of socialization works: 

Hubby offered position in the Philly office.
A new coworker of his is a Mom-of-Multiple.
She invites me out to a Moms of Multiples happy hour.
I join the group [Mommy group number 1]!
I get the handbook and start a playgroup for kids the same age [playgroup number 1].
One joins a music class, and I follow.
Another mommy in the music class invites me to her playgroup [playgroup number 2].
Several of those mommies are in a larger organization [Mommy group number 2].
At Mommy group number 1 meeting, I befriend another Mom-of-Multiple.
She invites me to her other larger organization [Mommy group number 3] and smaller playgroup [playgroup number 3].

I suddenly realize we are no longer utilizing our Please Touch Museum membership enough because we are too busy, so I stop talking to people I don't know.

I guess I am too chatty because I seriously have had playdates...I mean, my kids have had playdates... with virtual strangers we would meet in new classes.

Had to clear the "Stay-at-Home-Dad" one with my hubby first...whoops! He did have some hot tattoos...

Honestly, you have Post partum depression. Everybody gets it a little bit.
You need to vent. Even though you have a sweet little producer of baby's breath in your arms, life sucks and your husband is a total a$$hole.

Stop asking me how I can't leave the house without seeing someone I know and I just moved here four years ago.


JOIN A MOMMY GROUP ALREADY!!!

Here are the ones I joined on the Main Line at one time or another:


Here are the classes I have taken on the Main Line at one time or another:
[at least, the ones I can remember]
Makin' Music
Creative Clubhouse
Swim at PSC
Swim at Belmont Hills
Wolfe Performing Arts Center
Tiger Tots at The Philadelphia Zoo 

 Go ahead, ask me for details or my opinion on which ones sucked rocked! 
twynmawrmom [at] gmail [dot] com

And, congratulations on your new little spit-up machine.



Friday, February 15, 2013

The Disney trip when they were 4: Mickey Magic Moments

As you know, I'm starting to become a Disney mom freak mom freak. 
Some parents want the Santa magic look in their kids' eyes, 
I kinda want to see the Mickey magic in their eyes.  

When we missed out on the Magic Kingdom day on the Disney cruise (I know, poor, woeful, me), hubby promised me a quick trip while Princesses and Pirates were still in our vocabulary.

And just as predicted, my son only took half the ride on Pirates of the Caribbean to enthusiastically shout:
"Look! Pirates!'
And after speaking privately with Cinderella upon our entrance to the castle for lunch, my daughter daintily lifted up her skirt as she ascended the stairway, and, when asked why, explained: 
"That's how a princess do it!" 
I have to say the princesses were very impressive. I don't remember them being so...so...authentic? Is that the right word? As a performer and once-Ren-faire improv artist *cough don't speak of this in public with me cough*, they amazed me. They were so sweet and had actual, meaningful and story-proof conversations with my four-year-old daughter that I could never reproduce in 'real life.' I don't know how long princess time will last with her, and I don't put much weight in dousing her with too much 'happily ever after', because I've now managed to convince myself that, what we're/they're teaching her, is that her dreams can come true. That's a lesson I'm still going to bed with every night!

So between the new apps on the market, my childhood homing/navigation mechanism, and the fast pass, Disney World is truly a different world from my youth. We never waited more than 20 minutes in line for anything. Well, it was February. And, maybe ice cream on Main Street before the fireworks took a little longer than 20 minutes. But magically, I don't remember that sort of detail.

We have the advantage of having twins that have the same attention span and interest in similar rides, so hubby would check the app and see it's going to be a 30 minute wait on Winnie the Pooh, so I would run to get fast passes on Dumbo while he and my mother-in-law would ride the Tea Cups. No time wasted!


What my Irishman needed for strategy planning: a beer in the Irish Pub at Downtown Disney.
I'm not going to lie, Day 1 of 3 was ROUGH. They weren't getting it. They were up and down, like the rides. I was feeling the pressure to create the magic. I gave them candy, lollipops, cotton and additional forms of candy, and almost 33 stuffed animals. But we went back to the hotel early, got 12 hours of sleep (them), fought and strategized over beers (hubby and me), and with some popcorn, bushels of fruit stolen from the breakfast buffet, and revisiting the boundaries and consequences of home [hmm, kids need boundaries, who knew?], we had. a MAGICAL day. Seriously. At the end of a fight-less, meltdown-less day, hubby with one kid on his shoulders, me with the other, watching the fireworks over the castle, he looked at me as in a commercial, saw the tears in my eyes, and smiled, and asked, 
"Mickey Magic?"
I don't think it hurt that we had a lovely, air-conditioned, hour and a half lunch respite from the chaos with the royals. I think it helped define, or prolong, the pace of the day. And I was nervous we wouldn't make it to our 2:10 reservation! 


And now the rest of the moments, in pictures:


Getting our instructions from Perry's Mission Control in Epcot. Turned out to be too mature and complicated for my dudes, but the serious look on her face still cracks me up.


Making her own "Figments" at Epcot with a computer. She never wanted to leave.

We were among the first on Nemo's ride in Epcot that morning. Daddy was smart to go against the direction of the crowds headed to "Soaring."

Little girl asking Pluto to dance with her in TomorrowLand. Adorbs.
In the new "Castle Couture" shop in FantasyLand, you can get Pixie Dust sprinkled on you for free. Little girl wasn't game (good thing I canceled that Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique appointment), but little dude was!
Four times on Buzz. FOUR TIMES!!
12 hours of sleep was all this Minnie Mouse needed for Magical Day 2.
There was a water hose feature outside of Dumbo. Cute but annoying. Magically they sell T-shirts just steps away!
New Dumbo. Like it. Like not waiting an hour and a half for it even more!
In the line for Winnie the Pooh there are toys and musical 'instruments'! Duh! Yes!
Getting this Mickey-obsessed grandparent to Disney with her grandkids before age 5: priceless!
Maybe it was the quiet solitude of meeting Ariel in her grotto that finally got my daughter into posing and interacting with characters! Worth the 15 minute wait!
Save a little Mickey Magic for Dad. This pic is actually from dinner before Day 1 at T-Rex, the Dino-themed restaurant in Downtown Disney. 
They bought it! And he loved it. 

Not enough photos for you? 

And knock it off the bucket list...

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

I'm giving up

A few weeks ago I was doing it, and now I just want to bail on all of it. 

Pity party of 1, please. 

I just had a fantastic vacation - so maybe it's just post-holiday blues...
I still haven't even taken my Christmas decorations down, so I kinda delayed that post-holiday slump to double up on me... right about ... NOW. 
bam.
I can't even put CAPS on my pop words...
I think being sick has just taken its toll.
It's stressing me out that every day I'm going to keep waking up with it.
Plus, I HATE taking meds. 
I'm on my third antibiotic...and it's a doozy. 

I'm starting to feel like I can't do anything, and won't be doing anything, and that everything I have done in life was not really as cool as I thought it was.  

Can't get my supplier straight for the ETSY shop...so it's still on vacay mode. Am I missing out on some exposure in these last two weeks? Who knows, but hubby is doing the taxes and wants me to report all my expenses so I have to face facts that I've actually made no money.
It doesn't upset me - I make many quilts and things every year for people and never charge, so at least I'm heading towards a zero balance for my fabric habit... 

I can't even run a mile these days so how am I going to log 70.3?! Starting to feel the pressure, even though I will likely pull my sh** together about six weeks before hand and really fall on my face.

Disney/family vacay was fantastic at times, but awful at other times. It's a nice little reality show of your weaknesses as a parent, couple. Person...

Acting. I have an audition tomorrow, and am totally unprepared, and still have less than half a voice. Should I just do two monologues, instead of a monologue and song? This is an audition for a local company that I've been looking forward to all year. I want to show them my best, but that's not going to happen. I'm just not focused on this as a career right now. I guess I need another break from it. The kids come home with a virus and it goes straight to my lymph nodes and vocal chords. I can't live like that. 
The doc said to me yesterday, "If this were my profession, I would be getting tested for allergies, and taking reflux meds as often as I need them." He also suggested getting a primary physician, which I still haven't done for myself in the last four years of living here, but have done for the kids and hubby. 

I just don't care about myself.

I just don't care enough to really continue to try and break into the Philly scene for a career that will only make my family life more complicated.
Speaking of, that's all I see in my future Half-Ironman training. Complicated family life. 

I know that when I'm training, I manage to super-fy everything else in my life. 
But maybe that's just my endorphin-soaked brain that believes that to be true? 

Blurgh.

[I promise a cute Disney post soon... ]



Friday, February 8, 2013

What doesn't happen at Disney

You win Parent of the Year. Sure, everyone else's progeny is losing their sh** on line for Dumbo, too, but maybe not about the specific color of cotton candy you just paid $10 for.

Sex. At the end of a day at the parks, you either don't have energy, or privacy, or both. And if you did, you don't have children, or in-laws, or both.

Your moment of Mickey Magic happens when you design it to. It will happen, but only after you've lost the camera and given up on all the time, money, and gray hairs you've spent planning the trip. And you will melt.

Snow. My hubby and mother-in-law actually had me convinced it might be a little nippy and I wore boots the first day. She considered long-johns. It was 82 degrees. In February. I grew up in Florida. There is no excuse for my being so impressionable. Shorts and flip flops, folks. Shorts. And flip flops. 

Rebellion. Everyone wants the same thing, and to ride the same ride, and to eat lunch at the same time, and to see the fireworks, and get on the train, and to see the show, and the parade, and the characters, and get back to the hotel, and to go to sleep, and to not move a muscle until the next morning's call to Mickey Mouse's house of worship occurs. And we do it together. And we get out of each other's way, and we commiserate about the wait, and we share an acknowledgement of the wonders of childhood and that we love children. We choose to share. We do not huff and puff. We think it is real life, for this little while. We think it is right to spend $2.50 on 8 ounces of water.

Oh, that reminds me of one more:

You save money.

For reals, though, you know I had a great time and will post more later!!





Saturday, February 2, 2013

Heart times in the NICU & Now

Sorry to get sappy again, but I got some great news recently that reminded me of the day I grabbed my little girl and ran like a bat out of hell from the NICU.
February 2009
The great news we received was from the cardiologist. 

February 2013
You see, our little girl was born with a "PDA." It is not uncommon in preemies, and it stands for "Patent Ductus Arteriosus." I think it means that the valve that connects blood between the lungs and the heart in utero does not close once baby is out of utero.

We struggled with this a lot in the NICU. The little boy's closed up right away; but not the little girl's. It was not quite discovered in the first week when the kids were getting all kinds of meds through their belly buttons and it would have been easy to administer another type of drug at that time. But they could not keep the lines in their belly buttons open forever; this is a very limited option. In the middle of the second week, he was getting to the point where he could be fed breastmilk and other assistance through a tube and start growing. She got started on this trend, and let me tell you that nothing feels better than being able to feed your child 2 cc's of breastmilk when you can do nothing else for her, but had to be stopped right away once they discovered the PDA.

We had to stop feeding her and they had to thread a central line through her tiny little veins in her arms up around the shoulder and down into her chest into her heart to administer a special drug that could close up the PDA. The central line was attempted THREE times. She wasn't even 3 pounds; they told us to imagine it on a 'micro-preemie' [they are under 1 pound.] [That thought is no comfort, only sad.] That was an entire day of us sitting outside the room, hearing her preemie cries, and seeing the doctors run out of the room in frustration. We could not watch. They did not want us to watch. But we couldn't not be there. We sat on the floor in the hallway and bit our fingernails.

By 8 PM the central line was in, and we start the clock on three days of this special drug.

Kangaroo care, in which you hold a preemie under your shirt close to your naked chest, and preferably with the baby unclothed as well, is one of the most important ways you can bond and help your preemie grow.

During these three days, in which I could not feed my baby; I could also not hold her. Only hubby. She could smell the breastmilk on me and being that she couldn't eat, she would fuss and root and cry uncontrollably if I held her. She was one hungry kid. I understood, but I could not hide my tears. I held the little boy and cried. I went to the pumping room and wept.

After these three precious days, I, with new determination, began to feed my little girl through a syringe and a tube again, and then, we got the news. Her PDA was not healed.

Back to central line. Back to three days of drugs again. 

Back to holding baby boy again. 

I still changed her diaper, I still held her hand, but Daddy and Grandparents were in charge of Kangaroo care.

It was absolutely horrible

There were certainly worse things going on in the NICU.
I don't have to have a pity party about it anymore, you know I now have healthy children. 
But you try NOT being able to hold onto that pregnancy, 
NOT taking your children home
NOT being able to breastfeed
NOT knowing what they were going through
NOT being able to HOLD your child through it
 and NOT being successful on the first
-and second-
attempt.

No, the second round didn't work either. 

Then started the discussions of whether or not to operate. She would get a little coil inserted in her heart that would close up the valve and make it as though this never happened. It is relatively routine.

We got first, second, and third opinions. A friend of the family had a son who happened to be a pediatric cardiologist. We emailed and spoke on the phone with him endlessly. 

We discussed at home, in parking lots, on the phone with our parents, on the phone with each other.

We couldn't take another minute without her care in our hands. We didn't want any unnecessary surgery. We were advised that as long as she was growing in the next few weeks, we could even wait until she was a year old to do the surgery. 

We decided to wait. 

We fed her. She ate. and grew. AND ATE. and grew. 

Like I said, baby girl was hungry.  

And I held her. Endlessly.

And she came home ... eventually ...

The first rule about a typical day in the NICU is:
THERE IS NO TYPICAL DAY IN THE NICU

That said, once you have 'feeders and growers', you do find a certain rhythm to your visits. 
These memories may come back in bursts...bear with me... for another post on another day...

But the great news is, that after four years of seeing this wonderful doctor, her pediatric cardiologist at CHOP, he literally told us:
"Don't come back."

Her PDA was not closed, but it had not grown, as she did. So in a sense, it was getting smaller proportionally. She's good to go.

As you can plainly see...

Friday, February 1, 2013

The narrators of our lives

My Dad has taken to calling my son the "Howard Cosell of his own life" because he narrates everything he's doing for himself. And with much enthusiasm. 

It is very exciting to be a four-year-old, after all. 

My daughter, on the other hand, likes to narrate my life.

Not so exciting to be a mommy.

Here's me and my narrator yesterday morning: 

"Mommy, are you going to put on make-up today?"
"Yes."
"Ok. But you need to brush your teeth first." 
"Right."
I start to brush my teeth.
"Whoah that's a lot of foam." 
"Grgh-hergh."
"You are getting toothpaste in the sink."
"Lkgh dlkli"
"And you need to do your tongue, too?"
"Nyh-hyeh."
"And you need some water."
"ggrh-gurg."
I start to put on makeup.
"What's that."
"Foundation."
"And you put it on your CHEEKS? 
And your nose. 
And your CHIN?!?"
"Yep."
"But I don't need it."
"No. Your skin is perfect."
"But I have a scar. Like Daddy. I got it when Daddy was little." 
"What?"
"When Daddy was little he got a scar like me but mine is from the bathtub."
"Right."
"He didn't get a scar from the bathtub when he was little."
"No."
"What's that?"
"That's the powder."
"Why?"
"It sets the foundation."
"It sex. The foum-nation?"
"Mm-hmm."
"oh." 
"And now you put that on your EYES?"
"Mm-hmm. Do you want some?"
"No. I don't want make-up today. Maybe tomorrow. When I go on the Mickey Mouse boat ride I get ice-scara. Just when I'm at home and on the Mickey Mouse boat ride. But not today."
"Well when we go to Disney World the princesses might put makeup on you."

She shakes her head from side to side furiously in fear.
My narrator is suddenly silent.

"You don't want to put makeup on and get your hair done and wear your princess dress at Disney World?"

She, again, shakes her head from side to side furiously in fear.
I contemplate canceling the appointment at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.

"Well let's see how you feel on the first day when you see the other girls wearing their dresses."

"Maybe tomorrow."
"Yes, maybe tomorrow."
 *pause for thought*
"Mommy? Are you going to get dressed now?"
*sigh*

"YESSS, my love..."



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