Saturday, 31 December 2011

Good Riddance (The Time of Your Life)

2011 felt like that Adam Sandler movie Click where certain parts of my life get fast forwarded super fast and other parts go on for a painfully long time.*  Pregnancy and the first two months of motherhood dragged, now it's as if time has picked up momentum - the minions turn 5 months next week. Yesterday when I was thinking about 2011 I realized that technically Molly and Jack have been with me all year (even though I didn't know about Jack's existence until March) and that 2012 will be my first full year as a mom.

New Years Eve last year I spent at a Pajama Party where I volunteered to be designated driver, because as a newly pregnant person it was an easy way to hide from my friends why I wasn't drinking.  I ended up, angrily,  driving two friends who will remain nameless home.  These two friends tried to sneak a bottle of scotch** into the backseat of the car so they could drink on the road.  Fully charged with pregnancy hormones I took all of my DD frustration out on my husband and started out 2011 with both of us completely unaware why I was so incredibly angry with him, when he had done nothing wrong.

This year we debated a lot about how we were going to go about New Years Eve with the kids.  With a huge math equation that explored the drink to fun to pain in the butt ratio and decided that for the second year in a row I will be DD.  Babies come with a lot of stuff and although the subway runs until about 4am tonight I kept on having this image of Chris and I in a dangerous cab ride from the subway with the babies strapped to us all the way home, only to have to return to my friends condo the very next day, likely hungover, where we would have left all of our baby accessories.  With babies taking up all of our back seat hopefully no one will be trying to guzzle scotch in the car tonight.  I'll miss those crazy New Years Eves, but am just as happy to watch them from the sidelines knowing that I've had my share of them myself and that I have to be up in just a few hours.

Tonight when I get home, exhausted, when everyone is tucked into bed, I'd like to say that I'll pour myself a glass of wine and reflect with Chris, celebrating 2011, but we'll probably just fall asleep before our heads hit the pillow.

Goodbye 2011, Hello 2012, Hello Molly and Jack....It's going to be an amazing year!

*This is a terrible movie.  Don't watch it.
**When are you breaking up with whiskey again?

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

The Ballad of Wendell Clark, A Holiday Tradition

Every family has different traditions.  About four or five years ago we started the family tradition of going to a Toronto Marlies hockey game over the holidays.  This year we took Molly & Jack to their first real hockey game.  After an hour of preparation (one diaper per baby per hour, plus one extra, three extra sleepers, two teethers, three soothers, 32 ounces of food, Baby Tylenol, gripe water, plastic bags and wipes) we were on the subway heading to the Air Canada Centre.

I'd say that our outing, while exhausting, was a huge success.  So I've come up with a list of tips when travelling with your young babies to a sports outing to help make life easier:

1) Apologize ahead of time and set low expectations for those around you.  When we sat down with our content babies the group behind us cooed over how cute they were. They may not have felt that way by the end of the game...but we thanked them just the same.
2) Scope out the washrooms for change stations ahead of time - before you need them.  While there were no changing stations in either men or women's facilities right by our section there was a family washroom down the hall.*
3) Over-prepare.  We went through all of the food but 4 ounces and had to change 5 diapers during our outing.  Extra diapers never hurt anyone.
4) Always have at least one more adult than child present.  They won't have to do much, but the extra set of hands makes a huge difference when it comes to holding your beer, pizza or grabbing a soother.**
5) Mascots can be your best friend, or worst enemy?...During the first period when Molly got fussy Duke the Dog came over to cheer her up and it actually worked.  Then he moved three rows in front of us and pretended to make out with a woman while her boyfriend was getting beer.  Service and a show?
6) Overchange don't underchange diapers, because no one wants a wet lap.  At the last break in play during the first period we ran to the family washroom to change both diapers, even though both babies weren't fussing.  Unfortunately the children enjoyed their clean diapers so much that they both immediately crapped their pants when they got back to their seats, but we only missed a few minutes of the second period.
7) Be prepared to miss some of the action and have a good sense of humour about it.  Worst case scenario you walk around the concourse for a while - they have won't miss too much.

We got lucky..there was only one set of tears from each baby...and it lasted about 5 minutes each. Jack slept through most of the game, while Molly watched intently.  It was a big success.  The people behind us didn't hate us by the end of the game.***  When we got home we all took a nap - it was glorious!  Long live holiday tradition!

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*To the person who used the family washroom as their own personal smoking room in the third period, Are you kidding me? I didn't appreciate the wait or the hotbox of smoke I walked into.
**Thank you Grandpa Jim for being the third pair of hands.
***Although Chris probably owes an apology to the woman he kept on hitting in the head with our backpack full of baby stuff...Sorry...the seats at the ACC are really narrow and our backpack is epic.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Time After Time

Parenting has created a rift in the time space continuum.  It takes FOREVER to do anything, especially when I'm solo.  I have a few meetings downtown this afternoon beginning at 3:30PM and this morning at 9AM I had a mini panic attack about whether or not I had enough time to get everything ready. (Meaning pack a bag for the babies and myself, get all three of us bathed, fed and dressed, a drop off at Nana and Grampa's and then take the subway downtown).  Not that hard, right?

Pre-mom Sara could  get ready with makeup in under half an hour, mom Sara knows better.  On weekends post baby Sara does her makeup in the car while Chris drives.  Babies know when you're stressed and in a rush, so they purposely slow you down, like how cats flock to people who are allergic to or don't like cats.*

Last week Chris and I got in an argument in the parking lot of Rona while we changed Molly's diaper mid air between our car and the poor sucker who pulled in right beside us.  He had to wait for us to finish before he could open his door.  I'd asked Chris to pack the diaper bag and he'd forgotten to do so in the chaos of getting out the door.**  Luckily I have gotten into the habit of having a spare diaper into my purse along with an emergency sandwich bag of wipes.***

Time and reality can speed up and slow down in an instant with kids.  Getting ready takes 2 hours and it feels like 20 minutes.  Screaming colic for 15 minutes feels like 10 hours.  Sleeping for 4 hours feels like you just set down your head.  Cleaning before company arrives while looking after kids can take 3 days.  I can barely remember life before Molly and Jack.  Ready, start, time to get ready....See you in 2 to 5 hours.

*Sorry to my dad, my brother and Eva for my 13 year old tabby Pan's constant, ill advised quest to make you love him.
**Sara: "I asked you to pack the diaper bag while I changed Jack."
Chris: "I couldn't hear you over Molly screaming and you usually pack the bag."
Sara: "Just admit that I'm better than you and you forgot."
Chris: "Don't be an ass just help me change this diaper, It's December, she's half naked and outside."
Molly: "EEEE-OOOO maniacal giggle."
Sara: "Man your daughter loves to be naked."
Chris: "It's frightening."
***A month and a half ago we went to a formal dinner without the babies.  I opened my clutch to find that I had shoved a soother in "just in case" on my way out the door.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Vomit On My Sweater, Mom's Spaghetti

I have often (even before I was pregnant) heard people talk about how multiple trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night were nature's way of preparing you for sleepless nights with an infant.  The thing is, I've always had mad bladder control and even in the late weeks of pregnancy my bladder didn't keep me up at night.  Acid reflux and heart burn kept me up. My daughter punching my rib cage kept me awake. My son trying to claw his way out of my belly from the inside disturbed my slumber. Nausea and leg cramps woke me up. The boiling heat of July and August made me restless.  And finally a jealous cat who didn't like my "pregnancy smell" and urinated on me several times in the first half of pregnancy to show me how he really felt kept me awake at night.

I have a different theory about what prepares you for life with babies.The utterly disgusting things that your body does while pregnant prepares you for life with an infant (or infants in my case).  The leaking, the constipation, the vomiting is not in vain, it's to get you ready for parenthood cause babies don't always smell like baby powder.

One night, in the first month home with Molly and Jack,  we heard a horrifying scream from the nursery.  It was Chris's turn to investigate, so I was a little annoyed when he rushed back into the bedroom and flipped on the light laughing, "You have to come check this out." I got out of bed and stumbled down the hallway to find my very upset son covered in vomit and my daughter sound asleep beside him.  Only it wasn't his vomit - it was hers, there was a very clear path where she had turned, spewed and then gone back to sleep.  I'd cry too if someone threw up on me and then passed out.

There was also a period of time (before we learned our lessons) where right before a big event, wedding, work party etc. one or both children would throw up or defecate on one or both of us.*  I now have the babysitter arrive at least twenty minutes before I have to leave for an event to avoid barf hair.  If I manage to get dressed early I put on my Cooking With Christopher Walken Apron over my clothes until it's time to go.**  My husband has been particularly unlucky getting a dress shirt sleeve full of poo at least three times.

My husband, Chris****, is a germaphobe (major understatement) and I didn't know how he'd handle babies sneezing in his face, but so far he's done very well.  Last week when teething Molly drooled directly into his mouth he didn't stick his fingers down his throat and pour rubbing alcohol in just to kill the rest of his germs.  I was amazed.  Then at dinner he did the unthinkable, he offered me a taste of his soup****, I don't know if it was to prove a point, if he's really over the germ thing or if he's finally realized he's fighting a losing battle.

Finally, a friend of mine was having a tough time at work, so to cheer her up I told her a little bit about my Monday morning:

While you are waking up and begrudging a Monday morning remember that I just finished cleaning my son's feces off of my cleavage and night gown....yeah that's if you're having a bad day, just think...when I first came into work today, did my boss literally take a crap, step on it and then kick it onto my chest?   Cause my boss just did.  And then he laughed maniacally.

*I now can't count the number of times where a friend visiting the house has pointed out vomit in my hair. 
**Yes I really own an apron with Christopher Walken flying on it, and yes Christopher Walken has always wanted to have his own cooking show.  Don't believe me - Google Christopher Walken Cooking - your life will never be the same again.
***Not of the Walken variety, unfortunately.
****This is a huge deal.  Chris will not share soup or cereal and often forms a wall of cereal boxes in front of him when eating breakfast because he can't handle anyone watching him eat cereal or the threat of them shoving their spoons into his bowl.  I often imagine him growing up in a house with a giant communal cereal bowl that has led him to this insane level of paranoia.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

In Between Days

Pregnancy was weird.  I never felt that one with nature maternal glow that I heard so much about.  As someone who has struggled with her weight her entire life, pregnancy was bizarre.  I was conflicted with this mixture of feelings of paranoia about gaining too much weight along with a fear of being a bad mom if I didn't eat enough good food to ensure that my children were born healthy and at term. For the first time in my life I peered down at my growing belly and was actually a little bit excited about it.

By month eight my commute into work was epic as I glared at other commuters who didn't offer their seats.*  By the end I could barely walk or sleep.  I just waddled around eating endless quantities of antacid for my constant heart burn.

The experience of having children on your body is comparable to that moment in Alice In Wonderland where Alice grows giant and then in an instant shrinks down again to what should be her correct size, but something just isn't quite right.  I feel like someone took all of my stuffing out and then shoved 75% of it back, just all in the wrong places.**

When pregnant I had this arrogant Yeah Right attitude when people told me that it takes a long time to get your body back post pregnancy.  I knew I'd have stretch marks, I knew I'd have loose skin, but there are some other things I didn't expect.  And I know I am lucky that running after two children and long colicky stroller walks has landed me weighing five pounds less than pre-pregnancy me.  I thought that it was simple math - that if I could get down to my pre-pregnancy weight that everything would just fit again.  I was wrong.

In my twenties when I'd put on a few pounds, but was in weight gain denial, I'd blame ill fitted jeans on my wide hips rather than my wide ass.  About a month and a half ago I had to wear my husband's jogging pants out to brunch because of a wardrobe crisis - nothing would go up over my hips, but for real this time.  I'm in weight limbo where maternity pants fall down and regular pants won't go up, but have become oddly stubborn about spending money on new pants that I hope won't fit in another month or two anyway. Instead I rotate between the same four pairs of pants hoping that people won't realize even though it is especially difficult to keep your clothes clean when babies keep on spitting up (Molly) and defecating on me (Jack).  

So over the next month or so I may become friends with Billy Blanks and Tae Bo again, or at least dedicate some time to some crunches.  Cause right now all I want for Christmas is a lower belly that you can't bury your fist in.

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*I know that you see me, don't pretend to be asleep, engrossed in a book/ipod or that you aren't sure that I'm pregnant. Bastards.
**Primarily the lower belly giving me a small "front-bum".

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Where Is My Mind?

Friday night was another episode of colic starring Molly.  After an hour and a half of straight screaming we decided to go on a road trip to a midnight madness sale that I'd received an e-flyer for from Babies R Us*.  When we pulled into the parking lot at 10pm our ten year old compact car** was dwarfed among an epic sea of mini vans and SUV's.  After a few smug comments on clever marketing to soccer mom's*** we stuffed a sleeping Jack and a screaming Molly into our baby carriers and headed towards the entrance.

As we approached the front doors we could see that Babies R Us was dead, with maybe six people in the giant super store, but that didn't account for the crowded parking lot.  We looked next door to see a giant line up outside of the neighbouring Toys R Us that went half way around the building.  Chris looked down at a slightly calmer Molly and exclaimed,  "Wow, I don't care how much you want a Cabbage Patch Doll, Tickle Me Elmo or whatever it is, we're not going to do that." And then we entered the baby store and began our shopping. 

As we reached the centre of the store we both realized that there was an entrance to Toys R Us in Babies R Us with no line or no blockade.  Surely these parents once frequented Babies R Us and knew about this secret passage.  Or had they forgotten?  People talk about Baby Brain in pregnant women, what they fail to realize is that there is something far worse than Baby Brain, it's called Parent Brain.*** * So we mocked the other parents and maybe even did a little dance jumping from one store into the other, unnoticed.

Mocking aside we are not immune to Parent Brain - we suffer from it daily and really shouldn't make fun of others, but aren't going to stop.  At our second baby wellness appointment I turned to Chris and asked him why our babies didn't have pictures on their health cards - and I wasn't joking. He just shook his head and patted me on the head patronizingly.  Last week I lost a bowl of compost somewhere in our house, I found it in the laundry room three days later. Two nights ago Jack had some gas issues, so I gave him some Infacol, in doing so I spilled some on my hand, so I licked it off.  Fifteen minutes later I had a giant hive on my lip and a rash all over my face, arms and neck.  I don't even know why I licked it off...It didn't even taste good.  Damn you, orange flavoured poison!  What was I talking about again?

*Or a parental version of a midnight madness sale which runs from 6pm until midnight.
**A hand me down car from my parents aptly named the "Sexfire" by my brother.
*** Yeah, I realize that we were there too.
****Waiting outside in the cold for two hours when there is another entrance with no line is a fine example of Parent Brain.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Enjoy the Silence

My daughter Molly has colic.  And it is terrible.  If you don't believe me come by any day between the hours of 6:30pm and 10:00pm. The board of education can forget those baby practice dolls, I'm going to start lending Molly out to local high school kids and I assure you none of them will EVER have sex again.

As a parent, colic is the ultimate in hands tying impotence as you watch your child scream in pain while you go through a random loop of ideas to "make it better" until finally the clock strikes whatever and everything goes back to some semblance of normal. However, you are generally so exhausted that you just melt onto the couch for an hour before going to bed.  

The experts say that colic ends at three months.  So we sat in anticipation last week awaiting some improvement.  The experts are liars.  There I said it.  Sometimes we think it's getting better, but I think we're just numb.

To give you a good idea of the anger level Molly displays during colic hours, I'll tell you this.  In the past month she has karate kicked the zippers of three pairs of footsie pajamas rendering them helpless and broken. Last week she ripped the leg off of a stuffed giraffe.  None of these instances happened during colic, that’s just regular happy Molly.*

During a good round of colic Chris likes to randomly call out, "Loud Noises".  I prefer to sing, "Noise, but I can't hear anything.  Just (Molly) screaming, screaming.  Some guy screaming in a leather jacket."** It doesn't make her feel any better, but sometimes it's liberating just yelling something back.

Yesterday our friend Rice*** sent me a great blog entry on coping with colic (  It had some genuinely good ideas that we hadn't thought of and will totally try out.

I personally like to bring Molly to Wal-Mart when she's screaming.  She's never the worst kid in the store, cause it's Wal-Mart, right? And misery loves company.
Last week we discovered that Molly likes hockey.  Something about the white colour of the ice while we lay her on her stomach and bounce our legs makes her quiet and droolly, buying us a good twenty minutes.  The worst part about the colic**** is that as soon as you think you've figured something out to calm your baby: they decide they hate it.  Maybe tonight will be the night that she stops.  Then again, maybe not.

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*Chris thinks that the rage comes from the mother's side.
**Thank you Pursuit of Happiness.
***Yeah that's right, that's your new nickname.
****There are so many bad things about colic that there is no real "worst" thing.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Somebody's Watching Me

When I was a kid it used to embarrass me the way that my mother refused to use a change-room.  I'd stand there in horror as she avoided the line and tried on a blazer or blouse over what she was already wearing.  The only time that she'd line up was to try on pants, skirts or a dress (although I believe I have seen her try on dresses and skirts over clothes as well).  When ten year old me asked her why she didn't want to take advantage of the privacy of a fitting room she replied with some smart-ass comment about how she never got any privacy with us four chuckle-heads around the house anyway*.  I didn't understand why she would think that her three children invaded her privacy.

Having two three month old babies is a juggling act all the time because in the evenings and weekends it's one parent to one baby and during the day when my husband is at work they outnumber me and are surely plotting against me.  I have them on a fairly solid routine of feeding, walks, napping etc. where I try to stagger everything so I can get one on one time with each child.  What my routine doesn't consider is Wild Card situations.  

When we decided we were having kids I figured there would be a lot more contact with bowel movements via diapers and horror stories from other parents.  I didn't realize that I was a factor here.**

 Last week while I was giving Molly a bath I experienced insane I have to go now stomach cramps.  For months I have existed primarily on a diet of fruit, cereal and granola bars because it's easy and fast - the regularity that follows is a sometimes unwelcome side-effect.  So I had to sit there on the toilet beside my daughter in her infant tub while she watched me (judgingly) as I experienced violent and explosive diarrhea, all while making sure that she was within an arms length away from me should she run into any trouble in the bath.

Then there is being out in public.  Baby carriers are awesome.  Who ever invented them is amazing and has saved us hours of colic screaming allowing us to run errands, explore different areas of the city and go hiking.  What you forget about when you strap those suckers in is that sometimes you need to use the facilities.  The amount of times that I have squatted over a port-o-potty or public toilet while Jack is strapped to me is unreal.  Imagine using having to go into a public washroom while strapped to someone - it's horrifying for both parties involved. At least Jack can't talk.

So, yeah, trying on clothes over clothes in public - no big deal, Sorry mom.

*I honestly doubt that my mother would use the phrase "chuckle-heads" but that was the sentiment.  And yes, my father is included as the fourth "chuckle-head".
**If bathroom stories make you squeamish please stop reading here.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Days of the Dead

Less than week after Molly & Jack's arrival, Chris's grandmother passed away suddenly and unfortunately she never got to meet them.  The morning of her passing was also the morning of their first "well-baby" check-up.  We told the nurse practitioner what had happened with Chris's grandmother, and she said that she often sees a member of one generation pass on around the same time that new babies are born.  A strange phenomenon in the cycle of life I suppose.  So a week after their birth, time was spent preparing eulogies, looking for old photographs and finding family and friends who could look after the twins while we attended the visitation and the funeral. Two weeks later, after several emergency trips to the vet, our cat Tweaker had to be put down due to complications from diabetes.  It was a rough start for life with the babies - and it had nothing to do with them.

Around the time Molly and Jack turned one month, after a particularly rough night sleep (the babies had their first colds) I called my mother in tears.  "The only time we've gotten out of the house with or without the babies is for death." I cried.  At the time, our twins were still too small for our baby carriers and our stroller, so I felt completely and totally trapped.  My mother kindly told me to drop off the twins that afternoon so I could go for a walk, go to a mall and just get away.  So I did.  I dropped off the twins, went home, had a nap and then went to a shopping mall to just walk around.  While I was at the mall an old man passed out and died in the food court.*  It was official, we were surrounded by death.

Fast forward two months.  We've been working hard with Chris's family every week to help clean up and out his grandmother's house and get it ready to sell.  This weekend is the official "dumpster party" where this chapter comes to an end. 

Yesterday and today are considered The Day of the Dead** which lead me to think about family and friends who have passed away.  I think about those who aren't around any more and all of the wonderful things that they have taught me that I want to pass onto Molly and Jack.  I also am thinking about stuff.  As we've sorted through a house full of things, many of which have ended up donated, recycled or in the garbage, because it's just stuff and not that important.  So if you have a chance this week, go visit someone you care about or give them a call.  Cause stuff will always be there - they might not.

*Yeah, I couldn't believe it either.
**Day of the Dead (SpanishDía de los Muertos) is a Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico and around the world in many cultures. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. It is particularly celebrated in Mexico, where it attains the quality of a National Holiday. The celebration takes place on November 1–2, in connection with the Catholic holidays of All Saints' Day (November 1) and All Souls' Day (November 2). Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars honoring the deceased using sugar skulls,marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed and visiting graves with these as gifts.

Monday, 31 October 2011

I Don't Want to Grow-Up

When Chris and I first found out that I was pregnant we had one of those classic stereotypical, "I'm not sure I can handle this" moments.  I'm sure that each generation has these concerns, but I think that my generation (late Gen X early Gen Y for you Douglas Coupland fans), has brought growing-up panic to new levels.  Around month three of my pregnancy at 11:03pm we discovered we'd run out of cat food AGAIN (our corner convenience store closes at 11:00pm - of course).  Chris turned to me, as I opened a tin of tuna from the cupboard to replace the forgotten food for the screaming cats and said, "We can't do this crap when the baby arrives, running out of food isn't an option, we need to grow-up."* I agreed and we both vowed never to run out of food, diapers, clean clothes, wipes etc. for the baby - which to date we haven't.**

Back to Generation XY - Chris and I are in our early to mid-thirties and among the first handful of our friends to have children, which is a little odd, but not uncommon in a big city where people finish school late and get married later. Last year when I was at a friend's baby shower her father commented, "I don't know why you all think it's so funny that you're knocked-up. You are in your early thirties, this is what you're supposed to be doing."  And that's our problem, we still think of ourselves as teenagers, or at the very oldest in our early twenties.  I can barely believe I have a mortgage let alone two kids.  When did all we get so old?  Maybe this is why the baby boomers keep on calling sixty the new forty.

So, today is Halloween, Molly and Jack's first Halloween, where they will be dressed up to "help" us hand out candy to all of the Junction area children who come to our door.  We spent about a month organizing their costumes to make sure their first Halloween would be perfect.  Yesterday afternoon we decided to pick up a pumpkin to carve.  We went to 5 grocery/convenience stores and even a Walmart in our area - who were all sold out of pumpkins before we finally gave up.  We were at two farmer's markets last week where they sold pumpkins, but we didn't buy one because we knew there would be plenty of time, right?  It's the first Halloween that I can ever remember where we haven't carved a pumpkin.  Epic Holiday Failure.  It's a good thing that the twins are babies and are too occupied by the pattern on our living room couch to notice let alone care.  Next year we will be prepared, we'll grow-up and buy our pumpkins early.  So if on October 30th 2012 you see me standing in a Walmart parking lot don't worry, I'll have my pumpkin and I'll sell you one too - for $20.

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*this moment was before the additional "holy crap we're having twins" epiphany. 
**mainly thanks to the hand-me-down clothes and gifts we've received from friends and family, not because of our new found superior laundry skills.   

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Walk This Way

During my second year of university I took up jogging.  I found it therapeutic as I stomped my way along the pavement while I nursed my first heart-break.  I also enjoyed the comradery with other runners as I went along my route: the head nod, the smile and the hello.  It was like you were in The Stone Cutters* or some other equally exclusive group.  I rediscovered my love of running about 3 years ago, only this time on a treadmill with my ipod on and no excuses of rain being the reason why I could not run.

Running during pregnancy proved to be more difficult (month 1-2 ordered to modified bed rest, month 2-5 violent constant vomiting, month 6-9 enormous twin belly - could barely walk let alone run, followed by the mandatory 6 week post c-section exercise ban).  Fast forward to today, the twins are 10 weeks old and my treadmill sits untouched.  With two babies, the idea of going for a run while they are napping seems incredibly stressful to me.  The idea of jumping on the treadmill with the monitor perched in front of me waiting for them to awaken seems like a recipe for disaster and many short, frustrating sessions.

This fall I made a vow to get outside with the dynamic duo as much as possible and to get rid of my post pregnancy cat belly (cats, particularly older cats, tend to have this loose skin that hangs down from their midsection, this loose skin is filled with a soft layer of fat).  On the weekends that means walks in the park, neighbourhood and hikes with the babies strapped to us like dynamite, during the week it means heading out with my stroller, my ipod and the twins for about 30-45 minutes.

The walks have been great, our video rentals are returned a little faster (although still chronically late), letters get mailed and all three of us return fresh faced and feeling a lot better.  Yesterday morning I went out at around 9:30 to beat the rain.  When I rounded the corner for the last half km stretch I picked up my pace as I felt the first few drops.  I passed by a young dad walking his 1 year old in a stroller, he smiled, nodded and said hello and I reciprocated. There was that comradery that I've been missing.  I walked the rest of the way home happy. I declare stroller walking to be the new running.

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*the first of many Simpsons references.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Smile Like You Mean It

Since he was about two weeks old I have thought that our son Jack has a strong resemblance to my dad.  Perhaps it's the bright blue eyes, the Irish nose, or the constant serious look on his face that closely resemble my father's childhood pictures.  Because the minions are so young we figured it would take some time to discover who in the family their personalities, aptitudes and attitudes are like.  Will they be athletic like my siblings?  Will they be linguistic like Chris's sister?  Or clumsy like me?  Who will be the funny one?  Which parent will fight with who?

As an aside I would wager that my father is the most eccentric person in my family.  Although I've also been told that he and I are the most alike.  Most recently the man put in for a bid of nearly $500 for a polar bear print at a silent auction at a dirt mall* and was 1) surprised that he won 2) equally surprised that my mother was annoyed about his purchase 3) now the proud owner of two pieces of art work that involve a family of polar bears, yes he already owned a giant polar bear print prior to making his big bid.** 

Molly has been smiling for about a week and a half now, first smile went to her dad and now she regularly displays a little coy smile and is on the brink of a giggle. It didn't surprise us that until two days ago our serious, brooding Jack hadn't cracked a smile yet.  

I was over at my parent's house and my mom was sitting on the couch with Jack, she had just finished burping him and was holding him up in the air so he was facing the wall behind her.  She lowered him to eye level to make contact with him and he was smiling, but his first smile wasn't for Nana, it was for the polar bear print behind her.

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*The last time my brother was at this indoor mall he saw someone let a dog take a crap in front of a store.    
**other random things my dad has purchased at silent auctions are two mountain bikes (he hasn't rode a bike since the late 1980s) and a giant lazy boy chair.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Blame it on the Rain

The other day I took the twins out in the stroller for a walk over to the drug store to buy the following necessities:
1) Formula

2) Breast Shields - I was completely out of breast shields and had Macgyvered my own using cotton make-up removal pads and super absorbent paper towels.
3) Moisturizer - my skin has been shockingly dry since the arrival of the minions (no matter how much water I drink) and it appears that they are literally sucking the youth from my pores.

Let me start off by saying that I have access to two double strollers - the one I was currently in possession of belonged to Chris's old boss and the back right wheel is a little messed up because he frequently carted beer cases in the under carriage section...the other stroller, in perfect condition, was at my parents house.*  

I knew I had to beat the rain, so I checked the Weather Network and was assured that it was not due to rain for the next two hours, so I secured both children into the beater stroller** and we were on our way.

We arrived at the drug store and I quickly grabbed some age defying moisturizer and a package of formula, coupon for said formula left on kitchen counter at home, oh well.  I then began to scour the store in search of breast pads.  I finally found the correct section and two empty spaces with price tags where the products should've been.  I flagged down a staff member and asked about the breast pads.  With Molly momentum equals calm, so she began to get fussy.  I started moving the stroller back and forth in place as I awaited the breast pads.  She was having none of it, clearly aware that we weren't going anywhere.  She let out a blood curdling scream, turning red and crying, with giant tears streaming down her face.  I pulled a bottle out of the under carriage and tried to feed her, she spit it out and continued screaming.  Next I tried a soother, which she entertained for about 3 seconds before she gave me her coy You've got to be kidding me look, threw it down the aisle and resumed her screaming.  I pulled her out of the stroller and began to rock her and bounce her while she cried.  Five minutes and a lot of bouncing later the stock person told me that they were completely out of breast pads and suggested that I try the Walmart about 5 blocks away.  I placed a now slightly calmer Molly back into the stroller and she immediately started to freak out again. We headed to the giant line at the front of the store. I tried to settle Molly again with no success, drawing unwanted attention to my Motley Crew.

As I pulled Molly out of the stroller to comfort her yet again a "concerned" mother approached me and said, "Your son is slumped over in the stroller and he's going to hurt his neck".  

Let me state that my first mistake was putting Jack in the front section of the stroller.  The front seat does not tilt back as much as the back seat and Jack, no matter how many specialty head rests you use, has a habit of flopping his head every which way when he falls asleep - a condition that my husband and I affectionately refer to as, "The Exorcist".  Sometimes I swear his head is completely upside down. "Oh, thanks." I say as I walk over to fix his floppy head while Molly hollered.  I re-secured Molly into the back seat of the stroller as we moved forward in line.  She squealed again.  I looked down at my shirt and come to the realization that I am not Macgyver and that those paper towels weren't really super absorbent.  Another "concerned" mom in the line next to me calls over, "his head is flopped again, you know you should really get a stroller that leans all the way back.  If he hurts his neck it's going to be your fault." I tried to adjust him again, he flopped forward further, sound asleep nearly banging his head off of the table tray in front of him.  I finally get him secured to a normal position and then realize that I am next in line.  As the cashier begins to scan my order she asks, "Are they twins?" I nod and hand over my debit card as Molly screams and I leak like a fountain.  I feel like I am in a weird episode of the Twilight Zone where people can only hear and see Jack and are unaware that my daughter is having a complete meltdown.  The woman in line behind me taps me, she has what appears to be a six year old asleep in a stroller, "You know the back wheel of your stroller is all messed up, you should really get that fixed."  "Thank you, I know." I say with a fake smile.  I try to move forward and the messed up wheel launches me into the cashier's desk.  "Are they identical twins?" asks the cashier.  "I just need to pay for my stuff and go home. Please!" I beg over Molly's screams.

I finally make it outside and Molly sighs twice, a noise that means that she is finally vanquished and is about to fall asleep.  The sky opens up and it begins to pour, yet both children remain quiet and unfloppy the entire walk home - away from the judging eyes of other mothers.  I'm not going to lie and pretend that I didn't cry just a little bit on my walk home, and that there wasn't a phone call made to my husband where I berated him for telling me he was certain I could "beat the rain".     My only consolation is that you can no longer tell that I've leaked milk all over my shirt.***

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*The other GOOD stroller was held hostage at my parents house because my mother was paranoid that it would be stolen, you know when I abandon it outside stores with the babies inside.
**Everyone has been exceptionally generous with giving us hand-me-downs and saved us so much time and money due to their generosity, let me assure you that we are very grateful, however, my complaints about the condition of this stroller and the stroller hostage situation are pertinent to the latter details of the story.
***I have since acquired the other stroller.  I have promised my mother that I will use a bike lock if I leave it anywhere outside my car trunk or garage.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Mother's Milk

My mother has always referred to La Leche League type mom's as "members of the cult" in a whisper which had always led me to believe that 1) Big Brother Was Listening 2) La Leche League meetings were secretly held in basements for Clockwork Orangesque brainwashing and 3) If a company ever came up with Super Formula, proven to be better than breast milk, there would be a mass La Leche League suicide where they literally would finally drink the Kool Aid.  I always dismissed it as one of her strange hang-ups or something that she did to annoy my sister, until I became a mom.


When I found out I was having twins I took a "lets see" attitude on the breastfeeding versus formula campaign.  I really wanted to do a combination, but read all of these articles about nipple confusion and honestly didn't want to make my life with two babies any more difficult than I knew it would be.  Any mom's I knew with one baby complained about feeding around the clock and I wasn't prepared to feel like a milk cow.


35 hours following the birth of the minions, before I was permitted to leave the hospital, the day nurse was insistent that I attend a breast feeding workshop.  When I arrived, there were about 8 other mom's in various states of defile, dependent on how long ago they had given birth and how agreeable their child was.  I arrived with Jack, the boy child, because there was no way I was taking both,  and my knowledge of Molly in the first 35 hours was that she meant business when hungry with an eating style similar to a velociraptor and the thought of her at my breast terrified me.  I arrived late, to the announcement from the teacher that, "Everyone can breastfeed and no one has an excuse not to." and that, "formula is McDonalds."*  Meanwhile a new mom across from me began to cry because her milk wasn't coming in, in between tears she'd mumble something about being a bad mother.  I surveyed the room for a pitcher of Kool Aid.  During the seminar I managed to get Jack to breastfeed, but I found that he, like many men, has what they call a "lazy latch" and would rather hang out on my boob for an hour or two rather than eat.  


The seminar had been the final decision maker for me.  I would pump breast milk, as much as I could and supplement the rest.  That way Chris could and I could always feed them via bottle, there would be no issues with them taking a bottle and I wouldn't have to let Mollyraptor anywhere near my nipples (Chomp, Chomp, Chomp).


After two weeks of using a manual pump I decided I'd go to a medical supply store and either rent or buy an electric pump to save me time.  I determined that it was more economical to purchase the model that I was interested in, so long as I used it for at least three months.  I went up to the counter, where the cashier looked at my purchase and said, "I have four kids and I never needed to pump, I was able to breast feed exclusively." Due to lack of sleep leading to lack of wit, the only thing I could reply with was a simple, "Well I have twins." and she said, "Oh, well that makes more sense then."


On my way back to the car with my purchase, I became increasingly angry, I thought about the crying mom at the hospital seminar and wished that I'd had a comeback ready, I could only imagine the tears if she'd said that to the new mom who's milk wasn't coming in.  


I called my mother as soon as I got home so we could dish about the cashier and the breast feeding cult.  We joked about me pumping milk and throwing it in the cashiers face, or calling the supply store's manager to complain, but I have newborn twins, and I don't have the time or energy for that.  Although perhaps I could drop off a flyer for the nearest La Leche League meeting, I hear they provide free refreshments.**


 *Although she did encourage some supplementation of formula if your milk was not coming in, because after all McDonalds does fill you up when you're hungry, or incredibly hung-over.
**No one formally representing La Leche League has actually done or said anything offensive or mean around me, it's just random jerky people that I've come to associate with "the cult".

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Things as bad as they seem?

I went to my obstetrician's office for my post operative check-up this week and everything appears to be healing well.  As I left the office the receptionist turned to me and said, "Sara, if you call me in 8 months and tell me that you're pregnant again the only referral that you're getting is to a psychiatrist."  I assured her that she would not hear from me for a long time (or ever again) and held up my brand new birth control prescription as proof.  

Seven weeks ago I had fraternal twins.  A girl and a boy, Molly & Jack.  They are amazing, but often the bane of my existence, particularly at four in the morning.  Reactions prior and post arrival, from us, friends, family and strangers have been mixed.  On the drive into work from the hospital after the first ultrasound, when we found out there were two babies there was a definite tense silence in the air.  My reaction at the hospital to the announcement of, "You're having twins!" was to say "Crap." followed by the question of, "Are you sure?", then "Are you really sure?", followed by, "And you're sure that there aren't three in there?"  My husband's was pure silence, until finally as we pulled into the parking lot at his work,  he said, "I guess the decision between one and two children has been made." Until their birth I routinely had nightmares that the ultrasound technicians had made a mistake and there were really more children hiding behind the twins, I began obsessively watching the show Make Room for Multiples looking for some tips on what not to do.

When I called my dad to tell him I was having twins that afternoon (his mother was a fraternal twin, so really, genetically this was all his fault) I was met with hysterical laughter in thirty second bursts, only punctuated by a gasp for air and the statement of, "I'm sorry, but it's just so funny."

Since then, in utero and after their arrival we've been warned by many about how tough things were going to be and how our lives will be forever changed, and essentially how screwed we were, the most ominous of these predictions came from people who were twins themselves.  A colleague, mother of grown twin boys and friend of mine gave me the best piece of advice I've received so far, she said, "Remember, the more horrifying the experience, the better the story later on."  And here we are - welcome to my blog.

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