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.

Want Multiple Momstrosity updates on Facebook click here?

*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.

Want Multiple Momstrosity updates on Facebook click here?

*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.

Want Multiple Momstrosity updates on Facebook click here?

*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.***

Want Multiple Momstrosity updates on Facebook click here?

*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".