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.