Friday, June 20, 2008

Single Parenting

For you twin moms out there, you will appreciate this story:

This is unbelievable. This woman was carrying just over 23 pounds of baby with her new twins. And I thought I was superwoman when I delivered two full-term babies at 6 lb 7 oz and 6 lb 4 oz. Both of my babies together equals just about one of hers. Unreal. Can you imagine her discomfort? I empathize.

My posts are slightly behind because of two reasons ... my internet connection wasn't working last night (and boy do I feel disconnected when that happens) and because I'm "single parenting". The husband decided a 2-night bachelor's party a few hours away from the house was appropriate. I argued the point but clearly lost. So he left town Thursday evening and is returning some time on Saturday. To make my life a little easier, I kept the nanny on Thursday when I returned from work and she helped until I got the twins to bed. I sent her home after they were asleep and I could take over for Claire. It's a good thing I had the nanny, because Lily has somehow (how????) gotten ANOTHER head cold (from whom???) and was a huge crank last night. Once again I predict a fourth, yes fourth, earache in our near future. Can anyone say tubes in the ears?

So that left me with a WFH day today with the three kids and no relief in sight from the husband. I decided to take it easy on work. Over the lunch hour we snuck over to the petting zoo again, and it was a zoo there - unbeknownst to me they were having an "earth day" thing going so booths were set up with all sorts of displays on recycling and water conservation and such. Claire got all sorts of freebies. Water bottles. Pencils. Tattoos (the kid kind, of course). Face painting. Before having kids I always thought stuff like this was pretty goofy, but after having kids I see the immense value in these things. Something fun! Something different! Something the kids will talk about! We stayed until the twins needed their second nap of the day. I was very, very lucky I had another slow Friday work day though I was admittedly a bit embarrassed when a customer called me while I was at the petting zoo. He instantly recognized the kid sounds and said he wouldn't keep me on the phone long. Oooooog.

I've kept to simple dinners the past two nights. We ordered Papa John's pizza last night, and tonight we had Amy's Enchiladas from the freezer. This minimized clean-up time (other than the laborious work to clean up the twins' high chairs). I'm proud to say that by 9:15pm tonight I had all three kids to sleep and the kitchen cleaned. I only have to make Molly's two bottles for her two night wakings tonight. I even got all three kids baths tonight (including fingernail clippings, something my babies never like). I seriously felt more productive than it seems like husband and I are when both of us are managing the nights together.

I've enjoyed reading stories to Claire at bedtime these last two nights, although after more than a year of daddy doing Claire's bedtime ritual, she is out of practice on listening to books. She just doesn't have the patience. He tries to read to her sometimes, but usually they draw or throw a ball (a great winding down kind of thing to do, eh?) or tell "knock knock" jokes and laugh obnoxiously. Reading isn't her favorite (nor was mine as a kid, according to my parents). I really want her to get back to reading at night. I picked a new book for the last two nights, one my father bought her, with excerpts of the famous kids books (Peter Pan, Charlotte's Web, Beatrix Potter, etc.) and read one or two stories to her. The language is admittedly quite advanced, which doesn't help her patience level. But I work hard to define the tough words and keep her engaged (and sometimes I skip sentences if the language is just too tough and doesn't add much to the overall story). Her favorite was Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The excerpt was about the girl turning into a blueberry from the chewing gum with the funny song about the lady who chewed bubblegum all the time and bit her tongue in two. Given Claire's love of gum at the moment, this one captivated her.

I am also noticing more and more each day that the twins are engaging each other (see photo of them playing in the bath tonight together). Usually they'd rather play with me or even Claire, but on occasion when they're fed and aren't tired they will find each other amusing. Molly especially will reach out and try to play with Lily - Lily is a bit more reserved so sometimes Molly gets the cold shoulder in return. But already at eight months, I can begin to understand what other twin parents tell me ... that some day the twins will entertain each other and will be (in some ways) "easier" than a singleton who is always looking to the parent to be the playmate. As long as Lily comes out of her shell a little then I think this could turn out to be pretty fun to watch, and potentially easier on me than Claire ever was. Is it wishful thinking to believe I'll just have to referee the fights?

I'm off to enjoy a few moments of peace by myself. The absolute silence of my house is golden.

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