Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Oh To Be A Big Girl Someday

Lily and Molly have finally clued in to the great world of the outdoors, and they are especially interested in Claire going outside to play with friends. Tonight they eagerly peeked out the back door trying to catch sight of big sister playing. The photo captures the scene after dinner tonight when Claire was out back playing with neighbors (urgh, playing with neighbors again). Could the twins be jealous already? Wishing they could be outside playing? I don't know how baby brains work.

I had an excruciating day at the office with an all day "All Hands" meeting. It was excruciating because after sitting in the same room for 7 1/2 hours, my rear end was completely numb. I felt like I was in a coach class seat on the way to Europe. I wiggled and squirmed but I was completely uncomfortable by the end of the day. That was true employee torture. I want hazard pay. Word on the street is an official "work from home" policy is coming down soon, so most likely that will benefit the masses and hurt me ... who is going to allow three days of work from home? No one. So that will require an entire rethinking of our current work and childcare situation. One more thing to worry about. *Sigh*

Molly has had two bad nights of sleep in a row after having two of the best nights of sleep ever, so I assume she's teething again. I dosed her with Motrin tonight so maybe she'll sleep through until at least 6am if I'm really lucky. I need a reasonable night of sleep after the last two nights.

The big excitement for the week is my sister, Claire's favorite aunt, is coming to visit on Friday for the weekend! Claire keeps asking about it every day. Auntie won't believe the difference in the twins as her last visit was Christmas when they were still baby blobs. I can't wait for her to see everyone.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Delayed Weekend Report

I've been lax again in posting. The weekend was a flurry of errands and Kyle got the majority of childcare duty over the weekend. By evening, after all the running around in the heat, I've been too exhausted to do much of anything - including even computer time - hence the delayed update. The last two nights I took walks (I'm still annoyed by this last 10 pounds or so of baby belly, which, by the way, I don't ever think is going away) and by the time I get home it's way too late to post. But I'm doing it tonight despite the time. So this will be short.

Papa visited for dinner Saturday night and we went out to our favorite Mexican restaurant. Molly was exhausted, so she was a handful. Eating and handling a screaming kid wasn't any fun but I'm glad we made it out to dinner two nights in a row. The rest of the weekend felt like a blur - Claire seemed to play endlessly with neighbor kids which wore on my nerves after a while. With three extra young kids in the house with Claire, do you think "quiet" means anything while the twins were trying to sleep?

Today, Monday, was another busy WFH day. Molly had me up at 6:30am (and I never got back to sleep) and I feel like I've been going 100 mph ever since. Claire loved camp as always, and the twins were overly tired when I picked Claire up so we had to rush home to get them down for naps. They took a late nap so that actually made dinner prep much easier. And with "taco night" tonight dinner was of course too simple. With Lily waking up from a late nap that usually means chewing food will be a success, but she fought the chewing tonight. Kyle took a good photo of her with big elephant tears running down her face. I also took some funny ones of the girls pulling up on the fireplace and fighting over the remote (see photos - in the first, they're fighting over it; in the second, Molly dropped it to the floor in trying to keep it away from Lily). Remotes, cell phones, keys ... what is the fascination for babies??

Friday, July 25, 2008

A Birthday and a Sort-of Birthday

It's Kyle's birthday today. And the twins turned 10 months today. So we had a lot to celebrate.

I was overly busy today. Thankfully, Claire was off having another great camp day, because work was busy, busy and the twins didn't want to nap much this morning (which didn't help with the aforementioned work duties). Over lunch, the babies and I walked to HyVee for cake stuff (you folks don't think I'm baking from scratch, do you?) and I kept attempting to start the cake but either work or baby care got in the way. It was frustrating. And then there was the 30-minute search for the other cake pan. "Someone" (not me) had placed it in the wrong cupboard.

The babies got about 20 minutes of naptime before I had to yank them out of their beds for camp pick up (I really can't stand doing that), and then Claire and I rushed back home to start the cake. The only upside of the short naptime was that the girls needed a third nap so I was able to finish the cake while they slept again. Claire "helped" with cake prep, but her main job was to decorate the cake, which meant she squeezed icing in globs all over the top. I had to tell her we couldn't do sprinkles this time which really disappointed her, but I didn't feel like pushing those things off of every piece of cake I ate. Kyle arrived home while Claire was still decorating, so we showed him the cake and then she went back to globbing icing on top.

We took the babies to the pizza place (the usual Friday night event), where they did quite well and we ran into parents of 4-month-old twin girls. Boy, I don't envy them. I'm SO happy to be at the almost-year-old stage. 10 months, hallelujah! We got back home and did the birthday event (singing, candles, cake, presents). Of course Claire felt she had the right to help Kyle blow out the candles (see tonight's photo) and open his presents and cards. I tried to teach her proper birthday etiquette but that fell on deaf ears. I got the twins to sleep, cleaned up the house after the kids, and now Kyle is getting the birthday calls from family members. Claire is still awake upstairs but hopefully that will change soon. She's screaming at me to let her catch a lightning bug. Child, please go to sleep.

So only two months before the twins are one. It couldn't come fast enough for me this time.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Drive-Thru Nation

Having lived overseas briefly and liking to think myself "worldly", I've always projected a distaste for the American drive-through obsession. We just don't know how to enjoy life, or food, in a leisurely and perfectly acceptable elitist manner. Years ago I prided myself on not having eaten fast food for seven years. Fast forward to today, and my opinion is now this: everything should have drive throughs! With multiple babies, who wants to schlepp two babies out of carseats, into a stroller, AND get the 3-year-old out for a 5-minute trip into the mini-mart for Claire's favorite juice? Why can't they have a drive-through lane for the moms of the world? And ALL restaurants should have a pick-up lane for the inevitable take-out that is necessary with three young children. And so should Sam's Club. And pharmacies (well, my pharmacy does have one, so score there). Dry cleaners (some do). And the grocery store ... oh wait, they sort-of do have internet shopping where you pick up in a drive-thru lane ... I just haven't been organized enough to try it. Every time I consider running errands and debate the necessity of the errands against the pain of hauling three kids around, I lament that there aren't more drive-throughs. So this, folks, is the reason I usually run my errands after 8:30pm once Kyle is on kid duty at home. I'm exhausted by that time, and the grocery store or Target may not be my idea of fun at 9pm at night, but it beats trying to drag the kids along for the ride.

I'm getting into a nasty habit of posting every other day rather than every day, mainly because I'm trying to get to bed earlier. So now I have to catch up on two days of my circus. Tuesday was an office day, so very low key. The nanny said Molly was cranky all afternoon and Lily wouldn't eat - typical early sickness behavior - but still today I'm not seeing proof they're sick yet. Today was a WFH and camp day. Claire loved camp as usual and I was one busy person all day long today. Work hounded me all morning with meetings and emails. Around lunchtime, things slowed, so I walked the twins to HyVee and picked up dinner food. I started dinner right after lunchtime (uber-efficiency here) while the babies tore up the pantry and then finished the dinner prep once they took nap #2. All I had to do tonight was cook it in the oven and make broccoli and rolls, so dinner was a breeze this evening. I did have to wake Molly (but not Lily) to get Claire from camp, so Molly could barely make it through dinner without a meltdown. She was asleep by 7:30 so it'll be an early morning for me tomorrow. Lily was exhausted too and refused to chew any food, but at least she didn't cry.

And upstairs Kyle is currently finishing Claire's bath routine and I'm listening to her ask Kyle for all the words to the crass version of "Yankee Doodle". She's got the Yankee Doodle term down, and she knows the "and he called it macaroni" but she doesn't know the words in between and thankfully Kyle is playing dumb. Now who, exactly, taught her that lovely song at camp today? Uggg. I still appreciate the innocence stage. She's our first, and she's not yet 4, and we've shielded her from kids with "older" language so I'm always horrified when she learns something I don't like. We are still blessed to have a kid who has never used the word "hate", "stupid", or "dumb" (all words she will quickly apply to her parents once they are learned). Not long ago she learned the word "butt" at preschool (from a kid named Spencer, she told me) and I played pretty stupid about the meaning of the word so she's only said it about three times. I know, I know, the time is coming when these words will be used regularly and I know the twins will never get to have this same innocence so will you please let me enjoy it for now?

Lily's new sleeping position is to hang her leg outside the crib. I'm waiting on her to turn in her sleep, yank her leg into a bad position, and wake herself up screaming in pain. I tend to run in and push her leg back through the crib rails to avoid this scenario.

Tomorrow: another office day and lunch with a colleague who is also an old high school friend.

Monday, July 21, 2008

An Easy Evening

Claire and I spent a long afternoon swimming at the pool yesterday (while Kyle was on twin duty at home), and I had a great walk with my twin mom friend in the late evening last night, and that was supposed to prepare me for another work week starting today. But I was enjoying my weekend. Today, then, was an adjustment. Claire had another great day at camp - unfortunately that included another long nap so Kyle is currently trying to wear her out before bedtime in the nearly 100-degree heat - and I settled back into work mode. The babies napped perfectly on schedule with each other, at 10am and 2pm, both 2-hour naps (you can't engineer a more perfect schedule than that) and Kyle saved me from waking up the twins for camp pick-up by getting Claire today. This evening I put Kyle on dinner duty and took the three kids out for a walk while he cooked and the only thing that marred that experience was Claire complaining that "walking is too tiring" in her whiny voice so I dropped her back at the house and continued on with only the twins. I think they actually enjoyed the walk this evening despite the oppressive heat. And boy was this an easier evening than usual. Everyone was in good moods.

During the time in between naps and after dinner the twins were quite a pair - following each other around (they have a new chasing game where they scream and laugh while one "chases" the other around the house) and getting into everything (hence the photo of them tearing up the pantry after dinner tonight ... Lily is of course the one crawling inside the pantry). So I'm finding it to be a delicate balance between their ability to entertain each other in 10-20 minute stints and give me a break but also the need for vigilance for their safety. I can't exactly walk away and ignore them, otherwise they're into something that is potentially harmful.

The babies really are getting more interesting now though. And you couldn't pay me millions to repeat the first six months of twin parenthood.

Claire has been telling me that her throat hurts: do I believe her or not? She is rarely adept at explaining any pain or ache, so why should I believe her this time? I really hope she's not coming down with something else. The coughing thing has remained a cough and never turned into anything more than that.

OK, off to remind Kyle it's 30 minutes to 9pm so the bedtime routine needs to start NOW. We'll push it to 9pm on camp nights with the napping she does there, but admittedly she'll be awake until at least 10pm. And then she'll be bratty for the nanny tomorrow while I'm at the office!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Baby Bears

I slept until noon today (yes, folks, I said noon) and I had a 5:30pm wedding shower thing to go to so I think I pretty much had a pass on kid time today. I did give the babies baths this afternoon and played with them in the bathroom afterwards. If they're feeling good and stripped down to diapers, they go into this 'baby bear cub' mode where they roll around and climb on each other and me and generally enjoy the skin-to-skin contact. It's pretty cute. I was enjoying the fun so much that I got in the shower too late and was then late to the wedding picnic.

Conversation the other day:
Claire: "Mom, how do you get milk in your tummy?" [translation: how are you able to breastfeed babies?]
Me: "Ummmm, wow, Claire, that's a tough one because it's a long answer. Can I think about how to answer that and get back to you?
[Nanny is smirking while listening to all this]

I haven't gotten back to her yet, and fortunately, she hasn't bugged me about it. I feel wholly unprepared for these "where did I come from?" style conversations. I was much relieved when her next major question was "how are books made?" and I felt more adept at answering that one by far.

The weather here has finally turned hot so if we go to the petting zoo tomorrow it'll be a scorcher. We might be better off swimming or sticking close to home.

And it's another Saturday night here, and we're doing laundry, cleaning, and I've been watching over a work issue that popped up during the wedding shower. When did our lives become so mundane?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Star Sighting

A new, and negative, experience for the twin parents tonight: we went out to the pizza place again for dinner, and we arrived a little later than normal, and they were out of high chairs. Now we definitely take up some high chair real estate, but come on, they're all taken?? So Kyle and I were each stuck with holding a baby in our lap while we tried to eat and feed the baby. If you remember what it's like to "hold" a 9-month-old baby at a dinner table, you'll know it's like wrestling with the world's strongest 17 pounder. They're squirmy as anything, and they grab at everything, and so the whole dinner was misery. Neither baby got much to eat, and while they were happy, the rest of us were suffering. We got out of there as soon as we could. Um, can we reserve high chairs in advance at restaurants? I'm not repeating this situation any time soon.

We had a star sighting today! Well, OK, it's only our local weatherman, but everyone in town knows this guy and he's made quite a name for himself. He did his "show" at Claire's summer camps this morning and I stayed to listen. He talked about the weather and then had his dog do tricks for the kids. As is his usual style, he showed the kids on the nightly news (so Claire got to see us on the news tonight at 6pm) and he also posted photos of the camp kids on his blog today:


You'll have to make sure you're referencing today's date - Friday, July 18. You can see me waaaaay in the back with the double stroller in both of his photos in the blog. Claire did not make it into his blog photos.

Claire had another great day at camp and I just realized it's half over for us already. She will really miss camp time and will not enjoy going back to 8 hours of cartoons while I work. The babies had a reasonable day. Molly had some cranky moments, and Lily went into full meltdown when I attempted some applesauce at 2pm instead of giving her the bottle she wanted. As usual, I got frustrated with her eating issues. We now have only 2 1/2 months before both these babies must recognize that solid food is their primary source of calories and milk will come from a cup (not a bottle) and will not be the main source of calories anymore. From my vantage point today, I see this being a huge, huge undertaking for them to get to that point. I'm anxious about this transition. Claire managed it beautifully, but her sisters don't seem as open to change.

The weekend is here. Sleep in time tomorrow! It's much needed after all the night wakings this week from Claire being sick (Kyle was supposed to handle her, but she was always crying loudly enough to wake me up too) and Molly's usual 5am bottle. And on that note, fingers crossed, the babies are still well. I think I just jinxed them by writing that.

We don't have any ambitious plans for the weekend. There's a wedding shower/picnic Saturday evening (that I may or may not take family to) and we might go to the petting zoo on Sunday with some new friends from summer camp.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I Did It

I don't have much to say other than to admit I've become the parent I despise. Yes, I did it: I sent Claire to camp sick. She wasn't breaking the sick rules, but she's clearly coughing up a storm and contagious, and I still sent her. My thinking was this - she got it at camp, so I'll send it back to camp. And she was crying she wanted to go so badly today. And I admit I wanted an easy WFH day with only the twins to care for. So scream at me! Shout at me! Despise me! I never, ever thought I'd do this but here I am today. I've joined the crowd of inconsiderate parents. I don't think the camp teachers liked me so much today. Oooops.

I had a relatively busy work day ... lots of little issues cropping up ... and the twins napped on opposite schedules in the morning so I never had a baby break either. A little annoying. In the afternoon I had to wake Molly up from only 25 minutes of her second nap and Lily only 5 minutes of her second nap to get Claire from camp. I felt awful about that, but couldn't figure out a neighbor who could help. This keeps happening so I really do need to find a neighbor who would man the home while I do camp pick up.

Papa made a surprise visit over for dinner tonight so we all had extra entertainment for the evening. Hopefully he doesn't catch the cooties. And I think we're at T-2 days (at most) until the babies get this cold. Probably tomorrow, but maybe as late as Friday.

I'm chewing on a conversation with Papa about "differential care" (his words) that I show the twins. I definitely find one of my twins to be more of a challenge. And yes, sometimes I get frustrated. We can assign all sorts of wrong to that, and I agree. And I should try harder to control my frustration. But here's my curiosity: how out of the norm is this for a parent of twins (it's hard not to compare two babies' dispositions), and how do other mothers of challenging babies (singles, twins, or whatever) handle their frustrations? And with those Carrie Bradshaw-esque questions left unanswered, I am now packing it up for the night.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Camp Cooties

I knew it was coming. I said it was coming. And it's here now: Claire is sick from camp already. She is coughing enough to have gone a bit hoarse today. Urgh. So next it'll be the babies, and we'll have round 4 of the earaches. I'm assuming Claire's nose will be a spigot by tomorrow along with the cough too. So now I have to decide (tomorrow morning) whether she can go to camp. She won't be officially breaking the rules - no fever, no vomiting, etc. - but will I continue to be the nice parent who keeps her from getting others sick, or will I be the typical parent who sends her off to camp to let her infect everyone? We have always, always kept Claire home when she's contagious (but not breaking state rules and is technically allowed at school) but I'm starting to see why parents send their kids anyways. If everyone else is sending sick kids to school and camp, why should we be the one polite family who waits until ours is not snotty or coughing everywhere?

I had a pretty busy work day but it was still nice to be away from home for a while. I was home just before 5pm and enjoyed seeing the kids. The babies took a late nap, I made Claire dinner, and I waited on Kyle to arrive late (at about 7:40 tonight, to be exact) and bring home Thai food. The Thai Place gave him the wrong order so I got the wrong food. Huge disappointment. Claire played outside on the neighbor's slip & slide while we ate a late dinner and finished up the twins' dinner. Lily decided that even though her own dinner made her cry, she still wanted to be part of Molly's dinner so she'd crawl up on the high chair while Molly ate and eat the food Molly dropped on the floor.

Claire had a meltdown at bedtime (overtired and sick is not a good combination) and I ran out to Target and HyVee for baby supplies and groceries. I stocked up on Infant's Motrin and Desitin in preparation for the next round of baby sickness. *Sigh*

Monday, July 14, 2008

A Calm Day

Another great camp day! Other than dropping Claire off late to camp (my fault - I didn't account for enough time in the morning today) she had a perfect day. I've been told she's become best buddies with a blond girl named Lauren who seems sweet. The teacher said they're "both mature girls" who have taken to each other quickly. I know I met one of my best friends at age three, so heck, you never know ... maybe Lauren will become one of Claire's lifelong friends.

The babies and I had another calm day at home with lots of nap time for the babies and work time for me. I actually made a dinner tonight, but the only way to do that was to cook in rounds. Three rounds. It's my simple "mexican lasagna" and I first cooked the meat filling and refrigerated. Then I cooked the sauce and refrigerated. Then, after camp pick up and a Sam's Club trip (where the babies sat in the double-wide grocery cart for the first time and thought that was funny ... and boy did I get stares with all three of my kids in a cart together, as Claire was sitting in the basket part), Claire and I put the lasagna layers together with the precooked stuff and put it in the oven to bake. So it's a joke to say 'boy, that was an easy dinner' ... because it took me three separate cooking events to get something simple made. The upside is we have leftovers, so that made two meals for the week. That will come in handy.

I really am enjoying watching the babies begin to interact with each other, whether egging each other on to crawl through furniture, around the house, make loud noises, laugh, or whatever. It's too darned funny to watch. I wish I owned a video camera.

I'm off to take another good walk with my friend. The husband just irritated me with another display of wacky priorities (clean kitchen before getting baby to bed ... no wonder this baby sleeps so late) so I need some venting time.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Weekend Report

I really had to work hard to pick my favorite weekend photos. I ended up choosing two pool photos and two "portrait-style" photos. Kyle took the one of the babies through the glass front door, and though the stuff on the porch reflected in the photo is a bit of a distraction, I love the look on the babies' faces - especially Molly dreamily looking over Lily's shoulder. And while we have an overload of cute, cute baby clothes, I am always a sucker for a baby in a simple white onesie, which is what they're wearing in the pic.

Friday: Claire had another wonderful day at camp. She was SO happy, and the babies and I enjoyed each other at home. I got a call from the boss late in the afternoon announcing I still had a job and I still worked for him despite the recent re-org ... this is always good news. Friday night we took the kids out to the nearby kid-friendly pizza place and the babies were fantastic at dinner! Not one bit of crying out of either of them, until I let Molly into my cup of ice and she went bonkers for it and yelled when I took it away. I was amazed by their behavior. If this is how dinners out could be, then we may have just gained some more freedom. And it's so nice not to clean high chairs and floors at home, or anything else in the kitchen. It's a deserved break for us.

Saturday: Kyle worked in the morning and took Claire along - I was on baby duty at home. I didn't get my usual sleep in although Molly is still waking in the night with teeth problems. In the afternoon, we took the kids to the mall because it was a rainy (and amazingly cool) day. This was mostly about getting me out of the house, and Claire too, but everyone had a good time until the babies got tired of the stroller and the noisy mall. Kyle was overjoyed to find $7 closed-toe camp worthy shoes at Children's Place that he liked much better than the $10 Target shoes. He even had me go back and buy the other color after the kids were asleep. So I guess that means the shoe fiasco really didn't end for another week.

Sunday: Molly is still struggling with these teeth or whatever it is, and she woke up at 1am and kept me up straight until 3am. NOT a good night of sleep. I literally had to hold her until she would fall back to sleep. I did sleep in to make up for my bad night of sleep. We got the kids out for lunch (walked with the stroller to the nearby sandwich shop ... so much easier than packing them up in the car), and then while the babies had nap round #2 Kyle and Claire headed off to meet my mom at the pool. Once the babies woke up, I joined them at the pool. I don't feel the babies enjoyed today as much as their first visit, and after an hour and a half, I had to get them back home. They had had enough. Kyle and Claire stayed a little longer and picked up spaghetti on the way home. We did baths for all three tonight and I braided Claire's hair (hence the photo) to tame the tangles while at camp. She looks like my little Dutch girl, which is funny, given her Dutch-descended surname.

In other news, Lily has learned to clap on command (score one for Lily) and I swear, swear that Molly is trying to say "done" as her first word. This is to be confirmed as the weeks roll on though.

Tomorrow is another camp day and another WFH day for me. Time to gear up for another work week.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Standing Milestone

The nanny woke up with the stomach bug in the middle of the night last night, so I had the rude awakening this morning that we had no childcare for the day. Panic. I called three people - all busy, or out of town. Kyle and I settled on splitting the day 50/50 - I had morning at home and he would get the afternoon at home. In the end, the boss cancelled our team meeting, and I arranged extra childcare for an unusual Friday meeting, so I stayed at home all day and my "comp time" will be the Friday I am in the office. And I am glad I didn't go to work today, because Molly joined Lily in the standing milestone (pulling to standing position) and I would have missed that had I been at work.

It seemed to be a milestone day. Lily figured out she could pull to standing on something other than her crib, and that's all she did all day - on the coffee table, the television, the stairs, and so on. Molly figured out she could do it in her crib first. Then she quickly applied the knowledge to the chairs and then to a bathroom cabinet (it took Lily a couple weeks to figure out she could do it somewhere other than her crib, so score one for Molly). I feel like I took pictures of them standing all day. It was cute to see, but the frightening aspect is the idea of twin toddlers soon ... how will we keep up??

Off to take a nice, brisk walk with my twin mom friend. I need it. It felt like a long day at home despite the excitement of the milestone achievement.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Swivel Sweeper Crisis

Here's this week's funniest mini-crisis: we own a swivel sweeper thing (it was a gift from an uncle). Claire loves to get it out and "help clean" the house. In fact, she does a pretty good job sweeping up some dirt for us, which is great, because Molly fixates on every dirt clod and puts it in her mouth. Claire wanted to help clean again, so she got out the sweeper, and I was over on my laptop out of sight. All of the sudden, I hear Lily SCREAMING. I race over, and somehow, somehow, Claire has swept Lily's hair into the swivel brushes and her head is now firmly attached to the bottom of the sweeper. Claire didn't understand that the hair was swiveled onto the brushes, so she's pulling upward thinking Lily's hair will easily fall out of the thing and she'll be free but instead that's only pulling Lily's hair really hard. I extricated Lily's hair, calmed her, and then focused on asking Claire if that was an accident or something that was done on purpose. She maintains it was an accident, and without me watching the incident, I can't say otherwise. Besides, I was half laughing. Sorry Lily, but that was pretty darned funny and I sure wish I had a photo of that scene. That was a winner.

Claire loved camp again today (despite her meltdown leaving the house this morning ... I knew it was coming). She comes home energized, happy, and obedient. Almost the perfect child. On our way home, we stopped at the after-hours clinic again (heck, I barely register the inconvenience anymore) just to check Molly's ears. She's had classic earache behavior for two days: cranky and not sleeping for naps or through the night again. Her ears, thankfully, looked great. So we're assuming it's teething. This better be about four teeth coming in at once then! The babies took a late nap after all the activity, dinner was pure peace, but unfortunately I have both a 3-year-old and one baby awake past 10pm. Not good!

And I'm showering for my office day tomorrow and trying to avoid kid duty. Who has time for lengthy morning showers?? Get real! Off to blow dry my hair now. The treadmill doesn't stop.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Childcare Woes

We're in the 2-month countdown to losing our summer nanny. We always knew this was coming - she was hired with the understanding that she had a "real" post-college job lined up for September - but anyone who has searched for childcare (especially for our unique situation with the young twins and the preschooler) knows that good childcare is not easy to find, especially with only two months to go. I have a Craig's List ad out there, ads with local colleges and so on, but no interest so far. So this is when I start to panic, because I know that when early September rolls around, it's my job that takes the hit while I stay at home until a nanny is hired. We had hoped to find a longer-term nanny but our only luck was to find someone for the summer.

With that said, I think "longer-term" nanny is an almost fictional thing (I'm not counting those highly paid nannies for Hollywood stars or the super rich who probably stick around for years, I'm talking about your average $10-$12/hour nanny). My friends and I agree that there's about a 3-month honeymoon period where you think the nanny is great, and she thinks your family is great. Then they "get in your business" a bit too much, start to pass judgment on your parenting skills, lifestyle, etc., and you get disillusioned with each other. Typically, you limp along for another few months in this mode until "the break" comes along - something that pushes one of you over the edge - and one day you're stuck with no notice and no nanny and a boss that is annoyed once again with your childcare issues. This whole process usually takes six months at the most. So now, after a couple years of experience, I'm realistic: a "long-term" nanny is one that can last six months, not a whole year. I don't like the lack of consistency for the kids' sake, but I appreciate the turnover from my perspective because I stay in nearly perpetual honeymoon mode.

Today was an office day, uneventful and peaceful. I hear that Claire was a bit cranky on the nanny this morning and Molly was cranky all day (Molly woke me up at 5:30am and both of us never really went back to sleep, so I can imagine she was tired all day). But fortunately I wasn't suffering through the crankiness here at home - I just dealt with my own lack of sleep and feeling hazy eyed at work. Tomorrow is the second camp day. Claire is vacillating between wanting to go and not wanting to go, which is typical of her. I think she'll have a blast. We just need to get her there without a pre-camp meltdown.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Camp Begins

Hello, camp teacher, are we talking about the same child? Her quote to me today when I picked up Claire: "Claire is a perfect student. I wish we had more like her. If I had had a daughter, which I didn't, I would want her to be exactly like Claire". Huh?!? Are we seriously talking about the same child? This was coming from an older woman than myself - she's probably in her 50s - so she's been around a few kids in her lifetime. I still can't believe what I heard.

Ah, well, it was only the first day. And admittedly Claire puts on a good act for the preschool scene, so camp should be no different.

Claire LOVED camp and didn't want to leave today. She wanted to keep playing. That's always, always a good sign. She didn't even cry at lunchtime, which is usually when she has an anxiety attack if she's away from her home/parents and eating lunch in a school setting. Today they swam in the pool and had art class. That's about all I could get out of her (though she can't explain what they did in art class). Oh, and they had nap time and she actually fell asleep. The teachers thought that was cute, but considering it's nearly 10pm here and the kid isn't asleep yet, I don't think it's so cute.

I neglected to send an extra pair of panties (as we sent her off to camp in her swimming suit), so she came home with no underwear on. She found that pretty funny. Commando!

I enjoyed a peaceful - almost too peaceful, wow, it was just so quiet here - day working at home and playing with the twins without Claire's interference. I think the twins enjoyed the one-on-one time. I didn't like waking them from their afternoon nap to pick up Claire, and I have a feeling this will be the pattern, but they did take a 3rd refresher nap before dinnertime so dinner went smoothly. No screaming!

Amazing how one day of camp just provided me one of my easiest days yet. Claire will be there Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9:15-3:45 for the next four weeks, so this will be a good month. And the two days she's not at camp I'll be at the office. I might even begin to miss the little stinker after a couple weeks of not seeing her as much. Or I may continue to count my lucky stars. We'll see!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Night Before Camp

Camp items ready to go: check!
Swimming with the kids: check!
Over-tired babies: check!

The shoe fiasco is over. We settled on a pair of no-lace light-up (uggggggg) shoes from Target, and I think they're too small. But Claire is overjoyed so I'm done with this shoe struggle.

We also did manage to get the kids out swimming today. Kyle and Claire left just after lunchtime and got a headstart while one baby napped. I was hoping to have the babies on the same napping schedule, but no luck today, which meant at least one twin was going to suffer at the swimming pool. That, unfortunately, was Lily, who has a much harder time than Molly keeping herself together when she's tired. So I don't think we got one smile out of Lily at the pool. It was nothing like our first visit, when she was happy and splashing. Today she sat in the pool, frowning, and after a while started the usual fussing. I gave up after about an hour and we took everyone home.

The evening was spent mainly getting Claire ready for camp and talking her through what it will likely be like. She's got 'the night before school' jitters.

And, on a tangent, have you ever noticed all the strange positions babies are able to sleep in? Molly only sleeps on her stomach. Lily, well, Lily can sleep in just about any position. We caught her in a yoga-looking position completely asleep. Amazing.

Saturday, July 5, 2008


It was a day of errands. Claire's 4-week summer camp starts on Monday, and we have a list of items to send with her so I tried to check off the list today. The sticking point is those darned closed-toe sturdy shoes. She is refusing to wear just about anything. I bought her a pair of $10 shoes from Target and so far she is liking them better than the $30 StrideRite which was the point. Kyle is making merciless fun of them ("they're so ugly") but for $10 I could care less, given she'll only wear them to camp. So I'm hoping we can return the $30 pair tomorrow and be done with this shoe fiasco.

Claire played with friends in the baby pool outside and really exhausted herself today. Coming on the heels of the late night last night she handled herself pretty well today - only a couple minor bad moments. We took all 3 kids out for window shopping late this afternoon and that was as exciting as the day got. I kept laughing at all the people who ask "are they twins?" when we clearly have two babies the same age who are also dressed alike. Duh, people, DUH. This is a question I get asked at least once every time I take the kids out and I think it's the dumbest question of all. And by a 4 to 1 margin today, everyone was just sure they were identical twins again. So strange! They look nothing alike!

We picked up Bravo spaghetti on the way home and we have two kids who love it. It's one of the rare pasta dishes Claire will eat, and Molly loves it too. Lily spits out any pasta noodle. She can't stand the stuff. Then again, Lily is still struggling with anything she actually has to chew. We have a real food struggle on our hands with her.

Tomorrow: a potential swimming day. We'll see if we can manage it again.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Fourth of July

We celebrated our Fourth of July by installing the big kid carseats (hence the exciting, ahem, photo, with Kyle in the background struggling with the things). This was a 3 1/2-hour event. Honestly. It caused all sorts of family stress, lots of yelling, and lots of neighborly interest, and we're still not sure they're in the car correctly. Ah, joy. What a fantastic holiday. And yes, the carseats barely fit.

The excitement for the day, other than lunch at Waffle House (come on, who doesn't enjoy a little grease?) was that I took Claire out to the nighttime fireworks for the first time (Kyle had to hold down the fort with the sleeping twins). We met my friends and their two kids at the fireworks show and Claire was mesmerized. And each one was "her favorite". It's now 11pm and she's just getting to bed so we're in for it tomorrow. I'll decide whether her attitude tomorrow negates any joy I felt that she got to see major fireworks for the first time tonight.

And admittedly I was keenly aware that my enjoyment of the fireworks was mitigated by the constant harping on Claire to stay calm and keep from yelling in all the stranger's ears about the fireworks. My friend and I half-joked about ditching the kids next year so we could enjoy the fireworks ourselves.

Happy Fourth, folks. Now I lay me down to sleep.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

An Easy Day

I got some peace for myself today. I left work "early" (I won't admit to how early, but with it being the day before a holiday, the office cleared out early and I actually stayed later than most), ran errands on my own, got some coffee, got some downtime. Spectacular. Got home at 5:15 for the stand-in nanny (who seemed to handle the three kids quite well) and arrived to baby chaos - they both cried and cried for my attention. And then Claire started acting up because I was trying to debrief with the babysitter versus giving Claire attention (this is beginning to really, really get on my nerves about Claire/kids). So for 20 minutes I thought we were going to have a worse night than we did last night. I was wrong. The babies both needed refresher naps, and when they woke up, they both happily ate dinner with NO crying. Unbelievable. So they threw us a bone tonight. Whew. It's about time. But let's be real, here - the other 6 nights a week they're tired and crazy at dinner and our house is a hectic, stressed environment. A one night break isn't enough, but I'll take it.

And Molly, bless her, is beginning to stretch her nights. She is still waking twice a night, but I'm not feeding her the first time, usually around 1am. I give her a pacifier (which she can't seem to find) and she settles back down and wakes between 4:30-5:30am. So her stomach is making the stretch from 8pm to 5am. She eats quickly, and then goes back to sleep until around 7:30. I think that counts, in doctor's worlds, as "sleeping through the night". In my world, it ain't nowhere near that grand because I'm still getting up in the middle of the night. I'm not sleeping through the night, doctor. When one goes to bed at midnight, that means a 5am wake-up call is a leeeeetle (that's "little", with the pronunciation accentuated) too early and mind numbing. But I'll take it over what she has been doing. I guess the earaches were causing some of her sleeping issues because as soon as the Augmentin kicked in her new sleeping pattern emerged. Hallelujah. Soon I hope she drops the 1am waking where I fix the pacifier issue and that means I'll be down to one night waking.

And yipee, yipee, it's a holiday tomorrow, so no WFH day AND the husband will be around to help with kids. So today was a nice start to the 3-day weekend. As is typical in our household we are playing the next few days by ear ... no set plans. We'll see how it all unfolds.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Growth Stats

My husband just told me 5 minutes ago that I "add to the nightly stress". That may be true, but it's easy to say from his perspective - is he the one home all day, working, and taking care of three kids? Is he the one who dealt with the twins at the doctor's appointment today? Does he know how badly I need a break by about 5pm each day (at which point he's never home from work)? Husbands, take note: commiserate, be supportive, step up to the plate. Don't judge, don't armchair quarterback. You're not living a mom's life and trust me, if she's home with kids (and in my case working too), it's still tougher than a dad's life. I'll get hate mail from dads now, but study after study bears out the truth of my (somewhat tough) words there. So I'm not excusing that I'm a ball of stress by 5pm each day, but I think a better approach he could take is to diffuse it rather than stoke it. And the only way to diffuse it is to take over for the kids and just let me chill, as much as is possible with the dinner rush and kid bedtimes. And then after kid bedtimes let me do something nice for myself, or heck, do something nice for me! It all seems so clear to me how this could work more effectively, and how I'd feel more supported by the spouse.

The doctor's appointment today wasn't fun, but it wasn't nearly as awful as the first few months when they screamed for over an hour straight. They only cried a little, but I was on edge for the whole two hours, waiting on the meltdowns. And being on edge for two hours is no fun. All in all, an uneventful appointment, with the good news being the ears are clearing (but I knew that, given the behavior of the twins). So here are the growth stats, with the weight taking a surprising turn from just one week ago:

Molly: 27 3/4'' height, 17 lb, 4 oz weight, and a bigger head
Lily: 28 3/4'' height, 17 lb, 11 oz weight, and a smaller head

So Lily chunked out the past week, and Molly stayed about the same. And of course Lily still looks like the smaller one because she's long and lean with the smaller head. At birth, Molly was the heavier baby (by 3 ounces), and this is the first appointment where Lily has overtaken her. Lily, my NICU child, you've come a long way, baby. They were an inch apart in height at birth so this has remained the same.

Our evening was crazier tonight, with Lily on a tear during dinnertime. We actually pushed her high chair into the dining room to let her be alone and try to calm herself. I was over the edge by that point. We had to do baby baths from food messes and the babies were overtired from the doc appointment so the evening got a bit out of control. And so did I. I'm human, OK?

Tomorrow is an office day, and maybe that's a good thing.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Evening Chaos

I was quite wrong. My day wasn't chaos today, but instead my evening was chaos. The morning went smoothly with the cleaning lady here (she is like free babysitting, as Claire follows her around and talks her ear off the whole three hours), and then I got the kids to McDonald's for lunch (hey, it's a break from the norm). The new babysitter arrived and she did a fantastic job of keeping Claire outside and playing while I got loads of work done today. And the babies both slept pretty much the whole day - definitely odd, actually, so I assume it's a growth spurt of some sort.

The only bad moment was when the new babysitter arrived and Claire decided to throw a tantrum because she wasn't getting attention during the 'meet the babysitter/adult conversation' time. I was mortified AND angry with the kid. And I'm starting to wonder if I have some major behavior issues on my hands. She's nearing 4 now, so shouldn't she be mellowing?

The evening turned out to be our bad time. Claire wouldn't cooperate during dinner because her friend and neighbor was playing in our (shared) backyard area, so she caused a big scene. At the same time, the strangely tired babies started crying in their high chairs and both went into nighttime meltdown mode. We allowed Claire to play with the neighbor, but then they decided to invade our home and cause more chaos as Kyle and I worked to get the twins to sleep.

I left the house at 8:30pm for another walk and was utterly thrilled to get the break and the workout (my friend even made me run stairs, which is very mind clearing). I'm dreading, dreading, tomorrow. It's the babies' 9-month appointment, and I just realized it's scheduled for 2pm when the babies should be on nap #2 for the day. So over-tired babies, a doctor's office, wait time, and shots ... the perfect storm for a stressful and disastrous afternoon. I've demanded that Kyle take Claire to work for a couple hours so I don't have her to deal with during the appointment.

I can only hope the shots will make the babies tired, and not cranky. Wishful thinking I'm sure.