Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Place of Beauty Destroyed by Nature

I was looking for updates on the current flooding situation of Bangkok when I stumbled upon the news that flash floods have wiped out some of the villages of the Cinque Terre in Italy.
While it's been quite a few years since I visited these 5 unique villages--linked by a series of footpaths--my vacation here ranks as a favorite for Chicken and me (and we've got a lot to compare it to--see list at right!)
Only a few months ago, Ruby, Rose and G stayed in the same apartments we rented in Manarola.  I'm devastated to think of the damage this village sustained and that others no longer exist and may never be rebuilt.
My heart goes out both to the residents of Bangkok and the northern regions--whose homes have been flooded and possibly destroyed--and the villagers of the Cinque Terre for whom life has been changed forever.

And's only October and snowing.  Time to start the countdown to Costa Rica.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Smarty Pants

When my grandfather died over 20 years ago, my grandmother wanted me to have his hand-carved wooden drum. It was the first thing I ran to when visiting their house.

Today, for the first time, the boys were allowed to play with it. They loved it!

But when Whoop Whoop tried to sit on it, I told him it was to play with--not for sitting or standing.
I guess he really wanted to sit on it because a minute later he retrieved his step stool and carefully put it on the drum and sat down.
Because he knows he's allowed to sit there.
Mr. Smarty Pants was clearly impressed with himself.
I'm in trouble!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Twisting, Turning

As usual, I find I have so many things to say I get writer's block and don't say anything at all.

One of my best friends in the entire world is pregnant.  With twins.  Saw the heartbeats today.  She has been pregnant before--more times than I can even remember--and it's never come this far this well.  I am so excited for her I shed tears of joy upon hearing the news.  Send out good vibes to the universe to make this one right and see this pregnancy through to the end.  She so deserves it.  I love you LadyKat.

I've been doing a lot of researching and pondering and reading and (obsessing) about education for the twins.  Four new Montessori/Waldorf (yes, I know they are different for for now, they seem quite similar) books sit by my bed and Chicken and I lay in bed wordlessly combing through them.
For me, less is more and I find myself very attracted to these types of schooling.  I want free form play.  I don't want TV (yet) or iPads or batteries or noise.  I see my boys outside in nature everyday (yes, here in NYC!) playing in the piles of leaves and splashing in the puddles and I see sunshine and joy on their faces in the simple things in life.

We can't afford Montessori or Waldorf preschool.  The prices are ridiculous.  If we sent our boys to private school we would be spending over a MILLION dollars before we ever even sent them off to university.  That is insane.
Chicken talks of sending them to a 2x2 program and I think of doing it all myself at home until they are...four? 
Chicken talks of buying 2 plastic helicopters (probably flashing with lights and sounds) because "they like helicopters" and I tell her we have a lot of fun spotting the helicopters in the sky and walking by the helipad to watch them (loudly!) take off/land.  Chicken wants to buy them more! more! more! toys because "Everyone else has a ton of toys" and I look at her like she has sprouted a new head.  She's not really serious.  But she is...sort of.  And meanwhile I'm trying to get rid of toys because I think they have too many as it is.
I don't know where this is going to end up.  We are OK, don't get me wrong.  But I see some hiccups on the road to parenting that I did not anticipate.  We agree on just about everything when it comes to how we raise the kids, but I think as time progresses I'm really tapping into my inner (homeschooling?) hippie-like type mom and Chicken is...well, she's a Type A New Yorker.

I fantasize about saving up enough money and world schooling/traveling for a year (or more) with the boys.  That would be cheaper than a year of preschool and more educational, right?  I've been tapping into a whole different blogosphere--familes traveling together--and I'm hooked.  But that should come as no surprise.  My goal is to convince Chicken we have to do this.  Her goal is to convince me we need to be saving for our 401K and retirement.  My goal then becomes to convince her how cheap it is to retire in developing countries and with the worldly education our boys will have received they will be willing and ready to support their old mom's in their old age.  And besides...what if I die at 50 or some other hideously young age?  I can be crazy to live with.  I am aware of this:)

This past weekend we went upstate to the MIL's house.  It was our first visit there since the Christmas holidays last year.  I think she got the message that if you aren't going to play nice, we aren't going to come visit you because she was on much better behavior and we all had a very pleasant weekend.  They had the TV on and they fed the kids sugar and I tried not to freak out too much about either of these things.  I'm honestly less freaky about the TV than the sugar.
She sent the boys home on the train with a bag full of some kinds of mystery O's.  It's an hour and 1/2 train ride down the Hudson River and I have never seen Grunter so attached to any type of food but O how he wanted these O's.  And then, I tasted one.  Sugar, omg so much sugar!  The kid was singing at the top of his lungs and bolting for the aisle and banging on the glass and speaking in crazy tongues.  On the trip up?  Not so much.  Pretty calm.

They'd been eating these O's all weekend...and all weekend having a hard time going to sleep or calming down.
So, I try really hard not to give them things with sugar.  Because they are crazy enough already.  But I make them muffins.  And while I sub out or 1/2 some of the sugar, I DO bake with sugar and they DO eat things with sugar from time to time.  And I have offered them cheeseburger and fries and pizza.  Yep.  And they don't want any of those lovely items.  But sugar O's, please please mommy please.

The shopping.  Good lord I had no idea how much shopping you have to do when you have kids.  It's no secret that I really don't like shopping.  Chicken HATES it so she's no help in that department.  I can't even tell you how many freaking hours I've spent searching and reviewing rain coats and rain boots and sneakers and fall jackets and winter coats and snow suits and hats and gloves and an ENTIRE new wardrobe x 2 of everything Size 2T because my boys jumped from a size 9-12 months on their first birthday to an (almost) 2 T  and 26 lbs by the end of summer.  
Shoes.  Why are there so many shoes to choose from?!  I adore Za.ppos but I get overwhelmed.  I can't even imagine if I had 2 girls.  Good grief.  Whoop Whoop went from a size 5 to a size 7 in less than 3 months.  Now he's almost a 7.5.  I don't know how much money we've spent in the last couple of months 'outfitting' them.  I knew kids were expensive but I really didn't see it like this!

I made a killing at Baby G.ap yesterday.  I never shop there because the prices are ridiculous but I got all sale items PLUS 40% off and ended up with 7 items for $52.  Score!
After that I hit a few things at Baby O.ld Navy with an extra 25% off and then ended up with some super buys at Marshalls.  I have always been a bargain shopper but now I'm on every mailing list out there and hunt down the sales.  I wish we had a good resale shop here but sadly almost everything resale in the city means some sort of used Baby P.rada like outfit that is still 10x more expensive than the G.ap sale stuff.  And I just do not have the time or patience to hunt down the non-crap stuff at our (overpriced) city Goodwill.
The only way I'm going to save up enough money for long-term travel is for the boys to stop growing so I can stop shopping!!!  (which would be OK because this age?  I LOVE THIS AGE.)

The hole is still residing in my stomach and Grunter loves to grab at the roll while he nurses to remind me that it's there alrighty.  I have done nothing, 100% nothing, towards making it go away.  I keep saying I'm going to go to the gym or to yoga or to pilates and maybe someday...when my to-do list is done and when I've caught up on all your blogs and I've written all the blog posts that are rattling around in my head I will.  Maybe I won't.  Maybe the fact that I can fit two fingers in the middle of my stomach where my muscles used to be will just be my reminder that I housed two precious, wonderful babies in that stomach.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I Think You're Amazing

These boys are growing up so fast.  I keep thinking I will write it all down and I don't.  Then I kick myself for making muffins instead of writing.  But we need to eat...
I waste too much time in the evenings doing mindless things because I am too brain dead to write.  I can cook/clean/bake (some nights) but writing is much harder for me.

Since we hired a PT nanny, I can tell an huge difference in how I am feeling toward life, the kids, the Chicken, even the cat.  I guess we are all better moms when we have a little break for ourselves.
I didn't know I'd be quite so fragile as a mom.  I didn't know how hard it would be to 'try to do it all'.  I hate that I want and need help (both in the form of drugs and other people) to be my best.  Looking back at their first year, I now see so clearly how depressed I was and just how bad it was.  I can't believe that I denied I had PPD.  It took me a long time, but I'm so glad I finally admitted it.

I do get sad when I read the birth stories of new moms and then the glowing posts following those first days/weeks/months with the new baby/babies.  I don't remember feeling any of that glow.  I wish my memories of when they were babies were a bit happier, but they aren't and I can't do anything to change that.  I really hate that I look at little babies and think, "Oh my god I'm so glad we don't have a tiny baby anymore".  I love babies, don't get me wrong.  I have always LOVED my babies.  But, this is so magical and amazing and wonderful.  Part of it is me and where I am now and part of it is them.
But oh my!  If I had a penny for every kiss they've had since birth I would be a millionaire.  I adore them in ways that I did not in the beginning.  Chicken admits this, too.  Two colicy babies are quite difficult to bond with even without battling PPD.

Earlier this week I was going back through some of my old posts from pregnancy trying to tap back in to how I was feeling.  So many things have happened since then and I honestly couldn't remember 'where' I was then.  I came across the 3D ultrasound photos we had done at 20 and 22 weeks and it was amazing.  I had not looked at these photos since the boys were born and I was blown away.  I knew immediately who was who.  It was so clear--at 20 weeks!  That is so crazy.

I am trying to let the past go.  I was the best mom I could be at the time.  I wasn't the happiest mommy but I must've smiled enough because my boys sure are some happy kids with great smiles.  Now, I can go forward and soak up every moment with them.
Our best time--and my favorite part of the entire day--is the bedtime routine (and no, not because they are going to bed, but because they are so sweet!).  I love it so much, I draw it out a very long time.

We take a bath or shower by 6 and do lotion, diaper and pj's by 6:30.  Grunter pushes my shoulder and says "down" and I obey laying down on a double stack of Boppy's on the bedroom floor.  He nurses and  Whoop Whoop sometimes plays with his blocks or sometimes drives a car on my head or sometimes straddles me and bounces or sometimes just hangs out on the side that isn't occupied by Grunter.  When Grunter is ready to switch sides, he commands W2 to "move!" and W2 happily comes to my other side.  I have to nudge Grunter off eventually and tell them to go sit on their step stools so we can brush teeth.  When this is done we roll around on the floor tickling and kissing until I put them in their cribs, put on their sleep sacks and they demand Book Book!
I pull up the desk chair and situate it at the corner of their cribs (which are placed in an L shape) and we read a book.  "Mas Mas!" they demand holding up a finger.  Of course I give in at least once if not twice.
When we are done Whoop Whoop reaches over to hug and kiss Grunter who may or may not let him.  It's the cutest thing ever.
Now it's time to turn off the light and I go to the lamp counting 1-2-3 both in English and in Spanish.
The lights go off, usually with W2 protesting "mas" or "book".

A long time ago I would do all of this topless and they would stand up in their cribs and I would nurse them both standing up.  Gives a whole new meaning to 'nurse to sleep', huh?  But then W2 weaned and  what's the point of brushing their teeth and now if I have my shirt off Grunter still wants to nurse and W2....well, let's just say he still likes to 'handle' the boobage if allowed!
Up until recently I would sing them songs and rub their backs and try to tiptoe out while I was still singing.  They--especially Whoop Whoop--didn't like knowing I was leaving.

But we've entered a new phase--the rhythm is always changing--and I started to pick them up while I sing to them giving them each precious moments of special quiet time with Mommy.
"Up Up Up" demands Grunter.
I hold each one close to me--they are great about waiting their 'turn'--and they lay their head on my shoulder as we rock and sway in the darkness.  Grunter will sometimes hold me and pat my back while W2 likes to hug you so tightly he trembles.  It's the same with his kisses.  He has such intensity he sometimes bites you--little love bites.
I put them back in the crib and kneel down on the ground so I'm on their level.  They come to the sides and we kiss through the slats and giggle.
I sing some more and rub back and head more and Grunter usually stands up a couple of times to hug me and tilts his head up indicating that he would like a kiss.  My heart melts.  They are such sweethearts.
"Nigh Nigh" Grunter says.  "Bye" Whoop Whoop says.  Sometimes I hear a "Ciao" and will hear them fussily blowing kisses.
I tell them I love them over and over and over.

I stand outside the door and listen to them babble to each other.  I can hear Grunter tossing and turning and Whoop Whoop chatters to himself as he reviews his day complete with lots of "No mine", "doo doo" (Choo Choo Train, his new favorite thing/word) and "Mommy".  Many times 10-15 minutes will pass and suddenly I'll hear squeals of laughter from one or both.  Who knows?  W2 keeps up the chatter for at least 45 minutes most nights while Grunter falls asleep more quickly.

Sleep tight, boys.  Mommy loves you more than you'll ever know.

I think you're amazing.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

I Didn't Miss Her at All

And when she showed up last night I screamed like a tween-age girl, so surprised and slightly scared to see her again.
It had been two years and five months.  That's a mighty long hiatus but I knew....sooner or later she'd show up again.  Damn her.
Even breast feeding couldn't keep her away forever.
Time to break open the box of O.B.'s again.