Thursday, March 31, 2011

Working mom guilt and other problems

So I've been working 3 days a week for a month now.  In general, Tuesdays are good; I get dressed up, our nanny comes and the boys get excited to see her.  I go to work, Eric cooks dinner while I am there, and I come home and we have a lovely adult dinner.  Wednesdays are ok... but by Thursday... ugh.  I often wake up early with anxiety about leaving my boys, and then I feel guilty that I want to eat breakfast, rather than play with them, knowing that I'll be gone most of the day and miss out on their play time.  Thursday nights I am so happy to come home to them and their beautiful faces.  Unfortunately, they have usually missed me so much that I spend the hour between when I get home and when they eat dinner just holding them on my lap.  They won't let go of me and fight for space on my lap.  I love the attention, but I hate that they've been without me all day.

The other four days of the week I want to spend every minute with them.  I want to take them with me everywhere I go, or only go out while they're napping.  If we make adult dinner plans, our reservations are for 7:30 or later so that the boys will be in bed before we leave the house.

Part of me thinks, "that isn't right." Just because I go to work doesn't mean I can't go out some other day.  My adult time is not limited to work; I can socialize, too.  But the mommy part of me feels pulled-- not out of obligation, but out of desire-- to spend every possible minute that I can with my boys.

This weekend, one of my best friends is having a birthday gathering, and the boys are not invited (let's be honest, their conversational skills are lacking).  I really cannot even fathom not going, but I have anxiety about being away from the boys.  I don't want to short-change my friend by being a party pooper who is pre-occupied with her children (who are fine without her), and I don't want to short-change myself by moping through my time away.  I'm not sure why I can't give myself permission to enjoy my adult time without them, but it's a struggle.

We are also having a hard time with our child care situation.  We had hired a young woman to take care of them from 9-5 on Thursdays, but she told us two weeks ago that she has taken a 5 day a week job with another family.  So we are back to looking for someone who will come take care of our boys every Thursday, and most of the people who are interested in the job are interested in it as a temporary position.  So while we've met some wonderful young women who want to help care for our boys, the prospect of repeating this search again in a month or two is not appealing.  We would also love to have some consistency in their lives, and right now we have Cindy as our nanny on Tuesdays, my mom on Wednesdays, and someone else on Thursdays.

At this point, we are not sure what the right answer will be for our family, but we are handling it in our typical fashions: I worry about it constantly, and Eric worries not at all; he is always telling me not to worry, but that is kind of like telling a fish not to swim.  In the end, we certainly will not hire anyone who doesn't love our boys!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Benjamin and Asher are 1!

Today we celebrated Benjamin and Asher's first birthday!  We celebrated with a birthday party at my parents' house with tons of food and dessert.

Of course no party or big day would be complete without mishaps, like bad naps for the babies in the morning before the party, butter exploded all over the microwave, cupcakes dumped on the counter and re-frosted...

But here are a few photos from the day:
The boys waiting for their birthday cake
Asher trying frosting (he actually didn't even eat the cupcake at all)
Benjamin trying his cupcake (he liked it)
The cakes-- a bear for Asher and a rabbit for Benjamin
Our family today
Our family 1 year ago today
A serious Asher Bear modeling his Bear Birthday shirt
A tired Benjamin snuggling a very lucky mommy
Tired family, content mommy
Overall, it was definitely a wonderful but exhausting day!  I decided we're still celebrating their birthday tomorrow.  I'm not sure what we'll do, but it will be something special for them!  They got so many new toys and games, too, and I am looking forward to hearing less of that damn Fisher Price woman's voice around here.  Birthdays are fun, and I am so glad we celebrated our angels with so many friends and family, and so much love and joy.

Friday, March 25, 2011

364 days old

The boys playing with their car at Memere and Pepere's in Maine
In about 15 hours, my boys will officially be 1 year old.  I can't believe it.  I wanted to take a belly picture today to compare to my belly picture 1 year ago today, when I was 36 weeks pregnant, but suffice it to say that my body looks completely different!  As much as I didn't want stretch marks, I now like the ones I have because it reminds me that I once carried two babies, and as that time of my life becomes more distant, the marks become more appreciated.

Of course my body isn't all that has changed around here.  One year ago tonight, Eric and I had leftovers for dinner, I watched Grey's Anatomy, and we went to bed in a quiet, clean house.  Tonight we had dinner with our little boys, watching them eat chicken and challah with big smiles on their faces.  We bathed them, lotioned them, and put them in their adorable pajamas.  I nursed them, and sang them their goodnight song, and kissed their soft heads as I put them down to sleep.  As much as I miss quiet time, I love these moments with my boys so much more.

We have had such a wonderful year.  We've learned so much, and made so many new friends.  Tomorrow we'll celebrate the boys' birthday with a party at my parents' house-- I've been cooking for a week!  I am surprised and excited by how many people are planning to attend; I am happy that my boys are so loved.

We are so truly lucky to have made it through this year without serious illness or injury, with two healthy boys bringing such joy to our lives.  I am overwhelmed with my love for my boys.  I cannot wait to celebrate them tomorrow!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Guest post from Grandpa Nick: A Birthday Gift

Grandpa Nick with Benjamin
This weekend was my birthday celebration, Asher & Benjamin celebrate theirs next weekend. Rebecca gave me a guest post for a birthday gift. I'll share some of my first year with two grandchildren.

It's true - the grandchild experience is different than raising a
child. There's more time to savor the pleasure, less anxiety, more uninterrupted sleep, fewer diapers and a different perspective on this lap of the track.

I was surprised, the first time I gave a bottle to one of the boys, to suddenly remember giving my younger brother a bottle when he was a baby. My sister and I would sit next to each other, hold him across our laps, and the one who got the head would give him his bottle. It was a strange feeling to see my infant brother's face as I fed my grandchild.

There are also many echoes of parenthood. Nostalgia when we visited Rebecca & the newborns in the same hospital during the same season I visited my wife with newborn Rebecca & later her sister. Confidence in the cycle of life when Rebecca talks about the same parks where I took her & her sister.  The continuity of family customs this weekend when we taught Asher & Ben "Diaper car" - put a child in an empty diaper box, then push him around the room at great speed... The same patience and pleasure to walk the two boys with my wife during breaks in a
restaurant meal, just as we had walked Rebecca and her sister.

We're still parents. I've been able to indulge my urge to nurture as we helped the young family through the challenges of bedrest and enjoyed the warmth of dinners in their bedroom. I was fascinated that, while I coached Eric through his first diaper change in the hospital, a few weeks later he gave me pointers to hone my rusty technique. I resurrected my football baby hold to walk a months-old grandchild to sleep. It was so sweet when the tender grip of his hands relaxed as he drifted off. It was an honor to be on call to walk restless grandchildren to sleep last spring and summer. Can you imagine being thanked for taking a delicious baby boy on a long quiet walk through a
summer evening? And there's nothing like hugging a still-damp baby bundled in a towel when helping at dinner / bath / bedtime.

Though all this can seem routine, we savor it because Benjamin & Asher are such happy, loving children. Rebecca's already learning how quickly the carousel of time turns, leaving only memories. We're truly
blessed to experience another round of such deep joy and to refresh the memory of our earlier turns.

I cannot imagine a finer gift - renewing and enlarging the wonder of family as two grandchildren grow in our sight and in our arms.

I'm very fortunate, and deeply grateful.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

51 weeks

My boys are 51 weeks old today!  I can't believe that 1 week from now they will be 1 year old.

I'm having a hard time remembering what life was like without them.  I remember in the first few weeks after they were born, I would see things all over the house that hadn't been used since before they were born.  In our hall bath, my half-read magazine with wet handprints was still on the back of the toilet where I'd left it after taking a bath to ease my contractions.  I still had a drawer full of snacks in my nightstand from being on bed rest.  My drawers were full of maternity clothes.  Every time I saw one of those things, I felt a twinge of sadness for the peace and quiet I felt we'd lost forever.  Would I ever have time to take a bath by myself?  To read a magazine?

Now it seems our whole house has been touched by our boys.  Every room is filled with toys, there are baby clothes everywhere (including a random assortment of socks in all kinds of surprising places).  I drive a minivan.  And while I do sometimes mourn the past, and our freedom and independence, I think having children has made me happier than anything else I have ever done.

As I mentioned before, I am having a mix of emotions as their first birthday approaches.  On one hand, I am so proud of the boys my babies are becoming.  We have so much fun together, and I love watching the fun they have with others, too.  I am impressed that Eric and I survived a year with infant twins without killing each other, or letting anything drastically awful happen to the babies.  I'm proud of us for having tried so many new things, for having taken so many car trips, and for having fun through it all.  I'm excited to plan their first birthday party, and eager to have their friends and family join them to celebrate.

On the other hand, I have anxiety about how fast all this has gone.  The year has just flown by, and those sweet moments of a snuggly, small infant on my chest were just too short.  Right now, the boys are so much fun, and I worry that these moments will also be over before I know it.

I was having anxiety about weaning, which I had planned to do at 12 months, but now that 12 months is upon us, I am backing down from that decision.  The boys aren't taking their sippy cups very well (although I have not yet tried a straw sippy cup, which I think will be a better option for us), and we are all attached to the comfort of nursing.  Making the decision to keep nursing past 12 months really helped with some of my anxiety, but of course there is always more to feel anxious about!

I keep pulling clothes out of their drawers that they will never wear again.  I feel some sadness that so many "firsts" are behind us.  Their first spring, summer, fall, and winter.  Their first Christmas, first solid food, first visits to Cambridge, to Maine, to the beach, first snowflakes, first sledding... you get the picture.

It was such a year of wonder and excitement.  I have heard from other parents that it keeps getting better, and that each stage is filled with joys and pleasures.  I hope that this is true, because we are having such a wonderful time.  Each day, we have fun, we have hugs and kisses, and they seem to grow and learn.  I am so happy to see them every morning, and I never want to lose that feeling.  I hope 1 year is just the beginning.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

1 out of 7

helping Daddy vacuum
Earlier this week, the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technologies published their 2009 statistics.  I eagerly looked up the fertility clinic where I did my IVF, and looked at the results.  You can narrow by diagnosis, which I did (my diagnosis is ovulatory dysfunction), and then looked at my age (<35).  After narrowing to that point, I looked at live births that resulted from twin pregnancies: 2 out of 7.  1 of those 2 pregnancies was mine.  We are 1 out of 7.  We are so lucky.

Sometimes I still get envious of people who have conceived naturally, and even people who needed fertility treatment but didn't need IVF.  But things like this remind me how truly lucky we are.  We were so lucky to conceive with our first IVF, and so fortunate to have made it through a high-risk twin pregnancy with two healthy babies.

I am having such a mix of feelings as we approach their first birthdays.  I will write more about them in another post, for tonight I need to try to sleep, which I haven't been so successful at doing lately!

Friday, March 11, 2011

what's new here

There is no major, breaking news, but since I use this blog as a little bit of a baby book, I want to make note of some of the things the boys are doing these days.

Beside the fact that they are taking steps for everyone but mommy, they are pointing at everything.  The cutest is when they point with both hands!  At the landing on our stairs we have a small rug my sister got us in Peru with colorful llamas on it.  Every night when we go up the stairs to start the bedtime routine, Asher points and laughs at the llamas.

Yesterday I told Eric that I am concerned that Benjamin is not really babbling (which he isn't).  He makes noises in different pitches, and is very good at expressing himself that way, but he is not babbling.  Then this morning, first thing, he started with, "Dadadadada."  He will do it in response to me looking at him and saying it first, too.  Benjamin also does "kisses;" if you make a kissy face and noise at him, he will smack his mouth in response.  Benjamin waves and claps, and right now Asher only waves.  Asher does a great deal of babbling, often with emotion and emphasis.  He says "dadadada," "mamama," "nananana," and often hisses out s's or things that sound like "ts."

They are both playing with their walker a lot, and racing in laps around our downstairs with it.  They stand independently, but in front of me have not taken any steps.  They love toys that rattle and shake, and spend lots of time fighting over them and then shaking them so hard they smack themselves or each other.  They have both figured out putting things in/taking things out, so they enjoy doing that over and over with their toys.

On Wednesday, they had their first sippy cups of cow's milk.  They seem to like it, but are just not that good at using their sippy cups.  Asher's appetite has returned, and he's been eating chicken, cheese, and macaroni and cheese like it's going out of style.

The breastfeeding is another post in and of itself... I have decided that at 12 months I am going to try to cut back, but not stop by any means.  All three of us seem to still enjoy it, and while I am not comfortable saying that I will breastfeed until they decide they are ready to wean, I just don't feel like right now is the time.  Eric and I have followed our instincts on a lot of other matters with our guys, and it seems to have worked out for us, so I think I will do the same with breastfeeding.

Right now we are all happy and healthy.  Each day they seem to learn a new skill, or do something different.  In general, they are sweet and easy-going, and I love our time together.  I have been working 3 days a week, and it's hard to leave them 3 days in a row, but I do then value the time we have together.

I'm planning their birthday (I can't believe it is so soon!) and practicing some recipes for the party.  So far, everything has turned out well!  I am not going all out with decorations or a theme, but I am cooking and baking all the food and cakes-- that's where my priorities are!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

so in love

Before I had babies, I would always hear stories of people giving birth and instantly feeling overwhelming love for their children.  This didn't happen for me.  I remember being in the hospital and realizing that I had not yet fully grasped that those two small babies were coming home with me, and that I would be their mommy for the rest of my life.  My time in the hospital felt so surreal, and while I knew that I loved my boys, I did not yet feel it.

Those first few months were hard, even though I had family constantly supporting me.  There was such pressure to feed, to pump, to change them, and to then try to remember to shower and feed myself.  Those days were about surviving, and I rarely felt I had the time to simply enjoy them.  They needed me, and of course I loved them, but I was so caught up in the necessities of caring for them that I did not luxuriate in my feelings.

Now, almost a year later (and really, for some time now), I feel completely and madly in love.  I cannot look at my boys without feeling stunned by their beauty, and with the honor that comes from being their mother.  Last week as we drove home from Maine, I sat in the third row of the minivan and watched them sleep.  I could feel my heart clench at how perfect they are: I am heart-breakingly in love with my children.

They are so much fun, and I am proud of them everyday.  Benjamin has become an expert hugger, and it is a delicious feeling to have his little arms wrapped tight around my neck.  Asher has continued to be snuggly beyond his cold, and I get many moments each day with him in my arms, his head resting on my shoulder, as he sucks his thumb.  I told Eric that I wish there were a way to capture these moments, the feeling of loving them fully and being loved in return, of always making them smile when I walk into the room.  I love them more everyday, which is crazy, because everyday I feel as though I love them to bursting, but it's true.  I am so in love.