Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Reading is Fundamental

Brooklyn sits in a bay window on a road trip to Cambria and tries to keep up with her school work, even during summer. This photo was taken 2 years ago, in 2016. It's a painful reminder of the struggling that Brooke has suffered during her academic career at the charter school she attends, (River) Springs Charter School. This workbook represents the only phonics and decoding that she received. They're well written, but they're part of a program that consists of accompanying lessons, that were never provided. 2 years later, my girl is still struggling and has been identified as having a learning disability called dyslexia. 2 years later, I'm fighting a school district that does not want to allocate resources to help my daughter close the gap by providing the kind of intervention that has been scientifically proven to re mediate dyslexic learners. It's expensive and it must be implemented with fidelity by highly trained reading specialists, which they do not have. It's been an intensive journey since October and I'm in fighting mode for this girl. I've had to seek legal counsel and advocacy.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

"Wow! I should blog. It's been so long." I was thinking about my mother, as I drove home from dropping the kids off at school. I was thinking that I might process her loss, more efficiently, more emotionally...perhaps share my experience with my kids, so that they might know how my mother had prepared me for her death and that I might prepare them for mine. We never know when that time will come and we shouldn't wait till the end of our lives to treat every day as if it's our last.

I thought about how confident my mother was. I thought about how few knew how vulnerable she really was inside, insecure, like all of us. Her confidence was her behavior. She was brave as hell. She taught herself to behave with confidence and it took her far. Humor and compliments bridged gaps. If ever there were gaps. 

As a teenager I watched her win people over with a kind of magic that I held contempt for. Was she sincere? Did she mean everything she said to everyone? Did she mean what she said to me? I felt not and so I blew her off, rolling my eyes at her when she complimented me. She hated that. She said I needed to learn how to take a compliment. I thought she loved me blindly and she would say anything to make me feel good. Why I held that effort in such contempt, I do not fully understand. I didn't trust that her inflated sense of esteem for me was an accurate reflection of who I was. 

Now that I am a mother, myself, I see that my mother was trying to mold me into that which she strove to master, herself. She wanted me to hold my head up high and duplicate what she had taken years to master. She wanted to pass on the best of herself, to me. She wanted me to be able to benefit from her "modeling" confidence, if you will. I would do the same for my children. I will be aware, however, of the distrust that I could easily create, if ever my sentiments are taken as insincere. 

Looking back, I'm finally able to appreciate what my mother saw in me. I'm able to see myself through her eyes and that's exactly what she would have wanted.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Right Brain/Left Brain

Language is said to be a left brain function, along with logic, reasoning, math and critical thinking. On the other hand, emotions, color, images, music and creativity are all right brain functions. When I think of my daughter's strengths, I've noticed that the two of them seem to be dominated by different hemispheres.

By 3 years old, both Lauren and Brooklyn were on the low end of the bell curve and had issues with speech and language. Since that time, Lauren has come far and Brooklyn is still making progress. Lauren is now on the high of the bell curve. Brooke has not yet been retested, since she's been in a speech program this past year, but I can tell that she still needs assistance.

As a very young toddler, I can recall Lauren having some interesting abilities. She would line up her little toy animals and place them standing side by side, according to size. I found some happy face stickers on the wall that she had placed. When she first put them on the wall, she grouped them loosely. Then she arranged them in a linear fashion. After lining them up, she actually adjusted each of the stickers so that the faces were all level. I remember her stacking nested cups really well at a young age. We were actually encouraged to have her screened for autism because of her unusual ability. She did not have autism, but she did have some cool skills.

A few days ago, I watched, entranced, as Brooklyn sat playing the piano and singing. Her words and tune were both made up. I could barely pick out any words, but she was singing to her heart's content. She loves singing and she does so often. She loves drawing, coloring and painting. I am sometimes amazed by her creativity and her artistic nature.

Friday, January 04, 2013


Brooklyn woke up in the middle of the night and told me she needed to go potty. I asked her if she had wet her pants. She said, "no, Lauren did." I checked Lauren and she was dry. I checked Brooke and she was wet. I asked Brooke about that and said, "did you wet your pants?" She replied, "no, Lauren did it."

I guess at 4 years old, there is no such thing as the obvious. Brooke blames Lauren for plenty of naughty things that she does too. I really hope this is not an enduring trait of hers.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Backyard Fun

Last night, we got out the sun shelter and watched television in the backyard. This is one of my favorite things to do on a summer evening. We laid blankets down and brought more to cover up with. We had as many pillows and pillow pets as we could find in the house. So, propped against our mountain of fluffy pillows, covered in fuzzy blankets, we snacked on popcorn and drinks, while we watched episodes of Dr. Who on the laptop. You can't see Scott, because he took this photo, but he would have been on the other side of Max. Even the dogs hung out with us. The air was brisk and refreshing and the full moon smiled down upon us. Max and Lauren had fallen asleep before the night was over and had to be carried to the house. I hope to have many more nights like this over the summer.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sea World

Max goes to a very unique school. It is a state charter school, but it is a Montessori program. Not only that, but it's a hybrid of sorts, because it's a combination of classroom and homeschooling. He homeschools Mondays and Tuesdays and attends his class Wednesdays through Fridays. I really feel like it's the best of both worlds. At least if you are not a parent who is employed outside the home. I really like the fact that I have input to his education and I can do things that the school cannot. Like offer him the variety of media choices, field trip opportunities, subject, content, etc.

Anyway, last week I took Max to Sea World. We've had annual passes for the past several years and our current passes are about to expire. Normally, I would have taken Brooke and Lauren too, but they are too old to get in for free now and it's not a good time to get passes for them. So, Max and I went alone. It's always great to spend one-on-one time with the children. Max gets to do this much more than his sisters. It truly is hard to seperate them and yet I know it needs to be done, so that they can both benefit from the individual focus and attention that they need from time to time.

Max and I had a wonderful day. No strollers. The freedom we had walking around was wonderful. It was a beautiful day, with lots of sunshine and perfect temperature. We walked through exhibits, saw a show, fed some sea lions, went on some rides, played some games and ate some lunch. We laughed, played and ran around holding hands. Max talked me into two different rides that made me sick to my stomach and got me to go on them twice in a row each. We took some photos and some video. I put together a little video to highlight his trip and make it an official homeschool activity.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Little Girls World

I love to sit, like a fly on the wall, and listen to my little girls play. They sing together, they dance together and they play together. They like to stand in front of the mirror and sing songs. Brooke is telling Lauren, "okay, you're Elmo," as they break into the Elmo's World chorus. Both of them have arms outstretched and they're rocking from side to side. Then Lauren starts to sing the song from Sleeping Beauty, "Once Upon a Dream," while forcibly taking Brooke by the hand to partake in some simplified version of a waltz.

Just a little while ago, they were sitting in their room, playing house. Apparently, they were playing the royal version of house. Princesses, princes (mostly Disney versions) and some Hello Kitty characters. I could hear Lauren saying, "I'm the baby!" Then, she says to Lauren, in her most baby like voice (not a far cry from her regular voice, only more dramatic) "mommy!" "Mommy, I want my bottle!" I hear Lauren oblige by offering her who knows what. "Here you go sweetheart!" The sweetness is overwhelming. It's just nice to hear them playing without crying and shrieking over who has which characters. It won't be long though.

I'm amazed at the duration of the conversations, considering that they're both somewhat speech delayed. They seem to understand each other consistently, in a way that I have yet to master. Sometimes they sing their own made-up songs, together, with words that I don't understand and yet, they sing it as though they had first rehearsed their lines.

There is a symbiotic harmony between them. Quick to explode and quick to forgive. Negotiating over things constantly. They have worked out their pecking order. All things pink are automatically Lauren's and all things blue default to Brooke. I admire their ability to work together. At least until I walk in the room, to find one of them sitting on the other, who is hollering for her sister to "get off!"

They create their own world, sometimes, and I just feel privileged to be a part of it.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Thank You Max

Hey Max! 
I just wanted to say thank you, for teaching Lauren how to pee in the backyard, like a boy, how to call her dad "dude," and for teaching her to scream "OW, MY NUTS!" 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Potty Training

It's official. I can say that my girls are actually potty trained. Sure, there are some accidents here and there. That's normal, but I think we're over the hump. The first thing was making sure that they were showing signs of potty training readiness. Once I decided that it was time to start, I had to make sure I had the supplies we  would need. Those included two potty training chairs, stools to reach the toilet, wipes, a timer and lots of M&Ms. Oh yes, and of course panties.  It's been an interesting 4 months. Lauren and Brooklyn could not have been more different in how they handled and approached it.

Brooklyn left the gate at full gallop. In our "pre" potty training days, she already showed an interest in just sitting on the potty. That made it easy to start her off on our regular toilet.

iPhone...better than a magazine.
This toilet has two seats. One that is adult size and one that is child size. It's all built into the lid and is very useful, since children are so much smaller than we are.

One for us
One for them
Note: Up to this point, this post had been sitting, unfinished, in my "drafts" folder, since last February. In finishing this post, both girls have been potty trained for quite some time.

Anyway, I originally puchased this toilet seat when Max was potty training. I installed it in our main bathroom. Since that time, I have purchased a second and installed that in the master bathroom. We had been using one of those padded seat inserts, but they are messy and cumbersome. I highly recommend these seats. You never have to fumble around for it and they are really easy to clean. They also provide a lot more stability.

In the beginning stages, we just let the girls run around "commando." No bottoms. That way they were ready to go whenever they needed to. At that point, they were not quite able to pull their own panties down. This worked well with Brooke, because she would loudly announce, "poo-poo-potty!" That was whether she needed to poop or pee.

Brooke was a breeze. She liked to sit on the potty and we had many false alarms, where she just sat there and never produced. Fine with me.

Lauren was a challenge. And she was the one we really needed to get trained. She had turned into "Poopcaso" and taken to smearing the walls with the contents of her diaper. There were also incidents where she had ground it into the carpet with the use of a few toys. Fun stuff. She was much more comforatble using one of those little training potties, so that's what we used until her confidence grew.  The main problem we had with Lauren was that she would not alert us when she needed to go. She would quietly slip away to do her thing. In the beginning it was fine, but soon enough she started to dump her own removable basin. You can imagine what a mess that was. Not only that, but because she would not alert us, she was un-wiped.

Eventually, we had to make the girls wear panties. Not only for sanitary reasons, but for modesty reasons. With Brooke, no problem. We just pulled them down for her when she needed to go. Lauren, on the other hand, would sit down on her little potty, without anyone the wiser, and go right through her panties. This lasted for a painful eternity. We would either discover that she had wet panties or she might come walking out, doing the side-to-side shuffle. Eventually she learned to pull her own panties down. But we still could not get her to tell us when she needed to go or to quit dumping out her own basin.

In the beginning, I would squeal, clap, sing, jump, march and anything else, resembling the production of a one-man parade. Scott did the same and I even enlisted Max into our Oscar winning, theatrical production of praise. When that started to get stale, I tried M&Ms. This was short lived, as I ended up doling out M&Ms to anyone in the vicinity of the victory.  This meant both of the other kids, but truth be known, Scott and I were dipping into the till as well. Then I switched to bubbles. This was one trick I had never heard of and it worked like a charm. Any time there was a successful potty encounter, we blew bubbles right there in the bathroom as a reward. And that was what took us through the rest of our potty training journey. At least to an acceptable point. Both girls still sleep in a pull up at bedtime. This is really the last hump to overcome.

The girls have been such a different experience from potty training Max. One thing in common about Brooke and Max was that I had to give both of them glycerin suppositories (a recommendation by our pediatrician) to get them over the hump of actually pooping in the toilet.  In Max's case, he was preschool age and was still requesting a diaper to be put on him for no other reason than to poop. He would not go any other way. If I tried to hold out on him, there were plenty of tears and I just didn't want to push that hard. I didn't want to make it an emotionally devastating experience for him. In Brooke's case, I  did not wait very long before resorting to it, because I had such a success doing it with Max. The sense of immediacy that it gave them, left them with no other choice than to go as soon as I set them down on the toilet. After they had done it once, they both had the confidence to do it the next time, without hesitation.

If I were to offer any potty training advice to another, I would definitely recommend the two sized installable seat. Also, the use of bubbles and, if necessary, glycerin suppositories. And finally, carrying a training potty around in your vehicle. I use this a lot. Not only is it convenient (they can use it right in the van) and the right size, but it is usually a more sanitary option than using a public restroom. Additionally, I carry a collapsible potty in the stroller when I go to an amusement park, the beach or a park for the day. It's compact and can be set up in a flash. It also doubles as a seat insert for setting onto a regular size toilet, which I also use in public restrooms or at at friends and families homes.

So there you have it.

"You've Got Your Hands Full"

"You've really got your hands full!"
I hear this phrase most days when I leave the house. I travel with a double jogging stroller (a double Bob) that has a little spot towards the front, which is just big enough for Max to sit down on and hitch a ride. Which he does. Often. It's not that he's just lazy, which he is, but he also walks on his tip toes and that slows him down. Not only that, but it's just plain easier to keep my eye on him when he is not meandering around.

These days, Max is the easier of my three when we are on the go (I almost delete this sentence in disbelief).  As a baby, and toddler, he was much more content to ride as a passenger in his stroller than his sisters are. We went so many places...often. Brooke and Lauren are reluctant passengers at best. They are uncooperative and miserable, riding in the stroller. They complain, loudly. They cry, whimper, shout, lean outward, torment each other and are constantly trying to escape. For me, this is extremely negatively reinforcing. Therefore, we don't venture out as much as I would like to. It makes me feel sad, because I know they are not broadening their universe in the same way that Max was able to.

I don't mean to play the "one up" game with other mothers, but having twins definitely puts us in an exlusive group that is most understood by other mothers with twins...or more (bless their hearts). The mixture of indescribable joy and frustration is unique. This mothering experience is so qualitatively different from my first pregnancy and parenting journey with my first born.

In some ways their experience is enriched, merely by having a partner in life. In others, they miss out on so much because their attention is always diluted. Always shared. Not in the same way as having an older sibling. There are physical limitations of mine that prevent the kind of exploration that I would otherwise allow and encourage. Simply put, they often take to running in opposite directions and I just can't wrangle both of them in many public situations.

Note: This post has been sitting in my "drafts" folder since last November. Inasmuch as it is an "unfinished" post, I have decided to post it anyway and be done with it. This is my life...deal with it (I say to myself).

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Children and Nature

"To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter... to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird's nest or a wildflower in spring - these are some of the rewards of the simple life." ~John Burroughs

I'm not one of those moms who feels that idle time leads to boredom or trouble. On the contrary, I feel that idle time is a necessary part of self-discovery, as well as discovery of the world around us. I don't like to keep my children so busy with planned activities, that they don't have ample time to just "be." Maybe that sounds a little existential, but I guess that's my brand of spirituality.

I wan't my children to feel like free spirits. Someday, when they have grown, I hope that they are empowered by and can connect with nature...with themselves. I want them to learn how to reflect on and admire the beauty and strength of nature. I think it's important for them to feel humbled by it and at the same time learn to embody it's stillness and it's strength.

"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves." ~John Muir

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Unless You're a Mom

Unless you're a mom, it may be hard to understand the emotional rolleroaster that an average day presents. If you wake up before your children, and most of us do, you gaze upon their angelic faces and feel such satisfaction that they are slumbering peacefully. Maybe you sneak off to enjoy the only moment, of that day, that you will have to yourself. I usually make myself a cup of coffee and just...sit. The stability that I enjoy in those moments won't be revisited again, until tomorrow morning.

In between those moments, I will have argued with my son about the contents of his lunch. I will have scolded him for watching television, when he was supposed to be dressing for school. I will have discovered a nasty scrape on my daughter's arm, of which I have no idea the origins. I will change the other daughter's diaper, to find a "pimple," that may very well be a more serisous infection growing. Gee, that one is in addition to the one on her thigh...the one she points to and says "oush!" I feel helpless, not being able to immediately resolve it. I take my son to school and, on the way, he tells me I am the "worst mom in the world," because I didn't let him finish watching his cartoon. My heart sinks. After dropping him off, one of my girls bursts into tears as we turn back onto our street. She does this every time we come home.

I will have to sneak out of the house to take the trash out, or endure more screaming and crying. I venture out, and as always, get caught...screaming and crying ensue. Someone comes to pick up some donation items and as I help them to their car, more screaming and crying. Sigh. I must sing several rounds of "Twinkle, twinkle, little star," to make it stop. Nothing stops the throbbing in my head though.

By this time, I will have changed 3 poopy diapers and at least 3 peepee diapers. I will have bathed one daughter, while the other one empties out the cabinet at the end of the hallway. I will dress the bathed daughter and put the other one in the bathtub, but will have to endure more screaming and crying because the girl who was bathed first, now wants to go back in.

I will have tripped on or jumped over toys strewn about the floor. I will probably step on at least one, with all my weight, and curse out loud. I will have accidentally spilled bleach on my shirt and curse out loud again. I will wonder how the table runner, from the dining room, came to be in one of the bedrooms. I will also wonder what the crunchy stuff on the back of the dog is and decide to bathe the dog outside, but get caught and have to endure more screaming and crying...more "twinkle, twinkle." I can't even count how many fights I will have to break up...how many injustices I will have to right. I will ride this train all day long...being jostled from side to side. Aggravated...heart broken...pissed off...bursting with love...all...day...long. At least until tomorrow morning. And you may not know what I'm talking about...unless you're a mom.

Monday, July 05, 2010

After-thoughts on Independence Day

Yesterday was hard. I woke up around 4:30 and had trouble getting back to sleep. I managed to do some cleaning in the garage, before most of the others were even awake. When Max finally woke up, he was very excited about the 4th of July party I had convinced him that we were having...just the 4 of us; Brooke, Lauren, he and I. We put the star shaped cookies in the home-made cookie jar that I had made from a craft suggestion in Family Fun Magazine. It was cute, a red, white and blue robot with a see through body area to view the cookies, which also needed to be decorated with theme in mind. We blew up the bounce house, put water in the water table and let everyone play outside, after being slathered in sunscreen.

The menu I had planned was barbecued chicken, corn on the cob, cole slaw and mashed potatoes. We also planned on making star shaped cupcakes with red and blue sprinkles on top. So far, the day might otherwise be an ideal one. The weather was hot and Scott would be home for the first half of the day. Nonetheless, I still had to do all the shopping, preparing, cooking, cleaning and parenting on my own.

The not so ideal parts of my day consisted of having to clean the wall, in our hallway, after Lauren smeared poop, from her diaper, all over. Yes, I know, clearly a sign of potty training readiness...sigh. Lauren also managed to stuff a small blob of blue playdo up her nose, which obviously bothered her a good deal. I tried to hold her down and fish it out with some blunt edge tweezers, but it was too far gone. I used the battery operated "snot sucker" on her too, but that just retrieved some of the blue snot. I hope it dissolved or went down the back of her throat. There appears to be no telltale sign of it today. Only time will tell, if she develops any kind of sinus infection from the foreign object.

Lauren (are you noticing the pattern here...the common denominator of the day?) also managed to shove her sister, while in the tub, and cause her to get a bloody lip. Worthy of mention, is that it was Brooke's second bath of the day, because she smeared cottage cheese into her hair at dinner time. Lauren has perfected the art of screaming her way through the "terrible twos." The sound of her voice is deep, gravelly and has an amazing projectile for a small child. I am sheepish to admit that I have even responded by holding my hand over her mouth, being ever so careful not to cover her nose, of course.

As I write this, I have a naked "clone warrior," an underwear clad "indian" and a diaper wearing "knight," all running around my house, engaged in battle. The dog is hiding. I wish I could say the same, having no idea what little disasters await the rest of my day.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Sentinel of the Night

Pen in hand, I sink into the over sized sofa, pausing to take a deep, healing breath. The dog lets out a guttural groan...almost in acknowledgement of my own resignation. The night has been long and morning comes faster than I care to concede.

Brooklyn is sleeping soundly in my bed. Night time stirs discontent and she has whimpered long enough in her own bed. I tried to comfort her there, but there is a vast difference between the distant isle of her bed and the comfort of the mainland. I pick her up and carry her to my bed. She sleeps deeply now. Her breathing has steadied. She no longer grasps at her own hair, as if trying to regain balance. Her final utterance was a sweet sigh and I am content...until Lauren cries out.

Her disorientation becomes mine. I rush to her side and she need only feel my breath against her neck to relax. A single, tiny finger reaches out and touches my cheek. She smiles, never opening her eyes. Satisfied that I am near, she turns over and settles back in...for now.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Two Grandmas

Lately, Max has been concerned with death, as his awareness of it grows. He posed his question to me:

Max: "Mom, who will be my grandma if Grandma dies?"
Me: "Nana will still be your grandma."
Max: "WHAT?" "I have TWO grandmas?!"
Me: "Yeah, what did you think Nana was?"
Max: "Just a person."

Then, I elaborated a little bit about the family tree and where his grandmas stood, relative to his father and I. To make sure he understood, he reiterated back to me:

"So Nana is daddy's mommy and the old one with the two dogs is your mommy."


Tuesday, March 02, 2010

The Less Glamorous Side of Motherhood

Just now I was changing Lauren's diaper. It was a poopie diaper. Not a solid, nor a liquid, but rather a mousse like consistency. I unfastened the diaper and lifted her slightly, by the legs, as I reached for the wipes, at which point she coughed. Coughing might not have been so bad, except for the force of her cough made her fart...twice. Now even baby farts are not such a big deal except for the fact that she still had poop mousse all over her little bottom . Her little fart blew that poop mousse all over my arm!!! Blech! Twice. I had to wipe off her bottom as quick as I could before she coughed again.

Another time, Lauren walked into the living room, where I had been sitting and offered me her fingers, so gingerly. Without even thinking about it, I kissed them. Then I smelled the poop. She had been digging in her diaper and gotten it on her fingers...and I kissed it (cringe). I jumped up and dashed to the bathroom, faster than a speeding bullet, to wash my mouth off with soap. Truly disgusting!

Friday, January 22, 2010

A Couple of Trueisms

I can't seem to remember to pick up the dog's water dish each day, BEFORE one of my girls has dumped it all over the floor.

No matter how many toys I pick up off the floor, there are more toys to pick up.

Upon initial investigation, Max is never guilty of anything.

If something is missing, look outside the doggy door first.

If Brooke is screaming and crying, Lauren has two of something in her possession.

If You Were a Fly on the Wall

If you were a fly on the wall, at my house...

Lauren: (walks in the living room with an empty bathroom wipes box).
Me: "Box! You have a box!"
Lauren: (hands the box to me).
Me: (looking around for a toy to put in the box for her...seeing a small figurine of Woody from the Disney/Pixar movie Toy Story laying on the floor) "Here's a Woody for your box!" (realizing what I've just said to my 1 1/2 year old daughter, looking around sheepishly to see if anyone noticed).

Max is learning to read, therefore sounding out various words throughout the day. My husband overhears him in the bathroom...
Max: "T"..."A"..."M"..."P"..."O"..."N"...

Me: (scratching my leg...something my husband always tells me to stop)
Max: "Stop scratching!"
Me: "Why?"
Max: "When Daddy's not here, I'm the boss!"

Max and I were laying on the bed, watching some television and he takes both hands and starts shaking my stomache...
Me: "You know, mommy used to have a skinny, flat belly."
Max: "I like your squishy belly. I don't want you to have a skinny belly."

Max was watching the cartoon "Happily Never After," and the main villain, a woman, was wearing a very clingy outfit. His face lights up and he shouts out: "BOOBS!"
.....like father, like son.

Recently, I assigned the "Baby Got Back" song as a ringtone for someone on my cellphone. I've also been singing it to the kids to make them laugh. This morning, Max was absentmindedly singing it himself:
Max: "I like big, fat butts!!! Big, fat, squishy butts! I can't lie!"....sigh.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Lost in Translation

Max: (rubbing his head, walks into my room) "Owwwww!"
Me: "What's wrong Max?"
Max: "I bumped into myself."

Max: (pouring some salt into the palm of his hand and tasting it)
Me: "How do you like that?"
Max: "Needs sugar!"

Sunday, December 06, 2009


I allow my son to say dammit! I don't know if that's as unusual as I imagine, but I don't know any other kids who are allowed to get away with it, except for maybe Max's cousins. He always says it appropriately. For example...

Max: "Where's daddy?"
Me: "At work."
Max: "Dammit!"


Max: "DAMMIT!"
Me: "What's wrong?"
Max: "I got pee on my underwear!"

I've explained to him that he should not say this at school and that not all grown ups will think it's okay that he says this. I've told him that his dad and I don't think it's a big deal, but to be respectful if anyone asks him not to say it when we're not around. My husband always says that profanity is his second language. I don't swear very much, but I'm sure that Max hears a very frustrated "shit!" or "dammit!" from me from time to time. I feel like a hypocrite by using words that he is prohibited from. After all, if he shouldn't use them, then neither should we. And in the long run, they're just words. I think it's sort of ridiculous when people substitute their cursing words. I mean who cares if you say "damn" or "darn?" The sentiment is the same.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

My Three Children

Let me start by saying I don't want to start labeling my girls with adjectives that will someday serve them as self-fulfilling prophecies. It's not necessary to me that they see themselves through my eyes. Quite the contrary. I would like for them to look in a mirror and define themselves, rather than let the perceptions of another define them. I try not to refer to one or the other as "the smart one," "the creative one," "the moody one" or any of the like. That being said, my two girls evoke such different emotions from me.

Lauren is pensive. She looks worried and carries a furroughed brow much of the time. I feel such intensity from her...such sensitivity. I stare into her eyes and see my own reflection in her soulful, blue irises. She causes me to reflect. She causes me to search her face for clues. I want to see what she sees. I want to know myself as she knows me. There is no lying to those eyes. I want to hold her close and tell her that everything's going to be just fine. Sometimes, I don't feel that she is at peace unless she is in my arms.

Brooklyn makes me laugh. She smiles a lot. Sometimes all it takes is to make eye contact. She bursts into sunshine and I am showered in her warmth. She's generous with her hugs and you are never quite sure if you are holding her or she is holding you. She clings to my side like a spider monkey with absolute confidence. Her posture becomes perched. She's not quick to cry, but when she does, it is heart wrenching and inflicts a wound to the soul.

Max is often a contradiction of description. He can be sensitive and loving and then oblivious and rough. He will teach my girls to be tough. I'm glad, because it will help them to develop confidence. He still has an air of innocence, that can so easily start to slip away, even at such an young age. Yet at times, he broods like an old man. He is struggling with independence and beams with delight at his accomplishments. In moments of peaceful stillness, his tender expression comforts me. If I could give pause, I would stop the universal clock from ticking in those moments.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Cold Coffee

  • Make a fresh cup of coffee.
  • Nature calls before taking that first sip, head for the bathroom.
  • Notice trash can in bathroom almost overflowing.
  • Finish up and take bathroom trash out.
  • On the way, grab stray baby diapers and sippy cup sitting on dresser from last night.
  • Add diapers to bathroom trash, drop sippy cup off in the kitchen sink and take trash outside.
  • Pop in a DVD for Max.
  • Scoop Brooke up off of the floor and plop her into high chair for breakfast.
  • Take a sip of cold coffee.
  • Make cereal for Brooke.
  • Play tug of war with Brooke over spoon while feeding-get up to get her a spoon of her own to hold and pop coffee back into micrwave oven on the way back.
  • Continue feeding Brooke when Max yells, "MOM!"
  • Look over to see Lauren has tipped over a tall, potted plant and most of the soil is now on the floor.
  • Re-pack the potting soil, noting it's dryness.
  • Put plant outside on front porch for watering, bring two others with it.
  • Water houseplants and get distracted, continuing to water a few of the porch plants when Max yells, "MOM!"
  • Return to the dog trying to get at the remainder of the baby food.
  • Try to continue feeding Brooke, who is no longer interested.
  • Remove her from high chair and insert Lauren in her place.
  • Retrieve cold coffee from microwave oven, which has been beeping.
  • Take two slugs of cold coffee and stick it back into the microwave.
  • Get a bottle of formula for Brooke, who is complaining loudly, and plop her into a carseat with the bottle propped up with blankets.
  • Attempt to feed Lauren...Yes!!...She is hungry and eating well.
  • Interupt Lauren's breakfast to get Max a cup of milk.
  • Grab a cracker for Lauren to keep her happy while I get the milk.
  • Look for Max, then hear him yell, "MOM!" from the other room.
  • Max is now pooping. "Do you need me to wipe you?" "No." "Why did you call me in here?" "I love you." "I love you too Max...call me when you're done." "Okay."
  • Return to feeding Lauren, sit down, when Max yells "MOM!" "I'm done!"
  • Return to Max, wipe his bum and wash my hands.
  • Return to feeding Lauren, who is no longer interested.
  • Put her on the floor to play.
  • Give Max his cup of milk.
  • Get my coffee out of the microwave...it's cold.
  • Grab a couple of ice cubes and try for iced cofee instead.

Friday, April 03, 2009


The only way I can think of to describe Brooke's smiles, is a quote from a movie...

"She has 600 different smiles. They can light up your life. They can make you laugh out loud, just like that."

She laughs and smiles quickly and readily, which encourages people to respond to her wherever we go.

When you pick her up, you have to be careful not to do it too quickly, as the momentum can almost make you launch her airborne, as she feels so light. In actuality, she is not. She is in between the 75th and 90th percentiles for her height and weight. Nevertheless, she is quite compact and muscular. She has washboard abs and it's easy to misjudge her size. She will cling to you like a spider monkey, either burying her face in your neck or confidently facing outward, for a bird's eye view.

She has been standing since she could sit. When we first started to pull her into a sitting position, she immediately crunched her tummy muscles and locked her little legs in place, amazing us all. She has been standing ever since. She crawled the same day that she sat up on her own with support and she pulled herself up into a standing position only 17 days later. All this happened during her 6th month of life. We are expecting her to walk any day now, as she frequently stands without support.

It's hard to get a photograph of her that isn't blurry. She is always in motion. It's hard to feed her, dress her, bathe her and change her diaper...all because she won't hold still. When I put her into her Jumperoo, she starts "jumping" before I can even lower her into it.

Even though she often gets "punked" by Lauren, she has learned to get a few licks in from time to time, as I have caught her flapping her arms on Lauren, in effect beating on her.

Brooke loves to eat the dog's dry kibble food and we must pick it up from the floor often. She is our daddy's girl and just melts at the sight of him. She is cuddly and affectionate when she is in the mood, otherwise, don't restrain her! She will hoot and hollar until you break her restraints.

Brooke is active, social and independent. She is an absolute joy!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Should I Worry?

So Max and I are sitting around, just hanging out together, while the babies are asleep. He is lounging on the sofa, playing games on my iphone and I am sitting on the floor, watching the movie, "Sex and the City."

Max is completely involved in his games and not really paying attention to the movie...or so I think. A scene comes on where Samantha is fixing sushi for her boyfriend and then lays down, naked, arranging the sushi on herself, in anticipation of his homecoming for Valentines day. Anyway, Max happens to look up and asks "what is she doing?" I reply, "she's making sushi and then she put in her naked self as a joke." Then Max says, "I wish I could have shooshi on me when I'm naked too." Should I worry?

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Professor Lauren

My girl Lauren is in the 100th percentile for her height and weight. When you pick her up, she is quite substantial to hold. Despite her size, she has a very feminine personality. She has shown a lot of interest in studying her long, slender fingers, undulating them in the air, staring at them intently...as if trying to understand how they work.

She's definitely a "mommy's girl" and is not very happy when I'm absent. It's easy to get a sense of depth, when you gaze into her eyes, which she can do for lengthy periods. People often comment that she is "so serious," when they fail to make her laugh easily. I don't think they notice how intensely they're being evaluated by her, as she fails to respond to their antics and, instead, studies the details of their face. She scares easily and she cries easily.

Lauren is also a thief. She steals everything and anything from her sister. Even if she already has the same item in her hand, she will reach over and take Brooke's away from her, much to Brooke's well displayed dismay!

Lauren is not the squeaky wheel. If I chose a single word to describe her temperament, it would be "chill," because that's how laid back she is. She's content just to hang out, most of the time and does not get into a lot of trouble...so far. She loves to vocalize and practices "bah bah bah..." and "mah mah mah."

She loves laying underneath the electronic birdy mobil, holding the remote control and making it go off and on. She flaps her arms and rocks back and forth with absolute joy when I present her with the Gymbo the Clown puppet.

She's a sweet, sensitive soul...my little Professor Lauren.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

This One and That One

Recently, another mom of twins asked me if I called my girls "this one" and "that one." I thought about it for a minute, reflecting back on when they were in utero and I called them Thing One and Thing Two or Baby A and Baby B. As far as nick-names are concerned, my husband and son have started calling our girls "Professor Lauren" and Brookie-Sue." We also call them little "chickens." I couldn't think of any instances when I had called them "this one" or "that one." Then, today, it happened. Not only did I call them "this one" and "that one," but I also refer to them as "the other one."

Me: "Max, can you get me a diaper for this one?"
Max: (bringing back two diapers)
Me: "I didn't need a diaper for the other one."
Max: "Which one?"
Me: "That one (as I point to the baby who doesn't need diapering).

So there was my moment of recognition..."OMYGOD, I call them THIS ONE and THAT ONE!"
How tacky.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Can't Sleep, Must Blog

I've been feeling so guilty about not blogging lately. Even more so, for not journaling about my baby girls...and Max. When Max was around 4 months old, I had started a journal about him. I journaled for two reasons. First, because I needed an outlet to express all my feelings and experiences as a new mother and second, because I wanted him to have a record of himself and to someday know how much he was loved and cherished.

From there, I created a blog, being careful not to clutter it up with any other subject but him. I turned the blog into books, so that if the blog ever ceased to exist, I would have a record of it. I used http://www.heritagemakers.com/ and couldn't be happier with the outcome.

Anyway, my days are full of thoughts about record keeping, blogging, filling out baby books, etc., but the reality is, I just never seem to fit any of it in. It is so overwhelming to take care of two infants and a 4 year old, pretty much all by myself, on a daily basis. A lot of things get redistributed to the bottom of the priority list, almost on an hourly basis. This being said, I'll be darned if I let this time slip away without making a record of it for my children.

So it is with renewed vigor, that I plan to get my butt back in gear. And now, at 3:22am, I will try to go back to sleep, having purged my guilt.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Scott told Max,"I said "ship!" Max wasn't buying the story. After Scott and I exchanged wide-eyed glances, we went back to looking at the computer screen. Moments later, Max exlaimed "shit, SHIT, s-h-i-t, ShIt, sHiT, shit, SHIT," etc., etc.

I suppose a more appropriate reaction, as a parent, would have been to correct him for using the word. Instead, we both started laughing (silently, of course). I had to turn my head so that he didn't see that I was busting up. As Max continued to try that word on, for size, I ran for the camcorder. Again, maybe not the most appropriate reaction, but I'm sure it will be cherished in years to come. I haven't looked at the footage yet, to make sure I actually caught my little lyricist, cussing like a sailor. He did look back at me and stopped when he realized I was filming him.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

"99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall"

I took Max to have an MRI on Monday. This is because he is still walking around like twinkle toes and at his age (over 3 years), it could be an indicator of some thing neural. So I agreed to the MRI as a means of ruling anything serious out.

When I got there, I was unaware that I was supposed to have "sleep deprived" him. I was also unaware that they were going to be giving him an oral syrup to drug him to sleep. Max does not do well with oral syrups. After a lot of production on the doctor and the clinic's part (they practically wanted me to wrap Max up in a straight jacket and force feed it to him, which I would absolutely never agree to), I finally asked them "couldn't I just give it to him in a Sprite?", to which they hemmed and hawed about, before finally giving me the okay. Max drank it right down.

Then they sat us in a closet sized room with a small, padded bench...in the dark...and expected Max to fall asleep whilst I held him. To make a long story shorter, as is common in the 3-5 year range, Max fought like a trooper and never fell asleep. To help facilitate things, they told me to take him for a ride in the car and see if that would do it. On the way to the car, and the reason for this post, Max was flung over the xray tech.'s shoulder, singing like a drunken sailer, his slurred version of "jingle bells." I was surpised not to hear "99 bottles of beer on the wall" come out of his mouth at this point. It would have seemed an appropriate accompaniment with all the stumbling, the head rolling and the singing. I was giggling so hard I had tears in my eyes. Max was sooooo drugged, yet he refused to give in to it.

He finally did fall asleep in the car, but by the time we got him back onto the xray table, he was waking again and we never did get that MRI. Apparently he will need to have a general anaesthesia to do that and I'm not sure that I want to proceed that route.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Max the Dog

Max was outside, in the backyard. He was waiting for some friends to arrive, so that they might go swimming together, in our hot-tub. He was wearing a pair of swim trunks when I sent him out there. When I happened to look out the back door, to check on him, I noticed that he was naked...again...nothing new for Max. But when I noticed his side-to-side gait, I knew something was wrong...

Me: "Max, what are you doing?"
Max: "Nothing"
Me: "Put your shorts back on"
Max: "I can't"
Me: "Why not?"
Max: "I got poopoo"
Me: "Well get in the house and let's get you cleaned up"

The conversation continues in the bathroom...

Me: "What happened? Did you have an accident?"
Max: "No"
Me: "Then why do you have poopoo on you?"
Max: "I pooped like Morgan" (Morgan is our dog)
Me: "you WHAT?"
Max: "I pooped like Morgan"
Me: "On the GROUND?"
Max: "yeah"
Me: heavy sigh

I won't bore you with the details of my lecture about how people use the potty and dogs go outside, on the ground, but I'm hoping we won't have a repeat performance...ever.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Marking His Territory

Max has been such a gentle and affectionate brother to his baby sisters. I can't stand how cute he is with them. He kisses their heads and rests his cheeks on the top of their heads, closing his eyes and rubbing against them ever so softly. Then he looks up and me and exclaims "she smells good."

I'm trying, but failing miserably, not to nag him about his behavior with regards to these girls. I don't want him to feel jealous, alienated or resentful towards them. It's quite hard, because I have to constantly remind him not to jump on the bed (when they are laying on the bed), not to squeal loudly in their faces, sometimes to keep quiet or stop touching them while they are sleeping or trying to fall asleep, etc. He has stormed out of the room a few times when I have shown my aggravation with him.

A couple of days ago I sent him into the baby room to get me a few diapers. Apparently, he couldn't find them, because he came back empty handed. When I got up to fetch the diapers myself, I noted that the carpet was wet, in front of the changing table. When I asked Max about it, he ran into another room, just before announcing that it was "pee-pee." I lost my patience and yelled at him before sending him to his room, where I told him to go to sleep (it was late anyway, but Max doesn't yet sleep in his bedroom, by himself). I felt awful afterwards. He was asleep in about two minutes. After he fell asleep, I picked him up and carried him back to my room, because I couldn't stand to have my sweet, impish, little man banished.

I wondered if it was a coincidence that he peed in their room or if he was simply marking his territory. Max has experimentally peed in other places before, so it wouldn't have been the first time he emptied somewhere inappropriately. On the other hand, I have read stories about children reacting to a new baby in exactly this way. Maybe I'll never know, but I do know that I need to step up my efforts to make sure Max doesn't feel like everything he does is wrong.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

An End to "The Pregnancy"

I'm not sure if these photos really look so different in the belly area. The first was taken on July 8, this year, the morning that I delivered my twin girls. The second picture was taken on August 18, 2004, the day before I delivered my son. Max weighed 8lbs., 6oz. and the combined weight of my girls was 13lbs., 2oz. The difference felt huge to me. It's kind of like having that little piece of popcorn hull stuck between your teeth...even though it's quite thin, it feels like you have a 2 x 4 piece of lumber stuck there. I was definitely more bloated this time around too.

Anyway, my girls were born on July 8 at 12:23pm. They were taken from my body via c-section. That was no fun at all. I suppose actually going into labor wouldn't have been much fun either and I don't know, for sure, which would have been the lesser of two evils. The weight of the babies crushing all of my organs while I laid flat on my back was incredible. I thought I was going to have a panic attack, because I wasn't able to breath sufficiently, in that position. Then, when the assistant surgeon started to actually PUSH on my stomach to get the babies out while my OB pulled...all I could do was try and psych myself into remaining "there" and not passing out.

After spending two days in the hospital, we were all ready to go home. Brooklyn had a little trouble with her sucking abilities and both girls had lost a little weight. Both were within normal ranges. I had become slightly anemic, but also got the green light to go home. Within 10 days of being home, I've lost 40 pounds out of 40 gained.

At home, things have gone surprisingly smooth. I have a wonderful mother and mother-in-law who have been by our sides to fill in the gaps and lend a loving hand. My husband was able to take two weeks off from working and having him home was so nice. It really completed our family and Max got to spend some special times with his dad.

Both girls are good sleepers and I've been able to get much more sleep than I ever did when Max was a baby. I have them sleeping in a Pack n Play, set up like a bassinett, on my side of the bed. They are about two feet away from me, at most. Max is still sleeping in our bed with us. I don't plan on transitioning him to a bed of his own until it's clear, to him, that it has nothing to do with his sisters coming into our lives and displacing him. And we really do like him being there, with us, anyway.

We've already noticed some differences between the two girl's personalities. Lauren is more laid back and Brooklyn is a bit fussier. Lauren is also quieter and Brooklyn makes all kinds of squeeky sounds. Lauren didn't move around nearly as much as Brooklyn did while they were in utero, and things seem to be consistent there as well. I can't wait to see how these girls will be different and how they will be similar.

I'm just so in love with these baby girls, their brother and their father, that my heart feels full everyday.

Monday, July 07, 2008

1 Day Left

I'm so happy I can't even express it.
I'm doing the happy dance all day long (on the inside, of course).
I'm even looking forward to meeting these babies!!!
I havn't much else to say about any of this, just that I think they are happy where they are and would probably stay in there for the full 40, if I were to let them. No thanks. So, happy birthday, in advance, to my two baby daughters!!!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

A Little Experiment-3 Days Left

So last night, or was that this morning? I guess it WAS this morning, technically. Scott got home around 3 or 3:30am and had jumped in the shower. The poor thing was slapped, spit-on and scratched by some transient woman from the train on his overtime shift and he wanted to make sure he was germ free before getting into bed with Max and I (bless his poor, grossed out heart...lol).

Since I usually wake up at this time each night, to engage in a couple hours of scratching my itchy rash and applying useless creams, I thought I would try something different. A shower!!! And some selsun blue!

Well, I don't know if it's going to help anything, but I'm going to do this every day until I have these babies to see if it does. I guess there's no reason to think it will. It's not as if this rash is any kind of fungus. Still, I feel better about trying something than trying nothing. So I sudsed up with Selsun Blue all over my itchy back, legs, arms, etc. The scrubbing/sudsing action felt good, if nothing else.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Just Kickin Back-4 Days Left

A very uneventful 4th of July today. We did nothing to celebrate. Scott worked and I spent the day hanging out with Max and my Mother-in-Law. It was really nice.

After showing me the newest batch of clothing she picked up for the girls, she unloaded almost all the stuff I had left on my baby registry too...lots of Born Free bottles, a travel wipe warmer, some formula canister/carriers, the cutests diaper bag ever and plenty of other miscellaneous items! This woman spoils me to no end!

We also discovered that I had NOT packed up a sufficient diaper bag, as I thought I had, so she helped me with that too. That was fun, because I got to load up the new diaper bag with some clothing and swaddling blankets for the ride home, some really cute, teeny-weeny diapers and whatever else a diaper bag would need.

So today was really relaxing for me and it was nice to just lay low, with some good company.

Nothing new to report on the baby-front. Everything's holding steady.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

The Wisdom of Men-5 Days Left

Today was the last appointment with my OB/Gyn until my surgery next Tuesday. He checked my amniotic fluid and made sure everything looked good on his prehistoric ultrasound machine.

Then we discussed all my current "symptoms." I don't have a bladder infection, even though it feels like it. That's good. Feeling like it is still bad though. He said the babies are pressing on it. Nothing we can do about that.

The fluid in my lungs: Nothing we can do about that either. I've already gone through two rounds of steroid and antibiotics. It's probably just a factor of all the liquid/fluid/mucous that's a normal part of pregnancy.

My edema: Looks the same in my feet and legs, but he did comment on the pedicure I got yesterday afternoon. In my belly, the same too. He did manage to focus on the most painful areas to do his ultrasound, so by the time he was finished I wanted to slap him.

I have lost 4 pounds since my last visit with him, which was one or two weeks ago. I can't remember right now and I'm too lazy to look it up and be accurate. In any case, he thought it was probably from further cutting out sodium from my diet. I don't know. Wouldn't my edema have improved? Oh well.

The PUPPP rash: It continues to get worse. My back is completely covered in itchy bumps. His explanation for why I can't have the prescription strength hydrocortisone cream was..."I think you would bathe in the stuff, if I gave it to you" and "I would give it to you if it was just isolated areas, here and there, but the rash is too widespread for that kind of application." So basically, my rash is too BAD for treatment. If is wasn't nearly so severe, he would treat it???????? The wisdom of men never fails to amuse me.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

No More NST's-6 Days Left

Yesterday was the last NST I will have to have at the hospital. I still don't know how I managed to get a win on that one with my doctor. I didn't want to keep the appointment I had for that one yesterday, after looking at some of my insurance EOB's. It's costing us just over 50 bucks a pop for these monitorings, twice a week. That doesn't even include my doctor visits, perinatal ultrasounds, gestational diabetes appointments or any lab work. I shudder to think what these past two months are costing us in medical bills and we have excellent insurance (pays out at about 90%).

Anyway, because they are always so uneventful and so difficult for me to just walk through the parking lot and hospital, I had started complaining about these appointments. I do have one last appt. with my OB, so he can ultrasound me there and check on me one last time in his office.

I also asked him for a prescription strength hydrocortisone cream for this rash, but he says it's not safe. Argh! I have read about other women being prescribed prescription cream for their rash. My doctor is a great advocate for these babies, but he doesn't do diddley for me. Man, this is one really great example of needing a female doctor who can actually relate to a pregnancy. This guy just doesn't get it. I know of cases where the doctors have delivered because the mother was having lots of symptoms and discomfort, but not him.

So I'm spending a good deal of my day scratching still. The rash continues to spread. Most of what I do for relief still does nothing. He suggested I try the oral Benadryl every 4 to 6 hours, but that's just going to put me to sleep all day. Not that I would mind, but it's kind of hard to hang out with a 4 year old while you're nodding out. Oh yeah, and I still have a few apts. to keep, albeit not the NST's.

The lower part of my belly still feels like it's inflamed and infected, although I know it's just the edema. I still can't even touch that area without it hurting quite a lot. And it's in the way too. I can't wear anything around the belly and I can't wear anything that sits right under it. So all I can wear now are loose dresses. The nurses always comment on how sore it looks when they are hooking monitors up to me.

Probably the most recent development is that it hurts to pee. It's starting to feel a little like a bladder infection. I don't know if it's just because the babies are so big and low now or if I could actually be developing a bladder infection. I guess I will mention it at my next OB apt. on Thursday.

I had a couple of crowns put on my teeth yesterday and the dentist made a suggestion that I eat some dairy with acidophilous in it. I guess she said my tongue looked a little "yeasty." I guess that wouldn't surprise me after being on two rounds of anti-biotics, back to back. Ugh.

At this point I have considered asking my husband to take a little time off on the front end of these babies coming, but I haven't gotten around to mentioning it yet. I guess I'm still trying to hold out.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Thanks for All the Support-7 Days Left

I just wanted to say thanks to all the supportive people that have kept me hanging on all this time, with their uplifting words and their shoulders to lean on. I've been so lucky with nurses, blog readers, mom's club members, family members, friends and the occasional stranger, being so supportive and it's helped a lot.

With such a difficult pregnancy, I have complained a LOT. And there have been many ears to listen. And not just listen, but to remind me that there is going to be a joyous payoff at the end. And to all you kind listeners who reminded me that it was not self indulgent to wallow in my pregnancy misery, but validated just how tough this really is, you knew how to comfort me when I really needed to hear those words.

I have also had much appreciation for those people who have constantly reminded me that having these twins is a true blessing...and one that they are confident I can handle. It's priceless to have people in your life who point out how competent you will be at something, rather than what a rough road you are going to face and how tough it's going to be. The mothers in my "mothers of multiples group" have been especially supportive in this way.

Another insecurity I've had is how my boy Max is going to handle all this. So another thanks goes to those who have persisted in letting me know that he will be just fine and that I am adding richness to his life by increasing our family and not taking anything away from him.

These things have been priceless to me and these have been the words that have kept me going through this most difficult endeavor.
Much love to all of you,

Monday, June 30, 2008

Still Incubating-8 Days to Go

I seriously NEVER thought I would be pregnant, with two babies, this long. I can't believe how stretched my belly is. No noticeable marks, but very big for a person of my size. And I am feeling it. The aching and tightness are sooooo uncomfortable. I'm in pain with every single step I take. Standing feels like a torturous activity. Walking even worse. For the first time, I'm actually more comfortable laying down on one side, with pillows, strategically tucked. And laying down is no picnic either.

Thank goodness for http://www.albertsons.com or I would probably not have food in the house. The only thing I leave the house for, is my doctor appointments and to take Max to preschool twice weekly.

The itching: It has become so profuse, that I literally spend hours, daily, just scratching and applying useless lotions and creams. I take a useless Aveeno Colloidal Oatmeal bath every day too. At night, I take useless oral Benadryl in addition to the topical stuff I apply during the day. Now that I'm off of the Prednisone again, I'm going to ask the OB for a prescription strength hydro-cortisone cream that I'm also certain will be useless. What started out mainly on my lower back, sides and upper thighs, has now spread to my entire back, my arms, my legs, a small patch on my upper belly and my chest area.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

36 Weeks

This photo of my belly does not really do it justice, because of the angle, I think. I will try to post something else, with a better depiction, so you can get the FULL effect!

Today I had another NST, which did go well, as the babies are very reactive and move around enough for me to usually get out of there quickly. The bad thing was that this is my second test in a row (urine test) where they said I had ketones in my urine. And this is only the second time I have ever had it tested, so who knows how long that's been going on. So, apparently, I've been keeping my blood sugar in check with my diet, but at the expense of eating enough. Not good. I will have to call my dietician tomorrow to talk about it and I will have to go over it with the OB, when I see him on Thursday.

Currently, I'm on 875mg., daily, of Amoxicillan, more Prednisone, more Hycodan and more Albuterol. Already I've noticed a reduction in the coughing...again. I'm worried about the Prednisone raising my blood sugar, but I'm also hoping it will help my rash.

I also saw the perinatologist today and found out that the babies are still doing well, getting enough oxygen, have plenty of amnio fluid and she confirmed that my rash does look like a PUPPP rash. The strange thing is that I don't have it all over my stomach, which is where you usually get it. It's mostly on my torso sides, the backs of my thighs and my lower back. Just a teeny bit on my stomach. The babies are estimated to be 5lbs., 12 ozs. and 6 lbs., 2 oz. So my small, 5'3" frame is carting around almost 12 pounds of baby alone. When you add that up to the weight of the placentas, etc. and all the water weight I'm sporting, I don't feel so bad about my 40 pound weight gain. I figure half of it will disappear pretty darned fast. Also, the babies are sitting "very low."

I also asked my perinatologist about the possibility of doing an amnio to see if the babies lungs were mature enough to deliver them early. Originally, this was my OB's suggestion and responce for all the begging and pleading I was doing to get an earlier delivery date than at 38 weeks. The first time I asked the perinatal office about this, I had the stress-case Doctor, who definitely advised against it. (mainly due to having to go through the placenta) Since a few weeks have passed, I asked the laid-back Doctor, who said it was no problem to do it (in spite of the placenta issue), but that they will only do it if my OB is ready to deliver me today or the next day. Apparently, there are some legal issues about them doing this and then not delivering the babies right away. Anyway, I felt stuck in the middle, as she telephoned my OB, who told her to tell me that he would discuss it with me when I come in on Thursday. I call bullshit!!! It was his suggestion and his deal with me that if the perinatal office would do this, he would deliver early. Now he wants to "discuss" it again???? Ugh!!!!

Here is a picture of my foot from last night. Last night I thought this was the worst I've seen the swelling on my feet and legs, but today is even worse.

You can see the huge crease where the leg and foot meet. Also, there is no ankle. And that leg...that leg is HUMONGOUS! Normally, I have veins popping out along the surface of my feet because they're pretty slim. Yikes!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

2nd Relapse

I'm starting to feel like I should start all my blogs out like this..."As if I don't have enough to complain about"...

Yes, I'm having yet another complication on top of everything else going on. I'm having my second relapse of some kind of upper respiratory trouble that started a couple of months ago.

I have been on Zithromax, Prednisone, Albuterol, Tessalon Pearls and Hycodan...all to get rid of this sinus, bronchial, asthmatic condition. In the two months, it has never been completely gone and now, this is the second time it had tapered off and then hit me like a ton of bricks again.

So I'm back to coughing deeply, spitting up goo and wheezing. I'm going through pads like crazy, as I tend to leak when I cough. My head is throbbing from the coughing, my voice is getting raspy and sore, my stomach muscles (what's left of them) are getting sore and I have to keep getting up just to go spit up into the bathroom sink. Oh the fun never ends!!!!!!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Could it be PUPPP?

Apparently, I have started to get a few red spots underneath and on the sides of my itchy belly. I noticed that yesterday. Today, when I woke up, I noticed a few more on the outsides of my breasts, underneath my arms...sort of mid-torso. I think what I'm coming down with is a case of PUPPP rash. I guess it wouldn't be such an unusual thing, considering the degree that my stomach has distended. Especially with the edema in my belly. So now, in addition to the extremely painful, waterlogged, lower belly that I can barely stand to touch, I'm going to be blessed with an additional symptom that will make me want to scratch it because it will be itching. Which, by the way, is how I first noticed I was getting a rash...I started itching like crazy!!!!! Ugh...two more weeks and 4 days...oh please come sooner, please come sooner!!!!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Two Big Ones

Yes, that's what I weigh!!! I just got on my scale and clocked in at two hundred pounds. GOOD LORD!!! I'm only 5'3". It's going to be a long road back to "normal." Whatever THAT is. In all honesty though, I started out just over 160, with about 25-35 excessive pounds to begin with. So while I am HUGE, my weight gain from this pregnancy has not qualified as obscene.

I think the diabetic diet has had a positive impact on my interest in food. I have mostly lost interest in eating and now eat to sustain my pregnancy. There is just no joy at all in this diet. Not for me anyway. I am so sick of protein foods and find myself skipping meals and snacks, just because I can't stomach another serving of cottage cheese, tofu, eggs, cheese or peanut butter. I think I feel really motivated to limit my sweets and such after this pregnancy, for fear that I end up with type II diabetes and have to actually eat this way forever.

My last NST showed mild contracting. I was given Procardia something or other and sent home after that. I guess Turbutaline is normally indicated, but not when you have gestational diabetes. My next NST is on Saturday.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Water Retention

Who knew water retention was actually painful?! Not I! I had some water retention with my previous pregnancy, but I don't remember it being like this. Not even close.

First, let me tell you about the droopy, jiggly little chin hanging off the end of my belly, right above my prior Cesarian scar...okay, I've already said it's jiggly and droopy and looks like a little chin. At first, I thought it was just a chubby spot, somewhere that my pre-existing belly fat had migrated to. But, after talking with the doctor, he said it was more likely water retention and I agree. There's no reason my belly fat would be in any pain. If anything accidentally bumps into that spot, I cringe in pain. I've taken to wearing a spandexy thingy around my middle, although I don't know that it's helping anything.

And my legs...my legs actually hurt when Max bumps into those too. I didn't realize how swollen my legs were, but it's obvious, looking at my feet. I have creases in places I shouldn't and the creases (and veins) are missing where they should be. I've been trying to keep my legs elevated, but that's not easy and not that comfortable.

So I decide to do a little "googling" about natural diuretics and learn that there's actually a lot of evidence that shows women who had water retention also had healthier babies. It has to do with blood volume levels. Also, forcing diuretic action can actually backfire and cause more retention and swelling. So it doesn't seem like there's much I can do. I don't typically salt my food, so I can't really cut back there. The most salt intake I have right now is from processed foods and I don't even think I'm eating a lot of those.

Sigh, sigh...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Faring Quite Well...Sigh...

Today was another appointment with the OB/GYN. I can't believe how well I'm doing. Dammit!!! Low blood pressure...107/72...low, stable blood sugar-without meds, no dilation, no effacing, good amnio levels, etc. And the babies are doing really well too...lots of movement, good heart rates.

The uterus, it turns out was not even irritable. The monitor readout was making a spike every time I coughed. Ugh. And to think I was medicated over that. I don't have to go back for another two weeks. But...I do have to continue with twice weekly monitoring at the hospital and 1 more high tech ultrasound with the perinatal group. By that time, I should be ready to deliver...either by choice of these twins or by the scheduled C, whichever comes first.

The babies are big, but my doctor doesn't seem to think it's because of the gestational diabetes. He thinks they're just big, healthy girls. I've been starting to retain some fluid and my feet and hands have been a bit swollen. Another strange place I'm retaining water is at the droopiest part of my belly. And that area is really sore because of it. Accidentally touching or bumping it makes me jump out of my skin in pain. I think I need to start watching my sodium intake, as I don't really know what else to do. I'll see if that helps.

Anyway, plugging ahead...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

My Gastronomic Hit List

Here are a few of the foods/drinks that I am going to waste no time indulging in, after I finally deliver these two babies:

  • 1 entire Lindt, milk chocolate truffle bar (sorry, honey, I'm not sharing this one)!
  • A sushi/sashimi dinner!
  • A meal consisting of brie, french bread, apple wedges and some wine!
  • Haagen Daaz ice cream!
  • Watermelon!
  • A very syrupy, off the fountain, coke or cherry coke!
  • A bowl of cereal, any kind at this point sounds good!
  • Starbucks, grande, mocha espresso...with whip!

It's not a long list, but these are probably the things I've felt most deprived of with this pregnancy...either because it's an off limits item in general or because of the gestational diabetes.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Irritable Uterus

That's not all that's irritable. I'm getting more and more irritable with each passing day, sometimes each passing hour.

I went in for the "non stress test" today and the girls responded well. The nurse told me it was the first time she's ever seen anyone with twins finish that test in the minimal 20 minutes. They performed like troopers.

My uterus, on the other hand, was irritable. I wasn't having any "contractions," yet there were a bunch of spikes on the chart, showing increased activitie there. They ended up giving me a couple of pills, I can't recall what medication, to quiet and calm my uterus and sent me on my way.

I have to go back for another non-stress test on Monday and also another test to measure the water around the babies.

After the test today, I was in more pain than I've been in for some time. I thought I was going to throw up. The pain in my groin area is increasing and the pain under my ribs is also. The surface of my stomach is also aching and extremely sensitive to touch, in a 4-5 inch radius around my navel. Of course I keep bumping into things with my belly, just because it's so big and in the way.

Friday, June 06, 2008

I've Graduated

Isn't this lovely...I've graduated from STRESS incontinence, like being leaky when I sneeze, cough, laugh too hard or run water from the sink, with a full bladder...to just general incontinence with a full bladder...just generally leaking here and there, for no apparent reason.

The really unsatisfying aspect of this is, even when I feel like my bladder is going to pop, I go to the bathroom and it's like "dribble, dribble, dribble." The only time my bladder actually gets FULL is in the middle of the night.

I did learn, recently, that when you are on bedrest, trying to avoid preterm labor, they advise you to empty your bladder every couple of hours because it can contribute to contractions. So now, I have to ask myself, do I help them along or not? Hmmm....even as desperate as I feel about getting these babies out of me, I just don't have the gumption to "force" myself into preterm labor. Sigh.

My doctor really pissed me off though, when I got a call from his nurse, telling me my C Section is scheduled for July 8, which is exactly the day after my 38th week. Besides 38 weeks just feeling like waaaaaaaaaaay toooooooo loooooong, I resent the arrogance at setting my children's birthdate himself. Shouldn't I have some input about that!!!!?

On the bright side, I know fully well, that these babies will more than likely be on a timetable of their own. I just hope they're in sync with their mommy and that they're plenty healthy. It wouldn't be worth it if they take the babies out a little early, only to whisk them down to another hospital where they have a NICU ward.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

How I'm Doing

Currently, my gestational diabetes is being controlled with diet. I've gotten the hang of it and I've really whittled my diet down to eggs, cottage cheese, tofu, vegetables, a small amount of fruit, some whole grain breads, peanut butter, lunch meats, a few artificially sweetened "treats" (and I use the word loosely) and not much else. I guess I can live with this for the sake of these babies, as it won't be for a terribly long time.

My blood pressure is quite low, most of the time, and there is no protein in my urine, which is great, because it means I don't have pre-eclampsia. I have a good amount of water surrounding the babies and my placenta is very good with no signs of placenta previa.

I've recently had some upper respiritory problems, but am taking a few meds to help me get rid of it. One of the meds is a steroid (prednisone) and may actually help develop the babies lungs. Not a bad thing, as far as I'm concerned.

Today I started getting the Non Stress Test, which I will have to do twice a week. The babies proved to be doing just fine and I only had one contraction. My cervix is measuring in at 33 cm (anything over 25 is good), so no signs of preterm labor.

The babies are estimated to be large for twins, specifically in the 51st percentil and the 67th percentile, if they were each singletons. So for being twins, these numbers make them large...they estimate baby A at about 4 lbs. 12 oz. and baby B at about 5 lbs. 8 oz. So, I am already carrying around 10 pounds of baby. Ironically, the weight of these babies have flip-flopped. At last measure, baby A was the bigger of the two. Not sure what happened there, but the Dr. was quick to remind me that these weights are merely estimates...sort of like trying to guess someone's weight by knowing their clothing size. That being said, I can concur that my babies are large.

I don't have any stretch marks on my belly and with each day that passes, I hope, pray, that I remain this way. Baby A is sitting down low in my pelvic area and I am feeling the pressure. All things considered, I'm doing well and hanging in there. With any luck though, things will progress to delivery around 36 weeks...that is what I'm hoping for. Of course I would not want that to happen at the expense of the babies.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Diabetes Sucks-and a bit of a Rant!

Well, the food is downright plech! I don't mind the vegetables, but I'm only supposed to be eating about 2 servings of fruit a day. And no milk and fruit at the same time (bye-bye smoothies). I'm also supposed to have a protein whenever I have milk, starch (which, for me, are my whole grain foods, as I'm not much of a potato or pasta eater), or fruit. Seriously, who wants to choke down a hard boiled egg or a serving of cottage cheese each time you want to have some fruit or some steel cut oats. I know there is a learning curve and with some time I will be able to get a little more creative, but so far this is booooooooor-ing!

Thank goodness for soy products, because I'm not much of a meat eater. And then on top of everything, I do believe that meat and dairy products are huge contributers to cancer. Just read some of Roger Mason's articles at http://www.youngagain.org. Click on "Article Library" for a full listing. He believes that the doctors who put you on insulin medications are quacks and that the only real way for anyone to "cure" their diabetes (provided they have a working pancreas) is to give up high fat (animal fats), high protein (animal proteins), high sugar diets, eliminating meat and dairy altogether and go back to a diet of predominantly whole grains and vegetables. Of course he also says you have to balance out your hormones, all of them, and get all the other nutrients and supplements that start to decrease as we age. I believe him. I think it's eating all that meat, dairy and sugar that gets you in trouble with type 2 diabetes in the first place. Oh, and excercise...it's essential in controlling blood sugar.

My own compromise is that I try to substitute soy meats for real meat, when I can. I try to buy organic meats that aren't treated with hormones and antibiotics, when I can. And I ALWAYS buy organic milk. Probably not good enough, but that's what I normally do.

Also, regarding Roger Mason: He has a unique perspective. He's not a dietician, nutritionist or medical doctor. His background is in chemistry. So when he tells you that "nightshade" vegetables (tomatos, potatos, peppers, eggplant, etc) are bad for you, it's not because they're not "nutritionally" good, it's because there are NEUROTOXINS in them. When he says Canola Oil is bad for you, it's because there's no such thing as a "canola" plant...it's RAPESEED oil, which was originally used industrially...It is toxic over 2% concentrations and in order to sell it for human consumption, it's processed in concentrations lower than 2%...but it's still toxic erucic acid!!! At any levels. Do YOU trust the FDA when they tell you something that is toxic is okay at specific low levels? I don't. Why is there so much alzheimers? Why is there so much Autism? Why is there so much cancer? I think it's an accumulation of all the environmental poisons, combined with all the "low level" poisons that we ingest on a daily basis. Check out some of his articles and then research what he says...make your own decisions, but be informed.

He also scrutinizes research literature. You will not find him listed on websites like http://www.quackwatch.com, but you will find some of the people that he exposes like Dr. Andrew Weil and Robert Atkins. As a matter of fact, he exposes a lot of people, practices and products that are absolutely bogus and have absolutely no legitimate research behind them.

Anyway, this gestational diabetes sucks and I keep reminding myself that it's for the good of these two babies. I would like to revamp my eating after this pregnancy and bump up the grains and vegies and start eliminating the meats and dairy, so that I don't get Type II diabetes later on.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Max Started Pre-school Today

Happy Day for Max! He's been going on and on about starting school. Somewhere he can play with "lots and lots of friends." When I brought him to his classroom, he was already playing before I had a chance to chat with the teachers for a moment. I never had any luck getting him poopy-potty trained, per the rules of the school, but they agreed to see how it goes with him. He was able to poop on command (in a diaper of course) before we left for school this morning. So for two days a week, 4 hour stints, I hope that suffices, for now.

Anyway, in true overly-hormonal-pregnant-mamma-drama, I burst into tears on my way back to the car. It's tough to leave him somewhere like that. As much as he's been driving me crazy lately, it's even more unthinkable to not have him with me.

On the other hand, I'm happy that he's having a really enriching experience. He is hungry for the interaction and he deserves to have his needs met. I've been snapping at him a lot lately, feeling spent and impatient because I'm in such an elevated state of physical stress with this pregnancy. My beautiful little boy doesn't deserve that at all. So even though I feel a little knot in my stomach with his absence, I'm really okay with it on a rational level.

So now I have a little time to just relax. And what's the first thing I do with it? Uninterupted vegging out time, on the computer with a little "spider solitaire." Ahh, the little luxuries of life!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Bellies and Toys

I'm right at the point where it's very, very difficult, if not impossible, to walk around without one of those "home depot" style back braces. Although the brace does little for my back, it does wonders to support this belly, if I position it it just right. It also has straps to help hold the belly up too. Anyway, if I'm going to do any serious standing in the house (like laundry or putting away dishes) I have to wear it. Now I wear it outside the hosue, as well, even though it's not subtle and can't be worn underneath my clothing. I do try to wear a denim jacket over it when it's not too warm out. But it's either that, or forgo the outings altogether, which I am not ready for.

Last night I took Max down to Toys R Us. I wanted to buy a couple of infant baby dolls, to start showing him how we might be treating these babies. We call them by their names; Brooklyn and Shelby. For some reason "his" baby is always Shelby and I get to tend to Brooklyn. Anyway, it was so cute to see him "interacting" with his babies. He loves feeding them, burping them and laying them down to sleep. Today I'm going to let him push them around in the double stroller for a bit.

We also picked up a Spiderman action figure. It seems that Spiderman is popular amongst other kids in his age range. I've been baffled by this, as the only Spiderman exposure there seems to be is completely inappropriate for his age. Yet all these other parents think nothing of it. No concern about the violence, the discourse and certainly not the lack of any educational element.
That being said, I figured he could play with the action figure without having to be exposed to the cartoon or the movie. No big deal.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Should I Be Worried?

Last night, before bed, I was talking to Max about the impending arrival of his two baby sisters. I explained to him that after a while, the doctor would take the babies out of mommy's belly and we would have them in the house with us. I told him that they would love him very much and he would have fun helping to take care of them and play with them.

Then he added, with a tone of earnest sincerity..."and I can step on them and make them cry?"

I just stared at him for a moment; shocked. Then explained that "no, we're not going to make the babies cry, we're going to love them and kiss them and give them bottles of milk to make them stop crying."

Should I be worried?

Lunch, Dinner & Snacks

So yesterday I ate salad with veggies, avocado and feta cheese for lunch. I also ate a hard boiled egg with mayo and wasabi. The days snacks were celery topped with salmon flavored cream cheese and wasabi and also peanut butter & celery. I also had a handful of almonds. For dinner I had cottage cheese and a hot dog with a slice of cheese.

Sometime during the day, my blood sugar was tested, thanks to my MIL, and it was 106. Good enough. BUT...let me add that I felt like crap the whole day. First of all, I'm sure I didn't meet my daily nutrient or caloric needs for a pregnancy. I also think that the LACK of sugars in my blood made me feel horrible and sleepy.

Today I have stuck to the low carb way as well, eating the soy chorizo and eggs for breakfast again, another handful of almonds and a piece of celery with salmon cream cheese and wasabi. I broke down and had a yogurt that had 17g of carbs in it because I am feeling weak. I ate 3/4 of it.

Tomorrow, I will stop this madness and eat much healthier, because I am having that 3 hour glucose test and will have that behind me. I won't go back to my diet of lots of sweets, but I will add back in the right kinds of carbs (ie. cereals, breads, brown rice, legumes). Then I will wait for the results of my test.

I woke up in the wee morning hours, last night, and watched a show called "You, the Owners manual..." It was a bit of a wake-up call to change my eating habits. Garbage in, garbage out. I want to be alive and healthy for a good long time to be with my children. That's not going to happen if I keep up my old habits. I went to Dr. Oz's website, http://www.realage.com and took the test to see what my body's real age is. It was just over 48 years old and I'm only 43. I really liked the site. It gave meal suggestions, recipes and shopping list...not to mention a whole lot of very good information.

I also reserved a few of his books at my local library. I want to be healthy again. I want to feel like I have energy again. I want to live long, without a list of medical complaints, threats or excuses.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008


2 eggs, scrambled with;
soy chorizo, topped with;
sour cream
and some steak

Carb factor...maybe 6 carbs
Satisfaction factor...0

Max wouldn't eat the waffle I made him and it's killing me to throw it away instead of just eating it, like I normally would (He wanted a "Lunchable" instead).

Monday, May 05, 2008

Not in the Clear, Like I Thought

So, today was not a great day at the OB office. A couple of weeks ago, they told me they would only call me if my blood glucose test came back too high. I hate that kind of an answer and I've learned my lesson about allowing that kind of responce. From now on, I'm going to make them call me one way or the other. BECAUSE, since they hadn't called me, I thought I was in the clear and passed it. INSTEAD, they had not even received the results from the lab and had to have the lab fax them over while I was there today.

I guess I was allowed to have a reading up to 140, with no worries. It turns out my blood sugar level was 209. So now I have to find time to sit around the lab for 3 hours while they retest me. And you have to sit RIGHT THERE. They don't let you wander away, in case you GET SICK...ugh! My doctor has advised me to stay away from sugar and eat a low carb diet. Something he has been advising me of from the beginning, but which I have ignored.

A typical day's diet might be something like this for me:

Upon waking:
Blueberry toast and tea...maybe a couple of slices

Actual breakfast:
cereal with milk or pancakes or blintzes or waffles and some fruit

carrots dipped in hummus
ice cream
jelly beans
pita chips and tzaziki

maybe a sandwich or some frozen food from trader joes...maybe cereal...cream of wheat with loads of butter and brown sugar...who knows

a lot like lunch, maybe something healthier if Scott is home and I actually cook


My day also consists of eating things I make for Max, but which he later refuses or doesn't finish. Mostly I just graze throughout the day because I can't eat a whole meals worth at once. I can survive off of toast and cereal alone sometimes. Needless to say, I am a carb junkie.

So...we will see what happens when I retake this test on Thursday. I really don't want to have gestational diabetes. No one ever does. But I really, really, don't want to have to deal with this. Ugh!!!!

On a more positive note, my weight gain was only 2 1/2lbs. and that was all baby!!!