Friday, December 30, 2011

Getting Sucked In

Last Christmas when the babies were nearly four months old, I had it in my head that I would limit the Christmas gift frenzy this year and onward.  While I am not religious, the commercialization of Christmas bothers me.  Maybe that makes me a hypocrite, I don't know.

This year, for our family celebration on December 25th with just my mom, I think I did pretty well staying on task.  The babies received one gift each from Santa (not that they have any idea who he is), one gift each from Mommy, and three gifts to share from Grandma.  They had smaller separate celebrations with close friends and our sitter before Christmas with gift exchanges and those were terrific.

Frenziness did ensue, however, on Christmas Eve.  When I was growing up, my mother, brothers and I spent Christmas Eve at my Grandparent's house with my aunts, uncles and cousins.  There were eight or nine kids depending on the year and five or six adults with some others stopping in throughout the night.  My grandpa passed out gifts and my uncle would sometimes dress up as Santa.  For our large group, we had a nice turkey dinner and opened gifts in a fairly small house and it was not a frenzy.

Fast forward thirty-ish years, my grandparents have passed, and the celebration is now held at my cousin's house.  My cousin and his wife are the parents to boy-girl twins who will be three years old in February.  My aunt and uncles and another cousin and her husband and her three children, an 11 year-old girl and twin 5 year-old boys, also attend.  (Yes, there are three sets of twins in our family.)

Now I don't know if it's because my cousin and his wife went through a decade of fertility treatments before they had children or if over-indulgence is just who they are, but the toy room in this house looks like an indoor playground I should have to pay admission for.  They have always been over-the-top when it comes to their kids.  For their first birthday party, they rented out a facility and hired an adult dressed as Mickey Mouse to attend (who scared the crap out of their son, by the way).  Birthday number two was more of the same - this time Elmo was there.

This Christmas Eve, since my boys are now standing and walking and able to really play with toys, they spent some time in the playroom.  It was nice before all the kids showed up and then it was so overwhelming, the Dynamo just looked up at me at one point with terror in his eyes.  Later in the night, Sweet Potato just started screaming like he was hurt for no apparent reason.  He was on the floor of the family room among much chaos and loud music playing.  Poor kid.  We left at the beginning of the gift exchange (only gifts for the kids) because it was already 45 minutes past the babies' bedtime.  I felt horrible that not only did I not get to see my cousin's kids open gifts from me, their parents didn't get to see my kids open the gifts they bought.

I'm torn about how to handle this tradition.  My mother says a little chaos in their lives is good and maybe she's right but I wonder if it's really worth it.  As they get older, they are going to see and realize what their cousins have compared to what they don't have and that might not be a bad thing for them to see -eventually.  Next year at age two and the year after at age three, I see this as a potential nightmare.   And to be a bit selfish, Christmas Eve at the relatives was a high stress time for me.  It's difficult for me to keep an eye on both of them and although my mom helps, she gets distracted with family.

I considered skipping the event this year but reconsidered since this is the only family the twins are exposed to.  My brothers live out of state and they have never met them, my father and grandparents are gone.  The good news is I have almost an entire year to figure it out.

Kindle Alert! Life from Scratch

The Kindle version of Life from Scratch is currently only 99 cents!  Support Mel and go get it!  I just did and can't wait to read it.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Visiting Santa?

Is it wrong that I don't want to take the twins to see Santa yet?  I see pictures of babies much younger than my boys sitting on Santa's lap and with the exception of this great photo from Sarah, there is usually some unhappiness going on.  I'm almost positive Santa would scare the crap out of the Dynamo and Sweet Potato would likely be perplexed and pull his beard.  (And it's not like I get many pictures of Sweet Potato smiling anyway since his interest immediately goes to the camera in his face.)

Babies screaming on Santa's lap for some reason are not that appealing to me.  I know people find it funny.  Ellen DeGeneres highlights Bad Santa Photos on her show so they must be funny, right?  Because I think she's hilarious. 

Perhaps I am an unconventional mother who's desire not to scare her babies is stronger than her desire to get a picture of them visiting Santa Claus.  Am I going to regret it if I don't take them?  Will they wonder when they're older why they didn't see Santa when they were 1?  I mean I'm considering waiting until they are 4 years old!  Or maybe 3. 

What age did you first take your little ones to sit on Santa's lap and how did it go?

Monday, December 5, 2011

One-On-One Time

I've had some one-on-one time with both babies over the past few days.  The day of Sweet Potato's flu shot challenge, I had time with just him while we waited out any reactions and we played together in the exam room.  There was no brother there trying to get my attention or take the toys he was playing with.  It made an unpleasant situation not so bad.  That same afternoon, I opted to take the Dynamo with me to run some errands.  On our list was a quick visit to Fabulous D's house and a trip to the grocery store which he loves. 

Yesterday the twins had their second ever playdate with another set of boy-boy twins.  There was no missing afternoon nap for the Dynamo (and he even displayed a nice melt down to prove it), but Sweet Potato would not think of napping while his friends were over and he was in such good spirits, I didn't have the heart to try to take away his fun.  (Not to mention, I didn't want to risk him waking the Dynamo after an already rocky start to his nap.)  After the playdate ended, and the Dynamo was in a deep sleep, I put Sweet Potato down.  The kid slept twice as long as he usually does and right through dinner. 

When the Dynamo woke up as Sweet Potato napped, I made him dinner and it was so nice just the two of us.  For a minute, I thought this must be what it's like to have just one baby!  And we had some nice playtime together after dinner.  He went to bed for the night at the usual time and Sweet Potato was up an additional hour since he napped so late.  I got to feed him dinner just the two of us while the Dynamo was winding down.

I think time with just mommy for the babies is good for all of us.  We haven't really done it since I took them for swim lessons separately earlier this year.  It makes it harder for me if they are on different nap times and I don't want to mess with the routine, but this type of occasional schedule change is so worth it.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Flu Shot Challenge

Because of Sweet Potato's allergy to egg whites, his flu shot had to be administered at the allergist's office in the form of a "flu shot challenge".   They did a scratch test for the vaccine, waited for any reaction (to which there was a small skin reaction), broke up the dose into two parts, gave dose #1, waited and watched for any reaction (to which there was none), gave the rest of the dose and waited and watched.  The two hour appointment was a success.  And Sweet Potato was a trooper.  I brought a few toys, his pillow pet and a blanket for the five different waits in the exam room.  He was really more interested in playing with the exam table and drawers in the room, but this new toy (purchased locally on sale and with a coupon for $2.40!) kept his interest for the majority of the time. 

I really like his allergist and I'm learning more about his food allergies.  When he was first diagnosed, I buried my head in the sand (which lasted for about one day), but now I am all about education.  There's a good chance he will outgrow his allergy to eggs but outgrowing his allergy to peanuts and tree nuts is less likely.  At my request, his allergist gave me a copy of his medical report from his first visit (I was too overwhelmed that day to even think of asking for documentation).  I learned that the likelihood of a reaction to exposure to eggs is "high" (a 12.80 kU/L rating) and the likelihood to a reaction to peanuts rated a "very high" (a 28.70 kU/L rating).  I also learned that while reactions are likely, the rating itself does not determine the type of reaction.  In other words, he could have a mild reaction or a major one regardless of how high the kU/L rating.  (And I apologize if I am not using these terms/abbreviations correctly.  I'm still learning.)  Also, a reaction to one exposure can be completely different to a reaction for a second exposure.  And the key bit of thing for me to know is - AVOIDANCE is the most important thing.

After the twins were asleep last night, I spent more time online and found some medical bracelets and children's books on allergies.  I think those things are in our near future.  Educating Sweet Potato and everyone he comes in contact with on avoidance and treatment (Benadryl, administering his EpiPen, calling 911) has to be a high priority for me.  I do not expect this to be an easy task.  In fact, my mom, who has been aware of his allergies since the first reaction to scrambled eggs happened at age 12 months, ate a chocolate bar with ALMONDS at my house yesterday.  From her hands to his skin can cause a reaction.  Eating a crumb of her candy bar that falls on the floor can be fatal.

When I think of the future and Sweet Potato going to school, birthday parties, and playdates, I really worry.  Then I remember by moto since I became pregnant with the twins: one day at a time.