Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Special Days

Today is our anniversary.  Three years ago today, I made my family

I found the boys playing with this handy kitchen tool and could not resist grabbing the camera.  If only they new why.  :)


We had a very nice Christmas.  The boys know who Santa is now so it's more fun for all of us.  They saw him when he made a special appearance at my cousin's house on Christmas Eve but kept their distance. 

Santa is sitting right behind Sweet Potato!
The Dynamo watching as Santa departs.


Toddler beds are going pretty well with some modifications:  the boys don't take their naps in them.  They sleep in the playroom on the floor or on their bean bag chairs.  They've been great about staying in their beds at night and while it's not the norm, the past few days I have actually been awake in the mornings before they have. 

Photo courtesy of awesome sitter delivered via text.
We're in the middle of our first major snow storm of the season and they're predicting a foot or more of snow when it's all said and done sometime tomorrow.  I couldn't be happier about it especially since I am off from work this week.  Looks like we'll get good use out of our snow attire!


Happy New Year!   May 2013 bring you JOY.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Toddler Bed Adventures

My 27 month-old angels (ha) have graduated to toddler beds.  I was in favor of keeping them in cribs forever and prolonging their developmental growth for as long as possible for my own selfish reasons*. But Sweet Potato had other ideas. He began quietly climbing out of his crib a couple of weeks ago.  He would open the bedroom door and saunter down the hall, one time with no pants on. The Dynamo wanted some freedom, too, and after seeing his (littler in size) brother climb out, he tried it -a little less delicately.  Fortunately for me the climbing only happened during naptime and after a few days of it, I knew I had to convert the cribs to beds.  I ordered new mattresses too (because the old ones were in sorry shape) and bed rails to keep them from rolling out.  A big production was made about their "new big boy beds!" and they even got to help put them together. 

Looooong story short, all items except the beds and one dresser have been removed from the room including the light bulb in the ceiling light.  The clothes that used to be kept in the dresser have been relocated to the spare bedroom and the dresser drawers taped shut.  Before the bed conversion, while they didn't spend a lot of awake time in their room, they had access to the dresser and didn't pay too much attention to it.  The same goes for the closet door which they have taken off its track at least three times.

Lucky for me, overnight has been pretty good for this transition but naps have been almost non-existent.  I managed to get them to nap this past weekend both days by taking turns sitting with them on their beds after letting them burn off some energy like wild boys running around their room while I watched for about an hour and a half.  This is clearly a work in progress.  Their lack of naps has made them unbearable after work and they collapse early for the night and wake up EARLY for the day.  I'm reminded of their infancy a lot these days! 

In other news, the boys will be starting daycare full-time after the holidays.  I've yet to decide on which center (due to Sweet Potatoes food allergies and the centers' proximity to home/work) but have narrowed the list down.  I knew this was coming.  I did consider enrolling them this month after my mother ditched me yet again (this time with no notice) for a scheduled-where-she-gets-paid day of babysitting while I work.  That and the fact that she cannot handle the boys for long periods of time anymore on her own.  (Frankly somedays I can't either*).  I pushed it to January 2nd to give us more transition time with the new sleeping arrangements since they will be napping on cots at daycare, and because I have Christmas week off from work and can prep them -and me- for this new phase in our lives.

*not really.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Picture Post

My Sweet Boys

Sweet Potato

The Dynamo

Teef Brushing

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

And now she's pissing me off.

Putting aside the whole moving thing for a minute, my mom has been adjusting her babysitting schedule a bit to allow for time with the long distance boyfriend.  My awesome sitter is very accomodating and switches days with her a lot. 

I mentioned in my last post that my mom will be going away for Thanksgiving.  And also New Year's.  Not only did she book her flight for New Year's without getting babysitting coverage (a.k.a. asking me to see if the sitter will switch days), she sent me two emails Sunday night:

From: My mom
Sent: Sunday, October 14, 2012 9:30 PM
To: Me
Subject: Thanksgiving


Sorry to say, but the trip for Thanksgiving is going to have to start on Tuesday instead of Wednesday.  That means I can't sit on Tuesday but can on Monday. If [awesome sitter] can switch from Monday to Tuesday, there'd still be coverage for the boys.  Could you ask her or do you want me to call her?

From: My mom
Sent: Monday, October 15, 2012 5:23 AM
To: Me
Subject: just remembered

You work late on Mondays, do you think [awesome sitter] could work the late shift, from 5:30 to 9:30?

How about, she just says it point blank: "sorry to say, but.. ".  Really?  

To make it more interesting, she is planning on going to his house this weekend and he is coming back upstate to visit her next weekend.  The twins and I have Halloween festivities planned next weekend.  It looks like she is choosing to miss those too - specifically a party with Sweet Potato's food allergy group.  She attended an event with us and this group in the spring and really enjoyed it. 


Thank you very much for your comments on my last post.  I love the support I get here.  In a real emergency, I know I could call Fabulous D or even a neighbor for help.  I hope I never have to.  The non-emergency emergencies cause me anxiety too.  The things I don't want to bother my best friends or my neighbors with but still need someone to be there for.  And the times when the twins just plain overwhelm me and I need a break. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Rules on Becoming a SMC

My mother might be moving.... away.  Like six hours by car, away.  She's my only immediate family in the area and my first line of defense.  Or support.  Or help.  Or something.

She met someone.  A friend introduced her to her father and after emailing and talking on the phone with him for about a year, he drove here to meet her.  They vacationed together.  And he drove here to see her again. She has plans to visit him next weekend by plane, is traveling with him to his daughter's house in another state for Thanksgiving, and has already booked a flight to go there for the New Year's holiday.  She said it's a miracle they found each other.  I'm THRILLED for her.  Thrilled.  Truly.

It's no secret on this blog that my mom and I do not always see eye-to-eye.  Part of that, I think, stems from the fact that she has been lonely and her only real outlet has been caring for the twins a few days each week and helping me when I've needed it.  She has been so much happier since she met this man and, in turn, we have been getting along really well.  (She still does things differently with the boys than I do but doesn't flip out when I mention it, or when I ask a question -we both are tolerating things better.)

And now there's talk about one of them moving so they can be together.  He has grown children but no grandchildren nearby.  He has a house and some boating and wood working hobbies.  He already wants to sell his house and move to a quieter neighborhood.  But you know what?  She wants to move there.  She has an apartment so I guess it makes sense but he already wants to sell his house.  They are going HOUSE HUNTING when she visits next weekend. 

She has grandbabies here.  She wants to move away from them.  He lives an hour outside of New York City. And she loves the city. 

The selfish part of me (and, yes, I am aware that this post is showing the selfish side of me) wants to call her out.  We talked about this.  She said she would be here.  Before I started fertility treatments (when the "plan" was one baby), I asker her if she was on-board.  To be fair, I would have proceeded even if she wasn't but not only was she, she offered to help.  Originally she wanted to watch the kids full-time.  And I'm not even just talking about the childcare I would be losing - what about the Grandma care?  What about the middle-of-the-night trips to the ER and I have 2 kids and one of me?  What about the fevers and colds and broken bones and what about when I get sick?  We talked about this.  I don't lean on her at night right now.  I (knock on wood) haven't had to call her for help beyond her scheduled babysitting since the boys were sick last year.  But she does help.  She comes by most Sundays without me asking and I get to run an errand or color my hair or mow the lawn or clean out closets.  She does most of the twins' laundry.  She sews holes and makes sauce and plants flowers.

I do my damnest to do it all on my own "just in case" I have to.  But to actually HAVE TO?  Without a safety net? 

I had a feeling this was coming.  When she brought it up, I was very supportive.  We joked about what furniture of hers I would get.  I didn't say a word about my reservations about how I would manage my mother's choice to move away from my family.  Typing it out makes it sound even more ridiculous.  I could have called her out.  I could have said, "You said you would be here.  You said you would help.  You said I could call and you would come running."   And more recently, I could have said, "We talked about me taking a new job and you said you would help with the twins when I am on-call for work."  But, nope.  I didn't say any of it.  And don't plan to.  Even if I could say those things out loud, if anything I had to say convinced her to stay and he moved here and he hated it or they hated it or whatever, she would probably resent me.  And possibly resent the twins.  I could never risk that. 

But, again, she might be moving away from her grandsons.  They are a huge part of her life.  In one of our early arguments, she feared I would cut her out of their lives, (which I would never do) and once she asked if I would allow the boys to have a continuity of family.  Now she might be choosing to move away when there are possible other options. 

And I might be losing my safety net.  And breaking a huge SMC rule.  Physical support.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

MeAndBaby Bits

The past few weeks have been full of activities and appointments.   I'd like to get it all down here and in order to do that, I need to bullet. 
  • The twins and I had our first professional (if you don't count studio pictures at JCPenney -and I DON'T) photo shoot.  I received the shoot and some prints as a Christmas gift last year.  While I haven't seen the pictures yet, the photographer was awesome.  He asked what we like to do as a family and I told him go to the park.  So off to the park we all went and he spent over an hour with us taking candid and some posed pictures.  I cannot wait to see the photos.  The Dynamo was a tough cookie - refusing to smile or sit with me on the blanket at first.  Sweet Potato was a ham the entire time!
  • We made our third trip to the zoo.  Great fun and the twins almost actually paid attention to the animals this time. 
  • I took the boys for a visit to my old job.  The people there were like family to me and so good to me when I was pregnant and when the babies were first born.  I left that job when they were five months old and we have visited twice since then.  (once also when I was on maternity leave).  It was a nice visit but I think it was our last.  As unhappy as I am with my current work situation (re: schedule), I need to close the book on that part of my life.  My old job was my whole life for so long that it's been an adjustment to end that "relationship" but I think I am finally there.  I will stay in touch a bit with a few former co-workers and that's fine.
  • The boys had their 2 year check-ups.  I have been taking them one at a time separately but the schedule didn't allow it this time so Fabulous D joined us (thank God).  I will update their "Grow With Me" pages with their full stats but in summary, they are doing pretty well health wise.  Sweet Potato hasn't gained any weight since his last check-up but the doctor isn't too concerned about it.  He was concerned, however, with both boys' lack of speech.  And honestly, I am too, and have been for awhile.  I think I am encouraging the lack of words, though, by not forcing them to say what they want when I already know.  The guidelines are that they should have at least twenty words (they maybe have 10?), a few two word phrases (none), and are understood at least fifty percent of the time (maybe 20% of the time of the words they do say).  The interesting thing is there are words they have said in the past (like "dark"), that they don't say now.  They were referred to the Early Intervention Program and so far, we have had the evaluation portion.  More on this in a coming post but the short story is they are both "severely delayed" in speech but at or exceeding development in all other areas for their age.  They will be participating in weekly speech therapy.

The Dynamo and "bubbo!" (bubbles).

Sweet Potato at the zoo. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Date

(look at me - two posts in two days!  I guess I'm tired of having posts float around in just my head - usually when I am driving, or taking a shower - so I'm going to try and get them out there.)

So yesterday was the work vent.  The issues remain, obviously, and I continue to job search being careful to only apply for positions where on-call rotations are not listed in the posting.  I have applied for probably a half-dozen or so jobs over the past year.  Zero call backs.  I will keep chugging along and see what happens.  Fingers crossed.  The sitter said to me that I need to find a rich man to marry so I can stay home with the boys.  If only it were that easy! 

Which leads me to today's topic - I went on A DATE.  This is the first date I have been on since before the boys were born.  It was a few weeks ago and it was with an old flame.  I've talked about him here before and allowed him to break my heart more than once over the years.  This time though?  No heartbreak. 

He initiated and persisted on taking me to dinner even when my schedule didn't really allow it and I had to change our plans a few times.  We met at the restaurant (my idea) and I admit I got a few butterflies when I saw him in the parking lot but from there, it went down hill.  After our initial updates (both of us have new jobs since we saw each other last, I have a new house, family stuff, etc), he carried on throughout the entire dinner talking about an ex who cheated on him and just moved out of his house.  I had thought all this time that he was just a non-committal workaholic when in fact, the non-committal part was about me.  Duh.  I think I knew (no, I know I knew) this deep down but this time it hit me like a ton of bricks. 

He met the ex online and she has three school-aged children from two prior marriages.  She was still married when they met two and half years ago (a few months after our last date and we have been in touch during that time).  He moved her into his house, remodeled his basement to make room for another bedroom, they talked marriage(!), went to counseling (are you kidding me), and apparently in April when he refused to get a joint checking account with her, she moved out when he wasn't home and into the house of another guy.  And her Facebook status now says "engaged" according to a friend of his (he is not on FB).   But she was still calling him/loved him/wanted him back.  He left his cell phone in his truck during dinner so she wouldn't interrupt us.  You know, because him talking about her the whole time was so much better. 

I sat there in disbelief as he spoke (flagging down our waitress to bring me more wine) and when I finally had a chance to talk - about something else - he got up to LEAVE.  We were done eating and he had paid the check but I literally said to him, "Did you just get up to leave while I'm talking?"  He said, "Oh, I'm sorry", but basically kept on going.  So, this time, (no, really - THIS time) I'm done.  I have new priorities and those two little people I can't wait to see when I get home have changed my attitude.  He's not worth it.  He said he wanted to take me out again.  I didn't answer him at dinner but sent him a text when I got home and told him I wasn't interested.  Then I deleted all his messages and emails.  The end. 

Even though this date was a bust, I'm not throwing in the towel on dating altogether.  Hopefully, I won't have to wait another three years for date number two but I'm also not actively looking (as if I had time).  If something presents itself, I'm open to it.  I'm just glad this time I didn't get sucked back in.  And, hey, at least the food was good.


Monday, August 20, 2012

Work Vent

I'm having a really hard time with my job.  (I almost typed that I hate my job but the only thing I really hate is the word hate so I don't want to misuse it.)   There are some petty dislikes I could live with if it weren't for one big one that I can't get past: the schedule.  Not only is there an on-call rotation (more on that below) but there is another rotation in the mix that could cause me to have to go into the office off-off hours (3 AM - 11 AM for example) and it's the sort of thing that is planned last minute - as in the day before.  Yeah.  That really doesn't work for a one-parent family.  Not to mention they never told me about this second rotation during my lenghty interview process.

At my last job I was always on-call.  They outfitted me with a laptop and cell phone and paid for my high-speed Internet access at home (I really miss those perks), but the on-call at the old company was nothing like the new company.  At the new company, it's fix it right now, immediately and hey, we screw up a lot so you will have A LOT of work to do when you are on call.  No plans away from home that entire week as you need to respond within fifteen minutes. Which sucks big time because I'd really like to enroll the twins in a Saturday morning toddler soccer program this fall and I can't.  I will be on-call once during the session.  At the last job, if it was off-hours, I usually had until the the start of the next day or all weekend for weekend issues.  I rarely had to go into the office to fix something on the weekend and I was the only one on-call for my department. 

I have never had a problem finding a job.  In my twenties I quit a job and moved to a new town before I had a new one.  And I had a new one within three weeks.  When I decided to leave my last job, the one I have now was found very early in my search and was the only one I interviewed for.  Now I am a parent with more responsibilities.  And the job market is not the same as it was twenty years ago.  I can't just quit.  I mean, I could and go to a placement agency but if I was to find something, it probably wouldn't pay the mortgage and the sitters and the grocery bill all totaled up.  As it is now, I am barely squeaking by and have to transfer money from my savings account to cover my monthly bills - a lot. 

I really like the new company's core values, community involvement, diversity and they are very family friendly.  If I could get into another department where there is no after-hours work involved, I think I could be very happy there. Unfortunatly, you need to be with the company a long time first and there are only two other departments that don't require after hours work. 

I think about this all the time.  And I dread going to work.  Even after maternity leave and spending almost four months with my babies, I didn't dread my last job like I do this one.  I've been looking for a new job.  A lot.  I even met with a placement agency.  Unfortunately, I know a little about a lot of things but not a lot about just one thing - which is what they look for.  Argh.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Mid-Summer Highlights

I had the first week of July off from work to spend with friends and attend a wedding.  Here are some of the highlights from that week:
  • A close friend who I had not seen since the 2ww for Beta with the twins (I wrote this post from her house the last time we were together) came to visit and stayed with me for a few days.  It was so great spending time with her.  I wish she never moved away.
  • I went out three nights in a row which makes the number of times I've gone out at night since the boys were born about four.   
  • On the 4th of July, Sweet Potato fell into a pool. We had been sitting on the steps going into the pool but it was still scary as hell. Thankfully, my mommy instincts kicked in and I yanked him out by his legs. He didn't swallow any water.
  • On one of my nights out (see second item above), my mother CUT THE DYNAMO'S HAIR without my consent or knowledge.  And then didn't tell me about it.
  • One of the pipes under my kitchen sink burst. My awesome handyman, who hates plumbing, fixed it on the same day.
  • I went to a fun wedding with some close friends who I hadn't seen in a long time. 
  • The twins attended their second ever parade and second ever trip to the zoo.  Although insanely hot during the parade, I would classify both events as a success.
  • Worth repeating: my mother CUT THE DYNAMO'S HAIR without my consent or knowledge.
In other news: remember this guy?  I won't be surprised if no one does. I heard from him again last week.  We spoke about a year ago and maybe one time before that since the babies were born.  Nothing much there to report - there was some talk of going out to dinner but it hasn't happened.  The reason that I'm bringing him up is that in our messaging back and forth, he reminded me that I am a SMC.  Which is perfectly fine but I guess I sometimes forget. I mean I never forget that I run a one-parent household but I don't often think of how we got that way.  At least not right now with the twins being so young. 

Here's some excepts from our messages:
J:  So tell me, do you think U chose the right "guy"?
Me:  ?
J:  Only time will tell
Me:   I don't understand the question.  Seriously.  (I really had no idea what he was asking)
Me ~3 minutes later:  Ohhh, the donor?
J:  Yes, duh! :)))
Me:  I don't even think about it.
J:  :)
Me:  I forgot how old fashioned you are
J:  I'm not, I was just wondering if you ever think it
Me:  He's my hero
J:  That's GREAT! I am really happy 4 U!
Me:  Thanks!
J:  You always did have your shot together. :)
Me:  A lot of good that did me when it came to you
Oh and speaking of going out on a date (something I have not done in three years and the last one was with J), that blind date guy?  Yeah, he never called.  Oh well!

In other, other news, I'm planning a non-party birthday party for the twins 2nd birthday.  Just us and some close friends who are regularly in the boys' lives.  All those family members we only see once or twice a year?  Not so much.  Maybe I'll change my mind next year but until my boys can tell me who they would like to spend time with, I'm choosing who I think they enjoy being with the most.  A big party for adults (who are not necessarily my favorites) with bigger kids my kids barely know who overwhelm them?  I'll pass. 

And in case you missed it, while I was out one night, my mother CUT THE DYNAMO'S HAIR without my consent or knowledge.  I'm thinking this may deserve a post in itself.  I bet you can hardly wait.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

21 Months and 1st Parade

I had 5 glorious days off from work for the holiday weekend and had an awesome time with the twins. There are some long weekends, hell there are some short weekends, when I can't wait to go back to work so I can have a baby break but not this time. The weather was awesome, the water toys, pool and sprinkler have been in full force and the boys have loved it!

We went to Fabulous D's son's soccer game one night and Sweet Potato was on the edge of his stroller seat watching most of the time except for in this picture -

The bling on his wrist is his super cool medical bracelet for his food allergies.

We went to that picnic I talked about in the last post.  A fenced in back yard sealed the deal! 

Dismantling the yard games.

On Memorial Day, the twins attended their first parade.  It was a great success!

It was really hard to come back to work. The boys are verging on the terrible two's and I see signs of that already sometimes but for the most part, this age has been a whole lot of fun!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Single Mother by Choice

Last Saturday night I went out.  As in, got a babysitter and didn't get home until 11 PM went out.  It was about the third time I have gone out at night since the twins were born, the first time I have stayed out past 9:30, and the furthest from home (30 minute car drive) I've gone.  The truth is, I haven't wanted to.  If the twins are awake and I am not at work, I want to be with them.  At night, when they go to sleep, I cherish that time to either get something done, veg out or go to sleep myself!  I've been really lucky - I get at least eight hours of sleep nearly every night.  The boys wake up early every morning but we all go to bed early at night.

I went out Saturday night to celebrate one of my closest friend's birthday.  I had a great time and only felt a twinge of guilt when I backed out of the driveway right past the boys getting pulled in their wagon by the sitter.  I knew they would have fun in my absence and would be asleep a few short hours later. 

Will I make this a habit?  No, probably not.  I was pretty tired Sunday and my budget really cannot take extra babysitting costs. 

This leads me to a potentially new development: The Blind Date. 

I was thinking of making the title of this post "What Have I Done" for agreeing to let my uncle fix me up because, seriously, what have I done?  I have zero free time - zero.   And if meeting this guy goes really badly, how weird will Thanksgiving dinner be this year at Uncle John's?  Hell, if it goes really well, how weird will Thanksgiving dinner be?  When my uncle called and uncomfortably (for him) asked me my "current situation" with respect to relationships, I blurted out "non-existent".  And, honestly, dating has been the furthest thing from my mind for the past four years.  I had one last fling with J (you can read about him in my first blog here and here) during a TTC break between miscarriage #2 and miscarriage #3.  And that was it.  Six months later I was officially knocked up with Baby A and Baby B and my life has become them and only them. 

Can it be just the three of us forever though?  I mean, sure, it can be and it will be fine if it is, but is that what I want for them?  or me?  I always said the relationship - the guy - can come later.   I didn't say he would never come, just that I wasn't waiting and I didn't need to wait for him to build a family.  Here I am, though, on the cusp of my babies turning two, and wondering how I am going to keep doing this alone and if I really want to... for them or me.

A lot of things are harder with the twins now as toddlers from when they were infants.  Some things are easier but many are not.  And I think I've talked about this before but I am limited right now to what I can do with them since it's just me.  We were invited to a picnic over Memorial Day weekend and I'd really like to go but it is nearly impossible to watch both of them at the same time (especially in a new surrounding) without help.  All the people I know going to the party have their own kids to tend to - I can't expect them to watch mine.  It's an opportunity to expose my boys to a new place, new people, a party!  And we all might miss it because they like to run in opposite directions and I am just not that fast. 

Besides the physical presence/helping aspect, I'd also like them to see a strong, positive relationship in their daily lives.  And, while I believe as a single mother I am a good role model - they see a strong, independent Mama - I think exposure to healthy, romantic relationships is important too.

But back to the date - I'm actually okay with it.  I mean, assuming the guy is interested in a blind date with a mom of toddlers.  My uncle asked my permission to give him my phone number.  He's a colleague of my uncles in his late 40s with two girls who lost his wife.  That's all I know.  Years ago, I would be obsessing about a blind date way beforehand and now, with a new set of priorities and an entirely different schedule and life style, writing this post from work is the extent of my obsession.  I don't even know the guy's name.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Popping in to Say HI

So, really?  Has it been almost two months?  I won't say I've been busy.  Everyone's busy.  I've chosen to do other things with my time besides post.  Which is sad, really, because I love this community and don't want to lose touch with it.  Not to mention this is the only place where I document some of the twins' milestones.  And I haven't even really done that.   Bleh.  As it is, I'm writing this post from work.  From a job I've been at nearly one year where I still feel brand new (clueless) and where I like less about it than I don't like. 

The twins are twenty months old.  They are little BOYS.  I don't think I can call them babies anymore.  They don't have a lot of words yet but still manage to communicate and they understand a lot.  They are a bit more demanding than when they were infants (if you can believe that) since they get into everything -including the oven! (technically not inside the oven, but opening it and playing with the racks.)  Some things are easier now and some things (like finding time to take a shower!) are not. 

I'm toying with the idea of sending them to a child care center two days per week.  I want them to have more socialization and exposure to activities that I don't have the time or skills to show them. (crafts anyone?)  I definitely want to do this for at least pre-school when they turn three but maybe sooner. Cost is a huge factor as part-time day care will stretch my already tight budget at least another $100 per week.  Sweet Potato's food allergies adds another layer of concern.  And my preference so far has been to spend every waking moment with the boys (theirs and mine) that I can but I'm starting to feel okay about going out to dinner or having a few hours during a weekend day to get some things done or have personal time.  We will see.   

That's all I have for now.  Oh that, and some photos!

Sweet Potato after playing in the dirt.
The Dynamo after I asked him to show me his teeth.

Sticking out their tongues!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Dear Blogger

I miss you!  I'm really missing blogging and my bloggy friends!  I have been so busy, I have not found time to post.  Or to comment on other blogs.  I am reading your blogs and thinking of my online friends a lot.  I hope to find some posting time soon. 

Saturday, February 18, 2012


We finally got some snow in western NY last weekend!

Of course it all melted but it snowed again this morning. I'm hoping to get their sleds out soon! Fingers crossed.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

No Good Approach - Update

Thank you for the feedback.  I don't know what I would do without my readers.

What I should have written in my last post is that I think my mom is great with my kids.  She sings with them, dances with them, makes them capes out of blankets, puts socks on their heads, reads them books, cooks for them, and takes them for short walks in their wagon.  The twins and I are very lucky to have her in our lives.

Tuesday when I got home from work, the tension was buried.  Grandma and I chatted about the kids and the day's events, and she offered to pick up some egg-free waffles for me at the store.  All good but not forgotten by either of us.  The fact that we have to see each other and speak to each other because of the twins is a plus in this situation.  We can't completely avoid each other.

Wednesday afternoon, I sent her an email.  It cleared the air.  For now.  She took my (poorly approached) question as pointing out a mistake.  She tends to take things personally no matter who she's talking to.  I reiterated that I was curious, acknowledged that I could be wrong about the boys misunderstanding her, and told her that I will continue to wonder about a lot of things.  I said that we have to be able to communicate.  She agreed and told me not to be afraid to bring things up in the future.  It's a step in the right direction.   

I'd also like to add that it's difficult to detect (or perhaps for me to describe) tone in a post.  The tone of the start of the conversation with my mom on Tuesday morning was light.  I was delicate because I know she can be insecure and get defensive easily.

In response to comments:

I know in a day care setting I won't be there to see how things are done.  It's not only possible but probable that some things would be done differently than I would do them.  Hopefully for the better but possibly not.  If it's something that I think matters, and I witness it or hear about it, I will probably question it.  I would think (hope!) the day care teacher could have an adult conversation with me about it.  Would I question a teacher who was playing that "Don't Smile" game?  No.  I don't feel so strongly about that where I think that would be necessary.  I said it to my mom as a question; it was me wondering. There's no other adult in my house or in my life on a daily basis for me to bounce things off of.  And I'm a bouncer.  I like to analyze and talk things out and I question things as part of my process to understand.  It doesn't rule me; I take bits of advice that seem to make sense and that work for my family, combine them with my instincts as a new mom and hope for the best.  I don't lose sleep over it.  Not yet.

Lindsey, you brought up some great points. Your comments gave me the push I needed to clear the air.  I do know how lucky I am to be able to have the twins spend time with their grandma.  I know she won't be around forever, (she'll be 73 in March), and that there is a place for silliness.  I'm on the fence about sarcasm in the boys' lives right now but the real issue is our lack of ability (mine and hers) to talk about things.  Also, one reason why I am considering some child care outside the house is because, unlike Fiona, the twins don't have regular exposure to other kids or a variety of activity.  Their little circle consists of me and my mom, the sitter, my cousins, aunts and uncles who they mostly only see on holidays, and visits from my friends -some with kids, most without, none with small kids.  (And their mama is NOT crafty or creative. Unlike you. :))

If/when I change the child care routine, it would be one or two days in a classroom setting (or one or a half day more with the sitter).  This would probably equate to one less day at most of Grandma watching them.  She would still spend almost as many waking hours with the twins as I do.  Chances are because of Sweet Potato's allergies and the cost of child care/pre-school, they probably won't be going anywhere until they're old enough for UPK. 

I don't think this topic is closed by any means.  Unfortunately, for my readers, I will likely complain about my mother again.  I do feel better today about my relationship with her than I did yesterday.  Time will tell.  Thanks for listening!   It really does take a village.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

No Good Approach

I'm not going to apologize this time.  I'm not going to call myself ungrateful.  I know how lucky I am that she helps me.  I know I would be more broke than I already am, be more anxious, be sleeping less, and have more to do at home if she wasn't helping me.  I am not sorry this time.  I am grateful.  I am also frustrated.

This morning I got into another disagreement with my mother.  I knew it would happen.  I wanted to talk about something she was doing that I didn't like.  I debated bringing it up but it's been happening for awhile.  I ignored it at first thinking it would pass.  It didn't and it bugs me.  Sometimes things bug people for no good reason.  I realize that.  And the longer I waited to say something, the more it would bug me. I debated as I was getting ready for work listening to her interact with the babies (and use this phrase) the best approach to use to bring it up.  Clearly I picked the wrong one. I asked her to not say -wait, I didn't even ask; I approached it as I was wondering if- something she was saying to the twins was confusing.

Me:  "So I was thinking about something.... "
Her:  "Uh oh (funny). What?"
Me:  "Do you think when you say 'Whatever you do, don't smile!' to the boys, it is confusing?  We are saying "don't" but laughing and encouraging them to smile."
Her:  "No!  The Dynamo knows exactly what I mean!"
Me:  "Really?  You think he gets that you are trying to get him to keep a straight face?  We use the word don't when we don't want them to do something.  Now it's being used and when they do the opposite, we laugh." 
Her (defensively):  "Fine.  I won't say it anymore."
Me:  "You don't have to get defensive."
Her:  "Yes, I do.  They're not stupid!"  (Can I just add that I LOVE when she makes remarks like this.)

I left for work and she was clearly mad at me.

This is about more than what she was doing.  This is also about how she and I communicate with each other.  If we can't communicate, it's going to put a big(ger) strain on our relationship.  As the twins get older, there are going to be more things I want done (or not done) a specific way.  I will be wrong sometimes.  I will be irrational and naive and over-protective and paranoid and silly sometimes.  If we can't communicate, it won't matter if she's right or her ideas are better than mine.  Anytime I try to discuss something I don't agree with her about, and I try to be aware of my approach, she turns defensive.  She dismisses me, agrees to do it my way, and makes off-handed comments like, "They're not stupid": meaning my 17 month-olds know she's joking, or "Well, I don't like to see him upset!": implying that I do when I choose not to give in when one of them is not getting his way and is throwing a fit. 

What do I do?

I've tried a mature, calm, sit-down, face-to-face approach.  Again, she gets defensive and dismissive. I've tried email.  Sometimes I get a better response but typically she misses things in email so I don't think she reads them thoroughly.  I don't believe email is the best form of communication but I think it does work in some situations.

Last Tuesday night the Dynamo was tired and hungry.  I had just put him and Sweet Potato in their booster seats at the table for dinner and the Dynamo wanted out.  Grandma went to take him out and I told her not to.  I would never get him back in the chair and it was dinner time and he was hungry and tired.   So she stood there about five feet from him with disapproval written all over her face -facing him no less and making him more upset.  Then she said, "Well I don't like to see him upset!"  I told her if she didn't want to hear him cry, then she should go. (It was time for her to go anyway.)  He quieted down about five minutes after she was gone and let me feed him his dinner.  She didn't talk to me the next day.

I think if she watched the kids less, it might help.

I have plans to change the child care routine but I don't know when and what those plans are yet.  I've always said I wanted the twins to attend a structured daycare/classroom type environment part-time in toddlerhood for the experience.  Before Sweet Potato's allergy diagnoses, I think I would have been considering it sooner than I am now.  With the extra layer of complexity his food allergies bring, I'm not in as much of a hurry to do this but I still want to eventually. 

There are some other reasons I'd like her to watch them less too.  Occasionally, on the weekends, I'll ask her to sit with them for an hour while I get my hair cut or run another errand.  On Monday before the sitter came over (I work a later shift), she stayed with the Dynamo while Sweet Potato and I went to Toddler Gym.  I'd like to keep doing things like that and alternating one-on-one time with the babies.  It's easier for me to ask her to cover these types of things when she hasn't already been watching them for a long work day.  She would never say no - even when she's tired.  In fact, one day she showed up at my house before I went to work looking exhausted.  I offered to happily stay home from work (more baby time for Mommy!) and long story short, she got ticked and thought that I didn't think she could handle them.  Or some such crap.  She made some hurtful comments and I did email her when I got to work and told her I was hurt by them.  She didn't respond.

My sitter is awesome.  It's a completely different dynamic when she watches the twins from when Grandma is there.  Which I would expect a little bit anyway from a grandma.  The sitter would pick up another day or half-day  day each week if I needed it.  I would love to have her there more and Grandma there less.  My checkbook would not like this.  I pay my mom a flat rate per week and the sitter is hourly.  While I could adjust my mother's cost down (awkward) to help compensate, it will still cost me more to have the sitter there.  I am still strongly considering this even though the thought of bringing it up to her scares the hell out of me.

At the end of the day, I'm the mother and what I say goes.  I know that and she knows that.  But I need her.  And the twins need her.  Last weekend we were busy and she didn't come over at all.  The twins and I had a great weekend and I didn't feel any tension.  I want more of that.  Less Grandma time might be the answer but I have no idea how to get there.  What would you do if you were me?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

3 Days

Day 1- Saturday morning I attended a meeting for a support group for parents of children with food allergies.  I found this local group from this website: and am so glad that I did.  Most of the parents I met have children who are older than Sweet Potato and many have multiple children with allergies -who have multiple allergies.  (Sweet Potato is highly allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, and egg whites and also has a cat allergy.)   It was emotional but comforting for me just to be there.  I'm still trying to process the fact that my son has life threatening allergies.  Like the infertilitly/loss/adoption online community I am a part of, the members of this group GET IT and I am finding out already in the four months since Sweet Potato's diagnosis how much I need that.

Day 2- On Sunday I met some work friends and their kids at the children's museum of play.  Thankfully my awesome friend, Christine, accompanied us because watching two toddlers in 282,000 square feet of a kid's museum would have been difficult without help!  This place is awesome.   There's a re-creation of Sesame Street, a miniature grocery store where kids can shop and even scan their own groceries, and there are books and activities at every turn.  It also houses the National Toy Hall of Fame, a carousel and train which surprisingly the Dynamo rode on with me.  (Sweet Potato has ridden a kids train before but the Dynamo refused!)  It was a great time and this place is close to home.  I may consider a membership as the kids get older (admission for them is free until age 2) if my budget allows.
The Dynamo among some Sesame Street characters I have never heard of!
Sweet Potato could have played with this stove all afternoon.
The caption I put on FB for this one was he looks just me when I grocery shop - determined and in a hurry!

Day 3- On Mondays I work a later shift - from 12 noon to 9 PM.  While it stinks to not be able to put the twins to bed, I actually get more awake time with them on Mondays since they are now (pretty much) napping once a day starting at 12:00 PM.  My local rec center has open toddler gym weekday mornings and Fabulous D and I took the twins yesterday.  It was so much fun.  Well that is, until the Dynamo tripped into a ride-on toy face first.  No injury, just tears.  It was still way worth the trip and I am hoping to make our visits a habit.  This may be a great opportunity for one-on-one time with Mommy if I can drop off one baby at Grandma's - although we loved that Fabulous D came with us!  Any time with her for me or the twins is a treat!

Ball!  Ball!  Ball!  Ball!

Fabulous D and the Dynamo.  Two Fabulous Ds!
Contrary to their facial expressions, they do enjoy playing together!

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year, New Schedule?

I should write something profound about 2011, about changing jobs after 17 years, about the many changes with the twins as they aged from 4 months old to 16 months.

Or maybe I should write about my goals for 2012, about my grand plan to make this year as successful as possible and add in some new year's resolutions.


Instead Im writing about naps. This shouldn't come as a shock since sleep is a topic I wrote about a lot last year. And technically what I'm writing about qualifies as a goal.

Yesterday, January 1st, 2012, the twins switched to one nap a day.  Both babies.  At the same time. One long nap.

Please let this be the start of a new routine!

For the past several weeks, the Dynamo has been bucking his PM nap.  (I am sure I must have blogged about this?)  At his 15 month check-up, the pediatrician told me if he was only going to nap once a day, make it in the afternoon.  So I kept him up in the morning (or asked the sitter or my mother to) while Sweet Potato went down.  The plan was to keep him up all morning and through lunchtime until Sweet Potato went back down in the afternoon but he never made it that far.  He would go down early afternoon and Sweet Potato would nap mid-morning and mid-afternoon.  This meant there was always a baby awake and no break for Mama.  Ugh.  The good news is it made for a better rested Dynamo than when he would only nap in the morning.  So I guess the pediatrician was right about switching him to the afternoon.  He was a  happier baby when I would get home from work.  But again, this schedule meant a toddler was always awake during the day and I'm so not ready for that.

Yesterday they slept from 12:30 to 3 PM.  Two and a half glorious hours for Mama to clean up holiday decorations and organize the garage.  I'm back to work today and hoping the sitter is enjoying a break right now too.