Monday, June 22, 2009

Observations from a Month with Twins

Three children is hard. Twins would be crazy enough, but trying to juggle their needs with those of an older child is fairly impossible. Strangely, in some ways it feels easier than it did when we were new parents. So far I am crying less than I did when Ada was a newborn. (I hate to type that, as I am sure that now I will start crying non-stop, but for now it is the case.)

Even though it it not usually me, someone is always crying. At least it feels that way. The babies cry of course, and Ada is especially sensitive these days. She had a meltdown the other day when she learned that our nice neighbors are moving away. She was crushed because their departure means that their baby chicks will not be viewable on demand. She was really upset, and although I felt sad for her (like all kids her age, she feels things so strongly) I was also charmed by her expression of loss about the baby chicks.

I know that first children are the most photographed, but already I am already seeing how few pictures I am taking of Ian and Mira. It is a little hard to get out the camera to snap one when I am holding the other.  Or holding both. I have only take an few, and pictures of sleeping babies probably get old quickly if you are not their grandparents. We did document the outfit in the photo below, as shortly after she declared that Mira would get all the cute outfits and Ian could not wear them, Ada chose this snappy frock for Ian.

What happens when Ada dresses him
What happens when Ada chooses Ian's outfits

This month I learned that when you tell a lactation consultant that you can pump 6 - 10 oz of milk at a
sitting, you pretty much guarantee that you'll manage only a measly 3 oz while pumping in her office. Then again, I don't usually pump with an audience of family and strangers.

Fairy at the Coffee Store
Ada, taking the fairy princess thing very seriously these days

Also this month, Ada is especially hungry for love. This past Saturday Ellen noticed how fast she warmed to a woman she'd never met, which for my usually wary child is unusual. On Sunday some friends stopped by and (after pre-emptively having declared that she did not want to play with them) Ada immediately jumped into Ann's lap and enjoyed the next several hours of Ann's mostly undivided attention. All this reminds me that I have to figure out a way to be warm and welcoming enough to satisfy her more (note, though probably not "entirely"). This can be a real challenge for me, as the whinier and crabbier she gets, the less I am inclined to snuggle her. Even worse, I am sore from nursing and am often holding a baby in some state of non-sleep, neither of which make me want to share my arms or lap with anyone (including the baby). That said, I am trying my best and today felt mostly successful on that score.

Waiting for Waffles

And we have had some fun. We have a general rule that we try to attempt one thing a day. Last weekend our one thing was a walk to the waffle window. (This is what it sounds like - walk up, order a waffle at the window and eat your waffle while sitting on the curb or one of the few tables.) Ada declared that she wanted two waffles, but could only get through about 2/3 of the one we got her. (Chris and I ate the rest.) In pleasant 4 year old manner, she made her own fun while we waited for the waffles to cook, climbing around and chatting with strangers.

And speaking of waffles, Ada and I made yeasted waffles for father's day. We let Chris sleep in a little, and when she could stand it no longer, Ada went up to our bedroom to get him up. She was a charming companion while we cooked and played. After breakfast we made a fairy wand together.  All in all, a lovely father's day morning.

Looking like her big sister did
Mira, looking a fair bit like Ada did at this point, except with a smile. 

So far the big thing that is keeping our heads above water is food deliveries; our friends and family are bringing us dinners several times a week. If we had to organize things to feed ourselves every night our situation would much more dire. As it is, it is pretty much all we can do to scrounge up leftovers and salad on our non-delivery nights. When Ada, Chris and I do not all eat at the same time, the process takes too much time and bumps into feeding and soothing Mira and Ian. I don't know what we would do without this help.

In my usual fashion, the dinners have inspired in me not only a love for our friends, but also a project. I have snapped pictures of our meals as a reminder of how lucky we are to be the recipients of such support and care.

Chicken salad (sally)Roast chicken, veggies, salad (Elizabeth)Chap Chai & congee (Bettina)Indian Soup and Rice (Bess)Beef stew, olive bread (Camille)Ribs & sides (Greg)
some of our dinners so far

On Sunday night we got a great dinner from Stephanie that included "hamburger" cupcakes and cookies made to look like french fries. Beautiful and delicious.

 "hamburger" cupcakes & cookie "fries"


  1. I'm so impressed that you're blogging. And it's so awesome that peeps are bringing you meals. Crying is normal - you know that. I cried A TON after Fiona was born. For months!

    hang in there!!!

  2. Pictures of sleeping babies never get old. Keep 'em coming . . .

    And my kids all love visiting the baby chicks at the zoo. There was a time when they kept them all in a big pen, and people could just walk up and pick one up. My son came up with the cutest idea for a zoo t-shirt . . .

    "I picked up chicks at the zoo!"

    They didn't go for it . . .

  3. I never tire of the sleeping baby photos either. Maybe Ada can come over this week. I'll try to call you soon. Sounds like all and all you are doing great!

  4. I always say that is the biggest secret about twins: THE CRYING. Sounds like you are doing well though and I'm glad to hear you have a community to help!

  5. Stephanie is amazing!

    I'd like to say it'll get easier, but you know I'm talking out of my hat.

  6. I am dying of cuteness over that tomato hat pic! So sweet!

    You are a good mama. Keep up it up! ( :

  7. I really, really want a friend like Stephanie. Also a baby with a tomato hat.

  8. The 'do one thing a day' rule is quite brilliant - wish we'd thought of that. I've watched close friends of ours with a similar configuration of children both struggle and revel in the whole business - sounds like you're doing brilliantly already. Ada sounds like she's really mucking in and coping marvelously well. And the pictures are gorgeous, of course.

    Not taking so many pictures - quite apart from the time factor, why not buy a new camera? Kind of like buying a new notebook for a new project.

  9. Oh my god those cupcakes.

    Um, yes, and also isn't it interesting how the first child starts to branch out and be braver with other people. I tell myself this is a good skill for a person to have.

    What lovely friends you have.

  10. Ahh, I am so so glad that you are being supported right now -- in multiple ways, it seems. The babies are beautiful, as is Ada.

    Thinking of you.


  11. Those hamburger cupcakes (and fried) are great!

    Now I'm hungry...

  12. wonderful, wonderful.

    and even though i'm not a grandparent, i would look at sleeping babies.

  13. Your kids are so beautiful! Congrats on your new babies, and on juggling it all as well as you are.

    (Here via HDYDI.)