Friday, January 29, 2010

Random Quote and Unrelated Photo of the Week


I want to be your love
I want to make you cry
And sweep you off your feet
I want to hurt your pride
I want to slap your face
I want to paint your nails
I want to make you scream
I want to braid your hair
I want to kiss your friends
I want to make you laugh
I want to dress the same
I want to defend you
I want to squeeze your thighs
I want to kiss your eyelids
And corrupt your dreams
I want to crash your car
I want to scratch your cheeks
I want to make you sick
I want to sell you out
Want to expose your flaws
I want to steal your things
I want to show you off
I want to tell you lies
I want to write you books
I want to turn you on
I want to make you come
200 times a day
I want to dry your tears
Every time you're sad
I want to be your what's happening
I want to be your only friend

of Montreal
Gallery Piece

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Craft Update (Lost and Found Edition)

Digging through old unused posts I found this from April 2009:

Despite being fairly well a slug these days (oh how I love being out of breath after a walk up the stairs!) I have managed to get a few things done. While Chris and his mother painted the babies' room, I painted a dresser to match, and made hooded towels.

Full Dresser with Knobs

I got the knobs from a local salvage hardware store. They are all the same type of knob, but obviously differ in color. Ada helped me pick them out from a box of dozens of these knobs. And speaking of Ada, she picked the blue and purple paints. In order to involve her in the baby planning, we let her choose colors, but then added the green so that we could have a stripe around the room. Ada routinely lets us know that she doesn't like the green.

Wall and Dresser

Towel Models
The towels, as worn by my semi-willing models. 

Ada has used the hooded towel someone gave us since pretty much week one. As her towel has ducks on the hood, she declared that the babies need duck hooded towels too. Ever compliant with this kind of request, I added duck ribbon trim to the hoods.

When I undertake a new project, especially one I find online, I tend to search the web for the best (by which I mean "easiest to follow") directions. Here I followed two different patterns, so the hoods ended up slightly different on the two towels.

Back to the present: 
The towels are working well, as is the room. We aren't actually using the dresser much, since I figured out that to make their clothes accessible we needed to store a bunch of them downstairs. Otherwise, when one kid is sleeping you can't change the other one.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Oh thank goodness. We won.


We Shall Not Pass This Way Again

Nursing Ian tonight, I started thinking about another reason I am not sure I want to give up nursing: this is the last time I am going to do this.

I know this is a crazy reason to want to keep nursing. The fact that something will never happen again does not make it on its face worthwhile. Of course, there are a ton of good reasons to keep nursing: it is good for the babies; it is way cheaper than formula; it lets me eat an extra cookie a day; and I love the sweetness of having a baby in my lap, cuddling with me. I love when they reaching up to touch my shoulder blade or face. I even love when they break off nursing to smile and babble. When I am working at home I take breaks to nurse. It is time with Ian and Mira that I won't likely have when I stop nursing. I know myself well enough to know that once I stop nursing, I won't have those minutes alone with each baby on work days, even though I would like to think I would still stop during the day to play.

I know that I keep saying that breastfeeding is ending soon. Earlier, I needed to know that I could stop, that things would be alright for Ian and Mira whether or not I exclusively fed them my milk. Later I thought that one or both of them was rejecting the breast. Now I see my milk supply waning as the babies take strongly to solids. And pumping sucks. (not to mention reduces my productivity at the office) At six months, I thought I'd try to stick it out until 8 or 9 months. Now that I am at 8 months, this still seems like a reasonable goal, but I am not quite ready to give it up. Maybe I will be entirely sick of this in a month, we'll see. For now I am enjoying the warm babies while I have them snuggled up against me. (Even when those warm babies come with ice cube fingers. Brrr!)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Photographing Three Children is Impossible (8 Months)

Taking pictures of two roly poly babies is hard enough, but throw Ada into the mix and I am NEVER going to take another picture of them without at least one blurred out. I was going to post a few examples (Ian and Mira fine, Ada blurry; Ian and Ada fine, Mira blurry; etc) but even when everyone is in focus, I still face the problem of getting them all to even look at me, much less to smile and not wiggle a bunch. (I think I write this every month.)

8 months
See? Only one is looking my way. 
(the Thing 1 and Thing 2 shirts came from Stephanie's mom)

Ada, Mira, Ian (8mo)
Don't even ask how Ada got Ian up like that. 
It made me so nervous I only took the one shot before running over to get him seated again.

Getting in close and taking pictures of the babies individually (and strapped into their stroller) I can get a half-decent picture or two.
Ian, almost 8 mo

Mira, almost 8 mo
Awesome sweaters by Stephanie

The big thing that happened this month is that Mira started to crawl. Actually, this only happened in the past week, but she has been threatening for a while. Mira has been practicing and doing very impressive downward dogs, but now we see forward progress. This weekend I bought a used play yard from a mother of twins whose kids have outgrown this stage. This baby fence will let one adult go upstairs to put one baby in his crib for nap without worrying that the other one will use the opportunity to pull the diaper trash can down on herself, eat the edge of the rug or stick her hand in the VCR. And yes, we do still have a VCR, and yes it basically at baby level. This may be a bit dangerous but I am secretly hoping Mira can help us figure out why the remote stopped working.  

Mira, 8 mo (crawler)

Ian is pretty mobile himself. He's perfected the roll and pivot as his preferred method for getting around. He needs to get around, because his favorite toy is pretty much whatever Mira has in her hands. My father and I laughed ourselves silly watching Mira and Ian in the bath the other day. He slapped the water and lunged at Mira while she calmly sat chewing on a bath toy and watching his machinations.

Ian, 8 mo

Now that the babies are not just nursing and sleeping, they are showing themselves to be more competitive in the race for my parents' attentions. This does not please Ada, who tried various tactics (including separating my mother from Ian and Mira by taking her upstairs) to monopolize the grandparents on their recent visit.

Ian, Mira and Ada all have their charms, and for the most part I am enjoying this period greatly. Chris just poked his head in the room to say, "remember when we were getting up several times a night to feed the babies? That sucked!" Yes, and this is so much better. The babies are fun, funny and messy, and given that Ada is more of the first two than the last thing, I know it only gets better.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Color Year, Month 1 (Orange)

Orange Collage

Having decided that this year's photo project would be monthly color themes, I chose orange for January. I figured I needed something bright to get me started, and in Oregon, January is a great time to seek out bright color.

Orange strikes me as a color that people think is pretty rare, but which turns out to be all over. From where I am sitting in the living room I can see my orange raincoat, purse and curtains. Two of my neighbors have orange doors, another house on the block is painted orange with orange trim. All this orange works out for me; I happen to love orange. Two thirds of the way through the month, I have managed to avoid taking too many pictures of construction equipment, though these items do make their appearances in my January set. As I wind up the month I am considering what color to choose next. I may just have to throw eleven colors into a hat and pick one at random. Just one month in I think taking color pictures may be like having more than one child; each month is my favorite, but how can I choose?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Random Quote and Unrelated Photo of the Week


I was using his Inuit lore against him, forcing him to respond reasonably, a rare sign of weakness on his part.

Don DeLillo
Midnight In Dostoevsky

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Small Blog, Big Idea?

Mayberry Mom has a Room of Your Own idea for Blogher 2010.

Here is the synopsis: Make your blog work for you, no matter how big or small your audience or reach. Size doesn't have to matter as long as you are getting what you want and need from your blog (which will be different for everyone). We'll also touch on how to grow, sanely, if in fact that's important to you. For new bloggers, and for veteran bloggers who fear they've reached a plateau.
This is an issue that really interests me. I have been blogging for 4 years and have a small (but wonderful) group of readers. For the most part this is just right for me, but once in a while (say, when those "best of" lists come out) my smallness stings a little. I am interested in hearing what others think about having a "small blog", whether it is a joy, a temporary situation, or something else.
No matter what your take on small blogs, please vote for the inclusion of this session in the Blogher '10 program. Go here to comment or vote (or both)!   (you have to be logged in to Blogher to comment or vote)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Not At All Random Quote

We must all learn to live together as brothers or we will perish together as fools.

Martin Luther King Jr.
December 18, 1963

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Random Quote and Unrelated Photo of the Week


I come from a large family. My father was big and ugly, my mother had a nasty disposition and didn't like me; and there were 26 of us. It took three hours just to wash the dishes, but Christ hung on that cross for three hours and He never complained.

Christopher Durang
Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Glipses of Pure Joy

Ada got a bicycle for Christmas. Santa got the credit, but Chris and I got to see Ada enjoying the bike, so it works out okay. She likes biking on the sidewalk, but gets a little nervous about going downhill. We decided to walk to our local elementary so that Ada would have a lot of space to ride around.

taking a spin

My favorite from the whole set

On the way home Ada asked if the training wheels come off. I told her they can, and asked if she would like to learn to ride without them. Yes. Yes she would.

These pictures do a lot to remind me why I wanted to be a parent.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Special Relationship

Chris and I put Ian and Mira to sleep each night with a bottle and some snuggling. One of us sits with a toddler in our bedroom, while the other uses the rocker in the kids' room. Ada likes to be upstairs while we do this, and more and more she wants to be in the room with one of us. This used to be a problem, as her presence made it hard for the babies to relax and fall asleep. These days it is easier for her to lounge on the bed next to where I sit cradling Ian in my arms. (We do have somewhat of a loosely enforced "no squirming" policy, however.)

Recently I sat on my bed with Ian as he drank his pre-bed bottle. Ada lay under the covers, peeking up periodically to see us and try to grab my attention. At some point she started singing Ian a lullaby of her own invention. Hearing her sing to him, Ian strained to sit up a little and smiled around his bottle. Ada was thrilled, and thus inspired she continued singing until the bottle was finished and Ian was ready for bed.

There was something in their reaction that made me think for the first time about the relationship that Ada and Ian will have one day. It isn't that I do not notice their interactions. Just today I laughed as Ada whipped Ian into a frenzied laughter, getting him to chase her and keeping close enough to hold his attention without making it too easy for him to grab her. He and Mira watch Ada like hawks, taking in her every move and mimicking her in so many ways. She is often the first person Ian and Mira asks about when they get up. It is clear that they love her, but now I saw a glimmer of the special relationship they will develop and thought how that relationship will have nothing to do with me or my relationship with either of them.

This realization came with the recognition that my children will have other relationships that will quickly eclipse the bonds they have with Chris and with me. It was an electric moment, because this hits at a big part of why I wanted to have more than one child. I wanted to give my children the opportunity to have this kind of relationship with a sibling, the kind I have with my sister.

It isn't that my parents are not important to me. On the contrary, I am quite close with my parents and have a full relationship with them that runs from chatting about how wonderful my children are to health policy "shop" talk. But my relationship with my sister, even when we are not a period of constant communication, is one of the most important in my life. She is my confidant, my entertainer, my adviser and my shoulder to cry on.

I know not all siblings have a close relationship, either as children or adults. And I know I can't engineer things how I want them for my children. But I do hope that Ada, Mira and Ian will be as lucky as I am and have close and lasting relationships with one another. It doesn't seem too much to ask.

Maybe he should be thanking me after all

The day-to-day operations of our home and family take a lot of work. Definitely more work than with just one child. For the most part Chris and I are pretty on top of things, but this does not leave a lot of room for relationship maintenance. Chris and I have been married for over nine years, and we were a couple for another eight years before that. We have worked out a lot of what couples need to work out to stay together, but as with any relationship, you can't just ignore the work of a relationship forever (trying desperately to work in an auto repair analogy and failing wildly).

Lately I have felt the effect of this lack of focus. I am not trying to suggest that things are going poorly, but I find myself snapping at Chris than I'd like, especially when I know that I am annoyed at him for things that in other circumstances would not bother me at all. To counteract this crankiness and (for lack of a more descriptive or smooth term) emotional disconnection, I am taking purposeful steps to cement our emotional bond. Specifically, I am kissing Chris more. Before he leaves in the morning, upon my return from work, after we have put the babies to bed and we are standing together in the kitchen. This is a very small thing, but sometimes I forget to show Chris how much I love him and enjoy his company. Through my actions I remind him and remind myself. So, yes Chris, I am doing this because I love you and because it reminds me that I love you. (I can almost see him laughing at me because he has just realized that once again, I have found a way to multi-task, even in my emotional life. I am all about efficiency.)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Growin' Out...

Ian's stellar growth inspired the following (with apologies to Irving Berlin):

Here he comes lookin' for his pjs
It's for sure, sure and not for maybe
Don't ask when he'll get new ones
Here he comes so hear straight from the baby:

If I seem to babble and moan
It's because I have grown
I may really look a sight
Wearing the clothes that come with night
You don't have to ask me
I won't waste your time
But if you should ask me
Why I feel sublime

Growin' out of my pjs
Can't be wrong that they feel too tight
It's for sure, not for maybe
That I'm all dressed up tonight

Growin' out of my pjs
Can't be bad that I'm so strong
Never felt quite so big now
And my new pair is super long

There'll be smooth sailin' 'cause Mom's trimmin' my nails
With a bright shine on my head it never fails

Growin' out of my pjs
Put me in some ones that fit
Ask me when will the day be
The big day may be tonight

Yum, Ladybug
This photo may over-illustrate the idea that he's gotten huge.

For those not familiar with the original, skip to 4 minutes 30 seconds of this clip from Easter Parade. It is worth it for the fancy footwork by Fred Astaire.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Do I really WANT her to be the good kid?

Ada is very good friends with Lila, the girl down the street. Ada has told us that when they are grown, she and Lila will get married and have babies together. Lila's mom reports that Lila has the same plan.

This close friendship is as I'd hoped, but it is not without its down-sides. Specifically, Ada and Lila are what you might call "naughty" together; they do not attempt to burn down the house or try to suffocate their siblings, but they misbehave together much more than either of them do with other children. Over the past few months, together they have: tried to pee standing up (unsuccessful from the vantage point of getting the urine in the toilet); drawn on each others' arms, bellies and faces; cut Lila's hair; torn apart a very nice book; colored on all manner of things that should not be treated that way (a wall, a stuffed Minnie Mouse, my papers...); tried to poop standing up (again, with decidedly unhappy results for our bathroom floor)... This is not an exhaustive list, but you get the idea.


On Tuesday Ada and Lila were using glitter pens in the kitchen, making art while sitting on the floor. I had given them newspaper to put under their masterpieces, and felt reasonably comfortable sitting in the next room feeding Mira. This was foolish of me, because once merely squirting glitter paint on the paper lost its thrill, the girls decided to drag out the glue and stick some pages together. This might have gone alright, except that they decided that, having used a fair bit of glue, they should protect the floor with a kitchen towel, which of course became saturated with glue and glitter paint. Actually, I am not sure if they were trying to protect the floor, but in any case we are down a dishtowel. At least they had the decency not to ruin one of the new ones, so there's that.

L & A & babies 11/09

Together Ada and Lila get into trouble. Or rather, they make trouble. It isn't clear to me who is instigating these misdeeds, but it has occurred to me that as Ada is not prone to this kind of behavior on her own or with other friends, she may be following Lila's lead. While I might be glad that she is not coming up with these ideas, I am not especially thrilled with the idea that my daughter is the kind of kid who goes along when someone tells her to do wrong. Okay, she is only four, and maybe it is not fair of me to expect her to use common sense. Maybe common sense is just beyond the capacity of any four year old, no matter how smart and charming the child.

As a parent, I want my child to be able to play independently without making me worry that she'll destroy the house. So far I have been very lucky in that Ada is both fairly willing to follow a limited set of house rules and disinclined to engage in what one might call "wet mess" (she doesn't like to be wet or sticky). As she gets older and more willingly tests the waters of independence, I can not help but feel a little shocked by her small rebellions. She is still great, but I can see parenting getting increasingly harder on this dimension. I want Ada to experiment, to think for herself, to try new things. But I also want her to listen to me and think before she acts. I think she and I both have some maturing to do on this.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Random Quote and Unrelated Photo of the Week

s & mummy man

We agreed that there should be a conspiracy by the blind to take over all levels of government.

Dennis Shulman

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

We REALLY need to get some high chairs

I have been very resistant to getting high chairs for the babies. The one we had for Ada was a hand-me-down, and it was sort of on its last legs when we got it. Once she was able, we put Ada in a booster-style seat so she could sit at the table with us. By the time Ada was done using the high chair, I was thrilled to get rid of it.

We started feeding Mira and Ian before either of them were able to hold themselves in a seated position. It made sense to use the Bumbo chairs to prop them up while we fed them. They work pretty well, except that Mira has developed an annoying habit of leaning over to grab whatever she can reach. Before we can feed her we have to move everything out of the way (her reach is pretty impressive, given how little she is) and strategically place the food so that she can not get to it on her own. Plus, there is the whole problem that once I am faced with a baby sitting in a Bumbo (which is on the table) I can't just walk away to get more food. As Chris and I often feed the babies together, usually someone else is around if one of us needs to get up, but when I am by myself, the kids like to eat more than I have planned for.

This weekend Mira kept going for the spoon, so when I needed to smush up some more avocado, I let the kids distract themselves with the plasticware.

I & M eating 2

I & M eating 1

Monday, January 04, 2010

Getting Out

I just watched John and Kate Plus Eight for the first time. The episode centered around the family's trip to the pumpkin patch, and the parents talked about how they get organized to leave the house with all those kids. Putting aside the fact that just the fact of having six children at once seems crazy to me, it is a little humbling that these people could have ever left their house or gotten anything else done with so many children. It feels like a lot of work to get out of the house with all three of my children, even when there are two adults involved.

When Ian and Mira were newborns it was actually a bit easier, as they were small enough to cart around for hours. Plus, they would sleep wherever we were, so we didn't worry much about their schedules. Now that they have a schedule of sorts it is hard to coordinate everything so that Mira and Ian are diapered and fed with enough time left over for us to get out before they need to go back to sleep. (And wow, the whole eating thing? I had forgotten how much time that takes.) Even when we can get out, recently Ada has taken to declaring that whatever outing we propose is not to her liking. (We are hearing "that's boring" a lot.)

Mira, 7 months
Mira, enjoying the outside world

For some things, like doctor visits, we just deal. When you need to go somewhere, you go even if conditions are not ideal. For "fun" stuff, I am finding it much easier to leave one parent at home with the babies while the other takes Ada out on an excursion. Sometimes our friend Juniper visits and can coax Ada out of the house for a few hours.

Last week Juniper was here with us, and for once the stars aligned. Not only were Ian and Mira awake and fed, but Ada was willing to go out. It helps that it wasn't raining, but the real reason Ada was willing to go out was that the outing was to Stumptown for hot drinks. Ada will do almost anything for cocoa. We popped the babies into the new double stroller and zipped down to Stumptown for sugar and caffeine. After a quick side trip to the , we headed over to the Swap Shop to play a little. When the babies got hungry and tired, I took them home while Juniper and Ada stayed behind with friends.

Ada with cocoa

When Juniper and I saw the opportunity to get out, we hopped on. It took us a little time to get the kids bundled up and into the stroller, but we were out. I was so proud of myself for getting us all out the door with such speed, but in retrospect my speed masked a total lack of organization. What was I thinking? We didn't bring diapers or extra milk, either of which could have spelled disaster. All in all it went well, but only because Ian and Mira are so easygoing. Watching John and Kate... in which the parents are forced to be totally organized and prepared reminded me of how lucky I am to have things work out even when I let things slide. I also watched the parents crab at one another and be stressed by the normal things of life, and was reminded how much harder it could be. Not just if we had more kids, but if the kids we have were different.

Ian, 7 months
Sadly, this may the least dried snot on Ian's face in two weeks

One of my resolutions for the year is to not let the fact of having two babies keep us from doing the things we want to do with our kids, whether that is an outing at the park or fun day trips. As my confidence as a parent of twins increases, this becomes easier and more fun. Now if I can just remember to bring diapers and snacks...

Friday, January 01, 2010

Random Quote and Unrelated Photo of the Week


Postmodernism is the Swiss Army knife of critical concepts.

Louis Menand
Saved From Drowning