thoughts at 3 months: this is the world my girls must grow up in

Just like the most of humanity, I am officially terrified of the world we live in. I know we have all been overloaded with details, pictures, and videos from the Florida shooting, but it still has me shaken. After watching it live on TV while the shooter was still at large – I cannot help but fear for the world my girls are going to grow up in. It scares me to think about how people will be when they get to school. Will there be security guards at every door? Will they have to walk through metal detectors? Will teachers have to be armed in classrooms? Will my girls be afraid to leave the house with the possibility that their school is next?

Unfortunately, I don’t see anything getting any better – and that scares the shit out of me.

RUMI QUOTE

I hate fighting. I hate violence. But what I hate more is that I don’t think anything will really make the change we all want to see, as depressing as that sounds. We can take a stand and make our voices heard. We can make more mental health services available. We can speak up when we feel something may lead to another shooting or death. But if someone wants to get their hands on a gun and they want to kill people – they will.

I have always been very hippie’esque (yes, I made up a word) when it comes to difficult topics that cause angry debate. I have always stayed away from political discussions because I really don’t think just because you believe something different than someone else it should make-or-break your friendship or relationship. We are all unique human beings and we all have our own set of beliefs. This is something I hope Elora and Lucy will embrace and understand when it comes to themselves and those around them. But the one thing that bothers me most is when situations like the Florida shooting happen, everyone continues to debate and debate and what happens? Nothing. It all happens again.

It is a sick cycle and if people continue to focus on their differences and not listen to one another and find a solution, the cycle will continue. The cycle will continue and our children will be the ones at the next school with some mentally unstable child running the halls with a gun… or a knife or hammer or, hell, a blowtorch. I am not a fan of guns, but I know it is the person behind the weapon that makes the final decision to kill. We need to get to those people before they make these decisions. But will we get to them before they murder others if we continue to disagree and debate?

No.

KIDS QUOTE brookeREALIZATIONS AT 3 MONTHS

Now that I have ended my venting session, I am lucky my girls have two very supportive parents that are absolutely in love with them – though we may not always see eye-to-eye politically. Again, you can have some different beliefs and still have a loving, successful relationship – it is absolutely possible. Love, balance, and patience are critical when it comes to parenting and relationships – this I have discovered over these crazy, crazy months. If you keep those three factors in mind, everything will be okay.

These girls, however, sure have made us think these past few months. One day they are downing each bottle at every feeding and the next day they barely finish half of their bottle at feedings. One night they sleep soundly in the same spot and the next night they are halfway down their crib and horizontal. They definitely keep us on our toes and, yes, burnout is real. That is why it is important to find time for yourself; find time to workout or grab coffee or be creative. Never forget to focus on your own happiness.

  • No one talks about the slowdown when it comes to nursing/breastfeeding/pumping. After three months of pumping, I decided to stop. Since we started increasing the amount during feedings, I found I was having a very hard time physically keeping up. I knew it would not be an easy process, but I did not know how painful and frustrating it would be. People always talk oh-so positively about breastfeeding and nursing, but they don’t talk about what it is like to slow-down the process. Luckily I knew people who could share how they had slowly stopped pumping, but I find it frustrating that it isn’t something nurses, lactation consultants and OBGYN’s discuss at follow-up appointments. The slowdown has caused me to have low-grade fevers, body aches, headaches, nausea and horrible pain (all of this is supposedly normal). This needs to be something brought up at appointments so others can be more knowledgeable of how to go about doing it.
  • Two babies are more than enough. Mike and I are absolutely fine with just having these two little girls. We are absolutely fine not ‘trying for a boy’ or ‘trying for baby #3 in the future.’ I also find it funny that people automatically assume we may want a bigger family. After my hellish pregnancy, I truly do not want to ever experience that again. Though it was fun feeling them move around inside, the pain and stress were horrid. Also, we both agree that we are perfectly content with it being just us and our little girls – and Theodore, of course.
  • We have two social, small humans on our hands. The girls are beginning to babble and talk and focus much more than they have been in months prior. It is truly so fascinating to watch them as they look at pictures in books and listen to our voices when we talk to them. They are becoming their own little people with their own personalities. One has blue eyes, one has dark eyes. One has thicker hair, one has thinner hair. They both have completely different noses, cries, and body shapes. It keeps becoming more and more obvious how completely different they both are and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Mama Venting Session: Tears, Emotions and Holding Onto Hope

I was put on this planet to be a good woman and to raise good women.” – Drew Barrymore on The Ellen DeGeneres Show (Feb. 9th, 2018)

All parents understand the rush of emotions that comes with meeting your baby (or babies) for the first time. Those emotions stay pretty strong as days move forward and your hormones, well, they stick around for the transition. This transition into parenthood was an emotional one, but really, the entire pregnancy was a ball of ridiculous emotions.

A GOOD MOM pic quote

I felt anger because of unexpected family issues. I felt sadness when Mike left for Texas for three months. I felt pain when my back issues made me go on disability from work. I felt comfort when living with my mom. I felt frustration moving from Rochester to Syracuse to Buffalo in a matter of three months. I felt true love when meeting Elora and Lucy for the first time.

The thing is – those emotions don’t end, they just change a little bit.

Over the last few months, I have transitioned into parenthood with full force because, well, there wasn’t any other way. I was in a new city without family nearby or any close friends to lean on. I had to figure out how to feed both babies at once when Mike was at work for two days in a row. I had to figure out how to carry both babies in their car seats into doctor’s appointments when on my own. I had to manage their feedings and my pumping so we had a working schedule.

I have gotten into a somewhat comfortable routine, but the other night I had my first, tearful breakdown when alone with the girls. When I am feeding both of them, I typically put them both in their boppies, sit between them or kneel in front of them and feed them their bottles. Of course, they sometimes cry before the feeding because, well, if it’s just me I can only move so fast. I am used to the pre-bottle screams and tears, but during this feeding, they both decided to be absolutely miserable. They were screaming. I tried adjusting them, talking to them and burping them and nothing helped. So I cried.

I felt so, so horrible because I had absolutely no idea what to do. They had never cried this hard before and being I was alone, I broke down and joined in on their Cry Fest. After some time, they tired themselves out and fell asleep – waking up with smiles as if nothing had happened. I realized this was normal, but for a moment I felt more overwhelmed than I had since the very beginning of it all when I could barely move without pain from the c-section. However, their little smiles helped change my negative mindset into a more positive one – even though lately my mindset has been a tad scattered.

I haven’t worked since being put on disability in June and just recently has it started really getting to me. Now that my disability has ended, I have no solid, continuous income coming in and I am not one to rely on Mike or my family to financially support me. While it’s great I will start teaching aerial yoga soon and that I get the occasional freelance writing assignment sent my way, I need a job that pays regularly. I have come to the realization that working a full-time job right now is absolutely out of the picture – the girls going to daycare would eat up every penny. It has also been tough finding a job that would work around Mike’s odd work hours.

PARENTHOOD quote pic

I am hopeful that a solid, long-term freelance writing position will finally work out so I can stay at home and do just that. I will keep searching for opportunities and also keep sending out to literary agents, hoping Twentysomething can get picked up. I am planning to really change the overall outline of the story and once I find time to do that (if it isn’t picked up before I make changes – and if it was, I would be ecstatic), I can get back to some conferences and start sending out queries. I will never give up on publication – I will find an agent.

I am just trying to figure out this new life I was thrown into and for being completely thrown into it, I think I’ve done a damn good job handling the stress that comes with it. Being someone who was worried about facing postpartum depression, I honestly feel so much better now that these girls are on the outside with us. Pregnancy depression and anxiety were real though – that I cannot deny.

Now, I must focus on the following and do it with everything I got:

  • Keep searching for a solid part-time job. Whether it be more freelance writing, teaching more aerial/working more parties or working evenings at a coffee shop – I need to make money. I have applied to many, MANY freelance positions and only have a couple worked out thus far. However, they are not regular and continuous – which is what I need. I need to make more calls, send more emails and really get creative when it comes to finding work.
  • Make a daily schedule for myself and the girls. Being I am home most days with the girls while Mike works, I need to start making a real schedule for myself. I typically nap when they have their morning nap, do laundry/dishes after and search for jobs in the afternoon while watching crappy daytime talk shows – Ellen is still the only daytime talk show really worth watching. I need a more detailed routine that includes time for my own personal writing and time for home-exercise (other than when I get to escape to aerial). I need to focus on myself a little more in that aspect.
  • Work on my patience. While I have discovered that I have more patience than I thought when it comes to all this parenting stuff, I need to still work on it. Doesn’t every parent? I love these girls with all my heart and they can sense if I am happy or upset or on edge. I want them to grow up knowing I did everything I could to make them happy all while keeping myself and their father happy as well.

Two months with twins: What I’ve learned

And just like that – two months have flown by. In the big scheme of things, it seems like these little ladies haven’t changed all that much. The sleep, they eat, they poop. However, after spending every day with them, it’s obvious they have already grown so much.

The girls are reacting to our smiles and voices so much more and smiling and mimicking our expressions (sticking their little tongues out when we stick out ours). They don’t want to be in one place for as long and they also are very slowly beginning to sleep longer at night. We have been lucky to have two girls who will go about four hours between BABIES flower shirtsfeedings during the day and, sometimes, five-ish hours at night between feedings. I am trying to fully embrace this time between feedings at night because when they begin teething, I am sure that span will change drastically.

There have been moments of overwhelming chaos and moments of pure joy. I think having a mix of those two emotions is pretty much the definition of parenthood. Every day I am learning something new about these little girls, something new about my patience and something new about Mike’s amazing ability to be a father.

What I’ve learned:

Taking time for yourself is crucialBeing I am not working full-time (and with daycare prices, am unsure if full-time work is in my near future at all), I am home with the girls most of the time. Though I love them dearly, Cabin Fever does set in. Luckily, I’ve had support from family, friends, and Mike and am able to escape to take time for myself when I need it. I am also able to freelance write occasionally when an assignment comes my way. You must take time for yourself at least once a week if you want to maintain sanity. I have been able to slowly get back into Aerial Arts and when we can, Mike and I escape to grab coffee. Even if it’s just walking the dog for ten minutes or taking a bath (with wine… always with wine), if you don’t take care of yourself – you can’t take care of your baby/babies. This is something I strongly believe in. This also means I MUST get out of this ‘Writer’s Block Rut’ and get those creative juices flowing again. Naptime now means ‘Writing Time’ – I have ideas, now it’s time to get writing.

The Binky: A Blessing and A Curse. Both of my girls have their Wubbanubs – Elora has her giraffe and Lucy has her hippo. When they are upset, yes, the binky soothes them and often allows them to calm down. However, the amount of times they scream because that damn binky has fallen out of their mouth is absolutely insane. Sometimes we wish we had never introduced it, but other times we are so glad we did. We have grown to have such a love-hate relationship with those damn binkies. Be wise when binkying, all. Be wise.

No parenting style is the same. This kind of comes as a no-brainer, but the more I talk with other parents, the more I realize how different everyone’s views on certain things are when it comes to parenting. While my girls go four hours between feedings and get about four ounces per feeding (for right now), some people feed their baby/babies every hour and give them only one ounce or so. To make it so our girls don’t roll around in their cribs, we push two, small, very tightly rolled blankets at their sides while some people will not put anything inside a crib except for the baby. We swaddle, some people are against swaddling.  Some people don’t think their babies should sleep in their crib right away while our girls have slept in their cribs from day one. I pump and formula feed, some people strictly breastfeed. Many people say, “Never wake a sleeping baby,” while we say, “Screw that – we have twins and they have to be on the same schedule” (luckily, they’ve stayed on the same schedule and are great sleep-eaters at night). It truly amazes me how many different parenting styles there are and it really depends on the baby/babies and the parents. There is no right or wrong parenting style as long as the baby is safe. It’s as simple as that.

Traveling with twins is hell. I am sure when you travel with a singleton, it is stressful. Getting the baby bundled up in the car seat, getting the diaper bag packed and pre-warming up the car (if you live where the air hurts your face), is overwhelming in itself. However, with twins, it’s doubly as stressful and just over the last month did I realize the stress that comes with traveling. The babies are growing, so they are harder to carry at once when you are traveling alone or getting them ready on your own. Also, with one car seat in each hand – it’s not easy on your back, which sometimes means numerous trips 221ed12465830a2b574c53e0a7630abeout to the car. However, once you get to where you want to go – it’s worth it. Always keep the final destination in mind. That may help push through the pain of carrying two car seats at once or forgetting the diaper bag at home or when the binkies come out and they are screaming in the backseat. And always have coffee in the car. Coffee.

Small realizations:

  • I’ve started getting used to my postpartum body. Even though my belly pooch is frustrating and I’d love for it to go away, I understand it will take time.
  • Start checking out parenting/pregnancy blogs or websites such as
  • www.cafemom.com, www.scarymommy.com and www.twinmom.com. It’s great to read about the experiences of other parents.
  • Cabin Fever is real. I cannot say enough how important it is to get out of the house and take even ten minutes for yourself.
  • The girls have started their own wonderful routine of being wide awake around 6:00 AM and only being happy on their swings while listening to John Mayer Pandora (yes, they chose that station all on their own…). While it’s lovely they’re both on the same schedule, I’d prefer they want to listen to music contently from their cribs so I can sleep.
  • Sleep. It doesn’t happen. Coffee does.
  • I feel bad for my poor Theodore. He’s stuck inside with these two tiny humans all day and a mom who can’t leave as often to walk him or bring him to the dog park. Throwing the ball down the hallway and spooning when I sleep isn’t enough. I feel bad for the poor schnauzer… but damn, I love him so much and he’s been so good with the babies.
  • Pumping is still the most obnoxious thing in the world. Worth it, but obnoxious.
  • Getting back into the swing of working out (especially Aerial Arts) is not easy. I’ve only been back in the studio a few times and I already pulled a muscle, am incredibly sore and am not used to this new body I have to work with. Again, I know it will take time, but it’s hard to be patient when I want to do what I used to be able to so easily do.
  • Patience. Always patience.

 

Secret to Patience: Remembering Supermom Moments

With newborns come sleepless nights, fierce cries and lots and lots of laundry. Those parenting factors are pretty much given when you step into that role. With twins, the same obvious factors occur – just double. Double the sleeplessness. Double the crying. Double the laundry. I knew it wouldn’t be easy and that I would get frustrated, but what I didn’t realize was that I would actually have more patience than expected.

CRYING both.jpgOne night specifically triggered this realization. Mike was working and it was just Theodore, the girls and I at the apartment. The girls were screaming and I fed them, bathed both of them, rocked them and put them to sleep all within an hour – still with time for me to take a much-needed bath before bed.

Once I got into bed, I realized I had experienced my first Supermom Moment.

You hear people use that phrase and I’ve witnessed cousins and friends who I would definitely say are Supermoms – being able to calm their screaming children or get all five of their kids ready in under ten minutes. I hadn’t really felt as if my parenting had given me this type of feeling before this night had happened and once I felt it, I continued to think back to it for guidance.

I have been able to use that Supermom Moment to give me patience when the girls will not stop crying or I am running on little sleep and feel drained. I think back to that night when I fed them, bathed them, rocked them and got them both into bed all on my own and am able to remain calm when they definitely aren’t. I think, “If I could get through that, I can get through this.” I’ve always thought my high anxiety would get the best of me during these stressful, parenting moments. However, this way of thinking has oddly been helpful.

And if it helps, why not stick with it?