My Story

The chronicle of the journey from infertility, to miscarriage, to finally raising twin girls born in June 2012.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Playing referee

I'm finding that in a lot of ways, I'm not the mommy I want to be.  I feel like I don't spend much of my time playing and teaching, but rather spend my day refereeing and putting out fires.

The girls frustrate each other a lot.  Middie Biddie just wants to sit and focus on something, but Teeny Tiny immediately wants to be involved so she practically shoves MB aside from what she's playing with and takes over.  Then she gets frustrated quickly and throws whatever it is and goes into melt down.  By that time, Middie Biddie has either sought solace on my lap or has moved on to another toy and the cycle starts over again.  TT wants to play with MB, and sometimes attempts to display some affection towards her, but MB has become so accustomed to TT just stealing her toys outright and ruining her games (we're seriously trying to stop this) that TT is simply not her favorite person at the moment.

Yesterday MB refused to nap so I got her up and we played with a clock puzzle for about an hour.  I haven't had this puzzle available to the girls yet because it's a toy that requires a lot of small pieces and around here, that means the toy will be destroyed quickly as the pieces are flung into small unreachable corners.  But with just one child, I was able to keep track of the pieces and she really enjoyed learning how the puzzle worked, and finding success in identifying numbers and where the shapes go.

I want to do more of this kind of thing.  Middie Biddie really enjoys the quiet concentration, and I want the opportunity to teach Teeny Tiny better frustration coping skills so she can enjoy it too.  But as it is, I don't get to do that, I just have to deal with the fire that springs up, get the children pacified, and then wait to spring into action for the next one.  As a result, we spend far too many days with the TV on because it greatly reduces the amount of tantrums.  Of course, it also greatly reduces the amount of learning and playing going on as well.

Oh, the TV.  Yeah, I'm that mom.  I'm not proud of it but it is what it is.  I'm accustomed to having the TV on all the time for my own entertainment so it's not shocking that I'm passing that on to my children.  Yesterday, I took the girls to the play area at the mall specifically to get them away from the TV and to get them to actively play.  What did I find when I got there?  They had installed a big screen TV inside the play area tuned to the channel that's a staple here at home.  Not cool Mall, not cool at all.

My folks are coming over tonight to watch the girls so K and I can go out.  I think I'm going to talk to them about finding an hour here and there throughout the week to take one of the girls out so I can play with each of them one at a individually from time to time.  K and I were going to try to do this on days that we're both home, but this really hasn't come to fruition.  Now that I'm working on the days that he isn't, on the rare occasion that we're both available as parents, we generally want to spend that time as a family of four rather than splitting up again.  So maybe if my parents can come and retrieve one child, take her back to their place for an hour to play, we can all get more one on one time that every child deserves, and I can spend more time being a better mom.  And maybe once they've had a little time apart, they'll enjoy each others company more when they're together.

More talking is happening

The girls verbal skills are continuing to improve and I'm working on being a better verbal coach to them.

I'm working on trying to talk them through any temper tantrums to give them some words to what they're feeling.  It's a slow process and I'm trusting that eventually they'll understand the emotions that pair with words like "mad" and "frustrated".

I'm also working on not just doing everything for them the realize I notice they want something, but rather I'm trying to make them ask.  Instead of just going into the kitchen and getting their water cups shortly after breakfast, I'm now asking if they want it, I ask them to ask me for it, and then go get it.  I think the way I anticipate their needs and desires is hindering their speech development.  Why would they ask for water if they have it in their hands 2 minutes before they notice they want it?

As such, they are eating a LOT of bananas.  They know that word, they enjoy saying that word, and now they are being rewarded by always getting one if they come and ask me for one.  They're now getting the connection that they can use a word as a request rather than simply to identify something they already have.  And after a week of being sick, bananas are easy on the stomach, so we're going through a ton of them.

We also had a big milestone moment this week.  It's one that most families probably did more than a year ago, but with K's crazy retail schedule and me usually feeding everyone at different times to accommodate that schedule, we don't eat dinner together very often.  When we do, the girls have been at their high chair table while K and I eat at the dining room table.  This is actually new for us, we usually just eat dinner on the couch in front of the TV after the girls go to bed.  But this week, we set up booster chairs at the dining room table and ate together like an actual family!

In other news, Middie Biddie knows her numbers really well.  Today while Teeny Tiny was taking a nap and Middie Biddie insisted on staying up, I tested this.  I got out a clock puzzle and started asking her for numbers out of order and asking her to identify numbers randomly.  I knew she could count, but yes, she can identify numbers even out of sequence!

She's also very good at identifying shapes with a particular fondness for triangles.
Teeny Tiny's claim to fame is her expert identification of colors and body parts.  She can mix up 4 colors of brand new playdoh into one giant marbled mush that shall never be 4 colors again, and she also plays a mean flute!  Ok, it's a ruler that she holds to her mouth and hums, but I say it counts!  They're geniuses I tell you, GENIUSES!

Friday, September 26, 2014

We got sick

A week ago, I was learning a certain life tip first hand.

*graphic content implied by the following life tip*

When you have the stomach flu, if you are going to puke, sit on the toilet and puke into a bucket.  Do not kneel in front of the toilet to puke.  Sometimes your body wants to get rid of everything in every direction at the same time.  I would like to thank K profusely for cleaning up the results of me not figuring out this life tip until the third round of violent vomiting and everything that went with it.  Many marital mysteries were ended that fateful night last week.

*graphic content over*

It started with Middie Biddie getting sick the one morning I had scheduled a play date with a bunch of online friends (Tuesday).  K went to get her up and I just hear "oh honey, you poor thing" from the nursery.  She woke up covered in vomit.  We hoped it was a fluke and began our day with breakfast and getting ready to go, and then she lost her breakfast.  So this big play date that I scheduled with people traveling from a couple of hours away to meet the girls, and we couldn't go.

Instead, we covered the couch with a blanket (blankets are easier to launder than couches) and puttered around the house with MB puking up anything that went into her while K went to work.  I put her hair up in high pigtails because for some reason, she kept getting vomit in her hair.

I did learn that the sink is still the easiest way to bathe the girls.  For a while I wasn't using it because they got to a stage where I couldn't be so focused on one and trust that the other wouldn't get into something, but that stage seems to have passed.  Now that attention spans are getting longer, I can turn my back for a bit and it's ok.  It's a whole lot easier than running a full bath and doing official bath time with both of them.  Middie Biddie had two or three emergency sink baths that day.

The next day (Wednesday) I went to work and K reports that she was still sick all day, though not as bad.  And that night, I got hit.  Holy canoli did I get hit!  Fortunately, K was off work the next day (Thursday) so I spent all night having everything in my system violently trying to get out of my system by any means of exit possible and spent the whole next day in bed while he took care of the girls.  I don't even remember that day other than waking up, taking the smallest sips of water or broth, and passing back out.  Apparently I was with it enough to call my new boss that morning to let him know I needed to call in sick, but I don't even remember having that conversation.

And Thursday night, K went down.  While I took the approach of not wanting to eat or drink anything because of the violent vomiting that would follow, K took the approach of continuously drinking water and allowing himself to get as sick as it would get him to flush it out of his system faster.  His approach did allow him to get through the illness faster than I did, but due to lifelong stomach issues, his body is also more accustomed to vomiting than mine is.  He finds it unpleasant obviously, but it's not as traumatic for him as it seems to be for me.

And Friday, Teeny Tiny fell prey to the bug and I spent the day cleaning up giant puddles of toddler puke.

After a week of nothing but jello and crackers, we're all back to eating actual food.  That was one lousy week.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A state of transition

It's been a busy couple of weeks!  Let's get updated.

I got that job that I talked about in my last post so I am now officially employed part time.  I've only worked 2 days so far, but it seems to be going well.  At the same time, I'm also trying to do a few hours of the work at home job per week.  And still at the same time, a shop owner contacted me about doing some wholesale for my pottery, so I've been producing like crazy to fill her first order.

For about a week, any minute that K was home, I was in the studio making mugs.  I have missed that so much!  It's one of those things that you forget how important it is to you until you start doing it again.  But now that the spark is back, I don't really have time to do it.  Fortunately this shop owner is talking about a Valentines order, a Mothers Day order, etc etc.  I found that with this first order, it took me only a couple of days to get it all made, but now I have to sit and wait for it all to dry before I can do the next step.  So I'm hoping that every 2-3 months, I'll have an order that takes about 3 solid days of work to fulfill like this one.  But we'll have to see how well things sell in her shop before we start seriously talking about future orders.

Scheduling has become a major issue around here.  K works retail so his schedule is never consistent.  On top of that, the way things work at his store have changed, primarily delivery times and frequency and other managers going on vacation, so just as I'm trying to establish some sort of schedule with my new job, everything we knew about his scheduling patterns have been thrown out the window and things are in too much of a state of flux to establish a new pattern.  This is totally stressing me out.  My boss is flexible which is great, but I can't even give him some sort of pattern to flex around.  Never knowing what days I can work the following week until we're right on top of it, well I'm nervous that the patience for this isn't going to last very long since my new boss doesn't know my value as an employee well enough to put up with it indefinitely.

Anyway, this all culminated into about a week or two where I was running like crazy and the girls and I barely saw each other.  It was kind of refreshing for me, rushing around accomplishing things, having responsibilities other than what the girls want of me at any given moment.  I've started feeling like a person again rather than just a lump that serves food.  It's also making me more interactive in the time I do have with them.

However, Middie Biddie isn't handling the change very well.  She's always been somewhat clingy and I think these periods of absence are giving her some separation anxiety.  She's crying a lot more during times that I need to tend to TT (like diaper changes).  K says that yesterday morning she was crying at our bedroom door, he thinks because usually when he gets them up, he's letting me sleep in a little bit and he thinks she thought that's where I was.

Last night was just awful.  She cried and screamed at bedtime and for a long time after lights out.  Usually when we put them into their cribs, Teeny Tiny snuggles down and is happy, Middie Biddie protests and cries.  We leave the room and within a minute she stops crying and starts singing or babbling.  Sometimes TT will join her and it turns into a giggling slumber party for a while.  Then TT gets tired and lies down to go to sleep leaving MB alone so MB starts crying.  Or if there hasn't been a party, MB will sing and babble to herself for about 45 minutes before starting to cry.  We check on her to make sure she hasn't pood (she does that at nap time, as soon as she relaxes, she poos, and then she gets a rash).  How she responds to the diaper check is what informs us about how to handle her not sleeping.  Usually, she's very smug and wants to chat and has a perfectly dry diaper.  In other words, she won.  We give her a minute or two of snuggles, tell her it's night night and she either goes right to sleep, or she cries until she figures out it won't work a second time.

But last night was different.  Her crying last night wasn't her trying to manipulate, it was genuine fear and distress.  So I spent about 4 hours trying to find the balance between not teaching her that manipulation will work, while at the same time calming her distress.  When I would go in and hold her, it would take her a couple of minutes to calm down (with manipulation, she's fine the moment one of us enters the room).  She would flop on me and start to relax but kept holding onto me.  The moment I would try to put her into the crib, she would scream just as stressed as before.  So until she finally passed out after midnight, I spent the night pacing around trying to figure out if I should let her fade out and it just might take a while, or go into a cycle of soothing then distress, soothing then distress, which would ultimately last a lot longer.  I ended up with the latter because I decided that fear of abandonment wasn't going to be cured by being abandoned.

I just put them to bed and it sounds like it's going to be the same tonight.*

In happier developments, itsy bitsy spider has become a number one hit.  TT keeps asking "again???" when I do it, and the other day MB busted out with "one more time!"  I laughed for quite a while from surprise on that one.

*Update!  She screamed a bit and after a few minutes, I got on the monitor and told her that I was here, and I needed her to snuggle down so I could sing the night night song again.  It took her a minute to believe me, but she sat down.  I told her to put her head on the pillow so I could sing.  She did, I did.  Didn't hear another peep out of her!!!