Yesterday morning I woke up early, before anyone else was awake. I went to the living room for a while, and when I came back I found D on the bed in his pajamas playing the guitar. He had the babies propped on our pillows, cozy under the blankets, and they were grinning ear to ear as D sang Puff the Magic Dragon. When I came in all three looked at me and the babies started their breathless smiling, arching their whole bodies with all-encompassing joy. What an amazing welcome. I felt so lucky to be a part of this little family, to get to climb in next to everyone and give Bean, next to me, a hug and kisses.
Yesterday not only did I manage to get myself and the babies out of the house on a frigid winter’s day, but I got us a Christmas tree. I bought it from the woman selling them in front of the KeyFood. She only had three of this smallest size tree left. One looked like a very sparse little Charlie Brown tree, one was crooked with a bald spot on the bottom, and the third looked like someone sat on it. I chose the crooked one. Then I carried it, and M in the ergo, and Bean in the stroller, back up the big hill and over four blocks and upstairs and home.
It fits next to the TV, sitting up on the cabinet. I didn’t have any ornaments, so I decorated it with ribbons from my wrapping paper supplies. I’m happy we have a little tree. It felt like we needed one. I wonder if we get the yule log channel on TV. I wonder if I can have any spiked eggnog while breastfeeding. ‘Tis the season.
Frumpy-looking moms in old jeans, hair in ponytails, spots on their clothes, tennis shoes: I get it now.
To the extent that mothers were on my radar at all before I had babies of my own, I had no idea why they would take it upon themselves to become unstylish. I thought maybe these sweatshirt and sneakers moms were just unstylish people, and I never thought I would count myself in their company. Not that I’m any sort of fashionista, but I try on clothes before I buy them, and I have some sense of what’s flattering.
With twin six-month olds, I don’t think I need to explain what I’m looking like these days, or why. I count it as an accomplishment finding time to take a shower every day. My overgrown hair…it’s going in a ponytail so it doesn’t get yanked. And anything I put on has to pass the, “Do I care if it gets spit up/drool/food stains on it?” This is not because I’m some frumpy-no-style who has given up all hope in her life–at least I hope not. I’m pretty sure it’s because I don’t have time.
Last month in the park I passed a group of teenagers. Two girls were doing a sort of bump and grind dance for the benefit of some boys sitting on a bench. As I passed with the babies in the huge double stroller, one of the boys called out, “You like that dance they’re doing?” And I suddenly saw myself through their eyes, as if I were ancient, just some mom passing by in the park.
I think they are having a growth spurt. They are devouring the food, opening their mouths for the next spoonful like hungry little birds. Today they ate prunes and oatmeal in the morning and squash and corn at night. Who can resist them? Look at those faces. How lucky am I.
Today it dawned on me that my carefully-devised system for leaving the house, which I described here, involving lugging car seats and strollers up and down two flights and finally carrying both twins at once down the front stoop, is not going to work when the weather gets frigid and there’s snow or ice on the steps. That will be the straw that breaks the camels back, so to speak (as they get heavier and heavier).
So I guess I will just not leave the house this winter. Or maybe leave in the morning very early while D is still home, if I can motivate before the crack of dawn. Would it be bad for the babies not to go outside during the week? I do think fresh air is important. Maybe I can just bundle everyone up and open the windows real wide. Today I managed to get us all out to the park. Bean was so comfortable in the stroller she fell asleep, and M, in the carrier, took the whole thing in, her little cheeks getting pinker. Bright eyes watching the trees, the people.
I’m too tired to think about it now. I’m sure we will figure something out.
ps: Here is a bit of good news. This weekend on a trip to IKEA I picked up these full body bib/smocks, which were just what we needed. Now I don’t have to change everyone’s outfit after eating, which saves some time. I should have bought about twenty.
Today we took the babies out in the snow for the first time, headed to a holiday party. We bundled them up in double layers of pants, bodysuits, sweaters, jackets hats and hoods. (We are probably over-cautious in the bundling department.) The last time it snowed I stood with them at the window; they were transfixed watching the white drifting.
On the way to the party, walking through the snow, M fell asleep on me in the ergo. When we got there it was a very cozy room full of talking, food and lights. They seemed to enjoy the whole experience. They are so patient and wide-eyed, happy to smile at everyone, constantly making new friends. On the way home, though we rushed with them through the snow, though the subway took forever to arrive, though I complained about how fast it would have been to drive, though it was past their dinnertime, they were unfazed. Content, just being in the moment. I’m sure there’s something to learn from them, there…
Don’t mind the mess. We will clean it up soon I swear.
I have a new way of getting out of the house. I’m not entirely sure if it’s an improvement over the old way, which you can read about here. The advantage of the new way is that once I’m out, all I have is a very lightweight umbrella stroller plus the other baby in the ergo carrier. I feel incredibly portable. I’m sure I could even fit through the checkout at the store. Plus, the babies are just too heavy to be lugging them, their car seats, and their very heavy double stroller up and down two flights. So, here for your consideration is my new leaving-the-house system:
Step 1: Bundle the babies up (it’s winter).
Step 2: Strap on the ergo. Carry the stroller, a car seat, and my jacket down to the first (but not ground level) floor. This takes two trips up and down.
Step 3: Carry a baby down to the car seat on the first floor and strap her in. Walk back upstairs.
Step 4: Strap the other baby into the ergo. Walk downstairs with her. Put on my jacket.
Step 5: Carry the stroller (with baby in ergo) down the stairs to street level.
Step 6: Walk back upstairs. Lift second baby out of car seat. Carry both babies at the same time down to street level.
Step 7: Strap second baby into the stroller.
Step 8: Roll out with one baby in the wrap, the other in the stroller.
Then, coming home, repeat the process coming back up.
I’m still not sure carrying both babies at the same time is the best solution to the problem, but it’s the best I’ve been able to come up with so far. It’s an evolving system. I am proud that I managed to leave the house today despite the dread that arises in me when I picture all the steps necessary to get out the door. In any case I’m getting my exercise, and probably keeping my brain fit solving these fox, river, rowboat puzzles, right?
As ever your Sparrow.
This is an ipad sketch of my mother holding Bean, copied from a photo taken last week over the holiday. It was a beautiful Thanksgivukkah. Won’t be another of those for 79,000 years.
I was inspired to go back to ipad sketching by my tech-forward grandmother, who was also at the celebration. She had downloaded a drawing app onto her own ipad after seeing a recent David Hockney show. She had us all ipad sketching.