Getting Out of the House with Twin Babies (Pittsburgh Edition)

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So I’ve done it now, twice. I’ve left the house with the babies, with no help, and driven somewhere in the car. Yesterday we went to Old Navy and I bought them some birthday outfits–they are almost ONE YEAR OLD (huh?!) but that’s another post. Then today we went to the East End Food Coop.

If you’ve been reading for a while you may remember how I used to get out of my walk-up in Brooklyn. For comparison, here’s the new way of getting out of the house.

Step 1: Make sure babies are dressed to go and wearing clean diapers.

Step 2: Carry heavy stroller from porch down three steps to the street. Carry stroller seats down and assemble stroller.

Step 3: Carry one baby down three steps to stroller and buckle in.

Step 4: Get second baby and buckle in.

Step 5: Wheel ten feet to the car.

Step 6: Strap Baby A into car seat.

Step 7: Carry Baby B around to other side of car and strap into car seat.

Step 8: Collapse stroller. Hoist stroller and seats into trunk.

Step 9: Drive away.

This part really wasn’t bad, though I won’t say food shopping while hauling along the double stroller with two restless babies plus a shopping cart wasn’t a challenge. I don’t think I could have made it up the little hill to where my car was parked if someone hadn’t offered help.

Also this is unrelated, but I realized when I got out that I was wearing a shirt and pants that didn’t match, and also that it was the first time I’d looked down at what I was wearing all day. I had at least, before I left, checked whether my sweater was stained and half-heartedly tried to rub some dried baby snot/food out of it. I ran into two people I knew at the coop (which is about all the people I know in Pittsburgh) so I guess there’s no more being anonymous.

Still, I can go places with the babies. Watch me.

 

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See here for more getting out of the house craziness:

The New, New Way of Getting Out of the House Sucks

On Getting Out of the House With Twins

Getting Out of the House: Brooklyn Walk-up With Twins

 

 

 

 

The Fresh Air Drug

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Something happens to your brain when you don’t leave the house. It isn’t a good thing. On the first day you become lazy. The babies are asleep, D arrives home in the evening and asks if I want to go out for a walk. Nah, it’s freezing out, and dark.

The next day the worries start to creep in. Not enough “likes” on a blog post sends you into a tailspin of insecurity. Why are you looking at the Internet when you should be ticking things off the endless to-do list, working toward achieving goals, cleaning the kitchen for the third time that day, washing the bibs for the umpteenth time, preparing to move in two weeks, playing with your babies who smile hopefully every time you look over at them? These four walls are suffocating, and now you have a headache.

You’re just one workout away from a good mood. 

Thank you to D for alerting me to this catchy mantra. I used to run regularly. That went out the window soon into my twin pregnancy. But even short of exercise, just getting fresh air does wonders. In the past, the only reason a day would pass without my having left the house would be if I had the flu. Welcome to my new life with twin babies in a walk-up.

Today, Bean screamed for the entire time it took me to carry everything and everyone up and down the two flights. (She was sitting in a bouncy seat outside my neighbors’ apartment for most of this time–sorry neighbors!) In addition, the stoop was icy, which was nerve-wracking to navigate with screaming baby. But we made it.

A few inches of snow fell yesterday and it was still all over the ground, making pushing the double stroller difficult in parts, but frankly I couldn’t care less because the air was so bright and crisp and I was outside. Here are a few things we saw in the park:

A girl jumping rope in an allée of bare sycamores.

A shimmer of snow drifting out of a tree, through a beam of sun.

A flock of starlings eating seeds off of a honey locust, shaking down little drifts each time one landed (this reminded me of a poem I love by Robert Frost, “Dust of Snow” which you can read here)

Two young boys hugging the trunk of a snow-laden pine tree, trying to shake snow onto themselves.

And then I forgot to be depressed.

Thank you Sunset Park.

The New, New Way of Getting Out of the House Sucks

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This morning started very, very early. It was dark and I don’t remember clearly except there was crying and I said to D, “Maybe you should go check if her diaper’s wet.” And it wasn’t long after that that I had to get up anyway. In spite of the tiredness, though, I was determined to get the babies out of the house today since the weather is okay and they didn’t go out all weekend.

My first attempt was around 10 am. I stood for a while at the top of the stairs staring down the steps at the front door leading to the stoop, imagining carrying the babies and everything two flights out of the house. Then I suddenly decided that at nearly 20 lbs each they are now too heavy for me to carry one around in the Ergo anymore. This meant my New Improved Method of Leaving the House, involving the umbrella stroller plus Ergo, was now obsolete. 

Half an hour later, after hauling out our behemoth double stroller from behind the stored AC, banging down the two seat attachments from the closet, lifting babies in and out of seats to adjust and readjust straps, looking up Internet stroller operating instructions, I was too tired to try to go outside. I decided I would recoup my strength and try again in the afternoon. 

So here was the New, New Way of Getting out of the House, which frankly kind of sucked: 

1. Dress babies in layers. Bean commences screaming immediately. M is okay initially but begins to be unnerved by proximity of screaming sister and soon commences screaming.

2. Lug nearly 40 lb stroller plus two unwieldy seat attachments down first flight of stairs, then down second flight of stairs to the street. 

3. Set up stroller with seat attachments at the bottom of the stoop, street level. 

4. Sprint back upstairs, worrying that f*ing expensive, irreplaceable, thousand-pound stroller, which is also the only way I can get out of the house alone, will be stolen. 

5. Pick up both SCREAMING babies. They are now so breathless and overheated with insane sobbing that picking them up doesn’t even calm them down. Consider briefly just staying in the house–imagine being in the house with two screaming babies–recommence leaving plan. Try to lift both babies at once. I can barely straighten my back. Try to lift with my knees, grunting like a bench presser. 

6. Carry them down two flights of stairs (Still screaming). I’ve got one of them around the armpits, but her bottom half is dangling like she might slip out. Can’t reach keys. Leave apartment door unlocked because F* THAT. 

7. Set *SCREAMING* *SWEATY* babies in stroller. (Neighbor arrives home at this point. He says something, I say something. Don’t remember). 

8. Set out on my walk! Outside! Free! Babies fall asleep in stroller.

I am getting to the point where I might be willing to ask the neighbors if I can get a copy of their downstairs key and leave the stroller in the very small space outside their door at street level. It’s taken me…nearly eight months. Almost there. 

 

 

Maybe I Will Just Not Leave the House All Winter: Life With Twins

IMG_1445Today 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.

Is This Your Baby?

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I came around the corner. There was my landlady suddenly outside my door, standing over the baby I’d left there. “I was just coming up to the roof and ran into your baby, here.”

But here’s what happened. I swear I don’t just leave my babies lying around. I had just come back from a walk. Actually I had just come back from the most laborious trip to the bank ever. Or, just how every trip is now getting out of the house. (Eight trips up and down the stairs, lugging 25 lb of baby, car seat and stroller each way up and down. But anyway…)

When I got back home, I was at the final step of getting everything and everyone back into the apartment. Both babies were in their car seats back up on the third floor landing. All I had left to do was carry one into the apartment, then go get the other one and lug her in. Then shut the door behind me.

The landing is only for our apartment (and the door to the roof). We fill it with our mess of bicycles, shoes, boxes, ACs, etc. I carried Bean in first and took my time with her in the bedroom. She was falling into a nap, so I didn’t want to disturb her much, but I took off her hat, which seemed a bit too warm for indoors. Slowly I made my way back for M. I was tired.

“Aaaaaaah!” I cried. There was a big figure in black at my door. It took me a moment to see it was the landlady. Actually she isn’t big at all, she is maybe just over four feet tall. But big in comparison to the tiny people I am used to spending the day with. And behind her was a roofer. “I was just coming up to the roof and we ran into your baby, here.”

“Oh, sorry,” I stammered. For all they knew she had been there for hours. Maybe I made a habit of leaving babies lying around. “Every time I come in and out I have to carry the car seats up and down,” I said, as if that explained why my baby was in the hall. Oy vey.

“I’ll just close the door for the draft,” she said. Babies here, babies there, babies everywhere. And a mess to boot. Outed as a bad mother by a surprise visit from the landlady. It’s been a long day–time for me to go to bed.

Trapped With Twins!

trappedOne of the most difficult things for me about being a mother of twins has been the loss of mobility. Singleton mothers seem so free: put the baby in a sling and they’re good to go. I’ve become fixated on strollers, because I can’t leave the house without one. I cannot move anywhere without gear. Between me and the outside is twenty minutes of shlepping up and down stairs with stuff, as I chronicled in this past blog post.

Take right now. I’ve got one twin on me in a wrap. She is the slightest bit fussy. The other is asleep in the swing. If I only had this one baby, I could grab the diaper bag and walk out of the house right now! It looks like a beautiful day! I know it’s good for babies to be out in different environments, and it’s good for my mental health, too. If she got fussy I could just come back. Sounds simple, right? But with two, by the time I’m out there they will probably be ready to eat again and I’ll have to repeat it all to come back in.

So here I am writing a blog post instead, worried that my babies aren’t stimulated enough and don’t get enough fresh air. In short feeling like a bad mother, which seems to happen often with twins, since you can’t be everything for both at once.

Here is what sounds absolutely dreamy right now: putting on some stretch pants and a tshirt and going running through the park! Free! Short of that, I’d like to just take this baby, already on me, and just go to the friggin’ grocery store! Just walk down the stairs and away! Gosh dang it I feel trapped! Don’t worry, though, I won’t just sit here feeling sorry for myself. After the next feeding I will suck it up and get all the gear organized to get out of the house. Sigh.