Saying Goodbye. Bang Bang Pop Pop.

Me, Sheppard, Roan, Anson + Smith

Me, Sheppard, Roan, Anson + Smith

I’m not so much a fade-to-black person as I am a cut-and-roll-the-swelling-anthem-and-credits kind of person. Even so, I’ve put off writing this post. This post where I say goodbye.

Smith, Roan, and Sheppard running the F Train to Coney Island

Smith, Roan, and Sheppard running the F Train to Coney Island

Pistols and Popcorn has done everything I needed it to do. I started it at a time where Roan and I had the majority of our time to ourselves. We shared our time with New York, letting her be the third-wheel in our adventures. I would plan things to do with him with writing about them in mind. I feel like it was a way to inject some adult conversation into our very child-centric days. And the way Pistols and Popcorn caught on totally blew my mind. These small entries about hanging with my kid – people care enough to read them?? Who knew?

Smitty, Shepz + Ro with Nathan's Famous.

Smitty, Shepz + Ro with Nathan’s Famous.

Over the years Pistols has helped me make decisions, lent me support, served as a sounding board, and sometimes helped me ride my high horse. Pistols propped me up and kept me wrapped up in my readers’ strength and support during some pretty hard times. It offered up interesting opportunities I never would have come across otherwise. It started friendships with people I have absolutely come to love. Most importantly, this place has served as a record of years of my family’s life.

Ro + Anson. This pose happens more and more often.

Ro + Anson. This pose happens more and more often.

And now it’s just time for me to say goodbye. Things in this life have changed, and I’m constantly grateful for the direction they keep moving in. I’ve been able to begin working with old friends, circling back to old talents. My free time now sends me on these ravenous scavenger hunts for all the right words for my new gig. I couldn’t be happier. I couldn’t be having any more fun. And these writing assignments are all during nap time, so I’m still loyal to the toddler park circuit,  being the mom who lets her kids climb up the down slide without an apology. Fear me.

Spiderman, Smitty, Sheppard, Spiderman, Roan.

Spiderman, Smitty, Sheppard, Spiderman, Roan.

I still have so many stories to tell. The twins, my Smitty + Shep, leave me full-to-the-eyeballs with stories on an hourly basis. But my Roan is getting older, and that is a thing I think about. I can no longer talk about everything he does and says with the abandon I used to, when he was a child. He is older. He deserves some privacy. And it just doesn’t feel right to be telling his stories anymore. And obviously, there is no way for me to talk about this family without including him.

Smitty + Me.

Smitty + Me.

I just see the signs, really. It’s time to say goodbye. The dumb luck part of it is that it’s ending in a Hollywood-happy way. Life is good. I have everything I ever wanted. I have way more than I ever hoped for. We are healthy, this family. We love each other in ridiculous amounts. We are stupid together and fight often and laugh and eat really good food. We have embarrassingly good friends. This is a nice place to leave it.

Thanks for being here. Thanks for your emails, comments and time. Thanks for sharing in this family and our weirdness. Bang pop.

Off To The Hospital I Go

Well kids I”m going to be out of here for about one week due to my bellybutton issues.  But don’t cry for me.  The family has come through for me – Fatty bought Kellene a ticket to come and stay here with me for a week, as it would seem that taking care of two infants may be a tad bit difficult for the recently surgery-ized.  That would be me.  So Kellene, fresh off of taking care of her new grandson, and assisting our little sister in the care of her new daughter will be practicing her baby-whispering skills here in the Nelson-Call home.  I couldn’t ask for a better assistant and look forward to her legendary cooking skills as well.  This surgery thing is turning out to be kind of a treat.  Yay for the dumb bellybutton!

So in the interest of having a post with some longevity, here’s a video.  This is from when Roan was two years old, on Valentines Day.  It’s probably my favorite video to watch anytime, for two reasons.  One: because it’s super funny and cute.  Two: because there’s an instant when you get to see Anson with what can only be called “Tragic Hair”.  Please enjoy:

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/20023526[/vimeo]

Ok?  So now you know what I mean on both fronts?  Good.

I’d like to ask you AGAIN to please vote for me in the Bloggies!  You’ve got some extra time what with me suffering and unable to write *sniff*, right?  Click here, go to the Parenting category, and ummm…well….vote your conscience (You never know what could happen on that operating table…..dun dun dun dun!) yeh so…vote your conscience.  Could you please also go to the “Lifetime Achievements” and give Fat Cyclist some love as well?  He deserves it.  That guy is cool.

One more thing:  check out my babies flying through the sky:

Smitty + Shep

Brothers

That’s it people.  Unless they give me some great narcotics and I get all loose in the head, I’ll probably be staying off my computer for the next little bit.  That’s not to say I won’t be seeing comments and well-wishes (heheh…so subtle….) but I probably won’t be posting.  Did I mention that it’s predicted to be 60 degrees on Friday?  And I’m going to be strapped to an operating table naked and in unflattering light?  Sheesh.  I’d better go watch that Hot Cocoa video again to cheer myself up…

Baby’d Out

Clearly Sheppard disapproves of this post.

As every mother will do, I have to preface this post with a declaration of Love!  For my twin boys!  I LOVE LOVE LOVE you guys!

However, I am getting a little baby’d out.

Smith is a little more forgiving

Every time I told someone I was having twins when I was pregnant, they’d raise their eyebrows, give a little whistle, and say, “Congratulations” which actually sounded like “Good luck, sucker!”  But I shrugged it all off because I am an achiever.  I find a certain sense of pride in my ability to do things that are difficult.  I like to run.  I like to kickbox.  I like to attend each and every cursed -er…uh….blessed field trip in Pre-K, Kindergarten, and First Grade.  I like to laugh at my father’s right-wing jokes.

That’s right, I truly enjoy the accomplishment of doing the difficult.

What lunatic could grow tired of this?

So I kind of felt like this Twins thing was going to be a breeze.  No sleep?  Don’t care.  Nursing all the time?  Whatever, loser.  Maintaining balance of attention between all 3 children?  Could do it in my sleep.  Hanging on to my identity as a woman not only a mother?  Duh, have you met me?

However, I believe I have been served.

At nine weeks plus a little, I officially announced to Anson last night that I was Baby’d Out.  Meaning: I will now admit that my never-say-die grin and can-do attitude are doing very little to assuage my feeling that I’m going mental.  This could have a lot to do that it’s winter.  I can’t get out of the house much.  So I’m in the house.  A lot.  With two infants.  Every single day.  And night.

24/7 with these guys? What could go wrong?

I realized that I was possibly a little on edge when Anson asked me last night how my day was, and you know – what did I do on this fine day?

What did I do today? I hate that question.  Because it’s this cycle of the same thing over and over and over and over and honestly I am a little embarrassed that I’m wearing the same pair of comfortable leggings and sweater that I was wearing last Tuesday.  It’s Friday, right?  Oy.  But the question makes me nuts – “What are you going to do today?” or “What did you do today?”  Because I basically only do two things during the time Roan’s at school:  clean and feed.  Clean the kitchen.  Feed a baby.  Clean a baby’s bum.  Feed myself.  Clean a bathroom.  Pick up a baby from the crib to feed the baby.  Clean the baby’s bum.  Clean the other baby’s bum again.  Feed the babies.  Try to obey the command of all sleep experts of having my twins nap and eat at the same time.  Knot brows in consternation at my inability to have my twins nap and eat at the same time.  Carve five minutes out while both babies are asleep (A-Ha!  I did it!) to put hair in ponytail.  Ignore fact that one baby is actually not asleep.  Feed the baby.  Remind self that ponytails every day of the week are the tale-tell sign that a woman is not taking care of herself.  Wait.  What about these leggings?

Balderdash, Ballyhoo and Bull.  I can’t even swear properly anymore.  My bad words come out in a sing-song voice with my eyes big and wide.  Yeh, it’s brutal.

Don't let the smile fool you. Smith is winding up for a mean right-cross.

Clearly I need some “me” time.  I mean, obviously.  I see it.  But it’s just hard to come by.  Last weekend I got to go for a run for the first time since I had these guys, and the cold weather, wind, and fatigue couldn’t erase the pure ecstasy I felt running – by myself – with nobody with me - nobody on me – nobody talking to me – nobody asking me to do something for them.  Just moving my feet and listening to age-inappropriate songs.  I will get another run in this weekend.

The truth is that soon enough the weather will get warmer.  And then things will be different.  I will be at the park with my boys who don’t need me quite so intensely, and I will have a cup of coffee in one hand and a smirk on my face as someone is asking me how it’s going with twins, and I will reply, “Oh this?  These guys?  Easy.  Since day one, easy.  Couldn’t be easier.  In fact, I should have had triplets, it’s just that easy.”

Did you buy tickets for the gun show?

Because I’m also quite accomplished at remembering things in the way I need to.

Reminder to self: program this post to auto-delete before that date comes.

[P.S.  I'm wondering if you'll take the time to nominate Pistols + Popcorn for a Cribsie award?  If only they had a category for milk production...but since they don't, let's go with "Web"?  One other suggestion from me - Appaman would be a great nominee for "Fashion" (Notice the ulta-cool onesies on the twins in this post....Appaman, but of course). Click here, it only takes a moment, honestly.  Thanks!]

What Would You Do?

[Note from Jodi: Totally honored to have found a place on Mommy Poppins' list "Favorite Mom Blogs That Inspired Me 2010"  Look at the list here!]


The Situation:

Twin infants receive an assault of vaccinations, resulting in mighty sore legs from the shots, and low-grade fevers, and general fussiness which actually counts as epic fussiness because of course, it is times two.  (Two babies crying mildly > one baby crying mildly = parental stress escalation factor equal to the sum of one baby crying hysterically.  That’s Pistol Math!)

After what could have been hours but who can be sure because it’s “Baby Crying Time” which sort of is its very own time continuum, both babies finally fall asleep.  They look very cute.  They look very tranquil.  They are swaddled and safe in their crib.  The look like they just graduated from The Cute Baby Academy with honors in “How to Sleep and Look Adorable” (which by the way is totally impossible for adults to do.   Why?  Why are we so ugly when we grow up?)  Parental stress factor returns to normal.

And then.  Of course.  The sound that only means one thing.  Two poopy diapers.

The Question:

What do you do?  Now, be honest.  We all know what we’d tell our friends we’d do – of course, change them right away, with dim lights, no stimulation and soft voices and total disregard for the fact that there will be screaming again.  But tell me the truth mister.  What would you really do?  Because if you’ve ever asked yourself WWJD (What Would Jodi Do?) I’m here to say sometimes, I cannot do the right thing. Sometimes, I am a person who would let her two children sleep for five hours in poop.

Be thankful it's not scratch'n'sniff.

So tell me.  Are you with me or against me?  Don’t feel bad if you’re against me because actually I’m sort of against myself.  But would you wake the babies?  Have you?  Tell me in the comments.

Breasts Not Boobs

Whaddya mean I look tired?

I’m not going to lie, I’m typing this with a child attached to my boob….

This is not the child connected to my boob

Ok, I told Roan we shouldn’t call them “boobs”.  So, a retraction and correction, I’m typing this with a child nursing at my breast. (Well, that sounds refined.)

Breasts not Boobs? Vatevah.

That was a lie.  I have two children on my boobs.  One on each, actually.  Weird, huh?  Are you even still here?  I know, it’s a good thing I have these photos because  my writing isn’t really all that informative.  But still, here you are?  Thanks guys.

Let's just focus on this little scamp.

Also, one more thing: the comments on my last post made it one of my favorite things ever written here.  Not because of my words, but because of yours.  Every story every single comment - just really meant the world to me.  Because these feeling resonate with every mother, and that normalizes everything, doesn’t it?  I haven’t heard from my original reader/emailer, but here’s hoping she got the message that we’re all in this together – and none of us are perfect.

This lasted for around 45 seconds

But they were the best 45 seconds of my day

Now, back to the boys on my boobs.  Breasts.  Whatever.  I will get back to posting more regularly someday but for now, I have to go sniff these children.  It’s what I do.

Of course sometimes they smell rather like poop

Part of the Problem

Today I had to make a choice.  It actually wasn’t that hard.  Either write a meaningful post, one which my readers deserve: something well thought out, provocative and educational, or take a nap because my twin boys obviously misunderstood the song “No Sleep ‘Till Brooklyn” and think it’s “No Sleep IN Brooklyn (at night, but of course we’re happy to sleep all day, duh.)

The nap felt great.  I mean, just so luxurious and indulgent.  And so, this picture, and my apologies that instead of creating two human beings who would help solve all the world’s problems, I mistakenly created two humans who have invented a new world problem, one that I fear may become a trend.  I am part of the problem, and Baby-On-Baby Cannibalism is no laughing matter.

There is nothing funny about infant cannibalism. Stop laughing.

Epiphany at Old Navy

It’s funny how our brains connect dots that we don’t even see.  I’m thinking there is always a picture, some big picture that most of the time I’m not even aware of.  But then at times my brain rings a bell and Ding! Ding! Ding! There’s something I should be considering or be aware of or recognizing.  But I’m either having a coping mechanism helping me to ignore it, or (more likely) I’m just too oblivious to notice.

I was surprised a few days ago while I was shopping at Old Navy with Roan for some new back to school clothes.  Roan grew about 3 inches over the summer, I’m not even kidding.  My boy is a giant.  A friendly and kind giant.  But a giant who was suffering “High Waters” fashion problems.  So we’re looking at jeans and shirts and the like and we then both notice at the same time that they also have Halloween costumes on display.  I love Halloween.  I love how much thought Roan puts into what he wants to be, how it reminds me of my own good childhood spooky times.  But on this day?  I saw the costumes, innocently hanging on their “Wow!  What A Great Deal!” Display rack and my eyes filled with sad tears.  I arched an eyebrow at myself, a little confused that I was what….?  Hormonal?  Dumb?  What is this, allergies?  But I felt sad.  And I felt nostalgic.  And I didn’t understand.  Until Roan drew the lines for me, connecting the dots.

“There’s the same costume I bought for my brother last year!”

Oh, that.

And with the rush of a million monkeys being released from their cages, all the memories from exactly this time, last year came back.   One weird day at Old Navy, right after we’d been told that “maybe….” something could be wrong with our unborn baby boy, but we hadn’t shared this information with Roan yet, and he saw this cute little costume he wanted to buy for his brother, though he wouldn’t be born until after Halloween.  I said yes, with my magical thinking believing that if I made plans for this baby’s future, he would definitely have one.  But I was wrong; and the ending to his short story was written only a few weeks later.

One year later: Old Navy hasn’t changed their aesthetic too much, and with their exactly same lighting, exactly same music and exactly same costumes hanging on their exactly same display rack, time travelled me back in time for a very bittersweet reunion with myself on the verge of the biggest heartbreak of my life.  And then whiplashed me back into the present with Roan’s voice asking me if we had kept that costume, and could we give it to his new brothers?  To share?

We kept it, and yup.  We can give it to them.

Who knew one year ago that it would all get so heavy so quickly?  And who knew that in one year’s time, I’d be pregnant again with the punchline being that it would be twin boys?  Who could have predicted that our lives would not happen at all in the way we thought they would be going -  but that it would actually be ok?  Roan and Anson and I would all still be here, climbing new adventures and building new stories and having so much that we are looking forward to, and that we are happy.  Not just ok, not just not-devastated, but really and truly happy.  My eyes are open now and I realize that this weather and the smells and flavor of the Fall/Halloween season is going to remind me of a hard time.  And it is sad.  But it’s also sweet and familiar and a reminder that life is unpredictable but that we are – all of us are- tasked with surrendering to the fact that we have very little control over circumstance, but total control over our willingness to adapt, to accept, and to move forward.

Sentimental Wonderland in a High Risk World

[Special note:  I just wanted to say thanks to all my people for the suggestions on my last post!  I received great ideas and advice, and couldn't be more grateful for your help.  XO - Jodi]

Since I’m having twins, my pregnancy is automatically considered “High Risk”.  Bullocks.  I mean, all that’s meant to me thus far is that I’m treated to many many ultrasounds, which are essentially Pregnant Lady Gold.  Pregnant women, the ones I’ve met anyway, (and the one that I am) we love to watch our babies kicking and punching, and trying to match up these creatures with the constant pummeling we are feeling.  My doctor’s office is fancy pants enough to have  4D imaging (and I have no idea how that’s different from 3D but whatever).  So when I get a look at these little weirdos I’m building, I get to see more than the customary black and white representation.  It’s a sepia-toned freakfest, what with all the organs and liquid and imperfections of the technology which sometimes makes it look like a giant hole is opening up and then closing on my baby’s head.

But at yesterday’s appointment, Anson went with me.  I have to say these doctors and ultrasound technicians really know what they’re doing when the father comes around.  Typically, it’s all business – the head is this big, the heart rate is this many BPM’s, your cervix is AWESOME (thank you very much) blah blah blah.  But when dad is in the room, things get very, very cute.  The girl running images of our baby took 4D picture after picture of our baby (Baby A as he’s known – Baby B wasn’t having it and kept his head strategically placed towards my spine so we couldn’t see anything but his bum.  But that was cute too.  I’m his mom – whaddyawant?)  The tech kept commenting on how “chubby” Baby A is, how cute he is, what a great nose he has – and Anson and I were eating it up like the hungry parents we are.  We sat there and watched the baby sleep in real-time video, saw him swinging at my body in real-time, and marveled at his contortionists abilities.  This is only the second time Anson’s been able to come around to an appointment, and the second time he’s been able to look at these kids.

And my husband, the hotshot?  A total sap.  Anyone who knows Anson well knows that he’s a little weepy –  a sentimental kid with a heart so big that the smallest thing can trigger some teary eyes.  But when his “Dad” button is triggered, forget it.  No he didn’t wail and sob, but he was wide-eyed with the happiness of a kid who’s just been told he can stay up until midnight.  In a candy shop.  With no adult supervision.

I think I buzz-kill him just the slightest bit though because he cracks me up and I can’t exactly arrive at the same sentimental wonderland that he lives in.  I love seeing him there, but there is a little mockery on my part – not cool, I know – but true!  I have to admit, however that underneath my giggles and eye-rolls, I’m probably feeling the same things as he is.  Afterall – here I am, gushing about it online.  Totally goofy.

So the word, as of yesterday: all is well.  These guys are big and fat, just like babies should be.  I’m healthy and still able to (almost) keep up with Roan.  All my vitals are what they should be, and this “High Risk” thingy is going just as normally as can be.  I’m just wondering if it is actually possible for my belly to stretch further.  I’m assured that it will, and that it is indeed possible.  What a strange thing.  Strange and fascinating and cool.

Lucky Pistols, Lucky Popcorn

I’m having this lucky streak now.  Seriously I don’t know how it’s coming to me but it is, without a doubt here.  Last year was easily one of the worst years ever – for almost everyone in my family.  It was so incredibly stupidly awful.  Death, tragedy, loss, more death, babies lost, jobs lost, kidneys failed.  And now?  This year seems really awesome.  My mom fell in love and just got remarried.  My brother fell in love and got remarried.  A kidney transplant just went down and both my sister and my nephew are recovering nicely.  My little sister, as well as my niece are joining me as preg-natos, which if you didn’t know – my belly is full with not one but two boys wrestling for space, which feels like a punchline to a joke which I cannot figure out.

And there are little things.  Out of the blue, the perfect new apartment fell into my world last week.  It didn’t so much fall as have an assisted glide from the Mayor of the neighborhood, Robey.  This place has space for my family, it has an upstairs and a downstairs, it has a back yard, it is conveniently located next door and across the street from my two part-time nannies super-duper great friends who I will not abuse with requests for help.  No really I won’t.  (Unless I do. In which case I’ll blame the lapse of judgement on postpartum whatever.) And best of all – the place is only $150 more per month than we are paying now.  This was more than we ever even dared to hope for.  And here it is, lease signed, moving date set.  Roan has picked out what color he wants his new (bigger!) room painted.  Black, of course.

Then last week I met up with some amazing women at a BlogHer conference I went to.  Lots of these women were writers whose work I already admired (The Madonna of the Blogging World, Ree from Pioneer Woman enjoyed feeling this giant belly, and couldn’t have been sweeter and oh by the way, mind if I brag, boast, and twitter-drop a teeny bit? Check it out:)

Let’s just hope me posting this little *ahem* name-drop doesn’t ruin our brand new budding friendship.  I want to take the relationship just a bit further so I can help her choose proper shoes to wear while navigating the NYC streets because I hear her toes are suffering from this last trip.

BlogHer also allowed me to hang with my friends from Thursday Night Smackdown, Mamaista, Momtrends, In Jennies Kitchen and then meet and became fast friends with some kindred spirits from Mommy With Tattoos (who is also at The Stir), and The Urban Suburban Mom.  I also fell in love with a stroller from iCandy but it’s too soon for me to actually be lusting after a stroller, isn’t it?  But it is beautiful.  Ok.  (Seriously it’s beautiful.  And built for twins!)

And finally – Roan and Anson arrived home safely, and happy – and that is the luckiest thing yet.  These guys being gone made me realize that no matter how many awesome things are happening, they’re only 1/3 as awesome when I don’t have them around to tell.

I’m happy, readers.  I’ve found out that things do get really bad.  And then they get really good.  And will probably get bad again one day.  But then will probably get really good again!  I cannot control these things, but I can name them, recognize them, and hang on to them.

And since I want to share my luck, I’m posting your lucky lotto numbers.  Try these! (Give me half of the $ you win though please).  4, 26, 35, 42, 43, 59.  Disclaimer:  I’ve never played Lotto so I don’t actually know how many numbers to choose.  But I’m feeling lucky, punk.

Alone Time in Marriage – Scary or Sacred?

This doesn’t only happen to me, as it turns out.  Recently my friend described this situation where she and her husband found themselves at home, alone.  This friend has three children who fill up their lives and home with activity.  But one night, *poof* all the children were gone.  They had somehow all made plans elsewhere and there were two parents left in a home, left to wonder what they should do?  Nobody needed managing, help, scheduling, cleaning, feeding, interacting, intervening, or engaging.

So this is supposed to be the moment where the two parents say, “Whew!  Let’s bask in this, our alone time, because it’s far too rare!”  Then they fall into each other’s arms and have some earth-shattering times together, be it in conversation, or otherwise.

But my friend described feeling rather uncomfortable.  She and her husband sort of meandered around the home until they found some errands that needed to be done, and then did them.  Surprisingly, that same day, yet another friend brought up exactly the same situation, and her feeling that same sort of displaced and hyper-aware feeling of being ALONE with her husband.  And that feeling?  It isn’t unknown to me, I’ve been there too.

So I can only believe that we are not three freaks feeling something unique, but that this is a pretty common occurence.  Here’s my take – when Anson and I plan a date, to get out of the house for a few hours, it feels great.  But it’s always a little weird to come home to an empty home.  If our son is at a sleepover, or goes out without us to a birthday party,  home just feels a little foreign and quiet.  Too quiet, as they say in the horror flicks right before someone gets murdered.

So is this trouble?  Before we had kids we were alone, and knew how to be alone.  How is it that it changes so dramatically?  Is it weird that so much of our relationship has become what we do with the kid/s and not what we do together?  Or is it just the normal course of things, because we are actually no longer two, but three (soon to be five. FIVE!)?