Burning It Down

So. I started thinking about shutting Pistols + Popcorn down. Nothing has happened that I’m unhappy with, but there are a few things that bug me. Mostly all the PR pitches I get. Now, I could come across as self-important by saying that – I mean it comes across as sort of…”Oh, look at me I’m so important that all these companies want to partner up with me! ME! Yes, M-E!”

"Hey Pistols? Yeh, it's Popcorn..."

"Oi! I told you not to call me here!"

But it’s not like that. I know that all the corporations in the world have figured out that word-of-mouth is the best bet for their advertising dollar, and what’s more word-of-mouth than a Mommy Blog? Trusted and true. So they go after us, even if their product has nothing to do with our audience. It’s obvious that they don’t read the blog, most of the time, and then this sort of yucky “We LOVE what you do you will LOVE what we do and your readers will be GRATEFUL for the introduction” type of thing I keep getting. That’s probably why it grosses me out. I just don’t want to use my sons and our stories to sell stuff. That’s not why you stick with me, that’s not what you’re here for. And that’s definitely not why I’m here. Each email I get asking me to do it makes me a little more aware of all the advertising happening here, on the sidelines, and I’m just not down with it anymore.

What will we do without the millions of dollars of revenue she made?

I want to keep writing, and I want to keep it real. So I’m turning this into a commerce-free site, starting next week. I’m going to redesign this site (and when I say “I’m going to” obviously I mean “Anson is going to”) and reclaim all the real estate that has belonged to advertisers and big ultra-business. I’m burning it down to the ground where it’s just me and mine. And all of my readers are invited to hang with us, here in the ashes.

I suppose we will live off of juice sippy cups and love

I think I’m going to enjoy this place a lot more. Hopefully you will too. I will not accept anything to review, unless it’s a service actually provided by a friend, or a reader. Someone who really actually is invested here and wants to share something with me. And something I would actually talk about with friends. So pardon the quiet for just a little while, and come back in a few. Hopefully you’ll like what you see.

Don’t Hate the Mommy Bloggers.

Morning Fun

I came across this online forum where people were encouraged to bash Mommy Bloggers. The tag line reads, “Yes, we know you’re the first mommy ever.”  I cringed when I read it. I absolutely detest it when someone calls me a “Mommy Blogger”, but I also felt like they were speaking to me. Is all this writing just an obscene form of navel-gazing?  Pistols + Popcorn was nowhere to be found, so nobody hates me, everyone loves me. (The obvious truth is that I’m actually not big enough to be hated. Thankfully.) So back to the thing though – almost an accusation: Mommy Blogging. I haven’t met a person yet who likes the description. None of us Mommy Bloggers want to admit that our writing – our escape and proclamation that we exist outside of taking care of our children – is all about taking care of our children.

Yet. We can all see the Mommy Blogging on the wall.

Backyard Brooklyn Boys

All my entries are tied to my family in some way. Maybe not 100% of them but a good 98%, anyway. My family is eternally fascinating to me. They help decode things I wouldn’t know about myself otherwise. I have decent intuition. I am capable of reading aloud in some very hysterical voices. I do not become murderous after repeating the same word over and over and over, especially if a child is saying it back to me for their first time. Lunch for me can consist of the four sides of the crust cut off a PB&J. My moods can be lifted up and anchored down by a tear or a smile. I am strong in ways that sometimes astound me. I am weak in ways that sometimes terrify me. I am smart and dumb, strict and liberal, in-control and totally unleashed. I prefer collapsing on a couch, hand and arm tangled up with my husband’s, to grabbing a drink at a local bar. I can love others one-trillion times more than I ever thought possible. Being a mother makes me a better friend. Having children has helped me stomp out things I did not like about myself.

I suppose that for now, I am a mother. It is front and center, it is the dimension of myself that is the most important to me. It defines me, fulfills me and challenges me. My family occupies me almost entirely. And that is why I write about it.

I wouldn’t have guessed this is who I would be. My 20-year-old self, filled with hubris and innocent stupidity would have looked down her up-all-night nose at me and said “no way”. Even my 30-year-old self didn’t know. Until Roan exploded into my world, I had no idea that I could be this person. I didn’t know I wanted to be this person. I most likely made fun of this person. I probably would have written something bad about this person on the Mommy Blogging Bashing Board.

I’m certain I will not always be in this place. That makes me sad though. Of course I know that my family will always be this important to me. But I do understand that these children reportedly grow up and eventually have their own lives. And when that happens, my focus will shift to something else. Possibly something new, maybe visiting something old. Maybe meshing the two. This time I have right now, where my purpose is so clearly defined and so insanely enjoyable will not always be here.

My Three Sons and a Brown Bear

So. I will be a Mommy Blogger. I will document what happens with pictures and words because what is happening now is good. It is the best my life has ever been. It is what I want to be around, it is what I want to remember, it is everything I love. If that doesn’t make sense to someone on the outside, I get that. That’s ok. But it makes sense to me. And at the end of the day, every day – that’s the forum that matters.

We Hate It When Our Friends Become Succesful

I recently found myself directed to a website that essentially makes fun of other websites and then it’s many many many readers post comments trashing the writers and actions of these sites. It’s brutal. I was reading the posts, somewhat caught up in the tornado of vitriol and snark and hate. Until I saw one post that eviscerated a friend of mine. It was unfair and incorrect on many levels. But the comments from the readers were like an angry mob. They grew harsher, they grew more cruel, and they even felt dangerous at times.

I’m not linking to the site or the post because the last thing I’d like to do is support them. And anyway it’s a total downer and waste of time.

But before my self-righteous high-horse gallops out of this town, let’s take note of the fact that I stayed on the site long enough to find my friend there. I was reading the other posts with a little discomfort, but not really being offended. Not until it hit a personal note.

Why? Why is there such a market for hugely offensive half-truths and bringing down people who are (or who’d like to be) public figures? I guess we all tell ourselves that if someone puts themselves out there, in the big forum of the world, they have to be ready for it, they deserve it, they’re bringing it on themselves. But I’m not buying that. It goes too far. It goes beyond responsible journalism or constructive criticism, and it becomes a witch hunt. This wanting people to fail. This wanting to see their flaws big and large.

Why?

Failure or mistakes of perceived successful or popular figures doesn’t make our bank balance go up, our children behave better, our patience increase, or our marriage more fulfilling. It’s a distraction. But I can’t really find the upside of it. This level of negativity, regardless if a person “deserves” it or not – is just way beyond what I think humans are built for. I know for a fact I would shut down, stick my thumb in my mouth and hide under my bed in the fetal position if I had things written about me in the same spirit that I’ve seen put out there for others.

For instance, it seems a huge audience was thrilled to see that Dooce (a juggernaut blogger who has made fistfuls of cash writing about her life) and her husband were splitting up. They all saw it coming apparently, and wondered to each other about the welfare children. That’s almost fair, right? Because she’s written about these things, there’s the license to discuss it publicly. But it’s obvious that many of these folks don’t care for the children at all, it’s all just part of the freakshow. There were also links to websites whose entire purpose was to eviscerate The Pioneer Woman (another huge blogger. Come on. I don’t have to tell you that. Books, TV shows, etc.) Sites who are polished and well kept and slick and whose entire existence is to mock her, her husband and kids, and the empire that she’s built in a few short years. That’s a lot of energy spent on someone you don’t actually know.

So why so much hatred when people become successful? It’s not just bloggers. I’ve seen the same mentality around a good friend of mine who has become wildly successful in the music world. People who watched him come up and put his time in now are mad that he is on top. They write nasty things about him, and in truth it is just not deserved.

I don’t know. I did steal the name of this post from Morrissey, who I’m guessing from the song he wrote encountered exactly the same thing. I suppose there’s comfort in the truth that this has been happening forever, not just since the internet became our medium. But the web certainly makes it easier to anonymously and quickly hurt people we do and do not know. I just wonder why so many people make the choice to do just that.

Dropping the F-Bomb

Anson had to go to San Francisco for three weeks for work and my sons all miss their pops terribly. It manifests in different ways. Sheppard and Smith are looking for him around the house, pointing to pictures of Anson and saying their “Dad” word. Roan is feeling it more acutely, and has been a little emotional about missing basically his favorite person on earth. But he’s been a trooper, helping me beyond what a seven-almost-eight-year-old boy should be expected to do. He’s vigilant about keeping his brothers safe, keeping them entertained, and teaching them all the things they need to know. But Roan has also noticed that I’m short on patience, that I get tired a little more easily, and that I expect him to step up his game a little. And that kid? He’s just done it. I don’t know how but somehow he’s really decided to be who I need him to be right now.

And me? Well, I’ve kind of blown it a few times. Big shock, I know. I feel like everything is manageable, and try to take time after the boys are all asleep to be stupid. To just put my mind in limbo and my feet up and breathe deep and reset. So I’ve started watching The Vampire Diaries at night and while I do not think it’s a very good show, it is exactly the type of show I need to watch. And I look forward to watching it. Because I am exactly that vapid and stupid at the end of the day. Scary, no? Rar!

The blowing it part? Ugh. Well – if you must know -

On Saturday morning I was feeling a little martyred, a little jaded. Because usually Saturday mornings I get to sleep in until around 8:30 which is a big change from 6:00 AM. But with Anson gone, that’s not happening. Not last weekend, not this coming up weekend. And obviously at no time in between. In fact there is precisely no time that I am off-duty for three weeks and I was just feeling a little wah-wah-wah-sniff-sniff-boo-hoo about that. The babies were complaining about the breakfast I’d made, I hadn’t had enough coffee, Roan was singing a song in fake Korean at high frequency and decibel range and my Zen personality was nowhere to be found. Something had to give, and as Roan committed a minor  offense, I snapped at him with the fury of a really awful mean mom, and did the unthinkable to my boy Roan: dropped an F-Bomb on him.

And his face fell to the floor and my heart burst out of my eyes and my self-loathing grew so big it busted the ceiling and then I had to clean that mess up.

I apologized, tried to explain that it wasn’t anything he did really, that I was just empty of patience, and that I made a mistake. I told him that it is not ok for me to speak to him like that, and if anyone else ever did speak to him that way it would upset me hugely. Greatly. Violently.

My Roan in his true sweet always-ready-to-forgive way gave me a hug and said “It’s fine mom. It’s fine.” And he meant it but I didn’t feel fine and three days later, look at me I have to confess to the world about what I’ve done. Here’s the thing – I don’t have a pristine mouth. I swear often and with vigor around my friends. But only the ones who give it back. I edit and keep it clean around people who prefer it that way, and am happy to do so. I believe there are appropriate places and times for language of all types. Roan, for whatever reason, has already expressed to me that he hates it when I swear. And that kid, up until last Saturday had only really heard me use the swears that are PG. Even those bug him. Little weirdo. So dropping an F-Bomb on him, in the context of who he is and what he’s shown me about himself was a pretty big violation of our code to respect each other. Hence the self-loathing.

But I tried to make it up to him. My niece came over to sit on the babies while they slept, and I took Roan on a date. We saw a movie and walked around our Brooklyn neighborhood at night. It was beautiful and serene and we held hands and I bought him sweets and popcorn and soda. Yum. I felt calm and happy, and being with Roan was exactly perfect for me. Better than a Vampire Diaries Reset. I felt better and he definitely felt loved. Everything sort of fell back into balance which was something I just had to have happen.

So. A few lessons learned.

Number one: I need more sleep.

Number two: get coffee into my body quickly and with purpose in the morning, or else everyone suffers.

Number three: I’m bound to screw up as a mother more often than I’d like.

Number four: it’s probably ok that I’m not perfect, as long as I try to right my mistakes.

Number five: my husband better get home soon.

Wildly Good and Mildly Bad

I can love him so, and I can want to throw salted lemons into his bare naked eyeballs.

Yes, my husband Anson. I know all marriages have ups and downs and sideways-es and diagonals, but I am somewhat shocked by how within a 24-hour period I can be of two minds. The first mind being: “I am ever-so-very-lucky. He is gorgeous and sweet and-Oh Mercy-look how the baby is hugging him I should just die now from The Happy.” The second mind being: “I am going to throw a salted lemon into his bare naked eyeball, etc.”

On Saturday, we were traipsing around Governor’s Island with Roan, his friend Javier, the babies, my mother, and her husband. It was a beautiful Autumn day, and we were swinging on swings at sunset. The lights of Manhattan were beginning to light up, and the Statue of Liberty was about a stone’s-throw away. I was breastfeeding the little dudes on a bench swing while Javier and Roan ran around like maniacs and Anson played with whichever baby was not attached to me. It was one of those moments. I decided life was truly perfect right then. In love with NYC, in love with these babies, in love with my big boy Ro, and totally in love with my husband.

Who WOULDN'T want to cuddle this baby?

Seriously.

Cut to one night later where I’m emphatically emphasizing, reiterating, stressing, punctuating, accenting and accentuating the danger balloons pose to babies with my eldest. The thing is, balloons scare the holy hell out of me. I once saw a child choking on one, and it was brutal. He lived, he was fine. But you can’t grab a piece of balloon out of a babies throat like a piece of food. It sticks. It’s a perfect design to hurt a little one. And Roan just got a big pack of balloons that he loves playing with, and popping and as luck would have it the twins enjoy putting the pieces of anything and everything at all into their mouths. Particularly brightly colored stretchy balloons.

And possibly I’m going overboard in explaining it to Roan. But I had told him once, twice, and thrice and still found a balloon tucked under the couch right next to where the little tiny tyrants store all of their toys. So I’m speaking in my slow and deliberate voice, with my eyebrows raised, and hands gesticulating meaningfully while getting more and more descriptive about why this is so important when Anson pipes in with this helpful gem:

Ok you two. Let’s wrap this up.

Oh. No. He. Didn’t.

Now. I’m tempted to write about all the ways this statement made me mad, and why it incurred such wrath but I’ll just let you, my readers fill in those blanks. I mean, if it seems harmless to you that’s cool. You can let me hear that in the comments. But. In the interest of facilitating happy marriages world-wide, I would helpfully suggest to any and all husbands out there that whilst your wife is in the middle of imparting great wisdom to your progeny, you not speak to her as if she is one of said progeny and more importantly not suggest she  ”wrap it up”.

So – the weekend. Wildly good, and mildly bad. That’s probably the take away lesson of what marriage is. As long as it’s at least balanced, you know? As many (hopefully more) good times as bad times and you’re probably ok. What say you, reader?

As It Turns Out, I Love That Guy

Before there were four, there were two. The early loves of my life.

Last summer, while I was big and fat growing twin baby boys in my bouncing belly, I went to Colorado for a few weeks with Roan. We spent time with his grandparents and I was able to catch up with a friend or two in-between baby-growing naps. One friend mentioned that she reads this site, and that the relationship that Anson and I had was something she really envied. This comment made me feel like a fraud. See, last summer Anson and I were not at our best.

While the things we were sorting out usually never made it to these pages, they were there. I mean – we are like pretty much every couple. Good years, bad years. I think that last summer was the ending of a terribly horrible year for us, full of sadness and loss and things that never were in our control. I think that these events took their toll on us, even though we tried to brace ourselves against relationship-fallout by going into therapy and talking and talking and talking and talking.

What I’ve realized by looking back on those days now, is that sometimes you just have to go through it. You have to experience the fallout, and white-knuckle your way through the bad parts because life is sometimes just going to be hard. You have to move along, and know that while you’re in it, you won’t always be in it. Yet all the talking and being open and sharing and bracing in the world can’t change the fact that you are going to be forced to experience certain things. And these things suck.

But when the bad days turn into good days, suddenly the things that seemed so crucially wrong become less important. And the things that didn’t seem like they were good enough suddenly make you feel absolutely blessed. I cannot say this is a universal truth, but it’s the truth for me. I can look back at all the things I thought were wrong and now understand: I was simply unhappy. It was not because things in my life were not fitting, it was not because my relationship with my husband was not good. It was because things had happened to me that were awful. And that just made me feel awful, for longer than I thought it would, and in ways that I didn’t know it would.

I’m visiting this now because Anson left yesterday to work on a photo shoot. He’ll be gone for about ten days. And I miss him. I miss him because he’s an amazing father and always brings smiles to his son’s faces at the end of the day when I can not. I miss him because he says really goofy over-the-top complimentary things to me that make me roll my eyes and give him a “yeh yeh yeh” but secretly live for. I miss him because he is the balance in this home. I miss Anson because I love him like crazy, in a teenage crush sort of way.

As sad as it makes me to have him be gone, it also has been a treat to recognize how far we have traveled in this past year. It gives me hope that Anson and I can make it through pretty much anything the world wants to throw at us. And it feels good to know that now – almost a year later – I can get back to my friend who envied my relationship with my husband and say, “Yeh – I see what you’re saying. We do rock, my husband and I.” At least this year we do.

On the Denial Of Being an Optimist

kiss

I have one vivid memory from around four years ago, when I was working for some very small men with very big voices. That’s how I described my employers at the time to Roan, who was three years old. It was an accurate description. I hated my job. There were lots of name dropping opportunities: 50 Cent, Britney Spears, Kid Robot etc., and under better leadership could have been an awesome place. But I didn’t enjoy the people I worked with (with the exception of one forever friend, also named Jodi.) The environment was misogynistic, it was cut-throat and back-stabby, and I was the only mother working there. I was often the victim of major stink-eye from the young turks that worked there when I would have to leave to pick up little Ro from daycare. I kept working there because I was the breadwinner of the family at the time. Anson was just getting his feet under him professionally here in the big city, and we needed a reliable income while he built his inroads.

At lunch everyday, I’d go to a gym on the third floor of a building that looked out over Union Square. I’d run on a treadmill instead of burying my head in hands and sobbing. Everyday, I’d see mothers or caretakers playing with kids in the park. And I’d remember dropping my Roan off at daycare that morning and feel even more depressed. I’d wonder if those mothers knew how lucky they were to have time with their kid on that particular day, instead of being surrounded by small men with big voices. I’d feel super envious. I’d feel like I couldn’t run fast enough on that treadmill to make it any easier to walk back into that office instead of playing with my boy.

my boy

Then one day, I got fired.

The company shut down a few months later (probably because I was gone…ha!) and I collected unemployment long enough for Anson’s current boss to throw a safety net under our family financially and let him start being the dude what brings home the bacon. I got to start spending every day with Roan and couldn’t believe how much I loved it. It was a revelation. It was liberating and freeing and felt like I had won the lottery.

I started thinking about this a few days ago when my friend Kara asked me if I felt boxed in, trapped, tied up, etc. because these twin boys make it hard to leave the house.

My reply?

A steadfast and happy “Not at all! I get them out of the house in-between naps. Usually for about 1/2 hour a pop – you know, just a walk or somesuch to tell these boys to suck it up, we’re getting out into the world.”

And then she laughed.

Kara told me that being friends with me was like studying women from an Aboriginal Tribe [no offense to my readership in the Aboriginal Tribes.] I’m something she finds interesting but can’t relate to. She labeled me an optimist and asserted that she is such a cynic and that’s why I make her laugh so. She went on to explain that most people would probably get a little cagey and cooped up and unhappy if they could only get out of the house twice a day for 1/2 hour per pop. These are the things that drive mothers crazy, Jodi Call.

But not me.

And then a baby boy started crying and I had to get off the phone and the conversation played ping-pong in my head. Am I an optimist? I don’t really think so. I mean – I’d like to be. But I don’t really think I am. And is Kara a cynic? I don’t believe she is. She’s full of more hope and help than anyone I know. Maybe a bit analytical….but somehow always analysis with hope.

Then I remembered those days running and watching moms and their kids and the despair I felt spending time with people that made me want to stick toothpicks into my eyeballs rather than being able to spend time with my son. And then I realized that my twin-enforced house arrest is such a beautiful thing. I have landed in such a better place and the fact that I am able to spend these days with these boys – a gift. Not always one that I am holding like a treasure, mind you. Twin infants are hella hard to take care of. But a gift that I want and one that I will protect. One I am grateful for. It’s a gift that I have because of where I’ve been, because of the experience I’ve had. Perspective rather than optimism, I believe.

love

So possibly optimism and cynicism don’t actually exist? I’m operating on that assumption now. People are who they are because of where they’ve been. The distance from one experience to the next is what makes us enjoy or loathe our lives, not the propensity to feel hopeful or negatively. Maybe. What do you think? Have you ever had to leave your kid to work at a job you hated? Are you in that situation now? If so, do you feel it changes how you parent – or at least your perspective on being a parent?

[I feel it's important to add: When I first had Roan I had a job that I loved, and worked with people that I respected and could call friends. That was an entirely different place and time than what I'm talking about in this post. I enjoyed going to work at that time, and felt it was a fair trade for my time away from him. This post is not about being a working mom vs. a stay-at-home-mom. It's just about how it sucks to have to leave your kid to go somewhere you hate. So don't beat me up.]

Sleep Training Twins

The thing is, I hate it.  I hate it the very most when I finally am on the ropes, tapping out, screaming “UNCLE”, waving a white flag, surrendering and have no plan for what to do next. Especially at 3:00 AM.  The early AM hours bring out a special intense version of me-as-a-knuckle-head, just wondering if there’s someone who will please be in charge of this family just until 7 AM when I can resume my regularly scheduled duties.  Sheppard and Smith are not particularly bad sleepers.  It’s just that they’re not all that predictable.  Some nights, they’ll wake up twice, I’ll nurse them, and they’re down for the count.  Then some nights, they’re wanting to get up every 1 1/2 hours, bright-eyed and ready to party.  I do love a good party.  But I do not love the party that happens when I put them back in their cribs and they rebel-yell for two or more hours.  No, that is not my kind of party.  And that is exactly the party we had on Wednesday night, which was following a similar Tuesday night party and by Thursday morning I was having a baby-party hangover in the worst way.

Whaddya mean you're tired? WE ARE NOT TIRED!

So.  I finally reached out to Natalie Diaz, a parenting professional, whom I had met in the nursing lounge/sex shop of the Brooklyn Baby Expo.  Natalie runs Twiniversity which is a website I joined early on in my pregnancy so I could get an eyeful of what parents of twins talk about. Now, if you know me and let’s face it you do know me I’m an open book, or at least an open website – anyway, asking for help is not my strong suit.  But I emailed Natalie and asked a dumb question which she used her super decoder ring to reply thusly:

I know what you are going through and you are a trooper woman, you will be totally fine! You’ve been through this before and this is just twice as hard, but no different.
If you want, you can give me a call today and I can walk you through what to do tonight if you like. I’ve coached 100′s of parents on how to get their monkeys to sleep.
I’m here for ya woman! Use me!

Bath nap. Not recommended by experts.

And this is the moment that love bloomed.  She wasn’t promising results for a fee, advice for a dime, or support for some cash. Nope. This here other mother of twins was simply offering help to a stranger. And. Then I took what felt like my first breath of the day. To have someone just tell me I’m doing it wrong or I’m doing it right or even that I’m in the ballpark of hope, that’s all I needed. We talked.

Natalie presented a plan for me. It is a simple plan, one that she’s seen work, and then told me to run it by my pediatrician. I was a little “Meh” on calling the doc, but Nat emphasized that I should do that.  She told me that in the wee hours of the morning, as the babies are crying, I’m going to wonder if what I’m doing is ok.  And if the doc has told me that medically it’s ok, that’s going to stop me from second-guessing myself. She was, of course, absolutely correct. I called my doc who didn’t even skip a beat before she said to go for it, it is 100% fine. The babies are ok to go.

So what’s the plan? Cutting out the night feeding. My boys are asleep in their crib every night by 7. They wake up to be fed usually around 11.  Then maybe 1 or 2, and then again around 5.  Nat advised me to cut out the feedings after 11/11:30, letting them sleep until 7 am. So at 11pm, Anson goes in, changes their diapers, then hands them off to me for a “dream feed”.  She said that it’s better if we wake them than to wait for them to cry – further enforcing that crying doesn’t get them picked up/nursed at bedtime. So I give them a big feed, trying to keep them as asleep as possible, hand them back to Anson, who puts them in their safe little cozy cribs, and that’s it for the night.  No more feeds, pick ups, pats, songs, rocks, fretting or hand-wringing, you dig?  I do.  I dig.

And the thing that surprised me the most – Natalie assures me that the babes can smell me – smell my milk. And that me sleeping in the room with them is probably keeping them up when they wake up at night. So another part of this plan is me getting out of dodge while we re-program our little bots. So I’m on the couch for the next little bit.

And last night was our maiden voyage.  I have to admit that I felt tremendous guilt, knowing they would wake, and probably cry their little strong hearts out for a long time .  But even knowing that, I allowed myself a little bit of pleasure knowing I’d be on the couch where I could not hear them, and sleeping the longest stretch I have been allowed to sleep in five months. I did of course stupidly wake up a few times and turn on the monitor – just to hear a report – and did hear some rather emphatic wailing a few times.  Tonight, I am giving the monitor to Anson to hide from me. No sense. I am dumb.

Natalie said her hope for me is that they will be sleeping through the night by Monday.  That is quite a hope, is it not? And I can do this hard time with that hope. I know the babies probably think I suck the most right now. But when they’re getting a nice stretch of uninterrupted sleep, I have a feeling they’re going to be happier, I’m going to be happier, and that makes for a happy family.

Do we look unhappy to you?

I’ll let you know how it goes – until then – please let me know how and when and what kind of results you’ve gotten with sleep training techniques. I love hearing that I’m not alone in these here woods.

[Reminder: This is obviously a hot-button issue.  So many great parents, so many great parenting philosophies and beliefs.  I honestly enjoy reading about other people's experiences and opinions, and appreciate each one that takes the time to leave a comment.  Just remember to be respectful of each other.  Play nice.  Feel free do disagree with me, or anyone here - but do it in a way that is constructive. Name-calling and other nastiness doesn't have a place here. Thanks!]

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…

What Matters More?

So, two things.  Number one.  Anson’s father is worried that only one of our twin sons has the ability to smile, as all the pictures I’ve posted have had Sheppard smiling, with Smith mostly throwing shade.  Well.  Dang.  Ok, to clear that up here’s Super Secret Agent Smith from yesterday:

Happy Monkey.

Laughing Monkey.

Believe it.  Smitty is super happy, except when he’s not.

But I will not post those pictures because they will make you boo-hoo sad.

Now with that out of the way, let’s get to the second thing.

Last night, I had purpose.  I wanted this to happen: Anson would walk through the door from work, and the house would be straightened, music playing, dinner ready, babies asleep, Roan done with homework, working at his art station, I would actually not be wearing the same thing I wore yesterday, and….scene!  I mean, c’mon.  It’s not all that hard. (?)

So I was close, baby this close.  House? Check.  Music? Check.  Dinner ready?  Sort of – in the oven and on its way.  Babies asleep?  Ummm…off and on.  Roan happily caught up in drawing and creating?  Yup.  Did I remember to get dressed today? Eh… hells bells you can’t have it all.  And happy little Smitty woke up, again.  So I busied myself by putting him into a trance.  Then I heard Roan say, from the kitchen, “I love you Mom.”

Sweet, right?  Yes yes yes.  But it is also what he says when he thinks he’s done something wrong.  I don’t know when it started but I have to hand it to him for figuring out a way to mitigate oncoming consequences by declaring his undying love.

So I asked him what was up.  And he again told me he loved me.  So I put down Secret Agent Smith, walked into the kitchen and my feet actually stuck to the floor. S-T-U-C-K.  The floor was shiny.  And wet.  ”I made juice.”  Roan told me.  ”And some accidentally spilled on the floor.”  I’m guessing all of it?  So this was not in my meticulously planned evening.  And my mad face made its way onto my head and Roan looked nervous and Smith started crying and a really crap song came onto my Genius playlist and I could smell dinner starting to burn and you know, I was about to lose it.

But I didn’t.  Because the question “What matters?” and then “What matters, more?” asked itself to me.  What mattered?  That I had tried to have a normal night with things in order, and it was going down in flames.  What mattered more?  That Roan played with his brothers today, read to them, made them laugh, drew a design for a wedding dress for me (should I ever need one again, that is…), and tried to make juice on his own because he could see I was busy.  What mattered more was that he needed to feel like it was ok to make mistakes and that his mother was not a crazy person who was going to freak out at him for spilling juice on the floor.

So I asked him to help me clean it and he was on it.  Roan grabbed the mop and handed it to me and as I schlepped up sticky grape juice off the floor, my boy Roan went over to his crying brother and soothed him, getting him almost back to sleep.  Everything came back down to zero, you know?  Nothing was really wrong as it turned out, and had I not realized what mattered more, I could have knocked Roan down to his knees for making a mistake.  Not cool.

So.  This is my new question to myself, when I feel myself loosing it.  What matters more?  If I have a right to be angry, I will be.  But if I can take a step away from whatever the situation is, and see that it might actually not matter as much as it may seem – well then, I’m backing down.  Seriously, it’s that simple.  What matters more?

Anson came home last night to one sleeping baby, one slightly fussy baby, a son entranced in designing a tuxedo for Anson to get married in (should he ever need one again….), a pan full of delicious Chicken Enchiladas, and a wife who looked slightly disheveled but certainly not unhappy.  Not bad.

And, scene.