The Lies We Tell

My friend Ilana was over at my home a few days ago and while we were nestled in on my couch, each holding a baby, with our other children running wild, she remarked, “I wonder how many times I lie in a day”.

Well.  That’s interesting.

She was referring to the lies we tell our children.  Santa, Tooth Fairy, “I’ll be right back” etc.  How many times have I had to elaborate on a story I’ve begun in an effort to get some good behavior?  To date, we’ve had a number of Fairies in our home.  There was the Sleep Fairy who designed a chart for Roan to mark how many nights in a row he could stay in his room all night.  Before her there was a Poop Fairy, who had the distinction of helping kids who were otherwise potty trained go ahead and poop in the toilet, as opposed to putting on a diaper, squatting next to the toilet, and pooping.  Not saying it was Roan.  Just saying…well, ok it was Roan.

Parents are liars!  Especially me – I love a great lie.  I love telling fantastic stories and just leaving them in the air for a kid with enough magical thinking to go ahead and believe.  My friend Jen’s little girl believes that I can look inside her beautiful little curly-haired head and read her mind, because I knew what the mascot of her class was (French Fries).  Ilana’s son was convinced I was sending a baby home with them because – well because I said I was going to.  Some lies are a little cruel.

I don’t know if it’s great or awful, this lie-telling.  I was convinced for the better part of my childhood that if I wanted to, I could marry Arthur Fonzarelli and get him away from that awful Pinky Tuscadero all because my mother told me in passing that sure, it could happen.  But probably only if I was a good student.  So, I was.  I was even “Student of the Year” in second grade!  All in the hopes of become Mrs. Fonzie.  Seriously.  (I later set my sights on Isaac from The Love Boat.  I believe we can trace my current interest in Pop Culture to these early years…)

So, really.  Lies.  Do you tell them?  Do you think it’s ok?  What’s the most ridiculous one you’ve gotten away with telling your child?  Have you had any backfire?  Tell me in the comments!

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.

I Didn’t Know It Would Be Like This

A huge part of the reason Anson and I held off for a long time before having another child (er…ummm…children) was that we were just really fulfilled with our family as it was.  Roan gave us ample challenges, and even more rewards.  Our relationship had its ups and downs, always going between being tested by having a child, and being saved by having a child.  Why would we mess with the balance?  We were just getting to this point where we could really have a lot of our independence back.  Roan’s own life was getting bigger by the day, and though he needed and wanted us to be present in a very constant way, he also was making big strides in defining himself without us.

So big. My first born.

And then one night, over wine and dinner at Frankie’s, I somehow moved my lips around the words, “I think we should think about thinking about talking about maybe sort of having another, you know….kid….”

And Anson, my poor husband, took a deep breath and laughed and reminded me of the first time he asked me out.  All nerves and stammering, with a funny way of speaking, and no way of getting the alcohol into his body fast enough.  After a glass and a little more of wine he finally answered me with, “Are you serious?”

And I was.  And after trial after trial we now have another kid.  And another kid.

Bringing Leg Warmers Back.

And I didn’t know it would be like this.

Before I had my twin boys, I tried to imagine loving more children in the way I love Roan.  I thought it would be the same but it’s not. It definitely isn’t less. It’s just – different.  I’ve found that the intense focus I had on Roan when he was born is less saturated with Smith and Sheppard.  I am able to leave them for a few hours without wanting to pull my heart out of my chest – but only if it is to have some intensive one-on-one time with Roan.  If I leave them for intensive “me time”, I actually do end up wanting to pull my heart out of my chest.  And also the boobs off my chest because they just ache so very much to feed those guys.

So in that way it is different.  My need to be with Roan hasn’t changed, though his need to be with me has.  Roan has ramped up the demands on his dad – wanting more time with him, boy time, and has become a fierce protector of his brothers.  He corrected me yesterday when I was worried that we’d been in the house too long and that maybe Roan needed to get out of the house because I never would have made him sit indoors this long, you know, before the babies.  So I suggested that we take a walk outside, though there has been a blizzard and the air is cold like crazy and we’d have to take the twins.  Roan shook his head at me and said, “Uh, well Mom, Smithy has a cough and I don’t really think he should be out there in that air.”  He kind of sounded like Tim Gunn when he said it and you know?  He was totally right.  And I felt a new guilt – that my young big kid son could see what was clear, but I could not.  So I started thinking.

In my self-imposed tornado of intent to make everything great for everyone in the family, I have extended so much energy out, and maybe too much away from my new boys.  I have loved them since I first heard them scream hello to this world.  But I have not been focused on them because I have answered my schizophrenic sense of who needs me right now who who who?  And so last night when I woke up with them I stopped the internal inventory of how much sleep I was loosing and how I could compensate for it the next day and just stared at these beautiful bright eyes.  Smith and Sheppard have focus.  They focus on me and have the most intent gaze (totally unrelated: my spellcheck just tried to change this word to “gays” which would change the tone of this post entirely) in the early morning hours that is a crime to rush past.  To stare at them, and see them staring back is gorgeous.  And now I’m finally staring – without guilt.  Allowing myself the time to stop.  And stare.

My house this morning is a mess.  I’m writing later than usual.  But I laid down on the carpet with my little boys this morning forever, and was rewarded with an innumerable amount of smiles and funny vowel sounding gibberish from them and I’ve found out 7 weeks down the road what I knew with Roan the first time.  As a new mother, I need to focus on my children.  I have to be ok with knowing that this is what I should be doing, and  I need be with them when I’m with them.  To lament all the things I’m not doing, not getting done, and all the ways I’m not being around for anyone else is a waste of time.  How awful to miss these things, and throw away the joy and soul-shattering cuteness I’m being handed because I cannot focus on what is in front of me.  Yeh, that would be pretty stupid.

Bang. Boom. Says my heart.

I didn’t know it would be like this.  I think parenting is harder the second time around, because the balance is a little more precarious.  But I cannot explain how my heart bangs in my chest when Roan makes his little brothers stop crying, saying, “What’s wrong Smitty and Shep what’s wrong?  What do you need?” and then smothers them in kisses and tummy rubs and tickles that they do not yet know how to squeal at.  In those moments it is all I ever hoped it would be.  It’s more.  In those moments I am truly with my children 100% and the world could burn down around me and the stupid smile on my face would not fade.  I hope to make those moments more frequent, without Roan, Smith and Sheppard building them for me – I would like to create them.  That’s my revolution, not resolution – for 2011.  What’s yours?

The Price of Motherhood

Fresh from the pediatrician, I come to you, my readers with my heart ripped out and going bam bing bang boom at the bottom of my stomach.  Fear not – nothing is wrong.  Some possible jaundice but in the scope of things that go wrong, that’s really nothing.  But I just died one-million deaths watching a blood-taker with dubious talent turn little Mr. Smith’s arm bright purple with a tourniquet and then not be able to find his vein and switching to the other arm and bright purple-ing it  until he was so out of his head with pain that he stopped screaming, his eyes glazed over, and he stared at the wall.  I swear my baby went to his happy place and neither I nor the dubious blood taker were invited.  Not invited FOREVER.

And in all my life I have only almost passed out a few times, each time associated with watching one of my children in pain.  How do these little weird creatures nest themselves so deeply in our hearts, digging in so deep that it manifests physically?  I really don’t know, but they do.  They just do.  To my great relief, I rallied and did not pass out, mostly because I was holding Sheppard and I couldn’t reconcile dropping him on the floor so I stared at the same spot Smith was, and counted backwards.  Not all that helpful for Smith but it did the trick for me.  One hour later and I still feel slightly buzzed.

Now the boys are napping and I have to approach something that is weighing heavily on me.  I received an email this past week from a reader who didn’t give me permission to share her words so I won’t.  But the jist of it was this: she’s a new mom as well.  This reader is a new mom and is struggling with her feelings of mourning her life that she had before.  She feels guilty for wanting the ease of childlessness back, she feels inadequate to calm and comfort her child, and thinks that she’s failing her child.  The way she’s feeling is being compounded by reading what I write.  She sees me enjoying my children, photographing each moment and praising my husband and older child endlessly.  She’s essentially looking in from the outside and wondering how she doesn’t have what I do.

My big secret: I’m willing to bet she has exactly what I have.  When I write for Pistols, it is many times to celebrate the moments I’ve experienced of joy, or of humor with my family.  That is not to say that each moment of every day is full of joy and celebration.  I tend to not detail the times I’ve gone into the kitchen and lost my mind in tears and sobs because I’m overwhelmed at all the things that I’m now on task to do.  I tend not to write about the times I’ve snapped at Roan, bringing him to tears because his mom has lost her patience (again) and being only six, he doesn’t know how to act perfectly, all the time.  I rarely indict myself and my crimes against my husband, where I desperately need someone to be mad at and his existence in my life is all the cause I need to list his faults.

I don’t write about these things because they are not the things I remember when I think of my life, but they do exist in full-blown living color, probably more often than I’d like to admit.  And when I got this email from my fellow new mother, I felt like a big fat fraud.  I do have an amazing life, one that I’ve built and constructed into something that I am so happy with.  But I also fail at being the best person that I want to be, daily.  Hourly.  I have a hard time looking at my own faults and an even harder time showing them to the world, but I think it’s a disservice for me to pretend that everything is roses, all of the time.  Being a new mom is hard.  It is a big huge fat chunk of reality that sometimes seems much too much to take on.  There are things we have to give up, things that are precious to us.  There is a lot of sacrifice in being a mother, and sometimes we don’t feel like sacrificing anymore.

Yet, it’s all worth it.  Which doesn’t take away the reality that there is a certain loss that comes with motherhood.  And because you may be aware of that loss in no way takes away from your ability to be an amazing mother.  It doesn’t mean you don’t love your child, and it doesn’t mean that anyone else on the planet is doing it “better” than you are.  It just means that you’re honest enough with yourself to feel things that maybe a lot of people won’t admit to.

But I will admit it.  To any of my readers (and specifically the one who took the time to write to me) who are new mothers or old mothers or thinking about becoming mothers, I am here to testify: I love my children with all my heart.  But I do miss the things that not being a mother means.  Time to myself, impromptu dates with my husband, friends who would call and say “Come out with us” and me saying “I’m on my way…”.  Quiet time at home with no clock counting down the minutes until someone needs something from me.  And I think that’s pretty ok to miss these things, because I would give them all up, plus one million other things, for the instances that you read about here.  My stories that I write are not the sum of my whole life.  But they are absolutely the things that matter the most to me.  The way I get to laugh, enjoy, and love my family are easily worth the things that have left my life as the price.

And now, because the overwhelming majority of you are letting me know that you’re here for one thing only, a moment with the dudes:

Smith + Sheppard, doing what they do.

I mean, really. How can I complain?

Twins share everything. First the womb, now appendages.

Shepp + Smitty.

Too Young? Says Who?

In the spirit of always pushing my brain to new places, Roan threw this one at me over breakfast a few days ago:

“I’d like to get my ears pierced.  Ok?”

“Nope.  You’re too young.  When you’re…twel…fourtee…er…ummm thirteen you can choose to get that done.”


“Because .”


“Because I haven’t had enough coffee yet, and cannot answer any more questions.”

And thankfully, my boy knows to respect the “I haven’t had enough coffee” clause in all discussions, and dropped it.  Until I picked him up from school that same day, when he picked it right back up.   He’d been doing some thinking, and was ready for me and my flimsy brain.  Roan asked me if I’d had time to think about it, and I said yes.  Then he asked what my answer was, and I said it was the same.  To which he replied, surprisingly (ha!), “Why?”

I explained to him that my main job as his mum is to protect him.  And that if he had his ears pierced, in our world and our culture and our neighborhood, he would probably have some kids say mean things to him, and maybe even some parents.  I told him that people consider it “normal” for little girls to have their ears pierced, but not little boys.  And even as these words were leaving my lips, it didn’t sound like a good reason.  And he knew it.  And Mr. Roan was prepared: bringing out the “Dad had his ears pierced” argument.  And the “Dad had his lip pierced” argument.  And Dad has tattoos.  And people don’t always think that’s normal.

“But your Dad was older when he made the choices to get those things.  That’s the difference.”

“But when he didn’t want his earrings anymore, he just took them out, and I could do that too.  It’s not permanent.”

“True.  But how will it feel for you if people say mean things to you about them if you get it done?  Can you handle that?”

“I  don’t care.”

Which, dear citizens of the planet, I must admit I loved to hear.  Because I don’t want him to care.  I want Roan to have the confidence to be himself, regardless of how the world sees him.  I want him to stand up and be himself, respect himself, and act without fear.  And then Roan brought down the hammer.  The Gay Marriage Hammer.

“Do you remember when you told me that people think it’s not normal for a man to love a man, and a woman to love a woman, and so they stop them from being able to get married?”

“Yup.  It’s the truth.  Some people are very afraid of that.”

“And then….you told me that because they stood up to the people who said mean things….they were strong, and now in some places they can get married?”

“Yes.”  I totally see where this is going.  My son is out of my league already in arguing.  I’m so done for….

“So isn’t it good to do what you want even if people are going to say mean things to you about it?  Even when they don’t think it’s normal?”

And…..scene.  My six-year-old had just totally schooled me, and all I had was, “I need to talk to your dad about this.”

The olden days - when he just wanted to dye his hair

So Anson and I talked about it, and his reaction was exactly the same as mine – a knee jerk “No”, followed by all the same non-reasons I had.  I advocated for Roan’s position, not trying to sell it, but trying to simply represent this other side – where we don’t actually have to say “No” to things, just because our parents would have, just because most of our friends would.  If the answer is “No”, I’d like to be able to articulate a reason.  And in representing Roan’s position, I finally realized that I have always tried to raise Roan to push boundaries if he’d like to, to feel confident to question things and to take risks with things that are maybe not “normal” as long as they are safe, as long as no one stands to get hurt.  For instance when he dyed his hair blue and green and red and pink.  No boy in his school had that look happening.  And suddenly, after Roan did it, the look popped up everywhere, in every grade.

We came up with a compromise.  I told Roan I’d buy him a magnetic earring that looks like a pierced earring.  And that he could wear it when and wherever he wanted.  And that if by his seventh birthday, this coming December, if he still wanted to get his ears pierced, the answer would be yes.  Roan loved the idea, and we found some super cool black and red skull and bones magnetic earrings online, and got them to our home within a few days.

Who's Bad?

Of course, the story ends with something I should have seen coming.  Roan wore the earring on his way to school on one day, then bailed.  He put it on again at the park later on and got rave reviews from his friends – no teasing, nothing mean said.  And then?  He put it away.  And hasn’t gotten it out again.  When I told him that I’d noticed he wasn’t wearing his earring, his very six-year-old comment:

“I’m over it.”

Oh my.  I do believe I am in for a lifetime of learning with this child.  And with two more on the way?  I.  Am.  So.  Screwed.

One Year Ago, Today

The best way to describe this date – October 6 – is like a scheduled, impending car crash.  I know it’s coming because I’ve seen it on the calendar.  I know what it means to me, because I was there.  But I don’t know if it’s an impending fender bender car crash or if there is going to be  broken glass and twisted metal everywhere.  This is my first time here, visiting the one-year mark of losing my son after severe complications in my pregnancy.  I was 24 weeks along – 6 months big with nothing but total faith that of course he’d be here soon, until of course, he couldn’t be.  One year ago today, I said goodbye to him, with his name and imagined face in my heart, and it was the most awful day of my life.

It’s a time I don’t hesitate to visit when I need to, but never really in depth.  I haven’t been able to go back and read my entries from that time.  I haven’t dared read the comments from my readers who dug in deep with me during that time.  Today I woke up and thought it could be just like any other day, really – that maybe it wasn’t going to rock me.  Because I’ve been able to get to a new place, with new hopes and such.  And breakfast was great and normal, walking Roan to school was beautiful with the gorgeous fall morning, talking to my neighbors and friends was you know – normal.  Nothing different than yesterday.

And I wanted to write about something funny today, some of the things that have made me laugh with the full force of my very full belly.  But as I opened up Pistols + Popcorn, I found myself revisiting my old posts from last year, and reading every single comment from every single person who walked me through it.  And I realized that this baby boy who was lost to me lived through these writings, with all these people in the world witnessing and honoring his short short life.  And I understood that I owed it to him to feel his loss today.

I am so grateful for the happiness I have in my life now, with all the new hopes and new plans and new circumstances.  I am so sad for the hard circumstances I have seen people around me struggling with.  I have friends and acquaintances who are in the fight of their lives right now.  And all I can say is that these terrible days, they rock you to your core.  But there is an end to the devastation, and a beginning of the healing that inevitably happens.  And the car crashes you see coming your way?  Unavoidable.  But, for me at least, there’s something sweet about how simple love, support and friendship seem to be the magical spell we need to get through even the worst of times.

Marriage Makes Me a Little Bit Dumb

Please tell me I'm doing this correctly....

“This is going to be a long marriage.”

My girlfriend related this quote to me, from her lips to her husband’s ears.  However, it was a threat, not a sweet affirmation one might infer from her faith in their longevity.  More of a, “You will feel every minute of our union, mister.”

This, in the context of my relaying an exchange between Anson and myself from the night before.  We got into an argument.  And today, the day after, I’m still feeling slighted.  It was serious, too.  A serious, escalated, and eventually mean-spirited  row, with Anson stomping down the stairs to bed and me staying up to watch a marathon of Veronica Mars episodes until I was certain Anson was asleep, so I wouldn’t have to say even one more word to him.  (Sidenote: I love Veronica Mars.  How and why did it get cancelled after 3 seasons, when many atrocities go on season after painful season?  I stand here, baffled.  It’s on Netflix Instant Play for you folks who are looking to dig into a great series.)

The substance of my argument with Anson?  It was over how to hand-wash dishes.  He has a technique, I have a different one.  Apparently they cannot co-exist under one roof.  My girlfriend’s argument with her husband resulting in her threat to make the marriage feel very, very looooooong?  That was over how to fold shirts.  Serious issues, these.

Here’s the truth:  I do not actually believe that there is one right way to hand-wash dishes.  There is probably more than one way to fold a shirt.  I imagine as long as the result is a clean dish, and a shirt which isn’t hiding, crumpled into a ball in the dresser corner, how you get there is probably pretty unimportant.  However, I am the mess of a person who, if challenged with even a hint of mean-spiritedness, will dig into my position, collecting facts and anecdotes from my brain and try to organize them for attack when my opponent takes a breath.  I enjoy the occasional one-two punch of I am correct and you are wrong when I detect that someone is condescending, pandering or outright being a sassy-pants to me.  Calling my dishwashing technique “back-ass-wards”?  Well, thems are just fightin’ words.  And so.

I suppose I just have to wonder, in the sobering light of mid-morning, if there is such a thing as the ability to walk away from these dumb dumb arguments.  While engaged in these, I know how stupid it all is, how meaningless and that there will not actually be a medals ceremony at the end of it all, with me walking away with a tiara and sash of righteousness.  Yet I still give the argument my energy, I still hold a grudge (yes, right now I am still holding on tight to it), I still write about it, and I still talk about it.  What would happen if I laughed at the ridiculous nature and wasted time of these things, walked away, and moved on to more important things?  Like organizing my closet?  I would probably have an awesome closet, that’s what.

Also, a better and happier marriage would probably happen.  So maybe that skill is the next one I will try to add to my super-marriage-toolkit.  The ability to not engage, or maybe just dis-engage from the ridiculous.  Anyone out there have any experience in that?  Advice?  Stupid arguments you’d like to share?  I’m listening.

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.

Sometimes Love Comes Around, and it Knocks You Down

When I found out I was pregnant this past March, and that not one but two lives were in my hands, er….womb, it sent me into a labyrinthian crazy space in my head.  For those readers who aren’t familiar with the previous year of my life, you can read about my previous pregnancy here and here, but essentially, when I was twenty weeks pregnant last September, one year ago, I got to enjoy the words “It’s a boy!” at the ultrasound for about 30 seconds before it was followed by news that led my husband and me down the worst path we could have ever had to go down, resulting in a diagnosis for our son that was “incompatible with life”, and ending that pregnancy at 24 weeks.  The English language has been around since 450 AD, and there still isn’t a word that describes that time accurately for me.

So I spent the first part of this new pregnancy, this re-do, with hand wringing, brow furrowing, lots of self-doubting in my decision to give it another go, and an overall feeling of negativity and cynicism.  It was a pretty dark time.  Then that lifted a little, when the genetic testing and pictures started coming through with nothing but good news.  Normal results, positive affirmations from the doctor, and optimism from my husband who asserted that he had a “good feeling” about this time.

But I can’t honestly say that I was happy yet.  I was feeling ambivalent – not quite trusting enough to dig my toes in and enjoy being a mother-to-be.  I spent a lot of time shaking my head at my changing body, rolling my eyes at my stupid lack of energy and still possibly punishing myself for my last failure.  While I wouldn’t actually admit that I was waiting for the new reveal of what was going to be wrong this time, I also wasn’t too forthcoming with any excitement about the future of these babies.

And now, things have shifted again.  My ambivalence is gone, and replaced with happiness.  I’m finding my body less annoying and more entertaining – and actually love it when my friends, my son, and my husband get to feel these two boys doing what they do, with the rolling around and kicking and punching (one of them seems particularly adept at kicking my ribs).  When people offer me compliments, I’ve stopped assuming they just feel sorry for me and actually take in the kindness and let it swim around in my belly.  I am going to have these two boys, and it is going to be ok.

I don’t know what’s changed, but I can only guess that me getting out of the shadow of my last experience, and into the light of this new one had to take its own time.  It had its own timeline, one that I couldn’t think myself out of or talk myself into.  I passed the landmark (landmine?) of the ending of my last pregnancy, 24 weeks, a while ago.  But emerging out of its darkness just took me a bit longer.  And here I am, now finally a new experience, with the only precedent set being that of my pregnancy with Roan, which went beautifully.

And this all leads me to a point where I think I can write about these guys now.  Somehow, my fingers haven’t been able to type anything out up until now – I’ve tried.  And then I’ve deleted.  But look at me now!  Five whole paragraphs and they haven’t disappeared!  Who says progress is impossible for weirdos like me?  (Um, I think it’s me who said that).  Anyway – here are some answers to questions I’ve been asked , and some things I’m just putting out there:

  1. I’m due in mid-November.  Roan is convinced his brothers are coming on Halloween, though. And he could very well be correct.  And I think that’d be a super dope birthday.
  2. Yes, I’m freaked out just the tiniest bit by the concept of breast-feeding two kids.  Not only does it seem a little sci-fi and weird, it just seems well…ok, let’s leave it at weird.
  3. I don’t know how they’re going to be delivered.  My priorities to my doc were expressed basically this way: get them out of me in the safest way possible, for them.  AND I don’t mind at all, even a bit, being as comfortable as possible.  So, though it could be an unpopular sentiment – I love drugs, bring them on.
  4. Can you feel them kicking?  Sure – lay your hands on me, somehow I don’t really mind.  Just don’t comment on my wonky belly button.  I know it’s absurd.  I will look into belly button plastic surgery if it remains so wonky.

There’s more to say, but let me finally address this text message from my good friend Laura, who lives in a distant magical land called St. Louis:

OK.  No more of this waitin’ around.  I need a belly shot like yesterday. Pretty please?!?

And part of my reluctance to wrap my head around having twin babies on the way has been a definite and deliberate refusal to have pictures of my belly taken.  So in the interest of self-torture and progress, I give this gorgeous photo to the world, with hopefully a better one on the way….

The Paul Frank jacket is a fake by the way, picked out by Ro in China Town. I only buy fakes. Policy.

Mother’s Guilt: Not Just for Wack-Jobs (?)

The moment I brought my boy Roan into the world, this primal love rose to the surface and surprised me with its ferocity.  As this new, previously unexperienced intense love was taking me over, it high-fived its counterpart, “Super-Unmanageable-and-Unreasonable-in-the-Extreme Mother’s Guilt” , also rooting itself in my psyche.  This thing is an epidemic, and what I blame for those awful children we all see, and their awful behavior that we take note of (no, I’m not talking to you – I’m addressing the mother next to you).

Mother’s Guilt looks like this: the morning is busy.  Breakfast needs to be served, a kid need to be dressed, teeth need to be brushed, hair needs to at least be glanced at, lunch needs to be packed, and coffee must be delivered to my body before it’s cold (the coffee, not my body).  It’s not all that hard, really because so far I’ve had just the one boy to contend with.  I’m guessing mornings get incrementally more difficult with more children.  Not that I’ll be experiencing that soon or anything.  (Listen closely to hear my subconscious screaming “TWINS!!!” right now….)

So sometimes the way it goes down is that Roan would rather get a laugh by putting his underwear on his head and his legs through the t-shirt arm-holes and not getting dressed properly.  If the stars are aligned correctly, I laugh because that is some funny stuff.  If not, it makes me super frustrated and I’ll bark at him to work with me, baby.  Or else.  Something.  Awful.  (My threats are actually not very ominous, and usually are based on Roan’s clock-watching at the end of the day, and subtracting one minute from his bedtime usually delivers enough motivation for him.  Hahahah – sucker.)

But after I deliver Roan to the loving arms of his public school and I walk home, I will always, always feel sorry for not laughing.  And then I feel sorry for threatening.  And then I put my mother’s voice on and tell myself well hell’s bells sister, this is what being a mother is all about, so suck it up buttercup.  The boy’s got to learn lessons and such.  Then I pour a nice stiff drink at 9:00 AM, and feel much better about my sub-par mothering skillz.  The end.

It’s not just mornings.  At the end of the day, I wonder if we should have done more together.  Did I allow too much TV?  Did I insist on veggies?  Should I have actually taken that 20 minute nap because what if that was the exact 20 minute period that Roan had a developmental growth spurt and he spent it with Fred on YouTube??  You know???

I’m betting most of you are mid-eye-roll here, and I don’t blame you.  But if there is just even one other wack-job out there, who like me feels that despite out best efforts, we are not the mothers our children deserve, well then….ummmm…..yay!  I’m not alone in being consumed in guilt.  And that actually doesn’t help me all that much but still – let’s share.  What do you secretly feel bad about?  Please.  Don’t tell me I’m the only weirdo out in this world.