Wordless Wednesday (Where did these BIG KIDS come from?)

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Sunday Reflections

I’ve been seriously neglecting my blog, due to the fact that I’ve taken a role as producer for an upcoming podcast with New Mommy Media, in addition to teaching full time, in addition to raising toddler twins… and I’m supposed to somehow keep my house clean?! Thank goodness for my husband.

Now that work is in full swing, I’m noticed that I have less time for social media. At first it felt frustrating, as though I was missing out on important information. Lately though, it feels a little liberating. Don’t get any crazy ideas; I can’t stand to be unplugged for more than a few hours at a time! But it is nice to know that I’m so far behind on everyone else’s life that I don’t need to check for updates every thirty minutes. I’m sure if I miss something really important, someone will tag me.

On the flip side, teaching History this year has forced me to more involved in the news and current events, and I’m not sure how I feel about that. I was quite enjoying my little bubble where the real world didn’t exist. There is something to be said for burying one’s head in the sand when it comes to all the big bad things in the big bad world. Irresponsible, probably, but comforting. It does, however, feel good to know a little more, even if it’s scary, and it feels really good to have conversations with teenagers about the world around them. I have always loved teaching 16, 17, and 18 year olds. They are so confident in their omniscience. I miss being that smart. Remember how smart you were at 17? You knew everything. Some people might think I’m crazy (I am) but I find it refreshing to hear their opinions, educated or otherwise.

Back at home, things are wonderful. I enjoy my toddlers even more than I enjoy my teenagers. At 14 months, every day is something new and adorable. I could be stressing about how hard it is to come home from a long day of crazy students and walk into a house full of crazy toddlers (and some days, I do) but most days I’m just delighted to see them. They could not be more fun at this age. This week brought belly button poking, “asking” for kisses, signing “more” and “please,” saying “Pah” for Grandpa, tilting their heads coyly at strangers, running away from diaper changes, running toward the bathroom for “bath bath bath bath bath bath” time, and just generally being dancing, bouncing, loving baby boys.

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Five Minute Friday – The Mommy Wars

Here I am again… A good friend of mine recently posted about how frustrating the “Mommy Wars” can be, and I totally agree. I know the internet is full of articles explaining why we should all be nice to each other… So why aren’t we all nice to each other?

I know that while pregnant, I was full of ideas about the right way to do things. I was careful not to say “I’ll never…” because that is a surefire way to eat crow, but I still had what we’ll call “strong” opinions. And by that I mean I was fully prepared to judge other people for doing things the “wrong” way. But the thing is, there is no right or wrong. There just is. I’m lucky that I have been able to parent the way that I always dreamed I would. Breastfeeding worked out great. We love cloth diapers. My family decided against cry-it-out. And in the early days, I felt a (more than) tiny bit of self-righteousness about this.

In retrospect, though, it was misguided. See, what we should feel is PRIDE. In all of our accomplishments. And we should be allowed to feel pride, and celebrate pride. Just not at the expense of others. I’m not better because of my choices. I’m awesome, but I’m not better. And I think if women focused more on being confident about their own decisions and less about making some judgmental point, we’d all be happier. It’s okay to celebrate your achievements without tearing anyone else down.

Can we try this? I’m not saying never judge, because it’s human nature to judge. But how about we stop publicly denouncing each other in the process? It would be a really good start. Who’s with me?

Sunday Reflections

This has been the longest week ever, I think. Usually when I sit down to write these, I think, “It’s already Sunday?” Not this week. Part of that has to do with the absolutely oppressive heat we have been experiencing. The expression “moving like molasses” crosses my mind. I know, I know – there are places hotter than San Diego. We are spoiled. But it’s September and it’s in the 90s and it’s really not the heat, IT’S THE HUMIDITY. Thankfully the worst of it has passed.

Unfortunately, I spent most of this loooooong and sticky week in a bungalow with no air-conditioning with 62 not-impressed teenagers. Toddlers are so easy to please and entertain that it has been a huge culture shock to return to the full time song and dance of teaching high school. I spent most of last year out on leave (that’s another blog post entirely) and while I taught summer school, this is my real return to the workforce. I am lucky to have a husband who is home during the day, and he is lucky to have a wife who is home at night, and we are both lucky that we get to spend time with our gorgeous children and not pay any money for daycare. But it is EXHAUSTING. And we are already noticing that it is harder to communicate as we spend hours and hours away from each other. Most days, the only time we spend together is from midnight to 5am, asleep in the same bed.

It’s not all bad, though – he can spend their nap time gaming or watching TV; I get evenings after the boys are asleep to stalk near-strangers on Facebook and write these blogs. Last night we had “date night” after he got home from work – a drink, a movie, and a chocolate eclair. Doesn’t get much better than that.

I’ve noticed that while I miss the boys during the day, I feel like I am more appreciative of them in the evenings. They change so much each day and I’m really able to see those differences and enjoy them. This week, Sawyer has decided he loves the glider. He wants to sit in it alone and rock to his heart’s content. He’ll read himself a book or bounce up and down- but he does not want to share the chair with anyone.
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Greyson is a pro walker – but he still stops frequently to investigate the world around him. I’ve seen some kids take off running – not him. He may speed up, but then he will slow to a stop to investigate something new.
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Sawyer will happily listen to music for as long as you’ll let him – this week, Grandpa introduced him to the Stones and he was in heaven. He will frequently walk over to “Pa” to demand “DIS!” (the beloved iPhone.) Greyson’s new thing is to offer a trade. If you have something he wants, he will bring you a different treasure in exchange. The other day, he brought me an empty cup and then attempted to snatch my XL Diet Coke. Nice try, sweetie. Mommy needs caffeine. And on that note, I hear a stirring over the monitor. Happy Sunday!

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Third Tri.

I hope you checked out my dos and don’ts for the first tri, and my gratuitous photo-spamming post on the 2nd trimester as well. This brings us to the third trimester, or what felt to me like listening to “The Final Countdown” for twelve weeks straight. Benefit of having twins: Most of us “get” to cut that third trimester a couple weeks short. Drawback of having twins: it actually feels like the 27th trimester because OHMYGODTHEPAIN.

I don’t really want to scare anyone, but I’d like to be fair. I’m going to open right up with the pain. IT HURT TO LIVE. In fact, ask any of my friends how I felt during third trimester. They would probably tell you they didn’t know, because they stopped listening to me, because all I ever said was, “IT HURTS TO LIVE. TAKE THEM OUT. THE PAAAIIIINNNNN.”

I have heard that some women enjoy pregnancy. I have even heard that a few women enjoy twin pregnancy. It’s cool. I mean, people jump out of perfectly good airplanes and hike up ridiculously tall mountains and swallow swords and major in Biochemistry. I’m really not judging. I’m just saying it’s not my thing. And neither was this:

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Did that scare you? It’s 100% unedited. I chose that image because it summed up my last trimester. I wore that shirt and those shorts probably every day. In case you’re wondering, the proper term for those shorts is Horta, and the exact definition of Horta is “basketball shorts you jacked from your husband because nothing fits you and you are not buying shit because IT HURTS TO LIVE.” Look it up. I’m sure it’s there. (In reality, Horta was a silly autocorrect for shorts from my mama tribe.) You can actually watch me transition from a real human being to a swollen pile of misery. Take this for example:

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The picture of the left was before I hit my third trimester. You can’t call the picture on the right an after picture, because third trimesters are actually EONS long. I might still be in mine.

As far as actual details go, there’s not a lot you need to know. It’s one big waiting game. Is your cervix still long and closed? Are the babies both growing? Can we hear both heartbeats? Is your blood pressure okay? Do you have enough fluid? Answer “yes” to all of those questions and you win a trip back home to your couch! Part of multiple pregnancy involves being closely monitored as you are a high-risk patient. In contrast to your average singleton pregnancy, you will have multiple appointments and ultrasounds per month. The biggest concern for multiples is premature labor/delivery, and research has shown that they can predict those better if you are closely monitored. In addition, pre-eclampsia and HELLP syndrome present themselves different in multiple pregnancies and so it is necessary to take precautions to ensure the best standard of care. Twins are also closely monitored for IUGR (intrauterine growth restriction).

My pregnancy was boring, which is stellar in the twin world. I had textbook blood pressure and no signs of premature labor. The boys were similar to each other in size, which indicated that they both had adequate blood flow despite Sawyer having something called velamentous cord insertion. For most of my pregnancy, it appeared I could go all the way to 39-40 weeks. Unfortunately, at 33 weeks I developed cholestasis which necessitated delivery of the babies at 37 weeks. Quite frankly, if they had their way I think they would still be in there.

I’ve heard a lot of people talk about “nesting” as something that happens in the third trimester, and this definitely happened to me. If by “nesting,” you mean sitting very very still doing absolutely nothing, I “nested” constantly.
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Toward the end of my pregnancy, I was in so much pain that I physically couldn’t do anything other than get up and go to the bathroom. I had to ride the motorized scooter at Target, and I went to the San Diego County Fair in a wheelchair. It felt as though my hips were being separated with a set of very large pliers. They say that it is impossible to physically remember pain – not true. I get chills just thinking about it. I am probably supposed to make some trite comment about how all the pain was worth it for my beautiful children – and they ARE beautiful – but I feel like that only encourages women to brush their experiences aside. The level of physical discomfort I endured was awful. I did not enjoy it. I am grateful for my children, but that is something separate entirely. My point is – if you are NOT enjoying your pregnancy, do not feel guilty. It is okay to be miserable. It doesn’t make you a bad mom or an ungrateful wench. It makes you a human. A human who currently can only think, “IT HURTS TO LIVE.” NO judgment, mama. I feel you.

I’d like to leave you with a photo that I haven’t shared publicly before. Mostly because I’m in my underwear, but also because it’s terrifying. I’d like to share it here with you – softened, blurred, and sepia-toned – just to offer you a glimpse into the private side of pregnancy. I love this picture – I’m in tears just looking at it – because this is the last night my babies were a part of me. I remember thinking that night that I wished I could keep them in there forever – just for me. For no one else. A place where they were safe and we were all unchanged. I spent the last two weeks of my pregnancy terrified about becoming a mother. Sometimes I think that twin moms (probably ALL moms) can get so caught up in the medical aspect that they neglect the emotional aspect. It was definitely true for me. You spend so many weeks praying that they’ll stay in there just another week, just another week, just another day, just another hour… and absolutely nothing can prepare you for how you will feel when they come out. It is safe while they are inside. I can see that on my face.

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But of course, they had to come out, and my world turned upside down. Life IS scarier. Things ARE harder. But they are so, so, SO much better.

Five Minute Friday – In response to FYI (If you’re a teenage girl..)

I’d like to say I’m trying this experiment to test my limits as a blogger, but in actuality I really only have five minutes a day to blog now. With the school year starting, I’m EXHAUSTED and I feel that I’m neglecting my audience. That being said, the internet is up in arms about THIS. I’m a day late and probably a dollar or two short, but here are my thoughts on the subject.

I am a woman who is raising two men with the help of a really good man. All those gender pronouns are just that – gender pronouns. I will have different conversations with them about the plumbing when the time comes, but I won’t treat them differently because of their maleness. I will expect respect, across the board. Period.

The idea of raising teenagers is scary to me in general, and so I can’t denounce a mother publicly for that. I was a teenager. I’m scared of raising myself. But what I can do is hope that my sons have compassion, and common sense, and that they recognize the good in people no matter what their choices are.

I can say with full confidence that I probably would have been that girl who got deleted. My friends and I loved to put on a bunch of makeup, arrange our clothes “artfully,” and pout for the camera. It’s what young women and men do when they’re coming of age. Sex is more than just parts – it’s a process, it’s a culture, it’s an unknown. Who are we to tell girls (or boys or ANYONE) when and how they get to express that? And why should we make assumptions that young women who yearn to be attractive are somehow dangerous? Or that young men who look at attractive women will become reprehensible?

My timer is at thirty seconds, and so I leave you with this: As a parent, my goal is to raise good kids. Period. And I’m going to trust them to see the good in others, as well.