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Growing up, my grandparents owned a dry cleaning and tailoring business. I can remember summer days, my grandmother in the front part of the store, bifocals balanced on the bridge of her nose, threading a needle, El Chapulín Colorado on the television in the background. The rhythmic hum of the machine wheel, the swoosh of the steam, the smell of the starch, and the chatter of the ladies working, all combine to create a symphony of my earliest childhood memories.

My mom also sewed. She was (and is) quite skilled, though she focuses more on quilts now. Back then, it was repairs here and there, curtains, and clothes. Oh my god, the clothes. In my pre-teen years this was a horror. Because your social standing depended almost entirely on the fact that your clothes had the right labels on them, and Handsewn By Mom was not one of them.

Now, more than two decades later, I’ve been thinking about learning. Been thinking about it for a good seven or eight months. Have had some people supporting the idea, and others telling me I’m crazy and that I don’t have any time and why would I do that? Well, I’m motivated partially by the art of it, partially by the connection I feel to my mom and grandmother through it, but mostly because I am a cheap ass. Let’s face it, Woobies need replacement and repair and why pay someone else to do it when I should be able to do it myself?

So about a month ago, someone in my neighborhood group posted a classified ad putting their Singer machine up for sale for $30. I scooped it up. Granted, it’s still in the back seat of my car. But this past weekend? I took my first sewing lesson.

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I took the two hour beginner class at Sew Crafty and this place is SO CUTE! The class familiarized us five students with machines, basic tools, and backstitching. I LOVED IT! Our project that pulled all our newfound knowledge together was a simple clutch (which I made into a diaper holder instead).

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My first on-my-own project? Harper’s trick-or-treat basket, a round, puffy felt-ish basket that looks something like this, but that matches her costume better. Yes, I know I can probably find one online. Yes, I am sure there are free patterns out there. Yes, I’m sure they have the exact colors and size I want at a local supermarket. BUT THAT IS NOT THE POINT. It will be my first from-scratch venture in perpetuating an art through another generation of women in my family.

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I wasn’t going to be home for bedtime. But then the late meeting never happened. Only I didn’t know it wasn’t supposed to. Miscommunication on the date. With a broken cell phone, email or call service is unavailable. How will Jen know I am coming home early? And will my earlier-than-expected still be too late to see the kids before bedtime?

Traffic was forgiving. The lights were not. Upon opening the door, the hum of waterfalls, the gentle sounds that lull our children to sleep. Then water fell from my eyes.

The house is quiet but for a tiny whimper from Mateo’s room, that briefest of sounds he releases upon the close of a day, resigning himself to sleep. I enter to find Matou giving him his Raffy. She walks out as if she knows I need these precious moments with him alone.

As it is, Harper was long gone for slumber. Matou tells me Harper actually approached her, signing “bath” and “sleep”.

I walk over to the crib to find Mateo lying on his back. He looks up at me. Smiles. We are separated only by a ray of light streaming from the hall through the cracked door. I rub his belly and stroke his hair. I hum our song, the one I remember my own mom and grandmother humming to me in comfort. Three generations and the result is the same – washed over by calm.

A warm boy under my fingertips as his eyes become heavy and he falls off to sleep.

Though they may be brief, these are memories.

Like many women, I made loose plans for ‘after the baby comes’. I thought about when we’d do bills, and the best time to grocery shop, and the most efficient layout of the nursery, and made a plan for whom would do my work while I was on maternity leave.

Being pregnant with twins made me keenly aware, however, that every plan I made was, by necessity, only a contingency. After all, one baby can alter your life at times, but two or more coming at you at once made it more likely that how you planned for something to happen will end up happening some other way. For example, we planned for them do go to daycare, but ended up with a nanny; we planned for a morning at the courthouse for the adoption, we didn’t plan on Mateo throwing up in front of the bailiff. Classic. Flexibility was (and continues to be) paramount.

Which is why not only did I have a boppy and breastpads, but I also had a breast pump and a few different types of bottles on hand. I wanted to breastfeed, but I also knew that with two at once, it might not be a practical. My thought was: if it worked out for the three of us, great; if not, then no big deal, we’ll sterilize the bottles.

Within ten or so days of being home from the hospital, however, Mateo was constantly hungry and Harper wasn’t getting enough to eat and thus becoming dehydrated. And I, after carrying fourteen pounds of babies to thirty-seven weeks, major surgery, and a little hemorrhaging, I was beyond exhausted.

It wasn’t for lack of help. No. After all, it was a team effort among me, Jennifer, my mom, and starting at Day 9, a night nanny (speaking of unplanned contingencies). But as any new mom knows, it is so very hard to sleep soundly what with the weighty responsibility of a safeguarding a miracle from right out of the lap of God. No pressure or anything.

But not a problem, right? I mean just pump and go to bottles and let someone else help with the feeding. Right? RIGHT?

And here’s where I experienced my logical, flexible decision-making colliding head-on with every single fiber of precipitous maternalism. Because OH MY GOD it was quite possibly the most difficult, most emotionally-charged juncture I’ve found myself in during the thirty-four years I had been on the earth. There I was seeking permission from the one person who was vilifying me: me.

Breast is best. That gets pounded into your head from all angles. There are entire factions of humanity specializing in getting your boobage just right for the baby to get the only food that’s going to help them become productive, healthy citizens. Thinking about formula? How selfish. Plan to pump? That’s less demonic but still disappointing. Does it hurt? Do you have an infection? Here’s a head of cabbage, a warm compress and a dose of just-get-over-yourself-and-suck-it-up-for-at-least-six months. What, you are going back to work? How unmotherly.

So, you know, there’s that.

Until today, I don’t even think I’ve touched on this subject here, but it’s often on my mind, sitting back there like a slow-healing wound, one with lots of scar tissue, but that’s also a bit numb around the incision. It was such a traumatic time for me. Just ask Jennifer. Or my mom. Or my sister. Or my sister-in-law. Or our friend, Tanya. Or Alan, a dear friend who’s logic and level-headedness I admire, a man I love dearly, a most compassionate, intelligent, and level-headed child of God. He came over, listened, and just held my hand.

In those days before we transitioned to pumping, and then to formula, I often wept. Uncontrollably. I would be breastfeeding one or both of the babies, holding them close against me, awestruck that these human beings grew inside of me, and I would cry. I would cry because I felt like that in discontinuing breastfeeding, I was failing them, neglecting them. I believe that I actually even said, aloud, that I felt like I was engaging in nutritional murder. It was that difficult, that painful, that dark. I was living proof that the guilt-card of all the breastfeeding propaganda was effective. And that in itself was disappointing – because I consider myself to be an independent thinker, immune to peer pressure.

BUT WAIT! THIS POST ISN’T EVEN ABOUT BREASTFEEDING!

I offer up that intimate and painful experience as a point of comparison to another unexpectedly gut-wrenching parental experience: separating the twins’ sleeping quarters.

I’ve mentioned on my blog that we were headed in that direction, had conversations with other parents, made plans with Jennifer. Mateo sleeps longer in the afternoons, Harper sleeps longer in the mornings. Sleeping in the same room leads to one waking the other. Which means at least once a day, often twice, at least one child isn’t getting the rest they need. And an overtired kid equals the-day-will-suck. Two overtired kids equals the-day-will-suck-and-it’ll-take-forever-to-end. Logical solution? Separate them.

Over the course of a week, we cleaned out the guest bedroom, rented a storage facility, moved guest room furniture to storage, moved tiny things up, got the room safe, and reorganized the closet space. And then on Monday, May 18, Jennifer moved Harper’s crib…
into
her
new
room.
Cue the waterworks. It didn’t help that I had been home sick last Thursday and Friday, translating to four consecutive days with the kids. The only times I’ve had four consecutive days with them was during maternity leave, over Thanksgiving holiday (and Mateo was very ill), and Christmas holiday. And when I get it, I marinate in it. But when I have to go back to work, it shocks me how difficult the transition is for me.

It also didn’t help that Mr. and Miss Crank had runny noses and maybe felt a bit under the weather. Or that we had been very busy over the weekend and they were still recovering. Or that they were beyond exhausted on Monday evening by the time I got home so that what I walked into was thirty minutes of tears and babies that wanted me to hold them both but didn’t want to be held either. It is days like this that I feel like I fail my children for not being there with them during the day.

That evening, Jennifer affording me the opportunity to put them both to bed, she holding one while I put the other down. Mateo went down relatively easy. Harper screamed at the top of her lungs when I closed the door of her new room behind me. Was it the shadows? Did she miss her brother? Did she think I abandoned her? Was she just friggin exhausted?

I went in five minutes later – yeah, me, the one who had no issue with the cry-it-out method – and picked her up to hold her during the next five minutes it took her to fall asleep through post-weeping stutter-breathing, poor baby. Then I went back upstairs and cried as I watched them on the monitors, Harper sleeping soundly, Mateo, on his belly, quietly peeking over the crib bumper looking over at the empty space that used to be his sister’s crib. Did he think she left him? Was a part of him gone?

And even after they both fell asleep, I cried. Off and on until I fell asleep myself. Jennifer did her best to comfort me while avoiding the eggshells I was tossing in my path, the red carpet of my emotional what-the-eff-was-that. On a scale of one to ten, ten being the most emotional, the breastfeeding thing was an eleven. The separating of the twins was somewhere around an unanticipated eight.

Why the big deal? Hell if I know. Could be a combination of all those things I mentioned above about the day and the weekend and all that. But I think it’s more the representation of the twins sleeping apart that prompted such a visceral and unexpected emotional response. I mean think about it, they slept in the same space for SIX HUNDRED FORTY TWO DAYS and suddenly there’s the very tangible, very visible change.

Two hundred forty six days in the same womb.

Three hundred ninety six days in the same room.

Yes, I counted. Yes, it really is that dramatic.

I never expected it to be such a thing, this having to now walk through separate doors to get to each child. After all, I’m not one of those twin moms who coordinates or matches the kids’ clothes. I’m all about independence and individuality. Plus? Hello? It’s not like I didn’t know about this…FOR A WEEK! Not like I didn’t INITIATE THE MOVE!

With each passing experience, planning gets more efficient, remaining flexible becomes more second-nature, but damn this unexpected emotional stuff really throws me for a loop.

I received this email from the building management:

Please be advised that someone is randomly shooting at building windows in the area. This afternoon we had a glass company come out to repair a shattered window. As it turns out, the window had a bullet hole in it. They also informed us that [the company across the street] had a window shot out as well. Have a good evening.”

BECAUSE HOW ELSE DO YOU END AN EMAIL INFORMING TENANTS THAT DRIVE-BY’S ARE LOOMING OVER THE EDGE OF YOUR CREDENZA?

And for all the times I can’t stand it when people “Reply All”, this guy got a pass when his reply all was: “Can we shoot back?”

Although we’ve had electricity at our home since last Wednesday, we still don’t have cable, phone, or internet access at home. Which is fine, really, because Comcast’s rates are so absurd as it is that it’ll be a nice break from a full-month’s bill from them. Speaking of which, do you know if you call to change your service in any way, they CHARGE you for the phone call? Don’t even get me started.

Work is really busy. One of the hats I wear is as risk manager, and needless to say, with properties affected by both Gustav and Ike, I’m swamped. Oh, and did I mention I am also on the Garage Sale Committee for our area’s Mother’s Of Multiples sale October 17? I decided one of my contributions would be to create an online volunteer scheduling system using subscription based software in order to reduce the amount of time swallowed up by any one individual having to do this manually via phone calls and excel spreadsheets. And to prevent any accusations of favoritism for the more popular shifts. I had no idea parenthood was a lot like junior high.

So this is the best my September posting is going to get, until I can find some time.

We arrived to San Antonio late in the evening on September 11, ahead of Hurricane Ike’s anticipated path through urban Houston, where we reside. We took enough clothing for three days, not expecting we’d end up there for a total of ten.

The next day, we went to the hospital where my mom works. We told her we’d take the kids so her co-workers could see in person two of the five little creatures she speaks of incessantly between bringing people back to life and taking out their intubation tubes. After a brief visit, you know, because they’re kinda busy making sure people stay alive post-surgery, we left and went to my dad’s house.

This was the first time my dad had seen the babies since the week after their birth. And Tato especially was mesmerized. I don’t know if it was the tone of his voice, the resemblence of his bald head to his own, or the captivating ponytail that had him hooked.

Grandpa A and the RJBs

Later that evening, we went to Alamo Cafe on IH-10 and pretty much took up the whole center of one side of the restaurant. I commend the staff for not flinching when we asked for a table for twelve: 4 infants, 1 toddler, and 7 adults.

Family

Much of that night, we watched the drama unfolding on the Weather Channel regarding the projected path and coundown to landfall of Hurricane Ike. But some time around 11:00, I decided enough was enough, said my prayers for those affected, and went to bed.

The next morning, I started mapping out plans to return to Houston to assess any damage. But mostly to clean out the refrigerators and freezers. I knew we probably didn’t have power, which was confirmed via text message from our neighbors who rode out the storm at home. Neither Jennifer nor my mother wanted me to return, but I just remembered the refrigerator stories from friends who went through Hurricane Katrina, and I just didn’t want to have to deal with rotting food and otherwise perfectly good refrigerators that had to be thrown out. Granted, we had friends who had keys to our home, but they had enough going on with water and wind damage to their OWN home. Plus, you always want to check things out for yourself. As a compromise to my mother’s paranoid concerns regarding safety, my dad went with me. I didn’t take any pictures, but I did take some video which you can see here and here. But fair warning, you should take a dose of dramamine before watching these, or a shot of tequilla, or whatever it is you do for motion sickness.

My sister-in-law, who is still on maternity leave, mentioned that she was going to Stroller Strides the morning of September 15. And since we were all ready to get out of the house, we decided to crash the stroller striding party, or as Jennifer calls it, the Diaper Derby. Not only did we attend this in a different city, but we came with twins, and we were two-mommies at that. Everyone was welcoming (and in already great shape). The class totally kicked my ass. Enough to think about the fact that I still need to lose weight and exercise. But not apparently enough to take further action.

Stroller Strides

As working mom’s, and because Jennifer works on Saturday’s, there is little occasion to start something new and do it together. So we took advantage of being stay-at-home parents and tried rice cereal with the kids a couple weeks before we originally anticipated. Which is fine, really, because it’s not like we were giving them the keys to the car or anything. They both took the Eat-First-Ask-Questions-Later approach and seemed to like it enough. Towards the end, Tato really just wanted the damn bottle. His words, not mine.

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Jennifer had set the cup down on Carpet’s tray table and she immediately picked it up. I’d insert something snippy here about her raging independence, but that would be self-incriminating.

Rice Cereal in a Tea Cup

On Saturday, September 20 (yes, we were STILL THERE!), we took a drive out to the Shops at La Cantera, a wonderful outdoor shopping center not too far from my mom or sister’s homes. And I qualify “not too far” with the fact that we live in Houston, and if you can get to your destination within 30 minutes of your house, it’s considered “close by”. Whereas for locals, our “close by” would be considered the other side of town.

Later, we went to Rudy’s BBQ, a delicious picnic table joint just north of town. This was the RJBs’ first trip to Rudy’s but since I didn’t have my camera with me, I took it with my poor-quality-camera-function on my Blackberry. Still, how cute are they with that BBQ sauce!?

Rudy's BBQ

The next day, Carpet was especially chipper at the inception of meltdown time, that section of time between 6pm and bathtime that can send their heads spinning. So I just snapped a shot of her on the bebe chair just before bath time.

Carpet

And here’s a photo of Tato, with eyes that draw you in. Or at least they do me.

Eyes

We returned to Houston early morning of Monday, September 22. We dropped the kids off at the montessori school around 8:30, then Jennifer dropped me off at work around 9:00. My dad had driven in the day prior to set up the generator my boss let me borrow now that he had power. He also set up a small window a/c unit that one of the neighborhood kids’ group families had let us borrow, since they, too, had power. Jen went home to finish helping and to get everything ready for baths and bedtime so that when we got home with the kids, it would be a seamless transition for them.

Thankfully, we had only two evenings of sleeping without power in house. The generator kept the nursery cool and the guest room that we stayed in sufficiently cool with a fan. After putting the kids down to bed, we’d go upstairs to wash bottles and eat dinner. It was 90 degrees in the house. And if you moved VERY VERY SLOWLY, it actually wasn’t that bad. It did, however, have a way of making you feel like you were trying to take a breath of air with a mid-sized vehicle sitting on your chest.

Power was restored at our house on Wednesday, September 24th. Being that we’re only home a few hours a day, it took us a couple more days to get almost back to normal. Just in time to go pick up my mom and sister from the airport so they could attend the twins’ Baptism. Jennifer’s mother and grandmother also came in from Louisiana. And we were joined by several other family members, both of origin and chosen. And while at least the Baptism will be a separate post that I hope to write before they are one-year olds, I conclude with this lovely photo of us and my second neck, framed by their godparents, Karin (l) and Alli (r). It was a blessed event and lunch at our home afterwards, more of which I’ll share soon.

Baptism

reposted with my own permission from over yonder.

My mother and I were talking the other day and, maybe because she lives 180 miles away, she couldn’t imagine how I “manage” to get the kids into daycare without leaving one in the car. And I told her we DO leave them in the car, but only when we go to Wal-Mart.

As for all the other times, it looks a little something like this:
Going To School

Despite the fact that my posts have been sparse this week, there are always millions of things swirling around in my head.  And my brain usually has Baby Einstein music playing in the background.  Even if I’m listening to Nelly.  Which is a very weird combination, I tell you. 

Things on my burner: diaper rash, hurricane preparedness, teething, diaper rash, laundry, laundry, laundry, diaper rash, poop, making sure all our company’s (work) assets are covered before the storm enters the Gulf, diaper rash, buying a bra that fits, downloading new music, taking pictures, losing weight, making the capital expenditures tie to the financial statements, diaper rash, laundry, halloween costumes, and laundry. 

Until such other post gets written, I leave you with a photo of Carpet and Tato, taken after we got home from school on Tuesday.  Which, according to my mom, is all she really wants anyway.  At least she’s honest.

After School 08.26.08

Out of an (over)abundance of caution, and probably some post-traumatic stress from Hurricane Rita and Katrina, many businesses in the area decided yesterday that they would be closed today.

INCLUDING THE MONTESSORI SCHOOL.

And NOT including my office.

I drove to work this morning in a light drizzle. Through very little traffic. And since the kid’s were not with me, I listened to my radio very loudly. And at a traffic light, I realized my very loud music was Baby Einstein.

Even before the “storm”, Matou had today off. So the RJBs are home with her.

As inconvenient as it may be to have the school closed today, I would imagine this part of shuffling our schedules to deal with non-illness stay-at-home days is a piece of cake. I have a more difficult time imagining how we’ll address after-school childcare issues in a few years. And summers. But we’ve got some time. For today, I’ll be leaving the office around noon to take lunch home and spend the afternoon with my family.

A couple weeks ago we started looking for alternate arrangements for childcare for the RaJenBabies.  This was because the other place we had planned to put them, THE PLACE WE SECURED TWO SPOTS FOR IN FEBRUARY, flaked out again, delaying our entry date.  Plans for their expansion were on hold pending city inspections and no one from the infant room had become mobile enough to move up to the next class BLAH! BLAH! BLAH!  

Change of plans?  The thing you planned isn’t what will actually happen?  We said we’d be there at 10:30 and didn’t get there until 10:50?  WITH TWINS, CURVE BALLS ARE SO PREDICTABLE.  

We got on the phone, made a couple calls, and suddenly, two places that had waiting lists a year long in January had two entries available.  A lot can change in seven months. The third place, the one we really wanted, wasn’t open so we got on a waiting list there.  Could be one month, could be ten, but that’s ultimately where we’ll move them. And let me go off on a branch of tangents here and say that, unlike what I previously thought, Waiting Lists are not just for those rich New York people, the one’s whose nannies are banging the unfaithful husband’s on Law & Order SVU.  No, those waiting lists happen for regular people like us, middle of the middle-class typical two-mom family in a urban area, trying to get into what I’m pretty sure is your average school.

One of the two places that had availability was a Montessori school. It took some reading up on, but, for example Montessori schools don’t use sippy cups. As soon as the babies are big enough to sit on their own, that they teach the little ones to drink from a regular open-topped cup and eat at a little table instead of on high chairs.  As I weighed aloud the pros and cons of the two schools with my mother, she said it sounded like the Montessori school wasn’t going to let the babies be babies. My thought was any inkling of order and self-confidence and independence would be beneficial in our household.  So guess where we enrolled them.

Monday, July 28, was the first day at Montessori School for the RaJenBabies.  I started preparing on Saturday.  Picked their clothes out for the week to make mornings easier.  Packed blankets, towels, burp cloths.  Extra clothes.  Bottles.  Formula.  Water.  Labeled everything.  Monday morning, with the help of our night nanny, they were dressed and fed and ready to go at 7 a.m.  Matou and I got everything in the car.  I brought my camera.  

OF COURSE.  

And we even remembered the babies.  

We got to the school and took them to their new room to meet the teachers.  Then we did all our security paperwork, pictures, and paid the monthly mortgage on the 5,000 square foot summer home on Lake LBJ tuition through September 1.  The babies were smiling and happy.  Which in turn made us smiley and happy.  So leaving them there wasn’t terribly emotional. It helped that Matou and I were both there together.

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At 9:30 a.m., the phone in my office rang and I could see from the caller-ID that it was the school.  And my immediate thought was Oh, Shit, They Threw Up Again And We’re Getting Kicked Out.  I picked up and said “is everything ok?  The kids are ok?”  And the teacher said “Oh, they are fine.  But….ummmmm….did you pack them any diapers?”

That’s right, Internet. I remembered the Camera but forgot the diapers! I had prepared a box with 50 diapers, a big ‘ol bin of Boudreaux’s Butt Paste, and ten bibs. AND LEFT IT BY THE GARAGE DOOR.

No, we usually just keep them in the same one all day is what I didn’t say because I figured they didn’t know me well enough to be subjected to my Smartassitis condition. MAYBE TOMORROW.  

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Early on, I used to dread those few hours per day when I would be alone with the RJBs. Not because I didn’t want to be with them. Not at all. My biggest fear was that they would be hungry – AT THE SAME TIME – while I was by myself. Why? Because babies with reflux need to be fed upright, and remain upright for a period of time after eating, lest they throw up. And for us, feeding them in car seats or bouncy seats didn’t negate the issue. Their anti-gravidational reflux could launch rockets, I kid you not.

Holding one baby off could sometimes work. Most of the time not. In not feeding one while I fed the other, I felt they thought I was neglecting them, abandoning them to a swing or boppy to cry alone with no security in their young lives that someone was there to care for them.

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In feeding them together, it often initiated a cycle of feeding, throwing up, and crying. When they would throw up, it seemed more made its way up than went into them. Not only out of their mouths, but out of their nostrils. And then the need to suction them, to get the milk and mucous out of their airways. While they are scared and crying. While the other one is crying because you took the bottle out of their mouth. For which they would then cry themselves into throwing up. Because they weren’t sitting upright in your lap. All of which served to fester the wound of feeling like a parental failure.

And guess what? Inevitably, they WERE hungry simultaneously. Because you can’t schedule-feed babies with reflux. And the cycle happened. And I got through it – sometimes barely. But not without tears and that anxiety that tingles warm through your body and makes your heart race. You know that near-miss car accident feeling? That’s how it felt, the anticipation of this situation.

Now? This whole three months of their lives later? Totally do-able. But it is not solely due to my experience as a parent, IF AT ALL. And not because Bruiser’s reflux, cross my fingers, seems to be going out with the tide. It is because we’ve had lots and lots of help from nannies.

There it is. I admit it out loud. You want to know how I’ve had time to post? It’s because someone was sitting with the RJBs while I had ten minutes of sanity. How it is that I’ve managed to gain 5 pounds in the last three months? Because someone has brought us a meal while we do tummy-time with the kids. How we’re not completely exhausted? Because someone gets up with them most nights so we can sleep. How I haven’t run out of clean underwear? Because someone is doing most of the laundry.

We’ve had a night nanny since the RJBs were nine days old. Not every night. But probably five nights a week on average – 10pm to 6 am. We’ve had a day nanny slash housekeeper five to six days a week – 8 am to 6pm. Gulnoz. Ann. Regina. Jenny. Marisol. Our house has been a revolving door of hired help. We might as well leave the front door unlocked.

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This three months later, we’re weaning the RJBs ourselves off. The kids will start daycare in August and we’ll keep our day person for Saturday’s so I can run needed errands and Matou can go to work. We’re down to 3 nights per week with the night nanny and that will discontinue entirely by mid-August because she has another family she’s committed to. And because the RJBs are, for the most part, sleeping through the night – 7:30pm to 5 or 6:00 am. which means we’re just paying for a co-dependent relationship. Well, that, and I don’t have any more internal organs to sell to finance the expense.

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I’m back at work now, full-time. Matou has been back at work for two-and-a-half months. And we’ve discovered that the bittersweetness of having kids is the imbalance it creates for working parents. It’s counterintuitive to me, this two-income household for the purpose of paying for someone else to spend 10 hours a day with our kids. And yet, neither of us make enough for one of us to stay home.

The result is, I sense the RJBs feel loved and secure and like their needs are met, but I’m not sure they know WE are their mom’s. Just last Friday, I rushed home after work to find Bruiser smiling and laughing with the nanny. And when I went up to him and said Hello, he looked at me with the expression of “Who the hell are you?” And then there was a sense of connection, a connection that said “Oh, yeah, you’re the bath, bottle, bedtime nanny.”

Which is about what it feels like five days a week. We get home at 6pm. Take a short walk in the neighborhood. We each take a baby and give them a bath and feed them, alternating babies each night so we have equal time with them. Put them down to sleep at 7:30. Leave the next morning oftentimes before they wake. That’s TWO HOURS A DAY WITH MY KIDS. Deflating. Oh, sure, we could wait longer to do their bedtime routine. But that would be selfish of us, and fussy of them because 7ish is their internal bedtime. As it is, they usually end up alseep by the time we get home from our walk.

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Jen stays home Mondays and Tuesdays. She called me the other day and said someone wanted to talk to me. She put Bruiser and Birdie on the phone and they were cooing and squeaking away. Me? I was at the office reviewing operating agreements and writing formulas for a spreadsheet.

My mom said it’s the quality of time we spend, not the quantity. But this time it is taking to wrap my head around that reality and do so without immense guilt is expansive. All the more reason that I look forward to the weekends now more than ever.

More Photos!

The Aforementioned

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