Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Second month

Oh, what do I say, my blue eyed sons?
Oh, what do I say, my darling young ones?

It looks like you both will be holding the blue in your eyes, despite both Daddy and Mama being hazel. It looks like you have no problem with growing, but definite issues with taking naps. And it looks like your Mama vastly underestimated just how hard the world of Mama-hood would be. In her somewhat cheeky ways, she anticipated she could do this with ease. This month taught your Mama she can do this, but not with ease. The only thing EASY is that f---ing routine your Mama is trying to keep you on.

My boys, your Mama absolutely loves you, but she has discovered in this second month

that there are no breaks from Motherhood. She has learned that, you, Mason, you do not like closing your eyes. The way you look at everything with utter absorption and fascination, your eyes wide, then wider, then scary wide until you max out and finally relinquish your hold on the world. And sleep….for a few minutes. And Owen, you can wake gently, eyes open and handsome face calm. But if there are hunger pains or that awful refluxy stuff, you wake screaming like you have been jabbed in the leg with a hot poker. And Mama learned she better have those bottles ready and waiting because there is no time with two screaming hungry babies to think, much less use those stupid measuring vials she started with.

She learned that beast milk is good, but sanity is even better. That the pump was becoming her ‘triplet’ baby and it was not going to work anymore. And she is currently learning how painful weaning is. Though the torpedo tit look has definite possibilities for getting her pin-up girl status, if she had the energy to dress in sexy clothes.

The month has brought eye contact with all of us, Mama and Daddy, your Omi and Opa and all your aunties and uncles. And now both of you are so good at finding our voices when we speak. Daddy comes home and instantly those four blue eyes go darting, seeking that familiar face, that dear and beloved face that Mama turns to, somedays desperately, and somedays with a grateful smile.

Mama has learned in these four weeks that your Daddy is a problem solver. She may try to set the routine, but he improves it and refines it and gently reminds your hyper (hyperactive, hypervigilant, just plain hyper) Mama that it is all okay, the Beans are okay, we are okay. And he knows how to listen, that man, oh he listens. And he loves me and the two of you so much. To hear him sing to you, making up silly little ditties for you in his slightly off-key voice, my heart swells and then melts and then fills. And so this month I have learned that I cannot exist without him. But then, I have always known that.

This second month has bonded you to me, buried you deeply into every aspect of my
life. It is hard, yes, this thing called Motherhood. I have cried, wept really, different tears than those ones after you were born. Those I could not control or predict, these I feel well up and spill over despite trying to hold them back and be strong. Not grief, but, yes, in some way grieving. Because as your Mama I assume that role first and always. And it means that the girl/woman from before is not first, maybe not even around. You can’t have it all, sister…that is what my Self has realized. But knowing and acknowledging this is empowering and helps the tears dry up.

And so, my boys, the honeymoon is over, but the adventure, well, that has just begun. And your Mama loves you, loves you so very much. Kisses.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


M A M I E kk N I T s

Cool little thing found here. Why am I on right now...I should be napping. This qualifies as addiction now.

Monday, June 11, 2007

My Night Out

We had a really interesting weekend, busy and fun and a little bit disorienting, but good. A few months ago I discovered that one of my favorite musicians was playing here and I, bed resting at the time, ambitiously bought us tickets. I wanted to see him so badly and he rarely comes down to Los Angeles, apparently not his cup of tea (this gleaned from lyrics of various songs) so I had to try. He holds the same name as our son, (no, we did not name our Mason after him, but I feel he is in good company sharing with a man as sensitively creative as Mason Jennings). And I just plain love his music. I have such wonderful friends, one made me a beautiful CD of his more obscure songs and while confined I listened daily to help center and calm my at times raging mind and imagination. It is hard to think bad thoughts when you are hearing a voice such as his.

So, anyway, we did make it to the show on Saturday. It was interesting to plot and plan up to the day, then actually be able to do it…to slip away into the night with 2 best friends, Omi and Opa at home with the Beans, armed with written instructions, breast milk galore and cell phones at the ready. There were no untoward events, they followed the routine, had a great time doing it and gratefully turned them over to us when we arrived home. So, that was not the big deal. The big deal was me. Isn’t it always?

See, I really wanted this, I thought about it a lot. I have to remind you that I was home for 12 weeks…3 months…no outings other than doctor; no dinners, no friend’s places for game night or stamp parties, no nothing. So this became really important. Scarily important. I got a new top, I pumped furiously to allow me to know that I would leave enough to feed them through the night so I could enjoy more than just one
glass of wine, we bought an invertor for the car just so we could bring my hospital issue breast pump (which looks oddly similar to an oil rig when running)(Tim marvels that we do not have to do regular maintenance to the thing, it is that massive). There was not a detail missed. Oh, until we opened the invertor package and discovered it hooks up directly to the battery with jumper cables (that is how much juice the pump requires. No wonder my nipples are wrecked). Problem solvers that we are, we just added an extension cord to the list of things to bring. Tada!

Saturday night comes, we place all necessary bits for the beans in plain sight
for the GP’s, load up our friends and some beer and wine and hit the open road, heading to Malibu for dinner at Malibu Seafood and music at the Malibu Inn. It was great, Tim and I cruising in the Family Truckster with grown people in the back seat, not a baby item in sight except for a stray bottle. We made record time to the dinner place, found parking right in front, had a lovely couple assist us in opening our bottle of Chardonnay and ordered our meals. BTW: the food at Malibu Seafood is lovely. It is little more than a cut out off the side of PCH with tables and the shack where one orders and manually retrieves their own tray, but the food it excellent. Fresh and beautifully prepared, we had the sock eye salmon, ahi tuna, clam chowder and Dungenes crab and each were done just right. Highly recommended is the chowder in the bread bowl. So great.

Dinner was so fun, eating two handed and enjoying that extra pour, gazing at the Pacific from our picnic table, conversing about things that we did, have done and plan to do with Mike and Kate. But there was that niggling feeling, that feeling of being misplaced, not whole, unbalanced. Because we were alone. Tim and I kept glancing at each other with the same look in our eyes, kept bringing up the babies and their specialness, wonderfulness, babyness. And our friends understood. I kept reaching for the digital camera that I should have been using to photo all of the above so as to have pictures to remember and post, but instead looking at the pictures of the boys, showing Mike and Kate and the people at the next table over. And our friends understood. We kept thinking we should call to check, and yes, our friends understood. They do not have children yet, they are going the traditional route and waiting until after they get married, but they still understood. These were the right people to venture out with the first time.

And then, off to the venue, again we found just the right spot to park. Situated way below street level, the public beach parking had enough shelter to conceal us from eyes that likely would have tripped out to see a open hood, jumper cables leading to a bright orange extension cord disappearing into the Truckster where the loud hiss/pull of my pump could be heard. I think the tinted windows and darkness did
enough to keep my modesty intact. Kate sat next to me watching the pump process and made the remark that my nipples look like udders when being pulled by the pump. She is not wrong, it is a strong pump. Gets the job done in 10 minutes flat…and then I reluctantly spilled the results of pumping out the door. That was hard. It is gold, liquid gold (now, if you watch PBS and have heard of Huell Howser, you must think this statement with the same accent he uses when he says “California’s Gold”. Are you feeling me?). All items were put away and we were off, walking the 2 or 3 blocks to the Inn, breathing the sea night air, salty and fresh.

Our singer had yet to take the stage so we nursed a drink and chatted, observing the typically Southland crowd; the hipsters and blondies, beachy 20/30ish crowd. Not really our scene, but apparently they were all enamored of Mason Jennings too. It is just that I can see why he hates to play L.A. It was a good show, unfortunately the venue was geared much more towards drinking that acoustics, at times the crowd forgot they were there to hear the artist and I kept trying to find excuses to whip out the camera to show off my babies…but it was a good show. One song made me cry, it is a powerful piece about death and a boy (or maybe girl. Adrian could be either, I guess.) And the whole time Tim and I kept giving each other that look, that one, you know? The one that said to each other, ‘How are they? What are they doing?’ and on and on.

The realization that this is it, how things will be, it was not too hard. I expected it. But what I did not anticipate was the pull. The desire to turn around and go home to them every few minutes. The desire to show and tell every person nearby about our Beans, how they are smiling at us now, how they turn their heads to our voices when we come into a room and talk, how they make us laugh when they fart like old men. It was so powerful, this desire. It was so powerful. And when we finally did get home, the feel, ahhhh, the feel of my babies in my arms. Defies description.

So, it was a lesson learned. Sure, we need ‘us’ time, we need to
occasionally be with each other without the little guys. Sure, we can go out and enjoy this time with friends and have a few drinks and listen to some good music and eat some good food. Sure, we can, but we will never be ‘free’ and we don’t want to be. I loved the tug, the pull, the promise of my lovelies waiting for me to kiss them and sing them to sleep as only, I, their mama, can. And next time we will not see Mason in L.A. Maybe we will go see him in his hometown instead. I've always wanted to get to Minnesota.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

The Bean Routine

Warning: This is a post about babies. Uh. Aren’t they all? But what I mean is it is a detailed post regarding the developments in our home since the bean arrival. Like, really detailed. It may bore knitters to death and go on and on, but I wanted to post this because I feel it might help someone out there.

Before I gave birth I had a lovely shower given by my sisters. I have a second cousin with fraternal twins and she gifted me with a book by Tracey Hogg, known as the Baby Whisperer. I was excited because we had used Cesar Milan’s Dog Whisperer for our beloved Meesh with really great results. She is a calm secure lovely GSD who seems to have curbed her wilder tendencies (though she loves to dig here which kills my mum as she plants and replants her beautiful flowers. (Look at that orange palette, when the tomatoes ripen it will be spectacular.)). Anyway, if the Dog Whisperer worked, well, the Baby Whisperer had to be just as good if not better.

So I read this book while waiting on the babies and found it helped me anticipate some of the needs of the Beans. I had so many questions and it did answer some, but mainly it gave me an idea, a rough outline as to how our lives would change. I mean, how are you supposed to prepare for multiples, or for that matter, your first one even? Sure, you know your baby will need love and comfort and dipes, but really, what after that? There are so many ways to parent and it is such a personal choice. I knew I wanted to find what would be best for the Beans and, in reading, found myself gravitating towards this woman’s writing voice. She speaks for the baby, helping parents understand that a lot of the ‘problems’ they experience are things they teach their babies.

For you readers out there that might be visiting from this site, or just interested in a rational approach to parenting I would highly recommend Tracey Hogg’s books. The only one I own is her latest publication (done before her death. That made me so sad as she was only 44 and you really feel like you get to know her by reading). She suggests starting her program from birth and we have followed this and I think it is what makes our lives both joyful and manageable since the bEans joined us.

So, here goes. She believes in ROUTINE not time SCHEDULES. Really important distinction, time schedules are rigid, routine is not.

She reinforces teaching a child INDEPENDENT SLEEP. This may not seem like a big deal because newbies sleep a lot, but it is key, especially with 2. Without this tenant Tim and I would be absolute wrecks.

She also gives guidelines to learn the TYPE of temperament your baby may be expressing and what a parent can do to foster and enjoy their child rather than fight it.

The crux of her method is the EASY plan..
E - Eat
A - Activity
S - Sleep
Y - You time (happens while baby sleeps). (and only when baby sleeps.)

What does that mean? Well, you establish the routine by following the above: your baby eats, then you play and perform bodily ministrations to the baby, then baby shows sleep signs so you prepare baby for sleep, help baby get to sleep, then frantically perform all things you need or want to do during baby sleep time. Yay.

It takes time to get this going, it takes work and some discipline on the part of the parent, but it works. It is never perfect and things happen to muck it all up, but here is the thing…it is predictable for baby and for mama and daddy. You know what to respond to, you know what your baby is crying about, you know how to problem solve, and this is a powerful key for parenting. If one does not know why your baby is crying, one can go a bit nutty, wouldn’t you say?

Now, I know I am only 6 weeks into this thing and it holds A LOT of surprises for us but we feel so good, and when I read some other mommy blogs I note that I do not think they feel that good. It could have to do with things other than baby and routine, but I am eternally grateful to my cousin for the book and I would love to share the knowledge I have gleaned with other families out there looking for something.

I have included the current routine that the Beans are following, which really just started to become solid and comfortable for them. They do get ‘off’ a bit or we play around with it when the day holds trips/appt/challenges but it remains in the same configuration so they always know what comes next, and babies like to know what comes next. It seems to make them feel secure and happy. Without further ado, I give you, The Bean Routine:

700 : E Wake and eat.
730/745: A Dipe change, spit bath, quiet play
800/815: S Down for morning nap
800/815: Mama pumps.
830/900: Y Mama time to shower/brekky/chores

1000: E Wake and eat
1045: A Dipe change, get dressed, fun play (cubes, colors, blinds, you know)
1115ish: S Down for nap.
1100ish: Mama pumps
1130: Mama naps (or tries to) or we go on walk in Stroller

1245/100: E Wake and eat
145: A Dipe (yep, every time), then a little talking time
200: S Nap (if they can) and Mama does a little blogging, etc.
200: Pump: For those of you wondering, I pump enough milk to feed them (for now) with just a bit of formula/supplement. They occ go on breast but b/c they
started on bottle they have little patience with the boob. I love it when they do go on, I feel less moo/cow and more nurturing mother. It works out well with my current pump schedule and if I have extra hands for a feed that I can put one on. I did try nursing both at the same time to keep their feeds together. Uh, no. Really difficult, really frustrating for them and myself. You do not have to be Super Mom all the time. I wanted to share this b/c I know I wondered if I could supply enough to feed them. It requires a really good dual pump, a lot of commitment and a regular pump schedule of every 2-3 hours to keep the milk flowing. And acknowledging your breasts will never be the same again. The reward is giving our babies all that they need, I am still in awe that my body is making milk. Milk! Weird, but cool. (Note: My husband and I were talking of this milk phenomenon and he mentioned it is great proof that we evolved from the animal kingdom, unless God just thought to add in the boob thing during the whole rib taking thing. Sorry, irreverent.) If there is a ‘nursing’ Mom out there with twins, I give you major kudos. It is hard enough as is to keep this up, I cannot imagine not having the luxury of filling a bottle and handing one to Tim, Opa or Oma.

345/400: E You guessed it, they eat quite frequently, these babies.
* Note: I usually do the morning feed with Oma, the second feed with Opa, the third and fourth alone, then Tim gets home for the next feed. It is tough to do feeds without extra hands due to the whole burp, spit up issues. And I know I get more help than most out there.
430 : A you know the drill. (Tim gets home around this time).
500: S Catnap 30-45 minutes to help get through bath time. At times we go to the park , sometimes Tim goes for a ride. etc.

6oo: E
630: Bath time! Yay! Such a great part of the day. We bathe them at least 5 times a week, occ we skip. We make dinner during this time. Talk about multi-tasking.
700: Nap (we eat dinner here)

800: E then back to bed.
1000/1100: Eat then back to bed.
These two feeds are ‘cluster’ and ‘dream’ feeds to help them get through the night. They do have a hard time keeping to these as they get really full, but we are working on it. The idea is to ‘tank them up’ so they sleep through the night. That is the idea anyway.

3 or 4 a.m. : Feed and change and back to bed until 6/7. And the night all depends. It depends on the day, on how much they took during the cluster and dream feed, on the stage of the moon, on whether Tim and I wake up… get it…

I usually do the 4 a.m. feed alone and let Tim sleep, then blog/read/knit from 5-6, walk Meesh 6-645, then get the 7 a.m. feed ready and…off we go into another day.

It isn’t always like this and it will likely stay this way until 16 weeks/4 months when she recommends a 4 hour plan. And I have always been a morning person, a really early morning person. Actually for awhile in my life I did not believe in sleep. Then I learned from Tim that sleep is good, now I am back to minimal sleep, but it is okay because I did this once in life. For now it is so nice to have some predictability. I know this was a really detailed and maybe overly informative post, but I would have loved to have read this while pregnant just to know what others do. I put it up for that reason. I hope it helps someone out there (and I hope it does not sound too crazy…I mean it is crazy, I will not lie, put ‘predictable’ crazy.)

And from everything I read, it changes after the first 6 months, not easier but different. We will just have to see when the time comes. Thanks for reading and hoping this helps others out there, especially any MOM's waiting on their little ones. Luck to you. Cheers.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Our Girl

I know I have been posting A LOT lately, but you have to understand, my world is small. Very small, people, like in the 6 and 7 lb. range and a perimeter around the house that extends less than 5 miles. Quick trips to bank and Target while Opie and Omi sit (no, not on them) do not count as social interaction. Oddly enough, this does.

And it is fine. I am loving this new immersion into a world I once just viewed. There is no novelty here, but the intensity might wind down a little. For now, I have plenty of laptop time while soothing the boys during naps or (guilty, yes) during pump sessions.

The real topic of this post is our girl, Mishka. We found Meesh April of last year, her birthday has been declared January 13, so now she hovers on the edge of 1 1/2 years. She is a wonderful dog, loyal to my husband to a fault, but I have a place in her heart as well. We once walked 3-4 miles each morn and I used to bike with her to get the willies out, and boy, does she have willies.

When bed rest came into the picture, her schedule went down the drain. No long walks, Tim would come home and take her to the park, but he is not a walking man and he would often be exhausted and occupied taking care of me.

Enter the Beans, a bit of apprehension on Mama's part and a haywire house...the poor girl went on a hunger strike the first few weeks. I am glad to report things are smoothing out for her, for us all. We followed Cesar Milan's instruction for introducing her to the Beans, it seems to be effective. She no longer has a place in Command Central, but she has a soft bed in the Main Room. She finds her exclusion from the room a bit hard, but she accepts it. With the Beans...well, i do not let her get too close right now, but I feel that she wants to be their protector, their champion. When they cry she looks at us with concern, as if to say we should be doing something very quickly to alleviate their discomfort. She loves to smell their clothes and bits and (turn away if squeamish) we caught her on a poop dipe once. Gross.

Yesterday was her first visit in a very long time to the San Dimas Dog Park.
We were regulars, then fell out of it because of some of the dogs that frequent the park, but we thought it would be a nice treat. Well, we got there and Mama stayed on the perimeter of the Park with the Beans in our beautiful but cumbersome stroller and in went Daddy and Meesh. Not for long, though. She kept coming back to the fence because her family was separated. Luckily, the Park hosts a huge lawn that we all played ball on, the main focus being Mishka as the Beans napped peacefully.

She and I have also returned to our walks in a modified fashion. I cannot quite make the distance due to time and deconditioning, but we will get there. We started out with around the block, then the neighborhood, now we get a fair distance in. We walk at 530-6 a.m. depending on Mama's alertness, it is usually a Bean-less time (Tim sleeps/watches them while we go) and I use it to think of the day ahead and to think of things to write here or once to craft a poem. That felt good.

I love my family, my growing happy family.

To go back a bit...I am okay with the current restrictions on my person because the rewards are great. I know mobility will return and I will have access to a greater scope than I have now. It is interesting, I am willing to sacrifice the freedoms I once had and do it wholly without resentment because it is for them. And we wanted them and were ready for them, so it goes without saying that we must do what is best for them. I guess it is important to go into parenting with this mindset because then it all makes sense. And there is only one time in this that they will be this small, this needful of constant gentle handling and care. Only once will I see my boys learn to focus on my eyes, or discover that the blinds really are the most fascinating aspect of the room. We get out all together and that is enough. I have encouraged Tim to try to get fired from his job so we can collect unemployment and he can stay with us at all times, but he does not seem to think getting rid of his job is a good idea. Especially because he works with his best friend. Humphhh. I wish this country valued the experience of Daddy as much as Mama. He would actually love to stay with us (not always the case with some men) but he cannot. For now, I eagerly await Friday and look forward to our cabin trip. And my walk with Mishka. It is enough.

Monday, June 04, 2007

A Knitting Tale

Once upon a time there was a girl that knit things, not little things but complex detailed things. Like sweaters. Once upon a time before baby knitting, she found patterns she loved and actually made them. Now she gazes longingly at others knitting and knitting plans and dreams of the time when her prince will return from his job and free her hands to click and clack away . And despite knowing it might stir the knitting deities, she longs to show that, yes, she did once do real knitting but had no one to show because she did not blog back then. She has piles of pieces unrealized. Piles of the dreaded ‘Unifinished Objects’. For this girl in our tale, well, she was never strong on the finishing front and abandoned her efforts when success was so near. And now, well now, she wishes she had tackled the challenge of seaming and buttons because these tasks seem impossible to surmount. But possibly, if she rubs a magic lamp, kisses a toad and sleeps (what? Sleeps?) on a magic bed with a pea (or bean)…well, maybe then her wish will come true and she will have garments fit for a queen.

Sorry for the fabricated faerie tale, but we jut watched Pan’s Labyrinth and I cannot stop thinking of it and it’s tragic magical story. I have watched very few movies of late and I am glad my time went towards this tale because it is beautiful. Well, both knits above were inspired by ladies I used to read and love but who have been a bit absent from the blog world of late. I miss them both. (Well, jess just posted. yay.)(and libby's blog is gone. anyone know her whereabouts?) Colchique was crafted along with this KAL, the ladies involved were so wonderful with assisting in translation of French instruction. It was a challenge for a few reasons and I think I will eventually just seam the sleeves and knit on a simple I-cord edging to complete the neck line. The collar as designed is too much for my mind and my time and my neckline, so we will keep it simple. The IK Corset Pullover (used to be a free download, but I cannot find the link to the pattern anymore. Sorry.) has ¾ length sleeves with some lovely bell action and lace but it is summer now and if I just join the shoulders and weave ends (ugh.) I would have a lovely tank top for those balmy ( I mean, sweaty) summer nights we host here in the southland. The corset plan seems do-able for the next event out, probably some type of dinner or bbq for the 4th of July, so there is my deadline. The plan for Colchique is to finish by fall (whew!) so that I might have a season appropriate knit to wear. Now, I know I rarely post pattern info or yarn info or pattern notes, this because I am a bit lazy and also not sure that this info would help any others. Sufficed to say this will likely not change in the near future, but if there are questions generated by the pieces (and I do mean pieces) shown, feel free to comment and I will get back to you.

Please excuse the self portaints via mirror and sans make-up. Tim had the beans and mama had free hands. Holla'

My current WIPs look like this.
The MDK nightie will not be done in my 6 week post-partum time frame, but guess what? I doubt the hubby will care. TMI. And the Mason Dixon Burpie is so very pleasant, it receives attention during pump sessions and odd moments of down time and it grows. Very satisfying because of its simplicity and obvious progress and color combination. I am finding I love the MDK warshrag/burpies because of the variety of color combination possibilities. Color is not something I usually contemplate, but these patterns have unlocked a new desire in me, to seek out new Peaches/Sugar and Cream colors and try them out side by side. There are a few more balls awaiting in my stash boxes and I look forward to a future of many such rectangles to use on the beans while they burp/spit on us . And the mental level required goes well with my current status: simple. Simple because some nights I do not sleep...those nights when Mason

wakes at 12, Owen at 1, Mason at 2, Owen…well, you get the idea. I love my babies but they, as with any other child, are not perfect. They, the mercurial little beings, decide to switch it up when we least expect it. Evolution did a really good thing when it created babies with beautiful big heads filled with round eyes and pouty mouths. Because on the mornings following those nightmarish nights (and we all have them), you wake to this, smile and burrow your weary head in their spit-up smelling softest ever neck and thank god, the spirits and every other deity that they are yours and they are there every morning when you wake. Happy 6 weeks, baby boys. Mama loves you.

Friday, June 01, 2007


My sons met the eldest of the family, my awesome brother Dan, on Tuesday. We met him out on a base while he whirled through the Southland with the General he serves under. My bro is hilarious and comes up with some really funny contributions to conversation. So, Tim and I have the boys in laps, they are getting a bit fussy and we start looking for their pacifiers. Now, from previousposts, you know that we nickname everything. So pacifiers go by: Dot, Ducha, Bink and Passi. It is a wonder anyone knows what the hell Tim and I are talking about at any given time. Dan listens to our ramblings and, dead pan, says "They call them Goat Teats in Iraq". I do not know if is lack of sleep or my quirky sense of humor, but I busted a gut. And now Tim and I are just waiting for that time in Public when I can turn to him and frantically demand "Do you know where his Goat Teat is?" Oh yes, I love being a parent.

*Next up: The Beans meeting with either a slice of lemon or a Sour Patch Kid while video rolls. Lest you think this cruel, look here to see what others have done with their small children.

Mmmmmmmmm...delicious. We saw doc and both boys are fabulous...O is up to 7.10 and Mace 6.5. Oh, that makes mama happy happy.