Thursday, July 7, 2016

What I take for Granted.

Yesterday I loaded up my twins in our shiny orange bike trailer. To the doctor's office, for lunch at the grocery store, then the hardware store, the park, then home. (Don't fret, it was a round trip and not that far overall.)

It was joy and light and color and happiness all day.

I never once thought about my cloak of invisibility.

I am white.

My children are not at risk because of their race.

In fact, they can go many places without question because of it.

I sit here with a hole in my stomach thinking about the men who were taken away yesterday. From their children, their partners, their moms.

Because of race.

I don't understand. I can't understand.

I remember walking into a fancy designer store in Asia after months of living out of my backpack, wearing one of the few shirts I owned and one of the bottoms carried. I'm certain I smelled a bit, hair was uncombed. Yet no one said a word to me as I entered. Not everyone was allowed in. While traveling where I was the white minority, I knew I could go anywhere because of it and I was safer because if it as well.

We have several African American neighbors. All walks of life. One family is well-off, has a boat and nice cars. One is scraping by unable to get a job after losing hers in her sixties, but is so sweet and loving. My kids love her. Another is an old man in his eighties who doesn't even know his real last name but still mows his own yard and has three cars that are older than me. One still runs. Another family lives in the rental up the street. They are newer to the neighborhood.

I think about them. What are they feeling? I want to ask. I'm afraid to ask.

How can we fix it?

We still are mostly white. We still are mostly insulated

The color and happiness I felt yesterday were real. But I live in a bubble.

Last night, I watched a video of my friends who has beautiful twin boys. Trying on their new green rain jackets. Trying out the word Jacket. They prance around, sweet and unassuming. The only difference between them and my twins is the color of their skin. The innocence, the curiosity- they are the same. One looks like his mother, one like his father. 

We must do something. We must do something.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Father's Day 2016

Father’s day was just two days ago. Today, I spent some time reading articles that others had written about their dads who taught them that life was tentative, not to hold on too tightly, to continue moving forward stoically in the face of loss and danger. The described fathers who were strong and deliberate and non-emotional, those who taught you to pay your bills on time, and to not over-discuss things. I could not relate.

None of them sounded like my dad. My dad, who I remember giving me whisker rubs. Who cooked dinner in the kitchen. Whose laughter filled the air of whatever space he occupied. Hearing it, you’d know there was a grin across the majority of his face. My mom said he had all thirty-two of his teeth, even the wisdom teeth. I thought, he needed them all for that sparkling smile.

I’m busy these days with my own two little ten-month-olds, finally understanding the joy that raising children can bring. At times, it’s exhausting and overwhelming, but even then it feels like the greatest gift I’ve ever been given.

Last night we put the babies in the crib. They weren’t tired, so I was singing them Edelweiss. Justin came in and talked to them, “It’s time to sleep little bunnies. Lay your heads down.” His voice soft and gentle and deliberate, reminded me of my dad’s voice. Keith and Lauren bobbed around in their cribs smiling and sleepy at the same time.

I sat in the chair and rocked and read my emails while they settled down. They eventually put themselves to sleep. No crying. Comfort at my presence.

I remember my dad sitting in the corner of our bedroom, in the blue and red painted chair. Telling us stories in the dark. Knowing he was there, I felt safe.

We are raising our kids in a home with quiet and music and parents who are always there. We are hoping to give them the boring, stable life that Justin and I both missed out on for different reasons. It’s a work in progress but we’re on our way.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

June 14th: I Turned Forty

Every day, I have patients complain to me about getting older. I don't say anything but inside I'm thinking a slew of thoughts that I'd like to let loose. Namely, that there's a lot of people out there who'd love to be living but are no longer with us. Life is living and part of it is getting older, if you're lucky to make it.

So welcome, forty. I take you in with honor for letting me stroll along the corners of this green planet since the bicentennial of the United States. Thank you for blessing me with children late in my life, the double whammy that I could've never dreamed of. Thank you for the grey worry streak in my hair that showed up when I was twenty-four, becoming more dense with each passing year, a gorgeous silver highlight crowning my passing years, undisguised by hairdye.

The crinkles starting at the corner of my eyes- imperfect skin yet bright shining eyes, pools of growing wisdom as my life experience mounts. Thank you for all this. I look forward to more grey and less smooth skin. More living, less perfection. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

4 Months: The Eve of The End of Maternity Leave

Tonight it's quiet. You both went to sleep in a matter of minutes after I set you down.

I'm getting ready to go back to work. I laid out my outfit yesterday. I made a list of instructions for Justin and Margaret for tomorrow. Thursday you'll try out daycare. I'm excited for adult interaction but I can't help but have some tears slipping out at the thought of leaving you guys.

I love you so much.

I know it will be okay.

I can't believe a year ago, you were just two little starts in my tummy. I didn't even know you were there yet. What magic I had in store. I had no idea and never would've dreamed of you both.

I've treasured this time with you and I'm thankful that Kaiser was so generous to let me take off eighteen weeks instead of just twelve.

Keith, tonight you cried in the crib a while until I finished nursing Lauren. After she was by your side within a few minutes you calmed down and let your eyes finally sink shut. You're a gentle spirit with big hands that you love to intertwine together on your tummy or place over your sister's littler hands. You laugh all the time and every square inch of you is ticklish. Even under your neck. You love being thrown up into the air. You squeal with delight and chatter when you wake up or are laying in the living room in your diapers only. You love laying your head on my left shoulder and walking around with one arm around my arm and one hanging down next to me. You're so happy when you're happy. Your smile lights up the room and your eyes twinkle with mirth. You love our funny faces. You're a big boy and so sweet. You love to sit in my lap when I'm cross-legged on the floor. You are so strong it's crazy - you've been like that since birth.

Lauren, you love to be with and touch your big brother. Your hand is on his shoulder, or his thigh or his head, or arm anytime you're within reach. You smile all the time even when we least expect it. You love looking at people and taking in the world around you. You're such a little observer, we think you understand everything. You've started sucking your thumb and can calm yourself down. You've slept 11 hours straight! This morning you rolled over. Your legs are so strong you can almost stand up. When we make funny faces you think it's hilarious and you laugh when I do patty cake with you. You click your tongue and love it when we make quirky mouth noises. Recently you started talking like a crazy lady. When your brother cries, you often start to coo and turn your head toward him like you're trying to tell him, "It's okay." You love to lay on my chest with your head under my chin. You wrap your little hand around my back when you're nursing and hold on with the other around the front. You are such a little sweetheart.

In the mornings you guys wake up together in the crib, talking and squealing and cooing. I wander in after about fifteen minutes. You smile and smile- so happy to see me. Even if I'm tired, I can push it aside in a second after seeing your faces, so sweet and sunny and happy. It's my favorite time of day.

With sunlight streaming through the windows, we get up and play on the floor and change diapers and then nurse or maybe read a book in the rocking chair. You play for a while and then take a nap in the crib after an hour or two. The nap doesn't always go well, but we're working on it.

These last four months have been an unimaginable journey. The glimpses I've gotten into your twin universe melt my heart and I know I'll never fully understand your special connection. I hope it's something that carries you both along as you make your way through this bumpy path that is life. I know there'll be times when you get mad at each other but I hope your love will connect you always.

You are growing up and I am growing with you.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Limping Through Month Three

Three months exactly in this photo

There appears to be a wave frequency to this twin thing. One month good, one month not so good. Month three was the month of every 1-2 hour feedings all night. Tired days and tired nights. Wondering when they would go back to the 3-6 hour sleep stretches. Which finally returned about one week ago. Then we all got sick this week.

Breastfeeding marches on, with my persistence leading the way. I can't say this has been easy either, other than I have excellent supply and babies have been good nursers. I experienced the plugged milk duct last month (severely painful, so that you're crying when breastfeeding), and have had sore nipples and a fissure on my left side, which I'm still working to heal. It's been about two months of problems with the left side. I'm ready to be done with the problems. But I'm not hopeful that it's going to be easy. I've been working with the lactation consultants and trying everything to get the fissure healed, but so far no luck.

What twins do to your body: they split your abdominal muscles (called diastasis). I thought maybe I'd gotten away without diastasis. But I went in for a check last week and have a three and a half finger separation between the sides of my ab muscles. Which means I have to be very careful not to worsen it, and I need to do exercises to encourage them to return to their previous position. Otherwise your stomach pooches out by the end of the day, hence the "are you expecting?" questions. I have a 40 minute DVD routine to do but it's almost impossible to find time to do it. So I'm seeing a PT for some exercises next month, hopefully that I can slip in here and there.

The babies. They are pretty darn good. The mild evening fussiness like most infants. Still pretty easy to soothe. Some quite desperate reliance on walks most afternoons- although the last week at least 2/4 of us have been sick at any given time, so we have been practicing naps at home, and they are going pretty good. I can get a lot more done at home than on a walk.

These two are overall good little buggers. They're smiling and really into the world around them. They love being talked to and carried around. We can make funny faces at them and they're amused. We're all still learning how to be with each other. They've started enjoying the swing. They can grab and bat at things with their hands. Keith laughs a lot.

We're in the process of hiring a nanny as well, and that's a big job- trying to decide who to entrust with your children's care. I'd thought about doing a daycare but it seems like it would be so much work to get them ready to go every day that I'm going to work (we were going to put them by my work so I could nurse at lunch.) They might end up in daycare after a while but hopefully we can keep them out of it for the first year.

Oh, and this week Keith has started rejecting the bottle. I am hoping that we can get this turned around, as the timing is rather inopportune with me headed back to work in a month.

Twins. Twins. Twins. I think that everyone experiences what I'm experiencing but I think it's on a larger scale with two infants. Somedays I think I cannot make it through. And then it will get better and I'll think, "I'm getting the hang of it." I guess that's how it goes. One foot in front of the other.

The thing is that all of this is worth it. What I love best about having my kids is how my focus is redirected from me and my world, to them and their world. My whole purpose for living is different now. The small thing of getting up in the morning and the two of them smiling in unison on the bed while I talk to them and laughing while I make funny faces. When they fall asleep after breastfeeding. Figuring out what was making them cry and seeing their relief when it's fixed. Playing on the changing table. The simple things that make up life with infants.

The happiest discovery is that I run a bath and take one kid in at a time. Keith loves to "swim" in the water, kicking with a determined look on his face, smiling and laughing. Lauren lounges on my tummy, feet and hands dangling. The first time we did this, she kept turning her head sideways, trying to drink the water, with her eyes open as she did this (didn't seem to care that her open eye was in the water). They both love to stare up at the shower head and the black and white walls of the tub. I'd guess the bathtub is like the womb for them, and they seem to love it now. I cherish that time with them. It's so sweet. And will be gone before I know it, like so many things that have already passed.

Naps at home.

Watching mommy make the bed!I put her on a pillow and she liked it!

Sweet Keith loves to cuddle mommy.

Miss Lauren has incredible attention powers, and was looking at this lamb for about 30 minutes.

He has little kid hands! Since birth. Big hands and feet!

Thanksgiving day frost

I had to walk outside to see if it was frost or snow.

Zonked out today! :)