After years of infertility and IVF, we've finally seen light from the other side. I knew it could happen, but certainly didn't think it would be us ... our new life with twins. Gulp.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Great Outdoors

We live in the city. We are surrounded by sidewalks, alleys, blacktop streets, and very little grass. In fact, when we first bought our house, we thought it would be a great idea to lay sod in our postage-stamp (seriously, like 10 x 12) backyard. All was well until the came-with-the-house manual mower was stolen and we couldn't seriously purchase a new lawn mower for what could have been accomplished with some pruning sheers.

When we renovated the house a few years ago, the backyard layout was somewhat manipulated, and we decided to use pavers to fill in the mini yard and the small side yard. While we've enjoyed it immensely, it leaves a bit to be desired for small children who are wobbly-walking and not walking at all.

I usually manage to pack up the kids and head to an outdoor park, playground or pool a few times a week. I'll be the first to admit that it's a hassle to get it all together, just for 45 minutes or so of fun, so I'm trying to embrace the luscious landscape that we have right here. Concrete and all.

I'm inspired by Emmie and her twin boys, and all that they do in their smallish yard and beyond. (Note: I will never, never manage to get chickens in my backyard!)

This afternoon, I put together a delicious picnic meal - hot dogs, pears, and yogurt! - and the three of us headed to the backyard. An old comforter provided a soft place to sit, and we ate alfresco, under the dripping wisteria.

In search of a favorite ball, we wandered down the side yard, and I realized that it was in desperate need of a weeding. I started pulling weeds, dropping them into an empty flowerpot, and eventually MyGirl and MyBoy got with the program and tried to help out. They couldn't grab them with enough force to extract them from the ground usually, but it was endearing.

Some things they were able to pull included:
  • The hats off their own heads
  • The hats off each other's heads
  • Carefully planted perennials
  • MyBoy was able to pull himself up to standing, while holding on my arm, in order to save his badly scraped knees (concrete pavers do not mix well with a crawling little boy)
  • The shoes off their feet

It was a fun "outing" and reminds me that I don't always have to choose a child-focused activity, but should try to get the twins to incorporate them into needed adult-focused activities. Now, if I could only teach them to pay the bills ...

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Speechless ... Who, Me?

I'm feeling much better today, after an evening with girlfriends and wine and a successful meeting this morning, over which I had been worrying and stressing quite a lot.

During the early part of the evening with girls and wine, an acquaintance I hadn't seen in a few months approached me with the following comment:

Her: Hey there, how are you?
Me: Just fine, thank you.
Her: You look great! You've been losing weight - good work, keep it up!
Me: Huh?? Whaa? Hmm...

Due to the fact that (1) I thought I looked okay now/a month ago/whenever regarding weight, and (2) I'm not trying to lose weight, and didn't think I needed to; should I be offended?

Was I so fat before that I needed to lose weight? Did she used to think I was fat, and I had no idea? I'm no skinny mini, but I'm pretty average ... Her comment left me with a weird taste in my mouth and no desire to "keep it up!"

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Ages & Stages

I am so conflicted right now, torn between the intense and overwhelming frustration that raising two toddlers brings with it, and the need to slow down and enjoy each very cool stage that they go through, as I'm more and more aware that this may be the only time I am a parent to a child/children at this tender age.

Did that make sense?

Every possible action, reaction, and interaction with the twins is fraught with chaos and drama. Mealtime begins with sour faces, spitting out of food that was a former favorite, tossing of cups, and swiping of food off the tray with dramatic arm-swinging. Most meals end with me, close to tears, on my hands and knees picking up the interesting and nutritious meals I am trying to feed them, while they would rather have hotdogs and macaroni.

Playtime is always loud, loud, LOUD. Sometimes the squealing is out of delight, but often is because of the antagonizing that one does to the other. Taking toys, pushing (that's a new one), pulling hair, and trying to hijack a favorite ride-on toy. One of their favorite games is to find me laying on the floor, and crawl all over me. Which is really fun for all of us, until someone scratches at my face or rams a toy car into my eye.

Nap time is a saving grace, usually. MyGirl and MyBoy are both good sleepers, once you get past the "Please Mommy don't leave me!" screaming and thrashing.

I contrast all of this with those truly wonderful moments.

When MyGirl reaches for MyBoy with open arms, I cringe. And am pleasantly surprised when she wraps her arms around him, tumbles to the floor, and they erupt in glorious giggles.

When I declare that my children are indeed the smartest 14-month olds in town, because they can respond in the affirmative to such intriguing questions like "Where's your milk/the fan/the cat/Mommy/Daddy/your brother/sister?"

I see such pride and delight in their eyes and faces when they do something right, like complete the stacking ring toy in record time, walk to the end of the hall on their own, or bang puzzle pieces together in time with the music.

MyGirl bent over my belly the other day and gave me a raspberry. I don't think I've ever felt such love.

But I feel like the painful and trying moments are overtaking these wonderful, loving ones. I actually threw food back at her yesterday (which started a food fight of epic proportions). I find myself living my days for nap time, counting down until we can go visit my parents again, and marking the weeks until their two-morning-a-week preschool starts in September.

I'm sure I tend to exaggerate the negatives somewhat, because people tell me constantly that I have two of the best-behaved, happy children they know. And I feel lucky in that way, but want to tell them to come to my dining room at lunchtime and take a look.

I will be the first to admit that I, personally, and stressed and overextended. I have committed to helping out on more projects than I should have, and am now paying the price.

I know it's a stage. But this stage is hard. I had no idea.

Friday, June 01, 2007

New Infertility-Related Book

I've been a big connoisseur of infertility-related reading in the past few years, and I find I tend to stick to personal stories and been-there-done-that memoirs. Medically technical and ethical arguments have been a bit beyond my how-to scope of interest. The sole exception I can remember is a fascinating article I read in Mother Jones last year about the plethora of frozen embryos, our "moral paralasys" is determining what to do with them, as well as implications for stem cell research. (Ah ha! As I just looked up this article, I see it was also written by the author of the book below.)

I picked up a new book at the store yesterday, and am looking forward to jumping right into it. Everything Conceivable: How Assisted Reproduction is Changing Men, Women and the World is written by Liza Mundy, who is a feature writer at the Washington Post Magazine. Here's how the publishers summary begins:

Skyrocketing infertility rates and the accompanying explosion in reproductive technology are revolutionizing the American family and changing the way we think about parenthood, childbirth, and life itself. In this riveting work of investigative reporting, Liza Mundy, an award-winning journalist for The Washington Post, captures the human narratives, as well as the science, behind what is today a controversial, multibillion-dollar industry, and examines how the huge social experiment that is assisted reproduction is transforming our most basic relationships and even our destiny as a species. more