Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Dad and Hassie meet the twins

My dad and Hassie were in town last week and they helped us break out of couch prison. Between the two of them they have eight children and seven grandchildren, so the twins had the benefit of some seasoned baby-wranglers! If our house looks a little cleaner this week; if the bags under our eyes are a little smaller; and if you notice lots of delicious leftovers in our fridge, it's thanks to these two. Gus and Greta were totally charmed by their grandparents and vice versa - definitely the beginning of a very special relationship!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Bye Bye Ellie

R.I.P. Ellie DuBarry 1997ish? - 2013

Eric and I adopted Ellie the plus-sized cat almost ten years ago, and we had a lot of good years together. She especially loved our first apartment where there were no doors, no dogs and no children. Apart from the car ride, where she crapped and pissed all over the place, she didn't seem to mind when we move into our first house. She slept in our bed until we had Seamus, and then she disappeared to the basement for a couple of years. (Not a fan of babies, apparently!)

Ellie had been suffering from kidney failure for a long time, and so we made the decision to euthanize her. I made an appointment with a veterinarian who does house calls, and when the day arrived I found myself really unprepared for how horrible I was going to feel. In all honesty, she probably could have hung on another couple of months but we are just too overwhelmed to care for her.

I have been so sleep deprived and so overwhelmed with the twins that I didn't have the time to prepare any kind of "goodbye" ritual for Ellie. She spent the night before in the basement, and I have barely even pet her in months. When I realized that the vet would be at our house within the hour, I started scouring our refrigerator and cupboards for something that Ellie would enjoy as her "last meal." We usually have some wet food, deli meat or tunafish on hand, but on the day in question the only thing I could find was leftover sloppy joes. In an act of pathetic desperation, I scooped some onto a plate and set it on the kitchen floor, where she briefly examined it and then walked away... who ever heard of a cat eating sloppy joes? Yeah, I suck. Ellie's last meal was dry cat food (the cheapest I could find since I knew she wouldn't live to finish the bag.)

Anyway, Ellie died peacefully on her bed in our kitchen on Jan 19, 2013. There were many tears that day, and I won't speak for Eric but my tears were mostly due to guilt about how little thought I have given to Ellie in recent years. The veterinarian left us with a bunch of brochures about grieving for your pets, including information about support groups, counseling and details about a workshop where you could make a collage out of photographs of your pet. Through our snot and tears, Eric and I could not help but laugh hysterically at an example collage, which featured construction paper, macaroni, and glitter. The words "MY BEST FRIEND" were spelled out above a picture of a cat. Oh my god we laughed at that. Not to discount the fact that many people might need help navigating this event, but having lost a chid and received similar materials from the social workers at the hospital, it was downright bizarre. Also, a cat is your best friend?

Anyway, here are some pictures from the early days with Ellie, back when we had time to spend with her and before other concerns took over in our lives. I hope that she runs into Seamus out there, and that he greets her with a happy squeal and "aaaahhh" (His word for cat).

We called this move "synchronized sitting."

Here is Ellie snuggling with Katie's cat Satan. They had a brief but passionate affair circa 2005.

Friday, January 18, 2013


One of the twins' favorite moves is to wake me up at 5:30, stay awake until just after I've finished my second cup of coffee, and then fall back asleep. It's been a rough couple of weeks with these two. Greta continues to be very spirited during the day, although she sleeps really well at night. Gus is the exact opposite - he's a super happy mellow guy during the day. Sometime between midnight and two most nights, he starts grunting and straining so loudly that it's impossible to sleep, and this can go on for hours. It's like having a baby elephant in the room with us. He doesn't appear to be in pain, and he is frequently, though not always sleeping during these grunting spells. All of his plumbing is in working order so I'm not sure what is going on. Needless to say we are hoping it's something he will outgrow quickly!

As long as I'm complaining, I will share that I am starting to lose some of my "Thank God I'm not pregnant anymore" glow and realizing what a number this pregnancy did on my body. I have a condition known as diastasis recti - which is a separation of the abdominal muscles. There is a small area of my belly where there is a 3-4 inch gap between my ab muscles. I'm not as bad off as many moms of multiples - the separation can go from just under your ribs to your pubic bone, and mine is limited to just below my belly button and seems to zip back up above and below. In addition to the creepy feeling of knowing that there is nothing but skin and fat between your organs and the outside world, it is really hard to care for babies without fully functioning abs. Getting up and down off the floor, carrying them around, picking them up and wearing them in slings  - all of these activities take enormous effort and my back is paying the price. I'm taking a post-natal pilates class to help, and I think I will probably try wearing an abdominal binder. If I don't see improvement I may look into physical therapy, but I can't imagine having the time for that!  

I honestly don't know how we would do this without help. My sister Linda and her husband Patty were in town last week, and we also had lots of visits from Katie, Barry and Stephen. My dad and Hassie are arriving on Tuesday, and I still have some doula time to bridge the gap between visits, so we are hanging in there. We are so incredibly grateful for the company and the help! 

Here are some pictures of the twins getting their snuggle on with Aunt Linda and Uncle Patty. It was so great to have them here. I really wanted to cry when they left. 

 I realize it looks like Greta is about to be swallowed by our couch, but her airway was clear I promise!

 Gus loves his Uncle Patty!

This was a sad day - all bundled up to go to the airport. 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Goodbye Honeymoon

So it turns out that caring for 2 infants is a lot of work that leaves little time for blogging! I think it's safe to say that the honeymoon is over and we are in the thick of the 6-8 week fussy period. I don't really remember this phase with Seamus since it lasted until 12 weeks and came right on the heels of his 1-6 week fussy period.

Gus is working really hard on head control. He reminds me a lot of Seamus in his single-minded focus on mastering a motor skill. He loves to be propped up so he can look around.

Looking out the living room window.

The view from outside. 

Greta also reminds me of Seamus - she is our more spirited child (i.e. she cries all the time). When she's not being spirited, she looks all around with those big eyes and loves to gaze at faces. Where Gus' default expression is really serious (furrowed brow, slight frown), Greta's is wide-eyed and happy - almost like she's waiting for a sure-to-be-hilarious punchline.

Both of the twins are smiling a lot and we are hoping to get some better pictures in the next few weeks. 

Yesterday was a really tough day for me since I was home alone and both babies were super fussy. Just after noon, I sent a series of text messages to Eric about how much crying was going on, the last one said something to the effect of "Oh my god please just kill me." After that, I thought I was turning on my bluetooth but instead I accidentally turned off my phone's mobile network, meaning that I could no longer receive messages or phone calls. For the next few hours Eric was trying to contact me with no response, and my phone was going straight to voicemail. When he got home he was very relieved to find us all in one piece!

Hopefully the fussiness will subside over the next few weeks. In the meantime, take all of my dramatic text messages with a grain of salt!