Wednesday, November 28, 2012

For Spencer

This year, we renewed our wedding vows, silently, through actions. 

When we learned we were blessed with twins, we shared our surprise and delight.  Then, we spent the next five months trying to manage our world as I struggled with Hypermesis. I limped through daily life, my part-time job, a grad class, and parenting Elliana, while Spencer lifted what I couldn’t, shopped, cooked, and renovated our garage.

After the nausea finally subsided, it was followed by blurred vision and instructions to limit activity. Spencer regularly reminded me to be cautious and became super-husband as he whirled around picking up and preparing.

Finally, I had intense swelling and was put on bedrest. Spencer, along with our super-team of tremendous supporters (especially family and Nanaville), did all that I could not.
Until, at last, Spencer and I welcomed our babies into this world.

Twelve hours later, he waited anxiously as I was rushed to the OR. After two days, and two blood transfusions, I was still so weak that I struggled to hold our babies. Their combined weight was less than 11 lbs. I faced 6-9 months before normal energy levels would resume.

And so, we moved forward.

Three and a half months later, I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease. Spencer continued to cook, clean, and parent as my muscles, joints, and nervous system were taken hostage by this persistent disease. He picked up side jobs when I was too sick to work. We muddled through.

After months of debilitating weakness, I am finally on the road to recovery. 

As our bond grew stronger, so did appreciation for our support system. We are forever grateful to the skilled doctors, kind strangers, and our group of Ville friends. Most importantly, we are indebted to many of our wedding guests. Perhaps more important than witnessing our marriage celebration, they have helped lift us up, and keep us strong.

And, for the times when everyone went home, and it was just us, thank you. It was hard. It is hard. I learned how to accept help. We grew.

In sickness and in health
For richer or poorer
I love this beautiful family we created together.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Parenting 101

I just scored a flying F. I may as well tattoo it on my forehead.  This one may haunt me.

It was naptime, and Spencer and I were both home. He was in the twins’ room and I had been running some dirty diapers and clothes downstairs. I overheard Spencer asking Elliana what she was doing in the bathroom. So, on one of my rounds, I poked my head in and found her on the little potty (which doubles as a step stool). Apparently, she’d decided she needed to use that potty. She looked up at me through the crack in the door, solemnly said “I need privacy”, and closed the door.  I mentioned, to the door, that this was ok but it would need to be cleaned up after (aka empty the potty pail into the big potty afterwards).

Spencer was sure that this was going to be a problem. I, on the other hand, thought it might all be fine. I ran my last armful of clothing downtairs and returned to find Spencer no longer with the babies. Instead, he was at the bathroom door with his mouth hanging wide open and making gagging sounds.

By the time I entered the room, all three of us were staring into the sink. There, plopped right across the drain was an enormous poop. In Elliana’s left hand was the potty pail that collects the waste. In her right hand, and trailing on the floor, was a full-sized bath towel that was wet and poopy.  Apparently, she’d been trying to clean the potty pail but had failed to empty it into the toilet first.

So, in this crucial moment, with no time to spare, I did the WORST thing. It was one of those uncontrollable urges to laugh in response to a shocking situation.  It seized me and took on a life of its own. Between gasps, and poorly concealed giggles, I began guiding Elliana through the clean-up. 

Under normal circumstances, this would be bad. However, Elliana lives to entertain. And, I caught a glimmer in her eye as soon as she saw me laugh. The more I tried to hide it the more the corners of her mouth turned up.

Spencer quickly escorted me out of the room and redirected me to twin nap duty.  I am weak-kneed at the potential repercussions of what just happened.

God help me.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Suit Up

The familiar sound of Elliana’s feet on the stairs greeted me this morning. Yet, her voice reached me before her body did. She called me by first name, as she sometimes does, and proceeded to announce:

“Actually, I peed in my bed.”

Even before entering the room, she assured me that she’d taken care of it. This had my mind racing about all of the potential repercussions to what she just shared. I was about to inquire, but she wasn’t done sharing.

As I turned to see her, indeed, in a fresh set of pajamas, she revealed the rest.

“And, I didn’t want to wear pull-ups, so I put on an under-suit.”

She followed this by lowering her pajama pants to reveal a pair of bathing suit bottoms. They were neon green and aqua with a fairly large ruffle. Apparently, this was the closest thing to “big-girl-underwear” that she could locate.

Then, in a whisper voice, she tilted her head and said “The pull-ups were sleeping”.

Friday, November 16, 2012

20-Minute Dash

I overslept. We ALL overslept. I vaguely remember Spencer waking me to say goodbye. The next thing I knew, Elliana was requesting breakfast. Twincy was curled up next to me, sound asleep. Twinjay, I could now hear, was downstairs crying. I had no idea how long she’d been up, but she was crying LOUD, and I felt AWFUL.  That poor baby! Time to apply a thick layer of guilt impenetrable by reason.

Normally, Elliana’s routine is to go potty and get dressed before heading downstairs. Of course, she chose today to announce she wanted to eat first. That always slows things down and there simply wasn’t time to spare. We all had to get ready, and out the door, ASAP. This meant dressed, breakfast, diaper changes, nursing, the whole works. The likelihood of this happening without a late arrival to school was slim. However, I wasn’t willing to admit defeat yet. And, I am pretty sure I was sleep-walking.

So, I raced downstairs to rescue poor, sad, Twinjay. She quickly cheered (though, even as I write, I still feel bad) and I began changing her diaper. Of course, Twinjay was soaked and needed to be completely changed. She is masterful at detaching her diaper, even through a onesie. I, on the other hand, am not as skilled at re-closing the diaper through clothing. So, I was in a major race against time.

Now, Twincy’s clothes were dry but, while changing, she began to pee. She’s a champion pee-er and I found myself hurrying to secure the diaper in time. It’s not that I wanted her to be stuck in a wet diaper, but I really wanted to avoid another outfit change. I thought something was working my way until I sat her up and realized the pee had gone all over her back. And so, outfit change it was.

Meanwhile, Elliana was firmly resisting bathroom duties with her usual “Pee doesn’t come out!” retort. I calmly reminded her that she needed to try, and also get dressed, before breakfast. To that, her face clouded over and she disappeared into the bathroom. I was NOT confident that she was doing anything productive in there. Trying to speed up a three-year-old is a losing battle.

I returned to something I thought might be more successful – feeding the babies. With no time to get the nursing pillow, I propped them up in bed the best I could. Normally, the two are pretty on-task, but this time Twincy decided to alternate nursing with deep, soul-searching stares. Now, I am ALL for bonding with my children but this was so NOT the time for a leisurely feed!

I had to prematurely end the “session” to locate Elliana. She had decided she needed help with all her morning tasks (after all, her sisters do get that service!). With no time to disagree, and a dizzy feeling taking over me (yes, in major need of food and water), I found myself traipsing upstairs to assist. She was satisfied by my company and complied for everything, even tooth brushing.

Still, there was breakfast to be had, hair to comb, a car to warm, and all 3 kids needed to get into carseats. Not to mention, today was the rare day I scheduled for a friend to visit. Even better, our house looked like a place where laundry goes to die, and my father-in-law was scheduled to arrive in a few hours. 
After gathering food for Elliana to eat en-route, I determined that I too must eat or risk doing a face-plant. I seized the box of Raisin Bran and managed to stab a few spoonfuls in while Elliana wasn’t looking.  This was so NOT modeling eating at the table with careful chewing.  Finally, we were out the door!

As if wishing for speed gifted me with delays, I hit the next roadblock. By the time we got to the car, Elliana insisted that she do her own carseat buckle. WHY couldn’t she have exercised this independence INSIDE the house??!? Because, I tell myself, that would have been easy.

After she was secured, I hopped into the driver’s seat and proceeded to glue my stubborn hairs down with Neutrogena Hand Cream.  This guaranteed that fifteen minutes later I’d look like I hadn’t showered in four days. It also cancelled any possibility of skipping a shower before KT arrived. However, my focus was on getting Elliana to school. We were on our way and I was in the zone.

For the record, we were totally late.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Paint the Town

Every well-rested adult on the planet is wise to something I sailed past. I realized my error after the damage was already done. To my horror, I envisioned our house covered in purplish-red splotches.

For the past several months, I’ve been on a beet “kick”. Literally, I would eat them as a main course. Since Twincy and Twinjay have begun eating solids, offering beets to them seemed like a natural next step.

As a precaution, I checked a few food-introduction resources to make sure beets weren’t on the high-allergy list. They weren’t. I thought it was actually a bit odd that they also weren’t on any of the suggested-food lists either. Surely, they are rich with nutrients. I glossed over this, figuring it was an oversight or possibly not mainstream enough.

And so, I dutifully cooked and mashed the beets. I gave them to the babies at lunch, early enough in the day so I could be watchful for adverse reactions. Given the amount I’ve consumed in recent months, this was doubtful. However, always good to have bases covered.

Speaking of having bases covered, this is a good time to mention my glaring error. I have spent the better part of their lives doing excessive amounts of laundry due to spit-up. What goes in comes back out. So, it is almost laughable that I didn't consider the potential for disaster from dye-friendly beets gracing our household. I blame the oversight on the hazed state I typically operate under. In other words, sleep is overrated.

As predicted, I will be reminded of my very, very poor food choice for some time to come. As Twinjay army-crawls around the house, the effort eventually causes her to spit-up. I hear the wet deposit, a gift really, and am greeted by a Pepto-Bismol colored puddle. In my horror movie, I’d forgotten to add breastmilk and baby cereal to the equation.

I fully expect to spend the next several days of my life racing around the house to locate the nearest clean cloth. In addition to the visual reminders that will be left if not quickly cleaned, spit-up has the added pleasure of stench if not immediately, and thoroughly, cleaned.

Consider this a public announcement. Beets are for adults.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Finger Lickin' Good

I returned home after a rare solo-outing (the all-exciting errands) to a rather perturbed Spencer. In my absence, he’d had an interesting exchange with a door-to-door salesperson. It left him uncharacteristically agitated. He announced we were no longer accepting solicitors and muttered something about posting a sign by our door.

After a few minutes, I learned more about this bizarre encounter. Apparently, a woman had come to the door trying to sell an all-natural, home-cleaning product. In an effort to find his “need” she pitched a mild interrogation with questions ranging from how many kids he had to the name of his hometown. Spencer deflected most of the inquiries and lied about the rest. But, this train was not easy to derail. So, she continued trying to ascertain his habits while convincing him that this product-wonder was a true cure-all. 

In fact, in an effort to sway him, she started an on-site demonstration. She went so far as to try cleaning the front door, one of my shoes (not really loving that), and the sidewalk.  Much to her dismay, Spencer was not sold.

To make matters worse, she wouldn’t leave any brochures at the house, provide a website address, or leave an order form. She insisted that he must make an instant purchase or miss out on this incredible offer. It was as if every option to take something, and send her packing, was off limits.

Well, as far as Spencer was concerned, she had already lost him when she wouldn’t part with the pamphlets. So, he firmly declined her offer until she unwillingly accepted defeat. She left, and he began plotting future roadblocks for solicitors.

So, I get it. She was pushy and a bit overboard.

Oh, but it gets better. Later that evening, I was in the office when Spencer piped up with “You know what was really odd about that woman today?”. I came out of the office to listen, partially surprised that he was still thinking about today’s encounter. He proceeded to tell me about the most shocking of details.
Apparently, after the cleaning demo, the woman took her performance one step further. After reminding him that the product was “all-natural, all-organic” she opened the bottle. Then, she licked the tube of the spray bottle, and, in a strong southern accent, said “mmm mmm tastes just like fried chicken”.


After a mini-rant/outburst from what I’d just learned, the puzzle pieces of the day started to fall in place. I see now, laboring over a self-made “NO SOLICITORS” sign must have been his way of cleansing from this truly outrageous experience. I now also understand why he disappeared in the bathroom and his shaving experiment took a detour.  Typically, Spencer gets haircuts when “life” seems overwhelming. However, he’d just gotten his hair cut two days prior so options were limited. But, the urge must have been uncontrollable, because it won, only a foot and a half lower. Yes, that’s right. He buzzed off his armpit hair and, somehow, found peace with the situation.