Sunday, September 30, 2007

Switching gears a bit, again

In honor of a writing class I'll be teaching, of the writing class I just finished, and of the eagerness I'm feeling about where my writing is taking me (or where I'm taking it), I'm going to host a very informal group writing project this week.

You all are invited to participate and tell your friends to do so as well. On Friday, I will link to everyone's posts on this site. Just be sure to leave me a comment. There will be no prize ... just a great list of entries for everyone to read and share among the blogosphere.

So, here's the deal. Write a new post that finishes the sentence below. Link to my site, and then leave me a comment on this post letting me know where to find your post. All by Friday at noon EST. The post can go in any direction you please so long as it finishes the sentence. Write as long or short as you wish. Write as raw or formal as you wish. So long as you write, and with pleasure. It can be related to motherhood, fatherhood or anything else in the world as well.

Here's your prompt:

Someday, I will ...

Friday, September 28, 2007

When patience grows thin

Listen up, girls.

I've been having flash backs to parts of our first year together. And, it ain't pretty. Much like when you were infants, you're crying a lot and I can't seem to satisfy your every need.

The fighting has got to stop. One second we're laughing, and having a blast, and the next you're playing tug o' war over something as silly as a stick. A stick? There were three sticks, but you both had to have the same brown, made-of-wood, covered-in-bark stick. I guess in toddlerland, not all sticks are created equal, much to my dismay.

Plus, the whining! Can we please just stop it? Now? It's grating.

And, no, even though I would love to allow it, you can't watch Baby Signing Times three times a day. Just two. Three is for those days when everything is going wrong, and there is a house showing. Your fix of two will just have to do -- considering the American Pediatric Association or whatever it's called says that since you're under 2 you should not even watch television at all.

Go back to pressing dirt into the creases of your meaty thighs. And, into your scalp. I love it when you look like homeless babies. That's the kind of fun you should be having! So long as you are laughing when you do it -- throw as much dirt and pebbles as you want!

Just please stop crying.

And, when you do both enter a fit of screaming bloody murder for what appears no reason at all, just go with the flow and fix your own dinner when you see Mama curling up in a fetal position on the floor, crying, too.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

8 real mom truths

These are just a few things I've noticed in my short stint as a Mama ...

1. When you want your children to sleep, they will not. When you don't want them to sleep, they will.

2. When they do finally sleep, it's either shorter than you'd hoped, or longer.

3. Television is not a lazy parent's babysitter; it' the best, coolest, most popular toy in the house whether we like it or not. No other gadget can bring the kind of contentment to a child than a TV.

4. When you try to work in a five-minute break for yourself, expect to deal with a half-hour tantrum first, followed by calming play afterward. Then, start it all over again when you try to get that break.

5. Table for one really means hunkering over the sink to eat something you know your children will want the second they see it. Like chocolate. Or cookies.

6. Wine loses its value once children enter a home. Parents are too tired to drink it or too poor to buy it.

7. Daddies make much better stay-at-home caregivers. They love to watch TV and eat all day. They stress less about meals, and spend more time on the floor enjoying horizontal parenting.

8. If your toddler refuses the bite-sized pieces of her food, just offer her the exact same thing from your plate, and they'll eat it.

Got any truths to share? Spill them in the comments section.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Everyone, but the kitchen staff

Perhaps it's just me, but lately I've been thinking a lot about why I started this blog, and what it's evolved into. I set out to have a place of my own to write, freely, about whatever I wanted. But, I also wanted to be able to showcase my thoughts for friends and family to read.

As it turns out, none of those people really care that much about what I have to say.

Now and then, I learn that one of my distant friends, like my old college roommate, or my childhood friend, Mary Anne, are reading. I love that!

Yet, people I would think would care to see pictures of my little darlings don't tune in.

Instead, all of you do. And, more and more every day.

I have always felt like certain people in my life -- who shall remain nameless -- never really cared about anything I said. Now this blog is the proof!

And, yet ...

I couldn't be happier having this blog, knowing that I can write a post, especially the gloomy ones, and usually wake up in the morning to find that some fabulous people stopped by to read what I wrote ... and cared enough to not just click away, but leave a comment.

After all, comments are just blog hugs, right?

Friday, September 21, 2007

If the shoe fits

No, I'm not going to go on a diatribe about how my little girls are obsessed with shoes -- mine, theirs, their fathers. No, I'm not going to talk about how they are always trying to put my shoes on my feet, on their feet, or are putting on or taking off their own shoes.

What I am going to talk about is today's moms who can wear sexy shoes and nice outfits. I just don't understand what I'm doing wrong to feel uncomfortable, and too dressy when dressed up and caring for my daughters. I mean really caring for them.

Just today, for instance, I had to run like the wind to keep up with them at the playground. I can't imagine trying to climb the big slide not once, but six times in anything but tennis shoes. Do they even call them that now? Or, are they sneakers?

On the way to the playground visions of our last visit -- earlier this week -- came to life. A beautiful mom with her very quiet, very serene, very patient ONE child, pre-school age, sauntered over the foot bridge and slowly made their way to their first piece of equipment, then another, then another. One at a time, they mastered each one. She was a lovely woman, dressed in perfect fall attire. She wasn't overly dressed, but she was definitely dressed well. While going back and forth between one swing and the other, I looked down at my sneakers, khaki pants and t-shirt and thought how disgusting of me to go out looking like this.

But, I couldn't prevent my two girls from jumping off that bridge if I had on my sexy shoes. I even refuse to wear my flip-flops to the playground because I know at any minute I might have to burst into a run. I guess I'm always prepared.

I guess my outer self is just going to have to wait. Just like the housework. The organizing. The packing. The novel.

Everything -- including myself -- is on hold. No fancy shoes for me. I'm busy. Busy climbing ladders to big slides, and picking mulch out of heads of hair.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The magic of sunbeams

The practice of being mindful -- if you are open to it -- is easy around toddlers.

Everyday things that could easily go unnoticed -- like an airplane flying by in the distance -- are suddenly bigger than life. It's no longer just a noise, but an activity. The whiz sound turns into arms flying out to our sides and running around in circles saying zoooooom!

So, it's no wonder that Jadyn and Liana start swinging at the air sometimes and, at first glance, I have no idea why. Out of no where, they just start batting at air like it's something. But, a slight movement on my part changes that view.

It's everything they are batting at. Everything that matters.

A sunbeam. I've walked through them or past them a thousand times in my life. But, yesterday, when one was beaming down between me and their ride-on horses, I really looked at it.

Millions of dust specks fluttered and twirled and danced around, slowly. The girls swept their hands through trying to touch all that exists around each and everyone of us every single day. They watched as their white hands and arms became illuminated. They watched as mine did, too.

A part of me was grossed out by the dust that we are breathing in every day.

But, as I stared at it, and watched their little arms fly in, and fly out, I couldn't help having that universally small feeling of being a part of something bigger. I pictured being in space. I pictured feeling no gravitational pull.

And, I smiled, graciously. Because this is something that only a parent can experience.

My girls had to practically drag me away from the sunbeam. The tug of motherhood called for me to go in a different direction.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Maybe Harry Potter can help?

Dear Realtor,

I don't have much time here. I am too busy cleaning, sweeping and scrubbing and all that for this weekend's one-millionth open house -- you know the ones that just perfectly coincide with two famous toddlers' one nap of the day.

This is just a quick note to tell you that I forgot to mention what else I need in the new house. This might be more important than that eat-in-kitchen, or the big, fenced backyard, or even (gulp!) the walk-in closet.

In fact, a little magic might help out here.

I need a room that is child-safe, child-proof, and keeps the attention of my beautiful, sweet, energetic girls for more than five minutes. You see, they have a room that is all of these things, except for that last part.

It seems that just about every OTHER room or even outside of the house makes them smile, laugh and giggle. But, when they are in that room filled to the brim with toys, things to climb on, books to read, they want none of it.

So, can you work in our small budget for a magic room that will keep my babies happy and smiling for five minutes without destroying my cookbooks, the DVDs, my utensil drawer, the shoe basket and the dog's bowls?


Cleaningly yours,


Monday, September 17, 2007

Returning home again

Feeling Mama Sexy today? Go here.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

When writing and motherhood collide

Life's gotten a little sweeter, and a lot busier around here. I started the week off with one freelance project due and nothing else on my plate. Now, I have just turned that one project in, and my plate (plus a few others) are full. I'm not complaining. I like the extra money. But, I will have to focus a little harder on writing for money rather than pleasure.

So, enjoy this list from Mamablogga's September's Group Writing Project. She is really pulling out all the stops with her projects so you might want to participate in the next one.

Also, I want to thank That's Life for calling me nice. Of all things, I never thought I'd get that one!

Have a fabulous weekend reading these wonderful posts.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Footprints in the sand

Dear Jadyn and Liana,

Before the memories of this past weekend start to fade quickly into memories of today's tantrums and crying and hitting and fighting, I wanted to be sure to jot down some of the highlights of your first beach trip. Sure, I have pictures of your first walk in the sand, the first wave to wet your toes, and your perfect boardwalk attire.

But, as the subtitle of this blog states, some things just can't be captured in photographs -- especially when Mama and Dada are too busy using both hands trying to herd you between hundreds of people.

We arrived at midnight. You had slept some on the road trip, but not as much as we would have liked. In the nearly three hours you took to settle down and go to sleep (only after a few crackers, by the way), you managed to nearly climb into your pack 'n plays, quacked a dozen or more times, at fake Seagulls (Sure, they're ducks. We'll say anything at midnight, 1 a.m.).

You both took to the still cool-to-the-touch sand immediately, and tromped cautiously, but eagerly through it, not even realizing the destination.

Both pairs of eyes saw the ocean, but disregarded it immediately. It was just wawa, really.

In fact, Jadyn, when we pointed out the waves to you, you waved to the waves. Waved some more.

"No, those things are waves," I said, laughing.

You waved some more.

Liana, it's not an exaggeration that you wouldn't stay still even for a minute. You wanted, desperately, to explore ... well, you wanted to just run freely. You do not like to be controlled. (Hmm. Sounds vaguely familiar ... ?)

In fact, a fellow beach goer, who was nice enough to volunteer to take our family photo, came up to us only an hour into our morning.

"I need to go take a nap after watching her," he said, pointing to you. "Is she always like this -- nonstop?"

Um, yes.

That night, we made our way to the boardwalk, even though you probably needed sleep. No one ever would have suggested that, though, by the way you toddled along the boards one after the other wearing your backpack harnesses. We had to leave the stroller at home in order to fit the half-ton load of baby gear in the car.

We only got one comment about those being cruel, by the way. Then, when he realized, you were twins, he just closed his mouth, and walked away.

Those packs came in handy when, after only walking three blocks in a half hour, we realized that the ice cream stand we were aiming for was never going to happen. So, I kept you on the leashes while The Da! ran down to get the ice cream. When he returned, melted ice cream and all, I was dealing with two toddlers who wanted no parts of going in the same direction and so one -- Can you guess which? -- had a tantrum right on top of a sidewalk decorated with decades of spilled ice cream cones.

It would not take long before we, rightfully so, added our own ice cream splatters. Moose tracks, too.

But, before the ice cream, before we all started to hit the wall of exhaustion, there were some very funny moments. Both of you would stop in front of each beach store playing loud music and dance - each time, drawing a bigger crowd.

We thought, briefly, about putting out an old guitar case to collect some much-needed cash, but that wouldn't have fit in our car, either.

Instead, we pulled/pushed you down the boardwalk some more, and with every single step, you both found another person/object/store display/kite/cigarette butt/sand pile to stop and gawk over.

In the distance, I think you saw the Ferris Wheel. In the distance, you saw some boats. In the distance, you saw an airplane.

I saw my childhood beach memories relived through you. Just wait until next year!

Monday, September 10, 2007

The eye of the storm

I had to travel a couple hundred miles, see and feel the ocean, and relive a bit of nostalgia to be able to come to terms with my inner demons, the ones that had taken over my soul.
You know, things like, where am I going, what are we doing, where will we live, how will we afford anything, will life always be this hard?
On Day Two of Twisterville, I decided that I couldn't really relax. I didn't know how anymore.
So, I set out for my cup of coffee, picked up some donuts for The Da! and then planted myself in the sand, staring at the ocean for 15 minutes.
I would have sat on a towel, but the Hurricanes cried as I left and so going back for a towel seemed a bit cruel.
With nothing but my bare legs, I planted them down in the freshly raked sand and prayed to the ocean.
Heal me, I told it.
Consume me.
Take these fears away.
Cleanse me.
Hold me.
Hide me.

Even as I sat there, still unsettled because directly behind me my little girls were fluttering about on the balcony -- I couldn't sink into it.
But, I was still, and I listened for the ocean's response.
It spit in my face.
Not once. Not twice. But, three times. She thrust her mist several feet onto my cheeks and nose and lips.
I couldn't help but laugh.
Since my legs were crusted into the sand, and now falling asleep, I stood up, and bowed to the vast body of water that has held me and nourished me my entire life.
Then, I breathed deep, picked up my bag heavy with donuts, sippy cups and apples, and walked back into the eye of the storm.


I've struggled long and hard with trying to put a finger on what it means to be a mother of twins. I mean, what it really feels like.
Of course, I could talk all about the little things that annoy me, such as having to load two unruly toddlers into one cart just to push them half way across the parking lot just to find a second cart that actually holds two babies. Things like that.
Those are things that just make up our life. We don't really know anything else.
But, if you are a mother of twins, or higher-order multiples, than you know what I mean by not being able to properly explain to people what life is really like.
How do you explain the beautiful chaos? At the end of the day, exhaustion is not even the right word.
But, why? Why is it this way? Would I feel this way if I had only one child?
I think I figured it out standing on the beach, in the whirl wind of Liana's desire to only walk and run away, and Jadyn's desire to only face those waves, no matter how big and strong they were compared to her little body.
It's not that twins are double trouble or twice the work, even though they are.
It's the energy -- insurmountable, constant, thrilling, chaotic energy. There is no down time. There is no sitting quietly, just me and my baby. There is plenty of pushing and shoving to get on my lap, there's a lot of tugging and pulling over which books I will read, but there are very few moments of just snuggling quiet time.
It's the difference between an intimate dinner for two, and the loud, thumping dance party going on down the hall.
It's the difference between a romantic date in a fine restaurant, and a double date to the ballpark. Everything is bigger, brighter, louder and more exhilarating with two babies.
I know because now and then, for just a moment, I experience being in charge of just one toddler.
This happened on Day Two of the beach. Hurricane Liana and I wandered freely around while waiting for her sister and father to return. My worries melted away. Just one baby to worry about right this second. The energy they use to constantly feed off each other, mimic each other and watch for each other was gone.
It was not physically easier, but my mind was allowed to rest a little. I could sip my coffee while keeping an eye on her. I didn't have to keep one eye on her, and the other on her sister. I could just be with her.
I'm not saying that I don't enjoy the multi-tasking required of raising twins because I do, immensely.
But, it was nice to finally understand why I'm so tired, why I'm so rundown, why I desperately need to take care of myself.
I guess I had to travel a couple hundred miles away to figure that out, too.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Hurricanes hit an East Coast beach PART ONE

And, their names were Jadyn and Liana. Did you hear about them on the news?

Surprising, if not. They ripped, tore and shredded that beach, that sand, that water -- and that room to pieces.

The Da! and I were groveling in their wake the entire time -- sleepily, too, since the Hurricanes decided they didn't like the room the first night and took THREE (as in 3, as in 1-2-3) hours to settle in and finally go to sleep. Maybe not a big deal to you, but we arrived at MIDNIGHT.

So, we finally got some sleep between 3 a.m. and 7 a.m. because we can't have normal babies who might actually SLEEP IN after a night of late-night partying. Nope. Up at the crack, and ready to go.

"Wawa. Wawa."

I feel like all I said all weekend was, "Liana, quit playing with that door," and "Jadyn, don't jump on the bed."

And, here you all thought I was going to get some much-needed rest. Here you all thought that we were going to relax a little.

I tell you one thing. There was not one -- well, there was one -- restful moment during this trip. I'll tell you about that ONE moment in Part Two.

But, was it worth it? Was it worth two 4-hour car rides? Was it worth diapers sagging down so low that the sand practically looked worn out? Was it worth seeing their precious faces as each of those fluffy, foaming waves came crashing down near their feet? Was it worth seeing my daughters leave their footprints along the same sand-crusted, ice cream-smeared boards of the boardwalk that I did as a child?

You bet it was. And, I'm ready to do it again.

Just not for a long, long time.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Letting words collide, and paper fly

When I'm interested in trying to get stuff done on my computer, I bring out the creative bag for my girls. One of those great activities that they love is playing with strips of paper. I call them paper snakes and make lots of Ssss sounds. Loads of fun. They toss them in the air, crumple them, watch them wiggle.

Well, in honor of that toddler activity, I pretty much did that to pick the winner of this month's giveaway.

So, the winner can be found here.

Congrats, In The Fast Lane!

I do encourage any mom interested in writing to check this book out. Christina Katz -- AKA the Writer Mama -- passes along some really fabulous tips to break into the writing scene.

Also, be sure to check out her giveaways this month!

Write on!