Much as I admire those to whom motherhood and the ability to wrangle babies comes easily, I am not one of them. I am selfish. I need me-time, and lots of it. Three children has always seemed like one more child than I could handle. And then there's my theory that the world is built for families of four: Four fit easily in a booth. Four can go on vacation together and share a room with two double beds. Four means no minivan requirement. I could go on and on.
Just as it wasn't in the plan to have more than two children, it was also not in the plan to move, or at least not for awhile. We love our house. Although it is small (1,500 square feet), it has enough space for a family of four. It has three bedrooms and one bath (which is upstairs, and which is a minor inconvenience, but has been tolerable). It was built in 1925 and is loaded with character. It has a wood-burning fireplace, leaded glass windows, beautiful crown moulding, arched doorways, gorgeous hardwood floors, a screened in back porch, and even a small, in-ground swimming pool in the backyard.
It's not a perfect house. The kitchen is too small for my liking. The bedrooms are small, Isabella's especially. Closet space, as it is in almost all homes built in the 1920s, is lacking. But when we saw this house nine years ago, when I was 24 years old, we knew it was the one. The competition for homes in my area was fierce then. We were outbid twice on two other homes by people bidding way over asking price. We saw our house the first day it was on the market, and wrote an offer that night.
But we realized that our circumstances had changed as soon as Luci and Nicholas came home. We are constantly side-stepping baby gear, toys, books, furniture, and each other. What once seemed like more than enough room for three people and three cats immediately became not enough. In the past nine months, it's only gotten worse. And it couldn't become more clear to me that Luci and Nicholas need their own rooms to solve their sleeping issues. They wake each other up constantly.
We have been half-heartedly looking for a house for almost six months now. We've been to numerous open houses and have had a very difficult time finding a suitable house in our price range in the area in which we want to buy. While the three-bedroom homes in our area are affordable for us, the four-bedroom homes are not.
And then last week we came upon a gorgeous four-bedroom house. It has a huge kitchen. 2.5 bathrooms. A gorgeous and enormous family room for the kids to play in. A large backyard. A screened in porch. A deck and a patio.
We went to the open house and then saw it again with our realtor later in the week. This was the first house we had seen that had everything we wanted. The problem was the price. It was more than we could spend. On Saturday, we decided to write an offer anyway, offering much less than the asking price.
Expecting a hefty counter, we weren't hopeful. Then, on Sunday, while at a picnic at my grandma's, we got the call from our realtor. The sellers had accepted our offer. No counter.
And now we have our house to sell. Our house isn't even in the neighborhood of ready to sell. We are in full-on decluttering, packing, and cleaning mode. My house looks as if a bomb detonated right in the center of it. We are listing it on Monday. We have to get an offer on our house in less than two weeks, or we will more than likely lose the house on which we had our offer accepted, since our offer is contingent upon the sale of our house.
If you're the praying type, please pray we can sell our house quickly. If you're the candle-lighting type, please set an inferno for us. If you're the vibe-sending type, please send good karma our way.
Our awesome realtor, who is also our friend, says that it's providential. If this house is meant to be ours, then it will be.
And as much as I'm really, really trying not to get attached to this house that is not yet ours and may never be ours, I'm also really, really hoping it becomes ours one day very soon.
Who is this little girl? Wasn't she just learning to walk and eating pureed carrots last week?
This past month, my dear firstborn has picked up a massively annoying habit, whose emergence is solely my fault and the hubs' fault. She's begun talking about herself in the third person, as in, "Isabella wants to go to the playground" and "Isabella needs help pulling up her underwear" and "This is Isabella's book and NOT the babies'!"
After trying to figure out where this came from, we realized that we often talk about ourselves that way, as in, "Bring the cup to mommy" and "You and mommy are going to the store" and she's picked up on it. Dammit! I've screwed up my child yet again.
I also have a little fear about her going to preschool and expecting her peeps and teacher to bow down and worship at the altar of Isabella. You see, my daughter likes an audience. If we're outside playing and our fabulous neighbors come over with their dog, she'll say, "Can the (ABCs) watch Isabella (grrrr...) go down the slide?" When her friends come over for a playdate, or she's around her friends in gym class, she'll ask them to watch her attempt particular tasks-jumping, catching a ball, etc.
This comes directly from the attention my family lavishes on her every time they see her. She is the rockstar, and she's used to being the center of attention, and even with the twins around now, she still is.
As much as she is very "me-centered" these days, she continues to be a great big sister to Luci and Nicholas. She basks in the praise I give her when she spontaneously does something to help them-pick up a dropped binky, give one or the other a toy, or lay out a blanket on the floor for them to play on.
This makes me long for the day when they can all entertain each other (I know, I know, they will undoubtedly knock each other around as well) and leave mama alone with her laptop. Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy playing with Isabella and reading with her, but at almost 3, shouldn't she be playing more independently now? She is continually looking for my involvement in her play, and this makes getting anything work-related done next to impossible.
I can't believe my little baby is turning 3 next month.
Likes: Playing hide-and-seek, jumping in puddles, eating the twins' dropped puffs off the floor
Dislikes: The almighty authority of the supreme ruler (Me)
This blog has been a bit on the quiet side this week, and there's a reason for that. Details to follow soon. And no, I am not pregnant.
This is a topic I've written about before, but the particulars here are different. I can't seem to get this news story out of my head.
The woman lied on her fertility clinic paperwork. She flew to L.A. from Spain and told her doctor she was 55, the maximum age for treatment at that particular clinic.
She was quoted in a newspaper article as saying, "I think everyone should become a mother at the right time for them." I can hardly disagree with this statement.
Obviously, this case has ignited a storm of controversy and discussion about whether or not there should be a mandated maximum age for women undergoing fertility treatment (currently, that's a decision left up to individual clinics).
Attempting to legislate or even to voice an opinion on who should (and should not) be able to have children places you on a very slippery slope. Consider this: if this 67-year-old woman choosing to get pregnant was reckless and selfish (as she has been accused of being) given her advanced age, then women who smoke, have a dangerous profession (for example, police work), or engage in other high-risk activities and choose to become pregnant are reckless and selfish as well, and yet no law would ever curb their ability to get pregnant. And what about men who choose to father children in their seventies? I haven't heard any outrage over the fact that Larry King is 75 and has two very young kids. I've heard of no one calling him selfish. When she first gave birth, much was said about her not living to see her kids graduate from high school. Larry King likely won't live this long either, and yet because he isn't a woman, fathering children at his age is somehow more acceptable?
Supporters have said that mothers of any age can die of cancer. And the Spanish's woman's own mother lived to 101. She obviously believed she had longevity on her side, when unfortunately, this wasn't the case.
But while I firmly disagree with any law that would mandate a maximum age for fertility clinic patients (women should always have the choice regarding when (or if) they become mothers and government should play absolutely no role in this process), I also can't help but feel sorry for these two little boys, who must now grow up without her.What do you think?
I believe I can say this now without jinxing myself: I think we have seen the end of the "screaming through dinner" routine. After 8.5 long months of wanting to take my fork and stab it into my eardrums, we can finally eat in peace. Hallelujah!
Speaking of mealtime, we've introduced sippy cups and puffs. The twins stopped their nightly serenades before the introduction, but their cups and finger foods keep them occupied in the highchairs. Nicholas' pincer grasp is better than Luci's, although I think his skill may have more to do with the fact that the boy is insatiable and Luci could frankly give or take food. We're questioning her lineage as a result.
They're headed to the pediatrician tomorrow for their 9-month checkup, and I'll update this posting with their stats when I return.
As you know, I write for Root & Sprout, an incredible parenting resource. The site is growing by leaps and bounds, and receives on average 7,500 hits a month and over 35,000 page views. Root & Sprout also has a Google page rating of 4 out of 10, which is excellent for a blog of its size and age.
I'd like to share with you the details of an awesome ad promotion the site is running for the month of July for those of you looking to potentially make your businesses some extra money or drive some traffic to your personal website.
First, you'll need to join the Sowing Seeds group at Grow Together, which is Root & Sprout's social networking site. Sowing Seeds is a group of people who are interested in receiving news about special offers, interesting products, or family-friendly services.
Next, purchase a $25 Sowing Seeds ad spot. Details of what you receive with your Sowing Seeds ad are on the group page. Through July 31st, you will automatically receive a FREE 30-day sidebar ad at Root & Sprout with your $25 purchase of a Sowing Seeds ad spot.
If you write a blog post about this promotion, as well as tell your readers about Root & Sprout and Grow Together (and provide links), Melissa (Root & Sprout's Founder and Creative Genius Extraordinaire) will extend your sidebar ad another 30 days. You will need to send the direct URL of your post to Melissa's personal email address at woolgatherings at gmail dot com.
So, you'll receive $55 worth of ad space for only $25! This promotion is open to all family-friendly blogs, websites, entrepreneurs, hobbyists, and anyone with a product, book, site, or service to promote.
On behalf of Melissa, and Root & Sprout's other team members and monthly writers, thank you in advance for your support! All ad money goes directly to those who write articles for the Root & Sprout website.
You can find out more about Root & Sprout here.
Since the latest Harry Potter movie comes out today, it's the perfect time to answer Meredith's question about whether or not I am a Harry fan. And the answer is: Yes! When my husband started reading the first Harry Potter book years ago and asked me if I wanted to read it when he was done, I declined. Fantasy/Sci-Fi books are not my thing, and I'm generally not a fan of kiddie lit either. But, I decided to trust him when he told me I would like the book, and I'm glad I did. The books are captivating and well written and the movies are excellent representations of the books, which is really important to me (Hello My Sister's Keeper producers-I'm looking at you!). I'm hoping to make it to the theatre to see the latest movie, since watching HP at home on DVD just doesn't do justice to the films. Are you a Harry Potter fan? If so, please leave a comment and tell me why.
Lest you think that my fashion problems emerged as an off-shoot of work-at-home motherhood, I present to you the following.
Picture This: Upstate NY. Spring, 1990. 14 years old.
I am on my way to my 8th grade dance at the Catholic grammar school I attended for nine years.
Note the following:
The gigantic poof of bangs took me and a curling iron at least 30 minutes to perfect in the mirror before school each morning. I then applied half a can of Aqua Net to them to seal the deal (literally). They were bullet-proof.I sported this long, permed look for two years in grammar school. It's hard to see in this photo, but the chemicals created an adorable two-toned look to my cascading mane of nastiness once the perms began to grow out.
And lastly, my dress. Yes, I attended a Catholic school. Yes, I was puritanical, nerdy, sheltered, and totally square. But what in the hell was I thinking when I selected this dress? The drop-waist, asymmetrical, multi-tiered hem? The color, which looks like I bought it in Boca while visiting my grandma? And the coverage? I think the Duggars show more skin.
I didn't do much better in high school.
Picture This: Upstate NY. Spring, 1993. 16 years old
I am about to depart for the junior prom at my Catholic high school.
The hair is slightly improved, although not much.
The dress, however, is horrendous. It is white, people. WHITE, for the love of all this is good and holy!
And I am wearing white tights! And satin shoes!
And apparently, from my pose and expression, I actually believe I look quite good.
Fortunately, my boyfriend at the time thought I hung the moon and therefore bit his tongue about my attire.
I'm so sexy, it hurts.
The hubs and I took Isabella to Bounce It Out. She had a blast on the inflatables. Then we took her out to lunch, a rare treat for her and for us.
Later in the week, my mom and I took her to lunch, and then we stopped to feed the ducks.
We went on a picnic at the local park, and we brought the twins along this time.
My mom wanted to buy Isabella some new books, so the three of us spent some time in Barnes & Noble. This was one of our finds. Very cute, and a great message for girls.
And we capped off the week with a visit to the Strong National Museum of Play, possibly Isabella's favorite place on Earth.
This is the "sandbox," which is filled with these awesome "stones" that I'm going to try and find online so I can fill a baby pool with them.
There's always time to stop and churn some butter!
Isabella is really interested in the Berenstein Bears books lately.
And of course, no trip to the museum would be complete without a ride on the carousel.
BUT-did you miss the part in my post where I threw out the opportunity to ask me anything you wanted? In past years, I've received lots of really interesting questions. If I had 48 hours to myself, what would I do? How many serious relationships did I have prior to marrying my husband? What was my most embarrassing moment? But this year? Just one, from the lovely Meredith of Pregnantly Plump.
From this I'm gathering that either I'm laying myself a bit too bare on this blog and you all know everything you care to know about me, or you simply overlooked that portion of the post.
So, last chance. Leave your questions in the comments section. If none appear, I'll slink back into my hole of despair to examine where I went so very wrong in writing this blog.
And apropos of nothing I've just written: Check out my most recent article on Root & Sprout: 7 Tips for Dining Out with Preschoolers.
If you've been following the hellacious odyssey of the twins' sleeping issues the past few months, you know that:
A) Nicholas hated his crib and slept only in the swing, including through the entire night, except for a brief morning nap in his crib, most of which he spent crying
B) Luci slept (swaddled) in her crib just fine, but napped in Isabella's bed for her morning nap because of A),
C) While Nicholas would at times sleep (in the swing) through the night, Luci never would, meaning I was up feeding her at least once every night.
Last Friday we decided to throw caution, predictability, and the hope of something even resembling a peaceful evening to the wind and put the twins in the same room together beginning with their morning nap. I also decided to stop swaddling Luci at the same time, something she seemed to fight before bed, but oddly not before her naps. It was time though. Summer + Swaddling = Sweaty Baby.
And so I nursed Luci before her nap, just as I normally did. I brought her to her crib, rocked her a bit, and gently placed her in her crib. Even before her body hit the mattress, she went ballistic. She had no idea what to do with her unswaddled body. I nursed Nicholas, rocked him as well, and then placed him in his crib. He was seriously unhappy with me, the crib, and the universe.
If the sound of two apoplectic babies doesn't make you want to pluck out your eardrums with any sharp tool within arm's length, I'm not sure what does. We followed my friend and fellow twin mom's suggestion of Modified Ferber (enter room and pat backs/tummies, rub heads, etc.) after 5 minutes of crying, then after 10, then after 15). She told me she never had to go past 15 minutes; her twins always conked out by then. Luci and Nicholas? Had no intention of ever stopping the endless screaming.
That first morning "nap" never happened. I think Luci and Nicholas each slept for 10 minutes during their afternoon "nap." Nighttime was a complete and total disaster. I was up virtually the entire night with them, feeding one while the other fell back to sleep, then awakening a short time later to the other twin crying, and dashing in to grab him or her before the other one was awakened. They simply will not sleep through each other's cries. It is maddening.
Now, one week into it, there are good naps and nights and there are horrific ones. At this point, the horrific outweigh the good. Both are up a lot more often than they were when Nicholas was in the swing and Luci had their bedroom all to herself. This, of course, means that I am up a lot more overnight, because I am feeding whichever one is crying before he/she awakens the other. One crying baby in the middle of the night is difficult enough to deal with.
It seems so cruel to force them to sleep in the same room together. How awful to be awakened by your screaming sibling several times a night while you were peacefully sleeping. I know twins get used to this arrangement, and mine have no choice. They live in a 3-bedroom house, and we needed to get Nicholas out of the swing and out of our living room and the hubs off the couch and back into our bedroom.
But right now, it's very hard for me to see this ever working. I cannot imagine that the day will come when they can make it through an entire nap or through the entire night without waking each other up.
Fortunately for them, they are adorable bundles of schmooshable love when they sleep, and just as I did with their sister, I have taken the photos to prove it.
Luci, unswaddled for the first time.
Nicholas, wisely covering his ears and wishing his sister would STFU already.
It WILL get better, right?
Behold, the indoor pool* we invested in to entertain the kids.
It's incredibly versatile.
You can eat your afternoon snack in it.
*Thanks to Jamie from Sticky Feet for the idea of hauling the baby pool inside the house. Isabella was totally stoked at the idea of the pool in her living room when she got up from her nap one rainy afternoon last week.