Friday, December 11, 2009
Apparently, while I was holed up in an office in London and relishing three nights of uninterrupted r.e.m., the boys figured out how to climb out of their cribs. At 6 a.m. hubby woke with a start to see two grinning little faces right next to his own.
This morning they gave me the demo: Jake climbed up on the railing and jumped down into Z's crib. (joys of apartment living: the cribs are jammed next to each other, nose-to-tail style.) Then, no doubt egged-on by mutual words of encouragement, they both climbed up the rail of Z's crib, levered over the top and onto the window sill, and jumped to the floor.
For the record, we live on the 16th floor. They were on the window sill. Feeling really good about enormously thick, double-paned glass right about now.
So. It's over. No more crib jail. No more: well, i'll just let them scream a smidge longer so I can finish my shower. No more: well, sure he doesn't want to go to sleep but lets just let him cry it out, he'll stop soon.
I know, I know - in the long run, its a good thing. After all, think of how unimpressed any woman would be if showing her his crib was, in fact, a truly literal suggestion. And I know even in the nearer term, that additional bit of autonomy could, theoretically, grant us a teensy bit more sleep on a Sunday morning. Maybe, just maybe, they'll crawl out of their beds, head straight for the legos, and entertain themselves for, say, 20 mins. One can only dream.
Still. It's a milestone. And now we have to actually *assemble* the big-boys beds, still nesting in their flat-packs.
Anybody need a crib, or two?
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Friday, November 20, 2009
- School Application Form
So, here's what I wrote. And why the heck not go for multiple distribution channels?
(Edits, comments welcome. )
From a remarkably early age, Zach was hearing the world around him. From music, to words, to the cadences of speech and city, Zachary is constantly absorbing and replaying sounds he hears. And as we listen to him sing himself and his brother to sleep each night through the vent in the wall, we are witnessing his evolution from clever parrot to lyricist and composer. He “composed” his first song at 18 months – an ode to Broccoli, sung to the tune of Twinkle Twinkle. Now his nighttime ritual has become a collage of the songs and sounds of the day, his words the emerging pattern of his memories. “Old McDonald had an engine, e-i-e-i-o, and the engine had a magic feather, they can’t find it, where is thumbkin, e-i-e-i-o, broccoli-broccoli-broccoli song”
There is a certain girl that is magic for Zachary. She’s between the ages of 5 and 8. She’s small enough to be at the same playground, young enough to find entertainment in a slide, but big enough to know what she wants, when she wants it. Without fail, Zachary will find her – impossible to miss in her red sparkly flats – and within 5 minutes he will be holding her hand. Our theory is language: he can communicate with older children clearly. Not only does he understand directions, he can hold up his own end of any exchange. But he’s also young enough to be starry-eyed at the attention of every Disney Princess he meets.
“You could drop him on the moon, and he’d be OK, wouldn’t he.” So said another mother, as she watched Zach during his first day-care drop-off. He turned with a wave (“bye bye mama!”), made a bee-line for the Thomas trains, and never looked back. Zach is comfortable in his skin. He’ll sleep in any strange house in any dark room, no matter what creepy shadows dance on the walls. He’ll dive right in to any play date, jump onto any new jungle-gym, and accept every baby sitter we throw his way.
Although Jacob (Jake) is only two and a half, he has already shown himself to be a prodigious problem-solver. Whether it’s figuring out how to reach an apple on the counter (move a stool to a chair to a high chair and voila, a make-shift staircase!), turn on a CD (play drum music!), or find the missing pieces of a puzzle (under rug!) Jake displays both ingenuity and tenacity. We are convinced he will have dismantled – if not actually fixed – a DVD player by the time he is three.
When Jake is thirsty, he always asks for two glasses of milk –one for himself, and one for his brother, Zachary. When I strained a muscle, he asked, every day for weeks, “mama’s back feel better?” and gave me a kiss on the small of my back. He is often the first to give a hug and a kiss, and is able to share with the grace of a much older child. Of course he is two –he is just as liable to yank the toy from the hands of his twin brother versus grab an alternative or attempt a trade. But Jake is clearly attuned to the feelings and needs of those around him.
Jake is not one to let his hands sit idle. He is a busy guy. He’s not particularly interested in the television, but give him a set of legos and he can built the world’s tallest towers for an hour straight. He is constantly finding ways to be physically engaged in the world around him- turning the pages, connecting the dots, sorting my change and hearing each penny land with a satisfying ‘clink’ in his piggy bank. At least one part of his body is almost always in motion – his feet, hands, fingers – even in his sleep he’s moving his legs as though he’s still making his way through the world.
Friday, October 9, 2009
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Been hearing a sound lately - a shocking sound. It's the incessant ticking of my internal, must-have-more-babies, time-is-running-out-and-you're-still-fertile clock. Why is that shocking, exactly? After all, I'm 35. Smack dab in the middle of nature making a run on my ovaries. Why shouldn't I be feeling that urge to keep procreating?
Why? Because I'm done. We're done. DONE.
See, we always wanted two kids. We live in New York city, land of ridiculously expensive apartments and even more ridiculous school tuition. And I never want to drive a mini van. And I believe in putting back what you take out - I'm not trying to repopulate any tribes. And my life is holding steady to a perfect, precarious balance. And I got lucky with a two-for-one-deal - I don't HAVE to be pregnant again. (And let's not forget how particularly awful my pregnancy was).
So I am DONE.
It doesn't even need to be said that I love my children. There is nothing in my life that even compares to being a mother - or that ever will. I don't even subscribe to that 'I don't want anything to distract me from the kids I have today' because not a single part of me doubts that I - that we - have more than enough to go around. It's just, I am DONE. And I'm GOOD. And I know, I said that already.
Maybe I'm repeating myself because, apparantly, someon needs to aprise my hormones of that fact. Or my ovaries. Or milk ducts. Or whichever weapon Nature deploys when I'm in the presence of one of those cute, squishy, sweet-smelling, wanna-squeeze-'em-even-if-they're-hollering, bundles of someone else's joy.
What the ...?!?!? There is absolutely no sane, reasonable explanation for me to be thinking "I can do this, it wasn't so hard, we could totally do this again" or, even more tellingly, "awwww..."
Didn't I do that already? Didn't I already meet my Darwinian obligations? Isn't there someone else who should be hit with this onslaught? Some youngish, financially stable couple that just can't decide if they're ready? It's really quite upsetting, to be honest. I really thought it would go away. And the realization it hasn't is worse than acne in your thirties.
Because I'm done. Truly, really, truly, done.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Monday, April 13, 2009
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
A retrospective of my mother-in-law's work is getting published in May. The book is extraordinarily beautiful - it's being released by an independent publisher that specializes in hand-made books.
Her book is called Increments: Drawings 1970-1995.
You can learn more about the book here or on her own web site.
The publisher is The Crumpled Press - also worth checking out.
Monday, April 6, 2009
"Pee pee? Potty? Pee-pee in potty? In there?" It's a pretty exciting development. After all, what mother isn't entranced at the idea of a not-quite-two-year-old falling in love with the promise of a toilet?
But, see, well... Jake is interested in everything. He wants to watch others on the potty ("he's in here for the show!" the nanny called through the closed bathroom door the other day.) And, more than anything, he wants to help. He comes in to watch, standing sentry while I keep up my end of the conversation. "Yes Jakey, Mommy is going pee-pee in the potty!" He carefully pulls off a few sheets of paper from the roll - each movement infused with that intense, careful deliberation that is the hallmark of toddler explorations. And he hands me paper saying "Paper? Boom-boom?, which is toddler for "can I help you wipe your ass, mommy?"
Jake's new found toilet fixation has replaced his footwear fetish. I don't mean to say shoes have completely evaporated from the list of fun options (although Zach seems a little more excited to clomp around in Mommy's heels these days.) But gone are the days when Jake scrambles into my lap and tugs at my stockings and the zipper of my boots. (Yep. Fetish. I did not use the phrase lightly.)
Now he's all about the toilet. And, well, helping.
Which, honestly, feels a little, well... weird.
How do I teach my children to navigate cultural norms, but avoid forcing them into rigid, cultural constraints handed down from those Puritans of yore? When does encouragement and openness cross the line to inappropriate? And is that line even relevant for a not-quite-two-year-old with a burgeoning fascination for the porcelain God?
It's not like we don't continue to evolve on things like this as a culture. After all, we can show ankles these days without fear of recrimination (or the stocks). And blood and vomit permeate our entertainment. (Although human excrement doesn't seem to get as many Hollywood minutes.)
But still... we're not fully evolved yet. And I didn't let him help.
"No Jakey. Mommy does that herself. Thank you for trying to help, but people should touch their own private parts." Thank goodness he is only not-quite-two, and didn't immediately jump to the obvious hypocrisy After all, who, exactly changes his diapers? It's not like that's a solo act.
Of course, that's the good thing about twins. When they aren't developmentally in sync, you get a built-in, near-term do-over.
Maybe by the time Zach wants to see the show and lend a helping hand, I'll have figured out how - and where - to draw that line.
Friday, March 27, 2009
It's just that I haven't taken a lot of moments for self-reflection. Or reflection on much of anything at all, to be honest.
As evidenced by the lull in posting dates.
So I'm here, rekindling my blogging mojo. And trying not to sink in the idea that this is, at heart, a take-time-to-smell-the-roses metaphor for all the other things whizzing by.
The boys are singing, these days. One favorite, sung to the tune of 'Twinkle Twinkle:' Broccoli, broccoli, broccoli, broccoli, broccoli, broccoli, broccoli song. (Try it. Out Loud. It works.)
More to the point - they are talking. Zach in sentences - of which I can usually interpret 1 in 4. (Luckily, they are oft repeated four times in a row.) Jake in dictatorial commands, fingers pointing imperiously, the exclamation points impossible to miss. Ma! Up! Milk!
And they need their own wheels. Clearly. These days, every scooter, bike, tricycle, hot-wheels we encounter is an untapped opportunity for speed. On? Up? Faster? Every car and truck and motorcycle is an object worthy of protracted, rapt attention. (Latest trick to distract from a brewing tantrum: look Jakey, is that a bus?) So, for their (imminent) 2nd birthday: wheels of some sort. (and, I think, helmets. But not for the slide. I don't need to be that kind of crazy mom. I don't think.)
So, where have I been, exactly, while my boys have been discovering their innate love of NASCAR? What have I been doing, other than blowing my nose for what must truly be some sort of House-episode-inspiring medical record?
I've been riding the subway, reading headlines of the world crashing in an ever-shrinking New York Times. Watching a president doggedly try to do things differently.
Watching my roster of laid-off friends get longer and deeper and closer to home.
Of course I am, admittedly, one of the lucky ones. More than lucky. After all, I'm riding that subway to work. And I've been working hard - thrown into the deep in chaos-inducing uncertainty and trying to keep my head while clearly in over it.
I've been reading books - fantasy crap to lull me to sleep. Board books of horsies, duckies, boats and planes. The ever present, indomitable Elmo.
I've been managing bills and paying taxes and heading to doctor's appointments. Buying diapers, filling the fridge, feeding the cats. I've been doing all those things we all do, all the things that keep our heads full.
So here I am. Blowing my nose. Thinking about writing, reflecting, mojo and roses.
Monday, February 2, 2009
I recently realized a glaring omission in parental preparedness: I have no friggin' idea how to referee.
When do I break it up? When do I force the apology, the kiss and make up? When is it OK to 'let off steam,' to 'wrestle,' to sigh and shake my head that 'boys will be boys?' I honestly don't know.
The thing is, I never really played sports. It's not that I was too much of a girly-girl - OK, maybe I was - but, honestly, it was more that I was just kind of fragile. I broke easily.
I was little. (5' 2") And skinny. I wasn't coordinated (except in ballet class.) I liked books. And playing the piano. I had glasses. I wasn't exactly first pick for kickball. Or softball. Or anything.
But I have a sneaking suspicion that my boys will willingly participate - perhaps even passionately participate - in sports. They are already physically fearless. They climb. They fall. They hurtle their bodies off edges and at each other. Clearly, I can chalk some of that to the not-yet-developed common sense of all toddlers. But it goes beyond that. They are BOYS. They need to run around and around and around. And they are completely covered in cuts and scrapes and bruises - 90% of which they gave to each other.
I've been trying to live by a simple rule: blood. If blood is drawn, we have problems. Time outs. Stern words. But already it's not enough. After all, biting of any kind is bad (not to mention the inevitable Mike Tyson-related shudder it elicits.) And what about shoving each other in the bath tub? And what about pinching? And grabbing? And pulling hair?
If I don't set careful standards, are they going to be bullies? (Are they already?) Will they be the kids kicked out of kindergarten for 'behavior difficulties?' How do I teach them sportsmanlike conduct if I don't know the rules?
Luckily, I DO have a husband. Not that I'm looking to reinforce gender stereotypes, but at least one of us is passionate about football (Jets), basketball (Duke, Knicks) and baseball (Yankees). He knows the rules. He may have grown up an only child without a brother of his own to pound on a regular basis, but at least he has a keen sense of right and wrong when it comes to the physical world. (not to mention the fact that he can actually throw a ball.)
Perhaps the only solution to this one is pure delegation:
I'll keep kissing the boo boos. It'll be up to hubby to decide what penalties they've earned.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Bitten and Biting Back: 25 Random Things About Me
1). I can cross one eye but I can't wiggle my ears
2). I grew up in a very, very, very small college town.
3). My twin boys were born 2 months premature. They spent 6 weeks in the NICU. They are now 20 months old. They are perfect.
4). I nursed my boys for 8 months. At my peak I was making a gallon a day. I was a cow. Literally. A COW.
5). I didn't date my husband for three years after I met him. We met in a bar.
6). We started dating on a street corner in London three years after we met. We were engaged 10 months later. Now we've been married 5 years.
7). I spent 5 years in a back brace for scoliosis - during those impressionable young teen years (age 11 to 16.) Funny thing is, although it was my DEFINING CHARACTERISTIC in my own mind, when I talk to folks from that era, they don't even remember it. Gotta love the baggy look of the 80s. And the inherent self-focused narcissism of all teenagers.
8). I went to prep school - because I wanted to. (see small town, back brace above.) I applied on my own - to the dismay of my parents. I still don't fully understand how i talked them in to letting me go. It was the best decision we could have made.
9). It sounds obnoxious (snotty? egotistical? like I'm full of myself?)but I've had 4 job interviews and four jobs (other than those I gave myself.) If that streak doesn't end, I didn't take enough risks.
10). I started out my professional life as a newspaper reporter. I wrote for a bunch of publications including the New Haven Register, the Dallas Morning News, and the Yale Alumni magazine. One story I covered for Dallas was the bombing of the Murrah building in Oklahoma City. I was 20.
11). I started my first company when I was 21. With my boyfriend at the time. Needless to say, it was a really, really bad idea.
12). I started my next company when I was 23. My partners and I sold it a few years later. That one worked out a bit better.
13). I've never taken a hallucinogenic.
14). I learned to read music at the same time as letters. I remember a set of intermingled flash cards.
15). I have two brothers. One is a Broadway composer and conductor. The other runs his own IT consulting business.
16). I spent a year in LA - living large in the independent film scene where I partied with celebrities, spent way too much time at Les Deux, worked on a few projects, and learned to drink chai lattes. It got way old, way fast.
17). After LA I overcompensated and went to McKinsey where I worked as a management consultant. And wore lots of brooks brothers.
18). Now I sell lipstick (and opportunities for women!) I love it. And now I accessorize.
19.) I've never been to continental Africa or Australia. I HAVE been to Asia, Latin America, Central America, Eastern Europe and Western Europe. I want to hit every continent. Except maybe Antarctica.
20). I want to live with my family abroad. I want my boys to be citizens of the world. I want to be fluent in another language. (my husband is fluent in lots.)
21). I'm wearing braces. Now. As an adult. After having them as a teenager. (note - during the back brace era - I had braces, glasses, AND a back brace. I was smokin' hot, lemme tell you. Smokin'.) I have to have surgery on my jaw. Everyone is going to think I had a face lift. Maybe that's OK?
22). I seem to change careers every 5 years. Maybe that's OK too?
23). I love novels and tolerate non-fiction. I've never read a business book (although I've skimmed some flaps.)
24). I skip meals and forgo sleep too often. I get sick too often. I'm constantly looking for balance and falling off kilter. But on average, everything works.
25). A few months ago, I started writing a blog, and I'm really enjoying it. Someone called me a hack of a writer once. I was pissed at the time, but now I think he may be right. I write glib, quick, little nuggets. I don't really edit much. I just sort of spit it out. And its fun. It's not great literature and I have no interest in suffering for my art. I enjoy all of the other things that I do too much to sacrifice them. So yes, I'm a hack. And blogs are my perfect medium.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Needless to say the enthusiasm was infectious. So much so, in fact, one twin almost fell off the couch.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
My boys love me. A lot. It's wonderful. They shout 'Mama mama mama' when they see me. Several times each day, they will stare at the door and plaintively cry 'mama? mama? mama?' (at least according to the nanny.) They kiss my picture. And when they fall down - as they do, oh, 27 times a day and lately from frighteningly high distances - I'm the one they reach for.
It's gratifying. Immensely. After all, who scoffs at unconditional love?
But then there's the flip side: How do I leave the apartment in the morning without feeling like I'm ripping out their hearts and stomping all over them in my ridiculously high heels?
I admit it: sometimes I sneak. They'll be in their room with the nanny, and I tip toe out without saying goodbye. Because when I do go in for that goodbye, love-you, mommy-has-to-go-to-work-kiss, there are screams. A lot of screams.
In fact, the screaming starts when they see me in 'work clothes' (needless to say 'weekend mommy' wears a whole lot more denim).
I know. It's just a phase. And I don't, honestly, feel too horrifically guilty about leaving them during the day. They have a wonderful, stimulating daily life and they are surrounded by people that love them. I make their breakfast and tuck them in at night - which averages out to more than 3 hours a day. (not that I count or anything. That would be neurotic. Actually, a spreadsheet would be truly neurotic. But I don't have one. I swear.)
No matter how logical and rational and reasonable I am, it's hard to deliberately turn the spigot on those crocodile tears.
I know its just a phase. I know in too short a time I'll be nostalgic for the moments they actually *wanted* me around. And I know it will never, ever be easy. But for now, at least every once in a while, I might sneak out the front door in my stockinged feet.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
I have no intention of defending him: the notion of selling a senate seat is beyond reprehensible, and there's no doubt in my mind that Blagojevich's blatant opportunism has tainted our political system.
Friday, January 2, 2009
1: It's a lot harder to find a room of one's own on the days without child care
2: Hosting a crazy dinner party on New Year's eve because you don't have baby sitter is totally fun. Waking up at 6 a.m. the next day because you don't have a baby sitter is brutal.
2B: Hangovers are a whole lot worse at 34 than 30
3: Recessionista entertainment: There's no need to pay for cable if you don't have time to watch anything except the Daily Show on Hulu, even during your staycation.
4: Recessionista child care: nanny shares (boy #3 joins us on Tuesday for our first 'group day')
1: Use date night for dates
2: Get a physical
3: Manage my personal calendar as adroitly as my professional calendar. (this one's for you, hubby.) (And for you, Dad, who I forgot to call on your birthday - see 2B above.)
4: Spend time with each boy one-on-one
Happy New Year