Life with Twins

Archive for December, 2011

I have a Confession…..

NOW: I love Christmas.  There, I said it.

Prior to Thanksgiving I was pretending to be one of those people that dislikes the Christmas decorations being up in the stores already.

So, when Thanksgiving was over, I could finally give in to my true nature.  Phew, what a relief.

Then, I started reading/hearing all kinds of people complaining about Christmas in general…..especially in regards to Santa Claus.  So, I’ve been debating about this post for a while, but I suppose it’s my right to give the other side of the debate.  I don’t think anyone is “wrong” in their beliefs, just like to give my opinion too!

I love Santa.  I believe in Santa.  I truly do, at 30 years old.  Does Santa magically drop presents down the chimney for Tim and I?  No, not technically.  But I believe in him as the spirit of Christmas.  The idea that my twins will wake up on Sunday morning and be in awe of the fact that not only are there presents under the tree……but the milk, cookies, and carrots are mysteriously gone.

I know it’s a lie.  But I suppose I lie to my kids all the time.  Not big lies.  But……when there’s blackberries going bad in the fridge and there’s new bananas on the counter and they ask for bananas and I tell them they’re not ready to eat yet so they’ll just have to make do with blackberries.  Could they eat the bananas, yes.  But I want them to eat the blackberries first.  But they won’t go along with that line of thinking.  So, I tell them the bananas aren’t ready yet and they suddenly become perfectly happy with blackberries.  Just an example.  But I digress.

I try to explain as much to my kids as possible.  Even if anyone else would think they’re too young to understand.  And I tell the truth; I don’t blow them off with a simple answer.  It gives me credibility for when I do stretch the truth.  Plus, I’m a firm believer in asking questions in order to learn.  Even when I have a group of 22 children in front of me all day….each with their own set of questions.  That’s my job; to answer them.

Back to Santa.  Early in November, Will and Ariel saw a commercial featuring the man in the red suit and inquired about it.  I, being the over-explainer, immediately went into a detailed description of Santa, with his sleigh, reindeer, and sack of toys coming down chimneys on Christmas Eve.  I was excited.  Even back in November.  As a result, we they have been talking about Santa for almost two months now.  Not incessently.  But occasionally.  And more so now that the big night is almost here.

<It’s hard to put joy into words.  I think it’s much easier to express negative emotions, so this post might get rambly.  I apologize in advance.>

Santa is magic.  End of story.  Obviously I’m excited because this is the first year where the twins really get what’s going on for Christmas.  If nothing else, they know what presents are for and they are looking forward to recieving some, I’m sure.  But they are also excited about the tree, the ornaments, the decorating, the driving around looking at Christmas lights, the snow (what snow?), the shopping (yay, my kids like to shop!) the making cookies, the holiday movies.  I could go on and on.  

They are just full to the brim of excitement and positive emotion.  Same way my 2nd graders at school feel.  And I like to think that it’s coming partially from me.  They are excited because I am excited.  And I allow myself and them to give in to the excitement.  I don’t pretend Christmas isn’t coming, I embrace it.  And every year I get the same question from my 7-year-olds at school…..is there a Santa Claus?  They are at the brink of not believing.  Others have told them it isn’t true.  But they trust their teacher.  Maybe more than they trust their parents.  Because their parents might tell them the truth if they ask.  Plus, when they’re being egged on by 20 other kids, this seems like the perfect time to inquire.  School is for learning, right? 

And I don’t lie.  I tell them yes.  There is a Santa and I believe in him.  Let me make this clear; I am not lying.  And that’s part of the magic.  They know I’m not lying.  And so do my twins.

When I was little Santa filled my living room with presents.  And my sister and I always made sure to say “Thank you Santa, wherever you are!” while we looked up at the ceiling (because North is up), after we were done opening our gifts.  We were grateful.  Were we grateful to the wrong person?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  Because even though it was technically my parents’ money, and technically my parents (mom) who went out and did the shopping, and technically my parents (mom) who stayed up late into the night wrapping……it was Santa who brought those gifts.  And my parents heard the thank you and took it as their own.

I don’t even remember finding out that mom and dad were buying the gifts all along.  I guess it wasn’t that big of a deal.  I vaguely remember mom telling me not to tell Melissa, 5 years younger than me, and still going strong in her Santa-belief.  I think I kind of felt like I was just in on a secret, not a lie.  How fun it was to keep this secret going year after year…..until eventually most of  the presents were just labeled “from mom and dad”.  But never all.  There were always a couple from Santa.  Even though we “didn’t believe” anymore.  And the pile?  Didn’t get any smaller.  Don’t get me wrong.  My parents were not rich.  My dad worked two jobs so that my mom could stay home with us, and then later when my mom developed back problems and “couldn’t” work (that’s another post for another day).  They were probably living paycheck to paycheck.  But I never would have known it come Christmas morning.  Was I spoiled, yes.  But was I taught how to be rich in Christmas Spirit and thankfulness, yes.

I guess I’m lucky too because there are a lot of factors that don’t make me see “playing Santa” as a chore.  I love shopping, and shopping for the perfect gifts that I know will make my kids’ eyes light up is so rewarding.  It’s not work.  And I loved wrapping this year.  I picked out two different sets of paper and made sure Will and Ariel each had the same amount and wrapped and wrapped.  And the “leftover” gifts that didn’t have a “match”?  They are from mommy and daddy.  And in a third type of wrapping paper.  It was like a puzzle!  Making sure that they each had the same amount of gifts wrapped up.  (That reminds me, I have to figure out somethings to unwrap and rewrap so they each have a gift for each other). 

I guess it just boils down to this; I have fond memories of Christmas and of Santa.  I want my children to have fond memories of Christmas and Santa.  I want them to share in the Christmas Spirit and be merry and cheerful.  Everything Tim and I do with them is an experience that will shape their whole world as they grow up and I guess I just want them to have this wonderful, joyful Christmas/Santa experience.  Even if it is a lot of work.  And technically a lie.

I’m lucky too, in that I have the means to be able to do all of this work to build up the lie.  It’s worth it to me.  Because I love Christmas.   And because I believe in Santa Claus.

Happy Holidays Everyone!  Enjoy your time with yourself, your friends, your family, your joy. 

And your presents…..I know I’m looking forward to opening up my one-piece footie Cookie Monster pajamas from Tim!  (They just better be waiting under the tree and not being saved for my upcoming Birthday!)  This is now.

THEN: (A short one): The twins were born on a Sunday.  I was allowed to stay at the hospital until Thursday morning.  You might think that’s strange….whoever wants to stay in the hospital, right?  But I was glad because that was where my babies were. 

On Wednesday night, before Tim left to go home, I was sobbing.  I thought my heart would break.  He even climbed into the tiny hospital bed and held me.  I had been holding in all of my negative emotions for almost a week….even before they were born.  But now, on the eve of my homecoming, I broke down.

I didn’t want to go home the next morning.  I couldn’t leave them.  It was “bad enough” that they were being taken care of by “other people” but now I got to go home and they didn’t.  It wasn’t fair.  All of my other fears came out….basically…..what if they never came home?  I cried and cried and cried.  And he held me.  And he cried a little too.

A nurse came in.  I stopped right away.  I couldn’t be weak in front of her, she’d think something was wrong.  I told her I was just afraid to leave the twins.  But, she was trained to deal with crying, new moms.  She was afraid it was something worse; I could see it in her eyes.  She left and I knew that she would be sending people to check on me up until I left the next morning.  And maybe even watch me when I came back to visit the twins.  It might be post-partum depression.

I got angry.  Did I not have the right to get a little sad?  After all we had been through?  I was keeping it together and upbeat for a long time!  Didn’t I have the right to cry a little when I didn’t know what I was facing and how long I would have to face it and didn’t know what was going to become of my babies, but just knowing I wasn’t able to be in the same building with them 24/7 anymore?  I just wanted to cry a little.  I just wanted to be held by my husband who was the only one who even came close to understanding.  Was that so wrong?  That was then.

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NICU

I just found out about this and wanted to share.  It really only applies to people in the Buffalo area…….but I thought maybe there would be something similar you could do at your local NICU/hospital.  Check out this link to the story:

After Spending Christmas in the NICU, Moms Deliver Cookies | Video | wgrz.com

As you all know, my twins were 31-week preemies and spent some time (about a month) in the NICU at Children’s Hospital in Buffalo, NY.  I am forever grateful to the people who work there and although it was the worst time in my life it was also the best outcome because of these wonderful people.

I know many of you out in the blogging world have had experiences of your own in the NICU, or know someone who has.

I know it’s last-minute, I know times are tough, and I know not all of you are from this area.  But consider making an extra dozen cookies as you bake and make a simple donation/delivery.  It’s a small thing that so many hurting families would be so grateful for. 

Luckily, I myself was not in the NICU at Christmas.  Luckily, I didn’t have other small children at home waiting for their mom to make cookies with them.  Luckily, my children were not critically ill – just little.  Luckily I have a strong network of friends and family who supported me.

Some people aren’t so lucky.  Or maybe they are.  Either way, a little bit of holiday cheer in the form of cookies might be just enough to brighten their holiday season a little bit.

I am so eternally grateful that I could spend last weekend making cookies with my little ones…..who are so healthy and happy because of my NICU family.

To Milestone or Not to Milestone? That is the Question

NOW:  I feel that every little thing the twins do are milestones.  Little things, that they can do now, but they couldn’t do yesterday or the day before.  Or even events, like this particular Christmas, is a milestone.  It’s not their first obviously, but it’s the first where they kinda really know what’s going on.  Every day is different than the day before and I try to listen and watch and appreciate every little thing they learn and do. 

BUT.  There are some big milestones.  Developmental milestones, rite-of-passage type milestones.  Like the Potty for example.  Big change, right?  I got “yelled at” more than once for starting that one too early.  I get chastised for trying to make them grow up too quickly.  I don’t want them to grow up any faster than they have to, believe me.  It’s a Catch-22…..I know this time is going by so fast and I certainly don’t want it to be faster, but at the same time it’s SO exciting to see what they’ll do next.

Anyway, I do have a point here.  My point is: BIG-KID BEDS!!  DUN DUN DUN!!!!!!!!!

I am having a mild internal struggle right now.  I’ve talked about it with multiple people and most of them, including Tim, agree that once a child is climbing out (especially those as smart as my twins), they need to be a big kid bed. 

I am agreeing with this and pushing it forward for several reasons:

I am terrified that now that Ariel knows she can get out, she will.  She might be too scared to do it for several days….weeks…..months……but why wait until she does it again and gets seriously hurt this time?  Right?

We were going to change them into beds in February anyway.  I have a week off for mid-winter break and we figured that was a good time….they’d be 2 and a half.  So now we’re just moving it up a couple of months.  I have a week off for Christmas, so that will work out well too.

We bought guardrails so they won’t fall out, so that will help with the transition. 

Now…….there are a few people who are against this whole plan.  And who question a lot of my decisions as a parent.  And who accuse me of making the twins grow up too fast.  And whose job it is to question my decisions because they care.  (right?)

Let me just say; yes, we were going to change them over in February, and yes, it’s only a couple months early…..but are we thrilled about it?  No.  We didn’t really want this thrust upon us at this time.  But again, the getting-out of the crib factor weighs in heavily.

Three guesses who is against this plan and vocalizes the concern.  My mom and dad.  More mom, but that’s because dad is not as vocal about his opinion.

Now, when you grow up with a set of people who help influence your every decision in life and then the time comes where you break out on your own and have your own opinions and decisions about marriage, houses, kids…..it’s hard!  I haven’t lived at home in 8 years.  And I am comfortable in my own opinions, especially because I do have a husband that I can bounce my ideas off, and who is a little more level-headed than me about big decisions like this so I know, deep down, that if he agrees with me it’s the right decision and we need to do what our gut tells us.  But it’s still hard not to take my parents’ opinions into consideration in my own mind.  And then I start to doubt myself.  And then I start to question if I am making them grow up too fast because I certainly don’t want that.

Phew.  That’s a lot of rambling.  And a lot I have to remember when the twins are grown up and I’m trying to give my opinions.

Bottom line is; our decision has been made.  And it’s what’s best for us.  And I’ve consulted multiple co-workers, friends, the internet, and other family members and it’s not like changing them into beds at this point is completely crazy.  They are over 2 and if we are concerned about them getting out, we need to do this. 

The twins even agree with us.  🙂  I’ve brought it up a couple of times since we made this decision.  I like to get them used to the idea of big changes before they happen.  I wouldn’t want to just spring this on them.  And that’s worked so far; we haven’t had any major drama when it comes to change in the past.

One night, we were in my bed because we always hide under the covers before we brush their teeth and put them in their cribs.  I asked them if they wanted a big-kid bed like mommy and daddy’s bed.  They were a little hesitant, but said yes.

Yesterday, we were playing and I brought it up again.  I asked if they wanted big-kid beds.  This time, it was a resounding YES!  NOW!  I said, you’ll have to say bye bye to the crib and get a big-kid bed in your own room……

Ariel said, “yes, mommy.  Big kid bed NOW.  BYE BYE CRIB NOW!  Need big kid bed in room.  2 blankets.  Bring all the guys and music?” (She’s referencing the 8 stuffed animals in her crib, plus her musical seahorse). 

I tell her, yes, of course you can have blankets and the guys and the music. 

She’s reassured.  “Ok Mommy.  Now!  Bye bye crib!”  (she waves to the ceiling).

I am laughing so hard, but I manage to tell her that she at least has to wait until we buy it.  🙂  So, that’s good.  For now they’re happy about it at least. 

I’ve also convinced Tim that we should let them pick out their own sheets.  We’re just going to use the fitted sheet for now I think, and then their loose blankets from their crib.  They move around a lot right now while they sleep, and I think having to try and make them face in just one direction with a tucked-in sheet and blanket wouldn’t really work. 

I found this suggestion on the internet about letting them pick out the sheets and I think that would be nice.  I want to get them each 3 sets because even now sometimes their diapers leak, or Will takes his diaper right off.  And when we start nighttime potty training we will definitely be changing sheets often.  Originally we were thinking just get 6 unisex ones, because we change Will’s sheets more often, but I like the idea of letting them pick.  I said, even if we use all of Will’s sheets up before I do laundry I’ll just stick some of Ariel’s on, who really cares?  She might not pick “girlie” ones anyway.  (Her favorite color seems to be blue right now….followed by green).

So we’re going to scope out the mattress situation tonight by ourselves.  We have convertible cribs but we need bedrails and mattresses.  Then tomorrow we will probably go sheet-shopping with the twins. 

I think my uncertainty…..brought to light by my parents……all comes down to that Catch-22.  I am SO excited to move them into new beds and take them shopping to buy new sheets and have Tim switch them over just after Christmas.  It’s so exciting to think about how much they’ve grown and changed in such a short amount of time.

But…….I am so saddened by the fact that my little, once literally teeny-tiny, babies are growing up.  I feel like crying, but I don’t know if they are tears of joy or sadness.  That’s the definition of Bittersweet I guess.  And the definition of Mommyhood/Childhood.  This is now.

THEN:  Things are kind of blurry when it comes to the time spent in the NICU.  The first few days, while I was in the hospital, I went downstairs as much as possible.  Actually, even the very first day, after I was “done” visiting (physically, not emotionally) we went back up to my room.  Our friends, Leslie and Brian were there.  So…back down to the NICU.  YAY!  I even walked.  Behind the wheelchair.  At 1 mile/hour. 

I just felt like I couldn’t get enough of them.  But I knew they needed their rest and so did I.  After Brian and Leslie left, Sarah showed up.  With Dinner!  From Chef’s!  Good thing too, because in the process of changing over my room the hospital staff forgot about my dinner.  I didn’t even mind that my spaghetti parm was kinda cold.  It was the best dinner ever.  My sister-in-law is so thoughtful.  🙂

And then of course Sarah wanted to visit the twins.  So, down we went again.  Each  time we would check and see what had happened in the last couple hours while we weren’t there.  They wrote down everything.  It was really very reassuring because they were obviously keeping very careful watch over my babies. 

It was really very calm in the NICU.  There was the steady beeping of the monitors, which in itself was reassuring.  The lights were dim.  There were multiple rocking chairs so you could sit and relax.  The nurses were nice and sweet and gentle and so good at explaining everything.  They each worked 12-hour shifts, 3 days on and 4 days off.  that way they were with the same babies for a 12 hour stretch, which was nice because then they knew what to watch for. 

I was feeling much better about this whole situation now that I got to see it for myself.  Plus, I was in the hospital for 2 more days.  I could just take a little walk down whenever I wanted.  Or stay there all day and night if I wanted.  They even told me that.  And a nurse would take me down if Tim wasn’t there.  They didn’t want me to walk by myself yet, but they would get me whenever I wanted and then take me back up.  It was nice to be taken care of.  That was then.

Whirlwind Weekend

NOW: We had such a flurry of activities and emotions going on this weekend! 

Saturday morning started with our normal swim class….although we were running a little late because Tim and I got up and exercised and then had to pack up the car for tree-hunting. 

We met our friends, Katie and Erich, for breakfast, and then we were on our way to the Field Of Dreams Tree Farm!  YAY! 

I had put the twins in boots because of the mud/snow and so they were very excited to be going outside.  Apparently BOOTS = OUTSIDE.  Makes sense.  When we got there, we were happy to see a small layer of snow on the ground.  This meant we could use our sled!  YAY!

We bundled the kids up in snow pants, hats, mittens, and scarves and plopped them on the sled.  I volunteered to pull them for a little while.  Big Mistake.  Why did I not realize that it was uphill?  I told Tim I shouldn’t have bothered getting up to exercise that morning, this should have counted.  Oh well, a little extra workout never hurt anyone, right?

So I’m pulling them up the path and we come to a fork in the road.  Now, let me tell you, we have been going to the same Tree Farm for the last few years now.  I knew we always went straight at the fork.  Tim insisted we go left and seemed so sure of himself that we all agreed.  Big mistake.  

Luckily the twins were THRILLED to be in the woods.   I pulled them on the path for a while, but then we decided to go off-roading a little bit.  By that time they decided to get out and proceeded to trip over every tree stump they could possibly find.  Not to mention getting stuck in brambles and hit in the face with tall weeds. 

Ariel was dantily moving each and every branch out of her way as she walked.  Oh my goodness, we were going  to be here all F%$#%ing day if this continued.  Will was just plowing through. 

We convinced them to let us pick them up.  I kept reminding Katie that she was the one who pitched the idea of bringing them.  Of course, she grabbed Ariel, and even taunted that I had to carry the heavier one.  Bitch.  🙂

So now I’m plowing through the brambles, trying not to trip with the boy in my arms who honestly now weighs at least 10 times as much as his normal 27 lbs.  Probably because he ate 1 and 1/2 pancakes, a piece of bacon, a scrambled egg, 2 pieces of toast, a sausage link, and had a full cup of milk with breakfast.  And some of Katie’s waffle.  Plus, his jacket and snow pants have to weigh like 20 pounds each I think.

 And he’s insisting that HE wants to pull the sled.  So, I have it draped around my arm, but then also draped around his arm so that he thinks he’s pulling it.  Of course, he also keeps wanted to manuver himself to peer over my shoulder and constantly reassures me “sled still there mommy.”  Ok, thanks bud.

We get back to a path and I practically drop him.  He probably would have bounced, but I might have would have felt bad.

Now, here’s where we realize for sure that we do not normally go left at the fork.  To the right of our path there is a very scary-looking foot bridge that I have never seen before in my life.  Tim now insists that we should have listened to him and gone straight at the fork.  I almost strangle him, but I still need him to cut down and drag a tree to my car.

Well, we have to cross the bridge now, he says.  Um.  No F-ing way.  It is over a small creek, no railings. and there’s a big sign that says “slippery when wet”.  No way.

Well, we had to.  Katie and Erich went first, with the empty sled.  Tim and I each carried a child.  It wasn’t really slippery.  But it was a little scary for someone who is afraid of heights and has a 2-year-old in their arms.  But of course we were fine.

All this while we were looking for trees, but Tim finally spotted one that might work for us.  It was 10 feet tall.  BUT, there was a big gap in the middle…..so we took the top half of the tree! 

Katie and Erich found one soon after we did.  We made our way back up to the front.  Luckily, we only had to drag the trees a short distance and then the workers came and got them with a four-wheeler, so we just had to get ourselves up front.  By now, the twins were done wandering, and just sat in the sled all the way back.  We paid for our trees, got some hot chocolate, and ate some yummy cookies Erich had made the night before.  It took some time to get the tree secured to the top of my car, but then we were on our way home!

Twins fell asleep for about 15 minutes on the way home.  🙂  We got them out and fed then lunch while we set up the tree and they watched safetly from their high chairs.  Then, we put them down for nap.  Will cried for a while, as usual, but then was quiet.  Ariel was talking to herself, as usual.  I left to do a little shopping.

Tim called me. 

Tim: Guess what else we need to buy for Christmas gifts?

Me: What?

Tim: Bed rails.  And Guard Rails.  Guess who just climbed out of the crib?

Me: Oh my gosh, is HE OK?!

Tim: Oh yes…..he’s fine…..SHE’S the one who climbed out!!!!!

Never would have guessed it.  Even Tim, when he heard the THUMP, went running into Will’s room and found him sound asleep.  It wasn’t until a couple seconds later, when he heard Ariel wailing, that he even figured out what had happened.  She was on the floor.  Crying, but fine.  Tim was a little shaken up. 

Then when he did go get Will, he discovered poop paintings again.  Poor Daddy.  He had a rough couple of hours.  So he was a little stressed. 

The next morning, there were more poop paintings.  So Tim had Will jump in the shower with me to get washed off.  I helped him clean up his room, and he went and got Ariel while I got dressed.  She’s screaming at the top of her lungs when he walks in; “NOOOOO, WANT UPPY MOMMY!!!!!!!”  So our morning started off a little stressful also.  Then they were fighting during breakfast, and dumping food on the floor.

We decided to call Mema and Papa to see if they’d babysit while we got some shopping done.  We just needed a break.  I put the lights on the tree while Tim entertained the twins with Elmo Saves Christmas.  Very cute movie!  They loved it.  Then, while we were out we started looking into our options for big-kid beds.  I’d rather change them over while I’m at home a little, so we were originally going to do it February break.  Looks like we might need to do it a couple months early.  I know she only fell out once, but I really don’t want to risk it now…..knowing that she knows that she can get out.  She’ll get over the scare in a few weeks, I’m sure. 

After finishing our shopping, and then going to a nice dinner at a new restaurant in the mall, Gordon Biersch, and having a beer, we went home refreshed.  And ready to put the ornaments on the tree with the twins.  We put Muppet Family Christmas in because we had watched it already, so we didn’t have to pay super-close attention and answer a million questions.  But they loved it the first time so we figured it would serve as an OK distraction while we put on some of the fragile ornaments.  Everything worked out very well.  After a while, Will started to get a little crabby because he was tired and Ariel wasn’t content with the stuffed ornaments we had deemed ok for her to put on, but we were almost done by that time anyway.  I love sharing all of these traditions with them now that they kinda understand what’s going on!  This is now.

THEN: My children were born at approximately 3 and a half pounds each.  Pretty good for 31 week twins actually.  When I was wheeled up to their incubators in the Dogwood room, I thought they were the smallest people I had ever seen.  They were so fragile-looking that I was almost afraid to touch them.  But I was their mother and I couldn’t be afraid.  Besides, Tim and our families had, and they were fine.

I went to see Will first, because he was closer to the door.  His lungs were a little more underdeveloped than his sister’s, so he had a CPAP machine and a mask on his face to help him maintain his oxygen levels.  It wasn’t helping him breathe, just making sure he got what he needed.  Other than that, he was hooked up to monitors in three different places.  A clip was on his foot, monitoring his heartbeat.  There were two different needles in his hands.  And there was a feeding tube down his throat.  He couldn’t open his eyes because of the mask.  He was so beautiful and precious and little.  I couldn’t take my eyes off of him, but I had to see his sister.

She was hooked up to all the same machines, except the CPAP.  She had been on the CPAP for a couple hours when she was first born but that was it.  I thought the’d be enclosed, but instead they were on heated platforms, surrounded by blankets.  They only had diapers on, so that they wouldn’t get too warm.

They couldn’t eat, that’s why they had the tubes.

They couldn’t regulatre their body temperatures, so they had the blankets and the heated pad.

They had to be monitored at all times and couldn’t be held yet.  All I could do was lightly stroke their backs or touch their hands and feet carefully to let them know that Mommy was there.   Finally.

That was then.

Christmas Specials!!! It Begins Again…..

NOW: One of my favorite things to do with Tim during the holidays is watch Christmas movies.  So we own a LOT of them.  This year, we decided that we should share this tradition with the twins!  So, almost every night, we have been watching a Christmas movie with them.  This is slightly against my better judgement because during the week, the only time I really spend with the kids is after dinner.  And now I’m taking that time to watch a movie.  But, it’s the holidays.  And I’m watching it with them, so we’re still spending family time together.  I just feel guilty sometimes I guess.  Same feeling most working moms probably get.

Anyway, here’s what we’ve watched so far.  We have so many, that if we hadn’t started early, we might not get through all of them.  Plus, we like to watch our favorites more than once if possible.

On Thanksgiving, we brought Santa Claus is Coming to Town with us to Mema and Papa’s house.  We had a sneaking suspicion that the next day while we were shopping, Mema would encourage the twins to go see Santa at the mall.  So, it would probably be best if they knew a little about who he is.  Here’s the link to some information about the movie, if you’ve never seen it.  It’s cute!

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0066327/

It’s one of those that used to be on TV every year, and probably still is on ABC Family or something.  But that just wasn’t good enough for us, we had to own the DVD.

But…….we’re going to have to re-watch it.  When we’re at home, the kids sit with us and watch nicely, asking a million questions, but that’s ok.  Well, it was a different story when there was so much exploring to do in a different house with different people, especially when Great-Grandma and Uncle Larry showed up.  So they weren’t really paying attention.

Then, last Saturday, we watched one of my favorites.  It’s VERY hard to find on DVD now…..in fact, my mom just bought it on Amazon for $30!!!!  For a DVD!!!!!  And now it’s up to almost double that.  (from independant sellers because it’s no longer produced).  We got it a while ago, so we didn’t spend nearly that much at the time.

Muppet Family Christmas!!!!!  If you have never seen this you are really missing out.  And it has everyone…..all of the Muppets; Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie, etc.  Plus, Sesame Street characters and an appearance by the Fraggles!!!   And OMG did the twins love it!  They have been asking for it nightly now……Puppets, with all the Friends??  So, I guess we’ll have to re-watch this one at some point too.  Which we usually do anyway. 

No matter what I have done as a mom so far.  No matter what mistakes I’ve made.  No matter what way(s) I’ve already messed my kids up for life.  One thing is for certain:

I have done right by my kids because they like the Muppets.  That’s enough.

On Sunday afternoon, we watched Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.  And held our little stuffed Rudolph and Clarice while we watched.  Ever since then, they’ve also pulled down two more stuffed Rudolphs I have…..that were supposed to be used as decorations (yeah, right).  One of them is from Build-a-Bear I think….and we put in the sound chip in that has Rudolph’s voice. 

However, they keep calling them kangaroos.  For the past 4 days they’ve been inseperable…..especially Will……but they keep calling them kangaroos.  No matter how much we correct them.  They’ll say reindeer after you remind them.  Like once.  Then it’s back to “want to see how I go pee-pee, kangaroo?” or , “watch me eat carrots kangaroo”.  It’s hilarious.

Sunday night was a bit of a VERY surprising flop.  Christmas Eve on Sesame Street.  We thought this would be a big hit, considering their love of SS.    They did like it, but didn’t LOVE it.  Maybe it was the lack of Elmo?  Or because it was an actual storyline?  They did love the Ernie/Bert Gift of the Magi segment though.  And they really loved seeing Snuffy because they have the stuffed version of him, but he’s not on Sesame Street much anymore.

They insisted on Puppets again Monday, so we chose The Muppet Christmas Carol.  My second-favorite version of the Charles Dickens story.  They loved this too, but were a little disappointed with the lack of Miss Piggy (I think Ariel is Miss Piggy, just not a pig).  Gonzo Charles Dickens and Rizzo made up for it though.  A little.

Then, Tuesday; “MORE MUPPETS!!  Watch a Movie, Mommy?  Watch a Movie, Daddy?  More Muppets????  All the friends?”  This is what I heard all day(I had to take a day off of work because my dad had been with my mom at the hospital all night….she’s having a little issue with her eye.  She’s fine though).  Anyway.  I told them they had to wait until Daddy got home, and as soon as he did they started again.

Thank goodness we have more Muppet Christmas specials.  🙂

The Very, Merry Muppet Christmas Movie was on tap for us next.  It’s actually the only version of It’s a Wonderful Life that I’ve ever seen.  And Tim too.  No joke.  It’s a relatively new Muppet movie, and was on TV a  few years ago, but it’s still good.  And there is plentiful Kermit and Miss Piggy, so twins were pretty happy.  🙂  They obviously didn’t get the whole “What if I had never been born?” idea, but they enjoyed it anyway. 

Wednesday we went to the mall and didn’t watch a movie.  Boo.

Thursday we actually had to wait to for Daddy to get home to make dinner.  Usually I start dinner, but he was making risotto and that’s WAY too complicated for me to get started on.  I took out all of his prepped ingredients and that was about it. 

Anyway, that meant we didn’t have as much time after dinner for a full-length movie so we decided on How The Grinch Stole Christmas.  Cartoon version, not live-action.

Of course, Mommy has a stuffed Grinch and Max that the twins could hold during the movie.   Again…..they’re supposed to be decorations.  Stuffed decorations?  Not with 2-year-olds.  They really enjoyed this one too, especially all of the cool toys the Whos have.  And they literally squealed with delight when they realized the Grinch was “Giving back presents!  Giving back food!”   “Grinch nice now!” 

More to come throughout the holiday season!  Including some that Daddy and Mommy will watch by themselves.  Not because they’re naughty, just more over-their-heads, or possibly boring from a 2-year-olds perspective (Christmas Carol with Alastair Sim for example).  That’s good though, because as much as I am enjoying sharing this tradition with the twins, it’s definitely different than just watching them alone!  Ha!  This is now.

THEN:  One of the good things that came out of my inability to go see my newborn children was how excited Tim was every time he came back from the NICU.  He was bubbling over with excitement to tell me about them. 

Especially when he realized that Ariel was turning her head towards the sound of his voice.  I know that “studies show” that babies know their father’s voice by the age of 6 weeks.  Ariel knew her daddy’s voice at the age of 16 hours.  🙂  I know it sounds ridiculous, but I witnessed it later that day.  Every time he would talk, she would try to turn her head to the sound.  It was the sweetest thing I had ever heard or seen.

I had delivered the twins Sunday evening.  By Monday evening, I could go see them.  I had to wait to have my catheder removed (oh so much fun!).  Then the nurses had to move me to a different room on a different floor – the  maternity recovery ward.  I couldn’t walk yet, so they had to push me in a wheelchair.  Tim helped move my stuff.  And our friend Jay had come up to visit, so he helped too.  I was just so impatient but trying to be patient.  Like, I didn’t snap at the nurses to move faster…..but I was thinking it!  Ha ha.

I was finally settled up in my new room.  NOW can I go see the babies?????  So, Tim took me down.  I was in awe.  The NICU was like nothing I had ever experienced before.  First, Tim had to confirm who I was so that I could get my bracelet allowing me inside the unit.  It matched Tim’s, and the babies had matching ones on their little incubators.  I was told that I had to show my bracelet every time I came to visit them so that I could be let in by the nurse at the front desk.  The door were locked at all times.  We were allowed to bring in two other people per baby.  Each baby was only allowed 3 visitors at a time.  And, if it was too crowded in their room (the rooms each held 6-7 babies), everyone but the parents would be asked to leave.

We were also allowed to designate up to 4 people that could come in without Tim or I.  Anyone else who wanted to visit had to be escorted in by one of us.  So, we designated each of our parents.  They could come visit whenever they wanted, but they could not bring in other people like we could.

It was all very complicated and secure.  I was grateful and amazed by the efficiency of it all.  But I was still very impatient.  I didn’t care.  I just wanted to get in the room and see where my babies would be living for the next few…..days?  Weeks?  Months?   And I wanted to see them again!  They didn’t seem real.  More like a dream. 

Tim had done a lot of the paperwork/procedure stuff the last 24 hours, but it still needed to be explained to me.  *sigh*

FINALLY it was time to go inside.  Tim wheeled me down the MILES LONG hallway.  Not really, just felt that way.  I wished he would RUN.  We passed room after room after room, all filled with little teeny tiny babies that couldn’t go home yet for various reasons.  I had been warned by Tim that the privacy was VERY important here.  I shouldn’t linger by cribs that weren’t mine, or look too long at information tags that were hanging near the babies.  But I couldn’t stop looking around.  Waiting waiting waiting to get to the very end of the hallway where DogWood room was.  Where my babies were.

When we finally got to their door we were buzzed in by the nurses and I held my breath as we went down to the two little incubators at the middle-left and far-left.  I can picture it as if I’m walking it again right now.  That was then.