Life with Twins

Posts tagged ‘Christmas’

Lots of Little Things…..

NOW:

Thoughts on the New Year: Am I making New Year’s Resolutions?  No.  Am I using the New Year as a fresh start on some goals I have already set?  Yes.  Namely; more blogging, blogging with Tim (more on that later!), more weight-loss, more running (Buffalo half-marathon, here I come!).  Kinda mostly stuff for myself I’m realizing as I re-read this.  Oh well, it’s not like I can do more mommying.

Thoughts on poop: Anyone know how to get my son from digging in his diaper and smearing it on every available surface in his room after he wakes up from nap?  We don’t even realize he’s awake until it’s too late – he’s stealthy quiet.  Just so you know – backward pajamas, onsies, backward onesies, layering of shorts+onesie+pajamas —–none of these ideas work.  My father is seriously considering duct tape (not on his skin of course – just taping his shirt to his pants and then cutting him apart every time). 

Thoughts on blogging with Tim: I want him to cook more!  And more variety!  So after finding and reading The Mike/Mitch Project (look on my blogroll), I’ve inspired him to do something similar….although not quite so involved.  He chose a cookbook and plans on making 2-3 recipes from it per week and then blogging about it.  As soon as we have it set up, I’ll post a link; hopefully you’ll enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy eating it!

Thoughts on my Christmas break: Everyone asks “how was your Christmas?  Did the twins have so much fun?”  Complicated answer. Christmas was….interesting.  Will was sick, starting Thursday night with a fever, got better Friday, was just laying around on Saturday but perked up a little bit at great-grandmas.  Then, for part of the night just laid on me until I convinced Tim we should leave a little early.  Sunday morning he woke up at 6, I laid in bed with him for another 1 or so, and could tell his breathing was “off”, he was pretty whiny upon waking, but again better once we started opening gifts, was ok opening gifts at Mema’s, so at this point, although I was considering taking him to Immediate Care, we decided he was ok enough to continue.  By the time my sister could come to mom’s after work it was 8:30.  He was fine again opening gifts for about a half-hour, then passed out on the floor, burning up again.  Monday morning at the doctor’s he was tested for his blood oxygen level, which was borderline-sending-him-to-the-hospital-level.  They gave him two nebulizer treatments, a perscription for antibiotics and steroids and told me that if he wasn’t breathing better after his fever went down we’d have to go to the ER.  (insert me feeling like worst mom ever because I didn’t bring him in until now).  He was also sent home with his own personal nebulizer and we were supposed to continue treatment.  As of Tuesday morning he was breathing much better when we returned to the doctor for follow-up.  I still had to do a few treatments and obviously the perscriptions for the next 5 days.  So, what did he have?  Well, who knows!  Maybe the start of asthma.  Maybe broncilitis.  Maybe pneumonia.  Maybe a combo of the three.  Oh, plus an ear infection.  So he was SO SUPER FUN (sarcasm) for the next 5 days.  Worst.  “Vacation”.  Ever.  did I mention that Thursday (the 22nd) night through Friday (the 30th), he was waking me up literally every 15-20 minutes ALL NIGHT LONG?  Forgot that part.  Ariel got a bad cold as of Friday the 30th, (luckily it wasn’t broncilitis/pneumonia) and by the time they are both feeling better, I go back to work.  🙂

I’m regaining my sanity slowly, thanks for asking.  Catching up on sleep is another story.

This is now.

I’ll add a “THEN” next time.  But it’s taken me 4 days to write this post as it is so I’d just like to publish it and move on!

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.

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.

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.