A vacation with kids - isn’t

We just returned from our first “Vacation” since the twins were born - a week-long trip to Steamboat Springs, Colo. in a rented condo. 

Holy Hell.

That was the most non-relaxing vacation I’ve had in my entire life (and my parents dragged us around Europe when I was 10 years old and had significantly shorter legs and a shorter attention span than everyone else in the group). 

If you think a mountain vacation sounds heavenly with your infant twins, let me give you a little reality check. A vacation with infants is just being busy in a different place, where, incidentally, you don’t have any of the stuff that makes your life livable at home (read: Exersaucers, swings). 

Now, I’m sounding a little too negative here. We got to spend this time with my sister, mom and adorable nephew, which was fabulous and fun. Seeing little Henry (age 2.5) interact with the babies was precious. 

But we should have done it at home. 

Here are some of the blunders of our Steamboat Springs “escape”-

1) Baby falls off the table: Yep. I had my first horrible “baby falling” moment, and hopefully my last. And it’s the direct result of “not having our stuff.” I was trying to feed the kiddos, using a clip on high chair scooped up the day before we left, and a Bumbo sitter, placed on the kitchen table. Yes, people, I know it says not to put it on an elevated surface. I still don’t know how it happened, but as I turned to give Ashlynn a spoonful, Riley rocketed backwards, OFF the table and ONTO the floor. Thank god, he caught the chair on the way, so his fall was somewhat slowed down,and thank god, the only negative result was a scared little boy (and totally traumatized mama). Justin dared to make the joke, “Did your mom drop you on your head as a baby?” Captain Sensitive! But lesson learned. Don’t put the Bumbo on an elevated surface. 

2) Baby Silences an entire restaurant:  Same baby, not related to the above incident. It’s possible that I’ve gotten a little over-confident with bringing the twins places. Because they really are usually so good! But recent development: Riley can scream. And he LOVES it. It’s not that there’s anything wrong, or upsetting, or even particularly exciting. Except the fact that he can scream. Loud. And that, apparently, is exciting enough to fill several hours of the day. So, sitting in a quaint Steamboat brunch place no bigger than your average 7-11 (and plenty quieter), Riley lets loose his best pterodactyl impression. The place goes silent. Totally silent. For the most awkward 2.5 seconds of my life. Then someone says, “Was that a BABY?” Um yes. Mine as a matter of fact. Sorry about that. Enjoy your pancakes. 

3) Pulling the Shoot on dinner: I don’t know why, given the experience of #2, I thought dinner out would work any better. But we tried, specifically to celebrate  mom (grandma’s) birthday. Well, my mini bird of prey started up again, and this time, there was no stopping him. No amount of baby food, teethers, walking, bouncing or pacifier plugging would deter the tiny megaphone, so I pulled the shoot. The food was pretty terrible, so my full plate wasn’t long mourned. But I regretted so greatly leaving that full glass of red wine. Especially when I needed it so badly.  

4) Baby version of “Are we there yet?”: We were so. close. Yet, so far away (cue Firehouse). With 45 minutes left of the 4 hour trek back from Steamboat, and after grandma had switched cars in order to split off for the Denver airport, and the wailing began. Like a cat in heat. No, worse. Like tiny fingernails on the sleep-deprived chalkboard of my brain. We stopped once, and he was thrilled when I got in the backseat and released him from his car seat. He was not hungry. He was not wet. We were 30 minutes from home, and he just had had enough of the car. My voice gone from singing the ABCs, nursery rhymes, lullabies, I made it. By finally just turning up the radio. Don’t judge. You’d have done the same. 

The Lesson in all of this is as follows: 

If you want to go on vacation, send the kids to grandma’s.

And go to Vegas.

We’re planning our escape already.

Forgive me, pre-baby self, for I have sinned

Before the kids were born, I was desperate to gain as much knowledge as I could about this whole parenting thing. From pregnancy diets to sleep training to breastfeeding classes to relaxation CDs, I was committed to doing everything just right. I had big ideas about the type of mom I’d be.

Then I had twins.

So here, in no particular order, are self-inflicted commandments that have gone the way of Charlie Sheen’s marriages.

1)  Use Cloth Diapers: I will make an extra donation to the NRDC this year, but I’m not gonna lie, there’s probably a whole “Olsen Diaper” section of that garbage island floating in the Pacific. 

2) Let bab(ies) “Cry it Out”: Whoever came up with “Cry it Out” is a sadistic f**k who 1) has never had kids and 2) obviously hates both babies and moms (and probably puppies too).

3) Use only organic products: Seventh Generation=$40 for 110. Huggies at Costco = $37 for 210. Even I can do that math. 

4) Breastfeed exclusively:  It’s been 7 months, I’m working full-time, and they’re still getting 50% of the good stuff. My son weighs 21.5 lbs, and the doc says baby girl will walk by 9 months. The lactation nazis can suck it. (Pun intended).

5) Have my pre-baby body back within 3 months:  Turns out I don’t have a full-time trainer, chef or nanny. Huh.

6) Talk / FB incessantly about my kids: I usually don’t talk about their bathroom habits. Let’s call that a win.

Wisdom from others

In my short time as a mom, I’ve heard some pretty good advice. Some crap advice, too, it’s true, but below, I’ve pulled out the truly valuable pearls of wisdom passed on to me by other moms, other moms’ moms and yes, even some dads. 

So, it’s mother’s day. Indulge me this one day, in a blog bereft of sarcasm and humor, but positively bursting with profundity (a little sarcasm can’t hurt, regardless of the calendar).

In response to my anxieties about starting them in daycare:

Everyone’s going to do things a little differently. Our daycare provider loves Sam, and that’s what really matters. - Sheila

Regarding my guilt over sometimes watching TV, instead of giving them my attention during feedings:

You’re giving them a mom who hasn’t gone completely insane, and that’s gift enough.  - My brother-in-law Mike

On dealing with worry:

All you can do is the best you can do. - My friend Lindsay, quoting her mom

On Tylenol, and my reluctance to give it:

I don’t like to give him drugs if i don’t have to either, but when it works, you always feel bad for withholding something that would have made them more comfortable. - My sis, Joy

Advice from a book (Gasp!)

It’s true, it goes too fast. So once in awhile, when you are in one of those precious moments, like rocking your baby peacefully in the twilight hours, consciously take a snapshot with your mind.

Advice on - well - advice

Everyone is going to have an opinion on how you should do things. But remember, you’re the mama, and you know best. - Caitlin

It’s true, you DO know best, but sometimes let daddy think he knows best too. - Theresa

There you go. My Mother’s Day wish to all of you. I hope you have a wonderful day, filled with moments worthy of mental snapshots.

"I don’t know! I’ve never done this before either!" and other topics

So we are 7 months in to our amazing journey as parents of boy-girl twins, and perhaps the most oft-uttered phrase around our house, be it in anger, desperation, fear, laughter, is “I don’t know! I’ve never done this before, either!”It comes at all times…in response to questions like, “should we give him/her Tylenol?” “Why does she make that face?” “Do you think we’re feeding them enough?” And perhaps most often, “Why. Won’t. They. Just. Sleep?”

But while we stumble through this new, hazy world, with only each other and a monstrous stack of books as our guides, (as we try to limit the calls to our moms and the pediatrician to actual emergencies), I’m happy to say that the laughter comes easy and often, even as we squirm in the near-constant clutches of bewilderment. 

Welcome to my blog. A chronicle of our parenting adventures, learnings, mistakes and successes (hoping the latter outnumber the former) and joys. 

Perhaps I can shed some light on topics that are bewildering you, or if not, you can laugh along with us, bathed in the comfort that we’ve never done this before, either.