Catfish

Last night I watched the documentary “Catfish”, about meeting people through Facebook. My husband was very skeptical about it, often exclaiming “who would believe anything from Facebook?!” The thing is, I’ve made a lot of new friends through social networking over the last year, and so I want to write down a few thoughts on it.

Being a new mother in this day and age is very, very isolating. Especially being a twin mom, taking those two little babes to a play group, or even the park was extremely difficult in the beginning. Being a mom in my 30’s – ie: I was quite set in my ways when the bubs came along – and being the first of most of my friends to pop babes out, my days and nights radically changed. It was lonely. When my husband kisses us goodbye in the morning and that front door bangs shut, a sort of terror can come over me as I look at my two infants and envision the day ahead…a day of diaper changes, breastfeeding, soothing cranky pants, kissing boo boos, and reading books filled with one syllable words. Self doubt can creep in, wondering if I’m doing this right; it can seem like the strangers I meet on the street are handling things so much better than I am.

Fifty years ago, we would have had our neighbours all around us, commiserating and living side by side. Without air conditioning, everyone’s windows would have been open, and we wouldn’t feel like it’s only OUR children who are up all night. My grandmother did not need to travel across town to find other stay-at-home moms. She shared recipes and house cleaning tips over the fence while literally airing out the laundry!

Yes, I’m idealizing and simplifying things…but social networking, and Facebook in particular, has served a purpose for me. It has created a community for me, so that I don’t feel quite so alone. When I have a question about something, I can post it on a wall, much the same way I might have called over a fence in days past. I know I’ll get a thoughtful and helpful answer from other moms, no matter how far apart we are.

Social networking can be a wonderful tool, I think, and the great thing about it is that we can control it’s presence in our lives. I overlook mama-drama, I choose the groups I join carefully, and I don’t over-share personal info. In this way, I have found the support I needed to make it through this first year, while my real-life community has been continuing their lives – working and going out for dinner and doing all the things a used to do – and my online community has been a touchstone while I transition to Mom-of-two.

That’s not to say that I haven’t had the support of those around me (you know who you are!!!), but when you’re in the fish-bowl of the first year, sometimes you just need to talk to those who get it too.

I’ve met a lot of moms online who are now my real life friends, and I’ve met a lot of moms who I might never meet. Are those moms real?

Does it really matter?

20130810-111936.jpg


Baby carrots: green pâté!

Green pâté recipe:

1 cup chickpeas
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp curry powder
1 handful kale, washed and de-stemmed

Purée with a blender wand and spread on un-salted rice cakes. They loved it!

20130705-123725.jpg


Nine months in, nine months out

Well the baby carrots are 9 months old. They have officially been out for as long as they were growing inside of me! They are changing everyday. And so am I. So this is a post about how I have changed.

I am really raw. My emotions live riiiight at the surface, and I know what I’m feeling all. The. Time. There is a running dialogue in my brain that is pure emotion. My husband might also describe this as “overly sensitive,” but I like to just think of it as raw.

I feel more authentic. I am making friends with other mamas. Making friends is hard, and isn’t something I’ve really had to do since I moved to Ottawa in grade 5 and started at a new school. And making friends without the social lubricants of a pub and a pint – like how I made friends in my 20’s – is challenging. So, I am keepin’ it real. Just finding confidence in myself that people will like me for who I am. And it’s been great, getting to know people in our homes surrounded by our children. Sometimes talking about things I wouldn’t even share with my husband. Meeting people who understand where I am on this crazy twin journey. 

I am an eternal optimist. I have had some dark times in my life, but the last nine months, I have never felt more confident and SURE that life will turn out okay. I have bad days, and sometimes the stress level is through the roof (we have moved twice since the littles were born!), but there is something inside of me that is…happy. I didn’t know that about myself.

I am ready to simplify. As one year is fast approaching, the decision to return to work is looking less and less likely. I think I will make that scary transition to Stay At Home Mom. Which means budgets and planning and not spending money whenever I feel like it anymore. And I’m excited for this challenge. I am excited to simplify and teach my children what is really important in life. I am excited to scout out deals; plan our meals and grocery shop efficiently; live with less – clothes, furniture, stress. I have been earning a paycheque since I was 16 years old, so this will be interesting…

I have given up on life going back to the way it was. There was a time when I thought that the first year of having children would have it’s ups and downs, but you would eventually be able to fit those children back into how you were living before. Ah, so naive. Life will never be the same. If I am still awake at 10pm, it’s a late night for me. If I watch more than one hour of consecutive television, it’s a luxury. If I work out at the gym once a week, I’m a rock star. Yes, we have taken the littles to the pub for dinner. Twice. But it usually interferes with bedtime, so it’s unlikely to happen often. Life as I knew it is over. 

But I think my new one will do.

Image

Grocery shopping!Image


Baby Carrots: What I’m feeding them

My blog has been on a bit of detour while I’ve been pregnant/nursing, because I honestly haven’t really been thinking about food. I know I should have been a pillar of health consciousness, but I haven’t been. I’m human. And I like cake, and french fries, and cream cheese. So I’ve been giving myself a break and I haven’t been thinking about it.

Until now.

Now, I have two little mouths to feed and food choices are a very prickly reality that I find I need to think about. All. The. Time.

So far, my babies are these perfect little vessels that have never had meat, or dairy, or sugar, or wheat, or gluten, or gelatin, or rennet, or modified soy ingredients, or red dye #2. The task of deciding what to put into them is daunting.

I’m typing this sitting on my driveway while they sleep in the car with the windows down, so I’ll be brief. I’m going to outline what I’m feeding them now, and why, and I think I’ll make this a bit of a series as what I’m feeding them changes and develops.

But let’s start at the beginning.

I gave them brown rice cereal at 4.5 months, because my doctor suggested it might help them sleep. It did not. But I was still breastfeeding, so I figured it couldn’t hurt. I’ve since read a lot to suggest it MIGHT hurt – the WHO now recommends exclusive breastfeeding until 6 months – but what’s done is done, and my mom keeps telling me how parents used to feed babies Pablum at 6 weeks back in the day, so I’m not stressing over it. For the first few weeks I fed them brown rice cereal, pureed banana, pureed avocado and pureed poached apple. I started bringing in some pureed vegetables, oat cereal and barley cereal, and by the time they were 6 months, they were also eating sweet potato, zucchini and tentatively, toast wedges.

And all was well. No allergies, no change in behaviour, no diarrhea (although the poop changes. Oh how the poop changes…). So then I got bold and started just giving them food. Broccoli, cauliflower, carrots (all steamed), toast with coconut oil spread on it, oatmeal, vegetable soup broth. Pretty much the plain version of whatever I was eating. I know it’s not exactly baby-led weaning (just google it, takes too long to explain, and EVERYONE has an opinion on it…). I just decided not to stress over it. I’m keeping sugar to a minimum (there was some molasses in the bread I gave them), and I’m steering clear of dairy and eggs for now.

So about meat. I’m petrified of them having it. I know that it’s going to come up, but the thought of them eating dead animal will bring me to tears if I think about it too much. I don’t even think my husband knows yet how strongly I feel about it. No one’s asked me about it yet, and I know at some point in their lives I’m going to have to let go, but it saddens me, and pains me.

And that’s where we’re at. Letting go and not following a particular baby food philosophy has worked really well for us. I’m feeding them three meals a day now, but I’m not being sticky about what time it’s at. They are still breastfeeding like champs, and “food before one is just for fun” so I’m trying to keep it fun. They love to eat, they watch us eat with so much interest, and they get really excited at meal times. And that’s how I want to keep it. Interesting, fun and exciting.

More to come!

Wasn't too sure about broccoli the first time...

Wasn’t too sure about broccoli the first time…

Loves broccoli!

Loves broccoli!


Myths about infant(s)

Myth: Put your baby down for a nap as soon as he shows signs of being tired; a yawn or an eye rub for example.

Truth: Your baby might be ready to sleep right away…or you might have to rock him for 45 minutes while he gnaws on his soother like it’s a cigar and intermittently swipes at your face.

Myth: sleep begets sleep, in other words, if your baby has a nice long 2 hour nap, he will have a nice deep sleep that night.

Truth: Remember that 2 hour nap fondly as you rock your baby at warp speed in the glider at 3am…

Myth: a bit of rice cereal in the evening will fill him up and help him have a nice long sleep without needing to nurse.

Truth: no it won’t. That is all.

Myth: developing a good bedtime routine will signal to your child that it’s bedtime. Try warm bath, songs, reading a book.

Truth: your baby is humouring you. He knows what’s coming and is preparing for a long night of battling sleep. Bath makes no difference other than they smell a bit nicer when they are clinging to your shoulder at midnight wailing like a banchee. You can try reading to them, but in my experience they just get frustrated when you don’t let them eat the book. Why title a book Each Peach Pear Plum if it’s not edible?!

Myth: having a solid routine will offer stability, so that they know what to expect and will be comfortable with bedtime.

Truth: except when they are teething. Or reaching a developmental mile stone. Or going through a growth spurt. Or separation anxiety. Or when a western wind is blowing.

Myth: make sure you take time for yourself to recharge.

Truth: because when you get back from the spa you will have a baby who might never forgive you for leaving, and will express his displeasure with at least one sleepless night.

Myth: you will forget all the bad stuff about infants, only remember the snuggles and tiny fingers and toes, and inevitably pop out another.

Truth: if I go through this again it’s not because I’ve forgotten the lack of sleep and never-ending days, it’s because I’m a glutton for punishment and I might have joined a masochist cult or something.

Love you babies!

20130418-103936.jpg


Sickies

So the littles are sick. Like, horrible rattling cough, snotty faces, whining, tired, miserable sick.

Two sick babies mean mommy and daddy don’t sleep.

And not “don’t sleep” as in “oh, my baby was up all night, he only slept for like 5 hours” sort of don’t sleep. No, that IS sleep my friends. No sleep is rocking a wheezing baby in a rocking chair for 4 hours because he won’t let you put him down, and hearing another baby stirring in the next room, after it took her an hour and a half to fall asleep two hours earlier…

That is no sleep.

No sleep is putting the sick baby in his crib and telling your husband, I can’t, because it is dawning on you that not only have you been rocking sick, snotty babies all day, and all night, but in 3 hours you’re going to have to do it for another whole day.

No sleep is crying silently because if you wake a baby you might throw up.

Okay, that’s a bit melodramatic.

But not untrue.

They will get better. They will sleep. The snot will dry up. But right now? Mommy and daddy are wondering how the human race has survived this long.

And I’m pretty sure daddy is making an appointment for snip snip.

That is all.

Sarah

20130411-105952.jpg


Teaching My Children

Yesterday, by some miracle, I made it down to Parliament Hill to rally for Bill C-464. Being that this bill amends the employment act for parents of MULTIPLES to receive 70 weeks leave instead of 35, divisible between both parents, I was not surprised that not many of us could make it out. Only myself and two other moms were able to bring our littles, and a handful of other parents who’re back at work after their short year, were there.

Telling, isn’t it? Gee, if both parents were able to stay at home for a bit, maybe more could’ve made it out!

In fact, I think the lack of attendance is a statement in itself. Twins (or more…) are HARD. Not that a single child isn’t, but imagine getting a baby to sleep TWICE. Imagine getting a 6-month old in a snow suit and out the door TWICE. I’m just saying, it’s exhausting.

So turn out was low, but we braved the chill and made our point. Nicole Turmel came by to say hello and Minister Sana stood with us (it was her bill). I did organize this on Monday from my iPhone at a park while pushing Thea in the swing…so even the few people who came out were an accomplishment.

IMG_1564

 

And the bill didn’t pass. But I really really felt I needed to do that. Even if hardly anyone showed up, and the bill didn’t pass, I did what I needed to do. And my children were there to see that, even if they won’t remember it. So we’ll try again some other time, and one day maybe the bill will go through, and both my children will be recognized. Maybe in time for Thea to have twins.

This is how I want to teach my children. By doing what I believe. Getting out the door was a nightmare, and I was exhausted beyond belief, and I had to pull over on the way home to feed Jude in the car, and I forgot his mittens so I worried about his hands, and Thea slept for three hours in a carrier so my back is still screaming. But I feel okay. I feel like I accomplished my goal, which was to stand up for what I believe in.

You haven’t seen the last of me, Parliament Hill!