In the early weeks when Mike went back to work, my mom and my mother-in-law Gail came by on alternating afternoons, helping me to slowly adjust to caring for two babies on my own. During that time I would catch up on tasks around the house, occasionally nap or shower, but since I was pretty wiped out from both the c-section and sleep deprivation, we would mostly just sit and chat while admiring Sophie and Michael. With one baby in the safe hands of a goo-goo-eyed grandmother, I was able to hold and enjoy the other without distraction. That's probably a treasured luxury for all parents of more than one child, but I think it's particularly true for those of multiples.
These days my parents both try to come by at least once a week to visit "the bobble-heads," as my dad dubbed them. We get together with Mike's parents about as often. It's been amusing watching our moms and dads transform into grandmas an grandpas, particularly our dads who haven't shown interest in holding babies since the seventies when we were born. And even then, I doubt they resembled the mush Sophie and Michael transform them into.
My mom called on Thurday to talk about a visit on Friday. Because she knew she couldn't be here until about the time Mike gets home from work, she suggested she watch the babies while he and I go out to grab some dinner. Just last week we ventured out for the first time to dinner with babies, eating on the patio of a pizza place with the babies in their stoller. Next weekend Gail will be staying with the babies while we go out for our 4th anniversary. This seemed like a good time for a trial run.
I fed the babies at 5:00 and called Mike, who was out for a drink with a co-worker, reminding him that we had to make the most of the 2.5 hour window from the end of one feeding to the start of the next. He pulled in just as I finished burping Sophie (my mom had Michael), and we ducked out the door.
There is very little in the world that makes me happier on a summer evening than eating on a patio (hence the pizza last week), any decent glass of red wine in one hand and an appetizer in the other. Seriously, I get euphoric in those moments, and it's not just the alcohol. Mike gets mildly annoyed by how often I'll opt to wait for an outdoor table when we can be seated immediately inside. Living in Michigan, I feel we need to make the most of the limited warm evenings that come our way, and he indulges me even when starving. Luckily, even our painfully suburban neighborhood is a short drive from several old-fashioned downtown areas with just the ingredients I crave.
On this "first date" we went into Northville and ate at Table 5, a restaurant I believe is new since last summer. A couple took the last outdoor table just as we approached, and knowing how disappointed I was, Mike told the hostess we would take a table inside for drinks and an appetizer, but we hoped to move to the next one available on the patio. He's a good date.
Aside from somewhat slow service that had us counting the minutes remaining until the 8:00 feeding, that all went perfectly. We even had time to stop for ice cream at Rebecca's, an ice cream parlor, on the way back to the car.
Michigan has become a pretty popular(affordable) place to film movies, and we had heard that Scream 4 was shooting nearby. Instead of Neve Campbell or Courntey Cox, the only evidence we saw was a Paramount Pictures semi heading out of town as we finished our cones.
In a quiet moment at the restaurant, Mike said, "This is nice." And it was, Shiraz in one hand and chevre on french bread in the other. Most meals these days aren't eaten in one sitting. They're typically interupted by a baby or two whom we mistakenly thought was sound asleep or perfectly content in swings or bouncy seats. This meal made us feel like ourselves again, spontaneously heading out to a restaurant or a movie or wherever.
On the walk to Rebecca's from the restaurant, a little boy stopped short in front of me, and I almost bumped into him. I said to Mike, "Oops, I'm running over children. Good thing ours are safe at home." Having felt like our old selves for most of the evening, this statement sounded ridiculous to me. Our children. Last summer at this time we hoped our plans to conceive would go smoothly. This summer we don't just have a baby, we have babies. Both ridiculous and miraculous.
Since my mom has been around on numerous afternoons, changing diapers, using bouncy seats as needed, getting the lowdown on how best to soothe Michael, how to recognize Sophie's drowsy signs, I wasn't worried while we were out. But I still called just before we left for home, mainly to make sure she didn't break out the emergency bottles of formula unnecessarily. I didn't want to have to pump when I got home if I could avoid it.
Mom had Michael cooing in her lap, and Sophie was asleep in her swing when we walked in. Mom had discovered on her own earlier that night that when they're both inconsolable at once, the swings are the best answer.
"The boobs are back!" I told Michael. "And so are my breasts."