Tuesday, June 21, 2011

My inner SAHM is satisfied.

Remember this?  I think it's time for a follow-up.



My worst fears about being a working mom in the babies' first year:

I would miss too much of their infancy.  The number one thing that helped me with that fear is remembering the first few months I spent at home with Michael and Sophie and how, no matter how much I held them or played with them, no matter how often I kissed them and snuggled them, I never felt what I was reaching for.  I learned that this love I have for Michael and Sophie means there just is no ENOUGH.  Home or away, that feeling is there.

An hour in the morning, several hours in the afternoon, weekends, and school breaks usually gave us a generous amount of time to play, reach milestones, and just live our lives together as a family.  But when I did find that I was feeling a sense of loss or sensed the babies wanted more time with me, I'd take a day off.  Spending a day in our jammies, living the daily routine of meals, diapers, play, and naps together always seemed to get us back in sync.

They would be unhappy or unsafe.  During a pick-up in their last week at child care before summer, Michael peeked out at me from a big climbing cube that he loves playing inside.  He was giggling and clearly wanted to share this treasure with me.  I started to feel bad about all he'll miss when he's at home with Sophie and me this summer.  How backwards is that?  But both he and Sophie have a ton of fun everyday at the center.  They learned to play and socialize with other kids in addition to the themed weekly lessons (I recently discovered they picked up more sign language than I realized), eat meals that set a standard of health we struggle to match at home, play on a fancy-schmancy playground, and are loved and known by their caregivers.  Obviously Michael and Sophie will be more than happy at home, but that flipside of my mommy guilt says something about how happy I know they have been this school year.

For two days a week my mom has also come to care for Sophie and Michael.  They have come to adore their grandma, and I'm comforted knowing there is another adult they feel so close to.  I had a similar bond with my own grandma, so I know I've actually given something to Michael and Sophie by providing this time.

As far as safety, I will always find something to worry about, but I know Michael and Sophie have been in the best possible hands.

Our bond would weaken.  My favorite moment of a work day was when Michael and Sophie noticed I had returned to them.  Often they would spot me kicking off my shoes through their classroom window or would hear me coming in the door at home.  But everytime their smiles were huge, typically accompanied by a squeal or two and an attempt to get to me as quickly as possible.

When company comes over or when we go somewhere new, Sophie in particular tends to turn into a spider monkey, clinging all fingers around the sleeves of my shirt and squeezing my sides with her knees, letting me know that holding her is the only option.  I don't love her anxiety and actually hoped that being in child care would prevent that, but I do love that I'm often the only person she wants in those moments.  Sorry, Mike, but I think that's how it's supposed to be.

These are just moments when I can see our bond is as strong as ever.  More importantly, I feel it.

They would be sick all the time.  Before going into child care, Michael and Sophie never even had the sniffles.  Since September there have been a number of colds and fevers, a case of pink eye, a couple ear infections, and many, many sniffles.  Overall, it hasn't been too bad, but there were a couple of rough weeks. 

There was one pretty bad bug that had nearly all of the other babies out of the infant room for a few days, but that passed Michael and Sophie by, thank goodness.  Perhaps there is something to the antibodies in breastmilk?

It would be too much stress.  Speaking of breastmilk, the absolute hardest part of the working mom lifestyle was breastfeeding and pumping.  Carting around all the gear, making time at work, getting to Michael and Sophie quickly enough in the afternoon, making sure I produced enough, and cleaning up and restocking for the next day was all pretty tough.  But with every dropped feeding it got easier and easier, and it was worth all the trouble.

It would be a financial mistake. Quality child care is crazy expensive, no question about it.  Fortunately I make a tad more than child care costs, and that tad came in pretty handy this year.  If I had stayed home, our finances would have been extremely tight, and I'm glad we had the flexibility to provide for our family's needs.

I would regret my decision.  I don't.  This was a great year.  I felt connected to my babies, was fully present with them in all of our time together, was able to provide for their needs, and am proud that I did it all as a breastfeeding, working mom.  In addition, I enjoyed a fulfilling year as a teacher (all politics and financial difficulties beyond my classrom aside) and look forward to the years like this one to come.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Two walkers!

Here's Sophie's walking debut!  I love that you can hear Michael come up behind me.  When the camera shakes, that's him pointing at her in the monitor!

video

A few minutes later I thought I spotted two toddlers standing and ready to walk toward me, but Sophie changed the plan when I said "Come to mama!"  At least you get to see her sweet face and Michael being a goof ball.
 video
Ok, maybe I'm the goof ball.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to my dad, to my father-in-law, to both of Michael and Sophie's great-grandfathers, and especially to...
the breakfast maker
the onesie monster
the baby-proofer
the diaper re-stocker
the proud mini-van driver
the grocery shopper
the stroller pusher
the black blanket monster
and the best dad I could have picked for Michael and Sophie.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

One more day...

I spotted this little mama leading her fuzz balls around the courtyard at work yesterday.  Made me miss my own ducklings

After tomorrow, I expect my life to resemble hers a bit more.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Modesty for Mommy

Marilyn Monroe - Beach - 24x36 Poster

While I've worn my share of bikinis, I've always preferred the comfort and modesty of a one piece bathing suit.  Unfortunately, for the last decade or so, one piece swimwear has been less than cute. 

Now summer is upon us, and I'm a mom.  I don't have too much of a pooch, but the texture of my lower belly is less than perfect.  I also expect to be lifting, carrying, and chasing one or two one-year-olds while wearing this swimwear, so a one piece just seems safer.

Happily, one piece swimsuits seem to have turned a corner in the last year or so.  They're retro, more mini-dress than granny skirt, and dare I say...sexy.  Here are my favorites: 

Ralph Lauren  - It's youthful but classy, nautical in the navy with the white band.  I love the tie in the back with the keyhole beneath.  I don't love the amount of rouching that it has in reality (way more than shown) and am ordering a smaller size online than I bought in the store hoping that takes care of it.

Jantzen  - While I was still pregnant and dreading what my post-preg body might look like, I did a search of Marilyn Monroe pin-up style, vintage-inspired bathing suits.  I found a few then, but because the pediatrician said no swimming or sunscreen for the babies before six months, no real need for swimwear presented itself last summer.  This year we'll make opportunites happen.  The rouching in this suit doesn't bother me as it seems purposeful for the style and not just a contrived method for hiding flaws.  I bought this in torquoise.

Kenneth Cole - I spotted one of these randomly tossed on a rack at Macy's and couldn't find any others in my size.  I tried it on and loved it.  I felt like I was in a hot little dress while secure enough to lift and play with a toddler or two.  The size wasn't too far off, but I'm ordering mine online in red.

I'm not sure how many swimsuits I'll keep when this process is over, but I'm happy that I can feel modest and fashionable at the same time this summer in at least one of these!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Swinging

On Saturday we went to my MoMs group's family picnic at a local park.  We enjoyed the food and the friends, but Michael and Sophie enjoyed this the most (sorry about the crummy video quality from my phone):

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We never would have thought to put both Sophie and Michael in one swing.  Leave it to another mom of twins to point out that option.  That kind of wisdom is what this group is for, right?



Sunday, June 5, 2011

Inspired!

Our little family spent part of the day in downtown Northville again, eating at Sizzling Sticks, getting ice cream at Rebecca's, and checking out the shops. 

I fell in love with Lorla's, an amazing shoe store where our stroller had no hope of fitting.  I had to make my visit fairly quick, but I will return...

Having caught an episode of Cash and Cari on HGTV earlier in the day, Mike and I both wanted to check out the store associated with it.  Within seconds of stepping into RePurpose I realized this Cari chick has my dream job of conducting estate sales and refinishing some of the furnishings for her own store.  It made me think of the finished part of my basement where my grandparents' 1960's furniture lives in harmony with the mid-ninties Art Van Clearance Center couches, where French honeymoon photos hang on the walls near the vintage postcards I bought in the flea market in Nice,


where Mike's souvenir pint glass collection lives one flight down from my grandpa's shot and highball glasses,


where our tube TV waits to be called vintage.


This furniture with it's famly history and retro style, the postcards connected to a honeymoon memory and arranged neatly in a frame, the way the old functions with the new...this space reflects a part of myself that tends to get lost in the functioning of day to day life, a quality I strain to bring out in other areas of my home and occasionally my wardrobe.  Oh, how I love a thrift store!

I fear this basement space may need to be renovated in the next couple of years to accomodate a bigger playroom.  The sharp edges of that fantastic furniture are not toddler-friendly.  Here's hoping the economy improves quickly enough for our home value to meet our remaining mortgage, in time for us to relocate to a bigger house and move Michael and Sophie into separate rooms when they outgrow toddler beds.

In the meantime I've been trying to figure out what to do with the nursery windows for over a year now. 



The cordless blackout shades that will replace the deteriorating Roman shades are in the mail to us, but I want to do more.  RePurpose inspired me.  I thought of old chenille bedspreads, the kind that inevitably inspire my mom to reminisce about her childhood, cold hardwood floors in the winter, sharing a room with her sisters...

 This morning I bought this on Ebay.


The seller said it's not in perfect condition, that it's been cut and is missing a few puffs.  Had I been patient enough to bid rather than "Buy it Now" that information might have inspired me to bid low, but instead it confirmed that this fabric is ready for reincarnation, that I won't be destroying something still perfect as it is. 

Sometime this summer this bedspread will become valances and a pillow or two.  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Matching Monkeys

I've heard some people, especially identical twins, say not to put twins in matching outfits, that it really is tough on their identity formation.  However, I don't think there's too much harm in coordinating outfits, matching either the style, fabric, or color while making sure at least one of those components is different.

With The Best Dressed Child website on my mind, I cruised through Janie and Jack on Saturday hoping to find next year's birthday and/or Easter outfits for Michael and Sophie on the sale racks.

And I did.





It's pretty tough to find affordable, coordinating outfits for a boy and a girl, so I was thrilled to see these.  The quality of both pieces is very nice--the dress has great details and is fully lined, the shorts have an adjustable waist.  (I passed on the shirts they had and will just pick up a plaid button-up elsewhere.)  Still, I love how they stick the sale prices on beside the original ones just for suckers like me! And the "Made in Indonesia" label suggests an enormous and morally questionable profit margin.  Sucker or not, I wish I'd shopped some clearance racks for future Christmas outfits, but I'll keep that in mind in January.

I also recently bought these onesies from an Etsy seller.  They should be in the mail to us right now.  Stumbling on them months ago, I very nearly made peanut butter and jelly the theme for Michael and Sophie's first birthday party.  The allergen factor scared me off despite having dreamed up a menu that still makes me salivate.  Peanut butter fondue, anyone?


 I also plan to get these in the near future.  One says "monkey see" and the other says "monkey do," a sentiment that's becoming more and more true by the day around here. 


Take a look at some "monkey see, monkey do" behavior in the form of another bath video, this time with coordinating faux hawks.


video

I figure I better have fun with coordinating outfits before Michael and Sophie learn to object...in unison!

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