Friday, June 30, 2006

I'm Off to CA, See You in a Week!

Packing list:

1 DH
1 Raisin
2 Fetuses
4 Boxes Ready-Cut Spaghetti (Hi MIL! We remembered!)
1 Maternity Swimsuit (Is California ready for this? I doubt it!)
1 Letter from OB saying the flight attendants have to be nice to me
1 Diaper bag whose contents will probably keep Raisin entertained for 20 minutes. Total travel time: um, way more than 20 minutes. That's why I need the letter.

Sounds like a vacation to me. Happy 4th, everyone!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Realizing How Apt A Metaphor It Is

Dear Elephants,

I think it would just be easier for everyone if you stopped pooping altogether. Thank you.

Now, if you'll excuse me, there's an escaped lion wreaking havoc among the acrobats, and the ringmaster is having a panic attack.



Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Elephant in the Room

I don't usually write about work here, mostly because it would be insanely boring for everyone involved. Yesterday, though, something happened that might be a little more interesting than normal, and I would very much like to tell the whole Internet all about it. I also would very much like to not get Dooced. I introduce you, therefore, to the Hyperextended Metaphor. Enjoy.

Let's say, for the sake of the metaphor, that I work for a circus. When I started at the circus 6 years ago, I had no experience in the circus industry. I was given a training-type position -- one where I could learn the business and still serve a useful purpose by performing tasks the more experienced circus members didn't have time/didn't want to do. Let's say that one of these jobs was to clean up after the elephants.

Now, I'm sure it's pretty obvious why the more experienced circus performances didn't want to have to clean up after the elephants. The job is monotonous and repetitive, and there's a really good chance that you'll end up covered in elephant crap. There is an element of risk to Elephant Crap Management, however, because if it's not done well, the animals will get sick and the circus will lose customers.

When I first started in Elephant Crap Management, this element of risk was heightened because the equipment -- hoses and such -- that we were using was outdated and in disrepair. Nevertheless, I eventually became pretty good at ECM. I also learned a lot of other cool tricks, and I was gradually promoted to throwing cream pies at clowns and even tightrope walking. Even after being promoted, though, I was still in charge of ECM -- the bosses could just never find anyone else to take it over. (Read: I am spineless, and never insisted that they make the new kid do it.)

Then, a little over a year ago, I got a job in the circus' administrative wing. My first project, fittingly, was to develop a better Elephant Crap Management System. I should note that I was only SLIGHTLY bitter that I had spent 5 years up to my ankles in elephant crap, only to be given the task of making the job easier for the person who followed in my footsteps. Still, I didn't have to spend every day reeking of elephant crap, so it was an improvement.

The ECMS project team worked for about six months developing better ECM equipment, and we came up with a much better system, if I do say it myself. Which I do.

This year, with more project experience under my belt, I saw some things we could've done better. So I told my boss that with funding, I could fix some bugs in the ECMS to make things easier still. The head circus people conferred and gave me the money -- they even gave me extra so we could develop some new ECMS features. (Um, like a disinfectant sprayer thingy? This is where the metaphor gets more and more difficult to maintain.) And ECMS Phase II was born, and that's what I spend a great deal of time on these days.

Which brings us to the current day. (Thank God, sigh the readers who haven't given up yet.) Yesterday, the circus brass found out that the Federal Board of Circus Freaks (FBCF) has revised the Elephant Crap Management section of the Circus Act of 1954 (circus act! ha!) -- section 15(g)(ii). It's not clear yet, but it appears the revised language indicates that ECM is now the responsibility of the elephants themselves, and not the circus. Or something. If that's true, ECMS Phase II will be canceled, and the entire ECMS will probably be retired.

The thing is, I think I've developed some kind of weird Stockholm Syndrome with the elephant crap. I've spent 6 years of my professional life trying to clean up the crap, and now all of a sudden it just might be totally gone. And then what will I do?

Monday, June 19, 2006

Good System

The WeightWatchers pizza I brought for lunch only made me want real pizza. Which I went out and bought.

What? The babies are hungry.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Balancing Act

I'm not the only one who had something to say about the NY Times article.

While we're discussing hot-button parenting issues, I've been thinking a lot about this and this.

The hardest thing about parenting for me has been the constant tightrope walking.

Don't introduce solids too early! But don't start too late, either! (I think we already covered the Other Great Feeding Debate.)

Is your child getting enough creative time? Enough active play? Enough time alone? Enough time with other kids?

Why can't she sleep? Is she overstimulated? Understimulated? Bedtime too early? Afraid of monsters?

What the Dooce and Amalah posts have me pondering is this: How can we best reassure our kids that Mommy and Daddy are capable and in control, while still helping them to understand that we are human? Because I think that's a really important lesson for our children, too. Raisin needs to know that Daddy will sometimes need a break, and that Mommy makes mistakes. She needs to know that's OK, so she can give herself permission to screw up sometimes, too.

It feels like yet another tightrope on which I have to balance. And yet, the mechanism to deal with a failure is built-in. It's an opportunity to forgive myself and show my daughter that strength is sometimes just perserverance in the face of weakness.

This weekend, Raisin ran into the kitchen carrying DH's glasses. "No! Raisin, those are Daddy's," I scolded. She looked surprised and hurt as she handed them carefully to her dad. She'd seen them in the bathroom and brought them to Daddy, thinking he might need them. When I thought about it later and realized what I'd done, I apologized.

I hope she'll come to respect our discipline more if she knows we discipline ourselves. That she'll trust us more knowing that we question our own trustworthiness. That if she knows that we are trying to be good parents, she'll be more ready to accept the times when we are not.

God, I hope I'm not wrong.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Oh, Let's Just Call the Post "Boobies." The Google Searches Are Coming Anyway...

Should mothers be guilted into breastfeeding? According to this New York Times article, some US officials seem to think so.

For example, the piece mentions PSAs depicting a pregnant woman being thrown from a mechanical bull. Her choice to ride is, according to the ad, as risky to her child as would be the choice to formula-feed.

Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa has proposed adding cigarette-style warnings to formula packages.

Here's what I thought was the key paragraph from the Times:

"... Urging women to breast-feed exclusively is a tall order in a country where more than 60 percent of mothers of very young children work, federal law requires large companies to provide only 12 weeks' unpaid maternity leave and lactation leave is unheard of. Only a third of large companies provide a private, secure area where women can express breast milk during the workday, and only 7 percent offer on-site or near-site child care, according to a 2005 national study of employers by the nonprofit Families and Work Institute."

I'd say, given the obstacles facing a new mother, putting a warning label on a formula canister is kind of like putting a Band-Aid on an amputation. If the good Senator really wants to promote breastfeeding in the United States, he and his colleagues can:

1. Make it easier for mothers who return to work to continue to nurse their babies.

2. Do some research. Why are black mothers less likely to breastfeed than Hispanic mothers? When women choose not to breastfeed, or to stop nursing "early," what are their reasons?

3. Use the research to improve the odds for moms who want to nurse. No agendas, no pressure -- that turns people off -- just opportunities.

4. If you're gonna pay for public service announcements, start with the stigma around public breastfeeding. No parent trying to do what's right for their family wants to get a dirty look. (In all fairness, this works in reverse as well. I know some moms feel they've been harshly judged for bottle-feeding.)

I think most moms know that breastfeeding=good. I think we also know first-hand that it's hard. And maybe we could use a little help, instead of guilt and threats.

*Disclaimer: I am lucky. I work for a company that DOES provide a private lactation room. My husband, boss, doctor, and daycare were all supportive of me. They supported me when I attempted to feed Raisin just breastmilk, and they supported me when I couldn't pump that much and had to supplement with formula. Because I'm lucky, I was able to breastfeed until I was ready to stop. My opinions are colored by my own experience. If your opinion and/or experience is different, feel free to share. But be nice.

Monday, June 12, 2006

I Feel Pretty

I've developed a twitch in my left eye. Watching myself in the mirror, I don't think it's something anyone else will notice, but it's driving me crazy and I feel like my face is one big nervous tic.

Women pregnant with multiples and women pregnant for the second or subsequent time are more likely to start leaking colostrum earlier in pregnancy. Ask me how I know.

My haircut appointment isn't until Thursday. Except for the boy-bangs, now thankfully grown out to an acceptable length, it needs to be cut NOW.

Acne sucks. Being too tired to properly wash one's face, and therefore being partially responsible for one's own acne outbreaks sucks even more.

I knew the stretch marks were coming. I know there'll be plenty more by the time we're all done. Still, bah.

If belly buttons were like those pop-up things on turkeys, it'd be time to head to the hospital. Past time, in fact.

Blah blah life-affirming pregnancy glow blah blah blah.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

I Wish I'd Said...

"Dad, I'm 28 -- two years younger than Mom was when my brother was born. My back hurts because I'm pregnant with twins, not because I'm 'not that young anymore.'"

"Sir, I can see you glancing pointedly from my abdomen to my left hand and shaking your head. It is absolutely none of your business, but I had to take off my wedding ring because my hands swell sometimes."

"You are the first person in two months of informal surveying who has actually given up your seat for me. God bless you." (I DID say, "Thank you," but it felt inadequate.)

"Raisin, I am sorry I spit ice cream at you. But when Grandpa asked, 'Are you a boy or a girl?' and you responded, 'Bird!' it was just too funny and I couldn't help laughing even though I had just taken a big bite."

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

I Love You, Sears.

I always thought I'd be much more likely to write a post about my devotion to Target. (And I would not be alone in the blogosphere. I won't try to prove that I love Target more than these people, because I think I would lose. However, I will try to prove my own awesomeness by pointing out that the Target closest to my house was THE VERY FIRST Target. Ever. "T-1," as those of us in the know like to call it. It's not really T-1 anymore, because they just tore it down and rebuilt it as a Super Target. But, really, doesn't that just make it - and by extension me - more awesome? Yes it does.)

Anyway. Target does not have appliances, and Sears does. So just for a little while, I am flirting with Sears. (I still love you, Target!) In fact, Sears has just brought me some brand new, shiny toys. A washer that holds twice the clothes but uses half the water. A dryer that actually maybe will sometimes dry things faster than they'd dry hanging on the line in the rain. A refrigerator/freezer in which ice is made -- and it stays frozen! Revolutionary!

There is a possibility that I am more excited about these arrivals than the coming birth of my children. But, see, when the washing machine was delivered, it didn't hurt a bit.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

A Bunch of Posts That Are Too Short On Their Own, All Lumped Into One!

Eternal Sunshine of the Messed Up Mind

I woke up the other day completely freaked out about how a parent handles the high school graduation open houses of twins. Do they have one joint party? Two separate parties? What's a mom to do!? (For the record, I've decided that we should plan, in 18 years, to offer our kids a choice. If they want a joint party, it can be bigger. If they choose separate open houses, they'll each have to sacrifice a little bit. It's good to have these things settled.)

Who The Heck Were These People?

DH recently destroyed an icky storage shed erected by the previous owners of our house. It violated code and was ugly and useless, so he tore it down. Underneath, he discovered what appears to be the contents of a woman's wallet -- NOT a woman who has ever lived in our house. Fortunately, DH looked her up and she is still alive and well.

You Have to Consider All the Angles

We have finally started to get serious about names for the babies. In fact, I think we might be set, but we're still thinking. You see, sometimes danger lurks in the best-sounding names. We thought we had the girl's name all figured out, and oh, how we both loved the name. It was perfect. Except the initials were KFC.

Perhaps I Eat Too Much Cheese

Theories abound about what precipitated the conception of our twins. There's the family history, and the fact that I stopped taking birth control pills not long before we conceived. And now there's this. (In case you can't see the article: a study now suggests that women who eat dairy conceive fraternal twins at a much higher rate than women who do not, possibly because of the increased use of bovine growth hormones.)