Lately my mind has been a piece of abstract art. Full of splatters, swirls, swooshes. Sometimes brightly colored. Sometimes in shades of gray. Sometimes pretty. Sometimes confusing.
This is my attempt to share the artwork with you. It's on the long side. So feel free to read it in chapters. Or not at all. Up to you!
On growing up…
Every day, and lately multiple times a day, I look at my girls and it feels like someone punched me in the stomach. The best punch in the gut you could ever imagine. I watch their interactions, their flaws, their strengths and can't help but wish I could just slow time a bit. Claire has started this new thing where she says "like baby" and then she hands me a bottle and wants me to feed her "like baby." Or rock her "like baby." I gladly pretend that she is a baby because I know the days when I can hold her and rock her like a baby are numbered. Yesterday after a few seconds of rocking her, she said "No baby. Like big girl."
On being different …
We've been on a few outings lately where strangers will say, "are they twins?"
I love how different they are. From very early on -- 6 or 7 months old -- I noticed that Grace read her books upside down, and I knew she was going to look at the world in her own unique way. She will be a great problem solver some day. She will take a problem that makes the rest of us bang our heads on the wall and she will flip it on its side and immediately find a solution. And naturally, Claire is different. She sees the world in much the same way that I imagine most of us do. But this girl's intelligence astonishes me every day. She will grow up, see what's already established and push it beyond anyone's wildest dreams. I give her another few years before she's smarter than me.
On parenting twins …
As they grow older, I have decided that in a lot of ways, having two the same age actually makes life easier than I imagine it is for parents of singles. I don't really know, of course, but I was pretty sure that when I was waking up in the middle of the night to feed one, feed the other and then go pump (it was like having triplets), that I had it worse. Now, though, I think I've got it easier. They play together, sleep at the same time for the same length of time and learn from each other. I do have a story though that debunks my theory. We were eating at a restaurant the other day, when I took both girls to the bathroom for a diaper change. I'm in the stall with the baby-changing station and I'm in the middle of changing Claire's diaper when Grace attempts to dunk her hand in the toilet. I yell at her to stop before she does the deed and so, she moves on to the trash can.
Again I yell "Grace, no!! Yucky!!" She listens and moves on ... to the stall door. I've still got Claire's bare behind to deal with when Grace tries to make a run for it. I spend the next few seconds trying to figure out how I can finish changing Claire's diaper without Grace bolting out into the bathroom and getting stolen by the nearest crazy. (Good luck with that one, Crazy. We don't call her the Screamer for nothin'). So, here I am finishing with Claire, while holding the stall door close with my leg kicked up in the air, thinking how lucky Grace is to have such a patient mother.
I put Claire on floor and switch to changing Grace's diaper. Claire looks around, clearly evaluating her options while Mom is preoccupied. She tells me the toilet is yucky and I think maybe I can get through this diaper with no problems. Then she makes her way to the toilet paper. And pulls on it. And pulls on it. Until there is a heaping pile of toilet paper on the bathroom floor. Good grief. I'm pretty sure I left the bathroom sweating.
On having a career and being a stay-at-home Mom …
Every weekday my alarm goes off at 3:45 a.m. Beep. Beep. Beep. I hit snooze once or twice and then drag myself out of bed. Yawning and rubbing my eyes, I make my way to the office (in the next room). I pull on my warm clothes -- it's cold in the dark of this February morning. I work for the next several hours, quietly at my computer, occasionally remarking to Scott about something interesting in the news. Then, just as my work shift is nearing its half-way mark, the girls start to wake up and I grab my juggling hat as I prepare to toggle between being a Mom and being an employee.
There are moments when it seems like I can't possibly do both, but with the help of both Scott and our Moms, we have made it work, and it's getting easier as the girls get more independent. These days are long. 4 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day. And the only break I get is about 45-90 minutes during their nap in the afternoon.
There are days where I'm certain I will fall over with exhaustion. But not a single day goes by that I don't thank my lucky stars that I work from home.
I'm one of those people who starts to get stressed during the last couple of days of vacation -- worried that it's ending too soon. I know that I will feel that way later in life -- that their childhood ended way too soon. And when those days come that I'm listening to sentimental country songs and flipping through their baby albums, I will reassure myself that I soaked up every last second I could. That calms my panic now, but somehow I doubt that will ease the pain later in life. Mamas will always miss their babies.