My Child of 9/11

Of all the things I remember about 9/11, I remember being pregnant. It was not my first pregnancy, and it would not be my last, yet it was a pregnancy marked with sorrow.

I was a young mother, with 5 and 3 year old sons. I had just flown back home (via United Airlines, no less) from a family wedding in Michigan. While I was gone, the Rev. and my then little boys had moved all of our worldly possessions into our home on a beautiful river in northern Minnesota.

Our phone and internet had been hooked up (hello, dial-up!), but I was still waiting on the cable guy. On that sunny September day 10 years ago, I looked at the pile of moving boxes in my living room and opted for coffee on my back deck instead of work.  I was just past my first trimester, and coffee was beginning to be palatable and enjoyable again. But there was one problem. I was out of creamer.

I loaded the little ones up in our little car, and headed out for the grocery store. I was not even around the bend in our road before I began to hear the horrific news on the radio. Not only had one plane crashed into the World Trade Center, it appeared that a second one had as well. I immediately turned around and returned home to call the Rev. at church. (We totally did not have cell phones yet! I only got mine 2 years ago!).

The rest of the day is a blur. I remember the Rev. going to a neighbor’s home to watch news coverage. I remember being angry, frightened and sad. I remember logging on to the computer to check with my Yahoo Baby Club (we still, 10 years later, communicate daily) to make sure everyone was OK. We were all in shock, and frightened, and angry, and most of all, unsure of what kind of world we were bringing these fresh new babies into.

Our cable was not hooked up for a few days. I actually never watched any 9/11 video footage until a year later. I’m actually glad that we had no cable on that terrible day, as I most certainly would have viewed it on the Today Show, live.

What I did not realize until yesterday was how much I had sheltered my Child of 9/11. Sure, hen has heard the term. He has written letters to members of the US Military. He is a proud Cub Scout. He knows that there are other people who hate America.

However, we had never really told him about that day. When he was alive, but not yet born, and life as we knew it changed forever.

Yesterday, as we were getting ready for church, we had left the TV on, and he watched the events unfold. He finally learned what 9/11 was.

As I was driving him to visit a friend, he asked me about it. About what happened. And so I told him. I told him about the terrorists. But mostly, I told him about the heroes. I told him of the first responders. I told him of the ordinary people who reached out and helped friends and neighbors. And then I broke down in sobs as I told him the story of Flight 93.

I told him that there are children, his very age, who have never met their fathers, because of this act of terrorism. I told him of people who lost mothers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters. I spoke of innocence lost.

Our world changed that day.

But when I look into the eyes of my son, my child of 9/11, I can see hope, and a future. When you see a nine year old this week, remember, quite possibly, their world was changed the most.

Mommy Wars and Megyn Kelly?

So, last night I was watching TV with the Rev. We usually watch movies (usually movies that I want to watch, which may or may not be a source of marital tension), but our DVR is currently empty of anything I wanted to watch. So I sat back and read and let the Rev. channel surf (sometimes I’m nice). He landed on Fox News and I looked up and noticed that Megyn Kelly was back. (she’s been back for almost a month). I told the Rev. that I liked her new haircut (I’m shallow like that) and he told me that she got all kinds of flack for taking too long of a maternity leave.

Do you know how much maternity leave she took? 3 months. 12 weeks. In the grand scheme of things, not that long at all.

Because, folks, having a baby is kind of a big deal. It takes your body on a wild ride. And then most moms don’t get much sleep for the first few months. And things are achy and sore, and clothes never fit like they should. And that cute little baby has about 4 doctor appointments in that 12 weeks.

A 12 week maternity leave is hardly a vacation. I know that she loves what she does, but I also imagine that it was very hard to leave her sweet baby girl and return to work. But she is a smart and articulate woman, I’m pretty sure that she can deal with those who are ignorant enough to think that her leave has been all massages and pedicures.

And Megyn Kelly was one of the lucky moms. Her company paid her for her maternity leave. Paid maternity leave is not a required benefit in the US. Paid maternity leave is a blessing if you get it.

I never did. I had a work out of the home job before getting pregnant with our first son, and again before the twins were born. Neither job offered paid maternity leave (though I did get my accrued sick pay and vacation pay while on bed rest with the twins), and neither paid me enough to justify child care expenses and time lost with my newborns. The decision to not go back to work after having those babies was pretty easy.

However, not everyone has the luxury to stay home with their children, and many go back to work long before they are really ready to.

I’ve had it both ways. I’ve been a working mom, and I’ve been a stay at home mom.

I’m totally going to go out on a limb and say that it is way easier to be a stay at home mom.

I could perceive it as the easier job because I really enjoy what I do. They say if you do a job that you love, you never work a day in your life.

Or, I could think of it as the easier job because I do such a sub-par job of it that I’m beyond being stressed out about my day.

The fact remains, I may not get sick pay, or paid time off, or even get paid for what I do. However, I don’t have to wrangle time off to walk my kids to school on the first day of school. If I wanted to bake, I could bake them cookies for when they came home. I don’t do laundry at night. . .as a matter of fact, I do no housework at night. After the kids go to bed I’m pretty free. Some days I wear my pajamas all day. I can shop at Target during their less busy times. I don’t have to share my coffee if I don’t want to. I’m pretty much in control of my schedule. I almost never pack a diaper bag. I don’t have to worry about who can watch my kids on school holidays. If I forget to plug in the crock pot in the morning, I usually have time to make a back-up plan meal. I have time to play on my blog.

I’m sorry that not all stay at home moms feel as at peace with their current vocation. I feel for the working moms trying to do it all. I wish there were more clear cut, easy decisions for moms.

But life is far more complicated than that.

So for now, moms . . .let’s stop fighting, and have each others backs, OK?

 

My Life With Twins: Sleeping Arrangements (With Linky!)

*It was requested that I add a linky to My Life With Twins on Mondays! I think it is a great idea (thanks Kristin!) If you are a parent of multiples, feel free to write up a “My Life With Twins” post and link up! I’m working on a button too! I’d love it if you can link back here as well so all of us can connect!

One of the most cringe worthy comments someone can make to a Twin Parent is “Oh, two for the price of one!”. The well meaning commenter probably does not consider that you had to pay for two deliveries, probably were on some sort of bedrest, one or more of your babies was likely in the NICU, both children have to eat, and you have to buy two car seats at a time.

The ONE way that our girls were “two for the price of one” is with twin sleeping arrangements. At 17 months old, our girls still Co-bed.

When I was still pregnant I made the decision to buy only one crib. This was partly a financial decision–cribs can be expensive. There was also the question of space. Our nursery is not a large room, and I was not sure how I would cram two cribs in there as well as dressers, changing table, and rocker/recliner. I had read that many twins do well sleeping in the same crib for a time.

When we finally had both girls home at the same time I put them to bed together in their crib. I changed the direction that I placed the babies. When I had singletons I always treated the crib as a conventional bed and placed the baby in it as if the crib had a head and a foot like my bed. With the girls I swaddled them separately, placed them in the crib next to each other, and then tucked another receiving blanket over them, sort of “double swaddling” them.

They would often sleep as close to each other as they could be. . .and very often would be sleeping int he exact same position as her twin! For the most part they slept as well as any newborns. I cycled between wanting to keep them on the same schedule and letting each girl determine her sleep schedule. For most of the first year they tag team napped (I almost always had one baby awake or nursing) but they slept most of the same night hours together. Sometimes they would wake the other. . .or wrestle in the night, but mostly they snuggled up to each other and only one would usually wake at a time. (As a matter of fact my most stressful nights were the ones when both twins were up at once. . .it was rare!)

I love this picture of Emily, who managed to claw her way up onto Elizabeth’s chest to sleep. . .and Elizabeth only looks mildly annoyed.

At around seven or eight months old, I thought that with the girls new found mobility they would wake each other up too much to co-bed much longer. And then we went on vacation, and they spent two weeks in a pack and play. They never woke each other, even in the smaller crib, and their co-bedding relationship was cemented.

Now, at seventeen months, I think it would be cruel to separate the girls. They talk and sing each other to sleep at naptimes and at bedtime. I’ve also heard from fellow twin parents that at this age, if the twins are in separate cribs they spend much of the time trying to (and often succeeding at) getting into the other crib. We’ll likely move them into a full sized bed together when they graduate from the crib.

I strongly suspect that the girls very close bond with each other has been strengthened by sharing a bed every night. They don’t get the chance to go to bed angry at each other, and they never have that “all alone” feeling at bedtime. They also still don’t wake each other up. While they both sleep 12 hour stretches at night, on the occasion when one wakes up, she does not wake her sister. They do make sure that they wake each other up in the morning, and then give each other a big hug and kiss! These are some of the most priceless moments of twin parenthood!

Chime In! Do your multiples co-bed? For how long? Would you do things the same way if you had it to do over? You know I’d love to hear from you! 

Do you have twins, are expecting twins or know someone who is? Make sure you click on over to my “Got Twins?” page and learn more about the wonders of twindom! Lots of advice and experience from pregnancy, breast feeding and beyond!


I’m Perfectly Imperfect

Lest anyone operate under the faulty notion that I am Supermom, I’ve been reminded of my failings a lot lately.

One of the boys has complained of a plugged up feeling ear lately. I forgot that he has a pain tolerance that makes him a prime candidate for male epidural free birth, if there is such a thing. Following a hunch almost a week later we spent an hour in the walk-in clinic last night and walked out with a prescription for antibiotics. Big kids get ear infections too. And I’m suspecting he’s had many more than we’ve actually caught. Way to go, Mom.

Another son has abandoned homework for a while. And I assumed that he really did not have any. Looking good, Mom.

I’m noticing that church behavior is slipping, and I’m not talking about the babies. Awesome.

As I was tucking kids in tonight, I noticed one of them was not sleeping on a sheet. Just the mattress. Where is my “mom of the year” trophy?

A big brother did better than I did at calming down Emily at bedtime tonight. Is she switching loyalties so soon?

I’ve been yelling. A lot. Too much.

On the other hand, the laundry has been chronically caught up lately. Dishes are all sparkly clean and in their places. The bathrooms are sanitary. The living room is neat and tidy (except for the pile of tissues the girls tore out of the box when they were practicing for “Minute To Win It” while I used the restroom alone this morning.)

Let’s get real. I can’t do it all. My best efforts turn up short. When my pride gets in the way I tend to end up on the wrong side of perfection. For example, this morning I was so proud of myself for getting out the door EARLY for my Moms Club meeting. Turns out I was a WEEK early. AND I had two little girls in the car who were thrilled to have gotten out of the house and were looking for adventure. Thankfully I had the double jogging stroller in the trunk, so I turned my mistake into a few miles at the mall.

And that my friends, is what I’m here to tell you.

We cannot be SUPERMOM!

(although, our husbands would not mind it!)

We can be the best that we can be, at any given moment.

Sometimes that means that the laundry is caught up and lined up neatly in dresser drawers.

Sometimes that means tasty, nutritious meals on the table by 5:30 on the dot.

Sometimes that means immaculately completed homework.

Sometimes it means mucous and germ free clean and pressed kids.

Rarely will we get all of these things at once.

The Rev. likes to refer to a truth learned in his engineering days. There is quick, cheap, and quality. Choose two. You can never get all three.

So, that is how it is with motherhood, we can’t do it all.

Should we stop trying?

Probably not.

Should we stop beating ourselves up?

Probably.

So, I’m like the anti-Mary Poppins. And that is OK.

I'm Perfectly Imperfect

Lest anyone operate under the faulty notion that I am Supermom, I’ve been reminded of my failings a lot lately.

One of the boys has complained of a plugged up feeling ear lately. I forgot that he has a pain tolerance that makes him a prime candidate for male epidural free birth, if there is such a thing. Following a hunch almost a week later we spent an hour in the walk-in clinic last night and walked out with a prescription for antibiotics. Big kids get ear infections too. And I’m suspecting he’s had many more than we’ve actually caught. Way to go, Mom.

Another son has abandoned homework for a while. And I assumed that he really did not have any. Looking good, Mom.

I’m noticing that church behavior is slipping, and I’m not talking about the babies. Awesome.

As I was tucking kids in tonight, I noticed one of them was not sleeping on a sheet. Just the mattress. Where is my “mom of the year” trophy?

A big brother did better than I did at calming down Emily at bedtime tonight. Is she switching loyalties so soon?

I’ve been yelling. A lot. Too much.

On the other hand, the laundry has been chronically caught up lately. Dishes are all sparkly clean and in their places. The bathrooms are sanitary. The living room is neat and tidy (except for the pile of tissues the girls tore out of the box when they were practicing for “Minute To Win It” while I used the restroom alone this morning.)

Let’s get real. I can’t do it all. My best efforts turn up short. When my pride gets in the way I tend to end up on the wrong side of perfection. For example, this morning I was so proud of myself for getting out the door EARLY for my Moms Club meeting. Turns out I was a WEEK early. AND I had two little girls in the car who were thrilled to have gotten out of the house and were looking for adventure. Thankfully I had the double jogging stroller in the trunk, so I turned my mistake into a few miles at the mall.

And that my friends, is what I’m here to tell you.

We cannot be SUPERMOM!

(although, our husbands would not mind it!)

We can be the best that we can be, at any given moment.

Sometimes that means that the laundry is caught up and lined up neatly in dresser drawers.

Sometimes that means tasty, nutritious meals on the table by 5:30 on the dot.

Sometimes that means immaculately completed homework.

Sometimes it means mucous and germ free clean and pressed kids.

Rarely will we get all of these things at once.

The Rev. likes to refer to a truth learned in his engineering days. There is quick, cheap, and quality. Choose two. You can never get all three.

So, that is how it is with motherhood, we can’t do it all.

Should we stop trying?

Probably not.

Should we stop beating ourselves up?

Probably.

So, I’m like the anti-Mary Poppins. And that is OK.