Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Decision 2007

Lately I've found myself in the position of having to research multiple unfamiliar issues and make decisions based on my research.

Decisionmaking, obviously, is nothing new to me: I'm nearly 30. I'm a lawyer. I make decisions all the time, and lots of them. But I think that, for me, the difficulty of the decisionmaking process is inversely proportional to how much I actually care about the decision I have to make. In other words, the less I care, the harder the decision.

What college to attend? No problem; that was important to me. Whether to marry Ty? Piece of cake. (Specifically, chocolate hazelnut cake with buttercream--another easy decision.) Choosing a wedding dress? I went to one store, tried on six, and picked the sixth one--the whole process took less than an hour, including the choice of which of the 72 or so available shades of white I wanted (I am not even kidding). Do I want children? Absolutely.

What kind of highchair to get? NOW we're entering problem territory. After several precious hours of research, I settled on one.

Carseats? Ugh. Simultaneously an official Very Important Decision, and one of the most boring things a human being can research. Using a base? The LATCH system versus standard belting? Compatibility with a travel system? My knowledge of carseats was limited to a memory of my brother, Mr. Lashes, joyfully smooshing a plastic eggfull of sticky, fluorescent-yellow Ghostbusters-inspired play ectoplasm from the 25-cent machine at the grocery store into the fabric of his seat, and my mother being thrilled that she was able to get the stain out.

I spent more hours on carseat research than on any other baby item. I finally settled on one that I felt good about, and communicated the information to kind and generous relatives who had expressed an interest in providing us with the carseats of our choice. We received the carseats and checked them out--they looked like sturdy little tanks. Perfect. Then, Consumer Reports came out with the Let's Scare The Parents Half to Death! study, and put our carseat on the Shit List, and their two "good" carseats sold out everywhere .00028 seconds later, and Ty and I lost a precious, precious half-night of sleep deciding what to do, and then a little later they said, Oops, never mind, the study wasn't conducted the way we thought, please turn to page 30 for an assessment of butter cookies in a tin.

Now, we're having some electrical work done. The electrician came by yesterday, and asked me to call the tech support guy at the company that manufactured the switches he was going to use, and I did, and he started asking me all kinds of questions about transformers, and magnetic versus electronic, and single pole versus double pole, and do I have a low voltage system? and I nearly lost it entirely and nearly screamed I HAVE TWO UNBORN CHILDREN GRIPPING AT MY RIBS LIKE WEE STRAPHANGERS; WHY DON'T YOU JUST LABEL YOUR FUCKING PRODUCTS IN PLAIN ENGLISH SO THAT THE AVERAGE PERSON CAN BUY THEM WITHOUT GRADUATING WITH HONORS FROM APEX TECHNICAL SCHOOL.

In the end, the guy gave me a model number for a switch that he said I needed, and I called every store within a reasonable distance of my apartment, and none of them had it, and then I found it online, and I requested that it be delivered overnight, and the website told me they couldn't provide me then with a quote for overnight delivery, and presented me with FOUR OPTIONS. A four-way decision about ELECTRICAL SWITCHES--ooooooh, my favorite! One such option was to request a quote by email or something, which was supposed to take up to one business day, which would totally defeat the purpose of overnight delivery. Another was to have the company call me with a quote, which was the one that I chose.

So, after 30-40 minutes of research, two phone calls, and over $200, my switches are on their way. $200. Have I mentioned that I'll be having some extra expenses in the near future?

This morning, the electrician called and told me that I really don't need those switches. Now, I need to decide whether to call the company right away and attempt to cancel the order to avoid the restocking fee, or to accept delivery of the package and have the switches here just in case he was mistaken, and then risk both restocking and reshipping fees and the hassle of lugging the switches in to be reshipped.

And I haven't yet decided what to eat for breakfast.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Blue Monday

No, I'm not dead or in labor (assuming those are two different states of being).

For reasons that largely make no sense at all, yet, trust me, were very necessary, my activities over the past week have included research into low-voltage light switches, getting down on the floor and scrubbing away scuff marks, and pursuing a package that was shipped twice and still hasn't been delivered, despite my having been charged for it approximately seven weeks ago. (The first time it was shipped, the carrier decided that it would be just fine, instead of requiring a signature, to leave a large box outside a building, in plain sight, in New York City. Some thief is going to be extremely well-equipped for lactation, having made off with a wealth of breast shields.)

I recently had a slice of pizza for lunch. Then, I got up, moved around, had a conversation with my mother, etc. When I looked down, I found that a mushroom had securely housed itself on the prominent pregnant-belly shelf that has now formed where my lungs ought to be. It's a good thing I saw it, because that sucker wasn't going anywhere.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Week 30 Update

Week 30 can be summed up with a few very simple lines, and one very simple anecdote.

The simple lines...

I am writing this on Ty's computer, because mine decided not to work today, as it does many days. Would that I could do the same.

The computer is in good company, as most electronic devices in our household are currently failing or threatening to fail.

I got less than four hours of sleep last night, so uncomfortable was I. When this happens, for some strange reason, I sneeze all day.

Sneezing is not fun when you're essentially the size of a woman who is 10 months pregnant.

The only clean garment I own AND fit into is The Itchy Sweater.

And now for the anecdote...

I went to the doctor on Friday, and immediately headed to the bathroom, as it had taken me nearly an hour to get there and my bladder is now the size of a tick. As soon as I came out, I was informed that the nurse wanted me to head to the back bathroom and provide a urine sample. It took me about forty seconds to head to the back bathroom.

I immediately refilled the cup, no problem.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Adult Children of Parents

There are many, many benefits to having extremely involved parents who are thrilled that you are pregnant. Need help folding laundry? No problem. Want "a little hot chocolate"? Here are 84 fresh, piping ounces. Roast beef dinners show up at your doorstep, as do chocolate-covered almonds. However, the drawbacks are far funnier. These include:

-A pained expression on my dad's face, akin to that which he would make if I said to him, "I am going to renounce Catholicism and become an airport Hare Krishna," when I tell him that I will be working "past four pm."

-Parents--who have willingly gotten up at the crack of dawn and driven 25 miles in rush-hour traffic to take me to the doctor, as I am now forbidden to take the subway--showing up twenty minutes early as I am sitting on the toilet with a syringe half-stuck in my abdomen, bagel bits stuck between my unbrushed teeth, and a third of a cup of precious, precious tea waiting for me in the kitchen, and then cheerfully announcing that they will wait in the car until I am ready, and that "there is no hurry at all." When I get over feeling like I've just trampled seven puppies that belong to a sad orphan and finally get to the car, a ten-minute discussion ensues regarding whether I will be more comfortable in the front or back seat. While we duke it out, we all stand in the street next to the car and gently push each other towards the seats that we want each other to occupy, just for effect.

-Every discussion regarding any remotely real issue is concluded with some variation on the statement, "You shouldn't be worrying about this stuff now. Focus on those two little babies."

"But I was just wondering if you agree with the author of this article about pasta tha--"

"Arabella, don't worry about that. You need to relax now. Lean back and close your eyes."

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Highlights from my week

1. I no longer fit into any known pair of jeans, elasto-waistband or not.

2. Our telephone stopped working. I didn't tell anyone for twelve hours.

3. I forgot that a distant relative of ours was dead, and spoke about him as if he were not only alive, but able to do manual labor.

During my worst moments this week, I have been able to improve my mood considerably by thinking about the absolutely adorable twin-themed ornament that I received in the 2006 Ornament Exchange from the hilarious Feral Mom, who herself has some knowledge of late-in-a-twin-pregnancy angst:

Isn't it adorable? A big, belated blog thank-you, Feral Mom! If I ever get to the point where this doesn't cheer me up, you will know that I am totally and completely gone.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Fun with abstracts

I recently Googled the phrase "night nurse" (along with some other equally innocuous words) and sorted through the results.

I haven't been this scared since I saw The Ring.

Here are some highlights from the results abstracts:


"They said the baby was fine. He wasn't."

"The night nurse stepped in and told me that they were coming to take my baby away."

"So I had as close to a near death experience as I care to have..."

"Daddy wants to knock up the night nurse"

"But in the case of my daughter's contraction of Whooping Cough, there was nothing I ... "

"Our night nurse confirmed what we had suspected - we were stuck in the CICU"


Thursday, January 11, 2007

With apologies to Mignon, and anyone else I may upset

Guess what I was doing fairly late last night.


HAHAHAHAHAHA. If you guessed "sleeping," you're most likely a brand-new reader. Welcome to my world!!!

Sewing while swearing?

Close. That was the night before.


No, but I WAS hungry.

What I was doing, dear readers, was reading about breastfeeding while lying with a pillow sheathed in a silky, "slightly-irregular" pillowcase wedged between my knees, panting. The panting was partly due to the fact that I am as large as if I were about 15 months pregnant and partly due to the content of the material.

I made it okay through the discussion of soreness and lanolin and cracked nipples and bleeding. I took the advice to air-dry your nipples in stride.

Then, I stumbled upon the recommended positions for nursing, and completely lost it.

The recommended position for nursing twins is something called the "football hold."

I hate anything and everything that has to do with football. I have shunned ice-cream sundaes that have been named after various things that have to do with football. My college roommate had a booklet in our room with a schedule of football games; I had to turn it face-down when she wasn't looking. When I hear Europeans talk about football, I have to repeat to myself, calmly and at regular intervals, "They really mean soccer. They really mean soccer." I cannot stand even a few seconds of a football game on television. On Thanksgiving, I will often go into the next room, by myself, and stare directly at the fireplace, or condensation on the windows, or the pattern of the rug, or ANYTHING ELSE instead of basking in the warm glow of family members while they watch football.


However, I will be more than willing to try the "clutch purse on a subway" hold, which of course is my Bowdlerized version of the exact same thing.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Taking it to the mattress

The lovely TB has written a great post, about shopping for baby stuff, that has particularly struck a chord with me.

This morning, I will place a phone call to custom-order two decent crib mattresses for my babies. I will do this because I can't find decent, small-sized crib mattresses anywhere else in the universe. I will do this despite the fact that owning custom crib mattresses will mean that I will also have to acquire custom crib sheets. This acquisition will probably occur by my bending over my sewing machine at 3 am with a child at each breast, altering regular crib sheets.

I have spent hours and hours over weeks and weeks looking for mattresses suitably firm to reduce the risk of my children dying in too-soft bedding. I have applied my best lawyerly research skills to this project, sniffing out websites from the darkest corners of the Internet and making more phone calls than a PTA makes on a snow day.

I have not found my crib mattresses.

Here are some products I have found, all of which can be purchased with relative ease:

-Small fabric cones that you place over your young son's penis as you change his diaper, so that he doesn't pee in your face. These come in multiple colors and prints. Apparently, using a baby wipe, tissue, or towel to block the urine stream is gauche. Parents that truly love their children buy the decorative cones.

-Stuffed animals with electronic sounds that supposedly mimic the sounds the baby hears inside your womb. From what I've seen of pregnancy, these gadgets can't be all that accurate unless they include intermittent strings of four-letter words.

-Video game systems for babies. Yes, BABIES--as in, goo-goo-ga-ga-I-don't-even-talk-yet-but-I'm-playing-video-games. Is there anyone who thinks this is a good idea??? Oh, and the best part is that the commercial makes it sound as if this is something you do with your baby to facilitate bonding.

Twins have been around for a long time. People have been living in small spaces for a long time. Yuppies who are into quality bedding have been around long enough that you would think that some enterprising individual would realize that there is a market for people who can't fit two ginormous modern cribs in a nursery, yet don't want their twins to sleep on mattresses unfit for dolls. But, apparently, all the truly great minds are working on baby devices that are not only unnecessary, but loud.

Or involve creative ways to deal with urine.

UPDATE, 1/9/07: Oh, for heaven's sake, you people are making me want to buy the Peepee Teepees. They really are cute, aren't they? Especially the ones with the fireman pattern--isn't that the most strangely appropriate pattern you've ever heard of, being associated with the notion of "fire hoses" and all?

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Helpful information

When your life is such that you are on 2-3 day shower rotation (in other words, you shower less frequently than you visit doctors), you own one pair of pants that still fits, you start out each morning with a thick stack of phone calls to be made and e-mails to be sent before you even begin your work (which has to be wrapped up FAST so that you can hurry up and rest and not go into premature labor), you are facing exorbitant prescription bills because a new year means a new deductible and you give yourself shots every day, and you are growing miserable due to your inability to blog creatively (or, some days, at all), you really ought to try not to spill water all over your brand-new fancy, expensive laptop, rendering it useless.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happy New Year!

I hope you all had a wonderful and relaxing one! I had what was probably one of my best New Years ever. As two three-plus-pound babies kick and squirm in my increasingly distended belly, I'd like to think that it was an omen.

So, what did I do? Well, Ty and I brought our little feline friend back to her parents, who promptly made us a delicious seafood gumbo and tolerated my shoeless lollygagging on their sofa and their bed, stopping only to talk, stir, learn about cloudberries, and witness the creation of a golden, glorious roux. As we had discussed, we left after the great meal, when my energy crashed, and were home before ten, and before all the drunken amateurs crowded up the streets and barfed on us.

I loved it. I love that we have friends with whom I can have a sweatpants-clad New Year's Eve, friends who possibly get even more excited about cooking than we do. I love that my husband doesn't care about getting all dressed up and going out when I'm tired and pregnant--and, in fact, would rather sit on our couch with me in our pajamas as the clock strikes twelve. Mostly, I loved ringing in the New Year simply by being, by sitting there and patting my belly and feeling my babies kick and hearing my husband breathe. Now, when I'm interrupted four five times while writing three not-very-good-or-witty-but-at-least-I'm-writing-again paragraphs in ten minutes while attempting to make myself a hearty, nutritious breakfast, I have that stillness to hold onto. Those times of stillness may be few and far between, but they will come again. And those of us that are happy during those times are truly blessed.