Friday, June 29, 2007

Misery and company

For the first time in twelve years of friendship, C.S. and I are happy at the same time.

We've been simultaneously miserable plenty of times. There was the time we were so miserable that we collapsed in a fit of pathetic laughter at the state of our lives on the floor of a department-store dressing room in a decidedly understocked mall moments before it closed. C.S. was looking for a suit to wear to a stuffy corporate job interview; I was procrastinating during my thesis-writing. The skirt she was trying on didn't make it past her knees, she fell into a heap, and we laughed the kind of silent laughter that makes your stomach hurt.

There was the time a particularly scary bug got into her dorm room. I was recovering from a bad breakup; she was recovering from a bad final. We were both sleep-deprived and exhausted. I finally captured the beast in an upside-down glass embossed with our college logo, slid a playing card underneath it, and released it into the night, as we cried hysterical tears.

There was the time we drove to the 7-11 in the middle of a miserable night, bought an Entenmann's Marshmallow Iced Devil's Food Cake, and split it, consuming the entire thing until we were sick to our stomachs.

There was the time we scoured the entire city for a German chocolate cake (why do so many of our memories involve cake?), finally procured one, brought it home, stood around it, and, drooling with anticipation, wielded the knife to cut into it, just as our sick friend promptly sneezed all over it.

Now, I have two beautiful children. She is in a good relationship in a good environment that she has entirely created for herself.

I wonder if our friendship can survive this much happiness.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Taking care of business

A number of you have asked me for photos of my babies. Believe me, I would love to post some. They are the cutest babies in the universe and they lower your blood pressure and cholesterol and bad-health-thingies within three seconds flat of glancing at them, and they are clearly the best, most beautiful things I've ever made, and I long to show them off, but I just can't, because then my mother would kill me, and then she'd kill my husband for letting me do it, and then the babies would be orphans, and then she'd get custody of them, and then, when they became teenagers, she would never ever ever let them watch cable television or put any salt on their food. So there. But she's right; she, and other members of my family, myself included, have had bad experiences with a scary stalker-type person who has used the Internet to find out information about us. Therefore, I'm not willing to take any chances with posting photos or certain identifying information. I'm sorry. Please don't take it personally.

Next: after discussing things with my husband and my mother, and virtually every pediatrician in the tri-state area, we have decided to decline SHOOTING X-RAYS INTO OUR INFANT SONS' SKULLS FOR NO GOOD REASON. I know, I know: I'm just too crunchy-granola to live.

Here's the deal: our sons like leaning their heads to one side. This probably has to do with them having been all squished up together inside my overtaxed womb. So, since baby heads are fairly soft, they are developing little flat spots on one side, a condition medically known as "plagiocephaly," and colloquially known as "flat head syndrome."

Try to imagine the joy a new mother experiences when a medical professional tells her that her beautiful, perfect sons may be suffering from "flat head syndrome."

But not to worry.

It can be corrected.

By wearing special, custom-made, probably-not-covered-by-insurance helmets, 24/7, for a year.

But, first, they need to get x-rays.

And then.......they need to see a NEUROSURGEON.

Or, if you listen to the doctor who gave the second opinion, you can just put a mobile on one side of their crib so they turn their head the other way. Either that, or see a neurosurgeon. Mobile, or neurosurgeon. Whatever. Six of one, half dozen of another.

So, we decided to decline the x-rays but consult with the neurosurgeon. And he couldn't have been nicer. Particularly with his pronouncement that our babies are fine and his recommendation that we do nothing right now, but if we want a perfect head shape, we might need to do the helmets, and we should come back in a few weeks.

So, the moral of the story, I think, is, if you live in an area with a lot of crazy, litigation-happy yuppies, and your pediatrician, probably in covering herself because she knows that you're a lawyer, sends you to the neurosurgeon, try not to worry about it too much and just go.

Speaking of being a lawyer....Mignon asked me some time ago what I'm doing about work. The answer, really, is quite simple: I have no fucking clue. Basically, I'm working, minimally, on a few minor projects. I was sort of gung-ho to get more work, but it's not coming as quickly and easily as I had hoped, and maybe that's not such a terrible thing, because I'm exhausted, but maybe it is terrible, because I'm also in need of money, and why the hell do exersaucers (and all other seats that don't require the baby to lean its head against the back) cost $80 anyway, and how come there are 3,451 children per square inch in my neighborhood, and no decent used baby gear within a 5-mile radius of my apartment on Craigslist?

So, in summary, we will be going back to the neurosurgeon and may or may not be putting our babies in helmets, and I may or may not ever be comfortable with the amount of work I do ever again. So, how's your day?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

5 thoughts that are making me feel better about my day

Because I haven't phoned it in compiled a list in a while, and I know you're all trembling with anticipation.

And also because I had a crappy night; the kids woke up at 12, 1, 2:30, 4, and 5. And an even crappier morning--the pediatrician wants them to go for head x-rays. When I went to the hospital to make an appointment (which the hospital doesn't take; you just have to show up with two screaming infants and wait until they're good and ready for you, never mind your babies' comfort and well-being, or your own life and schedule), I stopped in the chapel to say a little prayer that everything would turn out ok. That was when some dipshit repeatedly said to me, "Excuse me," until I looked up at her. Incidentally, I was not the only one in the chapel, although I was the only one with my eyes closed, my hands clasped, and my head bent in prayer.

What, you ask, did she have to say that was so earth-shattering that she had to talk to me at THAT PRECISE THIRTY-SECOND INTERVAL?

"What's today's date?"

And, now, on with the list:

1. Did you ever notice how you never see pictures of Angelina Jolie's butt? Maybe it's bony!

2. Air conditioning makes the kitchen cooler. Especially after you've just baked chocolate chip cookies instead of returning phone calls.

3. If you don't like mayonnaise, creme fraiche is a fabulous substitute.

4. The older your children get, the sooner they'll be able to take Benadryl.

5. Ice cream contains calcium.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

A ton of bricks

While the title of this post could easily describe the condition of my sons' diapers when they've consumed large quantities of soy formula (quite binding, that stuff is), I'm actually referring to how the lack of sleep is starting to affect me, now, at 15 weeks postpartum.

I was absolutely, positively, triple-latte-vintage-Katie-Couric-without-the-blinding-chompers chipper for the first month. Month two, even--no problem. Month three, there was barely a slowdown.

Then, all of a sudden, the fourth month began.

Now a few weeks into it, I have fallen asleep while 1) nursing, 2) holding bottles in my sons' mouths (yes, both of them at the same time), 3) rearranging clothing in drawers, 4) cleaning out my purse, which is generally an activity as comprehensive and fascinating as an archaeological dig, and 5) reading Us Weekly. Anyone who knows me in person will attest that that last one is particularly strange. I live for Us Weekly. I guess the cumulative lack of sleep has finally caught up with me.

By necessity, we now have to separate the boys at night. They are big and strong enough that they have begun to wake each other up, usually by smacking each other around. I expected them to start smacking each other around eventually, but I never thought it would happen this early. They're probably hoping to use that old but-most-of-my-motions-are-involuntary! standby as an excuse. Last night was the first night they slept in separate cribs. Hopefully, as they adjust, they'll benefit from not having their sleep interrupted by tiny little flailing fists, and they'll sleep for longer stretches, and then Mommy will be able to stay awake long enough to finish the Enquirer's Annual Celebrity Cellulite Issue.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Arabella on Baby Products You Might Like to Purchase

(With apologies to Marge Simpson.)

Because 1) I am basically a great big product whore, and 2) I am sucking up to manufacturers of any of the following products in the hopes of winning a lucrative endorsement deal (stop laughing right now), and 3) I am a little bit bossy and like telling other people what to do, I hereby present you with my list of product recommendations that will help you get through the first several months of your baby's life.

Medela Pump in Style Advanced Backpack Breast Pump
It's a fully automatic breast pump that's almost as good as a hospital-grade breast pump. Costs a fortune and worth every penny. It's lightweight, portable, can be plugged in or used with batteries (or even a car cigarette lighter, if you purchase an adapter kit), and comes in a sleek black backpack that doesn't scream "breast pump" (a tote bag model is also available). It pumps both sides at once, and it's comfortable, not too loud, easy to operate, and easy to clean. If you plan to do any pumping at all, I highly recommend this product.

Dr. Brown's Natural Flow baby bottles
The liquid really does flow smoothly out of these bottles. A special vent in the bottle prevents the baby's suction from creating a vacuum effect. While this means there are more parts to clean than in standard bottles, it also means that bubbles don't form in the bottle liquid. Therefore, the baby swallows less air, which helps prevent gas, fussiness, and spit-up. The bottles are a bit pricey, but highly durable--much more so than cheap bottles. I like the sturdy, clear silicone nipples, too. They last a long time, and begin to yellow as they wear, so you can tell that they need to be replaced.

Avent IQ Steam Sterilizer
Pour in some water, press a button, and, a few minutes later, your bottles, pacifiers, etc. are sterilized. Much, much better than pots of boiling water on your stove! Easy to operate, too.

Kirkland Signature diapers
The best I've found. They feel soft, fit well, are inexpensive, and rarely leak. Plus, they don't leave crease marks on my babies' cute little butts, like every other diaper I've tried.

Pampers Sensitive wipes
These are gentle, and incredibly soft and silky.

Nestle Good Start Supreme formula
My children's pediatrician recommended this one as a good, easy-to-digest formula for supplementing. The consistency seems the most like breast milk of any formula I've tried.

The Amazing Miracle Blanket
I have seven years of postsecondary education, and, for the life of me, I can't swaddle a baby with a traditional blanket. This product makes it easy. There were two nights in a row that my children slept through an abbreviated version of the night, at about two months old. I credit this blanket, which makes me feel a lot better about the amount that I paid for it.

Chinese prefold cloth diapers
I use these as burp cloths. They are thick, absorbent, and fairly cheap. Plus, they last forever. I like the unbleached kind. I got mine at

Do you have any to add?

Monday, June 04, 2007

Merry Birthday

This weekend, the twins turned three months old.

I know. I can't believe it either. Before I know it, they'll be big kids, and get bubblegum all over my collection of vintage Mad Magazines, and then they'll be grown up, and then they'll abandon me and marry puttanas, leaving me lonely and brokenhearted.

Ty, this is why I need a daughter.

We celebrated their birthday the only way we knew how--by eating delicious things that they can't eat. Because nothing says "three months old" like Entenmann's Chocolate Chip Crumb Loaf Cake with vanilla ice cream.

Then, we put the bathtub on the kitchen table and gave them a hugely embarrassing bath before a wide audience. And recorded every minute of it on video. Because nothing says, "my dear teenage son, you had better behave" than the threat of showing baby-bath videos to your kid's prom date.

After the bath, I was chided by my own parents for saying, "It puts the lotion on the skin or else it gets the bath again." They prefered more wholesome fare, like singing "The Turkey Ran Away" and "Must Be Santa." They may win the family-friendly award, but I win the award for matching the song to the occasion.