Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Happy Apple Catastrophe

Because I have unlimited free time, I like to browse through old toys on Ebay that I remember from my childhood.
Enter the Fisher-Price Happy Apple, pictured above. It's a medium-sized plastic apple, virtually indestructible, that plays a soft chime sound when moved. I considered bidding, balked at the starting price, and moved on with my life.
Yesterday, while perusing the selection of 1980's workout tapes and corporate giveaway mugs at my local Salvation Army, I stumbled upon an unbelievable bargain: said Happy Apple, for only $1.49. Convinced this was an omen (yes, I'm that gullible), I bought it for my boys.
This was the first mistake. I should have known that the 1970's childhood of a singleton girl isn't the best model for recreation for the 2000's childhood of twin boys.
Last night, after Sage and Thyme were sleepily tucked into bed, I pulled out my rubber gloves, dish soap, and scrubby sponge, and lovingly got to work on banishing prior-owner germs from the Happy Apple. I set the scrubbed Apple on a soon-to-be-sunny windowsill and went to bed.
When I awoke today, it was like Christmas morning. (Well, Christmas morning if Christmas morning involves twin boys saying "Mama, mama, mama" into the monitor while banging against their cribs until you rouse yourself into consciousness.) Once the necessary morning activities were completed, I rushed over to the windowsill and retrieved my sparkling Happy Apple. Was it my imagination, or had its grin gotten even larger overnight?
Hiding it behind my back, I approached my happily playing children.
"Boys! Oh, boys! Mommy has a surprise for you!"
I handed it to Thyme, who was the closest. He took it gingerly, shook it, realized it was ball-shaped and made sounds, and proceeded repeatedly to whack its hard plastic body against the floor with glee. This did not go unnoticed by Sage, who rushed over and wrestled it from him.
Needless to say, before very long, the morning had descended into a heap of tangled small bodies, tears, screaming, and attempted biting.
Long story short, if anybody has a vintage Fisher-Price Happy Apple to sell me, I'm offering $1.49. I'd pay more, but then they'd argue about whose Happy Apple was more expensive.
This post is dedicated to the beautiful and talented Tink, who actually created a holiday in my honor. I am eternally grateful, Tink.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

"Smaland" is a misnomer

New York City has a brand-spankin'-new Ikea. It was only a matter of time before we would load Sage and Thyme into the ol' automobile, blast the AC, and head down there on an ill-conceived outing that would last several hours more than any of us expected.

I'll just give you the highlights.

"Smaland," Ikea's child-friendly area that allows parents to shop in relative peace, is open only to children of a certain height, and children who don't poop their pants. They all but had a big, bright, cheerful, yellow-and-blue sign with the big red outstretched heart and arms that said, "Children who don't poop their pants and are old enough to be past the most annoying and dangerous mobile phase are welcome."

Moving on.....

We waited to speak to some kitchen guy for about ten minutes before realizing that he wasn't in fact an Ikea employee, but merely a private citizen wearing a yellow shirt.

While Ty tracked down an actual employee, I stayed with both boys, one of whom began lifting up my skirt and saying, "Poopy? Poopy?" Real loud.

You know how Ikea has those glass display cases where they show a machine repeatedly opening and closing, say, a drawer, to simulate wear and tear? Well, we performed such tests all on our own.

A strange man looked a split-second too long at my children, and nearly got a low-priced Scandinavian-designed kitchen implement shoved into his eyeball. DON'T MESS WITH MAMA.

In a shocking twist of fate, Sage and Thyme preferred the meatballs to the lingonberries. (Usually, they go for sweet.)

Mama earned herself a Daim cake, and absolutely refused to share. Sorry, boys; some things are sacred.


Everybody (who still reads after my extended absences), please congratulate Mr. and Mrs. Lashes on their recent wedding!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

On Twins, Part III

Today I read about an acquaintance who just gave birth to twins, one over seven pounds and the other over six, vaginally and without anesthesia. She successfully and simultaneously produced one child of each sex.

At first, I felt a little jealous. I didn't deliver vaginally and without anesthesia. I didn't simultaneously produce one child of each sex. I didn't produce two children over six pounds. Then, I felt pissed off at myself for feeling jealous.

I imagine plenty of women were a little bit jealous when I had twins. In fact, I know it for sure. Another acquaintance, one still struggling to conceive, told me that all she wants is "one healthy baby." She's a good person and will be a wonderful mother; she deserves to have a healthy baby. I felt so bad, telling her about my good news. I remember being in her shoes, the struggle, the feeling of inadequacy. Then, the discovery that I'd conceived! Then, the discovery that it was....TWINS! And my world turned topsy-turvy.

I genuinely feel that having twins was the best thing that ever happened to me. But I can't deny that I still, in the dim dark recesses of my mind, mourn not having had the one-mother, one-baby experience. Co-sleeping. Easier nursing. Happy cuddling with one child without the other crying, sad and alone. Being able to carry, transport, and care for my children on my own, despite the physical limitations of a C-section. Having had a much greater chance at not having a C-section.

A friend of mine who gave birth more recently envies my stomach. I admit, I'm extremely proud at how I've bounced back. The "twin skin" that I so dreaded and feared wasn't inevitable! I look substantially like I did before, with the exception of four extra pounds. And, as I write that, it honestly tickles me a little bit that I can say that, and some women can't.

It never ends, the jealousy. So-and-so has a higher-end stroller. So-and-so had more than enough milk. So-and-so not only gave birth to triplets vaginally and with no anesthesia, but also gave birth to a Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings, and then single-handedly cleaned up prior to delivering the afterbirth, then her stomach promptly shrank back and she sat down for some pumpkin pie.

The twins have helped me see this--the never-ending self-examination, the never-ending comparisons. If my body produced two beautiful children and I'm still second-guessing myself, I'm never going to stop. It's time to make peace with that, accept it, and let it go.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Did I say Monday?

Because I actually meant, "three months from now."

On Twins, Part II

We recently had a Little Red Hen emergency. Naturally, I'll explain.

My father, ever hard-working, absolutely adores the folk tale of the Little Red Hen. The gist is, the Little Red Hen finds a grain of wheat. She asks all her animal friends to help her plant it. One by one, they all say, "Not I." So she does it herself. When it grows, she asks them for help reaping it (same response), grinding it into flour (ditto), making dough, etc. You get the picture. Then, when she removes the fresh, hot, crusty loaf from the oven, they all volunteer to help her eat it, and she turns them down and eats it herself. A good, classic tale, and an early female protagonist. I like it very much.

The storybook version was an early baby gift to my sons from my father. I read it to them many times, making the animal sounds each time. However, it wasn't until I animated one of the atmospheric background birds that it truly captured their attention. Sage ran all around the house making bird sounds. Out in public, he would make bird sound for anyone who would listen.

But, see, with twins, one child may adore a specific page in a book, and the other, not so much. One day, the babysitter left and I settled down with the Little Red Hen, intending to read it to my sons. I opened it up and prepared to make bird sounds.

But the page was gone. Torn clean from its Little Golden binding.

I searched the entire apartment--garbage pails, diaper pails (where shoes and washcloths frequently wind up, don't ask me why), the insides of tiny pairs of shoes, the minute spaces between radiators and walls, the refrigerator, the menu drawer. EVERYWHERE. No luck.

Frantic, I called Barnes and Noble. Nothing.

By now, there were frantic baby sobs in between the bird sounds. And Thyme was sobbing as well, knowing that something was up and I couldn't read the story.

Doubly desperate, I called our local anarchic-leaning book store, with which, due to my somewhat libertarian leanings, I'd frequently had philosophical differences of opinion. But, hey, desperate times call for desperate measures. I figured if anyone'd have Red, it'd be them (the irony of the capitalist nature of the story and the Commie-type title eluded me then, in my state of frantic parenting, but it kinda tickles me now).

THEY HAD IT. Screw philosophy. I made the guy promise to set it aside and headed down there as fast as my tired legs could carry me, two now-enormous babies, and a double stroller that's really heavier than it should be. I have forgiven the bookstore, for when I was hungry, they sold me a Hen.

The moral of the story is, when your child cries, your wants, needs, and opinions no longer matter. This is true, of course, for parents of singletons as well, but it's doubly-true with twins.