Wednesday, August 11, 2010


So there was some good stuff and there was some bad stuff, but somehow, we find ourselves having survived to week 8, the age by which many people, from experts to my expert readers, agree that things should begin to get easier. And I suppose that is true. Some things have gotten somewhat easier. Some things seem largely the same ("Screeeeeeam. Screeeeeeeeeeeeeeeam!!!" says Henry...). And some things seem harder. Or perhaps just more tedious (see above re. screeeeeeam), I don't know. I do know that the highs are really high:

Henry Smiles!
God, he melts my heart sometimes.

Cutie Pies
I know it's seen through a mother's eyes, but I just think Jac.k is so pretty!

but the lows are maddeningly low. I feel like a broken fucking record (and I wouldn't blame any of you for rolling your eyes and clicking away) but, it's hard. Really, really hard. H does so much to help out around the house and he's very responsive when I tell him exactly what I need, and delightfully accomodating, but at the same time, I find myself getting really steamed because I feel like he's not helping enough. But when I try to quantify exactly what ways I feel short changed, I find that I can't really make heads or tails of it. And that is incredibly unfair to seethe about behavior that you can't/haven't asked to be corrected.

I just know that I about bit his everlovin' head off yesterday as I sat with one baby nursing, while cradling the other (screaming) baby in my arms on the other side of the nursing pillow, with my tray of crappy fast food alternately getting cold/warm/watery (the baked potato, Frosty and salad, respectively...), and (dramatic pause) the mothereffer had the audacity to reach across the screaming baby as he was casually working his way through his salad to PICK AT MY FRICKIN' FOOD. I'm starving, as I have been nursing all day, and I'm forced to pause three bites into my meal to unlatch a (screaming) baby and balance him on one arm while keeping the other happily latched and feeding so that he doesn't start screaming, too, and waiting, waiting, waiting patiently for my molasses husband to eat his fucking salad already. I didn't mean to snap, but I really, really tersely said, "Excuse me? I'm not even CLOSE to being done. I CAN'T eat. I've got my hands and boobs and laps full of BABIES." And he looked genuinely stung. And I didn't apologize, either, even though I did feel badly for not just calmly telling him that I needed him to take the baby so I could eat.

I keep finding myself wanting to scream, "Come the fuck on, Bridget!", and though plenty of people would take that well and laugh at the movie reference, my molasses husband would not. But that is what I find myself thinking more often than not.

Shuh. Knowing that there's still that shithead lurking out there, probably looking for any reason to cause me grief by further outing my blog writings, I should probably delete all of that. But in truth, I would gladly say most of this to H's face. I love him. I cherish him. And I know and fully recognize how much he really does and how hard this is for him. But it's hard for me, too. It's no easier for me to pour myself a glass of water while holding a (screaming) baby than it is for him, but it seems like an insurmountable task for him. I need to really stress here that he is incredibly accomodating-- he gladly agreed to watch the boys while I soaked in the bathtub last night-- but that "soak" turned into ten minutes of "relaxation" while both boys screamed their fool heads off, followed by several hours of H acting shell-shocked and completely depressed/overwhelmed by the experience of dealing with two babies in full-meltdown mode which meant several hours of me feeling like shit, and trying my hardest to cajole H into a better mood (which made me feel like a failure because it totally didn't work).

It just seems unfair to me, but it's also completely unfair to feel resentful toward him when I haven't even let him in on what, exactly, needs to be different to make me feel more supported, and that is mostly because I just don't know what I need myself.

I have no business writing about any of this right now. Today is proving to be a little rough. I'd love to write about it in more detail, but as it involves H's workplace tangentally, I really can't say what I want (though it's got nothing to do with any person or one person's decisions or behavior or whatnot, but rather with administrative policies that I think are stuuuuuuupid). So, I'll just say that H had to leave quite early this morning, and I'm not expecting him back until 6:00 p.m.-ish and I got up with (screaming) Jack at 4:00 a.m. and never went back to sleep (after getting up with him at 3:00 a.m., 1:30 a.m., midnight, etc.). The boys are screamy* (surprise) and I am tired and my back hurts and my fuse is short and all I can manage to do is to shove a boob back in their mouth and hope that 6:00 comes soon. I love these boys, but my GOD, I'm exhausted.


Yeah, I need to draw a line under that and move on. Happy eight weeks, J.ack and He.nry.

I've been twice now to our local Book Babies meeting, and while the first time wasn't all that great, the boys did seem to get something out of it, and so we went again this past Friday. And this time, I met a few moms who I actually could see myself enjoying meeting up with from time to time.

I feel like I may have sort-of found my tribe (maybe) and here is why:

Let me preface by saying that boy names are hard. HARD. It's actually why I suspected that I would have two boys, because I could think of thousands of awesome distinct, unique-without-being-weird, traditional, culturally-appropriate girl names, and it seemed like that would be something the universe would find amusing, to leave me with two boys for whom I cannot even begin to find appropriate names.

I knew when I chose J.ack and Hen.ry that these names were quite popular among a certain progressive-ish socioeconomic subset..., but that they were not generally popular names. The fact that the older generation and/or friends that fall outside of that subset would reply with a pinched smile, and a "oh, that's nice." when told of their names, told me that I was spot-on in my assesment that these names were not broadly popular. And, for the most part, this community where I live is full of those pinched-smile-that's-nice replies when the boys are introduced. Others (here's an example) provide a pinched smile because these names are so common as to be completely passe (possibly even gauche) by now among whatever group they fly in.

So. Brief side trip over-- the point being that this past Friday, prior to the start of Book Babies while waiting outside the meeting room, I was introducing Jac.k and Henr.y to 12-week old Stella, and Stella's mom commented on how very common the name He.nry had become (she is the first person to have mentioned this to me in person). And a few moments later, another new baby and mom pair came along and I introduced the boys and was recieved with, "Oh, another J.ack!" as she sweetly patted her boy's head. And as we walked in the room and gathered on the rug in the circle, I asked a particularly precocious 14-month old's mother on my right what precocious 14-month-old's name was-- "Hank," she says.

Yeah. So clearly, I've found the group among which these names are common, and that likely means I've found the group whose members obviously think somewhat similarly to me. Maybe, maybe not, but it's worth another trip to the library again next Friday to find out.


*"Babies at this age enjoy being held. Simply hold them close if they do not want to be put down," I am so helpfully told by my infant development book. Ah, YES! Why had I not thought of that myself?! I'll just HOLD THEM 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I'll just pull out that extra set of arms and HOLD THEM both. And then, I'll pull out that other set so I can manage the occasional snack or bathroom visit (or blog post... this post brought to you courtesy of the nursing pillow and two babies with nipples jammed down their throat...).

Oh, and yes. I have Happiest Babies, and the 5 Ss do work, but only after 20-30 minutes of "Shh"-ing and swaddling and swaying, etc., etc., and once the baby is quiet, the peace lasts for all of 2-3 minutes before the screaming starts again. And of course, meanwhile, Baby B isn't sitting patiently with his hands folded waiting his turn, but is rather losing his flippin' mind wondering why I'm ignoring him for so long. That doesn't mean I've stopped trying to get it to work, but rather that it's an awful lot of screaming to listen to in the mean time and I just wonder what the fuck is wrong with me or these babies or whatever that I cannot seem to calm them. It's maddening.

17 comments: said...


I remember many similar situations after i had Elizab.eth (I can't imagine how hard two would be) where I wanted to mur.der my DH for the simplest things because he didn't get it. at all.

like eating without making sure i had eaten and/or showered...

i could go on and on but there's no point.

The boys are gorgeous and I love the names :)

_lemongrass_ said...

Oh man can I relate to this post! Men just don't get it. As great as they are, they just don't have *something* that makes them get it.

And I know what you mean about the names and that certain group of people you are 'in' with. I met two very nice moms at the pool last weekend who had "almost" named their daughters Maya. You know your peeps by the names you name your kids! Greg and I seriously considered Jack when we had Quinn. ;)

I really hope things get easier with the babies. You are doing absolutely wonderfully! Yes, it's frustrating and maddening! I can't imagine having two babies as a first time mom, and I feel like I'm losing my head on MOST days even though my kids are older. Vent away, but know that you're freaking awesome.

Anonymous said...

Eight weeks is a huge milestone. And so was seven weeks. And so will be nine weeks. It'll get easier, then it'll get harder, then easier again. But that's the fun in parenting.

Amen, sista. I could have written the same thing about Nav. I'm tired of all of my posts starting with a variation on "I'm pissed at DH". You'd think that after 9-months he'd realize that he comes last. Nope. May your H be a faster study.

I'm so jealous of Book Babies. I'm glad you found some peeps.

You're doing great. And the boys are adorable!

VA Blondie said...

I remember thinking similar thoughts about Hubby when Little Dude was only a couple months old. Hubby was very helpful and accommodating, but he had work obligations. He did make sure that I had breakfast within reach before he left for the day. That was awesome!

I believe that sleep deprivation that comes with a newborn makes us crazy. Is there any way hubby could take a feeding or hold the babies for a while, at least on the weekend? Also, I finally got to the point where I just had to put him down for a minute while I peed, whether he was crying or not. I just had to. I figured that a minute or two of crying will not hurt him.

It does get better. Really. Those first three months are a nightmare, though. Hang in there!

Anonymous said...

Every. Single. Day. I have had moments of wanting to rip of my hub's head and shit down his neck. And I can't for the life of me figure out why- he is home full-time with me. We are extremely fortunate that his income is enough that we can both be home right now. He is helpful, and considerate, and he is so amazingly helpful. But then I'll go to wash up the bottles and be FURIOUS thinking that I'm doing EVERYTHING and he's doing NOTHING... even though it's not true, and he does do a lot. And if I asked him to do up the bottles, he'd do it in a jiffy.

I chock it up to hormones. Tonnes and tonnes of hormones. And I still, as I've said previously, am in complete awe of you. Most days I barely feel like I'm coping and I only have ONE baby!! I cannot even fathom having two brand-new babies!!! Yet, from what I've read here, you are totally rocking it!!

Sue said...

I often felt like killing my husband those first few months. He was perfectly willing to help if I asked, but not so good at doing anything without being asked. When you're managing a baby, or two, the last thing you have energy for is managing your husband too. And although my baby wasn't a screamer for me, he could fuss and cry if I left him with my husband, which freaked my husband out. Sigh. Little by little, it will all get better. Hang in there.

Ashley said...

Man oh man, have I been in your exact spot or what? The days will get easier, and you will have better days and worse days. Sigh.

Two babies is a LOT to handle; I know form experience. Each day you learn something new, question something you did, and vow to try something different tomorrow. When our boys screamed their heads off in teh beginning, even when one of us was holding one, sometimes we just put them in their cribs, walked outside for some fresh air, and came back in ten minutes later to find the baby had fallen asleep or was just looking around in the crib. I found just getting outside for a moment really helped me clear my mind.

I know with nursing it is really hard, but you can also pump and ask a friend (or two) to come over and bottle feed a baby while you are there or leave to get a soda while they bottle feed. Ten or thirty minutes may not seem like much, but it will truly help you; I think you already know this from your bath experience. I found I had to get OUT of the house, even just stepping outside, because I could hear the screaming an it drove me mad. I couldn't relax as long as there was screaming and crying.

I found myself in the same position you are with hubs at first. I chock it up to hormones and also just needing some time to myself. Some quiet time where I didn't feel like a child had to be latched on.

Hang in there. Having two at once is insane. But think of triplets or quads! Ooh, that gives me shivers. Hats off to you; I know it is hard. It will get easier and different....

Alexicographer said...

On a bunch of occasions (with one baby) I handed DS to someone (my mom, DH) and said, "I don't care what you do with him, I don't want to be disturbed for 2 hours. And then I closed myself in my bedroom and turned on the bathroom fan for white noise and slept.

Is something like that an option? It's a tough time because of the heat to be kicking H, or a paid caregiver (is that an option), out of the house with the boys in a stroller (and oh yes, I did) if you need the quiet (rather than just the fan), but I'm kicking DH out of the house with now-3 DS, and he takes him to the mall (for the air conditioning). Could that work? Or just driving the boys around? Mine slept in a car even when he wouldn't sleep elsewhere.

Hang in there. I didn't have two, so I know it's not the same, and I know it won't be entirely reassuring to tell you I found the entire first year pretty grueling, but I did also find that just when I thought I couldn't take -- whatever -- for a minute longer, it would, in fact, stop happening ... not that whatever replaced it was necessarily easy, but it did gradually get better and I trust will for you too.

Tracy said...

I remember feeling like that...and it DOES continue to get better. At some point, it just clicks. For all of you.

As far as the whole hubby issue, I remember that clicking, too. I was always so aggravated with him, and gradually I figured out what I needed, and was better able to communicate with him.

However, with that said, there are still (and I suspect will always be) days that I feel that "this is not fair" feeling in regards to the care for the kids. I get sick of having to be the one that handles clothes, hearing aids, food, discipline, and everything else that needs to be done for them. The only thing he seems to be involved in (and this is a gross overgeneralization that really isn't fair to him) is their sleep schedule, because when they sleep, he gets time to himself. Grrrr....

But I accept that I get most of the reward, too. Anyway, my own side trip, there.

Ellen K. said...

Oh, gosh, I wish I could come over and help out. I know things got a little better around 8 weeks, but it still was VERY hard. It did not help that everyone was telling D. that he was such a great father!!!! just watch him with the babies!!! and the only praise I felt like I was getting was for weight loss.

The DH thing gets better. But it is a big challenge for SAHMs in particular. My dad (also a twin dad) said that most men have a hard time truly enjoying their babies until around the 3-month mark, when the child's personality is more evident and the child is interacting more and really being cute. I think D. was sort of going through the motions until that point, and so was I.

I. and N. were not fussy babies, as I know well in retrospect after some of my friends' experiences, but I felt that all I did all day was apologize to them and to our dog for not giving anyone a fair share, least of all myself. It was pretty awful. Twin moms do not really get that dreamy, romanticized maternal bonding experience that our culture presents as the ideal (and is only true for first babies anyway). It is very overwhelming to have twins as your first children. I think the big benefits come some time after the 1st year, when they start playing together and learning from each other, and you'll see how much more socially advanced they are than your friends' singletons.

I love the names, too. You'd fit in among my friends, no problem.

Hang in there. I'm going to send you my phone # and seriously, you can call me at any time and freak out and not be embarrassed because you'll never bump into me at lapsit. : )

Serah B. said...

Ya, seriously! My husband is kind of ridiculous about not being able to hold a crying baby and eat at the same time. Dude. I wonder if this is an area where lesbian parents excel?

Hang in there. And complain all you want--babies are intense and maddening (and wonderful and magical and all that, too...but mostly intense and maddening;-)

There seem to be a lot of those particular baby boy names in my totally awesome circle of moms as's a sign of excellence.

Star said...

I think of Jack and Henry as very common names, but I think I'm part of that particular demographic you're talking about. Maybe even the Dooce one. I chose a getting-more-popular-among-yuppies name for my second son, though we had chosen it before I did my SSA research. I was like, whatever, I can't find another boy name I like, so too bad. :)

I would say that the absolute number one most annoying thing about parenthood for me has been not getting to enjoy my food, as you describe. I try as much as I can to eat when the kids are asleep/gone/contained/zombified by TV. Because I hate eating cold/warm/watery food. I guess this makes me a bit of a glutton, but I really want to enjoy my meals ... which is why we don't go out to eat much at all -- it's a waste of money to me if I can't enjoy it.

Hang in there, sister -- you will get through it, one day at a time.

Christina said...

Oh those boys are just so handsome!

I hope that at this 8 week mark they get a bit easier to handle. At 8 weeks a little switch went off with Annika and she started sleeping thru the night and it was wonderful....

Serah B. said...

For the meteor shower last night, I ended up with both sleepy, whiny kids on top of me in an itty bitty lawn chair; it was way past their bedtimes, they required snuggles, and my husband was like, "It hurts my back to cuddle with the kids in the lawn chair." Dude. He did make me a coupla screwdrivers while I sat there beneath the pile o' kids, but seriously. Husbands. And of course I love him and wouldn't trade him for anything in the world.

Photogrl said...

Big, HUGE ((HUGS)) for you!

I understand the frustration at H completely! As much as M. is doing around here, and is trying to help me, as well...I'm still frustrated most of the time. I think some of it is hormones, some of it is the whole breastfeeding 2 babies thing. Girl, it's HARD. & Car.ina have been on a "Let's feed every HOUR" kick for the last 3 days and I'm ready to scream. I'm so tired of having someone attached to me. I hate that I feel like that is all I do.

The fact that you've made it 8 weeks is AWESOME!

They are both so adorable and getting big! Thank you for the great advice for tandem nursing...we're not there all the time, but it's getting better.

Hang in there, and vent all you want...I understand.

the Babychaser: said...

Oh my god, I wish I could do something--anything--to help. At times I've wondered if my babies are so chill about not being held all the time because they're twins and just CAN'T be held all the time, but seeing what you're dealing with it looks like I'm just lucky as hell. Granted, they're 2 1/2 months older than yours, but this morning after I fed and changed them I plopped them down on a blanket in front of my yoga mat for a half hour while they rolled around, and then stuck them in the respective exersaucer and jumperoo while I got on the computer. Granted, Dex is starting to whine, but even that took awhile.

So I am SO SO hurting for you, because I found even THIS really hard. It seems the only thing that's really gone great for you is the breastfeeding (and in that, I'm truly jealous, as I struggle on).

A few months ago I wrote to my sister and asked if it was possible to have a baby and NOT hate your husband? J has been amazing--pretty much everything I could ask for, including being really good (NOT shell-shocked) at taking care of the babies. And I still find/found myself mad at him. Because no matter how hard he works this will NEVER be as hard for him as it is for me. He may have spent a month at home with the babies, but his bottles were pre-made--he didn't have to struggle with breastfeeding one while the other screamed, or trying to find time to pump so his boobs wouldn't explode when BOTH babies refused the breast (eating just enough to make the milk let down, then screaming as if being fed battery acid, then happily accepting the SAME MILK out of a bottle).

I think you DO need to talk to H about this, though. Because what you need him to do is pretend he's as good at this as you are. You need him to be as strong as you are. And that means you need to be able to LEAVE the babies with him (yes, I mean LEAVE THE HOUSE for a few hours) and have him at least FAKE being okay when you get back.

I know I'm being pushy, but I'm really worried about you. It sounds like you're all on your own with this, and you really need a break so you can enjoy the good parts of being a mommy.

Okay, Dex is getting REALLY whiney so I must post. But let me assure you that YES your babies are truly beautiful. Hang in there, sweetie. And feel free to call--you have my number.

christina(apronstrings) said...

Never, never, never dare to think that parenting is an almost impossible task. Period.
Never, never, never think for one second that ONE infant isn't the hardest job on the planet.

And you, my dear lady, have two.

And men That's what we women mean when we say that motherhood is a lonely job.

8 weeks was a little easier-but 12 weeks was a different world. And, at this stage-babies just take and take. Less so at 8 weeks but still. At 12 they start giving back and it makes it easier.

You will never be more tired and cranky and insane and stressed than you are right now. Infants are hard. There are highs-but it's still hard.

I guess I just want you to know that-this is VERY FVCKIN HARD and that it's a season. Four weeks from now will be a lot better. And at 5 months-it's sooooo much better.

Take care of you. Get out with them. Get out alone. Get out alone with the hubs. (no excuses-charge it if you have to.) Babies need a happy well-adjusted mommy.