Monday, December 22, 2008

Full of lightning victories

My main man took his very first step yesterday, and mastered a whole several feet of pure upright motion today.



He's got these crazy curls on his head, little ringlets that bobble near his ears. And he gets overwhelmed with excitement to see people sometimes, just laughs hysterically while rolling his face across whatever body part of yours he can get to while making this funny open-mouthed, "Aaaaaahhhhhhhh!", and if you smile or make funny noises back at him he will look up and beam then lean down and give you a little nip, like a cat who's butt has been scratched just right for a moment too long. He's pretty rad, if I do say so myself.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Lone Ranger, code red, danger!

We got a rad new video camera thanks to my always tech-savvy dad. I took this:



on the same day that Anya:
1. Busted through the babyproofing to get into the forbidden closet.
2. Put not one but two quarter-sized tokens in her mouth within 2 seconds of entering the forbidden closet.
3. Climbed over different babyproofing surrounding a planter and put a fistful of potting soil in her mouth.
4. Called 911, which I discovered when the village polics showed up at my door.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Demonstrate walkin on hot coal, in rituals

My baby girl can walk!


video

She started about three weeks ago, because she is badass. Alex finally started crawling about a week before that, so, you know, she had to move on to something new.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Rough turbulence, the waveburst, split the megahertz


Sleep is like a swift spirit, easily chased away. We've got mad sleep rituals in our house.

I take Alex into the bathroom if he's having trouble dropping off. Turn the lights out and the tap on high, hold him nestled to my shoulder sway back and forth and sing to him. I sing Suzanne, because I love it, because my father sang it, because I know all the words, because I sang it to myself in the shower while I was pregnant, because I never knew what it was about and experienced a moment of pure magical coincidence-glee when my beloved English teacher Mary Redclay passed out the lyrics in class during a poetry section; a glee that turned to frustrated bewilderment when I told her excitedly that I had always wondered what it meant and she turned her steady eyes to me and told me to tell the class what it meant. As with many things Redclay, I was left thinking, "Why does she do that?" And, know what? I still don't know what the hell solemn old Leonard was writing about in Suzanne or any of his songs. My sister thinks they are all about the intensity and depravity and agony of heroin addiction, but she's been known to project just a tad. I sing Suzanne to Alex knowing that someday he will ask me what it means, and I will have no answer for him, and I wonder how my father answered me or if I ever asked, or if I just knew not to ask questions that would make him uncomfortable, even at an early age, or if I did ask and he leaned in smelling of cigarettes and Drambuie and slurred, "Love, my dear, it's all about love."

Alex lets his head fall against me as soon as the first notes are out of my throat, but occasionally, midway through the Jesus verse, he will start a funny, tonal babbling; he's a talkative little dude, and sometimes his own babbling can get him excited, and destroy all my work at lulling him to sleep. So I shush him gently and tell him, "Time for sleep now, Alex" which are our sleep key words. Aren't we fancy, reading the books by the experts and such? Recently he has become more consistent, often continuing his vocalizations as soon as I stop shushing and start singing.

Last week, after the third time I had to stop singing to quiet him, a little nubbin of a thought occurred to me. I started singing, waited for his plaintive little voice, then stopped, but did not shush, and a moment later he stopped. I started singing again and he chirped away. I stopped and he stopped. I spoke in a normal voice and he remained silent. I began to sing, and my son sang with me.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Back in the days of eight now, makin a tape now...

Flickr is cramping my videographer style with their 90 second limit, so for those bored and adventurous few, check out the babies on You Tube, and favorite us for future updates!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Days Are Turning to Nights Now....

It's been a long time since I left you (without a dope beat to step to... anyone?)

It turns out that parenting twins for the first six months is a piece of cake, while parenting twins for the second six months is like dressing a dozen greased weasels in fancy party clothes and having a proper English tea.

For the moment, I believe that this speaks for itself:

video

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Escape From Your Dragon's Lair

Anya has been waking up in the middle of the night full of energy. She's not sleepy, and she's all happy and giggly and willing to hang out and amuse herself as long as you let her roll and scootch and try to crawl around the living room floor for a couple of hours. The only time she cries or shrieks or otherwise makes us hate life is if we try to make her go back to bed. But it's not like the living room is safe for her: there's the beloved undercouch, the place she heads first, cleverly keeping low till she is in deep, then inevitably raising her head in triumph once she is so far back I can't quite reach her, raising her head in triumph and bonking it on the hard wooden slats, and then there's the crying, the wailing, and me cursing myself for being a crappy mom. Second in order of fun (first in order of danger) is when she heads over to the awful wooden wall/storage monstrosity and tries to open the wretched wolf doors, a feat I thought surely an infant could not accomplish, till I found her shoulder deep in a box of assorted tools one afternoon. And her latest joy is the bookcase, because paper? Especially the bottom shelf full of delicious single issue comics that her mother has loving collected over the years? That is the most delicious thing in the whole world. Anya particularly likes a vintage 2003 Millar-penned issue of Trouble, but she also appreciate the fruity notes of a good Ellis Stormwatch.

Since babyproofing the living room is going to be a rather intense task, involving hundreds of dollars in gates to cope with the unusual entryways, and since we only really need to corral Anya during her late night sessions, Luke decided to create an Anya Containment Unit out of rolled up blankets, electrical ties and clever positioning.

Anya, sensing a challenge, escaped within the first 30 minutes.
video
I'm both proud and scared.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Garment Renaissance


We went up to the U.P. for the holiday weekend and the babies got to ride in a golf cart, sit in the Dead River Basin, and go for a boat ride and meet and play with a dog. Also Anya discovered that cold (unopened) cans of beer are the ultimate teething relief.







We ended up wearing them for almost the whole visit because they were a little off their game with all the new stuff going on. The carrier of choice for the kids is currently the Bjorns, which is sad for me, since I have an assortment of beautiful and less crotch-dangling Mei Tei carriers. In an effort to increase my stash and find some Bjorn alternatives that they will like, I'm entering this contest: Win the Essential Babywearing Stash from Along for the Ride (one Beco Butterfly, one Hotsling baby pouch, one BabyHawk Mei Tai, one Zolowear Ring Sling, and one Gypsy Mama Wrap)

And just for fun, this one too: Win a Bum Genius 3.0 Starter Kit from Nature's Child - Wholesome Goods for Mothers and Babies

Monday, June 23, 2008

Ride Like The Scream Machine

I mentioned Alex's screeching last time, now here it is for your enjoyment.


video

Pretty intense, no? Whattaya think, future singer for Judas Priest?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Love, Peace and Soul

There's been a lot of action in these parts: Alex learned to make an even more eardrum-ripping shriek; they both found their feet (and damn! feet are yummy!); there was another round of shots; Anya got constipated and started producing little tiny hard rabbit pellet looking poop; I became the kind of woman who discusses her baby poop on the Internet. And then there was the really cool stuff:

Alex and I were hanging out on a Saturday morning while Luke was at work, and on Saturday mornings we always watch Classic Soul Train (and you must always read that with appropriate "Souuuuuuul Train!" emphasis). I consider Don Cornelius to be a part of their early childhood education. On this particular Saturday morning, the most awesome thing happened: Don Cornelius welcomed the stars of a hot new trend to Soul Train, Run DMC!

alex watches run dmc on classic soul train 2

They were so young! They were so adorably tongue-tied during the interview! And Alex got to see it! And yes, I know about the no-TV-under-two-years thing; BUT IT WAS RUN DMC!

Then they got a new cousin, the first one on their dad's side. His name is Dexter Keegan,

and it's going to be so awesome to have a cousin so close in age. Now if only I could work on that time-space continuum problem and make Kenosha and Madison magically be only twenty minutes away from each other.





Last but not least, we started them on solids last night! The menu was sweet potatoes, baked, then pureed with water till it formed a thick cream consistency. Yum. Anya was all over this. She's been trying to let us know she's ready for a couple of weeks. And last night we got her in the high chair, gave her a spoon to play with so that she wouldn't try to "help" us feed her, and she totally started getting the play spoon in her mouth right away because she is the smartest most awesome baby ever.

And then she ate like a champ, downing 1-2 tablespoons, which in babyverse is like a three-course meal.








Alex, however, was not quite ready for solids. Alex's First Solids
Poor thing.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Use It Wisely, Soldier

I finally managed to capture Anya rolling on video, and inadvertently captured Alex mesmerized by Charlie Gibson and Barbara Walters on TV.
video

My daughter is so rad, she doesn't cry when she gets to her belly. She struggles like hell to pull her hands from the tucked under position required by rolling to the outstretched superman position for pushing her chest up to look around from her new vantage point. All the while she's kicking her little legs to get her knees beneath her butt, the better to scooch herself around and finally conquer the heretofore unknown realm of True Mobility! She can't quite do both at once, which leads to some hilarious head down bulldozer style movement and often scooching requires some counterpressure for her feet provided by me or a piece of furniture or the sleeping cat, who is only too happy to provide some leverage because at least it means someone is paying attention to her, the poor thing.

It's not just that it is cool to see her learning and developing and (wait for it like cold maple syrup, sticky and sweet) growing up, it's that she is learning to cope with the world, and she's doing it better than I expected, its like she's this little ray of hope, like she's proof to me that the world isn't as crappy a place as I always assume it is.

I've got some stuff to say about Alex, about how sometimes I don't think I even know how to handle being loved so much by one person, about how scared I am of the inevitable time when he'll hate me, and how much he makes me wonder about my own mother, whom I'm sure I loved like he loves me, but who I'm not sure ever could handle that love, and WOW! is that a mindfuck?! But that's for another post because, dude, check this out:

video

It was just hanging out next to the window! Isn't it rad? Man, I can't wait till the kids are old enough so that we can go out an explore the natural world together.

Monday, May 5, 2008

"Oh, shit! Did you know there's a whole other baby in this house?!"

video

It's hard to capture when I have to prop one of 'em up and wield the crappy little camera with a tiny memory card, but I think you get the idea. Before last week it was all blank stares through one another.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Rolling!

She did it! Perfectly executed back-to-belly roll!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

She-Creature Life Lessons

Anya is trying her hardest to roll from her back to her front. She's got the idea and can get consistently to her side, and she makes all the right motions to flip the rest of the way, but that damn arm keeps getting in the way! We've been trying to encourage her to keep her arm down, but every time we move it for her she looks at us like we are crazy. "Uh, Mom, that's my chewing fist! I need to keep that right near my face, what if I suddenly need to gnaw on my hand?"

video

The worst part is that she's trying so hard to do this, and when she finally does it she is going to be totally frustrated to be stuck face down on her belly. I mean, that's a tragic life lesson to have to learn at 14 weeks: Bust your ass striving towards a goal and when you finally achieve it you will be in a worse, less escapable position than you started out in. I don't think I learned that lesson till my first (and only) year at Sarah Lawrence!

The other truly awesome development is that the babies have begun to not just notice each other, but to smile, coo and laugh at one another. But I will save my gushing about that till I get some good footage.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

How I've Changed Since Becoming a Mother

Luke's father came over to babysit last night so that Luke and I could go catch the latest kung fu movie in the theater. We played video games in the arcade before the movie, snuck candy in my purse, discussed the awesomeness of Jet Li and Jackie Chan in a Woo-Ping movie and generally acted like our pre-children selves.

Then we went into the darkened theater and I promptly fell asleep on Luke's shoulder.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Three Months Is an Irate Genius

Three months today. I'm so stressed about money and how money is affecting my relationship that it's hard for me to get clear-headed enough to write, and if I can't write about the babies at three months, does that mean I'm sucking it up at mothering them at three months? I don't think so, I think I can be still and just focused on them most of the time that I am with them, but when they are napping and I am left alone with my own head, the anxieties spin so fast, feels like my brain is in a blender.

But here, there's this: Alex's lower jaw quivers in excitement every morning when we wake up and I start talking to him, the smile that lights up his face, as if he can't believe how awesome it is that I came back into his life after the long night.
Alex modeling his Haute Pockets

And Anya buries her head against my neck when she is tired and snuffles there till she falls asleep, where she makes tiny contented sighs of satisfaction and happiness.
Anya Sleeping

Not that everything is rosy. Alex shrieks so shrilly that it physically hurts to listen to him, and he's been known to do it simply because I tried to put him down after four hours straight of holding him. Anya melts down every single night about an hour after Luke gets home, squawking inconsolably for an hour or more. I have an elaborate calming ritual that involves the water blasting in the pitch dark bathroom and a precise jiggling motion.

I've been in contact with some old friends recently, people who knew me when I did not want children, when I rarely stayed in one place for more than a year, when we all were so absolutely sure of the complete depravity of the modern world that to even consider leading a "normal" life was an unethical act. It's been a long time, and I hate the gulf that emerges when friends express shock that I settled down, moved to the suburbs and had kids. But a "normal" life is not a life without meaning, and I'm never quite sure how to explain that I've discovered a peacefulness, a stillness within myself that I never dreamed possible back when I was a wild child.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Week 10 Generalized Cultural Pizza

This week was the social event of the season, our post-baby shower. I say that sort of sarcastically for those of you who aren't in this breeding phase of life, but some of you know that a trip to visit other adults, having other people to hold the babies for a whole glorious afternoon and a reason to wear something other than yoga pants is damn well the social event of our season! We went to Gabe and Kristina's for a Meet-The-Babies Party with Luke's mom's family. We didn't do the typical shower thing when I was pregnant because Luke and his mom were having some Not-Speaking-To-One-Another Issues during my whole pregnancy. You always hear about how you are supposed to table your intrafamilial shit in the name of everyone's potential relationship with the All Important Babies, but the whole experience of breeding ramps up the emotional intensity, and suddenly that thing your mother/brother/Aunt Sally does that sort of bugged you before suddenly becomes Something That Could Affect My Child's Emotional Development. And before the babies get here, you worry a lot about that shit. The idea that grandparents, in particular, will have a special relationship with your kids seems awfully abstract, while the worst memories of your own parental conflict are turned into nightmare imaginings of your kid having to feel the way you felt when things were at their worst. Then the kids are actually here, and little people of their own, and it's just amazing how things change.

Alex spent the morning of the party alternating sleeping and fussing in Uncle-Godfather Gabe's lap. I knew, after her last visit, that Grandma would be able to soothe the kid, and Alex is not always an easily-soothed baby. When she took him into her arms, she curled her whole body to be closer to him, and beamed down at him, cooing, "Let's cuddle!" And Alex's little face lit with joy and he beamed right back at her, cooing lovingly up at her face.

Grandma Heather Cuddles with Alex


Anya continues to teethe. Heather told me that Gabe cut his first tooth at two months, so there is some precedent for this happening so early. I sort of hate that she has to go through this so early, but I suppose if she and Alex aren't teething simultaneously I should be counting my blessings.

Anya is Teething!

Dad's finger is the preferred teething toy. She will take my finger, but really prefers the big calloused one. Or maybe she likes the taste of motor oil.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Week Nine From This Day Forward Will Be Known As Irate Leader

Babies, this week you got your first shots. Grandma Heather ominously warned that your father was never the same after his first shots, that he went from a jolly baby to an infant betrayed by the cruel universe, which is exactly what I wanted to start worrying about in addition to the risk-benefit analysis of a conventional vaccination schedule, the skyrocketing cost of health insurance and how being exposed to to the foul language of Deadwood might be affecting your little brains. Luckily you both came through it fine. Alex screamed bloody murder, as we expected, and even though he went first, I was still soothing him after Anya got hers and Grandpa Mike calmed her down and got her dressed. But it was Anya who had a harder time later in the day: you slept for hours then woke up filled with rage and pain. By the next morning, the storm had passed, and you both cooed and smiled at me in the early light of dawn.

This week you both found a new goal: To thrust your little fists completely into your mouths. I've been trying to get a shot of it, but you are both totally on to me and stop doing it whenever the camera is out.

We also started spending some quality time with music this week. Anya showed a preference for Cee Lo Green, proving that she is in fact my daughter:


While Alex, after sitting motionless through such classics as "You" and "All I Need" gave up some deadly serious baby dance party moves for Mos Def:


I can't wait till you guys can dance around the house with me!


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Me as a Vidiot Mom

And now for Alex's turn:



I like this cause you get to see Alex's constant state of spazzy motion and high-pitched narration of his life.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Sick, so very sick. Babies crabby, only willing to sleep on top of me, leaving me pinned by a mass of squirming slightly sick baby flesh. Throat sore, exhausted.

Luckily Demetria arrived this afternoon and was instructed by Danielle that she'd better be holding a baby or doing a chore at all times.

Screaming in stereo, must go.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Back In Black

One post for my entire pregnancy? Damn. There goes the detailed memory of that life-changing experience! It's all become a haze of ultrasounds and backaches and the ten minute process of rolling from one side to another during that last enormous, lumbersome month.

And now, now I have Anya Isabel and Alexander Darwin.

One week today

I thought that I would not bond instantly, but I love this motherhood thing, and I fell in love with the babies as soon as I heard their first screams. Alex came first, through hours of pushing, and was whisked away to the NICU because he was floppy and having trouble breathing. Anya flipped over and had to be sliced out, but she was golden once she was out, amazing the nurses with her wide eyes that seemed to study everything. She was nursing like a champ before I was even wheeled out of recovery. Alex joined us the next morning and we've been a happy family ever since.

They are eight weeks old today, and it all seems like a blur. They've already outgrown the outfits that they wore home from the hospital. I can't believe how fast it is going.

alex smiling Lounging Six Weeks Old