Stripped

The other night was probably the worst night I’ve ever faced since becoming a parent. When I say it was the worst, I may even be downplaying the description of how this night went down.

After surviving the first few months of newborn madness and round-the-clock feedings and diaper changes to two infants, we began to see the light and enter some sort of nighttime routine. We endured the first nights in their own room, their first colds, and the cutting of their first teeth. Even the blur of sleepless months we first experienced when the girls arrived at home was nothing compared to what we faced three nights ago.

At around 2:30 am, we awoke to the sounds of coughing and gagging. Drowsy from the noise we continue to listen and then jolt out of bed at the additional sounds of vomit splashing against little Chloe’s bed linens and crib bars.

For those of you who don’t know, we put up with eight months of spit-up from our girls and they had finally outgrown this nasty, annoying, laundry-soaking phase. What we discovered was NOT the spit-up we knew and trusted.

What we faced was not only a massive amount of partially-digested vomit, but also a sad and smelly Chloe, paired with the most rotten scent we’ve ever encountered in our pre and post-baby lives. If I had to describe the smell, I would file it next to old Kraft Dinner that was prepared with spoiled milk and then fermented for a month.

We immediately took action; me grabbing the baby, and JD grabbing the soaked sheets while suppressing his own urge to gag. The bed and baby were both stripped. My shirt and hair had vomit in it from Chloe’s need to cuddle her spewage-slathered face into my chest. BLEH!

The next four hours Chloe and I stayed up to watch cartoons as she fought her stomach to puke again, as well as fight her need to sleep. Every time she almost fell asleep, she would startle herself awake and begin to cry. Nightmare.

If you thought that was the worst of the night, you’d be wrong.

At 6 am, I hear Sophie begin to wake up. The normal time, but I was just not ready to face the regular morning routine. I waited fifteen minutes before going to check on her, when she began to get annoyed and whine for attention.

I finally visit her and get hit in the face with an even fouler smell. Could it be that the vomit stench remained in the room? I open the blinds and look at my daughter.

POOP. EVERYWHERE.

POOP ON EVERY BAR OF THE CRIB.

POOP ON HER BLANKETS.

POOP ON HER ONESIE.

POOP ON HER LEGS.

POOP ON MY SOUL.

She had the most extreme case of diahrrea I had ever witnessed. Even from myself.

I could not deal with the scene before me. So I scooped her up, put her in the bathtub with her onesie and diaper still on, and woke up my better half to help me cope with my emotions, which at this point were running as wild as Sophie’s sphincter.

After I scrubbed the feces from her body, I grabbed a rag and a shred of strength I had left on reserve and went to assess the bedroom damage.

As I stripped a second bed of its linens and began to scrub the mattress, I began to hysterically laugh-cry. Not laugh to the point of crying, but I simultaneously experienced two emotions at once: bawling my eyes out and laughter.

I peed myself. And then I stripped off my vomit and piss-covered pj’s and went on with being a parent.

The beds were stripped. The girls and I were stripped. All I have left to strip is the horrific memories of the night from my mind.

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Snot Pretty

Any new mommy’s worst fear is that their babies will get sick. Until now, we’ve been fortunate enough not to experience this. Mommy brought the germies into the house.

After 9 months, the most gruelling days have arrived. Both babies are sick for the first time. UGH! I’m not talking about a little sniffle and a wee ahh-choo. We’re facing the brunt of any nasty cold; sneezing, coughing, congestion, sore throats, runny noses, yellow crusts of snot in their nostrils, and the smelliest, filthiest shits you’ve ever seen.

Side note: I’m not the kind of mom that penny-pinches when it comes to these types of disasters. You ruin your pants, they’re going in the trash. No way will I scrub the turd out of your pjs, throw it in the wash and it still leave a stain. You wreck it, to heck with it!

There are boogers in their spit-up and bags under their eyes. They take breaks from their bottles because they can’t breathe through their nose. They’re sleep deprived, miserable, and are wearing the saddest faces I’ve ever seen. It’s brutal.

For all you worried mamas out there, I’ll point out now that they are both fever-free!

While they want more attention, more cuddles, and more Kleenex, I’m happy to comply. Never has any (fellow sickie) mommy dug deeper into the purse of patience. I push my heavy head and dripping nostrils aside and tend to my babies because, when put into perspective, they’re LITERALLY facing the first cold of their itty-bitty lives! That is, aside from the day they left their warm, cushy sacks and were born without any say in the matter.

Truthfully, I kinda like it. They’re building their immune systems AND I’ve never felt more motherly than I do right now. My heart goes out to my snotty spawn and I just want to make them feel better. If they could ask for cupcakes right now, I’d totally give it to them. I’m sure this is the kind of attention that the “man cold” sufferer seeks.

The mom vibes are surging at full capacity! I’ve never felt so “mom”. Like, I mom. But, this is the type of mom-ing that you think of being classic mom; tucking you in, feeding you soup, kissing your forehead. I’m doing it, guys!

So, I’ve learned that there’s taking care of your babies, and then there’s really taking care of your babies.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

I don’t know much about babies, but mine seem to get bored easily. In the daily debate of who gets to do what, their restlessness is a constant counter to my laziness and always is the winning argument.

While circulating through the same routine every day, they never last more than 15 minutes on an activity before getting mad at me. Simply for not knowing they’re bored again. One minute they’re happily playing, and the next they’re soooo over it.

Just because you babies grew from my insides does not mean I can read your tiny minds!

In my attempt to satisfy their cravings for constant excitement and spontaneity, I’ve discovered that they’re happiest away from home than in it. I know it’s because everywhere we go they’re treated like mini celebrities. They love meeting their adoring fans, signing autographs, and getting their photo taken. And since we live in this beautifully vicious country that is Canada, this really tests my desire to hermit.

Schlepping two babies around in the winter is exhausting. All I want to do when it’s cold outside is cuddle with them and binge Netflix, but try taming a squirmy infant.

AND THEY’RE AT THE MOST AWKWARD AGE EVER.

They can’t walk, but have the personality that lets you know you’re their bitch and have to carry their tiny asses to the car. They can’t talk, but with one look you can tell they’re judging the crap out of you for being lazy. They won’t cuddle, but will whine until you pick them up, just so they can claw at your eyeballs and climb up your body a la King Kong.

I’m not going to list the ways we need to prep to get the babes from the house to the car, but it’s extensive. And even though it’s minus 15 degrees, by the time you get them to the car you’re a sweaty mess. Mom tip: just stick to a disheveled bun and relatively clean face when you leave the house. With twins, spending time on hair or make-up during ANY season is an indulgence. Just like the doughnuts you cram into your face the moment you find the closest Tim’s.

There are not many places you can bring a double stroller to in the winter. Forget about the niche-y book or clothing stores or trendy coffee shops. Forget about the park, walking paths, or any outdoor hobby. And you can forget about taking them to any fun place for children, because they’re lumps. The only options you have are malls and major department stores, like IKEA or Canadian Tire. “Baby want some new wiper blades?”

Unless you’re my offspring and it’s two votes against one, there is no way I will leave the house during winter. These twinfants keep me from hibernating like the mama bear I am. They get me off the couch, out of sweats and into yoga pants, and moving towards civilization. I am a vertical member of society – and an unenthusiastic contributor to big-box income – because of their motivational whines.

Winter can bite my cellulite-ridden ass.

Just Do It

“Wow. Twins. How do you DO it?”

Somehow having twins makes you really popular and you make lots of new, random street friends with lots of opinions. Aside from the opinions no mother wants about simply raising one child, you get double the input with twins.

I’m asked many repetitive questions about #twinlife, like “Are they twins?”, “How old are they?” and “Can I touch them?” I am also asked the “How do you do it?” question a lot. And I never have any answer, even though they’re kind of being rhetorical about it.

Family & friends? A helpful spouse? Eating cookies in the closet?

When I really thought of an answer, all I could come up with is you just DO. I don’t think there’s a twin mama out there that knows how its done. You just have no choice. This is your life. These are your children. You can’t wallow. You don’t take a moment to think, “Motherf***er! This is stressful. How DO I DO it?” Because if you do, you unravel. Your focus crumbles. Your ability to mom is interrupted.

Raising twins is the biggest marathon you’ll ever run. If you stop to look around and catch your breath, you’ll forever be playing catch-up.

Determination and willpower. These are two key ingredients to keeping you on your feet and hurling you towards being the best twin mom you can be.

But what if you’re a twin mom who’s also trying to get fit? Finding a little leftover determination or willpower is like finding a four-leaf clover! So at the end of the day you eat that pizza, drink the wine, and sit on your widening ass, because there ain’t much more determination or willpower left in the tank. And you go to bed happy and proud knowing you survived another day.

Only 6,311 days until graduation.

Twinsanity

People always share with us how lucky we are to have twins. Lucky. Sure, some days I do have moments when I’ll feel that way and think, “Man, am I ever glad I only had to be pregnant once.” But, I know when people say this they see it as a blessing that we were gifted with two healthy, beautiful babies. Especially when so many families suffer through trying to conceive. My heart goes out to those couples.

HOWEVER, when you’re a new mom and are riddled with fear of caring for ONE infant, two bundles of joy makes you feel everything BUT lucky.

From the moment we came home from the hospital, the chaos began.

DAY 1
One baby: Cries when hungry, poopy, tired, and uncomfortable.
Solution: Feed, change, swaddle, and adjust.
Solution with twins: Oh god, it’s 3 am and the other one JUST went to sleep and now this one is crying and waking the other up. Fuck go back to sleep. They will never sleep and we will never sleep and we’re all overtired and is it too late to give one back!?!?!

DAY 21
One baby: 4 am and wants to eat.
Solution: Warm bottle or whip out nip, hold baby and support head, pop nipple in mouth and both fall asleep peacefully together.
Solution with twins: Both babies wake at the same time and are hangry. Spouse is at work and you still haven’t figured out how to feed both babies at once because damn those wobbly heads and fuck they’re both crying at the same time and I’ve only slept 1 hour from the last time I fed you whyyyy do you eat so much thank god I decided not to breastfeed and so let’s feed one at a time while the other one cries and cries and the crying never. Ever. Stops. EVER.

DAY 22
BREAKDOWN.

DAY 41
One baby: Getting out of the house by yourself.
Solution: Dress baby, put it in the car seat, and carry it outside to the car or stroller.
Solution with twins: THIS. DOES. NOT. HAPPEN. Well if I’m being honest, you do exactly as you would with baby one, but spending double the amount of time and adding triple the anxiety.

DAY 198
One baby: Feeding them solid foods.
Solution: Sit baby in a feeding chair and give them one bite at a time.
Solution with twins: Prepare breakfast while praying that this round goes well. Have pacifiers on hand. Dig deep into your core to find what little patience you have left on reserve. Inhale. Exhale. Put bite into one baby’s mouth. Cue screams from second baby. Pop pacifier into second baby’s face. Give bite to second baby. Cue screams from first baby. Pop pacifier into first baby’s blow-hole. Repeat for 98 more bites (if no tantrums erupt). Finish food, wipe hands and faces, cry. Mentally prepare for Round 2: Dinner.

DAY 241
One baby: Crawling around and exploring their new home.
Solution: Follow baby carefully.
Solution with twins. One is carefully followed while the other one burns hand, gets shocked, or ends up under a bookshelf.

KIDDING! But furreal, both can’t be set loose at the same time if you’re working alone. They’re like little puppies, but instead of chewing on shoes, they’re chewing on your hair and each other.

When people stop us on the street or in a mall, we always hear, “Oh, double the trouble!”, “Two for the price of one, hey?!”, or my fave, “You’ve got your hands full!” and boy do I know it! Their comments couldn’t me more true, or annoying.

Early Mornings

This morning I woke up at 7 am to a symphony of high-pitched squeals and incoherent babbling. This is the hour my girls usually decide to seize the day. For me, I groggily and reluctantly peel myself out of bed, put on my glasses, and greet the girls.

Some of you may be thinking, “7am! That’s nothing. I wake up at 5:30 am every day. I pump some iron, read a book, make myself a smoothie, and bike five miles into work before you’ve even put on pants.” If that’s the case, fuck lucky you.

While 7 am is the time the day begins, it’s not the first time I am waking up. Between my hubf (hubby/boyfriend) and myself, we usually get out of bed four or more times in a night. They go to bed around 7:30 pm. We go to bed around 10:30 pm. We wake at 11:30 pm, 1 am, 3:30 am, and 5 am. They don’t require much soothing, but it certainly keeps us from entering a deep sleep. When 7 am rolls around, it may as well be 2 am.

When I peek around their bedroom door to say good morning, the babes give me the biggest smile you’ll ever see. Seriously, you gotta have a baby just to see such a genuine smile. This temporarily perks me up before going to warm their bottles and take a piss.

While the bottles heat up, I put my hair up in a bun for fear of baby tugs and premature baldness and begin the diaper routine. If one has poop in it, I feel guilty for it not being changed sooner. Maybe one of those times in the night they woke up and had pooped and I never realized it oh god I’m a Bad Mom. If there are no poops I feel relieved. Lately, diapering is not as chill as it used to be. At 8 months old, these girls have way too much energy and can’t handle the 30 seconds of stillness required to obtain vaginal freshness. Instead, they decide to roll over and crawl away. Every step of the process is extended by the struggle of continuous flipping and pinning.

Now comes the first feed of the day. If working alone, feeding requires creativity. So I strap each girl into their car seats. One on each side of me, one bottle in each hand, I stare blankly ahead and try to process the first 15 minutes of the day.

I consider making coffee. Not much consideration required.

The Prologue

Ugh. Another mommy blog.

I swore to myself that I wouldn’t let my love of writing and motherhood collide to create yet ANOTHER blog about the miracle that is caring for tiny humans.

But as a previous writer of truths, I feel like I need this. Not only to vent and whip my writing chops back into shape, but because it’s the break for all mothers who look upon perfect Momstagram accounts, vigorously consult mommy forums, and declare, “Well he/she makes it ALL worth it!”.

I’m here to call BS on it all.

As a new mother of TWO infants, I’m only at the edge of the horror that is online mommyhood. New mothers face a lot of pressure. And I’m not just talking about the chest-crushing pressure of not raising a serial killer. Mothers are pressured into making sure their babies reach all their milestones before the average North American baby reaches their own. Mothers have the pressure to whip their bodies into pre-baby glory before mat leave is up. We feel the pressure left, right, and in the centre of our new, saggy muffin top. Social media has made all of this much worse.

Now, I’m not hating on the big SM. I love me some snaps and double-taps as much as the next app addict. But for a new mom, it’s got some serious downfalls. Personally, I don’t know WHAT the fuck I’m doing as a mother of twins. The “fake-it-till-you-make-it” mantra has been my saving grace and the tap I use to guzzle some pride. I frequently turn to the experts (aka, mothers who are strangers) to ask the questions I fear to ask mothers in my own life for fear of being labeled a “Bad Mom” (can we start referring to this as “BM”? Ha).

I follow mommy accounts, subscribe to mommy newsletters, and read mommy-related articles. What I keep discovering is disheartening. Photos of moms making the perfect purees, capturing smiles during bath time, peaceful snuggles, traveling the world, 10 hour naps, full face of makeup, and egad!, never having to change a diaper. And that’s just one mom! Thousands of moms are capturing the same moments. Ain’t no mommy got time for that. On top of it all, moms have a whole lot of things to say when it comes to the photos they see and the articles they read. I’m hitting the reset button and choosing to opt out of it all.

No mom is perfect. I’m doing it wrong, a lot. Everything I think, but shouldn’t think. Do, but shouldn’t do. Eat, but shouldn’t eat.

This morning, for example, I ate a chocolate chip cookie for breakfast. I turned on YouTube to distract my babies while I pooped and did a word search puzzle. As I write this, I am focusing on a personal project instead of tending to the screaming babies next to me trying to get my attention. I’m sure they’ve both shit themselves.

I am not perfect. I was not born into this mommy role. I did not even plan for these two little puke machines. But I am an expat from perfectionism, with a “doing the best I can” mindset.

Also, as much as I’ll joke about the two little girls that I now own, I love them both so very much, they are my new world and new truth, and everything I do is for them. ❤