Sunday, April 28, 2013

Dad for the win! By Steve

One thing that gets lost sometimes when it comes to the pregnancy itself and especially after the baby, or in my case babIES, are born is the dad and what we go through throughout this whole process. I mean, we enjoyed getting pregnant, obviously there's no question there, but what happens to us during and after is much different than what one would expect.

I thought as soon as the babies were born I would see their faces for the first time, make the immediate connection that they were MY boys, and I would love them instantly and we would ride off into the sunset. Didn't happen that way. All of a sudden there are these 2 foreigners that I am responsible for and I don't know who the hell they are. Now don't take that the wrong way. What I mean is is that us dads don't have the bonding time that comes with being pregnant. Being able to feel them inside us. I am not complaining about this because having an alien inside me has never been on my list of "things I wish I could experience in life" but because we don't have those experiences we don't get to bond in the same way as mom. Whether it was a good pregnancy or a bad one there is a bond there. Knowing that they are real, living, moving, and that they are yours is something that the mothers experience almost from the beginning. All us guys can do during this time is hope we don't upset the mother and try and stay out of the way when needed, and be there when needed...and trust me if you confuse the one for the other you will be sent to timeout...aka the couch. A well intended helpful hand can be used to high five your own face in a heart beat if mommy isn't having the best of days.

Once they were here with us there is no time for introductions and small talk.  Nope. They need shit. They make it their job to shit. A lot. So Daddy has to make sure there are butt covers, aka diapers, to take care of said shit among a million other things that babies need. If you are not aware at this point babies need a lot of stuff...they literally didn't bring anything with them on this trip...babies are very poor planners.  So you do what you have too. In my case its work crazy hours 7 days a week and go to school full time on top of it all. So when did I finally start to feel a bond with my kids??? Great question...leads me to the whole point of this blog...

After talking with other dads, it seemed fairly common that it could take over 3 or so months for me to start really feeling an emotional connection to them. This is about the time that they start to smile, look at you and realize who you are, reach out for your hand, etc. They start to show more and more of their personalities. They start to become like real people...your real people. I felt bad at first before I talked to other dads because I thought something was wrong with me. I beat myself up thinking maybe something emotionally was wrong with me for not feeling anything in the beginning. However I found out it is very normal to go through this process and the best part of it is is when we finally do come around it's the most amazing feeling that only someone with kids can understand. The strongest and most manly of men can be brought to their knees with joy by the smile or laughter of a their child.

I leave you with the words of wisdom for all you fathers out there:
"No matter how badass or tough you are if a toddler hands you a toy phone, you answer that shit"

Monday, April 22, 2013

WTF Happened to My Body...Part 2...What Can You Do?

Oh babies. The bouncing bundles of screeching drooling joy :) But sometimes they're just drooly. And sometimes they're just screeching. And sometimes they are drooling and screeching while you're staring in the mirror thinking "What the HELL happened?"

I'm going to preface this post with a couple of key points.

1. How "in shape" were you to begin with? You can't be mad that you don't look like the latest famous postpartum mom on the cover of People if you weren't kicking your own ass before the baby was a reality. Or ever. Those assholes have 24 hour personal trainers. And they're airbrushed. Are you strong? Were you strong?

2. Did you have a cearean? That sucks. Been there! Wouldn't recommend it to a first time mom thinking it's "easier." You are going to have to work twice as hard and be four times as careful when it comes to your core.

3. Are you willing to work? Yeah you have a baby, I have a baby (x2), but you've got to come first at some point at least a couple of days a week. Work does not equate to a stroller class, especially after the first 3 months. I mean really work. Running sprints, weighted exercises, SAFE abs (for the first 12 months), TRX, etc. You should be wishing your baby was crying to escape the next exercise for it to make an impact. If you aren't willing to sweat and to be sore, then don't be surprised when you don't see things changing. With little effort comes little reward.

4. How long ago did you deliver?
-6 weeks? Go walk. Walk far. But walk. Try a boot camp class. Modify it for your needs.
-12 weeks? Try things you know you could do before the baby was a part of your life. Can you do them? Some of them? That's awesome. Keep going!
-20 Weeks? Unless you suffered a setback during or after a delivery, you should be back to the old you (within reason). If you're nursing, drink lots of water, make sure you're eating enough, but make sure you're working hard. Don't give yourself an out anymore, your little boo is rolling over and getting bigger, and pretty soon you'll be expected to chase them!

Alright. So I had twins. My five foot four, size 2, crazy athletic, running 10 miles a day self grew and delivered twins. That's a crazy accomplishment if you ask me. It beats every medal of every run I've ever finished. It trumps my degree. It OWNS. If you've had 1, 2, 3, 4, or more babies I BOW TO YOU! This crap is hard! And as soon as they're born you know you're concerned with how flat your stomach is, like everyone is waiting to see how quickly you "bounce back." Well I have something to say about that. It's simple actually. FUCK THAT SHIT.

I was in the best shape of my life before I got pregnant. I had the flat stomach. You could count my ab muscles. Guess what. I'm about 6 months out and as seemingly flat as my stomach sometimes looks, there are no abs to count. They are there. I'm strong, and I can feel them, but you can't see them. I've got a good 10-20 pounds stuck to me (depending on the time of day) thanks to nursing twins and the demand that creates. My clothes fit differently, hell my freaking shoes fit differently.

I know though, that I am working hard. I take about 5 boot camp classes per week (no I don't have a nanny...I bring the boys and if they cry I stop and handle it), I take the boys on walks, and I watch what I eat.....sort of. All of it adds up and is important. If you're sitting at home watching Oprah, eating junk, and feeling crappy, something has to give. I'm beginning to feel good again, the boys are healthy and chunky, and I'm reaching a comfortable place...although I'm sure nothing will ever be good enough for the mirror. Hell, it wasn't before I had babies!

At the end of everyday I remember that for every pound, or every stretch, or every weird mark I didn't have before...I now have the most amazing things that I will ever be given in this life. You can't put a price on your child, and you can't put a price on the sacrifices that you make for them. Stop giving yourself such a hard time. I won't be wearing a bikini to the beach again probably ever. ONE PIECES FOR THE WIN! ;) it is...6 months after twins....

The dark freckles bother me most I think

Love your babies, and love yourself. In my experience nothing is ever good enough, so be happy, be healthy, be comfortable. If you aren't one or all of those things, then begin making changes, but if you are, say to hell with it to anyone that doesn't think your best is good enough. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

All Multiples Parents Can Relate

Sometimes going out in public can be a chore, and not because of the babies.

Top 5 things we hear (and the way we'd like to respond) every single time we leave the house. These questions are asked multiple times. By various strangers. Every. Single. Time. We. Leave. The. House.

1. "Are they twins?"- No. They are best friends who met on Facebook.

2. "Can I touch them?" - Do you want to lose a finger?

3. "So you guys don't get out a lot do you?" - Then why the hell are you stopping us?!

4. "Are they yours?" - Shhhhhhhhh. ::look around for law enforcement::

5. "Oh they're identical!" (Well no actually, they aren't) "Oh yes, they are. They most definitely are" - I realize they look alike, but I also know exactly how many amniotic sacs and placentas I had, as well as the placement of those placentas. But if you would like we can go to my doctors office and I can request records.

Here is a picture inside of our heads while we are approaching any stranger in a public place:
1. Don't make eye contact.
2. Okay, crap. We didn't make eye contact, but they still appear to be walking straight for the stroller.
3. Yes, despite our best efforts they do seem as though they are going to try to engage in conversation (still staring at the ground, fumbling with phone, anything not to look directly at them).
4. Alright, they've stopped and said hello. How can I make this a "Yes, they are twins." one and done conversation?
5. Oh shit they want to talk.
6. For crying out loud, they're neighbor's best friend's aunt's college roommate's dad is a twin. They're an expert.
7.Smile. Pray one of the babies cries.
8.Good lord they're still talking!
9.This must be what it feels like to have triplets.
10.You're still talking, but as you can see we're leaving. I'm probably mumbling something like "Babies. Nap. Might cry. Gotta go. So sorry. Great chat. Nice weather."

As much as love seeing people smile at the babies, it becomes a bit of a hassle when you've been at Publix for 10 minutes and you've already been stopped 18 times, and heard the same 5 questions each one of those times. We try to remember that it's fun seeing babies, especially multiple babies, but if we're short please remember you were not the first, or probably even the hundred and first, person to say the exact same thing to us that day. Eventually the boys will grow older and people won't stop anymore, and I will miss it, but until that day, I will stare at the ground or pretend to get a phone call when I see you walking toward me ;)

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Welcome to mommy-hood! Where nothing is good enough for other moms, your kids, and probably not even yourself!

Langston looking at Kingston, 5 months 1 week
I've sat at a dinner table and had my foot stomped on to shut up, and I've sat at others and been told how nice it is that "this lady speaks her mind." I have found that people educate themselves on the topics that are important to them. You have limited finances. How can you save money? You are going back to school. How do you do it? You're having a baby. What are the pregnancy milestones? Whatever it may be, if it's important to you, you learn it. Why the hell else would there be so may books about this stuff???

Well I haven't shared this on here before, but I will now, because it's relevant. I grew up with a hyper-conscious mom. Not just mom stuff, but everything. What's the middle east doing? What's going on in Africa? Why can't Americans smoke weed legally? Why do my children need dairy? What are the benefits and risks to vaccines? How does homeopathy work? At the same time though, she was drinking like a fish, smoking cigarettes, and seeing countless interchangeable therapists for bipolar, borderline personality disorder....or whatever else the current diagnosis may be.

I was given armor, I know this. I not only know the bullshit of a drunk mother with a mental disorder, but I know an entire childhood history of a drunk mother trying what's best, the "tree hugger" "crunchy" "granola" solutions. And I do not mean to put them in quotes like I don't believe in them. I cloth diaper, I breast feed, I kept my sons intact, I hate vaccines, etc., but I don't go about these things as she, and many mothers I've met recently do.

This is actually awesome. Reason? I watched her try to tell, explain, inform, scream. etc. her reasons for everything for 15 years under her care. I watched people literally hide from her, including grocery store baggers, sales clerks, and anyone else who had encountered her prior.

Lesson? You WILL NOT get anyones attention this way. You want to cloth diaper? Sweet. be a human and inform WHEN IT IS ASKED. You breastfeed? Fucking awesome. Your baby is lucky, and you know that. Will every baby be so lucky? No. But you can sure as hell give advice IF it's asked for, and you can even bake some lactation bread when it isn't. You are against circumcision? I feel you, I am too. But I have a lot of Jewish friends, and as I have to swallow it for them, I have to with my friends who do not believe what I do. I DO NOT agree with arguing with people to believe what you do. First off, you wouldn't like something shoved down your throat, and second, no one is going to be receptive of that kind of information.

Coming at these topics like some holier than thou asshole doesn't do anything, except make you look like an asshole. If you really have something to say, as I have many times, send them a personal email or Facebook message. The worst they can do is ignore you. Spouting conspiracy, and that is exactly what it comes off as, on a public forum for all of their friends and family to see it tasteless, tactless, and shows very little, if none at all, class.

You don't want to vaccinate your children? Okay. I understand and agree with that. I had a terrifying reaction to the Pertussis vaccine as a child. But look at your friends on Medicaid. Can they find a Medicaid AND a non vaxing doctor? It's really tough here in Sarasota, and we're known for being "open minded."

You cloth diaper and want everyone to follow suit? Awesome. Me too! But you know what I don't do? Shove that down every mom's throat. I usually get asked about doing it with two babies, and I talk about how much money it has saved me (because it has) and how the boys seem to prefer it. And you know what? I know 4 moms who have made the switch in the last month. I never once told them they were wrong before, I didn't tag them in posts, and I sure as hell didn't call them out because they were using Pampers. I simply lived my life, and they chose to try it out. And those that didn't? So what? How is it any of my business what works for them and their family?

I also think that a small change is better than no change at all. I recently posted a picture of some cloth wipes that I made at home with 10 minutes to spare and no trip to the store. I knew that the ingredients I was using weren't the best, but I knew that it was a start. I CAUGHT HELL, both on Facebook and off. Here I am swapping chemical soaked, non biodegradable wipes for cloth with a splash of 98% water, and I'm getting shit. I would argue that if I was thinking of doing cloth wipes and I saw my picture I might actually do it, and experiment and research solutions...because those ingredients are something ALMOST EVERY mom has at the house. Are they the best? No. Is that what I will use? Absolutely not. But is it better than the chemical infused, diaper rash causing crap at the store? Yes. If I posted a picture of not-likely-to-be-found-in-the-everyday-mom's-pantry ingredients NO ONE would do it. They'd look at that shit on Facebook and scroll on. I stand by my picture, my solution, and my reason. I simply wanted to share that many Earth friendl-IER/baby friendly products can be made at home with simple ingredients and limited set up.

I could yell. I could be crazy. But instead I choose to simply do what is best for my family, as you will for yours, and if it in turn helps, informs, or educates someone else? Then fantastic.

I'm doing things wrong according to someone, and you're doing things wrong according to someone else. That will never change. And 99% of the time what you do for your children won't even be good enough for you. Welcome to mommy-hood!