Friday, February 5, 2010

rock bottom

It's been a while, yes, it certainly has. Where to begin? It seems like forever since we lived in France, and yet like yesterday, too. I'm very lucky to have lived through so much adventure so far and don't know how I'd make it through the days if I hadn't had that experience. We're still adjusting, still "moving in" though it's been a year and a half, so I'm not sure how long I can say that. Suburbia SUCKS. I hate it. We are lucky to live in a townhome so we're not so isolated, but it still sucks. No wonder people go crazy; I certainly am. I spend my days cleaning, cooking and figuring out what the hell I'm going to do to keep my three little boys occupied, out of trouble and hopefully teach something. The only intellectual stimulation I get these days is thinking of what color to paint the bathroom. But I shouldn't be so selfish. At least I have a bathroom.

It's not been so difficult adjusting to life back in the US as it has been adjusting to twins plus 1. That has kicked my butt. I am not tired. I am physically and emotionally spent at the end of each day. But at least I can get out of the house easier now. The only trouble is deciding where to go. So let's see... Kohl's, Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Target, grocery, mall... Where the hell can I take my kids? I'm not much of a shopper especially with three in tow, but I did need to get a few things. Gift cards decide where I go, so ended up at Wal-Mart. Usually I bring something for the kids to eat and/or feed them before we go, but this was a morning where I just needed to get out of the house, in 40 degree weather, with shoes/no shoes, coat/no coat - didn't matter. Just get out and finish dressing in the car!

So it was lunch time and we sat down to eat - at the McDonald's inside of the Wal-Mart. I do my best to cook and eat healthy. Fresh veggies/fruits, little to no sugar, and very few packaged meals, so this is a tripple whammy for me. With three orders of chicken nuggets, two double cheeseburgers, a chicken sandwich and small fry, all for the four of us, we all gobbled it up! As I sat there I realized that I had indeed hit rock bottom and had a choice to make. Either to embrase it, go with the flow, or to become depressed. Only a few years ago, we were in Paris, eating at the finest restaurants, soaking up the most beautiful architecture, strolling through the Musee D'Orsay. Definitely utterly depressed!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

a poop story

I swear we get more laughs in our home from the word "poop" than any other word. Lovely, just lovely. Well, this is quite an interesting story I thought I'd want to remember...

I had just finished nursing jumeau A (while making lunch for mon petit fee and myself), so I ran upstairs to get jumeau B (held them at the same time) because he woke up. I bring jumeau B downstairs and put him in the bouncy seat while I finish making lunch and put jumeau A to sleep (still in arms). Had to take off a wet diaper for jumeau B while holding jumeau A (was still putting him to sleep) and just let him (jumeau B) air out a bit. I put in a load of laundry, finish making lunch for mon petit fee and clean up a bit while my soup heats. Poured my delicious soup in a bowl and then ran upstairs to put jumeau A down as he has fallen asleep. Jumeau B doesn't poop much, maybe just a few times a week. So wouldn't you know it, the 10 minutes I decide to let him air out is the time he decides to poop. Lots of mustardy poop. Well, I'm used to it with jumeau A - he's the pooper in the family. Once he went through FIVE diapers of poop - it just kept coming. Never in my life have I seen so much poop all at once. Anyway luckky me gets to take care of that before I eat my lunch. But here's the kicker - my soup was a butternut squash soup - the exact same color as the poop. And I ate every bit of it (the soup of course!). I was hungry. mmmmmmm delicious.


I am totally overwhelmed. I can never ever relax. Even tonight, I went upstairs to cry because I was so stressed out from all three needing me so much, but I couldn't even do that for long because who comes up to see what I'm doing -mon petit fee - because he wanted to give me a cracker. Both babies were crying crying crying in the car. They didn't like riding in the dark and just wanted to be held. I kept stopping to nurse them, they would be fine, put them in their seats, get going and then two minutes down the road, wailing!

But I am starting to do more now. I did get to the grocery store "on my own" (three in tow but with no assistance - sort of). We got a double jogging stroller so I put mon petit fee and one jumeau in there, sling the other. Thank goodness I can walk there! It's about a 15 minute walk, nothing too far, but far enough to get me a little exercise. I don't waste a second and get to the check out line in about 15 minutes. There I have a little snag as the one in the stroller is crying. So I pull him out while the other is slung on the front of me and try to finish paying. That's all that was needed! A nice man came and bagged my groceries (though I think he worked there and that was his job - still nice), a kind woman stopped and helped me load the groceries in my stroller and a sweet grandma-type lady took a baby off my hands and held him while I strapped the other one in. She didn't want to let him go! Though I must say - he was totally working her with his beautiful smile and big blue eyes! I can't say just how much I really appreciate that! It is hard enough to get all three out of the house in the winter - all bundled up. If you ever see a mom with young kids, help her! Don't ask, just help! They totally made my day. And I am so not the kind of person to ask for help.

I'm still exclusively nursing them both. They are both over 17 pounds at 4 and a half months old. I went to 37 weeks, one was 6.14 the other 6.04. I don't know if I have ever been more proud of any accomplishment ever. This has to be by far the toughest thing I have ever done! Not just the nursing part, but taking care of all three on my own. No family here to help or offer any relief. That's the hardest is the constant, day to day, every single day, no break... Boy am I tired!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

a christmas eve story

Life has become quite different living back in the US and with the addition of two babies. Not sure how I'm coping though I don't really have much time to think about it. So much to be done around the house. Now instead of planning our next trip, it is more planning what needs to be done around the house... BLAH!!!

Anyway, our Christmas Eve went something like this-----

A miracle occurred. Every one of us got a shower/bath - that's never happened before (that we are all clean the same day). I get a shower two times a week, so this was a serious feat we pulled off. It only took all day to get it done. Took about 3 hours for me to make deviled eggs - unassisted - from start to finish. But the fun part was when we went to church. Mon petit fee was going to sing with the Cherub choir. The porcellino had taken him to Sunday School the last couple weeks just for this. We all pile in the car after trying to take a family photo by the Christmas tree - two are attached (can you see a difference between the two???). Mon petit fee and one baby were crying. Mon petit fee because he didn't get a nap so was a bit grouchy and baby, because, well, he was hungry, no surprise there. We get there and get a seat no problem. Service starts and mon petit fee has to go pee. Doesn't come back until the Cherub choir (the one he is supposed to be in) is singing their second song. I'm fiddling with the video camera as I'm nursing jumeau A, but can't see sitting down so we miss that part. About five minutes later, jumeau A poops his pants. So I take him and mon petit fee to find a bathroom or someplace to change him. He did not just poop, he exploded and poop was everywhere. On his cloths and diaper cover. So I have to totally undress him and put on another diaper (cloth) without a diaper cover and NO cloths. We get back and I just have jumeau A draped in a blanket. I normally bring an extra set of cloths, but this was only a 40 minute service, 5 minute drive each way, and we already had my backpack, sling, cameras, diaper bag, two babies and a toddler, so of course I didn't bring an extra set of cloths. We get back to the service and jumeau B wakes up and starts crying. The porcellino takes him out and it's just mon petit fee, jumeau A (who is back to nursing) and me sitting in the pew. I am not shy anymore about nursing in public - when babies are hungry, they've got to eat. But I am good about covering up, except I noticed that I was left a bit exposed out as jumeau A pulled off. Oops! The porcellino comes back with jumeau B asleep again (whew!) and then takes jumeau B and mon petit fee to the front to get their star for baby Jesus. Then we do the candle thing and are outta there. On leaving the parking lot, we pulled away and saw my shoe in the parking spot. It had fallen off when I was getting in the car. We managed to see a few Christmas lights on the way home and made it home with me only having to stick my finger in one baby's mouth - it's a five minute drive. But it was a good evening all in all, not too eventful, except that we missed YOU!

So, here's to a wonderful Christmas. I'll be thinking of you as we drink some (hopefully spiked!) eggnog, open presents, make pancakes, and change poopy diapers! JOY

Friday, November 14, 2008


I have a new definition of tired. Caring full time for twins and a three year old is very easy and very hard. The tasks are easy. Doing them all at the same time day after day after day after day, night after night after night after night - that's the hard part. The first week was really tough with a few sleepless nights. And by that I mean no sleep from 11:00 pm - 4:00 am. The second week was far easier, and by the end of it, we even made it 10 minutes down the road to the park. Our first outing we only got as far as the car. Jumeau gauche pooped on the way to the car, so while I changed him in the car the porcellino strapped the other two in. But when it came time to strap in jumeau gauche, I saw that the car seats were not installed properly, as les deux jumeaux were crying, so we went back inside. Take two and made out the next day.

The porcellino went back to work the third week so I was on my own. That wasn't so bad and now six weeks later, I have made it out on my own (with the three in tow of course) several times now. People are "amazed" and I can see why, but for me, this is a must for my sanity! I am not shy (but discrete) about breastfeeding in stores. It's a must if I am going to see something other than the inside of my home. Having nursed mon petit fee for 3 years and now these two, it's not so horrific for me to do so in public. I used to be so worried about what people would think and didn't want to offend anyone. But now it's all about feeding/taking care of the needs of my babies. I do my best to make it look like I'm just holding one so I don't garner attention, though with twins, I have come to realize that I will be getting so much (unwanted) attention for the rest of our lives! I know that I have seemed rude to a few people, but seriously, I was just tired and needed a little fresh air/time out of the house. I didn't feel like playing 20 questions. Just a few minutes without entertaining please!!! If you see a mother of twins and you want to strike up a conversation, offer her some food first! At least that's what I would prefer. The only things I can cook these days are crock pot recipes I can make in the morning, leftovers, freezer food, and pasta. And now that I am nursing two, I feel hungrier than when I was pregnant with them. Jumeau gauche gained three pounds in one month, and jumeau droite gained 1.5. Apparently one pound a month is good, so we're doing great! And now jumeau gauche who was the smaller twin at 6 lbs 4 ounces is now at six weeks, 11 pounds! Not sure how much jumeau droite weighs now - he was not weighed at the last visit. Actually jumeau gauche had an echocardiogram done because he had a heart murmur (all is normal, but they just wanted to be sure) so that's why we know how much he weighs.

Anyway, for the next few years I forsee lots of poo, pee and vomit I will be cleaning up. What a bright future! No, I am very happy to have my beautiful children. They are my joy, the meaning of my life, the absolute best part of me. And next blog maybe I'll have more info on going diaperless. Now we're using cloth diapers. More economical and better for the environment. But I am going to try to have les jumeaux out of diapers by 4 months. It's definitely possible. Think about how other cultures who don't have diapers do it. And what humans have done for centuries. What an adventure this will be! yeeeeeeee-haaaaaaaa!!!!!!!

Ok, one tired mama is also hungry. It's bagel time.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Well, we've been back for two months now and I still wonder when we are leaving for France. Of course it doesn't help that we still do not have our 51 boxes. I'm getting a bit impatient with that. It should have taken only 6-8 weeks and now it's been over 12. I'm 35 weeks with twins and when the boxes arrive, I will be 36 weeks. Not much time to unpack everything, but it could be worse.

I'm adjusting pretty well I think. I love the people in this area. Everyone is so friendly and very very nice! It's taken me a bit to open back up and remember that it's accepted to smile just for the sake of smiling.

The babies are doing great. I've met some friends and really fantastic neighbors, but I hesitate to tell people that I'm having a homebirth. I don't need someone else's stress. Both babies are head down, I eat very healthy (this has everything to do with a healthy pregnancy/delivery), and my midwives are fantastic. I did a short photo shoot for a friend of a friend and here is a photo from it - all 180 pounds or so of me:

It was for a project she was doing (non-profit). Check her out:

I know people think I am crazy for having a homebirth, at least the ones who don't know any better. And that's fine. I just really don't want a c-section, nor do I want to go to the hospital where someone is more likely to intervene and not let my body just go through the process of labor. I don't want any drugs. I don't want to be cut. This is a very private matter for me and I need to be in an environment where I feel safe, can move about freely and let my body do what it was designed to do, you know, like every other animal on the planet.

With twins, doctors would most likely intervene and find some reason to give me a c-section. This is not acceptable to me. Laboring women have 25% more chance of dying with a c-section, so regardless of what we're told, having a c-section is not the safer option. The real issue is that doctors feel that they need to do c-sections because it is best for them and their establishments. Who would "allow" me to labor for as long as I needed to with the shortage of nurses, the large volume of patients doctors have these days (they have to as some pay as much as $300 a day just for malpractice insurance), and the need for hospitals to turn beds over. Think about it - every other animal on the planet is expected/allowed to birth instinctually and without intervention, but womens bodies are not capable? I don't understand the logic of that.

"In the countries with the best maternal and infant outcomes - the Netherlands, Sweeden, and Denmark - women and babies benefit from lifelong universal healthcare, but that care is markedly different: obstetricians attend only high-risk pregnancies. The vast majority of laboring women get individual support from a midwife, are free to move about and birth in whatever position feels best, and are rarely induced, anesthetized, or cut. These countries have between a 14% and an 18% cesarean rate, and in the Netherlands some 20% - 30% of births happen at home with virtually no medical intervention at all. Their approach, opposite to that of the United States, is to support physiological birth, allowing labor to begin and progess in its own time, and intervening only when necessary." (Pushed by Jennifer Block). This makes sense to me and why a homebirth is the most logical thing to do. I do not want to be tied to a bed. When you are laying down, your pelvis contracts by up to 30%! In addition, on your back you are pushing the baby uphill, against gravity. How does this make sense?

When I went to interview doctors in France, they all pretty much laughed at me when I told them I wanted to deliver naturally. I asked if I could move about/not lay down and one of the doctors, said of course not. I had to lay down because how else would the doctor see to get the baby out? So it's all about what is best for the doctor and not the laboring woman and her baby? That's what it boils down to.

And for the argument "what if"... can be applied to a hosptial birth as well, but in my opinion there are more "what if's" to happen in a hospital seeing that more people are involved. What if whomever is in attendance is ill (can pass it to me/baby)? Or are at the end of their shift and what to hurry home? Or administered too much/too little whatever? Or misread a chart? Or had a bad day and it affected their work? etc... Fetal monitors do not work as we think they do. They are not accurate. We're so gadget reliant that we have lost touch with our instincts. I could go on, but that's all the time I have.

My two favorite books on the subject if you want more info:
Pushed by Jennifer Block
Active Birth by Janet Balaskas

dare to dream??? dare to follow your instincts... they are never wrong.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

le rentre - to miss and not to miss

So thrilled to be moving back to the US, I can't even tell you!!! Especially with two more on the way, it will be good to be in a land where people in general like children. I've compiled a list of things I will miss and things I won't. Here are a few:

What I will miss:
-outdoor cafes
-walking to my favorite organic store - 2 minute walk
-walking to my favorite Japanese restaurant - 2 minute walk
-having access to 4 different grocery stores within a 10 minute walking distance
- so many different types of glorious cheese, fois gras, escargot
- taking your time to eat (in restaurants)
-access to great travel opportunites
-not having to have a car
- walking EVERYWHERE!!!! (bank, pharmacy, grocery store, post office, restaurants, etc)
-the ease of the public transport - bus, metro, RER, tram, SNCF trains
-my work (teaching my string groups)
-playing in my orchestra - Ut5eme
-having tea/lunch at the Musee d'Orsay - one of my FAVORITE things to do!
-being around people all the time
-city life
-the parks
-bike riding in the bois de boulogne
-the politeness of people
-having priority on public transport and in grocery stores being pregnant and with an infant
-being able to cut in line at museums b/c I'm pregnant or with a small child
-the museums
-MESSAGE (support group for moms living in the Paris area who speak English)
-meeting people of all nationalities
-making (non-french) friends fast
-my guardien (he carried a box of groceries home for me! such a sweet man)
-my favorite libanese restaurant
-such easy access to fresh fruits and veggies (they have stands/markets here for fruit/veggies like they have fast food/convienence stores in the US)
-buying things (grocery) in small quantities
-the low cost medical care

What I will not miss:
-not being able to sit outside at the outdoor cafes b/c of all the cigarette smoke
-smelling everyone's cigarette smoke walking down the street
-such little options in the sushi department - they all offer the same thing and not much to select from.
-having to go to 2-3 different grocery stores b/c they are so small and carry different things
- having to make a special bus trip to get cheddar cheese
-can never get a quick (under an hour minimum) meal - very important when you have kids
- price of eating out!
-sitting at a restaurant with mon petit fee and them not giving him a freaking fork/place mat!
-lack of customer service!!!!! - there is no such thing here as "the customer is always right"
-dealing with the French bureaucracy
-having to renew my carte de sejour every year - going to the prefacture and them telling I am missing x, y, and z when they didn't tell me to begin with...
-the weather
-grumpy people
-living in a small apartment
-dog pee and poop on sidewalk!
-"ce n'est pas possible"
-not feeling like I belong
-knowing I don't belong
-people telling me what I should and shouldn't do
-always having to buy things (grocery) in small quantities
-having to wait until 7:00pm to eat out for dinner (most places don't open/serve before then)
-ordering wine and water in a restaurant and getting only one glass. Is it really that difficult to bring out another without having to always ask for one?