Hey! I wrote a blog post for the Ottawa Babywearing Group Blog! It’s about my “stash”…. whereby a “stash” is not facial hair or drugs but my stable of trusty baby carriers. Check out the post and go give the OBG Blog some love: it is a phenomenal and growing parenting resource.
I would say that life gets busier as the twins hit toddlerhood. I used to have time to blog but now, I take 30 minutes to check Facebook before I go to bed and that’s the extent of my online presence. I’m not sure where time went. It seems to run through my fingers like water, one day after the next.
Here’s what a day looks like when I work. I work 3 days a week.
5:15 Wake-up. That’s an hour earlier than the children. I need the hour to wake-up before the children descend on the kitchen. Believe me, this makes me a better person. During this hour, I drink my coffee and maybe do a bit of non-demanding work like formatting my writing portfolio. Most of the time, I read the paper and check what happened on Facebook overnight.
6:00 My three teenagers wake-up. No, scratch that. My two oldest teenagers wake-up. Their sister sleeps through the alarm, the pots and pans, and a nuclear apocalypse.
During the weekend, I make cookie dough that I roll into logs and refrigerate, kind of like a homemade Pillsbury cookie thing. As the kids get-up, I bake cookies for their lunches. It makes them better people.
6:15 The teenagers descend on the kitchen and start making breakfast and putting their lunches together. If they are in a good mood, this can be a pleasant time. When the grocery is running low, it is very unpleasant.
6:30 I realize that the youngest of the three teenagers is missing-in-action. I send someone, usually me, to wake her up. She looks at me with eyes wide open, she may even answer me. It doesn’t mean that she is awake.
6:45 The younger four start waking-up in no set order. This is when the fun begins. Except that it’s not always fun. I may or may not have a series of temper tantrums over this or that. I may wonder why they didn’t stay in bed, as I would if I was still tired. Mystery.
Between 6:30 and 7:20, I start harassing my teenagers to do their morning chores. They need to empty the dishwasher (so I can fill it), feed the dog (so it can go out to poop) and take the dog out to poop (so she can go in her crate for the day). This is the part where they start complaining about the unfairness of life: what, you mean that our meals are cooked, our bills are paid, and we have to empty the clean dishwasher?? What’s next? Put away the laundry that is washed for us??
If the twins are still sleeping, I have time to have a shower. If not, it will have to wait until everybody is off to school.
7:00 My spider-sense alerts me to the fact that I have not yet seen my youngest teenager. If we’re lucky, she’s up and getting dressed. If not watch-out because the bus comes in 20 minutes. She will touch down in the kitchen like a tornado and in a whirlwind of orders, barked and otherwise, will get ready to go to school. She may accusingly declare that since I made her in such a way that she doesn’t wake-up at the sound of the alarm, it is my responsibility to ensure that she is up and dressed at a reasonable time. Yeah, my kids say funny stuff like that all the time. The problem is that they believe it.
The twins are getting up. I nurse them and give them breakfast. Oatmeal with fruits or cold cereals with fruits and yogourt.
7:30 The first batch of children is off to school. I realize that my elementary school kids are still snoozing. Crap. I keep promising myself to get them up at 7:00.
My 4 year-old demands a “giant hug”. This means that I must sit on the couch with her for as long as her Hugness desires. It’s a pit stop for physical affection: when the tank is full, she drives away.
I rotate between helping the younger children with their breakfast and making 3 lunches. Our lunches consist of a main meal (sandwich, pizza made on naan bread, pasta with cheese…), a fruit, cookies, juice or water in a bottle and a snack like yogourt, apple sauce or popcorn (we have a corn popper. My neighbour wasn’t able to sell it at her garage sale 15 years ago so she gave it to me. Best money I never spent: we use it daily).
8:20 I shoo my elementary school kids off to school. This usually involve a mad rush for matching shoes and a desperate cry for “Did you sign my tests?” followed by a flurry of papers being pulled out of the bag as I am trying to push stuff into the bag. Chaos ensues.
8:21 The second batch of kids are gone. I take a deep breath and feel like a deserve a drink. I have a condescending thought for all the people who think that 8:30 am is early. Normally, I should be getting in the car to go to work. More likely though, I am still un-showered and in my pjs. My husband comes out of his home office and asks: “Aren’t you going to work?” I reply: “Of course I am, why are you asking?”
8:30 Showered, sort of dressed, hair…. bah. Whatever. I look for my daughter’s socks. I pick the first two. They never match. One day, I gave her matching socks and she laughed. She doesn’t even know that socks come in matching pairs, this child of the Hand-Me-Downs. Manage expectations People, this will keep you sane. I look at what my daughter is wearing. It usually involves layers, textures and patterns. Lots of patterns. I tell my husband that the Montessori teachers must appreciate the fact that she dresses entirely on her own. He doubts it.
8:40 The “You’re late” school bus drives by my house. That’s the bus I’m never supposed to see because I’m supposed to be long gone, driving my daughter to preschool. We get in the van and drive away.
8:50 Drop-off at preschool.
9:30 I get to work. I write correspondence for a federal Member of Parliament. What this means is that when people write to their MP, I answer. My boss reads my replies and edits them as needed. I can tell how his week is going by the amount of edits. He can probably do the same. I work 3 days a week. On the days I am not at work, I would be going for a run with the twins and my dog.
2:30 I get off work, pick-up a few food items on my way to preschool, pick-up my daughter and possibly other people too. There is a graph that explains when and where I am to pick up which child on any given day. It was trained into me. “This is not a drill, soldier. This is a live project. You’re a go.” (Except that Matt Damon is not in the van with me).
4:00 I get home with my daughter. The teens are already home. The twins are crazy cranky and initiate the whole whine-and-cheese fest for mom. I nurse one while the other has a complete meltdown. I nurse the other. If I am lucky, I still have some frozen meals prepared. If not, I have to make supper while my three younger children compete to see who can drive mom nuts the fastest to the most spectacular effect. I play a game of kids-whack-a-mole involving serving 4 different snacks while trying to keep the twins from doing what twins do best: induce chaos. With one hand, I make supper while keeping the kids from raiding the fridge with the other hand, and closing the cupboard doors with the other hand, while retrieving the hand-mixer with the other hand, while getting a twin out of the (stored) deep-fryer with the other hand, while grabbing a juice bottle just before the other twin pours it on his face with the other hand. Twin whack-a-mole is a fun game except that my sense of humour is deficient.
5:15 I fix myself a double cappuccino. For the second half of the day.
5:30 or 6:30 We eat. And by “eat” I mean that I stuff my face with one hand while feeding the twins with the other. My husband and teenagers are trying to have an intelligent conversation about world events while the younger children exercise their right to free expression. My husband tries to tell me something. It usually ends with “….nevermind, I’ll tell you in 25 years.”
6:30 The twins have their baths and get ready for bed. I get the 4 younger children cleaned and ready for bed while my husband cleans the kitchen. On any given day, there is a waltz of activities and teens comings-and-goings. By 7:00 pm, the twins are down and we get bedtime routines started for the next 2. My husband and 7 year-old son are reading The Chronicles of Narnia together. I go lie down with my 4 year-old until she settles enough to fall asleep. This may require a few stories and more songs. I may go a little nuts as I sit there with her, mentally running through my to-do list like an endless reel.
8:30 By now, the four youngest children are asleep for sure. We cycle laundry, finish cleaning the kitchen. My husband and I often go for coffee or ice cream in the evening if the house is somewhat under control. Or we may go on a grocery date. I know, so hot!
10:00 pm Ideally, we would go to bed now. In reality, we can still be found chatting with our teenagers or wasting time watching a movie (him) or checking social media (me). This is when, in theory, I would be blogging but I’m not.
11:00 pm One of the twins wakes-up. Usually Lucas. I nurse him back to sleep for the night and go to bed.
3:00-4:00 am The other twin wakes-up. I nurse her back to sleep. Return to bed. Find the 4 year-old curled-up in my place. Return her back to her bed (located right at the foot of mine, it’s a short push and a shove).
5:15 am The next day….
1 One long woven piece of cloth is all I need to get around with the twins. It takes up a lot less space than a double stroller and the babies are happier in there. They are getting heavy now at 20 lbs a piece and I can only wear them comfortably for 30-45 minutes. Read more about the weird and wonderful world of woven wraps by following this link to The Weird and Wonderful World of Woven Wraps
2 Two baby carriers (one woven wrap and a Boba structured carrier) replaced one double stroller and two high chairs on a recent overnight trip. That’s what I call efficient use of space. Who said that traveling with baby required a semi-trailer?
3 Three slow cheers for me: After a great month of August and beginning of September, I had achieved my goal of running 4 times a week, twice 10 km, one fast 6 km and a long 15 km. I was also going to the pool twice a week. Heck, I was even running 4km to the pool and back! I had energy despite the lack of sleep, I felt great. Then the twins went through a hell of a teething and cold episode and I stopped sleeping completely for a few weeks. It’s been almost two months of no exercise and my energy is in the tank, my sleep patterns are shot and my spirits are low. I have started gaining weight again. It’s time for the proverbial kick in the you-know-where!
4 Four Crying Out Loud David Petraeus! What is to be concluded when a charismatic and uniquely talented individual throws away a brilliant career based on his strategic judgement and acumen, a career rooted in reliability and trustworthiness, loyalty and commitment to his country, for an extra-marital affair? That fame and power pale on the scale of human needs compared to love and affection? That the smartest people are not always that smart? If the director of the CIA conducts an affair over a Gmail account, what hope is there for the rest of us?
5 Five (sarcastic) fingers way up for Canadians who are indebted to record levels, and even higher for the analysts I overheard on the radio saying that it wasn’t such a big deal since default rates remained relatively low. Basically saying that Canadians may own less than they owe but hey, no biggy. There is no need to worry until the collection agencies are calling. In Kelly McPharland’s words:
“Joe Average Canadian now owes $26,768 (on top of the mortgage, remember). Worse, Joe’s carrying $3,573 on his credit card, which is just flat-out nuts unless you consider being gouged at usurious interest rates a boon to society
But Canadians? Hey, we’re not worried. Income growth is stagnant, the housing market is cooling (meaning we’re not as rich as we think we are) and Flaherty says he can’t balance the budget after all because commodity prices are suffering. But people are still managing to cover the monthly payments, so why worry? We’re already borrowing four times faster than the rate of inflation, and Christmas is coming, so let’s all just stick that concern in a sock and put it in a drawer until later.”
So as Christmas approaches, I would like to remind you that your children don’t need nearly as much stuff as you think they do.
This post is a babywearing picture album with captions for those wondering about the different kinds of baby carriers.
I am not an expert, just a mom with opinions. I do not sell or advertise carriers but I use them a lot. When the twins were born, I started using the double stroller everywhere. It served it’s purpose. But as they grew the bulk of the stroller became unnecessary. I decided to ditch the double stroller in favour of a single lightweight stroller and more babywearing (the verb used to refer to parents who prefer “wearing” their babies on their bodies for transport and comfort rather than use devices such as swings and strollers).
In one of my Facebook groups, a mom was asking about the difference between different kinds of soft-structured carriers. This is a picture album with captions resuming the main differences.
You will notice that I only use ergonomic soft carriers and woven wraps.Ergonomic carriers hold baby in a seated position as opposed to the popular Baby Bjorn or Snugli where baby is held dangling by the crotch. People often ask “What is the best carrier?” and the answer is unfailingly “It depends.” The best carrier is the one that fits the best . The best fit is influenced by mom and baby’s body type, age, weight and life experience (yes, life experience. Such as a back injury or abdominal surgery.)
As you may have noticed, the move and consecutive adaptation-reorganization have punched a significant hole in my ability to blog. Not only time is at a premium but I am mentally and physically exhausted and unable to string two coherent ideas together. I have posts started on attachment parenting twins, the twins’ 9 month update, the twins’ birth story, an update on the running diaries about setbacks (ha!) but I’m unable to finish them. So until my brain returns, here is another lazy picture post.
This month we are experimenting with different infant/child carriers. With 3 under 3 at home during the day (and with me to run errands), I am definitely short a few hands. Pushing a bulky double stroller just adds to my misery and I started carrying the twins in two baby carriers, one at the front and one at the back. We went on a countryside stroll this Father’s Day and left the stroller in the van. In this picture (above), Clara is carrying Lucas in an Ergo baby carrier, Eloise is carrying Eve in a BabyHawk Mai Tei and I have Sarah in a Boba 3G.
The Boba 3G was a loaner from a local breastfeeding and babywearing store. Go give Milkface some love: they are awesome. The carrier goes on and off easily and is the best I found for carrying a squirmy preschooler. My daughter is 35 lbs and fits in the Boba like a dream thanks to a high back, wide body and handy foot stirrups.
… but bear with me: it makes my life a lot easier. She is near me, under control, and will stay in the carrier a lot longer than the stroller. When it’s time to walk, she goes up and down easily. I thought it would also be a good workout but the excellent design and weight distribution in the Boba 3G makes it feel like a whimpy daypack…
The children love carrying their baby siblings in carriers. And I love the help!
Everyone agrees with me yet that big families and good carriers rock?
Les jumeaux ont 12 semaines et je poursuis ma quête d’une meilleure nuit de sommeil. J’ai relu mes livres sur l’hygiène du sommeil et j’ai réalisé (une fois de plus) que plusieurs de mes problèmes avec certains enfants étaient directement reliés à une insuffisance de sommeil ou une mauvaise hygiène du sommeil. Les jumeaux ne font pas exception, ou plutôt, Lucas ne fait pas exception. Je dois commencer à respecter la qualité de son sommeil de jour si je veux avoir un bon sommeil de nuit, ce qui veut dire que je ne peux pas vadrouiller à gauche et à droite toute la journée avec les bébés: ils doivent être à la maison dans leur lit pour faire deux bonnes siestes par jour. Bonjour magasinage en-ligne! J’ai aussi remis les pendules à l’heure — pour ainsi dire — quant à l’heure de coucher de David qui devrait être entre 19:00 et 19:30 au plus tard et non 21:00 dans mon lit en écoutant les nouvelles.
Dans une famille nombreuse avec des enfants entre 15 ans et 2 mois, l’heure du coucher requiert un effort soutenu. Pendant ma grossesse, j’avais acquis une vitesse de croisière qui me permettais de coucher les enfants un après l’autre en ordre d’âge. Évidemment, les ados se couchent eux-même. Maintenant que les jumeaux sont nés, David et Sarah ont de la compétition pour la fenêtre de 19:00-19:30. Les bébés sont prêt à être couchés pour la nuit vers 19:00 et doivent prendre leur bain, prendre leur bouteille et être allaités avant de se coucher. Si j’attends trop longtemps et qu’ils deviennent sur-fatigués, je n’arrive pas à coucher Lucas. J’ai donc du développer l’art de porter les jumeaux fatigués pendant que je couche David et Sarah.