Thursday, January 18, 2007


Thanks, everyone, for your replies to my last post. That's what's so great about this whole blogging thing -- you really do find out that you're not alone. I'm pleased to report that the hormones seem to be settling down a bit and I'm feeling somewhat better.

I also feel like I'm getting to know and enjoy the gals a little bit more. I'm trying to take more time to hold and look at and talk to them, unresponsiveness be damned! They do cuddle well. And this morning I read them a story, The Mitten. I think some of the finer points of the plot and themes were lost on them, and they were quite frankly indifferent to the gorgeous illustrations, but that really isn't their fault since they can't see more than a foot in front of them. And can't speak English. But they seemed to like the sound of my voice, and I felt like I was being a Good Mother.

Now, answers to your most pressing queries:

1. How did you come up with the girls' names? And how did you decide which to name which one?

Elsa was inspired by the character Ilsa Lund in Casablanca. (We're big Ingrid Bergman fans. Congratulations to the Motel Manager for guessing this one correctly, by the way!) We considered Ilsa, but decided to go with the slightly less foreign-sounding version of the same name so people wouldn't think that we hate America. And freedom. Elsa was the quieter of the twins in-utero, and has a sort of elegant look to her (for a baby, that is). There is also something elfish (elvin?) about her, which makes a nice mnemonic: Elsa the elf.

As for Clio, we liked the idea of a name from Greek mythology, hoity toities that we are, and were considering "Calliope" but weren't crazy about the nickname "Callie." So we checked out the names of the other Greek muses. Clio is the muse of history and heroic poetry, and is known as "the Proclaimer." We had a feeling this would be the right sort of name for Twin B, who liked to make her presence known in the womb. Indeed, Clio now likes to raise her arms and wave them around like a little dictator, so the "proclaimer" moniker still fits well. I'm annoyed to say that there is also an advertising award show called the Clios. So far, amazingly, none of my advertising colleagues have made any jokes about this.

2. How are things going with the doula?

Things went well. We had three visits from Arlene, who helped me figure out how to tandem breastfeed, offered encouraging advice, did some light cleaning and laundry, and one day made us a really excellent omelette for lunch. We also had visits from two other doulas when she wasn't available. Having them was nice, but we found ourselves not having too much for them to do. With A. being home, and both of us being fairly organized people, we've been managing to hold things together pretty well. So, we've decided instead to get an overnight nanny service that specializes in twins once a week. They came for the first time on Monday night, and Oh. my. God. I only had to get up once to pump, and therefore got almost a full night's sleep. The nanny stayed downstairs with the girls, gave them bottles (of pumped milk), changed them, swaddled them up like cigars, did their laundry, and emptied and loaded the dishwasher. Even though I'm not paying for it, I am embarrassed to say how much this service costs. But, it is so choice. If you have the means...

3. Which twin do you like better?

What a ridiculous question! Obviously, the one who's sleeping. Seriously, though, it is an odd thing to have these two completely different babies to divide my affection and attention between. "Divide" feels like the wrong word, though, because it's not like they each get half what they'd get if they were singleton babies. At least, I hope not. Though it is heartbreaking to have to let one cry while I'm feeding or changing the other one, simply because I can't get to them both at once. (N/A, of course, if A. is here and we can do man-on-man baby handling. Then, he doesn't have tits, which does put him at a disadvantage sometimes.)

The girls do have different personalities and tendencies, though I wonder how much of it is real and how much is our own projection. Elsa seems more serious and complex, Clio more silly and emotional. Elsa is prettier, Clio is cuter. Elsa's going to be a straight-A student, Clio's going to be a party girl. See? You get into dangerous territory when you start comparing. And yet, it's impossible not to.

4. Are you getting out of the house at all?

Believe it or not, yes. Now that I'm more or less recovered, physically, from the delivery, I'm trying to get out at least once a day, even if it's just to walk up to CVS. Over the weekend I went to a friend's baby shower, and yesterday I went to a lunch for a work friend who's leaving for another job. On Tuesday, at A's insistence, I went out to the local coffee shop for an hour and a half and had an au lait and read a novel. So, I'm managing not to get cabin fever. At the same time, I'm getting more accustomed to the rhythm of just being home and hangin' with the babies, and enjoying it more.

5. How are your boobs holding up?

Marvelously. They're just about the size I'd want if I were going to get a boob job. I'll miss them when they're gone.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi everyone. I thought I'd finally pipe up. I've been following the Calamity from its inception (though, admittedly, in fits and starts). It's all somehow very familiar...

I've been hesitant to post before because I feel like this is kind of a sacred private space for J (despite its definitional publicness). But I thought you all might like to hear my extremely objective confirmation that Elsa and Clio are in fact two very cute, small babies. And their mom is one incredible woman, who did an amazing job bringing them into the world three weeks ago.

I also just wanted to say thank you to all you regulars for your good advice and steady support these past many months. It's been a huge help, to both of us.

Ok, back to lurking in my corner. Carry on...


3:42 PM  
Blogger Motel Manager said...

Great update! I am glad to hear your perspective on the night nanny...I have been lobbying my dear husband for this (since both of us get really horrible when we don't sleep) a couple nights a week after our own child debuts, and he criticized me for it. But all my friends say to go for it, and now I am armed with more info!

5:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My sister is a night nanny in your area (wouldnt be surprised if she was your nanny, and I wont ask her.) She often tells me how helpful it is to the parents and how grateful they are to have someone come in. Do it while you can.

(long time lurker) -C.

5:56 PM  
Blogger TLB said...

Whoohoo for the night nanny. Glad you guys seem to be doing so well. If you get too tired, you can always give me one ;) But it doesn't sound like you can't handle it.


7:12 PM  
Blogger Churlita said...

Woohoo! to nice boobs. I think we all should appreciate them while we still have them.

My sister used to think it was hilarious to ask me which of my girls I liked better. There really is no way to answer that. Because my girls were so close in age, each of their personalities seemed to mirror the other's to fill in any gaps. As they get older, you may also notice that they both seem to contain your very different but distinct personality traits. My oldest houses my spazziness, while my youngest has my spaciness, for example. It's one funky trip, this child rearing thing. I'm glad that you are enjoying it so much.

12:08 AM  
Blogger congorilla said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:20 PM  
Blogger congorilla said...

Love the boob comment! I'm afraid that when I'm preggers, I'm going to be *very* annoyed at how ridiculously large my boobs will be. On the other hand, I'll be grateful once they return to their normal, "bigger than average" size. Oh the irony!
As for your girls, they will both be wicked smart and know how to party--just like their mom. Just a feeling...

12:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi A and J,
I've enjoyed following your blog, Jane. Love to hear that you and the babies are well and love to hear your musings. I am far enough away from having a newborn that i don't recall certain things but yet the whole experience seems so close. It's such a crazy ride, so much change and so much awe (and serious blues sometimes). Just wait until one gets sick; then you'll forget there was anything but bonding.

Keep writing! (I look for more posts then I remember that you do have two very full time jobs.) xoxo, MSK

p.s. You know, if you wanted to switch to non-fiction you could write a bestselling mommy memoir.

1:17 PM  

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