Sunday, March 25, 2007


Here are the gals (Elsa left, Clio right) at 12 weeks, sporting their peas-n-carrots onesies, hand-painted by the lovely and talented Jennifer Kimball. Both girls are wearing their best "can we end the damned photo shoot and take a nap already?" faces.

We did, in fact, put them down for a nap after trying in vain for about fifteen minutes to get them both to smile at once. They slept for maybe 20 minutes, then Clio woke up and started expressing herself, which woke Elsa up. After trying unsuccessfully to get them to go back to sleep, we brought them both downstairs. Clio promptly fell back asleep in A's arms, while Elsa, quite distressed, fussed in mine.

They've definitely been reacting to each other more lately, waking each other up and upsetting each other with their crying. Not always, mind you. If one is truly sound asleep, she won't wake up when the other one cries, and if one is in a great mood she won't get upset if the other one is pitching a fit. But if they're both on the edge, forget about it.

Example: last night I started to feed a very hungry Elsa at around 6:30. Clio was starting to get restless, kvetching a bit in her swing, but I thought she'd be able to hold out until Elsa was done. No such luck. I tried to change gears and feed them both at once, but it was too late. Clio was so worked up she wouldn't nurse, and when I took Elsa off the breast -- the other breast, that is -- to try to help Clio out, Elsa started screaming, and before I knew it I had a full-scale double meltdown on my hands. (Of course, this only happens when A. is out, which he was, at the gym, apparently trying to set a new personal record for time spent on the treadmill.) Neither baby could be consoled, not even for a few seconds. At one point I was so frustrated and frazzled I just had to place them ever-so-goddamned-gently down in the pack-n-play and take a breather while they screeched. (Step away from the babies, ma'am!) In the end I bottle-fed them both.

So, two valuable lessons learned, both of which we capitalized on today. First, we're starting to sleep them in their separate cribs for naps and for the first part of the night, before we bring them into the bedside crib in our room. Yes, yes, it's adorable to see them side by side in one crib, I know, but it's not so adorable when they're doing tag-team catnaps, becoming steadily more cranky and overtired and miserable.

Lesson two: start the early evening feeding before the girls start acting visibly hungry. They'll gladly eat, and the chances of a double feature scream-fest are greatly diminished. I did this tonight with excellent results. (Aside: the Nystatin treatment for thrush is definitely working. Clio is nursing much more happily now, last night's freak-out notwithstanding, and Elsa's tongue no longer looks like she just downed a vanilla shake all the time. My, er, issues have also improved.)

Today was pleasant for another reason, too: I think we found ourselves a church. This deserves a post of its own, but every time I say I'm going to post about something next time, I never get around to it, so here goes: we went out to breakfast with the girls at the only breakfast place we know of that's roomy enough and un-crowded enough on a weekend morning to accomodate us and two bambinas in carseats. The service and the food are both mediocre, but we're strangely fond of the place. It's shabby and dimly lit, full of bad framed artwork and fake flowers and mismatched coffee cups and wobbly tables. It's also near the Unitarian Universalist Church we've been meaning to check out for a while. Today, on a whim, we did.

It's a little like the breakfast restaurant, in that it's a bit sad; a Charlie Brown's Christmas Tree sort of church, with barely 100 members. But everyone was so kind and warm. The congregation is a ragtag mix of families and couples and kids and old ladies (every church must have its old ladies) and lesbians (every UU church must have its lesbians), with a tattooed, former punk-rocker minister who isn't the most impressive orator, but seems like a genuinely good guy.

I was raised Congregational, and my family was very active in our church, something I wasn't always crazy about as a kid, but which I value in retrospect -- along with piano lessons and no sugar cereal and not being allowed to get one of those green and white Benetton rugby shirts like every other girl in the 6th grade because they're fifty dollars for God's sake, and why should we pay fifty dollars for you to advertise for them? They should pay YOU that much to wear their name on your chest. Absolutely not. We can get you a perfectly good rugby shirt from Read's for less than half that price. (And so we did; blue and red. I wore it with fake pearls.)

Ahem. Anyway, neither A nor I have gone to church on a regular basis in our adult lives, but we've dabbled in the world of Unitarianism, and while its earnest and sometimes self-congratulatory liberalness can get on our nerves, it is also the religion that's more in synch with our values and views than any other, mainly by virtue of not really being a religion.

We want Elsa and Clio to be a part of some kind of spiritual community, get some basic Judeo-Christian grounding, and have something to fight with us about every Sunday morning when they're 13. Maybe they'll even use the same arguments my brother and I did: "It's a beautiful day out, Mom. Don't you think God would be happier if we spent it outside?" Which really means: we want to stay inside in our pajamas, eat Kix, and watch Woody Woodpecker cartoons and the Abbott and Costello movie.

My point is: this church felt good. It felt right. I like the idea of our family (holy crap, we're a family!) becoming a part of it.

Peas-n-carrots out, man.


Blogger Churlita said...

That's great. I'm not a big believer in organized religion. but I know that my oldest daughter is a real structure person and she finds it comforting. She goes to a Catholic church. My youngest daughter is more like me when it comes to structure. She goes to a Presbyterian youth group, but isn't really into the church service. I think spirituality is important. I'm glad you guys found something that works for you.

11:03 PM  
Blogger Eva said...

What a lovely post. And the girls are looking really, really cute.

12:25 PM  
Blogger Motel Manager said...

Your little gals are completely precious, even if they wouldn't smile at the same time!

And, holy crap, you are a legitimate MOM now. Wow!

2:26 PM  
Anonymous winecat said...

I can't believe the ladies are 12 weeks already! Such little lookers, love the peas and carrots oneses.

Good luck on your new church. I was raised Catholic and was very active through college. Haven't been able to find that same family feelings at any of the churches I visited since. I have to say some days I really miss it.

9:39 PM  
Blogger Monpon said...

They are beautiful! And it is amazing what we learn to do as parents - though the learning curve is steep at first. Good luck and enjoy yourself and the little ones and thanks for sharing your stories. Say hi to Midwestern Deadbeat - I miss reading her blog!

1:33 PM  

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