Drop-in childcare at the Harris Branch YMCA changed my life, and I’m only mildly exaggerating. Coming to the realization as a new mom that I could leave my toddler in capable hands, while I got in a workout – and even a shower! – was revolutionary. For all the changes motherhood brings, it made me feel like myself again.
In my former life, I used to exercise five times a week, mainly for mental release from the everyday stresses of life. That didn’t always work after my son Wade was born a little more than two years ago. It’s not good form to be out pushing a child in a stroller in the rain, right? I could go to Planet Fitness after my husband got home in the evenings, but who wants to wait that long to exercise most days?
I started going to the Y this time last year when Wade was approaching 18 months. One of the main reasons I joined was for access to the pools. I was pregnant again, this time with twins, and the idea of enduring Charlotte’s summer heat was daunting. Ultimately, though, it was the “Kids’ Place” that kept me going back to the Harris Y over and over.
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In my mind, there are two kinds of baby shower gifts: the super cute and the kind that the mother-to-be will be thanking you for years to come. The super cutes get the “oohs” and “ahhs” at the shower, but the others are what you thank somebody for over and over again, even years later. Those are the ones you make sure you pass on to all the new moms you know.
I admit I’m a sucker for Kissy Kissy outfits and anything with a monogram or one of my three sons’ names on them – Pottery Barn, I’m looking at you – but the best gifts I’ve gotten over the past two years are the ones that have made my life as a mom easier.
I got to thinking about those gifts this week after I met a neighbor who was a week away from adopting a newborn baby girl. I don’t know if she’s had a chance to have a baby shower, and I haven’t known her long enough to be invited to one anyway, but I wanted to do a little something to make her feel special about her new arrival. I’m guessing she didn’t get to enjoy quite the same buildup as spending nine months pregnant.
I tossed a handful of the “Miracle Blankets” my 5-month-old twin boys have grown out into the bottom of my stroller and knocked on her door. So, no, they weren’t even new. They were yellow and blue, with elephants and giraffes, not exactly girly colors. But I truly believe they will save her sleep. And when you’re exhausted and need a quick and easy swaddle, who cares whether the blankets are purple and pink? She nodded in agreement. She has a 4-year-old. She gets it.
After spending the better part of two years breastfeeding – 6 ½ months with my now 2-year-old son Wade and five months with my twin sons Johnny and Wes – I’m weaning. With one week to go and the end in sight, I can say it: I’m ready to dropkick breastfeeding to the curb!
My husband gets credit for the “bye, bye boobies” headline, as well as the runner up: “Aloha,breastfeeding!” He knows it’s been harder for me this go-around and how hard it is in general. I tandem feed my twins, which means I breastfeed them at the same time. It’s the only way I have time to do anything else, and it also makes me a “breastfeeding beast” as my OB-gyn affectionately coined me.
Look, I’m all for breastfeeding. It’s great for your baby’s health and well-being and it’s something only you, as a mother, can give your baby, which is priceless. I’m damned proud that I breastfed all three of mine. And if I had to do it all over again, I’d do the exact…same…thing.
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My son Wade turned 2 last week and it meant we’d finally reached one long-awaited self-imposed deadline: TV watching was fair game!
At some point in the early days of parenting, my husband and I read, and bought into, the idea that television-watching could hinder brain development in children under the age of 2. It was something about depth perception and the confusion of looking at something flat and seeing three dimensions.
It made sense to us, so we pretty much stuck by it. I’m not saying we didn’t cheat and let Wade watch some occasional Duke basketball or leave the TV on as Wade toddled in some weekend afternoon when we were just plain zonked. But we let ourselves off the hook because he normally didn’t get interested in what we were watching anyway and went on about his business.
Until this week the only kid shows Wade had watched were Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer (because we made a brief exception for Christmas) and a few minutes of Snow White (because it was a week before his birthday and it beat him having him jump on the furniture.)
So now here I am, ready to let him watch some TV and not at all versed on the latest in children’s shows. What’s educational? What’s totally annoying? What’s the least of all “evils?” Read More →
At some point in the fog of my first three months as a twin mom, I looked over at my husband, or my sister, or my mom, or the steady stream of friends and family helping me survive each day and said, “We are really doing this.”
I’d said the same thing before – to a running buddy at about mile 16 of the Alaska Marathon. The sentiment was similar. You’re in the midst of something you knew would be hard. You’re exhausted. Body parts hurt that you didn’t know you had. You’re not 100 percent sure you’re going to make it to the finish line. But you’re there. You’re breathing (and so, blissfully, are the babies). You’re putting one foot in front of the other. And you’re a little bit….proud.
My husband and I had gone into our twin pregnancy eyes wide open. We knew it was a distinct possibility. We’d come down to what we knew was our last IVF attempt – both emotionally and financially. On the big day, our doctor told us our best chance of getting pregnant was to transfer the two healthy embryos we had remaining. So we did. Read More →
A piece of advice I got over and over as a soon-to-be twin mom was to get a “night nurse.” Veteran twin moms told me to do it, so did doctors, moms of multiple young children and some of the best mothers I know. Thanks to the generosity of a relative, I was able to do it and for our first 3 ½ months with twins, we had a night sitter in our home three nights a week. Frankly I’m not sure how we would have made it without her.
Having newborn twins as well as a nearly 2-year-old son meant the whole “sleep when the baby sleeps” tactic is really hard to pull off. It’s twice as likely somebody is awake! I am breastfeeding too, so I wasn’t going to get to sleep through the night even with a night sitter. But having three nights a week when I could spend only 15 minutes pumping every three hours, while letting the night sitter bottle-feed the babies, change them and get them back to sleep – which could sometimes take me up to an hour and a half – made all the difference. I could be a human being for my older son during the day and my husband could show up rested for work about half the time!
Jeannette Gregory was recommended to me by twin mom and our own Queen Smarty, Jen Plym. Thank you Jen!!! Gregory doesn’t night sit herself anymore but runs an impressive team of women who do. (While some registered nurses do provide this kind of service, the women who work for Gregory aren’t technically nurses. She calls them “night sitters.” They sleep train; they don’t handle medical issues.) Read More →
The Morrison Regional Library is back open after being closed for a year and a half for renovation, and that’s great news for Mamas (and some Papas too). It reopened Dec. 16, just in time for that frigid weather spell when parents like me were desperately seeking indoor outlets for cooped-up kids.
Just a few steps into the front door and it’s immediately obvious how much the renovation was geared toward parents and pre-school children who come to the full slate of “Storytime” classes for babies, toddlers and families.
“Our largest demographic is families with preschool children,” said Susan Green, manager for the Morrison Regional Library. “…Most months we have more people at our Storytimes than any other branch, including ImaginOn.”
Green said HVAC and mechanical issues precipitated the $8 million renovation but improving the children’s area was one of its biggest benefits. Read More →