Food For Thought Friday: Thoughts on Being a MOM (Mother of Multiples):

Food For Thought Friday is brought to you by the amazing folks at Welcome Baby Care. Be sure to check out their website, and don’t forget to “like” them on Facebook to take advantage of all their knowledge as THE post-partum and newborn experts.

There has been a little video making the rounds on the Internet:

All my other multiple parent homies and I have been having a good giggle about it. It’s nice to have a giggle about it, because there is a standard line of questioning that goes on when you bring your multiples out in public with you. I get it, multiples are fascinating! I am fascinated by multiples (especially high order multiples – 3 or more). I try to be gracious and resist the urge to toy with the interrogator, because they don’t know that I have already answered the same line of questioning 10 times during the (what was supposed to be) short trip to Target, but when you’ve repeated yourself that many times, it’s difficult not to spice up the act a little. Here are my top questions/remarks, and the longer form responses I give – I might print this out and hand it to people.

1. Are they twins? Yes. They are. (I imagine that when my kids get older it will be harder to tell that they are twins. There is a size discrepancy between the two of them and they are boy/girl. For now, though, while they are at the same developmental stage of infancy, I am always a little curious what other options the interrogator is considering…)

2. Are they identical? No. They are not. Identical twins share the exact same DNA thumbprint. Essentially, they are a genetic copy of each other coming from the same egg fertilized by the same sperm. Fraternal twins are siblings (no different from a siblings who were born years apart from each other) who shared the womb. They come from separate eggs fertilized by separate sperm. Boy/Girl twins are always fraternal because they cannot be genetic copies of each other when their basic sex organs are not the same. Boy/boy twins and girl/girl twins may or may not be identical. The fact that they are the same sex does not give the answer to the question whether they are identical or not. There are a lot of clues during pregnancy that tell the doctor and the parents what type of twins are present, but I won’t get into all that.

3. But they look alike. That’s because they are siblings. Again, fraternal twins can look alike, and not be identical. The question of whether or not twins are identical is actually a scientific question.

4. Are they natural? Yes (that is everyone’s answer to this question – not just mine – because the question is so ridiculous. What are you asking? Are they homosapiens? Yes. Are they human beings? Yes.) I think that the question that people are meaning to ask is “were they conceived naturally?” Which A. is a totally inappropriate question to ask, and is none of your stinkin’ business, and B. is a totally inappropriate question to ask, and is none of your stinkin’ business. In the event that you were not aware of A and B, you must surely know C. that is a totally inappropriate question to ask, and is none of your stinkin’ business.

5. Were they born naturally? (Again, another kind of bizarre question. They were inside a body, and they came out. Why does it matter how they got there?) This one trips me up a little… Do you mean “were they born vaginally?” and you’re just too shy to say the word “vagina?” And again, what makes this your business? I am always curious about the motive of this question. I have learned, because my answer is no – they were born by c-section, that the follow up question is usually an investigation of whether or not the c-section was necessary. This is usually asked by a person who has a vested interest in the field of multiple births like a Doctor, Midwife, Nurse, or Doula. The short answer is yes.

People are not always aware that vaginal birth is definitely an option for multiple births. For me, it was the desired option. What matters most is baby A (and baby A is always baby A – it is the baby closest to the exit) is engaged and in position. For a skilled Doctor, baby A only needs to “pave the way” so to speak, and baby B can be turned or maneuvered in the meantime to make the journey safely and properly. In my case, both babies were lying across my abdomen (transverse) when I labored, and not in a “head-down” position. It would have been dangerous for all parties to have allowed me to attempt a vaginal birth. So, yes. It was necessary. Also, for the record, I think that is a highly personal question.

6. Oh, it’s so nice that you have 2 and they are one of each. Now you are done. UGH. This one just really really bugs me. Usually I get this one when I’m out with just the Twinstroms. The interrogator usually believes that I am mommy just to the Twinstroms. I usually add that I have a four year-old at home as well – and that we were only trying for one more. That’s the story they hear. The story (as those of you who have been reading Keeping Her Cool for a while know) is far more intense than that. I am actually a mommy to 5 children. Two of them did not get to stay here to live a long and happy life. So… this one stings a little for me. I imagine it lands on everyone’s ears a little differently, but the bottom line is – again, none of your business whether I am done or not.

7. How do you do it? I just do. We all just do. Whatever your perceived challenges are in life… you just do.

If you want to know more about multiple births, the special challenges and joys of birthing and raising multiples, or how you can help a parent of multiples in their lives, I was lucky enough to have been asked to be a guest along with Tory from Welcome Baby Care (who was my Postpartum Doula following the birth of the Twinstroms) on the Good Enough Moms Podcast.


Thanks... getting???

The four year-old is in his greedy phase. Every commercial he sees, every store circular he sees, every toy he sees, “I WANT THAT!” He has had a difficult time with the notion that every holiday is not a gift giving (or rather a gift getting) holiday. So the other day, he said to me, “Mommy, when is it going to be happy Thanks-getting.” I know where he was going with that, but I took it away from him and then ran with it, “Yup, we’re going to get thankful.” So that’s what I’m doing right now. I’m getting thankful. Of course I’m thankful for the usual suspects, my family, health, home, work, etc. I do not take these lightly, but here are some other things I’m thankful for, that don’t get the proper highlight they deserve on other days of the year.

- Waterproof mattress covers. Need I say more – at least where vomiting preschoolers are concerned (can you tell we've just gotten over the stomach bug)?

- Remote car start. Seriously, this invention is better than the light bulb AND the wheel. Thankfully, it came standard on our vehicle, and saved the discussion between Mr. Lindstrom and me regarding whether or not it was actually “necessary.” FYI – my argument would have been a firm, “yes.”

- High Speed Wi-fi. Mostly because with wi-fi, you can avoid that hour and half wait for a page to load, but also because you don’t have listen to that GOD AWFUL sound that makes you think your phone line has some serious indigestion!

- The dollar section at Target. Generally, I am thankful for Target, but I would like to highlight my thankfulness specifically for the dollar section. It has provided us endless church pew, restaurant, and car trip activities. For the low, low price of one dollar!

I hope you all have a wonderful day of getting thankful – and that your list of things to be grateful for explodes beyond what the day can hold, and spills in to the days, weeks, months, and years ahead!


Food For Thought Friday: While You Were Out

Food For Thought Friday is brought to you by the amazing folks at Welcome Baby Care. Be sure to check out their website, and don’t forget to “like” them on Facebook to take advantage of all their knowledge as THE post-partum and newborn experts.

I can’t believe I am going to share this with you. I am using my crystal ball to see into the future, and the day that my (now) four year-old son finds out that I wrote about this online for the whole world to read, well… I hope it goes better than my crystal ball is showing me. Hopefully I am raising a child with enough of a sense of humor that he will see the hilarity of this, rather than the humiliation.

The other day, Mr. Lindstrom and I went to an actual movie in an actual theater. As we were getting settled in the cushy reclining seats (by the way, why on earth did it take so long for theaters to get comfy seats? It’s not like comfort is some sort of new technology), I sent one last text to my babysitter to let her know that the movie was about to start, and to check and see how things were going at home. This is the text I got back, “The four year-old pooped in the park.” That’s it. Just those words. No details.

I texted back, “like he pooped at the park bathroom, or he pooped his pants while he was at the park?” Knowing full well that the latter would be more notable given the fact that we’ve got the whole potty training thing tied in a pretty little bow, but hoping that it was the former and that she was just really impressed by his ability and willingness to go potty in the public bathroom (it’s a stretch).

Bad news. It was neither. Return text states: “Nope, like he pooped in the park. He copped a squat and pooped. In the park.”

WHAAAAAAAAAAAT? My kid dropped trough and pooped, right there in the public park. Here is the blessing and the curse of texting, as the movie is about to begin, we know that our son (who we believe should know better) pooped in the park (blessing?), but we have no details (curse!). Later we would find out that while they were playing “hide and seek” on the last warm day of fall in the park across the street from our house, the four year-old hid briefly behind a tree and by the time the babysitter caught up with him he had assumed the position and was completing his mission.

*Please know that a) we have discussed the inappropriateness of public excreting with the four year-old and he understands the error of his ways. b) We are amused by this now, because really, there’s no reason not to be. The babysitter and the four year-old were the only people in the park at the time, everything got cleaned up appropriately, the four year-old has been redirected and educated, and frankly, it’s one for the baby book.

I was reminded about this incident when I saw this web-page. (Here’s the food for thought part) It got me thinking about the technology of today which makes it possible to know in the moment in every moment what major embarrassing or inappropriate mistakes your child is making. In today’s twitterific facebooking texty twitpic world, we are fooled into thinking that just because we CAN know what is going on in any given moment, we SHOULD know. I am guilty of checking in probably a little too frequently, but this habit of mine doesn’t allow me the distance that I need from my kids from time to time. Yes. I need a break every once in a while (we all do). Not just a physical break from parenting but also a mental break from parenting. That said, knowing about our son, the park pooper provided at least an hour of post movie entertainment for the park pooper’s father and me, so I cannot say that I’m entirely anti technology. I am just going to start thinking twice (okay, maybe three or four times, with a goal of learning how to only have to think twice) about how necessary it is for me to know exactly what is going on when I am not in charge.


What's Our Policy On This?

Sometimes it just happens, when you least expect it, you’re put on the spot, and have to decide in the moment what your policy is going to be. The four year-old was meeting his friend’s mom and asked her what her name is, she looked to me (which at first, I thought was weird, because most people get at least that answer correct on the test). I realized that she was wondering what our family policy was on names. Should she introduce herself as Mrs. ___ or by her first name? I had a slight panic, because I wasn’t sure. Mr. Lindstrom and I had never talked about it, and I didn’t want to offend her if I insisted on one way and she preferred the other.

Let me take you on a journey into my mind (I apologize in advance, you will be free to leave again in a couple short minutes):

- As a young person, I always called my friend’s mothers by their first names, and reserved Mr. and Mrs. for teachers.

- When I got to high school, we called our teachers by their first names (most of them), and by the time I got to college, it was all first names.

- I never equated the title with respect; I always equated behavior with respect.

- The first time I realized I was totally an adult was when I got ma’amed for the first time. I think in the South, that is considered polite, but for the most part, we Yankees cringe a little bit when we get ma’amed.

- When I introduce myself to my friend’s children, I always ask them to call me by my first name.

Plus, now we live in a time where we are given the freedom to keep our maiden names (which I almost did. There’s a story there, but I’ll spare you… for now), and also with divorce, and remarriage, etc. sometimes the Mother’s last name doesn’t match that of the child, and then comes the question of whether they are a Mrs., Miss, or Ms. It can be sort of complicated, and the last thing anyone wants to do is offend another (at least by accident. I feel like it’s so much more fun to offend people on purpose).

What I probably should have done was ask her how she preferred to be addressed. What I did was tell her that if she is comfortable with him calling her by her first name, that’s how we do it at our house. I am probably over thinking this. Correction, I am definitely over thinking this. I am curious to know what other’s policies are on this? Share by commenting, or head on over to the Keeping Her Cool facebook page, click that cute little "like" button, and let me know what you think!


Manic-Monday Blogarrhea

- Mr. Lindstrom and I went to a hockey game the other day. We got these adorable little hockey stick stirrers in our drinks. Because I cannot possibly go one evening without constantly thinking about my kids (I do not say this proudly as though to say, “I’m such a wonderful mom I am constantly thinking of my kids.” I tell you this to expose my neuroses. It’s bordering on obnoxious), I threw them in my purse thinking, “the four year-old will LOVE these!” When I made a huge production about it, and handed them to the four year-old (who, by the way, will play with an empty tube of toilet paper for 7-10 days without sleep), he got apathetic on me like a teenager,

“Fanks Mom, what do I do with it?”
“Well, it’s a little hockey stick, so you can find something that can be a little puck, and then play a mini hockey game.”
“Well, we’re going to need to get a mini hockey table.”

Then, he put it down and forgot about it. Guess I should have brought home an empty tube of toilet paper.

- I ran into a woman I used to work with and while we were chatting, she put her hand over her mouth a little embarrassed, she said, “I haven’t brushed my teeth yet today.” It was 9 a.m., she has always been a fashionable and impeccable dresser – this day was no different, and she had all her make-up on accurately (as in, it didn’t look like she had applied it with her toddler attached to her leg and using it as a pogo stick). I imagine she worried that I was thinking about how disgusting she was, but actually, what I was thinking was, “Oh, thank GOD other people forget to brush their teeth before they leave the house! Go easy on yourself, girlfriend!”

- If ever the Federal Reserve decides to make Thomas the Train products into currency, the Lindstroms are gonna be so rich!

- You know when the absolute worst time to realize that you forgot to throw towels in your gym bag is? When you are naked and dripping wet in the shower at the gym. Ask me how I know that. Been there. After weighing all options (and let’s face it, at that moment, the options are extremely limited) I decided to use my workout t-shirt (that was full of all sorts of sweat and unseemliness) as a towel. The good news is, t-shirts make excellent turbans. And I lived to tell the story.

- Has Rachael Ray jumped the shark? Remember when 30 Minute Meals was all the rage, and then a bunch of people exposed that you couldn’t really make most of them in 30 minutes, and it just turned everyone off? It was the closest Rachael Ray may ever come to a scandal.

Plus, it has always really bothered me that she’ll abbreviate EVOO and then immediately after she does that say, “Extra Virgin Olive Oil.” I mean, why even try to save time by abbrev. if you’re just going to go ahead and explain it?

- Speaking of scandal, every once in a while, I am reminded of my very favorite scandal, that of Bill O’Reilly and Andrea Mackris. Specifically one aspect of it. Let’s just put it this way, I cannot eat falafel and not think about the idea that Bill O’Reilly, in his poor attempt at phone sex, notified Mackris that he wanted to shower with her and use “that falafel thing.” He meant loofa. I like to imagine that Bill O’Reilly’s version of “sexting” would be sending pictures of Mediterranean foods. But, let’s face it, that really would turn me right on.


Food For Thought Friday: Everybody Wins!!!!

Food For Thought Friday is brought to you by the amazing folks at Welcome Baby Care. Be sure to check out their website, and don’t forget to “like” them on Facebook to take advantage of all their knowledge as THE post-partum and newborn experts.

I’ve written before about my method of parenting. I call it “Hoover Parenting,” inasmuch as I parent in a vacuum. I do not advise it. I fully and enthusiastically admit that this is the wrong way to parent. I AM DOING IT WRONG. It is my personal response to milder versions of the type of conversation seen in this hilarious video above. I have had countless discussions with my own Mom about this. Wondering if when I was born if she felt this tension with her fellow Mommies. She is very absolute when she tells me that some of her richest friendships came from others who were “in the trenches” with her. My experience has been that we are all “in the trenches,” but we’re in our own trenches, and we’ve made the enemy each other (unless, of course, we agree on all parenting methods, in which case… you’re cool).

There’s so much pressure in parenting. We know how important the job we are doing is, and we are (rightfully) so protective of the thoughtful parenting decisions we have made. So protective, that whether we intend to be boastful or not, we often share our experiences as though they are “right." When the margin of what is right is so very large, and so very personal.

I don’t mean to get all serious, because did you see that video above (from Mompetition)? It is roll on the floor laughing hysterical. See, it’s not what they are saying, it’s the nature of the conversation. I use the word “conversation” loosely because there is no give and a lot of take. It reminds me of this other story I once read on a blog about a parent who was being boastful about their kid’s Apgar score. HIS APGAR SCORE!!! It’s not an intelligence test, it is a simple numerical assessment of a newborn’s initial health (don’t judge me for this, but I cannot even REMEMBER any of my children’s Apgar scores. I cannot even remember my own ACT score. Although, there is a really funny story about the time I told Mr. Lindstrom that I got a 36. Mr. Lindstrom’s reply was, “no you didn’t. That’s a perfect score.” He knows me so well… I would NEVER have gotten a perfect score on a standardized test. However, I'm pretty sure I got a perfect Apgar score when I was born, so I got that going for me.)

I feel like the lone voice in the corner over here screaming “Hey, Moms, let’s just acknowledge that we’re all doing the hardest work of our lives, we’re doing our best, and then let’s get over it and talk about [insert your favorite reality show, celebrity, politician, restaurant, shoe store, As Seen On TV product, or book here].” THIS WAY, EVERYBODY WINS!!! Can I get a witness?


Thank You For Your Advice, But We’re Doing Just Fine.

Why is it that strangers think that you cannot possibly parent another minute without the aid of their unsolicited advice? One of the things they should teach you in the prenatal classes is how to shrug that stuff off. Since they don’t, our next best option is to share the crazy things people have told us – and laugh together. I read this article on the Bump about the worst parenting advice mothers have ever been given, and it made me think about some of my favorite stories of bizarre advice given to me.

As Mr. Lindstrom and I, proud first time parents were riding the elevator on our way out of the hospital with our not even 48 hour old firstborn safely buckled in her carrier car seat, we set our beautiful daughter (IN HER CAR SEAT) down on the floor. An older woman who was riding the elevator gave us the “tisk tisk” look. “Don’t you put that baby down on this floor. It’s dirty!” As though we had all just rolled around in mud, and then started eating bugs off each other. Only minutes later, as I was sitting by the front door waiting for Mr. Lindstrom to pull the car around, another lady asked me if the baby was a boy or a girl. When I said “she’s a girl!” her face turned sour as she did the up and down look, you know the one because you’ve seen it on the Real Housewives, and said, “well, you dressed her in yellow. Don’t you know to dress baby girls in pink?” WHAT KIND OF AN IDIOT AM I??? I cannot believe they discharged me with that sweet baby girl dressed in yellow. Rookie mistake.

Recently, I’ve been haunted by a woman at a place I frequent with the Twinstroms. This woman is a grandmother of a child around my four year-old’s age, and a mother of (now adult) twins. Bless her heart (it's proper etiquette to intro with 'bless his/her/their heart' when you’re about to talk some serious smack about someone), but she feels free to regularly advise me on my twinfant parenting skills. On a recent rainy day, she was very concerned about how I was going to transport my children to the car. “Those babies are going to get wet if you take them outside.” I considered all of the possible solutions; I could have waited the storm out (in retrospect, it turns out we would have had to wait for a day and a half), or driven the car directly INTO the building, but what I did do (because my inner monologue is broken), is say, “I did not know that babies cannot get wet.”

…and all of this has prompted me to create this sassy t-shirt.


Manic-Monday Blogarrhea

- Is there a frequency that only babies can hear? I am going to research this, and then invent toys that only make noise on that frequency.

I am also going to do the research about what frequency men can hear women’s voices on. Then I am going to invent a voice changer that automatically puts women’s voices in that frequency. Because I suspect that whatever noise comes out of my mouth currently lands on the ears of the men in my life like white noise.

- Do you have things that you do so regularly that you never realize that it’s weird? The other day I signed up for my son’s preschool conference. I suppose most moms would take that information and then put it directly on their calendar, but I am not “most moms” (have you noticed that yet?). So, I grabbed a pen and was in the middle of writing it on my hand when the director of the preschool walked by and said, “what on earth are you writing on your hand?” Suddenly, in that moment, I realized that adults don’t write stuff on their hands.

When I got in the car, I called Mr. Lindstrom and told him the date and the time of our conference. Then I said, “Will you email that to me?” He said, “sure, why?” I had to tell him, “because I wrote it on my hand and I am going to the gym and it will wash off in the shower, and then I’ll forget.” I swear to you, I could hear him shaking his head at me over the phone line. Sometimes I wonder if he wishes he’d have married someone normal.

- It used to be that “the bar” was like Cheers – where everybody knows your name and they’re always glad you came. Not such a stretch, Cheers was a bar. Well, my new Cheers is Target. It turns out that all the moms in the neighborhood where my kids go to preschool hang out at the same Target. Even better, we all hang out there at the same time. So during my frequent (according to Mr. Lindstrom, far too frequent) Target runs (they’re more leisurely strolls than runs) I end up hanging out in the aisles of Target chatting with girlfriends. It’s so fun to run into people unexpectedly, and it feels like a little vacation, so I will start to call it, "the Isles of Target." Keep your eyes peeled for me. I’ll be the one in the sarong with a tropical drink playing the steel drum and raiding the dollar section with a cart full of butt paste. I shouldn’t be too hard to pick out of the crowd.

- Sometimes I think I’m younger than I am, or is it that I think younger people are as old as I am? Whichever it is, I had this conversation with my babysitter that would have made me cry had it not been 10:00 pm and waaaaaay past my bedtime. We were talking about a roller coaster at Six Flags in Illinois, and she said, “The last time I was there was when I was four.” I said, “Oh, I don’t think that roller coaster was there then. I was there about 20 years ago, and it was brand new.” She said, “yeah, so it would have been there before I was four, because I’m 20.” Ouch.

- I am trying to teach the four year-old to chew with his mouth closed. MY GOD, this is worse than potty training. I really can’t stand mouth sounds, so when I get this all shored up, I’m going to buy MYSELF a reward. (Mr. Lindstrom just asked me what the reward will be. I told him I have no idea but it’s gonna be gooooood, and probably expensive. Do not underestimate the largeness of this task.)

On the topic of mouth sounds, the worst mouth sounds are gum smacking. Can we all make an agreement this week that if we are chewing gum, we will be extra observant of our smacking? Thanks in advance.

- I have come to terms with the fact that the laundry will never be done. When I die, I will leave behind a pile of dirty laundry. You will too. It’s okay.

- Last Friday, I stopped at the post office to mail some items. While standing in line (by the way, it was 3:30 and the only time I had sat down was to drive the car that day), I yawned. The woman behind the counter said to me, “No yawning. You know, some of us have to work.” I almost turned the tables and went postal customer on her.

- You know how we are constantly wishing and hoping for an extra hour in the day, and then daylight savings ends, we fall back and get that extra hour. Pre-kid, I can tell you exactly what I did with that extra hour. It involved partying a little more and then sleeping a little more. Now, let me tell you what I did with my extra hour this year. I spent my extra hour soothing two teething children in the middle of the night. It was a whole different kind of party, and involved no extra sleep. Can I opt out of this daylight savings madness? I don’t know a parent in the world who appreciates it!

Have you "liked" Keeping Her Cool on Facebook, yet? I promise you more of my crazy brain droppings on the daily over there.


Food For Thought Friday: When the Working Day is Done...

Food For Thought Friday is brought to you by the amazing folks at Welcome Baby Care. Be sure to check out their website, and don’t forget to “like” them on Facebook to take advantage of all their knowledge and daily posts as THE post-partum and newborn experts.

I don’t know that Cindy Lauper has said so many wise words, but there is one refrain that is the mantra of many women, “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” I bet if you sang that tune to anyone in any country, they’d know exactly what you were singing. And yet, we know that we WANNA have fun, but the concept of what is “fun” gets trickier and trickier the older we get.

Remember that scene in The Shining where Jack writes over and over on his typewriter (I know, what’s a typewriter?) “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy…”? Well, I propose we switch it up for the ladies, “all being an adult and no serving our inner child makes Jane a pretty dull and boring chick.” Not so catchy? But so completely true. As adult women, we are keenly aware of our responsibilities, for those of us who are mothers, we are quite certain about what is fun for our kids. Are we as on the ball when it comes to fun in our own lives? Remember the old Mall of America jingle (those of us who live in the Midwest), “There’s a place for fun in your life…” Is there? And I don’t really mean a literal PLACE for fun (although, if given a few hours of free childcare and some fun-money, I would happily make the Mall of America my place for fun. Yes, that is an overt invitation to anyone who wants to give me free childcare and fun-money.) What I mean is, do you make room for fun in your life?

I read this article in the Huffington Post by Lorraine Roe (Lorraine Roe used to be a reporter here in Minnesota, she’s salt of the earth and an all around cooooool chick – if you have a second, pick up her book The Psychic Housewives' Handbook. She’s a dynamite person!) I have to agree with her. As a Life Coach myself, I have encountered this same exact scenario with clients. Women who, when asked what they do for fun are struck… well… dumb. These real, intelligent, nurturing women honestly have absolutely no idea how to plug into the fun anymore. Part of it may be the fact that we become preoccupied with our responsibilities. I propose, though, that our idea of fun changes as we grow and change, and if we don’t make it a priority to figure out what our new “fun” is, we’ll lose out on a whole lotta fun. And I, for one, am not ready to give up the fun. So here’s the deal. It’s a Friday, take about five or ten minutes right now (it’s okay, the boss isn’t looking), make a plan, and get thee to the fun. An essential part of keeping your cool is maintaining your fun, because (say it with me…) “if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!” Amen to that.

Here's something fun you can do right this very moment, (okay, fun for me... at least): Head on over to Facebook and "like" Keeping Her Cool!


Sending Out and SOS!

Let me take you with me to a very important day in my history. It is May, 2009. I have peed on a stick and observed the digital read-out that states “pregnant.” I have again peed on a stick and observed the digital read-out that states, “pregnant.” I have a third time, peed on yet another stick, and confirmed the previous two stick’s prediction of, “pregnant.” (Take it from a woman who has peed on a whole lotta sticks, spend the extra money for the digital test. It will save you a lot of tricking yourself into seeing the line, or not seeing the line – depending on what you hope the outcome will be. It’s just a real firm, “girlfriend, you’re pregnant,” or “have a glass of wine.” I appreciate the honesty). I am lying on an ultrasound table with a wand in my holiest of whole-ies with Mr. Lindstrom at my side. We are estimated to be eight weeks into another pregnancy, our fifth pregnancy, to be exact. Praying that this one will be full-term, and we are about to see a little heartbeat in 3… 2… wait. What? What on earth is… WHAT??? THAT IS NOT ONE HEARTBEAT! THAT IS TWOOOOOO HEARTBEATS.

Here’s the part of the story that I am going to have to glam up a little when I tell the Twinstroms about this moment. I literally sat up on that table and punched the ultrasound tech in the arm. I asked her kindly to “shut the (expletive deleted) up.” Mr. Lindstrom turned white as a ghost (which, if you know us, is really a feat for either of us – as we are a pale folk). “I need to stand up.” Mr. Lindstrom stands up, “I need to sit down.” Mr. Lindstrom sits. “Can I lie down?” (A perfect opportunity for me to share my refrain, “to lay is to place, to lie is to recline.") The ultrasound tech explains to him that the only location for lying is where his wife, and the mother of his BABIES is currently, and so he’ll have to put his head between his knees and breathe it out. We were just trying for one more! Where are we going to put all of these people? What is the (then) two year-old going to do? How will we afford this? How are we going to do this?????

Fast forward to November of 2009. Birth is imminent. Babies are scheduled to descend sometime within the next month. We have GOT to figure out how we’re going to make this happen. Enter Welcome Baby Care.They are without a doubt THE postpartum and early baby care experts, and I was ready to call on them to help me in those early days. This is important because if you ever wonder how I sound like I have it even remotely together as a mommy, I am about to tell you EXACTLY how (if you don’t think I have it together… well… you’re a little bit right, but read on… because this is news you can use as well)...

Welcome Baby Care employs women who are Post-Partum Doulas. Just as a Birth Doula is there during the birth process to support the mom, a Post-Partum Doula is there to support the mom in bonding with her baby during those early days (approximately the first six weeks of life). Their duties include providing lactation support (seriously, like having a lactation consultant at your side ALL day long), cleaning, housework, laundry, care for older siblings, care for the infant, just about anything you can imagine with the goal of the mommy having the opportunity and room to bond with the newborn, oh yeah, and a shower and some sleep (which were, frankly, my priorities). I want to share this with you for a couple of reasons, first of all, I am sad that we’ve become a culture that does not ask for help. We are NOT meant to start the mothering journey ALONE. In most cultures, and formerly, in our very own culture, the birth of a baby was a time for women to come together and nurture the mother and baby connection. These days it just isn’t part of the reality for everyone to drop it all for the brand new baby and mommy. Secondly, I want you to know what a post-partum doula is, for you (if you are becoming a mommy, for the first, second, third, or fiftieth time), or if you know someone who is becoming a mommy. I see this service and support as such a positive experience for the mother, and here’s why…

By the time the Twinstroms came along, I had already had the first 6 weeks post-partum with two other babies. I had had the visits from well-meaning friends and family who wanted to “help.” Herein lies the problem, friends and family are WONDERFUL (don’t get me wrong), but even with best intentions our impulse is to entertain, and the whole event becomes a “baby show and tell.” OR, the family or friend wants to come and hold the baby, when really, that’s what the mom needs. What is "helpful" usually falls to the assumption of the friend or family member, and not necessarily to the mom. Here's an example; following the birth of my first baby, I had a friend come to visit and bring lunch. She sat down in the living room with me, took the baby out of my arms, watched me eat a sandwich, and then stayed for two hours, holding my sleeping baby and having a conversation with me (although, I was so tired, I can't imagine I was a great conversation partner). When she left, my daughter had woken up, and was ready to eat. I was in tears. I had missed an opportunity to nap while the baby napped, and was now alone with a wide awake baby, and I was fading, fast (not to mention hormonal and on the front end of what I realize now was postpartum depression).

The mommy needs some control over what is considered helpful so that the baby can have their needs met, and the mommy can have her's met. This is what Welcome Baby Care did for me, in addition to providing me nursing support, and general support with my recovery from the birth, they did laundry, light cleaning, cooking, caring for my older child, caring for the Twinstroms while I napped, and massage (yes, you read that right, I got regular massages). Did I mention they also stayed overnight a couple of nights? Yes. It’s true. Mr. Lindstrom and I were able to log a couple nights of 7 hours straight in the sleep department because Welcome Baby Care was there. I don’t have to tell you how absolutely restorative those nights were for a new mom and dad. Even without twins.

Of course, hiring Welcome Baby Care comes at a price, and before you assume that Mr. Lindstrom and I are made of money (HA! You are HILARIOUS!), I will tell you that we are a one and a half income family. Mr. Lindstrom works full time, and I work quite part time, and together, we make a pretty modest income (that is… until I get my multi-million dollar book deal, stay tuned… but don’t hold your breath... no seriously - stop holding your breath). We had a number of plans to pull together the money for this service (and make no bones about it, we would do it again and again and again). We decided to devote our tax refund for the twins to this service (hey, it was their gift to us!), we also asked for contributions from family. However, I’ve done some creative thinking for you, because I honestly think that everyone can benefit from this service! Friends of mommies who are having subsequent babies, you likely won’t have a baby shower for your friend, but why don’t you pool together your money – and give this gift (she already has the other equipment from her previous baby)? How about this, as soon as you get pregnant, there goes your latte, your beer, and your sushi, so put aside the money you’d spend weekly for that, and you can get a post partum doula from Welcome Baby Care for a couple of days!

I am excited to announce a new partnership with Welcome Baby Care. Every Friday, I will bring you some wonderful and informative news you can use, courtesy of Welcome Baby Care (but juiced up a little with my funny? Obnoxious? Seasoned? Perspective). More than anything, I want you to know who they are, what they have done for me, and that they ARE the post-partum and new baby experts, and they can help new moms (no matter how many babies they have had) get off to the best start with the newest member of their family. Being a mom is what I DO. It is the best and most important work I do, and I can tell you that with the support of my friends from Welcome Baby Care at my side during the beginning of my most recent babies lives, we had the most beautiful start to our lives together, and that has meant everything for the mother I am today!


Manic-Monday Blogarrhea

- You know, there was a time when families had lots of children because they were essentially building a staff for their farm. I am wondering how long it’s going to be before my kids are actually working FOR me rather than against me.

- I’ve recently been fascinated by Chad Ochocinco. I guess he plays football. Since I don’t care about sports, I had to google that. I just keep hearing his name, so I called my husband the other day and asked, “Is Chad Ochocinco’s real name Chad Ochocinco?” Mr. Lindstrom said, “yeah.” I said, “I suppose his number is 85 (ha ha ha).” Mr. Lindstrom replied, “Yes, he changed his name from Chad Johnson to Ochocinco.”

Okay, A) it turns out that my husband didn’t understand my initial question – I wanted to know if Chad Ochocinco’s BIRTH name was Ochocinco (and seriously, shame on me for thinking that it actually was). B) While I think that Ochocinco is a way kick ass-er name than Johnson (no offense to any Johnsons out there), C) I cannot believe the massive douche-baggery it takes to legally change your surname to your jersey number. This guy not only takes the douche-bag cake, he bakes it, frosts it, goes to a party with a cakewalk, lands on ocho and cinco, wins his OWN cake, and then eats it.

The other thing that really irritates me is that “ochocinco” doesn’t even mean eighty-five. It means eight five. But, just for fun, let’s consider what his name would be had he not chosen Spanish. Eight Five in German: acht fünf, in Japanese: hatchi go, and my personal favorite, Greek: ogdónta pénte. I suppose when you want the world to know how much you love the numbers eight and five, it’s best to use a more widely understood language, but it’s important not to be too
overt and choose English.

- Martha Stewart and I are in a fight. For a lot of reasons. Today, the reason is because she always makes things look so much easier than they actually are. All I wanted to do was make a nice little gift for some friends and their new babies. “Oh, those little arrangements that look like bouquets, but are really baby clothes rolled up to look like flowers are so cute, I’ll try that.” Google: Martha Stewart baby clothes bouquet, watch a simple you tube video, and five minutes later, I’m on my way to making this super easy project. Yeah well, it turned out like a big ol’ mess o’ shit. And I followed the directions to. the. letter. Her projects should come with a disclaimer. I propose this: “You are an inferior person, and will likely not be able to execute my creative projects with the ease that I display. If you accept that, and are aware that what YOU make will probably look like crap, please proceed.” And then I would just not make her silly projects but still feel superior because I don’t have a felony on my record.

- I actually believe that there is a correct way to hang toilet paper. Frankly, I am not a very uppity person in general, but I get uppity about the TP. So, for the record, if you are ever in my house this is how the TP will be hung. And if I am on my way to visit you, if the toilet paper isn’t hung like this, I’m going to change it:

Consider yourself warned.

- Babies are so frickin’ lucky. The have cellulite on their butts and it’s cute. They never wear make-up and they’re still adorable. Most of them have male pattern baldness and everyone LOVES it! Not to mention the fact that they have one, often TWO people who respond to their EVERY whim. So, I’ve decided, I kind of want to be a baby when I grow up.

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