It has been almost a year since Jordan and I had our last date. It was his birthday - February 7 - and we went out for dinner and drinks. Originally I had thought our last date had been a week or so before that when we snuck away to Point No Point but apparently we made it out one final time for a birthday celebration. Beyond that night however, we never planned any nights out together, as we were always hopeful the boys' homecoming was just around the corner. What silly, hopeful little fools we were!
Anyway, I digress. No matter what our last date was, it was a long time ago! Tonight however, we are breaking free! We are leaving all three kids with babysitters (my sister and my neice) so this is a hugely momentous occasion. For the first several months after they came home from the hospital we were too nervous to leave the boys with anyone, then when we got to the point that we were ready to leave them we felt bad asking anyone to take care of our giant brood (three kids including twin babies is a lot of kid to take care of!).
So to say we are excited is an understatement. A YEAR! We have not been out of the house without our children for a year! Ok to be truthful we have. One time, several months ago, we went to the pub by our house for 45 minutes while the kids were sleeping (and Jordan's mom was there). I literally guzzled a martini and couldn't get home to them fast enough. Then this past summer, when on holidays in Vancouver, the kids' aunt and uncle watched them in our hotel room for about 30 minutes while we ran out for takeout. But tonight - this is an entire evening. We are going to eat and drink and laugh and remember what it was like before our world got rocked and we lost the ability to just be together...without stress and worry and what ifs. In short - we are going to have FUN!
We don't know when this opportunity will arise again so we are going to enjoy it thorougly. Every single second of it!
I have mentioned previously that Rio is really into "playing animals" - kitties, dinosaurs, and reindeer are some of her favourites. In the past couple of days she has decided she and Nolan are skunks. Random, right? But oh so cute! Why it is just her and Nolan is beyond me but I'm thankful that all I have to do is say "Please don't spray me!" every few minutes, not get down on the ground and do the spraying!
To complete their "den" (is that what a skunk home is called? I'm reaching here - not so up on my skunk lingo) she made the following sign - she had Jordan spell it out for her letter by letter while she wrote it all out herself. Click on the photo to enlarge it.
If you still can't read it, it says "No people allowed in this skunk home cause it stinks".
If you didn't already think I have three of the funniest, best, coolest kids around, please tell me you think that now?!
Rio got a kids camera for Christmas 2009. She spends hours walking around the house taking pictures of things - mostly her toys. A lot of them (ok most of them) don't turn out, but here are a couple that I thought were really cute!
Rio came home from preschool with a present for me today. She was so proud of herself and excited to give it to me I thought my heart was going to burst from her cuteness. She carefully did it up for me and has been checking all day to make sure it is centered and looks just so. She was very concerned when she woke up from her nap that I had too napped and may have choked myself on it. Never fear Rio, no napping and no choking for mama!
Without further ado, here is my beautiful necklace. My favourite part is her name; her favourite part is the hearts. In her words "it says I love you 20 times". What's better than that?!
Out of curiosity (and boredom while I wait for muffins to come out of the oven and kids to wake up), I decided to look back on the blog to see what was happening a year ago today, not sure there would even be a post. Sure enough, there was one, and sure enough we were in the midst of some sort of drama!
Little Ashy, just 3 weeks after being moved from level 3 to level 2, had an unexplained setback and went back to level 3 without his brother. I remember it vividly, how scared we were when there was talk of putting him back on the ventilator (thankfully not required). You can read about it here.
Really, you little monkey, that's what you were doing a year ago? Seems like forever ago. Shame on you!
Today begins my level 2 writing class through The Momoir Project. I am really excited to be back at it! Some of the women are from my previous class, with a couple of additions from other sessions. It seems to be a dynamic, great group of supportive women.
I am going to do things differently this time, in terms of posting my pieces on the blog. It has been brought to my attention that sometimes magazines don't want to print anything that has been previously published on the Internet - that includes personal blogs. So in terms of this class, that definitely includes my long essay, but I would also like to submit any of the smaller writing sparks and see what happens.
So that means that for now you won't see any of my pieces. Eventually, they will all be posted - either after they have been submitted and rejected, published (hopefully!) or if I decide that maybe they aren't right to pitch. Either way you'll see them all eventually.
In the mean time, wish me luck and creative energy!
The world is seldom black and white, I know this. The unanswered questions, the middle ground, the not knowing everything - that's what often makes things interesting and challenging and gives the power to choose how our life is going to unfold.
Over here however, I am tired of grey. I want some black and white, especially when it comes to the boys.
Why can we NEVER have straight up good news? Nothing tinged with what ifs or not sures or probablys. Just G.O.O.D.N.E.W.S.
Today, for instance, we went for a hearing test for the boys. Not standard for babies at this age, but standard for babies like ours. We know the boys can hear. They react to our voices and loud noises and each other - this we were sure of. But we weren't sure if all the frequencies were there because really, how can you know?
First part of the test that looks at the physical function of their ears - aces. Their ears physically responded as they should have to sound stimulation. Good news.
Second part of the test - not so much. This is where they are in a sound proof booth and expected to show reaction to sounds by turning their heads. Did they comply? Absolutely not. Not interested, not one bit.
So back we go in a month for further testing. The audiologist assured us there is "probably" nothing wrong because the boys' ears physically behaved well. Maybe they were bored, maybe they were tired, or maybe whatever else was going on in the room was more interesting to them than the sounds they were expected to turn towards.
But this leaves me sad, a bit worried, and frustrated. Not with them, with the universe. Cut us some slack ok?* Is it too much to ask that one time they go for some sort of testing and there is a cut and dry answer? Yes, their hearing is fine enough, we are fairly certain of that. But I wanted to hear that today, not in a month from now, or worse yet, a month after that when we need to repeat the testing yet again.
Pfffffff. That's what I think of today. Thankfully, the boys probably just heard me make that noise, so we're all good. Now if you'll excuse me, I'll be busy spending the next month whispering at them in all directions to ensure they hear me.
* I realize I am whining. Of course it could be worse. Of course we could have heard right from the get go that they have hearing loss. And we didn't, so for that I'm very thankful. Obviously.
Tonight I felt something that I have not felt regularly for a good long time.
I realized tonight that in the past couple weeks since quitting pumping, I have actually felt full at the end of a meal. When I tell you that I have not felt full since the boys were born, I am not kidding. Honestly. I have forgotten what it felt like. Not only did I forget what it felt like to be full, I forgot what it felt like to NOT be hungry. 24/7 HUNGRY. No jokes.
You see, for 14 months, it was physically impossible for me to eat the number of calories per day that were required for the amount of milk I was making. Sure, once or twice (or 40 times) I may have gone overboard on the brownies, but most days there was no way I could eat enough. I would eat far more than my 6'2", 200+ lb husband, and then I would only stop because a) I had just eaten more than my 6'2", 200+ lb husband and that was embarrassing, or b) we had run out of dinner. Usually, it was a combination of the two.
But alas, I am now back to normal. I have always had a "healthy appetite" but now it is back to just that! Is it crazy that I am somehow enjoying that uncomfortable feeling that comes from your jeans feeling a bit tight after dinner? I go hours at a time without thinking about food, just like a normal person! Those of you who know how much I loooooove me some food are probably shocked that I am happy to have lost my voracious appetite - but that just goes to show how out of control my appetite was.
Another piece of freedom from giving up the pump. Who knew?!
It seems fitting that I have finally gotten around to writing about stopping pumping one month from when the process began.
Exactly a month ago, I wrote a post about how I was having trouble letting go, even though our pediatrician had given us the green light to give the boys cows milk. It was as if I needed to put that out there for the universe to hear, because that very day things changed.
That was the day we ended up rushing the boys to emerg for their spiked temps and they had ear infections and pneumonia. Because we spent so many hours there, I not only missed a pump, but missed doses of my meds. I took that as a sign that should be the day to start weaning, so indeed, it was.
I stopped the meds cold turkey. Afterwards, I remembered that my GP had warned me not to stop all at once because it would decrease my milk supply substantially. She wasn't joking! I thought this was a grrrrrreat thing at the time because I wanted this over with quickly, but little did I know the havoc it would wreak. Essentially, within a day, I was left with 15-20% of the milk production I had just 24 hours before. This process of weaning that I thought would take weeks was to be over in no time!
Eight days - that was all it would take. To go from pumping 1800 ml (60 oz or over 7 cups) per day, to not pumping at all. My Christmas present to myself was pumping for the last time on Christmas day. Easy peasy - haaaa, right! When you think things are too good to be true, they usually are.
About 10 days after I stopped pumping, I woke in the night in extreme pain. Extreeeeeeme pain, like I considered getting out the hard drugs I had left over from my c-section. Not engorgement, just shooting pain. I also felt like I had been hit like a truck. I went from being completely fine to knocking on mastitis' doorstep. It wasn't good. I took good care of myself that day, laying down and resting as much as possible (with three kids and Jordan at work), alternating tylenol and advil all day and night, and using hot compresses as much as possible. For several days I kept this up and within about a week it was gone.
When again I thought the process was over, I realized it was not. Physically, my body was done pumping, but the hormones were mental. I think quitting the meds had something to do with it, but producing milk for that long and then just stopping - whoa. Not pretty for the sanity. This didn't happen to me with Rio, but I also weaned her a lot more slowly so I don't think it had the same effect.
Finally now, exactly a month later, I think it's fair to say things are back to normal, and pumping is completely behind me - both for my body and mind. Freedom, almost 15 months later. It's lovely :)
Big success! Apparently there was a bit of "I can't do this" (imagine that, she is my kid after all) and some missing mommy, but all in all she loved it. A lesson followed by a break and snack, then a couple more hours on the slopes. She looooves the snow, and I know she thought she looked really cool in her get up so that had to have helped. She can't wait to go again. Requests for next time - the chair (she didn't like the platter lift) and two days on the mountain instead of one!
How is it possible that being left alone with twins seems like a vacation?! The house is quiet. And CLEAN. The boys are napping and I have nothing to do! Despite the fact that I will miss Rio and Jordan I look very forward to the next two days!
I am however, quite nervous about the skiing. If they drive 3 hours up island, rent all the gear, register for the class, and she won't ski - I'm going to lose it. I am particularly scared because of our experience at dance class today. She refused to dance. She stood with me and would not join the class, not even when I promised I would go dance with her (what a scene that would have been). I was SO frustrated because this is the third time she has asked to take dance class and the third time it has been a bust. The first two times we struggled each week, fighting with her every class, but still trying. This time I said enough is enough. I knew if I pulled her out today we could likely get a refund (we did - thank goodness!). I don't have the time or the patience to drag her and the boys to a class each week that she is not going to take part in.
The worst part about the whole experience is that all the other parents and the teacher surely thought I was THE CRUELEST WORST MOTHER EVER, dragging my "poor kid" out of class on the first day, not giving her a chance to come around to it in the following weeks. Little do they know that this is about the 20th time I have gone through this with her and I knew how the lessons would end up - she would get more and more stubborn and I would get more and more frustrated. So we called it quits.
I am not sure how to deal with this. Her shyness gets in the way of not only her activities but also her day to day interactions with people. It is terribly embarrassing to me when other children or their parents talk to her and she makes a face and ignores them. It was one thing when she was two or three, but now that she is four (but looks like she is 5 or 6) it comes across as incredibly rude. It is not her shyness that I am upset with her for - it is the fact that she thinks being shy is an excuse to be rude and to get out of things she doesn't want to do (for example - screaming like she is being murdered in the face of the dentist!). And what has me incredibly perplexed is that she asked to take this class and has been so excited for it and then it's as if I've forced her to be there when the time comes!
Gahh. She has me rattled today! Who thinks babies are hard? Puh-leeeease. Babies are the easy ones! Speaking of that, back to my mom and baby vacation I go!
I haven't done a post in a while so thought I'd report on some randomness.
Asher will start seeing an occupational therapist at the end of the month. I'm not sure what that will really entail, but I know for starters she will work on some hand coordination for eating.
Nolan knows how to kiss! He looks like a little fish and it is pretty much the cutest thing ever.
Both boys can mimic us when we start talking - mama, dada, brrrbrrrrrrr (motorboat), and Asher's particular favourite - screaming at the top of your lungs and shaking your head.
Rio is at the dentist right now. In the past Rio has not liked the dentist. I personally can't stand the dentist so I sent Jordan as I thought he would be more calm. Wish us luck.
The boys ate their first complete "grown up" supper the other night - pasta with red sauce. Normally we feed them their standard supper (mashed up something or other) then give them tasters of our dinner afterwards. But the other night I thought I'd let them tackle the pasta for their whole meal and they could not have been happier.
Both boys sleep 13+ hours uninterrupted at night now. Yes, we are very lucky! They do however, wake up soaked in pee because their diapers can't handle the volume from going that long without a change. They now wear a triple layered diaper - cloth covered in disposable covered in a diaper cover - and that seems to do the trick for dry, happy babies (and less disgusting laundry).
This morning Asher showed me his first signs of memory (that sounds weird, I know, but read on). Nolan started a sneezing fit and Asher laughed uncontrollably. Then when Nolan stopped sneezing, Asher stopped laughing...for a second, then he'd regroup and laugh again. Then stop again, then laugh again, all without Nolan sneezing. It appeared to me he was remembering Nolan sneeze and it would start the laughter up again. It was pretty cool to watch. I love seeing their brains develop in real time!
Because Nolan can crawl/roll all over his crib, he reaches into Asher's crib and steals stuff. Often times in the morning or after nap, Asher's crib will be missing its two small stuffies, as well as Asher's socks, which are usually in Nolan's mouth.
Jordan got me three stacking rings (to wear on the same finger) - one for each of the kids with their birthstones (Rio is an emerald; the boys are topaz). They are go-o-orgeous and I am very spoiled.
In addition to nursing at the jail, Jordan also got a casual job at a mental hospital. Wow, those are some stories.
Rio starts dance class tomorrow. She is sooo excited!
Rio and Jordan go skiing on Friday! We are all so excited for her to try it out!
Rio and Jordan going skiing means the boys and I are alone Thursday/Friday. Considering Rio is the first one up in the morning, I might actually get a sleep in!
Totally unrelated to the Trousdells - the Canucks are in first place in the NHL with no signs of slowing down. We are a very happy west coast hockey-loving family. The kids and I watch every single game. Every.single.game.
Ok now that I have stretched from reporting on the Trousdells to reporting on our hockey team, that's my cue to wrap it up. Until next time when I actually have something to write about...
UPDATE: The dentist was a disaster. DISASTER. It involved screaming and restraining and at the end of it all the dentist got nowhere near her mouth. Big sigh. We'll try again next month.
To say I am obsessed with baby Molly is a bit of an understatement. I check her website* several times a day to read her progress and messages people leave her family. Every single time I bawl my face off, yet I can't stop.
This morning I read an article about the bottle drive on Sunday. I knew it was going to be a huge success because we dropped off bottles early on Friday and there were a TON (probably literally) of bottles then. It turns out that when all was said and done they needed five one-ton trucks to haul away the spoils. Amazing! Then there was the Boston Pizza event and all the other events happening around town. It's pretty special.
It makes me incredibly proud to be a Victorian and see how our fair city is rallying behind this family. But more so, when I read the messages coming in from not only across Canada, but all over the world, I am incredibly touched by the kindness of the human spirit. I knew from our own experience that when bad things happen to people, those around them come together to help. But this takes things to a new level. Literally, Molly has the support of the entire world, and I can only imagine what strength that gives her family.
Unfortunately it often takes adversity to show us how truly GOOD most people are. I am so sorry that this family is going through this, but Molly's story is destined to change us all, for the better. Keep up with the prayers, thoughts, messages of hope, and donations for her. I know it is helping.
*On a personal level, I have a quick story about Molly's website. My friend Jason (who is a very close friend of the Campbells) designed and manages her site and it was up within hours of her diagnosis. Jason told me that when he found out the news, he immediately wondered what he could do. Given that he is a web designer, he thought of a website. You know why? Because of this one! He remembered I had this to keep people informed when the boys were in hospital so that gave him the idea to do the same for Molly. Now surely, without me, he or someone else would have quickly thought of a website regardless, but it makes me happy that the T5 blog was the initial inspiration!
The boys are starting to really like being "read to" by Rio. They can usually sit still for a few minutes staring at a picture book while she tells them about it. I hope, like for the rest of the family, books will be a huge source of enjoyment for them in the future (If you know me, you know the contents of my bookshelves are some of my most treasured collection - same goes for Rio!).
When I look at the beautiful quilts that hung on the boys' isolettes and crib for 5 months, I now have no idea whose was whose. When I see the stuffies that also lay by their heads for their entire hospital stay I also couldn't tell you which belongs to which boy. And when I think of five months - FIVE MONTHS - that number does not seem real to me. Even when I try to make it register I cannot comprehend that we spent nearly half a year in the hospital. It feels like a lifetime ago.
But what really threw me for a loop yesterday was holding our friends' newborn baby. She is almost 4 times the weight the boys were yet she still seemed so tiny to me! HOW on earth have I forgotten how small our boys were compared to a normal full term baby?? I stared at her in disbelief, trying to calculate just how much smaller the boys were, but for the life of me I couldn't.
Sometimes it's sad when memories fade....you try to hold on to them and you can't. But in this case our less than ideal memories are fading away without me even realizing, or trying. I feel like these are the first steps to freeing myself from the burden of the past - what a great feeling that is.
Our good friends had a baby girl 2 days ago and we have been SO excited to meet her. Because of Jordan's work schedule, today was the soonest we could make it. It felt like forever!
For the past two days Rio has been so excited to hold her, but when we got there she got really nervous. I don't think she was prepared to see how small she was (7 lbs, but I think she was imagining something closer to her brothers' size!). She was very happy to give her some love in my arms only, but just as we were leaving she decided she wanted some snuggle action of her own. Too cute!
We are very thankful to have this family in our lives. Their older children are two of Rio's closest friends and now hopefully the boys and this new wee one will have the same bond. Their mom was one of the very small circle we let visit the boys in the NICU and this family has given us endless support through our hard times.
Welcome baby Rianna! You chose an excellent family and you are so loved by everyone already!
I realize it's been a while since I've done a post updating on any progress the boys have made lately. Sickness (still ongoing) and Christmas seem to have kept us busy!
Drinking cows milk (the end of pumping deserves a whole other post)
Saying mama and dada and several other consonant/vowel combos all the time
Fake crying to get attention
Fake laughing to get attention
Outgrowing their 12-18 month clothes!
Hearing tests upcoming (we'll breathe a sigh of relief to know hearing is fine)
Commando crawling (he's FAST and a trouble maker!)
Rocking back and forth on hands and knees, attempting to crawl
Enjoying standing (with support)
6 teeth (three top, three bottom)
Very close to sitting - can be left for a few seconds at a time
Starting to eat finger foods
Trying "real food" - not much success (prefers purees)
Sees the dermatologist tomorrow to look at a cyst on his toe
Rolling over both ways more consistently, although still not as often as we'd like
Starting to take weight standing with support. Will work on this with physio and some "props" to help in the coming weeks
5 teeth (two top, three bottom)
Core strength improving, but still a ways from sitting unsupported
Grabbing dangling items above him and using his arms more (but still very awkwardly and with difficulty)
Starting to eat finger foods with help consistently moving hand to mouth
Trying "real food" - LOVES it and would completely give up purees if we let him
All in all things are going well. I have long ago given up on comparing them to children their age (even corrected) because they are doing things in their own time. Nolan is taking off like a bandit and I can't wait to see what the coming months bring. Asher is struggling with some things (but never slowing down on the work ethic or the charm!) and being sick seems to accentuate his issues, so we're hoping for some good progress once he is finally healed.
Tomorrow I will post some pics for their 11 month corrected photo compare!