We had a good trip to New Hampshire. Riley loved sledding. We went out three times. Maddie liked it, but not like the Ri-Man. We decorated graham-cracker houses, which was enthralling for about 10 minutes (typical toddler attention span), and the kids had a blast chasing the three cats and two dogs around the house. Maddie said her first complete sentence: "I will hold this." I kid you not. I had a plate of crackers and cheese, and I held it out to Maddie and said, "Would you like some?" She took it from me and said, "I will hold this," clear as a bell. My friends both heard it, too. Crazy.
I got to take a long jacuzzi bath on Sunday morning while the twins napped. Heaven. I joined a book club, and I'll be going for the first time on Wednesday. I didn't join until last Wednesday, so I've had some serious reading to do and the jacuzzi tub was an excellent place to do it. We're reading The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. Memoirs are not my favorite genre, but her story is pretty compelling and a real statement about the loyalty young children have to their parents no matter how they are treated.
As has been well documented here, I've been tired and impatient lately. I blame, among other things, the emotional impact of John's birthday, the weather, my utter indifference to work, and the holidays. After a few weeks of being much better about the yelling and the annoyance with the twins, this past week was filled with moments that I longed to take back. As always, it was good to be with friends to help with the task of baby care and remind me that there is lots of fun to be had with the babes.
Returning home last night, after dark, with a car full of stuff to unload, children to feed, baths to give, bills to pay, and prep for the week to do was hard. I was weary and felt the annoyance coming back. The friends we stayed with in NH are very active in their Unitarian Universalist church, not in an "in your face" kind of way at all, but a quiet, peaceful, and admirable way. I found myself thinking of Al-Anon and higher powers and asking for help. As I struggled to get things unloaded and get ready for the week, I asked for help a few times. Then I asked again while I drifted off to sleep. "Help me be patient. Help me be the kind of parent I want to be. Help." I really don't know where these pleas are going, but they do seem to work. I felt much calmer this morning, less bothered by the small stuff (like being late, feeding the twins a less-than-stellar breakfast, not getting the playroom tidied before we leave like we usually do, Maddie pooping just as we were headed out the door—really, small stuff, but sometimes it totally gets me down). I had to dig through a huge load of laundry to find the kids' hats and mittens, and we made a game of it; I would ask each of the twins to find me a specific thing. By the end, the laundry was folded and the kids were running around in their pajamas and mittens. It was pretty funny.
I've been considering attending a service at the large, active UU church in my town. I am very undecided about the God/higher power issue, so I like he UU focus on respect for all beliefs and a love of all people. I struggle with how to teach those values to the twins, and this would provide a framework for those teachings. I don't see it happening before the new year, but it's something that's on my mind for 2008. It might help me figure out where my pleas for help are going, because it's pretty clear to me that they are getting heard.