22 January 2008

My heart is full.

I posted a comment on this thread over at Ask Moxie today. Basic gist: a Moxie reader had written in about the ambivalent feelings she was having about being pregnant, and her fears about leaving her child-free life behind. She wanted people to tell her what makes being a parent worthwhile, to calm her fears a bit.

My comment was not among the most uplifting ones. I explained my circumstances and told her that it had taken me until about now to routinely see the joyful side of parenting rather than just the drudgery. My point in telling the reader that was that it can take a while to feel that deep, deep love, that bond, that selflessness—whatever you want to call it—but that it will come, and hopefully sooner for her than for me.

So wouldn't you know, when I got the kids home tonight after a sort of annoying day (job offer put off until tomorrow, many annoying phone calls at work, forgot to buy milk at lunch so had to lug the kids to the store on the way home in the rain) I got a huge, huge "this is why people have kids moment."

Maddie and Riley both said, "I love you!" Over. And over. And over.

They both talk a lot, and say things more complex than, "I love you," so I'd been puzzled by why, despite my repeated coaching and pleading, they had never managed to eke out those three little words. For whatever reason, it all clicked tonight. I was giving Maddie a hug, and I said, "I love you, Mads. Can you say 'I love you'?"

"I love you," she chirped. And then she just ran around yelling, "I love you! I love you! I love you!" Once she got going, Riley got on the bandwagon.

I don't think they really understand what it means, but I don't care. It was awesome. We were all crowing, "I love you!" until bedtime.

On a less positive parenting note, our sleep woes continue, as I mentioned in a previous post. I can't remember the last time we all slept through the night, but it's been at least a month. Riley's been waking up early, or waking up screaming in the middle of the night. Or Maddie will wake up and cry for her binky (I keep many binkies in her bed, but all of a sudden, she keeps losing them. Maybe on purpose?), then when I go in to help her, Riley wakes up. It's not that they've required a lot of attention in the night, it's just that I got used to them requiring none, so this had been hard, especially coupled with the early mornings. I think we're just in the thick of the eighteen-month sleep regression, so I'm hoping it will pass soon. Any day now would be fine.

Desperate for some kind of fix, tonight I tried asking the twins for a favor. When I tucked them in I said, "Maddie, if you wake up in the night and need binky, look around in your bed for one before you start crying for Mama, please. There are extra binkies here if you need one. [I pointed out where to find the extras.] So look before you call for Mama," and "Riley, if you wake up in the night, you don't need to cry. You can hold Froggie [his lovey], look over at YaYa [Maddie], sing yourself a song, or tell a story. Your room is safe and there is nothing to be afraid of."

We'll see how that works. Can't hurt, right? And damn, I'm tired.


LilCherie said...

oh--you have to appreciate those "why we have kids moments"...especially since they don't seem to come nearly often enough at times!

I really admire your strength...I found your blog on Depressionista's. Only read the first couple of posts so far...I can't imagine having twins and losing my husband and writing a blog...amazing!

Amy said...

My kids are now 14, and twin girls 10. The 'why I decided to become a mom' moments are daily. Truly!

Good on you for encouraging the kids to comfort themselves at night instead of calling out for mom. Keep at it and with time they will catch on. They are smart little beans, just let them know what you expect from them.

Sleep deprivation sucks. It truly drains the life out of you. Do all you can to make the nights more restful all round. You deserve your sleep dammit!

I had a single mom friend years ago who told me once her son reached a year old she used earplugs to ensure she slept and was rested for work. At the time I thought she was horrifically mean but then I became a parent ;) No reason why your sleep has to be disturbed by silly habits.

Keep at it and be done with the night wakings I say. All the best with your interview results. Hoping you get exactly what you want!

kim said...

Isn't it amazing how those three little words can totally make (almost) any bad day into a better one? The "I love you" and "You're a good mommy!" chants I get from Em keep me going when little else does - so happy that you're getting to share in all the love too!

Btw, everyone in our playgroup hit a sleeping snag somewhere between 18-24 months, exactly as you described. I can happily report that all kids went back to their previous "schedule" within a few weeks... I'm guessing it's related to all the rapid development / new skills that the kids are picking up. Here's to sending good vibes for some mommy naptime in the near future!

Karyn Johnston said...

Oh, I love you, I love you too! You truly deserve the kids crooning love songs to you every day. I absolutely love reading your blog, and even though I've never commented on here, I just finally felt a primal urge to finally comment. You write so beautifully and honestly. You inspire and humble me. Thank you for writing--and for connecting with me on my much shallower blog. I love that we have reconnected--even if it is in a virtual way at this point.

Jana said...

My daughter is the same age as your twins, and she, too, is going through a bad sleep phase (although she's always been a crap sleeper, so I'm kinda used to it). It's good for me to hear that she's not the only one!

Julia said...

Oh, that must've been so sweet. I am so happy for you that you got it in the middle of a crappy day and this sleep-deprived stretch.
And I hope the kids remember your so very reasonable suggestions tonight.
Sleep tight.

mlg said...

I love moments like that. I know you didn't imagine you were going to be the single mother of twins any more than I imagined I was going to be the single mother of a disabled child. Have you read Welcome to Holland? It is usually shared by experienced parents when they meet new parents of children with disabilities. I know that is not your situation, but the sentiment holds true here. Google it, it will come up.

I wonder if, in addition to the 18 month old bad sleep phase, they are disturbing each other. When my kid was young the “experts” said kids should move out of the parent’s rooms when your started to disturb each other’s sleep. I wonder if the kids do that to each other. (Assuming they sleep in the same room).

From experience I can tell you that I can only do 3 or 4 sleepless nights before I completely melt down and cease to function. I have no idea how you have lasted this long!

Nina said...

It must be exhausting. I know it is.

But I made mittens. They are yours (and theirs) if you want them. Just email me an address - work, PO Box, whatever - and they are on the way.

Heather said...

I had a lot to say on that Ask Moxie thread, but I just couldn't find words for it.

I had a long, hard road bonding with my first son. He was (and still is) a wonderful baby/preschooler. I just wasn't prepared for the shock of motherhood, coupled with the ambivalence I still felt. With my second son, who is now 8-months old, the bond came sooner, perhaps because I knew what was to come.

And this, my friends, is what is to come, "I love you mommy." I love you too honey. "No mommy, I've loved you since the day I met you." This was said to me by my almost 3-year old the other day. He also tells me how much he loves our family. Swoon.

debangel said...

See, there's a reason sleep deprivation has been used as a form of torture! I'm exhausted just reading about your nightly routines..you poor thing! The good news is that in my experience the fragmented sleep tires them out as well and they conk out after a week or so. Just in time for you to be declared legally insane ;)

If it makes you feel any better, Sephie woke me up this morning at 3:15, begging for popcorn. Can't she beg for a glass of water like a normal toddler??

Kathryn said...

Eventally, snick, the day will come when your wonderful kids will say
"You look tired mummy" and insist that you snuggle up with their blankie and a pile of cuddly animals.
I promise.
Later still, they will make you a cup of tea.
And they keep on loving you...

I'm hoping the "please be kind to mum" strategy won you a peaceful night.

B.E.C.K. said...

What a great moment with your kids, all of you and your I-love-you fest! :-)

I would guess that if you continually tell your kids how to comfort themselves in the middle of the night, and/or show them how to do it ("Here's Froggy..."), they'll eventually catch on. Of course, my son is turning seven in a few days and although I keep telling him to go pee if/when he wakes up in the middle of the night (because the need to go is what wakes him occasionally), he doesn't think of it. Instead, he comes to find me and is incredibly pissed (heh) when I tell him to go to the bathroom. (After he goes, though, he falls back to sleep easily. Silly boy!) So...I wish you much better luck with the sleep thing!!

What A Card said...

What wonderful kids! And, how very sweet. It almost makes up for the interrupted sleep, doesn't it? Still, I hope they did let you get a full night of sleep!

Neva4getme said...

My daughter is almost the same age as your twins and I've noticed the EXACT same thing happening. It's been super hard for me because I'm 5 months pregnant and if I don't eat when I wake in the middle of the night, I'm throwing up the following morning. Then she's up early and I'm begging her to stay put while "Mommy goes to the bathroom" 5 times to puke :P

Please let me know if your "talk" worked! Sam's a smartie as well and I think she would understand.

I particularly love the spontaneous "I love you's". When you're not saying anything and it just comes from no where. It melts my heart when I do go to her at night and she rolls over and whispers "I love you" as well. SWOON

Mama Nabi said...

Oh, I love the "I love you" chants! LN and I do the whole I (poke self in the chest) LOVE (draw a heart in the air) YOU!!!!! (poke the other person in the chest while crowing the last syllable as loudly as possible) routine which totally makes my day!

I am so glad you had a fun "I love you" time that filled your heart!

Cobblestone said...

I am the Heather from Moxie yesterday. Thank you so much, all of the comments helped more than you can imagine.

monica said...

About the milk - I so know what you mean (single mom by choice so its always me that has to get the milk ) that I decided it was worth a bit of extra money to get milk delivery at home from Crescent Ridge Dairy They are south of Boston, but deliver all over (I'm in arlington and they come here...). I love, love LOVE them!!!!! Here is why

1. The milk is hormone free (not organic, but really close), and tastes really great.

2. They have tons of other stuff you can get delivered, including some frozen pastas from my fav pasta place in Somerville (Capones). I don't buy a ton from them, cause it is definately a bit more $$, but it is nice to be able to get eggs, or bread if I know I need it and am not going to get to the supermarket or bakery or whatever.

3. You get to have a milk box on your front steps!

4. The milk comes in great half gallon glass bottles, that get reused and instead of cluttering up your recycle bin with a giant container, you can just put it in the milk box. Also they give you these great little lids that have pour spout that are so cute!

5. If you like, you can give them a key and they will come in to your house and actually PUT THE MILK AND OTHER FOOD IN YOUR FRIDGE OR FREEZER. This my cyber frind, is about as close to heaven as I may ever get. Think of it- you come home and someone has put bottles of milk in your firdge. FANTASTIC!!!.

Google them and check out the website, really - this is one of my top 5 survival techniques.

Lovely post, but the way.

Snickollet said...


Your comment cracked me up because I already have a serious love affair with Crescent Ridge. LOVE THEM. I just get milk (well, and sometimes ice cream), but I'll have to try the Capone's pasta. Milk delivery and having my house cleaned 2x/month are two things that I would sell my soul to the devil to keep in my life. Can't live without it.


Jolene said...

wow...that must've felt wonderful hearing them say that. *sigh* so sweet!