Pride goeth before a fall.
When I picked the kids up last Thursday, Maddie was running a temp and was clearly not feeling well. Poor baby. She kept saying, "Maddie a little sick. Maddie a little sick." She just wanted to be held and snuggled. We ate a simple dinner that night, and I let the kids watch the only thing they have ever enjoyed on TV, the Baby Einstein: Baby Van Gough World of Colors DVD. I gave Maddie some Motrin, and put the kiddos to bed. They went to bed fine, and after some internal debate, I decided to go ahead and go out with my girlfriends to celebrate my anniversary.
We had a great time at Finale; we got two tasting platters (The Whole Nine Yards and Fantasia) and a bottle of champagne, then decided that we had not had enough dessert and also got a molten chocolate cake. Good times.
Maddie and Riley slept fine while I was gone, but were up and down in the night. By morning, it was clear that Riley was also sick. He was warm to the touch, and both kids were unbearably crabby. I called in sick to work, called them in sick to daycare, and tried to console two inconsolable, ill babies. They both wanted to be held, but each wanted my full attention. If I tried to snuggle both of them at the same time on the couch, they cried because they had to share me. Then they just cried because they felt bad. There was a lot of crying, very little eating or drinking, and the Baby Einstein was on an endless loop.
By evening, Maddie was feeling better, but Riley was, if anything, worse. Friday night was awful: more crying and little sleeping. Saturday was much the same, but by Saturday evening, everyone seemed to have turned the corner. The kids slept well on Saturday night, and we had a nice day on Sunday.
All in all, it was not that big a deal. It was two days; I know that plenty of illnesses last much longer. But the whole experience brought out the worst in me. I was raised in the Buck Up school of thought; it's not that my parents were unsympathetic to illness, but no one in my family is sick very often, and our model and motto was always to power through. I am not incredibly nurturing by nature, and I have a very short fuse for whining and crying.
The problem is that two-year-olds can't power through. They can't do for themselves when they are sick. They need a lot of love and a lot of attention, a lot of snuggling and a lot of sympathy. I found it very hard to provide what they needed, especially when both of them needed it at the same time. It took me back to the newborn days, when Maddie and Riley would both be wailing and I would have to choose who to help. I have practically no tolerance for crying; it just rips out my soul, and I continue to find it nearly impossible to console one baby while listening to the other one wail. I end up taking my frustration out on the poor, ailing kiddos, then feeling awful about it all. Overall, there are many things I love about having twins, but this weekend was one of those times when having two kids was exponentially harder than having one. Neither Maddie nor Riley ever got my full attention all weekend because part of my physical or mental being was always with the other one, plus I kept a bit for myself, and in the end we all felt shortchanged and disgruntled. Yuck.
Bleargh. I'm just glad it's over. I'm trying to figure out what I learned from it, and I think my main lesson is that we will survive, that it doesn't have to be pretty, it just has to get done, and that my best is not always very good, but it's good enough. The usual life lessons.
In the category of Good Things, we did have some fun when everyone was feeling better on Sunday. I took Maddie and Riley to their first movie, a Muppet Movie sing-along. We went for a friend of mine's birthday, and it was lots of fun. Maddie and Riley were a little young for it; the movie only held their attention for about fifteen minutes, but they enjoyed playing on the stairs to the balcony and eating popcorn, and since it was a sing-along and the theater was packed with kids, no one seemed to mind when Maddie yelled, "Frog singin'!" and Riley crowed, "Those guys in a car!" etc.
Also big this weekend was that I felt really loved. Not that I don't always feel really loved, but it was a tough weekend emotionally what with my anniversary and sick kids and all, and my friends and family came through for me in a big way. On my anniversary, my coworker (aka Shazam) and her wife brought me flowers, and then they were the one who watched the kids while I went out for dessert. Then, when I was home sick on Friday, Shazam brought the flowers to my house since I'd left the gift on my desk at work, thinking I'd be in to pick them up and take them home for the weekend. She also brought me a coffee. I was feeling quite low on Friday, and quite overwhelmed, and it was a great pick-me-up to see her at my door.
My brother- and sister-in-law happened to be visiting this weekend, and they were a huge help. They passed no judgment when I lost my s&%* repeatedly, and they cooked and cleaned and generally provided the extra set(s) of hands that I don't often have around. They also provided wine. Hallelujah. I wish we could have had a more fun weekend, but in terms of sheer need, this was the weekend that it was good to have guests in the house.
And then on Sunday, when we went to the movie, my friend K. and her family were wonderful, helping me get my stroller in and out of the theater, fetching snacks for us during the movie, and just making sure that we were having fun.
I have good friends. I have a great family. I am loved, even during the tough times. Perhaps especially during the tough times.