Friday, February 27, 2009

At this moment . . .

D4 is covered with flour from crawling through the kitchen and picking up the mess I didn't get cleaned up after the cookies (because the babies woke up right then and I had to feed/change/serve lunch).

D3 is eating a tea bag. I don't know why.

D2 is changing his jeans because he went wading in the basement after the rain storm.

I don't know what D1 is doing and I don't think I want to as it probably involves completely rearranging the furniture somewhere. She'll be eating coleslaw for the rest of the day, apparently, as she served herself and D2 a cup of it while my back was turned and then decided she was full.

I keep thinking I want to make a one-day-in-the-life post to look back on in later years, but then I think, "Nah."

Thursday, February 26, 2009

An Anniversary of Sorts

Thanks to the blog, I realize that today is Twin Day--one year since the ultrasound technician's offhand remark, "You have two babies."

I still feel about as dazed as I did a year ago. And although they are about 1700% bigger than they were a year ago, we still have two babies.

Subconsciously that surprises me. It's as if I expected to give birth to twins but then at some point they would split up in age and perhaps we'd be back to the more familiar territory of a toddler and a baby. But although they differ drastically in personality, development, and preferences (not to mention gender), they're still two babies.

They've turned a corner in the past month or so. Suddenly nursing is more a drive-by means for nourishment than the major waking activity. There's a world out there to explore, and they mean to explore it, each in their own way. D3 is the meticulous one, examining a single toy or variation in the floor--even her own fingers--for long quiet minutes, during which time D4 has covered three rooms and tried to pull up at least twice.

I have learned a few things about having twins:

The best garments for mobile twins are denim overalls with very sturdy fasteners, to allow for one-handed grabs.

The people who think you shouldn't try to carry both babies at once don't have twins. Or if they do, they don't have tornado warnings.

The reason twins on average have language delays is that their parents are too tired to speak.

The best entertainment for twin babies is older siblings.

(And a note on this picture. This was on our trip and I spotted them running around upstairs like this instead of in bed. I asked what was going on. D1 said, "We're waiting for Papa to take our picture in sunglasses!" D2 added, "AND pajamas." Glad he clarified that.)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Good News

This week I put chili in the crockpot and cornbread in the breadmachine, and this time I pushed all the right buttons and everything was done when we got home from the chiropractor.

The crocuses are starting to show.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Seven Quick Takes Friday

I just realized that D3 is allergic to egg yolk. I wish I had realized it on Tuesday, when she spent all day throwing up, but I thought it might be a bug. Now I'm sure about the eggs. Very, very sure.


Also, putting a baby in a backpack carrier is a really good way to get them to vomit. If they're waiting to vomit.

DOB has dubbed our mid-winter vacation last weekend the "Little Girl with a Curl" trip. Two days were very, very good. We visited friends, napped, played at the park with the kids, and read.

And the last day was horrid, because I woke up too sick (or tired, it comes to the same thing) to get out of bed, leaving him to deal with everything, leaving both of us utterly exhausted by the time we made it home.


A duckling hymn: "Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wrench like me."

I don't know whether screwdrivers can be saved or not.


This recipe is from The Tightwad Gazette. It's really easy, and really good. Faster than the bread machine or most "quick" breads.

Cuban Bread

5-6 cups all purpose flour (I use nearly all whole wheat)
2 T dry yeast
2 T sugar
1 T salt
2 cups hot weater
1 T sesame or poppy seeds (opt.)

Mix 4 cups of flour with yeast, sugar and salt. Pour in hot water and beat 100 strokes, or 3 minutes with a mixer. Stir in the remaining flour until the dough is no longer sticky. Knead 8 minutes. Place the dough in a greased bowl, and cover with a damp towel. Let rise 15 minutes. Punch down. Divide into two pieces. Shape into two round loaves, and place on a baking sheet. Cut an X ½ inch deep on top with a sharp knife. Brush with water, and sprinkle with seeds. Place on the middle shelf of a cold oven. Place a cake pan of hot water on the lowest shelf. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Bake 40-50 minutes until deep golden brown.


D4 is now crawling on all fours. He's still kind of stiff, though, so he looks like Frakenbaby. D3 gets up on her knees and rocks, and seems pretty pleased with herself about it.


And as a follow up to the first quick take: D3 has finished throwing up, taken a long nap, and is now back to normal. Exactly like on Tuesday. I'm going to have to think of something besides soft-boiled egg yolks to serve her for breakfast.


The Christmas chocolate is nearly gone.

More Quick takes at Conversion Diary.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Power of Repetitive Thinking

I seem to remember hearing somewhere that thinking about something X number of times (I forget how many) wrote the same mental pathways as having done it once. This was used to caution one against contemplating evil, and encourage the results of contemplating good.

What I don't recall ever hearing is the danger this poses to housework. By that logic, it only takes X number of times thinking about, say, washing the dishes, before you feel as if you have already done them.

And what could be more depressing than washing dishes that have already been washed?

Clearly the only solution is to stop thinking about washing dishes, so that one is not deceived into believing them already washed.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


There is no better cure for the winter blues than sixty degrees and sunshine.

On the other hand, there's no worse inducer of the winter blues than a houseful of runny noses.

So I guess we're at least breaking even.


One of D2's birthday gifts last year came with a free subscription to a parenting magazine. So I signed up for it, figuring it would at least be good for the picture file. It also gives me a monthly chance to be astonished at the world outside my bubble.

For instance: Did you know that they now have a juice that comes with extra water already added? So you can give your kids less sugary diluted juice without the trouble of pouring water in yourself.

First I'm horrified and think that if anyone does not have time to pour water into juice they really need to reevaluate their life. Then I think, "You know, that probably sounds wonderful to someone who has to have it diluted exactly right and they'll think I'm really mean for mocking it."

But then, if you're mean like me you can never give your kids juice at all.


I hate those hyper-real dreams where you dream you're in a park during an earthquake and there's a chilly breeze blowing and then you wake up and find the covers have all come off and someone is shaking the bed.


The babies slept beautifully last night, which would lend credence to my theory that it's church that messes up their sleep cycles every week and it takes us all week to get them back on track, except that even though we stayed home from church on Sunday they still wouldn't take their proper naps on time. But I will still take what I can get.


What do you do with a child who loves to play in the mud and freaks out whenever he gets mud on him?

Thursday, February 05, 2009

How To Do It All . . . Wrong

Yesterday afternoon we had to go to the chiropractor to meet the older two kids, who had been visiting Grandma. D2 had come down with a bad cold while he was there. We would arrive home right at dinner time.

No problem. I handle this kind of situation all the time. I put chili in the crockpot and cornbread in the bread machine. Then the babies needed some more vegetables, so I cooked a bag of broccoli and whipped it up in the blender right before DOB came to pick up me and the babies. Also I didn't want to waste money on disposables, so I kept them both in cloth, figuring that they'd already had their stinky diapers for the day.

I should have negotiated a better stinky diaper clause. (No more than one per child per day; only between the hours of 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. or 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., except for during meals or when out.) Anyway, no sooner did I pull D4 out of the carseat at the chiropractor than I realized he was stinky. But since the last time I tried to change a cloth diaper away from home I found the old one left in the diaper bag a week later, I decided to leave him in it. D1 and D2 were happy to see us, but very overtired and D2 had a horrible cough. D3 also had a stinky diaper, but we had not had the chance to notice it yet.

So we arrived home with four kids all suffering some combination of hungry, tired, stinky, and sick. We had an altercation just trying to get in the front door, a place where painful backlogs occur rather often when you have two spacey preschoolers, two very heavy carseats, a spring-loaded storm door, and a whole lot of snow. When we had all made it through the door, I realized I was smelling none of the smells that should have heralded hot, fresh cornbread and chili.

Turns out instead of setting the bread machine to bake quick breads, I had set it to make dough. So I had twice-kneaded and risen cornbread batter. (For you non-bakers, that's the exact opposite of what should be done with cornbread, which should be just barely mixed and baked immediately.) I also had forgotten that using the blender disrupts the crockpot's power supply enough to turn it off.

By the time the "cornbread" was baking and the chili was really heating, we had all four children screaming, something that fortunately doesn't happen very often. When it does, there's nothing to do but grit your teeth, quote the first stanza of "If" to yourself, and apply triage.

We did all survive. I'm even trying to use the crockpot and bread machine again.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Fun, fun, fun!

Dear Fellow Parent,

If you could peek inside your child's imagination, what would you see? Silly animals . . . castles and princesses . . . wishing stars and rainbows . . . towering birthday cakes and giant ice cream cones? Whatever might be hidden in there, no doubt it would be colorful, creative and fun, fun, FUN!

No, the blog didn't get hijacked, I'm just quoting from a current piece of junk mail.

Have these people ever been children? Have they ever had a child? This is not how I thought as a child; if the occasional random comments of the ducklings go by, it is not how my children think either. Left unassisted, the child's imagination is a mix of the curious, macabre ("You're dead so we have to eat by ourselves."), and mundane ("Let's play the place we drop off stuff we don't want anymore.") with a distinct lack of cutesy oversized animals in primary colors.

Children's imagination is not primarily a way to escape from the world; it's the way they make sense of the world. Mostly it looks like the real world combined in peculiar ways as they try to understand it without all the data yet.

This book is promoting how a certain kind of adult thinks children ought to imagine things. And if my recollection of being a child is anything to go on, children HATE that kind of adult, though most of them are too polite to say so.

I think we'll pass. The ducklings will have to survive without someone else's idea of fun, fun, FUN!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Seven Quick Takes Sunday

Because I'm perpetually behind.


As expected, the bet over whether D4 would be crawling by the end of January wound up in a debate over technicalities (like most Duchy discussions). Is an army crawl a crawl? He's getting up on all fours, but still seems uncertain as to whether to use this power for mere crawling or as a platform for rocket-launching.

D3, meanwhile, has finally figured out rolling both ways but is most impressed with her ability to say, "Mama," although she's still not quite sure what it means.


Today is the annual holiday known as I'm Glad We Don't Have a TV day. I know the internet can be just as bad in some ways, but at least the internet is QUIET. I hate background noise. And in another hour or two, the Superbowl will be over and peace (punctuated by screams) will return.


A quotation from the Duckling Revised Standard: "And the Lord God commanded them to duke it out."


Around here we have these sandwich storms: several inches of snow, then an inch or two of ice, then several more inches of snow, then some more ice. Then a few thaw/freeze cycles. It makes for interesting walking. Which makes for a lot of staying inside if everyone has short legs.


Tomorrow is Groundhog Day, aka Candlemas, aka as the midway point of winter. I made a paper chain countdown to the first day of spring and immediately got depressed by how many days there were left. But at least now we have something to do on each of them.


Chicken-Broccoli Curry Soup
. Yum. (Except I left out the rice and used potatoes and carrots and didn't have cream so I made thick powdered milk. Still just right, especially for a cold and sniffly day.)