Thursday, January 31, 2008


When my aunt in Maine died she left her farmhouse and its contents to her four neices, one of which was my mother. The item I coveted most from the house was a full-length, rectangular, mirror on a swinging base that used to be in the guest room we always slept in when we visited. I used to sit in front of it and put together the wooden puzzles I found in the drawers of the vanity. That mirror is now in my bedroom though I'm thinking, after catching a glimpse of myself in it last night, of covering it with a black cloth, at least for the next six months.
A comment I heard a lot leading up to and immediately following the birth of the twins was "I'll bet you're looking forward to having your body back." As if my body had been on some kind of extended holiday to someplace exotic instead of being hijacked by alien beings who liked to spend their time camped out on my bladder.
The only trouble is, I'm not pregnant anymore, but I don't exactly "have my body back" either. Truth be told, I never had it back after H was born. When you really consider it, what body was I hoping to get back anyway? The one I had when I was twenty? When I was thirty? Even without four births under my belt, well only three if you want to be technical, twenty years later that body would have been gone for good anyway.
Every time one has a baby it's almost like totaling your car. Sure, insurance will fix it up so it runs reasonably well, but it's never going to be "factory new" again. And even without the occasional accident, normal wear and tear on a vehicle eventually takes it's toll.
I guess what I'm saying is that when you inquire as to whether a pregnant woman is looking forward to having her body back, without exactly specifying which body that is, it just opens up a whole postpartum can of worms. perhaps it might be better to stick to the more realistic, "I'll bet you're looking forward to being able to see your feet again."

song: Nobody • artist: Slyvia

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Life in the Fast Lane

For anyone who's counting. The twins are a week old today. The celebrated in a big way. An outing to the pediatricians in the morning, followed by sleeping all afternoon.

song: Life in the Fast Lane (2) • artist: The Eagles

I Remember It Well

All week I've sent the kids to their various activities with photos of the twins to show to people at places like preschool, the skating rink, and story time. It reminded me of a memory I have from when my sister was born. I was in the second grade and I'd come to school that day excited to tell everyone about my new baby sister when this boy whose mother was a nurse at the hospital beat me to the punch. He piped up and told everyone in the class, even the kids I didn't like. I was crestfallen and my teacher, Mrs. O'Hayre, reprimanded the boy for stealing my spotlight.
It's a perfect memory except for one thing. My sister was born in July. I couldn't have been in school at the time. It took my years before I realized that, no matter how vividly I remember it, it never happened. The only explanation I can come up with is that this scenario happened to another child in my class and I've somehow assimilated it into my own memory bank.
Here's another recollection from that same time period, this one I know really happened. I stayed with my aunt and uncle and my cousins, Christine and Karen, while my mother was in the hospital. When my dad called to say I had a little sister, the three of us ran out into the yard in our nightgowns, held hands, and danced around to celebrate.

song: I Remember It Well • musical: Gigi

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Mellow Yellow

The twins are jaundiced. Which, among other things, means that along with twin lingo like dizygotic, monozygotic, monochorionic, and diamniotic, I can now throw around words like bilirubin and phototherapy.
Luckily it's not serious. Really I'm only telling you so I can use Mellow Yellow as a blog post title.

song: Mellow Yellow • artist: Donovan

Monday, January 28, 2008

I Feel Pretty

I know the people who say this all mean well but telling someone with newborn twins that they're "going to have their hands full" for the next few years is like telling Miss America that she's pretty. Not to worry, I'm aware.

song: I Feel Pretty • soundtrack: West Side Story

Friday, January 25, 2008

Oh, Boy!

They said I was the perfect person to be pregnant with twins. They didn't tell me I would have perfect twins, but here they are.
So far only the pediatrician has been able to tell them apart correctly (without their hats on). I hope that he's either planning to move in with us, or that they're willing to wear those hats until they turn 18.

song: Oh, Boy! • artist: Buddy Holly

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


I'm scheduled to deliver these twins via c-section, which I just wanted to comment on briefly. There are some people who might assume that someone like me (earthy-crunchy, vegetarian, deadhead type), would be opposed to cesarian delivery. First - I'm neither a vegetarian nor a deadhead, but people have thought that. Second - my first son ended up being delivered c-section after it was discovered he was in breech position 10 days after he was due. At the time, the idea that I wouldn't be delivering my baby via the usual route was shocking. It never occurred to me when I was pregnant with C that anything could go wrong. Now, as a seasoned veteran of being pregnant, I've come to realize that it's a miracle that any baby develops and is born without complication or incident. It concerns me less how the baby (or in this case babies) arrives, and more that it arrives safely. Sure, women have delivered babies in the usual method for, well, forever. And lots of them have died doing it. And lots of babies have died too. In my opinion, people who obsess about how their babies get into the world are missing the big picture. All the baby needs to do is arrive safely. You and the baby have at least the next 18 years together - obsess over that.
It's the same with people who spend thousands of dollars on the perfect wedding. The perfect wedding is nice; perfect being a relative term. No doubt it's vitally important that the confectionary flowers on the cake match the color of the bridesmaid dresses - but, say - what about that guy over there in the tux, wouldn't it be better if you were obsessing over whether or not he's someone with whom you sincerely want to spend the rest of your life?
Weddings and births are events to be sure, but it's important to remember that they are merely beginnings.
Of course earlier today I was obsessed with 500 e-mails I may or may not ever need again, so perhaps it's best not to judge others too harshly.

song: Obsession • artist: Animotion

Can't Stand Losing You

Last week Comcast shut down the port through which we were sending out our e-mail leaving us with lots of stuff piling up in our OUT box but nothing going anywhere. Hindsight being 20/20, I can tell you now that Comcast shut down the port through which we were sending our e-mail, but at the time no one at Comcast was able to tell me until I'd spent over an hour with tech support and tried numerous other solutions, the least amusing of which involved deleting my e-mail account and re-entering it. The woman at tech support assured me that I'd be able to retrieve the 500 e-mails that had been in my IN box. The assurance reeked of a couple out on a first date, "of course I'll call you," he says, "yeah right," she thinks but she goes along with it anyway because what else can she believe? All the e-mail were, of course, lost.
"But don't you feel lighter in a way?" asked a friend when I revisited the incident a few days later.
I suppose it is something of a relief to have them all gone without having had to decide for myself what to do with them. Then again there's something validating about having 500 e-mails in one's IN box in a philosophical, "I have e-mail, therefore I am," kind of way. In light of how my world is about to shrink down to taking care of the needs of two tiny people, and only sporadically sneaking in contact with the outside world, the loss of the e-mail seems ominous, a bleak harbinger of things to come. As if someone is saying, "well, you won't be needing these any longer, just get on the couch and start lactating."

song: Can't Stand Losing You • artist: The Police

Monday, January 21, 2008

Pride (In the Name of Love)

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."
C and I listened to Dr. King's speech, all 17 minutes, twice today on YouTube. More than an interest in civil rights, this probably just goes to show what a kid deprived of television will watch. He was paying attention though, because when he heard the line above he asked me, "Did Martin Luther King have twins too?"

song: Pride (In the Name of Love) • artist: U2

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Chevy Van

I swore to myself that I wouldn't make fun of the mini van. What useful purpose would that serve? It would be the equivalent of poking myself in the eye.
Yesterday was the most I've gotten to drive the van since Ken picked it up on Tuesday night. I repeat what I said before - it drives effortlessly, even for the uncomfortably pregnant. While in the driver's seat I can't, however, shake the urge to announce, "Good evening everyone. This is your pilot speaking. Would everyone please return their trays to the upright position as we will soon begin our descent into West Falmouth."

song: Chevy Van • artist: Sammy Johns

Friday, January 18, 2008

Non, je ne regrette rein

Never fear, the mini van is in the driveway! We will be able to drive the twins home from the hospital. I have to say, it drives nice, and, it's not that hideous a color (dark gray). C climbed around in it and declared that it was as big as our house and why couldn't we live in it? H was originally similarly enamored with the new vehicle but when he realized his car seat would not be in reach of the button that operates the electric door he declared, "don't like mini van momma," and proceeded to cry the whole way home from the doctors' office.
I've decided to name it Marie. Marie the Parisian Mini Van. The former owners left us a kid's reggae CD and some change in the ashtray. Maybe I'll throw in an Edith Piaf CD for good measure.

song: Non, je ne regrette rien • artist: Edith Piaf

Don't Forget to Remember

I was thinking that I should write something profound about being pregnant. If not profound, at least, descriptive, since this is surely the last time I will be in this condition and someday I might get nostalgic for how it felt to be - as they say - knocked up.
The truth is though, I'm tired of being pregnant, tired of just about every part of the experience. I'm tired of weighing 40 pounds more than usual, of not being able to turn over in bed effortlessly, and of not being able to sleep on my back. I'm tired of my hips hurting and of my back being sore. I'm tired of heartburn and acid reflux, and of having to go to the bathroom all the time. I'm tired of crumbs on my stomach and of wondering which is more unsightly, varicose veins or swollen ankles. I'm especially tired of sitting down and having my lap be completely filled by my stomach, a condition which unfortunately won't be immediately alleviated after the twins are born. My cat is having a hard time with the no lap thing as well. Even feeling the babies move, which is admittedly cool in the beginning, has become a startling out-of-body experience. Sitting around watching your own stomach move through a force of will that is not your own has all the warm fuzziness of the first Alien movie.

song: Don't Forget to Remember • artist: The BeeGees

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Keep on Singing

This is the 600th post to the Mommy Rant. Not that that's remarkable. There are an infinite amount of inane comments yet to be made about local events and at least as many stories of my adorable children (born and unborn) with which to bore you.
What I am finding difficult, and what does seem remarkable, is the 600 songs I've used as blog title posts over the past two years. That's 600 songs give or take since I don't use them to title poem entries.
I have always thought that there is a song for every situration. For example, drop your hairbrush into the toilet? That's "Splish Splash" (Bobby Darin), "I'm Going Down" (Bruce Sprintsteen), or even the theme song from Mahogany, "Do You Know Where You're Going To?" (Diana Ross). Burn Dinner? The possibilities are almost endless. There's "Get it Right the First the Time" (Billy Joel), "Accidents will Happen" (Elvis Costello), "I'm on Fire" (Bruce Springsteen), "Guess Things Happen That Way" and "Beans for Breakfast" (both by Johnny Cash), just to name a few. Nine months pregnant with twins and keep bumping into your husband because you can't define where your ever shifting personal space is? Naturally that would be "Don't Stand So Close to Me" (The Police), "My Way" (Frank Sinatra), or even "Get Off of my Cloud" (The Rolling Stones)
Then there are songs in my memory bank that are just waiting for the right situation to be used: Christmas in Prison (John Prine), Little Willie (Sweet), and I can't believe I haven't used this one yet - Superfreak (Rick James).
Like any good gimmick, there have to be some rules. I've been trying not to use the same song title twice and they have to be songs I know or at the very least bands with which I'm familiar. If it weren't for these self-imposed rules I could just open up the iTunes store and do a search for a song specifically titled: "I dropped my hairbrush in the toilet." I picture it as a country tune.
Song titles are a useful addition to the blog as they bring in the occasional google searcher who is, say, looking for the lyrics to "Jeremiah was a Bullfrog," and gets stuck with The Mommy Rant instead.
But I must admit it's getting harder to come up with new titles and there are even times when I write an entry and then have to sit on it for a few days hoping an inspirational song title will pop into my head. Not to mention the hope that I'll be somewhere I can write it down, so as not to forget it, when it does.
So I guess I'm mulling over breaking my own rule some 500-plus song titles later. The occasional second use of a song title, perhaps followed by a #2 to acknowledge that I know it's a repeat title, wouldn't be so bad would it? That said, I also reserve the right to keep using poem titles, those few times when they are appropriate.
In retrospect, it would have been a lot easier to delve into this subject matter about 100 posts ago. I could have titled the piece "500 Miles" (soundtrack to Godspell), or "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) by the Proclaimers.

song: Keep on Singing • artist: Helen Reddy

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

wind energy quatrain

The wind farm
will not harm.
We should rejoice
in this choice.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Paint a Picture of Yourself

Last week C came home from preschool at told me: "Once there was an artist and nobody liked his paintings. His name was Van Gogh."
He went on to describe the paintings "Starry Night" and "Wheatfield with Crows." He told me how Van Gogh killed himself and that he also cut off his ear.
That night after dinner I got out a few art books and together we looked at some of Van Gogh's other paintings. His comment was: "These are nice Mommy, why didn't people like them?"
The school does a whole lesson plan on artists that culminates in a trip to the MFA in the spring so I was interested to hear who they had talked about today; Gauguin maybe, or Degas.
"What did you talk about in circle time today," I asked him on the way home this afternoon.
His reply?
"Don't stick stuff up your nose, cause you might have to have an operation to get it out."

song: Paint a Picture of Yourself (Michael) • artist: Harry Chapin

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Perfect World

Despite having recently been dubbed the perfect person to carry twins, I couldn't fall asleep last night. I couldn't get comfortable in any position and finally gave up and came downstairs to sleep on the couch. Even the couch, which usually provides great support, proved to be a challenge. I was wrestling with blankets, pillows, and my enormous stomach when I had a The Gods Must Be Crazy moment. Remember that movie? A native to the Kalahari dessert in Africa tries to return a Coke bottle to the gods - who must have been crazy to drop it on his tribe in the first place.
I couldn't help thinking the gods must be crazy to think it's possible for one person to lug around two babies at once in their stomach. Then I felt relieved that at least Google Maps, the group that posted pictures of the guy picking his nose in the park, hadn't found a way into my living room yet.
Of course you know what they say - it's not easy being perfect.

song: Perfect World • artist: Heuy Lewis and The News

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Having My Baby

We rented the movie Possession the other night. I don't recommend it even though it did star Gweneth Paltrow. The plot included a Victorian couple having a love affair who spend one night together and, surprise, have a baby.
I find the plot device of the one night stand resulting in pregnancy unimaginative, and, if my reproductive history included problems conceiving, I'd find it completely annoying if not downright depressing. I realize of course it can happen, but in movies it happens all the time.
You would think there would be some backlash but I haven't heard of any.
The one night stand resulting in pregnancy cuts across all movie genres. Off the top of my head in addition to Possession recent movies include Saved, (teenage angst/coming of age), Cold Mountain, which I know was a book first, even novelists can't resist (historical fiction), Knocked Up, which I did not see but I'm guessing the couple weren't in any sort of long-term relationship (comedy).
Meanwhile, back at what's become my weekly doctor appointments, everyone is always congratulating me and telling me what a great job I'm doing - as if I'm doing anything aside from having the common sense not to run a marathon or take up karate while eight-months pregnant with twins. It's a real ego boost. I was thinking before that it seemed to be my mission in life to give birth to boys - and lots of 'em, but now that's been confirmed by an MD. At Tuesday's appointment I was told my weight was perfect, my measurements were perfect, my blood pressure was perfect, the babies movements were perfect - hell, even my urine sample was perfect. I am the perfect person to carry twins. I always wanted to be perfect in something so I guess this is it. Though it's kind of a disappointment if you want to know the truth.

song: Having My Baby • artist: Paul Anka

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

I'm Still Standing

Last fall I assumed that by this time I'd be stuck on bed rest, or worse, have delivered prematurely and be dividing my time between C and H and some neonatal unit somewhere. Christmas shopping was finished early and I wrapped as I went along; but here it is, January, and I'm still here. I even had time to read the January book club pick. Since finishing, I checked two books of short stories out of the library, at first thinking - who am I kidding, as if I've got time to read anything else; but then reconsidering. There may not be time for an entire novel, but maybe there's still time to get in a few short stories. This line of thinking has crossed over to the way I drive the car. We still haven't bought that shiny used minivan but any night now I expect Ken to take the Subaru down to the Toyota dealership and trade it in. Consequently I see no reason to fill the tank and give the car dealership extra gas as a perk.
If a novel is the equivalent of filling it up, then I've taken to driving around with little more than an Alice Munro New Yorker piece in the tank.

song: I'm Still Standing • artist: Elton John

Monday, January 07, 2008

Broken Wings

It's an undisputed fact that everyone is different, so why people, myself included, are surprised when siblings have completely opposite personalities is a mystery. Here's just one example of how different C and H are from each other. When C was two years old and he broke something, he would burst into tears and bring the object to me to fix. He does the same thing now. When H breaks something his general attitude is "score one for team H!" He'll proudly announce, "I broke it," and then bring the object to me, not to fix, but in the same way a cat leaves a dead bird on the porch, as if it's a trophy.

song: Broken Wings • artist: Mister Mister

Obvious Child

Did anyone else find it odd that the Parade section of yesterday's paper featured an interview with Benazir Bhutto, obviously written a while back, which never makes reference to the fact that the woman was assassinated two weeks ago?

song: Obvious Child • artist: Paul Simon

Friday, January 04, 2008

Forever Young

A Christmas card from my dad's cousin Flossie, advised me to "have your children while you're young."
Flossie lives in Lower Wedgeport, Nova Scotia, my grandmother's home town, where many of my cousins (several times removed) are lobster fishermen and all of them are cut-throat cribbage players. My parents visit every year but it's been a while since I've been there which could explain why Flossie doesn't remember that it's about ten years too late for me to heed her wise advice.
They say though that having children keeps you young. If that's the case I should be twice as young next month, despite my birthday, than I am right now.

song: Forever Young • artist: Rod Stewart

Thursday, January 03, 2008

The Weight

And I've stopped taking my shoes off when getting weighed at the doctor's office. As if it makes a difference.

song: The Weight • artist: The Band

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Big Time

Three weeks to go. Even my "big sweater," the one I'm surprised I didn't throw out after having worn it every day when I was pregnant with H, is getting tight.
I feel like Alice in chapter two of her adventures in Wonderland. After eating enchanted cake and growing tall she wonders of her own feet, "who will put on your shoes and stockings ... I'm sure I sha'n't be able! I shall be a great deal too far off to trouble myself about you: you must manage the best way you can."
I don't even look like a normal pregnant woman. I look like one of those women who tells her friends she's pregnant just to get some attention. After making this announcement she walks around with a perfectly round beach ball stuffed under her shirt for four months. Pretty soon I'll take an extended holiday, come home, and announce that the dingo ate my baby.

song: Big Time • artist: Peter Gabriel