Tag Archives: Twin Blog

Discovering Rainbows: When your children turn to memories

Sometimes, when we speak to children, specifically those under the age of 3, we find that there is something of a communication barrier.

Sometimes it’s because the words they use contain different meanings than the words we use. For example, when my children say “yesterday” they don’t mean “the day directly previous to today.” Instead they mean “any period of time that came before my last sleep.”

Dinosaurs were yesterday.

Sometimes Rory says that I’m being a bully. But he doesn’t mean “someone that pushes smaller people around” he means… well, he actually means exactly that but the heart of the matter is quite different. He doesn’t like being disciplined. So when I give him a time-out for hitting his sisters, I am, effectively, being a bully.

And then there are times where things are not understood because they are taken out of context.

One day I’m at a friend’s house and Rory turns to one of the girls there and says, “My dad says that we should eat blood.”

And then all eyes slowly shift towards me and I smile sheepishly and stupidly because, well, yes. Actually, as a matter of fact, I did say that.

But my context… was a little different.

Jade and I had recently visited Ireland where they have black pudding. Black pudding is made by taking animal blood, mixing it with oats and spices, forming them into patties and then frying them. Ultimately they look and taste a little like breakfast sausages. So I was telling the kids about this. I was telling them about the time daddy ate blood. And I was telling them that people do this. And I was telling them that they could do it as well.

So yes, I was telling them that they could eat blood.

Conversations and words are strange things because ultimately, words are just empty containers – empty cups – and each of us gets to choose what we’re going to fill them with. Knucklehead can be aggressive or endearing. It’s just an empty cup until I fill it with intent.

***   ***   ***   ***   ***

Sometimes, however, we can’t understand children of that age because, well, we just literally can’t understand them. Their lips and tongues and brains aren’t quite functioning at full capacity yet. Their words sound mushy and drunk.

Like today when Bryce said, “Darezah aimbow in our-owse.”

I hear these words escape her mouth and they’re said with such conviction that I’m certain they mean something. Certainly she’s saying something. For Bryce it seems that she has full intent but no cup and her words, rather than being neatly contained, are just splashing all over the place.

And so we try to interpret.

“Darezah aimbow in our-owse.”

I’m sitting in a chair reading a book when she says this. I’m in the other room. There’s a wall separating us and my location in space has my back positioned to her. Ironically, you’ll just love this, my book is about finding happiness in the minutia of life. So it makes sense that, reading this book, I turn my head a quarter of an inch in my daughter’s direction and I say, “Oh, yeah. Neat. Okay,” and then go back to reading.

Rather than finding joy in my daughter, who is discovering and interacting with the exciting world around her – rather than connecting with a human, a child that came from me, no less – I choose to bury myself further in my own thoughts.

Because that’s what kind of person I am, I guess.

Because actions do speak louder than words.

Because even if we say, “I’m not like that,” our actions show us who we are. It’s so funny how, more often than not, our thoughts and our actions do not align. Our thoughts speak to ourselves (no one else can hear them) and our actions speak to others. So if we think one thing but do another, it creates a rift in our reality. We begin to think that we are someone that we are not. Or, worse yet, the world thinks we are one way while we think we are another.

There grows a haunting disconnect between that which we think we are and that which we actually are.

If I think I am the guy that gets up and engages with my children but when my children speak out to me, I pay them lip service in order to make them go away so that I can indulge in whatever it is I’m doing… who am I?

I give her just the absolute most minimal attention possible to hopefully satiate whatever want she has in this moment. Because I’m sure it’s nothing.

And then Bryce says, a little more enthusiastically, ““Darezah aimbow in our-owse.”

“Nice. Nice. Yes. Yes. That’s very wonderful, isn’t it?” Look! I’m paying attention to you, Bryce! I’m giving you words.

I am giving Bryce empty cups. My words are cups but I have filled them with no intent at all. She is asking to be fed with attention and I’m just pushing empty plates at her.

“Nice. Nice. Yes. Yes. That’s very wonderful, isn’t it?” Whatever, whatever. Please leave me be. I’m reading a book. You are a babbling child who is almost certainly making a mess out of chocolate cereal at my dining room table. What do I have to say to appease you?

Or… what do I have to say to silence you?

Or… best yet… what do I have to say to make you go away?

Because you are bothering me and I want to be left alone.

What are we really saying when we say the words we are saying.

Sometimes I don’t understand what my daughter says because she’s three.

Sometimes I’m thankful my daughter can’t fully understand what I’m saying because she’s only three. Thank you, Bryce, for not understanding that I’m pushing you off.

Daddy. Darezah aimbow in our-owse.”

Alright. So this problem is not going away. I’m actually going to have to engage. I shut my book and I set it down and I stand up and I walk around the corner and I see Bryce sitting at the table with, wouldn’t you know it, a mess of chocolate cereal in front of her. Wonderful. Guess whose cleaning that up?

“What is it, Little Ohm?” This is a character from a movie I saw once and for some reason I started administering the name to Bryce.

“Look. Darezah aimbow,” and she points. And I look. And I see nothing. I see nothing and I just think to myself, of course.

“What are you saying?”

“Darezah aimbow. Dare.”

“There’s a rainbow?”

“Yah.”

“In our house?”

“Yah.”

Where is this rainbow?”

“Dare.” She points. I still see nothing.

I sit down next to her at the table. I lower myself several feet. I squint. I lower myself further. I try to relax my eyes. Still nothing.

“Are you a freaking psychic medium?”

“Yah. Dare.”

I squat down lower. I bring my eyes to her level. I tilt my head like hers. And I follow her finger and I see… a rainbow.

In our house.

And it is a simple thing. But it is also a beautiful thing.

“There is a rainbow. Look at that.” I sit in silence and stare at the thing for a moment. “It’s quite beautiful, isn’t it?”

“Yah. Vewy pwetty.”

“Yes. It is vewy pwetty, isn’t it?” And then the two of us just sit and watch it. We just… enjoy it together. Like a piece of art in a gallery. We just sit and watch the rainbow, the silence periodically broken by the sound of dry, crunching cereal next to me.

“I wuv you, Daddy.”

It’s out of nowhere. Out of the blue. It has no greater purpose. No shadow intent. She isn’t trying to get something out of me. She isn’t trying to do anything. It is a cup that is filled with cold and refreshing water. The perfect amount. At the perfect time.

Where do I fit in this picture? How did I help create a being like this? They arrive here perfect and then we just start to slowly mess them up.

“May I have a hug, Bruce?”

“Oh, yes. Yes, Daddy.”

She puts down her spoon, delicately and intentionally balancing it inside the bowl, steps forward and hugs me. And she holds it. And she squeezes. And I can feel her smiling. When she pulls back she gives me a kiss on the cheek and says, “I love you, Daddy.”

Oh, it’s funny what a little perspective will do to your life. It’s funny that if we stop looking at things the way we see them and start looking at them the way someone else sees them, we actually get to experience life in a richer capacity.

If we open our ears and hearts to others, we get to see the world in a multitude of ways.

We can be both here and there. We can see things as adults. We can see things as children. And if we join together and sit down, we can somehow see the world as both. It’s like the 3-D glasses. You get to see through two lenses at once. And everything pops. Everything is brighter. More intense. More saturated.

I glance back at the rainbow and see that it’s fading – almost a gray color now. And I think about how fleeting all things are. The sun, nearly 100 thousand miles away, cast its light in just this way, to reflect just perfectly through that window, that someone built in that way. All of that coupled with my daughter standing in this room at this time (making a mess from her chocolate cereal), facing the proper direction as she was the exact height at this time of her life to see this miniature spectrum.

And she saw it in this tiny little window of time where it was available to her. Just a few moments in the late afternoon.

This special thing happened.

And then it was gone.

And we couldn’t get it back. So hopefully we enjoyed it.

“You want some cereal, Daddy?”

I nod. “Yes, please.” And she feeds me one small piece of chocolate cereal at a time. She drops a marshmallow on the floor, says, “Oops,” and then picks it up. It’s now covered in dust and hair. She balances it back on the spoon and says, “Here.”

I reach out, dust it off and bite.

The rainbow in our house is gone.

And then the cereal was gone.

And then Bryce left the table.

And then years passed.

And then Bryce left the house.

And then it was just me sitting in a chair with a book, remembering the time that I got to share a rainbow with her. Hoping that I enjoyed it.

Because this memory is all I have left.

 

 

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THE CAVE: Getting lost in the darkness of a failing marriage

“You’ve been married for eleven years?” someone asks me.

“Yeah. Eleven years. It’s a long time. We’ve been together for fifteen.”

What? Did you get married when you were twelve? How old are you? You’ve been married fifteen years? What’s that like?”

I suspect that they anticipate me to tell them that marriage is beautiful and wonderful and that I’m married to my best friend and everyday is a marvelous adventure.

But I don’t.

Instead I tell them the truth.

“What’s it like? It’s, uh… Marriage is like this dark cave. And when you get married you both go into the cave together. You take hands and you step into the darkness. That’s the unknown – this new part of life. You walk next to each other for a while and then one day your hands get sweaty and so you let go of each other but it’s all good because you can still hear them next to you. You’re still talking and you know that they’re there. It’s dark. It’s black. But you know they’re next to you.

And then one day you’ve talked about everything and so you get kind of quiet and you decide that just spending time in one another’s company is enough. And so you just keep walking in the dark, next to each other, in silence. And it’s okay because you know that they’re still there. You can still hear their footsteps.

And then one day you ask them a question. And you get no response. And you realize that they are gone. You realize that you’ve gotten separated. You’ve drifted apart. And you are alone. And somewhere, they are alone as well.

You call out to them. You shout their name and you get no response. And so you go looking for them because you know that they’re there… somewhere. You know that somewhere in this cave they’re wandering around. They’re doing their thing and you’re doing yours.

You call for them and in the distance you hear them. And you keep shouting and you keep calling and you keep walking and you try to get back to them.

And you hope that you find them.

***   ***   ***   ***   ***

Some people are walking in the cave and they’re like, ‘I’m done walking in the dark with you.’ And those people turn around and they walk back towards the light. Sometimes they walk back towards the light and out of the cave together. And sometimes they do it alone.

And sometimes that’s okay.

***   ***   ***   ***   ***

One day you wake up and you’re thinking, ‘This is not the person that I married. This is not the person that was standing next to me at the altar.’ And, if you’re self-aware enough you may realize that you are also not the same person that was standing at the altar and that your spouse is experiencing you in an entirely new way.

You’ve both changed. You’re both completely different people. And then you wonder if you can keep making it work. Because those other versions could do it… but you’re not sure these new versions are a fit.

How do you put together a puzzle when the pieces keep changing shape?

Now drop kids into the mix. Oh, shit. Things are getting complicated.

***   ***   ***   ***   ***

You have a dream of having a career. A specific career. And so you educate yourself in that field. Maybe you go to college. Maybe you go to a tech school. Maybe you read books and watch YouTube videos. However you prepare for it, it is, at its core, a preparation. An education of self.

So then you get that job and then the industry changes – new technologies or practices emerge. So your boss sends you to receive additional training. You learn new ways to process information. You learn new techniques. The career field changes and so you must adjust.

So we apply hours and weeks and sometimes even years and sometimes even decades of preparation to a job (say hello, doctors!) and yet, when we discuss marriage, when we prepare to live with another person full time and make life changing decisions with them… we… do… nothing…

The church that married Jade and I encouraged us to take three 30-minute classes.

90 minutes of training for the task at hand is not enough.

I’ve been married for just over a decade and the training I’ve received on-the-job has not been nearly enough.

But marriage is not like a job. You just get thrown in first day with no idea what you’re doing and nobody encourages serious training. Nobody tells you to re-educate yourselves after five years or ten years. Nobody tells you that your marriage career is going to change and you’re going to have to make it work or get fired. And if you suggest education – if you suggest marriage counseling you get this taboo sense that something is wrong with you.

You know that feeling I’m talking about. That unspoken weirdness that everyone thinks but does not speak. This idea that is perpetrated in our culture that marriage counseling is for the weak and broken and… my personal favorite…

If you have to go to marriage counseling you weren’t meant to be.

Because if you have to ask for help it is because you are stupid. Don’t you know that? Don’t you know that everyone else knows how to do this? Don’t you know that it comes easily and naturally to everyone else? Marriage is simple and straight-forward and if you need advice it is because the pieces do not work together and there is no hope anyways. Don’t you know that? Don’t you know that it’s better to live miserable little lives than it is to seek counsel? Don’t you know that?

What if we applied that logic to other areas of our lives? Son, if you need to ask a question in class, you probably just aren’t smart enough to begin with.

If you need to look at the recipe for how to make chili, you probably weren’t made for chili. Sorry. It’s delicious but you don’t get any. Shoo-shoo, Oliver Twist.

Listen. Seeking education does not make you stupid or wrong. Seeking education makes you self-aware. Education and intellect craft a stronger individual, crafts a stronger family, crafts a stronger culture, crafts a stronger world.

Do not allow the uninformed to inform your thinking.

Do not be engaged and dissuaded by a society that has a 50% failure rate in marriage.

Set your own rules. Live by your own standards.

Education is not a swear word.

***   ***   ***   ***   ***

I’m broken.

That’s a fact.

I’ve got a bunch of baggage that I carry around with me everywhere I go. I’ve got baggage about my family. I’ve got baggage about my parents. I’ve got baggage about my faith. I’ve got baggage about my body. I’ve got baggage about my personality. I’ve got baggage about my grades and my IQ and my creative abilities. I’ve got pride issues. I’ve got insecurity issues.

And my wife gets to adopt them.

And I get to adopt all of her bullshit.

And then we have to figure that stuff out together.

We say things we don’t mean. We do things we know we shouldn’t. We raise our voices and we walk away from conversations and sometimes we hurt each other with nothing more than our intent.

Thank GOD people have not heard some of the stuff I’ve said to my wife in the heat of an argument. Shit has come out of my mouth that I think about today and cringe. I have said things to her for no other reason than to hurt her. And that speaks to who I am (or hopefully was) as a person, at my core. At the time I would have said it was her fault. It’s her fault for being a specific way and I was just bringing it all to light and if it hurt her it’s because it was true.

These are the words and thoughts of someone that is selfish and arrogant.

The vows tell us that we’re going to be together through sickness and health, for better or worse but what they don’t tell us is that it’s sometimes going to feel like you’re dragging along a dead marriage, fighting uphill to make it work. They don’t tell you that there will be periods of time – not just days and weeks but entire months – that drag on through the gray drizzle of time and you’ll wonder just what is wrong with your spouse because it’s not you. It’s not you. It’s never you. It’s always them. Making mistakes.

“I’m trying. You’re not.”

“There’s nothing wrong with me.”

Getting married is like a light to all of your shortcomings as a human being. Your spouse will illuminate all the problem areas. It’s painful and it’s terrible and it hurts to look at yourself and see all the flaws. And it’s just so much easier to turn your face to one side and not look at that pile of problems that create you, as a person, and it’s so much easier to deflect blame to the other.

It is so much easier to look at someone’s shortcomings and it is so much easier to nurture resentment for a million little things and a handful of big things.

It is so much easier to judge others.

And it is simple to judge our spouse.

And so you choose.

Those three thirty minute classes didn’t prepare us for cancer at 26. They didn’t prepare us for lay-offs. They didn’t prepare us for invitro-fertilization. They didn’t prepare us for twins. They didn’t prepare us for a miscarriage. They didn’t prepare us for the day-in-day-out minutia of life and they didn’t prepare us for the fact that Jade likes things done a certain way and I like things done a certain way and those ways typically are not the same but are, more often than not, quite opposite.

Those classes didn’t prepare us for anything.

I wish I could say that everyday Jade and I choose to hang onto each other in the darkness of the cave but the reality is that we don’t.

Sometimes we are cold and calculating.

And sometimes we are terrible.

And cruel.

But we try.

We choose.

We choose to continue to stumble blindly through the dark, seeking each other.

And sometimes we choose to talk about walking back into the light. Sometimes we talk about what a divorce looks like.

And sometimes we have fun together and we find each other and we remember why we do this. We remember why the search is worth it.

We remember that we love each other and that our family is amazing and that we’re very lucky and it is only our own selfish shortcomings that are destroying us and we realize that if we can choose to be better people, we can choose to be the best for each other.

And when our spouse shines a light on our problem areas – our selfishness, our arrogance, our pride – we can choose to get angry that someone noticed our darkness… or we can thank them for being close enough to us to point out our flaws. And then we fix them together.

“But, man…” I conclude. “Marriage is really hard.”

The guy across the table looks at me. I notice he doesn’t have a ring on his hand. I wonder if he’s thinking about proposing.

“But it’s also amazing. Marriage is beautiful and wonderful and I’m married to my best friend and everyday is a marvelous adventure.”

 

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Code 5 Quinn-pocalypse

I’m walking out of my house – I need to run to the grocery store to pick up some waters. It’s a quick in and out job. Super basic. I’ll be gone ten minutes. Max.

I hit the door and drop down the porch steps and I’m almost to my car when I hear Quinn behind me. She does this whine – it’s full of panic and concern. This tone that is like eeeeeeehhhhh! It’s a noise that sounds like she’s on the edge of a full nervous breakdown. Her voice wobbles and quivers. “Daddy! Wait! Wait! I didn’t give you a hug and kiss!

I can hear her shouting this from the living room. “Yeah! I’ll be back in just a minute! One minute! I will be right back, I promise!”

NO! HUG AND KISS! EEEHHHHH! PLEASE!

I keep walking. She’s on the porch now. Squealing. Now she’s running down the steps. Running towards me. I keep walking. “I will be right back, Quinn! You will see me in two minutes. I’m just buying a water.” And then my internal monologue kicks in, which goes something like this: What is wrong with this kid? What have we done to this child to give her such separation anxieties? This noise that she makes is killing me. It is driving me up the flipping wall. I wish she would just relax. Her panic is so dumb. And so senseless. I’m going to be right back. Why isn’t she listening to me? If she would just stop making these stupid whining noises and listen to me, she would know that I’m going to be right back. Why is she wasting my time?

This is the routine whenever either Jade or I leave the house. Every time. Every single time there is a fantastic meltdown over hugs and kisses. If you do not properly connect your lips with Quinn’s lips and give her a very proper hug that has a fairly specific form to it, then you are dealing with a Code 5 Quinn-pocalypse.

This is not, like, a thing. This is A Thing.

I’ve driven away before. I’ve been like F it. This is ridiculous. I’m leaving. This must stop. I get in my car and drive away. In my rearview mirror I see her standing at the very edge of our yard, waving her arms and jumping up and down and screaming, “HUG AND KISS! HUG AND KISS! DADDY! PLEASE! HUG AND KISS!” and I have no idea how long she stands there and does it for.

To remove all sugar coating and to be as primitive about it as possible – it is annoying and it gets under my skin and it drives me crazy because it doesn’t make any sense to me and, if I’m being completely honest, the vast majority of the time that I give her a hug and kiss, I do it as quickly as I can and just roll through the motions so that I can get to wherever it is that I’m going.

I brush her off.

And I’m not just brushing her off like she’s blathering on about how she wants mac and cheese for lunch but we just ate breakfast so please give me a second to finish doing the dishes but I’m actually brushing off her affection.

And so I’m standing on my front sidewalk and I say, “Quinn, yes. Hurry. Please. Hi. Hug and kiss. Okay. We’re done. Thank you. Go back inside. I’ll see you in a hundred and twenty seconds. Goodbye. Finally.”

And she says, “Okay! See you in a minute! I love you!” and then she runs back into the house.

And then I’m standing on my sidewalk and this feeling of… it was a light bulb turning on over my head. It was a feeling of illumination. I had a moment wherein I saw the darkness and I saw that I was swimming in it.

I was engulfed by it.

And I didn’t know it.

What has happened to me? What am I doing? What is wrong with me?

My child. She has come to me to see me off. To show me affection and admiration. She has come to me, small and powerless, to say I love you and I will miss you while you are away. You will only be gone for two minutes. But in those two minutes, I will think of you and I will wish that you were here. And I want you to know that.

And this is, apparently, just too fucking insignificant for me to waste my time with.

Sometimes I catch sight of myself and, for all the good I like to think that I do, I realize that I am still just a selfish piece of shit that knows nothing about humility.

 

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Rory and Quinn: 5 Months

twins, 1st year, progression, growing up, chalkboard wallThe two of you are five months old now….Quinn, you’re actually five months and 2 minutes old, if you want to get technical, having stormed into the cold delivery room just moments before your younger (but much larger) brother.

People say time is relative but I’d say time is funny….and family is relative.  Five months seems like a quick drop in the bucket, sand in an hourglass, a quick fart in the diaper of life, but it seems like years ago that Jade was pregnant and the two of you were hiding shyly inside her fleshy incubator.

I walked past our television earlier today and saw the first family photo we ever had taken – a young and handsome doctor that wasn’t very good at giving epidurals had snapped it on our digital camera in the delivery room moments after they’d handed both of you to me.  I sat with one of you in each arm and Jade laid stretched out on the table, her arms tied down like a death row inmate and click.  The photo is ours forever.  It just seems like a long time ago.

I put you into your cribs at night and you’re too tall to lay sideways anymore.  In fact, you’re both so big that we have you sleeping in your own cribs now.  We’d put you both in the same crib, on separate sides, and you’d fuss a little and then slowly go to sleep………and then you’d slowly start crawling towards one another and, once you found your sibling, you would start punching and kicking them.  Then the screaming would start.  Game over.

We separated you a few weeks ago and I think it’s fair to say that all four of us are sleeping better now.  Mostly you’ll each wake up only once or twice in the night and often times one of you will actually just sleep straight through.

You’ve both begun to mumble quite a bit but Rory is definitely taking the lead on vocality.  We have a little baby monitor that sits in your room and while we go to sleep we listen to you mumble in the dim light.  “mmmrrr…..scwaahhhh……sshhhmmmeeee….we-we!”  It’s pretty funny…..but at the same time sort of creepy because it sounds like a demon.  You also do this really low growl that sends shivers up my spine.  We’ll be changing your diaper and you’ll look right at us and in a raspy wheeze go, “hhhhrrrrrr habba-habba.  Grrrrr rabba-rabba”.  It really does sound like you’re trying to cast a spell on us.

You’re both sitting up now (sort of) but I’ve gotta say that I think Quinn might be galloping into the lead with stability.  Maybe it’s because she’s lighter?  Rory, you’re like a little cinder block with a face and Quinn is like a feather with a gummy smile.

One of my favorite things to do lately is to face the two of you towards one another and watch you play.  You reach out and touch each other’s toes.  You chew on each other’s fingers.  You steal each other’s toys.  You both cry.  It’s loads of fun.

We’re heading back to South Dakota in about two weeks for your first 4th of July and ALSO your first plane ride.  I’m really excited about the plane ride and I don’t really know why.  Everyone has said that traveling with babies is a terrible, terrible experience but I believe in you!!  You’re going to do just fine.  We’re going to get on the plane and people will love you!  You’ll steal the show – just like a thief at a comedy club!

By this time next month we fully anticipate seeing some shining ivories.  We suspect that Rory may be beginning his teething campaign as of yesterday and Quinn I’m sure is not far behind.  I’m trying to spend as much time with you as I can and enjoy every minute because I’m sure that in six months I’m going to look back at a photo of the four of us sitting on the floor, me half supporting Quinn and Jade trying to soothe Rory’s sore gums and I’ll think to myself – that wasn’t that long ago but you’ve changed so much…

4 Months

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Rory and Quinn: 4 Months

“Little boys should never have to go to sleep because every morning they wake up one day older”.  That’s not an exact quote but it’s definitely an exact paraphrase of something someone said.  And it’s true.  In fact, it’s usually one of my final thoughts before placing each of you into your crib.  I look at you now, today, and realize that you’re much bigger than the day I first met you.  You’ve both grown and changed and…..”matured” isn’t the right word but I’ll use it anyway.  Your faces are filling out and your limbs are getting stronger.  You both smile more and more and you laugh constantly.

This month you’ve both taken a serious notice of one another – uh-oh, it’s 12:54am at the time of this writing and I’m suddenly hearing little noises percolating from the bedroom…….it’s Rory, up for his midnight feeding.  Hello there, little buddy.  When you were born you used to grunt while you slept and while you ate. Now, about three days ago you started to “talk” during any time you weren’t sleeping or eating..  Actually, I suppose it isn’t very fair that I put quotes around that word.  If tonality says anything at all, you both have a mouthful to say to anyone that will listen.  You screech, mumble, warble and sing, sometimes to me, sometimes to your mom, sometimes to your sibling and sometimes to yourself.  I walked into the bedroom a few afternoons ago after getting out of the shower and found you, Rory, lying in your crib on your side, humming like an infant mogwai.

For reference of what a mogwai is, please google search the term, “mogwai”.  Sidenote: Quinn, you sort of resemble a mogwai.  Trust me, it’s okay and is a heck of a lot better than resembling a golem.

I love listening to the two of you make sounds.  Rory, your noises are more like songs and coos while Quinn’s, yours are more in the vein of laughs and screeches.  If you are upset you put your fists down at your side and go, “eeeeEEEEEE!!!!”  When you do this I shake you a little and you laugh, haha.

We also recently purchased you each your very own Johnny / Jenny Jump Up.  We plop you down in this swing that hangs from the door frame and watch you bounce…truth be told there’s not a HUGE amount of jumping that’s happening…..YET…..but I’m sure it will begin shortly.  Currently you both mostly just hang there and stare at one another, swinging around and gently pushing yourselves in one direction or the next.

I’m really enjoying watching you grow but, as usual, it holds a side of bitterness to it.  You’re both rolling over, making noises and beginning to grab things with your hands – you’re turning into toddlers!!  Today we gave you both your first taste of mushy rice cereal and you LOVED IT!…..just kidding.  Quinn, you began to lap it up like a dog but I’m not totally certain you a.) enjoyed it or b.) knew what you were doing.  Rory, you just started to cry.  Perhaps you’d enjoy it more if we splashed a little soy sauce on it?

I’ve started working nights and this last week with the two of you has been fanTASTIC!!  I am so happy to be blessed with additional time to spend with my kidlets during the day.  Working the standard 9-5, I missed you so and was feeling cheated out of a more time-dynamic relationship.  Now the flood gates are open and we get to spend nearly the entire day together before I go to work at 6:30.  It’s GREAT!!

That said, I do enjoy the weekends when I stay up late all alone, trying to remain on my night schedule, when I hear one of your mews from the back room and I rescue you from the dark, bring you into the light and feeding your hungry bellies.  It’s phenomenal having you both around but it’s also nice to get some one on one time as well.  I truly cherish our time together and am always more and more excited to see the people you are becoming.  Will you hate onions?  Will you like rock ‘n’ roll?  What will your favorite color be?  You’re here in our arms but there are so many unanswered questions.  Don’t worry, though, we’ll discover it all together.

3 Months

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3 Months

Rory and Quinn.

Looking at our monthly photos amazes me.  It’s incredible to see how you’ve grown so much in just the last 30 days.  Where you were once so easily carried around with one arm you are suddenly requiring the constant assistance of two.  Watching you grow and change has been an amazing treat but it also saddens me in a strange way.  Part of me looks forward to the days when you will crawl and walk and talk but another part of me just wants you to stay as you are – as our cooing babies.  You are wonderful little people and everyday I find myself loving you more and more.

I suppose that since I can’t control time nor the human growth element (yet…) I should just embrace your amazing process and run with it.  Just promise me that you’ll never be too cool to give me hi-fives.

Earlier this month your mom and I decided to embark on a well deserved vacation up to San Francisco to visit some good friends of ours.  Were we expecting the trip to be different than what we were used to, traveling alone or with dogs?  Yes.  Was it different?  DEFINITELY.  Was it more difficult?  Sometimes.  Was it more fun?  Sometimes!  There’s something strangely exhilarating about changing a babies diaper in the front seat of your car in a light drizzle at a gas station in a town you’ve never been to.  There’s something romantic about waking up at 3am in a strange hotel and watching Mtv with your family.  There’s something illuminating about buying beer then realizing that you don’t have a bottle opener and getting on YouTube to find a “How-To-Open-A-Beer-With-Your-Keys” video.

Rory, you fuss less and less as the days go on and Quinn, your eyes get bigger and bigger.  Rory, you’ve begun to thrash your arms and legs around, swiping at little objects and slapping me in the face while I sleep.  Quinn, you’ve begun to roll over, mostly onto your side and ALMOST onto your stomach.  Rory, you don’t even try to roll; you prefer laying face down and, from one deranged mouth-breather to another, that’s okay with me.  Quinn, you laughed for the first time when your mom was giving you a bath a few weeks ago.  The sound of your coos makes us smile; you’re becoming quite a noisy baby and will “talk” with us if we ask you questions.  Your big gummy smile cracks me up.  Rory, you drool…a LOT.  Honestly, I’m not even so fearful of you smothering yourself in your blankets as I am of you drowning while you sleep.  We put bibs on you in the middle of the day just so you don’t get your shirts soppy wet.  Quinn, you’ve begun waking up at 6:30am pretty consistently.  You are not hungry.  You are not wet.  You just want to play.  You cry until someone sits you up, at which point you look at us, smile, laugh and then start to coo.  I don’t even care that it’s 6:30.  Rory, you sleep all night….you actually sleep all night and most of the day.  The other day you slept 10 1/2 hours.  You are a true professional and you take your rest very seriously.

Everyday I leave to go to work and everyday I think about you all day long.  It’s tough to be away from you for such stretches…..maybe I should tape a picture of myself to the ceiling above your crib?  Maybe I should get you a live webcam?  When I come home and pick you up, it is clear that you recognize me and laugh.  You both do it and those two moments are the absolute highlight of my day.  We’ve got more family coming to town soon – Your Aunt Theresa, who you haven’t met yet and your Grandma June is coming back for her second visit and I think they’ll both be pleasantly surprised at how big you’ve gotten and at how much Rory drools.

TWO MONTHS

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Interview with The Fusionist

Make sure you go check out The Fusionist to see us gab a bit about cancer, careers and fun with IVF.

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Two Months

Happy two month Birthday, Rory James and Quinn Marie!  I guess what they say is true – time really does fly when you’re mad with sleep deprivation and tottering on the edge of delirium!  WEEE!!

Rory, you fell asleep in my arms a few nights ago while I was watching a Roseanne marathon on Netflix.  (Netflix is something that will have probably come and gone by the time you’re old enough to understand….Roseanne is forever).  I took you into our bedroom to lay you in your crib and noticed how strangely big you’d gotten all of a sudden.  It seems you’ve almost doubled in size and the box of “old” baby clothes that we just packed away seems to attest to that.  In some regards it’s sad – seeing you growing up so quickly and watching as certain aspects of your “newbornness” get piled away but it’s also very exciting and amazing.  You’ve become less fussy over the past few weeks (Praise God!  Thank you, Jesus!  Shalom and peace be with you!!) and you’ve actually begun to smile, seemingly under your own will.  You see, previously you’d only lift one side of your lip up into the air ala Elvis but I think you were mostly in the throws of a milk enduced bender.  You’re getting heavier and heavier as well.  Your last doctor’s appointment weighed you in at an astounding 12lbs 7oz and 24.6″.  You, my friend, are a meatball, deep fat fried and covered in cheese.  Don’t worry though, I hear you grow into it at around 14.

Quinn, gentle Quinn.  At 10lbs and 22″, you sit silently on the couch, lying in wait for your perfect opportunity.  You lure your victims in with your large doughy eyes and cunning smile.  You paralyze your grandparents and our friends with your Gerber Baby face and then, when their defenses are down, you strike.  With the wail of a wild banshee and the redness of a cherry tomato, you scream as though you were being drawn and quartered.  It is a rarity for The Fireball to ignite but when it does, everyone should be warned to stand back and, in the event that they are caught in the line of fire, stop, drop & roll.  You’ve recently become much more alert, holding your head up for minutes at a time while gazing at the world around you.  People stop us on the street to say, “Look at that baby!  She just has so many facial expressions!” and then they see that we’re each carrying a child and they say, “You have two!” but Rory is usually asleep, his fists clenched, dreaming about punching something.

Our nights were getting better and our sleep was getting longer and then….we don’t really know what the heck happened.  Suddenly you decided to move back to three feedings a night and refuse to shut your eyes once you’d woken up.  Sometimes it’s frustrating because I feel like you don’t understand how truly delicious sleep can be and I have no way to tell you yet but let me just say this….If I have to be up with two people screaming at me to shovel food down their gullets, I’m glad it’s you two.

ONE MONTH

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One Month

Roe and Q,

Happy one month birthday!

Before you were born everyone told us, “Time will fly by all too fast so you better enjoy them while they’re little” and for once, all the unsolicited advice was correct.  I can’t BELIEVE you’ve been here for a month already – that’s the entire lifespan of a fruit fly!!  Regardless of how brief the last thirty days have seemed, they have packed a serious punch, like a dwarven version of Mike Tyson.  Now, not to sound like a decrepit old woman already but it really does seem like only yesterday that I was still massively pregnant and begging you to evacuate the premises……..

I’ll be honest, this has been a pretty intense month with you so far.  At everyone’s (unwanted) suggestions, we were bracing ourselves for the worst ( The Antichrist) but thankfully you’re not even close to as difficult as we were expecting (you’re only about as bad as The Pope) but it’s still FULL THROTTLE.  Sleeping is certainly not the thirteen straight hours we were used to but we’re still functioning with the every 3 hour feeding schedule you’ve so politely mapped out for us and are THRILLED that you’re on any kind of a consistent schedule at all.  The first night we had you home with us was insane; it was like The Three Stooges Have a Baby.  We were clueless idiots bumbling around with you all night while you were up for 6 hours straight tag teaming us.  After the first night spent inside Dante’s Inferno we were definitely bleary-eyed, sleep deprived and wondering what exactly we had signed up for.  Top to bottom, feeding you has been the most challenging part for us as you both are very thirsty Schrute babies (Dwight K) but everyday is getting better, easier and less painful for my poor mammaries.  John’s nipples seem to be doing fine; he claims to have taken an intensive 12 hour internet boot camp on milk-tating dads.

Both your Grandmas left two weeks ago so we are now fully on our own with you and it was pretty scary at first.  When you cried we felt like chimps trying to disengage an A-Bomb, slapping at random buttons hoping it would shut off.  The first couple days at home with you alone by myself (while your dad was at work) were pretty hard but the more I get to know your separate little personalities and bends, the easier it gets.

Rory, at this point in your life:  you love sleeping on your stomach (much to my and the AMA’s discomfort), hate having your diaper changed, want to be fed the moment you open your eyes, snore while you sleep, grunt while you eat, constantly want to be snuggled and look just like your dad.  I wouldn’t go so far as to outright call you a fussy baby but you’re definitely tipping the scale in that direction.  Hey…speaking of scales……you are a seriously stout little man at 10 lbs 6 oz and 22″ long.  Coincidentally, you are the exact dimensions as an Irish lager and hold the same physical attributes: tall and pale.  Your dad and I frequently refer to you as Meatloaf, Cinder Block or Ham Steak and play Rock, Paper, Scissors to determine who gets to lug you around in the Moby wrap.  Don’t get us wrong, we LOVE to carry you with us but in our own self interest and the safety of our lower backs we have to trade you off from time to time and take mandatory 15 minute breaks.

Quinn, at this stage you are our calm baby.  You like to sit in your little lamb chair and just look around, smile while you sleep, love to have baths and are mesmerized by lights.  You are awake much more frequently but are very self content – although when you do get mad you scream very loud and kind of sound like a dying bobcat.  You are also getting much bigger in your own right at 8lbs 11oz and 20.5″ long but do not pack the heavy punch that Rory does, as a little lady you are much more dainty…ironically, you have more chins than a Chinese phone book.  The bigger you get the more you look like me (although at a whopping 9lbs 8oz you still don’t weigh as much as I did at birth) and you definitely have my/your Grandpa Wade’s eyes and eyelashes.  Right now our nicknames for you are Quinnie Pig, The Pig, Bobcat and Voldemort….because sometimes, when you’re swaddled and have a hood on you do sort of resemble The Dark Lord from Harry Potter Book 1 (also known as Harry Potter and the Sorcerors Stone OR as it is referred to in England, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone). Yes, we are nerds, you’ll have to live with it.  The other day while you were taking a nap next to me on the couch you woke up, looked right at me, smiled and put your hand on my face.  I don’t think it gets much better than that.

Has parenting been everything we were hoping it would be?  YES and more.  Has it been as difficult as we were anticipating?  NO thank goodness.  Can we imagine a life without you?  NO…but maybe an evening…We both are so incredibly blessed to have you.  Two years ago when your dad got cancer we thought it was the absolute worst thing that could ever happen to us and we were afraid that we’d never be able to have children.  Two years later, it was directly BECAUSE of that terrible and wonderful diagnoses that we ended up having twins.  Because of cancer, you are here.  Everyone tells us that God can take muddy circumstances and turn them into something gold.  Now, with absolute certainty, we can both say that every sleepless night, dirty diaper and  high frequency scream was worth every moment of chemotherapy.

We’re excited to meet you and talk to you when you’re finally old enough to read this…and for the day that you do: remember to just sit back and relax.  Right now you’re in the other room sobbing because you’ve dropped your pacifier.  Remember, things only get easier.

-mom and dad.

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