Well, nothing but goodish news for you all today. First, D had his second of two surgeries yesterday and all went well. I can't quite say yet that the hull breaches are repaired because he still has two drainage tubes and some recovery time before total hull integret-AH, but this is the closest he's come to being without open, gaping holes in about a year. He actually called me himself yesterday night at about 11:30 as I still have not been up to the burn center to see him. As I've said earlier, since I cannot take the kids with me, I am not planning to go. Even if I got a sitter, it would be a near hour train ride and a 15 minute bus ride. Doable, but why waste all the babysitting time on transport just to visit him for an hour when I can just as easily talk to him on the phone. He's cool with it. So, I'm not sure exactly how long his recovery will be there, at least a couple of more weeks I would guess. Then he should get moved to a more visitable hospital.
I said last week that I was about 75% recovered from my "Summer of Gripe, Whine and Despair," I think I am now 100% recovered. It is a miracle what having my house back can do. I'm not blaming this all on my dad, some of it is me. And my dad does seem to improve a lot after the first couple of weeks. But with him and his dog here it is like I have triplets and a teenager in the house. And when I'm not running around taking care of all their needs big and small, I'm hiding in my room and not getting anything done. I get SO MUCH MORE done when he is not here. It is unbelievable. I'm cooking more now. The kids and I are eating much better. I was resorting to a lot of those Gerber toddler meals and stuff when my dad was here because I didn't want to get yelled at about the cooking mess. I wasn't eating that much real food myself. I was eating cookies and stuff after my dad went to bed, and then not much else during the day. Now, I'm basically on the baby diet. The kids and I eat practically the same things now. I feed the kids quite well, and if I eat what they eat, then I eat quite well. For breakfast it is Hot cereal like oatmeal or something, a fresh fruit, a yogurt and milk. Lunch is usually something like an Amy's soup or sometimes beans or some other veggie, a sandwich, and usually some crackers and a fruit. Dinner varies greatly, but now I'm just cooking for four, even though it is just the three of us. We can get two days worth of dinners out of that, usually. We don't eat a whole lot of meat, but have it a couple of times a week. Then always a veggie. We are eating more whole fresh veggies now. Whatever I get from the co-op. But sometimes for them I still resort to pureed veggies because they will usually always eat those. Then we supplement that with different things. Cheese sometimes, or a whole grain dry cereal, or a fruit. We get a ton of fresh fruit right now, so I have to really use it at every meal to get it used up. Luckily, the kids eat most any fruit. Today I just made some chicken ravioli. The other day I made a roast (which Aaron spent the whole meal sucking on and then spitting out.) with corn on the cob (cut off, of course) and some really good fresh smashed potatoes, if I do say so myself. Very comfort food type meal there.
So I have my kitchen back! I can make a mess! And I can clean it up! I'm back to my old routine of cleaning out the dishwasher in the morning, then rinsing and stacking the dishes after each meal. I wipe off their table and put food away after every meal, but that's it. Then I just leave it till the end of the day and after they go to bed I clean up in about 20 minute all the days dishes and wipe down the counters and sweep the floor and everything. So total, I spend maybe 30-35 minutes cleaning the kitchen a day. My dad must have spent well over an hour, if not two. He was in there every minute anything was used or messed up. I'm talking six or eight times a day. It was maddening.
Oh, this reminds me of a quote from Heather which made me about choke on my mouse with laughter so my dad wouldn't hear when I read it this summer:
People often write me and ask how I keep my wood floors so clean when I live with a child and a dog, and my answer is that I use a technique called Suffering From a Mental Illness.
So the kitchen floor is not as clean as when he (and his very handy broom-like dog) was here. But I think that overall, the house is more organized and just runs better. The kid's room is picked up twice a week. The toys in the downstairs are picked up every day. My room and office are orderly. The laundry is all caught up. I have this system of doing laundry where I throw in a load almost every night and then fold it up the next morning. I usually have two loads a week of diapers, a load of kid's clothes, a load of my clothes, and then towels and sheets. Except for my clothes, none of the other stuff has a wrinkling factor involved, so I can just leave them until morning. With my clothes, I just don't dry until morning or turn them on for a few more minutes. When my dad was here, he was always doing little loads of laundry all the time. I never knew when. He got all mad if there was anything in the washer or dryer, so my system just got completely out of wack. I'm not totally blaming him, here. Its just that I became completely unmotivated and hid out in my room watching 5 million episodes of Degrassi rather than doing anything productive.
I once saw this comic strip (Geez, I think it was actually "Cathy") where in the first three frames she was saying how in life she was this hip, career woman who dressed well and was independent and on top of everything, then the last frame showed her in sweats in front of the TV eating bon bons or something. She said, "And when I get to my parent's house, I do nothing wear slobby clothes and veg out on the couch." That is kind of what happens to me when he is here. I think I am going to have all this extra time to do stuff since he is cleaning up the downstairs and mowing the lawn and giving me some rides and things. But instead, I'm just exhausted. I'm running after the dog he doesn't supervise at all. She is getting into the kid's toys and chewing them up, eating food off the table, chewing up the kid's sippy cups, and all while he just SITS there on the couch. Meanwhile, the TV is on LOUD all day long. He sits on the couch with his laptop on his lap and will just mumble something that may or may not have anything to do with anything I need to be listening to. I have to wear my hearing aids all day long, because he intermittently either doesn't talk to me all day and goes off to wherever, or needs me to help him with some little crisis he's having. Where are his keys? Where are his glasses? Why won't my printer print off something? What's wrong with the dog? Why are you using so many pots to cook with? etc. So I hide a lot...in my room...and don't get anything done.
But! I promised you good news. The good news in all that is that I feel SO much better, so much more productive, so much more enjoy being with the kids. Even the kids are doing better. My dad would get up around seven and the kids would wake up. But I didn't want them to wake up that early, because then they wouldn't make it through the morning for the gym daycare or whatever. So they would fall back to sleep around 8 or 8:30, and then when I wanted to get them up at 9, they didn't want to get up and sometimes were crabby all day. Now, they sleep straight through till 9. I get them up between 9 and 9:30, and they are so much happier. Then they are ready for naps around 1:30ish, and wake up about 3:30 or 4 on their own in good moods. With my dad here, we got up later and they didn't want to sleep until about 3, and then I would have to wake them up at 5 or so so they would go to bed around 8:30. It is so much better this way. I don't think we have really had a day of just all day whining and funky moods since my dad left. They have been so much fun lately.
It is sad, because I do very much enjoy this house and neighborhood. It is all the kids know. My dad can be very good with them, and he can be a fun guy for me to be around as well. He is not always a jerk. Many times, he is quite laid back. Naim, I think, especially enjoys spending time with my dad. In some ways, I think having him around is good for them. I think it is just that, mostly, our priorities are that I'm always thinking, thinking, thinking about what is the best for the kids. My dad is thinking about himself as a single person who lives in HIS house and wants to do what he wants to do, me and the kids are just periphery. We are not acting as a family, we are not sort of looking at this as "what works for all of us together? How can we work together to help each other out?" My family has always had a totally different dynamic than most of the other families I've been "adopted" by over the years. It isn't that one is all right and the other is all wrong, but I don't know if my dad, mom, or sister have any idea how other families work together to enjoy each other and respect each other. In my family, it is pretty much to each his own.
This morning, the kid's woke up around nine and they were laughing and laughing at each other. I snuck in there about 9:30 to see what the fuss was about, and Aaron was doing animal signs and making animal noises. Like he would say and sign cow and then go "MOOO!" Naim was just cracking up. He would do horse but he was trying to make a horse sound but was really just sort of blowing raspberries. This was making them both giggle uncontrollably. I couldn't help but laugh at them. This is the main advantage I have found of having twins. The fact that they can entertain each other in their beds has saved me many nighttime sleeping issues and buys me about a half hour to 45 minutes in the morning. Another game they play is to hide under their blankets. They are standing in their cribs and they put blankets over them like ghosts. When Aaron is covered up, Naim says, "Where'd Naim go?" in a real sing song voice. Whenever Naim is looking for anything, he says, "Where'd Naim go?" It's not as clear as that, but I know what he is saying. Another game they play is to run up and down the length of their cribs. I'm not sure I get the object of this game, but they seem to think it is hysterical. First one runs to the far end of his crib and waits, then the other one comes down and they meet. Then giggles abound. Their cribs are only inches apart, but one is a real crib and the other is just a pack-n-play with extra padding. The kid in the pack-n-play is always much lower than the kid in the crib. They trade off with the beds. They also like to throw their blankets and stuffed animals over the side of the cribs at each other. No matter which crib Naim is in, he always ends up with nothing in his crib while Aaron has everything.
Aaron shocked me the other day by allowing Naim to sit in my lap while I read a book. The shocking part was that he dutifully sat down right in front of me so that I could read the book to him as well. Aaron has systematically refused to believe that I could read a book simultaneously to both kids. It was either all him or nothing. He's GETTING IT! The sharing thing, you know? That has been the hard thing about twins. They've had a complete inability to share the mom up until now. Now Naim did not last through the whole book and got up and took off, and without a second's hesitation, Aaron climbed onto my lap. But still...that's taking turns!!! Yea!
It is amazing that when you work and work and work on something and you think nothing you are doing is getting through and then suddenly, they start to get it and then you have something to build on. They learn things no matter what if given the opportunity. They just decide for themselves when they are going to learn it. We do signs and letters all the time and they are both learning letters. You don't think they know one, and then all the sudden they point to a letter and say, "Q!"
Oh, and one more good thing in my very tedious post, here. I have the cats over here. And although somewhat annoying when they attack the water while I try to brush my teeth, they are ANGELS compared to our summer dog guest. I do have to take Claritin about every two or three days, though. So I don't think this will be a permanent arrangement. Anyway, they came to me with scary-long and pointy claws. (We don't declaw our cats, but we do clip their nails. I usually have D hold them while I trim. We haven't done it for months.) I did Scrapper in about 3 minutes a couple of days ago, but Kai is another story. He is definitely a two man job. I basically have been carrying the clippers in my pocket for three days. Every time I had an opportunity, I would clip a Kai nail. He is such a brat, I think it took me like 12 tries to get them all. But I got them. And now I can worry a little less about when the kids shower their, um, affection on him. I think they will keep their eyeballs.