OH NO! Don’t play with the poop!

Diaper Changing - Step One

In the words of my oldest daughter Katherine, "EWWWW! Stinky!".
Photo courtesy of sunsurfr.

Yes, you guessed it by the title.  Yesterday was my first experience with a child playing in their own poop.  Gross.  And you know what made it worse?  I had a semi-unexpected visitor show up at my door before I figured this out.  Let’s start at the beginning.

I sleep in with my girls nearly every morning.  However late they sleep, I sleep.  I feel no need whatsoever to get up before them and do dishes, or laundry, or anything else.  I am still catching up with my sleep debt from when they refused to sleep all night (which lasted until they were 16 months!).

Anyway, this morning, the girls decided to sleep in until about 9:15 am.  (Yes I know, unbelievable!  🙂 Please don’t hate me, I’ve had my turn at getting next-to-no sleep 🙂 )  I heard them stirring in their cribs – this morning they were happy and just jabbering away – so I decided to see if I could catch a few more minutes of relaxation and started drifting back to sleep when I hear a loud knock on my door.

All I could think was “CRAP! I’m not presentable.”  I ran around, throwing on clothes to go answer the door.  On my way to the door, I pass by the girls’ room and peek in.  Layla was saying in her sing-song voice, “Uh-oh. Uh-oh.” over and over again, so when I saw that Layla had unzipped her footed jammies and was almost completely out of them, I just laughed and thought “I need to get the camera and take a picture.”  So, answering the door, I find a lady we will call Sue.  In the back of my mind, I remember talking with her on the phone and thought she was just going to call me this morning (which she had, I had just ignored her phone call because the girls were still asleep and I was still asleep and besides, she was calling before the time she said she was going to call.  I also put the phone on silent after this in case she called again so she wouldn’t disturb us again.)  It turns out that she said she would call BEFORE she came over to my house to chat.  Oops.

Anyway, I let Sue into the house and told her, “Come with me into the girls’ room.  They are just getting up and I need to change their diapers and put clothes on them.”  On my way to the room I grabbed the camera, and upon entering the room I snapped a picture.  “Say cheese!”

Diaper Change - 212/365 - 31 July 2009

Call for backup!
Photo courtesy of John Flinchbaugh.

It was as I was snapping that first picture that I realize exactly what the “UH-OH” was about.  It wasn’t that Layla was almost out of her jammies.  Oh no.  It was that she had dirtied her britches and some of it had squished out, and she had rubbed it all over her leg.  And the bed sheet.  And it was dried all over her hand.

Horrified, I cleaned Layla up as best as I could with baby wipes and told myself to remember to wash her hands with soap and water before breakfast.  All the while I’m cleaning, Sue is sitting on the girls’ floor, chatting away with me.  I’m just trying not to get poop everywhere.  It was all over by the time we were done, so we had to change the changing pad cover.  I kept thinking, “If I just had one she would be getting a bath right now because it would be easier than trying to scrub this poop off with a wimpy baby wipe.”

After cleaning up Layla, and getting clothes on Layla and Katherine we went out to get them breakfast.  After a couple minor fits I got their toast with Nutella set down in front of them and continued to chat with Sue.

It wasn’t until she left that I realized that I had forgotten to re-wash Layla’s hands.

Luckily Sue is a mom, and I’m sure she understand.  But I don’t think she’ll be visiting in the morning again any time soon  🙂


We survived the rainy week with a little bit of paint, a library, and a lot of welcoming friends

Rain drop reflection

Rain, rain go away!

When I looked at the forecast at the beginning of this week, all I saw was rain, rain and more rain.  I was a little afraid my girls (and I!) were going to get tired of being inside, but in the end it was one of our busiest weeks!

Monday came and it rained all day.  We did something new – we painted!  The girls love coloring, but it seems much less scary than painting.  But I put little aprons on them, put little dots of paint on styrofoam plates, and let them at it.  They loved it, and were so careful with the paint!  My husband liked the paintings so much, he took the paintings to work and hung them up in his office the next day.  Late afternoon we loaded up and went to the library.  The girls were so excited for a scenery change.

It rained all day on Tuesday.  The girls were getting bored so after nap, we played a game.  It was an impromptu game.  We’ll call it “Toss the Washcloth.”  The girls were still in their cribs, and I laid on the floor in between them.  They tossed their washcloths/burp rags out to me, and I would toss them back in.  Doesn’t sound so exciting now that I’m writing about it, but they thought it was pretty funny for about thirty minutes.  Oh, and when Eloy arrived home I begged him to go with us to the library again.

Guess what the weather was like on Wednesday?  If you said rainy, you guessed correctly!  On Wednesday, I had a sewing lesson here at my house in the morning and the girls played with my sewing teacher’s kids (who, by the way, are the best babysitters ever!).  That afternoon I had yet another friend over to see the girls.  Just before she left, I found out Eloy wasn’t going to be home until late, so the girls and I went over to a friend’s house for an hour.  This friend (Hannah) has a daughter around my girls’ age; her name is Cassie.

Thursday – it rained until after the sun set.

When the girls woke up Thursday morning the first thing Katherine asked for was “Cassie?” (her friend).  Then she said, “Bye-bye.  Cassie?  Bye-bye!”  I guess she knew where she wanted to go!  It was way more fun at her friend’s house than here at home 🙂

Thursday I had a funeral to attend so I dropped the girls off at Cassie’s house, and I started the trip to the funeral (which was a disaster – I had misread the time and the car was giving me trouble, so I wound up missing the funeral but made it to the cemetery and family supper).  On my way home from the funeral activities, I dropped off some cousins and went to the store to pick up some needed items – bread and eggs! – and got home around 10:00PM.  A late night!

Friday we finally saw the sun!!  What a welcome sight after such a dreary week.  It was pretty soppy, so we went up to yet another friend’s house, about 30 minutes from here, and went to a consignment sale.  It was a bust, but when we went back to the friend’s house, the girls had so much fun playing with the other kids.

I was surprised at how easy it was to keep the girls occupied this week, despite the lack of choices of activities.  All we needed was a little bit of paint, a library, and a lot of welcoming friends to play with throughout the week.

How we survived newborn twins: Part 2

Besides having lots help those first few months, my husband and I had a few other things that helped us survive our newborn twins.

Here’s a short list:

Survival Tip #1: Find the humor in any situation.  Haven’t showered in half a week?  Crack a joke about how the girls’ diapers smell better than you.  Covered in puke for the third time today?  Just laugh and be glad you didn’t have time to take a shower after the first two times.  Girls are taking turns waking up to eat and you haven’t slept in forever? Umm…..well, maybe go to  survival tip #2 for the answer to that …

Survival Tip #2: When humor is nowhere to be found, cry.  When exhaustion set in, and I can’t tell you how many times I just let myself cry.  I used to feel bad, or embarrassed about crying.  But after having the twins, I have no problem crying.  It’s refreshing and releases all sorts of pent up feelings.

Survival Tip #3: Teamwork. I would not have survived without my husband, of that I am sure.  There were so many times when we both had our hands full.  Poor man didn’t have a break – he would work all day and then come home to screaming babies and a horrible supper.  But he never complained.  Just jumped in to help with the diaper changes, the dishes, sweeping the floor, or whatever needed to be done.

Survival Tip #4: Sleep when the babies sleep. And don’t feel guilty about it.  I still do this one.  When the girls go down for a nap, especially if it was a rough night, I still take naps with the girls.  It took me a LONG time to not feel guilty about this.  But, it made for easier days when I was rested.  Rest helped me feel more patient and a lot more resilient against the blowout diapers, the crying and whatever else happened.

Survival Tip #5: When frustration and irritation set in, just set the baby down in a safe place like the crib, and walk away for a few minutes.  This is where I admit something scary.

When my girls were really little (five months or younger), I was lucky to get two hours of sleep at a time.  This makes for a rather frustrated and exhausted mother.  One night during the week, I had been up most of the night with one girl or the other.  My husband couldn’t really help, because he had to work the next day and the babies wouldn’t take bottles.  This left it up to me to nurse the girls and put them back down.

Right around four or five o’clock (this was the worst time, because I hadn’t slept all night and was feeling rather horrible by now), one of the girls had been awake for awhile and would not go to sleep.  She didn’t want to nurse, and she didn’t want to sleep.  She just wanted to cry.  I remember holding onto her firmly, looking her in the eye and saying rather loudly, “WHY DON’T YOU JUST GO TO SLEEP.”  It was at this moment I realized I needed a break.  I realized how easy it would be just to shake this precious little baby, and I knew I never ever wanted to. I scared myself, a LOT.  And so, with tears running down my face, I went and woke up my husband and said, “I need a break.  I just need a little bit of a break.”

He took over and had her asleep in fifteen minutes.  (grrrrr…..)

After this, if I ever felt myself getting really frustrated, I would set the baby in a bouncer or crib and walk away for just a few minutes.

Get out of the house.  We went on so many walks!  As often as we could, we would get out of the house.  It was refreshing for all of us.  Out of all our walks, the girls only gave us problems once or twice.  They loved it as much as we did.  It also gave Eloy and I much needed time to talk.

Eloy and the girls on one of our many walks. Walks were always refreshing, and gave Eloy and I time to talk.

Click here to read Part 1 of “How we survived newborn twins.”

How we survived twin newborns: Part 1

Exhausted, but happy to be taking the girls home.

Never EVER, turn down help!

We wanted to spend the first few days by ourselves with our new babies.  No help.

Towards the end of my pregnancy my husband and I decided we wanted to have the first few days at home with the babies by ourselves.  Looking back, I can see how insane this idea turned out to be, because as it turned out we had so much help, starting in the hospital, that there is no way we would have made it without the generosity of others with their time and food.

This crazy idea to spend the first few days alone as a little family was something I had read on the internet as a suggestion from another mother.  It was supposed to help you be able to establish your own routines and figure things out by yourself without the added stress of having anyone else around.  <insert evil laugh here>  Now, we told this to a few people and they were very polite and said, “Oh, that sounds nice.”  But I think they knew just how much craziness ONE baby can cause, let alone two.  And now, all I can say to this idea now is  “What a dumb idea! ”

Reality – The Hospital

Our beautiful baby girls were born weighing five pounds each, a bit premature at 37 weeks.  Our care in Labor & Delivery was wonderful.  I wish we could say the same for our postpartum care.  We didn’t have any help with the girls, and by the time we left Sunday evening (we came in on Friday evening), we had only slept a total of 4 hours since Friday morning.  We were exhausted.  The nurses never offered to take the girls for a few hours because it was the weekend and they were short staffed, and there wasn’t a nursery.  We also were having trouble getting the girls to nurse, so Layla was constantly hungry and tired and did a lot of crying.  I remember bawling when visitors were there out of pure exhaustion.  The greatest gift was when a couple of our friends came and just offered to hold the babies for awhile so Eloy and I could rest.  Eloy slept for like 3 hours.  I was so wound up I couldn’t sleep.

We also didn’t eat very well.  You had to call and order your food, but with two newborns crying at opposite times and eating at opposite times, we kind of forgot to do this.  My husband ate maybe twice while we were at the hospital.  We were so grateful when someone brought some snack food, and another brought us a lasagna – Eloy was so hungry he ate the lasagna straight out of the pan!

We were hoping to stay in the hospital until Monday morning, but at about 8PM Sunday night, the nurse came in and said we had to be out by 11 because insurance wouldn’t pay for anymore time in the hospital.  At this point, the girls were still not nursing, and not having wet diapers, and not sleeping but a few minutes at a time.  Thank goodness a couple of my cousins were there to visit!  They encouraged me to shower (I hadn’t showered since Thursday night…eww!), and they organized getting my prescriptions called in, and took everything out to the car.  Two of my cousins even drove us home.  I don’t think we ever would have made it home without them.

Begging for my Mom’s help

Before we left the hospital, Eloy and I decided that perhaps we needed a little more help than we thought we were going to, so I called my mom asking for her to come and stay the next few days with us.  She said, “I was wondering if you would need some help, so I already have my bag packed.  I will do the supper dishes and then come on down.”  And of course, I bawled.  I was crying so hard I couldn’t talk, so I said goodbye to my mom.  Eloy looked at me  strangely, and asked me if she said no.  Crying even harder, I wailed, “No, she said yes <insert hysterical cries>.”

Letting others fold our underwear, do our dishes, and other household chores

Live-in help.  For the first two to three months of the girls’ lives, we had nearly constant live-in help.  After we got home, my mom stayed with us for several weeks, followed by a two week stay by my older sister Natalie.  When she left, Eloy’s mom Trina visited for almost a month.  After that, my mom came down and stayed for several days at a time, or I had a cousin-in-law who also stayed for a couple nights.  It was an absolute necessity.  The girls were not strong enough to get enough milk by nursing and lost too much weight, so I would nurse one girl for ten minutes and someone would take and give that girl a bottle.  As soon as the first baby was done nursing, I would nurse the other girl for ten minutes, who would get a bottle afterwards.  Then, I would pump for fifteen minutes.  Doesn’t sound too bad, but it was a 15-20 minute battle to get the girls latched on properly sometimes.

And by the time I was done pumping, I had a couple minutes break before it was time to start all over again because they had to eat every two hours.  Getting a single hour of uninterrupted sleep was rare at this point, even at night.  We were sleeping for 15-30 minutes at a time, every few hours.

My job at this point was to nurse the girls, then eat, drink, and rest for a few minutes so I could keep producing milk for the girls.  All other household chores fell on the shoulders of whoever was staying with us, or my husband.  We had so many people who just stopped and offered to help either hold a baby, throw in a load of laundry, or help fold the clean clothes.  They even folded our underwear!  This would have embarrassed me before, but it became the norm.

We loved when people brought us meals.  With twin newborns, there wasn’t time to cook or clean up, so this was a big help.  Helping with dishes was another big help.  One friend would always make sure the kitchen was clean before she left. Another helped me fix and freeze meals.

These are just a few things that people helped us with.  All of this support from friends and family was crucial because it allowed my husband and I to focus on the most important thing – our new baby girls.  I’m not saying it will make your life easy.  Ours sure wasn’t, even with the help!  We barely slept, I only got a shower once every three days, and walked around with puked on clothes.  But I don’t want to think about how it would have been without these friends giving so much of their time and resources.

Moral of the Story

Be humble.  Accept help from anyone and everyone who offers.  Because in the end, you will realize that this extra help is what helped you survive.


Click here to read Part 2 of “How we survived newborn twins.”

Green poop and other fun dinner conversations

My little poop machine.




Three words that I used to whisper because I was too embarrassed to talk about them.  And I NEVER held entire conversations about them.  ESPECIALLY over dinner!  That was just unheard of!

And then it happened.  I became a parent.  And instantly, not only did these bodily functions become topics of many dinner conversations, they became the center of our lives for awhile.

It started in the hospital when the nurse asked us to write down when the girls ate, how much, and then when they had wet and dirty diapers.  The girls were 3 weeks early and weighed five pounds each – a great size for twins, but still tiny!  When we took the girls to their pediatrician the morning after they were released from the hospital (we called to get them in right away because one girl had only one wet diaper in 12 hours!) we found out that we needed to feed them more.  They had already lost almost half a pound — way too much weight for a newborn their size!  To help make sure the girls were getting enough milk, we kept a log of inputs vs. outputs, because the best way of knowing if the girls were getting enough was keeping track of their wet and dirty diapers.  So, for the next month we kept a paper by their changing table and we would try to make sure we marked down each diaper in the correct column.

For the first few months, this was the normal topic of conversation around our household – when you have two babies that poop at least ten times a day, it takes up a lot of your brain power.  Then at some point we realized that talking about poop over dinner had become the norm.  We would talk about their “outputs” in great detail!  Was it a lot?  What color was it?  Is green poop normal?  Did you see how MUCH that was?  That poop looks like this mustard we’re eating!  Oh the joys of parenting little ones!

When our babies were a month old, we went out to my parents farm to visit for a weekend, where Layla decided to start her projectile puking.  Over the next three or four months we cleaned up so much puke it’s not funny.  She had GERD, so she would vomit up her entire feedings.  We used to keep bath towels (not hand towels, but the ones you use to dry your body off after you shower) right by our couch where she nursed, and when we would hold her we would point her that way, so if she puked it would hopefully land on the towel.  Walking around with puked on clothes became the norm.  Usually, after my third outfit (we’re talking everything, not just a shirt) change, when I got puked on again I decided it wasn’t worth it and walked around smelling like sour milk.

Eloy and I were visiting with some friends when the girls were barely two months old, and Eloy started talking to them about poop, and puke – you know, the stuff we were wading through everyday.  The person(who was our age, but hadn’t had kids yet) just looked back at Eloy and dumbfounded said “Are you really talking about poop?”  What a difference it makes just having the kids two months!

Now, compare this with a dinner we had just a month ago with two couples – each couple has a newborn baby.  We were all swapping stories about blow outs, dirty diapers, spit up, throw up and snot.  Anything remotely gross, we were talking about it.  And all of this over our pizza and beer!  We were having the best time, bonding with each other as parents – even if the topic of conversation was a bit unconventional.