Thursday, November 29, 2007


I got nothing done today. Well, except for caring for the little guys, of course, which emphatically is not nothing. And they were spectacularly cute today. Gus very suddenly outgrew his helmet (we moved the appt and are going back tomorrow for an adjustment) and so got to go bareheaded for the day. I couldn't resist kissing his little blond head over and over (since for once I can reach it!).

Speaking of growing, the boys got weighed yesterday when we went in for their second flu shot. Sam is 19 lbs 7.8 oz, and Gus is 20 lbs 14 oz (nearly 21 lbs! Oh my god!). They are rapidly outgrowing all the baby clothes I have for them. We'll have to take a field trip soon to the local Carter's outlet store.

But Georgina is still languishing, and I literally spent hours today debating whether to put her to sleep today. I made myself sick at my stomach worrying about it. My eyes are still swollen from all the crying. I even went so far as to call my fabulous neighbor down the street, Grandma D, and ask her if she could watch the boys while I went to the vet. But I just couldn't pull the trigger. Poor Georgina. She actually slept most of the day. It's just that she looks kind of miserable when she is not sleeping.

Listen, if you ever come down with some incurable whatsis, don't look me me to put you out of your misery. Obviously I'm crappy at this sort of thing.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The door's ajar

I hate writing this post. No no, don't panic -- the boyos are just fine. In fact, they're great. Sam started crawling with "forward volitional motion" about two weeks ago (I have no idea where we picked up this "forward volitional motion" thing but it does describe it well -- he's actually moving FORWARD instead of backward now, thereby avoiding trapping himself under the couch, and he gets where he aims at), and now he's just hell on wheels. Gus started getting into a triangle sit by himself a couple of days after Sam started crawling, and about four days ago, Gus started crawling forward too! Holy cow, two rapidly crawling babies! Can the earth survive such depredation?

So it's Panic City around here for the grownups. I feel like a border collie with a whole herd of little lambs. I keep trying to round them up, but they keep finding new ways to get out of the metaphorical corral. Though actually, we are trying to keep them more or less corralled in our living room, during waking hours. On the advice of my twin moms group, we had a guy come out to look at our house on Wednesday and help us figure out what childproofing we needed to do. I can't quite call it a scam but I sure didn't feel like we got value for the money. We paid about $150, and for that, we got about 40 minutes of his time, a few useful tips, and a kitchen full of installed baby latches on the lower cabinets and drawers (he brought a helper who did the latches). But he missed several hazards that I've found since then, and D had a strong feeling the guy was trying to rip us off by jacking up the prices on things like baby gates. (Of course, D is so close-fisted with money that the poor stuff practically screams when he grabs it. So his feelings may not be entirely accurate.)

And in other good news on the boyo front, Sam and Gus are just the sweetest little men I've ever met in my entire life. Granted, I've been around very few babies, so for all I know, all eight-month-old babies are like this. But they just kill me with the angelic quality of their little smiles -- especially with their two little "tombstones" sticking up from their bottom gums. I swoon with their cuteness every time Gus grins and then ducks his head, pretending to be shy, or when Sam smiles up into my eyes and then pumps his arms and declares, "Heh! Heh! Heh!" And now they've added to their babbling repertoire, too. Gus has said "Ba ba" a few times, but Sam has taken "Ba ba" and run with it. He was hysterical this evening. I'll bet the syllable "Ba" passed his little rosy lips a minimum of two hundred times tonight. Sam seemed to be carrying on not just a conversation using "Ba ba" as the medium, but bucking for a Tony with his virtuoso one-man show, with a vastly differentiated cast of characters. I have never heard "Ba" said in as many tones and pitches and with such apparent difference of meaning as I have tonight. It was amazing, and incredibly adorable.

So me, I got no complaints there. (Except that it's hard to keep up with them!)

No, the problem is my beloved old cat Georgina. She's failing fast, and I am in the wretched position of trying to do what's best for her. The problem is, I'm not sure that what cats think is "best" is what humans think is "best." Popular wisdom says that when pets start failing, and you can't make them better anymore, it's time to whisk them off to the vet and have them put to sleep. For their own good, as the saying goes.

I used to buy into this idea. But then I had to put a few animals to sleep, and saw what it was like up close, since I felt I owed it to each cat to be there with him or her at the moment of truth. And I've wondered in the last couple of years if perhaps all the hoorah of taking the animal to the vet is actually more cruel than letting the cat die on her own. Cats, in general, do not care for going to the vet. Georgina, in particular, really dislikes it. Because she gets so wound up about going there, I am reluctant to make that her final life experience. I was talking with a friend of mine about this and she said, "You know, it would be like going to the dentist for us! How awful!" I had to laugh at her comparison but yes, I hate going to the dentist too, and how awful it would be to have to go there to end your life. Geez.

I had this problem once before with another dear old friend, my cat Adrienne, who also abhored going to the vet. So when her cancer was so advanced that I couldn't stand it anymore (though Adrienne seemed okay with dragging herself around our apartment for some indefinite time to come), I found a vet who made house calls, and had him come out to do the deed. The problem was that since he didn't have all the equipment that he would at the office, he put her to sleep a slightly different way -- which involved a final injection directly to her heart. When he did that, she gave me a look I've never forgotten -- a completely outraged look that said, "How could you! I trusted you!"

So I don't know what to do, and I've cried buckets of tears lately. Georgina is probably the closest to me of all the cats I've had in my life. I met her thirteen years ago when she was a little tortie feral living in the parking lot at my therapist's office, back when we lived in Washington state. For some reason, that evening when D and I had dinner out and my fish was really awful (I think it had been thawed and re-frozen a number of times), I decided to drop by the parking lot on my way home and give her the fish. You would have thought it was manna from heaven -- and I guess, to her, it was. So then I started feeding her when I went to see my therapist, and then pretty soon, I was going down to this parking lot every day to feed her. Mind you, at the time, I was pretty much a mess myself. I had started out with mild depression and occasional suicidal thoughts (which, okay, are not a good thing, but I wasn't serious about them at all), and by the time I met Georgina, I had deteriorated to the point where I was anxious and unhappy pretty much all the time, and I could hardly get myself out of the house because I was so agoraphobic. So having this goal of getting out of the house in order to feed this poor little cat that depended on me was actually a big deal for me, and very therapeutic. (My therapist, by contrast, kept telling me that I had to "get worse in order to get better," and accordingly, I just kept getting worse and worse under her so-called "care.")

When I first started feeding Georgina, she was so wild that if I looked directly into her eyes, she would bolt. After a few months she got past that, and would even let me touch her and pet her a little. Finally, at one point, I noticed she was pregnant ("Oh no!") and a couple of weeks later she had a kitten, a little black male with a white spot at his throat. I was successful in capturing the kitten when he was about six weeks old, and we adopted him out to friends of ours. But to prevent a repetition, I knew it was time to get her fixed. She was still quite wild, but I managed to surprise her and cram her into a cat carrier, and I whisked her off to the vet. (Maybe this is where her fervent dislike of the vet started?)

When I claimed her from the vet and took her home, she was still quite anxious and wild. I put her in our bathroom with a litter box, so she could learn about that, and then I would sit on the floor of the bathroom, reading, just keeping her company. Finally, after a little while doing that, one day while I was reading she crept up on my lap, oh-so-slowly and tentatively. And then when I petted her, she purred.

And that was the start of our great friendship.

The last few years, she has slept right beside my pillow, and has been the last thing I see at night and the first thing in the morning. Lately, as her health has been failing (she has had chronic renal failure for about five years now, but we have kept it at bay with subcutaneous fluids and medicines), she has been sleeping up on my chest. But the last couple of days, she has been too weak to get up on the bed, so she is sleeping on her little heated bed on the floor in our room.

This post is not a request for opinions. I've had about as many opinions as I want on this subject. I guess I just wanted to say that I am going to miss my dear Georgina something fierce, and I wanted the world to know what a difference the presence of this little cat has made in my life.

That's all.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Little Crab Claw

The boyos and I had a great day Wednesday. We were booked to see their physical therapist at Humongous HMO at 10:30 (they are still receiving therapy for the torticollis, or "wry neck"), and I had been getting flyers all week for the EnormoGinormousBonanzaWhingaDinga Sale (Buy one, get fifteen free! or something like that) at Gottschalk's (a local Macy's knockoff), and I had been further thinking that the boyos just don't get out enough... so we made a day of it.

By some small miracle, and with a little help from D., who doesn't teach until evenings on Wednesdays, we got out of the house on time and arrived at Humongous HMO with ten minutes to spare... where we found that half the population of Sonoma County had apparently discovered a burning need to hang out at our HMO. The parking lot was buzzing like a termite hive with SUVs crawling the aisles, looking for a spot to fold their wings. Giving up after a moment of that, I headed for the parking garage (which I dislike because it is a looooooong walk, especially pushing a slightly heavy stroller, to the other side of the campus where I inevitably need to go)... where I found that the garage was officially and signfully Temporarily Full.

The boyos may have picked up a few new vocabulary words as I continued to circle the parking lot looking for a place to alight. The good thing about having twins is that you usually end up with doc appointments booked back to back, and so we finally got into the building at 10:55 -- just in time for the second twin's 11:00. The upshot was that the PT only had time to work with one twin, so I chose Gus, who is still being rather charmingly floppy.

Just to fill you in, we saw a pediatric neurologist in Oakland a couple of weeks ago for said floppiness, who examined Gus and Sam and listened to our tales about them. She said she thought Gus was probably just fine (though she invited us to bring him back in January or February if he hasn't caught up with Sam yet). She didn't use the word "lazy," since it has pejorative overtones, but the word seemed to be hanging in the air. Sam is a busy, busy baby, with people to see and things to do and let's hop to it, sistah! Gus is just... well, if I had a nickel for every time someone has called him "laid back," we'd have a fair lump already for his college fund. Gus has clearly bought the line that the adventure lies in the journey, not the arrival. Sam not only wants to cut to the arrival, he wants to know where we're going next? and how about a party afterward?

The good news from the PT was that the boys are both doing much better holding their heads in midline (i.e., straight up rather than lolling toward the left), and she said she thought they wouldn't need to see her much longer. She also said their heads already looked much rounder to her.

Following the PT appointment, we wandered into the Patient Relations office, since it was across from the PT offices. I had intended only to ask for the proper address to send a nastygram regarding the problem we had with Dr. Wacko (whom we never actually saw) -- the pediatric neurosurgeon who wouldn't see the boys for their plagiocephaly without them first having a cat scan. (Hmph. As if!) I ended up talking with a very sympathetic Patient Relations, ah, person (no idea what they call themselves) who said that she would write the nastygram for me and not only that, send it to Dr. Wacko's boss for a reply. Hah, so there! (I must say this was above and beyond what I expected.)

In the course of our 20 minutes in her office, Gus decided that he liked this woman, and started grinning and ducking his head and flirting with her, culminating in -- gasp! -- a wave! A real wave! My neighbor down the street had told me she thought Gus had waved at her a couple of weeks ago, but I never saw another one so I chalked it up to imagination. Then a few days ago, he raised his arm toward me and made kind of a grasping motion. I thought that he was trying to grab my hand, and didn't think anything more of it.

But the PR lady said, "Oh, look, he's waving!" And viewed in that context, I had to admit, she was right! It was darling -- his little arm was raised in some sort of stiff Sig-heil-looking movement, and his little fingers and thumb opened and closed like a little pink crab claw. So from a purely aesthetic point of view it wasn't much. But the grin on his face told me he was trying to communicate, and what else could it be but a wave? How wonderful! (Update: When D came home tonight, Gus gave him a wave too! Still the crab claw thing. Adorable.)

Gus's little wave made me giddy with adoring him and Sam. It was absolutely the highlight of the day. (Actually, I feel giddy much of the time, whenever I contemplate my great good fortune in being their mommy, and how narrowly that came to be.) We buzzed by the hospital cafeteria (which, amazingly enough, has quite tasty lunches), where I picked up a chicken sandwich and a diet Pepsi and then looked around for a nonexistent place to alight. (I have to reiterate here something I've mentioned in earlier posts -- which is that whenever I go anywhere with the boyos, I feel like the chauffeur to a pair of rock stars. Heads literally swivel as we go by, and murmurs of "Oh, twins!" and "How adorable!" waft behind us. People stop me in my tracks to inform me how lucky I am and to tell me all about their family histories of twins. I'm not exaggerating. Rent a pair of same-size babies and try it for yourself, if you don't believe me!)

A nice woman named Susan invited us to share her table, and we had quite a nice conversation while I fed the babies and myself. She told me a sad story about her brother's child, a little girl who (years ago) contracted polio from the live virus oral vaccination, and ended up dying at age nine, her body wracked by the various ravages of the disease. Yikes. Poor child.

Following lunch, we decamped to the mall, where we trolled Gottschalk's for a solid two hours, tried on some Seven7 jeans (which used to be all the rage and commanded prices over a hundred bucks but now were slashed to a mere $39.95 -- how low have the mighty fallen!) which fit all right, but I decided my still-carrying-baby-weight ass is a bit large to waste $39.95 on. Instead we bought and brought home a sum total of two Christmas ornaments. (Both kitty ornaments, of course!) The boys were good as gold and left still more middle-aged women swooning in their tracks.

I don't know that this blow-by-blow account of our day is terribly interesting to anyone but me, but I wanted to record it since although it was an ordinary day, it was also a great day because I was hangin' with the boyos. I do get very tired and sometimes quite stressed, just because caring for TWO infants at once is pretty exhausting ... but I really can't think of anywhere else I'd rather be.

And the crab claw slayed me. Oh, you kid!

Friday, November 02, 2007

The Leaning Tower of Tigers

Since Thalia was kind enough to give me a prompt by asking this doting mommy how we dressed the boyos for Halloween, let me reply with this series of some of my favorite recent pix!

P.S. Don't forget to scroll down for the latest actual writing-type post!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Reelin' in

I realized that I haven't reported the amazing (to me, anyway) progress the boys have been making lately. So here's a highlights reel.

Gus went through a period at about 4 months where he was quite vocal, and seemed determined to make himself understood. Then at about 6 months, he backed off from that. I tried not to worry about that (thinking, of course, about the brutal spectre of autism -- not that I know much about it, mind you, but they talk about infants and toddlers regressing from their achievements as a sign of it) but Dr. Pixie kind of shook her head when I brought this up and laughed at me, and pointed out that babbling could wait until 8 or 9 months and all would be fine.

That was a good thing to hear, since not only had Gus gotten bored with the babbling he had been doing, but Sam had never really done it at all. Sam has always been vocal and indeed, rather opinionated, but it's the same sounds over and over. "Hoo hoo! Hoo! Hoo! Hoo hoo!" was an early favorite that was still being used as late as yesterday, and indicates anything from interest to extreme happiness to anxiety. (It's all in the inflection.) "Heh ... heh ... heh ..." in a quiet little voice was what I called his happy sound (made often while he was nursing, and I have no idea how he made that sounds while his mouth was thus occupied, but he managed). That one was used a lot in the early days, starting while we were still in the hospital, but it only makes a rare appearance now. (I love it when it does, though. It's such a gentle, sweet sound.) An urgent "Moo! Moo!" could roughly be translated as "I expect a bottle right NOW, missy, and if it does not appear in short order there will be crying! I mean it! Countdown commencing! Ten, nine, eight...."

So you see that while Sam made his needs known, there was not much syllabic action going on. Not much in the way of consonants. Gus was not big on consonants either, to tell the truth, but the highs and lows, the apparent (though mysterious) meaning he could wring from "Ahh oooOOOOoooo... Ah, ah, ah. Ah ooo. Ah. OOOOOOOooooooo... oh. Ah. Oh," made it seem like there was slightly more, ah, there there. (Okay, okay, so they were both monosyllabic wonders. Well, that's why we write, isn't it, to make ourselves known to ourselves?)

At any rate, eveb as both boys decided to spring the same number of teeth in the same week, they have both decided at the same time to take up babbling as their new hobby. Consonants and everything. "Blue" is a favorite (as in, "Ah blue blue blue! blue! Ah!" but the big winner around here (and they're both saying it, starting just last week) is... drum roll please...


Okay, it's usually more along the lines of "Ma, ma, ma, mama, ma. Mah. Ah, blue blue. Ma," but hey, I'll take that. Sometimes it's just the two syllables, which sounds mighty word-like. And when Gus looks right into my eyes and says it, or grabs my pajama legs as I am walking by, and grins up at me and says in his little gravelly voice, "Mama!" well, that's plenty good enough for me. Or when little Sam pulls his tiny thumb from his rosebud mouth and says it in his light little lyric tenor voice, I'll take that too, no questions asked.

In other news, we do not have real crawling yet. However, we do have standing (Sam with authority and confidence, probably because he's been doing it for over a month and a half; Gus -- who started standing only in the last two weeks -- with the appearance that he's doing it mostly because I want him to, but hey, he is doing it!). We also have scooting: Gus on the slow side, but usually forward; Sam with speed and flair but always backward. This has led on several occasions to me running into the living room from the bathroom or bedroom and frantically looking for a hysterically crying baby, and finding that he has managed to back himself completely under the couch. The first time I pulled Sam out from under the couch this way, it reminded me so much of pulling out a recalcitrant cat that I laughed so hard I had to put him down abruptly. (He gave me the nastiest glare at this, by the by, which of course made me laugh even harder and think I might have to run for the bathroom.)

The newest addition to the highlights reel is the "triangle sit," which consists of the baby sitting up unsupported, with his legs stretched in a triangular position like a dancer warming up. Sam has been doing this for a week or so, and has worked up into sitting this way for 10 or 15 minutes at a time. The advantage to the triangle sit, as Sam has realized, is that you can use both grubby, wet little hands on whatever toy you are currently mauling. (Gus will put up with the triangle sit if I am right behind him and help support him, but his heart is not in it yet.) As for Sam, I usually put a pillow behind him when he sits like this since he is not happy if he falls straight back from this position and hits his head (and who could blame him?) but he hasn't actually fallen from this position for a couple of days now. And D told me tonight that while I was gone for a little while and he was watching the boys, Sam apparently managed to pull himself up into this position from a prone position!

Wow. I can't believe how far they've both come.

Darn. I guess it's time to get serious about babyproofing the house!