Saturday, March 1, 2014

Look what I can do!

Hip hip hooray!  Forrest and Pippa are one!!!

Birthday suit; birthday balloon.
It is hard to believe that they have been around for a whole year...and that we survived having two infants at the same time.  Seriously.  I actually frequently think, "Well, this isn't sooo'd be really crazy if we had three!"  I guess you acclimate to whatever ridiculous number of babies you have.  Though, part of me also always minimizes difficulties.  It IS crazy having two infants at once.  It is soooooo much easier than it was at the start, but, when they both are wailing in anguish, pulling at my pants (as they were this morning) while I try to get a glass of water or make myself some food or answer the phone, the challenge of the situation is fresh in my mind.

You adapt, certainly.  But you also make compromises about quality.  The babies get significantly less one-on-one attention than Ila did - something all second children probably experience, but it's even worse as a multiple.  I still approach every situation as if the perfect ideal version of the scenario is possible with enough work.  I can be the best, more present, mature, patient, evolved, kind, loving person...all the time.  Lately, I've been trying to remind myself that I am human and that being grumpy or having too much to do are human realities.  Perfection isn't always a possibility.  (Yeah, I heard it.  I know you want me to say perfection isn't ever a possibility, that it shouldn't be the goal.  Baby steps, okay?  I'll let go of doing everything exactly right one little bit at a time.)  I mean, sometimes you can plan and rest and be ready to have a wonderful family day at the zoo.  Sometimes it can be pretty great, and you remain positive and patient and present through all the unexpected little upsets inherent to any outing with a three year old and two one year olds.  But, sometimes all your maturity leaves you and you snap at your partner, harshly shush your three year old and grumble at the babies.  That's when I have to remind myself that I too am human and not always capable of calm and reason.  I am starting to realize I have some insanely unrealistic goals for myself.  (I guess I'm a slow learner.)   

In the toy box!
Maybe this will be my motto for the year: embrace imperfection.  There's a great Tara Brach (awesome psychologist and meditation teacher) talk where she quotes some old, renowned zen master who says that true freedom is being "without anxiety about imperfection."  I have a LONG way to go to true freedom.  And, just to be perverse, I put pressure on myself to embrace imperfection.  I want to do it perfectly.  Some part of me knows that it is better for my children to see me deal with the difficulties of being human - including being grumpy and distracted at moments - in a functional, flexible, forgiving way, to truly exhibit self-compassion, to give up striving for perfection.  Some part of me knows that, just not the part that's in charge a lot of the time.    

Well, hopefully I can help my children be flexible, curious, kind little people who embrace mess and mistakes.  The hard thing about parenting (one of them) is that it is most important to let go of those things that are hardest for you to let go of.  My kids will certainly be MOST aware of my drive for perfection in those areas that I have the hardest time being kind toward myself, being flexible.  These will, then, be the most charged, the most important areas for me to work on.  Argh!  Why does everything have to be modeled?  Why can't I simply tell them beautiful stories about being flexible and kind toward yourself?  Why do I actually have to do it?!

Fortunately, babies are amazing distractions from all this ridiculousness in my head.  Look at them walking!  They are so cute.  Forrest loves anything that is loosely shaped like a comb because he loves having his hair combed.  He likes to put little toy spoons, spatulas, a little wooden fake knife we have to his head and try to comb his hair.  Here he's licking his comb-surrogate instead of combing with it, which is almost as good, I guess. 

These are actually early walking videos.  I wanted to capture Pippa's funny little monkey crawl here for posterity.  Forrest started walking on Jan 1 and never really looked back.  Pippa still crawled for a week or so, interspersed with little moments of walking.   

Forrest is about moving.  He's also a bit of a ham.  He's learned this one foot stomp that makes everyone, obviously, he keeps doing it.

Pippa also likes to move...and she loves music and dancing.  Also, I think she might be a budding drummer.  She drums on EVERYTHING.  She has gotten encouragement but, again, this started with her.  She's also the biggest mimic we've ever had around here.  She babbles and chirps and tries to copy every sound.  Very cute.  She actually said her first words, "Tickle, tickle," about a month ago.  We thought at first she was just copying the sound, but she says it all the time at the right moment - when we're going to tickle her.  She also closes and opens her little hands repeatedly in the tickling gesture while she says it.  It's very cute.  And, she started signing last week - "all done," "more," "eat," and "up" so far.

It is amazing how different hanging out with a one year old and a three year old is...because, time-wise, they really are so close in age.  In some ways, the babies are so exhausting...but, weirdly, they are also much easier than a three year old.  The babies are physically demanding at times, but it is so easy to get them to laugh, to distract them, to comfort them, to toss them on your hip and do whatever.  Ila is more of a little person, with more opinions and ideas about how things should happen.  It is exciting and amazing to see her turn into her...but it takes a little more discussion and compromise than with the babies.  At least there's variety around here, I suppose.

Ila is so sweet with them...and generally very tolerant and patient.  However, when I get out the camera to record something (like here: I wanted to catch Pippa drumming), she really wants me to focus on her and only her.  I can record five minutes of Ila before trying to get 20 seconds of a baby, but she still wants to be part of the show for those 20 seconds.  This is totally understandable, but it does sometimes make us laugh a little.