Saturday, December 31, 2016

Can I Pro-Rate My Donation?

Dear Obama for America,

IF you could go back and make 16 weeks of maternity leave 100% paid in 2016, so that I didn't have to use my savings on living expenses while I was home with my children... Also, if you could address the high cost of healthcare, especially for someone who got hit with two bills for birth and double co-pays for everything the twins do, THEN I would have extra funds to donate to all of the ills of the world that you are in my inbox about DAILY.

- Marriage Equality
- Global Warming
- Keeping Democrats in Office
- EVERY DAMN THING ELSE THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ME PERSONALLY

As soon as I get my prorated check, I'll hit y'all up with a donation.

*eye roll*

Thursday, December 22, 2016

The Resentment...

Y'all pray for me. I am SO angry that I have to work through the holidays AGAIN. Last year, I worked through the holiday (while big and pregnant) because I wanted to save up my days to be with my babies.

THIS YEAR, I'm working through the holidays because when you go on maternity leave your vacation and sick days are used up first. So two years with no holiday vacation.

And people who actually take breaks dump all their stuff on you, so it actually ends up being a VERY busy week. 

And I know people are like "but you had 16 weeks of paid vacation time for maternity."

First of all, all of that time wasn't paid. I wish people knew the facts before they spoke.  

And it was 16 weeks of torture with two little terrorists who didn't even damn smile for the first 6 months of their lives. They just shit all up and down their backs and mean mugged me.

It was not all inclusive drinks at a resort in Jamaica.

It was not peaceful.

It was not relaxing.

It was not stress free.

It was not fun.

It was meaningful and necessary, but a vacation, it was not. 

I saw someone say they think maternity leave is a relaxing break because the moms they've talked to catch up on Netflix & DVRed shows while they are home. Well, I cannot leave the house because there's two humans hanging from my tits at all times and I can barely walk because my vagina is ripped open, so I think watching a couple of episodes of House of Cards is ok, but it's wasn't a fucking vacation.

Maybe moms on maternity leave should be forced to stare at the walls blankly to prove to others that our maternity leaves are valid.

I digress.

Got damnit, I need a break.

And since my days roll over in 2017, I SHOULD have taken off the first week in January, but I didn't have the foresight. Most days I can't think past the weekend because, you know... twins.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

What?

I just saw a headline that says "mom defends her decision to spend $2K on 300 gifts for her gifts for Christmas." Um... how did anyone KNOW she bought 300 gifts and spent $2,000. You can do whatever the hell you please for your kids.

The #realissue is you bragging about it on social media. If mogs would just log off, no one would have to defend anything to anyone.

Those types of stories cook my grits.


Friday, December 2, 2016

Hey Girl Hey!

So I get like 20 views (AT MOST) of my blog every day. If pressed, I think I could tell you exactly who those 20 folks are.

But for the past month or so, my blog has been getting like 500 views a day. Hey new people! Who are you and where did you come from? Announce yourselves.

Also, if someone linked me to their blog and brought all new readers, can you let me know?

I'm sure there's a way to figure this out on the back end, but I don't want to spend that much time. This is a hobby for me and a release, not a business. I don't want to do too much "work" for it.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

That Took FOREVER!

I posted my work schedule, so you all know I don't have any free time during the week. And I've posted about my apprehension about leaving the house as a twin mom on the weekends. As such, getting things done takes FOREVER. I recently Tweeted on my public Twitter that being a mom makes me feel mediocre because from the time I have a thought to the time I complete an action is about three weeks.

Below I charted it out this one task in particular. Pre-babies, I could have gotten thi sdone in one day, or worse case scenario, one weekend. Now, it's more like a month or 5 weeks. It feels horrible to a Type A person like me.

10/22 - A friend in Chicago gave my mom a bag of winter clothes for my girls.
10/24 -  My mom ships the clothes to me
10/26 - I receive the clothes and realize there are too many cardigans, jackets and snow suits to fit in the babies' three Ikea drawers
10/30 - Find this on Pinterest as a way to store things in my small home.
10/30 - Buy the Ikea Lack shelf on Ikea.com
11/08 - Buy 25 hot pink velvet hangers for this shelf that is not up yet 
11/09 - Receive the Ikea Lack Shelf (Ikea shipping is slow as hell, but it beats trying to pack up twins and go to Ikea and/or paying someone to watch my kids, so I can go to Ikea)
11/10 - Receive hangers from Amazon 
11/12 - Order the Ikea rails from Amazon (Ikea doesn't make it anymore and it was hard to find for some reason. I probably also forgot that I needed the rails, once I had ordered the shelf.)
11/14 - Received the Ikea rails
11/18 - Borrow a drill from Paris (someone buy me a drill for Christmas, please)
11/20 - Attempt to put up this shelf and realize I need a studfinder AND a screw set. Ikea doesn't send the screws because "walls are different." I try to order a studfinder for pickup at Home Depot. They're all out, so I order a studfinder on Amazon (the one Home Depot said was most popular)
11/22 - Receive studfinder
11/25 - (Black Friday) - Attached the rails to the shelf, attempted to find a stud with our stud finder. Didn't find anything. 
11/26 - Asked building maintenance if they had a more expensive, more powerful stud finder. They said they would come up and take a look, then they said that's not really in their job description, so just hammer the wall. (We are not DIYers, we need an actual tool to find a stud) Broke down and got a handyman on Thumbtack.com
11/27 - The handyman told us that our walls are plaster. THAT would explain why the studfinder didn't work. Finally got this friggin shelf up! I'm so proud of it!!



Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Mama Bear

I am very much mama bear. I am protective of my chidren. I kind of take offense to the term over-protective. Like, it's my responsibility to love, feed and clothe them and keep them safe and comforted. How could I overdo that? Whatever.


So my rage comes out when I feel like someone has hurt my baby or is getting ready to hurt my baby. Unfortunately, that someone is usually the other baby. Go look at yesterday's post to see what they do, but these children could seriously injure each other if I left them too close together and turned my head.

And they move. They're not crawling yet, but they roll and scoot. So I could put them on opposite sides of the room and they'll still end up head to foot, kicking the crap out of each other. So I hear one baby wail out in anguish and I scoop her up, comfort her and then look at the other baby like "WHY would you do that to your sister?"

And then an hour later, it flip flops.

And my boyfriends like "she didn't mean it." And I'm like, I don't care, she hurt my baby. And it sucks to be mad at a 7 month old, but I'm a real person with real feelings and when you see a scratch on your baby's face and you know she didn't do it to herself, it's like witnessing child abuse. Wouldn't you be mad at a child abuser?

Twins will take you to another place. I just want to put Michelin Man suits on both of them to stop them from beating each other up.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Family Time

Building off of yesterday, I'm not going home for Christmas. I can't afford it financially and I can't deal with the stress of having two infants on a plane. I'm also concerned about their health comfort. Babies have schedules. My kids don't go to church. They don't go to daycare. They're not around a lot of folks all day. It's me, their dad, the nanny, Paris and anyone who flies in to see them (and if you live in Brooklyn, you may as well have flown in, LOL!)

So I know I am making the right decision to manage my anxiety and stress, but I am sad to be missing my first Christmas at home. Mostly, I'm concerned about the peer pressure. It's only a matter of time before people start asking my holiday plans. And I will have to fake smile and say "oh, we're just keeping it lowkey at home this year." OR...

I will be honest and say I can't handle the stress or financial burden of going home for the holidays, so we're making due with what we have.

Both answers give me hives. I don't want to be fake, but then I don't want people to feel sorry for me.

This is a big part of why I hate small talk. What does it matter what I'm doing for the holidays or how my weekend was (it was pretty boring btw, I went nowhere and did nothing, but at least I didn't have to work.) It's like, can we just talk about work and keep going.

When I was in Pittsburgh though, I did enjoy getting to know my coworkers better. They were SO friendly and things moved so slow. It was inevitable.

Anywho, I'm not coming home. I don't want to talk to everybody about it. I'm very sad about it and I'm going to try to choose to be happy about it, by making my baby's first Christmas special. (But then go back to yesterday's post and you'll know I don't know exactly HOW I'll make their first Christmas special and that too, stresses me out.)

I think it's clear that I need a break (that I'm not getting).

I don't have any days off work thanks to maternity leave. BUT, my mom is coming to visit, so that we can relieve our nanny during the holiday, so I definitely have something to look forward to.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Holiday Anxiety...

Someone in a Facebook group asked if we had anxiety about the holidays and this was my response. She then said she meant about spending time with family. Man, that's a whole nother blog posts. I quickly erased my long comment and decided to blog about it here instead. 

Thanksgiving really used to stress me out until I decided I don't have to play these reindeer games and just stopped going home for Thanksgiving. 

As an adult, Christmas has always stressed me out (This is well documented on the blog and you all have given me lots of tips to get over this stress). Before I had the girls, I was the rich, single daughter/auntie/cousin, so I put a lot of pressure on myself to give good gifts. Some years those were financed. So over the years as I paying down debt became more important to me, I started ONLY buying what was in my cash budget OR not buying anything at all. 

Last year, I was up to my ears in twin pregnancy medical bills, so I didn't buy anything, not even wrapping paper. I'd kept a bag of things throughout the year to re-gift. This year, I didn't get any gifts throughout the year (because I have kids so they got all the stuff), so I'm not buying anyone in my family anything (and that's not expected anymore, of course.) 

BUT, I haven't decided what I want my daughters' first Christmas to be like. I don't want to be scrooge, but at the same time, they won't remember it. I could 
  • wrap a whole lot of empty boxes and tell them we were ballin' on their first Christmas. 
  • Or wrap a whole lot of stuff they already have that I just haven't taken out of the packaging yet and let them open it. 
  • OR, I could go into debt making sure their first Christmas is picture perfect. They only get one "first" everything and I don't want to look back and think "mommy was so broke, she made you skip Christmas." 
I definitely am sick of the consumerism, but I'm only sick of it because I don't have the money. I think if I had ample funds, I'd be all about it. 

When I talk to family members they still ask "what did you get for Christmas?" and I'm in my thirties. I feel this pressure to come up with a long list of stuff although I don't get anything anymore because I'm an adult and I DAMN SURE won't get anything now that I have kids. 

If we could have all the peace and joy and cheer of the season and skip the gifts, I'd be all about it.

Anything stressing you out about the holidays? 

Thursday, November 24, 2016

I'm Sleeping Again

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for SLEEP! 

On the night of November 18, 2016, Lahna and Joy slept from 9:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. and they've continued to do it every nigh since. MY LIFE IS ABOUT TO GET BETTER! I had SO much more energy after sleeping through the night and NOT having to pump or nurse in the middle of the night. I wasn't dead dog tired when they took their daily naps. I washed and folded laundry in the same day. I washed and twisted my hair and washed bottles and was NOT a zombie doing it all.

Moreover, I was able to give them a better version of myself while they were awake.

They are also taking two long naps every day, so when I'm home on the weekends with them, I can get things done (that's how I'm writing this blog) for about 2 hours during the day. It feels great.

We had to sleep train them to get this to work. The hardest part was convincing my boyfriend that they will not starve or die if we let them cry in the middle of the night. After we got over that hump and a couple of torturous nights listen to them cry when they would have been getting a feeding and BOOM: babies sleep all night.

It SUCKS to hear your baby cry and not go get them. This is like the beginning of tough love. So many things that are good for the kids seem to hurt them, shots, getting their ears pierced, sleep training.

We probably won't spank them, but I can still use the black mama proverbs "This hurts me more than it hurts you" when it comes to all these other things.

Parenting requires some serious mental, physical and emotional muscle flexing.

I'm very proud to have hit this milestone with the twins!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Things Done Changed...

Disclaimer: After writing this post, it sort of a drag. I didn't mean it to be, but I try to speak my real and true experiences on this blog. If you want to be in good spirits before the holiday, maybe read this later. 

I never knew who I would be as a parent. You can't predict these things, but there are some serious surprises. A big part of it for me, is being a twin parent, and living in New York City. There are some real challenges with both of those things. Here are some things that surprised me about who I've become as a person, now that I'm also a mom.
  • I don't watch football anymore. The Bears are not on local TV. They SUCK! AND, the games are like 3 hours long. If I have three hours free, I'm going to probably sleep or do laundry. And having it on in the background while the twins holler and play with their loud music toys is not my idea of a fun Sunday. I thought I would become a Jets fan since I can see those games on NYC TV, but just gave up on football.  
  • I'm not interested in night life. Now, to be fair, I wasn't exactly hitting up the club every weekend before I got pregnant, especially not in New York. But, I did used to love a good happy hour and that sometimes turned into late night. I can't afford a night or weekend babysitter and if I did, I wouldn't want to use that time hanging out. I really thought I would have been a hang out type of mom. Nah.  
  • I'm not interested in drinking. I haven't drank since July of 2015. Drinking is a depressant and my life is hard. Not to mention, the idea of being drowsy and/or having a hangover with twins, make me want to pull my fingernails out. 
  • I don't travel outside of NYC. I see folks on planes with babies all the time, but I never got on a plane until I was 15. The idea of air travel with two infants gives me heart palpitations. If you want to see my kids in person, you need to come to New York. 
  • I don't go anywhere "in" NYC. I have friends who bundle their singletons (that's what multiple moms call it when you have one baby at a time)... they bundle their singletons up and go to brunch, shopping, other people's houses, long strolls in the park. There are so many reasons this isn't a good idea for me. My double stroller doesn't fit anywhere in NYC. I HATE taking the train with the double stroller. People act like you are the devil for having the NERVE to take up that much space on a crowded train. If we travel by cab, I can't take the double stroller because their car seats only fit into the Snap & Go and the snap and go does not handle well. I don't have any friends with kids near me. I know one couple in Brooklyn, not going all the way out there for a playdate. I know one girl with a baby my age. I've seen her out and about, traveling with her baby, etc. I'd feel weird having my two to her one in any place we go, so I just stay home. 
  • I've become low maintenance. I really thought I would have kept up brows, waxing, mani/pedis, hell, shopping to be a cute mom. I don't have any money for any of that stuff. I can barely afford diapers. Actually, honestly, I cannot afford diapers in my current budget with New York rent and a nanny. I put diapers and other essentials on a credit card. It is what it is. So yeah, no money for maintenance and no time. And when it comes to clothes, I have to have shirts where I can get to my boobs 3x a day to pump. So I just wear the same five button down shirts or cardigans in rotation with the same three pairs of jeans I own. (Seriously, where do jeans go? I'm guessing I threw a lot out because they were worn in the thighs or too small.) I'm kicking myself for throwing away too small clothes because nursing twins has me back down to high school weight. I vividly remember a pair of black pencil pants and camo skinny pants that gave me a muffin top when I threw them away, but that would be PERFECT now with my skinny, but loose mom body. 
  • I'm timid. If someone does something I don't like to my baby (touches their face, kisses them, tickles them), I don't say anything. I just remove my baby from the situation. (Welp, this visit is over). I think I've written about this before, but it's difficult for me to find a voice as a mom. This is probably a big contributing factor to why we don't go anywhere. I have a bit of control (and a list of rules posted) in my own home. Once we venture out, I don't know how to tell someone to stop without being a complete bitch about it, and I don't want to be labeled a bitch. It's something I'm working on because right now these things are just pet peeves, but imagine if my kids were in real danger. I'd like to say *hands on hips* hell naw, not me, but that spirit hasn't come up in real life. I'm just trying to survive. 
  • I'm bored as hell and I'm boring as hell. When I get pockets of time, I call people and they always freak out like "is everything ok?" because they know I don't have time to just shoot the shit. OR, they don't have free time, so I spend my little pockets of time catching up on reading about being a mom... If I had a night away from my kids, I wouldn't even know what to do. Probably go shopping for them in the store instead of online. I don't know what the new music is, or when it dropped. I don't know where the latest, hottest vacation spots are, I choose not to talk about politics. I can tell you about baby milestones (which I know are boring as hell to anyone who isn't the kids' mother). I can tell you about poop size, texture and color and eczema treatments. I could tell you the vaccination schedule for kids under 1. I'm just lame as hell now and I'm not sure that I care. "They say" if I don't get up and start doing things for myself, I may resent it... But I think twin mom exhaustion supercedes all "put yourself first rhetoric." I'll get out when I feel like getting out, but right now I'm posted. (I also think being in NYC contributes to this. I have a gang of girlfriends with kids 2 and under, but none of them live here, so yeah, this is me, in the house.) 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

What I'm Reading These Days

So, if you send me something to fill out a sweepstakes to win free baby stuff, I'm DEFINITELY doing it. Maybe in the middle of the night while nursing the twins, maybe while I'm in the pump room at work, maybe when I should be in the bed sleeping, but I can use all the free stuff I can get, so I fill those things out. To get extra sweeps entries, you usually have to sign up for the newsletter of whoever is sponsoring the contest.

Now, my unsubscribe game is tight, but every once in a while there's a newsletter that I just can't unsubscribe from because the content is too good. Even if I only read the headlines because I don't have time to read the articles, I like to know what's hot in the streets, so I stay tuned. Here's a list of things that I'm reading right now.

General 

PureWow  - It was raining in NYC one day and they hit me with the "Best places to get a cozy coffee on a rainy NYC day." AND, AND 10 different types of cornbread. Listen. I'm hooked.

DNA Info Harlem - They really localize the news, which is great in a big city of neighborhoods like NYC.

Parenting Sites
Scary Mommy - A mom site that keeps it real
Red Tricycle NYC - Fun stuff to do in NYC. My babies aren't old enough to do anything yet, but keeping this for when they are.
Mommy Poppins - More fun stuff, but also lots of casting calls. Everyone always wants identical twins, which sucks. I don't have time to be taking babies to casting calls, but hey, if we can get some more streams of income, I'm all about this baby modeling life.

PopSugar Moms - All the goodness of PopSugar (urban life hacks and content), but for moms.

Fairygodboss - This site is dope.com. It's tips for working moms and again, serving it up to you, straight, no chaser. They also have job listings for places that are good for moms to work. LOVE! THIS! SITE!
Motherly - More mom stuff. Not stuffy at all.

Fatherly - I must've signed up for this when entering a contest. I stayed on the listserv because it's very interesting to see how parenting topics are marketing differently to women and men. I'm literally interested in every article on Fatherly, but no one would send a mom a note about Monster Trucks.

Stroller Traffic - They do a Friday round-up and it always has a giveaway. I feel like that is the perfect way to get my news. Don't be in my inbox every day with crap. Let me pick from all your stories when I'm ready to indulge. 

Branded Sites 

Pampers - Lots of good info here, although it's too branded, if you ask me. Sometimes you get diaper points for reading their articles, so I read them.

Tommee Tippy - I LOVE their parent profiles. This is how brands should be doing content.
WebMD Baby - I go to them through the app. Usually AFTER I've done something in the pampers app. Again, if it's not coming directly to my inbox or timelines, I'm not really into it.

I'm reading Bustle too, but surprisingly, I don't get any of their newsletters. I link to them through Facebook mostly.


And a shout out to Sassy Plum. It was recently started by a group of moms I know online (and some I know in real life) and I want to check it out, and maybe become a contributor. JUST signed up for email updates. That's the only way I'm going to read anything.

What are you reading these days? 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Oh No!

I was all excited for a three-day work week, then I realized that I will be at home with the twins for four straight days. That's not much better.

Ooh wee, they require ALL of my attention. 

Maybe we'll go somewhere on Friday to break up the monotony. Probably not. 

I'm going to be the happiest person coming back from a Thanksgiving break, ever.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Twin Referee

As a new mom, I follow LOTS of new sites about parenting, and specifically. Maybe I'll do a roundup of them. On Facebook and Instagram. I see lots of the twin sites putting up memes about how being a twin parents makes you a twin referee. Sometimes you see things and don't know or understand them until they happen to you. I was really hoping my daughters would be loving, sweet, best friends. And there's still hope for that.

When they were first born, they didn't KNOW the other baby existed. It was a big milestone when they started to see each other. Now, they don't CARE that the other baby exists. I'd like to think they're just very active babies, but they may also be trying to destroy each other. We'll see.

, but here are the things I find myself saying EVERY DAY... and they are only 7 months.

10. Do not slob on her. 
9. Do not scratch her eyeballs.
8. Stop eating her head. That is not a boob. 
7. Don't you see your sister sitting right there. Do not roll over her.
6. Give her her toy back. Pick up your own toy.
5. There is only one toy like this. Please share.
4. Do not throw toys at her.
3. Do not spit on her.
2. Stop kicking her in the face.
1. Stop pulling her hair. 

Do your kids bicker? Will this ever end?

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Slow Down Mommy

The girls got up for their middle of the night nursing session at about 1 a.m. We finished near 1:30 and I stayed up to wash bottles and pump parts, balance my checkbook and pay bills.

The girl got up again at 4 a.m. and I wasn't finished balancing my checkbook and paying bills BECAUSE...

I found out balancing my checkbook that last month, I sat down and wrote out my rent check... and sent it to the hospital.

These asshats didn't call and say, Hey T., your bills is one amount and the amount of money you sent is SEVEN HUNDRED DOLLARS more than that. They just cashed it.

Thankfully, I pay my rent electronically, so when I saw two rent amounts on my bank statements, I was like wait a minute... Did my property management company get two checks last month and just not tell me?

This is why sleep deprivation is dangerous. The babies are fine, but my bank account is hurting over stupid mistakes.

I know you're probably thinking, can't you just pay bills at work or on the weekends. And the answer is no because billable hours, laundry and crying babies.

Pray for me. I feel like I'm coming undone.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

In Defense of the Suburbs...

Laundry is the only time of the week that I get to be alone.

After getting the kids dressed to go on a walk with their dad, pumping & finding a clean pair of leggings to wear outside, I finally make it out of the house with my granny cart loaded up with seven loads of laundry (5 normal & 2 oversized). If you read all my pregnancy posts, you know that all my leggings are cut on the side to make space for my burgeoning twin belly. I haven't quite found the time to replace them. Let me add that to my never-ending to-do list now.

As I was saying, I live in an apartment complex with six buildings. The laundry room nearest to me has 5 washers & dryers. Last week, 2 of the washers in that room were broken. I was joking with security like "I can't live like this." And he tells me two buildings over there's a MUCH bigger laundry room. I get in there: 14 washers and dryers & virtually no people. BET!

Side note: there may not be a lot of people because the door to the outside stays open & it's cold in there. I could be wrong, but it still feels like the air conditioning is on despite the crisp fall temperatures.

Anywho, I finished my laundry in the big laundry room last week. This week, it's 48 degrees & rainy & they made upgrades to the security system, so some of the key fobs don't work. Of course, mine didn't.

So I sit & wait for like 10 minutes in the cold rain for someone to open the door to the gate that leads to the large laundry room. I called security, too. They have one, old, slow, unqualified woman answering that line & she acts like she doesn't know some of the key fobs are broken. Whatever.

I finally make it into the large laundry room & realize I'd forgotten my laundry card. Damn. I load up my washers & head to my apartment, but I can't get into the service entrance to my building. Call my home for my boyfriend to buzz me in, he doesn't answer. Walk around to the front of my building, get in, get upstairs, get my laundry card, go BACK to the large laundry room, wait in the rain AGAIN for someone to open the gate only to find out I'd dropped the laundry card in transit. Fine. I'll just but a new one, it's only $5 and I've wasted almost an hour at this point.

Go to purchase it & the machine in the big laundry room only takes cash. ARE YOU KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW?! I trace my steps to see if I can find it. Nope. It's windy out AND someone probably stole it the moment I dropped it.

God must be cracking up at me looking like a rat in a corn maize today with my cut up leggings falling off my butt.

Go to the small laundry room, which takes credit cards & my key fob won't open it's gate. ARGH! Find an open gate and put $50 on the card because I don't want to have to leave the big laundry room again until I'm done.

I'm currently sitting in this cold laundry room, where I will be for the next hour and 16 minutes until all of my clothes are finished washing & drying.

And, while I was writing this bleach started to leak in the bag I carry my wallet, journal & laundry supplies in. It soaked through the bag & now my black vagabond leggings and black oversized workout sweatshirt (that I never work out in) are bleached... On the left side where I carry that bag.

The good news is I get to go upstairs & take a nap. Bwahahaha. I can't believe I typed that with a straight face. Nope, despite getting up two times last night, my babies will still be bustling with energy when I get done with the laundry.

And I get to take my cold, angry, tired self upstairs to play happy twin mom. These babies didn't do anything wrong, so It'll be another Oscar winning performance.

How did your Saturday go? Mine has me considering a move to the suburbs.

Friday, October 14, 2016

BEST AGE EVER!

The girls turned 6 months yesterday and you know what, I like this age. Let me see if I can come up with 10 reasons why.

10. They smile ALL THE TIME! They especially smile at me, which I noticed when people visit and they do NOT smile for guests, but they almost always smile for Mommy.

9. They hug and cuddle. They are still so fat, BIG CHEEKS! FAT NECKS! THICK THIGHS! And I just huddle into all those folds for my mommy snuggles. And they're not bumps on a log anymore

8.They experience new things in the best way. Their eyes get big or they giggle or they look perplexed. Lahna was in the bathroom the other day and it was like it was the first time she was in that room. The wonderment on her face could have lit up a dark room. I LOVE watching these things. 

7. They're rolling, but not crawling and not walking. So they move, but they don't move too fast just yet.

6. They don't have teeth yet, so nursing is not painful. Note, it was painful when I first started, but my nipples are basically like Stretch Armstrong arms now. I'll be nursing them and doing something else and forget they're even on my breasts.

5. Their diapers don't stink yet. We just started real food yesterday, so we'll see if this changes, but right now a "stinky" diaper is a different smell from a wet diaper, but on the whole spectrum of stinky, it barely even registers. 

4. I don't have to do their hair yet. My babies came out with a full head of hair, which they kept until about 2 months, then they're bald. My poor dears look like they have a baby mohawk on the top of their heads. Their hair is starting to grow back, but for right now I'm very happy to not have to buy three of all of the hair products I buy for myself.


3. People still ask about them and how I'm adjusting to them and work and life. I feel genuine concerns and that's great. If think once they're in school, it's not as interesting to see how someone's kids are doing or to think about the fact that they are a working parent. It's like all the challenges or infant and toddler life dissipate and everything is supposed to be perfect, so no one inquires about your wellbeing anymore. I could be wrong.

2. They bounce. Kids really will roll over and bump their heads on the floor or headbutt you or do some other really dangerous and potentially harmful thing to themselves and act like nothing happened. Even when I gasp, they look up at me like "what's the big deal?" I know as they get older, they will pick up on our queues and feel more pain because we expect them to feel pain. I don't ever want my babies to feel any pain, so I like it better right now.

1. They babble, but they still can't talk. You knew this was coming. Being flip at the mouth was the only real problem I ever gave my mom and my teachers. And I'm about to catch that times 2. I'm not ready AT ALL!  I also just relish peace. New York is so loud and the hustle is so hard. I'm not going to want to come home and hear a million questions about how the world works. Or try to make sense of what a child who doesn't REALLY know how to talk says. The little babbling they do right now is PERFECT!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Baby Wonder

I originally wrote this on August 8th. How dare 2 months go  by already. Crazy.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Lahna is really good at gripping. She grips onto the adults in her life when we're holding her. She grips onto the birds that are hanging from her floor mat. And she grips really well onto toys.

The bird in question, is a rattle. It makes noise when she shakes it. So we gave her this toy that the Manhattan Toy Company sent to us as a freebie for being twin parents (thanks guys). It doesn't make as much noise. You REALLY have to shake it and she doesn't have the arm strength for that yet.

Let me tell you what happened though. She shook it and it didn't do anything. She puts in on her lap and looks at it like it's broken. She does it again. I'm observing her while she observes this toy and trying to see what's going on in her little baby brain.

When I realized that she was trying to figure out WHY it didn't make noise when she shook it I was SO PROUD! It was the same feeling I get when a client accepts my plan with no changes or a when journalists writes about my client.

So rewarding!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My greatest accomplishments are almost crawling. Wow, what a feeling! 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

But Monday Though...

Mondays are unforgiving for this working mama.

They have not been good since I got back and you know what, I just have to bounce back from it.

I have no sick days. No vacation days. No personal days. I had to use them all up before using my short term disability for maternity leave. So in the year that I'm getting the least sleep that I ever have, I have to go to work every single day with no breaks.

From the time I came back to work (August 2nd) and Thanksgiving, I only had one day (Labor Day) off. This mama is tired.

This morning I wake up. The hot water is off. Fine. I take a hoe bath... oops I mean wash up and use the extra 30 minutes to nurse my babies.

They are also going through sleep regression, so they get up 2-3x a night. Add that to all of the kicking and rolling that they're doing and this 1BR, one crib set-up is harmful to their health and my sleep.

So when a twin mama in Tribeca said she had a crib divider to sell, I was too happy to take it off of her hands. I figured I'd go Monday before work, no problem.

I go, but on the way back, end up at the Barclays center in Brooklyn when I need to be in Flatiron.

For my Chicagoans, this is like getting on the train on 95th. Your job is on State Street. Where you're picking up the baby gear in on North Avenue, but you take a wrong train coming back from North Avenue and end up on the blue line at Kedzie and Homan. I was an hour and half late for work, which means I could only pump 2x instead of 3x, which means after working a 6.5 hour day, rushing home to relieve the nanny because we can't afford overtime and nursing the girls 2-3 more times, I'll have to stay up and pump once more to make sure they have enough milk for tomorrow.

UPDATE
And since this is posting a few days after I wrote it, I can tell you that I left the office with my laptop bag, my pump bag and my purse... And forgot the crib divider. It's not a part of my usual set-up, so I left it on the floor. I got about one Avenue away, then went back to get it.

Get home and install the thing (but about an hour late because my boyfriend didn't realize I had it and the girls were already in the bed when I told him we should give it a try).

Well... it didn't work. My babies kick like infant MMA fighters and broke it right in half. What's really crazy is Joy's kick is WAY stronger than Lahna and Lahna's the one who broke it.

These kids don't want me to sleep AND, they definitely want their own cribs. Last night (Tuesday), we rearranged some furniture in the apartment and crib #2 is on thee way. I hope they don't go through withdrawals of being close to each other #TwinProblems

And my week hasn't really gotten any better. I'm going to just keep putting one foot in front of the other and make the most of this zombie lifestyle I'm now living.

P.S. The girls are 6 months today. WOW!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Sunday Musings

So Sunday was a good day, too. I had two friends come over, one from Jersey and one from Brooklyn and they watched the girls while I did seven back-breaking loads of laundry. Good lawd, a family of four producers so much laundry. We can no longer afford to send the laundry out and there is no space for filthy clothes in our small domicile, so I MUST do laundry every seven days. Maybe 8.

ALSO, the girls had run out of bibs spit cloths. They are teething, so there are just puddles of slob all over their toys, chairs, mats, the [faux] hardwood floor, everywhere. When we start putting dish towels on them, that's how you know it was real.

So, yesterday I had no help, but survived. Today, I had help and I was tired as hell, but I survived. With twins folks, it's all about survival.

I should also add that my babies are a joy to be around. They are happy and observant and funny. They babble and they make spit bubbles and they roll and they hug and they sideeye and mean mug and giggle.

And they do cute twin stuff. They hold each other's hands and caress each other's faces. They also scratch each other and themselves. That's hard on a mama.

They kick like MMA fighters.

And they flail. You really have to hold on tight to Joy. She will bounce out of your hands and then giggle at you. They haven't full on laughed yet, but it's coming.

I'm so grateful for friends who come into town to spend the weekend with us or come uptown to spend the day with us. I have never asked for help so much in my life. And days like yesterday show that even asking for help, you will still come up short.

But today was another good weekend day with my loves and I'm happy to share my home, our food (yes, guests get chef-cooked meals) and our the peace and joy of our daughters with our closest family and friends.

Hope your Sunday was full of love too!

Monday, October 10, 2016

It's O.K.

Today was Saturday and I was home alone with the girls while my bf worked a double shift. I asked everyone I knew for help. Half of my friends were in Chicago for another friend's baby shower. I can eat at my bf's restaurant for free and it's the only place I've ever taken the girls for brunch. They like seeing their dad and it makes me a bit more comfortable being out and about with them.

So I asked a friend that I'm not THAT close with if she'd like to go to brunch with us. This would give me another set of hands at the table, and allow me a break from being along with infants for 16 hours.

She was game, but then she couldn't make it. She has a very sick dog and they sent her from the vet to the ASPCA hospital and that was a 2-4 hour wait, starting at 2 p.m. I was going to change our brunch date to dinner, but when the girls went down for their second nap, I knew it was a bad idea to take them out. I'm also not trying to be out in the NYC streets in the dark with my babies.

So we stayed in, and you know what. It was ok.

They took one long nap in the morning, which allowed me to take one short nap.

They also played in the Pack and Play for the first time, which allowed me to eat, pump, shower and wash my hair. Now halfway through showering and hair washing, I had to run out and position Joy so that she could see me showering, but that's still a LONG time for infants to be quiet, so I feel very blessed.

Then they took a second nap and that allowed me to twist my hair.

So I think getting everything done that I did while being home alone with two infants is nothing short of a miracle and it's days like today that make me feel like: "Everything is ok. Everything is fine. Everything is going to be AL-RIGHT!"

I hope you had a good Saturday.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

WHAT TO DO?

I'm home alone with the babies and they're sleeping!!! Here are options for what I could do:

 I already ate and blogged. I could also:

- Clean (the air filter that needs to be cleaned once a month is one week past due)
- Fold the laundry I did at the crack of dawn this morning
- Random to-do like tracking down refunds that Amazon never issued me, but said they did
- Take a shower
- Do nothing and enjoy the quiet
- Sleep
- Baby proof the apartment (this was on my list for this weekend before I knew my boyfriend was working two double shifts and leaving me in the apartment with our infants for 2, 16-hour stretches at a time)

Such is the life of a [type A] mom. Too much to do. I can only do one of these things or maybe half of one because someone is inevitably going to get up the moment I hit peak productivity.

What would you do?

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Book Review: I'm Judging You

Now, I know I JUST wrote about not judging people, then I turn around and talk about a book called I'm Judging You. It's ok, the book is still dope.

I have the audio book and in it my girl Luvvie tackles everything from toddlers (or tiny terrorists as she calls them) to friends who make bad bae decisions to humans who make bad life decisions (racists and sexists, etc.)

If you read her blog www.awesomelyluvvie.com or follow her on Twitter, you'll recognize her common phrases like "ijots" or "dropkick you the goalposts of life." I'm not finished with the book yet, so I'm not sure if a wall slide is coming or not, but I wouldn't be surprised.

If you read or listen to it in public, be prepared to have stares come at you for laughing aloud. It's that funny.

And finally, I'm SO EXCITED for Luvvie. It's kind of cool to watch people get famous. And I kind of have to fight this urge to tell people how I know her and how much longer I've known her than them and that while they're reading her blog, she's humble enough to still read mine. It's something about being a human that makes those seriously unimportant things seem important as it relates to fame and popularity. Such is life.

Anywho, have you copped your copy yet? What do you think of the book so far? (And please no spoilers. I have like 2-3 more train rides before I'm done with it.)

Monday, September 26, 2016

New York Surprises

A really cool thing about New York is that the entire city is a judgment free zone. What you lose in modesty and "decency" you gain in people not caring too much about what you have going on to judge it.

So Saturday morning, I leave my apartment out of the service entrance to do laundry at 9 a.m.. I have on some Chicago Bulls jogging pants, a navy blue graphic tee and a black satin bonnet. Yes, I wore my satin bonnet outside. Judge me. I was going from one building in my complex to another to do laundry, so I was technically still home, but whatever.

I saw an old lady on my way down. The interchange went like this

Old Lady: Is that a rain bonnet or a night bonnet?
Me: *ashamed* It's a night bonnet.
Old Lady: Oh ok
Me: I know... I'm out of order
Old Lady: Actually, I was just looking at it because my night bonnet has a drawstring and I don't like it. Yours has the elastic band. I think I'm going to get one like that.
Me: Thank you! Enjoy your morning!

Fam! I was so ready to be judged, when this old lady doesn't give two farts about what I wear on my head during the day or at night. She was trying to get her night life together.

And truth be told my night bonnet is NICE! I had my mom send me one from Chicago because while she was here, I kept stealing hers. And they don't make nice ones like this in NYC (or at least I haven't seen them at the beauty supply).

So all of that to say, I am way harder on myself than other people are on me. And New York has it's drawbacks, but I'm glad to be in a place where I can do my think without the judgmental glare of city dwellers.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Before I Go

  • Before I go and not post for another 45 days... 
  • About motherhood: I'm a very nervous mother. I don't really like leaving my apartment. If we must leave, the children are reinforced with pants, jackets, hats, mosquito nets. I don't want bugs, weather, people's grimy hands or even disgusting New York air touching them. I'm working on this with my therapist. At some point, I'm going to have to venture out with them. But I don't have a car. My neighborhood isn't exactly the upper east side. There's nothing for a 5 month old baby to do. AND I don't like talking to people and answering their dumb ass questions about how my children were conceived. I just want to hug and kiss them in the privacy of my own home. 
  • About being a working mom: It's great and it's horrible. With twins, going to work is like an 8-hour break. Weekends are when I don't get a break. So when everyone else comes back on Monday refreshed, I come back pooped. I feel like I'm not giving my all at work because I really do have to leave at 5 and I can't log back in, in the evening. Have you ever tried to create a PPT deck with two babies sucking on your tits? No? Ok then, don't expect me to. Then when I am late getting home, I feel like crap. (I left my pumped milk in the work fridge one day and another day I had to stop at the home depot to get a kneeling mat for the girls' bath). AND my babies recognize that I'm not home. When I darken the doorstep, they are SCREAMING for me. There's no rest for me. 
  • Taking care of myself: I've started to listen to podcasts on the way to and from work. This is the only time of the day that I get to decompress. Even when I'm sleep I have to be on in case a baby cries or needs a midnight feeding. As far as podcasts I like: funny, storytelling, pop culture, light hearted, money/personal finance related and sometimes marketing things. I don't want to hear anything about how to change or fix the world. I don't want to hear anything about systems or structures of injustice. I don't want to hear politics. I want to laugh, which so few people in NYC are doing on any commute. I get stares for laughing aloud or smiling on the train, but I don't care. 
  • Joy is screaming. Bye.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

WOW!

  • I can't believe it's been over a month since I last posted. Here's why: I work eight hours and don't take a lunch, so that we only have to pay the nanny 2 hours of overtime (for 10 hours) instead of 3 (for 11 hours) if I had taken a lunch. ALSO, I use my work computer as my regular computer right now because my lovely boyfriend downloaded a virus on my computer and we don't have money to get it fixed right now because twins. 
  • My work computer takes 10 minutes to boot up and usually at night, if I have 10 free minutes, I need to use it to wash bottles, drink coffee, straighten the house and go the hell to sleep before the night terrors (the babies waking up 2-3x a night) begin. 
  • So while I things cross my mind from time to time that I'd like to share with whoever's reading the opportunity cost of cracking open my laptop is typically too much. 
  • Also, I tweet a lot of #TwinMom #TwinLife stuff on my open Twitter page @tstevens312, so if you're interested, follow me there. 
  • Right now, my boyfriend is working a double shift and I'm home alone with the girls. I found out that reggae music relaxes them. Like keeps them from being fussy, so they're on two floor mats right now being downright adorable. Grabbing for each other, kicking each other. Grabbing for the birds on the mobile. Making coos and screaming (happy screams like they're testing out their vocal chords for unhappy times.) My computer happened to be open, so I decided to crack open tea and such. If this posts is published mid-sentence it'll be because someone started to throw up, choke, kick her sister to death, cry at high decibels or just plain need my full attention. It happens.
  • They are SO CHUNKY! Just fat cheeks, necks, thighs, ankles and wrists. Their legs look like they pulled on fat leggings. Nothing is better than baby cankles, nothing at all. 

Friday, August 12, 2016

Having the Good Touch/Bad Touch Talk With Your Kids

Posted with permission from a healthcare provider from a mom group I belong to. She didn't want to be attributed.

"Without going into graphic details, I probably get about 1-2 kids a month in my office who have been sexually abused or molested. I will address each of the things that I mentioned above in light of the most common scenarios I've seen.

  1. The location of an incident is likely to be at a place where you are familiar. Places where I've heard of this happening: known family members and friends are far and away the most common. Perpetrators ages ranging from young teens to adults. It is almost always a male cousin, known neighbor, friend's older brother/cousin, babysitter, father/stepfather, uncle or mom's boyfriend. Occasionally it is a female, but that's rare unless she is grooming the kids to have access to someone else. Church youth group is the number two location, usually because there is less supervision. School, camp and sports are the other locations, but less likely unless there are kids allowed to be alone with teachers and coaches. Ask the schools and coaches and churches what their safety plans are to protect kids. It's never perfect, but I feel at least they know there are aware parents and it helps keep everyone accountable.
  2.  Slumber parties: I wanted to address this separately because of it being a sensitive subject. My daughter is allowed to go to a select few friends' homes (like five families) for sleepovers. Never parents that I don't know extremely well, which means she doesn't get to sleep over at school friends' homes. Never large groups of kids, where one kid being separated might not be noticed. That said, I can't tell you how many times patients tell me the first time they were touched inappropriately or the first time they saw pornography was during a sleepover. I only get one chance to raise my kids and I'd rather be a mean parent who is no fun than have the other possibility.
  3.  Please use appropriate anatomical terms for body parts. Eyes are eyes, knees are knees and penises are penises (proceed with the pearl clutching). Don't use cutesy names or vague names like booty or wee wee or cookie or treasure. It confuses the matter in case something needs to be reported. It also destigmatizes those body parts.
  4.  Safe touch" vs. "bad touch": make sure kids know which is which. Safe touches I usually teach are the ones that are in areas not covered by your bathing suit, like shoulders, head and feet. Safe touches are also those that make you feel calm and safe, like a hug from your mom. Bad touches are those in the areas that are covered up by underwear. They are also the ones that make you feel nervous, scared or worried. If a bigger person is touching you in a way that makes you uncomfortable, that is a bad touch. Always tell your parents or other adult about bad touches. And let kids know there should never be secrets between kids and adults and that they will NEVER get in trouble for telling someone.
  5.   "Stranger danger" is a fallacy. The vast majority of the time someone who molests a child is known to the family. Beware of so-called "grooming behaviors". This is usually from an adult male (or female) who ingratiates themselves to the child and family to lower their defenses. Usually they will try to establish a trusting relationship with the family and seek opportunities to be alone with kids. They do this so that any accusations from the child will seem made up. This has happened in almost every situation I have seen.
  6.  Be aware of what kids are looking at on smartphones and tablets. Especially from their friends whose parents may not monitor things so closely. I usually tell parents at every preteen and above well check that as long as they are paying for the phone and the kid is under 18, it is their responsibility to monitor their child's activities in social media, texting, etc. There are so many really clever ways for kids to hide their activity online and parents are almost always behind the 8 ball on this.
  7. Most importantly, trust your gut. If someone seems a little off or a little too nice to your kids, trust yourself and keep your kids out of any situations where they would be alone with that person. We have all been in situations where you just want to be polite, even when someone is giving you the heebie jeebies. There is a great book called "The Gift of Fear" that talks about people forgetting to trust their intuition in potentially dangerous situations and why there are times when you need to listen to that spirit of discernment.

I don't lock my kids up and throw away the key, as much as I would love to protect them forever. But these are hopefully some practical tips as a mom and pediatrician to make your kids feel safe and to highlight some potentially dangerous situations. By the way, we start this conversation around 3 or 4 years old in our house.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Work Schedule

I'm a working mommy! I'm writing this on Friday, August 5th (after my first full week at work.) 

Here's my weekday schedule. 

  • Leave the house at 8am 
  • At work by 9am 
  • Pump 3x during the day for 30-45 minutes, which produces 20-25oz of milk. Times vary. 
  • Leave by 5pm 
  • Home by 6 pm. 
  • Feed the twins twice before 9:30pm. Listen to them cry while I eat. :( 
  • Put them in the bed, wash my pump parts, drink a cup of coffee. 
  • Get them up for the middle of the night feeding (if they haven't woken up already) - 2 a.m. 
  • Get them up for the morning feeding - 6 a.m. for the morning feeding 
  • Stop whether they are finished eating or not - 7 a.m. 
  • Shower, pack pump bag, leave by 8 a.m. 
  • Repeat.    
So far, there's no time to stop and get a mani/pedi or meet friends for coffee (I don't really drink anymore). I have been able to do things like stop and get a prescription at Walgreens before hopping on the train. 

I also don't take a lunch anymore. I can't afford to buy lunch and I can't afford to pay our nanny for another hour with the twins, so I'm brown-bagging it. (My boyfriend is a chef though, so this isn't really a concession. I'm only losing out on fresh air.)

I didn't get emotional on my first day the way so many moms do. I cried a couple of days before I went back to work, but I've been surprisingly cool. I think this is another benefit of twin mom-dom. It's HARD being at home alone with two screaming babies. Work is like a bright oasis of calm and tranquility in comparison. 

Additionally, my efficiency is top notch. If I can entertain two babies, I can juggle some accounts at work. It's cake.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Where to Put It

There are too many places to capture baby milestones:

- This blog
- My open Twitter
- Facebook statuses
- This mom group I'm in on Facebook
- My iPhone camera roll
- My iPhone video
- In texts and phone conversations with family, friends and other new mommies
- My journal
- My Mom's One Line a Day book 

I'm not stressing about it, but I wonder which if any of these things will last. And when I'm old and gray, will I be checking tea and such to see who rolled over first and when?

Or will printed pictures be obsolete?

Like, what will be my time capsule and by giving different milestones to different digital properties am I fragmenting my children's history.

I don't want to miss anything. I don't want to forget anything.

And then, in trying to capture the damn moment, am I missing the moment.

I'm not stressing over this, but it's something that crosses my mind as a new mommy and I had to get it out on paper [the blog]. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Baby Milestones - Lahna's Holding On!

Lahna has a really strong grip right now. She started hitting a bird while she's on her back on the floor mat. Then she started grasping for the bird, but her fingers and thumbs don't move separately get, so she couldn't hold on to it, even though I know she was trying. Then she finally got a hold of the feet of the bird.

Now she's moved on to the flower on that same mat. She had the most pained face trying to grab hold of that flower. Then when she got it she had the most satisfied look on her face. Mommy's little goal setter!

I believe this happened in the beginning of August. Actually, I took a photo. It was Sunday, July 31st.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Finding my voice...

I really want to work on finding my voice as a mom. If you know me, you know I can go from 0 to 100, real quick. Real quick. I'm actually lacking the skill that allows me to assess a situation and respond appropriately. Like, I want to be mad about someone or something they did, but not snap on the perpetrator.

This is increasingly important as a mother. There are some things that I don't want people to do to my kids. It's all basically around safety. For some reason, people love to touch kids' hands. I'm sure I used to do it before I had kids and understood that: 

1. They put their hands in their mouths.
2. Their immune systems are not yet advanced enough to fight off most of the germs that are on people's hands if/when those germs get into their mouths.
3. People's hands are in general, fucking gross.

So in my home, I have a list of do's and don'ts for the twins. This allows me to show people the list without saying "Don't touch my child's hands." OR without SNAPPING when someone goes for their hand.

Unfortunately, when we're out and about, I find myself paralyzed if someone reaches for their hand. I immediately wipe it off with a wet rag before they can get it into their mouth, but I wish I had both the courage to say, "no, don't do that" and the appropriate-level response.

For this reason, I don't like taking them places. I would rather be couped up in my 1BR apartment, a safe space for us, than to make visits and have to face people and educate them on what's good for a baby.

AND! AND! Folks without kids or who haven't had newborns in YEARS, LOVE to tell you how much they know about babies. How all of their friends have kids and how their little cousins are young and so they know what to do. Then these same mogs reach for my child in their street clothes without a receiving blanket. Nah fam, you don't have a clue and I want you to not touch my babies.


I'm going to keep working on this with my therapist on this topic, because I think my nonresponse is potentially dangerous. Suggest something truly harming/damaging happened and I couldn't find the words to say to make it stop. And it also doesn't teach my daughters how to appropriately address people. I'm either sugary sweet or mean as shit.

I'd like to find a middle ground.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Home Alone...

When I'm home alone with the babies, it gets really real. I have to put them both down sometimes to go to the bathroom or eat or wash bottles.

Sometimes they're both crying and I have to put one down screaming and just console the other one.

Sometimes I have to pick them both up at the same time.

Some rare times, one is sleeping peacefully and the other is in my arms peacefully, these are my favorite times.

I was home alone one day and I had to go in the kitchen, so I put them both in their rock n plays and went into the kitchen to heat up my food.

They were both screaming. Lahna gets quiet. Joy is still screaming. Lahna had cried herself to sleep. I know I'm not supposed to laugh, but that was funny... and sad. Like so many things in life that are both funny... and sad.

Then the next day Joy did the same thing. You can always tell when they cry themselves to sleep. They have this discontent look on their face. The cutest little, heartbreaking pout. And it doesn't go away until you pick them up and hug them and squeeze them and/or feed them.

With the nanny starting and us having a lot of visitors on the weekends to help, I hope they don't have to cry themselves to sleep too much more. Precious, precious babies.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Safety in Harlem

Gunshots are a problem.

I live in Harlem. I think it's a good neighborhood. I'm not scared walking down the street. My mom visited from the Chicago suburbs. She wasn't scared walking down the street, but in the 15 months I've lived in my apartment, I've heard gunshots at least three times.

Fall 2015 - I was newly pregnant. I was on the phone with my cousin Shantae and I told her I was sitting on the ground in the back of the apartment because I heard gunshots earlier. I was afraid someone was going to shoot me in the stomach. She reminded me that I live on the 11th floor, so that's virtually impossible, but I was scared to death, nonetheless.

November 2015 - My mom was in town for Thanksgiving and we heard shots. I didn't even remember this, but my mom reminded me.

Spring 2016 - My mom heard shots outside and went to the window (I don't know why you would go to the window and said she saw a guy with a gun shooting behind him. I've never seen anyone actually shoot a gun outside of video footage. My mom hadn't either. Still, she wasn't like "you need to move away from this neighborhood."

July 2016 - I definitely heard some shots outside. Like a lot of them. And this was after the 4th of July. Like way after.

I'm writing this to remind myself that my neighborhood isn't exactly a bastion of safety. It really hit home for me when I was doing a nanny interview and the nanny asked: How is the neighborhood and I go "in terms of what?" and she goes "anything? I don't know this neighborhood well."

And I lied and said it was a good neighborhood with lots of parks because I wanted her to consider us. The truth is, I wouldn't want my young children playing in most of the parks near my home because they smell like piss and there are too many adults around.

The last neighborhood that I lived in that I regularly heard gunshots was Uptown in Chicago. It always baffled me because again, I lived across the street from a Jewel and a planet fitness and it "seemed" safe.

I also wonder if this is just a byproduct of living in a city. Do all cities have a higher incidence of gun violence than suburbs and if I decide to be a city dweller, I should just expect to hear shots. (Don't worry, it sounds as stupid to me typing it as it does to you reading it.)

So if we make the decision to leave the city, I have this blog post to remind me that it's not just about cheaper rent, but also about the safety of my children. I've convinced myself that my neighborhood is safe and I "feel" like it is. But feelings are not facts. And four shootings in the last 15 months are likely too many to consider a place safe.

Does anything about your current (or former) neighborhood give you pause?

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Baby Fake Coughing

My children have found out that if they cough, we will stop what we're doing and attend to them. It is the FUNNIEST thing ever. Usually, all focus in the home is on them. From time to time, a conversation that does NOT include Lahna, nor Joy comes up.

They are not having it. Not for too long anyway.

When Joy was born, her first day of life, she kept choking. The first time it was just a bit of spit up, but the doctor was called in and they got her stable. Then day 2 of life, she was choking and turned blue. They whisked her away to the baby nursery while I was crying holding Lahna and my bf went with her, out of his mind worried. She was ok both times. We probably just didn't know how to burp her properly.

THEN Lahna had the stomach flu and was coughing up green bile at the end of June. Her issue was much more serious, as you know we spent five days in the pediatric ICU with her, but am thanking God for her healing.

The point is, their father and I are FREAKED OUT anytime we think they are in a position that they can't breathe (What parent wouldn't be). But we also have had bad experiences when they couldn't breathe or digest food, so our freak outs are likely more intense. We pop up out of the bed, off of the couch, run from the kitchen or the bathroom if a baby so much as clears her throat. And our children know it.

I think I discovered this about a week ago. I told the nanny who started 4 days ago and I'm not sure if she believed me. Parents tend to embellish. I try not to, but a big part of embellishing is not ACTUALLY remembering what happened or when. So you retell the story and it's bigger or smaller than you remember.

I digress.

So I get home from work on day 2 and the nanny goes: they did the cough thing twice today. She said it like she couldn't believe it. And I'm looking like: I told you. Um hm. My little boogers. So young and they already learning how to get the attention they need. Future PR divas, perhaps?

Babies make the world happy

When I was dealing with the horrors of pregnancy and then reading the Facebook statuses of exhausted parents everywhere, I couldn't for the life of me understand why people keep choosing to have kids. Like our lives would be so much easier if we just stopped procreating.

Then I had my babies. I think I've mentioned before that me announcing my pregnancy to certain family members and friends made them so happy. And some shared with me that they were going through horrid things in their lives and my baby news made it better. Wait, what? LOL!

But now that my sweetie pies are here, I get it. The world is in complete disarray.
  •  There's a 50/50 chance that an outwardly racist white man will be our next President. As a black woman. 
  • I am literally scared of the police in every city in America. There is no place, not in a car, not in a home, not on a train, not on a plane that I am safe from the police. (I think I just wrote a Dr. Seuss book about police brutality.) 
  • I am afraid of men. Not MY man, but men are still killing women in domestic situations and for the most part, nothing is happening about it. When a woman's throat got slashed on the train because she said she didn't want to be in a relationship with her current boyfriend, the news reports that followed shared that "This was an isolated incident." "The CTA is mostly safe." It didn't share a hotline for domestic violence victims. It gave incidences of violence in the city. It didn't give incidences of women murdered at the hands of their partners. It's like that woman didn't exist in the news story. I hated it. 
  • People are killing police. 
  • Police are using robots to kill suspects. Not convicted felons, suspects. 
  • People are killing clubgoers. I could also write this as people are killing the LGBQT community. 
Death and chaos are all around us. But at 3:20 and 3:32 p.m. on Tuesday, April 12th, I gave birth to new life. I brought Peace (Lahna) and Joy into the world. When I am with them they take up every brain cell I have. I don't have time to care that the world is falling apart. Their presence consumes me. They are my world now.

And everyone who so much as sees a picture of my Peace and my Joy is INSTANTLY transformed from a citizen bogged down by the weight of this world to an admirer of beauty and innocence.

THAT'S why people have babies. To change the world. I get it now and appreciate it so much. 

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Lets Get Excited About Bibs!

You know what I'm excited about today: bibs. I have finally found the bibs I like. They are TEETHING bibs. Not newborn bibs or layette bibs or toddler bibs or feeding bibs. They are Carter's TEETHING bibs. They are fleece on the back and terry cloth on the front. They have velcro closures (most of them) and no slob or spit up soaks through. They mostly come in sets with baby clothes, but sometimes you can buy them by themselves.

This is like finding the perfect tights. When I found out the American Apparel M-L was perfect for me you couldn't tell me nothing. I'm talking about they aren't so tight they're cutting off my circulation, but they aren't so loose that they fall down. They account for my slim frame AND they pull all the way up, BUT they don't pull up SO high that it looks like I bought high waisted tights. They are perfect. I buy them in every color and multiple pairs in black. I pay whatever they costs because nothing is as embarrassing as having to constantly pull one's tights up or down.

And since finding these perfect (yet expensive) bibs, I have gotten very excited. I actually stopped folding laundry to come write about how excited I am about some damn bibs.

That's how you know it's real.

The nanny starts tomorrow.

I'm back to work on Tuesday.*

*If you didn't spend any sleepless nights with twins this spring/summer i'ont wanna hear how you think that went so fast. It went about the right pace. LOL!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Lahna's Life Lessons: Living Your Left Breast Life

Hi, My name is Lahna and I am 15 weeks old today. I have some life lessons that I'll be sharing with you grownups on mommy's blog.

Today's lesson: Living your left breast life

Background: 
Mommy's left breast is a super producer of milk. It gives about 4x more than mommy's right breast. It's the only thing I want in life. Sometimes she gives me the right breast. Sometimes she changes my diaper. Sometimes she lets me play on a floormat, but none of those things are my end goal. I can speak definitively about meeting this goal because EVERY day, 6-8 times a day (depending on how hungry I am), I get the left breast. 

Three tips:

1. Comparison does not lead to happiness - I have a sister named Joy. We were born on the same day, but I'm older by 12 minutes. I think we're supposed to get the same amount of time feasting on the left breast, but I don't know. I can't concern myself with how much milk another person is getting. My main concern remains: is my tummy full, are my cheeks and thighs chunky enough, can I outgrow all these clothes I have after only one wear? Sometimes, in order to get what you want, you need to focus on YOUR food and not the food of others. There's enough milk to go around, so we can all eat.

2. Do it with gusto - Sometimes when I want the left breast, mommy wants me to talk to grandma on Tango. Or watch TV in her lap (don't tell daddy she let me watch TV). Sometimes she just wants to snuggle with me. And that would be ok IF she wasn't in possession of her left breast. So what "I" do is arch my back, scream to the high heavens and try to head butt mommy until she plops out her left breast. Head butting is not about physical pain - I'm really going for the left breast and as baby, my aim is slightly off. But mommy will reward my effort. If I had chosen to just turn my head slightly towards the left breast or whimpered under my breath mommy might not have known I meant business. She might have tried to play a bit longer or accomplish something productive (that's what grownups do all day. Always a to-do list with them. That's too much.). When going after your goal, it's important for you to outline your expectations: loudly, clearly and then put all of your might into reaching your goal. That's how you get what you want!

3. Enjoy your delays - Sometimes I wake up and Joy is on the left breast by herself. Or mommy has to feed us at the same time, so Joy gets the left and I get the right. I suck the life out of the right breast and when there is nothing left, I kick and scratch mommy until Joy is done. Then mommy switches me to the left breast. GOAL ACHIEVED. Now, I could have just refused the right breast. But I CHOSE to get everything that was coming to me, the meager offerings of the right breast included. I'm only going to spend a few more months as a nursing infant, so I want to to enjoy every single moment as I work towards my goal. So if you're in a right breast moment (a delay), it doesn't mean you're being denied. Take some time to enjoy the benefits of a delay, then get right back to the goal. 

Any questions, send them through my servant, her name is Mommy. I'm going to go take my afternoon nap.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Black Lives Matter - A Communication Problem

As a PR pro, how I view things is often through my lens of communication. I was trying to figure out why so many non-blacks take offense to the "Black Lives Matter" movement. And it hit me like a ton of bricks.

Black people say what we mean. In our culture, we are usually encouraged to confront our issues, keep it real, speak up for ourselves. These are things that we just find normal and natural.

It shows up in comedy. Black comedy is usually laced with pearl-clutching profanity and extremely vulgar. Folks are like: if you gone say it, say it. Non-black comedy is a bit more subtle. Folks will chuckle and that's enough. Black people need to be wowed. We need to be bowed over in laughter, crying real tears for us to say someone is funny. Those little Comedy Central chuckles don't quite curl over for us.

It has also showed up for me in the workplace. I was called in to be reprimanded for something and they said it so nicely, so oddly, that I didn't know I was in trouble. Seriously, they said something about wanting me to step up and take a bigger leadership role on the team vs. saying "your current performance is not up to par." I know now to listen to for coded language, but at the time, I was really sideswiped when they came to me a SECOND time and said "we've been talking to you about your performance." My what? WHEN?

So then we have the Black Lives Matter movement, whose job is to assert that Black Lives Matter, so that police will stop killing us. Seriously, simple as day. If you believe that Black Lives Matter, you too, should be a part of the movement. But white people think we mean something other than Black Lives Matter. They think we mean "harm police officers" or "disrespect police officers" or, God forbid, "Black people are more important than white people." We don't mean ANY of that.

But white people are used to be subtle. So they probably wanted us to say something like "Consider each life precious" in order to HINT at the fact that cops should STOP killing black people.

NO!

Take the term to mean literally what it means. If you disagree with that you are a racist. If you are a racist, what you want to happen is already happening, so why are you even in the conversation? If you are NOT a racist, you're dumb as hell for thinking that one person or group of people asserting their worth is an attack on another person or another group of people.

I wonder if the slogan was Gay Lives Matter to stop violence against gays, how many people would be mad. Or if it was Women's Lives Matter to stop domestic violence, how many men would say "This is a full on attack on men. They are a group dedicated to the killing of men."

But yes, assuming no one is racist, biased or mal-intentioned, this is simply a communication problem from Black Americans, an American-subculture and White Americans, America's mainstream. If mainstream culture took the time to recognize that subcultures exist and have different experiences, we wouldn't even be talking about this. Surely, you must know that your experience does not represent EVERY experience. Surely, empathy is not dead. Surely, you don't think hundreds of thousands of people are making this stuff up.

Surely.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Babies Do the Cutest Things

The stages of baby development happen so fast. As much as I can, I'm going to write down little things they do, so I can re-read it later and remember all the things. Here are a few.

They both took their first train ride on July 18th. 

Joy loved it. She almost got whiplash, looking around from side to side every time a train went by. She was staring at all of the people. She also fell asleep in her Baby Bjorn. Movement does that to babies every time.

Lahna did not like it at all. She would fall asleep from the movement and then every time the train started back up again, she'd cry. She does not like the noise. She acts the same way when her dad runs the nutribullet. No matter where she is in the apartment, she starts to scream. We have to show her: "See, it's daddy. It's just a smoothie, everything's ok." She still doesn't care and will holler until it goes off. I hate seeing her terrified like that.

We took them to my job to show off. I had to change them in a conference room and Lahna HATED the flourescent lighting when she was flat on the conference table. My poor baby is still traumatized by her hospital stay.


Joy is baby babbling. YOU GUYS!!! IT IS SO CUTE!!!! It's especially endearing in the morning. We don't know if she wants to get out of the crib or if she's content just talking to us (or maybe she's talking to her sister, or maybe she's talking to herself.) So we just pause and listen to her coo and gurgle. I want to bottle up all this goodness and sell it. So sweet!

Lahna isn't talking yet. Or if she is (I seriously can't remember), it isn't for long stretches like Joy.

Joy babbles when adults are talking. She wants to join in. She babbles when she's spit up on herself and/or when she poops and is sitting by herself. So she's in her rock n play and she doesn't need to scream the way she would if she was hungry or ready to get up. She's kind of content in the mess, but not really. She's essentially like "look what I did?" or "Somebody come clean me up." or "I have a surprise for you!"

She also smiles and laughs if she poops, pees or spits up on you while you're changing her. And when I see that initial sly smile, I always say "oh, are you happy to see mommy?" because she has such glee on her face. Then 2 seconds later there's an explosion and then she giggles and looks away. She tricks me every time. Such personality, my youngest. 

They are both hitting and kicking the mobiles hanging from their baby mats. Joy kicks at like a 45 degree angle and Lahna kicks straight out. Lahna is better at grabbing for one of the birds on the mobile. Joy doesn't have AS much hand activity, but she does grasp for the objects. It's super fun to just watch them kick and punch. I get so much joy from it. I could seriously watch them moving around in their little baby ways all day.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Baby Milestones - (July 2016-ish)

  • Lahna stopped putting her middle finger up. I wish I would have taken a photo of this when she used to do it. She was a newborn, probably not even 1 month old, but when she went to sleep she was always flipping the bird. Symbols and gestures aren't positive or negative until you assign meaning to them. I wonder if our reactions to her let her know it was bad and she stopped or if she just found better stuff to do with her little hands. 
  • The girls smiled at each other. This happened late in June. I was nursing them on the Z pillow and it was almost like they were having a staring contest, then they both smiled. They also started touching each other on purpose (vs. inadvertently punching each other because I had them too close to each other). They looked like they were trying to hold each other's hands. So cute!
  • Lahna found her tongue. She chews on it like it's a piece of gum. And she sticks it out and laughs. She plays a game with her dad where they take turns sticking their tongues out at each other. I don't even care that it's bad manners. She like 0. We'll teach her about manners later.
  • Joy found her tongue too! (these things happened about a week apart)  
  • About a week before my mom left (so early July) they both were big enough to fit in the Snuggapuppy Swing. That thing puts babies RIGHT to sleep, but it went to fast for them when they were newborns. Now that they have some weight on them, they like it a lot. 
  • The girls used to have to be completely sleep for us to set them in the Rock N Plays. Now they'll sit in it, kick and coo without crying. They still don't love that set up (they prefer to be sleeping in the rock n plays), but it's nice to have another place to set them .
  • They are growing out of the Boppy Lounger. Their little feet are dangling off the sides. 
  • Joy can still wear 0-3 month clothes, but the 3-6 months are not falling off of her. Lahna is solidly in 3-6 months. 
  • Lahna stopped crying when I take boogers out of her knows. It's like she understands after the process that she will be able to breathe better and she's good with it. She's also a very smart baby. She knows what her surroundings are (or at least she think she knows). When she was in the hospital, any time we set her on a flat surface and a stranger approached her she would scream. This was after a couple of failed IV attempts. She knew (or thought she knew) what the new strangers were coming for. She's the same way when we go in the bathroom. If I sit down on the [closed] toilet with her in my lap, she knows the blue snot sucker is not far behind. And so she used to start crying on site. Now, she doesn't.

So many new things and they're only 3 months.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Rookie Moves

As a new mom there are some rookie moves that I have made. They're all really hilarious:

1. Put the babies down without burping them - They will be up in 5-7 minutes, then stay up for another hour because I skipped this crucial step.

2. Left a poopy diaper on the changing table - I forgot my children are 20 inches long and like to karate kick. Now the baby has a poopy booty AND a poopy foot (or two or four).

3. Removed a soiled diaper without putting the other diaper under the baby's bum. Played myself.

4. Fed a baby without a burp cloth in sight - I usually have them strategically placed all over the apartment. However, when someone tries to be helpful and straighten up and/or when it's laundry day, I get caught slipping. Baby juices all over me and the furniture. Damn shame.

5. Not washing pump parts immediately after using them. It's inevitable that the next time I need to pump, it's going to be dirty. And it's going to be a sink full of dirty dishes that I need to wash or put to the side before I wash and sterilize the pump parts. But more often that not, I'm exhausted after pumping and just say "I'll get to that later." and later involves me leaking milk all over the damn place because my pump parts have to be scrubbed down with dried up milk in them. Womp womp.

What funny things have you done with your baby one time that made you form better habits?

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Motherhood Feels Like

The girls made three months yesterday!

Side note: I'm not a fan of the word indescribable or the phrase "words can't describe." Perhaps it would make more sense to say words can't evoke the feeling I'm feeling. I happen to think words can describe a lot more than we think.

Anywho.

Motherhood. It is such a new and different feeling than I've ever felt before. I love my babies, but it's not like I love my mother or how I love a romantic partner. It's that intense, but it doesn't feel that way.

It's like I have an organ, two organs are living outside of my body. So when that organ is happy and healthy, I am happy and healthy. And when that organ is in pain or sad, I am in pain or sad. It feels like the cutting of the umbilical cord was symbolic and not physical.

When Lahna was in the hospital, I had to get a visitor's pass to get on the pediatric floor. I found this to be so strange emotionally, because I FELT like "I" was in that hospital bed. I'm like how do I need a visitor's pass to go see myself.

When I am away from them, I long for them, to get back to them, to hug and kiss them and lay with them. It's sort of how I used to long for my bed after a hard day at work. It's not passionate like a lover's longing. And it's not a familial feeling like being homesick and wanting to hug my siblings. It's this entirely new feeling of wanting to be around people I've never met, who can't talk back to me, who can't do anything for me.

It's certainly unconditional. There's nothing they could do that would take it away from me.

One of the surprising things about my love for my girls is that it's NOT intentional. It's not willful. When I'm in a relationship my love is intentional. I'm thinking about ways to express my love and listen to the love language of my partner. When I think about family and friends, my love is intentional, ensuring that I spend enough time with them or reach out to see how they're doing.

My love for my babies isn't like that. It's not something I have to think about or work at, it just is.

And I know the English language limits us with the word love. I know the greek language has four different words for love and I can hear Baptist teachings saying my love for my girls is Agape love, unconditional, like the love of Jesus Christ. But it feels like that AND more.

It's life changing love. It's earth shattering love. If we go with my illustration of organs outside of my body, then I think of my daughters as two organs I grew at 32 years old that now I can't live without. If anything were to happen to either organ it would damage me permanently, deeply, physically and emotionally.

And so now my life, my ENTIRE life, is dedicated to the upkeep of these organs and it doesn't feel as heavy as it did before I had the organs. It feels normal and regular. It feels like it's always been there although it just arrived on April 12th.

I am a mom and my love lives outside of my body now. That's what it feels like to be a mom.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Stupid. Stupid. Stupid!

I did the dummy yesterday. I got into a black car in New York that did not have a T on the front. Let me explain.

New York is a big city full of crooks and unsavory characters. Everyone takes cabs or public transportation. When you're in midtown, you can hail a yellow cab. In most neighborhoods, you can call and Uber or a Lyft, no problem. When you're in Harlem or the boroughs outside of Manhattan you can hail or call a green cab. This is most like a Chicago suburban cab to me. The yellow cabs will take you to Harlem or the other boroughs, but they are hard to hail. They usually head back to midtown. Finally, if you need a car service in Harlem, you can hail a black car. The difference between and authorized black car and an unauthorized black car is a T on the front of the license plate. T 1X2Y 3Z4. This is a simple enough rule to follow, which I did, until yesterday.

I was late for an appointment and there were no Ubers in sight and Lyft was 6 minutes away. I hailed the black car. The guy actually passed me, then backed up. The front license said "Car Service" and the back license was a NY state license. I figured it had to be legit. I was trippin.

 I get in the car. It's a Lincoln MKX. There's no NY livery driver license. But the guy had magazines in the back and the air conditioning was good. I think everything is fine. I give him the directions. He's going the right way, no problem.

Then he asks how my day was. Weird. NY cabbies/drivers do not talk. Convo went like this:

Driver: So are you having a good day.
Me: Not really, actually. Paypal took some authorized money out of my account, so I've been dealing with that all morning. I just gave birth to twins and my mom's been in New York with me for 3 months and today is her last full day, so I'm kind of sad. This is actually the last time I'll be able to go out by myself for a very long time, so I'm trying to enjoy the day.
Driver: What kind of fun are you trying to have? Like clubs?
Me: Ha! No, no clubs. I mean like cupcakes.
Driver: You're not a cop are you?
Me: Um, no.
Driver: Oh ok, I have to ask before I tell you what kind of fun you could have.
I SHOULD HAVE HOPPED OUT OF THE CAR RIGHT THEN.
Driver: So are the cupcakes big or small?
Me: Have you heard of sprinkles? Seriously delicious. Medium sized cupcakes with lots of icing. The best $4 you'll ever spend...
Him: So do you work?
Me: I sure do.
Him: That must be hard trying to juggle two kids and work.
Me: It really is... where are you from?
Him: Pennsylvania
Me: Oh ok, I didn't hear a NY accent. Whereabout.
Him: Williamsport.
Me: Where is that next to?
Him: He says the city and it's somewhere I recognize, but I don't remember for the purpose of telling this story.Then he says: where are you from:
Me: Chicago... So has the weather in Pennsylvania been as hot as in NYC?
Him: Yep, it's been about the same... Sorry if I freaked you out asking if you were a cop. I had a cop get in here once and think I was soliciting.
Me: Soliciting WHAT?
Him: Exactly.

I had actually giving him the wrong cross street and notice I missed my destination and I'm like oh, you can pull over right here. How much?

He's like whatever's fair. I run out of that cab so quick, then I take the licencse plate down. I don't know what I'm going to do with it. Report it to the cab association or put out an anonymous tip about prostitution and/or sex trafficking.

An episode of Luther where a girl got in a fake cab and was murdered was on my mind while I was in that car. I also was thinking about the movie Taken where they sold that man's daughter into sex slavery. I also saw the mother of the 5 year old in the sundress who was arrested my militarized police in Baton Rouge. When you're a mom, they never say what you do for a living or where you were from or anything else like that. If it's one child, they say "mom of a XX year old." Two or more, they say mom of XX. Because being a mom is a greater responsibility that any career you have. It jumps to the front of the line in the news reports.

And I didn't think about it while I was in the illicit cab, but they JUST played the Jaycee Dugard 20/20. There are some sick mfs in this world and I could have been victim to one of them. I just kept thinking how I had failed my girls my making this poor decision and how I would fight this man tooth and nail to get back to them.

I also don't know why I finished out the cab ride. He offered me water at one point and I just looked at it in the back seat. I was thinking about how it might be drugged or poisoned and I wasn't dealing with it. I was looking at the locks of the door to determine if I could claw them out with my fingers. I decided that I'd rather be shot and have someone hear it than to be quiet because he had a gun and be driven off where no one could find me. I was wondering how he would move fast enough to stop me from dialing 9-1-1 if things went south. I thought about hopping out of the car at a red light. I thought about making a call to tell someone I was on my way where I was going, so he would know people were expecting me.

Most of all, I thought about how women are the more vulnerable sex. If I'm watching a movie or the news or even reading something about rape, molestation, sex trafficking, sex slaves in war, anything like that it makes me queasy. It feels like a helpless cause. How can a woman who is physically weaker, fight off a man? Ever. And in most societies it's either accepted, ignored or in the case of America systemically protected. It is SO hard to prove rape, yet it's so prevalent that police departments have hundreds of untested rape kits. It makes me so uncomfortable that I just have to stop thinking about it in order to keep my peace and my sanity.

I'm writing this post right now because after the girls' 4 a.m. feeding, I couldn't get what COULD have happen off my mind. And it infuriates me, but also makes me feel helpless at the same time.

I believe in the power of prayer. I was praying like you would not believe in the back of the cab. I also alerted my besties as to where I was and what was going on (via GroupMe) and I know they prayed for me too. Just like I believe Lahna's illness was cured by prayer, I also believe the trajectory of what happened to me today was because of prayer.

I cannot control evil, but I can fight it off with the power of God.

I can also make better decisions. I will never get in an unauthorized cab again.

Finally, I'm working on giving myself the power/permission to change course. It was like once I got in that illicit cab, I felt like I needed to finish the ride out. To be fair to this guy in case he wasn't a creep, to get to where I was going, to not have to be in the same predicament (with an Uber 6 minutes away), to not be later than I already was for my appointment. These things all PALE in comparison to my safety and wellbeing. Something about my personality said, you must finish. That something has to be broken. I must give myself permission to break a lease, or leave a city before I was expecting to, or end a date when I don't want to be there anymore, or leave work on my desk because I have more important things to do when I get home, or GET OUT OF A SKETCHY CAB at the EXACT moment that I need to.

I'll be praying about this for myself.

Thanks for reading this long post and please be safe[r than me] in these streets.