It’s 8:52 pm, and I just showered with half of a peanut butter sandwich. It wasn’t a mistake or some kind of hormonal lapse in judgment, I just couldn’t decide what I wanted more: to NOT smell like a curious cocktail of lunchmeat, Tide, and sweat OR to consume six tablespoons of Jif on a flimsy slice of bread. Normally, I wouldn’t readily admit to shaving my underarms and eating a wet PB&J simultaneously, but at 34 weeks twin-pregnant, there’s just not much I’m ashamed of anymore.
‘Nut Butter, I just can’t quit you.
As has become a cruel and ill-conceived nightly tradition, upon exiting the shower, I stare at myself in the mirror. I have to wipe ALL of the steam away and stand four feet back to fit my torso in the frame. My boobs hang sullen and tired just above my elbows, and my eerie cycloptic belly button is glaring angrily and snarling, “I’m probably going to look like a vagina after this aren’t I?”
“Yes, you probably will,” I answer back, “but just imagine what will become of the poor vagina.”
A good four inches of mousy brown hair (with a couple of greys) has come in behind the months old blonde, and I’m wearing the listless expression of an overheated jungle cat in captivity.
I briefly consider wrapping myself in a towel but instead waddle toward the bed and collapse. It’s been a long day. It’s been a long day every day lately.
My son is still singing at me through the monitor, and I cringe. I just can’t stay up as late as he can anymore.
I wish I could say this sudden burst of nudity and devil-may-care was some kind of empowered earth mother pride thing, but let’s be real—I’m tired and hungry for 3 and have begun seriously questioning if I’m the ideal candidate to raise two more tiny humans. While I’m not totally inept, it remains unclear whether I own a single pair of matching socks and there is currently a chunk of Wonderbread in my shower next to an empty bottle of Suave. Norman Rockwell’s dream girl, I ain’t. At least once a day I want to run away to Boone’s Farm and live out the rest of my years drinking “Strawberry Hill” and painting my toenails. It is an actual farm, right?:)
Mmmmmm…. sweet pink liquor-water.
This last chunk of pregnancy is treacherous in all. the. ways. Especially since, after 2.5 years of Momming my hardest, I kind of know what comes next. I know the exact staggering- kind-of-everything it takes to raise a baby. Can I really do this again? With two newborns?
YES. I can.
There comes a time when everybody needs a pep talk. Parents need them pretty much daily. For me, the time is right now—rolling in the pregnant, damp shadow I stamped on the bed sheet and wondering firstly, how in the world I’m going to get through these last days when I’ve got more limbs than Five-Headed Ganesha crammed under my ribs, and secondly, if I’m really capable of caring for two newborns and a toddler without having a nervous breakdown/getting a divorce/setting the house on fire.
I don’t know how just yet. But I’ll figure it out. Because that is precisely what Moms (and Dads) do. Over and over again.
When we think there is no energy, we generate some fumes; when there isn’t an answer, we find one (even if it means calling the nurse at 3am); and when we get to that point in the day when we are certain that the very last speck of kindness has left our being, we open our arms again. I don’t know how we do it, but we do—day in and day out—peculiar creatures that we are.
So, as I sit in the enormous wet pillow village that is my bed with my 35-pound planet of a torso, still wheezing from the seven steps it took me to get here, I choose to take comfort in knowing that somehow this impossible twin-shaped Matterhorn that haunts my dreams can be scaled—whilst tandem nursing and reading “The Cat in Hat” for the seven billionth time, no less. My wholly vain mirror ritual (which I fondly call the “Wheel of Scrutiny”), with it’s dangling Nat Geo cans and puckered bum cheeks, will soon be replaced with new nightly routines—like bath time and nursing. I’ll forget about all of the squishy bits. The utter exhaustion will still be there, of course, but it will be paired with a baffling post-partum adrenaline that nobody will understand. And that whole “running-off-to-the-pink-booze-filled-oasis” fantasy? Well, in truth, I’ll probably be happiest sticking close to home. (Unless, of course, Boone’s Farm is really well baby-proofed and has a decent pumping lounge.) I can do this because I’ll have the incredible, animalistic gravitational pull of my children on my side. It’s a half-mad/half-magic force that makes we parents the marvels that we are and helps us endure and demystify our own perceived “impossibles”—often unknowingly. (Because, sometimes, we’re just to busy to notice. 🙂
Yep. I’m gonna do just fine. And for every other expectant parent fumbling with a plate too full and a belly mysteriously empty—especially my pregnant chums who are twice their size but feel a mere fraction (or less, some days) of themselves—you’re gonna do just fine too. One way or another, even at our worst and even when we don’t want to, we manage to give our best to our kids. Remind yourselves and each other (and me!) of this every chance you get.
Friends, the next time I update you (Please! Sweet merciful, GOD!) the twins will have TWINvaded! Wish us luck!
34 weeks and 35 lbs up!