Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Breast Milk Cookie Defense

Take a moment and think about your favorite type of cookie. Is your mind currently sampling one of the Girl Scout varieties? Maybe a cool Thin Mint fresh out of the freezer? Or a Samoa, with the chocolate melting into coconut bliss? Are you a chocolate chip fan, or do Oreos dunked in milk make your mouth water? Can you feel the cinnamon powder from the snicker doodle on the tip of your tongue, or are you jonesing for a ginger snap? Be it a Mrs. Fields, a Tollhouse or your mom's, I bet that by now I have you craving a cookie.

OK, so what if I now presented you a plate of delectable looking cookies and asked you if you'd like a "Breast Milk Cookie?" That is the scenario in which I put one of my friends in the name of cookie defense a few nights ago. I must disclose that the cookies really have very little to do with human milk, nor do they contain any breast milk in them. However, I've found that just the mention of human dairy products does enough to repulse even the most dedicated Cookie Monsters.

Here's how it all played out... My friend Pat and his wife Kat came over to take some pictures of the babies for our birth announcements. Kat is the photographer, and Pat was just there to hang with me and visit the babies. Being the gracious host, I supplied Pat with a glass of wine and a small plate of our dinner, which we were just about to start eating. After dinner, as the conversation continued, I decided I wanted a cookie. However, the only cookies we had on stock were the cookies that Rachel's mom had made for her. The cookies were a made of a special recipe given to us by a lactation consultant, and included brewer's yeast and flax seed powder as ingredients; both of which are supposed to help Rachel produce more milk for the children. Of course I had no qualms about snatching a few cookies, but I did feel guilty giving Rachel's entire stash away. That's when the best cookie defense ever imagined popped into my mind. I walked into the room with a plate of the mouth watering cookies, took a chomp out of one, and then put the plate next to Pat and asked the damning question, "Want a breast milk cookie?" Judging by the look on his face, Pat would have rather eaten a Razor Blade Cookie than touch the plate in front of him. He finished his wine, gave a toodle-loo, and left without ever touching the a cookie.

I know, I know, it was a very surreptitious way to protect the cookies, but I'm telling you it works. Try it next time you want to appear generous but also want to keep all your cookies. Ten-to-one says the cookie interloper will leave without consuming a morsel of your treats. Also, I feel compelled to say that I have eaten several more "breast milk cookies" (both Rachel's mom and my mom have made a batch) and I have yet to suffer from engorged breasts nor have I begun lactating - whew.

On a final note, last night we figured out what happens when you combine one tired dad, two fussy babies, one lonely dog and one warm bed. Enjoy the picture of the best snuggle pile ever. Updates on Beards for Babies and the twins coming soon.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Playing Games

With newborn twins in the house, there doesn't seem to be time for much of anything. Rachel and I have talked considerably (because it's one of the few things we can do while we are feeding the kids) about how different our lives are now. Don't misunderstand me, we are still absolutely beaming about our kids. However, in the past few weeks, I have neglected my school work, all but stopped watching the Cubs, not heard a single new song nor read a page of my book. There has been no horsing around, and yet the time still flies by. That's why this weekend was so nice.
This weekend, all of us got a chance to play some games. Micah and Malorie had their first play date, with their new friend Jacob Jennings. Jacob is the one week old of Rachel and my ex-roommates Justin and Jodi. Jacob was the perfect first friend for the twins, as he has won considerable battles just to be here too - born in an urgent C-section delivery with elevated heart rate to a cancer survivor mother. Anyway, as you can see in the picture, we got a chance to remember how small Micah and Malorie really are, as Jacob is already bigger than them both even though he is a full month younger. Oh well, if Jacob gets mean I'm sure the twins will just gang up on him.

As for the rest of us, I got to watch the Bears knock off the defending Super Bowl champion Steelers tonight. Malorie woke up just in time to watch Robbie Gould knock in the winning field goal, thereby witnessing her first ever Bears victory. Rachel got to take her first extended walk since the pregnancy, a thirty minute doozy around a few blocks with the kids, dog and mother-in-law in tow. Speaking of my mom, she got some fun time in this weekend too, spending a few hours shopping at a local strip mall.

Anyway, with all the lack of horseplay over the last month, the one thing that can still get us to waste time is our divided house. Therefore, I hereby terminate this blog post early to go watch my Cubs play against Rachel's playoff bound Cardinals. Let the games continue. Go Cubs.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Overflowing Plate Syndrome

I have a problem. It's not a very serious problem, but a problem nonetheless. Anytime I'm at some sort of gathering where there is food, I can't contain myself. It's not that I over eat. Ok, I do over eat occasionally, but that's not the problem. The problem is I can't choose what to put on my plate, and so I just put everything on my plate; a classic case of Overflowing Plate Syndrome. Take an average Easter dinner for example. You may likely choose between ham or turkey, but I would take a serving of both. If there are ribs, brisket and fish, I'll take some too. Then, there are the side dishes that go with each: stuffing and mashed potatoes for the turkey, a pasta salad and some corn with the ham, and on and on. Take a pick between them... nah. I'll just continue to load my plate. Eventually, I end up with a twisted mass of consumables, baked beans on top of watermelon, gravy on my cranberry sauce, hot and cold foods merging to make an edible lukewarm mess. I once even had to put biscuits in my pockets because they wouldn't balance on top. Well, from what I have learned from TV therapists like Dr. Phil, it seems that talking about the problem is therapeutic. So, enjoy this post that parallels my eating habits, a veritable smorgasbord of topics all crammed onto one little plate, I mean post.

My mom, Grandma Sharon, came to town to help with the kids. The day that Bob and Judy left to go home, Rachel was left to take care of the kids for the day while I was at work. By the time I got home, Rachel was a broken woman. Malorie had screamed for an hour as Micah ate, and then as soon as mom got to Mal, Micah vomited his meal all over the crib. Rachel got him changed, and finally fed poor Malorie, and then pumped to an echo of crying babies who did not want to sleep. Then, ten minutes after they finally drifted off, time came for Micah to eat again, so he woke up and started asking for milk. By the time I got home, it took three episodes of Sex and The City, one massage and a three hour catnap to get Rachel back to life. Needless to say, we called in the reinforcements again, and are enjoying the help that comes with such a loving, wonderful family.

The kids went to the doctor yesterday for their one month check-up. This visit provided us some great information and reinforcement on how well they are doing. Micah is up to seven pounds, 15 oz. climbing from the 19th into the 25th percentile on weight. Micah is still a tough burp, but the doctor told us to limit our attempts to burp him to ten minutes per session. If he doesn't burp in that time, just put on a raincoat and let him continue eating. He may send it all back once the burp comes, but most of the time he keeps it all down, just erupting with a mammoth belch during the next burping interlude. Micah is now fully out of premie clothes, and may very well outgrow newborn size by this time next week. Also, he likes to cry for five minutes when we put him down to sleep, he then tapers off into a Pee Wee Herman type giggle/cry, muttering a throaty "Huh-huh, huh-huh" before finally settling into slumber. Rachel and I plan on getting it on video before he outgrows it.

Malorie is also growing like a weed, just a smaller weed than her brother. She grew to six pounds, 12 oz, moving her from the zeroth percentile up the the fifth. The doctor assured us that although 95 percent of babies her age are bigger then she is, she will continue to shoot through the growth chart and eventually join her brother in the normal range. Malorie's main issue we asked the doctor about is what we call her "snorking." She will rest comfortably for a period of time, but as soon as she stretches or gets active, she begins to snort, hiss, cough and labor to breathe. The doctor got a first hand view of the snorking ritual in the office, and told us it was nothing but a combination of Mal's tiny nostrils and her increased demand for air. She recommended saline drops to help until Malorie grows bigger nostrils and ditches the snorks. Malorie too has settled on a distinct cry. Instead of her brother's Pee Wee Herman/ Beavis and Butthead laughing cry, Malorie wails "nnn-GHEEE, nnn-GHEEE." I looked nnn-GHEEE and various other spellings up on an international database to see if maybe she was trying to say her first word, but the only translation I found to be reasonably close was on the website Urban Dictionary. Apparently Ungee means "a social situation in which you find it impossible to remove your own wedgie." I checked her diaper, and there was no such problem, so I'm convinced that she is not trying to tell us something significant.

After the doctor visit, Rachel and I had our first excursion with the kids. We fed them in the parking lot of a Whole Foods Grocery store, and then went inside to check the place out. After that, we shopped for dinner and diapers at a nearby Walmart. We even ran into a real-life Octomom in the candy aisle. She had a newborn in her cart, and so we stopped to talk. Then she told us about her eight other kids at home, and so we bolted just in case her crazy fertility was contagious.

OK, the plate, I mean post is overflowing. I will leave topics like Beard for Babies, breast milk cookies, baths, white noise machines and Chicago Bears football for next time. See, talking about a problem can be therapeutic. I only piled half the topics onto this plate, dang it, I mean post. Maybe next time I am at a family gathering I will be able to resist that smoked chicken wing. But I won't feel bad if it is in my pocket, resting next to a biscuit. I just need more therapy for Overflowing Plate Syndrome.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Parade of P's

"P" is an interesting letter. It can be loud and messy, as in the "p" in petunia. Or, it can be soft and silent, like in the word raspberry. Come to think of it, "p" can even shape-shift, melding with the ever versatile letter "h" to make an "f" sound, as in pharmacy. Upper case "P" is one of the only letters to look identical to its lower case brethren, the only difference being placement. And sometimes, "p's" can run in packs, proving the powerful potency of proliferation. Since our pair of premature pals came home from the NICU, "p's" have been popping up all around the Klug pad.

Peters Micah and Malorie's Aunt Chris came to town this weekend to meet and cuddle the twins. She decided to show some affection by heading to the mall and buying each of the tots some new clothes. The twins, still unable to speak, smile, or respond in any other generally acceptable way, decided to show their gratitude by doing the things they do best: Micah puked on Aunt Chris, and Malorie pooped on her. Welcome to town Aunt Chris, thanks a ton for coming.

Party Girl Malorie greeted Aunt Chris by wearing her most stylish black onesie, which says, "This is my little black dress." By the end of Chris's first day in town, Malorie had worn that little black dress into a little black mess, full of wrinkles and a bit of vomit. I met quite a few girls in college that had that same fashion pattern. That's my girl, 21 days old, going on 21 years old.

Possum Friday night, during the three a.m, (our feeding routine reads like a train schedule these days) Tyson got up and wandered to the backdoor, indicating that he needed to relieve himself. Before I could make it there to let him outside, he started going bonkers, howling at full voice, growling and scratching frantically at the glass door. I came running and flicked on the lights, half expecting to see a burglar running through the backyard. Instead, along the fencepost I spotted a possum. After I got Tyson reasonably calmed down and had allowed the possum ample time to vacate the yard, I allowed Tyson to go inspect the area. However, Tyson went running outside and promptly cornered the possum against the fence. Whoever says a possum rolls over and plays dead is absolutely wrong, because this thing wasn't taking any guff from Tyson. It started snarling and hissing right back. I will always remember breaking up my first possum/beagle confrontation... mostly because it was at 3 a.m. and I was in my backyard wearing nothing but boxer shorts. Good times.

Poopback Yesterday afternoon, Rachel was burping Micah and kept commenting about how bad he stunk. Finally, it was Mal's turn to feed with Rach, so I took Micah and immediately noticed that his back was soaked. "Rachel," I said, "I think Micah has some leakage on his back," I told her. She sniffed her hand and confirmed what we feared. By the time I got Micah to the changing table, that child had somehow gotten dump all the way up his back to his neckline, as well as into both armpits.

Pumping Do you want another reason why my wife is an amazing woman? I figure that we are awake about 20 hours per day lately. Rachel nursed Micah for a total of 4.5 hours yesterday, and Mal for an additional hour. Mal still struggles with a weak latch, and needs more bottle time than her brother to ensure proper nutrition. On top of the 5.5 hours of time with the babies, Rachel spends 20 minutes after each of the eight daily feeding sessions pumping milk to fill bottles for the next feed. That is another 2.75 hours per day, bringing Rachel's daily dairy work to 8.25 hours, or 41.25% of her waking life. Now that is a devoted mother.

Pair OK, this one is a stretch, but the Mal-stache of the Day comes in tandem today. Our nephew Ezra, who was responsible for naming the twins Red and Lellow while they were in the womb, came through with two lovely Mal-staches. The first is a variation of the Hulk Hogan 'stache, with the handlebars extending past the collar for good measure. The second Mal-stache, The Choco-Tee, is a goatee made of chocolate sauce. A clever, daring, and tasty fashion statement that is good for any occasion. Oh yeah, and contribute to Beards for Babies. I plan on posting an updated total raised early next week. Happy Labor Day all, I pronounce this post published.