Nothing sums up our first week of the new normal like that little adage, made up on the fly when our little movie club held a Jewish edition on Saturday, in honor of Rosh Hashanah (she was actually being self-deprecating about her apple sauce contribution to the dinner, but as soon as that little gem slipped from her lips, we realized that truer words have perhaps never been spoken). More on that night, later.
First week of no Ian debrief: s**t ain't easy. Tuesday was great and I think I got overly optimistic and, like Icarus flying towards the sun, my hubris was rewarded with two rough days on Wednesday and Thursday. It just felt like we were in high adrenalin mode all day. As soon as the Dotytron comes home, I want to hand off the babies, but he's got the Big Yam, and so we need to pay attention to him, get dinner on the table, deal with the 6-9pm witching hour when both babies are basically yelling at me and want to be fed nonstop, and then collapse exhausted into bed as soon as the babies get their last bottle. To say nothing of stuff like: laundry, dishes, tidying, grocery shopping, taking a shower, the Dotytron doing any prep for his next day of work, etc. We were purely in survival mode. On Friday, my mum came over and it was a godsend. She was lovely. She held babies so that I could shower and get dinner ready and tidy up and put away laundry and clean the bathroom and all the other things I hadn't been able to do.
All the things that people complain about when they have one baby, that we never, ever experienced (being unkempt, sleep deprived, the standard "I've got vomit on my clothes and no time to address it" malarkey is finally biting us in the butts now. I am unshowered, greasy, and I leave the house in workout clothes entirely too much for my self-esteem's liking. I can still get a good dinner on the table, but at the expense of being Pigpen from the Peanuts and feeling mild anxiety from having the house be a mess. One baby is a joke. One baby and a preschooler is less of a joke. But seriously, talk to me when you got two at once (or more!) and a preschooler.
Okay, whine over. Really, we're doing okay by most people's standards. I just have insanely high standards. I mean, I got to cut some quilt pieces and we still went to the farmer's market on the weekend and I made a brisket dinner on Saturday, so it's not like we're eating takeout every night and slowly mouldering away in a pile of feces. We're not that bad (yet). It is tiring and we do need help though. My mum has been lovely. So has Momma D. Our neighbour's mum, who we call halmeoni (Korean for "grandmother") is so sweet and has offered to come and help us clean the house and tidy the yard. Our neighbour's kids are in school and the youngest just started daycare this month, so Halmeoni is going to have more time on her hands. She told me that she might start volunteer work but that she'd rather volunteer for me (!!!!!). I told her it'd be nice if she could just hold a baby now and then so I could clean the bathroom, but she said she preferred to do that work so that the parents could spend quality time with their children (!!!!!). I relayed this to the Dotytron and he was like, "She really IS our halmeoni!" Seriously: how sweet IS that?
One of our saving graces this past week is that the Big Yam had some kind of maturation while at the cottage (even though you wouldn't know it WHILE at the cottage, since he was constantly acting up and belting Little Big Cuz). For better or worse, he tends to learn new things whenever he has an extended visit with the cousins (generally, it's been for the worse in the past). He's been LOVELY this past week. No hitting, listening, helpful, amendable to the earlier bedtime, really cute and cuddly and playful and hilarious. He says so many funny things and seems to have made a big cognitive/linguistic jump.
He's really into My Neighbour Totoro now. He started requesting the "Totoro song" (opening and ending credit themes) so we would watch those on Youtube. Then the Dotytron found this:
Studio Ghibli, which is the studio founded by Hiyao Miyazaki (the director of Totoro and Spirited Away, etc.) held a 25th anniversary concert at Budokan featuring music from all the animated films. They were all composed by Joe Hisaishi, who conducted and plays during the concert. Guys, it's THE BEST. We are obsessed. The Dotytron put on the Totoro part (1hr 31 min mark) and the Big Yam was ENTRANCED. It's the big finale of the concert and by the end of the first time watching it, the Dotytron and I were both openly crying. Joe Hisaishi is so cute! It's a retrospective of his life's work! It's a testament to this long-standing partnership between him and Miyazaki! The music is amazing! The are like, 7 different choirs! The orchestra is huge! All new arrangements!!! Joe can write a movie theme like no other. It's sick.
Anyway, the Big Yam's favorite thing is watching what he calls the "Totoro saxaphone song" and trying to sing along in Japanese (!). So right now, the sum total of the Big Yam's top of the pop charts is: Kendrik Lamar's Swimming Pools (Drank), Kendrik Lamar's Real, and the Ponyo theme and Totoro themes, in Japanese. Obviously, we are willing to indulge his current fixation with live orchestra as much as he wants. I would rather listen to this kind of "children's" music than the cloying garbage that accompanies most children's programming and movies.
There's a scene where one of the characters, Mei wants to bring an ear of corn to her mom in the hospital. Last week's CSA had corn and the Big Yam was thrilled that they had corn, "like Mei!" and insisted on carrying an ear home the way she does in the movie. I just about died from cute overload when his hands slipped and he stopped walking to carefully rearrange his grip so that it was just like hers.
I asked him if he wanted to be Totoro for Halloween and he said he wanted to be Satsuki, Mei's older sister
who looks like this:
He could have done it with his old haircut, but SMcKay chopped off his hair (in a hilarious bungle) on Saturday night so he's lost his Teen Wolf bowl cut. He looks super-cute now and you can see more of his face, but he looks a lot more like a little boy so I love it and it breaks my heart at the same time.
We had Lolly, her hubby, and SMcKay over for another movie night. It was supposed to be movie themed and we were deciding between any number of films - Woody Allen, Dustin Hoffman, before Lolly's hubby remembered (fortuitously!) that Judith Light is actually Judith Licht, so that we could continue watching Who's The Boss? Ummm...AMAZING!
So we had a Rosh Hashanah meal and dipped apples in honey and ate a new fruit and I made brisket with latkes and Lolly made a beet and pear salad and SMcKay brought apple sauce. It was delicious:
I made this torte from the Smitten Kitchen website. I love hazelnuts and I love meringue desserts. To make it dairy-free I made 7 Minute Frosting in lieu of the whipped cream. It was good, but I think the whipped cream would have been better. It's a surprisingly easy dessert which yields impressive looking results.
The gnome hats make their appearance! Nothing is better than babies in gnome hats.
Things people say about the Great Gazoo: "He has the face of an angel." "He's so handsome." "He just has the sweetest face."
Things people say about Prof. Gantok: "It looks like his eyes are upside down."
We also get a lot of: "Twins!" *looking at the Great Gazoo* "Oh, so it's one boy and..." *glancing at Prof. Gantok* "- one girl?" I don't think he looks particularly girly, but maybe I'm too close to the subject. People definitely seem to have a clear favorite in the looks department and it's the Great Gazoo. Poor Prof. Gantok!!! It's not his fault he is all cheeks and a small mouf. I will say that the Great Gazoo loves to stare deeply, lovingly, and placidly into your eyes - he's been that way since birth. But he really only has two expressions: it's either beautiful-angel-baby or Jean-Chretien-lip-face-crumple. Whereas, Prof. Gantok is a man of a million different expressions - all of them hilarious. It balances out.
Sunday we had Momma D over for dinner. I made barbecued chicken, steamed green beans tossed with coconut oil & sesame oil, stuffing from the freezer (November 2012!!! Almost a year old and tasty as the day it was born!) and corn on the cob.
Prof. Gantok's follow-up ultrasound is tomorrow morning. I talked to my doctor again and I asked if the presence of cysts in that area automatically means PVL and he said no. It is something they have to monitor though, and there aren't really any good kinds of brain cysts.
Fingers crossed, por favor.