Friday, July 18, 2008

New, Grainy Images of the Unborn Wonder Twins

Marcy had a regular check-up at her OB-Gyn (by the way, that sounds like a character name from a Star Wars rip-off, if you pronounce it right). He listened to the babies' heartbeats but could only find one. This is not unusual with twins. I have a good friend here at work that told me she carried twins all the way to labor without ever knowing they were twins. This is because my friend is very old and when she was pregnant, the doctors, or as they called them then, "barbers", were still treating pregnancy with a good exorcism and leech treatment. Okay, I kid, she is not that old (*waves at Joyce*), but it was in the time before sonograms were readily available and her doctor never heard more than one heartbeat (maybe it was just hard to use the stethoscope around all the leeches). Anyway, since Marcy's did not hear both heartbeats he asked her to go in for a sonogram yesterday and she did. Here are the results:

Long story short, the babies look fine. Still cant tell the sex of either, and I suppose you should not draw too many conclusions from the picture. What we do know is that one is slightly larger than the other but both are still growing and healthy. One thing the doctor did tell her was that she is only 9 weeks along but already has the belly of someone 14 weeks. If you do some rough projective math, that means that by the time she is ready to deliver, her stomach will be roughly the size of a Hummer. On the upside, she has gained in baby but not in weight. She is still the same weight, even with a few pounds of baby on board. (This is due largely to the fact that her diet has consisted of little else other than Caesar Salad lately. Everything else makes her sick.)

Now, I am no doctor, but I do like to speculate. So, I took the pictures of the babies as they have developed so far and I aged them a few months to see what they make look like. Here are my guesses:

Baby A: the baby on the right of the sonogram is featureless and oddly shaped. It should look something like a large lima bean:
Sure, she will have to wear festive hats so that her teachers and fellow children will know what end to speak to, but she will be loved for her acerbic wit and long litany of self-effacing bean humor.

Baby B: Right now, this baby looks like something I once made with Play-Doh and tried to pass off to my father as a father's day gift. "What is that?" he said. "A puppy?" I replied. If this child continues it's current state of development, I expect a strapping young lad that bears a striking resemblance to Klatu, the tumor turned Martian rebellion leader from the Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger sci-fi classic Total Recall:

So, I have to say that Marcy and I are both just thrilled.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Kids and Chores

One of the questions I get asked frequently when people find out that we are having twins is: "How are the other kids handling it?" The truth is that they are very excited.

Of course it means that they are having to make some changes in their lives. Some are big changes. For example, they are losing their private rooms. They are now going to be moving in together. Not a big deal for them, honestly. Since the summer break started, they have asked to camp out in each others' rooms most nights anyway. I think that level of enthusiasm may diminish once they are forced to really live in the same space, but we will see about that.

Another big change that is happening is with housework. Marcy is finding some tasks already harder to do just because of the fatigue that comes with two alien spore sacks growing in her womb. (It really is a miracle, isn't it?) So, we are doing what loving parents throughout the centuries have done: we are putting the kids to work.

The hardest part about asking for kids as young as David and Beth to do real housework is getting past the idea that housework is supposed to be fun. When you are a kid, anything that the grown-ups do looks like grand fun: driving the car, painting the house, cleaning the kitchen. When you are finally given the opportunity to do the work, you try and imitate what you have seen the grown-ups do. Once the fun of the imitation is over, it is time to throw down the cleaning rag and find something else to play with. It is a sad day in the lives of children when you realize that work is not always fun.

To help with this reality, we have tried to break down their chores into smaller bites. Simply telling an 8 year old to clean her room is not specific enough, we have found. Often the job is left incomplete. Of course, the child is disappointed when you fold your arms, look around the room, frown and say, "This isn't clean!" Because, honestly, in her 8 years of experience, trying really hard to get the room clean should count for something. So, I have spent a good deal of time going over all of the things that they need to do to get a particular room clean. We then wrote these down like a checklist so that they can focus on one thing (like making the bed) before moving on to another task.

I am hoping this will help to teach them not only how to clean up their rooms and really help out around the house but also how to organize large jobs into smaller jobs to make them easier to swallow. Who knows? Right now, house work is still fun and exciting. Man, I wish I could still think of it like that.

Fishing Trip with Grandad

David and I went on a trip to Lake Texoma with Marcy's dad, Mike. We went boating, fishing and rode around the water on Mike's new toys, a couple of neat jet-skis.

We left Friday night and set out trot lines right on the boat dock. We caught about half a dozen of the biggest catfish I had ever had the pleasure of being a part of catching. (There is a rumored curse over Bryant men and fishing, but that did not seem to damper our good fortune on this trip.) We eventually let most of the fish go, except for a couple of real silver beauties which we filleted and I cooked for the kids for dinner last night. Here is a look at a few of the monsters:

We slept in the forward cabin of Mike's boat and woke to a rather windy day on the lake. We took the boat out to a sheltered cove and swam in the lake. David, having recently gotten over his fear of diving, made some spectacular leaps from the back of the boat.

All-in-all, it was fabulous fun and some great male bonding time (yes, there was spitting involved, although it was less than copious).

Thanks again, Granddad for all the fun!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Mothers of Multiples

Who knew that being pregnant with more than one baby was so different than just being pregnant with one. I mean, is the math really that simple?

1 Baby = Morning sickness, fatigue, weight gain, mood swings

1 Baby + 1 Baby = Morning sickness, afternoon sickness, evening sickness, severe fatigue ("shhh, mommy passed out again"), rapid weight gain ("these shorts fit this morning"), and multiple personality disorder ("honey, are you crying or laughing because I am afraid to open the door again")

Such is the plight of the multiple pregnancy. So much so that there are support groups out there just for this eventuality. Marcy went to one this week in Plano called the Plano Area Mothers of Multiples. (Click on that handy link to check them out.) Marcy will also be attending a meeting of another group here for the Allen/McKinney Area Mothers of Multiples.

The meeting seemed to help calm her a bit and helped to show her that she was not alone in what she was going through. Now all I need to find is a support group for the husbands of mothers with multiples. We could have classes on avoiding punches from pregnant women; how to talk her off of the roof; what to do when you find her in the kitchen floor and crying into an open fudge frosting container...

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Story of Us - Part One - The Meeting

I know that many of you do not know much about how Marcy and I met or the story of our courtship. Some of the details of that time have been lost or never told before. It is a strange story, a story filled with real drama, tree branches used for illicit purposes, cows, fake drama, a park bench and a boy named Pumpkin.

Let's start at the beginning...

I was born in November of 1972... Okay, not that far back...

I left for college in September of 1991. I went to Howard Payne University, a wonderful, conservative, Southern Baptist school with many wonderful assets, including girls. Keep in mind that I had recently graduated 2nd in a class of 11 from Rochelle High School, a place where there were 3 girls in the entire high school who were not pregnant or married and I was related to all of them. So, I enjoyed meeting and blending with a new diverse crowd of kids from all over the world and, if the requisite gender, hitting on them.

Something else you should know about me at the time was this: I was a closet smoker. I began smoking in high school and it was something that I enjoyed greatly. At Howard Payne, smoking anything at all was frowned upon. There was not a single person in the entire theatre arts department who smoked. Can you believe that? I was working with a bunch of actors and stage techs and not a single one of them snuck out back to kill some lung tissue? Unheard of! So, when I needed a smoke, I would take a drive through the lonely streets of Brownwood and have a smoke. Eventually more joined in the closet smokers society, but that is a longer story of which few of you would be interested or approve of.

For two years, I built a life at Howard Payne. I made some friends. I even began developing a reputation as a very fine actor. I worked most of the time, mostly in part time jobs and work-study programs at the theatre. I had good grades and I had managed to date a wide variety of very sweet, Christian girls, most of whom had come to college with one, very important goal: to find and marry a preacher. At the start of my Junior year, I had Howard Payne by the collar. Most people on campus knew me from our productions and from my other activities on campus. I was a leader in the Theatre Arts department and I felt more comfortable in that place than I ever did in High School.

I am a member of Alpha Psi Omega. We are a national honor society for those who study Theatre. As far as I knew, every person who came through the Theatre at Howard Payne had pledged Alpha Psi. I did my freshman year and I was, and am, very proud of that. One of my duties during that year was to lead all of the new Freshman through a tour of our facilities and then give them the low-down on the coolest, and only Theatre fraternity on campus.

I met the small group on the lower level of the theatre and introduced myself and gave a brief introduction. All of the group responded with positivity except for one. She sat in the corner of our fraternity room with her arms crossed and she rolled her eyes at me. I was flabbergasted. For most incoming Freshman, me included, the first tour I had of the theatre was something I looked forward to and something that I remembered for a long time. Her reaction was so astonishing that I actually smiled at her. The effect was instantaneous. She smiled back, and realizing that I caught her reaction, she had the good sense to look embarrassed.

I began leading people through the theatre and everyone stayed with me and "ooohed" and "ahhhed" at appropriate times. She didn't. She stayed back several paces from the rest of the group and tried to make it obvious that she was not enjoying herself at all. At one point in the tour, I hung back until she came closer and I tried another winning smile.

"Having fun?" I asked.

"No," she said.

"I'm sorry," I said. "What's wrong?"

"This is like the fifth time I have been taken on a tour of this theatre," she sighed. "I got a tour when I came for the preview weekend last year, that Neil St. Clair guy took a bunch of us through the first day we were here. I think I have seen everything."

I nodded in what I hoped looked like commiseration. "I understand," I lied. "You don't have to go through this if you don't want to."

"No, I have to," she said and I turned away. I silently just checked this new girl off of the list of those that I would be hanging out with. I hated people with bad attitudes, and she obviously had a chip on her shoulder a mile wide. Fine. She didn't like me, well I didn't much like her either.

In Our Next Episode: Movie Night and the Chronicles of Monica.

Friday, July 4, 2008

New Job

As of July 21st, I am starting a new job with the law firm of Jackson Walker LLP. This is a large, Texas based law firm with offices in Dallas, Ft. Worth, Austin, San Antonio, Houston and, of all places, San Angelo.

The firm's managing parter is named Mike Wilson and he is from San Angelo as well. When I interviewed with him, I told him that San Angelo is something like a hometown to me because in the town of Rochelle, where I grew up, San Angelo was the nearest large town with a television station. With a large TV antennae stuck on the roof (or in the roof), we were able to get only one station clearly and that was Channel 8 out of San Angelo. I even told him that my Paw Paw had an unnatural fascination with local interview celebrity Pat Attebery (that's her on the right and she is, from all that I can tell, is still doing shows on the channel.)

I am very excited about going to work for Jackson Walker, or as they are known in the business: JW. I think that it is a wonderful opportunity for me.

Babies Everywhere

Here is a funny psychological phenomenon. I visit the same grocery store every week. I am funny like that. Marcy visits the store with the best deals. I could care less about deals. I find a store I like and I go with it even if a loaf of bread is $.10 cheaper at Wal-Mart. (Nice digression, no?) Right now, I love our local Kroger store. I roll in there a few times a week for various things.

Prior to two weeks ago, I never saw a single baby. As far as I know, humans in our vicinity were barren and childless. I never heard a baby's cry or saw one of them wiggling in those carriers they strap to the tops of the carts. Now that I know that we are having babies again, the baby population in the area has skyrocketed.

I went into Kroger the other day and the place was thick with the scent of baby. Every cart seemed strapped with a carrier. There were two pushing little pretend carts down one aisle. One haggard but glowing mother carried a toddler on one hip and rocked another in a baby in it's attached carrier.

So, it would seem that my baby radar, so long dormant has been kicked back into working order. Either that, or Allen recently experienced a baby boom amongst Kroger Plus customers.