Friday, October 22, 2010


I'm not entirely sure how often twin moms can say they feel like Supermom. It's probably more accurate to say we feel like Frazzled mom, Going-in-thirty-different-directions mom, Sleep-deprived mom, or a host of other non- super related titles. Despite the fact that many people think we are super human for simply surviving the pregnancy, birth and first few months of raising twins; I'm going to guess it's not that way for most of us. But allow me to remove the large umbrella here and just speak for myself when I say it's not enough. For me- I need to do a little more than manage a shower before noon to feel accomplished in this crazy twin parenting world.

This morning was one of those rare Supermom kinds of days for me. I managed to get more than 3 hours of sleep through the night, had both babies wake at a humane hour, fed them, changed them, got them dressed, gave them their medicine, had breakfast, made my husband a cappuccino, and got myself and the kids out the door for a much needed walk...and I did it all before 8am!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Traveling With Twins Part II: The Hand Off

As I paced the aisles of the airplane trying to look as in control and as calm as possible; I scanned the crowd for an eager Chinese Ayi (auntie) to hand my children off to. I knew the plane had to be teeming with eager women just waiting to get their hands on the Shuangbaotai (refer to earlier post titled Shuangbaotai for definition), and I was desperate to find just one.

Now allow me to clarify this whole handing off thing. When I say hand off, I don't mean permanently (though the thought had crossed my mind on more than one occasion) To hand your child off to a total stranger and allow them to be occupied for a while seems strange and practically unacceptable to those of us in Western cultures; but this practice is completely normal in the East, and more specifically in China. I was simply looking for a kind and eager person who could only see my malcontent squirming little screamer as a mound of sweet cooing baby; a person who was so blinded by their love for babies (almost any Chinese person qualifies) - that they would simply take them out of my arms and occupy them so I had enough time to pee.

As I was approaching the 350th walk down the aisle of the plane, a lovely Romanian woman who spoke very little English- stood up and simply took Naaman from my arms. It was love at first sight for both of them. She oohed and cooed and he paid it back ten fold. I stood there for a minute or two to seem like I was being an attentive mother, and then quickly ran to the loo.

When I returned from my blissful 1 minute break- the plane had practically broken out in a riot of women. As they realized I was willing to hand off my babies, a floodgate of Ayi's opened and poured forth.

As my little celebrities were being passed around to all the eager aunties (and granny's too) who were just waiting to squeeze them; Phil and I took the opportunity to sit for a few minutes and take a deep breath.

I only wish the floodgate had opened a few hundred paces earlier...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Traveling With Twins: Part 1 (along with a lot of side comments)

We just returned home from our first official family trip. I say official because it isn't the first time that we have traveled as a family. This was however, our first trip for the sake of leisure (as if that is attainable with 7 month old twins). 

We decided early on (before actually having twins) that we didn't want to be parents who stayed glued home for the first several years of their children's lives (though there may be some sanity and wisdom in that). So in true Phil and Jen form- we decided that 7 months would be a good age (why- I have no idea); and we started planning our European vacation. After deciding on the South of France- we honed in on some quaint rustic towns and worked on finding and booking a villa. Once all things were booked and paid for, it was time to pack (and for me- time to panic).

As the 7 month mark approached for the boys, I began to realize that all of the little benchmarks I had been hoping for (and quite frankly, counting on) were not being met. When they were 4 months old and we were planning our future travels- I had this picture in mind that I would have 2 babies who were sleeping through the night, eating solids regularly, and an overall feeling of normalcy and freedom returning in my life. As our trip drew near- I was forced to contend with a very different reality. Instead of the above mentioned picture, I had two babies who were teething, sleeping horribly through the night, feeding every two hours 24 hours/day, and there was nothing normal or sane feeling about my life. My quaint and somewhat peaceful little vacation on the Mediterranean was becoming a looming nightmare. Instead of looking forward to France and all of the wonderful clean air and tasty food- I had resigned myself to think, "at least I will be miserable in France instead of China."

The first leg of our journey would take us from Shanghai to Moscow for a 1 night layover (a story that deserves its own post) and then we would head to Nice the next day. As we prepared for take off- the worst case scenario began to unfold. My two sweet little hell cats started shrieking for no apparent reason (and they continued to do so, on and off, for the next 5 hours). We were finally "those people" on the plane. The Old Catholic God of my mother's past emerged for a moment when I thought surely we were being punished by God for something.Four long hours into the 10 hour flight, I had convinced myself that once we got to Moscow- we would promptly find flights back to Shanghai, and I informed Phil that I was not going on to France. My saner half refused to accept this and told me to suck it up and deal with it. After all he reasoned, by the time we got to Moscow it would be a matter of another 4 hour flight before we were in sunny Nice and enjoying the beautiful weather (little hell cats and all).

I conceded, gritted my teeth, and walked the aisles of the plane for the next 6 hours...