Dear James and Jackson:
I actually began your six month letters as “Dear James” and “Dear Jackson”, but after a rather telling outing yesterday afternoon with just the three of us, I opted for one final “joint” letter. Please forgive your Mama, I know you are individuals. Seven month individual letters, I promise.
As for your six month check up:
James weighed 20 pounds and was 27.5 inches long.
Jackson weighed 17 pounds, 5 ounces and was 26 inches long.
I basically got the go ahead to feed you anything. Your first homemade meal was (drum roll) chicken n’ dumplings. And you LOVED it.
I know as I begin this story I am going to sound like some pampered LA Mama with nothing better to do than go to yoga in the middle of the day in the rather swank suburban town of Westlake Village, just north of LA. Admittedly we did stop at Stonehaus Winery, where I proceeded to treat myself to a $17.00 lunch; which I did not have time to eat because I was a.) going to yoga and b.) feeding the two of you. Obviously, I did not have wine, though it would have been easier to consume while feeding you than the tuna fish sandwich. Afterwards I did go to yoga. I dropped you off at the day care for exactly one hour and 30 minutes. It was the middle of the day.
The evidence points to me being a lady who lunches with two babies and purchases an over-priced sandwich before heading into downward facing dog. Guilty as charged. For the record, the tuna fish sandwich went in the trash. Soggy bread is not your Mama’s thing. In many ways, I suppose my ability to toss a $17.00 sandwich in the trash could fine me for something, especially with your Daddy.
After ordering my $17.00 lunch, the three of us proceeded to sit around a little outdoor fire pit. It was oh so quaint and picturesque.
Across from us was a group of women all perfectly coiffed with rather fancy strollers, designer handbags, designer babies and what appeared to be designer lives. They were, after all, talking about Real Housewives … of somewhere. I wish I was kidding, but I am not. As I strolled by I thought, how cliché? I can honestly say I have never seen Real Housewives in any rendition.
I say this not as a point of pride, but a point of fact.
Oh my goodness, you have two! Twins?, she asked as I sat there feeding two infants with a spoon attached to a pouch. It was an organic pouch, but a “pouch”, no less.
I smiled at her and said, Yes, twins.
Are they identical?
Not at all, I replied. James, I think you are tired of this question, too, because you proceeded to fart about as loud as any six month old baby I have ever heard. Whenever you do this, it is always followed by a gigantic grin. Boys must think farts are funny at every age.
I never used those pouches, do they like them?, she asked while watching the two of you thoroughly enjoy your rice and beans … from a pouch.
I smiled at her. I hate redundant questions.
I heard they are bad for their teeth, she said.
Only if you let them suck the food out the top on a regular basis, but I always feed them with a spoon, I replied.
I bet it was hard breast feeding twins. Did you breast feed?
I did, I still pump a little, but they are mostly on formula now, I replied in absolute shame.
While rubbing her daughter’s hair she said, She breast fed until 14 months, but my son quit at eleven months. I lucked out, our nanny made food cubes. You must have help with twins?
10 hours a week right now.
Wow. That’s not much. Good luck! And with that, she smiled and went to her table, where she sat and waited for her $17.00 lunch.
Now your Mama has pretty good self-esteem, so a few women with $1000 strollers and $1500 handbags are not going to phase me. I can go days and not look in the mirror. I feel like I went weeks when you were born. We were donning our $89 Snap n’ Go Stroller because you are still in infant seats. As for handbags, I was not carrying one. I was sporting a bright red canvas diaper bag, absolutely covered in milk stains from our last outing.
For myself this sort of measuring against other women is a waste of energy and I have never engaged in it, but there is something about becoming a Mama that brings out my inferiority complex. Not because I personally care for me, but I care for you. I don’t ever want you to be ashamed of me. Or think I did not give you the very best care in your first year of life.
If I let him look at the television and eat from a pouch while drinking formula, will he become a fat zombie couch potato with his hand in his pants and never leave my side?
I contemplate questions like this one while trying to forgive myself for every perceived transgression. After all, I had already failed you by not drinking enough bone broth while you were in the womb. I ate sugar. Banana shakes were considered a meal.
The list goes on …
Sometimes I think we Mama’s go to ridiculous lengths to get it all right, ultimately losing sight of what’s really important. Luckily, I have TWO of you to help keep me grounded. Yesterday, I sat there looking at a table of Mama’s who appeared to be following some book I don’t even have time to read and a little piece of me begins to feel like a failure.
After our outing, I thought it over and due to the times we live in, I have provided for you a list of questions (complete with easy to memorize answers) you might one day need. In my 44-years they have never come up in conversation with any of my friends, but they have come up ad nauseam with people I barely know since you were born, so they must be important.
Were you breast fed or bottle fed?
Were you delivered naturally?
Yes, bringing a child into the world is natural.
Are you identical?
Are you serious?
Did you eat packaged baby food or homemade baby mixes?
Baby-led weaning or spoons?
What are you talking about!?!
What age did you watch television?
In the womb, I think.
Cloth diapers or disposables?
Did you co-sleep or crib?
Crib. And occasionally we kicked our Mama out of bed and this happened:
Did you play with toys?
Look at them like they are nuts because they are.
There is no explanation needed. Your Mama loves you always to the moon and around the moon and back again. And even when your face is covered in chicken n’ dumplings, you are both very happy, fairly flexible babies who sleep almost 12 hours every night without incident. You watch The Notekins sometimes so I can get dressed. You eat from pouches sometimes. You fart in public all the freaking time. And your Mama has not had a manicure or a pedicure since before you were born.
My feet hate me, but the two of you love me. So my feet can wait.
I suppose we’ll find out how truly flexible you are when we take our first plane ride to Nashville next month. Just in time for those seven month individual letters.
Please be good and try not to stink up the plane … after all, I do have a blog where things are recorded regularly.