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March 23, 2010

So Repulsed...Yet So Proud

I can’t exactly claim that my house was a temple before the girls were born. The occasional dust bunny would hop out of hiding now and again, and sometimes the newspaper would pile up for a day or so. But all in all, my house was clean, and it was orderly. Clutter was kept to a bare minimum, and I relished clean countertops and everything on the end tables being arranged “just so”.

Enter A and B.

The first couple of months after the girls were born, the orderliness of the house was the last thing on my mind. The mail, for one, piled up…and up…and up. And then those piles got pushed aside to make room for piles of bottles, the bottle warmers, the bottle sterilizer, the baby how-to books, and the pictures. (I seriously could devote an entire room just to pictures.)

My once- minimalist-style den slowly transformed into what surely looks like a small-scale (crowded!) day care center, complete with too many toys, pack-and-plays, bouncers, swings, and exercisers. And our guest room could easily pass for a baby goods distribution center, housing all the yet-too-big and now-too-small items not currently in use.

Over the past year (wow…did I just say that???), I’ve been slowly trying to regain some semblance of “normalcy”, although I have soooo had to redefine that word for myself. “Normalcy” these days is being able to eat at the kitchen table and find the bills before they’re due. I can see portions of my countertops, although I’ve had to make significant concessions for the bottle paraphernalia. (Sadly, that hasn’t gone anywhere yet…but that’s another story.)

One thing I haven’t compromised, though, is cleanliness. If anything, I may have gotten a little more anal-retentive, especially in the kitchen, thinking about the insidious germs that might be lurking dangerously close to my baby girls’ cream of wheat. I have gone to great lengths to maintain this cleanliness, including – one might say – feeding the babies separately so I could “manage” how much mess they were making.

I reluctantly dispensed with that structure a couple of weeks ago. And much to my pleasant surprise, the girls did pretty well with me feeding them at the same time. Yes, they made a little more mess, but it was still “manageable”.

Well…I took a major step yesterday. I let the girls feed themselves.

Last night I cut a piece of baked fish into bite-sized pieces and put one piece at a time on each of the girls’ trays. Baby A was amazingly skilled at feeding herself, with minimal mess, at least relatively speaking.

Baby B, however, was a little more free-spirited. About midway through her fish, she started banging on her tray. The fish got squished. And then she decided to play peek-a-boo by covering her eyes with her hands. And there went the hair. Try as I might have to maintain decorum, by the end of the meal – which also included sliced peaches coated in graham cracker crumbs – Baby B was all but covered in food, as was the high chair and the floor.

What to do???

Well, I bathed Baby B as best I could with paper towels and a wash cloth. I pulled as much food out of her hair as I could, and then used a comb for the remainder. I mopped the floor under the highchairs, and after the girls went to bed, I washed the highchair seat cushions. I'll even admit that there were a couple of times when I had to fight my gag reflex as I cleaned up the squished fish and pieces of peaches.

At the end of the day, though, despite my repulsion, I was quite proud of the girls…and of me. :)


Sadia said...

Hooray, what a huge step!

I don't know how I would have surprised the crawling stage without my Scooba, Roomba, washing machine and dishwasher. It blows my mind to think that I washed all my sister's bottles by hand! Like you, cleanliness can't be compromised at our house, although neatness has never been my forte. My husband pointed out that our Melody finds comfort in clutter, and I suppose something similar could be said of me.

bass family said...

Good for you!! I was anal retentive about keeping the twins clean... however when their little sister arrived 15 months after they did, I (by necessity) had to let go of that. Now, mealtime (for the baby at least) is pretty much a free-for-all... and she LOVES it :)

reanbean said...

I remember that time of want to encourage self-feeding but being horrified by it at the same time. It's definitely messy in the beginning. I used to strip my kids down to their diapers before meals because the clean-up was so much easier that way. But now, at 2, they do a fairly decent job of getting the food in their mouths without making a colossal mess. It will come...

Thanks so much for stopping by my blog. I've been working on giving my kitty more one-on-one time this week right before I go to bed and she seems to appreciate my efforts. :o)

Rebecca said...

I found your blog through another and if my brain weren't taking a nap with my twins, I might be able to remember, but alas...such is not the case! Feeding themselves is such a huge step and it will make your life easier and more difficult in the same minute! Yes, it means more cleaning for you, but it's cleaning of different things...not so much the kids, but more the surroundings...or just get a dog. She helps a lot! Can't wait to read more!

Heather said...

Oh, the cleaning up after they feed themselves is a nightmare, isn't it? Their favorite meal is spaghetti, but I only dare to do this on bath nights.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today! I love your first set of twins, the fur babies! And your girls are so cute!