Multigenerational Mom Muses on Twin Toddlers & Twenty-Something Daughters


stomach flu

Social Media Etiquette when Dealing with a Twin Mom at her Melting Point

I’ve raised daughters. Reared them into adulthood. They were a challenge, true. But I’m female; they’re female. We sort of had that thing going for us. So even as they grew and educated me in the care and keeping of them, the learning curve never felt that steep. Plus, I had them one at a time. So that was going for me, too. But twins  — and twin boys at that – I feel like this learning curve needs climbing gear complete with harnesses and carabiners.

And in all honesty, our friends and family kind of need a crash course in emotional support — particularly in terms of emergency management — for when the going gets tough. And believe me, it gets tough. Take today, for instance. Today is Day Four of what has turned into a Twintestinal Distress week. They stayed home again today. And I stayed home again today. And boy, has it been tough.

We’re all bored shitless.

Which is good, I guess, because I’ve had all the shit I can handle in the past half-a-week. I’ve changed more diapers and sheets, swabbed more butts and floors, and used more Lysol wipes than the community hospital did last year.

We are being held hostage in our own home by toddler boys’ digestive tracts. We are in dire need of some fresh air. Ours smells like retch and poo. And the boys are cranky with cabin fever. No. Cranky is an understatement. Godzilla in Tokyo was cranky. My boys are downright angry. And it could even be that they are hangry, since they’ve had nothing more substantial than a toast crust in four days. Every time they try, their gag reflexes kick in and their bowels run amok.

It’s times like these, when the perils of Twindom absolutely overcome me. It’s times like these when the poo hits the fan and I’m ready to rage against the latrine!  So what do I do? I vent to friends and family on Facebook. And what do they do? Well, the ones who get it, they give me support. And the ones who don’t, they give me clichés.

Which is why I’ve decided to pen this crash course in social media emergency management…

I’ve already established the crisis situation for you. Now let me give you a quick cry-for- help demonstration. Let’s say that as you peruse your Facebook news feed that you spy a post from a desperate  twin mom at her absolute wit’s end. Perhaps she has proclaimed her life is a festering cistern of agony and upchuck. IN ALL CAPS.  Or maybe it’s something less dramatic, but just as desperate. Something along the lines of:

I literally have not stepped foot outside my house in five days. I may go off the deep end.

You stop scrolling. You pause for a moment. As a friend, as a family member… what do you do?… what should you do? Should you like the status and end it there? Well, you can… but there is really nothing about that status to like. At all. But if you pity that poor, dispirited twin mom then don’t you think she at least deserves a crying face or a sweetly-placed heart? Give her some emoji love, for crying out loud — which is what she’s doing, believe me.

And if you want to go further, to try to preserve her sanity and your relationship with her, here are some Dos and Don’ts of the comment variety…

Do give her love and support. Tell her she can make it through. Tell her that the giant shit igloo that has formed over and around her diaper pail will soon melt into a memory – a foul-smelling, filthy, recycled memory – but a memory nonetheless. So tell her that.

Don’t tell her she’s paying for her raising. Because as she recalls, there weren’t two of her. Two versions of her squirting vast quantities of digestive detritus and retching saltine crackers simultaneously. All the while begging to be held and struggling to escape. Two. At the same time. So just hush it.

Do send her texts, and love… and groceries. When her family has been eating toast and applesauce for five days – not merely for the fact that it follows the BRAT rules for stomach flu (Bananas, Rice, Apple sauce and Toast) – but also because they have nothing else left in the house. Their cupboard is bare. And so are their bowels. And they could really go for some chicken soup. It’s good for the soul and the shits. So do do that. (But don’t doo doo. They’ve had enough of that…)

Don’t tell her it comes with the territory. It’s not her first rodeo. She knows the territory. It is, however, her first rodeo with twins and she’ll tell you, the rules of engagement are entirely different. Unless you have ever parented twins… especially twins purging their innards for seventy-two hours straight in a snow storm (well, maybe that’s an exaggeration. They live in the South. They had a snow flake), then don’t act like you’re the fucking Lewis & Clark of parenting territory. You’re not. So hush it.

Do tell her she’s doing a good job. Tell her that you know kids are hard because you’ve been there. And then tell her you’ve heard many, many, MANY rumors that twins are harder. Way harder. And that she is way beyond Wonder Woman to you. That she belongs in Marvel comics. Or is it DC? Shit. She has no fucking clue. Boys love super heroes.Just one more thing she has to study up on. That learning curve gets steeper and steeper. It’s never ending. But she can do it, you say. Because she is Way Beyond Wonder Woman. Tell her that.

Don’t try to lighten the mood by cracking jokes. Believe me, she is not amused. That’s not laughing you hear. It’s tears. And choking. She’s crying hysterically while drowning in an endless sea of projectile poo and vomit and sippy cups of ginger ale. So unless you can throw her a life line – or a kind line – Just. Hush. It.




Snow Days and Stomach Flu: Happy Birthday, Daddy!


It was Mike’s birthday weekend. We had hoped to do dinner and a movie. We had  a sitter on reserve and everything.  But then Snowmageddon 2017 hit the greater Atlanta area with a hearty warning from the forecasters and a half-hearted hiccup from the ensuing cold front. The result? A foamy upchuck of about an inch-and-a-half of the white stuff — and about a half-a-week of impassable back roads. Facebook became littered with pictures of empty bread aisles and sparse milk coolers, families “sledding” on laundry baskets and garbage can lids (not many folks in these parts have ever purchased an actual sled. The cost/benefit ratio just doesn’t pan out.), and Frosty and Olaf look-alikes flecked with mud and dried bermuda grass (an inch-and-a-half doesn’t really contribute to porcelain-skinned snowpeople).

None of the afore-mentioned photos could be found on our family’s Facebook pages. Instead, we were bundled up beneath blankets and bathrobes battling stomach bugs times two. (Because twins always make sure they double the pleasure and double the fun.)

There was no half-hearted hiccup involved in OUR upchuck. Nope. We had literal, bonafide, bile-filled, food-splattered, smelly stuff. As a result, our milk stayed on its shelf. And our bread – well, we did toast an insane amount of bread, which sadly, quite often sat neglected and slowly hardening on the boys’ Minion and ladybug plates. As far as snowmen, we’ve watched a lot of Frozen. Apparently, Elsa and Ana have a soothing effect on wayward tummies. The boys lay in listless lumps on our laps while Kristin Bell sang “Do You Want to Build A Snowman?” over and over and over, their eyes glazed and their foreheads hot, their appetites absent and their bellies cramped.

They looked wretched. So wretched, that at one point I called big sister the surgeon and Mike called his student’s mom the nurse practitioner. We were worried that the listlessness was bordering on lethargy – with Tate, in particular. He hadn’t said a word all day long. He wouldn’t sit up and he wouldn’t eat. Nor would he leave my side. I had to nap with him three times yesterday just to help him rest more comfortably — and so I could quickly supply the puke bucket in the event of an emergency. Finally, ‘round about three o’clock he strung a sentence together — a forceful “Mommy sleeps with Me” — and my fears subsided. But then new ones quickly took their place. I feared I had created a monster: a pint-sized, possessive sleep dictator with Mommyitis.

I’ve always heard it takes twenty-one days for an action to become a habit, but my youngest cleared that up for me post-haste. Turns out a toddler can develop a habit in a scant twenty-four-hours. Last night, he demanded, “Mommy sleep with ME” and “Daddy sleep with Parker.”

Thus sayeth the toddler.

And because his eyes were purple, sunken orbs of pitifulness, I acquiesced.  Probably a big mistake. Huge.  I have a feeling that breaking him of this habit is going to be about as easy as finding milk and bread in the South in a snow st…er, hiccup (or a substitute teacher in Bartow County on a sick day – but more on that in a moment).

So today is Day Three of our Snowmageddon and our Flumageddon. It’s Monday. Thankfully, school was cancelled, so no endless hours of sub shopping for me. As the snow and ice slowly melt, the boys slowly improve. They’re still sitting sedentary on our sofas, but they are actively surfing YouTube Kids on their iPads, searching for such riveting toddler favorites as Pez dispensers being dispensed and elevator rides being ridden. Dad is manning the pink plastic puke bucket, and I am penning my blog amidst toast runs and ginger ale refills. Periodically, the unmistakable sounds of poo percolating in a diaper interrupt the Frozen soundtrack. Yes, the vomiting has subsided, but the diapers are still piling up in drifts of unbearable stench. Hopefully the roads will thaw and the trash will run tomorrow – and the boys’ bowels will NOT.

Yes, the streets and the boys are improving, but we’re not out of the woods yet. Because in the South, snow days are about as unpredictable as a bout of the stomach flu. Things can look like they’ve improved on the surface. The sun is out. The coast is clear.  You’re cruising along nicely. Then, out of nowhere, those dark, twisty places rear their ugly underbelly and suddenly you’re careening out of control in a slippery riptide of hidden wretchedness.

But I’m confident we’re at the tail end of both… no pun intended.

PS… In between the boys’ bouts of intestinal distress, I did manage to bake up Mike’s favorite  birthday cake — carrot.  We had a twenty-minute window to celebrate before we were once again swabbing  floors and bottoms. Happy Birthday, my handsome husband. I wouldn’t want to do life or twindom — and all of the ensuing madcap mayhem and unbridled awesomeness — without you. ILY




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