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Apr 23 2014

The Twins Are Turning One!

By at 10:18 am

Cara-twins-one

I walked into a baby mega-store the other day and passed the clothes section. Out of the corner of my eye I saw something that made me stop in my tracks…the tiniest onesie 3-pack on a hanger. I couldn’t believe how small it was and checked the size: Newborn. I immediately felt a lump in my throat. My babies, my little girls, almost one year ago swam in the enormity of newborn onesies. I was momentarily stunned at the recollection of how small they had been and got ferklempt as I realized how far they have come in the last year.

Almost a year ago, at 35 weeks, I was on bed rest with pre-eclampsia. My blood pressure flirted with dangerous territory, and after a few weeks of “wait and see,” the scales finally flipped–it was safer for the twins to come out than to stay in. To this day I don’t have the words to express how worried I was from the moment that decision was made until the I heard my babies cry just a mere two hours later. Terrified is too mild a word.

Pepper arrived first. They opened my womb and we could hear her shriek as soon as oxygen hit her lungs. We named her well, I thought to myself. Elora arrived a minute later, and her healthy cry allowed me to take a deep breath of relief, a breath I felt as though I had held for 35 weeks. Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 25 2014

Becoming A Mom Has Dumbed Me Down

By at 11:15 am

brain

It’s hard to admit the truth. But I can no longer hide behind “pregnancy brain” or “I am still within the first year of twins.” I am absent-minded, cannot remember anything past 22 seconds ago, and incapable of talking about any non-mommy subject in depth. Motherhood has dumbed me down.

Ask me how I am doing and I am likely to answer with a blank stare while I process your question. I don’t have time to exercise my body, much less my brain! And I fear it is becoming embarrassingly obvious to everyone around me.

I read headlines, not books. That is all I have time for. But I keep buying books in the hopes I will be able to read them someday. Although, I wonder if all those parenting books for babies and toddlers will be relevant if I don’t read them until my kids are in high school. If I do manage to get past a headline, I rarely venture beyond the first two sentences. And then I am left frustrated, wanting to know the full story. I can ask my husband for the Cliff Notes version, but we will inevitably be interrupted by one of our three adorable and needy children. So I get fractions of sentences from him, and more often than not I will forget what we were talking about once the interruption has been dealt with. Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 7 2014

The Self-Conscious Mom & Her Very Observant Kids

By at 9:55 am

hole-in-sock

This post is part of our Torah commentary series through the perspective of a mother. This Shabbat we read Parashat Tetzaveh. To read a summary of the portion and learn more, click here.

I’d like to say that I’m the kind of woman who’s never given much thought to clothing and what I wear. I’d like to say that I’ve always just sort of thrown something on, and effortlessly, look pulled together all the time, or don’t, but either way, no matter. I’d like to remember my child-self as one who didn’t think tights were scratchy, who didn’t notice if her undershirt was tucked in, who didn’t have an obsessive penchant for the colors purple and orange, who didn’t mind wearing headbands, two-piece bathing suits, or ankle socks.

I’d like to say that I was and still am highly unselfconscious.

Except I am totally self-conscious, and have always been a bit of a nut when it comes to clothes. I’m not talking in a clotheshorse kind of way, where I’m off spending money on labels and status pieces. No, I’m talking about the much more existential and far less useful ways in which I obsess about how I look. I’ve never worn a bikini, I don’t really enjoy being photographed, and often notice myself fidgeting–with my clothing, my hair, whatever. While my neuroses are (mostly) in check, a healthy dose of anxiety runs through my bloodstream at all times, just to keep me on my toes. And often, this delightful kind of crazy rears its ugly head as I try and dress myself on any given day. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 19 2013

All Three Kids Are Asleep & Happy. How Did This Happen?

By at 9:37 am

cara

I woke up sounding like a frog again. Remnants from my cold on Thanksgiving, I suppose. But as I sit here in bed, sipping my coffee that my husband has brought me, with my son ensconced in my lap playing on his iPad, my thoughts are not on this nasty scratchy throat I cannot get rid of, but rather, on how, for the first time in a long time, I feel like I have done something right in this world of parenting. That somehow, something I did, or didn’t do, was actually a good decision. The sacrifice was worth it. My children, at this exact moment, are all happy.

I don’t recall this feeling. It is foreign to me. But it feels damn good.

You see, my 3-year-old son has never liked to sleep. Never even seemed to actually need sleep. At least not like all the other kids I know. Parents would roll their eyes at me when I said he didn’t go to sleep at night until 10 or 11 p.m. Surely I must be a terrible parent, or a push-over, I could see their judgment in their eyes. But his teachers and caregivers have continuously told us he has more energy than any other child in his class. Whether or not that is a good thing is up for debate, but clearly, not sleeping 12 hours a night worked just fine for him. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 16 2013

Interview + Giveaway: The Israeli-American Photographer Who Captured Motherhood in a Book

By at 12:11 pm

elinor carucci mother photograph book giveaway

Israeli-American photographer Elinor Carucci’s third photography book, released this past Setpember, is titled “Mother.” It’s an extremely beautiful, raw, and inspiring collection of photographs exploring Elinor’s pregnancy, birth, and the early childhood of her twins, Emmanuelle and Eden.

We got a chance to chat with the talented photographer on her inspiration for the book, what it was like to constantly photograph her children, and reconciling her career and her role as a parent. Want to get your hands on this beautiful book? Enter our giveaway at the bottom of this post.

What was your original inspiration for a book of photography about motherhood? 

The inspiration was motherhood. It’s as simple as that. The surprising thing for me was how little was actually portrayed about motherhood in the arts and photography. I feel that we’ve seen a lot of perfect celebrity photographs, and even in the history of art, a lot of Madonna and child images that, in a way, show a certain aspect of motherhood but definitely don’t go deep into the complexity of what it is to be a mother, to be a father, to be a parent. The inspiration was the intensity and the richness of the emotions and feelings, the complexity of the relationships that I experienced as a mother, and how much they were intertwined with one another and happening almost side by side, how intense of an experience it is. It is beautiful and joyful and magical and difficult and scary and full of failures and successes. It’s really a microcosm of everything we experience and feel, all of the emotions we have at once. The inspiration was to try to depict it the way I felt it, which was very rich and complex. Read the rest of this entry →

Sep 24 2013

Yes, There is a Such Thing as a Non-Painful Birth

By at 3:45 pm

lilbabies copy

I stood in the hallway of the hearing clinic, waiting in line for my son’s appointment. I overheard another mother telling her birth story to a 19-year-old girl.

The young girl was slim and trim; her belly skin was so tight that her navel practically kissed her back. The girl responded with something between a scrinch and a smile–it was clear she was trying not to appear grossed out by the gory details, though the contour of her lips said it all. The mom continued to talk animatedly about her painful experience of pushing for 12 hours. She spared no details, explaining how her insides felt as if they had popped out of her like a jack-in-the-box on speed. Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 7 2013

Nursing Twin Preemies is Not Easy But So Worth It

By at 2:03 pm

cara nursing twinsIn honor of World Breastfeeding Week, I am inspired to publicly declare that I breastfeed and support other mothers who nurse their children.

My twin girls were born just over 12 weeks ago. They arrived five weeks early and were so small and fragile that I had to learn how to hold a baby all over again. As preemies, they were automatically placed in the NICU and carried no body fat that would have regulated their temperature., Therefore, until my milk started to flow, I agreed to supplement my colostrum with formula. Thankfully, by the time my milk arrived two and half days later, they were latching and suckling easily. The girls lost some weight those first few days in the hospital and when they came home, Elora weighed 3 lbs, 15 oz and Pepper clocked in at 4 lbs, 9 oz.  Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 18 2013

How Adina Kay-Gross, Writer, Teacher, and Mother of Twins, Does It

By at 3:17 pm

maya wakes up

Ever wonder how other parents handle (or try to handle) the day-to-day grind of raising young kids? We were, which is why we started this series to shed light on how real women do it–from wake-up to bedtime and everything in between.

So how does Adina Kay-Gross, mother of twin 2-year-old girls, writer, contributing editor at Kveller.com, and adjunct faculty at Stern College and Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion do it? Here’s a day in her life:

6 a.m.: Maya bursts into song from her crib. It’s generally a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday, though some mornings she mixes it up and goes with Twinkle Twinkle or the ABCs, which, as we know, is the same song. Avi, her twin sister, yells some form of Stop it Maya or Maya noooooo. 

6:15 a.m.: Maya stops singing. Everything goes quiet. I try not breathe, praying they’ve gone back to sleep. Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 11 2013

I Was a Breastfeeding Snob… Until I Had Twins

By at 2:00 pm

twins with bottlesI was just shy of 23 years old when my first son was born. That meant that the sole people I viewed as role models were my mother, who had my sister when I was 13, and a handful of friends, who had children practically right after high school.

When it came to the issue of breastfeeding, they are the ones I turned to as examples. My birth class teacher was somewhat of a hippy, who informed all of us new mothers-to-be that a year of nursing is the absolute minimum. I had stared at her in shock as I heard these words, certain that I would only last six months or so as the mothers I knew had done. It was only when I held my little boy in my arms for the first time and tried to get him to latch on that I truly began to discover what breastfeeding was all about and what it entailed.  Read the rest of this entry →

May 30 2013

Maybe Thank You Cards Aren’t So Bad After All

By at 2:10 pm

cara paiuk twinsAlmost two years ago, I wrote about my disdain for writing thank you cards, and I still have an issue with the premise that thank you cards should be required or expected. Are we not supposed to give a gift, do a favor, or extend a kindness without an expectation of receiving something in return? Do we need the thank you card construct to make us feel good? Rewarded? Acknowledged?

To this day I resent my family for forcing me to write engagement, wedding, and baby shower thank you cards. I especially resent the pressure to churn out thank you cards 24 hours after receiving gifts from people I hardly knew when I was a new mother who couldn’t find time to shower or eat. It just made me regret receiving the gifts in the first place! Read the rest of this entry →

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