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NYC Quality of Life FAIL!

Today was a pretty shitty day. Grunter–who usually falls asleep without a peep before I’ve left the room, couldn’t get it together last night and I ended up nursing him to sleep and he still didn’t go down until 8 pm. For a guy that is usually out cold by 6:45, that was late.


Then, he woke up at 5am this morning. I have been sleeping in the bedroom with them this past week because I just can’t bear the damn sofa bed. I’ve got the memory foam topper on my bed and damn, it’s a fine thing. However, Grunter is waking early again since we/I’m in there (I even tried the suggestion of a curtain. Didn’t help.)
This past week, I’ve brought him in bed with me, Chicken hits the couch and we cozy up for some booby bedtime. Usually he falls back asleep, I transfer him to his crib and we all sleep until 7 or 7:30am. I don’t like getting woken up at 5am, but the sleep I’m getting in my bed is amazing and I do love the quality snuggle time with my little guy.
This morning he didn’t go back to sleep. Then W2 woke up at 6am and thank GOD I had the foresight last night to prep as much of their food as possible, because they had meltdowns all day long of epic proportions.

Whoop Whoop wants/needs me to be near him all.the.time, all day long. As in, while I’m changing Grunter’s diaper he repeatedly tries to climb in my lap and flips out that he can’t. He hangs on my legs, needs to be held and is just super clingy right now. He flips out when I go to the bathroom and he can see me! Basically if I go to the other side of the gate-he goes beserk. I don’t even need to leave the room or be out of eye sight.
I think this is starting to affect Grunter because he’s not getting as much attention from me now. Today, he started biting W2. So, we did one minute time outs in the crib 4 times. It was horrible.

This morning, I tried to take them to an area playing field that we frequent almost daily but today there were a couple of bikes leaning against the fence and W2 pulled one over on himself and so I parked my stroller in front of them, but even then he was obsessed and while I’m trying to make sure he doesn’t hurt himself with the bikes, Grunter is taking off out the gate towards the fountain and no, they won’t close the gates and now that I’ve got Grunter where the hell is W2 and now W2 has darted out the other opening. Yeah. People are not listening to Mommy.
I tell them that they have to do a time out in the stroller every time they go for the gate and after 3 time outs, we pack it up and leave. No more playing.

We threw our lunch, we threw our smoothie cups, the lids burst open, there was smoothie everywhere. Mommy was trying super hard not to lose her shit and so looking forward to nap time so SHE could nap, too!
But Mr. Grunter, who had fallen asleep in the stroller earlier because of his 5am wake up, did not want to sleep at nap time and so I brought him in bed with me again, (my boobs are a powerful thing) so he would at least nurse, zone out and maybe fall asleep. No dice. It was relaxing at least, but there was no nap.
Whoop Whoop didn’t sleep long enough and was clinging to my leg as I was trying to take Grunter’s sleep sack off him. I had Grunter on the bed and seriously turned for one second and the next thing I know he is falling head first off the bed. Boom. Cry. Everyone scared shitless.
He is fine, but there’s a knotty bruise forming on his head.

I decided to try a city playground this afternoon as they keep their gates closed. There is a small one near my house that is rarely crowded and I’ve been OK there by myself before. Nothing is ever relaxing and it’s like watching the world’s fastest tennis game while also fetching the balls, but it’s DO-able.
It started off fine, W2 happily walking around with his doll stroller and Grunter tottering around. Then W2 wants to check out the tree and it was a really cool tree, so we all go to examine the bark and talk about the tree. Whoop Whoop is a down and dirty kind of kid–all boy–and he starts to examine the dirt. I hate dirt. But I have accepted that kids get dirty and if they want to play in the dirt, I’m not going to stop them. Even Grunter was into it and that kid usually hates to get his hands dirty. So I’m cool. It’s dirt. Whatev.
Um, what the hell. This dirt is beyond dirty. It’s liberally sprinkled with rat poop.

I scoop the boys up, plunk them down in the stroller and take out the wipes before anyone can touch anything or put their fingers in their mouths.

We walked back to the apartment with Mommy trying not to cry. First of all, I feel like a failure that I can’t seem to make it through ONE SINGLE FUCKING DAY by myself without things dissolving into chaos. Second, I feel like there’s not a single safe place I can take these boys by myself.
I want them to be able to explore and run and play with dirt–safely.
“Our” house is still on the market.
I was sitting in the living room last night listening to the people outside and thought–if we lived in that house we could be sitting outside right now. The boys could be in bed, but we could be having dinner outside and they would be safe. We could go for a swim and then sleep in our own bed. That would be a really nice quality of life.

I keep trying to make myself believe that we can do this here–to the point I have seriously thought of stopping little kids on the sidewalk and asking them if they’d rather live close to the beach with a huge backyard and a swimming pool and their own playroom or live in NYC? I haven’t done it yet, but I’ve come close. I’m super curious to the responses. What makes people stay? We are going crazy.

We had originally thought we’d make the trip down to Florida in July or early August, but I’m thinking that date might be moved up to June…
I think I just hit my breaking point today where I found myself thinking “My boys just played in rat poop. Can we leave today?”

Anyone have any tips on how to house hunt with twin toddlers in tow?
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11 Comments

  • Reply Heather May 15, 2011 at 1:01 am

    No advice, just virtual (hugs).

  • Reply Jen May 15, 2011 at 1:21 am

    Sorry no advice here either but welcome to the wonderful world of toddlerhood. Everyone has good and bad days! Believe me, I have a house with a fenced backyard and our own rooms, but we still have bad days and I have to walk around a Target to calm down because having a toddler boy is hard, and you have two! You will have bad days in FL too, so make sure you 110% want to go. We contend with dog poop, not rat poop and driveways/streets with cars instead of playground gates. I cannot imagine chunk sleeping until 7:30 (!) on a good day so take a bubble bath, drink a glass of wine and hopefully tomorrow will be better.

  • Reply Anonymous May 15, 2011 at 1:29 am

    My twins just turned one a few weeks ago and I can see those kinds of days ahead. Hope they are in bed and you are getting a little relaxation now!

    Good luck with the move process. As the previous poster said, toddlers are toddlers even in the suburbs…we have dog poop and goose droppings around here! Space and relatives nearby and adventures to the beach sound pretty good though on those tough days!

    Keep us posted!!

  • Reply tireegal68 May 15, 2011 at 1:55 am

    OMG! Rat poop! That has to be the worst kind! Good for you for identifying it! I feel for you, I do!
    I read your original post that got eaten and I tried to comment but it said blogger was down or something. It said that on other blogs so must have been a blogger thing all around.
    You sound trapped. And so frustrated – but really trapped. We live in the gritty northside of Chicago – way more space, but parks are down at heel, things are broken, I’m sure there’s a lot of poop. But it’s near the lake ( more poop from geese and seagulls) which makes it just so beautiful. They clean up the beaches in summer.
    Just west of us is a nice ethnically mixed suburb that’s not very fashionable but affordable. They have nice parks, great kids stuff. Whole different ball game. Which is apropos of not much, but we still stay in Chicago – our condo is under water so we have few choices.
    I say move. It might be a bit more like the burbs but if you pick the town carefully you could be lucky. St Augustine I heard is cool. That’s all I know about Florida. Same money spent, different quality of life. Playdates in yours and others’ back yards. I’m biased because I am yearning to move too!
    I wouldn’t let fear about Chickens job stop you – unless you have concrete evidence that she needs to worry about it.
    I’ll be watching:)
    Hope that the boys and you get to catch up on some sleep:)

  • Reply Amy May 15, 2011 at 2:41 am

    Lately I’ve had more and more days like that, especially as my boys head closer to one. In the past week, I’ve found myself on the floor of their room crying when each baby decided that the only thing that would comfort him was being in my arms without his brother. After 30 minutes, I soothed them by scattering cheerios on the floor and letting them eat them without hands like puppies. It was the only thing.

    To put it in perspective, we live in a 3 bedroom townhouse in the middle of an awesome city. We have a gated courtyard where all the kids play, and parks nearby. Best of both worlds, but sometimes it just gets to be… a lot.

    Good luck! I hope tomorrow is better.

  • Reply Pomegranate May 15, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    two toddlers having meltdowns at the same time does not sound like fun. as others have said, this is not about your parenting.

    good luck figuring out the ifs and whens of your move. and good luck getting through the early-onset terrible twos with mommy’s sanity intact!

  • Reply reproducinggenius May 16, 2011 at 3:40 am

    We are living in such a different situation, and yet I totally understand where you are right now (we have had rat poop encounters too; it’s a big game changer). We’ve just secured ourselves a nice traditional house in the suburbs, and while it feels nothing like my dream life, in some respects, it’s everything I want because it means space and safety and ease of living for my boy. I imagine that’s what you’re dreaming about too. It’s hard not to want it, especially on the bad days.

    I don’t have any advice on the househunting except to pay attention to how they respond to places. It’s pretty impressive how intuitive these little guys can be.

    Wishing you the best of luck and lots of ease in this transition. It really seems like a good one for your family.

  • Reply Maman d'Austin May 16, 2011 at 11:56 am

    I am afraid of getting flamed here (I am a NYC single mom to a 7 1/2 yr old boy) but Puffer, Puffer, Puffer. You are giving time-outs to 1 year olds? I really don’t think they understand cause & effect to that extent. I’d like to recommend a book “What’s Going On in There?” by Lise Eliot. I feel for you but at the same time I think of all these nannies that I see in my neighborhood walking around with twins. If they can do it, you can too!

  • Reply Chicken May 16, 2011 at 11:10 pm

    This is Chicken. I never post but I’d just like to put a plug in for my wife. First of all let me say that I respect everyone’s opinion and input but in my opinion, dealing with twins is not the same as a singleton or even a singleton with another sibbling. Twins are going through the same challenging developmental milestones AT THE SAME TIME. They are both learning to walk and love their new found freedom and ability to run into TWO DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS from their caregiver. This makes watching them outside by yourself VERY challenging to say the least. Even our Nanny (who has 10 years of experience with twins) can no longer take them to the playground by herself SAFELY. So yes, you may see Nanny’s out pushing the twins around, but the key word there is PUSHING. If you were to watch that Nanny in the playground running after those twins, especially two boys, it would be a totally different story. And I don’t think it would be SAFE, which is really the most important thing. Our boys are active and all over the place, and I do think that a modified version of time out can work fine on them. I think we don’t give enough credit to children and they can understand much more than what we think. This is also what our pediatrician (consistently rated one of the top pediatricians in the country) told us. The best way to deal with them at this point is to tell them “no” calmly and then put them by themselves without interaction for a few minutes. We want to keep our boys safe and putting them in the stroller alone for a few minutes to teach them to listen to their mommies seems like a fair tradeoff to me.

  • Reply thatsalotofesses May 17, 2011 at 1:26 am

    I only have one and I’m frequently exhausted by the end of the day, so I can only imagine how you feel.

    We are moving to the burbs because of… well… everything that you mentioned about city living. That being said, I’m really, really anxious that we’re going to miss the city.

    I do hope you come to a decision that works best for your family – even though, to be honest, I don’t think anything is *perfect.* Even if the space, outdoor ability, fenced yard, etc. etc. of Florida meets *most* of your needs, I can’t imagine not missing city life. 😉 And maybe that just has to be the way it is, and that’s OK.

    Either way, good luck!

  • Reply Maman d'Austin May 17, 2011 at 8:48 am

    I reread my post & see how the last sentence fails to convey my intent. FWIW it is meant in the spirit of encouragement and my strong belief that barring exceptions a mother will do better by her kids than a nanny who comes to work to pay her bills. So Puffer, I know you can do it!

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