It took me a long damn time to look at pictures like this without wincing, so it says a lot about my emotional development that I’m able to post them for the world to see and proclaim that they make me giggle.
These pictures are from late 1999. The twins were around 15 months old and Finn was almost four. I was nearing the end of my year of treatment for hepatitis C, but it wasn’t getting any easier on me physically, as my doctor had said it did for some patients. I took the interferon on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and spent Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays wracked with chills, vomiting and headaches.
The medicine affected my memory. I remember leaving a friend’s baby shower and trying to call Bill to tell him I was on the way home. I couldn’t remember our home phone number and resorted to calling information to get it. Between feeling like crap and the memory lapses, I feared that I was missing some fun months with the boys, so I grabbed the camera every time I felt able to hold it without puking. And I’m so thankful I did.
Today I deal with back talk, science projects that spring from nowhere, anti-girl weapons, and pleas for American Idol. But any problems can usually be solved with fines, banishment to a room, or extra chores.
Not so back then. We were covered up in boys every moment– boys who had to be watched or they’d drink out of the toilet, eat dog food, and pull all the books off the bottom shelf of the bookshelf. If Bill wanted to eat, he had to wallow on the floor and be the playground to divert everyone while I fixed dinner. So he did.
I don’t know what Drew is holding, but he’s coming straight at Bill’s eye with it. You can tell Bill’s an experienced father because he’s prophylactically squinching his eyes shut. Or that expression might be caused by Porter’s ankle grinding into his scrotum; it’s hard to tell.
This shows all the furniture we had in the den at the time, with the exception of the changing table in the corner. No lamps, no sharp-cornered coffee table for boys to jump off. I chose the rug especially for its color, which was a fantastic boogery/bloody/fecal combination guaranteed to hide all spills and accidents. For the same reason, the boys didn’t wear clothes unless someone was coming over. Actually, we didn’t put clothes on them unless we needed to impress that certain someone.
Every mom has those hours in the late afternoon when you suffer through the kids’ crankiness and pray for someone to come home and be the playground and offer up his scrotum for a footrest. Here’s a picture that captures the way I remember those hours:
The part that makes me giggle here (actually I snorted) is Finn’s shirt. Finn thought it would be cool to go to Harvard because his aunt was in business school there. He changed his mind once he found out that doing so would require him to spend the night away from home. Ten years later, now that I’m more familiar with Finn’s study habits, I’m thankful he abandoned the Harvard dream early to avoid an emotionally scarring disappointment as a teen.
Porter was generally a happy kid, so I’m guessing he’s crying because he’s starving and my hands are too full of boys to do anything about it. Drew’s plugged up pretty well, but let me tell you– he developed such a pacifier dependency that he’d crawl around the house with three in each hand, and he’d stash another five or six in his bed in case he needed one. Pacifiers were his heroin, and Bill and I stole them all one night and left a battery operated toy train in their place. It was a successful intervention.
There were many pictures from 1999 that made me giggle, but the fact I was able to smile at these under the circumstances is quite an achievement.
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