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Sign Language Studies

American Annals of the Deaf

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Deaf American Prose: 1980–2010
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“Oh, I was trying to remember where I put my golf discs. Bobby paged while you were sleeping and asked me to play disc golf tomorrow. He’ll come get me at 8:00. We’ll play a round and then get something to eat.”

What the hell was he thinking? After a week home alone with the babies I needed him there.

“I would have asked if that’s OK, but I didn’t want to disturb you. I know you need your sleep.”

“If you cared about my needs, you wouldn’t have said yes to Bobby!”

“Your needs? I need a break. All week I go to work and then come home and spend all evening helping take care of the twins and fixing dinner and doing stuff around the house because all you do is feed the babies and sleep.”

I started crying. “You bastard. All I do? You have no fucking idea.”

I felt a fist squeezing my heart. We had never had fights like this until after I was pregnant. We had met when we were both nineteen, married at twenty-five, and never had a fight more serious than about me spending too much on clothes or him forgetting to let me know when he would be home late. I thought Matt was pretty near perfect. We had bought our house with space for the two or three kids we planned, so I thought it was just the start of chapter two in our fairy tale when the Clearblue Easy test was positive. When the first sonogram showed two babies, we celebrated.

How had it gotten this bad?

“What do you want me to do, tell him my bitch wife won’t let me go?” Matt’s face turned red as he signed fast and furious even as he held Julianne.

“You should tell him you somehow forgot you have two babies.”

“I’m going, or you can forget about me helping you out evenings. I worked all day and just took care of the twins and gave them baths so you could rest.”

Patrick had come off my breast but I was crying so hard I didn’t notice at first. I could barely breathe.

Matt stood up and put Julianne down on our bed. “You put the twins to bed. Maybe then you’ll appreciate what a good husband you have.” He left the room.

I slid Julianne over so that she was snuggled against my thigh, and picked Patrick up to burp him. What else could I do?

“Your dad is an ass,” I told the babies, using my voice.

I checked the diapers. No poop, just a little wet. They can wait. I arranged the twins in the middle of the bed, lay down beside them, and promptly fell asleep. The little “voice” in my head that usually makes me worry about things like rolling over and suffocating a baby must have been sleeping, too.

The next thing I knew, I could feel a baby crying, though not yet hard enough to set off the signaling system. It was Julianne, so I sat up and picked her up. 11:45, right on schedule for the midnight feeding.

A light was on downstairs, so I picked Julianne up and headed down wondering if Matt was still up. Matt wasn’t downstairs, but a bag with his disc golf gear was in the dining room. A clear message from Matt. Hahaha, I’m sleeping and you’re not, and tomorrow I’m going to go have fun, and you’re not!

I put Julianne down in the pack-n-play we kept in the living room and went upstairs to get Patrick. I felt like I had elephant legs, but without elephant strength. Somebody has to take care of your babies, scumbag Matt.

Patrick was still sleeping, but I got him up so I could feed both twins. I put the babies on the sofa, turned on the TV to CNN, got the breastfeeding pillow hooked up around my waist, propped my feet on the ottoman, and got the twins latched on. Patrick required some coaxing, but once he got on he must have decided he was hungry.

I was too mad at Matt to focus on the news. He’s either an unobservant idiot who has no idea how difficult things are for me, or he is a total slime who doesn’t care about me. He thinks he needs a break? I hadn’t been away from the twins since they came home from the hospital except for going to my OB to make sure my C-section was healing properly. I hardly got out of the house; it was just too complicated.

But what could I do? The going rate for taking care of two infants was $20 an hour or more. Now that I had quit work to be a stay-at-home mom, it would be really hard to justify a trip to the bookstore-and-coffee-bar; we were OK on just Matt’s salary, but just barely. That would be so nice, though, to pump my breasts empty and just go and get myself a latte, browse the new fiction, sit and read bits of some books, and buy one that struck my fancy. Maybe a new Candace Bushnell. Sex and the City, a true escape. Then maybe a walk on the unpaved hiking path through wooded parkland that can’t take a stroller. Most importantly, I would be alone. No babies, no husband. No demands on my body, though my body would betray my fantasy, since by then my boobs would be getting full and telling me it’s time to head home and feed the twins.

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