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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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Still, that sounded really good. By this time, the twins were done eating. I burped them. They had both pooped as they ate. The double pee from not changing after the last feeding had swollen the diapers so much that the diapers squished the poo into a fine layer that was starting to escape out of their diapers and up their backs. Gross. Good thing the baby wipes container was full. I put the freshly fed and changed babies back in their crib, and turned on the music mobile. No cries!

I was exhausted, but I was too mad at Matt to sleep. My shoulders ached with the tension. I made myself a cup of hot chocolate to drink in a steaming bubble bath, but they did not work their soothing magic. A warm embrace wasn’t the medicine I needed.

I wanted a real break, to remember who I was before I was mommy—and before I was Mrs. Mayo. I wanted Matt to have to watch the babies for more than two hours, without me in a nearby room to turn to if they twins got difficult. Then maybe he would get it.

If I brought along my breast pump, I could stay out more than just two or three hours. I could go to a museum. I could go to the mall and try to find some jeans that fit my no longer pregnant, but not back to pre-pregnancy shape. Maybe I could forget, for a few blessed hours, that my husband was an ass, and I was stuck with him since we had made two babies.

I decided to do it. If I got everything ready, I could leave right after the 3:00 feeding, and Matt would be getting up about the time the twins needed to eat again at 6:00. Suddenly, I didn’t feel tired any more. This was exciting! I felt like a commercial for a window cleaner—one minute everything looked dingy, and the next the world sparkled. I got out of the bath, dressed, and put on some makeup. I found my purse and got my keys and wallet out of the diaper bag. I retrieved my Sidekick from where it was charging. I got breast milk out of the freezer, and put it in the refrigerator. I packed up my breast pump with its cooler and ice pack and set it, along with my purse, by the door. Then I sat down to write Matt a note since, as much as I loved my Sidekick, I didn’t feel like typing a whole letter with my thumbs.


Page Bobby. You are taking care of the twins this morning.

I’m sure you are pissed off at me. Go ahead, I’m so mad at you I can’t see straight. Want a divorce? You can have 50% of time off from the babies. And so can I!

There are six bottles of breast milk in the fridge. If they are still frozen or the twins won’t take them cold, try putting them in a cup of warm water for a bit. Feeding times have been around 6:00, 8:30, and 11:00. I’ll be back after that.


I propped the note on Matt’s Blackberry, since the first thing he does every morning is check his pager email.

By this time it was 2:15. Less than an hour until I could expect the twins to stir again. Since I had energy, I used the time to catch up on some work around the house. At 3:00, I eased the dimmer switch on so as not to startle the twins, and watched them until they started to stir. What kinds of thoughts do two-month-old babies have? I knew they recognized me, since I could comfort them when no one else could. Was that just as a food source, or some instinctual knowing I was their mom?

I watched their tiny faces while I fed them. They were beautiful babies, both of them, with the blue eyes and wisps of blond hair they got from Matt. Not a trace of my green eyes and brown hair. They looked so much alike I would understand why people mistake them for identical twins if it weren’t for the fact that I always make sure Julianne has something pink on, and Patrick blue. What was wrong with me that I wanted to get a break from them? There was nothing especially difficult about them. Other than that there were two. Babies are a lot of work. Everyone knows that. I wanted babies—not two at once, but I did want two (and maybe three) kids. So what was my problem? I watched Julianne open and close her hand. Such a small hand. In a year or so, that hand would start telling me what she wanted. Milk. More. Mommy. Typical early baby signs. Did hearing moms look at their babies’ mouths this way? The window to their souls.

After the feeding, I changed the diapers and put the twins back in the crib they shared. I closed their door, then opened the door to the guest room where Matt slept so that the 3 a.m. feedings wouldn’t wake him. I hoped some of the flashing light from our room when twins started crying and the set of the baby cry detectors would reach him enough to wake him up. Then I looked in on Patrick and Julianne, both already sleeping and sucking away at their thumbs. “I love you,” I whispered to them, and went out to the car Matt usually drove, the one without car seats. 3:45, the dashboard said. I drove to the diner—the only place I knew would be open at that hour.

The waitress brought me my coffee quickly without saying anything. I wondered if she was just taciturn or not sure how to talk to a deaf customer. I would put my money on the latter though there weren’t any other customers at the moment so I could observe how she interacted with them.

The coffee tasted like it had been sitting in the pot for hours, but I savored it anyway since it was my first since finding out I was pregnant, worried the caffeine would go through my blood and milk. I even avoided decaf because I was worried about the chemicals used in removing the caffeine. This morning I could pump and dump. Or take a chance and see how the twins reacted to caffeinated milk. This was my day to take chances.

Looking out the window, I saw a man stocking a newspaper vending machine near the diner entrance. Just the thing! I went and got myself a paper. The war in Iraq was not going well. A teacher had been arrested in a nearby county for having child porn on his computer. An identity theft ring was busted. What a mess the world is.

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