Monthly Archives: June 2010

Babies: the Movie


Has anyone seen the movie, “Babies?”

I drove an hour to see it in on Sunday and have to say I wasn’t disappointed.

The movie   simultaneously follows four babies around the world – from first breath to first steps. From Mongolia to Namibia to San Francisco to Tokyo, BABIES joyfully captures on film the earliest stages of the journey of humanity that are at once unique and universal to us all. The children are, respectively, in order of on-screen introduction: Ponijao, who lives with her family near Opuwo, Namibia; Bayarjargal, who resides with his family in Mongolia, near Bayanchandmani; Mari, who lives with her family in Tokyo, Japan; and Hattie, who resides with her family in the United States, in San Francisco. (www.

What I found most striking about the film was the babies with the least amount of stuff seemed the happiest. The  Namibian baby wore no diapers (not going to attempt that) and played primarily in the dirt. She breastfed when she was hungry at will and if there were conflicts with older children, there was little parental intervention. Her mother carried her around on her back with some fabric and that was it. Her toys were things she found in the dirt like sticks and stones. The Mongolian baby also was BF on demand and his mother didn’t seem to mind if the families animals crawled all over him. He toddled all over his yurt and the surrounding fields. The most interesting thing to me was his mother climbed onto a motorcycle with him in a swaddle and drove off across the steppe (it looked painful for her). It was a very interesting film, with very little dialogue. the American and Japanese babies had the most “stuff” and were the most over stimulated. Both were dragged off to random playgroups and Mommy and Me events that seemed to confuse them and also appeared to be more for the parents’ benefit.

It made me  think about how much my twins have and we are conscious about what we buy. We haven’t bought any playpens, cribs, bouncy seats or anything else. We do have a crib picked out and I guess when they are too big for the co-sleeper, they’ll sleep in that. The one unusual thing that we’ve purchased are two cradleboards. If you don’t know what cradleboards are, they are Native American baby carriers.  Here’s a decent definition: 

A cradle board is a Native American baby carrier used to keep babies secure and comfortable and at the same time allowing the mothers freedom to work and travel.[3] The cradleboards were attached to the mother’s back straps from the shoulder or the head. For travel, cradleboards could be hung on a saddle or travois. Ethnographic tradition indicates that it was common practice to cradleboard newborn children until they were able to walk,[4] although many mothers continued to swaddle their children well past the first birthday. (

Bound and wrapped on a cradleboard, a baby can feel safe and secure. Soft materials such as lichens, moss and shredded bark were used for cushioning and diapers. Cradleboards were either cut from flat pieces of wood or woven from flexible twigs like willow and hazel, and cushioned with soft, absorbent materials.

The design of most cradleboards is a flat surface with the child wrapped tightly to it. It is usually only able to move its head.

Now the trick is that the babies don’t stay in the cradleboard all of the time, only for napping and for times when the parents need a free hand  (like cooking dinner). The biggest benefit is that they are extremely calming to babies (primarily because the baby feels safe and secure). We are also using baby carriers (instead of strollers) for trips to the supermarket, etc… MO2 is 1/4 Native American so he was all on board with the cradleboard idea. It is surprising but most of our friends and family are getting them as well. We spent a lot of time researching the cradleboards and are pretty excited to try them. They are our low tech baby item.

As for the unnecessary things like the shopping cart protector, after seeing Babies, I think I’ll skip it.




In the military, when someone is super tired, we say they are smoked.

That would be me right now. I think it is the third trimester. I ended up going into work yesterday for my 3 hour gestational diabetes test (which I borderlined failed) and ended up staying until 2pm. We are in the process of redeploying 7,000 personnel in the next few months and I spent a lot of time working on that between going down for blood draws. Anyway, I came home and crashed on the sofa.

Today I took DSS to get his passport which involved 2 trips in 98 degree heat. My Mom is coming in tonight for 4 days (MO2 and DSS leave for TX Saturday morning) and due to the heat it looks like her train which is due in at 10:49pm will be at least an hour late due to heat on the tracks (is there such a thing, really)? I’m excited to see her and excited to have calm in my house and lots of knitting and sitting around to be done.

Rock and Roll are dancing around like fools most of the time and sometimes Roll who is on top pushes against my ribs pretty hard. I’ve had one REALLY bad episode of reflux but right now I am doing ok, of which I am most grateful for. It is hard to imagine I have 9 more weeks of this, provided I can keep going in one piece.

Finally-a Stroller For Two


I have been slowly purchasing baby gear for Rock and Roll. I’ve been eyeing this stroller FOREVER but it was so expensive. Imagine my joy when we found it on sale at . My Dad and Stepmother generously offered to buy it for us, with one condition. That we NOT open it and assemble it until the twins are born. In good Ashkenzai tradition, we agreed to this and it will go into the storage unit until after their birth. They also offered to buy the boys’ car seats as well.

I don’t expect a shower and I’m not registered anywhere. Part of the issue is that I can’t travel to see my friends at home and because of work limitations, I can’t have one @ work. Army officers are limited in the monetary amounts of gifts we can receive AND I am the boss. I feel fortunate to be out on bed rest so my staff can forget about me. A cake would be fine but I’m not willing to go into the grey zone for a shower. I have no objection to a friends’ shower but I highly doubt they would be able to travel to me. This is one of the things I hate about the military, the forced separation from family and friends. My SIL has had two showers already (she’s 34 weeks). I was sorry I wasn’t able to attend the formal one (a high tea that was catered) but no traveling. She received many nice things but I don’t envy all those thank you cards she will be writing! The only other good thing about forgoing the shower is that I get exactly what I want, because I buy them myself but I love a good party and that impossibility makes me feel left out.

A Painting We Will Go…


We have hired DSS (as part of his life skills curricula) to paint our dining room. He isn’t doing a bad job at all but it is pretty labor intensive for me. I’ve just gotten to the point where I can actually LEAVE the room while he is painting because of the following comments,

“can you look at this?”

“did you remember to tape the molding?”

“No paint on my dining room table”

“scrub the paint drops off the hardwood.”

He is doing a stellar job but I am worn out. We are trying to do the room in stages, each day, he tapes off, primes and paints one wall. We have 2 more walls to go. This is more time-consuming than you might thing because my dining room has tons of windows he has to tape around. The room looks great, me not so much!

I need a cigarette and I don’t smoke!

Finally Faces!


We had our weekly u/s visit yesterday. Cervix looks great and is getting longer (3.5 inches). I now get an every other week u/s instead of weekly! Woohoo! Yesterday was the boys’ growth scan. They are completely concordant which is great, weighing an estimated 2 lbs, 2oz respectively. Both are measuring in the 60th percentile for singletons which makes them big for twins.

The best part of the visit was finally seeing their little faces.  In baby A’s profile, he moved a bit so it looks a bit like he has 2 chins.I labeled the features for easy reference. MO2 swears A has his chin.
Baby B is a full frontal so he looks a little bit like monster baby but I still think you can see a little of his features. We are happy to finally get to see them. They are stubborn little buggers who always hide with their faces away from the camera.

These are their 26 week photos. This week they went from cephalic to transverse and so they are kicking me in new and different ways. Now they are in the bunk bed position with B on top of A, last week they head down, so it is obvious they are moving a great deal. We are under 100 days with roughly 11 weeks to go!