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Monday, February 08, 2010

New York City Trip - Part 2

January 16-25, 2010: This is my fourth visit to Steven and Sara's Manhattan apartment; the second since the twins were born. The little girls' stuff has managed to take over the space, as new babies have a way of doing in any home, but in this case one needs to multiply most of the stuff by two! Oh well, there is still room to move about.

The rooms look cheerful with lots of light coming in the apartment's four tall windows and it's tastefully decorated. The IKEA store located in New Jersey, a short ferry trip away from Manhattan, just across the Hudson River, has been a handy place for their finding functionally chic apartment furniture like wardrobe storage units and bookcases, etc. The kitchen is small, but I am looking forward to doing the cooking. I will just have to follow the McDonald's meal prep rule of CAYG (clean as you go).

The height of contentment is feeling my sweet-smelling, sleeping grandbaby's small head tucked up under my chin while her tiny, extended little arms and drawn up legs and the rest of her body are cradled against me. Magnolia and Dorothy are little city girls and the street sounds of garbage trucks, beeping taxi horns, construction on the top of the townhouse apartment down the street, and emergency vehicle sirens seem to be taken in stride with nary a bat of tiny eyelid or grimace. I wonder if the sounds of the country will put them on-edge some day.

Steven has uploaded a vast assortment of songs onto their computer in the living room. Lots of melodies there to lull the twins into dreamland. One tune that never has failed to calm the twins' occasional upsets is "The Music of the Night" from the musical "The Phantom of the Opera". They are not living that far from Broadway, and here they are seeming to enjoy one of the finest tunes to come from the stage in recent times. I witness the effects of this song on quieting their cries several times, so luckily I know right where to turn to employ the same tactic when I am babysitting one day while Sara is enjoying a much-needed outing. The effect is mercifully immediate and the resulting calm allows me time to warm up their bottles before all is lost! I am a believer in the "magic of the music of the night" - whether night or day!

The twins were born 2 weeks earlier than their due date, so even though they are now 9 weeks old they seem so tiny. I am surprised at how alert they are and also at how attentive they can be. Steven and Sara read to them out of the little children's books they received as baby gifts. The girls' attention lasts amazingly long - or so it seems to me - at least during the length of time it takes to read 2 or 3 of the short books. Magnolia and Dorothy seem to tune in to the subject matter on each page of the books shown to them- maybe it's the bright colors or the shapes. Certainly they don't have any references to what a monkey or a hat is. Maybe it's the charming rhythm of their Mommy's or Daddy's reading voices. Whatever it is - it's another wonderful thing to witness during this visit. I only wish some of my past 5th grade students had been so attentive!

Steven is working late nights this week - often arriving home between 10 pm and midnight. This is typical when special projects come due at his advertising firm. My long days with Sara seem to pass by too quickly, and I can certainly appreciate first-hand how busy the parents of twin babies can be! I wish I could be here more often to help throughout the year, but my living in Texas puts the kibosh on that. It's a good thing for parents to be affirmed in their knowledge of what good parents their own offspring have become. It is a treat to observe Steven and Sara's loving interaction with their little girls.

One afternoon, while I am holding Magnolia and Sara is resting on the sofa holding a sleeping Dorothy, I observe how much baby Dorothy's hands look like her Mommy's hands - but in miniature - narrow, tapered hands with long slender fingers - very lovely! Sara seems pleased when I mention this to her. Later on that afternoon, while Dorothy is sleeping in the playpen bed in the living room and Sara is folding up clothes in the bedroom, I lay Magnolia in her baby crib after her diaper change with a promise to return quickly after washing my hands. On my return to the bedroom, I notice Magnolia's tiny hands swinging about her head. Remembering a funny line from the "Seinfeld" reruns Sara and I had been watching on the TV, I blurt out, "Why, I think Magnolia has 'man hands'!" - referring to an episode in which Seinfeld is turned off by his blind date's sizable hands - calling them 'man hands'. Well, of course, little Magnolia's sweet, tiny, girlish hands aren't even close to fitting that outrageous description - but it seems like a funny, quirky thing to say in context to our earlier conversation regarding hands. Anyway, I grin at Sara and she grins back, and at the same time, to both of our surprise, Magnolia laughs out loud and grins really big too! It is a glorious moment. I can't recall having heard the twins laughing before and neither can Sara.

Later that day, after Steven has returned home from work, I can overhear Sara telling him about the whole experience. I'm not sure he is very amused that his precious daughter's hands could be labeled 'man hands'. I even feel proud that Steven could be a bit chagrined about anyone suggesting such a thing about his darling little girls. At the same time, Magnolia got Grandmama's joke! I just say - you had to be there!


  1. How delightful! I felt as though I was in the room with you, observing all the interactions first-hand. What a wonderful time in life.

  2. Anonymous11:23 AM

    Just to let you know I do stop by once in awhile to see what's new and I read most everything.
    Loved the picture of Raleigh sitting on the sofa in front of the twins in their baskets.
    We used to do the samething with our Jason and wife's twin daughters. They are now ten years old and little ladies. How we love!

    By the way the twins I mentioned are my great grand daughters.

  3. Hi there Anonymous,

    I'm not certain who you are but believe I know. Thought I'd mention that you had one minor error when you mentioned "Raleigh sitting on the sofa in front of the twins in their baskets." The handsome fellow reading to his babies is son Steven and not yours truly. Oh ... to be that young again!


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