Soon after I came home from the hospital with Squidge and Squdge, one of the first pieces of advice given from someone who had also had twins was this: “Don’t expect to get anything done in the first year”. This seemed reasonable and I took it in, agreeing that with two babies I’d probably be too busy for big projects. But I did not imagine that this many months later grocery shopping would still be so difficult or that I would have to organize my day and budget my time if I want to do something in the basement because getting two little guys downstairs is tricky but leaving two babies upstairs alone together is asking for trouble. I didn’t fathom how much of my time would be spent being climbed on, crawled over and tugged on. I did not,could not, have realized the emotional toll of being this tired for this long, to see such little progress and so few tangible markers of positive growth. Undoubtedly this has been a year so much harder than I imagined.
And then the Monkeys turned 1.
It’s been a whole year and I keep hearing “You made it!” as though I’m at the end of something but instead it feels as though I’m in the middle of a mountain, the path too steep to slide down, and I too tired to climb higher. So I sit, feeling stuck right where I was a year ago. Yes the babies sleep better than they did but Squdge is far from sleeping through the night and the Hubs still occasionally finds himself being woken up by a tired, angry and tantrumming wife. My body has changed but still I’ve been presumed pregnant twice in the last 3 weeks, my tummy round enough that it doesn’t prompt a quiet wonder but instead fills people to ask with confidence, not if but when I am due. And my house, and laundry and cooking supper…my days so often feel little more than the sum of wrestling babies to sleep or searching for sleep myself in between feeding and diapers and feeding and diapers and feeding and diapers and often not sleeping when I should be because it’s nice to have some time when my arms are my own.
Yesterday after Cycling Mamas, carrying a quiet and content Squidge in front and a tired snugly Squdge in the carrier on my back, someone said to me “You make it all look so easy”. And in that moment on that day, it did look easy. But she hadn’t seen the middle of the night before when Squdge had spent more than an hour yelling at me for all the injustice his 1-year-old mind could imagine. She missed the path of destruction the boys left that morning in my house so I could madly get ready to leave, only to arrive late, the sound of my two screaming babies following me up the stairs as I dropped them in childcare and grabbed my bike. This woman didn’t see me standing over my bike, shoulders hanging in defeat, feeling left behind as I waited alone at the only traffic light on our ride. She didn’t hear me crying tears of frustration and discouragement, feeling like nothing I do makes any difference at all.
“A mountain is composed of tiny grains of earth. The ocean is made up of tiny drops of water. Even so, life is but an endless series of little details, actions, speeches, and thoughts. And the consequences whether good or bad of even the least of them are far-reaching.” —Swami Sivananda
Each time I clean banana off my floor only to find more later; each time I go for a walk even though I can remember what it felt like to be a runner; each time I wrestle Squidge to get his diaper changed and then wrastle Squdge to do the same and then realize that Squidge is stinky again, it is a drop in my ocean. Each time I take the Brood to Costco and laugh as Buster tap-dances his way through the isles and I listen to The Lady turning every poem she can find into a song, or smile as they all play and giggle, the twins becoming more and more fun all the time, it is adding earth onto what will someday become a mountain. It’s progress though slow.
A mother of 12 year old twins recently reassured me that I would get back to running, but added that it wouldn’t be next year (not next year?!?!). Another mother of twins let me know that the hardest time will be 18-24 months (you mean I I’m not done the hardest yet?!?!). And I’ve been told that twins pay off after 3 years (3 years?!?!). So yes, I’ve made it. 1 year. 365 days of tiny drops in an ocean of motherhood, pieces of sand in my mountain of being a woman, a wife, ME. There is room for more. And time for more. And little by little by sometimes very very little, I’m getting there.
One of the first times I made this dessert was for a family baby blessing and potluck. It was close to Thanksgiving and there were a lot of desserts but this was the only gluten-free. It was so delicious that I felt bad for everyone who ate Costco apple pie while we got such a treat. Buster calls this Apple Scrumptious, and it really IS scrumptious. Easier than apple pie and more decadent than apple crisp, it lends itself well to gluten-free but doesn’t have to be.
Apple Scrumptious –
Crustless Caramel Apple Pie
9-10 apples, peeled and sliced thin (about 8 cups)
1 Tbsp cinnamon
3 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp flour (I used an all purpose gluten free mix)
3/4 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup flour mix (Gluten free works well)
1 cup crushed pecans
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup cream (the last time I made this the Hubs had used up the last of our cream but I had some evaporated milk in the cupboard. It wasn’t as good but still worked really well.)
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
Cut a round of parchment paper with a 2″ diameter larger than your spring-form pan and place inside folding the edges up. ***
Mix the apples, cinnamon, sugar and salt in a large bowl and pour into the Springform pan, keeping as much as you can inside the parchement. Pack down loosely.
In a bowl, mix melted butter, sugar, flour and crushed pecans. Blend in the egg and salt. Mix well and spread it over the apples with a spatula.
Bake at 350 degrees for 60-75 minutes until the apples are soft.
While it’s baking, make your caramel sauce. Mix the brown sugar, cream, butter and salt in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook while whisking gently for 5 to 7 minutes, until it gets thicker. Add in the vanilla, stirring gently. Turn off the heat and let cool slightly.
When the pie is done, Remove from oven and with a sharp knife or fork poke a few holes in the top. Pour the caramel sauce over top and then Let it rest before opening up the pan to ensure that it holds its shape.
***You could also make this in two deep dish pie pans, just double the topping and divide over the two pies.