House guests are a funny thing, and jungle house guests are even funnier.
Back in New England my experiences with house guests were mixed, but often resulted with the guest or guests eating all my food and insulting my kitten. House guests are like that. Here in the jungle, its a new set of rules. In New England you can just direct people to museums, tourist activities, etc. Stick em on public transport and say ‘have fun!’ This doesn’t happen in the jungle. Public transport? You’ve got to be kidding. On this island, fun involves trekking through the jungle, braving big surf, and balancing on lava flows.
Ever since our friend T arrived, Jungledad and I have been beyond exhausted, but this is a good thing. We normally don’t go to botanical gardens, beaches, jungle hikes, waterfalls, volcanic eruptions, etc., every day. Or hardly ever. It takes so much time to get the twins ready and pack up all their paraphernalia for such expeditions, that its hard to psyche ourselves up for it, even if only once a week. Okay, once every two weeks. We normally talk ourselves into just taking them for a long walk or to the coffee shop in town. It was easy to justify because they slept through everything anyway, and were too small for those nifty baby bjorn type things (our top pic is the “ergo,” by the way), which meant we had to lug around their car seats, which weigh about 10,000 lbs each. But now they’re bigger. They stay awake for periods of time in the wide wide world. They fit in nifty kangaroo pouchey things. They are mobile.
Of course, everyday is a little extreme and obviously not sustainable when my husband goes back to work on Monday, but this insane schedule has opened our eyes to what is now possible. We hiked to not one, but two big beautiful waterfalls yesterday, and bought out the farmer’s market, and made a huge delicious tropical dinner with local ingredients. The girls loved it. They started to really look at things for the first time: banyan trees, birds of paradise, bloody great waterfalls. They were awake, interested even! It was great, not only for the twins, but also for me, because I made T carry a baby at all times, substantially lightening my load, and also affording me the opportunity to tell everyone we met that T and my husband were the “parents,” and I was just the “gestational carrier.” I might have been the only one that found it funny, but I found it funny enough for all of us! It killed me to see peoples faces. And the boys were good sports. I have my morale to keep up, after all.
Okay, gotta wrap it up, but I’ll leave you with my ‘raising twins in the jungle tip of the day!’ This is a new thing I’m starting, to amuse myself, if no one else. Here goes!
As you might expect, there are very few toy stores in the jungle (go figure!) and the one that does exist is vastly overpriced because the toys have to be shipped from the ends of the earth, to the mainland, then to our end of the earth, and man, all the toxic lead inside those toys is heavy! Fuel costs, yo. So- here’s a fun toy you can make that will keep not one, but two babies entertained for a period of time. Buy a skinny wooden dowel. Then take a knife, or other sharp implement, and carve little divots in one end of the dowel. Tie a colorful ribbon in each divot, and presto! a fun ribbon stick like those favored by medieval peasants circling maypoles.
The ribbon stick is awesome because you can wave it around your infant twins and they will instantly be distracted from their crying or eating cardboard or other unfavorable activity, and watch the ribbons with great interest. Shaking the ribbons frantically right in front of their faces, or on top of their bellies, or dragging slowing over the tops of their heads are all recommended because they result in the delighted squeals of happy babies. Also recommend letting them grab the ribbons, bite the ribbons, etc. They love it and its good for them. And you.