25th Street, Oakland has changed; Staying home vrs going out with twins

Saturday morning, 7:40AM. Babies still quiet, house quiet but light. Coffee good, toast sweet and chewy. Sky grey and rainy. Husband on weekend get-away to Vegas to see fight. It’s just me, Jack, and Fiona for the weekend. Oh and Billy the dog. Jack and Fiona are probably tired; we went out last night. This is a piece of advice I can give to moms of two-year-old twins, when the children wake up from their afternoon nap grab some snacks, go out for dinner or bring sandwiches, and go for an adventure. Do this two or three times a week, you will love your babies more because you will be skipping the part of the night when you’re trying to make dinner for your husband, while the babies climb on things they aren’t supposed to falling down and busting their lips, crying for your attention, getting into anything and everything they’re not supposed to, basically driving you crazy. Then the dinners finally done, husband eats, babies push dinner away, you say, “Listen to mama, this is your last meal of the night. If you don’t eat your dinner, you’ll go to bed hungry.” Then after that sinks in they eat several bites, maybe the whole meal. You say. “I told you it was good.” Now it’s time to clean the kitchen. You try, husband sits with babies, plays with them, winds them up. They start getting wild or crying. You are at your wits end, “OK, time for bed, that’s it” You give the hint to husband, you’re done, you just want to give babies their bath, put on their PJ’s, read a book and come back upstairs. At which point the dishes need to be finished, because you hate waking up to a messy kitchen. You finally sit down to watch a show at 9:30pm. Spent.   

OR, take yesterday for example. Babies wake up, it’s around 2:45. I heard them around 2:30 but I was in my studio painting and decided to give myself the full two-hour break, 12:40pm to 2:45PM. I know they are together, safe in their nursery with tons of soft toys and cups of water. I get snacks ready, cheese, yogurt smoothies, and crackers, change diapers, get myself dressed, get babies in car. I tell them they can watch the Wiggles in the car and it works, they jump in without much of a hitch. Just a few pit stops in my room, getting into drawers, grabbing stuff in the garage, parts in little plastic bags for machines. We hit the road right on schedule, 4:00PM. First stop, ART Store! Luckily my brother is able to meet us. I grab supplies, including some linen canvases, etching plates, and for the babies some really cool stamps we can play with today. (I feel like setting up a makeshift art studio upstairs for the weekend, so I can work and the babies can get wild with art.)  After the art store we headed to Oakland to check out the Fourth Wall Gallery. We parked right in front of an Ethiopian restaurant. I’ve been wanting to take Jack and Fiona for Ethiopian food for a while now.  We went in, found a spot to sit. The restaurant was small, but bright and clean, a basketball game was playing on the TV. The man, possibly owner of the place was really nice and has a three-year-old so I knew he understood kids. The babies loved the appetizer, crepes, one stuffed with beef, one with lentils. Both were amazing. Jack and Fiona behaved amazing until our dinner was almost done, we had been there awhile and they were ready to go. We walked down Telegraph avenue, a part of Telegraph that when I lived in Oakland no one hung out there. Boy has this part of Oakland changed. A few blocks of the street are blocked off, there are food trucks, with amazing food, and a few local artisans selling jewelry and paintings.  We turn down 25th street and there’s an art gallery complex. I really can’t believe it. Inside the galleries, Carl put it best, it’s like we’re in Tribeca or SOHO. Much of the art was surprisingly conservative though. But then a lot of the patrons looked somewhat conservative. I think when Carl and I have our show people will be pleasantly surprised. Our work is definitely not mainstream.

As we walked in the Galleries Jack pointed to the paintings on the walls. He really seems to enjoy looking at the art. Fiona seems overwhelmed. Jack says hi to everyone, Fiona just looks at them. I didn’t see anyone else with little kids out, only a few strollers. But Jack and Fiona were really good, and after we came home, had bath time, story time, they went right to bed! Now for today! It’s raining outside, what shall we do? The babies are playing nice now. (In between climbing on tables and annoying me) I’ve fed them breakfast and let them watch cartoons as I’ve written this. Now it’s time to get them tired enough to take a nap!

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Thoughts on Motherhood Through the Eyes of an Artist