Meet This Grateful Neighbor: Rebecca
In terms of impact on your household, a newborn is, if you ask me, more or less like a tornado.
I brought home two at once and was so sleep-deprived, and spun in so many directions, that I once applied mascara where concealer is supposed to go. So I’m completely in awe of triplets mom Rebecca Cowart, whose older daughter wasn’t even 2 when the trips came home from the hospital, about a month after their birth at 32 1/2 weeks gestation.
Rebecca says the first months of their life are “mostly a blur,” but here’s what she does remember:
“Our almost-2-year-old was clinging to me and having crying fits because she wanted Mommy and Daddy’s attention, but we were busy trying to keep the triplets on a feeding schedule. My husband took the swing shift, and I took the graveyard shift. We were changing more than 30 diapers a day. I had plantar fasciitis in both feet from the 100 pounds I gained during my pregnancy. I had to walk down the steps backward because my heels hurt so much.”
Rebecca is an accomplished chef — when she lived in Sitka, Alaska, she owned a popular restaurant, The Back Door, which once sold 180 slices of pizza in less than an hour. But in those first weeks, she barely had time to slap together a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
Enter Central Oregon Families with Multiples! This awesome club, which I joined when I was prego with my twins, kicked in with a meal train for Rebecca’s family. Not only did Rebecca appreciate the yummy eats and the reprieve from grocery shopping, but she also enjoyed the visits from other moms of multiples. “I got to meet some great folks,” she says, “and it was a welcome break from changing diapers.”
I met Rebecca during this meal train and must report that she was remarkably cheerful and that her household was far less chaotic than my own, despite housing twice as many children. At any rate, Rebecca says her favorite dish from that meal train was Chicken with Tomatoes and Thyme, which you can find here.
I would end the story here, except that meal-train-wise, it wasn’t over. Less than two years later — just when Rebecca was feeling like herself again — the gals from our multiples club sprung into action again.
No, Rebecca did not have another baby! (“Heck no!”) She had a stroke of bad luck: While reaching to keep one of the triplets from falling off a ramp at a local pumpkin patch, Rebecca suffered a nasty tear in her distal biceps tendon. It’s not a particularly useful tendon, unless you need to do things like eat, get dressed, brush your teeth, change diapers, dress, hold and bathe toddlers — stuff like that.
After surgery, Rebecca had to keep her arm immobilized and away from her brood. “I was sequestered behind the baby gate. My husband had to cut up my food for me like he does with the kids.”
Here are some of Rebecca’s thoughts on delivering meals to new moms and injured folks.
•Ask whether the recipient would like some or all of the meals frozen. When I was injured, it was great to be able to pull something out of the freezer and pop it in the oven. Also, it was more convenient for the meal givers; they didn’t have to bring the meal right before dinner.
•Attach clear instructions. It was helpful when people labeled containers and left instructions like, “Here is Bag A, the salad dressing; pour it on the salad in Bag B” or “Put this in the oven for 20 minutes.” When you’re sleep-deprived, you can’t think straight.
•Go light! For new moms, salads, broth-based soups and fresh veggies are especially welcome. When you’re cooped up in the house and possibly constipated, you crave fresh things.
•Take the nature of an injury into consideration. With my arm injury, I couldn’t cut food, so it was easiest for me to eat soup or something soft.
•Deliver a whole meal if possible. I loved it when someone would bring a soup or salad, a main dish, maybe some crackers or a loaf of bread and cookies or ice cream. You can’t go wrong with chocolate ice cream!