Thursday, November 15, 2012

Peace and Quiet

My girls spend a lot of time together.  Jude and Elie are inseparable for all the reasons associated with young twins and, apart from when she is in school, Vivi is home with them.  Vivi will often try to engage her sisters in her games which generally consist of bossing J&E around in the name of playing "school" or "dance class" or "summer camp."

The problem is that Jude and Elie drive Vivi crazy.  They don't listen.  They don't follow her directions and even worse, they are full of their own ideas.  Oh, and sometimes they just. won't. stop. touching. her. stuff.  The few harmonious moments of sibling love quickly spiral into a three-way battle for control.

I've tried to talk with Vivi about some of the ways that she can deal with her sisters.  Her first step is what we have called the counter-offensive.  She put this sign on her door:

This is Aviva's room.  Onle [only] mom and dad
can come in.

The second step we've referred to as her intelligence-collection stage.  Every morning before she leaves her room for breakfast, I hear Vivi shake her Magic 8 Ball and ask, "Will my sisters annoy me today?" and then I hear a grumble as she reads the Magic 8 Ball's answer:  It is decidedly so.

Having found the first two steps to be useless, the poor child informed me of her latest plan.  Yesterday Aviva said, "Mama, I know what I am going to ask Santa for this year." When I asked what that was, her eyes lit up and she said, "I want some peace and quiet from my sisters!"

That's a sure-fire way to prove to my 6 year-old that there isn't a Santa Claus.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Caring About Sharing

Well, I didn't make my goal of blogging every day this month but at least I had a good reason-- pinworms.

Internet, that may be the only time I use the word good and pinworms in the same sentence.

My house is proof that it makes no difference how neat and tidy you are, sometimes kids catch some pretty undesirable stuff.  After dealing with head lice and pinworms in the span of six weeks, I can attest to just how undesirable those things are.

By the way, undesirable is a nice way of saying really, freaking gross.

After wiping Elie's bum and discovering that she had worms, I did what any caring mother would do. I sat down and cried at my bad luck.  Yes, because it is always about the mother.  

When I told Elie that worms were the reason she had such a sore bummie, she said in a very concerned voice, "Oh no. This is such bad news.  I hope my sister Jude doesn't get the wormies."

And like most twins, they shared that too.

Friday, November 9, 2012

I Was Wrong....

I was wrong.  Lice is not the gift that keeps on giving.  That honor belongs to pinworms which we discovered Elie has.  (I think it might also take the cake as more disgusting than lice too.)

Seriously, can a mama and a kid get a break around here?

While I am off dealing with more laundry and a poor, pathetic three-year old, I am going to leave you with my personal parenting philosophy:

Happy Friday!

Thursday, November 8, 2012


Guess what we got yesterday?

A surprise snow storm!

It started snowing around dusk and the girls were beyond excited.  I was too.  There's nothing I love more than being in my warm house watching it snow outside.  Because I was feeling all warm and toasty inside, I roasted some acorn squash and made a matzoh ball soup.  The soup was a hit with the kids... the squash not so much.  I think the snow really mellowed everyone out  because our house was silent by 8:00.  My husband has a cold so he went to bed not long after the girls but I sat in the quiet by our picture window and read until 9:30.  What a wonderful way to end the day.

Jude woke up this morning and yelled the loudest, happiest "Good Morning!" I had ever heard.  She and Elie were so excited that they ran into my room and demanded I look out the window with them.  Elie exclaimed, "Mama!  There is still snow on our minivan!"  Vivi was thrilled too and got ready in record time because she wanted to play outside before school.  She built a snowman right away.

By the time, I got the little girls ready and out the door for school an hour or so later, the snow was beginning to melt and it was raining.  They didn't care and did what they do best:


They destroyed their sister's snowman in under a minute.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Working It Out

I am typing this while my little girls fight with each other in the basement.  Their general modus operandi is to argue until one of them ends up in tears at which point they yell and stomp until they have worked out their differences.  I often don't need to intervene and this, in many ways, makes my twins far more mature than Congress.

Last night, my husband and I stayed up late watching the election returns.  I was anxious all day.  I lived in Boston during Mitt Romney's tenure and could not face the prospect of him as President.  (Apparently neither could the vast majority of other Massachusetts residents.)  To say I was relieved that this country re-elected Obama is a huge understatement.

While I think Obama is a hard-working, intelligent man with a lot of class, I am not optimistic about what he can accomplish.  The Republicans seem to take pride in being obstinate obstructionists. I can't understand how people who do nothing but refuse to compromise continue to get elected.

The country can't move forward if our representatives don't work together.  Compromise is what makes the world go round.  Do I need to send my three-year-old twins to Washington to prove the damn point?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day

I opened the New York Times homepage this morning and saw photos of people standing in line in the dark to vote in make-shift tents that had no heat.  Those pictures really moved me because I've lived in a country where people aren't allowed to vote; a country where people are at the mercy of their own dictator.  Voting means so much to so many people around the world and it is a privilege many Americans take for granted.

There is all this talk of voter fraud but let's be realistic about what's happening in this country.  People aren't scamming the system to vote.  Please.  I believe "voter fraud" is a euphemism for targeted voter disenfranchisement.  When people vote despite a multitude of obstacles, it sends a message that this right is important.

I voted today and like last time, I took my six-year-old with me.  She has learned so much about politics during this election that I wanted her to know that voting is her way to do something about the issues she cares about.

Jude and Elie obviously don't understand much of it.  They just know that we're supporting Obama and Jude was proud to wear her shirt:

Although at dinner tonight, she jumped up from the table and said in a frenzied voice, "Oh no Mama!  I forgot to vote!!!"

Monday, November 5, 2012

Dear Mr. President

Vivi loves Obama.  It all started during the 2008 election when her dad and I talked at great length about politics.  We were so happy to see George W. Bush go that I think our enthusiasm was contagious.  She obviously didn't know anything about the implications of one winner versus another but she decided early on that Obama was her "new best friend."  She was only two then but when my husband came home with this "Obama nightgown" she was delighted. 

Now, with another election upon us, Vivi is just as enthusiastic about Obama.  So much so that she wrote him a letter.  Actually, more like a book since she is just as enthusiastic about using her stapler.

This is the main page but there are a few others with "You Rock Obama" surrounded by even more stickers and a page with Vivi's stats and address so Obama can write her back. We included the picture below and she sent it off.

My six-year old certainly picks up on our feelings about the election and our strong distaste for Mitt Romney but she is pretty good at deciding what is important to her.  When my husband I were discussing Romney's declaration that he would cut all federal funding for PBS, Vivi angrily declared, "I think Mitt Romney hates kids!"

I am just glad that she isn't old enough to understand what he meant by his 47% comment.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

What's Hers is Hers

Shopping with my girls is often a test of patience and fortitude.  I try to avoid it at all costs but occasionally I need to take them with me.  In those cases, I try to be as efficient as humanly possible.  That was the case this summer when I was on the hunt for an extra bathing suit for my twins.  I found one quickly and within seconds Elie laid vociferous claim on it.  This, of course, upset Jude.  It didn't matter to Jude that we already had one suit at home.  She wanted something too so I let her choose a pair of pajamas. Everyone was happy and these were the first items of clothing my girls could call their own.

Other than the suit and jammies, everything Jude and Elie wear is a hand-me-down from her big sister, family, or friends.  Any gifts they have received have fallen into the matching outfit category and all their collective clothes are stuffed into two built-in dressers in their room.  It's a hodgepodge and a recipe for frequent fights.

So, in a fit of exasperation last week, I took everything out of their drawers and laid it out on the floor. Armed with a Sharpie and a coin to flip, each child got to take turns picking her very own clothes.  Now everything in their dressers is marked with an E or a J and the fighting has been eliminated.  In fact, they are working together and sharing more than I have ever seen.

The other morning, Elie came down wearing Jude's pants and we had this conversation:

Me:  Elie, aren't those Jude's pants?
Elie:  I runned out of pink pants, Mama.
Me:   Did you ask Jude if you could wear them?
Elie:  Yes. She is sharing with me.
Jude:  I said it is okay, Mom.  You know Elie really loves pink.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

And the Answer Is...

In January 2011, I blogged about how remarkably similar my twin girls look and how they have met their developmental milestones always within a day or so of each other.  Strangers have frequently asked if they are identical but I've told them that they are fraternal since that was what I was told.  I generally don't put a lot of stock in what strangers say anyway because it isn't uncommon for random people to ask my friend with boy/girl twins if her children are identical.  

The thing is I confused them a lot.  I did two years ago and I still do today.

When we discovered our twins at 26 weeks, I was told they are fraternal. This made sense.  (As much as anything can make sense when discovering a bonus baby so late in the game.)  My mom is a twin.  My dad has twin sisters.  The girls had separate sacs and separate placentas and they were a totally spontaneous conception.  

But this summer, I was at my wit's end over their zygosity.  I noticed they had moles in exactly the same places.  I was tired of arguing with strangers.  And I was feeling like a crappy parent for not being able to tell my kids apart.  My husband and I discussed it and decided that there were all sorts of important reasons to know if they came from the same egg. 

So for $109, a bunch of cheek swabs, and two weeks of waiting, we were able to find out that our girls are, in fact, identical.

I felt both relieved and anxious about the results.  It was a great to know that I had a reason for confusing them but, in a way, it also felt like being struck by lightening.  The odds of conceiving identical twins naturally is about 3 in 1000.  The odds of those twins having their own sac and placenta are even lower.  If this freak thing can happen to me, what else can?

Maybe I have met the quota for strange life happenings.  I hope so because my biggest fear in life is that something will happen to my children.  My second biggest fear is that I will have more of them.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Twin BFFs? Ummm.... I don't think so.

Jude and Elie are delightful little creatures.  They are extremely affectionate, curious, and love making people laugh.  They offer up stories about our home life to anyone who will listen, regardless of whether we know these people or not.  (Jude told a woman at the YMCA that "Elie had hair rubbing on her cheeks so she decided to get a little trim.") They enjoy their celebrity status at the Y and I am thankful for the loads of people offering to babysit.

My girls are wonderful... around other people.

At home, they are antagonistic wee beasties who spend the vast majority of their days being provocative and disagreeable.  This has been such an issue in our house, that we have decided to rename our children. 

Allow me introduce you to my twins:

This is Twin Explosive.  She wants what she wants (usually something pink) when she wants it (now) and she will yell, whine, or steal to get it.  She is always the first to stake her claim and is incredibly persnickety.  If I like it, it must be mine is her guiding principle in life.

This is Twin Subversive.  She can't possibly out-yell, out-demand, or overrule Twin Explosive so instead she does everything possible to needle her.  Incessantly.  Twin Subversive's favorite word is "Heh!"  As in, "Oh Elie, I got the pink cup.  Heh!"  Her guiding principal is life is I may be quiet but I can get loud reactions.   

These are the twins I live with.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Guess What I Got for My Birthday?

I have decided that I need a goal.

Something really meaningful.  Something I think I can achieve.  Not the usual lets see if I can get all 12 loads of laundry done today nonsense.

My goal is to blog every day this month and, unlike the laundry, I am actually looking forward to it!

Soooo, with that being said, do you want to know what yours truly got for her 36th birthday?

Here it is:

A pretty awesome "birthday sculpture" made from the recycle bin.

My favorite vanilla cake from my favorite bakery.

Too many birthday snuggles to count.

Oh yeah, and head lice.

And let me tell you folks, that is the gift that keeps on giving.

The girls were all in the tub and I was doing my usual bathroom ritual which involves searching my head for gray hairs and promptly plucking them.  (Hey, it takes work to look this good.  Hardee har har...)  Anyway, while perusing my scalp what to my wondering eyes should appear?  A bug.

My first thought:  Damn fruit flies!  My second thought:  No way!?  It couldn't be.  SHIT!!!!!!!

I frantically told Vivi not to drown her sisters while I ran down the stairs and googled "head lice."  The screams that came from my lips grew louder and more intense as I read each symptom.  This could not be happening to us.  My kids have the dirtiest hair in town!  (Lice prefer clean scalps.)  I am too old!  My kids won't wear their own hats much less anyone else's!  Nooooo!  Not us!!!

And it was ALL five of us.  Vivi was clearly the vector who gave it to J&E who love to climb into bed with us at night and, well, that's how my husband and I got it.

So I did what any lice-fearing mother with OCD tendencies would do.  I cut off everyone's hair and then I had my husband take off most of mine.  (I was really sad to see those eight inches go.)  Then I started combing, combing, and combing.  When I wasn't combing, I was washing, washing, and washing. 

After three rounds of cetaphil, ten days straight of combing, 20+ loads of wash, missed school, 10 garbage bags stuffed with everything from plush toys to couch cushions, I pronounced our family and home lice free.

As far as the haircuts go, they aren't too bad:  

Vivi can still accessorize which is very important.

Jude and Elie were fine after I explained that their "piggy tails" would grow back.

In fact, Elie (left) liked the idea of the haircut so much that she got up in the middle of the night a few days later and decided to cut her bangs off.

A truly memorable birthday....

Thursday, August 30, 2012

First Day of the Rest of MY Life

Today I am home.  Alone.

The girls started school on Tuesday so that makes today the second day this week that I have been wandering the hallowed halls of Chez Mama Mama by myself.

And it feels so good.

I thought I would be really sad to send Vivi off to first grade and my wee Turtles off to nursery school but I am not.  Vivi was thrilled to go back and  I got to have a good solid week with just her before school started.  We went to the movies, cleaned out her clothes and did school shopping, took the train to Boston and visited the science museum, and had an all-around fantastic time.  It was a great way to end the summer.

Jude and Elie got their share of camp and adventures this summer too.  We made bubbles and sidewalk paint.

We had picnics at the park and worked in our garden.  We went to the beach.  We saw fireworks and decorated our shed with colored shaving cream.

We did a lot and for the most part we enjoyed it all.  Of course, the idea of going to school was looming over the Turtles' summer.  They knew that they would be going to the nursery school associated with the Y and they were generally excited.  (We are at the Y almost every day and they love it there.)  Then they discovered that there was going to be a rest time at school and that was all they talked about for the month of August.  

Elie, in particular, was very anxious.  She mentioned it when she first woke up in the morning and it was the last thing she talked about at night.  I assured her that no one was going to force her to sleep but she wasn't buying it.  I made them each a new blanket to take with them and by Tuesday morning, I felt like we were good to go.

Until picture time.  

All of a sudden Elie is riding the happy train and Jude is having none of it.  Eventually, Daddy was able to coax a smile out of ALL of them.

Once we got to school, Elie was still excited but Jude wasn't totally sold on the idea.

Yet, when we got to the classroom.  They both were talking a mile a minute.  Jude was explaining that she had a lucky penny and Elie was asking the teacher, Mr. Ted, about rest time.  When he assured her that she wouldn't have to sleep, she gave him a huge smile and said, "Mr. Ted, can I give you snuggles?"

I left my Turtles and no one shed a single tear!  I was so proud of myself for making it through the first day of school with my big girl pants on!

Then we walked down the hill and dropped this big kid off:

And I didn't cry then either.  :-)

Monday, July 2, 2012

My Run-In with the Police

Internet, I don't even know how to process what happened to me today.  I am feeling angry and humiliated and anxious all because I did something today that I DO NOT think was wrong but someone else did.

A man called the police on me today for leaving my sleeping twins and fully awake six-year-old daughter in the car alone... for less than five minutes.  

This is what happened:

I needed to pick up a dress that I had ordered.  The store opened at 11 and I pulled into the parking lot at 11.  All three girls were in the car but Jude and Elie had just fallen asleep.  Vivi was awake and coloring and said she didn't want to go in.  There were only three or four other cars in the parking lot and because the front of the store where I would be has a big window and I knew I wouldn't be long, I decided to run in alone.  I put down the windows in the car (it was 80 degrees and somewhat overcast), locked the doors, and gave Vivi the usual warning that she should not unlock the door for anyone.  (The car alarm would go off if someone reached in and unlocked the door manually.)

I walked into the store and told the woman I was here to pick up my dress.  While she was retrieving it, I stood at the window and watched my car.  I saw a man come up who was parked next to me.  He noticed the girls but did not touch my car or speak to them.  (I would have been out there in a heartbeat if that had been the case.)  Then he got on his phone.  I didn't think anything of it and I had probably been in the store 2-3 minutes at this point.

At that point, the woman brought out my dress.  I checked it out and signed for it and then I returned to my car.  The man who was on the phone was no longer there but his car still was.  When I get to the car, Vivi told me she needed the bathroom.  I let her out of the car, locked it again, walked the 15 feet to the store and asked the woman right inside if my daughter could use the bathroom.  At the entryway of the store, I watched Vivi walk into the bathroom and I told her to lock the door and come straight out to the car where I would be waiting for her.  She was back in less than 3 minutes.

While we were getting buckled, the man with the phone got into his car (clearly seeing me) and proceeded to drive very slowly around the small parking lot.  That is when I saw the fire truck and two police cars coming down the street.  I thought maybe they were coming for this weird guy driving around but as I was pulling out the police motioned for me to stop.  I did not have any idea that this situation was all about me until the policeman came up to my window and told me to turn off my car and asked me if I had left my children alone in the car.

I explained everything that I just wrote here.  The fireman/EMT said that the person who called said the kids "weren't looking good" so he touched Jude's leg.  He just laughed and said, "She is the perfect temperature. Definitely not a problem."  (Jude and Elie stayed asleep during the whole debacle but Vivi was very confused and anxious.)  The police kept asking if I had the windows up or down.  I felt like he was trying to catch me in a lie.  Eventually, he told me to "wait in my vehicle" while he verified my story in the store.  (The retail staff validated everything I said.) 

The firemen/EMTs left and when the policeman came back to the car, he said, "I'm going to let you go but I think you are playing with fire here."  That just made me angry.  I said, "I am a good mother.  I would never intentionally put them in harm's way and with your line of thinking, it is playing with fire to give them a bath because they could slip in the tub and crack their head open."  He acknowledged that was true and then informed me that he needed to write a police report so I had to give him all my family's vital statistics.

I didn't start crying until he made the "playing with fire" comment.  I've never felt so angry and judged as I did in that moment.  I know I am a good mother but that scene in the parking lot made me feel like I was a pariah for doing something that almost all of our parents did routinely.  (By the way, statistically we are MUCH safer now than when we were children.)

I think as a culture we have become so obsessed with the safety of our children that we've lost all sense of what is reasonable.  If I had woken my children up and forced Vivi out of the car, it would have been a 30 minute production and everyone would have suffered for it.  I made my decision AFTER assessing the time, health, happiness, risk, and safety of all involved.  I'm not a thoughtless dimwit.

I don't want my children going through life never feeling safe in public.  I didn't grow up that way and I still believe that 99% of the people in the world are good.  Sure it only takes one weirdo to ruin your life but trying to prevent that is like preparing for an asteroid to hit.  Police report or not, I would still make the same decision I made today.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Broken Heart

How do you help a child cope with the loss of her best friend?

I wish I knew. 

Vivi and Charlotte have been inseparable for years.  They spend hours playing together, sharing secrets, and planning sleep overs and dance parties.  Charlotte, who is two and a half years older, proudly proclaimed that she and Vivi are like sisters because they "have blue eyes and almost exactly the same hair except that Vivi's is curly and brown and [hers] is straight and blonde."  Vivi says they are sisters because Charlotte saw her when she "was just three days old."  They love each other and that affection is frequently expressed in love notes Vivi draws for Charlotte and the way Charlotte looks after Vivi on the school bus.

This is my daughter's first love affair and it is ending. Charlotte is moving... to New Zealand.  

I adore Charlotte and her family.  I feel like I am a better mother because Charlotte's mother sets such a great example for me.   It is a loss for all of us but what brings me to tears is seeing how painful this move is for my kid.  I know we should count our blessings (Skype and email) but that is a small consolation to a six-year old whose whole world revolves around Charlotte.

As parents, we've given Vivi and Charlotte as much as we can in these final days.  (Bedtimes?  Forget it.  Sleep-overs two school nights in a row?  Of course.)  We all know it is a consolation and a small one at that.

So today, as the moving trucks pull up next door and Vivi graduates kindergarten, I am thinking about the passage of time--  how I never would have envisioned this friendship when little Charlotte toddled over with her mother to see "the new baby" or how having a good friend and neighbor can change your life.

I framed this picture and gave it to both Vivi and Charlotte. They loved it but I think Vivi summed up the friendship best:

"Mama, I will hold this in my heart forever."

Monday, May 21, 2012

I'll Have Another

I love going back and reading my blog.  It reminds me of things I had long forgotten and while it is not all sunshine and roses,  I am glad that the happier moments seem to outweigh the meltdowns.  I hope one day my girls will read it and understand a bit more about their early lives and have a little compassion for their poor mother.

I will be the first to admit that I have been terrible this year about recording our family shenanigans.  Life is busy and I seem to have zero time to do anything reflective during the day.  By the time my children have passed out, I'm not good for much outside of a little sewing and a little more reality TV.  Occasionally though something will happen like it did today and I think it must be recorded for posterity.
This is my exchange with Jude after dinner tonight:

Jude:  Mama, can I have another popsicle?
Me:  No.  I think one is enough for tonight.
Jude:  But Elie said that she got another popsicle.
Me:  I think Elie is pulling your leg.
Jude:  Well, can I pull her leg and have another popsicle?

That line was so good it almost worked.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Look Who's Three!

We are!  Jude and Elie turned 3 on March 6th and it was a much anticipated event.  We had cake. We had hats. We had a little party at the Y with all their favorite grown-up friends.  (Let's face it.  These kids don't have friends their age.)

Because there was not one thing these kids wanted other than strawberries and blueberries, it was easy to make them happy.  Vivi gave them a bucket and bubbles and I made photo books for each of them.  My little narcissists loved them.  (We'll just keep the fact that I couldn't tell who was who in some of the baby pictures our little secret.) 

Of course, you can't turn three and NOT have something fancy to wear.  So Aunt Katie came to the rescue by sending these new swim suits.

Mother Nature also celebrated our survival of three years with three kids by sending some beautiful weather our way. So we made like The Brady Bunch and "fixed" our bikes.

Hard work isn't really Jude's thing and this is how I found her.  She said, "Mama, I just basking in the sun."

We capped off a week of celebration by taking the whole family to see Sesame Street Live!  This is what Jude thought of it:

And this is what Elie thought of it:

And this is what Mama thought of it:

My lengthy blog absence isn't entirely due to birthdays, however.  I've been busy working on a quilt block exchange with my friend Wife Mother Expletive which has been tons of fun.  I've been so inspired by it that I've made two quilt tops in the last two months.  The first is Elie's quilt:

Hey, what can I say?  The girl loves pink.  (Don't let it burn your eyes.)  When I asked Jude what color she wanted for her quilt, she said "all of them" and this is what I came up with:

We'll see if I ever finish them entirely but a girl has to have goals, right?

Speaking of goals, Vivi is finally swimming without a pool noodle.  (Thanks Lisa and Laurel!)  I am very slowly getting into shape.  Mark has put me on a training program to increase my speed (which is generously called slow) and distance and I'm seeing some progress.  Jude and Elie are now officially potty-trained (Did you hear that hallelujah chorus???) which was not easy given that a certain someone likes to dress like this:

So, all in all, life is good and I am back on the blogging bandwagon.  What have you been up to?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Attached Motherhood

I am part of a Facebook group called Naturally Parenting Twins.  This group was a nice discovery for me because it is hard to find people who believe that it is possible to have a natural twin birth and breastfeed two babies simultaneously. To have women who share those feelings as well as know the unique challenges of raising twins is a real gift....usually.

The problem is that in every kind of mothers' group there always seems to be a person (or two) who believes her way of parenting is the right way.  Sadly, in my experience, these women almost always fall under the Dr. Sears Attachment Parenting purview.  You know the kind:  the militant co-sleepers, the woman who believes that if you had a c-section you are just a victim of the medical establishment, the mother who insists on carrying a baby nonstop instead of using a stroller (aka "a pod of isolation"). You get the idea.  These are the women I try to avoid.

I believe that unless a woman has a serious mental or physical handicap, most mothers are "attached" and love their children deeply.  I also generally don't have a problem with the Dr. Sears methodology as I would probably fall into this category.  It is just the women who take it too far.  We all love our children but just because I don't have a family bed does not mean that my children are less attached to me than yours are to you.  (It might mean that I get better quality sleep though.)  I think very often in this quest for "attachment" we can give up some of ourselves.  I want my daughters to see that it is okay to ask for personal space. That always tending to their needs above my own doesn't set a good example for the type of women I want them to be.

This became truly apparent to me today with this Facebook group.  A newly pregnant mom asked if it is possible to breastfeed twins.  All of the women said yes and most noted that support is really necessary but there was this one woman (and it always seems to be this woman) who couldn't help but say:

I nursed my twins till they were two and a half. They've never had a drop of formula or a bottle....

Comments like these make me crazy.  This implicit message here is that giving your child a bottle or formula means that you are not as attached.  I was devoted to breastfeeding and it worked really well for me but that isn't always the case.  And, even though I successfully breastfed, I believe giving my Turtles the occasional bottle of pumped milk so I could do something for myself made me a better mother.  

Come on! 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Children's Books

I am not a bibliophile.  I love reading but I prefer to keep my books at the library for someone else to take care of.  I have a few that I treasure or use for reference but I am not a collector.  In fact, I don't like holding on to things that lack utility or sentiment and that is how I feel about most books.  When my space is cluttered with things, my mind is too and it is an uncomfortable way for me to live.

When it comes to books my husband and I are total opposites.  He loves them.  The physical object, old and tattered or new and crisp, is a joy to him.  His books are like friends that hold memories and the idea that he would part with them is ludicrous.  

As you might imagine, we are at odds about his book collection.  We are also at odds about our children's books, but in a different way.  I love that my girls love books.  We probably have a couple hundred and I treasure most of them.  I love to watch them read or make up stories from the pictures.  My heart swells when they make reference to something we've read in a story.  The idea that we would live in a house without books in my kids' rooms is just sad to me.  

That doesn't really resonate with my husband.  He just hates picking the damn things up all the time.  It's like he and I have totally switched personalities!

Since there isn't likely to ever be a resolution on the state of the books in this house, I thought I would share with you some of my favorite children's books:

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

The Paperboy by Dav Pilkey

Roxaboxen by Alice McLerran

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

No, David by David Shannon

Strega Nona by Tomie De Poala

Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Suess

Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina 

Zen Ties by John Muth

There's a Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone

The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Audrey Wood

Of course, there are a few books that I can't stand.  Most notably, the Fancy Nancy series and Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Suess.

So, what children's books do you love and which ones can't you get out of the house fast enough? 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I'm a Twin!

Jude and Ellie don't really know that they are twins.  They aren't yet three and I think the whole meaning of being a twin is far beyond their level of comprehension.  People frequently ask if they are twins and they always proclaim that they are.  I know they are just echoing what they hear me say.  They are who they are.  One is Jude and one is Ellie.

Last night, the girls chose to wear matching pajamas.  This is unusual because we only have one matching set (they were a gift) and Ellie hasn't been very interested in them. She is very persnickety about her clothing and tends to like different things from Jude so I was surprised when they both picked the same thing.

Well, this morning Elie looked at Jude and had a revelation. She said, "Jude, you wearing pink polka dot pajamas and I wearing pink polka dot pajamas.  We are twins!!!!!"

Yes, indeed.

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Hairy Fairy

Internet, please forgive me, I have created yet another mythical being to con my children into doing something they don't want to do.

Her name is the Hairy Fairy.

As I explained to my girls, the Hairy Fairy is a rather unfortunate soul.  She has the most awful hair.  It is stick straight, thin, and the color of smashed peas.  She tried everything to make her hair curly like Vivi, Jude, and Elie's but nothing has ever worked and she felt very sad about that.  One day, she realized that the only way that she could ever have the beautiful, curly hair she admired so much would be to take the curls that big girls like mine no longer need.  That was how she magically transformed from sad sack to magical fairy hair collector.  Because the Hairy Fairy knows that not every girl wants to part with her curls, she leaves a treasure behind to thank the girl for her kind curl donation.

I had Vivi at the word "treasure."

So, after months of months of "growing her hair straight," Vivi consented to a hair cut.  She said good-bye to several inches of curls and I said goodbye to the tangles, the partial dreads, the 45 minute comb-out after every bath, and the seemingly endless amount of tears and tantrums related to the hair.

This is the "before" (which actually looks better than usual):

And this is the result:

And that child above is $2.00 richer and has finally stopped asking for a straightening iron.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Cleaning Out

I love the holidays but they always seem to pass so quickly that I often resent the arrival of January.  It can seem like a really long, dark month here in New England so I have decided this year I am going to change the way I do things. My husband and I are cleaning out and simplifying.

We both have been feeling like our lives are falling victim to the TOO MUCH SYNDROME.  Our girls have too many toys. They are watching too much television and their behavior is the worse for it.  We have had too much food.  Our shelf space is lacking because of too many books that aren't worth keeping.  Our dressers are bulging from clothes that don't fit. My husband works too much.  I have too many control issues.  (That's kind of a perpetual problem.)

So in 2012, we are:

-Canceling Netflix
-Donating our unused clothes, toys, and books and limiting what comes into our house
-Menu planning and wasting less food
-Limiting our dairy (which leaves my husband chronically congested), wheat (which kills my energy and messes with my GI system), and sugar (because we are all addicted.)
-Taking more breaks even if it means shelling out for a babysitter
-Letting more things go
-Spending more time blogging and less time on Facebook

And we are asking ourselves:

Do we need this?
Does it matter?
Does this add value to our lives?
How am I going to feel if I eat this?

I think it is going to be a great year.  What about you?  What are changing this year?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

And Then It Was Over...

Am I the only one who thinks the holidays come and go in one big blur?  It seems like it was just the beginning of December and we were all worked up about choosing our tree.   My husband had the brilliant idea that we should tag a tree after Thanksgiving before all the good ones are scooped up.  (Apparently our Charlie Brown trees of yore were haunting my poor Jewish spouse.)  Well, he and the girls did a good job this year.  Take a look:

I also spent a fair amount of time at the sewing machine this December.  I made those big cushions on the left hand side of the tree-- complete with piping.  (That's unchartered territory for me!)  Jude and Elie love them and, as I suspected, they work beautifully for story time or as implements of destruction.

Speaking of Jude and Elie, they had quite an accidental meeting with "Santa Claus" in the YMCA parking lot a few weeks ago.  There is an older man who works out when I do.  He has long white hair, a white beard, and a big belly. He also appears to be of Mediterranean origin with olive skin and a thick accent.  As we were approaching our car, he was standing next to his minivan wearing a Santa hat. Upon seeing him, Jude and Elie gasped in delight, yelled "Oh Santa.  We love you!" and then went on to ask the guy if he was going to bring them underpants for Christmas since they had been good girls.  The poor guy looked slightly uncomfortable but played along with them.

And, lo and behold, look who got underpants in her stocking:

Jude looks a wee bit afraid of those underpants though.

We also were very busy at school.  I signed up to be the classroom mom and as a result my husband got signed up to be the surprise Santa Claus at the end of the kids' Polar Express holiday party.  Here are all the kindergarteners (and a couple of twin turtles) riding their train:

And here is Santa:

The kids loved it.  Vivi thought it was hysterical that her Dad was Santa. Jude and Elie believed he was the real thing.  That my friends must be a Christmas miracle.