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.