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....