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March 31, 2011

Some Great New [Blog] Finds

Over the past couple of months, I’ve added some great new blogs to my blogroll. I just love connecting with other moms, and getting a glimpse into how they balance their crazy, beautiful lives!

Thank you so much to Sara of Moms Need Timeouts Too! for the Life is Sweet Award, which prompted me to think about some of my new faves. Sara’s twin girls just turned two, so we obviously have a lot in common. And I just learned she’s an only child, like me, and I always think that’s interesting to go from a base knowledge of one child, to having multiples!

So, besides Moms Need Timeouts Too! (don’t you just LOVE the title of that blog?!), what are those new faves of mine???

Pontifications of a Twin Mom. Julia is such a beautiful mom, inside and out, to her twin girls who just turned one. She is a great writer, and she posts some really thought-provoking and inspirational pieces. Check out her “True Beauty Conversations” on Fridays (here’s the link to one of my favorite posts).

Twins Plus One, Three Times the Fun. In addition to being a great writer, Holly Ann is quite the juggler. Her tagline says it all: “Being a Mother of Multiples was the most exciting, frustrating, adventurous, exhausting, and wonderful experience of my life…and then I had another baby!” Holly also balances a job outside the home, too. Her boy/girl twins are three, and her younger son is one....wow.

Double the Giggles. Margie’s twin boys are 19 months old. She juggles them with an awesome sense of humor. And she recently posted about having flown with them = she’s my hero.

Our Life with the mg Twins. Carrie’s twin girls are a couple of months older than our girls. I love to read about what’s they’re up to, as it provides a glimpse into our not-so-distant future.

…and there are a couple of not-so-new-to-me blogs that I’ve really been enjoying lately.

My Sweet Life with Two Twinkies and a Cupcake. Barb’s blog was one of the first I read when I joined the blog world a little over a year ago. I somehow kinda fell out of touch with her, but I’m so glad to have reconnected. Her boy/girl twins are four, and her younger son is the same age as our girls. Be sure to check out the series of posts on autism she’ll be doing during the month of April.

Life Not Finished. I’ve also been reading Dolli-Mama for a number of months, dating back to before her now-nine-month old twin girls were born. She’s also mama to three-year old Mr. Mischief. :) Dolli-Mama is hosting an awesome link-up on Fridays, called 52 Weeks of ME, encouraging us mamas to focus on ourselves, even if just for a few minutes, each week. She’s also a great writer. Check out one of my favorite recent posts of hers, about finding the silver lining of a house full of sick kiddos.

Please feel free to accept this award and pass it along to five other bloggers (or six, in my case!)…or no pressure if not…I just haven’t taken the opportunity in a while to highlight some of the moms that keep me sane on a daily basis. Thanks, Ladies!!!

March 30, 2011

An Amelia Bedelia Moment

I distinctly remember being introduced to the Amelia Bedelia series of books in the first grade. At the time, I thought it was the most charming, witty, and hilarious prose ever to come out of our elementary school library.

I hadn’t thought about Amelia in many years, until I ran across a compilation of three stories on the clearance table at one of our local bookstores a couple of years ago. I snapped it up, and I enjoyed reading about her antics to my then-three-month old girlies.

Amelia had gotten tucked back on a shelf, until one of the girls dug her out a few days ago. “New book! Haven’t seen in while!” they exclaimed. And of course we had to read it right away.

I realized quickly that the storyline was lost on the girls. The idea of dusting the furniture…with powder…instead of actually cleaning it…was not charming, or witty, or hilarious to them. And on the off-chance they were taking notes, I surely didn’t want to plant that little seed in their heads!

It may have just been a coincidence, but we had what I think was our first Amelia Bedelia moment over the weekend.

We were getting ready to go out to dinner, and I was washing some grapes to take with us. I was gabbing along to the girls in explanation. “If a restaurant doesn’t have fruit on their menu, then Mommy takes fruit with us, so we can eat it after our meal.

Immediately, from the den: “Fruit not on menu! Fruit on [Baby A]’s plate!

Duh, Mom. Everyone knows you don’t put fruit on a menu. It goes on a plate, and we eat it from there.

March 29, 2011

I'm THAT Kind of Twin Mama...[gulp!]

…and I didn’t even realize it!

One of the more common questions we twin moms get is, “Do you dress them alike?

My preferred way to dress the girls is in coordinating outfits…the same dress, for example, but one is pink and one is purple.


We do have quite a few duplicate outfits, but many of those are gifts, and some of them I’ve bought for pictures or special occasions.

(With our girls being “very fraternal", as I like to say, I don’t feel so much pressure to dress them differently. There’s no mistaking that one has blue eyes and blonde hair, and one has brown eyes and brown hair…so if they have on the same outfit, there’s still a big difference in their overall appearance.)

When the girls are at home, they are very rarely dressed alike. At least to date (before I implement my hobos-be-gone approach to the girls’ spring / summer wardrobe), they wear some kind of knit shirt and some knit pants…most likely whatever tops the bin in the closet.

If I had characterized myself, I would have said that I was a go-with-the-flow mama, one who didn’t “overemphasize” the girls’ twinhood.

…but…

I painstakingly cleaned out the girls’ closet a couple of weeks ago to participate in a large consignment sale. I decided to check out the consignor’s only pre-sale late last week.

I went through the racks of clothes and saw so many adorable clothes…but I left empty-handed.

Why?

Of course there weren’t any matching outfits to be had, and I found myself…paralyzed.

If I bought this adorable sundress for Baby A, would Baby B look just as “dressed” in this bubble suit? If I got this smocked dress with Baby B in mind, what would Baby A wear?

I really don’t think I was so challenged by the lack of “coordination”, but by the wearing occasion and the “dressiness” of the outfits I was considering.

In any case, I was really surprised by my reaction. I wouldn’t have pegged myself for a matchy-matchy mama…but maybe I am, at least in some respects.

I know this “issue” is a short-lived one. It won’t be long before the girls are choosing their own clothes and developing their own unique style…and I promise to try reeeeally hard not to let that paralyze me.

March 28, 2011

Why I Park Illegally

Now don’t go hating before I explain

...I’m not talking about snagging a handicap spot…or even fudging that my girls are still infants to park in the spot for expectant and new mothers…

No, I have always parked about as far from those spots as you can get, usually in the far recesses of a parking lot. I don’t want to risk anyone dinging my car, and I know those extra few steps certainly won’t hurt me.

[Years ago, the first time one of my girlfriends rode with me to the grocery store, I parked in my usual far-away spot. She later joked that she was looking for the shuttle service to take us to the door!]

Since the girls were born, little has changed, but I have altered my approach a bit.

Given my no-door-dings motivation, I would normally never park next to a cart return. But I try to find one that is far, far away from the front of the store, perhaps that is only used during holiday madness when the lot gets full.

I pull leisurely in beside it, straddling the line between two parking spots (illegally!), so that there is ½ of a parking space between the cart return and my car. I use that space to load and unload the girls from the stroller.

Tragedy rehearsal at its finest, I know, but I have this crazy scenario that races through my mind sometimes, about a wayward car hitting the stroller when I have my back turned, putting one baby in her carseat.

With the car on one side of the stroller and the cart return on the other, I feel like I have a little framework in which to operate more safely.

And, once the girls are loaded in the car, I only have to walk a couple of steps to put our cart up.

Now when the girls get a little older and are walking beside me, I may have to come up with an alternate plan…

...or maybe we can hope for the implementation of that shuttle service…

March 26, 2011

Eating in Restaurants

Since the girls were released from “house arrest” when they were three months old, we’ve taken them to restaurants on a relatively regular basis.

At first we timed our outings so they would nap in their carriers. Then we graduated to feeding them Cheerios while we ate…and eventually to giving them a small snack – usually cubed cheese, crackers, and fruit (all brought from home) – while we scarfed down our food.

Those meals were not exactly relaxing, but it still gave me a break from the kitchen and allowed us to get out of the house a few times a month.

My goal was for the girls to eat a meal in a restaurant alongside us by the time they were 18 months old. I was SO very proud when they beat that goal date by a full month…at our all-time favorite Mexican restaurant, to boot!

Since that time last summer, we’ve been taking the girls out to eat about once a week. We don’t make it out every single week, but I really try not to do it any more often.

I want the girls to have experience in a restaurant setting, as hopefully they’ll inherently understand what’s acceptable and what’s not.

But I also have this fear that the girls will begin to like the restaurant food better than Mama’s Home Cooking…and I refuse to have them balk at our dinner table! I rationalize that statistics are on my side if I limit their eating out to one of 21 meals a week [and yes, I have a spreadsheet…HA!].

I still do a little prep work before we go out to eat…

...for a new restaurant, I research their menu and decide what I’ll order for the girls. Unless we’re going to a restaurant that serves fresh fruit, I always pack a little cup of grapes or blueberries to mark the end of the girls’ meal (just like at home). I take the girls’ high chair covers, their toddler forks and their cups of water, and plenty of wipes.

…but little by little, it’s getting easier and easier.

The girls are usually content to sit in their highchairs while we wait for our food, and they even know they’ll have to wait on Mommy to cut it up and for it to cool off before they can eat. They’re pretty consistent with eating what we order them. And as long as we don’t order a seven-course meal (yeah, right!) they’re basically content to sit until we all finish our dinners.

Last weekend, Hubby and I had a late dinner date planned on Saturday night, so we didn’t go out to eat with the girls. It was the funniest feeling I had…

…of course I LOVED every moment of our dinner date. There’s nothing like relaxing over food and drink, and I don’t have to worry if Hubby is touching the underside of the table…

…but I found myself really missing our weekly “date” with the girls. It’s actually **fun** now, and there’s nothing like feeling like a cohesive foursome, out for a fun family dinner.

I didn’t know to look for it, but this certainly seems like a new milestone!

March 25, 2011

Fab 5 Friday...and ME!

I seriously can’t believe it’s FRIDAY already...I guess time flies when you have a fabulous week! :)

1) Since we didn’t have plans to take the girls to dinner over the weekend, we decided to make snack time on Saturday afternoon more of an event. We went to one of our favorite locally-owned restaurants and got an appetizer of spinach-artichoke dip. We let the girls "sit in chairs like big girls” (i.e. they didn’t have to sit in high chairs), and we all really enjoyed that little treat.

2) I took the girls for a walk, hand-in-hand, in the neighborhood on Sunday afternoon. Since it was pretty sunny I put on their sun hats. If I do say so, it was stinkin’ adorable to see them toddling along on either side of me with those plaid bonnets.

3) The weather through the first part of the week was fantastic. Knowing we were headed for much cooler weather starting Wednesday, I took the girls for frozen yogurt on Tuesday afternoon. Then we went downtown and walked around the Square and made a couple of blocks. It was such a nice change of scenery…and the first time I’d taken them downtown – sans stroller – by myself.

4) The girls accompanied me two other times outside of the stroller this week, once to the bank, and once to an office supply store for a quick errand. I am still only comfortable to do this if I can mostly have both hands free, but the practice is good for all of us.

5) The girls’ conversation skills continue to amaze me. While this is not a lengthy example, it’s a funny one…Hubby asked Baby B for a nose kiss one night. She looked at him and grinned and told him “no”. He acted offended, and she said, “Maybe tomorrow!” Hahaha!!!

And what did I do for ME this week?

I have not one, but TWO, things to report!

Miss Jennifer was here on Friday afternoon and I left the house to run an errand. I was done quickly, and I called Hubby to see where he was. He said he was just pulling into the driveway at home. “Avert! Avert!” I told him. We met at the yogurt shop for a mini-date. I indulged in some candy-coated goodness that I would never share with the girls, and we relaxed for a few minutes and wound up the week. It was such an awesome spur-of-the-moment treat!

And on Saturday night, Hubby and I went for a late dinner after the girls were in bed. We ate at a Mediterranean restaurant downtown, the first restaurant we ate in when we moved here. I had an awesome homemade pizza and a great salad. And we even had time to swing by the Dairy Queen on the way home.

(And yes, that’s a lot of yogurt / ice cream in one week…but man, was it good!!!)

Thanks so much to Dolli-Mama for hosting the 52 Weeks of Me! Challenge. It's a great way to recognize what we do for ourselves each week.

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I'm also linking up with my great Aussie blogger friend, MultipleMum, who's doing a "What I'm Grateful For" link-up today. I'm grateful for lots of fabulous time with my girlies this week...and some fabulous alone-time with the hubs!

March 24, 2011

Dressing the Part

As a parent, I knew there were all sorts of things I would be responsible for teaching my children…their ABC’s, their numbers, their colors, how to spell their names, and the battle cry for our favorite sports team (can I get a “Roll Tide!!!”???).

Of course I knew I would be teaching them more ambiguous concepts, too…like respect, and obedience; that I would try to set a good example in standing up straight, and eating well, and exercising, and reading.

I hadn’t given a lot of thought to instilling a positive body image, though, but it’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately.

I should interject that I don’t consider myself a “hair and makeup” girl. I have never owned a set of hot rollers…wouldn’t know how to use them if I tried. Before the girls were born, I wore makeup every day, but only the basics...I favor basic lip balm (or gloss, if I wanna get a little crazy) to lipstick any day.

When I was pregnant, I heard plenty of horror stories of new moms not finding the time to shower for days on end. I vowed that would not be me. And with very few exceptions, I’ve upheld that promise to myself.

So WOO HOO…I can check “basic hygiene” off my list. But it dawned on me not long ago that that is no indication of me being well put-together.

Just because I’m clean doesn’t mean I’m presentable. Think mismatched pajama bottoms and a random tshirt, sometimes paired with a hoodie. No wonder the delivery guy diverts his eyes and makes a hasty exit off the porch!

Of course I would never go out like that (making a run through the Starbucks drive-thru doesn’t count…).

But if I’m embarrassed to walk down the drive to the mailbox some days, what kind of example am I setting for my girls to take pride in their appearance?

And sadly, I realized I dress the girls almost as shabbily. They have plenty of adorable outfits they wear when we go somewhere, but at home they wear onesies and pants.

There’s nothing wrong with onesies and pants, of course, but in most cases I’m talking about last year’s onesies and whatever random pants are atop the bin in the closet. (Size 9m onesies still fit in the stride, but are short in the sleeves…that actually works perfectly as I don’t have to roll their sleeves up at the table, and if they do get a stain, it’s no big deal!).

As I step back, I’m afraid we look like hobosclean hobos…but hobos nonetheless.

What kind of message am I sending to the girls?

That we “dress up” when someone is going to see us, but we don’t owe it to ourselves to look presentable on a day-to-day basis?

I’ve made another vow to change things up this spring.

When we do our spring shopping for the girls, I’ll still buy their cute outfits, but I’m also investing in a variety of knit tops and shorts, “outfits” to wear at home. I’ll commit to the tedium of rolling up their sleeves, when necessary, and I’m just going to deal with stains as they inevitably occur.

And for myself? I am going to commit to doing some shopping for me…to finding something that’s easy and comfortable for chasing the girls and dancing the Can-Can…but that allows me to hold my own in conversation with the delivery guy…one that sets a better example for the girlies.

I haven’t gone so far as to committing to something CrAzY like wearing makeup every day (although I keep up my lip balm routine religiously), but I think this is definitely a step in the right direction.

March 23, 2011

A Bit About Me, March Edition

My birthday is February 23, and on the 23rd of each month I’ve taken to sharing a couple of random snippets about myself.

Since I’m on a “beauty” kick, I thought I’d include a couple of physical things about myself for March…

15) I’m 5’2” tall. I reached my full height in fifth or sixth grade, which at the time was pretty tall in comparison to my classmates. Little did I know I should have relished that feeling! I actually don’t “mind” being short…it is what it is, of course. And at least my climbing skills are good – I have no shame in scaling a couple of shelves at the grocery store to reach an item.

16) I’ve never colored my hair. There have been times I would have liked to have some highlights, or even some chunky streaks, but I didn’t want to start something before I “needed” to. I’ll most likely color my hair when those grays become more prominent, and I know I’ll be spending plenty of time and money in the salon chair for that, so I thought I’d save myself the trouble while I can!

March 21, 2011

The Fat One

I’m not easily offended.

Make a Southern joke? Step aside while I prove you wrong. (Just be careful not to step on my bare feet, please.)

Make a short joke? You’re just jealous that you can’t pass Capri pants off as full-length.

If I don’t like something I hear or read, I know to consider the source, and/or I recognize I’m free to change the channel or put down the newspaper.

But I’ve found myself being much more “sensitive” since the girls were born…not for me, but for them.

At such a tender age, our girls can’t yet discern for themselves what is right and wrong. They can’t consider the source, or take something with a grain of salt.

One of the things that has been rubbing me the wrong way lately is the use of the word “fat” in several children’s books.

I think instilling confidence in my girls, a big part of that being a positive body image, is a huge responsibility. Likewise is teaching respect for other people, no matter what they look like – “fat” or “skinny”, short or tall, with a Southern drawl or a Yankee accent.

Take, for example, something as benign as Dr. Seuss’s “One fish two fish red fish blue fish”.

“The fat one has a yellow hat.”

Heaven knows my girls say enough things to call attention to themselves in public (like when they used to call out “boobies!!!” when they saw blueberries in the grocery store). I surely don’t need to introduce the phrase “the fat one” to them, as I would be mortified if they used that phrase to refer to a person at the grocery, not just a nice juicy tomato.

Even in “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”:

“He was a big, fat caterpillar.”

…granted, that was after the bloke had eaten chocolate cake, ice cream, pickles, cheese, salami, a lollipop, cherry pie, sausage, a cupcake, and some watermelon…which is not exactly an exemplary diet...but I still don’t like the use of the word.

And don’t even get me started on “The Belly Book”!

“A sumo’s belly is big and fat. A ballerina’s belly is small and flat.”

…among so many other crazy references.

As I write this, I realize my concerns are twofold. One is that I want the girls to be respectful of other people, and not to judge folks by the way the look.

I think the heavier issue in my mind is instilling a positive body image in the girls from the get-go.

I know I can’t protect them from the ills of society forever…that soon enough they’ll hear folks talking about “fat people” and “skinny jeans”…they’ll see a weight loss ad in a magazine or on TV and wonder how it applies to them…that one of their grade school classmates will “go on a diet”…
…but I’m not ready to go there just yet.

***

Thank you to Julia at Pontifications of a Twin Mom for making me think about the topic of beauty in so many beautiful ways! In particular, this post inspired me to write on this topic. That, coupled with the focus at Multiples & More today, has inspired so many thoughts along these lines.

I’ll be posting on the topic of beauty again soon.

March 20, 2011

I've Been Called a Lotta Things...

...but, to my knowledge, never a kangaroo...

I'll be posting later in the week about "The Belly Book", a Cat in the Hat "I Can Read It All By Myself" book that the girls received as a gift.

But in the meantime, I just had to share a page that is actually pretty funny. Odd, but funny.



In talking about different kinds of bellies, it says:

My mom had a big belly when she carried me!

A kangaroo belly can carry two or three!

I can't help but laugh!

March 19, 2011

Sunshine...On Our Shoulders...

We've been fortunate this week to have some beautiful weather, to enjoy some nice, fresh sunshine on our shoulders. But even when it's too cold to get outside, we like to search for a little spot of sunshine on the rug and park ourselves there.


And what mommy doesn't love seeing her babies' beautiful profiles illuminated by the sun?!!!

Spring officially starts in about 34 hours...WOO HOO!!! Looking forward to many more days in the "actual" sunshine with my girlies!

March 18, 2011

Fab 5 Friday...and ME!

Despite a rainy start, this has been a truly fabulous week!

1) Baby A’s Nursery Rhyme of the Week has been Humpty Dumpty…she’s said it at least 100 times, I’m sure. One day she paused after “Humpty Dumpty had a great fall,” and said, Poor Humpty.” She had the most serious look on her face, too!

2) Thursday was the most beautiful afternoon, and I took the girls for a middle-of-the-week frozen yogurt treat. When we got home it was just too pretty to go inside, so I took the girls on a little walk around the neighborhood, hand in hand. I’ll bet we walked half a mile, and the girls loved every step. At one point, Baby A said, “[Baby A] having good time!” And her sister chimed in, “[Baby B] having good time, too!

3) The girls have become obsessed with “belly sugar” lately. A certain mama might have even had to unfasten a onesie after a diaper change to collect a forgotten kiss…at the insistence of a certain baby girl. (Trust me, this mama didn’t mind!)

4) I made Shrimp in Cajun Cream Sauce on Wednesday. The girls love shrimp, but I didn’t know how they’d respond to the spicy nature of that dish. They LOVED it…eating every morsel, and asking for more. Them’s my girls!

5) This seems to have been another big week for communication. It’s amazing how the girls are speaking in sometimes complete sentences! This week, one of the big breakthroughs has been the use of “the” and the more frequent use of “and”. I realize I must have been emphasizing those words with the girls, though, as I’ve heard them say, “I read THE book!” “The kitty…black AND white!” Hahaha!

And what did I do for ME this week???

I had a fabulous, leisurely lunch with a dear friend (the girls’ Aunt Karen) on Saturday while the girls napped. We met at one of my very favorite restaurants – a shabby chic sandwich and pizza shop, where most of the ingredients are organic and none of the chairs match. It was even warm enough for us to sit outside on the patio. Between the food and the atmosphere…and of course the yummy conversation…it was heavenly!

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Here's looking forward to another fabulous week (one that's supposed to be filled with more sunshine and warm weather...hallelujah!!!)!

March 17, 2011

Kiss Me, I'm Irish!

The girls still aren't quite old enough to really "get" most of the holidays.

They were well-familiar with Santa Claus (from a distance) and the Christmas tree (studiously touching it with only "one finger" for the weeks leading up to the big day).

New Year's was lost on them, but they had some sense of Valentine's Day. They knew it had to do with hearts (as I tried to get them to color various hearts for weeks). And then they must have been excited to realize that Valentine's Day is associated with yummy treats, like cinnamon bread and chocolate-covered strawberries.

In the absence of more meaningful ways to mark even less-significant holidays, this mama is a sucker for holiday tshirts and the like.

I bought these shamrock headbands, hoping to get a cute picture for our St. Patrick's Day cards. (Oh, and I look for opportunities to make and send cards, too...call me crazy, but I can't help myself!)

The headbands turned out to be too much of a novelty, so the girls wouldn't pose very well. (Bwahahaha...who am I kidding?!!! They're TWO! They never "pose"!)

Here's one of the girls studying their headbands...


...and, when all else fails..."Give Sissy a kiss!"


At least that went with Baby B's "Kiss Me, I'm Irish"!

Last Saturday we dressed the girls in their St. Patty's Day tshirts for a jaunt downtown.

Here's the best picture I could get of them.

I would like to be able to report that they were reciting an Irish poem...but I think they were lamenting about not being able to see the "norseys" (horses) on the Square...that, or the fact that the "water not running" (i.e. the fountain has been turned off for the winter).

Oh, well...at least this mama has fun with all the dress-up...and fortunately, the girls don't seem to mind!

And, no matter how un-posed the pictures are...

Oh, how LUCKY we are! Happy St. Patty's Day!

March 16, 2011

Shouldn't There Be an Age Limit for Strippers???

I have found myself stepping back over the last couple of months, reflecting on how well our girls are doing. In particular, there are some once-upon-a-time, make-me-pull-my-hair-out habits that thankfully seem to be distant memories…

The girls are pretty clean at the table. They still wear bibs, but my blood pressure doesn’t elevate at the thought of them eating avocado in a nice shirt.

Although they’re still not great about keeping hair bows in, the girls rarely touch their hands to their hair while they’re eating. I haven’t had to scrub tomato sauce out of their golden locks in quite a while.

The thrill of standing on the couch to turn the light on and off, on and off has seemed to wane. It’s almost as if the girls have forgotten about the light switch, which is just fine by me.

Similarly, it’s been weeks since the girls tried to wedge behind the entertainment center, where I always feared they would disconnect all the electronic equipment, and – in the process – shock themselves into having curly hair.

…and – had I written this post a week ago, as I had originally intended – I would have remarked proudly that the girls have been keeping on their clothes, even socks(!!!), like such big girls…

…but alas, I am too late in staking that claim.

The girls sometimes have an uncanny ability to read my mind, and they must have decided to trip me up a little bit, to remind me who’s the boss (and it’s not ME!).

I really thought we were past the stripper phase. I had hoped that I could release the girls from their onesie confinements with their spring wardrobe, confident that they would keep their pants on…

…but it seems we’re not quite there, after all.

While I most certainly think there should be an age limit for strippers, I’ll just take some deep breaths, confident that this, too, shall pass…again

March 15, 2011

What's Old is New Again

I’m a sucker for nostalgia.

I love seeing the reintroduction of some of my favorite toy lines from my childhood. It’s so much fun to be greeted by old familiar faces like Strawberry Shortcake and the Smurfs as I venture into the toy store. And I often have to will myself away from those faded out tees with retro advertisements (they wouldn’t match my yoga pants).

I still have a lot of the toys I had as a child. Once upon a time I envisioned my children playing with them…but, at least right now, that thought gives me the heebie-jeebies. I have no idea what the CPSC regulations were 30 years ago, and for all I know the girls could contract lead poisoning from merely shuffling through my retro deck of Go Fish cards.

No, I’ll keep those goodies safely boxed in the garage for now, but I may just give into some of the newer versions of classic toys.

One of my bestest girlfriends gave the girls a couple of retro toys for their birthday last year, this dog, and a pull-along (rotary dial) telephone. I don’t know that she was going for nostalgia, per se, as much as she was searching for a couple of toys that weren’t battery-operated. (She’s heard one too many of my soap box rants, I think…)


I think these pull toys actually pre-date me, as I don’t recall having either of them myself, but I still love the looks of them. And the girls didn’t know Old from New, Nostalgic from Innovative…but they had a lot of fun playing with their new pretties.

Fast forward 8 or 10 months, as those toys had found their way into the “reserve” bin. In theory I cycle the girls’ toys in and out of the den on a regular basis, but I don’t always do such a great job.

Viola! Last week the girls fell in love with these gems all over again! And, of course, today they’re playing with them in a much different way.

They actually pretend to take their dog on a walk. They talk about their puppy's leash and his collar, and they have fun introducing their baby dolls to the dog on a regular basis (as apparently their dolls have very short-term memories).

This little exercise is a reminder to me that it is important to rotate the girls’ toys more often. It definitely keeps things interesting for them, and encourages them to find new ways to play with their toys.

And it’s a fun little experiment in nostalgia, too...

If 10 months to them is like 15 years to me…they must be enjoying the throwback to simpler times…when Mommy cut up all their food and they weren’t expected to climb the stairs themselves.

Aaahhh...the good old days!

March 13, 2011

Dear Mr. Time Change Man,

I’ve never been a huge fan of changing all my clocks and watches...it’s enough to have to fix all the electronic devices in my house after a power outage…but to have to add wall clocks and watches to that twice a year always seems like quite a task.

But once upon a time, outside of that inconvenience, I could manage to deal with the Time Change. “Falling Back” was always my preference…getting another precious hour of sleep. And I was rewarded for “Springing Forward” with another hour of daylight after I got home from work, which was also nice.

However, in the two years since our girls were born, I have come to loathe both Great Disturbances to my schedule that otherwise runs like, well, clockwork.

I have thought for the past two years that you must certainly be a man*…a man who does not have small children…a man whose wife doesn’t live and die by the schedules of such small children.

Mr. Time-Change Man, surely you have never cut off a friend’s conversation, mid-sentence, because you needed to begin the naptime routine. You’ve never forgone dessert at dinner so you can get home for bedtime. You’ve never turned down social event after social event because they might interfere with the schedule you so painstakingly put in place.

And you must not know how critical a consistent bedtime is. I am a firm believer that that is what keeps our girls [mostly] good-natured…and I KNOW it is what keeps this mommy SANE!!!

Mr. Time-Change Man, I know you enjoy the power you have over our lives, but this season, I’m actually hoping to turn your little game to my advantage.

Since our girls dropped to one nap last fall, they’ve been going to bed earlier and earlier. I am going to try to keep them up a little bit longer, hoping that it might just prompt them to sleep a little bit later.

And if that comes to fruition, maybe we can be friends, after all…at least until this fall.

Sincerely,
The Schedule-Master

*My apologies for coming across as so sexist. That's not my normal outlook, by any stretch, but I'm taking some creative license with this post. :)

March 11, 2011

Fab 5 Friday...and ME!

Another fabulous week!

1) I got the sweetest glimpse of sisterhood as I was going into the girls’ room on Thursday morning. Both girls were standing in their cribs, looking at each other. Although I’d already heard them talking to each other over the monitor, Baby B was saying, “Hey [Baby A], how are you?” So stinkin’ cute.

2) The girls have gotten really serious about Mommy’s and Daddy’s wellbeing lately. They’ll caution, “Be careful, Mommy,” as I’m climbing over the baby gate (taking a clue from their Daddy). They’ve also started asking, “How Mommy’s lunch?” and, “How Daddy’s day?

3) The girls have been able to fill in the blanks of stories and rhymes for many months now, and they’ve been reciting portions of songs for a long time. Just this week Baby A belted out “Baa, Baa, Black Sheep” in its entirety, of her own accord. I’m so proud of her!

4) On a related note, Baby A has been taking books from me and saying, “I read it to Mommy!” She’ll let me get her started with reciting the text on a page, or she’ll narrate pictures as she turns the pages. Pretty cool!

5) Just this week the girls have started employing some personal pronouns. “…to me, “ “...for us,” “I do it.” I know speaking in third person is part of normal language development…but I’m also thankful it’s beginning to sound a little less Rainman-ish around here!

And what did I do for ME this week???

Daddy had a late day on Friday, so he wasn’t home in time to eat supper with the girls. In such cases I usually just heat up some leftovers for us, but I decided a mini-date night was in order instead.

After the girls went to bed, I sent Hubby to pick up Chinese takeout…something we literally haven’t had in years. I set the table with real place settings (no Styrofoam takeout trays for us!), turned on some music, and dimmed the lights. We so enjoyed that little treat!

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March 10, 2011

Tender Hearts

I have long thought that our girls have really tender hearts.

They care so meticulously for their baby dolls, cradling their heads, rocking them, and giving them kisses before they put them down for a nap, assuring them, “See you soon, Baby.

They are so sweet with their stuffed puppy dogs, and they are always full of wide-eyed wonder at the mere glimpse of our kitty cat.

And then there was the Fly Incident, where little Baby B was unsettled for days after witnessing her daddy swat a little pest.

And that was followed by the Velcro Incident, where – again – little Baby B was traumatized at seeing her daddy rip open the bodice of her beloved Glow Worm to expose his inner workings (to change the batteries).

Yes, we’ve long realized our girls are very empathetic, and we try to manage their delicate little beings with care.

Enter a well-meaning family friend earlier in the week, bringing a belated birthday gift to the girls…two baby dolls that suckle from bottles and cry when they’re not being fed.

What great interactive play, right?

The girls were at first scared by the crying babies (whose cries are shockingly close to a newborn baby’s). Once they got over their initial fear, they were so excited to “feed” their babies, and they made the connection between the crying and the bottle very quickly.

What was evident very quickly, though, too, was how distraught the girls were over their babies being upset.

Mommy, oh no! Baby crying again!” I reminded the girls that babies like to be burped, and rocked, and that satisfied them for a couple of minutes.

But then, as soon as they’d try to feed their babies again, the babies would cry.

I could see the worry building on the girls’ faces. “It’s OK, baby, it’s OK,” they’d console.

And while it was beyond adorable to see them so focused on caring for their babies, those dolls were beginning to take an emotional toll on the girls. They were on edge the entire morning.

As an aside, I had to chuckle to myself…don’t we all know the feeling of tiptoeing around a sleeping baby, just hoping and praying she doesn’t stir, for you have worked so very hard – tried every trick in the book – just to get her to rest for a few moments!

Ultimately, I decided the girls’ emotional well-being [and Mommy's nerves] were more important than learning the cause-and-effect of an electronic cry box. (Oh, and did I mention they sound shockingly like a newborn baby’s cries?!!! And aren’t we past that in this house?!!!)

When the girls got up from their nap yesterday, I told them that the babies “had to go visit Nana” (who gave them the dolls). They were upset at first, but their attention was diverted pretty quickly.

If and when the dolls return, it will be with an elephant-size dose of gas drops (i.e. having had their batteries permanently removed...but not in front of the girls, of course).

March 9, 2011

Say What?! Wednesday: Poor Daddy!

Poor Daddy has taken the brunt of some of the girls’ bluntness lately…and Mommy may have just gotten a kick out of it, too!

***

The girls were sitting in Daddy’s lap last week as I was preparing to brush their teeth before bed.

Baby A reached up and touched the side of his head. “White,” she said. Then, she touched the front of his head and said, “Black.” Then, “White,” again pointing to the side of his head, followed by, “Black,” at the back.

She was pointing out Daddy’s graying pattern! I couldn’t help but laugh, and even Hubby had to chuckle…although I don’t think he would appreciate my encouraging her to repeat her little exercise in color observation.

***

On Friday, Daddy was doing a little work in the backyard. The girls still remember the “man” that worked in the backyard last fall doing some landscaping. (I say “man”, because that’s the way they refer to him…”Man work in backyard.”)

When they saw their daddy outside, Baby B said, “Daddy work outside. No man.

I, of course, recognized the context, but folks unaware of the background may have mistaken her for stripping her father of his manhood.

I actually didn’t share that with the hubs…I figured one blow a week is enough for the poor guy.

***

(And can I just say how excited I am to be playing along with Missy’s Say What?! Wednesday meme??? Yup, that means my girls are talking, and this mama loves hearing their tell-it-like-it-is take on the world!

March 7, 2011

The People of Walmart...

…and, not to stereotype, the people of Target, and the grocery store, and the mall, as well…

You may or may not know that I kinda like numbers.

Spreadsheets? A thing of beauty.

Statistics? Gotta love ‘em!

A precise operator’s manual for everything – including kiddos? I would be in Heaven.

For the past couple of years, I have been collecting data, observations I’ve made when I'm out in public with the girlies.

I’ll spare you the scientific analysis and pages of geometric proofs…and in fact I’ll just round things to the nearest 25% (since this is a baby blog)…but I think my findings are pretty interesting.

After extensive research, I have concluded that, on any one trip to a retail establishment, approximately 25% of the general population will make some kind of well-intentioned, or “cute”, comment.

We all know the drill…”Are they twins?” “Do twins run in your family?” “You’ve got your hands full!” “They’re adorable! Which one is the boss?

I know such comments are generally the bane of the multiples community, but I honestly don’t mind them too much (as long as I’m not in a terrible hurry). I am super proud of my babes, and – as long as folks don’t get too nosy OR try to actually touch my children – I love to share my girls with the world.

Approximately 50% of the general population will not acknowledge me / the girls one way or the other.

I’m certainly fine with this. While there are days that I would consider calling the toll-free number on the back of the ketchup bottle to have some adult conversation, I don’t go to the store for that particular purpose. And I know my babies are cute; I am not reliant on some stranger to tell me so.

So, 25% well-wishers + 50% mind-their-own business’ers...that leaves approximately 25% of the population that ranges from mildly scowling to downright hateful.

I know we’re often quite the spectacle with our double stroller. If I only need a few things, I’ll just tuck them in the bottom of the stroller, rather than wrangling a basket or a cart. I am not stealing these items, Mr. Nosy Old Man.

If I need more than a few things, I recognize that my “push the stroller, pull the cart” routine is an eyesore. Yes, I take up more than my fair space in front of the oatmeal, but I am pretty proficient in my maneuvers. As long as you haven’t stopped to chat in the middle of the aisle – in which case I will very politely say, “Excuse me, please,” – I will not sideswipe your buggy, Ms. Disapproving.

And yes, I do narrate the entire contents of the store to my children as we shop, which I realize may be a little disconcerting to those of the “children [and mothers?] should be seen and not heard” generation.

But really, have you ever stopped to appreciate the array of colors in the produce section? Or have you ever pondered how a potato has dirt on it, as evidence of where it grows; while lemons are beautiful and shiny and yellow, like the sun? Well, perhaps you should, Miss “I Can’t Believe She’s Talking to Herself”.

I usually take the sideways looks and funny glances in stride, but when someone stands to the side while I navigate an unruly set of double doors with my double stroller, I do have a good mind to “accidentally” hunt them down and roll over their foot with my +75-pound stroller.

Oops!

[Thanks to Helene for prompting this post...and if I were a little quicker on my feet, I probably would have said something along those lines myself!]

March 6, 2011

Happy Birthday, Aunt GG!

Aunt GG is the girls' great-great aunt. She's always been like a second grandmother to me, and I'm so happy that the girls are so enamored with her, as I always was.

Today is Aunt GG's birthday, and here's the birthday poem we wrote for her card...

We talk to Aunt GG every day,
And we can’t wait for her to come and play!
Tea parties, baby dolls, and cooking galore…
We bet she’d even like to take us to the store!

We’d show her Target, Sam’s, and the mall,
Oh, my goodness, we’d have a ball!
Then we’d go for ice cream, a little treat,
And then we’d let her smell our feet!

On your birthday, we just want to say,
Hope you have a very special day!


(Here's a picture of Aunt GG "smelling" the girls' feet, during a visit in August!)

Happy birthday, Aunt GG! We love you!!!

March 5, 2011

Woot! I Did It Again!

(Channeling some old school Britney…)

I did it again! I left my girlies!!!

I didn’t intend for my girls to spend every waking minute with me until they were more than two years old. And that is a slight exaggeration…there were a few waking moments they spent solely with Daddy, but those were few and far between.

No, I didn’t plan it this way…but we don’t have family close by, so when someone does come to visit, it’s not so I can have some “me” time.

And I was such a nut about every detail – namely the girls’ schedule and diet (and what else is there, really???) – especially for their first year of life, I didn’t have anyone I felt comfortable trusting them with outside of family.

About a year ago, I finally found a nice lady who was set to retire, whom we planned to have come and spend one afternoon a week with the girls. We knew it would be good for them…and Heaven knows it would be good for ME. I was heartbroken when the lady backed out on us.

Having spent a long time searching for this lady, I was devastated when things didn’t work, and then my devastation turned to resolve. I had made it over a year, and I could make it another year before the girls start a preschool program two afternoons a week this coming fall.

But then I had an idea…what if I compromised on my idea of having someone from the next generation to spend time with the girls? What if that someone was younger, even more along the lines of a “mother’s helper”?

I contacted a former colleague who lives in my neighborhood, whose daughter is a freshman at the university in town, and sure enough, Miss Jennifer was the perfect fit!

I knew I’d have to take things slowly in introducing the girls to the idea that there are people...in the world...outside of their mommy and daddy.

The first few weeks, Miss Jennifer came over and hung out with the girls with me. The girls LOVE playing with her, and she’s so good with them.

I gradually put a little space between them and me…first doing some things in the kitchen (within their sight), and then moving into the living room (adjacent to the den).

Last week was our first big test. I had a massage scheduled for Friday afternoon, and there would be a 20-minute or so gap between when I needed to leave and when Hubby got home. The girls didn’t bat an eye when I told them Mommy needed to run an errand. Miss Jennifer later reported they affirmed, “Mommy running errands,” a couple of times, but they never cried!

And yesterday afternoon, I decided to go for a run in the neighborhood. I again used the excuse that Mommy needed to run some errands, and off I went. The girls were without Mommy for about 45 minutes, and again did so well!

I still think it will be a long time before I’m ready to turn the [sacred] bedtime routine over to someone else, but I do have hope that the hubs and I might possibly be able to sneak in a lunch date, or – gasp! – a matinee movie one day.

A few baby steps for the girls...and one giant leap for this mama...

March 4, 2011

Fab 5 Friday...and ME!

I could sum up most of the week in five fabulous words, “The Weather Has Been Great!” but then I’d miss elaborating on the other fabulous highlights…

1) We had fantastic weather Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. No, that’s not the entire week, but I will certainly take those three days of sunshine and temperatures plenty nice for our full +3-mile hikes through the neighborhood. Fresh air does a body – and a mind! – some kinda good!

2) Baby B has started saying, “You crack me up!” It’s not always in context, but it cracks me up just the same!

3) The girls have been paying compliments to the chef at the dinner table, which absolutely melts my heart. They’ll say, “Good oatmeal!” or “Carrots good!” They’ll even ask, “How Mommy’s lunch?

4) The girls accompanied me for a haircut on Monday (as did Daddy…I still need an extra set of hands in that situation!). Usually I get my hair trimmed; then Baby A sits in my lap for her trim; and finally Baby B takes her turn. Hubby happened to ask Baby B – who is usually far more tentative than her sister – if she wanted to go first. She said she did, and her little chin didn’t even quiver once! She was such a big girl, and I couldn’t have been more proud!

5) Both girls do this, but Baby A is particularly funny when she “affirms” something she’s said. “[Baby A] no have on bunny shirt today, noooooooo.” She is just so emphatic, it’s too cute.

And what did I do for ME this week?

I had a fabulous week myself, with a couple of slightly-belated birthday celebrations. On Friday afternoon I had a massageahhh…heaven!

And Friday night, after the girlies were in bed, I met three girlfriends for a late dinner at our favorite Mexican dive. Between the four of us we probably ate four baskets of chips, with all the accoutrements, and we laughed until our faces hurt. Good stuff.

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March 3, 2011

Fleeting Signs of Babyhood

It was about this time a year ago that the girls’ sign language was starting to really take off.

They had long since mastered the signs central to basic tasks…eat, drink, sleep, more, all done. Looking at pictures recently, I was reminded how they were beginning to take a lot of joy in learning new signs, especially those for animals.

It was so much fun to “read” a book with them as they signed the pictures, or point to birds and cats and dogs and squirrels as we’d see them on our walks through the neighborhood.

These days, the girls are taking a lot of joy in what they can say outright, their hands shoved deep in their pockets. (They love to find pockets on their pants…well, except when Baby B shows some particularly Southern tendencies and gestures wildly with her hands while she “explains” something in great detail [no idea where she got that…ahem].)

The girls can carry on pretty full conversations. Their level of understanding still outweighs what they can say, but their vocabulary is growing every single day.

It’s so amazing what the girls can say and do…but I have to admit a little piece of me misses their tiny hands engaged in sign.

Fortunately, I still get glimpses from time to time, usually in the heat of emotion.

When the girls see, or even hear, a puppy doggy on our walks, they almost always start slapping their knees. It’s like their excitement spills beyond the verbal, and they just have to express themselves physically, too.

They also still sign “more” – in addition to saying it. I’ve heard so many people say that that was the only sign their children ever knew, and that river must run deep. It’s like they feel the need to convey to me in as many ways possible that they NEED more pineapple (or whatever the food du jour is).

I still sign to them occasionally, usually a silent reminder to say “please” or “thank you”. That’s a nice little trick, by the way, as unknowing folks think my kids are innately polite. :)

I love, love, love that the girls can TALK now, and they never cease to amaze me with what they come up with. I know the girls will eventually phase out of signing altogether, but I’m enjoying these fleeting signs of babyhood as long as I can.
 
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