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Sunday, March 24, 2013

P&C Week 12: Rocking in Our School Shoes

There are all kinds of ways to mark the passage of time.

This week I was reminded of one bittersweet way we mark time around here...

Shoes.

It seems like yesterday we bought the Babies their first pair of big kid shoes. (Seriously, it's worth a click over to see their chubby baby legs. How I miss those legs...)

Then, before we knew it, those shiny new kicks were being boxed away, and another pair, a whole size bigger, were taking there place.

Along the way, we made a new friend who also likes shoes--Pete the Cat. If you haven't meet him, here's a good introduction to one cool cat...



So, this past week, as we bought another pair of shoes, and marked another six months in the books, Mommy we cheered ourselves up by singing, "We're rocking in our school shoes..."

Baby feet. Bigger baby feet. New shoes. School shoes. Cool cats. Makes me smile like Peas and Cheese.

P&C Week 11: Next Day

A couple of weeks ago, we made the decision to separate Emily and Andrew at school.

What happened "next day"?


While it's too early to say definitively that we made the right decision, at this point, I can share that it seems to be working out for the best.

When we get to school in the morning, we arrive at Andrew's class first.

Almost invariably, he says, "I am going into MY room!"

And, if Emily tries to go in with him, he says, "No, it's MY room."

(Now, once we are in there, it's a different story. Just like when he was in the room with Emily, he clings to me and doesn't want me to go. This grueling morning routine hasn't changed).

But, he seems to enjoy having something--his room--that is his own.

While Emily usually goes easily into her room, sometimes leaving me behind, there was one day last week when she had a complete meltdown--she wanted her Drew Bear.

Thankfully, the teacher didn't miss a beat in offering to let Emily go over and have her morning snack in Drew's class. (It would have broken my heart to leave for work thinking that Emily was crying for Drew and couldn't see him).


Separate. Together. Fights. Hugs. Love. Makes me smile like Peas and Cheese.

P&C Week 10: Pond Sharing

Sharing.

It's a constant struggle around here.

If one of them has something, it's a sure fact that the other will want it. And, not one like it.

No, they want that one.

It's exasperating.

It's exhausting.

And, sometimes, it's just downright funny...

Like this week when Emily wanted to see the pond, and not just any pond, but the pond Drew saw.

The conversation went something like this:

Me (driving): Look, there's a pond.
Drew: I see the pond!
Emily: I want to see.
Me (still driving at approximately 55 miles an hour): Well, keep your eyes open. We'll see another pond in a second...See! There's another pond!
Emily (crying): No! I don't want to see that pond. I want to see the pond Drew saw!

Yes, we even fight over ponds.

So, the next morning, in the solitude of my car, when I saw a pond with hundreds of tundra swans peacefully floating along, I pulled over, smiled, and took a picture...

To remind me of the irrational nature of almost- three year olds, the lessons we continue to teach, and the beauty of quiet commutes-- all by myself.

Crazy kids. Sharing. Not sharing. Unexpected beauty. Makes me smile like Peas and Cheese.


P&C Week 9: It's Snow Fun!

No, we didn't play in the snow this week.

But, on Tuesday, if we had driven about thirty minutes north of us, I heard we could have seen snow flurries. In North Carolina. In the middle of March!

No, this Peas and Cheese picture is from February, February 17 to be exact.

As far as I can remember (and these days it's not too far), February 17 was the first time the Babies ever played in the snow.

Like all true Southerners, we weren't quite prepared.



No, I am sure we had milk and bread.

But, when it came to proper snow attire, well-- we had to make do with what we had.

Rain boots. Fleece-lined pants. Knit gloves.

Like I said, we made do.

Thankfully, it wasn't too cold. And there wasn't that much snow.

But...

Yes, just enough for some snowballs!



I wasn't fast enough to get a picture of the snowman Marty started before Drew kicked it over!

Emily was NOT happy with Drew for kicking over the snowman, but a couple of snowballs later, all was forgiven.



So much snow fun.



Snow. Snowballs. Cold hands. Hot chocolate. Babies' laughing.

Makes me smile like Peas and Cheese.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Dancing for a Dum Dum

I've never tried to hide the fact that when it comes to being a dance mom, well--

I can be a bit of a dum-dum.

Remember the wardrobe malfunction?

Regardless, I never thought my career as a dance mom might be literally thwarted by a dum-dum.

MaMe Musings' readers, let me explain. And, then, I hope you will chime in and let me know if you think I am making a Mounds out of a Reese's Pieces.

So---

As you might recall, we started Emily back in dance in January. We picked the studio based primarily on convenience (it's practically across the street from their school).

I called in early January to see if she could do a trial class and was told to bring her the following week.

A couple of weeks later, we finally made it. I was taken back when the teacher was a little less- than- enthusiastic about having a new student. She hemmed and hawed for several minutes about whether Emily could come in. If Emily hadn't been in the car and if she hadn't been talking about dance all day long, I would have taken her home. Finally, I flat-out asked the teacher if my child was welcome or not. I explicitly said I didn't want to bring her somewhere she wasn't welcome. At that point, the teacher acquiesced and told me to bring Emily on in.

Emily fit right in, made a new friend, and talked about dance all week, so begrudgingly, I took her back.

Without going into lots of specifics, let's just say that this class itself has left a lot to be desired. As a teacher, I recognize I can be a little critical of other teachers, so I've held back. First and foremost, Emily appears to be enjoying herself and that is my primary concern at this age.

One of Emily's favorite parts of the class is the end where she gets a dum-dum sucker. Because she's such a sweetie, she always asks for a second one so she can give one to Drew who waits patiently for her in the lobby. Drew often goes into the studio to meet Emily, and the teacher knows that Emily has a twin.

Image Credit

You're probably wondering why I am building up this dum-dum, right? It's just a dum-dum. The kind people give out generously to children everywhere--

except at our dance studio.

Apparently, according to Marty, last week, the teacher, with an expression of reluctance, gave Drew his dum-dum and said, "You know, these are really supposed to just be for the students."

Stop me. Because there's a snarky mom part of me that's halfway to the car with a bag of dum-dums that I will be delivering to her with the message that this $2.99 bag should cover my kid for the remainder of any dance classes we might ever attend.

However, the other more rational part of me just wants to pull Emily out of the class and let the stingy teacher keep her dum-dums for the other students.

I'd hate, though, for Emily to miss out on something she enjoys--although, from an instructional standpoint (see above), I don't think she'll miss much.

But, she's two and half, and thankfully, her memory is still relatively short. Maybe she'd forget all about dance if we just didn't mention it.

Or, maybe, just maybe, some MaMe Musings' reader will convince me that I am completely over-reacting...

I have been known to be a dum-dum like that...



Friday, March 8, 2013

This is...



I confess: I never thought I'd share a video on MaMe Musings' page that begins with a shot of Megan Fox's boobies. (You're welcome, honey).

I confess: every time I thought about writing this post (which was really supposed to be another tale in the potty training saga), I kept thinking about this movie, This is 40.

I confess: I am about to digress...

I confess: Marty and I recently (in the last 6 months is still recent in our world), Marty and I went to see this movie on date night.

I confess: we picked this movie because we wanted to escape reality for a little while and laugh. It's a sort-of sequel to Knocked Up, so it had to be funny, right?

I confess: it wasn't funny. I actually cried at one point (and not those "laughing so hard I cried" tears).

I confess: I was not prepared for a movie about aging, marital dysfunction, and whining about first-world problems. It hit way too close to home.

I confess: While I have never lied about my age, I saw a bit of myself in Leslie Mann's character as she mourns getting older. Even though I am a few birthdays away from 40, I can relate to the feeling that "we're going blink and be 90." (I am not confessing to closet-smoking with a plastic glove, although, ten years ago, I could have so seen myself doing it).

I confess: I saw myself in her obsessions over gluten, the over-use of electronics, the endless self-improvement lists. (I can't confess, however, to be motivated enough to hire a ruthless personal trainer).

I confess: I saw us in the dysfunction of their marriage: a marriage where communication often has to be scheduled, where money talks often become money arguments, where privacy is nonexistent, where work sucks, where the wife badgers the husband over his unhealthy habits, where the husband complains, "You get so mad," where couple time is limited to a rare, stolen weekend away where you realize why you ever got married in the first place. (I won't confess, however, to relating to the part of imagining the ways I might kill my husband. I confess, instead, to imagining how I might end up on an island where there are no husbands).

I confess: It left me not wanting to be that way.

I confess: I know I have strayed so far away from the potty story. Where's the potty, you're probably wondering...

In one scene in the movie, Paul Rudd's character sequesters himself in the bathroom on his i-pad and Words with Friends while he takes care of business. His wife opens the door and demands to know what's going on since he's been in the bathroom for 20 minutes.

I confess: I did laugh at this part of the movie because I have done the same thing to Marty--except he's usually playing Scramble or this stupid war game.

I confess: Apparently, I am not too worried about electronic devices or teaching the kids to take 20 minutes to use the bathroom because, this week, as an incentive to use the potty, we gave both kids our i-phones as they used the potty. Picture two kids, two potties, side-by-side, on two phones, playing the "memer" game.

I confess: I don't feel guilty because guess what? It worked.

This is...our life.





Thursday, March 7, 2013

Not Quite Yet

As Emily and Andrew would say, not quite yet.

I wasn’t prepared to make this decision—not quite yet.

I thought I had at least a few more years before making the decision that seems to divide many twin parents into two camps—

Those who think separating the twins in school is a good idea and those who don’t.

If you’re not a twin parent, you might not realize that this decision is a hot-button topic. A little internet research revealed that parents have even sued schools over this issue!

Those in favor of separating them say separation can allow both children to develop as individuals and can reduce competition, comparison, and conflict.

The other side worries that separating twins can cause undue emotional stress and anxiety.

If you’re not a parent of multiples, you might think the whole issue is much ado about nothing. Why not separate, or why does it matter one way or the other?

Honestly, even as a mom of multiples, I haven’t given the issue much thought. I've been taking things as they come, and lately, potty training has been enough to keep me occupied.

But, a few weeks ago, our preschool director pulled me in and explained that they would soon be splitting the two year old room into two separate rooms, and she wanted to know if I was open to the idea of separating Emily and Drew.

My first reaction was to ask, “What is your professional opinion?”

I wanted to hear the reasons, and I hoped the rationale wasn’t solely based on the fact that Emily was more potty-trained than Drew.

“I think separating them might give them both the opportunity to develop friends and interests outside of each other.”

“Emily has a tendency to speak for Drew. Like today, Emily said to the teacher, ‘You didn’t give Drew his apple sauce.”

“Drew’s speech might take off faster if he wasn’t so reliant on Emily to talk for him.”

“By moving Drew to the smaller class, the teacher will be able to give him more attention to support his potty-training.”

Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.

I agreed on all accounts.

I told her I would discuss with Marty and let her know within the week.

“No pressure. We are certainly willing to keep them together if you want, and we can always put them back together if it doesn’t work.”

I left feeling... sad.

I knew the answer but I wasn’t ready to say it—not quite yet.

Separating them was in their best interests, but admitting it left me facing some realities I don’t always vocalize.

Even though I know they are individuals, I also see them as a pair. As twins. And, pairs and twins, by definition, come in twos. Unless you have experienced it, you can't understand the bond between twins.

I’m not the only one who sees life as a pair—Emily and Drew have never known a minute without each other. While they fight and resist sharing, who else would say at naptime, “Drew, rub my back"?

While I know they have different talents and will continue to develop at different rates, it has, hereto far, been easy enough to ignore that these differences are going to lead them down different paths.

Even though I want them to make friends as individuals, somewhere, deep down, I know they are okay, because they always have at least one friend in the room—each other.

And, let’s not forget the practical side of things—two rooms, two drop-offs, two supply lists, two parties, one mommy. Again, I knew this would happen one day.

Just not quite yet.


So, with mixed feelings, we agreed to separate them.

Last day.

As I stood outside the class, after drop-off, watching anxiously through the window, I knew in my heart we had made the right decision. For now.

I saw Drew, playing with a truck.

I saw Emily, grabbing a book from the shelf.

Two parts of my heart. Separate.



At the end of the day, I picked them up and put them back together.

Smiles, Words. Fights. Hugs.

Two parts of my heart. Back together again.





Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Sense of Time

A few Sundays ago, during a particularly "relevant" sermon, Marty leaned over to me and whispered, "Is Preacher James spying on us?"

Nodding, I agreed the "example" sounded eerily familiar.

At the same time, I found it strangely comforting that apparently other couples have similar issues. Perhaps we are more normal than we think...

A few days later, I had this same feeling as I read one of those Baby Center "Your Preschooler at the Age" emails. (BTW, I still can't believe they consider my Babies preschoolers)!

The topic was "Sense of Time," and as I read, I found myself thinking...

Is Baby Center spying on my kids? The timing of this email is crazy. I was just thinking today about how Emily and Andrew are starting to notice time and use words to indicate time. These Baby Center people are...

Then, I realized, as exceedingly gifted and charming as my Babies are, in some ways, they are still just normal 31 month olds.

And, that was comforting.

According to the experts at Baby Center, Emily and Andrew are developing a sense of time.

He can't read a watch yet, but your preschooler does have a rudimentary sense of time. He knows that yesterday means the past and tomorrow means the future, but to him, yesterday might refer to something that happened earlier this morning or last week.

The way your child marks time is largely through the predictable way his day unfolds. That's another reason (in addition to providing basic security) that routines continue to be so important. He knows that when you go into the kitchen it's almost time for lunch, and that after lunch he'll be at the playground and then take a nap.

Use references to time in your conversation: "In five minutes, we'll leave." "We'll go to the store right after lunch." "After two more bedtimes, we'll leave for our trip." Although your preschooler won't exactly understand these time frames the same way you do — that ability doesn't come until second or third grade —you'll be helping him get used to the concepts.
Source

It's been fun watching Emily and Andrew develop this sense of time.

Marty recently promised Drew he would take him the bounce house after school. When Marty arrived after school, guess what Drew said? Yep. "Daddy, it's after school. I wanna go to the bounce house!"

Or Emily, angling for M&Ms..."But, Mommy. I peed in the potty yesterday."

Most of the time, though, she uses the phrase, "last day," as in "When we went to Granny and Papa's last day."

Last day. I love it. It works--either to mean the last time we did something or to mean literally the last day before today--yesterday.

We also hear a lot of "not quite yet," like when we say it's time for bed and they scream, "Not quite yet!"

And, so, while I know on one level that all of this time talk is completely normal (thanks, Baby Center), on a proud mama level, I am completely fascinated by watching them learn in their own unique ways.




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