Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Letter Of Complaint (long overdue)

I feel the need to explain myself.
 It seems that many people see twins who are dressed alike and feel personally affronted and offended. They see it as their responsibility to come up to the mother in question and point out, in their expert opinion, the cosmic error of her ways. To these "Deputy Child-Psycholgists" I have but one offering: "Yes. I dress my twins alike. No, I don't feel bad about it. So there." (You can't see it, but I'm sticking my tongue out right now.)

When you find out you're having twins, two things go through your mind in quick succession: 1). Crap! How did that happen? Mixed in equal parts with 2.) giddy glee at your new found SuperPower: Egg Splitter or Egg Shooter, depending on the type of twins you're having. You spend the rest of that particular appointment swaying back and forth between complete joy and utter terror. It's not until you get home, toss out all the "What To Expect" books because it becomes quite clear THEY don't know what to expect either, and really sit down to think about this whole twin thing that you can calm down. Once that happens, then and only then can you fully appreciate the rare and wonderful opportunity you've been given to do something that apparently annoys a lot of complete strangers: dress your twins alike. Yes folks, that's right. Even before our multiples are born, we're hard at work plotting our future dressing sins. Mwah-ha-ha-ha.

The thing I never fully understand is what the problem is for other people? In response to their unsolicited advice, I always ask them if they have twins or are a twin, and let me tell you friends, at least 95% of the time,they do not and are not. So why the fuss? Look, my day is pretty hectic enough without anyone coming up to me and announcing that my girls will never develop an identity because they are always the same. One lady asked me if I knew they were individuals with different brains. Really? ARE they? How very kind of her to point that out, as I was surely in danger of having never guessed that myself. You see, dissenters, parents of multiples may be many things: we're tired, we're a bit spacey, we may be a little slurred at times (from sleep deprivation), and its entirely possible that due to the time constraint of caring for two or more human beings, we may even be dirty. However, we are not stupid. We are all quite aware that our babies are separate individuals with likes an dislikes that may be as far apart as the oceans. So please don't imply that we don't.

It never fails to amaze me how few of these rude, albeit possibly well-intentioned persons, never stop to think of the possible reasons WHY a parent of multiples may choose to dress them alike. I can't speak for the masses, but I can tell you our own reasoning. First, our twins have always preferred it. When items are bought in different colors, there will inevitably be a war, with one claiming she wants THAT shirt and the one wearing it strutting around in glory at already having it. Second, next time you take your darlings to a playground and let them disperse, think of how much easier it would be to track them if you were looking for just one outfit. Sure, I could equip my girls with a honing device that beeps whenever they come within a certain range of me, but I think my way may be a bit cheaper. Next (and perhaps my most glorious reason of all).....just because. Because I can. Because life with multiples is hard and seeing two little munchkins in matching duds just puts a smile on my face. And I'm worth it. Enough said.

The next time you are in the mall and see two nameless sweeties prancing around in matching garb...rather than choosing to attack the poor parent, try offering some words of encouragement instead. Like, "Gosh! Those your twins? Wow. You still look sane! How do you do it?" or "You look a lot more pulled together than most parents of twins. What's your secret?" or my favorite, "You are a Super-Hero", which always brings a smile to my face since I have that hidden superpower of being The Egg Splitter.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Safety Town

When the girls were born, nearly 6 years ago now, I'm not sure what grand plans my mind had. But I am pretty sure it didn't include the rather intense amount of "Letting Go" that I'm finding myself having to do. Oh, I knew they wouldn't stay my babies forever. I wasn't dumb or anything. But I suspect that somehow I could choose to keep them tiny & precious for a lot longer that time seems to have granted me.

I'll be taking them to Safety Town this week, and those of you who know me well know that I am not totally geared up for this event. Sure, I want them to be safe. I think "Safe" and "Kids" go very nicely together. It's not that. It's that it is one step closer to "Let Go" day (aka Kindergarten), and I'm none too thrilled about it. For all the fun I know they'll have, I find myself holding them a little tighter these days. Wanting to let them go, but not wanting to at the same time. Ready. Unready. Sure but unsure. After some intense soul searching while scrubbing the floor (isn't that when most Stay-At-Home-Moms seem to do their soul searching?) I assessed that if it were socially acceptable & healthy for them, I would keep them right here with me, glued conveniently to my hip. I'd always know just where they were. Who they were with. What they were doing. Handy, yes, but lucky for everyone it is neither acceptable nor particularly healthy for me to handle it that way. So out they'll go. Fly birdies fly. But.......one step at a time, please. I can't do it all at once. I'm not meant to, I don't think.

Safety Town marks the first tentative step. (Let's hope it lands on solid ground.)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Still Counting Down

I find myself completely amazed that time, capable of such high speeds already, is able to speed up even further when the approach of a dreaded event draws nearer. Even as I write this, the great Cog Of Time is chugging its way around to that most dastardly of occasion: the first day of school. And not just any regular first day of school,mind you, but the girls' first EVER day of school. Bleh.

I think you'll be happy to know that I'm at least somewhat more at peace with the whole thing. Somewhat. Is that saying something? I think it is. We went out the other day and let the girls pick out their book bags. For some inexplicable reason, that shopping trip felt symbolic and important. As the girls raced up and down the aisles of bags, my eyes stayed glued to their every movement, mentally recording each "oooh" and "ahhhh" and "WOW!!", and greedily storing the data for later dates yet to be announced. (You never know when you'll need a Mental Slide Show to perk up a dull day, or remind you that your fast-growing-kids were once little, after all).

After the book bags came the ceremonious "Gathering Of The Supplies". I looked on as each picked out the glue, crayons, scissors, pencils, and markers that will fill their time at The Office. Remembering my own Kindergarten experience, I think ahead to all the fun they'll have doing seat work or being a classroom helper. I remember those days and I am excited for them. Sad for me, but excited for them.

So now it all waits. Sitting in the hall closet, yet unused by awaiting service. My eyes get a little misty every time I open the door and see those back packs in there. I envision the inevitable morning rush; grabbing a bag, swinging it on a child's back, and racing to the car. Just trying to get out the door on time. "Let's GO, girls!" But for now, everything is still. Silent. Unhurried. Unrushed. Waiting. Is there excitement in that, or dread? I think I've upgraded to "Both". I'm content enough to say "Yes, they're going to school" but am also greedily grabbing every moment I can (like shopping for supplies) for now.

People continue to tell me, "You'll be fine, mama, don't worry". But I hope I'll be better than 'fine'. I hope that I'll feel a sense of accomplishment at having brought 2 kids through infancy and toddler hood, while preparing them for school without the aid of Preschool or daycare. I'm proud to say I was here. Every minute. A part of each success and each failure. That part of me, the one whose chest is pushed out with pride, is ready to see how well they do when set upon the world en force. Of course, there is still that other part, let's call it The Inner Mommy, who is not quite ready for this momentous approaching day. Here's to hoping that the puffed out chest gal is able to push aside the whimpering sad-face on d-day........

Friday, July 9, 2010

Menacing Birthday Strikes Again!

You may not notice it to read my words, but I am a whole year older now, having just had a birthday. Does that extra year add some wisdom to my words? Am I more relateable now with that little 2 tucked behind the 3? Maybe. Maybe not. Time will tell, I suppose. 

One of the first things that strikes me when my birthday rolls around each year is just how much that day has changed for me. I have no doubt it's the whole "Grown-Up" thing, but when you're a kid, the day revolves around you entirely. Properly. As it should. Somewhere along the way, that changes entirely. These days, my birthday continues to be locked in the orbit of Ashlyn & Caedance, revolving steadily around the great sun of their childhoods. And I can't say that I mind this, not totally. The "Adult" in me says that this is just being responsible and that I am a good parent. However, the "Not-So-Adult" in me stomps her foot, pouts, and wails, "WHAT ABOUT ME!!! IT'S MY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!".  Alas.

This year I was on my own with the girls since Dan was unable to take the day off work. Not that I mind this, mind you. I don't. What I DO mind is when my little ones wake up on the far, far, FAR end of the very wrong side of bed. It's a rare magical duo who can be tucked into bed as Sugar & Spice, and then transform in the night to their alter egos, Snippet & Snarly before morning. Ta-DA!

Between their grumpy mumbles of general displeasure, I tried to keep my own spirits up (it was my birthday after all) while getting us all ready for the day. It seemed to be going well until Tooth brushing time, when one began "painting" the other with blue toothpaste. Paintee became Painter and swabbed the paste all over her sister in a Avatar-ian sort of way. Lovely. Amidst their wails of disapproval, I scrubbed them down and promptly kicked them out of the bathroom, telling them to go downstairs and get their shoes on.

As I continued to get ready, I heard the tell tale "thawump" of the heavy floor-vent in the living room being jostled back into position. I dashed down the stairs in time to see The Snarly-Sisters take off into the family room. Peering into the grate I saw two My Little Ponies, jammed and staring woefully up at me, silently lamenting their uncooperative role in this crime. I fished them out and resettled the grate. With purpose, I strode to find The Culprits, who were hiding in their family room lair. Each spent 6 minutes in time out. Each used that time making faces and growling back and forth on their separate couches. Each found a way to painstakingly pick at my frazzled and fraying nerves.

I decided that the cure for this bountiful Birthday Bliss (it WAS my birthday. Wasn't it?) was to get out of the house and hopefully free ourselves from the Grip of the Grumblies. Our destination was Lodi Outlet Mall. A good place that cleverly combines running outside and shopping. A magical world, really. As soon as we pulled in, Caedance began describing the soft pretzel she should be getting. I had already told her that we would not be getting soft pretzels today because we were going out to lunch instead. She moaned that it was the ONLY thing that was good and that it was her "Favorite and her Best". I informed her that we still weren't getting pretzels. And so started The Tantrum. 

It was, in the history of Dickinson Twin Tantrums, perhaps the biggest, most powerful Tantum on record. Starting off as mere sobs which, when ignored, grew into more menacing growls which, when still ignored, morphed into large screams and wails of upset. When she got out of the car, the Tantrum went from merely a vocal show into an entire performance, with flapping arms and stomping feet. Face twisting between a pout and fiery rage, she screamed and shouted about not getting a soft pretzel. I, taking a deep breath and remainig calm, informed her that she needed to collect herself or be put into Time Out. Her answer was a swat at me, accented with a growl.

"Time Out it is then", I said guiding her to the nearest walkway. I set her against the railing and walked a few feet away to stand. I could see her. She could see me. She was safe. I was watching. First she flailed about, whapping the air and kicking her anger out. Then she flopped down on the ground and kicked some more. When a lady passed by, she started to scream, "She's going to step on ME!!" After the lady passed by, she stood up and pounded at the air, stomping her foot. Next she got desperate and she began to call out to passerby to help her.

"My mommy is putting me in danger!" she screamed to a passing couple who looked at her with bemusement. "In DANGER! Help me! Help MEEE!" I stood on. Watching. Waiting. As people passed by the showstopping performance that was Caedance's tantrum, they cast glances at me that clearly said, "You poor thing! You are a good mom; nay! A GREAT mom. In the annals of history, your perseverance to uphold your decrees will be looked upon with admiration and sheer awe." Well, that's what I hope they meant, anyway. The looks could just as easily been interpreted as sneers, I guess.

After 6 very long, very loud minutes, I went over to her and spoke in a calm voice that belied my inner upset. (IT'S MY BIRTHDAY!!!) Anger spent, she quieted down and, before my eyes, transformed into my Little Girl again. Humming the tune to "Ding-Dong the Witch Is Dead", we walked along and finished our day of shopping with some mild success. (Sale at Gymboree). My mother took the girls to her house for the afternoon and so the rest of the day was spent at peace.

Later that night, I sat in wonder, looking back at The Day That Had Been My Birthday. Where were the accolades? The well-wishes? The attention? Sigh. Memories of birthdays past flitted crossed my mind's keen eye. Double sigh. But even as I missed some of the traditions that marked the birthdays of my youth, I was able to appreciate the new traditions that were forming in these early years of Motherhood. It may not have been a banner birthday, but it was another notch on my experience belt. Another lesson learned. A test passed. (I didn't freak out when Cae through the fit!!!) As I drifted off into an exhausted sleep, I found myself smiling in spite of the day's stresses and imagined misfortunes. Content.

I woke up raring to go the next morning. Decided it was going to be a better day. (And decreed it my holdover birthday from the day before). Ahhhh. 32. Here I am.