Friday, February 27, 2009

Name Calling and Thunderstorms

Yesterday, Talia was using Aaron's Magnadoodle and, according to him, would not let him use it. I asked Talia to finish up what she was doing, and to please let Aaron use his own toy (she has her own, as well).

A few minutes later, I was in the kitchen, feeding Melina, when Talia walks in with a sullen look on her face. She looks up at me and says, "Mom, Aaron called me bad poo-poo."

I have to tell you, I really tried not to laugh. REALLY. But when the fatigue level is at the maximum, Aaron could have simply called her by her name, and I might have laughed. I know that laughing was the not the appropriate response, and Talia knew it, too. Her face fell, and she started to tear up.

I spoke very quietly to her and explained that, while Aaron should not have said that to her, I was very tired, and just about anything would make me laugh. I told her that I understood she felt bad by what he said, and that I wasn't laughing at how she felt. It was a moment where I appreciated the fact that Talia is seven and that we can have real conversations about feelings, about what is right and wrong, and what is not too bad. "And," I added, "What he said is kind of funny when you think about it, isn't it?" Talia agreed that Aaron's choice of words was sort of funny, and she laughed, too. I told her I'd speak to Aaron as soon as I could.

I called to Aaron, asking him to come into the kitchen. He made it about halfway, into the foyer, before he said, "I said it to the couch." The kid knew what I had been going to say, and already had an excuse in hand. Nice try, wise guy! By the time I got him into the kitchen, he'd admitted to using those words against Talia and that it probably wasn't the best choice he made. He agreed to apologize to her for saying something that wasn't nice. His only problem -- he didn't know which twin was Talia!


In the wee hours of this early morning, we had a brief thunderstorm. Aaron usually isn't a fan of storms, and sometimes wakes up and wants someone with him. I heard the thunder, and figured I'd send Tim into Aaron's room to get into bed as a precaution.

As it turns out, Aaron never even heard the thunder. When I asked him about the storm, he said he didn't know there was one. I told him that Daddy had gone in to sleep with him in case he had been frightened by the storm. He looked at me and said, "Oh. I thought Daddy was in my bed because he loves me."

How sweet is that?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Captured Fun

A couple of weeks ago, the girls went with Tim to a sock hop at school. It was from 6-8 pm, so Aaron stayed with Melina and me at home, while the rest of the crew took off for the dance. They apparently had a great time, even without a poodle skirt or saddle shoes.

Notice the sparkly shoes...the girls absolutely love those!

Melina is really trying to get moving. She has been doing the superman pose in an effort to strengthen her back muscles, and every once in a while gets her knees under her little body. We got a couple of good pictures of her having fun doing this:

Tim also captured some great bathtime photos, all of which he made sure were suitable for posting.

I bet she is getting too big for that bath seat.

And, of course, we cannot forget Aaron (partly because he is so loud, you CANNOT forget him). He has been having a blast with his little sister, but when she is sleeping or eating, he can be found doing other building. Last week, he built a wall. Maybe not so exciting to you, but imagine Aaron's excitement when he rolled himself into it in order to knock it down.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Bucket List

There is a note making its way around Facebook called The Bucket List. I presume it is named after the movie of the same name, in which two men try to get through a list of things they'd like to do before they "kick the bucket," as they say. I don't know about the movie, but the note lists many things that people have done, some of which include (I have not done all of these):
Gone on a blind date
Skipped school
Been to Canada
Been lost
Swam in the ocean
Cried yourself to sleep
Done something you told yourself you wouldn't.
Caught a snowflake on your tongue
Danced in the rain
Written a letter to Santa Claus
Ridden on an elephant
Swam with dolphins
Swam in the Mediterranean
Been to a Major League Baseball game

The list made me think about a list I made many years ago, one that I can probably still find if I look hard enough. I had items listed that I wanted to do over the span of my life, some of which I have accomplished, i.e. run a marathon, some of which I have not, i.e. take a trip to Italy. I think I need to find that list, look at it again, and possibly add some more items. If I were to make a "bucket list" now, I am certain it would be more than slightly different than the list I composed 15 years ago.

Some of the things I'd add to my original list would be:
See my kids in a profession that makes them happy
Have grandkids (I know I have no control over this!)
Be able to visit my kids and grandkids as often as I can
Visit Niagra Falls
Have my house and garage organized
Visit Walloon Lake
Stay up to usher in a New Year (that went out the window with the arrival of children)
Run 5-6 days a week
Make an impact on every student I teach, preferably a GOOD impact
See friends I haven't seen in WAY too long
Publish a book for children
Sell my baked goods
Donate my time to those that need it (not very specific, but I have to figure out those specifics)
Like always, I could go on, but time is of the essence. What are some of the things that you'd like to do, or have done? I'd be curious to know.

Next time, I promise some great pictures of the children. I don't want the buckets of sunshine to think they are afterthoughts (as if!).

Monday, February 9, 2009

Monday Morning Musings

Well, it might be afternoon by the time this gets posted. But this is what's been going through my brain as of late...really a bunch of questions. If you have answers, feel free to leave a comment.

1. Why do people here say, "I have to go to the grocery" while up north they say, "I have to go to the grocery store"? I looked it up. Grocery is a noun. But I find that I use grocery as an adjective out of habit.

2. Why do I like to eat cottage cheese with a fork, but I won't touch it with a spoon?

3. Will I have at least one child with my propensity for neatness? I am holding out hope for Melina here!

4. How am I supposed to answer all of Aaron's questions?

5. Why do women (mostly, and myself included) feel as though we need to take on the world? Yes, I know there are books out there completely devoted to this subject. I don't care about the psychological mumbo-jumbo...I guess this is really a rhetorical question (aren't they all?).

6. It is bad if my kids are fed, bathed, clothed, loved, with homework done and small chores accomplished, but the windows haven't been cleaned in a year?

7. Why can't I remember what the control factors for the cell cycle are and how cyclin-dependent kinases work, but if you ask me what the kids had for breakfast on January 23rd, I just might be able to tell you?!?

8. Why do people (again, myself included although I REALLY try not to) feel the need to tell others how to parent?

9. Why do restaurants think that slapping together some vegetables and cheese constitutes a tasty vegetarian dish?

10. Do people with family members that live close to them realize just how lucky they and their children are?

I could go on, but I actually do have laundry, cooking, and school work to get done. And those kids, I guess I should try to feed and love the two that are here.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Little Bookworms

Zoe and Talia had a representative from the local library come to their school to pass out applications for library cards. They're in first grade now, and that makes them eligible for their own cards. We filled out the forms, sent them in, and recently received the cards. On Saturday, Z, T, and I went to the library for a test drive.

The girls each chose two Magic Tree House books, and asked if we could stay to read for a little while before checking the books out and heading home. Since part of the reason for our trips to the library is to give Chris time to do things unrelated to being the mother of twins, I said we could stay. The plopped themselves down on a sofa with their books while I looked for a book for Aaron. I found a cute little story titled I Don't Want to Go by Addie Sanders.

Zoe and Talia sat, completely silent for about fifteen minutes, until I said it was time to leave. By then, they had each read 30-odd pages of their books, and I thought perhaps two books each wasn't sufficient reading material, but I didn't know how many they could borrow on their brand new cards, so we left it at two and would come back as soon as necessary for more. The girls asked for bookmarks to keep their places. A nearby card catalog computer had a little stack of paper slips for writing down call numbers, so we inserted two of these as impromptu bookmarks.

Because the cards come without names, we had to ask a librarian which card belonged to which child. This she did, and even told us the PINs for their cards. Zoe and Talia proceeded to the very 21st-century self-check-out terminal. They put their cards under the scanner, entered their PINs, scanned the books, and pressed the "Print Receipt" button.

"Congratulations! You just used the library," I said to them, maybe a little too loudly, but I was excited, even though the moment was probably lost on them.

We got in the car, drove home, and pulled into the driveway. I turned off the car, took the key out of the ignition, and looked at them in the rear-view mirror. They were immersed in their books and hadn't noticed we'd arrived.

"Girls," I said, "we're home. Do you want to go in?"

"No." They didn't even bother to look up.

"You can sit down inside and read. It's warmer there." Maybe this'll work, I thought.

"Ok," they said, but still hadn't looked up. By now, they were about 50 pages into their books, and I thought to myself, two books is definitely not enough.

When we went inside, Chris looked at their books, and said to me, "They only got two each? That won't even last them the weekend." I gave some lame excuse about not knowing how many books they could check out on new cards, but really, just an hour before, I had thought two books would last several days, but knew better now. Quickly, a vision of the next ten years passed before me: Zoe and Talia walking around, occasionally into walls, and hearing nothing because books are in front of their noses. They are literate now, and bookworms to boot. I can't stop that train, but I can take the flashlights from their bedroom.

Epilogue: By Sunday afternoon, they were working on completely different books. I didn't see what Zoe was reading; Talia was just finishing chapter 10 of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (I felt a little sad about that because I was really looking forward to reading this one to them). The library is closed Sundays so I suggested that they trade library books with each other. "Daddy, we've done that already..."

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The End of Innocence

Saturday was a momentous day. As Tim already posted, the girls got new hair cuts. And by cut, I mean cut. Ten inches were cut off to give to Locks of Love, and a few more were taken off so that the cut looked nice. Up until this point, both Zoe and Talia had gotten regular trims, but neither child had ever had more than about 2 inches taken off at a time.

I haven’t really talked to Tim about the cut (other than saying that the girls look adorable, in my opinion) but I wonder how he feels about the act. The day that Zoe came home and told me she wanted to cut her hair off and donate it to Locks of Love, my eyes filled with tears. I quickly tried to blink the tears back, and I hope that she didn’t see them, but I can’t be sure.

My tears were twofold. I loved their long hair: the curtain of blond that swung behind them when they ran; the cascade of warm silk against my skin when we snuggled; the warm, sweet smell that lingered when they walked away after a shampoo. I knew the hair was a vestige of the innocence that we are slowly leaving behind. Magic? They believe in it. Wonder and Awe? They still have those, too. Excuse me for being selfish, but I want Zoe and Talia to hold onto those qualities so that I can hold onto them, too.

On the other hand, I cried a bit because I was proud that a daughter of mine could make a decision to help a fellow person. How many times had we donated toys, money, or time, but only because Tim and I had decided it was the right thing to do? This time, Zoe had made the decision all on her own, and could see the value of that decision. When Talia said she’d like to do the same thing, I was, of course, doubly proud.

I didn’t go to the salon that day, simply because I had to prepare for the birthday party that was being held that afternoon. Melina and I cleaned house, decorated the dining room, and made sure the cake decorations were perfect. I only thought once while we were busy, “I wonder how the haircuts are going.” It is a good thing I had an excuse not to go, as I know that if I had been the one to take the girls, I would have bawled. I would have teared up as I loaded the kids in the car. I would have sniffled as we entered the salon. I would have cried as the scissors separated the ponytail from each of my children. I am betting that in that instant of separation, I would have seen the magic that transformed my little girls into the young ladies they are starting to become.

There is a garden in every childhood, an enchanted place where colors are brighter, the air softer, and the morning more fragrant than ever again. ~Elizabeth Lawrence

Sunday, February 1, 2009

How to Feed a Baby

We had this stuff in the refrigerator. I didn't know whether it was wasabi or baby peas. The obvious solution is to feed it to the baby and measure her reaction.
Her first reaction was not especially positive. Maybe I just gave Melina Wasabi sauce.
The first taste wasn't conclusive, so we'll try more.
The next spoonful seemed better.
Before long, she said that she'd do it herself...
Melina ate the whole bowl with no screaming, and was grabbing for the spoon by the end of her meal. Verdict: Not Wasabi.