The alternative title was Mean Things Adults say about Twins. You let me know if I picked the right one.
For those of you new to my little piece of the world, I'm the mom of three children - a three year old "singleton" girl and 6 year old identical twin boys. I don't like to make a big deal about their twin-ness. I cannot deny the bond they have - or that they are these identical red-head, blue eyed, pale skin boys - but it is my job to make sure they see themselves as individuals first.
Which is a large reason why they were in separate classes for kindergarten this year. Interestingly, they still have some mutual friends but for the most part I hear about different kids from each of them.
Yet, for some reason every birthday invitation this year included both guy. Until last week when a pink princess invitation showed up for one guy. And if he didn't have a disappointed twin brother we would've let him be all happy about the invitation all week. Unfortunately he had to dampen his happiness to not exacerbate his brother's misery. And if it had been the other way around, we would've been asking the same thing of the other brother.
Then I had to think of something fun for the left-out brother that wasn't too outrageous. I couldn't set a precedent that there would be an ostentatious compensation for being on the outs.
He came with me to drop off his brother at the birthday party. Then I took him to the local ice cream parlor for a chocolate frappe before dinner. I told him he didn't even have to eat dinner if he wasn't hungry. "You mean this can be my dinner?" he asked incredulously. Maybe this was outrageous. Outrageous enough.
He asked me about my day at work. When I told him I was learning the intricacies of some affordable housing laws he commented that he'll have to explain to a friend that when he builds houses as a grown-up they'll have to be "affordable".
We went back to retrieve party boy. In the car he said that the birthday girl's mom asked where his brother was. She then said she should have written "and siblings" on the invitation.
"But she said that now she didn't have to worry about who I was because he wasn't there!" he added.
So this woman told my six-year-old kid that her life was easier because his identical brother wasn't there. And he (of course) reported that back to all of us.
Hours later, I still don't know what to say in response.
I felt kicked in the gut by that comment. I hope it went over left-out-boy's head. Or that the ice cream softened the blow.
Thursday, May 31, 2007
The alternative title was Mean Things Adults say about Twins. You let me know if I picked the right one.
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
I was woken up before 4:30 this morning.
Don't go blaming my darling cherubs.
Although usually if I tell this story it involves someone under 7 years old yelling "MOMMY!" and me scurrying to bring the yeller back in our bed to get him/her to go back to sleep. Sometimes it works. But then I lay awake.
This time the story involves jack-hammers. At 4:30 in the morning.
We live on a state highway. That inherently brings traffic and noise. Several years ago we needed the gas company to come in the evening to dig a hole when there was a gas leak. I recognize when loud noises are necessary for public safety.
However, this was the town Department of Public Works (DPW) using jack hammers to dig up - I kid you not - two traffic islands near our house at 4:30 in the morning.
There is no public safety reason to jack-hammer traffic islands at 4:30 in the morning.
So my husband went down to investigate and call the police. They told him it was a DPW issue. We live in one of, if not the only, state that requires a police detail for all public works project. He told the dispatcher there was no detail at the site. That got their attention. There was a police officer within 5 minutes. He also left a message on the work number of the DPW director. He joked he should have found his home number to wake him up. I told him that if our kids woke up we were calling the DPW director at his home. Somehow the kids slept through the entire thing. I did not.
I left the house at 6:55 am and the jack hammers were still going. The DPW director called my husband at 7:05 am to apologize profusely and explain he didn't know how this happened.
When asked what the crew was doing, the director said they were tearing up the traffic islands to put in flowers.
Let me repeat, I was woken up before 4:30 in the morning for frigging flower beds.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Please be assured that I have no plans of stalking anyone. Really.
It isn't like I've been following the British synth-popster Vince Clark since the mid-1980's and own nearly every single record and/or CD he has been involved in.
Who, you ask? Who?
Then, the wonderful and glorious Andy Bell joined Vince to form Erasure and for the last 20 years have created such tunes as Blue Savannah, Oh L'Amour, Sometimes and Always.
I've seen them open for Duran Duran in the 1980's. That's right, I went to a huge venue to dance and scream during the opening act. The lights were on, the teeny-boppers talked through the performance and were very confused with the lead singer in a rubber top that resembled a baseball catcher's vest.
Then there was the night they performed an over-21 performance while I was still a senior in high school (therefore NOT 21). I cried at home. At one point my dad offered to take me and tell the bar owners he wouldn't let me drink. I explained it was a bar, not an R rated movie. But to this day I'm still grateful that he understood how deep this adoration goes.
So deep in fact that when they toured for Chorus AND DIDN'T GO TO NEW ORLEANS (hello - do they know there are gay people there? And hags who LOVE them?) friends at the time who were living in Houston went to the concert and got a poster signed for me. Why didn't I go? I was a public school teacher and it was during the week. Houston and during the week. Just adding insult to injury.
Breath. I promise I will not jump in the car and descend upon his quaint little home. Really.
Monday, May 28, 2007
Little Miss made her own art under a mural called "Beautiful Gas". (Figure it out.)
We spent the night at a fancy hotel with glass elevators, a pool and a view of the river and city.
It was a lovely time.
Saturday, May 26, 2007
Thursday, May 24, 2007
One day during my senior year of high school I came home and picked up the mail lying on the entry way floor. There was an envelop addressed to me without a return address. I tore it open and only read the first line.
It contained nothing but expletives about what the writer was going to do to me. I dropped the letter and have never seen it again.
Eventually my mom came home and did what a good, loving mother does. She became the raging mama lion defending her young. She went to the police and demanded they open a case. They tried to dismiss it as "something boys do" and she went ballistic. She demanded a meeting with the principal and got the school to compare the handwriting on the letter with students' writing folders. We also finally realized we had been getting crank calls at home and had the phone company monitor our phone line (this was before caller id).
It all pointed to a pretty lonely kid. Someone who was in a few classes with me but I had never interacted with. This kid was actually in bad shape. My mom then demanded a meeting with the kid and parents and somehow extracted a promise of mental health counseling. As the months wore on this kid looked better.
I tell you this because for the first time as a blogger I got a truly hateful comment in response to my piece about the kids' silhouette portraits.
you sound like the biggest loser I have every heard!!!!!!I pity your poor poor kids when they actually get out in the REAL world.....OMG you make me sad for you!!!
And while a dear friend of 15 years came to my defense (oh how I love you), I'm not upset by it. I am sad but not what Anonymous thinks. I'm sad that you had to spend the energy to be mean. Are you o.k.?
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
We ran into the children's book store and were sent to the back. The young woman had a chair up against a wall and a chair for herself a few feet away. Craig and I wondered how she would do it. Would she flash a big light and trace around their heads?
Our daughter balked at going first so one of our sons jumped on the chair. He faced us and this woman who looked to be 27 years old studied his profile. Then she started to cut a small square of black paper. As the pieces fell, our son's profile appeared. She just looked at him and cut.
Our daughter got up next and played a three-year-old's variation of "I Spy" with us to keep her sitting in profile. The artist told us she liked the challenge of cutting out curly hair. Then our other son jump on the chair and sat patiently as she cut out his profile.
She cut out three portraits of our children in less than 15 minutes.
From Wikipedia -
A silhouette is a profile traced onto and then cut from black paper and was a simple alternative for people who could not afford other forms of portraiture, which, in the eighteenth century, was still an expensive proposition. The word took its name from Étienne de Silhouette, either because the victims of his taxes complained that they were reduced to mere shadows or because he enjoyed this fad art in his retirement.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
So we're a bit slow with the kid movies here. Someone just recently gave us Spirit, the Disney movie about a horse that fights people during the US government expansion into the west. It parallels the wild horses' plight to that of Native Americans.
As the movie ends the narrator/Native American says something insanely ridiculous to the effect (and I am paraphrasing) and we both ran our ways, to our freedom. It did make me teary-eyed - because it was a big joke and my kids were hearing this.
"Why?" I ask, with much concern.
"Because it is sad!"
"But the horse got away. He's still free."
"It is still sad!"
Maybe he knows more than I thought. Or maybe the spirit of Marie is trying to tell us that it wasn't a happy ending after all.
Monday, May 21, 2007
Sunday, May 20, 2007
Run through the rain and jump into the van. Drive to friend's house to borrow key to church parish hall. Go to church, open door and have kids run screaming into the empty dark building.
Find lights and let them run amok in Great Hall, dance on the stage, sing "Who Let the Dogs Out" 58 million times, throw the swords across the hall, slide on their knees, march, ride the horse, fight over the microphone, make grand entrances from the hallway, have stylized sword fights.
After 38 minutes they want to leave.
It's only 9:50 in the morning.
We go to the coffee shop. I ask the kids who work there, "Is it too early to tell them its bedtime?"
They didn't get the joke. But then, maybe I wasn't really joking.
Saturday, May 19, 2007
Cook [kook] -Slang.
a. to be full of activity and excitement: Las Vegas cooks around the clock.
b. to perform, work, or do in just the right way and with energy and enthusiasm: That new drummer is really cooking tonight.
Hugh Masekala cooked at the New Orleans Jazz Fest 1999
Thursday, May 17, 2007
I explained they needed to be careful since the costumes were 30 year old. One of them said,
"30 years old?! That's like a thousand year old mummy!"
Yeah, and they smell like one too.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
In case your Japanese is a bit rusty, Monomane Taikai is a Japanese show. The title translates to literally mean "Mimicry Competition". A friend who recently finished graduate school took the time to explain the following video to me:
"Every year, on January 1st (hence they are all wearing kimonos), a bunch of celebrities, actors, actresses, and comedians get together to compete. Basically they pick whoever they want to mimic (usually singers because after all it's a singing competition) and practice for hours and hours before the show. The competition is divided into 2 groups - red and white (in accordance with our flag) and each person gets a score for his/her performance and whoever gets the highest (of the 2 group) gets to go to the next round, until, the final one is chosen. I used to watch it all the time because it was hilarious and some compete seriously while others just do it for fun, and make it funny. Sometimes they bring in the real person who sings along with the person competing.... Pretty crazy, huh?"Thanks friend. My kids love this clip. If you look hard there are some fabulous drag queens. And that person in the silver outfit with the black circles on her/his head is just too delicious.
Although this smart, fashionable woman from Japan is now worried that my kids think all Japanese are like those folks on the show.
Don't worry friend. They just think their mother is.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Today was special election day in my town. Our state representative left office to join the new Administration so we had a lively race here. Five democrats duked it out in a primary last month - the winner won by 26 votes. Then there is the Republican who is always running. He is a one issue candidate. He opposes marriage equality (do not to tell me you agree with him. Look at how I describe myself in the top right corner of the page. Proudly!).
Then there is the Independent. Unlike many races, he is a viable candidate. He owns the local independent (no pun intended) movie theater which houses the Museum of Bad Art in the basement. He has a solid base of supporters and is well organized.
But a few weeks ago, a good friend of mine who works in the State House gave me grief for not running. Me. Run for State Representative. While I was flattered, I knew that he knew too.
I have entertained the idea of running for office. I just love the process of making a law happen. Of making sure that a law, budget item or program works. Of figuring out how to make our tax dollars work for us as a whole society. I know how to organize a campaign. I just hate the asking for money to get elected.
So, my dear friends, I'm asking for a little help to get me over this (no, I'm not asking for money).
Please vote for me in the Blogger's Choice Awards. Just click BOTH boxes below (you will need to register) and vote for me.
Thank you (and a sincere thank you to Gunfighter for the nominations/vote and to Jenn in Holland and Brillig for their votes). By doing this, you are helping me get over my distaste for asking people to do something cumbersome (e.g. registering for an e-vote; giving money).
And unlike the two elections I've participated in in the last 72 hours, I can keep track of your votes. No secret ballots here!
Monday, May 14, 2007
Yesterday was indeed a special day. In part because of the beautiful, cloudless sky. There were also the gifts both material and invaluable. There was the bringing together of several generations to celebrate the bond of family.
For a minister.
Saturday, May 12, 2007
Thursday, May 10, 2007
A completely vain post but I have a thing for watches. I've lost count but these are some of my favorites.
This is one of my first off-beat watches. I bought it my senior year of high school with babysitting money. The man with an eye patch and a hat is a Peter Max illustration.
Then there is this foursome.
The red face to the right of the green one has a likeness of Mao. His waving hand ticks off the seconds. A friend got it for me in Hong Kong, while it was still British.
And this is my all-time favorite, but I can't really wear it around the kids. They get freaked out that I'm wearing a watch with a moving hatchet, a fat king in the middle and six women on the outside. Then they hear me mutter, "Divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived" as the hatchet ticks off the seconds.
Watches are suppose to tell time. That's it.
Oh but how boring.
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Greetings everyone and welcome to tonight's meeting. Before we go around the room to say our names, let us give a warm hello to a first time attender. Would you like to introduce yourself?
Hi. I'm Soccer Mom in Denial. Some folks refer to me as SMID.
I'm sorry but in these meetings we use our given names. Not our, ahem, blogging names.
Oh. Hi, I'm Allison.
[Everyone in the room] HI ALLISON!
Allison, do you want to say something else?
Um. Hi, I'm Allison and I am a blogging addict.
Ooo, we are so proud of you this evening. Coming to Bloggers Anonymous. Could you tell everyone when you realized this?
I proudly participated in the One Day of Silence (murmurs of appreciation) and made a public commitment to not post, comment or even read a blog for 24 hours. It was really hard for me to not go on my site, to check other friends' sites. Thank goodness some of my blogging buddies emailed me that day or I would've gone stir crazy because....
I'm sorry dear but you refer to "these people"as your "buddies". You consider them "friends"? You haven't even met them. How can you say that about, ahem, these people?
You know, I can. These are folks who have bothered to pay attention to the little things in my life. The life of my family. They have offered me encouragement and words of wisdom. They have found my email and shared wonderful bits of their lives. I am part of an exciting community.... [gets up from chair.... starts walking to the door....]
Some of them have been kindred spirits right away. Even on paper we were meant to know each other. Some are so completely outside who I would meet in my day-to-day life that there is no other way I could've met them accept through blogging. And all of them have made me richer.
Allison, please don't leave the room. It is time for us to officially welcome you as you begin your first day away from blogging. [The room starts to rumble as people make comments....]
Oh no. I've got too many posts in my head. And please, call me SMID.
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Monday, May 07, 2007
I always did fancy Miss Piggy.
** Note: my apologies to whomever had the name definition on her blog. I loved it - more so after I found my definition brought me even closer to a beloved childhood character - and now can't remember who had it.
Some of you may recall that one of the boys' teammates had a very close encounter with a bat, to his head. While he wasn't at practice tonight, I got from a very reliable source over the weekend that he is o.k. He has three staples in his head but no concussion or other head/brain injury. And apparently he thinks it is totally cool that he has staples in his head.
Ahhh... to have a 6-year-old's perspective.
Saturday, May 05, 2007
Thursday, May 03, 2007
We're in the throws of the season of two sports. Last year in the spring the boys played both Little League baseball and soccer. Little League was Mondays and Wednesdays while Soccer practice was Tuesdays and games were Saturdays. This year is a tad more civilized - Little League is still Mondays and Wednesdays while Soccer practice is Friday afternoons and the games are Saturdays.
I truly love being a coach. In the winter I coach the sport I probably know the best, basketball. It is a simple, elegant game. A ball, two baskets with nets on either side of a rectangular court. Certainly there are comparisons to soccer but I understand holding, double dribble and rebounding.
I also love getting to know a group of my children's peers. I love that look they give me at the beginning of practice, that look of "I'm going to make you PROUD". I love that they call me "Coach Allison" in the grocery store.
I also love that the only way they can really get hurt is by tripping. Of course, it could be a serious hurt, but at this age nothing that involve stitches.
Baseball is completely different.
Our Little League team has had a rocky start. Essentially the dad who agreed to be the head coach didn't tell anyone he backed out so we had multiple practices with no coaches. A set of dads just stepped up to the plate (yes, I wrote that) to give these 20+ kids a chance to field, hit and run around the bases. It has been just a wonderful example of community spirit.
One dad needs to bring a younger son. This kid desperately wants to be with the older kids so last night he was on the field. According to one of my kids and some parents, he picked up a metal bat and started swinging. Unfortunately, another kid's head was in close proximity.
What I first saw was a mother running to her car and grab a handful of napkins. Then I saw a little boy run to the playground where I was with my daughter. Then I saw the dad chase the kid, barely able to contain his rage while the kid was going higher, and higher up the play set. He finally got the kid and sternly said, "you've got to be careful with the bat".
I asked another mom to go check if it was one of our kids. I watched her toddler and she ran back to say that the mother was with the struck kid so our children were o.k. Then we saw both parents bringing the boy over to the car with a big white towel pressed on the left side of his head becoming streaked with crimson. They were taking him to the hospital.
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
I'll describe for you a wonderful scene but won't share the photos or videos. I think you'll understand why.
For the past few days my daughter has taken a liking to the remaining guitar the wicked cool uncle and aunt gave the boys years ago. I write remaining because the other one suffered a cruel injury when one of the boys jumped off of it. Or on it. She holds it while watching t.v., marches around the first floor playing it, sets up her "stage" in the kitchen and has even napped with it a couple of times.
But when she announced she had to go to the bathroom and took the guitar upstairs I had to follow, with both the still and video cameras.
So there she was on the potty, pants at her ankles, thoughtfully strumming the strings while singing bits of Walking on Sunshine with lyrics I didn't recognize. She had turned the music around a bit and when I tried to correct her I was told to play the drums.
We'll save the images but be discreet about sharing them. Unless she wants them for her first CD cover or music video.
Walking on sunshine
And you don't need to be afraid
Oh oh oh
Walking on sunshine....
(copyright - my daughter)
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
There's nothing more rewarding than motherhood. Nothing is more challenging than motherhood either.
I had certain expectations about my pregnancy, labor and delivery.
I was determined to have an easy nine months of incubation, so-to-speak. It never occurred to me that pre-eclampsia and bedrest were in my future. The consistently high blood pressure readings and extremely high proteins in my urine caused my ob/gyn to restrict my activities. To this day I cannot stand to lie down on my left side.
I assumed that labor was going to be horrible. After all, my friends and family told me every horror story imaginable about 40 hours of back labor, as well as tales about constant contractions that could kill a herd of pregnant elephants.
I didn't take Lamaze classes because everyone said it didn't work anyway. I skipped the breastfeeding seminars because my mother insisted it was natural and no class can teach you how to nourish your baby.
As far as my labor went, it was easier than I expected. Eight hours long, only two hours of actual pushing, and my precious son was born.
It was at that moment that I realized he was perfect. He was the reason I went through all the pain that even an epidural couldn't take away completely. My beautiful boy was finally in my arms, his blue-gray eyes looking up at me and his tiny lips parted, waiting for a nipple to be shoved into his mouth.
The stress of trying to nurse combined with a hungry newborn who hadn't a clue how to suck, caused me to believe that my baby was going to die of starvation. I can't count how many times I thought of asking the nurses to give him formula. I wanted to nurse my baby. I started to think that because I didn't take that class about appropriate latch-on, Dawson didn't have the best start. Nor did I. But we soon figured it out and it turns out he grew into a healthy toddler.
When he was just a few days old we learned that Dawson had jaundice. His bilirubin count was higher than acceptable and a "bili-blanket" was soon delivered to our house. Trouble with breastfeeding? Ha! Trying to nurse and keep this lighted blanket on my child at the same time was insane! Not such a good time, let me tell you.
The bilirubin check-ups were worse. Each test required a sample of blood from my baby's foot. Watching his face sour and hearing his screams caused me to feel so horribly guilty. I now know where the mommy-guilt originated.
The day Dawson's navel fell out I panicked. He was only 5 days old. Our pediatrician insisted it would take a week or more and I was so nervous about infection and had nightmares about Dawson's stomach coming out of his bellybutton. Looking back now I can laugh; at the time I was a basket case. My mother-in-law comforted me, thankfully. I'm so glad I had help those first few weeks.
Here we are 2 1/2 years later. Dawson is no longer a baby. He's still my baby, but he doesn't fit in the crook of my arm like he used to. I will never again feel him clutch my finger as he nursed in the middle of the night. He doesn't want to be held all the time like he once did.
It makes the tears well up in my eyes. I'm mourning the days when he was tiny and fully dependent on me, his Mumma.
But I know he has to grow up. I can't stop time. I have to let go, little by little, day after day. There so much to be learned. There's always something new and wonderful to experience with my toddler.
I think I just wanted to hold on to part of the "baby". It's scary to think about Dawson growing up and gaining more independence, more control over his own life, every day.
But that's what a mother goes through. Constantly changing emotions rule my days. I'm a mother. Every day is mother's day for me. Nothing is more rewarding, nor more challenging than motherhood. I can't say it enough. I wonder if my mother ever felt this way.
I should wish her a Happy Mother's Day -- every day.
Dana usually suffers the mommy-guilt over at The Dana Files. She lives in Wisconsin with her hilarious husband, Doug, and their toddler Dawson, 2 1/2. When she isn't blogging she can be found chasing after her Boston Terrier, Murphy, who likes to steal her bras from the laundry basket. You can find Allison at Dana's place today and please visit the Blog Exchange if you'd like to participate and read other entries for this month.