Raising Readers

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Categories Development, Developmental Geekery, Language, Toddlers1 Comment

Spending time reading to children isn’t a matter of convincing parents whether or not to raise literate children. That’s a no-brainer in North America; either be literate or be left behind in this big, fast-moving world. Fostering a love of reading, and setting the foundation for kids to easily learn to read, that‘s what’s on the table.

I get it: It’s the end of the day, you’ve wrestled your multiples (and maybe their siblings) into the bath, into their jammies, teeth brushed and into their bed. Why, oh why, throw a book into the mix? Why not call it a night, tuck them in and head downstairs for some much-needed adult time?

Whether you choose to incorporate reading into bedtime routine (which is common and easy to stick to) or throughout the day, reading daily to children as early as possible has substantial benefits. Anecdotally, I have seen kids learn sight words from repetitive rhyming books (like Dr Seuss). Academically, study after study supports early reading as a pathway to early reading and writing, language development, ability to focus and self-regulation. Many hospitals send new parents home with a book for baby, pushing home the point that reading is just as important as basic necessities like diaper changes and bathing. It is!

With my twin girls, their interests differ, but they have learned to wait their turns to sit in my lap, having me read (and re-read) their favourite books. I’ve noticed they frequently choose the same five or six titles for months at a time, so while I may be mind-numbingly under-stimulated, their little brains are firing away, developing at a rapid pace with each reading.

As twins, their language development has been slow, (which is common for multiples). Daily reading, asking them open-ended questions about the story and encouraging them to finish sentences they’ve memorized has helped tremendously. It’s a calm situation, they know the story, and are eager to please me by contributing their own thoughts and words, few as they may be. As they prepare to start kindergarten later this year, I am less nervous they will be behind in their slower-paced verbal development, because I see the spark of early, voracious readers.

It’s so easy: five, 10 minutes tops. Everyone has access to books, in any social situation (go to the library, borrow books, start your own collection). There are a great many books about twins geared towards all ages, and my girls love identifying themselves in the pages of twin stories. (for a list of twin books, see a past HDYDI post here). Find books that pique their interest, make it a habit, and watch your little readers soar.

 

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Personalized Christmas Ornaments for Twins and More

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Disclosure: I received a $35 credit plus free shipping from Personalized Ornaments for You in exchange for an honest review. Images are shared with permission.

We absolutely love decorating our Christmas tree. Since my twins are responsible enough to handle breakable ornaments, I trotted out all the special ornaments this winter. These are the one-off ornaments that hold special meaning to us, whether they were a gift from my daughters’ great-grandmother to commemorate their first Christmas or handmade by my daughters the year they learned to write.

Popsicle sticks, paper plates, glue, and paint make for an easy Christmas ornament for little artists.

I’m a sucker for little things with big meaning. Family themed Christmas ornaments? Sign me up.

This ornament commemorates baby's (or in the twins' case, babies'!) first Christmas.

While the Hallmark First Christmas kitten in a stroller is adorable, its true meaning comes from it being a gift from Grandma Great. Let’s be honest, if it weren’t for that, it would be a little generic. Grandma Great was thoughtful enough to buy two of them so that each twin will have one to grace her own Christmas tree when she is grown.

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My girls have recently come to realize how very special their twin bond is. They spend a lot of time with their best friend, who was an only child for nearly 9 years. This friendship has inspired them to express more and more how special it is to have an identical twin sister.

2015 was the perfect time to find gifts for my daughters that would acknowledge their unique connection, and I found them in the form of Christmas ornaments.

This ornament from #POFY was an instant hit with twin sisters. Of course, mommy had to get two of them!

How utterly adorable is that mantle with matching stockings with each girl’s name (which I’ve edited out for their privacy)? The stock text for the ornament was “TWINS’ 2ND CHRISTMAS!”, but I was able to supply my own text for no extra cost. Of course, I also specified my daughters’ names. Adorable personalized ornament! #POFY #twins

The order form is wonderfully easy to use.

 

Ordering affordable personalized ornaments could not be easier! #POFY has a huge variety of family themed christmas ornaments as well as others.

I ordered two of the ornaments. Because, twins. They’re excellent quality and honestly far nicer than I expected them to be, given the prices and rapid delivery. I can’t come up with a criticism, and I’ve tried. They’re nice heavy ceramic with a beautiful sheen and the pride put into the handwritten lettering is clear.

When Personalized Ornaments for You first reached out to us for a review post, I was ready to say, “Thanks but no thanks,” as I do to most companies, since most companies have nothing specific to offer our multiple birth families. Generic family themed Christmas ornaments weren’t going to cut it.

#POFY was completely different. Not only did they offer options for twins, there were so many to choose from that I had to make a shortlist of favourites, step away from the computer, and then decide. In fact, although I went to their site fully intending to order a single ornament, I ended up ordering three, supplementing the company’s generous credit with a bit of my own money. I’ll get to keep my own single mommy of twinfants ornament when my grown daughters abscond with theirs!

An ornament for a single mother of twins? Oh, sure, Personalized Ornaments for You has even this mom covered!(My daughter has been exceptionally camera-shy of late, but she loved these ornaments so much that she even offered to model them for the blog!)

#POFY doesn’t just have stuff for twins, either! Triplets and quadruplets are set, as are larger families with singletons in the mix.

#POFY even has ornaments for triplet families!

How perfect would an ornament like this be to announce a multiple pregnancy? Instead of names, you could go with “Baby A, Baby B, Baby C, Baby D”?

A perfect ornament for the family of quadruplets that has everything. #POFY

Or you could sneak a due date in place of a name and watch realization dawn on Grandma’s face!

A great keepsake for a BIG family! #POFY has great family themed christmas ornaments.

I was going to distribute our ornaments around our tree, but one of my daughters stopped me. “Put them together, Mommy,” she requested, “because it’s our family, and we belong together.”

How cute are these ornaments for a single mom family with twins? #POFY has great family themed christmas ornaments for families of all sorts.

So, have I talked you into wanting your own little tear jerker moment, inspired by a personalized ornament? I’m happy to tell you that Personalized Ornaments for You is hosting their close out sale starting today, through the end of the month. If you’re in the US or Canada, hurry over to grab some gifts for loved ones or treats for yourself to squirrel away until next December.

Of course, I’ve focused on the multiple family-themed ornaments, but you’ll find something for everyone and every occasion on the #POFY website. Happy browsing!

Personalized Ornaments for You offers just that - the perfect personalized ornament to say, "You are special."

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Twinfant Tuesday: Distinguishing Night from Day

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This week’s return to school from winter break got me thinking about sleep patterns. Even though I worked through December, with two days off (Christmas Eve and Christmas Day), my daughters were out of school for the second half of the month. For the first time, instead of sending them to daycare or a winter break camp, I worked from home and let the twins stay home with me. Although I stayed on my regular work routine, I let my daughters stay up later than usual and sleep in. They loved having a full day for games of pretend, fort building, board games, and reading. And yes, I allowed them 2 hours of screen time per day, a quantity usually limited to weekends.

I knew that transitioning from an 8 am wake up time to a 6 am wasn’t going to be fun for anyone, so I did some reading on circadian rhythms and body clocks. Most of what I read, I already knew and had begun to put in place. One thing surprised me: the impact of exposure to electronic screens. More on that later.

Parents fixate on sleep. We worry about whether our children are getting enough sleep, whether the sleep is happening at the right time, and whether our children will ever again let us sleep enough to feel rested.

Whether or not we’re consciously aware, every parent has at least one sleep goal for their newborn: distinguishing night from day. As they grow, we want our children to develop sleep patterns that involve increasingly long stretches of sleep at night and increasing short stretches of sleep during the day.

We’re built for such sleep patterns. Our bodies produce a chemical called melatonin, and how much we produce is tied to the time of day. Melatonin levels, in turn, tell our bodies whether it is sleep time or wake time. The way that our bodies determine how much melatonin to create is strongly influenced by light exposure. It’s very logical. In the thousands of the years humans were around before the invention of the light bulb, we could rely on the timing of sunlight to regulate our sleep-wake cycles.

Consider gradually dimming lights around your little one as part of sleep training.

My daughters have a good friend who is blind. While I now allow some flexibility in my 9-year-old girls’ sleep time, their blind friend gets no such luxury. Without light input to help regulate to her body clock, she is wholly reliant on routine to keep her on the same sleep-wake schedule as her peers. Sleeping in on weekends or staying up late as a treat isn’t worth the disruption that it would cause her.

Electric lights may do something to mess with our body clocks, so it wouldn’t be a bad idea to start dimming lights as bedtime approaches. I babysit my friends’ 8-month-old with some regularity, and he goes down for the night easiest when I don’t turn on lights in the house as the sky darkens. He’s an active, curious little boy who tends to fight sleep, but the changes in light quality after sunset have an unmistakable effect on him.

The thing that hadn’t occurred to me until I started to research it more is that electronic screens, even those used for reading, can trick our bodies into thinking it’s still daytime as we’re trying to wind down for the night. After I read that little fact, I adjusted our “Kindle time doesn’t count as screen time” rule to “Kindle time doesn’t count as screen time, but any reading within an hour of bedtime must be on paper.” And of course, no other types of screen time, whether a game or a show, is allowed within that same pre-bed wind-down hour. Ideally, that wind-down hour would be two hours, but a full-time job and commute makes that impossible. When the girls are on the computer until close to bedtime because of homework, I can dim the screen as much as possible.

If rejiggering your family’s light exposure doesn’t work or isn’t an option as your kids are returning to their school schedule, you can actually buy melatonin in pill form. Please, before acting on this option, speak to your child’s pediatrician and go with the lowest available dose, 0.5 mg or less. It seems that the best time to take a dose is around 6:00 pm, which sets your school-aged child up to be sleepy right around bedtime. Unless your child has a confirmed sleep disorder, there should be no need to use melatonin over the long-term. It’s especially helpful when switching sleep patterns, for example after a trip to counter jetlag, or if you work a night shift.

Do you take light exposure into account when you consider your family’s schedule?

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New Year’s Resolution: Return to Balance

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Categories Balance, Household and Family Management, How Do The Moms Do It, Lifestyle, Time ManagementTags , 3 Comments

Happy New Year to everyone in the HDYDI community! Have you made New Year resolutions?

(Please forgive this post being one day late for the new year. I was making lunch for my girls on New Year’s Eve while working from home. The knife slipped and I ended up needed some minor sutures. The Urgent Care doc banned me from manual tasks, including typing, for a couple of days. I’m glad to report that I’m altogether free of pain now, except for the pain of embarrassment.)

I don’t generally make New Year’s resolutions. My commitment to a two-week balance of my priorities has generally kept me in a place where I’m deeply joyful with the state of my life. I haven’t had a need to make a major life shift at my entry into the new year. Instead, I adjust as I go, regardless of the date on the calendar.

However, I started a new job in August, just as my daughters were starting fourth grade. My dear friend Jen offered to watch my girls after school. I took on the leadership of our Girl Scout troop and joined the leadership of our school district’s parent council for Gifted and Talented services. In the midst of all this change, I didn’t take the time to realign my priorities.

I finally get the point of New Year’s Resolutions. January 1 serves as a reminder to rethink the balance.

So now, here’s my newly ordered priority list. Each item on the list will need some time and focus, if not daily, at least every 2 weeks.

  1. The kids’ immediate well-being.
    • Safety.
    • Nutrition.
    • Intellectual stimulation.
    • Social stimulation.
    • Rest.
    • Play.
  2. The kids’ long-term well-being. Are they on a path to being healthy, happy, wholesome, productive adults?
    • Routine.
    • School performance and enjoyment.
    • Spiritual nourishment and church.
    • Maintaining positive relationships.
    • Socially appropriate interactions.
  3. Friends
  4. My job and my immediate co-workers and customers
  5. My mental and physical health (including getting sleep)
  6. Housekeeping and home maintenance
  7. Community leadership
    1. Girl Scouts
    2. How Do You Do It?
    3. Multiples of America
    4. Gifted and Talented council
  8. Community participation
    1. How Do You Do It?
    2. School
    3. Church
    4. Work
    5. Blogosphere
    6. Volunteering

I know this system works for me. Starting at the inception of 2016, I resolve to get back to it, with my priorities where they need to be at this moment in our family’s development. I’m going to return to balance.

What are you doing this year to reprioritize?

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Gifting Times Two

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Categories Parenting3 Comments

Gift-giving is on everyone’s tongue right now. Instead of the weather, people are greeting me with, “have you finished your holiday shopping?” I strongly dislike shopping, malls, and buying stuff, but to answer your question: Yes, I have finished. I got it out of the way a while ago, mostly online, so I could enjoy the season and be present in all these chaotic holiday moments with twins and my singletons running amok in the house.

One consideration I have been careful to make is gift-giving and our twins. Ours are identical girls, soon to be four years old, who also have two other sisters. We have learned to strike a balance between repetition, individuality and superfluous giving. As the girls grow older (as they are wont to do, in spite of my wishes), this will evolve, of course, but here is what has worked for us:

  • We have made suggestions to family and friends, but never have we ever dictated what people should buy them. Above everything else, we would like to model grace, gratitude and humility for our girls. Those values come before presents.
  • When asked (usually by grandparents) if one should buy the twins similar, the same or different gifts, our answer has been: Similar gifts (please) when possible. A doll, for instance, with slight differences in colour or outfit means each twin opens a similar gift and can share in each other’s enthusiasm while still feeling ownership over the toy that is clearly chosen for her. Being made to feel special and chosen is important, no matter what age.
  • When possible, (and accommodating their young ages) we have tried to have them open gifts at the same time. Delayed gratification can be hard for two toddlers to understand. If I can find the two similar-sized gifts from the same giver, I’ll have them open them simultaneously. It just avoids the crying from one twin, with far-fetched assurances like “yours will come later/next.” Call me lazy, but Christmas morning is not the time for difficult lessons in patience and understanding.

Like every other stepping stone on this crazy journey parenting multiples, we learn as we go and sometimes have to do things differently from families with singletons. Holiday gifts (and birthday gifts) can bring out the best and worst in little-people behaviour. If patience, kindness and understanding are at the root of our intentions, then I’m sure we’re doing our best.

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Experiential Gifts

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Categories HolidaysTags , 1 Comment

I pride myself on giving thoughtful and personal gifts. However, my love of gift giving is in direct conflict with my penny pinching tendencies and antipathy toward consumerism. I’m a decent cook and baker, so I tend to give food gifts to friends. Since I feed my kids anyway, gastronomical gifts don’t work as well for them during the holidays, when my oven is rarely off. My daughters love being my quality control department. A gift of freshly made cookies or bread wouldn’t be nearly as meaningful to them as I want their gifts to be.

Two colours are all you need to achieve festive elegance. Food gifts are wonderfully economical, useful, and personal.

Now that my daughters are old enough to appreciate delayed gratification, I can give them gifts that aren’t objects. I can give them experiences. This Christmas, for example, I have enrolled my daughters and their best friend in a children’s sewing class offered at Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores. They’ll learn the basics of cutting fabric for a pattern, using a sewing machine, and will come away with a brand new pillowcase for their effort.Turn a mason jar into an experiential gift container with a short and sweet note.

To help the girls feel that this was an inclusive group gift, I chose a colourful fabric for the main part of the pillowcase, with contrasting fabric in each child’s favourite colour.

Achieve coordination and individualization at the same time in the decor of a shared bedroom!

The challenge with experiential gifts is how to effectively fold them in Christmas Day gift-opening wonder. Opening an envelope and finding a gift card is nice and all, but it’s not nearly as tactile as unwrapping a gift. I love seeing my girls wonder what’s inside, then spend anywhere from a few minutes to several hours exploring the contents of each package. My twins, like me, avoid rushing through gift opening, instead savouring each gift as it makes an appearance.

I will admit that I’m quite proud of how I wrapped the three girls’ sewing class gift. I purchased all the supplies they needed for the class, except for the required pincushion and the sewing machines BFF’s mom and I already own. I then hit Pinterest and followed a wonderful tutorial from The Seasoned Homemaker to turn the lids of three mason jars into pincushions. Fabric, pins, thread, measuring tape, and seam rippers went into each jar, along with a printed invitation to the class. I wrapped the whole mess in happy Christmas paper. Sadly, the fabric shears couldn’t possibly fit in the jar, so I wrapped those separately and taped a pair to each jar.

Make an experiential gift one that a child can open with this mason jar sewing lesson kit!

 

I can’t wait to see the results of their effort!

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Gifts Even (Twin) Toddlers Can Make!

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Categories Activities, Celebrations, crafts, DIY, Lifestyle, Make-It Mondays, Preschoolers, School-Age, Toddlers1 Comment

Since our girls were about two, I’ve been working to involve them in our holiday gifts, at least in some small way.  I took a quick trip down Memory Lane to find pictures of some of our creations.

gift7Our longest-running tradition is gift tags.  The first one we did was a fingerprint wreath.  The girls finger painted big sheets of green.  I used a scallop punch to make a wreath shape.  I used a hole punch to make “berries”, and the girls glued the wreaths on red card stock for the berries to show through.

[The girls’ involvement has evolved over the years.  “Gluing” with a two-year old, at our house at least, meant that I used a tape runner to apply adhesive to the item to be glued.  I handed a piece at a time to the girls — nestled securely in their highchairs — to place where I pointed.  My girls are almost seven, and I finally (sorta-kinda) trust them with actual glue.]

Since then, we’ve used finger prints (using washable ink pads, which I LOVE!).  At four years old, the girls were old enough to make these reindeer themselves.  I love how different they all turned out!

gift4

The following year the girls made snowmen using non-toxic washable paint.  After the paint dried, they used markers to make the snowman’s features.

gift8

And this year we’re in the process of making penguins.  I love seeing some of our relatives keep these as ornaments year after year.

gift2We’ve also made gift bags.  I cut out the hat and mouth from card stock.  We used buttons for eyes, orange felt for a nose, and a bright rhinestone for the holly berry.  The girls glued everything onto a brown craft bag.  They were so proud to give these to family and friends!

And we’ve been making these gift card holders for a few years now.  I love the personal touch these add to the gift cards we give to the girls’ teachers.

gift6

And in the way of gifts, bookmarks have been big hits at our house.  We’ve done these several different ways.  When the girls were about 18 months old, they did some crayon scribbles, which I cut into strips…put the strips back to back (so they both had representation on the bookmark)…and had them laminated at the office supply store.  I punched a hole and let the girls choose a ribbon and a bead to top it off.  We’ve done similar bookmarks with fingerpaint and water colors.  Most recently, the girls in kindergarten, they wrote notes to each family member.

gift1I love my bookmarks so much.  They’re a great little token of the girls’ art ability, and they’re very functional, too.  Who can’t use a bookmark or two???

The girls look forward to our yearly projects.  I relish the opportunity to involve them in making something from the heart!

I’d love to hear what other mamas have done to involve their kiddos in gift-giving.  This is one of the great joys of my holiday season, for sure!

MandyE is mom to fraternal twin girls who will soon be seven.  She blogs about their adventures, and her journey through motherhood, at Twin Trials and Triumphs.

 

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Make-It Monday: Coffee Filter Snowflakes

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Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, we’re getting fully into the winter celebratory spirit. Our first winter craft of this year has been coffee filter snowflakes.

Coffee filter snowflake. The folded filter has tiny pieces tiny out of it (top left) and unfolds into a delicate work of seasonal symmetrical art.

Any paper can work for a pretty snowflake, but the circular shape and thin nature of coffee filters makes them all the easier to cut. You want to use the circular ones for this project, not the cones.

Circular coffee filters are the perfect material for paper snowflakes.

Depending on your child’s maturity, patience, and hand-eye coordination, he or she may be able to fold the filters or require your assistance. I like to flatten them, then fold them into twelfths, as shown below, but folding them in eighths is easier. The snowflake shown at the top of this post was cut from a filter folded in twelfths, the one at the end in eighths.

How to fold a coffee filter in even 12ths to make a lovely paper snowflake.

The next step is to cut small pieces out of the folded filter, being sure to cut through all layers. You can go with geometric shapes, or something more targeted. Hearts, Christmas trees, and flowers are all shapes with a line of symmetry, so those work well along the fold lines.

Sample cuts for a coffee filter snowwflake.

When you’re done cutting, unfold a lovely snowflake. These can go up on your wall, be assembled into a pretty mobile, or be glued onto cardstock for a cute homemade holiday card. You can also teach your kiddos about symmetry while you make these!

Unfold your paper snowflake and teach your little one about symmetry while you're at it!

Coffee filter snowflakes are an easy art project and illustrate the basics of symmetry.

I’ve been having just as much fun making these coffee filter snowflakes as the girls have. If you do this project, send us a picture on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram!

If you want to get really impressive, check out Anthony Herrera’s snowflake designs. We tried our hands at some of his Frozen-themed ones, and they were amazing!

Anthony Herrera's Olaf snowflake/

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Twinkly Tuesday, November 24, 2015

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Categories Twinkly Tuesday4 Comments

Skip to Tuesday Twinklers | Skip to rules | Skip to participant badge | Skip to this week’s links

Welcome to this week’s Twinkly Tuesday, the link party hosted by Lisa at Mummascribbles. This is our final week of hosting for Caro of The Twinkle Diaries and me.

Twinkly Tuesday participants are generous commenters and talented writers. I have met so many wonderful people here, but none more so than Lisa and Caro. They have been friends, cheerleaders, supporters, and counselors over the last several months, and their friendship alone has been worth all the work that goes into keeping this linky running. There are so many others that I’ve met through Twinkly Tuesday, bloggers I will absolutely keep reading.

However, I simply cannot keep up any more as a host. 40-50 posts to read and comment on every week had begun to feel like an obligation rather than a joy, just because of all the demands on my time. The children come first. I look forward to returning to the ranks of Twinkly Tuesday participant.

Twinkly Tuesday will continue

Going it alone means that Lisa will make some changes. She is taking this opportunity to make Twinkly Tuesday less time-consuming to host. As of next week (December 1), look for the following changes will be coming into play.

  • No more reminder tweets on Tuesday mornings. Instead, you’ll get a reminder email.
  • Hosts will no longer comment on every post linked up. This makes it all the more crucial that you comment on the post before yours. Let Lisa know if you don’t receive any comments on a linked post. Twinkly Tuesday is mature enough to self-police!
  • Lisa will still retweet all your #TwinklyTuesday tweets, assuming you mention her @mummascribbles.
  • Lisa will choose a Tuesday Twinkler.
  • If you are linking up for the first time, do let Lisa know so that she can add you to her reminder email list.

We hope that you understand my reasons, and Caro’s for stepping away. Thank you, thank you, thank you all for opening your hearts, making me cry, and making me laugh myself silly.

It’s time. Just link up one post and comment on as many others as you can – including the one directly before yours.

If you are featured this week, be sure to claim your fame by adding the Twinkly Tuesday Twinkler badge to your blog.

My Tuesday Twinkler is a mortifying tale of an outing during potty training from Mummy Muckups with a heartwarming moment of parental solidarity. Just read Anna’s post. Both the content and the storytelling are lovely. Well, maybe just the storytelling.

A tale of potty training woe and parental solidarity.

 

Lisa’s Tuesday Twinkler is Heather’s beautiful tribute to her grandfather on One Crazy Ride. The photos, words, and feelings are uplifting and filled with love. The idea of his having over 100 grandchildren and great grandchildren is more than I can quite conceive.

A tribute from Heather to her grandfather.Caro’s Tuesday Twinkler is a thought provoker from Tiny Tyger, Baby Bear and Me. Now that Lady Nym is reasonable sure that both her children are autistic, she ponders whether she would seek a cure for autism, if such a thing existed. It’s not as straightforward as you might think.

 

Pills

Take a moment to visit these posts, if you can. We would love it if you paid a visit to the other host links, and any others that look interesting.

On with this week’s link-up!

Link up a post, old or new, that you think deserves more readers!

Twitter: Be sure to mention me — @hdydi, Lisa — @mummascribbles, or Caro — @twinklediaries, on Twitter and please use the hashtag #TwinklyTuesday. We’ll be sure to retweet every tweet tagged!

Lisa will pick the post to be featured on the following week’s Twinkly Tuesday page.

There are a few easy rules to follow, to ensure that everyone’s posts get the attention they deserve. Please do make the effort to abide by the rules, in fairness to the vast majority who do.

  • Link up one post per week — old or new.
  • Please be kind enough to add the Twinkly Tuesday badge to the bottom of your post/s or your linky page. (Scroll down for the code.) If you haven’t (yet) been featured, please make sure you’re using this badge and not the featured one.
  • Please comment on at least two other posts including the one directly before yours. Visit and comment on as many others as you can. Of course, checking out the hosts’ posts would make us feel very loved.
  • Please use #TwinklyTuesday in your comments so people know where you found them!
  • By linking up, you give us permission to use images from your blog if featured. You also allow us to add you to a mailing list to receive a weekly announcement when Twinkly Tuesday opens.
  • The linky closes at 23.55 GMT tonight.

We look forward to reading all of your fantastic blog posts and seeing you again next week! Remember to grab our button!

Grab buttons for Twinkly Tuesday

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Twinkly Tuesday

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An Open Letter to Marissa Mayer

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Categories Parenting10 Comments

Dear Ms Mayer,

I know that you get a lot of flak. Because of your job as a relatively young female CEO of a high profile company, the world reads into your personal decisions all sorts of gender stereotypes and norms. You may have no interest in serving as a feminist symbol, whether icon or patsy.

I’m not writing to you as a feminist (which I am) or to criticize how you achieve family-work balance. Instead, I’d like to talk to you working MoM to working MoM. First off, congratulations on your identical twin daughters! I wish for you a healthy and comfortable pregnancy.

Welcome to the most wonderful club in the world, that of Parents of Multiples. While I’m sure that every parent of several revels in their children’s sibling relationships, there’s something magical and humbling about the wombmate bond. The identical bond is even deeper. I’m a mother of identical twin daughters myself, and close as we are, I can only marvel on the beautiful intimacy of their unique relationship.

The fact that you already know that your daughters are identical makes me suspect that your daughters may share a membrane and/or placenta. Of course, you may have conducted genetic testing and have a di/di pregnancy. If your girls do share a placenta, though, that makes your pregnancy a high risk one. Like you, I intended to work right until the moment that I went into labour, but the babies had a different idea. I started having preterm labour symptoms that forced me to reduce my work hours at 31 weeks gestation. Please listen to your body, which may not have quite the commitment to working all the way through your pregnancy that our work ethics have.

I wish for you your dream birth. However, we MoMs often don’t get that luxury. In fact, about 75% of twin births are C-sections. In my own case, I had to have an emergency C-section because one daughter’s water broke and both babies were breech. Even though it was only 3 hours from entering labour to delivery, Twin A was in distress by the time she was born.

Ms Mayer, please allow me to assure you that a C-section is major surgery. Yes, it’s standard surgery, but even a run-of-the-mill Caesarean involves cutting through multiple organs, each of which must heal. You’ll need time to let your body stitch itself together, ideally with minimal scar tissue. The scar tissue from my C-section has left me unable to have sex without excruciating pain. Like every other mother, your organs will be moving into their post-pregnancy arrangement, which may not look like where they were before you got pregnant. All this will be happening in the first days of your daughters’ lives, when they need you and you’re enveloped in visitors and well wishers. Allow yourself to heal, please.

I hope for your girls the full term gestation that my daughters were denied. I had a picture perfect pregnancy, but my sweet girls were still born at 33 weeks, less than 4 lbs each. They’re doing fine now, but they were in the hospital for just over 2 weeks. If your little babies were to follow the same schedule as mine, your commitment to return to work when they are 2 weeks old would put you at the office when they are released from the NICU. I wouldn’t recommend it.

A mom with one of her identical twins, born at 33 weeks gestation. Identical twin pregnancy risks are real.Don’t get me wrong. I, too, considered returning to work relatively early. While my girls were in the NICU, I considered returning to the office. I thought this would let me have a few weeks home with them once they were released. I was ready to start the paperwork when a NICU nurse told me to hold off. Our daughters would be home in days, not weeks.

I honestly thought I was in control of the schedule, but pregnancies have their own ebb and flow, as do newborns. Our bodies and those of our babies run the show. I hope that you have everything you dream of, but in your commitments during this pregnancy and its aftermath, I ask you to leave room for the unknown. Identical twin pregnancy risks are all too real.

Sincerely,

Sadia Rodriguez

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