The Last Christmas

 I feel your heart beating inside my own skin
And I think of Mary In Bethlehem
That night in a stable Our saviour was born
Yes, we have so much To be thankful for
On the last Christmas,  The last Christmas,
 The last Christmas Without you
-Six Pence None the Richer

A year ago I was in my kitchen, trying to get ready dinner on the table when I heard this song for the first time.  It stopped me in my tracks and gave me goose bumps.  I stood there, trying not to cry, while my 7 month old babies rolled around on my living room floor.  I couldn’t help but long for the days when I felt them inside my skin. 

The Christmas before I was carrying twins, but I didn’t know until February.  I missed the chance to enjoy this feeling of two beautiful babies at Christmas.  I ignored the signs that there was more than one and focused on the single baby I insisted was there.   I look back at that Christmas and it feels distant.  I can’t help but feel like I missed out on something special. 

I have a tendancy to wish away whatever is happening right now.  I want to rush to a time that is easier, a time when things are smooth and confortable and not so rocky.  With 3 small children it’s easy to focus on what we don’t have, what we can’t do.  I daydream about the days to come, when they are a little more independant.  The every day responsibilities weigh me down and I look forward to an easier time.

This song brings me back to the moment I’m in now.  This is the last Christmas, the very last Christmas I will ever have with my four year old son and his 19 month old sisters.  I will never get this Christmas back.  And even though we may not make it to a Christmas play or through the Christmas Eve service, I don’t want to wish this Christmas away. 

So I sit back and I watch them play.  I try to memorize the way they move, their reaction to the Christmas tunes constantly playing in our house.  We talk about Jesus and Santa and reindeer.  I watch their eyes light up when the see Christmas light and trees.  I breathe in their joy and excitment.  I focus on the things they seem to care about, particularly my son, who is enjoying this Chrismas more than any before.  And I try not to loose that feeling that this is the last one I have with them exactly like this.

Wherever you are, whatever stage your in right now, take a moment to really breathe it in.  If you’re expecting your twins or knee deep in double the diapers, or chasing toddlers or keeping track of preschool activities, take a minute to let it sink in.  Look at your children.  Memorize every dimple and bump.  Commit this Christmas to memory, it’s the last one you have exactly like they are right now.  It can be so much harder with two, but it’s so much more rewarding.  Time moves quickly.  Before you know it we will be putting together a Christmas for 2012.  Don’t let this one slip away before you have a chance to really enjoy it.

 

You can listen to the song here

AmberD, also known as dollimama, spends her days keeping track of her 4 year old son and 19 month old twin girls.  You can read about her Life Not Finished or follow the crazy on Twitter.

Girls are NOT easier

I was pretty sure that parenting girls would be easier than parenting boys.  I had my son Isaiah first, four years ago.  He was all boy, right off the bat.   He climbed everything, tried anything, and showed no signs of fear.  He started walking at 10 months, was running by 11 months.  Months 12-28 were exhausting.  My friends with girls seemed to have it easier than me.  Their daughters did things like sit and walk and play with their toys quietly.  Isaiah thought that sitting and time-out were the same thing.  He thought being told to “walk” was a punishment.  He was always moving  and didn’t start to slow down and listen to me until about 6 months ago, around the time my twins started walking. 

Since I have done this parenting thing before, I was pretty sure I’m smarter than a one year old.  I know all about child proofing and how to use distraction effectively.  Besides, they’re girls, so how hard could this toddler age be?

Twins

The picture that describes my life with one year old twins!

I can’t tell you how many things I have been wrong about this time around.  I thought Ky and Cadee would be late walkers, or at least wait until they were a year old.  Wrong.  They were both master walkers by their first birthday.  I thought Cadee and Ky would be less curious than their brother.  Wrong.  These girls have gotten into things that never crossed their brothers mind!  I thought they would be fearful of falling from high places.  Wrong.  I once found Cadee INSIDE of my top kitchen cabinet eating cookies.  Who would have thought to put a cabinet lock on the ones ABOVE the counter top?

Things I never dealt with before I am now having to deal with now.  My childproofing has gone to an all new level.  There is a lock on the fridge, after my 13 month old Ky got into the leftovers and painted my floor with chicken stir fry.  There is a lock on the oven, because Ky is obsessed with pulling herself up on any horizontal bar, and once she figured out she could open the oven, it became her new obsession.  There is a lock on the dryer, because Ky and Cadee both think it’s the best seat in the house.  We have no dining room chairs in our house, they stay in the garage and only get brought in for dinner.  After the top cabinet incident, having a place to sit just isn’t worth the risk.

I remember laying down, looking at the ultrasound screen, seeing my beautiful twin girls for the first time.  I was scared out of my mind, but I comforted myself with the thought “They are girls, they will be easier to handle.”  Boy, was I wrong.  At 17 months old my twin girls are giving me a run for my money.  And so far, there is nothing easy about this climbing toddler stage, even if they ARE girls.

Dollimama is the mother of three, a four year old son and 17 month old twin daughters.  She spends her days chasing children and doing laundry, while trying to keep her children out of the dryer.  She writes about the chaos of her Life Not Finished whenever she gets the chance.

What about your toddlers?  Have they entered the climbing stage? 

Have you found a difference between raising boys and girls?  Do you think raising girls is easier than raising boys?

 

Lazy Mama Preschool Tips

One year ago today I was in my kitchen doing dishes when I got a phone call I had been waiting weeks for.  My two year old son was on a waiting list to get into a Mom’s Day Out program, a list I put him on the day I found out we were having twins.  His sisters were 3 months old, and trying to care for infant twins while feeding the brain of a brilliant, curious two year old was proving to be a bigger challenge then I thought it would be.

The call came, but it wasn’t good news.  He didn’t make it off the waiting list.  I bawled.  I was counting on this 2 day program to fill my sons social and educational needs, while giving me a change to spend 10 hours a week caring for 2 children instead of three.  I lost it, and cried for the better part of the day.  But after I was done throwing my fit, I gathered myself and came up with a new plan to teach my son at home.  These are what I call my “Lazy Mama” tips for homeschooling a preschooler, because they require minimum effort and get maximum results.  And when you have 2 screaming babies, sometimes minimum effort is all there is!

1.  Put it on the Wall.  This is my best tip for getting your child to learn anything, simply put it on a poster on the wall.  I firmly believe that hanging the alphabet on the walls of your home will significantly improve your child’s knowledge of letters.  School supply stores have hundreds of learning posters to choose from, or you can make your own.  We hang up a few focus point posters in the dining room, and they become part of every conversation simply by being there.  My son knows all the basic geometric shapes, numbers 1-20, all the letters and every sound they make.  Why?  Because he spent a year staring at them on the wall.  Try it, this really works.

2.  Make it part of the routine.  In those early days I would spend the morning nap time with my son “doing school”.  He knew that as soon as the babies went to sleep, it was his time.  Sometimes it would be a structured activity, sometimes we would sit at the table playing with play dough.  Sometimes we would be in kitchen making cookies or in the living room playing blocks.  It was all learning, it was all one on one.  Because we were dependent on my daughters taking a good nap, the amount of time varied from 20 minutes to an hour or more.  That was ok, because we still did some sort of learning activity every day.

3.  Be flexible and creative.  Use whatever you have around to to teach your children something.  Are you driving in the car?  Play a shape game and ask your children to find shapes in the objects around you.  Are you at the grocery store?  Play find the letters and have your child identify the first letter of each item you toss in the cart.  Help them practice their basic preschool skills wherever you are, whatever you are doing. 

While having a set preschool program, at home or away from home, is awesome, don’t let the lack of one stop your child from learning this year.  There are so many opportunities to teach your kid in everyday life. 

In January I finally got the call I was waiting for, and my son started Mom’s Day Out.  While I love that program and believe that it has been great for him to be in a structured learning environment, I think those first 6 months at home were good for us.  We learned how to be a family without the help of anything or anyone else.  And he learned so much at home, we was a little ahead of some of the kids in his class!  I would count that as a win for this Lazy Mama!

 

Dollimama is the mother of three, a three year old son and one year old twin daughters.  She spends her days chasing children and doing laundry.  She writes about the chaos of her Life Not Finished whenever she gets the chance.