Guest Post: Review and Giveaway – One and the Same

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Categories Famous Twins, Identical, Mommy Issues, Multiples in the News, Parenting Twins, RelationshipsTags , , , 20 Comments

Hello, dear HDYDI readers!  We have a special treat for you today.  A guest post from the super-awesome twin mom and blogger, Sadia, of Double the Fun.  Sadia has given us a very thoughtful review of One and the Same, by Abigail Pogrebin.  Even better still, the author is letting us give away a signed copy of the book!  Don’t forget to leave a comment that includes a valid email address in the form (email is never made public, never passed out or sold to anyone) so that we can contact you if you win. One entry per person, please.  Comments will close this Friday, July 9, at 5PM EDT and a winner will be chosen at random.

And now, here’s Sadia!

– – – – –

The other day my husband said, “You’ve been reading a lot of parenting books. Don’t you think you’re a good mom?”

“It’s not that,” I told him. “I think I’m a pretty good mother to Jessica and Melody. I read these books because I want to stay ten steps ahead of them. I want to be challenged by other people’s ideas. They’ll either help me recommit to the parenting philosophies and practices I already subscribe to, or they’ll make me rethink how I parent.”

Abigail Pogrebin’s One and the Same is a book that has challenged me as a mother of twins, causing me to change my parenting in some ways and dig in my heels in others. I hadn’t yet heard of the book when Abby asked me to review it several months ago, but I’m sure I would have bought and devoured it by now even if she hadn’t.

Abby is a journalist and an identical twin herself. She set out to write about twinship, and explores the myriad experiences of twinhood in depth. One and the Same balances intimate stories of individual sets of twins with patterns identified by researchers who study twins. Much of the writing is intensely personal, but it speaks to the mystery, joy and challenges of the universal twin experience.

I was particularly intrigued by the way that twinship can impact marriage. Abby describes it beautifully. She says that being Robin’s twin has given her, “a congenital clarity of what it is to be wholly close to another human being.” Some of the twins Abby interviewed drew parallels between the twin relationship and marriage. I hope that the compromise skills that my daughters are learning to survive life with one another serve them well should they choose to marry. On the flip-side, Abby points out that during her time at the Twinsburg convention, she notices a high number of twins, mostly male, who have never been married. Might women be put off by the intimacy and affection that twin brothers share?

I wept my way through the chapter on twin death. Abby interviewed a man who lost his twin in the Twin Towers on 9/11. She also found a number of people who thought they were singletons and developed an inexplicable fascination with twins, only to discover that they were the sole survivors of twin pregnancies. I look at my daughters and can’t imagine how one could navigate her life without the other.

The only part of the book that I didn’t like was, ironically enough, the one that dealt with parenting twins. Whereas Abby spent the rest of the book showing us how different and unique each experience of twinship is, this chapter spoke in generalities, many of which failed to resonate with my experience as a mother of twins. Like Abby, I take exception to the experts’ assertion that every mother of multiples has a favourite child. From time to time, each of my kids drives me nuts, and from time to time, one needs more of my attention. The love, though, is equally infinite. The takeaway of the chapter was that the challenges of raising twins, especially in the early years, outweigh the joys. I disagree. Yes, it’s often hard, but good parenting is hard, no matter how many kids you have.

The parenting lesson I took away from One and the Same is that twinship does not have to compromise individuality. Twins don’t have to choose between their twin identity and their personal identity. A singleton myself, I recently realized that I had assumed that emphasizing my daughters’ twinship would cripple them as they developed their individual identities and interests. Abbie shows us that does not have to be the case. Being a twin is part of what make my daughters, Jessica and Melody, unique. However, One and the Same doesn’t shy away from the reality that there are pairs of twins out there for whom their twinship defines them. For instance, it quotes Debbie Ganz, who, with her sister Lisa used to run a restaurant in which all the waiters were pairs of identical twins. “A guy once said to me, ‘I don’t want to know about your twin thing: what are you like?’ I froze and started to feel upset. Because I couldn’t answer him.”

One and the Same is the most astute book I’ve come across that discusses the twin experience. I would have enjoyed it equally, although differently, if I’d never met a twin in my life.

Q and A with Abigail Pogrebin

Abigail Pogrebin was kind enough to answer a few questions that occurred to me while I was reading One and the Same. This is what she had to say.

Sadia: You share intimate and sometimes heart-breaking details about how you feel about your changing relationship with Robin. Has she read your book? What was her reaction? What about your parents’?

Abby: I didn’t feel I could write this book without Robin’s blessing (and her editing – she’s a formidable journalist) and so I showed her a draft as soon as I finished it. I admit that it wasn’t an easy read for her at times, and she even challenged me in some places, which I think made me revisit certain sections and rethink them. But the truth is that Robin was incredibly supportive of the book, both privately and publicly. I was grateful that she agreed to go on the Today Show with me and that she worked so hard to prepare for a special event we did together last fall in New York in which she interviewed me about the book before an audience of 200-plus; she made it a wonderful evening. Most importantly, this book made us closer in ways I can’t quite explain. It’s like the truth finally was on the table and we could get on with this phase of our relationship.

As for my parents, they were also tremendous boosters, but feel somewhat baffled by why twinship can end up being complicated when it felt so simple to them during our childhoods.

Sadia: You’ve described twin romance beautifully, and have been able to convey how normal and natural that intense relationship is, even if much of society is unable to comprehend it and sometimes views it as pathological. My husband and I see that romance growing in our own daughters. Do you have any advice to parents like us on how to prepare our kids for resistance they may get from others regarding their twin relationship?

Abby: My only advice is to talk about it ahead of time, to discuss the fact that their twin romance can be intimidating, excluding, or off-putting to other people and sometimes they may want to keep their intimacy to themselves, if that makes sense.

Sadia: Many parents of young multiples are careful not to refer to their children as “the twins” or “the boys”, because they want to help the world see their children as individuals, and not just members of a set. If your children had been twins, would you object to them being referred to as “the twins”?

Abby: Yes, if I had twins, I would object to people calling them “the twins,” because I do think it has a cumulative negative effect over time; it  underlines their two-ness as opposed to their singularity. It may seem unimportant, especially when the twins are young, but I know I hated the term growing up. It felt lazy to me when someone called us that; is it really so taxing for them to say our names when they’re talking about us?

Sadia: If you could give parents three pieces of advice on nurturing both their twin’s closeness and their independence, what would they be?

Abby:

  1. Spend separate time with your twins. Even if they resist doing things apart.
  2. Encourage different activities, lessons, playdates, pursuits.
  3. Let their insularity be. It has its own magic, and at the end of the day, the intimacy wins.

Sadia: We have a set of triplets in our extended family. I can’t help wondering how having more than one same-age sibling would affect relationships between multiples. Do you know any higher order multiples? How would you compare their relationships to those of the twins you interviewed?

Abby: I don’t know any triplets myself, but I did interview one in my book and her story is worth reading – it appears in the chapter on competition. It amazed me that a triplet can feel like the third wheel when the other two triplets are twins.

Sadia: You quote Joan Friedman’s distinction between being known and being noticed, as it pertains to twinship. Could you please explain this distinction to HDYDI’s readers? You acknowledge that her distinction resonated with your sister’s experience of being a twin. Do you ever feel less “known” because you were a twin

Abby: As twins, you’re often “noticed” because you stand out – especially if you’re identical. It’s an oddity, a novelty, people notice you, look at you longer, compare you. People are curious, they confer all sorts of ideas about what your bond and relationship must be like. But most of the time, they don’t really get to know you; even the people who see you regularly –relatives, friends, teachers. They don’t necessarily make the effort to get to know who you really separately (and yes, it may take more effort to ascertain those differences.) They seem content with the superficiality of your twinship. So they notice you, yes, but they don’t know you.

* Disclaimer – Although Ms Pogrebin did contact Sadia to ask her to review the book, Sadia purchased her own copy. This review was not influenced in any way by the author.

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A slow farewell

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Categories Napping, Preschoolers, Sleep, ToddlersTags , , , 12 Comments

Oh, my friends, it is truly a sad day in my house.  I have come to acknowledge a painful fact.

The nap is on its way out.

*sob*

OK, it’s not gone yet.  And, to be more specific, it’s my son who seems to be getting ready to drop it.  Over the last few weeks, I’d say were at a 50-60% success rate on his nap.  If we do something especially exhausting in the morning, or weather conditions are favorable (I’m not kidding), we get a nap.  If we don’t do much, or if some number of planets are out of alignment, not so much.

It has become quite a balancing act.  You see, even on a good day, he will mess around in his room and sing to himself for a while before going to sleep.  The challenging part is how long to let him continue.  Do I go in after a while and remind him to go to sleep? Sometimes seems to work, sometimes not.  Plus, to make things even more interesting, I find he’s a lot worse-tempered if he ends up falling asleep too late (and I usually end up having to wake him up lest it get too close to dinner and bedtime).  While he’s happiest on the days that he gets a “normal” nap, he’s actually not all that bad when he skips it outright.

I’d love to blame this on our recent transition to separate bedrooms and toddler beds, because who doesn’t like a scapegoat? But the truth is that his naps were going downhill in this very manner for several weeks before we made the switch.  And, at least now he isn’t keeping his sister up.  I also have to count my blessings in that he does stay in his room without a fight, even if he spends much of the time singing at the top of his lungs.

Surprise Chicago Trip

Alas, all good things must come to an end.  I will continue to hold onto our sporadic nap, or quiet time, or break in your room, or whatever you want to call it, for as long as I can.  At a bare minimum, we need the break from each other until September, when they start preschool in the mornings.

Surprise Chicago Trip

I can only hope all that learning exhausts them.

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Miss Manners

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Categories Behavior, Preschoolers, ToddlersTags , , , 19 Comments

You can call me crazy, you can call me old-fashioned. But I say it’s never too early to teach your kids good manners.

I don’t run some kind of courtesy boot-camp at my house. I don’t believe children should be seen and not heard (OK, sometimes I’d like to believe that).  My kids can be demanding and whiny, just like any almost-three-year-olds. They (and I, for sure) are far from perfect. But I will admit that it makes this mama’s heart swell with pride when they spontaneously say “please” and “thank you” to me, to each other, and to anyone else.

Laugh all you want, but I insisted on that “please” even back in the sign language days.  As soon as I knew they were getting the hang of communicating via sign language, I would ask them to sign “more please” when they wanted a snack.  Once they had that pairing down, I added “thank you,” as Daniel demonstrates here (post-graham-cracker) at 18 months:

Daniel says "thank you"

Today, obviously, I insist that the “please” and “thank you” be spoken out loud, and they actually get upset if someone doesn’t respond with “you’re welcome.”  I try to be a stickler for “no thank you” instead of just “no.”  And my husband and I do our best to model the behavior and praise it when we see it. I do have to remind them, a lot.  But it’s paying off. It’s gotten to the point that, at some meals, my kids will say “thank you mommy for the ___” for each item on their plate at dinner (even if they then have zero interest in trying a single bite), almost to the point of competition: which kid can say thank you for the greatest number of food groups.

But I guess this didn’t strike me as particularly out of the ordinary until I heard someone with similar-aged kids to my own ask when was a good time to start teaching their toddlers some manners.  Um, clearly earlier than now, if you ask me!

I get that toddlers are notorious for having poor impulse control, for whining, and for demanding, self-centered behavior. But just because it’s “normal” doesn’t mean we have to roll over and make it seem acceptable.  I’m a fan of picking one’s battles, for sure.  But this is one, for me, that’s worth fighting.  Just like anything else in raising kids, it’s all a lot easier when you set up the expectations as young as possible.  Preventing bratty behavior is way easier than correcting it.

What do you think, mamas? Have you insisted on manners from the start? Do you think it’s entirely too much to ask for at a young age? Am I just charmingly old-fashioned? How’s the war on courtesy in your house?

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I Always Wanted Twins

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Categories Mommy Issues, Other people, Parenting Twins51 Comments

“Oh, are they twins?  I always wanted to have twins.”

How many times have you heard that one?  It ranks right up there, for me, at the top of the list of incredibly annoying things that complete strangers feel compelled to say to me.  As with most of the inane comments, I generally give a half smile and continue herding my cats children through whatever errand I’m trying in vain to accomplish.

But what I really want to say is… Oh really?  You always wanted to:

  • have a high-risk pregnancy, in which you live in fear of going into labor too early, get five times as huge as a normal human being, and stop being able to tie your own shoes at about 24 weeks?
  • leave the hospital without your babies, because they’re still in the NICU?
  • attempt to breastfeed two premature babies whose mouths are so small they can’t possibly get a decent latch?
  • try with all your might to keep these two infants on roughly the same schedule, in the hopes of maintaining a small shred of your sanity?
  • have your vision of what it’s like to be a first-time mom completely turned on its head, because you don’t have a single spare moment to actually enjoy your babies?
  • live your life by your babies’ synchronized nap schedule in the name of survival?
  • push a double stroller that drives like a school bus?
  • have a simple cold take three weeks to go through your house, as it gets passed from baby to baby to mom to dad?
  • get pulled in the direction of two new crawlers, and then two new walkers?
  • worry about gross motor delays, fine motor delays, plagiocephaly, torticollitis, and speech delays?
  • get stopped by EVERY SINGLE FREAKING PERSON IN THE GROCERY STORE when all you want to do is get a gallon of milk and get back to the car before they both start crying, again?

Oh, no? No, you weren’t saying that because you wanted to experience the most intensely difficult 4 6 12 18 months ever known to man?

No, I think what you really wanted was to have a nice matched set that you could dress the same for formal pictures, and imagine them to have some sort of secret language or ESP or something.

Oh, and maybe you always wanted to:

  • have two babies who became two toddlers who could entertain themselves much better than most of their age-mates.
  • hear the shrieks and giggles and babbling that becomes shrieks and giggling and conversations from their shared bedroom (even if it means they aren’t asleep when they should be).
  • watch them make up games and invite each other to play at a surprisingly young age.
  • have your own little built-in social/parenting experiment, watching them grow in ways that are the same and different. And having the second one there to let you know that not all of the hard stuff is your fault.
  • have that “instant family” with two kids, without having to actually go through labor twice.
  • be a somewhat more laid-back parent by necessity.
  • find an awesome sisterhood of moms simply by virtue of having parented two kids of the same age at the same time.
  • feel kind of like a rock star whenever someone says to you, “I don’t know how you do it.”

Oh yeah.

Me too.

Disney World 2010

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Unlike Any Other

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Categories Behavior, Development, Potty Training, Preschoolers, Toddlers9 Comments

If there’s anything I’ve learned in the last two months, it is this simple truth: potty training is completely unlike all previous transitions of baby- and toddler-hood.

The moms of older kids are just shaking their heads and chuckling at me right now, and that’s just fine. We all come to these realizations in our own time.

While you can argue about “readiness” for the other big transitions of the first few years (sleeping through the night, letting go of bottles or pacifiers, etc.), I have found that most of them you can kind of muscle your way through.  Choose your approach, implement it consistently, and grit your teeth for the three or four days it takes to make the transition.  A friend of mine has a theory that nearly everything with babies and kids takes about three to four days to settle in, so you have to give it that long.

Potty training is an entirely different beast.  Maybe it’s because they’re older and more manipulative smarter.  Maybe it’s because, instead of “removing” something, you’re asking them to actively “do” something.  Maybe it’s the perfect storm of development and control.  But try as I might, it simply is not something you can just hunker down and get through in a couple of days.

Friday Portrait: 7/52

Of course, even that isn’t entirely true.  Never was there a situation that was more child-specific.  My daughter actually took to potty training rather well.  The first week or two felt long, but the truth is that she took to it quickly, and has stayed shockingly consistent.  Barely two months later and she is, knock on wood, even Pull-Up free at night and nap.  That’s just her thing.

Becca

Her brother, on the other hand… well.  He seemed to take to it well the first week.  And then the second week arrived and, pardon the expression, it was an absolute shitstorm of constant accidents.  He’d have a success or two in the morning, and then straight downhill for the rest of the day.  After a looong week and a half of constant accidents (on his part) and a complete emotional breakdown (on my part), I put him back in Pull-Ups, full-time.  Since then, he has absolute negative interest in the potty.  He has used it here and there, but mostly wants nothing to do with it.  And he’s in such an intensely controlling, contrary, stubborn phase right now, I’m simply stepping away and not turning it into a massive power struggle.

Daniel

You just never know what you’re going to get when it comes to potty training.  You could have the kid who can hold it for hours on end, or the one who has to sprint to the bathroom every 45 minutes.  You could have the one who’s afraid of pooping, or the one who will happily sit on the pot anywhere and everywhere.

And you’ll never know until you try.

So, you parents of potty trainees, how have your kids varied in their potty hang-ups? What were their struggles and successes?  Did you find a particular approach worked wonders on one child and was a disaster with the other?

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Learning how to play with my kids

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Categories Fraternal, Potty Training, Preschoolers, Toddlers4 Comments

You’d think that, at 2.5, I’d know how to play with my children.  And to a large extent, of course, I do.  But the truth is that I spend a large portion of the day coordinating, shuttling, refereeing, and then getting out of the way when they’re actually playing nicely with one another. We go to activities together, we come home together. They play while I make lunch. They go down for nap together. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

But recently, due to some potty-training boot camp weekends, I have had the opportunity to spend nearly the entire weekend with each kid, alone. And it’s amazing how different that experience is.

My daughter was the first to go on the boot-camp front, so my husband disappeared for most of the day with our son.  Rebecca has an impressive attention span, and could stay focused on one activity for quite a while.  Read a bunch of books, roll out some play-doh, create multiple large-scale finger-paint masterpieces.

Stuck in the house

She pretty much chose an activity that she wanted to do, had me set it up for her, and played independently for 20 minutes or more at a stretch.  Oh, sure, she wanted me to look at what she’d done, and we had fun comparing the sizes of our finger-paint handprints. And she can be goofy as all get-out, and loves to race circles around the first floor on a big green racing turtle. But she’s an introvert, just like her daddy.  She could spend a lot of time engrossed in her own little world, singing songs to herself.

Two weeks later, and the kids switched places. It was Daniel’s turn for a weekend of mommy and potty. I scarcely realized how much I should have rested up for the whirlwind that is my son.  In terms of straight physical activity, he’s not the perpetual-motion machine that a lot of toddler boys are.  But he never, ever, EVER stops talking.

2.5

The talking was not a surprise to me.  He’s been like that for ages.  What I did find fascinating is his new love of pretend-play.  He would come up with elaborate story lines and want me to act them out with him.  Most were a mish-mash of favorite TV shows and memories of things we’d done together.  But he wasn’t just telling the story, we were playing it.  I had to sit next to him on the bench of the Dinosaur Train, and stamp his ticket with my claw. I sat in the back seat of Daddy’s car (actually, the floor of our mudroom) while he drove us to the airport and the museum.  I could only convince him to take a potty break from these elaborate tales by suggesting that we visit the potty on the Dinosaur Train/airplane/museum bathroom.

The extrovert, which he obviously gets from me, bounces from one thing to the next and wants me to be involved in every part.  That is, at least, until he tells me to get off of the couch and go into the kitchen. When I ask why, he says it’s so he can slide down the arm of the couch (which he knows he’s not really supposed to do – bad liar).

It was really something to shift out of my normal gear, which is to just kind of manage the chaos and the outings and make sure everyone is reasonably happy, somewhat well-behaved, and not killing one another.  To actually take a day or two, stay in the house, and play with each kid on their own terms.

What about you? Have you gotten the chance to sit and play with one kid at a time? Do you find them remarkably similar or completely different?

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Cold Turkey

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Categories Potty Training, Toddlers5 Comments

I’m a rip-off-the-bandaid kind of person, at least as far as parenting goes.  In most things, I have no interest in dragging out the process.  I’d rather have one really horrible week and then have something be over, instead of going back and forth for months on end.

Call me a sadist, but I actually kind of loved sleep-training. We did overnight, naps, and ditching the swaddle, all at the same time.  Once I had read up on the method and bought into the concept, I did not have any trouble holding my resolve for cry-it-out.  Four days later, I had two 6-month-olds who slept 12 hours at night and woke up happy.  Totally worth the three hours my son cried that first night (and the third, too). He’s been a ridiculously solid sleeper ever since.  I am the first to encourage other people to do it. Hell, if I was a night-owl like my husband, I’d probably go into business and let people pay me to sleep-train their kids.

I went cold-turkey on saying goodbye to bottles, too.  Just threw ’em in the trash one day, and that was that. My daughter barely drank any milk for a few days (plenty of water and dairy, don’t worry), but once we found the cup she liked, all was well.  Swapping out a bottle for a cup here and there just wasn’t our style.

And now, I have 2.5-year-olds. You can probably guess what transition is up next.

Potty training.

(cue horror movie music)

I’ve been thinking about it for months, now.  We’ve held out simply due to my own fears, not because I think the kids weren’t ready.  For whatever reason, I finally decided it was time.  I decided to start with my daughter, and have my husband take her brother out of the house for as much of the weekend as humanly possible. (Two solid days of the four of us not leaving the house and trying to negotiate the potty all together sounded like a recipe for disaster… I wanted us to still like each other when this was all over.)

Saturday morning, we through out all of the smaller diapers in the house and put my daughter in underwear.  Watched her like a hawk, tried to keep her entertained without leaving the house. For a mom that usually gets the kids out and about at least once or twice a day, it goes counter to everything I usually strive for, but we’ve stayed in.

Today is day three, and I think (knock on wood) that we may be turning a corner.  I’ll do my best to give a full report when we’re out of the weeds.

In the meantime, I can tell you one thing: I will not be turning into any kind of professional potty-trainer.  But we’ve gone cold turkey, and there is no going back.

See you on the other side.

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Smoothie Addicts

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Categories Feeding, Feeding Older Children, Solid Foods, ToddlersTags , , 12 Comments

My children have a problem. An addiction. Something they ask for morning, noon, and night. (Even more than they ask for TV.)

My kids are smoothie addicts.

Smoothie Addicts

It’s all my mom’s fault. She’s the one who introduced the smoothie into our lives. And indulged the kids’ every-morning request when we stayed at her house for the holidays (and last summer, and the winter before that).

Smoothie Addicts

Truth be told, it’s probably my very favorite toddler addiction.  To them: majorly awesome frozen sweet treat.  To me: fruit and calcium.  And it couldn’t be any easier.

The specifics, as we make them at my house, in case you’ve never made a smoothie yourself:

  • 4 (ish) strawberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1/4 cup (ish) frozen blueberries
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/3 cup (ish) yogurt, any flavor or plain
  • 1/3 cup (ish) milk

Clearly, you can see I’m not scientific about this, I just dump stuff in the blender.  If I’m using fresh strawberries, I’ll often throw in a couple of ice cubes to keep things nice and cold.  Switch it up and throw different kinds of fruit (fresh or frozen) in there. Or, as we did at my mother-in-law’s house when I was improvising, a little scoop of mango ice cream.  You can’t go wrong, and aside from the occasional ice cream, you can’t argue with its nutritional value.

So, as long as my blender pitcher is dishwasher-safe, my kids can have a smoothie any day of the week.

P.S.  If grandpa is there when you’re making smoothies one day, and tells the kids to “hold their ears” because it’s loud, your son may do this every time you make one:

Smoothie Addicts

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Compensation

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Categories Behavior, Fraternal, Toddlers12 Comments

As we sent our daughter into time-out last night, for who knows what offense, my husband made a comment to me. “Do you notice that we almost never put them in time-out at the same time?” And it’s true.  Very seldom do they both behave poorly enough at the same time to warrant simultaneous time-outs.

Even more interesting, at least to me, is what happens during those inexplicable complete meltdowns.  You know the ones, of course.  The tantrum that comes on with no warning, and probably with no trigger event, either.  But they just completely lose it, and for a really, really long time.

Is it just my house, or does the non-melting twin suddenly go on super behavior?

Destroying the fort

Oh, sure. Not every time. We’ve had our share of double tantrums in this house.  But a lot of the time, I find that one kid completely loses it, and the other seems to compensate with a little extra cooperation and a little less whining.  And it’s not a straight personality-difference thing, as it has gone both ways with regards to who is melting and who is walking the straight-and-narrow.

So, is it a twin spidey-sense thing, or do I just have strangely empathetic kids?  Do you notice this happening in your house, that one child seems to compensate for the other’s misbehavior?  Is it always one kid or the other, or do yours switch it up?

One way or another, I’ll be grateful for the fact that sometimes they back off when they see mommy is about to crack. Thanks, kiddos.

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This could be my life

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Categories Family14 Comments

I have a really large extended family. Aunts, uncles, cousins galore. A bunch of baby-crazy cousins at perfect babysitting age, as a matter of fact. The whole family is really close and gets together for dinner nearly every Sunday.

1,000 miles away from where I live.

I’m all for independence. I’m proud of the things I am able to do on my own with both kids.  And I firmly believe that having too much help can be a hindrance as far as boosting a new mom’s confidence in her abilities.  But, man alive, it sure would be nice to have family nearby.

This week, I have a little taste of what that kind of life might look like.  Being at home for the holidays, we are suddenly surrounded by family.

carolina

Just imagine… grandparents who get to see the grandkids more than twice a year. Aunts and uncles who aren’t strangers. Cousins who love to play Play-Doh and fight over the chance to babysit.  Hell, we had seven adults for three toddlers at the aquarium yesterday.  It’s a whole different life, and I think I could love it.

Oh, sure, the pace of togetherness would be more relaxed than the concentrated bursts we have during our visits. I would need and want a little more space than I have right now, sleeping in my mother’s guest room.  But still…

gramps-piano

We’ve talked about moving back here, and really hope to do so in the next few years.  I’d be sad to leave the friends I’ve made, but there’s nothing quite the same as living close to family. I have really felt that hole in my life over the last two years. Skype is a lifesaver, and all, but it’s no substitute for being able to call your mom and have her watch the kids so you can run an errand, or to actually have some extra hands on deck when mommy has a sick day.

What about you, fair readers? Do you live near a family support system? Is it an indispensable asset, or a pain in the butt? Or are you like me, and only see the family a few times a year? Do you go through phases of wishing you lived closer, or is the distance all for the best?

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