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lunchldyd

lunchldyd is mom to 3 year old boy/girl twins and their 5.5 year old sister. She is now teaches part-time to juggle the needs of her young children. When not at work and the kids are asleep, she is addicted to watching TV and sometimes sacrifices sleep to read in bed. She lives in the Los Angeles suburbs with her husband, three kids, and two dogs.

Toddler Rituals

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Categories Behavior, Development, Discipline, Toddlers3 Comments

Some days (ok, most days) Toddler really tries my patience.

From what I can remember, the rituals really began right around the time she turned two. That was the time we started telling her Mommy has babies in her belly. And then we took a two-week trip to Asia. That was the clincher. Starting with the plane ride, which we thought we prepared her for ahead of time. She was very excited to fly, even jumping up and down watching the planes land and take off through the big window in the airport boarding waiting area. Still excited when we got in the plane and she saw all the people sitting around us. Great while we taxi’d. Then, liftoff. Her face scrunched up in a look of sheer terror and the screaming commenced. And didn’t stop for 14 hours. Made me hope for a terrorist threat so we could abort this journey. It didn’t get much better after we landed either. With the upside down time difference (15 hrs or something like that), none of us were feeling great, but also dealing with a toddler whose routine was set in stone at home was just torture. What were we thinking? Our child DOES NOT travel well. Lesson learned.

Sometime during that trip, she formed a deep attachment to her blanket (“budget” to her). Before, she liked her blanket, and we would give it to her to sleep, but it wasn’t a necessity. In those two weeks, it had to be taken EVERYWHERE we went. And there was no sleeping without it. Funny enough, the IDENTICAL blanket Mommy brilliantly bought in anticipation of JUST THIS was immediately rejected no matter how many times we offered it. (Even to this day– that blanket is now baby brother’s.) So, fine. OK. Gotta remember the blanket now. I guess it’s better than picking up dropped pacifiers all day long or sucking on thumbs till age 6.

Lately, her obsession has been to close doors a certain way. “Like this” every night and naptime, a negotiation of how much the door to her room gets closed. But it’s a moving target. You think you got it at just the right angle, walk away, and hysterical yelling/crying incoherently about a “like this, not like this” will continue until you go back and the ritual starts all over. Finally last night I let her scream for 10 minutes. Then I went in and we calmly had a discussion about how the door needs to be and there will be no more screaming.

It may possibly have worked because there was no complaint about the door at nap time. However, there was something else. The pillow on her chair had fallen over. It needed to be righted, and placed to the side. All her dresser drawers must be completely closed, her stuffed animals and books aligned in just the right way, stickers stuck to the right places. I swear she makes things up sometimes just to stall, but then they become part of her ritual too. It’s maddening to the point you can’t do anything but throw up your hands. C’mon kid, just go to sleep!

Don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of times when she’s super sweet. “I lub you, mommy.” She caresses her siblings and kisses them on their feet. “Mmmmuah!” But… gosh these rituals can be annoying when all I want to do is get a few minutes of quiet before the twins demand my attention. Please?

I know this is just a phase, and I definitely feel for parents of kids who have crazier rituals. But when does it end, and will the twins be just as bad times two?!?

lunchldyd is a mom to an almost 3 yr old daughter and her 3 month old twin brother and sister. She is also a high school teacher. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, 3 children under 3, and two neglected dogs.

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The Great Minivan Debate

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Categories Balance, Family, Mommy Issues10 Comments

I’m sure every parent of more than two children would agree that a minivan is a convenience, if not a necessity, for a family of 5+. They would probably say that the efficiency and ease of loading/unloading children plus gear far outweighs the un-coolness of driving a minivan.

After discovering we were having twins, the Husband told me this. Our friends told me this. Random people at the mall told me this. I fought it for as long as I could. In fact, I wanted to hang on to my beloved little CRV so much that I relocated my daughter’s Britax and installed two infant carseats myself, far enough along in my pregnancy that it was a major undertaking. But they do fit, after some jiggling around, so that’s what we’ve been doing for the 3 months of the twins’ lives.

However, I’ve come to realize this is not the ideal situation. Due the space issues in the backseat, the Britax is in the center, flanked by the two carseat bases. With the carseats clicked into place, everything is wedged in so tight no one is going anywhere. And that’s sort of the problem. The toddler is not quite old enough to get in and out of her carseat by herself, at least, not without taking more time than I’m willing to give her. We did put a little stool in the center to help her get up and down on her own, and when time is not an issue, we let her practice in the hopes that someday she will be fast (good luck with that, I know). So most of the time I’m lifting her up to put her in. And I can say that a 30 lb. kid isn’t easy to sling into the center seat across an infant carseat base. Logistically, it’s also been a pain to make sure we load/unload all the kids in the right order. Sometimes it’s just been easier to install Toddler’s seat in our other car.

I’ve not traveled alone with all 3 by myself yet. I’m sure it will be so much harder to do that I will not want to leave the house. But I’m also sure that if I don’t ever leave the house I will go insane.

So… I’ve been won over to the dark side. We are currently shopping for a minivan. Just the sliding doors alone wins it for me. Add to that all the multitude of seat configurations, and it must be Mommy heaven. And it might just even be “cool”:

Dear MoM’s, what car are you all driving?

lunchldyd is a mom to an almost 3 yr old daughter and her 3 month old twin brother and sister. She is also a high school teacher. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, 3 children under 3, and two neglected dogs.

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Love Multiplied

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Categories Family, Mommy Issues, Toddlers2 Comments

As the weeks of my twin pregnancy progressed and I became increasingly less mobile, is when the thought of bringing two more children into my family really began to seem like a daunting reality.

When we first learned of the twins (“Two heartbeats!”), the prospect was more of a shock than anything else. I don’t think anybody plans to have twins. Then of course, you don’t want to start thinking about two of everything because you don’t want to jinx it and have something bad happen to one or both babies. So it also wasn’t really real yet.

Then as they grew bigger and bigger at each ultrasound, it started to get exciting. Buying for two new babies. Decorating another nursery. Coming up with names. Being told that having b/g Year of the Dragon babies is the luckiest of the lucky.

Right around 28 weeks, however, is when reality hit, at least for me. (Husband was thinking of the financial implications as soon as he saw those heartbeats.) Even though I stopped working then, it got harder and harder for me to keep up with the toddler we already have. Of course, I was already as big as I was full term with her, but I felt incredibly guilty when I invariably lost my patience toward the dinner/bath/bedtime hours when all she did was be two.

How much less attention will she be getting once the twins were born? She had no idea what was coming. My little girl will no longer be the only little girl everyone adores any longer (she is the first grandchild on either side of the family). If I already felt I couldn’t be the mom to her that I wanted to be and the twins hadn’t even been born yet, how would we handle having all three? Could I love the babies as I loved my firstborn?

The thoughts went round and round my head until at times I just cried. I just cried looking at the innocent face of my daughter who only knew good things in her life and had no real concept of sharing. My poor baby never asked for any of this.

These feelings only intensified when we were in the hospital recovering from the c-section and she went to live at Grandma’s. We had her stay there until I felt I could move around again, which took about 2.5 weeks. In those 2.5 weeks, with the addition of the crazy hormones, I cried all the time. I missed my first baby. I mourned her role as my only child. Horrifyingly, at times I even resented the sweet newborns sleeping peacefully by my side because in my mind I felt they were the culprits of all this.

But my daughter ended up being the most wonderful surprise of all. We had heard stories of older children regressing when newborns were introduced into the family, stories of terrible tantrums and potty trained toddlers wanting to go back into diapers. We had given her some toys when she visited us at the hospital, saying they were from her siblings. She didn’t really know what was going on, but she happily accepted them, as well as her siblings, and went about her merry way sharing my hospital breakfast with me. And then she came home. Everything was back to normal for her, except there were these two sleeping crying things who Mommy and Daddy constantly had to feed. She would notify us when the twins were crying, “Mommy, sister is crying! She wants milk! Pick her up!” For the most part, she heeded our requests for her to be quiet, not to play with certain toys where the babies were sleeping, and all the “Wait”. There was the occasional whining, but it really hasn’t been too bad.

Now the twins are 12 weeks old, and our eldest will turn three in May. She has become such a sweet little big sister. She talks to her siblings, holds their bottles, kisses their heads, and is soooooo excited when one of them smiles at her. She considers them part of our family and always asks if they’re coming along, just as she does with Mommy and Daddy.

I’ve gotten over whatever guilt hangups I had about the twins ruining her life. She has proven to be much more resilient than I thought. And the future with all three of my children adoring each other brings tears to my eyes, in a completely different way. I imagine all the beautiful interactions with her siblings that I’ve enabled her to have, and my heart melts at the interactions I’m already beginning to see.

Yes, I do love them all; and yes, the love is much greater.

lunchldyd is a mom to an almost 3 yr old daughter and her 12 week old twin brother and sister. She is also a high school teacher. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, 3 children under 3, and two neglected dogs.

 

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To Work or Not to Work

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Categories Classroom Placement, Mommy Issues, WorkingTags , , , 7 Comments

Ever since the thought of having children crossed my mind when I was a child myself, it always seemed a given to me that when I did, I would stay at home and take care of them. My mom was a stay-at-home mother, and her mother before her, and I never thought to question it.

Fast forward 20 years or so to the birth of my first, and this all of a sudden was not so clear cut. I’d had a career. I was 7 years into teaching. I was a professional, I liked (if not loved at times) my job, and it was a large part of my identity. But that sort of clashed with my new identity as a mother, which for me trumped everything else. So I questioned what I would become.

A working mom, like so many of our generation? One who bundles up the child(ren) in a mad dash out the door each morning only to see them for a couple of hours each night? One who pays a good amount of her salary to daycare and wonders whether her child is being treated right? For a type-A personality like mine, this was hard to stomach. For the overprotective mother I was quickly becoming (who isn’t with their firstborn?), this seemed an impossibility.

But what about the lifestyle to which we were so accustomed? The mortgage and car payments, the Amazon shopping and eating out. Not to mention the place I had made for myself at my school, in my classroom, with my students.

Fortunately, my daughter was born in May, so maternity leave ran through the end of that school year, and I had all summer to stay at home with her. I worked out a plan to convince my mom to drop her work down to part time (I would compensate for the pay decrease) to watch my daughter while I was at work. She is the only person I trust with my children for any extended period of time, does not act like a grandparent (doesn’t cave to requests for cookies), and comes with the added benefit of speaking only Mandarin. So my daughter went to Grandma’s at 3.5 months, right when she began to reliably sleep through the night. She’s gotten good food, daily love and discipline, and is now fully bilingual. And I’ve gotten every afternoon and all holidays with her (which are pretty numerous as a teacher). It’s worked out great for 2.5 years.

Now, our daughter has a set of siblings, 11 weeks old. Three children under 3. This impossible decision is upon us again. I have already decided to take the rest of the school year off. That part is not in question. There is no way I would have left my twins after 8 weeks of maternity when my firstborn singleton got 3.5 months.

In fact it’s hard to imagine leaving them at all. As it is they are getting one third the attention our firstborn got. And though I am “off work” at 3pm daily, by then I’ve already had a full day of 5 classes, creating lessons, grading papers, and managing teenagers. To take on 3 kids after that may just break the camel’s back. Not to mention how an aging grandmother is supposed to handle them all…

But then again is the mortgage, the car payments (I’ve caved and accepted the fact that we will need a minivan sooner rather than later), the lifestyle we like to live, the TWO ADDITIONAL members of the family to support, and our future dreams to consider. Can we, do we want to, make the financial sacrifices necessary? Am I comfortable putting my career on hold, and if so for how long? The husband says he will support whatever decision I make, but I know that he is terrified of being the only wage earner in our family. Am I being selfish in not wanting to miss out on my children’s babyhood?

What to decide? I have until the end of the school year to do so, before the contracts for next year are signed. I’m hoping by then I will have either fallen in love with the life of parks and playdates, or can’t wait to get back to work.

lunchldyd is a mom to an almost 3 yr old daughter and her 11 week old twin brother and sister. She is also a high school teacher. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, 3 children under 3, and two neglected dogs.

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