The Importance of Good Public Communication

This post is a co-authored piece by me and my 7-year-old daughters.

Good Public Communication

Mommy: Where we live in Texas, we're not accustomed to cold weather. 100 degree days in the summer, we can handle. We know how to stay cool and safe. 32 degree days with precipitation? That's not within our realm of competence. We don't know how to drive on the ice. Our cities don't possess the equipment to render roads safe. Call us wimpy. My children's safety comes first.

J: This morning, we were getting rushed to be ready for school on time. Well, it happened that when we were almost at the front of the drop-off line, the news told us that all of RRISD was closed for a 2-hour delay. They were supposed to tell us that at 6:00 in the morning.

M: And it was 7:34. Super late, actually.

Mommy: Hearing about the delay on the news, I stopped and asked the teacher supervising the kids entering school if she knew what was going on. She said that her mom had called to tell her about the delayed opening. I asked whether I should just take the kids home with me and she said she would.

M: The car skidded when we were about to turn out of the loop. We were super-upset and mad at our school.

J: The skid was real creepy

M: Creepy. Right.

Mommy: The whole point of school delays is to keep kids safe by minimizing traffic during dangerous road conditions.

M: Well, that didn't happen today.

Mommy: I'm so disappointed in the school district. School starts at 7:45. The school district has a policy of announcing delays by 6:00 am. The RRISD website was down this morning, so I checked the local news. Austin ISD announced their delay at a reasonable time. I received a text about the delay at 7:44 from our school district. The email with the same announcement arrived at 7:49. I'm unimpressed.

As one friend put it, “I'm grossed out by how the schools are behaving. Are they just being stubborn? At what cost?”

As I'm typing this post, I receive an email from work. At 8:16 am. After about 1/4 of my team decided for ourselves that driving in wasn't worth the risk

Due to worsening road and weather conditions, The University of Texas at Austin will be closed until noon today.Students, faculty and staff who are already on campus or on their way to campus will still be able to enter their offices or classrooms even before the university is officially open for operations. They should make a personal decision on what is best for their safety.Decisions about delays and closure are made based on the best available information officials have at the tine. At 3:00 AM, the forecast and predictions indicated a safe opening. Weather conditions have changed, and we are now delaying campus opening to promote the safety of staff, faculty and students.

Okay, Central Texas. I'm not impressed.

M: *giggle* I like! It's funny!

Update 9:22 am: Just got a call from RRISD declaring all schools closed for the day. Even more disappointed than before. At least they apologized: “We sincerely apologize for the late decision… Please know that it was not our intent to put students, parents or staff in harm's way.” Too little, too late?

Sadia (rhymes with Nadia) has been coordinating How Do You Do It? since late 2012. She is the divorced mother of 7-year-old monozygotic twins, M and J, who are budding writers. She lives with them and their 3 cats in the Austin, TX suburbs and works full time as a business analyst. She retired her personal blog, Double the Fun, when the girls entered elementary school and also blogs at and Multicultural Mothering.


Thank-You Cards from Kids

The girls and I worked really hard making homemade holiday gifts (baked goodies, Shrinky Dinks key chains, and gift tags this year).  On the other end of the holiday, it’s important to me that I involve our girls in saying thank you to our friends and family who were so generous in giving their time and resources to us.

Since they were old enough to scribble a few streaks across a paper, I’ve worked with the girls to make thank-you cards.  Here’s an example of some cards we did when they were 2 1/2…

DSC_0468I wrote the text: “Thank you for the book about the,” and then the girls filled in the blank, so to speak.  At the time, they still weren’t drawing very recognizably, but they could choose a color for the background to the sea, and glue to it a few fish I’d cut out from construction paper.

They definitely “got” what we were doing, and why.  And I think this kind of activity helps them remember who gave them what.  They still know that Aunt Alison gave those books to them when we saw her in Alabama.

At almost-five years old, our girls can’t fully read, but they can print like no one’s business.  My plan this year is to have them write “THANK YOU” on the front of the cards, and address the inside of the card, “TO: AUNT ALISON” and sign their names.  We’ll either draw pictures, or in some cases I might take a picture of the girls wearing their new sweaters or playing with a particular toy to include in the card.

Of course the girls love to tape the envelope shut, apply the stamp, and walk the letters to the mailbox.

An art project, handwriting practice, and a sense of gratitude…it’s what’s on our agenda this post-holiday week.

How do you handle thank-yous with your kiddos?

MandyE is mom to fraternal twin girls, almost five.  She blogs about their adventures, and her journey through motherhood, at Twin Trials and Triumphs.

Helping My Children Cope with Grownup Challenges

7-year-olds have to cope with the sudden death of the therapist who was helping them navigate their parents' divorce.

Those of you who’ve been reading this blog regularly for a while know that my family has been through a lot in the last couple of years. We moved across the state; the girls started kindergarten in a town where they knew no one; they skipped up to first grade midyear; my ex and I suddenly divorced; the girls and I moved back home but to a new house and new school; my ex remarried and added two stepsisters to the mix along with stepmom within 8 months of the divorce.

The girls’ school has been an amazing source of support and solace during all this upheaval. In addition to gifted and deeply committed teachers, the school counselors have been nothing short of stellar. They even host a program called Divorce Club in which all children from divorced families can participate. It really helped my daughters, now aged 7, realize that they weren’t alone in the world of separated parents and blended families.

As a result of Divorce Club, my daughters felt especially close to their counselors. J, in particular, sought them out with some regularity to talk through the things that were on her mind. At the end of last year, the school counselors suggested that I consider getting my daughters into play therapy. While they were remarkably well-adjusted, they had been through an awful lot, and the two school counselors had to spread themselves among the 800+ children at school.

I didn’t end up getting my daughters into therapy until last month. Things were just too hectic over the summer and the first, highly recommended, therapist I tried to contact never returned my calls. When this school year started, one of the school therapists had moved to a different school district and the other was approaching maternity leave, so it seemed like an excellent time to find my daughters someone else they felt comfortable sharing their worries with.

We found a lovely counselor we all liked. At our first appointment, the three of us went in together and chatted. The girls were given paper and crayons and allowed to play freely, snack on doughnut holes, and play with the therapy dog. The therapist asked them why we were there. M wasn’t sure. J said it was because of the divorce. The therapist asked whether they worried about Mommy. They looked at her blankly. The therapist asked what Mommy did for fun. The girls agreed that I played on my computer. She asked them what they thought about the divorce. M thought that having a stepmother and stepsisters was great. J said she missed her Daddy.

During the next session, the therapist shared her impressions of the girls and their needs, since the girlies weren’t willing yet to talk to her without me there. I’d done a great job, she told me, but she worried that J was ready to write Daddy off completely and M may have already done so. She asked whether they were in the school’s gifted program, since they were clearly intellectually and verbally precocious. She would like to meet with the girls together and separately so they weren’t answering for each other and feeding off each other so much. She had me list Daddy’s combat history for context.

In our third session, I met with the therapist without the girls, while they went and drew pictures with her assistant and the therapy dog. I was able to share my concerns openly and honestly without fearing that I was imposing my worries or perspectives on the girls. The therapist told me that she felt that both my daughters had a lot of loss to process. She would help them grieve in as constructive a way as possible.

She cancelled our next appointment because her children had come into town with her grandkids to surprise her for her birthday.

When we went in for the next appointment, there was a note on the door. All her appointments were cancelled for the foreseeable future. There was a phone number to call, but it wasn’t hers. “Strange,” I thought, and pulled out my phone to transcribe the number.

A woman in an adjoining office poked her head out. “She died,” she told me helpfully.


“She went to the hospital Monday. She died.”

J began to cry and I picked her up and held her. I pulled M to me. I asked them what they wanted to do. J wasn’t ready to leave. She told me that she felt close to her therapist in her office, so we went and sat in her waiting room for about 15 minutes and snuggled. J wanted to visit her office and I let her. She was ready to go outside.

We stood by the little pond nearby and talked for another 15 minutes. I tried to draw M out, but she was clearly more worried about her sister than the therapist or herself. J pondered the concept of fairness. She thought about all her loved ones (mostly pets, ours and friends’) who had died. M tried to comfort her with talk of Heaven, but J explained that it wasn’t much help. She was mad that she was so young and was going to have to wait so very long to die and see people she cared about in Heaven.

It turned out that J had been doubting the existence of God for a few months, thanks to overhearing disagreements in Biblical interpretation and pondering the existence of different religions. I told her that religious belief was a choice. She had to choose for herself what to believe. I wished I could just tell her what was to be believed, but I couldn’t do so honestly. I’m an atheist and she knows it. Finally, I told her that I believed in love. It wasn’t rational or sensible, but it was something I believed in with all my being. That comforted her.

“I believe in love too, Mommy. And God is love. So I believe in God.”

That will tide her over for now. We went into town and got Amy’s ice cream, the ultimate comfort food.

Now both J and M have yet another loss to deal with. J says she’s not ready to find another counselor. I called the school and let both the teachers and the substitute counselors know what had happened.

I’m just waiting for M to explode in anger, as she does at times like this. It’ll be within the next week, I think, and then we’ll find out what she’s been feeling.

What do you do when you have to help your children cope with adult emotions?

Sadia (rhymes with Nadia) has been coordinating How Do You Do It? since late 2012. She is the divorced mother of 7-year-old monozygotic twins, M and J. She lives with them and their 3 cats in the Austin, TX suburbs and works full time as a business analyst. She retired her personal blog, Double the Fun, when the girls entered elementary school and also blogs at and Multicultural Mothering.

Favourite Chapter Book Series: Horrible Harry and Song Lee

A review of Suzy Kline's Horrible Harry and Song Lee books from

In the second of our chapter book series reviews, J, M and I would like to introduce you to Horrible Harry/Song Lee by Suzy Kline. You may want to read one before you share them with your kids. Not all the characters are the most wholesome of role models. For the teachers out there, the author even provides classroom activity ideas that tie into the books.

M J Sadia
What are these books about? They are about Horrible Harry liking Song Lee. They're about how Horrible Harry loves Song Lee and how they react to it. It's also about how Harry and Sidney become friends and how Mary is really bossy. It's about Class 2B and 3B. They're all in the same grade, but half of the series is about them in 2B and half is about them in 3B. Horrible Harry and Song Lee are classmates. These stories are about their everyday adventures as elementary school students.
Who are the main characters? Doug, Sidney, Song Lee, Mary, Harry. Mary and Harry rhyme. And Ida and usually a class pet. Song Lee, Horrible Harry, Doug, Mary, Miss Mackle and Ida Doug, the narrator, is an elementary school student. Horrible Harry (goodhearted but mischievous) and Song Lee (sweet but a goody two-shoes) are the protagonists and Doug's close friends. Miss Mackle is their teacher.
Do you have a favourite book? Which one? Horrible Harry's Secret Horrible Harry in Room 2B Horrible Harry Cracks the Code
What do you like about these books? They're funny. It's just the most hilarious and it's most interesting. Each book explores realistic conflict between kids and shows how they overcome it. I really like that the majority of each story occurs at school and that the books make school look fun. Each book also sneaks in some academic lesson from class. M's favourite so far has been the Fibonacci sequence. After reading Horrible Harry Cracks the code, M calculated it out to 2584. For fun.
Is there anything you don't like about these books? Well yes. They use inappropriate language in the books, like they have the characters say things like "stupid" and "dumb" and there's things like that. Nope. The kids are really quite mean to each other, but sadly, I think that's probably a realistic depiction of 2nd and 3rd grade.
How hard are these books to read? Not very, but I have been struggling with some words. Just as easy as the Rainbow Fairies These are genuine chapter books with non-trivial vocabulary. I'd say kids confident with short chapter books would find these manageable.
Do you think boys and girls would like them? Yes. Yeah. No question.

Sadia (rhymes with Nadia) has been coordinating How Do You Do It? since late 2012. She is the divorced mother of 7-year-old monozygotic twins, M and J. She lives with them and their 3 cats in the Austin, TX suburbs and works full time as a business analyst. She retired her personal blog, Double the Fun, when the girls entered elementary school and also blogs at and Multicultural Mothering.

Favourite Chapter Book Series: Rainbow Magic

A review of Daisy Meadows' Rainbow Magic books from

Halloween DIY Costumes -

M as Amber the Orange Fairy and J as Heather the Violet Fairy.

In the first of our chapter book series reviews, J, M and I would like to introduce you to Rainbow Magic by Daisy Meadows. M and J love these books so much that they even dressed up as characters from them for Halloween a few years ago. It was when I realized that my daughters were actually reading these books, not just looking at line drawings, that I figured out that they could read.

Rainbow Magic trivia: Daisy Meadows is actually the pseudonym for a group of four women who write these books together. They’ve done some really great marketing. There are sticker books and paper dolls and all sorts of Rainbow Magic craziness out there.

M J Sadia
What are these books about? The Rainbow Fairies are one series. The Petal Fairies are another. At the end of the series at the 7th book, Jack Frost's heart softens but then at each series he starts having another kind of the fairies. First is Rainbow, then Weather, then Jewel, then Petal They are about Kirsty and Rachel helping out the Rainbow Fairies and Kirsty and Rachel are trying to get rid of the goblins and Jack Frost. Eventually, Jack Frost has a change of heart but only for a while. This series of books is divided into 7-book series, in each of which best friends Rachel and Kirsty must work together to find 7 magical objects (one per book) to save a group of fairies from the evil Jack Frost and his minions. The books can be read alone, but make the most sense read in order.
Who are the main characters? Kirsty, Rachel and the fairies and Jack Frost and his goblins. Jack Frost and his goblins are the bad guys who are trying to harm the fairies and the fairies and Kirsty and Rachel are trying to stop him. Rachel and Kirsty are elementary aged girls who meet on vacation in the first book, Ruby the Red Fairy, and become fast friends. Their adventures all occur while they're visiting each other.
Do you have a favourite book? Which one? That's hard, 'cause in each series I have a favourite! Well, Scarlett the Garnet Fairy in the Jewel Fairy series. And Amber in the Rainbow Fairy and then we have Goldie in the Weather Fairies and in the Animal Fairy Series, we have Ashley the Dragon Fairy. The Princess series, well there's Elisa the Royal Adventures Fairy. Anya the Cuddly Creatures from the Princess Fairies collection. Not really. They're really quite formulaic.
What do you like about these books? I love adventures. In most books, there are these cool boys who are the superheroes, but actually in this series there are fairies and two regular girls who are against goblins and their really mean master. They're really adventurous and you're inspired to fun things and play instead of things that require asking. You just know that you can do it. I have a soft spot for these books because they're the first one my girls read independently. I highly recommend them to get young girly girls engaged in reading and excited about books.
Is there anything you don't like about these books? No actually. They're my favourite series. No. They're great. Even though I'm a higher level than them, they're so nice. Once you've read one series, it's not hard to see where each of the others is going. I'm honestly surprised that my kids aren't bored with them yet.
How hard are these books to read? Only takes about 20 minutes, so not hard at all. Even though they're easy, they're nice. Beginning chapter books.
Do you think boys and girls would like them? Yes, actually, 'cause boys would like the superhero part and it would get girls to like goblins better and boys to like fairies better. Yeah! It has some pretty hilarious things boys and girls would like. They're really for everyone. I don't think so. They're very much targeted at little girls. The only recurring male characters are the bad guys and the girls' fathers.

Sadia (rhymes with Nadia) has been coordinating How Do You Do It? since late 2012. She is the divorced mother of 7-year-old monozygotic twins, M and J. She lives with them and their 3 cats in the Austin, TX suburbs and works full time as a business analyst. She retired her personal blog, Double the Fun, when the girls entered elementary school and also blogs at and Multicultural Mothering.

Favourite Chapter Book Series: Books for Advanced 7 Year Olds

Chapter books for advanced 2nd graders from

My 7-year-olds, M and J, have helped me put together a list of books that they greatly enjoy. They are typical 7-year-old girls as far as their interests go. They’re intrigued by the following things in their own lives and the books they read:

  • Interpersonal relationships and conflict resolution
  • Family dynamics and friendship
  • Fairies, magic and adventure
  • Dance and song
  • School
  • Math, science and personalities in history from the everyman to famous people

They read significantly above grade level, around a 4th or 5th grade level in 2nd grade. While this is a very good thing, it does present something of a challenge when locating books for them. It can be hard to find books for academically advanced but otherwise typical 7-year-olds. I want to them to read things that stretch their analytic skills, their vocabulary, and their understanding of human nature without confounding them with excessively mature topics, inappropriate words, or conflicts beyond their ability to handle.

With no more ado, here is our list, in no particular order.

My daughters have been helping me review each of these series, but this post started getting really long. I’ve decided to publish the review of each series as its own post. I’ll link them above as I publish them.

What are your children’s favourite books?

Sadia (rhymes with Nadia) has been coordinating How Do You Do It? since late 2012. She is the divorced mother of 7-year-old monozygotic twins, M and J. She lives with them and their 3 cats in the Austin, TX suburbs and works full time as a business analyst. She retired her personal blog, Double the Fun, when the girls entered elementary school and also blogs at and Multicultural Mothering.

In Which My Daughter Does a 180 on Having Her Own Room

My daughters are at a turning point. Being together 24/7 at age 7 as they more deeply explore their distinct interests is grating on each other. M loves to sing and J sometimes just wants her to stop humming. J likes to see the bright side or educational opportunity in every challenge, while M just wants to have the freedom to feel and express her frustrations.

I’d sent the girls off to get ready for bed Sunday when J flounced out of the bathroom and threw herself into my lap.

J: M’s annoying me.
Sadia: Have you talked to her about it?
J: Yes! And she won’t stop!
Sadia: Just find somewhere else to be.
J: silence
Sadia: There are moments when I get frustrated. Sometimes the thing I do is go to a different room and do something distracting.
J: I can’t do that. We’re sisters. We’re in the same place. You don’t get it. Being an adult is so easy.
Sadia: hiding a smile Adulthood has its own challenges. You know, we do have an extra room. Do you want your own room?
J: How would you fix the bed back together?
Sadia: I was thinking you could sleep in the bed that’s already in the guest room.
J: Yeah! I’ll do that tonight.
Sadia: Oh! You need to let your sister know what’s going on so she’s not surprised.

I hadn’t anticipated J’s response. I thought that the idea of sleeping alone would horrify her, as it has done every time Daddy has brought up getting separate rooms. He and his sister were 13 months apart and in the same grade. He cherished the sanctity of his own space.

Five minutes later…

M: getting louder and louder But I don’t like sleeping by myself!
J: M! It’s just for a month.
M: Mommy, J says I’m annoying and she won’t sleep with me.
Sadia: I know, honey. It’s like when you told her last night that she couldn’t sleep in your bed because she was annoying you.
M: It’s not the same. I don’t like sleeping by myself. I only sent her to a bed in the same room. Who’ll sleep with me?
Sadia: What if I sleep in your room?
M: I guess. My bed. I need snuggles because I’m without my sister.
J: It’s for a month, M. In one month I’ll try sleeping in your room if you’re not annoying. If you are annoying I’ll go back to my room for one more month.

With little fanfare, J went to bed in the guest room. We read a chapter of Little House on the Prairie together in J’s new bed. The girls said their prayers.

J: … Thank you, God, for giving me a mom who understands my needs…

The new arrangement lasted one night. In the car yesterday evening, J brought up having come to snuggle with us around 2:00 am when she was suffering a snuggle deficit. She reports our having had a conversation. I didn’t remember it at all. I didn’t think of my lack of memory as a big deal, but J interpreted it as “sleep talking”. She has an inexplicable terror of sleep walking. After many tears and endless attempts on her part to get me to remember the discussion and on my part to show that there was nothing wrong, she elected to sleep in M’s bed for comfort.

I wonder where she’ll decide to sleep tonight. At least she’s convinced that I understand her needs. From my perspective, it’s all a big fat mystery.

Sadia (rhymes with Nadia) has been coordinating How Do You Do It? since late 2012. She is the divorced mother of 7-year-old monozygotic twins, M and J. She lives with them and their 3 cats in the Austin, TX suburbs and works full time as a business analyst. She retired her personal blog, Double the Fun, when the girls entered elementary school and also blogs at and Multicultural Mothering.

After a Sick Kid Stays Home

Picking up M from school today, after J stayed home sick, was surprisingly and gratifyingly uneventful. J and I woke from a nap and drove to school. On the drive, J expressed a little concern that M might forget to come to the pick-up point, but I reminded her that their teacher was aware of where M (and every other child) needed to go.

We spotted M, pink backpack on her back and orange jacket backwards across her front. She climbed in the car and buckled up while J teased her about her apparel choices.

“It’s called a ‘backpack’,” M explained cheerfully. “So it goes on my back. It’s not a ‘front jacket’ or a ‘back jacket’ so it can go either way! My belly was cold.” She giggled. Only after this discussion had ended did she ask J how she was feeling, receiving a graphic description of her second bout of nausea in return.

M told J that she’d missed a test and missed her TAG (Talented and Gifted) research project kickoff. That was the extent of their acknowledgement of their day-long separation. No high drama. No tears. No massive reunion.

I’m watching my girls grow up. At 7, despite their tendency to articulate a high degree of interdependence, I see them become increasingly confident apart, as they already are together. I’m watching them individuate in a healthy way. Perhaps they’re scooting down the twinniness continuum.


Do you see your multiples become more or less interdependent as they grow older?

Sadia (rhymes with Nadia) has been coordinating How Do You Do It? since late 2012. She is the divorced mother of 7-year-old monozygotic twins, M and J. She lives with them and their 3 cats in the Austin, TX suburbs and works full time as a business analyst. She retired her personal blog, Double the Fun, when the girls entered elementary school and also blogs at and Multicultural Mothering.

Foodie Friday: Packing Lunches for Your Kids

There are moms who pack works of art in their kids lunch boxes every day.

And then there’s me. The fanciest I get is scribbling an “I love you” or “I’m proud of you” note, in permanent marker, on my daughters’ paper napkins.

My girls actually like the lunches served in the school cafeteria, and they’re not terribly expensive. They’re not as nutritious as I’d like, though. While they do tend to feature whole grains, there’s a lot of processed meats and fruit. School also offers free breakfast to all children, which helps all the kids by keeping their classmates from being hungry and unfocused during the day. The breakfasts are terribly sugar-laden, so I prefer to balance them with a more nutritious meal from home.

I allow the girls to choose to eat school lunch once or twice a week. The rest of the time, I pack lunches for them. Every lunch consists of some basic components.

Whole grain

The whole grain in J and M’s lunch forms the basis of the calories to fuel them through the afternoon. They’re pretty easy to feed on this front, and I have a lot of options:

  • Whole wheat bread
  • Whole wheat bagel
  • Tortillas
  • Brown rice
  • Whole grain crackers (Goldfish, Triscuit, etc.)
  • Pasta
  • Quinoa
  • Barley


It’s tempting to leave the protein out of a child’s meal, especially when it’s hot out, but kids need protein for growth and cell repair. Just make sure you keep it either hot or cold for food safety.

  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Cheese (sticks, cubes, or in a sandwich)
  • Lentils
  • Beans
  • Hot dogs

Fruit or vegetable

We’re unusual, I know, but vegetables and fruits are the easiest things for me to find for the kids. J is partial to jarred mandarin oranges and M can’t stand them. M likes applesauce, and it makes J gag. The kids don’t have to have identical lunches. My girls are now old enough to appreciate my efforts to personalize their meals, so if I pack oranges or grapes for J, M gets apples or spinach. Apart from applesauce and corn, my kids refuse cooked vegetables, so I don’t try.

  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Grapes
  • Jicama
  • Berries
  • Spinach
  • Chopped cabbage
  • Apple slices
  • Corn

Hot or cold solution

When school starts up in the summer, we’re still dealing with 100 degree temperatures here in Texas. Food safety is paramount. I generally stick with cold lunches and use ice packs or frozen juice boxes to keep food at a safe temperature until it’s ready to eat. It’s easier to keep food cold if it starts cold, so packing lunch the night before and storing it in the refrigerator overnight makes the morning that much easier. J has also recently developed a taste for ice cold water, so we put her water bottle in the freezer at night so she can sip it throughout the day. It melts fast.

The alternative is to pack hot foods, like soup or pasta. I like to keep the girls’ macaroni and cheese warm. We have some nice Thermos containers. I fill the containers with boiling water for a minute or so before tipping it out and refilling the container with warm lunch. My girls especially love tomato soup or spaghetti and meatballs. (Insulated containers work equally well to keep your kids’ food cold. Just store them in the refrigerator.)


Very rarely, I’ll include a sweet treat in my daughters’ lunch. My favourite Texas grocery chain, HEB, makes a delicious store brand digestive biscuit with 3g sugar per cookie. Target’s Archer Farms brand has fruit strips made of fruit, without any added sugar. Every so often, I’ll drop in a small piece of chocolate, but only when it’s cool outside.


There are a number of options for combining a whole grain, protein and fruit or veggie into a meal.

  • Cook up some protein with vegetables and rice, pasta or barley in an unsalted broth for a hearty soup.
  • Wrap refried beans and shredded cheese in a tortilla for a simple burrito.
  • Mix up leftovers to make a fine fried rice.
  • That old standard, the sandwich.
  • My kids call them “homemade lunchables” when I pack up Ritz crackers with sliced meat and cheese for them to make their own minisandwiches.

I wish my kids liked more adventurous meals. Apart from the soups and burritos, I’m not a big fan of the meals I pack for my daughters to take to school. They like them, though. I admit that I’ve been looking forward to the day or two I’ll get off packing lunches after a full summer of packing their food for camp every day.

Do you pack your kids’ lunches? What do they like?

Establishing Them as Individuals at School

I distinctly remember one of the most frequently asked questions during my pregnancy was, “Are you going to dress your twins alike?”  I really hadn’t given much thought to it, and I’m pretty sure I gave a pretty vague answer.

At our baby showers, we got lots and lots of duplicate outfits.  Thus, much of the girls’ first year was spent with them looking much like each other.

When I finally started buying the bulk of their clothes myself, I found them matching about half of the time, and the other half of the time, they wore coordinating outfits.

(There are reasons for this, as I’ve finally realized…from shopping lots of end-of-season sales and often finding duplicates more readily than separate outfits…to the ease of doing laundry…to the simplification of picking outfits for the day…but that’s another blog post.)

For the last couple of years, I’ve let the girls choose what they want to wear.  Some days one will say, “I want to look like Sissy,” and some days they’ll choose something different from each other.  With the exception of a few more formal situations where I like to select their outfits, this has been fine with me.

Before the girls started three-year old preschool last fall, though, I had a revelation, sparked by an incident at a park.  The girls were dressed alike, and a three- or four-year old came up to me and asked, “Why are they wearing the same shirt?

Well, duh, Kid!  It’s because they’re twins.  ;)

And then it occurred to me…while it’s super cute to most adults to see pint-sized mirror images, matching from head to toe…that might just seem a bit “odd” to the average preschooler.

Between this and my motivation to try to help the girls be seen as individuals, I promptly went shopping to expand the girls’ back-to-school wardrobe (after I’d originally vowed they had more than enough clothes to start the school year).  I wanted to make sure they had plenty of non-matching outfits, at least to get them through the first month or so of school.

There were a few times I allowed my girls to wear matching outfits to school, but it was long after their teachers – and more importantly, in my mind – their classmates, had gotten to know them as individuals.

This was definitely the most thought I’d ever given to the girls’ “clothing strategy”, and I felt really good about where I’d landed.

And then I had to laugh when, on the first day of four-year old preschool this fall, my B asked, “Mommy, can we please wear the same thing so people will know we go together?


The girls settled on coordinating outfits for the first day of school

Do your multiples dress alike?  Does that change based on the situation?  Do you think it impacts how people view them?

MandyE is mom to 4 1/2-year old fraternal twin girls.  She blogs about their adventures and about overthinking parenthood at Twin Trials and Triumphs.