Mommy-Daughter Date, Single Mom Style

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Categories Birthdays, Mothers' Day, Older Children, Parenting TwinsTags , , 3 Comments

My birthday is 6 days after that of my twin daughters. Both usually fall in the same week as American Mothers’ Day. In the widest conceivable stretch, all three events occur within a 9-day period. We’re nothing if not efficient.

This year, Mothers’ Day fell on M and J’s birthday. My birthday was the following Saturday, the day before yesterday.

Sadia and her daughters do a lot of celebrating in May.

On Thursday evening, M informed me that she wanted to take me out for a birthday/Mothers’ Day treat. Her grandparents had given her a Starbucks gift card for her birthday and she wanted to spend it on me. This is probably not what they had in mind, but I have the world’s sweetest kids.

Here’s what J presented to me. She’d made me birthday breakfast in bed:

Birthday breakfast for mom from a 9-year-old. Nutella on toast.

Toast, cut into shapes, spread with Nutella, with “Love Mom” and “Best Mom” inscribed in royal icing. Seriously, sweetest kids ever.

M was insistent that our Starbucks celebration be exclusively ours. Her sister was not invited. I told her that I’d arrange a solo playdate for J so that she and I could have our mommy-daughter date.

We happened to be leaving an after-school school-sponsored event when we had this conversation, so I decided to see whether I could locate my girls’ best friend’s family, whom we’d just seen. They were still there. I asked whether they’d be willing to have J over. They said that they could make it happen the very next day.

They would pick J up from school with their daughter while M went to after-school care. I could pick M up at the regular time. It would be nice for their daughter S to get to play with J, since Mom and Dad have been quite occupied welcoming their one-month-old into the world. (Aren’t they wonderful friends? I wouldn’t dream of asking anyone else with a newborn to watch my kid!)

A 9-year-old's preferences for a mommy-daughter date.

M and I had a lovely time. I took her out for dinner at Mimi’s Café and then we headed to Starbucks for dessert on her dime. She got a chocolate milk and brownie. I got a decaf soy java Frappucino and cookie. We talked the entire time, about her friends, what she’s been reading, the state of the dwarf planet Pluto, what I’ve been doing at work, and the importance of feathers in art.

Age nine feels like a watershed between little girlhood and tweendom.

I was not allowed her to kiss her in public, but M did want to sit in my lap. I was not allowed to take photos, but she took my arm everywhere we went. She told both the waitress and the barrista all that we were celebrating. She didn’t mention her sister to either of them, which was a first.

I loved this one-on-one time, in no small part because I knew that J was having an equally good time. It also helped that there wasn’t any time pressure on us to retrieve her. Both my daughters (and their friend) would get tired around the same time, so we would very naturally ending up picking J up in time for bed.

We’re planning a mommy-daughter date for me and J in the near future. M will head off for a playdate with a different friend.

Making quality one-on-one time is a challenge for any parent with more than one child, but it’s all the more challenging for a single parent of multiples. If you’ve ever wondered how you can help the single parent in your life, how about offering to watch one or both children? Don’t be offended if he or she doesn’t take you up on it right away, or ever. It really is the thought that counts.

I’d never been one to think of my birthday as anything but another day of the year, but this year, my girls made it truly special.

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Birthday(s) for Two

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Categories Attitude, Birth Order, Celebrations, Friendships with Other Multiples, Mommy Issues, Parenting TwinsTags , , 1 Comment

“I’m going to be 7 tomorrow,” J called out to me as she skipped to the bathroom to brush her teeth for bed last Thursday. “It’s a little magical!”

It’s more than a little magical. I could swear that it was last week that I was bringing J home from the NICU to be reunited with her sister M after 5 days apart. It was about an hour ago that the girls were teething. It can’t have been more than 5 minutes since I heard them read out loud to me for the first time.

But 7 they are. It was 7 years ago that my water broke at 33 weeks gestation. I’m afraid that if I blink, they’ll be running off to college.

Party Time

I’d better wait on that blink, because I have a 7th birthday party to plan and execute. I got an unexpected reprieve from the insanity that is the month of May. I learned that the other set of twin girls in my daughters’ classes was going to have their birthday party at exactly the same time that I was planning M and J’s. I gladly generously offered to delay our party until June, after the end of the school year. A few days later, the other twins’ mom texted me to suggest a combined birthday party. Brilliant! (Except that I’m still going to throw a separate party for J and M’s friends who aren’t in their class. They’ve been talking up their party for so long that I just can’t not invite their dance friends and neighbours, but I’m not going to explode the size of the party my friend has been anticipating for her daughters.)

I used to worry about birthdays. I’m an excellent worrier. How, I wondered during the pregnancy and throughout that first year, would I make each of my daughters feel birthday special when that celebration of uniqueness was yet another thing she has to share with Sissy? I made a point of singing Happy Birthday to each child separately. No “Happy Birthday, J and M,” for us! Each girl got her own birthday cake. I got them different, but coordinated birthday presents. This year will be different. All four birthday girls will share a cake. Each of them gets her own Number 7 candle. We’re celebrating the fact that each pair shares a birthday. That’s pretty special in its own right, and all four girls are thrilled to get to share their celebration with their friends as well as their sister.

My friend B sent me into a tailspin a few years ago. She wrote to our mothers of multiples group asking whether and how she should let her twin sons’ friends know that they were twins. She would be having separate birthday parties for each of them since they didn’t have classmates in common. She didn’t want the guests to feel awkward when they discovered there were two birthday boys. Separate birthday parties! I vowed then and there that if my girls wanted separate parties, they could throw them themselves. I’m a pretty simple girl when it comes to parties. I tend to request that guests not bring presents. “Presence, not presents,” I say. If people must bring something, we’ve asked for donations for the local good pantry. I make a bunch of food, invite a ton of people to a park or other open space, and let the party run itself.

Birth Detail

M and J have been terribly excited about this birthday as they’ve watched friend after friend turn 7 at school. J was quite literally counting down the hours on Thursday evening.

“Mommy, what time was I born?”

“6:33 am,” I told her.

“M!! We were born at 6:33 am! We’ll be 7 in 10 hours and how many minutes?”

Who-was-born-first strikes again. Couldn’t I just have said, “6:30?” Still, it was rather nice to know that both my girls consider their birth(s) to be a singular event. Clearly, they have no problem with a shared birthday. The whole multiple thing is really very special, and my daughters are old and wise enough to know it. They’re wiser than I am.

“J, you were born at 6:33. The doctor had to hand you to some nurses before he could take M out of me. She came out at 6:35, so she was technically born at 6:35.”

M, the master of precision, clarified. “So, it took one minute to give J to the nurses, 30 seconds to come back, and 30 seconds to get me?”

“Something like that.”

“So,” said the always mathematical M, “we have 10 and a half hours left to be 6. I’m so excited to be getting 7! I think I act pretty mature, like a 7-year-old.”

“Except you giggle about farts,” J responded.

And they fell into a giggling mass of almost-7-year-old.

Do you do anything to individualize the birthday experience for your multiples?

Sadia overthinks her parenting decisions in Austin, TX, where she takes a break from single mommyhood by going to her full time job in higher education information technology.

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Hold the condolences

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Categories ToddlersTags , , 13 Comments

Today, my kids turn 2. Two. TWO!  Are you kidding? Didn’t we just start solid foods or stop swaddling them for naps?  No, apparently not.

Of course, the first response you get from people when you mention that your twins are turning two years old is some variation on a groan.  Either they’ll make some mention of the “terrible twos,” or they’ll sadistically grin and say that two is absolutely nothing compared to three.  Um, thanks?

And I get it, I do. These past few months have been but a small preview of what’s to come. Inexplicable tantrums, stealing toys, pushing and hitting and occasional biting.  Insisting on doing things “all by self” and then getting super frustrated if it doesn’t work out. There are times when, if I believed in physical punishment, I think I’d smack the taste right out of their mouths.  And this is only the tip of the iceberg.

danieltwo

But you know what? They’re also so much more fun. They tell me stories, they sing songs. They occasionally take turns without any intervention from me. They remember people and places from weeks and months ago. They are sweet and smart and silly. They are always looking out for each other.

Daniel never, ever stops talking. Becca sings the ABC song to herself when she’s playing. Daniel looks at something new and cool and says “wow” in a stage whisper.  Becca carries a bucket of water all over the backyard saying, “here go Winnie!”, trying to get our dog to take a drink.

beccatwo

Yes, it’s hard and some parts are getting even harder. Yes, they make me bonkers on a very regular basis.  But the good parts get so much better as they get older, I wouldn’t step backwards for a minute.

And, hey, we’re one year closer to preschool, right?

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In the blink of an eye.

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Categories Birth Stories, CelebrationsTags 8 Comments

What were you doing five years ago? I can tell you exactly what I was doing. Five years ago today, on Friday, August 29th, 2003, I was writing a blog post about it being my last day as a mother of an only child. I was packing up my hospital bag, calling my friends, giddy about the fact that my doctor was taking pity on me and FINALLY going to induce my labor, at 38 weeks!

Five years ago today, my husband and I had lunch at Le Peep, and I specifically remember trying to find something on the menu that would

  1. Satisfy my cravings

  2. Fill me up, since I knew it would be my last actual meal for quite awhile, and
  3. Not give me gas, since I was worried about all the poking and prodding in my immediate future!

Five years ago today:

And five years ago tomorrow:

Paul and Laura with brand new Pablo & Mallory
Paul and Laura with brand new Pablo & Mallory

Five years ago, these two precious babies entered our world:

Five years ago, I knew nothing about parenting twins. I had no idea I’d become an expert on diapering. I didn’t know what Early Intervention meant. I never dreamed I’d soon be facing speech delays, occupational therapy, or an autism diagnosis. And I didn’t have a CLUE how much joy there would be in our family in the years to come!

Today, those little punkin babies are big kindergarteners!

It doesn’t seem possible that they’ve been ours for five whole years! Happy Birthday, Pablo and Mallory! You’re the light of our lives!

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