Monday, April 30, 2007

Break free of the gang, girls!

Dear girls,

There was a time, long ago, that I spent a great deal of time researching and learning about some pretty serious topics. One of those was street gangs. Oddly enough, that research has stuck in my head. I see the "newspapers of the streets" (some call it graffiti) every where and try to interpret it. I observe groups of young men all dressed head to toe in one color. I know their Mamas' didn't dress them that way.

Still, I have to laugh these days at the various unique communication going on between the two of you. It's subtle, and only you understand it.

J, you give a great hand sign (it is used as bye-bye) that involves your elbow up to your ear and your hand waving at the base of your chin. You give this sign, mainly, to the birds. I'm not sure what you are trying to tell them.

L, you speak in lingo we cannot even replicate. It goes much like this: Da-gaw, da-gaw, da-gaw, da-gaw. You simply do this around the clock, but especially when very upset or very happy. I'm not sure what you are trying to tell me.

What more will your baby gang of two provide as great entertainment for us?

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Menu Planning Monday

Dear J and L,

As household CEO, it is my job to plan, coordinate and implement all meals. This includes yours. Well, it revolves around yours. Before you came along, my heart was empty, but man I had a nice full belly all the time. That's because I cooked a lot of great food and The da-da and I went out to dinner (and to lunch and to breakfast) a lot.

Those days have been long gone. Sure, we still try to get out, but our choices of where to go so that you will be happy and gorgeous the entire time is limited.

Not to worry: I have a plan. I always have a plan. Instead of winging our meals each week, I'm going to have to plan each meal because now I'm telling the World Wide Web (all four of you who read) what our plans will be each week by participating in Organized Junkie's Meal Planning Monday. This is my first official week participating, even though I didn't mention that on the actual site.

For those of you who don't know about this, it's a blogging network that will consist of blog posts just on what people plan to eat this week. I have scanned this list in the past and like the idea of keeping it simple, and trying to always include links to the special recipes. If I can't put the recipe link on the plan, well, I am not sure what I will do. Luckily, most of my recipes can be found online.

Each week, I always make a toddler-friendly protein item and this week is very special. But, more on that on Yummy Toddler Food Wednesday.

So, here goes:

Sunday: Spaghetti and (must admit it -- frozen) meatballs (meatballs cooked in slow cooker) with green beans for you, broccoli for your parents and some banana bread.

Monday: Honey-Orange Turkey Cutlets with broccoli and/or carrots with honey and baked potatoes

Tuesday: Gnudi (more on this Wednesday)

Wednesday: Pot Roast and potatoes in slow cooker

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Homemade pizza

Saturday: Hopefully, we'll get take out or get out of the house

How about the rest of you? Any great recipes on the stovetop this week?

Friday, April 27, 2007

Summer vacation RULES

Dear girls,

For years, as a child, I lived for summer vacation. It meant so many things. Warm summer nights, hot days by the pool, digging in the sand, eating lots of ice cream and potato salads. Most of all, it meant eating crabs.

Now that I'm older, I can look back on those days with such nostalgia. I bask in the glory of those fabulous low-key times.

I so want that for you.

I never thought I'd live this far from the beach -- four hours! I practically grew up at the beaches that were only a couple hours from our home. Those amazing times were easy day trips.

This will not be the case for us. We will have to plan an overnight trip in order to experience the wonderful things the beaches offer -- the crashing waves, the immensely warm sand, the french fries, the ice cream, the water taffy, the gritty boardwalk under sand-covered flip-flops.

I promise you will experience all of this, too. No childhood can be complete without digging in wet sand for sand crabs or building holes big enough to cover yourself up.

This is my first real summer vacation since I was 15 years old. I have worked every summer since then. Even in part-time jobs, summer days were easily wiped away by hot grease at McDonald's, smelly pancakes at Denny's, drunkards at a local al fresco bar, and more and more people willing to drop way too much money on alcoholic beverages just about every summer after ... until I became a journalist. Then my summer days were spent chasing ambulances, fire trucks and reluctant sources for deliriously sad stories I didn't want to write.

So, enough of that long list of what it used to be like. I'm a stay-at-home Mom now. I have the world at my fingertips -- and you on leashes. I have a great stroller, borrowed from a friend. So, what do you say we make the most of Mama's First Adult Summer Vacation? I have started a list of must-dos both for us together and for me alone. Perhaps we'll toss in a few ideas for The Da-Da to join in on as well.

Mama's First Adult Summer Vacation To-Do List Part I

1. Go to the beach
2. Take walks at all of the local parks (you'll ride in the stroller)
3. Shop each week at the local farmer's markets for our groceries.
4. Make fresh lemonade
5. Garden (You will enjoy helping with this, I'm sure.)
6. Get up early and drink coffee outside with the birds
7. Do one project a week that will make me proud (Joining Tackle it Tuesday)
8. Finish my novel by writing in the early morning
9. Make homemade ice cream
10. Drink wine on the patio in the evenings (after you are in bed)
11. Paint my toes and nails each week.
12. Obtain my first nice healthy "glow"
13. Eat hard shelled crabs at least once
14. Perfect my crab cake recipe (The Da-Da will enjoy this one immensely)
15. Splash around in a baby pool with you

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Thursday's Real Theme: Tears

LByrd and JByrd:

The birds were lovely today, weren't they? Those nests we built, very neat, huh?

Yeah, right. You both fought like birds trying to catch a worm, or a crumb or something. Pushing, pulling, slapping ... oh, my!

It started just after we built the nests. I made the mistake of bringing in some twigs from the yard. You promptly discovered that they make great weapons to swing, hit and, ultimately, hurt each other -- and me.

You cried from about that point on.

Why is it when I have the slightest bit of expectations for our day, an activity, a meal that those are the very same ones that end up in disaster? Why-o-why, sweet twins?

Clearly tired, you wouldn't nap in the same room so my separation technique worked -- for one of you! The other -- and you know exactly who you are -- woke up in a screaming-bloody-murder kind of squawk that clearly meant the ceiling had caved in on your little meaty legs. Nope. I never did figure out what upset you so. Either way, nap ruined. Thanks for that half hour "break."

By the end of the day, though, you were angels again. I set up a big pillow on your cushy puzzle mat with all of your ring stackers and puzzles and you had a great time stacking and matching puzzle pieces to their shapes. I was so proud that you could do these since we've hardly worked on them.

Perhaps the weather will clear and be kinder to us tomorrow because, clearly, we three girlfriends need some fresh air in the middle of our day in order to have a decent day.

Today's highlights:

Jbyrd has learned how to stuff her entire arm down a tube of a toy and then utter "uh." "uh." "uh." A real "urgent" whisper sound that means I need to go rescue the damsel in distress. That's a keeper for the books.

Lbyrd has started forcing me to sing songs, especially "The Wheels on the Bus" by doing a movement of the song. Most of the time she swings her arm to mimick the wipers of the bus. That is also the move she does for all the other movements in the song. She now walks frantically from room to room, swinging that same arm as well. Just for fun, I guess. Because I ain't singing "The Wheels on the Bus," again today!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Theme Thursday

Dear Ladybird and Jaybird,

This letter might put me over the top in the mothering world. It just might reveal exactly how obsessed I truly am with you, my little curious wonders. Each week that I am home with you and witness your growth and development is yet another week that makes me smile at your progress. I'd love to take credit for how interested you are in every thing that crosses your path, or how easily you pick up minor details of our day without even a word being mentioned to you.

Still, I have to do something. Every week. Every day. Think of it as for my growth and development as a mother. Humor me, in other words. I know that since you are twins and have each other you don't need these "structured" activities, which is why we always go with the flow (so long as it doesn't interupt a meal, a nap or, God Forbid, bedtime).

This week, I'm starting Theme Thursdays for toddlers. That's right.

Each week we always talk about lots of things, but this week we are spending an extra amount of time on birds. We've been out three times -- and will continue as long as weather permits - in the early mornings for bird watching.

You love watching birds as they flutter from tree, to birdfeeder, to Lilac bush, to electrical wires and back to the Cherry Blossom. This morning a group of sweet birds had a singing party over some food they all wanted right before your wide-open eyes. The smile that grew on your faces was memorable.

You love to flap your arms like a bird. We do this here and there, especially when you start to get antsy.

I've also read you some poems by Emily Dickinson such as this one:

A Bird came down the Walk --
He did not know I saw --
He bit an Angleworm in halves
And ate the fellow, raw,

And then he drank a Dew
From a convenient Grass --
And then hopped sidewise to the Wall
To let a Beetle pass --

He glanced with rapid eyes
That hurried all around --
They looked like frightened Beads, I thought --
He stirred his Velvet Head

Like one in danger, Cautious,
I offered him a crumb
And he unrolled his feathers
And rowed him softer home --

Than Oars divide the Ocean,
Too silver for a seam --
Or Butterflies, off Banks of Noon
Leap, plashless as they swim.

Today, after your morning nap, we will build bird nests -- an idea I got from this great Web site. We will use a pair of plush birds that squeak that you were given as infants.

And, tomorrow if it rains, instead of bird watching outside, under the Cherry Blossom, we'll have a rainy day Bird Extravaganza at Toddler Toddler.

Yummy Toddler Food Wednesdays

LB and BG,

Other blogs tend to stick with certain topics on certain days so I thought I would try that for us. On Wednesdays, we'll share our too-good-to-spit-out recipes just for toddlers. Picky ones, at that.

This week, you have been enjoying -- and thank you for doing so -- Chicken and Apple bites. Basically, they are meatballs. Because we are so busy with doctors appointments trying to get Lady Bug better, there is no time for proper measurements.

The basic recipe is like this: Take a package of ground chicken, one apple peeled, cored and shredded, some fresh parsley, some chicken stock and combine. Roll into bite-sized balls and pan fry 5 to 6 minutes until cooked through. To avoid getting them too crispy, I finished them up in the microwave for a half minute or so.

The great thing about meatballs or meatloaves is that we can sneak just about anything into your diet in one tricky, and very tasty bite.

Perhaps in the future we will share photos, but for this week, it's enough to get this recipe posted.

Anyone else have a great picky toddler recipe to share with us?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

I heart New Orleans

Dear girls,

Five years ago this week, your father and I became engaged. It's hard to believe it's been that long. Yet, it explains so many things about our comfort level around each other. I won't bore you with any of those details.

There isn't much of a story involved of our engagement. We went to New Orleans for Jazz Fest, held the last weekend in April and the first weekend in May. I see the lineup for this year's Fest and I have to say that I'm utterly crushed to miss it.

We were supposed to meet friends, but they didn't attend after all. On one of the nights, we were about to eat dinner in a very nice restaurant when your father asked me to marry him. I hardly remember what I ate or how it tasted. It was all a blur. I wasn't even sure if he was serious at first.

For a few days, it didn't feel real because we didn't have a ring. And, for some reason, I needed a ring -- nothing fancy, of course -- to help me realize the truth of the matter: that I was going to get married. Finally! Finally. But, all those finallies are another post for another day. In fact, I'm sure we'll have lots of chats about the times leading up to when I finally met your dad.

Anyway, while in New Orleans, which was devastated in August 2005 by Hurricane Katrina, we did a lot of the touristy things to do. Ultimately, food led our every thought. I was amazed that you could drink in the streets. I don't mean just water in sippy cups, either.

Since the devastation, I've checked up on some of our favorite spots and most are doing OK. Check out these links and if you go to New Orleans, please pay them a visit.

Bayona -- The Spot. The place that started it all. This was five years ago, so not sure how the food tastes now.

Michaul's -- which was apparently where all the older crowd hung out. Still, lots of fun, if you don't get out much. Definitely worth booking for a family party.

The Voodoo Museum. Enough said.

Riding a street car through the Garden District. Southern Charm. Breeze in your wickely ruined hair thanks to all the humidity. Perfect.

Cafe Au Lait and beignets.

I'm sorry that we haven't been able to return. I'm sorry that we haven't been able to help with the cleanup. Being a mom has put so many things on the backburner.

But, I hope this post reaches far and wide and reminds people of the hundreds who died during the flooding of New Orleans, of many businesses and homes that were ruined and the families that were torn apart and changed forever.

Please remember New Orleans.

Thank you, dear husband, for making a great American city a part of our history five fabulous years ago.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Guns and fairly tales

Dear girls,

Now and then, discussion erupts on this here Internets (as our president has called the World Wide Web) about children and their choice of imaginary play. I am intrigued about this debate. This week, especially, the issue is in the news due to the tragic loss of 33 lives at Virginia Tech thanks to a young man with guns who realized that there was no such thing as Happily Ever After for him.

Some say that boys like violent play -- that they need this sort of play. As discussed in the comments on a post about Boys and Play on Mother Talkers, a fabulous blog, and in this article.

Some say that girls still prefer fantasy saved-by-a-man play. For all of us devout feminists, this is almost as hard to swallow as boys playing with guns. A guest blogger at Wonderland shares her story and some news about this article from last year.

I’ve already been thinking about all of this, purposely encouraging you to play with trucks instead of dolls. Already knowing that anything that even resembles a gun will not end up in our toy box for very long.

I do not want to coerce your style of play and I won't.

I was an only child for all of my childhood years and so I was drawn to imaginary play of all kinds -- school, house, etc. But, my favorite was with my friend from birth, Mary Anne. She and I fondly played superwoman both at my house and her farm. This kind of play landed me in a big pit of manure, once, too. But, that’s another story for another time. Or, maybe not.

Mary Anne had powers of the eyes, I think. And, I had powers of the ears. Or perhaps it was the other way around. Either way, we weren’t easily taken down by our imaginary villains. We built forts in the woods, too.

This does not mean I did not play with dolls. Your great-grandmother stood in line for hours early in the morning to snag me an ever-so-popular Cabbage Patch doll. I still have her; she’s in the attic awaiting your calls. I also played with Barbies. Those, too, are here for you. Should you decide. They are no where near perfect condition. I played with them often.

As much as I don’t want to influence your mind, I have to object to toy guns and knives – or anything else that is designed intentionally to hurt or kill. I can do my best to raise two strong, independent women who are also pacifists.

This does not mean that I would stop you from pretending that other objects are guns or knives or if you choose to have a shootout among yourselves with your fingers shaped like guns. Pretend all you want, my dears. The imaginary world is amazing. I just prefer that you stick to your invincable super powers to take down the evildoers. Or, even better, try and talk it out.

This is a funny thought to you right now, I know, because you take to pulling and pushing each other, slapping at each other when you get frustrated over the loss of a toy or being left out of the fun.

Mostly what I want to teach you is that real life stories don't always end with Happily Ever After. But, violence certainly does end whatever chance you -- or anyone else in our world -- might have to find your Happily Ever After, whatever that ends up being. And it may take some time to find that kind of happiness within yourself.

What do the rest of you think? Are you in the camp of helping shape your child’s play, or not? Will you allow toy guns, baby dolls or readings of "Sleeping Beauty?"

An apple a day ...


Apples started as something to carry around and roll on the floor, but you quickly realized how good they tasted and we couldn't get them out of your hands -- or mouths. Enjoy!
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Saturday, April 21, 2007

How to photograph twin toddlers

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Lucky for me, I have a set of gorgeous babies to take pictures of every day. Lucky for me, I am home to do it all day. Because, let me tell you, girlies, getting either one of you to stay still long enough for a photograph these days is pretty difficult.

Getting BOTH of you to stay still long enough in the same frame -- nearly impossible.

Alas, my tips for getting some memorable, photos of twin toddlers:

1. Patience is key. You must have the camera ready at all times for those perfect moments that arise when you least expect them. Plan all you want and you know how that will turn out: crabby, fussy, crying babies. Best times are just after a meal or when out and about.

2. Try and find one object they both like and will focus on long enough while you can take a few shots. Place that object on the floor between them. Colorful objects are best so that they look OK in the picture.

3. While they are finally sitting or standing in a decent frame, make as many silly noises as possible. Have something -- a favorite stuffed animal or toy -- to hold up so you can get them to look at you now and then.

4. Stand very close. As close as possible. This is hard with two quick-moving tots so you have to be ready to change position. When they break up, take that opportunity to take individual shots.

5. Use props like wagons, toddler chairs, steps and stoops to keep them contained.

6. Ask them questions that they are bound to answer: where is your tongue, for instance? Those can make great, fun photographs for the scrapbooks or albums.

For more great photo tips, check out the blog In the Trenches of Motherhood. She offers some great insight to photographs, in general.

Soaking up the sunshine


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For the first time, I took the two of you to a quiet space beside our home -- one that doesn't get as much direct sun. It's a great space for playing with dirt. You painted with water with some old paint brushes. We played some ball. Mostly, you wanted to chew on some slate pieces I have been saving for a Rainy Day project.

Stop to smell the flowers


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Baby girl, you were amazed by all the beautiful flowers in the park today. Your innocence is inspiring.

A day in the park


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Lady Bug, you run so quick out of each frame I can barely get a picture of you these days. Slow down ... nah, just kidding. Run like the wind, busy girl.

Saturdays are for relaxing

Dear LB and BG,

Since the last two weeks have been stressful, this weekend -- with perfect weather among us -- is going to be a time for fun. We will get outside and play as well as take walks. You will be very tired by bedtime. Being outside does that.

Your father and I will then relax with some fun of our own -- namely a well-known Kangaroo, some of this stuff and probably some TV. I do not know what sound a kangaroo makes, but perhaps I'll figure that out tonight.

When there is some extra time, I might check out some really cool blogs that I found this week -- like this one, and this one, which always has something I can use, and finally, this really odd, but true one.

Have a great weekend, every one!

Friday, April 20, 2007

The wait-and-see game

Dear Buggaboo,

Can I just say what a strong, resilient girl you are?

Despite a growth hanging out under your chin that is raw and tender and painful, you plow on. The twinkle in your eyes -- the one that has always captured young and old -- is still there, but we can tell it's on a dim setting. You don't smile as much, or laugh as much, or scream as much -- but that is OK. You will feel better soon. An infected lymph node is a serious matter, but it is easy to overcome.

Here's hoping for an improvement in the next two days. You've been through so much this past week. Just the sight of the doctor makes your lips quiver. He -- nor I -- can blame you one bit. Enough is enough.

Play on, Happy Girl!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Survival Gear Part II


I know it's hard for you to share. I know it is. You see a toy/object/kitchen gadget/thingyoushouldn'ttouch and you just have to have it. The problem begins with the fact that there are two of you in the same mindset, with the same young toddler interests. Often, you only receive one toy as a gift and so sharing that toy is necessary.

Smack downs in the playroom are not necessary. Pulling each other over or down is not necessary. Some day you will understand the concept of taking turns. Some day. Sadly, until then, you will have to figure out how to manage when the other has what you want.

I am learning to step back during these brutal altercations, allowing you to figure it out on your own unless bodily injury is imminent. Other times, as you have learned, I will just take the toy/object/kitchen gadget/thingyoushouldn'ttouch away -- unless it's a door, like on the cabinets, entertainment stand, to the kitchen, etc. I don't know what to tell you when one of you wants to open the door and the other wants to shut it. I just hope fingers are out of the way on all accounts. Find another door, maybe. I am growing tired of telling you that doors are not toys. Neither are remote controls, but in the heat of the moment if they keep you happy, I allow you to play with those.

Still, I have to wonder what other twin parents, whose twins are older, have done in these circumstances so I have asked a wise SAHD this question and I eagerly anticipate his answer. Perhaps he can provide an answer to all of this twin drama we encounter so often throughout a day. Unless any of my other twin parent readers can chime in here .... ????

In the meantime, we have learned, together, that the best toys are not necessarily those bought from the store. Many can be found right here, in our home. Here's a small list that I have started along with my mom friends around the country whose twins are also around 15 months:

remote controls
all kitchen utensils/tools, including a turkey baster, measuring cups and spoons
a plastic cereal bowl and spoon for pretend eating or not-so-pretend throwing
pieces of fuzz or string found on the floor
dirty silverware from the dishwasher (um, nasty.)
junk mail, important mail, magazines (basically anything that ultimately caused the death of a tree)
full, unopened water bottles
empty boxes of any size (so cliche, I know)
DVD cases
dog food and water bowls
hangers -- both plastic and metal (we will try these out soon!)
hair brushes

And, last but not least, clothing -- clean or dirty -- that can easily be worn, draped or dumped on the floor.

So, as you see, there is plenty to do around the house so the fact that we are stuck inside thanks to the weather is just fine! Really. Just fine. Not a problem at all ...

Already a better day


LadyBug, your rash has lightened and you are in much better spirits today than the last week. You were even so kind to bring your sister her teddy bear after she fell and hit her head on the hardwood floor.

BabyGirl, you are silly as ever when you aren't getting stuck between toys, falling and hitting your head or being pushed around by your sister. She is older, you know, by like 30 seconds.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

My True Confession

Baby girls,

I recently stumbled upon a Web site that scared me. Scared me because by reading it I felt like I was going to, somehow, absorb all of these other moms fears into my own. Page after page after page mom after mom after mom wrote time and again what they were afraid of.

I want to tell you a little something about me. To do that, I must tell you about all of me.

There's the Mama I want to be all the time: The one who holds you and hugs you and kisses you all day. The one who blows raspberries on your neck, your belly, your cheeks. The one who has a smile to offer at every moment of every day, even when you cry for a straight hour and I have no idea what is wrong. Even when you won't sleep and I am so tired I can't stand without holding onto something. The one who has energy to lug both of you out of the house, to a playgroup and then back again without missing a meal or ruining a nap. The one who can afford to dress you in cute Bohemian clothes like these.

There's the Mama I wish I wasn't: The one who cracks after nearly a day of patiently dealing with all of the little quirks you throw my way -- like waking up paler than a white sheet, like having a high fever for four days with no other symptoms, like not eating a single bite of what I made for you, like crying unconsolably. The one who just suddenly yelled at your poor little innocent selves because that final straw -- the plate thrown on the floor out of frustration, smashing your sister's head between the door, the endless crying -- has sent me over the cliff that was once known as patience. The one who should be cleaning the house or exercising, but instead eats chocolate and scans the Internet for stories that will make me feel better about myself or the world we live in.

Then, there's the Mama I am: The one who tries her hardest to see that you eat well, sleep well and play well. The one who is honestly doing everything possible to make sure you grow up healthy, happy and, above all, smart enough to handle all of life's little pressures in a way that leaves you feeling satisfied at the end of the day. The one who runs to you when you've fallen, even if you aren't hurt. The one who eagerly dresses you in the same three outfits because they are the ones that seem the most comfortable, the ones that will really let you get down and dirty. The one who loves to take you outside for walks and nature explorations -- but only when the weather is mildly warm and sunny. The one who burns your blueberry muffins and overcooks your meatballs.

Lady bug, I'm glad you are feeling better. Let's hope that swollen lymph node goes away soon.

Baby girl, please don't catch that nasty bug. Please. We're on the mend. Mama needs her schedule back.

Girls, please stop fighting over toys.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Why us? Why me? Why this week?

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Dear Lady Bug,

What is it about Fridays? What is going on? I am lost. Our schedule is lost. Our normalcy, gone. I don't know which way is up.

I don't know why you have a fever running high now in its fourth day. I don't know why you cry so much, so long, so hard. Why won't you eat like you normally do?

My sweet Baby, so sick. So sick.

The doctors have checked, rechecked, and triple checked. You have no identifiable infection. Poor girl, all you have gone through and you didn't even throw up like you normally do during an exam. What a strong girl you are, the doctor said. (Of course, he said this as you pulled his fingers away from your swollen glands.)

I am lost. My heart breaks. Please let this pass tonight. Let's wake tomorrow, all four of us, and dance and smile and act crazy like we usually do.

Please. God. Let this week be over. Soon.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

What will you be?

Dear girls,

Your father and I wonder -- sometimes declare -- what you will be when you grow up. Fortunately, the title of First Woman President will probably still be available so that is an obvious choice for either of you. However, we would happily settle for Congresswoman Lady Bug and House Representative Baby Girl sitting at the dinner table for all the best holidays. Ultimately, it's your choice. We just hope that you will be of the blue donkey variety, but that is another post, another time.

Since we, your parents, work in the media world, we have to tell you that it isn't a good career choice. It's a lot of hard work, for little pay and it forces you to keep separate the very things that make up your essence, assuming you have an essence. Some in the news business do not. Still, it's your life and if you choose to work for pennies while instigating the culture of fear that has left mothers across the country too afraid to leave their homes, then so be it.

Recently, I had the interesting opportunity to go to the mall -- in search of the best pajamas around -- and lo and behold a team of photographers and such were there searching high and low for America's Next Top Model. Sadly, I must tell you, I was not selected.

I digress. While I stuck around and watched scores of young ladies pose this way and that for cameras, I got to thinking about some things. First, however in the world did we get to the point when so many young women will stand in line for hours to have their body scrutinized but wouldn't be caught dead in line voting? Perhaps if our voting days took place on Saturdays at the mall, we would have a better turnout each year.

Even still, I had to wonder if when you reach their age, how I would handle your desire to become a model. Luckily, this remains to be seen and I don't have to know the answer now.

What I do know is that I will do everything in my power between now and then to help you explore your inner beauty as well as that of others. I will show you that some choices in life really aren't choices at all. That when it's Election Day, you just shouldn't be at the mall posing for Glamour shots or even thinking twice about being eligible for Top Model.

I'd like to think that when the time comes, the choices of what you can really, truly be when you grow up will be along the lines of commander in chief, chief executive officer and such.

But, it's your life. It's your future. Don't listen to us if you don't want.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Survival Gear

Dear LB and BG:

In your vast nearly 15-months of life, we have learned so much. You learned to roll, sit, crawl, stand and walk. Your elements of play have advanced each week. I have been lucky enough to witness most of that the last five months as a stay-at-home mama.

But, I do owe my survival and yours to a few things. After all, ask any parent of twins -- no matter how many children they had beforehand -- caring and raising twins is different than one baby. It just is. I will tell you our must-haves routinely over the next few months. I want to start with our Top 3 essentials, though.

1. Twinstuff -- A community of forums of parents from all over the globe who work daily to survive with and support parents of twins. It was here that I learned early on about Braxton Hicks and twinskin. In our first year together, I made a group of friends whose twins were all born around the same time as you. We even exchanged Christmas cards.

2. MOMY -- Mothers of Multiples. Our local chapter brought us meals for an entire week when you were just newly born. Since then, I've made some great friends who have helped me figure out how to figure out raising twins. They've helped with some of the little things like the best bibs to put on you to contain the mess as much as possible and which toys are best for development and sharing among two non-sharing babies.

3. These blankets -- Since you were about four months old, you have been snuggling with these blankets. They are still, by far, your favorite can't-sleep-without item. We take them in the car when we think you need a nap and we have replacements for laundry days.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Scary day

Dear Baby Girl:

As I write this, you are settling down into bed for a night of sleep. It has been a long, hard day for all of us -- you, most of all.

You woke at your normal time, along with your twin sister and the silliness began, as usual. But, seconds later, you began to cry.

Knowing this is not typical, I went to see you immediately. As I walked into the room and first caught a glimpse of Lady Bug, who was so excited to see me that she hit her nose on her crib slat and started crying. This delayed my visit to you -- an act that will forever make me feel guilty. I'm always conscience of who I visit first in the morning, trying to mix it up as often as possible. I know you don't care, but I do. Today, you needed me most.

After a few seconds of soothing your sister, I went to you and you were sitting down, whimpering a little. I helped you up, while still holding your crying sister and then your dad walked into the room. Even the sight of him didn't bring out the best in you.

It was still mostly dark, but even in the dimness, we could tell you were pale.

We hurried for the light, only to reveal the obvious -- your skin was, well, I can barely write it to describe it. It was that horrifying.

Where was your typical morning glow? Where was that ready-to-start-the-day smile, the dive into the crib mattress? Where was the sparkling eyes? It was all gone.

Only a minute or two passed and we became more and more afraid. We called 911, we called your doctor. As I got you undressed from your pajamas -- thinking that maybe that would help, somehow -- you stopped crying, but your paleness refused to leave.

Once downstairs, waiting for the ambulance, waiting for the doctor to call, you returned to yourself and even attempted to climb the stairs to get to your sister and dad.

Eventually, some pink started showing through on your cheeks.

The EMT checked your pulse, we refused treatment otherwise and they left. Your doctor's office called. We made an appointment.

The rest of the morning, you couldn't have been sillier -- walking in circles, just as you learned the night before. Your toddling walk soon had that occassional hop to it as you chased after your sister.

I won't bother traumatizing you again with the details of our doctor's visit. We all know how much you do not like strangers.

And, you seemed fine the rest of the day. You will have a test or two before this is over, but right now we are going to give you a high-protein snack before bed each night.

Your Dad and I might have some trouble sleeping. We rushed to your bedside after each nap today. We held you extra tight, extra long. You didn't mind. You're a snuggler after all.

By bedtime, you were completely normal as if nothing had happened.

It's me who will take longest to recover.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

4-alarm cleanup needed

Dearest, dearest, dearest sweet girls:

I think it is clear by this


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and this

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that you like spaghetti. This was a mess, after all, that required not one, not two, but three wet towels to get you somewhat clean enough to be carried to the bathtub.

So, please, tell me why you turn your nose up at this very food only one night later?

Please. I need to know this.

Toddler Activities

Dear Lady Bug and Baby Girl:

Though it is officially spring, winter weather will be pounding down on us again, starting today. This means that instead of going outside to talk long walks or experimenting with different tastes of rocks, grasses and mulch, we will be inside, staying warm.

This is not a problem. We managed the entire winter without (hardly) feeling bored. The reason is because of the Internet. You see, the World Wide Web, is a dear friend of mine, I know it well. And, after many searches, I discovered a multitude (sorry, many) Web sites to help Mamas like me entertain babies your age.

One of my first stops when I'm looking for an idea for late morning or mid-afternoon is here. It's where the best of our ideas come from -- like the parachute game we play, like the paintings you each did that are hanging on the refridgerator.

But, I also like here and here when I know we need to really fill some time, like on those days you just won't nap. I know, you don't mean for those days to be so rough on Mama.

Anyway, this Sunday is Easter. And, I'm thrilled to tell you that you will be given your first Easter Baskets filled by me. I have been working on them long and hard. I hope you enjoy them and, mostly, I hope you don't eat that grass-stuff filling that will be inside. My point is this: Lil Duck Duck is a blog I read often and find to be one of the best out there for me since I'm all about life with toddlers, and eating. The blog has recently put out a ton of great stuff about filling Easter baskets for toddlers.

Lastly, I have found some sites that you just aren't ready for despite my good intentions. I long for the day when you will enjoy this. We've tried this, but you weren't interested in anything but pounding the mouse and keyboard. We'll try again in several months. Or winters.