Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving Fun Results in a Sick Day

"You're punishing us for being sick," was the last thing the blond twin yelled at me before she stomped up the stairs this morning.  I replied, "Nope.  Sick girls don't get to play.  If you stay home from school, you have to spend your time in bed, resting.  It's what sick kids do."

The girls had a very fun Thanksgiving break.  We topped off the long weekend with a trip downtown to see the decorations and have dinner at Macy's Walnut Room.  It was all great until we came home.

Last night the girls just lost their minds.  They were so tired they could hardly get themselves ready for bed.  They complained about headaches and sore throats.  A few fake coughs were thrown in for effect.  I don't think they are sick today as much as they are so overtired they just cannot function.  I let them stay home from school because they both complained about their stomachs hurting.  The girls started saying, "I think I'm going to puke."

I sent them into their beds.  I told them if they were not sleeping then they had to read quietly in bed.  Sick girls don't spend the day playing games or running around.  They rest.

The brunette twin came down to ask for a snack.  She asked for a treat, which caused me to say, "Gee, I don't think that's such a good idea.  I wouldn't want the treat to upset your stomach any more."

Yeah, there's a pretty good part of the day educating them to the idea that if you are sick, your world changes dramatically.  No fun.  No treats.  Nothing but rest and a bland diet.  I'm sure they will be thrilled to find out they are having a bagel with butter and a banana for lunch.  If they are hungry later they can have some yogurt. 

It's not punishment, it's tough love.  If you're sick, you get treated like you're sick.  If you're pretending to be sick so you can stay home, you get treated like you're sick.  If this doesn't make them want to go to school tomorrow, then nothing will. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What is the Password?

Our laptop is password protected so the girls cannot log on without our knowledge.  In her quest for more independence, this drives the blond twin crazy.  She has started trying to figure out the password.  It's her mission now.

She comes up with all kinds of possible password combinations that are both funny and intriguing.  Sometimes the words are a glimpse into her attitude.  Other times she gets a little too close and I have to redirect her thinking.

Today Daddy might have put an end to it.  At lunch she made a guess and said, "I think I'll try a few ideas next time I want to log on."  Daddy said, "If you put the wrong password in too many times the computer locks and we cannot use it any more."

He is so smart isn't he?  The blond twin immediately decided to put the password issue aside.  Now instead of trying different combinations in the computer she's trying to catch my off-guard by asking me at random times.  When she thinks I'm distracted she says, "Mom, what did you say the password was?"  So far I've been able to just smile and laugh.  Of course, one day she'll get me at a weak moment and I'll tell her, which means I'll have to change the password and we'll start the game all over again.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Fast Forward Please

The holidays are coming and I'm dreading them.  I mean every single activity between now and 2012.  This hasn't been a particularly happy year with Marlene and Dad both passing. 

Marlene's birthday was December 16, which means we'll all be thinking about my brother, her children and her extended family on that date.  She LOVED Christmas and knowing that she won't be here makes it even harder.

Dad always cooked a Fillet Mignon roast with carrots and potatoes on Christmas.  There was a side of smoked sausage, some green beans, a salad and rolls to round out the meal.  This year we're talking about who will make the roast, as if having the same meal makes it the same celebration.  I realize there's a lot to be said for continuing traditions, so we'll make the effort.

If I could tell the truth, though, I'd like to fast forward to 2012. I want to skip all of it and start over on a cold, crisp January day. The kind of day when all good things are possible and everyone feels optimistic.

We're a long way from that now.  We'll do a lot of Christmas stuff like Breakfast with Santa and carolling with the Brownies.  We'll smile for the photos and make sure the girls have a Christmas to remember.  They are filled with wonder and awe.  The magic of Santa still looms large, and who knows how much longer that will last.  No matter how I feel, they still deserve a wonderful Christmas.  

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

And the winner is...

The girls came home from school just bubbling with excitement.  Their class needed to elect a class representative and alternate for their student council.  They begged us to let them both run.  We signed the forms and returned them.

Yesterday they announced that only three kids were running.  The good news was one of them would win.  The bad news was it was highly possible that only one of them would win.  Walking home from school we talked about what would happen if only one of them was elected.  We discussed different ways to react when one girl's name wasn't called.  The brunette twin cried a little when she realized she might not win.  By the time we got home they had mastered the art of congratulating the winner when it wasn't them.  At least I hoped so.

The girls ran out of school today with big grins.  The blond twin said, "Let's talk about the election when we get across the street."  As soon as we crossed they said, "We both won."  It was a tie, so their teacher flipped a coin.  The blond twin became the representative.  The brunette twin seemed thrilled that she won at all. 

Their friend Marcus wasn't too happy.  They said he cried, but they told us they congratulated him and said, "Good job!"  I doubt that made him feel better, but it did make me feel better.  They really did listen and learn.

Now that the big election is over the girls will attend student council meetings.  They have to take notes and report back to their class.  It's their first opportunity to be student leaders.  They are taking this very seriously, so I hope it lives up to their expectations. 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes

One of the nicest things about blogging is I'm offered opportunities to review different books.  When I received an opportunity to review "The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes" by Gary Rubinstein, I jumped at it. 

If there is one thing our girls need to learn it is that making a mistake is not the end of the world.  They take every error as a personal failing.  It is as if a small mistake shakes them to their core.  My hope was they would read the book and take the lesson that mistakes are a part of life.  Everyone makes mistakes, and it's okay.

When the book arrived, the girls grabbed it and ran off.  Of course, part of the deal for receiving a review copy is that I'm supposed to blog about the book.  This is where the problem began.  You see, somehow, someway, the book disappeared.  I looked for it so many times that I was beginning to think I had imagined the book.  A very nice intern at the book publishing company sent a gentle reminder asking when the blog review would be posted.  Several weeks passed and I still couldn't find the book, so I broke down and asked the girls where the book was hiding.

The brunette twin said, "I don't know where it is, but I read it and it was really good.  There was a girl named Beatrice who never made a mistake.  She did everything right.  It was like she didn't know how to make a mistake.  Then she took her hamster out and her hamster really liked salt.  Beatrice didn't realize that she brought her hamster pepper instead.  It was her first mistake and it was in front of a lot of people.  She realized it was okay to make a mistake and laughed."

I was pretty impressed with her recall of the details.  I said, "So, what was the point of the book?"  The brunette twin said, "Don't get upset when you make mistakes.  Everyone makes them."

Now, since I cannot find the book, I'm not sure she got it all right, but she did get the main point.  Any book that makes that much of an impression after one reading must be worth reading.  If only I could find the book and read it for myself.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Prayer Blankets

Our church creates prayer blankets for people who are facing a challenge.  It could be something like grieving after the death of a loved one or like recovering from surgery.  Whatever the challenge, several members gather with two different types of fleece to pray and create the blankets.  The team starts tying the knots and prays over the blankets.  At church the next Sunday the congregation finishes the knots and prays again.  It's a lovely activity for all ages.

Since Dad and Marlene died, the brunette twin has been talking about making prayer blankets for Mom and Steve.  She brought up the topic a few weeks ago and just kept talking about it.  When I said that we were going to the store to buy fabric, the blond twin added that we needed a prayer blanket for my husband's Mom.

The girls looked at every possibility and color combination.  In the end they chose six lovely fabrics to make the blankets.  I told them that if they really wanted to give prayer blankets, they would have to help make them.  We weren't going to drop off the fabric and leave.  

They were so excited to make the blankets.  They told everyone the stories behind the blankets, cut the fabric and helped tie knots.  They giggled when they planned how to give the blankets to everyone.

These are the moments that make all those frustrating moments worthwhile.  Somehow we're raising thoughtful, considerate little girls.  It's something we hoped would happen, so seeing it come to life in them is one of the great joys of my world.  

Monday, November 7, 2011

What Time is It?

I was sitting at my desk working on a PowerPoint presentation when I glanced at the clock.  I stared for a minute trying to figure out the "what's wrong with this picture" feeling I was having.  Suddenly it hit me.  My calender entry didn't pop up.  The girls school day ended five minutes ago.  I was late to pick-up the girls.

Not having time to walk Oreo up there as I usually do, I grabbed my purse and raced out the door.  Oreo was on his front porch tie-up as I pulled out of the garage.  He ran towards the van, but I was already out of the driveway.  Plus, he's tied-up, so he didn't get very far.

As I was racing towards the school (carefully, of course), my mobile phone rang.  Another mom said, "I have the girls.  Do you need me to put them in the car and bring them home."  I told her what happened and by the time she stopped laughing I was there.

Neither girl was happy with me.  The brunette twin cried because she thought I forgot them.  The blond twin was just mad that I made her sister cry.  She said, "I knew you wouldn't leave us here, but I didn't like coming out of the door and not seeing you."

I switched up their normal after-school routine just to give myself a chance to calm down.  They happily went to play in their bedroom, thrilled that they didn't have to do their homework first.  I started working on a back-up system just in case my work calendar entry doesn't pop-up again.  I knew that sooner or later I'd be late for school pick-up.  I just didn't think it would only be four months into the school year.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Next Time I'll Be Completely Biased

I am in so much trouble with the brunette twin.  They had a costume party at their Brownies meeting.  At the end the moms were asked to clap for each girl to choose the best costume.

It's hard to believe I didn't get this right, but I didn't.  When the girls showed off their costumes, all the moms clapped politely.  No one clapped more for her daughter than for anyone else's daughter.  We thought we were showing how to be on the same team.  Everyone looked great.  No one costume was better than the others.

As soon as we buckled into the minivan, the brunette twin said, "Why didn't you clap louder for us?"  I said, "We all clapped the same for everyone.  You all looked cute."

"We're your babies.  Next time you clap more for us than for the other girls," the brunette twin said angrily.  I mean she was really, really mad at me.  I got that message loud and clear.  I apologized and said I would clap more for them than the others next time.

From this point forward my job is to be their head cheerleader.  I will clap loudly when required and embarrass them by calling out their names when appropriate -- or not.  This is one job I can be really good at with just a little practice.