Thursday, February 27, 2014

You are so gross

We were standing in the family room tonight before dinner. A song playing on the stereo made me want to dance so I grabbed Daddy's hands and pretended to dance with him. It's a big joke in the family that Daddy doesn't like to dance. Whenever a fun song comes on we try to get him to join us as we dance, even though we know he won't join us.

As the girls came upstairs to eat dinner, the brunette twin saw us dancing. She walked by us with her hands over her eyes as we kissed. She said, "You are so gross."

We both laughed. It's a milestone moment, isn't it? The moment when your daughter is embarrassed because her parents are being fun and affectionate is one more sign she's growing up. Plus, it opens up a whole new world of ways we can embarrass her. It's good for all of us.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

And that's how the local fire department ended up at our house

A couple of weeks ago I finished shoveling the driveway, put away the shovel and closed the garage door. I tried to open the front door when I remembered I locked it. The voice in my head reminded me that I locked it so Holly wouldn't get out because no one else was home and now I was going to have to try to get into the house through the garage which has a keypad that doesn't always work. The voice also reminded me that for the first time in a couple of days I was the only one home so if I couldn't get in via the keypad I was in big trouble and, oh, by the way, your memory is going since you forgot you locked the front door and then closed the garage door. In fact, all those things ran like a loop in my head.

I went to the garage door and it was only a few inches from the bottom. At some point, while the voice in my head kept talking to me, I twisted my boot slightly. As the garage door hit the ground, I felt my boot squish. Yep, about an inch of my boot was stuck under the garage door.

If I wasn't feeling really stupid for locking myself out of the house, I really was now. I kept trying the keypad, alternately willing it to open and cursing it because we've known for a while that it doesn't work well in cold temperatures.

Of course no one was outside to help. The neighbors are usually outside, but this was just another cold, snowy day. No one lingered outside. I stood there punching the keypad and hoping someone would drive by. Yes, they would have thought I was an idiot, but they also would have helped. No one came. The keypad wouldn't work. I finally pulled out my mobile phone and called for help.

The 911 operator took my information and told me the fire department was coming. While we waited he kept asking if I was ok. He wanted to know if I was bleeding much. Did I feel like I was going to pass out? Was I getting dizzy? I felt like a problem child when I kept explaining that I wasn't really hurt as much as I was stuck. I wasn't bleeding. I wasn't dizzy. I was just stuck. I told him it was a stupid mistake.

To their credit, none of the firefighters who arrived laughed. One man took a crowbar, lifted the garage door about an inch. I pulled out my boot and thanked them all profusely. A few minutes later I signed the form saying that I didn't want to go to the hospital. At that point the firemen and police officer started trying to figure out how to get me into the house.

They tried to break in at a few different places. Finally they settled on trying to get the screen door open. Holly was barking like crazy. The firemen kept saying, "She won't bite, right?" I stood their apologizing and thanking them. The police officer said, "Why don't you try the keypad again?" With two men watching me, I tried it over and over again. Just when I was about as frustrated as I've ever been, I pounded the code one more time. The garage door opened.

The firefighters and police officers started getting their equipment to leave. I thanked them again and again. I felt like a complete idiot as they watched me put the key in the garage door. They weren't leaving until they were sure I could get into the house. When I got into the house I called my husband to tell him about my adventure. My first words were "We need to change the keypad immediately."

Thursday, February 20, 2014

And she's back

The blond twin had a fight with a girl she considered a BFF. She was very upset that this girl was mad at her, ignoring of course her part in the problem. As a final twist, her former BFF decided to ask the brunette twin over for a play date.

While I was talking to the girls about how friends will come and go, but sisters are forever, the brunette twin said, "Until one of us dies, right?"

I looked at the brunette twin and said, "And she's back. The Princess of Darkness returns." The brunette twin just laughed.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Divided loyalties

Since we've had Holly, the girls have slept in bunk beds. The bottom bunk is a double bed, which quickly became Holly's bed. She would sleep with whichever girl was in the bed.

Recently the girls decided to separate their bunk beds. They like to rearrange their room so the dressers are in the middle and the beds are against the outer walls.

This confuses Holly.

Since they'd separated their beds, Holly isn't quite sure where to sleep. The first night I heard her going from one side to the other and back again. Eventually she slept on the floor between the two beds. Now she starts in one bed and wakes up in the other bed. She can't decide where she should sleep now that the girls have divided their room into two sides.

Holly doesn't want to take sides. She wants to have both her girls together, just like when they were in the bunk bed. Eventually they will put their beds back together and Holly will take her place on the bottom bunk. Until then she'll continue to go from side to side, always making sure her girls are safe.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Later or tomorrow

The blond twin always plans her perfect day in her head. She wakes up with a list of what she will do and when. If we do anything to alter her plan, she always replies either "later" or "tomorrow."

I worry about her inflexibility.

We keep telling her that she needs to do some things immediately because tomorrow is too late. She doesn't understand what we're trying to teach her. All she thinks is that we're trying to ruin her plan. Every day there are examples of how later or tomorrow might be get into trouble, but she never learns the lesson. I realize part of it is that she's so young and part of it is just that she's stubborn.

Last weekend we had furniture delivered for the family room. This is no easy task. We have to rearrange the kitchen to get furniture into the family room because our foyer is very narrow. We spent the morning making sure the path was clear and getting the family room ready. We were swapping couches so we had to empty everything else in the family room to make room for the new couch and make it easy to remove the old couch. Every time I asked the girls to do something the blond twin said, "Later." I made her do everything anyway. When the delivery service showed up two hours early we talked about how we wouldn't have been ready if we waited.

This week we wanted to watch the Olympics with the girls. When we called them to watch TV the blond twin said, "tomorrow." We told her they Olympics didn't have a tomorrow. When figure skating was done then it was done for four years. She said that something else would be on tomorrow. She wanted to play in the basement with her sister. Both girls adore figure skating, but the blond twin had a different plan for that moment. Even though the brunette twin wanted to watch the Olympics, the blond twin wanted no part of it. She eventually came upstairs to watch when she realized that her twin wasn't going to come downstairs. She wasn't happy about it, but she didn't want to be left out.

I hope it's just a phase. I hope she'll outgrow her inability to take opportunities as they come, to change her plans when something worth exploring happens. I'm afraid she'll miss out on so many opportunities just because these things don't fit into her plan. I realize it's a common problem. I see it in so many people in so many walks of life. I just wish I could find a way to keep the blond twin from becoming one of those people.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Billboards tween style

We were driving downtown when the girls and a friend decided to start reading billboards out loud in funny voices. At first it was just silly, like when they read the read a few bank billboards. They giggled at the funny voices and tried to outdo each other.

It turned strange when they started asking questions about the billboards. One billboard has a baseball mitt, an apple pie and a semi-automatic rifle. The girls wanted to know why you'd need a gun if you were playing baseball or eating pie. When we passed the billboard advertising a local hospital's women's health clinic, they read the URL. The girls in the car wanted to know what "the girls" had to do with breast cancer. The friend talked about how her Mom recently went through breast cancer treatment. She talked about how hard it was when her Mom was going through chemotherapy.

I was relieved when we reached the theater and the billboard readings stopped. 

On the ride home I took a different route. The billboard readings started all over again. This time we drove by a billboard advertising an adult store. The girls asked what kind of toys adults played with and when. A few miles later we saw a billboard for a hotel advertising four hour stay for sensual relaxation. The girls asked why adults would need a four hour stay at a hotel room. It was quiet for a minute and then they all started laughing.

Happily for me they were talking among themselves. They didn't really need me to answer their questions, which  made me very happy. All I did was stare at the road and drive. This was one time I was glad to be distracted by the snowy, winter weather.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

What happens if you run out of money in retirement?

We have started talking to the girls about money so they understand our financial big picture. We tell them when we're putting money into their college savings accounts. They see us price check different items. We talk about saving for retirement. We discuss how much extra-curricular activities cost and the trade-offs to participate both in time and money. We hope they'll understand that everything requires resources -- time and money.

It's important for them to be able to handle money. My Mom was a banker, yet I don't remember any conversations about saving money or budgeting when we were kids. It's was something our parents handled. It wasn't until we were adults that my parents started talking about money. It felt like a new language to me.

We were in the car when the brunette twin said, "Mom, what happens if you run out of money in retirement?" At first I told her we'd have to live in her basement, but then I explained how we were saving money, carefully planning our retirement so we'd have enough money. I explained that things happen which we can't control and might change our plans. In that case we'll revisit our plans and adjust them appropriately.

It was a long chat about finances and planning. I was tired by the end of it as the girls can ask a lot of questions. Finally both girls agreed on one thing. If we needed to live with them we could. They'd plan to have a bedroom in each basement so we would have some place to live.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Hello Holly style

It took us a while to put the pieces together, but we've come to realize that every time we say hello Holly has an immediate reaction. She runs to the door and starts barking like someone is about to invade her home.

It's hysterical.

The girls play with her now. Tonight they were sitting in the kitchen saying hello in crazy voices. No matter how they said it Holly had the same reaction.

She runs to the front door, barking like an intruder is about to attack. When she realizes no one is at the front door, she runs to the back patio door, pushing her face through the sheers. She paces the family room near the patio doors until she realizes no one is there.

The girls did this a few times before I told them it was mean. Holly trusts them completely. When they say hello she thinks they are greeting someone.

Now she starts barking like crazy whenever we answer the phone. Hello always brings the same reaction. While we think it's funny, the people I work with aren't as amused. I've started saying hello before I get on a conference call just to let her bark before the call starts.

I don't know if we'll be able to change Holly's reaction to hello and part of me doesn't know if we want to.