Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Most Wonderful Time of the Day

There are many nights when the girls are verging on meltdowns at bedtime. They are so tired from their day that they are ready to fall into a heap. We've laughed, yelled and ignored them to deal with it.

Last week I started singing to them. Using the Christmas tune "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" I sang:

It's the most wonderful time of the day
When the girls are tired
and going to sleep
And Mommy and Daddy get to play
It's the most wonderful time of the day

The girls sang their version tonight:

It's the most wonderful time of the day
When Mommy and Daddy are sleeping
and we get to plaaaaaaaaaay
It's the most wonderful time of the day

We all laughed because in the end we were both right. The most wonderful time of the day is when they go to sleep. The girls won't appreciate how good it is to put your children to bed until they have children. No matter how much you love them, it's always good to put them to bed after a long, fun day.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Second Grade Sneaky

You know what's great about cleaning? You find things the girls thought they had hidden. Yesterday while cleaning out some drawers we found candy wrappers, a lollipop and some gum. Behind a picture frame I found a half-eaten cookie.

It's one of the funny things about this age. They sneak treats when we're not paying attention. The problem is they forget to hide the evidence. They haven't yet figured out that they should throw the wrappers in the trash rather than stuff them in a drawer.

When they get caught, they seem stunned. Their eyes grow wide and they try to decide if they should tell the truth or lie. We always tell them they get in more trouble for lying than for telling the truth, so the truth wins.

We do lecture them about sneaking food, but we're also laughing that they don't hide the evidence. Of course we laugh when they are not around...most of the time.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Second Grade Wind Down

The girls' school is starting to wind down second grade already. They don't get out of school for another five weeks, but already we're hearing things like "Once we take this assessment, we don't have any more math homework. We're done with our second grade requirements."

This annoys me to no end. They have to go to school for five more weeks. They will still have math class, but it will focus on "fun math." Huh?

I realize the teachers and administrators need time to place children for the next grade, determine lesson plans, finalize this year's grades, etc. What frustrates me is that it starts so soon.

Even thought the school seems to be winding down Mommy is not. The girls now get to do a few pages of "mommy homework" every day after school. It will continue throughout the summer to make sure they don't slide backwards. The school might be done, but in our house it's just getting started.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Purple Nightmares

The girls don't realize -- yet -- that I can hear them if I'm in our bedroom and they are talking in theirs. I've learned some interesting things about their classmates, but most conversations are mundane.

Yesterday the brunette twin said to her sister, "I had a bad dream last night. Someone broke into our house and stole all my purple clothes. Isn't that bad?"

The blond twin replied, "Sissy, people like colors other than purple. Purple is your favorite color but not everyone likes it."

The brunette twin said in her most horrified voice, "No, purple is the best color and someone stole all my purple clothes. What would I wear?"

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Celebrations and Tears

The brunette twin could hardly look at me when I picked up the girls from school yesterday. I could see the tears in her eyes, but didn't know the cause. We were walking away when she said, "Sissy got picked for the art show at the library and I didn't. It's not fair. She gets picked for all the art prizes."

My heart was breaking for her. I really wanted to take her in my arms and let her cry. I knew how hard it was to be happy for her twin when her art wasn't chosen. The problem was I didn't want to diminish the blond twin's achievement to make the brunette twin feel better. 

I really wanted to be any place other than standing between a giddy girl and a crying girl.

The blond twin started telling her twin that it didn't matter.  It was no big deal that her picture was chosen to be part of the school art exhibit at the local library. I put a stop to that conversation immediately. I explained that it was a big deal and we were going to celebrate. I told the brunette twin that art and writing seemed to be her sister's talents. What we needed to do now was find out what she was going to be good at because she has her own special talent.

It all sounded so good, but the brunette twin wasn't buying it.  She said, "I'm not good at anything. There's nothing special about me." She looked so sad it nearly made me cry.

We managed to work through it to the point where the brunette twin was happy for her sissy. The blond twin called Gramma and Daddy to share the good news. At dinner we made plans to make a family visit to the library to see her art on display. The brunette twin played along, but later she cried in my arms while her twin was downstairs. My heart was breaking, but I didn't minimize the blond twin's accomplishment. I told her we'd work together to figure out what her special skills were and how she could do special things. She heard the words, but didn't believe me. After all she is only eight. It's hard to be the one left behind at any age.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Another purse?

My new purse arrived today. I had been looking for a new purse for a while. I kept going back to this one, so I finally ordered it. I think my husband might put his head in his hands and sigh when he sees it. The unspoken words will be "another purse?"

When the girls were little, there was no question about my purse. It was large, utilitarian and replaced often. Even the supposedly indestructible materials couldn't survive the amount of stuff I carried. Now that the girls are a little older, I keep trying to downsize. I don't want to carry something really small. I would like to carry something that doesn't scream "Mom purse." Something stylish, but not big enough to carry hats, scarfs and gloves for three people (mine plus theirs) would be fine.

I'm still searching for the compromise.

I gave away my last large purse because it seemed too big. I couldn't find anything in that purse and I was constantly carrying too much stuff. I realize I should have had some control over what went into my purse, but I think that's just an illusion when you have small children. The girls just handed me stuff and I threw it in my purse. I'd clean my purse and not remember why all that junk was so important.

There is one purse I always go back to. It's a classic black leather purse that I've carried off and on for years. It's perfect for me. It's not perfect for someone who carries stuff for three people. After a few months of juggling my purse and carrying all their stuff, I went back to purse shopping.

I looked at every purse for months. I considered style, material, size and functionality. I looked at purses every time I went into a store. In the end I ordered the purse I had been considering for three or four months. If nothing else, you cannot say I'm an impulsive shopper.

All my stuff fits nicely into the purse. I have extra room for the girls' stuff. There's not a lot of room, but it's a good temporary holding space. It's perfect for us...for now at least.

Friday, April 13, 2012

School Picture Drama

In our house the blond twin is the picture of a strong, independent young girl. Too often the brunette twin is seen as meek, but that is not true.

The difference between the girls is that the blond twin wants to assert herself at all times. She doesn't let an opportunity to test us pass. The brunette twin picks her battles. When she decides to assert herself, she has thought about it for a long time and considered all the consequences.

Today the brunette twin bounced into our bedroom wearing a pretty colorful outfit.  She had on a white top with yellow piping and pink circles, a pink skirt with dark pink circles and pink capri leggings. It was quite a contrast from the flowery blue shirt and leggings we picked out last night.

As they usually do, the girls thought through the reasons for the outfit change. They had a long list of reasons the brunette twin should wear the new outfit. 

The really frustrating part was that we spent some time last night making sure their outfits matched. Today in school the girls are taking a photo together. The blue outfits were meant to look good together in the photo. Both outfits looked cute on the girls. I thought we were set.

The brunette twin went to school in her pink circle outfit. It wasn't what we chose, but she defended it strongly. She argued her case like a lawyer. She closed the deal by saying, "Do you mean you don't think it looks pretty on me?  Don't I look pretty?"

Ugh! She knows my weak spot. She spends a lot of time worry about how she looks. Of the two girls, the brunette twin is the more sensitive when it comes to her height, weight, clothes, etc.

I replied, "Of course you're pretty in the outfit, but the other one matches better."  It wasn't my best effort, but I had just woken up when they bounced into our bedroom.

In the end she wore the outfit. All I can hope is the photos are from the waist up.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Smart, Independent Girls Only Need Apply

The blond twin drives me crazy. She battles with me about everything. Nothing is off-limits when it comes to her ability to question my actions or decisions. Sometimes she's just mad that she didn't get her way. Other times she just wants more information.

One day when I was particularly frustrated, my husband looked at me and said, "We're raising two smart, strong-willed, independent young women. Isn't that what we want?"

I had to admit he was right. 

If there's one thing that we want for the girls, it's for them to be strong, independent and smart. It's one reason we are so happy that they are reading Harry Potter. I adore Hermoine as a role model. I just read an article where the author talked about how she was one of the first modern characters who never shut off her brains to be more popular. I can think of other books with smart girls, such as Nancy Drew, but I'm not sure young girls read Nancy Drew any more.

Whenever she battles with me now, I have to remind myself that we want her to be smart. We want her to question why we're doing things so she understands the details as appropriate. We give them the background they need to understand our expectations. In some situations they have to use more formal manners while others are more fun and casual. They understand how to dress and what is expected in terms of patience. We find that the more information they have, the better the day goes.

Sometimes though, I just want her to do what I want her to do. I don't want everything to be a discussion as much as I sometimes just want compliance. I have to remember that in striking out for her independence, the blond twin is simply growing up, whether I like it or not.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Revelation Day

The brunette twin recently discovered a few of our "pre-twins" photo albums. Since the girls are off school today, she decided to browse through a couple. She seems stunned to realize that we did stuff before they were born. The blond twin bounces in and out of the room whenever her sister sounds excited. 

You went to Alaska?
Where's this? 
You went to the Hoover Dam?
That's where my purple blankie came from?
Look at all that snow!
Sissy, look at Mom and Dad by the Statue of Liberty.
No fair.  I want to go to Hawaii.

It's really shocking for her to believe that we did anything before they were born.  She has been flipping through albums asking questions. She especially likes the photos of her Gramma Schmidt and Grampa Cartwright. 

Just a few minutes ago the light bulb went on in her head. She said, "Oh, you like to do stuff so now we get to do it with you."

Our pre-child and post-child worlds just connected in her head. She realized we're more than just her parents. It's her Good Friday revelation.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

What's That Round Thing?

We were going through some stuff from my school days when the blond twin picked up a record.  It was a small 45 single.  She looked at me and said, "What is this?"

The brunette twin said, "Oh, that's how they used to listen to music before. It's a record." 

The blond twin laughed and asked a few more questions.  How did you play this record? Where did you get records?  How many did I have?

I answered her questions, but all I kept thinking was "where did the brunette twin ever see a record?"