Thursday, November 10, 2011

Autumn Ups and Downs

The boys turned 8 in October with much celebration.  Since then we have removed them from the nearby brand new public elementary school.  The school is beautiful and I like and admire the principal and the boys' teachers.  We parted on a difference over the intensity and tone of tight discipline.  It's a difference, not a criticism.

I believe in learning, joy of learning, inspiration, encouragement, fun, action, AND routine and order.  In my opinion, the order is reversed at the school.  Anyway, our current program combines a private school for home schoolers and home schooling.  The school provides curriculum and guides work at home, leaving the freedom for home style and selection.  So far, it seems to be working; although I am not yet up to speed. 

One reason, though not the only, I'm not up to speed is that my mother died last week.  I'm not yet functioning well.  It was quite sudden and it was, other than timing, according to her wishes.  I'm glad she didn't linger and wasn't ill or in pain but I'm also shocked and incredibly sad.  Thankfully, we moved across the state last summer to be closer to her and my dad and other family.  I'm immensely grateful for that.

I have been amazed at the boys' ability to understand about my mother's death.  They have asked knowing questions and made wise statements.  We took them to see her at the funeral home since they were doing so well with it.  I thought it would help them understand.  They were reverant but not afraid, respectful but not silenced.  They understand all but the feeling of grief and loss.  They thought I was awfully lazy and tearful for a few days.  When I said I wouldn't see her again, they said, "Yes you will."  When I said not on earth, they said "You have her picture". 

With the move to the small private school (and home) they are in the same class again.  They are handling it better and causing less disruption now that they are older.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Last week of Seven Year Olds

Just a short recap of some recent events leading up to their birthday next weekend. 

I was cutting their hair last night and after successfully manhandling one to get his done, didn't realize the guide was not on the clippers and made one swipe across the other's head and scalped him!  All I could do at the time was cut it short.  I think when I have more time I can cut it shorter and make it look more intentional.  He told me at school today that he is embarassed by it.  I feel so bad for him.  He wanted to wear a hat - not allowed at school of course.

He lost another tooth tonight.  Now he has all four front teeth back in and both next bottom teeth out.  A big snaggle.  We had to hurry to get something to put the tooth in because "The tooth fairy could come any minute!"

They both love for me to be at school for any reason - PTO, volunteering, or lunch.  They run to hug me but when I kissed number one the other day I got the "Mahh..ahm!".

They are becoming more individual.  Age and having their own rooms I suppose.  They are still very much alike, but there are many subtle differences. 

We have good friends nearby who have near adult twin boys who are dear to my boys.  Mine, though, didn't think the older ones were twins because they don't look alike.  As much as we have talked about twins and other multiples, I didn't know they thought they were all identical.  Those they have been closest to have been identical or at least looked a lot alike.  Funny. 

We don't even know if ours are identical or not.  There was no information given at birth and it was a crazy birth.  Someday I'd like to have a DNA test to see - just out of curiosity.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Identity and Twin Names

Names of children always interest me.  I like to think about and find out where the name came from or how it was chosen.  With twins there are the same considerations as with singletons with regard to what will the name be changed to as a nickname or in teasing; what the initials are; how easy to say/spell; what connotation for teachers and friends; and so on.  Then there is the question of rhyming, alliteration, etc with twins.  Twin names or not?  Jan and Joan, Bob and Bill, ...

The first thing we decided was not to have  obvious twin names, but names that went together.  In hindsight, we didn't get as far from twin names as we thought we did.  Ours actually rhyme backwards, that is, the first syllable of one rhymes with the last of the other and the same with the last/first.  (I'm trying not to use my children's names or current recognizable pictures for security reasons.)  I will reveal that the girl names we had picked were Mary Helen and Margaret Anne.  I have always liked "Mary something" names and two word names for girls.  These repeat the names of both our mothers.

Twins are often called to the same place at the same time, so it is good to practice calling them to see if their names are distinguishable, if they are easily spoken together, if they sound like one name, and generally how they sound.  When they get to about two and a half, it is VERY important because they will be spoken a lot!

We picked first names we had each held in fantasy reserve for children we didn't think we'd have.  Then we picked middle names that sounded good, were historic/biblical, and as it turned out came from the families.  Oh, and we checked the initials.

They are adopted so they were not named until we were named their guardians at 48 hours.  Until then they were Twin A and Twin B.  But we knew which would have which name because we named them as they were born.  We were on the phone, driving!

After they were home, someone from the insurance company called to clarify some charges or services or something.  She asked me, "Now, who is Tweena?".  (Twin A).

We didn't choose what I call twin names, but I do like them and like to hear them.  So often as I get to know someone, I think their name fits them so well.  How do we know?

Here are the top ranking twin names for babies born in 2010:

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Thoughts on "Twiness" and Identity

I sometimes fantasized about having twins as a young woman and I've been told by many other women that they did too or would really want to have twins.  It is fun, just plain fun - twins draw attention and the parents get into lots of conversations in public; they're cute; it is fun picking clothes, whether one chooses to dress them alike, coordinated, or different.

I've thought about their respective identities since they were born.  I enjoy them being twins. They are really quite alike in physical look/structure, personality, and in their preferences.  They pick the same colors, very similar clothing styles and mostly the same toys.  They have always participated in the same activities/sports.  Their conduct and grades in school are very much alike.  They are consistently referred to as a pair - "the boys", "the twins", or their names strung together, ... and they are thought of as a unit by many people and/or in many situations.  When they played football, if a coach couldn't tell which was which, they called them "Twin".  It's understandable, especially with identical twins in uniform.

Yet, I want them to, and think they should, have separate identities.  When they were babies and young toddlers, I dressed them alike, or alike but in different colors.  As they got old enough to have and express a preference, I always used different colors.  (I still bought two of each color so they wouldn't fight.)  As I mentioned before, they like the same colors, but we could always settle on two.  Now they help me pick out their clothes to buy and mostly pick out what to wear.  I have the permanent right of veto.

Anyway, we strive to provide them different spaces and room to be an individual.  They are in different school classes, different groups at day camp, and they are we encourage them to choose different activities and sports.  We are currently moving our office out of a spare bedroom to make room for them to have rooms of their own. 

A few other things that are interestingly alike - they cut their first tooth at the same time, they are both ADHD, they are within 5 lbs. in weight of each other at any given time.

In summary, I enjoy their "twiness" but guard against lumping them together.  It is really hard when they are so alike and there are not other children in the family.  Seems it's always about them, the two of them, and of course, the two ghosts IDAKNOW and NOTME.


Saturday, June 25, 2011


When the boys could breathe on their own and bottle feed consistently we brought them home.  They weighed just under 5 pounds.  We were in Bedford, between Dallas and Ft. Worth and headed for Houston, so we had a journey to make.  They rode in car beds so they could safely breathe. 

We stayed overnight at my parents and my mil came to make the drive with us.  Happily, we all got to attend their baby shower in Ft. Worth the day after we left the NICU.  We kept them in a back bedroom and no one could get near them, but it was sweet that they got to go, in Christmas outfits that swallowed them.

Being so small, they had to take 3 ounces of formula in 30 minutes (to avoid tiring), every 3 hours.  We 'chucked' them under the chin to encourage them to swallow.  Now they raid the refrigerator around the clock!  I wonder if their bodies got set on 'eat' in the NICU!

Those first few months we always knew what time it was and how many minutes we had to get the next feeding ready and get ready for it.  We knew 3,6, 9, and 12 o'clock almost by feel; BUT we didn't know if it was day or night or what day it was.  Really.

We spent all our time with them and alone to avoid germs.  Our house was a baby cocoon and so sweet and happy.  I had a lot of fun with baby clothes!

By six months old, they were chubby healthy babies, the adoption was final, and we had them dedicated/baptized in long white boy-gowns.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

More on "Getting into Things" - Paint again

Refer to the post before last about the boys getting into paint.  It was really awful.  I can still see them, slick, rounded, and shiny white from head to foot.  I can still see a sea of white paint.  It didn't seem real.  It couldn't happen.  They couldn't open those cans.  They couldn't have done that.  They did.

Since then, several times they have been drawn to paint.  I dabble in lots of arts and crafts.  I keep things put away, where they "couldn't" get to them.  But they always have.  Now their almost 8 and they can control their urges enough to ask me first.  They have never made much mess since then, but have ruined a bit of flooring and quite a few clothes.

Anyway, today the drive to paint struck again.  The oldest (by 12 minutes) said "Mom, come see my painting".  With trepidation and already saying "Don't paint without asking!", I followed him to the sun/art/junk room.  Here's what I found.  My heart soared.  My child is painting.  Really painting.  I can't say how happy that makes me.  So, I helped him get some other colors, water, and a palatte. 

I've given them every art supply (even paint) hoping they would latch on to it and they have as far as drawing boyish pictures of themselves, their friends and family, and dogs, dragons, etc.  This is another big step in my judgement.  I don't want to force them, just expose them and see what happens.  Today, for one, it was trees!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Are two harder than one?

I've had many people ask me if twins are a lot harder than singletons.  I don't know for certain.  I never had any other children.  For me, babyhood wasn't hard.  You do one simple task (feed, bathe, diaper) and then do it again.  We had the boys on identical schedules so everything was at the same time.  They even cut their teeth on the same days.

We worked out lots of ways to feed two at once from two high chairs reclined back to back, to fast spoon feeding side to side, to holding/feeding one in a chair at the mall and rocking the stroller with my foot!

I could carry both of them for quite a while and my arms got strong.  They always liked to sit in my lap at the same time - one on each leg.  They still do that once in a while but you can't see me over them.  They weigh about 100 lb each.

I can say that one of them is many times easier (should that be a fraction?) than both of them.  It also is a time to really hear the individual personality come out.  They are very much alike; but have differences in how they view some situations, some likes/dislikes, humor, and such.  Their taste in color and clothes though, is almost identical.  Once I let each independently pick out 5 t-shirts online.  They picked the same colors.

As nearly eight year olds, two are clearly more challenging than either one of them, but I doubt they are harder than two siblings of different ages.  They might be easier because they are in the same grade, lifestage, etc.  I think many young woment fantasize about having twins.  I say "Go for it!"