the adventures of ernie bufflo

things magical and mundane


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life, filtered: thoughts on instagram and identity

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I’ve made no secret about the fact that Instagram is probably my favorite Internet. Instagram is a happy place, for the most part (unless you’re totally following the wrong people), where folks share the beauty and joy and interesting things in their lives. There’s no BuzzFeed Quizzes. No weird out-there political rants. No ugly. No mean. Just all of my favorite things: food, babies, nature, pets, scenery. It’s the first thing I check when I fire up my phone in the mornings, and often the last thing I scroll through before bed.

Which is why it confuses me when people feel the need to “expose” the reality behind the filtered world of Instagram, or confess that Instagram makes them feel insecure.

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Screw You, “British Nanny,” I let my kids choose their sippy cups

Society isn't in crisis just because I let this kid choose this Elmo cup (and her outfit).

Society isn’t in crisis just because I let this kid choose this Elmo cup (and her outfit).

At this point, everyone who knows anyone with a kid has likely seen the latest viral parenting piece from a “British Nanny” letting us know 5 Reasons Parenting is in a Crisis. Most of them left me with that record-scratch sound playing in my head.

For one thing, I’m an ACTUAL PARENT, and I’m not here to tell you a bulleted list of how to raise your kids. Because if twins have taught me anything, it’s that every kid is different, and every parent is different, and only you know what is best for your child. We’re all just doing the best we can here, and my biggest takeaway in two years has been that we all need a little more grace and a lot more help.

But for another, what really bothered me the most is that Emma, the aforementioned Nanny, characterizes every interaction between parent and child as a power struggle, one in which parental will must be exerted at all costs, lest children get the idea that they “are in charge here.” Continue reading


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a toddler tv glossary

20140714-083608-30968029.jpgIn order to write this post, I have to first give up the charade that my kids don’t watch tv. I had lofty goals of no screen time til two, but caved around 18 months, and haven’t looked back. They aren’t glued to the TV all day, but my kids watch something every day. I have two year old twins. If we want to eat, they will likely have to watch a show while I cook dinner. I have amassed a small collection of Disney DVDs I don’t hate, and the girls have come up with their own names for them. Slowly, I have figured out what they mean.

BEES!: A Bug’s Life. All bugs are bees. I have long ago stopped freaking out when my kids shout about a bee in their presence. It’s probably a fly.

BINGERBELL!: Any of the 5 Tinkerbell movies. It could also be Tangled, which my girls seem to think is about Tinkerbell in desperate need of a trip to the salon. “She needs haircut,” Claire says. You figure out which movie they mean. Good luck.

TOYS!: Toy Story 1 or 2. Whichever one you’re least tired of at the time. Eventually I need to add Toy Story 3 to the rotation, but I’m putting it off because it makes me ugly cry.

The Bear Movie: Brave. I’m pretty sure Claire actually roots for the big scary bears in this film– perhaps because, since we always call her Bear Bear, she thinks she’s one of them.

BEARS!: Brother Bear. Do not mistake a request to watch Brave with a request for Brother Bear, or you will regret it.

Anna Movie: Frozen. I have the only kids in the world who think Anna is the cooler character, here.

Monsters: Monsters Inc. The only movie Etta ever wants to watch, and, coincidentally, one that makes Claire actually shake with fear and say “no, Monsters, no!” Etta loves Monsters. She draws them, paints them, enjoys drinking out of a sippy cup emblazoned with them, and talks about them all the time, sometimes while growling like one.

MOUSE!: Ratatouille. Don’t think for a second that enjoyment of this film will make your toddlers want to eat ratatouille, though.

EMO!: Finding Nemo. Sometimes I mute it and just leave the DVD menu on the screen like some kind of pretty screensaver. I like to imagine Emo is a spinoff about Dory and Marlin’s future child, who has a real melancholy streak, a garage band, and a collection of rare Dashboard Confessional bootlegs.

What about you– do any of your kids have funny names for favorite movies or characters?

 


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sweet summer

We haven’t gone to the beach, or anywhere really, which to me is usually the mark of a great summer, but I think I’m actually having one of my best summers ever. Summer is sort of an abstract concept to me, these days, but it really only relates to the weather. My life is no longer measured in semesters. Claire’s developmental preschool is year round. My husband doesn’t get summers off from the ER, despite my never ending disappointment that only students get a summer break. And after getting over my weirdness about planning fun for just Etta and me because of “guilt” about Claire being “left out,” Etta and I have kind of gotten into a little routine.

Baking!

Baking!

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sorry, not sorry: my girls are beautiful

I love it when a friend blogs the thing I wanted to say, so I mostly don’t have to. In this case, my friend Sarah of Wifeytini (when I mentioned friends I made via the #spinabifida hashtag, she’s one of them) took on the ridiculousness of the latest in a long line of fearmongering about how we’re all ruining our children by praising/not praising them. Apparently, calling my daughters “pretty girls” is going to make them bad at math and science, and by golly, Verizon is out to save them from me and my destructive compliments.

UGH.  Continue reading


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Put Me In the Zoo

20140627-113226-41546941.jpgI’m friends with a lot of hippie types who love the earth and animals and kale and stuff. I love all of those things too. But something that puts me at odds with some of those folks is: I take my kid to the zoo on a weekly basis. And it’s actually become one of my favorite things to do.

I love the zoo because it’s a great place to take my toddlers and also get some social time in myself. It’s outside, so Etta in particular is happy right off the bat. There are animals all over the place for practicing our words and animal sounds. It feels free, because we bought a membership, for what I thought was a very reasonable price. There’s a really great, fairly accessible playground where I can literally just sit on a bench and my kiddos can get themselves up and down the slides, even Claire. The entire place is stroller/handicap accessible. The food prices are reasonable, and they give members a discount. There’s a train and a carousel. And, most importantly, I can meet up with a posse of other moms, and we actually get to chat and hang out as we push our caravan of strollers around the zoo.  Continue reading


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spitting mad

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The things kids do on their own that no one has ever shown them have so far been one of my favorite things about parenting. They really do rub their eyes when sleepy. They really do say “nom nom nom” while eating, even though they’ve never seen LOLcats. And sometimes, they show me the roots of cliched expressions.  Continue reading


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design cred?

Today, Etta and Claire’s nursery (in our old house) is featured along with several other twin nurseries in a post on Parents Magazine’s website. That nursery was a real labor of love, and everything in it besides the cribs and bedding was handmade, reused, or repurposed. It will always hold a special place in my heart as the place we first brought our babies home. Timehop just reminded me the other day that two years ago was the girls’ first night in their room in their cribs– they were ready at 3 months, but this mama slept on a futon in there for a week! Time has flown! Side note: does this mean I can add “design work featured by Parents Magazine” to my resume? Ha!

A year ago we said goodbye to our little rental house and moved in to a place of our very own. When we moved, the girls’ room was the first priority– I wanted them to feel comfortable and at home right away. The biggest difference between their first nursery and their current toddler room is that we left the navy floral wallpaper behind, and had their walls painted a lovely lavender. We’ve also ditched the crib sides for toddler beds (love that our WalMart BabyMod cribs converted so easily!), and added things like pillows and comforters now that we don’t have to worry about them smothering in their sleep (seems like just yesterday swaddling was my gospel and pillows were the enemy, now they have actual bedding!). I gave you a peek when we first moved in, but here’s their room as it looks today. Like, right this minute– I found out that the Parents post had gone live and tidied up a bit so I could show you how the nursery has changed to suit two two-year-olds.

View from the doorway into their room. The abstract painting was made by one of my husband's colleagues. The tent is from Ikea.

View from the doorway into their room. The abstract painting was made by one of my husband’s colleagues. The tent is from Ikea.

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why I call myself a #spinabifida mom

Why I call myself a #spinabifida mom

#spinabifida mom tip: a small shopping cart makes an excellent mobility tool at an outdoor Easter egg hunt.

If you read my Twitter bio, you’ll notice that among the facts about myself I chose to include in my scant 140 character allowance, I use the phrase #spinabifida mom.

This means my feathers were somewhat ruffled last night when someone I follow (and like!), whose baby has recently undergone surgery, expressed bewilderment that some moms choose to identify themselves through their children’s illnesses. For one thing, my daughter’s disability is not an illness. It’s not something that we can treat and eventually put behind us. It’s part of who she is and has been since long before she was born. It has shaped our lives in many ways up to this point, and it will be a defining (note I said “a” and not “the”) factor in the rest of our lives. Spina Bifida will mean more surgeries. It will mean more therapies. It will mean doing many day-to-day life processes differently. It will mean concerns about the accessibility of public places and the adaptability of certain activities. It will mean advocacy and activism and acceptance. It’s just a fact that it’s a huge part of Claire’s life, and, because we are her parents, ours.  Continue reading


happy father’s day

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Sitting at the dinner table, the three of us hear a familiar clink in the driveway, and I can see smiles creep across the girls’ faces, sparkles arriving in their eyes, and then we see him, the hero and his trusty steed, or rather, my husband, wheeling his bike into the shed. They begin a chant, squealing and giggling, “DADDY! DADDY! DADDY! DADDY!” You’d think the star player were entering the stadium. And to us: he is. Some days he rides in like the cavalry, saving me from a day gone horribly wrong and saving my children from a mama at her wits end. But even on a day gone right, things are still just infinitely better when he’s home.  Continue reading

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