coming into awareness

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We’re sitting on the couch. Claire reaches up her dimpled hand and touches the knot just behind her right ear, mostly hidden in her loopy white blond curls. “I have an ouchy.” “Oh baby,” I say, “that’s not an ouchy, that’s your shunt! You have that because you have Spina Bifida. Your shunt helps your head feel better.” “Oh,” she says, “I have a buckle on my head.”¬† Continue reading

knowing yourself

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“Night night.”

Anyone who’s hung out with Etta knows what those words mean. She is D-O-N-E. When she comes over to me, wherever we are– zoo, story time, splash pad– and says “mama, night night,” I pack it in and we jet. Because apparently, my tiny tot knows herself well, and she lets me know when she’s reached the point of needing to get home and get to bed for a nap ASAP. Continue reading

feeling the love

Yesterday afternoon, something I’ve waited actual years for happened:

My child said “I love you, mama.”

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This beautiful funny girl with these adorable curls LOVES ME! How lucky am I?!

Etta and I had just picked up Claire from preschool, and we were driving to the gas station when she looked up from her snack (peanut butter cookies), caught my eye in the rearview mirror, and said, “I love you, mama.” Pure. Magic. I tell her I love her all the time. I sing her a little song that goes, basically, “I love my Bear Bear, my Bear Bear loves me.” But I’ve never coached her to put those words together, wanting it to be truly her idea when she finally said it. And then she did. And I melted into a puddle and seeped onto the floor and still somehow managed to type a blog post.

I know it will be a while yet before my Etta girl puts those magical words together, as she’s been on her own little path, speech-wise and has only just recently started putting words together into phrases. Some notable Etta utterances lately: “Uh oh, I broke it” (her perfect first sentence), “Trolley, where are you?”, “My hands are dirty,” and “Otter, come here.”

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I just love the things they say, and I’m high on the love from my Claire Bear, especially.

I’m also feeling the love because my husband and I will be celebrating our 8th wedding anniversary on the 29th and are headed out of town this weekend for a little getaway road trip, just the two of us. My bags are packed, and I am so excited to get to have this time together. I’m feeling the love all the way around. I just love this little family of mine.

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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

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?

 

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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