Wednesday, October 31, 2007

It's Halloween!

Last night, before dinner, we discussed candy and its implications. Specifically, how it can make us weak and prone to sickness and can make cavities. (I told them it can make the sugar bugs in our mouths HUGE and the sugar bugs can eat holes in our teeth.) So, I challenged them to come up with the most healthy dinner they could think of (to prime our bodies for tonight's candy) and that is what I would prepare. Thankfully, they did not think of something that required elaborate preparation. We had spinach pizza, oranges, grapes, and strawberries. I thought they did pretty good.
Tonight, Maisy is a "school girl witch" and will trick or treat with her neighbor friends and their mom, and I will take the 3 younger girls out. I am Marie Antoinette (as historically accurate as I could afford) and will take out my two princesses and a cheerleader.

Breast is Best and I've Got Two

The decision to nurse or not is a no-brainer. If you want the healthiest, happiest kids you'll use what nature gave you to nourish them. Expecting twins? Perfect, because you have two (breasts)!
Think of the difference when, in the wee hours, the babes are hungry. Keep in mind that you are exhausted, because sorry, but sleep is just something you will get little of for a while. Would you rather 1) have to get up, leave the cryers, prepare factory produced formula, heat it in bottles that you have had to wash and sterilize, return to the cryers, and hold the bottles so the babies can ingest the chemically enhanced cow or soy milk OR 2) Arrange the pillows, get one latched on, the other latched, and relax while they suckle. That's just the difference for you. There is no way a production facility can re-create the miracle your mammary glands make. Even the formula companies admit that breastmilk superior.
I know I can wax cynical, but really, giant food production companies do not care about your babies' health. They care about profits.
I, and many others, exclusively nursed twins. In the early days, I tandem nursed 3 because my next oldest was only 2 years old. The twins weaned themselves this year, the week after their 4th birthday. We've enjoyed excellent health and unbreakable bonding, I got more rest than I would have otherwise, and postpartum weight loss was a non-issue.
For more information, get in touch with your local La Leche League. They are wonderful and helpful.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Natural Childbirth Depends on You

A great quote I once read said "If you think you can, you can!" This attitude can make all the difference in your life and, subsequently, in the lives of your children.
In the case of natural childbirth, it goes a long way to believe in yourself. Also important is the amount of infomation you arm yourself with.
Before even my first pregnancy, I knew that the hospital was not where I wanted to bring a child into the world. I had decided, believed in myself, and that was that. So, with the help of a fantastic midwife, my first two children were born at my parents' home. The beauty of this was beyond description. I grew up in that house, married in the back yard, and now birthed my children there.
With my twin pregnancy, the situation was a bit different in that the midwife could not legally attend a twin home birth. We signed on with a doctor that would allow the midwife to attend the birth even in an operating room scenario. The doctor was used to "high risk" pregnancies. He was not used to women like me with definite ideas on not using continual monitoring, drugs, or interventions of any kind. I had the backing of a successful and capable midwife and much research when we let the doctor know that I would be pushing the babies out despite their breech presentations. Doctors these days usually automatically perform cesarean section operations on breech presentations because they are trained to do so. (Think $)
Check out Mothering Magazine's latest issue for a very interesting article on the rise of cesarean births.
The impact of birth experiences is wholistic. That is, it probably affects the emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical being of both the mother and the child. Keep this in mind when you are deciding on the professionals you choose to help, and when you decide how you are going to birth your children.

"First you decide that you're going to do it. Then you go out and do it." Ani DiFranco

Make Your Own Decision in The Care of Your Children

My intention for this blog project was to help new moms, especially twin moms. So, here's an entry for you.
There are a few difficult decisions to make in the care of your babies. Ones that sometimes get made for you because the facts are buried beneath such huge mountains of advertising that you may not have even known there was a choice. Here's the biggies:
-natural childbirth
- co-sleeping
- vaccination
- circumcision
- diapers

And the important, but not as life changing:
- personal care products
- plastics

I will delve into these issues and offer my research and opinions (because you have to know that I have strong opinions!) on upcoming posts.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Are They Twins?

I used to avoid that question from curious strangers by dressing the girls in identical clothing. (Although I have to admit, there were still a few inquires!) I'm going to have to accept the fact that those days are officially over. The girls have really developed their individual styles and tastes and they are not at all the same. When they were babies, I found it to be easier having them wear the same thing. Buy two, wash two, hang two, grab two when time to dress. Now, they have different favorite colors, like their pants at a different fit, and have fixated on favorite ensembles. One likes her Spongebob nightgown, and the other likes princesses. They do have similar sock and shoe preferences, but Noli wears a wide size shoe. I put stickers in the inside of her shoes to differentiate hers from Linn's.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Life-sized Drawings

Today we used big paper that a local drafting company was going to recycle. It has auto-cad drawings on one side but is blank on the other side. (This has actually been a great resource for free drawing paper, and after we use it, it goes in our recycling bin.) I traced around the girls for life-sized drawings, then they did some detail work (jewelry, buttons, etc,) and colored them in. 3 girls enjoyed the activity, but Maya was so fixated on realism that she became extremely frustrated. Which was funny because in the end, she erased the legs and turned it into a mermaid!
The girls taped their finished projects on the backs of their doors so they can occasionally look at and admire them.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Public School Is a Disappointment.

I wanted to believe in public school. I thought that I made the right choice in sending the girls to the local school, but after this week, I'm starting to think otherwise. Earlier in the week, I was having a discussion with a 30 year teaching veteran. She was telling me disturbing stories involving young girls and situations that they will be exposed to at a much younger age than I am comfortable with. She concluded her rant saying, "If I had a young girl I would send her to private school."
Also this week, my daughter got off the bus saying boys had been taunting her and one of them hit her in the arm, bruising her.
Then the parent/teacher conference. Maisy's was stellar, of course. She enjoys the ease of the academic work, and gleans great satisfaction from the weekly practice tests for the big spring test. She's a reader and has been since she was 5. Maya however, struggles, and her teacher explained that with the new guidelines and schedules the teachers have to adhere to, she can not stop to help any individuals who are lagging. In other words, she can't stop and teach because then she would be behind schedule! Also, this year administrators decided to eliminate handwriting from the elementary curriculum. So, no teaching correct letter formation to k-2 and no cursive instruction for 3rd and up. I think that's crazy!
I'm seriously considering homeschooling.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Shopping with 4 kids

Today was wild. Mom and I went shopping with the girls. Time rushed by, the kids were great, and I got new kitchen curtains.
We ate lunch at a restaurant and it was so weird because one of my twins just leaned against me and fell asleep. I woke her when we were leaving and she was upset, saying "but I didn't get to eat yet!" I assured her she could eat her meal at home because we had it boxed up, and she was ok with that.
Mom got her ears pierced twice more on each ear! It was fun especially because she chose the biggest blingyest cz studs and because she's 73! I love her.
Somehow we timed it perfectly with no extra to spare in getting Maisy to ballet and Mom to a birthday party.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Can I Help You, Mom?

I've implemented chores for the older girls and I've found that it actually gets me to do more than I would otherwise. Among her tasks, Maisy has to fold towels, so I must be sure to have at least one load done each day for her to fold. This kick starts me into doing more laundry, resulting in a smaller laundry mountain. Maya has to clear the dinner table. In order for her to put the dishes in the dishwasher, I now make sure it does not have clean dishes still in it. She also has to spray and wipe the stove and counter tops - again requiring some cleaning prep from me. While we are cleaning the kitchen, the twins have been getting into the act, saying "can we help?" Armed with spray bottles of Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day and towels, they can scrub away at whatever they choose. My refrigerator is so sparkly! We made chore charts together at and included reading and music practice. I've offered a weekly incentive for fully filled charts to give an extra bit of motivation.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A crazy morning and my secret to being on time

It was definitely a challenge to get my 10 year old to breakfast book club before school. You know how it is when it's dark, cold and rainy and the bed is so warm and cozy...I got up a few minutes later than I should have and it was a mad scramble to get her lunch made, breakfast packed up, make sure she had everything in her backpack, get the twins up, dressed, socks and shoes, coats, and tell my 6 year old at least 10 times to get her socks, shoes, and coat on. One of the twins was upset with the clothing choice that I had made for her and was fussing. I had to stop and take a big deep breath, then say to myself "It will be ok if she is late to book club."
Somehow that made a difference. I did what needed to be done, without rushing, and you know what? She got there right on time! I must attribute that to my #1 being on time secret: set all clocks (except the car's) 10 minutes ahead of the actual time.

Monday, October 22, 2007

easy fall craft project

The girls and I went on a nature walk with bags in hand for collecting colorful leaves. They were so pleased to find a range of colors, red being the most popular. After returning, I got out orange and yellow construction paper, glue, stickers, and clear Contact paper. They cut the yellow paper into a rectangle and glued it to the orange paper. I gave them the contact paper, sticky side up, and they pressed their leaves onto it (colorful side down). Then we turned over the contact paper and pressed it to the construction paper and added stickers. Everyone enjoyed the process and they were proud of their finished product.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Sisters Play Nice

Today the girls, led by my 10 year old, played a game of "baby princesses." The older girls (6 and 10) were the moms and the twins (4) were the babies. The moms dressed them up in gowns and styled their hair. Maisy turned on the Bach CD that we have been listening to for her ballet project, and they proceeded to have a royal ball. After the ball was a tea party of crackers, grapes, and rice milk. All the little porcelain dishes and cups that I got to replace the plastic has worked out so well. This princess game went on for a long enough time that I could clean up the kitchen and work on this blog project. While now there are gowns and such to hang, they truly enjoyed playing with each other and I felt so full. It was beautiful.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Taking all four kids to the art museum

Today was another one of those days I deserve an award for. We had a fantastic day overall, but it was quite a bit of work on my part.
I got up and fed everyone breakfast, which lately has taken a certain amount of cajoling and, well, bribery, to get Noli to eat fruits and vegetables. It goes something like this. "If you eat some apple slices, you can have Koala Krisps!" Linn got the "fruit award" by eating the whole box of strawberries. Maisy settled for a vegetarian sandwhich, and Maya did well with grapes.
After breakfast I got out the play-doh box and they entertained themselves for a good hour while I attended to household chores. Their interest moved to computer games for a while, then drawing. The morning flew by and lunch was a simple crudite, cheese, and cracker plate. Because there's something about going to the museum that makes me want to "glam up" myself and the kids, I successfully attempted curling my hair while simultaneously applying make up. I made sure everyone was dressed adorably, hair done, socks and shoes on and we got in the car 3 minutes ahead of schedule for our journey downtown to the museum.
There were no easy parking places, so I warned everyone that we would really need to stay together to cross two streets. The hand-holding thing was tricky. I had the twins on my left with one holding a thumb and the other holding a pinky. The older girls did the same on my right. We got there without a hitch and after depositing Maya to her art class, and a quick refresher on the museum rules (quiet voices, no touching the art, walking only) the three remaining girls and I walked around and looked at art for 45 minutes. Then I took them outside to the lovely grounds and had them run around like crazy. To reward them for being so good inside, we went to the Cafe and indulged in chocolate. I had coffee. We discussed what artwork impressed us most and why.
Now that they were sugared, we went back outside for a bit more running around until Maya's class was over.
Leaving, I received one "you've got your hands full" from a kind older woman. It would not have been a perfect outing without hearing that at least once!