Hello and a First Word, Maybe


Bean is waving now. When you wave at her, she holds up her hand then very consciously opens and closes the fingers. M is waving, too, or maybe it’s pointing, or a salute. Whatever it is it’s cute. She stretches her arm out straight, her hand reaching toward your face. Usually I kiss her fingers. Today I tried giving her high five. However you respond she’s excited about it. She grins that amazing grin where her two bottom teeth show, wrinkles her nose up, chuckles with sharp intakes of breath.

I’m pretty sure Bean knows how to say a word, too, “duck,” but I’m not quite ready to confirm it yet. I’ve also heard them say “book,” “ball,” and “banana,” but they’re all said in the context of repeating what I say so I’m not convinced they know what any of them mean. And mama and dada, they say those all the time, too. “Mama” seems to come more often when they are crying, though they are starting to say it at other times now, too. Do they know that’s us? They’re getting there, I think.




Stranger Anxiety Takes Hold


The babies have developed a case of stranger anxiety. Women are okay for the most part (though they still do their initial soul-penetrating stare for a good long while) but it seems men now set off some alarm bells.

Last week when we went to the doctor they were fine as long as he was across the room, but the minute he rolled his chair over M started screaming, and Bean quickly followed suit.

It’s flattering that they are so attached to their Mommy and Daddy but that feeling grows old pretty much instantly. As their parent, you want everyone to see the laughing, exploring, world-loving baby you see. Not a crying, snot-bubbling from the nose, fearful and confused baby. Though to be fair, the world is a scary and confusing place sometimes. 

I met a new neighbor down the street who is a former police officer. When he saw me with the twins for the first time he looked at them admiringly but kept his distance. He told me he used to work with dogs, and that he also played McGruff the crime fighting dog sometimes at community events. As McGruff he’d don the oversize furry dog head, with huge furry paws over his hands. Parents looking for a photo-op would tell their toddlers, “Go sit with McGruff,” and place them in his lap, but the kids would take one look at McGruff and burst into tears. The lesson he’d learned, he said, is that, “It’s the same with babies and dogs, you let them come to you.”

Of course, with doctors and family you just might not have a choice. 

How I Accidentally Scared the Crap Out of My Twins


It started when a box arrived from Amazon. Innocent enough. I opened the box and instead of peanuts or bubble wrap, the extra space had been filled with one very long piece of thick brown paper. Paper! I thought. The babies love paper. So I pulled it quickly out of the box.

It was one huge, very long coil. Like that endless scarf up the sleeve trick it kept going, up in the air and down, smothering the living room. It was a thirty foot python! And loud, too. CRINKLE CRACKLE SHHHSHSHSHHSSH. It coiled in a giant pile around my feet, the chair, the whole rug, resting up against the play pen.

M went absolutely ballistic. Not just any scream, but her truly scared, panicky scream.

So that’s when I became a responsive mother and went to comfort her… Or not. That’s when I decided I would reason with her, show her it was just paper. “See, it’s just paper,” I said soothingly, crinkling it a little bit. “It’s okay, it’s just paper.” And I tossed some of it near her. Oops. She started whimpering her high whimper reserved for times of extra stress, gulping breaths. She was truly terrified.

At this point I realized things had taken a wrong turn. Bean had also joined in the screaming, though she didn’t seem quite as terrified as M. I pulled the paper away and sat down to take them into my lap. Eventually they got over their fear, first Bean poking at the paper tentatively, and then M.

Next time I will try not to terrorize them with giant paper snakes.


Breaking My iPhone Addiction: Escape To Fiction Land


Every night after the babies have gone to sleep and I’ve written my blog post, I get in bed and check email on my iphone. It sounds wrong just writing it. I’ve had a smart phone for less than a year but already I’m disturbingly addicted.

Happily, yesterday for the first time since the twins were born ten months ago I started a novel, Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth. I’d pulled it off the bookshelf earlier in the day when I had a moment during baby nap time and read just a couple pages–enough to get hooked. So last night when I climbed in bed, it was with my book.

The babies were peacefully asleep, the house quiet, and in the pages of the book I was transported away from these walls, which surround me day after day, and to New York at the turn of the century. Grand Central Station, and Ms. Lily Bart all bright rustling silk amidst the drab summer crowd. Mr. Selden spots her and they set out in a hansom for a cup of tea.

Lily Bart is troubled, but her problems are not my problems. Her concerns are completely absorbing and engrossing, but they are her concerns. For those moments turning the pages in the quiet house, there was nothing else but Ms. Bart smoking a cigarette in Mr. Selden’s dark, comfortable library, and tea and cake being served by a beautiful lady in a lurching railway car. How delicious. How different from the Internet, which is less a portal to another world and more a black hole of insecurity about this one.

This afternoon when I got back from my walk both babies were asleep. Excitedly I parked the stroller and ran to get my book. But it wasn’t the same. I kept waiting for the babies to wake any second, looking up to check on them, which was too distracting. I couldn’t really escape.

Tonight, though, it’s back to Lily Bart. Internet and iPhone, you have nothing on good fiction.

New Horse Friend

New Horse Friend

Here’s a drawing of our new little rocking/ride-on horse. I got it off the neighborhood list serv for $5. After disassembling it and washing it I’ve finally put it back together and am excited to see how the babies will like it. I hope they do. I’m feeling quite fond of it myself. What a friendly little horse.

Extremely Easy, Arty Creative Games for Kids (or Adults)

Here are two extremely easy, fun creative games that take no supplies at all. When I was younger I used to do these both with my middle sister. Hours of entertainment, I’m telling you.

The first may be a bit easier to take. All you need is two people, a piece of paper and a pen. Here’s how it works. The first person makes some random scribble on the page not resembling anything. The second person then has to make that scribble into a picture of something. That’s it. And actually, you don’t even need two people, you can do it by yourself: I did this evening and quite enjoyed myself actually. Here are my results:









The second is, wait for it…drawings made of human hair! On the shower wall! What, you’re not convinced? Well I’m telling you when my sister and I were little, we used to be quite impressed by each others’ hair drawings. Though I will admit it led to a lifelong bad habit of sticking shed hair to the wall during showers. At least that keeps it out of the drain. But anyway, I digress. It works similarly to the scribbles. The random hair stuck on the wall suggests the shape of something. Behold a hare of hair:


Hard to take good photos in the shower.


Here’s a little perspective.

And a slimy frog:



Hope you enjoyed. You probably won’t believe me, but the first idea for a blog I ever had was to do a hair picture every day and post it. Probably for the best I didn’t follow through on that one. With twins, I don’t have time for standing around that long in the shower, anyway. Looking forward to when mine are old enough for drawing.

The Best Baby Game


I heard them laughing in the other room. D was changing Bean’s diaper. “Peekaboo!” he kept saying, “Peekaboo!” so I knew she must have initiated the game again. Then he came into the bedroom holding her and they stood looking at me for a moment, both smiling. She was gripping the bottom of her sweater with one hand. Suddenly she grabbed it with both hands and yanked it up so it covered her face, then lowered it, watching me closely. “Peekaboo!” I shouted. She immediately pulled it up to cover her face again, her arms straight up like a doll’s, exposing her pink polka-dotted onesie belly. The sweater was silver, lightweight, button up the front. Her cheeks flushed, fuzzy hair static from the sweater, so pleased she might burst. I can’t think of a better game than peekaboo.

D says this afternoon he saw M, who had pulled herself up to standing at the toy chest, suddenly let go with both hands and balance, free standing for a brief moment before crashing down.

And at dinner they passed a spoon back and forth, first M grabbing it from B, then B grabbing it back, the whole time both of them laughing away.