Entries Tagged as 'parenting'

From the trenches | Oldies but goodies


The other night, as I was laying awake sleepless, my mind started drifting to thoughts of, “If only blogging was a thing when my kids were little. Oh the stories I could have shared with other moms.”  And then I started laughing. Because seriously….I have stories. Upon stories.

My children were born 20 months apart. So just imagine yourself in the grocery store with 2 babies that are in infant seats and a toddler. You simply cannot fit 2 infants into a cart with a toddler, so what you do is you put one carrier into the basket, your 2 year old into the “fun truck” at the way front, and you take your 3rd infant and you put them in a wrap and wear them so that you have somewhere to put your food.

Halfway through the store, the kids start screaming…toddler doesn’t want to be in the truck. Or maybe he dropped his binky. Baby in carrier wakes and wants to eat. And baby you’re wearing is just generally pissed at life, because that’s her MO.  So you rush. You push that bus (those things are so hard to maneuver, are they not??). And because you have infants are are not yet in your post-partum pants and also because its 2004 and the velour track suit is a popular thing, you are sporting one that day. And then it happens…the baby that you’re wearing, who is mad as hell, is thrashing and manages to rub your waistband so much that she undoes the drawstring on your pants. And just like that…they are around your ankles.

I kid you not.

But even better? The time that the twins were turbo 2 and the oldest was 3. I had my annual appointment and figured it would be easy peasy.


Miss Thang screamed and cried and you would have thought that someone was torturing her. All because someone was touching her mom.  Mr. Inquisitive – the 3 year old- was in the corner asking what in the world they were doing to me. And the younger son was opening and closing the door. And opening. And closing. And opening. The OBGYN finally paged a nurse to come take my children, less the screeching girl, so I could relax for a moment. Relax. In stirrups. That irony is not lost on me.


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Eleven years of the Dynamic Duo. And a surprising diagnosis.


Their birthday came and went and I struggled with what I’d write for their birthday post. (here’s their 8th birthday one that covers a lot and includes links to prior birthdays)

I tried to compare the start of their 11th year of life to that of their older brother. Eleven – specifically 5th grade- was a really difficult year for us (but OMG – 12 has been awesome). For Elliott, 11 has been just peachy. He’s still his normal, Elliott self. For Norah, well, lets just say that we’ve entered the tween years and its mimicking what Aidan went through….multiplied by 100, because this is Norah and she’s got a STRONG personality.

11 years ago, while sitting in the NICU, watching those monitors and charting their temps and weights, often journaling about their progresses and setbacks, I never imagined that 11 years from then, both would be solid students. One would be into mixed martial arts and be good at it (I still struggle with watching him in tournaments), the other a competitive gymnast. 11 years ago, when they told me that my baby had a brain bleed and what serious ramifications could come from it down the line, I never thought she would be playing violin, flute, piano, and be a ‘Math Olympiad’.


BJJ Yellow Belt

They’ve had to overcome a lot…being born 10 weeks early and growing outside the womb is no easy feat. Learning to breathe and suck and swallow…all while gaining weight? That’s like an olympic sport to a preemie, yo. My babies- they’ve come so far. They were colicky (omg, that doesn’t even begin to describe it. Crying from 4pm-1am, y’all). They both had reflux. They threw up all. the. time. Both receive(d) – one still does – speech services, starting in the birth-to-three program. But even with all of that, they were never picky eaters. I prided myself on that. Sure, there were some foods that they eventually decided they didn’t like, but overall, they had an awesome palate.

And then they got older. And Norah started getting pickier. I stood my ground. She stood hers. And yet, she continued to cut out more and more foods, complaining that it smelled weird. Or she just flat out wouldn’t try it.

This family has a motto when it comes to mealtime:

She won’t starve herself, right? That’s what “they” say. Only, “they” haven’t met my daughter, I think….

So at the twins 11 year checkup, I spoke with her pediatrician, who proceeded to ask Norah and I a ton of questions related to her sense of smell and touch and taste. And then I felt like a total and complete jerk. It was one of those mom-fail moments. One of those moments when you think, “why did this never occur to me? why did I not ask about this sooner?”

The pediatrician says that she needs to see an occupational (feeding) therapist because Norah seems to have a sensory integration disorder that is related to food. She has serious food aversions that are starting to impact her growth (as seen on her growth curve) and will continue to do so and will impact her development, as well. She explained that this is not something she will outgrow, but rather, this will worsen if left alone and kids like this literally do starve themselves.

OMG. That’s not something that ANY parent wants to hear. But especially not something that a parent who recovered from an ED ever wants to hear. Ever.

She explained that, as a former Speech and Language Pathologist, she knows that its not necessarily uncommon that this goes hand-in-hand with speech disorders. It could have also stemmed from her prematurity. Who knows. All we know now is that its something that we need to tackle. And I feel like a complete ass for writing it off as stubbornness.

On a positive note, as a friend mentioned to me, at least I don’t have to be the bad guy…I will be paying someone else to do that 😉

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I’ve never been one of those terribly competitive parents, nor have I been one of those parents to push my children into competitive sports early on in their lives. I’ve kind of always allowed them to take the lead and I’ve been behind them to give them a gentle nudge, if necessary. Of course, that means that some of them have had a tendency to jump around from sport to sport. But honestly, if they can’t do it when they are younger, then when will they have the chance?

However, as they’ve grown older, they’ve started to find their niche. Except for our eldest, who has declared himself, “not the sporty type.”  After trying, and quitting, taekwondo, tennis, soccer, and cross country, he has decided that really, music is simply his thing.

However, I think that some form of forced physical activity is good for us. Especially given that we live in a state that isn’t conducive to going outside and tossing a ball or jumping on a trampoline or shooting hoops or whatnot several months out of the year.  So I asked him to choose another sport, and he chose swim. So in spring, he joined a rec swim team.

Fall rolled around and he sat his father and I down and said that he no longer wanted to swim.
And that’s when I lost it.

I explained that the season just started and that I already paid for it and that more importantly, he’s got to give this activity a chance. He said, ” But I am not an athlete!” I explained that sure, some of us aren’t naturally athletic (me! me!), so it takes some time (and maybe more than a gentle nudge) to get good at something. I also let him know that some sort of physical activity was a must. So unless he has a suitable replacement, then he was going to continue with swim.

And low and behold…..
look what happened.

1st place, 50 m breaststroke. 11-12 year olds.

Suddenly, he loves swim. Watching him at practice last night, he exuded a confidence I’ve not seen before.

Mama knows best.

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It was May of 2003 when I found out that I was pregnant with twins. My husband and I were at the OB’s office and she did an ultrasound at 7 weeks and immediately found them. Ultrasounds are so fuzzy and you never quite know what you’re looking at early in the game. But I will always remember her saying, “there’s the baby….and there’s the other baby.” I think I stopped breathing for almost a minute. I know I started crying. I was like, “what?!” She said, “Its twins, sweetie.” and went on to explain that twin A was measuring a bit smaller than twin B and what that could mean and that we’d have to watch it and I would come back in 2 weeks for another ultrasound. My husband, he was ecstatic. He immediately said, “I’ve always wanted to be a twin!” (or something like that). Me? I was freaking the hell out. The thoughts going through my head ranged from, “holy crap!” to “I have a 13 month old at home. How the hell am I going to do twins?!?!” to “How the hell can my body carry two babies??!!” to “How can we afford daycare??” to “Please let Baby A thrive. Please. Please.” Never once, not for a second, did I ever have thoughts like these parents. Sure, there have been times that it was difficult. Or more than difficult. But I’d not change it for the world.


When I was pregnant, I read all about this amazing bond that twins shared.
For a short while, I joined a local twins club and I heard stories about these bonds. I heard all about the special language that twins shared, often referred to as “twinease”. But honestly, my twins, who are brother and sister, are really nothing more than siblings who happened to share my uterus at the same time (and fought over the space!). They have a love/hate relationship and it borders more on the, “you annoy the hell out of me just by breathing wrong.” Early on, I separated them in school, based on a teacher’s recommendation (a parent of twins herself) who said that she noticed that my daughter had the stronger personality and tended to speak for and mother her brother and that, in her professional opinion, would do better being apart from her. There are some times when I wonder if that hindered their relationship, but hindsight is 20/20. They live together and its good for them to have their own friends outside the house, right?


There are brief moments that they get along. And when I see that, I hope that its a glimpse into the future. A time that they’ll always have each other’s backs as teens and adults. I can only hope that someday, they share some kind of wonderful bond that I always dreamed of having with a sibling.


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most likely to appear in a rock video


This week, on the way to my 12 year old’s haircut appointment, he tentatively said to me, “I am kinda thinking, but not thinking of doing something, but I don’t know.” I knew in that exact moment that it meant that he was contemplating cutting his locks. His hair he so patiently grew out and begged to grow for years. His gorgeous, I-would-kill-for-this-hair-and-color locks.

When I asked what swayed him, he said, “the guys are saying that I’ll never get a girlfriend if I don’t cut my hair and that my hair in 4th and 5th grade was where it was at.”


The teenage years suck. While I had some great friends, middle school and high school were not an easy time in my life.

If I could go back tell my teenage self this it would be: it gets better. This is not it. This is not even the beginning. This is just you getting dirty in the trenches.

Enjoy the freedom of being single. Its not the end of the world. Hell, enjoy being a kid. This should be the most carefree time of your life.

Plato said, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” and lord knows that its true. If a boy or a girl is a jerk to you, then let it roll off your back. Be the bigger person and smile and move on. This is just a blip on your radar.

To those I was not kind to, I apologize. I spent years of my life being hangry and I took it out on many people.

Put yourself first. It may seem selfish, but its not. You cannot take care of others unless you properly nurture your ownself in all aspects of your life, from the outside in and inside out.

Always be true to yourself. It may sound so cliche, but its true. If you lose track of who you are and become something you think you should be, you will end up unhappy.

Only you can define what success and failure are. And you have the ability to redefine them.

Oh…and if you’re wondering what the title is about, that’s what I was voted my senior year in high school. Yep. Not most athletic. Not most likely to succeed. I vividly recall a moment in the locker room when I was changing for track practice and I was lamenting about how irked I was at how I missed a 4.0 because of my grade in chemistry. A classmate turned and said, “I never realized that you were that smart.” The lesson here: don’t judge a book by its cover.

I will take all these lessons and pass them to my children and hope that they walk away with a better middle and high school experience than I. Because while it is about getting a solid education, its also about the social aspect and finding yourself.

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