My daughter, the author

Posted by on Mar 18, 2013 in From My Perspective | 5 comments

Hi there! It’s Cass stepping in here for Kristin today to introduce a very very special guest poster: Kristin’s Mom.  As I’ve gotten to know Kristin over these past few months it was quite apparent that she comes from a powerhouse of a Mom and the following post will prove just that.  Tissues ready  because we all want to hear this from our Mom.

Next week my best friend will officially be an author. The bonus – she’s my little girl!  Wow – an English teacher’s dream, right? I work for a publishing company – I get how big this is. I’m proud!  Not the first time Kristin has made me proud – lots of those moments – gymnastic championships,  valedictorian, , Academic All-American, making her lifelong dream of being a “mom” come true, mother of three delightful, balanced children.

I was asked to comment on what she was like growing up…as I look back it is easy to see that in many ways she has always been getting ready for her job!

  • Who knew the 20 minute power naps she took on the way to the gym would be vital training for being a “twin mom” who needed to sleep when she could?
  •  She always understood her own body – where it was in space so that when she fell from her high chair she landed on her feet and not her head. She’s continued to land on her feet even when all she felt was the fall. From cancer to twins, she barely wobbled.
  •  She knew when she needed to eat and what she needed to eat to make her feel balanced.  So when Taylor says she needs salad Kristin understands the importance of listening to that.
  •  She enjoyed working alone better than with a group so when Sydney needs her “space” her mom understands how critical that is.
  • When on a team she was driven to be the best so her team could be the best.  She continues to do that – except this time her family is her team.

She shares her children – not always easy for a mom to do – but because she’s willing the kids and I have memories to last a lifetime! A date with Gabe to see the Lion King and accompanying him to a Justin Bieber concert…holding Taylor tight as we watch our beloved Tinker Bell fly at Disneyworld…having Sydney snuggle in my lap early in the morning after an “overnight”  when just the two of us are awake to talk about a myriad of things. Those are gifts my daughter gives.  She understands the importance of family.

She’s wise. She knew to say “I need help” when she was overwhelmed with Gabe and the girls. And she was strong enough to stand her ground when she was sure she was right. Sure, I thought she should put their spaghettios in a bowl instead of directly on the highchair tray. But after watching the girls dump them out and throw the bowl a couple times I had to admit she knew the right thing to do. She knew there was a reason Sydney choked. She knew there was a way to make sure they talked. She knew with every fiber of her being that they would be bright and successful.

She didn’t have time for baby books no one ever looks at.  She doesn’t have albums filled with pictures in chronological order. She doesn’t have shelves of videos.  Instead she has a book her children will treasure for a lifetime.  Every word, every tear, every giggle is an honest one.  Next week my daughter is officially an author – and I’m proud of her – every minute of every day!

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Recap…So Thankful!

Posted by on Mar 15, 2013 in Family Life, From My Perspective, Raising Great Kids, Twins | 0 comments

This has been such a fun week of writing!

  • I have adjusted to my writing schedule.  “New” finally feels “normal.”  Balance is being achieved.  Even better: I’m actually ahead of schedule!
  • I’ve had such fun topics to write about!  How ironic that the girls will both graduate from Speech on Monday…the same week my book is set to release!!!  It’s very likely that a book would not have felt as necessary without our uphill battles concerning their speech.
  • I’ve almost conquered my goal of writing a book!  Ahhhh!!!!!  It’s been an 8-year process, so I can’t wait to hold the finished product in my hands!
  • I worked up the nerve to ask people to “Like” my Facebook blog page.  That was tough to do because I don’t like to solicit.  The supportive response was overwhelming.  Each and every thumbs-up that comes my way makes me smile.  So thank you.  From the bottom of my heart.
  • I notice more and more that Gabe is making the transition from “Momma’s Boy” to “Boy’s Boy.”  So imagine how I felt at basketball practice when he snuck in a spontaneous wink at me from center-court.  My heart melted.  I should note that he’s a great winker.  I treasure the ones reserved just for me, because it won’t be long before he’s sharing them with other special girls in his life.
  • Diving into yesterday’s book excerpt made me reflect on so many valuable lessons I’ve learned through parenting my beautiful twin daughters. It’s one of my most treasured blogs yet.  Raising them through the early years was next to impossible at times, but there was never a day when their twin bond wasn’t mesmerizing.  (This especially holds true when they worked together to create mischief!)  To see how far they’ve come since their terrible 2’s…how HAPPY they are!  Their zest for life continues to amaze me each and every day!  I’m one lucky momma.
  • Craig and I stumbled upon a date this week.  He’s still the funniest guy I know.  I’m one lucky lady.

Have a great weekend everybody!  Mine will be full of twin Reconciliation, piano federation, and basketball tourney games – Lot’s of Proud Momma moments await, that’s for certain.

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Excerpt from Twin Turbulence: “Before the girls could talk, they communicated without words…”

Posted by on Mar 14, 2013 in From My Perspective, Twins | 1 comment

“Before the girls could talk, they communicated without words.  They shared certain gestures, facial expressions, and grunts that seemed unrecognizable.  They had developed their own language, indulging in conversations to which the outside world was not privy.”

This sounds cool, right?  I’ll admit: It was like nothing we’d ever witnessed before.

From the moment the girls assumed residence in their adjacent cribs as infants, they communicated.  They gurgled together, blew raspberries at each other, babbled, cooed, grunted, sang, plotted, planned.  They shared more non-verbal action than one could ever imagine.

They must have had fabulous ideas too, because their club was a happy little club.  Nee Nee and Tayco were forever cracking each other up.  Together they invented the most entertaining of games.  They collaborated when it was time to strip from their jammies.  They mastered the sport of Doubles Diaper Removal.  They enthusiastically participated in crib cardio trampoline classes.  Their plans were strategic.  Their execution was always in sync.

However, much to our dismay, it was a private club.  No admittance allowed.  They did not welcome guests, and paid no attention to visitors.  Membership occupancy was full at 2.

Bonding with either one of them was next to impossible.  They simply had no interest in anyone but each other.  Reasoning with them was out of the question because we couldn’t speak their language.  They had decided from the start that words were not necessary.  Instead, they were a nuisance.  They had no interest in assimilating to our culture, and refused to cooperate when asked to do so.  Their twinship was more than a bond – it was a barrier.

They were a team.  Their opponents were the rest of the world.  Our only chance at victory was to convince them to speak our language.

This proved to be a 6 year process.  It was worth every hard fought obstacle.

Because you know what?  Our little girls are cool.  We are amazed by their creative ideas every single day.

And as for their club?  It is a happy little club!  Full of giggles, hugs, kisses and love – the best kind of non-verbal action one could ever imagine.

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Discovering I Could Write

Posted by on Mar 13, 2013 in Family Life, From My Perspective | 2 comments

I used to roll my eyes when I heard someone with a beautiful voice claim, “I didn’t know I could sing until my husband heard me in the shower.”

Really?  It took being married for you to discover you had a talent?  Come on…not buying it.

And then…

Then I got married and had three children.  That’s when I discovered I could write.

It’s true that I minored in English in college and did very well on my papers.  But I did well in every subject – even Math! – so I didn’t put much stock in a good English grade.  School was easy for me.  I went through the motions of studying and graduated with honors.

After we had our son, our twin daughters were born just 25 months later.  As a result of choosing to stay home with them, I needed craved an outlet.  I was starved for  meaningful adult conversation.  After a long day spent immersed in toddler/babyhood, I couldn’t wait to engage.

Unfortunately, when Craig came home from work he was tired from talking all day.  Engaging in intense conversation was low on his list of priorities.  He didn’t care to be in constant touch with his emotions, let alone mine.

As you can imagine, these two scenarios didn’t align very well.  So I started to write.  My computer became my sounding board.  And you know what?  It was the ideal listener.

I could hear myself think for a change.  I could reflect objectively.  I’ve never been one to assume I know everything, but in the heat of the moment it’s harder to recognize when I’m wrong.  But in print – when there’s no one to argue with – I can recognize my faults with ease.  I can quietly admit when I’m part of the problem.  I can even admit when I am the problem.

Even though it was just a journal, I followed my gut instinct to edit my entries.  I would cut, paste, add and subtract until each sentence flowed into the next with ease.  Cleaning up my text became a metaphor for tidying up my life.  If I could make sense of my words, then I could make sense of my emotions.  The finished product usually resulted in acceptance instead of resistance.  I could be more patient.  More flexible.  More tolerant.  I could let go of control where it wasn’t necessary, and assume more control in places that it was.

I could forgive the kids for being kids.  I could forgive Craig for being a man.  I could forgive myself for being human.

Writing allowed me to push reset.  To start fresh when the wheels felt like they were spinning in place.  To find the courage to apologize when necessary.  To let go of lingering negativity.

Writing made me a better mom.  A fairer wife.  A happier person.

And I didn’t discover any of this until I was married with three children.

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Twins and Speech

Posted by on Mar 12, 2013 in Family Life, From My Perspective, Twins | 2 comments

Often I get asked the question: “How did you know when to put your twins in Speech?”

Here is my best answer:

When Gabe was a baby, we dubbed him a “late talker.”  In comparison to other children his age, he had fewer words and poor pronunciation.  Nevertheless, he was able to communicate well enough for others to generally understand what he was trying to say.  Speech rarely left him frustrated.

Still…we worried.  He reached all his other developmental milestones early.  Why not speech?  When he was 4, I enrolled him in Speech Therapy.

In hindsight?  It was an unnecessary expense.  His speech may have been delayed, but it was not a handicap.  The lessons served more as reassurance to me, rather than required therapy for him.

As for the twins?  That’s an entirely different story!

Despite their best efforts, they could not verbally communicate with anybody but each other.  Without a doubt, they shared their own twin language.  It was only when we learned to adapt to their language that we could ever understand them – even then it was minimal.

Their speech was painfully unintelligible.  They could not mimic sounds or words.  This communication barrier caused an inexplicable amount of stress in our household.  I knew we needed help – there was no doubt about it.  Their inability to communicate was ruining our family.  They threw temper tantrums when they weren’t understood.  We threw temper tantrums when we couldn’t understand them.

At 2 1/2 years old: Things were not getting better with age – they were getting worse.

I am not a doctor.  Nor am I an expert in speech.  But hindsight tells me that if you are at a point when your child’s inability to speak/communicate is affecting your entire family in a negative way – then it’s time to get help.  That’s how you know.

 

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