When Having Twins Finally Pays Dividends

isa (l) soph (r)Both of my daughters did not show up on my first sonogram.  For 8 weeks I thought I was having a normal singleton pregnancy with all of the usual excitement and anticipation a first pregnancy brings.  My husband missed that first sonogram so to be nice my doctor did another one at my next appointment.  As we all stared at the throbbing lima bean on the screen the doctor pointed out the “head” and heart, and then she stopped.  “Well, what’s that?” my husband asked pointing at another blob.  “Um,” she said, “that’s another heart and another head.  You’re having twins!”  And as the blood drained from my face and my stomach fell to my toes my husband pumped his fist in the air and yelled, “Yeah, twins!”  (He later said he did this to reassure me because he had never seen me look so frightened.  I think it was a momentary celebration of feeling like he had super sperm)

Luckily I had another 5 or so months to get used the idea of having twins.   Continue reading

The Never-Ending Birthday

birthday cupcakesWhen did my daughters’ birthday become a weeklong celebration?  I always felt that the one break parents of twins get is that the birthday can be a joint affair.  Especially when you have same sex twins, or in my case identical twins which makes it even easier.  But somehow this birthday thing has morphed into an endless week of kid, school and family parties.

When my daughters turned one we had a big family party here in our apartment.  When they turned two we did the same thing.  They didn’t have any “friends” to speak of so it was easy.  But, then they started preschool and the birthday parties began in earnest.  Cupcakes at school – of course.  And that year we did a party at the playground with all of their new playmates.  But, we had to have a family party too because there are so many of us, my parents being divorced and remarried makes our group fairly large, plus my in-laws and extended family.  Well, we kept on having all three parties so that everyone had their own celebration time.  And that’s how it’s remained right up to now – their seventh birthday.

I’m usually pretty old school about the birthday party thing.  I like it to be homemade and reflect my daughters’ personalities, which usually means an insane amount of preparation and schlepping, and clean up.  This year we drastically cut the guest list at our kids party and had a “grown up” party as my daughters called it so we booked a kids jazz brunch at Jazz Standard.  It’s the first year I’ve done a party where all I had to do was show up and pay the bill at the end.  I even had a glass of wine.  But, of course that was only one party down.  Like the Obamas on Inauguration night our festivities had just begun.

With both girls in separate classes that means 52 cupcakes at school on the actual birthday day.  I’ve been baking since yesterday, a thing I usually love but this year everything went wrong.  In the end the cupcakes came out fine, certainly good enough for a bunch of 6 and 7 years olds, but now comes twin birthday shuffle – first one class then twenty minutes later the other.  We’re hitting the Carousel and Shake Shack after school with some friends.  But wait – there’s more.

On Saturday comes the family party, thankfully hosted at my dad’s place not mine.  Our entire family, even the ones who live in LA are gathering in Brooklyn to be at the party.  The capper to this week of out and out big time reminders that I am the mom is that Sunday is Mother’s Day.   Seven years ago today I became a mother of twins.  After 37 long weeks of pregnancy, of fetal monitoring, of fear of twin-twin transfusion syndrome, of worry about premature birth and tours of NICUs, I calmly entered the hospital and gave birth to the two little girls who are growing up faster than I ever imagined.

All week I’ve been wondering, when can I stop making cupcakes for school?  When will they be too old for all of these separate parties with balloons and goody bags?  But in writing this I’m realizing that it will probably be soon, too soon.  Before I know it they’ll be too cool for any of this and not even want us to come near their school, forget about jumping up and down with excitement when we enter the classroom.  So I’ll take my giant Tupperware cupcake carriers over to school today and try to remember that the extra effort is worth it.  That making my kids feel special is part of the job.  And, come Mother’s Day I’ll know I’ve earned it that’s for sure.

This is an original beccarama.com post

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Admissions of an Admissions Survivor

Admissions I would like to think that if Dante wrote The Inferno today there would be a special circle of hell just for Kindergarten admissions in NYC.  And within that level there would be a VIP room for those of us with twins.  When I explain the process to friends and family living outside of NYC they look at me like I have 5 heads.  There were times during the process when I felt like I had five heads.  Between both of my daughters they took four IQ tests, for both private and public schools, a “School Readiness Assessment” for more public schools, went on four private school interview/play-dates, and 2 second round playdates at the specialized public schools.  We also entered 2 public school lotteries for the schools within our district that we were not zoned for.  Did I mention that my daughters were 4 years old at the time?

In the end we ended up at the out of zone public school that we most wanted from the beginning. Ironically enough, it is an all gen-ed school meaning that they do not separate out or track the students based on scores.  So, after all that testing what we realized was that we didn’t want our daughters at a school where they would be segregated based on their scores.  Whether we feel this way later on in our daughters’ education life I don’t know.  But, for now, we like the “all one family” vibe at our public school.

Now that my daughters’ kindergarten years are coming to an end,  I realize that the entire admissions process was like planning a wedding.  It is so easy to get caught up in the insanity of the planning, the competition, the scary statistics and rumors swirling around that you lose sight of the end result.  In the case of a wedding you forget that what’s really important is the marriage after, and in the case of admissions its all about the schooling your child will receive.  No matter how much you may have your heart set on one school or another you really have no idea if will be right for your child until you are in the thick of it.

And – take a deep breath here – if it doesn’t work out, you will move your kid.  Yes, its a pain.  Yes, there will be some transitioning and rough spots.  But, that is part of education too.  Not everything works out as we picture it and learning to adjust and shift our expectations isn’t the worst thing in the world.  This year I’ve had the distinct opportunity to compare two very different teachers within the same grade, in the same school.  Having twins gives you this special eye into things.   I can tell you that I am not happy to have the comparison because one of the classes is so much stronger than the other.  Have I lost faith in the school?  No.  Will I give it one more year?  Yes.  And then if it doesn’t work out, if the school I fell in love with was not the right place for one of my daughters, I may sign up all over again to ride on the admissions the roller coaster.  I can feel another head sprouting already…

Original post to New York City Moms Blog.

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