A Pirate's Mama Looks at 40

I've reached that milestone when it suddenly occurs to me, as I lie in the sun, that the premature signs of aging are no longer premature. I've just aged. Hopefully like a fine wine, but how can you be sure?

A number of suggestions have been recently made to restore my health and sanity, or at least the outward appearance of such:

  • Take a Disney cruise. They have on-board childcare and if we book now, we can get a $700 voucher for spa treatments.
  • Turn this blog into a book. First, though, the plot would have to thicken: Island Twins Mama & Her Midlife Crisis.
  • Put photos of bikini-clad Self in the blog to keep guys reading. (This from a guy who hasn't seen me in a while.)
  • Start a new blog that isn't so kid-focused. This could help ensure the continued relevance of Self to future employers. (This from that same guy.)
  • Take up yoga at Earth Mama's, or at least go buy some of its cute new organic clothing.
  • Start doing facial exercises, to prevent the need for future nips and tucks. (Seriously, this was suggested to me at a Mother's Day party.)
  • Swap houses with a girlfriend in North Carolina to gain quality time at Target for me and Caribbean vacation for her. This was a mutual suggestion born out of desperation on both sides.
  • Take the twins to Greece, because they love babies in the Mediterranean and might take them off our hands for an hour or two.
  • Pitch our crazy, lazy life to TLC to fill in the hole being dug by Jon & Kate. Even without a plot, Twins on an Island has more appeal than the dozens of Duggars, doesn't it? Heck, for $75,000 per episode I'd do my exercises and put on that bikini.
My own Pirate Hayden wakes up each morning looking for boats on the water. He can see miles of ocean from his bed and when he spots something moving, he shrieks with glee. "BoaT. BoaT!" He knows just what he's looking at. Looking at life on the other side of 40, I know no such certainty. But, I do know it's bound to be interesting. And, as I'm reminded in so many ways each day, I must treasure every second.

Take the poll and help me decide what's in store for 40+.


San Pellegrino in a Sippee

I’ve decided that house-training your dog is not the same as house-training your twins.

Before Delaney and Hayden, I had neither dogs nor children. With Mike, I gained two large “babies” named Montana and Cassidy. I quickly learned how to feed, tuck in, walk, scold, coersce and otherwise manage two dogs. Then we adopted our own first-born, Sonoma, and my education continued.

With Sonoma, we went to Doggie Preschool.

We got homework.

We got handouts.

We got home and pretty much forgot everything we’d learned. But still, we felt on top of the situation.

I truly thought there would be some transferable skills in all this parenting of pets. For instance: “refill water dishes daily”/”refill baby bottles daily.” Or: “Let dogs out for exercise”/”Let babies out to give yourself a break.”

No, scratch that.

Let babies out to give them meaningful outdoor activity.

Of course that’s what I meant.

But I’ve concluded there are some big differences. With dogs, if you find it necessary to reprimand them for licking a twin’s plate while she was elsewhere distracted, just because the kiddie-table happens to be at doggie-eye-level, then you give him (the dog) a firm slap on the rear. You can add for emphasis, “Bad Dog. Bad.”

With kids, a different approach is encouraged. In the pool yesterday, after an incident involving a plastic car being hurled at Hayden’s face by Delaney, Mike said firmly, “Bad Girl. Bad.”

I gently corrected him: “You’re supposed to condemn the behavior, Sweetie, not the child.”

“Bad Behavior. Bad,” Mike told Delaney.

She just looked at him and picked up the plastic car again. (This time, we all ducked.)

But the biggest difference between dogs and babies has to do with expectations. Dogs are trained to appreciate the occasional left-over, or the special treat off your plate that you didn’t really intend to eat anyway.

Hayden and Delaney, on the other hand, have come to expect to eat Daddy’s cereal right out of his bowl instead of their own, or to demand “Ships” (potato chips) in the middle of the afternoon. Imagine.

As the ultimate in nervy, they have just figured out that Mommy’s Agua comes out of a pretty, green bottle. No more tap water for them. Now they, too, want San Pellegrino as the sun sets. At least they consent to drinking it out of their sippee cups. Offering them my Riedel glasses seems just a bit much, even for this out-numbered Island Mama.


Two Little Fishes

"Sfimming!" yells Delaney.

"Me Sfim!" says the Pirate Hayden.

"DimSuit?" asks Delaney.

"No, Meese DimSuit," answers Pirate.

"Me Ready!" says Delaney.

And they both pull off all their clothes and run to the pool.

We've reached a milestone here this weekend. After a year of shunning any type of flotation device in the water, all of a sudden they are both clamoring for the independence that a vest or a bubble gives them. The "swim sweater" is the absolute best. It's a very buoyant inner-tube attached to an SPF 50 rash guard shirt. After seeing another toddler on the beach wearing one last year, we ordered one for ourselves. Unfortunately it's sat around ever since.

But Mike decided the time was right to try again, and he was, in fact, right. Both babies have become big fans and started swimming on their own.

Until yesterday, when the Swim Sweater sprung a leak. ("Noma Di Dit!" they said, pointing to the dog.)

I remembered seeing something along the same lines at Plaza Mar, so I suggested we go to the store and buy another one.

"Shopping!" yelled Delaney.

"Me Shop!" said the Pirate Hayden.

"Shoes On?" asked Delaney.

"No, Me Shoes," answered Pirate.

"Ready!" yelled Delaney.

And they both grabbed their shoes and ran to the car.

Turns out Plaza Mar didn't have the Swim Sweater, but a couple of temporary substitutes til new ones arrive from Amazon.
"Poohl!"yells Delaney.

"Me Poohl!" says Pirate Hayden.

"Shalk!" demands Delaney.
"No, Me Shalk," yells Pirate.

"Dwawing!" says Delaney.

Boy, they're going to hate me for this shot one day, aren't they? So many reasons. Yes, the naked one is Delaney. The guy with the dress and the funny hat on is Hayden.

You'll be glad to know that this time around we've found a more masculine and basic version of the Swim Sweater for Hayden.

Swimways Step 2 Swim Sweater - Blue/Green

So the classic question for Parents of Twins is:
Should we order the same "new basic" version for Delaney, in purple instead of blue, or should we order her the Princess Swim Sweater in pink?
Help us decide by taking the poll or leaving a comment below.

Thanks, and happy splashing!


Bopa's Shirt

The men in my life all wear Hawaiian shirts. Always have. Father, godfather, husband, and now son.

Fortunately all these guys have pretty good taste in their florals, and generally leave the dress socks and sandals behind. (Hayden, of course, doesn't have much experience with socks at all. So that's one battle I don't have to fight.)

When my father visited in February, he wore a shirt that featured vintage cars dancing amongst the palm trees.

Hayden loved that shirt. "Bopa!" he would say when Dad wore it, pointing. "Truhk!" It was like he had found a kindred spirit in his Grandfather, one who understood the supremacy of moving vehicles in a two-year-old's world vision.... and in his wardrobe.

After my parents left, Hayden remembered Bopa's shirt the next time that Mike put on one of his own Tommy Bahama's.

"Bopa?" he asked questioningly, as if this uniform would make his Grandpa reappear.

Last week, Delaney asserted her personal sense of style by demanding to pick out a "dess" to wear. The babies' few "nice" clothes (things other than shorts, skorts and tees) hang in a closet off of their bathroom. Periodically, Delaney likes to take inventory and try on something new.

On this trip to the closet, Hayden followed, saying "Me Dess?" I started to tell him, "No, you don't have any dresses," but then decided just to let it go. The whole "difference between boys and girls" thing is complicated enough with b/g twins who bathe together.

But to my surprise Hayden found something hanging in the back of the closet that made him forget all about the dresses. He spotted a gift-to-grow-into from Meme (Grandma) that had been hanging there for a while: a Hawaiian shirt dotted with cars, just his size.

"BOPA!" he yelled. He had found a friend.

He hasn't worn anything else since. This shirt has become harder to clean than his blanket.

And while Delaney happily strips off one outfit in order to try on another, over and over, Hayden is showing fierce loyalty to his shirt.

My little man.