Taking Time

First course: Edamame and cherry tomatoes, next chicken soup and cheese pizza. Jack and Fiona work on taking the peas out of the edamame shells and taking sips of soup, “mmmm” they like it, I fire up another pan on the stove, chop some garlic, add it to the pan, avocado oil, then the broccolini, it smells so good. I sear it, tossing it so the garlic doesn’t burn. I take the pan off the stove and slide the broccolini onto a large plate in front of Jack and Fiona. Steam rises up, I taste it first, “MMMM it’s SO good” I say. Jack and Fiona want to try it, we wait letting it cool a bit, then I hand them each a large stalk of broccolini. They ravage it, eating the tops first and moving down to the crunchy, garlicky, stalks. “More” they say. I share all the dark green deliciousness with them, everything but the seared pieces of garlic which I ravage myself. When Jack and Fiona are finished eating, (for now) they go play outside with Alan. I throw on a few chicken breakfast sausages, the Applegate farms they love, because I have a feeling they aren’t done eating yet! When the sausages are done they both inhale all the pieces I put on their plates. We sit outside and relax in the late summer air, it’s absolutely beautiful this evening. Fiona tells me she wants corn. “You want corn on the cob?” I ask. “Yes” she says. I sit for a few minutes and she starts crying, “Corn on the cobb, corn on the cobb” I get up and put the corn in boiling water. Fiona follows me to the kitchen, “Blue Blue, Tiny” she cries. I hold Fiona’s hand and we go downstairs to find Tiny. I realize in this moment that when they say, “mommy get it (blue blue)” they might want time alone with me. A quiet moment to spend together, to tell me something or show me something, without competition from their twin.

               “Um…..I hear something, it’s the ballerina song, ballerina, rina, rina” says Jack. We have a Russian Ballet playing on the TV, Jack and Fiona are dressed in tights and tutus. Fiona is under the table, she peeks her head up. Jack begins to tap the window with the magnetic key we use to open the child locks on the cabinets. “Not too hard Jack” I say. He hits it lighter and lighter until it’s just a tap. “Yes, that’s perfect” I say. Jack begins tapping it harder and harder again until I remind him again that it’s glass and will break. He walks over to the cabinet and tries to open it, but he gives up quickly. He throws the key on the floor. “Jack pick that up and put it on the shelf, it’s important.” I say. “this shelf right here?” Jack says. “Perfect!” I say. You’re being perfect today I say to myself. I feel proud, like I’ve accomplished something, as if I’ve done my job right so far. Jack and Fiona ate broccolini and Jack pooped in the toilet all by himself. A milestone.

 I hear the babies and Rosemary upstairs running and laughing, they are having so much fun. It’s Monday morning, my babysitter day. I’m trying to write in my room, I’ve been trying to write all weekend, but there’s never enough time and things are happening at a rapid pace. I’m thankful today for my break.  I’m not planning on doing much! Laundry, exercise, studio, writing, studying.  Now the babies have gone down to the park, all three in hats and sunglasses, they looked so cute. Rosemary is starting to warm up to me, she handed me a purple sage flower. I feel the need to cram English down her throat, I read books and try to use the techniques I’ve learned in my communication manuals from Early Start. I realized that Fiona and Rosemary are both in a similar situation. Both have to work extra hard to understand things in an English speaking hearing world.  On Friday, I went to Dominican University to talk about their credential program. It was amazing, but WAY out of my price range. I’ve decided that I won’t pursue getting into a program until next fall. I will use this year for studying and taking the CSET, and all the other preparations as well as volunteering. I have also begun to do more observation with Jack and Fiona, taking myself out of an emotional, stressed, place, to a learning space. Taking time to listen to them, teach by not imposing, child led life! It’s helped a lot; For example, I took care of the hitting in one week. Once I realized it was a form of communication, it wasn’t just “being bad” I was able to figure out how to handle it. I found that a lot of it had to do with getting my attention from the other twin. When Jack hits me it seems he just needs extra attention, even a cuddle can help. It is remarkable what effects the littlest tweaks in my parenting style can have on unwanted behaviors.

It makes me think about yesterday. Alan, Jack, Fiona, Billy, and I went on a hike to Lake Lagunitas. It’s a three-mile hike, rolling trails around the lake. We decided not to bring the back pack carriers or the stroller! Quite a gamble I thought, but Alan said having the backpacks just makes them want to be carried. I agreed and took the chance. I didn’t know it was going to be 95 degrees out!! But I did expect to take lots of breaks, so my head was in the right place. We stopped at a bench right by the lake and watched dragon flies and ate watermelon five minutes into the hike. It went like this the whole way, stopping under the trees where swarms of woodpeckers flew around pecking and singing. Stopping and gathering pinecones and sticks and dirt that was “popsicles and dinner”. We stopped by the creek and ate lunch, and changed poopy diapers. We stopped in the middle of the trail and sat, “Lets relax” Jack said. I followed along, reminding Alan not to keep telling the babies to “come on”, to let them rest and explore and play in the dirt. Toward the end of the hike, where the trail turned into a fire road and the shade from the trees was gone we carried them for a small stretch. I started to get scared, I was afraid they were overheating and over tired. We got to the final stretch and Jack wanted to walk naked and barefoot. I let him. “Are you sure? You might step on a rock” I said. “Yes, I’m sure” Jack said. I let him. I let him walk naked in the stream at the end of our hike, I put my feet in the cold water. Alan didn’t let Fiona, he took her straight to the car because he felt like we were running out of time, we had early dinner plans with family.

Everyone will be back from the park soon, it’s time to exercise and work in my studio for a while. It’s such a beautiful day. August is half way over and fall will be here soon. I love fall.

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