This Sucks. (or does it?)

Language. It’s an interesting thing.  After the kidlets drove away in the big yellow school bus this morning, my neighbor and I discussed language–and how some words have different meanings in different languages, and how some English words have different interpretations as well. This conversation is actually an on-going conversation about kids/language/school….and the word SUCKS.

Several weeks ago, T-man got into some major trouble at school. apparently, he said “this sucks” out-loud during computer class. The teacher heard him, took him out to the hallway, lectured him on using PROFANITY in her classroom, took him to the principal’s office for another lecture on profanity, and sent a note home for both Hubby and I to sign.

As with everything that goes on with our kids, we ask questions. I ask lots of questions–to get the entire story, as well as to see if the story changes. According to T, the comment was not directed at the teacher (she was standing in another part of the classroom) nor at the assignment.  His computer was very slow to boot up (or some other technical glitch was occurring), and he said at the computer “this sucks.”  I totally believed his story.

I signed the note for the teacher, but I also sent her an email.  I wrote:

 I do not consider “this sucks” to be profanity.  I used the phrase as a kid, I use it as an adult, Hubby uses the phrase….even my proper mother says “this sucks” when something displeases her.  Maybe it was inappropriate–T-man could definitely have used better word choices, such as ” this stinks”, “bummer,” “my computer isn’t working”….or better yet, not said anything at all. But I disagree that it was profanity.  As a matter of fact, T-man (during the tongue-lashing he received) didn’t know what the word “profanity” meant!  However, I do know that my boys do know “profane” or “swear” words–and they definitely do know better than to use any of them in front of adults.

The day that this transpired, I posted the question of “Do you consider “this sucks” to be profanity?” on FB.  It started a very informative, lively, and frank discussion. I received 22 comments from friends–and they ranged from a few “Yes, that is not allowed to be said in my house” to “At least he didn’t drop the F-bomb”  to “You should hear how High School kids talk” to “No, that is part of everyday language.”

Sadly, in today’s society, so many “swear” words are being used so non-chalantly. Have you watched TV lately? I can’t tell you how often I’ve heard the word “Bitch” on TV…..during daytime or primetime.  Also, someone told me that “this sucks” is a common term on iCarly  (just shows you how much I pay attention).  But I did catch a Tide commercial the other day—a parent of triplets were folding clothes. At the end of the commercial, the mom (obviously tired of doing laundry) says “this sucks.”

But now let’s talk about another use of the word “sucks.”  What prompted my neighbor to re-visit the discussion on the word today was that a boy in her daughter’s 4th grade class told her (J-the daughter) to “suck this.”  And recently, I heard one of my boys say “suck me” as well.  Do these kids even know what they are saying? IMO, this is profane use of the word “suck.”  Interesting how “this sucks” doesn’t bother me, but “suck this” or “suck me” does bother me.  How do I explain to my kids why one is OK and the other isn’t? Why can they say “I”m going to take a poo”, but it irks me when they say “I’m going to take a crap”?  M-man has actually caught on to my modified-F-word.  Instead of dropping the F-bomb, I say “fudge.” And now M-man does too. But of course, I know what his intent is (because I see him catching himself before he drops an F-bomb in front of his mom).

Language…..what interesting dilemmas it poses for us parents.

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Living with a couple of Kiwis

Not this….

And not this…..

And not this….

There’s an odd sound in my house.  It goes something like “Ki…Wi”….”Ki….Wi”…..”Ki….Wi”  It has the tendency to repeat itself over and over again, very fast, in a very excited tone.

For example:

Ca….we……go to Toys R Us? Ca…we?   Ca…we?   Ki…wi?  Ki…wi?  Ki…wi???

Ca..we…have some ice cream? Ca we? Ca we?  Ki..wi?  Ki…wi? Ki…wi???????

Ca..we…get our DS’s back? Ca we? Ca we? Ki…wi? Ki..wi?  Ki…wi?????????????

At first it was just M-Man who sounded like a little Kiwi….but then all 3 boys start doing.  I can’t help but laugh.

You all right, Mate? Doing Great, thanks!

Keeping busy….keeping busy.

A little over a week ago, the boys and I tagged along with Hubby to England. It was the boys’ first trip back since we moved home in 2008.  I was really surprised how little T&M remembered. During the short ride from Manchester Airport to our town, T&M would say over and over “I never saw this!”  I turned around and said “BUT YOU HAVE!! Instead, please say, ‘I don’t remember’.”

It was a short trip–about 5 days. During those days, Hubby was working, so the boys and I were “on our own.” We stayed with a lovely family who we didn’t know very well. But that has now changed. During our short stay, our host family has become one of our closest friends.  T’s best friend’s mom (or should I say “mum”?) was kind enough to host a party with our closest friends. EVERYBODY showed up–all my friends, their husbands, and all the children. I think there were about 40 people total.  It was an amazing, amazing party.  I bought 8 bottles of champagne to celebrate our friendships.

On Monday, T&M attended class in their former school. I was overcome by the warm welcome we received.  Although at the start T&M didn’t remember some of their classmates, they had a fabulous time.  We have a few more addresses, and will be sending more letters!

When we arrived in the UK, I sent a FB message “Hellooooooo UK Friends!!”  One responded “Welcome Home!”  It really amazed me how much like “home” it felt, and how seamless our transition back was.  It was hard to believe it had been 3 years. When seeing all those wonderful people again, it felt like it was 3 weeks.

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I am now the proud mum (yes, the Britishness hasn’t left) of a pair of 5th graders and a 1st grader.  The boys are done with school, and I am so proud of how well they did this past year!

The other morning, I watched from my bed as Little Guy was brushing his teeth, and had already dressed himself. All without me asking or reminding him. 

“Little Guy—come here and give your mommy a hug!” 

“Why, mommy?”

“Because I’m so proud of you for getting dressed and brushing your teeth all by yourself today!”

“MOMMMMMMM……I’m a FIRST GRADER now. Of course you don’t have to tell me.  But those 5th graders, you still have to tell them!”

I love that Little Guy!

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I’m baby-sitting 4 goldfish this week.  I haven’t done the best job remembering to feed them. Their feeding schedule is slightly off–both in time and quantity. One day I fed them WAY TOO MUCH. The next feeding, barely anything. I’m also not sure how much time I should be spending with them.  Do they prefer human companionship? Should I sing to them? Toss a ball into the tank? DO they care?

Together or Separate?

That is one of the biggest questions Twin Moms ask in any twin-mom group, whether at a meeting or in an online discussion. Usually it revolves around school placement.  In my case, since my twins have been happily separated in school for 4 years, I am constantly asking whether to keep them together or separate with sports and after school activities.

So far, the boys choose to be together.  Their interests and abilities are surprisingly similar for fraternal twins.

However, that being said, each child does have his own streghths. M-man is surprisingly better at “individual” sports/activities. He is a fantastic swimmer (our family fish), he has great balance and speed on a bike. Same with roller-blading. Out of my 3 sons, he likes to play tennis.

I try to encourage these “individual” activities with M-man, because when he is playing a team sport, and the team loses (even if scores are not being kept, KIDS JUST KNOW WHO WON), M-man gets *very angry* at his team and himself for not playing at a level, or as a team, where there would be another notch in the W-column. He becomes one big pouty bugger. (he gets that from his dad)  And it is near impossible to rationalize with him and use positive ecouragment that he played really well and put in his best effort, or that the other team was better, or that he should practice and get better for the next game. Sometimes I feel like I have never met anyone more stubborn and pig-headed as M-man when he gets into these moods.

T-man, on the other hand, is very mellow and happy-go-lucky when it comes to sports and activities.  For the most part, Hubby and I strongly believe that he plays sports simply for the social aspect, and that is why team-sports suit him better.  T-man has always been a social creature.  He loves to be around people, goof off, and tell story after story after story. When he’s “out on the field,” the effort he puts in depends on what type of mood he’s in.  Sometimes, his effort is m-i-n-i-m-a-l, and it is painful and frustrating to watch.  When he’s in the mood and he has his groove on, he looks like he has the potential to be a very good athlete.  But we never know which T we will see.

What is dissappointing (from a parent/sports-fan perspective) is that neither of my twin sons feel the need to practice any sport.  They don’t need to choose a favorite, but to hear them talk, each sounds like he is destined for the Pro’s–whether it’s NBA, NFL, MLB, or MLS.  (sorry folks, we are NOT a hockey family) They will both play the occassional pick-up game of hoops or touch-football in our yard when the neighborhood kids come over, and they both play hard at game time when they are signed up on rec department teams. But just the other day, during his annual pedi check-up, T-man told Dr. Pedi, “I’m going to grow up to play in the NBA and be as good as Kobe Bryant.”  HELLLLOOOO?  Really. When you only pick up a basketball once a week?  And when M-man gets into one of his (above-referenced) moods, again, I want to say “Well, if you practiced more often….then maybe…..”

But, when asked “Hey guys, what sport or activity do you want to do this upcoming season?…..M, how about swim team?  T, how about basketball clinic?”   The answer is always “I want to do what HE is doing.”  Sigh. A large part of me feels that it’s time for each of them to improve their own personal skills and abilities doing activities that each excels in.

People think I’m *crazy* for even suggesting the boys participate in separate activities—I would be creating a logistical nightmare for myself.  Don’t get me wrong—having both boys play the same sport (and hence on the same team) is not only easier, but very enjoyable!  So, I guess as long as they insist on doing things together….who am I to say no?

A Day with the Kids

Since I woke up this morning, I have been surrounded by kids.  Ok, you’re wondering “isn’t this normal for you?”.  Well, yes, as a matter of fact it is. However, today I was surrounded by more than just my own 3 kids.  And up until the last 5 minutes, it’s been a pretty fun day.

I was parent-helper in Little Guy’s Kindergarten class today.  It was the last time for the year.  Normally, K-teacher doesn’t have volunteers on Monday, but she forgot to X-out today on the volunteer calendar, and I filled in the spot, so there I was.  It was really fun because I got a chance to talk to the teachers a bit more than usual, as on Mondays the kids go to art and gym in the morning. I got to listen on K-teachers explanation of sea animals–the fish, the whales, sharks, rays, etc.  And I got to help 2 kids finish last week’s and today’s paperwork.

Straight from Kindergarten, I drove over to T&M’s school because I had volunteered to help out on Field Day.  I got there just as they were finishing up the morning portion, so I got to have “lunch” with T’s class and M’s class.  Fourth grade lunch is definitely an experience. One that, perhaps, I wouldn’t want to experience again.

After lunch, T’s class was scheduled to play Kickball. I was very excited when the class decided to play boys vs. girls. As the class was mostly boys, Miss L and I got to play on the girls’ team.  Miss L kicked first, and then the other girls took their turn, and I was the last one.  As I was waiting, I told Miss L how I hadn’t played kickball since 7th grade, and that I was always last one picked for team’s because I was a liability since my parents frowned upon girl’s athleticism.  I was SO excited when it was my turn.  I pictured myself bombing one into right field, having that feeling of vindication from being picked last all those years ago. 

The pitcher rolled the ball. It slowly approached home base. My adrenalin started pumping.  Here it comes, foot ready……kicked foul.  Well, OK.  First kickball kick in 25 years.  It’s ok if it went foul.  Here comes the 2nd ball.  Ready….ready…..kick….foul.

And I’m out.

What?!!

Clearly, I missed the parent-volunteer’s rules that 2 fouls constituted an out.  Shit.  There goes my glorious moment.

I stayed at field day for 2 more activities , “Cars” which was nothing more than a game of tag, and “Boulder Dam” where the “it” person has to avoid being hit by a giant boulder (bouncy ball) being pushed by all the other players in the direction of the “it” person.

I came home……exhausted.  Wiped out.  I wonder if I’ll be this tired when/if I get a “real” job?

And what has become the norm around here, all the neighborhood boys have convened at our house for after-school basketball, trampolining, rugby, soccer….whatever.  I’ve actually been enjoying the camaraderie that has developed amongst the kids. For the most part, there has been little or no trouble (pretty amazing, considering there are usually 6 boys here). Until today, when I heard my 6 year old shouting very improper language at one of the kids.  Because Little Guy didn’t know I was on the deck. I’m not a happy momma at the moment.  He knew they were bad words. He knew that when he said them. He just thought he could get away with it. And I knew this would be a problem with him hanging out (every day) with 10 and 11 year olds.  I just thought he knew better.

A New Chapter……Bouncing and Balls

This past weekend held a range of emotions–from super-excited to nostalgic and sad.  We’re entering a new chapter in our lives.

With the twins turning 10, and with the help of an overly generous grandmother, we purchased a trampoline for the boys.  To make room for it, we had to take down the swing set that we bought for their 2nd Birthday.  I remember how adorable the boys were when they played “Super Baby” swinging on the swing while on their stomach(you have to wait until I master photo-scanning to insert this pix!). The numerous picnics they had in the “tower.” Or using the tower as a battle station. Or the first time they were strong enough to attempt the monkey bars.  Or sliding down a snowy slide.

The swing-set was very well used over the last 8 years!

TIMBER!

But then, the trampoline was up. And the neighborhood kids started pouring in.  The mom’s said “Wow, I’ve always thought trampoline was a good idea, but we had no room (or whatever their excuse).”

Bounce, Bounce, Bounce, Bounce.

We couldn’t get the kids off of it!!!

Even the Big Guy had a go. He was pretty good. But then again, he’s good at just about everything. 

Then it was my turn.  Hmmm….I don’t think I have ever been on a trampoline before.  Definitely a new sensation. Sadly, it makes me feel somewhat light-headed. Maybe it’s my brain slamming into my skull. I definitely can’t do it for very long.  However, there was some soreness in the abs and butt this morning….perhaps this might be a good exercise tool for when the kiddies are at school?!?

The other task for the weekend was to clean out the garage. While Hubby swept and tidied up, I focused my energy on cleaning out the “Ball Bin.” Several years ago, we purchased a sports equipment organizer.

It has come in very handy in keeping all the boys’ STUFF in one corner of our garage. However, it was over-floweth.

I filled 2 trash bags full of “toddler items”–such as the plastic driveway bowling set, 3 sets of plastic “junior” golf sets, plastic wiffle ball and giant oversized baseball bats,  toddler size footballs and soccer balls (some chewed by the dog), some misc. Home Depot kiddie tools, broken frisbees, a pair of toddler roller blades. 

Once I was done, the bin was still full…but now it held only “real size” footballs, basketballs, and soccer balls.

My little boys are growing up. Time for the next chapter.

Double Digits

Today, May 14th, my twin sons, T&M, turn 10 years old. Double Digits. A decade. It is absolutely astonishing to me. I can remember being on bedrest, their birth, their first weeks home….as if it were yesterday. Yes, that sounds cliché. But it is so true.

 When Hubby proposed to me, it was a bit of a surprise. He was rebound guy, after-all. The day after his proposal, I asked him what kind of family he wanted—big, small, boys, girls, how many?  His response, “Oh we’re going to have twin girls.”

Excuse me?!?

Apparently, he had many dreams and/or premonitions we would have twin girls. OHHH—KAAAAYYYY.

 For the next 4 years, we joked about the “twin girls” and even came up with names—Cassandra Marie (my choice) and Madison Joyce (his choice).

Imagine my surprise, when during the firstOBvisit, there were ACTUALLY TWO BABIES on the ultrasound screen. Shocked. Speechless. I looked at Hubby with a WTF? Look. 

For several weeks, we went ahead with the belief that the 2 infants inside me were to be named Cassie and Maddie.

IMAGINE HIS SURPRISE when at the 20 week check-up, he (we) was told it was BOYS! Of course, he asked the ultra-sound technician to double check. She said there was nothing to double-check—the plumbing was definitely male.  I think it took us several weeks to come up with boys names that we were both happy with.

At about 22 weeks, we moved fromCaliforniaback to theBostonarea. In the middle of February. While I was busy getting all the “home” and relocation stuff taken care of (i.e. cars registered), and shoveling the occasional snow off the deck (it wasn’t really shoveling….just pushing the snow off the deck), I forgot to take care of myself….drink water and stay dehydrated. The second week of March, and week 26, I was admitted to the hospital for pre-term labor. I *KNEW* that the babies weren’t going to be born yet. I just KNEW.  I was right. But I was put on terbuterline (a contraction-stopping drug) and bed rest for the remainder of my pregnancy.

The day before Mother’s Day, when I was at 36 weeks, my OB permitted me to stop taking the terbuterline. I was 2 cm dialated at the time. But she felt that should the babies want to come out, it was safe for them to do so. Hubby made me Belgian waffles for a Mother-To-Be Breakfast. It was awesome.

The next day, Monday May 14th, I had to go to the Hospital for a non-stress test and a check-up with a doctor from myOB’s practice. Hubby had a scheduled meeting that he could not get out of, so we asked Hubby’s BF, who worked nearby, to drive me to the hospital.  BF gave me such a hard time…..”Don’t be going into labor in my really expensive German sports car.”  HAHAHAHA.  Well, we got to the hospital ok, but just after my check-up, as I was waiting for Hubby to pick me up, my water broke. And MY GOD….what a gush of water it was! (sigh of relief from Hubby’s BF)

T&M were born later that night, at 9:32pm and 9:42 pm. They were so tiny. And I was in a fog and haze on how to care for two little 5-lb infants!  They each fit from Hubby’s elbow to wrist. That’s how tiny they were.

Since then, they have grown from little tiny infants—just big enough and healthy enough to come home from the hospital with us—to toddling toddlers to “tweens.”  There have been many rough patches, but in retrospect, they could have been MUCH MUCH WORSE.  I remember hearing from a fellow MOT that her twins would take off their feetsie-PJs, take off their diapers, and then schmeer poop on the walls. Lucky for us, my boys never went to such extremes!

I can’t remember much from their early days. I tell people that if it were not for photographs, I would have no memory of T&M’s first 6 months. To say that we were living in a sleep-deprived funk would be an understatement. And then I had the PPD on top of it. God, I wish I could erase those months. Or at least have a re-do. A mulligan.

I have tried to make up for those first few months. I know I haven’t been the best mom, but then again, there is no manual, is there? I’ve worked at parenting. But I can tell you that I have had a fantastic time watching my little angels grow into happy, healthy, intelligent, curious, well-mannered (most of the time), creative, funny, confident, handsome TEN YEAR OLDS!