Multigenerational Mom Muses on Twin Toddlers & Twenty-Something Daughters



Big Boy Bed Blues: The Crisscross-Applesauce Crossroads

This mama right here finally put these boys right here in Big Boy Beds.


They are only four years and four months old. I feel like we’re ahead of the curve… in some alternate universe. Then again, maybe not.

But don’t judge.

Keeping our twins in cribs this long has been self-preservation. There are two of them, after all, and they didn’t sleep – not truly, madly, deeply SLEEP for anything longer than two hour snatches — until 16 months.

So once they started, there was absolutely positively no way we were switching things up anytime soon. But now I guess, we’re past anytime soon. And now, I guess, it’s time.

But they are temperamental, routine-oriented little buggers. Well one is. Parker is easy-peasy — at least when it comes to his big boy bed. (As is evidenced below…)


But Tatebug… not so much.

As is evidenced by the fact that he was having NONE OF IT when it came time to crawl between the sheets of his new, big boy bed. As in, NONE OF IT.

As in, he wanted his other bed back.

That’s what he said.

Over and over and over again, while sitting crisscross-applesauce half-way in and half-way out his teepee. (Which is ironic, really, because he’s never half-way about anything. He knows exactly what he wants at all times.)

And this boy wanted NONE OF IT. (As is evidenced below…)


Instead, he wanted his beloved star-splattered crib sheet back. The sheet he’d had since infancy. The one where he’d trace those silver and gold and navy and red stars with his pudgy fingers while singing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” at eighteen months after waking from a full night’s sleep and feeling great because… WHO KNEW a body needed sustained periods of sleep?!? Valuable lessons were learned atop those stars. And he wanted them back!

This new bed has new stars (we had predicted this outrage and tried our best to circumvent it, but we couldn’t find the same colors…) and he was having NONE OF IT.

And he wanted his “soft pillows all around” (bumper pads, people — bumper pads), he wanted those back — the ones that helped cushion his flailing, sleep-tossed body from one wood-slatted side of his crib to the other. And now what was in their place – a wall! Are you kidding? That wall isn’t soft. And where are the sweet-and-sour greasy smudges from all the salty cry-it-out tears and sweaty corkscrew curls, and tiny, slobbering teething fingers?

This bed has none of that. And he was having NONE OF IT.

And he wanted “THAT BALL BLANKET OFF!” (A tasteful and pricey quilt purchased at Pottery Barn Kids when the boys were nine months old for an incredible steal). He wanted it OFF.


Helpful parenting tip here folks… don’t buy your kids their toddler bedding while they’re still babies, no matter how high the discount and how hard the desire. You don’t know what your kids will prefer once they develop a personalities of their own… and they will develop their own personalities. Their own Big personalities. Huge, even. And this boy… he does NOT like all those balls and bats and helmets and pendants. He likes princesses. And mermaids. And princess mermaids.

And this new bed has balls on it. And he was having NONE OF IT.

He did want his mermaid tail.

And his six Disney princesses.

And his two magic wands.

And his toddler-sized Elsa.

And his plush puppy named Spider.

And his plush spider named… I honestly have no idea.

And we accommodated as much as parentally possible. We slid all those princesses and the giant plastic Elsa doll and every other random demand from our pint-sized dictator between his sheets. And then we tried to slide him in there too.

But he wanted NONE OF IT.

So we resorted to bribery.

First, we proffered pink and red starbursts left over from the boys’ fourth birthday party in March — cavities be damned. But they were pink and red petrified bricks, so he wanted NONE OF IT.

And then we proceeded to promise a Target trip in the morning. (Target has recently surpassed elevators as my youngest son’s current fixation. There is a glittering Disney princess parade on aisle fifteen.)

The word “Target” is his new mantra – it sustains him from morning to night. For me, it is a continuous whining Drip. Drip. Drip. — effectively waterboarding this mama’s sanity straight into a shattered abyss.

But I was willing to sacrifice momentary mental health for a good night’s sleep.

But he was having NONE OF IT.

So then we tried the allure of Elsa sheets on the internet… or her snowflakes on the ceiling…  or any damn thing he desired… if he would just climb into his mother fucking big boy bed.

But what he really wanted was NONE OF IT.

So finally, we physically put him in the fricking bed with the fricking balls and the fricking sixfold Disney princesses and told him to STAY THERE. And if he didn’t he risked Santa’s naughty list, and his cherished Target trips, and Grandma and Grandpa’s good graces.

And after an hour, he finally whimpered himself to sleep…

…only to awaken three hours later crying for his mama.

So his mama caved. And crawled in bed with him. And Elsa. And his bevy of tiara-clad Barbie dolls. And a puppy named spider and a spider named… who knows? And a couple of hard, plastic wands.

And I slept in the crack between mattress and wall and woke up with a crick in my neck — and a new, sweaty smudge on the wall because the boy wouldn’t let me turn on his ceiling fan. He wanted NONE OF IT.

And we’ll try it all over again tonight.

So wish me luck. And preserved sanity. Because this afternoon we head to Target after nap-time — if he sleeps for two hours with no one else in his bed. Well, no one else but Ariel and Anna and Elsa and Aurora and Mulan and Belle.

And I’m sure a new girl will join him tonight once our quest through Aisle Fifteen is done.

The Postmodern Family’s Recommended Reading List for Progressive Preschoolers

A dear cousin of mine with a heart of gold and less time to herself than even I have, recently reached out to me with a blog suggestion: a recommended reading list and tutorial on how to find the time to read amidst a heaping helping of tiny humans running ’round the house.

Alas, I have plenty of recommended reads – just not too many suggestions on how to get them read while driving the juggernaut that IS motherhood with multiples. When you have two boys who are wilder than wildebeests revved up on red dye number 5, and a husband you don’t see often enough as it is, and the rather lofty goal of one blog per week to write (and writing comes slower and less-steady than a tortoise in a muck of molasses), plus a full-time job with unwieldy demands of its own, you just don’t get much reading done – or at least not the way I used to before twins. But I do accomplish a tad bit of reading — every, single night.

I’m talking about reading children’s books. To my little lads. At bedtime. And while that may not be the kind of recommended reading list my sweet cousin had in mind for my blog, I do have a couple of selections I am eager to share with you.

Both promote imagination, instill empathy, and most importantly of all, fortify young minds for the eventual challenges of adulthood.

The first is BJ Novak’s The Book with No Pictures. It is a piece of literary brilliance that sparkles with silliness and sass. It is all about the value and FUN of reading books without – you guessed it – PICTURES!

Now, as a literature teacher, reading is my bread and butter. And sadly, there are whole populations of students who take pride in the fact that they no longer read. They take pride in their own ignorance. And I’m sorry, but pride should be reserved for accomplishments and sexual preference, not ignorance! (But more on that in selection number two…)

As for The Book With No Pictures, it is full of colorful language and diversity. And I mean that literally — as in, there are lots of words in lots of different colors and lots of different fonts and sizes. There’s also an abundance of negative space on nearly every page. Novak’s book juxtaposes pared-down pages with wild and whimsical wording. The result is a little book making a big splash with a big message: Words. Are. Powerful.

And it is so true. Words are powerful, whether written or spoken. Because make no mistake about it, Novak’s book is meant to be read aloud. By adults. To kids.

Words can make us “say silly things and make silly sounds.” They can make us laugh, and sing, and see heads “made of blueberry pizza.”

Words can empower. And words can manipulate.

Words can make us believe in ourselves — or believe just the opposite.

Words are so very, very, VERY powerful.

And Novak’s work makes sure we realize their power. And my use of the word work here is quite calculated — because with good books, reading is far from passive. It should make you work. It should provoke thought and promote action. And this book stirs kids to action at a very young age. It dares them to listen, to create, to imagine, to believe.

So we’ve read our boys BJ Novak’s A Book With No Pictures nearly every night for over a year to cultivate their imaginations.


The second book in my preschool recommended reading list is A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo, by Jill Twiss. This one is a fairly recent find for our family. (In fact, it was only published in mid-March.) My big-hearted baby sis gave it to our boys as a birthday present. And just as we read A Book With No Pictures to cultivate active imaginations, we read Marlon Bundo to cultivate good humans.

Twiss’s book is a parody of one written by Mike Pence and featuring the pet BOTUS (Bunny of the United States), Marlon Bundo. But rather than telling the story of the bunny and his Vice President-owner, Twiss features Marlon Bundo and the love of his life, Wesley, whom he meets while hopping ‘round the grounds of the U.S. Naval Observatory. Twiss wrote it to counter the homophobia promoted by Pence and (for the most part) his political party.

Marlon Bundo sports a bow tie and Wesley wears spectacles, and they fall madly in love and want to live hoppily ever after. So they decide to marry. And their friends – like all good friends do – say, “Hooray!” But the establishment — namely, a giant Stink Bug who is In Charge and Important (even though nobody is really sure why he’s In Charge or Important) – says, “YOU CAN’T GET MARRIED!” He denies their right to love, to marriage, and to the pursuit of hoppiness. But after some lessons in electoral science as it should function — every vote counts! — the bunnies are successfully wed.

We’ve been reading this book to our boys every night for the last three months — not to promote our own political viewpoints or our dislike of the current administration (although that’s an added perk), but to teach our boys that Love is Love is Love is Love.

Because when you have several members of your extended family who share a love that the Stink Bug declares WRONG — as well as a four-year-old son who loves Disney princesses with a passion traditionally acceptable only if you are a girl — it is important to us that our boys know and understand that love is never wrong.


So yes, we read A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo every night, and we hear that “Boy bunnies can marry boy bunnies and girl bunnies can marry girl bunnies” and that being “Different is not bad.”

After all, each of us is different in some way, shape, or manner…

And that is a very good thing.

And so is the fact that “Stink Bugs are temporary,” but “Love is forever.”

So there you have it. These are the two books currently on our postmodern family’s recommended reading list for progressive preschoolers. Hopefully they will cultivate bookworms out of your own little wiggle worms. And in so doing, also cultivate great humans with really good hearts and really solid senses of humor.

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