Watching Like a Writer

When I first started to try to buckle down to make writing a Real Thing I Do, I bought a bunch of books about writing. Some of them were good, some were kind of silly. Many of them recommended that I read books in my genre with an analytical eye, and even try to break them down for myself into the standard parts of a plot, so I could see how others did it. This was a recommendation that invariably annoyed me, because I was a reader long before I was a writer (elementary school book-writing efforts notwithstanding), and as a reader, I can’t do anything but lose myself in a book. Like, really lose myself. I can’t read when my children are around, because they could set themselves on fire and I might not notice. I’m a deep reader, is what I’m saying. So I’ve always found it impossible to draw back from the consumption of the book as a reader to try to analyze it as a writer, which has made my attempt to learn how to write better occasionally frustrating.

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A Day In The Life: 2 Years

It’s been a while since I wrote up one of these, and we’re settled into a schedule that we’ll be keeping until probably September or so, at least, so it seems like a good time. The twins are now almost two (at the end of the month), so I’m calling this our two-year schedule. Since the last time I wrote one of these, we’ve committed to being more active; PB’s diagnosed social delays have all but vanished now that we’re regularly going to meetups, playdates, and other social exercises where he can interact with other kids. It seems his issue was mostly lack of experience combined with a bit of innate introvertedness (the poor boy is overshadowed by the rest of us violent extroverts around here). So he can sometimes get a little overwhelmed by crowds, but he self-manages really well and (so far) hasn’t ever really melted down. He just finds a quiet corner to decompress for a few minutes and then throws himself back into the fray. (Previously, he spent most of the time at any gathering playing by himself in a corner and didn’t interact with other children. Now he loves other kids, especially big kids.)

So. Here’s how we spend our day. And yes, we still have a firm schedule! Another twin parent recently said to us, “You don’t mess with the twin schedule. People just don’t understand.” I laughed, because it’s true. (To be fair, it’s not JUST twins – but every twin parent I know has learned to love the schedule!) This is primarily our weekday schedule – weekends can be a little different depending on what we have planned, but we still generally hit all the same benchmarks.

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A Day In The Life: 18 Months

I, um, skipped a Day In The Life post. Sorry. I kept meaning to post the 16-month one, and then time just kept passing. It’s just as well; things as they were at 16 months did not stay that way for very long, as we were right in the middle of a big transition. Another one, I should say.

Two huge differences between now and my last DITL post: the twins are fully weaned, and now take only one nap a day. It feels like an entirely different world.

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Personalized Signs for the Discerning Toddler

This isn’t so much a project or a tutorial as simply a set of links. If your toddlers like Mickey Mouse Clubhouse anywhere near as much as mine do, you’ve probably considered doing some sort of Mickey activity, whether for a birthday party or a more everyday thing.

clubhouseI’ll assume that most readers will probably put this to a more elegant, impressive use than I did: My son likes to hide and play in the niche between our bar cabinet and the kitchen wall. He spends so much time there that we’ve started calling it his clubhouse. I think you can see where this is going.

If you’d like to make your own sign, whether for somebody’s every day fort or for place holders at a birthday party or a door sign or whatever, here’s what I did.

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A Day In The Life: Twelve Months

The thing about having a schedule is that it gives you the confidence to ignore it. new schedule

What I mean is, knowing that tucked securely in your back pocket is a firm, decided-upon schedule can give you the ability to break away; you know that should everything go wrong, you have a plan. You know what the schedule will be and thus you know what to do to get back on it.

All this is to say that now, at one year old, we are doing a lot of straying from our schedule. It has taken a long time to build up the confidence I am talking about; but we have proven that we can make, keep, and evolve our schedule successfully, so I am much more willing now to go off of it if I need to.

That confidence has come just in time, because we are growing ever closer to both weaning and dropping from two naps down to just one. Yikes! I think both of those milestones will hit sometime over the summer, but we are trying to ease gently into in over the next few months.

Here’s our nominal schedule, with notes on how we depart from it frequently.

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First Birthday Party: Accomplished

February was, on the whole, a decidedly unpleasant month. Lots of drama and two weeks of illness put a major damper on our birthday party ambitions – which is probably for the best, on the whole. But we did manage to pull off a pretty great first birthday party nonetheless, and the construction theme was a big hit. The babies were pretty confused about the whole thing – skipping their afternoon nap in favor of lots of people and chaos around didn’t help, I’m sure.

cake smash

They got their own “smash cakes” – just a couple of pieces of cake I’d cut from leftovers from making the big cake and covered in whipped cream. They were somewhat unimpressed, but tried to get into the spirit of the thing since there was a vast crowd of people standing around egging them on.

We had a lot of fun putting together the birthday party. A few of the things on our master plan didn’t wind up happening, but here’s a recap of what we did.

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Happy Birthday

babies1My children were born a year ago today, at 8:39 and 8:40 AM respectively. It’s hard to believe it’s been a year. If I sit down and think, I can still feel the way I felt that day – albeit slightly better rested now, thank goodness. I can still summon up the feeling of stinging anxiety in the center of my chest; there was a lot of not knowing what was going to happen involved in my delivery, because it was an early one.

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