The Munchkins

Life with identical twins

Almost First Graders

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Today is our last day at summer camp. If I never have to pack up two snacks, lunch, a water bottle, swimsuit, towel, and sunscreen again until next June, I will be a happy camper. We are all over it and ready for school to start. Their backpacks and lunchboxes are trashed from the summer, and I will happily pitch them in the garbage once we’re home. (As well as Laney’s favorite pair of summer shoes that STINK something fierce.) I hope they like school lunch because I want at least a week off.

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Today is also Meet Your Bus Driver and Meet Your Teacher! We had an inkling who their teachers were from the end of the school year, and were happy to see that confirmed this week. Caden’s teacher from last year is moving up to first grade, which will ease her transition big time. Delaney has a teacher we’ve heard amazing things about. I think she used to be an engineer? Delaney is very into building things right now, so that’s a perfect fit. We even got our same bus stop this year, we are ready to go.

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We have a few things planned for September, but in our down time we will be organizing the house from top to bottom. They’ve grown out of a lot of their toys, so I’m hoping to figure out what I can sell in a garage sale next spring, and what should go to Goodwill. I’d also like to reclaim the basement toy room and turn it back into a guest bedroom. They haven’t played down there in a year, might as well clean it out and make use of it.

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Tuesday was my six year blogging anniversary here. I always mean to post something retrospective on that date, but it slips my mind every year. As the girls get older I make more and more of an effort to respect their privacy. This blog has become about more than just them out of necessity. As we move into first grade, I often wonder what, if anything will change. I’ve considered posting less, or focusing more on pictures, but nothing has really felt right to me. Yet. The daily outfit pictures will make a comeback, as I’ve loved looking through last September’s pictures and seeing their long hair! But beyond that, we shall see.

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Laney loves popcorn

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Jumping Sunsets

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Tough Decisions

Thursday evening a dog trainer came out to help us deal with some of Charlie’s behavior issues. The longer Charlie was at our house, the more comfortable he became, and the more his bad behaviors increased. I worked from home on Thursday and it was nonstop all day. He was barking, knocking things over, getting into things. To answer my uncle’s question No, being in a crate all day had nothing to do with his behavior. Being crated was a good thing for him. It kept him calm, and his behavior was the best for the hour or so after he got out. But without boundaries? Typical dopey puppy behavior. And we needed tools to deal with it.

The conversation didn’t really go as I thought it would. What I saw as minor issues, she saw as more major red flags. Charlie is afraid of a few things, namely parked cars and certain people. The fear of parked cars has gotten markedly better the more walks we’ve gone on, but his fear of certain people hasn’t gone anywhere. To my surprise, he was afraid of the dog trainer.

We talked a lot about training options, going to classes versus having a trainer come to the house to work specifically with Charlie. We also talked about the fact that maybe Charlie wasn’t the right dog for our house, that maybe he was more dog than I was really prepared to deal with. From her viewpoint he needed significant training to overcome his bad habits, with continued support for years. Could I do that? I felt like I could, or that at least I wanted to try.

And then he reacted to her in a way that made us both very uncomfortable. His fear of her became more corner and attack, rather than flee. She was very concerned about this behavior pattern, especially as he grows older and becomes more confident. Her recommendation was that we return him to the humane society.

Hearing her say those words, I knew she was right, and yet I looked at his sweet face and it was hard to come to terms with it. The truth is, I have a lot of people through my house. He’s very afraid of my cleaning guy, what will happen there in the future? What about babysitters? Knowing what I knew, I couldn’t take the risk.

I debated how much of all of this to share. I feel like I have to defend my decision, when truly, I don’t. In all of this, I was most worried about how it would look to everyone else, everyone who only knew how sweet Charlie was when he was on the end of a leash, calm and quiet. I felt like it would look like I gave up on a hard dog because it was too much work. I’ve turned comments off on this and I’m not posting it to Facebook because quite honestly, I’m not interested in feedback. This was a very difficult decision, but I can only hope that it was the right decision for both sides. Charlie deserves the very best in a forever home, and I hope he gets it.

As a family, we’ve agreed to wait until October 1 to make any decisions on future dogs. Given what I know now, I think it will be a smaller dog, two years old or older that is already trained, from a rescue organization. That said, this is a lesson I wish we could have learned some other way.

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Decisions and Consequences

This summer has been hard, there are no two ways around that. Lucy and her health were the entire summer. Either I was anxious about how she was doing, or I was grieving. Her death affected me far deeper than I ever expected it to. I have quite honestly been lost without her. I cry every day, I miss her so much.

Compounding that, was my asinine decision to adopt Charlie.

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Charlie is mostly a good dog, until he isn’t. But let’s be honest, he’s 10 months old. Getting a 10 month old dog is like getting a puppy, without all the sleepy, newborn, cuddly, fall in love with them part and only getting the yelling at them part. The more comfortable he gets at our house, the more he acts out. In front of other people though? He’s a dream! Perfectly behaved.

Charlie has been a handful for me. He’s barking, he’s chewing, he’s stealing something, he’s destroying something. And it all makes me very angry. Angry because that stupid surgery likely made me miss out on time I could have had with Lucy. Angry because I adopted a dog way too soon, without thinking things through because I was so anxious without an animal in the house. Angry because now I have to deal with this dog and train him, when all I want to do is hide out. And so I’m angry. Angry and sad and angry and sad. I have thought about returning him, but I’m not sure I could do that to Delaney. Long term I think he’ll be a great dog, but long term is still a ways away, and we need to make it there all in one piece.

Angry Erin doesn’t want to be social which iisĀ an issue. I have gone out not one single time this summer. The one time I booked a babysitter was to go to my cousin’s wedding. I keep saying I’m ready for summer to end, because in the fall I can stay home and not feel guilty about it. Tuesday night we took Charlie for a walk and met up with neighbors halfway around the circle. We hung out for more than an hour, and it was incredibly good for all of us. It raised my spirits tremendously, we clearly need to do that more.

A dog trainer is coming to our house tonight, and will hopefully give us some tips for how to deal with Charlie. He has a lot of bad habits we need to break. We’ve taken him for walks the last two nights which exhausts him mentally. It allows him to just lay by me after the girls go to bed, rather than pace the house like a crazy dog, which is a welcome break.

I’m hoping the transition to fall will be good for all of us. It will no longer be the summer Lucy died, but the fall the girls started first grade. Hopefully it will help me move on and past some of this anger and grief. Hopefully Charlie will continue to learn, and eventually be a dog I can enjoy, rather than discipline constantly.

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Take us out to the ballgame

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The plan for Sunday was to hang at the lake for most of the day. Unfortunately, shortly after breakfast it started raining and radar showed that it would be doing that most of the day. Back home was clear and sunny though, so we decided to head back. We have been home bodies this summer. There have been very few weeknight runs to the pool, whereas last year we were doing that all the time. No adventures, only a few frozen yogurt runs, no playdates. It’s definitely been a rough summer for us, so I wanted to do something fun with our Sunday. I looked at my phone and realized there was an afternoon Twins game. They aren’t playing very well, so I figured we could get cheap tickets.

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I’m not the best negotiator, and I hate dealing with scalpers, so I took the first deal I was offered that I could afford. The guy had two tickets in the second level behind home plate. I carried Caden through the gates and no one said a word – so crazy! We got to the stadium right as the game was supposed to start, but there was a bit of a rain delay so we wandered around and found the food we wanted. Caden even got a new baseball hat! (She lost her old one, of course).

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Our seats were good, and luckily they were just in front of the enclosed bar, because by the second inning it was raining. We hid out for a bit, then headed back to our seats when it let up. Then it rained again, so we bought some rain ponchos because the girls really wanted to watch the game. In past years Twins games have been mostly about the food, but this year they clapped along to the songs and cheered when we hit home runs, and even followed how many outs we had. We toughed it out through a rain delay, but by the time we’d been there three hours, and the guys in the bar were fairly drunk, I called it and we headed home.

It definitely wasn’t the ideal Twins game, but I’m so glad we did it. I’ve really been making an effort to get us all out of the house lately, and it’s been good for everyone, including the dog.

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Summer Halloween

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Ahhh! I cannot find my camera cord! I took nice pictures of the girls in their costumes on my big camera, but of course can’t get those pictures off the camera. Instead the random phone shots I grabbed while we were trick or treating.

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It was Halloween in August at the lake last weekend. The girls have been talking about this for weeks! Planning and prepping and which costume would they wear? They both went with their Halloween costumes from last year. Delaney’s costume looks so much better without two layers underneath to keep her warm! I was worried Caden’s costume would be too hot, but she was fine.

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They started out riding on the back of the golf cart, but quickly figured out it was easier to hop on and off if they stood up front and hung on. They got a ton of candy but given the dentist situation from that morning, they will be eating very little of it.

They were both big talkers about going on the kids haunted trail. I was super surprised that they wanted to do this, but figured we would give it a shot. Caden bailed while we were standing in line. Delaney made it on the trail, but as soon as the first guy jumped out to scare her, she was out of there! The guy running the trail kept apologizing but honestly, I’d rather have her bail in the beginning, then get halfway through and then have no way of getting out without scaring her more. My mom and I went on the trail later and it was scary! So glad the girls knew their limits.

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Dentist Fail

Saturday morning we had a dentist appointment. This certainly wasn’t my first choice of times, but it is amazingly hard to schedule appointments now that the girls aren’t in daycare anymore. I used to schedule back to back appointments, but finally got smart and scheduled them for the same time. They were even in rooms next to each other.

Caden has had three cavities so far, so I expected a cavity or two for her. She had three cavities this time! Two on one side, and one on the other requiring TWO appointments to fill them.

Delaney had two cavities, which was completely disheartening. She hasn’t had any up until now.

We also had a different dentist than normal and she did not pull any punches (in fact, I thought she was rather rude). At this point I let the girls brush their own teeth. I have for the last six months, hence Delaney’s cavities. They brush every night and we try to brush in the morning, but often we are pressed for time. And we don’t floss. Got in trouble for all of that. Over and over. Six year olds are not old enough to brush their own teeth. Point $#!@ taken.

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Two updates

* On the advice of the dog trainer who is coming next week, we have been keeping Charlie on a leash when he’s in the house. It’s helped a ton! Keeps him much calmer, and he has no opportunity to bite the girls or their toys. It isn’t a long term solution, but it’s definitely proven that he is a dog who needs solid boundaries.

* We worked on tying shoes last night and it did not go well. First, I think the shoes we bought are hard to tie. They don’t stay tight, which makes it that much harder. That said, Caden just does not get it at this point. Her fingers and the laces are all over, no matter which way we tried to tie. I think it’s a fine motor thing, because she was having trouble manipulating the smaller lego pieces as well. In what was a crushing blow to her ego, Delaney can tie like a pro. We’ll be shopping for velcro shoes next week.

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Real Twins

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Yesterday morning I was at the dentist chatting up my hygienist. I brought the girls along, which I don’t normally do, and she hadn’t met them before. She asked if they were identical or fraternal, and upon hearing they were identical, commented that they didn’t look alike at all. I told her they used to look more alike when they were younger, but now that they’re older and their hair is different, they look completely different. It was one of those conversations where you forget the kids are in the room and listening.

Fast forward to later in the morning and the girls have hatched a plan for the haircuts that we were getting later in the day. The previous plan was for both of them to get a trim, but suddenly they wanted the same haircut so they could look alike, like “real twins”.

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I cracked up because when you’re pregnant with identical twins you worry about treating them differently and letting them be individuals, and the next thing you know they are purposely getting their hair cut the same so they can look exactly alike. And whoa do they look alike now! Especially from the side or behind. I cannot get used to Delaney’s short hair and legitimately called her Caden twice. The top photo is deceiving, because they’re only 1/4″ apart in height right now too. We shall see if they fool their camp counselors today!

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