Thursday, June 16, 2011

The promised Video

As promised, here is the video. The boys get very little TV time in a day. Corwyn couldn't care less. He will watch 'In the Night Garden' (with a passion) but nothing else has caught his eye. Nathan on the other hand is a TV junkie and if I let him would watch it non-stop. They have only seen PBS and TreehouseTV. This is what happens if I try to change the channels.

And for those with, here is a link that has pictures took of some of the volunteers who showed up for the cleanup effort today. Now this is my city

Monkey See, Monkey Do

Sorry to those who saw the title and expected a cute little story about toddler shenanigans, this one is a bit more serious. It does have some toddler doings but only in relation to the bigger picture.

I live in Vancouver. This is one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever been too. The world had a great view into it during the 2010 Olympics. They saw some of what I see every day, the majestic mountains, the accessible (and clean) beaches, the friendly and helpful people. It certainly helped tourism.

We have a NHL hockey team here called the Canucks. In the 13 years I’ve lived here, the Canucks have had good and bad seasons. This year they had a fabulous one. They not only made the playoffs but they continued to win each series. Then came the last one, the final series for the Stanley Cup. The entire city has been pumped up. It’s been a great rallying point. Total strangers are giving each other high fives for just wearing a Canucks Jersey. Friendly discussions among friends break out over who will win Vancouver or Boston. It was a great series, with it able to go either way before each game. They stretched it out to 7 games.

The Canucks played well, but we lost. The fans were great. In the stadium, even after the loss they gave their team a standing ovation cheering ‘Go Canucks go’ over and over again. It was wonderful to see. Outside, at the huge viewing areas, things were not going so well. All fans were disappointed. Most started to pack up to head home. But a select few had other plans. I suspect they had these plans no matter what the outcome of the game was. They were looking for violence and they were going to drag as many people in as they could.

A couple of them started to tip over a car. They got it upside down. Then they encouraged others to help. Footage shows many jumping up on the car and cheering. Then the car was set on fire. At this point people had choices. They could go home or they could stay. If they stayed, they could try to stop it, sit back and watch in horror or join in. I’m sad to say that many chose to join in.

Monkey see, monkey do. Many of these joiners are those who had no intention of violence when they left, people who wouldn’t do it who got caught up. While many are ‘young’ all are still old enough to know better. All are still responsible for their actions.

I have a pair of toddlers who have mastered monkey see, monkey do. If one throws his food on the floor, and laughs about it, his brother who may have never thought to do it will. If it’s funny with one, imagine how hilarious it is with two? They are slowly learning though. There is sometimes some hesitation and looks to me to see if I approve before copying a brother. Sometimes they even stop short of following through. They are learning that monkey see, monkey do is not the right way to behave. They are 2 - a mear 24 months - toddlers. They have an excuse. The morons who destroyed the downtown last night have no excuse, none.

I have coworkers who grew up in war torn countries. They were surrounded by rioting and devastation by people who were just trying to survive. They came to Canada to escape that. It’s a crime that they are now presented with the same level of violence over a simple sports game.

There are currently pleas by the police for people to send in footage that can help identify the criminals responsible. The response is overwhelming. There are people who showed up this morning with brooms to clear the glass off the sidewalks and help small businesses so they could open again. The normal, sane people are rallying to bring Vancouver back to what it was and what it should be.

I was going to include some links to footage but I’m not going to bother. You can find them easily by searching ‘Vancouver riot’. It’s all over the news and youtube videos. I live walking distance to where this all happened. I could hear the helicopters well into the night. I had to close my windows because a small change in the breeze would have sent the tear gas/pepper spray in my direction. The boys happily slept through it. I’m physically okay but still feeling sad and a little bit scared by the events.

On a light note, once I’m home tonite, I’ll post a video of what happens in my place if I dare to try to watch hockey on TV. Its toddler adorable.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Book Review - Emotionally Healthy Twins

Books on twins; there aren’t really all that many out there and I think I’ve read most. Some are informational, some dry, and some are hilarious. Some of the pregnancy ones are good but also a bit outdated. One of the funnier ones I read was Juggling Twins. It was good for a laugh, but not really practical. The most practical raising twin book I found was Emotionally Healthy Twins.

I first picked this up about a year ago. The author is a psychologist who specializes in families, particularly those with twins. But more than that, she is herself an identical twin and raised twin boys (along with 3 singletons). She has personal background, experience and training. So I decided to give her a read.

The book is organized chronologically from prenatal up to the high school and early adult years. Each section has information, recommendations and at least one case study. I only read up to the grade school section. I’m keeping the book and will reread the current stage sections along with the next one periodically as the boys grow.

I started reading when my boys were almost toddlers. So I had already missed out the chance to implement the first two sections (during pregnancy and baby time). Crap. At first I felt horrible that I had screwed up so much. While I wasn’t doing everything ‘wrong’, I wasn’t doing all of it how she suggests. Then I calmed down a bit and kept going. The information is only that, information. I can use it or not how I choose. Some of what she said came natural to me. Other things just aren’t practical, even if they “make sense” (for example their own rooms from the start – we’re in a one bedroom apartment for all of us, no one has their own room and even different age siblings often share a room).

Much of what she says is (or should be) common knowledge. While they are twins, they are still two distinct individuals (even if ‘identical’). She is not the first person who emphasizes not to give them cutesy rhyming names. Whenever possible, give them alone time with each parent/caregiver. Do not assume/force them into liking the same thing. But she goes much further than that. She recommends to not refer to them as twins. They are siblings who just happen to be born on the same day – so if you need a term, use ‘same age siblings’. And even have two birthday parties on different days with different themes and friends invited (I can see this happening at our place once they get older).

While she has case studies and I’m sure they are factual, remember that in her practice, she is only going to see families/twins who have known issues. The methods she promotes might not be necessary in all cases. And to be honest, I’ve seen some, if not most, of the same issues in siblings of different ages. I think it’s just a bit easier to identify and correct than it is with twins.

There is one example she has the bugs me. She gives it as an example of how you sometimes should/can not be fair to each twin. It’s not the message per se, just the example. In it, each child is given a reward chart with a prize at the end. One excels at it, the other doesn’t (it sounds like she wasn’t ready for this system) but mom sneaks stars onto it so that both get the prize in the end at the same time. She says this because mom wants to be fair. WTF! No, mom was not fair because the one who earns it is getting shafted by the one who gets something for nothing. I still think as a parent you need to be fair when you can be, which may not always seem like fair to the kids.

I’m not going to give you all the details. You should really read the book. But if I were to summarize the underlying statement it in one sentence, I’d say “Treat and respect each child as the individual they are.” For me, in our family, I go one step further and add “while still honoring that they are twins.”

Oh, if your twins are already in high school and totally well adjusted, you might want to skip the book. You’ll either spend all of it disagreeing with her or feeling like a total failure.

If you’re newly pregnant or recently delivered with twins (or more) this book is well worth the read. If you really want to know and see the range of twin parenting, find and join a local parents of multiples group.

I watch my boys, as all parents do and if something worries me, then I’ll follow up on it, for now we’re going with the flow. They are very clearly two different boys. I love each for who he is. And clearly, they love each other.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Arrrrrrghhh Matey

Ask a toddler to smile and this is what you get - a perfect Pirate look