Third Kids, Sixth Kids and Last Kids

My youngest daughter, Charlotte, just started nursery school.  She attends the same school my twins did, who are six years older than she is.  When the twins started, I was grateful for the phase-in period, where caregivers had to stay in the back of the room for the first few sessions, all of which were shorter than the full 2 hour 45 minutes.  I was not sure they were ready to be dropped off – it seemed like a big transition for them and for me.

This time around, when I got the phase-in schedule for Charlotte, I wondered aloud to my husband why we could not just drop her off for the whole session the first day. He reminded me of how grateful I had been with the twins in 2007, and that she is actually three months younger than they were when they started. But even he, as the primary caregiver, is willing to drop her off much more readily than he was the twins.

This third child seems to benefit from our experience and also maybe suffer a bit.  It’s a strange brew of impatience and wisdom and jaded parenting.  Continue reading

Naming Twin A and Twin B, Too Soon

The day after my twins were born, my mom handed me the birth certificates the nurse had brought in earlier. I had put them aside, too consumed with the status of my tiny preemies, a few floors down from me in the neonatal intensive care unit, their tiny bodies engulfed in tubes, where they would stay for two months. “They cannot be Parker A and Parker B forever,” my mom said to me now, referring to the nomenclature doctors use for twins in utero and in the NICU. Those little beings in the incubators did not seem real to me at that moment, but she was, obviously, right.

I realized I had no second name, first or middle. In fact, I had no middle name for the first twin. All I had was Natalie. Continue reading

It’s Our Dad

I have many role models, some famous, some not. Most of them are women. Especially after I became a mother, I looked to mothers with different kinds of jobs and different kinds of philosophies as examples as I figured out my own path.  But, if I had to choose one role model, there is no doubt it would be my father.

His work ethic is enviable; his modesty even more so.  He doesn’t need public praise or external validation.  In fact, he wouldn’t like it if I told him I was writing this essay.  He never talked about working hard to us, his six kids, but he did not have to.  We all knew.  We knew that the comfortable life we had was in suburban Long Island because of that hard work.  My father lived the American dream, or North American dream — he is Canadian, after all.  He climbed the socioeconomic ladder though his hard work in a way that is lamentably rare today. Continue reading