BG Area Mothers of Multiples

a small glimpse in our unique journey…our real-life journey

It’s Never Too Early to Learn Another Language November 29, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — bgmoms @ 7:05 pm

I received an email from Emily Patterson of Primrose Schools a couple of weeks ago, offering to share an article she had written about the merits of bilingual education in early childhood.  Having not studied a foreign language myself until I was in high school, but ultimately majoring in a language in college, this is a topic near and dear to my heart…

Early Childhood Education – The Best Time For Bilingual Learning

Nobody really knows what the future will hold, but if current trends continue, our children will grow up to enter a workforce in which the competition is fierce.  So it goes without saying that a good education is one of the best ways to prepare our children for survival in that economic jungle of the future.

The Bilingual Future

One of these trends is the existence of a diverse, global society. Nowhere is this truer than in the United States.  Almost from the beginning, the U.S. has been a land of immigrants, and while the “melting pot” has been an interesting theory, it has not happened in practice. On the contrary, most major U.S. population centers have become more of an ethnic and linguistic checkerboard; Spanish, Russian, Vietnamese and Chinese speakers represent some of the fastest-growing segments of the immigrant U.S. population.

Getting Ready

A second language is normally introduced into a child’s education when they are in middle school, or even in some cases, not until the high school level.  Research has shown, however, that this teaching can begin as early as the age of two when most are either at home with their parent(s) or enrolled in a child care facility.  Studies clearly demonstrate that the optimal period in a child’s life for multilingual education is during the preschool years – at exactly the same time they are learning their first language. Yes, it is possible to learn a second and third language later in life, but it is more difficult, because that neurological “window of opportunity” – when the brain is most malleable – has passed.

According to many educators throughout the world, it is just as easy for young children to learn two or three languages as it is for them to learn one.  This has been believed for decades by many.  When young children are learning a second or third language, since they don’t fully understand their first, they don’t have anything to compare it to or have a barrier to learning a new one.

The best way for a child to learn a second language effectively is by being completely immersed in the environment. You may recall an episode of the animated series The Simpsons in which young Bart gets trapped on a farm in France – and by the end of the episode, finds he’s actually speaking the language. While this was a fictional scenario, the phenomenon is real; anyone who has taken young children abroad to stay with relatives in a foreign country for any length of time has observed this happening.

Co-written by Emily Patterson and Kathleen Thomas

Emily and Kathleen are Communications Coordinators for the network of Austin child care facilities belonging to the AdvancED® accredited family of Primrose child care schools.  Primrose Schools are located in 16 states throughout the U.S. and are dedicated to delivering progressive, early childhood, Balanced Learning® curriculum throughout their preschools.

Have you introduced any other languages to your children?  Did you do it formally or informally?  I’d love to hear about strategies that have worked for other families.

Mandy

 

What a Difference 18 Months Can Make! November 15, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — bgmoms @ 2:19 pm

My husband and I have been saying that a lot lately as we reflect on how we came to be here.

It’s not surprising that we are still in shock, even after 8 months of being pregnant with twin girls…since 18 months ago we were living in Germany, in separate beds in a tiny rented apartment with no jobs and nothing to our names except what was in our suitcases.

We are both astronomers and we had been going from 6 month contract to 6 month contract just seeing where the work would take us. We had been lucky that we had been able to work for over a year in Germany, in a little town just outside Berlin and the time had been wonderful but now it was coming to an end. Our only choice was to find another job or move in with my husband’s family back in Australia.

Luckily, just when things seemed their darkest, when we had almost given up trying to find an astronomy job and were looking at doing anything for a paycheck, my husband found a job being advertised that he was convinced I’d be perfect for.

It was at a place called Western Kentucky University in a town we’d never heard of. Very much to my surprise not only did this University give me the job but also hired my husband. We spent 4 months back in Australia trying to get all of the paperwork sorted out before in July of last year I found myself in Bowling Green, working at my dream job and adopting two gorgeous puppies from the local animal shelter.

Soon after my husband joined me and we decided that we wouldn’t wait but would try and buy a house as soon as possible. We found a wonderful realtor and she started looking for a house for us. She also asked us if we had seen any houses for sale that we wanted to be shown. There was a house, that we had seen online back in Australia, when we were checking out the area. It was still for sale and the moment the realtor showed us inside we knew it was the place for us.

So by Thanksgiving last year we had moved in to our very first house and happily proceeded to paint rooms and buy furniture.

Once we were settled we started thinking about a family. My husband and I have been married for 6 years, together for nearly 10, and since our wedding night we had stopped using any form of contraception. Still in the 6 years we hadn’t managed to fall pregnant. So we started getting all of the medical tests to see if something was wrong but we were both pronounced to be perfectly healthy (my husband is very proud of the fact that he was even called a ‘stud’!).

 However months of trying and a failed IUI had made me start to think that it just wasn’t going to happen for us, that I would have to reconcile myself to being happy for all the wonderful things that had already happened and not expect more.

I had been tracking my fertility signs and knew when I ovulated etc. This one month we were very busy and I knew that we had missed our ‘window of opportunity’, even if it was only by a day according to the chart. So I didn’t spend the next 2 weeks hoping and praying, checking for any early symptoms like I had done in the past. But I did go out and buy a pregnancy test – a nice, fancy, digital one.

According to my charts I would be late by the following Monday and could take the test. But the Sunday before that I found myself awake and in the bathroom at 4:30am because I had to pee. I figured that since I was there I may as well take the test. So I did, and then during the wait I did the only rational thing there was to do in a tiny bathroom – I started cleaning! So I have no idea how much time went by, but when I checked the stick – it said ‘pregnant’!

I rushed out to wake my husband, I was talking so fast and my words were very shaky so I’m not at all surprised that he couldn’t understand a word I was saying, I was telling him to turn on the light, to put on his glasses because there was something important that he had to read.

Initially he thought there was something wrong, that I had something in my eye for instance so when he realized that I was trying to make him read something in the early hours of the morning he very grumpily said “Why? What does it say?!?” and when I told him it said pregnant, he mumbled something and then went back to sleep!

I think it took him a while to get his head around the concept that we were pregnant, at 9 weeks we opted to get our first ultrasound, I was so worried that I just wanted to do everything possible to convince myself that we really were pregnant.

 We joked with the sonographer that at this early stage we wouldn’t be able to see much let alone identify it as a baby. The sonographer agreed but pointed out that what you would know for sure was if you were having more than one baby, at which point we laughed.

 There is no history of twins on either side of the family and that was the furthest thing from our minds until the sonographer said “I see two strong heartbeats, two healthy babies”. I asked him more than a dozen times if he was kidding and then turned to my husband and exclaimed “He’s not kidding!”, my husband’s first response was “Yay, we get to buy a new car!”. I think he took the news much better than I did.

Since then we have learned that we are having identical twin girls and now we just can’t wait to meet them.

The difference that 18 months made in our lives was not just a new job, house, puppies and now babies – but it has totally transformed us. I spend a lot of time thinking now, about how much of a difference the next 18 months is going to make in our lives, it’s something that my husband and I are looking forward to, both the challenges and the joys 🙂

We would welcome any advice you have for first time parents and parents of twins!

Rachel, whose identical twin girls are due in December

 

Making a Smooth Move with Twins in Tow November 10, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — bgmoms @ 3:07 am

Growing up an Army Brat I was lucky enough to live all around the world, which meant a lot of moving. Most of the time the burden of moving was put on my mother’s shoulders, since often my father had to arrive at our new destination before the rest of the family. My mother has literally moved with my two older brothers and me around the world three times.  This took a lot of creativity, patience and organization. All of this being said, when my husband, our twin girls and I began planning our move from Georgia to Kentucky, I was terrified, and I had so many questions. That is when the moving guru, my mother came to the rescue!

My husband accepted a job offer in the middle of January and our original move date was the first of February, I had a panic attack at that point. We didn’t have a place to live and I had two weeks to pack everything while my husband still worked at his old job in Georgia. Thankfully, our move date was pushed back until the middle of March, thus giving us plenty of time – we thought – to get everything handled. Our goal was to make the move as easy on our 14-month old twin girls as possible. We started with getting the girls used to sleeping somewhere else other than their bed in their house, so slumber parties at Grandma’s and Grandpa’s started on the weekends. I believe now learning to sleep somewhere other than in their own room and beds helped with the transition greatly.
Following my mother’s advice we set up criteria we needed in a house and started house hunting right away. Since we had family who lived in Bowling Green we had some help. After an exhaustive 3 days of looking at countless houses we found one that met all of our needs. Now that I knew how much room we would have I was able to sit down and plan what would go with us and what wasn’t necessary.
Packing for my husband and me was easy, I kept work clothes out and some everyday clothes for us, but when it came to the twins, packing was harder. The weather was constantly changing…we had snow one week and the next you could wear shorts outside, and so I had to keep out a small wardrobe for two seasons. I resigned myself to having to wash clothes more often than normal, meaning rather than a load a day I was doing two or three. My mother told me when she had to pack our toys up she would always have us help, especially once we started walking, so I did the same with my girls. The girls thought they were playing a game when they would find their toys and put them in the box for mommy. I kept a small amount of toys out for the girls to play with and to keep them occupied on the car ride from Georgia to Kentucky.

Moving day came fast, but surprisingly I was able to get everything packed and ready early. I don’t remember my mom having a stressful moving day and I guess it is because she always had everything clearly labeled and packed early, so I followed her steps and had a smooth day. Everything was in the garage and the girls were confined to one area of the house so they didn’t get hurt or in the way. My husband left a day ahead of our caravan, which consisted of my mother-in-law driving my husband’s truck, my sister-in-law in her car, and me with the girls.

I planned us leaving around the girls’ naptime.  I have learned with the girls if I can get them to take a nap, a long trip can go smoothly. The ride from Georgia to Kentucky is normally a 4.5 hour drive if you are making it without kids, but with the girls the trip took 6 hours. I packed snacks for the girls to eat, Gerber Puffs and Gold Fish, and sippy cups were filled with juice. The girls were dressed in comfortable clothes that were also easy for me to change diapers. We stopped halfway to eat lunch, let the girls stretch their legs and change diapers, but as always right after lunch we had to make a diaper changing stop. Since my husband and I had driven the route a couple of times we were familiar with the best places to stop.

When we arrived in Kentucky at our new house, my husband had the truck unloaded, the girls beds set up, and boxes in the right rooms. This helped greatly as we introduced the girls to their new home. Luckily with having family in town we were able to leave the girls with them while we unpacked the important items. Our first goal was to get the living room area clear so the girls could play, as well as to get their room and play room set up. With this done we were able to have the girls sleep in their beds in their new room the first night. The first time in their new room they fought going to sleep, but soon adjusted to their new surroundings.

What I thought would be a scary process turned out to be easy. The girls have blossomed here, with the biggest adjustments being the one hour time change, and a different bath tub. The girls are creatures of habit; they didn’t like the new bath tub, but have now grown to love bath time again. Having their own play room not only helped me out but inspired their imagination to grow. Although it was not a simple task, being organized was what helped me most.

Bethane’, mom to identical twin girls

 

A New Mommy with a New Career November 2, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — bgmoms @ 1:40 am

Since becoming a mom of twins 7 months ago, my life has changed drastically.

My new bedtime is 1am. I’m now a morning person, which before them I was the complete opposite. There is no cup of coffee in the world that can give you the jolt that two beautiful smiling faces can give you every morning.

I never thought my days would be spent making animal noises until I was hoarse…just to hear those sweet little giggles. I actually barked like a dog while shopping for pork chops at the grocery last week, I guess it’s just become habit. Boy, did I get some looks. I always have the hot dog song stuck in my head all day long.

No matter how much time I spend cleaning, there is always a sinkful of bottles and a huge pile of laundry staring me in the face. I always explain to guests, “I promise my house was clean when we woke up this morning.”

I’ve definitely had to learn to prioritize and manage my time wisely. When the babies happen to be napping at the same time, I run around like a crazy woman trying to get something accomplished. Because, when Hudson and Paislee are awake, all of my time is devoted to them. And there is nothing in the world I’d rather be doing than taking care of them.

I’m definitely no superwoman…far from it. If I don’t have time to cook dinner…we can order in. If the laundry isn’t always finished…it can wait another day. If I’m not always on time, people will just have to understand. At the end of the day, as long as my family is happy and healthy, that’s all that really matters.

On top of becoming a new mom of twins, I’m also juggling a new career.

My mom has owned her own photography business, Wolfe Photography for over 10 years now. I’ve grown up around it and love doing it. My mom has Multiple Sclerosis and her health has recently gotten worse. We decided together that it was a great time for me to step up and join the family business with her. She’s been training me for some time now.

My babies inspire me to succeed at this and better myself for them. It also allows me not to lose my identity and creativity. It’s like a hobby in many ways. I love it! I am so incredibly blessed to be able to have a career and still be a stay at home mom. Even though I’m super busy, I have the best of both worlds!

I’ve decided to offer a 10 % discount to all BGMoM’s wanting to book a photo session. I know firsthand how expensive multiples can be, especially with the holidays approaching. So anyone that wants to book a session can message me.  Go to Wolfe Photography’s FB page for more info.

As chaotic as my life can be, I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. I never knew it was possible to have so much love in my heart. Becoming a mom has made me a better person. March 25, 2010, my life truly began when Hudson and Paislee arrived. I love everything about motherhood and can’t wait to watch my babies grow up. God has truly blessed me!

Andrea, mom to B/G twins Hudson and Paislee