I sat down with lots of thoughts about the way that every year Rebecca and Jonathan’s birthday seems to become more and more of a full time job. We have so far been involved with 60 cupcakes from Harris Teeter and two separate cakes made by me and decorated by Rebecca and the fun is not yet over. (Thank you Anna for introducing me to your Friend HT the first year we were here and the school birthday thing came up) And I was thinking at dinner of all the ways that it’s complicated to be a mother of twins and actually said to Jonathan, who as usual refused to eat anything but bread and cheese. “I’ve been feeding you for seven years and I’m sick of it.” (this is a kid who was as they say "failure to thrive" and had feeding therapy so when I say feeding I mean it with a capital F. Luckily for me it’s also a kid who gets sarcasm and pretty much laughed at me and got his orange cheese. He will not hopefully have to take that comment to his therpaist later in life.)
But then I looked back at my journal from March of 2004 when they turned one. That was the year the kids failed the pointing test. Jonathan had no teeth and one word—uh oh. He weighed about 17lbx, not much for a one year old. Rebecca, we thought was a genius because when she wanted us to sing she sort of hummed ba ba and swung back and forth. She was the fattest low birthweight baby anyone had every seen and was radically opposed to anyone touching her but us and our friend Gary Marker. She also treated her friends and loved ones to a febrile seizure which involved turning blue and riding in an ambulance. This had the benefit of making almost every other medical problem seem sort of trivial. My Monteverdi book was in press and I was dealing with copyediting and thinking I’d never have another academic idea. In March of 2005 when they turned two I decided that I might want to write a book on castrato but wondered if I’d actually have anything to say and if it was possible to do archival work after kids. Rebecca had learned to take her pants on and off, and was fascinated by the Pope’s funeral “pope all gone” Jonathan still wasn’t talking much but did a lot of air guitar and what we called speaking Chinese, full stories with gestures and punctuation. He was an excellent climber and the day after their birthday slid down the slide, landed with his face in the sand, got a fat lip, and refused to get on a slide for almost three years after that.
So now they are seven and they are supposed to be asleep but they are looking up lynx in their encyclopedia and reciting speeches, and singing Jewish songs. They still talk mostly in the we, and every so often they still cuddle up in the same bed and seem to forget whose legs are whose. Rebecca got a sewing machine for her birthday and made me a cell phone case. Jonathan got some sort of lego starwars thing from hell which took my dad an hour to put together one part of and has utterly defeated Manuel. We brought cupcakes to two first grade classes. Jonathan’s class was learning about presidents. When the student teacher asked what war Lincoln fought in Jonathan answered “the Black Hawk War,” the teacher then asked for a more famous war that he might be more familiar with. To the question which president was affiliated with UVa, Joanthan answered Woodrow Wilson. Rebecca’s teacher asked Rebecca to choose a book for me to read to the class. She chose a Passover book about Mirium which seemed sweet and feminist until I started reading and realized that it was Passover at it’s goriest complete with bloody dead first born sons and way more talk of God’s saving our people from slavery than I’m comfortable with in a public school in Virginia. This involved some serious rewriting on the spot, the teacher laughing, and Rebecca saying “mommy you’re not reading all the words….” The birthday was not without drama. Rebecca was home sick with strep throat and at bedtime had a full meltdown because she didn’t spend enough time with her brother. Eli was convinced it was his birthday too and spent much of the evening yelling “it’s willy willy my birfday and I have a twin too.”
Tomorrow is the birthday party. I lost the list of who we invited, (each kid picked six kids) and I'm certain that not everyone RSVP'd. But that will be ACAC's problem! This is the first time I've ever done a full out farm it out birthday party and while I feel it perhaps signifies another way in which I am not mother of the year my friends assure me that the kids will love it and that it will actually be cheaper than the clever events I've done at our house! And there is nothing to clean up which is excellent since super Dad cleaneruper is crashed out from China jet lag.