Dec 23, 2008


The boys are exactly 2 and 1/2 years old today. And it was exactly 2 years and 1 month ago, on Thanksgiving Day, that we laid live eyes on our boys in the flesh and knew they were real. Up until that point I had my doubts. I looked and felt awful just before we met; my nervous face is not pretty. But they--my Jah but they were cute babies. I was so embarrassed because I had never changed a diaper in my life. Jerry had to show me how to pace and bounce baby when he cries. All that stuff was easy to learn and some sort of instinct seemed to come out of me--from nowhere. I can't believe this will be our third Christmas together.

Two years ago . . .

In the last two years the hardest of all was somewhere in the late teen months when clingy anxious took over two of the three (and left by the 20 something months). The best of all has been getting to know them; discovering more about each boy's personality everyday. He's the sweet little bug, He the mad dasher, and He the ornery particular one (formerly known as the follower, the fussy one, and the smiley one). Will my labels stick or will they surprise me? I can't wait to learn more . . .

One year ago . . .

They are good boys. They can scream and kick and act awful in a grocery store, restaurant (I have a doozey of a restaurant story for you--for now I'll say no more restaurants for long time to come), but I am left for no wants when it comes to sweet lovin. Give me that smile, those arms around me, watch these babies wiggle around in a wrestle grip together, and what more could I ask for? And except for grocery stores and restaurants, two is not really so terrible. It's not as rosy-cheeked and rolly-polly as baby, but it's way more laughs. And they just get cuter and cuter and cuter . . . and life feels harder since we hit two, but fuller and more satisfying.

Happy Holidays everybody. May your life be hard in good ways.

Dec 9, 2008

Two Peas Plus One Pod

One question we get asked often and something I think about too . . . do we detect differences, in what ever way differences manifest, between identical Bereket and Sira versus each of them with fraternal brother Tsega? Answer: yes.

I say there are clear and remarkable differences between Bereket and Sira. I feel differences between their overall auras and the way they move about, behave, sound, and express themselves. Yet at the same time, I can't seem to communicate very large differences to outsiders effectively. And hardly anybody has become very good at telling them apart with confident gusto. I fear they will always be greeted with a shaky "Hi there." and never like what Tsega gets: "Hi Tsega!!!". Show me a picture and I can tell you in an instant who is who. I think pictures capture their individualities better than the roving eye and I know you, readers, are pretty good at it. Get them running around the house naked, however, and I need more clues.

So yes, Bereket and Sira are different, but so much alike in so many ways it's spooky. It's genetic power. They tend to mill around together, wander off in the same direction (see photos captured above), observe the same things, stop and play the same toy together, mimic one another, turn their heads in the same direction at the same time, want the same thing at the same time, wake at the same time . . . it goes on and on like this. If I poke a finger in Bereket's food, I must touch Sira's (oh wait, never-ever touch Bereket's food lest you want him to meltdown); if I put shoes on Sira, I must put shoes on Bereket. If Bereket takes off his jacket, Sira follows; if Sira flops his butt down in the bath tub, Bereket follows. Ever read Gossie and Gertie? They are like that only it's more like Gertie and Gertie. Funny though and maybe luckily, they often don't share a bad mood. They tend to switch off sad hats, so to speak. Why is Sira so cranky right now? Because it's Bereket's turn to be really happy. (Or vice versa.)

Then there is Tsega. Tsega is like nobody. He is as different from his brothers like the sun is from the moon. He follows no lead. Even positionally, he is often wandering by himself outside the Bereket and Sira circle. In appearances and personality there could not be wider differences. He is so different it's also spooky. Again, the power of DNA. But please don't go the dark route as other have gone and start guessing that he is not genetically related . . . all that I know and have verified leaves me doubtless . . . just to calm any suspicious out there . . . shhh.

But now to the meat. Despite differences, similarities, nucleic acid duplications, embryonic splittings, in utero sac sharing, and identical twin telepathy, Sira and Bereket are no tighter than each one is with Tsega. They all get along about the same. They have all hated, fought, bonded to, and loved one another equally. We are a team.

Although I must admit the identical twin thing is really cool to witness; there is indeed something quite special about it. Like I've said before, we do not have medical or scientific proof Sira and Bereket are identical. But all the anecdotal proof is outstanding. And how lucky am I that I get best of both: fraternal and identical multiples all in one set.

By the way, guess what I found out? The ear piercing on Sira's upper right ear; the little hole that is a sure thing and only belongs to Sira . . . All this time I assumed somebody pierced it for identifying purposes. Nope, he was born with it.

Jealous of 8's Jon and Kate

I have been dying to watch the infamous 'Jon and Kate Plus 8' on TLC. Challenging task since we only receive 2.5 television channels--sometimes. But now it's on DVD so off to Netflix I went. I gotta say, it's a little boring. You'd think six 2 year olds (six!) and two 6 year olds would be wayyyy more--and I mean wayyyyyyyy more--noisy, violent, chaotic, wild, and messy, to say the least. So what happened? What did this woman do? How is it that her house is so clean, her kids so calm and disciplined? They stay in their cribs, keep quiet during nap time, stay put in their high chairs, refrain from throwing food and plates on the floor, and Kate is great at ignoring fights. I tried ignoring toddler fights for awhile, let them work it out on their own, but man it was getting dangerous and bloody. No good. Yeah, so Kate gets cranky and snappy, but then who wouldn't and man you should see my scary wife routine. And although she doesn't seem fun to hang out with, she is an incredible parent. Or rather, what I have witnessed deems her so.

I hate her. I am stinking jealous. Such a fine manager with such a large multiples brood is she. Yet I imagine our life witnessed on TLC to be much more entertaining. Then again, it may get a little too Andy Warhol watching mama slowly slowly lose energy (imagine the music getting slower and slower) and go catatonic on the couch. Not enough Warhol movie fans out there to sustain the show I guess . . .

Maybe I am jealous since she has surely topped me in the multiples arena. Oh, if only we had six more just like my three. Just kidding? I dunno, but here's another video for your entertainment. No music, night lighting, but still lots of laughs.

Dec 2, 2008

Happy Plasma Christmas

Santa came early and brought three Plasma Cars. (Thanks mom!) First one arrived in pretty red. The boys were beyond thrilled. Then it hid until number two arrived in sparkling blue. I don’t think I need to tell you why we hid one until another arrived.

Then we had two. About an hour of hissy fits later it was clear that the two needed to go into hiding until the day after Thanksgiving when I could rush out into the material hungry crowds and purchase number three (also in pretty red—the only one in the store). What a sad day when you look into tear streaked cheeks while prying little fingers apart and ripping toys from them for the sake of non-violence.

Then we had three and we were happy.

Did I really think two cars would be enough? Remember, Tsega's attention span is barely long enough for any toy. You never know with multiples and I never get three of any toy until I am sure everybody will play with it at the same time, all the time, and the item is deemed as highly needed for happiness and peace. (Shhh, the other grandma Santa is shoving three tricycles down the chimney! Baby's first trikey, how sweet.).

I just want my boys to be happy through things. That’s a joke.

About the Plasma Cars. They gain momentum by moving the steering wheel side to side and turn the wheel 180 degrees and you are in reverse. No feet required. My boys haven't figured out the physics yet, but for now they are happy to race around the house using leg power. They are the most fun toy my babes have played with so far, especially for car loving freaks like Sira and Bereket. They are simple yet ingenious; fast and smooth; great for inside on wood or tile floors. They are the perfect all season solution for getting those aggressions out. I don't care if they strip the floor finish off, they are staying. And they hold 240 pounds! You bet I tried it and my wieght stripped that section of the floor clean.

Oh what fun is this Christmas. First year the boys recognize Santa Clause, identify a Christmas tree for what it is, and find utter glee in presents. Not to mention I have somebody to watch all those silly Christmas movies and cartoons with now that they are hooked on videos (good job mama). And we got brave this year and got a Christmas tree. We realized, what's the worst that could happen, it's just a (dying) tree. Who cares if they knock it down or drag the lights off. I can't imagine saying no, stop that anymore than we already do. We did, however, decide to stop at lights and say no to ornaments, except for pretty red Christmas bows. Wise choice and a darn pretty tree.

Now for another Friend's Video (somebody calls them that--I love it): Plasma Car Demo.

Family Songs

This is one of those posts that was born to serve my failing memory and not so much to entertain my readers. Still, you gotta think: how corny.

Tsega: King of the Wild Frontier
-Lyrics by Dada

Tsega, Tsega
King of the wild frontier.
He crossed the river
He climbed the mountain
He rode the prairie
He was Tsega of the wild frontier.

Tsega, Tsega
King of the wild frontier.
He trapped the bobcat
He trapped the beaver
He trapped the coyote
And he made friends with them all.

He was Tsega of the wild frontier.


Why Tsega? Because he was a writhing screeching piece of work as an infant and required ultra soothing. The song worked and also worked the fussiness out of his personality. But one can replace Tsega with any child's name as we do in our house. My favorite part is "and he made friends with them all". Good job Dada.

Boom Boom Bah
-Lyrics by Bereket
Performed by All Three in Unison (this is important, you need at least a duet for effective strength, emphasis, and harmony)

Ah-boom boom BAH (heavy emphasis on the BA)
boom boom BAH
boom boom BAH
boom boom BAH
(repeat chorus three times)

Bik a Bik a Bee
-Lyrics by Tsega

Bik a Bik a Bee
Bik a Bik a Bee
Bik a Bik a Bee

Feel free to expose your family shame, err I mean family song, in the comments. :)

Nov 24, 2008

Ain't Got No Hair

"What about God?
Why am I alive anyway?
Yeah, what about God?
Nobody can take away

I got my hair, I got my head
I got my brains, I got my ears
I got my eyes, I got my nose
I got my mouth, I got my smile
I got my tongue, I got my chin
I got my neck, I got my boobs
--Ain't Got No performed by Nina Simone, adapted from the musical Hair.

"Let it fly in the breeze
And get caught in the trees . . .
Hair, flow it, show it
Long as God can grow it
My hair"

--Hair lyrics from the musical Hair.

"I am not my hair"
--Performed by India Arie.

Oh, wait, ain't got no hair, ain't flowing through the trees neither. Because Meghan the hair dresser cut it all off. What was supposed to be a trim with shears turned into a massacre with clippers. An inch or two turned into six or eight. Not my fault people, not my fault, I was clear on what I wanted but then did nothing to stop it. Amazing how one wiggly child can get nerves shaking and short cuts taken. Tsega really needed a trim, everybody kept telling me it was so. It's uneven, all that fuzzy baby hair on top, just a trim, just a little off the sides and top, it's too long . . .

After all, the beauty shop I go to has large numbers of black clients. That is where the black people in town take their hair. The owner is black. Safe, right? Yet when you think about it, I never see any black males in town, young or old, with free hair longer than a 1/2 inch. Jerry's words are still ringing my ears: are you sure she's not just going to run the clippers through it?

I don't mind brushing it out everyday, it's only 5-10 minutes out of the day and I don't mind his fussing. OK, so 1/2 hour to much longer in the tub once or twice a month for thorough comb-outs was getting to us . . . Now it's gone, baby, gone. All those wonderful spiralling curls gone, left on the hair dresser's floor. Swept up and thrown out with garbage. Tsega's magic groove is gone, gone, gone. He's so normal looking now. Yes, still beautiful, for sure. But now he looks so grown up, so man-like. I think he's ready to date. :(

And what really got me depressed? When I announced out loud that his curls will reach out and touch the sky again by the time he is three. Three!!!??? I need a drink . . .



Of course Tsega could care less and will enjoy less hair tugging in the mornings. Sira and Bereket watched with dad from outside the window and when we got back in the car, Sira pulled at his hair and cried. You (and You) next, my dear.

Nov 21, 2008

Gaping, Wagging Mouths and Tongues

My 42nd Street tap number went splendidly well last weekend and the above title was exactly the audience's response to my spotlighted performance. Ha ha. So I goofed a few times and almost tripped on a floor crack, but I was still a Star. Just ask my husband. I would go on about how great I was, but then again, my dance teacher may actually read this post and have a few words with me about humbleness and honesty. :) No really, these feet can tap!

I have been a slacker blogger, but you knew it would take awhile for the groove to return after Ethiopia. We have new people in our lives: Elmo, Arthur, and Charlie Brown. Really, the music in Charlie Brown is great all alone, but nothing like a sad kid to make me feel seasonal. It's been cold. Sometimes. I'm done with cold climates. It doesn't mix well with little ones. We go to the zoo, we go to the parks, we go to the library, we keep going because we get cranky at home and my neurons can only fire so many times.

My new hates include counter tops and drawers (the only "toys" Tsega attaches to). I am tired of telling little hands to stop grabbing and pulling on stuff. If I were to do it again, I would elect to have no furniture except floor cushions and rugs.

The library still scares me, by the way. Why is it that I imagine every mom there is caught up in thoughts about what a freak I am? Story toddler time at the library still gives me a sick feeling and it will be awhile before I attempt that again. Did I ever tell you how I once sat in a minivan crying and hoped just a little that by doing so I would guilt trip three boys into better, more socially acceptable behavior? True story. If it wasn't for the nice lady who sternly told Tsega to sit down in the wagon so mama can chase down two other boys. . . I don't want to relive it.

You know though, this triplet thing is good for socialization and sharing. I see other 2 year olds claiming toys and chairs during public play; mine, mine, everything is mine. But my kids keep smiling big in reply as if to say, OK, yours, I get it, your turn, that's OK, me wait, me next, you nice. It's so funny watching little kids interact; I mean little kids who don't know each other. I'll see one of my boys get real close to another or climb up a ladder with a strange little girl, and the other kid will get real quiet and look at him like, what is this baby doing, get away baby. To my kids its just yet another kid. Nothing to get weird about. They never play alone so no difference. I think this is also why Tsega, Bereket, and Sira all seem to prefer older kids, like ages 4 and up. They're never not around other 2 year olds. Who needs a fourth 2 year old around?

Another example. My kids at the library's play area. They shove themselves into a corner nook where the play kitchen is situated. Kids ages 4-6 are already playing in this cramped space. Suddenly I hear squeals: ewww, there are babies in here! Mom, get these babies outa here. I wouldn't go in there if I were you, there are babies in there! It's not like their diapers stank. And there are my three innocents: wide eyes, big smiles, sunny faces. You nice, you funny, me like you.

Those eyes of Sira's and Bereket's. Really, get their faces next to other 2 year olds and their big beautiful round eyes eat up the other kids'. And Tsega's big beautiful head does the same.

BTW, I realize Tsega's First Haircut is past due. I'm currently working on mustering up the courage and we are really going to do it, we really are . . . although I'm keeping it long. I am also thinking of giving Bereket (because his hair is longer than matching Sira's) an Ethiopian style haircut: nearly shaved sides, a wide tall mohawk on top, but ending before reaching down the back of his head. What do you think? I think he would look appropriately wild.

Nov 20, 2008

Holiday Picks

And you thought I was going to publish a list of my favorite ultra expensive, European hand-made, all wooden toys for Santa to read. HA. For the holidays, other than twinkly white lights, good food, and good booze (never buy cheap beer, only cheap wine), here is my list of Top Three Holiday Must-Haves. Wouldn't be The Season in our house without them.

1. Charlie Brown (music and DVDs from Halloween thru Christmas). If you do not own Charlie Brown's Christmas music CD, then you are missing out. Good grief. Great jazz, start playing it now, 'tis the season.

2. This American Life: Pilgrim's Progress. Click HERE to link (click on the word HERE, dad--no, the previous HERE, the one in blue), then look to your left and click on Full Episode to listen. Pilgrim's Progress is in Act I, about 5.5 minutes in (listen for the whiny female voice). I love it when she says: we're all black sheep in my family. My favorite saying about me and my family since I was a teenager (hey, consider it a good thing my beautiful family--my parents and brother rock, BTW--I love them to death). Talk about familial bonds and spiritual unity.

3. This American Life (and NPR's Morning Edition): David Sedaris's Santaland Diaries. Click HERE to listen. The actual episode is in Act II after the Toys R Us story. Who doesn't love a sad gay elf? Or an angry one at that (Hi Jerry--OK, private joke, sorry). My favorite part is Sedaris's accurate and poignant impression of Miss Billy Holiday.

Happy Holidays. Grab a vodka and cranberry, flip on Charlie Brown's Christmas, and warm those toes by the fire with your lovelies. I'll be back tomorrow to post way too many cute baby photos, so stay tuned . . .

Nov 7, 2008

Those Dancing Feet

The above pictures are from another’s camera taken last summer (thanks to the amazing MA). I think Sira’s gaping-mouthed examination of the tree is the same way he will sum me up, when--oh Jah, there goes my heart a fluttering again and my knees have gone week and my keyboard is getting damp with sweat—I take the stage for a showcase at the Community Theater next Saturday. For a whopping 5 weeks—not near long enough!—we’ve been learning the opening act of 42nd Street: The Audition. It is a fast, and I mean fast tap number; it’s faster from your own tapping feet’s perspective than from a flaccid audience member’s. Too fast to think and fast enough to slip and fall. The part where we waddle in place from foot to foot, penguin-like, and flap our arms furiously (watch for it) . . . kills; I gasp for air. I’ve got the feet, slower anyhow, but not so much the stamina or the memory. Help me! Oh, I mean, “Yes I Can!” (Had to get that in—you rock America!)

Hey, and the Great Miss Vickie, if you happen to read this, cast me in the 42nd Street chorus next June!

Minus the wings (phew!), THIS is what I will be doing over and over next week until at least Saturday and hopefully it ain’t over yet (no, this isn’t our class, silly!).

Oct 28, 2008

Fifteen Minutes of Love (I'm back!)

It's me! I'm back from Ethiopia and doing great. Mom and I had a blast in Ethiopia (mom is actually still there for a couple more days). Blast is such a poor word! It was out of this world! And yes, the boys and I are loving our reunion and man did it make the heart grow fonder. Wow, it's like honeymoon these days. Thank you Jerry's mom for your mega helping hands! And thanks papa for whipping those boys into really good behavior (not literally, of course!). Nothing like scary dad power while scary mom's away.

I hate writing so much so I made a whopper of a travel montage for your viewing and listening pleasure. So very sparingly will I quickly jot down here a few travel tidbits and perhaps a tip or two. But then darn it, please watch my video, all 15 minutes of it . Yes, pull up a chair, it's a doozy! You'll love it.

Village Ethiopia, the Ethiopia-based travel agency we used, is phenomenal. I mean really truly amazing. They stole my heart.

Bilen Lodge near Awash National Park, in the heart of Afari tribe and camel country, was our favorite part. Bring your binoculars and Eastern African bird books. During our last trip to Ethiopia (the Bale Mountains) Jerry and I saw wart hogs, dik dik, vervet monkeys, & olive baboons; during this trip add all that plus oryx, gazelle, gernuk and a whole lot of bird species (carmine bee eaters, corey and little brown bustards, and ground hornbills, among my favorites . . . as well as flamingoes en route to Harar). No lions, no lion roars, and no crocs sadly enough, although I searched and stayed awake in the hopes of one itty bitty lion roar (just the sad aahh-wooo of hyenas instead). A bit of warning, though; this part of the country is hot, dry, still, quiet, volcanic, and minimal. Not for the city-only lovers. It was perfect.

Harar was insane. Crowded, busy, and over-stimulated. One lady threw chat at me when she thought I was taking her picture, but she did so with a pretty smile and a pretty gold tooth shining at me. Chat, chat, chat, even the goats are enjoying it off the streets. Men use mortar and pestle after teeth have rotted out to grind their morsels of chat where their teeth cannot (it's bad for teeth). I tried it, but didn't really feel anything. I think I needed more . . . judge if you must, the people seemed happy and it is widely exported and bringing home cash. Muslims consume it as well as Christians.

Harari people are Muslim like the Afari, and populate behind the walls of Harar. Indeed, there are some 82 mosques. Christians and Oromo largely populate outside the walls. Despite the global hatred between these two religions, Harar won the 2004 UNESCO Cities for Peace Award. I also think it's funny that at heart, it's a party town of sorts and they have a thriving brewery (which we toured). I recommend Harar Beer during your trip to Ethiopia.

Harar was nutso, yet I think it was Harar and the journey east in which we felt most immersed into the culture and sustained mega doses of culture shock. It was amazing and after my sting of shock, I look back now and am so glad we experienced the ancient city. It wouldn't have been complete without the sensations and color of Harar. We stayed inside the old walls in a traditional Harari (Adari) house of which I have pictures of in my Ethiopia books at home. I remember our last morning there the prayers started at 4 a.m. and went on for four more hours. Oh, and yes, I fed hyenas!

Lalibela was miraculous. Eleven rock-hewn churches built in the 12th century by who knows who, not to mention the even older Yemrehanna Kristos cave church. A wonder historical place indeed, heavily Christian. Amhara country. Unofficial 8th wonder of the world, no doubt needs to be official. You won't believe your eyes. Surrounded by the Lasta Mountains, I didn't know Lalibela would be so beautiful. Did you know Bill and Chelsea Clinton were just there? Our guide had the pleasure of leading them around. Old mom had a hell of a time walking the rocky paved churches, but what a trooper. (I was fine in flip flops.) If you are desiring a quick jaunt up north during your time in Ethiopia, you can fly early from Addis and get to Lalibela in the morning. This is enough time to see all the churches in one day. We very smartly flew out at 4:30 late afternoon the next day which left us enough time to get to and tour Yemrehanna Kristos (a must see). But remember to bring plenty of spare birr on your hike to the cave. Blind beggars line the way and it would be a sin to deny them money.

Addis Ababa, well, still crazy and hectic, but entertainment abounds. Don't miss Entoto mountain and visit the woman's former wood carrier's weaving shop at the base of the hill for a lovely hand woven scarf or basket. Of course there is the Mercado, largest open-air African Market (not really for the weak like me, but you must at least drive through). Also, stop by a city book store if you can. I found a few good children's books in English with Ethiopian characters and a child's Amharic music CD. Not a lot, but inexpensive.

The Hilton is fun with a nice large compound, swanky people, good food, and a pool. But staying there behind the compound walls you would never know you are actually in Ethiopia and I felt uncomfortable leaving on foot outside the gate (I mean, where am I?). I recommend whole heartily the Damu Hotel near the airport. There is a great cozy quality about the place and surrounded by bars and restaurants including one of each within the hotel. The bell boy even remembered me (and I him) from our last visit 2 years ago! Incidentally, after scratching my head about it, it finally dawned on me that our airport shuttler was the same man Jerry and I hired on our first day in Addis two years ago. He was thrilled to remember us and I him.

Did I tell you we visited the hospital where my sons were born? I am going to leave it at that, but I will say that it is nice to know that the birth date on my sons' adoption paperwork is indeed accurate. Now I know birth weights and times of baby #1-3.

Didn't I say something about not writing so much? Gads, I can't go on. Watch the video.

Sep 29, 2008

Signing off

See you again sometime after mid October. Ethiopia, mom and I are nearly on our way! But oh, what am I forgetting? And what will Sarah Palin (and Tina Fey) say while I am gone? Here's to the economy, let's hope we still have one upon my return . . . scary times all around. Ugh, my boys, my heart, ouch, I can't think of it, can't say good bye, ohhhh . . .


Sep 25, 2008

Extreme Triplet Soccer

During our first several months home with the boys we often heard, as part of the general triplet exclamations from the public, You got your own basketball team! Three boys, sure, we have a team. Come on, they are black, so of course they will be good at basketball. Yeah, sure. I used to laugh and say to Jerry, they'll stop saying it if Sira and Bereket don't grow. Well, they are growing, just not much. I know Tsega looks big and bulked he is, but he is smack in the middle average for height. So maybe NBA is not in our future.

I never aspired to be a soccer mom, although watching your kids kick around a ball is pretty exhilarating (although I still hope they will all grow up to be excellent tap dancers too). I mean, I even curled my lip up at a particular used minivan we browsed mainly because of the soccer mom decal on it.

Anyway, watch the triplets play their version of extreme soccer, complete with spirited happy dances at the end. (That's Sira in the overall shorts.) Maybe being a soccer mom is not so bad. Did I just say that . . . ?

Sep 23, 2008

Three Tree Huggers

Like parents like sons, my kiddos are aspiring naturalists (or mama hopes, anyway). Hug those trees boys (and hug them they do), kiss the sky, see the usually unseen in Nature's underbelly. My dear Tsega takes in the flowers, birds, and trees with delight as he places both hands on my face and forces my head to turn at whatever spectacular miracle he sees. Don't worry Tsegs, mama sees the bird.