Friday, June 12, 2015

Deoxyribonucleic Acid

As a birthday present to the twins, and to ourselves, we went out and bought a DNA test for the Wonder Twins.  Almost everyone who met them didn’t believe that they were “identical” twins (in twin talk, the technical term we were given for our guys was “monochorionic [subset of monozygotic – one egg – means they share a placenta] diamniotic [each in their own amniotic sac]).  They came out looking very, very different (refresher below), with Lindsay always kind of looking like a party turtle and the Quincess always looking like a sweet, introspective little elven scholar.   So we threw down for a DNA test, swabbed their cheeks, mailed it off, and the results are: 1,678,126,819:1 that they are identical twins, and the probability that they are monozygotic came back at 99.999999%.

CRAZY.  That means if one of them committed a crime they could pin it on the other one.   AND NO ONE WOULD BE THE WISER. 

 Pensive, and tired at their brother's spring concert, where the music teacher likes to do the annoying thing of using the kindergarten kids as pawns to keep the parents there for the whole show.  It's the worst.

The other night, in bed the Dotytron asked me which one of our kids was the least like us.  Whenever we do this exercise, we always think about our answer, then simultaneously blurt it out on the count of 3.  For some reason, this practice has facilitated decision-making in our household for years and years.  When you’ve been together as long as the Dotytron and I have, and your pheromones are all mixed up, funny things happen where you start singing a song out loud at random and the other person had just been singing the previous line, IN THEIR HEAD.  It’s probably a mix of biology and culture – we’re moving in the same milieu and that has to have an affect the way our synapses fire and the degree of overlap in our frames of reference.  Anyway, on the count of 3, we both blurted, “Lindsay.” 

Afterwards, I felt SO BAD.  This DNA testing exercise taught me that biology and genetics are just one part of the equation.  Maybe they would have looked identical if Lindsay hadn’t been fatter or if Lindsay hadn’t been sitting on Quincess in my womb or if Quincess didn’t have the stiff neck (torticollis) and the head flattening and the small ear.  There were so many environmental factors that changed the way their shared DNA expressed themselves in physical traits, why wouldn’t it be the same for other traits?  Like their personalities?  From the day they were born we’ve been boxing them into little categories – Quincess is the quiet, cerebral one, Lindsay is the boisterous, kinetic one, and if you’re painting with a spray gun then yeah, maybe that’s all true, but then you create this world of comments and expectations and immerse them in it and maybe they start to become what you say they are, not because they were like that intrinsically, but in the same way those Japanese cube watermelons grow into the box they were put into.

I don’t want to do that to my kids.  But is it inevitable?  In the same way that living, loving, and being with the Dotytron for almost 15 years has made us into this freaky mind-melding machine?  Maybe that’s just what it means to be in a unit – regardless of the relationship.  You start a new office, you take on some of the attributes of the work culture there.  You’re in a marriage, you start to absorb the other person.  You make a family, and the electrons that are moving around each person’s atomic core, their intrinsic, unchanging and unchangeable selves get swapped with everyone else’s electrons and that’s what holds the structure of your family in place – these atomic bonds (grade 11 chemistry is really reaching here, it’s been a while).  Maybe that’s what happens.  Maybe that’s inevitable.  Maybe.  I just want my kids to be able to grow into whatever shaped watermelon they want to (within reason). 

An early birthday celebration for the Wonder Twins

Family bonds came to the fore this past weekend.  We went down to Geneseo and my mom came down and so did my brother, Bruce Wayne.  It had been a while since we’d all been there at the same time and it was so fun.  We were only missing Big D and my littlest brother.  I love my family. 


The idea was to spend the weekend in Geneseo betting on ponies at the Belmont Stakes (which we did last year on the babies’ birthday, and won 10-1 odds on our winning bet) and hopefully pad their RESPs like we did last year.  Well, last year we bet against the favoured horse and we did the same this year, although we shouldn’t have, given that the odds were favoring American Pharoah 3:2.  Anyway, we tried to get all fancy this year and ended up losing so we’re going to regroup, and next year, just place a simple bet on the horses who have names that we like. 

We also celebrated the Wonder Twins’ actual birthday down there, and ate a lot, and hung out a lot, and I picked up the best muumuu of life that I bought off of Etsy that has upped my happiness quotient by about a million.  This mission also included us delivering our queen size memory foam mattress to my sister, which was no small feat and involved me going into beast mode, wrestling the mattress out of our bedroom at home, down the stairs to the main floor, and then holding  it in place in the most ungainly fashion while we wrapped it in duct tape.  Then we smushed it into the trunk of the van.  It was pretty impressive, if I do say so myself.  Never underestimate what I’m capable of in beast mode.

Brothers in batik

The Wonder Twins at 2.  SO MANY WORDS.  Lindsay picks up a new word or five a day, seemingly.  He loves our neighbour, Grace and her daughter, Evelyn, whom he calls Ev’lee in the sweetest voice.  When he goes outside he asks, “Gayce?” and then when he sees her he goes running over with his bow-legged leprechaun run and gives her a giant hug.  It’s pretty sweet.  We hear a lot of “self!” and he’s very independent and wants to try doing new things and loves pretending to skip and jump rope.  He finds Quincess pretty funny.

Quincess Harry Potter

Quincess isn’t picking up words as rapidly as Lindsay (or he might be, but doesn’t like saying them aloud), but he is full of jokes, one of which consists of saying: “hot dooooooog” whenever I ask aloud what we should eat for dinner and then cracking up.  He’s a scrawny little muscleman and loves to hang off of things and be a pretend gymnast.  He generally practices safety and asks for “hand” when he goes down the stairs.  His little voice is the so sweet and dear and when he does something funny he has a way of darting his eyes from side to side rapidly to gauge the audience reaction that’s so funny.  He’s a little imp in every respect. 

The two are starting to become more aware of each other and it’s the most heart-warming thing listening to them giggle and chatter and screech when they’re about to go down for a nap/bed.  In the pic above, you can see how charmed Lindsay is by Quincess and vice versa.  Lindsay does bully Quincess a bit but Quincess gives back what he gets almost as often.   Quincess loves eating sweets and basically smashes cake into his face as fast as he can, whereas Lindsay shows great enthusiasm for cake, shouting, “CAEK!?!!?!  CAEK!!!” whenever he sees one, but being highly tentative and not very interested in eating it.

At this age, they’re both better eaters than the Big Yam was, probably because their diet is strictly controlled by me.  They love rice and pasta of all varieties. 

This summer, barely started as it is, has been a good one so far.  We went with our neighbours to Doors Open Toronto and checked out a subway repair yard and best of all, the RC Harris Water Filtration plant, which is a beautiful art deco building that was featured prominently in Michael Ondaatje’s In the Skin of the Lion.  Public infrastructure should always be so beautiful. 

Neighbours and buds since birth

 We took JJ and S’s kids out with the Big Yam for a night out to give their parents a break.  We got tickets to a U of T astronomy “planetarium” talk and ate a dinner of hot dogs and French fries and then got ice cream from Sweet Olenka’s in Kensington market.  Just look at this adorable crew:  

We’ve been outside playing almost every night the weather permits.  The kids are knocking on each other’s door, lollipops and freezies are distributed, whatever the reigning street craze (currently jumping rope and double dutch) has to be explored with parents AND kids joining in.  Last night we got most of the kids going in some whiffle ball and because I find making giant bubbles one of the most relaxing experiences (it’s my version of tai chi), we had that going as well:

We are going on a long weekend camping trip with our neighbours.  I know, I know.  It sounds like hell, but I think the kids will enjoy it so much it’s hard to say no.  Plus, it’s a good chance for us to practice camping and try it on for size in a low stakes way before we invest in full-on portage-style outdoorsing. 

Last week we had our friend Pingy in town and so we got to have dinner with her and the Roomie and the Roomie’s new baby twice in a week.  There were long, long group therapy sessions about intensive mothering and domestic distribution of labour and how the Roomie and I are controlling freaks (what L’Armi calls “faux easygoing”) when it comes to anything in the domestic sphere and division of labour. 

This past spring was often…tense between me and the Dotytron.  The Dotytron thinks that I finally reached my breaking point or the point at which the amount of things on my plate finally overwhelmed my superhuman coping/organizational/project management capacity.  A Master’s degree on mat leave?  No problem.  Massive kitchen and bathroom reno with 3 kids?  I got this.  Massive reno, 3 kids, financial constraints, and a new, challenging job?  THAT DOES IT.  I had nothing left in me to give, no more softness or patience and it showed.  I didn’t want to have conversations – I was in full military delegation mode and my expectations were high and tolerance for deviation from my expectations nonexistent. 

Anyway, now that the renos are mostly done, we’ve bought a replacement Captain Save-A-Ho (who is LITERALLY a replacement Captain – we bought the same car, but like, 5 years younger [still minimum 8 years old though] and a manual version), and summer and its languid promise of beach days, cottage vacays, and Micelli Mondays, I’m much more relaxed (or, as relaxed as I get) with only two major stressors on my plate (new job – to be discussed in the future, and the kids…always the kids).

While visiting my sister I was my niece’s “running buddy” on a 5km race she did.  I had fully intended on getting some practice runs in beforehand, but it didn’t happen.  I’m proud to say that I finished the 5km (letting my niece set the pace) and didn’t feel the need to stop, or walk, and could have gone faster and made better time (but I’m not a jerk – this was about my niece, not me) after almost a full year of no running.  My working theory is that I because I generally handle stress well, my body is pretty conditioned to be in flight or fight mode so my ticker is either in a) good shape or b) in brutal shape from unnecessary wear.  I’m proud of my niece for finishing a 5km (something I didn’t do until I was in my early 30s) and it inspired me to get my butt in gear and start running again, if only so that I can justify to My Fitness Pal all the pies I plan on making/eating this summer.

I’ve been slacking on the food pics lately.  Don’t think this means I will EVER STOP POSTING FOOD PICS.  I’ve been food pic strong for forever!  OG food pic proponent! 

Seized soft shell crab season by  These are fried, and put on olive oil toast with old bay mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, bacon, and sliced tomatoes with boursin and Hawaiian black pepper

Roasted asparagus, proscuito, poached eggs and hollandaise toast

Black bean burgers with red pepper feta dip

We made ravioli one night - ricotta pea in a pancetta sauce - time consuming and semi-worth it

Papardelle with scape pesto, a fried egg, and pine nuts.  

One of my favorite Hawaiian meals: moco loco.  Spam, on white rice, topped with a fried egg and canned gravy.  Delicious.

Me, and my muumuu, and my favorite wiener dog smyzeing his eyes out


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