Friday, December 4, 2015

Why Are You Splitting Up These Twins?

New York had an article earlier this fall about a Long Island school with eleven sets of twins in kindergarten. Go look at it; it's basically an excuse for a bunch of cute pictures. What drew my attention, however, was this quote from the principal:

Ellen Postman, the school’s principal...split up all the siblings into separate classes, encouraging them to make new friends rather than lean on each other. “And then,” she adds, “they’re together at recess, when they go out to the playground, and they can share their new relationships.”

See, here's the thing. That's a nice theory.  But we did a lot of reading before putting our twins in kindergarten, and it's simply not true. On balance, twins in kindergarten do better in the same class. Now, if you're reading this and are thinking, "my twins did better in separate classes," well, yes, I said "on balance." It makes sense to make decisions based on the individual needs of twins. Let me give you a ranking of how well-placed people are to evaluate those needs:
  1. The twins themselves
  2. The twins' parents
  3. Teachers
  4. Principals 
It's revealing that this is also a ranking of how likely people are to think that twins should be in the same class.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Intactivist Florida Mom Avoids Jail: The Price: One Foreskin

Recently, the intact debate has surfaced in Florida, an ironic state for this debate to rise up, considering it's shape. I deeply sympathize with this mom's attempt to save her son, whose penis everyone has been legislating. Somehow, for women, it's their body, but for men, it's not so. Men -- newborn males, specifically -- have zero rights concerning the loss of this important membrane. The U.S. backs bans of similar surgeries for infant girls, but pediatric urologists are running rampant with their scalpels, unchecked and unremitting.

At the risk of exposing private facts about our sons' privates, I throw in my lot with Chase's mom. Our boys are both intact, and I've been proud that I did not give in to current Western cultural standards and have them cut. I had no compelling personal reason (such as religion, or a medical need) to do so, and in fact had several reasons not to. Of course I respect parental rights, but object that current parental rights override the rights of the body owned by a son, from birth.Why? I'll tell you.

First, it's a trauma. Do not doubt the pain involved in flaying off  most of a membrane intended to protect the member. I couldn't bear the thought of causing my sons pain, and loss of an essential part before they'd barely found their voices. I believe my sons' bodies are their own, and that no one should  t take away part of them before they even knew what was happening.

Second, I abhor the overselling of an idea to the masses strictly for the purpose of amassing wealth. Dupont took formula -- an invention intended to supply babies who were motherless, or whose mothers were milkless, with vital nutrition. Then they sold the world on its efficacy, in fact its superiority. The ridiculous knows no boundaries in what misconceptions capitalism effects. Here, the masses are blindly lining the pockets of pediatric urologists for unnecessary, painful, damaging "surgery."

Third, the Cleanliness idea is a myth. This makes no sense to me, being that everything else on the planet stays cleaner if left in its original wrapper. A foreskin is there for a biological reason, and that is to keep the member clean. A circumcised child is at risk for infection because of the cut, and the fact that dirt and urine get on the penis. Even with two sons, in 5 years we have not had even one incidence of infection, nor even diaper rash, on their members. You do not have to do anything special. You get no benefit from circumcision that you don't get from simply keeping it clean. It is a wound that requires care and causes more problems in the first weeks than circumcision claims to solve.

Fourth, there is a risk of botched circumcisions. Though these are rare, they are devastating.

Fifth, I understand that a cut member chafes for decades against clothing, desensitizing it and reducing men's sexual pleasure.

Sixth, this pain right after birth is a betrayal which is remembered. The body, the muscle, remembers. This can cause a rift, according to some, in the mother-son bond.

Lastly, it can always be removed, but can't ever be put back. 

I strongly encourage mothers of boys to read the sites below, which I have found invaluable in raising my boys. As a proponent of Attachment Parenting, I believe that intact and uncut is best for the boys.

I hope that every mom reading this will consider keeping their sons intact rather than cutting them immediately, that you will wait at least a little while, live with it, and see how you feel about it later. If later, problems develop and you decide to go through with it, then you will have made a decision after having a chance to get to know your beloved son, whole and intact.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Today in twin history: Royal Twins!

Today, December 11, 2014, Prince Albert II and his wife Charlene welcomed crown prince Jacques and his twin sister Gabriella. Though Gabby was born first, Jacques will be taking the throne of Monaco.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Great Fathers of Twins: Elvis Costello

A few years ago, Elvis Costello was on Sesame Street singing "A Monster Went and Ate My Red 2," a re-working of his song "(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes." I saw this recently and thought, "He must have small kids." Sure enough, he and jazz artist Diana Krall had twins in December 2006. The new title seemed to be somewhat of a stretch, but honestly, no more so than the old title. In fact, I've come to prefer this version to the original. Attempts to get the kids to prefer this to Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (which they've been reciting/singing incessantly) have been less successful; at the pool the other day, they were singing a mash-up of the two songs.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Eau de Twin

The web site io9 alerts us to a new study that further confirms the research that identical twins smell alike. From what I can tell, this has been known for a while, but previous research did not account for the fact that twins might smell alike from living in the same household, so this study used adult twins who lived apart. Also, previous studies used dogs to sniff, but this study used humans, which just seems weird.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Super Bowl Twin "Insperation"

"A set of 9-year-old twins from Roxbury, Riley and Erin Kovalcik, wrote a letter last week to Seattle Seahawks fullback Derrick Coleman, the NFL's first legally deaf offensive player, calling him their "insperation" (sic) as they shared the same disability."

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Quote of the Day

"Why didn't anybody stop us? Why aren't there more regulations about this sort of thing? What fool in their right mind would put me in charge of a baby? Two babies?"
-Miles Vorkosigan, from Lois McMaster Bujold's Diplomatic Immunity