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September 10, 2012


Way to Go Ms. Hannigan! Get those twins trained! I figured the stuff was in the closet (that's where my children always shove everything) - but the hallway is worse, because it's harder to just shrug and let them leave it there.
Our school district offers Spanish and Chinese immersion. We are, I think, on the opposite side of town from you. I know it's early- but I sort of think Caroline would make a really good spy, if it turns out she IS gifted in languages. She's smart, she's good at getting people to do what she wants, etc.

My favorite quote ever on immersion from a friend's daughter, after a week in kindergarten, when someone asked her how she liked school, she said "Well, the thing about school is....it's ALL SPANISH! All the time!" Ummm....yeah.
We have known families who sent all their children, and others that have sent only one. I'm unclear on the twin thing - but I observe that the twins in my children's grade school (of which there are many) seem to generally be placed in different classrooms from one another. So being at a completely different school seems like an okay thing. No doubt parents of multiples will have opinions on this that are actually informed (unlike mine).

Have you tried a naturopath? They might have ideas for diet or supplements that might be worth a go.

I do not have twins, so this may not be helpful, but I have two very different children (so far...the little guy is 20 months, but I am guessing language may be His Thing). If I could swing it financially, time wise, etc., yes, I would consider separate schools if I thought they were best.

If I could not because it was going to be insane on the life balance front then I would pick the school most likely not to make one catatonic and go from there.

For Patrick my thought is has he had allergy testing? Because I had pneumonia 9 Christmases in a row as a child. Would you like to guess what I am highly allergic to? Pine trees, or rather a mold that grows on them.

I don't have twins, am not a twin, and the nearest to twinness that I come is two younger cousins who are twins (but who live far away and so I only get to see at holidays every few years). (Oh, and my grandpa is a twin, but his twin has lived far away from him my entire life and so I've only seen them interact a few times.) But I confess, reading your statement "I never thought that I would consider making unilateral decisions when it came to the twins but... I guess I might. Would you ever split up twins for elementary school?" my first thought was "but why should their twinness make any difference?" I mean, if Caroline wasn't a twin, would you put her into the immersion program? If Edward wasn't, would you? If the answers are "yes" and "no", then what is it about the fact that they are twins that makes you question those answers?

Have you contacted a physical therapist who specializes in the head? I'm not kidding. I had a bout of vertigo in June, and was sent to get PT for my ear canals. When I mentioned to my PT that the vertigo was brought on by sinus congestion, he did some nifty moves to free up my sinues. And it worked! I don't get to go back anymore (insurance, pfffft), but it was nice while it lasted.

Craniosacral therapy? I know exactly nothing about it personally, other than it seems to involve possibly manipulating skull bones and I've heard it can help a variety of things that I never would have connected to the skull specifically, so who knows?

My dad suffered terribly from sinus problems for most of his 60+ years. He would look like Ian Paisley for an hour after waking up in the morning, and had sinus pain/pressure basically daily, and every cold tuyrned into 2+ month infections. When he got kidney cancer he started to see an acupuncturist for chemo side effects, and when she did a thorough history she heard about his sinuses. She stuck needles in his forehard and near his ears (he said) and he felt miraculously cured. As in, he said his head felt better and the clouds cleared for the first time SINCE HE WAS A TEENAGER.

It can't hurt to try and it seems like Patrick might think it cool to have needles stuck in his face?

Also, for what it's worth I have twins in third grade and they are in a school that is a compromise for both of them but not ideal for either. I wouldn't say I recommend this approach but logistically it's the only thing that works for us. If I had an option that would be the perfect fit for one and fine for the other, I would snatch it in a second.

I had no real aptitude or interest in languages, and still spent 11 years in full French immersion, and have no regrets about it at all. It totally didn't hurt me to have a second language, and even a not- linguistically-talented kid will pick it up crazy fast at 5.

I dropped out of French in grade 11, because it was better for me (and my grades!) but still glad I speak two languages.

Please tell Patrick that I am SO sorry, I have yet to get the license plate in the mail, or actually find it. Hopefully my garage cleaning husband did not toss it out. If he did I will find him another. Soon, Promise.
As for his sinuses you asked about Chiropractors. Search for a doctor who attended the Palmer School of Chiropractic, I like that style of treatment personally plus the ones I have been to so far, 4 different ones over the past 20 years, have all been very children oriented and the visits totally cleared up my son's chronic ear infection issue by the time he was 18 months old. So find a doctor nearby and just call and ask if they went to Palmer.

I agree with elsimom.

I am a twin and (except for a year at a private school) we were separated until 7th grade by school district rules. All twins were split. We would have continued to be split but our school did a "team" system and Mom insisted we be in the same team but not necessarily the same classes. The year before, we had different teachers and Mom noted I would come home writing 5 page papers and my sister would have a few sentences on a work sheet and was asked to circle nouns. She wanted us to have the same set of teachers so at least she would have some idea if one of us wasn't doing all the homework assigned or was falling behind the other.

I would look into the options and perhaps they can still go to the same school but be in different classes. That would ease the daily routine and they would still be available to see each other at certain times (possibly a shared lunch) if they needed each other. We used to have recess or PE together.

I'm not sure how much Edward depends on Caroline through the day, but they might very well ignore each other anyway.

Can't speak to twin separation, but I too have a daughter who is all about language, and she just started her second year of Chinese immersion. Our school does it as a 50% immersion, so full day kindergarten was am English, PM Mandarin (or vice versa). We had a public option (lottery); it's a pain to drive to from our house, but it's awesome.
Our view is that at any time she decides she doesn't like learning Chinese, we can send her to our local school, but so far, she spontaneously tells me at least monthly that she loves it.

I wonder if there is info on some of the Mandarin immersion parents websites about twins. Email me if you need/want links.

OMG, I want to have babies and babies and more babies with all those last photos. Oh my.

On the sinus front, my husband and his mother both benefited from acupuncture to help clear up blockages due to allergies. If I were in your shoes, I would try either acupuncture or chiropractic.

Not having twins, take this with a grain of salt but I think I might, if it was at all logistically possible, put Caroline and Edward in schools that spoke to their strengths. (I'm not sure if Edward can train as a mechanic in kindergarten, though, or if he will have to wait until 1st grade?) I think foreign languages will become increasingly more important in our global economy and if Caroline is interested, she'll enjoy it and learn it a lot more easily as a child than as an adult. (And Chinese? Go Caroline!) BUT...as of next year I will have three children in three different schools with drop-off times closer together than the schools are geographically. I am not quite sure how one person (me) can logistically pull off dropping off three kids in three places at the same exact time. And since we can't yet teleport and I'm fresh out of portkeys, I think there is something to be said for keeping the kids in the same school for Mom's sanity's sake. So I have now equivocated and probably helped not one bit. But I can sympathize! :)

If there were two perfect schools, I'd probably do it.

I wonder though what *you* want to be doing when they're in elementary school (not just K, but all the years).

If you're going to be blogging (my choice for you, of course), then peachy. You can likely make enough time and brain space to keep up with three different sets of homework and expectations and school differences and open houses and family nights for years on end.

I only did three different schools in one district for one year and was only marginally employed at the time. I was glad to not do that again, though, and two of them were in high school where the worrying lasts, but there aren't any visits to school to help with birthdays or pajama days or the like.

I was immediately saying of COURSE I would be willing to make separate school decisions for my twins, OBViously! ...But then I remembered when there was the briefest hint of a possibility that one of our twins could be a grade ahead of the other, and I was instantly OH HELL NO. But that's kind of different. I'm trying to think how I'd feel if there was one school perfect for Elizabeth and not for Edward, and I think I WOULD do that---as long as it didn't seem like one school was The Good School and the other seemed like The Bad School. I'd use SPIN, if necessary.

(Oh, and our school keeps twins separate. They can't be in the same class. So that helps me to think of it as "separate in same school" vs. "separate in different schools," which doesn't seem much different.)

Chiropractic and acupuncture, but both are long term solutions, so find someone you like who is CONVENIENT! Acupuncture is likely to be 30-60 minutes of Patrick sitting still with needles in his face once a week (but he might be allowed to read). Chiropractic is quicker, but will probably start with multiple trips per week.

Both probably have some naturopath stuff as well. My chiro has this stuff called "Drainer" where you put 6 drops under your tongue once or twice a day. I need to get more of it!

If you go the acupuncture route - see if you can have an appointment for yourself at the same time. My husband (who does not DO non-western medicine) did acupuncture for a while - he said that, whether it was the acupuncture or just having an hour a week where he COULDN'T do anything but lay down and not move much, was really relaxing. There's a great relaxation point between your eyebrows above the bridge of your nose. I still do accupressure on it when I get stressed.

Chinese school! Wow! As the child of Taiwanese immigrants, I went for eleven years while growing up. It was a great experience. At the time I was sometimes disgruntled b/c since it was Saturday mornings, this meant I was stuck at home frantically doing Chinese homework or cramming for tests on Friday evenings. However, it gave me a great basic foundation in Chinese. Unfortunately I didn't think to follow up on it in college so now I am permanently stuck at a 5th grade (by Taiwan standards) reading/writing level. But I could see Caroline taking off with it!

Re nontraditional treatments, I am a huge fan of acupuncture and herbal supplements. I have been going twice a month for a few years now (mainly for stress-related ailments brought on by lawyering). Would definitely recommend giving it a chance with Patrick!

FWIW I have suffered with murky sinuses for most of my life. After a visit to the Chiropractor, I can breathe and my sinuses actually drain like a normal person's.

My heart really did sink when I read Patrick is still having sinus issues!!! :(
Another vote for chiropractic here and, if possible, a naturopath. When we've been able to afford it (haha), going to a naturopath has greatly helped our kids in several areas (though we do not have sinus issues)--hyperactivity, skin issues, digestion issues. I agree with Amanda P. that these are long-term solutions that don't show results as quickly as we've come to expect with "modern medicine." Naturopathy, chiropractic, etc., look to address the cause of an issue (instead of just the symptoms) and I've found this takes longer but works better.

I am a twin, and I have twins, and what's more I am raising my twins to be bilingual since my husband is from Italy and I am fluent in Italian. I strongly believe in bilingual education for children, although I would also suggest that if there's a way to expose them to Spanish or whatever the second language is going to be, that you do it as soon as possible. Speaking as a twin, I hated being treated as one unit together with my sister and having to do all activities together. However, now that I am an adult, I look back and realize it probably would have been hard to be at a separate school. But it might also have been really good for us in the end, as we turned out to be very shy and had a hard time making friends, and I can't help but think having a sibling around ALL THE TIME can make it hard to break out of one's shell and become an individual. As a parent of twins - it's a tough call. I wouldn't want to do it, honestly, both because I think it would be REALLY hard for them at the beginning and because it would create so much extra work for me. So my vote would be to send them both to immersion school, but that's just my opinion.


Can't speak to separating twins, but am rabidly on side of early foreign language training -- as much and as many as she wants! Since Caroline has language aptitude and is clearly gifted, it will only help her in the future. As for alternative treatments, I understand from others that Mayo is not at all shabby in that respect -- maybe consult with them?

I JUST took the license plates to the post office today. Darn it. If they come back to me, I promise to resend. I'm so sorry, Patrick!!

Boiling water in a bowl with a few drops of mint or eucalyptus essential oil in it, towel over head, lean over and breath (so suggests hubby who gets frequent sinus infections). He also recommends cold days and altoids (though that doesn't help right *now*). I know that's not a huge help, but maybe a tiny help.

I'm a twin (but we are identical so that may be different) and I would have been absolutely bereft if my parents had sent us to separate schools.

I think that languages, whether gifted in them are not, are such a valuable skill set that you should put both kids in there no matter what. Edward won't know any different because he'll have always gone to an immersion program and it seems wrong to give Caroline a language advantage that he won't have. Soooooo many people say kids best pick up languages best when they are young... I'd send them both.

My twin sisters have been in separate schools their whole lives. Part of it was due (in kindergarten, at least) to one having physical disabilities and needing a different school, but as they got older, a bigger part of it is because it's best for them to be in separate schools. They get to have their own friends and not be overly reliant on each other. One of the twins is super overprotective of the other one. If they were in the same school, she would never be able to socialize on her own.

I don't think there's any problem at all sending them to separate schools.

re: Languages


it fits.

re: zylitol

Worked like a charm for me, but i follow it up with copious amounts of d3 in gel cap form. sometimes serious amounts of Vitamin D3.

"Give me Liberty, or Give me Death!" - Patrick Henry

What a brilliant ruling by the United States Supreme Court on the affordable health care act (Obamacare). Stunningly brilliant in my humble opinion. I could not have ask for a better ruling on a potentially catastrophic healthcare act than We The People Of The United States received from our Supreme Court.

If the court had upheld the constitutionality of the individual mandate under the commerce clause it would have meant the catastrophic loss of the most precious thing we own. Our individual liberty. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Supreme Court.

There is no mandate to buy private for-profit health insurance. There is only a nominal tax on income eligible individuals who don’t have health insurance. This is a HUGE! difference. And I suspect that tax may be subject to constitutional challenge as it ripens.

This is a critically important distinction. Because under the commerce clause individuals would have been compelled to support the most costly, dangerous, unethical, morally repugnant, and defective type of health insurance you can have. For-profit health insurance, and the for-profit proxies called private non-profits and co-ops.

Equally impressive in the courts ruling was the majorities willingness to throw out the whole law if the court could not find a way to sever the individual mandate under the commerce clause from the rest of the act. Bravo! Supreme Court.

Thanks to the Supreme Court we now have an opportunity to fix our healthcare crisis the right way. Without the obscene delusion that Washington can get away with forcing Americans to buy a costly, dangerous and highly defective private product (for-profit health insurance).

During the passage of ACA/Obamacare some politicians said that the ACA was better than nothing. But the truth was that until the Supreme Court fixed it the ACA/Obamacare was worse than nothing at all. It would have meant the catastrophic loss of your precious liberty for the false promise and illusion of healthcare security under the deadly and costly for-profit healthcare system that dominates American healthcare.

As everyone knows now. The fix for our healthcare crisis is a single payer system (Medicare for all) like the rest of the developed world has. Or a robust Public Option choice available to everyone on day one that can quickly lead to a single payer system.

Talk of privatizing/profiteering from Medicare or social security is highly corrupt and Crazy! talk. And you should cut the political throats of any politicians giving lip service to such an asinine idea. Medicare should be expanded, not privatized or eliminated.

We still have a healthcare crisis in America. With hundreds of thousands dieing needlessly every year in America. And a for-profit medical industrial complex that threatens the security and health of the entire world. The ACA/Obamacare will not fix that.

The for-profit medical industrial complex has already attacked the world with H1N1 killing thousands, and injuring millions. And more attacks are planned for profit, and to feed their greed.

To all of you who have fought so hard to do the kind and right thing for your fellow human beings at a time of our greatest needs I applaud you. Be proud of your-self.

God Bless You my fellow human beings. I'm proud to be one of you. You did good.

See you on the battle field.


jacksmith – WorkingClass :-)

Have Patrick go gluten-free for six weeks and see how he does. That stuff is poison. Seriously. And it's in everything. "Natural flavor" is usually wheat-based. Cut out all processed foods.

Also, does he irrigate his sinuses every day? Friend of mine got quarterly sinus infections like clockwork till she irrigated daily and then she got exactly none, never ever.

Just be sure not to use tap water to irrigate --buy distilled water in jugs or buy the cans of sterile water--as there is a rare pathogen that is fine if you swallow it but lethal if it gets lodged in your brain.

Things that have worked for colleagues of mine with sinus issues: no dairy. Which you have tried.

Please do not waste your money on homeopathy; it's water or sugar, sometimes with bits of glass in. http://www.fda.gov/ICECI/EnforcementActions/WarningLetters/2012/ucm314629.htm

As for immersion, I come down firmly on the side of More Languages For All, so I vote for putting Edward in with Caroline. If he haaaates it you can always switch him, but it's reasonably common here (Ireland) to send your kid to an Irish-language primary school or secondary school, and everyone seems to adapt. Plus, did I mention Languages = Awesome?

Gluten! I was like Patrick until 3 years ago, when I went off gluten. It was incredible. I spent all my life (27 years or so) on antibiotics for weeks at a time due to sinus infections. Now, I haven't been on antibiotics for 3 years. I also have a dairy intolerance (not lactose), so I am df/gf.

My caveat is that if you are going to go off gluten, you should, just for knowledge sake, test him for celiac. But, there are lots of gluten intolerances which aren't testable right now.

It might be worth sending both of them to immersion school so they could practice Chinese or Spanish or whatever together at home. They'll be fluent in no time and bonus! have a secret twin language.

Between the Chinese school ( which is awesome, not at all eyerollng) and picking up on the whole not calling people idiots even if they are thing, I am beginning to see a career in the foreign service for Caroline.

Perhaps not just different schools, but, given Caroline's precocity, different grades.

My sinuses cleared up when I gave up gluten - as did my incredibly upset stomach. Try a holistic/functional medicine MD, perhaps.

for patrick, i'd suggest reading (you, not him, ..... or maybe him) "WHEATBELLY"... the premise is that gluten aggravates and perhaps causes all sorts of health issues including allergies. if you don't have time to read the book, just take him off ALL WHEAT PRODUCTS for a month and see what happens. trust me. re the twins, they will be fine no matter what you decide to do.

Well, all 3 of my kids go to a Ftench language immersion school, so I am Pro Languages. And I don't think there's anything wrong with separating twins. BUT think about yourself also...you're already driving to Patrick's school & the twins' school, what would 3 schools entail? Would your whole life be driving various routes around the county? Because that might not be so good for a person's sanity.

You probably already know this and I believe its is on the other end of the metro area from you but Minnetonka has a school within a school system. So there is Chinese or Spanish immersion in every elementary school in the district but there is also always an English only option. For example my daughter is in English (we tried Spanish for kindergarten and it really wasn't her thing) and my neighbor's daughter is in Spanish immersion but they go to the same school just different classrooms.

I've been doing billing at a chiropractor's office for six months now; I had no previous experience with chiropractic, but I've seen how it helps so many people with such a variety of ailments-- including my own allergy kid. I recommend you get yourselves to a nearby chiro STAT. (And, as someone mentioned above, you'll be going a few times a week at the start-- as he improves, he won't have to go as often.)

thirding removing gluten/wheat and also sugar for sinus issues. Check out the paleo diet - I used to get sinus infections all winter long every year. Kicked the wheat and the sugar for a winter and I haven't had one since. Ditto yeast infections (not that Patrick has a problem with that!) I'm not strict with it all the time now, but I notice I'm still more likely to get a cold when my diet is crappy, particularly with lots of sugar.

I also like the xylitol, but I've heard you have to use it very regularly for several days for it to make a difference for severe cases. Apparently (very approximate science to follow!) sinus infections are so pernicious because the bacteria live in little colonies that antibiotics cannot penetrate. Xylitol works as a surfactant, breaking up the colonies - but they are constantly producing more of the stuff that holds them together and protects them, so you have to repeatedly dose them with the surfactant so they don't have a chance to glom up again.

Fourth on the wheat is evil. Clear out the pantry one day (you can be like Caroline and Edward and just stash all the wheat containing stuff in the garage or a bin in case it doesn't help). Try 60 days before going to needles and such, in my opinion.

I put my younger kids into Spanish Immersion because oldest was bored to tears (literally) from school and this way there is always the learning of a whole additional language to compensate for how awful schools are at writing, reading and math instruction. It wasn't available for oldest but the second I heard about it we were right in the lottery and lucky.

Where I live (Ottawa Canada) it's very common for kids to do French immersion starting at age 4. It's meant to be for average normal kids, not just the linguistically obsessed. I don't know what the schools around you are like, but it's definitely worth looking into. Most kids should be able to pick up a second language pretty easily.

I would recommend taking Patrick to see a DO. I work at a college that has a school of osteopathic medicine, and whenever my 2-year old has a persistent problem, I trust no one more than a Doctor of Osteopathy. They have magic hands. Seriously.

THere should be a license plate from Idaho arriving any day. Hope 'Patrick' with the PO Box is enough now that you've spoken to them. Otherwise we will happily re-send as needed.

Mary in Idaho

Gah! I feel terrible. I have not yet mailed the license plates. I did, however, check out my state's dmv website to see if I'm required to turn them in. Couldn't find the info and realized I'll have to call, but haven't had a chance. I do have some time off next week though, so if I don't get a call in this week I'll take care of it and (fingers crossed) mail the NJ plates to Patrick then.

Re: the sinus issues, I have a suggestion. My chiropractor told me that the next time I have sinus trouble, I should get Tiger Balm (the kind in the jar - NOT the liquid) and dissolve approx a half teaspoon into boiling water. Then take tiny sniffs (she specified that they have to be tiny sniffs b/c the stuff is potent!) of the steam (but don't get burned, obviously). Do this a few times a day for 3 or 4 days and it should clear out the sinuses. Now, I have no clue if this will help Patrick or not, but you said any suggestions, so... good luck. Incidentally, my boss is of Chinese descent and actually lived & worked in China for 8 years. She swears by Tiger Balm. I haven't tried the Tiger Balm in hot water deal yet, but I had a (non-sinus) headache the other day and my boss had me put a tiny bit on each of my temples and it went away. She also swears by acupuncture, too.

Love the pics of Patrick and Caroline (esp that last one - so cute!) and Patrick and Edward.

Homeopathy and Naturopathy for Patrick. Find someone highly recommended.

Immersion and Chinese for Caroline.

Waldorf for Edward.

See? All your problems solved with just a petit peu de assvice.

I have no remedies, nor suggestions about the school thing (though I would have jumped at a chance to go to any school than the one I went to - I used to fantasize about being able to go to boarding school), but mostly wanted to say that those pictures are fantastic. Who cares about the thumb shadow when you manage to capture the spirit of the (adorable) moments like that?!?

Giving up gluten for several weeks could certainly be worth a try.

Also - try neti-ing with a 1% solution of baby shampoo. Sounds crazy, no? But so easy to try! Apparently it helps to disrupt pernicious biofilm. As posted above, remember to use distilled or boiled water to avoid rare bacterial risk in tap water. See here for more info:
Good luck!

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