Time Flies

It is an absolutely daunting task to try to summarize the last 6 months. Perhaps that�s why it has taken me so long to sit down and write an update! So, apologies for the procrastination.

Since our last update in October 2000, our now almost 2 � year old twins have been advancing at warp speed! They are like the little Energizer bunnies-they go go go until they collapse into bed at night. Then in the morning, it's like a bell rings in their head and wham! THEY'RE OFF!

Here�s just a few of the mischievous acts they�ve committed�guess who did what:

- popping a �10 note in the toaster,
- dropping the cordless phone into a pot of boiling water on the stove, then running to mommy squealing �telephone hot!�
- shoving a cassette into the VCR backwards, thus breaking the VCR
- breaking into the kitchen cupboard and sprinkling a whole box of powdered sugar all over the house.

Now that they talk so much more, boy is our house noisy! No longer do I wake in the morning to the gentle cooing of my brood�now it�s

�MOMMYYYYY! Milk! Milk! Milk! NOW! MOOOOOMMMMMYYYYYY! Wake Up now!�

Then the day progresses with barking commands of

�Mommy help, mommy do it now, mommy change me, mommy show me, mommy read book, mommy let�s go, mommy come on, mommy juice now, mommy build tower, mommy do puzzle, mommy clean hands, mommy hurry up, mommy come play, mommy more, mommy snuggle, mommy paint, mommy change video, mommy open door, mommy close door, mommy pick me up, mommy drive car, mommy go this way, mommy off music, mommy cookie, mommy on shoes, mommy off shoes, mommy do it, mommy what�s that? mommy sing song.�

Frankly, the way they act; you would think I was their own personal assistant. Sheesh!

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They have just figured out that we have �real� names other than mommy and daddy, so occasionally the commands start with �Ez-bet� or their Chinese dad �Chong chong� (sometimes pronounced �Don Juan�!).

Amazingly, they speak French with their dad and English to their mom. This does call for some confusion at times. For instance, one evening daddy was drawing pictures with Madeline. She�d tell him what to draw, and he�d do it. But a major misunderstanding happened when she requested �Papa dessine po.� (daddy draw �po�) Pot, pronounced �po� in French, means potty. So daddy kept happily

drawing Madeline�s little green potty. After many repeated pleas for �po,� mommy stepped in to translate that Po is also a red teletubbies character. Whew was she relieved! What a strange daddy to keep drawing a potty!

Their very favorite activity at the moment, other than just plain destroying the house, is coloring and painting. Oh what fun they have mixing colors with a brush, globbing it on coloring books, and trying to clean it off with paper towels. Mommy�s pens are much sought after, and make glorious designs and lines. Madeline�s most recent artwork is currently being displayed on the left hand side of the living room wall. Due to the nature of the materials used, this is a permanent exhibit. Theo prefers his canvas to be doors, the t.v., and occasionally himself.

We also love singing songs. Madeline is a real pro at �I�m a Little Teapot� and knows most of the words to �Twinkle, Twinkle.� She likes songs with small hand movements like �Itsy Bitsy Spider.� Theo prefers action songs where he can jump or fall, like �London Bridge is Falling Down,� or �Humpty Dumpty.�

We know all our major colors! They proudly point out every color car and announce the color that people wear. We are even learning the difference at the stop light�for pedestrian crossing, green man means go! And red man means no!

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We can count to 13 in both languages! Theo sometimes takes a short-cut, completely bypassing 4,5,and 6.

One sunny afternoon, the twins discovered a small caterpillar on the kitchen floor. They lay down on the floor in front of it and �played� with it.

About 10 minutes later, Madeline waltzed over to me and announced that it was sleeping (yep, dead).

Another 5 minutes later, Theo excitedly rushed up to me and proclaimed the poor caterpillar �broken� (torn in half).

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Several weeks ago, I noticed that Madeline had something in her mouth. When I asked her what she was eating, she confidently replied �cheerio.� I asked her if she was sure and she innocently nodded her head. At just that moment, she started to choke and cough. A button came flying out of her mouth and onto the living room floor. I picked it up and asked again what was she eating. Embarrassed that I had her cornered, she still insisted it was a cheerio. I swear you could see a halo over her innocent little head.

Museum hug

Goodnight hug

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We rented a big cottage in Suffolk for 4 days with our good friends Theresa, Nick, and their son Alexander. We spent the weekend playing in the huge garden and making trips to the stunning coast. All three of the kids loved playing with the stones on the beach.

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In mid December, we went to France to celebrate Christmas early with the entire de Quillacq family. During our visit, Gontran�s sister Virginie announced the wonderful news that she is expecting a baby in July! Congratulations Virginie and Stephane!

A week later, we packed up the kids and headed to Bergen, Norway to have a peaceful, white Christmas. What a stunning country�all lit up with Christmas decorations, snow falling and warm fires. We took a lovely trip down the fjords and made our way through the stunning countryside and mountains.

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At the end of January, our babysitter Sarah and her fianc� David got married! It was a gorgeous wedding and an intensely happy occasion. Mazzeltov!

At the beginning of February, Gontran met up with most of the de Quillacq clan in the French Alps to do a few days of intense skiing. Mommy and kids decided to stay home this time. Maybe we�ll all go together next year when the twins are a bit older?

But don�t shed a tear for poor Mommy�� When Gontran came home, Elizabeth and her best pal Theresa set off to Florida for 8 days. No kids! No husbands! We spent 2 days in Miami Beach soaking up the sun and contemplating just how many weirdoes we could meet by 9 AM.

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Then we shot off to the Everglades for a few days to check out the marshes and the wildlife. As our grand finale, we cruised down to Key West, where we spent a magical 4 days just relaxing, shopping, eating, riding bikes and enjoying the architecture.

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You know you�re a parent of twins when:

1 Your Christmas card list includes the fire department (for any past or future dilemmas), your psychiatrist, plastic surgeon, the Baby Einstein Company (makers of mesmerizing toddler videos), the makers of the Tesco supermarket twin shopping trolley, and the makers of Benadryl.

2 Your stock portfolio includes shares in Proctor & Gamble (makers of Huggies diapers and paper towels) and Starbucks coffee

3 When buying a car, you bring your tape measurer to see if that double stroller really will fit in the trunk

4 You judge the merits of an outdoor playground by its full encloseabilty by fence and lockability of the gate.

We were blessed with a visit from Aunt Barbara! We had a great week showing off our kids!

A untie B and I went to Florence for the weekend. What a beautiful, hectic, breathtaking, artistic and overwhelming city! We need a month just to see it all.

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And a few more pictures:

Sharing Barney�s book

Here is what happens when you have to wash Theo�s blanket!

Potty Training

Theo gets a haircut, and a llollypop too!

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London N8 8QP
England