May 9, 2011

Cue the Spotlight

The Chicago Botanic Garden
This was one crazy weekend for yours truly and her family.

Not only did our weekend include Mother's Day and a bridal shower (guess who's adorable daughters have been asked to be flower girls this summer?), but Friday was National Public Gardens Day.

Did you know that was a thing?  Well it is.  A great thing.  There are public gardens all over the United States that offer all kinds of wonderful deals to get you out of the house and into the most beautifully designed and kept parks this country has to offer.

One of those participating parks was The Chicago Botanic Garden.  It's a really beautiful place.  It's free all the time, but to encourage visitors, by printing off the National Public Garden's Day coupon, you could have your parking fees waived.  And the parking fees for just about anything "public" in or around the city of Chicago are fairly exorbitant.  So I signed myself up for as many guests as I imagined could possibly fit in the SuperMommy Mobile, and started inviting friends.

Our Garden-going cohort
By the time Friday morning rolled around, M had installed a Guest Car-Seat in the back of the Sienna (so glad we have a car that can fit more than two car seats!), and I had carefully orchestrated the collection of the cohort heading to the Gardens.

Off we went!  First stop, collecting my friend C; a gorgeous- nay, stunning- redheaded model and actress cum historian that I have the good pleasure of knowing.  At the next stop we collected my friend Sage Wild and her unbelievably adorable moppet.  They make quite a pair, she with her long thick dreads and abundance of tattoos, he with his newly gape-toothed smile and shock of thick, silky hair.
C and the girls

I tell you what our group looked like because it is essential that you understand how striking the other members of my group were.

They were EXTREMELY striking.  They are the sorts of people who turn heads on the street, who invite smiles, who look like people that you want to get near to, for any number of reasons.

Within moments of stepping through the entrance of the Gardens, within moments of being surrounded by families and photographers taking advantage of the absolutely BEAUTIFUL day and the availability of this incredible place, C leaned close to me and whispered, "I can't believe how much attention the twins are getting!"

Entering the Botanic Garden
I had been fairly oblivious.  Between trying to remember if I had grabbed enough snacks, thinking about whether my newly re-discovered bag of car-chocolate would melt in the heat, and concentrating on pushing my overloaded travel stroller up the path, I hadn't really realized what a commotion we were stirring up.

"What?" said I, "Oh- yeah.  People love the girls."
"I don't get this kind of attention from strangers no matter how short a skirt I'm wearing!"

C has the sort of legs that most women would trade their arms for.  They would have C's arms sticking out of their shoulders, and they would really think they got the better end of the deal.  C knows something about getting a lot of attention- even subtle attention- from stangers.

I- who have stubby short people legs and almost never wear short skirts- hadn't realized that pretty much the entire garden was staring at us and smiling.  And by "us," I mean my twin daughters.
In the Walled English Garden

I noticed it more and more and more as we walked through the Gardens.  In the Walled English garden, they entertained themselves by stepping off the pavement and onto the grass, back and forth, laughing happily, while a cluster of white haired people in sunglasses watched and whispered.  I worried it was disapproving. 

In the Sensory Garden, we took the low road and every face on the high road turned towards the bright red double stroller with my happy little munchkins in it.  I started to feel distinctly uncomfortable- what about that other adorable baby?  The one who's obviously with us?  He is SO CUTE!  Don't you think?  He's smiling!

...he's smiling as he plays a bit of "tag" with one of those super-cute twins.  Right.  Did you see the twins?

"Look!  Twinnies!"  (Yes, I actually overheard that.  "Twinnies."  Can't say I'd ever heard it before.)

A bird my daughters didn't see
Through the McDonald Woods we walked, the girls free of their stroller and excitedly scurrying down the gravel path, oblivious to the squirrels and occasional duck in the nearby scenery.  Their pace erratic, their mother constantly calling out their names.  We held up the other visitors- those going in either direction- and I squirmed with guilt knowing that the only other option was the thrust my protesting children back into their stroller and instead bother people with their unhappy sounds.  But these strangers all smiled and pointed and said, "How cute!" before passing by the stunning redhead, the striking dreadlock mama, and the adorably giggling little man without a glance.

As we walked through the Waterfall garden to the Japanese garden, even though SI was fading fast and getting progressively grumpier, gaggles of international tourists baring expensive cameras would point and ask, "Twins?"  To which I would mumble "Yetheyarth" or something like it through my mouth full of crackers.

A flower I can hold?!?
Everybody wanted to verify that they were, in fact, twins.  As the little man with us is nearly as big as the girls, I began to get the impulse to start saying, "No- triplets!  And I'm just the surrogate- all of them are actually the love children of these two gorgeous other women!"

But as previously mentioned, my mouth was full of crackers.

It's amazing how much people notice the twins.  All other parts of a scene, from gorgeous women to stunning flowers, seem irrelevant next to the unyielding need to point out that there are two babies the exact same age.

I'm just not sure I understand.  Yeah, I think my kids are pretty much the most perfect human beings ever to come into existence, but that's because they're my kids.  What is it about twins that incites such wonder and excitement among strangers?

Flowers for everyone!
I was amazed to discover how people who it seemed spoke English only through phrasebooks or pre-vacation crash courses had managed to pick up the word, "twin."  Which I'm pretty sure isn't universal.

So I'm sorry, Sage Wild (and son) and C.  I have no idea why my kids were getting all the attention.  I feel very badly about it, since I think that all three of you are at least as exciting as my own children.  Sage Wild- your son is absolutely one of the most adorable and mild mannered children I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.  Everyone should be pointing and staring and saying, "Isn't that little boy just the sweetest thing you ever saw?"

So in short- should anyone in your acquaintance ever decide they require the constant attention of strangers, tell them to go out and get some twins.

Works like a charm.


  1. Ha!! I was happy that the attention WASN'T on me for once! I get really tired of answering "no, I did not get all of my tattoos at the same time," and "yes, it hurt. no really, it hurt, no not as bad as childbirth." Next time we should bring someone riding a unicycle juggling something or other that is on fire, yeah?

  2. I really like your blog. If its ok to post this here, I just started a blog myself

  3. great post! We've never been there and I love that its free and there's a parking coupon!

  4. lol...I have been guilty of looking twice at twins in public! Shortly after our second baby was born my 3-year old and I saw twin babies very close to our babies age at a restaurant. She was fascinated by babies and absolutely blown away that you could have two that looked the same! It looks like you still had a great time!


  5. Congrats on being the Social Moms Blog of the Week!

  6. You're in Chicago? I"M in Chicago(land)! I knew there was something I liked about you. Other than the twin thing, I mean.



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