Fifty First Drafts

Where Have We Been? Where Are We Going? Are We There Yet? Are We There Yet?

Originally published August 31, 2012

50 First Dates

Believe it or not, has reached a major milestone today, our fiftieth column. In its honor, we’ve decided to take a look back at some of the topics we’ve covered over the past fifty columns and contemplate the column’s place in the world.

Or, as some of my friends might say, it’s time for a clip show.

Ahem. Brookline Patch approached Nomi and me about writing this column. We were relatively new parents, with our daughters a little over a year old. You might think that we wouldn’t have time to take on another commitment, but we jumped at the opportunity. Why? Well, on personal note, writing this column seemed like a nice way to help us process all the changes in our lives and share them with others. But, more broadly, it also seemed to be a good way to hold a lens up to a lifestyle that is becoming more typical for many people in our society.

As odd as it sounds to our ears, our family represents a trend. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the national twin birth rate has skyrocketed. In 2009, the year Muffin and Squeaker were born, there were 137,217 twin births out of 4,130,665 total births, roughly 3.3%, a U.S. high. This may not seem like much, but since 1980 the rate of twin births has jumped 76%.

What was once a rare event is starting to seem more commonplace and is mostly credited to the older age of many new mothers and the use of fertility treatments. Furthermore, Massachusetts has one of the highest rates of twin births in the country, possibly due to the laws requiring insurance companies to cover a certain number of those fertility treatments. Nomi and I are no longer surprised to meet so many other local parents who have welcomed twins into their family in the last few years.

Given these trends, we realized that this column would have appeal beyond that of our own small circle. If you’re a twin parent already, or simply expecting twins (or triplets, or quadruplets, or…), our column might provide you with some insights that could be directly helpful. And even if you’re not a parent yourself, chances are you know some parents struggling with the issue of, well, their multiple issue.

So what topics have obsessed The Brookline Parent?

Well, true to the column’s name, Nomi and I do focus a lot on what it’s like to be a parent in the town of Brookline. We’ve written about taking the girls to Brookline parks, shopping with them at Brookline stores, and seeking out play dates with other Brookline parents. Early on, I even examined how easy it is to raise kids in Brookline without owning a car. I’d say that the column more than lives up to its name.

The next topic that seemed to dominate our columns was sleep. I’ve mentioned before how I noticed that we were discussing sleep quite a lot in this column. This past week has actually emphasized yet again how much we think about sleep, or the lack of it, as Muffin and Squeaker have woken up wailing in the middle of every night this week. They’ve done this before, and I expect they’ll do it again.

Another popular topic we’ve explored is the Jewish holidays. There’s no surprise there, and it’s delightfully relevant to Brookline, as our town has a large Jewish population that I’ve seen estimated at about 35%-40%, compared to a nationwide percentage of about 2%. We’ve written about costuming the girls for Purim, costuming], celebrating Passover without disrupting bedtime, introducing the girls to Rosh Hashanah, and enjoying the girls’ obsession with Hanukkah. We even when the girls were finally old enough to appreciate it more.

Finally, there have been columns that focus on our own personal interests. Nomi and I are both interested in language, and so we’ve written a bit on Muffin and Squeaker’s language development, both early and late. We’re also very interested in science. Nomi has written about how the girls are natural scientists, and how we’re trying to encourage their scientific curiosity. Very early on, I expressed my hope that girls will grow up in the world where no one would still question the thought of women becoming astronauts, and to this day it remains one of our most popular columns.

And, of course, no retrospective of our column would be complete without noting that I read to the girls every night, frequently about superheroes.

Thank you for joining us for the first fifty columns of The Brookline Parent. We’re looking forward to how Muffin and Squeaker surprise us in the next fifty, and we hope you’ll continue to come along for the ride.

This week’s column is written by Michael A. Burstein.

About this column: The adventures of two Brookline parents and their twin daughters, Muffin and Squeaker. This column originally appeared on the Brookline Patch website. Copyright 2012 by Brookline Patch.

About Michael A. Burstein
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