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Jane Roper

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Jane Roper is the author of the memoir Double Time: How I Survived–and Mostly Thrived–Through the First Three Years of Mothering Twins and blogger at Her writing has appeared on Babble, Salon, The Huffington Post, The Rumpus, and the upcoming anthology The Push: Birth Stories for the 21st Century. Jane lives in the Boston area with her husband and twin daughters.

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That manny can draw!

By Jane Roper |

Two afternoons a week, while Alastair teaches guitar lessons, we have someone come watch the girls. We were privileged to have two awesome sitters doing this over the past year : first, the multi-talented (and multi-tattooed) Sophia, who taught the girls how to hula hoop — as much as you can teach four-year-olds how to hula hoop, that is — and made them a kick-ass playhouse out of cardboard boxes, among other things. (She’s expecting a baby in January, and she’s going to be an awesome mom.)

When Sophia got promoted at her other job, her friend Pete, who’d come and babysat with her numerous times, took her place. Pete was awesome — the girls loved him, and he was very sweet with them. But now he’s moving out of town. So we hired someone new — thank you, Craigslist — and she seems great. But we’ll miss Pete.

Not only was Pete a good sitter, he was — well, is; the man’s not dead — and amazing drawer. (And by that I mean one who draws. Not a place you put your socks. Shouldn’t there be a better word than “drawer” for someone who draws?? Damnit, English!!)

The girls like to take advantage of Pete’s artistic abilities by asking him to draw things for them. (And I think they were much nicer to him during this process than they ever are to us when we try to draw / make / etc. things for them.) Several times, they had him illustrate little books for them: they would say the words, he would write the words down, and then draw the pictures. (They’d help, too.)

The awesomeness of Pete’s drawings are matched by the total absurdity of Elsa and Clio’s storycraft, making for a singularly entertaining reading experience. You’re going to enjoy this. I swear. (And please note: I know that slide shows can be annoying. I pledge not to do them more than once a month, and only if it really makes sense. Which this one does. I promise.)

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That manny can draw!


[Elsa's name, bigger than the title. She thinks she's Danielle Steele.]


So, we’re off to New Hampshire for a week — right in the path of Irene! Woo hoo! — so the blog will go dark for a while, but I’ll be back. With a vengeance! Or some more posts, anyway. Happy end of summer, everybody. Be excellent to each other.


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About Jane Roper


Jane Roper

Jane Roper is the author of the memoir Double Time: How I Survived–and Mostly Thrived–Through the First Three Years of Mothering Twins and blogger at Jane lives in the Boston area with her husband and twin daughters.

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18 thoughts on “That manny can draw!

  1. KristenC says:

    Watch out Jane Roper, I see a future award winning writing trio with Elisa, Clio and Pete!

  2. Lauren says:

    I’m not a big fan of these slideshows in general, and although this one was cute I couldn’t go through with it. Not your fault, Jane…

    Babble: slideshows = annoying. slideshows + video ads = waaaay annoying.

  3. Jane Roper says:

    Lauren, I totally understand! I find gratuitous slide shows annoying, too. But I think they can be fun if not over-done. I just added a note to the post about this: I promise not to do more than one slide show a month, and only if it makes sense.

  4. SNSinNC says:

    I think the word for “drawer” (not the place you keep socks) is “artist”? :) I wish I could draw hippos that well…or anything, but hippos seem like the most fun.

  5. jenn/hippygoth says:

    Aw, the Return of Jackie Paper! I was always sad about the way Puff ended, too. I think this is excellent! And Pete should get an award for the Sad Puff illustration. And Elsa should get an award for general awesomeness with a side of last name practice writing.

    Stay safe! Good luck with Irene in NH – out in the Pioneer Valley we are in “6 to 10 inches of rain, possible hurricane force wind” territory.

  6. Cindy says:

    Rockin’ story and the illustrations are amazing. That manny CAN drawer. He’s quite the artist.

  7. Bridget says:

    HILARIOUS! Also, Pete should illustrate children’s books!

  8. DWK says:

    Love this, love them, and love the story, too. I was a nanny (au pair) and it always makes me happy when people appreciate and love their babysitters–which should be obvious but is not always the case. xxx

  9. Kayt says:

    Sophia and her baby bump is so precious!

    And I love Pete’s drawings. How cool are they?

  10. Amber of The Daily Doty says:

    That is ADORABLE and he is a good drawer! :)

  11. Robin | Farewell, Stranger says:

    What a great quality in a caregiver! And I love that Elsa wrote her name so big. No shyness there! :)

  12. Meg says:

    This is amazing! Pete is supa talented and Elsa has a fanTAStic imagination. I can’t wait for my girls to do the same!!

  13. Nik says:

    Very very cool artwork. And thanks to the person who commented on the unfortunate recent prevalence of slideshows on Babble– really annoying and so overused! This one, Jane, is totally appropriate, and done well. I enjoyed the peek into your girls’ creative little brains!

  14. [...] That Manny Can Draw [...]

  15. MsG says:

    I loved this – great hippos by Pete!
    And to hijack about the slideshows… For me it’s not the presence of the slideshows, but how the whole damn page has to reload! There’s got to be a better way for Babble to present them.

  16. Jane Roper says:

    MSG, the reason for the prevalence of the slideshows lately is the very fact that the whole page reloads, therefore counting as a page view each time someone clicks to a new slide. I agree, it’s quite annoying to navigate.

  17. Laurie says:

    The book is incredibly cool. I want one! ;-)

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