Milestones…

We had our twins Danny & Abigail almost exactly 2 1/2 years ago. I like to think we are pretty good at celebrating milestones (Solid food! No more BFing! Walking! Preschool!) at appropriate times and enjoying the day to day moments with our kids. However, every once in a while something reminds me of how far we’ve come–all four of us—since those baby days.

We spent the afternoon at a first birthday party for two twin boys (Happy birthday O & C!). We played outside a while–a must with the heard of toddlers who were celebrating the  babies’ birthday, had some cake, some snacks, some playing and then headed home to a quick bath/bed. And then an almost immediate poop-fest once they were in their cribs, supposedly sleeping, but that’s another story. It made me remember back to their first birthday party, which seems both like yesterday and like so long ago. They weren’t walking or talking yet and while they enjoyed the festivities, they were overwhelmed and overstimulated by all the fun—and ours was as low-key as any party. Some cake, some friends (mostly adult), some family…not much else. I spent an hour that night rocking an overstimulated little boy in a dark nursery, just so he could calm down enough to be able to fall asleep. They were still BFing—we had just introduced milk and drinking out of sippies was still so-so. They were babies….

But today. The kids played. Got pulled around in a wagon by the birthday boys’ Daddy (yeah, yeah, not sure how he ended up entertaining my two as well), eating cake with a fork at the kids’ table, eating more snacks as needed, singing happy birthday and playing nicely (for the most part) with the other toddlers. They sang happy birthday LOUDLY all the way home and ran around the house like maniacs. They had had a great time—and a lot of sugar. But, they had a nice bath, a nice story (Bread and Jam for Frances—AGAIN) and now, at 7:30pm, are silent upstairs in the nursery. It is a whole different world from that first birthday 18 months ago. And I often forget that, until something like a first birthday reminds me.  October 2009 067

What reminds you that your kiddos aren’t babies anymore? Are you sad about it? Happy? Relieved?

Fantasies of two little babies, happily sleeping next to each other…

My boy/girl twins. Abigail & Danny, are now almost 2.5 years old.

When I found out I was pregnant with twins, I had this image of two little babies, sleeping side by side in the crib. Now, once I had said little babies, it didn’t really happen quite like that. Danny had colic, so he was often in his carseat. They learned to roll early, so we bought a second crib pretty early. Then Danny was up every hour or two AT FOUR MONTHS, so we moved Abigail into the spare bedroom, since she could sleep through the night at that point.  But, once we had reached their first birthday, we dismantled the crib in the guest room and moved Abigail back into the nursery with Danny. Finally….this was what I had imagined. Two little guys, chatting to each other as they fell asleep at night and when they woke up in the morning. Ok, so maybe I hadn’t imagined how long they would chat at night…and that they’d be so excited by being in the same room again that they would jump up and down in their crib for an hour, but still…they were back together.

I knew it wouldn’t last forever, since they are different genders. We’d talked about how old was too old to share a room—four? Six? Eight? And then….Abigail started climbing out of the pack ‘n play in the guest room where she napped. Oh, this was not good. With two napless days in a just one week,  I informed my mother-in-law that I was showing up at her house on Saturday and borrowing her spare crib. It’s not like she was using it. And this solved our napping problems. Abigail loved her new crib and was thrilled to nap in it. I was thrilled to have the nap back.

Then….three or four days into the new crib, Abigail announced one night, “I sleep in MY room. In MY crib.” We soon discovered that she meant the guest room (which I really consider more mine than hers….or at least, Grandma’s). It had been a rough night so I didn’t care to argue. Of course, that led to more of a rough night, as Danny began to yell hysterically, “Where Abigail?! Where are you, Abigail?!” from his crib. I finally had to go ask Abigail to yell back to him from her crib. (Now, do keep in mind that our house is only 1600 square feet. It’s not like I had hidden her in some separate wing of the house.) The next night…yep, she was convinced she wanted to sleep in her crib. Now, I know I’m the mom. And I could make her sleep in the nursery. As well as I can make a willful 2.5 year old girl do anything, I suppose. But….I can’t figure out why to have that fight. There are so many other ones to have, and this seems harmless. I’m sad about it, and mourning the loss of another aspect of twindom….but it was going to have to happen at some point anyway. So why fight it now that it happened a few years earlier than I had imagined?

Anyone else have kids who are ready for big changes before you are?

Is it time to get up, Mommy?

My twins are almost 2 1/2, and many things are easier these days. Trips out go smoothly. A Labor Day picnic was a lot of fun. Gymnastics class is enjoyed by all (and is a work-out for Mommy, but that’s another issue). One fantastic change with them maturing has been that they often sleep later in the morning. Sometimes we see 7am. Or…gasp…7:30am. It’s fantastic. They are happy, cheerful little guys are those mornings.

However…and why is it that things things always come with a “however”?….on the days when they still get up early…6:15am, 6:00am, 5:30am….they are unbearable. When they were younger they were cheerful and happy in the morning and it was only Mommy and Daddy who were grouchy. Now, they really NEED that extra sleep in the morning, but don’t seem to be able to get themselves back to sleep if they are woken up earlier in the morning (freaking cats) or happen to stir earlier. I’ve yelled. I’ve ignored. I’ve been grouchy all morning. Nothing has been effective.

So, I turned to the source of all things wonderful….my twin club. And low and behold, someone sent me to this product.

http://www.goodnitelite.com

It’s this cute little nightlight that you can program to show either a sun (time to get up!) or a moon (time to sleep!). You can set it for whatever time you want—they recommend setting the sun to “rise” at their normal wake-up time at first, so they can get used to it, and then setting it later in 15 minute increments. It arrived in the mail a few days ago and the kids were intrigued. Then, when they went in at bedtime, the moon was lit up. They were enthralled. In the morning, they started yelling, “Sun! I see sun! Mommy!” when they woke up. The next morning, it took some talking about the moon, but they were able to stay in their cribs the extra 15 minutes they needed until the sun “rose”. Again, they were enthralled.

I’m not sure if it will be long term successful, but it is better than yelling. It’s cute, the kids like it and it’s a clear visual sign to them of whether it’s time to get up or not. Maybe we’ll start to see a few more of those 7am days. (And please, any of you who have kids who sleep until 8am—or later—please don’t share!!! It’s sad enough how excited I get about 7am.)

What products can the rest of you not live without?

Quick and yummy eating options

Jenna’s post yesterday got me thinking about food. And eating. And the continual challenge of finding the time and energy to get food on the table that doesn’t come from our local Indian food restaurant (or sub shop or pizza place…you get my drift).

Fun summer activities make us too busy and tired to cook

Fun summer activities make us too busy and tired to cook

While  I used to enjoy some cooking, I find it difficult these days to dredge up the energy to prepare something exciting. The recipe below is our favorite, super quick and easy, solution to the dinner dilemma. I posted in a year or so ago, but it’s good enough for a repeat.

Slow cooker chicken tacos

4 frozen chicken breasts

16-24 oz jar of salsa

1 packet of taco seasoning

2 15 oz cans of beans, any type

1 Tablespoon sour cream (optional)

Tortillas

Put first four ingredients in the crock-pot. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.  Before serving shred the chicken inside the crockpot, the chicken is so tender it just falls apart.  Stir in 1 tablespoon of sour cream and voila… it’s done! Put in a bit of shredded cheese, some chopped tomato and lettuce and you have the tastiest meal ever.

How about the rest of you? What’s your favorite quick meal solution? Share, please! (Abigail’s new favorite phrase, uttered whenever someone else is eating. Especially when her brother has more cake/ice cream/treats left on his plate since he didn’t gobble it up as quickly as she did).

Field trips

When my kids were infants, I often felt like I was missing out on baby things that my friends with one infant did. They often met at the movie theater for Mommy & Baby movies. Hahaha. I was so not going to be able to do that with two infants, especially when one was quite a bit screamy. They would go out to lunch (see previous note on His Screamy-ness) or to the mall. Once when I tried to go by post-pregnancy jeans at The Gap, Danny screamed so loudly in the dressing room I had to leave my four pairs of jeans there and make a quick exit. It was ugly. I saved the jeans shopping for a Saturday when there were two of us. Mommy & Baby yoga was another no-go. As was any semblence of sleep.

Hanging out at a family picnic Hanging out at a family picnic

However, as the months went on, I felt like I was missing out on less and less. Music class? We started that at about 20 months and had tons of fun. Gymnastics? We started that at 18 months and was also a blast. We can do playgroups and trips to the park and to a friend’s house as easily as anyone with just one toddler. Dinners out? Well, we probably wouldn’t do that even with one toddler, what with our 7pm bedtime and my dislike of just shoving (expensive) food in quickly so that I can eat at the speed of a two year old. That’s what babysitters are for, in my book. And we have a great one who isn’t phased by putting two two year olds to bed.

But my kids are now coming up on 2 1/2 and suddenly I think those singleton moms and kiddos are getting out a lot more again. A trip to the Science Museum on a weekday morning? Hell, no. Between rush hour traffic and trying to keep track of two (fast) two year olds, I might not survive until naptime. The same goes for the Aquarium and the Children’s Museum. Could I try to attempt it if it I really wanted to? Probably. But I’m a bit concerned about safety and keeping track of both of them in such a big, crowded space. And honestly, I’m really not interested in having them do a 30 minute nap in the car as their only nap of the day. My friends with one kid seem so much more willing to mess with that nap. But me, on a day when it’s just me from 7am to 7pm? You’ve got to be kidding. I’m just too tired not to have an hour or two to myself, to eat lunch, respond to emails and maybe throw a load of laundry in. On weekends, fine. But just me days? No thank you. Now I am aware that this may have more to do with my own personality–there are certainly peppier, sunnier twin moms out there than me. But has anyone else found that 2 1/2 is a hard age to get kids out on TRIPS? Not the usual everyday ones, but the fun big ones, like museums or zoos or such? Anyone have any good tips for making it work?

 
Abigail enjoys a recent trip to the playground

Abigail enjoys a recent trip to the playground

Potty training….times two

My boy/girl twins, Danny & Abigail, are now 27 months old.

Random cute photo---because, really, who wants photos of kids on potties to go along with this topic?

Random cute photo---because, really, who wants photos of kids on potties to go along with this topic?

I know, no one really wants to talk about poop any more than, as moms of two or more little kiddos, we already do. And yet, doesn’t it take up so much of our day? Instead of giving out information or talking about what worked for us, I’m going to solicit you more experienced, wiser moms out there of older, diaper-less twins.

My guys are past two and getting older and more mature every day. We have been talking about the potty for months and have several books that talk about potties. (My husband was horrified when he read one for the first time. Does it have to SHOW the pee on the floor?! Really?! And talk about it incessantly?!). Anyway, we bought them each a potty—bright pink, because I’m not an idiot—I’m going to buy two identical potties–and pink was on sale. Hey, when you’re buying two, $10 off is a nice savings. I can use it to fund my Starbucks habit….

Abigail at the beach

Abigail at the beach

So, we sit on the potty each night, the kids help me flush. They’d like to help wipe too, but hey, even a mom of toddlers has boundaries somewhere. But they sit on the potty, wipe, flush….and are happy to do it. Except, no pee. We’ve been doing this for a while now and are going no where. And, I feel like we could stay here for a while. I know, I know…they may not be ready. But I’d like to give them the chance to show me that. So, I’m asking you moms out there for ideas. What are tips you wish you knew when you were potty-training your twins or singletons? What do you wish you didn’t do? Did do? Help a mom out here!

Happy 4th of July!

 
My boy/girl twins, Danny & Abigail, are now 26 months old.
Happy 4th of July, everyone! One of the things that holidays makes me think about is how  much our kiddos have grown and changed in the last few years. So far, we’ve shared three July 4ths with our kids.  

 Two newborns: 4th of July
We were still in that sleep deprived, colicky, horribly stressed stage. The kids were still up a lot at night, still eating all the time and hadn’t really settled into that peaceful, sweet 5-9 month baby stage. They were more at the needy, screamy stage. We went to a picnic at a friend’s house (who also had a new baby) and had fun—but fed babies, swaddled babies and tried to get them to eat all afternoon. One of the other dads went home and told his wife, “Wow, that Danny is pretty screamy, huh?”. Fantastic. Yep, that’s my kid! And yet, we did think this was a pretty good day.

First July 4th
First July 4th

 Two one year olds: 4th of July
It was another rainy day—here is Boston this year, this seems like all we get–and we had friends over for a picnic. Our kids “played” with the other kids—and Abigail proceeded to try to eat all of the younger kids’ food. The kids were able to eat the same foods we did and were happy to play around and let Mommy & Daddy chat, at least a bit. Danny showed off by taking a handful of steps across the playroom—and we even got it on camera! We thought this was pretty good!

Second July 4th
Second July 4th -Abigail’s the food thief with the pigtails
 
Danny on July 4th, 2008

Danny on July 4th,

Two 2 year olds: 4th of July
This year, we hopped a plan and went to visit Grandma and Grandpa. We traveled light this year—we even left the stroller at home! The kids have been excited to see Grandma for weeks now and have been talking about the trip and how they plan to sit next to Daddy (win for Mommy here) on the plane and will sleep while we’re in the air. The kids have fun in the warmer MD weather and enjoy getting out and feeding the neighborhood ducks and playing on the playground. Six adults for two kids make for the best ratio ever!

Little people-July 2009

Little people-July 2009

Each year seems to get more fun. Am I going to feel the same way about three? And four? (And fifteen?)

Anyone else wondering where your kids will be next year and what will be different?

Milestones

My boy/girl twins are now 26 months. Could it be we are finally getting the hang of this parenting thing? Probably not…..

 So, other moms talk about big milestones….baby’s first steps, first words, first time left overnight with Grandma. Well, we had all of those. The steps came slowly, the words even slower (the overnight with Grandma much quicker than either) but as a mom of two toddlers, we have other important milestones too. First trip to the pediatrician without me holding two screaming kids (haven’t hit that one yet), first stomach bug without two kids AND two adults vomiting (Woohoo! We did that one!).  I could go on and on….

Stroller-less at the zoo

Stroller-less at the zoo

But, the other day, the kids and I hit another big milestone. Are you ready? We went to the mall, shopping for something specific for me, WITHOUT the stroller. Now, you can see this as impressive or judge me for being just plain nuts, but this was big for me. I’m tired of the stroller. I’m tired of lugging it in and out of the car. I’m tired of getting smacked in the leg with the front wheel. I’m tired of a toddler—ok, my daughter—screaming to get out. Get in. Get out. Get in. We’ve started leaving the stroller behind when we go out as a family—-to the zoo, the farm, or Target. But doing it by myself is another thing entirely. And at the mall!?

Planning trouble the next time Mommy lets her out of the stroller

Planning trouble the next time Mommy lets her out of the stroller

They did fantastic. We had a bit of an incident when they didn’t want to let go of the undergarments they were holding for me, so that we could buy them. We had a bigger incident on the escalator, when I realized—after we were getting on—that they were both scared of it. More practice is in order at the airport next month. But, we played at the playspace, bought my stuff, had a snack and had a great time. We even ran into friends at the playspace and Mommy got to chat. (And the kids got to stay an extra long time—a win/win situation). And, I’m thrilled. And loving my big, independent kids. I can finally see the day, in the not too distant future, when I put the double BOB up on Craig’s list. I’ve loved it, but it’s time will come.

The Road Not Taken…

My doctor asked me yesterday how old my kids were. When I told her I had two year old twins, she responded by saying, “Boy, that first year was just hell, wasn’t it?”

The other doctors and nurses in the room looked at her with something like horror, but I knew what she meant. Not how I would describe it necessarily, but boy, was it hard! As soon as we’d figured out one thing, like breastfeeding, another issue came along, such as sleep or introducing solid foods. I always felt like I was one step behind them, and could never get ahead.

road2 Don’t get me wrong. I love my twins. I love having twins. I wouldn’t go back and undo the choice I made to have twins. But this has been my life for so long that I forget that other parents don’t necessarily have the same experience. That some people might not describe the first year like my doctor did, or would be horrified to hear it described that way. Sometimes it takes an experience like that, or a lunch with a friend and her one newborn, for me to really understand how different our experience as parents was, or how much I missed out on having my two babies together, instead of one at a time.

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine came over for lunch with her 11 week old baby. When I had my babies, none of my friends had had kids. I met many friends with babies when mine were newborns, but I was too tied up in what I was doing (hurry, swaddle Danny so he won’t scream. Crap, is it time to feed them again? Who’s hungriest and should go first? Really?! You pooped through AGAIN?) to notice what anyone else was doing. And as my kids have gotten older, many of the newborns I spend time with are twins.  Anyway, I watched this friend with her one baby and was simultaneously shocked at her parenting, and a bit horrified by my own take on it.

These were the things I noticed:

  1. She took the (sleepy, happy) baby out of the carrier right away. Right away! And held him.
  2. She didn’t put the (sleepy, happy) baby down the WHOLE TIME she was at my house. Not to eat her sandwich. Not to have a sip of coffee. Not to go pee.
  3. She told me that she loves holding him while he sleeps. Huh. I always thought that sleeping meant that you had time to do all of the aforementioned (eat, sleep, pee). Why would you HOLD a sleeping baby? That is what the carrier is for!
  4. She did not, at any time, put the baby in the carrier and rock it with her foot while she ate/drank coffee/held another baby with her hands. She kind of looked at me surprised when I mentioned rocking babies.

road1I offered to bring her her food or coffee so she could eat with one hand while the baby ate or slept. She said no thank you. I offered to hold the baby so she could eat. She loves holding sleeping babies. She told me how lovely this time is with him and how every day feels like Saturday. Like Saturday? My memory of newborn days is that every day felt like 6am Monday morning, even Saturdays. I wanted to help her put the baby down and eat. I wanted to teach her how to get some more time for herself. And yet, she didn’t want any of that. She didn’t need any of that. The little techniques that got me through the day or a trip out to a friend’s with two babies? She didn’t need those with one baby. She just held and snuggled the baby.

And while I love having twins, I realized how much I missed out on in those first 6 months. The reveling in the baby. The way your whole world revolves around the baby—in a good way, not in a please, God, make this baby finally go to sleep way. The contentness. I loved having babies—but that first year was the hardest first year of my life. I find myself both really envious, and yet feeling a bit superior—to those moms holding their one sleeping baby. How can I feel both? I have no idea. But every once in a while something like this happens and I realize just how different having twins is than having one baby. Not better or worse, just a really different experience.

Less fun than the first steps…

Disclaimer: I love my twins. They are fantastic and I have a great family. Most days, I love having twins. Yesterday was not one of them.

Dear moms of singletons (who tell me—incessantly—how great it is that I have twins because they play together),

My son, who is a quiet little guy, spoke his first sentence yesterday a week after his second birthday. In fact, he’d never even said a two word sentence, and we got three—subject, verb and object. Go Danny.  And what did he say?

“Bite! Abby bite. Abby bite. Abby bite Danny!”

Yep, it was a day of firsts in my house. Abigail bit for the first time at 4pm—and the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th before bed at 7pm—and Danny spoke his first sentence. Somehow I should be happier about this developmental gain. Right? Right?

Yep, moms of one. Enjoy your lonely singleton. He may not have anyone to play with, but at least he is not covered in teeth marks.

Rebecca
Mom to Danny & Abigail, age 2