This is how I imagined it would be

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Categories Childcare, Mommy Issues, Parenting Twins, Potty Training, RoutinesTags 4 Comments

Earlier this week as I planned what I would write today, I frequently came back to the idea that being at home with my children was not how I had imagined it would be. I finished my time as student and our nanny’s contract ended in December, so I decided I would take some time at home with my children. I don’t know if it was the excitement of Christmas, the changes in routine of the holidays, the cold weather that kept us inside, my expectations about what I get done each day, the appointments and activities we had scheduled, the transitions into the “terrible twos” (times two!) or the physical effects of diet, sleep and exercise patterns, but things were not going as I had imagined.

But today, things seemed to get on track. My son (Big Brother or BB) got up and came down for breakfast with a smile on his face. We enjoyed our breakfast together. I cuddled my three children (and their three babies) on the couch and we read stories together. The girls (R and S)  took turns examining each other and their babies with the medical kit. BB planned a pretend birthday party for us, and he sang happy birthday to each of sisters (after asking me “what name is this baby?”). That seemed like a perfect time to have snack, so they had the homemade muffins we made yesterday sitting together in the living room.  My son vacuumed up the crumbs, while R and S took the dishes into the kitchen. Everyone helped out.

For lunch, we made cornmeal muffins with leftover chicken and vegetables. They were thrilled with muffins for a main course, even though lunch was a little later than usual. BB stayed upstairs for his required quiet time, and I got to have some time to eat my lunch by myself. R and S settled for nap, and slept over an hour.

When quiet time was over BB played independently for a while. When the girls finished their nap, they played fairly independently too. I showed BB how to play a counting game on the computer (also good practice for his fine motor skills), and I had a few minutes to sit down and look at a new cookbook I got for Christmas.  Dinner was leftover soup I made in the crockpot yesterday, so there was no panic to get food on the table for dinner.

We accomplished quite a bit during the day. I worked with R and S using the techniques from speech therapy. We worked together to label with new toy bins they got for Christmas. I’d been anxious to get this done, so it was a big relief to cross it off my to-do list. I got two loads of laundry done, which is the minimum required to keep up with recently potty-trained twins since I refuse to buy pull-ups for naps and bedtime. The kitchen was mostly clean before dinner after two loads of dishes. BB had vacuumed parts of the house, and most of the toys were put away in the toy bins.

The day wasn’t without its moments. I did have to intervene and take away a few toys.  There were a couple of accidents, and some poopy training pants. I had to threaten to put the girls in playpens before they quieted for naptime, and my son tried to disassemble the Learning Tower. There were a few flare-ups between the kids, particularly when I was on the phone.

But overall, something was different. Maybe things did go more smoothly. Maybe my expectations were more realistic. Maybe I’m getting better at integrating what the kids need with what I want to accomplish. Maybe we’re all getting in to a routine, especially when we don’t have to go anywhere or do anything. Whatever happened, today is much closer to how I imagined things would be.

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Weaning on two (or three!) different timelines

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Categories Breastfeeding, Development, Routines, ToddlersTags , , 9 Comments

For a number of reasons including my sore back, my schoolwork demands, and our childcare schedule, I’m getting more proactive about weaning. (And, I think I read heard imagined that toddlers stop breastfeeding and start walking about the same time. Since our girls are almost 18 months old and still not walking, maybe this will speed thing up).

For the last couple of months, I’ve shifted more and more to the “don’t offer, don’t refuse” approach to feeding during the day with scheduled feedings first thing in the morning and at bedtime. A couple of weeks ago, I cut out the morning feed.  Now, they are usually just feeding at bedtime, though sometimes if I’ve been working all day and dinner is going to be later, I feed them to address both their hunger and need for mommy-time.

I’ve been convinced for a while that R is ready to wean. She is most interested in breastfeeding when her sister is doing it. She does not initiate or expect to feed nearly as often as her sister. When I cut out their morning feedings and went straight from bed to breakfast, and she didn’t even fuss. In the afternoon, I can distract her with tickles or by looking out the window.  At bedtime, she is often too distracted to really feed.  She is more interested in what her sister and brother are doing, or in watching the ceiling fan, or “honking” my nose.  After two or three interruptions in as many minutes, I give her a hug and kiss and put her to bed.

My other girl, S, is on her own weaning schedule. When I started the “don’t offer, don’t refuse” approach, she was wanting to feed on the same schedule as before (after meals, before and after nap, in morning and at bedtime, at least). She comes looking to breastfeed way more often than her sister, and she is hard to distract. When I cut out the morning feeding, for a few days, I had to sneak in and take her to the other room to feed her before R woke up because she was so upset about not eating.  Even after a couple of weeks, she still wants milk first thing in the morning, though I’m not feeding her. When she sees me after a day of work, she wants to feed and a bedtime, she feeds without interruptions, and often asks for “more.”

I was hoping to phase out evening feeds in the next week or so, but I don’t see that happening. S is still very much interested in breastfeeding and R wants the same attention as her sister.  With their big brother, we changed his bedtime routine so Daddy put him to bed with a story instead of breastfeeding with me.  But, our schedule right now won’t support that change. So, unless the girls wean themselves, I think we’ll continue like this for another month or so.

How did you wean your children?  Did they wean at the same time? If not, how did you deal with it?

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Joining in With Those Who Scramble

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Categories Parenting Twins, Routines, ToddlersTags 13 Comments

Like most stay at home moms, we have a nice weekly routine that keeps my 2-year-olds, Tiny and Buba, and me busy and out there with other caregivers and similar aged kids. Most of our activities start mid-morning (9:30/10ish) and all are just minutes away. This means that there is plenty of time for everyone to get up, get ready, and get out the door on time.

Our current morning routine goes something like this: T and I get up at 6:30 (often Tiny and Buba are already awake, but if they aren’t they tend to wake once they hear us moving about). T begins getting ready while I get the kids up. Tiny and Buba each drink a sippy cup of milk while I read them four or five books, and then I work on getting them dressed. (Getting dressed has recently started to take a while, as Tiny feels she needs to be involved in choosing her clothing and both kiddos now insist on attempting to dress themselves.) By the time the kids are dressed, T is ready and he spends time with them while I get myself ready. Then we all say bye-bye to daddy and I make breakfast for Buba, Tiny, and myself. We’re usually finishing breakfast around 8:30, so there’s always plenty of time to clean up, play, and pack a bag before heading out for our mid-morning activity.

But starting Monday, I will be joining in with those who scramble to get themselves and their kids ready and out the door on time. Because starting Monday, Buba and Tiny will begin attending a drop-off playgroup (run by Early Intervention) that starts at 9am and is a good 25-35 minutes away (factoring in morning traffic). So obviously, our somewhat leisurely morning routine will have to be kicked into high gear and certain parts will need to get dropped.

There are some things that are no brainers- we will have to eat breakfast earlier, so dropping the milk and books first thing makes sense. And I’ll definitely be packing the bag (with the travel potty, extra clothes, and snacks) the night before. But what worries me are all the things I can’t control- and what I’m talking about here is uncooperative children. Tiny is especially insistent about doing things herself these days, and while she can do quite a bit by herself, it does take her FOR. EV.ER. And I know she will be most unhappy if/when it becomes necessary for me to step in and take over one of her getting ready tasks.

So what do you have in your bag of tricks that keeps your morning routine going smoothly enough so that everyone is ready and out the door on time for work/daycare/school/activities? And what do you do to prevent and/or defuse children who may melt down and jeopardize the chances of you arriving punctually?

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