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March 31, 2010

Update on "The Voices"

So I posted on Saturday that I couldn’t decide if the girls were actually saying words, or just making sounds.

And guess what happened on Sunday? Yup, plain as day, they both said “baby” – and within minutes of each other!

We were all playing in the den, and one of the cats jumped on the couch. (It’s very rare for a furry baby to come so close to the non-furry babies; the kitties usually keep their distance.) I told my husband, “Look, there’s Baby S,” which has been our code name for Sasha. (The girls get all worked up at the mere mention of her name.) Nonetheless, Baby B turned around, very excited, and said, “Baby!”

As my hubby and I oohed and ahhed over her first word, Baby A interrupted our conversation to proclaim a milestone of her own!

The girls have been pointing to the numerous baby pictures we have in nearly every room (of them, of course!), and proudly saying, “baby”. We are also marking them both down as having said “bye-bye”. And I’m tempted to give Baby B credit for saying “ball” and “book”, as she has signed the word as she’s made the attempt.

I remember my mom saying once that, when I was a baby, she could not wait for me to start talking…and then once I did, I never shut up. (I know it’s hard to imagine…) But I can see the snowball effect beginning to happen here.

Both girls are trying hard to imitate words. Baby A was determined to say “banana” yesterday during breakfast. She didn’t come very close, but she did manage a “b”-something sound and three syllables! Also, enthralled with my newly adorned toe ring, I swear she tried to say “pretty”. :)

This is such an exciting time! I am of course excited at the girls’ developments, and I’m also excited to realize the power of The Blog. Apparently, all I have to do is post something the girls aren’t doing, and they take it upon themselves to prove me wrong.

So, let’s give this another try…the girls aren’t yet potty-trained. Now if I can report tomorrow that they used the toilet, we’ll have it made!

March 28, 2010

Beauty Secrets, Revealed

So what is the secret to youthful, radiant skin?

The experts (i.e. Babies A and B) recommend a mask of fresh avocado, applied several times a week.


Why, these girls don’t look a day over 13 months!

March 27, 2010

Hearing Voices?

Actually, I know I’m hearing voices. My question is, are they words?

I keep hearing from my friends who have babies around the same age as A and B that their children are saying all sorts of words…mama, dada, cat, dog, ball, refrigerator, esophagus…the list seems to go on and on.

Our girls have no shortage of sounds, but I don’t know if I can quite claim they’re talking yet. They both say “mama” and “dada”, but I guess I’m kinda waiting for them to address me a little more formally or something.

They both seem to say “baby”, which is one of the words I realized I must say a gazillion times a day as I address them (and, OK, the cats, too). They also seem to say “bye-bye” and “ball”.

Or…I can’t help but question…are they just learning the “b” sound, and I’m hearing what I want to hear when the context is right?

As a mama who writes down every.single.thing. that her girls do (it’ll be important when they’re the first twins to be president and vice president of the United States, ya know?), I am just feeling a lot of pressure to correctly identify their first words, along – of course – with when they said them, where, and what they were wearing.

This isn’t supposed to be so hard!

March 26, 2010

Fab 5 Friday

What made my week so fabulous, you ask???

1) We met the Borders twins at the park for a play date on Friday. The girls had a blast on the swings, and they got to experience the feel of GRASS for the first time. I hope this is the first of many such dates to come!

2) The girls are FEEDING THEMSELVES!

3) I am coping with the MESS of the girls feeding themselves! :)

4) The girls continue to embrace baby sign language. It often takes only a couple of times of me showing them a new sign before they’ve got it. What’s hilarious, though, is when they hear a word they know in a different context, and they start to sign. We were practicing “Blow kisses!” today (not the best example of baby sign language, but that’s OK). Later, I was looking out the window with them, and I noted how the wind was blowing. And there they went, blowing kisses to the wind!

5) The girls have become enthralled with the birds in the backyard. It’s proven an almost endless source of entertainment over the past few days. They love to stand at the window and point and flap their arms (the baby sign for “bird”). They also wave to the birds...how cute is that?!!!

March 25, 2010

Our First Set of Twins

Meet Misha and Sasha, our first set of twins.


When we got our furry babies almost 10 years ago, we actually did call them “twins”. I always described them as “identical” orange tabbies from the same litter, save for Misha outweighing his sister by five or six pounds. Of course now that we have non-furry twins, I realize I should have been saying they’re “fraternal”, as – being male and female – there are some additional anatomical differences between them. :) [Just a little “twin humor” for those of you taking notes…]

Misha and Sasha were our only babies for a long time, and we took a lot of pleasure in spoiling them rotten. (They happen to have a certain custom handmade cat condo from a small scale operation in Florida, for example.) We also did things that I now realize “normal” people do for their non-furry children, like buying duplicates of their favorite toys, for when the originals started to wear.

When A & B were born, Misha and Sasha had to endure quite a few adjustments. They can no longer depend on Mommy and Daddy to be at their beck and meow for brushing or belly rubs. And the din in the house has increased considerably.

We do make special time for the furry babies after A & B go to bed, however. And although the kitties are banned from the den during the day, they have the run of the living room and dining room furniture, which they consider quite the treat.

A & B LOVE their furry brother and sister. Since the time they were tiny, they would get so excited to even glimpse the kitties. And Misha and Sasha have even taken to indulging the girls from time to time. They’ll come and sit just out of reach of A & B. The girls shriek with excitement and wave like mad, and maybe on some level – at least in my imagination – Misha and Sasha appreciate their swooning fans.

My husband and I have gotten quite the kick out of thinking about our furry twins seeming to foreshadow our non-furry twins.

And even though they may not be related, there's no question that life is sweeter in pairs!

(Thanks to reanbean for prompting me to finally write this post!)

March 23, 2010

So Repulsed...Yet So Proud

I can’t exactly claim that my house was a temple before the girls were born. The occasional dust bunny would hop out of hiding now and again, and sometimes the newspaper would pile up for a day or so. But all in all, my house was clean, and it was orderly. Clutter was kept to a bare minimum, and I relished clean countertops and everything on the end tables being arranged “just so”.

Enter A and B.

The first couple of months after the girls were born, the orderliness of the house was the last thing on my mind. The mail, for one, piled up…and up…and up. And then those piles got pushed aside to make room for piles of bottles, the bottle warmers, the bottle sterilizer, the baby how-to books, and the pictures. (I seriously could devote an entire room just to pictures.)

My once- minimalist-style den slowly transformed into what surely looks like a small-scale (crowded!) day care center, complete with too many toys, pack-and-plays, bouncers, swings, and exercisers. And our guest room could easily pass for a baby goods distribution center, housing all the yet-too-big and now-too-small items not currently in use.

Over the past year (wow…did I just say that???), I’ve been slowly trying to regain some semblance of “normalcy”, although I have soooo had to redefine that word for myself. “Normalcy” these days is being able to eat at the kitchen table and find the bills before they’re due. I can see portions of my countertops, although I’ve had to make significant concessions for the bottle paraphernalia. (Sadly, that hasn’t gone anywhere yet…but that’s another story.)

One thing I haven’t compromised, though, is cleanliness. If anything, I may have gotten a little more anal-retentive, especially in the kitchen, thinking about the insidious germs that might be lurking dangerously close to my baby girls’ cream of wheat. I have gone to great lengths to maintain this cleanliness, including – one might say – feeding the babies separately so I could “manage” how much mess they were making.

I reluctantly dispensed with that structure a couple of weeks ago. And much to my pleasant surprise, the girls did pretty well with me feeding them at the same time. Yes, they made a little more mess, but it was still “manageable”.

Well…I took a major step yesterday. I let the girls feed themselves.

Last night I cut a piece of baked fish into bite-sized pieces and put one piece at a time on each of the girls’ trays. Baby A was amazingly skilled at feeding herself, with minimal mess, at least relatively speaking.

Baby B, however, was a little more free-spirited. About midway through her fish, she started banging on her tray. The fish got squished. And then she decided to play peek-a-boo by covering her eyes with her hands. And there went the hair. Try as I might have to maintain decorum, by the end of the meal – which also included sliced peaches coated in graham cracker crumbs – Baby B was all but covered in food, as was the high chair and the floor.

What to do???

Well, I bathed Baby B as best I could with paper towels and a wash cloth. I pulled as much food out of her hair as I could, and then used a comb for the remainder. I mopped the floor under the highchairs, and after the girls went to bed, I washed the highchair seat cushions. I'll even admit that there were a couple of times when I had to fight my gag reflex as I cleaned up the squished fish and pieces of peaches.

At the end of the day, though, despite my repulsion, I was quite proud of the girls…and of me. :)

March 19, 2010

Fab 5 Friday

I’m thankful that every day with the girls holds something new and fabulous! Here’s just a sampling from the week:

1) Having Baby A walk over, turn around, and plop! herself into my lap, even if only for a few seconds. And I hate to laugh, but it’s really funny when she misjudges at times and misses my lap altogether!

2) Baby B laughing for no apparent reason…a big, robust belly laugh…which I can’t resist egging on with a tickle.

3) The girls are doing such an amazing job with baby sign language. One of the new developments this week is "bird", and we've spent a lot of time in front of the window, watching our fine feathered friends. Baby A is quite proficient in the sign, flapping her arms up and down, but the action often causes Baby B to fall over. Oops!

4) Going to lunch with just the girlies on Friday. It wasn’t exactly what I’d call relaxing, but I love the idea of a “girls’ day out”, and I look forward to all the tea parties to come!

5) “If Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” I don’t truly subscribe to this phrase…hello? I'm not exactly the center of attention these days!...but I will say that I got a loooong-overdue pedicure on Saturday, and it made my toes and me really happy. :)

...and the best part is, there's no telling what this week will hold!

March 16, 2010

Little Misses Muffet

The girls were enjoying a breakfast of cream of wheat this morning, but in hindsight, I might as well have been feeding them curds and whey. Separately, they both pointed towards the ceiling a couple of times. Each time, I said, “Yes, that’s the light,” thinking they were admiring the beautiful pendant lighting in the kitchen.

After this happened several times, I looked skyward myself, past the beautiful pendants, and saw a tiny spider on the ceiling. “Hmmm…how to get that down,” I pondered. But my mind immediately jumped to the fact that the girls must have good eyesight, and that makes me happy. I promptly forgot about our itsy bitsy spider friend while we continued to eat our cereal.

An hour or so later, the girls and I were playing in the den. I thought I saw something in my periphery, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. A moment later, I realized our itsy bitsy spider friend had made his way across the kitchen, into the den, and was trying his darnedest to sit down beside Baby A and me.

After nearly having scared my poor husband to death with a ghastly scream over a spider when we first got married, I have since trained myself to remain calm in such situations. But this was different…there was a spider, dangling precariously in front of my face, inches away from my baby girls.

I all but panicked.

In hindsight again, I believe my panic was brought on by the fact that I needed to do something right then to save my girls from serious peril…yet I didn’t have anything with which to nab the spider. And I surely wasn’t about to use my hand. (For some reason I can easier imagine rescuing the girls from in front of a fast-moving train than grabbing that spider bare-handed.)

And then I remembered the baby wipes! We have them in every room. (And yes, they are seriously good for everything.)

I darted across the den, narrowly averting scattered blocks, toy trucks, dolls, and Babies A and B. I darted as quickly as possible, while trying not to alarm the girls. (A budding animal rights activist, Baby B was once scared beyond belief when she witnessed her daddy swat a fly.)

I’ll spare you the details of the itsy bitsy spider’s untimely demise, but I think it’s safe to say that all the king’s horses and all the king’s men probably wouldn’t be able to put him together again.

And Mommy, Daddy, Baby A, and Baby B all lived happily ever after. The End.

March 15, 2010

Monkey See, Monkey Do

When the girls first started eating cereal, around four months of age, I began feeding them at the same time…one bite for Baby A; one bite for Baby B. After only a few tries, and a few cereal-caked heads of hair later, I realized that it would be better for all of us if I could concentrate my efforts on one baby at a time. And so, for the next ten months, Baby B would swing while I fed Baby A, and then I’d switch, and repeat.

This method worked well for a long time. And all the while, I told myself that I was instilling a degree of patience and respect in the girls while they waited their turns. :)

Three or four weeks ago, though, things began to change. I would like to think that the girls’ impatience was prompted by the switch from baby food to Mommy’s homemade eats…and who can blame them with steamed cauliflower awaiting on the other side of the swing?

With a great degree of hesitation and visions of vegetable-clad babies crawling through my head, I positioned the girls’ high chairs side by side, and began to feed them at the same time. Much to my pleasant surprise, they did great! Although we’ve had a couple of incidents, they’re generally much less inclined to smear creamed spinach all over themselves than I feared. It now takes about half the time to feed the girls (more economies of scale!), and mealtimes are actually pretty pleasant as the three of us “converse”.

This new methodology has brought something else to light, though…the tendency the girls are developing to copy each other.

“Wow, Sis looks like she’s having fun banging on her tray! And Mommy sure does look cute with one eyebrow raised!” And so we have “bang, bang, bang” in stereo. “Oh, and playing peek-a-boo with my bib looks like a great idea, too!” “And come to mention it, I’m feeling a little tired, so I’ll join Sissy in laying my head on my tray. Mommy surely won’t mind a little interlude to lunch.”

I think this is where the dratted phrase “double trouble” comes into play. But I have to admit that sometimes it’s so darn cute, I have to stifle a smile as I raise one eyebrow in a show of “disapproval”.

March 12, 2010

Fab 5 Friday

Because this is a Fab 5 list (and not Fab 7), I had to group a couple of days together. Every day is a fabulous gift, hand-delivered by our sweet baby girls.

1) Friday + Monday + Wednesday: The weather has finally gotten warm enough for me to take the girls out for a walk! Although I fear we three looked like “mole people” wincing from the sunshine we hadn’t seen in person in a looooong time, the fresh air sure did our souls good.

2) Saturday: I made a whirlwind trip to Sweet Home Alabama for Alison’s shower, and Daddy and the girls held down the home front. Leaving the girls wasn’t fabulous, but seeing Alison was, as was Daddy changing his first diapers (fabulous for me, at least!)!

3) Sunday: We took the girls to the park for the first time…Baby B was a little apprehensive, but Baby A loved the swing and the slide. I foresee many a trip to the playground in our future!

4) Tuesday: We had lunch with Aunt Karen, and sushi hit the spot! I think my goal of the girls eating Mexican food by this summer is realistic, but I think we should probably delay their introduction to raw fish for a few more months. Hey – more for me!

5) Thursday: I got to see proofs from the girls’ one-year pictures. We need more wall space for me to be able to display all the precious pictures of the two cutest little girls on the planet (in my humble opinion, of course).

For the past 14 months, I’ve been up bright and early every morning (although I can’t say it’s me that’s always “bright”). But with each new morning comes the promise of a new day, one that no doubt will hold something FABULOUS.

March 10, 2010

Something's Missing

I was one of those people, when I worked for a corporation and had an office, who had little cartoons and quotes taped to her monitor, pinned to her bulletin board, and otherwise littering her desk. I would clean house and take inventory every so often (well, OK, maybe once a year if I was lucky), and pare down my notable notes to those that really “spoke” to me. I actually have a file somewhere of those that I just haven’t been able to part with over the years.

Now, as a stay-at-home mom, I don’t have a big bulky monitor, or a bulletin board, or even a desk. (Of course I don’t get a bi-weekly paycheck either, but that’s neither here nor there.) And even as I feel so very blessed to be living my “dream job”, it recently struck me – something’s missing. I began to look around…

Two babies?...check. Husband and cats?...check. Diapers and wipes?...check. Emergency stash of chocolate?...check.

And then I finally realized…I need a bulletin board.

Now I’m not actually going to hang a bulletin board in my kitchen / office / central headquarters for A&B Enterprises. It’s no small secret I have quite a hang-up about hanging things on the wall. (It’s just so permanent…almost like a tattoo, but I assume a little less painful.) I thought about finding some magnets and putting a couple of things up on the ‘fridge, but that just doesn’t strike a chord with me for some reason. I’m actually thinking more along the lines of a screen saver.

Yeah, a screen saver…I’m calling that taking my “scraps of paper” habit into the 21st century!

So what will be on my screen saver (the beauty of which being that I can fade different messages in and out)? Well, for starters, “Perspective.” It’s all about perspective, you know? If I’m having a bad day, there are still so many things I have to be thankful for. If the babies are crying, at least they’re healthy and have strong lungs. If I feel the sudden urge for a pedicure and a Swedish massage, well…at least I have my emergency stash of chocolate.

In all seriousness, yes, I’m living my dream job; I feel “complete” now that I am a mommy. But it’s not an easy job. There are times when I’m tired, and the babies are cranky, and it’s too hot / cold / rainy to get out of the house, and [insert anxiety-provoking moment here]…and I just need a little reminder about “perspective”. Because life is good.

March 7, 2010

A Day of "Firsts" and "Long-overdues"

A 547-mile round trip in 10 hours and 45 minutes.

The girls turned 14 months old on Friday, and I left them for the first time yesterday. I didn’t exactly plan to be tethered to them 24/7 for over a year…and I have of course gotten out and about when the girls are napping and after they go to bed…but for a number of reasons I hadn’t been able to otherwise break away for a little while.

My absence meant that, for the first time since they left the hospital, someone other than Mommy changed their diapers…and that “someone” was Daddy! YES…Daddy changed his first diapers EVER!!! He also fed the girls for the first time! Hey, it only took 14 months and me leaving the state, but I’ll take it!!!

So why now, why 547 miles, and WHY in only 10 hours and 45 minutes??? My BFF Alison is having her first baby, and I helped host her baby shower in Birmingham. I got to buy tiny baby booties. I got to see my beautiful friend aglow, and be reminded that a woman’s body is a miraculous machine. And I got to finally taste my first “Raspberry Cham-Cham”, the delicious concoction of Chambord and champagne that Alison served at my baby shower (but I couldn’t enjoy because I was pregnant!). The whirlwind trip made for quite a long day, but it was so worth it.

For the first time yesterday, I put gas in our SUV (which we’ve had since July 2008). Hubby may not be the Diaper King, but he sure takes care of our vehicles, our yard, and the trash.

For the first time in way too long, I enjoyed the thrill of the open road, alone. (No, I wasn’t on a motorcycle, I was in our mid-size SUV…but I did pop the sun roof a couple of times.) I used this opportunity to jam to the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ sometimes indecent lyrics, at intermittently inappropriate volumes. (Yes, I even did some tempered head-banging once or twice.)

And best of all, I got to experience my first homecoming to the girls. It was the perfect end to a very historic day.

March 5, 2010

Fab 5 Friday

This week was filled with lots of fabulous laughter…

1) …as the girls reeeeally enjoyed “Ride a Little Horsey” on Mommy’s knees, over and over and over and over again.

2) …as the girls watched Mommy “playing volleyball” with their big blue rubber ball. (I’m not sure why they find this hysterical, but I’m certain it’s nothing to do with my “set” technique.)

3) …as Mommy “charged” the girls on her hands and knees, prompting them to run to the corners of the room…only to discover they were “trapped”, which made for even more laughter.

4) …as we practiced “I’m a Little Teapot” 1,034 times, complete with exaggerated motions and resulting in us “tipping ourselves over” onto the floor.

5) …as the girls covered their eyes with their hands to play peek-a-boo with Mommy, sitting side by side in their high chairs. I couldn’t help but laugh at how CUTE they were, and they laughed right back at me.

I’m not sure the girls are quite old enough to declare themselves Parrotheads, but Jimmy Buffett’s famous line, “If we couldn’t laugh, we would all go insane!” seems to somehow resonate with them.

Check out my friend Jenny's blog to see her Fab 5 for the week!

March 3, 2010

All in a Day's Work

1. Day.
2. Sweet baby girls, whose births were separated by 2 minutes, born to 2 very grateful parents.
3. Square meals.
4. Tiny little socks.
5. Burp cloths.
6. Bottles (yes, the girls are still taking bottles…don’t judge me!).
7. Fruits and vegetables (in addition to whole grains and proteins).
8. Bibs.
9. Dropped sippy cups (did I mention the girls are still taking bottles?).
10. Dirty bowls (at least!).
11. Hours of peaceful nighttime sleep (as I softly knock on wood!).
12. Washcloths.
13. Games of peek-a-boo.
14. Diaper changes (Baby A in particular is quite prolific).
15. Teeth (Baby A + Baby B).
16. Toy retrievals (by yours truly).
17. Choruses of the “A-B-C” song.
18. Rounds of “Ride a Little Horsey” (split evenly between A and B, of course).
19. Trips up and down the steps (at least…but hey, it’s part of my work-out plan!).
20. Precious fingers and 20 precious toes.

...but who’s counting???
 
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