July 31, 2010
July 30, 2010
This was Daddy’s first week back at school, so the girls and I were hammering out our new schedule. I mapped out how our “free days” (which are most days!) will flow with the girls’ one-nap-a-day routine. If this week was any indication, I foresee lots of fabulous adventures in our future!
1) Friday night we went to our favorite Mexican restaurant for dinner. This was the second time the girls have eaten there, and they just love it. It’s so very pleasant for them to really want to eat, meaning I’m not having to coax them along, bite by bite. It was another wonderful “Wow! We’re a family!” moment.
2) The girls have become truly o.b.s.e.s.s.e.d. with music lately. It’s one of their very first words (“Meh!" accompanied by the baby sign) in the morning and after their nap. And they’re usually still asking for music at bedtime. I love to see the girls shake their groove-thang and boogie around the room.
3) The girls are really beginning to talk more. They’re repeating (or at least trying to repeat) what we say. And then they’ve surprised us by using some words in context. Just this week, Baby B correctly used “moose”, “mouse”, and “mess”…all new words!
4) The girls both LOVE our cat. They get so excited to see, or even hear, her. They still haven’t said the word “cat”, but Baby B called her by name – Sasha – this week! Baby A called her “Yaya”, but that’s an improvement over “gah” (their interpretation of “cat”)!
5) The girls are still huge fans of blueberries. They’d been calling them “boo-boos.” With the evolution of their language skills, they’ve moved on to calling them “boo-bies”. Hilarious? Yes. But not so fabulous in the grocery store.
…and I didn’t want to include this as a “list” item, but in comparison to last week this time, it’s pretty darn fabulous that I haven’t had to wipe anyone’s nose in a good three days!
July 29, 2010
Sure, Blue Eyes and Brown Eyes have been vying for the same toys for a long time. I remember the first time I saw them squirming towards the same rattle. They were almost 8 months old, and I thought it was so cute…I ran and grabbed my camera.
Of course that has evolved into all-too-regular (and not-so-cute) fits of screaming and crying over one coveted plaything (sometimes – unfortunately – punctuated by biting and hair pulling if Mom isn’t standing right there). I can usually diffuse the situation by reminding the girls in my “Mommy voice” to “play nicely together.” I might point the girls towards other toys altogether, or – if we have a duplicate toy available – I might help the “scorned baby” find it.
Although I grew up an only child who never had to share (just ask my husband, whose clothes were long ago relegated to the hall closet!), I know this is all just part of growing up.
What I didn’t anticipate was how jealous the girls seem to be of each other as of late.
Baby A is considerably more prolific than Baby B…meaning she gets a lot more attention in the dirty diaper department. When I go to change A’s diaper, even if B’s is perfectly clean and dry, Baby B often gets a very worried look in her sweet blue eyes. She’ll begin feverishly gesturing towards her diaper, exclaiming, “Di! Di! Di!” I will make an exaggerated check of B’s diaper to confirm it doesn’t need changing, but B often requires a little extra snuggling to return to her business.
At night when I apply a certain moisturizing cream to A’s face, I often pretend to put some on B’s face, too.
What took the cake for me, though, happened over the past several days. I had to give Baby A eye drops, three times a day, as part of the summer colds they both had. (A is more prone to tear duct blockage, while B’s eyes remained clear.) At the mere mention of the word “drops”, B would start pointing to her eye. “Eye! Eye! Eye!” Even as A was squirming and fussing, trying to avoid getting her eye drops, B was pleading for them with all her might.
Seriously??? You want eye drops???
From B’s behavior, you might not guess that both the girls get infinite hugs, kisses, shoulder rides, tickles, cuddles, books read, puppets played with, blocks stacked, and cars pushed.
I guess I didn’t realize that there was a line for diaper changes and eye drops on the scorecard.
July 27, 2010
I feel ever-so-slightly guilty for having broken this rule recently, as I took a Sharpie to a couple of the girls’ books...but I believe it was for a valiant cause.
I’m trying to be very cognizant of the tone I use when I speak. I want my girls to grow up to be polite and respectful of those around them, and communication is such a huge part of this goal. The girls have started saying, “Uh huh” and “Uh uh” over the past few days. Although I know they’re not yet capable of “Yes, ma’am” or “No ma’am,” I have started interpreting their grunts for them.
In the same vein, I wouldn’t want them to use a word like “hate”. It’s an ugly word, and it has no business coming out of the mouths of my sweet babes anytime soon.
Why, then, do two of their kiddie books use this word???
“I hate rats!” one (particularly bad-mannered) cat proclaims.
I cleverly used my Sharpie to cross out “hate” and replace it with “don’t like”. The pentameter of the poem does suffer a bit, but I can compensate if I read it just so.
In addition to tone, I also try to be very cognizant of grammar. I feel fortunate to have grown up reading lots of books, and having parents who spoke proper English. I can’t tell you exactly what a “past present participle” is, but I can tell you whether it’s used correctly in a sentence, just judging by whether it sounds right.
Nonetheless, I’m from the Deep South*, and there are a few blunders I’m prone to make..although I like to think of them more as colloquialisms…
…I’m fixing to do something…
…I might could do something…
…I sat in the floor…[as opposed to on the floor]
Of course I would never use any of these phrases in written form (although I guess I just did!), but, as I want to set a good example for the girls, I’m trying to curb even those habits.
Imagine my surprise when I was reading a new book to the girls this week and came across the line, “B is for bear who I cuddle at night”.
I'm all about poetic license, but I expect basic grammar rules to apply in a basic A-B-C book!
So, again, I pulled out my trusty Sharpie and penned an “m” on the end of the word “who”.
And my world was OK again.
I know the girls don’t recognize what I’ve done at this point, but that one day they’ll see Mommy’s handwriting and beg the question, “Why do YOU get to write in our books?”
And I will simply explain that this is one case in which the end (polite, well-spoken children) justifies the means (copyediting, censorship, and “defacing” books).
And because I'm the momma, and I said so (in my best Southern accent*, of course!).
*No offense intended towards any of my Southern friends and family. If you know me at all, you know that I love being a Southern girl! I just want to do my Southern alma mater proud...ROLL TIDE!!! :)
July 26, 2010
Given that I was so career-driven, I know I shocked most of my colleagues and friends when I announced I wasn’t returning to work after the girls were born. I knew it was what I wanted to do…what I had always wanted to do…but I still had some fears about such a radical change. I felt like I had been defined by my career for so long, I was a little worried that I wouldn’t otherwise know who “me” was.
Eighteen months into staying at home with the girls, I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else right now. There’s no doubt it’s a very difficult job with so many more challenges and rigors than I could have ever anticipated. And the funny thing to me is that I don’t feel like I’ve missed a beat since I left work.
Although it’s on a very different level, I am still driven by the challenges I face at home. Instead of developing a strategic marketing plan for a new product launch, I’m strategically trying to figure out how to adjust to a new nap schedule, or to offer my girls a varied diet and try to keep them from becoming picky eaters! :)
I feel like I’ve learned a lot about myself over the past 18 months, namely that there’s a lot more to me than just my resume, and that much of my “professional skill set” is part of who I am, but that it transcends any job. I’ve also been able to focus on some things that I haven’t had time for in a long time, things that I truly enjoy, just for the sake of enjoyment…like cooking and baking and creative writing and crafting. I look forward to sharing these rediscovered joys with the girls.
In some ways, no two days are ever the same…there’s always something going on!...but in other ways the days are very much alike, and that’s probably been one of the more difficult adjustments for me. Monday is pretty similar to Thursday, which looks a lot like Saturday at our house. I’ve heard one of my bloggy friends say that she is a better mom to her girls for working outside the home, and I understand what she means. It can be very difficult to maintain focus and drive for something you do every.single.day, 24/7/365.
Why was it so important for me to stay at home with my girls?
I know them better than anyone else. I know their needs and wants, their quirks, their grunts and groans and squeals. I want to be the one to shape them during these critical formative years, and I don’t take this job lightly. It’s a huge responsibility, and I’m up for the challenge.
And because (to steal a quote from an unknown author) the days are long, but the years are short. I have the rest of my life to work, but my baby girls will only be “babies” for such a short while. I just want to soak in every moment.
People ask me all the time if I miss work. Sure I do! I miss wearing nice clothes and high heels…I miss doing numeric analysis…I miss travelling and giving presentations…I miss the satisfaction of a big sale made or a problem solved.
But when I get up in the mornings and put on my yoga pants, cook a hot breakfast for my girlies, and then load them in their stroller for a beautiful morning walk…when we stop along the way to admire a dog or talk to a neighbor…when I see them holding hands or doing baby signs through the stroller canopy…well, that’s just one of the many times I’m reminded that this is really my dream job, and I intend to make the most of it!
July 23, 2010
Baby A came down with a cold on Saturday, and Baby B joined in on Monday. Fortunately it was just a cold, and the girlies are back up and at ‘em now...but we had to cancel our plans for a short vacation this week. And as this is Hubby’s last week of summer vacation before he heads back to school, it’s back to the grind – sans vacation – next week.
Even amid the temperature-taking, nose-wiping, and fuss-diffusing, there were still some fabulous highlights…
1) After the girls’ 18-month check-up last Friday, we were back in the pediatrician’s office on Tuesday for the girls' colds. That wasn’t fabulous, but getting confirmation that their colds were viral…and that they didn’t need any meds…was fabulous squared!
2) The girls ate peanut butter for the first time this week. I can’t say they were huge fans, but I’ll keep working on them. Peanut butter just seems like a huge rite of childhood passage…and I can’t wait to make them a good ol’ peanut butter and banana sandwich one day.
3) The girls ate Mommy’s grilled chicken with homemade cilantro pesto…and liked it! I’m just guessing they were the only 18-month olds with cilantro breath in at least a three mile radius.
4) I gave the girls three new books (from the $1 section at Tar.get!), and they were occupied all.day.long. Of course that meant I was occupied reading to them all.day.long, but that’s just alright by me.
5) Daddy had a great time tickling the girls to the point of hysteria, and then “teaching” them to “tickle” me. They thought it was hilarious when I broke into a fit of (pretend) giggles…which eventually had all four of us laughing in earnest.
At the end of the day / week, having healthy baby girls for whom even a little cold is extremely rare…that’s a most fabulous blessing.
July 19, 2010
It’s only about 4 hours a week, give or take a few minutes, based on my efficiency. And the hours are pretty flexible, as long as I get in a minimum of 30 minutes every day. There was a considerable learning curve, but once I understood the technique, things have gotten easier, actually even monotonous.
What is this newfound occupation, you ask?
Sippy cup detail.
I literally spend a good 30 minutes each day unloading sippy cups (and all their 1,000 parts) from the dishwasher, drying said sippy cup parts, assembling sippy cups, disassembling sippy cups, and reloading sippy cup parts into the dishwasher to start the process anew.
Since the girls transitioned to one nap last week, I have incorporated two snacks. Those, plus three meals, plus a nightcap, total TWELVE sippy cups each day.
And of course our girls prefer what has to be the most complex sippy cup construction on the planet. But of course I would have carved sippy cups from gigantic chunks of petroleum-based material, using only my bare hands and a rubber spoon, to get them to wean from the bottle…but (now that they’re fully weaned and I feel like I have the space to complain a little bit) why me???
No one warned me about this…none of the seventeen friends that responded to my Facebook plea, asking which sippy cup they recommended…not one person said, yeah, these are great, but the maintenance and upkeep is a real humdinger!
That leads me to only one conclusion:
My seventeen Facebook friends are letting their kids drink from unclean cups. That, or they won the lottery and are investing the winnings into buying new sippy cups for every meal. (I know, I know, that’s two conclusions…)
But at the end of the day, I’ll gladly work second shift so my girlies can drink from clean sippy cups, the exact sippy cups that make their hearts smile, for each of the TWELVE drinking occasions I’ve somehow created for them.
And while the pay for this part-time venture is not much (that being an overstatement), I’ll borrow a line from that credit card campaign to sum things up…
No more bottles = priceless.
July 18, 2010
I was inspired to start blogging by a couple of friends whose blogs I read from time to time. I thought it was pretty cool that they had their own little corner of the internet where they could post their innermost thoughts and feelings…and pictures of their kiddos, of course.
I wanted to join in the fun, thinking I would try to post twice a week. I thought I would challenge myself to reawaken my dusty creative writing skills, and that I would probably alternate that with a recent picture now and again.
Little did I know that there was an entire Blogworld to be discovered!
I have had so much fun over the past six months, reading blogs and meeting other blogger moms. The vast majority of the blogs I read are multiples blogs. I love seeing how other moms balance it all (and somehow still have time to maintain awesome blogs!).
Some of my favorite blogs belong to those moms whose kiddos are just a bit older than mine. Reading about their adventures, trials, and tribulations gives me a sneak peek into what I may be able to expect in a few months.
The blogs I read are funny, inspirational, informative. I truly feel like I learn something every single time I sit down in front of the computer…maybe a craft to make, or a recipe to bake, or an activity to try, or a cool camera angle to finagle. I have gotten some valuable sage advice from several fellow moms, and I hope I’ve been able to pay it forward by imparting a little wisdom here and there, too.
And for me, blogging has become a fun creative outlet. I have kept a journal of the girls’ everyday adventures and major milestones, along with my thoughts and feelings on the matter, since they were about a week old. I enjoy crafting some of these observations into blog posts. You know you’re hooked when something crazy / funny / maddening happens, and you immediately think, “At least this is good fodder for the blog!”
I had the opportunity to complete a Neilson TV panel diary last week. (For a cool $30 in cash, I just had to take note of what television programs I watched during the week. That’s the most money I’ve made in the past 18 months!) At the end of the week, I was amazed to see that I had amassed only 3.5 hours in front of the boob tube, most of that coming on one evening where I just “vegged” after the girlies went to bed.
It would probably amaze me in a different way if I were to keep a log of my computer time. Gulp! But I would defend my love of my laptop by saying my newfound hobby is fun, entertaining, educational...and it helps remind me I’m not the only whacky mommy who records how many times her kiddos poop each day.
July 16, 2010
1) We went to Nashville on Friday, about a 170-mile round trip drive, to meet one of my dear friends for lunch at P.F. Chang’s. We got in a great visit with Auntie Kristin, and while the girls have technically been there a couple of times before, this was the first time they actually got to enjoy the cuisine (as opposed to just a bottle of milk). They weren’t quite up for chopsticks, but they did seem to appreciate the teriyaki chicken.
2) I fed the girls breakfast on Sunday, and then we loaded up and went to Panera. The girls got to people-watch from the comfort of their stroller, while Mommy and Daddy enjoyed bagels and coffee…our first time to eat breakfast out since the girls were born!
3) The girls went swimming in a big people pool (as opposed to a kiddie pool) for the first time on Wednesday. They were so cute in their starfish floats! Consistent with their bathtime behavior, Baby A was tolerant of the experience, and Baby B had a blast, splashing and kicking and squealing.
4) On Thursday, we had the girls’ pictures taken downtown. Although neither was in a very “smiley” mood, they didn’t cry, and I’m hopeful we got some good family photos around Fountain Square.
5) I’m giving credit to Baby A this week for “mooing” like a cow and “neighing” like a horse; and to Baby B for saying two new words, “book” and “sissy”. The babble is flying at our house these days…I just know the girls are going to be reciting Shakespeare any day now…or at least calling the cat something other than “gah”.
Next week is Daddy’s last of summer vacation 2010. We’ve got many more fabulous things planned, so be sure to tune in for the full report!
July 13, 2010
July 12, 2010
They actually did really well. (The miniature rubber duckies that the hygienist gave them didn’t hurt.) They cried a little bit, but by me alternately asking them to show “hippopotamus” (the baby sign for which is a wide open mouth) and asking them where their tongue was, the dentist was able to get a decent peek inside their mouths.
I have found that there is so much conflicting information about when children should have their first visit to the dentist. From our pediatrician and from my dentist, I heard anywhere from age two to age four or five, but I read some online sources that noted the visit should occur by the child’s first birthday.
The pediatric dentist I chose to use sees children as young as 18 months old. I decided I would act on the cautious side and take the girls in sooner rather than later.
The dentist talked to us about the girls’ oral care routine and their diet, and asked us about some of their habits. (This is the first time I was able to proudly proclaim that the girls are weaned from their bottles…hallelujah!) He would like to see the girls again next summer, when they’re two and a half, and then we’ll begin actual cleanings every six months, beginning when they’re three.
I don’t know that a rubber duckie will always do the trick, but I can only hope that the girls will behave as well as they did today on subsequent visits.
Chalk this experience up as another major milestone!
July 10, 2010
I like things in black and white, and I’m good at following directions.
I’m a big fan of the Babywise sleep training methodology. I followed it to a tee, and – knock on wood! (yes, I still knock on wood, even though the girls started sleeping through the night at three months old…) – our girls are great sleepers.
One of the guiding Babywise principles is the “sleep, eat, wake” cycle. A baby sleeps, then eats, then has awake time. And ne’er the twain shall get mixed up, at least not if I could help it.
Since the girls have always been very scheduled, I could plan to have their meals ready for them as soon as they woke up in the mornings, and then after their morning- and afternoon naps. Save for a short cuddle period in their room to start the day, there was no “awake time” without some sustenance first.
When I transitioned the girls to one nap last week, though, I realized something had to give. With no morning nap, there was no “sleep” during which to prepare their lunch. Nope, their “awake time” stretches from breakfast through lunch. And they get up in the afternoons well before suppertime.
And you can guess this just threw me -- and them (but mostly me) -- for a loop.
With the exception of breakfast and their afternoon snack after their nap, I have to prepare their meals with them awake. This preparation doesn’t take long…because I cook almost everything ahead of time, I’m usually just warming up some veggies and dicing some fresh fruit...but nonetheless, our girls are being forced to face one of life's hard truths, and so early on, at that…
There's no such thing as the Kitchen Fairy.
Nope, a quick peek behind the curtain reveals it’s Mommy who lovingly prepares each and every meal.
I actually think it’s a good thing the girls see that food doesn’t just magically appear on the kitchen table, that avocados aren’t “born” peeled and diced into neat little cubes.
And as I become comfortable with this new methodology, I might even be able to apply it to breakfast…to cuddle with them in their room, and then to allow them to play for a few minutes while I cook their eggs and oatmeal instead of having everything prepared in advance of their descent downstairs...
…and that might just allow Mommy a few more minutes to savor her coffee in the still of the morning, before the day swings into gear…which makes me think it’s OK to bid the Kitchen Fairy farewell.
July 9, 2010
1) We started our 4th of July celebration on Saturday by dressing the girls in red, white, and blue and heading downtown for some ice cream. We followed that up on Sunday by introducing them to their very first hot dog. The introduction was quite a success! And in other fabulous news (???), I think the girls satisfied their sodium intake for the balance of the month.
2) On Monday the girls turned 18 months old, and we celebrated their ½ birthday. They humored us in taking quite a few pictures, and they loved the blueberry-citrus cake I made them. (They love blueberries, and ask for them by name...kind of..."boo-boo!" they shout at the breakfast table, and there's not a Band-Aid in sight...)
3) On Tuesday I took the girls to the cultural mecca known as Walmart for the first time. I can hardly believe I’m including Walmart on a fabulous list, as I dread going there like the plague, but this was quite a milestone. I go to Walmart at least once a week, but I just hadn’t been brave enough to take the girlies. I kept them safely strapped in their stroller as I pulled the cart behind us – they didn’t touch anything! – and we made it through my shorter-than-average shopping list just fine.
4) On Wednesday I got even braver and took the girls on a quick errand to Panera to buy some bread. This marked the first time I had them both with me, alone, not in a carrier or a stroller. They held my hands – or rather I held their hands – and we walked right up to the counter. It wasn’t exactly a relaxing errand, but it got us out of the house amid the “nap transition blues”. A few small baby steps for Mommykind…
5) The girls learned to twirl around this week. Baby A usually makes a tight little circle, while Baby B sometimes swings so wide that she falls down. Both laugh hysterically (as do I!).
The laughter and amazement far outweighed even the more-than-average fussing at our house this week...and I'd call that fabulous!
July 7, 2010
July 6, 2010
July 4, 2010
I like our pediatrician, I really do. He is old enough to have considerable experience under his belt, but not too old. He is kind, but to-the-point. He is conservative in prescribing medicine. And he “specializes” in multiples…even in our small town, he sees about 25 sets of twins and triplets.
I had Baby A in a couple of weeks ago for a little rash on her face (caused by her current status as a Teething-Inspired Drool Factory). Our pediatrician addressed the rash, and – as always – asked if I had any other questions.
Of course I had other questions! I always have other questions! (Just a moment…let me unfold my list…)
I asked him about the girls’ tendency to voice only the first syllable of most words. “Bah” for “ball”; “Mih” for “milk”; and so on. I know what they’re saying because they also use the accompanying sign.
Almost before I finished my question, he said, “Oh, they’re under-stimulated.” He went on to say something about me staying home with them and understanding all their nuances. In contrast, if they were in daycare, they would likely be forced to develop better language skills to make themselves understood by a third party.
I may stumble over my own feet sometimes, but I rarely fumble for words…but I was taken aback and rendered almost speechless for a moment.
I understand the point he was getting at, but that’s not the response I was expecting. I was looking for a range of how many words a baby should have by the time she’s 18 months old, and the typical progression to those words…for a follow-up question on the girls’ comprehension…definitely something else than the response I got!
We have the girls’ 18-month check-up in a couple of weeks, and I’ll readdress this question then. I’ll be a little better prepared with some research in my back pocket, ready to ask follow-up questions, if necessary.
In the meantime, I feel like dropping back by the office for a little courtesy call. You don’t tell a mama who has committed her entire being to the well-being of her children that they’re “under-stimulated”.
I have a little deal in mind…if our pediatrician will give me his home number for my speed dial, I’ll gladly trade him for a few coaching sessions in tactfully approaching your audience.
(Linking up with Mommy of a Monster (I Mean Toddler) and Infant Twins for her new Word of the Week blog hop...you know this Bama girl does love her dictionary and her thesaurus! And if you haven't seen her blog, check it out...I love it, too!)
...but I couldn't resist these sparkly flag t-shirts. Coupled with their denim shorts and white sandals, the girls are celebrating the 4th of July in style.
On tap for the weekend...their first hot dog, some watermelon, and maybe another dip in the baby pool.
Life in These United States is good! Happy Independence Day!
July 3, 2010
Baby A, leaning in for a closer look...
Baby A, signing "hat"(she got excited over that, too!)...
July 2, 2010
1) We had such a fun family-oriented day on Saturday. We went out to lunch, and the girls did great…they ate so well, behaved beautifully, and made fast friends with an adjacent table of little old ladies. And then we took an impromptu trip to the ice cream shop after supper. It was just a great day.
2) The girls had a lot of fun at our Mothers of Multiples family picnic on Sunday. They really enjoyed walking around the park and seeing all the other kiddos.
3) On Wednesday, we took the girls on their first official “field trip” to an Australian-themed zoo. The girls’ squeals of delight at seeing the animals were priceless.
4) Our den looks slightly less like an insane asylum. We had the couch and love seat facing the walls so the girls couldn’t climb them. (It was just one step shy of a padded room.) We turned the couch around like normal people, and the girls are doing really well (most of the time) at sitting like big girls.
5) We’ve been working with the girls on walking up and down the steps. They still need A LOT of help – especially going down – but they just giggle the whole time, I guess feeling like such big girls. Upon reaching the bottom, Baby A often wants to turn around and do it all again.
Stayed tuned next week for another count of our fabulous adventures!