Aquarium

For Christmas, one of BB’s sisters from out of state sent up money for the girls, suggesting that we buy their gifts from her.  Immediately I decreed that rather than more clothes to shove into their already-bulging drawers or more toys to round out the already-overflowing chests (seriously, we have insanely generous families and friends) that I wanted to do something with them – take them out and give them an experience.  We decided to take them to the aquarium – I love aquariums, and I thought they’d be a good age to bring them.

I was right.  They were a great age (albeit exhausting).  We also brought our 9-year-old nephew, and he was amazing with the girls & everyone had a great time.  Maddy loved playing with the nets over the turtle exhibit, watching the seals roll around on the floor of their tank like Brooklyn, and going up and down the stairs.  Rosy really loved the eels & the snakes, the blacklight-lit coral reef tank, and running up to total strangers and waving or trying to kiss them.  They both loved the penguins, and if they could speak English, probably would have joined BB in asking me if they could have one. All in all it was a great day.

 

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How To Leave The House With Twins in 20 Easy Steps

  1. Turn on a Disney movie and straighten up the mess they’ve made while they’re distracted
  2. Leave the room to pack you diaper bag, god help you if you run out of diapers / can’t find a toy / don’t have snacks while you’re out
  3. Poke your head back into the room 12345 times to make sure they’re not killing each other, realize they’re re-making the mess you just cleaned up.  Go back and re-clean it.
  4. Throw the packed diaper bag in the car and start it so it’s warm when you leave.  Suddenly remember you have less than a quarter of a tank of gas left and remind yourself to stop and get gas
  5. Go back in the house and put on your shoes and pull out your jacket so you’re ready to walk out the door when they are
  6. Herd them into the room with the diaper changing station, resign yourself to the fact that the room will remain a mess and remind yourself to lock the dog out of it
  7. Change one diaper, repeatedly tell second child that no, the dog is outside and she does not need a treat right now
  8. Change second diaper, this time repeatedly telling second child that she’s not a baby and doesn’t need a bottle
  9. Quickly clean up the mess they have made of the kitchen and dining room while trying to make sure they don’t go up the stairs while your back is turned
  10. Let the dog in, immediately chase her out of the living room and lock the gate so she won’t chew any toys while you’re gone
  11. Put on the first child’s shoes, notice they’re getting snug, remind yourself to check for the next size up
  12. Grab the 2nd child who has wandered into the kitchen and put her shoes on
  13. Put sweatshirt on one child, try in vain to get her to leave the zipper zipped & hood up
  14. Switch and repeat
  15. Open front door and herd them out, helping them down the stairs so they don’t fall
  16. Successfully get to the car, put first child in car seat and run to retrieve second child before she runs into the street
  17. Put second child in the car seat and buckle her in
  18. Go back and buckle in the first child, who you abandoned to save her sister
  19. Change the Pandora station to something they enjoy
  20. Realize while at the gas station with the window open that you forgot to put on your jacket

Christmasss

Christmas with 18-month olds.  MAN.  Last year, when they were 6 months old, they didn’t understand A.N.Y.T.H.I.N.G that was going on, and I was dreaming about THIS year, when they would at least get some of it.  Oh, me and my dreams.  They still really didn’t understand what was going on.  But they DID understand that we were surrounded by people- new(ish) people to play with and be adorable around – and that suddenly they had a whole bunch of new toys to play with.

Christmas eve is traditionally when my family celebrates – My dad’s entire side of the family gets together at one person’s house (we rotate) and exchange gifts, drink, eat, and tell stories about one another.  This started when I was a little girl, and going back to my earliest memories there were about 18 of us (8 grandkids, 8 parents, 2 grandparents).  Nowadays there’s more like 30 – us grandkids + various significant others, the new generation of great-grandkids – pretty soon we’ll have to find somewhere new to take the traditional stair picture.

 

Christmas day was also jam-packed – we started the day at home, to open presents quietly – with my parents, and my brother & his fiancee, and my sister.  It became clear very quickly that Santa’s gifts were nowhere near as interesting as everyone else’s.  But they had one hell of a good time, and that’s what matters.

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After we successfully got presents unwrapped and got dressed, it was off to Grandma & Grandpa’s house for MORE present opening and MORE cousin time.  I don’t have any pictures of this, but you can sneak over to my almost-brother-and-sister-in-laws blog to see his photos of the day (having amateur photographers in the family gives me so.  much.  joy.)  After that, we drove around town for a bit to give the girls the opportunity to nap in the car (what, you thought they were going to nap between one present opening and the next?  HA!), and then headed down to the extended family Christmas dinner.  We had to leave before the big gift exchange – which was a bit sad, but life with toddlers – but the girls had a grand old time playing with the toys that were dug up for their amusement, as well as interacting with everyone there (also, running laps is a big thing right now.  Just start at one arbitrary point, run to another arbitrary point, run back, lather, rinse, repeat).  When we finally got home, it was straight to bed – do not pass go, do not take a tubby, go directly to bed.

Technically, the holiday ended there – but of course, the weekend had more socializing in store for us!  Saturday afternoon my uncle brought my grandmother over to hang out and gossip – and see the girls, of course!  She was over for the entire afternoon, and it was great seeing how much the girls interact with her now.  Sunday I met up with some friends for lunch and we got to catch up and play with the girls and – again – it was amazing how independent and interactive my kids are becoming.

 

 

Now I need to hide in a cave for a week or two, because that was a lot of socializing for one long weekend 🙂

 

Playtime

The weather around here so far this month has been off-the-charts amazing.  It’s probably terrible from a worldwide perspective, but from a super selfish family-only perspective, it’s awesome.  BB and I are still walking the girls to and from school because it’s not too cold, and we can even take them outside to run around and play after we get home.

The running around playing is really awesome, because they’re finally big enough to really play.  They LOVE the slide, and have finally figured out that if you want to slide again you have to go around to the back of the play structure.  They’ve realized that there’s more to the play structure than just the slide, and have been having a blast going through the tunnel and peeking through the openings to see what they can see.  They have started trying to play fetch with Brooklyn and instigating games of chase with me.

Overall, our playtimes in the back yard are much more actual play times and much less frantically-stop-them-from-eating-everything-in-sight times.  And that’s really the dream isn’t it??

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1.5 Years

IMG_20151219_094134864_HDR.jpgAs of this month, my girls are one and a half years old.  When I made their next checkup appointment, it was for their TWO YEAR visit.  I’m kind of breaking down over here about how fast they’re growing – and believe me, they’re growing by leaps and bounds and truly starting to become tiny people with distinct personalities.  I can’t even handle it.

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Their vocabularies are within inches of exploding, I can feel it.  Mostly they’re still babbling in twin – seriously, their babbling is so complex I really think it’s a language, especially coupled with the way they take turns talking & listening to one another.  But they’ve both got a bunch of words – “Boo!” (peek a boo is a favorite around here), “Sure” (the answer to literally every question I ever ask), “Thanks” (anytime anyone hands them anything, which I’m pretty proud of), “Tickle” (obviously, when they want to be or are being tickled), and “Stop it!” (usually directed at Brooklyn, but I occasionally get it if I’m offering something they don’t want), plus a handful of others.  I’m bracing myself for the torrent that’s seconds away from showing up.

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While they are very interested in TV & movies (anything with music just stops them dead in their tracks), they’re more interested in playing games at the moment.  Not board or video games (yet), but games mostly of their own invention.  They chase a beach ball around the backyard or living room for what seems like hours, egging each other on in the giggle department.  They race each other up and down the bilco doors in our backyard, fight for their turn on the slide (seriously girls taking turns isn’t hard), and when it’s supposed to be naptime I hear giggles out of their room for at least a half hour before they settle, and I find e v e r y t h i n g in the gap between their cribs (teddy bears? check.  blankets? check.  socks?  check.  Books? check).  I can’t even bring myself to be annoyed when it’s so obvious that they’re building such a tight bond.

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They’re also becoming great mimics (ahem they may or may not occasionally say “shit”).  Right now their two favorite things are: 1) a pair of high heeled princess shoes inherited from their older cousin, and 2) pretending everything and anything is a phone.  Everything – my actual cell phone, the house phone, a block, their toy remote, a shoe – gets brought up to their ear and they carry on the most animated conversations.  And then, of course, hand the phone off to the nearest grown-up so they can get in on the action.  Every time I see them doing it I get a flash of them as teenagers and lose my shit on the inside.

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Rosemane Maxine

23lbs 14oz

33″

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Rosy is definitely my child.  Her favorite thing to do – with anyone, any where, anytime, is to “read”.  She’ll run up to you with a book in her hands and insist on getting into your lap so she can babble on about the contents of said book, turning the pages and aggressively pointing to things she deems important.  Do not confuse this with her wanting YOU to read the book TO HER – nope, she has no interest in what you’re saying and will talk right over you, turning the pages willy-nilly based on her interpretation.  If all the adults in the vicinity are busy, or she just doesn’t feel  like cuddling, she’s been known to grab a book or magazine, sitting by herself and turning the pages, taking everything in at her own pace.

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I also see flashes of myself in how frustrated she gets.  If she wants something, but can’t communicate – because, hey, she doesn’t have all her words yet – she quickly melts down into a puddle of screams and tears, and is pretty much impossible to console.  Sometimes it’s fairly obvious what’s wrong (it’s almost dinner or naptime, her sister just took a toy from her, she fell down), but other times it hits right out of the blue and I am at a total loss.  Trying to console her can be dangerous – she’ll push you away and even hit you to get some space while she loses her mind.  Even figuring out what she wanted – food, Sofia on tv, a drink of water – sometimes isn’t enough, and she’ll continue with her heartbreaking sniffling while she enjoys what you brought her.

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Rosy’s BFF (besides her sister, obviously) is my grandfather, PopPop the Great.  He comes over every Sunday morning to see the girls, and she spends at least half the time he’s here in his lap, or sitting next to him.  He’s her first pick to read her stories – or let her read to him – and she loves stroking his face and chit chatting to him.  Whenever she’s reminded of his presence – like if he gets up to go to the bathroom, or he starts talking – she toddles over to him to be picked up so they can hang.  It’s really cute and it warms my cold, black heart to see them bonding like that.

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Madeline Elizabeth 

23lbs 14oz

33.5″

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Maddy will be the reason I have gray hairs and a heart attack before I’m thirty, I’m calling it now.  She has no. fear. of anything, at all.  Besides obviously being the first of the two to require the ER, her day-to-day life is one of a daredevil.  She’ll climb on anything, anywhere, anytime – the couches, dining room chairs, the stairs when my back is turned.  And it’s not enough to climb – this girl’s favorite activity is to climb up on the couch, get to her feet (already a no-no, obviously), wait till she sees me watching her, then run from one end of the couch to the other. #dead.  Anytime she’s doing something she knows she shouldn’t – standing on the couch, touching the Christmas tree, sitting on the coffee table – she’ll stare at me with an evil grin to make sure I’m watching her.  I guess daredevil-ing just isn’t as fun without a captive audience.

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The only time she’s not completely fearless is around new people – whether they’re totally new or it’s just been a few weeks since she’s seen you (she reacts the exact same way to strangers in the store as she does to the people at her pediatricians office and even family member she hasn’t seen in 2 weeks or more).  She doesn’t cry, or even obviously cling to me (unless, of course, you try to remove her from my arms.  Then she loses her shit) but she mean mugs.  She just stares at you, with those gigantic eyes and a little put on her face, until you leave her alone.  She has the best poker face I’ve ever seen – it takes forever to break her.  But when you do, her smile lights up her whole face.

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Besides her sister, Maddy has a strong bond with Brooklyn.  She loves playing with Brooklyn and giving her treats – and she has no problems pushing Brooklyn away if she finds herself getting annoyed – she was the first to bring STOP IT! into their vocabulary, after all.  But mostly she really seems to enjoy interacting with the dog – anytime we’re in the dining room, she’s bringing me the container of treats, wanting to give them to Brooklyn, and I’ve caught her “sharing” her snacks as well (holding it out to let the dog lick it before continuing to eat…ugh child!).  And the last few times we were outside playing (thanks global warming!) she really showed an interest in playing fetch – she can only throw the ball about a foot at this point, but she was having a grand old time doing it.

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ER

Our little family had our first ER visit this weekend.  It was a crazy experience, and it was really emotionally draining, and I feel like I’m just now (on Tuesday night) getting over it.  But now that I’m getting over it – or at least used to the idea that This Is A Thing That Happened – I feel like I got an extra parenting merit badge for my first ER visit.

So, what happened was that I was getting ready to take the girls for a walk in my neighborhood when my former roommate (FR) called and said he was taking his (formerly our!! sad face!!) dog for a walk and did I want to join them.  Yes!  I did!  So I packed the girls up and off we went.  And after a long walk, the girls were ready to get up out of the stroller and run around – which was GREAT, because FR hadn’t seen them in a while and they’re growing and changing SO FAST, so it was fun to see him watching them.  AND THEN…

Maddy fell on a cactus.  True life.  In New Jersey.  My child fell on a cactus.  And then rolled herself over and pushed herself back to her feet, because she’s independent and doesn’t need anyone’s help.  And suddenly she was sobbing and screaming and freaking out, and I took her pants off and she was COVERED in prickles.

We speedwalked back to the car, and I drove home, and my sister-the-RN took one look at her and told me to turn around, we’re going to the ER.  So we did.  They used DUCT TAPE to pull the stickers out, and smeared her up with Bacitracin, and sent us home.

So that was my first ER experience as a parent.  It was terrible.  Go me!

Go The Eff To Sleep

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Naps are hard, yo.  The first couple of months there’s just no schedule at all.  Total anarchy.  Then, you slowly carve out a schedule.  For us, it was roughly a 2-3-4 schedule – first nap 2 hours after waking up, 2nd nap 3 hours after that, bedtime 4 hours after that.  It wasn’t perfect, but there was a general structure to our days that I could count on.  And since I work from home at least 2 days a week, I needed that structure.

For the past month or so, that structure has been shaky.  Morning naps have been blown off.  Afternoon naps have devolved into extended girl talks rather than actual naps.  Bedtime was slowly inching up because they were losing their minds earlier and earlier – because they hadn’t slept.

Oh, did I write that paragraph in the past tense?  It was supposed to be in the present tense.  This is all what’s happening, every day.  Driving me up a wall.  We’re trying to start transitioning them to one nap a day, but we’re struggling.  Usually by 10am they’re starting to fuss and rub their eyes and yawn.  THIS IS A TRICK.  If we try to put them down for a nap, they’ll fuss and fight and refuse to  nap – or they’ll nap for a half hour, just long enough to take the edge off.  And then they don’t nap in the afternoon – they literally jump around in their cribs like deranged monkeys, but they don’t nap. Then, around 5pm they’re losing their minds (normally we do bath at 6:30 for 7pm-ish bed).

So, now we’re trying to transition them to one nap a day.  The plan is to hold them off till 11am, do lunch, and then put them down after they’re done eating – so they’ll be going down around noon.  And eventually push lunch back to a normal time and naptime back to around 1.  Of course, there are several issues with this: 1) two babies, losing their minds of tiredness, is tough to take for an hour or two; 2) their day care has already basically said that if they’re tired or fussy, they’re putting them down for a nap.  So we need to focus on getting them on this new schedule while they’re home.

I got distracted by RHBH while I was writing, and lost my train of thought.  So….good luck to me, I guess?

The Potty

Nobody wants to potty train.  Going to the bathroom is just something that we should KNOW how to do, without help.  But that just isn’t the case.  Kids need a LOT of help – after all, all they’ve known their whole lives has been going whenever, wherever, because there are literally no consequences.  But ALAS.  They need to learn at some point.  We can’t all run around peeing and pooping in our pants, waiting for someone else to clean us up – no matter how messy the learning curve may be.

Never fear, though – I’m not potty training my girls yet.  For those of you NOT keeping track at home (can’t say I blame you, really) they’re not quite 18 moths old, and that is CRAZY early to potty train.  Like, as early as is ever ever EVER recommended to potty train.  At this age, they would need to go every 20 minutes or so, which…I can’t.  I just can’t.  It takes 10 minutes to get them into and out of the bathroom (when I’m dealing with them both on my own), which means I would be spending basically all day in the bathroom.

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BUT.  But but but.  My kids freaking LOVE going on the potty.  My mom introduced it a few weeks ago, just as a novelty to get them used to it.  THESE CHILDREN.  They want to be potty trained.  They knock on the door to the bathroom CONSTANTLY.  Some times they just want to play – but other times they actually go, AND THEY’RE SO HAPPY.  SO PROUD OF THEMSELVES.  The smiles rival the smiles I get when they turn our talking Santa on and off.  Sometimes I refuse to take them right away (because I’m working, or the other one needs my attention, or whatever) and I KNOW they were right because they need to be changed right away.

For now, I’m keeping it as a novelty – I’m not forcing them to it and I’m surely not doing any sort of boot camp to try to encourage them to make the leap.

I’ll probably miss the window and when I’m ready to potty train them they’ll be totally over it.

Toddlerhood

You always know it’s coming.  First you have a newborn, then you have a baby, then you have a toddler.  It’s a pretty simple progression.  And you’ll think you’re pretty prepared.  After all, ever since you got preganant you’ve had people warning you about the “terrible twos” and “threenagers” and how sassy they become.  About the tantrums.  But you don’t really believe it.

Guys, I was so unprepared.  Sometime in November a switch flipped and my girls really started to grow into their toddlerhood.  They’re running and climbing, and when they’re doing either of those things on something they shouldn’t be (the couch, or the little picnic table they eat breakfast at), they stop and look for me to be sure I’m watching, and see what I’m going to do.  Then, when I stop them – because OF COURSE I DO because YOU KNOW YOU SHOULDN’T DO THAT – they have a tantrum – full boneless on the floor red faced screaming.  They go on for a lot longer than I expected them to, really – I don’t know why I thought that they would settle after only a minute or two, but that is definitely not the case.

Part of their boundary pushing is also pushing EACH OTHERS boundaries – which, again, I was unprepared for WHY I DON’T KNOW – so there’s a lot of attempted food hoarding (no, Rosy, you can’t just swat your sister away from the breakfast table and eat it all yourself) and hitting and pushing and yanking of toys.  But then there’s also totally unprompted hugging and rolling around on the ground with each other giggling their brains out, so it’s pretty worth it, I think.

Honestly, toddlerhood isn’t all that bad.  Don’t get me wrong, the bad parts do make me want to tear my hair out (I’M SORRY YOU DON’T WANT TO HOLD MY HAND OR BE CARRIED OR BE IN THE STROLLER YOU CAN’T JUST WANDER AROUND THE MALL BY YOURSELF YOU’RE 17 MONTHS NOT 17 YEARS) but their personalities are just getting bigger and more exciting.  I just wish someone had warned me so I could have been just a little more prepared.

Thankful

Thanksgiving weekend is one of my favorite weekends of the whole entire year.  First of all, I think every weekend should be a 4 day weekend, because it gives us plenty of family time and friends time and relaxing time all at once.  Two day weekends are just too stressful trying to fit everything in.

But Thanksgiving weekend is just perfect.  Thursday and Friday are nice, lazy days to spend with the immediate family and not do too much.  Saturday and Sunday you’re rested and recharged to take on the more ambitious outings.  And the whole weekend is filled with love and laughter and happiness and really it’s just enough to melt my cold, dark heart.

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We went to the park on Thursday and had a lot of fun swinging, running around, staring at strangers, and refusing to wear our jackets (in fairness though it was unseasonably warm on Thursday).

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Friday we practiced our family selfie game (weak, tbh) and created a complete disaster area in our room.  We also took a walk to the lake, but it was just me, so I didn’t get any pictures with them.  Mostly I was just trying to keep them out of my mom and sister’s hair so they could get the xmas decorating started.

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Sunday was Bryan’s dad’s birthday, so Saturday night we went over for pizza and family time.  There were 7 adults and 4 children (all under 2, but half of whom aren’t mobile yet) and it was just beautiful, glorious chaos.  The girls had a fabulous time running literal laps around this “new” place (they’ve been there plenty, but I don’t think they remember very well).  Rosy lost her mind when I dared to hold her smallest cousin, but oh well.  You’ll live, kid.

Sunday was family day – Bryan and I took the girls out to lunch and let them run around the mall.  Theoretially we were hoping to get some Xmas shopping done, but that was pretty much impossible while trying to corral these little tornadoes.  It was worth it, though.

Happy holiday season!

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