And sometimes, things just go right.

B’s been wearing me out for the last ____months. That tends to be where my head’s at when I sit down at the computer to type. And sure, there are some many frustrating moments. But there are also wonderful moments, moments that show growth for both B and C – emotional growth, language growth, developmental growth. 2 is here, like it or not, and it shows itself in so many different toddler forms.

C is growing. Her speech took off right at 2, like I have heard will happen. She speaks in phrases with heavy emphasis on tone. She’ll say things like, “Mommy, sit right HERE!” and “B had a poop!” She sneezes and I hear, “BLESS you, C!” I ask her if she wants peanut butter on toast, and she responds, “No peanut butter, just toast”. That’s a far cry from how she was speaking even a month ago.

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She giggles NON-STOP, sometimes at her brother, Daddy or myself, but sometimes just because. There was a piece of carrot in the sink tonight. She saw it and chuckled, “Hehe, carrot. Hehe, carrot. Hehe, carrot.” She fake laughs in hopes that it turns into the real thing. She hams it up for the camera and when I miss an adorable moment, I can say, “Go back and hug Daddy again, I want to take a picture” and she listens.

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She’s experiencing new things, like swimming. All smiles for warm water, but that’s about it! She likes to learn about something brand new to her, sucking all the information in she can get, and then spitting it right back at you. She trusts what we say and what we do, and is clearly so comfortable in her environment. She has NEVER gotten angry at anyone for more than a second. A meltdown wouldn’t even cross her little mind (maybe just some whining). I’m lucky to have a child with a happy disposition. It’s easy (it’s just a fact!) and enjoyable. And sometimes, she’s just a skinned-knee toddler carrying the biggest rock she can find.

DSC_0351And B, even with his meltdowns and hitting – when stripped down, those actions are just how he expresses his frustration. He likes when things work. He likes to understand something, like how wheels turn on different surfaces. He’s growing too – he’s starting to enjoy imaginative play, cooking up some play food or snuggling stuffed animals. He also LOVES to laugh. With a burst of energy, he’s sprinting up and down the halls, making up words and dissolving into hysterics when I try to pronounce what he said.

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This summer has had lots of firsts for him too. Turns out he actually may be the fish in the family (or as he says, he’s the “starfish in the ocean”). When he’s alone (without C) he does very well, spending a good amount of time reading through books or playing with his cars. It’s a sign that they both need some alone time away from each other, which is hard for me to do during the summer, obviously.

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B is a love. While C is Miss Independent, he is currently clinging to me like there’s no tomorrow. I’m not complaining – it won’t last, and I love when he snuggles in. He’s a passionate kid, a sensitive one – and he loves his family. His speech is really, truly making serious progress as well. He says things like, “More cucumbers please!” And “Mommy (does) little buckles, B (does) big buckle.” And “B likes carrots!”.

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Together, these toddlers are quite a pair. Though they definitely need more alone time, they’re concerned with what the other is doing every second of the day, if they’re not in the same room. Sometimes, I don’t think they realize that they are separate people. And while there’s cons to that, I’m so glad that they (usually) enjoy each other’s company. They know that they go together – and as they’re twins, I want them growing up knowing that they’re special, and to lean on each other for support and comfort.

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Even when raising toddlers feels so frustrating, and it surely has lately, there’s so much growth in this house and so much love to go around.

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And as a sidenote to the last post about timeouts, we’ve gone two days now without a timeout (and we haven’t needed it!) and two days without a meltdown. What changed? Me. When he starts to get frustrated, I validate his feelings, offer help, and move on. If he hits, I move him from the situation, look him in the eye and tell him “We do NOT hit”, (he smiles and waits to see if I’m going to continue being angry) and move on with a new thought, “Let’s go read a book” or “Please bring your PJs to the hamper”. I just move on. And because I’m not making him sit for any length of time, harping on what he did wrong and focusing on it for longer than 2 seconds, neither does he. He forgets that he was just angry and tried to push me, and goes back to doing something positive. From constant timeouts that only escalated his meltdowns to none at all –  sometimes, things just go right!

We’re “officially” parenting.

Since the day the twins were born two years ago, there’s always been some hot topic for that age group stealing my sleep, patience and energy and sending me to the computer to see what I can do to remedy the situation. I mean there was everything from preemie projectile spit-up, to sleep issues in babies (the 4th month sleep regression = worst thing ever), to pickiness in eating…etc. And many more. And for all of those issues, the experienced parents out there gave great advice – try this, and if that doesn’t work, try this. Eventually, things worked. C got a little rice in her bottle and it helped the spit-up, and she frankly just had to grow into her little body. Sleep issues? Time, a handy sleep chart from Babycenter.com, and gentle sleep training that we’ve stuck with to this day fixed that problem. With the occasional weird night, the twins have slept through the night for 11 hours since they were 6 months old. For the most part, my husband and I haven’t had to make real parenting decisions. We just tried Option A, and if that didn’t work, Option B.

Our current hot toddler topic of the moment has required in-depth (and frankly reassuring) conversation between us, with the desire to come to a decision on HOW to parent a toddler…who hits. Pinches. Bites. Screams. We’ve been talking about this for a few weeks now, as B’s original once-a-day hit has morphed into multiple tantrums a day. And it’s hard because we don’t know WHAT to do, and the internet people out there can tell us what has worked for their children, but everyone parents just a little bit differently. We know that we need to be consistent. That’s probably the most important thing. But we haven’t been able to figure out how to handle B, let alone be consistent about it.

First, we tried a straight-up time-out. He had a spot at the end of the hallway where he would sit for a minute. Then I’d let him get up, have him apologize to C or whoever he hit, hugs and then kisses. And on with the day. Well that was great when he only hit occasionally. It worked for a few days but then, as it started to increase, it became ineffective. In our opinion, B’s too young to be apologizing for something he already forgot he did, especially when it’s happening multiple times a day. I didn’t like the way putting him in time-out felt, with a raised voice to try and scare him (doesn’t work – he was smiling)…the whole thing felt wrong. Besides, it wasn’t helping! These meltdowns could last a half hour, with multiple hits and pinches in there. A time out for each one just led to increased meltdowns, which led to more hitting!

Then, we tried a much more passive approach – continuing to tell him “We do NOT hit. You hurt _____” but then not doing anything else…but he couldn’t care less about it. Also ineffective.

Third, we tried time-out again, on a chair this time. Daddy even tried a stopwatch. No – now he couldn’t wait to GO to the chair to see the watch. I sat him on it (without a watch), firmly telling him, “We do not hit, and when you do, you sit on this chair until you calm down” and he grinned and said, “Mmm….cozy.” and snuggled into the chair. So..also not effective.

See, I’m not really counting in months anymore. B and C are 2. But “just turned two” is a LOT different from “two almost three”. When we sat down (over our anniversary dinner, ha) to decide how we want to parent B right now, my husband asked a great question that’s worth keeping in mind whenever I’m losing my sanity – What is the goal after B hits? What’s the desired outcome we’re looking for? B doesn’t walk up to C calmly and hit her – he hits when he’s melting down.

We believe the right answer for a “just turned” two-year old is to get B to calm down. That’s the goal. Not to feel badly. And sometimes, when we were yelling at B and quickly bringing him to a time-out chair, only for him to smile, hit again and meltdown more, we lost the fact that he’s still young. He hurts his sister and that upsets me, because I’m watching my other child get hurt. I want him to know that he hurt her. But why? So he can feel guilty? Because THAT’S not happening, clearly. So he can learn to apologize on his own as he knows he did something wrong? Sure! But not at “just” 2. The goal needs to be for him to calm down and be functional, and that’s it right now.

So with that in mind, tomorrow we’re trying a different approach, with a new desired outcome. We’re picking our battles, first of all. When I go into their room in the morning and Daddy has already gone to work, B sees me and yells “No Mommy!”. Today he followed that up with smacking his crib with his hands, flailing his legs on the mattress and getting the day off to a positive start. After that mini-meltdown, he became very upset when I picked C up from her crib first (when I asked him if he wanted to go first, he said no!), and when I brought a clip up for C’s hair but not for B. And when I changed his diaper. And when his sock fell off. And, and, and. ALL of that – I’m ignoring as much as possible.

What I’m not ignoring is hitting, biting, pinching, or pushing – me or Daddy, his sister, and the dogs. When he does those things, I’m still going to tell him (calmly – no yelling from me) “We do NOT hit. That hurts _____.” But after that, I’m going to redirect him. I’m going to remove him from the space he’s flailing on, but I’m not running him into a time out chair in another room. It makes no sense – he’s loving the extra attention. I’m going to try something like, “It’s time to calm down. Let’s grab a book.” Redirection right now feels right for his age. We have no idea if this will be helpful, but we came to the decision together and just like that, we’re “officially” parents. This new way starts tomorrow, and I’d love to finally be consistent about it. Off we go!

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Throwing a Rainbow-Themed Party

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The twins turned two last week, and this past weekend we had a small gathering to celebrate their toddlerhood. As we’ve only had two parties since their birth, I have to say – party planning on a theme is a lot of fun. I really enjoy scouring the internet looking for ideas, and once I’ve made a decision, working on all the little details to make that theme come to life. Last year for their first birthday, I threw an old-fashioned ice cream party. It was all based on ice cream, of course, and their baby colors, purple and blue. Apparently the whole color idea stuck with me, because I loved the use of so many different colors in the rainbow party. I very much understand that the years of Mommy deciding what a birthday party is going to look like are numbered and when the day comes where the twins tell me what theme they want…well, I guess I’ll be going with it. For now, I utilized a few key aspects of the party to bring the rainbow theme to life.

I kept decorations pretty simple, but I made sure to have the mason jar centerpieces. I used mason jars from last year’s party, bought fake white daisies and cut them down to size. Then, I added food coloring to the water and got the rainbow look I was going for. The picture doesn’t show it well, but there was a nice purple jar on the end! I got this idea for the centerpiece here.

DSC_0075I have to give a shout-out to the best food coloring I’ve ever used in my life. As a non-cook, all I have ever known is the liquid drops that come in four colors. And it’s never very bright unless you use half the bottle. I have now made good friends with this food coloring, which comes in so many colors and one drop alone gives you the brightest hues. I’m addicted to food coloring now, I think. What else can I dye??

We had a few other small children attend the party, and for their favors I kept it very simple with windmills (in rainbow colors), and stuck them in candy jars of skittles and M+M’s.

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During the party, my original plan was to put rainbow-colored sensory bins all over the yard. Kids could move around to various stations as they pleased. However, it was insanely hot that day and we stayed indoors, so I only made one sensory bin, rainbow rice. Dyeing rice is very simple and I did it (no joke) one hour before the party. Here’s how I did it.

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And I’m so glad I threw it together, because it ended up being a hit with all the kids! Everyone had a blast poking and stirring and pouring the rice.

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Finally – I put a lot of thought into the food for the party. Desserts = my world, so our afternoon gathering was dessert only. (I’m no longer eating sugar or gluten, so I didn’t touch a crumb…but that’s a post for another day!) I could’ve gone on and on with the rainbow-themed desserts, but stuck to only a few. First of all – the cupcakes.

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I got the recipe here, but let me just say – it’s a boxed mix of white cake. That’s it. With my handy new food coloring, I was able to make really vibrant colors. And even though I personally didn’t eat them, it was strangely satisfying to watch someone else eat one and see the middle looking like this:

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Doesn’t that look so satisfying?? Hopefully it tasted as good as it looked. We also had simple rainbow cookies, which I found here. In a nutshell, though, they’re oreos covered in chocolate. Dyed chocolate. That’s it! We made them the night before the party!

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We had a few more desserts as well, and our marshmallows were simply dipped in water and rolled in rainbow sprinkles.

DSC_0083All in all, I enjoyed how it looked and the twins had a good time. I suppose that’s the most important part! B ate his cupcake just fine (surprising me!) and checked out his balloons at the table.

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C ate her frosting off the cupcake and then that was it (more surprising!) but had a great time running and playing with her brother and friends.

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All in all, it was a success. Happy Birthday, twins! I’ll start working on next year’s theme – three year olds don’t have any strong opinions, right?

How do you handle a toddler who hits?

We had a lovely birthday weekend for the twins. Their actual birthday was last week, and my husband and I kept it low key with some ice cream during the hot day and a cupcake and singing at night. While he was at work, we also decorated t-shirts and attempted to find library books about birthdays, but couldn’t locate a good one for their age group. Any recommendations?

And then this weekend we had a small party that was nice and relaxing. I did a rainbow theme and loved how it came out, and will write more about that in a future post. The twins did well with all the people and honestly – we haven’t even opened presents yet. We’re giving them a few a day and they are fine with that.

So besides that, age 2 for us is markedly different than 1. Both of them are so strong willed and opinionated, yet loving, silly and smart. I’m looking forward to sort of charting and updating on how very different they are from a year ago, or really, even three months ago. But for now, I’m at a new parenting challenge roadblock – discipline.

There are many things that seem to come natural to me with regard to parenting the twins. Discipline is not one of them. And we need something in this house, because B is now hitting. B used to hit a long time ago. He was still a baby. He was hitting and staring at his hands like he just figured out how they could slap something. That was not malicious, for the most part. He did get frustrated with his lack of language, and so this was another reason for the hitting. It was easy to handle – we would just tell him a firm “NO, we don’t hit” and then redirect with a new toy. The hitting passed after a month or so and that was that. And of course, once our Early Intervention services got going and B started talking more, he became an extremely loving, affectionate boy. And to be clear, in public – this is the shyest boy who won’t even speak a word. At home, he tries to take the leadership position.

But about three weeks ago or so, the old B started to emerge. It’s not his language, because that has taken off. (He said, “B fold orange diaper” this morning and “Mommy loves B” last night, for a few examples.) He happens to have very little patience, very little determination to do a task. If he’s playing with something and he gets frustrated, he throws the toy out of anger, until I remind him to ask me calmly for help, which he does right away. He melts down multiple times a day. Instead of him matter-of-factly saying, “No”, like he did a long time ago, now he’s screaming, “No!!!!” He screams for Mommy to help him wash his hands, when only Daddy is available. He screams when Mommy wakes him in the morning, when it’s Daddy he wants. He screams when C gets to do ______ first (going down the stairs, washing hands, getting picked up out of the crib, you name it), even though we switch back and forth every time, which of course he’s too young to recall.

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See, they do play nice together sometimes!

That last one – C’s doing the same thing. They fight to go first for EVERYTHING. And I make it “fair”, or fair enough, but they can’t tell the difference. C’s got a few of her own little nuances – demanding that B do everything she does, include take a drink of water or play with the same toy. And of course her desire to do EVERYTHING herself, so much that if you help at ALL to put on her shoe (you know, because you’re in a rush), she screams “self!!!” and takes her shoe off and starts over.

I suppose then, we’ve hit the “terrible two’s”. The demanding, absolutely exhausting two’s, about as tiring as it was with newborns. And I can muster the strength through it all, except for the hitting from B.

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Is a time-out the right, efficient, smart response for a two-year old who hits maliciously? Like, swing back his arm in a fit of rage and clock you in the face while you’re holding him? Because it was that incident where right then and there I realized, this is past the distraction age. This requires  – something. So I picked a time-out spot on the fly, put him down and explained what time out was and why he was there. He sat for a minute or two, I came back over, reminded him again why he was there and had him apologize and give hugs and we moved on. But – I’m not sure it was effective. I’ve never been crazy about making children apologize because it won’t be genuine, but it kind of just came to me in that moment. He’s been to time out about 6 or 7 times since and I’m just not sure….it works for him. All of a sudden he’s in tune to people/animals fighting. He’s saying “fight”, “hit”, “bite” all the time.

I guess it’s sort of a controversial topic, and of course there are mothers who don’t need time out because they have laid back, easy children. Which is C. She’s never tried to be mean purposely, ever. And that’s how I was as a kid, which is why I don’t really know what I’m doing. But B needs – something. I don’t want to come across too hard, because I don’t believe he will benefit from that, it’s just modeling the same behavior from him, and plus, it won’t be genuine coming from me. But I don’t want to be too soft either. I’m really just not sure what to do.

Finally, I spend time thinking about where B finds his success, as I’d rather guide him towards success then set him up in a situation he will fail. He thrives with tasks (putting away the groceries, carrying the stool into the bathroom, emptying the dishwasher). He loves new toys he’s never seen. He loves cars and trucks and things that spin. He enjoys sensory play, except when it’s slimy.He loves to be outside, and he loves to move and jump and bounce and run. He loves my attention. “Mommy, play cars please?” “Mommy, play food please?” But I have another child too, and I need to keep her needs in mind as well. I can’t please him all the time. Multiple children problems.

How We Survived a Road Trip with Toddlers

Thank you all for your super supportive comments on my last post, regarding B’s speech pathologist. Her style doesn’t match mine, and it definitely doesn’t seem to match B’s. And perhaps shopping around for a new speech pathologist is in my future. For now, we only see her once a month and I’ve just decided – I feel like his speech is taking off. This past weekend alone was wonderful. He is continuously speaking in 4 word sentences, even if they are broken. Just at dinner tonight, he said “C…eat…Daddy’s…potatoes. B…eat…Mommy’s…potatoes”, as the kids sampled our dinner. I mean – it’s slow and deliberate, but the speech is there. I’m feeling better about it now.

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As the title suggests, this past weekend we took a road trip; a mini vacation. It’s about a 6 hour drive normally (no traffic), and with one hour long stop, you’re looking at a long day in the car. Last summer, we took the same trip. I find car rides to be challenging with both babies and toddlers. With babies, you don’t know how to keep them entertained, and they cry and can’t tell you what’s wrong. Last year, they fell asleep too soon on the way home and then screamed the rest of the ride after a short nap, when it should’ve been bedtime. With toddlers though, every time we’re in the car, someone drops a toy. Someone wants what the other has. Someone is hungry. Someone is bored. And that’s a hassle too. So for this trip, I wanted travel to go as smoothly as possible. I scoured the internet for some tips, implemented them, and they WORKED. So I’m passing them on to you!

1) The first and BEST tip I can possibly share is this simple one: Stop at a playground. It bears repeating, because it’s so worthwhile – stop at a playground. Instead of a typical rest stop, with a million people inside the building waiting in long lines for food, with antsy toddlers who are overwhelmed by noise and hunger – stop at a playground. Where? Ahead of time, plan out approximately when you’ll need a lunch (or stretch) break. We knew we wanted to stop around noon. We charted the course and figured out where we should be with no traffic, and then googled playgrounds in that town. We found the best playground, a beach spot. Sounded perfect.

Except we hit traffic because it was the Fourth of July weekend. Lots of traffic. As we sat in it, we needed a Plan B. So we quickly looked up playgrounds in our area, in a state we weren’t familiar with. We found one. And it was this beauty of a playground. It even had a splash pad, tennis courts – I mean, if we knew we were stopping here we would’ve stayed all day. Right when the twins were hungry and fussy, we got off the highway and stopped here for lunch. I had already packed them their easy-to-eat lunch, couscous chicken sticks, carrots and peas, and apple sticks. They sat on a bench and leisurely ate lunch. Then, we let them run around on the playground. They went on swings (big kid swings until they both fell off lol), down slides, and we changed diapers on a bench. The weather was perfect. When we climbed back in the car after an hour, they passed out, right in time for their nap. They got their stretch break and we got a nice surprise, a mini day trip all in itself. This rest stop was key for our journey.

2) The second best thing we did to survive this car ride was to put all the home movies I have taken of them since birth (um, 208 and counting…) and burn them together, like for a DVD, and then put them on the ipad. In fact, the ipad couldn’t even hold all the videos I have taken, so it was only about half. And even that was a full length movie – 90 minutes. This movie they watched of themselves for 90 minutes was totally worth the time it took to get them on the ipad. They loved watching themselves as babies, hearing our dogs bark in the background, watching Daddy be silly. For a long car ride – burn home movies.

3) I spent a day looking up how to best show said ipad movie – and there are some great cases you can buy that hook up to seats. Most are for forward facing car seats though, and mine are still rear facing. Plus, with shipping times, we wouldn’t have received any case in time. So my husband was kind enough to take some scrap wood we had and spend a few hours one night to make a mini table. It fits right between the car seats, and even after the road trip, I won’t take it out. It’s perfect for books and toys, and the twins can grab them as they want them. To show the movie, he put up two pieces of foam padding on the sides to make sure the ipad wouldn’t slide off. After they woke up from their car nap, we propped up the ipad and put on the movie. Twice. (More traffic.) Here’s what this looked like:

IMG_24174) The last tip I would give to survive a road trip with toddlers is to provide random activities in little ziplock baggies (the ones with the zippers they can open themselves) and as the kids get fussy, give them something new one by one. And not just normal standard toys – think outside the box. Here are a few of the travel busy bags they had:

-Slinkies

-Q-tips into water bottles

-Crayons and Sticky Notes

-Magnetic letters and small cookie sheets (.88 at Walmart!)

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We had a few others as well, but these plus the ipad movie and the playground stop were enough! The others are saved for the next trip!

We arrived at our lake destination for a relaxing, calm, easy weekend. The twins slept until 8:15 every day (mind-blowing), took good naps, and even ate a bunch of new foods, including bacon, corn on the cob, french toast, and baked beans, otherwise known as “brown peas”. We went on many nature walks and watched the passing boats. We had a great time!

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Tubes Vs. Allergy Meds and Being Behind the Speech Curve

This is a bit lengthy. I really should be writing about all the amazing things that summer has brought me – specifically, quality time with my kids. They turn two in a few weeks, so I’ll do the update then.

Right now I’m looking for advice from you speech people, because I’m confused and slightly annoyed. Instead of our Early Intervention Developmental Specialist today, the Speech Pathologist came instead. And she’s blunt, which I knew. Which isn’t my style, but when it comes to my kids, yes, just get to the point and tell me what I need to know. But she’s also super critical. She admitted to me. In fact, on Day 1, the first meeting of EI, she told me to get B tested for Autism and was sure he was autistic. (Side bar – we did have that Autism evaluation done last week and B is not Autistic. This should probably be a blog post in and of itself.)

NORMAL SPEECH FOR 2 YEAR OLDS?

On that Day 1, B was mostly communicating to us through pointing and whining. I can see now how that was a problem. Since then, he learned to ask for help. Since then, he learned to string up to 4 words together in a mini-sentence, the same as C, just slightly slower and with rhythm. “More…Daddy’s….french fries……please…..”, nodding his head with every word, as if he’s counting out the beats to a song. Since then, he tells me what he wants. “On light please”, ” ‘Self” (Myself) – not just demanding it as C does but also exclaiming it after he’s carried the stool into the bathroom without assistance and stood on it to wash his hands. “More carrots please”, “Jeep – ready set go!” and many new one word sentences that help him communicate what he wants. In only a few months time, he has come a long way. And like I said, though he speaks a bit slower, he’s almost caught up to C.

But when the speech pathologist came today, she let me know that he’s really nowhere near where he should be. In fact, she said, even though he has almost caught up to C, she’s behind too, apparently for what’s normal for 2-2.5 year olds. Really? I guess I’m just confused. When it comes to speech and communication, for almost two year olds – what IS normal? I mean C sings the entire alphabet, says, “I love you Mommy” and her “S” sound is divine. She effectively tells us what she wants almost 100% of the time, using multiple words at a time. So if she’s behind, then I’m just flat out confused. I thought she was ahead. The fact is, there are a few areas where B still needs work, and I know that. B prefers to communicate with us using one, demanding word – and as we have done before, we have allowed him to do this and acknowledged it, which doesn’t teach him anything. For example, when reading books, he’ll yell, “Train!” because he wants us to read the train book. So one of us will say, “Yes, B, go get the train book and we’ll read it.” Or if he wants me to change his diaper and not Daddy – he’ll say, “Mommy!” until we say either, “No, Daddy’s changing you right now.” Or, “Mommy is coming.” He’ll say, “outside”, “downstairs”, “orange truck” – and we know what he wants, and we don’t force him to say each word in a sentence. (Should we? Should I say, “Oh, you want the orange truck? Then say, ‘I want the orange truck'”.) But I guess this isn’t helping him – and I’m frustrated.

I’m frustrated first and foremost because according to the speech pathologist, and of course the whole Early Intervention program in general, B isn’t where he should be, and even though I know this two months later, it still gives me a stomachache. But more so than that, I feel like the natural way that my husband and I talk and react and parent isn’t a way that’s helping B. I mean, I didn’t know this but it now seems to be the case. And so – now I feel like I’m looking at B when he says something and I don’t know WHAT to say back. I don’t know how to respond to my own child. And if I’m talking to him incorrectly, then so is my husband and everyone else he interacts with. We’re all doing it “wrong”. I could do what comes natural, but that seems to be furthering the problem. The goal, according to speech, is to get B communicating without repeating what we say.  Which – we do that all the time. We teach him new words and we ask him to repeat, which he does. But then he doesn’t do it in context, which means he never learned it to begin with.

Such as the pronunciation for “open”. They both always said something like, “Ah-Mee.” Finally, we broke it down and taught the syllables to them. They both repeated it perfectly. We do frequent sing-song reminders as well. C now does it in context, and B doesn’t. And the speech woman told me that B doesn’t learn anything accidentally – he won’t pick up on things easily on his own. It has to be direct instruction with constant reminders. She said she knows other people might say, “Oh, he’s still so young” – but she wants to let me know that this could affect how he does in school, since he’s obviously a hands on learner (yes, this is true, a mini-engineer right now) and only learns deliberately. He won’t just pick things up.  All of this makes sense, it’s just kind of stressful. I’m not sure how to communicate with him naturally, if what I’m doing isn’t working. And really, thinking about how he will perform in elementary school doesn’t help me now, except to know that yes, this is serious and we want to help him. But I just don’t know how off the mark he (and C) are for 23 months – and how to BEST get him to where he needs to be.

And finally – regarding this – the speech pathologist isn’t exactly warm. This was only the third time they met her because she comes once a month. B and C cry a lot, because she’s a little scary and she doesn’t let them get by without doing what she needs them to do. She said today, “That toy isn’t for spinning – use it correctly or I’m going to take it back”. She pretended to give them a shot with a play doctor’s kit and she touched C first and C screamed. Then she touched B and B looked at C, saw she was upset, and screamed too. And she said, “Oh, he’s crying because I touched him”. And I said, “I think he’s crying because he’s sensitive and he saw C crying and followed suit.” I have shy children – and B is EXTREMELY shy. And I think that needs to be taken into account. He won’t perform for strangers. When he’s uncomfortable he looks down at his hands, or hops into my lap. But he’s still little, and I don’t know – strangers are kind of scary. Especially unfriendly ones.

OH and to finish up today’s session, she said (and I echoed) – “You can’t do the puzzle until you clean up the animals.” Wait time. And then, “Clean up first and then you can do your puzzle.” Finally he just looked right at me and yelled, “NO!” And – I was unprepared. Should I put him in a “time out” to make me look like a parent who has this under control, when in fact we have never done a time out before because we haven’t needed one and B has NO IDEA what time out is or means? I said, “That’s not nice, you need to clean up.” “NO!” Ah yes, Baby’s first defiant NO, and in front of Early Intervention people. Fabulous! I can’t even tell you how it ended because it didn’t end. Lolz – Is this how you parent?? Just when I think I’ve got parenting down pretty well, it turns out I have no clue.

TUBES VS ALLERGY MEDS – When doctors don’t agree

I’m so over this right now. Both B and C are constantly getting ear infections. The antibiotics work (most of the time) and the infections go away. But with the smallest cold, C especially gets infections. Neither of them just get little colds. And so it’s constant. Our pediatrician wants them on Zyrtec. So they’re on Zyrtec. And when they’re on it, the fluid in their ears goes away. We know Zyrtec works. But they’ve been on it for months at a time. When they come off it, the fluid comes back. B’s hearing doctor said Zyrtec is bad, it makes them sleepy and is just a band-aid, it doesn’t actually solve the problem. Tubes might be needed. Pediatrician then says, they haven’t had enough infections yet to qualify for tubes, and plus it’s allergy season anyway. Keep taking Zyrtec. Now speech pathologist agrees with hearing doctor, and is pushing for tubes, because constant antibiotics is a bad thing (I agree), and constant Zyrtec isn’t good either (I agree). But the pediatrician isn’t having this tubes discussion right now. Not to mention – tubes fall out. Tubes require surgery and being put under. All of these things might be contributing to B’s speech issues, so we need to get on it but my doctors aren’t agreeing and I don’t know WHERE to turn for that one.

A much happier two year update coming soon!

I need a cleaning schedule.

Well, with only one day left of school, I can pretty much declare – I have MADE IT through this school year. I have made it to summer! It was a very long, draining year. My hardest year as a teacher for sure, and having twins at home after a year of maternity leave only made it that much harder. I’m looking forward to starting fresh next fall, but for now – I get to pretend I’m a stay-at-home-mom again. And I’m really, really excited about it.

One of the things I’m looking forward to this summer (besides spending quality time with my children, of course) is spreading out my tasks and to-dos throughout the day, rather than saving them from 8:00-11:00pm. Not only do I want to get all my nightly chores done as I am already doing, but I want to take on more tasks. See, my house is an embarrassing disaster. I’ve talked about this before, actually. (Funny, I thought the house was messy THEN!) And unfortunately, out of the two adults, two toddlers and two dogs living in this small home, none of us are really the cleanest/neatest, and our biggest issue is that we don’t maintain our clean house (whenever that happens). I have a desire for organization like I can’t even describe, but it all seems so overwhelming, and on a weekend after a long week of work, the last thing I want to do is deep clean my house. So I don’t, and that’s a problem.

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It’s also a problem when the twins find the tissues!

Now that I’ll be home for the next 7-8 weeks, it’s time to tackle the mess. Currently, the twins are napping from 1:30-3:15. It’s not the longest nap, and as it is C doesn’t fall asleep for bedtime until at least 8:30, if not 9:00. But I need them to nap this summer as long as possible. That’s my time. I’d like to spend the first 15-20 minutes of their nap doing normal clean-up, maintenance chores (washing dishes from lunch, wiping counters, taking out trash, etc.) – things my nanny currently does and I finish up on at night. But in addition, I’d love to do one or two additional cleaning tasks during the nap. Every single room in my house needs an overhaul. From washing curtains to scrubbing radiators to sorting through clothes – it’s all there, waiting for me. There are receipts everywhere and coats that need washing and couches that need vacuuming.  I can also tell you that I don’t want to spend every single moment of their nap, every single day, doing chores. I’d like to blog more – a few times a week. I’d like to sort through months’ worth of pictures I’ve taken. I’d like to update the FB page I’ve neglected in the last few months. I’d like to get back to my hobbies – even spending only 20-30 minutes would be fine. But the nap is short, and the house is messy. I’m just not sure where to start.

How do successfully clean people clean their homes? Do they just pass by certain areas of the house and say, “That needs to be cleaned, I’ll do it right now”? Because that doesn’t work in my life. I’m in need of a good cleaning chart – one that gives me a sort of regimented schedule. I can’t just clean up “whatever I see”. I get distracted, all of a sudden my phone is in my hands and I’m addicted to the internet, which is frankly an obnoxious habit I need to break. I need specific tasks to be completed on specific days. If anyone has a good one, pass it this way! Otherwise, I’m hitting up Pinterest.

B and C have been doing wonderfully and their language is finally taking off! I’m excited to share an update, and I might actually be able to on the new summer schedule! :)