What DO toddlers eat?

Okay, so this may be my last post for a while, though I hope not. I’m officially, really back to work on Tuesday, as it’s the first day of school. My nanny, J, is AMAZING and the transition has been perfect over the last two weeks. I miss the babies, but I feel like I’m leaving the twins in good hands. My biggest brag about her is that the kids do a different activity every day, and she has yet to repeat herself (though I told her she shouldn’t feel like she needs to come up with something different daily!) Two days ago it was birthday cards with baby fingerprints, and on other days she’s created sticky balls out of tape, used a muffin tin to play and sort plastic balls, cut paper into strips to play with, had a dance party, stuffed an empty wipes container with scarves to practice pulling them out – etc. She rocks. And she takes pictures and videos and checks in constantly. So I’m very lucky to have her and be out the door on time in the morning. In fact, when she arrives in the morning a chorus of cheers erupts from the high chairs. When I get home in the afternoon……meh? That would be the babies reaction. Meh. But it’s all good. 

So food. As soon as we switched from purees to finger foods, and from finger foods to table foods, it’s all been a mystery to me. I have to admit I miss the puree days when I’d just throw a few cubes of this or that in a cup and mix them all up. There’s been many a pinterest and google search on what to feed these babies. I still feel strongly about the things I want them to eat and the things I don’t want them eating at this age, but yet, sometimes my plans don’t go like I thought they would. And by sometimes, I mean 90% of the time. I just wish that I could say, “Feed the twins ______ with guaranteed success”. I can say that, if I want them to exist on a diet of melon, banana, and peas. But otherwise – what they like to eat changes day to day. I hate the lack of consistency!

Breakfast – thankfully, I’ve got this meal down for the most part. They have their milk, then baby oatmeal mixed with leftover milk from their sippies or just water, and I usually add a cube of pureed apple or pear for flavor, though they will also eat it plain. They each eat about 3.5 tablespoons of oatmeal. Then they split half a banana. For the most part, it’s an easy, predictable meal – as long as I don’t show them the banana until it’s time – otherwise all bets are off. 

Snack – their 3:30 pm snack WAS consistent, until today. I always gave them a cheese stick, either to share or they each ate one, followed by whatever veggies I had cooked and chopped. Every night I prepare two veggies for the next day to cover two meals and a snack. They’re some combo of peas, carrots, butternut squash and green beans. These are veggies they will always eat plain. I try to mix spinach, broccoli, and zucchini in with other foods, but I’d like them to eat these veggies plain as well. But then today, C flat out refused her cheese. She LOVES cheese. Today, she aggressively signed “all done” while saying one of her newer words, “no” over and over again (she’s also started saying “please”, so that helps make up for it!). And when she has made up her mind, there’s no tricking her. After veggies have been consumed, I sometimes give the babies fruit – whatever I have on hand that both babies like. B currently is into cantaloupe, bananas, and watermelon …so any other fruit like blueberries and grapes C gets in addition to whatever she’s eating. So C’s snack today was peas and watermelon. 

Lunch and Dinner – these are the meals that drive me a little nuts. I’m trying to get them to eat table food – what we eat, they eat. They can’t just have peas and cheese forever. The problem is – it’s a total crapshoot on whether or not they will like it, so even though I have my backup veggies and fruit, I’m typically scrambling for more food. On the one hand, I DO agree with the idea that kids need to eat what the adults are eating – without Mom or Dad cooking 5 other meals to make all the kids happy. I agree. It’s just that..at this age, with my babies just starting to eat “real food”, they don’t know what they like. I don’t know what they like. We’re all learning. I know their tastes will change as they get older as well, so for now, I just feel like I need them to eat something, even if it’s not what I prepared. What they LIKE is pasta. Plain pasta, pasta with red sauce, pasta with white sauce…they like pasta. But I’m not giving that to them every night. They loved it in minestrone soup, they loved it with a white broccoli and chicken sauce. Up until TONIGHT, they also loved cheese quesadillas. I snuck some chicken into theirs tonight and B was hungry – he ate almost an entire quesadilla. Which was fine, because C was still on her “no cheese” kick and cried over the dinner I had figured she would eat. I had some backup sweet potato and a little leftover avocado..so she ate those instead, (and more watermelon) but I didn’t call that a MEAL exactly.

Sometimes we’ll make a dinner and just one baby will like it, or tolerate it even, and the other won’t touch it. Earlier this week we made black bean/sweet potato enchiladas (this website as a whole is totally amazing, I highly recommend it), but with a slightly spicy taco sauce on top – B wouldn’t touch it. C on the other hand ate pieces of sweet potato and black beans. Sometimes C will eat the food if it comes off of my plate, or if it comes off my fork, but she’ll refuse it as finger food. Sometimes B screams and points and I can’t for the life of me figure out what he wants, but he refuses to eat what’s on his tray. Maybe 3 out of 7 days a week, both babies will eat a meal and say together, “yum!”. And it usually involves pasta. It’s a daily struggle. I want them to eat well, get their nutrients, and I’m not ready to cave to foods that “all” toddlers will like – foods that I don’t consider the best for them. Once in a while is totally fine, but I feel like once I give it to them, it’s all they’ll want. I recently read a comment on someone’s blog from a registered dietician that children should order off of adult menus at restaurants – kids menus are usually just those typical “mac and cheese” “hot dog” type meals – when there’s no reason they can’t eat what the adults are eating. That made sense to me. I just wish it was a little easier getting my twins to like different sorts of meals with different textures and different spices. I know they’re still young – they’re only 13 months. But I’m not really digging this daily battle. At what age does picky eating become the toddler norm?

On top of all this, we are trying to prepare our dinners better ourselves. Going back to work means an even crazier day – so dinner needs to either be ready in the crock pot when we get home, or it’s very quick to cook. And that means we need to plan ahead. So I spend my late nights scrolling pinterest, looking for meals that are 1) easy, 2) healthy, and 3) tasty to children. And that’s a struggle. 

So far for this coming week I’ve found a good tomato soup recipe (that for the babies, will likely involve pasta…sigh), yummy chicken burgers and tacos. Yeah – only one of those the babies will eat. So it’s not like the twins can just “eat what we eat”. They might be able to eat some of the ingredients in what we eat, if I disguise it as something else. I mean, on taco night, does it count as “eating what we eat” if they eat only cheese and avocado? Or if on chicken burger night they eat the chicken….mashed up into sweet potato? As of this moment, I’m still at a loss as to what to feed these babies in the upcoming week. 

What I have found, however, are a few recipes for breakfasts/snacks/backup foods that would work for both myself and my husband rushing off to work and for the babies. Those include sweet potato banana bites, quinoa breakfast bars, and my biggest hope, the toddler smoothie. So in my spare time this weekend (HA!) I am going to make these things and hope for the best. Meanwhile, I’ll be up til midnight reading those food blogs that make it all seem so easy!

I can’t leave without a few pictures of course. Today, the babies went apple picking for the first time. I gave them each two apples to hold (after washing them of course), more as toys than anything. And sure enough, B treated them like balls and threw them around, playing fetch with himself. After a few minutes, I noticed that C dented her apple with her teeth and realized there was juice inside. So she started gnawing on it and by the time we left…she ate half an apple. By herself. One for the record books – today was the first day C (or B for that matter) ate something she held onto herself, that wasn’t off a spoon or cut into tiny pieces. I wondered when that day would come!

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Wonder Week 55, and am I raising picky eaters?

After writing my last post about B’s changed behavior and sleeping patterns, it dawned on me that he seems to be going through an actual 12 month sleep regression. This led me to a google search which told me that in fact, B seems to be going through Wonder Week 55. If you’ve never heard of Wonder Weeks, you can read more about it here. Basically, there are certain periods (“leaps”)  in a baby’s first year of life where they grow and develop at such a rapid pace that they go through major changes in their schedules, which also include eating, sleeping, and behavior. Each Wonder Week comes with some cool new tricks a baby can do after they go through it, and the website/book/app explains it more in detail. Wonder Week 55 is exactly B, down to increased tantrums, waking, crying in the middle of the night, and a decreased appetite for certain foods. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this before, but PHEW. This is just a stage. A fellow mom told me at the library yesterday, after I made mention of this phase B is in – “It’s a stage. Everything’s a stage.” She has a point there – every period in life is in fact, just a stepping stone until the next one. So if B is going through a tough stage right now, it will surely lead to a better stage..and back and forth. I just feel better knowing that this isn’t B’s new personality. He’s a baby. I’m hoping the phase passes soon.

In other news, I’ve got just a few weeks left until I’m back to work and my nanny starts. I haven’t worked since April of 2013. It has been a very long time, and I’m trying to get my ducks in a row to make the transition for us all as smooth as possible. And one of the bumps holding me back right now is food.

I have wanted my twins to eat healthy, balanced meals from the get-go. It’s something that was high on my priority list. Therefore, I introduced many veggies and fruits in the puree stage and the babies did great. They continued to do well when we transitioned to those same foods in finger food form. In addition to fruits and veggies, they like cheese and potatoes. At first, they also ate beans. I did not give them puffs or Cheerios or anything like that because I didn’t have to. I wanted to keep the processed food down to a minimum if I could. If the babies would eat other, non-processed things, then that was fine by me. I also didn’t give them anything fried or sweet, other than a few frosting licks of a cupcake and a few bites of my ice cream. See, I’m a sugar-obsessed person and have been as long as I can remember. I don’t think it’s doing anything for my health and probably contributes to my hives, but yet I can’t stop eating it. I obsessively eat sugar. I do not want my kids following down that path. Of course, they’ll have it eventually and that’s fine, but I’m not in a rush to get there. That’s why they’ve never had a cookie or a piece of candy or their own ice cream. They will. Fruit is their dessert – and C is proving to me that I’ve made the right decision, because the few times she has tasted real sugar, she’s channeled into a crazy baby. She must. have. another. bite. now – fussing, whining, “GIVE IT TO ME” in her eyes. She must be my daughter. Yes, sugar is being limited for them, bigtime.

So there they were, just eating their little finger foods of mostly beans and veggies, with cheese and fruit added…and then they turned one year old. And then we transitioned to whole milk. They’re following the guideline of 16-20 oz of milk a day, and that’s a lot less than the amount of formula they were drinking. Therefore, they’re hungrier. But with this change has also come picky eating. All of a sudden – they won’t eat beans. They won’t touch chicken. B won’t touch avocado anymore. C won’t eat pasta (yes, I started with some whole wheat pasta because B only wants mushy, slippery foods and that’s something he likes – but not C). B won’t touch certain fruits anymore, like grapes or blueberries. They won’t EAT anything! And I’m not preparing 500 options. What they heck do I feed these babies?

I have read to feed the babies “what we eat” – so that I prepare a dinner for all of us to enjoy. And that sounds wonderful, everyone sitting around the table, casually eating a relaxed dinner – but that’s not my life right now. My life is my husband throwing a dinner together with the scraps we have in our house after the babies go to bed at 7:30 so that we’re eating at 8:00, while I start on the nightly chores. We eat on the couch. The food is not cooked while the babies are awake, and we don’t eat it while the babies are awake typically, only because it’s not ready. My babies currently eat their last meal at 5:00. My husband isn’t even home yet. But even if we solved all those problems (I know a crock pot would help) – I don’t really think I want them eating most of what we eat! Nor do I think they would touch it.

We aren’t eating, you know, french fries every night, or ever. So it’s not like we eat THAT bad. But the quality of our dinners isn’t really…good. I don’t know. Tonight we had tacos at 8:00. Some somewhat crappy-quality ground turkey with taco seasoning, corn shells, sour cream, shredded cheese. There’s NO WAY my kids would even touch a piece of ground turkey – the texture, the color, the shape, etc. And the seasoning is full of salt, right? The corn shells…too hard, too crunchy…we wouldn’t give those to them. Sour cream? They won’t eat yogurt or cottage cheese, I think because it’s too tangy. So sour cream is out. Tonight’s meal wouldn’t work for them.

Unless we’re eating meals of  plain carrots, green beans, sweet potato, butternut squash, avocado, string cheese and watermelon – these kids aren’t eating what we eat. I’m wondering if I’ve done this all wrong, being TOO picky about what I give to them. And I’m really at a loss here – because I want to keep up with the healthy eating, really limiting their unhealthy options, but I want to make this process easier for us. I would love for them to get most of their protein from beans and eggs (we are JUST starting eggs so not sure yet if they like them). Oh, and I want them to be willing to try foods that aren’t fruits or veggies – like tacos, for example. And heaven forbid the food can’t be cut into the shape of a square!! I don’t know how to make the jump from finger food to table food while still keeping it healthy in a way that works for us. This is one of my biggest obstacles that I’m attempting to tackle before the nanny starts. Any suggestions or resources to find some answers?

I’ve still got another post in my brain – I want to back up to the stomach bug at the birthday party, setting up the playroom and some other Pinterest fun, but it’ll wait until next time.

Tis the season

Okay everyone, finally some progress is being made over in this house. But first, let me direct you towards this totally well-written, completely true blog post that I found via Facebook. Has anyone else seen this? Kristen talks about the “season” when babies are small.  The season when you as a parent don’t have time for a social life, and you don’t connect with your friends like you want to, because your children are at a stage where they need you all the time. And it’s depressing sometimes, and you feel lonely. And you wonder if you’ll ever socialize again and connect with adults. She mentions going to Target just to talk with an adult (done that, and then some. Costco, The Dollar Store, the library…anywhere). But then she talks about the things that your babies are doing that fill that void – laughing with you, singing songs, playing games…it’s just so true. And so well written. So if you’re in need of a reminder why you are the mother of your kids, and why that job is so crucial right in this moment, read that post. It’s that good.

I think those who struggle with infertility know this even more than others – to appreciate the little moments. I have known this, and I try to think about it as often as I can. When B is thrashing his legs around like he’s being stung by 50 bees when in fact I’m only changing his diaper – I think about it. Or when (today) I go to check B’s diaper only to accidentally stick my hand in 5 inches of poop, and then having to lay him on the ground one-handed and pick up C off the couch and onto the ground so she doesn’t fall while I go scrub the poop off my hands and they both scream bloody murder because it happened so fast and they don’t know why I’m running out of the room – I think about it. What do I think about? My happy place is B rubbing his nose on my shirt back and forth when he’s getting sleepy, his closed-mouth kisses and how completely delicious he smells (from the waist up, at least). Or C’s huge grin, her giggles, her satisfaction at looking at a picture of herself and her brother right before she goes down for a nap, and curling her fingers around my shoulder as she snuggles in. I don’t know. I definitely have bad hours, bad sections of my day sometimes (that mid-afternoon time slot is a doozy), and those first few months of the babies’ lives were completely insane, but it makes me emotional even thinking about how someday I will miss this and ache to have it again. Will I miss it that much? Maybe, but for the sake of my happiness I sure hope there’s something my kids are doing that can kind of replace it. I don’t always want to miss something, that’s a depressing way for me to live. But just in case, I do try to think and enjoy and snuggle and sniff.

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Anyway. I just really liked that blog post.

Moving on. Coincidentally, I’ve been kind of anxiously waiting for my babies to reach some physical milestones. And generally the reason is because they are 1) large and 2) frustrated with sitting and playing with toys. They want to get up and dance (twerking was invented by babies, apparently) and reach and stretch. So while we’re not totally there yet, major progress is being made. Here’s their almost-11 month old update:

B: B’s physical development has gone from 0-60 in the last week or so. It came out of nowhere. Now, he’s about 27 pounds or so I’m guessing, no longer content to sit at ALL (I knew that day would come, thank goodness I took so many good pictures while he was still cooperating!) and it started when he wanted to hold onto the pole of C’s jumper-thing.

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And then he wanted to stand up at this toy:

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But then he started getting fussy and I realized it was because he was “stuck”. But he didn’t want to sit down. So I got out the water table and set up a little obstacle course in the living room and to make a long story short – in the span of a week he has suddenly learned how to 1) pull up on the furniture from a sitting position, 2) go completely hands-free for a few seconds and 3) cruise the furniture.

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This new freedom of his makes life certainly more interesting. I ran to the bathroom quickly today while he was sitting on the ground. When I came back 2 minutes later not only did he stand up at the water table but he cruised around the whole thing and was at the end of couch by the time I got there. He can turn around, switch hands and balance decently. As far as I know, the next step for him would be walking. But he doesn’t know how to use one of those push toys, and his steps are not smooth at all when he’s holding our hands. So he’s not ready to actually walk. But wow, the progress was huge. He’s a happier baby already. Interestingly enough, he never crawled. He never even came CLOSE to crawling. And not just a regular, pretty crawl. There was no scooting, no army crawl, no butt crawl – no movement whatsoever. But here we are. I don’t know how long it’ll take him to reach that big milestone, so we’ll see what happens.

He’s still very grumpy during meal times, maybe because of his lack of independence there. But he’s not showing any interest in wanting to hold his own sippy cup or feed himself his finger foods. He plays with them, he swings his hands back and forth and pushes ALL the food onto the floor, all while screaming because I’m not putting the pieces in his mouth fast enough. So I’m not sure where to go on that front. I’m hoping he just takes an interest to it one day. I’m happy he easily transitioned off the bottle though. He’s in 18 month clothes now and I’m not buying anything more in that size. He has 7 teeth that all came in between March and May. And just in the last few days he has gotten the hang of “Soooo big” and finally  – a wave! He’s just copying us of course, but it’s a start. There’s some understanding going on in that head of his. Today I noticed he clapped, but not purposely. But now that I know he can clap, I need to start teaching it. He’s a very strong-willed baby. If he wants something, he goes after it as best as he can, even if it’s the dog’s paws or a toy in C’s mouth. He wants what he wants. If I intervene, he’s not happy about it. So it’s constantly redirect, redirect. He laughs hard, often. He grins to show off his teeth, scrunches his nose, he’s fascinated by his own hands – he’s very funny. He’s funny to watch, when he’s in a good mood.

DSC_0388C keeps showing me that she wants to crawl. In the span of a week about 3 weeks ago, she perfected rolling and ALMOST crawling. She gets onto her stomach from a sitting position, she gets on all fours, she rocks back and forth…but that’s it.

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I’m hoping she figures it out soon. She has been watching her brother, though and in the past few days she wants to stand where he’s standing, she wants to hold onto things. She can’t pull up on furniture and her feet are like cemented into the ground – she has no idea how to move them. But there hasn’t been too much crawling practice recently because she wants to stand like B.

IMG_6166One day, about a week ago, she decided to put food into her mouth once, then twice, and by the next day she was ready to feed herself completely, given the right food. For her, that was chopped string cheese. And she hasn’t looked back. She has the pincer grasp down, she eats off the tips of her fingers – if the food is in her hands, she figures out how to eat it. Slippery banana and avocado – no problem. She has favorites for sure (unlike B who just devours everything) and they are currently banana and avocado, cheese and peas. She happily ate squash for breakfast today, but turned her nose up at plain white potato and wasn’t crazy about the chicken I had dunked in pureed apples and cinnamon for lunch. So great – she’s already being picky. C has also mastered the sippy cup (no straw yet), and can tilt it back and everything. Unfortunately, she only wants to drink water out of it and not her milk. I have a feeling that might not change until they are weaned off formula and her solids become the main event, not the formula.

C is fascinated with her world. She has a new love of books, of faces, of babies, puppies, even the smiling sun on her sunscreen bottle. She points now, at eyes, at mouths. She leans in to give all of these faces a kiss, whether in a book or if it’s a real person. She kisses about 150 times a day. It’s constant. I have caught her “flipping’ through a book, only to find the page with the dog, and she kisses the page and laughs. She could sit happily in my lap and read the same book 80 times without stopping. I imagine she just loves when we talk to her, show her things, point things out. That’s her favorite.

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IMG_6071I love the pointing. She’s extremely social, constantly chattering, giggling, etc. She lets you know when she’s bored or needs a change of activity. She’s basically happy when there are people around. It’s human interactions that really make her who she is right now. Luckily, she loves her brother and they have a ball laughing together. That is, before B claws her face off trying to take her toy.

She’s still a ham for the camera, posing for me, making taking pictures of her very easy. She loves new experiences. She loves to feel the grass, a breeze in her face, a dog’s kisses, etc. She’s a very happy baby, contrary to her newborn days of reflux, when she was a crying nightmare all day long. She’s got her two bottom teeth so far and she’s about 24 pounds, in 12 month clothes.

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I feel like I have toddlers. And really, I almost do. Their first birthday is next month. Totally crazy, but also totally awesome.

That was one long update, people. Next time I write one, maybe I’ll have crawlers/walkers. Who knows?

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A Typical Meal

The twins are making some progress, finally! We’re still not quite there, but they are on the cusp of some very exciting milestones – what looks like walking for B and crawling for C, and a much deeper understanding for both of them. I love reading all the other twin blog updates, so I’ll have my own shortly. Tonight though, it’s all about mealtime.

Right now, mealtimes are one of my least favorite parts of the day with the babies. C has figured out how to feed herself (yay!) but B is a NIGHTMARE, both because he’s restrained in straps that he hates and because he’s constantly starving and I can’t feed him fast enough. This is typical B during meals:

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This is how it goes, three times a day:

B screams when I strap him in. If I can’t get his milk heated up fast enough (i.e. any amount of time period) he screams while that’s happening. I do try to heat it up beforehand but it doesn’t always happen. I give him the cup; I have to hold it for him. He drinks the 8 ounces in less than a minute, sometimes in about 30 seconds. He doesn’t stop to breathe and screams when I take it out of his mouth for a second to catch his breath. When the straw has sucked up the last drop, he screams. I one-hand grab his straw cup of water, to hold him over while I’m feeding C with my other hand. He takes a few sips and realizes it isn’t milk. He calms for about 30 seconds.

B starts screaming again, because he wants his solids. Sometimes I manage to give him some, but otherwise I give him a toy. He throws it, and proceeds to scream. Once C is done with her bottle that I have to hold, which takes her 5,000 years to drink, I put their solids on their tray. B will eat anything and everything, as long as it’s edible. And maybe even if it’s not. He doesn’t dislike any food, though he doesn’t show a preference for anything either. Today, and many days, I put peas, cut up string cheese, and black beans on their trays. C happily puts one piece in her mouth at a time and she’s gotten very good at this over the past week. I shove food in B’s screaming mouth. He immediately calms and hums to himself, happy as a little clam.

But then B swallows and I’m not quick enough, and he screams again. I put more pieces in his mouth, off of his tray. He plays with his food, but he shows as much interest in feeding himself the solids as he does his straw cup of milk – none. He screams in between bites, but laughs and giggles while actually eating. When he’s finally full, he calms for a few minutes.

Then, when he realizes he’s still strapped in his chair, he screams again, until I take him out. Sigh.

Who ever said “it gets easier” with twins? And why can’t my babies hold their own bottles/cups?

And I’m seriously hoping that this isn’t B’s true, extremely demanding personality. He was the EASIEST, calmest baby and now he is so challenging. I just hope this has something to do with the milestones he’s near to reaching and not a sign of the next 18 years of our lives.

*C has found a regular sippy cup with handles that she likes and she drinks water from it. She even tilts it back, so that’s great. Problem is, she won’t drink milk out of it, so meals are out of the question. Only water.

After the scream fest, snuggles with his sister:

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More on the good stuff soon!

But I don’t even like coffee…

My babies are 10 months old tomorrow! More on that in a minute.

I’ve been feeling very, very tired. I mean, I imagine all parents do, and especially stay-at-home parents, because that which makes you sleepy is what you do all. day. long. And in my case it’s times two. I’m noticing, though, that my sleepiest, downright dysfunctional period is mid to late afternoon, usually between the hours of 3:00 – 5:00 pm. The babies go down for their second nap around 1:45, and it lasts until between 2:30 and 3:00. What I’m doing during that second nap is having a snack, walking around the house pretending to clean, and then sitting down on the couch, connecting myself with the outside world via Facebook and blog reading. Inevitably, the babies are up so quickly, and then it’s that last long stretch before bed.

The past few days, it’s all I can do to not literally curl up on the floor and shut my eyes for five minutes. Yesterday, my sister was over so I was actually able to do just that (but on a couch), but today I was driving. I can’t stop yawning, my eyes get heavy – I’m about ready to pass out. And then the feeling sort of goes away, especially once I’ve eaten dinner. Then I’m immediately recharged and raring to go for the rest of the night.

The thing is, this system isn’t really working anymore. Not for the babies, not for me. What I’m currently doing after that last nap at 3:00 is passing the time, usually with a stroller walk if it’s nice out, followed by bottles at 4:00 and then…and then the babies do a lot of playing by themselves. I’m sitting right there, mind you. But I’m not interacting with them much at all. I’m zoning out, keeping them busy with toys and counting the minutes until my husband gets home to take over for a few minutes while I get bedtime stuff set up.

When my husband gets home around 5:30, I let out this big sigh of relief just knowing that I’m officially “off duty” for a few minutes. And I love being with my kids. But it’s just so nice, and I’ve been “on” since they woke up at 6:00. It’s a long-ass day. And once bedtime and bath stuff are ready to go, my husband does the baths around 6:15, I do PJ’s, it’s bottles and then sleep by 7:00.

This is our current schedule. After the babies go to sleep, we creep down the stairs, wanting to plop it on the couch….and start dinner. By the time we’ve eaten and cleaned up from it, it’s 8:00. By the time the nightly chores of straightening up the house, washing bottles, making formula, preparing solids, washing diapers/folding laundry (if necessary) are done, it’s 9:00/9:30. That’s when I finally get “me” time, which is either a little TV with the hubs or sorting through pictures or blogging. My bedtime isn’t usually until 11:00 and then we’re up at 6:00.

So you see, this current situation I have going for us isn’t working for me, because I’m crashing so hard every single day. I don’t like how I’m just placing the babies down to play and not even doing much with them during that time. I don’t like the feeling of forcing my eyes open. Apparently I need more sleep. But I think I also need to work on preparing dinner BEFORE the babies go to bed, so that after they’re down, we eat right away and clean up quickly. If that happened, everything would shift to an earlier time, including my precious bedtime.

But that’s the problem – I can’t prepare dinner before the babies go to bed. I’m TOO TIRED.

The thing about caffeine for me is that it really works. I don’t really consume caffeine. A little soda or a piece of chocolate at night would have devastating consequences. Even when the babies were newborns, not ONCE did I have caffeine to keep me going. I’ve never needed it. And that’s why, when I do drink it, I’m beyond wired. I don’t like that feeling, so I don’t do it. Also, coffee is gross unless it has all the cream and 83 sugars. Tea is the same. For a treat, I’ll have a decaf sugar-laden coffee from Dunkin Donuts, but as a dessert – without caffeine. Right now, I’m starting to wonder if that’s what I need. Most people drink coffee in the morning, right? They need their caffeine to start their day, to get them going. Well I practically jump out of bed with a spring in my step. I’ve always been a morning person. But that mid-afternoon slot? That’s where my coffee would be.

I don’t know. I really want to stop wasting away the hours of the late afternoon and be productive. Imagine if I made dinner, cleaned the house and played with the babies, all before my husband got home? That would free up my entire evening! It also sounds impossible.

Today the babies and I went on a trip to my school to visit my teacher friends. I’ve been coming around lately to the idea of going back to work. I haven’t worked since April of 2013 when I was put on bedrest at 23 weeks – a long time ago. And even a few months ago, I didn’t feel ready. But now I can envision it. Talking with other adults, going back to teaching (some) subjects that I really like, making a difference again – it does sound appealing. And when we visited today, I was reminded even more so how the topics of curriculum and data are in my not-so-distant future. Hmm, am I happy about that? On a surface level, sure, yeah, it’s good for me. And I have no choice, anyway. But deep down I’m wondering – how will I ever dedicate myself to both my job AND my family? Before my kids, teaching was my around-the-clock job. Once I had kids, they took that slot. It isn’t possible for me to work two 24/7 jobs, so you know, something’s going to have to give. And I doubt it’ll be my babies, short of me not being home anymore. This whole topic just makes me sleepy.

 

In other news, my twins are 10 months old tomorrow (picture overload incoming!). I know people comment how fast the time goes with their own children, like they’ve grown in the blink of an eye. In some ways, yes, I can see that. I can’t really remember my babies being the five pounds that they were. Nor can I really remember a time when they didn’t smile and laugh (I guess those first few months are just a blur). But otherwise, I seriously think I felt every single day up until now. It wasn’t a long time coming, it didn’t go by super fast – but I really felt it. In a good way, too. Every new stage they enter, though, I’ve liked more than the last. It’s a joy to watch them become little people, slowly but surely. And it’s crazy to me to think about how my babies were born completely blank slates. Never having tasted anything, never saw anything, never met anyone. As I’m home with them all day, I have the power to decide what they taste, who they see, what experiences they are introduced to. It’s just kind of crazy and overwhelming. But awesome. And hopefully, most of the time I’m making the “right” choices, the choices that sit well with my husband and I and contribute to the growth of the babies.

B is, as usual, a giant hunk of a baby boy. He was 25 pounds at the 9 month check up a month ago, so I would assume he’s grown some since then. His head is the size of a 4 year old’s (I know because I just bought him a toddler hat that fits perfect), he has giant feet and hands and he eats like a lion. He’s got some great thunder thighs and is a mini Godzilla “walking” around the house. He’s not crawling yet, as I’ve mentioned before, but he loves to “walk” while holding your hands. Loves it – would do it all day if he could, but it hurts my back. He is rolling now and spinning in circles on his stomach. He has officially outgrown the doorway jumper (so sad), as he’s past the weight limit. And it’s not good for him anyway – but man, he loved that thing. He jumped as high as he could, and if I let him, would lift his legs and swing back and forth, allowing his arm to connect with the wall. He’s a very physical boy – when he’s happy and laughing, it makes him jump. It’s funny, when we go to playgroup or the library for songs, C smiles and coos, and B bounces up and down on my legs like it’s nobody’s business. Moving is all he wants to do. I really, really look forward to him crawling, so that I don’t have to carry his large self around as much. He has recently made the transition to a straw cup from the bottle. Just like everything else that my babies have transitioned to, I continue to learn that my babies will transition when they’re ready. And when they’re not ready, no amount of persuasion can make it happen. All of a sudden, he was getting antsy with the bottle. Once he learned how to suck from the straw (using water at first), he was hooked and it was simple after that. We still do the last session in a bottle as he typically falls asleep while drinking, but the other 3 meals are through the straw. I’m not looking back from that bottle. I’m glad to be done with it. Now, if only he would hold the thing himself. As for food, he eats whatever I give him – purees, finger foods (but off my fingers, not his…). He just wants to eat. There isn’t a single food so far that he’s turned away from, so I continue to just throw together whatever I have already made and when they are purees, stir them up together. Today’s purees were carrots, butter beans, pears and avocado all mixed together. He doesn’t care. Boy just wants his food. He also likes finger foods but we’re just starting that – so far he’s eaten banana, avocado, sweet and white potatoes, baked apples and peas. He has 7 teeth, and they all came in in a month’s time with next to NO drool, no fevers, no extreme fussing. Just teeth, thank goodness. Super shy in public and with new people, he’s also very leary of new experiences and appears to scowl for most outings. At home, he’s the life of the party.

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(No, I don’t dress him like that all the time. It was for a professional photo shoot we had done, with the results coming soon..)

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C always seems so petite next to B but she really isn’t. She’s around 23 pounds herself, with another large head. But she’s much thinner than B with small little hands and feet. She just got her first tooth yesterday, the same day B got his 7th. Like B, no fevers, barely any drool and not too fussy – I guess I’m super lucky. In public, she’s all smiles, a total charmer. She loves new experiences and is absolutely fascinated by her world. I don’t even notice anymore, but today at our school visit a coworker commented as C was drinking her bottle that she had her eyes scanning the room the entire time – never once did she zone out. Definitely my child – very aware of her surroundings. I put her in the front of our double stroller because she’s all eyes and ears – taking it all in and squealing with delight. At home, she gets bored much more easily than B. She prefers people, even B, to her toys. She’s the first one to get antsy when they are playing by themselves, because she needs more stimulation than the toys can give her. But carry her around the house, read her a book, just change it up, and she’s happy. I imagine this is why she loves going out of the house so much. She’s so very, very good when I pull out my camera – she knows when to smile, when to keep her gaze in my direction. She’s a little harder to get to transition to new things, but it can be done. We’re just starting the straw cup with her, but for now, she’d prefer a bottle. However, she was the one who told me she was done with purees and ready for finger foods – she suddenly turned up her nose at purees, or after having a few bites, would gag and spit them back up. She absolutely LOVES the mushy finger foods I’ve introduced, with avocado and banana being favorites so far. Of course, like B, she doesn’t eat them off her own fingers but hopefully soon enough. Also not yet crawling, this was the baby who absolutely HATED tummy time from Day 1 and has come a long way. She’s leaning forward from sitting to a tummy position and tolerating it for a few minutes. She’s also spinning and circles while there. She finds people hysterical and laughs with so many types of human interactions. She loves to be thrown in the air, to hang upside down.

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Together, the babies continue to show affection for each other. C continues to kiss everything in sight and now B has learned how to give kisses as well. They also pull each other’s hair and smack each other in the face (purposely) with toys, but they enjoy each other’s company and can be heard laughing to each other, back and forth, while I’m not in the room. I’m totally in love, and totally exhausted. I can’t wait to see what Month 10 has in store for us!

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In Limbo

It has been a long few days. Lil C started to show symptoms of a cold, with sneezing, a runny nose, etc. But those same symptoms seemed to be exaggerated when we went outside, with one of her eyes just dripping clear tears, a clear drip from her nose, and both of those things being super itchy. She seemed to be suffering from seasonal allergies. To top it off, when she lays down flat, she has a nasty cough that causes her to wake up and cry. So tonight being night #3, she is waking up coughing about every 30-45 minutes. I go upstairs and pick her up, she falls asleep on my shoulder, I wait a few minutes, put her back down. Repeat.

The first night, I stayed up from 2:30-5:00 and just held her in the rocking chair while she slept upright. We tried propping the mattress but she kept trying to sit up and in doing so would roll down the little hill. Besides, it’s really not enough of a prop to do anything. Then last night we brought her downstairs and set up a pack n play in our bedroom where she slept on and off again, though not as bad as the night before. And now tonight, she’s been down for almost 2 hours and I’ll be going up for the 4th time. Poor baby. But I’m exhausted. (My husband is going up for this one now, thankfully and we do switch on and off.) I’m not sure what else to do for her. I’ll call the doctor next week if it continues, but during the day she eats and acts normally, save for the dripping eye and itchy nose. It’s sleeping that’s the issue.

The interwebs tell me that seasonal allergies don’t usually affect babies, as they need at least 2 seasons of exposure for it to take effect. So…are we doomed for C to have a lifetime of terrible allergies if they are showing up this early? Is this normal? Do they last the entire spring? I have no idea.

It feels like parenting these 9.5 month old twins has been more exhausting lately for other reasons too. As I’ve talked about before, B and C are a bit “behind” their peers with physical development. The doctor wasn’t concerned, and I know it’ll happen eventually, but they don’t do what most other babies their age (or younger) do. They don’t crawl, they don’t roll around, they don’t pull up on furniture. They still act like 5 or 6 month old babies who need to be carried or placed into a sitting position, but they’re very large and very heavy. B is definitely past 25 pounds and C is probably around 22 pounds herself. Everyone always says that I shouldn’t rush crawling or walking. Why they say this, I’m not sure. To hold onto the newborn baby stage? But really – I welcome it. When they can move around, sure I have to keep a very close eye on them and all of that, but right now they WANT to move around and can’t, making them frustrated and me tired. With all of these physical things they can’t do yet, they are making strides for sure, both of them. B absolutely loves to stand while I hold his hands. In fact, when doing this, he takes steps, walking all around our house. He started taking one or two steps like this many months ago, around 4 or 5 months old. But now he practically runs, shrieking with delight. Of course, I have to do it with him. I know it’s not aiding in his ability to walk, but he just loves it so much – it’s a guarantee to make him happy. And C, she has become a little more mobile with her body as well. When in the sitting position, she will lean way forward, balancing on her ankles, until she falls forward completely onto her stomach. As long as she isn’t smashing her face into something, she’s content enough for a few minutes in that position. And she’s just recently started jumping – like in the jumperoo or when you hold her in a standing position. For the longest time, she had no interest in bouncing and now she does. For her, these things are huge.

What it all amounts to is that neither of them want to SIT anymore – but they can’t do anything else. C wants to crawl, B wants to stand and run – but while my husband is at work, I’m only one person and I can’t easily hold them both for more than a few minutes. So they’re frustrated, like I said. And I’m tired. I look forward to the crawling and walking stage, so that they can achieve the independence they are wanting so badly but can’t yet attain.

And have I mentioned that they don’t NAP? Well, C does. She takes 2 one hour-ish naps. But B takes two 35-40 minute naps. That’s it. How many chores and tasks can I get done in two 35-40 minute periods a day? Not many. I get the babies’ things done, maybe a shower for myself, and that’s all I have time for, leaving so many chores for late at night. I remember the good old days of two hour naps…

I’ve talked about baby sign language before and mistakenly thought they might be starting to sign back. Not yet. I still only do “eat”, “more” and “all done”, and I do believe they sort of know what these things mean, but they don’t do them back. They also don’t clap, wave, or anything else of the like with their hands yet. As soon as they do, I know that’s about the time they could sign back. I look forward to that, too.

And then lastly, the food and drink issue. With food, I’m trying to introduce finger foods. B has 6 teeth that all came in in a month’s time. C still has none but she has very hard gums. I’m kind of terrified of choking, so I’m trying to start with mushy finger foods first before going to those Gerber puffs or anything like that. I know they dissolve, but still. So I have done tiny pieces of banana (dipped into oatmeal cereal for a hard coating, easier to pick up), avocado, and today, potato. They like all 3 of these things except 1) They, for the most part, can’t feed themselves. Only ONCE did I catch both of them on the same day pick up food and bring it to their mouths. Not since a few days ago. So I feed them one piece at a time, while encouraging them to do it themselves. And 2) they LOVE their purees. B screams bloody murder if I don’t get his solids into his gullet fast enough (yes, this is after he just consumed 8 ounces of milk less than an hour ago), and finger foods won’t do for just this reason. Too slow. When I feed him purees, even thicker with lentils and that sort of thing, I can’t get the spoon into the bowl as quick as he wants. His mouth is wide open, baby bird style, when that spoon comes around again. Luckily C is a slow eater. But she too likes her purees. I’m getting a little tired of making them the same pureed foods – lentils, sweet potato, avocado, pears, apples, peaches, carrots, blueberries, green beans – and would like to start introducing them to the rest of the food that exists out there. But I can’t see pureeing it all. They should be able to eat chunks now, right? So I’m just not sure where to go from here.

With the bottle – I’ve tried a variety of sippy cups and have found the straw cups to be…what I’m hoping to get the babies to use, for multiple reasons. They have each successfully taken a few sips of milk out of them. And water. But they just aren’t interested. The same with normal sippy cups as well – we tried those too. They just don’t care. They play with them, which is fine, but they don’t drink. Besides, they have never held their own bottles, and so far, they aren’t holding their own cups. I’m not really interested in introducing juice, so it’s just a matter of figuring out what to do to get them to transition. I’ve tried pouring half their bottle into the cup, but B screamed when (again) he couldn’t get to his milk fast enough.

I don’t know. I am personally ready for the next step in their little baby lives. I do miss the smallness of a newborn, and the way a tiny 8 pounder curls up on your chest. But really, that’s about it! I really enjoy them more and more every day. They reach to be picked up now, they tuck their heads into my shoulder on purpose. They give kisses, they giggle and laugh. They’re little people. This is why I’m tired of them being in limbo – I want to get on with the movement, the eating, the drinking. But I’m just not sure how to get there or what to do next. Will these things just happen on their own? I don’t know.

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These are C’s new “sad lips” – when she wants to cry but really isn’t all that upset. So cute.

And this is the face B makes when he holds onto a toy and gets excited. He squeezes his fists and shakes his whole body.

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And more kisses:

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Twins – 30 Weeks

They will be, at least, on Sunday. I don’t blog much anymore – not because I can’t make the time at night but usually because I’m scouring the internet for advice on this or that random baby issue, rather than putting my own information out there. But I have noticed this blog getting a good amount of traffic, and I read many blogs myself of those with kids, so I thought an update might be in order. I did find that the majority of people’s searches that led to finding my blog have to do with infertility, charting, temping, implantation spotting…etc. What I remember about that dark time is the amount of questions I had – what does it mean when there’s spotting? What if there’s not? What if I’m 10 DPO and _____ happened? Oh no, I feel a pain! Oh no, I don’t feel a pain! I remember those questions being so exhausting, taking over my entire self. And so, if that’s where you’re at as you come across the majority of what this blog has been about so far, I feel you. It sucks. It sucks even more when it’s not exciting to pee on a stick anymore. When it’s something you dread, or maybe worse, you become numb to doing it at all. Hang in there.

I do have a baby blog, but I found that I’m connected more through this blog with others out there whose journey’s I’ve followed, which is why I tend to revert back here.

So my babies, Mr. B and Lil C, are changing so rapidly. It seems like it’s every day that something new happens, even small, and the following day was nothing like the day before it. Today’s small event was that the babies reached for a toy while on tummy time. In fact, I positioned them so that they both reached for the same toy, in the middle between them.  Yesterday’s event – Lil C finally figured out spoon-feeding. It means you have to open your mouth.  And now, hmm, she likes it – though she prefers if you give a loud “nom nom” sound as you airplane the spoon towards her. My days are like that. I’m extremely lucky, so lucky, to be staying home with them for as long as I have and as long as I will be. It’s not something I take for granted, and if I ever have more than a minute of “I really wish I could relax and take a baby break” – I remind myself that if I was at work (doing a job I do enjoy, by the way), someone else, someone my babies don’t really know, would be watching them and playing with them. While that day will be coming this summer, if I can avoid it now, I will. And so I seriously cherish every minute, even the moments of crying babies, poop explosions, and the spit-up that went right down my shirt today, all the way down my neck. And I couldn’t shower for another few hours. Just another perfect day.

I don’t know what it’s like having one baby, but with two, it really does get so much easier. I mean in a way it’s actually more exhausting – never sitting down, constantly bending over carrying some heavy weights – it’s like teaching, being on your feet nonstop! But I can put the babies down and go to the bathroom or make a sandwich. Now that they are sleep trained (mostly), I can put them down for a nap and not have to rush up there the first second someone squeaks. It really is easier.

The beginning of my pregnancy through the beginning of my twins’ lives was very much out of my control. Infertility, bedrest, preterm labor, C-section, NICU time, preemies…all out of my control. Not having enough of a supply to breastfeed my babies exclusively..mostly out of my control. I could’ve pumped more, I could’ve drank more tea, I could’ve put those babies on me around the clock and I didn’t. But I didn’t know what I was doing wrong and so in that way…it was out of my control. And those are all things I wish had been in my control. So NOW, now I get to make parenting decisions that are in my control, that make me be the parent I want to be, and that feels awesome. I feel like I’ve waited my whole life for this. Because of that, I’ve fully enjoyed in the last few weeks switching to cloth diapers, starting solids with my twins, and starting up baby sign language. It feels so good to make choices that I think are right for my babies. Being a stay at home mom right now suits me.

Cloth diapering could be an addiction. I don’t have that kind of money but it’s actually…kind of enjoyable. I switched because I was running out of disposables, and I had always wanted to CD, but wanted to use up what I had first. And to be honest, those first few months were such a blur, I felt helpless and I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t have the brain power for a cloth diaper. But around 5 months, I felt like I had a good grip on everything. However, I was so used to disposables that I didn’t want some complicated thing you have to fold 8,000 ways and all of that. I wanted easy. So for daytime, I went with the BumGenius Freetime All-In-One. It’s just like a disposable – just snap and go. The snaps are adjustable, fitting babies up to 35 pounds, which for most kids will hold them all the way until potty training (except for Mr. B who is a whopping 21 pounds already). And my kids obviously share the diapers. If I ever have another child (not even going there right now), I will use these same diapers for them, and then I’ll sell them. I do a load of laundry every day and a half, which is just a rinse and then a wash, and I hang dry (but they can go in the dryer). They are dry by morning. It is so much easier than I thought it would be. As for poop clean up, I didn’t want to buy a sprayer, but I didn’t want poop all over my bathroom (which was my vision). I bought at walmart cheap fleece, cut it up into strips and lined each diaper with it. When the babies poop, I take the liner out, and the diaper is wet but not poopy, and I clean the liner in the toilet using rubber gloves. I don’t have to dip a giant diaper in there – just a thin piece of fleece which comes clean quick. No stains, no smells…piece of cake. And the colors of the diapers are addicting. I just purchased a nighttime diaper, the Pooter Hemp Fitted, but they haven’t come yet. So that’s CDing in a nutshell. Major money saver with more than one kid in diapers. My diaper trash can actually smells better than when I had disposables in there, if you can believe that. And by better, I mean you can’t smell anything at all, because it all gets rinsed out in the toilet. And for the most part – no diaper rash since I’ve switched.

Solids – so much fun. I make my own in our food processor because 1) it’s fun, 2) I’m in control of what’s in it, and 3) it’s super easy. So far, we have introduced peas, avocado, sweet potato, carrots, green beans and oatmeal. Butternut squash is on tap for this weekend, followed by the fruits. So far, the babies seem to like avocado, peas and green beans best. I assumed the sweet orange foods would be a hit, but they haven’t been as much. I skipped the rice, knowing Mr. B gets constipated easily, and went to oatmeal instead – and they both really like it. After I make a big batch in the food processor (not the oatmeal), I freeze them in ice cube trays and pop them out as needed. They thaw in a little plastic cup for a bit before eating and voila.

Baby Sign Language is my newest internet search. I’m really, really interested in it, though it seems like this passing fad right now. I love the idea that the babies can communicate with me and each other before they have the words to do so. I also would like to alleviate some of their fussing when they aren’t sure what’s going on. For example, Mr. B has lately burst into tears every time I put him down on the changing table. I don’t know what the deal is, but as soon as he realizes I’m just changing his diaper, he calms down. So, I introduced the sign “diaper”. Obviously, any sign I introduce right now means nothing to them because I’ve just started. But hopefully, if I’m consistent for a few months, not only will they understand what it means, but they might do it back to me. Until they start to get it, I’ve only introduced “diaper”, “eat”, “more” and “all done”. I don’t know who thinks I’m crazy more, the babies or those who come into my house and see my husband and I doing this but maybe someday, they’ll do it back.

And don’t get me wrong – there’s absolutely nothing wrong with making different parenting choices. What I like best isn’t the choices that I’ve made, but the fact that I’m able to make the choices. I get to feed my babies what I want them to eat, and I get to prepare it the way I want to. I get to see what they do all day, and decide what toys they will play with. And I can carry them around the house (though usually not at the same time) with their heads on my shoulders and snuggle. I just REALLY, really like being a mom.  Not to get too sappy, because who needs that, but I knew all along that I wanted and needed to be a mom. Infertility got in the way, I wasn’t my finest self, I felt changed, I was cranky and miserable. But now, that hole that has really always been there, that I’ve tried filling with students, with travel, with..you name it, has been filled and I seriously just feel like a complete person. Totally fulfilled. And I’m SO lucky to be in this position.

Anyway. Mr. B is 21 pounds, as I said. 90% for weight, 50% for height, 97% for head size. Lil C is 17 pounds and certainly much more petite, but also with a big head (90%). But Lil C oddly has newborn sized feet. To me, her legs and feet aren’t really growing, but the rest of her body is. She’s very short, and like I said – those feet fit in newborn size shoes, size 0. But it’s hard to compare sometimes because B is a big boy. I don’t know who is more average. They are completely the stereotype of a boy and a girl, which is weird considering I’m not exactly a stereotype myself. Mr. B is extremely physical – he’s closer to crawling, he rolls more than C does (she really doesn’t yet) – he can’t. stop. moving. His legs need to be straightened, he wants to stand, he wants to fall to the ground, he wants to bounce. He jumps and jumps and jumps. He can do this for a long time, and he zones out, staring off into space. He babbles his consonants and chews on anything cloth but those feet always move. Lil C is the exact opposite. Her body is very calm. She will sit there (the first to sit, because B can’t stay calm long enough), lay there, be held, be carried around, but she needs to be talked to, she needs to see what you’re doing. She wants to watch you explain to her how to make a sandwich, or why the dogs are barking. She doesn’t talk as much, but she feels with her hands – she wants to hold your cup, your food, your shirt…she tries to grab the dogs’ ears. She sticks her hands out so the puppies can lick them, and then giggles hysterically. Whereas B laughs like crazy when the dogs fight, and roll around, and make a lot of noise.  B loves his lovey, and I didn’t realize at such a young age a baby could love an object that wasn’t a person. He doesn’t take a pacifier, doesn’t suck his thumb, so when it’s time for sleep, the lovey is where it’s at. C still takes her wubbanub, but mostly only for falling asleep.

Teeth must be coming soon, because they are both chomping on their hands non-stop, with more drool. I still don’t see any white yet though.

I still dream feed Lil C, as I’m preparing her bottle right now. 99% of the time, she sleeps through the rest of the night. B eats all the food in my house during the day, he doesn’t need any overnight.

So here they are:

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I’m completely in love. This must be what all the new parents talk about, and I’m just so lucky to be experiencing it.