Props to the stay at home parent!

I get it! I get what it’s like to be a stay at home parent, and I get why it’s hard. I mean, I always understood that, as soon as the babies were home – but I didn’t put two and two together – raising babies was hard.

I was so BUSY with newborn twins, what with around the clock feedings and naps, and then with sleep struggles and then finally getting to the stage where they can play, that at the time I thought, I’m totally good at home, by myself, day in and day out. I’m sure I have many a blog post on it, as I was a happy little clam. I’m still happy, but also going INSANE. But not with the babies – I’m not tired of their company at all actually. But being a stay at home mom is so LONELY if you let it be. I imagine that if you are a permanent stay at home parent, your secret to happiness is doing something with your days besides stay at home with babies, whether that be play groups or time to yourself. But you can’t just sit in your house every single day. And I’m not home permanently – I’ll be back to work full time in August, so for now, I don’t want to let these months slip by me without enjoying them to their fullest.

So that’s why, what started out as the occasional trip to Target and then Costco turned into an “OMG I must get out of this house on a daily basis”. It happened overnight, really. One day I was fine at home, and the next – I couldn’t imagine NOT leaving the house. We still run errands.

IMG_3605 Alert as always at Costco.

But this week we’ve started something new – story times, sing a longs, and playgroups.

Today we went to our first sing a long “rhyme time” at the library for kids 0-24 months. There were at least 30 people there, mostly with toddlers. There were some babies though, even one as young as about 6 weeks. My babies were a little shell-shocked, with C being curious in a new environment but not exactly smiling, and B having MULTIPLE meltdowns when the room started singing and clapping. He was that kid in the back corner where everyone turns around to see who’s making the fuss. And then, I had them both sitting on the ground, but C started to fall so I turned away from B for a second to help her back to a sitting position, and while I was doing that, B fell, like flat on his face in front of the woman next to me. And then he really cried. He wasn’t hurt or anything even close, but he wasn’t liking the position he fell into. I don’t blame him. That’s my life with twins. It’s so hard to tend to both of them at the same time! I offered up a “Sorry, Bud” and a “You’re okay!” with the hope that he’d calm down and he did, but he still didn’t smile.

IMG_3781This was before the major meltdown but you can tell, he’s begging for me to save him.

It’s obviously good for them to go out and see the world, and C even seems to like it, so of course I’ll continue. But I wonder if this type of behavior B has towards crowds, lots of people, etc. isn’t something I can “fix” by more exposure – and may just be how he is. Maybe for now, maybe for a while. I’d hate to put him through a stressful situation time and time again in hoping the exposure changes him. That said – I have two babies, and one of them really likes to socialize. So for now, we’ll be going back to that sing a long.

Now tomorrow, we’re off to a town-sponsored play group for the first time. For B, it’s all about crowd control and noise. Once the volume gets to a certain point, he feels completely overwhelmed and shuts down. I understand. I’m not sure how many people will be there tomorrow so we may end up with a repeat situation.

In related news, when I am home with the babies I decided I want to change and extend their toys and stimulation. It’s the same old light up, loud obnoxious toys, where the babies don’t have to think much – most of these toys are trance-inducing. They are great with a fussy baby and certainly have their place, but when it comes to exploration, I want to spice up their lives (and mine). This website was recommended to me:

The Imagination Tree. It has a million awesome, fun, and cheap ideas for toys and activities at home. I mean, really genius ideas. Once I browsed through this, I got many ideas and am loving the thought of making my own toys. Sometimes you don’t really have to spend money on gadgets and things that light up – babies would prefer the wrapping anyway.

So I’m starting with sensory bottles and “treasure baskets”. When they’re all done I’ll put a picture up to give you a better idea, but I just love the concept of taking things around your house that are safe for babies and letting them do the exploring. I’m also excited to transform the second bedroom upstairs that’s full of crap into the official “play room” for the babies. Pinterest is addicting – so many great ideas! So there will be more on all that when I actually get around to doing something about it.

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DSC_0276I got this idea online – so simple, yet I never would have thought of it. The trays on my high chairs come off easily and have those lips on the end to keep liquid in. I simply poured some warm water in and enticed the babies to splash it a bit. They didn’t understand what the heck I was doing, so I added one drop of food coloring. Just one. Granted, they should have worn bibs but honestly, only the ends of their sleeves got wet and no stains whatsoever. Only B even wanted to touch the water, C just looked at me like I was insane. Which I may be, but it’s fun to let babies explore. And babies love water, so it seemed like a good place to start.

I think being a stay at home parent means combating loneliness, yes, but also being creative. Same toys, same house, no company…it just won’t work for me at least. So far, getting out of the house once a day and thinking up some fun activities that let the babies explore is helping. You know what else would help? Warm temperatures over freezing, maybe some grass.

Here’s how the last week went down:

IMG_3597 There was more tub fun (one day I might actually put this in water),

IMG_3645I’ve had this mirror forever, not hanging anywhere. Perfect tummy time opportunity.

IMG_3664My babies love the dogs, and one of my dogs loves the babies.

IMG_3737They really like to be without clothes, and I can’t pass up the opportunity to take a picture when they are dressed (or not) like twins…

IMG_3767A big day! They sat up like big babies in the stroller when we went for a quick, cold, windy walk.

And that was our week!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Coconut oil is my jam.

Adding fresh to the list of “hippy” mom things I’ve decided to undertake, I now…

Make my own baby wipes.

But before I get into that – let’s just talk about coconut oil for a minute. Who knew such a product would have 5,000 different uses? It’s like a miracle oil.

The forums are all abuzz about coconut oil so I decided to give it a try. We already had it in the house as my husband likes to cook with many different healthy oils. It comes as a solid lump, so I plunked the whole jar in a warm pot of water and waited for it to liquify. After a few minutes, I poured the oil into a small tupperware container that would make it easier to access when it hardened up again.

Then I got to work using it on my cloth diapers. Now, cloth diapers can’t tolerate your typical diaper rash creams. That was unfortunate, since I have 3 bottles of Desitin in my house. But they won’t come clean off a cloth diaper and would eventually create a barrier resulting in leaks. And the only way to solve that one is with dish soap and a toothbrush. No thanks. In an emergency, crazy-bad diaper rash situation (like the one I had last week), I still resort to Desitin since I’m new at this whole “natural” products game. My options were to throw down a liner on top of the diaper (fleece liners – I do that for every diaper anyway) and then wash the liner in normal laundry, throw out the liner, or use a disposable diaper.

Well part of the cause of B’s nasty rash was from sitting in acidic poop all night in a disposable diaper, trapping moisture like woah. So I wanted to use the hemp overnites for a while until it all cleared up. But after a few days of lots of air and Desitin, it wasn’t clearing up too much and I thought – let’s go back to coconut oil. I had been using it as a preventative measure and sort of as a natural replacement for Vaseline (again, can’t touch cloth diapers). Now, a week later, the rash is basically gone, and I’m applying coconut oil for both babies at almost every diaper change. This is GOOD stuff.

I’m also using it for dry skin on C’s legs and hands, chapped lips  – and cooking.

I’m still getting into the craze, but basically, anywhere you would use 1) oil, 2) vaseline, or 3) moisturizer, you can substitute it with coconut oil. For kids or adults. It’s thin and easily spreadable, and no grease stains whatsoever. I use the back of my nail to scrape a little out of the tupperware, and then put the chunk on a q-tip and apply. You know what’s in it, so no guessing there. It’s good for babies and their skin. One jar lasts a long time. I’m impressed!

Back to the wipes – the wipes we were using ran out. I busted out some old wipes we had on hand, and B got a rash from it. Clearly he has sensitive skin. Most wipes have a lot of chemicals in it, which, I’m not concerned about in terms of the long-term health of my kids, but I do think it could have an adverse effect on skin -too drying, allergic reactions, whatever. Plus, it’s a hassle to constantly have to buy more wipes.

I decided to make my own. These are disposable, not reusable. Good for some people, but I just can’t do it. Nasty. I’m using cheap paper towels (from Costco – working fine!); Bounty is generally recommended on the interwebs. I’m also using select-a-size – the perfect wipe size.

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These are my ingredients – tea tree oil was my big expense off Amazon, then the baby shampoo I already had and was using, the coconut oil I was already using (we still had a little left in the jar), paper towels and a container from the dollar store. Voila!

The recipe I’m using comes from Quad Mom Amber, so you can check her out there. I didn’t use any lavender or other oils as I didn’t have them  and don’t mind the smell of the tea tree oil, and instead of baby oil (it irritates the crap out of B’s skin – no surprise there) I’m using coconut oil. Otherwise I followed her recipe exactly. It literally took me less than 5 minutes to make start to finish.

To get the tube out of our paper towels, I poured the liquid on the bottom of the container first, then put the roll in, let it soak for a few minutes and it came right out. However, my over-sized roll from Costco was wider than I think is typical, so instead of the 5-10 minutes it would take for the liquid to completely absorb into the roll, it took more like 3-4 hours. I also had to add another 1/4 cup of water. I had a feeling the roll would dry out and would be a giant fail. Well, at the end of the week, we’ve still got some roll to spare, it’s not even close to dry – in fact the more wipes we use, the wetter they are. They smell clean, no mold or grossness (that’s the tea tree oil), no drippy mess, easy to come apart from the middle, like cleaning wipes – I love it! And CHEAP! That’s the biggest pro as far as I’m concerned.  And now I have wipes.

With B’s sensitive skin, I’m always trying to find products that don’t bother him. So far, I’m finding that scents and chemicals do irritate his skin, and I’ve absolutely NO problems with coconut oil for any use, and now, baby wipes too.

So hooray for simple at-home methods that feed into my laziness and are good for the skin!

Maybe I should make my own cleaning wipes too as we go through a million a week….is that crossing the line?

Are they teeth yet?

Phew. I’m glad this week is over.

I’m of the belief that some people tend to exaggerate experiences that have happened to them or their children because what they’re really looking for is some comradery – for someone else to validate what’s happened to them. By stretching the truth just a hair, it extends the experience so that odds are, more people can relate to it.  And that makes them feel better.  And sometimes, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. I have no doubt I’ve done it myself.

But when it comes to babies, especially for new moms, I think we’re all so confused – it’s all such a shot in the dark. When we pass on an experience we’ve had, it might seem like the craziest thing ever, but experienced moms won’t even bat an eye. That’s why, when I read baby forums for advice on [name your baby ailment] I deep-read each word, while at the same time taking it all in with a boulder of salt.

Where am I going with this? Oh, teething. Teething is this foreign concept to me as a first time mom. I assumed a baby would be “teething” when there were – you know, teeth. Some moms claim their babies had a terrible fever for days, crazy diarrhea, they needed many different toys and gadgets and jewelry and potions to get the poor babies through it. Other moms (like my own) said teeth just came in with a whole bunch of drool and that was that.

Because I’ve never done this before, I don’t know what to expect.

But I have a hunch that what I’m experiencing with my twins would fall under the category of “teething”. Fussiness may or may not be related to teething, but this past week, there was plenty of that to go around. I still can’t determine the cause. Mr. B, Mr. “easy baby” spent his week grouchy 90% of the time. There was less laughter, less smiling, more fits thrown. Yes, I didn’t know a 7 month old could throw a fit, but when he wasn’t placed in the position he wanted to be in, he threw back his head and screamed, but it was an angry cry without tears. (BTW – both babies scream bloody murder when I change their diapers all of a sudden – what’s with that?) I, of course, moved him around right away because I want a happy baby. Most of the time this past week, his preferred position was sitting, which he has all of a sudden learned how to do and do well.

IMG_3465He loves him some Sadie puppy.

 

But in addition to his new trick, he has been trying to bite my shoulder. And washcloths. And he sticks his finger in his mouth and shakes his head really quickly, so the finger will run along his gums. That seems like teething to me. Unfortunately, there’s no white specks under the gums and not enough drool to even warrant a bib – so I’m afraid we’re not there yet. I wish this would happen soon, because he is a miserable little man!

He also suddenly has the worst diaper rash I’ve ever seen. I’ll spare you the picture (of course I took one, to consult the interwebs) but it’s very dark red. So then Dr. Google said that perhaps it could be acidic teething poop.

Adding to the list for B, he’s trying to flip over in his crib and gets stuck about halfway there, on his side. That’s when he realizes his lovey has escaped from his hands and he sees it, but it’s not within reach. So he stretches and screams…and can’t get ahold of it. This little guy is not happy.

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Blah, Mom.

So what am I doing about it? I’m sort of just going with it – his nighttime sleep isn’t affected yet, which is another reason I’m thinking those teeth aren’t ready to show up yet. So nighttime Tylenol isn’t needed. But during the day, I give both babies Sophie the giraffe to chew on, wet washcloths, and the mesh feeders filled with ice. B just sucks up the water.

And other than that, I’m not sure what I can do, besides give some extra snuggles. His naps have been TERRIBLE (25 minutes long every 3 hours) and he just wants to hang out on my shoulder, which I can’t complain about, even though he’s a really heavy 23 pounds.

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Lil C has some of those same “teething” characteristics, but she’s been MUCH more pleasant than B. She still takes good naps and she smiles and squeals constantly. She knows when I take out my camera and say “cheese” that I want her to be still and smile – she’s great for the camera. She is also practicing her sitting, and is getting much better. Though nothing is sadder than a baby who is learning to sit who then falls backwards – that moment of fear on their face! So sad!

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So this is how you sit! As long as she can reach her toes, she’s happy. She also has suddenly developed a fascination in our adult foods. B still doesn’t seem to care, but she’s eyeing that sandwich and wondering where her bite is.

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She’s hoping for some cereal crumbs. We started trying little bits of banana – she can’t get it into her mouth herself, but when we help out, she seems to really enjoy the change from purees.

Mommy’s still going a bit stir crazy – it’s this WEATHER. This cold air has been going on for MONTHS. I just want warm air and a pack n play in the front yard. So I joined a gym, ran/walked a bit, and tomorrow I may even take the babies to (gasp) Costco. In the stroller. Hey, I need formula.

Here are a few other pics to round out our week:

IMG_3502There was some double mesh feeder action going on.

IMG_3511A little wrestling..

IMG_3530Some kitchen utensil fun, babies-were-fussy-and-Mom-needed-creativity (Mom, this spoon sucks..)

IMG_3494A little lot of grumping,

IMG_3553And some time upstairs.

I’m hoping this week brings a happier boy, less diaper rash, and maybe a tooth or two.

 

 

I love my life, but my house is a mess.

I’m all sunshine and rainbows over here since I’ve had children, and that’s mostly because of the drastic change in my life from becoming cynical, unhappy, and bitter, to elated on a daily basis. Those who have gone through infertility (and those who haven’t, of course) don’t take their kids for granted for even a second, and that’s where I’m at right now. My husband and I were talking yesterday about “when” the babies go to stay at Grandma’s house – just because it’s good for them to sleep elsewhere as they get older. I’m already having heart palpitations over that, and I told him I’m not ready! Not that we’d be handing our infants over to anyone anyway at this point, but eventually…I mean, this is coming from the girl who, on more than one occasion, called HOME from a sleepover because I got homesick and simply couldn’t stay at a friend’s house for one more minute. I’m sure I was considered the coolest kid in the bunch when I pulled this stunt in elementary school on at least 2 instances I can think of (including one RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET). Compared to my husband, who was flying across the country on his own at age 6. Anyway, I guess I’m willing to share my children overnight? Maybe? But not yet – because I’m not taking them for granted, I’m not used to them yet. I’m not ready to part with something that I’ve wanted for so long. Luckily, that’s not an issue right now.

But anyway, all these happy little dances I do every day distract from other, not-so-pleasant issues in my life – mainly, the state of my house. It’s a MESS.

I’ve never been Ms. Pristine Clean by any means, but I’ve also always enjoyed the feeling that comes with simplicity. I don’t attain this much, but I really want to. Simplicity in a house, to me, means cleaned off counters with not much on them. Cleaned off floors. No clutter. It means everything in the house has its place, whether that be in labeled storage containers, ziploc bags, whatever. The container store’s website gives me jitters just looking at the possibilities. Simplicity in a home means simple but good smells like a cotton candle, fresh air, sounds of nature. It’s hard not to laugh at this point because this is about the exact opposite of my life right now. I do long for simplicity but at the moment I have diapers that smell like pee, dogs that shed everywhere and drag their butts on the carpet, clutter that has become worthy of “hoarders” status….the TV is on, the radio blasts, the dogs bark and the kids cry. We trip over things, items go missing, and the house is still “under construction” from a year ago with no end in sight.

I’m good with most of that, especially the chaos of family life with dogs and kids. But the clutter…I hate it. I don’t have time to take care of it. And when I do have time, I don’t want to do any more chores, period. But the other day, I took pictures. Sometimes when you live inside a situation, you can’t really see it for what it is. But pictures help. I’m not going to show them all, because I think you’ll get the point. But here’s a few.

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That’s not too bad, actually. Just some of the baby items (and dog toys) that hang out in our small living room.

IMG_3350This is embarrassing. How hard is it to take these plastic bags back to the grocery store and recycle them? Apparently hard. Really hard. In our defense, we only grocery shop on Sunday or Monday nights right before the store closes, at like 10:00. There isn’t any other time!

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Clutter! Who uses a table for eating on? It’s our desk, our mail pile-up..our…random crap that has no home spot. I’ve got diapers drying in the sun in the background and clothes draped over chairs. It’s controlled chaos.

IMG_3358This is the basement. It’s absolutely like an episode of “hoarders”. Except we’re not hoarding it – I’m ready to throw the entire room in the trash. It’s construction mixed with cleaning out rooms for the construction, mixed with what happens when you’re on bedrest for 11 weeks and then bring home newborn twins. It’s disgusting.

I’ll stop there. I’m sure some of you might think it’s not that bad, but others will gasp in horror. I know it could be worse, but I think it’s bad and it makes me squirm. I feel better when my house doesn’t have clutter. But the clutter has been building for months and months, and it’s downright out of control.

So there, I’ve held myself accountable. I’m not beating myself up – we’re busy. But at the same time, there has to be a point where you say, it’s time. So I’m saying it. I don’t know how other moms do it, unless they only get like 4 hours of sleep. I don’t understand where they find the time. But I want to find the time.

For a mini baby update, in the past few days the babies have:

IMG_3302Hung out in the tub, sans water.

IMG_3317Almost mastered the roll, complete with extra concentration.

IMG_3361Tried on some cute hats.

IMG_3379Gone for a walk in 50 degree weather (and 3 feet of snow).

Today I signed up for the gym, after not exercising for over a year, so this week should be interesting!

 

 

 

 

 

 

And….sleep.

With my twins, I try to keep to a schedule. More on that in another post – but as they get older, the schedule obviously changes and I find myself trying to keep up with those changes.

My goals in creating a schedule all contribute to achieving my ultimate desire, other than their well-being, which is for my babies to sleep through the night, so I can sleep. 🙂

Anyway, sometimes I need to get out of the house, which inadvertently seems to mess up our schedule, but it’s really worth it. We did that today, and tonight.

Today was the first day that my babies took a nap somewhere other than their crib or carseat since we ditched the rock n plays. Not only that, but they slept TOGETHER in the pack n play. I had visions of screaming children and mass confusion as they realized they were in the same tiny living space for the first time since being in my belly. Then I imagined them laughing and smacking each other in the face and tossing their loveys around. But nevertheless, we set up the white noise, drew the black out curtains, and tiptoed out.

Not a peep. 5 minutes later, my husband went to check on them – fast asleep. It was SO adorable seeing them in that tiny space together – it’s the first time we’ve ever had them sleep together. Alas – I didn’t get a picture. But we’re doing it again tomorrow and I will this time! Melted my icy heart.

Of course, we stayed up past their bedtime, which led to them falling asleep in the car on the way home, which could’ve spelled disaster as we quickly tried to get them to bed. Skipping their baths, we went right to PJs and a bottle in the dark. Surprisingly, B went right to sleep. C – well, during her bedtime bottle, she pooped, so I had to change her diaper. While I was doing so, she pooped again. Then she spit up something fierce, so I had to change her PJs. Then she was laughing like it was morning instead of bedtime.

An hour and a half later than last night’s bedtime – but she went right to sleep. It’s not always this easy, but when it is, I’ll absolutely take it.

Now, for your quick reading pleasure – this was linked on facebook and I just think it’s SO absolutely cute, though it’s from 2012. I need to buy these little dolls and their accessories and teach my twins how to be loving nurturers in a few years. I can’t wait. Such a cute story!

Small Potatoes – William’s Doll