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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Almost there!

It feels like the babies are on the brink of some major milestones. I’m reminded why I need to really enjoy the baby phase (like Muppet’s mom discusses) and so I do try to keep that in mind. I have loved the snuggles, the baby smell, the tiny toes. Yet for me, I love how C deliberately puts her head on my chest and wraps her arms around my neck, whereas when she was an infant, she couldn’t do that. And sure baby skin was even softer and smelled even better when my twins were newborns, but now they laugh and when I say, “Where are the doggies?”, they whip their heads around trying to find a dog and grin. That level of understanding, for me, is where it’s at. And so I feel like with this new understanding taking place between myself and them, they’re getting close to making some serious discoveries.

Foods – Recently I recall not yet making that leap to finger foods and wondering how to go about it when the babies loved their purees so much. Well, C suddenly decided she wouldn’t touch another puree and happily went right to finger foods, no “thicker textures” necessary. I was making my own purees, so they were on the thicker side to begin with, but I never put chunks in them. Now she loves mushy finger foods especially, as most babies do I assume. I’m starting to push the envelope by adding new things with different textures little by little. Chicken is the most recent addition. C is finally starting to try feeding herself. She keeps missing her mouth, or her hand will make it to her mouth but the food will fall. But I’m pleased she continues to try. B – not so much, but then, he was content with purees as well. He’s content to be fed by me, period. He’s made the switch to the straw cup, but won’t hold it himself. C is working on a regular sippy cup with handles – she does drink water from it well, by herself. Thank goodness. But when I put the milk in it and have her attempt it at mealtime – no way. She still wants me to feed her the bottle.

I’m at a bit of a loss right now for new foods to give them that don’t involve a spoon. We still have some protein sources to go, some veggies to go, but if it involves a spoon, they’re out for the time being.

As for movement, again, C is making some major leaps right now. She’s still not crawling but she’s really, really close. Finally – one day about a week ago she decided to roll, at 10.5 months. And roll she does. Rolling even onto her stomach to sleep for naps, which for her is unheard of. Flopping all over the living room floor. Wanting to pull up on things. So, she’s getting there. As for B – when I hear people say, “My baby skipped crawling and went right to walking. He/she only scooted around/army crawled.”, I’m confused because to me – any movement in which child gets from point A to point B I consider crawling, even if it doesn’t look exactly right. So my question is, can a baby COMPLETELY skip crawling/scooting/sliding/army crawling and go straight to walking? Because that’s what B wants to do. He is only happy when standing, he is pulling up more and more, and he’s using my hand to turn himself around (while standing) and take steps toward something he wants. We’ll see. Sometime soon, all these changes will take place. And I’m not RUSHING it…but at the same time, I want these things to happen. B is 3 pounds away from maxing out the weight on my changing table – the boy needs to move on his own. This mommy is ready.

Thanks to Pinterest, I’ve come across some fun little activities for babies in the summer months. As usual, my babies get sick of their toys (or is it just me?) and I try to only bust them out once or twice a day. The rest of the day, for my own sanity, needs to be something different. So this week I’m trying out a few new (but yet so uncomplicated) sensory activities to keep them interested and curious and keep myself from falling asleep on the floor.

So with today’s hot and sticky weather, we had some good fun splashing around outside with some dollar store bins and colored ice cubes.

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It started out all nice, with the babies happily splashing while wearing their hats. Until they realized they were wearing hats (hence the tie in C’s mouth). Then there were double meltdowns, and the options for me were to either end the activity or go without hats. So with sunscreen slathered on, the play continued.

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I found it interesting that B was all into the water today, while C quickly took her bin and dumped the water out, turning it into a drum.

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After that became boring, I brought out the colored ice cubes which happily did not stain any clothing (though they wore some PJ extras just in case). This was a fun fine motor activity and B especially loved it.

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I dumped out the bin after a while and got him some fresh water and ice cubes, making the water really cold, but he didn’t seem to mind.

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C decided to use her bin to try and stand, all the while leaning forward to eat kiss her brother. She doesn’t get that her open mouth means nothing to B, except to maybe smack her with his hand.

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Luckily, the twins like water. This wasn’t our first mini-water activity. In fact, a few days ago after breakfast I kept them in their high chairs and poured some warm water on top of their high chairs, threw a towel down on the floor and let them splash away. I also added a drop of food coloring. That day, C was into it but B less so.

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These little activities remind me of teaching, a lost art that I will be returning to in a few months. Planning an activity, getting the supplies, and executing it. And I like that – it makes the day exciting knowing that I have something planned for the twins to do. On the list for the rest of the week: sensory bags, spaghetti play, and a yogurt/food coloring snack/play…thing. I could never come up with some of these things myself. Thanks, Pinterest.