Here we go!

Somehow, since my last post, things have come together. Life is taking on somewhat of a schedule and we may be emerging from this 12 month sleep/behavior regression relatively unscathed. Like I was told, “it’s just a stage”.

1) We cleaned our house. It took an entire weekend, and it’s not TOTALLY done, but we did a top-to-bottom clean of the majority of the rooms, especially those that the nanny, J, would be in. And since we cleaned, we’ve maintained some organization by dividing them each night and taking on a chore list. I never thought a chore list would be something we’d have to resort to, but my husband likes it because he knows exactly what he needs to get done, so he just cranks it out and then heads for the couch. Myself – I tend to take a quick break after the babies go to bed, and then I get cracking on my chores. We’re still spending at least 2 hours a night cleaning/cooking/prepping food, but until we get in the groove of things, I don’t see how to make these chores happen faster. At least our house is clean(er).

2) B is climbing out of his Wonder Week 55 fog. Like C’s 4th month sleep/behavior regression, B’s lasted about 5 long weeks. As suddenly as it came on, he changed again. He isn’t as easily irritated. He’s eating (a few) more foods. He throws fewer fits in a days time – and when he does, it is easier to manage and he recovers quickly. And most importantly – he’s sleeping through the night again. He’s back to taking 2 naps (I’m glad we didn’t keep pushing for the one nap – it was all part of the regression and he’s not quite ready for 1 nap yet). He is re-sleep trained and if he wakes up and cries (which is now becoming rare) he will get himself back to sleep. Ahhhh. It was a long 5 weeks. 

3) We made progress on the food. I had to just sort of make the decision – either the babies would eat what we eat and learn to like different kinds of foods, or they would eat extremely healthy, but only rotate between like 10 things. So we chose the first option – mostly for dinner. We have made friends again with the crock pot and use it every. single. day. (This is part of what takes so long for those nightly chores – making dinner!) When the babies eat dinner at 6:00, we eat with them. And now that we’re throwing all these new food combinations at them, I’m not expecting them to like or eat all of it – so I do have backup veggies and cheese and that sort of thing. But I’m at least getting them to try the dinner – and some they’ve loved, some they hate. It’s an interesting game for us as parents – figuring out what they hate. It’s not that I’ll never make it again, but I want to make sure they have something they like at least every other dinner. And so far, they really love anything with cheese or pasta. So whenever we have meat, if they won’t eat it by itself, I tuck some into a whole wheat wrap with cheddar cheese and make it a quesadilla. I’ve put ground turkey, ground beef, chicken, and pulled pork in there that way. For pasta – they absolutely gobbled up minestrone soup, whole wheat gnocchi…etc. And the soup was great because there were veggies and beans in there, and they didn’t even notice. They just dug in. Two meals they have hated were beef stew and shepherd’s pie. I assumed they would love shepherd’s pie, with the potatoes, cheese and veggies, but I’m coming to the conclusion that they do not like the flavor of beef. So the beef stock that was in both of those meals was a no go for them. It’s this daily challenge, but hopefully we’ll continue to expand their palates. I’m not giving them pasta more than a few times a week. We’ll just have to try new things.

4) Finally, and this is a big one, our nanny, J, started with us. After 13 months with these babies, I’m going back to work. I spent all last week setting up my classroom, and this week and next week we’re back for real. The first day was all adrenaline. The second day, I have to admit I was sad, but not devastatingly so. And that might be because J is awesome. She’s young, she has fresh ideas – she does a different sensory activity with them daily. She has found her groove quickly and the babies took to her right away. She’s even good with the dogs. She sends me pictures and doesn’t mind me asking questions. So I really can’t complain. The transition was as smooth as it could possibly be. 

So progress is being made!

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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.