August 30, 2009

Our Favorite Things

I thought I would take a moment to list a few of the twins favorite things...see how many of them might be yours too!
Our favorite:
oatmeal cereal
bananas (which mommy likes because warmed up and mixed with the cereal it smells like banana bread!)
little links to chew on
stuffed penguins
our crunchy, chewy books
New Thing to Try
Sitting up on our own (almost there! They're constantly doing crunches to try to sit up when they aren't!)
Eating in our Booster seats (because we're sitting up!)
Baby Einstein Movie
Baby Mozart (mommy's tried others, but nothing grabs their attention and legitimately entertains them like Baby Mozart)
Sound to Make
Ryan - long, high, screechy noise
Allie - razzing, blowing bubbles noise
Songs to Sing with Mommy
Head & Shoulders, Knees & Toes
Old MacDonald
Allie-pop (To the tune of Lollipop)
Rockin' Ryan (to the tune of Rockin' Robin)

August 27, 2009

This and That

I thought you might enjoy pictures of the babies in the aforementioned exersaucers. As you can tell they are a never-ending source of delight. Actually, it does end. 20 minutes is about the longest they are entertained and then they want something else!

A few cute happenings:

Their sense of humor is starting to come out. Allie is like her father in that she likes a tease, or practical joke. We recently discovered that the babies understood when we said, "legs down," while changing their diaper. When we said this, they would flop their legs down straight. However, lately Allie will put 1 leg down while holding up the other - and giggle. Then she'll pick that leg up and put the other down - and giggle. She will do this several times - giggling at your reaction each time. Then she will put both legs down straight and giggle more. She thinks she's so funny!

Ryan's sense of humor is just goofy (I'd say he takes after me, but I still see a lot of Lucas' humor in him too...). We noticed early on that he would giggle whenever other people laughed, regardless of whether or not he saw what they were laughing at or even saw the people who were laughing (I had AFV on once, and whenever the crowd laughed he would laugh even though he was in another room!). He has also learned the charming power of his laughter over the ladies. He has a habit of going into giggle fits whenever girls are around. He can hardly control himself (this is where he is like his daddy...). And whatever he does that makes you laugh, he will continue to do over and over.

And finally - A Cute Story:
Lately the twins have been slapping at everything. I know it is their new way of feeling the world around them - and exerting some of their newfound strength and power over it - and generally it is harmless. However, sometimes they begin slapping at each other. It is, again, usually harmless. One will start patting the back of the other when I'm trying to burp them, or slap at the other's arm. The other day I was burping Allie and Ryan was "helping" when suddenly I noticed that he was playing with her shirt, then her ears, then her hair! That kind of thing...well, yesterday they were drinking their bottles. I hold them side by side on my lap, and Allie was patting her leg, then Ryan's arm, then his bottle (which knocked it out of his mouth). I pulled her hand away as best as I could (holding 2 babies and 2 bottles doesn't leave many hands free...), and told her not to hit her brother, but pretty soon she was at it again. Not to be mean, just feeling the world around her. Again I did my best to hold her hand away, and again I told her not to hit her brother (yes, I know she probably can't understand now, but she will before I know it...). Finally, she did it a third time. Before I could wriggle my hand over to grab hers, Ryan reached up and grabbed her hand. He held her hand the entire rest of the meal and the two of them happily ate while holding hands. It was adorable!

August 17, 2009

The Art of Sharing: or Lack Thereof...

Recently, someone offered to give us their exersaucer. Originally, I didn't want an exersaucer. They take up space (which we don't have a lot of), and I felt that I could entertain my babies just as well. It seemed to me like a babysitter, and I felt confident I could do without. However, the babies have come to a stage where they are not content to lie on their backs and play (they are content to lie on their tummies, but because of the spit up issue they have to wait for a while after they eat...and something has to fill that time...), yet they are not able to sit up on their own. They try. They even stay upright on their own for a little while...but without mama there to offer support, they quickly topple over. Because it takes more than 2 arms to hold 2 babies upright, and keep toys within reach for them to play with, and wipe up spit up. And because I do not have more than 2 arms. I had a change of heart about the exersaucer. Suddenly, it wasn't an superfluous object that would take up space, would hardly be used, and would mostly be an annoyance. Now it was an object that I NEEDED. And I was grateful to except the gracious gift from friends.

But, I (correctly) assumed that 1 would not be enough. I knew from trying to have the babies take turns with me holding them up, that it often did not go over well. So, I kept a watchful eye on Craigslist, and soon found an exersaucer for $20! I jumped at it! The only problem was that, the day we wanted to debut the exersaucer, I only had 1 of them clean. Being the germ freak that I, unfortunately, am, I couldn't let them play in the one I hadn't cleaned. So, for 1 day, they had to share.

They had never had a toy so big and so wonderful that there wasn't 2 of. It showed. When Ryan was in there, he tested each toy, found a favorite, and stayed there while Allie looked on longingly. We thought he didn't care whether or not Allie was there, but then I noticed the way he would smile at her when we brought her near. I have never seen a more distinctly "haha" look on his face! Allie wasn't much better. Once Allie was in the exersaucer she would spin around, playing with each toy quickly and desperately. She plays with the focus of an astronaut flying the space shuttle. She intently spun, shook, and chewed on the toys (sometimes simultaneously). And when Ryan, who was next to it, tried to spin his favorite of the toys (a barrel of monkeys), she would put her arm down so it wouldn't move. I watched her do this repeatedly, and when he didn't stop trying she turned in the seat, looked at him intently, and put her arm on the barrel so it really couldn't move.

I quickly cleaned the other one that night so that we wouldn't have any more problems. While they do need to learn to share, they will have many future opportunities to practice that particular trait. For now, I just want them to be able to enjoy the freedom of being upright, having the option of toys to play with, and playing at their pace to their hearts content. It is currently a novelty, and one that I enjoy watching!

August 14, 2009

Out of the Mouths of Babes

While we know the babies cannot talk yet, they do have a knack for mimicking sounds (and words) that sometimes is a little surprising. For example, they both have (on many occassions) said "hi" and "ya" at the proper moment in response to something we have said. Rationally I KNOW that this is because I always come in and say, "Hi!"...and sometimes they mimic it back. Or because we often say "oh, ya?" in response to things they say...and so they correctly mimic the sound in a similar circumstance.

Ryan will often say "'kay" in response to something we say. The other night Lucas was with Ryan and he was telling him they were going to do something (like go grab a bib in the other room, or something like that), and Ryan looked at him and said, "'kay," and then smiled when Lucas was shocked, like he knew saying that would prompt that response in daddy.

Allie frequently quotes Monty Python. Sounds strange, but she is constantly saying "nee." When she fusses she says "nee," when she's playing she says "nee," and sometimes when she is eating she pulls out the bottle and says "nee." We constantly joke about getting her a shrubbery and we're just waiting for the day she turns to us and says "ekke ekke ekke ekke ptang zoo boing zow zing!"

The sweetest, best "talking" moment was the other night during bedtime. They had just finished eating, and Lucas was burping Ryan and I was burping Allie. Lucas was telling Ryan how much he loved him, and then he turned to Allie (who was wearing an "I Love Mommy" bib) and said, "And Allie, even though your bib says you love mommy and not me, I love you so, so much too." Allie looked up, smiled and said "ohhhhh." (which is a favorite sound), and then she said, "I love you." And while we were sure that it was sounds strung together, it so clearly sounded like "I love you" that we looked at each other shocked (while she giggled). Regardless of whether or not it was sounds strung together - those exact sounds together in that order said at that moment in response to Lucas was nothing short of a very sweet miracle!

August 10, 2009

Bedtime Battles: The Holy Wars

Just when I think everything is under control, something changes. The last few weeks I started noticing that some days/nights were really, REALLY good, and others were really, REALLY bad. On the good days the twins go down easily for a nap, nap for almost two hours without waking, are happy all the time when they are awake (and can handle being awake for longer times), and sleep through the night with ease. On the bad days they scream at the beginning of each nap (almost always for less than 10 mintues, but, oh, what a 10 minutes!), wake up screaming within 30-45 minutes, fuss during ALL of their awake time (and can only handle 1 1/2 hrs. at the most), and wake up consistently at night.

I also started to notice that the beginning of the week (Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday - although less by Wednesday) were consistently the worst days while the end of the week (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday - with them being an absolute dream by Saturday) were the best. I was puzzled. The change seemed to happen suddenly, and I couldn't figure out why the week was so polarized.

Then I realized that the change occured about the time that our church switched to a new summer time. The new time (9:30am) was to make it so that the service was ended before the hottest time of the day (since we don't have air conditioning) and to give people more of the day to enjoy the summer weather. It's a fabulous idea, for 97% of the church...but for us (and maybe a few other families with babies?) it means that the service is smack in the middle of the morning nap time...and getting out of the house to get to church, the noise of church and other people/babies in general, and socializing after church pretty much kills any nap that could or should happen. They get a little nap on the way to church, a little nap during church, and a little nap on the way home, but by afternoon nap time they are so overtired they fight it. And then bedtime on Sunday is an absolute nightmare!! Initially, I thought it was just one day. We could suffer for one day to enjoy coorporate worship and good fellowship. Now I'm realizing that the one day carries over...and takes several days to correct!

It is obvious to me that I have babies that crave, and thrive on, structure. Which is great because I also love structure! But, whether it is their prematurity - that they haven't developed to the point where they can be flexible when needed - or their personality, days that require change are rough! I would say it will all be better in the fall (when the time changes back), but by then they will probably be used to the new schedule and we'll go through it all over again!!!

August 06, 2009

Messy, messy, messy

A neighbor once commented to me, "Your babies are so clean. You do a great job of keeping them clean." I thanked her for the compliment, but thought it was a strange one - how would they get dirty? I did very little, aside from regular baths and bibs when they ate, to keep them clean. I wondered what babies she was around that were so dirty and what on earth the parents were doing (or neglecting to do) that kept them so dirty. I know now that she was around older babies.

At the time the twins weren't mobile, weren't grabbing onto things, rarely had their hands in their mouths, and weren't eating solids. Now that they are doing all of those things I understand the comment. Now that they grab onto things and bring them to their mouth/face I'm constantly finding things attached to their cheeks (mostly hair, as mentioned before). Also, now that their hands are always in their mouths, they spread the contents of their mouth all over their faces. It is not unusual for them to spit up and spread it everywhere before I can wipe it off.
It is solid food that is the largest culprit though. I mentioned before that it gets everywhere - hands, cheeks, neck, ears, forehead, etc. (as you can see in these pictures. Allie is on the left, Ryan the right). I accidentally dropped some on Allie's foot today and that got spread in a whole new host of places before I could clean it. I also have been trying to figure out why the hair at the base of Allie's neck keeps getting crusty. I assumed it was because she was lying on her back and spit up, but it had never happened until recently. I was completely stumped until today when I realized that her adorable giggles with a full mouth aren't just sending the cereal into her neck folds...since she's in her bouncy seat, the cereal drips back and when she moves her head it cements it into her hair! At least now I understand the need for multiple washes...

I'm doing my best, but I don't know that I would win any awards for keeping them so clean anymore...and I know it will only get worse when they enter the world of colored solids. Sweet potatoes, avacados, and carrots, oh, my, what a mess!

August 04, 2009

Growing Pains - for Mommy

Lately, the twins have been growing & developing at a rapid pace...

They've become more mobile...they push themsleves around - never far, but not where I put them. Allie especially loves doing this in her crib...I go in to get her and discover that she started out in the lower middle of her crib and somehow ended in the far upper corner. They are also rolling - not continuously, but each of them rolls over at least once a day. Ryan has tended to be especially proficient at this - which seems odd since Allie was the first one to start trying. However, Ryan rolls from the stomach to his back and Allie always tries rolling from back to stomach (she's too content where she is on her stomach). It seems as though Ryan may have chosen the easier way.

They are eating solid foods. Rice cereal to be exact (although I'm looking forward to introducing yummy foods like bananas). They actually picked up the art of eating from a spoon quite well. Ryan (my foodie) eats from a spoon as though he has been doing it all his life. He gets very little on his face, sometimes slurps from the spoon before I can even get it all the way in his mouth, and smacks his lips after almost every bite. Although, he also fusses now when he sees me eat my cereal in the morning...he thinks all food should be his! Allie thinks that eating from the spoon is a very funny game. She smiles and giggles whenever I bring the spoon to her mouth. She eventually takes the bite, but she gets more on her face because she is so tickled by the apparent humor of the event that she sometimes laughs with food in her mouth...we'll have to work on her manners. The other thing is that they love the new wipe off much so that they are always crunching them up and pressing them against their face. This means that I'm not just wiping mouth and hands when they eat, but nose, forehead, and (somehow) ears! But we love the mess - that's what being a kid is all about after all - and they are, thankfully, washable.

They are reaching and grabbing for everything (toys, books, hair, glasses). They have an incredible grip once they have grabbed onto something, and then everything goes into their mouth. This recently acquired talent is displayed in the above photo. Now I have to keep an eye out for those things that they somehow find that are not supposed to make it into their mouths (usually my hair, which no matter what I do seems to be everywhere...).

They are "talking." They love the sound of their voices, and 1 or both of them babbles from the time they wake up until the last shred of consciousness before they go to sleep. I have literally seen Allie with her eyes closed and her body limp still making the effort to push out sound. While I love hearing them talk, and I especially love our "conversations" - where they babble something and then look at me and wait for my response - this is less adorable at 5 am when their eyes pop open and they begin to talk louder, and Louder, and LOUDER...and I just want to sleep a little longer.

And, they have graduated from the bassinette to their cribs. While they have made the transition relatively well (at least for the few nights they have been in them), this has been a tough transition for mommy. I'm not exactly sure why this has been so difficult for me. The only thing I can think of is that we brought them home from the hospital and the first place we put them was in the little bassinette. I watched them sleep in there, side by side so often. In the mornings I loved going in and seeing them both look up at me and smile. Sometimes they would talk to each other through the thin fabric that separated them. And I think that, somehow, when they were in there it was more difficult for me to see the changes. It didn'ts seem like they were that much different from the babies that we brought home from the hospital - they couldn't be because they were sleeping in the same small place. But now that they are in the cribs they are obviously moving into the "older" baby world. They are no longer newborns. They are developing rapidly and changing daily, and I feel so very aware that this phase is going by quickly and it won't be longer before they are toddlers and not babies.

I love each change, each development, each milestone reached. These are the things I watch and wait for. At the same time...each newly acquired talent moves them into another phase of babyhood. And each new phase of babyhood moves them closer to no longer being babies. And it's going so quickly, I have to remind myself to stop and really enjoy each moment because it won't be long before the moments are gone.
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