February 21, 2013

February Snapshot

I love the little snapshots so much, and every year I find myself saying I wish I had done more.  So this year my goal is to do one each month.  We'll see if it happens, but at least I have the second one done.  It's officially a streak!

Developmental milestones:
The Good:
Stick people:  We do a lot of art projects around here, so I always assumed my kids would be all set as far as their painting, drawing, collage-ing skills.  But then I started to notice that all of the pictures they drew looked the same.  They would draw big, beautiful scribbles and then tell me what they were - but they didn't actually look like anything.  I knew they were getting to an age where what they drew should start to resemble what they intended to draw - specifically people.  Then I was sitting on the floor in their room, playing with them at the train table, and I looked over to see a perfect face on the wall.  Someone (Allie) had procured a pencil and created a mini-mural.  I knew I should be angry, but I was so excited to see all of the parts of the face!  Since then, thanks to the help of Nana, they have mastered stick figures - complete with fingers and ears and noses.  I love, Love, LOVE seeing what they are creating!  Of course, now I'm constantly trying to see what I can learn about their inner world from their drawings...
Our Family: 
(left to right) Allie, Ryan, Mommy Daddy.  The blue is the sky, the green is the grass, and the thing that looks like a balloon is actually the sun.
The Bad:
Fear and Nightmares: It felt like it hit suddenly.  We never put a nightlight in the twins' room, and they were always fine sleeping in pure dark with the door shut.  And then one day they weren't.  Suddenly they were afraid of the dark.  Soon after fear of noises, shadows, and imaginary creatures followed.  My fearless children became afraid of everything.  We pray with them, and talk about the fear, and talk about why not to be afraid, but all to no avail.  Then the nightmares started.  When Allie was a baby we had some trouble with night terrors.  She would wake up screaming in the night - which was scary for me - but not anything she would ever remember.  Additionally, we discovered that it was completely connected to her sleep.  If we made sure she didn't get overtired, then no night terrors.  This has been completely different.  Not only do I hear them crying out in their sleep, they are terrified when they wake up and they remember their dreams.  The other night Ryan woke up terrified. The next day he told me he had a dream about cookies.  "That sounds like a nice dream!" I said.  "No.  It wasn't.  It was a really scary dream.  I was so scared I had to come sleep with you.  I don't want to dream that again."  Wanting to find a way to combat the ever-spreading fear and fear-filled dreams, I did some research.  Turns out, this is all part of the age and development.  Somewhere between 3 and 4, children begin to realize that there could be things in places they can't see (like in the dark).  It is also the age of imagination (good and bad), but is before they are really capable of distinguishing between what is real and what is imaginary (which comes around 5).  So it is easy for their imagination to run away with them.  And apparently, nightmares go hand-in-hand with this imagining age.  It certainly is not the most fun of developmental milestones, but it was so helpful to discover that it is common for their age!
Opening presents on Valentine's Day
Favorite Events:
Valentine's: I'm not sure why, but the kids (Allie especially) were crazy excited about Valentine's Day this year.  They were constantly speculating about the presents they might get - despite my numerous explanations about how Valentine's is more of a car and letter holiday than a present holiday (in the end, I wrapped up EVERYTHING so that it would live up to their expectations).  They made dozens of Valentine's.  So many, that I lost track of which was for whom (most were for each other).  Allie - in typical girl fashion - became obsessed with drawing hearts.  It is currently her favorite shape to draw.  Ask her to draw a square and she balks, but she'll draw a dozen hearts!  I tend not to do a ton for Valentine's, but recognizing that we all seem to enjoy having a theme for the month, I created a "Valentine's Tree."

Each night, they get to write the name of someone they love on a heart and hang it on the tree.  We like being able to see just how many people we love (and who love us back)!  This activity may have helped fuel the Valentine's excitement :)

We also hosted the playgroup Valentine's party.  Again, it isn't a big to-do, but hang colored streamers from the ceiling and it's a big affair!  The big deal (for all of the kids) was passing out the Valentine's.  Each child got a chance to pass them out.  It was easy to see that everyone felt very important when passing theirs out and very special when receiving Valentine's from others.
Passing out their Valentine's

Ultimate Favorite:
Our world has become dinosaur everything.  Dinosaur Train, dinosaur toys, dinosaur books, dinosaur food.  We pretend we're dinosaurs, draw dinosaurs, and learn everything we can to keep up with the numerous questions about dinosaurs.  It is all dinosaurs, all the time.  We've even been learning dinosaur names for every letter A to Z!  Things I love about this craze?  Dinosaur Train is an amazing show.  It is incredibly educational. We joined their Nature Trackers club where we get a challenge each month!  The twins are having so much fun learning so many things (I am as well!).  Additionally, the theme of adoption is part of each episode.  The whole show features the Pteranodon family  - which includes the adopted son/brother Buddy (who is a T-Rex).  I thought for a while that it was a very subtle undercurrent, but there are several episodes that address the topic - from taking Buddy to find out more about his ancestors to meeting other dinosaurs who have been adopted and talking about what it is like to be different than the rest of your family.  So much great exposure to something that will be a big part of their lives, and it's all because they have a new favorite show that we started watching because of their new dino craze!
A kiss for the camera.
Other Random Tidbits:

  • They passed the first level of swim lessons and are moving on to the second level (there are 4).  They are excited to (potentially) have a new teacher, and mommy is nervous because this level takes trip down to the deep end.
  • They got cd players for Christmas, and they LOVE listening to (and reading along with) books on cd.  We got a few new ones for Valentine's and have been checking some out from the library.  They can't get enough!
  • They are growing like weeds!  Allie was barely in her 4T clothes before we have to bump her up to 5T because her pants were all too short.  Although, they are all too wide, so we are looking forward to summer when they can where 4T (or even 3T), and  length won't matter so much!
  • We had to go to the doctor and discovered that, for the first time since they were in the NICU, Allie weighs more than Ryan!  Only by 1/2 lb, but it was further evidence of her crazy growth spurt.


Anonymous said...

Valentines Day is all about LOVE and Nana & Poppy sure love you all!! Hugs and Hearts ♥♥

Lauren and Jeff said...

Again, can't wait to take you guys to the Dinosphere at our children's museum when you come visit!