Sunday, January 30, 2011

(Almost) Walk a Baby

I was reading somewhere recently that kids who walk early are high risk takers and kids who walk later are not.
Can't say for sure if it's true or not, but for my little bear cub kids, I'd say that's about right!

Grunter has been 'practice stepping' back and forth over the thresh hold of the playzone for a month or so and of course they have both been cruising around since they were 9-10 months old.
A couple of weeks ago, Grunter started standing on his own--just for a second or so and then plop! Whoop Whoop was only a day or two behind him.

The day before his first birthday, Whoop Whoop discovered that he can walk behind a wooden push toy and he is SO proud of himself (and oh how cute!), but Grunter isn't really interested.
On Thursday night, Grunter took his first step! It was a shaky millisecond step, but there it was! And it's been happening every day since.
This morning....Grunter went from a sitting/kneeling position to standing all on his own! Oh my...I do believe that walking is right around the corner for this guy. I'm predicting the next couple of days.

They are both shaky and unsure on their feet. When I practice walking with Grunter he's like a drunken baby Frankenstein, but it's not going to stop him. He's ready to GO!

There's been a lot of talk in this house lately of backyards....we are seeing the walls close in on us and wondering what the future looks like. For now...only 2 more months until Spring and our city "backyards" will be ours again. Winter is the hardest part.

Below, Whoop Whoop tries walking for the first time!
video

Saturday, January 29, 2011

What's On Your Plate?

Another one of our New Year's Resolutions was to be better organized with food. Both for ourselves and the babies. When we were pureeing everything, I could just pull out a jar from the freezer stash or mash up some fresh fruit. Well, those days are over!
Now, in order to make sure the boys are getting what they need in the amounts they need, it's taking more work. In some ways it's LESS work, because we can feed them most of the stuff we eat. But now that I'm responsible for their lives, their palates and their nutrition, I felt like I needed to be more organized with what they are eating rather than just pulling stuff out of the fridge all the time and hoping for the best.

To be honest, this 'stage' came up fast and without warning. While Grunter was happy with some finger foods for some of October and all of November/December, Whoop Whoop absolutely, positively would.not.feed. himself. Uh, he's my super stubborn one, remember the standing up in the crib episode??
Then, suddenly December 13th, 2010, he decided that he would feed himself one day and that was it! After that, he wouldn't let us feed him anymore and we were scrambling around for more finger foods.

Here Whoop Whoop is, feeding himself for the first time! It cracks me up the amount of concentration it takes to get those pieces of food in the mouth. He really takes his time to get the pincher grasp just right where Grunter is a grab it and palm it in!
video

Since that time, we've done a ton of research (imagine that, a bit OCD we are) on health, nutrition and meal planning. After a couple of trial weeks, we made three weekly menus--breakfast, snack, lunch, snack and dinner.
It's working out really well and is so much easier to shop and cook now.

The other resolution I made was to use my slow cooker again. I bought it years ago and have not made use of it whatsoever. Since the beginning of the year, I've made a meal in it every week and it's great! I am really loving it. So far I've made a chicken and sweet potatoes dish, BBQ beef brisket and black bean chili. The boys have been able to eat everything and I freeze half of it for quick meals. Any recipes for a slow cooker you want to pass on?

The other thing I'm really strict about is having ALL meals, including snacks, in the high chair. I want them to be good eaters and have good table manners so I think letting them know early on that meals are at the "table" is the best way to start. Of course, there are going to be times we are out and about that they will eat on the run or in their stroller, but for the most part--we only eat in the high chair. No food in the living area or play area and we do not bring toys to the high chair. Anyone else this strict??

Curious--do any of you have meal/menu planners? Care to share? I would love to post mine, but it's in a PP and I can't figure out how to do that. If anyone wants it, email me.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Bears

I keep moving everything in the house higher and higher.
I feel like I'm living with two bear cubs and everything in the house smells like food.
Wouldn't be surprised if I end up hanging things from the ceiling next month.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, January 21, 2011

So In Love

I can't believe they are ONE.
(I also can't believe a got a photo of both of them smiling at the same time!)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

One Year Ago

I'd been hospitalized over the Xmas holidays, the day after Xmas to New Year's Day.
They thought for sure I would deliver, but after being monitored for a week, my pre-E symptoms were minor enough I was instructed to go home, monitor my blood pressure 3xday and either stay in bed or in the recliner.
I did as told and every week charted my blood pressure rising, rising, rising.

On Wednesday, Jan. 20 I had my weekly OB appointment. That morning as I released the cuff and recorded a record high number I said to Chicken "pack that bag, they aren't going to let me come back home". I felt absolutely fine. But I just knew.
Sure enough I was told to go straight to L & D. We didn't. There was a little voice inside my head that felt so rushed as I was leaving and I just wanted to come back home and take it all in one last time.
So, we got some take out--a lamb shwarma from the street guy--and ate it in the taxi on the way home. Chicken finished packing her bag and mine while I sat in the Lazy Boy a bit dazed and confused. I remember petting the cats and looking around thinking, "This is the last time anything will be like this. The next time I come home, we'll have babies."

I wasn't ready. I mean, I know everyone says you'll never be truly ready but really: I wasn't ready. I am a procratinator by nature and even though I had loads of time to prepare and should have been tick ticking that list, there were still very basic (stupid) things I had failed to do. Like take the breast pump out of the box and figure out how it works (hint--boiling the parts once the twins have arrived home and you are crazy trying to figure out everything? too late.) or get a changing pad. You know, BASIC things. But mostly, we were prepared.

I took a belly shot and had Chicken take photos, remembering that I would never be pregnant again.



35 week and 4 days...

In Triage after being admitted...I look so pretty:) Pretty HUGE!

Even though it was only 364 days ago and I thought I would never forget, it's really hard to remember just how I felt pregnant. How hard it was, how painful and exhausting. I never thought that feeling would go away--I'm glad it has. So much has happened in the past year, that I look at these photos now and it seems a million miles away.
What a wonderful, crazy, hazy year it's been.

I've never written my birth story before. But it's time. I'm ready. Stay tuned....

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Option 3 with Options

We kept the car because pumping on the train...? I'm sure it could be done but I'll leave that challenge to someone else.
I'm pumping in the car in a DRESS as it is which was hard to set up and I'm sure some drivers got a nice show but that's how it goes.

We're listening to music really loud which is awesome.

We also decided to keep the car because otherwise someone would have to drive us to the train station after dinner and....everyone but us will be drunk.
They would not hesitate to drive us but I would be hesitant to get in the car, so we're driving ourselves.

Oh and stupid Google maps. The drive took an hour! We're EARLY. That never happens.

This will be the longest I've been away from the twins since they were born. Weird. Right now? No likey.

Thanks for all your input and responses. I'm so grateful to this blog community and all my readers.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, January 14, 2011

Stress Attack! Please Help and Chime In!

We are trying to get out and 'go' with the twins more in the name of being flexible and 'going with the flow'. Unfortunately life with our twins is not very flow-y. We are not naturally the most flow-y people and the boys...well, no one is going to describe them as laid-back! Guess it runs in the family.
  • We are booked to go to a baby shower for Chicken's SIL (we love her to death) Saturday afternoon at 2pm. We booked a car for the day ($125).
  • Shower starts at 2pm waaaay out on Long Island. Traffic on the LIE on any given weekend is a bitch. We have no idea how long it will take to get there but let's assume at LEAST 2+ hours. (Google maps says 2 hours, 10 minutes at a minimum.)
  • Just found out facility has no high chairs. The car we have rented will not fit our two single strollers plus our own high chairs.
  • Driving time will be in the middle of lunch--so we have to feed them in the car.
  • Baby Shower time will be smack dab in the middle of nap time, which could be disasterous if they don't sleep on the way there.
  • Plus, snack time will be at the shower.
  • AND dinner time will be back in the car
  • We'll have to leave by 4pm as it is to make sure we're home in time for bedtime.
  • There's a huge possibility of them falling asleep on the way home which will screw up bedtime.
  • We were invited to a last minute family dinner which we had to decline because...our boys need to go to sleep and there's no where for us to put them down. There are two other babies attending who are the type to just conk out in their strollers in the corner of the room. Those would not be our babies. We are lucky if our boys conk out if we are pushing the stroller and that's pretty rare.
  • Oh, plus the picking up the rental car, installing the car seats, etc. etc.
Sounds fun, huh?

Oh, and I forgot to mention the part where they really hate to be 'fed' from a spoon for much of anything these days so we have to find a lot of food we can hand them.
And, they have about a 30 minute limit in the stroller when it's MOVING. This restaurant is not child-friendly and there will be no place to just get down, crawl around and explore. It's either stroller or us holding them. OH. And they aren't big into other people holding them right now.
So, if you've done the math, that will be around 7 hours of being contained and not exploring or crawling or cruising or just..PLAYING. I'm sure they'll love it.

Option One: We just go for it and deal with the headaches and hope it turns out better than expected.

Option Two: We cancel the car (there's still time!) and Chicken takes the train out (saving money) by herself and I stay home with the boys.

Option Three: We cancel the car, take the train and have HN watch the boys for the afternoon. We get to go to the shower and enjoy ourselves without subject the babies to the go-with-the-flow which they are not very fond of. And we attend the family dinner.

We seem rigid. I know. Life with twins changes your life. But we have found out what WORKS and I really hate to disrupt them. Disrupting their sleep is going to have a chain-effect. If they fall asleep in the car on the way home, then there's a VERY good chance of it disrupting their night time sleep and them waking up super early. Argh.
On the other hand, maybe we need to learn to be more flow-y and just do it and see what happens.
Oh, and my MIL will be there.

Oy. This post has me so stressed out just thinking about it that I had to stop halfway through and go tweeze some gray hair which is strangely therapeutic for me. And after this past year, there is never a shortage of new grey hair on this head.
I never thought I would be the type of mother who decided that staying home sounded more fun. But here we are and here I am.

What Would You DO??

Edited to add: Chicken just looked at me and said, "Are you OK?" To which I replied, "No, I feel like I might vomit from the stress." I think she's getting a clearer picture now.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Brunch in 40 Easy Steps!

Another one of our New Years Resolution was to take the boys out to eat more often. New Yorker's tend to eat out quite a bit and we are no exception. That has been curbed drastically since the boys were born (and honestly, our wallets were happy to take a break) but now we are ready to ease back into our neighborhood restaurants.

It was pretty easy to eat out when they were newborns and after that, we would put them in carriers during nap time and go get lunch. But after 5 months old, things got very complicated! We started solids and nap training--neither of which made it easy to take the babies out to eat. So, we just didn't.
They wouldn't fit into the restaurant highchairs and we would've spent the entire time feeding them and not getting to eat ourselves. With only one baby, you can take turns. But with two...there are no breaks. It just wasn't worth the hassle.
Now, they are eating just about everything they can get their hands on and we want them to get used to eating out and behaving well (oh, we can hope, yes?!).

On New Year's Day, we went out to brunch at a local diner. It went very well. So well that the next day we went to breakfast at a local cafe. We decided the diner had more action, faster food, same quality of food as the more upscale cafe and we spent significantly less money at the diner.
Both times the boys behaved well and we left patting ourselves on the back.
This past weekend, we braved the diner and again had an excellent brunch. It's faster than I prefer to eat, but then again most of my meals for the last year have been fast and furious.

We found the best way to get in and out is by wearing them in the Ergo's rather than taking the two single strollers and then trying to figure out where to 'park them' or fold and store them. If you have never been in a NYC cafe/diner, think small, cramped and crowded!

At Home:
  1. Make sure you are dressed
  2. Get baby dressed
  3. Put baby in snowsuit/bunting with hat
  4. Put boots on baby
  5. Put coat on yourself, zip up
  6. Fasten Ergo around waist
  7. Find baby
  8. Put baby in Ergo
  9. Put on shoes (we don't wear shoes in our house)
  10. Grab backpack and gloves and walk to diner!

At Diner:
  1. Take everything off baby's side of table
  2. Wipe down table with wipes from your backpack
  3. Take baby out of Ergo, drape Ergo over back of highchair
  4. Put baby in your lap facing away from the table where he can grab everything and take off boots and snowsuit
  5. Put baby in highchair while trying not to let snowsuit drop to dirty floor. Realize the baby boots are on the table and are now being thrown to the floor.
  6. Find container of O's in the backpack and throw a pile on the table ASAP
  7. Once baby is occupied take your coat off before you pass out from overheating
  8. Glance at menu, order as soon as possible and ask for check at same time
  9. Start cutting up bananas and putting them on the table in front of baby
  10. Realize you forgot to put on their bibs. Put them on.
  11. Once food comes (it's a diner, it's fast, yeah!) starting tearing off pieces of everything and putting in on the table in front of the babies
  12. Start to panic that the babies are eating so quickly, you still haven't taken a bite
  13. Remind yourself that next time you should bring more cut up food so you have a chance to eat
  14. Eat. Fast.
  15. Keep giving the boys food. They seem to be a bottomless pit.
  16. Break out the cheese sticks.
  17. Keep eating
  18. Realize that your 'babies' have now eaten: O's, bananas, blueberries, plain buckwheat pancakes, hash browns, turkey sausage, scrambled eggs, buttered wheat toast, cantaloupe, honeydew and a stick of cheddar cheese
  19. Mentally calculate your grocery bill with 2 boys
  20. Decide 2 children is enough
  21. Pay bill, leave a big tip as you glance at the table and the floor.
  22. Give the kids the jam packets to play with while you finish eating. Hope that they don't bite holes in them.
  23. Take off bibs, wipe down faces and hands and table.
  24. Put on your coat, zip up and pray you don't overheat.
  25. Fasten Ergo around waist
  26. Start sweating.
  27. Take baby out of highchair, facing your chair sideways and put on his snowsuit.
  28. Curse that the boots are on the floor, find boots and put them on.
  29. Deep breaths as squirmy baby starts squawking
  30. Put baby in Ergo, put on gloves, grab backpack. Take a look at table to make sure you haven't forgotten anything and walk outside before you pass out.

See? Easy as can be.

Curious....where do you put the baby's food when you go out to eat?? If we put it on a plate, they would just fling it over the side, same goes with a place mat. We've tried the suction bowls, but our boys get them off in about 10 seconds. So...we just disinfect the table (we forgot the first time, ick!) and tell ourselves it's good for their immune systems to be exposed to some germs.
Jan 2, 2011. Checking out the menu. Breakfast at the cafe in our P.J.'s
Jan. 1, 2011. First brunch out at the diner. W2 needs a trim. Looks like he's starting to sport a bad comb-over.
Jan. 1, 2011 Diner Brunch

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Magical Raining Lady Bug

Because it's just damn cute to see babies in a bathtub. video

Saturday, January 8, 2011

No Naps

For me, not them!

We have turned a new page in 2011. I told the boys that their New Year Resolution was to wake up after 6am. They listened!!
I don't want to jinx it, but I am optimistic of the new trend.
Since we moved out of 'their' room, Chicken and I are getting MUCH better sleep. There are no more middle-of-the-night wake ups for us OR the babies. (Or rather if the babies are waking up in the middle of the night, I don't hear them fussing and they go back to sleep).

Plus, my trouble with insomnia seems to be GONE. I am a big 'read in bed before I go to bed' lady and for the last year I have not had the opportunity to do that. Now that we are out of the boy's room, I get to read again! I am reading my first real book (that has nothing to do with sleep habits or parenting or anything baby-related) since they were born. It's fantastic. And I go to sleep with no problems. I'm loving it.

Gone are the 4 am crying jags from Grunter.
Gone are the 5 am wake ups.
Gone are the 6am get-me-up-or-else crying threats from both of them.

They have been consistently sleeping from 6:30pm-6:30am OR even (gasp!) 7am every day for over a week now.
If they wake up before 7am, we let them play in their cribs and then go get them at 7am to start the day.
It's working very, very, very well.

We always said that if WE could get a solid 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep, it would be like a whole new life. And it is! I get up and start my day. I don't go back to sleep. I don't nap with them. I don't nurse Whoop Whoop to sleep at the 9am nap. (I do miss that part.)

It's amazing how great I feel and how productive I am now that I'm not losing my entire morning either grabbing bits of sleep or lumbering around in a hazy sort of half-awake-state.

And now that I'm dropping pumps as well? Geez. This year is gonna be AWESOME. I am feeling like ME again. It's about time.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Sippy Cup Down!

We're done with the sippy cups. As of this morning, I only offered the straw cups and everyone is as happy as can be.
That was easy!
I know it will sound crazy, but I bought 2 sippy cups when they were about 6 months old and those are the ONLY sippy cups they have ever had.
The boys usually (weather permitting) go out for a walk every morning after their nap and we would strap the sippy cups on, then take them off for lunch, then put them back on the stroller if they went somewhere in the afternoon and then back off for dinner.
Sounds crazy. Two cups that I washed off/out multiple times a day.
This is how frugal I am!

For the straw cups, I'm going to do something really crazy. I'm going to go buy two more so I don't have to move them on and off the stroller! Plus, I know they will use these longer than 5 or 6 months, so I will get my money's worth, for sure.
After their first birthday, we'll put milk in them for their meals and see how that goes....

By the way--the brand that we use is Tommee Tippee. BBRUS usually has them buy one/get one 50% off. They don't spill at all and the boys love them. The only thing you have to watch out for is if your kid throws them repeatedly, there is a piece inside which comes loose and you have to unscrew the lid and put it back in. If that piece is loose, they can spill a little bit.

How many sippy cups or straw cups do YOU have for your child?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

So Long Titty Vaccuum

I spoke with my LC yesterday and we worked out a schedule for weaning.
Yes, the boys will be one in about 2 weeks and I am SO ready to stop pumping!
I'd like to keep up some of the nursing sessions, but cut out the daytime sessions so that I have a bigger chunk of my daytime free.

Right now this is what my breast feeding/pumping schedule is like:

7am BF
9am Pump (when they go down to nap)
10:30am BF (when they wake up)
11:30am Pump
12:30pm BF (when they are done with lunch)
1:30pm Pump (when they go down to nap)
3pm BF (when they wake up)
5:30pm BF (after dinner)
6:30pm Bottle of BM at bedtime (7-8 oz)
7pm Pump
9:30-10pm Pump

As you can see, that doesn't leave me with much time in between pumping or nursing. Quick runs out of the house but always with a "tick-tock" going to rush back in time.
Of course there were days, I simply had to be somewhere (doctor's appointments, etc) but most of the last year has been spent focused on feeding these boys.

I remember my LC saying to me a few weeks after the boys were born: "Don't expect to have a life this year. If you are committed to breast feeding twins, you aren't going to have much of a life."
She was not kidding. It has been hard, hard work, but I'm so happy I stuck with it. I also had the opportunity to stay home and do it. There is no way I would still be breast feeding my babies if I'd had to return to work and pump. My pumping output just wouldn't have been enough for them. I struggle to make the 2 bottles a day. Some days I get 14 ounces total. A lot of days I've had to supplement. But overall, they've been 90% breast fed and I'm beyond pleased with that. It has been the hardest thing I've ever done but also the most rewarding.

Those of you who work and keep this up are the true superstars of breast feeding, not me!

First things first: Drop a pump every 3 days. (If your titties are sore, ice them.)

First drop 1:30pm
Second drop 11:30am
Third drop 7pm
Fourth drop 9am
Last drop 10pm

This should take me to their birthday and we will start to introduce *cow milk in **straw cups as we wean them from the day nursing sessions.
I'm hoping my milk supply will hold when I drop the pumps as I'd still really, really like to continue to nurse them in the morning and evening.
We'll have to see.

If anyone else out there reading has any wise words about weaning, please let me know. I am both happy to stop pumping, but sad that the end of my breast feeding days might be in the future. Ideally, I'd love to keep going but my body will be the judge of that.
Just this week, I gave away my double breast feeding "EZ to Nurse" pillow and I cried a little. Things are changing.

*As an experiment the other night we put cow milk in their sippy cups at dinner. They freaking loved the stuff. Chicken and I go through a gallon of milk just between the two of us every 2 days, so I see a daily milk run in our near future.

**We have been trying to get them to use straw cups for over a month now, putting them out with water at every meal, but they loudly protest and then throw them over the side of the highchair demanding their sippy cups.
Yesterday, I tried something new. I filled the straw cups up with water and put them in their play area. Guess what happened??? Like magic. They drank out of them all day long. Babies are crazy to figure out.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Clap-Spastic Grunter

video

Clap Your Hands, Say Yeah!

Right before Christmas, Grunter learned how to clap. He was a spastic clapper, mainly swinging his arms around in a circle and hoping they landed together at some point all the while squealing with glee. It's hilarious.
True to form, W2 patiently watched and waited and when he decided to clap about a week later, it was with great deliberate precision. A perfect, delicate clap.
Now, if I ask them if they are happy, they sometimes clap--even though I've only sang the song to them a handful of times. They do hear it in music class so I guess they were paying attention all those months after all.

Last Friday, as I was doing a morning goat feed, W2 popped off, smiled at me with milk dribbling out his mouth and started clapping.
Could my heart swoon anymore?
Why yes, it could.
Because today, Grunter did it, right before W2 and he's got his clapping skills down, just like his brother.
Watching your babies clap as they take a break from breast feeding is joy to the world.
I like to think they are just so happy with the boobies, they can't help themselves from clapping.
Cute. Cute. Cute.

These developmental milestones blow my mind. Every day is a great, precious gift with these guys. I feel like the luckiest person on earth.