Thursday, July 29, 2010

Someone Call For Help

Finn officially has his first black eye.  What better way to acknowledge this occasion than by posting the nasty little shiner on the Internet?  Here's some visual proof:

Let's not forget about Lady Belle.  She deserves equal billing on the embarrassing photo post  This is what happens when Daddy does her hair after bath time:

Diary of a Whiny Baby

For clarification, that would be me, not my children.  I dread mealtimes, mainly the mess afterwards.  I'm three seconds from driving to Lowes and purchasing a huge roll of plastic sheeting--which I will promptly drape over the kitchen table, floor, walls and windows.

But then I envision the effort involved in putting the twins in the car, carting them through Lowes, then lugging my purchase and twins safely through the pea soup that is any parking lot in the coastal South right now and suddenly I feel sleepy.  Not to mention the fact I'd still have a mess after meal time, it'd just be on plastic instead of wood floors.

I've spent the better part of this week trying various approaches to mealtime management.  Here's a brief list:

  • If a cup is dropped, it stays on the floor (Bad idea, this just makes Finn mad and thirsty in 20 minutes).  So my new approach is to give them their cups, then ask for it back when they are done.  It's working so far.
  • The dogs stay outside while the babies eat so there are no distractions or encouragements to feed the dog (apparently no one liked this idea, including the dogs).  The new approach is to let the dogs sit on the floor and watch the babies eat.  The dogs learn their boundaries while the babies eat and the babies get to experiment with the freedom of feeding themselves and something else (everyone's a winner now).
  • Giving the babies one food item at a time to monitor how much they eat of any given fruit, veggie or protein (they were on to me and knew I had something else, possibly better, waiting in the wings so a lot of plates were dumped).  Now there is one plate with all their food choices and if they want more of one item they can attempt to tell me (no guarantees I'll actually understand).
  • Mealtime should be riddled with 'teachable moments' on good table manners and what is right and wrong (even I started thinking I was being a bore . . . not cool).   Now we just eat and play.
My new approach revolves around reminding myself these kids are barely 13 months old.  For them, mealtime should be fun and exciting because there are new tastes and textures to explore.  For now, we're going to shelve table manners, at least until they can talk or exhibit some clearer sense of understanding. 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Let Someone Else Do It

I often wonder if I'm truly fortunate to stay at home and raise my twins.  Few people talk about the solitude that surrounds staying at home with children who prefer speaking in tongues over plain English.  Or having to play the never-ending game of 'guess what I need/want/gotta have/can't find/won't stop whining till I get' because they haven't formulated words yet.

Then there are the countless hours spent second guessing your parenting decisions.  Does Finn throw his plate because he doesn't like the food or is no longer hungry?  Do I give him something else or ignore the poor table manners?  Should I go ahead and start mealtime on the floor since it typically ends up there anyway?

So many of my friends are working mothers, some by choice and others out of necessity.  I'm constantly wondering, are they happy?  Have they found the right balance between career and parenting?  If money were not an issue, would they prefer staying at home with their children?  Or is it comforting to know a trusted care provider is teaching your child how to eat, drink, sleep and poop while you mingle in the adult world for a while.

Rationally, I know there is no right answer to this question.  If I had a job, I'd most likely cry myself to work everyday, gain an extra 20 lbs. from stress eating peanut M&Ms and hide in the bathroom around 2 pm every afternoon for nap time.  I'd hate every single one of my coworkers for not being as entertaining as my children and probably get fired for overusing Facebook while on the clock.

Here's a list of parenting duties I would willing outsource to India and/or China if possible:

  • nail trimming
  • diaper changes
  • meal planning, feedings and post-op clean up
  • tantrums
  • errands to the post office or any other place lacking a drive-thru service

Ultimately, I love staying at home and raising my 'babies'.  I'm exceedingly fortunate to have the option.  My goal was to devote at least the first year to caring for these munchkins.  Now that we've reached that goal I feel it's safe to reevaluate our routine.  There's some wonderful value in finding a part time structured program for the twins and I'm confident they'd actually enjoy the new adventure more than I'd enjoy the 'free time'.

I'm actually ready to consider letting someone else do this child rearing crap for a bit.  Who knows, I might actually finish grad school before the babies are potty trained!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Natural Fork

I've come to the conclusion the twins were barbarians in a previous life.  This would explain why Finn enjoys throwing his fork on the floor as soon as I hand it to him, or why Mirabelle would rather use her fingers to pick the food off the end of the fork instead of sticking the fork with food in her mouth.

Perhaps my children are natural geniuses; because honestly, why do we really need forks in the first place when we already have two perfectly good hands?  It apparently defies simple logic and I'm not sure I can fault my children for questioning why Mommy is making dinner so much more difficult than it really ought to be.

I'm not alone on this matter, most of Western Europe felt the same way in the 11th Century, roughly the time the fork was introduced as a proper meal time utensil.  One clergy man even went so far as to write:

"God in his wisdom has provided man with natural forks - his fingers. Therefore it is an insult to Him to substitute artificial metallic forks for them when eating." 
Excerpt taken From Hand to Mouth by James Cross Giblin.

So now I'm presented with an even more complex dilemma, will my children go to Hell for using forks?  Will I meet them there for forcing such demonic behavior?  Frankly, I'm baffled the Tea Party movement hasn't jumped on this one pushing to make fork use unconstitutional.

Is it already time to play the 'Because I Told You So' card--or should I start with the truth?  It would go something like this:

Some snot-nosed Byzantine princess married an Italian dude and refused to eat with her fingers (I know, right!?!).  Then it became a status symbol to own a fork and actually use it during meals.  Now today it's a sign of civility, can you say Ci-vil-i-ty, Finn?   
So, here are your choices.  You can eat with your fingers (probably go to Heaven) and get picked on by the other kids at school or you can learn to use your fork properly and pick on all the kids who use their fingers.

Final note, parenting is hard work.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Wanted: A Nice Librarian

Today we visited our public library for Lapsit Storytime.  I'm a huge fan of the Children's Section because it's free, air conditioned and there are always some interesting toys to play with.

I'm not a huge fan of the timing.  Lapsit starts at 9:30a which is still prime morning nap time. However, when it's 90° by 10:00a on most days, I've decided morning nap can suck it--we're getting out of the house for adventure time before the sun's death rays destroy us all.

It's possible Finn & Belle enjoyed the experience; it's probable Aunt Quinn & I enjoyed it more.  There's something so very soothing, almost hypnotic,  when a Librarian reads a story.  I'm not sure how they do it, but they seem to hold the books just right, use the perfect pitch and tones and make the simplest questions seem really important.  

Forget the fact my 12 month old twins have suddenly lost interest and started wandering towards the trash can, I want to curl up with a soft blanket and suck my thumb till story time fades into sleepy time.  I don't want Ms. Librarian to stop at five books!  The room is full of books, for the love of peanut butter and jelly, woman keep reading until I've fallen asleep!  Then come home with me and do it again when it's time for bed.

After story time, Ms. Librarian turned on some music and let the babies practice putting plastic eggs back into the carton (of course Mirabelle was more interested in licking each one and Finn in banging them together).   Incidentally, we were the only ones who showed up for the 0 - 18 month story time (everyone else must have been enjoying their morning naps) 

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Scene Stealer

Mirabelle took her first steps on Friday and we recorded the milestone on Saturday. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Dear Universe, Please Buy Me . . .

. . . a portable DVD player with dual screens.  If you don't feel like a part of 'the Universe', but want to help in some small way . . . click on these blog ads every time you visit my site.  I, nay we (my babies will directly benefit), get paid each time you click on the ad even if you do nothing afterwards.

Last week Aunt Quinn & I spent five hours in the car crossing my home state, and another six hours on the way back, in an effort to spend some much needed quality time with my Grandma (visiting my Oma will require crossing an ocean . . . maybe I should ask the Universe for a private jet instead because we miss our Oma dearly).

Yes, I am aware the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly discourages TV watching before the age of two.  Out of curiosity, has this Academy tried taking an extended car ride with 12 month-old twins in the last two weeks?   I'm a firm believer there is always an exception to the rule and my exception is this:

Dear Universe,
If you buy me a portable DVD player (Sam's Club has the Phillips 9" dual screens on sale for $177) I promise to only use it for out of town trips.  I also promise to never show Barney, Barbie Princess crap or anything with a sock monkey in it.
Sincerely yours,
World's Best Mommy 

In other news, our trip to Grandma's was wonderful!  She fed the babies Krispy Kreme donuts every morning securing her status as favorite-person-in-the-house.  The twins also enjoyed creating a new game:  See How Fast Grandma Moves When We Try To Touch . . .

Finally, I was raised to believe a wonderful house guest is one who leaves no trace of their visit.  Unfortunately, with two snotty noses, one drool bucket and table manners my dogs would disown, it's safe to say we left a large blinding sign that read:  'Finn & Belle Wuz Here:  On the carpet, the counters, the dining chairs, the kitchen floor, the bathtub and most of the upholstered furniture'.

Hopefully we're invited back sometime, we promise to work on our table manners before then.

Grandma with Finn, Belle & Scout (Finn's new BFF)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Then & Now

I'm sure at some point it will become awkward insisting on a twins-in-nothing-but-diapers photo on their actual birthday.  However until that day comes, please enjoy!

July 1, 2009

July 1, 2010

Full disclosure:  We cheated and gave the babies cake on their actual birthday and again for the big party the following weekend.  It was a dress rehearsal in our minds.  We were already planning on overloading their senses with an explosion of decorations and crazy people all up in their grills for the big party, we felt the introduction of cake might be a little too overwhelming.  

So, on the actual birthday I jumped out of bed (a running at the first call . . . not the usual seventh or eight) and rescued my sweet muffins from their nightly prisons.  We ate breakfast and then I did something I rarely do these days, turned on the TV and let them watch a cartoon.  

After breakfast we played for a bit and then read a special book during story time:  Happy Birthday to You! by Dr. Seuss.  Surprisingly enough, they actually endured the entire 64 pages.  Meaning, they crawled around the nursery while I read the book (mostly to myself and a few random inanimate objects).

Later that morning we had all our friends from the twin mom playgroup over for a mini party.  After that I personally gave the babies a very special gift for their 1st birthday . . . access to the kitchen (granted they were a week away from learning how to climb the makeshift barriers into the kitchen).

To top off an already perfect day we let the babies eat pizza for their birthday dinner, second to cheese, pizza is their current favorite food.  Dave came home early and then we gave the babies their first birthday cakes.  

Since the babies have yet to formulate sentences we're not sure if they enjoyed their first birthday experience.  Regardless, Dave and I had a wonderful time celebrating Lady Belle and Finntastic's big day.

Here's some highlights:

Monday, July 12, 2010

12 Month Update

Finn & Belle are officially toddlers!  Last week they had their 12 month check up, sadly there were no parental door prizes for making it this far (a glass of champagne would have been touching).

Regardless, the babies handled their shots like champs.  Mirabelle didn't cry once during the lead test, which required a prick of the foot to collect a blood sample.  She did cry during her shots but stopped as soon as they were over (because she's a Lady).

We opted for the 'divide and conquer' technique during shot time.  I took Mirabelle for a stroll around the doctor's office while Dave helped Finn get his shots.  We thought it would be less traumatic if neither baby witnessed the other in a full on freak out.  It worked well for Lady Belle . . . from what I heard, not so well for Finn.

Finn was a little more upset with the entire experience; but then it's possible Daddy's brand of comfort might feel a little like drawing the short straw (kidding . . . maybe).  Honestly, it was nap time by this point so offering needles instead of story time was a bit inhumane on our part.  We promised everyone (still awake) ice cream after the ordeal (FYI:  Do NOT get Bruster's cherry sherbet, super sweet with no tart).

Mirabelle weighs 19 lbs. 15 oz and stands at 30.75 inches (without heels).  She loves to play catch-the-ball and climb into anything remotely looking like a wagon (learning to climb out is optional).  Her favorite toy is a talking cell phone.  For Lady Belle, sharing is highly over rated.

She's standing, cruising and ready for her first steps.  At mealtime her preferred utensils include the thumb and index finger, though she enjoys holding spoons and forks.  She will eat most her food from a plate before dumping the remainder on the floor (her attempt at 'sharing' with the dogs).

Finn weighs 19 lbs. 7.5 oz and stands tall at 30 inches.  He enjoys walking (we enjoy watching him stagger like a drunken old man).  He loves Thomas the Tank Engine and any toy that will talk at him.  He loves to explore and tear things apart.  He equally loves finding creative new uses for existing toys that often result in making his sister cry.

Finn loves cake, fistfuls and fistfuls of cake.  He's handy with a juice box and won't turn down a tasty applesauce at the end of any meal.  He's a good hugger and enjoys cuddle time when no one's looking.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Sweetest Thing I Ever Did See

Folks, please take a moment to look at the top of my blog header.  You will notice my Lilypie count-toward-one year caterpillar now says:  'My babies are 1 year old.  Congratulations!'

When the Lilypie ticker was stuck at 1 & 2 months (yes, stuck) I often questioned if it was broken . . . or if possibly I stumbled on some secret formula to make time stand still.  Regardless, I longed, yearned, pleaded, begged and often doubted I'd ever see 1 year, much less that it'd actually feel good.

Well, it's FINALLY here!!!  I am happy to report, all you 'experienced' mothers were right, it feels GREAT!!!  Today we are having a small celebration with our Twin Mom Club playgroup and then getting ready for the big celebration on Saturday.

I want to thank you all, Dear Readers, for supporting and loving us.  Let's all get virtually drunk this evening!  Go buy yourselves a bottle of Mirabelle Champagne.  It's pricey but you deserve it for wasting your precious time following this poorly written, riddled with offensive grammar and utterly pointless blog.