15 month update

After another few weeks’ hiatus and reading all of your blog updates – I have a “free night” that offers me an hour to blog, if I choose to do so. So I am. There are certainly 1,000 other things I could be doing – such as putting the rest of the twins’ 12 month photos that I printed into the album, or picking out clothes for work tomorrow, or taking a shower, or *gasp* going to bed early. Oh well – maybe tomorrow night!

When I was a stay-at-home-mom, I was in no way “relaxed”. I had plenty to do, and even more to worry about. Over the course of time that I stayed home with the babies, from their birth in July until the following August when I went back to work, I’d say 85% of my brain space was dedicated to the topic of baby sleep. I’m sure my old blog posts reflect this – sleep patterns, schedules, getting twins on the same routine, counting wake times, duration of naps, location of naps, transitioning from 4-3, 3-2…..etc. It was all I could think about and research. At times, with two screaming, overtired babies in my arms, I was overwhelmed and stressed. Many times. Which is why being a stay-at-home parent is no walk in the park, ever. However. I was able to ONLY think about the babies and their sleep schedules for months on end. Eventually I also added in the topics of transitioning to solid foods, switching to cloth diapers, and getting the babies out and about in the world to my list of daily, constant thoughts. I wanted to kick that year at home’s butt, doing everything I could possibly do to take control over the lives my babies lived on a daily basis, because I knew that once I went back to work, I would never have that opportunity again.

And that is exactly what’s happened. The difference between being a parent all day at home vs. being a parent all day at work, is that for me, everything I used to think about while being home with the babies still exists (though with much less worry, thank goodness), but I’ve only added to it, times a million. In between trying to figure out my lesson plans and testing we are doing and collecting data, analyzing data, talking about data….etc., I’m thinking about B’s terrible teething diaper rash recently and his new overnight pooping schedule that isn’t helping the matter, and how I hope the babies like their lunch today, and I’m wondering what new words/concepts the babies are learning with our nanny, J. Then it’s back to my students, to my colleagues, to my lessons, and back again to the babies. It’s this constant flow of thoughts that I try to control, sort out, and deal with 24/7. Does this thought need my attention right now? Is there something I should be doing instead? I don’t know. Work is INSANE – crazier than when I left it a year and a half ago. And most of the time, I am managing, but sometimes – it’s just nuts. Being home with the babies was not harder than this. At least I got to focus all of myself on the babies.

With all of that aside, as I was told, being at work does make me appreciate my time with the babies that much more. It is nice to come home to two children that have learned something new that wasn’t taught by me – something that I can now choose to encourage and support, but how cool, something they already know! For example – J taught the babies “stars” and “airplanes”. And now, every single time she hears or sees one, C is pointing up at the sky in wonder, signing for “plane” and crying when the plane goes out of her vision. And in a store yesterday, B pointed to the stars on the wall and said plainly, “Star!” (more like “sar” but close enough).

Having toddlers is totally awesome. Someone in our building who isn’t normally there today mentioned that he has 5 month old twins and I found myself thinking – “good luck with that”. I do not envy him whatsoever. 5 month old twins are fun and cute and all, but 15 month old twins (today!) are so much better. We now parent them. We teach them things. B tonight was introduced to a bug by my husband, and he giggled and crept over to it and poked it and said “buh” after my husband repeatedly told him what it was. Every day, it’s something new. Their language continues to take off (especially C), as she now has mastered her “s” sound and says “pwease” at the appropriate times and can say the sounds of like 8 animals or something like that. Their physical skills grow as well (especially B), as tonight he learned how to “stomp” and loved every second of it. They show affection, they show anger, they let us know what they need and want. They are little people. It’s very cool.

It’s not all sunshine and rainbows obviously. I guess when you have young children, you’re always in the process of some sort of transition. (When does that end, exactly?) Right now, we’re about to start a few transitions – from “before bed milk” to “before bed water”, from “nighttime bottle” to “nighttime sippy”, from finger foods to fork and spoon foods, from 2 naps to 1 nap (still not there yet, but it’s coming…), from 3 to 2 pacifiers (done!), from 2-1 or 1-0 pacifiers…not so much. B doesn’t use them but C does, only for sleeping, but still it sometimes creeps into her day more than I’d like.

You know, it’s this constant learning process for us. We found a magical straw cup that has a weighted bottom and now C drinks from a straw cup, just like that. B loves to practice with his fork and is almost there, stabbing away at his foods while C is nowhere near ready. C is ready to dress herself – she tries to put her own socks on and can do the velcro on her shoes by herself. I’m not even sure B realizes he is wearing socks and shoes. C is feisty and independent, waving her arms back and forth, pursing her lips and saying, “noooo” when I ask for a kiss or if she wants to ________. B is snuggly and affectionate, though with extremely strong opinions, and in between throwing fits or running after toys gives a million kisses and hugs.

By far, my favorite part about having babies this age right now is that we try every weekend to expose them to some new experience that they’ve never had before. With the holidays coming, there’s so much to show them that we think they will love. A few weekends ago, we went to a science museum on a rainy Saturday and let them walk around and see the animals. This past weekend, we brought them to a pumpkin patch and took a walk in the woods. That is the best part.

Here’s some recent pics, first of B and C and then them both. :)

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I’m so sleepy……you already know

I realized tonight that I haven’t blogged in a while, and I thought it would be much more fun than correcting a giant stack of papers on a Friday night. I’m sure I won’t be disappointed!

A few weeks ago, I was basically in a tizzy, trying to manage work and home – the full-time teacher and the full-time mom. Even now, it’s still hectic, and I’d say 6 out of 7 nights a week, I go to bed around 11:15/11:30. There’s just so much to do – whether it’s baby-related or school-related. But I do feel I’m starting to adjust to the schedule. Just like a new parent becomes accustomed to sleeping in 2-3 hour shifts around the clock for months, a new-to-work parent becomes accustomed to sleeping from midnight to 6:00 and then heading off to work for a full day of fun. I do find it SO hard to wake up these mornings, and so I set three alarms. But after I finally get out of bed, my energy is raring to go (thank goodness I’m a morning person!) and I’m okay. There’s always a lot on my mind and a lot to do. Our nanny, J, arrives typically at 7:00 – so I want to have a few minutes with the babies before I hand them off to her. We have a nice system going – I shower first and then head upstairs where I take the babies out of their cribs and they play around their room for a few minutes. When my husband has showered and dressed, he comes upstairs too and then everyone goes down for breakfast and new diapers. By the time that’s all happened, it’s 7:00, J shows up to do breakfast and I start making myself presentable. Somehow, this is working for us.

On a positive note, I can’t speak for anyone else but now that I’ve basically managed to be a teacher as well as a mom, I do feel a little more empowered than I did before. I CAN be a pretty good teacher and a good parent at the same time. I may have to sacrifice sleep, TV shows (what’s TV?), and downtime for myself, but I know it’s temporary. In a few years the kids will be in elementary school and will play and talk in their room(s)..and sure I’ll have TV time, but I won’t have baby time.

At lunch today, my colleagues and I were having a conversation about the stages kids go through, and I realized that so far, there’s been no stage in my twins’ lives that I wish we could return to. I mean, I may think differently in the middle of a sleep regression or back when B was a tantruming, hitting nightmare, but when everyone’s back to “normal”, I really love the current stage we’re in. And I’m hoping I’ll love the next one too.

The babies are total toddlers. B is pretty much running. Walking is his main method of transportation now – he rarely crawls, and if he does it’s only for a few seconds. He’s an adventurous little guy – he learns through exploration. He wants to reach down and touch things, even if they make him cringe and make a face like he just licked a lemon (which happened today when he touched a dandelion) and he wants to test his limits. He’s discovered areas we don’t want him in and he cries and throws his legs around when we move him (such as from the bathroom, where he has discovered the toilet and toilet paper). But he also has suddenly taken interest in forks and spoons and is trying to feed himself. He has many words and signs he uses readily and picks up new little tricks quickly, like how to “high five” or make “fish lips”. He takes direction pretty well – though a little stubborn- , but really likes to be engaged with an activity. Today I had them on the front lawn and he started to wander from me so I asked him to bring me a leaf. Once he had done that I asked for another one, and another, and this kept him busy for 5-10 minutes, just gathering leaves in the yard to give to me. Such a strange concept – where once I had two babies, I now have two children who do what I ask them to do. They hear me, understand, and then follow directions. It’s really pretty crazy.

C learns by imitation and observation. She’s a watcher. The neatest thing for her is that it only takes once, maybe twice, for her to get the hang of something. She knows her animal sounds, for example, for the cow, sheep, dog, cat, horse, and duck. But the duck – I taught her that on a whim when I was trying to think of another animal sound to teach her. And after telling her twice in a row, she imitated it back to me and then remembered it the next day. And like B, I can give her a direction that’s multi-step and she can follow it. Tonight, B was heading towards the bath and I said to C, “Do you want to splash in the bath with B?” (Essss!) “Then go into the bathroom to take your bath” – and off she crawled. Or, as we played outside this afternoon, she wanted to go in the swing but B was in it, and I said, “I’m sorry but B is in the swing right now. It’s not your turn.” And out came the tears. She’s also found the word “No” – clear as day. “Do you want more green beans?” She does the “all done” sign with a “noooo” attached. It’s pretty cool. She also has changed her mind about straw cups all of a sudden and took right to them immediately. She was sucking on her finger covered in food and I thought, if she can suck on her finger she can suck on a straw, and that was that. So in the next few days I’ll be transitioning her off a sippy to a straw cup. And finally – she has just started to walk. Only about 7-8 steps so far, but she’s really perfectly able. She just doesn’t prefer to unless she has to at this point.

They are currently going through a food stage where they are up for trying ANYTHING. Thank goodness. Subsequently, I had to just bite the bullet a few weeks back and tell myself that if I wanted them to eat table foods, I had to give them…table foods. With whatever’s in it (for the most part). And because they’re open to trying things right now, we’ve had luck with all kinds of flavors, including soy/ginger, mildly spicy (like in tacos), etc. They’ve got no problem with flavors – textures would be the only issue. So if I’m not sure, if it’s the first time they’re eating a dinner, I might chop it fine and mix it with some quinoa, or puree it and smear it on a whole wheat wrap. But otherwise they eat what we eat – even chicken. So things are totally insane, hectic, and exhausting..but this is my life right now and I’m finding it really rewarding, even if the day to day makes me so sleepy.

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Home-to-work transition

Okay, just so everyone knows, I’m aiming to be in bed by 10:00 tonight. If that happens, it’ll be a new record. I haven’t done that in weeks. 

As the transition period for stay-at-home Mom to full-time teacher Mom comes to a close, I’ve been finding myself almost in awe of how you working moms do it. 

When I stayed at home with the twins for a solid year, I declared it to be very challenging at times – and it was. Because little babies don’t sleep, they fuss, they have reflux, they have eating issues and regressions, and you’ve never been that tired in your life – and with two, I wanted them on the same schedule and wanted to maintain that schedule in order to find some sanity. I was able to achieve those goals and I never regret being able to stay home with them for a minute. I’m also very lucky that I was able to go back to work after we were through the baby period, because babies are just so needy. And I truly feel for those (ahem, YOU) who are making their home-to-work transition with much younger, much needier little ones. 

But man oh man. Yes, being home with two babies full time is SUPER hard. It really, really is.  Especially if they don’t nap at the same time – there’s not one MINUTE of downtime. Never a point in which all the children are sleeping – one baby is always awake and needy. And by the end of the summer, I found myself less motivated to work with my babies on new skills (which I really should’ve been doing a little more) and more motivated to get them (and myself) out of the house. There were weekly trips to Walmart, Target, Costco. C perfected her charming grin at every stranger, and my arms bulked up as I got used to pushing C in the carriage and holding B in my right arm (for multiple reasons, but in short, it cut down on the meltdowns from both babies!) And we were never short on groceries. But now – well, let’s put it this way. I STILL don’t have a minute of downtime! Except now, I’ve pushed back bedtime to around 11:30 every night. It’s just madness!

I was recently talking to a friend, describing being back in the classroom. My job, educating my group of twenty 5th graders, is probably 50% actually teaching, 40% crossing off and adding on items to my endless to-do list (planning, copying, emailing, etc), and 10% fighting with a copy machine. The teaching is great. My group of kids are great. But the other stuff, the endless tasks, and the absolute nightmare that is the copy machine (how can 5 copy machines ALL BE BROKEN?!)…those things take up all my time. And my brain space. And so it’s such an odd, weird feeling, when I get into my car, head spinning with things I never got done in my day and things I still need to get done, make decisions about, contact colleagues about – and I see a baby toy in the front seat of my car. Oh yeah. The babies. 

And it’s rush home, hit every light, get stuck behind every bus, wash my hands, peel off my work clothes and the jewelry which would no doubt be pulled from my neck, head upstairs where the babies are playing with the nanny or with my mother, and take over. From that point on, until it’s bedtime for babies and even hours after that as I’m still doing baby-related chores, school just leaves my brain and Mom mode takes over. Correcting papers what? No – I’m cutting carrots, making smoothies (best thing EVER) – etc. You get the idea. It’s totally insane. 

There are a few things that are going so well that without them, this whole thing would be downright impossible, and the first is my nanny, J. She’s been at this now for a few weeks and she’s amazing. Because of her, I honestly don’t worry one little bit about what the babies are doing with her when I leave. I thought I’d have a harder time adjusting, letting someone else make the decisions about my children’s well being but it’s not so. She keeps them on the same schedule I had them on, she feeds them what I prepared the night before. She does with them what I would have, but in addition, she does arts and crafts, games, and teaches them things. So because of that, I am able to go about my day at school with my brain ONLY on school things. And that’s really a big deal. My super supportive team – they’ve made it feel like I was never gone for a year and a half. I am very lucky to be given a binder full of whatever I need that I don’t have, and I know I can just follow along and play catch up until I get this back-to-school thing down pat again. My husband, of course, because even after his long day, his long drive, and his end of baths and bedtime (typically he does the baths, I do the PJs, and we each do a bottle), he gets down to his 2-3 hours of chores, which include making dinner for the next night, cleaning up dishes, washing bottles, and cleaning and straightening up the house.

And really, the babies themselves. Because they transitioned perfectly. Because B THANKFULLY came out of his sleep/behavior regression after 5 weeks. Because they don’t even cry one little bit when I wave goodbye and head out the door in the morning, and no, I’m not sad about it. They have each other – they’re besties. They can do so much now and every day it’s something new. Today I got home from work and C finally took 3 steps, pointed to her arm (which we hadn’t taught her yet), and said “please” and “Sadie” (the dog) clear as day. B ate up his minestrone soup like a champ, said the perfect “apple” (another new one), snuggled in, giggling as he repeatedly pointed to my nose, and only had a minor meltdown in the bathtub because C decided to climb in with him and they thoroughly enjoyed each other’s company. I have to admit – I said to my husband tonight, as we were each bending over the tub, getting soaked with water as we each washed a squealing baby who were refusing to sit down – “Is this what we had in mind when we heard we were having twins?” And the answer is no – I never could’ve imagined the controlled (sometimes uncontrolled) chaos that is our everyday life. 

This CAN be done. It is super-rewarding to know that I can be both a good teacher and a good mother. But this 11:30/midnight bedtime every night…..it’s got to stop. Mommy needs her beauty sleep!

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What DO toddlers eat?

Okay, so this may be my last post for a while, though I hope not. I’m officially, really back to work on Tuesday, as it’s the first day of school. My nanny, J, is AMAZING and the transition has been perfect over the last two weeks. I miss the babies, but I feel like I’m leaving the twins in good hands. My biggest brag about her is that the kids do a different activity every day, and she has yet to repeat herself (though I told her she shouldn’t feel like she needs to come up with something different daily!) Two days ago it was birthday cards with baby fingerprints, and on other days she’s created sticky balls out of tape, used a muffin tin to play and sort plastic balls, cut paper into strips to play with, had a dance party, stuffed an empty wipes container with scarves to practice pulling them out – etc. She rocks. And she takes pictures and videos and checks in constantly. So I’m very lucky to have her and be out the door on time in the morning. In fact, when she arrives in the morning a chorus of cheers erupts from the high chairs. When I get home in the afternoon……meh? That would be the babies reaction. Meh. But it’s all good. 

So food. As soon as we switched from purees to finger foods, and from finger foods to table foods, it’s all been a mystery to me. I have to admit I miss the puree days when I’d just throw a few cubes of this or that in a cup and mix them all up. There’s been many a pinterest and google search on what to feed these babies. I still feel strongly about the things I want them to eat and the things I don’t want them eating at this age, but yet, sometimes my plans don’t go like I thought they would. And by sometimes, I mean 90% of the time. I just wish that I could say, “Feed the twins ______ with guaranteed success”. I can say that, if I want them to exist on a diet of melon, banana, and peas. But otherwise – what they like to eat changes day to day. I hate the lack of consistency!

Breakfast – thankfully, I’ve got this meal down for the most part. They have their milk, then baby oatmeal mixed with leftover milk from their sippies or just water, and I usually add a cube of pureed apple or pear for flavor, though they will also eat it plain. They each eat about 3.5 tablespoons of oatmeal. Then they split half a banana. For the most part, it’s an easy, predictable meal – as long as I don’t show them the banana until it’s time – otherwise all bets are off. 

Snack – their 3:30 pm snack WAS consistent, until today. I always gave them a cheese stick, either to share or they each ate one, followed by whatever veggies I had cooked and chopped. Every night I prepare two veggies for the next day to cover two meals and a snack. They’re some combo of peas, carrots, butternut squash and green beans. These are veggies they will always eat plain. I try to mix spinach, broccoli, and zucchini in with other foods, but I’d like them to eat these veggies plain as well. But then today, C flat out refused her cheese. She LOVES cheese. Today, she aggressively signed “all done” while saying one of her newer words, “no” over and over again (she’s also started saying “please”, so that helps make up for it!). And when she has made up her mind, there’s no tricking her. After veggies have been consumed, I sometimes give the babies fruit – whatever I have on hand that both babies like. B currently is into cantaloupe, bananas, and watermelon …so any other fruit like blueberries and grapes C gets in addition to whatever she’s eating. So C’s snack today was peas and watermelon. 

Lunch and Dinner – these are the meals that drive me a little nuts. I’m trying to get them to eat table food – what we eat, they eat. They can’t just have peas and cheese forever. The problem is – it’s a total crapshoot on whether or not they will like it, so even though I have my backup veggies and fruit, I’m typically scrambling for more food. On the one hand, I DO agree with the idea that kids need to eat what the adults are eating – without Mom or Dad cooking 5 other meals to make all the kids happy. I agree. It’s just that..at this age, with my babies just starting to eat “real food”, they don’t know what they like. I don’t know what they like. We’re all learning. I know their tastes will change as they get older as well, so for now, I just feel like I need them to eat something, even if it’s not what I prepared. What they LIKE is pasta. Plain pasta, pasta with red sauce, pasta with white sauce…they like pasta. But I’m not giving that to them every night. They loved it in minestrone soup, they loved it with a white broccoli and chicken sauce. Up until TONIGHT, they also loved cheese quesadillas. I snuck some chicken into theirs tonight and B was hungry – he ate almost an entire quesadilla. Which was fine, because C was still on her “no cheese” kick and cried over the dinner I had figured she would eat. I had some backup sweet potato and a little leftover avocado..so she ate those instead, (and more watermelon) but I didn’t call that a MEAL exactly.

Sometimes we’ll make a dinner and just one baby will like it, or tolerate it even, and the other won’t touch it. Earlier this week we made black bean/sweet potato enchiladas (this website as a whole is totally amazing, I highly recommend it), but with a slightly spicy taco sauce on top – B wouldn’t touch it. C on the other hand ate pieces of sweet potato and black beans. Sometimes C will eat the food if it comes off of my plate, or if it comes off my fork, but she’ll refuse it as finger food. Sometimes B screams and points and I can’t for the life of me figure out what he wants, but he refuses to eat what’s on his tray. Maybe 3 out of 7 days a week, both babies will eat a meal and say together, “yum!”. And it usually involves pasta. It’s a daily struggle. I want them to eat well, get their nutrients, and I’m not ready to cave to foods that “all” toddlers will like – foods that I don’t consider the best for them. Once in a while is totally fine, but I feel like once I give it to them, it’s all they’ll want. I recently read a comment on someone’s blog from a registered dietician that children should order off of adult menus at restaurants – kids menus are usually just those typical “mac and cheese” “hot dog” type meals – when there’s no reason they can’t eat what the adults are eating. That made sense to me. I just wish it was a little easier getting my twins to like different sorts of meals with different textures and different spices. I know they’re still young – they’re only 13 months. But I’m not really digging this daily battle. At what age does picky eating become the toddler norm?

On top of all this, we are trying to prepare our dinners better ourselves. Going back to work means an even crazier day – so dinner needs to either be ready in the crock pot when we get home, or it’s very quick to cook. And that means we need to plan ahead. So I spend my late nights scrolling pinterest, looking for meals that are 1) easy, 2) healthy, and 3) tasty to children. And that’s a struggle. 

So far for this coming week I’ve found a good tomato soup recipe (that for the babies, will likely involve pasta…sigh), yummy chicken burgers and tacos. Yeah – only one of those the babies will eat. So it’s not like the twins can just “eat what we eat”. They might be able to eat some of the ingredients in what we eat, if I disguise it as something else. I mean, on taco night, does it count as “eating what we eat” if they eat only cheese and avocado? Or if on chicken burger night they eat the chicken….mashed up into sweet potato? As of this moment, I’m still at a loss as to what to feed these babies in the upcoming week. 

What I have found, however, are a few recipes for breakfasts/snacks/backup foods that would work for both myself and my husband rushing off to work and for the babies. Those include sweet potato banana bites, quinoa breakfast bars, and my biggest hope, the toddler smoothie. So in my spare time this weekend (HA!) I am going to make these things and hope for the best. Meanwhile, I’ll be up til midnight reading those food blogs that make it all seem so easy!

I can’t leave without a few pictures of course. Today, the babies went apple picking for the first time. I gave them each two apples to hold (after washing them of course), more as toys than anything. And sure enough, B treated them like balls and threw them around, playing fetch with himself. After a few minutes, I noticed that C dented her apple with her teeth and realized there was juice inside. So she started gnawing on it and by the time we left…she ate half an apple. By herself. One for the record books – today was the first day C (or B for that matter) ate something she held onto herself, that wasn’t off a spoon or cut into tiny pieces. I wondered when that day would come!

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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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How do you do it?!

And by YOU, I mean WE – we mothers (and dads) out there. We teachers, stay at home moms, and all the jobs in between. How does A PERSON manage it all, especially in that first year of a baby’s life?

And my answer is I don’t know. But I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately, and the topic keeps popping up in my day to day life. I guess that means it’s time to write it down. 

I’ve been struggling with this stage in the twins’ lives. Yes, they are 13 months old and therefore we are past the first year, but I’m extending it because this stage comes in second behind the newborn stage as the hardest for us so far.

B is a total walker now, C a complete crawler. They can’t be left alone unless they are in “baby jail” – the play yard made of baby gates – and even if they’re in there, they will bicker and fuss after a few minutes. With B switching to one nap and C still on two, I have babies napping at 9, 12, and 2 and NEVER during my day do I get even a five minute break with both babies sleeping. I’m not complaining, I’m just…whining.

B is still going through a sleep regression with middle of the night wakings and terrible naps. His one nap today was a whopping 40 minutes long. His personality has changed, and he’s become very head-strong, with many a temper tantrum every day. In the same breath, in recent weeks he has learned how to share (still a rare occurrence), he has learned many words he can say on cue (Daddy, Mommy, doggy, ball, spoon, cheese), many signs he can use (more, all done, eat, water, milk) and such random tasks as throwing and kicking a ball, sorting items into baskets, and retrieving anything I ask for (my shoe, the toy pig, etc.) He grins like crazy as he scampers down the hall. He runs full speed into my legs, clinging for dear life as he says “mama, mama”. He has learned how to play “chase” with his sister, a very cute game that sends them both into hysterical giggles. 

And C is no different – she can do all of those same things B does (except walk), with an emphasis on language development – saying the word “more” (“mo”) as she signs it, trying out different words on her tongue such as “purple” and “yellow” that aren’t too far off the mark. She LOVES to sort and will put toys in different baskets for a long period of time. She also loves books and points to each creature with eyes and talks in her little baby language. She’s finally on to the sippy cup instead of the bottle and they both are done with formula. She’s an absolute charmer, batting her eyelashes for people in the grocery store and giving her best toothy grin when the camera comes out.

They’re getting big. They’re just BARELY babies – I’m holding onto that for dear life, but it’s almost over. They’re basically toddlers. And all of that is SO wonderful. And yet, I feel like I can barely keep my head above water!

For one thing, I’m going back to work after 1.5 years of being out of the classroom. One day in April 2013, I told my students I had a doctor’s appointment and would be back in the morning, but I never came back. I was on bedrest from 23 weeks until 35, when the babies were born. When I go back to work in a few weeks, I want to

1) teach our brand new curriculum that I haven’t yet seen, much less planned for,

2) have a classroom that looks decent,

3) NOT bring much school work home, but

4) NOT stay late at school to get it done, as I have a nanny and don’t want to pay overtime.Not only do I want to get home early enough and not do work at night, but I want to

5) have dinner ready in the crock pot 9 times out of 10 because if we don’t, we won’t be eating until midnight and

6) spend quality time with the babies when I get home from work at 4 until they go to bed at 7ish. And of course, after they go to bed, I want to 

7) get my chores done right away (make everyone’s lunches, clean up from dinner, wash sippy cups, walk dogs, straighten the house, etc. – my husband I split these) so that I can make a firm dent in my couch, only to 

8) get to bed at a reasonable hour so I can do it all again the next day.

Now, looking back on this list – it gives me some anxiety. This is CRAZY! But yet, it’s exactly what I want and in a way, expect of myself. Notably missing from my list are 9) QT time with the husband and 10) EXERCISE. Number 9 is important, and number 10 isn’t happening in my near future, so I’m letting that one go right away. 

I just don’t know how to make it all happen. But some moms have this work/parent/dinner thing down to a science, so I want to know – how do they do it?? How do you find the balance, and how do you know what things to just let go?

While being a stay at home mom, the babies have come first. I have had first hand experience in “letting things go” – and the things I chose were exercising, the organization and cleanliness of my house, and our dinners. My nanny has spent a few hours with us, just getting to know the babies and myself. I’ve found myself telling her not to go into the basement yet because it looks like an episode of Hoarders (true story – but not the hoarding). Or opening up the garage to get the stroller and asking her to watch her step over the recycling items pouring out of the bin and onto the floor of the garage. Or the fur balls that C is picking up as she crawls around the floor. Or our lawn that hasn’t been mowed in weeks.  I mean, I’m embarrassed. It’s BAD. I wonder how we don’t manage to find the time on the weekends to deal with these things, but we don’t. And we aren’t taking the babies to the zoo or hanging out watching movies (I haven’t sat and watched a movie since I was on bed rest). I don’t even know what we’re doing, but I can tell you this – it isn’t relaxing. So I let it go.

When does “Don’t worry, you have twins” run its course as an excuse for ANYTHING? Because I’m still applying it, but I think time may be running out.

And if I couldn’t keep my house together and get dinner on the table (or get my husband to get dinner on the table – ha) while being “home all day” – how will I do it when I’m at work?

I’m just struggling here, thinking about how to find the balance. I haven’t found it yet, but I keep assuring myself that when I go back to work, I’ll find it. Likely, the exact opposite is true and I don’t like how that feels. 

 

I read once, and have heard it again since (from my own parents), what I’m finding to be the BEST advice I have heard in regards to what it’s like with a baby(ies). I only wish I heard it sooner and could’ve let it sink in. That piece of advice is this: When a new baby comes into your life, the things you used to do, you won’t do. The things you want to do, you can’t do. You may carve out a little time for a few of your most valued hobbies, but even then, you won’t have the time you used to. Your life will change for the better, absolutely, but you won’t live the same lifestyle that you’ve spent ___ years creating. It’ll be a full year years before you can return to it. You used to be clean, healthy and fit? You prepared elaborate meals while doing your hair and makeup daily? You walked in a patient, slow manner and had time for friends and your expensive hobbies? Well now, that’s over. Really over. But it’s temporary. It’ll all come back, it just may be years down the line. And one day, I’ll have a clean house. But when I do, my babies won’t be babies. They might be entering school for all I know – and they’ll make their beds in the morning and argue over whose turn it is to load the dishwasher, saving me a few chores to do myself. And do I really want to rush to that moment? No, no I don’t. And maybe there’s my balance after all.

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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.

Transitions

I have started this blog post now three times. I may, in fact, finish this one.

When C was 4 months old, she changed into a different, extremely challenging baby. She cried screamed for hours. She would only allow me to hold her. Not even my husband could calm her down. If, for some reason, I was unable to be with her while she was so upset, she’d cry for hours and refuse to sleep until I came to hold her (this happened one night when we went out to dinner). She didn’t sleep well into the night. She stopped napping unless I rocked her for the entire duration of her nap. I couldn’t run errands, I couldn’t leave the house. And when that was bad, she stopped napping altogether. Rocking her didn’t work anymore.

At 5 months, the screaming slowed, turned into a whine, and then stopped. She allowed herself to be held by my husband and others. She smiled again. She napped again. And then we sleep trained her at 5.5 months, once she was back to her old self. I didn’t dare sleep train her during that odd period because I knew she wasn’t herself. Something was up. I’ll never know what exactly made her change personalities and become a non-stop screaming machine for a month straight. Maybe a growth spurt, maybe just some big developmental leaps. But she’s never had a month like that since – in fact, she’s only become more pleasant and cheery as she’s gotten older. No more screaming baby, really ever.

Which is good, because B has taken her place. I’ve mentioned his meltdowns a few times in the past few months. His changing personality has been a slow process. He was the easiest, simple baby who never fussed and put himself right to sleep. He never took a pacifier, never sucked his thumb. But he didn’t need to self-soothe; he was never upset. Once he learned to smile, he did so non-stop. A few months ago, he started melting down when he wanted to walk and couldn’t. Being strapped in to a high chair or car seat or stroller was like torture. Those meltdowns were annoying, but I understood them. He wanted to move and I wouldn’t let him, and he couldn’t do it on his own. Now, in Month 12, I’m going to say that this month is C’s Month 4. He isn’t himself. He’s a changed baby.

B has more meltdowns in his day than he has happy times. He cries the moment I walk into the twins’ bedroom – he wants to get out of the crib and I’m not moving fast enough. He cries when I bring him and C into our bedroom to say good morning to Daddy, because I have to sit him on the bed and he doesn’t want to sit. He cries when I change his diaper, when he’s hungry, when I won’t let him step in the dogs’ water bowl. He cries because after the 8th toy he’s yanked right out of C’s hands, I tell him no, and try to redirect. He cries because I won’t let him swing his arms aggressively back and forth in hopes they connect with C’s face. He cries because he wanted to keep walking in one direction, but I need him to turn around so I can keep an eye on C. He cries when he’s in the stroller and it stops, so in a store I have to hold him in my arms while also pushing a double stroller with C inside. Most of all, he cries when I leave the room – to go to the bathroom, to get a drink, to go and get C, to switch with Daddy so I can go do some chores. He’s learned “mama”, so as I quickly dart away while switching places with my husband he throws back his head and yells “mama, mama”. Now, these tears aren’t just tears – they are absolute toddler-style meltdowns. Whether he’s already sitting or if he’s standing, he throws back his head and falls if I’m not there to catch him. He screams and kicks his feet in the air. He rolls around on the ground, back and forth, absolutely beside himself. Today he had the longest meltdown I have witnessed. He had just transitioned from a car nap to the “baby jail”, a baby play yard where the three of us spend a lot of our time. I dropped C in there first, got her going with some toys. Dropped B in there, gave him a toy. I had to go to the bathroom, I had to wash my hands. If I don’t put them in “baby jail”, C will crawl in one direction and B will walk in another. He will fall. It won’t work out. So he started to cry. But by the time I sat in the play yard with them, it turned into a meltdown, and then, even with me sitting right there, he couldn’t get control of himself. He rolled around, like I mentioned, “toddler style” screaming his head off for a solid 10 minutes. I tried leaving him alone, I tried holding him. I tried distraction. He couldn’t be reasoned with. Eventually, I brought out veggies and started feeding them to C, and he stopped.

I can’t remember if, when C was a changed baby, I worried if she would permanently be a needy baby. I suppose I did. I hope I did. Because that’s what I’m fearing now. That this is B – an always difficult child, a violent and aggressive one who is mean to his sister and just generally hates life. Transitioning seems to be one of his biggest issues right now. This behavior isn’t his only change – his naps have gone haywire and he’s waking and screaming in the middle of the night. And he’s become a picky eater – he’s completely against trying new foods unless they match the texture he prefers (the texture of veggies – wet, mushy). Anything dry, stringy, or the like, no chance. He used to eat absolutely everything I gave him.

So like I said, this isn’t him. Or isn’t the old B. I’m hoping this isn’t the new B. So I’ve tried to write blog posts but I’m so tired, so drained. He is sucking the life out of me!

And this is the first time I’ve found myself really thinking about the downfalls of having twins. My twins are the best thing that has ever happened to me, they filled a void I didn’t realize I had that was widening by the day. Being a mom is the most rewarding, fulfilling thing I’ve ever done. But because there are two, one is neglected – the non-needy baby. That’s C. She doesn’t get too much attention these days. Luckily she entertains herself well, and when I say, “Come here, C, look at this toy” – she comes and acts like it’s brand new. But even B – he is also neglected. Because if it were just him, I’d be helping him get more walking practice in. All he wants to do is practice walking all over my house. But he can’t, because I have C as well. So I have to pick him up, turn him around, put him back in the play yard, and that causes meltdowns. Maybe he wouldn’t meltdown and I’d never notice any changes because he’d be getting what he wants – which is to walk, to explore, to be adventurous. There are things that make him happy, but he’s limited in experiencing them because I have another child who needs me. He lights up ear to ear when he carries something in both of his hands as he tentatively walks down the hall. If he didn’t have a sibling, there wouldn’t be another child he’d steal toys from and then hit in the face with. Being a twin mom right now is extra challenging.

But thank goodness for C, because she’s my sanity right now. She poses for pictures, she is copying my words as well as my sign language (she can now say “cheese”). She snuggles, she laughs, she tickles so easily. She’s a kissing fanatic who just wants you to love her.

And yet, there was that time so many months ago where this was B – so easy, so even-keeled, so happy and giddy. C was whiny, fussy, unhappy, and needy. The tables have turned. Perhaps one day they could BOTH be their happy selves at the same time.

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I choose smiling pictures, haha. No one needs to see a meltdown. Like I said, there are things that make him happy. Being adventurous and letting him explore is his favorite.

And I can’t forget the many facial expressions of C.

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I have other posts in my brain about their birthday party (they had the stomach bug), our food rut (I need ideas!), separation anxiety (B is going through that now and our nanny starts in 2 weeks! Ahh!) and transitioning to one nap (the worst)…but it’s just not going to happen here tonight. Hopefully soon!

Happy Birthday!

Warning: Mushy baby post ahead.

I often try to recreate in my head the feeling I felt when I was wheeled into the NICU after my c-section to see my babies for the first time. I still don’t even know what time it was – being that they were born at 10:06 at night, I assume it was the next morning. B and C were in different NICU rooms, and B’s room was first. We came around the corner, me in my wheelchair, and amidst all the other babies, there was mine. He was handed to me, and I cried. A lot. And then we went to see C, and the same thing happened. Then I asked if we could put them together for a quick picture (thank goodness somewhere in my foggy medicated head I thought to ask for this). Being that no one was hooked up to any tubes, they were okay with it. And this happened:

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I imagine that the feeling I felt, and that I try to feel again in just the same way, is the same feeling a mother gets when she gives birth vaginally – when the baby is put on your chest. Same thing. It’s this insane, overwhelming, deep feeling of mine. It’s like the best Christmas gift ever, the one you’ve been waiting your whole life for. Right there for the taking. I used to try and remember that one moment so often when the babies were little and refluxy and life was tough. And as the months have gone by, I’ve thought of it less and less. But I still remember it, especially today. Today’s their birthday.

What’s scary to me is that the moment – not the memory of it but the feeling that went with it – is harder to feel, the more time that goes by. I’m afraid it will go away permanently one day, and then what? Then I reminisce about the babies’ first birthday? I say to my husband, “Remember the day the twins turned five”? Or even crazier still – the day they graduate high school, or get married..or…etc.

I can’t imagine that there will ever be any better memory, or any better feeling, than when my wheelchair came around that corner. And honestly, I really, really don’t want to forget it, because single-handedly, that moment was the best one of my entire life.

Anyway. The past year has been exhausting, mostly. And it’s had its challenging stages, such as the one we’re in right now. But the lows were never low – nothing with these babies can ever be that bad, because they’re here and they’re our kids.

 

So yes, today was their birthday. We didn’t do anything special – their party is this weekend. But of course, today was the day C decided to (for the first time ever) skip her first nap. Okay. She made it until noon, which is when most kids who take just 1 nap go down, so fine. But she only slept an hour and a half. And then she was a BEAR the rest of the day. So today we worked off C’s schedule. With that said, she was extra sensitive and cried when we gave them their little smash cakes (we didn’t even sing!) and when she opened up her present (a doll – apparently with a scary face). It was just one of those days for her.

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The day started fine, with some silly babies who won’t sit still and give me blurry pictures!

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But C just had an off day, as you can see.

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We enticed both babies to touch their little smash cakes by putting peas on them – and it helped, tho neither ever dug into the cakes. Just gentle pokes! So boring!

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B was into staring at his cake, but not much else. He had two nice naps, so he was in a pleasant mood! After C got upset, we revisited the cake in a different, less pressured way.

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The babies opened up their new dolls and B gave his doll a million kisses and lots of hugs, which was adorable. And on the way home as we expected, C napped.

Happy Birthday, sweet babies.

 

 

From “I’ve got this” to “I have no idea what I’m doing”

Thanks to the commenters and readers of my last post. It sounds like this 11/12 month old stage really can be a doozy and yes, I’m in survival mode again.

Piggy-backing on my thoughts last time, I’m just finding it funny how a few months ago, I really thought I had this 24/7 parenting thing down pat. It’s hard to know if my mental toolbox of ideas has run dry because I have twins, because I’m with them all day, every day, or because I’m not good at replenishing it, and that’s just the kind of mother I am.

But I do know that I’ve started reacting in ways to my babies’ meltdowns that I didn’t think I would – with an almost numb quality. And by babies’ meltdowns, I’m talking about B. Right now C is my golden child (and yes, it’s now switched between them about 4 times since they were born). She reads books, she wants to learn about things, she plays with toys quietly and easily. She has dislikes and opinions, but I know what they are and I set her up for success. I try to do the same for B. He’s biting now. With purpose. He was frustrated today and he bit my leg. And then tonight, my shoulder as he came in from a hug (so not sure this one was about anger). But he bites and it really hurts. And C, she just learned where my teeth are, so now she’s shoving her fingers in B’s mouth to find his teeth and getting bit, hard. And not learning her lesson, and doing it again.

B’s meltdowns come mostly going into the car seat, stroller, or high chair. The changing table I can get past if I sing a rousing rendition of “The wheels on the bus” and hand him some random object he shouldn’t have. But those other times… I find myself not knowing what else I can do, besides wait. Should I do a song and dance routine every time he throws back his body? Maybe if he were my only child and I could concentrate just on him. But I can’t – and so I wait a few seconds, hold him in place, and then he gives up the fight and sits down. And after I hand him the toy he’s dropped on the floor of a public place for the 5th time, because if it’s the only thing that keeps him happy,  I wonder how differently I’m doing things now than I did a few months ago. What I’m seeing is that my patience level isn’t as high as I’d like it to be. I don’t want to run out of patience – once in a while, sure, but not every day. Again, I ask myself if I’m running out of patience because I have twins, because B is at a difficult stage right now, or because I’m just not the kind of mother who has a lot of patience, even though I REALLY want to be that mother. Maybe being at home with the babies 24/7 is the culprit – not that I’m taking that one for granted either, because I’m going back to work full time in September and I don’t regret this decision to stay home even for a minute.

I don’t yell or anything like that –  I’m still overly in love with these babies and I don’t take it for granted. But a few months ago, I used to use a sweet sing-song voice, “Oh, I’m sorry you’re sad. Let’s fix it.” And now it’s, “Mommy is tired and ran out of tricks. Sit down.”

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IMG_6836But he’s just so cute! He’s got a devilish grin and his personality is really taking off.

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The “easy” baby at the moment. Still feisty though, she’s learned “no” from who knows where, but instead says, “Nah” – repeatedly.

 

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As they approach their first birthday, I think every day about their birth and how far we have all come. Life is good, I just wish I had a little more patience.