Twin Adventures

Twin girls now rule the house.

You Are a Unique Snowflake.

Throughout all the reading I did in preparation for the twins, the phrase I came across most frequently was “all children are different.” Mostly I came across it while reading about milestones. Because we all know it’s bound to happen; comparing one kid to another. The logic makes perfect sense… we don’t all learn to walk, talk, and read all at the same time. We all have different learning styles and we all learn at our own speed. But, there was always a part of me that thought.. “yeah, but, I’m sure the girls will be pretty close in terms of when they learn stuff.” So wrong.

One could claim that it’s harder not to compare your kids because they are exactly the same age, and are being raised in exactly the same manner. You’d expect them to learn everything together, at the same times. But, they don’t. And it would seem that neither one of them has a lead on the other. Watching Shula and Maretta hit all their milestones has been interesting. They seem to trade-off learning something new.

Maretta learned how to roll over first.

Shula learned how to crawl first.

Shula learned how to pull herself up to standing position first.

Maretta learned how to stand unassisted first.

Maretta has grasped feeding herself first.

It really just goes to show that two children, raised under the same roof, with the same rules still manage to grow and learn at their own rate. A lot of other moms I know can’t seem to help with the comparisons: “Mine was walking at eight months.” “Mine said Daddy at just four months.” etc, etc. I do my best not to, because it’s just obvious to me that it really doesn’t matter. Other than the charts that Baby Center sets out, I have no idea where my girls stand compared to other babies. Why stress about it? There is only one thing I’m concerned about and it’s the “Be worried if your baby hasn’t done this yet” section.

It is fun to know whether my girls are ahead of the pack and if they’re geniuses but… I usually keep that stuff to myself, because really… what mom wouldn’t claim to have a genius baby or two?

Do you have genius baby? Or do you even pay attention to the “Milestone Chart”?

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Better Weather Means…

As a kind of Part Two from my last post, I thought I would give an update as to how we’ve been spending our time lately. The girls are much more interactive and are more aware of their actions. These two things make for great and funny interactions, and make it more entertaining to do activities with them. It just so happen that we’ve been having some pretty awesome weather lately, so we’ve been heading outside.

Grass. Freshly mowed, poop-free, green green grass. In the middle of our three-building complex, there is a “club house” with a yard surrounding it. It is the perfect amount of space for the four of us to sit and play in. (Jimmie stays tied up on the concrete, so the grass remains poop-free!) The only unfortunate thing is… the girls don’t seem too fond of grass! It took us a good five minutes to convince Maretta to crawl along the grass, and another few minutes to convince Shula. Most of the time they sat with their hands up by their chest.. “Ewwww! What is that stuff?!” It was cute.

A few days later we went out to a park that was less poop-free then we would have liked. We had thought that the girls would warm up to the grass maybe another round of playtime, but it didn’t seem to change their opinion. They continued to sit with their hands up and remain in one place. Mind you, this grass was also a little brown and had some patches missing. Maybe Shula and Maretta are grass snobs? Only the greenest and freshest will do? If we don’t make it out to the grass (most days) we try and put the girls in their play yard on the balcony. Especially with the nice weather, we want to make sure that they are experiencing as much outdoor and indoor. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’ve been continuing with our evening walk; which is part of our Bedtime Routine. I’ve never appreciated Daylight Savings Time as much as I have this year. Although we’ve been doing our walk from the beginning, the fall and winter months bring a fairly dark evening. Lately when we head outside the sun is just setting behind the mountains, which is perfect because we can still enjoy daylight but don’t have to worry about too much sun in any eyes. I think that these evening walks every day really give the girls a good feel for what the outdoors are. It also gives them a chance to toughen up. We don’t usually bundle them up very much so they get a chance to experience the elements; wind, rain, snow, sun.

These days I am really looking forward to some first steps. I love taking them out in the stroller, but I am really excited to have all four of us walking around together.

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New Skills

First, I must apologize for not posting in what seems like forever. I don’t find much down time in between dealing with the girls. And, what little down time there is, there’s housework to catch up on and cuddles to be had with my man. I love posting, but when it’s between hanging out with Anton and writing a blog post… well, I think it’s obvious which one wins! To make up for my lack of writing, I’ll make sure to post today and tomorrow! Well.. I’ll try!!

Life is good the last while. The girls are learning new things every day. They’ll be ten months pretty soon… It’s crazy to think that there is only a couple more months before they turn one! They haven’t hit many big milestones lately but they are learning amazing skills. Small, but amazing nonetheless. The first one that comes to mind is their expanding knowledge of words. They don’t say much, but it’s fairly clear that they understand a lot of what Anton and I are saying to them. Here’s a few of the words they know…

  • Clap. You say clap and they clap. A new word and a new action.
  • Shake. I think this is one of the first “action” words they learnt. While holding one of their musical instruments, they’ll shake whatever they’re holding up and down. They looove that it produces a noise.
  • Hungry. When we are ready to feed them, all we have to do is sit down and say “Who’s hungry?!” and both girls come crawling over.

Just over the last few days, we’ve noticed that Maretta can stand all on her own; no support needed. Every once in a while she’ll let go of whatever piece of furniture she’s holding onto and stand unassisted for countable seconds (we’re talking about five or six whole seconds!) before she leans forward to grab on again. This morning we were forcing her to stand on her own and she did pretty well! Both girls show a lot of balance. Even though they are holding onto things while standing, it’s usually just with one hand or even just a finger. No big milestones such as walking or talking but the small things are just as amazing, especially since a lot of what’s been happening lately is brain work. You can really see that they are learning about their environment.

Bedtimes have become WAY easier. There was a period of time where it seemed like we were going backwards and losing control when bedtime came around. But, for about a week now the girls don’t make a peep once we put them down for bed. Most days, we put them down wide awake and we don’t need to go back into their bedroom. It’s great to know that all the work we’ve put into our bedtime routine and doing the same thing over and over and over and over has finally paid off!

As far as the rest of the night goes… /sigh. It’s hit and miss. We have figured out a system for our nights though. When they do wake up in the middle of the night first we’ll go in and do a soother check. Pop a soother back in and see if they settle down. We’ll give that five or so minutes before we head back in and do a diaper/teething check. We’ll change diapers and drug the babies up with Orajel and Tylenol. This doesn’t happen every night so we aren’t worried that they get it too often. Then we’ll head back to our room and see if they settle. If they don’t, after another five minutes, then it’s feeding time. Just small bottles, to tide them over until morning. Once we accepted that sometimes they needed a little more to eat things smoothed out. I think it was a bit hard for us to go back to doing a middle of the night feeding, since we really haven’t had to do that for six or seven months. We also have started keeping track of how our nights go (only for just over a week now). So far, it’s even. Just as many good nights as bad ones. Which make us feel a bit better that it’s not as bad as it seems sometimes!

The girls are still eating mostly formula and breastmilk, with three out of their five meals also including a solid of some kind. We don’t do much “table food”, we mostly stick to purees of varying textures. I’m heavily on the side of jarred food. Mostly for the convenience and if you manage to catch them on special, you can get a jar for 30-60 cents. One jar is one meal for both girls. So, at an average of .50 cents a meal.. can you argue with the cost?! We have started making our own baby food on occasion though. We bought an Oster hand blender and it is working really well for us. With most of the foods we’ve done, we boil or steam the veggies and then blend it up, add some water and maybe a bit of seasoning and it lasts us for a few days. So far we’ve done Carrots, Green Beans, Sweet Potatoes, Bananas, and Butternut Squash. Nothing too exciting, and I think a lot of people would say these are Beginner Stage foods but we aren’t in any rush to get them eating anything other than purees.

That’s a pretty decent update on the girls development. Our routine hasn’t changed much and it probably won’t until their first birthday. Stick around and tomorrow I’ll post another update on the things we’ve been up to.

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We love Space.

We live in 1200sq.ft apartment. Space is a precious commodity. 

The girls are now as mobile as you can get without walking. They crawl the length of our living room in a matter of seconds. Shula has been twisting 180° in her rocking chair for a couple of months now. This morning, Daddy caught Maretta *out* of her chair (in which she had been buckled). There is little we can do to contain them this days. But we can’t let them roam too far without having to redirect or intervene. We certainly don’t want to squash their adventurous sides though! The answer to our lack of space problem? New lay out!

Anton and I are thinkers, and procrastinators. We can’t really make any solid decisions, so deciding on a new layout that suited all of our needs and wants was a little more than difficult. We’ve been trying to make these decisions since before I got pregnant. I think we had different reasons back then though. We have somehow managed to overcome these flaws in the last few weeks. We’ve actually made some decisions, rearranged some things, and bought some new furniture pieces.

Now, after getting our living room ninety-percent done, the main word that sums it all up is… SPACE! So much space and freedom. Some might say it lacks design (“to plan or fashion artistically or skillfully”) but it works for us on so many levels. Right now, we have a couch under our bay window, our tv on a wicked bookcase from IKEA, an ottoman, a chair and our dining room table. And a small desk and chair for my computer. All of this items are up against one of the walls, which leaves a fairly empty room. The girls love being able to crawl without an obstructions and Anton and I no longer trip or bump into oddly placed furniture. (Okay, it was mostly me bumping into things).
I think one of the greatest things about it though, is that we (the adults) are more inclined to get down on the floor and be more involved. No uncomfortable coffee table to bump into our backs and lots of room to spread our limbs out. It’s also nice to know that there’s nothing for the girls to get into. All the wires and cords for the tv and computers are skillfully hidden behind large pieces of furniture and there is no longer a pile of crap on the coffee table; which was a problem because the girls could pull themselves up to the coffee table and take everything off.

We’ve fallen in love with storage bins. Not the big Rubbermaid tubs, but nice-looking storage solutions. We’ve got a bin for toys, and a bin for bibs and clothes. A bin for the dvds/games and a bin for remotes. A bin for our batteries and battery charger. Bins, bins, bins. Whoever came up with the idea of storage bins.. that person is now on top of my “OMG, You’re my favourite person EVER” list. (Yes, I have one). We’ve also started organizing and storing the girls’ toys a little differently. Montessori style; more child accessible. The computer tower isn’t in the greatest position, so we’ll move it onto the top of the shelving, beside/behind the monitor.

At the time, I really wanted to redo our living space before the girls’ arrived. I think it’s one of the things people do when they’re pregnant. But, I’m glad that we procrastinated until now. I don’t think the space concept would’ve been such a consideration before we knew what our needs would be. Now, to finish that ten percent… We need a new couch (we’re still rolling with the one Anton had before we met) and we need to get rid of the bookcase. Bookcases and babies.. not the greatest match. But, I’m really happy with what we’ve got so far. It’s the same feeling I had when I bought my Rav4. Total contentedness.

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A Busy and Exciting Week

This week has been full of new milestones and experiences. Both girls have really mastered crawling. Shula still with an army crawl and Maretta has a full hands and knees crawl. Very deliberate and perfected. Since they are both mobile, we’ve had to put a lot of thought into baby proofing. We’ve been managing alright so far; mostly by just watching them closely and moving them if they get too far or start touching things we don’t want them to. It’s a little more difficult now because they are actually pretty fast! You look away for one second and they are across the room!

Anton spent one of his days off this week dealing with our entertainment center. It’s not contained or behind closed cabinet doors, so we had a lot of exposed cables. Anton tidied it up so we no longer need to worry about it. We were/are looking into getting some new living room furniture. Our sofa and chair bit the dust a while ago and it’d be great to have some pieces that are a little more kid friendly. Although we’ve been talking about it for a while (the sofa has been a topic since we moved in together, four years ago!) we still aren’t settled on what exactly we want and, with the girls, we can’t really load up the car with new stuff so we need to be selective/smart about our shopping trips.

Okay, back to the babies… Once they got crawling figured out, it seems like they have been doing something new almost every day. After crawling Shula figured out how to pull herself up into a standing position using the furniture for support. Once we saw her do this a couple of times, we realized we’d have to lower her crib. We got to work and got it lowered that evening before bedtime. (Hooray for IKEA and their simplistic furniture!) It was just the next day when we watched Maretta grab the couch and pull herself up as well. So, lowered her crib as well. Unfortunately, this means that we can’t use their cribs as the “changing stations” anymore. The girls grew too big for the real change table a month or two ago. We got a smaller one, from IKEA, that would fit in the nursery better. The downfall being, of course, that it didn’t last them past six or seven months. So now we are changing the girls on the floor in the nursery. I told Anton yesterday, “It’s alright… getting up and down equals more cardio, right?!”
So now that both girls are pulling themselves up and standing, we can look forward to cruising (taking steps while holding onto things). You can tell that both girls really want to do it. They make the most subtle foot movements. Kinda like walking in place. And just this morning I watched Shula climb from the floor into her rocking chair. It’s so great to watch them actually learning. To see them in a tough spot with something and watch them figure it out all on their own is amazing. A good example is when they are sitting in their rocking chairs and they drop a toy. Instead of waiting for mommy or daddy to pick it up, they’ve learned to reach forward and they can pick it up themselves! I cannot wait to see what the next days/week/month bring! Being a parent is sooo exciting!

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Eight Month Old Twins

Ours girls are eight months old! Boy does time fly.

Fortunately, Anton and I are not the type of parents that are too worried about milestones. Whenever we get reading on the subject, it’s usually just to skip to the “If your baby isn’t doing these things you should talk to your doctor” section. As long as they aren’t so lacking that it’s a problem, we aren’t too concerned. Other parents are doing more than enough worrying for all of us. Because honestly.. have you ever met a thirty-year-old that can’t crawl? I don’t think so.

Putting those thoughts aside, I still like to compile a list every month. Mostly so that our out-of-town family (which means pretty much all family) can know how the girls are doing, without me having to come up with different creative ways to get it across. I love going with Baby Center; since they have the milestones all lined up nicely, and it may be doctorish but I like to arrange these milestones with bullet points.

Says “mama” or “dada” to parents (isn’t specific)

Both our girls babble. “baba” “dada” “mama” “gaga” “googoo”. I’m convinced they still have no idea what they are saying, or what/who they are taking about. So.. yes? no? I’ll let ya know when they can say “Mommy” and “Daddy” and “Jimmie”.

Passes objects from hand to hand

Oh yeah. Our babies have got this one down pat. They pass things from hand to hand, they pass things from their hand to our hand, they pass things from their hand to their twins’ hand. Objects are hard to keep track of these days. “Didn’t Shula just have that soother?!” “Yeah. But Maretta’s got it now!”. It’s not always “passing” though. Both girls have a tendency to “take” things.

Stands while holding onto things

For sure. Meta’s been doing it for awhile now. Meta loooves being praised. We’re always sure to praise when good things happen or the girls accomplish something. So, in turn, she loooves standing. Shula stands as well but she is much more interested in crawling

Crawls

Yes. Shula crawls all the over the place these days. It’s actually getting difficult to contain her. Maretta can crawl as well, although she seems happier to just chill in one place, or roll over.

Points at objects

I haven’t noticed any pointing. Well, pointing that has any meaning behind it. They do twist their hands and fingers into all sorts of configurations, but I’m not sure if any of it is pointing.

Searches for hidden objects

Yes, although this isn’t a game they seem particularly fond of. Unless it’s searching for Mommy or Daddy. With Shula’s crawling ability, she’ll come and look for you. And she’s pretty good at it too. Came and found me in the kitchen this evening while I was running a bath. (Yes, we bathe in the sink these days.)

Pulls self to standing/Cruises

Thank god no! That would mean… we’d have to lower their crib mattresses! They’re only just figuring out how to pull themselves up into a sitting position.

Picks things up with thumb-finger pincer grasp

Uh.. Yes? Possibly no… We don’t have a lot of things in the house that would be “pincer” friendly. Mostly they play with wooden blocks and large stuffed animals. Both of which require a full handed grab. We haven’t really introduced any pincer worthy foods either. Just doing Parent-Fed spoon feeding.

Indicates wants with gesture

Well, when they see a bottle they throw their hands up and open their mouth like a fish. And same when they want their pacifier. Does that count? Hm, actually.. I think those may be their only “wants”.

Miscellaneous Milestones

Teeth. Shula’s got four now. Two top, two bottom. Maretta has three, possibly four. Two bottom and definitely one top, possibly another top.

Personalities. They are showing more and more these days. Maretta is very laid back. She likes to watch and absorb the things going on around her. Shula is a bit of a diva. She gets emotional and has to have things her way. There are some things that go back and forth though. One day it feels like Shula is dominating; taking all the toys, being a bully, etc. But the next day it’s like Maretta is seeking her revenge. So, I wouldn’t say one of the girls is always the “bully” or always the “push over”. Definitely goes back and forth.

So, all in all… I think they are fairly on track with where they should be. They may not have everything down pat just yet, but why rush it? I look forward to bragging about my girls when they are walking and talking, but for now… I’ll just brag about the things they have already accomplished. While I was writing this, I happened to look ahead to the nine month milestones. Ugh. Things are about to get interesting!

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Woah.. Seven Months Already?!

Our little girls just turned seven months old a few days ago. I can’t believe it. Instead of counting up towards their six month mark, we’re suddenly counting down to their one year birthday!

According to the all-knowing Baby Center Canada, here’s a list of the milestones we could be expecting the girls to hit in the next month.

Mastered Skills (most kids can do)

  • Sits without support: Yes for both. Just in the last little while have we really started working on it. They can both do it for minutes before falling over to the side. After paying closer attention, I’ve realized that this has less to do with balance issues and more to do with distraction. They see something they want and fall in that direction.
  • Drags objects towards herself: Yes! Anything and everything they can get their little paws on! Maretta was trying to plug in and charge herself up using a cell phone charger. They haven’t gotten into anything they aren’t supposed to yet! 😛 Looks like Mommy and Daddy need to childproof a bit!

Emerging Skills (about half of kids can do)

  • Lunges forward or starts crawling: Shula has started scooching backwards, as well as getting up on her hands and knees. It’s not quite a crawl just yet though, she just stands there rocking in place. Maretta lunges forward and has started lifting her legs into a good crawling position, but her source of getting around is still rolling.
  • Jabbers or combines syllables: Yes. I wish they would take a day off from jabbering. It’s cute and all but.. really guys?! All the time?!
  • Starts to experience stranger anxiety: Haven’t really experienced this, but then again we don’t really leave them with other people yet. This may have happened a few months back, when Meemaw babysat for a night. Although that was probably just Maretta teething!

Advanced Skills (a few kids can do)

  • Waves goodbye: No.Well, they do when Anton or I make them.. but not of their own free will!
  • Stands while holding onto something: Yes! We put Maretta in the playpen the other day and put her hands onto the edge then let go. And she stood for a good ten or so seconds! Now we do it all the time. In the playpen, the crib, alongside the couch. Fortunately, she can’t get into the standing position on her own yet.
  • Bangs objects together: Not sure if I’ve ever seen it happen, but watching their motor skills, I wouldn’t be surprised if they could.
  • Begins to understand object permanence: I think they are both catching onto this one. They really seem to understand what’s going on when we leave a room.

Skills that Mommy is Proud Of (a category I made up)

  • Shula and Maretta both have two teeth. Bottom fronts for all. And my intuition says that Shula is going to be popping a top tooth through pretty soon.
  • They have both mastered the art of getting Daddy and Mommy soaked during Bath time.
  • They both make the cutest damn faces I have ever seen.

That last category shows how advanced they really are.

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6 Month Update

We’ve entered into a new chapter; “Six to Twelve Months”. We’ll start small though, and focus on just the sixth month for now.

According to BabyCenter (one of my favourite baby websites!) we can expect our girls to:

  • Turn towards sounds and voices….. Check for both! Any noise in the house deserves complete attention.
  • Imitate sounds, blow bubbles….. Check for both! I wish Shula would be a little less messy with her bubble blowing!
  • Roll in both directions….. Check for both! Maretta has got the rolling mastered. Shula can do it.. but she doesn’t show as much interest.
  • Reach for objects and “mouth” them….. Check for both! All I can say… ew, drool.
  • Sit without support….. Half-check? Meta is getting there.. maybe two or three seconds at a time. Shula, not so much. She likes to bend forward. I wouldn’t consider it sitting though.
  • Be ready for solid foods….. Big fat check! And loving it! Although we tried a Chicken Vegetable Casserole the other night… Not a fan favourite. We’ll stick with simple foods for a bit longer.
  • Lunge forward and possibly start crawling….. No! No crawling yet, thank god. It’s coming though. They’ve got the arm movement, and the leg movement. Now, they just need co-ordination!
  • Jabber or combine syllables….. No idea. Sure, they jabber but I couldn’t tell you if they’re combining syllables or not.
  • Drag objects towards themselves….. Check! We’ve certainly noticed an increase in toy interest.

So, just starting our sixth month and the girls seem quite on track. Which is nice, considering they were a bit early. We’ve definitely been increasing the amount of time they spend sitting. Our doctor mentioned it at our sixth month check-up:

“Are they sitting unsupported yet?”

“Uh… no.”

“It’s fine, it’s fine! Should come anytime now. If it doesn’t happen by eight months, let me know.”

So now, of course, I’m obsessed with getting them to sit on their own! I know, I know, it’ll happen. But still, a mom can’t wait to see her little girls reach the next big milestone! It’s not like I can start them on walking yet…..

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