Twin Adventures

Twin girls now rule the house.

Toddler Beds

Just over a week ago we took the side rails off of the girls’ cribs. No real reason behind the change, it seemed like it was time for another “big step” and it was either this or potty training (not looking forward to that one). We didn’t experience either of the girls’ ever climbing out of their cribs or causing injury to themselves while they were sleeping. They have both been sleeping through the night since they were five months old and rarely cause any trouble when going down to sleep. Converting the cribs seemed like a good next step.

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We decided to go with the same technique we used when we originally did sleep training: Controlled Crying. Now, our girls are 18 months old so “crying” isn’t usually the right term to use but it was the same concept. We’d put the girls down after our bedtime routine, tuck them in and leave them be. We’d set a 10 minute timer and until it went off we didn’t go into the bedroom (with the exception of loud bangs or hurt crying). When the timer went off we’d head in and redistribute babies, blankets, soothers, and stuffed animals. Not a lot of attention was given; just a quick kiss and a firm “goodnight”. Even if they just hopped out of their beds before we reached the doorway, this was all that we did. No trying to get them to stay in their cribs, no talking to them. We wanted to make sure they knew that we meant business! Once or twice we tried sitting in the room with them and keeping them in their cribs but, as they do with most everything, they really enjoyed the attention!

Toddler Beds

Last night was our ninth night of no crib sides, and since we started the amount of trips we’ve had to make into Shula and Maretta’s bedroom has decreased every night. Shula seems to stay awake a little longer than Maretta does; each night the last one or two trips have been to put just Shula to bed. The amount of trips listed are any trips we made into the bedroom to restore order. They don’t include the original “tuck in” or when we poked our heads in to see if they were actually sleeping or just being quiet.

1st night: 7 trips

2nd night: 5 trips

3rd & 4th night: 4 trips each

 6th & 7th night: 3 trips each

8th & 9th night: 1 trip each

We definitely had to make some changes to their bedroom in order for this “being loose” to work! Any loose anything needed to be moved out of their room. Extra stuffed animals, loose clothing, shoes, etc. etc. In our house, the girls have the master bedroom so they also have access to an ensuite bathroom. Our creative solution for the time being is to prop their old crib side rails against the closet-style door so they can’t open it. A bit mickey-mouse but it works for now!

I’m really impressed with how Maretta and Shula are doing. I read about a lot of horror stories about parents having to go in upwards of thirty times to put their kids back down, and I thought “How’s it going to be with two of them?!”. And it wasn’t that bad. As with any other thing we’ve “taught” or “trained” them at… it just takes a slightly thought out plan and consistency! Always with consistency!

Extra Tidbit: I would highly recommend getting your little one(s) to sleep through the night before you convert their cribs or move them into toddler beds. Need help? See Sleeping with Twins.

 

Next Big Step? Potty Training…

 

ps. Don’t get excited.. not even thinking about potty training yet.

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Christmas Cards

This is the second Christmas that the girls have been around for. Although we think they are still too young to start traditions that they understand, we’ve already got a few things that we’ll continue for years and years to come. A Christmas photo shoot followed by Christmas cards are the first thing we take care of once the holiday season rolls around.

Pinterest is my enemy and I find many pictures of cute photo shoots that I’d love to do with the girls. They are only 18 months so still a bit young to follow direction, which means that I usually pass up on these cute shoots and instead just try and work on getting a picture with both of them smiling and in focus. If you’ve read my post Photography, you’ll know just how difficult that can be.

Christmas 2011

Last year (6 months old) we wound up doing a couple of different “winter” themed photo shoots. During our first snow (sometime in November) we plunked them down for their first “snow experience”. The other winter photo shoot we did was of the girls in their Christmas Jammies. We put them in their Bumbos in front of the decorated tree and also in front of a “decor” tree in their bedroom. No one was really co-operative for any of the photo shoots, but we ended up going with one of the photos from their Snow Day.


Winter 2011Christmas 2011

This year the girls are actually aware of their surroundings and I managed to get them sitting still, where I wanted them for a few seconds at a time! Those of you with toddlers know how difficult this is.. those of you without toddlers, you are so lucky. I went with something simple: I didn’t want to try and get too creative and have to deal with subduing any temper tantrums that would most certainly show up. I grabbed one of our white quilted duvets and threw it over our sofa chair. I completely arranged our dining room so I could capture the daylight coming in from the largest window in our apartment (actually the sliding glass door that leads to the balcony). But it was worth it! Both Maretta and Shula were in great moods and seemed to agree with their clothing choices. Although I did spend about half my time chasing at least one child around the house, I did get some pictures and a few of them were even usable!

Christmas 2012 Christmas 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maretta, enjoying herself immensely!                     Shula, pulling her look-how-cute-I-am face.

Christmas 2012

Christmas 2012

The Chosen Picture.                                                           The Final Result!

 

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Road Tripping with 16-Month-Old Twins

At the end of October, my biggest sister got married. I’m guessing mostly due to the cuteness of toddlers in formal wear, the four of us were asked to attend. There are few people that I would go out of my way to please and my sister (Cheryl) is one of them, so we RSVP’d and started planning our first road trip with the girls! And not only was it a road trip, but it was a 16-hour drive road trip down to San Jose, California. Anton and I are planners; whenever we’ve done a road trip in the past (we’ve done two or three down to San Jose) it’s been planned out almost to the hour. This trip was no different. If anything, it was an indicator that both of us have a strong type-A personality inside, fighting to get out.

Our first decision was: Plane or Car. I think most people would opt for the plane ride. It’s faster right? Less travel time, more relax time. This is not what I thought at all when I started going over the pros and cons. First off, the airplane is ridiculously expensive! If we were going to fly, we were all going to have our own seats. The airlines that I looked at do not offer a discounted price for children (even those under the age of two) if you are getting seats for them. Most do offer an “on lap” policy: you only purchase seats for the adults and the children spend the flight on your lap (I’m skeptical about trying to keep a toddler on my lap for two hours). Secondly, we’d have to manoeuvre around two different airports while towing two toddlers, their car seats, their luggage, and our luggage. In addition, we would have to rent a car once we got down there (again, expensive and I was terrified of the extra charges we’d get if the girls happened to get car sick!).

So we decided on our trusty Toyota Rav4 to bring us down and back again. We figured the girls would be a little more comfortable in an environ-ment that they were in on a daily basis and if there were any meltdowns to be had… they were private meltdowns that only annoyed Mommy and Daddy! Being in the car also allowed us to stow away treats and toys into organized bins that were just an arms reach away. And we also had access to the things that we already had stowed in the car on a regular basis (Hello towels and spare roll of toilet paper!). On the money side of things we found (with the help of our researching and our Excel spreadsheets) it was more cost effective to fill up the car three or four times then to buy plane tickets and rent a car.

Now that one of the biggest decisions was out of the way, scheduling was next up. Maretta and Shula run on a good, firm schedule. We’re flexible of course, but for the most part the girls wake up, eat, and take their naps at the same times every day. We wanted to maintain that schedule even though we’d be in the car for a total of sixteen hours and staying a different hotel almost every night. We managed to do just that. We made sure to schedule our stops for roughly every two hours, at cities/towns that would have the right kind of amenities for us (read: food and a good place for the girls to stretch their legs). Some breaks were half hour stops that included having something to eat, and other breaks were just 10 or 15 minutes for the girls to run around. The PlayPlaces at McDonalds were an excellent pit stop. Nice and contained, it allowed the girls to run around without Mommy and Daddy having to follow right behind them.

Every night we stopped between 5pm-7pm and did the Bedtime Routine just like we would anywhere else. Walk-Bath-Bottle-Story. The biggest difference for them, I think, was sleeping together. The girls each sleep in their own crib and have since they were about a month and a half old. They are both movers and seem to enjoy having their own space. To keep things as home-like as possible, we had decided to bring two play yards, but the car was full enough with just one so we decided to leave the borrowed play yard at home. This didn’t turn out to be a problem. Although it took them a little longer to get to sleep, Maretta and Shula did an excellent job sleeping together. I was really surprised; this was probably the one thing I was most worried about.

The trip went really well. No meltdowns, no unforeseen problems, we didn’t forget anything, and other than at the actual wedding (200 strangers are not their idea of a good time!)… I think the girls enjoyed themselves! Oh, Anton and I did too.. surprisingly fun and a nice, short get away. It probably depends on the attitudes that you and your spouse possess but I would recommend driving over flying, especially if you plan it out properly and make sure to set your expectations low… that way you can be surprised when it turns out really well!

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