Tuesday, December 14, 2010

16 Months (in retrospect)

This was another month in which the positives outweighed the negatives of toddlerhood. After enduring three or so weeks of extremely early wakeups (in the neighborhood of 5:00 or 5:30), all we needed to do was implement a two-fold plan and we now don’t see the babies generally before 7:00. (Why, oh why, do I post these things, Dear Universe?) FYI, the two-folds were respectively: (1) Do not bring Leah into our bed to get her to continue sleeping in the morning. Instead let her cry-it-out in the morning until our chosen appropriate wake up time (6:00 to start). (2) Push the bedtime later by half an hour, which sounds so DUH, but it really does go against the popular thought that sleep begets sleep. In any case, this plan was derived from the numerous emails I received from members of the Mothers of Twins club in response to my desperate plea for help. And, quite literally, it worked in two days. Miraculous! Having the babies stay up until 7:30 has yielded other benefits too, in that I can spend more time with them when I get home from work during the week. Unfortunately, the new bedtime also eats into my only “Alexis time” of the day, which is when I have been running. I have not been running so much, however, since I am injured, but our brand new treadmill arrived in the post today, so the plan is to use that instead of running outside in the wee hours. I suppose now that they are sleeping so late, I could use that extra time to work out in the morning, but sleeping until 7:00 is a luxury I just can’t sacrifice.

Elliot and Leah’s vocabularies are exploding, as predicted by Dr. Yuan, our pediatrician. Leah is particularly interested in soaking up as many new words as possible at all times. Last night, for example, she repeated the word “anchor” over and over after I read it out of a book, apparently to commit it to memory. Both Elliot and Leah know a lot of Spanish, but, according to Lina, Elliot is not as willing to speak Spanish as is Leah, which I find kind of fascinating, because, how does he know what is Spanish and what is English? Shouldn’t it just be one giant language to them at this point?

Favorite words of the month: “pocket” (for an actual pocket, but also for Dr. Suess’s “There’s a Rocket in My Pocket”), “lovey” (Elliot says this over and over as he falls to sleep), “choo-choo” (Craig has taught them about the train that I take to them on Monday through Thursday nights), “raisin”, “milk”, “truck” (or “crrrr-uck!” for Elliot), “moon” (for “Goodnight Moon” or the actual moon), “people” (for any person figuring/toy, used for the singular), “doggie” (obviously), “jacket”, “chair”, “off” (Elliot says this more often) and so many more that it’s basically no longer feasible to keep track. They are so happy when they can name things out of books or on TV and now almost always can. When asked what Santa says, they “ho ho ho” in adorable deep voices thanks to Lina. They also know most of the standard animal noises at this point. They are saying a few more two-word phrases now. Elliot says “read book” and can say many of the cars in his still favorite “Apple car book”.

Both Leah and Elliot have become quite helpful recently too. Leah always wants to help Elliot get dressed. She holds up his clothing and says “Ee-ya, Ee-ya” and chases him around with it. Leah will retrieve things I ask for. The other day, I had Elliot on the changing table and asked Leah for his pants, which she brought over right away. Then I asked for his shirt. She brought over a shirt, but I wanted a different one and said “No, the blue one” and she brought over the blue one. I can see this being very useful over time. Elliot likes to help me put my shoes on and, if I say “ayuda me”, he will help me do things like put toys together or whatever. They love helping out and I look forward to having them help with baking and other projects. Elliot is very good at sharing with his sister and will always give her one of his toys if he has two. Last night he fed her his bottle because he knew she was out of milk. And he will give her the one toy he is playing with if she seems to want it more (and she always does). Sharing is an area for development for Leah…

Eating is pretty much the same as last month, though we recently found out that Elliot loves the broth from stew, which we put into a cup for him to drink and call it “meat juice”. Yeah, kind of gross, but there’s veggies in that meat juice. They still eat a ton of cheese, yogurt, chicken dogs, noodles and other kid foods, but sometimes we can trick them into other things. Leah does really well with her own utensils. It’s still messy, but she will eat a lot more of something from her own utensil than from one I am wielding. Elliot eats incredibly well when we have the TV on. I can literally shovel food into his mouth if he is distracted by Wonder Pets or Yo Gabba Gabba, but it’s not something we are willing to do most of the time. It’s a good trick to have in our pockets during particularly frustrating meals.

Bath time has become totally insane. I end up as wet as if it was my bath time due to Elliot throwing everything out of the bath (at me) and splashing as much as possible. He goes “Whoah! Whoah! Whoah!” and purposely slips and slides all over until he falls down, creating a huge splash. Cute, but soggy. He is absolutely going to be the class clown someday. Mark my words. Leah has been practicing her swimming a bit and has recently been upset when bath time is over each night. Our little fishy.

Bedtime is still one of my favorite times of day. Since moving bedtime later, we now do bath, then pajamas and then a bit of time by the fire before reading time in their room. They love running around in PJs and going a little crazy before bedtime. After I herd them into their room, we read books until bedtime. They now ask me to read a book over and over, which is a classic toddler bedtime procrastination method. As noted above, “Wocket in My Pocket” is the current favorite book, followed closely by “Goodnight Moon”, “The Snowy Day” and “Caps for Sale”. They aren’t terribly picky though as long as we read enough stories. Leah gets her own sleep sack for me to put on (and tries to help Elliot with his) and is very happy to get in her crib for bedtime. Elliot has been having a tougher time ending the day recently, which is hopefully just a phase. He responds really well to a pat-down, but I’m trying to resist starting a new bad habit. They both will not sleep without their lovies though.

16 Months was the month of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah. Thanksgiving was celebrated at the Grandma and Jer-Bear’s house this year as per the annual rotation schedule. Elliot and Leah loved playing in the big house, especially on the stairs. They also enjoyed playing with the toys that Grandma saved from when Craig and Sarah were toddlers. It snowed on Thanksgiving, which was unusual, and the kids loved watching the snow through the window from their grandparents’ bed, where they also had some extended jumping sessions. Other highlights of the Thanksgiving trip were ripping up newspapers with Uncle Jon, dancing in the kitchen, playing in the leaves and tons of attention from everyone. We are headed back down to Philly for Christmas and, other than the car ride, we are very eager to get there.

We had our 4th annual Hanukkah party for my family at our house. Craig’s awesome latkes and my admittedly outstanding rugelach were on the menu. It’s amazing how crazy our small house was with all five cousins running around. It was a total zoo. Leah loved playing with cousin Sam, while Elliot zipped around the house like a crazy man. Our nieces, Sasha and Amanda, were hilarious as they opened each gift, barely looked at it and said “can we have another present?” in unison. Kids these days… I love these family traditions though and feel extremely blessed about life in general these days.

Here’s to hoping all of it doesn’t go to hell after I publish this post.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Was Gandhi insane as a toddler?

Did Franklin Roosevelt chuck most of his food on the floor at every meal?  Did Gloria Steinem throw giant tantrums because the only book that she wanted among her hundreds was the one her brother was currently reading?  Did Steve Jobs spend hours jumping from the coffee table to the couch and back again?  Did Golda Meir drink milk enthusiastically from a bottle, but let the same milk dribble out of her mouth all over her shirt if it came from a sippy cup?  Did Nelson Mandela refuse to have his diaper changed by flailing about like a crazy person spreading his poop all over everything in the process?  Did Margaret Thatcher force herself to be dragged kicking and screaming from the playground after every single visit while other children and their caretakers looked on with horror?  Did Winston Churchill stand up in the bathtub and throw himself backwards to make as big of a splash as possible, cackling maniacally all the while?

I certainly hope so.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I had Forgotten About the Blog Post Jinx

It comes as no surprise that after I posted that puppy-dog-farting-rainbows post about how joyous and delightful life with twin toddlers is, things went a little south. We knew we were in trouble when we were playing outside in the leaves, an activity that can keep Elliot and Leah entertained for quite some time, and Elliot literally collapsed onto the ground and started whimpering. Then his nose began to run. I literally saw the first small stream of snot and knew we were screwed. And we were. Elliot does not take well to being ill (I seriously have no idea where that comes from. Surely not my dear husband and his epic head colds.). He whined for a week straight. He went on an infuriating hunger strike. He didn’t drink his milk for a few days. Leah got the cold too. She handled this cold better than her brother, but she was still super-sensitive (more so than usual). I suppose that this harkens to the beginning of cold season and I should get used to wiping little noses a hundred times a day for the next few months. And so it goes.

How about random nugs of information?
• Elliot just can’t get enough of Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks from A to Z (aka “Car Book!!” or “Book Car!!”. It is an obsession second only to footwear and hosiery. I have it memorized. Name a letter, I’ll tell you the car(s). Every time he sees the thing, even if he just put it down, he stops in his tracks and gets this look of shocked delight on his face and says “Book Car!” It’s incredibly cute.
• “Eeewww” and “Owww” are two favorite words (are these actually words?) at our house right now. In basically the correct context. “Eeww” is generally related to foot scent and “Oww” is often said after hitting someone (backwards though that is).
• Elliot has started to tell us when he poops. He says “poo poo”. He also says it when he farts, and occasionally just for kicks, but he consistently tells us when he poops. It’s not that helpful given the olfactory warning we also receive, but it’s very cute.
• Sleeping has been okay, but not great. We still aren’t back to 6:30 wakeups since Daylight Saving Time began a couple weeks back. This past Sunday, I was up with both kids at 5:00 a.m. This is painful because then they are so tired that they nap poorly and are total disasters by nighttime. Bedtime, though, is a lot of fun. They love their bedtime book and snuggles and so do I.
• Eating remains a constant struggle. I find myself begging them to eat things like a grilled cheese sandwich, which seems crazy. They went to bed without eating much of anything for dinner a couple nights while they were sick and it had no impact on their sleep.
• I have stopped being too ambitious about what we offer them for meals since more often then not, that meal is rejected and I end up giving them something I know they will like. We still offer new foods, but not as aggressively. It’s not worth the aggravation at this point.
• We’ve become really complacent about the usage of bottles around here. Elliot could stop anytime, but we keep giving them to him because it’s easy. Leah is very much addicted, but it’s about time to break the habit. 2011 = a bottle-free year. At least that’s the plan.
• Mealtimes also offer the opportunity for me to say things like “Get the soppressata out of your hair!”
• Leah now has enough hair for pigtails and I love it.
• This past weekend’s visit to Drumlin Farm was a lot more successful than the trip we took to Franklin Park Zoo last spring. I think this is mostly due to being older, but also to the awesomeness of Drumlin Farm. Leah and Elliot could literally have admired the chickens in the coop for hours if we let them. I don’t remember it being that cool when I was a kid.
• Leah and Elliot have started fighting. Generally it is over a toy/book/lovey/stuffed animal. Generally it is the thing that Elliot has and Leah decides she wants. The only way this can usually be resolved is by giving Leah said thing and distracting Elliot with something new. It makes me feel bad for him, but she is just indistractable.
• Animal sounds that either or both twins can imitate: dog, monkey, sheep, owl, rooster (the Spanish version “ki ki ri ki”).
• More new words: Leah – pizza, chicken, lovey, noodle (this is my favorite “noodle-oodle-oodle”); Elliot – moon, poo poo (as discussed above), “ew” (also as discussed).

That is what is new at 16 months old. We are looking forward to Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas this year with more active participation from the twins. We certainly realize how much we have to look forward to and be thankful for this year.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

15 Months in Pictures

Leah is an excellent photo subject, and loves to sit still for photos (though she doesn't always smile):
Fall fun

It is very rare to get a photo of Elliot actually looking at the camera, and nearly impossible to get one of him smiling.
Playing in the leaves

Getting a shot of both babies together continues to be a challenge and I might have one shot from the past 15 months of the two of them smiling.  Here is the best I've been able to do recently (just try taking that spoon away from Leah for the photo.  I dare you):

This is far more common:
Fall fun

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

15 Months!

Given how poorly I have kept up with keeping the memories alive and the fact that my memory, in particular, is terrible, I thought I’d put in an effort to blog a little. Maybe like once a month? Maybe more? Who knows? Just don't pressure me.

Toddlerhood has been treating the Greiner family very well. Leah and Elliot are 15 months old (almost 16 months old now) and officially toddlers. We are having such a great time with them almost every day. Yes, there are moments of toddler insanity (ahem, Leah), but in general, we have very happy kids. Someone told me that the changes that occur during the second year are astounding, even more so than the first year, and I already see that to be true. Are 12 months, Leah and Elliot were just beginning to walk and couldn't say many real words. At 15 months, they are running, climbing, following commands, asking for specific things, speaking in two word phrases (Elliot), singing, dancing and just being all around fun little people.

Leah is an awesome and precocious little girl. She climbs on everything with frightening ease and agility. Like a cat, she always wants to be standing (or jumping) on the highest point in any room. She has moments of all out craziness, where she needs to be jumping on the sofa, the bed or on another human (her brother or parents). And she cackles and screams with maniacal joy. It’s pretty hilarious. She is obsessed with Elliot, calling him “Ee-ya” and tackling him from behind in bear hugs until he falls over, totally nonplussed. She also loves when she thinks Elliot is chasing her. She will sit on my lap looking expectantly for him, and when she hears or sees him coming, she will jump on me like she is trying to escape, while laughing hysterically. Leah’s laugh kills me every time. She makes this exaggerated “HA!” sound that is so funny. I basically live for laughs from Elliot and Leah and will do whatever I can to get them.

Leah is my girl. Elliot really has never really seemed to care about my comings and goings all that much, but Leah is very happy to see me at night. She is by no means attached, and happily goes to Lina when she comes in the morning, but when I come home, I can’t put her down from the moment we walk into the house until I put her into her highchair for dinner. This makes it difficult for me to prepare dinner/go to the bathroom/take my coat off, but it’s sweet that she missed me.

Leah’s vocabulary is pretty huge and growing every day. She picks up words very quickly and often surprises me with the words she knows. Some words she exclusively says in Spanish, some in English, but many she knows in both languages. Spanish words include “agua”, “sapo”, “vamos”, “libro” and more that she only says to Lina. Favorite English words are “spoon”, “bye”, “Dada”, “jacket”, “shoe”, etc. Thinking about it now, she isn’t nearly as fixated on any one word or object in general like Elliot, she is more of a generalist.

On the flip side of the Leah coin, she is also incredibly stubborn and has some serious toddler moments. She will absolutely freak out the second someone tries to take away an object that she is in possession of (toy, fork, sippy cup, bottle of diaper cream, hairbrush) and will become hysterical until she gets it back (or is otherwise distracted, which is challenging). She definitely gets away with a lot of nonsense because of the ruckus she can raise, but we tend to choose our battles and let her win if it’s not a big deal. She throws utter tantrums upon time to leave the playground, which renders whoever has to remove her into “that mom/dad/nanny” with the screaming and flailing child under arm. She still hates the car with an unbridled passion and cries much of the time in it, unless she is consuming her baba or I am singing either “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” or “If You’re Happy and You Know It”, in which case she will stop crying long enough to sing along. Generally, other songs do not work for Leah. So, basically, my daughter is either highly determined and motivated to get her way, or she’s incredibly spoiled. Let’s go with option A.

Elliot is Mr. Mellow. He is extremely high energy and would rather be running free outside or on the playground than just about anything else, but really, nothing much fazes him. He seems to have a bit of an obsessive quality to the way he plays. For example, he is very much obsessed with shoes and socks (which he also calls “shoes”). Every night when I take off his and Leah’s shoes and socks, he has to collect all of the socks and he carries them around for the rest of the night, occasionally holding them up to whoever is around and saying “SSSSHOES!” His love affair with footwear has been going on for quite some time now and doesn’t seem to be waning. I suppose it does run in the family though. In general, his slightly obsessive tendencies extend to collecting things in general. If we have multiple of the same type of toy, he will try very hard to hold all of them at once, often ineffectively. At the end of the day, we will find little stashes of thing (blocks, puzzle pieces, cars etc.) around the house. Elliot still loves to read. He has some favorite books now, which is a new development, including “Hop on Pop”, which he has shortened to “Pop”. When I read a book, he will station himself in front of me and walk backwards until he can plop down into my lap. I love that. 

Feeding Elliot can be an exercise in extreme frustration and patience maintenance. He still throws a lot of his food on the floor and will decide he doesn’t want to eat something anymore and will swat the fork away as I move to put something in his mouth. This makes a huge mess and drives me batty, but I try to maintain decorum as I’m pretty sure that he loves a big reaction from me. He also swats at anyone who is holding him and throws toys at Leah somewhat frequently. He clearly loves a reaction.

Because he is so chill and detached, the love he does give out is such a huge payoff for me. Lately, at bedtime, while he is drinking his baba, he will come to me for a snuggle. I love it so much and take advantage of every snuggle I can get from him, because he is generally not particularly affectionate like Leah is.

Other than “SSSHOE!”, Elliot’s current favorite words include “Bee-bo” (for bellybutton), “Apple!” (for any fruit or vegetable that happens to be somewhat round), “cookie”, “Bye!” (accompanied by limp-wristed wave), “sky” (for plane, unfortunately, since he used to actually know the word “plane”) and “car”. He says these things with much enthusiasm and repetition, generally three repeats, increasing in implied exclamation point usage: “Bee-bo! Bee-bo!! Bee-bo!!!” He also has strung together his first phrase, which is “Bye ___”. This has included “Bye Bee-bo,” “Bye Dada,” “Bye car,” etc. He says “bye” whenever a door closes or a book closes. It’s really charming.  Beyond English and Spanish words, Elliot has actually developed his own language.  It is comprehensive and allows him to keep up a general narrative at all times, but no one else understands it.  He will look at you directly and just begin speaking, in various sounds and word-like structures, but in total gibberish.  I am quite certain that he knows exactly what he is saying, and that it's just the rest of us that are slow.

In general, life at the Greiner household is very good, but extremely exhausting. There are very few free moments. My schedule most days leaves very little room for accomplishing anything beyond what absolutely needs to get done, and a lot of things go undone (particularly my upkeep). Here is a typical Monday through Thursday:

6:30 – Wake with E&L, get ready for work
7:30 – Leave with Craig for the train
8:15 – Work
5:15 – Train home, Craig and kids pick me up at the train station
6:00 – Arrive home, feed E&L, play after dinner
6:30 – Bath time
6:45 – Bedtime routine, lights out at 7:00
7:00 – Run
8:00 – Shower, dinner, hang out with Craig
9:30/10:00 – Bedtime

It’s exhausting, and I miss having my own schedule, as opposed to living by Elliot and Leah’s, but, obviously, it’s well worth it.

So that’s where we are at 15 months. I hope to keep up a bit with this going forward, but given that I haven't had a haircut in 6 months, I can't guarantee anything.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

'Snot Funny

It’s been pretty quiet around here. I mean on this blog. Certainly not in our house which is rife with the heavy mouth-breathing of two 9 months old with total nasal blockage. We have been told we are lucky to have made it to the 9 month mark with nary a sniffle among us. But alas, those days are over. This past week, on the heels of a trip to Philadelphia, both babies came down with a cold. For more scream inducing fun, Leah got an ear infection. Yee haw. Anyway, I, for one, am looking forward to being done with this cold and to having our nose-breathing babies back. And I am pretty sure that they are looking forward to a break from constant nose wiping and sneak assaults with bulb aspirators (man, that is a satisfying piece of equipment when it works. Who knew?).  Other than the carpet bomb of snot dropped on our home, things are good. Let’s go through the standard categories, shall we?

Sleeping: I will cover Elliot first, because he’s easy. The process of getting there can take a while, but once asleep, he’s pretty much down until morning. We had a couple of crying wake ups with this cold, but that’s pretty much it. For the moment, he sleeps through the night (until now, because I have just utterly jinxed myself). Leah, on the other hand, is our cute little sleep depriver. She falls asleep quickly with little to do, but inevitably wakes up between midnight and 1:00am and will not go back to sleep anywhere except for in our bed. This is not what we had planned for our sleeping arrangements, but honestly, it doesn’t bother me that much to have her there. What bothers me is that she wakes up at 5:30am and starts poking us and pulling hair. That is annoying. We’re living with it, but we have discussed eliminating all night feedings and not allowing Leah back in our bed at the 10 month mark (May 11). That sounds oddly familiar. Didn’t we do something like that at 6 months? It’s a work in progress. Our other sleep issue is that right now, when Leah is not sleeping in our bed, she is in a pack and play in the guestroom. I don’t like this one bit. She has a crib in her bedroom right next door, but both babies sleep much better when separated. Leah likes to go to sleep immediately and Elliot’s playing and yelling in his crib for 15 minutes before nodding up makes her really angry. And Elliot likes to sleep all night, so Leah’s waking up in the middle of the night pisses him off. So they are not terribly sleep compatible. Nonetheless, we will be transitioning Leah back to their bedroom in the near future because a baby in the guestroom permanently is not tenable or desirable.

Napping: Pretty good, thank you very much. 9:30-10:15 and 1:00-3:00 pretty much daily. Until I jinx myself by publishing this post.

Eating: Also good. This cold has made both babies not particularly thrilled about solid foods (they didn’t really like mashed potatoes last night. That must be a fluke.), but in general, they are doing great with eating and are basically just huge babies. Current favorites are CHEERIOS (OMG!), bread, blueberries, all fruit, sweet potatoes. They did not enjoy black beans or spinach. Leah likes chicken and egg yolks, Elliot not so much. If anyone reads this and has suggestions for more finger foods, I’d love the ideas. This brings us to:

Enormousness (of mind and body): We have big babies! I don’t know why I take such pride in Leah and Elliot gaining on the growth charts (I know it doesn’t really matter), but I do. At their 9 month appointment a couple weeks ago, Elliot weighed in at 19lbs 15oz, which is almost at the 50th percentile. He was in the 5th percentile or so at 1 month. He is 28.25” long (also almost 50th %ile). Leah, our little Peah-potomus, weighs 17lbs 7oz, which is about the 20th percentile. She began life below the third percentile. She is 27” long now (also around 20th percentile). I just love how substantial they are. Like little people. It’s awesome. Elliot is built like a brick. Leah is like a thinner brick. I am amazing by their strength (especially Elliot – that kid is strong and frankly, sometimes it hurts) and their dexterity (okay, Leah’s dexterity). It’s just so cool watching them grow and learn to do things.

- Leah can stand unassisted for 3-5 seconds or so now.
- Both babies can say “mama” and “dada”. I’m not positive they know what they are saying, but sometimes it sounds uncannily appropriate (like when left in their cribs against their will). It’s totally cool either way.
- Leah likes shoes. Including licking the soles thereof. Bad sign?
- Elliot loves books. And animal noises. And, most especially, books about animals and the noises they make.
- They both love other kids. It’s so great when friends bring over their kids (older or younger). Leah and Elliot are fascinated. And will try to tackle them.

Pictures to come at some point sooner than a long time from now…

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Circus Has Come to Town

Leah and Elliot are now fully mobile. Not that they are getting up and walking, but they both crawl (or, in Elliot’s case, slither) with agility and some level of grace. They both pull up on anything that they can reach with their hands. Mostly unstable, dangerous and slippery things. They both, Leah particularly, can move sideways along the things they have pulled up on (is that cruising? I think it is). It’s all really quite adorable, but also dangerous. And hilarious.
Elliot on an expedition.

Leah is very casual in her standing. She likes to hold on with one hand while squatting to pick up a toy or just hanging out. It generally works. It almost seems like she is close to standing without support. That girl is strong. She rarely topples over. She stood up for the first time about two weeks ago, so right at 8 months.

Elliot just started pulling up regularly at 8.5 months. He is getting good at it too, but will still take a spill so he needs to be watched pretty closely. He is tough though, so when he falls, he generally laughs it off.

They fight over this toy:

Hard at work.

Both need to play with it at the same time, but they don’t really “share” it so much as shove each other away from it and dominate the whole thing. Sibling rivalry is so cute.

Co-ed naked toy hogging.

Leah wants to climb everything. Particularly the bean bag chair. She throws herself at it over and over again in an attempt to get to the top. Sometimes she is alarmingly successful, but she cannot resist pausing whatever she is doing to smile at the camera.

After the Great Cherry Massacre of 2010.

Leah has two teeth now. Who knew teeth could be so effing cute?

I believe that Ell might be teething as since he seems to sleep better and cry less with Tylenol. Or maybe he just likes pain killers. I hope it’s the former.

In terms of sleep, we’ve had two great nights after a series of not-so-hot ones. I can’t even really remember why they were bad, but I know that I spent a lot of time not in bed. We’ve put Leah in the guest room pack-n-play recently and they definitely do seem to sleep better apart, but we’ll bring her back into the nursery soon because we prefer them together. Maybe we'll do it this weekend if we have a few more good nights in a row. Elliot continues to fight naps for a living. It can take him over 30 minutes to finally fall asleep for a nap (after being wrestled down by me or Lina) and then he is totally out of synch with Leah. Whatever though. They’re cute, so they get away with these shenanigans.

Long on cute, short on photographic quality.

They are doing a great job with eating their solids. At our Passover sedar on Monday, they ate all of the contents of matzoh ball soup right from our bowls. I love feeding them table food. They entertain themselves by plucking cheerios off of their trays while I prepare their meals, which is preferable to make the damned dinner faster, Food Wench. They have enjoyed most of the foods we introduce, though Leah won't stand for chicken.  We haven't yet told her that so many things in life taste like chicken. It is so much fun expanding their little palates and thinking ahead to a bottle-less, formula-less time.

Much of the area is currently underwater due to an epic rainstorm, but we are due for another warm and sunny weekend. I am so thrilled to have made it through the winter and that we are on the cusp of being able to spend most of our time as a family outside. I have a wish list of outdoor toys that I want to acquire over the coming months (water table, sandbox, lawnmower etc) and Craig is working on plans for a new flower garden, complete with Pee Gee hydrangea tree that will be perfect for Leah and Elliot to explore. It’s amazing how thoughts of spring and sun and flowers and birds and grass and tree buds can turn the collective frowns of New Englanders upside down.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Spring's the Thing

As is likely to happen when it is sunny and 70 degrees in March, the Greiner family had a wonderful weekend. Twins Elliot and Leah heartily enjoyed their first trip to a local playground for some turns on a baby swing. Parents Alexis and Craig equally enjoyed burritos and long walks in the sun. All around, a Satisfying Shift from a Sodden Series of Soggy Saturdays and Sundays inSide.

Both babies are decidedly anti-nap recently (especially Elliot who has decided that sleep is for babies). Very annoying, but I will not let it bring me down because, Hey! Look! Adorable babies in the sun (doused in sunscreen, obvs) (bonus shot of Leah, now with teethies!):

Monday, March 15, 2010

Elephants and Kangaroosies-roosies

It rained all weekend. In fact it’s still raining. Which is not good for my hair. And frankly, what is more important than my hair? I had a hair treatment done this past weekend, because I was looking more and more like Richard Simmons with every passing day. Seriously though, haven’t the Jewish people suffered enough without inflicting the Jew Fro upon us? So I sacrificed an evening to sitting in a nasty salon with my head coated in a solution containing a formaldehyde derivative. Not kidding - I basically embalmed my hair. It now looks less Bob Ross and more silken locks of loveliness, but I don’t think I can ever do it again. The protocol with this particular treatment involves not washing the hair for 72 hours. That’s a damned long time. Especially since I didn’t want the twins touching my head for the entire 72 hour period because of the chemicals that would inevitably leach into their little bodies.  No big deal for my already addled brain, but not for my unblemished babies’ brains (this is all my own psychosis, by the way.  I was not warned to stay away from small children for 3 days or anything).  Oh and I wasn’t allowed to put up my hair either for that period of time. So there’s a challenge – keeping two 8 month olds literally out of my hair while taking care of them full time. And that’s why I can’t do it again. BUT, my hair for the next 5 months or so? Gorge.

This weekend we took the babies to Russo’s, a highly crowded market that caters to the produce-obsessed and I had more than one person call me “brave” for bringing a double snap-n-go in there. I basically cowered in a less insane area while Craig did the shopping. Craig and I had a date night in Boston while Nanny and Papa did the sitting. Fun night, though Boston restaurants continue to be somewhat disappointing. What’s with servers at the nicer restaurants in this town taking themselves so damned seriously? Post for someone else’s blog, I suppose.

Elliot and Leah continue to amaze me on a daily basis. Elliot is a speed demon. I will leave him in the playroom to do something in the kitchen for a minute and he will find me there. He has little interest in playing in the playroom, which is weird because are the plants in the dining room really more interesting than, say, the 450 toys for which huge multinational corporations spent millions of dollars to test and conduct focus groups to ensure that you, Elliot George, and those in your age bracket, will enjoy playing with them? I think we all know the answer to that.

I found this upon returning to get Leah from her crib, where I left her for about 1 minute on Sunday:

Yikes. Think she's proud of herself?  Time to move down the mattresses. She much prefers to stand, than to crawl at this point, though she can crawl. She is happiest when standing. And so cute. And still krazy.

They had their first Cheerios this weekend (well, generic morning O’s - Thanks for nothing, Whole Foods). Leah could pick them up off of the tray and get them into her mouth, whereas Elliot preferred them to be deposited directly into his gaping maw. This is the first step towards feeding independence, right? So maybe someday we won’t be feeding them 7 times a day? Not that nourishing my babies isn’t a beautiful thing, but it sure is a time suck.

The time change hasn’t caused too many problems yet, though getting them to go to sleep in what was essentially daylight last night wasn’t easy. I think we need to invest in room darkening curtains, which will also give Leah curtains to climb, which she will enjoy.

"Mom! Stop embarrassing us!"

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

7-8 Months = Chock Full of Awesome Cuteness

Just what are Leah and Elliot up to these days?

Leah (aka Leah-Peah-Potomus or simply The Potomus)
  • is trying SO hard to crawl correctly. And getting close. She can propel herself forward most of the time, but can’t quite get all four limbs to work in tandem. And it’s frustrating, she wants you to know. She gets around though.
  • is really getting strong. She can pull up if she holds onto my fingers with no help. And I caught her trying to pull herself up in her crib. Almost time to move the mattresses down as she's trying to pull up on everything.
  • is crazy. She goes into “crazy-eyed Leah” mode when she is having fun. She opens her eyes as wide as possible, smiles like The Joker and sticks the tip of her tongue out. It’s awesome.
  • loves animals. We visited some friends with dogs this past weekend. Leah was obsessed. She has never been around a dog before and one of the dogs was licking her face and she couldn’t get enough. We already know she loves Calza, but these dogs were like hairy angels sent from heaven.
  • also loves animals of the stuffed variety. When I attack her with a stuffed hippo, she just about dies of laughter. Holy cutest thing I’ve ever seen in my life.
  • blows raspberries at inopportune times. Like when I have just put a spoonful of pruney oatmeal into her mouth.
 Elliot (aka The Bear or Bearus)
  • is officially mobile. The boy doesn’t stop moving. He slithers around like a snake and he does it with a purpose and a quickness.
  • is charming. And a flirt. In the supermarket yesterday, he yelled “dadadada” until a young woman looked at him. As soon as she did, he flashed a shit eating grin. She about died. How could you not. This boy is a serious charmer.
  • is just so sweet. I had him in the Ergo and he just leaned back and stared at me and smiled. Oy. Stop it boy, you’re gonna kill momma.
  • laughs spontaneously. This started this past weekend. He will just be sitting there, not doing anything of note and start giggling in response to nothing. Have I mentioned that he’s cute?
 This is a really fun stage.


Thinking Out Loud

We finally have a really good schedule of eating and sleeping going. We’ve been working on implementation for a couple months, and have finally settled into a groove. A typical day goes like this:

6:30 Wake up
8:30 1st Bottle (8oz)
9:15 Nap
10:15 Wake and play
11:00 Solids
12:30 2nd Bottle (7-8oz)
1:00 Nap
3:00 Wake and play
3:30 3rd Bottle (6-7oz)
5:20 Mon-Thurs: Pick up mommy at the train
6:00 Solids
6:30 Bath, 4th Bottle (8-9oz), Bed

This has been working out really well for us and I am reluctant to mess with it, but I'm a glutton for punishment, and so am about to screw with it. There has been talk on my MOTs board recently about the daily schedules of twins around Leah and Elliot’s age and the schedules posted have been decidedly different than our schedule. I don’t mind being different, but there are some issues arising from our schedule.  First, Leah is resisting eating enough from her bottles (as she has been doing since the beginning of her time) and that, in turn, makes it nearly impossible for her to sleep through the night of a regular basis. I think if we can get her to eat more (liquids) during the day, we’d have more nights without wake-ups. Second, it's about time to add more solids into the schedule and I don’t want the added meal to cause them to decrease their liquid intake too much further. I don't want to try to move their naps, so it’s just a matter of finagling the feeding schedule. So here is what I am thinking of trying out beginning this Friday when they hit the big 8 months(!):

6:30 Wake up (we don’t seem to have a choice on this)
7:30 1st Bottle (8oz)
8:30 Breakfast (cereal + fruit)
9:15 Nap
10:15 Wake and play
11:30 2nd Bottle
12:30 Lunch (Veggie + Protein + Dessert)
1:30 Nap
3:00 Wake and play
3:30 3rd Bottle
6:00 Dinner (Veggie + Protein + Fruit)
6:30 Bath, 4th Bottle, Bed

This will be a more difficult transition for Leah than for Elliot because she needs a bottle to fall asleep at all times and doesn’t eat well unless she is half asleep in her bedroom. Because of this, I’m not sure how this is going to work. One MOT mentioned that she feeds her babies their bottles while they are eating their solids and that they eat really well that way. Definitely worth a shot. We might need to continue feeding Leah in her room before sleep-times, but this is the final goal.

If anyone that reads this excruciatingly exciting post has any tips or comments, let me know! Gotta love fixing what ain’t broke.

Also, daylight savings time is next weekend (isn’t it?). Just tell me now, are we screwed? I don’t want to change their sleeping times from 7-6:30 to 8-7:30. How can we prevent this? Do we try to put them down a little early and wake them up at (the new) 6:30am (which will feel like 5:30am to Craig and me)? My head hurts even thinking about it. 

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A Lazy Picture Post...

Adorable pajama credit to cousin Annie.  OMG, I am dying.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The post wherein I admit I have issues.

This morning when the nanny arrived and we were doing the normal changing of the guard, Elliot made a lunge for me while sitting on the floor and bumped his head. It wasn’t a bad bump, and he only cried for a second, still though, poor baby! But actually, I was sort of glad he did it. Not because I am a sadist. Or because I have Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy, but because he lunged at ME! The twins have become a little more stranger-wary recently, but they really don’t seem to differentiate who amongst the people they know well is with them. I was admittedly getting a bit worried that they enjoyed the nanny’s company just as much (or more) than the company of me, their mom (I probably shouldn’t admit these things in public, but maybe this is common amongst those who delegate a portion of childcare to someone else?). So today, when he lunged at ME, while the nanny was sitting right next to him, I couldn’t help but enjoy it. Leah has already had a couple mom-please moments, but Elliot really hadn’t. It’s not that I was taking it personally, but fine, I was taking it a little personally. I have been warned that separation anxiety is far worse than infant indifference, but it’s nice to be recognized as The Mom.

And now I will eat his succulent brains...
Photo credit to Grandma Terry.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

When do babies get necks?

Not that he needs a neck to enhance the cuteness or anything...


Photo credit to Auntie Sarah.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Long Weekends are Indeed That

We had this Monday off for President’s Day. With my parents out of town, we had zero help and 24 hour baby duty for four full days (including my work-at-home Friday). Furthermore, we had a friend visiting from Saturday afternoon to Sunday afternoon. He loved meeting and spending time with the babies, but he was not family so we could not foist intensive baby care upon him, as much as we threatened to do so. While I love and look forward to the time I get to spend with Elliot and Leah, holy crap they are exhausting. And they don’t really even move yet. I feel so beat up by the end of a few days of constant interaction with two 7 month olds. This weekend, I sang through my (embarrassingly vast) repertoire of songs appropriate for children probably 40 times. I picked thrown sippy cups off the floor so often that I have a repetitive motion injury. We read That’s Not My Dinosaur upwards of 60 times, and then my head exploded. When I got to work on Tuesday, I threw my coat over my boss's head, whipped it off and yelled “PEEKABOO” in his face.

Another thing about the weekend is that it reminds me why our nanny is our nanny and I am paid to do something other than childcare. When Lina is home, there is order. There is a schedule, there are children with their noses cleared of boogers. When Craig and I are home, I’m not saying that chaos reigns, but things are just a little more, how-you-say?, loosey-goosey. We do not have the mental capacity to stay in the house all day, so we take the babies out. Sometimes during naptime. The horror! This past Sunday, for example, we took Elliot and Leah to the ICA and then to lunch. Sounds benign and pleasantly cultural, but it coincided with naptime. We drove around for a while once the babies fell asleep after the outing to let them get a nap in the car, but that’s just not the same as a standard 2-hour nap in their cribs. It actually didn’t turn out too badly, but the correlation between good naps and good nighttime sleep is astounding. And the more days they go without excellent naps, the worse they are at night. Monday, we decided to leave the house again (I know, WTF were we thinking?) and took them to Costco (because that’s how we do). They actually ended up with a very good afternoon nap post-Costco, which lasted until 3:30 or so. We decided to forgo the normal nap they get when Craig drives them to pick me up from the train (we emulate this nap even on weekends because it helps the babies make it to their 6:30 bedtime without total meltdowns). This was a mistake. Overnight, we had wakeups at 10:30, 3:30 and then they were up for the morning at 5:00am. Uhg. To prove my point that Lina is good at her job, after one day with her, both babies slept through the night last night. What’s that, Lina? A raise? Of course. Just give me a minute to go sell some blood. Totally worth it.

Other random thoughts:
  •  How does Elliot possibly sleep through the night when he ends up entirely soaked in urine? Am I supposed to change him overnight as a preventative measure? The kid is wearing nighttime diapers. What more can I do?
  • Leah seems to be sprouting a tooth. Nothing is visible yet, but I can feel a protrusion.
  • Elliot’s hair is growing in a mohawk pattern. I sort of hope it continues. I don’t want to be one of those moms who manipulate her kid’s hair into a mohawk, but if it happens, it happens.
  • Toys. We don’t seem to have enough of them. What am I missing that is indispensible for the 7-12 month set?
  • Are the Olympics kind of difficult to watch this year? I feel like I have watched hours of the Olympics, but all that I have come away with is that Bob Costas is very stylish and can fold the crap out of a pocket square. I know medals have been awarded, but I keep missing it happen. Though I caught some of this guy’s short program last night. Insane. Why hasn’t Christopher Guest made a movie about figure skating yet?

You're taking us out during naptime again?  You will pay.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Seven Months!

Today the wee chicken and the big bear turn seven months old!  And what feats have they undertaken?  A list:
  • They can sit totally unsupported (still with pillows around them to break their occasional falls).
  • They can get themselves into a sitting position from lying on an incline (like in a boppy).
  • They have recently started babbling, a lot.  Elliot loves his "b" sounds "bwah, bwah, bwah".  They both have "p" sounds too.  We're working on "m".
  • Leah is getting closer to crawling every day.  She can get up on her hands and knees whenever she wants and has begun to rock in an attempt to make forward progress.  Backwards progress generally results, but hey, progress nonetheless.  Elliot is close behind, but still does the swimming on dry land motion when he's trying to move. 
  • They are focusing on individual toys and are really playing with them how they are meant to be played with (Leah has been doing this for some time). 
  • They have some success with sippy cups (when the stars are perfectly aligned).
They have become quite the squirmy little babies.  I have to pin Elliot down to get him in his PJs at night.  I distract Leah by giving her a toy.  They really don't like being immobilized though and will contort themselves to roll under any circumstances. 

So we have two awesome little seven monthers now.  When I think about all the awesomeness that is to come as Leah and Elliot continue to grow and learn and gain new skills, my head hurts (in a good way).  It's almost too much to think about.  I can't wait.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

If you aren't blind from the photo in my last post...

...then here is some adorableness to gouge your eyes out with.

So, guys, what is it you do with Lina while I'm at work?

I see.  And whatcha watchin'?

Chickens.  Duh.  Why did I even ask?

Two Pump Chump

I'm down to two (full) pumping sessions a day!  (Wait, what did you think I meant?) That is two sessions (plus one mini session at work so I can keep access to the pumping room for reading purposes - shhh) from three to four recently, but over the past seven months I have pumped up to eight times per day, including waking up at least once in the night to pump in the beginning (I stopped that when the twins were around 4 months when Craig and I were away for a night at a wedding.  I passed out from, er, dancing so much, and did not wake up until morning.  Delightful morning engorgement followed, but that was the end of pumping overnight.).  I have mixed feelings about being finished with breastfeeding.  I am very happy to give up the pumping (hopefully entirely in the next month or so).  And I am very proud that I was able to provide Elliot and Leah with breastmilk for seven months of their lives (close to 100% of their consumption for the first months to about 25% now).  But it is bittersweet.  I never established a real nursing relationship with my babies.  That makes me a little sad.  When I could have been feeding the babies directly, I was hooked up to a pump (a slick hospital grade pump that I love like a triplet, but a pump just the same).  It is kind of a bummer, when all is said and done, but it is what it is and looking back on what I did wrong when the babies were little (not treating my thrush aggressively enough and nursing through the pain + accepting too much help feeding the babies, for example) is not particularly productive.  Now I am just excited to be done so I can (a) bleach my teeth (b) chemically straighten my hair (c) drink multiple greyhounds in one sitting.  

In other news, I now have a JWOWW-style paint job on my toes from letting my pedicure grow out for so long while trimming my nails.  I really miss grooming.  

This is totally the TMI-iest post in my short blogging life.  

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Picture Time!

Both babies slept through the night last night!  In honor, how about a group photo:

Or not.  Let's do these instead:

Babies (and parents) get some culture at the Museum of Fine Arts:

Sippy cups!

One more try on those group shots, kids?

Forget it.