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.