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.