Saturday, February 28, 2009
Laura: Nate, do you want to come in the bathroom with me while I get ready?
Nate: Yes! Hey mommy, why are there no toys in the bathtub?
Laura: I took the toys out to clean the tub.
Nate: Mommy, why are there no toys in the bathtub?
Laura: I took the toys out to clean the tub.
Nate: Mommy, why are there no toys in the bathtub?
Laura: I took the toys out.
Nate: Mommy, why are there no toys in the bathtub?
Laura: I don't know.
Nate: I'll put the toys in the bathtub.
Laura's internal thought: Which will be a more difficult struggle? Potty training times two or WHY times two?
Friday, February 27, 2009
Yesterday it was 60 so I promised the boys we could play outside after school. They decided to play in the front yard so they could ride scooters and bikes. They were having such a good time that I decided to let them eat dinner outside.
It wasn't the healthiest dinner as I quickly grabbed a selection of fruit, cheese, and peanut butter crackers, but it was a welcome easy dinner after a long week. Of course, this adds another item to my to-do list: clean off the deck furniture. But it is a welcome chore as I look forward to dining outdoors in spring, summer, and fall.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
"computer". It is a wireless keyboard that connects to the TV via a game console. I let the boys play with it for the first time and they loved it.
I like that it is durable (a must-have in a twin boy household), has age-appropriate games that teach computer fundamentals, and that it can quickly and easily be put away if someone loses computer privileges. Nate is left-handed and Alex is right-handed, so we needed something that would let us switch the mouse around easily. And I wanted something the boys can play without constant supervision and without fear of really harming our computers.
I had pretty low expectations of their first experience. Alex did about as well as I expected. He liked hitting all the buttons and moving the mouse, but didn't quite grasp how the mouse, mouse button, and cursor work together. That didn't matter... he still had a great time.
Nate, on the other hand, rocked it. He easily moved the mouse around and clicked items on the screen. He systematically pressed every button and understood what each button did.
I predict that we will soon be a three-income household as we get Nate some software consulting gigs. Here are my recommendations to prospective employers:
* Nate 2.75 is an independent worker as he likes to "do it myself!!"
* Nate 2.75 is a very temperamental employee but can easily be placated with chocolate-covered anything.
* Nate 2.75 requires a two hour mid-day nap. I strongly suggest you comply with this requirement.
Since the boys moved to the 2s room, every day they each sit on the potty four times a day. Eight potty sits a day for 9 months. And not once has either of them produced anything, even by accident. Not once!
We had a one-day booty camp the day after Christmas. It was a complete disaster, with one boy holding his stuff for hours while the other peed and pooped his way through the house. At that point, I decided they are not ready, and if they ever show any signs of readiness at school, then we'll worry about potty training.
In the back of my head, I've been freaking out a little. They can't move to the 3s room unless they are potty trained. They turn 3 in less than 3 months! We (and day care) can't do anything more to encourage them. All around us, other kids have shown signs of training and became trained. Yet for us, not even one little squirt of pee in a potty!
Last night at bedtime, Nate decided he wanted to sit on the potty. He sat and sat, talking and talking all about potty stuff. After awhile, Alex decided he wanted to sit too. After 10 minutes of them talking and laughing, I thought maybe this was their new way of stalling at bedtime, but I didn't want to discourage them when they initiated potty use so I held out. Nate gave up so I got him dressed and I gave Alex a one minute warning. Alex said, "No mommy! I pee on potty!" And then he did!!!
I finally understand why people are so freaking excited when their kid uses a potty. I cheered and danced and clapped. Alex cheered and clapped. We called Jon in Colorado and Alex proudly told him the news. Through all of this, Nate was INSANELY jealous. It was really, really bad. He wanted all the attention and kept talking about how he was going to pee on the potty and he was going to get to flush it and he would get to call daddy. So then Nate took all his clothes off and went to sit on the potty again, because he was determined that he was going to get some attention.
Is it so bad to be hopeful that Nate might potty train himself to get attention?
It took a serious amount of patience and cajoling to get both boys back into pjs and into bed. This morning, Alex woke up whining about his diaper and pj pants. NEVER good. I found him sitting in bed naked. I told him that was very bad, and he said, "I don't want to wear a diaper. I want to pee on the potty!" then he ran off into the bathroom to sit.
In the meantime, Nate did the same thing (to get attention!) and OF COURSE distracted Alex. Alex got off the potty and ended up peeing all over the floor. I couldn't have coffee this morning because I had to go do a blood test, so the morning just felt overwhelming and exhausting. Cleaning up pee, dealing with jealousy, dealing with crankiness. Argh.
I decided that getting two boys ready for school, working on potty training, molar teething + toddler whining, Jon traveling, no coffee, and medical fasting is the worst combination EVER for mommy patience. EVER.
I'm pretty hopeful we may be on the road to getting Alex trained. He proudly told his teacher at school about the potty. He talked about sitting on the potty at school. He talked about wearing underwear at home. It was a big breakthrough.
And before you post a negative comment, I am fully aware potty training is one step forward, two steps back. This is our very first step forward so let me be excited!!!
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Before the flight to Dallas, we let the boys out of the GoGo Kidz in the airport to blow off steam. Each time, Alex took off running. I would shout down the airport, "Alex! Come back!" and he'd laugh and run back to us. This was his game. At one point, I yelled to him. He stopped, turned around, yelled "Come back!" while waving his arms and put on a very grumpy face. MY very grumpy face. A stranger near him laughed as Alex openly mocked me.
Then I had the thought to make Nate and Alex hold hands, thinking that would slow them down. Nope. Alex ran and dragged Nate behind him, both of them giggling. Maybe Alex can help carry something? Nope. He took off running with a Travelmate.
Now you all know I am OCD about practice runs. And this turned out to be another example of a good practice run. All of this was managable in a small airport with two adults supervising. When I was in a large crowded airport on my own, this had to change and I wrote about the experience on HDYDI today, along with some other tips on traveling alone with twin toddlers.
Monday, February 23, 2009
Does this look like a toddler-appropriate place? No! And it was perfect. The weather was not great (so very tired of winter!) so we shopped and had coffee and browsed a bookstore and then went back to that place for drinks and appetizers. It was a very good day.
Sunday morning I got up with the kids and then went for a 9 mile training run. I was tired when I got home so Jon cooked me lunch. Then I took care of the kids so Jon could go shopping for some new dress shoes. We ate takeout, watched the Oscars, and went to bed.
I love Jon, I mean really really love him. When I got home Saturday night, he gushed about what a fantastic day he had with the boys and how much fun it was to have a boys' day. I'm so proud of him as a father and I feel so lucky that we found each other. It sounds cliche, but you want your life partner to bring out the best in you. This weekend was not about me being selfish. It was about Jon helping me maintain balance and a sense of Laura. And for that gift (and my husband), I am eternally grateful.
Friday, February 20, 2009
Thursday, February 19, 2009
I don't know the first time I "met" Lindsay. We were both part of the May 2006 Babycenter message board and eventually we found each other's blogs. We've been reading each other's blogs for well over two years. For new blog readers, I think the part of blogging that you don't see is the interaction. People leave comments, you email them back (or comment back) and over time, you learn more and more about each other.
I always liked Lindsay but this internet-friend experience is hard to navigate. You don't want to look like a weirdo when you call someone your friend but you've never met in real life (IRL). But after two years of reading posts, emailing, and sharing posts on Babycenter, you get a real sense of what a person is like. For those still questioning this, I provide this piece of proof: my own mother reads my blog daily because she says it is like getting to talk to me every day. And from all my interactions with Lindsay, I always knew she would be a person I would like IRL.
My blogfriends have been with me through some very difficult times and vice versa. They've been there every day on my mothering journey. They been with me through sleepless nights caring for sick babies. They kept my spirits high when Alex had his helmet. They cheered when Nate finally became a happy baby. They saw first solids, first steps, tantrums, terrible twos, and my growth as a mother. I've been there with Lindsay through PPD, working mom struggles, a miscarriage, a new baby, and transitioning to life with two kids. For me, my blogfriends are a big part of my support system.
I have now met five blogfriends, and each time I have been blown away by how comfortable I have felt with them. I have been blown away by how much I truly like them. And crazily enough, I like them even more in person. While I know them through their blogs, in person they are even more incredible. Meeting them in person shows me what they really look like, what they really sound like, how they laugh. And most importantly, I have been able to look all of them in the eye and see their good souls.
I'm pretty lucky to have found such amazing women. I decided I'm done with the word "blogfriend." My blogfriends are my friends. I'm 100% convinced of that after meeting Beth, Megan, Joanna, Goddess, and Lindsay. All hail the mighty power of the internet.
Now for the pictures!
Three of our boys playing bubbles - Alex, Nate, and JTC.
Lindsay operating more bubbles.
Why blog about Letter Factory separately when they can watch it together?
Back to regularly scheduled blogging tomorrow.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Jon's still in Dallas, so to spice things up tonight, I decided to let the boys draw all over themselves and each other with washable markers. Don't worry! I took pictures which I will post later this week. They needed to take an extra-long bath to get all the marker off, so they were in there a long time.
I drained the tub and as I took Nate out of the tub and dried him off, I heard Alex making a very familiar grunting noise. I looked at him and asked in horror, "Are you pooping?!?!?!?" Apparently I scared him because he stopped grunting but... a piece of poop fell out of butt and landed in the tub.
2.75 years with two boys. Never been peed on. No tub poop accidents until now. That is one mighty fine streak broken.
Nate started screaming, I mean really screaming and crying hysterically. He would intake as much breath as possible then scream, "There's poop in the tub!" then cry until he ran out of breath then scream again.
But I could not stop to worry about screaming. I scooped up a wet Alex from the tub and plopped him on a little potty, hoping to contain him and the mess. In mid-air, the second half of the poop fell out of his butt onto the floor. Then Alex started crying because Nate was still crying and Nate screamed even louder. "Poop in the tub! Poop on the floor! Alex pooped!" It was deafening. It's not like we have a huge bathroom, nor is it acoustically designed for two crying toddlers.
I grabbed a tub of wipes to clean up the mess. Why wipes? I don't know! Stupid stupid stupid. I flushed everything and it immediately clogged the toilet. So then I had to run to the bathroom closet, grab the plunger, run back, lift the lid of the toilet to stop the water before it overflowed, and unclog the toilet.
And still the screaming continued. The poop was long gone but oh yes, the screaming went on and on. With much effort and tenderness (and hand washing and butt wiping), I finally got both of them calmed down, dressed, and in bed.
I cleaned the tub. I cleaned the floor. I'm currently washing the towels in hot water. And then I am going to go enjoy a MUCH deserved glass of red wine.
Jon and I had a plan to NOT plan. We were just going to go with the flow. Libby was amazing (as always) and had coffee and breakfast ready for us each day, meal ideas, and a list of activities. Jon and I felt bad that we didn't do more planning! But it worked out perfect and hopefully one day we will be able to return the hospitality.
We visited the Fort Worth Zoo and it was pretty impressive. All of the boys had a good time checking out a variety of exhibits.
I tried really hard to get a photo of the three older boys together. This pretty much sums up trying to get photos of 2.5-3.5 year olds: eating snacks, looking away from the camera, making crazy faces. Typical.
They were a little more cooperative in a fun setting. A little.
I tried to get a lot of pictures on this trip without being overly camera crazy. Of all the pictures of the trip, this is my favorite. This is not any use of Photoshop - Alex jumped in front of the camera because he wanted his picture taken.
Monday, February 16, 2009
This sweetie pie, AlexR....
This sweetie pie, JTC...
This sweetie pie, AJC...
and my sweetie pies and their sweetie pies being cheeseballs.
See? More cheeseball.
We also met up with another Caltech friend, Anthony, although I've always called him Wayne since he looks like Wayne from the Wonder Years.
Did I mention all of us are old now and we have children? Lots of children? I wish I could say we are all more well-rested than when we were in college. I can certainly say we are having more fun.
PS. I also spent time with Jon but somehow he and I ended up in very few photos with not a single one of us together. Ack.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
So... I thought I would post my favorite videos of Nate and Alex. These are the moments we've been able to catch on film, and we have millions more like them sitting in our hearts forever. Every day with twins is crazy and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Alex the komodo dragon at 7 months old:
Nate and Alex wrestling at 8 months old. Probably not fair to say Nate was wrestling because he couldn't crawl yet. We're still not sure how we missed the signs that Alex would be an instigator.
The boys playing around the kitchen island, roughly a year old.
Click this link!
Bathtime fun, roughly 15 months old
Click this link!
The first chases, 17 months old
And who can forget popscicles at 22 months old?
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
In between traveling stints, Jon takes on extra parenting responsibilities so that I get a chance to feel refreshed. Yesterday morning I slept in while he got the boys ready for school. Yesterday evening, I quickly picked the boys up from school then headed out to dinner and a movie with a friend . Again this morning, I slept in while Jon had kid duty.
What that means is I've got nothing about the kids for the blog. No entertaining stories, no cute anecdotes, nothing about them that sparked my day. What I do have is a completely refreshed attitude about seeing the boys this afternoon. I can't wait to hear what they'll tell me about their day. I can't wait to spend some time outside with them. I can't wait for bath time craziness.
I know the traveling-spouse thing wouldn't work for everyone, but it works for us. I often feel that it gives each of us some time to be the parent we want to be, rather than lots of time co-parenting the boys. As you might tell from reading this blog, I'm the parent who lets the kids eat popscicles in winter and teaches them to jump down the stairs. Jon is the parent who has unending patience when they want to play the same game over and over for hours. We are a good balance for each other, but a key component of that balance is giving each other some space. It might not work for every couple, but it works for us.
Monday, February 09, 2009
Sunday we decided to stay at home and spend time in our backyard. The boys clearly had a case of spring fever as well because they played outside for nearly three hours with minimal supervision and minimal fighting. It was a little slice of heaven for everyone.
They played sports. (Yes, Nate is left-handed.)
They played in the trees and leaves (Alex said he didn't like short-sleeved shirts so we compromised letting him wear a shirt over his short-sleeved shirt. Toddlers.).
They played games. (I taught them to throw frisbees off the deck.)
And overall, they were gloriously happy to be outside, as were we.
Saturday, February 07, 2009
Friday, February 06, 2009
I'd love to say I always deal with the whining with positive words and actions. Most of the time, I ask him to use his words instead of whining or I do tell him I don't understand whining. Apparently not always. This little surprise came out of Nate last night.
Nate: Mommy, I'm so angry!
Laura: Why are you angry?
Nate: I'm so tired of the whining!
Thursday, February 05, 2009
Last night, I took them out by myself to a real, sit-down restaurant for dinner. This was a huge gamble because things can be dicey post-day care. But I very intelligently picked a restaurant that serves toddler snack plates to help tide them over. I even more intelligently brought them each Dora stickers. Whenever either of them started to do something unacceptable (Nate decided he wanted to go see the bathroom, climbed out of his chair, and started walking away), I gave them a warning I was going to take away their Dora stickers if they did not turn on their listening ears.
We had a great time talking and eating dinner together. I didn't have to pound my food or raise my voice. They were in such good moods they even gave me bites of their dessert. I made sure to praise them throughout dinner for being so good, and the rest of the night I talked about how good they were at dinner. I'm looking forward to more date nights with my little men!
Wednesday, February 04, 2009
Jon and I finally figured out the problem. The boys are having fun in there. They are having such a great time that no matter how tired they are, they can't wait for party time. I've had to summon up the strength to be their parent instead of being their friend. It's time to tell them to stop having fun and go to sleep. After dealing with so much fighting and craziness, it breaks my heart to tell them they can't have fun together.
Last night was a classic example. Jon's gone and I put the boys to bed at 7:45. At 9:45, they were still talking and laughing and singing. I went in their room and their eyes were swollen from overtiredness. They were manic from overtiredness. I had to be mean mommy.
I told them it was quiet time and if they talked, I was taking away their nightlights. As soon as I shut the door, Nate started talking. I opened the door and Nate handed me his nightlight saying, "I don't want it." I told them the next time I came in, I was taking away their lovies.
It was dead silent after that and they were asleep within five minutes. (And of course, they were crazily cranky this morning.)
I used to get so angry and resentful that I have to resort to being mean mommy so much more quickly than my singleton parent peers. I used to hate looking like a hard-ass, ruling with an iron fist, laying down laws, and starting discipline at such an early age. Over time I've come to realize the reality is that the twin dynamic has always been, and will always be, different. And because of that dynamic, I have to be a different type of parent.
In the future, I know they will find ways around my rules. My sister and I had a no-talking rule after bedtime. In high school, we would turn our walkmans to the same station and dance in our room with the lights out. Because those memories of nights dancing with Jamie are some of my favorites, I have faith that one day the boys will have fun together behind closed doors. But for now, party time is over because they truly do need the rest to be healthy, happy toddlers.
Tuesday, February 03, 2009
This is one case where having twins is a blessing because Nate is not picky. Nate will eat just about anything, or at the very least, he will try it. I've come to believe pickiness is a nature trait, not a nurture trait.
It all changed two weeks ago. Jon and I were eating Pioneer Woman steaks (YUM!) and Alex said he wanted a bite. Jon and I were incredulous. This is the kid who will not eat any meat other than grilled chicken and meatballs. He ate a bite (again, incredulous) and asked for more. And more. And more.
Since then, he has tried and loved:
* Jon's Five Guys burger
* Italian sausage from a tomato, pepper, and sausage pasta sauce
* Goat cheese with herbes de provence
* A sausage and egg bagel sandwich
It has been one of the most surprising developments of the last two years. This is the kid who won't eat foods that touch each other, yet here he is dipping his bread in olive oil and asking for more goat cheese.
I love it.
Monday, February 02, 2009
(Yes, we have an airport playground! We'll take you there if you come visit.)
Try to imagine how much the boys loved watching the airplanes take off and land. Mesmerized, I tell ya.
Here's my favorite airplane of the day.
Nate 2.75 never looks at the camera. Ever. But still so dang cute.
And Alex 2.75 is such a bundle of sweetness. Now that I think about it, Jon 33.83 is a pretty big bundle of sweetness too.