Halloween 2015

Each new holiday that we have with our boys becomes more and more fun. They’re two years old, almost three. This year is the first time they understood Halloween. Through October, we all pointed out jack-o-lanterns and pumpkins in people’s yards, we visited a pumpkin patch (but didn’t have time to get a pumpkin) (I should add a post about that visit…), they picked out their costumes online, and we talked about how trick or treating works.

(We don’t really do holiday decoration at our house (partly because I’m lazy, and partly because in theory I don’t need more stuff and clutter to keep track of; I have enough piles and bins around the house and garage!) but I’m always impressed and a little envious of people who do.)

A couple weeks ago, I read this list of “Halloween Hacks” and was inspired to actually do something more Halloween-y at home. We bought four smallish pumpkins and then one evening had the boys paint them with tempera paint. They loved it! As you can see, they weren’t painting ‘designs’ or anything, just generally getting paint to cover the pumpkin. But hey, that works! It was a great activity, and they wanted to paint more the next day or two. I’d thought that perhaps I would do a monogram carving after they were painted, but I lazed out.

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I let the other two pumpkins sit until finally on Halloween morning I was like, okay let’s do this! I hadn’t done any carving of pumpkins since some time in the mid 1990s at the latest, so I wasn’t sure how I would do. It was a LOT of work and I was so awkward and jagged with the knife and I seriously have no idea how people achieve those beautiful intricate carvings. There must be different, dedicated implements as the ‘secret’ to those, right? Right?

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I made a generic jack-o-lantern face and then I made a train! It sort of looks like a creepy monster mouth, but I think the ‘smoke’ sort of helps, kinda? Again, these are not great, but I did it, dammit, so I was pretty proud of them.

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Then finally it was Halloween evening and time to go trick-or-treating! The entire afternoon was absolutely pouring torrential rain, so we waited until well after dark, after 7pm. By then the rain was more of a light drizzle and eventually it stopped altogether. We ended up going to a few spots in our neighborhood.

M and E held our hands and helped us notice houses with their porch lights on. They would climb the steps and knock their little fists on the door or push the ‘ding-dong’. We had been practicing the routine of saying trick or treat and then thank you, but occasionally they would be bashful and say nothing at first, or say thank you first. We would prompt them and they would say the right thing and smile at the people. Many of the neighbors exclaimed over their cuteness in their costumes, and they would tell what they were dressed as. As we walked away from a house, they would say something like, “they was there!” or, “I got candy!” They were very excited about the candy and wanted to eat some right away, of course. (We didn’t let them.)

Candy aside, I just really loved watching them be so excited about the whole process. I seriously died over how cute they were in their costumes, and I was impressed that they didn’t want to take them off or complain about wearing them. Plus, it made me happy to walk around holding their little hands as we did our first family trick-or-treating. They were just so small and so full of big smiles and innocence. I think this is a really special age and I felt very lucky and grateful to have this experience together, and to be able to watch them learn about all these rituals and adventures of childhood. My sweet boys!

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They got to pick out one piece of candy to eat after we got home. They were psyched. 🙂

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I hope you and your family had a happy Halloween. 🙂

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Clark County Fair, with Twins

Two weekends ago, we decided to brave the Clark County Fair. It was our first big fair experience, and it was certainly an adventure!

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First, thank goodness we brought the stroller. (I recently got a double umbrella stroller, which is perfect for this kind of thing!) We weren’t sure if we would need it, because you know, toddlers walk everywhere anyway, but we brought it just in case.

Obviously we are newbies at this, because a stroller was totally necessary. There was a long walk from where we parked to the entrance, and if they’d been walking on their own, I’m sure they would have run all over the place in opposite directions and gotten swallowed up by crowds. So it was a good containment device when needed.

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We went on Saturday of the second weekend of the fair, in the early evening. The traffic was ridiculous getting to the fairgrounds–not sure if it’s like that all the time. That meant that by the time we finally parked, walked to the entrance, and waited in line to get tickets, it was past dinnertime for the boys, so they were cranky. They kept wanting to go look at the Ferris wheel and were very whiny, but mostly they were hungry. We got a smoothie, hot dog, burger, and curly fries to share between all of us.

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We didn’t end up doing or seeing any of the kid-specific or animal stuff. We did pass the sealions, which definitely intrigued the boys. They were so focused on the rides and the kiddie stuff was off to the side and must have closed around dinner time? We didn’t leave until after 8pm.

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The first stop after getting food and ogling the Ferris wheel was the carousel. Of course they loved it and wanted to stay. However, we lured them out with the promise of checking out other rides.

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Since they were 36″ inches, there were a few little rides they could do–a tiny rollercoaster, flying elephants, and the “car-driving”. The first two looked a little bit intimidating for our toddlers, so we tried the cars. Of course they loved it. They looked around at the other kids, they waved at us, they ‘drove’ their cars.

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The number of tickets worked out exactly so that they got to go three times! The last time they shared a car. 🙂   DSC_1283_WEB

I was struck by the realization that they’re only going to get bigger and older and more independent and more capable. I couldn’t believe that we had kids big enough to go on a ride all by themselves! Even though it was the dinkiest ride possible, it’s still the gateway, if you will. Before I know it, they’ll be running off on their own to go on the highest possible roller coasters, wanting nothing to do with their dumb parents.

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Naturally, they were not happy when it was time to leave the ride for good.

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It was a beautiful night and we were glad not to be in the long lines for the big rides. DSC_1297_WEB

I couldn’t leave without getting an elephant ear, so I left all the boys to explore the the John Deeres while I got my treat. Once again, they would have stayed at the tractors all night long. They climbed up and down most of them, big grins on their faces. DSC_1336_WEB DSC_1348_WEB

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Final thoughts:

1: Going to the fair is EXPENSIVE. Parking, admission, food, ride tickets–it adds up really fast.

2: They’re at sort of an in-between age right now. Next year when they’re 3.5 they’ll be so much more capable and ready to do more exciting rides.

3: It was a lot of fun watching them explore and be so excited! I am already looking forward to our next time.

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Toddler Talk!

I think one of the best things about having toddlers is hearing their little voices, the cute ways they have of speaking, their quirks as they learn to talk. And having twin toddlers means that we get to hear them actually talk to each other–our boys totally have conversations! It’s adorable and awesome and we’re already pre-nostalgic, knowing that soon enough they’ll be talking like normal big kids.

We’ve been keeping a little list of the things they say:

“You okay, mama?” “Feel better, mama?” They’ll put their little hand on my shoulder and lean in, saying it sort of with a whisper. This then became a game, where they tell me to “Be sad” with a grin, and then I make a sad face, and they say, “You need a hug?” and then I get a really sweet toddler hug. 🙂

“I sad/I happy” They say this both genuinely, out of the blue (often related to food!). And at bedtime, if Daddy doesn’t come back for a third round of hugs, M will call out, “I sad! I very sad!”

They say “thank you” / “you’re welcome” all the time. They’re okay at saying “please,” too (and they often include the sign!). We occasionally remind them about it but they just include it most of the time. This makes me pretty happy, because it means that we’re speaking nicely to them and each other and they’re picking up on that. Hurray, we’re not failing as parents!

Of course, this is a big one: “I do it by self!” (now “myself”) Many times we will do something innocuous (like close a door) and they go all toddler cliche 101: jump up and down in frustration, face getting red, crying, “I do it! I do it!”

At the end of naptime, and sometimes in the mornings, we hear a little voice call out, “I awake! {pause} I awake!”

When having a chip or a cracker:  “Emmett choose!” “Okay, you can choose one.” “Choose two,” he says with a cheeky grin.

“Let’s do dat!”

“I want it (blank)” Like the “it” is part of the “I want” phrase. Often followed by, “I neeeed it.” (We like to entertain ourselves by asking them, “Do you want it, or do you need it?” To which they *always* reply, “I need it!”)

Funny adjectives: “Big-one cracker/small-one cracker”

They’ll walk or pedal away, saying, “I’ll be right back” or “I’ll be back in 35 minutes.” Then a moment later, “I back!”

Awhile back, we started “Talk about day” during bedtime tuck-in, where we recount the fun happenings of the day. This morphed into “Talk about it,” for things that they encountered or read about, like waterfalls, oceans, harpoons, all kinds of random things. So we give a little explanation, and then immediately they say, “Talk about it again.” Etc etc. To the point where if our explanation is ‘wrong’ they will correct us!

When they’re mad at me, or if I want them to do something they don’t like, they’ll angrily say, “No dank you, mama! Go away! Dat not nice!/Dat’s not okay! I don’t like dat!”

“Ummm no” and “Ummmm yeah” and “Okay!” are just little cute things they say all the time.

“Are you little or are you big? “I big!” (For awhile they would say, “I little.” Once or twice I’ve heard one say, “I grown up!” Ooh boy.)

Obviously learned from us: “One more minute”  and “In a minute” but it’s when we’re trying to do things like brush their teeth. They also say to us and to each other, “Walk away!” when they’re mad. We’ve never said this, so it must be something they hear at daycare.

Again, repeating from us, if they’re really upset or not feeling good, they say, “I having a hard time” with a pitiful little pout. Hugs and cuddles ensue.

They went through a phase about names. They would ask us, “What’s your name?” and we would have them name everyone. They also started saying their full complete name, including middle names. And sometimes they pretend and say other things like, “My name is…Seattle! My name is…George!”

Sometimes E doesn’t want me to kiss him, and so he gives me a face and says, “Take it back!” And I do a little pinching motion wherever I’d kissed him to ‘remove’ the kiss, and he giggles. 🙂

E also likes to say, “I puppy I kitty”. He’ll sometimes do a little mewl/whine too.

They are counting pretty well!

They love listening to the kid songs/CDs, and they’re very opinionated. Sometimes they say, “I don’t want that song” and if one of us starts singing along, they say, “No, don’t sing!” Or they’ll say, “People sing!” People means the ‘real’ song.

They’re in a bit of a clingy phase and if one of us leaves (mostly it’s only for Daddy though), they get really upset and cry, “Don’t go!” The other day I left on a walk and Emmett said, “No, don’t go. I miss you.” Aww! And then whenever we return, their little voices go, “You back now?”

If they see anything food-related, even a dish that they can’t see into, they say, “Pees have some? I want one bite.”

“Want to play blocks/read books/etc wif me?”

“You ouched me!”

Some words they say cutely: Carouself, beena (banana), water mountain, mee-yulk (milk), pack-pack, where it is?, and there are lots of words where they replace a sound with F (like “trash trucks” and “quick”).

One morning when I got Emmett out of his crib, he announced, “I snugging all my fwiends. My fwiends is cute.”

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***

And just for posterity, here are the conversations and quotes that we’ve shared on social media:

Scene in the car:

[E is holding a little bag of Legos.]
M: It’s my turn now. Pwease?
E: No. I’m sowwy. You can’t have it right now.
M: But I asked bery nicely!
E: I sorry.
M: I so sad now!
E: I sorry you sad.

***

A: (gets E dressed) You’re so stylish!
E: No, I Emmett.
*
M: Can you make me feel better give me a kiss?
Me: Sure! *kiss*
M: Thanks!
*
Me: (sneezes)
E: Bless you.
Me: Oh thank you.
E: You’re welcome.

***

A: I think if we want to find more berries we’ll need to walk over to the next row of vines.
E: Oh! Daddy, you so wise

***

I did some rosebush pruning while they were playing outside and they of course came over to watch:
Me: (grunting while snipping a bigger stem)
E: Mama, you very strong!

***
The BuddingSTEM tshirt arrived today. I told them I had a present for them.
Them: I want a present!
(They unwrap what’s in the package, I show them the choo-choo train shirt excitedly. They love trains! )
E, after a pause: I want a present!

***
M: (pointing at my arm) So many ouchies!
Me: Oh, those aren’t ouchies, those are freckles.
M: Yeah, pockles.
***
Getting in the car after the park:
E: (climbing into the front seat and sitting in it, protesting when I try to take him out) I old! I old!
***
Playing in the car (off, in the garage):
E: Love you so much! Go away!

***

M said, “Bye, see you later, I going get pizza!”

***

Totally unprompted, Malcolm walked by me and said, “Your hair look nice,” and a moment later, hugged my leg and said, “Nice dress.”

***

E: “Feed me!”
M: “No kisses!”
E: “Quiet, Mama– I talking.”

Two and a Half!

Our sweet boys are 2.5! I’m not sure if much has ‘changed’ since they turned two, but they’ve definitely grown–physically, socially, developmentally. They’re still a lot of fun (and a total handful sometimes, too, of course).

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Right now, if I had to guess their future occupations based on their current favorites, I think Malcolm would be an architect or musician. He really loves building tall and complex towers (‘cities’ and ‘houses’) with their wooden Haba blocks. He focuses really well on that. He also really likes music–he likes strumming their baby guitar (and occasionally wanders around with it like a toddler troubadour), and he likes playing the ‘drum’, and also singing.

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Emmett would be an athlete or some kind of professional eater. He really loves any and all sports and seems to have really good hand-eye coordination. And his love language is food. That child will sense anything edible (even a dish whose contents he can’t see) and immediately say, “I want dat! Please have some!” A snack will always make him happy.

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Now, to be clear–they both enjoy all these activities! But each of them seem more drawn to and ‘passionate’ about certain hobbies. Also, interestingly, based on drawing and eating utensils, Malcolm seems to be right-handed and Emmett seems to be left-handed.

They both sing a lot–mostly B-I-N-G-O, and Old MacDonald (which are often the same song in my head). And Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes, which is a song that’s always part of their dance class. (They also love this random song from a kid songs CD, called Carrot Stew. It’s fun and catchy, but beware, it is ear-wormy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BauToXBEZd4)

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On Saturday mornings, they’ve been going to a dance class at a local community center. There is a bit of singing and lots of different types of movement. They have only just recently started participating in all of it. Often they just stare, stoically, or they’ll walk but not do the airplane arms like they’re ‘supposed’ to. Part of it is that they’re really young 2s still, and part of it is that they need time to warm up and get used to new situations. Of course, now it’s been more than five months, so it’s definitely not new!

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The hilarious thing is that they now totally re-enact their dance class at home constantly. The first thing they did was toss the large hardback picture books around on the floor. It took me awhile to figure out that they were emulating their teacher, who tosses those rubbery plastic stars and circles around on the floor for the kids to stand on or walk on. So our dudes spread out books and then stand on them, and sing Head Shoulders Knees and Toes.

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Then it evolved, and they started including marching and airplane arms to this home routine. Just very recently, they started adding in commentary: Malcolm acts as the leader and says, “Everybody on your stars, sing Head Shoulders Knees & Toes.” At the end, he claps and says, “Good job, everyone!” And then he started including ‘music’. He says, “When the music starts,” and then walks over to a certain block in a bin and pretends to push it like a boombox button. (Emmett then started doing that too, with a different block in a neighboring bin.)

Meanwhile, back in class, they’ll just stare, or want to be held! Silly babies!!

Their other favorite activity recently is playing with groceries. We’ve been taking them shopping with us forever, basically, and at Trader Joe’s they get to push baby carts and put the items into the carts themselves. (Of course, they also love to start grabbing piles and piles of random things, like the entire hummus selection, or half a shelf worth of vitamins.) And they also love handing the items to the cashier at the end, which happily, the cashiers totally go along with and are great about.

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So in the last month or two, some toddler flip must have switched, and they became obsessed with groceries! They used to help put things away by taking things out of the bags and handing them to us, but now they started just wanting to take things out and put them back in again. They have to play this game together–one takes it out of his bag and hands it to the other, and one of them usually names the item, and the second one puts it into his own bag.

It’s really cute, though it’s a little annoying, clutter-wise. There are groceries–actual items meant for our consumption–and paper bags strewn around the living room and kitchen like toys.

The other huge development is repetition. “Talk about it!” “Talk about it again!” Things like waterfalls, and wind chimes, or choo-choo trains, or just ‘the day’. They’ll ask several times a day and will correct us if we don’t say the spiel correctly. The repeating-reading requests have really stepped up, too.

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And it’s clear that they’re really paying attention, because now they’re starting to actually ‘read’ to themselves! I love it so much!

They still like watching Elmo, and they ADORE watching Daniel Tiger. Awhile ago we got a few of the little paperback Daniel Tiger books, and they love them. They’re also into the Mo Willems Pigeon books (we have Don’t Let Pigeon Drive the Bus and Don’t Let Pigeon Stay Up Late). Julia’s House for Lost Creatures, Corduroy, Zoozical, Time for a Hug, This Book Ate My Dog, are some of their other current favorites. It makes me so happy that they love reading! (Though reading to them is starting to be dangerous; holding sixty-plus pounds of toddler on your lap becomes painful after about three readings! My lower legs go numb and I have to take a break.)

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One day when I picked them up from daycare, there was a HUGE rainbow arcing completely across the sky. They stared in wonder and then I played the Rainbow Connection in the car a few times, *and* when we got home I showed them the Kermit video on my iPad. That was their first time watching something on it (as opposed to FaceTime), so that plus the Kermit/the song meant that they LOVED it and wanted to watch it a lot. “More Kermie Froggy? More Kermie Froggy?”

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Other hobbies include drawing/coloring with crayons, building tall towers (“buildings”, “cities”), dragging their learning towers around the kitchen so they can stand at the counter, pretending to ‘vacuum’ (they adopted an old headset that has a long USB cord attached–they ‘plug in’ the end of it to a toy boat and toss the wire around like it’s a vacuum cleaner. That’s some imagination!), pretending to be sad/mad and asking other people to be sad/mad so they can comfort them. (They use these extra-sweet voices, and extra-gentle touches and pats, and sort of tilt their heads toward you in a very grown-up imitation. It’s pretty much the cutest thing ever.), and if they see us sweeping, then they will grab the baby broom and sweep around for a long time (which often prompts a fight over it–only the broom will do, not the mop!).

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They started playing with the camera again, loving ‘taking pictures.’ Somehow they also learned the phrase “Say Cheese” and the requisite ridiculous fake smile. Sigh.

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They still play with the toy kitchen all the time, and tell us that they’re making us ‘cupcakes’ or ‘chocolate ice cream’. They like to play basketball, and soccer, and ‘tennis’ (they can actually hit a ball with their baby racquets sometimes!). They’re a lot more social, finally, and will wave and say hi to strangers.

One of their worst recent activities is running away. When we’re walking out of daycare, or when our nanny is trying to leave the park, one or both of them will bolt away giggling madly. It’s really frustrating, and I always feel ridiculous running after whoever it is…I often have to stifle a giggle for some reason, but I’m also mad. It would be way too easy for them to veer into the parking lot or right into a car!

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They do generally love running, racing, chasing, jumping, hopping. We do a few active games around the house/yard to encourage that energy (such a difference between toddlers who have had enough physical activity and who haven’t!). I love seeing their big grins and hearing their laughs when we ‘catch’ them, or when they say, “On your marks! Get set! GO!”.

I have a toothbrushing update! My little game only worked for a few days, of course, and then they got angry and squirmy again for awhile. However! For at least the past month or two, the battle is mostly gone! We “talk about” a topic of their choosing, or read a book, or sing a song, and thankfully, they will let us brush their teeth mostly normally. Who knows how long it will last, but I’ll take it! DSC_6879_WEB

They went through a real Daddy phase at bedtime/nighttime. They only wanted Daddy hugs, and they would call him back for more and more hugs and time to “talk about” things. When there was an overnight wakeup (they must have night terrors or something, because occasionally one will just start screaming/crying out of nowhere) they would scream at me to Go Away! and squirm like crazy if I tried to pick them up, only wanting Daddy. Thankfully this has gotten less intense, and they will sometimes want a Mama hug at bedtime (but they still always want a Daddy hugs, if not multiple Daddy hugs).

They’re getting more affectionate with each other! They’ll hold hands occasionally, they’ll comfort one another, they’ll bring brother his lovey if he’s upset, and they like to give each other goodnight kisses at tuck in. 🙂 Our parent hearts just burst and melt.

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Just very recently they’re showing off their growing smarts and silliness: they’ll say, “what’s your name?” over and over, and they like to be asked their name too. But sometimes they’ll say or we’ll say a different random name, and they think that is so funny! “My name is George!” They have also starting replacing words in songs–I think this is hilarious and I can’t believe they can do that at this age. (“There was a farmer had an…Emmett!”)

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As the boys get older, there are certainly more tantrums and battles of will, but there is also so much fun, laughter, singing, hugs, learning, adventure. Toddlers are so great, and twin toddlers are seriously the craziest awesome thing.

We love you, babies!!!!!!

Motherhood: I’m doing it ALL WRONG

Last fall, I came across this article (10 Things Your Mom Never Told You) on Facebook, and it really rubbed me the wrong way. It’s that treacly stereotypical garbage that obviously means I’m an absolutely terrible mother. In fact, I’m such a bad, lazy mom that it’s taken me four months to actually get around to sharing my response.

1. You made her cry… a lot. She cried when she found out she was pregnant. She cried as she gave birth to you. She cried when she first held you. She cried with happiness. She cried with fear. She cried with worry. She cried because she feels so deeply for you. She felt your pain and your happiness and she shared it with you, whether you realized it or not.

Okay, yes, totally. Completely. There have been a lot of tears on my end. Anxious ones, happy ones, inexplicable ones. Even now, if I look long enough at them, they’re so sweet that I tear up.

2. She wanted that last piece of pie. But when she saw you look at it with those big eyes and lick your mouth with that tiny tongue, she couldn’t eat it. She knew it would make her much happier to see your little tummy be filled than hers.

What?! No way, man. I’ll give you a bite, sure, but that pie is mine!

3. It hurt. When you pulled her hair, it hurt; when you grabbed her with those sharp fingernails that were impossible to cut, it hurt; when you bit her while drinking milk, that hurt, too. You bruised her ribs when you kicked her from her belly; you stretched her stomach out for nine months; you made her body contract in agonizing pain as you entered this world.

Obviously. (Though I had a c-section [bad mother!], so that last pain was from the major surgery, not labor, in my case.)

4. She was always afraid. From the moment you were conceived, she did all in her power to protect you. She became your mama bear. She was that lady who wanted to say no when the little girl next door asked to hold you, and who cringed when she did, because in her mind no one could keep you as safe as she herself could. Her heart skipped two beats with your first steps. She stayed up late to make sure you got home safe, and woke up early to see you off to school. With every stubbed toe and little stumble, she was close by; she was ready to snatch you up with every bad dream or late night fever. She was there to make sure you were OK.

Oh, yes, I’ve had fears in the back of my mind since we found out about them. So many, too many sometimes, and they’re not even in school yet.

5. She knows she’s not perfect. She is her own worst critic. She knows all her flaws and sometimes hates herself for them. She is hardest on herself when it comes to you, though. She wanted to be the perfect mom, to do nothing wrong — but because she is human, she made mistakes. She is probably still trying to forgive herself for them. She wishes with her whole heart that she could go back in time and do things differently, but she can’t, so be kind to her, and know she did the best she knew how to do.

Eh. We have two babies. We’re doing it all wrong, probably. Ain’t nobody with two babies got time to worry about being perfect.

6. She watched you as you slept. There were nights when she was up ’til 3:00 a.m. praying that you would finally fall asleep. She could hardly keep her eyes open as she sang to you, and she would beg you to “please, please fall asleep.” Then, when you finally fell asleep, she would lay you down and all her tiredness would disappear for a short second as she sat by your bedside looking down at your perfect cherub face, experiencing more love than she knew was possible, despite her worn-out arms and aching eyes.

DUDE. I am not spending even more time NOT SLEEPING than I need to. I will hold and comfort and soothe (and I still check to make sure they’re breathing, more than two years in), but then I go BACK TO BED. Like a normal human person.

7. She carried you a lot longer than nine months. You needed her to. So she did. She would learn to hold you while she cleaned; she would learn to hold you while she ate; she would even hold you while she slept, because it was the only way she could sometimes. Her arms would get tired, her back would hurt, but she held you still because you wanted to be close to her. She snuggled you, loved you, kissed you and played with you. You felt safe in her arms; you were happy in her arms; you knew you were loved in her arms, so she held you, as often and as long as you needed.

Maybe this is a twin thing, because once they’re older than a few weeks, it’s nearly impossible to hold two babies at the same time. And now, when there are two thirty-pound toddlers demanding to be held (“up! UP! UP!!”), there is no physical way for me to do that. I have to put one down, or sit on the floor/couch, or put one in an Ergo. And I can’t carry even one for very long anymore, either. I guess I haven’t earned my mama stripes if I am unable to carry a baby more than a certain amount of time. Am I not allowed to be a mother if I give in to an aching back?

8. It broke her heart every time you cried. There was no sound as sad as your cries, or sight as horrible as the tears streaming down your perfect face. She did all in her power to stop you from crying, and when she couldn’t stop your tears, her heart would shatter into a million little pieces.

Every time? Every time? Really? You sure about that? When one of them falls and bumps his head–absolutely! Poor sweet baby, come here and let me make it all better. But when it’s 4.30am and it’s the fourth wake-up of the night and you just want to sleep, for the love of all that is holy? Nope, nothing shattering over here. Let me give you a hug and then PLEASE GO TO SLEEP.

9. She put you first. She went without food, without showers and without sleep. She always put your needs before her own. She would spend all day meeting your needs, and by the end of the day, she would have no energy left for herself. But the next day, she would wake up and do it all over again, because you meant that much to her.

I hate this idea that mothers are “supposed to” sacrifice everything for their babies, and love it. That mothers’ lives aren’t meaningful on their own, that somehow being hungry is a badge of honor of maternal pride and accomplishment. I *do* shower, and sleep, and eat. I don’t think that should be special or unique, either. (I also wear pajamas most of the day. Nothing wrong with that!) All mothers need and deserve to do basic biological things like eat, for god’s sake. I’ve said before–and I think it’s RIDICULOUS that it even needs to be mentioned–mamas are people too, and mama, YOU MATTER. Go wash your hair, go take a nap, go finish that pie–you deserve it!!

10. She would do it all again. Being a mom is one of the hardest jobs anyone can do, and it will take you to your very limits sometimes. You cry, you hurt, you try, you fail, you work and you learn. But, you also experience more joy that you thought was possible and feel more love than your heart can contain. Despite all the pain, grief, late nights and early mornings you put your mom through, she would do it all again for you because you are worth it to her. So, next time you see her, tell your mom thank you; let her know that you love her. She can never hear it too many times.

My little toddlers run grinning into my arms when I pick them up from daycare, and they have also just recently started to say, “I lub you, mama,” and dammit, there goes my heart shattering every time.

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So maybe I’m doing something right after all?

Scenes from Tonight

So the other day Emmett was playing with the empty laundry basket, and I randomly decided to lay him down in the basket and carry him as if he were laundry. And then I gave Malcolm a turn. They thought it was hilarious, I thought it was both hilarious and adorable.

Tonight we did more ‘laundry baby’. Except the cuteness factor went up by about a million. I died of cuteness overload about six times in the space of ten minutes.

Consider this as a hopeful future for everyone in the little-baby trenches, and a reminder of the good times of the toddler years (it’s not all tantrums all the time!). Most of all–for my fellow twin mamas, there is hope!

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The helping each other up thing was completely started by them! They actually refused our help–only wanting brother.

What a random, fun time. I love these guys. 🙂 🙂

25ish months old

I promised myself (and mentally promised any readers) that I wouldn’t keep doing these monthly updates. And I don’t plan to! But this past month-ish after their birthday has still been really interesting and I didn’t want to forget anything. I’m not going to take monthly photos anymore either, but will try to do the official couch pictures twice yearly.

Dear Sweet Toddlers,

It’s the end of 2014! You’re just over two years old and wow, what a ride it’s been this year. Here’s what you’ve been up to for the last six weeks.

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One thing that’s really neat is that you’re developing empathy: you give kisses or hugs to characters in books who are upset! Your Auntie got you Don’t Let Pigeon Drive the Bus recently, and on the page where Pigeon goes into a rage, you lean down and go “MWAH!”, trying to comfort him. You also try to do that for each other, except the upset brother usually pushes the hugger away.

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You both say things like, “No, mine!” “No–Emmett” when you want to do something yourself. (Which is pretty much all the time now.) The other phrase we hear a lot is, “I dod it!” which is either “I got it” or “I do it” or “I did it.”

You can both say the final “m” of Malcolm: instead of it sounding like “ma-ma”, now it’s “ma-mam”.

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You both identify each other by name but also point to each other in turn to say that you both have something: “Emmett bib, Malcolm bib.” You also volunteer your brother for odious tasks like diaper changes. “Malcolm, do you want to get your jammies on?” “No, Emmett.” “Emmett, do you want to get your jammies on?” “No, Malcolm.”  {VIDEO}

You both are getting better at taking turns and say your own name to indicate that: “Emmett turn now,” or say brother’s name after you’ve shared the toy. You also know to say “please” (which you do along with your sign for it, which is kind of rubbing your tummy) so that brother will feel like sharing. Often he won’t and someone gets upset.

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There has been a lot of upset lately about bibs and sippy cups. Malcolm, you’ve become very particular about the color of these objects. You really love having the “yey-ow one.” Sometimes it’s the blue sippy cup that you want (“boo one!”) and if brother already has it…meltdown city. Sometimes, Emmett, you’ll share your sippy cup after you’ve drunk some of the milk–you give it to brother and then pick up the other cup and continue drinking. Sneaky! 🙂 We take turns alternating the green and yellow bibs, and awhile back you started to comfort each other that the green bib has “yeyow on it”, which cracks me up.

Our night time routine has changed a bit; it’s gotten a lot longer. Now you insist on “Walk!” (but we insist on carrying you up the stairs lest you slip in your sleepsack), and when we get upstairs, first you go into our room and say, “Night night Christmas tree” and close the door. Then you close the bathroom door and the office door, and one of you usually tries to close your bedroom door (but the other one is behind you doing the same things, so we have to wait for that). We jump you into your cribs, we sing a song, we watch and then say goodnight to the animals (the projector part of your white noise machine). We give you hugs and cuddles and sing another song or two, and then put you down. Then come the “hug. hug.” demands. Sometimes it’s “mama hug” but lately it’s been all “daddy hug” meaning you only want hugs from Daddy. I try to help but you won’t take hugs from me! Poor Daddy ends up spending an extra 15-20 minutes in your room giving you both extra hugs.

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Our nanny (and probably daycare too) has been helping you start learning to put clothes on and off. Malcolm, you can put on socks, and you try to put on shoes, and you can take off your hoodie. Emmett, you still need some help.

Malcolm, you get attached to a lot of objects. Whenever we go to the grocery store (which is several times a week), you grab on to one item that you don’t want to let go of. Sometimes it’s a box of pasta, sometimes it’s a pepper. At home, you particularly love the little basketball that came with the toddler basketball hoop. You carry it around and you bring it in the car with you, and even to your crib at night! Malcolm, you say, “Daddy daddy daddy!” when you want him to pay attention to you.

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This month, we took you to Zoo Lights for the first time. It was crowded and you were cranky. (So were we.) We’ll probably wait a couple years to go again. It was also your third Christmas! You’ve really enjoyed all the Christmas lights and trees and decoration–pointing them out and talking about them.

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Emmett, you in particular have been dancing a little more, and breaking into song. Sometimes the song is recognizable and sometimes it sounds like you’re just shouting gibberish. You generally accompany the singing with swaying and/or bouncing. You’re getting really good at singing the full ABCs and also counting to ten. (Often letters and numbers will be skipped and/or repeated. You are two, after all.)

You’re putting together multiple words and phrases. Last night, Malcolm said, “Malcolm Daddy hug right now.” It’s really neat to see your communication increase and improve so much! Every month there’s so much more to what you can do and say; it’s pretty amazing. 🙂

Big physical development recently–you started actually riding your tricycles by yourself! (Of course, you guys fight over which trike to ride. Sigh.)

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You also have really gotten into jumping, on the ground. You get all hyped up and you just can’t contain your energy! I want to get one of those mini trampolines so you can jump your heart out all the time. 🙂

This month has also seen a dramatic rise in boundary-pushing. Climbing on things you’re not supposed to, touching things you’re not supposed to, standing on things you’re not supposed to…ARGH. You very obviously know you’re not supposed to be doing these things, because you always look at me with that impish grin of “LOOK WHAT I’M DOING EVEN THOUGH I’M NOT SUPPOSED TO! WHEEE!” It can be really frustrating and difficult to stay calm!

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Relatedly, you have sort of learned about ‘sorry’. Sometimes you’ll say, “I sorry” if prompted, and sometimes without prompting.

However, of course we still love you ever so much, and overall we’re still having a great time with you. We love you!