Saturday, June 30, 2012

Progress in two parts

One week Sam officially crawled. The next week he sat back up from crawling. The next week he pulled himself up to standing. Today we'll have to drop his crib down again.
HOW do they do this so fast?? He was trying/learning to crawl for months. Now it looks like he'll be walking in no time.
Rachel has been sitting like a pro for weeks. Now she is not content to be still. She rocks and rocks and wants to be on the move. She's even getting on her tummy and knees and then gets frustrated that she can't get anywhere. It's going to take some time before she learns, so it's a matter of weighing her level of frustration before we move in to help.
When Sam got frustrated we just rolled him back onto his back because he wasn't sitting yet. When Rachel gets frustrated she doesn't want to sit she wants to 'move.' So she usually gets put into the jumperoo to use up some of that crazy energy. I think she may actually do most of her practising in her crib because the second we put her down she curls up like a little turtle or snail and we find her in all kinds of crazy positions.
I kind of look forward to her being mobile as I'll know what she wantsand she'll be better able to defend herself against Sam's attention. Right now he has the upper hand as she can't move away from him when he wants to pull her hair or give her kisses or is oblivious to the fact that he's sitting on her lap or her back. However, then I'll have to switch modes and start teaching 'no' to both of them.
Good times. Busy times.
Both Sam and Rachel are super huggy right now. I'm loving it.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Water Play

Although Sam appears to be the one with the outgoing personality, Rachel appears to be the one who embraces new experiences.
Yesterday was my sitter's last day. We'll all miss her a great deal and hope to see her in the fall when she's back at school. It was a gorgeous day so I decided we should take them to the waterpark. We had a great time but it was fascinating to see how differently the twins handled the new experience.
Case in point: The Swing!
Rachel went first and was almost too busy watching other kids to really be aware that she was swinging in the air all by herself. (Just like the first time on the weekend with Daddy.) She did have a faint smile and her arms stiffened and shook a little as she learned to trust the swing would hold her. Then she happily, calmly swayed in the air while we tried to get a bigger response.
Sam on the other hand made it immediately clear he was not interested in this AT ALL. The first time he was fearful from the start of being put in and cried as soon as the swing moved without my hands on him. The second time he cried from the moment I put him in even though my hands were still wrapped around him while I moved him back and forth. Needless to say, this ended very quickly.
Case in point: The Water
To slowly introduce them to the concept we walked to the edge of the water park where the water was pooling slightly on the ground and held them so they were standing in the water. The water was cold but only a couple millimeters deep.
Rachel shivered and looked fascinated at her feet and made a lot of cute faces.
Sam complained and turned to crawl back up my body. Again he made it very clear he was not interested.
So the sitter took Sam back to the blankets to sit in the shade and watch the big kids play, which he was happy to do. I took Rachel and walked around the water park some more giving her the chance to feel the spray on her legs and arms and even putting her feet in one of the streams of water. She clearly enjoyed it, kicking her legs and breathing rapidly, eyes wide, hands reaching, body shivering with tension. It was such fun to watch her and see her responses.
Both of them loved watching all the kids play and run around. The highlight for Sam though was a puppy that came to say hello, a little boston terrier. Sam watched with total fascination and laughed at every unexpected move the dog made. I thought he was going to crawl out of his skin when the dog came and licked his hand.
It was a great day outside overall. We actually went for a walk later in the afternoon too. All this outdoor activity ended with Rachel's best night sleep ever! 7 hours straight from 11:30 - 6:30! Woohooo!!
Sam on the otherhand was up every 2.5 hours.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Acrobatics

I finally discovered how Rachel moves herself around her crib so fast. She turns onto her tummy and pulls her knees underneath her, then kicks at the matress doing a shoulder roll. This explains why she ends up all scrunched at the end of her crib with her legs hanging out. For a baby that doesn't crawl, she sure is strong.
As of yesterday Sam is able to sit back up from crawling around.
It's amazing how fast they change!!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Privileged

When I was struggling with infertility I hated going down the baby isles in the grocery store or the drug store. Those isles that contained the diapers or baby food.
Sometimes it was because I would have to fight back tears seeing all the baby products. Often I just felt conspicuous being there. Felt like I had a label on my back stating that I did not belong there.... may never belong. And in a mall I would never, ever go into a children's clothing store. Would not even cast my eyes in that direction.
And now that I need things in those isles and stores, I cannot help but feel an almost overwhelming sense of privilege when I ponder the products there. When I am leaving a store and everything in my cart screams èI have children!È I want to slow down so people can see it. I know no one else cares but it just means so much to me that I still sometimes want to shout it from the rooftops.
I love telling people I have twins and I love being out in the world with Sam and Rachel. Being their Mommy is a privilege every day.
This week I got a hug from Rachel, my first very deliberate hug from her. It felt amazing!!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Permission

One thing I really aspired to as a Mom was to make my own baby food. It's something that isn't hard to do and it's less expensive than buying baby food. I wanted that domestic aspect and looked forward to feeding a baby, seeing all the mess they could make, have feeding be a fun time.
The reality with two babies though is everything is a little harder and takes more time and more clean up is required.
Making your own baby food is time consuming. And it's hard to get a large variety of foods in the freezer stockpile when two babies are eating it.
We're two months into solid foods and I'm proud that they have a pretty good variety of veggies in their diet. However, I'm struggling with protein and a large variety of fruits. I'm also struggling with quantities and get frustrated if they won't eat something and I have to throw most of it out when it takes so much effort to get everything, including them, to the table at the right time.
So, as with every twin thing, I asked my friend with twins what she does. And she looked at me in shock, "Oh Stacey, you're trying to make their baby food?!?"
Now this is a woman who is very do-it-yourself. She's a strong supporter of breastfeeding, an advocate for natural everything, low environmental impact, etc. She even describes herself as a bit of a hippy.
But she buys baby food for her twins and knowing that somehow allowed me to give myself permission to do the same.
I'm not saying I'm buying apple sauce in tiny jars. However, today we went out to superstore and I bought a cupboard full of jars of mixed foods.....foods that I wouldn't easily be able to make myself or would be time consuming to do in bulk. Pear and black currant, apples and strawberries, apricot and mixed fruit, veggie and beef, veggie and turkey. That kind of thing.
I am committed to continuing to do the items that we eat often ourselves: butternut squash, yam, carrots, peas, avocado, spinach, banana, apple, blueberry, chicken, egg. That kind of thing. But I want the babies to get a big variety of foods and I don't want to have to make it all in bulk in the next 4 months. It's just too much work.
I'm very pleased with this new change and look forward to feeding them more in the next few weeks.
Both of them quite enjoyed the outing to the store too. :)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

8 Month Rachel

Today Rachel is 8 months old.
Say what!?!
 Rachel is often totally straight-faced whenever we pull out the camera but this shot is proof that she's a very expressive girl when she wants to be. :P
She marked the day by eating more of her solid meals than she has any other day. She also had only an ounce of milk at a time.
She is also celebrating her 8th month mark by staying up late. She had a late nap and just would not fall asleep in her crib. So she's happily, silently playing in the living room by herself right now, smiling whenever we do anything to acknowledge her. Such a sweet baby!
Today for the first time Rachel would cry whenever I left the room. So I was carrying her or them both everywhere all day.
Today I finally put up the gate that will close off the dining room as a big playpen area for the babes. It's the one place I know is totally baby proof and they'll be safe whenever I'm running in and out trying to get stuff done during the day. I'm sure I'll spend lots of time in there with them too.
 Me and Rachel decked out for Daddy's birthday at Grandma and Grandpa's place.
Playing tug-o-war with Sam. Rachel totally won.
I love you so, my Ray.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

8 Month Sam

Today Sam is 8 months old.
Firsts happen almost daily.... so I'm going to try to capture some of them this month as they occur.
Today he deliberately played fetch with me for the first time. Meaning I fetched what he threw down (a cloth), again and again and again. Perhaps I encouraged this by putting it on his head each time I picked it up, which he found quite funny.
He drank from a sippy cup for the first time today too. It only took a minute for him to figure it out and start sucking to drink the water.
I do adore my boy. Here are some recent pictures.
I know what you're thinking. Everything in this picture is too cute to be real. But I assure you two of them are real live creatures.
 Gnawing on his sister's soother.
 Sam woke up from his nap with a wicked hand print on his face today. It looked painful it was so dark but also funny. So I had to take a pic:
Love you Sam!!!

Helping Hands

We've been blessed to have amazing help along this journey with the twins. For the first 5.5 months my Mom lived with us during the week and went home most weekends to recuperate. 
Then she shortened her helping weeks to 3.5 days to have more time to recover and let us slowly get used to other help and being more independent. That other help was a young university student who has been awesome help for 2 or 3 afternoons a week for the past 3 months. She's helped with Sam and Rachel as well as done housework a couple of hours each week. 
This has freed me to go out with one babe and socialize or, lately, go out alone and get things done like grocery shop or running around town. 
However, she's going back home to Ontario for July and August and that means I'll be on my own every day  all week long.
This isn't scary for me the way it once was. Sam and Rachel are better at being entertained by themselves and waiting for me to do whatever needs doing. But I'm really going to miss the break it afforded me and the help with the house. It's been wonderful knowing the house is relatively clean each week.
Knowing my 'time off' is limited also has me thinking about all the little jobs I was hoping to get done while on mat leave..... sigh, I just don't know if I can fit them all into the next couple of weeks. Or if I even want to try. 
Will think about it. And maybe start with a list. :) I love my lists!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Baby Book

This blog has basically become the twins baby book. And I'm nowhere close to writing enough to satisfy my desire to hold onto the special moments. So many little things happen daily and they pile up so fast I don't get a chance to write them all down. So I procrastinate until I have time to write it all down and more and more time passes and those little things get forgotten.... lost in time. This makes me a little sad but also determined to continue enjoying each day as it comes.
So here's a little summary of where we're all at.
Both babes sit very well now. Sam followed within a week of Rachel.
Rachel now sleeps on her tummy, rolling over even for her naps. I miss seeing her sleep on her back with her little hands tucked behind her head.
Sam is now making (very slow but determined) forward momentum when crawling. And he's nearly able to sit back up from crawling. This new freedom is resulting in more interaction with Rachel.... toy stealing has begun. Luckily the only real issue Rachel has is when Sam takes her soother. Funnily enough even if he just finds a soother on the floor and start chewing on it, Rachel takes offence. Her bottom lip goes out and she lets out a seriously offended cry, pauses to see if he's still got it and cries again. It's quite funny actually.
Both are over the initial gagging when eating food with texture to it. Although there are no teeth yet for either of them, we now have oatmeal and blueberries for breakfast in the morning. Sadly, eating solid foods has now made Sam quite disinterested in breastfeeding. I'm not sure what to do about this except try to breastfeed first before offering solid foods. I still pump once or twice a day to ensure Rachel gets at least one bottle of breast milk every day. I want to continue breast feeding but I'm still not sure if I want to go a full year. It's just so much less expensive than formula and it's better for them. I want them to have the benefits... I will probably just continue to play this by ear as I've been doing for the past 4 months. I'm actually rather stunned that I've lasted this long.

Some moments cannot possibly be captured in words or on film. They are just little pieces of magic that take my breath away and have to be remembered:
- Rachel laughing at Sam in the nursery after feeding, him laughing back, triggering her to laugh and it goes back and forth again and again and again.
- Sam chewing on the orange kangaroo on the jumperoo as I helped him stand and Rachel's face turning to pure delight but not really smiling.
- Rachel's new high high pitched little squeal when she's happily playing or just lying on the floor.
- Sam's loud roar and delight in the noise he can make and him smiling ALL the time! Even when Rachel cries because he's being too loud. ha ha ha
- How Sam now clamps his legs around your waist when you pick him up. He's such a baby monkey suddenly, all over the place, constant movement.
- Sam grabbing my face, hair, shoulder, whatever he can and giving great big sloppy kisses.
- Both babes wrestling with the large stuffed bunny and chick. They are as big or bigger than the babes are but they
- Playing peek-a-boo with Rachel in her crib, popping up from below and seeing her smile, anticipating your surprise.

These are good days.