Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Hullo...uuuum

For a long time Sam and Rachel have had pretend phone conversations with everything from a business card to a string to a play phone. Talking on the phone is one of their most frequent acts throughout the day.

From the very beginning their conversations have always started with Hullooo, hullo?

They've built up from there to the following:
"Hullo Huuloo
Gama! Comee? (Grandma, Coming?)
Papa! Comee!
Bye Bye!"

Repeat ...many times a day. Until this week Sam when added the following:
"Hullo,
Uuuuum, Uum Uuuuuuum Uhm
Bye Bye"

I guess the conversations I have over the phone are not that fascinating.
Toastmasters would, uhm, fail me!


Thursday, December 5, 2013

New words

This week both Rachel and Sam have started trying to say Sam's name. 'Rae Rae' is still easier for them but when we ask them to try 'Sam' Rachel says something like 'Djam' and Sam says 'Nam.'
It's adorable!

We put up the Christmas tree last weekend and they thoroughly enjoyed helping decorate. However, we've had a few instances of them taking the balls off and bringing them to me. They know it's not to play with but they can't quite resist touching and then picking the decorations off oooooh sooo carefully before saying 'uh oh!'

Today it is snowing and I'm at work. It's the first time they've seen snow as far as they remember anyway and I look forward to it accumulating enough that we can take them out for a walk/play in it.

It's going to be a magical Christmas!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Second Halloween... technically third

Had a fabulous time trick or treating.... far better than I ever thought possible. We went out with 4 other families so there were 11 kids in all. And Sam and Rachel really took their cues from the other kids. By the second or third house Sam was going up to the door and opening his little bag and Rachel was never more than a step behind. 
Sam made sure to remark on all the 'Punkeh' (pumpkins) and described them all as 'HAPPY' and the skeletons were HAPPY too which relieved me. There was only one house that scared them and it was when scary sound effects started, Sam turned on his heel and was done with that one even though other kids (the big 3.5 year olds) went anyway.
Rachel seemed to stick very close to Daddy, while I had to stick right by Sam or he would have walked on his own pretty happily. Because of that I feel like I missed half of the experience with Rachel but that is always the case.
Here's my little Pebbles and Bamm Bamm before we left.

 I managed to sew one side of each of their costumes together and just safety pinned the other side in case they didn't quite fit over their shoulders with their coats on. They did fit but I'm glad I did that anyway.
Here they are in action....oh yes, Pebbles appropriated the bamm bamm stick about half way through and Sam only got it back at the very end.


It was a very successful outing and my theory remains in tact - keep your expectations low and you will never be disappointed.
I wanted the costumes to be simple and fast to make but recognizable. Done! Everyone knew what they were.
I wanted them to knock on doors and enjoy/participate in this weird tradition of getting candy. Done! They walked the entire route by themselves, held their bags out and carried their own bags the entire time. That shocked me and made me proud. 
We probably went to 10 houses and that was plenty. And the very best part is they're still too young to understand that what they got was candy! So when it's all gone tomorrow, they won't know to ask about it. Woohooo!

Monday, October 28, 2013

More and more adorable

Soon we will have to cut Sam's hair for the first time. But until then I'm taking a lot of pictures of his luxurious locks of golden hair. For a child that came into this world looking a little ...hard done by? ... he sure has become a beautiful boy. He just needed some hair!
Here they are all dressed up for their birthday party.


 Sam showing off his new hat, a gift from their friend Lucy, a fellow IVF baby. Am I biased or do the doctors really do pick the cutest little embryos ever?
 Sam was a much better blower than Rachel when it came to the candles but it still took a bit of practise.

 He was a little surprized when the candle actually went out.
As they get older, I think this is what I'm going to miss the most...
 them running into my arms for hugs....
 them snuggling in for hugs....
 and the wrestling and tickles and kissing that happens as part of being so physical with them.
 Sam and Rachel both love stickers and picking the one they want is getting to be a longer and longer process.
Rachel in her hat. Oh it is glorious and so is she!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Two Two

It's official! We have two two-year-olds!

We had a good celebratory weekend with a couple of small friends over on Saturday for gifts and cupcakes. Then on Sunday I took the kids up to Grandma and Grandpa's early so that Daddy could get things done around the house and garage and get a night 'off.' Then he joined us on Monday for Thanksgiving and more cake and presents. It went very well overall and is definitely something we'll do more of over the coming years.

Sam quickly figured out how to blow out the candles. Rachel was determined to make it happen and took her quite a bit of practise. Every time she blew her bangs would fly up but the flame wouldn't flicker. So she kept trying and we kept relighting them until she was satisfied with the experience.

Sam and Rachel are showing some solid 2-year-old behaviours - some of which I love and some of which I will tolerate until they pass. :) I love the role playing that is starting and the preferences for specific clothes. I don't love the unreasonable attachment to specific outcomes which they can barely articulate but mean the difference between happiness and total devastation. All I can tell is it has something to do with wanting to not sit at the table to eat and the whining nearly makes my ears bleed.

I love their mispronunciations: Coat is a new word but they say 'coke.'
Sam said snake today quite clearly, ok it was more like shnake. So if he can say shnake, why not sham? The both still call Sam RaeRae if they need to use a name. But they also call other women Mommy if they need to get their attention, so names aren't that meaningful to them yet.

We all have colds right now which we succumbed to after the celebrations. Since they were small, I've had a routine of squirting saline in their noses before bedtime to help clear their sinuses so they sleep better. They do not enjoy this but they know the routine and they are usually oddly compliant for most of the process. (Daddy calls the little syringe the snot buster.)

So last night, I got out the snot buster and gave Sam the little spit up blanket to lay on the floor while I put some saline into a glass. Sam diligently waved and fluffed that blanket trying to get it to lay flat. After I helped, he quickly lay down, saying 'noe,' pointing to his nose, clearly aware of what was coming. I held his head tipped to one side and squirted. He gagged, I sat him up, he declared, 'Done.' I said, "one more side." He lay back down, I tipped his head to the other side and squirted. He gagged and I sat him up to give his nose a good blow. He was so agreeable with the whole thing, so happy to prove that he knew the process even though he doesn't like the experience. My sweet, sweet children!

That's all for now.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The New News

I don't post nearly enough to keep track of when the kids reach specific milestones and that makes me feel a bit sad. I'm pretty sure I might care someday but right now I'm so caught up in living with these two constantly changing creatures that I don't have time to document cute firsts.

In fact I usually don't even have time to share them with Andrew. Except when a first happens right in front of us both. Like Wednesday night when Sam banged his head, not hard, just hard enough to warrant him making an obvious point of sticking his lip out and pretend crying while he came for a round of hugs. But that night instead of getting/requiring a hug from daddy and then getting a hug from mommy, he stopped and required a comforting hug from Rachel too! She was a little taken aback at first, unsure why this phoney crying brother was getting all up in her face. But when he hugged her she clued in and hugged him back, playing the game of 'comfort the hurt baby.' Adorable!! They are starting to include each other in their play!

Anyway since I miss so many firsts I will attempt instead to do little 'moment in time' updates to reflect where they are right now.

Right now at 23 months:
Sam and Rachel walk into daycare on their own two feet and don't even need a hug goodbye. One day this week I got high fives, the next a patient, questioning look, "you're still here?"

At daycare pick up I rarely get hugs anymore. In the last few weeks instead of little bodies plastering themselves to me I get very enthusiastic "Moommmmyyyyy! Daddy daddy daddy, home, go, car!"
Makes my mommy heart a little sore. Some day will the feel of their bodies be foreign to me? How is that possible when right now their bodies are more familiar than my own? The feel of their legs wrapped around my waist, their arms around my arm, shoulder, neck. Their bellies pressed against my legs as they lean in shyly, or against my back when I sit on the floor and they want a piggyback ride. Their heads, hair, chubby cheeks against my cheek, against my lips for one of the hundred kisses that day. I know my children in such a physical way and it surprises me how much I love that because I'm not a very physically affectionate person with friends or family. But I digress... feeling a little melancholy I think.

This week Rachel transitioned from being creeped out by her doll to role playing with her and calling her 'dawrly' and 'dawlr.' She feeds her and undresses her and gives her sips of water.

Rachel has also developed a passion for the cat. She is consistently gentle with her and will sit beside her on the carpet, petting and talking to her at length. Perhaps this is a result of Grandma giving Rachel the plate of cat food to put down for the cat at mealtimes? Now Rachel will not eat her own dinner until she has fed Pepper! Thanks Grandma for teaching Rachel about compassion and responsibility. It's a bit of a pain in the aaaa for Mommy but it's also pretty cute. :)

This week Sam learned to undress himself from his PJ's.... in his crib, when he was supposed to be going to sleep, he instead stripped naked and was quite proud of himself. I have a feeling this will become a nightly ritual.

Sam still sometimes prefers to be in our arms in the chair before bed. And he sometimes still tries to delay bedtime by giving me kisses.... every 3 seconds until I finally call in Daddy or put him in his crib. I believe this will end soon as he's much more comfy in his crib than in our arms but he still wants us to be in the room with him. If we leave for more than 5 seconds, he has a meltdown.

Sam narrates our drives very consistently now, 'bike!! bye bye! Gone, all gone." The bye bye and the gone are said in a soft, forlorn voice... heart breaking until the next Bike! These little hearts break and heal at lightening speed.

Both Rachel and Sam are testing out boundaries to see if they get the same punishment as their sibling just received. Sam does this in a very deliberate way, watching us watch him do the forbidden activity and then seems very pleased, even relaxed when he gets the same punishment. Rachel repeats the forbidden activity with vigour as quickly as she can to see how much she can do it before she gets the same punishment and is then completely OUTRAGED that she receives it.

This is getting very long so I'll stop now and try to make these posts weekly rather than monthly.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

My Daddy

When we were on vacation we went to a little ice cream place every night after dinner. They had two big windows with all the ice cream in big buckets and 60 flavours to choose from... Ok a big ice cream place!
One evening we walked with the kids so they were standing around the front of the windows with us as we chose our flavours for the evening. Another couple was there ahead of us trying to decide.
Rachel had been walking with daddy on the way over but at some point when we arrived he stepped away from her or she stepped away from him. When she refocused she went to the closest pair of daddy legs and snuggled up, rested her little hand on his calf and tilted her head close.
You know where I'm going with this right?
Those legs weren't her daddy's legs.
Some comment from the man or his wife caught our attention. It was something kind and gentle but I immediately looked over and saw what was happening.
I called her name and she looked at me but didn't come over. I encouraged her to come and she looked away rested her head more firmly on the man's leg. The man smiled, tried to catch her attention by saying hi, gently touching her hair.
Andrew beside me called her, 'Rachel daddy's here. Daddy's over here.'
She looked at Andrew, looked at me, smiled and wrapped her arm more tightly around the man's leg. We laughed and the other couple laughed.
'Rachel come to daddy, daddy is here.'
She kept looking at the two of us. You could see her mind very slowly processing what she was looking at -mommy, daddy... mommy, daddy...daddy, me.... Leg.... pause....
Her smile faded and she slowly pulled dropped her arm as she tilted her head back to see whose leg it was. And as her head tilted up, her little mouth tilted down in a frown of pure fear. When her eyes locked on the stranger's very kind face she started crying.
Andrew was kneeling by then with his arms out to her and she ran into them.... And stayed in a big bear hug for a good 5 minutes. She didn't leave his arms until we had left the store and were at the park to eat the ice cream.
I'm sure it won't be the last time one of them mistakes a stranger for one of us but it was the first and it was both hilarious and heartbreaking at the same time.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

First family vacation

We did it! We had our first ever family vacation. We went to Penticton for a week and kept our expectations simple and it was a great success.
Ther isn't a whole lot you can do with two little toddlers as far as grown up activities. So we centred everything around their needs and focused in being together and outside as much as possible.
The single best thing we did was book a motel with a perfect location, right across from the beach, close to a park and a water park. S every morning we went to the kids playground for some exercise and fresh air, then it was back to our one bedroom suite for snacks and naps all around. After naps we did lunch and then embarked on our messy activity for the day, generally the beach or a water park. Then it was home for dinner (having a full kitchen made a huge difference in simplifying our days) and after that we got ice cream from the little place around the corner and went to the green space park for running around.
Repeat for 5 days.... Or pretty close to that anyway.
The kids slept in two play pens that we brought with us, so the bedroom was tight but it worked. I think they really liked waking up and having us be so close to them.
It wasn't a fancy vacation but I don't think that is possible with little ones unless you brought a full time nanny with you.
Overall the car rides were long but relatively peaceful. I worked hard to keep them happy with snacks and toys and playing with their feet. We had about 45 minutes of screaming from Sam on the way there and the way back but 45 minutes out of a total journey of 8 hours is pretty reasonable for two 22 month old babes.
They turned 22 months and they really aren't babies. Sam is starting to string ideas together to narrate what's happening around him. This afternoon he fell down and I noticed and he said, "bum, down!" Then hopped up and said,"up!"
Rachel just shone on this trip. Her strength and determination to do things and go places at her own will is a sight to behold. She is like a little spider climbing up slides and then sliding down them. She loved the sand and water at e beach and didn't care much how cold she got. When she was blue we'd wrap her in a towel to warm up but she never stopped wanting to dig and fling sand and squash our sandcastle attempts. And she loved grabbing our hands and dragging us around after her to go places.
Sam on the other hand was a little more high maintenance. He does not like to walk on sand even in his shoes so he stayed on the blanket and did his best to play in the sand with his hands while perched at the edge of the blanket. It never really worked so he got kind of cranky and would eventually just want to be on our laps. So we had a lot of snuggle time with Sam. He did love the water though and once he got wet he didn't want to get out.
Both the kids really enjoyed having the both of us with them at all times. It's the longest period they've had with us both because at home we often trade off care of the kids in order to get other things done or have some alone time. But on vacation we were all together all the time for an entire week!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

21 months old

Sam and Rachel are 21 months old and growing like weeds. They are 25.8 and 27.8lbs  and getting taller by the day. (Not sure quite how tall but I'll get that measurement soon... As soon as they stand still long enough.)

They are both working on their two syllable words. Sam has quite a few but today added 'wheel.' Rachel has recently added dirty, and crakuh. And they both sound like they're trying to string several words together at times: eegohi = I got it is the most common, ahdohn = all done is second.

They are both super huggy although they seem to want to climb me more than sit on my lap. The best game they have going is to run around the house and every time they pass me, they run into my arms. It takes great skill on my side to avoid getting a broken nose or losing my front teeth in the process!
They are learning to share more every day, which is inevitable with twins. I have to say I'm impressed with the strides they've made in just the past two weeks. I didn't expect this concept to sink in for a while yet... And their willingness to do so is increasing... I think Rachel is actually a bit better than Sam right now.

We celebrated my and my Mom's birthdays in July and we also went for our first ever family bike ride. We made it all the way to Matticks' farm for ice cream. The kids were adorable in their great big helmets and didn't complain about them at all... perhaps because Mommy and Daddy were both wearing them too. I managed to get there and back trailing both kids, about 80lbs.  It was tough but I'm really proud that I did it. Next time Andrew can do it!

We had family visiting for the past 2 weeks and it gave me the opportunity to experience the dream of having my twins sleep in the same room. Funny how dreams can become nightmares. :( Seriously, it was awful. We were all up 2 or 3 times every single night. And getting to sleep in the evening would take hours! So that dream has been layed to rest indefinitely and Rachel will get her very own girly room which I'm now determined to decorate appropriately so it's not just a spare room with a crib in it.

We are about to embark on our first ever family vacation which I'm very excited about! I have very simple expectations for the trip and it's only a week long. We'll go to the beach, swim in the lake, play in the playground, and nap and sleep and eat. That's it! Maybe we'll manage some bike rides if we need some adventure.

I will post again soon with pictures!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Looong weekends

Long weekends are good for everyone. Especially when they include a visit from my Mom and Dad who love the kids and who the kids know and trust. They even gave hugs right away to my Mom who they hadn't seen in over a month! Andrew and I actually got out for a dinner, just the two of us, which we haven't had since the beginning of April.
We spent Canada day morning at the park and then came home for snack and naps. The afternoon was a quick lunch and then off to the Canada day celebrations with lots of sunscreen and plenty of snacks. The kids were great, way better than I'd hoped actually. I figured the heat would make them cranky but it really didn't. There was a nice breeze to keep them happy and we didn't stop moving the whole time we were out.
We were home by 4 for a much needed dip in the pool on our deck. By then the water was bath temperature warm and Andrew cooled it down by bringing the sprinkler up on the deck and letting them play with it in the pool. That kept them happy for a whole hour! Rachel was particularly thrilled with it and even when the water eventually ran very cold she didn't stop playing with it until she was shivering and her lips were blue. A good snuggle in the towel with Daddy helped warm her up.
Sam spent most of his time bailing the water out of the pool onto the deck, which helped cool it down for our feet so we weren't going to complain. He's working on his two syllable words: waadl, waaduur, wadhu. He saw a lot of water this weekend due to the great heat wave and so he had plenty of reason to be pointing it out all the time.
Thank God for long weekends, Grandparents, and plans for change as we move forward.

.... I wrote this a week ago, not sure why it didn't post when I scheduled it to.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Pics ... cuz there aren't enough of them here

Rachel as Obiwan
 Sam Skywalker... or maybe a little Yoda?
 Bedtime stories

More bedtime stories.... that is a futon mattress on the floor of the nursery where Mommy or Daddy sleeps with Sam when he wakes up in the middle of the night and 'needs' us to stay with him. It lived there for just over 2 weeks and was used nightly... it may come back anytime.
 Sam loves all things mechanical, especially things that make noise and he can push around. The vacuum is his favourite thing in the whole world right now.
 Two little monkey's tucked into Mommy and Daddy's bed. Rachel loves pulling covers up over herself.
 Rachel working on walking in Mommy's high heels!
 Start the CAAR! Rachel fit perfecting in the Ikea bag.
Sam never cared much for pull toys that rolled along behind him. But a heavy blender with rubber feet that bangs and jolts and thumps behind him is perfect.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Complaining Works

I had a friend once tell me that I take setbacks too well. I'm starting to agree. This 'stiff upper lip' thing, this 'I can do it I just have to try harder' thing, this 'I will find a way and it will all be better soon, I'm sure' thing..... it's a load of crap.
As soon as I complained publicly about how crap things were (see last post) everything got better. That night the kids slept better and sleep has continued to improve since then. Last night we had a perfect night. Both kids slept 7:30 - 6:30. Beautiful, beautiful sleeeeeeep!! I can't remember the last time that happened, it's been months.
Maybe it has nothing to do with the complaining and things just ran their course but I have to wonder what is the benefit of keeping quiet and hunkering down? What is the benefit of putting it out to the world that things suck? I don't expect help but if help shows up on my doorstep, I'm grateful for it. Help doesn't have a chance of showing up if no one knows it's needed.
I guess the issue I have is, I don't want to be someone who cries wolf. I want to be someone who if I'm saying something is wrong, people know it's really really wrong. But what if I really need help and no one is there to help?
Only once in my life have I been in a situation where things were desperate and I was crumbling and I did not get the support I needed. I asked for it as clearly as I was capable of asking at that time and it didn't come...not in the way we all needed (I count all of us as me, my Mom and Andrew because we all needed additional support in those first 4 months and we didn't get it.) So I resumed my 'I have to handle this on my own cuz there is no more help available' stance and we got through it. We coped.
I don't want to cope through these early years, I want to enjoy them. That's why I went on medication when the babies were 3.5 months old. That's why I'm considering going back on it again.
And I know things are on the upswing.... the kids are healthy, the sun is shining, work is slowing down, so do I really need meds or do I just need more time? I don't know at what point to draw the line. I do know there are other things that would also help. So I'm going to start putting those other things into action first and we'll see how things go.
Starting this week, every Tuesday is my night 'off.' As of 7:30, I'm officially free to do whatever I want. In addition, I'm going to start walking again, not with the kids, I do that plenty enough. What I need is 'off-duty' hours where I know I won't be called on for anything. I'm also going to find a way to have monthly date nights with my hubby because it benefits us greatly to have alone time away from home with no possibility of interruption. I'm also going to schedule regular massages because DANG my back works insanely hard picking these two kids up aaall day long, sometimes at the same time and it hurts. Physical pain and discomfort does not help mental stress, it aggravates it.
So that's where I'm at.....
And in other news.....it can wait till tomorrow or whenever. :)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Plagued

We have been sick more often than healthy here at chez Gillan for the past, er, mmmmh, six months.
It is June!!!
We are supposed to be enjoying the healthy days of sunshine and fresh air. Instead, we are outside with runnynoses, intermittent fevers, wierd rashes, cranky attitudes, no appetites and on very disturbed sleep. The past 2.5 weeks have been particularly ghastly, non-stop illness. I'm miserable, the kids are completely unpredictable from one day to the next. And right in the middle of that Andrew came down with a wicked illness that left him totally incapacitated for 4 days. So I was single parenting my way through this misery.
Need back up!! Send in the reinforcements!!
Really all I need is for my kids to be healthy. I can handle things ok as long as they are healthy but we truly have been sick more days than not since January. I'm questioning my ability to continue working. I'm questioning my choices.
I need consistent sleep. I need a break. I need to know the kids are okay and right now they aren't and I don't know when they will be.
Things seriously suck.
That is all.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Growing Up Before Our Eyes

I'm back from a fantastic visit with friends and family. Rachel was a perfect dream of a toddler for the whole trip. She slept like a pro and ate like a 15 year old boy...... crazy appetite these days!

Her language has taken another jump this past week too and I like to think the new experience of travelling and new people and evironment, as well as all the attention she got helped her want to vocalize. She's repeating sounds more and more and now definitely has about 10 words.... not very clear words but given a specific context you can generally figure out what she's trying to convey. Moh = more. Kahka = cracker or cookie.

I missed my sweet boy while I was gone but boy was it ever a treat to only have one toddler to tend to. It really felt like a vacation.

Sam's language is continuing to blossom as well and we're starting to hear two word combos. This week he has said 'dis wayshaow' = this Rachel, and 'wa moah' = want more. But the very best word development of all: Mahmee. Wooohooo!

Also new these past week or so: Kisses!! We have two kissing toddlers! Sam even puts in the noise!

And here is a quick anecdote because I want to remember this always:
Yesterday when I picked them up from daycare, Sam said Mahmah and then called for Rachel to come from the other room. Rachel came running but from the sound of it she tripped and fell into a wall. The care provider went to get her and carried her over to me, comforting her as I picked up Sam who had come running to me too. She gave Rachel to me so I had one babe on each hip. I kissed Rachel's head and cooed over her for a minute asking if she was okay. Sam meanwhile was babbling away at Rachel and he reached out to gently touch the single tear that was on her cheek. When it didn't completely wipe away, he reached out to touch it again and then the best thing ever happened. He leaned over with his little lips puckered and he kissed her cheek... and she let him!!!

Heart = melted, overflowing, shattered and mended all at once. Twins rock! :)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Good days getting better

We have hit on some good days recently, not perfect but really good.
Recently on one of my two days at home alone with the kids we ran out in the morning to do some errands and then home for snack and naps. They didn't nap very long, just 1.5 hours when they've been doing 2 or 3 all week long but they woke up happy. That makes mommy happy too!
It did give me a chance to clean up the house a bit and then lie down myself for a short while to recoup. After naps we did lunch and played until some friends came over... One with a tiny 17 day old little girl.
Nothing makes kids look like giants like putting them next to a newborn. My little toddler giants looked down right menacing next to her tiny helpless little being. It was interesting trying to keep them entertained while visiting with my friend. Overall they we're great but it definitely gave me a different perspective on our lives.
We've reached a point where things are very manageable....hectic sometimes, often hard and physically tiring but really manageable. Easy compared to those first impossible agonizing few months. Seeing a newborn brought back some of those memories... Pulled them up right in front of me. And I realized how grateful I am, yet again, that we are way past that newborn stage. I'm so proud that we all survived it and relieved that I most likely will never ever have to experience it again (because only a cruel God would give us twins again) and overjoyed at seeing how big and sturdy my two teensy babies have grown. I revel in how robust they are and each new physical feat that they work on, from kissing to fork control to two foot hops to throwing themselves face first onto a soft bed just to feel how it feels and make a big 'whumpf.'
Seeing that tiny girl today didn't fill me with longing. It made me feel a little envious that I didn't have just one baby to care for but mostly it made me feel that if there is another baby in our future, I think he or she can wait. Maybe for quite a while.
And here's why.
We're finally at this stage of 'manageable' and we all deserve the opportunity to enjoy it to its' utmost!!
 I'm planning a trip to Calgary this week with just Rachel and although I know it will require a lot of effort and forethought, I am in really excited about it. It has taken a year and a half to get here to this place of having energy to spare for an adventure. For over a year I wondered if I'd ever feel that way again. But here I am and I want this to last for a good long time.
Now I may be tilting at windmills when I talk about having more children. Lets face it, I've only got one more embryo on ice and I know I won't go through IVF again. I guess there is always the possibility of natural conception but frankly that seems like a myth to me... You know unicorns, flying pigs, natural conception. All in the same category.
Anywhoooo I digress.
What I've come to realize over the past few months as we have settled into this lifestyle with the kids is that things are just going to keep getting better and better, easier and easier. There will always be challenges but our ability to live our lives and go on adventures will just increase as they get older. And if that one last little hope of an embryo isn't meant to be, I am okay with that.  In fact I'm more than okay with that, I'm incredibly blessed and can be content with that.
I think I'd always have a small hope that the mythical natural conception would happen (... Lets face it, I'm never going to use another contraceptive as long as I live) but I think I'm completely happy with my two lovies, my two perfect babes. And I'm okay with our journey through parenthood being with them.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Rachel's Ray

Rachel has been an absolute ray of sunshine this past few weeks, living up to her nickname in all ways. Her little smile is beaming most of the time and her personality is positively glowing.
Perhaps it's the good weather, maybe it's just being healthy or figuring out language just a bit more....perhaps it's so noticeable because poor Sam is miserable with pneumonia but Rachel is holding us all up with her good humour these days, whatever the reason.

Some highlights:
Rachel often isn't too impressed with toothbrushing but lately I've been doing the brushing and I make sure to start singing just before we start. Every time her eyes light up just a bit and then she starts dancing to the toothbrush song as I brush her teeth. Her little torso bobbing up and down to 'I wake up in the morning at a quarter to one...." She actually complains just a bit when it's over, opening her mouth wide for just a little more brushing.

She is a hugging queen right now and seems to have turned a corner with her language. It's not a big change but this past week or so she has been less whiney and more babbly and seems to be trying to use sounds to mimic words. She has acquired the following: a very soft slow 'aiiii' for hi, 'pebabah' for peekaboo, 'kuh' for car, 'oooo ooooh' for uh oh, which is suddenly very consistent.

Along with the language is an increased gregariousness, which has totally charmed us. The other evening after dinner we were hanging out in the play area, all of us on the floor, which is still our family norm. Andrew was laying on his side and Rachel was sitting/leaning against his chest and pretending to bounce on top of him. She would shriek, bounce and laugh and make a super funny face, breathing fast through a scrunched up nose. We of course would laugh and look at her questioningly, ask her what was so funny. Her face would go perfectly straight, breathing normal (or perhaps held) she'd stare straight at me and the seconds would tick by until suddenly she'd widen her eyes and shriek and bounce and it would start all over. This sequence must have happened at least 15 times. It got funnier every time.

I realize she's rather behind in her language and we have assessments coming up for her hearing and speach. The hearing test is just a formality and I'd be shocked if anything was amiss. This is a baby who you could entertain with a simple beat when she was only 3 months old. She was the first to notice that some toys make noises. She has sung to herself when she's alone in her crib since she was just a few months old. If anything is wrong at all, I'd guess it's with the dexterity of her tongue.

Regardless, she's a happy healthy little girl who seems to have a much stronger immune system than her brother.... perhaps that's a story for another post though. 

I'm loving my little Rae.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Freckle Thief

Sam is a true delight and the older he gets the more he show his wonderful interpersonal side. Some things lately have particularly charmed me.

Our bedtime routine now includes a snuggle on the rocking chair before putting Sam down in his crib to fall asleep. Sometimes he snuggles up and relaxes right away but more often than not, you have to spend a good 5 or 10 minutes convincing him to stay still, relax, lay his head on your shoulder or arm.....and most importantly, stop talking. Sam gets hyper when he's tired and he talks non-stop most of the day. So this can be a challenge. However, it also leads to some special moments.
Last week he was laying against my chest but his head kept popping up off my shoulder to peer into my face and chat. So I lay him down on my arm and he relaxed some more and was quiet for a moment. Unexpectedly he reached up and put his finger on my lips and then back down onto his lips, feeling his mouth, then back up to mine. I realized he was touching one freckle and then another and then feeling for his own....which he doesn't have. (I have two small, raised freckles on my upper lip that I intend to get lasered off this year.)

I whispered, 'that's Mommy's freckle, you don't have one,' when he reached up again with his finger and thumb and pretended to pick up the freckle and then pop it into his mouth like he was eating it. I nearly died. He did it again and again as I tried not to burst into laughter. I was so totally charmed I may change my mind about getting them removed.

Sam understands requests very well and is almost always compliant. When Rachel ran out of fishy crackers during snack time I asked Sam to share some of his. He looked at her empty cup on the floor and at her sad face and then diligently transferred every single cracker from his cup to hers. He then handed her his now empty cup.... and then picked up her full one and walked away. Of course she was madder than ever but we couldn't help but laugh. He obeyed the letter of the law so perfectly, if not the spirit.

On Monday we went to the park near our house and there were some older boys who had a big ball, we just had little tennis size balls. Sam was eyeing them and as soon as they went to the playground and left their ball for a moment, he ran over to get it. I explained to him that it wasn't ours but he could play with it for a little bit and Oooooh boy was he having fun. He was thrilled to be playing with it. Very soon after though the oldest boy came over from the playground and I could tell he wanted the ball back. So I called over to Sam and said, "The boy wants his ball back. Can you please give it to the big boy?" I was fearing a meltdown or at least a complaint or perhaps I thought he'd ignore me. But instead he immediately picked it up and walked all the way across the park straight to the boy and handed it to him.

Something about how he did that made my heart ache for him. It was such a mature thing to do when I knew he wanted the ball for himself soooo much and he's generally so shy around people. After the boy took it, Sam came back and let out a few whines, complaining as he pointed to the boy but he got over it quite quickly. His little heart yearned to be included as he watched the boy play with the ball but soon he was willing to go back to playing with his own little ball.
I'll tell you this, we are definitely going to be bringing our soccer ball to the park from now on.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Milestones

Oy where does the time go?

I've had this post half written for a week but this week has been pretty miserable as we all attempt to recover from yet another nasty cold.

Andrew and I did end up having a fabulous getaway for our anniversary. It was two glorious rainy days tucked into a little condo with its own hot tub, ocean view, king size bed and kitchen. We did very little and it was perfect. I received a lovely pendant of mother and twins, it is small and simple and I love it.

Even better, the kids were perfect for their grandma and grandpa and it gave me the confidence to plan some more outings. Right now however, recovering our health and proper sleep habits are top priority. This better be the last illness of the season, I just can't take another one. The kids aren't too bad now but I still feel rotten.  I lay low all weekend and hoped the week would be a good one ... Monday was shaping up okay until about 10:30am when I decided to cut the kids finger nails.  The first 19 went well but the last one ruined us. It's always the same thumb and its always Rachel's. :( I didn't even know I'd cut her till she suddenly cried and then the blood came.

Omg it was a lot and it didn't stop when I ran it under water, didn't stop when I applied pressure with a clean washcloth, didn't stop as I fumbled with a band aid and Rachel shrieked and waved her hand around throwing droplets of blood all over the place. It didn't stop until I had a band aid firmly in place. Which pretty much means it wasn't too bad but there was no convincing Rachel of that.

She was utterly distraught. I finally got her calmed down after a dose of Tylenol and a back rub. It was nap time so she ended up falling asleep for about an hour but woke up just as upset as before.
She really doesn't like things touching her hands or fingers so I think the band aid really freaked her out and I wasn't willing to take it off for fear of what was underneath. I'm terribly squeamish.

She calmed down when I distracted her but whenever her attention was drawn back to her thumb, she'd start crying again..... this went on for hours. And Sam did not help the situation. He'd raise his hand, wave his thumb around like he was asking if she was okay and Rachel would burst into tears again. It was quite the harrowing start to a rough week!

And we survived! The kids are 18 months old, 23.7 and 21lbs respectively and generally in good health. Although Rachel will need a bit of follow up regarding her language as she still isn't speaking. We get Dada and Mama but nothing else with any clarity, just babbling and even that is limited. It's possible she lets Sam do the talking for both of them because that little guy is never quiet!

Sam is enjoying learning to jump with two feet off the ground - likes to use his crib mattress as a trampoline. He is randomly repeating words and we're pretty sure he calls Rachel by name although it sounds like Wrackshael - those centre letters are very garbled in the back of his throat - very German sounding. :)

Rachel is getting good at feeding herself with a spoon and she's gaining balance and confidence surfing furniture and learning to climb and get back down from her escapades. She is now regularly sporting hair-dos as well! It's usually little ponytails. This came about at daycare - I think the peer pressure of seeing the older girls with their hair done made her willing to accept having her own done as she was coming home every single day with a new hairdo. So I finally felt guilted into doing her hair at home.

Good grief! Isn't it enough to get two toddlers out the door in the morning - fed, clean, clothed appropriately, food, milk, backups in place? Now I have to do a hairdo as well? I'm a little miffed at this new development but I also have to admit her hair is getting way too long to leave it wild as it ends up hanging in her face.

Okay this is getting long so I'll leave it at that. More soon....

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Pretty Little Things

So there are these things called push presents.... little (pretty shiny) gifts that husbands give their wives when they give birth.

Had Andrew given me one upon the birth of our TWINS I'd probably have smacked him. My thinking being: dear Lord have we not spent enough trying to equip our home for twins already - the new deck, the new car, two cribs, two car seats, countless clothes? Do we not have enough to worry about getting two precious tiny beings home safe and sound after a week in the hospital, now I have to keep track of a tiny bauble as well, as if it means anything, anything, anything in the scheme of things? Do we not have enough unexpected expenses staring us in the face this first year with two infants, here you're giving me something completely useless that I'll have no reason to need or even look at for God knows how long?? LAME! I'm not here to decorate your world or to be decorated! Now give me something I can use like some nipple cream!!

However... ahem.

Time passes.

Ahem.

And as time passes and we slowly crawl out from under the crazy haze of sleep deprivation and find our balance in the insane level of energy and noise that is caring for toddler twins, one starts to slowly become more ... themselves. More aware of themselves as individuals in the world. More aware of being female and appreciating a certain level of attractiveness or at least aware of the desire to strive for a certain attractiveness when they have a few moments away from having food flung at them.

And in those few moments one may start to think about shiny objects. Pretty shiny little things that glint in the sunlight and remind them of moments like the birth of their children and how one totally, completely, shamelessly deserves something shiny (and maybe kind of expensive) after going through all that one has gone through for the past two years.

I know shiny things are useless and meaningless in comparison to children and all the blessings we have been given. A shiny thing will never love me, hug me, kiss me, laugh at my funny faces, run into my arms at the end of the day, attempt to dance, thrill at learning to jump or gasp with delight when the wind hits it's face.

But a shiny thing will also never kick me as I'm trying to change it's diaper. It will never bite it's sibling when she's trying to hug it. It will never head butt me when I'm trying to kiss it or scream in my face when I'm trying to offer comfort. It will never fling food across the room when attending a meal. It will never push me away in favor of someone else. It will never throw a tantrum because I have not fed it on time or because I offered the wrong kind of food. It will not smack, scratch, throttle, push or tackle it's sibling making said sibling scream for minutes on end and then scream along with said sibling just cuz. It will not wake me up in the middle of the night demanding milk even though it's way, way too old to need milk in the middle of the night.

No, it will not. It will just remain a shiny, pretty little thing that glints in the sunshine and reminds one of the beauty in the world.

Our 5th anniversary is 1 week away.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Looking for the light

This past month or two has been a real slog. We're getting by but it's not been fun it's mostly surviving by putting one foot in front of the other and coping.

Nothing has been terrible, it's just been everyone sick with colds and as soon as we're healthy another one strikes. Sleep has been seriously disturbed lately. Both kids are up almost every night at some point. We've gotten into the bad habit of giving them milk at night again. This started when they were sick and now I think they're used to it.

Work has been really stressful for the past couple of months and that really takes a toll on my energy levels. I'm running flat out at work and then running flat out at home and not feeling good about the work I'm accomplishing at either job. Something's gotta give.... and soon.

Luckily there is a light at the end of the tunnel. In about two weeks, we've booked a weekend away for our 5th anniversary. We are seriously looking forward to it!

Also, spring is coming and the end of cold and flu season! And my work is going to slow down in just a few weeks time. I just have to hold on a little longer and things will get better.

And I also have to look for small lights that exist even in the dark/hard places. For instance:

One morning this past week Sam didn't want to get into the car so I gave him the small diaper bag to hold on to. During the ride at one point Sam and Rachel were giggling away at each other and I looked back to see their hands reaching out to the other. When I got to the daycare I saw that Sam had managed to unzip the bag and had given Rachel her bunny and he was holding his puppy. They were both grinning and happy as clams.
Rachel is turning into quite the bossy girl or little mother, depending on how you look at it. The other day Grandpa stopped by and was looking for a hug. They aren't as familiar with him as he hasn't been around lately and they needed some time to warm up. So when Grandpa crouched down and opened his arms for a hug, neither was very willing to run to him. Sam scooted past him and then turned just in front of Rachel so they both stood facing Grandpa.
We all watched to see if one would be the braver babe. Sure enough Rachel moved first, took a small step forward just enough to give Sam's back a little shove towards Grandpa. We all howled with laughter. 'Here, you go first!'
 
A few times last weekend when I was looking for Sam for some reason, Rachel ran off to find him and corral him back to Mommy. Sometimes she wasn't very successful as Sam is not necessarily willing to do as his sister bids and seemed a little confused as to what she wanted.
Also when Rachel gets tired of her food at a mealtime she hands it over to Sam. He sometimes tries to give it back, sometimes eats is and sometimes is oblivious to the offering.
Their interactions are slowly starting to show civilized qualities ... at times.
 
They are my bright lights even though they are also the majority of the work in life. Funny that.

Monday, February 25, 2013

16 months day in the life...

We've been lucky so far to have two ground dwellers but that is all changing as of yesterday. Sam figured out that he can pull himself up onto things. Dining rooms chairs and stacked diaper boxes are the items of choice right now. He's up on the chair whacking at the laptop the minute I turn my back. And in no time he's going to discover that tables are a very short step up from the chairs and that couches and coffee tables make good launching pads for his pratfalls. He's already figured out that 'falling' from the chair onto his hands and knees makes a loud noise. He loves loud noises....as long as he's making them.
And whatever physical skill Sam figures out, Rachel is not too far behind. She's now copying his pratfalls, although hers are a delicate, lady version with all the drama and none of the thump. She throws her hands in the air, spends a long time pretending she's losing her balance and then relatively slowly falls to her knees and sometimes her hands with a big grin.
She's already seemed jealous of Sam's ability to gain altitude so it's just a matter of time till she's climbing too.
I'm scared!
Mealtime are also going to get out of hand very soon. During lunch today for the first time Rachel managed to put spoon into bowl, scoop up some food and then transfer it to her mouth. I was very impressed and praised her highly. However, in the course of the meal she also put the bowl on her head, got food on her spoon and flicked it across to Sam and started dueling spoons with Sam. Sam doesn't have the same control or interest over where his spoon goes. As long as he has some food on it and can  make impressive messes on his tray and wipe it on his head, he's happy. Things are very messy these days at meal time.
Today I saw a rare example of Rachel being in an exceedingly good mood while wrestling with Sam. They were both trying to sit or stand on top of a package of diapers on the floor and Sam was pushing Rachel off but instead of bursting into tears and whining about it she found it hilarious. They wrestled and Sam stood on the package, then Rachel got to sit but got bowled off again when Sam tackled her, and all the while she was giggling up a storm. I actually don't know if Sam was being very good natured about it; he was not laughing. He wanted to be king of the diapers.... and he wasn't backing down. He was willing to take turns, however, while Rachel seemed like she wanted to sit on them and not leave until someone made her. Regardless, the whole thing was very entertaining to watch.

On the language front...
We still have no words from Rachel but her babbling is becoming clearer with more distinct syllables and consonants.
Sam has a few words but his babbling could be a language of it's own, each string of sounds could be words and sentences it's so complex and clear.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Attention Attention

The kids are both dealing with colds. They're better then worse, then one is better and the other worse. It generally takes Sam quite a bit longer to recover than Rachel and she's noticing the difference in attention.... even if she didn't want it before.
When she had the cold we had to fight to wipe her runny nose. She was very good at whipping her face back and forth so you couldn't get a solid wipe. Now we're not chasing her to do that. Now we're saying, Sam come here, let me get your nose. And as we finish with Sam, there is Rachel coming up to have her 'turn', her little nose poked forward like an offering.  ummmm hmmm.

Andrew was away very unexpectedly for a family emergency. He's back now but for 6 loooong tryyying days I was a single parent. Good grief was it hard. It was impossible for me to meet their needs for attention and their behaviour often seemed to spiral out of control. One day in particular was NOT good. They were generally miserable all day, cranky, needy, lashing out at each other and at me. Rachel seemed to cry the entire day. I was reduced to tears mid-day as well. They slept poorly while he was away and were generally a lot more needy....and the second their sibling got attention, the world was ending because they weren't. It was completely exhausting dealing with that much emotion every minute of the day.

I had help for the bedtime routine 3 of the 6 nights. When I didn't I managed alone, making up for the lack of help by keeping things contained to one room at a time and prepping everything in advanced. One night Rachel had an accident in the tub as I was diapering Sam. So I quickly scooped her out and as I was drying her, Sam got into the penaten. I turned around to find diaper cream smeared all over the fancy vent cover, the floor, the drawers, Sam's hand, foot and face. My immediate response was, 'Aaaw Maaaan!' Sam quickly repeated it, aw maaan, and the moment was saved from being totally frustrating. Another night Rachel wailed in her crib and would not fall asleep so we ended up facetiming with Daddy. She kept looking around to see behind the phone as if she could find him back there. After that brief chat she went straight to sleep without a single wimper.

Andrew says they grew up a lot over the week. Sam is starting to repeat words and he has a lot of new sound combinations. They're sturdier on their feet. They seem so much more aware of what is happening around them. They have more hair apparently.

Yes, they may be more grown up but their need for us is perhaps even more apparent at this stage. There is no replacement for Daddy, not even Mommy.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Live Action

I finally spent some time getting videos on youtube and I figure I should link to them here for posterity if nothing else.

Sam and Rachel often get a little crazy, whiny, obnoxious before bed. When we were looking to kill a few minutes before bathtime, Andrew came up with a little idea and it's now a favourite. They're quiet, they're happy, they aren't attacking each other... of course the carpet takes a beating but what else is new.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3k9MY8d7xRs

I'm sure every mother loves kissing their children.... but I loooove kissing Sam. His laugh just squeezes my heart.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OY0A04NY1TE

Almost every day there is a period of time when the kids are interacting in a positive way. Sometimes it seems like this only lasts a minute and the rest of the day they are ignoring each other, competeing with each other, or trying to kill each other. I want to remember the good times like these. Rachel was rolling around in Andrew's sweater and Sam was up for some fun.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RhYPWcgBIRc

How they make me smile.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Chairs for Two

For almost 6 months now I've been agonizing over buying the kids some little chairs. A friend of mine has one, a mini rocking recliner, that her boys absolutely love. The 3 year old loves it, her 15-month-old loves it.... it cost $60.
When I saw how much they enjoyed it and how fascinated Sam and Rachel (then 11 months) enjoyed it, I was interested in buying one. Okay make that two.
However, when I went to look at them the only style they had was a new version, which came with a little footstool and, of course, cost more.
I really rolled my eyes at the idea of spending $99 on a child's chair. But I nearly gagged at the idea of buying two for $200.
This is the kind of totally unnecessary expenditure that I NEVER make. Ever.
But the idea had taken hold and it wouldn't leave my mind.
Oh, how cute they'd be! Oh, how they would stop jumping on the big furniture that they can fall off of. They'd use them for years! They'd sit in their little chairs and watch TV and morning cartoons someday! If I only bought one, they'd fight over it constantly! The longer I wait, the less use we'd get out of them.
So I did it.
Ignore my scary smile and just look at the joy on those faces.

I spent a stupid amount of money on two adorable chairs and footstools and this is the result. They LOOOVE them.
Here is the live action of them seeing the chairs for the first time. A friend of ours is the one talking in the background, Daddy was manning the camera.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=5DMd0vxVyHQ

Monday, January 28, 2013

First word!!...?

Today I was giving the twins a snack and as I asked Rachel if she wanted another cracker Sam piped up clear as a bell "crackehr."
I was thrilled and shocked. I gushed over him and he repeated it once and that was it.
They still don't say Mama or Dada deliberately but Sam can repeat a word like cracker?
I know they understand pretty much everything we say. I truly am not worried about them being a little delayed. So why am I now focusing so much on this milestone? I mean, I still love their babbling, love the wacky sounds they figure out how to make, love repeating their non-sense.
But over the past month I've really started yearning for words and I think the reason is twofold:
First, they do a lot of whining for things. Life will be so much more civilized when they have some basic words that let me know what they want.
Second, I have waited a long long long time to be a Mom. I want to hear that name directed at me by my children.
....maybe if I ignore them a little, they'd be forced to say Mama to get my attention..... I just don't think I could survive the whining and screeching they tried first.

Friday, January 18, 2013

On my own

Tonight I'm on my own with the twins.
Okay they're already in bed and don't generally wake during the night anymore. So really this is no hardship! But it feels different not having another adult around. I'll sleep in my bed alone tonight while Andrew is upisland visiting a friend.
 If there is a fire, I'll have to get both kids out on my own.
There will be no fire. I know this.....and if there is I can move fast....and I've already ensured there is nothing to trip over on the way out to the garage..... the cat, however, may be left behind. Because there is no way I'm leaving two babies alone outside in the dark to go back into a burning house to save a cat.
Ooookay overthinking this.
Moving on.

In other news, Sam and Rachel are being more and more personable with each other. Although their first instinct is to serve their own self interests, they are increasingly responsive to the other's emotions and wants. Today Sam reached down to get a sippy cup from the floor and Rachel went for the second one. Sam was faster and got them both, was happy to get have them both! But when Rachel wailed he happily handed her one of them. It was so civilized....you know, eventually.
Yesterday Sam dropped his cracker from his highchair and Rachel gave it back to him. Sam dropped his sippy cup repeatedly into Rachel's chair and time after time after time she fished it out and put it back on his tray or into his hand. She was such a little helper!
We still don't really have words. And the frustration they express when they don't get what they want is getting louder and louder.
Sam's uh-oh is perfect and he'll sometimes clap his hand to his head and say pikab which I think is supposed to be peekaboo. Rachel will repeatedly say upa upa but totally out of context.
They don't seem to understand at all when we try to get them to repeat after us. Maybe we've spent too much time repeating their sounds to them.
Now when we say, 'Up, Rachel wants up? Say Up. Up Rachel. Up." She just gets frustrated that we clearly understand what she wants and yet we're refusing to act on it in a timely fashion. It's mildly funny but I really do want them to find some words before they start wanting more complex things that they need words for. I certainly don't want to refuse to assist them when I know what they want but I do want to encourage them to repeat after us.
Any ideas? I'm totally open to suggestions!
Oh and yes, we have a few signs which they occassionally repeat but rarely without us first asking. "Rachel do you want more?" with the 'more' sign indicated often results in a disgusted look because again, clearly we wouldn't be asking if we didn't already know she wanted more. So get over it already Mom and give me the freaking cheerio I'm whining for.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Proof of comprehension!

Sam and Rachel are suddenly displaying amazing understanding. I still say they have no words, no words that are consistent in context anyway. But that's not to say they don't have language or know exactly what we're saying.

Last week I was washing my hands after a diaper change and looking in the mirror I saw Sam drop his bottle on the floor and walk away into our bedroom. So I called out, "No Sam, not on the floor. Can you bring your bottle to Mommy?"

I had no expectation of him responding to this. So I was shocked when I saw him go back to the nursery, pick up his bottle, bring it into the bathroom and put it on the counter next to me.
I cheered! I praised! I was sooo proud.

The next day while Daddy was running the bath, I undressed and handed Rachel her clothes and said, "Take these to Daddy." And she did!! Again shock and horrays rang through the house.

But the examples that thrill me happened yesterday and today. After a diaper change Daddy came back to the living room followed shortly by Sam and Rachel. Someone, or perhaps both of them, had brought a clean diaper with them. We asked about this. Who brought the diaper? Rachel raised her hand. We laughed, not believing it meant anything. Of course Sam liked our response so he raised his hand. We laughed harder. Then I say, "Sam can you take the diapers back? Put them back in your room."

You cannot imagine my surprise when he stooped down, picked them up and walked out of the room. I asked Andrew if he was actually going to manage it so Andrew followed him. Sure enough he walked all the way to the nursery and put the diaper back on the shelf. It fell off so he picked it back up and pushed it further onto the shelf and then walked back to the living room.
We cheered! We clapped! We praised! It was awesome.

This morning it got better. I was by the back door with the twins and their shoes and coats were at the front door. I said to Rachel, "Can you bring me the shoes?" And she did!! She walked to the front door, got all the shoes and brought them back to me.

I'm so excited. I've got helpers!! I've got tiny little hands that can help accomplish things all day long.... Okay, maybe only sporadically throughout the day when they are engaged and in the perfect mood to oblige. But who cares! I have helpers!

Let the manipulation .....erm, I mean... positive reinforcement begin!