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.