Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A post four months in the making

I started this post when the boys were approaching their 8-month birthdays...Le sigh. It's been in my draft folder since then, and I've added updates here and there as each subsequent month came and went. Maybe this will be the month I actually hit Publish?

C at 8 months...
- secret agent name: Chunk-a-Monk
- has the baby laugh I always dreamed of
- no teeth yet, but he's working on 'em (9-month update: Bottom two teeth are in!)
- His hair is out of control. We jokingly compare his appearance to Chris Farley's in his motivational speaker sketch. Well, not all that jokingly. (9-month update: I gave him his second haircut last weekend. It really needed to happen.)

G at 8 months...
- secret agent name: Bounce House
- has the softest eyes and the sweetest smile and the combo makes me melt every time
- two bottom teeth came in at 6.5 months, working on top 2 right now (9-month update: Still no sign of those top two... Hmmm...)
- G seems to have found his inner fighter in the past week or two. Up until now, he's been unwaveringly passive and patient, but all of the sudden, it's like he's decided it's time to stand up for himself and claim what is rightfully his. I'm pretty proud of him, actually, although this change has certainly added an element of difficulty to my days! As M says, keeping him alive has become a full-time job as he's constantly diving and twisting and throwing himself out of your arms and toward the least baby-friendly thing he can find.

Talking/Communication at 9 months:
Both boys are great talkers. At 8 months, I had written: "C seems to do more experimenting with different vowel and consonant sounds, while G plays around more with pitches and volume." This is still true, although the area of overlap is increasing as they both talk more and more. Cole says "mama" (or, more accurately: "mamamamamamamamama") to get our attention - aaaaaaah, so cute!! He's too young to understand he's saying a name, of course, but he's noticed it grabs our focus much more effectively than any other sound he's happened onto, so he uses it as a tool. Smart cookie. Both boys seem to know and respond to their own names.

Gross Motor Skills at 9 months:
Both boys are thiiiiiiis close to crawling on all fours. They are super-fast army crawlers and rollers and I think this is tempering their desire to get up on their hands and knees. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, you know? (10 month update: We have crawlers! G started first and Cole followed about a week later. G crawls like white lightening and C... doesn't. His crawl is sort of bouncy and jumbled-looking and completely adorable. Particularly because he often makes this little "Ah! Ah! Ah!" sound as he bounces along.)

Eating at 9 months:
C & G are both digging solid foods. C is definitely the pickier of the two, and he refuses to take the first bite of anything. He clamps his mouth shut until he has watched G take a bite and then, if all looks well, he will cautiously allow you to give him a taste. They both love fruit (duh) and C likes carrots more than G, but for all other foods, G seems to be the bigger fan. Which is weird, since he is a pound and a half lighter than his picky-eater brother! Foods they are enjoying (well, eating) at 9 months include: Avocado, Peas, Carrots, Broccoli, Green beans, Spinach, Sweet and White Potatoes, various Summer and Winter Squashes, beans, a variety of grains (rice, oats, spelt, barley, quinoa, amaranth), Apples, Pears, Peaches Plums, Mangoes, Blueberries, Banana, Apricots, Yogurt and the occasional nibbles of whatever we are eating (recent hit: banana bread... yum). (10 month update: C no longer refuses to take the first bite due, I believe, to a nasty bout of stomach flu that we all had, but G had the worst. His appetite is still down and he often refuses meals at all. So, C has had to step up to the plate, so to speak! I've lost track of all the foods they eat, but both are still pretty adventurous, G slightly more so than C. Or, he was before the puking took over.)

Sleeping at 9 months:
Months 7-9 were very, very bad for sleep in our house. I attribute it to a perfect storm of holiday chaos (guests/travel), learning to crawl, teething, and general developmental unrest (8 month/Wonder Week 26). Both babies were waking several times a night and M and I were walking around like zombies. I am knocking on every piece of wood in my house as I type this but just over a week ago, BOTH babies slept through the night (~8:30p to 5:30a) for the second time in their lives. And then they did it the next night. And the next. Out of the last 10 days, I think they've slept through 6 or 7 of them, and during the other 3 or 4, one baby woke briefly and was easily nursed back to sleep. It's been... Heavenly. I am keenly aware this may all change tomorrow, so I'm grateful for each hour of sleep as it comes! (10 month update: Alas, the great sleep was a flash in the pan. They are currently waking 1-2 times per night, but separately, which is nice because I can nurse them side-lying and drift back to sleep until the other baby cries and it's time to switch. Not as great of sleep as I'd like to be getting, but more than I get when I have to sit up and tandem nurse two crying babies at once.)

Miscellaneous at 9 months:
Both (still) love bathtime with the fire of a thousand suns and start vibrating the moment they hear the faucet turn on. Their hands-down favorite book is B is for Bear and in the last couple of weeks, C has taken to kissing all of the babies and kids in the book (something we never "taught" but E used to do the same thing - genes are weird) and G smoothly and deliberately turns the pages. We took them on their second long plane trip and our first hotel vacation as a family of 5. There were many unexpected challenges (a story for another time) but we made the best of it. They are both still in their infant carseats although the distance I can carry them both together is sharply decreasing. They are in mostly 12-18 month clothes, +/- a size depending on brand. They are still in their medium BG AIOs and size 3 disposables, when they wear them.

11 month update:
Parenting twins in general, and mobile twins in particular, is - for me - a study in chronic exhaustion. It's not that there aren't enough hours in the day, it's that there aren't enough minutes in the hour. Everything has to happen NOW. Babies are awake. Babies are tired. Babies need feeding. Babies need diaper changes. Someone needs retrieving from E's room and someone else is about to crawl up the stairs. At the end of the day, I crash in a heap. This does not leave much time for blogging or, you know, anything, but one of the things I treasure most about my experience parenting a second (and third) child is an appreciation of how quickly all of this will be behind us. It makes the good stuff better because I don't take any of it for granted, and it makes the bad stuff more tolerable because I know it'll be over soon enough. Perspective is a beautiful thing.

All in all, I am really loving this age. C and G are just these wonderfully squishy bundles of smiles and cuteness. They are eagerly drinking in everything around them and learning new tricks by the hour. Their attention spans are lengthening, as is their ability to communicate with us and with E. They have started genuinely, autonomously playing with him lately (especially C) which is heart-achingly cute.

G is still battling some GI issues, maybe from the stomach flu or maybe something I'm eating or maybe something else entirely (his cranio-sacral chiro says he has a hiatal hernia) but the end result is a baby with a poor appetite and lots and lots of vomit. He has a serious stomach emptying at least once a week, usually during his first feeding of the day (so, 3-4am ish) which means the collateral damage is almost always my pajamas, my hair, and our bed. He's fussy and irritable and often wakes grimacing and crying. It's so sad. We're continuing to see the chiro, I've taken stool samples in to his pediatrician, he's on probiotics and as of about a week ago, Zantac (yuck) and I've been trying to isolate any dietary changes for either of us. He seems to be doing a little better since the addition of the Zantac (knock on wood) but I hate giving it to him, so I'll keep experimenting in hopes of finding a more natural way to soothe his little system.

G is extremely physical. He is constantly crawling, pulling up, cruising, and his latest trick... climbing. If something will sit still long enough, he'll find a way on top of it. They are both very musical... Maybe C a little more so than G. When they started showing an extra interest in the bells we use at their weekly mommy-and-me class, I went online and bought rhythm sticks, bells, and other assorted instruments to encourage their emerging interest. C especially uses them all so intuitively, and sitting around making music and dancing has become a new favorite activity.

They are getting so very BIG! It's been a couple of weeks since I weighed them but on 4/18, G was 18lbs, 8oz and C was 20lbs, 1oz. They are in firmly into 12-18 month clothes, save the odd smaller or larger outfit. They are just barely squeezing into their medium BGs and their OSs are on the largest setting. We've just moved to size 4s for the times they wear disposables.

And tonight, as we close in on one year (gasp!)... Things are good. We just got back from a week-long vacation including long-distance, non-direct air travel and terribly un-baby-friendly accommodations. M was with us for the first half and then I and all three kids stayed on with my parents for a few more days. The end result was a complete and total upending of our routine and we're all still recovering a bit. Both boys were just starting to get sick before we left so, of course, I ended up in a foreign pediatrician's office getting a nebulizer treatment for C, and antibiotics for infections in both boys (C - respiratory and sinus, G - both ears). G's vomiting has improved tons in the past month so perhaps the ped's theory (injured esophagus from stomach flu that needed a month of Zantac to heal) was correct and we'll be able to wean him off the Zantac after their one-year check up next week.

Both boys seem to have stopped gaining weight despite being good eaters (current favorite foods: yogurt, strawberries and BANANAS) and I'm hoping that's just because they are on the move All. The. Time. They also insist on feeding themselves more and more these days which means more finger foods and fewer purees. I wouldn't be surprised if this change has decreased the total number of calories they take in each day. I don't worry about C so much, but G is just so itty bitty... They are a full two pounds apart now. We'll see what the doctor says next week. We are still going strong with breastfeeding and not a day goes by that I don't feel proud of how hard we fought to get here and grateful that the fighting actually worked. My prediction is that C will wean first, although I have no idea when as he shows no signs of moving in that direction yet. I'm just putting it in writing now so that when something completely different happens, I can laugh at my own naivete. Nursing C rarely feels like more than a vehicle for food delivery whereas with G, it feels like I am feeding his soul. Everything about him changes after a nursing session, from the color of his cheeks to the spring in his figurative step. I can't imagine the day he won't want to do it any more and it breaks my heart to think I may be the one to draw the line someday. But,  I could be completely wrong. We'll see how it actually plays out.

Just before our trip, M did a week of solo bedtimes (as a matter of fact, she IS a rock star) and it was... rough. The babies did not go down easily for her at all and the experience revealed a major Achilles Heel - these babies do not like to go to sleep without being nursed. At all. M was able to battle through and got them to sleep on her own 6 out of the 7 nights, but it made us realize just how far away we are from leaving the babies with a sitter (or three) and having an evening out. *sigh* Oh well... Someday... Right???

C&G got their first salon haircuts yesterday and they look like such little boys now! We also did a photo shoot yesterday which was basically just an hour and a half of me wrestling, bouncing, repositioning, tackling, and cajoling two very disinterested almost-toddlers. I was dripping with sweat ten minutes in. Hopefully she got a decent shot or two. If there are a dozen keepers I will die of shock. Both boys can stand independently for several seconds at a time, although they drop the floor as soon as they realize they are standing on their own. Wimps. No first steps yet, but I don't think they're far off, and I am oh so ready for them to be walking! They are both experimenting with dedicated sounds and syllables for words, although it's hard to sort out exactly what each is saying for what object/person/pet. They do the hand motions for many of the songs we sing, especially C (Itsy Bitsy Spider, Wheels on the Bus, Doggy in the Window, Skid-a-ma-Rink) and point to different parts of my face and occasionally their own, especially G. The one area I would really love to see improvement in is sleep (Zzzzzzzz), but I'm not ready to do any night weaning or sleep training to accomplish that so, for now, we muddle through and cherish the slightly better nights when we are graced with them.

Oh, and E is all kinds of wonderful, too. He has his moments of... ahem, difficulty... but even in the tough times, he still seems like Prince Charming compared to how he was 6 months ago. I love age 4 a hundred million times more than age 3. He is so smart and funny and thoughtful and sweet. He says at least 25 hilarious things each day. I am constantly willing myself to remember every tiny detail, all the while knowing they are slipping through my sleep-deprived brain like water through a sieve. These are truly magical days we're living in. I can't imagine being more enamored by him, although I'm sure I will be. Maybe when he stops talking back so darn much. ;-)

This post is a jumbled mess but, you know what? I'm posting it as-is because if I wait until I have time to cobble it into something more reasonable, the twins will be in kindergarten. Not a joke, I fear!

2 comments:

Pomegranate said...

wonderful update!

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