The Babies are Toddlers

babyshoes1

My watercolor of the twins’ now-retired baby shoes.

It’s funny how when you stop doing something, like running, or blogging, it gets harder and harder to jump back in. I had legitimate reasons for the blog break at first, mostly good things (we bought our first house (!), moved, I got some freelance work and launched my own design business website). But then I got out of the habit of writing, and I had too many ideas to just write one post. Also my desk moved from the middle of the living room to an office upstairs, which is mostly good but also means it’s hard to write a blog post with a minute here and there. And the twins aren’t content to hang around the house anymore, either, or to watch me type on the computer for that matter…

Anyway, I’ve missed my friends in the blogosphere. I miss keeping in touch this way with people I know in real life, too.

And I miss having a way to record what’s happening with the babies–who are not babies anymore, they’re toddlers. They’re tiny people not just walking but running, diving off the couch, pulling plugs from electrical outlets, offering each other toys, giving kisses, hugs, demanding to be picked up, taken outside, given particular plates or toys or spoons, wanting to play with my phone, drink from my water glass, and say words like ball, water, and milk.

There was a big milestone this past month: first haircut. We did it with them in their highchairs at the kitchen table, D held their heads while I did one cut for the bangs and one around the back. Came out sort of like a pixie cut. With the rush and stress of scissors near heads I didn’t do the most even job, but still I think it worked out. You can see their faces now.

What finally pushed me back to this blog, though, is that they got their first pair of real shoes. I finally had to accept that the little brown leather baby booties, their first shoes, were too tight and don’t work well for running around a wet playground. Now they have some proper boots, which is still kind of a shock.

Also, I’ve finally reached a parental milestone of my own: I’ve hired some help. Starting tomorrow, a nanny will come one morning a week. I’ll let you know if that’s life-changing.

Anyway, if you’re still reading this–hi!–how has your fall been?

boots

Stop the Press, We Have a Milestone

eteagarden copy

M took her first steps yesterday. I sat on the floor and put her a few feet away from me, encouraging her to take the steps toward my lap. Maybe she was reassured by the soft landing pad of my belly, because she did. I’m not sure she knew why I was making such a huge to-do about it (after all she’s been walking with help for months), but I think she appreciated the attention.

This morning we went to story time at the library and she walked again, a few feet from the train table to the bookshelf. Then again from the stroller to a shelf. She stands carefully, getting her balance, catching herself with her hands, pushing herself up again, wobbling, catching herself, standing again until she is stable, then looking forward with determination and taking one step, two steps, a quick three four and grabbing the bookshelf. I got out my phone to try to catch it on video, I’m sure I was grinning ear to ear, and I wanted to call over the other parents, “Look! Look what she’s doing!” (but of course it isn’t so amazing when someone else’s baby walks).

Today I noticed E is getting two more teeth on the top, which will give her a grand total of six, four on top and two on the bottom. I’m going to miss her toothy, baby grin with the two teeth on top. I remember how I loved her gummy, toothless infant grin, too. I wish I could pause time for a second, just to breathe and look around a bit and appreciate these beautiful babies as they are now, 15 months old, at this moment sleeping peacefully in their cribs, dreaming about walking.

Monkeys on a Plane

planepic copy

Last week we took the twins on their first airplane flight, for a week’s trip to California. Everything was completely worth it–the babies definitely enjoyed themselves, it was great to see family and to get to go to a really beautiful wedding. But I won’t say the trip wasn’t a challenge. This post is just about the airplanes, so if you’re curious about the experience of flying with twin 14-month-olds, read on.

Our flight from Pittsburgh departed at 12:30 pm, scheduled to arrive in San Francisco around 5 pm (8 pm Pittsburgh time) after a short layover in LA. We checked our four bags and two car seats, which came to $120. That’s $25 for the first bag and $35 for the next, car seats free. We gate checked our double umbrella stroller and carried on two diaper bags and the Ergo carriers.

In the security line, as we began to unclip the babies from their stroller, an agent helpfully informed us that they didn’t have to take off their booties. We put sippy cups full of water through the scanner. On the way there they were waved through without any problem. On the way back, when we had milk plus water sippy cups, we nearly missed our flight as they held up the whole line to wave test-strips over them, put them in a special machine, wait for them to scan, then put them back through the whole scanner again.

On the flight out I had asked for milk from the beverage cart and was informed that milk was only for first class. The flight attendant later snuck me a little carton. We entertained the babies with a wide array of snacks until M started to get over-tired. She refused to sit in my lap, crying, slipping off  to crawl up the aisle. I put her in the Ergo carrier and started walking with her up and down the aisle in the hopes of lulling her to sleep. After we’d walked a cumulative five miles or so, with M kicking peoples’ shoulders as we went by she finally fell asleep.

I sat down very carefully so as not to wake her. D was standing next to me with E in the Ergo, bouncing up and down trying to get her to fall asleep. The person next to me (D and I couldn’t sit next to each other, as two babies aren’t allowed in the same row because of the number of oxygen masks), was just sipping the last of a ginger ale, underlining passages in a book. “I can’t remember the last time I underlined passages in a book,” D said.

While in San Francisco, we ended up buying a big suitcase on sale, figuring we could fit three suitcases-worth inside it and save ourselves $75. On the flight back they charged us an extra $100 for the big suitcase being overweight, so the charge came to $150, $30 more than on the way there plus the cost of buying the suitcase. The flight attendant on our final leg also informed us that Ergo carriers were against FAA regulation. Sometime that night we finally made it home.

 

And I’m Freeeee, Free Standing

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These babies know what they have to do. They want to be upright, walking. If you set them down on the ground they immediately pull themselves up to standing.

This morning, after a session of holding both E’s hands while she walked around the house, I tried to set her down. I kept trying to lean her backward so she’d sit, but she protested loudly, gripping my hands and refusing to bend at all. I kept leaning her backward while she continued straight as a board until I finally just had to lay her down on the floor, crying. Similarly, when you try to lay M down on the changing table she seems to see it as a sort of challenge: can I keep my legs under me and remain standing while you try to lay me down? She’s good.

I can understand: standing is fun. If you sit on the ground, E and M both come over and use your outstretched legs as launch pads to push themselves up to standing and let go. Then they free stand, looking very pleased, for two seconds, four, five before launching back into your lap, laughing. Or they balance upright for a little while, clap once, and then lower themselves carefully to their knees. You can see the thrill on their faces.

Today I spent time placing M a few feet away from me and then encouraging her to take a few steps into my lap. Almost, but she’s still hesitant unless you offer a hand. One friend postulated that they are the kind of babies that don’t take shaky pre-walking steps, but wait until they know they can do it alone. They know what they have to do, and they’re enjoying the journey.

Her Earlobes are Ticklish: A Portrait of E

Since I recently wrote the portrait of M, here’s E’s poem to match. They are changing so quickly these twins that even a week makes a difference.

A Portrait of E

Number one, that amazing, toothy grin. You can’t see it and not smile.

When we’re listening to the news and a clip of music comes on, she starts rocking back and forth, dancing to the beat.

She absolutely loves if you pick her up and dance with her. She also appreciates watching you dance alone.

If she’s playing with an interesting toy and M comes too near she says, “Nah! Nah!” and bats her away.

When she’s frustrated, she stiffens her entire body, clenching her fists at her side, and says something like “Arrrrghhh! Waaah!”

When she’s done with her milk, she offers you the sippy cup, then laughs hysterically when you grab a handle while she keeps her hold on hers.

Sometimes when she’s sitting in her highchair, she leans forward to be kissed on the forehead. Usually multiple times in a row.

She points at books and says, “Bu!” She waves and says “hi.” She’ll give you a high five.

If you’re holding her, she points at everything and anything and asks, “Da? Ada?” What’s that?

At the playground, she grips the baby swing with both hands, her little legs straight out, the breeze in her baby hair and a huge smile.

Sometimes when you try to take her out of the swing, she screams like small tyrant and refuses to bend to be buckled into the stroller.

When she meets new people or finds herself in a new situation, she becomes dead serious and stares.

If strange, curious babies in said new situation try to take her toy, she yanks it back.

When you hold her hands to help her walk, she moves slowly and focuses on balance, taking one deliberate step at a time.

She is eminently ticklish, on her neck, her belly, her armpits and the bottom of her feet. Even her earlobes are ticklish.

She loves listening to guitar.

If she gets her hands on the guitar, she touches the strings softly and makes beautiful sounds. She also bangs it percussively like a drum.

She is content sitting in the bath for as long as we let her, playing with the duckies, the fish, babbling to herself.

She can point to her nose and your nose.

She refuses to wear a hat.

When you come into the room, sometimes she squeals, crawls quickly over and raises her arms to be picked up.

Ebeanbag

Sunday Sketch: Twins in the Mirror

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Last week I took M and E to the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. Most of the museum is for kids a bit older, but we went to the nursery area, which was fabulous and more than enough. When I got them out of the stroller they screeched with delight, immediately pulling up on a wood barrier and smiling at all the babies toddling around, the colors, the toys.

Their favorite thing was a very low wooden platform with a bunch of blocks on it. Attached to the wall next to the platform were two metal bins. M spent about a half an hour carefully taking all of the blocks out of the bins. E enjoyed crawling around on the low platform, practicing going from level to level and scooting off onto the carpet while holding a block in each hand.

Since it is Sketch Sunday, I thought I’d commemorate the outing with a watercolor. This is them at the museum, checking out a mirror. This is also part of my new “Explore Pittsburgh with Twin Babies” initiative. Stay tuned for the next edition.