And I’m Freeeee, Free Standing

M1

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

childrensmuseum

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.

Where’s Your Nose? A Portrait of M at One Year

I’ve been wanting to write individual posts about M and E and what they’re up to these days. I’m thinking of this as a sort of one-year portrait, though they are now 13 months. I started arbitrarily with M because I had a sketch of her I was going to include, but then I decided the photo was nicer. Stay tuned for poem of E.

A Portrait of M at One Year

M loves to walk around the house holding both your hands, leading the way to the shoe pile, to the window.

Strangers must earn her smile. Eventually she will make a subtle wave, raising one hand a bit.

She can climb the stairs, climb off of the rocking horse, climb onto boxes left within her reach, climb into the stroller, climb down from the couch.

When you are holding her and she sees something she wants she points to it, leaning her whole body in its direction, and says emphatically, “Dooh! Dooh!” until you take her to it.

Let free to explore a new place she crawls with purpose, lifting her arms high, pulling up on the nearest support. Then she turns to you with that mischievous, happy twinkle.

When eating, she enjoys rubbing her food-smeared hands all over her hair as if applying mousse.

Sometimes she waves with both her hands at once.

If you say, “Where’s your nose?” she puts one finger on her nose.

She will not sit still in the bath but insists on trying to stand and climb the walls, then cries when you try to put her back in place.

Her face lights up when she gets her hands on a light switch; the doorbell is exciting.

If you take a toy she’s playing with, she arches her entire body backward and turns red. If she doesn’t want to do something, like be buckled into a high chair, you will not succeed in buckling her.

She can often be distracted by belly zorbers, being tossed in the air, or hanging briefly upside down.

She smiles if you give her an eskimo kiss (rub noses).

When E takes a toy she’s playing with, many times she lets it go and does not resort to hitting. She does occasionally bite.

She likes handing you things and seeing you take them. Her milk cup, her sippy cup, a toy.

She can sit for an hour concentrating fixedly on a new task. Putting together and taking apart legos, moving blocks in and out of a box.

Her favorite book is “In My Tree” which is a board book that features a little felt owl finger puppet. When she sees this book she leans down and gives the owl a kiss. She also sometimes gives the rocking horse kisses.

She sleeps every night with a Snuffleupagus. When you lay her down in the crib and hand her the Snuffy, she hugs it to her chest thankfully and sucks on the trunk.

She hates having her diaper changed.

She likes holding the snack trap cup open and shaking the cheerios out all over the floor.

She laughs often.

Mtortilla

Tiny People Live in Frick Park

There seems to be a population of teeny people living in Frick Park. Or maybe it’s little pants-wearing mice, or fairies? Whatever they may be, they live in the bases of trees and the entrances to their homes are plain to see for those who know where to look. The doors are a few inches high, made of wood, the handles tiny screws.

Discovering these teeny doorways all along the Tranquil Trail made me feel like a kid on a treasure hunt. I’ve found ten so far, more each time I go. Apparently a mysterious door has also been found in San Francisco–perhaps wood fairy ranks are growing?

tinydoor1 tinydoor6 tinydoor5 tinydoor2 tinydoor3  tinydoor4

First Library Story Time!

library books

Today we finally made it to baby story time at the Squirrel Hill Library. I’d tried to go to the library for story time when we lived in Brooklyn, but I was a bit late and they’d locked the door. So though this was not the twins’ first visit to the library, it was our first story hour. It definitely gives me new insights into M and E’s characters, seeing them in different settings with other babies.

The Baby and Me program was at 10:30, and we arrived about fifteen minutes early. The room was already full of parents and babies, all sitting in a circle on the carpeted floor. I set M and E down and sat cross-legged behind them. They didn’t move. They sat staring at all the activity, at the babies–a couple toddling around, most sitting or crawling. A couple other adventurous babies came over to say hi, one reaching right for E’s face. Still she sat still, watching that babies’ hand come closer. When one baby came over and tried to take her toy, though, she kept an iron grip, yanking it back. Eventually M and E turned toward me and started pulling themselves up to standing using my legs as support, still not straying from my lap.

Then story time started. We sang songs like “I’m a Little Teapot” and “The Ants Go Marching,” along with some new ones I’d never heard. There was a lot of taking the baby in your lap, lifting them up, clapping, etc., so I took turns holding M or E, with the other sitting in front of me. Once, for a song about riding a horse, I tried bouncing them both in my lap, but my legs got tired. For one song, about the beach, they handed out a silk scarf to each baby, meant to represent waves. For another song, each baby got two little egg-shaped maracas. Those were a huge hit with both M and E. M enjoyed sucking on them. E managed to pick up two with one hand, smiling as she shook them above her head. After the program, the facilitator came around to collect the eggs. When she tried to take M’s, it was a no go. “She’s got an iron grip on those!” she said. “You let me know when she’s ready.”

So I guess my babies know how to stand their ground, at least with their stuff. As the program progressed, M and E were slowly inching further from my lap. By the time it was over and other parents and babies were beginning to pack up, M and E had decided the place was okay and it was time to explore…and then they were off! Crawling to opposite sides of the room, playing with a wall of magnetic letters, picking up teddy bears, and trying to drink from all the other babies’ sippy cups (they weren’t interested in their own).

All in all it was a great excursion. They definitely like exploring new places and situations, and I’m sure we’ll be back for more.