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.
I know this is a parenting blog and all, but maybe Sunday Sketch will be my new Sunday thing. Today was not the best day, but in the late afternoon I did take a walk alone in Frick Park.
I turned on a different path, which took me up a steep ravine and then suddenly dead-ended at Forbes Avenue, which traverses the park on a very high overpass. I was disappointed to discover that I’d have to walk the width of the park on Forbes to get back inside. But it turned out to be kind of beautiful walking along so high up, looking down on the trees. I stopped midway to do a quick sketch of the horizon, my sketchbook and pastels balanced precariously on the side rail. My second sketch is of some of my favorite houses along the bowling green.
Tomorrow back to regularly-scheduled baby announcements.
It was rainy today, again. I decided to sketch the babies. Of course they were having none of it. M kept trying to grab the book and pencils and put her drooly rubber frog on my drawing. E was less interested, but she was moving around so much I could barely get an outline with the two-seconds between her moving and M grabbing the paper. I couldn’t produce anything worth sharing.
On a whim I decided to trace M’s hand, which she kept putting on the page anyway. Of course as soon as I seemed interested in her keeping her hand there she grabbed it away. She acted pretty much how she does when I try to clean her hands after eating–extremely resistant, to put it lightly.
So I tried the hand-tracing with E instead. I got some colored pencils and put the sketchbook on the ground. Each time she put her hand on the page I did my best to trace its outline. A few times I got the whole hand, most times just a finger or a line before she grabbed it away. But she kept coming back. And the paper kept getting more and more colorful. I added a couple outlines of my hand in there, too, and afterward I filled it in with some solid color.
So it was our first art collaboration. Hopefully there will be more in the future. I was reminded of this artist I saw online awhile ago, who created pretty amazing paintings with her four-year-old daughter. You should definitely check those out, here, for something inspiring. But I’m happy with our first collaboration.
M is taking little steps. Not by herself, but now when you hold her up by both hands and coax her she takes jerky little steps forward. She is working on walking. Above is a sketch of her and D.
Here’s another in my nursing animals series. There will probably be more. There’s something compelling, to me, about images of animals nursing. Something about the everydayness, the boringness but also the unknowable. I’m still spending a lot of time nursing twins, watching as they grow bigger and bigger.
The Munchkin has a tooth! Just poking through barely on the bottom. I tried to get a picture but it’s only just barely appeared and she covers it with her tongue. So I did a sketch instead.
I noticed it when I was feeding her breakfast. I put the spoon in her mouth and heard it click against something. What a happy surprise. She seemed to know something exciting was happening in there. Smiling away sliding her tongue over her bottom gum and putting her fingers in her mouth.
These babies are somewhat obsessed with teeth, I’d say, judging by the frequency and intensity with which they put their fingers in my mouth. Almost every time I hold them they get very serious, then reach a hand up to feel my bottom teeth. I usually fake bite them and then they giggle. Makes me feel like a mother lion or something. Teeth! Roar! Someday, little cubs, you too will have your own set of pearly whites like these! Ah, to be at the top of the food chain. Big-mouth lion yawn. Snap, snap.
Wonder when Bean’s will poke through. They are getting so big these babies.
I did this painting of the twins yesterday from a photo. This captures a bit of their current intensity. D said the other day that when he walks in the kitchen and they are in their high chairs, they stare like they expect him to break into song and dance any second. It’s true.
They used to be content playing on the mat while I was next to them on the computer. Now they stare at me so that I feel self conscious, and I have to get down and nibble their earlobes while making Cookie Monster sounds, dance around the room with a scarf singing The Sound of Music. Then they laugh contentedly, as if they knew it was coming all along.
This morning they watched D stick out his tongue and make raspberries at them with an intensity as if he were teaching them phonics, not laughing until he laughed.
At the breakfast table, Bean grabbed the the magazine I was reading. She ripped out the center page, lustfully crinkling and uncrinkling, her whole body getting into the action like she was playing the accordion. This was seriously amazing stuff. I didn’t mind that now I’d never finish the article. The ripping was worth it.
I love mobiles. When I was pregnant with the twins and on bed rest I started one for the nursery. It was going to have cloud and bird shapes cut out of a piece of black foam core I had. I managed one cloud. Cutting things out with an exacto knife while lying down in bed was…a challenge.
We ended up getting one mobile as a gift, which was fine at first when the babies were sharing a crib, but at the point we separated them into two cribs (months ago), it became blatantly wrong. So a couple days ago when D said, “I’m going to buy a mobile for Ellie’s crib,” that was motivation enough.
I rummaged around the cupboards looking for something that might look attractive hanging from the ceiling. There wasn’t much. I must have finally trashed that piece of foam core. But I have some wrapping paper supplies, and there was tissue paper. I knew it had to be possible to make something interesting out of tissue paper. I found instructions on making these pom pom things here. Of course my method involved a lot of wrinkled, mismatched scraps of paper, two extra holes in the wall, jerry-rigged twist ties from the grocery store, two nails I bent out of shape hammering them into the wall, and a bunch of destroyed wire hangers. But anyway, it worked out! The babies seem to like looking at it, too. Not a bad way to start the New Year.
Here is a quick sketch of M in the exersaucer. She kept swiveling all around to suck on the sun rattle, press the animal-noise buttons, move the breads on their track. Then she’d turn back to find me still there watching her, and smile her gorgeous, face-lighting smile.