Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Not Mini Mozarts

One of the things I was most looking forward to about our one-nap schedule was the freedom to take some baby classes. With 2 naps, finding a class at just the right time is near impossible. Now, we have a 3-4 free hours in the AM and a class is a great way to fill up some of that time. Or so I thought.

Most mommy-baby classes are designed with a 1:1 ratio in mind. However, the wise members of my MoT group seemed to agree that a music class is very doable (even fun!) with two babes. So, I signed us up. I chose one that was only 6 weeks long (most are 10) because if the kids hated it, I didn't want to be stuck going or out all that money. The rec department in town runs a 6-week one and it's very close to our house so a win-win all around.

Monday was our first class. We got there on time and I got the kids into the room (no easy task, BTW, and I think this may have contributed to some of our problems). There were lots of different instruments for the kids to play with. Sebastian and Collette would both pick one up and then toss it to the floor to try another. But then, Collette set her sights on the instrument the teacher had. A wooden bowling pin shaped thing with a stick - musical people out there probably know what this is called. Anyway, the teacher needed it to sing her songs and keep the rhythm. It was the only instrument that was off limits. And for my little girl, it may as well have been the only thing in the room.

Things went pretty down hill from there. Thankfully, Sebastian, just ignored the class half the time and quietly explored the room with one of the shakers in his hand. But Collette just couldn't settle in. The only thing that made her happy was if I held her and stood up. And even then she wasn't always happy. She was fussing so much I had to take her out of the room for a few minutes and I gave her a little snack. And then 10 minutes later had to do the same thing with both of them - thank God I brought enough!

As the class was winding down (and I was holding Collette, again), Sebastian started to fuss. At one point, I thought he was going to throw a temper tantrum right in the middle of the circle but he kept it together enough that we could finish the class. Overall, I don't think either of them really enjoyed it.

I have a few ideas to make it better for next time. I will use the correct entrance so I can bring the stroller into the room. (The way I came in, I was on a whole level above the room and was not about to bring my stroller down the stairs) I might get there early and give them snack right before class. At least they will have full tummies. Other than that, I'm not sure what I can do to make the experience a better one for them. I was almost in tears at how badly it was going. It's so discouraging to go through all this effort to do something fun for your kids and have them act like its torture. So, any words of wisdom? I don't want to quit because I know that they will probably to a little better each time. But, I don't want a repeat of last week either.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Question of the Week: Advice

Multiples and More hosts Question of the Week and this week, it's all about advice - or assvice, as the case may be :)

I think any mom out there could write a book about all this question encompasses - unsolicited advice, advice from your parents, advice that's good, advice that's not so good, advice you would like to give, etc. Since one blog post could not do them all justice, I will try and stay focused.

This doesn't exactly fall under "worst piece of advice ever given" but for me, it's more of a pet peeve and I think a lot of you reading this will understand. I hate it when people give me advice that is basically: you need help/you can't do this on your own.

It comes in lots of different forms
. Sometimes my mom will say a I need a cleaning lady (thanks, Mom!). My sister will tell me I need to hire a babysitter. Every single person in my husband's home country will tell me taking care of 3 kids under 2 is not possible on one's on. The thing is, it's not that I don't believe in help. My MIL came for 3 weeks when the twins were 6 weeks old and Billy had to go back to work. She will come again for a week when Billy's paternity leave ends for Tater Tot. My sister and my mom both help me out regularly. We have someone to mow the lawn and shovel snow as part of our condo association. And it's not even that I don't ask for advice regarding help and such. I do. It's the unsolicited part that really gets me. Maybe there is an insecure part of me that worries about not doing a good enough job and when someone tells me I need help, it's their polite way of saying I'm failing. Or perhaps its my pride - always a possibility.

Moral of the story: if you know someone like me and they ask for advice, give it (I love asking for advice, in case you haven't noticed) but randomly telling someone like me that they need to bring in reinforcements might be a slap in the face, from their point of view.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The One with the Attack Chicken

Like everyone else around here, Billy and I spent the weekend taking the kids out and about to enjoy the lovely weather. We hit Drumlin Farm early on Saturday morning. And with two sets of adult hands (and feet, for chasing), the kids got to spend a lot of time out of their strollers. Naturally, they loved it.

I forgot to bust out the camera until the end when we got to the chicken coops. But rest assured that they loved the cows, pigs, sheep, horses, goats and birds we saw. Here is Colie, getting a closer look at the hens:

And here is Sebastian, following suit:

As I was taking this picture (and seeing what a weird face Sebastian made), Billy was warning me that the chicken was going to bite Sebas' finger. But I'm stubborn and I really wanted to get a shot of him looking normal that I ignored the warning. And about 7 seconds after this was taken, the chicken attacked. Poor Sebas. Lesson learned, buddy. Lesson learned.

But despite the pecking incident, we had a very fun time. This afternoon, I signed us up for a family membership. If you live nearby, you should, too: just go here. We'll get our money's worth in 5 visits so really, its a no-brainer. Plus, you can buy yummy things like eggs, meat and veggies at their farm stand. I have some of their Italian sausages waiting for me to cook. I'll let you know how they are! :)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

21 Weeks Belly Picture

Here I am at 21 weeks (1 week ago) - definitely showing plenty but not too big yet, thank goodness! So far, I've only put on about 10 lbs. It's hard to eat as much as I should when there are so many other things to do. Darn kids. But I'll be stocking the house with ice cream and cookies, so that shouldn't be a problem going forward. So far so good with everything else. Keeping my fingers crossed that this pregnancy keeps going so smoothly!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Welcome to the World!

My dear friend Lena had her baby yesterday and I could not be happier for her and her husband. Michael Timothy O'Neill III made his debut into this world at 1:40am on St. Patrick's Day - already a good Irish lad! He weighed in at 9lbs 3oz and is 20.75 in. long!

Mommy and baby are both doing great. Actually, better than great: When I called (just now), the baby was nursing so I said to Michael (daddy, not baby) that I'd call back. But he had already put Lena on the phone. She had no problem chatting it up with me while nursing her day old little boy! What a pro :)

Now I just have to figure out when I'm going to meet this little bugger!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

15 Month Check Up and Other Thoughts

Today we finally had our 15 month check up with Dr. C - only 3 weeks late but hey, who's counting? Stats are as follows:

26 lbs (90th percentile)
33 in. (99th percentile - Daddy's girl!)

22.5 lbs (30th percentile)
31.5 in. (70th percentile)

That's the good news. The bad news is that they both have some form of bronchiolitis (but not RSV). She said that the cough could last about 3 weeks and I estimate they have had it for about 2. She said we should hold off on antibiotics for a week and see if it resolves itself. For the most part, they have been in good spirits so I'm very much in favor of no meds. But if in a week it doesn't go away, we will have to bring in big guns. Keeping my fingers crossed that it doesn't come to that.

Also, because they are sick and could get an ear infection as a result of the bronchiolitis, Dr. C decided to hold off on the shots. She didn't want the kids to get a fever and then have me wonder if its due to the vaccines or if it means they got an ear infection. So, back in two weeks for the fun stuff.

And now for the very good news: Dr. C is pregnant. WITH TWINS!! As soon as she walked in the room, I thought she was preggo. The little bump on her skinny frame was certainly not from a big lunch but was still too small for me to ask. Luckily, she brought it up and told me the good news. But guess what: she is 24 weeks! And barely has a bump! I am 21 weeks with ONE baby and look a lot more pregnant than she does. Then again, I am 5'4" and she is 6'2" (no joke) so its totally unfair all around. This does mean that she won't get to meet Tater Tot until she comes back from maternity leave (if?) so that's a bit sad but I am, of course, very happy to welcome her into the world of MOT-hood.

Somewhat related. I wanted to ask her if she used ART for her twins. They are fraternal which always makes me think that it might be the case. I didn't ask because I didn't want to pry although I doubt she would have minded. But I got to thinking: is the whole ART thing in kind of a snowball effect? I feel like I am always hearing about more and more twins and I know it is in part due to ART. I wonder if, as more people do it, the stigma of seeing a fertility doctor has gone away a bit. Or maybe hearing about and knowing people who have used ART, it makes others more likely to pursue it and pursue it sooner than they would have otherwise. We waited less than a year before seeing a RE (shhh, don't tell Aetna!) and maybe that is a growing trend. In this state, it certainly helps that insurance covers ART but I think that's just part of the reason. If I'm right and people feel more comfortable seeing a RE these days, then that makes me very happy. If millions of people can talk about taking Viagra, then (in)fertility should be ok to talk about, too.

Friday, March 12, 2010

In Between

With the start of the crappy weather, the kidlets and I headed to the Klubhouse this morning to let them burn off some energy before running a couple errands. We have been members of this indoor playspace since late summer and its been awesome. The kids have a great time and its very easy for me to manage them on my own. However, that all changing.

After playing for about 5 minutes in the baby/toddler room (the room we always play in), both Collette and Sebastian were shaking the baby gate, watching the big kids play on all the (way more fun) big kid stuff. They have racetrack for scooters, a castle and pirate ship to climb and two bounce house things. Also, Collette is especially obsessed with big kids lately and tries to follow them wherever they go. Needless to say, the baby room was really not doing it for them anymore.

I figured I'd see how it goes out in the big room and if it was a disaster, we could leave. Well, it wasn't really a disaster but it wasn't a whole lot of fun, either. They kept walking onto the track and I kept having to take the off before someone ran over them. They went in opposite directions (you're shocked, I know) - one back into oncoming traffic, the other towards a table of someone else's snacks. I managed to get both of them to follow me to the art room where we had snack and made a card for Daddy. That killed about 15 minutes. Then back to the toddler room which lasted a bit longer this time, maybe 10 minutes. Then they were back at the gate, begging to be big.

The problem is, they won't be "big enough" for that room for a while. It's fine for someone with just one young toddler. They just follow them around, rescue them from danger and make sure they don't get into other people's stuff. But with TWO young toddlers, its just not possible. I don't really know when they'll be big enough to ride the scooters - we practiced on the carpet instead of the actual track and very little progress was made. I don't know when they'll be big enough to climb ladders and go down big slides. But I do know that it won't be within the next month or so. I'm hoping by the time Tater Tot comes (4 months - yikes!!), they will be able to play there (more) independently but for now, we are stuck in between. Too big for the baby room but not big enough for the big kid room. Guess I'll have to put my membership there on hiatus.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

One, for better or worse

Sunday we finally made the switch to one nap. I have been gearing up for this big transition and when I looked at the weather forecast I decided that this should be the week! I'm not sure how I will do once the sunshine disappears but for now, things are going pretty well.

To my surprise, the kids don't seem really tired. They will fall asleep in the car, given the opportunity, but out and about, they are full of energy. Even after lunch (at home, so I can get them down for nap quickly), they seem ready to play. Also, their one nap isn't as long as I'd like it be. I've been putting them down at 1230 and they never make it until 3. They are gabbing away usually by 230. I make them stay in their cribs until 3 but it seems like they should sleep more. Or is that just wishful thinking? I'm wondering if it's a timing thing - maybe I'm not putting them down at the exact moment they need to nap so they don't sleep as well as they might.

Anyway, we are a one nap household now. At least until Tater Tot makes his debut. Then all this order goes right out the window!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Early Intervention, Round 2

Last week, Sebastian and Collette had their reevaluation to see if they would continue to qualify for Early Intervention services. I had already talked about it with B (our social worker, the one who does our weekly visits) and she let me know that she was pretty sure they would qualify. I wasn't surprised by that either - they aren't saying any words yet and Sebastian doesn't babble nearly as much as he should be. Recently, Collette did start saying "up" and they both say "deedee" for dog but that's it.

The evaluation involved four people: B, two other EI specialists and a grad student. The scores each of them got didn't come as a complete shock but they were still unnerving. To be fair, they did great in most areas, sometimes even above age. Apparently, I have very social little buggers. It was the language component that bothered me. For expressive language, they both scored at 8 Months! I knew they were behind but not by that much. What was even more surprising is how they measure this. They kept telling me that the kids aren't imitating me enough. And I guess they aren't but that's what they said 6 months ago, at the first evaluation. So, shouldn't they have improved? They scored 5 months old then. By my math, that means they only "aged" 3 months in this department. And that was with services!

Part of me thinks I should can the whole thing since it didn't really help them catch up with their language delay. But a much bigger part of me thinks that if we stay the course, we will start to see results. I think that we need to focus more on the language development; it's very easy for me to get sidetracked by other issues that are a big deal for me (like feeding issues, transitions, etc.) so I often use a lot of our time talking about things unrelated to Sebastian and Collette's language. Not to say we ignore it but I'm sure we could focus on it much more than we do now. To that end, I will request that we have a speech therapist/speech language pathologist be part of our "team" and our weekly visits - our IFSP is Wednesday. Not only will it be beneficial for us to have an expert in the field with us each week, it will also help me keep my focus where it should be.


On a related note, I just finished reading the book NutureShock, recommended by LauraC. Very good read and I also say, if you have some time, read it. Quite the eye-opener. Anyway, there is chapter dealing with how infants acquire language. I read it before I read any of the other chapters hoping I could find the piece that I have been missing. Basically, the research says that the best way to get kids talking is to not talk so much. Of course, we want our kids to grow up in a language-rich environment (whatever the F that means) so us moms tend to narrate everything we do. And everything our kids do. But the studies they bring up in the book show that kids whose parents simply let them babble and then just responded to their babble (even with just a touch or a kiss; not necessarily talking back to them) talked earlier than those whose parents did not respond to them as quickly and as often. The trick is, your kid has to start the talking, not the other way around. I have been trying this lately and I can't say if it's the technique or just coincidence but Sebastian has been babbling WAY more. As much as Collette, sometimes more. Very promising, either way.

I'm sure that in a year, I will be writing about how they won't stop talking. Sigh. :)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Back Home

Well, we all survived. I (very easily) made it three whole days without my kids and Billy was SuperDad. But really, did we expect anything less? Of course not.

My weekend in VA was mostly filled with baby shopping, eating, and more baby shopping. Oh, and some nursery organizing. But what else would two pregnant girls do together, honestly? Although, to change things up, we did watch Paranormal Activity which was not nearly as scary as everyone made it out to be. It was a very good time all round. I was even blessed by the cashier at Starbucks - like, the let-me-say-a-long-prayer-with-my-eyes-closed-and-holding-your-hand-amen type of blessing. So, I guess little Tater Tot is all set now. Gotta love spending time below the Mason-Dixon line. :)

Meanwhile, SuperDad took the kids to not one but TWO malls and had them eat out twice. I think it was harder than he thought it would be, but of course it's quite doable. He also nursed Sebastian's cold and sore throat and realized what a "handful" Collette is. (I love that he used that word to describe her. A euphemism if I ever heard one!) They had lots of fun while I was gone but were glad to see me come home. I made it back about 15 minutes before lights out and I have NEVER seen them so excited to see me. That must be how Billy feels when he comes home from work. It was awesome.

Sebastian eating some pasta at Papa Gino's

Billy's text when he sent me this picture:
I think I'm in over my head
Apparently, it was very hard to keep an eye on both kids at the same time. Ya think?! :)