Sunday, May 30, 2010

32 Weeks: Belly Pic

My belly at 32 weeks:

My guess is that I am still measuring right on time, which is perfect. Since I was measuring about 6 weeks ahead with the twins, this is as it should be for my body and one baby. Although being sick and not eating more than toast for 3 days definitely set my weight back a bit. And I'm slightly anemic. But nothing some iron supplements can't help.

So, it seems that all is back to normal and I can just try and do my best to get through these next 8 weeks. It is getting increasingly difficult to do certain tasks, like washing dishes (my belly is the same height as the counter-top), laundry (I can't reach the bottom of the laundry sorter), lifting Sebastian and Collette, and anything else that involves bending over. I remember when I was pregnant with the twins, bending over wasn't so bad - I did the "stripper" bend where I would crouch and come up butt first and then stand straight. But when I have to bend down and pick up toys about 20,530 times per day, that's just not gonna happen. Either way, my back is mad at me and I'm mad at all the toys. And dirty dishes. And dirty clothes. It's gonna be a long 8 weeks... :)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Verdict Is In

And I'm just sick. For the third time. You have got to be freakin' kidding me! Of course, I'm very happy that it's this and not preeclampsia again. My BP was 121/75 (which I'm told is normal), there was no protein in my urine and my OB is pretty sure the blood test for liver function will come back fine. So, for now, I'm just stuck at home, feeling like crap and hoping that if I crank my central AC enough, it will actually make our third floor playroom bearable. We have a portable AC unit for up there but were not prepared for 90 degree weather in May and the unit is in the basement. Sigh.

Thank you all SO MUCH for your well wishes and concern for me and Matteo. I'm usually a pretty easy going gal when it comes to medical stuff but this had me pretty scared. Your comments helped perk me up, so thank you again.


So far, this has been a very easy pregnancy. Besides the two stomach viruses I contracted from the kids, it has been smooth sailing. That is, until now.

On Saturday night/Sunday morning, I wasn't feeling well. My stomach hurt and I couldn't sleep. Sunday was a wash of a day for me but the rest I got seemed to help. Monday was much better but not 100%. Still, I was pretty sure it was just one of those things that comes and goes, no harm done.

But yesterday, towards the end of nap time, I started feeling shitty again. And it really hasn't gone away. I have had slight headaches, nausea, stomachaches and, just recently, thanks to an extra special poopy diaper, vomiting. I am just hoping against hope that my BP is in check because 31.5 weeks is way to early for this baby to come. Not to mention that I have NO IDEA what I will do if I have to go on bed rest to keep him in longer. For now, I try to keep thinking happy thoughts and take it as easy as I can in 90 degree weather with two 18 month olds. I go in for a check up at 10am - wish me and Matteo luck!

Monday, May 24, 2010

18 Months

Sebastian and Collette are officially closer to two than one. I think this is a mixed bag but, overall, I wouldn't want to go back. I keep hearing how tough 18 months is. And I agree. I love the freedom and independence they have now, as well as their growing ability to communicate their needs but they, of course, have no sense of danger or consequence. This makes willful, mobile kids hard to deal with - there's just no reasoning with them! Only chasing, capturing and strapping them into some child device. This also has me thinking about buying a stroller to fit all three kids. If I do go that route, I will buy this one. I figure the extra seat can be used to store stuff. Maybe I will put the dog in there and get some really crazy looks. :)

Lately, we have been practicing using utensils and walking downstairs. Utensils we have been doing for awhile but now I think I am ready to force them to do it themselves 100%. Or use their hands. I'm sure it will take some time for them to grow out of that. Usually I fill up their spoon and put it in front of them as scooping is their main problem. But I figure they will learn fast if they have no mommy doing it for them.

Collette will only walk downstairs now, as opposed to crawling down. We have to hold her hand but she is getting very good at it and soon I think she will be able to do it herself while holding the wall. Sebastian is practicing but not with nearly as much gusto as Collette. He prefers to practice on smaller sets of stairs and crawl down the big ones.

Here is our attempt at a chair picture, which we have decided to do every half year instead of every month. They don't change too much each month and they don't sit still anyway.

Also, what is with this age and throwing stuff where they can't reach it and then crying about it? And then doing it twelve more times in a row? It's super annoying, times 2. Good thing they're cute.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Breakfast Must

Warning: This is assvice. Advice that no one asked for and maybe no one wants but I'm giving it anyway. I'm pretty sure that's how you define assvice.

Since Sebastian and Collette were about a year old (maybe younger) we have been giving them Irish oatmeal (steel-cut oats) for every breakfast. As the Head Chef of the Soto Household, I made the executive decision that we would stick to one breakfast, leaving my creative juices flowing for lunch and dinner. 6+ months later, and everyone, even Lola, is very happy with this decision.

Here is why you should try it first thing tomorrow morning.
  1. It's easier than you might think. It's true that they take almost half an hour to cook, similar to the way you would cook rice. Compared to a bowl of cereal or even instant oatmeal, this is longer. However, you can make a big batch so you only have to cook it once a week. You can easily reheat the oatmeal in the microwave (not so for oatmeal made with rolled oats) in 30 seconds with a little bit of water or milk.
  2. It's easy to add in yummy and nutritious things. Getting my kids, and I assume most kids, to eat fruit isn't a big problem. However, I do have issues with fruit going bad and I also like to buy fresh fruit in season. For this reason, I buy a lot of frozen fruit. Unfortunately, not all frozen fruit thaws nicely - think mushy thawed strawberries. But when added to oatmeal, mushy fruit is no big deal. Even frozen fruit will warm up quickly in hot oatmeal. We have also done nuts and raisins - a big hit but very chewy! You could easily add in prune juice if your having some poop issues. I bet you could get creative and add shredded coconut. For extra flavor, I always cook mine with cinnamon and about 1-2 tbsp maple syrup for the whole batch.
  3. It's VERY cheap. Boxed cereal seems pretty inexpensive. And, truthfully, it is. No one will go bankrupt eating cereal for breakfast. But steel cut oats purchased by the pound are much less expensive. I cook my oats one cup at a time. This yields about 3 cups of cooked oatmeal. That lasts the kids about 4 days, maybe more. I add a lot of fruit and that stretches the oatmeal out, but still. One cup of oatmeal (uncooked) costs 60 cents. That means its costs me 15 cents per morning to feed both of my kids oatmeal, plus the fruit. If I gave them cereal (one that I find a close comparison in terms of nutrition and lack of weird stuff) it would cost me 4 times as much.
  4. It's a good choice for your body. I'm not going to get into the specifics of nutrition here but oats are great choice, regardless of which kind you choose. Supposedly, steel-cut oats contain more fiber, gram for gram, than the rolled oats or instant oats.
  5. Easy for toddlers learning to use a spoon. These oats make a thicker, sticker oatmeal than rolled oats, IMO. Now, you may not like that as a taste or texture preference but for my 18 month olds, its a great food to help them learn to use the spoon. Success is almost guaranteed once the spoon hits the bowl. And it takes some serious flinging (still all to common around here...) for it to fall off.
What do your kids like for breakfast? Have you tried Irish oatmeal?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Finally, Some Words

In the past few weeks, Sebastian and Collette have made some big strides in the language department. Of course, this happens right before Sebastian starts speech therapy (in partnership with his EI therapy) but no matter. I'm just happy that they both have found ways to express themselves.

Both Sebastian and Collette have added a few spoken words to their vocabulary, as well as some signs. Here is where they both are to date.

Sebastian's spoken words:
  • Car
  • Ball
  • Dada
  • Mama
  • Doggie
Sebastian's signs:
  • Help
  • Please
  • More
  • All Done
  • Eat
Collette's spoken words:
  • No
  • Nose
  • More
  • Up
  • Dada
  • Mama
  • Doggie
Collette's signs:
  • Help
  • Please
  • More
  • All Done
  • Eat
  • Blankie
  • Yes (nodding)
The signs for "help" and "please" have been especially useful - I think Sebastian has been less fussy since discovering a way to ask for things. His frustration level comes down the instant I ask him if he needs help (and then he signs it if he does) - you can see the look on his face change when he realizes that I finally understand him. Collette uses the sign for "blankie" when she gets upset or frustrated as that is her comfort object. For instance, we were playing with some stacking cups during EI today and she got mad about something and immediately signed blanket (and then found it) and all was right in her world again.

Of course I want to focus on their spoken vocabulary but they seem to learn what they want. I tried to teach Sebastian to say "up" for weeks, to no avail. And now, with no pressure from me, he is saying "car." I'm sure I taught him this word - we see enough cars in a day - but I wasn't making a special effort. Yet, that's one of his 5 words. I'll keep trying, because it's my job, but I get the feeling that he will progress as his own pace and say the words he is interested in saying. Which is what all those wise, wise people have told me from the get go. Ah well. Lesson learned :)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Babies (the movie) - One Mom's Take

A few posts ago, I mentioned that I won tickets to go see the new movie, Babies. I actually did get to go see it with Billy, thanks to Tanya for offering to babysit!

I wasn't sure what I would take away from this movie before seeing it. Part of me thought I would learn some new ways to do mommy things after seeing how other women in other cultures do it. However, I ended up coming away with something very different, something I almost didn't realize until I read another, completely unrelated blog post, about work-life balance.

I don't talk a lot about work-life balance in the "traditional" sense because I don't have a job outside the home. However, that doesn't mean that I don't understand what it might be like for those parents that do or even have similar struggles myself. Either way, I have come to realize that our lives (here in this corner of the world) do not easily accommodate babies. Think about all of the things we need when we have a baby: crib, bottles, safety gates, diapers, exersaucers, strollers, a gazillion toys. And we think all of this stuff makes our lives easier. And in a sense, it does. But we only need all of these things because our lives pre-baby are so ill-suited to infants and toddlers that we have to acquire all this stuff to make it work.

The example in the movie that most drove this point home for me was the boy in Namibia. His family was, from what I could tell, the least "western" of all the families (US, Japan, Mongolia were the others). He had no "toys" - he played with rocks and sticks and cups and other things that were already around him. He wore no diaper - not even a cloth one. His garment looked the same to me as those of the older boys in his family.

But more importantly, he just hung out with his mom and his aunt and his siblings and cousins while the grown-ups continued to do what the did everyday before he came. They did their work while they loved him and fed him and taught him and cared for him. There was no need for "work-life" balance. Work was life and life was work. The babies seemed to just fit right in. Their lives were not completely uprooted by having a baby. That's something I wish we could experience. Unfortunately, the lifestyle we live here is just not designed with babies in mind. They cost us a fortune in childcare, whether we pay for it or forgo our own paid work to do it ourselves. They ruin our nice furniture. They are constantly breaking our nice things. They nearly kill themselves falling off all our hazards. They isolate us from the world we once knew.

Now, its not like I'm ready to ship up and move to Namibia. I'm too accustomed to all my stuff. And I would fry under that sun all day. But, I do envy how motherhood works over there, at least from what I saw.

Has anyone else seen the movie? What did you think?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Potty Gods are already smiting me...

...and I haven't even started using the potties! I was *thinking* about using the potties - I guess that was enough to incur their wrath.

Having heard a million potty stories, from ones about 4 months olds signaling to use the potty to ones about 4 year olds refusing to use it, I decided I should join in on the fun. I figured, maybe if I start early, no pressure, I might be pleasantly surprised and if I wasn't, no harm done because I really don't care yet. So, this afternoon we bought four $5 potties at KMart. Two green, two beige - Sebastian "chose" the beige and Collette therefore ended up with green.

We got home, got settled and I thought now is as good a time as any to put them on the new potties. I brought Collette into the bathroom and told her what we were going to do (like she cared...). Off came the shorts and then the diaper. And there was poop. FML. No wipes in arm's reach - just toilet paper which, let me tell you, is no match for mushed up toddler poop. I wiped her as best I could and put her on the potty (why not!) while I went to find wipes and a diaper. On my way out of the bathroom, I noticed that Sebastian had not only removed his shorts (they're a bit too big) but also his diaper, which he has never before done. And it, too, had poop. And most of that poop and escaped the diaper and was on my kitchen floor. FML again. For those of you keeping score, I now had two diaperless children with poopy bottoms, zero diapers and zero wipes. Oh, and one dog who seemed all too eager to sniff, and maybe even eat, the poop.

All this and we hadn't even really TRIED the potties! Part of me thinks this is a sign that I should stop all thoughts regarding the potty. But a bigger part of me realizes that this is not that crazy a thing to have happen with two toddlers. Plus, we all need a good poop story. And quite frankly, I've heard better. Hopefully, we can try again tomorrow and not get sidetracked by dirty diapers. Wish me luck. Ha!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Thank You Isis!

For those of you who are local, I'm sure you are familiar with Isis Maternity. I first learned about this gem from a friend who did an internship there for his MBA. His wife was pregnant when I was pregnant with the twins so all of us went to one of their guest speaker events - I think it was about children and brain development. We went on to take their "Parenting Multiples" class which I HIGHLY recommend if you are expecting twins and in the greater Boston area. My personal favorite thing about Isis, though, is there selection of baby/parenting/nursing gear. They sell a lot of things that you can't easily find at Babies 'R' Us, especially their nursing and pumping stuff. We have yet to partake in any of their baby/kid classes but I would like to try them out once they are a bit older.

I told you all a while back how I won an Ergo carrier from them. I also mentioned that I won tickets to see Babies - also courtesy of Isis. As if all that wasn't enough, they invited me to special event where they announced their new name which I agree better reflects their services: Isis Parenting. The event was lots of fun, although I had to rescue Sebastian from the babysitting room - such a momma's boy. We learned about Isis' new brand and got to see a great cooking demo from a local Boston chef.

The next night was the Babies movie event. All the ticket winner received free goody bags with nursing mom essentials. I got a kick-ass pumping bra - much better than the one I had last time. These things have come a long way! The movie was adorable but I'll save my thoughts on that for another post.

So, a big thank you to Isis Parenting for letting us into your world this past week. I will continue to sing your praises and will remember to use your new name!