Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Twins Update - Seven Months Old

Today, at 2:42 and 3pm, respectively, Leo and Zoe turned seven months old. Two days ago, our dog, Toby, turned seven years old. Two days before that, I turned a multiple of seven years old. (I'll give you a hint: in dog years, Toby is older than I am.)

I haven't taken a seven-month photograph and I probably won't. Leo and Zoe are sick and have been almost continually since early February. I'm sick. Sam and Adam have been sick. I'm just not in the mood. In fact, I've hardly taken any photos at all in the past month.

But some friends came for dinner this weekend and took this great family shot, so we'll just call this the seven-month photograph.

Because of all the sickness, I don't think either Leo or Zoe has progressed as much as they would have while healthy. Leo can sit up a bit better, but if anything, Zoe seems weaker when attempting to sit. Zoe was just entering a vocal phase when this latest cold hit - she was doing these long, loud screams, just playing with her voice - but it didn't really go anywhere. Leo hasn't been babbling as much lately either, and he doesn't try to crawl like he used to. We have less smiles, less giggles, less awake-time than we did a month ago. It's depressing.

They are doing some new things, though. I think they are both trying to mimic us now. I've gotten Zoe to stick her tongue out at me a couple of times. When we play "clap your hands," I can almost hear the gears whirring in Leo's head as he tries to send the signals to his hands to bring them together.

They've been eating solids for most of the month. We've tried a lot of foods and they like most of them. Their favorite is banana and rice cereal mush, and neither of them like squash much. We've been feeding them a lot of beef, which I pureed and froze, but they've also eaten tiny bits of steak right from our plates. It's really hard to spoon feed two babies. Leo wants to grab Zoe's bites and Zoe keeps getting too tired to sit up straight, so a lot of the time I have to kind of hold them in their seats with one hand while spooning with the other. I'll be happy when I can put a bunch of food on their trays and let them shovel it in. It is pretty funny how their eating reflects their personalities. Leo is all bluster, making his grunting "I WANT" noises, grabbing at the spoon, and grabbing at Zoe, but he gets so excited that ends up letting a lot of the food fall out of his mouth. Zoe is slow to get started. With each new food I think, "Oh, she doesn't like this one." But then after about five bites, she decides it is good and gets in a rhythm and ends up eating more than Leo.

They've both spent some time in the jumper thing that hangs in the doorway, but neither one has figured out how to really make it bounce yet. I remember Sam going nuts with that thing, so I'm sure it's just a matter of time.

Zoe is getting really good at rolling. I have to watch her more closely than Leo because she's the one who keeps ending up under the furniture. She can also get around by just kind of slithering, but most of the time she goes in the opposite direction of her intended target. And that's another thing about Zoe: she is goal-directed in her movement, while Leo just wants to move for movement's sake. Zoe sees something and tries to get to it (and often succeeds). Leo just moves and ends up in a new place, which seems to excite him. Leo also loves being jostled and moved around quickly - it makes him laugh. Zoe doesn't care for that as much. It's still easier to get a laugh out of Leo than from Zoe.

The one thing that does make Zoe laugh is Sammy. Zoe worships Sammy. It's almost impossible to feed her if Sam is around because she is so focused on her. Sam does all kinds of wacky things to make Leo and Zoe laugh, and she gets more laughs out of Zoe than the rest of us combined.

Leo sleeps with his butt in the air and his thumb in his mouth, and it's just about the cutest thing I've ever seen. He's already mature enough that this sleeping pose makes me see him as vulnerable and babyish.

This upcoming month, Adam, Sammy, and I are going to Hawaii while my parents take care of the twins for a week. It's a good time to try it - they aren't fully mobile yet, but they have a solid routine and sleep through the night. It's the calm before the storm.

I hope to have more to report next month, and lots more photos.

Friday, March 16, 2012

A Little Thing

Sam is now in the "hot lava" phase of childhood development. There seems to be some overlap with the preceding "potty humor" phase, which makes for some interesting stories acted out with her dolls.

The Nugget Barrier

"Hi, Sammy! How was school today?"


"Remember, don't touch the babies until I give you a wipe for your hands."


"Uh-oh, I can't find a wipe. I think I'm out. Sorry, Sam. Can you wait until we get home?"


"Sam, would you like to get some chicken nuggets? I'm hungry."


"Are you feeling okay? I don't think I've ever heard you turn down nuggets."


"Mommy, are we going home?"

"No, I have to stop at the bank to get some cash first."

"But mommy, I want to go home. Mommy, I really want to. I want to go home, I want to go home, waaa waaa waaa."

"Sorry I didn't tell you ahead of time that I needed to go to the bank. Usually I try to let you know what my plans are if I'm going to drag you along, but I really do have to get cash today, and it will just take an extra five minutes. C'mon, usually you like going to the bank, right?"

"Mommy, we can get something at 7-11."

"I know we got something sweet there once, but we can't do that today. If we're going to get something to eat it has to be a drive-through because I don't want to have to take Zoe and Leo out of the car. Sure you don't want to go to McDonald's or something?"


"Sammy, I'm really pretty hungry. You know, if you don't want chicken nuggets, we can go to Chick-Fil-A and you can get that yogurt thing. Do you want that instead?"

"Well, okay. But mommy, will they have wipes there?"

"No, they don't have...oh wait...oh! Sammy, is that why you wanted to go straight home - because you wanted to wash your hands so you could start playing with the babies?"


Leo and Zoe have crossed the chicken nugget barrier on Sam's hierarchy of values.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Half-Day in the Life

It's just past noon. So far, today I have:

  • Changed 5 diapers (Adam did one this morning)

  • Clipped 20 fingernails

  • Showered, dressed, put on make-up and jewelry (!)

  • Received a huge grocery delivery and put it all (well, most) away

  • Eaten a salisbury steak frozen meal for breakfast

  • Looked up a recipe for salisbury steak (it's gotta be better homemade, right?)

  • Administered 4 bottle feedings

  • Spoon-fed 2 baby-food feedings

  • Given 2 sponge baths

  • Changed 2 baby outfits

  • Packed up and labeled a box for return to Amazon, and put it in my trunk

  • Opened a new box from Amazon and put the supplies away

  • Reconciled my bank account and credit card statement

  • Put away baby laundry that had been sitting on the floor in a hamper for the past week

  • Written this blog post

Plans for the rest of the day include:

  • At least one load of laundry

  • Unload dishwasher

  • Load dishwasher

  • Make new batch of formula

  • Lunch for me

  • Sam school pick-up (with babies in-tow)

  • Find some way (that doesn't involve TV) to entertain Sam for the whole, long afternoon while we are stuck in the house with the babies

  • Bath for Sam (I can drag that out for an hour, I hope)

  • Putting Stuff Away

  • Folding 5 loads of laundry

  • Cooking dinner (salmon and long-cooked broccoli tonight, I think--HT: Diana Hsieh)

  • 5 more bottle-feedings (Adam will do one tonight)

  • 3-4 more diaper changes (Adam will do one or two tonight)

  • Watching more of this week's American Idol, maybe even getting through the results show

  • If I'm feeling ambitious, starting my taxes

If it is a normal day, I'll make at least 25 round trips up and down the stairs. (I counted once.) That's the only part I'd change.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

School Shuttle Shuttle

I've been (re) listening to Leonard Peikoff's Philosophy of Education lectures in preparation for homeschooling. On the way to pick up Sam from school yesterday, I was in the midst of the "integration" section. Peikoff first spoke of the need for the teacher to always be pointing out and querying the student for integrations - connections, relationships, the big picture, the wider abstractions, etc. Then, he went on to argue that you can't only point out the integrations, but that to avoid floating abstractions you must also constantly ask the student to concretize - to give examples, to find new instances of the same thing, etc. You need to do both. In his words, you need to "shuttle" between both integration and concretization.

Sam came out of school and I turned off the lecture so we could have our usual chat on the way home. As Sam's teacher, Mrs. L. brought Sam up to my car, Toby, who was tagging along that day, barked at her. This happens every time I bring Toby along. He's a barker anyway, but he gets particularly protective of Sam in the car, and appears quite menacing. Mrs. L. is always upset and scared by his barking, and this time she was particularly startled and left the car quickly. I felt terrible that she had been so upset and said something to Sam about it.

As we were driving off, I thought of a connection. I told Sam, "You know, Mrs. L. is a good person, right? And Toby is a good dog, too. But they don't get along, do they? See, sometimes both people, or animals, can be good, but that doesn't mean they make good friends. Just like you and [our neighbor] C. You might both be good people, but you just don't get along."

"Oh yeah," she said. "Mrs. L. is a good person, and Toby is a good dog, but they don't get along. And I'm a good person, and Jinx was a good cat, but we didn't get along either."

[caption id="attachment_5268" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Jinx scratch"][/caption]

Easy as pie, this teaching thing.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A Little Thing

Mark the day! Last night Zoe and Leo became true Mossoffs - they ate steak!