Tuesday, November 22, 2011

15 Months


Adam: 22 lbs, 1.5 oz.
31.5 inches

Matthew: 21 lbs, 13.5 oz
31 inches

They are catching up in their percentiles! Matthew is a little smaller than Adam because of his week long illness where he wouldn't eat or drink much except breast milk. The doctor found some old fluid in Matthew's ear, so he did have an ear infection.


I have taught the boys a few sings. (Please, All Done, and Nurse) I am not going too crazy with it (mainly because I haven't taught myself very many, I do love the concept of it though). My favorite sign in "please". I say, "say please," and Adam vigorously pats his right hand on his chest, while Matthew barely taps his chest. It is so adorable. Adam especially loves to "say please" even when I don't ask him, if he sees something he wants. One morning the first thing he did after standing up in his crib was immediately do the "please" sign. The hardest part is just trying to figure out what it is they want though. I suppose that would be where more signs would come in handy ;).

Adam saying "please":


Boom (pronounced boo) - just Matthew

Animal noises:
Baabaa - just Adam

Cute things they do:

Run away and laugh, but always look back to make sure I am following them.
On the bed or couch, they fling themselves on to their stomachs and laugh, because we often play with them by (gently) knocking them over (on to a soft surface).
Play in the mud outside, and then try to hand it to me like it is the best present in the world.
(Matthew in blue, Adam in green)
Imitate us so well. We showed Adam how to tap on our scale and then step on to take his weight. He immediately was jabbing that scale as hard as he could over and over with his foot. Then eventually he stepped on :)
Make anything into a phone. ANYTHING. Just by holding an object up to their ear and saying, "eh?"
Make car noises while wheeling their toy cars on the floor.

Approx Schedule:

Yep we still have our trusty schedule. Yay for schedules!

7:00 - Wake up/Nurse
7:30 - Breakfast
10:45 - Lunch, sippy cup of milk
11:30 - Nurse/Nap (trying to wean off this nursing time)
2:00 - Wake/Snack
5:30 - Dinner, sippy cup of milk
7:00 - Bath, story time
7:30 - Nurse/Bed time

Physical milestones:

Starting to run
Can climb up the stairs and go down the slide in our backyard by themselves
Starting to use a spoon and fork

Challenges of 15 month old Twins:

This may apply to all siblings, but my boys do NOT share well. They bite, shove and cry when their twin takes a toy, threatens to take a toy, or has a toy they want.

15 months, as much as I love this age with it's new found independence for both toddlers and mommy, can still be a very needy age. It can still be overwhelming having two sets of hands reaching up and two boys saying "mama, mama". To them they are still the center of the universe, and they don't always realize they have a brother Mom needs to take care of too. A brother with the same needs, and at the same stage of development.

Telling them apart can be a challenge sometimes! I feel so bad and worry that I am going to mess them up (as in not treat them as individuals) when I momentarily get them confused.

Advantages/the Fun Part of having 15 month old Twins:

In the morning and after naps, they are always "talking to each other" when they wake up. They are facing each other through the rails and making noises and laughing. Once they hardly acknowledged my presence when I came in; they just continued playing. Too cute.

When I send the kiddos outside to play, I often find them playing in the sand box together, or climbing their small gym outside. They spontaneously laugh at each other (actually more so when I am not around, but spying on them through the window :P).

Having twice the hugs and cuddles :)

And of course, they always have a built in buddy.

By the way, 15 months is my favorite age so far :)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Oh Yeah, This is Why I am Slow to Wean....

My kids aren't huge cuddlers. I mean, they love to be held (while walking around) and to be close to Mommy (while playing), but long term cuddling while reading or sitting in a chair? Doesn't happen, not even when they were newborns.

Except when they are nursing.

At 15 months, we are down to breastfeeding 3 times a day. While they nurse, they are so peaceful and content as they play with my hair, look in my eyes, play little games with me, etc. All while we are seated and not playing with toys (unless I count as the toy).

Before nap time they sometimes fall asleep while nursing. They cuddle and nurse while sleeping on the tandem nursing pillow I still use. It is pretty much Mommy heaven. However, as soon as I detach them, they immediately flip over the nursing pillow on to their tummies. Away from me. Still asleep, but apparently without use for Mommy anymore. No cuddling without nursing is apparently their rule (Imagine me all alone in the middle with no babies on the nursing pillow):

So, we are still nursing, and not sure when we will wean :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Sweet Moments

Some of my favorite moments: bath time and story time with the kiddos. :) This was last Friday night.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Cute Little Stinkers

"Ah yes, the mobile toddler. There is no question that a toddler mom is a tired mom, and for good reason. The emotional and physical energy needed to supervise an energy-packed tot can take down the most physically fit mom. If your toddler happens to be a boy, add fifty percent more energy. Never so beautiful does this child look to his wary mom as he does when he closes his eyes to sleep." --- Toddlerwise, p 23. (Ezzo & Buchnam)

This quote made me smile & laugh. So does that mean toddler twin boys take 100% more energy? Yes they wear me out, but they are the sweetest boys ever. Their curiosity is never ending, they are constantly pointing at stuff and saying, "eh?" or "wha da?" Often they will whine, "ma ma, ma" with their arms up, only to lunge for something they couldn't reach before I can completely stand up with them in my arms. If Adam is anywhere near a stroller or shopping cart, he will try to push it, even if I am holding him at the time. If I sit on the floor with them, they will inevitably end up making their way on to my lap and giving me a snuggle before moving on again. Lately I have been able to let them play in the backyard on their own for 10-15 minutes at a time. (That's about how long it is before they find their way back inside saying, "ma ma, ma ma." That is the perfect amount of time to clean up their highchairs and put some dishes in the dishwasher. I am not able to do a lot of chores while they are awake, but I still try. Here are Adam & Matthew while I was trying to do laundry... I was thinking how cute they were standing in the laundry basket, but then I looked away, and looked back, and they were in the dryer :) Little stinkers.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sleep Training - The First Year

It is November, the month of Thanks. I am thankful, so very thankful, that it is so easy to put my kids to bed every night. I don't hear a peep from them after I tell them goodnight and close the door. They are happy through the entire bedtime routine: Bath, Nurse, Story, Bed (Singing, massage). Even when I put them in their cribs; they are smiling up at me. It is precious!

And even with how well amazing they sleep now, I'm not sure I would approach sleep training in
exactly the same way if I had another kid, but apparently I did get results. Naps/bedtime/waking up at night were THE things that stressed me out the most the first 9 months. Before I had kids (read: before I had a set of twins that hated life when they were tired, but hated going to sleep & staying asleep even more) I was completely against the "cry it out" method. Read on to see what happened.....

Months 1-3
During these months we had no schedule. The boys nursed on demand and slept when they were rocked or swung long enough ;) The boys mainly fell asleep during nursing (we would try to
transfer to their pack n plays, with hit or miss success), in their swings/bouncers, or by being rocked to sleep (simultaneously). It was pretty difficult to successfully transfer them to a pack n play with both of them in my arms! I must have looked pretty comical. During these first few months the babies were often on me the entire time they were napping, or I was bouncing a
bouncy seat.

Months 3-7

At around 3 months, the boys had been either on different nap schedules, or being held during their naps their whole lives, and I was starting to lose just a little bit of my sanity. (You can ask
my husband). Try rocking two babies to sleep simultaneously for 3 months.... it's not as warm and cuddly as rocking one. ;) So I went to Border to buy the Dr. Sears book on infant sleeping. Borders didn't have that book, but they did have On Becoming Babywise (which I actually wasn't going to buy originally, because some of the reviews said it was harsh.)

I ended up reading through it in every spare second I had (usually while I was tandem nursing). The basic premise is: babies need sleep to be healthy and happy, but they will often fight it and end up not getting the sleep they need. Not taking good naps = waking up more at night, and a fussy baby all around. (My kids were very, very fussy newborns.) The book advocated an
Eat, Play, Sleep schedule during the day. But when it was time to sleep, put the baby in his crib, and if he doesn't go to sleep right away, it's okay to let him cry it out. They crying it out should end in 2 weeks.

I was so desperate for some sleep and maybe just a little sanity back, I followed this book

exactly. The longest the kiddos cried was 20 minutes, but they did cry before every nap time. But, they slept in their cribs, I had some free time (45 minute naps.. but 45 minutes baby free was a huge step), and the babies were definitely happier. They still woke up several times a night, I didn't follow the part about letting them cry it out at night (I really think they needed

their breast milk). I thought... I can handle two weeks of crying for simultaneous naps in the crib. I was very strict... no one was allowed to rock the babies to bed, pick them up from their cribs after they were placed in them for nap time, etc. I was terrified ju
st one deviance would mean two more weeks of crying before nap time.

I did this for 4 months. I loved having a schedule (You can see these in my previous posts). But, unfortunately my kiddos still cried every.single.nap.time. To be fair, they did quietly go to sleep some naps, but that was a minority. And also to be fair, they cried every single nap time before I did the whole schedule/sleeping in the crib thing, it's just I was

actively doing something about it so I didn't feel as bad. My kids just really hated sleeping I think. Well, after 4 months of crying in their cribs before naps, the mommy guilt really set in, and I changed my game plan a little.

Months 7-9

I read parts of a new book, "Healthy Sleep Habits, Healthy Child". This book had different levels of strictness that you could follow (For example, you could choose to either soothe your child to sleep every single time before you put him in bed, OR soothe him for a set time, and then put him in bed asleep or not and let him cry if needed.) It said it was okay to nurse your child to sleep, okay to rock your child to sleep, etc, as long as you put him in his crib after he fell asleep to ensure the sleep is good quality. It also advocated putting your baby down for naps/bed at the same time every day. Also it talked more about having a nap time and bed time routine.

I liked this book better because it allowed more freedom. I kept the Eat/Play/Sleep schedule because I had been using that for 4 months (I might change that if I had another kid, I think babies like to nurse before sleeping). But instead of just putting them in their crib, I started taking them out in their stroller when they got tired. They fell right asleep in their stroller, then I would transfer them to their cribs without a problem. This actually worked really well because they went to sleep without crying, and I got a jog in every morning. Usually for the afternoon nap, they would fall asleep in the car on the way back from an errand, and I would either let them sleep in their car seat, or transfer them to their cribs. At bedtime they would nurse to sleep.

I wonder if this would have worked if I hadn't trained them to sleep in their cribs first, but I was a happy momma when I switched to this method. We were still on a schedule, but without the crying.

Months 9-12 (and beyond)

I started getting worried that after all my efforts in months 4-7, the babies would never be able to fall asleep on their own in their cribs. At 9.5 months, we went to visit some relatives, and I watched my cousin put her two girls to bed. She just read them a story, etc, then kissed them goodnight and closed the door. While they were still awake! No crying or anything. I had a renewed hope that this was possible without crying. When we got back from our trip, I did everything I could to make the bedtime routine fun. I discovered the babies loved full body massages; they would actually lie down for them. I did let the babies cry it out again, but within a few days, they had stopped crying (for the most part), and started going to sleep on their own in the crib. Success!

They still occasionally cry at nap time, but only for a minute or two before singing or talking themselves to bed. I don't hear a peep at bedtime. I now nurse before nap time and bed time, but they rarely fall asleep while I nurse. I read them a story, put them in bed, and sing to them while I massage their backs. At nap time they often pop right back up, but I say "goodnight" and close the door, and they understand that I'm not coming back until after they wake up :) Now that they are down to one nap, they often wake up once of twice during their nap. I used to go in, but discovered once I am in their room, they do NOT go back to sleep. Now I wait ten minutes, and only go in after that. They almost always fall back asleep for another 1-2 hours. I wait several minutes at night too when they wake up. Most nights they wake up for a few minutes, but I very rarely have to go in there anymore.

WOW, that was a long post, sorry :) In summary, I am so thankful for where we are in this sleep training journey. But I still have some guilt over months 4-7 when they cried before almost every nap time. I wish I could go back and find a different solution, but still have the same result I have now. I think if we have another kid, I will use "Healthy Sleep Habits" instead of "Babywise". I am definitely not against babies crying it out (I think it is needed for some babies...although I don't think it should be used for very young babies), but I now think rocking and nursing babies to sleep is not bad, but actually important for mother/baby bonding, especially those first few months. The two things I believe are most important for good sleep habits are consistency and a schedule. Stick with the method you decide to use, at least for a few months. And a schedule = a must, at least for twin moms. :) I'm thinking singleton moms too?