Tot School 22mo twins – Jumping, Hot/Cold & Ants

Today was the last day that we had to stay to ourselves.  Yea!  We are all feeling better too.  Two raring to go boys, inside one house, with one mom, all day did not sound like fun.   Does it to you?  So to the back yard we went this morning.   We were given one of those toddler roller coasters awhile back.  James loves to push the car up the hills and ride the car back down.  He could do that for hours. and yell weeee at the top of his lungs.  Lance on the other hand likes to use just his feet and walk up and down the hills.  The swimming lessons that we took at the beginning of July were a great introduction to learning how to jump, since they jumped off the wall into our arms, in the water.  Now the boys have jumping in their systems.  I knew jumping was big part of little boys and the lessons just jump started this need in them.   Lance tried jumping off the side of a small hill onto the grass and loved it.  James, my daredevil, decided to go to the top and jump off.  I thought he’d cry, but he just laughed and got back up to do it again.  I was sitting in my lawn chair just watching, then it hit me that this could be a learning time.  So I ran over and said to James that he was way up high and when he jumped I said now you’re down low.  Mind you that if the neighbors were listening they had to be laughing because I used a high, fast, squeaky voice then a low, slow bass voice.  We waved our hands high up in the air and then waved them down by the ground real low.  The next thing I know, they are standing on the hills, waving their hands around, then jump, fall to the ground, stand back up quick as they can, then bend down to wave again.  I just had to laugh that they stood back up then bent down when they were already low, lying on the ground.

Because of the temps being over 100 in Texas, we stayed inside during the day until 7pm tonight, then went back out to the backyard.  It was still hot out so I handed the boys the water hose.  I no longer need to turn the faucet on & off because James can do it on his own.  Lance however still has no idea what to do with the faucet.  Watching the boys squirt each other, move the hose around and see the different angles of water coming out and splashing around reminded me of all the fun that I had as kid with my brother in the water out back.  When it was James’ turn with the hose, he found it hilariously funny to point it right at Lance’s back.  He just cracked himself up every time he did that.  Lance would do his cute little wiggle, laugh and then say cold.  I’d say yes it is cold, then we would take a few steps away and put our hands on the cement sidewalk and I’d say hot.  They have the concept of hot down already.  Ever since James burned his hands on the oven, they both point at the oven and say hot.  Now with learning about and feeling cold, maybe they will begin to learn about opposites.  James had another lesson in cold later today, when he slammed his finger in the door.  I had to keep ice on his finger and after a little bit, he would cry, pull his finger away and say no, cold.  I think the lesson just might be sinking in.  As a mom of twin boys, I think that I’ll have plenty of future opportunities to talk about cold using ice packs.

The last thing we learned about today was ants and that ants bite.  We have an ant bed that popped up by a rock out back so I went to put some killer on it.  The boys haven’t experienced an ant bite yet and I didn’t plan for today to be their first.  So when they got close, I said stay back because ants bite.  Then I  nipped at the boys with my pinched fingers and made a silly snapping sound.  It was kinda a cross between crunching, snapping & gobbling, if that makes sense?  The giggles started and all I heard for the next ten minutes was their version of an ant bite sound while they grabbed at the air.  It’s the funniest thing to see and hear.  It got the idea across because later when Lance looked out the window and could see the ant bed, he acted out the scene again.

I just love seeing ideas start to come together for my two boys.  Each one catches on to an idea at a different time, in his own way.  I know singleton moms think back to how their first child learned compared to their youngest child, but what a joy to see the differences in learning side by side with twins.  As each day passes, the pressure of raising two at the same time seems to lessen but the joy keeps increasing.  I’m just as tired as when they were infants but I can now see the fruits of my time and energy for them begin to show.  In the beginning, I thought being a mother of twins had to be the hardest thing and now I’m starting to consider it a mercy that there is two of them.  Two for companionship, to have more funny moments and to have twice as many hugs & kisses.  Oh what I’d be missing out on if only there was one and now I’m so glad for that special blessing.

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22mo Twins & Downtime

This has been a pitiful couple of days.  I came down with an awful stomach virus on Thursday.  Friday little Lance got sick too and James broke out in a rash.  By Saturday they both had a rash on their faces & the doctor has recommended that they stay away from other kids for a few days.  My two boys are just drained of energy right now so tot school is being done differently while they’re sick.  We do a lot of sitting on the couch, cuddling under the blankets and watching all sorts of tv.  Notice in the picture that while they may be tired and sick, they aren’t sitting together because even when only a shred of energy is available, they will use it to push & hit at their brother to get the advantage on mom’s lap or arm.   BTW, if you haven’t watched Martha Speaks or Sid the Science Kid, then you are missing out.  The shows on PBS are pretty good when used sparringly.  We also threw in a few Baby Einstein DVDs.  My boys love Galileo & DaVinci in particular.  A much more quiet style of learning was taking place as we watched tv.  They learned about planets and galaxies, manners and elasticity.  I do miss the rough housing, the creative playing and the laughter, but I’m also enjoying these rare moments when both of the twins want to cuddle in mom’s lap or snuggle down beside me.  It reminds me that they are still little boys and God has granted me the privilege to look after them & love on them dearly.

Tot School 21.5mo – I Spy Bottle

It’s hot!  95 degrees at 8AM and the temp keeps climbing.  It’s hot!  So unless we want to sleep in the day & play at night, then I have to come up with some new indoor things to keep my twin boys happy.  We were still sitting at the breakfast table on Monday morning, reading the boys’ children’s Bible.  I usually ask the boys to find and point out various things on the pages.  That’s when I had my new idea.  The I Spy Bottle.  Really simple and cheap.  I grabbed a water bottle from the fridge, poured the water into a cup so I wouldn’t waste it, shoved a towel down into the bottle and dried it.  Ok, that part wasn’t so easy.  I tried to poke the towel through the small opening with my finger without success so I resorted to using an erasure end of a pencil and pushing with everything I had in me.  So back to the easy craft making.  With the bottle dry, I grabbed a funnel, the boys and we went out back to the sandbox.  I showed the boys how to scoop & pour the sand in the funnel.  They did a good job but I think I wore 1/4 of the sand box on my clothes that morning.  They filled the bottle 1/4 full, then I let them drop a few different colored pom poms, a hairpin and a screw down in.  Then we filled the bottle up to 1/2 way and added a few pennies, colored paper hearts and some hunk of metal that dad was throwing away.  We added the last 1/4 of sand, pom poms, nuts, screws and a paper clip.  We left the last 1/4 empty so that we could shake and move the items around in the bottle.  I tightened down the cap and whala, a great little attention holding toy.  We spent some time shaking it to make noise to the rhythms of some groovy music, we rolled it on the floor, of course each boy tried to sneak in a whack at his brother with it and we sat down to find all the items that we put in the bottle.  I usually hold the bottle and slowly turn it until something appears.  They both point and squeal at it.  I say the name of the object and the usually try to repeat it.  They have been working really hard at saying all the new words that this has taught them.  This whole I spying thing can last for quite some time.  So the next really hot day that you have, grab a bottle and have some fun making your own I Spy bottle with things from around your home.  It just might be your little mercy from God for the day.   What other kinds of toys have you come up with that was made from stuff already sitting around your house?  Let me know.

So Much Fun To Mention

This morning I heard laughter and squealing ringing through the house.  What a pleasant sound.  But before I get to that, let me back up and get you caught up on some fun events over the past two weeks. 

Last week we ended our two weeks of swim lessons.  My husband and I are intent on giving our kids the best chance at loving to explore life.  That includes loving water.  So we decided to sign the boys up for swim lessons this summer.  They were in the Aquatots/Aquababies class, which ranges from 6mo-3yrs.  Dad had to participate with us because one adult is required to be with each child.  Oh what fun we had with daddy!  They both started off being somewhat timid.  I don’t blame them.  We were in an olympic size pool and how intimidating if your only like 2 1/2 feet tall.  By day two, Lance became a little fish & James just floated like hanging seaweed.    Each of us took a child and off we went swimming around.  Every time dad & I passed each other with a child, my kid cried and wanted to swim with daddy.  How sweet but also how frustrating.  Each boy wants to hang on dad because he’s the center of their universe right now.  The height of their twin cuteness was full force when we all swam together.  Dad & I would swim backwards while holding the boys out at arms length on their tummies.  James & Lance would look at each other and just giggle.  I would have loved to get that on video, but you can’t  have it all with twins.  My husband & I found it interesting that each one of us could get the kids to do different things that the other parent could not.  Phil could get them to jump of the wall into the water where we caught them and he could get them to swim on their stomachs better.  I had the knack with getting them to float on their backs & kick their legs as well as underwater submersion.  So as a team, we had a good first experience with swim lessons, barring the two days right in the middle where they both only wanting to cling to our necks.  It will be fun to see if we still have two little fish next summer or if we go back to having hanging seaweeds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We were given a new toy over the weekend and it’s a hit.  They got a Toss Across bean bag game.  When I first looked at it, I thought that the bean bags were too small and puny.  Boy was I wrong.  The bags are about 1.5″x1.5″.  They fit perfectly in the boys’ little hands.  I didn’t need to show them anything.  Funny how boys know how to throw without instruction.  They don’t get the taking turns and using the tic tac toe stickers to play the game yet, but they get the throwing.  It just makes me laugh when they both bend over and put their heads on the ground to look for the bags underneath.  They seem to always do it at the same time and in the same way but on opposite ends.  Too cute!  Not only does it give them throwing practice, but they like to spin the pieces with their hands.  We talk about spinning them back & forth, we count the pieces as we spin them and we count as we throw the bags.  This toy is a keeper.  I’m looking forward to their birthday when they will get the bigger bean bags.  I’m thinking about all the different uses for these bags.  Not only the tic tac toe game, but throwing into a laundry basket, throwing into a box that I’m holding into the air, tossing up and learning to catch and who knows what else.  Do you have any creative uses that you have done with bean bags?  If so, let me know please.

In the midst of all this fun & I do consider the past two weeks very fun, we had a very bad day.  You know the ones were you think I don’t want to be a parent anymore?  That was our Saturday.  Pour little Lance started out the morning crying when he saw dad walk through the kitchen but didn’t stop to kiss Lance good morning.  Not a big deal if Lance would have moved on and became happy after a few minutes.  He chose to cry at the top of his lungs with big crocodile tears all day long.  He didn’t want to take his naps.  He just laid there and cried.  No amount of consoling from me or dad would do the trick.  After lunch we decided to go to Lowes to look for new bathroom floor tiles.  We thought a change of scenery would help Lance’s mood.  We were hopeful at the beginning.  The store had their favorite sports car cart.  Those two can turn a steering wheel with the best NAScar racer.  Halfway through the visit, Lance started crying again.  We picked him up, we let him walk, we put him back in the cart, all to the continuing sound of wailing.  James apparently felt left out so he joined in this screaming symphony too.  After 10min of this embarrassing concert, we decided it was time to go home.  Not our best display either.  My husband grabbed James in a hough and loudly announced that the trip was over and told the boys that they ruined  the trip.  I grabbed Lance in part shock to my husband’s actions and part frustration.  No one spoke on the way home.  Bedtime could not come soon enough that day.  We put them down and 5min later Lance was up screaming.  We tried to wait it out but he was going for the long haul.  That’s when it hit me.  Lance had been pouring spit out of his mouth like a river today.  He was teething those last two upper molars.  I felt so guilty about not catching this and blaming it on him being an awful soon to be 2yr old.  I scooped him up, applied Oragel and we cuddled on the overstuffed chair for a while before I laid him back down to sleep.  So the next time we have a really bad day, I’ll try to think better about what might be causing the fussiness.

On Sunday, while Dad was out looking at tile again, the boys got bored and mom was tired.  So what to do with twin boys when mom’s tired?  Grab several newspapers.  Hand them to boys and show them how to tear the paper into stripps.  This is a great way to exercise those fine motor skills in the hands.  After every bit of paper was stripped apart, then I let them have a ticker tape falling down parade.  I let them throw it on each other, on themselves, on me and in the air.  45 min of pure, simple fun where I didn’t have to lift a finger.  I did have to keep a watch out so the boys wouldn’t get too carried away and hurt each other with the throwing.  We picked it all up and put it in a bag for the next itme we get really bored.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now we are back to the laughter ringing through the house this morning.  All three of us were having fun.  James & Lance were given each a 2 litter  plastic Coke bottle.  The throwing, the rolling, the sword fighting, the chewing, all of that was great.  But the best part that made me laugh was when Lance held up th Coke bottle and pronounced that it was Daddy’s milk.  James started chanting it too.  So around and around the island they ran chanting that Coke was Daddy’s milk.  The boys only get to drink water and milk so this was what they thought was Daddy’s drink.  It makes me giggle just thinking about it now.  If you have twins, hold on to those precious moments when they both are happy and they are both joining in doing  those cute things.  Some days may be hard, but all in all, the days as a whole are good & fun.

Tot School 21.5mo – Backyard

Every boy needs to experience the great outdoors, in my opinion.  One day my boys will be running through deserts, hiking up mountains and maybe shooting a gun, but for today, my boys are little and the backyard is all the outdoors that they need for now.  This morning was quite the adventure for only 1.5 hr out back.  Just what do little boys do in the backyard?  Well, they grab the water hoses.  Letting the water dribble out  slowly on the concrete makes lovely formations.  Art in the backyard!  HaHa!  We talked about wet vs dry while they hand splashed on the concrete. 

James found a plain ol stick from the tree.  What does a stick poked inside a concrete block do?  Well nothing, but it sure is fun and curiosity satisfying for a toddler boy.

  That stick also makes many sounds outside.  We talked about high and low sounds.  Armed with a stick each, they wacked the fence, chicken wire, a plastic bucket, a wagon, a bike, the ground, the side of the house and sand  just to name a few.   Oh, they tried to whack each other, but mom intervened before we found out what sound that would make.  

Lance was going to whack the climbing cube until a snail on the side of it caught his attention.  Sadly we learned what sound a snail makes when it’s shale gets squeezed too hard.  Next James noticed a cricket sitting on the ground and his squealing brought Lance running over.  They poked, pulled and chased that thing for 5min through the grass before it eluded them.  Lastly, as we all sat or laid out in the grass, I pulled up a blade of grass.  I intended on just talking about the color green, but then I decided to blow on it and make it whistle.  I laughed so hard as each boy tried to make the blade hum too.  Mostly there was a lot of spitting or just blowing on the grass before they threw it down but only so they could get the blade that mom was currently using.  They tried each new blade that I used.  It never occurred to them that it wasn’t the blade that didn’t work to make sounds, it was their technique.  One day, when they’re older, we can work on that and they will have fun whistling the grass on a hot summer day.  But for now, the sticks and insects will be their outdoor fun.

Tot School 21.5mo – Pots & Pans

Oh what a noisy, fun day we had yesterday!  The boys have now moved to a new nap schedule.  They are awake from 7AM until 12PM when they go down for a long nap.  I was apprehensive about what I was going to do with two boys for such a long stretch of time.  As the day closed, I gave a prayer of thanksgiving because the day went by fast and it was so much more enjoyable that I could believe.  The highlight of the day was ordinary pots and pans.  When the boys got bored, I pulled out all of my pots & pans and there is quite a few of them.  I put the corresponding lids on each one.  I carried them into the living room and spread them out.  Then I sat back and let the two boys go to town.  Then pulled the lids off and quickly made cymbals out of them.  As the crashes got louder, the smiles grew bigger.  Then James decided it was time to put the lids back on, but they didn’t get the right ones matched back up.  Here is where I took the time to introduce big and small.  I would hand them a lid and if it fell in the pot I’d say that’s way too small or if it was too big I’d say that’s way too big and when it fit down, I’d say that’s just right.  I kinda felt like Goldie locks.  I think we might go find that book soon!  The boys spent about 30min playing with the lids and swapping them out.  I don’t expect that they understand the big vs small concept yet, but each time it’s introduced, they will be closer to comprehension.  How did I know when it was time to stop?  When the boys started throwing the lids at the pans from across the room and laughing at each other’s attempts.  That’s how I knew.  I know this will become a favorite game for all three of us & it required nothing to buy.  Pots & pans, one of my unexpected little mercies!

Good mom

The shape and intensity of our performance comes down to 2 things: expectations and definitions.  I have the expectation of myself to be a good girl, a good Christian, a good wife, and a good mom.  Not such bad things, until you understand my own personal, twisted definition of good.  Good means I never mess up.  Good means I weigh the perfect amount.  Good means I can handle everything, I don’t look like a fool, and I never lose my patience.  Good means my husband will never be disappointed in me, my kids will always obey, and everyone basically likes me.  Good means I am enough.  My goodness is all about me.  Not only do I want to be a good, I want to be those things in front of God and everyone.  I know in my head that my definition of good is wrong, crazy even.  Still, left to own resources, that is how I operate.

excerpt from Grace for the Good Girl

This past week has been one of bittersweet realization.  Two different twin moms have asked questions about how to do the babywise method with twins.  My heart soared when I was able to reach out and give advice to someone who was just like the me of only a few months ago.  I was that mom that latched onto babywise because it had rules for me to follow.  If there are rules, I can do it and usually do it well, because I am one of those good girls.  The only thing was, while I was following the rules down to the letter, my babies were not doing their part.  Rest assured, they are not striving to be good boys, they are just babies.  I cried, I prayed every three hours before the feedings that my boys would do what they were supposed to do and I worried that I wasn’t doing something right or doing something that was right but at the wrong time.  Babywise was a blessing to my organized ways, but I let the rules take over.

Over the past 21 months of being a mom, I’ve made more than my fair share of mistakes.  But God is able to fill in the cracks and smooth over every mistake that I’ve made.  My boys will not be ruined from the small mistakes that I’ve made.  This past week I’ve begun to daily think about God filling in all those cracks for me, not just for my boys.  I am not asked from God to make sure that I’m the perfect good mom so that I bring glory to Him.  God certainly doesn’t ask for me to bring glory to my own self as a great mom.  I was given my personality.  It includes being a good girl, but my focus needs to be on what God is doing.  “I” is not in the focus at all.   But as the except above states, bein a good girl is how I operate, when left to my own resources.  So with the strength of the Holy Spirit, I will be laying down the masks of the good girl mom and just be my boys mom.  I know that I’ll pick up the mask at times, but I’ll be reminded of the freedom in laying that mask back down.  I pray that by laying aside the good mom, I will be giving my boys the example of relying on God and what it actually looks like to make mistakes, have them known by others, ask for forgiveness and be restored so that the glory goes to the One it belongs to.  My I live worthy of my calling as a mom and remember these lessons always.