Archive for August, 2013

Server downtime

Friday, August 30th, 2013

A few days ago, our friend Amy observed that while we’ve been posting here regularly, there haven’t been any photos of girls since May.

May? No girl photos or videos in 90 days? Oops!

Not to worry. We’ve got lots of photos: girls eating popsicles on the porch, girls splashing in mud puddles on my birthday, girls climbing on bikes at Bike Barn, girls in shiny new helmets, girls playing in front loader and excavator buckets, etc.

However, our home server blew a hard drive. It looks now like Bill will be able to recover all of our photo and video archives. But having the server offline threw a wrench in my workflow.

I aspire to get a bunch of recent photos up on the blog, and soon. But until then, you’ll just have to enjoy Cate and Sam in person. :-D

Samanthaism #14: again!

Monday, August 26th, 2013

For the last several weeks, Sam has had opinions about which songs we sing to the girls, requesting “Em’y’s song” or the “Burp song,” for example. But while Cate has been striving to sing along, Sam has appeared content to listen.

Last week, that changed rather abruptly. Sam is suddenly significantly more verbal, across the board, participating in conversations and offering commentary. She is now singing along, too.

Sam especially seems to like our “Cowgirl song,” “Kisses sweeter than wine,” and “The pedals on the bicy(cleta).” She focuses on my face as I sing, making persistent eye contact, and singing key words that repeat or end lines.

When we finish singing a song, Sam looks at me and says concertedly, “a-gain.” With two girls singing with me, I couldn’t be happier to comply!

Catherineism #14: up and down

Sunday, August 25th, 2013

As we explore new places with the girls, I’m trying to give each place a unique, descriptive name. For example, we go to the “grocery” rather than the “store.”

Likewise, each park and playground gets a descriptive moniker:

  • “bayou park” has excavators and front loaders,
  • “spray park” and “dog park” are both at Ervan Chew
  • “super slidey park” is the playground for all at the Multi Service Center, and
  • “up and down park” is the toddler playground at Spott’s Park, which has a seesaw.

The last is Cate’s favorite. She asks to go to up and down park every single day, usually before breakfast. One morning this week, she opened her eyes in bed, looked up at me, and asked for up and down park before she even said “good morning!”

Sunday afternoon, we made a family ouying to Bike Barn. Partly, Bill needed to collect the climbing pegs for his mountain bike. But mostly, we wanted to let the girls roll around the store on little 12″ frame Trek “Hot Rocks” bikes, and try to figure out pedaling.

As we drove to Bike Barn, I heard Catie singing to herself in her car seat. I heard the tune of “Wheels on the Bus” but with “up and down, up and down” which our bus songs haven’t had before.

When I asked Cate what goes up and down, she replied, “pedal bicy(cleta).”

Well, yeah. Bike pedals go up and down. But when did she put that together?!?

Waiting for another shoe to drop

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

When we learned in 2011 that we were expecting twins, a friend warned us that we were in for a lot of puking. At the time, I naively imagined that she meant morning sickness.

Now I know what she really meant. Monday night, I revisited ny lunch and went to bed early. Tuesday morning, I taught a 21-month-old Sam to grasp the sides of her pink Little Potty and heave her puke into the bowl. An hour later, Daddy Bill followed suit. Early Wednesday, our nanny succumbed, too.

But while I did not enjoy this August’s wave of puking bug, I am immensely grateful that — so far — we’re averaging just one a year. Check the box for 2013; we’re keeping all our food down until 2014.

Also, it seems that Cate somehow dodged this bug. The pedi triage nurse said that most gut bugs manifest within 1-3 days of exposure. But days have continued to roll by with Cate chipper and hungry.

It’s possible that our hygiene standards are just good enough. It’s possible that this is the same bug that hit her so hard last summer. It’s possible that nursing well conferred much greater immunity to Cate than Sam. Regardless, I’m happy that she skipped it and the whole mess is behind us.

Catherineism #13: Alphabet variation

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Cate has begun singing a lot during the last few months. Her first song was, “Miss Mary Mack.”

She then started singing along to Woody Guthrie’s, “Car Song,” and before long was singing, “Lullabye” and “All right for now” with us at bedtime.

Sunday afternoon, the girls and I played in the bedroom for a little while before dinner. At some point, I heard Cate singing to herself.

I tuned in to hear her finish singing the alphabet song. I hollered for Bill to come listen, too, and then asked Cate to sing it again.

Cate started over with, “A, B, C, D,” etc. But when she got to the middle, I was surprised and amused to hear this:

“L, M, N, Go Pee”

Ha! I’m not at all sure that she’s always sung it that way, but it sounds like potty learning is super salient. Too funny!

Samanthaism #13: to slide, or not to slide

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

In February, Nane and I took the girls to Ervan Chew Park, so that the girls could play, and so that I could shoot that month’s “birthday” photos. I got fantastic shots of Cate doing laps on the little slide, and Sam swinging.

But I also remember that day as the last time Sam went carefree down a slide.

After sliding on the little slides and swinging for a while, the girls decided to brave the big kid slides. They each went twice.

I have a photo of a singularly pleased-looking Cate, that I snapped right after she came down the big slide by herself for the first time. She’s clapping, and saying, “yay!”

I also have a photo of a singularly joyful Sam, beaming as she flies down the big slide by herself for the first time. Her hair is flying and she’s grinning from ear to ear.

She promptly scrambled up to go again. But the second time Sam braved the big slide, she took the bump just right to go airborne, and she flinched and twisted, and came down the rest of the way sideways and rather unhappy.

It was mid-March before Sam would consent to slide again, and then only while holding an adult’s hand. Sliding has become ponderous, with lots of sitting at the top looking alternately anxious and wistful, and very little sliding down.

But now in mid-August, things are looking up. During our last three park outings, Sam has braved sliding again. She’s still cautious — and strong enough to control her own descent all the way down — but she’s sliding.

On Sunday, we went back to the Metropolitan Multi-Service Center on West Gray. We’re calling it “Super Slidey Park” because its playground-for-all includes seven slides.

After sliding slowly down the big tunnel slide once, Sam started to go down it a second time, but on her belly. I suggested that she would be more comfortable sliding on her bottom, and she sat up to work her way slowly down the tube.

The third time down, Sam started to go on her belly again. I asked her if she was planning to slide on her belly or her bottom. Sam looked up at me and said, “tinkinboudit.”

I asked her if she was “thinking about it,” and Sam beamed, “si!”

I’m still wistful that she got spooked by sliding, but I’m thrilled to see Sam so delighted to communicate.

Weaning update

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

Waking up Monday morning (Aug 12), I was nervous about how Cate would react to skipping “Mommy Milk.” But I was hoping that if I kept us moving from potties to breakfast, that she might not notice.

Cate woke first, and after pottying, she and I went to the kitchen to start making breakfast. So far, so good!

Nane arrived a little before 8 am. Sam woke a moment or two later. Cate stayed in the kitchen with Nane while I went to gather Sam and take her to the potty.

Unfortunately, I hadn’t had a chance yet to alert Nane that I was changing the schedule. So a few minutes later, she sent Cate to find Mama, armed with my green hot pads, all ready for nursing.

I took them from Cate and thanked her, but I didn’t put them on. She asserted, “Mommy Milk.” I paused and replied, as studiedly as I could muster, “we’re going to wait and have milk later, before dinner.”

Cate, who was hungry, looked up sharply and said, “No! Mommy Milk, NOW!” I told her gently, “no, we’ll have milk later. Let’s go have breakfast together,” and Cate began to cry.

I soothed her best that I could. And then I think I distracted her with an offer of popsicles for breakfast, which she accepted readily.

Tuesday went smoother, and we managed to avoid any triggers related to nursing.

Wednesday after nap time, Sam played with a bath dolphin. At first, she tried to put it in the “pocket” of my neckline. But then, she turned the dolphin around to face my sternum, shoved it down toward my bra, and said, “hungry.”

As I asked Sam whether the dolphin was hungry, she replied, “si,” and started to make slurping sounds. Cate looked up, asserted, “Mommy milk,” and added, “Cate hungry, too.”

Again, I steered us toward the kitchen and a meal, and again they acquiesced.

Other that those two and perhaps a third incident, the girls have adapted well to nursing just once a day. It has felt freeing to be able to let a wakey girl go eat breakfast and let her sister sleep in, instead of waking her so two can nurse.

A couple of you expressed concern that I should keep offering to nurse as long as a girl was interested. I genuinely appreciate your care for their well-being.

When the girls were new little babies, we nursed them for sustenance and immune support. But now that they’re toddlers on a robust diet that includes cow milk, chicken, tofu, broccoli, mangoes, and all manner of other good food (and cheddar bunnies), the pediatrician calls what we’re doing “comfort nursing.”

I surmise that Cate’s interest in nursing has only a little to do with the milk, and a lot to do with cuddling, singing, and enjoying my (un)divided attention. So as we shift away from nursing, I’m making an effort to make sure that our day still includes hugs, silly songs, and one-on-one conversation.

We’re still nursing before dinner, although we’ve run late a couple of nights in the last week and I almost forgot (?!?) to nurse. But I enjoy it and they seem to, too. I’m not sure how long we’ll keep going, but it’s probably days or weeks, rather than months.

Also, I’m not the only one changing our nursing routine. Two days ago, Cate introduced a twist of her own, requesting that we nurse “out here” on the living room futon instead of in the bedroom. Did I mention that they have opinions?

In the meantime, I’m starting to exercise again. I’ve only managed a couple of weekend bike rides so far, but that’s more cardio training than I’ve done in a long time. We’ll see how things go.


Sunday, August 11th, 2013

Monday morning, I’m planning *not* to nurse our daughters before breakfast for the first time in 22 months. That will leave us nursing only once daily — before dinner — for the next week, maybe. And then we’ll discontinue nursing altogether, maybe.

I kind of like the idea of having my body back, and I’m hoping that weaning will help me start to get fit again. I also think our collective logistics will be simpler without having to coordinate the three of us sitting down to nurse twice a day.

I’m reasonably accepting that weaning is an okay decision at this point. While the wordwide average age to wean is older than two, the vast majority of American moms wean by six months. That said, I’m feeling fairly anxious about doing it.

I’m only a little bit nervous that going 24 hours between nursings will be uncomfortable. If it hurts at all, it can’t possibly hurt as much as earlier issues, and it shouldn’t last more than a few days.

I’m not looking forward to having periods again. At the same time, I’m a little nervous that — as non-reproductive as my system was before the heroic medical effort that gave us these girls — that I won’t — that menopause will have already found me.*

But mostly, I’m nervous about how the girls will react to weaning. By all accounts, cutting off an infant is relatively easy. But toddlers have opinions.

Sam has appeared to be somewhat ambivalent about nursing for some time, not exactly racing to come latch on. But when asked, she says she likes “Mama milk.” And when told that she can have it “now” or “not at all,” she shows up and settles down in a hurry. I think maybe Sam just has a lot of other things she wants to do.

Meanwhile, Cate is still really into nursing. She will tell me that she wants “Mommy Milk NOW!” She mostly doesn’t seek it between our routine nursing times. But when it’s time, she helps carry my hot pads, and gather the purple nursing pillow, and buckle the white buckle, and throw away the old nursing pads, and otherwise facilitate getting us nursing in any way she can think of.

During the last month or two, Cate has also developed strong preferences about how she wants to nurse. She started demanding to nurse on the “other boob!” which she now calls “right boob!” although it’s left from my vantage. I also insist that they alternate sides each time. But as soon as Sam is done nursing, Cate calls out “switch!” and begins scrambling to get to the other side and clean up any milk that Sam has left behind.

With all that, I’m very nervous that Cate won’t want to wean. And I really don’t feel strongly enough about it to insist if she really doesn’t want to.

*Update: The brief period I experienced in summer 2012 was apparently my last. The end of nursing did not cause my cycles to resume, so I guess this is menopause.

Houdini-naked wet Cate

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

As we’ve continued potty learning, our bedtime routine has evolved a little. We used to potty the girls right after dinner, and then put them in diapers for the reading-singing-sleeping process.

During the 4 months we’ve been using potties, Cate has apparently become accustomed to getting out of wet diapers and into dry diapers promptly. Whenever she poos, and increasingly when she pees, she will tell you, “Cate new diaper, now.”

Monday night, we pottied after dinner, got into jammies, read a story, pottied a final time, then sang a song and put girls into beds. But a few minutes later, Cate asked to go potty a third time.

Leery of a possible stalling tactic, I told her no. I said that we had already pottied for the last time, and she was welcome to use her diaper. Cate whined briefly, but I told her it was bedtime.

Moments later, she announced, “Cate peed!” Convinced that she couldn’t have had much pee left, I told her that was great and urged her to go lie down anyway.

Cate complied. Sam was already lying down. I left the room so that they could fall asleep.

Around 10:30, Sam woke up crying. Daddy Bill went in to soothe her, and she went back to sleep. Cate was still and quiet.

Around 11 pm, I went in to get ready for bed. I used the soft backlight from my iPhone to illuminate each crib and check on the girls. Sam appeared comfortably asleep.

However, Cate was huddled in a tiny ball, with her arms and legs tucked underneath her, suggesting she was cold. On closer inspection, I realized that the light from my phone was bouncing off her shiny, bare, bottom.

Apparently, after I exited, Cate unzipped and removed her sleep sack, pulled off her ladybug jammy pants, and slipped out of her wet diaper. She set them all aside, curled up, and went to sleep.

Unfortunately,sometime during the three hours between her bedtime and mine, she peed again. The way she was curled up, it soaked her belly and sleeve as well as the sheet.

Rather than waiting for her to wake in the middle of the night, and perhaps wake her sister, we cleaned her up. I gently lifted her out of bed and gave her a dry diaper and new jammies, while Bill stripped and remade her bed.

Once Cate was dressed, we cuddled while Bill finished the bed. Fortunately, Cate woke only for the briefest of moments and went right back to sleep.

I’m still leery of stalling tactics. But the next time Cate insists that she needs to pee, I’m going to facilitate her doing so.

Catherineism #12: A, B, C, D…

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

Sometime last year, Bill introduced the “A, B, C…” song as another song for our bedtime repertoire.

Claudia taught me how to sing it in espanol, and I alternate. But in both languages, I end it the way I learned to from Sesame Street, “next time won’t you sing with the frog” / “La proxima vez, canta con la rana” (Kermit).

Cate is increasingly into singing and her repertoire is growing. It’s especially cute when we’re getting ready for bed and she sings Trout Fishing’s “Lullabye” to herself.

She doesn’t quite know all the letter/words, but she’s trying to sing phonetically. She’s singing parts of lots of songs, including the ABC song.

Last week, we got to the end of the song, and ended with “sing with the frog.” Then, Cate added, “and Lion.” Apparently, all this time that I’ve been thinking about Kermit, the girls have been thinking that I meant Sam’s Rana Frog. Too funny!

After another moment, Cate continued, “And Blue Blue (Bunny). And Brown Bear.” I asked whether she thought it was important to include everybody, and she said, “si!”

I like the way she thinks. :-)