Posts Tagged ‘milestones’

First movie in a theater: Finding Dory!

Saturday, June 25th, 2016

It’s Saturday and it’s summer. We swam yesterday in Galveston, and we’ll swim tomorrow at Memorial Park. Storm clouds and thunder moved in around noon, perfect for a first movie theater outing. We’ve been looking forward to Pixar’s next feature — the sequel to a movie we know — Finding Dory.

Although we have watched several movies at home, we always pause or mute tense scenes with dramatic music, suspense, or peril. I was concerned that we might not make it through a whole feature in one shot, and I didn’t relish the thought of spending $35-40 for just part of a movie.

So while we were still at home, I found a plot synopsis and read it aloud to the girls. Cate squirmed at several points and exclaimed, “Mom! I’m scared!” But we worked through the whole story, and remembered that the stories we choose always have happy endings for the characters we like.

We grabbed quick tacos and quesadillas at 100% Taquito, and drove over to the Edwards Greenway theater. Bill bought tickets from the kiosk and took the girls to the restroom while I bought a small bag of popcorn.

The theater was small and nearly full, so we landed way down front in the third row. There were 20 minutes of previews, including Tarzan and a remake of Pete’s Dragon. Then we got a wonderful new Pixar short called Piper.

Finding Dory was wonderful, full of heart, and very well done. Both girls succeeded in sitting rapt through the whole thing.

Cate said, “It was really scary, but ok in the end.”

Sam said, “It was great! I want to watch it ten times more. You should definitely come see this movie. It barely just came out!”


Movie “posters” have grown a lot in the last decade

Sixteen months

Sunday, March 10th, 2013

Every month on the 11th, with one exception so far, I take “birthday” photos of the girls. I am obviously less good at posting them, since it’s already been six months since the ten month photos. In fact, I see now that I haven’t yet posted photos from their actual birthday in October. I’ll have to get to that.

For February, we went to Ervan Chew Park on Dunlavy, where Sam and Cate can pursue their favorite activities. (Click for larger.)

Here’s Sam on the swing. She loves to swing, and she especially likes that from this vantage point, she can see — and “ruh!” at — dogs in the Ervan Chew dog park:


Sam loves to swing

And here’s Cate on the slide. She’s just come down The Big Slide at Ervan Chew, all by herself, for the first time. I’m saying “Yay!” and she’s clapping:


Cate loves to slide

The day was cold (~50°F) and overcast, and I underexposed almost all of the photos. Thanks again to my colleague, Katya Horner, with Slight Clutter Photography, for brightening these up.

Gram Nancy: for your photo printing project, you should download these full-resolution versions of Sam and Cate.

The girls are continuing to add skills faster than I can record them. Here are some recent highlights:

Sam asks for her “buo” (plush Rice owl that Gene and Adra brought), shakes her head for no, says “ga” for agua, “rawa” for water, “ba” for ball or bath, “ucky” for duck, “mah” for mac and cheese, and “baba” both for baby and for Baba Jean.

Cate says no, yes, ducky/pato, turkey/pabo, “ho[t] pa[d]s”, something that sounds like “up-pi-da” that it took me three weeks to figure out meant apple teether, “dobby” for dame (give me) and emulates a ton of other words along the way.

Both girls have mastered a wide range of animal sounds. For a while, they were saying cat, gato, doggy, and working on horse and others. But now they almost always identify animals by the sounds they make, e.g. “mau” for kitty, “woooh” for dog, “neigh” for horse, “maah” for goat, “baah” for sheep, “mooo” for cow, etc. They also open and close their mouths for fish, giddy-up for horse, open and close their hand for butterfly, and sputter while raising an arm for elephant.

Both girls are starting to sing. One day several weeks ago, I sang the “Sing” song from Sesame Street. As I began the second verse, I realized that both girls were pitch matching with me. And when I got to the “La la la la la”s, Cate and Sam sang some “La”s, too. That song often makes me weepy anyway, and having our daughters join in definitely queued up some tears.

They also chime in some “cah, cah”s during Woody Guthrie’s “Car Song”, and some “dahn, dahn”s during Ralph’s World’s “River Flow.”

When the girls finish eating and we turn them loose in the kitchen, Sam goes straight to the step stool (that I’ve just gotten up from), slides it the last few feet to the stove, climbs up to the second/top step, and begins to emulate Dad making breakfast. If there is a spatula, she stirs it in the skillet, as if making eggs.

Cate will also climb the step stool, but by the time she gets to the second/top step, she’s close enough to her grown-ups to want “up!”

When we get to a playground, Cate makes a bee-line to the little kid slides. She can clamber up the steps, walk across the platform, sit down at the top of the slide, scoot over the edge, slide to the bottom, roll on to her belly and dismount, walk back over to the steps, and do it all again. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Sam often goes straight to the swings, but she needs help to get up into the bucket.

While dancing to “Dance around” from the Ralph’s World album, we get to the verse that says “Jump so high, jump so high, jump so high” and Sam does. It clearly takes a lot of concentration, but she has figured out how to bundle her energy and get airborne.

A few weeks ago, Sam was searching for a page in Kiss, Kiss. When I asked her what she was looking for, she looked at me and raised her arm. When it occurred to me that she might mean Daddy Bill’s gesture for an elephant trunk, and I flipped to the page with the Mama Elephant kissing the Baby Elephant, she smiled broadly.

One day last week, as part of the wind-down to nap time, I sang, “Miss Mary Mack.” I got as far as “with silver buttons, buttons, buttons” and Cate began to sputter at me. She then raised her arm. When I got to the line about “to see the elephants, elephants, elephants,” I realized what she was saying and why, and laughed out loud.

In mid-January, Bill went to Oklahoma City for two days. On Tuesday morning, as Bill was preparing to leave, I explained to the girls that Dad was “going for a ride in an airplane.” On Wednesday and Thursday, when we saw airplanes flying overhead, Sam pointed up at them and declared, “Da!”

Cate has begun to answer direct questions:

Mama Bob: Do you have poo?
Cate: No!
Mama Bob: Are you sure?
Cate: Yeah!

Sam is experimenting with sticking her fingers in her ears, and apparently noticing how the sound changes.

While looking at photos on my iPhone, Cate has reached out with her pointer finger, and in a very controlled fashion, swiped it across the screen from left to right, scrolling to the next-earlier photo.

Both girls are learning to say their names. Catie can manage the hard consonant and vowel combination to say “Cay-tee”, but neither girl has Ss to say “Sam” yet. Sam knows her sister’s name, but says it as an adorable barely-audible breathy whisper, “keh-ti.”

This list is long and doesn’t begin to cover their new-found capacities. But it does convey the flavor of the newest skills being practiced around here. If you want to know more, you should really come visit!

Milestones: Clapping!

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

The thing about sororal twins (I can’t bring myself to call them “fraternal”), is that they’re no more or less alike than any other two sisters. They’re exactly the same age, but they are each developing their own skills, mannerisms, and preferences, in their own time, just like anyone else.

One skill in particular highlights that Sam and Cate are striving independently: clapping. Cate figured out how to bring her hands together, flat, and clap 13 weeks ago. Since then, she claps lots: when we play pat-a-cake, when we finish a song or dance, when we say “yay!” about anything, at the beginning of Barnyard Dance where it says, “Stomp your feet, clap your hands,” in the middle of Everywhere Babies, on the “Babies make noise” page, etc.

Sam gestures at those times, too, often enthusiastically, but up to now, it has looked more like flapping than clapping. Her fluttering in-lieu-of clapping has been pretty endearing.

According to What to Expect the First Year, clapping first shows up as a “Your baby may even be able to” stretch goal in the eighth month. Cate mastered it during the ninth month past their due date. After that, as weeks turned into months that Cate was clapping and Sam was not, I admit that I began to wonder why there was such a difference.

Last week, I picked up What to Expect the Toddler Years, and it identifies clapping as a “Your baby should be able to” skill by the end of the 13th month. Hmm.

So yesterday, I took some time to explicitly show Sam how to do it, explaining that she should hold her hands flat, and bring them together. This afternoon, my teaching paid off when Sam started clapping on her own. She clapped spontaneously for a “yay!” occasion, she clapped again with some prompting, and when we read Everywhere Babies tonight, she clapped unbidden at just the right line on the “Babies make noise” page. Yay!


Sam clapping

Hmm. Now that I know she can clap, I’ll probably be wistful if she stops fluttering her hands when she’s happy or excited. sigh.

Milestones: Cate is walking!

Monday, November 5th, 2012

Cate took her first unassisted steps six weeks ago, on Sept 25. But since then, she’s done almost all of her walking with some form of assistance: holding on to an adult, steadying herself with a hand on a wall or furniture, etc. It’s been clear for some time that she has sufficient balance to do it, but she has continued to elect to crawl, rather than walk. Occasionally — when she had interesting objects in both hands — Cate would take a few hesitant steps, rather than setting the objects down to crawl. But mostly, her caution has kept her grounded.

Today, Cate finally got confident enough to let go and really walk. While we were playing in the bedroom before breakfast, she let go of Sam’s crib and walked across the 2-1/2 feet to her crib. Actually, she was so enthusiastic, it almost looked more like running than walking. Then while we were playing in baby jail after lunch, she let go of the front corner and strung together 6-8 sure steps to cross the 3-4 feet between there and where I was sitting against the wall. Way to go!

First steps: Sam!

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

Over the last few weeks, Sam has been eagerly walking while holding on to an adult’s fingers. She’s also cruising along while holding on to gates and furniture with increasing confidence.

This afternoon, she quietly let go of the gate and took two unassisted steps to reach Claudia in the middle. And later, when I was closer by, she let go of the gate to take three steps to reach me and collapse in my lap. Yay, Sam!

First steps: Cate!

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

Over the last few days, Catie has taken one step several times. But this afternoon, she strung three of them together to cross the final foot or so from Claudia to Mama. And after we exclaimed gleefully, hollered for Dad to come see, and reset her to Claudia’s position, Cate did it again!

Speed blogging: Waving!

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

With people coming and going everyday, we get lots of opportunities to practice waving ‘bye. We’ve been taking time to show the girls how to wave for perhaps a month (? my sense of time is incredibly distorted and inaccurate), and you can tell they’re thinking about how to do it. Sam has wiggled a few fingers a couple of times, Cate has raised an arm a few times, but they’re still getting it together.

This afternoon, when our nanny, Claudia, was leaving, Cate figured it out. Bill got her started by lifting her arm, and from there, she waved it up and down in Claudia’s direction. ‘Bye!

Milestones: Cate is crawling!

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

And now here’s a crawling-enabled Cate, finding tiny snippets of paper on the floor:

Get the Flash Player to see this video.


Milestones: Sam is crawling!

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

Having taken her first crawling “steps” on June 15th, Sam has now gotten the hang of it. Watch this baby crawl:

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In the background, Cate is playing with my friend Emily, who offers and comes over several times a week to help me handle the girls while Bill is out of town, and sometimes on weekends just for fun. I wouldn’t make it without her!

And thanks to Susan for Sam’s cute “Milk” onesie!

Nascent mobility: Learning to crawl…

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

Now that we’re all healthy again, I intend to do some catch-up blogging this week. First up: video of the girls working on crawling.

Here they are on Wednesday, June 13:

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Note that Cate is achieving forward motion entirely via brute-strength tricep pushes. Wow. When she figures out how to bring her legs into the process, she’ll really move!

Now, here’s Sam on Friday, June 15:

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It was really only a step or two, but it was the right motions in the right order. And what’s most important is she got where she wanted to go.

Needless to say, having had a tiny taste of independent mobility, she has been practicing at every opportunity ever since. Sam’s days of staying where you put her are definitely over!