Posts Tagged ‘Samantha’

Samanthaism #: I want to sleep

Sunday, May 4th, 2014

Before we made it out of the NICU, our kids had green Avent Soothies — aka binkies — in their mouths. Sucking is a powerful form of self-soothing and we spent a lot of time the first two years plugging and replugging binkies to soothe girls.

Sometime along the way, the girls got big enough, strong enough, and dexterous enough to work their own binkies and ask for them by name. Clever monkeys climb under sofas, scramble up on to shelves, rummage through bags, and even resort to demands: “I want a binkie RIGHT NOW, please.”

Slowly, binkies worked their way out of the bedroom and bedtime, and into reading time and riding in the car and… too many places too much of the time. I’m pretty sure Sam is still struggling to make molars. But if you ask Cate why she wants a binkie, she’ll say, “I just like the flavor in my mouth.”

I’m not worried that binkies will delay the girls’ speech: strangers routinely remark on how verbal they both are. However, I am concerned that sucking a binkie may be altering the structure of Cate’s mouth: her bite meets at her canines and her incisors don’t come close to each other.

The parenting books I’ve read recommend waiting no later than age 2-1/2 to start weaning off pacifiers. My intent was to get through teething first, but Sam still has several teeth yet to erupt.

We’ve warned the girls a few times that we’ll stop using binkies someday, but had made no specific plans. In a somewhat abrupt move, I decided Friday was the day to reel binkies back to bedtime.

In the morning, after potty time, I simply captured all the binkies. Cate complied readily, but Sam was not amused. She asked nicely several times, and then after I failed to yield, fussed and cried and stamped her feet. Very few things rouse Sam to tantrum, but my stealing her binkie really upset her.

A bit later, when I whisked us out to meet Auntie Em at Weir Climbing Park, Sam declared she wanted to sleep in the car. When I asked if she was tired, she said no, but she wanted a binkie right now, please.

As soon as we returned to the house before nap time, Sam asked again. I congratulated them on making a whole outing binkie-free and made them wait until we got to the bedroom. Both girls seemed pleased to have their binkies back.

Sam was worn out and fell asleep readily. But I missed Cate’s window and she was wired. She screwed around in bed for more than an hour, and rather than getting to sleep, she woke up Sam.

After the too-short nap time, I presented a doll bed repurposed as a “binkie bed,” and told the girls to deposit all of their binkies. I reiterated that binkies are for bedtime and they would stay “in bed” while we went off to do stuff.

Cate dutifully deposited hers, but Sam wanted no part of it. When I eventually took her binkie away, she wailed. She didn’t want a hug and she didn’t want a snack and she didn’t want to play. Sam plaintively wanted “a binkie right now, please?”

The only consolation I was able to foist on her was a small popsicle. Both girls love them, and Sam lit up at the prospect. But as soon as the final icy chunk of Gatorade was gone, she asked for a binkie and began sniveling again.

Sam was so very sad Friday afternoon and I felt so mean. She cried hard enough and long enough that before Nané went home for the weekend, she asked me to let her know how Sam fared.

Out of desperation, I gave Sam some Advil for her teeth, and she did cheer up after that.

The parenting books suggest several ways to transition off of pacifiers, but one observed that regardless of tactics, some kids experience the end of pacifiers as a real loss with meaningful grief. I hope neither of our girls suffers so thoroughly.

During the weekend, two or three times, I have seen Sam improvise and suck on a couple of fingers of her right hand. But mostly her efforts have been more literal:

  • At one point, Sam slipped in the bedroom to steal a binkie and flee back to the dining room where she flopped down on the bench of the girls’ table and said, “I’m a jaguar cat sleeping in a tree!”
  • I want to sleep on the sofa.
  • I want to sleep in the car.
  • I want to go back to bed.

As in, binkies are for bedtime, so I’m ready to sleep here now so that I can have a binkie. Clever and persistent kid!
* * *
Sunday evening, while the girls were “doing their jobs,” I paused mid-brushing to count Sam’s teeth. Eighteen are in and #19 — a top left molar — is mostly erupted. So she’s certainly been busy making teeth, which surely contributes to her wanting a binkie.

With another molar yet to come, I expect Sam to continue to want them, too. I’m not eager to fight for total binkie elimination until the teething is finally done.

That being said, I’m going to get the girls an appointment with a pediatric dentist. Partly, I’d like to make sure we’re keeping their teeth clean enough. And partly I’d appreciate guidance from a professional.

Postscript: By mid-June, Sam seems to be done making teeth. We’re all Advil-free, and nobody’s clamoring for binkies during the day anymore. Phew!

Hum for the fishies…

Monday, April 28th, 2014

As of April, it’s warm enough to get back in the water, especially the hot tub outside Sarah’s condo. Time to resume teaching girls to swim!

While filling the recycle bin a few days ago, I skimmed a parenting mag that reminded me about humming. As in, humming is a great tactic for a kid to put their face in the water without getting water up their nose.

We practiced humming over dinner, I demonstrated in the bathtub and girls practiced, and then we brought our new skills to the condo pool. To help girls see how it’s supposed to work, I made a short video.

Here’s Mama Bob humming for the fishies:

Get the Flash Player to see this video.

On the upside, girls can now hum and — very gingerly — put their faces under water. We clap and cheer each time they do!

On the other hand, they also expect real fishes. Over the weekend, while we were swimming in Bellaire’s competition lap pool, Sam suddenly went from standing in the gutter to tumbling head-first into the deep end. Bill and I were right there and Bill scooped her up just a few seconds later.

After a very-startled Sam finished coughing and sneezing out water, I asked her what happened. She said that she had been trying to see the fishes — leaned over with her face right over the water — and slipped.

Oops! I guess it’s time to order a set of diving fish from Amazon. And fortunately, Bellaire’s much shallower “family frog” pool will open on May 3rd.

Christmas people

Thursday, December 26th, 2013

We’ve been reading Clement Moore’s, ‘Twas the night before Christmas, as illustrated by Tomie dePaola, and Olive, the other reindeer, for about ten days. We also watched “Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer” a couple of times.

We never said that Santa would come here. But we did point out that Tuesday night *really was* the night before Christmas.

Regardless, the girls made some connection. When they woke Wednesday morning, instead of agreeing to go to the potty, Cate said she wanted “to go out front.”

Once we insisted, both girls pottied promptly (which isn’t always the case) and when we opened the bedroom door, they went straight to the living room. On the coffee table, next to our little balsam fir tree, they were delighted to find a pair of plush baby elephants from the Zoo, and 8-10 new “brick” (Duplo) people.

[All of the brick people that have come with their sets are male, which is limiting. So we sucked it up and paid for an all-people-all-the-time 20-piece set, that included 7 female figures. That’s still a dismal gender ratio, but we’ll make do.]

We also opened stockings, which held chocolate “Crisp Kringle”s, chocolate coins, mandarins, and tiny peppermint canes.

After a few pieces of chocolate, some quick frozen waffles and chicken maple sausage for the girls, and coffee for us grown ups, we pottied again. We swapped jammies for red snowmen dresses and set forth to Conroe.

Bill’s niece, Charlotte, and her new husband, Steve, drove in from Virginia for the holiday. Sam and Cate enjoyed meeting and playing with their daughter, Justice, who’s just 5 months younger.

After opening and sharing presents, the three toddler girls ran around on the golf course, while cousin Sarah, Bill, and I tagged along. Sam then asked Gram Nancy to take them riding in her golf cart again, please, and Cate insisted that the go all the way to Gran’s playground. Much swinging and climbing ensued.

[photos to follow]

Back at the house, two overtired girls convinced me that they wanted to stay and nap at Gram’s, instead of driving home. However, after half an hour of lying on the mattress, the floor, a pillow, a big kid bed, the mattress again, (lather, rinse, repeat), I decided that we should bail and take them home. I was sad to miss dinner with the Odales, but two unslept toddlers were likely to make things tough all around.

Forty-five minutes later, I woke to find us somewhere along IH-610, with Dad at the wheel, in the midst of a fine circuitous rolling nap operation. Girls slept another 45 minutes and were chipper by the time we got home.

Once home, Cate and Sam fell immediately into playing with their new toys. They sat at the little table (thanks, Gram!), and played with their new people, both Duplo and Fisher Price. Here’s some video to capture that interaction:

Get the Flash Player to see this video.

Regarding Santa…

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

Two years ago, I joined BAMOM, or, the Bellaire Area Mothers of Multiples club. I’ve both read and posted in their online forum, and I’ve both bought and sold through their online classifieds, but I haven’t yet been to a meeting.

For Halloween, they hosted a really nice, simple party at the City of Southside Place club house. There were snacks, crafts, and a photo shoot with a giant spider. There were also other twins and triplets in cute costumes.

However, the girls especially enjoyed the state of the art playground outside. When BAMOM announced their holiday party would be the same format at the same venue, we knew we’d enjoy it.

Auntie Em even brought the girls cute snowman dresses! So on December 1st, we got dressed for the occasion and went to check out Santa. Sam and Cate were so eager to party that they barely sat still for photos, and not at the same time:

Cate in her snowman dress

Sam in her snowman dress

Both girls were eager to check out the party. But after a quick circuit and pausing just long enough to enjoy a two-bite brownie, or in Cate’s case, lick the minty icing off the top, they took off to the playground.

And they’re off!

Tether swings




Sam resolutely contemplating sliding



“Santa” with Lorelei and her family

Sam and Cate were amenable to sitting and having a snack while watching the proceedings, but neither had any interest in meeting the man in the red suit.

Sam climbed all the way up, and then, all the way back down this ladder, barefoot.

Sam enjoyed spinning “dizzy” on the flower stamen-like spinner.

Cate spent a long time swinging really high. Later, when Sam was ready to swing, Cate wanted to push her.

First family vacation: visiting Miranda, Rebecca, and Ben!

Saturday, November 30th, 2013

As our girls approached two, and began occassionally to let us sleep 6 or 7 hours at a stretch, and I contemplated weaning once and for all, Bill and I decided we were ready to attempt traveling with children.

That said, we weren’t quite ready to brave airports and TSA checkpoints, so we opted for a car trip. When we considered destinations that are a 2-5 hour-drive away with people we’d want to see, the obvious choice was San Antonio.

So on Friday, Nov 8th, we headed out to SA and spent the weekend with our friends Ben, Rebecca, and their daughter, Miranda. They’ve come to visit us before, and our girls were excited to “go see Miranda’s house.”

The three girls played together Friday night in our hotel room, and Saturday and Sunday at their house. Miranda was part hostess and part Big Sister, showing the girls around, sharing her bricks, teaching them how to flush the toilet, and reading to them.

When I asked the girls Sunday what their favorite part of our trip was, both girls reported that “playing bricks with Miranda” was the best part.

Along the way, we got to catch up with Rebecca and Ben, and enjoy a lovely home-cooked meal.

Sam and Cate are two!

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

Somewhere along the way, we managed to celebrate that on October 11th, Cate and Sam turned two. Auntie Em, Nane, Gram Nancy, Aunt Sharon, Baba Jean, Uncle Chris, and cousins Sierra, Izzy, and Alles all came over to help us celebrate. Thanks all, for sharing our birthday week! (click for larger)

Sam and Cate, excited to have a party!

Fountain girls!

Friday, September 27th, 2013

Amy observed in August that we haven’t posted any girl photos in ages. It took a few weeks, but thankfully, Bill was able to resolve the hard drive issue in our home server, and I have not yet identified any missing content.

In the meantime, I also acquired a big, beautiful monitor for working with digital photos. It’s my first desktop monitor in more than a decade, and I love it. All I need now, is more rest and spare time to upload photos.

In the meantime, here’s a pair of photos I really like. For September, we did “birthday photos” at Super Slidey Park on West Gray. It was really, really hot, and the girls enjoyed refreshing themselves at (in) the water fountain. (As always, click for larger)

Cate and Sam couldn’t wait to use the water fountain



Samanthaism #15: Hey, Dad!

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

I’ve read about calm parents who manage to raise quiet, mild-mannered children. Several of our friends are remarkably soft-spoken with their children, who seem in turn to be pleasantly quiet.

If I ever thought we might manage to achieve that, I’m getting over it rapidly. It turns out that I’m loud. When I’m sitting in the kitchen with the girls, I routinely holler at Dad around the corner in the office.

And now, the girls do, too. Over the last few weeks, both girls have practiced calling to Dad, working their way from a quiet request up to a full-throated yell.

Now, when Sam calls out, “Hey Dad! Come join us!” Daddy Bill calls back, “Hey Sam! I’m coming!” And it makes her very happy.

POSTSCRIPT: I’ve thought further about why the girls phrase calling for Dad this way, because while I often call, “Hey, Dad,” I’m usually more topical. On reflection, I think they’re channeling Sandra Boynton’s But not the hippopotamus:

“The animal pack came scurrying back
saying, Hey! Come join the lot of us!”

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!

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.