Friday, May 30, 2008
Swings are fun, but there aren't many parks (and no school playgrounds) that have infant swings on them.
I realize this is not really an infant swing, but this is just about as good as it gets. I think one or two parks have actual infant swings.
The twins are just starting to walk (I'm sure Jackson will be doing so very soon!), but they aren't up to running around playgrounds yet. Jackson doesn't like the feel of grass, so cavorting on the grass is out. Genevieve would undoubtedly enjoy the chance to eat dirt, but that's not an activity we adults approve of.
The twins will, of course, spend some time at the local parks and playgrounds this summer because Bentley loves to play there and they are a good place to meet up with other moms of toddlers. However, I won't be taking them there as a special treat since sitting in a stroller for an hour isn't really a treat.
I'll take Bentley out on his own and let the twins stay home with mom where they can play with their toys.
Fortunately their back yard play set is more to their liking. There are two infant swings, a sand-water table, and a toddler sized picnic table. There is still the pesky problem of grass and dirt, but one has to expect such in the great outdoors. Jackson will learn to cope. Bentley has.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
I knew immediately why they were there--round two of the sink hole repair. Last year the street right next to the end of our neighbor's driveway collapsed. It was a good sized hole--more than a pot hole, but not a major sink hole like what appeared in that small Texas town earlier this month.
Anyway the city sent out a crew from its road department to repair it. In their infinite wisdom they decided it was a natural spring, not a water line leak (they checked for chlorine), and so they put some fill in the hole, compacted it, and paved over it. It wasn't even a month before water started bubbling up through the repair.
So here it is early spring of the following year and the city sent out the water line repair crew. Yes, it was a leak in the water line. (Duh!) They brought in some major equipment and dug up the water line and replaced some of it.
I immediately thought of Bentley. Would he like watching the crew at work? Although he loves to look at photos of heavy equipment and he's truly excited whenever he sees big machines or buses when we're driving around town, he doesn't like loud noises. Heavy duty equipment is noisy when it's being operated. Very noisy.
I decided I should at least give him the opportunity and see what he thought. After lunch I brought him over. For a while he watched through the living room window. Then I took him outside and we stood on the neighbor's lawn and checked out the action. Did you know that excavators can be used as compactors and forklifts? They had a real compactor that they used for one stage of the work, but more often they just pounded on the dirt with the shovel. The excavator is quite the all utility piece of equipment.
Bentley watched the action quite intently, but he didn't say much while we were outside. When he was watching from inside, he kept me informed of every dirt load they put back in the hole. I think he enjoyed the experience.
After a while he and I walked down to the park. He slid down the slides. We came home. He ate a little. Opa called from DC where he is on a business trip. While I chatted on the phone Bentley scattered the plastic ware across the kitchen floor. He hasn't done that in a while. Nice to know that this stage isn't done at two years and four months. It'll be forever until the twins will be done ransacking the cupboards. *sigh*
I gave Bentley the phone and then cleaned up the mess.
Afterwards we went out to the hot tub. He took his first head dunk. He was a good sport about it. You never know how young children are going to react. They keep life interesting.
P.S. My hard work in studying the names (i.e. repetitive reading with Bentley) of the heavy equipment is paying off. This afternoon I was able to impress the mothers of two other toddlers when I could tell them the proper name for a digger is an excavator. I was quite surprised that the one mom didn't know that as she had an almost three year old son. How does one avoid knowing such facts with a small boy in the house?!
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Kara found the LeapFrog Fridge Farm Magnetic Animal Set a week ago at a garage sale for $1. Amrita, her friend who is also a mother of twins, told Kara that her two had a fridge farm set and loved to play with it. It's been very popular with Jackson & Genevieve and Bentley, too. It's musical--what toy isn't these days?--and it's magnetic. The children like to play with it as intended and then they also like to throw the pieces around the kitchen and hide them in the living room. What's with that?
Kara was happy to find a toy that the little ones liked to play with in the kitchen so that they are distracted from opening the cupboards. I took away their kitchen utensil set (that I gave them) because I was worried that Jackson would impale himself on the handles. I'll return them when the twins are a little older and Jackson quits putting everything into his mouth.
Monday, May 26, 2008
Sunday, May 25, 2008
A couple weeks ago I saw fun idea online about cupcake decorating and decided to give it a shot. Not only was this my 1st attempt with melting/shaping chocolates (the flowers & letters), but it was also my 1st try at using cake decorating tips. I think it all turned out quite well, considering my lack of experience!Cupcakes for the children (not that they were too interested!):
Some generic flower topped 400 calorie sugary delights:
If you think these look intriguing, you should check out this book. Look at the customer images under the picture of the book on the left hand side of the page. There are some pretty fun looking ideas - watch out twins, you have a birthday coming up!!
Saturday, May 24, 2008
While pregnant with Bentley, (many moons ago!) I picked up a few burp clothes at the store, figuring it was on the list of items new moms are *supposed* to have. I hadn't been around many small babies, and so didn't really know how well acquainted those burp clothes and I would become!
The 3 burp clothes I purchased just weren't enough, so I found another 3 bland and not too exciting burp clothes for the collection. Then I came across some adorable flannet burp clothes, and my dear Mother whipped up a pattern and away we went! If you're going to be spending time cleaning up baby spit up, it might as well be with a baby dinosaur or brightly colored fruit burp cloth - right?
Luckily for us Bentley was quite mild as far as baby burpers go. His cousin Felicity had quite the projectile vomitting skill, but aside from a few freak occurences where our dear child tried to compete with her, we were pretty safe! The burp clothes were retired around the time he turned 4 months old.
Speed forward to the arrival of the twins. After just a few days in the NICU I realized that our supply of about 10 burp clothes just wasn't going to cut it. It took Jackson and Genevieve months (literally) to figure out how to eat without half of the bottle pouring out the side of their mouth. We used burp clothes to soak up the rivers of wasted formula. It took them a few months past that point to quit spitting up after every bottle (or what seemed like every bottle!). Apparently preemies often have more tummy troubles. Until the end of March burp clothes still went every where we did. And, it's only now, at the almost 11 month stage, that we're finally able to say good bye to my laundry time buddies, the faithful burp clothes.
It's been a good run, but I'm not sad to see them go!
And there you have it. Proof that life with 3 small children is having an impact on my sanity - I actually just wrote a whole post about burp clothes.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Either the child is finally considering putting some meat on his bones, or this is a new (and very clever) scheme to avoid being sent to bed. Maybe it’s both! He knows that I can’t refuse him food, so for the past couple days he suddenly becomes very hungry right around 11:00 pm (yep – the starving word debuted at 11:00 pm!). I probably shouldn’t admit my child is awake at 11:00 pm, but there you have it.
Last night he had a big bowl of pasta (drenched in butter, of course), and followed it up with 2 waffles. When you take into account he had actually eaten a decent size meal for dinner that’s even more impressive.
I’m all for his new scheming if it puts a few more pounds on him… bring it on, Bentley!
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Kara and I both agree that a post needs to be written on this most important--and often used--word in Bentley's vocabulary. However, neither of us really wanted to write the post. We don't feel that we can do the topic justice.
For more than a year now Bentley has complained whenever his hands get dirty. If he's eating crackers that have some kind of coating on them, he has to have his hands cleaned frequently. Because his breakfast waffle is drenched in butter, he has to use a fork to eat it. On his first birthday he wouldn't eat his birthday cupcake with cool whip on it--too messy.
Lately, however, he has expanded his definition of dirty to include wet hands. Yup, whenever his hands are washed, he starts protesting that they are dirty because he doesn't like the feel of damp hands--even after you dry them, they feel "dirty" to him. We try to explain to him that they aren't dirty, just damp, but he doesn't care.
He's one finicky little boy. Did I mention that he hates the tags in shirt? He conned his Grandpa Tim into cutting one out a couple of weeks ago. I've done it, too, when I just can't take another round of "Tag!" "Tag!" "Tag!"
No, I don't think Bentley has tactile dysfunction. He's just a little more sensitive to these irritants than the average child and he lets us know it. Ten or twelve times a day. (The question is do we ignore his demands in an effort to toughen him up or do we give aid and thereby encourage his neurosis?!)
Jackson shows signs of following in Bentley's footsteps. Genevieve, on the other hand, likes dirt and she enjoys getting messy.
So last time I caught him approaching the staircase, I grabbed his ankles and waited for his next move. He fearlessly crawled down two steps and then latched onto the third step with his hands and tried to pull free of my grip. He's quite strong! Bentley came up the stairs and tried to help him out. Jackson laughed as Bentley and I tugged him in opposite directions.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
I spent some time looking at the different brands but kept coming back to the Kitchen Aid. I watched it on Amazon, and when it went to $39.99 with a $5 rebate (it started out at $54.99!) I decided to hit that easy to use little buy button. 3 days later, it arrived in the mail. I love Amazon!
I, of course, immediately looked for some food to blend. The twins were the lucky recipients of some blended carrots/potatoes/corn/green beans/butter. Lucky babies! They gulped it right down, it was easy and fun, and for the 1st time I found myself thinking "I wish my twins were still a couple months younger". I feel the desire to blend everything (yes, I may be crazy - I love kitchen gadgets), and wish I had found this when they first started with solids.
I'm sure we'll still get good use out of the blender for making some of our dinner menus easier for the twins to swallow, and creating them fruit/veggie purees for a few more months, but I mainly plan to use it for sauces, soups, and smoothies - I like that you don't have to clean up a big blender, just use your cup/pan/whatever you're working in already!
In any case - if you are the proud owner of a young baby just starting out on solids (or even if you're not) - I say go out and buy yourself a Kitchen Aid immersion blender. It will make home made baby food quick and easy. Throw some food in a bowl, add the blender for a few seconds, and ta da! Baby pulp. Tell Kitchen Aid I referred you, maybe they'll send a few nickels my way. :-)
Sunday, May 18, 2008
The grandchildren came over around 6:30PM. We walked to a nearby park and school playground. Bentley loves the playground, but the twins are still too young to use any of the equipment. There aren't any baby swings. So after a very brief visit, I took them back home while Mark and Bentley stayed to play longer.
Meanwhile back at the house the twins enjoyed ripping apart the train tracks, ransacking the kitchen drawers, and stalking the kitty.
Soon it was time to start the bedtime ritual. We put on fresh diapers and changed the grandbabies into their pajamas. We fed them their night time bottle. (Okay it looks like they fed themselves, but I did make the bottles!) Opa read to them.
We said prayer and Genevieve and Jackson went to bed a little after 9:30PM. Genevieve pitched a very loud, but very short fit and then they both were asleep. Bentley stayed up with us. He ate dinner. (He'd refused to eat earlier.) He tormented his opa with train video requests. That boy cannot get enough of train photos.
Eventually us old ones had to go to bed and we took the toddler with us. He's not the best bed mate. He's very restless, but he's so adorable no one cares about his poor bed manners. (Just ask his parents. He's currently sharing their bed every night.)
The twins, Bentley, and opa all slept in until 10AM. I think the twins were probably awake earlier than that, but they were happy enough so I didn't bring them bottles until then.
The kids played for a while while I took the opportunity to get some cute photos with our sunglasses collection. (It was my idea, but Mark did the photos, of course.) Bentley is modeling Harry Potter glasses. The twins are wearing sunglasses.
Then we had to feed the crew AGAIN before dressing them for church. We tried to get a photo of the three little ones in their Sunday best, but they did not cooperate so it's a lame photo.
We took all three children to church with us. Sacrament was three hours long. (Okay, maybe it only seemed like it was three hours long.) One of the talks was on teaching reverence to children starting at a young age. I'm sure I would have felt guilty about the lack of reverence on our pew, if I had heard more of the talk. (Besides, the speaker surely didn't mean teaching reverence to a 10 month old?!) Bentley is easier to handle in sacrament when he's not with the twins. They are a bad influence. (That's not a fair statement because they acted much better than he did. It's just that usually he's very good and he wasn't today. He was very chatty.)
Mark and I were in charge of the church nursery this week (we were filling in for the regular teachers who were on vacation), so it worked out great. We could take the twins with us. They were very good in nursery. Genevieve slept through the first half. Jackson played. Bentley was more confident in nursery than he ever has been before. Was he showing off to the twins?! He was quite disruptive when Mark and I were trying to lead song time. He started running from one end of the room to the other and soon half the nursery joined him instead of singing with us. Great. I cannot hold my own with a two year old.
I think our overnighter went well. The children were a little disruptive in church, but what do you expect of three children two and under?! I personally find all three of them totally delightful. We are lucky to have them in our lives, even on Sunday during sacrament.
Friday, May 16, 2008
Kara and Bentley met some friends there early this month. He hated it. He likes taking baths and he likes our hot tub, so water isn't the problem. Kara said the temperature at H2 Oasis was nice and warm, so that wasn't it either. She decided he must have been in an off mood, so she wanted to go again. The family has plane tickets to join Grandpa Tim and Grandma Karen in Mexico in November at a beautiful resort with dozens of pools and a huge lazy river. Enjoying water time is a must!
So Kara scheduled to go back to H2 Oasis with me on Tuesday. I got up early and exercised and put on my swim suit and drove over to Kara's only to find out that the water park isn't open Tuesday mornings for Toddler Time. It's only open Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings. Okay...so I repeated my routine this morning. I got over to Kara's and we got all the little ones ready to go. Work, work, work. Then we were ready to play.
We arrived at the water park at 11:30 and could not find a parking spot. The place was a zoo--filled with hundreds (thousands?!) of screaming grade schoolers. It's the last week of school and they were there on field trips. Wonderful...NOT. We decided that taking three little kids into that mayhem would be a big mistake.
Since we had the little ones dressed in swimsuits and swim diapers, we decided to drive over to my house and use the hot tub. The twins had never been in our hot tub before. Genevieve loved it. She was happy as a duck sitting on the ledge.
Jackson was not happy. He clung to me like a leech and vehemently protested if separated.
Bentley had a great time--he's an experienced hot tubber.
After ten minutes or so Jackson started enjoying himself a little, but he wanted close contact with his support network.
Genevieve played on her own, oblivious to the nearby deeper water.
It was fun sitting in the tub with the babies, but getting them out was a lot of work. There were two adults and three children. I handed Jackson to Kara who was already holding Genevieve while monitoring Bentley.
Two hands, three little children, and a deep tub of water is not a safe situation.
I got out, quickly dried off, and came back for Bentley. I called Mark outside to take a photo of Kara with the twins while I stripped Bentley of his dripping swim diaper. Then I sent Bentley inside with Mark. I took Jackson from Kara and stripped him of his suit and diaper and then faced another dilemma. I couldn't put a baby down in the garage, so I set him inside in the back hallway on the towel (like he was going to stay there for long) and then I raced back for Genevieve. I hurried to get her out of her diaper and suit, all the while praying that Jackson wasn't pulling my food storage off the shelves--or even worse playing in the kitty litter box. I was also a little worried about the fact that he wasn't wearing a diaper.
After I handed Kara a towel for her use, I took Genevieve in and grabbed Jackson off the floor. He hadn't started exploring yet. I was lucky. I'm not sure we'll be taking three kids out to the hot tub again unless we can get them to wear some kind of flotation device. It's incredible how much work is required to have fun.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Genevieve and Jackson are both excellent at standing with no support, and cruising all over while holding on to different objects, but - Genevieve is currently winning the *race* towards walking. Technically she's already won, as we've coaxed 3 steps out of her on multiple occasions during the past few days. They're baby steps (even for a baby!) though, so I'm waiting for something a bit bigger before declaring a winner.
As the post title indicates we have a potent weapon for encouraging these steps - chocolate! Not just any chocolate, of course. This is Swiss chocolate. What baby wouldn't want to walk towards some good Swiss chocolate - right? Perhaps there are some of you wondering if 10 month old babies need chocolate. I ran into a few individuals of that opinion earlier today. The twins and I are taking a baby sign language class with Amrita, Patrick, and Cassidy (more on that to come!), and today was the food signs day. I was disturbed to find no sign for chocolate on the hand out sheet. There was everything from bread and pears to onions, but NO CHOCOLATE!
Can you believe that? Chocolate is a food group and I think it was a big oversight on their part to forget it on the list. So I asked what the sign would be, and the instructor had to go pull out a book to figure it out for me. I got a few looks though from the other parents in the room... I take it that means they have deprived children? :-)
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
I know because I've gone out shopping with Kara a number of times and the two of us adults are hard pressed to keep all three little ones in our sight and content enough that they aren't screaming. (Sometimes we abandon the latter goal.) We've gone out twice the past few days on shopping trips. The first trip was poorly timed (during nap time) and so it didn't go smoothly. I'm trying to recall the details, but all I remember is Kara and I agreeing that next time we'd make sure they had a nap first.
So Monday we took the kids out shopping right after their morning nap. We went to Wal-Mart first. The twins were very well behaved and received their fair share of compliments. Someone thought they were both boys even though Genevieve was dressed in pink. Bentley rearranged the sippy cup bins. He likes to do that whenever we visit the infant section at Wal-Mart.
The second half of the trip we went to Carrs (a grocery store) to hunt down $40 worth of specially marked products. The prize on this scavenger hunt was two free movie tickets. This is a game that appeals to us homemakers.
Genevieve continued her exemplary behavior. She cooed and grinned and was pleasant. She stayed in the stroller the entire time. The only questionable behavior she displayed is when she ripped a sales tag off a shelf display and handed it to her brother who proceeded to eat it. I know she aided and abetted him because she was the one next to the shelf. I kept him a safe distant from the shelves because I know he's a grabber. She doesn't usually grab.
Jackson was temperamental. He was happy in the stroller for the first third of the visit and then he started protesting. I took him out of the stroller and carried him. Jackson likes being held. That's hardly a character flaw. He's a baby--shouldn't he prefer cuddles? After a while I put him in the cart seat and he liked that.
Bentley was a charmer and a tyrant. He didn't want to sit in the cart. Since he's good about staying in our line of sight, he's usually allowed to roam free. He rearranged a few canned goods displays. He placed a few items of his choice (evaporated milk and tomato paste) in the stroller's storage basket. He charmed more than one passerby. He rode around for a while on the bottom of the shopping cart. He tried to talk us into buying him M&Ms at the checkout stand.
Jackson screamed when he was returned to the stroller when we got to the check out stand. Bentley pitched a fit at the end of the trip when I forced him to sit in the cart so we could make our way safely across the parking lot to the car. Genevieve did not join her brothers in their protests. She seldom does. It was a typical shopping trip with the three small kidlets. Exhausting. (And there's still a lot of work to be done--get the kids in their car seats, load the groceries, squeeze in the stroller, drive home, unload the kids, unload the groceries, feed the hungry babies, start dinner...was it a wise idea to expend so much energy on shopping?!)
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Bentley knows all sorts of new words. In the animal category we have zebra, yak, and sea otter. In the color family we have pink, yellow, beige, teal, and white joining the famous blue. No green yet though! In the body parts arena we have eyeBALL (not just eye anymore!), tummy, and hair. Peppers, noodles, Reeses, milk, and water have shown up in the food section. In the manners category we have please. Finally! Please! It joins sorry, and now we need to master thank you.
It's gratifying to finally hear all the words we speak bounced back at us. It gives me so many more chances to laugh because it's fun to know what's going on in that cute little head. We were driving down a busy road the other day and Bentley told me "stop! I walk". I guess he thought the weather looked nice, and he wanted out so he could go on a little walk.
His ability to talk has highlighted his persistence. He has the ability to repeat the same thought over and over and over (20 minutes? 30 minutes? A time period far too long is all I know for certain!). When he wakes up some mornings he is consumed with the desire to leave the house, and I hear "My coat, my shoes, Mommy's car"... over and over. And over and over. I think he knows he's torturing me, but he won't stop!
Most of all, I'm enjoying the fact that 1 of the under 3 foot crowd in the house can have conversations with me. I know they all understand me but it's definitely rewarding to have meaningful (or at least somewhat meaningful) 2 way conversations. :-)
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Bentley has been in a "what is this" phase lately and so I hear some variation of that question at least 5 times a day. I know that's probably nothing compared to the endless questions my life will be filled with when my children are a bit older and ALL talking - but nonetheless it's a big change from the old status quo where I did all the talking and none of them talked back! It's nice to have interaction.
Every evening (and morning, and afternoon sometimes!) I tell my children I love them. Last night Bentley and I were cuddled up downstairs in bed reading and I threw out my ritual "Love you Bentley"! I keep hoping to hear the words back but so far his vocabulary hasn't expanded to include that key phrase - soon, I hope! Although I didn't get a "I love you" back from him, I did get a "what"?
It then occured to me that perhaps the word love doesn't mean much to him, and that sent me down a 10 minute path trying to explain the concept of love to my 2 year old. I'm sure more than 10 minutes is needed for such a big idea but it was a start. To me, my love for my children includes:
They are my world and my heart belongs to them
I want them to have joy
I will always be there to listen and care about their desires & fears
I find joy in their accomplishments
They are always on my mind
I will do whatever is needed to protect and nurture them
When they're happy I'm happy too
Raising them is not a chore but a privilege
I want to be with them for all of eternity
Their needs are more important to me than my own
I wish that the world could be perfect for them, that I could protect them from hurt and dissapointment
None of their thoughts are too small to matter to me
I love every hair on their perfect precious heads :-)
I wish it was possible to put into words exactly how love makes us feel, but if it is I'm not the poetic wordsmith who will be able to do it! I'm certain I've forgotten at least a few key points...
I love my family and I love the purpose and meaning that Bentley, Jackson, and Genevieve have added to my life. Raising them is a wonderful calling to be occupied with. They are a great blessing in my life (although a bit of a challenge at times too!) and I know it would be impossible to love them more than I do - my heart is already overflowing from all of the goodness (for lack of a better word) that they have brought to our home.
Happy Mother's Day, kids! I'm so glad to have you here in our family and I know it's where you are meant to be. I can't imagine anything better than being your Mother. Thanks for being here!
He waved with his left arm - a very nice whole arm wave (but with good hand twist, not just random uncontrolled bobbing of the whole arm, oh no!) and then he demonstrated that he could also wave with his right arm.
What a clever child! He was quite delighted (as were we) with his new talent, showing it off for a good 3 minutes!