Monday, March 31, 2008

Triple take

Bentley at 9 months, and the twinks at 9 months. They would have made a nice set of triplets, yes? :-) I bet they will soon be mistaken for triplets - the twins are quickly approaching Bentley size!!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Hat Fun

I love trying different hats on the babies. We did this often enough with Bentley that we have an entire photo book of him wearing different hats. Life with twins is more chaotic and so we haven't taken the time to get as many cool hat shots.

However, the other day I grabbed a hat and plopped it on Genevieve's head. She was a pretty good model, but the photographer took a while to warm up. (I don't usually take the photos, but Mark was out of town so the job fell to me.)

In fact, I didn't get my stride until I had the hat on Jackson. I got lots of great shots of him in the hat. I'm only posting three of them.

I tried to get more Genevieve shots a couple of days later, but Kara didn't know where the hat was. (Chaotic life, remember?)

PS What do you think of this hat? I think it's very ugly, but it has loads of character and was quite fun to work with.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Button Boy II

Jackson has discovered buttons--the buttons on the CD player, the buttons on the DVR, and the buttons on the DVD player. Unlike his older brother who was allowed free reign with the CD player buttons and knob, Jackson is watched like a hawk and yanked (pulled, wrestled) away if he gets within six inches of the CD player. He isn't ever going to have the kind of fun his older brother did--unless he comes and visits without his older brother, the CD player guard. I don't like our CD player and I'm hoping it will meet an untimely death, so that's why I'm not guarding it. Bentley, on the other hand, likes the CD player and he's not going let his brother Jackson ruin (or share) his fun.

The DVR and DVD player are another matter entirely. I'd like to keep them off limits from Jackson. They are on shelves above the babies' normal line of sight and so had not attracted much attention until recently. However, now Jackson has discovered the DVR machine, and we have to jump up and pull him away whenever he reaches for it. I'm not sure what will happen to the DVR if he starts pushing random buttons. Can he delete all our stored tv shows? I don't want to find out!

One evening I put a towel over the DVR which means you can't use the remote to operate it, so it's not a very ideal solution to the Jackson problem. The towel was anchored under the DVD player on the next higher shelf, so the DVD player with its glowing off light (how dumb is that, an off light?) attracted Jackson's attention next. It was just out of his reach. He stood on his tippy toes and stretched as high as he could, but he just couldn't reach those buttons.

How many weeks do I have left before he can reach it?! I'm going to have to implement a better solution to protect the DVR and the DVD machines. Maybe I could hire a pint-size guard and pay him with Reese's Peanut Butter cups? Bentley's grandpa Tim introduced him to Reese's at Easter time and he REALLY likes them. Of course, we're trying to convince Bentley to not manhandle the twins, so perhaps he's not the best choice for this assignment.

Here's a photo from last night when Jackson was checking out the X-box. Genevieve is starting to join into the fun, too. She pushed enough buttons that the DVD/CD tray popped out. I'm definitely going to have to find a way to hide those machines from the twins. ASAP

Friday, March 28, 2008

The newest stats

Genevieve & Jackson had their 9 month check up today! Here are the latest numbers:

Genevieve: 18 lbs 9 oz (50th%), 28 3/8 inches (75th%)
Jackson: 18 lbs 13 oz (25%), 28 1/4 inches (50%)

Jackson has widened the *huge* weight gap by 1 oz since the last check up. :-) The Dr. commented that Jackson feels like he weighs more - he's a dense baby with lots of muscle. Lucky Genevieve gets plotted on the girls growth chart, so she's looking to be the *amazon* of our babies.

Long long ago when Bentley was a baby (please provide a slight hint of sarcasm when you read that) the well baby visits were structured differently. Bentley had a 6 month check up, a 10 month check up, and then a 12 month check up. Since those dark ages the well baby visits have changed to occur at 6/9/and 12 months. Go figure. Anyway, at 10 months Bentley was at 18 lbs 12 oz and 28 1/4 inches - almost exactly (with the difference of 1 oz) where Jackson is now at 9 months. A bit odd, yes?

Other than drawn out efforts to get blood from the twins (for an iron level check), the visit was uneventful. Being that we're seasoned parents we no longer have many questions, so the visit was just a chance for the twins to share some smiles with the Dr., and make some grabs at his equipment.

We did have 1 question for the Dr. - we asked him if there's any effective way of teaching Bentley not to stick (or try to stick) his fingers in the eyes of his siblings. I'm quite troubled by his fondness for this new passtime. We were told that with consistent negative discipline of some sort (time outs?) he might learn not to do it, but he won't learn it's wrong. He's just not the right age for that yet. Hmmm. Caveman... !!!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

2 More Words!

We've been working for months to get Bentley to say grandma and opa. He utterly refuses to use those words. A couple of weeks ago I clued in that the problem was that Kara always calls us mom and dad, and so, Bentley, too, uses those words to refer to us. She uses the titles grandma and opa when talking to Bentley about us, but when she's talking directly to us she calls us mom and dad and so Bentley figures that's our names.

Mark figured out this past week that if you listen closely, Bentley calls us mom and dad and Kara and Matt are mommy and daddy. So he does have distinct titles for us, but it's rather confusing. We're still hoping he'll pick up on the grandma and opa thing soon--before he teaches the twinlets to call us mom and dad, too.

Matt told us that Bentley calls his Uncle Tyler boy. (Tyler is 16.) The twins are baby, never Jackson or Genevieve. Bentley knows exactly who we refer to when we use people's names, but he has no interest in using names himself. Mom, dad, boy, and baby are so much more versatile. Why bother to be specific?!

P.S. Matt confirmed that Bentley calls Grandpa Tim dad. I had been wondering about that.

The Words of Bentley

Bentley is not much of a chatterbox. He's too busy moving!

However, a recent conversation with a friend started me thinking on the size of his vocabulary. According to the Dr. a 2 year old should know at least 50 words (and according to some other Dr.'s they should know at least 100!). I started to wonder... does he make the grade? :-)

So, without further ado, here are the words of the Bentley:
  1. bottle (pronounced bobby)
  2. mommy
  3. daddy
  4. baby
  5. kitty
  6. mine
  7. my
  8. you
  9. me
  10. I
  11. coat
  12. shoe
  13. chugga (the word for trains)
  14. beep-beep (the word for cars)
  15. owl
  16. teeth
  17. toe
  18. eye
  19. nose
  20. away
  21. ball
  22. peep (new word from Easter time)
  23. hush
  24. pool
  25. fall
  26. bee
  27. no
  28. way
  29. more
  30. yeah
  31. eat
  32. cookie
  33. night-night
  34. bye-bye
  35. num-num (from cousin Felicity, indicates desire for treat!)
  36. read
  37. book
  38. she
  39. growl (I think it counts as a word!)
  40. bike
  41. tree
  42. T.V.
  43. good
  44. Hawaii (don't ask why, I'm not sure)
  45. want
  46. two (he skips one, counting starts with two according to Bentley)
  47. three
  48. go
  49. ready
  50. why
  51. thank you
  52. sorry
  53. guy
  54. woof
  55. do
  56. home
  57. tag
  58. eat
  59. wait
  60. duck
  61. blue
  62. moon
  63. cook
  64. wall
  65. more
  66. oh
  67. hi
  68. Pooh (Pooh Bear is a big favorite lately)
  69. happy
  70. mmmm (yum!)
  71. play
  72. fly

There it is. According to at least 1 Dr. he's doing ok, and according to at least 1 other he's a bit deficient. :-)

He combines his words into lovely sentences:

when I ask if he wants to eat: "Oh - no way!"
when I ask if he wants to nap or eat: "I eat!"
when he's done with a cookie or brownie: "I want more!".
when the twins look at his toys "No baby, mine!"
when he's about to jump: "I fall!"
when it's time to go somewhere: "coat, shoes, coat shoes, coat shoes..."
when he wants you to come help him: "Go away!" (He uses it to mean come here)

I was reading last week that at 2 years most children know 200 words (yikes, according to that Dr. Bentley really better get a move on it!), and that at 3 years they know 300. This same article also said children learn fast at this age, and on average learn to say 10 new words a day. According to my calculations this would mean they learn 3,650 new words between 2 and 3 years of age. So how do they only know 300 by age 3? Hmmm... math is tough, I guess.

All in all, I've noticed the experts aren't all in agreement and they don't even all make sense. :-) So we'll stick with the opinion of our Dr. who tells us Bentley is intelligent and on track - why argue with that, right?!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

9 months old!

Jackson and Genevieve are well on the way to the big number 1! This month it has been fun to see them playing and getting into everything, chasing each other and chasing us down.

Most parenting books and websites will tell you that until about age 2 1/2 children engage in mostly parallel play. They might play in the same room, or even right next to other children, but they're not too interested in playing together or interacting. It's different with twins. Probably because they've been "blessed" (maybe they think forced?!) into close quarters for so long. Whatever the reason, they definitely interact with each other and it's not just parallel play.

What's new?

The twins can now move faster than the speed of light (or at least it seems that way to their slightly overwhelmed Mom). They pull up on everything and sometimes come tumbling back down. Genevieve has become more graceful with her falls, but Jackson seems to have a knack for bruising up his face while falling from whatever he's grabbed onto. I'm hoping he learns better falling form from his sister before too many more bruises show up.

Sometimes I forget they are "allowed" seperate likes and dislikes - and then I am reminded of that fact again. During eating time Jackson loves yogurt and bananas, Genevieve tolerates them because he likes them. Genevieve loves sweet potatoes, Jackson tolerates them. Both agree on intense dislike of sweet peas, for whatever reason. They enjoy ritz, vanilla wafers, and those very bland Gerber baby puffs. We discovered this past week that Genevieve loves bread. We're starting to feed the twins more table food and they do a good job with it. The lack of teeth hinders Jackson a bit but he valiantly works around it! They are very messy eaters, but we keep feeding them anyway. :-) Here's Jackson saying no way to the sweet peas:

Bentley has been whispering to the twins about what a waste of time naps are. I think he has them convinced, as half of the time I can only manage to get 1 nap out of them for the day. I've reminded them that they aren't supposed to move to 1 nap a day until they're at least a year old but they don't seem to care.

As for new baby tricks...

Genevieve can mimic singing. Well, kind of. :-) If you hum something at her sometimes she'll hum it back. I'll admit the non-discerning ear may just think she's shrieking in a loud voice... but that's not the case!

Jackson loves to clap. Genevieve claps on occasion (today she clapped because I "made" Jackson scream due to a face cleaning... hmmm...), but Jackson claps all the time. He claps when he sees food coming his way. He claps when you look at him and smile. He claps when we watch T.V.. He loves to clap! His clapping technique is not traditional - he holds one hand steady and claps the other hand into it. Genevieve claps in the more classic form with both hands moving towards eachother and meeting.

Jackson is still the strong and silent type. I think we've caught him throwing out mama and dada once or twice, in moments of weakness, but he's still holding out on mastery of the English language.

Genevieve decided to master Jackson's trademark look - the flatline mouth. Here she is demonstrating her new skill.

We have their 9 month check up on Friday, so stay tuned for the newest stats. Until then, here's a goodbye photo from our masters of havoc:

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Snazzy Mister B

Because Mr. B was too cute on Sunday, here are a few more photos of the groovy dude in his suit.

Monday, March 24, 2008

The most prized of skills...

I believe I mentioned a while back that the twins have mastered holding their own bottles. I came across a picture of this ability in use, and because seeing it makes me happy (so happy!) I wanted to post it to the blog. Self-reliant babies - what a beautiful sight!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Festivities 2008!

We had a great time with Easter this year!

Firstly, Bentley and I got a head start on getting into the Easter spirit through the use of a paint printing project with Easter Peeps:

We think it turned out lovely. The blue sugar on the peeps added a nice sparkly element to our finished art project.

On Saturday we had an Easter brunch with Grandma and Opa. Bentley wasn't too interested in trying the food, but both Jackson and Genevieve gave the yogurt/couscus/fruit parfaits and the pancake quiche a whirl. We're not sure about Genevieve, but Jackson gave his usual thumbs up to the new food!

After brunch we colored Easter eggs. I found an "egg spinner" that I thought Bentley would enjoy and he obliged me and gave a good number of eggs a spin.

After that he wanted to move on to using paint and a paint brush on the eggs. Who are we to interfere with creativity, right?

A sampling of the finished products:

We finished up Saturday with an Easter egg hunt. Bentley caught onto the vision quickly, and once he discovered the chocolate inside the eggs he hunted them all done with due speed. He requested we hide them over 4 times and we happily did!

Sunday the kids were all spiffed up in their Easter duds. Bentley looked awesome, Matt thinks the below picture could launch Bentley's political career - Bentley for office!! :-)

The twins, on the other hand, were not in the mood to work with the camera...

We did manage to get a few pictures though!

After church we had a family gathering with the Hill clan. The twins had potatoes, fruit salad, and rolls. Bentley declined dinner with the exception of a few jelly beans. After the Hill gathering we headed up the hill to spend a fun evening with Grandpa Tim. The twins had potatoes, crackers, pumpkin pie, and cool whip (Genevieve was a HUGE fan of the cool whip). Bentley, you may be able to guess, declined dinner. He did have a few Reese's Peanut Butter Cups though. :-) Bentley engaged in another fun filled Easter egg hunt, and the twins engaged in drooling on the eggs he collected. Fun for all!

It was a hectic weekend with 1 toddler and 2 babies - I can only imagine what it will be like with 3 toddlers next year. I can't wait to find out though, it's wonderful to have these children and the chance to make so many memories with them. Bring it on!

To close out the post here's Genevieve saying thank you to her multiple Easter bunny grandparents for the packages and the lovely baskets:

Merry Easter to all, and to all a good night!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Opa does art!

Opa has been experimenting with digital scrapbooking through Photoshop. He won't promise me he's going to continue this exploration, but I think his first effort turned out quite superb:

Lovely, isn't it?

The Twinks' Favorite Activities

It's true that at almost 26 months Bentley is more active and coordinated than Jackson and Genevieve who are only (almost) 9 months old, but that doesn't mean that the twins aren't as busy as he is. They have their own routines and favorite activities.

EXERCISING! Jackson and Genevieve get a good workout every day. 30? 40? 50? times a day they pull themselves upright using mostly their upper body strength. They use anything available to help get them upright. You better not leave a blanket draped over the edge of the couch or you can be sure that a baby will take a spill trying to use it for leverage. They are pretty good at getting upright and they have also mastered getting back down, too, although I don't think a day goes by without a new bruise being added to their heads. (Why do babies always damage their heads?)

EXPLORING! Every corner of their living room has been explored by the twins. Genevieve is the more intrepid adventurer at this point which means she gets herself into more tight spots from which she once in a while requires rescuing. We've had to put up a baby gate at our home to keep the twins away from the front staircase. The baby gate is not a big hit.

EATING! Jackson likes solid food more than Genevieve does. He will eagerly lean forward to get to the next bite. Genevieve makes funny faces and spits out lots of what you spoon into her mouth. Genevieve plays with finger foods. Jackson eats them.

THE LEARNING TABLE! When they come to visit me (and when I can drag them away from the train set), they enjoy playing on the Fisher Price learning table. They will spend ten to twenty minutes banging away on it. Jackson also likes to make music with the rain stick. He has a pretty good attention span when he finds something interesting.

THE PLAY WALL! Genevieve likes the Fisher Price play wall that is set up in the living room at home. It's perfect for standing up and hanging on to. I haven't noticed Jackson using it much yet.

CARS & BALLS! Jackson shows a greater interest in balls and cars than Genevieve does. Unfortunately although there are dozens of balls in many sizes in his home, Jackson's brother does not always like to share even one of them! He has better luck gaining access to the cars and trucks. He likes to push them and make them move; his twin uses them to climb up on. Kara thinks Genevieve needs a nice, soft doll. She might be right.

READING! Both Genevieve and Jackson love books, especially their parents' books. Forget those shelves of baby and toddler books at home and at the grandparents' house. They prefer cook books or dad's books or any magazines lying around. It's not that they won't chew on (um, read) a good board book, but they are usually drawn to slimmer pages. Or is it the nice dust jackets that attracts them? Kara has lost a number of dust jackets lately. I'm betting Jackson did the damage, but I could be underestimating Genevieve's skills.

CHEWING! The twinlets like to chew on anything they can fit into their mouths. The wooden trains are a particular favorite. I don't know if it's the bright colors of the trains, but every time they come to visit they spend a good half hour gnawing on the trains and/or the wooden track pieces.

STALKING MOM! Their new game is to chase down adults (using their advanced crawling skills) and beg to be held. I'm starting to clue in that when a baby hand grabs my leg, it's not by accident, but by quite purposeful intent. Kara says that sometimes she feels hunted as they stalk her through the kitchen and living room. Ah, to be so loved.

NAPPING! They are still young enough that more often than not they fall asleep in the car even on short trips. Sleeping babies are beautiful.

HANGING OUT TOGETHER! They enjoy spending time with each other and with their big brother.

RIDING THE ATV! The twinks might not walk yet, but they can ride the ATV most places they want to go.

(I'm joking about that last one--they don't really ride the ATV unassisted.)

POSING FOR OPA! The twins like attention, so they are usually willing to pose for a photo or two. But not three or four, they won't sit still that long!

CUDDLING! One of the best things about babies this age is that they still like to cuddle during the day. Jackson and Genevieve are happy, happy, happy to be picked up and cuddled anytime. And what could be nicer for us adults than cuddling with a sweet baby? (Cuddling with two sweet babies!)