Friday, March 30, 2012

How Weaning Worked

Oh, weaning. No matter when you do it, someone always thinks you're the Bad Mom.

For me, determining the time to wean was influenced by wanting to make it to the World Health Organization's recommendation of breastfeeding for at least two years, knowing that I needed to start taking non-breastfeeding-safe medication to control the more dangerous consequences of PCOS (heart disease, diabetes and weight gain), and allowing the babies to reach what would be a gentle conclusion for them. For months I was anxious about it. In the end, like so many other things in parenting, everything sort of fell into place on its own.
After months of dropping feedings, we were finally down to just the one before bed. I had decided on a date after their second birthday. But the day before the deadline, Veda caught a case of the middle-of-the-night crazies. Probably waking up from a bad dream, she cried inconsolably for what seemed like hours. I tried rocking, cuddling, shushing, a silly toddler version of kangaroo care that didn't work at all... in the end, the only thing that got her calmed and back to sleep was nursing her down. I took it as a sign. They weren't ready. In truth, I wasn't either. I'd had a couple of private cries after I put them down for bed in the week before. See, for me, this is it. I loved everything about pregnancy and breastfeeding (well, minus the worrying). As much as I know that our family is perfect the way it is, it's still so sad to me that I'll never get to experience those things again.

It didn't help that at my last RE appointment, the RE (who I love) had told me about how weaning works in the cattle he keeps. He told me how for a couple of nights a separated mother and baby would cry for each other, but once breastfeeding had ended, their bond was effectively broken. I knew that my babies would still love me, but I wondered if our bond would be different... somehow less.

Over the next month those bedtime nursing sessions got shorter and shorter. The babies were becoming more and more ready to not need that time to physically reconnect with me. And that month felt like an overtime bonus to me.

When the next deadline I had decided on came up, I briefly considered extending it another month. But it was time. They were ready, and I knew it. I was mostly ready. I left their room on that last night knowing that it was the end of something special between us that will never come back, but it's okay. That's how parenting goes. We have to engineer countless transitions - starting solid foods, potty training, entrance into social arenas that extend beyond our families, learning to operate as an independent adult...

Yes, our bond is different now, but I realize now that it was changing all along. No matter how old they get or how little they come to depend on me to meet their physical needs, I'm always going to be Home to them.
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Saturday, March 24, 2012

First Picnic of the Year

I'm pretty excited about this coming summer. Last summer was great - the visit to the Grand Canyon, trying out splash pads, learning how to slide. But this summer... this summer there is SO much more stuff that we can do. In fact, I'm coming up with a list to make sure that we don't miss anything.

The kids had their first picnic in the parking lot of a Cracker Barrel on the caravan drive out to Albuquerque a couple of years ago. So, this isn't their first picnic overall, but it's the first one of this summer. (And I think with this weather, we should just call it summer, no?)

Oh, man. There is so much fun stuff to look forward to this year.

Linus loves seefood.

It's peanut butter jelly time!

Veda and Granny

Watching an ant with Grandad

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Another Proud Mommy Post

Both Linus and Veda love scribbling. They'll ask for pencils and then get to work on any scrap of paper they can find. Sometimes they'll tell me they're drawing circles, but usually they're just gleefully scribbling.

Until a couple of days ago, when Veda did this:

Ignore the green magic marker, and look at the pencil marks. Every time she made one of those marks, she said a letter. Wow.

With all this pre-literacy stuff going on, I am one proud mama for sure.

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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Toddler Lunch Idea #5

What you're looking at:
  •  Mexican Pizza (recipe follows)
  • Salsa for dipping
  • Banana slices
Mexican Pizza

  • Flour tortilla (any size) - I used half of a large one to make enough for both kids
  • Can of refried beans
  • Daiya or shredded cheese
  • Diced tomatoes. Diced green or red sweet peppers would work well also.
  • Cooking oil spray
1. Preheat oven on broil setting.
2. Spray the tortilla with cooking oil spray. (This will help to make it crispy.)
3. Use a spoon to spread a few tablespoons of the refried beans over the tortilla.
4. Top with the daiya or cheese.
5. Sprinkle diced tomatoes over cheese.
6. Place in the oven until the tortilla browns around the edges and the daiya/cheese has melted.
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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Toddler Lunch Idea #4

What you're looking at:
  • Wheat crackers
  • Kiwi
  • Hummus
  • Cucumber with a splash of Italian dressing
This is a great example of the lunch formula I've adopted since I decided to spend less time on cooking (see also, photo from the last post of kids covered in contents of spice cabinet). I'm doing a fruit, a veggie, a grain, and a protein. Seriously, I just scribble down a few choices of each on the grocery list before I go to the store and then reach into the fridge/freezer/pantry for one of each when it's time for lunch. I'm still feeling pretty confident about the nutritional quality of their meals, though in this case I would make sure that at least one other meal in the day is higher in calories). And you know what? The kids are still pleased as pie when I put their trays in front of them. Score one for Mommy.
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Monday, March 12, 2012

One Day You'll Need to Know

I love you exactly as you are, even when you do bad things.

The brown stuff is an entire bottle of five spice powder.

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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Wise Guy

Isn't it annoying when you come across Internet litter from moms who claim that their 6 month olds are doing long division or that their three year olds have already mastered five languages? I hope this post doesn't come across like that. I'm just proud of my little man.

This kid is counting up to five objects at a time. We're not just talking memorizing a string of words. I mean that he understands that four is more than three and that he can tell me how many cheerios or blocks or crayons are on the table. Well, up to five of them.

AND he's recognizing some letters. He'd been handing me a foam X in the bathtub and saying "K" (hey, they are pretty similar looking), but I was not expecting what happened at the library on Monday. The library puts down a cool rug for storytime. It's a world map surrounded by the letters in A-Z order. First he pointed to the H and said "H". I was surprised but thinking that he had a 1 in 26 chance of making a good guess and thought it could just be a coincidence. Then he pointed to the I beside it and said "I". Wow. I had to pick up my jaw to tell him that he was right, and I could see the lady sitting beside us do a double take. Today while we were working on the alphabet puzzle he labeled a few other letters as he placed them in their slots on the puzzle.

What a guy.

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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Would Anyone Care For Some Whine?

My job is kicking my butt.

Loyal readers know that the "babies" turning two has brought about some changes, most notably converting the cribs to toddler beds and potty training Veda. Also thrown into the mix as of late is the the re-emergence of Veda's separation anxiety. Crazy, spider-monkey-clingy separation anxiety. Naps are getting shorter, too.

Put it all together, and this is how I'm feeling right about now:

Approximate size of my current pile of laundry

For folks who haven't experienced twins sharing a bedroom/moving out of cribs, let me share how nap time goes down around here. On a good day, which is when they are tiiiiiired, I only have to put them back in their beds maybe once or twice, and then they snuggle up and doze off. On a not-so-good day, I spend anywhere from 1-1.5 hours (used to be longer!) sitting in their room with them to force them to stay in their own beds. They continuously throw their pacifiers to each other, try to get into each others' beds, and sometimes throw every stuffed friend, blanket, and pillow they can grab on the floor. My frustration level runs about a 15 on a scale of 1-10 on those days.

Thanks to shorter naps, I'm finding that on a lot of days just when I've finished my lunch, cleaned up the kitchen, and decided on what the next housework priority should be, nap time is over. Sigh.

But, don't toddlers like to help? This little girl certainly does.

Sometimes the "help" actually does kind of help, although in a long, roundabout way - like when they help me unload the dishwasher. Sometimes, though, Veda "helping" means that Linus is creating a whole new mess in the play room. Cooking has become one of the biggest challenges of the day as both kids want to sit on the counter to help. But then they're both pulling stuff out of the utensil holder or dropping things in the toaster. All normal toddler stuff, but it's all just stacking up to make me feel mucho overwhelmed.

I can't keep this up. As much as I enjoy cooking, I don't enjoy what cooking has become, so I'm trying to minimize, minimize, minimize. Instead of making the tasty, ultra-healthy breakfast muffins we all love, I stocked up on freezer waffles at the grocery store this week. I'm scaling back the cooking on lunches, too - for me and them. It's something.

People like to ask me if it's getting easier. And, yes, some things are easier. One thing that comes to mind immediately is the night sleep. But I'm finding it harder than ever, ever, ever to keep my head above water. I do NOT feel put together.

I don't like to talk about twins vs. singletons because I know that we all have our own challenges. Today, though, I'm saying it - parenting twins is HARD. It's all of the little things throughout the day - me trying to wrangle them both in the car when it's just me and all they want to do is run into the back yard. Trying to change Linus's diaper while Veda is crying, crying, CRYING because she wants to be held. Taking Veda to the potty and trying to keep Linus from throwing toys in the tub and then whining when he can't reach them.

Yes, I love my children more than anyone has ever loved their children, and I have more than enough perspective to appreciate them beyond measure. But what I want to say is that this stage is hard. And it's kicking my butt.

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