Sunday, July 27, 2008

Mr Independent

L1050509



D: To say that our son, O, is strong willed is an understatement. And while I need to keep reminding myself what our pediatrician told us about this stage being very important for their character building and strong emotional development, I can't help but be frustrated with how much of a struggle things have become.

It's not just with O; of course they are both going through it. F actually went through a bit of it first, a few weeks ago. But his impatience for things not going exactly as his way has been more vocalized... in a high pitched scream. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a fan of high pitched screams, but his protests are often comforted when I reach my open my arms to him and he comes running into them for a big hug. I tell him how sorry I am that he is frustrated, and we can move along pretty quickly to the next task at hand.

O, on the other hand, will have nothing to do with anyone when he is upset. Even if that someone holds the power to make everything better... he doesn't want any part of it.

Case in point: O has run out of water in his sippy cup. He starts to get frustrated. I offer to fill it up, but he won't let go of it. I offer to assist him in filling it up in the sink, but he runs to the other side of the room and cries, clutching the empty cup. If I come near him, forget it... I've just insulted his dignity and he throws himself to the floor.

What's most frustrating about this stage, is how hard it must be for the little guy. I am trying to be as empathetic as I can, in all aspects of my parenting. And so I really try to feel how hard it must be to have such a rush of emotions to sort out for the first time. We are very complicated beings, after-all.

I just miss those times when I could dry the tears with a big mama-hug and a smothering if kisses. And while the hugs and kisses will always be readily available for both my children, I am learning for the first time they need to work some of this out on their own.

Posted by Blogtime In Twin Town @ 2:54 PM :: (5) comments

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The next CK model?

D: Notice anyone extra-specially cute on this web page?

Posted by Blogtime In Twin Town @ 9:30 AM :: (3) comments

Monday, July 21, 2008

Ethan's Run

D: A few months ago I posted about an acquaintance who tragically lost one of her twin babies to a complex congenital heart disease soon after he was born. In honor of Ethan and the wonderful folks that treated him at Children Hospital his family is hosting a Fundraising 5k Run this Saturday, Seward Park, Seattle at 9:00am. All proceeds are going to the Children's Hospital.

If you can't participate, you can find information about how to donate by going to www.ethansrun.com.

Posted by Blogtime In Twin Town @ 4:10 PM :: (1) comments

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Lake Livin'

D: Now that you’ve learned about our grueling ordeal 30,000 feet in the air and you are feeling rightfully sorry for us, I can assure you that it was all worth it for the wonderful trip we had with our family and friends in the Midwest. Ask us immediately after the flight and we would’ve told you there is nothing worth that kind of torture, but the quality time with our loved ones has more than paid for the trouble. Plus, after deciding to purchase another seat for the way home so both kids could be strapped into their car seats, the flight home was much, MUCH better.

The trip was planned to spend 4 full days at my father’s cabin, by the shores of lake Mille Lacs in MN and an evening back in Mpls. with some friends while my Mom gave us some respite from the kids. Everything went as planned, and the twins did a great job of weathering all the changes in routine, temperatures, sleeping quarters and play space. The first day, my dad offered up a huge bin full of new toys for the boys...planes, boats, trucks, you name it. But they were too busy being snoopy little toddlers and getting into absolutely everything else they could explore.


DSC_0768

At the cabin, duct tape was my new best child-proofing friend and by the end of the week every drawer and cupboard was duct taped shut. It was mentioned more than once how much easier it would be to just duct tape their hands together. Kidding, of course.

DSC_0764

Several attempts were made to indoctrinate the Deuce to MN lake-livin’, but unfortunately they would have no part in actually getting into the lake to swim. Since W and I are practically aquatic-beings ourselves, looking back at the amount of time that we spent in the water as children, we will keep trying to share our love of swimming with them throughout the summer.

DSC_0784

DSC_0806

DSC_0789

DSC_0809

DSC_0804

The boys did, however, thoroughly enjoy the boat ride in their grandpa’s boat. They were a bit skeptical about boarding, but once they heard the roar of the motor and we began to glide through the water they quickly realized there’s really nothing quite like an evening cruise across a lake in MN.


DSC_0840

O even sat up in the very front of the boat with his grandma and bravely rode high above the water overlooking the sunset.


DSC_0850

Throughout the week my parents were troopers, patiently loving my kids through their new toddler tantrums and respecting our ‘positive discipline’ approach (‘distract, distract, distract’ can get pretty exhausting!). The most tolerant member of our crew, who endured the most suffering was our dog Sedro’s dad (my dad’s dog), Dusty. Dusty is quite possibly the sweetest, big ol’ beast you’ve ever met and the boys instantly took to him... as a climbing gym!


DSC_0823

DSC_0821

DSC_0826

As for the flight home, as I said before, the car seats were the missing link that was sorely overlooked the first flight. As a new parent we unfortunately learn important lessons through our mistakes. The biggest lesson that we’ve learned about toddlers is that if you give them an inch, they will take a mile. Our first flight we had thought, “the more room, the better” and were stoked to have 2 whole rows to ourselves. We could not have been more wrong. On the other hand, once strapped into their 5-point harness on the way home, it took only a matter of seconds for the Deuce to realize they were going nowhere (except 30,000 feet into the air with the rest of us), and they were much more calm about the whole experience.

Posted by Blogtime In Twin Town @ 12:55 PM :: (2) comments

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Divine Comedy

W: "SHUT THAT KID UP!!!"

That command/complaint/admonishment/adult tantrum rang out and came as quite a shock, above the wailing, midflight Seattle to Minnesota, a week ago today. I remember thinking, well at least I know where we are: We just passed out of the Eighth Circle of Hell and now we're plunging, head first, down into the Ninth.

I can't put too great a point on our experience, this flight with twin 18 month-olds in tow: There is no possible way it could have been worse.

It sounded like an Exorcism.

And so after D gently shot down my idea to rent a car to drive home to Seattle instead of fly, and after we gently told all of our relatives that this was our last flight until the twins are 12, and after the PTSD gently started to subside, we began to Monday morning quarterback what went so horribly awry.

First, we absolutely could not have had a better set up on the plane. The flight wasn't full, and I had "Demon F" myself in the second to last row of the plane and D had "Demon O" to herself in the last row of the plane. 1 adult + 1 toddler, 3 seats. Sounds perfect, doesn't it?

We also each had our bag of tricks. Bottles, water, tons of snacks, new toys, videos, books, blankets, puppets (puppets!), you name it.

But we also had an enormous lapse in judgement when we decided - without testing it first - to try Baby Benadryl on the Deuce. And we decided to roll the dice with Baby Benadryl knowing that there's a 50-50 chance that it could have the opposite effect. And I don't have to tell you that we came up snake eyes, do I?

(Tidbit #1: Even if you are the gambling type like us, we strongly recommend testing the effects of any medication on your child before you reach 30,000 feet.)

So, after we adequately jacked our kids up on kiddie crack, the real fun began. Another flight of our senses, we decided at the gate to check our car seats as baggage rather than bring them on the plane for the twins to sit in.

This was shear silliness, and I admit, I was the perpetrator. I recall saying, quite confidently, "Honey, I'm sure the lap belts will work just fine." And D, said, Ok, let's try it. And I don't have to tell you how that turned out, do I?

(Tidbit #2: If you're going to fly, and you have seats for your 18-month-olds, then strap them into car seats.)

The levees broke. The lap belts held the kids for about 3 minutes, and each of those three minutes sounded like we were twisting the kid's ears, hard. Demon F can reach a higher register with his wail, it's an octave that is not found in nature, it's quite amazing (proud parent always). Dogs can hear it from 30,000 feet. This was also the time when people around us started to stick their heads up and look back at us.

And like the song says, "when the levee breaks, mama, you going to have to move," D started working the isles, letting one half of the Deuce "free to move about cabin," while I did my best to entertain/contain the other twinsie. This worked for about 20 minutes.

But see, the Deuce are toddlers. Toddlers who have license to run all over their yard, the parks, their playroom, all day everyday, and despite all of our attempts to convince them that a cabin of an airplane filled with 180 of our closest strangers was different than those other free roam, anything-goes environments, they felt (strongly) otherwise. And they let us, and everyone on the plane know that they were absolutely, beyond repair, pissed off.

It was about that time that the woman five rows up, on the other side of the aisle, in the middle seat, Seat 22E, decided that the best way to convince the kids to stop freaking out was to tell us, the parents, to SHUT THAT KID UP.

(Tidbit #3: The tactic taken by the woman in Seat 22E does not actually work. See, 18-month-olds are brand spanking new to their emotions and have not developed a mastery of their own feelings let alone the ability to understand that other people have feelings too, and that their actions affect the people around them. If you choose to act like the woman in Seat 22 E, at best, you will look like a fool and at worst you will have an upset parent all up in your grill. The best course of action would be to remember, before you get on the plane, that people of all shapes and sizes, even very young ones, travel by air and that earplugs are a wonderful investment.)

And so it went. 3 hours of wailing punctuated by brief interludes of quiet when Mom let one twin run down the isle of the plane and I somehow managed to occupy the other twin.

But whatever - the Flight from Hell didn't kill us, and after the Monday morning quarterbacking, we started to smile, and then laugh.

The Flight from Hell was over. Nothing could be worse than that. Everything else will be better. The Divine Comedy indeed.

Posted by Blogtime In Twin Town @ 8:51 AM :: (8) comments

Monday, July 07, 2008

Kiddy Parade: Good or bad idea?

D: We enjoyed a wonderful 4th of July holiday weekend. It's been a pretty tough summer with chilling temperatures and endless rain, so we certainly needed a relaxing holiday weekend full of sunshine.

The 4th is one of my favorite holidays, one that holds so many different memories at different stages in my life. When I was a young girl my earliest memories were running around my family’s farm yard with my brother and I twirling sparklers, chasing spinning tops that screamed across the ground and throwing black cats dangerously close to one another. Later, in middle school, I remember huddling up with my girlfriends on a blanket as we waited with hundreds of neighbors for hours to watch our local fireworks display overhead.

Since I’ve been in Seattle, W and I have started a new tradition of watching the fireworks from our house. We are lucky enough to be able to see the most amazing display in the region right from our front patio and I cannot wait to share it with our children. Unfortunately I’m still too much of a wimp to keep the kids up that late (poor sleep = ultra crabby kids the entire next day)… maybe next year.


Instead, I had heard of a kiddy parade up in a neighboring small town and I thought it would be the perfect way to celebrate the holiday’s excitement with the Deuce. The parade started at 11, and with a naptime of noon I knew there was a chance we were threatening disaster. But in the spirit of the holiday (“we are GOING to have fun, dammit!) Auntie Jessa and I hoofed it up there, made it through the madness of over 100 children and their uber-patriotic parents, and positioned ourselves nicely towards the front of the parade.

IMG_0379

The Deuce were sporting their monkey back-pack/parent leashes and seemed (at first) to be enjoying all the excitement. Things quickly turned however, after standing for what seemed like hours amongst the whirlwind of all things red/white/blue: streamers, balloons, face paint, and decked out strollers, radio flyers and big wheels.

IMG_0382

My children had ‘over-stimulated’ written clearly across their faces and I knew we had turned the corner onto Melt-Down St.

IMG_0380

Right before the parade began to move F decided he could take no more. He threw his little hands onto the ground and positioned himself into a downward-dog stance. There stayed screaming about the indignities of it all for at least 4 minutes. He did not want me to move him or pick him up and clearly preferred me to leave him be to work it out.

IMG_0392

Thinking I was amongst allies I did not stress about his screaming charade...that is, until a women (a MOM, no less!) turned to Jessa and said “You know, strollers work really well for these kind of things”. Duh.

We walked 1.5 blocks in the kid’s first kiddy parade before retreating to the car, where they passed out upon impact in their car seats. Next year, I think it would just be easier to let them stay up to watch the fireworks.

Posted by Blogtime In Twin Town @ 9:15 PM :: (2) comments