Mary on October 1st, 2012

Letters, Words, and Phrases

Alex and Dom

Alex pulled out the 1st chair and the cube for a table, and then Dom joined him. (Oct. 1, 2012)

Today was a good day for reading, working on the alphabet, and saying more phrases. At dinner the boys did a great job recognizing their lower case letters and knowing what sounds go with them–though p/q, b/d/h, and o/e/c are some of the tougher ones. Dom and Alex also really enjoy naming everything around them–especially in the morning right after waking up. They tell us about the beds, blankets, dogs, door, walls, ceiling, etc. as we walk to the living room, and they aren’t happy until we repeat the word so they know we understand what they are saying.

The boys have been working on expanding their words and phrases. During the morning, Dom told me,”bear… big bear,” and after I repeated what he said (acknowledging I understood), he ran to get my big white bear to show me which one he was talking about. Alex also told me about a “tractor” though I had a little more trouble figuring that one out, and so he went and got the tractor to show me and repeat the word. I love how earnest they are about wanting to be understood and that look like all is right with the world when Puck or I acknowledge we understand.

Later, Alex found a big blanket on the sofa and told me “big blanket.” Then he grabbed my robe and said, “blanket”, but I told him it was a robe. Next, he ran over to the towels sitting on the recliner, grabbed one, and said, “robe.” I told him it was a towel, and then he checked to make sure that I agreed that all the other ones on the recliner were towels too.

At dinner, Dom came up with a new phrase and showed off his new possessive skills at dinner: “Dada bowl” (pointing at Puck’s bowl); then, “Mama bowl,” “Dom bowl,” “Alex bowl.” They’re starting to piece together words, and they experiment with indicating different people. Interestingly, they still don’t use the word, “Mine.” Before bed when Puck asked whose turn it was to brush teeth, instead of clamoring for it to be their turn like normal, the boys ran to hide by sticking their bottoms in the air, and Alex declared, “Dom turn.” Such cuties!

Cars, Soccer, and the Water Table

Dom and Alex playing soccer

Alex (navy shirt) goes for a kick. (Oct. 1, 2012)

In the morning, the boys played with their car park and another car ramp for a long time, and at one point we set up a little circuit in which each of us had a particular job to keep the cars moving. Dom would (slowly) guide the cars down one set of ramps to the car park’s elevator. Then I would raise the elevator so the cars would dump out on the second story of the car park, and Alex would send them down the car park’s ramp into line for Dom’s ramp.

In the afternoon we went out back to play. Alex likes to pick the low-hanging grapes when we’re in the backyard, but he doesn’t try to eat them fortunately. (They don’t taste good and have lots of little seeds.) One of their main activities was experimenting with their water table. Eventually they each picked up the side of the water table and tipped it all the way over in two pieces (it was made to come apart in two pieces). They had fun climbing onto the upturned pieces too.

Dom and Alex playing soccer

Dom and Alex both go for the ball. (Oct. 1, 2012)

Alex and Dom playing soccer

Look at those soccer players go! (Oct. 1, 2012)

I cleaned up a partially deflated ball, and Dom and Alex had a great time kicking it back and forth for a quite a long time. I was very impressed at how well they did, and they had a lot of fun.

Pounds and Inches

I actually managed to get the boys to stand still on our scales today, and they each weighed 30 pounds. We measured them later, and Alex was 3 feet tall and Dom around a 1/2 inch shy. (The doctor’s office had measured them at three feet at their 2 year appt., but that’s not what we got when we measured them at home.) We have to watch them when it is time to measure though because they like to stand on their toes, and they love to be measured.

Other Tidbits

  • In the morning Alex was our snooze button from 6:30 until 7:30 like yesterday–not crying, just occasionally saying, “Ahhh,” so we knew he was awake. How do I know it was Alex? At one point around 7 or so he said “Alex big.”
  • They took a long nap from around 12:15 or so until a little after 4 when we finally woke them up. During their long nap I got lots of cleaning done here and there: moving more dissertation books back out to their shelves and cleaning up various areas–like my bedside table and the floor in front of the back doors.
  • When Dom was upset and crying because either he wanted a toy Alex had or Alex had taken Dom’s toy today, Alex gave him the desired toy several times. It was very sweet of him. Dom did the same a couple of times too.
  • Dom and Alex helped with the laundry again today–loading towels in the dryer.
  • I had a nice evening with Puck, and he made us some of his delicious spaghetti-squash spaghetti which the boys really like too. We also had lots of extra food.
Mary on September 30th, 2012

This morning Alex woke up around 6:30 and let us know he was awake, and I thought, “Please, please, go back to sleep…at least a little longer.” He seemed to pick up that silent communication, and afterward like a snooze button, he would make a little noise every 10-15 minutes and then settle back down until 7:30. I was thankful for the extra sleep.

Off to the Park

Alex and Dom

Alex and Dom on the soccer fields. (Sept. 21, 2012)

After getting around, I made the boys some yummy banana pancakes that they eagerly ate, and about the time that Puck headed off for fencing, we set off for the park behind the Fort Natomas park. Dom and Alex climbed one of the few remaining ladders that they had not yet tried today, and after playing for awhile, Alex took off walking and Dom followed behind soon after. They headed across the soccer fields and kept on going all the way to the far side where we had stood in the shade of a tree to watch Endeavor fly over us not so long ago. It was quite a march. I managed to round them up and direct them back toward the play area and our wagon. We played awhile longer before they set off once again for the far edge of the soccer fields. Fortunately, the promise of cantaloupe convinced them to head back to the wagon afterward, and we sat in the shade to enjoy fruit, goldfish, and cheese before heading home.

Naptime

Our naptime routine went smoothly, and the boys wanted to read “The Little Old Lady Who Wasn’t Afraid of Anything” again today. In fact, Alex wanted to put it back in the line-up for a second read, but I opted for shorter books for the next three. Today when we read it, Dom and Alex stomped their feet, wiggled, shook, clapped, and said “boo” along with me as we read. Then, we snuggled in for our song before the boys fell fast asleep until around 3. Rocking and singing with both my boys wrapped in my arms and their heads resting on my shoulders is one of those blissful moments I hope I never forget and that I will miss so much some day when my little guys outgrow my lap.

The Afternoon

Alex and Dom on the water table.

Alex and Dom on the water table. (Sept. 28, 2012)

While the boys slept, I managed to get a little work done, exercise, and shower. I didn’t grab lunch until after Alex and Dom were up again though. They gave their dad hugs and During their snack (peanut butter & jelly sandwiches and cantaloupe), we read “Rocket Learns to Read,” and the boys enjoyed it. Dom even repeated some words and phrases, and they both told me what some of the letters were as we read through the alphabet on two pages. Then, I let the guys play in the backyard while I chatted with their Papa (my dad) and Aunt Janet on the phone. Today they were more interested in their chalk and in climbing on the water table. They also pulled their empty pool around but unfortunately pulled it over to a thorny bush, and a couple of thorns poke through part of the pool. Fortunately, it’s near the end of pool season. The two did fall over at one point in a pile and got a little scuffed up, but we ended our outdoor time with some swinging.

The Evening

Our evening went pretty smoothly today too with a few disagreements over toys, a few tears from Alex at the beginning of dinner (we stepped outside together to get the boys’ waters, and Alex helped carry them in and give one to his brother which soothed whatever had frustrated him), and then two good-natured little fellas going through the rest of our bedtime routine. Dom was playing with a balloon, but it didn’t have a weight tied to it. One time it got away from him over the couch, and I encouraged him to get on the couch to catch the end. He didn’t understand, but the next time he lost his grip on it in the same area, Alex ran over and climbed on the couch to try to get it for him. Alex also went over to grab the other balloon to play with. Over diapers Alex started another conversation about how everyone poops—so cute. Our bedtime book tonight was “I Love You Through and Through,” and then we sang our songs, snuggled, and tucked our little ones in bed. With a little encouragement, Dom and Alex said goodnight to each other.

Mary on September 29th, 2012

I went to bed a bit late last night, was up briefly with Dom at around 3 AM, and then was up around 6:15 trying to get Alex to sleep in a little longer. Fortunately for me Puck was home and sent me off for a nap that went pretty well even with our little boys occasionally banging on the shelves on the other side of the wall. After I got up, I hung out with the boys while Puck some time for himself, and before I knew it we had to start our naptime routine.

Giggles, Tears, and Giggles Again

Dom and Alex

I love the sound of Dom and Alex giggling together! (Sept. 28, 2012)

Dom and Alex had a good time playing together today. Woo hoo for harmony! They also took a pretty amazingly long nap–from 12:30 until 4. I kept expecting them to wake up at any moment. I did get a few things done, but I didn’t undertake any bigger projects. Post-nap the boys were happy and giggly. Puck and I sat at opposite ends of the hallway, and Alex and Dom ran back and forth into our arms with laughter, smiles, and joy.

Unfortunately, it did end in tears when Alex and Dom got staggered and ran head first into each other. Dom was pretty upset, and Alex didn’t quite understand. Puck suggested he give Dom a kiss to feel better, and Alex trotted down the hallway to sweetly lean over to kiss his brother. Dom, however, was not ready for brotherly comfort and tried to recreate the accident by head-butting Alex who was a little upset by Dom still crying. Next, Puck helped Alex fetch the koala stuffed animal to give to Dom which did stop him crying as he shook his head and ran over to reject it by putting it on the table by the door. That at least got his mind off of his boo-boo.

During nursing, the boys started taking turns making a high-pitched little noise because I would tease them with quick little kisses on the side of their cheeks. They would giggle happily and make the high-pitched noise again for a new round of fun. After he finished, Alex ran over to crawl onto Puck’s chest and have a chat.

Big Conversations

Alex

Alex: It was this big! (Sept. 24, 2012)

Dom’s and Alex’s favorite conversation is about who is big and little. “Dom big. Alex big. Dada big. Mama big.” Sometimes they throw in trucks, tractors, dogs, and cars in their size conversations, and occasionally Dom and Alex declare themselves “little.” Sometimes their discussion goes, “Dada big. Mama big. Dom little. Alex little.” Today they added a new line of conversation, “Dom poop. Alex poop,” plus “big poop.” Alex will also tell you “big toot” after…well, you know. Today Alex and Dom also teased Puck and me by declaring us “little” which they both found amusing.

The Taking Turns Trick

Puck has a new toddler motivating technique in his arsenal. When he wants Dom and Alex to do something, he just announces, “It’s so-and-so’s turn.” Then, one (or both) of the boys will run up to declare that it is his turn, and on the rare occasion that neither does, they still go along with it being their turn without any fuss. Smart daddy!

Good Night

When it was time for bedtime songs and the boys were snuggled in our arms, Alex started to pretend he was sleeping by snoring. Dom thought that was hilarious and joined in the fun.

Last night and tonight when we put the boys to bed Puck encouraged Dom and Alex to tell each other goodnight. Both nights when Puck suggested Dom say, “Good night, Alex.” He replied, “Good night, Dom.” Alex said, “Good night, Alex” last night, but tonight he actually said, “Good night, Dom.” Then, after we finished tucking everyone in and headed out the door, Alex and Dom continued telling each other “Good night” and giggling. Puck and I grinned at each other as we listened to them over the monitor. Such cuties!

Mary on September 28th, 2012

Dom and Alex

Dom and Alex frolic in the water in the afternoon. (Sept. 28, 2012)

This morning I had to be out the door by 7:30 to make our appointment at University Honda in Davis for an oil change and checkup. I got a lot of things ready last night, and in the morning Puck was amazing. He got the boys diapered, dressed, fed, and out to the minivan while I got myself ready and finished packing us up. Alex and Dom had fun pointing at every “big…truck” and were cheerful on our drive.

After dropping off the minivan, I took Dom and Alex on a wagon ride to the McDonalds across the street that had an outdoor play area. Dom and Alex had a great time exploring the play area–playing the piano, climbing on and off benches, spinning gears, climbing up and down steps, and generally running around. Fortunately, they didn’t show any interest in climbing higher into the play structure as that looked like a little too much for them still. After running around for about 45 minutes, they sat down at a table to each color a picture. Alex chose a rocket and Dom a dump truck to color. Shortly after that, we got a call that they were all done with the minivan–much earlier than expected! I was thrilled that everything had gone so well.

A Little Laughter

On a funny note, I had put black socks for the boys and me in their diaper bag thinking we would put sandals on them, but when we decided on shoes this morning. I grabbed socks for Puck to put on the boys. Later, at McDonalds the boys had to run around in their socks in the play area, and I had to pull Dom’s socks up. Then, when I was changing his diaper, I discovered that he was wearing my socks! That explained why I couldn’t find my socks anywhere in the diaper bag!

When I was paying for the service, Alex and Dom were in their wagon, and they started taking turns squeezing each other’s noses and giggling. They got lots of smiles, and then they wanted to grab my nose too. I did our old joke of saying “stinky, stinky” when they grabbed my nose, and that brought more giggles. I was so glad to have two happy little boys for our morning adventures.

Exploring a New Park

Afterward, we made a quick stop to drop off the last of the library books I had from working on my dissertation (WooHoo!), and then, we headed to the Rainbow City park with its wood castle, boat, train, and tire ladders (plus quite a few cobwebs). Dom and Alex had lots of fun exploring, and with just a little help made it up the tire ladder. They loved one of the slides and generally had a great time. I was pleased that Alex and Dom stayed together as they explored with just a little encouragement…until I was trying to wrangle us back toward the wagon to sit down and eat a snack before heading home. Then, suddenly, Dom took off running outside the fenced-in area of the play area and Alex took off into the play structure. I had to chase Dom down and then run back and through the play structure (heart pounding) to find Alex who had run straight to the other side and was running along the outside of the fence on the other side of the play structure…more running to catch up and then a walk to plop both in the wagon. (If only I could have split myself in two to run after both at the same time, but the play area was a decent distance from any roads and surrounded by green grass.)

Our Afternoon

Dom and the broom

Dom is on the job with his broom! (Sept. 28, 2012)

After we got home, the boys settled down for a short nap, and I managed to squeeze in an hour nap with them. In the afternoon, Dom and Alex wanted to push their big trucks around, and we had a pretty big snack around 3:30. Then, we headed into the backyard for water fun. I put their slide so it went into their pool, and turned their hose on so they could play with it while they filled their pool. They splashed, giggled, tried to climb up the wet slide, and enjoyed each other’s company. Later, I also used a broom to dust off their water table and added it to the yard of fun. The broom became a coveted toy, and they took turns sweeping the patio with the broom and climbing on top of the water table. Puck worked a little late, but after he came out, we got a warm bath ready. Alex and Dom were sad to come inside, but they felt much better about it when they were plopped in the bathtub (until it was time to wash hair at least).

Alex on the water table

Alex fills the water table. (Sept. 28, 2012)

While I made dinner, both boys snuggled up with their dad on the couch to watch a little “Shaun the Sheep.” When it was time for their bedtime routine, they sat in their dad’s lap for most of a very long story that Alex had picked out–“The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything,” and they stayed surprisingly engaged through the book. Near the end they both moved down to sit on my lap for a bit, and then, we each took a boy to snuggle with during our bedtime songs.

Alex (left) & Dom with Dad

Alex (left) & Dom hanging out with Dad (Sept. 28, 2012)

Other Twin Tidbits

Diaper Tales: Today Alex told me when he had a poopy diaper. I believe it might be a first for him! Dom also let me know when we were at McDonalds when he needed his diaper changed, and he even stopped playing and willingly came over for me to change it. I love when they either ask to have their diaper changed or come and lie down on their own on the changing pad that I’m setting up. We have fuss- and wiggle-free diaper changes at least 80% of the time, probably even more like 85-90%, and I am so thankful for that. I think Puck has had a lot to do with that because he has always made diaper-time a special, fun time with the boys, and I adopted his approach.

Alphabet News: The guys know all their alphabet letters and can easily identify them when they are capitalized, so we have started working on lower-case letters too. Alex and Dom are starting to catch on and enjoy guessing. Just today, they made significant improvement on identifying lower case letters. They’ve been learning the sounds that go with the letters too and know a lot of them already.

Shoes: After his bath, Dom ran into the living room and managed to put one of his shoes on himself. Of course, it was his left shoe on his right foot. He wanted help getting another shoe on and then proudly walked around in two left shoes.

Mary on September 27th, 2012

Sad Dom

A sad Dom (Sept. 24, 2012)

Dom and Alex had a fussy day. This morning was marked by crying, pushing, and timeouts over toys and space. Finally, with both boys flopping on the floor in tears and the wagon (an evil source of temptation and strife) banished to the front porch, I packed up some food, slipped the boys into sandals and hats, and tossed the weepy bundles into the wagon.

As we headed to the park, the tears dried, and we even got to stop and pet a friendly Labrador who dropped his tennis ball in Dom’s lap. I chatted with Grandma, and the boys pointed out random cars, trucks, mailboxes, and trees. This morning at the Fort Natomas park the boys ran around in the toddler area, and they even took turns pushing each other in the red swing. After a while, I got daring and took them into the park section for older children. We did surprisingly well with the boys not taking off in different directions much and usually coming when I called out, “This way.” They took turns steering a large ship, rode a low-to-the-ground tire swing, laid down and held on to the tilted circle as I pushed it around in circles, carefully climbed down some really tall steps (about 2 feet high), and explored other new areas. Afterward, we found a shady spot under the tower to eat our morning snack of cantaloupe, strawberry, and leftover banana pancake–a little picnic feast before our walk home.

Alex was ready to finish his naptime at 2, and he and I had two hours to hangout and play together: cars, chases, kisses, and buzzy bees. A little after 4, I decided to wake Dom up–often a risky decision and today was no exception. After some peaceful time nursing, he was soon frustrated and crying at any provocation. I brought in the new large box of diapers (still full) to let Alex and Dom climb all over it. The only problem was that Dom didn’t want Alex on top of the box with him or to touch any of his toys…or to be near any of his toys that he might accidentally touch. I took Dom back to give him some time to play with his toys in his brother’s crib, and he was happier almost at once. After a bit, Alex came in and asked to play in Dom’s crib, and the two happily played together but separate until they started experimenting with screeching. Then I fetched the wagon and popped them in for a walk around the block right at 5. Puck came out of his office and joined us for the walk, and we enjoyed the company of two happy little boys–the joy of being out and about with my little ones.

Dom and Alex laughing

Dom and Alex enjoying each other's company (Sept. 24, 2012)

At dinner the boys were extra hungry–especially Dom–and after large helpings, they ate a peach and half. Puck had fencing tonight, so I had the boys to myself for our bedtime routine. Fortunately, they were more prone to hysterical laughter than tears in the late evening. We read three books–the last two with Dom and Alex on my lap. Lately, at the end of the books, Dom has been turning around to curl into my shoulder and say, “Mama, Mama”–trying to call shotgun for rocking with me during the songs. Tonight, he did so again, though I had both boys snuggled on my lap as I rocked and sang. There was another round of hyper laughter during the singing, but they settled into their cribs to sleep peacefully. A pleasant end to a rather trying day. Thank goodness for the healing powers of adventures out of doors to soothe the tears and frustrations of my little fellas and to turn a day of tears into an evening of laughter.