Saturday, July 30, 2005

A half birthday.

Good thing this Periodical is only, well, periodical, because it's been awhile.

Saturday was C&D's half-birthday. "You've mean we've lived like this for six months?" Matt and I asked each other.

C&D celebrated by taking some short and erratic naps while the lawn got mowed (thanks, Dad!) and diapers folded. We bought my parents dinner (and some sanity) after we decided the babies and their parents needed a brisk walk at the Galleria. After our walk we ate at Shanghai Joe's. SJ's is like our version of Cheers; you know, "where everybody knows your name." It's fresh, fast, and veggie-friendly, so we eat there whenever we find ourselves walking fussy babies in the evening.

The SJ's routine is this: Matt and I take our trays of food to the back of the restaurant, where it is quiet. We each hold a baby in our laps--or in our wraps--while we eat. I usually hold David and Matt, Carmen. David is usually content to look around. Carmen slides the plastic tray and plate around the table while Matt chases his food with his fork. When the babies get bored we hand them a fortune cookie still in its wrapper. They squish the cellophane and bite it, listening to the crinkle. After a few minutes of this, the babies are bored again, so we switch or feed someone while we eat the last of our meal.

Saturday, Carmen sat on my lap, bent over her cookie. I had nearly finished my three-entree special before I realized Carmen had been busily and quietly slumped over her cookie for several minutes. When I slipped it out of her mouth I realized she had torn the wrapper, and turned the cookie inside into mush. Her fortune was partially dissolved in the center. When she noticed that I was not about to return her tasty cookie, she complained noisily. Regardless of what the fortune said, it seems she knows that solid foods are in her future.

On Sunday we celebrated six months by trying out our Kelty packs. The babies liked riding up there, although they are still a little too small for them, yet.

Monday we visited our gastroenterologist. He agreed with my assessment of Carmen's food sensitivity and allergy issues. He also agreed that given my history of food allergies, our approach (slow introduction, low-allergenic foods first, no jarred baby-goop or other processed foods) was the best for both C&D. We did some specific antibody tests to measure her risk against a few of the more major allergens, and now have a good doctor to consult if we run into any more problems.

Tuesday we visited IKEA to buy our half-birthday presents: cups. David is ready, and Carmen is almost ready to use them.

Last week he grabbed my mug to take a drink at my water, and enjoyed sipping from it. So cup-shopping we went. Finding a narrow-lipped cup without blinking lights, shocking colors, or insulation (too keep tap water tepid?) was pretty tricky. I think a couple of short shot glasses would be ideal, actually, because they are small and well-suited for chubby hands, but I couldn't find any unbreakable shot glasses online. I should sell them and start an anti- ugly-sippy movement.

Friday was our six-month checkup. Carmen weighed in at 18 lbs. 1 oz., and 26.5"” while David weighed in at 17 lbs. 13 oz. and 26.5."” From the moment he walked into the exam room, David laughed and laughed at the doctor and set a good tone for the visit. Was it his loud voice? His Mr. Potato Head scrubs? We wonder; David has gotten much more serious these days and doesn’t laugh as readily as his increasingly silly sister, who seems ready to laugh at just about anything. David is all about big, gummy smiles instead. I love those smiles. We asked the doctor to space out the remainder of the vaccinations so we go back in a couple of weeks to get the rest. While after some additional research we now feel somewhat regretful that we got some of the shots at all, now that we started we might as well finish the series.

The biggest change that we've enjoyed watching in the twins this week is their increasing awareness of each other. David truly likes Carmen. When they are together on the floor, he rolls, wiggles and scoots toward her until he can find a hand, a shirt-tail, or a knee to squeeze and nibble. He thinks she's wonderful. Carmen smiles back, and pats his head or squeezes his ears.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Caught in The Act

The past couple of days have yielded some fun little moments.

Come on, how 'bout a taste? Just a taste!

Preparing for liftoff: Carmen's flap about flapping.

. . . and the little one said, "Roll over, roll over."

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Hey, Don't I Know You From Somewhere?

What we've been learning lately:
  • Carmen is screaming at ever higher pitches (Maria Callas has nothing on Carmen), at the mall, at home, at Lowe's, and in the car.
  • Just like his sister, David is regularly singing himself to sleep, and they are both absolutely fascinated by OLN's Tour de France coverage (thanks, Dad!).
  • Carmen is making some of David's noises now and then, and David is making some of Carmen's.
  • David squiggles backwards very well on his belly, and Carmen manages to squiggle sideways.
  • David still soaks the wrap whenever we go out shopping by leaning on it and sucking on it, and now Carmen has figured out that trick, as well. As a result, the washing machine has another load of laundry to do every now and then.
  • They have both developed some weird movements. Carmen flaps her arms and kicks her legs as if she is about to fly. She has always been an arm flapper, but the kicking is new. She likes to do this especially hard on the changing table, which wiggles and sways with all the flapping.
  • David started last week opening and closing his mouth like a Muppet, and now Carmen has started, too. I'm not sure what it means, except that maybe they're imitating their mother: Blah blah blah blah blah blah. It's very funny to watch.
  • Over the weekend they both had a chance to pet, pat, and squish the kitty. Toby gave them a good rub and has kept his distance ever since.
  • We still can't nap, but we sure can potty!

  • Found a couple of neat toy stores, too. We'll have to find something special from them later.

    Monday, July 18, 2005

    "That explains everything," Matt said . . .

    Oxytocin Makes Mamas Mean. Tee hee hee.

    Thursday, July 14, 2005

    A Video Treat

    Today the babies turn five adjusted months. Now they are REALLY five months old. We realized a few days ago that they are about halfway from being able to run away from us.

    I found a video hosting service this week. I don't have any recent video clips, but here's one of Carmen and Fiona from a couple of weeks ago, just to test it out. Let me know if you have trouble viewing it.

    I love my babies!

    Tuesday, July 12, 2005

    Carmen Wants to Sit, Too . . .

    Picture from Sunday.

    Monday, July 11, 2005

    Why is it?

    Right now the rain is coming down in sheets and thunder is crashing directly overhead.

    David is sleeping right through it.

    Why is it that at the softest squeak of the floor, he wakes up alert and ready to play, but when the thunder causes the windows to rattle, my ears to wince, and the cat to hide under my desk, he doesn't even twitch?

    Look, Ma, no diaper!

    Whew. We're not as weird as we thought. (An article about elimination communication from the Boston Globe.)

    Saturday, July 09, 2005

    If it's not one thing . . .

    . . . it's two. That's what Dr. Harcombe used to say.

    Early this morning David woke up and Matt took him to the back bedroom to rock him. Carmen and I remained in bed to continue sleeping. Soon after, I heard a crash and then David sounding very upset. I hopped out of bed and flew to the back room. "Check David," Matt said. "The rocking chair broke." And it was broken. Not squeaky-broken, but snapped and in pieces, broken-broken. When Matt leaned back to rock, the chair back completely gave way. Matt kept David safe and in his arms as he tumbled out of the chair. When he handed him to me David had already stopped fussing. The wiggly baby made himself comfortable and gave me a sleepy wince as he looked into my backlit face. He yawned, blinked, and smiled. We decided to call it morning and wake up.

    Matt feels really bad. That beautiful, old rocking chair once belonged to our neighbor. It rocked way back in a lazy, West Texas sort of way, and it squeaked in a characteristic fashion that the babies had come to like. All but one of the back vertical spindles is broken. Any other person might throw it away, but we like the chair too much. Matt is going to get a lathe one day, and as a first project we'll make it good as new.

    Until then, we had to add another task to today's to-do list: find a replacement. The glider we bought two weeks ago is now in the back room, but it's helpful to have two rockers in the front room because with the big picture window it's a more pleasant place to soothe a baby. In the evenings it's nice when Matt and I can rock the babies together for a little while at night (until Carmen starts singing, anyway). And a rocker in the back room is helpful when someone is fussy and needs to be insulated from the rest of the house for a little bit.

    While the babies took an uncharacteristically good nap this morning (what a blessing!) Matt installed his mini-shower while I trolled the web researching local consignment stores. I didn't want to drive the babies all over town and come home empty-handed. On a lark I checked eBay and found a glider for sale in Katy. I contacted the seller and this afternoon made arrangements to have the glider delivered tomorrow at noon. We saved some money, and saved ourselves the hassle of driving around to find a replacement. I love eBay!

    Meanwhile, the mini shower was a lot more work to install than it was supposed to be. While I was working on the rocker situation Matt wound up having to replace some plumbing in this old house. Whew.

    The rest of the day felt a little more relaxing. We visited Nadia and talked about babies and birth and funding for her Community Doula Program. As a doula Nadia was with us when the babies were born and helped us navigate the red tape at the hospital. My favorite picture from the visit, even though the shutter speed was a wee bit slow:

    When we got home we had lots of NBT (nakey butt time) and had smashing good success with our BBLPs. The babies enjoyed being diaper-free and David was able to sit up for quite a long while without the bulk of the diaper to disturb his sense of balance.

    C&D were also very munchy today, and chomped on everything from knuckles and teethers to thumbs and toes. I wish those teeth would just hurry up and get here already. Some days I feel like I'm drowning in drool.

    Wow. Already 10 o'clock. I guess I've been pretty wordy lately because I haven't had a chance to talk or e-mail much. Work is going to pick up significantly, too, so that's going to make it even harder to communicate with everyone; I have a meeting in Dallas at the end of September that I need to plan and coordinate.

    Mom: did you read the rest of that e-mail that I send the other day (you were supposed to scroll down)? Tell me if you want the Twinlab vities. And tell Zelda that the headlamp she gave me a few Christmases ago we use every night. Leave it to Matt and I to use our backbacking equipment to cope with all this babyness. Works great, though. Really.

    Ashley: send me pix! Congrats on closing!

    Better join everybody in bed.

    Friday, July 08, 2005


    Funny how we can find things that we never were looking for. Stuff on clearance and cool articles on the web are two examples that come to mind.

    For example, Monday at Target we found a Pitter Patter Caterpillar collapsible tunnel on clearance. It's in the style of the of the Miss Spider books. We could imagine a hundred games to play with it, and appreciated the fact that it collapsed flat so we could put it away (it's five feet long!).

    Then, from the land of the Teletubbies (so creepy they're cute?), an article saying TV 'may stunt toddlers' learning'. Of course it does, when they learn to speak like Dipsy, Tinky Winky, Po, and Laa Laa. Buh-bye!

    Speaking of synthetic, soft, and squishy, the BBC also recently reported that the EU has banned the use of some phthalates in children's toys. Phthalates are what keep some plastics pliable. Substitutes for phthalate plastics include wood, cloth, and C&D's favorite, my skin. I have the hickeys on my arm, neck, and collarbone (ow!) to prove it. Sillies.

    We tried to take the babies to the beach today, to see how much their opinion of the car has improved. We drove for about half an hour before we had to stop because Carmen was feeling lonely, or maybe she just needed to stretch. We got to the beach with just that one stop, but had to stop three times on the way home (David was tired, then Carmen got hungry, and then David needed some cuddling). The beach is about an hour away. No baby needs to cry like that, so we'll continue to stay close to home and try another trip in a month or so. The worst part of the drive, next to the crying, was having to find a nice place to stop in the hot, treeless, washed-out generic exurbs between here and Galveston. Yuck.

    Tomorrow we visit Nadia, our wonderful doula. We are going to show her the twins--she hasn't seen them since the day they were born. Then we are going to give the babies some nakey butt time and install the mini shower on the toilet. Matt is very excited. You would be, too, if you had to clean out a poopy BBLP (Baby Bjorn Little Potty) first thing in the morning.

    Babies are still sleeping soundly. Time to fall asleep myself.

    Thursday, July 07, 2005

    Catching Up

    The babies are sleeping and I thought I would take a moment to catch up.

    We didn't do anything special on the 4th of July. We went to Whole Foods to stock up on supplies. We were expecting Tropical Storm Cindy to hit later in the week, when we usually go. As usual, Carmen and David played the role of local celebrities, smiling and talking to customers and cashiers and letting anybody who so desired squeeze their yummy turkey-leg thighs. It seems that when people suspect twins, they lose all those usual social rules, and fingers point and children giggle and ladies ogle at the young couple carrying two little chubba-wubba babies, legs a-flopping, down the aisles. Arms extended, they leave their carts to have a touch.

    Even though sometimes it make me cringe, I always let their fans experience the babies' soft, smooth skin. Some people approach them with a sense of wonder, others with the memory of their own children, others with thoughts of the children they hope someday to know.

    At Central Market C&D have their own fan club, made up of cashiers and Foodies who have known them since they were just a couple of months old.

    People also frequently ask about the baby wraps we use to carry C&D about. A demonstration is usually in order, and then an exchange of websites or e-mail addresses.

    Needless to say, grocery trips can take hours, and are more an event than a chore. So we didn't feel sorry that we had no fireworks or BBQ on the Fourth of July. Getting provisions for the next week had been adventure and fun enough.

    Carmen has added a musical, Tarzan-like yell to her list of vocal tricks. Her voice rises and falls, and she sounds like she's practicing for a charreada, or maybe imitating those Linda Ronstadt tracks she heard in the womb. Today she also perfected a series of growls, from a Roy Orbison Pretty Woman gargle to a gutteral, backwards snore. "Sprechen Deutsche?" I asked her at dinner today. Her noises follow her wherever she goes, in the swing, in the car, at the store, and must be released before every sleep.

    David is my master of movement. He's always curling and opening his hand, extending his toes, wiggling them, kicking his legs. He wants to crawl but his crawling is a lot like my swimming--a whole lot of flailing and nobody going much of anywhere. He hasn't figure out that he needs to keep his back straight and butt up. He was very pleased to remain sitting up for so long yesterday. He needs help getting into position, but like everything else he will figure that out when he wants to.

    They are both doing very well with the little baby potty. They are learning our cues, and we are beginning to learn their habits and patterns. We have a long way to go, yet, but the success is encouraging.

    They are both also doing better in the car. We might try a longer (not long, just longer than 20 minutes) trip this weekend to see how far they will let us go before registering any serious complaints. Right now we hear an occasional mumble, some sucking and smacking, and a lot of singing on Carmen's part, but nothing like the wailing and weeping and whining of a month ago.

    Tuesday I went to the gym in the late afternoon. While I ran on the indoor track David slept in the stroller while Carmen charmed the staff on the second floor. When David awoke he waited for me by talking and making motions to the cartoons on the large television. The cartoons didn't respond as the television was on mute, but David didn't seem to mind. After twenty five minutes Carmen became upset, so after a nice chat and thanks with the day care staff we all went home. (Ashley, when you called, I was getting them ready to go in the car. I had an appointment yesterday afternoon, and the Nancy & Leib meeting today. Will you be around this weekend?)

    Well, that's basically it. Now we are all caught up.

    Wednesday, July 06, 2005

    A Little Top Heavy

    We might be a little top heavy, but we do enjoy sitting!

    Sunday, July 03, 2005

    We caught some pees!

    We tried six times this afternoon and caught five pees, woo-hoo!

    I figured everybody would really want to know . . . (ha ha!)

    Saturday, July 02, 2005

    A Good Saturday

    This was a good Saturday for our dynamic duo.

    First, we took a nap. This was David during the nap:
    After the nap we played with our new Fourth of July bears. They're so fun to look at at, and yummy, to boot.
    Then we took a dip in the pool. Davey wasn't very fond of it, and his reaction made Carmen a little anxious. She wondered if she shouldn't be liking it, either.
    She quickly realized that the water felt quite nice on her twinkly little toes . . . and decided to plop right in. She splashed around a bit, and swirled her fingers in the water. Her Nana helped with the splashing while I helped Carmen sit up, since she's still a little floppy.
    After the pool, David finally took a nap while Carmen sat in her Bumbo and tried on a new hat . . .
    which she found a wee bit big. Troublesome, those brothers and hats.

    Carmen and David topped off the day with a trip to the store to buy a Baby Bjorn Little Potty. Since we've been so busy feeding, napping, and just plain parenting these rascals our start is a little late, but we're hoping that pretty soon we'll be diaper-free babies. Our washer will thank us.

    Friday, July 01, 2005

    Tour de France Coverage Starts Tomorrow!

    This sounds like fun: SIRIUS Satellite Radio - Lance In France

    Too bad I can't subscribe to cable for a month. I'd rock Carmen extra long so I could catch the prime time coverage. This podcast might do until Dad sends me the tapes from OLN (psst, the schedule is here: 2005 Cycling Schedule . . . I'll give you the tapes tomorrow).

    Speaking of athletics, I made it to the gym all of zero times this week. Taking two cranky babies in dire need of a late afternoon nap to the nice day care lady at the Wellness Center seemed like a hardship for all involved. (Not to mention an experience warranting hazard pay for said nice day care lady.) It's just been one of those weeks, and that's okay.