Sunday, November 20, 2005

Busy, busy, busy!

Carmen is sleeping in the swing right now. She has been in constant motion today, even in her sleep. Hopefully the swing will help her rest.

Saturday we drove out to Saratoga for the Big Thicket Association Annual Meeting. I am the BTA Treasurer. After a rough night, an early morning, and then a long drive hearing the babies complain--or worrying that they might start complaining again whenever they did stop--I arrived just in time for the Treasurer's report. I huffed into the meeting room, stared at the crowd, and blinked. What was I doing there and who were these people, again? I don't remember what I said but Matt assured me it did make sense. Whew, good thing.

The babies didn't let us stay long, but we did at least visit a little bit. I want to visit Maxine and everybody again, but I've got to persuade the babies that they need to learn to sleep in the car. Sandi Elsik (in the plaid shirt) reminded me I never slept in the car, myself. I did bring them a couple of new toys and their Los Lonely Boys CD, and they did amuse each other for a little while by talking in their own little baby language to each other ("where are they taking us now?" they said), but it just wasn't enough. Fortunately on the drive back we didn't have to make any stops, although C&D made it apparent to us that they were happy to be home.

Today: . . . Carmen showed Matt that she could stand for a few seconds on her own. David probably could, if he wanted to, but he is more cautious, and instead busies himself by taking all toys out of--and them putting them back into--his wicker basket. The basket has about 30 pounds of weight on the bottom, so C&D can hoist themselves up without tipping it. (Not that they don't try.)

. . . Matt did help David learn the art of unpacking a bookshelf. Next lesson: putting everything back?

. . . a stray cat learned that at lunchtime two frazzled parents might put out two highchairs outside to be cleaned during naptime, and that the highchairs might be full, like they were today, of chicken, oat groats, zucchini, and butternut squash. The stray cat also learned that those two parents, one of whom was cooking and the other of whom was helping a baby stand up while being climbed upon by the other, are too busy to really stop him from having quite a nice lunch, and even the supposed resident cat considered himself to busy to do anything about it.

. . . while we were cooking, Carmen was practicing standing by using David as a bolster. While David is on all fours she'll push herself up, one hand on his back, the other high above her head as if she were riding a bucking bronco.
C&D try climbing up on each other pretty often; Carmen gets mad and complains when David tries to hoist himself up, but David often laughs and pulls on her shirt when she uses little brother as a piece of playground equipment. We tried to catch it on camera, but missed.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Inside the Pitter Patter Catterpillar

David is only brave enough to crawl about halfway through before turning around and coming back out, and Carmen is more interested in finding a way to go over the tunnel rather than through it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

It's a Happy Thanksgiving Present!

Well, not really. Two cute babies don't need excuses for getting presents, right?

Think they'll like it?

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

A Bicycle Built For Two . . .

two babies!

Wouldn't get it because we don't have a lot of places to use it around here, but STILL, wouldn't I feel like the coolest twin-mama EVER?

An accounting

Promised I would share, and I forgot until I was looking over some numbers (Big Thicket Association budget) yesterday.

At their last checkup (October 25th):
Carmen weighed 20 pounds, 8 ounces; measured at 27 and 5/8 inches.
David weighed at 20 pounds, 10 ounces; meaured at 27 and 7/8 inches.

The weights shocked us, because Carmen still has the remarkable ability to feel as heavy as a bag of lead when we pick her up, whereas David magically levitates up into our arms.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Not Quite Ready

C&D are happy, nondiscriminating eaters. But we aren't quite ready for Earl Abel's.

David figures if he smears his food in the general direction of his face, some of it will land in his mouth . . .

Carmen's aim is much more accurate, but she is not quite convinced that she cannot fit an entire slice of cucumber in her mouth.

They're messy, but they're cute, so I guess we'll keep them.

Friday, November 11, 2005

These Days

What is it like for me to be home alone with C&D these days? Well, Thursday it looked like this:

When they got a little fussy I put on a Los Lonely Boys DVD that I picked up at the library earlier in the week. When the music started David smiled and Carmen started bouncing on her poofy, cloth-diapered butt. Their favorite song is Heaven, judging by the arm-flapping and bouncing. Who needs Baby Einstein?

Almost had an accident with a semi truck on Wednesday on the way to the co-op. Blech. Right now my paradise is a place where Central Market, Whole Foods, and the co-op are within easy walking distance. Worst thing that would happen in that case would be, what? Tripping? No such pedestrian paradise exists in Houston, though.

From an e-mail Thursday morning:
Carmen proved yesterday to Fiona that she can crawl, too, but she would rather alternate sitting from being on all fours. She moves sort of like a spirograph, around and around and around.
That afternoon, Carmen crawled a couple of feet and directly into the wall. She stopped, sat down, and started twirling and whirling again.

On the bookshelf: The Absorbent Mind. What I like best in this book by Maria Montessori (the Montessori) is her clear sense of wonder at the process of child development. Here's a nice little piece from this week:
To know, to love and to serve is the trimonial of all religions, but the child is the
true maker of our spirituality. He teaches us the plan of nature for giving form to our conduct and character, a plan fully traced out in all its details of age and work, with its need for freedom and intense activity in accordance with the laws of life.
Nice. I started Montessori from the Start this past week, too. I think I'll snuggle with Carmen right now and read it a bit.

Today our biggest accomplishment was a successful trip and visit to Young and Restless for some knit pants with lots of room for cloth-diapered baby butts. We have a to-do list three miles long; wonder what we'll manage to get done tomorrow?

Sunday, November 06, 2005

We Have Crawling!

Well, we did have crawling, more than the three-steps-and-I'm-finished kind of crawling, until David noticed his reflection in the diaper pail and decided to kneel up and talk to it.

Oh, well.

I just loved the sound of those fat little hands slapping the hardwood floor as he crossed the room. This is going to be fun. And the room is almost babyproofed . . . just in time.

This weekend we rearranged some furniture to separate the cribs. When C&D are napping they wake each other up. You would think after nine months of napping in the same room they would stop waking up with each other, but we have many days when we walk in to find them lying in bed, looking at each other, and wondering what exciting events (e.g., the cat walking in, sorting the diaper laundry?) they might be missing in the rest of the house.

So now a swing and crib is in the master bedroom, a crib and two dressers (mine and Matt's) are in the babies' room, and a swing and rocking chair in the back bedroom. A set of shelves in the living room for the babies' toys and books and socks and hats (the two types of clothing we are perpetually losing). We'll see how it all works. Hopefully tomorrow I can finish putting things away.

Tomorrow also the babies get to taste homemade cranberry sauce with their lunch. I think they'll like it. They certainly enjoy the pleasures of the table, gobbling up chicken curries and spiced sweet potatoes and cold, fresh pineapples with equal enthusiasm. The cranberry sauce should be no exception. We're still eating carefully, but we're avoiding our usual allergy suspects and the babies' little tummies lately seem pretty fine. Hurray!

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Sweetest Laugh Ever . . .

from the sweetest little boy ever:

(Like the OK Corral? Great little spot for the babies to safely hang out while we make dinner? And big enough for a Daddy to fit inside, too!)

Learning something new every day

They're changing so fast. I started this post DAYS ago and keep adding on and editing out those things that are no longer true. Time to just click "publish!"


29 October:

C&D have been living on earth a whopping 9 months since Sunday, and are learning more every day.

Carmen has added a singsong "Da-da-da-da-da" to her vocal repertoire, but, alas, it is not enough. Sometimes when she wants more food she'll frown and twist her little mouth around in an effort to say something that finally spills out of her mouth in one long, wet, raspberry. (If that doesn't work, she'll start screeching . . . better to intervene before the screeching sets in!) Sometimes she signs "all done," but what she really means is, "more." Maybe she does mean that she is all done, and so she expects more? Hopefully in the next few weeks as her dexterity improves (and we begin noticing her attempts at communicating) we'll all be making a little more sense. In this picture she is preparing for Halloween weekend by smearing beets on her face. We won't do beets again until we're sure she has better aim when feeding herself.

David loves giving kisses, which have felt a little more interesting now that those two little bottom teeth are more prominent. We'll have to work on that.

Carmen had two top teeth come through, and is working on two more on the opposite side. With her top teeth and bottom teeth she has discovered she can take little (and sometimes very big) bites of things like sliced water chestnuts and pretzels and raw sweet potatoes and cool, crunchy haricots vert. She also thinks it's lovely to grind them together while I rock her at night. We'll have to work on that, too.

David has learned that it's really funny to be sitting next to your sister, and then give her a big shove and watch her fall over. Fortunately sister doesn't mind too much (right now).

But it's not like Carmen is victim to a big bad brother; the other day, while he was playing quietly alone, she kicked David's rear in a rapid rat-tat-tat rhythm while she flapped her arms and sang. Fortunately brother doesn't mind too much (right now).

Carmen still doesn't crawl; instead she alternates between flopping on her belly and sitting up. She can locomote this way, alternately flopping and sitting until she meets an obstacle (e.g., the wall, or the aforementioned brother). While this is not efficient, she does move forward and back and around like the knight on a chess board, moving nowhere fast but moving, nonetheless, and winding up someplace apparently random that to her might actually be very deliberate. (Although last week, when on the slippery hardwood and wearing a pair of Babylegs, she managed to move nowhere despite a good bit effort for at least ten minutes.) Last week Matt set her down on the rug while he unloaded groceries from the car, and found her kissing her her reflection in the diaper pail when he finished. Coincidence? Of course not, said Carmen. She rolls toward something she wants, too, but not very far. I would suppose rolling across the room would make her feel a little dizzy. She also loves to roll around in the bed, which is a little frightening because the bed, unlike the floor, has edges. For a few weeks now she has felt compelled to do downward dogs when she is on the floor, and her pose is actually looking better every day (what next, cobra? cat-cow?). She pulls herself up to her knees and tries to stand, but occassionally finds herself stuck or a little confused in this new position, and will experiment no further.

David finally began crawling today, but only a few crawls at a time before stopping. We were playing on the bed, rolling and sitting and flopping just like Carmen, and he wanted very much to reach my LED headlamp because it is bright and interesting and apparently tasty, as well. He drags his right leg behind when he moves, and he is not very fast, but I expect by the end of the week I will be glad I am no longer working because I will desperately need to finish childproofing the house. David enjoys standing up very, very much, but has not yet figured out how to transition from sitting to standing. He can easily pull himself to kneeling, so I wonder how many days or weeks will pass before he can finish hoisting himself up. One of his favorite activities is to hold on to or lean on a basket weighted with 30 pounds of barbell weights. Inside the basket are some toys that he will pick up and drop, and a large pine cone from the Big Thicket that he alternately drops, pets, and tries to eat.

Two of C&D's favorite things are the cat and any fish tank. The cat serves as an inspiration for crawling, squirming, rolling, flopping, stepping, or hopping in any one direction, and when he walks out of a room they crane their necks around the corner to see where he might have gone. Likewise, the fish tanks at Whole Foods, the Galleria, even Petsmart fascinate and captivate. The random, fluid movements and bright colors receive complete attention. So Friday, the Friday before Halloween, the zoo was open late and we took the babies to see animals larger and more colorful than the cat, and more numerous than the fish in the tropical tank at Whole Foods.

C&D could have cared less about the elephants, the giraffes, the tigers. These animals were maybe too big for them to get their mind around. Maybe an elephant is no different than an SUV, a giraffe no more strange than a UPS truck, a tiger no more real than a picture in a book. So the babies, politely bored, rode in their slings and watched the many naughty children run around like the wild animals Matt and I were futiley trying to point out.

All this, until I decided we needed to visit the flamingoes. The babies flapped and stomped, and leaned in toward the exhibit until I was afraid they might fall. The flamingoes chased one another and spread out their wings, all pink and loud and very, very real. After the flamingoes' show we decided to take C&D to another place that we knew would be a sure hit--the aquarium. Carmen watched the fish in the tanks while David lunged forward and tried to touch them, his palm lightly slapping the glass. We lingered at the last and largest tank, David standing nose to nose to a group of resting sharks.

Feeling adventurous, the next day we took a visit to the George Ranch with the intention of breathing fresh country air and visiting some livestock. We did, although Carmen and David liked the hay most of all, and David tried stuffing it into his mouth by the fistful. The ranch is wonderful, with several period buildings and actors from the 1830's to the 1930's. We found the hay (next to some pigs, oxen, and chickens) in the barn next to a dogtrout house. We liked going to the ranch so much that we bought a year-long membership so we could visit the gardens and the animals and the friendly pioneers, sharecroppers, cowboys and ranchers as often as we want. Maybe when the babies are bigger we can volunteer there in exchange for the opportunity to take care of some animals and wear bonnets and big straw hats. And eat more hay, clearly. Hmm.

Let's see, what else has happened recently? We had some fun tie-dying some shirts, can you tell? We needed some long-sleeve shirts for fall's cooler days, so I bought some nice, soft long-sleeved t's at Dharma Trading Company and one nice day Fiona and I experimented with different tie and dye combinations while Carmen slept and David rolled around on a blanket and studied the leaves in the trees. We dyed about 20 shirts, including some cut-up onesies . . . we are SO over the color white! More than our attempts at spirals and random splashes of color, I think I like the striped shirts best.

The perhaps unfortunate side effect of our adventure in the fiber arts is that our children are clearly the most color-uncoordinated children this side of Texas. Good thing they're pretty darn cute.

Whew. That's all for now. Will share more when I can!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Butter with that?

David is commando-crawling at an increasingly rapid clip.

Today both mastered hoisting themselves to standing in the crib, and David has already learned to cruise around the crib in circles. Carmen concentrated on ways to get her leg over the rail and get out.

I'm toast.