Saturday, December 31, 2005

News Year's Eve

I'm wearing shorts and a tanktop; it must be New Year's Eve in Houston.

Carmen is asleep, David is asleep, Matt is asleep, the cat is asleep. Dogs are parking, fireworks are popping, and a Tejano boom-boom-boom fills out the soundscape. I'm sitting here thinking about 2005 and 2006 and if Carmen will stay asleep when midnight strikes. And I'm thinking I need to show you some pictures.

More visitors this week: Grandma and Grandpa Reisdorf from California.

C&D loved having company so eager to play and read and play some more. When they come again the visit will be even better--we're finally going to have a screen porch installed out back, with lots of room for wagons and horses and (shhhh, it's a secret) sandbox and water table. We talk to someone about the porch tomorrow.

The fireworks are getting louder. Best to hurry . . .

Today while Matt and I were cleaning up we discovered that C&D invented a new game: poke at your sibling through the mesh of the kid corral. We tried to catch it with the camera, but these babes are a lot like Schrodinger's Cat; the simple act of getting the camera out altered their behaviour. But if you watch this video, you might get the idea. It's almost midnight--Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Easy as un Pastel

Frequently when we are out and about with the babies, people take the liberty of making the kinds of comments that we are not supposed to hear, but that we do, anyway. Our first trip to the Galleria, I heard "Wowzers!" from a 30-something daddy type when he noticed both Matt and I carrying tiny babies. And I have heard many variations of "Oh-my-God-look-TWINS!" in English and Spanish. And even Russian, in fact. I know this because the one English speaker of the group grilled me on behalf of his friends. "How old?" "Your first?" "Their names?"

I don't, however, need a translator if somebody is talking about me in Spanish. Galleria pilgrims from Mexico, and fellow Houstonians who think the Spanish language comes in one color (brown), let me tell you: I hear you, and I understand you.

I used to get annoyed at the fact that you talked about my little tribe in your preferred tongue without even bothering to whisper. "Hell-o," I would think. "I know what you're saying!" But this time was different.

Today, Matt and I wore the babies, as usual, while taking a late afternoon walk through Houston's see-and-be-seen pseudo-plaza, the Galleria. A mother pushing a large stroller walked alongside a man holding a toddler, his arms sagging with the weight. The mother nodded my direction and snorted to her husband in Spanish, "Look! They have two and they make it look easy!" I laughed.

That was a real compliment. She didn't know that I would understand her, so she wasn't trying to be polite or gratuitous in her observation. She meant it.

So, Spanish speakers, go ahead. Say whatever you want. I'll pretend that I'm not understanding you. I've decided I like knowing what you really think.

R-e-s-p-e-c-t

You know how a passage in a book (or, on this case, on the computer) sometimes stops you in your busy-ness, and makes you pause for a while and think?

Looking something up, and came across this:
Children, like everyone else, tend to live up to our expectations or down to our disrespect. Love is not enough; the respect that we give our children and that we insist on in return is the key. Don't ask your children to earn your respect and trust, assume that they deserve to be treated with respect from the beginning.
Hmph. Nice. It's from A Children's House at home (Copyright 2003 by Montessori International magazine, www.montessorimagazine.com).

Same magazine made me laugh out loud a few weeks ago:
Are we giving a baby dignity when we unbox a plastic telephone on wheels with a silly face? (Copyright 2003 by Montessori International magazine, www.montessorimagazine.com)
I remember those phones . . . they are a little undignified, come to think of it!

Grandparents Reisdorf are here this week; pictures tomorrow night or over the weekend.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Merry Christmas 2005

A theme for this Christmas: Not American Colonial or Glam (who, us?) or Grinch (definitely not us!); this Christmas was about movement. Movement that C&D have been waiting 11 months to achieve: standing and kneeling, bending and climbing, crawling and rocking, pushing and pulling, grabbing and giving. We can't just plop a baby on a rug and walk away--the thwap, thwap, thwap of fat little palms on the wood floor tell us that we have lost all remaining privacy, and also that we should forever be prepared for finding a full-scale disaster the next time we notice that the house is quiet.

Of course, we keep giving C&D gifts that will only help them learn to be faster, stronger, and more confident in their exploits. What have we been thinking?

Pushing a wagon is hard work.


How to turn the wagon, now?


This Christmas was not white, unless you consider the gravel at Godwin Park. Christmas Day after opening our gifts
which, remember, included a pair of Kleenex boxes,



we relaxed and played and in the evening took a trip to the park to swing,
swing, swing.

We only stayed at the park a half hour, but those sight of those two giggly babes on the baby swingset made my day.

Monday, a visit from my parents and brother who came bearing gifts. The rocking horses were a hit, though of course C&D need a little help getting on and off.
They haven't figured out how to make any more than a strong wiggle on the rockers, but they'll be riding off into the sunset soon enough.

Both babies enjoyed the company, especially Carmen. Since night before last she has a bit of congestion and a postnasal drip kind of cough, but after taking yesterday slow she is her normal, silly self today. I have no complaints about the timing of her sniffles--this is the first illness for either of them.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Christmas Eve

This morning after such a full and exciting Friday we all slept in until 7:30. When we woke up we put on our hats and drove to the Kroger to get a few basics for the weekend like salad and salsa and tortilla chips. It had been so long since I had shopped at a non-organic, non-chichi, plain old grocery that I felt a little overwhelmed trying to push around the oversized grocery basket through an oversized store with oversized endcap displays and oversized aisles of potato chips and PopTarts. Whew.

The second and more pleasant phase of our mission involved a trip to Teas Nursery to pick out a Christmas tree. While we were looking at the sweetgum trees, John Teas asked us if we needed help. I told him that the sweetgums were a little too tall to fit in our car (did he also hear me when I told Matt I didn't want to pay $54 for a tree this year?). He kindly helped us select a short, stout (and less expensive, cough) holly. Now I can say I have bought a bike from Joy Boone, and a Christmas tree from John Teas. Nice.

Merry Christmas. Santa has already visited Beverly's house next door, as evidenced by the reindeer bells and clomping on the roof that Matt and I heard right before Baby Bedtime (and caused us to wonder if our water heater was about to explode).

Friday, December 23, 2005

A Big 11-Monthday

Today we visited Maxine Johnston (right) and Ann Roberts in the Big Thicket town of Batson. What a wonderful visit. We talked and ate lunch and played with babies and then talked some more. We also got to meet Lorraine Bonney. Maxine took more and better pictures, I think, but here is one from my camera:
The babies had a wonderful time exploring Maxine's house ("and look how the coffee table is just the perfect height for cruising," C&D said), throwing O's on her rugs, and soaking up lots of attention and love from so many aunties! Even quiet David gave everyone lots of smiles.

We are determined to go back as soon as Maxine can have us again. The drive is about a hour and a half, about as long as the babies will tolerate in the car if they fall asleep before we leave Houston city limits. Plus, Maxine's house is right near the Lance Rosier Unit, and Matt and I are enthusiastic to take them a good hike soon, before the bugs come back. Sigh. What a fun day.

C&D slept on the way home, and then wanted to play, play, play. Carmen has gotten proficient at pushing her wagon:

and wears such a big smile on her face when she walks behind it. If we load it with my zafu and a box full of Waldorf dollmaking supplies, the wagon is very, very stable. The only problem is that we have to help her turn it around or back up so she can go again; the stiff wheels and broad base don't really allow the wagon to turn. I guess we need a bigger house, or a longer hallway.

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and we still need to buy our Christmas tree to take the place of the 2004 magnolia that we killed this spring. And we need to wrap, wrap, wrap our presents for our visitors next week. We won't bother wrapping the babies' presents, and in fact have already given them a few here and there, especially on days that have been particularly hairy and I've needed a distraction besides the pots and pans (loud!) or playing with the tupperware cabinet (out of Tupperware! It's all in the freezer!). Favorites from the Christmas closet so far have been their Haba Trix and a mesmerizing Kugelbahn top. Matt has a special surprise for them that they will get to play with on Christmas Day--boxes of Kleenex. (Hey, you won't tell, will you?) C&D--especially David--have so much fun taking things in and out of boxes, that a box of Kleenex should be pure baby-bliss.

Good night!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Babies Everywhere

Playing at home.


Visit with Brooke.



Carmen clapping. They've both been "clapping" by slapping their hand against ours (a "five," basically) for a while now; nice to see that Carmen figured out that clapping is something she can also do on her own.
Edited the code so now the video should work. I just noticed her face in this video--so ordinary, as if she is doing nothing special at all. Silly kid.

Driving out to the Thicket to visit Maxine in Batson today. Hope the babies don't mind the drive. I know they'll be glad for the visit, though; Maxine is fun.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Oh, the places we'll go!

Over the weekend a happy little synapse activated in David's brain, and he realized that he could crawl right out the living room, down the hall, and then make a right and wind up in the kitchen. And then he could make another right and wind up in the office/dining room, and then back into the living room. Carmen made that realization today, which made it a day for baby parades of sorts, Carmen following her brother.

Today Carmen also figured out how to clap, and later how to slap my butt.

The Christmas holidays mean visiting friends and family for most of us, and our house is no different. The neighborhood kids are home from school and looking for things to do. This afternoon they helped me run a snake through my clogged pipes (in 2004 we had a clogged line on Super Bowl Sunday--what gives?). Then they helped wrap presents while David wrinkled the paper and got in their way. Before dinner we took C&D on a ride in the stroller. Tyse pushed, Jairo made sure David didn't lose his wool hat, and Aaron and Daniela from down the street came along, too. I felt like a regular mother duck. After walking around the block and hearing an earful of the usual elementary-school gross-out stories, I was ready to feed the babies--only two--dinner.

This week Brooke came to visit from North Carolina. More on that later--now it's time for bed!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Your E-Mail

Late last night, Matt and I almost lost a poop from Carmen. This morning I looked for the poopy diaper. (It wasn't in the diaper pail because with a front loader you really gotta wash pee diapers separately from poo diapers if really want your diapes to be clean . . . huge hassle . . . fortunately poo diapes are rare.) I couldn't find it so I left a quick message for Matt at work asking him about it. He e-mailed me this response:

OK, so if you're baking cookies, sometimes the dough all sticks together to itself so well that it just pops off the parchment paper that you have on the counter without leaving a trace? Well, we caught C early last night, and it all kind of stuck to her and not to the, uh, fuzzi parchment paper without really any trace. So I just filed it with the others in the big pail.

See if this gets by the email censors...

:)


I'm still laughing, an hour later.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Snowmen and Babies



Snowmen and babies are both round.

Skipped off to Picture People last week to redeem another coupon from the mail (free sitting and 8x10). The photo session lasted only 20 minutes; the photographer's over-enthusiasm in an attempt to get them both to smile (simultaneously, of course) caused David to cry. I told him I understood; I think I would have cried if somebody had been laughing like an idiot and shaking a feather duster at me, too. We did get one other decent photo out of the session, and another that quite accurately reflected how they felt about the whole situation. While David clung to my shirt, we took a couple of photos of Carmen before she crawled off the dropcloth. I have more than the photos as a souvenir of this particular adventure. Carmen learned to imitate the photographer's syrupy imitation baby-laughing and amuses herself with the sound of it while riding in the car.

On the way home from the Picture People we spotted Santa in his chair, and no line to wait in for a visit. I decided to swing by to say hello (as if C&D hadn't enough of picture-taking, already, but . . .). He was a most lovely Santa, with a real beard and an East Texas accent (you know Santa winters here, don't you?). I placed Carmen on his lap and despite his best and most gentle cuddles, she dissolved into a puddle of tears. David, riding along with Fiona, saw Carmen cry and decided the morning had been so traumatic that he should start crying, too, loud and wailing like a fire truck. Or a baby who has just been scared out of his wits. So I apologized to Santa, wished him a Merry Christmas, and went on our way with two bona-fide North Pole candy canes, the cellophane wrap of which entertained the babies all the way to the car. Then Fiona and I confiscated and ate the candies.

Another highlight from this week: Carmen discovered bubble wrap. Because the babies would rather stand and stare out the window then sit down to use the potty or, worse, lie down for a diaper change, I brought out a sheet of crinkly bubble wrap to keep them occupied long enough to let us take care of business. The sheet drifted down onto the floor last night while Matt was working with David, and Carmen crawled over to it. While she was leaning on it she burst an air sac. A minute later we watched her kneel over the bubble wrap as high as she could, then forcefully fall on to it, popping an air sac with the heel of her hands. She laughed. And did it again.

Now, before we sign off, please enjoy a picture of David on our behalf.
I like to eat, eat eat eat, I like to eat, eat, Oatmeal and Molasses . . . (did you know that O's stick to your face if it's covered in molasses?).

Every now and then we meet a meal that simply must be applied to our faces, stuffed in our shirt sleeves, or, as in the case of this week's amaranth, stuffed in our diapers (no wonder we thought David ate so much!). Three cheers for the bathtub! Hip, hip, hurray!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Baby Wrap 101 - New York Times

Babywearing made the New York Times yesterday.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

I SPY

I spy




two babies




giggling.

Marketplace: Making a better Christmas tree

Oh, wow, I heard this about Christmas Trees.

Which reminds me, we should pick out a tree this weekend to decorate and then plant. We're thinking a sweetgum. Last year's sweet bay magnolia was pretty, and would be alive now if I didn't forget to water it (I was feeding babies! I didn't have time to water it! And how was I to know this was going to be one of the driest springs in ages? Doh!). We still feel guilty about it.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Go, go, go!

C&D ready for a ride.

Whew. What a weekend. Made it to the Weihnachtsmarkt and then downtown to the lights at Houston City Hall. After a not-so-nappy day, and a night that involved too much playing and giggling at 3 AM, David decided to fall asleep on the way there. So, we waved at the crowd, Carmen visited a police horse, and then walked through Sam Houston Park as volunteers prepared for the annual Candlelight Tour. We'll have to visit Santa another time.

And move over, Purely O's, C&D discovered the crispy, crumbly joy of a rye cracker.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

More Amautik Pictures

I need a vacation to someplace cold before my babies get too big to ride along like this!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Whew.

We wondered if our babies had Non-Sleeping Sickness (the opposite of Sleeping Sickness, right?). But they're normal, after all. Whew.

One bit of information might help here: from a biological perspective, it is appropriate for babies to awaken during the night during the first year of life. In fact, although infants can be conditioned to sleep long and hard alone, and without intervention and, hence, fulfill the cultural expectation that the should sleep through the night, the fact remains that they were not designed to do so, and it may not be either in their best biological or psychological interest. As always, parental goals and needs lead parents to interpret their infant's behavior, including night awakenings, very differently. For example, many parents do not worry about night awakenings because especially where the babies sleep next to them, the infants are content and less likely to awaken and remain distressed.


Source: Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory FAQ

And this one was nice, too: Cultural Influences on Infant and Childhood Sleep Biology, and The Science that Studies It: Toward a More Inclusive Paradigm

Happy naps for babies everywhere . . .

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Wheeee!

Santa's reindeer better be fast, because we'll be hot on heels with this jogging stroller. We've wanted one for a while but not until this week did the perfect stroller pop up on Craig's List.



Haven't tried it out yet (trying NOT to freeze babies), but we will, soon. The 16" tires will handle our b-u-m-p-y streets and sidewalks (and the dirt roads at the George Ranch, woo-hoo!) just fine. I tried a new model out at Babies'R'Us earlier in the week and Carmen really, really liked it when I pushed her at a run (in the store, hee hee). I'm sure David will like it, too. Found a plastic rain cover at the BRU clearance rack, to keep out the cold and wet. Yay!

In the summer I'll re-evaluate how C&D might do in the Wellness Center childcare facility and maybe reunite with my yoga class. Until then, this should keep us all busy. Wheee!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

FAQ: 10 Months Old

C&D turned 10 months the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. To celebrate, we played with our new push wagon and prepared for a plane trip to Nana's house. David likes the wagon the best, and when he isn't trying to push it he wants to ride in it, back and forth, back and forth in the living room.

Between C&D's usual mischief, the Thanksgiving holiday, and some mischief of my own I have had much time to post. Here instead are some answers to questions people have been asking us lately.

Everything you wanted to know about C&D at 10 months old, and even stuff you didn't.

Are they talking yet?

Not really. David will most often express himself in smiles, wheezes, sighs, and pouts. Carmen can say or imitate a few words and apparently speaks !Kung. Ever since that one visit from Nana, she loves to engage in a conversation of tongue clicks. Yesterday I found out that she will try to imitate the words in a SigningTime DVD that I picked up at the library. For example, when she heard "cookie" she imitated the lilt of the word and and the "oo" sound. She says things like "dada" and "mama" but, like so many of her other sounds--she really seems to say them purely for the pleasure of hearing her own voice.

Can they sign?
A little. "Milk" is understood, but they don't always sign "milk" to us. Carmen is beginning to sign "all done" more frequently, and if you tease her with O's will sign a rudimentary "more" by putting her right hand on top of her left. David doesn't really sign, but is often much more patient than Carmen and may not feel as much of a need to do so.

What do they like to do?
David likes to chase the cat, touch the cat, talk to the cat, watch the cat, grab big fistfuls of cat. With great concentration he will smear his food--especially the mushy stuff--all over the table or his booster seat tray. His fingers will make hills and valleys of mush, and he will watch the water dripping from his sippy cup fill the valleys and form rivers and lakes. He will also drop his food, spoons, and cups unceremoniously, always to his right, and then peer over and stare at them on the floor, his fingers wiggling and reaching toward them. Sweet potatoes, oatmeal, chicken with herbes de provence (their favorite way to eat it)--it all goes overboard. He likes to knock down towers of blocks, while Carmen tries to figure out how to put them back. They both like to pull themselves up on anything--laundry baskets, toy baskets, nearby adults and each other. They go up, down, up, down, up down. The Baby Bungee Bouncers of several months ago were brought back out of the closet recently, and C&D very much enjoy hopping, hopping, hopping. David will jump and scissor open his legs in mid-air. Books are more popular than ever, especially those with sound effects like Mr. Brown Can Moo and The Big Red Barn. The games I like best are playing "nosey nosey" and "kissy kissy." Nothing is better than a big, slobbery, baby kiss.

Are they walking?
Only if we help them balance. God help us when they figure it out.

How are your nights?
Heh, heh.

What did you do for Thanksgiving?
Took a short plane ride to Nana's house. David wailed the whole way over. Fortunately we were only in the air about 35 minutes. The flight home was much more pleasant, perhaps because David seemed to figure out that has long as he nursed, his ears didn't bother as much as when he didn't. At Nana's we saw our first Christmas tree, with a Thomas the Tank Engine train going around underneath it. We rode in the new truck, which was outfitted with C&D's old Britax car seats. The way to Nana's house in the new truck wasn't so fun because C&D were tired and still upset from the plane ride, but on the way back to the airport my dad played their favorite Los Lonely Boys CD and the babies fell asleep before we even entered the freeway.

At Nana's house C&D played with Uncle John, who made sure that they received an introduction to the various cuts of beef. After a hearty Thanksgiving lunch we enjoyed Aunt Zelda's music on the piano while we rolled all over the parquet floors on a walker borrowed from the Shepherd of the Hills nursery. We only had one walker, so the babies took turns, one pushing the walker and the other riding along.





Sunday, the first Sunday in Advent, C&D went to church to be baptized. C&D thought church was a great place to be loud and silly, so we spent most of the service outside waiting for everyone to come out. Pastor Moore did the baptizing. My parents came and we went out for lunch afterward. The babies dropped penne pasta all over the floor of the restaurant, but thankfully nobody seemed to mind.

Have the babies visited Santa?
Not yet. They might meet Santa on Saturday. December 1st Bellaire had a Christmas festival that we attended, though. C&D saw the petting zoo. David laughed when the llama snorted on his head, but, like Carmen, was really more interested in the other children and the lights and all the other goings-on. They were not even amused by the chickens roosting on the llama. David did like the white twinkly lights on the trees, and Carmen liked Rudolph's nose. We stayed long enough to watch Santa ride in on his fire truck, and then came back home in time for bed.

Well, I had more to say, but have run out of time to say it. Looking forward to starting some new traditions with C&D's first Christmas (they already had their first St. Nicholas Day!) and watching them figure out some of their new Montessori- and Waldorf-style toys (you're going to get us some, Santa, right?).

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Amautik Weather

It's finally seasonably cool (no more 83-degree Saturday afternoons for at least a few weeks), and thoughts take me to warm and snuggly babywearing. I wish Houston got colder so I could use one of these Inuit carriers. So cozy!

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Every Day Has Its Ups and Downs


Saturday, December 03, 2005

Good Karma (What Goes Around, Comes Around)

Matt and David this afternoon:


Thursday, December 01, 2005

Aw Duh! for now

Hard to find time to post, lately. The babies aren't sleeping like usual this week, and of course over the Thanksgiving weekend we had more than the usual excitement. C&D are increasingly mobile (mixed blessing?) and mischievous (David discovered the DVD player, doh) and have even begun to try to talk . . . Carmen says "all done" (aw duh! aw duh! aw duh!), "cat" (ca!) and has some pretty serious conversations with David every now and then. Wonder what they're talking about?

Carmen stirs, but watch for a big big big post very soon . . . I'll try my hardest.

Oh, and Fisher-Price is not my friend. Stupid, junky Fisher-Price toys.

Feel better, thanks. Now I can go to sleep. Aw duh! Aw duh!