Sunday, January 29, 2006

Zoom Zoom

Carmen racing down the Galleria's Nordstrom/Foley's wing early one Friday morning.

Zoom, zoom, babies are in, out, up, down, hanging on my pant legs and each other. No time for blogging when babies are busy exploring the house and their abilities. In fact, this is the second time to write this particular entry; I lost my first version after a typing mishap while I was multitasking and nursing David earlier today.

And as for photos, it's difficult to run for the camera when you've got a baby around your knees, and the most spectacular moments are often fleeting. Change is under way, inside and out.

For instance, in a few weeks we will be enjoying a new screen porch with a child's table and a sand area and even rubber mulch for bouncing. We started work earlier this month by removing a large ash. The roots of the ash interfered with the foundation of the proposed porch as well as our new drainpipe for the washing machine (the old one collapsed just after New Year's). The trunk also interfered with the new porch's proposed roof. C&D watched the workers use ropes and climbing gear to take out the top and then, after their morning nap,
grind the wide stump into mulch. The next day our marvelously handy neighbor, Salvador, replaced the washing machine drainpipe that collapsed two weeks before. (While he did this, one of his sons planted an egg in my front yard, but that's a different story.) By the next weekend, someone was working in the rain finishing the concrete foundation while David watched. Soon after the workers left, a cat (who shall remain nameless) walked over the wet concrete from the southwest corner of the foundation (incidentally, the corner closest Paul's deck, where the nameless cat likes to sleep) to the back kitchen window (where the nameless cat scratches at the window so we can let him in). Said cat then walked along the back wall (probably on his way to try his luck at the front door) and then all over our nice new concrete stoop. We don't have imprints of the babies' feet in the concrete, but now we will always remember our cat. While everyone was sleeping I did manage to scratch in our names with a toothpick just beneath the kitchen door. Yesterday Salvador began framing the porch, and today he completed part of the roof and even some of the Hardie Board interior (the soil section is where the rubber mulch will go). We should have a great screen porch early next month, just in time for spring (not like we're having winter weather, but you know what I mean).

As I'm writing this Carmen and David are talking to each other in silly little raspberries and babbles. Last week they enjoyed screaming at each other (eek! eeek! yaaaack! gaaaack!); the baby babbling is much more pleasant to hear.

What else was I supposed to tell you? Oh, yes, I was supposed to tell you about their birthday. My parents came and we sang Happy Birthday to Y'all. My mom brought an orange juice cake (I found the recipe in The Joy of Cooking) and C&D devoured it by the fistfulls after enjoying corn tortillas from San Antonio's Sanitary Tortilla Factory for lunch.
The babies didn't get their Waldorf dolls. (My mom wanted them to be perfect. I hadn't realized I had assigned her such a challenging project . . . thanks for being a good sport, Mom.) But C&D did get a pair of birthday dolls, after all--Matt's mom surprised us with a large Raggedy Ann and Andy pair that she had sewn herself. Carmen liked the dolls' soft, squishy bodies and David liked the way they flopped about when they danced.

The babies are full of tricks, lately.

Carmen started standing on her own many weeks ago, then stopped. Soon after David starting standing on his own, she started doing the same, and is in fact more comfortable on her feet than her brother. Maybe her sense of balance improved and she was ready to try again? She can stand for quite a long time, now, and can walk along with us if we hold her hand, or let her hold on to a loose-fitting pant leg (just make sure you're wearing a belt or tied that drawstring!). She has gotten strong enough that when she is happy she makes little bitty hops with her feet flat on the ground, as if she were still in her bungee bouncer.

Now that he can stand, David is learning dance. Earlier in the week I played a happy accordion polka from a Kindermusik CD and he bobbed up and down to the beat. I took his cue and danced right along with him. We won't be on any reality shows any time soon, though.

Meanwhile, David has also been busy working with his hands. A couple of weeks ago he started stacking our plastic drinking cups into each other. Last week he mastered stacking a set of pretty alder cups (thanks, eBay!), and this weekend he made his first two-block tower while playing with the Mother Goose blocks that Matt's sister Karen sent down with John. I wonder what comes next?

I also wonder if David is an optimist, or perhaps just a little hardheaded (I have no idea how he would inherit such a trait!). Once he put his index finger in Carmen's mouth. Maybe he was counting her teeth. Maybe he was trying to stop it up and keep her from babbling. In either case, she bit down on that sweet little finger. David screamed in shock and pain, and Carmen cried at the insult. Then David put his finger in her mouth again. He has put his finger in her mouth no less than a half dozen times, and always with the same painful result. In fact, Carmen doesn't wait for David to actually put his finger in her mouth anymore. As soon as he begins to point at her face she does him the favor of meeting his finger halfway and snaps.

But not like David doesn't bite Carmen. Like his sister, it's clear that he has no intent to hurt her when he bites, it's just that she's so juicy. She might be sprawled on the floor and he'll bend over and bite her turkey leg with a look that says no less than "oh, yum."

So, more than ever, I am mother, gadfly, referee.

And speech instructor. David is increasingly talkative, and Carmen's progress in both signing and speaking has taken a very roundabout path. Carmen has not said a clear "all done" in a very long time, and no longer says "ca" at Toby. Most things are lately "da-da," "duh-duh," or "day-day." Last week Matt and I were playing with her and handed her a ball. "Ball!" we said. "Bahwl," she answered, deliberately and slowly. Matt and I looked at each other and then back at Carmen. "Yes, Carmen," we said, "ball, ball!" "Da-ba-bo-da-dja-ja!!!" Carmen responded. And that was it. No more "ball."

She stopped signing "more," and prefers to show us she is all done by shoving her tray away or returning her food into our hands (or into our mouths, if she can reach them . . . add "human shape sorter" to my list of qualifications, please). But she has learned that if she grabs my hair, pulls my head toward her, and blows a raspberry, I will blow zerberts on her tummy. I suppose while she is busy learning so many things, she must prioritize which skills she must master first, and requesting zerberts is a high priority.

Another personal priority for Carmen is achieving her life goal of eating lint. She is like a vacuum cleaner, snatching up crumbs, leaves, and yes, lint. She eats it quickly because she knows that if I see her about to eat something off the floor I will ask her to hand it over (which she reluctantly will do about half the time), or at least quickly remove it from her chubby little hand and distract her with something else. I've gotten very good at a broken-record rendition of "Oh, no, Carmen, not for the mouth, may I have that please, oh, yes, thank you!"

Favorite foods so far are things like clementines, oranges, Snap Pea Crisps, turnips braised in maple syrup, corn on the cob, and various batter breads in the bread machine.

Favorite toys right now are the wagon, the stacking blocks (David), a ball tracker maze, a top, the shape sorter (David), the HABA fish, some blocks, the washing machine (David--can't peel him away when the spin cycle is happening), any remote control (David), and a Selecta marionette that jingles when they shake it (David). Carmen will play peekaboo with the playsilks now and then. And the new jack-in-the-box is always, always, funny. The rest of the time C&D just work on standing up using the rocking chair, the changing table, the wall, the shelves, the stereo cabinet, the futon, the diaper pail, the Learning Tower, a chair, an adult, or each other as props. Just watching them becomes exhausting. I guess that's why babies need naps, to give the adults a break.

A nap, actually, would be nice. I'm doing some things for the BTA and working on a hundred other projects when I can. Fiona is busy at UH now and comes in only a couple of times a week when she isn't weighed down by schoolwork. When I do finally allow my head to rest on my pillow at night, I know I've had a full, productive day.

Oh--the day after their birthday C&D went in for their 12-month checkup. I lost Carmen's statistics sheet, probably while I was running away from the hordes of runny-nosed children in the pediatrician's waiting room. David measured at 29.5 inches tall and 21 pounds, 11 ounces. I remember Carmen was about half an inch taller, and maybe 10 ounces heavier. So, there, now you know. I'm going to zoom, zoom over to bed. Good night.


David resting with Uncle John (can he stay another week?):

Early this morning I used a floor sweeper to pick up some crumbs off of a small rug in the kitchen. C&D like the floor sweeper very much because it's as much a push toy as a tool. This morning they were roaming free around the house and decided they could use it as well as I could.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

We love business trips . . .

. . . because then we get to receive visitors from California. Uncle John came by for lunch today and we had a great time talking and playing (both babies and adults doing a little of each). If we're lucky we'll get to see John one more time before he heads back home.

Monday, January 23, 2006


Happy First Birthday, Babies.

January 23, 2005:

January 23, 2006:

More to come, if C&D will ever sit still long enough to let me type.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

52 Weeks

52 Sunday mornings ago, Carmen and David entered the world small and fragile. Carmen cried when she was born while David made no sound, perhaps too surprised at the place in which he had arrived. This morning they woke up early, boisterous and loud and strong and silly.

Having a small little party today to celebrate the babies . . . and parenthood. Happy Birthday, babies.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Waldorf Doll Directions

Apparently this is a lot more complicated than it looks. Wish my mom luck; need two of these next weekend. (And remind me to keep these directions in a safe place, eh?)

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


Breastfed Babies May Become Leaner Kids. Interesting; C&D sure ain't lean, now, that's for sure. Although they have thinned out a lot. I know this from counting the snaps on their Fuzzi Bunz. I'll miss that chub when it goes away. Chubby hands, chubby feet, chubby thighs, chubby cheeks, I love them all. Yummy.

C&D ate their first citrus today: navel oranges and clementines. They squished the fruit in their hands and winced when the juice sprayed in their mouth as they bit into the wedges I handed them. Sometimes C&D will smile and share a bit of their food by placing a morsel in my hand or into my mouth. They did not offer me any oranges or tangerines today.

David stood on his own today--on purpose. And he liked it. Way to be brave, baby boy!

Then he stood up while he was under the kitchen table, hit his head on a support beam, and decided he had experienced enough adventure for the moment.

Speaking of adventure, took out the Twinmobile (Under the Influence of TWINS, the license plate now says) in rush hour traffic to rescue a big box full of veggies from Gundermann Farms. I'm going to see if I can sort though it before Carmen realizes I am not in the bedroom. Last night I rocked her for nearly four hours--enough to watch two documentaries on PBS. My arms are tired. At least tomorrow is Thursday and I can watch Earl and The Office while I rock, rock, rock.

Clingy babies in this house, lately. Sometimes literally clingy; chubby finger by chubby finger, I pick one baby off just in time for the other to latch on. But that's okay. Some days I feel like I need to grab on to somebody, too. It's a big wide world, out there.

Good night.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Matt's Fun Thing for the Day

Directions for a "fun thing for the day," written by Matt:

So here's what you do:

1) Grab your nearest baby who can't quite walk but likes to push a little cart/wagon thing.

2) Head to your nearest mega shopping mall. We chose the Galleria, 4th biggest in the country, but we hear that [cousin] Timmy has an even bigger shopping palace available nearby...lucky baby!

3) Choose your timing correctly! We went at 11 AM on Sunday, with just enough people walking by to say "oh how cute" but not enough to cause trouble.

4) Now, start your baby at one end of the mall...and see how far you get before your baby gets so tired of walking that she just sits down and pushes halfhartedly at the cart.

5) In case of emergency, we found it helpful to have a second emergency backup baby available. Our "starting pitcher" could only get halfway down the mall, but luckily, we brought backup. Be prepared!

6) If you make it to the end of the mall, you all earn a nap!

We'll be doing that one again, for sure. Wish I had brought the camera; the proud smiles on C&D's faces were certainly worth remembering.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Every night is slumber party night

Cosleeping with a babe makes news . . .but what about two? And when is somebody going to make something bigger than a king size? They can call it Gigundo Size. We need it. With Carmen's sideways sleeping, David's flopping, and me between the two, there's not much room left for Matt when we're all in the bed.

Learning Tower

David loves to look out the window, so we bought him a Learning Tower so he can safely (relatively, anyway) stand and watch all the neighborhood goings-on on his own. When he is a little older he will be able to climb up into it himself, and we can take the tower to the kitchen table or the counter and use it as a nice booster step for making cookies or washing veggies. David very much liked standing in the Tower as soon as he got in it. He was able to reach the glass and slap it (a favorite activity), and then turned around and made a happy dance. He stayed in it a good hour, I think. Because it's possible for him to fall out the sides (he is still a little short for the intended size and age of an average Tower user) I might rig up some guard rails or something so he is extra secure. Carmen hasn't had a chance to get inside it, yet, but I'm sure she'll like it, too.

Oh, one more thing. When he's a little older remind me to tell David that I'm sorry about the "Little Cowgirl" bib. It's not the first time, either. I just grabbed for something clean, dry, and on top of the pile.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Matt's Song to Carmen

Carmen's been working very hard all weekend to increase her fiber intake. She knows that if she gets caught with something small and non-food in her mouth she gets it taken away, so she has gotten very fast at snatching nibbly little things up off the floor, stuffing them in her mouth, and then looking up sweetly with a "cat that ate the canary" kind of smile. Today after leaving her alone for no more than a minute, we found she had eaten a chunk off of the corrugated cardboard box she had been playing with. Matt sang this song to her:

There a big baby who swallowed a box
Stubbon as ox, she swallowed that box
She swallowed the box to hold the dirt
She swallowed the dirt to get more crumbs
She swallowed the crumbs after the leaf
I don't know why she swallowed the leaf
She's beyond belief.