Things have been moving non-stop for the last few months. It’s not like I don’t spend time sitting on the couch absorbing a couple of my favorite shows, but my down time is necessary for rebuilding the patience cells that are depleted throughout the day. My boys take some serious patience. They are amazing and imaginative. I am constantly in awe of the things that they say and do. It’s in between all of the good stuff that we have excruciating tantrums filled with blood curdling screams and big tears.
The tough part about 3-year-old twins (or any 3-year-old for that matter) is that you never know when they are going to strike with what. There are a cast of characters including whiny, nudnick, sweet, cuddly and crazy tantrum crybaby. One of my boys has an incredible knack for repeating the thing he wants over and over until you get mad or your give it to him. He commits to it and settles in. This can all fall smack dab in the middle of a day with new experiences and perfect behavior.
I am learning to keep my goals for the day simple and loose. I am learning that 2013 will be my chance to redefine how I live, make and accomplish my goals. It’s all going to happen (whatever that is), but I might have to stop along the way to relax or debate with a screaming toddler.
Zev has been sick all week. It is not the first time, but it is the second with a true fever and because of that, probably the worst. Next to the lack of sleep and my heart aching for my little man, the most challenging part is having my twin boys doing different things. Elan is healthy but wants whatever Zev has, including the extra care and attention. In response to his dislike of this current state of affairs he has peed in his pants and thrown a few tantrums. He has also been waking up in the middle of the night wanting just to get out and sleep in my bed. So, here I am exhausted physically and emotionally because both my boys demand the equal attention I generally give them. You really can’t win as a twin mommy.
I was helping a friend register for her baby shower and the entire process reminded me of how territorial parents, particularly mothers, are when it comes to infant care. Everyone knows the best diapers, wipes, stroller and onesie. The truth is, as I told my girlfriend, everyone does things differently and there is really no right way as long as your baby is happy and healthy. This sense that there is only one way extends to milestones and stages with your infant and toddler. Is your kid still using that sippy cup? You still give them a bottle before bed? Pacifiers at this age?
Here is what I say: Will they be wearing diapers, sucking on a pacifier and drinking from a sippy cup as they walk down the aisle for their high school graduation? While the image is hilarious, you are probably shaking your head no. The truth is, regardless of the pressures from all of the perfect parents and their meeting their milestones right on time kids, your kids will get where they need to get in due time. Sure, you need to manipulate the situation a bit and show them how to use the potty and bribe the pacifier away, but no need to rush it. I personally find it best to slowly transition. For example, you can’t pull dump the diapers, the sippy cups and the pacifier in one week or even one month. Go with the flow and see how your kids react.
In regards to dealing with those judgmental parents, learn to do it. These people are not going away. They will be telling you about their kids top grades, ability to make a goal in soccer and top 100% height until you turn blue in the face. Come up with responses that make you comfortable and don’t open your kids’ personal goals up for discussion. I suggest something like, “I’m proud of my kids. They really make me smile every day.” It’s true and no one can compare that to anything!
This December my boys are turning three! I can hardly believe it. It seems that every three months or so we still go through pretty major changes and advancements. Three seems so mature. I can actually ask their opinion on things. It was this that led me to choosing a pirate theme for their birthday. Since their birthday falls smack dab in the middle of the holidays I throw a big adult and kid party in honor of the holidays, the birthday and the close of the year. I make sure that all tastes are covered in food and booze, create lots of seating and conversation areas and a big project for the kids. Last year it was gingerbread houses (big success) and this year it is pirate themed.
Here is the plan……
- The house will be transformed into a pirate ship with lots of skeletons, skulls, pirate flags, gold coins and sails.
- Pirate costumes are optional for guests, but mandatory for us (more on that later).
- The food table will be set up like a ship with a big sail.
- There will be a “Dig for Treasure” for the little kids comprised of rice and small favors wrapped in gold.
- The big craft for kids or adventurous adults will be a “Make Your Own Pirate Bandanna” craft.
- There will be themed cocktails like “Sharks Blood Martinis.”
- The birthday cake (made by me, the mom) will be a pirate ship.
So today, the challenge begins. I have collected supplies and now I must start creating those pirate costumes and crazy decorations. More to come. Super excited crafty mom here!
Well at least that is what it feels like (see title). Since the potty training boot camp a lot has changed. Just two weeks after the start of potty training the kids began daycare part time. I thought about these endless hours I could spend catching up on chores, reinventing my future life and career, exercising. I mean, seriously. All those hours. Truth is, I have less time. It’s all because toddlers rule the world.
Nearing our third birthday the boys are super quite and twice as exasperating. Their minds are molding and they are making acute and cute observations. They listen more (when they feel like it) and remember more. Basically, they are entertaining me, challenging my ability to mother and distract simultaneously, and teaching me to be humble and accept bodily fluids. I have heard many a person say that this is the best and worst age and I would have to agree, although I can only compare to what was. Somehow, they make me feel that the extreme sleeplessness that came with infancy was easier than explaining to a toddler why he can’t have something, go somewhere or drive a car without ending in tears yourself.
Yes, people, parenting is tough.
So, back to changes. I’m not sure if it is school or just the addition of 2 and a half months, but my boys have seriously matured and grown tremendously. All the little life skills like dressing, putting on shoes and eating messy soup come easier to them. In fact, sometimes their extreme desire to try something new can be a challenge in itself (note tantrum over putting on shirt by ones self). These changes are welcome. Yes, I miss the little cuddly babies, but these beings can converse with me and share some likes and dislikes. They tell me when something hurts and exactly where. These advancements have made outings more interesting. I just love to see their joy in going to a store or sharing their observations with me.
The developing independence is a blessing and a curse. As I said, they rule the world. Oh, and parents, the term terrible twos is inaccurate. It’s about 2-3 years of ups and downs with tantrums, tears (yours and theirs) and lots of laughter. Even poop can be funny (I have stories).
Life with toddlers has been rough, making it very tough to type a blog post or take a break. They consume my time a suck my energy, yet I love them more every day!
Most recently we have tackled potty training. I started by reading other blogs, referring to books and talking to friends. When I realized that “cold turkey” works for potty training as well as other “habits” I went for it. I chose a weekend with no plans and we said goodbye to diapers during waking hours. I called it boot camp.
On day 1 of boot camp we started with potty training undies (just thicker down the middle) and using the potty every 1/2 hour or so. I soon realized the underwear was too tough to master on day 1. So we went commando, since it was summer they were mostly nudists in the house. By day 2 the underwear were on without pants. By day 3 the pants were on.
If you choose this method be prepared with tons of rags and extra undies. Oh, and patience helps. I used tons of rewards. Balloons, stickers and cookies worked best. By day 4 Elan was fully trained, so much so that he started to wake up asking to use the potty and always has a dry diaper at nap time (sometimes in the morning!).
I don’t think Elan is unusual. Since he is a twin, his life is more about structure and routine than singletons. Potty training was just another routine. Zev, on the other hand, has been more challenging. No amount of bargaining can speed up the process with him.
After one month Zev is just beginning to ask to use the potty, but not every time. I try to keep my cool and encourage the right behavior. Once we master daytime for 3-4 months I will work on nighttime. Oy!
I think that the most important lesson is to say goodbye to diapers during waking hours and to be firm with that, no matter how hard. Kids don’t understand mixed signals.
I am a week into a road trip with my two and a half year-old twin boys. Oy vay. Seriously. All things considered, they have behaved pretty well. The over 1500 mile journey to Florida saw very little car napping time (like a combined 40 minutes) and some white hair causing whiny time, but we cam out unscathed. After a few days of chasing the boys around Grandma and Grandpa’s house (no amount of hiding things up high really seems to do it) we left on the second leg of our journey, Orlando and Disney World.
To get to Disney we had to spend another 4 hours in the car. The boys were not thrilled. Apparently, the sight of the hotel room door also really freaked one of the boys out (until day 4 when we were leaving). We were tired, cranky and trying to eat dinner in public at an hour the boys usually slept. They were troopers. I felt like I deserved a raise. Like all things in parenting, it is these little sacrifices of your hair color, patience and fun that really pay off when they smile and enjoy themselves. This trip had a lot of both (sacrifices and smiles, my new band name).
In Orlando we experienced several firsts: vacationing with friends, swimming in a pool, camping out in a hotel with Uncle “Uvi” and, of course, Disney. If you are asking yourself what a 2-year-old can do at Disney, the answer is a lot. I was asking myself the same thing about parents of infants. Aside from the thrill of walking through this new and magical world, much of Disney is a slow moving vehicle with a feast for the eyes. Some of it scared the boys, but they soon learned that a little bit of dark or waiting in a line was rewarded. I had to learn to let the routine go and live in the moment. All in all, I am pleased with the results.
Although we have several more days, including the long trek up north and another hotel stay, I have already experienced and learned more than I thought possible. I have learned to reach for patience I did not think was there and to ignore whining while driving 80 down the highway. Those are the valuable lessons. The others, well, when I finish this bottle of wine I will whine about them and get over it. That is parenting. Stay fierce parents. Just stay fierce.
I CANNOT BELIEVE I MADE IT THIS FAR!!!! Seriously, it has been such a ride. I never thought that I would be able to work out on a daily basis, much less look forward to it on some days. This past week or so has been a real challenge to my will power as I have been sick. I felt so much guilt at missing a work out that I pushed myself and managed to complete most of them successfully. I only bowed out of one yoga as it is so tough and hanging your head down when congested is killer. But, alas I am on the other side of illness now and regaining my energy. I am also thrilled at my progress.
Progress wise I have lost just under 5 pounds and about an inch everywhere. I am also stronger and more flexible than I can remember being in years (at least post babies). My clothing is fitting better and I am slowly starting to fit into my smaller sizes. I have yet to get down a size, but that comes with time. In addition to my physical progress I have learned a lot about myself and what may work well for others.
First, I learned that exercise is best scheduled daily. When you try to fit it in a few times a week you can easily put it off. If you know you need to fit it in daily you are more likely to adapt it into your routine. Exercise does not have to be a class or video, it can be a jog or walk through the park, yoga, bike riding, etc. Just stay fit!
Second, if you are a “forget to eat” person, which many busy Moms are, then it is best to get the eating, snack included, into your schedule. I am so routine oriented that my body is now trained to get hungry at scheduled times.
Third, it’s okay to cheat but be reasonable. I try to maintain my healthy diet at all times. When we go to a party or out to eat, I enjoy myself but try to not go overboard. This means forget the appetizer and the sweet cocktails and if dessert is in the picture, split it.
Fourth, even when you slip it’s important to jump right back on the wagon…like right back! One bad meal or bad day does not erase all of your hard work. Don’t wait until tomorrow, get back on the wagon right away. No big deal.
Today was tough. I was dragging my heels all day. By the time I worked out my stomach hurt and I was hungry. I pushed through. Oh man. Intense.
I can’t wait until it comes naturally. Will it?