Monday, September 26, 2011

18 months old!?!?

How did this happen?  How did we get two big toddlers out of those two itty bitty babies?

On their birth day, March 26, 2010:
And here they are today:
Asher doing "gymnastics"
Asher at dinner, roaring, with chicken in his hair and pasta sauce on his face
The boys are trying and enjoying all kinds of new activities, like coloring at their table:
And eating with spoons:
We've been using some signs for the past week, since the boys are still not really talking.  They clearly understand us, and can follow commands like, "bring me the shoes," "give me/daddy/your brother a kiss,"and can understand and ignore things like, "stop!" and "please don't do that!"  Asher, especially, has picked up signs and is communicating fairly well.
giving each other kisses
"Benjamin, get down!  Benjamin, the salt is not a toy!"
I have to say, these sweet boys are full of personality.  I said to a friend yesterday, "Do you know any kids who are more rambunctious than mine?" and she said, after a pause, "No."  They are very good-natured, and loving, and generally easy-going, but they are very high energy.  If they're awake, they're probably moving.  They both like to make trouble in their own way; Asher is an outright mischief-maker and will turn in circles in the middle of the room looking for what he can do next, and Benjamin is a little more surreptitious, and generally makes his trouble quietly.

They still love to eat fruits and vegetables, and Benjamin will try anything once.  They love broccoli, strawberries, apple, peas, string beans, hot dogs, cheese, and pastas with red sauce.  Every once in a while they will love something unusual, like farro salad with goat cheese.  They don't especially love desserts like cake, but they do like animal crackers and graham crackers.

They are still nursing.  Benjamin nurses 3 times a day, and Asher nurses more than that.  Asher still says "Na!" for nurse and will get louder and more insistent if he doesn't get nursed right away.  He can be distracted pretty easily if we are out or busy, but if we are at home and not actively engaged in something he likes to nurse.

We call Asher the "green-eyed Bear monster" because he is very possessive of me, and will sometimes sit on top of Benjamin if Benjamin and I are snuggling.  This is one reason why I haven't pushed Asher down to one nap a day, because it gives me time alone with Benjamin.  Benjamin is definitely doing one nap a day now, but I often put him in the pack n play for an hour in the morning so that I can shower and do some cleaning up around the house.

We've had a good September, and are looking forward to October.  We will get to see family for 3 weekends in a row, and then end with Halloween.  In the meantime, we are trying to enjoy the warm fall weather by getting out for walks and jogs and trips to the play ground.  I am dreading getting stuck inside all winter, so we better make the most of it!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

"do twins run in your family?"

Cute boy special: two for the price of one at the farmer's market!
Every mother of twins (or any number of multiples) probably gets this question a lot.  I am not sure if it is just curiosity, or fascination with multiples, or fishing for tales of fertility treatment, but it is one of the questions I get most frequently when I'm out with the boys.

Sometimes when people ask if twins run in the family, I will be glib in response and tell them "No, it was a 2-for-1 special at Main Line Fertility!"  Last weekend, when my parents came out of the farmer's market, each pushing a boy in a cart, I was reminded of my answer!

Instead of the "do twins run in your family" question, I sometimes get a variation of it, which is something like, "Were you surprised when you found out you were having twins?" (Answer: no. I put back two excellent-quality embryos and had very high hormone levels early on) or "How far into your pregnancy did you find out you were having twins?" (5 weeks exactly, at my first ultrasound).

I am always very honest with people and say that no, twins do not run in my family, and that they are a result of fertility treatment.  I am not ashamed of the fact that we needed assistance to conceive, and consider myself extremely lucky to now have two perfectly healthy children.

Sometimes people say that they always wanted twins, or that they had two children 15 months apart, which is a lot like having twins.  I think other moms of multiples get upset at these comments; I am only bothered by people saying that they always wanted twins.  People who have never had a twin pregnancy will never know the anxiety or concern that comes with a high-risk pregnancy, and I wouldn't wish it on them.  Yes, it is a faster route to making a family of 4, but it certainly isn't easier.

I know that other moms of multiples would kill me for saying this, but I think that once you get past the first 6 months with twins, it is easier to have twins than it is to have two children 15 or so months apart.  Twins go through the stages of development at approximately the same time- they are immobile at the same time, and mobile at the same time.  They play with the same toys, so I don't have the jumperoo and the cozy coupe taking up space in my living room.  I honestly can't imagine having one toddler and one very needy infant, when the toddler still needs (and is accustomed to) a great deal of attention, and the infant is attached to you at all times.  In the early months with my boys, I always felt like there wasn't enough of me to go around, but both boys survived, and thrived, and now seem perfectly happy with the amount of mommy they get.  It must be so hard to have one child, to whom you can completely devote yourself, and then have to take some of that attention away to focus on a new baby.

Twins also entertain each other, and at times that makes life easier.  They're not dependent on my attention every minute, and always have each other to play with.  I worry less because even in a new and strange situation, they aren't alone and have each other for reassurance, which makes things easier for me.

So, no, twins don't run in my family, and my twin pregnancy wasn't a huge surprise, and it wasn't easy to stay pregnant for 36 weeks or live through those crazy first few months of their lives, but I can also understand why someone might actually want twins of their own.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Benjamin's 1st hair cut

We took Benjamin for his first haircut on Saturday.  I had been saying that we didn't really need to do it yet, but on Friday night when we were saying the Shabbat prayers, my dad put a yarmulke on Benjamin's head and Eric pulled Benjamin's little curls over his ears like they were peyes, so maybe they were a little too long.  He just had a tiny trim, but it really makes him look much more like a little boy than a baby.
holding on to mommy for safety 
making sure there's no funny business

very serious about the hair cut
I went through Eric's camera photos and found this photo from August, when we went to DC:
Eric holding Asher, Grandpa Sy, Grandma Tenny, me holding Benjamin
 And this picture from our trip to Cape Cod, when we let Benjamin color with crayons.  I think Benjamin looks so adorable here!  I told my mom that he could be a baby model, look at his face, his legs, etc!  My mom thought perhaps I am a little biased.  Well, maybe I am, but I still think he is cute as can be.
Benjaboo, baby model

Monday, September 12, 2011


Today we attended baby Eli's bris.  It went off without a hitch, which is exactly what you want at a bris.  There was plenty of family and friends, and while the mohel and rabbi spoke about the baby, you could see people overwhelmed with emotions.  Later my mom and I talked about it, and various friends had come up to each of us to tell us what was on their minds; mainly families that are far away, both physically and emotionally.
Tiny baby Eli in his grandma Jane's arms, with his family looking on
Yesterday I hosted a baby shower at my house for my friend Alex. She was supposed to be 36 weeks pregnant at the shower, but baby Bianca had other ideas and was born 2 weeks ago!  Fortunately Bianca is perfectly healthy and already home from the hospital, so we celebrated without worry.
Alex (far right) with friends
It seems like I know so many people who are pregnant... or trying to get pregnant... or just had a baby.  Seeing Eli today, and holding him, made me realize that my boys, even though I call them my babies, are truly not babies anymore.  They're little boys!  I don't even remember what they were like when they were so small.

I do remember the anxiety, the lack of sleep at night, the trouble with breastfeeding, and the constant newborn pooping, but it seems like ages ago that they could fit in one hand and snuggled up on my shoulder.  I want to get pregnant again, and yet I'm not ready.  Eric and I are both thoroughly enjoying this stage with the boys.  They have great personalities, they're very loving, playful, curious, and sweet.

It feels like Asher has had a growth spurt.  He seems so much taller and heavier, noticeably more so than Benjamin.  Pants seem shorter on him, and I have a lot of shopping to do to get ready for fall and winter.
me holding my blond-haired Bear baby
Asher checking out his big cousin Trudi (whose nickname is also Bear!)
We are trying to enjoy these last few summery days, with walks and jogs, and dips in the pool.  I am worried that the winter will be long, cooped up in the house with two energetic toddlers.  I see lots of play dates in our future.

My health has also been on my mind this past week.  Over the summer, I noticed lumpy lymph nodes in my neck.  I went to the doctor, and she said it was probably nothing, but she took some blood to check for mono.  My bloodwork was normal, so I went back again on Friday.  She sent me for a chest x-ray, which made me very anxious.  Fortunately, my doctor called this morning and said that everything looks just fine.  I spent the weekend worrying that it might be cancer, and then what would I do?  I am not usually prone to hypochondria, but I've also never had undiagnosed symptoms.  In any case, everything is fine, which is a relief.

Monday, September 5, 2011

cape cod vacation, and more

I cannot believe how long it's been since I wrote an entry!  I missed the boys' 17 month birthday because we were getting ready to go on our annual vacation to Cape Cod.  Hurricane Irene was on her way, but we decided that we would get up there ahead of the storm and be there as soon as it passed so we could start having fun as soon as possible.

The hurricane itself was pretty much nothing on the Cape.  There was some wind, but no rain.  At one point the sun was even shining!  
Benjamin's hair blowing in the hurricane wind
We lost power around 4 pm on Sunday.  We didn't think the power would be out for long since the wind didn't seem too awful.  We went out to dinner on Sunday night, and the boys were wonderfully well-behaved.  No one seemed too worried about the storm, and as we drove home from the restaurant, we could see lights on almost all the way to our house.  

We had a great time playing trivia in the candlelight, and we even got my mom to play with us, which is incredible, since she has a general rule that she won't play games.  We laughed so hard, and it was so nice to be engaged with each other, not each involved in our own books, computers, or the TV.  The power flickered once while we were playing the game, and then came on for a few minutes around 11.  I really thought the power would be on by the time we woke up.

But no such luck, the next day there was no power and not a flicker of anything.  My dad managed to get a generator going, so we had the fridge on and running water, which made the situation easy to tolerate.  That night we grilled food for dinner, and then played Uno by candlelight (we couldn't get my mom to play games two nights in a row, though!).  

The next morning Eric and my dad took the boys on a bike ride to the donut shop and left the ladies in peace and quiet.  It was a beautiful day, and we were sitting outside in the sunshine when the power came on!  We celebrated by making coffee, we were all in wonderful moods.  And then the power went out.  My mom, sister and I took the boys to the pond to swim, and while we were out, the power came back on, this time for good.

The week was busy, and it just flew by.  We went to the pond, and to the beach.  The boys didn't love the water, and swimming, but they did love running around, and would always go up to other families and children and stand there until they were noticed.  They borrowed lots of toys, and made new friends wherever we went.  I admit that I did look at the adults who didn't have children, who were lying out and reading with some envy, but I wouldn't trade my boys for anything.  I loved watching and experiencing the world through their eyes.  

The biggest problem on our trip was sleep.  Things started out just fine, but then Asher remembered that he knew how to get out of the pack n play, and it went downhill from there.  Naps consisted of Asher jumping out, running around the room, occasionally throwing things at Benjamin while was trying to sleep, climbing in Benjamin's pack in play with him, and pulling over furniture.  Oy!  So we went down to 1 nap a day, and would stay busy all morning, then drive home and hope they boys would fall asleep in the car.  Nights were another issue altogether, and by the end of the trip I really was ready to come home and get the boys back in their cribs.

My parents and my sister all commented that my boys are exhausting, and that they were eager to get home and have some rest.  My sister has not always been understanding of what my life is like with children, and I think this vacation gave her some perspective.

At the end of the trip, Eric had planned to drive up to Maine to visit his family and help his brother.  On Sunday morning he asked how I would feel if he took one of the boys up with him.  My initial reaction was "No way!", but everyone else thought it was a good idea, so I acquiesced.  In the end, I think it was a good idea- Eric's family doesn't get to see the boys frequently enough, and it is much, much easier to be a single parent to one toddler than to two!

On the way home from the Cape we went through Providence and got some dinner.  Asher walked around Brown, and we went by my freshman dorm.  Asher loved it!  He loved all the different people he saw, the musicians in the street, and especially all the young ladies.  Asher is quite the ladies' man already- while we walked he would cross the sidewalk to smile at and approach all the college girls!  They all seemed quite taken with him, too.  Being back on my college campus, watching all the students come back for the school year and happily greet their friends made me nostalgic for my college years.  And yet it was surreal to walk past the door I used to enter my freshman dorm all those years ago holding the hand of my beautiful son.  I know I never imagined what my life would be like at this point, and while I miss the excitement of a new school year, I am more than content with the life I live now.  

In the car on the way home, I watched Asher sleep and thought about how perfect and beautiful he is.  Some people are blessed to have one perfect child, and I have two!  How can I be so lucky?

Today was also an exciting day- my cousin went into labor and delivered her first child, a baby boy!  We went to the hospital tonight hoping to meet him, but he was in the nursery getting a bath.  He is small and very cute.  Asher raced up and down the hallway while we waited.  It felt like just yesterday that I was there after delivering my two boys.  We saw one of the residents who helped with the delivery and said hello- she said that both Asher and I look great!  

My day of being a single mom is over, and Eric and Benjamin should get home tomorrow afternoon while I'm at work.  It is so quiet with just half the family, and I miss my other half so much.  I can't wait to hug and kiss Benjamin (and Eric, too!).

I will post some pictures from our trip once Eric gets home with the camera, I haven't even seen the photos we took but I'm hoping they're cute!

Asher started saying "na, na," which he used first just to nurse, but now just means "give me a drink!" They are imitating sounds and words more now, which is good.  Benjamin is also starting to say "more" when he wants more food.