Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Little laundry helpers or creators?

This is what babies do when their mothers have to get some laundry folded because the ratio of clean clothes folded neatly in drawers versus clothes in varying states of need-to-be-washed/washed/washed, waiting to be dried/dried/still-to-be folded/folded, just not yet put away is tipping very heavily to the latter.

If only I could get them to pair all those little socks.

My prince loves his rice cereal

There are two things I've done with each of our children that would send any of today's pediatricians into long dissertations on the harm I'm inflicting. One of them involves solid foods. Rice cereal to be more exact.

All the books, doctors and experts lecture parents that a child should not be introduced to any solid food until at least four months of age. Alena made it closer to this recommended age than any of the others and that was due only to my new mom paranoia. But even she was being fed from a bowl, not just a bottle, by three months.

I learned with Alivia that babies actually take to a spoon being stuck in their mouth much easier if you make your move earlier. By a couple months of age she was eating the rice cereal as quickly as I could get it to her little lips.

A few weeks ago Trace hit a feeding frenzy. Every two hours he was crying for more. He was getting up more at night, to eat, of course. It seemed that the more we fed him, the more he had to have. We finally got the picture that the formula just wasn't cutting it. Rice cereal it was.

He didn't hesitate when dad offered the first bite. Slurping, sucking and sticking his tongue out for more. I had made just a small bit to start with, thinking that even the small serving would go half to waste. Not so with this growing prince. He ate every last spoonful.

Over the course of the last three weeks or so we've increased the rice cereal he gets each day, first a tablespoon just one time a day. Then two tablespoons each morning. This week we've gone to two tablespoons twice a day. I can't recall a feeding that any has been wasted. We've even spiced things up by adding a small spoonful of prunes or peaches to the cereal mix.

Unlike his predecessors, he's so taken with his new food he's fairly clean in polishing it off. With the exception of a small amount that inevitably gets smeared on his face near his mouth, bib, hands and seat stay relatively clean (he's not willing to miss out on any).

His new love affair with cereal just might be responsible for the ever diminishing gap in weight between he and Alysse ... just two ounces separate them now. She better watch out, next week we're bringing out the squash.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Dad, take me out to the ballgame

It was four years ago last Thursday that Jason and I were married. To honor the day he spent the afternoon at a businessman's special Reds game with another girl. The only other girl I'd share him with on our anniversary ... Alena Grace.

We'd promised her since Opening Day that dad would take her out to the ballgame. After all, she can sing the song from beginning to end, and a few weeks ago we picked up a bag of Cracker Jacks at the grocery so she knew just what these Cracker Jack things we sing about really are. We figured an afternoon game would be most fun for her, and since those weekday games are numbered, Jason snatched up the good seats he found still available that morning.

She and I spent the morning getting ready for her outing. We packed her little backpack with all the necessities (potty seat, sunscreen, sunglasses and treats), so she was ready to go when dad got home early from work. Although I don't think she had any real idea what the "ballgame" would be, she was thrilled she was going. As soon as Jason walked through the door, she was kissing me goodbye, completely determined not to wait another minute to get the adventure under way.

I tell the rest of the story as a recount of Jason's tales from the day.

Their tickets gave them access to Club 4192, an indoor area of Great American Ballpark that has its own concession areas, restrooms and other amenities. Once they got into the park and the Club 4192 area, they had lunch together. A hotdog and Sierra Mist for Alena, a cheeseburger and beer for dad. They were able to sit along an indoor bar that looks out onto the field and eat.

After lunch, they headed for their seats. Just in front of them was a cameraman. Alena and her never-ending line of questions needed to know just what the man was doing. After dad explained he was putting the game on television for people at home to see, she moved on to the more important matter at hand ... the man wasn't wearing shoes. And the socks he was wearing had holes in them.

Apparently Alena was more taken with the "inside" than her actual seat outside and the game, as she didn't enjoy more than one inning before she asked dad if they could go back in. She found the comforts of air conditioning, couches and watching the game being broadcast on televisions inside to be more to her liking.

Four trips to the bathroom, an ice cream served in a miniature baseball helmet and a souvenir baseball later, they were headed home. They didn't make it out of downtown before Alena was asleep in her carseat, and Jason listened to the last two innings on the radio.

I'm not quite sure who had more fun. Alena was already talking about going to the ballgame again at dinner that night (I think she'd have packed up and headed out again the next day), and Jason told me later that night he didn't get to see much of the game, but still had a great time. I'd have to say she must have been a good date ... there aren't many people he'd give up watching the game for.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Twenty two pounds of baby and growing

It's momentous to me. Maybe not to anyone else, but for me it's a milestone.

Today, reaching 11 pounds, 2 ounces and 11 pounds, 8 ounces respectively, Trace and Alysse are twice the size they once were. That's right, DOUBLE! Although born at 6 pounds and 6 pounds, 1 ounce, at their very smallest they weighed 5 pounds, 8 ounces and 5 pounds, 12 ounces.

While so many people said "that's good size" for twins, for me it was a constant source of worry. Logically, yes, "that's good size." I should count my blessings every day they were born as big as they were, and arrived fully developed and ready to take on the world. But 6 pounds in this mother's eyes is small, fragile and scary.

In the grocery, you pick up a 5-pound bag of flour and place in in your cart without any effort. Add just 8 ounces and you've lifted Trace at his very smallest. It requires about 2 pounds of apples to bake one nine-inch apple pie. So, with the 6 pounds of apples that would have out-weighed Alysse at her teeniest, you could have served up three apple pies. Three apple pies and a bag of flour and you had our babies.

Everyone said they'd be fine. That they'd grow quickly. But secretly I wished the days away. I wished away 6 pounds, 7 ounces; I wished away 7 pounds, 2 ounces; I even got greedy and wished away 8 pounds.

The scale got put to work, and then some. And while I would have denied it at the time, there were days when Trace was gaining more slowly and got weighed twice ... just to "check." Days when one baby's weight was just an ounce or two less than the day before left me worrying until the scale came out again.

We've got a piece of paper that until tonight hung on the refrigerator with almost daily recordings of Trace and Alysse's weights. I took it down to celebrate the round bellies and now much chunkier thighs. I can now relax a bit, I know they are growing. Maybe not each and every day, but they are growing. Tomorrow the scale just might not come out, and someday soon they'll each outweigh a regulation-size bowling ball.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Warm weather, cool water and wet butts

Today was one of discoveries. I discovered little girls aren't much interested in planting flowers, however much they beg and plead to go outside and take part; and the girls discovered mom will let them strip down buck naked and act like crazy monkeys under the sun.

Mistakenly I thought planting annuals in the backyard would prove entertaing for Alena, Alivia and I this afternoon while the twins were napping. Alena just had to have the "pink flowers" and Alivia had a container of purple petunias. We set out to plant, hand-held shovels in tow. I began digging holes and removing the flowers from their containers, handing them to the girls to put in the holes I had made.

Alena complained she was getting messy and Alivia was more interested in filling her pockets with dirt (learning yesterday that she had no problem filling her mouth with dirt as well, I was more than pleased that it was just her pockets today). Okay ... mom planted the flowers.

Next, I said, let's water them. So we take off to the spigot to fill our watering cans. I soon found out we should have just skipped the planting and gotten right to the watering.

Amazed at this water flowing free from the side of the house, they began taking drinks from it. Innocent enough, I stood back letting them take turns. As they discovered drinking from this new fountain was okay, Alena stuck her foot into the stream. Cold, it must have felt good, so the other one went in. Liv followed, getting her shorts wet with her attempt.

Since neither one was being particularly careful, soon each was soaked from head to toe (note: shoes had been removed by now and serious efforts had been made to drink from them). For a short time, this state of wet chaos was enough. They laughed, sharing cool drinks and rinsing their little feet.

"Mom," Alena called out, "I need to take my shorts off. They're wet." Before I had a chance to respond, down came the shorts. "You have to keep your panties on," I said. Following suit, Liv's shorts made their descent. Apparently water is even more fun when you've lost your pants, so the frolicking continued. Next came the shirts ... thrown to the side in the ever-growing scene of cast-off clothes.

The watering cans actually got used at this point, as Alena decided to "water" Alivia's shorts that she had long since forgotten. Watering clothes must simply be more fun than watering flowers, if for no other reason than novelty.

Only moments passed before panties were being rinsed in the stream of water and Liv's diaper was flying through the air. The sight was innocence in its purest state. Free and alive they were (naked as jay birds, too), dancing in their birthday suits under the afternoon's bright sun. Uninhibited and carefree, they were a testament to what growing older (and wiser?) robs from you.