Apologies for the recent lack of posting. I’m not saying that those of you who do not live in Arkansas are less important than those that do, but I AM saying that grandparents leveled a certain amount of pressure to post that is no longer present now that they see the babies on a regular basis. i.e., I don’t feel as guilted into posting pictures. It’s not that you guys are less important, but you are much sweeter about the lack of posting. But in a way, this site has become our baby book for the twins (since we were too lazy/manic/busy/stressed to keep an actual baby book) so I want to try and keep it up as much as possible.
Let’s do a little state of the union, shall we? Ladies and Gentlemen, the state of the union is…okay. Justin and I just finished a conversation where we were commiserating about the new stage the kids are moving into (see how I didn’t say babies? But it’s hard not to!) and how wearing it is. Friday, I was tearing my hair out by 11 am. I had out Jack into timeout twice already (once for beating his sister with a toy broom handle, the other for hitting her with a book) and Emme was arguing with everything. I MIGHT have cursed at them. I dunno, it’s all a haze. I do know that when my amazing husband Justin offered SO GENEROUSLY to bring home a burger, fries, diet coke, and pie on his lunch break, all of which are forbidden to me — I’ve been on a version of the Whole 30 diet (I’m not all that strict on dairy) since late January (I’ve dropped nearly 15 lbs!) and have given up diet coke for about two weeks now (I was drinking 5 cans a day…yikes…now am down to one or two a week but would like to try to eliminate even those) — I said yes (have I mentioned lately how awesome he is? Because he is. SO. AWESOME. Really. Awesome.) The forbidden food made me feel mildly better, at least enough to get me through to nap time — my niece came over and babysat at about 3:30 so I could go stock my flea market booth. It was a lovely, quiet, thirty minute drive out to Prairie Grove, let me tell you.
It is hard to believe that that face can drive me to junk food eating of that degree, but it’s true. Jack has turned into the most boyish boy you’ve ever seen. It’s like he got a massive shot of testosterone and his main means of communication is aggression. Mostly against his sister, whom he outweighs by nearly five pounds now. When he gets bored, he leaps on her, or punches her, or, less alarmingly, starts madly tickling her. It’s not out of meanness — he clearly thinks it’s hilarious and is just playing — but he hurts her frequently and I can’t stand the thought that she feels constantly under attack. I had a very aggressive brother. Maybe all of us who had older brothers did? I lived in fear of him though — and that’s not overstating it. It was if he didn’t realize how much damage he was actually doing when he was aggressive towards me, and that’s how Jack acts. So in addition to worrying about Emme getting hurt, I have that additional baggage left over from childhood.
That said, he is by far the most lovingly demonstrative of the two. He is cuddly and affectionate when he is in a good mood, and when he gives kisses now, he does it with a huge “MWAH!” sound affect. He lays his head on my shoulder and pats my back when I’m holding him. His bouts of moodiness are much fewer and far between and he seems happier these days. His vocabulary has expanded, though he is still not at the level of language development he is “supposed” to be at — he probably has between 10 and 15 words at this point and he is finally saying “please” (well, he says “pease”) which is a big step in the right direction. He also says “on” or “un” instead of “yes” — I have no idea why. I have a theory that it’s because “on” is “no” backwards and “yes” is the opposite of “no” — but that would make him a genius, right? A mixed-up genius, but a genius all the same. He can point to any letter you ask him to, and he can either name every letter or say the sound it makes (with the exception of one or two). He can point to every number between 1-10 that you ask him to but he can only name 8 and 9. I still have a suspicion that there is a problem with his language development but I’m not sweating it anymore. He is clearly understanding at his age level…I’m hoping that his language skills will catch up soon.
He is thoroughly adorable except when he’s beating the crap out of his sister.
Emme has started talking like a pro. It happened suddenly, like everyone said it would. Suddenly, I was having conversations with her.
“Let’s go get your bagels!” I said to them one morning as we started to leave the nursery.
“No bagels, Mom!” she shouted. “Want cereal! No bagels!” This, mind you, was the day after she was speaking solely in one-word commands. I was all, holy crap, I just had a conversation with my baby!
And she’s only progressed from there. She can say just about any word you can think of, and remembers things that we tell her only once, sometimes in passing. She’s doing a lot of labeling of things, naming them as we walk by or see them out the car window.
Something terrible happened at Wal Mart about six weeks ago. Really, really terrible, that I should be ashamed to admit but I’m going to anyway. Jack always rides in the appropriate area of the shopping cart because he’s harder to contain and that area makes it easier to keep him corralled. Emme rides in the basket. Until this incident, I had not been good at all about making her sit down when the cart was in motion. On this particular day, we came around a blind corner and almost ran into an old man pushing a cart; I stopped abruptly to keep from hitting him. Emme, whose waist was leaning against the front of the cart, teetered, tottered, and then went head first over the side of the basket.
It was like a movie. Everything went to slow motion. I grasped at her shirt but couldn’t get to it fast enough. She didn’t bend, just went straight over, leading with her head, and hit that hard supermarket floor with the crown of her tiny, vulnerable, soft little head.
In that second, I saw everything that was going to happen: Her head was going to split open. I was going to have to scream for someone to call an ambulance. I was going to have to cradle her in my arms as she bled, waiting for the paramedics to get there. We were going to rush her to the hospital. She might die. She might have permanent brain damage. And all because I did one of the most stupid thing a person could do: I didn’t make my baby sit down in a moving shopping cart. I have never, in my life, felt such panic and grief.
I scooped her up and rocked her — no blood. What a relief. I was crying, she was screaming, Jack was making soothing noises and patting me on the head from the shopping cart as I sat in the floor in the middle of Wal Mart. The old man that I tried so hard not to hit rolled around us and moved on. Thanks, dude. Next time I’ll just roll on into you. No one stopped or talked to us, actually, until after about three minutes of this, when an older woman came up to me and patted me on the shoulder.
“It’s so hard, isn’t it, being a parent,” she said, and her sympathy made me cry harder. “I can’t believe I did that!” I cried. “It was all my fault! I let her stand up!”
“Oh, honey,” she said, “that won’t be the worst thing you ever do.” And with one final pat, she moved on, and gathered myself and my baby together to finish our shopping. The whole time I was peering into Emme’s eyes every two minutes, trying to decide if I needed to take her to the hospital. She had stopped crying, but she was so shaken up — I had never seen her like that. She was quiet the whole ride home. I called my Mom to see what she thought (I couldn’t own up to Justin what I had done yet), and we agreed that I should watch her and if she acted funny, take her to the hospital. Luckily, she didn’t act any more funny THAN USUAL, and everything was fine.
And now, when we go to Wal Mart, when I’m getting the cart, she points to her head and says, “head,” with a little frown on her face. “Right,” I’ll say, “we don’t stand up in the cart, right?”
“No, no, no, no, no!” she yells back to me.
So either that was even more traumatic than I thought OR she has a great memory. She can count up to 10 and seems to have a concept of what the numbers mean (i.e., will count the objects in a photo, not just recite the numbers). She can say her alphabet and, like Jack, knows what sounds all the letters make.
They are getting to spend a lot of time with their cousins on my side — my brother and sister-in-law moved last week and we kept their kids every day for four days, so that was quite a treat for Emme and Jack. Emme and Will, who is only 3 months older than the twins, have a bit of a love/hate relationship going on; it’s about 50% fighting over toys and 50% harmony. Sam and Emme get along pretty well though Sam, who is three years older, gets a little fed up with toddler nonsense after a while. This is more socialization that they got in Chicago, though, where their solar system consisted of Mom, Dad, Jessica, and my friend Shannon, who made regular after-work visits to see them. I haven’t worried a whole lot about socialization since they get to practice on each other more than an only child would, but recently, with Jack’s turn towards aggression, I’m glad he’s getting the chance to try and play with people other than Emme so we can work on re-enforcing the rules of playing nicely.
What we’re stuck on is 1. what kind of discipline we should be using and 2. how much is regular 2-year-old nonsense? How much leeway should we give them, how many rules should we expect them to follow, and how much should we just chalk up to typical toddler behavior? I have been thinking of this a lot, and like I told Justin — they have literally been on this earth for 28 months. Their impulse control is nil, they don’t understand about 50% of the words/concepts we’re throwing at them, and some of this is just par for the course. As far as discipline…we’re doing time outs, but the more I read, the more I think it’s just not that effective (and sure doesn’t seem effective as far as our kids are concerned). I never thought I would be a proponent of positive discipline — I’m much too much of a hard-ass for that — but a lot of it makes sense. Mainly, I find myself wanting to just stop yelling so much. And if I put Jack into time out every time he breaks the rules, he would live in time out. That ain’t right. So tonight I suggested we do a little research into discipline books. My Mom gave me one that she used when we were kids (and we turned out SO STELLAR, it must be good) but I think it’s still packed up so I will have to see if I can dig it out.
Speaking of, we’re moving in a little under a month — we bought a house! Shocking to all involved, let me tell you. So I’ll post a little bit more of that as we get closer to the date.
As if this post weren’t long enough…here are a few more pictures. I’ll try not to let three months go by before my next post.