Strollin’ with my homies.

Those are two happy babies, huh? Bet their parents are happy they spent a lot of money on that spiffy new stroller.

The twins did not go out much for their first five months — I can count on one hand the times they left the apartment, and the majority of those outings were for doctor’s appointments. This was mainly to establish their napping routines and because they were born in the middle of a Chicago winter. We’ve had visitors, of course, but we don’t have family nearby so there haven’t been any routine visits from people other than Justin and myself. I wonder if that accounts for what appears to be their terror at being outside. Both of their eyes get really, really big and stay that way the entire time we’re out. Pushing them in the Snap and Go was a nightmare because, in addition to their unease at just being out side, every crack in the sidewalk was magnified tenfold because of the rickety nature of that stroller.

Because I worry about everything and find a reason to feel guilty around every corner, I now worry that their discomfort with the outside world is because I didn’t try harder to expose them to an environment other than the two rooms they primarily see in our apartment: the living room, where they eat and play, and their nursery, where they sleep. On our second venture out in the stroller it suddenly occurred to me that, for all they knew, that was all that existed in this world, and Justin and I were the only other people in the universe. Now I take them outside and blow their minds with the very large world around them. During that first walk, Jack cried every five or so minutes…I kept saying, let’s turn around, let’s go home, but Justin was determined to keep going, because he thought all Jack needed was to get used to the new things he was seeing. He was right. By the time we were headed home, Jack had gotten very quiet and when I peeked in on him, he was sleeping. I don’t think he would have fallen asleep had he not relaxed somewhat. That’s why I’m so lucky to have Justin as a husband. My instinct is to give up at the slightest whimper — I have to make myself give them time to settle in and get used to something new. Instead I just want them to stop crying. Justin is much more patient and can wait them out.

When we started trying to shift Jack’s sleeping schedule so that he wasn’t doing his massive power nap from 2:30 or 3 pm until bedtime, I knew I had to find something to keep him occupied during the hour or so right before the bath, because a Jack who is tired is a cranky Jack indeed. The stroller was going to be the solution for that — ideally, they’ll get up between 4 and 5 pm, eat, and we’ll head down to the stroller. When they didn’t take to it right away, I started getting pessimistic, but with Justin’s encouragement, I’ve kept it up — we’ve strolled five days in a row now. Things start off a little rocky each time because I can’t take them both downstairs at the same time, so someone has to be buckled in and then has to wait for about two minutes while I run up to get the second one. I’ve tried it with each of them being the solo one and both of them hate it — but as usual, Jack is the one who is the most vocal in his hatred. I am truly surprised that the neighbors didn’t call the police or at least stick their heads out to see what was going on yesterday, when he pitched one of his massive hysterical fits — that ended as soon as the wheels on the stroller started turning. Emmeline is still a little wary and I wouldn’t describe her as enjoying the walk — plus, the last two days it has been cool and damp out side and this morning she woke up with a cough and sneeze — but Jack has been the real revelation. He settles right in now, clutching the little bug rattle I got for him at a rummage sale (best fifty cents I’ve ever spent!) and is silent and watchful for the entire 45-minute watch. Sometimes he falls asleep for the last 10 minutes of the trip, but it hasn’t interfered with bedtime so far. We stop for about ten minutes at a high school that is used as a dog park after school hours and they watch the dogs run and play for a while — with no emotion on their faces, which I find a little weird. Even yesterday, when a big dog charged the stroller and got right up in their faces (just sniffing, nothing threatening, and the owner was quick to pull him away) their expressions never changed. Justin thinks they may still be a little freaked out and that’s playing out in passivity in their expressions. I’m not sure. I know Jack’s loving the trips because he would let us know, loud and clear, if he weren’t; but I keep watching her face for a smile or reaction to try and determine if she’s okay with the walks. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

When we get home and start prepping for baths, he’s calm and funny, happy to play and talk. He’s even okay waiting through Emmeline’s bath. I’m really thrilled that it looks like this might be the solution I was hoping for — and it doesn’t hurt that it’s good exercise for the twins’ pudgy mom as well. I hope to work up to a 4- or 4.5 mile walk, which I should be able to do in an hour.

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