Archive for July, 2012

Anticipating Amy!

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

My dear friend Amy is coming tomorrow to visit Houston and meet our daughters! I’m so excited!

In honor of the occasion, I made up a silly song to sing for Cate and Sam:

She’ll be coming around the corner when she comes
She’ll be coming around the corner when she comes
She’ll be coming around the corner
She’ll be coming around the corner
She’ll be coming around the corner when she comes!

She’ll be dragging wheelie luggage…

We will all go out to dinner…

We will all tell lots of stories…

We will stay up past our bedtime…

…when she comes… tomorrow!!!

Speed blogging: Waving!

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

With people coming and going everyday, we get lots of opportunities to practice waving ‘bye. We’ve been taking time to show the girls how to wave for perhaps a month (? my sense of time is incredibly distorted and inaccurate), and you can tell they’re thinking about how to do it. Sam has wiggled a few fingers a couple of times, Cate has raised an arm a few times, but they’re still getting it together.

This afternoon, when our nanny, Claudia, was leaving, Cate figured it out. Bill got her started by lifting her arm, and from there, she waved it up and down in Claudia’s direction. ‘Bye!

Milestones: Cate is crawling!

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

And now here’s a crawling-enabled Cate, finding tiny snippets of paper on the floor:

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Well, that won’t work anymore.

Monday, July 16th, 2012

Our day has many transition times: between wake up and Prevacid, between Prevacid and nursing, between nursing and bottles, etc. There’s always a question of where the girls should be during these times:

  • When Cate and Sam were little and still somewhat floppy, they just rested in Boppy pillows on our bed.
  • When they started pitching themselves forward towards the edge of the bed, we moved them to the bedroom floor.
  • When they started fussing about being left in the bedroom, we put them in bouncy seats in the kitchen.

For several days, being in a new room was sufficiently compelling. They seemed content to just sit and look up and watch as Daddy Bill and I moved about the kitchen Doing Stuff. And if they got bored, I gave them teethers, spatulas, or small plastic containers to play with and they were content again.

About two weeks ago, they started fussing about being confined in the bouncy seats. But I wanted them in sight, so I pulled them out and sat them on the kitchen floor. They seemed both startled and delighted to find themselves unconstrained on the cold linoleum. Between the novelty and more spatulas, they stayed safely occupied, if underfoot.

But now, we’re in trouble.

This morning, after Bill left for Raleigh and before Claudia arrived, I sat the girls on the bedroom floor and went away for 90 seconds to pee. I came back to find Cate pushing the foot-pedal of the diaper pail with her hands, and Sam trying to pull up and reach the flapping lid on top. Since the pail was freshly emptied, it nearly toppled on them.

Next, I got down on the floor to change their diapers (because so far, the girls haven’t found a way to fall off of the floor). Cate entertained herself while I changed Sam. Sam insisted on helping me change Cate, leaning on her belly (which made Cate giggle) and tugging at her unfastened dirty diaper even before I could pull it off.

We moved to the kitchen so that I could start formula warming before nursing. I carried Sam in and set her on the floor, then went back to get Cate. As we approached the kitchen, Sam had crawled over and had her hands in Tibbs’ water fountain. I walked over her to set Cate down and turned around to find Sam’s hand had been in Tibbs’ wet cat food and was on its way to her mouth. While I cleaned up Sam, Cate got her hands into some of the cat food Sam had smeared on the floor. Yuck.

I moved both girls back to the middle of the floor, and gave them both spatulas to play with… except those obviously aren’t compelling anymore. As I pulled formula out of the fridge, the girls became interested in the garbage can. While I was filling bottles, Cate played with the foot pedal, and Sam pulled herself up and stood there for a while. But today is garbage day and the can is empty (light). When it slid, Sam lost her balance, and fell back and bonked her head on the linoleum floor. Ouch!

Then, as I comforted Sam, Cate followed suit. While I was putting Sam into a bouncy seat for safe keeping, Cate crawled over to the open dishwasher, and pulled herself to a standing position. Then, presumably because our crappy old dishwasher wobbles, she lost her balance, fell back, and bonked her head on the linoleum floor. Ouch!

So… I guess it’s time to pull out the safety gates and start confining the girls to their mat. But did I mention that they are apparently now compelled to pull up and stand at every opportunity? Even in their mat area, they can get into trouble.

As a result, solo parenting Sam and Cate has become especially nerve-wracking, and obviously a little dangerous. They’re constantly moving and trying to practice new skills. But the time it takes you to look at one, figure out what she’s doing, and assess whether she’s still safe, is just long enough for the other one to get herself into trouble. So if you’re in the area and available, let me know if you’d like to come by and help even the odds.

Samanthaism #3

Sunday, July 15th, 2012

Sam has learned to growl. For about two weeks now, she’s been growling… a lot. As she scrambles around growling, she bears a strong resemblance to… a bear cub. I’m not sure whether she learned this from Daddy Bill, or whether she’s emulating my reading of the punchline from Bear Snores On. Either way, it’s super cute. This clip is from July 5th. Enjoy!

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Nascent language: Enjoying good books!

Sunday, July 15th, 2012

We first began reading to our daughters in early March, when they were 3 or 4 months past their due date. Since then, we’ve added books before nap times, too, and we’re up to 6 (short) books a day.

At first, reading was about cuddling, quiet time before bed, and colorful pictures. They assuredly took comfort in the repetition of sounds I made as I read the books aloud, but not meaning.

But that’s starting to change. We added a wonderfully lyrical book called, Bear Snores On.

The poem-story builds to a dramatic punchline:

Hare stoked the fire,
Mouse seasoned stew,
then a small pepper fleck,
made The Bear RAAAAA-CHOOOO!

Both girls laugh when we get to the punchline. And Sam often turns and looks up at me, two pages ahead of time, waiting with anticipation. She plainly knows what’s coming and enjoys it immensely.

This book has also spawned our first running joke. One day, Cate sneezed. Rather than simply saying, “salud!” or “bud’ zdorova” (“be healthy” in Spanish and Russian, respectively), as we had been, I rattled off the punchline of the story, replacing “The Bear” with “Cate.” She immediately laughed out loud, apparently recognizing the reference. Later in the day, I tried it on Sam when she sneezed, and she laughed, too. Wonderful!

They’re clearly starting to take meaning from other books, too.

When we read, That’s not my monster…, we not only touch the monster’s paws, eyebrows, and ears, but also our own. And they’re starting to connect that we all have parts and those parts have names.

When we read, Moo, baa, la la la, they’re starting to connect that the pictures represent animals that make sounds, and some of those sounds make them laugh.

And what’s more, they’re taking that info and applying it elsewhere. When we brought out Jungly Tails and Farm Tails ten weeks ago, the girls were only interested in crinkling them and chewing on the many tails. But now they’re interested when I identify the animals and the sounds they make.

It’s almost like a switch has flipped on and they’re starting to grasp language and meaning.


I’m ready for more of this. Do you have one or more favorite stories that are especially engaging for pre-verbal kiddos? What do you recommend?

Second tooth: Cate!

Saturday, July 14th, 2012

Three and a half weeks after her first tooth erupted, Cate’s second tooth has broken through. When it finishes growing in, she’ll have a matched pair of bottom center incisors.

I was nervous about nursing with the addition of a tooth, but I’m pleased to discover that bottom teeth stay safely under the tongue when babies are sucking. Cate has bit me once or twice, after my boobs were empty, but not apparently on purpose, and she seemed very startled when I exclaimed, “No!” So far, biting is not a problem. Phew!

Meanwhile, Sam seems to have slightly more runaway saliva than before, but still no serious signs of teething. I’m ok with that. This girl has enough to do with learning to crawl and learning to sleep before she takes on growing teeth!

Milestones: Sam is crawling!

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

Having taken her first crawling “steps” on June 15th, Sam has now gotten the hang of it. Watch this baby crawl:

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In the background, Cate is playing with my friend Emily, who offers and comes over several times a week to help me handle the girls while Bill is out of town, and sometimes on weekends just for fun. I wouldn’t make it without her!

And thanks to Susan for Sam’s cute “Milk” onesie!

Catherineism #3

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

Cate’s talking has had a lot more Ms, Ns, and finally Bs the last few days. I caught her mumming with video on July 9th. I don’t have any reason to think she’s assigning meaning to these sounds yet, but regardless, they’re pretty compelling. You can also see her first sharp little tooth in this clip. Enjoy!

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That’s our extraordinary nanny, Claudia, in the background, keeping the kitchen going while I fed the girls breakfast.

Instant karma’s going to get you

Sunday, July 8th, 2012

Our friends Cory and Sara gave the girls a pair of fantastic teething toys. They’re lightweight critters handmade by Lanco Barcelona from natural rubber and vegetable dyes. They have extremities just the right size for teething, and they squeak.

Peggy Pig is Cate’s and Sparky Rabbit is Sam’s. However, they aren’t too clear about that. Just now, they were tussling over the pig. Being a little stronger, Sam managed to tug Cate’s pig away from her, but when Cate’s grip slipped loose, Sam flew back the few inches into the wall and bonked her head.