Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Ten Month: Reflections

The coldest, snowiest, yuckiest winter I have experienced in my thirty years of living is still raging on.  My boys have been cooped up, but they are still growing and experiencing the world like crazy!

What We Learned About Nolan Gerard:
As we've been exploring more table food, Nolan has been interesting on how he's handled things.  First and not surprising, when Nolan first tries something new, his face is one of disgust.  As I've mentioned before, Nolan may look like Josh, but has many personality characteristics of mine.  One thing I am famous for is being that person who orders the exact same thing at restaurants.  I don't like change; I live a lot by the motto of, 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it.'  Nolan assumes that he isn't going to like something new. Usually that ends up not being the case (he's pretty much inhaled everything he's been given), but he is cautious at new things at first.  Secondly, and also not surprising is that Nolan wants to do everything right away and this includes eating.  He wants to stuff his mouth full of whatever is there and swallow it whole basically.  What has been surprising about this is his gag reflex.  He "chokes" easily on things because he tries to swallow them whole without mashing or chewing on them with his mouth full of teeth (he has seven so far).  So, when that happens, he throws things up.  Since they've started to eat table food, he's thrown up probably between five and ten times.  Once he spits up whatever he decided NOT to try and chew, he's happy as a clam.

At an evening at my grandma's earlier this month, it was confirmed that Nolan would like to be old already.  Nolan has always seemed dissatisfied at being a baby.  When he was first born, we were all certain Nolan would still like to be inside my belly.  He wanted to be warm, snuggled, and fed without having to do a lot of work.  Now, it seems he'd like to be old.  My cousin Noah and my cousin Nick's kids Dominic and Vincent were wrestling and roughhousing with Josh and jumping on top of his back.  Nolan wanted to get up there too; he wanted to jump, wanted to play, wanted to be on top of this pyramid that was being built.  He was totally annoyed to be too little to do this.  Watching this conspire wasn't good enough for him.  This translates into him trying things before he might actually be ready, which has happened a lot.  This mom, however, is okay with things not going too fast ;)

What We Learned About Judah Matthew:
When Judah was smaller, it was a complete and total disaster if he didn't get enough sleep.  There were times when he might nap close to three hours and NO ONE wanted to be around if he wasn't well rested.  Recently, he has proven himself to be a little more resilient in that area.  Judah's naps, in general, and sleep, in general, have now been less than Nolan's and he has shown numerous times that he can function on a lot less sleep.  He will forfeit sleep easily especially in the name of playing or visiting with company.  He hates to be put down for a nap if someone is visiting him! 

Judah has become a lot more verbal and vocal this month too.  Judah is very quiet or very loud... he's not usually in between.  When he wants to yell and be heard, he will be louder than Nolan.   Both boys say a lot of 'gaga' or 'mama' or 'dada' or 'baba' but Judah says 'mama' more than the others, which I enjoy ;) 

Judah has basically loved every single food we've tried.  He is better at chewing and mashing even with his four little teeth. He gets so excited when food is put down on his tray and tries to eat every last morsel, even if he is trying to use a finger to get stray jelly in his mouth. 

Finally, Judah has been known to be very durable this month.  He can take spills, tumbles, and falls gracefully and without getting too upset; he's a tough cookie!  There are many times where he will, as we say, 'bonk!' and I will be so impressed with how quickly he recovers.  Even though Nolan may be bigger and appear stronger, he is much more of a 'wuss' than his brother :) 

Some Firsts:
  • Trying lots of table foods: toast, waffles, mac and cheese, boiled carrots, many types of fruit, and most importantly... SPAGHETTI
  • 2-16-14~ Nolan crawled up the stairs
  • 2-25-14~ Nolan made a noise at Judah and Judah looked like he was paying attention.  The beginning of conversations?
  • 2-26-14~ Judah can crawl up the stairs  

Twin Moments:
  • A big twin struggle this month was napping and sleeping together.  Now that the boys are so much more mobile, if one of them wakes up, they crawl over toward the other's crib, pull themselves up, and try to wake the sleeping brother.  This has not been good, especially during naps where the boys don't enter into as deep of a sleep.  We have been trying to figure out the best way to deal with this.  Most of the time it has involved rushing into their room and plucking whichever one of them is awake in hopes no one else wakes up.  This does not teach self-soothing or independence, but the thought of waking someone else up seems worse/more unpredictable/scarier/not helping us all get sleep.  Right now, we are having the boys take their first nap separately.  We have a Pack N' Play in the basement and one upstairs so the boys rotate.  The second nap they usually take in their rooms together and as the month went on, they've been sleeping over night in their room better and better.  I found myself at a loss of who to consult.  This is one example of a #twinproblem
  • Nolan and Judah are enjoying "talking" to each other every morning when they wake up.
  • Boys like to follow each other around when they are crawling and exploring 
  • There have been a few instances where one twin will go out of their way to comfort the other when upset. 
  • Nolan loves to see where Judah is and that he is sleeping before he goes down for a nap or to bed. 

Reflections on Being a Mom:
This month was a busy month for me, especially professionally.  In case you forgot, I am working part time right now.  My wonderful former teaching partner and I decided to job share so that we could both have more time at home with our little families.  I work 40% of the time, she works 60% of the time, which puts me at working two days a week.  Katie gave birth to little Henry in November so she has been "away" on her maternity leave.  I put away in quotation marks because how much does a teacher really ever stay completely out of their work life when they are gone?  Unfortunately, we have went through three different long term subs; this was no one's fault, people got jobs or had to start other maternity leaves early... what are you going to do?  Anyway, to make a short story long, I've been working a lot lately.  I'm happy to do it, she would do the same thing if the roles were reversed, but this had made me a busy busy lady.  I feel that I got a small window into what my life would be like as a full time teacher/mother of twins.

This experience has given me several revelations.  First, I am crazy.  Oh wait, we already knew that!  What I mean is that, I have such a hard time doing anything without being 10000000% in.  I have been struggling so much with wanting to make sure my students are taken care of and that things are thoughtfully planned and organized for them whether I am there or not.  Getting home on time has been an epic failure.  All of us teachers know that we could literally live at school and work night and day and there would still be so much work that could be done.  You feel guilty at school, feel guilty at home.  Having a little extra on my plate has really made me aware of this.

Secondly, I continue to have sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much respect for people who do work full time and parent full time as so many amazing women and men (including my husband) do.  You are all incredible rockstars. The end.

Thirdly, I am thankful to be able to be in this part time situation.  I love teaching, love my job, and love LOVE my sixth graders; I know I would miss it if I stayed at home full time.  But, on the flip, I treasure more than I could ever say, being able to spend more time at home with Nolan and Judah.  Josh and I had to plan and sacrifice for this opportunity, but it is worth it.  SO worth it.

As my partner returns this week, I am breathing a sign of relief that things can get back to being a little more normal around room 116 at Hope School :)

Also this month, I have completed my first 30 days of the Bikini Body Mommy Challenge.  Although I have not seen much movement on the scale necessarily, I have seen changes in my body.  I am stronger and beginning to feel more toned.  I am proud to be working out now six days a week, which is crazy to me!  I can make time for 20ish minutes a day.

To assist in my Bikini Body Mommy 90 Challenge, I am also giving up second helpings for lent.  So far it hasn't been too much of a noticeable sacrifice, but I know I will be in situations where it will be.  Eating things like pasta or mac and cheese for example, I always get a second (or sometimes third) helping of those.  Going to get-togethers where there are appetizer and snacky type foods, I certainly take more than one helping (more like three or four).  Eating pizza...yes, I will have a fourth slice, but not until Easter!  I am also committing to drinking lots of water.  Bikini Body Mommy suggests you drink half your weight in ounces of water.  I won't tell you how many ounces I'm trying to drink ;)

Josh and I both want to be active with our kids and have the energy and strength to do so.

The other thing that's been on my mind a lot this month is this FREAKING WINTER.  I really have tried to handle all of this gracefully and I have, I think, since November when it began.  But the more I look out at the extended forecast and still see temperatures that are too cold for my liking, I am getting disheartened.

30s and a sprinkle of 40s isn't bad compared to what we've been having, but that is NOT close to spring.  I need grass, flowers, clear sidewalks and streets, and to be able to be outside with Nolan and Judah and not have to bundle them up so much.

The last time I took my boys for a stroller ride they couldn't crawl, couldn't sit up, and could barely keep their eyes open for the duration of our stroller ride.  They need to be put in the stroller in their car seat.

The last time I took my boys out to enjoy the great outdoors, they were in their bouncy seat or laying on a blanket unable to do anything but just look up.

Now, I am dreaming of walks where they can be alert, engaged, look around at everything while sitting up in their stroller.  I'm dreaming of putting them on the ground where they can crawl around, touch the grass, explore their surroundings.

I can't take it much longer.  I'm just going to put that out there.  I promise I will complain less when I'm sweating my butt off, I promise to be grateful for small things like having my windows open.  And above all else, I PROMISE to take full advantage of nice weather with my boys... I won't waste it, I WON'T!

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