Monday, December 28, 2009

Potty Training Twins: Notes from the bathroom floor

We've finally broken down and started potty training the twins.

Why? Well, I hate to say it, but it all started because my kid sister told me that Natasha, my niece, was working on potty training and learning quickly. Deep in my heart, the competitive part of me said, "No way! She's three months younger than the twins!". Clearly, I needed to get a move on in the training department.

You know what, though? Twins are harder to train than a singleton.

Yup. You're stunned, aren't you? Yeah, two butts to chase around naked and two voices yelling "NO!" when you ask them the perennial question: "Do you want to sit on the potty?"

It gets old pretty fast.

I'm hoping I get them trained before pre-school, which will happen either when they're 3 or when they're potty trained, whichever comes first. Since Caitlin was done a month and a half before her 3rd birthday, I'm hoping to beat that date. We'll see. The twins seem to have come in the Extra Obstinate model. Lucky me.

My observations, thus far:
  • After asking nicely, begging and pleading, have been reduced to outright bribery just to get the twins to sit on the potty. Now there is 1 M&M for sitting. More are promised on actual production*, if you know what I mean (And I think that you do!).
  • Logan doesn't seem to understand If/Then statements. As in, "If you sit on the potty I will give you a chocolate. If you make a pee-pee or a poopy**, then I will give you more chocolate." Afraid his future career as a programmer is in doubt.
  • Emma has successfully made two deposits*** in the potty so far. Much applause and squealing followed on my part. Applied two mini chocolate bars leftover from Halloween. She approved.
  • Had to apply half of one bar to Logan who objected to being left out of the chocolate fest. Half a bar for potty cheering?
  • Is continual chocolate applications in the potty going to have an odd long term effect on children? Future Emma/Logan: "Strangely, I always get a craving for chocolate when I'm using the bathroom. Isn't that odd, mom? Mom? I said, 'Isn't that odd?' Mom...?"
  • Emma likes reading potty books in the potty. Need to invest in more potty-oriented reading material. Suspect that buying used potty books would be gross.
  • Logan supremely uninterested in potty training, but very interested in chocolate. Crying ensues after lack of production means lack of further chocolate. May have put self in for repeated crying jags.
  • Am spending an awful lot of time sitting on bathroom floor. May need to actually clean it more while cheerleading current occupant.
  • One day...this will all be over.No more diapers for me!
Updated to add: Logan just peed in the potty for the very first time! Aieee! (Start the parade!)

* Look at me, being all "delicate". I'm sparing your sensibilities here!
** Sorry about that. So much for delicacy....
*** On either side of Eric's birthday. Happy birthday, Daddy! Still trying to be polite. Really. I'm only doing this for you.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

All I Want For Christmas

A psychologist.
  1. A massage therapist.
  2. A live-in nanny.
  3. A maid.
  4. A gardener.
  5. A cook.
  6. Peace and quiet.
  7. Booze.

Guess I'm not getting anything this year.

I officially hate the holidays.

Here's hoping yours are going better than mine!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Ms. Manners

Emma has become Little Ms. Manners.

Anytime I sneeze, I hear a tiny "Bess you, Mommy!". If she needs to get past you in a tight spot, "Excoose me! Scoose me!". If she wants something, "Peese!" and if you give it to her, "Tank you!".

I hardly know what to think other than "Hot damn! The manners are working on someone!"

And that makes me very happy, indeed.

Now if we could just get her to stop flipping her bowls of food upside down onto the table when she's "done" with them, or chewing up apples and spitting out the skin everywhere...ahhhh! That would be living'!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

We're Doomed!

Emma figured out how to open her bedroom door today.

I watched as she turned the knob and opened the door, then closed it and opened it again. She did this about six times, just checking to make sure that she really could.

Now we're clearly doomed. If they decide they don't want to nap anymore, she's gonna be the one to open the door and let the screaming mini-horde out!


Tuesday, December 08, 2009

42 Is The Answer

But what was the question?

You can make numbers from candy canes! Woo!

View from the side.

The man himself, blowing out his candle away from the cake. He has a cold, so he was trying not to blow his germy breath all over the cake. He's thoughtful that way. I'm pretty sure that's why I married him. Even though it is his very own birthday cake.

Eric at 42.

View from the inside.

Why are there more pictures of the cake than anything else? Because I was too busy eating cake once it got cut to take more pictures. Funny, that.

Wait! I think I know the question!

It was "How much do I love thee?"

Yup. That's the one. Happy birthday, honey.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Thanksgiving in Canada

So, after hollering that I wouldn't get on another damned plane again until someone died, I realized that I actually might want to see my dad before...well before he fit the terms of my threat. Especially after my Ultra Wheedling wasn't working on mom.

Turns out dad's not up to traveling anywhere anymore.

Thus the abrupt about face on the topic and all 5 of us getting up and out with our 2 car seats, 1 booster seat, 1 giant rolling suitcase, 2 smaller rolling suitcases, a giant baby bag, a computer bag, 2 umbrella strollers and Caitlin's knapsack. Plus a whiny 8 year old ("I'm bored!" Girl, we're just on the BUS leaving the airport PARKING AREA. Can you hold the whining for the moment?!), twins that don't care to be strapped into their umbrella strollers and two adults loaded down like pack mules. This is the part that I loathe. Fortunately we can put the big heavy stuff in the care of the airline and then just lug the twins, strollers, Caitlin, and carry-ons around.

And this is us traveling light. At least, as light as we can.

So we make it through security (Hey, guess what? The security level is still at Orange. Which still doesn't mean a damned thing.) with a minimum of screaming and get on the plane when we realize that in all of the frenzy we didn't pack any toys or books for the twins. Um...snacks I have, plus water bottles. No toys. So I spent the better part of the first flight making the inflight magazine as fascinating as possible for Emma. Eric had Logan, so I assume they were discussing the finer points of computer programming or something. Since I had the snacks, Emma was happy.

They all travel pretty well, those kids. There were only two incidents of screaming and once Emma told me "Ears! Ears!", I was able to resolve that problem with the rapid application of chocolate chips. To eat, you see. Popped her ear drums very nicely and kept her occupied.

So we made it to Canada, with all of our children and all of our gear. Mom and dad met us at the airport and we all piled into this e-NOR-mous vehicle they rented. It was bigger than a small moon and had not one but two DVD players mounted into the roof, seating for 7 and heating controls to make just about everyone perfectly happy. It handled like a pregnant yak, but boy did it ever fit everyone nicely! We dropped mom and dad off at their place and then drove over to Cindy's house where we woke almost everyone up upon our arrival at TWO A.M. local time. Yup. Fortunately, she forgave me for that and for bringing sniffly germ-ridden twins to stay at her house for a week.
"Iz OK. I got de drugs!"
And yes that is yet another black eye. Sigh. He fell on a toy truck. Face first.

The twins were excited to have Natasha to play with...

Natasha - my only niece! Cheek squeeze!

and all of her toys.
"Yes, I AM playing with a pink castle. What's it to YOU?!"

My nephew Daniel was thrilled to see Caitlin again and they two spent alot of time together doing this:
Videos. Braiiiiins leaking out on the floor.

Caitlin also enjoyed playing with buckets of toys that weren't hers and reading tons of books she'd never seen before.
Transformer Buzz Lightyear? Who knew?!

Cindy has this ingenious device across the doorway beween the living room and the kitchen.
Stormin' the gates, 2 year old style.

I believe it's called a "gate". I totally want one that will keep the twins out of MY kitchen.

So we squeezed 4 adults and 5 kids into Cindy's 3 bedroom house and it was great.

My long suffering brother-in-law, Jason. I broke the kitchen sink. Sorta. It was totally breaking before I got there! I swear!

We hung around, talked, and ate. I got suckered into reading Twilight and the other three books in the series because Cindy made me. Then she made me watch the movie. It's totally all her fault. Yup.

Cindy snuggles Emma and Natasha, who totally looks like she has a secret in this picture.

The fudge, peppermint bark and all of the jam I brought all made it there in one piece, so I handed it all out as early Xmas presents. Cindy cooked up a storm, made some really awesome Amish bread and put up with me making a mess in her kitchen to make some AB5M Challah bread, cinnamon muffins and rolls from the same batch of dough. (I love how versatile that stuff is!) We didn't really go anywhere, other than grocery shopping. We didn't really do anything other than hang out.

It was good.

Mom and dad came over to visit a couple of times.
Waiting for Grandpa.

The kids wreak havoc on my father's nerves with the Alzheimer's thing going on, so they don't tend to stay for very long.

Us? Nerve wracking? We don't know what you mean, mother!

We celebrated a late Turkey Day on Friday, since Jason was working on Thursday. Mom brought tons of food because that's what she does. A turkey AND a roast beef. And stuffing and chips and several sides. Also, dessert and rolls that a friend at church gave her since they knew we were coming. We were swimming in food.

"Gramma? You gives me choklits? Peese?"

Emma clearly is practicing her wheedling skills on my mom in this picture. I don't know what she wanted, but I'm pretty sure that my mom gave it to her.
"I gonna eat dis pie. I like pie!"

It struck me, after dinner was over, that if I didn't take some pictures quick, I'd completely miss the chance since we would be leaving at 3 a.m. So I started snapping away.
This is what it would be like to have triplets. Only, louder.

Turns out that Daniel isn't overly excited to have his picture taken.
Four of five cousins.

We had to threaten him with dire consequences, so this is the only picture I have of all five of them together.

Because, of course, once Daniel was ready, Logan was done.

"Do you SEE what I have to put up with? Amateurs!"

No, they wouldn't look at me.

Gamma, I hang out wif you now. I heer you gots choklits.

Aunt Cindy, Emma, Dad, Logan and Mom.

Finally, after everyone was gone, I realized that I didn't have a single picture of Cindy and I together. Until now.

My baby sister and me. She's not such a baby anymore.

There you have it. A week in Canada, in the rain, celebrating the American Thanksgiving and hanging out with my family. I can hardly wait to do it again next year!

Thanks so much for having us Cindy! You're a rock star!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Domestic Bliss

We're back!

We ran off to Canada to have turkey with my parents, kid sister and her family last week. Now I have a bunch of photos to edit before I can really write anything significant about it other than this: I had a great time. As did all of the kids. Four adults, five children, one house. Everyone got along fantastically well except for the occasional scrabbling over toys. Enh. Kids.

Regarding domestic bliss...well, mostly I feel like I'd be most blissful if I could outsource all of the cleaning, cooking, diaper changing, baby wrangling, bill paying and a large amount of the tedious gardening, but when Emma fell asleep on the couch this afternoon I decided on a new definition.

Sleeping babies = domestic bliss.

A lot of it has to do with the fact that once they're asleep, the house becomes very quiet and peaceful, but watching them sleep is so very sweet that I really can't imagine life without them.


I still struggle with the tedious amounts of work it takes to raise children and keep a house (Where's my Rosie The Robot?!), but there are silver linings in the shape of the people that love me.

Friday, November 20, 2009

First Haircuts!

Oh no you didn't!

Oh yes I did!

Mr. Scruffy

Mr. Scruffy didn't appreciate the cape at all until it was pointed out that Mater and Lightning McQueen were on it, then he let it stay. Grudgingly. He chose a car to sit in, of course. I distracted him with views of the pictures in my camera.

Making a ponytail.


I almost missed this part. Good thing the stylist asked if I was ready!


There go all of those luscious curls! *sniffle* I almost cried, but then I decided that it's just hair and if I really missed it, it was OK since it can all grow back again. Lookit me being all adult!


Suddenly you can see his face!

Who IS this?!

He looks just like his cousins, Max and Axl. Probably Daniel, too.

So ready to be outta there!

He was so ready to get down, he wouldn't even let me get a good final shot. Stinker!

And then it was Emma's turn. She was a lot more sanguine about the cape and seemed to enjoy watching in the mirror.
Mirror, mirror on the wall.

"What is that lady doin' to mah hair?!"

A little off the bottom.

A little off the top.

At this point Emma decided she needed to switch from the hippo seat to the snail seat and nothing we could do would change her mind. Fortunately, they're professionals, so we all we just slid over and everyone was happy. Both of the twins were remarkably mellow throughout the whole process with very little head twisting or wriggling.

Look at those curls!

One day, if she gains more volume, we might just try cutting it in layers to see if it will all curl. Eeee!

Time for a fancy 'do.

Eric reads to Emma to keep her in the chair. New 'do is almost complete!

Then, suddenly, it was all over. Painless and pretty.

It is a pretty serious change, to look at Logan now. We'll probably keep doing double-takes when we look at him, for awhile!
"Got mah cell phone. Gonna call mah boyz."

Emma sits, enthralled with a book and her pretty new hairdo.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Not everyone likes snow

We had another snow day (although since it happened on a weekend, no schools were closed this time) and since I finally had snow boots for the twins, clearly an outing in the snow was required.

Did you know that it takes about twenty minutes to dress a pair of twins in snowsuits, coats, gloves (one refused), hats and boots? Yup. And then you have to say a little prayer to the Powers That Be that neither twin decides, once they are fully dressed, that they suddenly need a diaper change.

So, 20 minutes after my fantastic! idea to take them outside into the snow to mess around for a bit, I popped them onto the deck. The snow came up to their knees. They stood there and stared.
Dis stuff iz code.

They were stuck. I had to kick a pathway in the snow for them, in order to get them down into the yard. Then they stopped and stared again. Then, overloaded by hats, gloves, boots, snowsuits and coats, they fell over one by one, like toddler sized dominoes.

Seriously unhappy snow covered, dominoes.
"Hep me!"

Logan refused to wear gloves, so of course, he started screaming about his cold-pained hands.

Yes, I photographed them screaming in the snow. Why? Because after 20 minutes of wrestling toddlers into snowsuits I'd better get something out of this than just soggy, screamy toddlers!

Now that it's been a few days and the snow is melting, the twins like it a lot better. Puddles are clearly meant to be jumped in. Puddles are fun.

Snow isn't. At least, not yet.

Maybe next year.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

The Great Mouse Invasion: 2009

Yes, it's begun again.

Winter has finally struck. It got very very cold
This is the back deck after the first day of snowfall.

So much snow it built up on the trellis!

and the mice have decided to migrate indoors. Into my boiler room/pantry in the basement. Then, just for grins, they decide to scamper around inside the heating ducts on their way to the kitchen and take a sniff around.

Unfortunately for them, there are cats in the house.

Domino receives credit for the capture this year. I was reading with Kaboom on my lap and heard a great deal of scampering in the kitchen; not wanting to get up (and with a cat on my lap, I couldn't), I ignored it until I finished my book. Then I went off to find out what Domino was up to. Kaboom, however, had other plans and stole Domino's new toy.

That doesn't look...comfortable.

I find it odd that the scaredy cat is the better mouser and the more aggressive one will defer to him until he saw an opportunity to steal his mouse back from Kaboom.

Domino (white cat) makes his plans for mouse retrieval. Kaboom (black cat) double dog dares him to take it.

I also learned that it's apparently difficult to growl and hiss with a mouthful of mouse. I didn't know that until this episode.

In the end, I called for Eric to come and take the mouse (still alive) away from Domino who was in danger of losing it in the front entryway amongst all of our shoes. Did you know that water glasses and paper work just as well for mouse removal aids as they do for spider removal aids?

Yes, yes they do.

Eric tossed the mouse outside into the 2 foot plus drifts in our front yard and that was they end of that.

The question I keep coming back to in my mind is not: "Why do we have mice?". The question should be "Why don't we have MORE mice?" It's crumb central* around here with the Twin Food Flingers. We should have entire ARMIES of mice.

Where are they? I don't think the 17 I caught in the yard this summer made a serious dent in the local mouse population and the two we caught inside in traps, can't have been it. I guess I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Well, it could be worse. They could be [stage whisper] cockroaches.


* How often is "normal" for floor sweeping? Once a day? Once every other day? Once an hour? Cuz this floor could be swept hourly and still I'd be catching crumbs and that just ain't right.
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