A Real Post?

(edited to fix photo links…).

Yeah, yeah.  I suppose after teasing all of you with all of those back posts that I should post something real.

We have officially returned to real life here in NC after being in Texas since late August.  I think I said before that I was surprised when I was in Texas and I felt like I wasn’t really “home” anymore, that NC had (finally… after 7 years…) taken that place in my mind.  But, of course, now that we’re back in NC after so many months in Texas, I find myself missing “home” all over again.  I guess I’m split at this point.  I have to admit that there are things I love about my NC home– the seasons, the beauty, the awesome friends I have here–, and things I will always miss about my TX home– the beauty, the awesome friends I have there, the FOOD, and yeah, even family (my boys love their GaGa and PaGa.  We talk about them almost every day now that we’re home.  Henry asks all the time to go to GaGa’s house, and Jack declares, “have tacos, GaGa’s house!”  Yes, they miss the food, too– especially breakfast tacos!).

Anyhow, being in Texas obviously did *not* give me more time for blogging.  And I’ve been very divided as to whether to even continue blogging at all, but I just can’t bring myself to officially end this blog, and so I sit in limbo.  My boys take up a LOT of my time, but at 2.5 years, they are getting closer to being able to play independently for long enough for me to jot a few lines here and there.  So, perhaps that’s my new goal:  Just write a couple of lines when I find the time.  I love the connections I’ve formed here, and I miss the closeness with all of you fostered when I post and read your comments and then read your posts and then leave my own comments over there.  It really does seem that things have slowed down in the last year among my particular corner of the blogosphere.  Connections seem to be happening in other parts of the social media sphere. (And if you want to connect with me over there, just leave a comment here and I’ll message you with my deets…)

And so, business out of the way, let’s get back to the stories.

Jack and Henry both astonish me daily with how much they grow, mentally and physically.  And also, how different they grow from each other.  This third year of their life has been an adventure already.  I think I posted before about how I’m a total hippy-dippy softie when it comes to discipline, and so, naturally, this area has been a huge challenge for us.  Per our pediatrician’s recommendations, we’ve been using time-outs almost exclusively, and I’ve been fairly disappointed with the results.  Honestly, our challenges are very different from child to child, which makes it very difficult to discipline them.  I’m very concerned with fairness between them (aren’t *all* twin parents?  or all parents of siblings, generally?), and so, even though I know time-outs absolutely don’t work with Jack, I don’t want Henry to see Jack performing certain behaviors and being treated differently.  It’s very hard to set expectations if Henry hits Jack and gets a time-out, but then he sees Jack hit and Jack gets held tightly and talked to about expectations.  (Hard to explain, but Henry is much more concerned with living up to our expectations– more of a pleaser–, whereas Jack just loses his mind, loses any sense of… well, *anything*, when he’s separated from H or me. It’s like he can’t associate his behavior with the consequences, so he needs different consequences.  And if I do to Henry what I do with Jack, he doesn’t get it at all. It’s hard disciplining two very different children who are growing up parallel to each other.)

Anyhow, I’d love to hear more from any of you who have found discipline techniques that work for you.  Jack is the perfect “natural consequences” case, and Henry is the classic “authority” minded kind.  Ah, twins.  So much fun and so much stress, all at the same time.

On the “fun” side of things, Henry is a total mimic, and has really had a language explosion in the last few months.  He’ll come up with the most random, yet situationally appropriate, statements that he’s pulling out of his archive of saved phrases.  Like yesterday, when he looked outside at the very wet, mushy snow that was falling from the sky, he said, “I can’t believe it!  It’s so wet!”  Um, what?  Yes, we’ve been having rain for days, and yes, we’ve talked about how wet it is when it rains, but where did that whole construct of surprise at the condition of wetness come from?!  Who knows… He’s very cute, though.  He loves to cuddle.  And he clearly processes things very slowly and for long after the fact.  A couple of weeks ago, some family friends came to my parents’ house to visit with their 10 month old and 3 year old.  And Henry is a terrible sharer, and he got very upset because the baby was touching his things.  I couldn’t explain to him that babies don’t understand mine and yours, and so we used the Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood* song, “Blank-blank gets a turn, and then I get it back” (we use this *all the time* to understand temporary possession).  And now, for the last two weeks, at least once a day, he sings to himself, “Connor takes a turn, Henny gets it back”.  And he will repeat hours or days later, “Papa MAD!” (after I told him once that Papa was grumpy and mad because it was bedtime and they weren’t going to sleep).  And “Jack in TROUBLE!”, which I think is something H said to him at the park the other day while I was chasing Jack across the parking lot after he escaped from the fenced playground.

Anyhow, Henry processes things for days afterward and will pop up with a random phrase to indicate this.  It makes sense that these little creatures are humans and as such, they process their thoughts and feelings even much after the fact, but it just wasn’t clear to me until I actually heard Henry say things that indicated so.

Jack, on the other hand, remains a very action-oriented kid.  He seems to understand quite a bit, but as far as word/thought construction, he’s not yet at the same level as Henry.  He frequently will repeat word-for-word what I say with a different inflection to indicate his meaning, rather than actually saying what he means.  For instance, I say, “do you want a waffle?”  and Jack will say, somewhat angrily, “I WANT a waffle”, which actually means, I DON’T want a waffle.  Yes.  It’s all very confusing with Jack.  But, in most circumstances, I can see that he clearly understands me.  He’s just not very good at words yet.

However, balance-wise, Jack is leaps and bounds (literal leaps and literal bounds) ahead of most of his peers (Henry included).  He is insatiably curious, and he will let almost nothing stop him.  He gets stuck all the time, worming his way into places he shouldn’t go.  He plays by full physical interaction, meaning he really has to move with something to “get it”.  We play with letter toys, and he needs to jump with the letter block, throw it, find it, shout about it.  He is just a physical kid, and he always has been.  He is never happier than when he’s balanced on my lap, or snuggled next to me.

Lifestyle-wise, we continue to co-sleep (though I’m ready to move them whenever they are– we may be buying some low bunk beds in an effort to entice them in that direction), and we continue to nurse (SO ready to be done with this, whenever they are!  They show no signs of being done, at all.  And I have no idea how to wean toddlers who are very capable of sharing their wants and opinions).  We haven’t even begun to think about potty training, and I don’t know when we will.  Henry likes to talk about the potty, but he doesn’t understand at all about body functions in that direction.  And Jack just doesn’t have the words for it at all.  But they’re 2.5.  They’ve got time.   I can’t say I ever saw myself in this place when I imagined what it would be like raising them, but here I am.  And it’s really okay.

ANYHOW, I think that’s the best I can do, update-wise, for right now.  I know you all only show up here to see the pretty pictures, so here we are:
Jack playing in this morning’s snow:
Good Morning, Snow!

Jack and Henry dance on the table on New Year’s Eve:
Happy New Year

Henry plays:
Henry

Growing, growing, every day! (At Garrison Park in Austin)
Oh, Brother

Find more by clicking the photo feed in the sidebar over there >>.

And what of you?  What’s been going on in your world?

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6 Responses to A Real Post?

  1. Mel says:

    I show up for the pictures AND the stories, so there. I was wondering if there would be an update soon. It sounds like things are good. We always talk about how “fair” doesn’t mean the same, and if they’re so into sameness, we can do it across the board but it will mean only getting the same toys, the same clothes, the same food, AND the same rules. Once they start seeing how sameness can bite them in the ass, they usually go back to agreeing that giving them each what they need is fair.

  2. Ellen K. says:

    Gorgeous boys! They are so tall and lanky now — they look at least a year ahead of their age.

    We put I & N into bunk beds this summer — it’s a loft-style bunk bed in an L shape, with a desk on one side and drawers and open shelves on the other. It’s pretty cool. Comfort-seeking N. sleeps on the bottom, and feisty I. is on the top bunk, but it seems more fair than the usual bunk bed setup. Sometimes N. comes up to sleep with I. My only complaints about the bunk beds are that I can’t lie down with I. now to comfort her in the middle of the night, and it’s really hard to change sheets on the top bunk whenever I. has an accident.

    Thank God for Daniel Tiger’s songs! Especially “If you’ve got to go potty, STOP! and go right away / Flush and wash and be on your way!” I adore Fred Rodgers’ parenting books and am glad that so many of the ideas and philosophies are repeated in this new show.

    Good to hear from you. : D

  3. Brandy says:

    So glad to see a post from you! My old blog is pretty much dead. I have a new one, but it’s pretty boring, just pictures for family to keep up with. I would love to be friends on facebook if you’re open to that.

  4. strongblonde says:

    🙂 i’ve never watched the new rogers neighborhood, but see from ellen’s comment that i need to look at the potty training part! 🙂 we didn’t start potty training really until this last summer. (the kids turned 3 in september). we were pretty laid back about it and had them really lead based on their interest. and now i feel like i can say both kids are 98% potty trained for pee/poop. the lingering holdup is nighttime. i’m not pushing. i tell them that when they can wake up with dry diapers, i will switch them to underwear and they seem into it….but no progress. it will happen. the thing is you can either get super stressed about it or just roll with it. i’m too stressed in other areas! i needed some wine…er…relaxation! 🙂

    glad you’re back. post when you can! no pressure!!

  5. Christina says:

    The boys are soooo big!!

    Potty training comes when they are ready. We didn’t make a big deal about it with Annika and she pretty much decided at around 32 months that she was ready to stop using diapers.

  6. Rachel says:

    As for toddler weaning, many thoughts, but the thing that worked best for us was to limit the places we nursed. Nursing was only for the rocking chair in her room and our bed. It really cut down on the, mama-is-wearing-a-v-neck-so-I’ll-nurse-right-now because she was just too busy to stop what she was doing and go to one of our nursing spots. After that, we worked on cutting down the time a bit, and finally we leapt in with distractions.

    And for discipline, I am currently reading “Peaceful parent, happy kids.” It’s really extreme attachment parenting, but I think it has some useful ideas about making sure that your kids know that you are on their side and working on how you phrase discipline. It is distinctly anti-time outs, but they never worked for my kids anyway.

    One thing that helps us a lot with the sibling disputes is to let the fusspot and dumpling know that it’s okay not to want to share, and even okay to refuse to share, but not -everything-. At any moment either one may identify something as “special to me” and not share it, but only one thing. So if the fusspot is playing with the toy kitchen she can grab one cup and declare it “special” but she cannot block dumpling from the entire toy kitchen … it helps a bit. I really don’t like forcing sharing when I don’t have to (and sometimes I do … like snacks when I underpack for the day … happens most days …)

    So glad to see you back online!

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