Sunday, January 28, 2007

Ice Skating, less than smooth

I am a sucker for Christmas. I love the holiday and will begin decorating on December 1st. I will leave our house lights on until we are the last house on the block. So as the holiday approached I starting tivoing all the family Christmas movies and specials I could find. A few of my favorite were the Charlie Brown specials, The Santa Clause, The Santa Clause 2, and Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas. The kids really took a liking to Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas. My daughter epsecially liked the ice skating short with Daisy Duck and Minnie Mouse. Later that month Grandma purchased Lainy Ann 2 new stuffed animals; ice skating Minnie and ice skating Daisy. She slept with them for weeks and carried them everywhere.

So as we started our drive north for Christmas, the car laden with Santa gifts, my daughter announces, "Santa Clause is bringing me pink ice skates."

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Her Bike: Part 2

Her first fall.

Her first fall was actually in the house. She has been riding the bike around inside the house. She barely has room but she is making it work. I gave her a big hug and reinforced how good it was that she was wearing a helmet and told her to get right back on.

But a week later at the park she fell again. We were on the other side of the park when my husband ran across to rescue her. She was fine. Just a little scared. Each time she falls I am afraid she is going to throw in the towel. And when she doesn't I am so proud. But I keep having to remind myself this is part of growing up. She needs to learn to fall and get back up. I hate it. At 3 1/2 I can't protect her. And its just going to get worse.

Her Bike: Chapter 3

The bike is still inside the house. We don't have a very good biking area and until the weather improves it will stay in our house. So Lainy Ann walks around the house cleaning everything out of her way (she puts stuff away rather than just shoving stuff), straps on her helmet and rides around the house for a little bit. The funny part is that her brother rides on the bike too! He sits on the fender of the rear wheel and holds onto her around the tummy. And they just keep going around and around the house. They have such a great time together. I think I need to get him a helmet too.

Confession Time

Alright ladies. I know a lot of my friends frequent my blog. It's confession time: I talk about you behind your back.

Must Have Baby Stuff

I'm not going to presume to know what is right for you or your family. But we have had three children and I think I am getting pretty good at this 'baby thing'. All of our kids have been different in their needs, demeanor and their parents experience.

So here is my list of must-haves. It is from the experience of living in a suburban life-style with three young children in a small house with little storage. We have purchase more things than are on this list, but those items became broken, were inefficient and/or were quickly discarded. The items below are the tried and true items of our house, the items we are willing to store in our not-so-big house for long periods between babies.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Sitting

It didn't happen overnight as I like to let myself believe. Instead it has been happening every day for the last 5 1/2 months. William has been growing up. He mastered nursing, then thumb sucking, sleeping through the night, cooing, kicking, raspberries, and grasping. But yesterday he sat on his own. I can prop him into the gorilla pose and he will sit for a few minutes, until he gets so excited that he is sitting that he kicks his legs and falls over. I may cry. I was so happy when the other two kids showed signs of growing up. But this just makes me sad. My baby is growing up.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Induction, right or wrong?

My first two kids were born naturally. My water broke around 37 and 38 weeks and 12 hours later my babies arrived. The twins of course were induced since they were still. That took a long time since my body was not ready to deliver at 18 weeks, but it was uncomplicated.

But when I was pregnant with William I was a wreck. I had come to terms with his 'death' several times throughout the pregnancy; when I had cramping several times in the first trimester, when he would stop moving in the 2nd trimester, before every ultrasound where I thought the doctor would find his heart had stopped, and once as I frantically drove with tears streaming down my face to L&D when I was 38 weeks pregnant and he hadn't been moving regularly.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

LeapFrog Dominoes

I am a walking talking advertisement for Leap Frog and their products. We have the DVD's; Letter Factory, Word Factory, Math Circus, and all of the sequels.
We have the fridge toys too; Word Whammer, Fridge Phonics and Fridge Farm. We have purchased the radio and duplicates of these items for friends. We love Leap Frog.

I was so excited when I saw the board games at the store this past summer. It was a little early for Christmas, but I decided to just buy it and save it until December rolled around. There were a few games to choose from. I shushed the kids while I debated the difference between the different games; Dominoes, Bingo, and the In Line Game.

I decided on Dominoes since my daughter had been playing match with grandma's dominoe set for several months. They have been counting the number of dots and matching the right ends together. I thought this would be a nice educational spin on a traditional game. She would be able to match the number to the right number of objects, match rhyming words, or shapes and colors. Her little brother could even play too.

I purchased it for a reasonable price, excited that we would be able to take our favorite brand to non-electronic play. However, I wish I had read the reviews and done a little more research before purchasing it. I didn't realize until Christmas morning what a poorly designed product it is. The cardboard pieces easily slip out of the pods. It is too much to expect toddlers to hold the pods level to keep them from falling out. I could tape them in, but that would negate any future flexibility of play. I truly wish I had ready any of the reviews on amazon, like this one, to see what an awful product this is.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Santa Ana Winds

Last night we lost power. It was pretty amazing. First the lights dimmed, then they shut off completely. I am always amazed how dark it really is without any lights, no digital clocks glowing, street lamps shining from outside. And so quiet; no hum of the several computers in our home or of our Tivos. So still. It reminds me why people went to sleep earlier before electricity and why they lived their lives with the sun as their clock.

GeoTrax

GeoTrax by Fisher-Price
This by far is one of my favorite Christmas gifts. I say 'my', but it was actually a gift for my 2 year old son. I had been drooling over the GeoTrax as soon as I saw the commercial of family tranquility where the father plays with his son as the mother looks on from her spotless kitchen after a healthful dinner. Fortunately grandma and auntie blessed us with two sets and a few accessories. I was actually pretty concerned that my two year old would have difficulty with the remote control, but I couldn't have been more wrong. Then as we got two trains going on the track I was worried about crashing and the kids being able to set the trains on the track correctly. This began to seem like a toy I would be endlessly fixing or refereeing. This could be further from the truth, provided that each child has their own train.

The children quickly figured out how to stop and wait so the trains don't crash. And if they did crash, as Papa showed them, they were able to put the trains back on correctly and even realize if the trains weren't on exactly right.

They will play with this train for a long period of time, quietly. Its absolutely amazing for two children who seem to compete over everything. After a week of this toy they became bored with it. We picked it up and put it away. Just a few hours later they were asking for it to be set up again. It seems that this toy isn't able to escape 'toddler boredom' (defined as: if I can see it I don't want it), but a few hours out of sight and they were clamoring for it again.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Finances of a Loss

We found out we were expecting quite suddenly. When we started getting used to the idea of a surprise third child we went for an ultrasound and found out there would be a surprise fourth too. We panicked for a bit trying to figure out how to fit 4 small children in our 3 bedroom home. We thought of ways to make our baby gear for one child work for two. I spoke to other twin moms to find out which baby gear items they had duplicates of, I researched the pros and cons of newborns sharing a crib, and figured out a way to get our two older kids into the same room. We started talking about childcare after they were born. Then when the pregnancy began getting difficult we talked about getting childcare while I was still pregnant. We redid the budget a dozen times; trying to figure out how to make this unexpected expense work.

Just as we were getting used to the idea of having twins we got the terrible news that we had lost them.

Automated Voice Recognition System

Many companies are using this feature now; banks, utilities, credit card companies. Instead of pushing the buttons on the phone that correspond to your social securtiy number, account number and zip code you can speak these things into your phone. I am sure the goal is to make your life easier. Let me explain the problem with this.

Twin Time Dollhouse

We just received the Twin Time Dollhouse for Christmas. It is our first dollhouse and I am loving it. The pieces are quality, as is anything Fisher Price makes. But the best part of this toy is that the sides slide in and the bottom floor closes with the porch as a door to store all the pieces. We have a small home with three young children and storage and keeping the pieces together is key.

My daughter (3 1/2) and son (2) have been playing endlessly with this toy. Even quietly. I love that it looks nice and stores everything neatly. But then again it is hard for me to find anything that Fisher Price makes that I don't like.

Twins in Our House

There are twins in our house. On September 22, 2005 I thought I would never utter those words. But here they are; 2 sets. They are fraternal boy-girl twins. They weigh in under 1 lb total and are made of plastic.

After we lost our twin sons I swore no more twins. I have avoided playgroups and broke down crying after seeing brown-haired twin boys in public. Then when Dora (from "Dora the Explorer") had younger siblings, twins, and all the new toys and books came out - Dora with a baby carrier for two, a book labeled 'Super Babies' and even the doll house with twins - I swore they would never be in our home. I have spent months diverting my daughter's attention from the colorful packages at the store and the enticing commercials on tv. I wouldn't even let her watch the episodes featuring the siblings. I felt it cruel that just as my grief process had begun the media began to realize that multiple births were on the rise and therefore began to market new toys and movies to siblings of multiples. Even the new Barbie DVD features a set of triplets and two sets of twins in the dancing sisters movie.

Monday, January 1, 2007

Her first bicycle - PINK

It started a few months ago. We were driving in the car when I hear from the backseat, "I think I am old enough for a bicycle". I was really surprised. I didn't think I would start hearing sentences like that for years. I calmly told her that I would discuss it with Daddy. She then proceeded to explain to me ALL the reasons why she needed a bike and that she knew bike safety. She had her facts straight, she knew the rules, she was ready.

A month later we took her to the store to "try on" bikes. And today I came home with a pink bicycle in my trunk. She will be so happy when she sees it under the tree on Christmas morning.

UPDATE: She found her bike and is in love with it. I love that it is generic pink, not themed after Cinderella, Barbie or Dora. Daddy took her out riding it yesterday morning and she took off right away. We knew she could pedal since she has been riding tricylces at school for over a year now, but steering on a bike is much different. She was able to do it though.

She even rides it in the house, for now, until we put it outside. But each time she puts on her helmet - even indoors. She doesn't even need to be reminded. She is growing up before our eyes.