Monday, August 25, 2014

Milestones and other stuff

**I just wrote this entire long post and somehow it got deleted. Sigh. Let's try this again. Version 2.0 will be written much quicker so excuse the typos.**

It's interesting watching two tiny humans who share similar genes and a completely identical environment development in such different ways.  Especially when those two tiny humans were preemies and everyone said to expect them to be about two months behind in everything. Personally, I don't think they are particularly delayed in their development. In fact, they seem pretty average to me - not leading the pack, but not really behind either. They even seemed to have hit some milestones earlier than some full term babies we know. Wait, that sounds braggy. I don't mean it that way. I'm just relieved that there don't seem to be any long term issues caused by me not being able to carry them for longer. Because guilt.

Riley has hit all the milestones first, with Paige usually following a few weeks behind. Once Riley rolled over, there was no stopping her. She rolled, wiggled, "swam", and army crawled her way across a room until she could finally do a proper crawl. Then she decided she needed to stand and in no time she was pulling herself up every chance she got. Paige was a little more relaxed. She rolled over and seemed pleased that she did it, but didn't rush to the next thing. She was content to play with whatever toys were within reach. One day she just started to scoot and crawl, but it still took something pretty interesting to get her to move across the room. She was content to stay where she was. She did seem eager to stand and once she did that she couldn't stop. A few weeks ago, they both started letting go of whatever they were holding onto for balance and testing out standing on their own and now they can get up from sitting to standing without using anything for support. They are gradually standing for longer and longer periods. I'm still so amazed by it. This is where the roles have started to reverse. Paige will cruise around the perimeter of their play area, holding onto the bars of the baby gates. Riley continues to crawl to get to the other side. The other day I caught Paige practicing her balancing skills while she thought no on was watching and she actually took a couple of steps. I think my jaw hit the floor. It sort of came out of nowhere. Now she can take a step on her own before falling, but if I hold her hands she will walk towards me. At this rate, she may very well walk into her birthday party next month. Riley, on the other hand, thinks crawling is a perfectly respectable way to get from point A to point B. It's curious. I was joking with SH that they are like the space race in the 1960's. Riley is Russia and keeps getting all the "firsts" and seemed to be winning the race (I know, I know it's not a competition). Paige was just biding her time and, like the US, is going for the moon.

After weeks of trying, this is the best shot I can get of them standing. As soon as I get in front of them to take a picture, the get down and crawl towards me.
Bath time is finally fun. After months and months of screaming bloody murder, they finally love baths. They love to splash the water and try to eat all the bath toys. The problem is, it was easier to bathe them separately even though it took longer. They sit great while on dry land, but the bathtub is just too slippery for them and they kept falling over. I can't keep my hands on both of them while also trying to clean them. Then I discovered this handy trick on the internet. Changed. My. Life. Now I can easily manage both in the bathtub at once. Saves time and water (which is actually a big deal in CA where we are experiencing a severe drought).  Sometimes I really love the internet.

So simple yet so genius.
The girls are doing pretty well with solid food these days. They still get a lot of purees, but finger foods are becoming a bigger part of their meals now. They can finally pick up the food and get it to their mouth. It's still hit or miss whether they swallow or just chew and let it hang out in their mouth, but we're getting there. I would really love to phase out the purees soon and let them feed themselves more. We're trying to give them more and more of the foods we eat and not limit them to stereotypical "kid-friendly" foods. I'm really afraid of picky eaters. So far they haven't been too bad. They don't like everything, but we can usually get them to try it. The one thing they have really hated is hummus. Riley actually stuck her hand in her mouth to get it out and throw it on the floor. Usually, they just shut their mouths and turn their heads if they don't like something. Or sometimes Paige very dramatically gags. We still give them 3 bottles of formula a day and I will be pretty happy when we can phase bottles out, as well. Between bottles and meals, it feels like we are feeding them as often as when they were newborns.

"gimme that burger"
The pets. We still have all the pets despite my last post about how much I wanted a pet-free house. I think I was just really overwhelmed at the time I wrote that. There was just so much chaos in my small living space. Adding two babies to the already difficult to manage pet situation was just too much. Something had to give. Thankfully, when I got the job on the movie in Pittsburgh, my mom very generously offered to house/pet sit. So, we had two months of much needed pet-free living. We needed that. It gave us some perspective and now it doesn't seem quite so bad. Don't get me wrong, the problems are all still here, we just are dealing with it better. I also still believe that Pepper and Lucy shouldn't live together but there isn't much we can do about it right now. We put our cat, Pepper, on prozac since she seemed the most stressed out. She has been consistently losing weight since we got the dog and is so, so skinny. For some reason, the vet doesn't seem all that concerned. We haven't had anything peed on in awhile so the prozac seems to be helping with that, but she is still losing weight and now has stopped grooming. But according to all her blood and urine testing, she is perfectly healthy. Lucy, our dog, has realized that babies drop a lot of food on the floor when they eat so I think she is starting to like them better. Poor Lucy still doesn't get as much attention and exercise as she needs, but we're doing the best we can for right now. Our other cat, Jasmine, seems to be doing the best of all of them. She wants nothing more than to sit in a lap and be pet. She has taken to plopping herself down next to the girls' play area where they will "pet" her. And by pet, I mean grab a fist full of fur and skin and pull. Jasmine only seems to be bothered if they pull her tail, but the rest doesn't bother her. She is kind of an attention whore and will apparently take it however she can get it.

Good kitty!
I love how much Paige and Riley interact with each other now. They totally "talk" and make each other laugh. Especially when they are in their cribs. I love listening to them on the monitors in the morning before we go in to get them up. They are also playing together. Riley will steal whatever toy Paige is playing with and Paige will bite Riley in retaliation. That's playing, right? So, they haven't figured out sharing or taking turns yet. They are actually starting to fight over toys these days. We just take that toy away, usually, and the problem is solved. They find something else to play with and move on. They are also climbing on each other and tumbling around. It's really so fun to watch them. They are really great at entertaining themselves or each other for pretty long periods of time. Of course, they love it when we hang out with them in the play area, but they don't need us in there. The only time they absolutely need our undivided attention is the hour or so before bedtime. Then they just want to be held or near us.  I read them some books every night before their last bottle. Paige loves story time - especially "peekaboo" books. Riley not so much. She will squirm and wiggle off my lap and usually ends up standing next to me looking over the back of the couch and out the window while I read to Paige. I can get Riley to sit still if I let her eat the board books, but I worry about all the paper she will end up ingesting if I always let her do that. Hopefully, she will start to enjoy story time again soon.

looks like Paige wins this round
Everyone pile on mommy
That's the latest and greatest in a nutshell. They will be a year old in 3 weeks(!) so we are busy planning their birthday party. I fear we are going overboard. We are going to be "those" people. More on that later.