My Story

The chronicle of the journey from infertility, to miscarriage, to finally raising twin girls born in June 2012.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Open carry laws

Yeah, me weighing in on the topic of gun control again.

Still don't care that you have one at your house, still think you have the right to your little purse pistol even though I personally believe these are stupid decisions.  But hey, you don't need me spouting off the safety statistics about these decisions.  My friendly reminder of them won't change anyone's minds and it's not my place to change anyone's minds or insist that they make the decision I think they should make.

So I'm just going to talk about my decisions and how I'll react to various things.

My brother is a gun owner.  I believe he's a very responsible gun owner.  Always in a safe with the gun and ammunition in two different locations, etc etc etc.  I love my brother and enjoy the company of his family.  But my family will not enter his house.  It's nothing personal, I'm simply not comfortable with it.  I've lost my girls once to a million in one circumstance, I'm not going to knowingly put them in the path of another one.  If your children are friends with my children and I'm aware of the fact that you have a gun in your home, I'll offer to host all of our play dates at my house because I'm not comfortable with my girls going to your house.  You have every right to have whatever you want in your home, including a gun, and I have the right to opt to be elsewhere.

Now in some states there is a big push to allow people to openly carry firearms in public.  I can't figure out why one would need to do this.  If you want a firearm for your own protection, fine, but the only reason to open carry and advertise that you have one on you is to intimidate others.  To show off how big and bad you are and to walk around with a big sign saying "I can fuck you up".  I don't like that behavior with weapons, with attitude, with words, I simply don't enjoy being around someone who feels the need to advertise how strong they are.

Besides, my brain automatically wonders what you're compensating for if you feel the need to puff up your chest and show off like that.  Kind of like douchebros driving their fast little compensation machines.  I now get this song stuck in my head whenever I see guys with some sort of compensation affectation.

In college, in Seattle, there was an evening when I wanted to go to my favorite coffee shop across from my dorm.  But I couldn't go that evening because when I got there, the police were investigating a shooting that had happened within the previous hour.  Apparently some friends had gotten into an argument and some guy whipped out his gun and shot at his friend.  I don't recall if the friend was shot, but the simple fact is that had I been there an hour earlier, I would have had a bullet fly very near me, delivered by a supposed good guy out with his buddies.

Here is my message to every business owner - if I see a patron in your establishment with a firearm, my family and I are leaving.  Period.  I won't make a scene, I won't get into some sort of debate about their right to carry or whatever.  I will simply inform my server that I am no longer comfortable in that establishment and will pack up my family and leave.  If food has been prepared, they can deliver it to us in our car in the parking lot, we will pay, and we will eat it at home.  If purchases have not yet been made, I will abandon my shopping cart and leave.  If I can avoid the home of family because of my discomfort, I can sure as hell avoid your business.

If this becomes a society where only those brandishing guns feel comfortable going out in public because the rest of us are intimidated, so be it.  I trust that there are more of us who are uncomfortable around firearms than there are those who feel the constant need to brandish them.  Capitalism will eventually shut down this foolishness as the 1%er's find their profits dwindling in open carry areas because families like mine are buying via delivery.

I will never tell you what you can and can't do in regards to gun ownership.  I have my opinion and no right to insist you agree with that opinion.  But this is how I will react if you opt to display your gun ownership to me.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Little things get easier

The girls are two weeks shy of 2!  Yup.  About to have 2 year olds.  Yikes and yay!

As the weather is getting nicer and I'm trying to do more with our day than hang around the house, I'm finding that certain things are FINALLY getting a lot easier.  I know that behavior wise things are about to erupt into an epic onslaught of new problems, but at the moment, there are some logistical things that are so much better than they were.

Now with the nicer weather, and my new found interest in the game Ingress, I'm wanting to leave the house almost on a daily basis.  Taking the girls somewhere isn't quite the major undertaking it used to be.  Here's how it's gotten easier:

  1. I keep a couple of spare diapers and a pack of wipes in the car.  We tend not to actually need much of anything when we go out, so packing up is no big deal anymore.  
  2. The girls have much better bladder and bowel control so there aren't nearly as many diaper changes as there used to be.  I haven't needed to change a diaper in public in a long time either because the need doesn't come up, or we're 10 minutes from home anyway and they don't seem to mind waiting those few minutes.
  3. Food for the girls is readily available in places other than home.  We keep a small supply of juice boxes, raisins, and crackers available so I can toss them in my purse and go if we're not going somewhere with food, but just about anywhere we go, I can hit a drive thru and get chicken nuggets, apple slices and milk or juice if necessary.
  4. They can move themselves!  Oh this is a biggie.  If I start putting on their shoes and socks, they know we're going outside so they head to the door.  They both walk through the door, grab my hand to walk down the ramp or to be lifted over the stairs and then they both walk!  We've been trying to leave the house more often recently so they've started getting into the habit of going straight to the car door rather than just randomly running once they hit the outside.
  5. It is so nice to just pack them both in the car at the same time rather than get one all buckled in and situation and then go back into the house to get the other one.  This alone means getting from the house to driving away is now more like 2-3 minutes instead of 10-15 minutes.
    • Middie Biddie requires an elaborate bib set-up when we go in the car because of her carsickness.  I've recently gotten into the habit of setting Teeny Tiny on the floor of the car between the car seat and the back of the drivers seat while getting Middie Biddie situated.  Today, she surprised me by climbing through to her own car seat and getting herself ready to be buckled in all on her own!  Yeah, it's only about 30 seconds spared, but these little things that save 30 seconds here and there really add up!
  6. They are cautious by nature.  I'm still trying to find the best places to take them where I can let them run around without feeling like I need to be in arms reach.  Fortunately, they are cautious enough that when I take them somewhere new to try it out, they don't get themselves killed while I'm trying to figure out how to best prevent them from getting killed.  Generally Middie Biddie will find a spot to play (sandbox) and park herself there while Teeny Tiny wanders around a bit to check things out.  If where I've taken them isn't so great for kids their age, it's pretty easy to round them back up and head out since they aren't both running in opposite directions.
  7. The stroller isn't nearly as necessary as it used to be.  Depending on where we are, it's usually pretty easy to either carry one while the other holds my hand and walks, or to just carry both until safely inside.  We have those backpacks with leashes so whenever one decides that they really do want to run, we can leash them up real quick.  They also still do have the patience for a stroller ride if the situation calls for it.
  8. Attention spans are starting to get longer.  My mother tells me that it's around 30 months that toddlers are able to focus on an activity for more than 2 minutes.  That's gonna be awesome.  But for right now, they do seem to have a little more focus than they did a couple of months ago.  If we go out to eat, food will keep them occupied properly for a solid 20 minutes.  Then we whip out the Water Wow books and that lasts another 5 or so.  Talking will occupy them for a few more minutes.  In general, we're now able to eat while we're out rather than order everything to go.  Yeah, we still eat pretty quickly to make sure we're fed before toddler patience runs thin, but toddler patience is lasting a wee bit longer nowadays.
It's starting to feel like I can do impromptu things like hit the Starbucks drive thru, or take a quick run to the park.  I tried both of those things today, but Teeny Tiny was at the end of her patience before we even started so I ended up leaving the drive thru line and just heading back home.  She went down for her nap immediately so yeah, I was pushing my luck trying to get in another hour of play time before nap.  But I might try again after their nap.  Yesterday, I had a craving for a Reuben sandwich and I was able to pack up the girls, hit that drive thru (get them their nuggets) and go hang out at a local park for an early dinner on a whim.  No way I could have done that 6 months ago!  Ok, I could have, but it would have been a royal pain in the butt so I would have opted not to.

I've started taking the girls to the Y and dropping them in the free daycare there so I can wander around the parking lot playing on my phone while getting a little bit of exercise.  I also like that they are interacting with other kids in a different environment from time to time.  With the Y less than a mile from my house, and being full of Ingress portals for me to play with, this is starting to become a regular thing.  They'll also be old enough for some other local drop in daycare options after their birthday when I want to be able to actually leave the premises.

We're leaving the house everyone!  We're actually leaving the house!

Monday, May 19, 2014

More language observations

I'm reading a book on toddlers and it has some info about language milestones and such.  For the twin moms who commented about their concern that their twins are delayed (as mine probably are too), don't worry too much about it.  Even in the book it had a caveat that twins tend to be language delayed.  It's not just the preemie thing, it's also because we moms have less one on one talking time with each child (don't feel guilty, that's not the big reason), and the big thing being that they have a peer that already understands them so their need for language to communicate is decreased.  When their peer is speaking the same baby babble that they are speaking and both the peer and the parents are able to discern meaning from a combination of actions and random sounds, well, why would they feel the need to push themselves for real words?  But fear not, they all catch up eventually.

What I'm finding interesting is the two different approaches my girls are taking to learning to talk.  Middie Biddie has been babbling up a storm for so long now, I'm surprised she doesn't have more solid words.  Teeny Tiny hardly babbled, but she's popping out more actual words with meaning.

I get the impression that Middie Biddie wants to skip the process of learning individual words and go straight for entire sentences and conversations.  After we read a book, she'll take the book, start over, and kind of recite a phonetically similar story with all the same intonations.  "Blah blah blah BLAH.  Blah BLAH blah blah.  Blah blah HOORAY!!"  She'll do word sequences like counting to ten or sing the alphabet song all the way through.  Each time she does it, the sounds she makes get a little more precise and more of the words and sounds become correct.  I can tell what phrases from her cartoons she's imitating even if none of the words are right, because the intonations and general sounds are following the pattern of the phrase.  She's also a major parrot and will repeat just about anything you say to her.  So I think she's going for a blanket learning approach.  She'll eventually say an entire phrase correctly even if she doesn't understand the purpose or meaning of each individual word she's speaking.

Teeny Tiny has a very different approach.  She learns a word and sticks with it.  Her favorites right now are "brush" and "nose".  She understands that these individual words correspond to certain things.  If she hears a word that sounds like "nose", she'll say "nose" and point to her nose.  She also doesn't babble much.  While Middie Biddie just talks and blathers all the time, Teeny Tiny is relatively quiet.  But then Teeny Tiny will randomly show us that she knows a new word.

It's a curious race to watch.  Which one will truly be able to speak and communicate first?  Will it be the blanket approach where it takes longer to get something right but when it's right, it's several words at a time?  Or will it be the piece by piece approach where each word is learned individually and eventually strung together?

Have I mentioned lately that I love having my own nature versus nurture experiment playing out in front of my eyes?  It's really comforting to know with absolute certainty that your kids approach things differently and do things differently and that it's not a result of my doing anything particularly right or wrong.  Teeny Tiny naps every afternoon, Middie Biddie will only fall asleep during nap time maybe once a week.  But they are treated the same, given the same sleep opportunities, that's simply how they are and whether or not they nap is not a success or failure of anything I'm doing.  They are surrounded by all of the same speech and conversation and one is learning one way while the other is learning the other way.  Again, they are doing what they are meant to do and it's not according to any manufacturing on my part.  One is very clingy and the other is happily independent.  One will eat whatever is in front of them, the other is picky.  One parks herself in the sandbox and plays with what's right there, the other wanders around the park to see everything.  That's just them as individuals and not personality traits I somehow created.  Yup, absolute proof that parents do not fully define the personalities, abilities, and life approaches of children.  Proof that I can never fully have control makes it a lot easier to let go of trying to control everything.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Language click

Unlike the first year, the second year doesn't have a milestone every few weeks.  The milestones that they do have are much more subtle.

But I think Teeny Tiny hit one today!  The girls can talk, but there's still not a whole lot of meaning to it.  It's still pretty much just parroting what they hear, maybe confirming something after I ask it as a question.  "All done?"  "Ahhh dun!"

Middie Biddie is a major chatterbox.  She's babbling constantly, often stringing together phonetic sounds to mimic sentences she hears on a regular basis.  She can count to 10 and sing the alphabet song, but I'm pretty sure it's still just strings of sounds to her.

Teeny Tiny doesn't babble much.  She has a few favorite words that she says over and over, but it seems that where Middie Biddie is going for quantity, Teeny Tiny is going for quality.  The few words she has are true identifiers.  She especially likes it when she sees and identifies some sort of brush.

We figured that with Middie Biddie constantly talking, she would be the first to use real expressive language.  But Teeny Tiny shocked me when I was getting her dressed today and she was getting annoyed, she started saying "All done!  All done!"  She expressed that sentiment about several things that displeased her today.

I've so been looking forward to this click.  The click where they can start actively expressing to me what they want, don't want, and general preferences.  The click where we can start exchanging our intentions and desires with words rather than just actions.  I know it's still a long haul before we get to real verbal communication, but it's finally starting!  It's crossing over from just this sound identifies this thing to I want that thing so I'm going to make that sound to let Mommy know I want that thing!


Saturday, May 3, 2014

Switching meals around

We've been running into a problem with late naps and how they interfere with meals.  I won't go into how we're having problems with naps in general, but when they do nap, they often don't get up until around 4-4:30pm.  Because of this, evening eating is thrown all outta whack.

The girls generally get up somewhere between 8:30-9:30am.  As soon as they get up, they get breakfast.  Then we fill a little tray on their play table with a snack mix (cheerios, kale chips, raisins, stuff like that) and they graze until a lunch between noon - 1pm and they go down for a nap shortly after.  Lunch is often a pb&j, sometimes eggs, it varies.

Then they chat and giggle and fight off naps, sometimes eventually falling asleep, sometimes not.  But whenever they get up, by then it's been a few hours since they've eaten so I want to get something for them right away.  We were doing scrambled eggs but they've gotten sick of those so we're not doing that as often.  So we've been doing some sort of fruit meal, like a fruit and cheese plate or a smoothie.

The problem is that they're having this around 4:30-5pm so by the time dinner rolls around (6pmish), they're not hungry enough to eat anything that doesn't greatly appeal to them (like fruit or a cracker).  As you can see, we're having trouble getting any kind of savory, dinner type of protein into them.  If they get hungry enough to get fussy, by then they are already unhappy and just get pissed off at what they think are unpleasant offerings, but if I stave off hunger enough that they don't get really hungry, they'll just pick at whatever I give them.

So we're switching to a more European style of eating.  From now on, they'll get "dinner" when they get up from their nap and then have their smoothie or fruit plate at what would have been dinner time.

Oh we'll eat birthday cake any time!
We decided to do this a couple of days ago and on our first day we decided to take them out to eat at Red Robin.  So we piled in there around 4pm and the girls actually ate the fish from their fish and a few chips plate!  Huzzah!  The next day was my birthday (I'm old), and we went over to my parents for dinner which again, they ate.

Today is the real test.  I don't know if they successfully ate dinners because we were doing something out of the ordinary and eating is kind of a comfort thing we do when in unfamiliar surroundings or if switching the meals around actually had any effect.  I'm hoping it's the latter.

By the way, K and I don't really eat on the same schedule as the girls.  They need to go to bed around 7pm most nights, that's just when they start running on empty.  We've tried to push this a little later but it never really works.  However, K usually doesn't get home from work until after that.  When he works a midshift, he'll get home right about 7pm so he can help me put the girls to bed, but he often works an hour or more later than that and doesn't come home until they are already in bed.  And between the two of us, he's the far better cook.  This makes dinner really awkward.  Our choices are for me to cook a dinner when the girls need to eat, give them their portion (which is such a small amount) and then let it sit until it can be reheated with K gets home, make 2 dinners, one for the girls and then another one 2 hours later for the adults, or either K or I will cook dinner when he gets home and then the girls get leftovers for their dinner the following day.  Whatever we choose doesn't seem to have any effect on whether the girls will eat what they're offered or not.

We haven't really found a system that works and it sucks that we're not able to do standard sit down family dinners in our household.  I'm not quite sure how this is going to work when they are older and really need the structure of a household meal.   I generally consider their dinner time my lunch time so I'm eating a little bit with them and then a proper dinner with K in the evening.We're hoping that within the next couple of years, K will be given more control over his schedule so it can be more consistent but we can't hold our breath for that.

Oh well, for now, we're just trying to get everyone fed when they're able to eat!  Hopefully switching the girls to have their large meal of the day earlier in the day will make it easier to get more proteins and veggies into them.  Give them the difficult food when they're hungry, but in a good mood because they've just been rescued from that awful toddler hell known as nap time.

*Ok, wtf?  It's 3:45pm and I was going to hit publish on this post and rescue them from the nap they refused to take but they both just fell asleep!  They've been in there over 2 hours fighting off naps (like they have been for a few days) so I figured it was going to be a no nap day and now this???  I'm so confused!