Category Archives: Out and about

What a difference a year makes

As I get into my second year of being a mom, naturally I have come across a lot of situations that make me remember what we were doing a year ago.  I’ll try to keep the yammering to a minimum, but this one has photographic evidence, so I thought I’d share.

Today, we started a new class.  It’s at the same maternity/baby center where I’ve taken several other classes.  It’s a little pricey (especially now that I have to pay for the 2nd kid…), but nice to have an outing in a child-safe place with developmentally-appropriate activities.  Gets us out of the house, gives me new ideas, entertains the kids.  And, it’s at 11AM, so gets them good and tired before the iffy PM nap.

The class was fun, seems like a nice enough group. There’s even another set of twins there, though they’re a touch on the younger side, and the mom brought the nanny along (and was surprised that I was there by myself… come on, just do it!).  There were songs and toys and a story and a parachute.  There was even a brief adventure with a water table (next week will, apparently, be sand).  I was really struck by how big they’re getting, and the differences in each of the classes we’ve done.

Almost exactly one year ago, I started my very first mom/baby class there. I was the first one there, as tends to be my way. The oldest baby was 9 weeks, the youngest only 2. My kids were right in the middle.  Almost the whole class was pretty mom-focused.  We learned infant massage, we talked about breastfeeding and sleep and swaddling.  We were all brand new to this whole thing, and the babies pretty much only ate or slept.  We’d try a little tummy time.  All of those babies are now a year old, most are walking. Some moms have gone back to work, some of us haven’t.  One is even expecting her second.  We have a Halloween party planned for next month.

Amazing, the difference a year makes.  First, a picture I took during our third or fourth class.  Big excitement: tummy time and mirrors (Daniel is the noggin in the middle)!  Then, there was today.  Water table and snacks!  Just imagine next year…

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Filed under Child Development, Learning/Classes, Out and about, Toddlers

Limits to my superpowers

I tend to pride myself on the variety of activities I undertake with two 13-month-olds in tow.  I take them grocery shopping, I take them out to lunch, I take them to classes.  All by myself, no biggie.  I mean, yeah, it’s more complicated than it would be with one kid, but I’ve got my strategies and my double stroller.  I am pretty confident in my abilities.

But, in truth, there are some things better not done solo.  Today’s case-in-point: taking them to the playground by myself.  This is a nice one.  Fenced in, relatively compact, and shredded recycled tires that make a pretty soft surface in case of falls.  Has some baby swings, and some less-steep slides.  But the fact of the matter is that I have two mobile-but-not-steady kids who don’t take direction and haven’t entirely figured out that you can’t crawl straight off of surfaces 3 (or 6 or 10) feet above the ground.

I mean, we did OK.  No one was in any way injured.  They were a big hit with a couple of five-year-old girls.  But at this age, it’s just a really tricky outing to do by myself.  Lots of chasing, lots of pulling off of high places (and ensuing proto-tantrums), lots of lifting that’s causing my lower back to grumble menacingly at me right now.  And none of the other moms are particularly able (even if they were hypothetically willing) to help me, because they obviously have their own kids to watch and prevent from falling.  It’s just one of those things that, at this age, is better done with a 1:1 adult-to-child ratio.

We really needed an outing this afternoon. They skipped the afternoon nap again, a nap that currently has only about a 60-70% success rate.  The trouble is that they really seem to still need it, and are often hysterical when they don’t get it.  And when they’re hysterical because they haven’t napped, and I haven’t had any break because they haven’t napped, it’s best if we all get the hell out of the house.  So, off we went.  Stopped at the Starbucks drive-thru for a mommy pick-me-up, and off we went two towns over to the park. (Yeah, my sucky town doesn’t have much by way of playgrounds… boo.)

Naturally, they both passed out by the time we arrived.  Hrm.  So, there I am, the weirdo sitting in her car at the playground.  Hope no one thought I was a stalker.  I let them sleep for a few and tried to relax and listen to the radio and check my email on my enabler iPhone.  Then I got out of the car, and opened the sliding doors.  They didn’t wake up.  I put on their shoes.  Didn’t even twitch.  I unbuckled their carseats, called their names, stroked their heads.  Nothing.  See what I mean about needing the sleep?  Anyways, just when I was going to give up and go back home, they stirred.  Great, brought them over to the playground.  We stayed for about half an hour until Rebecca lost it when I pulled her away from the slide so another kid could go down without kicking her in the head.  Let’s just say it was an ugly afternoon and an early bedtime.

I recognize that this is the beginning of the dreaded switch to one nap, but as much of a struggle as the afternoon nap is right now, I honestly don’t believe it’s time for it to go. Plus, they’re still completely ready for the AM nap at 9:00, and that’s obviously way too early to be the only one for the day.  But they only seem to really take the afternoon one if I do something that involves a lot of running around in between the naps.  Easier said than done, for sure, especially with Daniel not yet walking and the weather hinting that we won’t be able to play outside forever.  My buddy Dr. Weissbluth seems to agree that’s the way to go: “intense stimulation” after the AM nap, but then “extra long and relaxing soothing to sleep for the midday nap.”  I’m not sure what on earth the latter should look like with two kids who just want to climb on me, but I suppose I’ll give it a shot.  I suspect there will be a lot of back-and-forth on this one until the day comes when we just go to the one nap.  Wohoo.

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Filed under Child Development, Out and about, Toddlers

Filling the hours

My mission, now that the summer is basically over and we have no travel plans in the foreseeable future, is to find activities and have a plan for this fall. While the weather is still nice and I’m sure we’ll have good outdoor days for a couple more months, I still feel the pressure of impending cabin fever with two soon-to-be-walking toddlers.  We just can’t be home all day, every day.  I like to have set plans on the calendar, obviously with some flexibility built in.

First is a mom-and-child(ren) playgroup/class.  This will be the fourth I’ve taken at my local maternity center. They aren’t perfect, but it’s structured, in a child-friendly environment, and it’s just nice to be with other kids their age. It’s led by an instructor who does songs and books and games with the kids, and there’s always a “development” topic that we can all discuss for each class. Of course, I predict now that there will be at least one post in the coming months about me being insecure that my kids are the only ones not walking and talking. But oh well.  It’s a somewhat pricey class, especially now that I have to pay for the second kid, but there you have it.

I’m also getting recommendations on nearby library story times.  These have the obvious benefit of being free, but I think they’ll also be a nice block of time.  Get the kids in the car, drive there, unpack, story and walk around, pack up, drive home. It will fill the space between morning and afternoon nap quite nicely, I think.

Today, I went to check out a new place.  It’s a multi-purpose business that does a lot of child and adult activity/classes like yoga, self defense, pilates, dance, and the like. But they also have a drop-in play time for kids, including one block specifically for 24 months and under.  I have to say, it was just as great as I thought it would be.  A big open room with padded floors, and huge vinyl/foam building blocks and shapes for them to crawl on, over, under… balls to roll, and a parachute to flap.  And at $5 per kid per day on a no-commitment drop-in basis, not a bad way to spend an hour.  I think the kids really liked it.  Rebecca, as expected, was all over the place. Daniel clung to me a little more, but did branch out and check out the scene.  We’ll definitely be returning.  The only trick is that it’s that slot between the AM and PM naps, and the drive is just long enough that I had to work to keep them from falling asleep on the way home.  Still, though, tons of fun and a great indoor option.

I’m also hoping to take advantage of the babysitting room at my gym.  It’s only $2 per kid per hour, and has the added benefit of allowing me to get some much-needed exercise.  I thought about doing a Music Together class, but all of the times conflict with naps.  Maybe later in the winter when we switch to one nap (not something I’m exactly looking forward to).

This, for me, is the way to survive the potential isolation and frustration of being a stay-at-home-mom.  While I love it and wouldn’t trade it, there are times when it’s really, really hard and I’m at a loss for how to entertain the kids and not lose my mind.  You’ll notice that only one of the things I listed is a hard-and-fast longer-term commitment (the mom-child class is 10-12 weeks long).  Everything else is a pre-existing thing that we can go to and have on the calendar, but if we decide not to, nothing is lost.  I didn’t want to over-commit us to too many things.  And only one is particularly expensive (again, the mom-child class).  The rest are either free or relatively cheap.

We’re at a somewhat tricky stage.  The kids are mobile and have no interest in sitting still for long, but they aren’t yet walking and still require two naps per day.  That limits our available hours and leaves only a few physical-activity options.  I have a feeling that, when I go to make plans for January through April, it’s going to look fairly different from what it is now.  Can’t get too far ahead of myself, though.  For now: concentrate on activities to last us into December.  Let’s hope the nap schedule holds until then.

I just jinxed myself, didn’t I?  Sigh…

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Filed under Learning/Classes, Out and about, SAHM, Toddlers

I need a vacation

It’s been a rough couple of days over here.  It started with the whole Toys-R-Us debacle on Monday.

Tuesday was not a ton better.  It started off with a bang, as the dog decided to find poop in the yard (not her own), eat it, and then throw up all over my first floor.  Delightful.  I’m so glad I took that 6 years to convince M we should get a dog.  I then had to go to the doctor for my foot.  We still don’t know what’s wrong with it, but now it hurts more than before.  The doctor said he’d take an x-ray and see me back in 3 weeks.  Lovely.  I’ll limp until then.  Had a nice lunch with a wonderful friend of mine who is 30+ weeks pregnant with her first baby, despite Daniel throwing his sandwich all over the floor.

Daniel then completely skipped his afternoon nap, and was not a happy camper later in the afternoon while the plumber was here (again!), trying to make my bathtub drain properly.  But I had my monthly twin club meeting last night, which was lots of fun (and blog-tastic, with Mommy, Esq.36 weeks pregnant, c-section on Monday!!! – and Nancy in attendance).  I stayed entirely too late, but it was worth it.  Until I got pulled over on the way home.  For a damn expired license plate.  So guess what I got to do all morning today? Yay, RMV and unpaid Boston parking tickets.

Hopefully, though, this is all just to make me appreciate the upcoming week even more.  Because on Saturday morning, we leave (at the crack of dawn) for a week in Virginia Beach with some dear friends and their two kids.  We rented a house on the beach, how cool will this be?!  One 10-month-old, two 12-month-olds, and one nearly-3-year-old.  And anywhere between four and six adults, depending on the day.  Sure, the trip presents some new logistical challenges, since it’s the first time we’re not primarily staying with family who can shop ahead and all of that.  But I think it will be great, and if not totally relaxing, at least lots of fun.  And if we can get the stars to align just so, I might even be able to meet up with Cheryl!  Blogosphere and real world collide!

Now, I just have to do laundry… and make a grocery list… and pack… and make a reservation for the dog at the kennel….  oy.

In completely unrelated, but incredibly cute, news… Rebecca is getting a big kick out of playing peekaboo by herself:

Where's Rebecca?

Where's Rebecca?

There she is!

There she is!

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Filed under Home, Illness and Injury, Out and about, Secret society of twin moms, Toddlers, Travel

Outings

A quiet Saturday here in the Goddess in Progress household.  M had to work in the very wee hours of the morning last night, so he was out of commission for much of the day.  No worries, the kiddos and I made an always useful trip to Target, and even met a woman working there who was 15 weeks pregnant with twins.  I gave her my email address and she might buy my carseats.  Hooray for twin mom stalking! 🙂

I feel like I’ve become more bold in my outings, or at least more comfortable and aware of what I’ll likely be able to do.  I basically have two windows for an outing in any given day.  A short outing is possible between the morning and afternoon nap (around 11, maybe 11:30), and a longer one can be done after the afternoon nap (around 3:30).  Our short outings often involve terribly exciting errands, like the grocery store (hence this morning’s trip to Target).  The later slot can be longer walks, a friend’s house, or something more fun like that.  Yesterday’s later outing was a nice long walk with Aunt R, followed by a stop at Whole Foods, where they have some pretty cool double shopping carts.

Today, once M had finally regained consciousness after his very late night, we decided to be extra bold.  We took the kids out for dinner.  The last time we took them with us for dinner was when they were still able to be rocked to sleep in their infant carseats.  This was a full-on dinner for four.  It was a little too impromptu to be a runaway success

(I was short on fun toys and small snacks, and my new portable placemats have not yet arrived), but overall it went quite well.  It was a sort of Tex-Mex chain restaurant, and the kids really liked the seasoned rice and black beans.  Hooray for being able to eat table foods!!

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Filed under Feeding, Infants, Out and about

Swings!

On Friday, my aunt is passing along her well-loved swingset to us.  My cousins are now 10 and 12, so have really outgrown it.  It was a hand-me-down from a friend of hers in the first place, and she said I was welcome to it as long as I found a way to get it from there to here (she lives about 45 minutes from me, the only of my mom’s siblings to not live in the same town in Illinois).  Turns out, there’s a company who specializes in moving, inspecting, and assembling any brand of swingset!  A niche market, but suddenly a useful one to me. (How did I find out about them?  Moms of twins club, of course!)  For a couple hundred dollars, they’ll disassemble it, move it, and reassemble it.  Hooray!

In anticipation, and because I get a little antsy at 3:30 in the afternoon if we don’t have an outing, I found a playground nearby and took the kids for their first time the swings.  I think they liked it!  It started raining, though, so it was a short-lived visit.

As an aside, it’s not as easy as one would think to find a nearby playground!  I might have to do some hunting…

First swings

Rebecca in swing

Daniel in swing

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Filed under Infants, Out and about

My boys

A sweet picture from yesterday.

We went to our favorite furniture store to buy a new mattress (woo, exciting!). This particular one has, in addition to furniture, a trapeze school, an ice cream store, a Fuddrucker’s, and “liquid fireworks.” (No, I’m not kidding, it’s really a furniture store.) A little like the Bellagio, every half hour the water jets do a little show in time with music, complete with lights to make it look like the water is different colors. Daniel was a little freaked out at first, so M picked him up to watch the show. That was much better.

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Filed under Good times, Infants, My beloved, Out and about