Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Grocery Store Games

Prior to having children, I'd heard friends tell horror stories of experiences with their children at the grocery store. I remember being absolutely terrified to every take my own children to the store. But once the kids arrived, it was inevitable. There were times that I had to decide whether to starve or to brave a trip for groceries. The first time I took both babes shopping by myself they were 6 weeks old. I left Caroline in her car seat and put that into the cart, and I put Charlie in a pack and wore him on my chest. And it was great! Sure I couldn't fit hardly anything into the cart because it was 98% occupied by a car seat, but the kids both slept the entire time and it was a piece of cake (relatively speaking). Being in the store was the easy part. The hard part was getting the kids and groceries back into the house. And it hasn't gotten any easier. I usually carry both babies in and set them in their cribs (which brings lots of tears and screaming) while I run out and bring in the freezer and refrigerator items. The rest of the groceries come in later after they are in bed, when Forrest gets home from work, or sometimes even the next day. I don't love that, but there are times that it just has to happen that way. 

After that first shopping trip, I remember thinking that I was supermom. Two kids and a grocery store? No problem. Bring it on. I continued to take them both to do the grocery shopping a few times a month until they were about 7 months old. Every time we went, I would leave one in the car seat and wear one in the pack. Easy peasy. Some days they were a little fussier and didn't sleep at all, but we still made it work. Once in a while I would go shopping while we were out on a walk. I would take some reusable grocery bags and use that in lieu of a cart. I would hand them from the stroller using the "mommy clip" which is an awesome giant carribeaner that fits on the handle of the stroller and can hold a lot of stuff. That worked well as long as we didn't need big and heavy things like milk etc. 

I thought we had it made. Shopping was no problem. Then they started getting bigger. And heavier. And much less content to just sit in their car seat or a pack. At about 7 months they wanted to sit in the seat in front of the cart. There are a few problems with this option: 1) unless you are at Costco, most carts only accomodate one child in that seat, 2) trying to carry both babes to a cart is ridiculously difficult. (Note to self - always park next to a stray cart. Always.) I drive around the parking lot until I find a stray cart, and then I put them both in that one single seat anyway. They just have to stick both legs through one hole. Actually what they usually end up doing is putting one leg through and bending the other leg up on the seat. They're not the most comfortable, but they usually sit happily like that and enjoy trying to reach out and grab every item we pass. Sometimes, though, they don't sit happily. Sometimes they steal eachother's toys. Sometimes (by sometimes I mean ALL times) Caroline pulls Charlie's glasses off his face. Sometimes Charlie pulls Caroline's hair. And sometimes I want to pull my own hair. Not feeling so much like supermom anymore. 

I need a new plan. Last time I was at the grocery store, I saw (far away from the rest of the grocery carts) some of those awesome carts that have a little car with steering wheels down at the front of the cart. And it's a little tender mercy that they have two buckles and two steering wheels. I'm hoping beyond all hope that those little car carts will distract my crazy little munchkins enough to prevent hair- and glasses-pulling, at least for 30 minutes so I can get enough food to keep us fed for a few days. Fingers crossed! Let the grocery store games continue.

The Rhinoceros and the Puppy Dog

A few weeks ago it was pointed out to me that Charlie is a little bit of a bulldozer. Or a "rough and tumble" little boy. I prefer to think of him as a rhinoceros. Seriously though, that kid has no fear. He also has no regard for anything or anyone that gets in his way. If Caroline is trying to get to a toy on the other side of an obstacle, she crawls around it. Not Charlie. He goes right over it, even if "it" is Caroline's face. Or mine. He literally headbutts his sister 10 times a day. She doesn't mind so I usually just let it happen. Except when he does it at church - then I at least try to appear like I'm trying to keep him from bowling her over. And he dives off of everything. I mean DIVES. Head first. From the couch onto the end table. Out of the bathtub. Into the bathtub. Down the stairs. He seriously falls 378 times a day. And gets bruises and bloody noses and bloody lips and any other kind of skin abraison you can think of. I promise I do try to keep him safe. I've seriously considered just wrapping him from head to toe in layers of bubble wrap. He eats like a rhino too. I give him half a banana most mornings to start his breakfast. He picks it up, squishes it between his cubby little fingers and then tries the shove the entire thing in his mouth at once. What doesn't make it in ends up smeared on his face, his arms, his high chair, and the wall. And anything that is left on his tray ends up bouncing off when he pounds his tray with his fists just for the fun of it. To save myself some trouble I've started stripping him down to a diaper for every meal and then throwing him under the sink afterwards to clean him up. It's just easier.

Caroline, on the other hand, is the most dainty little eater I've ever seen. She rarely drops food or gets anything on her face. She is perfectly clean all the time. Other than the cleanliness, everything she does reminds me of a puppy. And that's not just because she barks nonstop. She follows me everywhere. From room to room, right on my heels. And if she's playing with a toy when I leave and she wants to bring it with her, she carries it in her mouth. I'm not kidding, she really does. It's pretty adorable. She is always happy and she pants when she gets excited. And she is so incredibly smart. My parents have stairs at their house, so my dad built a gate many many years ago to keep us from falling. It has been in place for roughly 30 years. The latch isn't super easy to open - some of my nieces (4-6 years old) even struggle to get the latch open and closed. Not Caroline. She watched intently while people would open and close it, and the figured out how to do it herself. She sneaks over and opens it and tries to get Charlie to go down the stairs and fetch all the toys they threw down there. Crazy girl. 


And then this happened today. They are both so smart. They watch what I do and then try to copy it. They LOVE going outside, and clearly they are determined to find a way to get out whenever they want. I'm in big trouble. My little rhino and the puppy dog sure do keep me on my toes!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Note to Self

Parents make mistakes. And as a parent of twins I sometimes feel like I make twice the number of mistakes as the average parent. Usually after I make a mistake of some sort, I make a mental "note to self" in an effort to remember not to do it again. They usually look something like this:

Note to Self - Never ever ever fall asleep while the twins are awake and running free in the house. There are many possible disasters that can occur. IE) getting a banana smashed over your sleeping head, getting a mini baby bite (which hurts equally bad as a non-mini baby bite) on you toe, having the house torn to pieces.. you get the idea.

Note to Self - Never leave a basket of newly washed and folded laundry on the floor. Unless you are ok with having to rewash and refold every item in it.

Note to Self - Never put an infant into a car seat without buckling them in. At some point, you will put them in the car and drive all the way home only to realize that they were unbuckled the entire time.

Note to Self - Never EVER let a little boy eat spaghetti while wearing white. Even if he is wearing a bib. Just don't do it.

Note to Self - Remember that same little boy that you aren't going to let eat spaghetti while wearing white? Also take note to never let him go without a diaper. Even if it's for 10 seconds. You will regret it 100% of the time.

Note to Self - Don't put your kids in car seats, high chairs, or on your hip while they are wearing a swim diaper. Everything they touch will smell like pee.

Note to Self - If your twins aren't used to sleeping in the same bed, DO NOT try to get them to sleep in the same bed. If you are lucky, you may be able to pick one up and move them in with the other while they are asleep.. but only if you are lucky. Save yourself some pain and lots of tears by not expecting or even half-hoping that they will fall asleep by eachother, because most likely it will turn into an all-out brawl.

Note to Self - Never let Charlie and Caroline play next to eachother while Charlie is wearing his glasses. Both will end up in tears.

Note to Self - If your kids are afraid of the vacuum, don't try to vacuum while they are asleep, awake, or playing in a different room. Basically just never vacuum. It will save you a lot of heartache.

And the list goes on..   
 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Absent

It's been a slightly crazy summer, to say the least. And I feel like I've been totally absent from my normal life - whatever "normal" is. A few weeks ago Forrest was sent to California on a work assignment for three weeks. So I spent most of that time at my mom's house. It's just easier that way. And since he got home it's been a whirlwind of "do this" "go here" and "run there." It's all been fun and wonderful, just crazy. 

Last week Forrest joined the National Guard. It's a decision we've thought about and prayed about for quite a while, and it just felt like the right thing to do. Do I like it? No, not particularly. I don't think any wife, mother, sister etc. can say she's ever really excited about a man joining the military. But it feels right, and that's nice. It's also good to see Forrest excited about something. He doesn't love his job, and that wears on him a lot. But he does love the military. He's always been so fascinated by it, so I am happy for him that he is getting to do something he will enjoy (hopefully). There are good things about the military - benefits, extra pay etc. But there is one part I am dreading, and it's only about three weeks away: Basic Training. He leaves August 5, just days before our 6th wedding anniversary and the twins' 1st birthday. And he'll be gone until mid-October. :/ Eek! What am I going to do in his absence?

I honestly have no idea. As much as I'd love to, I can't just abandon my life in Salt Lake and move to my mom's. The twins sleep SOOO much better in their own beds. And we have therapy and doctor appointments and bills and things that I just need to be here to do. But I don't want to be alone for that long either. I just keep telling myself I'll take it one day at a time until the 70 days are up. 70. That's not too bad, right? 

In other news, we just got back from our first camping trip with the twins. We went to Idaho Falls with the Whiting family and we had a total blast. I think we a little bit cheated on the "camping" part because we stayed in cabins, had bathrooms and showers, and ate out for a few of our meals.. but we were surrounded by dirt, we roasted hot dogs and s'mores, and I didn't wear makeup or do my hair. So we'll call it camping. The babes did really well, considering that it was 1,000 degrees and they didn't get to nap much. They loved to play in the dirt, crawl around the cabin, and eat everything they could find off the ground. Charlie even got his first taste of dead moth, yummm! (I know - I'm still completely disgusted by it). And Caroline took her first step! It was adorable and I know they're both getting so close to walking, but I am in no hurry. I'm sure parts of walking twins are easier - but all I can think is that I'm going to have to be the leash mom. And I don't want to be the leash mom. I'm trying to gear myself up for the havoc they will wreck once they figure out how to walk and then run. Heaven help me. 

We had a few other "firsts" on our camping trip. Caroline learned how to bark like a dog. Now she thinks every animal (real or fake) is a dog, so she barks anytime she sees one. Half of the time I think she thinks peple are animals because she barks at them too. It's the cutest thing ever. Charlie got to ride on his first roller coaster (he sat on my lap on a little one at Bear World) and he thought it was the best thing ever. He had a major perma-grin and he cried when we got off. 



We took both babes on a little train ride and they were completely thrilled. And they LOVED the petting zoo. Caroline liked to watch the animals from a distance, but Charlie wanted to hold them and eat them and grab them.


He got to pet a deer and he couldn't get enough. He laughed right out loud when the deer licked him feet and arms. It had fuzzy antlers and he loved to pet them. We had a blast!

We also decided it was time to get convertible car seats. Char and Care are so tall that they've outgrown the height limit on their infant car seats. It took us a while to make them fit rear-facing, because they are giant, but we finally got them secured. And I think the babes like them!

We weaned Caroline from her pacifier last week and she actually handled it very well. It's nice to not have to worry about taking one with us everywhere we go, and trying to keep them clean. That dolly she is holding has taken the place of her pacifier. She LOVES it! Her Aunt Sara gave it to her and she hugs it and kisses it and sleeps with it and takes it with her everywhere she goes. It's fun to see her get that excited over a toy!

This is one of their favorite places to play in our home. They were beyond excited to be back in their own house and be able to crawl freely without having to worry about getting stickers in their hands and knees. Our vacation was a blast, but it is always nice to be home again. I'm ready for things to be normal again - at least for the next three weeks!