Productivity

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Productivity and toddlers mix as well as oil and water. This topic is fresh on my mind this morning because this week I started trying to be productive while the boys are awake. I must have waited long enough since the last time that I forgot how pointless it is to try to get anything done with the boys around. Take something as simple as folding clothes. Of course I am one of those people that pile 7 loads on to my couch to folded all at once so I am probably looking for toddler interference right of the bat. But the boys spend the whole time sitting in and standing on laundry basket.

Hold on, I have to go make some chocolate milk. OK I’m back.

Or else they climb all over the clothes like they are a mountain. And forget leaving a stack of folded clothes anywhere for more than 26 seconds. And the very last time I folded clothes, Owen had to get a pillow and blanket and “sleep” behind me while I worked.

And as some of you may know, I am trying to work on photography. So last night I was busy working on pictures while also going back and forth on the phone trying to plan a family vacation. In that time Owen chased me all over the house wanting to talk to Grandma, Jake got his fingers pinched, they both peed their pants twice (something they do not do often) and threw markers all over their toy room, twice. Now of course I was around them for all of this just not really in the moment because I was distracted. I know that a lot of parenting advice says to just be in the moment with your kids, forget the house stuff. And trust me, I normally do, but sometimes it feels good to actually accomplish something! I guess I just haven’t figured out the perfect balance yet. I’ll stick to get to getting things done while they are asleep, although I spend most of the time that they are asleep sleeping myself.

I feel like I could go on and on with examples (Like the fact that Jake just peed his pants again, while I was writing this blog) but I don’t want to bore you. I do know that their mischief is not all their fault. They are 2 and very curious little boys. I have definitely started seeing their behavior a little more like them acting their age rather than them trying to push my buttons. Although, they do get a look in their eye sometimes and I know they know what they are doing. I’m trying to enjoy the moment as much as I can, like I actually enjoyed Owen “sleeping” by me while I folded clothes, but I also want to feel like a contributing member of our household. Having the house in a none natural disaster condition when Joel comes home seems like a nice thing to do. I know he would never say I need to have the house clean, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t appreciate it. Well, some day the boys won’t want to have anything to do with me and the house can be clean again. Not sure that sounds good either.

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Everything is a phase

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So I am back at it again. I am going to try to stick with it a bit longer this time. I just logged on and noticed that I wrote the following blog without remembering to publish it. So is the story of my life right now. In the last week alone I have been stopped at the last second by a nice woman to tell me I am about to back over my shopping cart and I have looked all over in my purse for my wallet, and thinking I’d lost it, I asked for my sister to pay for something only for her to point out that I had just gotten it out 30 seconds prior. I know these things may seem normal but they are daily occurrences! My mind is always in a million different places. Anyway, all I am trying to say is that I am stretched pretty thin and this blog kind of just felt like something hanging over my head. But as I sit here and type, I feel great, so I need to do it more often, kind of like eating well and exercising… So to my 6 fans out there, I will try to take more advantage of the boys’ 3 hour naps and do something more productive.

 

A wise woman in my life once said “Everything is phase, the good and the bad.” This has been mine and Joel’s motto since we began this parenting journey. If there is something we feel like we can not handle much longer, we just tell each other, “Everything is a phase.”I remember a lot of times when the boys were really little, we would find a temporary solution to a problem but be so worried about what would we do once the boys changed to this or that. For example, the boys loved to be swaddled. IMG_0765I used to joke that they would still want to be swaddled when they were 30. Joel and I were worried about when we needed to stop swaddling them because they were moving too much or had just grown out of the swaddle. We had many discussions about it and never really figured out what we would do. Then one day, we tried not swaddling them, it didn’t work, we waited a few more weeks, and would you believe it? They slept just fine! No need to freak out. We had so many of these moments when the boys were little. What we learned within the first year is, it will work out. With a little thought and leading them in the right direction, it will be fine. No need to have an exact, set plan. Rarely does a plan work out with our kids anyway.

I have so much more to say on this topic because it is truly what parenting is all about. All the fun, new and exciting things that come with each stage are something all parents look forward to. We also look forward to the day when our kids will stop doing this or that. But the flip side is is that my kids can say “no” now and choose not to let me smother them with kisses. They can decide not to sit still and cuddle with mommy and instead run all over. They can finally sit in front of the TV long enough for me to make dinner (sometimes, if I’m lucky) but now they demand to watch TV and I feel like I’ve created little monsters!

I am so excited to watch Jake & Owen grow up and get the opportunity to teach them new things and watch them learn, but I am also dreading the day we are out of this current phase and they no longer ask for mommy and want to hold my hand. So just remember, when you are in the trenches and your child is doing something you wish they would grow out of, not to worry, they will! Also keep that in mind when doing something fun with your child, make sure you cherish those loving moments with your kids, because that too shall pass. The great part is, with every phase comes new, memorable moments that you can treasure forever.

And a special thank you to all those people that asked me about my blog and encouraged me to continue. You are giving me confidence when I had none, and making this blog much more enjoyable for me to write. So thanks for reading!

What a mess!

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We used to have a dog named Frank. We gave him up to some loving family members because he was totally neglected after the boys were born. But man! Do I wish he was still around to “clean” our floor 5 times a day so Joel and I didn’t have to. I swear, the crumbs just materialize out of nowhere. How could 2 little boys make such a mess?! I guess I have my answer right there, they are 2 boys. They can’t just drop a goldfish cracker on the ground. They have to drop it, step on it, and then swipe their hands all over the crumbs to make sure they get spread around as much as possible. I have to make sure pasta or pizza night falls on a bath night as well. It seems they think that pasta sauce is some sort of shampoo, it almost always ends up in their hair. And when they are done with dinner, IMG_2286we may get lucky and they will just raise their hands up in the air to let us know they are done. But the typical way for them to tell us they are done is to go crazy on their tray and knock as much food off as possible in a few swipes. As I am sure you can imagine, this can be a bit frustrating. I guess throwing food is way more fun than eating it! I have found that letting them have a fork, encourages them to eat instead of throw the food, but I can’t make them eat if they aren’t hungry! Of course, I don’t really know if they are hungry or what they are willing to eat until I try. We unfortunately end up throwing a lot of food in the garbage. Either because its been thrown on the floor or its pasta mixed with peas and peach juice. Yummy! Joel made a joke one time, after giving the boys mandarin oranges, which they ate none of, “Next time, let’s just open the can and throw it straight in the garbage.”

And those are just food messes! IMG_2156They can make a mess out of anything! Just the other day, I spent a little while cleaning up after they got a hold of some post-its. Obviously, I knew they were playing with them and let them, my first mistake. They got all kinds of tiny pieces nice and wet and it stuck to the kitchen floor. Much bigger mess than originally anticipated. They also got a hold of my napkin holder, they then proceeded to bunch up every single napkin and shove them behind our couch. (If you could see my house, it would make more sense how this is possible). I know some of my messes could be avoided, but my attitude is to let them do a lot of weird stuff as long as they are not being destructive or putting themselves in danger. I really don’t know what other approach to take and still stay sane. I really want to raise respectful, well behaved children (don’t we all), but I’ve decided to just take it one step at a time and hope that I’m not screwing them up too much. I am continuing to learn how to anticipate the mess they are going to make and avoid the problem all together. For example, this year, we chose not to decorate for Christmas, thinking that yelling “No” 500 times a day wasn’t worth it. And if I turn my back for one minute, Jake would probably be knocking the tree over on Owen.

As you can see, they keep life interesting and my house is getting cleaned a lot more often than it used to!

I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, talk to you again after the holidays!

This is why we can’t have nice things.

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IMG_2490So I picked up this workbench at a consignment store thinking it would be great for the boys. I wanted to get them something nicer but this picture shows why I didn’t. Almost all the toys they have, age appropriate or not, are never used for their intended purpose. So I decided, why spend a ton of money on toys when they are probably just going to use them all as weapons. Take this workbench for example. We had it for less than 24 hours and Jake had already knocked it over on his brother. I moved it up into our kitchen, under the counter, thinking it would be safe. As you can see by the picture, I was wrong. Lately all they want to do is play behind it. Why? I really wish I could get inside their head. I do believe this is partly a twin problem I am having. Owen saw Jake do it, so obviously he has to as well.

Also, I was trying to follow a “Busy Toddler” book and think of some ideas for the boys. I put up a piece of felt and cut out some smaller shapes so they could stick it on the wall. They played with it for about 30 seconds before trying to rip all the tape off that was holding the felt up. Again, this is why we cannot have nice things.

Now those are just some examples of toys. You know how people tell you to let your kids play with the Tupperware and pots and pans? Well a few months ago I let the boys into the pan cabinet. Instead of using the utensils I gave them to bang on the pans with, Owen proceeded to drive the pan around like a car and scratch up my floor. He doesn’t drive his cars around like cars, but he drives my pans around like he is Jeff Gordon. And that lamp I loved in my front room, the room that has no ceiling light, yeah I waved bye bye to that thing a long time ago when Jake was trying to shake coconuts (or something else I couldn’t imagine) out of the top of it. Even right now, as I sit and type this, the boys are playing in a wonderful storage bench my dad made so I could have a place to put all their stuff. Well, that idea didn’t really work out. One of their favorite games is to empty it all out and hide inside. So now there are a few blankets in the cabinets, and that’s it. Funny, they don’t seem to like the cabinet quite as much now that they can’t make a huge mess.

I know what you are thinking “Do you ever watch these kids? Do you ever say ‘no’?” I do, I swear. There are a few reasons these things still happen. One, there are 2 of them. Two, there is one of me. Three, I cannot anticipate all their actions. In hindsight, some of the trouble they get in to seems obvious. I’m still learning just as they are. And lastly, I choose to pick my battles. So they want to play behind the workbench, fine. They want to sit on the kitchen chairs, fine. I know some risk is involved but how will they learn if I never let them do anything? Right now, they are emptying the recycling bin. Big deal. I don’t keep anything sharp in there. Yes, it will be a mess that I will have to clean up later, but they are happy and I am able to sit here and type. I don’t know if this means I will be raising little hell raisers or strong, independent little men. Now Joel is the complete opposite, if he sees a way to prevent a mess or sees any risk in their behavior, he stops it immediately. I think we balance each other out well. I’m messy and spontaneous, so I allow them to be. Joel is organized and teaches the boys those skills as well.

Please don’t misunderstand, I am not complaining. Just sharing some of our everyday excitement!

Remember that time we had twins?

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That is a question my husband and I ask each other when we are going through something difficult with our boys, this is a way that we cope when times are rough and what can make us laugh instead of cry. For example, we just get one to fall asleep in our arms on the couch and the other one wakes up from their nap upstairs and wakes up the cuddling one. Or when they are both screaming at us while we try to get them dressed after a bath. I think that a lot of the challenges we face are really just from having 2 children, not necessarily because we have twins. Like the sleeping child example, another kid at a different age could cause the same outcome. I am sure there are a lot of challenges I face because I have twins that I don’t even realize because I don’t know any different.

I read a blog the other day by a twin mom that talked about what she has learned about nature vs. nurture when having 2 children, the same age, at the same time. Having twins really gives you a unique perspective on every kid being different. Some sleep well, Owen, while others just don’t, Jake… Their rooms are set up almost identically and they go down for their naps the exact same way, but I can get Owen to nap for 4 hours, while I’m lucky if Jake sleeps for 2. I’m also coming off a second night in a row with missing hours of sleep because Jake hates to wake up in his crib, and seems to generally hate sleeping. I have done nothing different with my kids but I have had drastically different results. I am trying my best, and maybe failing, at trying not to label my boys (since I just spoke about “The good sleeper” and ” The bad sleeper”). People ask, “Is he the outgoing one?” or “Which one is the bully?” I don’t like to label them that way because people will come to expect that behavior from them, and they may in turn become what their labels suggest. For example, physically, Jake is always tackling Owen and wrestling with him, while Owen just lays there. But when it comes to toys or books, Owen is the dominant one, yanking everything away from Jake, while Jake just sits and usually lets it happen. I have no idea how to raise kids or twins, but I am trying to learn and make sure that both of my kids know they are special individuals and are not only identified as a couple. Although, I truly want them to be best buds, and so far, I don’t think that will be a problem.

I plan to write more, probably more specifically about challenges I am facing a particular day. I hope I am able to find time in the future to continue to write, as I’m sure you’ve guessed, I have a lot going on and I don’t want to miss anything. Right now I can see my boys sitting at the table having a conversation and laughing at each other. I guess I’ll have to go out and join them.

Joel and I also like to mix in the question, “How did we get so lucky?”