I always get reminiscent this time of year. I enjoy spending time with family and the holiday meals together. And I always think back to two years ago and how blessed and thankful I am.
It was the day before Thanksgiving that I got to bring the girls home from the hospital. No more NICU. I still can’t believe they were so little, weighing two and three pounds. Thanksgiving turkeys weigh more than they did when they were first born. I remember being able to hold each tiny little bundle, one in each arm.
And here we are now. They are running around like crazy little two-year olds. They are healthy. They are happy. I am thankful.
There are some days when I don’t know which way is up. There are some days when I fall over from exhaustion. There are some days when everything just works out great and I feel like we should be a sappy family sitcom. But everyday I am thankful and I am kissing my blessings, each and every one of them – Bradley, Collin, Elsie, and Mallie.
People always ask me if the twins play together. Most of the time they play side by side, which is pretty common for their age. They also torment each other like all siblings do. But sometimes they play together and it is so darn cute. Check ’em out in action in the video.
***Warning: They are screamers. You might want to adjust your speakers.***
January 12, 2012 : It’s chaos, I tell you. Mutiny. I am out numbered and the craziness ensues.
All day I have been chasing babies up the stairs, keeping Collin from taking rides around the living room on the ceiling fan, and yelling at the dog to shut up. Every time I turn around it is one or the other, and they know it. They give me a smile, a grin, a giggle, and boogie it up the stairs or climb the counters. They scatter in three different directions looking for trouble one way or the other. And I think they plan it because as soon as I turn my back the other is up to something and it is a never-ending circle and chase. I am one dizzy momma.
I’m not sure how they manage their plan of attack. It must be some sort of baby code that I don’t understand because none of them talk (well, Collin who is two sort of talks, he has his own language). They are obviously very good at communicating the best strategy to exhaust me because I never know which direction I am going or what I was doing.
In the kitchen you can find Exhibit A:
Tupperware as hats, lids as flying saucers, and plastic spoons as swords.
Yea, I definitely need some baby latches. I bought some and tried to install them, but I’m just not that handy and haven’t found anyone to help in that department. I should call dear old dad.
Exhibit B has got to be the bath tub. I put all three little ones in the tub this evening. They splashed, they rolled, the threw all the toys out, the wet wash cloth landed on the floor too many times; it’s amazing how much water puddles on the floor from a unwrung washcloth. I didn’t need a bath, but I got one anyway.
Stop. Sit down. Quit spitting. Stop pulling your sister’s hair. Quit splashing. Stay on your side of the tub. Quit pushing. Share that toy. Don’t do that. This isn’t a water slide. Quit!
This is a different time when I threw all four in there. That was a tight squeeze and even more craziness.!
And the list goes on. They just laughed at me and egged each other on. I washed and scrubbed little arms, feet, and faces as fast as I could just to get done. At some point I figured they are in water, they are clean enough. WE ARE DONE!
I’m not sure what I was thinking putting them all three together. But it really doesn’t matter how I give baths. One at a time or in pairs, they are crazy no matter what. That’s why they get short baths. I can only take the craziness for so long…and for safety reasons. They are everywhere and the tub is not a water park.
Exhibit C: Trying to get them ready for bed. The video explains it all. It is kind of longer, but you have to watch toward the end when Collin is making faces and yelling at the mirror. It is hilarious. Who the hell is this kid? And what is he thinking? Just plain weird, which I must say he probably gets it from his dad (of course he does, I’m not that strange).
And as the day is winding down I start thinking about this cartoon I saw on facebook.
Sometimes, you just have one of those days when this description fits.
Mommy doesn’t have any wine. I drank what was left last night.
So tonight…I think I will just go stick my head in snow bank.
It’s always there. Everybody has it. It accumulates. It grows larger and larger every day. It’s exasperating the way these piles grow. We even add to it everyday, usually two or three times a day!
I have piles of darks, whites, towels, and jeans on my basement floor. I even have a whole load of pink clothes (I never thought that would happen. I love having girls, too!).
I walk up my stairs and a pile awaits behind the closet door and a basket in every room. Towels cushion my bathroom floor, they need washed too.
And I have stacks. Stacks of clean clothes sitting in baskets and on top of dressers that need to be folded or put away. There is a whole tub of mismatched socks waiting for their mate.
It’s also never-ending because of all the great help I have. I was hanging shirts in the boys’ closet and I looked down; there is Mallie pulling out all of the jeans from the bottom dresser drawer. Really?!Great help, I tell you. At least they are cute!
Here are the girls in action helping me fold towels. Usually the floor is covered, but this time I left them only one.
And I remind myself daily not to stress out. “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” Because laundry…well, it never goes away and it will always wait. And seriously, look at how much fun they are having!
As long as we have clean clothes to wear, it’s all good.
I can tolerate many different noises. Most toys don’t bother me, not even several going at once with a house full of noisy kids.
But this toy… It’s loud. It flashes. It plays a really fast annoying song that is hard to understand. It’s fast paced and the thing just drives me crazy! I can only take it for short periods of time. VERY short periods of time.
Collin got it for his last birthday. We didn’t even know it made any noise for the longest time…until Bradley started playing with it one day. He comes in from the porch, “Look, Mom. It plays music,” he said over the blaring noise and lights.
“Oh, good,” I said with a big sigh. Really?!
It is kind of fun toy because the kids love it. But it never stops! There is no button to push to make the song play one time. As soon as you flip the little switch on the bottom it plays nonstop.
Please! Make it stop!
But it is kind of cute watching the kids play with it. The girls love dancing to it. I can only take it for a short period of time before it gets “lost.”
It recently found a new home in the trash can. SHHH! The kids don’t know. I only threw it away because every time they get it out pieces of it keep falling off and I’m afraid the babies will choke. Good excuse, I know.
My favorite types of toys are like the ones below. Simple. Basic. Cheap. Quiet.
Even though, as you can see, they can still get hurt on the most simple toys, though. I think when she was trying to bite the tub she got her finger. Oops.
The first weekend in December: I hauled up the Christmas tree box from the basement. I didn’t even get it set down on the floor and the boys were trying to tear into it like it was a present on Christmas day. “You have to wait. This is just the Christmas tree. Mommy is going to set it up. THEN you can help put the ornaments on,” I said. This seemed to appease the little Christmas beasts.
I pulled out the pieces. The top, middle and bottom. Gotta love these new trees that practically come put together, lights and all. No more sorting branches by faded color stickers at the end of each branch. No more waiting for Dad to put the lights on the tree.
Oh, the childhood memories I have of pacing while waiting for the tree to be ready. Trying to wait patiently as my Dad made piles of similar sized branches. Getting anxious and digging through the boxes of ornaments to decide which ones to hang first.
“Dad, are you almost done?” and “Dad, can we hang the ornaments yet?” and “Dad…Dad…Dad…” We probably pestered him the whole time, but he kept working away, meticulously straightening branches and hanging lights. Now, I am the same way about straightening each branch, making sure the lights are strung around evenly. Thanks, Dad, for passing on this obsessive behavior about how the tree should look.
When I was pulling the tree out a sparkly green ball bounced across the hardwood floor. I recognized it immediately. It was one of Grandma Jean’s ornaments from last year.
I miss her. She would be so happy we are putting up her tree. I can hear her now, “Isn’t that a nice tree? Look how each branch is so perfect and how all the lights sparkle. It is a beautiful tree. Uncle Steve picked that tree out special for me (every year he would come and help her set up the tree and even come back and take it down. What a good son. I hope one of my kids will do that for me when I am old),” I can hear her now, as I sit here thinking about her. I can see her in her beige leather recliner int he big living room, crocheting away on a multicolored afghan, watching tv, and admiring her tree.
If she were here now, I know she would want to see all of our trees. She would ask, “What do the babies think of the tree?” and she would remind me (even though I know) to “make sure you keep the ornaments away from the babies. They could swallow one of those hooks. You have to keep them safe. Get down on the floor and make sure a hook didn’t fall off that you didn’t see. You have to be real careful. Run your hands along the floor.” And even though I know this, I would reply, “Okay, Grandma,” and I would probably tell her about how I have the tree set up on a card table in the living room so none of the little ones can reach it. And she would say, “I know, hunny. You take such good care of those babies,” and she would tell me how proud she is of me. Man, I love her and miss her.
It was a trial and error with the trees this year. I put up two. A small one and a regular sized one. I put up the little tree first just to see what the kids think of it…and I was also making sure they weren’t going to try to climb it. I set it up on a small table in the corner. I put the ottoman in front of the table and a small chest ont the other side. The twins couldn’t reach it, but it was still a bad idea. Collin just used the items as step stools to get right up to the tree.
See what happens when my back is turned?!
Needless to say, it was moved. I also used a taller table for the large tree so there were no stepping stools. One of these days when the kids are older and I am able to put the tree on the floor, like normal people do, they are going to be confused. I can hear them already, “Why is the tree ont the floor, Mom?”
I located the plugs on each different part of the tree and had that thing standing upright and lit in five minutes. Hallelujah!
I put Grandma’s sparkly green ornament right by a white light so it sparkles and glitters all the time.
I love Christmas. I love all of the memories, even ones as simple as a small ornament.
When they were in the NICU they were in separate isolettes. I longed to put them together in one crib. They had to be separated because of all the wires and tubes, but the isolettes were next to each other. Elsie’s covered in a yellow fleece blanket and Mallie’s in a lavender one. When one would cry, the other would look around for her sister. It broke my heart. They were so tiny.
Mallie was the calmer newborn. Elsie was more high-strung and cried louder, she also went through a lot more trauma with being smooshed on the bottom in the womb and the difficulties with the pregnancy. She was on oxygen longer. She was on a feeding tube longer. She just had a rougher start. They both did really, being born 5 weeks early.
I still remember the first time we put them next to each other, I think they were a little over a week old. It is like they knew they were supposed to be together. Their vitals were more stable when they were close. I cried when I seen them reach out to each other for the first time, grasping with tiny little fingers for their other half. I knew they must have missed each other, I mean think about it…they were in the womb together forever…all they knew was each other (and me and my heartbeat, it must have been kind of loud in there with all those heartbeats and outside noise). They could hear each other’s heartbeat, they could feel the other’s every move, they even knew when the other had hiccups.
When I finally got to bring them home, the day before Thanksgiving, I always put them together. They wouldn’t sleep very long unless they were next to each other. I would swaddle them in soft baby blankets and tuck them in close to each other. They cuddled so sweetly.
That lasted for the first 9 months or so. Now that they are more mobile it is a whole different story.
It started with stealing pacifiers. As soon as Mallie realized how to grab things and put it in her mouth, she was always after Elsie’s pacifier, even when she had her own. Elsie finally started to learn to do the same, she is just not as aggressive as her sister.
These are the peaceful moments I love. Sweet little sleeping faces; relaxed, calm, quiet. I love sneaking in and taking pictures at night, something to remember the little baby faces because they grow up so fast. I am extra careful because I fear waking them up with the flash.
Pure peacefulness. I love the way they snuggle – the closeness.
It doesn’t always last long, though. I’m going to have to separate these two into their own cribs, even though they are cute as can be in these pictures. I would love to keep them together, but it just isn’t possible anymore.
My head sinks into my pillow and I’m just heading off to dreamland when I’m jolted awake by screaming. It’s Elsie, I can tell, she has the high-pitched wail. I roll over and look at the clock. 10:12 pm. I lay there, listening to the screaming subside to fussing. Maybe she will stop. I close my eyes. A second later a bloody murder scream comes from their room. I stumble out of bed.
Mallie is mauling her sister. She has one pacifier in her mouth and the other one in her hand. She has her sister pinned down and is just smiling. If she could talk I think she would say, “Look, Mom! I’ve got two!” She is so proud. And poor Elsie is screaming her little head off under her.
“Mallie! you have one,” I tell her and take it away. She starts crying because I took one away…Elsie is still screaming. Now I have two crying babies. I stuff the pacifier in Elsie’s mouth and she subsides to a quiet whining and drifts back to sleep. I lay Mallie back down on her side of the crib and tuck her in. “Go to sleep now. And leave your sister alone.” She sucks on her pacifier and snuggles into her blanket.
I go back to bed and collapse into sleep…until about 4 am when it happens again. Geesh!
This type of thing also happens a lot at nap time, too. Just when I think they are down for the count I hear the screaming.
I go upstairs and Mallie has chucked her empty bottle on the bedroom floor. She is leaning over her sister, chugging Elsie’s bottle like a football player after a game full of touchdowns. Elsie just lays there screaming, poor thing.
It’s not always so rough. Sometimes you can listen to them playing in their crib, laughing and giggling and bouncing. Then I don’t want to separate them. And of course when they are cute and cuddly I don’t want to separate them. But I love my sleep and desperately need it… as you can tell from a few of my past blogs; No Need for an Alarm Clock, I Have Kids and A Letter to Sleep. I’m sure I have mentioned sleep, or the lack of, many other times, but those are the ones I know are all about sleep.
I decided I will put the cribs next to each other so they can be close…AND they will still be in arms reach so they can still torment each other, but Elsie wont be pummelled. Oh, the tormenting. Does it really start this early? But that’s what sisters do. I guess that is just all siblings, Bradley and Collin have it down to an art form, sticking out tongues, chasing, tackling, the whole nine yards.
Below is a cute video of them playing. Mallie is chasing Elsie and they are laughing and giggling…until Mallie gets too rough.
Oh, it is going to be interesting to see what the future will bring. I’m sure there will be lots of fights, don’t we all remember that with siblings? But there will also be lots of fun times and we will be sitting on the front porch laughing about them later.