22 Months Old

This month went by fast and it doesn't seem like we have much to show for it. We had more time to get used to our neighborhood, check out the parks and I'm starting to explore new classes for during the week. The boys were also sick a lot, so we missed a class of MyGym, then swim lessons were canceled. Some days we ended up just staying home (!!) which is now feasible because we have several different play areas and the backyard. That just never would've been a possibility at the Brannan.

Even though we're heading into the next month now, it seems like all the fun of potty training has also taken up much of the month. Combine that with apparent teething, fevers and sleep being all over the place and it's sort of been a tough month. Oh and I didn't even mention the overall clinginess, whining and tantrums. I need a break just thinking about it all again. Don't get me wrong, there are lots of great moments too. Watching how much they're learning each day, all the new words their saying, all that they're capable of physically, it so much fun. I think it's clear that change is tough on all kids, but as ours have always been on a pretty strict schedule and used to routine, any change like potty training definitely takes its toll.

I can't recall any big adventures this month, as mentioned, due to all the sickness, we usually just headed to the park for an hour or so to get some fresh air.  It feels like I didn't take nearly as many photos this month as previously. We did see a lot of my dad as he's been helping so much with the house, but now that he's completed most of his 'chores', he's gotten to spend more time with the boys which is so nice.

Fun game 'hitting' Papa

Papa hid our feet!

Highlight from the Month:
Feb 14-16 - 3-day potty training weekend (not sure I'd call that a highlight, but at least worth mentioning...)

New this month:
Les Deux can...
Identify more and more letters as well as name the letters they find
Say/identify more and more people and names. Jessica is 'je-ka' but even with just one class with new swim teacher Amy, they quickly said her name
Climb through the rope tunnel at Lafayette Park
Can do the zipper if I get it all set up and ready to pull
Carry their bowls or plates to and from the sink
Climb the jungle gym steps at Alta Plaza
Take off their shirt (almost) - gets stuck on their head, but they're making progress
Pull down their pants (getting them back up is a big tougher)

George can...
Count to five pretty consistently
Pull the vacuum out of the closet, plug it in (central vacuum) and vacuum
Jump, well, he's been able to before this month, but he can jump much better now
Climb much better now too, going to the tops of big slides, etc.
Put on his socks. Well, not really. But he really likes me putting his thumbs in and helping him pull them on 'himself'
Sing a song! ('Tick-tock, tick-tock, I'm a little cuckoo clock')
Swipe through photos on the phone (we rarely let them hold our phones so this is surprising -- I'm sure others do this much earlier!)
Blow out his own nose (okay, he can't really, but he likes to try ;) 

William can...
Climb to the top of the semi-circle ladder thing at the park
(Sometimes) do the lily pad steps at Clay St. Playground

EAT: Looking back at last month's post, there aren't a lot of changes in the past month. Their eating is fine, definitely not eating a ridiculous amount like they do some weeks/months, it's tapered out and especially with being sick, possibly even declined.

Breakfast is the first stop of the day, no longer any playtime beforehand. Oatmeal (aka: 'oak-a-bye') was such a huge hit this month, especially for W (sometimes eating 2+ pouches!), but not surprisingly, seems to possibly be on the decline. William has also taken to eating just about every type of meat offered. Such a change from previous months.

They still love berries -- hope that never changes as they're so easy. Bananas may finally be taking a break too, or at least an every-other-day type of thing. We have not made any progress on veggies. I take that back, perhaps a little bit of progress was made on their first fondue-night when I asked if their trees (broccoli) had snow (cheese) on them. They haven't been as into nuts.

I guess what has been new this month, or at least in the last two weeks was JUICE. And lots of it. I never wanted to get into juice for obvious sugary reasons, but I knew part of potty training was giving them lots of opportunities to go, which meant drinking lots of liquids. I got a fresh apple juice, a white grape juice, a cold-pressed juice and a blueberry POM. Carrot juice is also back in the mix too. What's been a pain is that when they've been waking up at night when sick, I give them water and they start asking for juice. I think once we're done with the bottle we have, we're gonna have to pull the plug on that.

We haven't been eating out at all, a lot to do with the potty training and spending more time at home, but I feel like we need to get back in the game soon so they don't forget how to behave at restaurants (though not sure they ever really knew??). In general though, they have been acting out a lot more even at home (and we've been doing family dinners most nights). A lot more pushing food and spilling it, dropping it off the table, pushing the placemat around, etc. In all honestly, they really don't do that well with dinner at all.

One thing that's just come up is that it looks like William may have an allergy to fish. His face got all red about a month ago after eating salmon jerky and I just thought it was that specific kind as it was the first time he'd had the Trader Joe's kind. Then he had salmon and it also wasn't good, but a few nights ago he has Paiche and it was the worst we've seen. Luckily it went away in about an hour with Benadryl but I'll have to talk to the doctor about it. It's strange as he's had fish 1-2 times a week since he was maybe 10 months old and never had a problem.

First Fondue Dinner!

6:15-6:45ish up (occasionally until 7am)
7:00 breakfast (right when they wake up)
out of the house for an activity by 9/9:30am
9am snack (sometimes finishing their breakfast but no longer 'second breakfast' like before)
Home by noon for lunch (lots of quesadillas)
1:00 or so W down for a nap (reads for 5 mins if that, averaging 3 hours)
1:30-2ish G down for a nap (sleeping on average 2-2.5 hours)
4pm snack
6pm dinner
bath, stories
7-7:20pm in bed
Usually asleep by 8

SLEEP: I can't believe we started their 22nd month by them sleeping past 7am for multiple days straight. Yet again it's been a month of ups and downs. We've had late morning scattered here and there, but also plenty of 6am sharp or 6:15 or so if we're (meaning Dave) lucky. We've discovered that it's W who wakes up first and then continues to repeat 'Hi. Hi! HI!' and laughing until (we presume) George finally wakes up. Usually he's in a good mood and we hear them laughing and talking for a bit until Dave goes in. This is where it gets ugly. They both want to be taken out of bed first and changed. So I hear a chorus of 'My diaper! OUT! My diaper!' Dave switches each day but whoever doesn't go first throws a fit. I usually have my ear plugs in by this point and if I'm lucky, am able to fall asleep for another thirty minutes.

Naps have been generally good (who can remember anymore??). But there have been random days when W wouldn't go down so that delayed G going down and then he gets a second wind. Or recently G has wanted to go to bed at the same time of W, but of course he doesn't really want to. So he keeps W up (the two days I tried), I eventually had to go get G out, but by that point W didn't want to stay in bed and it was a disaster. I should know by now, stick to the routine. W goes down first, falls asleep, G goes down.

G hasn't been quite as clingy this month, but there were days here or there where he'd fall asleep on me while holding him. He even curled up with Dedee one Friday. At least she still had access to her kindle!

Nights have been sort of all over the board. There have been random nights where G has had trouble going down. And of course the awful night while potty training. But between potty training and both of them being sick over the past week, there have been quite a few wake ups. Mostly they've been uneventful. Go in and give a pat, give some water or medicine, maybe rock for a few minutes. Other nights have involved bringing one into our bed (which so rarely works). W ended up sleeping on Dave (literally on his chest) until 8am last weekend and napped on me the same way for 3 hours earlier that day. Since I don't take naps, it was still the most break I've gotten in a while. Literally couldn't move, but could reach my laptop and headphones to catch up on multiple episodes of Orange is the New Black. And a few nights ago, after G woke up warm, I gave him medicine but he didn't go back to sleep. Brought him into our bed, where he tossed and turned and said he wanted to get down. I put him down and he curled up on the rug next to my bed. I double-checked that the baby gate over the stairs was locked but otherwise thought, fine, sleep on the floor. Though not expecting it to be successful. I woke up startled several times, checking to see if he was still there and he was, all the way until he woke up at 7am :)

After getting through the tough sleep adjustment after the move, I'm now ready to be through this potty training/sick adjustment. I'm sure they are too.

A few other notes related to sleep:
  • We lowered the cribs to the bottom rung (which probably should've been done a while ago but finally got to it)
  • We got them little toddler pillows. They seemed to be sleeping on their stuffed animals so gave them a try. It definitely took them a few days or maybe a week to take to them, but now seem to like them.
Looked like he was ready for a pillow

PLAY: With each month the boys play more and more independently, but this month even when they're enjoying playing together, I often hear, 'Mommy play? Mommy play?' It's so nice to be more set up upstairs now and be able to eat breakfast at the table while watching them play or clean up breakfast with them in then next room. Many times they play well together, actually playing with the same toy, but other times they're very specific about only one of them being able to use the toy. The other one will just keep saying 'all done, all done' to indicate that the other person should be done with his turn.

New this month is that they're doing a lot more pretend play and actually playing with pieces to different toys. My mom brought over a train duplo set which they absolutely love. They build tall towers, connect the trains and build on each train car and are very specific about where each of the little people sit. We also got a play kitchen a few weeks ago and while they don't love it as much as that duplo train, it still seems to be a hit. George loves to fake wash his hands, put his milk cup in the microwave and make pretend meals. They're also making all kinds of sounds to accompany their play.

We also have a Thomas the Train set which they love and got a big castle with knights that has gotten a lot of use. They're definitely into sets. We've been trying to rotate toys more and just got out the farm with animals again and they love playing with it.  Trucks are still popular, though they seem to like playing with the sets of toys we have more than individual trucks. Truck books are still top of the list.

They continue to become more and more independent at the park as well. I no longer worry about them on the edge of high play structures, though I do need to watch out if there are older kids around who can go down fire poles, etc, as they sometimes want to follow them and try it too. They can climb up tall ladders (sometimes too tall for my comfort) and go down high slides with little hesitation. At this point, one doesn't seem to be more daring than the other. I was so impressed when we went to a new park at the beginning of the month and they both climbed through this rope tunnel thing. They figured it out pretty quickly and though G got hung up a bit when he lost a shoe through the bottom and was unsure how to continue, he eventually made it through. We went back with Dave this past weekend and they did it again. There were much bigger kids who were scared to try, though perhaps that fear will come when they're a bit older.

Playing in the Presidio
In a way it seemed like reading was on the decline, mostly saved for nap- and bedtime, but with them not feeling well the past few weeks, there were multiple times when they would curl up on my lap and we'd read stories for at least half an hour. A musical Frosty the Snowman book has been a recent favorite. They also love Tons of Trucks, Press, the potty books mentioned in the Potty Favorites post. They continue to be able to to point out more and more things on the pages when I ask, but they also point to things and say the correct word without prompting in many cases. Whereas G has always loved numbers, he's more often than not actually getting the order right and can count to five. William isn't quite there but is probably where G was last month with saying one and two and then the rest being a jumble. I've also been impressed that I can tell G to bring me 'Good Night Moon' for example and I say, 'it's a skinny orange book' and he's been able to find it on the shelf and bring it to me.

This month has been a huge improvement in the clean-up department. George has always been interested in cleaning and would help put toys away the past few months, but W would just stand there with zero interest. Within the last week, W has been enthusiastic about helping to put the toys away.

We haven't spent as much time outside in our backyard this month as they've really been engrossed in their new toys and the useable living room upstairs now. They still like to go out there and rotate toys about every five seconds when we are outside. They also love doing bubbles.

Biting update: I think we had one bad day this month were there were 3 or 4 bites. Besides that, I can't even remember any bites. There have been a few times where W has clearly been aggravated and starts to go at G, but usually if I start suggesting words for him to tell G, and sometimes I'll need to intercept, but in general he's been able to use his words a lot more.

TALK: Well, it's finally happened. I've been saying for months that once W started talking, he wouldn't stop. George speaks when he has something to say and usually says it twice max. William talks constantly, the majority understandable words, but still some chatter too. And he repeats. Constantly. I don't necessarily mean repeating what I say (though they both do plenty of that and that's definitely new this month), but repeating the same phrase over and over and over... seriously like 20 times. I can't believe I'm only a few weeks into this, I'm not sure how I'll tolerate it if it's to continue this way for years to come.

Their vocabulary has continued to grow this month and while I often play translator for them to my dad, I feel like everything is getting clearer and clearer (probably through Mom's ears only). There are certain letters they both have trouble with, for example they say 'pobby' for 'potty'. They seem to say just about everything. Any new word we teach them, they both quickly repeat and then will use again the next time we read that book, pass that store, etc. With the recent sicknesses we've dealt with, it's been so nice for them to communicate a bit better. G was able to say 'ear hurt' and when William had the allergic reaction and it spread to the front and back of his neck, he said, 'neck hurt'. There have been a few instances when I really have no idea what they're saying. They repeat the same word or phrase over and over again and I try to decipher it with no luck. It's frustrating for both of us.

They're saying plenty more 3-word phrases and going into four words as well. William does better with the first person whereas G still starts many sentences with 'Georgie...' They add 'no' to the start of lots of sentences to make it negative; for example, G will say, 'no Wawee come' if he doesn't want W to come.

Some areas of their speech I'm absolutely thrilled with: they finally say 'Yes'! They've been able to say yes for a while now, but it was very rare for me to actually hear it. This month I encouraged it more and encouraged an actual answer by saying 'yes or no?' after asking a question without a clear response. This has worked so well. Now I'll get a clear head nod and a 'yes' (yesh). They also start sentences with yes, like 'yes Georgie milk' when he does want it (often used after he's previously said no).

They're also SO good about saying please. Sure, we need to remind them sometimes, but most of the time it comes out naturally when they're asking for something, even when they're asking each other or other kids. G often includes the sign language of rubbing his chest for emphasis ;) Where G still struggles is understanding that just because you say please doesn't mean you automatically get it. This is confusing for him when he's at the park and asks another kid for something with 'please'.  William will reply back to him, 'no please' when he doesn't want to hand over something despite G's polite request. They're starting to pick up 'thanks' a bit more, but we still have to prompt most of the time for this and they are still more often using their sign.

POTTY: We're only a little bit further into this process than when documented in this post. It's definitely an ongoing process and W's tough last weekend didn't make it any easier. Though we're now tracking days into the 23rd month, I'll say that things are definitely improving for W. He seemed to be getting resistant to any suggestion of using the potty (despite us being pretty good about not hounding him about it). Eventually he would just sit down and go after G went and we'd celebrate and that would be that. But despite drinking plenty (not a ton, but enough), over the weekend he went one time between his overnight diaper coming off and his nap diaper going on, then had a dry diaper after nap, and then once between nap and bedtime. When he went, it would be on and off the potty several times in a couple-minute period and still wouldn't be a ton (or what I would expect from not having gone much all day). But he didn't seem to be holding it and the dry diapers at nap were confusing as well. When he wasn't feeling well, I asked him if he wanted to put a diaper on and it was a strong 'NO!'.

What seemed to work best with W was not talking about it at all. Not asking him directly if he had to go, making him sit on the potty (even if we were heading out somewhere). Purely leaving it up to him. The only thing that coaxed him was when we'd make it totally fun. Have his Sammy dog sit on the potty and go, then the lego guy. That would get G to sit down and go immediately and then W would nonchalantly come up next and go. I asked the doctor if I should be worried about how infrequently he's going and at this point she doesn't seem concerned. He hasn't pooped in the potty for probably a week, which is too bad as he started out having no problems with #2 either. He doesn't seem to be holding it for right when we put a diaper on, it's been every other night around 10pm or so that we go in and have to change him. So the past few days have improved. We've continued not to pressure him at all and leave it up to him about when he needs to go. He's doing it willingly, volunteering to go first, etc. Still not going nearly as much as G (both in amount and frequency), but that's what so hard about twins, it's impossible not to compare. I guess W got my bladder and G got Dave's ;)

As for G, on the one hand I have to admit how surprised I am that he took to it so quickly and so successfully. On the other hand, I wouldn't have expected anything less from him. He's determined, competitive, motivated and in general wants to please. It's hilarious that literally after every time he goes (even if just a few drops), he throws his arms up in the air and says, 'haRAY Georgie!' I'm sure we're far from being out of the woods with accidents, but have had a really good week. G will go when I ask him to before we leave the house and run to the potty whenever he needs to go. Outings are still hit or miss. There have been episodes where he'll start saying 'potty! potty!' but have already started going. He seems to have stopped and finishes in the potty but he still needs to master the feeling of having to go and waiting until he's actually in the bathroom. He's done really well with #2 as well. Both he and W were 3-4x/day on average, and G had some days where he goes on the potty 3 separate times. It seems to have slowed down though, sometimes skipping a day all together, sometimes once or twice. Nothing to worry about, I'm proud of him that he was able to figure it out so quickly. I guess what's surprised me most is that he seemed to lack of the physical understanding of the muscles to contract the bladder, etc. We could viably see W doing it when he had to go and didn't think G was there. He picked it up pretty much in a day though.

As far as rewards, we've been doing two stickers for #2 in the potty and every time we get home and they have dry pants (no accident), they get to pick one chocolate-covered pomegranate seed. This seems to be working well as usually I'm the one offering versus them reminding me. I probably will stop doing this soon but as we've had the ups and downs with W, I want to continue acknowledging the wins.

Overall, even in less than two weeks of potty training, there have been a lot of ups and downs. The combination of being sick and potty training was hard on everyone and led to some doubts about them (W) being ready. I wanted to trust my gut, especially since he was refusing diapers when offered. I think he's headed in the right direction so I hope his progress continues. I'd have to say that the potty training itself hasn't been the hard part so far, it's been everything else that goes with it. The irritability, them being sick, not sleeping as well, etc. I think you have to be prepared for the whole thing and not just think that if you can clean up messes, you're prepared.

George's hair continues to darken up, though is still a dirty blonde. It's grown like crazy this last month though and I just had to get them another haircut this week. It turns out to be every five weeks, but usually it looks like G could make it a few more weeks without one. This time they both definitely need one.

I didn't measure them this month but W is definitely growing. I just went through his clothes last week and got rid of most of the 12-18 pants, the shirts still fit. I moved the 18-24 pants to W and got out a bunch of 2T for G, some of which are still pretty big, but he can manage with for now. W has moved into G's 2T pjs and G is now in 3T (the brand runs small). W is growing out of his favorite gray fedora and I'll probably have to sneak it out of the house when he's not looking. G's hat has somehow stayed in the picture despite it being so misshapen.

MOM: It's been a great month of continuing to settle it. It's so nice to have the kitchen complete and the new dining room set up. The living room should *hopefully* be put together with the new couch within the week. The place is about 500 square feet bigger than the Brannan apartment and it already feels like so much more work to maintain. I think some of that is because we've been eating more lunches and snacks at home while potty training which leads to endless messes and constant clean up. Still, I've really enjoyed the additional space in the kitchen and how open it feels. I've been cooking a lot and have been cooking with the boys as well. They love the learning tower we got when it was on sale on Black Friday. It really is perfect for twins and I think we'll get years of use out of it.

Since joining the JCC a few weeks ago, I've been putting my membership to good use, going five days a week. I swim twice a week, do a personal trainer once a week (temporarily, part of an intro deal we purchased), and have tried mat pilates and bootcamp classes. I didn't like the one yoga class I tried but will try a different teacher. I'm also going to start pilates reformer after I just did my assessment. Luckily the classes are very reasonably priced.

Like last month, the volunteering is pretty low-key now, though still takes time for emails and meetings. Pretty soon it will be time to decide what I want to do with Junior League next year. I nominated several from my committee to chair next year so I guess I'll first see how that moves forward. It's still been busy, but I've been binge-watching Orange is the New Black at naptime and in the evenings while doing other stuff. Still spending too much time on the computer.

We finally got the girls together for a dinner out last week. I can't even remember the last time we all went to dinner. I think I just sort of got over planning them and trying to coordinate with everyone, but Ashley was back and we needed to celebrate her birthday, Morgan's and Mariela's pregnancy. It was such a fun night and definitely makes me want to do it more often.

A struggle of the past month has been the boys' continuing preference for Dave. It definitely gets on my nerves and on many days hurts my feelings more deeply when all I hear is 'more Daddy' or that only Daddy can get them both out of their carseats, put their bibs on, etc. I try not to let it bother me -- I'm so happy they're as close to him as they are -- but it's hard when I'm not able to soothe in the middle of the night because even in the dark, they only want Daddy. I know it's hard for Dave as there's not much to be done about it. I'm sure many moms have felt this way -- they're around almost all the time, but it's the other parent that is outwardly more wanted. When it's just the three of us during the week, everything is one way and Daddy is rarely mentioned, but when Daddy is around (or when they know he should be, like at dinnertime), mom quickly slips to number two on the list. They certainly are Daddy's boys, I just hope I find a way to manage the situation as it's made the past few weekends very tough.

Parenting book club: We read How to Talk So You're Kids Will Listen and Listen So Your Kids Will Talk. It was a good read though more could be applied as they get older. I'm sure I'll read it again in a few years as it was very practical.

Date night: When Dave and I first went to Chapeau! years ago, it seemed like such a trek to 'the other side of town', the side I knew little about. Now we're technically within walking distance to Clement Street so Chapeau! seemed like that perfect spot to spend our Valentine's dinner date (on the Thursday before of course). It's a great French restaurant and super affordable for the multiple courses. I'm sure we'll go there plenty more times in the future.

Looking forward to: Vegas! Two of Dave's favorite boxers are fighting next weekend so we're heading to Sin City for the two nights. Megan and Chip and Julie are coming so it should be a lot of fun. My mom and dad are stepping up to the plate and will handle the boys for 48 hours. Also, it's time to start planning the boys' SECOND birthday party. Still deciding between construction/trucks or trains.

To my boys...

I'm happy to report that George isn't quite as bossy as has he was last month. We still hear 'No Wawee' but it's definitely eased up a bit. Both of you are still very clingy to Daddy and he'll always be your number one pick. Though your little game of saying 'Two bees (boys), one Daddy' is fun for you guys some of the time, there are many times that either of you just want him (or me on rare occasions) to yourself. G, for example, will say 'No Wawee Mama' to try to get me to himself. It's tough to be a twin. On the one hand you always have a friend (if you realize it), but it's rare that you get one-on-one time and you've never been an only child where you really got Mom or Dad all to yourself. This is something we want to work on, taking you guys out individually so that you get time with just Dad or just Mom actually doing something out of the house (and not just a few minutes before the other wakes up).

Lots of fun memories from the month:
  • You loved drawing on Mom's chalkboard after I did your 21-month chalkboard. I got you an easel at IKEA but will probably save it for a few months
  • You love watching videos of yourselves on my phone, or scrolling through photos
  • I was in the other room for less than a minute when I walk into the guest bedroom to see that you've both gotten into the open Aquaphor jar and slathered it ALL over each other, some on the bed, etc. What a mess. I was pretty upset and stressed and after a lot of cleaning, all but one shirt was salvageable.
  • You've been to the JCC childcare center several times now and really like. You run right in and don't look back. Unfortunately you're not super comfortable with the teachers yet and therefore have had accidents instead of telling them you need to go potty.
  • You've been really into wearing your backpacks around lately and G even says 'school' when he wears it
  • You are so interested in older kids and whenever there's a preschool at the park in the morning, you always love to follow them around. One day you sat with a little girl and had snack for a good 15 minutes. Then when it was time for them to leave and they were all buddied up, G grabbed my hand and dragged me up the hill behind the class. The teacher laughed and told me what school she was from.
  • Quesadillas have been a hit lately for lunch, though W also often asks for a sandwich
  •  Both of you are such good helpers. Initially it was G who loved to clean, but within the last week or so, W has really gotten into it too.
  • You love watching Papa do his work. G especially was a good helper getting the play kitchen put together.
  • You guys are talking to each other more and more at bedtime. The cutest was on Sunday night after potty training (yes, THAT Sunday) -- back and forth I just heard over and over, 'bye bye diapers!'
  • I can't get over how much you guys like wearing hats, and now sunglasses and scarves too. Sometimes I offer, but it's rare for you to leave the house without turning around and remember a hat, if you haven't already asked for one.
  • You love playing in closets and don't mind being in the dark. You especially like the guestroom closet as it has sliding doors and currently your little table and chairs are it it. So one of you will sit on the chair in the closet and proceed to open and close the door saying, 'Hi Georgie! (close door) Bye Georgie!'. These are definitely the moments that are so much fun and can't wait to see you guys playing more and more together in coming months.
George. As mentioned above, it's been a relief that you've eased up a bit on the bossiness. You definitely like things a certain way though and are becoming a 2-year-old that gets all bent-out-of-shape when something isn't just right. I've been so impressed with how you've taken to potty training though. I was really on the fence as to whether or not you were ready, but I figured it wouldn't hurt to start and somewhat expected you to jump on board when you saw your brother doing it. I had no idea you would be the one that would run with it. You're so proud of yourself when you go, such a pleaser. You're still learning and have plenty of accidents, but I'm confident it was a good time to start with you so you're lucky you have a twin that pushed you into it.

Other G-notes:
  • You can actually say sorry -- I taught you when you were kicking me while I was changing your diaper. Now I'll prompt you, 'what do you say when you hurt Mama?' 'Sorry Mama'.
  • You're also very good at saying 'I love you' (when prompted). I love that!
  • You're very good at zippers and I'll often find your sleepsack half off after naptime
  • You say 'Double-Wawee' when pronouncing the letter W. You've associated W with William for so long ;) (M for Mommy, D for Daddy, J for Je-ka)
  • You play so well by yourself right before naptime that I usually just let you be. You talk to yourself and move your trains, guys, etc.
  • You're such a rule-follower (not necessarily that you follow the rules all the time but that you know what the rules are and want everyone else to be aware). You'll stand by the door, or by the oven and say, 'Mama touch. Daddy touch. Je-ka touch'. As we taught you that we can touch, open, etc., but you can't.
  • When we read 'Wheels on the Bus' and we get to the 'babies on the bus go wah wah wah', you make this sad face and crying sound. You're actually really good at understanding when someone is sad and do a great imitation (not mocking, more sympathetically).
  • You're so good with the details. Jessica showed you one time that she puts your socks in this mesh bag attached to the laundry bag. It only took that one time for you to always remember to put your socks in there.
Mini shopping carts at the store by our house!

William. I have to admit that there are times you get on my nerves. A lot of time actually. Whether or not we acknowledge what you've said, you'll repeat the same phrase 20 times in a row. You're also VERY clingy right now and will say 'Up' about a million times until we eventually give in. Your tantrums are becoming more frequent, with you throwing yourself on the floor, or sometimes crawling when you're upset. But don't worry, there's so much I love about you too. Lots of fun W memories worth noting:
  • You still love saying 'Hi!' and will say it over and over (of course)
  • Sometimes you have a hard time with 'two boys' too. You were sad one day after I was holding both you and G and said that I could hold two. You said, 'No two'.
  • A few weeks ago you I told you, 'Mommy and Daddy are going to Las Vegas'. You stared at me annoyed and nonchalantly shook your head and with attitude said, 'No.'
  • You love giraffes, but probably like foxes even more. You watch fox videos on utube with Daddy.
  • You fell asleep in Daddy's arms and must've been dreaming when he put you down in your crib as you kept saying 'oakabuy, oakabuy' (aka: oatmeal) :)
  • You want to be held constantly. Luckily you're the light one!
  • You say, 'No please' instead of 'No thank you'. It could be after I've offered you a food you don't want, if G is getting in your way and you don't want him around or if I say it's time for nap.
  • You are so generous. At first I just thought you were easy going and would give up stuff when G was more determined to have it. I think it's deeper than that. One day you went poop in the potty so you go to choose two stickers. G was so jealous! He was throwing a fit so you gave him one of your stickers. G kept saying, 'two stickers, two stickers'. You just took off the other sticker and stuck it on his hand. So sweet! I love this about you and hope that it really is your sweet, generous side and not just that you merely don't care enough to put up a fight. I think it's the former :)
Love to you two little dudes. Can't believe TWO YEARS OLD will be here before we know it!

Potty Training Favorites

1. Flushable Wipes - I learned quickly that toilet paper is not good for little buns and usually doesn't get them very clean so picked up some from Walgreens and then just ordered this kids brand in a dispenser from Google Shopping Express.
2. Clorox Disinfecting Wipes - Our system is to dump and rinse pee, then dump again. And for #2, dump and then wipe with one of these. They also get cleaned out more thoroughly several times a week but these wipes are quick and easy.
3. Bjorn Potty - These seem to be a popular choice and the boys definitely like them. Yes them, we have four in total.
4. Potette potty-topper and travel potty - I was not looking forward to buying/using this. Really, there was a possibility I'd be using this with a bag in it when on the go?? I have yet to use it in that matter, but the boys actually like sitting on the big potty using it and we've had good luck using it on public toilets. This was a potty training basic that everyone seems to use.
5. Potty Books - They love this one, this one and this one. Seriously, they love them. As in want to read them multiple times a day for months on end. I think we got the first two when we bought the first potty and even then they were interested but over the past few weeks, it's been endless. They know the words and answer rhetorical questions like 'should I go in my diaper?'.
6. Daniel Tiger potty episode -  Someone recommended this episode and the boys seemed to like it. Good message for learning to use the potty: When you have to go potty, STOP… and go right away.  Flush, wash…and be on your way!
7. Stickers - As I mentioned, I debated on doing any rewards, but got some stickers. When we made it through most of the Pooh and Cars stickers, I let them come with me to pick out some new ones. George picked out African animals and William chose Mickey Mouse.

Other must-haves:
  • Juice - only recently have we started giving them a little orange juice in the morning and even that I'm trying to keep to every once in a while. We wanted to give them plenty of opportunities to have to go though so having endless juice really helped and they were in heaven.
  • Salty snacks - thus causing them to be more thirsty and drink more juice :)
  • Burp clothes - I had a big stack of these ready for pee accidents and luckily didn't have to use many, but they're really the perfect thing for soaking everything up.
  • New toys. We wanted to distract them with new stuff to keep them happy staying mostly inside all day, but wanted to stay away from TV or other things that they'd get so engrossed in that they'd forget to go (they're actually not at the age that they get so engrossed in TV anyway, but I'm sure soon enough). The play kitchen and some new train tracks made such a huge difference but I'm sure a couple small things would work well too.
  • Eventually... underwear. I purchased these (luckily in cuter prints like cars and planes) after rave reviews from other moms. They were super excited about them last month when I showed them to them, but the two times they wore them, they had accidents so I decided to go bottomless for potty training as I'm worry these feel too much like diapers. On the one hand they're nice and thick so they hold in accidents well, but as they're learning to feel when they have to go (which is sometimes by starting to have an accident), I think bottomless is the way to go at least for a few more days.

The Most Beautiful Weekend in SF, Valentine's Day and Potty Training

What a weekend in SF! While my facebook feed is filled with photos of snow storms and freezing temps, San Francisco was breaking records on the other extreme. We had an invitation to meet friends up in Healdsburg and almost went for it, but ultimately decided to stick to our plan: a 3-day potty training weekend. Ya, super fun way to spend a long, hot February weekend in the city. Oh well, I can justify it since it was actually warm enough for them to be running around outside without pants on.

I think it was about six months ago when I bought one potty and put it in their bathroom. They immediately loved sitting on it but I didn't expect to actually potty train them until well after two, maybe even not until three. As everyone always says, 'boys are harder to potty train and take longer'. They quickly took more interest in it, William in particular started going potty, both #1 and #2 pretty quickly without us saying much at all. Not consistently, mostly just before bathtime, but it was clear that he had control over his body. George was definitely more hit or miss but so far I was accomplishing the goal: getting them really comfortable around the potty and making it a fun, not scary, thing. Reading a couple potty books seemed to get them even more interested.

I was so surprised/impressed with their interest but also their success, that I thought maybe we would be potty training earlier than I expected. But then we moved and they seriously regressed. It was several weeks before the potty saw any action. We kept talking about it, reading the books and got more potties, so there were two upstairs and two downstairs.

After we were home several weeks, they started to settle into a routine again, W was doing better, G was still just going here and there. But they were obsessed with reading the potty books and in general were showing lots of other readiness signs, W especially.

Since I first heard about the 3-day method/potty training in a weekend, I knew that would be the approach we'd take. I feel like I'd rather just get this kind of stuff over with as quickly as possible, even if it means a lot of work in the beginning. It's how I got rid of the pacis, the bottle, etc. I knew a weekend of staying at home and not much fun for us would be worth it to get them (or even just one of them) far enough in the process that I could continue with them on my own once Dave went back to work. I did get some advice not to start until they were ready as it just drags out otherwise. That, I planned to follow, and I feel that I did.

It got to the point where I felt like I needed to capitalize on their interest and ability before they got to age two, or further when they wanted even more control, or decided they didn't like the potty anymore and got stubborn. Dave was onboard, but wasn't totally convinced they were ready. I asked for Jessica's advice, but only after telling her that we were going to try it -- I wanted to give it a try and didn't want advice against that, just wanted suggestions on how to do it. I figured the worst that could happen (besides cleaning up multiple messes, tears, etc), was that it wouldn't work and we would try again down the road.

I read up on some blogs about the 3-day method and potty training in a weekend and decided on a hybrid of various methods. My goal of the weekend was for them to learn the sensation of 'having to go' and begin to make the connection to actually make it to the potty. I didn't have high hopes of them being fully potty trained by the end of the three days, I fully prepared Dave for plenty of accidents and for it to be a really hard weekend with 'all hands on deck' the whole weekend. While I planned to attempt to train both of them, I had a feeling G wouldn't catch on and I was totally okay with that. I had talked to other twin moms and many trained separately when one was more ready than the other.

These are the main points we followed over the weekend:
  • Prep them by talking about how we were going to be saying 'bye bye diapers' and pretty soon they'd wear underwear and only go potty in the potty
  • Bottomless whenever we were home (no underwear)
  • Stay home for the majority of the weekend
  • Wear just pants/shorts when going out (no underwear)
  • Lots of (watered down) juice and salty snacks
  • Potty seats in the rooms we were playing in
  • We decided against using a timer and prompting them every 15 minutes to use the potty -- the goal was for them to learn when they had to go, even if that meant having accidents, instead of us just training them to sit on the potty every 15 minutes, possibly going
  • Avoid asking them if they had to go to the potty and let them figure it out
  • The idea was if they started having an accident, to take them to the potty and remind them that 'pee pee goes in the potty'. No shaming, just reminding. Also putting any poop accident in the potty and reminding them that poop goes in the potty.
  • Rewards - I went back and forth about whether I was going to reward them for going potty. I really didn't want to, but I did purchase a few packs of stickers in case I needed to resort to something.
  • They would continue to wear diapers for naps and nighttime
  • If we went out, they would use the potty before leaving, once we got to the location, before leaving and then when we got home

So here we are at the end of the 3-day weekend. How did is go? Well, Dave and I are absolutely exhausted. But oddly, I thought the actual potty training part of it was going to be a lot worse. Yes, there were plenty of accidents, but most of the time they finished in the potty which I consider a big success. I am all for the bottomless approach. I had to clean up one accident in pants and that was a disaster compared to wiping up a little pee on the hardwood floor (we put away the rug in the playroom). I had the waterproof picnic blanket on the couch, but they never peed on it. They sat on our laps multiples times making us pretty nervous, but again, never a problem there.

I'll recap the play-by-play below, but the toughest part was that it never felt like we were done. It required being so hands-on in entertaining them and playing with them, that when they finally went down for a nap (and both of us were longing for one too), we had to clean up multiple rooms of toys, snacks, juice cups, dishes from breakfast and lunch, etc., etc.

I think beyond potty training, they were thrown off in general. I'm not sure if W was mentally exhausted or actually feeling sick, but by 11:30 on Saturday, he was an absolute disaster. Neither napped well that day and the only benefit is that they went down without a peep that night. I would definitely agree that you shouldn't attempt potty training when anything else is off (new baby, new home, sick, starting new preschool, etc.).

Last night was the worst night Dave and I have had as parents, even tougher than the first days home from the hospital. We're still not sure what happened. They were playing and talking (I overheard multiple 'bye bye diapers' between the two of them). Then G got upset, Dave went in, then left. G still upset, I went in, tried to calm G and W then stood up getting upset (which never happens). This is all around 8pm. We had no idea that we were in for 4 long hours of trying everything we could think of. They demanded a banana, and had one in their bed. We tried milk, juice, water. Checked diapers. Read books, rocked, held. Even if they did calm down, they were very upset when we tried to put them back down and they weren't falling asleep in our arms. We tried just letting them cry, but felt bad for the neighbors. And of course our neighbors have been out of town for 2 weeks and this was their first night back from Japan... This seriously never happens. We had trouble after the move, but it's still rare when both are upset. Now it's even tougher as both want Dave, yet they don't want him to be holding the other one too. Dave tried a show in their room, but after trying to put them back to bed, realized that wasn't going to work either. We brought them into our bed (which never works) and again put on a show, but G wanted to hold it, so was finally happy when he was holding his own phone. At this point it's at least 11:30 and we had to cut it off somewhere. They still weren't falling asleep. Dave said it was time for shows to go off and G was actually pretty calm and starting to fall asleep on me, but W had a complete meltdown, again screaming at the top of his lungs. We finally put him in his bed and let him cry, nothing else was working. I took G downstairs and he immediately fell asleep. I moved him to his crib as I knew neither of us would sleep well if we stayed in bed like that. G did fine. W on the otherhand woke up screaming again at 3:45am. I can't remember what he was saying but it was clear he wasn't going to be shushed back to sleep. Brought him into our bed, can't remember if Dave did a show or not, but he went back to sleep until 5:50 when he woke up demanding oatmeal and would not stop screaming for it. Woke G up and we started Day 3 of potty training bright and early. I'm exhausted just thinking about it. Definitely a good lesson that something as major as potty training can throw everything else off. We noticed eating was a little off too.

Anyway, so to get back to potty training, the days themselves were tiring in that we were both 'on' and got few breaks, but otherwise, despite accidents, I thought they went well. It was last night that killed me. I got nervous when G had a few minutes of whining before falling asleep but I'm praying that they'll sleep soundly for everyone's sake.

Here's a recap:

(diapers off after breakfast)
Not happy about going first thing in am
Not happy about no diaper (but over it soon enough)
7:55 poop on floor
9:15 when we were dumping g's, w took his to dump and I said he had to go in it first if he wanted to dump, came back with a full potty of pee
9:40 said he had to go potty, went a lot
11:10 a lot of pee outside on ground, I missed it so he was done 
11:30 pee on floor, I missed it
Tantrum, exhausted, thought he was sick, wanted to be rocked like a baby
12:45 Diaper on any early nap no lunch
2:45 - awake, VERY wet diaper with poop, not sure G ever napped. Wanted another diaper on so I said his choices were to have a diaper and stay in bed as diapers are for sleeping, or get up. He saw the Valentine's balloons so wanted to get up and play
Wagon ride
4:30 - double pee (but only after I suggested they sit on the potty while watching foxes on utube)
seemed like he had to go but wouldn't. Several accidents then went on big potty.
Ate ok at dinner, little soup, a little oatmeal
7 poop in overnite but did tell Dave he had to go so maybe didn't make it in time. New diaper for overnight, not very wet

Little pee in potty before breakfast
7:30 Lots of pee (on and off several times)
7:40 poop on floor then finished with lots in potty
8:20 poop in potty
8:45 pee on floor, stopped and went potty but very little overall
9:05 pee on floor, stopped and went potty but very little overall
9:10 said potty and ran and peed on potty
9:13 peed on the play kitchen, stopped, ran and peed a lot on the potty
9:40 same as 9:13
10:05 pee in potty
11:20 accident on floor, missed it
12:20 pee and poop in potty
12:30 pee and poop accident
1:15 pee on the big potty
2:45 (g down at 2, never napped, not totally dry, but lightly wet diaper)
4:30 - double pee (but only after I suggested they sit on the potty while watching foxes on utube)
Wagon ride
BOTH were dry for wagon ride and playing outside in shorts
5:30 double pee (to get 2 stickers)
No dinner, didn't even sit in chair, playing with kitchen 

Day 1 recap
  • Better than expected
  • G does really well with rewards, will sit down and go again to get another sticker
  • Neither seems to be scared of pooping
  • W seemed to have a harder time, especially after the morning, wanted to wear a diaper, didn’t want to use the potty
  • W can hold it longer (or maybe doesn't drink as much?)
  • G goes multiple times with just a little, but also can go a lot
  • Seem to be getting the hang of it despite accidents
  • Both were able to let us know they needed to use the potty at least once
  • Were able to get out for a short time without an accident!

No diapers at breakfast
Not thrilled but okay with it

9 pee on way to potty after saying he had to go, only a little in potty
9:30 sat on potty, not sure if he peed before going out in wagon
Accident outside in shorts
11:40 we made go pee before wagon ride
No accident but no pee when we got home  (didn’t get him to drink too much today; still no poop)
1:15 Asked him to pee before getting diaper on and he did
1:30 diaper on in bed/asleep by 1:45
up at 4:15 pretty dry diaper
5:45 pee in potty after G went
7pm Diaper on (thought for sure he'd poop in his diaper before going to sleep, but never did, even the next morning)

6:20 g went but only for sticker
7 pee in potty
7:45 little pee on floor, ran to potty, big poop
8:15 little pee on floor, ran to potty for lots more
8:30 pee accident when I ran up to get them more juice
9 pee in potty 
9:30 pee before going out in wagon to get coffee
Accident in shorts outside
11:40 pee in potty before wagon ride
12:30 pee when got home, no accident while gone
1:40 little pee in potty
1:45 poop accident when mom was out of room, very upset (he was, not me, but clearly understood poop goes in the potty)
up at 4:15
5:45 G told J he had to go potty, went
7pm overnite diaper
Very, very tough night (see above)

Hmm, whatever works!

Day 2 recap:
  • G definitely getting the hang of it and impressed he isn't holding his poop
  • W doesn't seem to go as freely, or doesn't need to go as often. Usually needs prompting or goes after G does and we celebrate

DAY 3:

Went a little around 7
7:30 pee in potty
8 Sat on potty several times but nothing
9 poop accident (but at least he finally went!)
10 poop on potty
10:30 little pee on potty at park 
11:45 potty before leaving park (gone for almost 2 hours without an accident)
12:30 playing and said potty, went pee on potty
12:45 diaper on for nap, napped 1-4:20, woke up very upset
5pm pee at childcare
7:15pm diaper for bedtime


7 pee in potty
7:30 poop in potty
10:30 little pee in potty at park
11 potty at park
11:45 potty before leaving park (no accident)
12:10 pee on potty, encouraged to sit and wait and did big poop
1:15 pee on potty, then diaper on for naptime
Slept 1:30-3, but wasn’t totally ready to get up. Kept diaper on until after 4pm
5 pee at childcare
poop accident - so bummed and didn't expect him to have a third big poop, at least one he wouldn't wait for a diaper
7:15 diaper for bedtime
So are the potty trained? Far from 100%. Are they out of diapers? Yes. Do I think they achieved the goal we set for the weekend, of them learning to feel when they had to go? I would say G made huge progress here. It's still hard to know with W since he doesn't go as much and I still feel like we're prompting. I'm so surprised though, as W I could actually watch control his body and know what to do to pee, etc., in the past months. G was pretty lost on this. At the various milestones, I've always been wrong though. After W rolled over first, I thought for sure he'd be the first to crawl. Nope, G.  Similar with talking but definitely I thought W would have it down by the weekend and G would quite possibly be back in diapers. I have to admit that I was totally thrown off with G's success, though I've learned that he's typical first child and clearly thrives on praise, is motivated by rewards, and in general wants to do it right. (W doesn't care about this stuff. The old, 'I'm gonna leave then' trick never works with him for example, he just say, 'buh-bye!' ;) I was disappointed about G's poop accident at the JCC childcare (though obviously didn't let him know) as if he had gotten through that as well, he would've been accident-free all day, including two outings.

So I think we'll continue to stay close to home, going to miss MyGym tomorrow and keep pants off as much as we can at home. I expect some regression somewhere along the line this week but I really hope that I'll see enough progress to feel confident that we made the right decision to attempt when we did. Despite how exhausting the weekend was (and again, not necessarily from the daytime potty training aspect), I still feel that it was worth it. I know it's going to be a lot more work for me to deal with keeping them dry, handling any accidents that occur, etc., instead of just changing diapers, but I still feel like I had to capitalize on the interest they've had for the past few months. I also know that the 3-day method is probably more final when training an older kid, but at this age, I expect it will take more practice to become accident-free.

  • You have to be 'on' the entire time if you really want to catch every accident and turn it into a success on the potty. I don't even mean physically carrying them but it was usually when I was in the other room that I'd hear an 'oh no' or an 'uh oh' and by the time I'd get there, they'd be done. Even if I was just sitting in the room and looked up, they'd know to go to the potty to finish, whereas if I wasn't there, they didn't sense it as much (at least on Day one)
  • Everyone who's involved needs to be fully committed. No 'let's just put on a diaper for a little bit'. Everyone should also have an idea of what to expect (lots of accidents, being 100% involved, staying home, etc.)
  • Make and plan and be consistent. There are multiple different approaches so you need to tweak so that you find something that you think will work for you and your child. Once you decide on that, stick to it. I didn't want to keep asking 'do you have to go potty?' every two minutes and for the most part, I stuck to that. I do feel like we talked about the potty constantly though -- 'oh, no one's sat on the potty for a while' or similar general statements.
  • Get a babysitter (and one who's experienced with potty training). I felt bad asking Jessica to come on the long weekend, especially when it turned out to be such amazing weather, but I'm so grateful Dave and I had a solid break. I think she got the easiest time slot though -- they woke up in a good mood after a long nap, only went potty once and had no accidents. Regardless, it was one night I didn't have to cook dinner (we went out which I also recommend doing), clean up or worry about helping with the whole bedtime routine.
  • Get some new toys. I'm so glad we saved the play kitchen until Friday night. They love it and has been so entertaining for them. Even new books, or small prizes from the dollar store could work though.
  • Get supplies - disinfecting wipes, old burp clothes, potties, any rewards, juice and salty snacks

  • Don't expect them to eat normally. I don't know if it was all the juice and endless snacks that they don't usually get, or just that they were distracted by the new play kitchen, but the first night G didn't even come to the table for dinner and I was totally fine with it.
  • Don't cook at all -- order take out, etc. It's not so much the cooking, but cleaning up, putting away food, etc., that just added to my already-full plate. Getting food from your favorite place is fun and a lot less work. Little rewards for yourself throughout the weekend are a good idea :)
  • Practice getting out of the house, starting with very short outings
  • Get some good hand lotion, I think I am washing my hands as much as I was when they were newborns

So yes, Valentine's Day this year was spent potty training, but Dave and I actually had a really nice day, or I guess night. I picked up heart-shaped steaks -- I know, sounds crazy, but these Prime steaks just happened to be connected to look like a heart.

Unfortunately they got slightly overcooked when I had to leave the kitchen, but the meat was so good they still tasted great. Plus, I somehow managed to make this chocolate cake in the afternoon while the boys were playing. So good!

When Daddy saw G later, he was hoping it was chocolate all over his face...
Top it off with a beautiful sunset viewed from our dining room and it really turned out to be a pretty nice Valentine's Day.

What We've Been Eating and the Kitchen Reveal

Dave and I both loved our place as soon as we saw it (Dave via video). It had a large, mostly open kitchen with new appliances and granite countertop, but the cabinets and hardware needed a bit of help. There was also space for an eat-in kitchen, but for us, we knew we'd do fine with a single dining table. There was a wall with a cut-out so you could see from the kitchen to the dining room. Because we had toured a home a few doors down that was on the market last summer, we knew exactly what we wanted to do with the kitchen -- basically what they had done: take down the wall and add an l-shaped countertop with bar seating. Also updating the cabinets and hardware would make it feel more our style. Oh, and I forgot to mention, the tile floors weren't exactly our style either. Overall though, an easy project right?




The main reason we decided to do the renovation so quickly is because we though we'd be closing by the end of October, yet we had our place at the Brannan until the end of Nov. We were hoping we'd be able to get a contractor started immediately and be close to finished by the time we moved in. Wishful thinking, I know, especially considering Thanksgiving week was in there. After meeting with maybe 8 or 9 contractors, we finally made a decision and are really happy with our choice. Like everyone has said, it's taken twice as long and cost twice (three times) as much, but that's partly our fault. Of course once we moved in, we found other things we wanted to update and change but (knock on wood) we've been lucky that nothing major has come up that we were forced to deal with at a high cost (mold, dry rot, etc).

Wall is out and floor is done


New cabinet peninsula and cabinet doors are in
In a way, we've felt unsettled since we moved in, since all our kitchen stuff is in boxes in the living room (which is currently set up as the dining room).  But on the other hand, it really hasn't been that bad. The workers have been so accommodating and surprisingly I've been able to keep up with the cooking pretty well. December was tough, but it was only 10 days we were living there before we left for Florida. We didn't have access to the stove or oven during that time so that made cooking really hard. Once we were back though, the appliances were all back in place so I managed to make quite a few dinner. Nothing too extravagant as again, most of my supplies were still packed up, but it was nice to be able to make some new dinners. I focused a lot on simple one-pot meals and crockpot dinners that produced lots of leftover for lunch and a second night's dinner.

(Superbowl snack)

Loaded Baked Gnocchi (terrible photo)

Despite the face, he was a fan!

I was hoping to post this last Friday when they had finished installing the microwave and wine fridge, and most of the pulls and knobs. Well, it still looked a bit incomplete and after a weekend of having to pull the cabinets open from the bottom to be able to then pull out the drawer from underneath, I was even more frustrated when they didn't get the rest on Monday. Though I did manage to unpack all of the kitchen stuff, getting rid of all these boxes in the dining room (which is really the living room).

It does drag on, even when you think you're done, there's still touch ups, other pieces to add, etc., etc. But finally we get to see those wood floors again! The finished product (still some organizing and decorating to do):