28 Months

I remember meeting up with a twin-mom friend a few months ago and she was really struggling with her twins who were 2 years 4 months at the time. They were running off, testing limits and just generally very difficult for one person to handle on their own, especially in public. I was a few months behind, I think mine are about 5 months younger than hers. I feel like I've been in a sweet spot with them lately, for at least a few months, and it's been so nice. Once we got through the initial phase and challenge of potty training, things were a little 'easy'. Yes, there were definitely tough moments and even days, but in general, they were very independent when we were out, yet not running off, they talk a lot so can usually tell me what they need instead of tantruming and sleep was going pretty well too. But I always had this chat in the back of my head as the lesson I've learned over and over with kids is nothing is ever done, everything is always transitioning. And right on track, it seems like we've entered the next phase. The boys are testing limits more, which is compounded by having two and having them encourage the other or give the other the idea when they wouldn't have done it on their own. They're running off more, William in particular, mostly at one park in our neighborhood that has 2 exits. They also decided they were done with the crib which took my dropping patience to an all-time low. I definitely need to learn some new ways of dealing with all of this because somehow I've avoided any formal method of discipline (like time outs or 1-2-3) thus far, though I definitely take them out of the situation if they're misbehaving. Beyond all that negative, this is still a fun age. I love to hear the crazy things they say and it's been especially fun to see them using their imagination and playing pretend more and more, and doing it together.

  • Drop-off camp at Stretch the Imagination 
  • Day at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
  • Concert at Oak Hill Park with Annie, first trip to the ice cream truck

    Activities: It's been a pretty quiet month. Our summer music class just ended and we continue to go MyGym. Their favorite day was when they put the monkey bars over the ball pit. They both couldn't get enough! We're starting swim classes this week but we have lots of fun classes planned for fall that start in September.

    We also did a class at the Zoo which was fun, but I don't think we'll do another one until they can listen a bit better. This is right as they were entering their testing phase and it just wasn't that fun (for me). I think they enjoyed it enough. They did a parrot craft, had snack, played games and they brought a parrot in for the kids to see up close.

    EAT: One of the areas that Dave and I often disagreed on was dinnertime discipline so after I read up a bit on feeding (highly recommend Child of Mine), we discussed it more and came up with a game plan that we both agreed on. Basically we're taking a casual approach to food now. They still get whatever I make/what Dave and I are eating, but we no longer prod or encourage them to eat -- no 'just taste it' or 'one more bite' or 'if you eat x, you can have y'. We leave it to them to decide what they're going to eat. They can have more of anything on the plate (except dessert if it's offered). This means that W just ate bread for dinner the other night (though bread usually isn't included). And I need to be okay with that. I'm trying to take the power struggle out of dinner and know that if I'm offering them a variety of healthy options, if they choose to eat 3 helpings of chicken one night and just bread the next, then it's okay. They eat really well during the day and I'm never worried about them not getting enough -- variety- or quantity-wise -- so if they decide they don't want to eat anything at dinner, I'm 100% fine with that. While we'll never make a new meal for them, the one thing we agreed on is that if they don't want what we're having, we'll offer some cottage cheese (which they'll always take). Occasionally they'll eat a vegetable that's included every night at dinner, but that is very very rare. I'm hoping that they'll eventually come around to tasting more, but we weren't making an progress by pushing them to try it so we're no worse off.

    In general, their pickiness has continued. In fact, this is the first month that each of them started picking out specks of stuff (mostly green stuff) that they don't want. To maintain the laid back approach above, we're relaxed about it and say, 'if you don't want it, don't eat it' and trying not to make a big deal as they deconstruct my dinners.

    As far as behavior goes, they have been acting up more and I think with Dave, me and Jessica there at many dinners, it was too many people disciplining. Dave also tends to be easier on them than I do, so we agreed that if they're misbehaving, they get one warning and told that if they do it again, it's bathtime and dinner is over. If they're able to calm down and apologize/ask for one more try, we'll give them one last chance. This seems to work some of the time and we do have some decent dinners that last as long as 30 minutes. There are other nights where one or both are removed shortly after sitting down and acting up and dinner for them is over.

    Other food notes:
    •  First Costco hot dog

    • Love their new bento box lunch boxes. It's so nice to be able to pack everything in one box instead of a bunch of little containers. I also like that they can see all the choices and decide what they want to eat when. We usually take the lunch out early on and they choose a few things, then around 11 they sit down to eat most of it. Sometimes they finish the last bits when we get home around 12:30.
    • First burrito at La Taqueria

    • W still eats oatmeal every single day and it's the first thing he asks for each morning. G will also eat it often but always wants an egg too.

    Schedule: This last week has been totally off from the previous weeks and months and I hope we get back to a norm soon.
    • They had been sleeping in at least until sun on their tod clock came up at 6:50, but since climbing out of the crib, that's been all over the place too.
    • Naps were solid up until a week ago, still struggling with them laying down and going to sleep.
    • I have plenty of 'down easily by 8:15pm' regarding bedtime in my notes, but again, this week has thrown everything off.

    William's boo boo after climbing out of crib
    SLEEP: I feel like we had a pretty good run there for a while with naps and bedtime. Though the boys started climbing out of their cribs more regularly around 27 months, we were managing okay and holding off the inevitable transition to toddler beds. Then a week ago, it was clear that G was not going to stay in a crib any longer. Naps and bedtime turned into an in-and-out chase race that was really wearing down my patience. About 4 days into that, it was clear that we had to make the change. We decided to do it last Monday night, I just wanted the Door Monkey to arrive to be able to keep them in their room. Of course, William had a bad fall right on his face Sunday night. I had seen them climb out of the crib many times and they always went down backwards, feet first, so I was never worried. William had a nasty boo boo the next morning. We made the changes to their cribs so the past few days they've been sleeping in 'toddler beds'. It hasn't been good, but it's been no worse than it was for the past week when they were climbing out of their cribs. It's taking about 45 minutes for each to fall asleep for naps (sometimes G doesn't go down until 3:15) and they've been asleep by 9pm at night which isn't too bad since usually it's between 8:15-8:40. The first night was the worst as we didn't have the Door Monkey hooked up yet (of course it didn't fit our doors) so they just kept running out. It has definitely improved, but it's going to be a transition they have to work through.  This transition will gets it own post, hopefully sooner rather than later when everything has settled down.


    • They're improving in their gross motor skills and are now able to do more technical rope ladders and bridges.
    • They do so well with pretend play and using their imagination. This month they've spent hours playing with their duplo sets, building more complicated houses and towers and narrating what's going on. The Melissa and Doug sets are also getting tons of use. We got these from Dave's family last Christmas and they played with them here or there but now they are a top toy. They love the different people, and again, make up little stories interacting with each other.  The play kitchen also gets quite a bit of use, again, with them detailing out every step of the cooking process.
    • They continue to play with trains but not nearly as much as the toys above.
    • A few weeks ago we got them little backpack suitcases and these continue to be a hit. They love loading up their backpacks and tell me where they're going, 'to work' or on a 'work trip'.
    • Books: Lots of reading again this month, and several library books (that are long overdue at this point) were on repeat. Down by the Station, Who Stole the Cookie from the Cookie Jar, The Little Fire Engine, The Wheels on the Bus (this one, literally we have like 8 different versions and they've always been their favorites) and their top, Green Eggs and Ham.
    • Diggers are still their absolute favorite as far as books, stories, shows, etc.
    • They still love digging in the sand or rock box, their CAT excavators are their favorite.
    • They also love looking for trucks out our big front windows. Garbage day is a top hit (TWO garbage men came yesterday instead of our regular one guy -- G could not stop talking about it), and the street sweeper a close second. G loves the mail truck (USPS) but gets so mad when he doesn't stop at our house (which luckily, is rare).

    TALK: It's been so fun to hear all the things they come with. William continues to grow in vocabulary and is very clear (at least for this age) when he speaks. He speaks quickly and doesn't seem to need to think before he speaks. George's vocabulary also is growing by leaps and bounds -- he knows all the same words as William. He is harder to understand though as he often mumbles and I'm constantly reminding him to speak clearly. He also speaks quieter and sometimes stutters as he tries to get the words out. We're patient with him and encourage W to wait so we can hear G tell the story. We're a little worried about W talking for G so trying to pre-empt it now.
    • They're both improving at saying their names more clearly. W especially has gotten a lot better as he went from 'Wawee' to now 'Wee-yum'.
    • They're both referencing the past a lot more, but everything happened 'lesterday' whether it happened 2 months ago, or actually yesterday.
    • They're both making progress with using the correct pronoun, as well as using more verbs and prepositions. Instead of 'I name William', it's 'My name is William'. Instead of 'I go car', it's 'I go in car'.
    • So much singing now, which continues from recent months. It's amazing how many words they know to familiar songs but they're truly obsessed with Music Together's 'Hello Song'. They sing it constantly, going through saying hello to Mom, Dad, Papa, Dedee, Uncle Jon, the whole gang. They also now have this thing where they sit on their little potties and flip over the stool (and dump the wire basket of towels to flip it over) and play them like guitars, again singing the Hello Song. Luckily they don't request the Music Together songs in the car every single time like they did before, just some of the time...

    POTTY: No regressions this month and though I think G had one accident randomly after not going right after he woke up from his nap with a dry diaper, we're really in a good place.
    • I'm prompting much less now when we're out, they're much better about telling me when they have to go or just holding it.
    • I'm finding I'm prompting a little bit more at home -- they're waking up with dry diapers (G about 99% of the time after naps and W about 90%) but refuse to go potty right when they wake up. Same thing in the morning -- even William has been waking up dry most morning (G has for a while) but do not want to go potty right away, which does lead to a the occasional leakage and a dash to the bathroom.
    • I still have no plans to take away diapers, even at naptime. We end up reusing the same diaper until it's falling apart but it's still dry. We're still surviving off of the double diaper order that arrived from Subscribe and Save back in February...
    • They're preferring to use the big potty a bit more, for both #1 and #2, but I still feel like we're not close to actually getting rid of the little potties.
    • When they're standing, they're getting the hang of going like a big boy and 'holding' and aiming and everything.
    • When G hasn't napped and he's testing us, he'll purposely pee on the rug right next to the little potty.
    • W prefers privacy and I've heard a lot of 'I need privacy, don't come in' or 'shut the door'. 
    Biting update: George has started biting, ugh! I can't believe after all this time that W has been doing it (which is very rare at this point), and now that they both can talk, G has started. It's not often, but has happened maybe 3 times over the past month. When they were at JCC Childcare, G bit W on the cheek when they were fighting over a toy.

    Skin: They both got really bad eczema this month. G has always had it on and off and W would randomly get patches here or there, but a few days ago we actually went to the doctor because it had gotten much worse. We followed some of their suggestions and luckily it's gotten a lot better.

    • Pretty quiet month again - one JLSF meeting and a volunteer event, a much-needed twin Toddler support group meeting but no book club this month.
    • I was sick for a full week at the beginning of the month. Bad colds are the worst.
    • I made serious progress on the boys' photo books, well, William's. I am so close to finishing it. I just have about 8 pages to double check. I got so much done fairly quickly and once I got on a roll, it was really fun, but the last week or so I've had little, if any, time during nap since G has missed naps or they've both needed a lot of attention to go down so the book progress came to a standstill. My goal is now to at least get W's done by the end of the month and I'm really hoping G's will only take me a few hours to swap in his photos and write-ups but much of it will be shared photos and notes.
    • I finished another book on tape and am reading one now. I'm trying to get better about putting the phone down before bed and reading instead. It's been going somewhat well.
    • I feel like I've been really lucky this month to get TWO weekends away, well, one weekend is this weekend coming up. Still, these breaks are so nice, but the uninterrupted time with friends is what's really great.

    Date night: We ate at the Michelin-starred Aziza a while back but they opened a new restaurant, Mourad, downtown. The food was excellent but it would be a fun place to go with more than 2 people as they have a family style menu that looked great but wasn't an option for just the two of us.

    Looking forward to:
    • Vegas girls weekend
    • Next weekend Dave is gone, which of course we'll miss him, but we're gonna go out to Danville and stay at my parents' house and do fun stuff out there.
    • Camping by the Golden Gate Bridge with my brother's family

    To my boys: Just like when you guys really started talking and I stopped being able to keep track of each new word, I feel like I reached that same point this month. I just couldn't keep up with the funny phrases or new tricks, or maybe I just got lazy. We've been on such a good run lately. You've been so much fun to be with and while, sure, there are moments that are tough, I felt like we had reached an 'easy' phase. Maybe you figured out you were going easy on me and conspired to change that because the tables have certainly turned in the past week or so.  Trying to discipline one of you after doing something you shouldn't have, just lead to the other one laughing and running off to do the same thing. You both definitely egg each other on and it really feels like two against one. I pray for patience daily, and knowledge to figure out the best way to handle these new situations where you're testing limits.

    W&G notes:
    • The stomp rocket is a favorite toy for outdoor events like the Danville concert and Off the Grid
    • The checker was so impressed at TJs when you handed over each item and correctly named it -- except for the green vegetables, they were all spinach.
    • You were both SO excited to go to school and really enjoyed it. Still surprised that you never bring it up though.
    • G woke up really upset after a short nap but of course we had a make up music class at 4:30 that day so you had to get moving. G refused to get out of the stroller and sat there the whole class. W kept coming over trying to cheer him up.
    • You both absolutely loved the monkey bars over the ball pit at MyGym
    • I somehow managed to hold off letting you guys play out of your car seats in the car, but now it's one of your favorite things to do. 'I still working' is what I hear over and over again when I try to get you out.
    • You guys saw me working on Daddy's big computer when I was doing your books and asked to see the photos. You couldn't get enough of the smash cake 1st birthday video. Some people are totally against smash cakes. I don't know how you could watch that video and feel that way. That is one of my favorite memories ever!
    • Though I usually have to prompt after you've done something you shouldn't have, you've mastered the phrase of, 'I'm sorry, I won't do it again' (though of course that doesn't really mean you won't do it again)
    • We've been working on having you tell me, 'I want to go somewhere else' instead of just running off (at the Academy for example). When we went to Crissy Field Beach and I was on my own with you, you had to ask me to go down to the water and you did every single time.
    • You've started saying, 'is this good Mama?' when I ask you to move, sit somewhere else, etc.
    • You now request 'digger song' at bedtime. I'm not sure what that is but for some reason I make up words to the melody of 'dreidel, dreidel, dreidel'

    Your personalities summed up

    William. All your little phrases are just too much but what's really fun is your animation. The way you say things is just the best. You have really expressive eyes and often get close into the person's face and tilt your head to tell them something. You have a great smile and it is such a pleasure to see how easily you make friends. For some reason I thought G would be looking for you more at camp, so was very surprised to hear you were asking about him when he wasn't around, but I like that, even if you make new friends, no one beats your #1 partner in crime.

    W notes:
    • You've really improved at playing independently, whether completely by yourself or if you and G are playing. You don't say, 'Mama come x' much anymore. I think part of it is you're constantly talking to yourself so you probably feel like you're playing with someone ;) 
    • You told me you were going to drive away and I asked where your license was and you said, 'in my pocket!'
    • 'Move Mom, I'm trying to sit right there!' 
    • You continue to make friends with older kids -- they have to be old enough to feel like they're 'taking care' of you, so the 8-12 year old range seems to be perfect.
      • At the Danville concert, you had 4 tweens following you around seeing if you needed help on the slide, etc.
      • At the zoo, you had (I'd guess) an 8-year old boy trying to show you how to do the bars
      • At Clay St Park, you somehow convinced a little girl, about 8, to play catch with you with her baseball and mitt. You were throwing it back and forth for at least 10 minutes.
    • You started putting your hand over my mouth and saying 'stop' when I was reading and you wanted to tell me something. Luckily you picked up pretty quickly that that's rude...
    • You have a way of convincing other kids to give up their (the park's) toys at the park. Jessica, my mom and I have all witnessed it on separate occasions and G has even started to copy. You basically hover around a kid riding a to you want and you start talking to him. Usually something about, 'I'm gonna use that', 'you're done with that', etc. These kids are often a year or two older and just sort of stare trying to figure out what you're deal is. But 9 times out of 10, they eventually get off and you get what you want.
    • You have this face you get when you know you've done something wrong. you hang your head and tilt it to the side. Or your new thing when it comes to getting up before you know you should -- hang your buddy over your head as if we can't see you.
    • You added many phrases this month like 'I having so fun!', 'I like that!' 'So fun!', all unprompted, which is the best
    • You've gotten much better at saying please unprompted, though still far from every time
    • A few morning ago, before we had the door monkey on, you came into my room early, like 6:20 and I told you to go back to bed until sun came up. Then you said, 'but my tummy's really hungry!'.

    George.  I love to hear your stories as I can see the wheels turning of you trying so hard to process your thoughts into words. You don't get frustrated even if it takes a while to get it out. You love the little Melissa and Doug people and are always telling little stories about what they're doing. You continue to love knowing what signs say and then once you learn, telling us once we walk by them again. The 'Do not climb out of your crib' sign I put in your room bought us at least an extra 2 weeks. I think your brother would've stayed in a bit longer but you were definitely the bad influence and once you were doing it, there was no turning back...

    G notes:
    • You told us, 'When I'm five years old I'm gonna drive a car' 
    • You tripped and lost your snow cone at the Danville concert and were so sad. I actually went back and bought you a new one.
    • You shouted to dad from your crib, 'Dad, where are you!? I have poop in my butt!' (which is what you tell us when you need to go, not that it's already come out.
    • You're still very into enforcing the rules, particularly at MyGym. You tell other kids, 'my turn next', 'no two boys' (on the trampoline).
    • You asked me for seeds one night and I asked you, 'what seeds' without thinking and you said, 'pomegranate seeds'. I was so surprised you knew the whole word as we always just call them seeds.
    • You are the slowest eater but we try not to rush you. Something I always have to rush you on: ice cream. Seriously, you take the smallest licks ever and the thing is dripping all over within minutes. W has finished his whole cone before you've even made it down to the cone and that's with me grabbing it every other minute to get a good luck of what's melting.
    • When W is on something and about to jump, you hold your hands out to catch him. It's the cutest thing as even he would completely take you out from a foot up.
    • You get really wound up when you're tired -- you never actually appear tired, even at 9pm when you haven't napped and were up at 6:30am. You definitely get a bit crazy, but never tired.
    • You ride your scooter with your left foot, 'goofy foot' I think it's called.
    • If someone accidentally puts W's underwear on you, you totally stretch them out. That's why you wear the cars and he wears the planes.
    • You know how to pull your pants up and down, but you never actually pull them up yourself. You'd rather just hobble around with them around your ankles.

    A Busy Weekend: Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk & Backyard Party

    We knew heading into last weekend that it was going to be a full one. No switching off for morning naps or a break; a sort of all-hands-on-deck kind of weekend. I was looking forward to it, but in a way, also looking forward to getting a break Monday when they napped on a regular schedule and Jessica came (which didn't really end up happening anyway!).

    My cousin was planning a beach party down in Santa Cruz and while most of the family politely declined, I thought it would be a fun day. I somehow convinced Dave to do it, I think by telling him my brother and his family were coming, which in the end, they didn't. The boys were so excited to be going to the 'hot beach'. We had talked about it all day Friday, W was begging to go 'right now' by 6pm that night. I told him it would be dark and he said, 'I find a light and turn it on'. Sounds like a plan.

    Much of the day turned out great -- we were out the door by 8:15 and the boys were great in the car. We left early enough to avoid everyone heading to the beach on what would be a perfect, but very hot, beach day. We made it to the Boardwalk just as it was opening at 10am, before for lines to get tickets formed. The boys had so much fun on all the rides -- there's TONS of stuff for their age that they can ride on by themselves and a few things that they could still go on as long as we were with them. We ended up spending 2 hours doing all the rides we could and headed back to the car for the boys to eat their packed lunch while I tried to run and pick something up at a restaurant nearby that Megan had recommended. The place was only a few blocks away, but once I got there, there was a long line and when I asked, it sounded like it would be a minimum of 20 minutes before I got food (and that seemed optimistic). I've done this to Dave numerous times before, 'just let me run in...' and I knew a hot day when they were getting restless was not the one to do it. So I jogged next door and picked up several slices of pizza, which still took some time to get. Back in the car, we only had about a mile and a half to drive, and luckily it was going the opposite direction of the gridlock traffic. We were just going to the next beach over to meet our family. Parking was difficult, the boys were getting cranky as it was now 1 o'clock, William's naptime, and we had had a big morning. We loaded up the wagon and made our way to the beach. Finally I called my cousin, who had luckily just emailed me his phone number.  Turns out they were down quite a ways, in fact, it probably would've been better to stay in our spot at the Boardwalk and walk from there, but obviously we didn't know that at the time.

    By this point it is so hot, like 100 degrees, we're schlepping all this stuff, carrying the boys as the sand is way too hot for them to walk on. We finally get to my family, say hello and quickly head down to the water to cool off. The boys had an absolute blast jumping in the waves, though it was a pretty strong current so we each had to be in charge of one. We played for just about an hour when we knew they'd quickly hit a wall so back we trekked. And the showers were turned off due to the drought. Dave is sweaty, sandy and hot, and by this point has reached his breaking point. We make it back to the car and thankfully I had researched 'what to pack for the beach' so we had an empty laundry detergent bottle filled up with water to rinse the boys off and got them changed into clean clothes. William had fallen asleep in the wagon he was so tired. Once we got in the car, both boys were wide awake but eventually fell asleep for an hour before we got home. The lost hour between leaving the Boardwalk and getting to the beach is what made the difference for us, but overall, I thought the day went really well and most importantly, the boys had so much fun. When asked what their favorite part was, G said, 'I pull the lever on the helicopter and go high in the sky!' and W said, with tons of animation, 'I love it when a big wave splash in my face!'.

    Lesson learned:
    • When attending a party or meeting friends, find out exactly what part of the beach/where to meet before getting there. That way you can be strategic about parking, or at least attempt to be.
    • Forget about going to the good place, just go for convenience when it comes to food and you know you have limited time. I should've assumed it would take too long to even go just a few blocks to this other place, but we should've just eaten a hot dog at the Boardwalk.
    Beach packing list:
    (obviously some of this is not necessary for a morning at Crissy Field beach versus all day at a hot beach)
    • Sunshade
    • Little beach chairs
    • Wagon and hanging bag for extra storage
    • Sand toys - buckets, shovels, excavators
    • Beach blanket
    • Lunch/snacks and lots of water
    • Towels
    • Swim suits, rashguards
    • Extra clothes
    • Sunglasses
    • Books, toys for long car ride
    • Hats
    • Extra sunscreen (including for Mom and Dad)
    • Baby powder to remove excess sand
    • Empty detergent bottle filled with water 

    Even after getting home, there wasn't much break before prepping for Sunday. We were hosting a party at our house for the Music Director Search Committee that Dave has been on at church for the past 6 months. They announced and introduced the new Music Director that Sunday at church and we were hosting a welcome picnic for the search team and their families, the pastors, some of the choir and obviously the new Music Director, about 25 people in total Dave and I debated -- well, I did, Dave did not -- just making the food ourselves or getting it catered. We definitely made the right call by having Tacolicious cater it. Super affordable, great food and everything was ready to go. Of course there's still prep for hosting a party so Dave was with the boys all morning until church while I baked desserts, cleaned up and got other stuff ready. Everything turned out great but when my mom finally arrived at 4:30 on Sunday night to take the boys out for us (since of course they didn't nap during, or after the party that ran 12:30-3), we couldn't have been more grateful. It was the first break I had to catch up on stuff, but most importantly, sit down and relax for a few minutes.

    Such a great weekend, I'm glad we made the trip to Santa Cruz and look forward to taking them again. And I'm so thankful that we have such a great space for hosting parties, plus we lucked out and got an 80 degree day in the city (many would say too hot). This coming weekend I'm away on a girls trip and then Dave takes his turn the next week so we'll both get a break at some point. Can't wait for Vegas!