Saturday, November 24, 2007

Seventh Month

These monthly letters are getting increasingly hard to write for many reasons. The first 6 months of your lives whirled by, but now as we close the 7th, well,it is like
the 7th inning stretch….we made it, but it is just opening other doors and experiences up to all of us. This month was about moving…moving out of the realm of baby and into a new phase of mobility and exploration. Moving away from seeing the two of you as a set, now seeing the initially subtle differences become full-blown personalities. Watching your style of interaction with us, with each other. Watching and running, oh lord, constantly running after this or that one.

I now understand the plethora of toys one finds at homes with babies. Because now toys are it, man, they are what you do. And there is never enough…but not necessarily for you, I am talking about me.
I have realized that we adults get bored a lot easier than babies when ‘at play’. I think there is no way you would want to handle that same block again, yet it holds you fascinated, some aspect that you must have missed the first 42 times you ate it. And then there is the baby wipes package that crinkles so nicely, there is the lint on the floor, and, oh yeah, your own hands and feet. It is such a lesson in wonder for me, a reminder that it is amazing that we can control our fingers and toes, that it is cool to stick things in your mouth to learn about them (especially if they are your delicious little digits) and that the world is endlessly new and endlessly beautiful. I have curbed my desire to keep acquiring toys that I think you need and just trying out new things with the stuff we have. Having said that, any and all toy donations are welcome over here, as the insatiable curiosity of my Beans is starting to become very apparent. Well, toys or cardboard boxes because Owen has found out they are really really fun.

Owie, you are really flying through your motor milestones, the rapidly increasing skills in your repertoire have required one crib mattress lowering, one gate that is now useful and lots of vigilance. You mastered the art of quadruped mobility and quickly moved on to practice pulling to stand…using any available and/or convenient nearby prop.
Your specialities include bear standing, splits sitting and some pretty impressive saves when falling out of an awkward upright position. Mason, you are not as interested in the mobility aspect. You remind me of a engineer busy at his work station, the way you thoroughly inspect toys, the different ways you can hold, pull and eat them. You are very self-sufficient at play, able to get what you want when you want it or find something else if you cannot quite reach that object. And the people, well, they are still your favorite. You love sitting and listening to ‘adult’ conversations, following along as if you are part of the discussion, content to add a squeak or squeal here and there, your very valued contribution.

The difference in your physical needs has become quite pronounced. Mason, you are our cuddler. You love to be held in a lap, facing out to observe and go along with the flow of the moment. Owen, you are not to be contained, not anymore. The occasional cuddle comes along, but for the most part you are rotating this way and that, twisting up and out of arms, eager to get going. The reverse is true at night though. Mason, you can make it through (most of ) the night in your crib, snuffling and shuffling around, self-soothing until about 5 a.m. when you need Mama or Daddy to hug you and cuddle. Owen, not so, you wake in the night, and we learned this month, you need one of us close in order to go back to dreamland. It was something I initially struggled against, the co-sleeping. I am not sure why, maybe all the conflicting info that says it will ruin your kid, etc.etc. But one night, I just laid down with you and off you went. It sure beat trying to put you back to sleep for 40-60 minutes and I find I can sleep now, whereas I thought I would lie awake next to you. It is an indescribable feeling, the way your growing sturdy body relaxes in sleep, the way you warm me. I would not miss it for anything. And after reading this lady’s excellent blog (full of practical and rational parenting advice and discussions) well, I realized the release of fear, the release of worry is one huge step toward being a better Mama.

Sleep was totally thrown for a loop by the appearance of a sharp little object at the base of Mason’s cute always gaping baby mouth. The little tooth has
just sat there, slowly pushing through, without a companion as of yet. It seems to only bother you, Mace, at 2 and 5 a.m. of late. Coupled with Owen’s waking in a standing or kneeling position that requires immediate assistance, well, it means very little sleep going on. Your Daddy is a saint, able to take one screaming babe in the dead of night without a snarl, without a word, actually. For all you folks out there that had the joy of sleeping babies, well, good on ya’. We have not. We do the best we can and squeeze in sleepy time as you tolerate, but I am just about through with blaming myself or thinking I am not a good mama because we have touchy sleepers. Sleep is such a controversial subject and being the reader that I am, I am continually seeking more information (this may not always be the best thing to do, but I cannot help it). Two very informational and rational books I found via the AskMoxie website are Wonder Weeks and Sleepless in America. Both of these books have very cogent and pertinent information for us at this time. If any of you need this information, I would love to direct you towards these readings. They make a lot of sense and I have thoroughly enjoyed reading. As of yet, my reading list does not include any real stories, but that will come after the holidays when knitting fever slows.

And your Mama has gotten back to a bit of her knitting.
It feels good to unwind for a few moments with my yarn and needles, to dream and actualize little projects and ideas here and there. It is a semi-reclaiming of bits of myself. The process of Mothering and Self-realization are not mutually exclusive, but require proper balance and mindset. I am slowing down some of my thoughts and restructuring my expectations of my Self and others. I am trying to learn to let go and know and believe that others can do what I do with you, just differently. It helps in so many ways to do this, I find it empowers those around me offering help. I think a little part of me, maybe every Mama, wants to believe no one else can do what they do for their children. The truth is, no one else can, I am your Mama, but others can comfort you and help you when you need to eat or sleep or dress or just be held. That is the joy of raising you in our communal home, with so many to contribute to your growth and experience. Very good lesson for me, each day is a lesson, but these are the themes of my life. Small triumphs and big lessons. New ones up ahead. Writing these monthly updates will help me remember. Sure, there are times when I hope for the difficult weeks to pass. But we only get to do this once, so there is a certain poignancy to that, even the harder moments.
These photos capture your first Thanksgiving/self feeding attempt with mashed potatoes. Mmmmmm, good.

On we go to your first Christmas, your first lights and Santa stuff and carols and Joyeux Noel. On we go to new adventures, new milestones, new days and hopefully new nights. I love you, my not so baby baby boys.

Your Mama loves you. Loves you. Loves you, loves you.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Christmas? What?

I’ve been thinking about and actually knitting some Christmas presents. Little tiny projects, with a bit of good Wow! factor and only for those beloved few in my family that I just cannot go without gifting. We have made very little in the way of money this year, seeing as my time is devoted to the twins most days. What I do earn goes right back out in the form of formula or diapers, which is how it should be. But it puts a bit of a squeeze on Christmas. We have never been a family of exorbitant gifting, preferring the handmade and thoughtful over the 42” flat screen whopper. You know what cracks me up? Those car commercials where she gets a Lexus. I mean, I would kill my hubby if he went out and picked up a 50,000$ car for Christmas. But then, I guess if you have the extra lying around, one would not worry as much.

Anyway, back to knitting. I should probably avoid posting some of the projects but my giftees do not read so I think I am safe to show a few. So far, they are only three in number…2 Foliage beanies, One So-Called Scarf.
Both projects are simple and simply divine. Easy and quick, gratifyingly pretty with just enough stitich definition to keep one entertained. Love them both. The aubergine Foliage hat turned out much more like a giant beret, ah, gauge. But I like it and it is going to someone with lots o’ hair, which I know about. The bigger the cap, the
better when wildy curly hair is involved. The hats are in Manos De Uruguay, the scarf in Malabrigo. I have to say, the Malabrigo sure does beat out Manos in softness of hand, colorwise I find them a tie. The Manos I have is very subtly variegated and very pretty. The second Foliage is on its way to completion, just a few more rows. I highly recommend this hat for anyone needing a super quick knit, I finished the first in two days, record time for a Mama of twins. Any other person would have this thing banged out in a few hours, but, alas, for me, nap time is never predictable and i fall asleep during night knotting.

Next up is an attempt at a felted purse. I have a few skiens of Manos lying around begging to be felted. Any suggestions for a simple tote that would require only 2-3 skeins? I was going to just randomly design something but if there are any readers who can point out a nice pattern , I would check it out. Or I guess I could do ravelry, but I have not been that great about using my coveted access (actually, they probably have servers and users galore now). Anyway, suggestions appreciated.

Bean news: Owen is out of control. He is trying to pull to stand, the other morning I looked down and he was standing up using my hip while I lay on my side. No mercy for us. My mam says I was walking at 9 months. Boy after his Mama’s heart. Mason is a bit more stationary, content to slap around and only moving when he really wants something. His brother ends up bringing him most stuff anyway. Can I just say…I love this time. It is so different than the early months. They are so cool with their moving and shaking, laughing and talking. Unbelievable, that we made these little people. They both love eating now, brekky and dinner are actually fun. They take two totally different approaches, Owen loves to feed himself, Mason loves it when his Daddy does kamikaze airplane into his mouth. The wonder I feel when I watch them, it is everything they say. Sure, things are unbelievably crazy sometimes, but I love it all. And sleep has come in a compromised form.
We have taken to a mixture of crib and co-sleep. Whatever works to get mama at least 4-5 hours, I will take it. And there is nothing like snuggling a warm baby body in the still of the night. Only time I will get to. Read this blog if you are a new parent. I love this woman and her amazing writing voice. She is reasonable and practical and so darn reassuring. If you are struggling right now, read her. If you are not, read her, because at some point you will be. She says we we need to hear. A)We are not screwing up our kids. B) We are doing a good job. And the best part is that there are so many other parents that comment on their experiences, it really releases some of the vacuum of early parenthood. So swing by and read some of her archives. Her sleep advice is great…do what works. There is also a really good post on the type of baby you may have, Tension Releaser vs. Tension Increaser. Sounds weird but it is so logical. It makes sense and I have found we have one of each.

Anyway, baby news covered. Knit news semi-covered. Other stuff not really that exciting other than the fact that I might have a new little project to show that requires thread and needle (if they do not end up too wonky). Signing out for now.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Little Late Halloween

We did not get too far with the boys as they are still a bit small to be out at the witching hour. They did don a little finery for the evening. I will have to see if I can get photos from my friend Jess...we were at her parent's home in Claremont for a bit. They go all out to keep the kiddies happy (and there are lots o' kiddies in the Claremont downtown, they bus 'em in, no joke). Next year I vow to join her in her evil goblin outfit, she had the kiddos running scared, not sure whether candy was worth venturing up their drive. Until then, here is a few little pictures of the boys before we took them out...not really great shots, but cute as buttons, yes they are.