Saturday, July 19, 2014

Learning English and sibling bonds

I’m always astounded by the way language is learned.  We obviously illustrate what words mean with actions, and the kids see what we’re doing and learn to understand what it all means, but it’s so hard to truly comprehend how they do it.  The other day while I tried (unsuccessfully, I might add) to hang up the girls’ clothes in their closet (they have a way of tearing more things off the hangers than what I’ve put on so I end up with MORE work afterwards than what I started with…NOT COOL), Emily found a fancy dress that my bro and sil gave them for Christmas, and she just HAD to put it on.  It’s for 18 months but still fits really well at 21 months.  So I obliged and dressed her up.  (Margaret, on the other hand, discovered an old Curious George shirt of Andrew’s and wanted THAT on, can you guess which girl is more of a tomboy?!)  I didn’t bother doing the tie up in the back of Emily’s dress as the 2 ribbony pieces fell nicely to the sides, and I didn’t give it much thought after that.  A while later when we were playing downstairs, Emily discovered one of the pieces for the tie, and she held it up to me with a look on her face and said, ‘Broke.’  I had never heard her use the word broke, or broken, before, and was surprised that she knew it.  She figured her dress must have broken because there was this piece just hanging there. 

The girls’ language has really skyrocketed, and while there are times when I truly miss the newborn stage and feeling like they’re really ‘BABIES’ when I hold them (They’re so big now that they like to play a game where they ‘pretend’ to be babies, bringing me a blanket so I’ll wrap them up and cradle them and have the other kids come up and marvel at the ‘cute little baby.’  Even Andrew loves to take a turn!)   I absolutely LOVE that they are communicating and feel a sense of relief as they begin to understand more and more things.  There really is something about being able to properly communicate with another person without always having to second guess.  And a huge perk is getting them to do stuff for me!!  I can get them to throw things in the garbage (the diaper genie, they’ve got it down pat!) and I can ask them to go get certain things for me.  Nothing major, obviously – I am still basically a total slave to them (and Andrew, as well), but it’s pretty cool when you can say, ‘Uh oh, can you take this cloth and go wipe that up?’ and they’ll happily scamper over, grab the cloth, and go wipe up the spill from their bottle, or whatever the case may be! 

Margaret says, ‘Uv, ewh’ for love you, which is pretty adorable.  They both constantly say, ‘Ockum’ which means thank you and you’re welcome.  It sounds so cute when they say it, and they always say it at the appropriate times.  They really seem appreciative of the things they’re being given, too, when they say that!  They both still call each other ‘Emily’ or ‘Emmy.’  Emily can say, ‘Mah-gek’ but she only did that for a couple of days and then reverted back to ‘Emmy.’  It’s just easier, I guess! 

Andrew absolutely LOVES IT when he feels he’s had a proper conversation with one of the girls.  Even if they’re just saying, ‘Yeah’ or ‘No’ in response to his questions, he loves that he can talk to them and knows they understood what he was saying.  It’s really cute watching the 3 of them interact with each other.

This morning I was showing Andrew some videos of conjoined twins on youtube, after reading him a poem about some famous conjoined twins in a book of twin-related poems he chose for his book at bedtime last night.  He couldn’t believe that 2 heads could share one body, or that a brain could be shared between two people.  I really feel so lucky to have had a text-book twin pregnancy, and to not have had conjoined twins, as I can’t even imagine the challenges involved.  The girls were totally bored by the videos (which we only watched for literally 2 minutes, it’s not something I really wanted to go on and on about) and out of nowhere Emily went up to Margaret, threw her arms around her shoulders in a big hug, and gave her a big kiss on the lips!  To which Margaret replied with a big grin and a little giggle.  It was seriously THE CUTEST THING EVER!  Emily is fairly stingy with her kisses (whereas Margaret loves to give kisses) so it was extra-amazing that she chose to do that.  They both loved the reaction from Andrew and me, so they did it a bunch of times.  It just melts my heart watching their twin bond, and their bond with their brother.  Watching their relationships develop and grow makes all the difficult moments totally worth it.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

A visit to the doctor, then the water park!

Yesterday Emily was downtown with my mil, so first thing in the morning I decided to take Margaret to a walk-in clinic.  She’s had a bit of a rash for a week-ish, and I’ve been thinking in the back of my mind I really should have her checked out, but trying to go to a walk-in clinic with crazy potential wait times with 3 kids made me put it off and put it off some more.  Having ‘just’ 2 kids with me made it seem not quite as potentially disasterous.  The clinic I took her to is in part a ‘children’s clinic’ specifically, yet they do not allow strollers inside AT ALL.  So that was another reason I had put off going, as logistically it would be IMPOSSIBLE to take both girls and not have a stroller!  I wore Margaret in the Ergo to go in and that worked for about 15 minutes…but we both got so sweaty and she hated being confined.  I like the concept of baby-wearing, it’s just that I’ve never personally had a baby that enjoyed being worn for any length of time!  They are all cuddly kids but being forcibly strapped to even their mother is like torture to them.  OK, it’s not THAT bad, but it isn’t something I could do for a prolonged period.  Although now that Andrew’s 5 and above the weight limit of a carrier, I bet he’d be pleased as punch to get carried around in one!  LOL  Funny how that works.

We got to the clinic less than an hour after it opened, by which time they were already at number 18 and we got number 28.  I asked how long of a wait we were looking at and the receptionist suggested we come back in 20 minutes if we wanted to go for a walk or something.  I set a timer on my phone for 20 minutes (if you’re not back when your number is called, you have to re-register) and we went to the store and got a few groceries and things that we needed, and just so happened to get back as the timer was going off.  I opted to leave the Ergo in the van and just carried Margaret in, which I do think ended up being the best decision, but it was still a very long wait.  They were only at number 20 when we got back.  So 2 numbers in 20 minutes – it wasn’t looking good for us!  After exhausting all options of ‘interesting things to look at’ in terms of artwork in the waiting room, Andrew threw himself down and said a little too loudly (and dramatically), ‘Mommy, when’s it going to BE our TUUURN?!’  By that point I think we were at number 22….Still a ways to go.  I was sweating bullets, but playing with my iPhone made Andrew content, and I just had Margaret to keep happy.  She was pretty good about it, considering we never wait around like that for anything so she’s not accustomed to being bored, sweaty, and unable to move around.  I didn’t want to put her down as she’d take off down the hall (she had her eye on it the whole time) and I knew it’d be a total gong show chasing after her.  And once she’d feel the freedom she’d refuse to be picked up again (I know what she’s like!)  So, yeah.  She started melting down and I could feel the stares because of course people didn’t want to listen to a toddler wailing, but by that point I was at a loss for what to do, and we were up to number 26.  Two more to go and it would be our turn!  I wasn’t going to give up at that point!  The stars aligned and number 27 was a no show, so we got in sooner than I’d thought. 

At first, because of my description of Margaret’s symptoms, the doctor thought she may have the hand/foot/mouth disease.  (Mainly because the rash is also on the palm of her hands, yet not the top of her hands, which is a bit of a more rare symptom).  It freaked me out to hear that because I know how contagious it is and I didn’t want the rest of us getting it.  But it turns out it’s ‘just’ a virus.  I had thought maybe heat rash but apparently, no, it’s a virus that she did catch from someone, and it presented at first as a cold, as they often do.  (I had no idea a rash and a cold could be linked like that!)  She got the cold first and then Andrew got it, then me, then Emily got a mild version of it.  My parents got the cold as well.  But no one else who was in contact with her (that we know of) got the rash.  Apparently it’s quite contagious but only for the first 7 days from the first signs of onset, and she is past that now, so the doctor assured me she is on the mend and I was already doing the right thing by applying calomine lotion to it.  She sometimes wakes up and when I go to her she says, ‘Itchy!’ so I wanted to be sure I wasn’t going about it the wrong way by applying calomine and not doing anything else for her.  I got the reassurance I needed, so I guess it was worth the hour and a half it took to get it…….Oh, walk-in clinics.  I hated them when it was just me waiting for a crazy length of time to see someone back in the day (I once waited over 3 hours with an absolute MIGRAINE that I was sure was going to kill me at any moment) but when you’re waiting with kids, it’s on a whole other level.  It went well all considered, though.  Margaret was scared of the doctor but I think she thought she was going to have to get needles, because she likely associates doctor’s offices with immunizations.  I wish we’d been able to go see our actual family doctor, who I really love, but he works so far away from us downtown, and with such reduced hours now, walk-in was really our ‘best’ option.

So we did that, came home and had some fruit and then I gave the kids an ice cream treat for being so good and as a pick me up for the way the morning was.  Margaret was pretty tired from the events so I took her upstairs for her nap, and Andrew and I lazed around, had some lunch, watched a bit of a movie we hadn’t seen before on Netflix.  I felt tired and lazy but I also felt like we should take the opportunity to do something more than sit around the house on such a hot summer day, especially after hearing from my mil that Emily had dipped into the ocean and was loving her day.  She’d also ridden downtown on the back of James’ bike, which was a first for her, and she was so excited about it.  So I felt like Margaret was really getting the short end of the stick if all she did all day was go to the doctor!

I asked Andrew where he’d want to go if we were to go do something fun and he immediately said, ‘Water park!’ so I thought about it and it seemed like a pretty good idea.  Usually when Margaret wakes up she’s out of sorts and moody and cries a bit and takes her time waking up and getting back into the groove of the day.  But when I said, ‘Do you want to go to a water park, Margaret?’ she said, ‘Yeah!  GO!’ so I threw just a few things into a backpack that I thought we might need, got them changed into water-appropriate attire, slathered on the sunscreen (forgetting a few spots on myself which I am regretting…) and off we went.  I knew I didn’t want to use the double stroller for one ‘baby’ so I packed as lightly as I could so I’d be able to carry the bag and carry Margaret as need be.

I’m so glad we went!  The playground was stifling as it was such a HOT day once again, but the water park totally cooled us off.  What I forgot to bring was something to use at the water park, so I emptied out Margaret’s sippy cup (having also brought a few juice boxes) and Andrew used the cup as a means to soak Margaret and me, and quite gleefully I might add.  He was good about sharing though – every so often he’d soak me like crazy and I’d so, ‘OK, my turn!’ and he’d fill the cup for me so I could throw some water at him.  It was actually really quite fun!  Margaret enjoyed it, and does love the water, but she got to a point where she wasn’t that into it anymore.  Andrew was still wanting to be there so it was tough because he was disappointed having to go, but I knew we had to for Margaret’s sake.  We went down to the field to ‘warm up’ in the sun since we were so drenched, and the kids had a drink and a bit of a snack, but that seemed to rejuvenate Margaret and she agreed with Andrew that we should head back to the water park rather than home.  I obliged, for about 10 minutes, and then they obsessed over a water fountain for a few, Margaret threw a tantrum while I changed her into dry clothes, and we went over to my parents’ place for a little visit, since they live quite close to the park.

We visited there for about an hour, and then I brought Margaret home but Andrew stayed on till after dinner.  I gave Margaret a tubby and we watched a bit of Tangled together and had some cuddle time before I had to go make supper.  It was a good day!  I’m so glad I took the (2 of 3) kids out rather than just staying at home.  Our yard is fun and we have our own sprinkler (my dad got us a cool sprinkler that just puts out mist which is pretty awesome for keeping cool and having fun without using up a ton of water) but it’s not the same as getting out and playing at the park.  All in all, a successful summer day!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Sunday kayaking

Yesterday my parents looked after the kids so James and I could use our groupon to go kayaking at Deer Lake.  We went last summer and I loved it so much that I purchased another groupon right away, but of course it never became possible for us to go back before summer ended so we had to use it within the next few weeks before it expired.  It was so much fun!  I love being out on the water.  A larger body of water would maybe be more fun next time, but I like how comfortable it feels out on that lake, because I know nothing’s going to come along (like a larger boat) to create huge waves that might make me feel like I’m losing control!  The water was so calm and I loved seeing all the ducks, geese, butterflies and dragonflies.  It was VERY hot (the weather has been crazy hot (for us!) lately) but it wasn’t too uncomfortable.  We had a 2 hour groupon but we decided to kayak for one hour and then went to Earl’s for lunch before heading home.  They’re ‘getting a veggie burger in a few days’ but didn’t have one on the menu so we had vegetarian sandwiches made up and they were DELICIOUS, along with the French Fries.  I’ve never had a bad meal at Earl’s.  We got so hungry out on the water so it was nice to go out and enjoy a meal together before heading home. 

I love that we had fun outdoor experiences both days this weekend.  I wish we could do stuff like that more often.  I look forward to times in the future when we can have those experiences – family bike rides and kayaking excursions – with our kids.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Saturday cycling adventure

Today my mil looked after the kids for a few hours so James and I could have some much needed time just the two of us.  We drove out to Lion’s Park in Port Coquitlam and rode our bikes around part of the Coquitlam River.  It was amazing, we absolutely love it there.  I could see myself living in one of the houses by the river, complete with canoe and Adirondack chairs on a little dock RIGHT at the water’s edge.  SIGH!!

It felt so good to be out on my bike again.  James commutes to work by bike several days per week (in the nicer weather months, anyway) so he’s pretty accustomed to cycling regularly.  Me?  The last time I was out on my bike (which my mil uses most of the time) was…I can’t remember when.  Probably a couple of years now?  I didn’t risk cycling during my pregnancy with the girls, and I’ve been pretty tied down since, so yeah.  It was about time I got out on it again!  It was a perfect afternoon.  Scorching hot, but the trails were mainly shaded by all the tall beautiful trees, and there was occasionally a slight bit of coolness felt from the river itself.  We stopped at one point to get closer to the river (I went so far as to step into it a bit, it was very refreshing!) and I told James I wish we could record the entire experience – scenery, but also sounds, smells, and just the overall feel of being there.  There’s nothing quite like being out in nature like that, and I’d love to be able to box it up somehow and bring it home, storing it for a cold winter’s day when I’m craving summer.

After our cycle we stopped at a pub across the street for beer and nachos, and it was so nice to just sit and relax for a while together.  We rode a little further afterwards, then packed our bikes back into the van and headed to the lower area of Hume Park for a while, just to sit and snog a bit =)  It was nice, but also WAY TOO HOT and we didn’t last long before we needed to get back to the van for air conditioning!  We hit up a little Asian market that we used to go to for popsicles waaaaay back when we lived closer to that area, and lo and behold they still sold the same popsicles!  James was so happy (I like them, but he always loved them the most!  Especially the ‘red bean’ ones, which I never really cared for…we have a bit of a difference in taste when it comes to sweets, that’s for sure).  So we got a bunch of those and a few other goodies from the market.  One thing they had by the till I bought on impulse because I seriously thought the box said the cutest thing EVER.  The cookies are called, ‘Margaret Cookies’, so of course I was partial right off the bat, and then their slogan was, ‘Margaret Cookie with parents’ love, Feel this love with soft cookie.’  Cutest translation ever, I just couldn’t get over it!  LOL  The cookies aren’t really the greatest, but I don’t mind them.  I’m seriously keeping the box though, there’s just something about it I find so adorably funny.

We came home and it felt like chaos as soon as we got through the door, but popsicles all ‘round made things easier, and the girls were so cute with theirs.  We sat out in the backyard, Margaret took a seat on the slide of their little climber and just looked over at me with this cute smile and shrugged, looking at her popsicle, letting me know she was chuffed with her treat.  Emily had hers dripping all over the place but she enjoyed every bite she took!  Andrew liked his but I think he felt a bit the way I do about them, that they’re bordering on being ‘too healthy’ tasting or something….They’re delicious, don’t get me wrong, but admittedly we enjoy our ‘Popsicle Pete’ type treats!!

James was kind enough to allow me to go off and have a short nap, which I really needed because I completely started to crash right around supper time.  I didn’t get all that much rest given how boiling hot it was upstairs, but it was still rejuvenating to some degree.  It really felt like a perfect afternoon, and so nice to get some time together just the two of us.  I wish we were able to have a lot more of that, but we have to take what we can get.  Luckily, tomorrow my parents are looking after the kids for a few hours and we have another fun adventure planned!

Friday, July 11, 2014

A day with Emily

On Thursday my mil had Margaret for the day, so it was just me, Andrew, and Emily.  I noticed the two of them played so amazingly well together in the morning, with absolutely no bickering or tears the entire time I was upstairs getting ready for the day/making beds and then again when I had to prepare food.  Usually all 3 are pretty good, but without fail there are at least some mini-arguments, a few tears, often Emily crying and yelling out, ‘Bite! BITE!’ because she got bit by her sister…again.  Margaret, it would appear, (as adorable and wonderful and perfect as she is!) is a bit of an instigator of trouble…Also, she and Andrew are a lot alike so I think that makes them clash at times.

Mid-morning we went over to my mom’s for a little visit, the plan being that Andrew would stay on for the rest of the day so it would be just me and Emily for a while.  (Smart thinking on my part, because Emily is known for taking long naps when her sister isn’t there to wake her up prematurely!)  While we were at my mom’s she and I both noticed how well the two kids were playing together.  They just seemed to get along famously!  At the girls’ usual nap time we headed home, and I gave her some juice and a little snack while I stopped to get gas so she wouldn’t fall asleep in the van.  She went to bed pretty soon after we got in, and who knows how long she’d have slept, but I woke her up after almost 3 hours!  I wanted to take her to the mall to run around (a park would have been ideal, but it was scorching hot so I didn’t want to take her out in the direct sun for any length of time) and we only had so much more time before James and Margaret would be home, so I woke her up.  During her nap time I managed to dye my hair (which is a work in progress, but I’m mostly happy with it), got a few things done, and sat outside in the shade for a while.

When we arrived at the mall, Emily was immediately waving and saying hi to literally EVERY person who passed us!  I was reminded of how infrequently the babies experience malls, or any stores other than grocery stores basically.  It’s logistically impossible for me to take all 3 kids to a mall on my own, even ‘just’ the twins would be impossible at this point since they run so fast in opposite directions, I just couldn’t do it.  Since I very rarely have just one of them with me, they have literally been to a mall only a handful of times.  So Emily was thrilled to bits to just be let loose to run around and look at things!  I didn’t even bring the stroller in since I didn’t really want to lug a giant double stroller around with one toddler.  Interestingly, I noticed she gravitated toward women’s clothing stores (she obsessed over some blue leggings with black lace patches, she was practically drooling over them and pointed, saying, ‘Mommy!  Ooh!   PANT!’  She has an eye for fashion, that girl.  Too bad she was about 15-20 years too young for the pants she was desperate for.  LOL  She was going to walk right past the toy store but I encouraged her to look inside and once she discovered Frozen characters, Minnie Mouse, and dolls galore, she was hooked and didn’t want to leave!  She oohed and aahed at everything and while she did pick a few items off the shelf that she wanted, she was fine with not actually getting anything.  We finished off our mall experience with a small strawberry Julius, which she LOVED (and was possessive of, saying, ‘MINE!  Cup!’  She tends to say ‘Mine’ a lot, mostly because her sister tends to take everything away from her at home!  I know it sounds like Margaret is a total bully…she’s a sweetheart, but yes, a bit of a bully!  Yet she’s also gentle and caring, and likes to give her sister (and brother) hugs and kisses lately, too.

It was a good day.  I wish I’d had a bit more cuddle time with Emily, as we were busy doing stuff most of the day (or she was busy sleeping!) but we did have some nice cuddles in the morning while catching a bit of the news on Breakfast Television.  Usually I go between cuddling each baby when I first get up in the morning, or they both scramble to be on my lap at the same time and my coffee goes cold on the shelf  while I cuddle them both at the same time =)  But I notice both of them are so content with their morning cuddles when their sister isn’t there to threaten hogging some of the attention!

The girls love each other so much, despite enjoying their one on one time.  Throughout the day Emily often mentioned ‘Emmy’ (she refers to Margaret as Emmy, as well as herself!) and would say, ‘Emmy!  Daddy!  Nana!’ which was accurate, as Daddy did take Margaret to Nana on his way to work.  Apparently Margaret mentioned Emily a lot throughout the day, too, in a similar way.  Emily also mentioned Andrew, as it wasn’t her usual routine to be without him, either.

I have to say, I love pretty much everything about all of my kids, but something I really love about Emily is how easy going she is, and how predictable (in a good way) she tends to be.  She’s not at all a trouble maker, it’s extremely rare she would do something she shouldn’t, and she just doesn’t seem inclined to cause any trouble.  She’s so good-natured, and I have to admit, seems relatively easy to take care of in relation to her sister and her brother!

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