This week the Cylonettes turned eleven months.
Zoey has started taking little steps, and is fascinated by trying out her feet. She is standing for longer and longer by herself, and gets giddy when we take her hand to walk her across the floor. The girl wants to walk, and by gum when she starts she won’t stop.
Naomi has only been pulling up to stand for a relatively short period but has fast got the hang of it, and is now cruising around the furniture and standing by herself. She has even “walked” a few steps by pushing a chair.
The Cylonettes are much more like tiny human-cylon hybrids than baby cylons. There ain’t much babying going on here and I don’t feel sad. You won’t find me crying into new born onesies or going gooey eyed over a freshly baked baby. The brutal nature of twins beat all the sentimentality out of me.
Zero to six months was such hard work, and oh vey the crying. My mum was watching a documentary when I was FaceTiming her earlier this month, and it gave the stat that a baby cries for around 470 hours in it’s first year. If you double that for twins it works out to be the equivalent of over a month of crying.
That sounds about right. Perhaps an under estimate.
I feel that at eleven months we have much of the crying under our belts but there are still tears and frustration but they are easier to calm and distract. They are still a lot of work. These are clingy babies that need their parents around so that they can crawl up to touch base whenever. That said, over the last two days I’ve been able to go into the kitchen for a few minutes without both girls standing at the edge of the fence wailing like I’m gone for good.
Now to segue clumsily here are four thoughts on parenting:
1. Be nice to each other
This is good advice for anyone in general but particularly important to us as we have no family in this country. We choose to live and bring up the girls here without a hands on support system in place. This puts even more pressure on our relationship but I like to think that it makes us stronger, and more of a team. In the short term this is challenging BUT it’s better for our family as a whole for us to be here. We did quick back of the envelope math on going back to the UK, and it sucked. Yes, we would have support but we’d have to sacrifice so much that it made no sense. For Alex’s career NYC is the place to be, and if we move out to the ‘burbs I have a real shot of getting back to school to get my MA.
I’ll be honest it is all too easy to get caught up in everything revolving around the girls, and when they are asleep just wanting to curl-up on the sofa and sleep, but I am trying to shake myself out of this habit. I make an effort to stay awake, to carve out “date night” and watch a movie or a TV show together. To cuddle up on the sofa, and remember that once upon a time it was just the two of us, and that in 17 years time we’ll hopefully be empty nesters.
2. Invest in good outdoor gear
My best purchase this year was prescription sunglasses (thank you FSA account). I spend a lot of time outdoors walking the girls so it was nice to not have to either squint in my normal glasses or be blind in my non-Rx sunnies. As the girls get older we’ll be spending even more time outdoors so I see it as a wise to buy some investment pieces. If I’m going to be standing around at play parks or watching the girls play sport I want to be comfy.
3. Start laying down the foundations of how you want to parent
There are a lot of things you can’t control at this age. Ripping off bibs, throwing food, going after wires and anything out of bounds (hello toilet water!) spring to mind so there isn’t much point in getting upset and frustrated. If Zoey wants to rip her bib off fine she can eat without her bib. If Naomi is going to throw every slice of apple bar one off her high chair tray then so be it (next time I gave her one slice at a time).
There are, however, things that you can control if you want to. At around seven months the girls started to notice and get mesmerized by the television so that was the end of having the TV on during the day. Whilst the girls are young we want to limit their exposure to TV because I think it’s a distraction to real life interactions, and they don’t know any different so they are not missing anything. We are not going the extreme route as we will have the TV on for sporting events (Formula 1 and tennis) but that’s it. I like that we are retaining control of the TV that it will stay in the adult domain.
Food seems to be potentially a big battlefield, and when the girls started eating solids (well purees but you know what I mean) I started paying attention to the types of baby food on the market and what I saw kids eating in the street. The girls eat a mix of homemade, and ready made food. When we started giving the girls finger food we bought a few packets of those puffed veggie/fruit things and freeze dried yogurt drops. They were a good transition food whilst the girls honed their fine motor skills but I didn’t feel great about them eating them as they weren’t real food in my eyes, and when you read the back of the container and see what makes up a serving size your baby wouldn’t have room for any puree! So once they ran out I never bothered to buy any more and started giving the girls slices of fruit, veggies and toast. Real food was harder for them to eat, and more unpalatable so more ended up on the floor but I felt better about what I was feeding them.
(Given the fickle nature of infants, and toddlers I’m trying to feed them food that I wouldn’t feel uncomfortable about if they decide that is all they are going to eat. You know what I mean?)
Remember the the good old days when all I had to worry about was the girls obsession with licking my flip flops? Why did I worry? The flip flops were clean! At the moment they are into everything, and Zoey’s climbing means we can’t drink tea in bed in the morning. But, I know that all this will pass and at some point Naomi will stop putting her pointing finger in Zoey’s mouth because it never ends well.
When we were out at a cafe over the weekend (trying to restrain Zoey and Naomi from crawling and bouncing over everything) there was a (calm) twenty month toddler sat at the next table. He walked in with his parents, sat on the bench and drank milk from a little carton. I look forward to that stage.