Monday, April 30, 2012

Camera Love

Teagan loves the camera. When it comes out, she promptly poses. Big, bright eyes. Huge, gummy smile. Here are a few shots from a recent photo shoot with Jenn.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

11 Months Old!

11 months sounds so "old"! Maybe it's because we have no more buffer months before the big O-N-E! Here are the girls in their new "Thing 1" and "Thing 2" shirts!

  • Both girls are walking with their little Fisher Price walker. Quinn is far better than Teagan right now, but that's mainly because she has no fear. Quinn will also walk if you hold her hands. They can easily pull themselves up on the walker and get moving. Quinn flies across the floor now.
  • When standing holding onto something, they will do "no hands" -- they will let go and stand unassisted for a few seconds. 
  • We've started a music class and the girls are loving it! It is an extremely well organized class and they've clearly researched what babies love and keeps their attention. The girls love it when the instruments come out and are very focused when the teachers are singing.
  • On the food front, they've tried egg yolks and tried meat (organic ground turkey) once. Eggs have become a staple in their diet, just like they are in mine. They weren't huge fans of hard-boiled egg yolks but honestly, I couldn't blame them. They are chalky. They love them scrambled. 
  • They babble constantly. I wouldn't say that they have any actual words yet but I would imagine that they're close. New sounds are always coming out of them!
  • The girls LOVE their furry brothers. They are constantly mauling them and Riley and Finn happily let them. We are working on the word "gentle" because they can be pretty rough with the dogs. Sometimes they'll pull Riley's hair so hard that the poor guy will start crying. He would never even think to nip them. 
Mom & Thing 2
A happy Thing 1! 
When it comes to food, Quinn means business. There was
no prying this peach from her hands. 
Thing 1 and Thing 2 meet at the chair

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Littlest Bully That Ever Was

This is the face of the spoon thief. Do not be fooled by this adorable, pint-sized 10-month old. Less than 2 minutes before this photo was taken, Teagan was holding both of those spoons.

Quinn has become quite the little bully in recent weeks. It doesn't matter what her sister is playing with, she wants it. She will do anything to get it and almost always wins. She has also been known to hit Teagan when things do not go her way. 

I let them play on their own every day, but I'm always close by. They almost always play close to each other and usually interact quite a bit. I'll often find them under the table giggling at one another. Sometimes one will do something that the other finds hilarious and then do it repeatedly. But, sometimes I look over to see Quinn grabbing a toy from Teagan's hands, which usually results in tears. Most recently, Teagan has started crying when Quinn gets close to her. I don't think Quinn is intentionally trying to hurt her, but I think that that's how Teagan sees it. 

I do my best to find a happy medium between stepping in and letting them settle it on their own. I don't want to always be coming to Teagan's rescue, but at the same time, I don't want Quinn to think that taking something from her sister is ok. I doubt she understands when I tell her that she can't take the toy that Teagan was playing with, but I figure it's worth starting these lessons early. Teagan can also be a bit of a drama queen. She can really turn it on. I've gotten pretty good at discerning her cries. 

Quinn is almost always the smallest of her playmates. Other moms will tell their children to be careful when playing around little Miss Q. I laugh because she'll play tug-o-war with baby twice her size and often win. She's incredibly strong for such a little thing. She's also very determined. 

How do you deal with battles over toys or your child hitting others?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

{this moment} "If my brothers do it..."

"...why can't I?!" All was too quiet and Quinn wasn't in sight. My little piglet got to the broccoli that she dropped from her high chair before I had a chance to clean it up! I guess on the flip side, she's learning to not waste food from an early age!

A single photo capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Fever Phobia

According to an article in the Journal of Clinical Pediatric Emergency Medicine, “fever phobia causes both health care providers and parents to over treat fevers. This places children at risk of medication toxicity, needless repeat temperature readings and parental panic”

This is a quote from a handout I received from Naturopathic Doctor, Mary Choi. I took the girls to see her for a wellness check up recently. 

Over the last few months, as babies start getting their first fevers and illnesses, I've noticed that the words, "Tylenol", "Advil" and "Motrin" get thrown around very nonchalantly. I'm not against using these medications. The girls have had them once or twice when no amount of comforting would soothe their teething pain. No one likes to see their baby in pain. While I'm not against using them, I do feel that they should be used sparingly and as a last resort.

When it comes to a fever, I do not think of it as a bad thing that need to be suppressed immediately. Dr. Choi gave me a great handout that includes lots of valuable information on dealing with fevers in young children. With her permission, I wanted to share some of that info. 

Fever -- A Natural Defence

Fevers are one of the most important defenses our body has against disease. The intention of a fever is to raise the temperature of the body to create uncomfortable living conditions for bacteria and viruses (i.e. “to cook the bugs”). 

In order to build a healthy and strong immune system, it is extremely important to support the body’s natural immune defenses – fevers should be encouraged, not suppressed. 

The most common problems associated with fever include discomfort and mild dehydration. Only fevers above 41.7 C (107.6 F) can cause serious complications such as altered states of consciousness, swelling of the brain or even death. In general, the body is able to prevent temperature from reaching these alarming levels.  

There is no evidence to suggest that brain damage occurs in fevers of less than 41.7 C (107.6 F).  Febrile seizures only occur in approximately 4% of patients with fever and are not associated with any long-term complications. Febrile seizures are more often associated with dehydration than elevation of temperature. 

How to Manage a Fever
  • First: Do nothing. Observe closely. Can your child drink fluids well? Urinate every 3-4 hours? Does your touch console them? Are they playing normally? If the answer to these questions is yes, your child is not seriously ill.
  • A wet fever is better than dry fever. Try to get your get your child to sweat.
  • Keep food to a minimum, so that your child’s energy is not used to digest food, but is free to fight the infection. Fever can be considerably prolonged by giving too much to eat, especially rich and sugary food. Even when the fever comes down and the appetite returns, it may be advisable for your child to avoid food for anther 12 hours, unless there are signs of great weakness.
  • Encourage fluids, especially nutritious fluids.
  • Herbal teas that include lemon balm, peppermint, elder flowers/berries, oat straw and chamomile.
  • If your child craves cold drinks, you can make herbal tea into iced tea or into ice cubes with half herbal tea and half fruit juice.
  • Cold cotton socks: brings down the temperature, sedates them and is also good for teething.
  • To bring down a temperature, bathe with water temperature 1 degree below body temp or sponge with water of this temperature.
  • Dress lightly or bundle depending on your child’s perception of temperature.  If your child looks pale, shivers, or complains of feeling chilled (early stage of fever) à bundle her in breathable fabrics (cotton, wool) so that sweat will evaporate.  If she is comfortable and her fever is low, dress her snugly and give warm liquid ¾ cup 3 times per day for a 40 pound child to assist the body’s  fever production.  If she sweats and complains of heat, dress her lightly and let her throw off the covers (do not over cool, to avoid chill).
  • Herbal water spray: can help send a feverish youngster off to sleep. Add 2 drops of essential oil of chamomile, lavender, thyme, ylang ylang, or rose with 4 oz of water in a spray bottle.  These oils provide some anti-bacterial action along with a sense of tranquility.  Spray liberally on arms, legs, back and chest, but keep this spray away from eyes and out of the reach of small children.  Best to use in a warm, steamy bathroom so that your child doesn’t get chilled. 
  • Contact your doctor for additional treatments for managing fever, colds and flu.

Warning Signs
  • Fever in infants under 3 moth old (esp. if over 101 F or 39 C – could possibly be meningitis, requiring immediate emergency room treatment)
  • Fever gets very high, more than 105F or 40.5C. 
  • Child becomes confused, or loses consciousness.
  • Seems hot on one side of the body yet cold on the other
  • Starts to twitch. Or has a history of febrile seizures
  • Child refuses fluids
  • Child cries inconsolably or otherwise acts extremely irritable
  • Complains stiff neck or is unable to touch his chin to his chest.
  • Your child breaks out in a purple rash that resembles tiny bruises.  This could be a sign of a rare but serious infection.
  • Child seems to be in severe pain.
  • Child becomes dehydrated (dry skin and lips, crying without tears, no urination within 8 hours, listlessness)
  • Child has signs of respiratory distress (rapid breathing, sucking of the skin between the ribs and above the breastbone when breathing in, bluish tinge around the mouth, wheezing or crackling sound with breathing).
  • Constant low grade fever can indicate a bladder infection.

In the case of a febrile seizure 
  • Try to stay calm: stimulate a pressure point between the upper lip and nose. 
  • Look at your watch – time the length of the seizure.  If exceeds 5 minutes, call 911.
  • Turn your child on his side – reduce the risk of gagging or inhaling secretions.
  • Make sure the immediate environment is safe. – remove objects your child might hit.
  • Do not restrain your child or put anything in the mouth
  • After the seizure is over, comfort and reassure your child, then call your doctor for an immediate appointment. 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Are They Different?

For some reason, I've had writer's block recently. I don't really know why because I feel like I have a TON to write about. I think that this is the longest gap that I've ever had between posts. I've actually been doing a lot of blog reading recently. Finding new ones and reading ones that I've subscribed to for a while.

A question that I'm often asked, after the "Are they twins?" question, is "Are they different?" Depending on my mood, I will answer it nicely or make a snarky remark about them being individuals despite being twins. In all honesty, I don't give rude answers to stupid questions. If it has been a rough day, I'll keep my answers brief and move on quickly.

Are they different? Teagan and Quinn couldn't be more different. I've noticed more and more recently that their personalities are really developing.

She is sensitive and clearly wears her heart on her sleeve. I know I've said that a million times. She smiles with her entire face. A huge gummy grin with two perfect little teeth. Big, beautiful, blue eyes. When she's happy, you know it. She kicks her legs and claps her hands with glee. She has this incredible belly laugh. She has puppy dog eyes that are enough to make me melt. Teagan loves BIG. She gives big hugs and big, sloppy kisses. She will even grab her sister and plant a big kiss on her head.

She's a cautious girl. She approaches the unknown slowly. While she figured out how to pull herself up early on, it took her weeks before she was comfortable getting down. I would stand her up on the couch and then gently drop her to the ground to show her that she could do it. We would do this again and again. When I try to feed her food on a spoon, she will barely open her mouth for the first bite. With a skeptical look on her face she'll try the food and then open her mouth wide for subsequent bites.

She has the saddest sounding cry that pains me to listen to. It makes me want to run in, scoop her up and hold her tight.

She's a Mommy's girl. Teagan and I bonded early on because she figured out how to breastfeed at around 1 week old. She loves nursing. I joke that she would nurse until she's 5, if I'd let her.

She is very unsure around strangers and people she doesn't see frequently. She will usually look to me to make sure it is ok and will sometimes cry. She is easily overstimulated and overwhelmed in crowds. If I suspect that she'll become overwhelmed, I will hold her facing me.

Quinn is very clever and inqusitive. She is constantly trying to figure things out. After putting up the gates, she quickly figured out how she can escape. When she sees what she wants, nothing will stop her. She is incredibly determined and persistent.

She's mini but very mighty. She is usually one of the smallest of her friends but will always manage to push her way into the mix. She loves to crawl through things - tables, chairs, the legs of people or dogs. For such a small person, she can have quite the temper. Normally, she's a fairly calm and happy baby, but when things don't go her way or if she's tired, her intense, impatient side comes out with a vengeance. 

She has the most amazing little laugh. She will suddenly get the giggles and will laugh continuously, usually falling over in the process. Getting laughs out of Quinn is awesome because she can be quite serious. She will stare down new people or those she doesn't see often.

She is fearless and can be a bit of a daredevil. When she first learned to pull herself up, she was quick to learn that she needed to drop to her butt to get down. She loves to be (gently) thrown into a pile of pillows. She shrieks with glee begging me to do it again and again. She will climb up onto anything she can. 

She's a total foodie already. She will willingly open her mouth to anything that I bring her way. Finn and Quinn are very similar in the sense that they can't shovel food into their mouths fast enough. 

I could go on and on writing about each one but hopefully I've given you all a bit of a glimpse into their personalities. 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter and Other Pics

Happy Easter!

Since we bought our house three years ago, we've always hosted an Easter brunch. The crowd always changes depending on who is available, but it is always a good time. This was a special Easter brunch, since it was the first one for the girls. They had a fabulous time and dined on their own fruit salad while we ate a feast!

My uncle Rick, our friend Caitriona and my cousins, Ricky
The "ladies" (as my Dad calls them) with the guys
Teagan and Grandpa
Rob is well-known as a tease...his nieces are no exception.
My cousin, Allie, and Quinn
I do the same thing with my tongue when I'm focused.
Our pretty boy, Finn.
Quinn and Finn

Adventures in Food - Grains

Originally, I had planned to not introduce any grains until the girls turned 1. Two weeks ago, I had a bit of a change of heart. I wondered if I was being too conservative in my approach. Afterall, many pediatricians will recommend introducing rice cereal as early as 4 months. The girls' friends are also eating a variety of grains already. Now, I'm not one to succumb to peer pressure. If you've been reading my blog, you'll be able to tell that I adopt a more alternative approach to health and wellness and tend to go against the grain (no pun intended).  While I don't agree with rice cereal or the introduction of wheat before a year, I thought that I would give quinoa a whirl with the girls, especially since they were nearing the 10 month mark.

For the last two weeks, on most mornings, the girls have had quinoa, millet or amaranth mixed with fruit and sometimes some pure vanilla and cinnamon. Those three grains are gluten-free and are low-allergen. They are high in protein and fibre, among other nutrients. While wheat is considered higher on the allergen scale, it has also been heavily processed, which means that many of the nutrients have been removed. It can also cause digestive upsets. This is why I'm not in any rush to introduce it to the girls.

The girls have been loving their version of cereal. They would devour a large bowl of it. This made me happy because those grains are not only a healthy breakfast option, they are foods that I love too.

My happiness faded about a week ago. [Warning: Discussion about poo] The girls started having far more dirty diapers. I'm talking up to 6 in a day. I also noticed that the grains that they were eating were coming out whole. This means that their bodies were not digesting them at all, which also means that they were not benefiting from all the fabulous nutrition that quinoa, millet and amaranth offer. We often hear people talking about certain foods that "go right through" them. This is not a good thing. Those foods that go right through us irritate our digestive tract and disrupt the good bacteria in the process.

Amylase is an enzyme that our body makes to digest grains. Babies do not produce amylase until after their first birthday. I knew this but still decided to try the girls on a few grains anyways. Most people will fold up that dirty diaper as fast as they can and throw it in the bin. Not me. As disgusting as it is, I look at their poo. It can tell you a ton about how your baby's body is dealing with the food's that you're giving him or her. You can do this for yourself too! Here's a good article, if you'd like more info.

So, if babies don't produce amylase to digest grains, why is infant cereal pushed on parents so aggressively?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The "Miniest" Walker!

Little Miss Mini Quinny unintentionally found herself a makeshift walker today at my parents' house. She pulled herself up on a small step stool which started to slide along the hardwood so she walked with it. 

When we got home, I grabbed the little Fisher Price walker that we had in the basement.We had assumed that it wouldn't be used for a while longer...we were definitely wrong!

Here's a video of Quinn's first steps!

Monday, April 2, 2012

{this moment} Who needs toys?

A single photo capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.