Sunday, September 30, 2012

16 Months Old!

Yesterday, the girls celebrated their 16 month birthday. Where oh where is the time going?!

A few updates:

  • While they don't have any full words just yet, they are trying. They adore dogs and Teagan, especially, will say "da" when she sees one. Teagan will often imitate simple words that we say to her. Quinn literally babbles non-stop but is rather stubborn so she won't always imitate us. She will often grunt or point at things that she wants. They can identify a ton of different objects and can even understand more complex concepts like, "If you eat another piece of chicken, I'll give you some more mango." 
  • They love to hug and kiss. It has to be one of the greatest things. They will both usually give hugs and kisses on command now. Quite often, they'll come running up to us, wrap their arms around our necks and give us big kisses. Riley and Finn are also the lucky recipients of such love. They will also blow kisses to every dog that they see while we're out walking. Teagan has a thing for kids with more hair than she has (doesn't take much!). She will often stroke their hair and give them a kiss. I usually try to avoid such attention being given to total strangers. 
  • One minute T&Q are best friends and the next they're screaming at one another (like all siblings, I know!). Fortunately, I've caught several videos of them giggling, hugging and kissing. They typically fight over one toy (usually a plastic play fork that came in a picnic basket, of all things!). The fights typically go as follows: Teagan is playing happily with toy. Quinn sees this and wants toy. Quinn makes a beeline for toy. Quinn rips it from Teagan's hands. Teagan either bursts into tears or fights back. If she choses the fight, one person usually receives a nasty bite on the arm or hand after a battle over toy.
  • They continue to be fantastic eaters and I am forever grateful. They rarely reject foods and I can only hope that it continues. Current favourite foods include: gluten-free protein pancakes with a blueberry sauce (I must share the recipe-they are delicious), all types of fish, scrambled eggs with spinach and salsa, anything with homemade guacamole, grapes.
  • We've spent a lot of time at the playground in the past month. They girls have no fear and head straight to big kid area and head down the slides like pros. Admittedly, it makes me a bit nervous, but they need to learn somehow! 
  • Teeth! Teagan has about 9 now, but there are definitely a few more coming through. Quinn is at 8.
  • We live with two dancing queens! During the day, I will often have music on in the background. Sometimes it's classical, sometimes it's kids music and sometimes it's mainstream pop-type stuff. There are a few pop songs that the girls clearly love because no matter what they're doing, including eating, they will stop and start dancing! Teagan has this awesome hippy sway that she does. Quinn has this great quick standstill run. If they're in their high chairs, they'll start swaying, bopping their heads and waving their arms. 
  • Their sleep is back to normal for now (thank God!). They're consistently sleeping for 12 hours (7-7) which makes for a much happier Mommy!
Always has a smile for the camera
Such a bright face!
So serious
Forever with a bump, bruise or scrape on her face!
Happy girls at the park

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Here Baby, have some steak!

There was an article in the newspaper, the Toronto Star, this week stating that Health Canada has changed its stance on baby's first food. Previously, they recommended that babies start with a bland infant rice cereal. They are now recommending that at 6 months, babies should receive meat or a meat substitute as their first food.

The reason. Iron.

I blogged about baby's first food quite a while back. For a baby who does not have any health concerns, like anemia (low iron), my opinion is to start with fruits and vegetables. A vegetable like sweet potato or butternut squash is going to be easy on a baby's developing digestive system. It is slightly sweet, like breast milk, and is packed with nutrients. Meat, on the other hand, puts an adult's digestive system to work for many hours. Imagine your 6-month old's body digesting a steak. Granted, that's not entirely true because Health Canada recommends pureeing that steak.

Back to their reasoning for recommending meat and meat substitutes. Iron. A baby is born with iron stores courtesy of that kind lady who carried him/her. For most babies, there is no concern about iron levels until the second half of their first year. A baby's iron stores start to diminish (not disappear entirely!) at the 6 month mark. This doesn't mean that baby is iron deficient, it just means that he/she needs to start eating some iron-rich foods. It is also important to note that if Mom's iron levels are sufficient and she is still breastfeeding, baby is receiving iron in that way. While the amount of iron in a steak is far greater than the amount in breast milk, breast milk's iron is far more absorbable.

I'm not opposed to giving a baby meat, but I do not agree with it being given as a first food. I believe that meat should be giving to infants closer to the age of one. My girls began eating non-meat protein, such as beans and legumes, at about 9 months old. They tried chicken and tofu at about 11ish months.

Green vegetables, such as kale and spinach, are fantastic and very absorbable sources of iron. Add some fresh lemon to your greens because the vitamin C will help your body absorb the iron better.

I recently started giving the girls organic nettle tea (a herbal tea) with raw, local honey and a bit of fresh lemon. My reason will have to wait for another post :) However, I bring it up now because nettle tea is a fantastic source or iron and has been used as a natural remedy for anemia (low iron). So, if you do suffer from low iron, it might be something to consider*.

Personally, I feel like Health Canada's new guidelines might scare new parents into giving their 6-month old a ribeye or risk having an anemic child. In the 6-12 month period, breast milk or formula should be baby's primary nutrition source. If baby's diet is supplemented with lots of nutrient-rich foods, there is no reason that meat can't be introduced at closer to a year.

*Disclaimer: The information included on this blog is for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Prior to beginning any alternative treatment, please seek the advice of a naturopathic doctor. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The refined palate of a 15-month old

I've created monsters. Actually, I can't take all the credit. My parents and brother have played a big part in it.

I have 15-month old foodies. Tonight they indulged in lobster, 12-year old cheddar, truffled brie, blue cheese and a small hand dunk into fine Chablis. All before a near adult-sized dinner portion was eaten. While they eat a dairy-free diet, the cheese was too incredible to not give them a taste. They loved it all. Quinn was especially into the lobster...shocking.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Human beings speak to other human beings...

"Human beings speak to other human beings. Some of them are big, 
some of them are small. But they communicate."
~ Francoise Dolto (1908-1988), French psychoanalyst 

Dolto changed the way that children are perceived, giving them a chance to express themselves. She did not believe in the old saying of "children should be seen and not heard." Not only did she actually listen to children, she also spoke to them like they were human equals, unlike many adults of her time. Even when she was at the end of her life, attached to an oxygen tank, she would still get down on the floor to talk to children. 

I've never understood "cutesy" baby talk. I babysat a ton through my teenaged years and never talked like that to young kids. I may have used simpler words and talked slightly slower, but for the most part I spoke to them like I would one of my peers. This is how I've been with Teagan and Quinn as well. I don't talk down to them. If I ask them a question that I don't think they have understood, I'll try again in a different way or I'll show them what I'm asking.

Whenever I'm asking something of the girls, I say please and thank you. I think that this is something that can easily be forgotten when talking to a young toddler. I'm a stickler for manners. I recognize that it can be tough when your toddler is testing you and you end up having to ask them 100 times not do something. I have a newfound respect for daycare and preschool teachers.

I think that babies and toddlers understand far more than we sometimes give them credit for. The girls surprise me all the time. They are like little sponges, soaking up words and expressions constantly. Last week, I said something to Quinn about her hair. She promptly starting pulling at a few strands. I never taught her the word hair but somehow she knows it. I find that that is happening more and more these days.

How do you speak to your babies and toddlers? Are there particular things that you do or avoid doing?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


One of my current favourite times of the day is in the morning, when the girls and I take their brothers to Cherry Beach, a huge off-leash dog park. While getting myself, two toddlers and two dogs ready to go is a bit of an ordeal, once we're in the car on our way, a strange calm sets in.

Once we've parked, Teagan is loaded into the stroller, Quinn into the Ergo and then we're on our way. The boys usually race towards the lake, regardless of the weather. The sun shines bright, breaking through the trees, lighting up Teagan and Quinn's bright blue eyes. My two little dog-obsessed mini-mes  become perfect angels at Cherry Beach. They wave and blow kisses at every dog that passes us by. Teagan points at the planes flying overhead into the Toronto Island airport. Sometimes we walk in silence, but usually I get to enjoy adorable commentary from both girls. While in the Ergo, Quinn kisses my chest and will often reach up to me wanting to kiss my cheek.

Teagan has made a new friend who we now see several times per week. When the 70+ pound German Shepherd comes flying towards her, a huge smile emerges on her face. He stops running a few feet shy of her and moves in slowly to give her the most gentle kisses. She usually pets him gently. I will catch a picture of it one of these days.

Calm amidst the chaos :)

Minus the chain-link fence, it's a pretty great view of
the city down there.
The boys kindly pause for a quick picture

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Farm Fun With Toddling Toddlers

When I was barely pregnant, I remember telling Jenn that I couldn't wait until we could take our kids apple picking and to the pumpkin patch. I had this vision of walking through a farm holding the hands of my toddling toddlers (not realizing at the time that toddling toddlers don't want to hold hands!). It was a random comment, but I'm known for those. Last year, we took our 5-month old girls apple picking, but they slept through it in the Ergos.

This morning, we took the girls to Whittamore's Farm with their twin friends H&K. We ended up arriving an hour before the playground opened (my fault!). It actually worked out in our favour because the pick-your-own section was open. The eight of us headed out into the fields to pick raspberries and strawberries. The kids got the hang of it fast with most of the berries going straight into their mouths.

When the farm's play area opened, we all headed in to play in the sand pit, on the tractors and on the slides. The quads, as I sometimes call them because they are born within 10 days of each other, had a blast.

Apart from the lack of hand holding with my toddling toddlers, I'd say that our first fall farm trip was a success!

Hopefully this is the closest she'll get to a motorcycle!
Queen Quinn waves to her people down below
A quick pause to peek through for a picture
Teagan and her tractor
The city kids, T&Q and K&H, give tractor riding a whirl
The kids had a blast running back and forth through
the tunnel. Quinn and her friend H.
Teagan and K are all smiles!
Always serious Q 
Even her eyes smile!
Q and I check out the goats! 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Cottage Life: Part II

As I've mentioned a few times, the girls and I spent a good part of August at my family's cottage on Lake Muskoka (about 2 hours north of Toronto). We had some fantastic family time, great meals and wine and lots of fun in the great outdoors.

I'm not one for taking sunset pictures but Muskoka sunsets are too perfect. The pictures really don't do it justice. We would eat dinner outside every night, while the sun was setting. Jenn should be given full credit for pictures two and three.

We took the girls to a beach one day so that they could play in the sand and walk out into the water. They seemed to really enjoy it. I managed to get Quinn to head out into chest deep (mine, not hers) water with me.

Muskoka is paradise for Riley and Finn. Our cottage is on a very quiet private road. The boys can head out in the morning and run free all day long. The funny thing is, they are homebodies who rarely go too far. The boys made friends with two dogs from down the road. I wish I could have caught a picture of Finn and the other two leaping into the water together after a stick. 

One of the things I love about the cottage is that the TV rarely gets turned on. We spend time talking, playing games or enjoying the outdoors. We end up finding unique ways of amusing ourselves.
My brother, Rob, went to the grocery store last weekend only to discover that there was a 2 for 1 sale on babies. The one on the right looks unamused.

On a rainy day, we created some indoor fun for the girls. They've decided that they would like to start training to become the 2030 Canadian women's bobsled team. 

While visiting with my friends Andrew and Lindsay and Andrew's parents, my Dad got distracted just long enough for Quinn to take about 6 handfuls of my Dad's beer. It created a monster. The kid has already developed a palate for not only beer, but also fine wines, courtesy of Grandpa. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Oh hi there...

It's been a while, I know. It wasn't you. It was me.

Man o man, I've been delinquent. I started writing T&Q's 15 month blog post but stopped myself because I'm embarrassed by the fact that we're almost half way through their 16th month.

Here are my excuses for taking an almost 2 week hiatus from blogging:

  • The biggest reason - sleep regression. Courtesy of a certain Sweet T. The sweet factor slightly diminishes at 2am. She's been up at least once for most nights over the last 4 weeks. In her defence, while at the cottage, we wouldn't let her cry in fear that she'd wake everyone else staying there. If she can get a 2am cuddle or breast milk, she'll pick up a new middle of the night habit mighty fast. The problem. I need my sleep. My world totally caves in when I don't get a regular 8 hours. Needless to say, everything has suffered as a result. 
  • One nap. The girls were fighting their two-nap schedule for a while. Putting them down was such a production. We went cold turkey to one nap about 3 weeks ago. I'm slowing pushing them later and later with the goal of a 12:30pm nap. This gives me far less time during the day to get important things, like blogging, done. The nap averages two hours, but can be as little as one hour or as much as three. I rarely get two babies to nap for three hours unfortunately.
  • We were at the cottage where we do not have a wifi connection. In order for me to get online, I need to tether my phone. I tethered a lot during August and am now afraid of the bill that is to come. 
Enough excuses. I miss blogging and will get back into it full swing. Life is busier than ever with two walkers. Teagan took off walking about a month ago. Stay tuned for some blogs and pictures from our month up north!