Sunday, March 31, 2013

22 months!

The last month has flown by. We have spent most of it at my parents house because our house is on the market. The girls adjusted easily and are loving being here. We still need our house to sell though (think positive thoughts for us!).

Kisses for Grandpa while watching Baby Ei.nstein
A few updates:

  • The girls "named" my Mom. She didn't want to go by the traditional Grandma or Nana (or any other version, really), so she was holding out until the girls were able to come up with something on their own. She was occasionally calling herself, Patty (her first name), around them. A few weeks ago, they started calling her Atty. And so you have it, Grandpa and Atty! 
  • They are both testing the limits (and my patience) more and more these days. They are both throwing tantrums when they don't get their way. Teagan usually throws herself to the ground, crying. Quinn will scream at the top of her lungs and usually grab onto my leg. As long as they're safe, I do my best to ignore it. I usually tell them that I will give them attention when they stop crying. 
  • We started a new class last week that includes an arts and crafts component (decorating an Easter egg on construction paper). Teagan had a blast making her masterpiece. She was fascinated by the glue (but fortunately, did not eat it!). She loved decorating her egg with pom-poms and feathers. Quinn was more interested in pulling them on and off. 
  • They have started calling Jenn and I by name - Mommy (me) and Mama (Jenn). They will correct themselves if they call Jenn, Mommy or me, Mama. While Jenn is at work, they constantly find items of hers and say, Mama! They will also do the same with Grandpa and Atty. They are incredibly observant and will remember that I was drinking out of a green cup, for instance, and then hours later point to another green cup and say, Mommy! 
  • Teething hit our house with a vengeance again this month. Teagan's K9 teeth (the last incisors) have all popped through. She was pretty clingy and miserable for a few days. A few of Q's K9s and molars have also found their way out. 
  • No! Unfortunately, they have found this word. Whenever I ask anything of them, the answer is often, no with and very emphatic head shake. 
  • To elaborate on their powers of observation...We have found that if there is something we don't want them to see/learn how to do, we have to make sure they aren't watching. Teagan will see a banana across a crowded room and will continuously demand, 'nana'. Quinn adores cheese, which they only get as a special treat. If an item is on the counter that even slightly resembles cheese, she will repeat 'cheese' over and over again. They constantly amaze me in this department. When we are out, they will often point out things that I hadn't even noticed. 
Laptop, phone, water: Earnin' her keep
Happy as can be!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Habits after sickness

Please tell me we're not alone.

The girls both came down with their first real sickness late last week. My mom, Jenn and I had all come down with nasty head colds. Jenn and my Mom were flattened by theirs. We are pretty sure that Teagan got this head cold too. She was more congested than I've ever seen her. She couldn't sleep. For two nights straight, she was up no less than 8 times. She barely napped. We did everything - raised one side of her crib, humidifier with eucalyptus, Cory.zalia, eucalypus chest rub, steamy baths... The poor kid just needed extra cuddles. For the first time ever, I brought her into bed with me. I was exhausted and she needed to be upright. We both managed to catch some zzz's lying propped up. During the day, she only wanted to be in my arms. Fortunately, for the first day of her sickness, Quinn was an angel. She happily entertained herself.

Then day two hit.

Quinn had woken in the night as well (a rarity). That morning, when I went to get her up, she was moaning, saying, "Mommy" in a weak little voice. I lifted her up and she started heaving. I ran her to the bathroom where she threw up. The smell, the look of puke...none of it matters when you see your baby's little body heaving like that. She seemed to feel a bit better after getting all of that up, but only wanted to be in my arms.

Two arms, two sick babies. Sadly, it wasn't that easy. A sick baby wants Mommy all to herself. While they would sometimes go to someone else, they usually only wanted me. If I put them down, they would cry. Given that they were under the weather, I gave in immediately. Lots of extra kisses and hugs. Extra nursing if they wanted milk (for fear of dehydration). Immediately responding to middle of the night cries.

But then sickness went away. The clingyness, crying and expectations have not. They cry at my feet, saying "up." They fight bedtime wanting to be rocked and cuddled. They each want to be in my arms alone and shove the other out of the way. They want to sit on my lap and have me spoon soup into their mouths. They want me at their beck and call.

Habits were formed in just a few days. I knew that Monday morning would be rough and sure enough, the day has been challenging. Hopefully breaking these habits will happen as quickly as they were formed!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

And so it begins!

We put our house on the market yesterday. Jenn and I ran around like chickens with our heads cut off for the weeks leading up to it, getting the house in 'show' order. We got a storage locker and loaded some stuff out. We purged. We gave stuff to Value V!llage. We sold a few items. We had the place painted and had our handyman fix a few odds and ends. We had the house cleaned. We moved stuff around and staged the house. This was the result:

My parents (kindly) allowed the circus to come to town. Two by two by two, we piled in. Dogs barking. Small people running around. Toys everywhere. Thank you doesn't cut it! Perhaps a weekend escape at a spa?

Have you met 'Gampa', the celebrity? Quinn, especially, is obsessed with Grandpa, yelling for him constantly and patting the couch to have him sit next to her. She calls for him upon waking in the morning, usually before her eyes are even open. The girls have officially named my Mom, Atty (short for Patty, her name). They will often pick up her slippers and yell, "Atty!!" through the house. T and Atty have seriously bonded since we moved in. The girls have also taken to morning lattes and croissants from a French bakery, courtesy of my mother ;) Not surprisingly, I'm not super thrilled about my wheat-free children eating croissants, but everything in moderation!

Quinn heads off shopping
With all of the spring snow we've been
having, it has been "work from home"
kinda days...
So much shopping, so little time...gotta
move super fast!
T the Clown!
Trampoline adventures!

After almost two days on the market, we've had a ton of interest in the house. There were several private showings today and our agent hosted a broker's open house. Apparently the feedback was positive. Fingers crossed!

Monday, March 18, 2013

So Canadian.

 We went to a maple syrup festival this weekend. Yes, I know. Sooooo Canadian. My friend, Cheryl, wanted her Australian husband to experience something classically Canadian.

Our morning started off with old-fashioned pancakes, a first for T&Q. Surprisingly, T wasn't that into her pancakes with real maple syrup. Miss Q on the other hand, hoovered a pancake that had to have been 10cm (4in) in diameter. She loved dipping the pieces in her maple syrup and then sucking it all off. We are pretty sure that her meltdown on the ride home was the crash of her sugar high.

I was most excited for the petting zoo. Upon arriving, I saw the sign that stated "hands must be kept outside of the fence." The petting zoo turned out to be more of a looking zoo. The girls didn't seem to mind. I was disappointed.

T pets Snoopy the pony
Llama, llama...
We loosely followed the rule. T was dying to pet the goat.

Maple syrup fast facts!

  • Canada produces 85% of the world's maple syrup
  • It takes 40L of sap to make just 1L of maple syrup
  • Sap is only 3% sugar when it comes from the tree but after it has been processed it is 66% sugar

We actually managed to get a rare family photo. It has been virtually impossible to get two toddlers to sit still these days. It has been unexpectedly cold in Toronto for the month of March. Perhaps the two little punks were frozen to our lap!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


We have hit that stage. Everything is "MINE!" said with such conviction. Not surprisingly, Quinn started this one first.  It usually comes out as myyyyyyyy! and is often yelled. If Teagan even looks in the direction of a toy, Quinn promptly claims it as her own. Teagan is no angel though. She has quickly picked up on this. It usually turns into a battle of wills with two toddlers yelling "myyyy!" at one another.

Quinn has also started using no a lot more. I knew that one was only a matter of time. What makes it quite amusing is that she never says a simple no, she usually has to shake her head and say no, no, no. But, did you also know that no means yes and yes means no and sometimes no and yes can actually be the same thing? I didn't, until recently.

In other news, Teagan has started bullying random children when we are out. For some reason, she has her defenses up and wallop or grab another child for absolutely no reason. While playing in one of those small Ikea tents at an indoor playground this morning, another little girl walked in only to be taken down by the wrath of Teagan. T took this little girl's cheek in her fingers and pinched with all of her might. The little girl's mother grabbed her crying daughter quickly. I apologized to the little girl and told Teagan that we don't pinch and asked her to show me gentle. I've read that you aren't supposed to punish an aggressive behaviour like that, and should instead promptly tell the child that "we don't do ___" and remind them how to be gentle. Aggressive behaviours should not be dealt with aggressively. If you have had a child who has done something similar, what did you do?

Parenting ain't for the faint of heart...

Friday, March 8, 2013

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Green and Orange

Eat Your Colours.

This healthy eating campaign was started in a large Canadian grocery store chain a few months back. Like most nutritionists, I told my clients this for years.

When you sit down to a meal, pause and look at your plate. What's on it? How many colours do you see? How much food is on the plate? Try to ask yourself this for each meal.

For many of us, eating is something that we need to squeeze into a busy day. We eat in front of the TV, the computer, in a meeting, in our car or on the run. We don't eat consciously. It sounds strange because we are obviously conscious when we're eating. We eat to live. Even foodies can't live to eat all the time, but we can all become more aware.

When I was working with clients, especially those who were new to nutritional consulting, I would start small and keep things very clear. I love the eat your colours tip. It is such a tangible change to make.

I thought about this yesterday at lunchtime. The girls and I were having butternut squash soup, kale sauteed with a bit of butter and garlic and some scrambled eggs. The meal was so colourful! I know that it is hard to get children to 'eat their greens'. Greens are still hit and miss with my girls. The other day, Teagan ate a huge helping of spinach. Yesterday, she ate only a quarter of her kale. I don't really care. If they try it, that's what matters. I also keep serving it. Just because a child rejects it once, it doesn't mean that she/he can't develop a liking for something. Try, try and try again. Try serving it in different ways. The French say that children will eat everything but sometimes it can take 14 tries.

Green and orange vegetables are the Rolls Royce of all veggies. Green veggies like broccoli, spinach and kale are loaded with vitamins and minerals. What sets them above the rest are the numerous studies showing their superpowers in helping to ward of cancers, lower cholesterol, keep your heart healthy, detoxify the liver, help with inflammation in the body...the list goes on. Like their green counterparts, orange veggies, like sweet potato, carrot and butternut squash are also packed with nutrients. But again, their health benefits go a big step further. They also have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, particularly when it comes to the digestive tract. They can actually help lower the risks of the heavy metals and free radicals that inevitably enter our bodies every day. Orange veggies are also fantastic at keeping our blood sugar stable, a plus for diabetics.

If this concept is new to you, start small. Buy spinach or kale and add it to another dish or to a salad. Cut up some sweet potatoes, toss them with a little bit of oil, a touch of cinnamon and sea salt and bake them.

At dinner tonight, take a look at your family's plate. How many colours do you see?

Sunday, March 3, 2013

21 Months Old!

I'm a few days late on their 21-month post. Without a February 29th this year, I wasn't sure if I should post on the 28th or the 1st. It doesn't really matter now since I'm posting on March 3rd! Anyways, the tardiness of my post isn't my fault. It is T &Q's fault. At 21 months old, they refused to sit together for a picture. I have tried for four days and didn't get a single picture worth posting! Kudos to all of the twin parents who manage to keep up the monthly pictures once their children are flying around!

Here's the update from the last month:
  • Their vocabulary is really developing. They are much more willing to say words when prompted.  Teagan has started calling Quinn, "Mini", while Q called T, "TT" or just "T". It is adorable when they yell across the room for each other. Newest words include: bubble, bat (bath), wawa (water), kiwi, Ry (for Riley), Gampa (Grandpa)...I should have written words down as they've said them because there are definitely more! They will ask for certain fruits, like apples or bananas, by name now. They know Jenn and I as Mommy (me) and Mama (Jenn) and will point when asked. However, they still call us both Mama,although Jenn insists that they are calling me Mimi. 
  • They continue to have WWF-style fights. Actually, I think their moves wouldn't even be allowed by the WWF; hair pulling, biting, vicious scratching, so maybe it is more Ultimate Fighter-style? Teagan's impulse control is non-existent when it comes to pulling Quinn's hair. Quinn will often provoke her by stealing a toy. I'm doing by best to not always step in. 
  • The girls love to read books. We will often sit and read the same book 4-5 times in a row. One of their current favourites is called Hands Are Not For Hitting, although the message seems lost because Teagan's hitting has hit an all time high! They are also loving Snuggle Puppy by Sandra Boynton, especially when one of us sings the song in a silly way. They also love to destroy their books - ripping pages (of board books) and even the binding. 
  • Conversely, they will often play together SO well. They're absolutely hilarious and are constantly creating games together. Teagan is becoming quite the joker and will often do something funny to make Quinn laugh and then continue to do it again and again. 
  • I've recently hired a babysitter, Leslie, who comes for a couple of hours a few days per week. Initially, the girls had a difficult time adjusting to me leaving the house without them. Leslie and I decided that for several days in a row, I would leave shortly after she arrived, even for just 30 minutes. I would try to keep the goodbye brief with a kiss and a "see you soon." They adore Leslie and she is wonderful with them so all is well now. The help has been invaluable for me because I can get things done, but also get some breathing room from the dynamic duo.
  • Toilet training continues to be on the radar because Quinn likes to sit on her little seat. She has never actually done anything, but likes the actions of taking the toilet paper after a few minutes and then flushing the toilet. I usually let her sit there for a few minutes when she asks. I haven't actively started toilet training yet and honestly, am not in a huge rush. 
  • They are becoming much more independent in some respects. They can easily put on their own boots and try to put on their coats. They insist on doing the snaps on their high chairs on their own now. They have even managed to put their pants on a few times. A new lesson in patience for me! 
  • This past month has been fantastic on the sleep front. Both girls have been sleeping from 7-7 without a peep on most nights. Their good sleep habits have made for one very happy and well-rested mommy! 
  • They continue to breastfeed when they wake in the morning, before nap and before bed. They can easily go without the nap feed, if I'm not home, giving me flexibility during the day. I've tried to distract them in the morning, as a test, to see if they could go without it. They will see nothing of it though and grab at my shirt or pass me any pillow (because I put one on my lap for their heads). I'd like them to be able to go to bed without it occasionally, again just for flexibility on my end. Breastfeeding continues to be easy, so I don't mind them doing it for a while longer. 
A typical scene: backpacks on, sprinting across the house!

Sheer willpower: She managed to get herself
up onto a swivel stool.

My 21-month old insisted on sporting a 3-6
month winter hat at mealtimes for 2 days straight.

Meet Teagan: Lululemon's newest model

Sweet T sports some raver-style pants