The girls have adjusted very well to JK. For the most part, they are loving it. Their teacher and ECE seem fantastic -- very caring, but also extremely organized. The girls seem to know the day's structure well. It is also posted on the teacher's website, so I can always see what's going on. It's amazing to me that they've learned so much already. I expected the focus of JK to be on social and emotional development, which is for sure. It's great to also see that their writing and reading skills are improving quite a bit. They're constantly writing their names and asking me to help them spell different words. While reading books, they like me to point to each word as I say it.
Teagan's separation anxiety has subsided for the most part. While she is reluctant to go into the kindergarten yard occasionally, she rarely cries and will leave me providing that the ECE is there. I acknowledge that it can be hard, but remind her of the fun that she has at school.
The girls have made lots of new friends. Quinn and her preschool best friend have remained super close, which has been nice to see. It's been great to see them run around with new friends when we stay in the playground after school. I've driven by the playground during their lunchtime recess a few times and have seen them playing with many different kids. Teagan developed her first crush last week! She came out of school and begged me to wait. After a few moments, she ran over to this boy from their class. He is a head taller than she is, so she stood there look up at him. She was beaming and he was smiling down at her. After a little exchange, she came running back to me and he ran out to the soccer field with his friends. She then insisted that she had to say goodbye to him. She ran into the playground and looked around. When she eventually spotted him on the soccer field, she said that she had to give him a hug. She went running across the field. I did have a moment of worry, wondering if he would push her away or ignore her. When she got to him, he wrapped his arms around her and picked her up in a big bear hug. She came running back over to me with a HUGE smile on her face. It reminded me of that scene towards the end of Love Actually. If you've seen the movie, I'm sure you know the one! She talked about this boy for a few days and even said that she loved him. Her crush seems to have subsided now! 4-year olds move on easily!
The girls' school is BIG on parent volunteerism, especially at the kindergarten level. I signed up to be a reader. This means that I go in once per week, if I can, and read with the kids individually. They each have a bag of three books of varying difficulties and choose which one they would like to read to me. I have to keep track of what they read, strengths and areas for improvement in a binder. I've really enjoyed it so far. Most of the kids were extremely keen on reading and wanted to read all three books multiple times.
October also meant a trip to the pumpkin farm! Jenn and I made a last minute decision to go on Thanksgiving Sunday. We had a Thanksgiving dinner planned for Monday, so it worked out well.
We took a wagon out into the pumpkin patch and the girls loved filling it up with pumpkins. We eventually made them each decide on just one!
On Monday, we did Thankgiving dinner at my parents place. The girls came home that weekend and proudly showed us their Thanksgiving project from school that week. Jenn didn't make Quinn's list, which was particularly funny to us given how much Quinn adores her! I found it equally funny that she is thankful for "Mommy makes pies" because I've never made a pie! Teagan apparently really enjoys the outdoors, particularly rocks and wood chips and loves sleepovers at Atty and Grandpa's, she explained to me afterwards.
Jenn and I managed to escape for a night on our own towards the end of October. The break was much needed. We were both feeling tired and a little burnt out. Earlier in the year, we had done a great job of getting babysitters regularly so that we could go out to dinner alone or with friends, do something fun on a weekend afternoon, do ANYTHING kid-free! etc. So anyways, Jenn and I went down to one of our favourite quick getaway areas, had relaxing massages at a fantastic spa and ate some delicious meals. I also slept for almost 10 hours that night! It was so nice to have that time to reconnect and slow down.
October ended with Halloween and two extremely excited little girls. Teagan counted down the days until she could trick or treat. By Halloween Day, she was asking every half hour if it was time yet. By 5:45, they were dressed and ready to go -- it was still light out. At the first house, we overheard the owner tell the girls the they were the first trick or treaters!
Trick or treating is serious business...
On the Friday before Halloween, there was a big kindergarten parade. Parents were invited to line the halls while the kids walked through the school. I was shocked to walk into the school to find the halls packed. Kindergarten parents are very supportive! It was clearly overwhelming for the little 4/5 year olds to walk out and see the crowds! The girls teacher had them lined up nicely and had reminded them to be quiet (hence the finger over the mouth!).
On the day before Halloween, it was discovered that my pregnant sister-in-law, Kelly's baby was breech. As a result, a c-section was scheduled for the following Monday. They were both disappointed to find out that baby was breech, but after processing it, became excited to meet their little girl. After a very smooth and uneventful c-section, they welcomed their little one into the world on the afternoon of November 2nd! She is absolutely adorable. At just 6 days old, her cousins got to meet her. The girls can be a little bit wild, especially around my brother, but managed to understand the importance of being calm and gentle around Kelly and the baby. They both held her, with assistance, and gave her many kisses. It definitely made me feel more excited for their baby brother's arrival in February!
We've been having some challenges at home with fighting. It amazes me how the two of them can be beating each other up one minute and then be best buddies the next. On one particular morning recently, I found the fluctuations completely exhausting. Two minutes before this picture was taken, they were yelling with tears streaming down their faces!
And then they walked to school like this!
One of the funnier moments recently…I hear Quinn tell T to be a horse and look over to see this!
I often try to think about what it would be like to be with one person 24/7. As twins, they know nothing else, but it still must be exhausting! Funny enough, when I try to separate them, they resist!
In early November, the girls and I met one of my old friends and her baby at the Royal Winter Fair. I've taken the girls to it for the last few years now. It's always a blast. We watched the Super Dogs perform. The impressive pups ran through various obstacle courses, which included leaping high over bars, running through tunnels and zig-zagging through thin pylons. It was quite entertaining to watch! Each year, the main attraction for the girls has been the petting zoo.
The girls watched several older kids riding the mechanical bull and decided that they wanted to try it. While waiting in line, Quinn backed out. Teagan was still determined to give it a try. She was by far the smallest kid in line, but did get onto the bull. I think that it was higher than she thought so she quickly slid off. Sadly, I wasn't able to capture a photo before that happened!
Hockey is going extremely well for the girls. They are really enjoying it and improving quite a bit. Teagan was quite excited to shoot the puck for the first time a couple weeks ago!
As with anything that Quinn does, she likes to skate as fast as she can. She's working on stopping!
We were lucky enough to experience some unseasonably warm Fall weather (here and there!) in Toronto. This meant more time outside! A few Fridays ago, I got a call from school that Teagan wasn't feeling well. I went to pick her up after lunch and as suspected, Quinn came home too. I questioned the sickness since she was running around with friends collecting worms when I arrived. It was a gorgeous day so we decided to take the pups for a walk. I took photos of all 6 of my children. Note the "sick" one in photo one ;)
And of course, no update would be complete without talk of the littlest member of our family! See the bottom-middle photo above!
The little man is growing well. So far, I have been fortunate enough to experience an uneventful pregnancy. The third trimester is officially underway (28 weeks now). Overall, I'm feeling pretty good. My only complaints are some sleep disturbances (occasional insomnia) and occasional heartburn. I'm up a few times per night to go to the bathroom and sometimes have a lot of trouble falling back to sleep. If I'm awake for more than 30 minutes or so, I usually just get up and head downstairs. I accept it for what it is but am usually exhausted and slightly cranky the next day. The heartburn stays in check providing I avoid certain spices. I learned it the hard way! I'm starting to actually feel pregnant, despite looking pregnant for quite some time. The second trimester is truly blissful in the sense that I didn't have to slow down. Now, my growing belly forces me to take a step back. It's hard though because I generally move pretty quickly. I've experienced a few sharp, sudden pains that were a definite warning to slow down!
My anxiety during this pregnancy has been much higher than the last one. Surprising, I know. But, as I told my midwife yesterday, in my twin pregnancy, everyone did the worrying for me. I had constant monitoring so there was little room for something to go wrong without it being discovered quickly. As I mentioned, this pregnancy has been uneventful so far, so I feel extremely fortunate for that. I try hard to not worry and have faith in my body and the little baby growing inside me. His movements are incredibly reassuring. He favours my right side but is large enough now (around 14 inches long and roughly 2lbs) that he often stretches across the bottom of my belly too.
I've tried to keep active. I'm doing a prenatal bootcamp twice per week and yoga once. I would love to up the yoga, but at this point my schedule doesn't permit it. I also walk a lot during the week between the kids and the dog walking.
A few weeks ago, we toured the new Toronto Birth Centre. I'm hoping to have the baby there. This does mean a natural labour and delivery with no pain relief. It's something that I feel like I can do and want to do for myself. We have hired a doula to help both Jenn and I during labour and will have our two midwives too.
Spending time with Rob and Kelly's little girl has made me very excited for the little man's arrival! The girls are excited too, particularly Teagan, who talks to him and kisses my belly constantly. I'll post some proper belly photos soon. I'm embarrassed to say that I've only taken one at 22 weeks!