Sunday, January 25, 2009

Two-year stats

Not all identical twins develop identically in their physical growth.
Just last week, I met identical twin girls at the local mall with their mom. The girls were 3 years old and one was more than an inch taller than the other. The difference, the mom said, was likely caused by twin-to-twin transfusion, which forced doctors to deliver them at 27 weeks or lose the smaller twin.
Our guys were lucky.
Each had his own sac and his own placenta. Their placentas were on polar opposite sides of the uterus. It can't get better or safer than that. Their placement in utero was so rare that it took DNA tests to persuade my OB that they are, indeed, identical.

So I wasn't surprised by the findings at their 2-year physical:

Height: Both boys are 37.5 inches tall, landing them off the charts compared to other boys their age. Our two older children are off the charts for height as well. It's in their genes. Their dad looms 10 inches above me at 6 feet, 5 inches tall.

Head: Their measurements were precisely the same even though most folks insist that Jonathan's head is bigger. Jonathan has slightly more fat in his cheeks than his brother. I sometimes wonder if that is because Jonathan was born via c-section while Matthew experienced a vaginal birth. It's not likely, but it's something to think about.

Weight: Matthew was the lighter of the two at 31 pounds, 4 ounces. Jonathan weighed in at exactly 32 pounds. It might be the cheek fat. It might have been a wet diaper. It might have been because Matthew takes so much more pleasure in throwing his food than in eating it. Who knows?

Overall, the doctor proclaimed Jonathan and Matthew healthy, but she referred them to specialists for speech and hearing. Though the county program denied them services, she felt their reluctance to use more than one syllable per word and their refusal to put to words together is probably the source of unnecessary frustration.
She figures twinese is the cause, but that a little therapy might make life better for all of us.
I have to agree.
So off we go to Children's Hospital.
We'll be checking back with the pediatrician in six months.
Hopefully, by then, we'll be asking for advice on how to tune out their constant chatter.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Crucial products for guys like mine

Something tugged at me the other night, pulling me toward the nursery and urging me to check on Matthew and Jonathan. I hate to do that. So often, it wakes them. But this feeling was so strong, that I opened the doors anyway.
And when I did, I found Matthew asleep underneath his fitted crib sheet.
It frightened me, but it did not surprise me.
These guys are clever, curious and determined.
A few days earlier, I had come into the nursery during nap time to find both boys shouting and giggling with their legs tucked underneath the sheets. They had figured out how to reach down the sides of the mattresses, grab the elastic from underneath and pull the sheets up.
That first incident gave me a little time to research the options.
I knew straps wouldn't work, not the way they were doing this. I had to find something that would make their sheets immobile.
It took a few hours and a lot of creative keyword searches, but, I finally found the solution. Four Secure-Fit crib sheets from Halo Innovations arrived via Federal Express Ground today. I took them out of the package and smiled. This company knows my boys.
The arrival of the sheets got me thinking about the items I have found invaluable to high-energy, creative twin boys. And I'd like to share a few of my favorites. No one has paid me or influenced me in any way in exchange for these endorsements.
Lets start with the sheets:

Halo Secure-Fit crib sheets: These sheets have deep pockets on either end to keep the sheets on. One side slips over the mattress. The other side Velcros into place. Parents of multiples can get discounts by calling customer service number.

Halo Big Kid's Sleep Sack Wearable Blanket: These are essential for children like mine who are climbers and they are much easier to use than crib nets. The larger sleep sacks have foot hole so toddlers can stand and walk, but they can't lift their legs over the sides of cribs.

Podee Baby Bottles: What can I say about these? They brought me sanity once I stopped nursing. Podee bottles have a long, flexible tube that leads to a nipple and reaches far down to the bottom of the bottle. Parents can push a stroller through a mall with bottles tucked in at their twins' sides and nipples in mouths. With two older kids who needed my attention and lots of events to attend outside the home, these were crucial for me. They kept everyone happy. It beats propping bottles or listening to one baby scream while the other eats.

Step2 Safari Wagon: This wagon has a deep leg well for tall toddlers like mine and seat belts to contain them. It also has an easily removable roof with cup holders for my coffee. One of the seats lifts for storage. The boys have holders for their sippy cups or snacks. I no longer see the Safari model for sale on their site. The closest is the Canopy Wagon, which appears to be the same product minus the sippy cup holder.

Baby Trend Double Snap-N-Go: This saved my back in those early months. The frame is light-weight and works with most brands of infant car seats. You just lift the car seat out of the vehicle, snap it into the frame and go. The basket underneath has plenty of room too. Unfortunately, my very-tall boys outgrew their infant seats by five months.

Starbucks: Drive-thru, drink-in, brew-at-home. I don't know how I would have made it through the first two years without Starbucks.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Halfway to 4

I feel like I should write something profound for their second birthday. Something poetic, insightful, wondrously quotable.
It has, after all, been a monumental year for Matthew and Jonathan. They learned to walk. They learned to talk. They exchanged bottles for sippy cups. They even learned that they are separate entities--that Matt is Matt and Jon is Jon.
Every day, their maturity and the skills that come with it enable Matthew and Jonathan to give us more and more glimpses into the people they are and the people they will become.
Yet, as we celebrated their birthday yesterday, I found I couldn't do it.
I couldn't write about those things.
All I could think about--honestly--is that 2 is halfway to 4 and that by 4, they will be potty trained, they will respond to reason at some level, they will no longer need a stroller and they will talk in sentences.
That doesn't mean I want to rush them.
No, not at all.
I don't want them to grow up too fast. I adore their little kisses on my lips, cheeks and nose. I long for their tiny hands around my neck. I cherish their nonsensical exchanges that result in fits of giggles.
And, wow. That unconditional trust only babies and toddlers have. That belief that mom is all-powerful, all-knowing, all-everything. That she is flawless. I see that in their eyes as they reach for me. They believe that I can make anything better. They really do.
No, I don't want to rush through that.
But they exhaust me lately as much as they exhilarate me.
And I find the exhaustion much easier to contend with if I have something to look forward to.
So, on their birthday, while I was chasing them around the house trying desperately to persuade them to keep their clothes and diapers on at least until our neighbors arrived for cake and ice-cream, I focused on the future.
I focused on how much easier it will become instead thinking about how hard it sometimes has been. With that in mind, I found I could laugh at our little strippers and I caught them.
They made it through the evening fully clothed.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The shirt wars

Lately, they give me no choice.
I prefer to dress Matthew and Jonathan differently, but not because I worry about some identity crisis. I do it for my own selfish reasons: I find it easier to tell them apart. I'd rather look at their shirts as they run squealing away than wait until I catch up with them, turn them around and look hard into their faces.
But they are rebelling.
Within minutes of dressing the boys each the morning, one twin begins pawing at the other's shirt.
He wants it.
That's the only shirt he wants and he is obsessed. He won't leave his poor twin alone until he get it. And his twin can only run for so long.
The solution is simple if the shirt has an identical twin as well, but we don't have a lot of identical shirts. So, I do the next best thing. I open the shirt drawer and let him choose another favorite.
But as soon as that twin changes his shirt, the other twin begins pawing him. Then he starts stamping his feet and screaming and crying and trying to take his own shirt off and pointing at the shirt drawer saying, "Shirt! Shirt! Shirt!"
What can I do?
I open it and he grabs another.
Peace lasts for about 30 seconds.
Soon the victimized twin begins coveting his brother's shirt.
And so it goes.
The cycle repeats and repeats and repeats itself until finally, they end up in matching shirts.
And they are happy.
For a while.
Until one twin spills half his lunch on his shirt and has to change ...