17 Months Update

I started writing this in February to be ready to post the 16 months update on time, but as per usual time got away from me. Despite my valiant effort to write whenever I can, alas, it just wasn't enough. So here I am once again cramming two months worth of news into one update. I keep saying if I could just write a short blurb each day, or at least a few times per week, I would get more posts out. Anything is better than this once or twice every two months routine! But then again I am feeling this way about most things these days. For instance, all the things I wrote about in the last update (doing more yoga/pilates, reading, meditating), I am definitely falling short in those areas as well. Pretty much doing anything for myself is at the bottom of the totem pole, but I guess that just comes with the territory of being a Mom. I have managed to squeeze in some time to read. I have a long list of books lined up that I am wanting to read so I've been trying to get some reading in before bed. It actually helps me shut off my noisy chatterbox of a brain and get better sleep. Plus it satisfies my inherent need for iiiiinpuuuut so it's a double win! I am currently midway through a VERY large book about how the brain develops in the first five years of life. Very wordy and scientific, but I am loving it. If I ever get the time (LOL) I'll write about it in a separate post. G and I have been meditating a few nights a week (which I would really love it if we could every night but I'm happy we are doing it at all!). We do guided meditation using Yogaglo on the computer and it really does wonders for unwinding from the day. (Yet another topic I'd love to write about!). Anyway, I am still in the process of organizing life but have definitely made some headway. My end goal is to seamlessly work in cleaning, cooking, exercise and hobbies into the already full schedule of taking care of and teaching the babies. I mean, I already do the cleaning and cooking and occasional exercising, but the operative word here is seamlessly. It is a work in progress, but I am getting there! Enough about me though, let's move on to what you really want to hear about... the twins!

These two are really blowing us away with how much they are learning and understanding these days. Their minds are little sponges soaking up the world around them. I'd say they are learning at a similar pace, but they each have their own unique strengths and interests. 

Let's start with their receptive language. Their comprehension of words and phrases expands with each passing day. Currently, they both understand the following words:

ball pit
wash hands
arms up
come here
lay down

- animals (referring to their animal figurines)
- colors (referring to their color learning station in playroom)   

They are also able to identify their wild animal figurines by pointing to the appropriate one when asked! They can point out lion, tiger, hippo, rhino, elephant, giraffe, zebra and alligator! Next we will be working on farm animals!

They also show understanding by following instructions to:

-Hand something to us or to someone else 
-Bite into something
-Take a drink
-Use their fork
-Pulling/pushing arms in and out of sleeves
-Give their doll a hug
-Brush their teeth
-To go get something and bring to us

-Take laundry out of the basket
-Put toys into a bin
-Take shoes or socks off
-Brush hair
-Lay down
-Chase after each other 
-Spin the wheels of their toy trucks
-Choose between things (toys, books, shirts)
-Push a button
-Flip a light switch

And it's too cute, when we say "gentle" to River when he's about to touch something he lightly uses one finger!

So their receptive language is really coming along! Expressive language (talking) is supposed to take a lot longer to learn but they are certainly making strides. Especially Riley. She is a little ahead in this department.

Words they both can say:

River ("RiRa")

Riv says "nana" for banana and has also repeated his own variation of, "sit down" when we tell him to do so in the tub- he loves standing in there. And the other day he surprisingly repeated, "thank you!" 

Additional words Riley can say:

Good Girl
Bubble (bubba)

Another exciting milestone in sight is walking. As of last month, River took his first steps! And while he is still primarily crawling, he is walking more and more each day! He was up to about 10-15 steps at a time for about two weeks and all of w sudden he woke up one morning this week and was walking all around the house! If we tell him to walk to one of us he'll gladly do it with a huge grin and an even bigger sense of accomplishment! You can tell by the look on his face that he knows exactly what he is doing and is proud of himself for doing it. This is usually followed by Riley waving her hands at us as if to say, "I want to do it, too!" While she isn't up and walking like her brother she won't be too far behind him. She is a lot more wobbly and is just starting to stand on her own but she is one determined girl. And, as of recently she has been taking a few steps at a time on her own! My guess would be that they'll be fully walking in another month or so. We are constantly preparing the house, as we are learning as they grow which things need to be baby-proofed! They are grabbing, reaching, swiping, pressing, banging on just about anything they can reach these days. At this rate we're going to run out of room to store everything! LOL. We did purchase baby gates but haven't put them up yet. Our plan is once they are fully walking we will put them up to split the house up into two sides. This way they can at least be contained to whichever side of the house we are on and can't toddle off too far!

This month River and Riley switched from two naps a day down to one. It has been tough, but a necessary step considering their morning nap was starting to consist of them standing in their cribs babbling and playing with each other. So far it seems to be working out, but I am definitely missing that extra hour to get things done in the morning!  And speaking of playing... they have been interacting with each other like never before! Not only do they play together throughout the day, but now they are even playing around with each other! Tapping each other on the head, giggling and just overall being silly together, it's a wonderful sight to see. It warms our hearts like we never could have imagined!

Click here to see the twins being silly together

Something I am thrilled about is the twins' affinity for books. What started out as Riley being the one who was really into them, is now BOTH of them loving books more than any of their toys. We have story time every hour on the hour of the day and one book is never enough. When one story is finished they hand me another book... and another... and another... It's pretty amazing! And now they are pointing out people and objects in the books, too! About a month ago I went around the house to all their "treasure baskets" and switched out the toys for books and they are really loving that. Whatever room they are in they always go for the books and can frequently be found sitting there flipping through the pages together. It makes me SO happy I've fostered a love for reading in them and I hope it remains a lifelong passion.

In other news, the twins have definitely approached toddlerhood. In fact, it's more like they are knee deep and wading through it! With each passing day they are continually doing/saying/understanding more. They are becoming little people with their own thoughts and feelings. And with those feelings, coupled with their inability to express them, comes the dreaded (yet inevitable) tantrums. You never know what is going to set them off. Telling them "no" to keep them from touching something dangerous, picking one of them up (when the other wants to be held, too!). Luckily, I am constantly reading up on child development and learning strategies on how to best deal with these situations and better yet, how to prevent them from happening in the first place. I am learning a lot and just in this past month have been able to minimize the amount of tantrums just by being mindful of their moods/needs and ensuring they don't get too tired or hungry. I also always try to get down to their level to talk to them, read their body language, continually assess the situation and pay as much attention to them as possible. For it is a combination of all these things that lead to emotional outbursts in toddlers. (Low blood sugar or over are the top reasons for toddler tantrums teamed with the fact that the part of their brain that processes emotion is just starting to develop- and will be until they are around 4 years old- so all these new feelings can be quite overwhelming for them, especially when they don't yet have the ability to express them). It takes a LOT of patience on my part, which has never been my strong suit, so sometimes I have to dig deep! Some of the best advice I've read is to make sure I keep my mood light and upbeat around them even if I'm feeling frustrated because they will definitely sense tension; to say things in a sing-songy kind of way (I make up songs about the things we are doing all the time! LOL); stick to a nap schedule/bedtime routine and ensure they never get too hungry to avoid meltdowns; and rather than saying "no" to everything (unless it's an immediate danger), redirect them to something else. For example, River LOVES to bang on glass surfaces with hard objects. Obviously that's not the best idea but I've learned rather than just saying no or taking the object away (which is a surefire way to bring on a tantrum) I show him something else to bang on. It is much more happily received than just taking it away or saying no. I am finding the more present and aware I am, the more stable and happy they are. (Hence why I really want to do more yoga, meditation and other peaceful activities so that Mommy can release her emotions and tension in a healthy way, too!). I'm truly grateful we live in an era where information is at our fingertips and I absolutely make good use of it! It is helping me be a better parent, spouse, educator, organizer and planner!

Well, that's about all for now. I will leave you with these montages of all the exciting new skills we've caught on video the past month

To see their 17 Months Montage, click here.

Click here to see last month's 16 Months Magisto montage.

Hopefully I can start writing a little bit a few times a week to get more posts out. That is the plan, but you know how that goes! Until then...