Sunday, March 28, 2010

March weekend

Visit to the sugar bush on Saturday

Riding on the wagon, watching the horses (Or as the boys said, "Bus! Baaa!")

This was Max's favourite part (I didn't notice the signs saying not to go in here until afterward)

Just hanging out on Sunday

Friday, March 26, 2010

Who is who?

The boys are looking so different to me these days, I am surprised when people insist they are identical. But today I took some photos that confused even me - until I looked at (I won't spoil it for you). Can anyone else tell who is who?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Don't all parents of twins do this?

Oh dear, I think things may be a little odd around here.

It started with the clothes. No, wait, it started when, in order to be approved for twins, we had to do extra research, so we learned all about the importance of treating twins as individuals. I thought it would help with their separate identities if people could easily tell them apart. By dressing one twin in "cool" colours (blue, green, purple) and the other in warm (red, yellow, orange) everyone (including Mom & Dad) would always know who was who without the dreaded "Which one is this?" Then I started shopping, and discovered that 90% of boys' clothes is blue, so this changed to Vanh in blue, Max in everything else. Same thing with their bottles - we had 2 blue, 1 purple, and 1 green, so Vanh's were blue and Max's were "other". How else would we keep track of who drank how much?

Then we (they) got a positive TB test (pretty sure it was false positive, but that's another story) and had to take medication for 9 months. We were giving them the pills mushed up in their food, which they of course then refused to finish, so we had to have a way to keep track of whose leftover drug-laced applesauce was whose. It only made sense that the two blue bowls in the set be Vanh's, while Max had a yellow and an orange.

Thinking back we were on a slippery slope even then. But it was just such an easy way both to keep organized and to settle arguments. Whose Christmas presents? Wrap in blue or red. Whose toy? The blue one is Vanh's, the orange one is Max's. Whose highchair? Whose towel? Whose toothbrush? Whose crib? (In spite of the fact that our children have been sleeping in the same cribs in the same spots for over a year now, there are still times at the end of a long day when we rely on the colour coding, as evidenced by the fact that we have put them in the wrong crib when I mix up the sheets.) If blue isn't an option, then it's back to the "warm" versus "cool" division.

In November I noticed that the boys could identify their "own" bottles (and nobody made a comment - thanks a lot.) When I brought home red and blue chairs, I noticed they picked the colours I would have given them without any prompting. Then I tried mixing it up - yellow and green? Vanh took green, Max yellow. Yellow and orange? Max took yellow, and Vanh the orange car - with the blue wheels.

I never meant for anyone to get obsessed. In addition to individuality in the eyes of others, I wanted to give the boys a strategy for "sharing" as well as a sense that some things belong to just one. A comment from another parent of twins that I had to be kidding when I asked if his had individual dishes started me thinking that maybe not everyone does things this way, and that perhaps I should encourage a little flexibility in my children. So yesterday when they asked for water, I gave Vanh the orange cup and Max the blue cup. You should have seen them, standing in the kitchen, very carefully exchanging cups (something they have just learned to use) without spilling. They weren't upset or confused; it simply didn't occur to either of them to drink out of his brother's cup.

I will try to get that on video - but please - there must be other parents who do this?!!

Update: When I kept switching their cups to get their switchback on video, Vanh quickly gave up, Max not so much...

...and now that I think about it, did Vanh really deserve that thank-you?

Monday, March 22, 2010

One day, three language milestones...

Yesterday I heard the first two word phrase. Any guesses? I'll put it in the comments. I know it was repeated often and on more than one occasion, but can't remember if it was Max, Vanh, or both.

Yesterday was also the first time I saw two-step play (give Elmo a drink, then put him to bed). The speech pathologist said they (connecting two words and connecting two ideas during play) come at about the same time - I thought the same day was kinda neat. I think it was Max.

And yesterday I got my first "No". Loudly. In a crowded store. While running away (him, not me).

Which reminds me of a question. The store we were in was a huge rectangle with mostly racks of clothes, which I could see over, and one door at the front. There would have been absolutely no way for anyone to sneak one of my kids through the store and out the front, even if they went willingly. Why, then, did everyone around me panic when they were out of my sight for 10 seconds? I heard at least two different versions of "someone could grab them just like that!" and I murmured thanks and tried to look concerned but seriously - there was no way. Someone could have lured them with treats maybe, but I would definitely spot them in the more-than-10-seconds it would take to get to the door. And anyway, I just don't think the odds of a baby-snatcher lurking in the Value-mart at the exact time I happen to be there are very high. Not saying it doesn't happen, but I suspect we are about a thousand times more likely to come to harm in the parking lot without malicious intent from anyone (Which brings me to another question - are baby-leashes always wrong?)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Our neighbourhood rocks!

As a one-car family (and now a not-enough-car-seats-during-daycare-hours family) we are always looking for fun places within walking distance. Here are the ones we have found so far:

Plouffe (Plant Bath) playground and water park – 2 min walk
Elm Street playground and wading pool – 5 min
Primrose toddler playground (gated) and dog park – 7 min
Cambridge Street playgroup – 10 min
McNabb playground and wading pools – 15 min
Dundonald playground (gated) – 15 min
Canadian War Museum – 15 min
Ottawa River – 17 min
Fairmount playground – 20 minutes
Dow's Lake – 20 min
Museum of Nature – 25 min
Children's Museum – 35 min
Experimental Farm – 45 min

(Okay, we didn't actually walk the last two yet - but we COULD.) Walking times are given in "minutes for 1 adult to push <60lb of toddlers in a good stroller" and can double, triple, or turn into entire days when said toddlers feel like walking.

Anyone know of any other spots? What we really need is a place for rainy summer days - indoors, close, and free. The best I have found so far is Preston Square (5 minutes) which has places to buy food and coffee and a huge living room like "lobby" with big screen TVs and a water wall. Sounds great, but I suspect we are not always appreciated by the office workers on breaks that the place is intended for.

Hope for sunny days!

Dinosaur bones at the Museum of Nature

Toddler slide at Primrose

Watching the firetrucks at Plouffe Park

Saturday, March 20, 2010

I'm back!

I know,it seems like I didn't go anywhere. But the truth is I haven't been completely myself on here lately. Remember back in November when we decided to offer home daycare? Over Christmas we started looking for families, and began using this blog as a way to introduce our family. While this worked very well as a screening tool (no-one without a sense of humour would appreciate my Parenting Tips, for example), it meant that all of a sudden my "audience" had shifted and my "voice" couldn't help but shift to match. I thought this would be relatively short term, but didn't realize how long it can take to find the right family. On the plus side, we have met several lovely families who live in our area!

Friday, March 19, 2010

20 months old

7 weeks old

3 months

5 months

7 months

8 months

9 months

10 months

11 months

1 year old

13 months

14 months

15 months

16 months

17 months

18 months

19 months

20 months

You make me smile like the sun
Fall out of bed
Sing like a bird
Dizzy in my head
Spin like a record
Crazy on a Sunday night

You make me dance like a fool
Forget how to breathe
Shine like gold
Buzz like a bee
Just the thought of you can drive me wild
Oh, you make me smile

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


The boys don't watch TV but when I found this beautiful version of the ABCs by India Arie I really wanted them to see it. I love the joy in her voice and the way she moves; she somehow gives new meaning to the alphabet song.

A few weeks, several related videos, and many repetitions later, I have no idea if they like the tune, or if they even notice India any more. "Ah-ma" they say, when they want to watch.
"Ah-ma" in a book. "Ah-ma" in the store. Ah-ma is everywhere. And for years, YEARS, through (especially) the tickle me version to the present, I have had nothing positive to think any time I saw the matted red thing. With such a wide variety of obnoxious children's idols out there - many that we actually appreciate - how on earth did we get stuck with Ah-ma?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

March madness

Sunglasses are very big around here these days. The boys call them "on".

I wanted to get a nice photo of these beautiful handmade sweaters...

... but they got covered up once the boys added their own accessories.

By the way, if you think those blankets look familiar you are right - you first saw them here last February, while we were in Vietnam.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

One year ago...

How can it be a year already?

A note to those of you waiting... Time passes with heartbreaking speed once you are home...

Monday, March 1, 2010

A day in the life

The challenge: Take a photo every hour on the hour (give or take 5 minutes) to document a typical day.

7:00 am

8:00 am

9:00 am

10:00 am

11:00 am

12:15 pm

1:00 pm

2:00 pm

3:00 pm

4:00 pm

5:00 pm

6:00 pm

7:00 pm

8:00 pm

9:00 pm

7:00am The view during morning coffee. Neighbours live in the blue and yellow houses, the one in the middle is empty but has just been renovated. I like how I can see the Queensway in the distance; when the trees are bare I can tell how fast the traffic is moving.

8:00am Our home daycare starts. Vanh greets Baby A at the door with his favourite toy.

9:00am Chosing a book for nap

10:00am Making lunch

11:00am On the way to playgroup...garbage day turns friendly neighbourhood sidewalks into an obstacle course.

12:15pm This is the only photo I managed to get even close to noon, as lunch at playgroup requires close supervision. I had been sitting between the twins and in the time it took me to get up and snap this photo they got out of their chairs, with Vanh into Max's dish, which I had to immediately rush back and sort out.

1:00pm We left playgroup around one so I had both inside and outside shots to chose from. One of the (many) things we enjoy about this centre is the enormous fenced yard. The west-facing overhang protects a chunk of pavement for a little run-around in even the worst weather, and a brand new toddler-sized play structure is being built here this summer.

2:00pm Kitchen cleaned during afternoon nap

3:00pm Still napping... the toys are waiting...

4:00pm Reading with Daddy

5:00pm Daycare ends – Vanh is sad to say goodbye

6:00pm Bath crayons = fun.

7:00pm Bedtime. I wanted to take a photo of the boys in their cribs, but they went down a little early and their door was closed at seven. So I snapped a shot of the wall outside their room instead. I didn't realize how much there is to see here – paintings by Woody's dad that we didn't know about until two years after his death, our wedding bouquet, the stuffed dog we brought to Vietnam as a gift and ended up sleeping with every night because we missed our Shadow so much, a dragonfly windsock from dear friends, and a swim diaper I didn't know was there.

8:00pm Relaxing with a nice hot chocolate in the hobby room.

9:00pm Editing ruthlessly to get the twenty-six photos I want to use in this post down to just fifteen, one per hour...