Wednesday, July 30, 2014

How (Not) to Potty Train Twins {Five Favorites}

"Twins!  I always wanted twins!" Say approximately 50% of women who find out we have twins.  And for the most part, yes, what they see of twins is rather cute and appealing.

Exhibit A: Twins admiring flowers while praying the Hail Mary together.


But if you're one of these people, imagine if you will what potty training twins might look like.  

Heck, you don't have to imagine - I'll give you a little glimpse into the wonder that is our lives right now!


How (Not) to Potty Train Twins


Reading Material:

Some people like to prepare with many, many "potty readiness" books.  But there are wiser ways:

Forget to throw away that very old, very annoying copy of Once Upon a Potty.  Cave to requests to read it over and over again, then hide it behind a cushion because the trash can is too far away.  Kick self again when copy is unearthed and the requests begin again.  Never learn your lesson.

Resign yourself to the fact that you will have to say, "Bye-bye poop, bye-bye pee!" every time you flush the toilet from now until the end of time.

Find yourself doing this even when you're by yourself.

Outsource:

It gets old sitting on the edge of the bathtub reading the same book over and over again.  That's what older siblings are for, right?



She may not know how to read, but she recites a mean Brown Bear, Brown Bear and Goodnight Moon


Heck, she even volunteers to escort her baby sister to the potty!


Wisdom:

Never ever check their diapers for poop before you remove them in the bathroom.  This will lead to lovely fun when you go dashing for wipes at the changing table and they have the opportunity to explore site of origin!


They're going for yogurt here.  Let's just say the term "poop mustache" has unfortunately entered into our vocabulary...

Consistency:

If you are too tired to get up off the couch every time they ask to go to the potty, tell them "Just use your diaper!  That's what it's for!"

Then get annoyed every time they poop and you actually have to clean that out of their nasty diapers...

Inequality:

Get one "good" potty seat for the toilet, and one regular potty for the floor.  Watch fights ensue as they both fight over who gets to use the Lion potty and who has to use the bear potty.  Because twins.

Toilet paper:

For the love of all that is good and holy, DO NOT TEACH THEM ABOUT TOILET PAPER!  While it's fun to watch one twin very carefully pick every wad of toilet paper out of the trash can and try to wipe her sister, it's also disgusting.

And then, of course, when they run out of toilet paper they try to find anything they CAN use, including but not limited to that dirty hoodie that's been lying on the floor just shy of the laundry basket for far too long...

Language:

Be prepared to yell "HANDS OFF YOUR CROTCH" more in 5 minutes than you ever have in your life (and I have a 5-year-old boy, so that's saying a lot...).

What, you thought this was going to be a helpful post?

Okay, I do have some pointers, just so this isn't entirely a post about poop:

1. Books in the bathroom DO keep them entertained for long enough to actual sit still and take care of business.  But maybe consider keeping library books OUT of the bathroom...


Because twins.  And books in the toilet.  

2.  

We have a Baby Bjorn Potty and a couple Prince Lionheart potty seats that work great, especially for itty bitty kids who are just too small to sit on a big toilet by themselves without falling in.  It gets old holding them up, believe me...

But the wonderful thing about the potty seats that suction onto the toilet, like ours, is that our kids have been willing to stay on the "big potty" WAY longer than on the little one, because they can't just kind of get up whenever they feel like it.  And they can't stick their hands into the bowl to explore just how much they've managed to produce.  So yeah, potty seats FTW.

3.  Cloth diapers!

Even if you don't cloth diaper, I highly recommend finding some sort of cloth training pants or inexpensive fitted cloth diapers to use for this phase - it's SO much easier to make a toddler aware when she can actually feel the wetness.  We've got some cloth diapers that are "stay-dry" and the twins totally don't care if they pee in those, but they demand to be changed immediately if they're in a fitted diaper or a prefold.  

4.  Training pants?

Once our kids are dry during the day, they're in underwear.  Sometimes I'll stick a cloth doubler in if they're prone to pee accidents, but we don't do training pants.  I will do training pants at night, but not Pull-Ups.  Flip Training Pants have worked awesome for us - John Paul was always a really heavy wetter at night, and even when he had accidents these held everything, plus they're easy to wash and last foooorever (well, we've had two kids go through them and our one set still looks like new).  A starter pack seems pricey, but when you compare it to the cost you'd be saving over Pull-Ups?  Totally a deal!

5.  It doesn't have to work immediately!

If you find yourself getting frustrated by the whole process, give it a break.  Stick with diapers for a while and try again in a few weeks, or a few months.  We started trying to train John Paul a little before he was 2, and he wasn't fully day-trained until 2.5.  Loooong, arduous process.  Cecilia decided at like, 17 months that she wanted to be potty-trained, and she was totally day-trained before she was 18 months old.  

Mary Claire has been asking to use the potty since she was 15 months old and I only *really* started letting her use it on a regular basis in the past few weeks (she's 20 months now), and she probably gets about 50% of her waste in the potty.  Elizabeth is just along for the ride and almost never accomplishes anything.  I don't really care - not like we're buying diapers, since we use cloth!

Just don't put more stress on yourself than is necessary, and remember that there's a WIIIIIDE range of normal for this sort of thing.  Some kids make it CRAZY easy, and that probably has nothing to do with your parenting skills.  And the ones that make it crazy hard? Probably not your fault, either :)  

Linking it up with everybody's favorite, Heather at Mama Knows, Honeychild - go check out more favorites!

PS links are Amazon Affiliate links, so you can show me a little monetary love at no extra cost by purchasing items through my links so Amazon sends a few cents my way - thanks :)

Monday, July 28, 2014

What They Said: Volume 12

I've been collecting these quotes since MAY!  It's been way too long - I know a lot of you have done posts like this in the past few months, so feel free to link up any old posts too!  




A couple months before his 5th birthday:

John Paul: How can I drink cocktails?
Me: Well, you can't drink cocktails, but we can make you a mocktail...
John Paul: No, I need a COCKTAIL!


You and me both, kid...

Me: Well, then you'll have to wait until you're 21.
John Paul: That's... 17  and a quarter years... I CAN'T WAIT THAT LONG!!!





Cecilia, scooting away from John Paul at the dinner table: I'm moving FAR AWAY from you so you don't ARGUE with my FOOD!

...

Cecilia:  Mom, when you die will you be a second St. Rose of Lima?
Me: Well, my name isn't Rose and I'm not from Lima, so no.  But maybe I'll be St. Rosemary or St. Rosie. Will you guys take up my cause for canonization?
John Paul: Yeah.  You'll be canonized in 2107.  Two years before I die.

Glad he's got it all planned out...



John Paul:  Agh.  I'm...  Really hungry...
Me:  Then maybe you should eat your breakfast.
John Paul:  Aaaaaaaaagh...  My tummy is hurting...  I'm really full...
Me:  Then maybe you should go to the bathroom.
John Paul:  I just...  Need to look at my scientific data for a little bit.

Cures all my ills, too.


John Paul, first thing in the morning:  I have carbeen dioxide.
Me: Do you mean carBON dioxide?
John Paul: No, car-BEAN dioxide!  It's what a BEANSTALK HAS!
Me: Where did you read that?
John Paul: I just made it up myself!
Me: Shocker.



John Paul: Knock knock.
Me: Who's there.
John Paul: Elizabeth.
Me: Elizabeth who?
John Paul: ELIZABETH ON THE FUTON! JOKE 2014!!!


Elizabeth: Knock knock!
Me: Who's there?
Elizabeth: Who's dere?
Me: Knock knock?
Elizabeth: Knock knock!
Mary Claire: Banana WHO?

Yup, they've mastered this.



Cecilia: Mom, I want my tummy to hurt like yours.
Me: Well Cecilia, you're going to have to wait until you're older if you want to be pregnant.
Cecilia:  No, I want to have a baby in my tummy NOW, when I'm a KID!
Me: You need a husband for that, sweetie.
Cecilia: I'll never get married, I want to be a NUN! ...Do nuns have babies?
Me: No sweetie, nuns don't have babies.
Cecilia: But I want to be a mommy AND a nun!
Me: Like St. Elizabeth Ann Seton?
Cecilia: Yeah, like her.
Me: Well, we'll just have to wait and see how God calls you to serve him.
Cecilia: Mom, I heard him say dat.
Me: You heard God talk to you?
Cecilia: Yeah, and say dat I want to be a mommy and a nun.

Well, I guess that's settled.  Although a few days later she wanted to be a mermaid and a princess and a kid forever - guess her vocation changed.



Cecilia: Mom, is St. Michael the Archangel a saint?
Me: Yes, he is.
Cecilia: I don't WANT him to be a saint!
Me: Why not?
Cecilia: Because I want him to come to our HOUSE!
Me: Well, maybe if we have a special devotion to him, he'll come protect us at our house.
Cecilia, sobbing: But I want to SEE him!
Me: Well honey, you're just going to have to wait until you get to heaven to see him!
Cecilia, still sobbing: But I want him to come to our house and FLY AROUND!

Deep theological thinking going on over here...



John Paul: When will I get to make dinner?
Me: Well, maybe when you're a teenager you can start making dinner once a week.
John Paul:  Or maybe half a teenager.  Like, 6 and a half or 7.  But I can't wait 2 and 1/12 years!
Me: If you tried to make dinner when you were that old, you might have trouble because you wouldn't be able to use the stove or sharp knives...
John Paul:  Oh!  I could make COOKIES!

Too bad they don't count as dinner...  I'm all for it!



John Paul, bringing me a book:  Here, Mom.
Me: Do you want me to read this to you guys?
John Paul: No, just to yourself.

The book?  Humanae Vitae.



Mary Claire, seeing a girl in a head scarf: Little riding hood!!!


Mary Claire, seeing a man with a long white beard at church: Noah!!!


Mary Claire, looking at a picture of Mary holding Jesus: I love you Mary! Ah love you Jesus!



Cecilia: Mom, if I leave crumbs on the floor, a mouse can eat them!
Me: Well, we don't want mice in our house...
Cecilia: Why?
Me: Because they would poop everywhere.
Cecilia: Um, but I'll get dem a little mouse potty!
Me: They wouldn't use the potty, they're mice.
Cecilia: Well den I'll get dem a little stuffed mouse!
Me: How would that keep them from pooping?
Cecilia: Just a little stuffed mouse so I can LICK da little stuffed mouse!

So confused by this conversation...



Elizabeth:  Kiss Mom!
*kisses me*
Elizabeth: I yuv oo!

Heart. Melted.  Favorite child.

...

Me: John Paul, what would you like to learn this summer?
JP: How to drive.
Me: That's not going to happen...
JP: I need to learn how things move forward and backward... I need to learn more about FRICTION!

...


Me: John Paul, do you want to say anything to the baby?
JP: Yeah. I just got a new iPad!
Me: You did?
JP: I ordered it!
Me: Um... Where?
JP: On Amazon.
Me: How did you pay for it?
JP: I just used a nickel. It was very cheap.




And there you have it!  I'd love to read your posts, if you've got any :)


Sunday, July 27, 2014

WIWS: 25 Weeks! And Answer Me This! And an Announcement!

First: Here's what I wore today!


The dress is from ages ago - it's non-maternity and works great when I'm pregnant or not.  Don't you love pieces like that?

And the shirt was about to be retired for the remainder of the pregnancy, but then I saw that Lisa very cleverly tied her t-shirt to layer and get a few more weeks out of it, and I took a page from her book - works great!  

Bump: 25 weeks (yes, I was wrong last time I did a WIWS post...  Totally missed a week!)

And now to answer some questions, because all the kids are napping (or "napping" - you know how it is...):


1. What’s your favorite thing on YouTube?

Right now?  This:


Did you catch how the announcement was in there?  You may already have caught it if you follow me on Facebook...  Also how Cecilia is practically a teenager: "Mom?  I don't care!"

2. Who taught you to drive?

My dad (mostly) - my mom is rather...  High-strung?  So any time I tried to drive with her, there was a lot of terrified gasping and clawing at the arm rest coming from the passenger seat...
  
3. What’s your favorite thing to cook?
Most things - I really love to cook because I really love to eat.  I actually don't like baking that much because of the whole measuring of ingredients thing...  A lot of my favorites are listed here and here, and I also especially love the America's Test Kitchen recipe for roasted chicken (crispy skin! Yum!), and Pioneer Woman's pot roast.

And I keep longingly thinking of this recipe and trying to decide when I'll have the time to make something so involved again...  But ohhhh it was delicious and if I'm still longing for it 3 years later, it's probably time to make it again, right?


And now I'm hungry again.

4. Are you a hugger or a non-hugger? Why?

I used to be a hugger, back in middle school and high school when everybody hugged all the time because that's what peppy girls did.  And then at some point I realized that I don't particularly enjoy feeling obligated to hug people, mostly because sometimes people smell bad...  So yeah, mostly a non-hugger now.  I think in part because I get a looooot of physical contact all day long from the kids, so I don't exactly crave the physical contact from anyone else!

5. Where do you pray best?


It sounds weird, but probably on the couch with the kids.  Even though it's full of distractions, my prayer is ALWAYS full of distractions because that's how my brain works.  And praying with someone else helps me focus and pray better for some reason.

6. When is the last time you saw/spoke to your grandparents?

I only have one left, my grandmother, and my sister and I actually visited her last month!  Impressive, right?  She lives about 3 hours away, and is 94 years old and moves better than I do.



Well, 2 out of 5 are looking at the camera...

Linking up with Catholic All Year for Answer Me This and Fine Linen and Purple for What I Wore Sunday.

And if you like link-ups, swing by tomorrow and link up any funny quotes you have for another edition of What They Said!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

I'm Not Afraid of My Fertility (Anymore)

I used to have it all planned out - I'd get married right out of college and have kids right away, reaching the magic number of 4 kids (considered a "big" family these days) by the time I was 30 so that my future husband and I could have time to travel and enjoy our retirement once they had all moved out.

So young. So materialistic.
Then I got married to a man starting his 2nd year of law school, and we decided that kids right off the bat just didn't make sense because we'd be so poor - 2 years seemed an appropriate time to wait to have kids, give ourselves time to "enjoy being newlyweds" (ohhh how many times do I hear that phrase and chuckle inwardly now?), and find some stability.  A job, a house with a yard, and then babies.  It's what we're taught is the logical progression of things, right?

Our timing. Our convenience.
Being a good Catholic couple, we learned NFP, started charting months before the wedding, and figured out which days we needed to be abstinent to postpone pregnancy for now.  Being an excited newlywed couple, we played with fire and got closer and closer to the "danger zone" that is the fertile window in a woman's cycle, and, not surprisingly, wound up pregnant 4 months into our marriage.

NFP didn't fail us - we broke the rules.  That much was clear!  We managed, had an awesome baby, and ended up having #2 when the first was about 18 months old.  Cool.  Our timing - we knew exactly what we were doing and were actually trying for a baby this time.  And maybe now we'd aim for more like 6 kids?  We'll see.

We wanted to aim for a little more spacing between #2 and #3, so I was definitely anxious about when exactly my cycles would return...  Exclusively breastfeeding and co-sleeping work well for us though, and I wasn't fertile again until she was over a year old.  A month later, we decided to go for it and try for #3.  Goodness, but it was easy enough for us to use our knowledge of NFP to achieve pregnancy!  High five to us!  And #3 would be a breeze - we already had a boy and a girl, this wasn't exactly new territory.

Oh, how cocky I was.

If you've been reading here for a while, you've probably read the story of how we found out we were expecting twins.

2 weeks before we went from a family of 4 to a family of 6.
And you can probably imagine that at this point I was rather terrified of just how many kids we were probably going to end up having.  We had #1 when I was 23.  #2 when I was 24.  #3 when I was 26, and 11 minutes later #4 was born (clearly we had to work a little on that spacing!).  You can imagine all the Duggar jokes were flowing!

So at this rate, by the time I was 43, we'd have at least 20 kids.

I was done.  I told my middle school students when they asked, "We are DONE!" (not my finest moment)

Andrew reminded me that that's not our decision to make, AND that it's not exactly a decision that should be made say, the day you find out at 30 weeks pregnant that you're actually having twins...

And lucky for my sanity, the whole co-sleeping and breastfeeding thing worked out again because my cycles didn't return until the twins were 14 months old.  But that fear was there still - if we got pregnant now, would we end up with twins again?  HOW in the world would I manage another set of twins when the first was so hard?  Would we EVER have a low-maintenance child?  I was scared, miserable, and terrified of getting pregnant again.  I told Andrew, sobbing, that I just didn't think we could do it right now.  I was so, so, SO scared.

And then, I don't even know what happened (well, prayer and a whole lot of grace, that's for sure).  Within the next month the anxiety was gone (although the fear of another set of twins stayed until that 20-week ultrasound...), and I felt like God was really calling us to pursue another pregnancy.

Well on our way to becoming a family of 7 - 11 weeks pregnant? 

And that's the beauty of NFP, see?  One month in the past 5 years we have made the decision to abstain in order not to conceive.  Because even though I wasn't charting, I knew my fertile signs (which have gotten clearer and clearer throughout the years, HELLO ovulation pain!) and was educated enough about my body that I didn't have to live in fear of a pregnancy that wasn't in our timing.  But even if it HADN'T been in our timing, God knows better.  

Somehow my heart has been softened - I'm no longer counting down my fertile years, fearfully anticipating just how large of a van we're going to need by the time I'm 40...  At this point?  I think it's likely we'll have somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 kids.  And it really helps to see real life moms who have done it (my grandmother and my aunt among those), and real life moms who would give anything for a house full of children but have been blessed with none, or one, or any number fewer than what their heart longs for.  Children are not a commodity, nor are they a burden, and our culture of convenience seems to have convinced us that they are both.

Because NFP isn't about a set number of children, or having the most babies ever, or having each baby exactly two years apart, or comparing your grave reasons for abstaining to your neighbor's grave reasons, or getting cranky at EVERYONE who has ever scribbled temperatures on a chart because they're interfering with God's plan.  It's about being open to the children God chooses to bless you with, and not putting any artificial barriers between your marriage and Him.

And in the process, you just might find you're not quite as terrified as being "that huge family" as you used to be.

I know that there are many, MANY families for whom NFP is a true cross, due to cycles that are difficult to interpret, postpartum craziness, etc.  I hope you'll join me in praying for all those families who are faithful to church teaching even when it would be "easier" just to resort to artificial means.

If you, like me, have been terrified of just how "fast and furious" these blessings have been piling up, please know that it gets easier, and it gets better, and that sometimes all we can really do is trust and pray!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Quick Takes: Finally Friday!

--1--

It has been quite a week!  I think we're finally back into the swing of things after some seriously crazy days.  Just...  Potty training twins is not for the weak (or pregnant?).  And teething twins?  Also not for the weak.  And apparently John Paul turning 5 injected him with some extra disobedience for a few days, but I think he's mostly better now.  I was certainly not at my best, though.  So yeah, when I'm feeling cranky at the universe, blogging is not a good idea!

--2--

And with that, I present to you:


Kids shucking corn!

I hope we live somewhere with enough space to grow corn some day - not only is it tasty, but it takes them sooooo long to shuck it and they love doing it, and it gets them out of my hair when I'm trying to make dinner!

Also?  Peeling garlic.  And picking leaves off of herbs.  I was seriously kicking myself the other day when I cut a ton of basil for pesto and sent them all downstairs to watch TV without putting them to work taking all the leaves off for me!

Why did I have these kids, after all?

Rookie mistake.

In other news, lemon basil makes the most delicious pesto you will ever taste.  Plant some!  It grows SO fast and is super-easy and you will love it.

Love, me.

--3--

Elizabeth would spend the entirety of every day outside if I would let her.


Which I would be okay with, especially since the weather has been gorgeous lately.


Only problem?

ALL THE MOSQUITOS.  And she is an absolute magnet, and the bites make her miserable :(  I still need to remember to spray the bug spray *before* we go outside (we have this bug spray, which works well as long as I don't wait too long to use it...), because the poor thing is so bitten up and still too young to really obey the "don't scratch and they won't itch" command.

--4--



Mary Claire, on the other hand, seems to be entirely left alone by the bugs.  Lucky.  She makes up for it by STILL eating dirt when she's out there.  Seriously, 20 months old, still eats dirt.  Ridiculous.  We have this garden bed in the picture above that is the worst and we can't grow anything in it, so I just decided to let the kids go to down digging and "planting" and such.  I bought some fake dinosaur bones and they've been having a blast!  But yeah, it's kind of nasty and dirty because John Paul keeps spraying the dirt with the hose...  I think I might send Andrew for a couple bags of sand to keep the mud at bay!

--5--

I adore Cecilia's imagination.

She came out of her room after nap time the other day wearing this getup:


It's John Paul's purple chasuble, his purple stole around her head, and a stuffed dog and stuffed bear shoved down the front and covered with a wash cloth.

Me: Cecilia, what are you wearing?
Cecilia: Mom? Nuffin' excitin'.
Me: But why are those animals stuffed in your outfit?
Cecilia: I just needed to carry dem.

So there you have it.

She also spent a looooong time setting up a very elaborate birthday party for her pet, Lisa (all of her animals tend to be named Lisa or Rachel.  These are also her imaginary names when she's pretending to be somebody who isn't from a book.)  She lined up all the animals, made a cake, and invited John Paul (who had been digging in the mud all this time).  They were even happy to have their nap early because they were so excited to play birthday party during quiet time!

However, the addition of a boy to the situation means the game very quickly morphed into a new game called "Dinosar Explorers" which involved a looooot of stomping and yelling.

Gender stereotypes much?

--6--

Oh!  John Paul turned 5!


Most notable part of the day?  They were all going crazy and fighting over one of his presents, so I locked them all in one room and locked myself in another so that I wouldn't go totally crazy on them...  And when I came out, they had gotten out and John Paul had veeeery carefully skewered a bagel and hung it on a pretend clothesline in the playroom.

I just about lost it, it was so funny and weird.

--7--

Have you been closely following the maxi dress saga?  Okay, not really a saga...



It's perfect.  Well, it's too long.  I'm washing it and drying it to see if I can shrink it, but it shouldn't me too hard to hem if need be.

But it has TONS of room for my belly, and it's such a nice, airy material, and it can be dressed up and dressed down, and it's even prettier in person than on the internet!

The kimono?  Not so sure...  I'll take pictures soon and hopefully you can help me decide if I should send it back or not!

Check out more quick takes at Conversion Diary!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...