Friday, December 31, 2010

Auld Lang Syne

I've been very remiss in my blogging. I'm sorry for not keeping you all up to date in the goings on in our lives. I love to share. I have been so busy with these wonderful little boys that I haven't made the time for writing. I will do better. Now is a time for resolutions, this is one of mine.

It's a good time to give a full update, and I hope it won't turn into a novel. The boys are 2 years and 3 months old. They are running, jumping, and talking up a storm. They really enjoy pretend play so for Christmas Santa brought them a play kitchen for the house and a play house for the yard. The love them both. They call their play house "Santa House" because Santa brought it.

At just about 2 years, William was evaluated for a speech delay. He was diagnoses as on the cusp of being delayed, but since then he has not only caught up with the common expectations, but surpassed them. He and Ronan are both speaking in full long sentences, and seem to understand a great deal. It's fantastic to get to know them, now, as they are able to express themselves unlike ever before. We're having so much fun! Ronan is a crack-up. They both are. One night Ronan let a toot (okay, he farted) and then said to me "more cut cheese." I have no idea how he learned that phrase or understood the euphemism. He seems to never forget a thing. What is said at some point may come out months later. He remembers events that happened several months ago. We really need to be careful with our words.

Ronan does seem to be very interested in flatulence. My dad, his wife, and my half-brothers visited in early December. We had a great time with them and William and Ronan fell in love with all of them, especially their Uncle Richard and Uncle Joseph. One day while we were all in the same car driving to San Francisco, Ronan said very loudly "Ronan make big farts!" That was the first time I heard him use the word. Like I said, we need to be very careful with what we say! The other day Ronan came to me and said "Daddy make big farts. Needs change."

Speaking of change, I'm so ready to potty-train these little guys. I've always tried to keep them aware of their body functions and they've gone on the potty or toilet now and again since they were able to sit. They just don't seem very interested in ditching the diapers. Well, Ronan is getting more interested now that we bought a book that explains it all to him. He is starting to refuse changes and he's asking for underwear. Now if I could just get Dave on board with making the big changes. While I think Ronan is ready, Dave isn't. We may be able to make the change with both boys at once, but if one makes it then I think the other will soon follow.

William had surgery on his eyes in August. It was a great success and his eyes are straight when he wears his glasses and he no longer sees double. He handled it like a champ. I didn't. It was very difficult for me to see those blood-stained tears and red eyes. It was painful to hand him over to the nurse and watch her take him into the operating room. It was a great joy, however, to see him go to the front door not one hour after we returned home from the surgery and have him ask me if we could go for a walk with his cozy coupe. He's a real champ!

Neither of the boys take daily naps, anymore. William was never much of a good napper and he stopped taking regular naps by 19 months. Ronan stopped about a month ago. It's nice that we are no longer slaves to the napping schedule, both boys are on the same schedule, and they go to sleep pretty easily in the early evenings, at least most nights.

William's voice is angelic, Ronan's is resonating. I remember when Ronan was just a couple of days old, the nurses at the hospital told me that they thought he was a future American Idol winner. William has a fun musical way of saying things, like "no" has nearly 3 syllables and goes up an octave in the middle, though lately he's taken to saying a simple "nope." When he says "yes" he says a high-pitched "ESS!" that shows great enthusiasm. Ronan loves to shout his "hi" and "bye-bye" to people as they walk past the house - across the street.

They now watch some tv. They love "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang." They also love "Thomas the Tank Engine" and "Bob the Builder." The Children's Discovery Museum has been running a "Bob the Builder" exhibit. They love it. We have a membership at the CDM and go there often. It's a great place for toddlers and young children. We also enjoy going to Happy Hollow and the California Academy of Sciences.

The boys love to play with puzzles, their train set, toy cars, toy brooms, and books. Books seem to be their favorite "toys" and ask us to read to them frequently.

Dave is doing well, but is working more and more. Fortunately, he usually gets home right before the boys go to bed, and he gets up early with the boys to spend some quality time with them before going to work. I've got the boys in the habit, though, of having me lay with them as they go to sleep. This is usually enjoyable time and I love that I send them off to sleep with love and peacefulness. This does make it difficult for me to go out in the evenings, so I miss out on opportunities to see some friends for dinner or other outings. Going out later is tough for me because I'm tired and frankly, I'd rather rest, read, crochet, or sleep.

I'm also doing well. I'm so happy being a mother. Right now I'm feeling a sense of anxiety and nervousness, however. This time of year is difficult for me. So many bad things have happened during the two weeks between Christmas and my birthday. We just past the 5th anniversary of our loss of Halie, my beautiful 2-year-old neice. That was a very dark period in my life. She died in a fire that put my brother and nephew in the burn-icu. My brother recently won a settlement against the company that manufactured the faulty gas can that exploded. Anyway, this is really not my story to tell, even though it has affected me so deeply I still have nightmares about it.

Other loved ones also passed away this time of year and my mind and heart are filled with memories and also dread. On top of that, I'm still stuck in OWCP (federal workers' compensation) hell. My claims examiner, affectionately known as NBW (nasty...) always seems to choose this time of year to throw my life into further chaos. She has scheduled me for, yet another, doctor appointment. They can do this every two years if they don't like my own doctor's opinion. I've seen 10 doctors and several physical therapists who all agree on the diagnosis of RSD (Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy). I'm not particularly worried about the new doctor, but it's a hassle. It means that I have to stay alert and spend a lot of my (nonexistent) free time to check up on NBW to make sure she doesn't screw things up even worse. The last time she sent me to their doctor she sent him a lot of misinformation in my case file. Actually, she left out a lot of documentation and slipped in some documents that were not about me or from my own case file. It was really such a display of incompetence, I'm surprised that she is still a Claims Examiner. Actually, that would explain why she has been my CE for 3 years now. All my other Claims Examiners got promoted after 6 months to a year.

My 40th birthday is coming up. I'm only sad about it because of what it means for us having any more children. We did a frozen embryo transfer in June, using our last 2 frozen embryos. One of them didn't survive the thaw, the other was transfered, but I lost the baby at about 6 weeks. No, we will not do IVF again. It's not that easy. We just need to move on and completely embrace this opportunity to throw ourselves 100% into raising these two beautiful wonderful smart little boys.

Since they were born I have spent most of the last 2 years on cloud 9. There have been many downs, but they have such wonderful abilities to lift me back up. I'm sure, after we get through the next few weeks I'll be back on my cloud. I just can't shake this sense of trepidation. It will pass.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Summer is here!

The boys' communication skills are improving every day. They are repeating our words often and incorporating them into their own vocabulary, sometimes surprising me with their memories. Sometimes a word I think is GIGO to them (garbage in - garbage out) pops up a few days or a week or two later, said in appropriate context. It's truly amazing!

They're also continuing to develop their own language. They'll master a word, say for instance "shoe" and say it well for some time and then all of a sudden "shoe" becomes "ish." There are many words like that where they make up their own together and that's what they use. The latest is the word for flashlight/torch. They call them "Ahno."

They are referring to each other by name now. Ronan is "Ro Ro" and William is "Eeeuuuh." Sometimes William is "Wah Woh Woo" (we call him "Woo Woo" a lot). When William wants Ronan he chases after him saying "Ro Ro." They're also very thoughtful of each other. When Dave took William out for an errand the other day leaving Ronan with me, William reached out to Ronan's car seat and kept repeating "Ro Ro?" They often get toys for each other, giving their brother the toy first before getting their own (same for drinks and food).

They also fight, boy do they fight! They mostly fight over toys, but occasionally over parents or positions. William has chosen Dave as his parent and Ronan has chosen me as his parent. If we switch there is sometimes a fight, where they push each other or Dave and me out of the way. Yesterday William wanted me nowhere near the couch he was sharing with Dave.

They're getting more and more obedient, especially William. Ronan is lashing out at times trying to get attention. He fakes falls a lot and when I say (in a silly exaggerated way) "Oh no! Ronan fell down!" he'll slam his hands and feet on the floor in a show of drama to illustrate that he fell. Ronan runs off a lot with his mischievous grin and giggle, or throws things with that same grin and giggle. Telling him not to do it just seems to make him try harder. I'm trying to figure out what I can do to give him the attention he seems to require but in a more positive form, rather than make him feel he needs to be naughty to get that attention.

They are obsessed with cars, especially fire trucks. They call fire trucks "dingdingdingding" after the library song "Hurry Hurry Drive the Fire Truck." They fight over books about fire trucks and their fire truck toys. They also still LOVE toy phones (and real ones - but after the 911 incident we keep the real ones well protected).

With the warm weather we have set up some sand and water buckets for play and I occasionally give them the hose to play with. I've put an attachment on the hose so it only squirts when the attachment is squeezed and the boys know how to use it. They have so much fun with it!

We'll be starting to spend more time in the pool soon. We have some good life vests for them, given as gifts from some dear friends. I'm eager to use them.

We spend a lot of time at Happy Hollow, which is a zoo and mini amusement park for little ones. The boys especially love riding the cars and petting the goats. We also go to the Children's Discovery Museum regularly, which is a great place for them full of entertainment and "discovery." The Bob the Builder exhibit is on now.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Language

Jusst a quick post about the boys little twin speak they have going on lately. It started sometime around November. I don't understand a great deal of it and a lot of it seems to be gibberish, but there are some words I have recognized time and again. I've been slowly learning their language. Signing has helped because if they know the sign, they say their words when performing the sign.

As I mentioned in my last post, the best one is the way they say "please." It's hilarious, really. They move their tongue side to side along their upper teeth sounding like "luhluhluh?" They use it most when wanting to push a button, turn a light on or off, or open a door or cupboard. They sometimes chase each other around the house saying it when they want a specific toy. They rub their chests when saying it, using the sign for "please." William is getting really good at using the actual word, "please."

Guy-de-guy is another good one. I just learned that it means "kitty cat." They can both say "kitty cat," too, and "kitty cat" was one of their first words for both of them. It took me a couple of months to figure it out but one day Ronan was pointing to Tempest out the window and saying "guy-de-guy!"

"Diggadigga" and "digga this" is probably "look at this." I'm unsure, that that seems to be it based on the context.

"Gittacar" is Ronan's way of saying "guitar." He uses the sign and just loves guitars.

"Bah" evolved from "bup" which evolved from "up up." They can both say "up" but prefer to say "bah" when they want to be picked up.

"Da Dah" with emphasis on the "dah" means "all done" and they say this while signing "all done." They use it most when finished with a meal but will also use it when they are tired of playing at something, like when they are done playing in the ball pit.

"Ass" is not a bad word in this house, at least not anymore. They say it to say "glasses," "that," "hands," wristwatch," and "socks."

"Eeh-eeh" like a squeaking creaking bed is how they refer to their squeaker shoes. The squeaker shoes make great squeaking noises with every step. They like to wear them to run around for short times like they are toys, but they bore of them quickly and take them off, bring them to me, and ask for their shoes.

"Baboo" is the name of their favorite soothing objects. Ronan has his favorite bunny and his fuzzy bunny. William has his blue silky blanket. This started suddenly a little over a month ago. What I love about it is that "baboo" was the word my nice Haley used to refer to her favorite things. Since I never introduced the boys to that word, I like to think that Haley may have taught it to them, that maybe it's her way of letting us know she's around, loves us, and is doing great where she is.

"Ssssss" is their way of letting me know that they are doing their business or about to do their business, the kind of business that requires an immediate potty break or a diaper change.

That's all I can think of for now.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Long overdue

First of all, my apologies, again, for not keeping this blog updated. Time really gets away from me and is passing far too quickly.

The boys are doing very well! They were full walkers by 13-14 months. Though they took their first independent steps around 10-11 months, and were able to walk across a room by about 12 months, they relied on crawling, their faster means of travel, for quite some time.

They're incredibly happy toddlers and are very communicative. Ronan has a vocabulary of somewhere between 50 and 100 words and William is very quickly catching up with him. both of them love to repeat words we say several times until they make the word part of their own collection. Their favorite word is still "this," which was one of their very first few words. They have also been developing their own twin speak. My favorite W&R word is "luhluhluh?" which is spoken by running the tongue side to side on the upper lip and upper teeth. It means "please" and is most used when they want to play with light switches or buttons, but also used when they want an item. Just about a week ago, though, they learned how to say the actual word, "please" so they switch between that and their own version. They also sign please.

Signing has become a fun part of our communication. We started signing at around 6 to 8 months. Both boys can regularly sign about 20 or so words, but are also learning more at a rapid rate. It's tough for me to keep up with teaching them new signs since signing is somewhat new to me. I've always wanted to learn, especially because my cousin Jessica is deaf and I have always felt that I have been remiss in my sign education. I love my cousin dearly and have always wished I could communicate better with her.

We love dressing the boys up nice. Button-down shirts, corduroys, polo shirts, and nice overall sets are among our favorites. I love the overall outfits because they fit the boys longest.

At their 18-month well baby checkup, which was really closer to 19 months, Ronan weighed 26.5 pounds and was 34.5" tall. William weighed 25.5 pounds and was 33" tall.

We graduated them to big-boy beds a few weeks ago. It went really well! William always had trouble sleeping through the night until morning. I had an instinctive thought that he perhaps just didn't like sleeping in a crib and never did. So, in my desperation from my own sleepless nights, one night when Dave was out of town I put William to bed in the couch bed that we kept in his room. I woke up at 7am wondering what was wrong with William. Nothing wrong, just a very well-slept happy boy! Ever since that night he's slept on a bed and not in his crib. Ever since then I've been able to get a full night of sleep most nights. That went really well for a few weeks but then Ronan decided he wanted to sleep in a bed, too. So, we bought them twin beds and they love them. Ronan used a great word in context for the first time when he sat with me on his bed. He put his hands on the frame and said, "mine!"

I'm so proud of these little guys, so extremely proud. They've made me incredibly happy and I feel extremely blessed. My neighbor said some very kind things to me today. He said, "There is something special about those boys. I could tell when I first saw them. They're very bright and aware. They're going to blow you away."

They are.