Tuesday, February 28, 2012

They're All "Growns Up"

This is a big week for the Wonder Twins. (Cue the theme song from The Jeffersons) They're "moving on uh-uh-up" as the song goes to the Middle Twos class at school. Their last official day in the Young Twos class is tomorrow.

I learned this critical information last week when I found a Xeroxed graduation certificate in each of their cubbies in their classroom. Not knowing if anyone had really shared this news with them, I said, "Hey, girls! Guess who's starting in the Middle Twos class next week?" They roared back "Avery!" and "Lexie!" and began jumping up and down.

From their jubuliant response, I gathered they were genuinely excited about the change. That's a good thing, because Mommy is pretty psyched about the transition and has been looking forward to it for a while. Here are a few reasons why:

First, Ethan - the boy they talk about practically non-stop and the subject of last week's blog post - is moving up. Although they have mentioned other "new friends" like Ezra and Vihaan lately, it seems no one can take Ethan's place on the playground. They would be most upset if they didn't get to work puzzles with him and point at his "Hurricane 'Canes" jersey on a daily basis.

Second, potty time all the time! The Middle Twos teachers really focus on constant potty training. The bathroom wall in the Middle Twos room is covered with large, colorful charts. Each kid has one and gets to put a circular sticker on it when they put their "pee pee" and "poo poo" in the toilet. I never thought I would be so thrilled about potty charts, but I am. Lexie is doing a great job learning to "go like a big girl" and will likely be wearing "big girl underpants" in a few months. Avery is a different story. She has no patience for sitting on the commode long enough to give anything the opportunity to come out, so I'm hoping stickers will encourage her to go, go, go! I'm so ready to be done with diapers!

Third, my girls are smart little cookies. At home, one of their favorite activites (besides throwing the contents of my coat closet all over the downstairs while screaming with delight) is playing with our new opposites (think dark/light, big/little) flash cards. They liked the animal flash cards so much that we bought these at a local school supply store. They're for kids age 5+. With the exception of the cards for right hand and left hand, they can identify them all. What can I say? They're going to be nerds. They sleep with books at night like most kids sleep with stuffed animals. I'm okay with that. I'm sure Steve Jobs and Bill Gates did the same thing back in the day.

That said, they really need more challenging activities than sticking cotton balls to a piece of paper. They've outgrown most of the projects in the Young Twos class. In the Middle Twos, they'll do more work with letters and numbers, which they will love!

With all my excitement for the fun days that lie ahead, I am a little sad that the girls are leaving behind two teachers who they adore. And, the teachers love them just as much in return. Miss Laura and Miss Linda are very special people who do a great job with all the kids they teach, not just mine.

I stopped Miss Linda yesterday to tell her how much the girls have appreciated being in her class for the past few months. She said she was sad to see them go, because they are her best helpers. Especially Avery. She shared how the girls gather up the rest of the class for circle time each day and make things like cleaning up a lot easier.

Of course, I was proud. But, I had to laugh, too, because my mind instantly conjured up an image of Avery - the dominant one of my pair - ordering everyone to sit down. NOW. She's a leader for sure, and God help anyone who stands in her way when she wants something. Avery will plow over them in a New York minute. On the flip side, I was glad to hear Lexie was also showing initiative and not letting big sis (by 8 minutes) boss her around.

The class will certainly bring new things - new friends, new songs to sing and new germs to overcome. But, the girls are ready, and hopefully, the experience will only bolster their love for learning, playing and nerding out.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

No Dating until You're 40 (or How We Turned the Twins into Crazy Cat Ladies)

The day we found out that we were having not one but two little girls, Geof vowed to get a shot gun. Not because he likes to hunt and wanted to bring home extra food for his growing family. (Please! Do we really strike you as the family who roughs it? The only camo Geof wears is for fashion, not function in a deer stand.)

Daddy's main goal in buying a powerful firearm was to scare the begeezus out of any boy who dared look at Avery and Alexa the wrong way. Yeah, he's a little protective of his beautiful baby girls.

Well, it's been about three years since that day in the ultrasound room, and we are still gunless. But, that may soon change.

The twins have developed a strong affinity for a certain boy in their class at school AKA daycare. His name is Ethan. And, they talk about him all the time. Thank goodness, they can't text yet. I might lose my mind.

(Sidebar: I just dropped tomato from my sandwich on my laptop. So go the dangers of blogging on your lunch break.)

In fact, just yesterday when I walked into their classroom at school to pick them up for the day, they ran over to me and immediately started pointing at Ethan. "Mommy, Ethan!" "Mommy, Ethan!"

Now, I don't have great vision, but I could clearly see Ethan and didn't exactly need them to point him out to me. He's been in their class since they were 3 months old, so Geof and I know which kid is Ethan. Their excitement made me laugh.

"Mommy, Ethan have hurricane canes," Avery shared emphatically.

"Hurricane canes" is Avery and Lexie's term for either candy canes or the Raleigh-based NHL hockey team, the Carolina Hurricanes. Ethan happened to be wearing a Hurricanes hockey jersey very similar to the one Geof has. This was not the first time the girls had seen Ethan wear it, but you wouldn't have that known from their level of excitement.

The shirt discussion continued well into the 20-minute drive home.

"Mommy, Ethan come upstairs," said Avery. "You mean, come play in our playroom upstairs?" I asked, thinking at the same time that I might need to start implementing the No Boys in Your Room rule. "Yeah!" exclaimed Lexie.

"Ethan, come eat dinner," Avery added. "You want Ethan to come over and play and then eat dinner with us?" I tried to clarify. "Yeah!" Lexie said again. (She's definitely going to be the cheerleader.) "We all eat together!"

Ok, here's the thing. Geof and I generally know Ethan's parents from the many times when we cross paths in the pick up/drop off process at school. They are incredibly nice and make a very cute couple. But, honestly, I don't remember what their names are (beyond my typical default of "Ethan's Mommy" or "Ethan's Daddy"), and I definitely don't have their numbers programmed into my cell phone. Based on that, I think they might find it a little weird if I stop them in the parking lot and say "Hey, my kids talk about your son all the time. Wanna come over and eat dinner at our house? The kids want to take your son upstairs. By the way, what's your name again?"

So, for now, the twins will have to keep making imaginary plans for Ethan with all his sweet blonde curls to come over and play. And, Geof can keep shopping for the shot gun.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Big Stink about Potty Training

Avery and Lexie are almost 2-and-a-half years old, and that has good ol' Mom counting the remaining months until they need to be potty trained. Oh crap. (Pun intented)

Our daycare center, or "school" as we call it, officially requires its students to be proficient on the potty at age 3. Now, I've heard through the mommy grapevine that some of the kids in the Young 3s class do not meet that stipulation, and as far as I know they haven't been permantly pulled off the playground. Yet.

But, my innate obessession with following the rules has me mildly stressed about meeting this milestone. Not so much with Lexie. She regularly goes "pee pee" and "poo poo" in the potty at school and at home. She doesn't do it every time, but she does do it most of the time. It's Avery I'm a little worried about.

Avery will tell me that she needs to go, but she never delivers. In fact, she'll barely sit down on the special Sesame Street character seat that fits on the "big potty" for more than five seconds. Apparently, Geof's self-diagnosed Attention Deficit Disorder is hereditary.

So, since Avery won't sit on the toilet, she won't go in the toilet. We definitely don't want to pressure her or force her in any way if she's not ready. (I've read that only results in really bad bathroom issues later on. No thanks!) But, we do want her to get on a path to potty success sometime soon. It's what's best for everyone's bottom line. Seriously, do you know how much money we've spent on diapers in 2.5 years? Bring on the Yo, Gabba! Gabba! panties!

To help, we plan to institute a sticker reward system for the twins this month. It seems to work really well with Lexie at school, so we think it should work well at home, too. After a successful session on the potty, they can pick out their sticker of choice and put it on a chart. When they get a set number of stickers, they get a prize. From the dollar store. Remember, we spend all our money on diapers and wipes. :)

There are two other key things that are challenging about potty training my twins. First, they're little. Lexie weighs just over 25 pounds. Avery weighs just under 25 pounds, thanks to a tough bout of pneumonia last month. The smallest training pants I've found (that don't cost as much as a car) are 2T. The girls just don't have enough junk in the truck to hold up 2T bottoms. So, we're a little stuck in the diaper department as far as up-and-down ease is concerned.

Second, the girls fight over whose turn it is to sit on the potty. And, by the time I've dried the tears and determined the potty priority, they aren't interested in going. This funny (and irritating) competition takes forever, especially when we're getting ready for bath time at night. The girls race constantly back and forth between the garden bath tub in our bathroom (it's big enough for two girls to "swim" in at the same time) and the guest room bathroom where we keep their Sesame Street seat, vying for prime potty position. It takes a solid 20 minutes for me to referee the contest and get everyone in the tub, which by that point is nearly overflowing with scented bubble bath.

Good times. Just imagine if we'd had triplets! Geez!

Although the potty training trials may not always be fun (or smell good), they will make the time when Avery and Lexie are able to go on their own that much better. Please, let that be soon.